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    A small brush fire, dubbed the Clover Fire, sparked near San Pasqual Road at State Route 78 Monday afternoon just before 3 p.m.

    The fire has burned three-fourths of an acre and has a moderate rate of speed. 

    Homes in the 14400 and 21200 blocks of San Pasqual Road are being evacuated, the San Diego Sheriff's Department said. 

    All lanes of SR-78 are closed between east of the San Diego Safari Park and Cloverdale Road, Caltrans San Diego said. 

    Check back on this breaking story for more information. 

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

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    A newly filed class action lawsuit alleges San Diego’s ambulance provider, Rural Metro, is billing patients who are covered by Medi-Cal and MediCare.

    Phillip Franklin filed the lawsuit in Federal Court on June 1.

    Franklin says he called 9-1-1 on August 3, 2017 after experiencing side effects from a prescription medicine. When the ambulance arrived, Franklin showed the medics his insurance cards. A Rural Metro ambulance then transported Franklin to UC San Diego Hospital in La Jolla.

    A month and a half later, on September 20, Franklin received a bill in the mail.

    The invoiced showed the ride cost $2,340. Franklin’s MediCare and Medi-Cal plans, also known as MediConnect, paid a total of $444.28 after adjustments had been made. That left, according to a bill from Rural Metro, with a $113.34 balance.

    "I looked at the bill and I said, ‘wait a minute, I’m insured," Franklin told NBC 7 Responds during an interview.

    "I know they got their money because I could see from my insurance records that they got paid.”

    Franklin says he called Rural Metro’s customer service center to resolve what he assumed was a simple error.

    "I called them to tell them, ‘Hey, you made a mistake here. Let’s wrap this up because I don’t want to get any more of these bills."

    He says Rural Metro’s customer service center, however, refused to budge. Rural Metro then sent the balance to collections.

    The TV script suggests there was a misunderstanding rather than “refusing to budge”—make sure whatever is accurate is reflected in both scripts

    Franklin said he began to do research and found stories from NBC 7 Responds where patients were sent to collections for bills that were never sent to their insurance providers. In those cases, Rural Metro cleared the debts for more than one hundred customers. 

    But Franklin’s problem was different and he says he felt his options were limited.

    "A hundred dollars is a lot to me," Franklin said. "Plus, I knew it wasn’t fair and if I didn’t do it then who was going to do it?"

    The lawsuit claims Rural Metro practices what is known as “balance billing.”

    "Balance billing occurs when a patient’s health insurance provider pays for a portion of a medical bill and the health care provider bills the patient for the remaining balance," reads the proposed class action lawsuit.

    According to the lawsuit, charging customers who are enrolled in Medi-Cal and MediCare is illegal under California and federal law.

    The lawsuit cited NBC 7’s previous coverage of the issue.

    "In August 2016, NBC San Diego published a story in which three San Diego families complained that they had received collection notices from Defendant Credence to collect debts purportedly owed to Defendant Rural/Metro for ambulance services. The families had never received bills from Defendant Rural/Metro. Defendant Rural/Metro blamed the issue on a ‘processing change that was made when Rural Metro came out of bankruptcy and that it had identified and corrected the issue.’"

    In a statement, a spokesperson for Rural Metro stated, "We want the public to know that we take all complaints – including lawsuits – in a very serious fashion and will investigate accordingly."

    A federal judge is expected to rule on class certification in the coming year.

    Photo Credit: Bob Hansen

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    In honor of the NBC 7 'Clear the Shelters' event on August 18, we're giving you adoption facts that you can use. 

    Bringing a dog, cat, or another animal into your home is a big responsibility. The County of San Diego Animal Services said there are five things you should know before adopting a pet. 

    1. Adopt kittens in pairs 

    Puppies can be adopted by themselves but Dan DeSousa of the Department of Animal Services said kittens are best with a friend. 

    "Two kittens will play with each other and keep themselves occupied," said DeSousa. "It also helps them socialize and become a better kitten overall because they will learn from each other." 

    2. Many pets are illegal to own in California 

    Did you know you can't have a gerbil in this state? Ferrets, sugar gliders and hedgehogs are also illegal in California. 

    "We had a case in Ocean Beach where we had 11 hedgehogs come in," said DeSousa. "We couldn't adopt them out here in San Diego, so we sent them to a rescue group in Arizona." 

    3. Dog breed doesn't determine temperament 

    DeSousa said claiming that a certain breed of dog is aggressive is simply false. 

    "We do not stereotype a breed of dog just like we shouldn't stereotype people," said DeSousa. "A dog is a dog. Each dog will act differently to circumstances." 

    4. You can adopt livestock through the county 

    Horses and cows have been adopted from the county shelter before. Right now in their Bonita location, they have a rooster that needs a good home. 

    "You can actually train a rooster and train a hen to do certain things," said DeSousa. "They can make good pets." 

    5. Never declaw your cat 

    The process of removing your cat's nails when they are clawing at furniture or people is something Animal Services advises against. 

    "Declawing a cat is a very painful process," said DeSousa. "There are some cities that have outlawed it." 

    DeSousa recommends buying a scratching post. There is also a product called 'Softy Paws' that you can put over your cat's claws so that they can't scratch the furniture. 

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    The first appearance of a man accused of a double murder turned emotional in a Vista courtroom Tuesday.

    There was an outburst of shock by dozens of family members when the prosecutor said defendant Juan Carlos Ortega, 33, “confessed with qualifiers” to killing his estranged wife and her sister last week. The judge had to stop the proceedings several times because of the uncontrollable crying and eventually brought in extra deputies to keep order. Ortega’s mother and several other family members left the room in tears.

    In the arraignment, prosecutors said Ortega was “lying in wait” before killing the two women.

    Last Thursday morning around 4:14 a.m., Ana Gabriela Soto, 26, was found inside a burned-out SUV near Kauana Loa Drive and Country Club Drive.

    The plates on the SUV led investigators to a home in the 500 block of 11th Avenue, where Veronica Soto Ortega, 30, Ortega’s wife, was found dead.

    In court, the prosecutor, Deputy District Attorney Jodi Breton, said Ortega had “confessed with qualifiers.” A witness saw Ortega going back and forth between the home and the SUV on the night of the murders, and the prosecutor said Ortega confessed it was him.

    Court records revealed that Ortega and his wife were going through a divorce. The couple had two daughters who were upstairs in bed when their mother’s body was found in their home. The girls were unharmed and were taken into protective custody.

    “It's devastating. I cannot imagine being that family and finding out that both of your daughters, your sisters or your cousins, your granddaughters, were brutally murdered. I cannot imagine that,” Breton said Tuesday.

    Ortega is facing life in prison, but he could face the death penalty for the murders.

    Afterward, the father of Veronica and Ana Gabriela Soto said the women were hard workers and always happy. He also said he does not the support the death penalty and would rather leave Ortega's punishment up to God. Ortega's family did not talk to the media.

    His preliminary hearing is scheduled for the end of October.


    Photo Credit: NBC 7

    Juan Carlos Ortega, 33, is accused of killing his wife and her sister.Juan Carlos Ortega, 33, is accused of killing his wife and her sister.

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    It's been 40 years since the gruesome death of 15-year-old Barbara Nantais, and investigators from the San Diego Police Department are asking the public for help.

    Nantais was found beaten and strangled to death on the shores of Torrey Pines State Beach on the morning of August 13, 1978.

    She was raped and had one of her breasts cut off.

    She went to the beach the night before with her boyfriend, James Alt, SDPD said.

    They were lying together on the sand when they were attacked, according to SDPD.

    Alt, 17 at the time, suffered a major head injury and couldn’t remember what happened the night before. His skull was crushed with a rock and a fire log.

    He was found semi-conscious near Nantais’ body.

    In 2013, investigators used updated equipment to follow a new lead, but no suspect was caught.

    Crime Stoppers is offering $1,000 to anyone with information that can lead to an arrest.

    If you have any information about the attack or murder, call SDPD’s Homicide Unit at (619) 531-2293 or leave an anonymous tip with Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

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    A high school math teacher is under investigation for serious allegations of misconduct, the Grossmont Union High School District confirmed Tuesday.

    Ryan Braun, a math teacher at Granite Hills High School, was placed on paid administrative leave on Wednesday, August 8. 

    Braun is accused of "serious allegations of misconduct" outside of school hours and off-campus, district officials said. 

    "Any time allegations of employee misconduct are brought forward the District takes such allegations very seriously," the district said in a written statement received six days after Braun was placed on leave.

    Tuesday was also the first day of the 2018-2019 school year.

    NBC 7 attempted to contact Braun by phone and email Monday but has not received a comment on the allegations.

    We also searched court records and could find no prior criminal charges against Braun.

    The district has launched investigations into allegations against two other educators this year. 

    Ral Christman resigned on April 30, 10 days after he was placed on administrative leave, according to the district.  District officials did not release details regarding the alleged misconduct or when they were first made aware of the allegations, but a source told NBC 7 the Granite Hills HS teacher faced allegations of sexting with a 17-year-old student.

    A teacher from El Cajon Valley High School was accused of employee misconduct and placed on leave in May. In June, the El Cajon Police Department determined there was not enough evidence to file criminal charges against the teacher.

    More than 2,000 students are enrolled in Granite Hills High School which is located on East Madison Avenue in El Cajon. 

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

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    Oceanside police launched a homicide investigation Tuesday after a woman returned from work to find her husband dead inside their home.

    John Roth, 77, had suffered trauma to his upper body inside the home on North Tremont Street, Oceanside police said.

    The man's wife returned home from her work at a local nursing home and called the police just before 7 a.m. Tuesday.

    While Oceanside Police Detectives from the Crimes of Violence Unit were investigating the incident, friends poured into Surfside Tap Room where Roth was a regular to enjoy a beer in his memory.

    A seat at the bar was occupied by a cold drink, a couple of pictures of Roth and friends, and a card for bar guests to sign.

    Those that knew Roth described him as a blunt and funny man. They said he went on to have a successful business career after serving in the military.

    "I had a lot of career moves in the county and I talked to him a lot and he gave me advice about moving into management," friend Lynn Collins said. "He was a good source of advice."

    Collins said it was John's Hawaiian shirts and fashion sense that drew people to him at Tap Room eight years ago.

    Investigators aren't saying whether Roth's home was ransacked or burglarized. However, they did say there was no forced entry. Roth's wife told police she thought it strange that the garage door was open when she got home.

    A formal celebration of life will be held at the Surfside Tap Room on Thursday around 5 p.m.

    Anyone with information may call Detective Ellgard at (760) 435-4748. 

    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 North Philadelphia restaurateur who gained local fame last year for spending $25,000 on her son's prom, including camels, has been charged with defrauding the Social Security Administration.

    Saudia Shuler was indicted for allegedly collecting nearly $37,000 in government benefits by claiming she was disabled yet continuing to work, according to the U.S. attorney for Eastern Pennsylvania.

    "The defendant applied for benefits from the Social Security Administration, claiming she was disabled and unable to work. After Social Security approved benefits, the defendant continued working, including the operation of her own restaurant," a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney's Office said in an email Tuesday. "This work and income was never reported to Social Security, in violation of program rules."

    If she is found guilty, Shuler faces a maximum sentence of 140 years in prison.

    The fraud charges come in the aftermath of a momentous year for Shuler, 44, who twice made headlines for lavish spending.

    In the spring of 2017, Shuler spent $25,000 on a camel, three tons of sand and exotic cars for a massive event in her neighborhood celebrating her son’s prom.

    It was dubbed "Dubai to Philly."

    Months later, at Christmastime, the North Philly restaurant owner held another big party in her neighborhood. It featured hundreds of gifts and two reindeer.

    “I know what hard time is,” Saudia Shuler told the crowd of hundreds who gathered along North 22nd Street. “Because I come from hard times.”

    The event was held at Country Cookin', the restaurant Shuler owns. She put her role as a business owner aside for the night and became "Saudia Claus," handing out hundreds of gifts to excited children.

    “We gave them 140 bikes,” she said. “We gave out over 50 scooters. We gave out 'Batman' cars, like the remote-controlled cars you put your feet on and then drive.”

    Shuler told NBC10 that she used the chances to celebrate her good fortunes after dealing with tragedies, including the murder of her son's father and multiple health scares over the past decade.

    “I had a stroke. I had seizures. I had cancer,” she said. “All within the last three years.”

    At the time, Shuler said she’d received donations from all over the country to help pay for the outsize events.

    After reading his client's indictment, Philadelphia-based attorney Tariq El-Shabazz, said, "I didn't see the meat yet, I've just seen the bones." He added that Shuler is still waiting to see what evidence the U.S. attorney's office will present. 

    "She is obviously upset because there are allegations contained in the indictment that are absolutely untrue," El-Shabazz said.

    Other allegations are being turned around to look different than reality, he said.

    She faces six counts of wire fraud, one count of theft of government funds and two counts of Social Security fraud.

    Photo Credit: Saudia Shuler instagram
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    The group that has been pushing for an independent San Diego police review commission says they're not giving up the fight and is now looking for a charter amendment to appear the November 2020 ballot.

    The Community Review Board on Police Practices was created in 1988 to review complaints raised against officers with the San Diego Police Department. The group reviews officer-involved shootings and in-custody deaths. 

    But some groups perceive the board, made up of 23 volunteers who are appointed by the mayor, as an arm of the police, NBC 7 Investigates reports have found.

    The group Women Occupy San Diego has been pushing to create a commission that could conduct its own, separate investigations, as opposed to a city board.

    "They would be able to determine what complaints they want to investigate and they would have an independent person for the investigation," Women Occupy San Diego's Kate Yavenditti said. 

    The group wanted to get this before voters in November, but the San Diego City Council deadlocked on the issue last month. So, they are now aiming for 2020.

    The head of the San Diego Police Officers Association said he is concerned about who would be carrying out those investigations and whether they'd be as qualified.

    He said the beauty of the current system, is that the investigators know their actions are going to get audited and analyzed.

    "I look at it like, if you get your taxes done and you have three IRS agents looking over your shoulder while you're doing it, you're probably not going to make a whole lot of mistakes," SDPOA President Jack Schaeffer said. "So I think that the citizens of San Diego really benefit from having that real oversight of a quality investigation." 

    Voters first thought reform to the board was needed in 2016 and passed Measure G, which redefined the board's responsibilities.

    But NBC 7 Investigates learned not all of those voter-approved changes are in place.

    The measure was approved with 83-percent of the vote, amending the city charter and requiring the board to review all officer-involved-shootings and in-custody deaths.

    Women Occupy San Diego said they believe the department's investigations are thorough but an independent board would improve the community's trust of the police department.

    The Community Review Board last year investigated 54 cases and has investigated 43 cases so far in the fiscal year 2018.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

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    The Food and Drug Administration has broadened a recall of the common blood pressure drug valsartan, saying some batches around the world have been contaminated with a potentially cancer-causing chemical, and the warning has served as a reminder of a drug market that's increasingly outsourced to other countries, NBC News reported

    While no product sold in the United States has been found to be contaminated, the FDA says the process used to make some generic versions has the potential to generate the chemical. Still, the danger only lies in lifetime exposure, so the FDA said patients can continue taking the drug until they confirm its unaffected or they switch to an alternative.

    But the case does illustrate the challenges the FDA must overcome in regulating the drug market and how vulnerable the U.S. is when it depends on other countries, especially China, to make essential drugs.

    The FDA has ways of ensuring product safety, such as regularly sending inspectors to scrutinize Chinese facilities. But no inspection would have found the NDMA contaminant, a byproduct of processing foods such as bacon as well as a water contaminant.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

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    A proposed wind project is up against a squall of opposition in Boulevard where county planners are processing the first large-scale wind renewable energy project to be built on private land in San Diego.

    The San Diego County Planning Commission denied Friday a strongly-worded appeal from the Boulevard Community Planning Group, which opposed construction of temporary meteorological towers to measure wind, ahead of the project.

    Three temporary masts will be erected to gauge the potential of renewable energy wind turbine projects, according to a staff report recommending the approval of the “temporary MET facility,” in preparation for the Torrey Wind energy project.  

    The Aug. 1 appeal from the Boulevard Planning Group says they object to the “weasel worded findings” of county staff to turn their rural community into a “renewable energy sacrifice zone.”

    New York-based renewable energy company Terra-Gen, which has an office in San Diego as well, wants to build a 126-megawatt project on a 2,000-acre private ranch in northern Boulevard.

    If approved, the project would erect 30 wind turbines, up to a maximum of 586-feet tall at the north end of Ribbonwood Road on a private property formerly known as Big Country Ranch.  

    “It’s the height,” said Donna Tisdale, chair of the Boulevard Planning Group, when asked about the biggest objections from the community.

    “These are taller (it’s like 586 feet) so it’s taller than the tallest building in downtown San Diego," Tisdale said. "In our rural community, it’s taller - almost a hundred feet taller - than the existing turbines that are on federal lands next door.”

    The tallest building in downtown San Diego is One American Plaza at 500 feet, according to city staff.

    Tisdale added the project would require millions of gallons of groundwater, a scarcity in Boulevard.

    “Also the bigger the turbine, the more noise and vibrations are produced, and there are adverse health effects for people who are sensitive to that. It creates a ‘fight-or-flight instinct’ reaction and stress-related illnesses,” she said.

    Tisdale said a draft study into the health impacts of the turbines has not yet been released by the county.

    The project the county approved Friday only includes three temporary towers to stand up to 197-feet to measure “meteorological occurrences such as wind speed, wind direction, air pressure, rain, snow or sun exposure to determine whether it is feasible to develop a renewable energy wind turbine project,” according to the staff report. The merits of the actual wind farm will be evaluated separately at a different public meeting, the staff report said.

    The county plans to release a Notice of Preparation of an Environmental Impact Report on Thursday for a 30-day public review.

    The temporary towers will be built on a 600-acre property near Mountain Empire on county maintained land. It will include two sonic detection and ranging (SoDAR) units to measure wind velocity.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

    File image of the wind turbines or windmills generating electricity east of San Diego, California on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017.File image of the wind turbines or windmills generating electricity east of San Diego, California on Tuesday, Oct. 24, 2017.

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    The City of Lights has debuted an especially flashy new way to curtail public urination, bright red eco-toilets for those on the go. 

    Industrial designer Faltazi created the waterless urinal, called "Uritrottoir," to be filled with straw that can be composted. The tops of the urinals double as flower beds. 

    Several of the toilets were first rolled out in the spring to a muted reaction, The New York Times reported. But a backlash has developed after one was recently installed on the picturesque Ile St. Louis, according to reports

    Not everyone is saying oui, oui to the attention-grabbing boxes, which include signs illustrating how to use them.

    A local mayor told the Times he would consider a "fine tuning" of the location of the urinal but stressed it was necessary to cut down on public urination. 

    Outdoor urinals aren't an only-in-Paris thing. San Francisco became the first city in the U.S. to install an open-air urinal in 2016 with the "pissoir" that city authorities placed in Dolores Park in 2016.

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

    Women take photos on the Seine river banks on the Ile de la Cite where an urinal has been installed, Tuesday, Aug.14, 2018 in Paris. Some residents have written to the town hall to demand its removal from this touristic area not far away form Notre Dame Catheral.Women take photos on the Seine river banks on the Ile de la Cite where an urinal has been installed, Tuesday, Aug.14, 2018 in Paris. Some residents have written to the town hall to demand its removal from this touristic area not far away form Notre Dame Catheral.

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    U.S. leaders and law enforcement will gather at the U.S.-Mexico border Wednesday to celebrate the opening of an upgraded pedestrian building at the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere. 

    The San Ysidro Port of Entry pedestrian-processing building, known as Ped East, is set to open to the public once congress members and border patrol agents cut the ribbon on the new facility Wednesday afternoon. 

    The facility is phase two of an expansion project that aims to reduce wait times for the tens of thousands of travelers who enter the United States at the San Ysidro POE daily. 

    The new facility will have 22 processing lanes, nearly three times more than the old facility. 

    The ribbon-cutting ceremony will be followed by a ceremony with U.S. Reps. Juan Vargas and Scott Peters as well as San Diego Mayor Faulconer and Tijuana mayor Juan Manuel Gastelum Buenrostro, among others. 

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

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    When Kris Gamayo first adopted her pit bull, Moki, she knew easing her into life with her other animals — two guinea pigs — would be a process.

    At first, she’d keep Frida and Pandora, the guinea pigs, separated from Moki, before she eventually eased into letting the pittie sniff and lick them while they lie on her lap.

    "Three to four months after that, I started putting the piggies down on the ground and just monitored,” she said. “Moki would just sniff and lick them and lay down with them.”

    And so began what some might see as an unlikely trio, and the stars of the Instagram account @piggiesandapitty.

    “I think I got lucky because Moki is just a sweetheart,” Gamayo told NBC in a phone interview.

    Moki was rescued from the streets in November 2015 after she and her owner became homeless. Unable to bring the pit bull with him to a homeless shelter, the man dropped Moki off at an animal shelter.

    “He told them if you can’t find someone to adopt her in a month call the shelter and I’ll leave to take her back,” Gamayo added.

    Moki was there for almost a month, and the shelter was prepared to call the man to pick her up, when she arrived to adopt her in the eleventh hour.

    At the time, Gamayo already had both of her guinea pigs. Frida had actually been adopted earlier the same year from San Francisco Animal Care and Control. And while she was a little anxious at first about the idea of a “bully breed” living with her tiny cavies, Moki’s sweet temperament eased her worries.

    “A lot of dogs on the street with their owners are really well behaved because I think they’re with them 24/7; they have a tight bond with them,” she said, attributing Moki’s calm disposition to her time on the streets with her previous owner.

    As for the guinea pigs, Gamayo said part of the reason she wanted to adopt them was because she had followed the Instagram accounts of two guinea pig owners, and thought the photos of them dressed up was “so cute."

    On adoption, Gamayo said, “I think it’s really important that you go to these shelters and you sit with them on different occasions.”

    Before bringing home Pandora the guinea pig, she said she went to the shelter one day to interact with her for a while, then came back again to see her, “to make sure she wasn’t just having a good day.”

    She said she did the same thing with Moki the pit bull.

    And when it comes to introducing other dogs and guinea pigs, Gamayo said being conscious of their personality and behavior is key.

    “I would just make sure that they are sure of their dog's temperament with other animals, not just humans, because that’ll give them an idea of how they’ll react,” she said. “Just always monitor them and take it easy.”

    That advice was echoed by Francesca Carsen, the owner of another unlikely pair — Spanky the miniature pony, and Dally the Jack Russell Terrier.

    Carsen rescued 8-year-old Spanky when he was two years old. At first, the mini stallion was pretty aggressive, Carsen said, but over time he changed.

    “It took a while to train him,” she said. “Anybody that rescues an animal … It’s like dogs; you want to train them to be good citizens and be good with kids and other people.”

    In the meantime, Carsen had adopted a 6-month-old Jack Russell Terrier who often watched her train Spanky at her ranch in Washington state.

    Tired of being a spectator, one day Dally hopped on a step stool and jumped on Spanky’s back. Carsen had never trained her to do that.

    “I was actually rather worried when she first jumped up on him because I thought he might buck her off, so I wasn’t too excited,” she said. 

    But, instead, the incident helped bond the pair, and spawned the creation of a modern-day dog and pony show. Carsen taught Dally some commands and now she can jump onto Spanky’s back on call, and without a step stool.

    Carsen takes her dog and pony show on the road, performing around the U.S., as well as Canada. They’ve also worked with charities like the Ronald McDonald House. And for those who can’t make it to one of their live shows, Carsen documents the pair's daily activities on their Instagram account @dally_and_spanky

    They have books and there’s even a movie being made about the pair, Carsen said.

    “Filming should start this fall, so we’re really, really excited about it,” she said. “I’m just excited for everyone to get to know about these amazing animals.”

    The movie will be centered around Dally and Spanky’s life, she said — but the script isn’t quite done, so Carsen could not reveal any more details.

    Along with Dally and Spanky, Carsen and her partner have cattle, two cattle dogs, several farm cats, 12 big horses and two miniature horses, as well as another dog, named Boots. 

    But Dally is protective of Spanky, and barks when even Boots gets too close. "It’s her pony,” Carsen said. “And she loves being up there.” 

    The dynamic duo isn't Carsen's only client. She also works with other horses and owners at the equine school Rother Horsemanship in Hunters, Washington.  

    Carsen said it's important for people who are interested in adoption to research breeds, what they need and how that suits an owner's lifestyle. She also emphasized the importance of learning more about an animal’s history.

    “Most all animals — no matter what’s happened to them — can be changed, for sure, with proper training,” she said.

    And when it comes to different species living together, Carsen said she believes most can come to get along.

    “I think that these guys really show us that species [that] normally aren’t designed to hang out together, can absolutely get on together,” she added.

    Photo Credit: Francesca Carsen; Kris Gamayo

    Dally and Spanky (left) and Moki, Frida and Pandora are what some might think to be unlikely animal friends.Dally and Spanky (left) and Moki, Frida and Pandora are what some might think to be unlikely animal friends.

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    Carlsbad was ranked fourth in unaffordability for middle class housing Wednesday by USA Today.

    USA Today looked at 100 of the largest cities in the nation and found 20 where almost a third of middle class housing is cost-burdened.

    Eight of the 20 cities are in California.

    There aren’t many barriers in place to stop the increasing costs of middle class housing, resulting in many not being able to afford a home, said USA Today.

    USA Today found 52-percent of Carlsbad middle class to be cost-burdened.

    The median home value in San Diego rose 62-percent, which is over $220,000, in the past two decades, according to USA Today.

    This is the second largest home value increase in the country, said USA Today.

    An average single-family home now costs $570,533 in the area, according to USA Today.

    In their findings, causes of increased housing could be a result of the city’s population growth exceeding the national average, high construction costs, low housing inventories, environmental policies, and limited land space.

    Other California cities on the list are located in the following:

    20: Stockton
    16: Sacramento
    11: Riverside
    7: Los Angeles
    3: Ventura
    2: Santa Clara
    1: San Francisco

    To view all of the cities, visit USA Today’s full list.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

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    A San Diego Fire-Rescue captain sentenced to nearly half a year in custody for felony domestic violence is no longer employed with the city of San Diego, NBC7 confirmed Tuesday.

    Steven Michaels is serving 180 days in custody for injuring his girlfriend by throwing her against a wall in July 2017.

    Several firefighters, a psychiatrist and the victim appeared in court at Michaels’ February sentencing pleading with the judge for a lighter sentence that would not end the respected supervisor’s 30-year firefighting career.

    The victim testified on Michaels' behalf saying that they were in a “mutual combat” fight over his cell phone while they were both drunk.

    The city confirmed Tuesday that Michaels' last day on the city’s payroll was March 4, just a few days after the Feb. 28 sentencing.

    NBC 7 asked the city in March about Michaels’ employment status but did not receive a response then.

    “What I am guilty of is, I was a bad person. I was a bad boyfriend,” Michaels said in court in February. “I don’t want to let her down and I don’t ever want to let my brothers and sisters from the fire department down.”

    Judge Timothy Walsh said if he had reduced Michaels’ charge to a misdemeanor, which would have allowed Michaels to continue working and keep his pension, it would send the wrong message to the community.

    Walsh criticized the defense for framing their argument as if it was the judge taking away the fire captain’s 30-year career. Walsh said Michaels was the one to take away his own career.

    Michaels told the court his family depends on his salary.

    The City of San Diego’s San Diego Fire Department follows Civil Service Rule XI.

    That rule states an employee convicted of a crime faces suspension or removal, under various circumstances. 

    Those circumstances include:

    • The employee has been offensive in his or her conduct toward fellow employees, wards of the City, or the public.
    • The employee has been guilty of any conduct unbecoming an officer or employee of the City.
    • The employee has been convicted of a criminal offense involving moral turpitude.

    The veteran fire captain was arrested on two prior occasions for domestic violence in 2006 and 2015.

    Those incidents became an issue in the trial of a man who stabbed two SDFD firefighters in the East Village in June 2015.

    The defendant in that case, Ryan Allen Jones, claimed Michaels’ temper started the altercation when he shoved Jones away from a patient receiving medical care. 

    Surveillance and body camera video shows one of the firefighters, Ben Vernon, backing away from Jones with his hands up as Jones pulls out a knife and stabs him. Michaels and other firefighters raced to Vernon’s aide and another firefighter was stabbed trying to save his partner.

    Both Vernon and Alex Wallbrett recovered from their injuries. Jones was convicted to more than 20 years in prison.

    During Jones’ trial, Michaels testified that in 2006 he punched his wife who was seven months pregnant at the time. No disciplinary action was taken against Michaels and no charges were filed.

    "We took no action because his behavior posed no threat to other employees or to the public," then-SDFD spokesperson Lee Swanson said.

    City pay data shows Michaels was promoted from fire engineer to fire captain after the first arrest.

    Neither Michaels nor his defense attorney responded to a request for comment for this update.

    Defense Attorney Gretchen Von Helm told the court in February her client took the charges very seriously and he had participated in a recovery program.

    She said he was doing ongoing therapy to cope with issues he developed while on the job,  including PTSD. 

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

    San Diego Fire-Rescue Capt. Steven Michaels spoke in court, saying the experience has made him a better father and a better boyfriend.San Diego Fire-Rescue Capt. Steven Michaels spoke in court, saying the experience has made him a better father and a better boyfriend.

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    A young boy and his father handed out water bottles and popsicles last weekend to the firefighters battling the Holy Fire in Riverside and Orange counties – a simple gesture to thank the crews who defended their home from the 22,700-acre wildfire. 

    The still-burning fire has threatened the Villalobos' Corona home nearly since it erupted in the Cleveland National Forest on Aug. 6 and, while firefighters made progress to contain the blaze last weekend, hot and humid conditions bore down on firefighters from across the state.

    The Villalobos family watched in awe as crews with bulldozers cut a containment line to stop the blaze from progressing towards their home. The Holy Fire was 64 percent contained by Tuesday. 

    "My son was amazed by the teamwork that took place," said Kevin Villalobos, a retired Riverside County sheriff's deputy.

    Villalobos said his sons asked if they could hand out water to the firemen and 8-year-old Aaden Villalobos came up with another idea.

    "That is when my son asked, 'Can I share some of my of Otter Pops with them?'"

    Two fire trucks loaded with more crews, these from the San Diego area, began to unload in their driveway and walked along their fence towards the burnt area, Villalobos said.

    One by one, the eight-year-old perched on a ladder and his father handed the firefighters a water bottle and a popsicle.

    'Want popsicles?" "You guys are the best." "Thank you, you guys rock," the Villalobos can be heard saying in a video recorded by the boy's mother, Lori Villalobos. 

    As each firefighter passed, they uttered a "thank you" to the family but Lori Villalobos said the gesture was nothing compared to what the crews had done.

    "Don’t thank us, that’s nothing. Thank you." 

    Photo Credit: Victor Villalobos

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    A possible pipe bomb found during an FBI raid on a home in La Jolla prompted a large response from both local and federal agencies Wednesday.

    The potential bomb was located in a home in the 1600 block of Via Corona where a search warrant was served Wednesday morning, FBI San Diego agent Davene Butler said.

    Bomb technicians were called to inspect the item. Crews with San Diego Fire & Rescue, Hazmat, San Diego police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were also called.

    It was not clear why the search warrant was authorized.

    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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    Search crews looking for a girl missing at San Vicente Reservoir reported finding the child's body Wednesday.

    The 12-year-old girl was reported missing Saturday at the Lakeside reservoir that's popular for fishing, water skiing, and personal watercraft use. 

    She was wearing a life vest while sitting near the bow of the boat when she fell, officials said. Investigators say as the boat was slowing down, the bow was bouncing and the girl fell into the water. 

    The child's life preserver was later found by search teams. 

    Late in the evening Tuesday, sonar images located the girl at the bottom of the reservoir, 166 feet below water.

    On Wednesday morning, divers were able to retrieve the child and bring her to shore.

    Marine Safety Lt. Rich Stropky said the discovery was bittersweet.

    The divers were focused on completing the mission to help bring closure to the family, Stropky said.

    “This was absolutely a technologically heavy search,” he said. 

    Four adults and two children were aboard the boat at the time. It was not powered but moved across the water with the wind and current, officials said.

    Shortly after the girl fell in, several adults jumped to find her; one of the adults came back on to the boat to make the 911 call, according to officials.

    SDFD lifeguards, San Diego City Public Utilities Department ranger divers and the Lakeside Fire Department helped with the search.

    The depth of the reservoir extends beyond 120 feet. At that point, divers said the water becomes murky and there are 15-foot trees and rocks that make searching for the girl a challenge. 

    San Diego Fire-Rescue crews deployed sonar devices and remote-operated vehicles. 

    The girl was visiting from Canada with several family members, SDPD Sgt. Bryan Brecht said. The couple operating the boat were locals. 

    San Diego police towed the boat and launched an investigation into what happened. No foul play was suspected, police said.

    The incident was described by James Gartland, Interim Chief of Lifeguards, as a single-vessel accident.

    “She was wearing a life jacket,” he said. “The police department is conducting an investigation.” 

    Photo Credit: Danielle Radin, NBC 7
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    Where is our mind? Mattress Firm Amphitheatre was in alt-rock heaven when Weezer, the Pixies and Sleigh Bells rolled through town recently.

    Photo Credit: Alex Matthews

    Fresh off a much-celebrated, back-and-forth cover-song funfest with classic-rock stalwarts Toto, Weezer took a break from blessing Fresh off a much-celebrated, back-and-forth cover-song funfest with classic-rock stalwarts Toto, Weezer took a break from blessing "the rains down in Africa" for a moment to step into the spotlight at Chula Vista's Mattress Firm Amphitheatre on Saturday, Aug. 11. (Rivers Cuomo pictured)

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    White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced Wednesday that President Donald Trump is revoking former CIA Director John Brennan's security clearance. Brennan has been a prominent critic of Trump's policies, words and actions.

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    The San Diego region's deteriorating and congested roads are costing drivers nearly $2,000 a year, according to a new study from a national transportation research group. 

    Rough roads and the cost of lost time and wasted fuel due to congestion were the biggest contributing factors to San Diego drivers' average $1,941 vehicle operating costs per year, according to the study released by TRIP.

    TRIP is a private nonprofit that researches surface transportation issues. It is sponsored by insurance companies, businesses involved in highway and transit engineering and construction, labor unions and organizations among others.

    In California, some of those same interests backed Senate Bill 1, a 12-cent per gallon tax increase for road and transportation projects, which went into effect on Nov. 1, 2017. 

    The study called "San Diego Transportation by the Numbers" found, in total, California drivers lose $61 billion each year as a result of driving on deficient roads.

    Nearly half of that money is lost during the daily commute because of poor road design.

    Only 17 percent of San Diego's roads are in good condition and driving on bad roads costs the average San Diego driver nearly $700 in car repairs each year, the study found.

    The study also found, 56 percent of California's bridges are at least 50 years old, the eighth-highest rate in the nation. 

    "In the San Diego urban area, 64 of 1,591 bridges (20 feet or longer) are structurally deficient, meaning there is significant deterioration of the bridge deck, supports or other major components," the study said.

    The study examined road and bridge conditions, congestion, economic development, highway safety, and transportation funding in the San Diego region and across the nation to produce a series of localized reports, TRIP said. 

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    A man initially arrested in the Monday shooting death of a chef in the Gaslamp Quarter is now considered a person of interest, police said. 

    Joseph Aaron Holtz, 33, was shot at least once in the torso just before 2 a.m. after a confrontation between two groups near the intersection of 5th Avenue and Market Street, outside Blue Point Coastal Cuisine, the San Diego Police Department said. 

    People in the area rushed to aid Holtz. Medics arrived and took over life-saving efforts but he was pronounced dead at the scene about 20 minutes after he was shot, SDPD Lt. Matt Dobbs said. 

    Witnesses told police they saw two men leave the scene in a taxi. Those two men were located at 15th Street and Imperial Avenue, less than a mile from where the shooting occurred, and were taken into custody for questioning, Dobbs said. 

    One of the men, 23-year-old Jonathan Hernandez, was arrested and booked into jail, Dobbs said. 

    However, on Wednesday, Dobbs said Hernandez was considered a person of interest, not a suspect.

    "After discussing the developments with the District Attorney’s Office, no charges will be filed at this time pending further investigation," Dobbs said.

    Throughout the police investigation Monday morning, people stood outside the police-tape perimeter hoping they would not learn they knew the victim. 

    But their suspicions were confirmed -- Holtz was their co-worker, an employee of the Myst Lounge, they told NBC 7. 

    Friends described him as family. 

    "A very good guy; kind heart," the man's friend, Shaun Spearman said. "Would take care of anybody, looked out for anybody. He had just a big heart."

    Flowers were placed outside the Myst Lounge, which had curtains covering the closed door Monday afternoon. 

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    The City of Coronado is banning the use of e-cigarettes and other battery-operated smoking devices starting Thursday.

    In 2014, the city banned smoking on any outdoor public property, except on its golf course. This ban didn’t include e-cigarettes or other vaping products.

    This time, the city is clearly banning the smoking of any substance outside with an electronic device, including nicotine and marijuana.

    The new ordinance said the use of vaping products may have confused the enforcement of the previous smoking ban.

    The Coronado City Council cited that although studies on the long-term health effects of these devices are limited, they remain concerned of any toxic chemicals and secondhand effects in public spaces.

    The city will spend between $10,000 and $20,000 on new signage, education, and enforcement of the ban.

    It was first introduced on June 19, and it takes effect Thursday.

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    A severe thunderstorm warning was issued by the National Weather Service at 2 p.m. Wednesday for a storm that was located near State Route 78 between S-2 and Borrego Springs Road.

    Radar indicated winds at 60 mph and the potential for damage to roofs, siding and trees,  the National Weather Service said.

    Communities that may be impacted include Mount Laguna, Alpine, Julian, Pine Valley, Descanso, San Diego Country Estates and Potrero.

    The warning was expected to last until 3 p.m. PT.

    Stay close to NBC 7 for updates on this weather warning.

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

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    A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday accuses former University of Southern California campus gynecologist George Tyndall of sexually assaulting 30 women, bringing the growing number of civil cases filed by former patients to more than 300.

    The new complaint, obtained first by the NBC4 I-Team, alleges the women, listed as "Jane Does" in court papers, were sexually abused by Tyndall under the guise of legitimate medical exams at the campus Student Health Center, sometimes while being observed by a USC-employed nurse.

    "I think that the sheer volume speaks to how many women were failed by USC and its administration," attorney John Manly told NBC4.

    He filed this most recent case and said his firm represents more than 100 plaintiffs.

    USC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    Board of Trustees chairman Rick Caruso said in a letter to the campus in May that "profound" actions were needed in light of the allegations.

    "Our thoughts are with the families that have been affected by this situation, and our pledge to this community is that we will rebuild our culture to reflect an environment in which safety and transparency are of paramount importance, and to institute systemic change that will prevent this from occurring in the future," the letter said.

    On Aug. 6, attorney Gloria Allred announced she'd filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of 12 women who said they were abused by Tyndall during exams. Numerous alleged victims claim the university received complaints of Tyndall's alleged sexually abusive behavior dating back to at least 1988, and deliberately concealed Tyndall's actions.

    In June LAPD detectives assigned to the Robbery-Homicide Division served a search warrant at Tyndall's condo on Wilshire Boulevard in the Westlake District near downtown.

    Tyndall was not arrested.

    Manly said many of his clients have been frustrated by the pace of the criminal investigation.

    "Almost every one of our clients has had contact with the LAPD," Manly said. "Only six or seven have been interviewed by the LA County District Attorney's Office, and honestly, for our survivors, that's frustrating. They understand it's a slow process, but many of them fear without an arrest, he's going to flee."

    Attorneys for some victims have argued that following an internal investigation of complaints against Tyndall in 2016 the university paid Tyndall a substantial financial settlement so he would quietly resign.

    USC officials have denied any cover up, and Tyndall has denied any wrongdoing.

    In an open letter to faculty and staff in May, USC Provost Michael Quick said top administrators did not know about the complaints until 2016.

    "It is true that our system failed, but it is important that you know that this claim of a cover-up is patently false," Quick wrote. "We would never knowingly put students in harm's way."

    USC established a hotline for complaints about Tyndall and has offered free counseling to his former patients.

    Photo Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

    La Oficina de Derechos Civiles (OCR) del Departamento de Educación de Estados Unidos anunció el lunes una investigación sobre el manejo por parte de USC de los informes de acoso sexual contra el ex ginecólogo del campus Dr. George Tyndall.La Oficina de Derechos Civiles (OCR) del Departamento de Educación de Estados Unidos anunció el lunes una investigación sobre el manejo por parte de USC de los informes de acoso sexual contra el ex ginecólogo del campus Dr. George Tyndall.

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    A 4-year-old dog nearly lost her tongue as employees at a PetSmart store in Compton were grooming her.

    July, a Yorkshire Terrier, has the distinctive trait of keeping her tongue out. It's part of what owner Cynthia Beezer loves about the little dog.

    "That was her signature when I got her," said Beezer. "That's what made me buy her because I was like, 'Oh my God, she’s so cute and unique!'"

    Beezer said the dog had blood all over her paws and feet, and that the tongue was hanging off.

    PetSmart responded by saying that it was an unfortunate accident that July happened to stick out her tongue at the exact moment the groomer was trimming around her face. July was rushed to the veterinarian to receive treatment.

    Beezer understands it was an accident, but she also believes this was negligence and wants PetSmart groomers more properly trained.

    Photo Credit: KNBC

    A 4-year-old dog nearly lost her tongue as employees at a PetSmart store in Compton were grooming her.A 4-year-old dog nearly lost her tongue as employees at a PetSmart store in Compton were grooming her.

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    An Oceanside woman who struck a homeless man and continued driving with the man lodged in her windshield before walking home and changing her clothes was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison Wednesday.

    Esteysi “Stacy” Sanchez had at least five alcoholic drinks, plus beer, in the hours before her car struck a pedestrian on July 27, 2016.

    She was convicted of murder in the second degree, gross vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter while intoxicated and hit and run with death or permanent serious injury in April.

    Jack Tenhulzen was walking on the sidewalk of Mission Avenue in Oceanside was struck with such force, the impact stripped him of his clothes and severed his leg. The man's leg flew through the back window and landed on the trunk of the car, police said.

    Tenhulzen, 69, bled to death inside Sanchez’s car, which she abandoned on the street near her home.

    Sanchez called her boyfriend, walked home and changed clothes. 

    In his opening statement, Sanchez’s attorney acknowledged that his client did drive drunk and fled the scene. Attorney Herb Weston told jurors that fatigue, not alcohol, was responsible for the deadly crash.

    Sanchez had a blood alcohol level of approximately .22 percent at the time of the collision. That’s almost three times the legal limit of .08 percent.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

    Esteysi Esteysi "Stacy" Sanchez appears at a preliminary hearing on Dec. 12, 2016.

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    The Chula Vista Police Department confirmed the 8-year-old boy who was missing in the Otay Ranch area Wednesday has been found.

    The department said at around 4 p.m. officers were looking for a third grader who never came home from school at Heritage Elementary.

    The boy was expected home at 2:30 p.m. but never arrived at his home just across the street from the school.

    An SDPD helicopter was flying in the area assisting in the search.

    No other information was available.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7
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    Traffic is coming to a halt as flames and smoke billow over the South Bay skyline at the scene of a scrap yard fire.

    The fire started just after 5 p.m. in the 900 block of Heritage Road.

    Pieces of metal and a car are on fire in the scrap yard, according to SDPD. 

    San Diego police are shutting down traffic around Heritage Road, and San Diego Fire-Rescue is establishing a fire attack.

    No structures are threatened, according to SDFD. 

    No injuries have been reported at this time.

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

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    San Diego’s City Auditor Eduardo Luna has taken another job and will be out by September 28, according to a letter he sent to Mayor Kevin Faulconer and the city council.

    Luna said he is leaving to become the city of Beverly Hills’ first independent auditor, effective October 1.

    In 2009, San Diego’s City Council established the Independent Auditor as a “watchdog that finds ways to make city operations more efficient,” according to Faulconer.

    The auditor is responsible for performance and financial audits along with special investigations.

    Last month, Luna’s office released their first report looking into hundreds of customers who complained of high water bills. Another report on the smart water meter system is expected to be released by September.

    The auditor position carries a 10-year term which, for Luna, was due to come to an end in April 2019.

    In a news release, Faulconer said the city has already started a “nationwide search” to find Luna’s replacement.

    San Diego City Auditor Eduardo Luna at a news conference on July 26, 2018.San Diego City Auditor Eduardo Luna at a news conference on July 26, 2018.

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    Civic San Diego, the agency responsible for planning and development in downtown and southeastern San Diego, faces a lawsuit over allegations that its chairperson was paid by a developer whose project he later voted on.

    San Diegans for Open Government filed the lawsuit against the City and Civic San Diego on August 14, less than a week after San Diego’s Ethics Commission fined Civic San Diego chairperson Phil Rath $11,000 for conflicts of interest violations when voting on a large development of city-owned land in San Diego’s Encanto neighborhood.

    The Ethics Commission found, as reported by Voice of San Diego, that developer Affirmed Housing Group paid Rath’s public relations firm $122,000 in 2013 to help secure funding for a project in San Marcos.

    But when it came time for Affirmed Housing to gain approval for a mixed-use project at the corner of Hilltop Drive and Euclid Avenue, and seek $5.8 million in affordable housing funds from Civic San Diego and the City, Rath failed to disclose his work with Affirmed.

    Development of the 8.5-acre lot in Encanto has been in the making for more than 30 years. Affirmed proposes to build a 150-unit, mixed-use development which would include 111 affordable housing units and retail space.

    Rath served on Civic San Diego’s board, the entity responsible for approval of development projects, in June 2016 when Affirmed Housing was selected as the developer for the Encanto project. Rath did so despite not having disclosed his firm’s work for Affirmed.

    “[Rath] participated in this matter, despite the fact that he had received more than $500 in income from Affirmed within the previous twelve-month period,” reads the Ethics Commission report. “In addition to voting in favor of the motion concerning the recommendation to the City Council, [Rath] participated in the discussion and opined as follows concerning the selection of Affirmed: ‘[I]t’s clear that this is the winner of this contest . . . and who I think we should proceed with.’”

    The Ethics Commission fined Rath $11,000 for the violation.

    And, now the City, as well as Civic San Diego, must answer to it as well.

    The lawsuit filed by San Diegans for Open Government requests a judge rescind the approval for the Hilltop and Euclid development.

    The non-profit advocacy group is also calling on San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan and San Diego City Attorney Mara Elliott to look into filing a civil lawsuit against Rath. If they choose not to, then San Diegans for Open Government will sue Rath in civil court as well.

    “The lobbyists who run city hall have again managed to break the law and walk away with a slap on the wrist,” says Cory Briggs, the attorney for San Diegans for Open Government. “When a developer gives $100,000 to a lobbyist masquerading as a public official, the lobbyist should not get off with a 10 percent ‘penalty’ and then welcomed back to work. He should be removed from office and thrown in jail. Time will tell whether law enforcement in this town protects the taxpayers from dirty public officials, or protects dirty public officials from the taxpayers.”

    Civic San Diego did not respond to a request for comment.

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    The family of Earl McNeil is asking the District Attorney’s Office to recuse themselves from the investigation into his death.

    Family spokesperson Mark Lane told NBC 7 the family came away from a meeting with Sheriff Bill Gore felling like they were told the truth. “The Sheriff was able to fill in a lot of the timeline for us,” Lane said.

    McNeil, 40, went to the National City Police Department (NCPD) building for help last May, according to his family. He was taken into custody by NCPD and was taken to UCSD Medical Center comatose with bruises and severe brain damage. He died in a vegetative state in the hospital 16 days after being taken into custody.

    The National City Police Department released a statement, saying McNeil called them from outside the police station on May 26. When they came out, he was paranoid and combative. Police said they found a controlled substance on McNeil and attempted to arrest him.

    Police added they restrained McNeil using a wrap, and as they were driving him to the county jail, he stopped breathing. Officers said they called paramedics.

    Since his death, his family and others have been asking for answers about exactly what happened.

    “The family’s level of frustration is incredible,” Lane said. “They’re still traumatized. They’re still having a hard time dealing with it.”

    He said the Sheriff’s Department was never able to take custody of McNeil because of his condition.

    Now the investigation is in the hands of the District Attorney, who the family says is too closely tied to National City Police and McNeil himself. Documents revealed the DA used him as a confidential informant in a murder trial.

    “They should just come out and say, ‘Hey look, we can’t take this case, we cannot take this case because of conflict of interest.’ That’s what we’re looking for," Lane added. 

    A District Attorney spokesperson confirmed National City police have forwarded the investigation to the DA, and the DA has reached out to the state’s attorney general to see if the office should recuse itself.

    In a statement, the DA's office told NBC 7:

    "The National City Police Department has concluded its investigation into the in-custody death of Mr. Earl McNeil and has forwarded it to the District Attorney’s Office. The District Attorney has prioritized the review of this case and will conduct this review in a thorough and objective manner based on all of the evidence in the case. If additional follow-up investigation is needed, the DA’s office will do so. The purpose of the DA’s review is to provide an independent analysis to determine if any use of force was legally justified or not, for the purposes of criminal liability. In the meantime, the District Attorney’s Office has reached out to the California Attorney General’s Office to request their opinion on whether there is a legal basis for recusal. The DA is also including the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Civil Rights Division and is sharing all information with that independent agency, which has concurrent jurisdiction."

    “That’s a good response. It’s a step in the right direction,” Lane said. “We’re not going to go away.”

    Photo Credit: NBC 7

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    A broken water main in the Midtown area caused a traffic delay for commuters entering and exiting Interstate 5 at W. Washington Street and left five area restaurants without water.

    An 8-inch cast iron main broke near the intersection of Hancock Street and Emory Street just before 3:30 p.m., a city spokesperson said.

    A small river of water was flowing down Hancock Street and wrapped around the corner flowing westward onto W. Washington.

    Employees at nearby restaurants were seen using brooms and squeegees to try and keep their buildings from flooding. The city spokesperson said five restaurants were without water service as of 6:30 p.m. Water service was expected to be returned by midnight.

    The on and off-ramps of I-5 from Washington Street were closed until further notice.

    Crews were able to stop the flow of water around 4:30 p.m. SDPD was on scene directing traffic.

    MTS said no trolley services were delayed, but detours were being planned for bus routes 10, 280 and 290. MTS hasn't determined which stops will be missed but said impact will be minimal.

    Bus and trolley updates can be found @sdmts on Twitter and the MTS website.

    No other information was available.

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

    Photo Credit: Omari Fleming, NBC 7
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    A registered sex offender who was attacked by a girl's father and arrested by San Diego police in an alleged kidnapping in Oak Park, faced a judge Monday.

    Francisco "Frankie" Diaz is accused of entering the 3-year-old's bedroom after breaking the window screen and raping her before taking her to his home two doors away, San Diego police said.

    The Deputy District Attorney said Diaz's mother saw him carrying the baby naked from the waist down and returned her to her home.

    When officers arrived, Diaz had been injured in an altercation with the girl's father. Her father was in court Wednesday and could be heard crying when details of the case were read.

    Diaz pleaded not guilty to five felony charges, including kidnapping, threat to cause death, lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and sodomy with a minor. He is being held without bail.

    If convicted he could spend the rest of his life in jail.

    Officials who track sex offenders in San Diego County say they knew Diaz was living on the Maple Street, the same street as a school and a park but say he was compliant under the law.

    Diaz served four years in state prison for false imprisonment and possession of a controlled substance beginning in 2007. He also had been convicted of misdemeanor charges of molestation involving juveniles. 

    When the 46-year-old sex offender was released from custody, he was required to register on the Megan's Law website, which he did.

    But when NBC 7 looked on the site's neighborhood map, Diaz did not show up at his Oak Park address.

    Attorney Marc Carlos told NBC 7 that is not unusual.

    “The more serious ones are listed by address but there are a large number of people who are registered sex offenders who don't necessarily have to do that by law,” Carlos said.

    There are three categories or levels of reporting for sex offenders on the Megan’s Law website by full address, zip code and no post at all.

    Based on Diaz’s criminal record he was required to give only his zip code.

    The San Diego County SAFE Task Force tracks offenders. They told NBC 7 they were aware of Diaz, that he lived across the street from Oak Park Elementary School and that he was compliant prior to his arrest on Saturday.

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    Technology may soon steer California’s auto insurance industry in a new direction.

    More and more car insurance companies now offer plans which allow customers to pay according to each mile they drive.

    San Francisco based Metromile is one of several companies in the state to offer the mile-to-mile plans.

    “Our average driver drives about six thousand miles a year and they save about forty percent or so on their car insurance,” says Dan Preston, Metromile’s CEO.

    To collect the number of miles, Metromile send customers a tracking device that they call, “the pulse.”

    Drivers insert the device into their car and it tracks the number of miles.

    “The pulse sends back the number of miles driven so at the end of the month we can bill the number of miles times the per mile rate,” says Preston.”The reason it works well for our customers is that most people drive less than the average driver.”

    In addition to recording miles driven, the device also notifies customers of upcoming street sweepings, and parking meter violations.

    But Preston says customers can choose to turn the GPS features off in case of privacy concerns.

    "We do not sell that data to external parties,” adds Preston. “Plus, customers can actually set the insurance account to not send back any data except the number of miles driven."

    But Preston admits that the mile-to-mile plans are for those drivers whose commute is less than 20 miles a day.

    According to one local insurance expert, all drivers should look at a list of items, not just cost, when buying auto insurance. 

    “What level of counsel do you want? What level of claims service do you want? What level of contract do you want?” are among the questions that drivers should ask, says Walt Waggener an insurance broker from Carlsbad.

    “After those questions, then it comes to the price. Find the company that fulfills all of the things you want,” he said.

    Photo Credit: Bob Hansen

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    A priest who once presided and taught in San Diego is among the hundreds of clergymen accused in a Pennsylvania Grand Jury report of abusing more than 1,000 children.

    Father Ernest Paone volunteered at least two San Diego County parishes while on loan from the Pittsburgh Diocese.

    The San Diego Diocese told NBC 7 Paone lived in the San Diego area from the 60s to at least the 90s, and volunteered at Mary Star of the Sea in Oceanside and St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church in Encinitas during that time.

    NBC 7 obtained a Confirmation mass bulletin from 2015 that listed him as a one of the class member’s Baptismal priest at Saint John’s.

    The local Diocese said that he pushed for an assignment in San Diego but was never given one.

    According to page 218 of the 1,356-page report, on May 1, 1962, a fellow priest at Pennsylvania parish "interceded to prevent Paone from being arrested for 'molesting young boys of the parish and the illegal use of guns with even younger parishioners.'"

    Search "Paone" in the upper-right corner of the report below to see more accusations against Paone.


    The report also stated "There is no indication that the [Pittsburgh] Diocese provided any interested parties information that Paone had sexually abused children or that the Diocese had played a role in preventing his prosecution for that conduct."

    Records also show Paone worked as a junior high teacher for two decades in at Potter Junior High School in Fallbrook.

    Paone, who died in 2012, is just one of more than 300 priests accused of abuse in the state of Pennsylvania. The allegations go back decades and include six diocese in the state. Only two have been charged. Under Pennsylvania law, time has run out to bring charges against most of the others.