Valero refinery fined for air quality violations
Valero has agreed to pay $183,000 to settle air quality violations at its Benicia refinery, the Bay Area Air Quality Management District announced Friday.
The civil penalty covers seven notices of violation the air district issued to Valero in 2011 for incidents that occurred in 2010, according to an air district news release.
The violations were related to a December 2010 "upset" of Valero's fluid catalytic cracking unit, which converts heavy gas oils into gasoline and other lighter compounds.
The incident resulted in intermittent violations of opacity and particulate standards at Valero's main stack over a 10-day period as well as violations of carbon monoxide and sulfur standards at other affected equipment, the district said.
All settlement funds will be used to fund air district activities such as inspection and enforcement activities.
-- (Vallejo) Times-Herald
Tracy teacher in molestation case sentenced to 14 years
A former elementary schoolteacher in Tracy was sentenced Friday to 14 years in state prison after pleading guilty to four felony counts of molestation against his students.
Darrel Golden, 59, who called his young female students "wives," was originally indicted on 33 counts of molestation involving 14 victims after a grand jury convened for five days last summer.
The charges ranged from fondling students' private parts to feeding grapes to students in a sexually suggestive manner.
A mother of one of the victims at Anthony Traina Elementary School spoke at the Friday hearing in a Stockton courtroom, said prosecutor Elton Grau.
"She described Mr. Golden's violation of trust and how her and her daughter are dealing with it," Grau wrote in an e-mail.
Golden's principal, Susan Moffitt, first learned of abuse allegations in 2006, but instead of alerting law enforcement as required by law, she investigated the accusations herself and determined them to be false, officials said.
A school employee failing to properly report sex abuse allegations can be charged with a misdemeanor. However, a prosecutor said the statute of limitations ran out in 2009.
At least five former students and their parents have filed claims with the Jefferson School District in Tracy, saying administrators failed to properly report abuse allegations and that allowed further abuse by Golden.
-- Matthias Gafni, Staff
School district probes allegations of inappropriate contact
Antioch Unified officials said Friday the district is looking into allegations that a substitute teacher inappropriately made contact with students while playing an outdoor game at an elementary school.
Administrators received complaints Thursday afternoon from three Fremont Elementary students about the incident during "some kind of chase game" during a physical education class, said Keith Rogenski, assistant superintendent of human resources.
The teacher was pulled from the assignment in less than an hour and parents of the three students were contacted and notified, he said. The investigation is ongoing.
The district has inactivated the on-call substitute, pending the completion and outcome of the inquiry, Rogenski said.
District officials say it was not a mandated reporting case because of the nature of the incident, thus it didn't necessitate contacting police and other parents at the school.
-- Paul Burgarino, Staff
Bay Bridge trail reopens after six-day closure
The trail along the east span of the Bay Bridge is scheduled to reopen by 6 a.m. Saturday after a six-day closure to replace the temporary trail entrance with a permanent one.
The reopening is 48 hours earlier than originally planned, reported Caltrans and the Bay Area Toll Authority.
The hiking and riding trail opened in September along with the new $6.4 billion east span, but part of the old bridge was in the way of completing the permanent trail entrance.
A $9.4 million temporary entrance was built to open the trail and keep it operating until the permanent entrance could be put in place.
-- Denis Cuff, Staff
Man fatally shot Sunday identified
A man shot to death late Sunday night was identified by the Contra Costa coroner's office on Friday as 34-year-old Jesus Orozco of Bay Point.
Orozco was shot to death about 11 p.m. Sunday in the first block of Mountain View Avenue. A 25-year-old woman was wounded in the shooting but is expected to survive, authorities said.
Three Bay Point men -- Melquiades Garza, 33; Miquel Alejo Rico, 26; and Gerardo Hinojosa, 25 -- were arrested in connection with the shooting. Calls to the County Jail in Martinez on Friday morning indicated only Garza remains in custody, on charges of probation violation and immigration violation.
Deputies from the Contra Costa Sheriff's Office were called to the house where the shooting took place for reports of an "unknown problem," said Sheriff's Office spokesman Jimmy Lee.
They found the two shooting victims inside.
Orozco was pronounced dead at the scene and the woman was taken to John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek.
The homicide was the first in Bay Point since September 2012.
-- Rick Hurd, Staff
Tour bus catches fire on I-80, no injuries reported
A tour bus driving on Interstate 80 on Friday morning caught fire and was engulfed in flames, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said.
The three-axle bus was burning in the eastbound lanes at the University Avenue exit, said CHP officer Sean Wilkenfield. It was not known immediately how many people were inside the bus, but everyone was able to get out and no injuries were reported, according to the CHP.
The bus pulled over to the right-hand side when the fire started just after 11:15 a.m., Wilkenfeld said.
Crews extinguished the blaze by noon.
-- Rick Hurd, Staff
Barbecue for the Troops event scheduled
An event bringing military personnel and the Pinole community together will be held from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 6 at Fernandez Park, 595 Tennent Ave.
Barbecue for the Troops is the brainchild of Pinole resident Robert Kopp, who is planning a barbecue at the park where 50 military families will be hosted. Tickets are available for a maximum of 300 people who want to attend and honor the troops' service to their country. The city is co-sponsoring the event.
The day will include prizes and gift baskets for the attending military families along with a barbecue meal, drinks and desserts. There will also be activities for children, along with live entertainment.
Tickets are $20 each, available by contacting Kopp at 510-772-0016 or downloading the order form at www.ci.pinole.ca.us/live/news/bbq-troops.html.
-- Chris Treadway, Staff