Spare the Air alert streak grows to six
A record sixth straight Spare the Air alert is in effect for Friday as cold stagnant air spurs a continued ban on wood fires.
The Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced it is extending the burn ban another 24 hours on Friday because of forecasts of unhealthy air quality. Spare the Air alerts also were called on Sunday through Thursday.
"Unfortunately, with the weather system that has been in place for the past week, wood smoke pollution in the Bay Area continues to sit over the region," said Jack Broadbent, the air district's executive officer.
Before this month, the previous record was four consecutive Spare the Air alerts. Friday will be the 10th alert of this cold season.
-- Denis Cuff, Staff
Man arrested after 100 mph police chase
An Antioch man, who struck a police officer while evading a traffic stop, was arrested Wednesday night after leading police on a chase that reached 100 mph, police said.
Joshua Beesley, 40, was arrested on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon on a police officer and felony evading, authorities said.
Officers attempted to pull Beesley over at 7:04 p.m. near G and Texas streets, but the driver pulled away, striking one officer, who was not injured, Antioch police Sgt. Tony Morefield said,
Police deployed spike strips at several places during the hourlong pursuit, which went through parts of Antioch, Pittsburg, Bay Point and Concord before ending back in Antioch after the driver exited Highway 4 and ran over the strips.
The driver circled the neighborhood on the car's rims until it finally became disabled in the 2900 block of Longview Road, and Beesley was arrested, Morefield said.
Beesley was booked into the County Jail in Martinez.
-- Rick Hurd, Staff
Police: Woman stole $19,000 in cosmetics
A San Pablo woman has been arrested in connection with a heist of $19,000 in makeup products from a store, according to court papers.
Surveillance footage of the Nov. 19 burglary at a MAC Cosmetics store at 1850 Fourth St. led authorities to arrest Kristen Hale, 32, one week later.
The footage shows a Honda registered to Hale driving into the parking lot before a rock was used to smash the front door and steal the $19,000 in merchandise, according to court records.
Boxes of makeup were later found during a search of Hale's San Pablo home Nov. 26. A day planner with more than 100 identity theft profiles with names, birth dates, driver's license numbers and Social Security cards was found in the home as well as items stolen in car and residential burglaries and one gram of methamphetamine, according to court records.
-- David DeBolt, Staff
School board shuffles its assignments
The Mt. Diablo school board on Wednesday appointed Larry Schoenke as its new part-time general counsel at a maximum salary of $185,000.
Trustees also selected Barbara Oaks as president and Brian Lawrence as vice president during their annual reorganization.
In addition, the board appointed Gayle Sweda as a special education program specialist, Adelaide Nzeusseu as a social work specialist, Sean Taylor as an educational consultation and behavior management specialist, Robert Bass as vice principal of Concord High and Jamey Carmen as a student services coordinator at Sequoia Middle School.
-- Theresa Harrington, Staff
Jail for man who used reptile to guard pot
A man who prosecutors say used a 5-foot-long reptile to guard his Castro Valley pot stash has been sentenced to four months in jail and five years of probation in connection with the crime.
Assif Mayar, who faced up to three years in prison for the charge and pleaded guilty to felony possession of marijuana on Oct. 22, was sentenced Wednesday during a hearing at the Hayward Hall of Justice, according to the Alameda County District Attorney's Office.
In addition to jail time and probation, Superior Court Judge Stuart Hing also ordered Mayar to pay a $3,400 fine.
Alameda County Sheriff's Office deputies on Jan. 8 visited a home on the 19000 block of Mount Jasper Road, where Mayar lived with his wife and 2-year-old son, after receiving a tip he was selling marijuana. Inside they found a malnourished reptile initially thought to be an alligator, guarding 34 pounds of marijuana in a bedroom of the two-story home.
The reptile, named Mr. Teeth, was a dwarf caiman and was confined to a 2-by-8-foot Plexiglas tank in a bedroom of the home, deputies said.
-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff
Saturday race could impact traffic
Drivers can anticipate delays on several streets Saturday morning when the Walnut Creek International Half-Marathon and 5K Race wends its way through town.
Delays are likely from 7 to 10 a.m. along the race route of Treat Boulevard, Bancroft Road, Oak Grove Road and Ygnacio Valley Road. More than 2,000 runners are expected for the race, now in its third year.
The 2011 race snarled traffic and created massive delays, prompting hundreds of complaints from residents.
The race raises money for World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization, and for local school athletic booster clubs. For more information go to www.runwalnutcreek.com.
-- Elisabeth Nardi, Staff
Tour Saturday of oil transfer facility site
The Pittsburg Defense Council and environmental groups will conduct a tour Saturday of areas that would face potential environmental impacts related to plans to build the WesPac oil transfer and storage facility on the Pittsburg waterfront.
During the tour, environmental groups plan to take air and water quality samples near the project site.
The tour starts at 10 a.m. at McAvoy Yacht Harbor, 1001 McAvoy Road in Bay Point and ends two hours later at Riverview Park in Pittsburg near the proposed WesPac site. A free lunch follows the tour at the Impulse Gallery at 329 Railroad Ave.
To reserve a tour space, call Tom Griffith at 510-610-7005. For more information, go to www.pittsburgdc.org.
-- Eve Mitchell, Staff
Runaway tire may be cause of injury crash
A runaway tire was blamed for a crash on Highway 4 that injured at least one person Thursday, a CHP officer said.
The noon crash of a blue Cadillac happened at the Railroad Avenue offramp in the eastbound direction, California Highway Patrol Officer Ron Simmons said. Witnesses told investigators that a tire flew into the front window of the Cadillac, perhaps from the westbound side of the highway. No other cars were involved.
-- Rick Hurd, Staff