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    A former paralegal specialist for FBI San Diego was sentenced to two years in prison for misusing hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of government funds Monday.

    Lynn Morris pleaded guilty to embezzlement back in March.

    Morris, 56, was convicted of using about $250,000 of government funds for personal use from July 2014 to November 2016, according to the Department of Justice.

    “Lynn Morris abused her position for personal gain and betrayed the trust of her FBI colleagues,” said the Justice Department’s Criminal Division and Special Agent in Charge James Cheng.

    She admitted to taking the funds from FBI San Diego’s Asset Forfeiture Unit (AFU).

    Morris took nearly $160,000 and $92,000 from two seperate AFU accounts. She also took more than $26,000 from FBI evidence rooms.

    AFU funds are used for bomb-sniffing canines, gun buy-back programs, school resource officers’ salaries, youth programs for drug prevention, and more, according to the FBI’s website.

    Morris was also the designated coordinator for the AFU, according to the Department of Justice.

    Morris’ sentencing was previously scheduled for August 27 but was moved to Monday at 9:30 a.m.

    In addition to prison, she will also have to pay $278,000 in restitution.


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    The big voting trend in San Diego County this midterm — mail-in ballots. 

    "Over 65 percent of the electorate are permanent mail ballot voters," San Diego County Registrar of Voters Michael Vu said.

    Vu says the county sent out nearly 1.2 million ballots this election season.

    As of 5 p.m. Monday, around 470,000 of those have been sent back to them to be processed, according to the county Registrar of Voters.

    The office of the registrar was open over the weekend for early voting. Voters with mail-in ballots could drop those ballots off. Voters who preferred the more traditional experience could cast their ballots the old-fashioned way. 

    "It's not too bad — in and out really quick," said Rebecca Thun of Del Cerro.

    She came to vote with her family. It's becoming a tradition for them.

    "We took turns looking up all of the people that were running for something and then marked our sample ballots before we went in because it's 75 million things long," said relative Annie Powell.

    Come Tuesday, the county will have more than 1,500 precincts open for people to cast ballots.

    Voters need to know ahead of time their assigned precinct. There are also drop-off sites for mail-in ballots. That includes the Office of the Registrar.

    For a full list of locations and instructions, visit SDVotes.com.


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    A man accused of sexually assaulting a woman while she was sleeping in her Pacific Beach home in early October appeared in court Monday for the first time since his arrest.

    Prosecutors say Jeffrey Hanze, 55, broke into the 28-year-old woman's apartment on Chalcedony Street through an open bedroom window at 1:45 a.m. on Oct. 1.

    The victim was sleeping at the time of the break-in and woke up as she was being sexually assaulted, the District Attorney's Office said.

    The San Diego Police Department named Hanze as the primary suspect in the case weeks later and released his photo. Nearly a month after the alleged assault, Hanze was arrested by L.A. County deputies in Los Angeles.

    The DA's Office said that the incident wasn't the first time Hanze committed a crime similar in nature and asked the judge to double his bail to $1 million, and the judge agreed.

    "As a woman, there is nothing more terrifying than the thought of an intruder, a complete stranger, coming into your bedroom in the middle of the night while you're sound asleep and sexually assaulting you," Deputy District Attorney Jessica Koto said.

    Koto said the alleged assault appears to be random and that the victim and Hanze did not know each other.

    Hanze has a prior felony burglary conviction, according to the DA's Office. Because of his prior conviction, he faces a maximum sentence of 21 years plus life in prison if convicted on sex assault and burglary charges.



    Photo Credit: San Diego Police Department

    SDPD released an image of Jeffrey Hanze who is also known as Jeffrey Hanre. He should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.SDPD released an image of Jeffrey Hanze who is also known as Jeffrey Hanre. He should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.

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    Every 17 minutes, an unsecured piece of furniture, appliance, or television tips over and injures — or kills — someone in the U.S. Most of the victims are children under 6 years old.

    In an ongoing Consumer Reports investigation of the stability of dressers, newly released government data shows dressers 30 inches tall and under have been linked to deaths. Exclusive new Consumer Reports testing reveals that just because a dresser is smaller doesn’t make it less of a tip-over risk to children in your home.

    CR found that just because a piece of furniture is low and seems stable, such as a dresser only three drawers high, it might still pose a deadly tip-over risk to small children. Records released in June showed that at least five fatal tip-overs were linked to dressers that measured 30 inches or lower.

    As part of its continued analysis, CR conducted three tip-over tests on 17 dresser models marketed as measuring 30 inches tall and under to see if they are prone to tipping over.

    Only five of the dressers passed all of CR’s tests, including the $150 IKEA NORDLI -- showing that a stable, affordable dresser at this height is possible.

    Companies have the ability to do something about this epidemic.

    Findings highlight the need for strong safety standards for all dressers, not just taller ones, which is why Consumer Reports is pushing for mandatory safety standards for dressers of all sizes and says all furniture should be properly anchored to a wall.

    All Consumer Reports Material Copyright © 2018_ Consumer Reports, Inc.

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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    A multi-car crash was reported on southbound Interstate 5 Monday night.

    The incident occurred in San Ysidro near the Dairy Mart Road off-ramp, according to the California Highway Patrol.

    One person was initially trapped in a car, but crews were able to rescue them.

    It is not clear what injuries, if any, the rescued person sustained.

    A Sig Alert was issued in the area for at least one hour.

    One car was on its side, CHP said.

    No other information was available.

    Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.


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    A feud over campaign signs broke out in North County between a District 1 candidate and an Oceanside resident.

    Chuck Lowery is running for the District 1 seat on the San Diego City Council, and Rick Kirkowski could become one of his constituents.

    The two disagree over Measure Y, which would protect farmland in the area from being developed into housing.

    Kirkowski decided to take an old Lowery campaign sign and spray paint “NO NO” overtop of it to show his disapproval. He then posted a photo of it.

    The Oceanside resident has many old campaign signs lying around his garage, because he uses them when he paints.

    Lowery noticed the photo and came to remove the sign himself, according to Kirkowski.

    Kirkowski was in his kitchen when he spotted the candidate in the act.

    This sparked the debate to whom the sign belongs.

    “I yelled some choice words about it,” Kirkowski told NBC 7. “I said, ‘Don't be taking my sign.’”

    Chuck Lowery is currently the deputy mayor of Oceanside.

    His aide, Don Greene, refuted Kirkowski’s claims about the true owner of the sign.

    “First of all Mr. Kirkowski is not correct. Campaign signs belong to and are private property of the campaign,” Greene said.

    Ownership aside, the Oceanside resident was upset about how his sign was removed.

    “There’s other methods,” Kirkowski said. “He could have called code enforcement, but for a city council member to just come out and pluck a sign out… it’s just not good.”

    Greene said this “sign war” is common and happens every election season.

    Lowery’s campaign insisted Kirkowski was the true “sign thief” in all of this.

    Rick pledged to make 25 more “NO NO” signs to post by the end of Monday, the day before the election.

    The Oceanside Police Department was called to investigate the alleged theft, though Lowery and his team don’t plan on taking additional action.


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    Veterans Day is reserved for veterans and people who have served in the U.S armed forces, and on the holiday restaurants like to offer special discounted -- or even free -- meals to those who've served. We found restaurants nationwide that are offering delicious and sweet deals to our military.

    Little Caesars

    The third-largest pizza chain, Little Caesars is giving away free $5 Hot-N-Ready Lunch combos from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The meal includes four slices of DEEP!DEEP! Dish pepperoni pizza and a 20-ounce fountain drink. Only available at participating locations.

    Chipotle

    Chipotle is offering buy-one-get-one (BOGO) for all active duty military, reserves, national guard, military spouses and retired military with valid ID, at all restaurants in the U.S. from open to close on Veterans Day. The offer is valid on burritos, bowls, salads and taco orders. To find a location near you click here.

    Dunkin’ Donuts

    America’s favorite Coffee shop is offering a free donut at participating locations, no purchase necessary. It is limited one per customer and open to veterans and active duty military personnel.

    California Pizza Kitchen

    California Pizza Kitchen (CPK) salutes our nation’s armed forces by offering them a complimentary entrée from CPK’s special Veterans Day menu at all participating CPK locations nationwide. Participating guests will also receive a card to redeem a BOGO offer on pizza, pasta, or salad during a return visit Nov. 12-18.

    Chili’s

    Chili’s is offering complimentary meals as a way to say thank you. They are offering a free entrée from the list below:

    • Chicken Crispers
    • Margarita Grilled Chicken
    • Bowl of Chili or Soup & Salad
    • Chicken Bacon Ranch Quesadillas
    • Just Bacon Burger
    • Oldtimer with Cheese
    • Cajun Chicken Pasta 

    It will be offered at all locations nationwide. Visit their website for more.

    Fogo De Chão

    Fogo De Chão is thanking veterans by offering them 50 percent off their meal starting on Nov. 9. In addition, up to three of their guests can also receive 10 percent off their meal. Don’t forget to make reservations at their locations.  

    Red Robin

    The burger chain is honoring all veterans and active duty military guests with a free Red’s Tavern double burger served with bottomless steak fries at participating restaurants nationwide.

    Denny's

    On Nov. 12, America's Diner is offering free build your own Grand Slams for dine-in guests only from 5 a.m. to noon at participating restaurants. Call the location near you to make sure they are participating in this offer. 


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    Facebook on Monday night said it removed a network of over 100 Facebook and Instagram pages that it indicated could have been trying to improperly influence the midterm elections on Tuesday, NBC News reported

    The company opened an investigation into the 115 or so pages after "U.S. law enforcement contacted us about online activity that they recently discovered and which they believe may be linked to foreign entities" on Sunday night, according to the company's head of cybersecurity policy, Nathaniel Gleicher. 

    Almost all of the approximately 30 Facebook pages appeared to be in French or Russian, while the 85 Instagram accounts appeared mostly to be in English, he said, some focused on celebrities, others on political debate. He said the network "may be engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior." 

    Earlier Monday, the departments of Justice and Homeland Security, the FBI and the office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement warning that "Americans should be aware that foreign actors — and Russia in particular — continue to try to influence public sentiment and voter perceptions through actions intended to sow discord." Among the tactics they warned could be used is "disseminating propaganda on social media."



    Photo Credit: Associated Press, File

    This Feb. 19, 2014, file photo, shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. Facebook says it has removed dozens of Facebook and Instagram pages that it says could have been trying to improperly influence Tuesday's midterm elections.This Feb. 19, 2014, file photo, shows a Facebook app icon on a smartphone in New York. Facebook says it has removed dozens of Facebook and Instagram pages that it says could have been trying to improperly influence Tuesday's midterm elections.

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    Residents of an Oceanside community were in disbelief Monday after learning that their neighbor is dead and that her son is accused of killing her.

    Regina Sardina, 64, was found dead under suspicious circumstances Sunday at a home she owned on Shenandoah Drive.

    She was first discovered by one of her three sons at around 12:30 p.m. and the Oceanside Police Department was called, Sgt. Tom Bussey said.

    Sardina was supposed to meet another one of her sons in Las Vegas, but when she didn't show another son came to check on her and found her, according to Sgt. Bussey.

    Police did not disclose how Sardina died but said she suffered severe trauma to her chest.

    When officers arrived at the home they discovered her Mercedes was missing. It was found a short time later abandoned in the parking lot of a nearby Hobby Lobby.

    Investigators found a wine bottle and vomit near the car, and said surveillance cameras caught Sardina's oldest son, Anthony Sardina, 37, leaving the car.

    A witness told police he saw a man near the car who appeared very drunk.

    According to police, the son caught a cab to Carlsbad where he was later arrested. He's scheduled to be arraigned on first-degree murder and other charges Tuesday afternoon.

    "I can't make sense of that because I just can't and imagine that, personally, a son hurting his mother," neighbor Greg Holmes said.

    Other neighbors told NBC 7 Sardina lived in Las Vegas but would often visit San Diego. They said she didn't live in the home where she was found, which was recently put up for sale, but said her sons have been staying there.

    "To hear that it was Tony surprised me because I didn't think he was living there for a while," neighbor Alejandro Castro said.

    Some neighbors told NBC 7 they've heard some family bickering in the past but nothing that signaled violence. Another neighbor told police they heard screaming and banging coming from inside the home on Friday.

    Police have not confirmed the time and day of Sardina's death.


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    The city of Escondido is facing community backlash after a city employee with Cerebral Palsy who’s developed a reputation as a city ambassador was fired for something he did off the clock.

    Dan Naylor, 31, says he was having a drink at a downtown restaurant after work with friends recently while still wearing his uniform. It’s an apparent policy violation for Escondido City employees, and he was terminated.

    “I may have read it in the beginning, but I forgot about it,” Naylor said.

    Several Escondido residents who have witnessed Dan’s kindness first hand showed their support for him Monday as he met with the city manager about reclaiming his job.

    Dan’s meeting with City Manager Jeff Epp’s recorded and shared on social media. Epp said he was going to give Dan a second chance but changed his mind.

    "I was going to sit down and say ‘I give you a second chance, buddy.’ Then I find out he's late because he's doing an interview and bringing a lawyer. So forget it,” he said.

    Epp said since Dan has a lawyer he now needs to go through the City Attorney’s Office to try and get his job back.

    The City of Escondido’s Rules and Regulations notes disciplinary action can be taken for “Improper political activity, campaigning while on duty or in a City uniform on or off duty,” But it doesn't mention drinking while off-duty in a uniform.

    Patti Thompson is one of several in Escondido who are rallying behind “Dan The Man,” vouching for his character and fighting for his second chance.

    “He should have a second chance based on the fact that we’re not sure if he had a job coach or understood that policy,” said Patti Thompson.

    Beni Martinez called Dan’s termination “unbelievable.”

    “Without you, the city just has no personality, no heart. You have a really good heart… Keep on fighting, don’t give up,” Martinez said to Dan.

    Dan met many of the community members now at his side before he was hired by the city. He used to volunteer his time picking up trash around City Hall and Grape Day Park, waving signs supporting first responders, and trying to put smiles on people’s faces.

    Dan called Escondido his heart and said he’d be crushed if he were unable to get his job back.


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    A local non-profit that provides care to veterans was awarded a $15,000 grant from the United Parcel Service Foundation.

    Veterans Village of San Diego (VVSD) aims to create “life-changing programs and services addressing the challenges of transition and reintegration for our service members,” said Kimberly Mitchell, VVSD CEO and President.

    The grant will go toward the non-profit’s Veterans Rehabilitation Center program.

    This includes providing resources like housing, food, clothing, substance recovery, employment, legal services and more.

    The program costs around $200 per day per person. The village is partially funded by the Department of Veterans Affairs, which only covers around $47 of that cost.

    VVSD’s program also embraces healing activities like pottery, gardening, and yoga.

    “The UPS Foundation is honored to support Veterans Village of San Diego’s efforts to support America’s veterans in reclaiming their lives,” said Eduardo Martinez, President of the UPS Foundation.

    The UPS Foundation’s mission is to “build stronger, safer and, more resilient communities,” according to its website. It was created more than 60 years ago.

    Additionally, VVSD hosts an annual event called “Stand Down.” It supplies hundreds of homeless San Diego veterans with essentials. It also helped create temporary shelters across the county.

    The non-profit helps around 2,000 veterans overcoming homelessness and related challenges, according to its website.

    The number of homeless veterans in the nation decreased by more than 5 percent in the past year.



    Photo Credit: Google Maps

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    NBC stations around the country asked voters why they are or aren’t inspired to vote in the 2018 midterm elections. We received scores of responses from viewers who said they were of voting age and identified as Democrats, Republicans, Independents, or who preferred not to disclose their party affiliation. Check out an interactive display of the answers below. Responses, which were submitted beginning Oct. 5, 2018, were edited only in obvious cases of typos.

    If you have not yet participated in the survey and would like to do so, go here.


    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

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    A far-right troll told others that he was immediately banned from Twitter for deliberately sharing the wrong election date, according to NBC News, which had a reporter mistakenly added to trolls' private chats online.

    "Were they really banning people for saying [vote on] November 7? Lol, whoops," wrote the user, whose name was a racist joke about Native Americans.

    Twitter has stepped up its efforts to counter misinformation efforts on the platform that were rampant in 2016, when politically motivated trolls and a Russian influence campaign thrived.

    Automatic steps Twitter's taken to enforce troll activity are "the type of proactive behavior we need to see more of" from social media companies, said Nina Jankowicz, a disinformation researcher at the Wilson Center's Kennan Institute.



    Photo Credit: Moment Editorial/Getty Images, File

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    A reading assignment for fourth-grade students at a Chula Vista elementary school sparked concern from several parents who said the article portrayed stereotypes against Mexican culture. 

    The article, assigned to students of Hilltop Drive Elementary School in the Chula Vista Elementary School District, was meant to teach students about Mexican heritage and idioms.

    Instead, some parents say, the text reflected an old and mistaken way of thinking about Mexican culture. It portrayed Mexicans as "putting off work" and men as being the king of the house, they said.

    "It said that we are lazy, that the woman has no opinion, that the man is the king," Angelica Guerrero told Telemundo 20 in Spanish. 

    Guerrero's granddaughter received a copy of the reading, titled "Mexican Culture," but she did not understand the content. When Guerrero read the article she realized that the phrases described Mexican culture in an insensitive way, she said.

    "There is a sentence in the article that says, 'Do not do today what you can do tomorrow' and that's wrong," Guerrero said. "The correct saying is, 'Do not leave for tomorrow what you can do today," said Angelica.

    Guerrero said that although many adults know these are stereotypes, parents fear that they could be misinterpreted by elementary students, who are in the process of forming their cultural identity. 

    "If this student is seeing these stereotypes he will say, 'Then that's my family, that's me" and he'll accept it as such," said Rocío Córdova of the Association of Educators of La Raza. 

    "This cannot happen in a district where 84% of its students are Latino," Rocío said.

    The school district responded with a statement that said they would review the assignment. 

    "We are sensitive to parent concerns about the matter and will research this further."


    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

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  • 11/06/18--12:55: Fire Damages Lakeside Home

  • Firefighters battled a house fire in Lakeside Tuesday.

    Heartland Fire & Rescue along with Lakeside Fire Department crews responded to 10270 Riverford Road just after 11 a.m.

    Smoke was coming from the roof of the single-family home.


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    With well more than 100 competitive House and Senate contests happening on Tuesday, keeping track of the big picture on Election Day could seem pretty daunting. 

    Polls start closing at 6 p.m., and we’ll start seeing voter data that could give us a sense of how each party is faring — and how real a potential blue wave might be. Watch results for Kentucky in the 6 p.m. hour, as well as Georgia, Indiana and Virginia in the 7 p.m. hour. Florida, Maine, New Jersey and Tennesse are ones to watch when polls close at 8 p.m. and Arizona, Minnesota, New York and Texas will close at 9 p.m. Also keep an eye on the West Coast (California and Washington) when polls close at 11 p.m.

    The NBC News Political Unit has identified key races that will tell the story of Election Night 2018 as it evolves. These are the ones we’ve identified as being the most informative about the political landscape.

    Keep in mind: Democrats need a net gain of 23 seats to gain back control of the United States House, while they need a net gain of two to gain the majority in the Senate. Democrats are favored by most analysts, including NBC News, to reach their goal in the House; Republicans have the advantage to maintain their dominance in the Senate.



    Photo Credit: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

    Sloane, 2, waits as her father and other voters cast their ballots at a polling station set up at Grady High School for the mid-term elections on Nov. 6, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia has a tight race to elect the state's next governor.Sloane, 2, waits as her father and other voters cast their ballots at a polling station set up at Grady High School for the mid-term elections on Nov. 6, 2018, in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia has a tight race to elect the state's next governor.

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    A beloved city of Escondido employee, who's firing for a workplace policy violation sparked backlash from the community, has been given a second chance, a city spokesperson said Tuesday. 

    Dan Naylor, 31, was terminated for wearing his work uniform off the clock while having a drink at a restaurant with friends, an apparent policy violation for City of Escondido employees.

    "I may have read it in the beginning, but I forgot about it," said Naylor, who has Cerebral Palsy and whose passion for Escondido has made him an unofficial ambassador for the city, said.

    After several Escondido residents vouched for Naylor and urged the city manager to reinstate him, Naylor has his job back, City Manager Jeff Epp told NBC 7 in a statement on Tuesday.

    "Dan's a really good guy, as we mentioned in our public statement. He's getting a second chance. I'm impressed by how much he cares about and loves our City," Epp wrote in an email to Naylor's supporters. 

    The city shared a photo of Naylor with City Manager Epp holding a sign that read, "Welcome Back Dan."

    Patti Thompson was one of the people who urged Epp to give "Dan the Man" his job back. 

    Others said that the city would not be the same without Naylor. 

    "Without you, the city just has no personality, no heart. You have a really good heart… Keep on fighting, don’t give up," Beni Martinez said to Naylor.

    Dan met many of the community members now at his side before he was hired by the city. He used to volunteer his time picking up trash around City Hall and Grape Day Park, waving signs supporting first responders, and trying to put smiles on people’s faces.

    Naylor’s meeting with Epp was recorded and shared on social media. In it, Epp said he wanted to give Naylor a second chance but would have to go through the  City Attorney’s Office after Naylor reached out to a lawyer. 

    The internal proceedings leading up to Naylor's reinstatement were not disclosed.

    Read the city of Escondido's full statement below: 

    "Dan Naylor is a wonderful ambassador for our City. He has a generous spirit, and he is genuine. The tremendous outpouring of support he has received from good and decent people has truly been touching. Most of the emails have been respectful and properly acknowledged they do not know all the facts. These expressions of support have focused on compassion and second chances. We want a City that is clean and safe, and we certainly want one that is efficiently run. Sometimes it takes a couple of opportunities to get to that goal. Dan and I have met and discussed his ability to meet the high standards we want of our Escondido employees. Dan and I both think he can achieve that goal. Dan deserves a second chance. Therefore, after careful consideration Dan will remain in his position on the City's Public Works team."



    Photo Credit: City of Escondido

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    Ten people pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor trespassing for their actions at a downtown San Diego rally to protest the Trump administration's zero-tolerance immigration policies. 

    Kevin Chun Pang, 24, of Columbus, Ohio, and Brittany Renee Baker, 29, of Berkeley rappelled off of the 16th floor of the Westin Gaslamp Hotel on July 2. 

    The rally followed a weekend of public protests across the country. Protesters were angered by the Trump administration's decision to increase prosecutions and convictions of migrants. That policy shift led to the separation of families at the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Police said the group illegally went to the roof of the Westin where two of them rappelled down the side of the building to display a banner.

    Other protesters "spotted" the rappellers or blocked a stairwell to the roof so law enforcement officers could not get through.

    The other defendants who pleaded guilty Monday were Ethan Michael Buckner, 28, of Oakland; Roberta F. Capobianco, 27, of San Francisco; Katherine Nicole Wires, 31 of Oakland; Nora Wagner Rasman, 33, of Washington, D.C.; Nora Rachel Leccese, 26, of Boulder, Colorado; Brianna Latrell Gibson, 27, of Brooklyn, N.Y.; Jaque Fragua, 31, of Jemez Pueblo, N.M.; and Avery Sinclair, 23, of Washington, D.C.

    Each agreed to pay a $150 administrative fee. They also must return to San Diego within the next two months to perform 16 hours of community service.

    The San Diego City Attorney's Office said the community service will be with the Alpha Project, a non-profit group that helps San Diego's homeless community. 

    Once the community service is complete, the cases will be dismissed, the city attorney's office said. 

    Any defendant who does not complete the community service or pay the fine will serve five days in jail. 

    During the rally, other demonstrators temporarily locked arms and blocked the entrance of the Edward J. Schwartz Federal Building on Broadway. The demonstrators who locked arms in front of the federal building eventually moved before they were arrested.

    Mijente, one of the groups that organized the protest events in July, also put together a legal fund to help with the defense of those arrested.



    Photo Credit: NBC 7

    Two people who rappelled down the side of a downtown hotel in San Diego pleaded guilty months later to misdemeanor trespassing charges.Two people who rappelled down the side of a downtown hotel in San Diego pleaded guilty months later to misdemeanor trespassing charges.

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    The Oceanside Police Department launched a homicide investigation after a body wrapped in a tarp was found in the back of an SUV over the weekend.

    A suspicious SUV that had been parked on the 500 block of Douglas Drive near the San Luis Rey River for several days was reported to police at around 2:45 a.m. Sunday.

    Responding OPD officers inspected the black Ford SUV and discovered the wrapped body in the back seat.

    The San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office identified the body Monday. OPD said the victim was a man in his 40s and said further information would not be released until his family was notified.

    Investigators believe foul play was involved because of how the body was found, according to OPD.

    No other information was available.

    Details may change as more information becomes available.


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    San Diego’s Water Department is in the midst of an overhaul. During the past year several internal audits have looked to find the root of the problems that caused thousands of residential customers to complain about high bills as well as reports of of errant water meter readers and inadequate oversight throughout the department. NBC 7 Responds reported on those issues as well as a host of others in its 30-minute special, Flood of Distrust

    And while the majority of problems centered around residential customers, now some businesses have turned to NBC 7 Responds for help getting through to the water department.

    Drew Montoya saw a large puddle of water spewing from the water meter box outside of the Normal Heights music venue the Soda Bar in April of this year.

    Montoya, a co-owner of the popular Mid-City nightclub, immediately called San Diego’s Water Department to let them know.

    The pool of water evaporated in the following months, but Montoya noticed the are surrounding the box stayed damp.

    He said he opened up the lid and the entire meter was submerged in water.

    “I opened that box a number of times and it was filled with water,” Montoya told NBC 7 Responds.

    He called the city again to let them know.

    “They would always tell us that somebody was going to come out,” said Montoya. “They would always say that they were going to follow up with the phone call and none of that stuff really ever really happened.”

    The bill arrived at the bar a month later. Montoya said he and other owners were rocked when they opened the envelope. Their bill was for $1,318, five times what the owners say was normal.

    Montoya said he called the water department to discuss the bill. He reminded the customer service representative about the leak he reported a few months prior. He said they told him that it was likely due to a leaky toilet.

    “It was astronomical,” said Montoya. “It didn't make any sense even if we did have a running toilet, it would not equal that. Not only that but I do all the maintenance here. The toilets are new. I would know if there was a leak. There wasn’t.”

    Montoya said one of the other owners called.

    “Every person would tell us something different. One person would say, ‘Oh, we sent somebody out there and they said the meter is fine’. And then another person would say, ‘Oh, actually nobody has been out there yet.”

    Meanwhile, the city still required the bar to pay the bill, which impacted the bar’s bottom line.

    “When you've been paying an average of two to three hundred dollars and then all of a sudden you see this eleven hundred or thirteen hundred dollar bill, it’s concerning from a business standpoint,” said Montoya.

    “The whole entire time since this whole thing started. There was not a lot of action taken and we started to get offended.”

    That’s when Montoya and others decided to call NBC 7 Responds for help.

    We contacted the city.

    Montoya said a day later crews came to the bar and discovered a leak and it was the city’s responsibility to fix and pay for.

    In a statement, Arian Collins, a spokesperson for the city wrote, “Public Utilities staff confirmed that there was a leak on a City side valve. The Public Utilities is working directly with the customer to process high-bill adjustments for the past three billing periods as the bills were higher than the historical usage.”

    The meter has since been changed. Montoya said he’s glad to get back to business.

    "I'm just happy now that we are looking to get this resolved and hopefully we can move forward and that this doesn't happen again.”



    Photo Credit: Bob Hansen

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