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    We take a moment to remember those influential San Diegans we lost in 2018.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

    Ray Chavez, the oldest veteran survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor, died in November, peacefully in his sleep, his cousin told NBC 7. He was 106. Chavez served missions on a minesweeper and attack transport ship 77 years ago and responded to Pearl Harbor on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. The best advice he ever received was from his parents: “To get as much education as you can and also to be kind to all people, especially the elderly and the less fortunate.Ray Chavez, the oldest veteran survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor, died in November, peacefully in his sleep, his cousin told NBC 7. He was 106. Chavez served missions on a minesweeper and attack transport ship 77 years ago and responded to Pearl Harbor on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941. The best advice he ever received was from his parents: “To get as much education as you can and also to be kind to all people, especially the elderly and the less fortunate."

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    A wrong-way truck driver crashed through the San Ysidro Port of Entry and slammed into an oncoming vehicle on Interstate 5 late Sunday, according to the San Diego Police Department.

    Two people needed to be rescued from their vehicles after the truck traveling north in the southbound lanes of I-5 collided with a car north of the border and south of Dairy Mart Road just after 10 p.m.

    Both were rushed to UC San Diego Medical Center with severe injuries, San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said. 

    California Highway Patrol officers closed three lanes of southbound I-5 due to the collision.

    U.S. Border Patrol agents also responded. 

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

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    Some Instagram users found themselves swiping through their timelines left to right on Thursday, rather than vertically, prompting widespread outrage and the social media company to roll back the update, NBC News reported.

    Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri explained what happened on Twitter: "That was supposed to be a very small test that went broad by accident. Should be fixed now. If you're still seeing it simply restart the app. Happy holidays!"

    The Facebook-owned app's test focused on user interaction with its feed, switching from its traditional up-down swipe to a left-right version. 

    The update seemed to upset many people, based on the reactions on social media, but many users said their feeds soon went back to normal. 

    An Instagram spokesperson later described the situation as a bug and wrote by email: “Due to a bug, some users saw a change to the way their feed appears today. We quickly fixed the issue and feed is back to normal. We apologize for any confusion.”

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

    An accidental test layout published to Instagram's mobile app on Dec. 27, 2018, had unhappy users flooding Twitter and Facebook to complain about the An accidental test layout published to Instagram's mobile app on Dec. 27, 2018, had unhappy users flooding Twitter and Facebook to complain about the "Story" styled posts.

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    2019 is the Year of the Pig and for NBC 7 anchor Marianne Kushi's family, it's tradition to celebrate every New Year with a big Japanese-style feast.

    Kushi says the meal often takes a week to prepare and food consists of raw and cooked delicacies like sauteed root vegetables, sashimi, caviars, fermented beans and mochi.

    "It's a tradition that ties generations together 'down to the root,'" Kushi says.

    Watch the video above to see the Kushi family prepare for their Year of the Pig feast. 

    Photo Credit: Marianne Kushi

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    Russian security officials said Monday that they had detained an American citizen in Moscow on suspicion of spying.

    Russia's domestic security service, FSB, referenced a section of the country's criminal code regarding espionage but did not specify charges.

    A spokesman for the U.S. State Department told NBC News that the U.S. had requested consular access, as called for in the Vienna Convention.

    Photo Credit: AP

    FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 file cars pass the FSB headquarters in downtown Moscow, Russia.FILE - In this Friday, Dec. 30, 2016 file cars pass the FSB headquarters in downtown Moscow, Russia.

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    In a stand up routine, the comedian Louis C.K. took aim at survivors of the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in February.

    A two-minute clip on social media showed him saying, "you're not interesting. Because you went to a high school where kids got shot? Why does that mean I have to listen to you?...You didn't get shot, you pushed some fat kid in the way, and now I've got to listen to you talking?"

    The leaked audio was taken at Governor's Comedy Club on Long Island, New York, the venue's owner confirmed to NBC News.

    The owner, James Dolce, said the comedian got standing ovations at the club. But he faced backlash online from the survivors and others.

    Louis C.K. has kept a low profile since he admitted to sexual misconduct more than a year ago. A call to his representative was not immediately returned.

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    Before Northwestern and Utah face off before the New Year, colorful balloons, large float displays and upbeat marching bands will parade down the Embarcadero for the annual Holiday Bowl Parade. 

    What organizers call the largest balloon parade in the United States sets off from the County Administration Building on North Harbor Drive at 10 a.m. with a "New Year's Eve on the Wonderfront" theme. 

    The parade is filled with 40 marching bands, four floats, 20 specialty units and boasts 29 large balloons, according to the Port of San Diego, which organizes the parade. In comparison, this year’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade had 26 giant and novelty balloons, the parade’s website says.

    The Port of San Diego encourages guests to line up early, as more than 100,000 spectators are expected to line the streets as the parade, with former county supervisor Ron Robers at the helm, travels south on Harbor Drive to Pacific Coast Highway ending near Seaport Village.  

    Following the parade is the annual Holiday Bowl at 4 p.m. at SDCCU Stadium. The 41st annual game matches up top teams from the Pac-12 and Big Ten conferences and this year, for the first time in both school's history, No. 17 Utah will face No. 22 Northwestern.

    Where to Watch

    It is free to watch the parade from anywhere along North Harbor Drive. The port is offering reserved grandstand seats for $25 until they are no longer available. 

    How to Get There:

    Parking is limited near the Embarcadero, so the port recommends parade-goers to use rideshare options or public transportation, like the Metropolitan Transit Authority's trolley system. 

    Guests can park for free at Fashion Valley, Old Town or the One America Plaza stations and hop on a trolley to Harbor Drive and the Embarcadero areas. For schedules and routes, visit here.

    For those who choose to drive, parking may be found at metered spots in downtown San Diego, which will be paid on Dec. 31, or at paid lots. Close lots can be found using this map

    Street Closures:

    Due to the parade, several streets will be closed starting at 7:45 a.m., including: 


    • Harbor Drive from Grape to Broadway 
    • Pacific Highway (one southbound lane) from Grape to Ash
    • Pacific Highway from Harbor to Broadway 
    • Harbor Drive from Broadway to Pacific Highway 

    Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

    We're going to need a bigger float. A shark balloon travels the waterfront in the 2017 Holiday Bowl Parade.We're going to need a bigger float. A shark balloon travels the waterfront in the 2017 Holiday Bowl Parade.

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    A motorcyclist killed in a crash just outside a medical clinic in Rancho Bernardo on Friday has been identified.

    Eric Findley, 41, was riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle when he collided with a Dodge Ram pickup truck just before 11:30 a.m. along the 16800 block of West Bernardo Drive, near Sharp Rees-Stealy Rancho Bernardo.

     The San Diego Police Department (SDPD) said Findley was traveling northbound as the driver of the Dodge was heading southbound.

    The driver of the Dodge made a left turn into the parking lot of the medical clinic, in front of Findley, and he rammed into the truck's passenger side. The truck's side was crumpled from the impact of the collision.

    Bystanders attempted to resuscitate Findley but when medics arrived at the scene, he was pronounced dead.  

    The driver of the Dodge was not hurt. The crash is under investigation; police said alcohol was not a factor.

    The family said that Findley was married for 22 years and was a father. A GoFundMe was created to assist them with funeral costs and other expenses. 

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

    A motorcyclist was killed in a crash on West Bernardo Drive Friday morning.A motorcyclist was killed in a crash on West Bernardo Drive Friday morning.

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    They say actions speak louder than words, but in 2018 some words were said that became quite notable across San Diego County. Take a look back at 10 quotes that made a local difference: 

    1. “California better hold on tight. They're about to see a lot more special agents, a lot more deportation officers in the state of California. If the politicians in California don't want to protect their communities, then ICE will,” then-acting ICE Director Thomas Homan said on Fox News (Jan. 2).

    2. “I have no pain and do my exercises every day. And have my beer. Eat my potato chips. That's about all,” said 100-year-old Matilda Curcia about the secret to a long life (March 4).


    3. “We have a lousy wall over here now but at least it stops 90, 95 percent. When we put up the real wall we're going to stop 99 percent, maybe more than that,” said President Donald Trump when touring the border wall prototypes in his first official visit to San Diego (March. 13).


    4. “You’re watching too much movies,” an unnamed ICE agent told an 11-year-old girl while storming her home to arrest her father (May 8).

    The girl and her mother recorded the incident, both asking to see a warrant. The 11-year-old said, “We have to see the warrant,” to which the ICE agent responded with this notable quote. The agent later said, “We’ll show you the warrant when we’re done,” according to the recording. 


    5. “I bought a pool pump, so I could help fight the fire myself,” said Alpine resident Jeff Thomas, as the West Fire inched dangerously close to his neighborhood (July 7).


    6. “I'm not resigning… I've done nothing wrong and I say bring the trial now. Let's do this,” said Rep. Duncan Hunter (Aug. 22).

    Hunter was indicted on charges of using more than $250,000 in campaign funds for personal use in late August. He denied the claims and continued to run for re-election for California's 50th congressional district.

    About a month later, Hunter made explosive remarks at a small meeting with constituents. “Why do you think you deserve to come here? The answer is you don't. Sorry that you were born in Africa or somewhere bad,” he said. Hunter managed to keep his seat, winning the election by about 10,000 votes.


    7. "The fairgrounds board has lost all moral authority,” said gun rights advocate Michael Schwartz following a shooting at the Del Mar Fairgrounds before an Ice Cube concert (Sep. 4).

    A gun rights group calls out the "hypocrisy" of the officials who approve events at the fairgrounds. Schwartz went on to describe Ice Cube as an artist with a history of glorifying gang culture and violence. The shooting re-sparked the debate over the location’s Crossroads of the West Gun Show, which was eventually canceled at the fairgrounds location in December.

    8. “The proliferation and sale of guns and ammunition does not belong on public property," said Rose Ann Sharpe, a Del Mar resident against the gun show. But Schwartz said that this isn’t the end, “What we’re going to do is find a new location on private property, and we’re going to make sure that the gun show continues, and that it's bigger and better.”

    WARNING: this video contains graphic violence.


    9. “This abuse was magnified by the leadership of the Church that placed fear of scandal and the culture of clericalism ahead of the protection of young people,” said Bishop Robert McElroy with the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Diego after the release of the Pennsylvania grand jury (Oct. 1).

    The report implicated hundreds of Catholic clergy members of sexually abusing thousands of young victims over many decades. It detailed rape, abortions, confessions, and cover-ups. In San Diego, the local diocese held eight listening sessions to hear its community’s reactions to the report.


    10. “Once in a while, they call me the mayor or the Godfather,” said Nick Pecoraro, a long-time Little Italy resident (Oct. 21).

    Little Italy has its very own Godfather. The silver fox dons his dark black sunglasses, gold chain, and Italian leather shoes as he sits in front of his famous yellow house on India Street. He’s lived in that house for more than 50 years, refusing countless offers to sell, even one offer surpassing $8 million. “We are not going to sell. Not even my kids can sell this property. I have it in writing.” Pecoraro said he enjoys people and will talk to passersby from his porch on the busy street.


    11. “We are not criminals! We are international workers!” chanted many migrants in the on-going caravan during a protest that ended in tear gas being thrown by border agents (Nov. 25).

    The migrants were carrying hand-painted American and Honduran flags as they chanted. Agents reacted by throwing tear gas and shutting down border crossings to San Diego after some migrants attempted to get through the fencing and wire separating the two countries.

    "[The Department of Homeland Security] will not tolerate this type of lawlessness and will not hesitate to shut down ports of entry for security and public safety reasons," said Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. President Trump tweeted, “Would be very SMART if Mexico would stop the Caravans long before they get to our Southern Border.”

    NBC 7 created a timeline of the clashes between the migrant caravan and U.S. Border Patrol agents.


    Honorable Mentions:

    1. “The police did do a sweep with a canine, and I’m sure that kind of upset the bunnies but when I got here they were fine,” said Patricia Mulcahy, Co-Chapter Manager and Treasurer at San Diego House Rabbit Society (Jan. 15).


    2. "Please don’t let developers convince city council of a shiny carrot when Oceanside’s Ag community could possibly provide a larger and more long-term return through managing and protecting our agricultural resources," said singer Jason Mraz about Oceanside's potential North River Farm (Aug. 22).

    Mraz made a name for himself in San Diego, and he now owns a farm in Oceanside. The plan he is against would create a 177-acre "agrivillage development," full of 700 homes, a boutique hotel, and 30 acres of farmland.

    3. Crunch, chomp.” In not so many words, Gao Gao expressed his happiness at his new home by devouring an oversized carrot (Nov. 24).

    The giant panda lived at the San Diego Zoo for 15 years before he moved to the Chinese Center for Research and Conservation for the Giant Panda in China in October. The San Diego Zoo shared an adorable video of his safe arrival.


    Photo Credit: Getty Images/AP
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    Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) announced she is forming an exploratory committee for a possible 2020 presidential run Monday. Warren is the first Democrat to take a formal step towards a 2020 presidential run.

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    The City of San Diego has paid $5.3 million to settle a lawsuit over the rights to develop the land adjacent to San Diego’s Convention Center.

    The city and developer, Fifth Avenue Landing, finalized the settlement on November 15, according to a list of claims paid by the city in November that NBC 7 obtained through a public record request.

    Fifth Avenue Landing filed its lawsuit against the city in October 2017, claiming the city prevented the development of the two-acre property that it controlled, in order to pursue an expansion of the Convention Center on the same site.


    For Mayor Kevin Faulconer, expanding the Convention Center was a major goal. In June 2017, Faulconer asked the city council to hold a special election to raise hotel taxes in order to pay for the $600 million dollar expansion. The revenues would have also been used for homeless services. The San Diego City Council, however, voted against holding a special election. 

    According to its lawsuit, Fifth Avenue Landing said that the mayor and Convention Center’s push to expand placed their plans to build an 830-room high-end hotel, as well as a second more affordable hotel, all on hold. 

    Fifth Avenue Landing has a long history at the site. The development partnership has held the lease on the state land behind the Convention Center since 1991 and since has spent millions on development plans and upgrades to the land. Plans to build a hotel on the site were in the works until the 2008 recession when those plans came to a halt. 

    In 2009, the city purchased the lease from Fifth Avenue Landing for $12.5 million, in hopes to expand the Convention Center. But after making only a few payments, the city stopped paying in 2015, which led to foreclosure and the lease being returned back to Fifth Avenue Landing. 

    Despite this hurdle, Faulconer and others have fought to revive plans to expand the convention center. But Fifth Avenue Landing claims in their lawsuit that it was those efforts from the mayor and others that blocked their plans to develop the site, including plans to build a new hotel. 

    “...[T]he City has unabashedly interfered and continued to interfere, with the Port approval process. [Their] conduct has in fact hampered Fifth Avenue Landing’s progress in developing its hotel under the lease,” reads the lawsuit. 

    For more than a year, the two sides have proceeded with the case in court. Then, on November 15, according to city documents, the city paid Fifth Avenue Landing $5.3 million to settle the case out of court. According to the court’s docket, the case was dismissed the following day. 

    There has been no word on how this settlement will impact plans to expand the Convention Center. NBC 7 reached out to the attorneys representing Fifth Avenue Landing but did not hear back in time for publication. 

    The City of San Diego also did not respond to NBC 7’s request for comment. 

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

    The San Diego Convention CenterThe San Diego Convention Center

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    And, just like that, 2018 is coming to an end. In San Diego, there are plenty of ways to ring in the new year and you can choose how to celebrate depending on your personality. So, whether you're a high-end party animal or laying low with the family, these spots should offer something for everyone.

    Big Night San Diego (For the energetic party animal)
    The name of this 21+ New Year’s Eve event – Big Night San Diego – says it all. This high-energy, all-inclusive, glamorous gala at Hilton San Diego Bayfront includes drinks, food, party favors and live music and dancing across 10 party areas and eight dance floors. Tickets range from $109 to $239 (VIP option). NBC 7, Telemundo 20 and SoundDiego will broadcast a countdown special live from this party; the show airs from 11:35 p.m. to 12:05 a.m. on NBC 7. Here are some details on the music lineup at this party, via SoundDiego.

    Balboa Park (For the museum enthusiast)
    During the day on Dec. 31, museum enthusiasts looking to acquire more knowledge before the end of 2018 can stroll Balboa Park and visit the many museums open that day, most starting at 10 a.m. Open institutions include the Japanese Friendship Garden, the San Diego Museum of Art, the Fleet Science Center, the San Diego Natural History Museum, the San Diego Air & Space Museum, and the San Diego Museum of Man. The famous Balboa Park Carousel will also be open from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    Most of the museums close between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on New Year’s Eve but after you’ve fed your mind and curiosity, you could feed your belly at Balboa Park’s landmark restaurant, The Prado. On New Year’s Eve, The Prado is offering a three-course dinner priced at $54.95, served from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Revelers can stay until the clock strikes midnight by upgrading to the dinner and dancing package priced at $84.95, which includes a sparkling champagne toast while counting down to midnight, plus music and dancing in the lounge. The park’s Panama 66 restaurant is also open on New Year’s Eve, but will close early. It'll reopen on New Year's Day from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the bar open until 5 p.m.

    The Lafayette Hotel, Swim Club & Bungalow (For those with a love of vintage)
    North Park’s vintage boutique hotel plans to ring in 2018 by hosting its 5th annual "On With the Show" New Year’s Eve celebration. This year’s theme is "Euphoric Haze," a throwback to the groovier times of the 1960s. The party will boast three rooms of peace, love and music: “The Factory,” an Andy Warhol-inspired room of bold prints and mod style; “The Groovy Twist,” where revelers can bust out the “mashed potato” and “the twist,” set to soulful jams; “The Lava Underground,” the Lafayette’s Mississippi Ballroom, transformed into a space filled with psychedelic projections.

    The live music lineup at this bash includes Lady Dottie & The Diamonds, The Sleepwalkers, Strawberry Moons and more local acts. Tickets range from $60 to $190; the Dinner Show package ($60 in addition to $60 general admission) includes appetizers, two courses and dessert, plus a performance from Finest City Improv. Prices vary depending on how many drink tickets you'd like to add to your package.

    New Year’s Eve on the Water (For the bay view fanatic)
    There is, perhaps, nothing more San Diego than celebrating the New Year on our scenic waterfront. If you’ve got your sea legs, you can ring in 2019 on one of many cruises around San Diego Bay. Rock the Boat by the Hornblower invites revelers aboard the Adventure Yacht for drinks and dancing from 8:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. There’s also the New Year’s Eve Dinner Cruise by Flagship Cruises & Events, which cruises from 9 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. Another option is the New Year’s Eve Yacht Party aboard the three-level Spirit of San Diego, which boards at 9 p.m. and returns to the docks at 12:45 a.m. Happy cruising!

    The San Diego Zoo (For an all-ages outing with your little critters)
    Grab the kids and head to the San Diego Zoo on New Year’s Eve, where the seasonal Jungle Bells event continues through Jan. 6. The zoo is open until 8 p.m. on Dec. 31 – giving you plenty of time to admire the twinkling lights, special music, animals and more and the world-famous attraction. If you want to end the year with a special meal, head over to Albert’s Restaurant for the three-course “Mildly Wild New Year’s Eve Dinner.” Seating runs from 5 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. and reservations are required by calling (619) 685-3200; the dinner is $65 per person. Check out the dinner menu here, prepared by chefs Carissa Giacalone and Grant Toraason.

    San Diego’s Casinos (For those who are feeling lucky)
    Feeling lucky as you head into 2019? Go with the vibe and ring in the New Year by heading to one of San Diego’s many casinos. In East County, you’ll find Viejas Casino – among many others (Barona; Golden Acorn; Sycuan; Hollywood Casino: Jamul). Viejas is hosting two NYE 2019 parties, each starting at 8 p.m.: the NYE Bash at the outdoor Park at Viejas venue ($10), which includes a fireworks display, and the NYE Gala at the Oak Ballroom ($165), which includes dinner, drinks, dancing and access to the NYE Bash outside, too.

    If you’re in the North County, you’ll find the Valley View Casino & Hotel, among others (Harrah’s Resort Southern California; Pala Casino Spa & Resort). The New Year’s Eve bash at Valley View goes from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. and includes a concert from R&B star Evelyn "Champagne" King, at the Main Stage Bar.

    San Diego’s Landmark Hotels (For those who like glitz and history)
    For those who want glitz, glam and history on New Year’s Eve, San Diego’s landmark hotels might suit you. The Hotel Del Coronado will host a couple of parties – its 21+ black-tie gala, dubbed "The World's Greatest Legend," and its “Kids & Teens” party for those age 8 to 17. Prices for these parties range from $125 (kids party) to $375 (adult party) per person.

    Meanwhile, the famous US Grant in downtown San Diego is offering New Year’s Eve dining options at its on-site restaurant, Grant Grill, including a pre-celebration, four-course meal ($75 per person). There's also a late-seating, five-course dinner that includes a midnight toast and live music ($129 per person). Over at the hotel's Rendezvous lounge, the NYE party starts at 7:30 p.m. and runs through 1:30 a.m., and will include French-inspired cocktails, a DJ and live music. No matter the option that strikes your fancy at the Grant, make reservations ahead of time.

    Craft Breweries (For those looking to toast with a locally-brewed beverage)
    There may not be a more authentically San Diego way to toast to the New Year than with a craft beer in hand. Look up your favorite local brewery in a sudsy sea of dozens for specific NYE hours and events.

    For instance, Stone Brewing World Bistro & Gardens Escondido and Liberty Station will host Craft Beer New Year 2019, a party featuring live music, DJs, dancing, light bites, an outdoor cigar lounge and, of course, craft brews. Tickets cost $99.

    Over at AleSmith Brewing Company, the New Year's Eve "Hop Drop" goes down from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. and will boast party favors, dancing, beer flights and an "East Coast New Year's Eve Cheers" at 11 p.m. Tickets range from $20 to $65, depending if you want to add dinner to your party package.

    These are just a few samplings of what's happening in San Diego County on New Year's Eve. Here's to a happy, safe celebration and a prosperous 2019.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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    A man was arrested on sex assault charges after entering a beachfront home in Oceanside and groping a sleeping woman Monday, according to the Oceanside Police Department. 

    The 24-year-old man, possibly a transient, entered the home on S. Pacific Street south of Wisconsin Avenue through an unlocked door at about 4 a.m., OPD Officer Tom Bussey said. 

    Once inside, he stripped off his clothes inside a closet. Moments later, he came out of the closet and began touching a sleeping 49-year-old woman, police said.

    The woman screamed, which woke other people in the house as the suspect ran back into a closet to hide.

    OPD said 16 adults and four children were in the home at the time and several held the man in the closet until police officers arrived and took the suspect into custody. 

    The man, who has not yet been identified, faces sex assault charges, Bussey said.

    Footage from the scene showed a man in handcuffs being walked out of the home in a long sleeve shirt and what appeared to be red boxer shorts. 

    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 funnel cloud developed over the Encinitas-Carlsbad area Monday afternoon as a result of a heavy rain cloud that moved into the area, according to the National Weather Service.

    The funnel cloud appeared to a continuation of a weak waterspout that was spotted over in Carlsbad and dissipated as the rain cloud moved further inland, according to the NWS.

    The funnel cloud was first reported around 2:20 p.m. and lasted about 15 minutes, NWS meteorologist Bruno Rodriguez said.

    Funnel clouds are a common occurrence, happening a few times a year in San Diego, typical over coastal area, he said. In order for a funnel cloud to be considered a tornado, it needs to touch the ground and this one did not.

    The funnel cloud caused some excitement over social media as people share photos and videos of the funnel online.

    NBC 7’s viewer Sydney Hastings sent in this video of the funnel in Carlsbad. If you have an interesting video or photo to share, be sure to send them to

    Photo Credit: Sydney Hastings

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  • 12/31/18--19:08: New-Age Piggy Banks

  • The proliferation of debit and credit cards and mobile payment service apps, such as Venmo and PayPal, the days of saving your loose change are essentially gone.

    But some mobile and desktop apps have unearthed the days of piggy banks and coin jars and made it easy to invest that money.

    Acorns is one such app.

    The Irvine, California based robo-advisor allows members to round-up credit card and debit card purchases. They then deposit that loose change in an investment account and invest it for you. The service is free for college students and costs $1 a month for an investment account and $2 for a retirement account.

    “Every time you buy something at a retail store, a cappuccino for $2.50, we round up to the nearest dollar,” says Acorns Chief Executive Officer Noah Kerner. “We make it three dollars and then we take the fifty cents and invest it into our portfolio for you.”

    The app helps people take the first step in saving money as well as introduce their members to investing their money.

    “Our fundamental belief,” says Kerner, “is no matter where you are, no matter what your station is in life is, you have the opportunity to grow for the future which is exactly what the American Dream is founded on.”

    And while the app allows members to sprout their financial wings, Acorns itself is managing its own growth. In 2019 the app will offer a new service called Acorns Spend. Those that sign up receive a debit card that gives you real-time round-ups, allowing you to invest immediately. The card also invests into a retirement fund. 

    “It's the first checking account with a debit card that saves and invest for you,” adds Kerner. “So you can move your entire paycheck and your and your direct deposit over to Acorns.”

    In addition, users will get extra investments when using the card at selected retailers.

    Acorns is not the only app that offers to invest your loose change. Other apps include Qapital, Chime and Digit.

    While gathering up spare change and making safe investments with it is a move in the right direction, some financial planners question if it’s enough to really make a lasting difference.

    “I’m big on ‘set it and forget it’ but these amounts are too small to rely on,” says Mary Beth Storjohann, founder of the financial planning group, Workable Wealth in San Diego.

    “Acorns and other apps are great as a supplemental strategy to help you save money,” she adds. “They are great as an addition to things you are already doing to build your net worth but they are not enough to a secure retirement or a great financial future.”

    But as Acorns CEO Kerner puts it, it’s a start.

    “Acorn is about providing access for people that didn't have it before. It allows you to invest, to save, and it helps you spend smarter. It helps you earn extra money and grow your knowledge. Those things weren't there for people before. That's why we're here.”

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    There were 410 confirmed cases of flu for the week ending Dec. 26, according to the County Health and Human Services Agency.

    That's a fraction of the 2,332 cases reported for the same week last year, but the flu season lasts until at least April, so doctors recommend the flu vaccine, especially for the elderly, very young, and chronically ill.

    They also report seeing more cases of the common cold this year.

    "I was in bed Christmas day, the day after Christmas, and the day after that, so it was no fun," said North County resident Fletch Paddison.

    His advice to everyone who hasn’t gotten their flu shot this season: do yourself a favor and don’t delay getting the vaccine.

    “You really should worry about (getting and) spreading the flu,” Paddison said. “I think it’s everybody’s responsibility to get a flu shot.”

    The numbers confirm that this year’s flu season to date is much milder than last year’s.

    But doctor’s warn, the virus will be active until April, even May.

    “I know a lot of people are not believers, but the data really shows that getting the flu vaccine is probably the most important thing you can do to help reduce the incidence of flu," said Dr. Kathlyn Ignacio of the Sharp Rees-Stealy Medical Group in Sorrento Valley.

    Ignacio said the elderly, very young and chronically ill are most at risk.

    The county health department confirmed seven flu-related deaths as of last week.

    "If you know somebody, or you have a loved one who is elderly and has not yet made it to their doctor or gotten a flu shot, it should be encouraged," Ignacio said.

    The county health department has the following additional tips for avoiding flu:

    • Wash your hands thoroughly and often.
    • Use hand sanitizers
    • Stay away from sick people
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
    • Clean commonly touched surfaces
    • If you are sick, stay home and avoid contact with others.

    Ignacio said this has also been an especially bad year for the common cold, with many patients experiencing flu-like symptoms, but not testing positive for the flu, which confirms that they instead have a non-flu cold virus.

    Some of Ignacio’s patients have caught more than one cold virus, which has keep them sick for a month, or longer.

    “They think they’ve been sick (with the same cold) for six weeks, but really, they’re had two or three (different) illnesses in a row,” Ignacio said.

    She also urged cold and flu sufferers to stay home from work and, in most cases, don’t rush to see a doctor, if you do get a bad cold or flu.

    “That way, you're not spreading your germs or your viral particles around and getting other people sick,” Ignacio said. “It's just best to stay home."

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    Residents in Oak Park woke up Monday to scenes of smashed and shattered car windows as a series of cars were vandalized overnight.

    At least 10 cars were vandalized on Thorn Street and Redwood Street around 12:30 a.m., San Diego police Officer Billy Hernandez said.

    The cars were vandalized on the 5800 and 5900 blocks of Thorn Street and the 5400 and 5500 blocks of Redwood Street, he said.

    It was still unclear how many cars were vandalized as people are still filing reports online, the officer said.

    Anyone with any information about the vandalism was urged to contact the San Diego Police Department at (619) 531-2000 or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

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    Thomas Pitman organized Ride Into the Light, a cross-country bike ride from Imperial Beach to Jacksonville Beach, Florida, to honor his late friend Cory Iverson.
    View Full Story

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    Snow hit San Diego to kick off the new year, prompting the California Highway Patrol to warn drivers and residents of its potential dangers.

    Julian reported 2.5” of snow, and the general amounts were anywhere from 1-3” on average, according to NBC 7 meteorologist Sheena Parveen.

    The snow is expected to stay on the ground throughout Tuesday.

    CHP said there are limited public locations for San Diegans to enjoy the light snowfall.

    The agency reminded residents that trespassing onto private property is not allowed and could lead to a citation or arrest.

    The cold weather can create hazardous driving conditions, CHP said. Please use caution when driving on slippery or icy roadways.

    The agency also said to only park in legal spaces. Blocking roadway access for emergency vehicles could cause problems in these conditions.

    A Frost Advisory was issued for inland valleys until Wednesday morning, Parveen said. Temperatures could reach as low as 28°.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

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    Three police officers in a Kentucky city were able to have a little bit of fun to end 2018 as they “mourned” the loss of a doughnut truck that had caught fire.

    The Lexington Police Department tweeted out photos showing the officers in various stages of sarcastic grief after the Krispy Kreme truck that caught fire had been loaded onto a tow truck and was being taken from the scene – with the caption “No words”.

    Police did not release information about the crash, but a Lexington television station reported no one was hurt and the truck was empty at the time of the fire.

    As of Tuesday morning, the post had been retweeted nearly 4,000 times and liked over 12,600 times – including officers and agencies from across the country offering their condolences.

    Photo Credit: Twitter / @lexkypolice
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