Walnut Creek

Fire stations robbed as crews battle blaze

While firefighters battled the rapidly-growing Morgan fire on Mount Diablo Sunday, unknown burglars took personal possessions from one fire station and attempted to break into another, authorities said.

Police do not know exactly when the burglar or burglars broke through the locked back door of Contra Costa County Fire Station 7, located at 1050 Walnut Ave. Firefighters said the burglars broke into lockers and backpacks, taking numerous valuable items, from iPads to watches to wedding rings.

Because some of the firefighters have yet to return to the station, it is still unclear just how much was taken.

Authorities believe that the same burglar or burglars attempted a short time later to break into Station 3, located at 1520 Rossmoor Parkway¿, but crews were in the station when they heard a rattling noise, said Contra Costa Fire Protection District spokesman Steve Aubert.

Aubert said whoever was trying to break in quickly fled the area, and nothing was taken from the station.

No suspect description was available Tuesday, but Cherry said police spent hours at the station, investigating. However, there is little to go off, Lt. Steve Gorski said, because there were no witnesses.

-- Katie Nelson, Staff

MARTINEZ

College board looks to fill vacant seat


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The Contra Costa Community College District Board tonight will elect a new president and discuss options for filling the vacancy left by the death of President Sheila Grilli.

The board will meet at 6 p.m. at the George R. Gordon Education Center, 500 Court St. The board will also discuss a potential 2014 local bond measure, preliminary project list and polling strategies. In addition, it will hold a public hearing on its 2013-14 budget.

Information about the meeting is available by calling 925-229-1000 or at www.4cd.edu. Click on "Governing Board," then select "Agendas, Minutes and Minutes Indexes."

-- Theresa Harrington, Staff

PLEASANT HILL

No damage reported in magnitude 2.9 quake

A magnitude 2.9 earthquake struck the area Tuesday afternoon, but there were no reports of damage.

The quake occurred at 2:52 p.m., according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The epicenter was just west of Interstate 680 near the Monument Boulevard exit, according to the USGS.

--Staff

FREMONT

Missing box of human ashes found by road

When the passer-by spotted the box in the grass on the side of the road and opened it to reveal its contents, police say he got quite the surprise.

Inside the small box: Human remains.

Officers were dispatched at 6 p.m. Sunday to Creekside Village Apartments in the 2900 block of Sequoia Terrace for a report of found property, said police spokeswoman Geneva Bosques.

A 41-year-old man there told police that he spotted a small box near Paseo Padre Parkway and when he picked it up, he saw a crematorium's labeling. Inside appeared to be the ashes of a dead person.

Upon further inspection of the box, police noticed it was labeled with the decedent's name, date of death and the crematorium used, Bosques said. The name of the crematorium was not released.

Using the name on the box, police located a member of the decedent's family -- a 33-year-old man who lived nearby.

The man told police that earlier that day someone broke into his car and stole the box of ashes that were later found by the road, Bosques said.

The victim said his car was parked in the 37300 block of Sequoia Road when he noticed someone had broken into it.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff

CASTRO VALLEY

Injuries in morning I-580 rollover crash

Traffic backed up Tuesday morning along westbound Interstate 580 in Hayward following a three-car rollover crash involving injuries, according to the California Highway Patrol.

Officers were called at 7:37 a.m. to the westbound lanes of I-580 near I-238 for a report of a three-vehicle wreck involving a small truck and two other vehicles, said Officer Kevin Bartlett.

When emergency responders arrived they discovered at least one of the vehicles had rolled during the crash. Minor injuries were reported and the westbound I-580 slow lane was blocked, Bartlett said.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff

PALO ALTO

Seminar series to help medical caregivers

A free seminar series aimed at helping caregivers of patients battling serious illnesses is scheduled to begin this week at Stanford Hospital¿.

The Fremont-based Cancer Prevention Institute of California is launching the biweekly series, which will include seven seminars scheduled from Thursday to Jan. 9.

Each session will be held at Stanford Hospital's Health Library, in Hoover Pavilion, at 211 Quarry Road, Suite 201.

Health experts and professional caregivers will lead discussions regarding the specific challenges that caregivers face. The series aims to address issues such as managing personal finances, coping skills and dealing with emotions stemming from work, communicating effectively and maintaining healthy relationships.

All seminars, being offered at no cost, will run from 7 to 9 p.m. Reservations are required for each session. To register, call 650-498-7826 or send an email to education@cpic.org.

--ChrisDeBenedetti,Staff

San Leandro

Former gang member to speak at center

A former East Los Angeles gang member is hoping his story of struggle will touch the lives of local youth Thursday at the REACH Ashland Youth Center.

Luis J. Rodriguez will read portions of his award-winning 1993 memoir "Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A." The free two-hour event begins at 6 p.m. and is open to the public. Youth center book club members will be in attendance.

The author recently released a follow-up book called, "It Calls you Back: An Odyssey through Love, Addiction, Revolutions and Healing," that won a National Book Critics Circle Award. Called one of the leading Chicano writers in the country, Rodriguez has published 14 books in the memoir, fiction, nonfiction, children's literature and poetry genres. Books will be available for purchase and signing.

The youth center is located at 16335 E. 14th St.

-- Ashly McGlone, Staff

SAN FRANCISCO

Fremont man found unconscious in S.F. dies

A Fremont man found unconscious in Union Square over the weekend has died from his injuries, a hospital spokeswoman said Tuesday.

Manuel Gallegos, 43, was found about 5 a.m. on Saturday with head injuries from an apparent fall and taken to San Francisco General Hospital, said spokeswoman Rachael Kagan.

He was carrying no identification and was in critical condition when he arrived at the hospital, she said. A relative came forward Sunday after the hospital asked the public's help identifying the man.

It was not known how Gallegos was injured, but police say it appears his death may have been an accident. An autopsy will determine how he died.

According to a Fremont Police Department report, Gallegos' mother saw her son's photo on the news Sunday night.

-- Natalie Neysa Alund, Staff

Oakland

2nd man charged in photographer's killing

Alameda County prosecutors plan to charge a second man this week with murder in the shooting death of former Oakland Tribune freelance photographer Lionel Fluker, a defense attorney confirmed.

Donel Poston, 37, will be charged with murder in an unusual, last-minute decision that was made as attorneys in an attempted-murder trial against Poston were set to begin picking jurors.

Poston faced an attempted-murder charge in connection to the gunfight that led to Fluker's death April 5 when the photographer was randomly hit in the head by a stray bullet as he drove through the intersection of Seminary Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard.

Anthony Lister, 38, a 10-time felon, has already been charged with murder in the death of Fluker because investigators determined, through ballistics, that the bullet that killed Fluker, 54, came from Lister's 9 mm¿ handgun. Poston, who fired a .40-caliber handgun, was never charged in connection to Fluker's killing; he was only charged with attempted murder for shooting at Lister after the two got into a fist fight at a gas station near the corner of Seminary Avenue and MacArthur Boulevard.

-- Paul T. Rosynsky, Staff