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    A former associate pastor at St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Carlsbad was convicted Monday of misdemeanor sexual battery after jurors returned a verdict, prosecutors confirmed.

    Rev. Juan Garcia Castillo faces six months behind bars and a $2,000 fine for groping a seminary student in a Carlsbad restaurant on Feb. 4. 

    An attorney and former U.S. Naval officer who was studying to become a priest accused the priest of grabbing his genitals after a night of drinking in a Carlsbad restaurant and bar.

    Surveillance video showing the three men drinking in the restaurant was submitted as evidence. 

    The victim said all the drinking eventually made him sick so he went to the bathroom where he vomited.

    "All of the sudden I feel him behind me," the man said. He testified that Castillo began touching him around his thighs and waist as he stood over a toilet.

    "All of the sudden the hand very quickly goes directly to my crotch and grabs my [genitals]," he said.

    The victim identified himself on the stand as a California attorney who worked as a U.S. Navy Judge Advocate General. He joined the seminary after converting to Catholicism as an adult. 

    Castillo was removed from the parish in March and criminally charged with one count of misdemeanor sexual battery in May. 

    Castillo was from Honduras had served as an associate pastor at St. Patrick's Parish in Carlsbad since 2011.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

    Rev. Juan Garcia Castillo listens to testimony in court on Wednesday.Rev. Juan Garcia Castillo listens to testimony in court on Wednesday.

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    Suffolk District Attorney John Pappas announced Monday that his office is ending prosecution of Sean Ellis for first degree murder and armed robbery in the 1993 slaying of a Boston police officer.

    The case is being dropped because prosecutors don't believe they would be successful in a retrial due to the amount of time that has since passed.

    "The nature of the evidence has not changed in 25 years, but the strength of it has declined with time," Pappas said.

    He also said the involvement of corrupt police detectives in the investigation has compromised their ability to prosecute the case.

    "This was not an easy decision. It may not be a popular decision, but it is the right decision," Pappas said.

    Ellis was sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted in 1995 of the shooting death of Detective John Mulligan. Mulligan was shot five times in the face at about 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 26, 1993, while he slept in his car while on a security detail outside a pharmacy.

    The Supreme Judicial Court released Ellis from jail in 2015, saying he didn't get a fair trial because two police detectives who played key roles in the investigation later pleaded guilty to corruption charges, and prosecutors didn't provide Ellis' defense team with all of the evidence.

    "It's kind of like surreal," Ellis told NBC10 Boston on Monday. "To say that I'm happy and ecstatic is an understatement."

    He said he still had the GPS monitoring device on his ankle as he heard the news Monday.

    Asked what he has learned about himself since 1993, he said he has learned that he is "resilient." He still maintains his innocence.

    As for what's next, he said he wants to go back to school so he can get a better job. He's in his 40s now and says he's doing entry level work that someone in their late teens, early 20s would typically be doing.

    Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said he agrees with the district attorney's decision but said that doesn't mean that Ellis didn't kill Mulligan.

    "He's a father, and a brother and a son. It was with heavy heart we had to discuss this with the family for this final outcome," Gross said of Mulligan.

    "Sean Ellis is culpable," he added. "Not innocent at all."

    Photo Credit: necn

    Sean Ellis.Sean Ellis.

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    A body was found behind tennis courts near a popular Encinitas park Monday morning.

    The San Diego Sheriff’s Department is investigating it as a mysterious death; however, deputies said preliminary evidence does not show injury or foul play.

    “I didn't want to mess with anything, so I just stayed away but there was nothing prevalent or traumatic showing [to the body], I know that,” Encinitas resident David Dean told NBC 7.

    A man collecting trash for the city first spotted the body near B Street and 2nd Street at Cottonwood Creek Park, according to Dean.

    The body was lying face up in the nearby creek, Dean said. At the time, the creek had a few inches of water.

    Deputies described the deceased as an adult man.

    The body was naked with his clothes nearby, according to Dean, who saw the body. Though the Encinitas resident noticed the man had a “nice watch” on.

    The sheriff’s department responded to the scene near the entrance to Moonlight State Beach at around 9:30 a.m.

    The San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Officer arrived later and will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause of death.

    Officials are waiting to release the man’s information until his next of kin has been notified.

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    Many in San Diego are buying Christmas gifts both online and in stores. The Walmart on Murphy Cannon Road was packed with cars Monday as shoppers picked out the perfect holiday presents. 

    “I’m shopping for some last minute gifts,” said Cristian Miller who lives in Serra Mesa.

    Despite endless online options, Miller said he prefers to shop in a store.

    “It’s a little quicker and you can take a look for yourself,” said Miller. “Sometimes you order something and it just arrives damaged. You don’t want that, especially not at Christmas.”

    A strong economy could actually hurt bargain hunters. According to San Diego State University professor Miro Copic, fewer items are on sale because fewer people are unemployed and wages are up.

    Shoppers won't see the 50 percent to 75 percent discounts they've seen in recent years. There might be 35 percent or 45 percent discounts but that's much less than previous years, he said.

    In San Ysidro, the outlets were filled with shoppers from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border on Monday. 

    “We’re buying clothing and shoes,” said Mariela Lores, who crossed the border from her home in Tijuana to go shopping Monday at the San Ysidro outlets. “Everything is cheaper here than in Tijuana.”

    Several stores in San Diego are extending their hours to keep up with the holiday rush. Walgreens will stay open on Christmas Eve until midnight. It will also be open Christmas Day, spokesperson Scott Goldberg said. 

    Amazon is still the clear leader in online holiday sales but Copic said there will be more online competition this year coming from stores such as WalMart and Target.

    “Online is convenient at your home and you can shop around. You don’t even have to drive," said Giao Nguyen in San Diego on Monday. "Good deals on eBay, for example. I bought quite a few things on eBay.” 

    Sales on other major holidays this year give insight into the gift buying economy. According to a report by Adobe Analytics, online sales on Thanksgiving Day 2018 totalled $3.7 billion, up 28 percent from 2017. 

    That made Thanksgiving this year the fastest-growing day for e-commerce sales in history. It was also the first day in 2018 to see $1 billion in sales from smartphones, Adobe Analytics said. 

    The increase could be an indication of what is to come from Christmas shopping. Deloitte sound in an annual holiday survey that 57 percent of 4,036 consumers polled said they are planning to buy online this holiday season. 36 percent are planning to buy in stores. 

    Another survey found that holiday sales gains could bump up as much as 4.8 percent. That's better than the five-year average of 3.9 percent. 

    Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

    Gifts soon to be distributed to Angels at the Salvation Army warehouse in Dallas, Dec. 14, 2018.Gifts soon to be distributed to Angels at the Salvation Army warehouse in Dallas, Dec. 14, 2018.

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    Two people were arrested and nearly 130 pounds of meth was seized after El Centro Sector Border Patrol agents spotted an ultralight aircraft fly over the border Monday.

    Agents noticed the ultralight flying without any lights just after midnight and were able to track its route just north of Calexico.

    Ultralights are typically a one- or two-seated aircraft that cannot weigh more than 254 pounds and cannot travel more than 63 miles per hour, according to the Experimental Aircraft Association. In the U.S., ultralight pilots do not need a license.

    The aircraft reportedly dropped off a package before flying back toward Mexico, according to El Centro Sector Border.

    “Ultralight aircraft not only pose a threat to legitimate air traffic in the vicinity, but also to national security,” said Chief Patrol Agent Gloria Chavez. “These aircraft are able to carry small payloads of dangerous cargo.”

    When agents arrived at the scene, they found two bags containing 60 duct-taped bundles of meth lying under heavy brush, totaling 129.33 pounds, El Centro Sector Border Patrol said.

    The agency estimated the packages’ value at $1,422,553.

    Agents also found a metal cage and a bicycle at the scene.

    El Centro Sector Border Patrol interviewed two people in the area and later arrested them on suspicion of trying to receive the dropped narcotics.

    The Drug Enforcement Administration will continue to investigate.

    Photo Credit: El Centro Sector Border Patrol

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    About a quarter of a million veterans call San Diego home and that number is growing. Sadly, the number of veterans who commit suicide is also going up.

    This number grew from 93 in 2016 to 111 in 2017, according to the state.

    One mother who lost her son to suicide said these numbers were disturbing given the sacrifices of service members and their families. “You answer a calling that not everybody answers,” she said.

    Kathy Shott’s son took his life five years ago on Christmas Day.

    From the time Tony Shott was little, his mother said he knew he wanted to follow in her footsteps and join the military.

    “I think it was in his heart that he knew he needed to give something back,” Kathy told NBC 7. “And his way of giving back was to join the military.”

    He graduated from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in the Midway District three days after the Sept. 11th attacks and went on to serve his country for more than a decade.

    But when he left the military, like many veterans, he left something else behind – his identity.

    “I think we lose a part of who we were, and then we fight to try and find it,” said Kathy.

    Tony was coping with post-traumatic stress and working through what his mother said was a difficult marriage. As a new father, he was doing his best to make sure he could be with his son.

    In 2013, two days before Christmas, he went to the Veterans Affairs Office in Missouri and told them he wasn’t going to make it through the holidays.

    His mother said they gave him anti-anxiety medication and sent him home.

    “They failed him. They failed him in a big way,” she said.

    That’s when Tony took his life on Christmas Day.

    The California Department of Public Health said 93 veterans committed suicide in San Diego County in 2016, compared to 105 in Los Angeles County.

    But in 2017, that number jumped to 111 veterans in San Diego, while the number dropped to 93 in L.A., where there are 30,000 more veterans.

    One reason for the increase could be that the San Diego VA is now working with San Diego County Medical Examiner’s Office to better identify veteran suicides, the local VA healthcare system told NBC 7.

    The Coroner’s Office in L.A. said they don’t work with their VA.

    A new bill will require the state to better track and report veteran suicide numbers in 2019 with the hopes of helping increase funding for prevention.

    While it’s not always the case, numbers show that veterans who reach out to the VA are less likely to commit suicide than those who don’t.

    Kathy said it’s critical for veterans to reach out and remember, “Whatever this minute looks like, the next minute is going to be better.”

    And no matter the number, any loss of life is tragic, especially for families and children like Tony's son, Aiden.

    “Aiden is going to miss out on a great guy,” Kathy said. “I can only pray that Aiden grows up to be like his dad.”

    If you or someone you know needs help, call the Suicide Crisis Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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    The Sweetwater Union High School District Board of trustees approved the cash-strapped district's plan to offer early retirement incentives to hundreds of teachers despite the County Office of Education pressing for more information gathering.

    The SUHSD recently made cuts to fill a $30 million budget gap. Along with adding two work furlough days for employees, the district offered eligible employees incentives to retire early.

    The teachers union told NBC 7 last week that nearly 100 teachers agreed to retire mid-school year with an additional 50 agreeing to retire at the end of the 2018-2019 school year.

    The County Office of Education, which is in charge of making sure school districts can pay their bills, approved the district’s revised budget that was submitted last month and also sent in a financial advisor to oversee finances.

    However, on Monday, the county suggested the board not approve the early retirements without submitting a detailed reduction plan for their office to review. 

    "A decision to approve nearly $19 million in payouts to 308 individuals is fiscally irresponsible when considering the District's current financial crisis," Michael L. Simonson, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services with the San Diego County Office of Education said in a letter sent to school board President Kevin Pike. 

    The letter also suggests payouts may not be necessary and that the district could save the same amount of money in the long run, without spending any now, through natural attrition.

    Read the full letter here.

    On Monday, the board approved the district's plan unanimously.

    A total of 300 district employees agreed to take the early retirement offer. Those include certified and classified employees. 

    Sweetwater Education Association President Gene Chavira said 144 certified employees including teachers and counselors have taken the option for early retirement.  Of those, 94 will leave at the end of 2018. The remaining 50 will leave at the end of the 2018-2019 school year, Chavira said. 

    Sweetwater Union High School District spokesperson Manny Rubio said last week that the district is working with an outside company to determine the real-time cost savings of the move to decide if it's worthwhile. 

    Lakeside resident Bob Crowley says one question still needs to be answered.

    "It's the ends to a bad situation, but still, where did the $30 million go? Yea, that's a short-term solution, but they still have to find the $30 million. Where is it?" he said.

    The state-funded Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team has been investigating the district's finances and the topic of what went wrong is expected to be addressed at Monday's meeting.

    There are more than 2,000 teachers in the district, according to the SUHSD spokesperson. 

    The district serves an estimated 40,000 students in 28 schools including 11 middle schools, 13 high schools and four alternative education sites.

    Photo Credit: Steven Luke

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    The family of a man who was shot dead by deputies in Banker’s Hill more than a year ago is suing the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and the two deputies who shot him.

    James H. Lacey was shot and killed August 7, 2017, after he reportedly threatened to shoot two deputies who were trying to evict him from his 2nd Avenue apartment.

    Last week, the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office said the two deputies involved acted reasonably under the circumstances. Lacy’s family said Monday that more could have been done to de-escalate the situation and that their loved one didn’t have to die.

    The family says the SDSO was negligent and claims the department, knew about Lacy's mental disability.

    According to the documents released Friday by District Attorney Summer Stephan, the two deputies serving the eviction felt threatened by lacy. The report says Lacy threatened to arm himself with a gun if the deputies entered.

    Deputies Sean Ochoa and Don Wood decided to enter. When they did, they say Lacy pointed a weapon at them. Investigators also said Lacy “moved a handgun in [the deputies'] direction.” Lacy’s weapon was later identified as a non-lethal BB air pistol or Airsoft replica handgun.

    Lacy’s family wants to know why the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team, or PERT, wasn’t called before the deputies entered.

    “Seems like they should have went in and checked the record of his mental status before they went in and did what they did,” Lacy’s brother Joe Jones said. “And we are very saddened today, that that had to happen in that way.”

    The family said they hope leaders see this case and add more mental health resources for law enforcement agencies.

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    Millions more gallons of polluted water flowed into the United States this weekend despite the federal commission in charge of monitoring that water saying the flow had stopped Friday morning.

    A local Border Patrol union leader said he plans on getting the information directly to the President of the United States.

    “It’s obviously this kind of funky sewage smell. It is of decay and sewage, feces.”

    That’s how retired U.S. Border Patrol Agent Christopher Harris described the smell of the Tijuana River Valley Monday.

    “There’s a serious problem,” he said.

    That problem continued to be the runoff and flow of polluted water from Tijuana into the southern part of San Diego County. Pollutants in the water include human waste, chemicals, and diseases.

    It is an ongoing problem that is historically monitored by the International Boundary and Water Commission (IBWC). The IBWC sent a message Friday that said the flow of polluted water stemming from a ruptured pipe underneath a Tijuana junkyard ceased Friday morning.

    However, the community watchdog group Citizens Against Sewage told NBC 7 that Tijuana River gauges show more than 11 million gallons of polluted water flowed over the border since Friday morning.

    “It makes your skin crawl a little bit,” said Harris who spent the latter part of his career speaking on behalf of Border Patrol issues as a member of the local union leadership.

    “They are getting ill and injured. We’ve documented. We have pictures of guys with chemical burns on their feet,” he argued. “The men and women of the Border Patrol deserve better. The people that live down here deserve better.”

    Harris questioned why the IBWC was able to say the flow stopped Friday morning but didn’t bother to warn anyone that it started again over the weekend. He said agents already take precautions but the knowledge would have added a level of personal security.

    “You’ll be a little bit more cautious. There’s other precautions you can take. You can tell people, ‘Hey, you might not want to recreate down there right now,’” he said.

    An IBWC spokeswoman confirmed for NBC 7 the flow did restart during the weekend. She could not explain why the commission did not warn anyone in San Diego County. She said a local IBWC engineer is responsible for monitoring the gauges but she never received any information until Monday morning.

    “That kind of stuff shouldn’t shut down on the weekend,” said Harris.

    Harris, who recently did not seek reelection as the Secretary for his local Border Patrol union, said he will reach out to the leadership for the Border Patrol’s national union. Harris said they regularly meet with President Donald Trump.

    “He [the President] has been made aware of the situation and he’s tweeted about it. He’s not happy with it. So, I think we’re going to try to go that route.”

    Harris said he hoped pressure from the White House would force the IBWC and Mexico to work faster towards a fix.

    In the meantime, the IBWC spokeswoman said one of their engineers was in Mexico Monday observing the repairs to the pipe. However, she said Mexico has not asked for any equipment or help from the United States.

    Also on Monday, San Diego County health officials reopened Imperial Beach because the water quality returned to normal. The beach will likely close again during the next heavy rainfall when rainwater would flush the Tijuana River Valley and push the pollutants from Mexico out to the Pacific Ocean.

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    Four people suffered smoke inhalation injuries Monday after a Christmas tree caught fire and filled a Chollas View apartment complex with smoke.

    A young girl and a woman in her 50s were trapped in their unit at the Regency complex on Home Avenue near Euclid Street when their tree went up in flames. 

    Smoke from the fire filled their unit and billowed out into the apartment hallway before it entered other units, firefighters said.

    Residents said the fire alarms were going off and causing a panic, but the smokey hallways made it hard to evacuate the two-story building.

    "These aren't big apartments and there aren't a lot of exits," one resident said. "For someone who lives over here, they have to hurry up and run down there. It's really scary, it's no joke, it's like a life and death situation right now."

    The young girl, the woman and two others were all hospitalized.

    Firefighters said the damage was contained to the unit where the fire started. Residents in other units were allowed back into their homes.

    Investigators are trying to determine what exactly caused the tree to catch fire.

    Firefighters used the incident as an opportunity to remind people to water their trees and to not plug tree lights into extension cords.

    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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    Seventeen years after the deadly school shooting at Santana High School, the convicted gunman is asking the governor for a sentence commutation.

    On March 5, 2001, Peter Ruiz Jr. was 23 years old and three weeks into his job as a security guard at the Santee school. That morning, then 15-year-old Charles Andy Williams opened fire on campus and killed two people and wounding 13 others, including Ruiz.

    Las Thursday, Ruiz got a call he never expected. It was the District Attorney's office, bringing him back 17 years.

    “It’s just not something you expect to hear, you know, on any day really,” Ruiz said, describing his reaction to the DA’s call letting him know that Williams, now 32, had appealed to the governor to have his 25 to life sentence commuted.

    Ruiz can never forget March 5, 2001, but if he somehow does he has scars and bullet fragments that will serve as lifetime reminders.

    “One went in and out my shoulder blade, one went out the side and the third one's still lodged in my back,” he said.

    The DA also called shooting survivor Barry Gibson, who like Ruiz also has a bullet from that day still in his leg.

    Gibson was a senior student when Williams shot him. Now 36, he doesn’t think Williams’ age at the time of the crime should be a factor the governor considers when looking at his commutation appeal.

    “What is that telling everybody else? That it's OK because you're young? That's not something that's good because your actions have consequences,” Gibson said.

    Ruiz said letting Williams out of prison would be giving him an opportunity his victims never had.

    “I mean, yea -- scars, memories, nightmares, whatever. But again, those are things that will never go away. Him coming out getting a second chance on life, that's something none of us are ever gonna get,’ he said.

    The DA’s office said it is adamantly opposed to Williams’ petition. The governor's office said it does not comment on individual applications.

    Photo Credit: Mark Deesing

    A mini memorial of flowers, balloons and photographs was laid out at the entrance of  Santana High School Saturday to mark the 15th anniversary of the deadly shooting that shook the campus in a quiet community in San Diego’s East County.On March 5, 2001, 15-year-old Santana High School freshman Charles “Andy” Williams opened fire at the campus, killing two students – Brian Zuckor, 14, and Randy Gordon, 17 – and wounding 13 others.A mini memorial of flowers, balloons and photographs was laid out at the entrance of Santana High School Saturday to mark the 15th anniversary of the deadly shooting that shook the campus in a quiet community in San Diego’s East County.On March 5, 2001, 15-year-old Santana High School freshman Charles “Andy” Williams opened fire at the campus, killing two students – Brian Zuckor, 14, and Randy Gordon, 17 – and wounding 13 others.

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    The Defense Department's internal watchdog said in a new report that cybersecurity lapses like neglecting to encrypt classified flash drives and failing to put physical locks on critical computer servers leave the United States vulnerable to deadly missile attacks, NBC News reported

    The findings came in a new report made public Friday, summing up an eight month long investigation into the nation's ballistic missile defense system by the Pentagon's Office of Inspector General, or IG. 

    The audit examined five of the 104 Defense Department facilities that manage ballistic missile defense systems and technical information.

    Photo Credit: Mark Wright/Missile Defense Agency via AP

    This Monday, Dec. 10, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) shows the launch of the U.S. military's land-based Aegis missile defense testing system, that later intercepted an intermediate range ballistic missile, from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.This Monday, Dec. 10, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) shows the launch of the U.S. military's land-based Aegis missile defense testing system, that later intercepted an intermediate range ballistic missile, from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.

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    A child out looking at holiday lights with his family in Ocean Beach was struck by a vehicle when he stepped off the curb, San Diego police said.

    The family was walking on the north side of Newport Avenue after 6 p.m. Monday when the 7-year-old boy was struck by a car.

    Investigators said the boy stepped from the sidewalk into the street while viewing the lights on the south side of Newport Avenue.

    The boy suffered a leg injury and was taken to a nearby hospital, according to police.

    The Lexus driver stayed at the scene.

    The San Diego Police Traffic Division is investigating the incident but preliminary information indicates the driver was not under the influence of alcohol at the time of the collision.

    Photo Credit:

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    Despite thousands of petition signatures and outcry from the North Park community, a beloved dinosaur mural on the corner of University Avenue and Ray Street has been painted over.

    Crews could be seen Monday spraying over the towering "Weenasaurus Rex" mural that was painted on an outer wall of what will soon be a "small-format" Target store

    An online petition was created earlier this year to urge Target from getting rid of the popular mural -- which depicts a fuzzy red monster riding a running pink, blue and purple T-Rex -- when they move into the 35,200 square-foot building.

    "This mural is a landmark. It delights people of all ages and Is better served proudly displayed as it always has been," the petition read. The petition never reached it's 25,000 signature goal, though it was not clear what the steps following the signature gathering would be. 

    The artist behind the mural, who goes by Madsteez, posted Monday on social media a photo of his mural being covered up with the caption, "Goodbye old friend ��....looks like @target won." 

    As the mural was being painted over, Daniel Hutson, who works at nearby City Tacos, stopped to take a look and express his sadness over the removal of what was once a community staple. 

    "Talk about gentrification, man," Hutson said. "You’re taking something that was like, wholesome and organic and turning it into cookie-cutter corporation stuff."

    Target's mini store will feature products typically found in one of the chain's retail location, including apparel, groceries, and entertainment goods. There will also be a CVS Pharmacy inside. 

    Hutson said he was not entirely upset that a Target was moving in and saw the positive in it, at first. 

    "There are people all over San Diego that don’t get a chance to experience North Park, so if it take a big name like Target to attract outsiders in, then maybe it will help the community as a whole," he said. "But taking away something meaningful from the community to put in something that is not sentimental... A Target may be useful, it may be handy, but it’s not sentimental."

    The retail store did say they would have a "curated assortment" of goods to fit with the community and worked with the North Park Planning Committee and North Park Main Street to commission local art for the store. 

    Target recently announced Channin Fulton and Kaori Fukuyama were hired by the company to bring a local touch to the new location.

    The store was set to debut in November but Target's website now lists the North Park location on their list of store openings slated for 2019. 

    The building began as a JCPenney department store in 1942 that operated for three decades. The building went on to house other retail stores but, eventually, sat vacant from 2008 until Wang’s North Park, an Asian-fusion restaurant that shuttered in late May 2015 after a few years in business. 

    Photo Credit: Google Maps/NBC 7

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    A woman's body was found Tuesday in the bathroom at a rest area near Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. 

    California Highway Patrol and the San Diego County Sheriff's Department were called to the Aliso Creek Rest Area off Interstate 5 just after 5:30 a.m.

    The woman, a senior who may have been a transient, had no obvious signs or trauma, according to SDSO. Officials said it does not appear the death was suspicious in nature.

    The bathroom area remained taped off as law enforcement officers investigated.

    No other information was available.

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

    Photo Credit: NBC 7


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    PG&E says it shook up management in light of what it calls “unacceptable” conduct by unspecified managers who regulators say exerted pressure on crews to falsify “tens of thousands” of gas safety inspections as being on time when they were late.

    In its statement last week when the falsification allegations were formally lodged by California regulators, the company did not mention any management shakeup.

    But in a statement posted over the weekend on its website, PG&E said it had carried out a number of reforms in the wake of “unacceptable” conduct as alleged by state regulators in its 811 program to mark and locate gas lines. The state Public Utilities Commission accuses the company of urging crews called out to mark and locate gas lines for construction projects to claim the inspections were done on time, when in fact they were not within the three day regulatory deadline.

    The company noted it had beefed up staffing while voluntarily submitting the results of an independent review to state regulators and the federal monitor overseeing safety in the aftermath of PG&E’s conviction for federal gas safety violations following the deadly San Bruno pipeline explosion.

    The company also cited “making a number of personnel and organizational changes including some leaders no longer being with the company.”

    According to the CPUC’s filing last week in the case, two top PG&E officers, then-President Nick Stavropoulos and gas safety official Jesus Soto, were called in to account for “the safety consequences” of the falsification alleged in the case. Stavropoulos, 60, officially retired in September, but Soto remains with the company.

    Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission has ordered the company to review its entire “Mark and Locate” program and vouch, under penalty of perjury, that it is now capable of meeting its obligations under state law.

    The regulators allege the company falsified mark and locate records to reflect timely responses between 2012 and 2017, when they clearly lacked the staffing needed to dispatch crews promptly, as required by law.

    Crews, acting under pressure, altered late response to appear to be on-time responses, regulators allege. The law requires the company respond within two days after receiving a call.

    “Utility falsification of safety related records is a serious violation of law and diminishes our trust in the utility’s reports on their progress,” said Commission President Michael Picker when the formal investigation was launched last week.

    “These findings are another example of why we are investigating PG&E’s safety culture. Our upcoming consideration of measures that address systemic safety issues at PG&E will determine the best path forward for Northern Californians to receive safe electrical and natural gas service in the future.”

    In a regulatory filing released Friday, the commission alleges that the wrongdoing occurred “immediately following the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion and fire that resulted in eight fatalities, numerous injuries and damage to property.”

    “This Commission would expect that after such a tragedy, caused by multiple proven violations of law, PG&E would have sought to vigorously enhance and increase its effectiveness in all aspects of its gas safety.’’

    The investigation began when federal pipeline safety regulators notified the commission in April 2016 that PG&E may have been falsifying records.

    PG&E’s commissioned auditor concluded that although the company lacked staffing, management “placed inherent pressure’’ on crews to complete their work within state deadlines. “It was common knowledge among supervisors that locators entered false notes to avoid tickets from going late,” the auditor found, citing “pressure to falsify tickets so they would not appear as late.”

    The PUC-commissioned auditors later found the company was undercounting the number of late responses “on the order of tens of thousands” between 2012 and 2016 and did not count least 5,000 additional late responses in 2017.

    Each failure, the regulators contend, “increased the risk of another catastrophic gas incident, regardless of whether there was an actual hit or ‘dig-in’ on PG&E’s infrastructure, or not.”

    Regulators say they hope the investigation will delve into whether the management knew or should have known about the falsification as alleged.

    PG&E, one of the largest natural gas and electric energy companies in the U.S., provides service to 16 million people in northern and central California. The utility has also been under scrutiny over the possible role of failing PG&E equipment in recent deadly wildfires.

    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

    File image of PG&E crews inspecting power lines in the North Bay.File image of PG&E crews inspecting power lines in the North Bay.

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    The minimum wage for workers within the city of San Diego will increase to $12 an hour under a city ordinance approved three years ago.

    The third and final phase of the minimum wage increase takes effect on Jan. 1.

    In June 2016, voters approved a measure increasing the minimum wage to a level that was higher than the state's minimum wage requirement at the time. 

    A month later, the minimum wage for workers at small businesses in the city of San Diego officially increased to $10.50 an hour. 

    In January 2017, the minimum wage increased to $11.50 an hour. 

    Tips and gratuities are not included in the calculation of minimum wage. 

    California’s minimum wage laws can be confusing.

    As of Jan. 1, 2019, the minimum wage in California is $11 an hour for businesses with 25 employees or less and $12 an hour for employers with 26 employees or more.

    Under the schedule for minimum wage increases, the rates will reach $14 and $15 respectively by Jan. 1, 2022.

    However, cities and counties can establish higher minimums and have done so.

    To check if your business or workplace resides within the boundaries of the city of San Diego, click here for an interactive map. 

    If you or someone you know believes their rights under the city's ordinance have been violated, a complaint can be filed here.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    A deputy was bitten by a store clerk at a Spring Valley convenience store late Monday while detaining the suspect for being under the influence of drugs, the San Diego County Sheriff's Department said.

    The deputy was responding to a call reporting that an ARCO store clerk, identified as 23-year-old Layth Mohammed, was chasing a customer with a knife near the intersection of Bancroft Drive and Campo road at about 10 p.m., SDSO said. 

    Mohammed was suspected of being under the influence of drugs and was detained.

    While being placed under arrest, the store clerk lunged at the deputy and began fighting with him, at one point biting him in the forearm, and attempted to wrestle his gun away, SDSO said. 

    The deputy, who has not been identified, forced Mohammed to the ground and held him until other deputies came to help.

    The sheriff's department said the suspect was treated for minor cuts to his face before being transported to San Diego Central Jail on charges of assault on a peace officer.

    The bite was looked at by a medical facility. The deputy was also treated for minor cuts to his elbows and knees, SDSO said.   

    No other information was available.

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

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

    San Diego County Sheriff's DeputiesSan Diego County Sheriff's Deputies

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  • 12/18/18--11:11: Penny Marshall Dies

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    Photo Credit: FilmMagic

    NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 15: Penny Marshall attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Celebration at Rockefeller Plaza on February 15, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 15: Penny Marshall attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Celebration at Rockefeller Plaza on February 15, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)

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    A multi-use pathway worth millions will be coming to the Chula Vista Bayfront, according to the Port of San Diego.

    Permits were recently approved for a bicycle and pedestrian pathway in the 535-acre renovation project, the Port announced on Dec. 13.

    The project entitled the Sweetwater Bicycle Path and Promenade, or Sweetwater Pathway, will cost $5.63 million, according to the Port.

    The pathway will be built in the northern portion of the bayfront project.

    Adjacent to the Sweetwater Marsh National Wildlife Refuge, the trail will start at G Street and wind northeast of Bay Boulevard.

    This will link the existing Bayshore Bikeway to the new Chula Vista Bayfront, as well as connect the future Sweetwater Park and Harbor Park.

    “The Sweetwater Pathway will bring the public to areas of the Chula Vista Bayfront that have never before been accessible while also protecting the bayfront’s natural resources and environment,” said Ann Moore with the Port’s Board of Port Commissioners.

    The Port was awarded a $4.8 million Urban Greening Grant from the California Natural Resources Agency for the project.

    The grant aims to create alternative methods to driving and discourage the production of greenhouse gases, according to the Port.

    The Port’s Capital Improvement Program will fund $794,000 of the project. The City of Chula Vista will provide $33,000.

    Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2019 and should be completed by the spring of 2020, the Port said.

    Photo Credit: KTU&A

    A conceptual rendering of the Sweetwater Pathway provided by the Port of San Diego.A conceptual rendering of the Sweetwater Pathway provided by the Port of San Diego.

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