Agents raid homes, arrest 4 in drug sweep
Four people were arrested after agents from the FBI and Drug Enforcement Administration raided homes in four Contra Costa County cities Tuesday morning, an FBI spokesman said.
Few details about the arrests were released, but spokesman Peter Lee said that the agencies, which received help from the Contra Costa County Sheriff's Office and Antioch police, raided homes and served arrest warrants in Pittsburg, Antioch, Oakley and Concord. He did not say how many homes were targeted.
A SWAT team was used in the raids, he said, and the drugs seized were methamphetamine and cocaine.
The four people arrested were not identified, and authorities released no information about them. All surrendered peacefully, Lee said.
-- Rick Hurd, Staff
Garage fire does $1 million damage
A fire that started in a garage in a Discovery Bay home caused about $1 million in damage, a fire official said.
The resident was home but got out of the house quickly, and no one was injured.
The blaze at 2010 Greenfield Court, just off Clubhouse Drive, started as a vehicle fire in the garage and quickly moved to the house, destroying it, said East Contra Costa Fire Protection District Chief Hugh Henderson.
The fire broke out at 8:50 a.m. and was controlled in about an hour, but firefighters spent six hours cleaning up and checking for hot spots, Henderson said.
The exact cause of the fire remains under investigation, but foul play is not suspected.
-- Natalie Neysa Alund and Kristin J. Bender, Staff
Smoke alarm helps woman escape fire
A San Pablo woman escaped a fire in the upper apartment unit of a two-story building Tuesday, and authorities said she owes her good fortune to a working smoke alarm.
The woman was asleep in the upstairs unit when the fire started around 12:25 p.m. Monday at 1414 Amador St., said Fire Marshal Lewis Broschard of the Contra Costa Fire Protection District. The alarm woke her, Broschard said, and after smelling smoke, she left the building and called 911.
An adult and child living in the lower unit were not home during the fire but were displaced, Broschard said. They were assisted by the American Red Cross with temporary housing.
Firefighters from San Pablo, El Sobrante, El Cerrito, and two engines from the Richmond Fire Department responded to the call and had the fire extinguished in 10 minutes, Broschard said.
Fire crews kept the blaze contained to one room and the majority of the upstairs unit was saved, Broschard said. Some items on the lower floor also burned, and Broschard estimated damage to the unit at $10,000.
The cause of the fire appears to be accidental, Broschard said.
-- Rick Hurd, Staff
Police kick in more for pension, get merit pay
The city's 50 police officers, corporals and sergeants will increase their pension contributions this year and regain a merit pay system in return.
The City Council last week approved a one-year agreement with the San Ramon Police Officers Association that is not unlike the contracts approved earlier this year by all other city employee groups.
According to the agreement that expires June 30, 2014, police will contribute 2 percent more of their salary to their pension, for a total of 3 percent. Police can expect to contribute another 6 percent sometime before 2018 in increments to be determined in future negotiations.
Police will welcome back a merit pay system suspended three years ago, but it will be on a smaller scale ranging from 0 to 5 percent salary increases instead of 0 to 7 percent.
The contract is the first negotiated by the union. Before 2007, the city contracted with the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office for public safety services. The city created its own department in 2007. Negotiations began in April.
-- Ashly McGlone, Staff
Small earthquakes shake Berkeley, Orinda
Three small earthquakes shook the East Bay early Tuesday, but they do not appear to have done any damage.
The largest quake measured 3.2 and was centered in Tilden Park near the Orinda border, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake happened at 1:07 a.m.
Two smaller quakes rattled the same area about an hour later -- a magnitude-2.7 quake at 2:06 a.m. and a 2.6 quake at 2:15 a.m.
No injuries or damage were reported.
-- Rick Hurd, Staff
Quick arrest following attempted abduction
A 57-year-old transient was arrested several hours after a weekend attempted kidnapping near the city library, Lafayette police said.
Ralph Grohs was arrested and booked at the County Jail in Martinez on suspicion of attempted kidnapping charges and parole violation after officers found him at the scene of the crime Saturday, police said.
Grohs is suspected of trying to grab an 8-year-old child about 11:30 a.m. on Golden Gate Way near the Lafayette library, police said. However, the child's alert parent was able to quickly take the child to safety, and officers immediately began searching the area.
Around 5 p.m. Saturday, Lafayette police officers and Contra Costa County Sheriff's deputies found Grohs at the library, in the 3400 block of Mt. Diablo Boulevard.
-- Katie Nelson, Staff
Free flu shots offered at drive-thru event
Doctors Medical Center will conduct a free, drive-thru flu shot clinic Friday afternoon.
The shots are being offered from 2 to 6 p.m. to community residents at least 18 years old. No appointment is necessary.
Participants should enter at the hospital's West entrance on Vale Road west of San Pablo Avenue and follow signs.
Experienced nursing students from Contra Costa College will assist the hospital's medical staff during the clinic.
Doctors Medical Center is at 2000 Vale Road.
-- Tom Lochner, Staff
Walk with the ghosts in downtown stroll
The Museum on Main is once again offering downtown ghost history tours of some of the city's spookiest haunts.
The walking tours will be held Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 18, 19, 25 and 26. They last two hours and leave the museum every 30 minutes between 6 and 8 p.m. The museum is at 603 Main St.
Tickets are $18 for adults, $13 for children 12 and younger. For tickets, call 925-462-2766 or visit www.museumonmain.org.
-- Kelly Gust, Staff