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    A search and rescue operation was underway off the coast of Japan on Wednesday after two U.S. Marine aircraft were involved in what authorities called a "mishap."

    The aircraft launched from the Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni in Japan for a regularly scheduled training exercise.

    A Japanese search and rescue aircraft responded to aid in recovery.

    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    The US Department of the Navy, US Marine Corps, seal hangs on the wall Feb. 24, 2009, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.The US Department of the Navy, US Marine Corps, seal hangs on the wall Feb. 24, 2009, at the Pentagon in Washington, DC.

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    Security cameras caught a man taking a tool box from an Eastlake home while owners and contractors were remodeling the kitchen just feet away.

    Alfredo Medina was working on the remodel when the tool box, said to be worth $600 to $800, was taken.

    “I was really, really sad and mad at the same time,” Medina told NBC 7. “I was trying to keep calm, because, you know, you can’t give a bad expression with the clients, the owners of the house, at the place that you’re working on.”

    The homeowners had security cameras installed, so Medina and the others checked the footage.

    Medina said the man who took the tool box was first seen walking by the house and later drove by in a truck to take it.

    He said the suspect “looks Hispanic.”

    “What makes me more sad is that it’s a Hispanic, you know? And all these things that is happening now, and, you know, it’s a really bad image for us,” Medina said.

    The tool box was full of small but valuable tools, the worker said, including grinders, a Skil saw, batteries, and more.

    When asked why the tools were lying outside, Medina said, “Any job, you have to leave your tools outside, if you’re working with big machinery.”

    His truck was full of trash and other items for the remodel, so the tools wouldn’t have been kept in there at that time, Medina said.

    Medina spoke with the homeowner who said this “isn’t the first time.” Neighbors were said to be complaining of similar things happening.

    “Losing mail or, you know, big boxes of whatever they order online,” Medina told NBC 7.

    To finish the kitchen remodel, Medina is borrowing tools from his friends.

    “This makes it more bad to us because it’s the tools that we use for, you know, for work to get our own money and support our families,” said Medina.

    The Eastlake residents called the police after the tool box went missing.

    Medina had a few words to say to the suspect. “He needs to get a real job, not stealing from other people. Hopefully, he learns his lesson if he gets caught.”

    The nearly thousand-dollar tool box was gone in under a minute, Medina noted.

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    A U.S. Navy corpsman will spend decades in prison for the murder of his girlfriend's 19-month-old son, a San Diego judge ruled Wednesday.

    Brett Brown was convicted in September of murdering 19-month-old Lucas Orlando. The toddler died of multiple skull fractures and suffered a broken arm and a leg after he was discovered unconscious in an Alpine condo.

    On Wednesday, Brown was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison.

    Deputies were told Orlando had fallen when they were called to the condominium complex on Arnold Way on Jan. 11, 2016.

    Orlando was rushed to the hospital where he died two days later. The medical examiner later determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma.

    The day after the toddler's death, Brown was arrested by San Diego County Sheriff's deputies. A Navy spokesperson told NBC 7 Brown was a corpsman attached to the Naval Medical Center San Diego.

    Brown would occasionally care for Orlando, according to Deputy District Attorney Chantal de Mauregne. 

    The toddler's mother, Renee Fournier, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor in October and was ordered to serve four years of probation.

    Photo Credit: Facebook

    U.S. Navy Corpsman Brett BrownU.S. Navy Corpsman Brett Brown

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    The theft of copper pipes from a San Diego-area school caused a water outage that lasted for hours Wednesday. 

    Rancho San Diego Elementary School students had to use bottled water and hand wipes when school officials determined the campus' water service was out Wednesday morning. 

    "RSD Elementary School experienced an unexpected water outage as a result of vandalism and theft to pipework located in front of our campus," Principal Cherie Wall told NBC 7.

    Staff noticed the outage after they had arrived to work around 7 a.m. and notified the district's maintenance staff. 

    After some repairs, water service was restored around 10 a.m., Wall said. 

    "During the time of repair, each classroom received 2.5-gallon jugs of drinking water and cups for each student," she said.

    Baby wipes and hand sanitizer were also in each classroom.

    Repairs were completed by 1:40 p.m., the principal said. 

    The San Diego County Sheriff's Department was notified of the theft of the school's copper pipes. 

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

    District employees work on repairs outside of Rancho San Diego Elementary School.District employees work on repairs outside of Rancho San Diego Elementary School.

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    Police are searching for a San Diego teenager who’s been missing for five days, last seen at her home in the Emerald Hills community.

    The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said Kymilah Wolford – who turned 13 on Sept. 15 – was reported missing at 10 a.m. on Nov. 30.

    The missing person bulletin released by police Wednesday described the teenage girl as 5-foot-4 and 170 pounds with short, black hair and brown eyes. Police also released a photo of her.

    Investigators said Wolford was last seen inside her home in southeastern San Diego. She was wearing black leggings and gray hoodie at the time of her disappearance.

    The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information about Wolford’s whereabouts can call the police department at (619) 531-2000 and reference the case No. 18606220.

    Photo Credit: SDPD

    Kymilah Wolford, reported missing on Nov. 30, was last seen at her home in southeastern San Diego.Kymilah Wolford, reported missing on Nov. 30, was last seen at her home in southeastern San Diego.

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    A college with three campuses in San Diego shut down nationwide just one day into a new semester.

    Brightwood College closed its doors to students forever Wednesday, some weeks away from finishing their programs.

    One student told NBC 7 about the moment she found out her Kearny Mesa campus was closing.

    “The dean of nursing comes in and says, starts crying and tells us, ‘Oh, the school’s being shut down. We need everyone off campus,’” Michelle Zavala said. “We didn’t think this was going to happen because today was the first day of class.”

    Rumors were going around campus about a possible closure the week before but many didn’t believe them, another student said.

    “You had a hint something might happen but not a definite answer, and then all of a sudden, BAM, here we are,” said student Alan Whaley.

    Whaley, a veteran, was studying to be a patient care technician. He was one month away from graduating.

    “I don’t blame the teachers and staff here,” Whaley told NBC 7. “I don’t blame them at all because it’s not really up to them but the corporation is what we’re upset with.”

    Education Corporation of America owns the private for-profit school, with 74 campuses across the nation.

    The Kearny Mesa campus was one of three Brightwood College locations in the San Diego area. The other schools were in Vista and Chula Vista.

    The president and CEO of Education Corporation of America, Stu Reed, sent an email to students saying new requirements from the Accrediting Council of Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS) became “challenging,” resulting in its closure.

    ACICS was founded in 1912 and is the largest national accrediting organization of degree granting institutions, according to its website.

    The accreditation loss resulted in “an inability to acquire additional capital to operate our schools,” Reed said.

    At least 20,000 students across the country were affected.

    “Teachers are losing their jobs, they’re losing their jobs, and we’re losing our schooling,” Zavala said. “My heart sunk and I started crying. I didn’t know what else to do.”

    Brightwood College urged students to order their current transcripts and to contact “local schools to determine transferability.”

    “People that were going to graduate in the next three months just got told today, ‘Oh yeah, you’re almost done with your program and you can’t finish it off here,’” Zavala said.

    Read the full statement from Brightwood College below:

    Dear Students,

    In early fall, we undertook a path to dramatically restructure Education Corporation of America (parent company of your school) in an effort to best posture it for the future. This plan entailed the teach out of 26 of our campuses and then the commitment of capital from our investors additional funds from investors.

    However, recently, the Department of Education added requirements that made operating our schools more challenging. In addition, last night ACICS suspended our schools' accreditation with intent to withdraw. The uncertainty of these requirements resulted in an inability to acquire additional capital to operate our schools.

    It is with extreme regret that this series of recent circumstances has forced us to discontinue the operations of our schools. Your campus will close this month. Please contact your Dean or Program Director for the specific closure date of your campus.

    You will receive credit for all courses that you completed and passed by the closure date. Information on how to request your transcript will be posted at within the next few weeks. If you do not graduate this month, we encourage you to continue your career training by requesting your transcript and contacting local schools to determine transferability.

    This is clearly not the outcome we envisioned for you or our schools, and it with the utmost regret that we inform you of this direction.

    Stu Reed,

    President & CEO

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    Data released by the San Diego Police Department points to a concerning trend in the upscale neighborhood of Carmel Valley.

    Burglaries are on the rise.

    "I mean you hear it, you see it, and you don't think it's going to happen to you, but it’s happening,” one resident said.

    She’s referring to a spike in home burglaries this year.

    Statistics from SDPD show a 43 percent increase in burglaries in 2018 compared to last year.

    Just last week, officers interrupted a burglary in progress on Cypress Meadows Trail. They were called to the home after the homeowner spotted the burglars through his remote home surveillance system.

    The new data has caught homeowners like Dani Dawson and Margaret Triemstra off guard.

    “It makes me nervous. Now I'm going to put some burglar alarms on my second window on the second floor,” Triemstra said.

    Dawson was unaware of the stats altogether, numbers that equate to about 1 burglary every three days.

    Police say the suspects in the incident last week were likely responsible for multiple crimes, but they don't why 2018 has seen such a huge spike overall.

    Triemstra says overgrowth of the community could be to blame. Others think easy access to several freeways combined with homes where both parents work during the day could be contributing factors.

    Whatever the case, moms like Karen Hamui are staying vigilant.

    "We have an online moms neighborhood watch and every single day people are posting lock your cars, or this street got burglarized, or this house got windows opened,” she said.

    According to SDPD, 18 burglaries occurred in June, the highest of any month in 2018 so far.

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    Is your cell phone ringing? If so, there’s a 40 percent chance it’s a “robocall.” 

    Robocalls are phone calls made by automated dialers, call centers whose sole purpose is to scam or spam your phone. 

    According to Irvine-based tech firm, YouMail, Americans received more than 5 billion robocalls last month alone. And, the calls aren’t stopping anytime soon. 

    “Less than a year ago the number of calls was just over two billion robocalls,” said YouMail CEO Alex Quilici. “That means the number of automated spam calls doubled over the course of just eight months.” 

    In San Diego County, Quilici said there were approximately 60 million robocalls. To put that in perspective, that averages out to 12 to 13 automated calls per person in 30 days. 

    “It’s easier and easier for automated call centers to get off the ground,” said Quilici. “They log on to a website that allows them to spoof their numbers, pay a few hundred dollars, hit a button, and boom, I have just annoyed San Diego.” 

    Quilici tells NBC 7 Responds that scams are driving the surge of robocalls. That one victim out of millions of automated calls makes it worth their while.  

    Some San Diego County residents are among the victims of those scams. One such scam targeted customers of USAA Bank. One Carlsbad couple, as first reported by NBC 7 Responds, was among those victims. Krystal Cook and her husband received a call from what appeared to be a USAA number, known as a “spoofed” number. The person on the other line said the bank detected fraudulent transactions on their debit card. The bank needed to send a new debit card. The caller then asked for the couple’s bank information. They even sent a text with a verification code and provided another spoofed USAA number to call. 

    A few days later the couple noticed nearly $10,000 had disappeared from their account. 

    So what is being done to stop those calls and the scams associated with them? 

    Quilici says the U.S. Government is allowing phone carriers to be more aggressive in blocking calls and spoofed numbers. The government, says Quilici, has also levied fines on some offenders and seems more willing to prosecute. 

    Some phone carriers are also answering the call to cut down on automated dialers. Some carriers are improving caller identification in hopes of identifying spoofed phone numbers. 

    “But while that will improve things, it will not stop them,” Quilici said. 

    So what can stop them? 

    NBC 7 Responds has some tips. 

    First and foremost: don’t answer the phone if the number is from a strange area code or is not from one of your contacts. That means regularly updating your contacts. 

    Second, if it looks like your bank is calling, double-check the number. Call the bank yourself instead of trusting that everything is correct. 

    Lastly, install a robocall blocking app for your phone such as those offered by YouMail. Those apps recognize the spoof numbers and blocks the numbers by playing an out-of-service message on your phone, meaning your number is removed from the list. 

    “The average person trusts the phone number. They trust the caller name and they trust the person on the other end of the line,” said Quilici. “You just can’t do that anymore.”

    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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    Residents living in the burn area of last December’s Lilac Fire are protecting themselves from a new threat as rain dumps on their community.

    The fire, fueled by gusty winds, consumed more than 4,000 acres and left many hillsides bare. Those bare hillsides are now more susceptible to erosion and mudflows under heavy rains.

    The Rancho Monserate Country Club in Fallbrook, where nearly 70 mobile home units were destroyed in last fall’s fire, sits at the bottom of a scorched hill.

    Cal Fire described the dual threats of wildfires and mudslides as a one-two punch for residents like Bill Weigel.

    "We looked outside and the fire was already a third of the way down this hill. So we evacuated right away,” Weigel said, remembering Dec.7, 2017, the day the fire sparked.

    Now when he looks out his window he sees rows upon rows of sandbags staggered along the hill. Resident Ron Lafleur said the sandbags were put up around his home this summer and more were added last week ahead of the storm.

    Whether against wildfires or mudslides, LaFleur said protecting his property is a year-round battle.

    "This whole hill is going to turn green here in a couple weeks and then it's going to be grey again, then we're going to have to remove fire danger,” he said.

    Cal Fire says people living in heavy fire-damaged areas like theirs should always be prepared for changing weather conditions. Part of being prepared, the agency said, includes having an evacuation plan in place.

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    San Diego police are on the lookout for two men who smashed in a glass case at the Jared store in Mission Valley and made off with valuable jewelry.

    The smash-and-grab robbery happened at the Jared store in the Mission Valley Westfield mall on Camino De La Reina at around 7:30 p.m.

    The San Diego Police Department said the suspects took off on foot and haven't been caught yet.

    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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    Ever get the feeling that some of the drivers you’re sharing the wet and rainy roads with are, shall we say, unseasoned?

    You’re not alone.

    Drivers navigating the first day of this mid-week storm vented their frustrations to NBC 7 Wednesday. Our own Omari Fleming shared their pain.

    “It wasn't even rush hour. The freeways were moving, but all the interchanges and merging lanes were backed up with people who seemed to have forgotten how to drive,” Fleming said.

    The words seem harsh – especially from a Southern California native – but they were backed up by a few people who make their living behind the wheel in San Diego.

    “San Diego doesn’t know how to drive in the rain. We all know that,” Tony Clark said. He makes ends meet driving for Uber.

    Fellow rideshare driver Curtis Stevens called the situation on the roadways “a cluster.”

    So much of a cluster that they both consider pumping the brakes on their work days when it’s raining.

    “If rent was not due I would not be out in this mess,” Stevens said with a laugh. Clark said he was only out for one ride and then he’d call it quits.

    So what’s the problem? Is it speed or distracted drivers? Stevens says maybe it’s both.

    “You have people that are driving too slow, I mean, which is better than too fast, but at the same time you have people on their devices and on their phones out here,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Clark says drivers just need to chill.

    “On my way in I saw a few people speeding on the road as if it's a normal day and that’s dangerous for me,” he said.

    SANDAG Freeway Service Patrolman Joey Dhoyos patrols the interstates responding to 511 service calls. He said he responded to almost ten accidents Wednesday night alone.

    He said Mission Valley is a hot spot for freeway accidents because people seem to be in a hurry.

    “People not taking that extra second to slow down and try to get home safe,” he said.

    The California Highway Patrol says if you want to reduce your chances of being involved in a wreck, leave early, make sure your wipers are in good condition and be sure to check your tires.

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    The Chargers overcame a 16-point halftime deficit to defeat the Steelers 33-30 in Pittsburgh for only the third time in franchise history.

    Now they’re “on to Cincinnati,” as New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick would say.

    The Bengals (5-7) have underperformed this season and have been hit by the injury bug, something past Chargers teams know all too well.

    In September, they put tight end Tyler Eifert on IR with a broken ankle, and in late November they added quarterback Andy Dalton to that list with a thumb injury. This week they also sent receiver A.J. Green to IR with a toe injury.

    "This is the NFL,” explained head coach Anthony Lynn, “Guys have pride. They're NFL players. You have to prepare for them like everybody else whether they're in it or out of it. This team is dangerous because this team needs to win out to get in as a wild card, probably. Their playoffs basically start this week.”

    After they face the Bengals, the Chargers will have a short week before they face division-leading Kansas City Chiefs, one of the best teams in the NFL and one-game ahead of the Bolts in the AFC West race.


    “We can’t look forward because that is how you lose games,” said cornerback Casey Hayward. “We have to make sure we are disciplined because those guys (Cincinnati) are pros and if we sleep on them they will beat us. We will focus on KC next week.”

    The Chargers defense will be facing quarterback Jeff Driskel who had a decent game in a loss last Sunday to the Denver Broncos. He passed for 236 yards and threw one touchdown and one interception. They also have to deal with a two-headed monster at running back in Joe Mixon and Giovanni Bernard, who are both dangerous running and receiving the ball. Even without Green the passing game is explosive with John Ross, who ran a 4.22 40-yard dash at the combine, and Tyler Boyd, who is 62-yards away from 1,000 yards on the season.

    “They still have a dangerous offense,” said safety Derwin James. “We have to be careful to not underestimate these guys because they will come in here and hit us in the mouth. We need this W to continue on our mission.”

    The Bengals defense is lead by a combined $110 million defensive linemen in Geno Atkins and Carlos Dunlap, who both signed huge contract extensions before the season started. Both are disruptive players that can stop the run and are good at getting after the passer. They have a combined 14 sacks this season. They also have a rookie stud safety in Jessie Bates, a tackling machine that leads the team in tackles with 87. Even though this is statically one of the worsts defenses in the league – they give up a league-high 30.9 points a game -- they still have playmakers who will take advantage of a mistake.

    “This is the team that we have a lot of respect for,” explained quarterback Philip Rivers. “As you hear me say every week, it's the NFL. This is a defense that we have respect for and we know that AFC North is a tough division. They're physical; they fly around and are competitive. We'll have to rise to the challenge on Sunday."


     • Injury report: Did not practice: tight end Sean Culkin (back), running back Melvin Gordon (knee). Limited practice: cornerback Trevor Williams (knee), NT Brandon Mebane (not injury related). Full: RB Austin Ekeler (ankle), C Mike Pouncey (ankle).

    • Nose Tackle Brandon Mebane missed the last two weeks because he was attending to his infant daughter, who was born with a heart condition. He is back at practice and Coach Lynn said they will ease him back, but that Mebane being back was, “the highlight of my day.”

    • Melvin Gordon did some work on the side, but did not practice. Coach Lynn said they will monitor him the rest of the week and if they can see him change direction and protect himself during team workouts he might let him play on Sunday.

    • Cornerback Desmond King won the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after his 73-yard punt return for a touchdown to tie the game up against the Steelers.

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    Thursday marks the final farewell to former President George H.W. Bush in Texas.

    His body will be transported from Spring in Harris County to his final resting place at the George H.W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum on the campus of Texas A&M University in College Station.

    For the first time since the death of President Dwight Eisenhower, a president’s body will be transported on a funeral train.

    “Union Pacific is so honored to be helping America recognize President Bush and pay respect to him on his way to his final resting place,” Union Pacific spokesperson Tom Lange said.

    Bush will arrive at College Station on the Union Pacific No. 4141 George Bush Locomotive. The train was unveiled in 2005, during a ceremony near the Bush Presidential Library.

    Thousands are expected to line cities along the route to pay final respects to the former president.

    “He will arrive right across from Kyle Field before he goes to his final resting place on campus,” Lange explained. “Like the rest of America, we want to celebrate the president’s life of service.”

    The train has 11 cars with the president in the sixth. His American flag-draped coffin will be visible to all those along the route.

    The final trip comes at the request of the former president himself.

    “The CEO at the time had a personal relationship with President Bush,” Lange said.

    Lange said he and the employees of Union Pacific are still taking in the scope of the honor of being involved in the ceremonial trip.

    “I don’t know if any of us can be fully prepared for the emotion and the enormity of the event,” Lange said. “You like to think that you are prepared for what the emotion might be, but I can’t and I don’t know anyone who really could.”

    For many, the idea of President Bush traversing the Texas countryside one last time is chill-inducing. It is moving to know that he will take one last journey through the state he loved and be among the people.

    “He loved the trains – especially in the days of when he could ride trains, because it brought him closer to the people versus and airplane or something else,” Lange said.

    Photo Credit: NBC 5

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    Mark your calendar: Balboa Park's beloved holiday tradition, December Nights, returns this Friday and Saturday.

    December Nights has it all - from holiday lights and seasonal music to dancers and tasty winter treats. 

    The free weekend festival returns for its 41st year with free admission to museums on Friday and Saturday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

    This year, a new activity awaits: a photo scavenger hunt throughout the park that ends at The Museum of Photographic Arts.

    December Nights started in 1978 as part of "Christmas on the Prado" in Balboa Park, a small holiday celebration put together by a dozen institutions along El Prado. The crowds and event grew over the decades and, in 2002, it was renamed December Nights.

    Each year, it signals the start of the festive season in San Diego, drawing families from all over the county to the heart of the city. It continues to be the largest free community event in San Diego. 

    If you drive, be prepared to wait for a parking space, as lots fill up quickly. The only free parking lot is at the San Diego Zoo. Otherwise, paid parking options will be offered at the Natural History Museum lot ($25 per car), the South Carousel lot ($25 per car) and the Inspiration Point parking lot ($20 per car).

    Free shuttle rides to December Nights will also be offered.


    The shuttle location will be in downtown on Ash Street between 5th and 6th avenues. There are parking lots around this area and street parking is free after 6 p.m.

    The shuttle for Friday will run from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. and on Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. The last shuttle to the park will leave at 8:30 p.m. for both nights.

    You could also opt to take public transit to the event. The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System will offer its trolley and bus services around Balboa Park. You can purchase and store a $5 trolley and bus ticket on your smartphone using the MTS Compass Cloud app. MTS recommends taking the trolley to the Fifth Avenue Station and from there, take bus routes 3 or 120 to Balboa Park.

    For more information on how to get to the parks using the MTS system, visit their website.

    For more information on December Nights 2018, visit the event website.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Balboa Park got a new set of festive, energy-efficient lights on Dec. 1, 2014, just in time for December Nights.Balboa Park got a new set of festive, energy-efficient lights on Dec. 1, 2014, just in time for December Nights.

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    Ahoy, matey! Boats decked out in glimmering, festive lights cruising the San Diego Bay can only mean one thing: a beloved holiday parade is back, continuing a longtime tradition started by the local boating community.

    The 47th annual San Diego Bay Parade of Lights will bring dozens of vessels covered in twinkling lights and holiday decorations to the San Diego Bay to delight thousands of onlookers on Dec. 9 and Dec. 16.

    Presented by the Port of San Diego, the waterfront procession features approximately 80 lavishly decked out boats illuminating the bay. 

    Usually, the parade takes about an hour to pass at any given point.

    It begins at Shelter Island at 5 p.m. and, by about 5:30 p.m., will be making its way through Harbor Island. A half-hour later, the procession moves to the Embarcadero, passing the Berkeley Ferry and Star of India near the Maritime Museum of San Diego. 

    By about 6:30 p.m., the boat parade should be visible from Seaport Village and the San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina.

    For the third year, the route will then move on to the pier at Cesar Chavez Park before making the turn to Coronado where it can be seen from the Ferry Landing at around 7 p.m. The parade finishes at buoy 22A.

    As each boat passes the viewing points, announcers will deliver a brief history of the vessels.

    The San Diego Bay Parade of Lights typically draws about 100,000 spectators.

    Two popular areas to perch during the parade are the Maritime Museum of San Diego on the Embarcadero and the Ferry Landing in Coronado.

    The Maritime Museum will host its Parade of Lights Viewing Dinner during the event, an annual fundraiser aboard the Berkeley steam ferry where the judging and awards for the parade take place. The party includes a seasonal dinner and a cozy, prime spot from which to watch the parade. Tickets to this viewing dinner cost $50 for adults and $25 for kids. The parade is scheduled to reach this viewing area at around 5:30 p.m.

    Spectators also tend to flock to Harbor Island, as well as the north and south ends of the Embarcadero. Parade organizers say another prime viewing spot is the park behind Seaport Village and the new pier at Cesar Chavez Park.

    Boaters wishing to watch the parade can view from the water; organizers say the area where the parade turns west for Coronado – near the 10th Street Terminal – is a good point for spectators in boats.

    As always, parking along the waterfront will be at a premium for this large-scale event.

    These are some free or paid parking lots in the area:

    • Metered spaces along Harbor Drive (paid until 8 p.m., but these fill up quickly)
    • Allright Parking (paid) at Broadway and Harbor Drive
    • Seaport Village (paid), which is free for two hours with a purchase
    • Metered parking lot in front of the Fish Market Restaurant north of Seaport Village (paid)
    • Harbor Island (mostly metered; free after 8 p.m.)
    • Shelter Island (free)
    • Navy Pier parking lot (paid)
    • ABM Parking Lot (paid) 

    Attendees can opt for public transit, as all three MTS trolley lines and several bus lines serve stations with parking lots where spectators can leave their cars – Fashion Valley, Old Town, American Plaza – and then take the trolley to the North Embarcadero area.

    The Green Line can be taken to Santa Fe Depot and the Orange and Blue lines to the American Plaza station. Both stations are within walking distance from Harbor Drive – another solid spot from which to view the procession. You can check the MTS website for trolley schedules and updates.

    This year, the theme is "Tropical Island Christmas," so decorations will likely include some pineapples and palm trees.

    As San Diegans know, the décor for this unique parade is always festive and always flashy, a big part of what makes the San Diego Bay Parade of Lights a true local tradition.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

    Images from the 2016 San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. The theme was the San Diego Zoo Centennial Celebration.Images from the 2016 San Diego Bay Parade of Lights. The theme was the San Diego Zoo Centennial Celebration.

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    A SigAlert has been issued for northbound and southbound transitions from Interstate 5 to the Coronado Bay Bridge, the California Highway Patrol said Thursday morning. 

    Police activity has prompted the closure of the main route between downtown San Diego and Coronado. 

    Eastbound traffic across the bridge has been closed at the toll plaza. 

    Commuters are advised to access Coronado through the Strand, Coronado police said. 

    The closure began at approximately 6:40 a.m. By 7:30 a.m., the SigAlert was issued.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

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    A Natick, Massachusetts, firefighter took a break from battling blazes to spread some holiday cheer in a fun and silly way.

    Dressed as Will Ferrell's character, Buddy, from the movie "The Elf," Brendan Edwards instigated dozens of pillow fights around Boston's Faneuil Hall marketplace. To be fair, the jolly firefighter gave his opponents a few seconds of notice before he armed them with a pillow for their battles.

    "We would run up to random people and toss them a pillow," Edwards said.

    Edwards challenged strangers from all walks of life: the old, the young, those who were working and those who were enjoying some time with loved ones. His Yuletide request was accepted by many and prompted smiles from onlookers.

    Edwards said there's a simple reason he wanted to pause and have a little fun.

    "We just wanted to spread holiday cheer really. We wanted to brighten people’s day maybe. And it looks like we did it," Edwards said.

    By Thursday morning, the video, which Edwards posted Tuesday to his Facebook page, had received more than 100,000 views.

    Photo Credit: Brendan Edwards

    Brewster, Massachusetts firefighter challenges a Faneuil Hall patron to a pillow fight while dressed as Buddy from the movie Brewster, Massachusetts firefighter challenges a Faneuil Hall patron to a pillow fight while dressed as Buddy from the movie "Elf."

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    A body was found inside a minivan near Lake Hodges that has a license plate matching one given for an Escondido woman who has been missing for a week.

    The San Diego County Sheriff's Department said deputies were called at about 12:30 a.m. to assist in a missing person case near Lake Hodges where, in a dirt lot across from Hernandez Hideaway, a body was found inside a silver 2007 Chrysler Town & Country minivan. 

    The minivan's license plate number matched the number put on a missing person flyer for Christie Donehue, 43, an Escondido woman who was reported missing by her family after she left her west Escondido home for a doctor's appointment in the North County last Thursday.

    Sheriff's deputies did not confirm the identity of the body.

    Detectives were on scene through the night with caution tape around the silver van as they investigated. The body was removed by the medical examiner before 5 a.m. and the van was towed away shortly after.

    Christie Donehue was reported missing by her family last week. Her children posted flyers around Escondido that include Christie Donehue’s photo, a detailed physical description and information about the vehicle they assumed she was driving.

    Her son, Michael Donehue said his mother's disappearance was, "extremely strange" because his mother left behind her purse, wallet and two cell phones.

    The Escondido Police Department previously told NBC 7 there were no signs of foul play in Christie Donehue’s case.

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    Rosa Vaughan, 10, was born with Arthrogryposis, a rare condition that affects the joints in her arms and legs. 

    When Rosa was born, doctors expected her to be wheelchair-bound for life. Her mother, Leslie, learned of specialists in Philadelphia who could help. 

    The flight to Shriners Hospital for Children in Pennsylvania is nearly 2,400 miles from home. Getting there on a regular basis would cause extreme financial hardship to the Vaughan family. 

    Leslie discovered a non-profit called Miracle Flights, a national charity that provides free commercial flights to children in need of life-changing medical care that they cannot receive locally. 

    Leslie and Rosa have been flying to Philadelphia for treatments for free every six months for the past 10 years. 

    On Thursday, the mother and daughter departed on their 20th flight from Spring Valley. 

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    Very heavy rain swept through San Diego County early Thursday with more rain expected. 

    "More moisture in the forecast for today," said NBC 7's meteorologist Sheena Parveen.  "The atmosphere very unsettled today. It's going to combine with that subtropical jet stream giving us tropical moisture."

    There is a chance of thunderstorms through tonight as an area of low pressure gets closer. 

    Rain totals could reach more than an inch by tonight with 2 to 3 inches possible in the mountains. 

    Some localized flooding is possible, Parveen said.

    "We've seen precip rates around an inch to an inch and a half an hour this morning," she said. 

    San Diego County received about a half to three-quarters of an inch of rainfall across the area Wednesday. 

    Communities seeing the most rain include Palomar Mountain, Point Loma and La Jolla with more than .80", according to the National Weather Service.  

    The Tijuana Estuary, Mission Valley and Ramona Airport all report more than .70".

    There are no watches or warnings issued by the National Weather Service in connection with this storm.

    By Friday, the rain was expected to clear.

    Download the free NBC 7 mobile app to keep up to date on weather alerts. 

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