OAKLAND

Empty warehouse fire quickly extinguished

Fire crews responded Sunday to a fire at an empty warehouse on Embarcadero off Interstate 880, according to an Oakland fire dispatcher.

The one-alarm fire was reported at 8:43 a.m. at 105 Embarcadero, the dispatcher said. Crews found nobody inside the building upon arrival, and the Twitter feed for the Oakland firefighters reported that they had controlled the fire before 9:10 a.m.

Smoke could be seen from I-880, but it seemed to have dissipated within minutes from when the fire was reported.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff

OAKLAND

Stolen SUV hits signal, fire hydrant and fence

A stolen sport utility vehicle struck a traffic signal, fire hydrant and fence and almost crashed into an East Oakland home on Monday morning.

No one was injured in the police chase that ended about 9 a.m. in the 2600 block of 73rd Avenue, an Oakland fire dispatcher said.

At least one person was arrested, according to the Alameda County Sheriff's Office.

Additional details were not immediately available.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff

BAYAREA

One BART union ratifies contract


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One of BART's two largest unions ratified a revised $67 million, four-year labor contract that took nine months and two strikes to settle.

Members of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1555 endorsed the contract Friday, which has already been ratified by the elected BART board. The only outstanding vote is that of the Service Employees International Union Local 1021, whose members are scheduled to vote Jan. 13.

Both unions had already ratified a deal last November, but the BART board rejected the contract after staff discovered a costly family leave provision had been mistakenly included.

Under protest, the unions eventually agreed to remove the disputed provision in exchange for low-cost concessions on overtime, a tax benefit and other items.

The new contract includes retroactive pay hikes to July 1, but the 2,375 workers in the two unions will also have to pay a share of their pension costs for the first time.

After subtracting the new retirement contributions and slight health care premium increases, employees will see a 13 percent net pay increase by the end of the contract. They are also eligible for $500 bonuses if the agency exceeds ridership goals.

-- Lisa Vorderbrueggen, Staff

OAKLAND

Woman escapes potential kidnapping

A woman narrowly escaped a kidnapper who tried to abduct her near Lake Merritt on New Year's Day, and police are asking the public's help in locating her assailant.

Police say that about 8:30 p.m. on Jan. 1, a 19-year-old woman was walking along the 200 block of 17th Street when she was approached by a man who had appeared from between two parked cars.

The man grabbed the woman by wrapping both of his arms around her, threatened that he had a gun and began dragging her down the sidewalk, police said. At one point the pair fell to the ground, the woman was released and she was able to run away.

The man fled the area before police arrived.

Police said the suspect is a black man, mid-20s to early 30s, 5 feet, 7 inches to 5 feet, 8 inches tall, 180 pounds with a medium complexion. He wore a gray hooded parka that covered his head, dark pants and smelled like cigarettes.

Oakland Police and Crime Stoppers of Oakland are offering a reward of up to $5,000 for information leading to an arrest. Anyone with information is asked to call 510-238-3641 or the Tip Line at 510- 637-0298.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff

Walnut Creek

Pedestrian hit by car, rushed to hospital

An elderly man crossing one of the city's busiest roads was hit by a car Monday morning and rushed to a hospital, police said.

The collision happened at 10:47 a.m. as the man walked on North California Boulevard and was crossing a street at a split between Ygnacio Valley Road and Pringle Avenue, Walnut Creek police Lt. Lanny Edwards said. A man believed by police to be in his 30s was driving a Chevy Camaro that hit the man. That driver stopped and was cooperating with police, he said.

The pedestrian "was not responding well" after rescue crews arrived and was taken by ambulance to John Muir Medical Center, Edwards said. Police did not specify how old the man was but estimated he was around 70.

-- Rick Hurd, Staff

OAKLAND

Oakland Library to hold teen competition

Oakland Public Library is starting off the year with a fun contest geared to tap Oakland teens' creative ideas and beautify the drab cement trash cans outside the Main Library at the same time.

The library is sponsoring a "Keep Oakland Beautiful" competition to come up with mosaic mural designs for the trash cans. The contest is open to youth ages 13-18 who live in or attend school in Oakland. Teens interested in submitting designs can choose from two possible layout options and can submit multiple entries.

For sample templates and design submission forms, go to www.oaklandlibrary.org/teendesign or the Main TeenZone, 125 14th St., 2nd Floor. All submissions (only paper copies are accepted) must be received by 5:30 p.m. Feb. 14.

For more information contact Lana Adlawan, Teen Services Supervising Librarian, at 510-238-7613 or LAlawan@oaklandlibrary.org.

-- Cathie Gatison, Staff

SACRAMENTO

Five school districts receive grants

Five East Bay school districts will receive $50,000 each in state grants to help provide advanced learning opportunities to high school students, state schools chief Tom Torlakson announced Monday.

Those receiving the money are: the Berkeley and Oakland districts in Alameda County and the John Swett, Liberty Union and West Contra Costa districts in Contra Costa County.

Statewide, 67 districts are receiving a total of $3.3 million in grants for specialized secondary programs to help develop innovative courses in subjects including English-language arts, mathematics, science, history and social science, foreign language and visual performing arts.

A complete list of districts receiving the grants is available by visiting www.cde.ca.gov.

-- Theresa Harrington, Staff

LIVERMORE

Two drivers seriously hurt in morning crash

Two drivers sustained serious injuries in a three-vehicle collision early Monday morning on Vallecitos Road just north of the main entrance to Ruby Hills.

The accident occurred shortly before 6:30 a.m. when the truck sideswiped the left rear side of a Honda Civic, causing the driver of the Honda to lose control and slide sideways into oncoming traffic. The Civic slid into southbound traffic, where a Jeep struck the vehicle, seriously injuring both drivers.

The incident tied up rush-hour traffic as far back as Isabel Avenue.

"This was the worst possible time for an accident on Highway 84," said Sgt. John Hurd, a spokesman with the Livermore Police Department.

The driver of the pickup did not stop and continued northbound on Isabel Avenue.

The department is continuing to investigate the cause of the crash and search for the driver of the pickup. "We would like to speak with anyone who witnessed the accident," Hurd said.

Livermore Police encourage anyone who may have witnessed the accident to call Officer Traci Rebiejo at 925-580-9665.

-- Karina Ioffee, Staff