Here are the hot stories in the Bay Area for Wednesday, October 13, 2010:
Concord man, 19, charged with rape and murder in park killing
A 19-year-old Concord man was charged today with murder, rape, sodomy and robbery in the July killing of a 31-year-old woman in Concord's John Baldwin Park.
Tirrell Lavell Dudley will be arraigned in Contra Costa County Superior Court this afternoon in connection with the death of Javaughna Lynch, of Concord and Richmond.
Dudley and Lynch knew each other and it appears Lynch was killed in the park, deputy district attorney John Cope said. Cope declined to further comment on the details of the case.
A passer-by discovered Lynch's body near the back of the park on Parkside Circle about 6 a.m. July 13. An autopsy revealed Lynch died of head trauma.
Case tests use of force by San Jose officer
It happened in 47 seconds.
That was how quickly a San Jose police officer confronted a San Jose couple in response to a summons from a downtown bar owner -- and then, in a frantic series of events that remain in fierce dispute -- wound up shocking Cindy Zuniga with a Taser and shooting her husband, Marcos, in the face, disfiguring him for life.
In the aftermath, the general contractor and the stay-at-home mom, who had just finished her book club meeting that night, face resisting-arrest charges in a politically charged case that reaches trial starting this week at the Hall of Justice. Marcos Zuniga also faces two other misdemeanor counts in connection with the Jan. 18, 2009, incident -- battery and being under the influence of cocaine..
NTSB report cites power glitch in Milpitas before San Bruno blast
A power glitch at a PG&E natural gas terminal in Milpitas last month opened up a pipeline control valve, causing a surge in pressure just before the line burst in San Bruno, killing eight people and destroying 37 homes, the National Transportation Safety Board reported Wednesday.
The blast released 47.6 million cubic feet of gas. PG&E dispatched a crew to shut down the pipeline 34 minutes after the blast, the NTSB reported. It took an hour and a half from the moment the line ruptured to completely shut it down, the report said. At 11:30 p.m. PG&E isolated the gas distribution system, a more complex network serving residents in the area. Within a minute, "fires from escaping natural gas at damaged houses went out," the report said.
Ferry Building named one of country's greatest places
In a "Well, duh" move akin to giving the Best Actress Oscar to Meryl Streep, the Ferry Building has been named a Great Place. And specifically, a Great Public Space, according to the S.F. Chronicle.
As heirloom tomato lovers and artisan cheese afficionados have long known, the Ferry Building is a "truly magnificent place." So says the American Planning Association which named the building one of 10 Great Public Spaces for 2010, meaning along with those on the group's Great Neighborhoods and Great Streets lists, it's an overall Great Place.
"San Francisco is such a great city and boasts many landmarks, but the Ferry Building is the one that stands out to us," said Paul Farmer, the APA's CEO. "It blends history and aesthetics with function that is inviting and convenient. City officials, planners and residents are to be commended for everything they've done to bring this building back to life."
Read more of this story here.
Sale of Novato Theater raises hopes for downtown
Novato city officials have agreed to sell the long-shuttered Novato Theater for $50,000 to a nonprofit organization headed by Lark Theater director Bernice Baeza.
"This will help revitalize our downtown," said Councilwoman Pat Eklund at Tuesday's meeting of the City Council. "We need to create opportunities for people to come downtown at night. There is a real passion for the theater among the people in this community."
Officials hope a re-opened theater will cap ongoing efforts to revive the city's downtown business district, including the reconstruction of Novato's City Hall, the arrival of the Whole Foods grocery store and plans for a mixed-use retail complex across the street from the Novato Theater.
"We spent the largest amount of money this city has ever spent on an infrastructure project -- $11 million -- on the reconstitution of Grant Avenue," said Ron Gerber, the city's redevelopment administrator. "It will be so nice to have this."
Vallejo's new Rite Aid opens Thursday morning
When Vallejo's new Rite Aid store opens Thursday, it will introduce customers to the company's "Customer World" prototype, a spokesman said Tuesday.
Vallejo's is the ninth such store to open in the greater Bay Area, with the nearest ones being in Woodland, San Rafael, Santa Rosa and Livermore, company spokesman Eric Harkreader said. Rite Aid opened its first Customer World store about six years ago, he said.
A grand opening ceremony is planned for 8 a.m. Thursday at Vallejo's 17,000-plus square foot site at 2021 Solano Ave. in the Solano/80 Shopping Center, Harkreader said.
Check in weekday afternoons for the P.M. Bay Area Buzz, a summary of news from Bay Area News Group staff writers, The Associated Press, Bloomberg News and other wire services. Contact George Kelly at 925-323-8318. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/allaboutgeorge.