Students get explicit request via online app

Parents whose children attend Pleasanton Unified School District were alerted Thursday that someone has been contacting students via social media in an attempt to obtain pornographic photos.

The messages were sent through Instagram, an app that allows users to take and share photos, and appears to have come from an account located "outside the community," according to a message sent by the district.

Superintendent Parvin Ahmadi said several students had recently received inappropriate messages but would not specify how many students had been contacted or which grade levels. The incidents did not take place at school or on school computers.

Instead, Ahmadi said the letter was meant to remind families to discuss Internet safety tips with their kids. That includes not sharing personal details online, not opening messages from strangers and notifying an adult when something inappropriate happens.

-- Karina Ioffee, Staff


Officer kicks in door, rescues woman

A police officer kicked open the front door of a burning home and carried a woman in her mid-70s outside to safety, authorities said.

At 8:50 p.m. Tuesday, Livermore police Officer Brian Sleeper arrived at the fire at 820 Grace St. after hearing on his radio the 911 calls that were flooding into the dispatch center. He was nearby and arrived before fire crews, a police spokesman said.

As the home was burning and filling up with smoke, Sleeper was told by neighbors that an older woman was alone inside. He kicked in the door and rushed into the smoke, finding her lying on the floor in her bedroom. He and a neighbor picked her up and carried her to safety, police said.

She was treated at the scene but not injured. Sleeper also was not injured, police said.

The fire began in a detached shed in the backyard of the home. Investigators believe stored oily rags may have started the blaze.

The woman who was pulled from the house had been in a bed next to a sliding glass window and was at great risk had the fire spread any further, according to the fire department.

Damage was estimated at $40,000.

-- Kristin J. Bender, Staff

East Bay

Bike-sharing program to expand in 2015

The Bay Area's bike-sharing program is rolling toward an expansion into Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission on Wednesday allocated $8.7 million that provides much of the funding to start the bike service in those three East Bay communities in late 2015.

The cost and startup date has yet to be determined.

The Bay Area Bike Share service allows participants to check out bikes for free for up to 30 minutes and pay for extra minutes.

The program began last summer in San Francisco, San Jose, Redwood City, Palo Alto and Mountain View.

-- Denis Cuff, Staff


Man suspected of shooting from car

An Oakland man was arrested Wednesday night after shots were fired into the air in a Richmond neighborhood and the man led police on a chase, a police spokeswoman said.

An officer was near the intersection of A Street and Ripley Avenue around 8:45 p.m. when he saw a passenger in a passing car fire multiple gunshots out of the window, Richmond police Sgt. Nicole Abetkov said.

The officer tried to pull over the driver, who sped off but stopped a couple of blocks away. The suspect who police believe fired the gun fled. With the help of a police dog, officers found him hiding in a nearby backyard, Abetkov said.

The suspect was identified as 28-year-old Francisco Hernandez from Oakland. He was arrested on suspicion of negligent discharge of a firearm, resisting arrest and gun possession.

The driver was also located and identified as 31-year-old Felix Dominguez of San Leandro, arrested on suspicion of evading police. A woman who was also in the car during the time of the shooting was questioned and released.

-- Karina Ioffee, Staff


Local basketball player at screening

Kevin Laue, a former Amador Valley High basketball player born with half of one arm, will appear at Livermore High School on Saturday for special screenings of a film about his life story.

Laue, who later played Division I basketball for Manhattan College, will hold question-and-answer sessions along with two showings of the film "Long Shot: The Kevin Laue Story." Joining Laue as moderator is Chad Crittenden, a local motivational speaker and an amputee who appeared on the CBS television show "Survivor."

The screenings take place at 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $5 and will benefit the Livermore High School Parent-Teacher-Student Association.

For more information or tickets, visit or email Monica Baucke at

-- Jeremy Thomas, Staff


Acting dean to head Columbia law school

UC Berkeley acting law school Dean Gillian Lester has taken the top post at Columbia University's law school, Columbia President Lee Bollinger announced Wednesday.

Lester will take over as dean of Columbia's law school on Jan. 1, Bollinger said.

Lester is a nationally recognized authority in employment law and policy, whose research has explored distributive justice and the welfare state, workplace intellectual property, paid family leave, and the design of social insurance programs.

She became acting dean at Berkeley's law school last year after Christopher Edley Jr. announced he was stepping down for medical reasons.

Lester will remain acting dean this summer and will be on Berkeley's faculty through the fall semester, according to a Berkeley Law news release.

Lester holds degrees from Stanford Law School and the University of Toronto Faculty of Law, and began her teaching career at UCLA.

In a letter to Berkeley law students and faculty, quoted in Berkeley's announcement, Lester wrote, "Serving as acting dean this past year has been a privilege beyond words."

-- Katy Murphy, Staff

San Pablo

Rally May 2 for those with lung disease

A "Respiratory Rally" next month will offer tips to help people manage lung disease and live longer, healthier lives.

Sponsored by the Contra Costa County Health Services Department and the American Lung Association of California, the May 2 event will feature medical experts and motivational presenters, as well as demonstrations of respiratory devices and oxygen therapy.

The event also marks the kickoff of a new monthly Better Breathers Club support group in the San Pablo area, sign-ups for which will be held at the rally.

Respiratory Rally will be from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Maple Hall in the San Pablo Civic Center, 13831 San Pablo Ave.

Registration begins at 9 a.m.

-- Tom Lochner, Staff