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The Slippery Slope of Silicon Valley

While (most) tech start-ups have been on better behavior in 2014, there have been dozens of instances when they acted poorly, even unethically.

Ferguson Beefs Up Response After Violence

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - 43 min 6 sec ago
Missouri’s governor said he would triple the National Guard presence in the St. Louis region after widespread violence following a grand-jury decision not to indict a police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed teen.

Teacher Proposal Sparks Debate

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - 2 hours 42 min ago
The Obama administration proposed new rules Tuesday for teacher training programs that would tie federal aid to metrics—including how well their graduates perform in the job market and in the classroom.

Police report increase in Thousand Oaks thefts

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 25, 2014 - 11:31pm

Police reported an increase in residential thefts and burglaries Tuesday in Thousand Oaks, officials said.

Authorities are urging residents to lock their cars and houses while they are away and to be on the lookout for suspicious people as the city experiences an increase in residential burglaries.

Oftentimes the suspects knock on doors during the day to see if anyone is home. If someone is home the suspect claims they are knocking on the door because they are selling something. Anyone who is selling door-to-door must have a permit from the city and the permit must be visible on their person, officials said.

If someone does not answer the door when a suspect knocks then the suspect will go to the backyard and look for an unlocked door. If there is no unlocked door the suspect forces a window or door open, authorities said.

When holiday shopping Thousand Oaks police urges residents to secure packages in their cars or homes. Do not leave valuables in plain sight and arrange for a friend or neighbor take possession of a package that will be delivered to your house when you’re not home, police said.

Police report increase in Thousand Oaks thefts

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 11:31pm

Police reported an increase in residential thefts and burglaries Tuesday in Thousand Oaks, officials said.

Authorities are urging residents to lock their cars and houses while they are away and to be on the lookout for suspicious people as the city experiences an increase in residential burglaries.

Oftentimes the suspects knock on doors during the day to see if anyone is home. If someone is home the suspect claims they are knocking on the door because they are selling something. Anyone who is selling door-to-door must have a permit from the city and the permit must be visible on their person, officials said.

If someone does not answer the door when a suspect knocks then the suspect will go to the backyard and look for an unlocked door. If there is no unlocked door the suspect forces a window or door open, authorities said.

When holiday shopping Thousand Oaks police urges residents to secure packages in their cars or homes. Do not leave valuables in plain sight and arrange for a friend or neighbor take possession of a package that will be delivered to your house when you’re not home, police said.

Tree trimmer critically injured by power lines

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 25, 2014 - 11:28pm

Two tree trimmers were rescued from a Simi Valley tree Tuesday after one was critically injured by a power line.

The incident was reported about noon in the 4100 block of Eileen Street, according to the Ventura County Fire Department.

Emergency personnel found both men stuck about 50 feet high in the tree, and one was dangling and unconscious. A small fire was put out, and firefighters had to cut through the foliage to rescue the workers, said Fire Capt. Mike Lindbery. Southern California Edison cut off the power during the rescue.

One worker was not injured and was safely rescued from the tree. The other victim was in critical condition and taken to a hospital, Lindbery said.

"It is suspected that he came in contact with electrical wires," Lindbery said.

About 35 firefighters responded to the incident, as well as Simi Valley police.

At 10:50 p.m., Simi Valley police could not confirm the status of the critically injured tree trimmer.

Possible theft reported at Ventura College

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 25, 2014 - 10:52pm

Police were investigating a possible theft at Ventura College Tuesday night, officials said.

Authorities would not give further information on the incident.

Ventura College sent out a campus-wide alert about 8:48 p.m. regarding an attempted armed robbery at a parking lot on the west side of campus. The West Lot is located along Loma Vista Road.

The alert told students and faculty to shelter in place.

Possible theft reported at Ventura College

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 10:52pm

Police were investigating a possible theft at Ventura College Tuesday night, officials said.

Authorities would not give further information on the incident.

Ventura College sent out a campus-wide alert about 8:48 p.m. regarding an attempted armed robbery at a parking lot on the west side of campus. The West Lot is located along Loma Vista Road.

The alert told students and faculty to shelter in place.

Malibu man arrested in county saddle thefts

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 25, 2014 - 10:41pm

From staff reports

A Malibu man has been arrested in connection with horse saddle thefts, police said.

Moorpark police released two photos to the public of a man connected to at least four burglaries of high-end horse saddles on Nov. 5. Soon after, investigators received calls from the public identifying the man as Gregory Dale Andersen, 49, of Malibu.

Sometime overnight on Feb. 20 at Whitethorn Ranch in Somis, 16 saddles valued at over $53,000 were stolen. As the investigation continued, two of the saddles were located. It was learned that Andersen used the alias Matthew Gregory to ship two stolen saddles from a post office in Woodland Hills, authorities said. All information relating to Matthew Gregory was fraudulent, authorities said.

Andersen was arrested at 9 a.m. Nov. 10. He is out of police custody on $500,000 bail and has been charged with identity theft and possession of stolen property. Police said they believe Andersen has been using the fake name to sell over $180,000 in saddles from 2007 to this year.

Anyone who has purchased saddles from a Matthew Gregory is urged to call law enforcement. According to authorities, the eBay seller IDs he used were: moonjumper, classicalequestrian, 4grandprix, hunterhampton, westchestercounty, qualityusedtack, and jumpermaster.

Malibu man arrested in county saddle thefts

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 10:41pm

From staff reports

A Malibu man has been arrested in connection with horse saddle thefts, police said.

Moorpark police released two photos to the public of a man connected to at least four burglaries of high-end horse saddles on Nov. 5. Soon after, investigators received calls from the public identifying the man as Gregory Dale Andersen, 49, of Malibu.

Sometime overnight on Feb. 20 at Whitethorn Ranch in Somis, 16 saddles valued at over $53,000 were stolen. As the investigation continued, two of the saddles were located. It was learned that Andersen used the alias Matthew Gregory to ship two stolen saddles from a post office in Woodland Hills, authorities said. All information relating to Matthew Gregory was fraudulent, authorities said.

Andersen was arrested at 9 a.m. Nov. 10. He is out of police custody on $500,000 bail and has been charged with identity theft and possession of stolen property. Police said they believe Andersen has been using the fake name to sell over $180,000 in saddles from 2007 to this year.

Anyone who has purchased saddles from a Matthew Gregory is urged to call law enforcement. According to authorities, the eBay seller IDs he used were: moonjumper, classicalequestrian, 4grandprix, hunterhampton, westchestercounty, qualityusedtack, and jumpermaster.

Millions expected on California highways

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 10:40pm

Encouraged by lower gas prices and better personal finances, millions of people are expected to be traveling on California roadways Wednesday as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, according to a forecast from the Automobile Club of Southern California.

This Thanksgiving holiday, the number of people traveling at least 50 miles from home between Wednesday and Sunday is expected to be at its highest since 2007 when 4 million people took trips. Wednesday is expected to be the most popular day for outbound travel, while Sunday is expected to be the busiest travel day, due to most travelers returning home, the group said.

About 85 percent of travelers in both the state and Southern California were expected to drive and 11 percent were expected to fly. In Southern California, a projected 3.01 million will travel by car, a 3.9 percent increase over last year, the group said.

"As Californians see improvements in jobs and household worth this year, they are more willing to spend on travel," said Jeffrey Spring, a spokesman for the group. "An added bonus for travel budgets has been dramatically lower gas prices in the past two months. Consumers have more money in their pocket to plan trips, and this Thanksgiving's travel will cost them less by car and just 1 percent higher than last year on average by air."

Gasoline prices in much of Southern California are reaching an average price of $3 a gallon, which is about 40 cents lower than last year. There is also a projected increase from last year in the number of those traveling this Thanksgiving whose household income is below $50,000. In 2013, 36 percent of travelers had incomes below $50,000. About 46 percent of travelers in this income bracket are projected this Thanksgiving holiday, the group said.

According to a survey of the Auto Club's AAA travel agents, the top five destinations for Southern Californians are Las Vegas, San Francisco, San Diego, the Grand Canyon and Santa Barbara and the Central Coast, which includes Ventura County.

The risk of serious or deadly traffic collisions is higher over the Thanksgiving holiday period because more people are on the roads. Additional California Highway Patrol officers will be monitoring the roads from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, the patrol said.

The agency along with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration encourages drivers to obey the speed limit, avoid distracted driving and never drink and drive.

Other law enforcement agencies echo that advice.

"Unfortunately during the holidays, we do experience a rise in individuals driving under the influence of alcohol," said Capt. Bob Thomas, of the Ventura County Sheriff's Office.

The patrol arrested more than 1,200 people in last year in connection with driving under the influence during the Thanksgiving holiday, the agency said.

The enforcement period coincides with the safety administration's "Click It or Ticket" campaign. Both the patrol and the federal agency reminded drivers and passengers of the importance of wearing a seat belt.

"Something as simple as buckling up before your trip can save your life and avoid turning a non-injury collision into a tragedy," said patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow.

The number of reported collisions during the Thanksgiving holiday period decreased last year. Thirty-three people died in traffic collisions and 88 percent of those people were not wearing seat belts. This number was down from the 44 people killed during Thanksgiving in 2012, the patrol said.

"Get there slow and safe," Thomas said.

Police investigate Ventura robbery

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 25, 2014 - 10:28pm

Police were investigating a robbery Tuesday in Ventura, officials said.

The robbery was reported just after 9 p.m. at a Chase bank located at 310 Wells Road.

Authorities were investigating whether it was related to an incident that occurred in Santa Paula, police said.

Police investigate Ventura robbery

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 10:28pm

Police were investigating a robbery Tuesday in Ventura, officials said.

The robbery was reported just after 9 p.m. at a Chase bank located at 310 Wells Road.

Authorities were investigating whether it was related to an incident that occurred in Santa Paula, police said.

Crash kills 1 near Highway 101, Telephone Road

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 10:16pm

On the cusp of one of the busiest travel periods of the year, at least one person was killed in a fiery single-vehicle crash Tuesday evening off southbound Highway 101 near Telephone Road in Ventura.

The vehicle on southbound Highway 101 left the roadway, hit a tree and caught fire, according to the California Highway Patrol. Witnesses and crews said the eucalyptus tree, about 20 to 25 feet tall, also caught fire in the crash, which was reported at 6:33 p.m.

Authorities said the dead person, the driver, was a male, although his age and identity were not available.

Zachary Kelly saw the wreck as he was siting in the Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf at Telephone Road and Main Street looking out the window.

"I ended up seeing this beam of lights, brakes squealing and saw a car come over the side" of the freeway, he said.

Then he saw a flicker of light and the vehicle burst into flame.

He said it appeared the vehicle left the roadway and hit the tree after the driver tried to stop suddenly, possibly to avoid rear-ending another vehicle.

After the crash, he said, he "quickly got up and ran over. By this time, the fire had consumed the car. We called the police and they started arriving."

Kelly, who lives nearby in Ventura, said, "There was way too much fire to assist."

The fire was knocked down by 6:45 p.m. at the crash site 200 feet beyond the onramp to southbound Highway 101 from the Main Street/Telephone Road intersection.

Ventura Fire Department Battalion Chief Doug Miser said the vehicle was a Jeep Cherokee, although it was so mangled that it was hard to recognize.

For some time after the crash, the vehicle remained stuck against the tree as authorities awaited the arrival of staff from the Ventura County Medical Examiner's Office before moving the vehicle so they could reach the body. Crews later extricated the victim at the direction of the office, Miser said.

Soon after the crash, the entrance to the highway was closed, blocked by two to three California Highway Patrol vehicles and two firefighting vehicles. The Ventura Police Department also had vehicles near the site, which a crowd of about 20 people viewed from a shopping center parking lot at Main Street and Telephone Road.

Southbound Highway 101 in the vicinity of the crash remained closed for some time. Northbound Highway 101 stayed open but was packed with heavy traffic starting about a mile south of the location.

The crash occurred as authorities urged caution on roadways that will be packed with vehicles during the Thanksgiving holiday period, one of the busiest travel times of the year.

Obama's Muted Ferguson Response Reflects Limited Options

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 9:22pm
The president’s response to the rioting in Ferguson underscores both the role he has carved for himself as uniquely well-suited to bridge the nation’s racial divide and his discomfort at times with embracing the role.

Ferguson case brings out protesters in Oxnard

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 25, 2014 - 9:21pm

About a dozen protesters made their presence known Tuesday afternoon at an Oxnard intersection in response to a grand jury decision in Missouri not to prosecute a police officer who killed a young man.

The local group known as Todo Poder al Pueblo that has rallied against alleged police brutality in Oxnard, organized the protest at Channel Islands Boulevard and Saviers Road.

They waved signs and chanted sayings such as "no justice, no peace" as they moved from one corner of the intersection to another.

In the protest that began at about 5:30 p.m., members of the mostly college-age group said they were there to call attention to police brutality.

Some passing motorists honked in apparent signs of support of the protesters.

The protest was one of many across the country, some large and some small, in the wake of a decision by a grand jury not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old, in Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting in the St. Louis suburb led to protests earlier this year as racial tensions against police flared. The protests were revived after Monday's announcement of the grand jury's decision.

Todo Poder al Pueblo has called attention to deaths in Oxnard linked to police, including that of Alfonso Limon Jr., a bystander mistakenly shot by officers during a 2012 shootout with suspects. The group also has called attention to the case of Robert Ramirez, a 26-year-old man who died of asphyxia in 2012 while in Oxnard police restraint after he overdosed on methamphetamine.

There was no sign of a police presence at Tuesday's protest.

Ferguson case brings out protesters in Oxnard

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 25, 2014 - 9:21pm

About a dozen protesters made their presence known Tuesday afternoon at an Oxnard intersection in response to a grand jury decision in Missouri not to prosecute a police officer who killed a young man.

The local group known as Todo Poder al Pueblo that has rallied against alleged police brutality in Oxnard, organized the protest at Channel Islands Boulevard and Saviers Road.

They waved signs and chanted sayings such as "no justice, no peace" as they moved from one corner of the intersection to another.

In the protest that began at about 5:30 p.m., members of the mostly college-age group said they were there to call attention to police brutality.

Some passing motorists honked in apparent signs of support of the protesters.

The protest was one of many across the country, some large and some small, in the wake of a decision by a grand jury not to indict white police officer Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed, black 18-year-old, in Ferguson, Missouri. The shooting in the St. Louis suburb led to protests earlier this year as racial tensions against police flared. The protests were revived after Monday's announcement of the grand jury's decision.

Todo Poder al Pueblo has called attention to deaths in Oxnard linked to police, including that of Alfonso Limon Jr., a bystander mistakenly shot by officers during a 2012 shootout with suspects. The group also has called attention to the case of Robert Ramirez, a 26-year-old man who died of asphyxia in 2012 while in Oxnard police restraint after he overdosed on methamphetamine.

There was no sign of a police presence at Tuesday's protest.

Americans Borrowing More Briskly for Cars, Homes

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 9:18pm
Americans showed an increased appetite for borrowing this summer, taking out more new mortgages for the first time in more than a year while adding to their debts using car and credit-card loans.

Resignation Capped Tense Year for Hagel

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 9:06pm
Pentagon chief repeatedly found fault with what he saw as indecisiveness by the White House National Security Council.

Single dad with daughters thankful for food

Ventura County Star - Local News - November 25, 2014 - 9:05pm

Another parent once asked single dad Arnold Hernandes how he manages to raise three daughters and a son in an 18-foot singlewide trailer.

“I do it day by day, hair by hair,” said Hernandes, 50.

As if on cue, one of his twin daughters, Nataly, 10, recited a family motto: “God does not want us to see life by sight, but by faith.”

The Santa Paula family gets by with their faith, the help of two Santa Paula Catholic churches and a program called Many Meals of Santa Paula.

Many Meals is a “pantry partner” for FOOD Share, Ventura County’s food bank. Many Meals is among more than 180 outlets in the county where hungry families and individuals can get groceries or a hot meal.

Every Wednesday night, after the girls finish their homework, Hernandes and the three girls sit down at round tables set up in the recreation room in a Santa Paula church. About 12 volunteers serve the family and more than 100 others a hot dinner, complete with dessert.

“It’s yummy! It’s awesome,” Annacristina said. “Last year, we did Thanksgiving with them. Oh, my gawd, the turkey, the potatoes, the pumpkin pie!”

The Many Meals dinner on Wednesday night is the Hernandes family’s night out.

“I am struggling quite a bit. Once a week, I need that little break,” Hernandes said.

MAKING ENDS MEET

Hernandes has been unsuccessful getting full-time work after a messy divorce, so he works as a handyman when he can, and spends the rest of his time raising his three daughters: Annacristina, 12; and twins Nataly and Vanezza, 10. His stepson, Tony, 20, also lives in the trailer when he isn’t attending classes at Ventura College, where he is studying to become an architect.

Hernandes raises his family on about $500 in public aid and whatever he can pull in as a handyman, which is usually not more than $300 a month.

Hernandes was a professional musician, then started a company with his then-wife, who was among 14 people arrested in 2010 on suspicion of real estate fraud. Hernandes and his children say she is no longer a part of their lives.

After the arrest, he had to start over. He had no money and nowhere to live with his kids. Tony also went to live with Hernandes.

“We were bouncing from Salvation Army, friends’ garages, the church. We were camping,” Hernandes said, putting the words “camping” in air quotes.

“It was fun,” Annacristina said. “We thought it was just a little phase, like, ‘Oh yeah, we’re going camping.’ And then we came here (to the trailer) and it was like ‘this is for real.’ ”

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Santa Paula took in the family for a while. Then they went back to a friend’s house, but Hernandes said the friend made a remark that cut him to the quick.

“They shooed us out because I was not working. I was not man enough. I did not have a job that was 9 to 5,” he said as his eyes filled with tears. “I’m sorry.”

One friend then donated an old trailer and another allowed Hernandes to park it in his backyard.

Hernandes and Tony squash together on a narrow bed that runs along one side of the trailer, about 2 feet across from the tiny sink and stove. Annacristina sleeps in the back of the trailer and the twins sleep together in a single bed above her.

“I like sleeping up there. It’s comfortable,” Nataly said. “I don’t get scared much up there.”

“If a murderer comes in, you’ll be safe because they can’t see you,” Vanezza added.

“Unless you scream, and then your cover is blown,” supplied Annacristina.

TAKING TURNS

Everybody takes turns showering and changing in the standing-room-only bathroom in the front corner of the home. Hernandes has pulled from his experience growing up around horses in the San Fernando Valley to ready the girls for school.

“I used to have a quarter horse, so I learned to braid the girls’ hair with the horse’s tail,” he said.

The girls make almost all As at St. Sebastian School in Santa Paula, where they attend on a grant from the Los Angeles Archdiocese.

Hernandes makes sure they are in church every Sunday and tries to expose them to stimulating and educational experiences that don’t cost anything.

“He is one of the most devoted fathers I’ve ever known,” said the Rev. Thomas Dome, of St. Sebastian. “Many times, you see him walking with his children, walking with them to school or doing little field trips to the museum.”

Friday or Saturday nights are “video night” in which Tony or Hernandes get an inexpensive video that they play on a television that unfolds from one wall in the trailer. Hernandes gets a $5 pizza and the family watches the movie together, then everybody discusses it.

He says he wants his girls to do more than just “veg out” in front of a movie, but to think about it afterward.

NOT TYPICAL

Many Meals volunteer Kay Wilson-Bolton said she noticed the Hernandes family immediately when they started coming to Many Meals.

“They didn’t fit the profile of our typical guest,” she said. “What I saw was happy children and a very attentive dad enjoying each other’s company and enjoying a meal together.”

Wilson-Bolton found out they were living in the most modest of conditions, but the kids were not sad and frustrated and badly behaved given their circumstances. It was a picture of what it means to be rich of spirit, even if one is poor of means, she said.

“Parents don’t have to give kids every (material) thing they want,” Wilson-Bolton said. “Children want love and affection from their parent. You can see how animated they are. They love him, and they love each other.”

Hernandes continues to put one foot in front of the other, trying to keep his children fed and making sure they get a good education, in and out of school, while looking for night work so he can be there for his girls after school.

Meanwhile, the girls were trying to help him.

Without his knowledge, they wrote up a profile for him and put it on a free dating website. He walked into the trailer one evening to find them chatting on the phone with a prospective girlfriend for him.

“He looked like he was lonely and needed someone,” Annacristina said.

Hernandes admonished his girls, but the profile the girls wrote touched him.

The girls had written about their father, a “gentleman who needed someone to be strong for him.”

“If you read the profile they wrote me, I’d want to date me,” Hernandes said.

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