• Holiday gift cards: Debating the merits - 12/22/2014 05:52 AM PST
    ( RAY CHAVEZ )
    Richmond downtown a magical affair for holidays

    The Downtown Holiday Festival in Richmond, an annual event, was hosted by the Richmond Main Street Initiative (RMSI) in partnership with the East Bay Center for the Performing Arts, at the historic downtown Winters Building that now serves as the performing arts center's headquarters.  
    Responding officers found two men exiting the house, both with guns. Police told them to drop their weapons and both men ran. One man dropped his weapon and ran, while the other took off with weapon in hand and headed north on Rice Street.  
    Mayor Tom Bates says Berkeley police, whom many residents have accused of unnecessary violence, on the whole acted admirably during recent protests but that purported misconduct should be investigated.  
    The fire in the sky that emanated from Chevron's Richmond refinery Thursday night not only alarmed residents and elected leaders but cast fresh doubt on the area's medical emergency response capacity in the event of a major accident at the refinery.  
    Although new local control accountability plans required by the state are a good first step toward engaging with and informing the public about how money is spent in school districts throughout the state, the Education Trust-West student advocacy group recommends several improvements to make them easier to understand.  
    Saturday will mark the 50th day that Defenders of the Berkeley Post Office have occupied a tent in front of the landmark building  
    Largest visible plume since August 2012 drew strong reaction Thursday evening around the San Francisco Bay Area  
    Contra Costa College Advocate
    Chevron officials said that a flare that could be seen for miles Thursday night was not a cause for alarm, but a county supervisor called it "not a normal flaring event."  
    The Richmond Police Department announced Thursday the firing of disgraced 19-year veteran Sgt. Michael Wang following allegations he took bribes, arranged drug deals, outed a confidential informant and tipped off a drug cartel member to a federal tracking device.  
    Finance director Sheri Gamba attributed about two-thirds of the enrollment loss to the district's approval of three new charter schools in December and the rest to data from a recent population survey. The district also faces increased costs for retirement contributions and health care costs for current and former employees.