Jury gets murder case of Hayward man accused of killing Castro Valley woman

Jury deliberations have begun at the murder and arson trial of a 20-year-old Hayward man who says he was coerced by his best friend into strangling a Castro Valley woman and burning her body and home during a 2012 burglary. 
Homeroom: Fremont-area youth symphony concert set
Elsewhere: Hayward Rotary Club honors four scholars. 

Former Raiderette files class-action lawsuit against the team
As a proposed $1.25 million settlement for cheerleader wage theft pends approval in an Alameda County court, another class action lawsuit over pay and compensation has been filed against the Oakland Raiders by a former Raiderette. 

Volunteers counting homeless in Alameda County
Focus on 'housing first' followed by drug and alcohol rehabilitation and mental health services has lasting, positive impact, advocates say 

Oakland makes new teacher pay offer
10 percent raise would be over 18 months, not three years as was previously offered 

Alameda: AHS grad, 'footballer' stars for Afghanistan national team
Ahmad Hatifie, who graduated from Alameda High School a decade ago before going on to compete at UC Davis, now plays for the Afghanistan national team in major international tournaments. At the club level, he also recently completed his first season with Mumbai FC of India's top domestic circuit, the I-League.  

Alameda: Broadway star, "American Idol" Maroulis, pays visit to St. Joseph Notre Dame
Constantine Maroulis, who was a finalist on the fourth season of "American Idol," received a Tony Award nomination for his performance in Broadway's "Rock of Ages" and a Drama League Award nomination for his starring role in "Jekyll and Hyde." He also has a long list of concert tours, television shows and albums to his credit.  

Piedmont: Turkey Trot corporation makes its payments to PUSD
The agreement struck between the district and the corporation on Nov. 4 stipulated that $12,800 in proceeds from the 2013 race would be paid to the district upon approval of the agreement. This was done. The sum represented a portion of the $30,000 in proceeds due the district from the 2013 race.  

Berkeley to compete for national energy reduction prize, $5 million pot
The Georgetown University Energy Prize will celebrate the city that reduces its energy use the most over the next two years; competing with Berkeley are 49 other U.S. cities, including five others in Northern California 

Oakland: Suspect in shooting at sheriff's deputies identified
Authorities said the arrest of the Castro Valley man Wednesday led to the discovery later in the day of two sophisticated indoor pot-growing operations that contained millions of dollars worth of marijuana. 

( SUSAN TRIPP POLLARD )
Women's purses: Readers divulge the craziest thing they're carrying around

We asked readers to tell us about the craziest thing they have stashed in the handbag. You think you're carting around something wild or funny? Read on.