Firm facing hazardous waste violations

A Richmond metal plating company has been charged with numerous violations of the state's hazardous waste laws, state officials said Thursday.

Electro-Forming Co. and its owner, Marion Patigler, are charged with 11 felony counts and 12 misdemeanor counts for the mismanagement of hazardous waste, including the unlawful disposal, storage, treatment and transportation of hazardous waste.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office filed the charges Thursday after an investigation by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control.

The facility illegally treated, stored and disposed of plating waste for several years, allowing dangerous waste to gather under the floor of the facility and creating serious safety risks, according to the complaint.

The company also failed to label drums, provide employee training, operate the facility in a manner meant to prevent a release and obtain a valid hazardous waste transporters registration, according to the complaint.

Patigler said Thursday she was unaware of the charges. She did not offer a comment after being emailed a copy of the allegations.

-- Kristin J. Bender, Staff

Bay Area

See crime on BART? There's an app for that

BART is adding a service that will allow riders to use smartphones to silently report crimes and safety concerns.

A new phone app, available later this year, will enable riders to discreetly report troublesome or suspicious activities without being overheard by others on the same train car.

"Riders will be able to upload pictures and location information, choose comments from drop down menus or write their own comments in text boxes," BART Police Chief Kenton Rainey said.

The app also will have silent photo and flash-free features.

BART announced the service Thursday, saying it will notify the public later this year when the app can be downloaded from its website.

The app creator is ELERTS Corp., which has done similar apps for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority, and Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority.

-- Denis Cuff, Staff


City gives OK for future development

Leaders here set the stage this week for future development of 63 houses, high-density senior apartments and roughly 7 acres for retail and assisted-living facilities near a 55-and-older community.

With little discussion, the City Council approved environmental and zoning plans for nearly 26 acres adjacent to the Summerset II property, located south of Balfour Road between Highway 4 and Summerset Drive.

Brentwood Country Club Partners' proposal includes retail along Balfour, about 5 acres of high-density residential in the middle of the site and about 14.4 acres of houses to the south.

Those homes will act as a buffer between the existing Summerset II neighborhood and incoming development, where traffic will be more intense, assistant planner Tim Nielsen said.

The plans allow for possible assisted living facilities and senior apartments, which members of the nearby Summerset and Trilogy communities have sought for months so loved ones can be close by.

A group of members of the Summerset II homeowners association, city staff and the developers met over the past nine months to hash out plans.

Over the past two decades, the property has been used as a nine-hole executive golf course, driving range and maintenance building.

-- Paul Burgarino, Staff

San Francisco

Police: San Pablo man faces bomb charges

A San Pablo man and a Pacifica man were arrested by San Francisco police last week after investigators uncovered a horde of more than 600 explosives that "could have leveled their homes and damaged surrounding neighborhoods," authorities said.

Sean Patrick Gunther, 37, and Marc Steven Ormando, 47, were booked March 6 on multiple counts of unlawful possession and sales of destructive devices after a months-long investigation into an incident with one of the devices at a North Beach nightclub corridor, San Francisco police Sgt. Danielle Newman said.

Surveillance video from a stretch of Broadway Street led to the identification of one of the suspects, and investigators went on to discover the two not only possessed, but also built and sold explosives inside of their homes.

Investigators found a cache of explosives and barrels of explosive-making chemicals inside Ormando's Pacifica home, along with 17 handguns and rifles.

Additional explosives and illegal narcotics were discovered at Gunther's San Pablo home, said Newman, who added that more than 600 explosives were found between the two residences.

Authorities would not say how many explosives the two men sold or if any of them were used.

Bail was set at $2 million for Ormando, $1.5 million for Gunther. The pair pleaded not guilty Thursday in San Francisco Superior Court.

-- Erin Ivie, Staff


Man accused of biting off infant son's nose

A Fairfield man bit off part of the nose of his infant son because the child was crying, police said Thursday.

Police were called to an apartment in the 1000 block of Alaska Avenue shortly after 8 a.m. after a "hysterical female" called reporting that her baby was bleeding from the nose, according to Sgt. Troy Oviatt.

Officers arriving at the apartment found a 1-month-old infant bleeding from the face, Oviatt said.

The baby was taken to North Bay medical Center for treatment, where doctors determined the boy's nose had been severed and he had suffered possible head trauma.

The child was transferred to Children's Hospital Oakland, where doctors determined he had suffered a skull fracture and a brain hemorrhage, and had lost one-third of his nose, Oviatt said.

The boy was in stable condition late Thursday, Oviatt said.

Investigators arrested Cooper on suspicion of child cruelty and aggravated mayhem after finding that he had allegedly bitten the baby's nose off because he was frustrated at the child's crying, Oviatt said.

An investigation continues into how the baby sustained the skull fracture and brain hemorrhage.

-- Bay City News Service