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Oakland protesters block freeways, break windows

Ventura County Star Top Stories - November 26, 2014 - 6:50am

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) - A meandering crowd briefly shut down two major freeways, vandalized at least one police car and looted businesses in downtown Oakland, smashing windows at cellphone stores, luxury car dealerships, restaurants and convenience stores on a second night of protests.

Click here for more on Ferguson.

Hundreds of people demonstrated against a grand jury's decision not to indict a white Missouri officer who killed a black 18-year-old earlier in August. Protesters chanting "Shut it down for Michael Brown!" briefly closed Interstates 580 and 980 Tuesday night, but Oakland police officers in riot helmets were able to clear them from traffic lanes.

The group carrying banners and signs then marched through downtown streets with police motorcycles and patrol cars trailing closely behind, their emergency lights flashing.

The protesters, some wearing bandanas over their faces, spray-painted messages against police. They then started several fires across Telegraph Avenue and began breaking windows in businesses nearby. A least two businesses - a cellphone store and a paint shop - were looted.

The California Highway Patrol in Oakland said several people were arrested, including an armed man who was vandalizing one of their patrol cars.

"Multiple arrests have been made since this is no longer a peaceful protest and at least one firearm was taken off a protester that was vandalizing a police car," the CHP said on its Facebook page late Tuesday.

The Oakland Police Department estimated there were at least 350 people participating in the protests. It said it called on another department for help during the demonstrations sparked after a grand jury declined to indict 28-year-old Officer Darren Wilson in the Aug. 9 fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis.

Close to midnight Wednesday, a live video stream on ABC Television News' website showed small clusters of protesters roving through Oakland streets with police cars following closely behind.

In Los Angeles, about 150 people were arrested after failing to disperse during demonstrations that lasted all night around downtown, Officer Sally Madera said early Wednesday. There were no reports of injuries or property damage. Police remained on modified tactical alert at dawn.

Hundreds converged on police headquarters Tuesday evening, while a separate group was chased from the U.S. 101 freeway.

Daily Report: Navigating Silicon Valley's Slippery Moral Slope

New York Times - California News - November 26, 2014 - 3:50am
Although (most) tech start-ups have been on better behavior in 2014, there have been dozens of instances when they acted poorly, even unethically.

Supreme Court to Review EPA Rule on Power-Plant Emissions

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 26, 2014 - 3:29am
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review the first-ever national environmental standards requiring power plants to reduce emissions of mercury and other toxic air pollutants.

Ferguson Beefs Up Response After Violence

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 26, 2014 - 2:24am
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 - November 26, 2014 - 12:24am
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.

EPA to Propose Ozone-Pollution Limit

Wall Street Journal U.S. News - November 25, 2014 - 11:45pm
The Environmental Protection Agency is planning to announce Wednesday a sweeping federal air-pollution standard limiting ground-level ozone, or smog, in the atmosphere, according to people familiar with the plan.

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 eve of one of the busiest travel periods of the year, 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. He was declared dead at the scene.

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.

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