National parks face $12 billion backlog for maintenance work

The National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year, but the system faces a multibillion dollar maintenance backlog that officials say is no cause for rejoicing.  
First research links California quakes to oil operations
A 2005 spate of quakes in California's Central Valley almost certainly was triggered by oilfield injection underground, a study published Thursday said in the first such link in California between oil and gas operations and earthquakes.  

Sakurajima volcano erupts spectacularly in southern Japan
One of Japan's most active volcanos erupted spectacularly Friday evening with a fiery blast that sent lava rolling down its slope.  

Air pollution reduction plans to be discussed Monday in Pleasanton by Bay Area air district
Bay Area Air Quality Management District plans open house on measures to reduce greenhouse gases and toxic air contaminants from Bay Area. 

Carnegie Off-Road Vehicle Park expansion plan gets airing at public hearing Friday
Panel to hold public hearing Friday in Tracy on plan to add 3,100 acres near Livermore to the Carnegie Off-Road Vehicle Park.  

Santa Cruz County officials warn pet owners of rise in raccoons with distemper
Santa Cruz County officials are again asking residents to have their pets vaccinated after a sharp increase in the number of cases of raccoons infected with distemper.  

Monterey County environmental group startled by pro-oil production radio/TV campaign
While Robert Frischmuth tuned in to the Democratic debate a few weeks back, he was startled to see a new commercial promoting oil and natural gas development in Monterey County. It turned out to be part of a TV and radio ad campaign, which promises economic benefits and thousands of jobs for the region. 

$25 million effort to save farmland on the San Mateo County coast
The Peninsula Open Space Trust, a nonprofit organization based in Palo Alto, on Thursday plans to announce it will spend $25 million over the next 10 years on a campaign to triple the amount of protected farmland between Pacific and the Santa Cruz County line. 

Oakland High students bring portable solar power to Kenya
Two Oakland High students will travel to Kenya to deliver lifesaving solar suitcases that deliver clean energy to schools, orphanages and medical clinics. 

Hills tree removal plan debated at Kehilla Synagogue
The two sides came together for a Jan. 23 community meeting at Kehilla Community Synagogue in Piedmont. Norman La Force, chairman of the Sierra Club East Bay Public Lands Committee, faced off against Dan Grassetti, president of the Hills Conservation Network.  

( T. Charles Erickson )
Review: 'Satchmo' goes behind Louis Armstrong's happy facade

The solo show 'Satchmo' by Terry Teachout depicts jazz legend Louis Armstrong reflecting on his bittersweet life and music; it plays at American Conservatory Theater through Feb. 7 
( Dimitrios Kambouris )
Susan Sarandon fires back at Piers Morgan for bra-shaming

Susan Sarandon, Piers Morgan and everyone else on Twitter is in uproar over his fit over her cleavage-revealing bra ensemble at SAG Awards.