OAKLAND

Measure could ban future BART strikes

The BART board will meet Thursday evening to discuss whether to ask voters in three counties to advise state lawmakers to ban BART strikes.

BART board President Joel Keller of Brentwood will seek feedback on his proposal for a November ballot measure asking California lawmakers to ban labor strikes at BART. Future contract disputes would be settled by binding arbitration.

The board meets at 5 p.m. Thursday at the Kaiser Center 20th Street Mall, 344 20th St., Oakland.

BART workers last year went on strike twice, in July and October, after contract talks broke down, stranding tens of thousands of riders and causing widespread traffic jams.

The board is not scheduled to vote Thursday but will discuss the proposal and hear from the public.

-- Denis Cuff, Staff

Contra Costa

County sees seventh flu-related death

County health officials announced another flu-related fatality Wednesday, bringing the total number of deaths to seven since December.

The woman, who has not been identified, was in her 40s. Officials did not specify if she had any underlying health problems.

Kate Fowlie, spokeswoman for the Contra Costa County Health Department, did say the agency was notified of the death last week and that the woman had died within the past month.


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It was unknown if the woman had been vaccinated.

The last person to have reportedly died with flu-related symptoms in Contra Costa County was a man in his 50s. That death was reported on Feb. 12.

-- Katie Nelson, Staff

LIVERMORE

Residents asked to cut water use 20 percent

Residents are being asked to voluntarily cut their water usage by 20 percent as part of a citywide effort to reduce consumption during ongoing drought conditions.

The City Council on Monday agreed to enact the first stage of its water shortage contingency plan, calling for the reduction. For the average person, that means using about 25 gallons less water per day.

Cutting a 10-minute shower to 5 minutes or replacing an older showerhead with a low-flow type fixture could meet the goal, city officials said.

The first stage of the contingency plan will not change water rates.

For more information, including water conservation tips and rebates, go to www.cityoflivermore.net.

-- Jeremy Thomas, Staff

Antioch

Man with knife arrested in standoff

An Antioch man was hit with a stun gun and arrested after a brief standoff with police late Wednesday afternoon.

Around 5 p.m., police responded to the Lakeshore apartment complex at 600 Wilbur Ave. for a report of an intoxicated man fighting with a woman and her elderly father, Sgt. Santiago Castillo said.

The caller told police the man, identified as 32-year-old David Thomason, was armed with a knife and had cut the woman during the fight.

Arriving officers found Thomason banging on the front door of a second-story apartment, Castillo said.

When officers confronted him, Thomason put a knife to his neck, but after a short standoff, he was taken into custody after being subdued with a stun gun.

Thomason was taken to a hospital before being transferred to County Jail in Martinez, though Castillo did not say what charges Thomason may face.

The woman and her father, who have not been identified, were treated by paramedics at the scene.

-- Katie Nelson, Staff

FAIRFIELD

Pittsburg man killed in crash near air base

A Pittsburg man was killed in a car crash in Fairfield on Tuesday, authorities said.

The 38-year-old man's Cadillac was struck by a Nissan 300Z as he attempted to make a left turn across two lanes of Airbase Parkway around 7 p.m., police said. The man, later identified by the Solano County Coroner's Office as Pittsburg resident Quincy Jones, died at the scene.

The 19-year-old driver of the Nissan, a Fairfield resident, suffered life-threatening injuries and was taken to a hospital. Authorities are investigating whether the Nissan driver was racing another driver on Airbase Parkway, a thoroughfare connecting Fairfield and Travis Air Force Base.

On Sunday night, a 31-year-old father of three was killed when one of two cars racing near Lopes Road and Canyon Hills Drive struck his Mazda.

-- David DeBolt and Katie Nelson, Staff

OAKLEY

Police seek driver in possible kidnap try

Police are on the lookout for a man who tried to pick up a 9-year-old girl Wednesday morning at Orchard Park Elementary School.

Contra Costa Sheriff's Office spokesman Jimmy Lee said the student told teachers that around 8 a.m., a man in a van drove into the school's drop-off zone at 5150 Live Oak Ave. and offered to give the girl a ride.

Lee said the girl refused the offer, and the van drove away. The 9-year-old immediately reported her encounter to staff, who then called the Oakley police.

Officers searched the area but were not able to find the van.

The student described the driver as a black male in his 30s with long braids or dreadlocks and green eyes.

He was wearing a white 49ers baseball cap, a blue and white scarf, a green jacket and black pants.

The vehicle he was driving was described as an older, blue van, Lee said.

Orchard Park Principal Didi Del Chiaro said Oakley police will increase their presence in the area and that parents have also said they will be on alert.

Anyone with any information on the incident is asked to contact the Oakley Police Department at 925-625-8855.

-- Katie Nelson, Staff

CONTRA COSTA

Sandbags offered to unincorporated areas

The Sheriff's Office said Wednesday it will offer free sandbags to residents of the county's unincorporated areas throughout the rainy season.

Residents must provide their own shovel and transportation, sheriff's spokesman Jimmy Lee said. The sandbags are available around the clock, seven days a week, at five locations:

  • Antioch: Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 W. 10th St.

  • Bay Point: Ambrose Park and Recreation Center, 3105 Willow Pass Road.

  • Byron: Byron Airport, 500 Eagle Court.

  • Pacheco: Waterbird Way, across from the county gas pumps.

  • Richmond: West County Detention Facility, 5555 Giant Highway.

    -- Tom Lochner, Staff

    OAKLAND

    Caldecott Tunnel closed early Sunday

    Motorists on Highway 24 early Sunday can expect detours during a five-hour closure of all westbound lanes just west of the Caldecott Tunnel.

    Caltrans said its crews need to close a three-quarter-mile stretch of the westbound freeway from 12:01 a.m. to 5 a.m. to remove an obsolete traffic sign.

    The tunnel's third bore also will close temporarily.

    Westbound motorists are advised to take alternative routes or be prepared to follow a detour over surface streets in Oakland.

    Eastbound motorists will be not be affected.

    In case of heavy rain, the project will be postponed.

    -- Denis Cuff, Staff