How California party mom courted kids with Snapchat, Tiffany jewelry, Tahoe trip, drunken parties

SAN JOSE, Calif. — For months, they thought Shannon O’Connor was the adult in the room. As far as they knew, their 14- and 15-year-old kids were hanging out with the Los Gatos mom’s charismatic freshman quarterback son, playing ping pong and swimming at the family’s $4.7 million French Colonial-style home in the hills. Little by little, their kids’ strange behavior hinted that something disturbing was going on. They eventually discovered how O’Connor had befriended their kids on Snapchat, luring the teens to parties with their favorite beer and showering the girls with roses and jewelry from T...

Phish fan falls to his death at San Francisco concert

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A fan died Sunday night after he fell during a concert by the popular jam band, Phish, at San Francisco’s Chase Center, and two other people were injured later in an unrelated fall. “Two guests attending last night’s concert were seriously injured,” Chase Center officials said in a statement. “The San Francisco Medical Examiner’s Officer has informed us that, sadly, one of the individuals has passed away. We extend our heartfelt condolences to the guest’s loved ones. We are working with the local authorities to determine exactly what happened, and will defer questions about ...

Theranos trial: Elizabeth Holmes hired her brother, who hired his college pals

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes’ brother Christian, whom she brought in as a senior manager at her blood-testing startup, in turn hired a crew of his college friends, one of those friends testified Friday at Holmes’ criminal fraud trial. Daniel Edlin told the jury that he and five other pals of Christian Holmes from Duke University were hired as senior product managers, four of them at once in 2011 and two later. Edlin and several of the other Duke grads ended up helping train Walgreens drugstore employees who were to deliver Theranos testing services starting in late 2013...

Bay Area woman charged with hosting secret teen parties filled with booze and sex

LOS GATOS, Calif. — A South Bay woman has been charged with hosting a series of illegal parties for her son and his friends at which investigators say she supplied alcohol, pushed them to binge drink and manipulated them into having sex with intoxicated teenage girls — in some cases, facilitating sexual assaults. Shannon Bruga, also known as Shannon O’Connor, is awaiting extradition to Santa Clara County after she was arrested Saturday in Ada County, Idaho, where she has a home in addition to her residence in Los Gatos that is currently on the market. She faces 39 criminal charges, including 1...

San Jose to become largest California city to ban flavored tobacco sales, smoking in apartments

SAN JOSE, Calif. — San Jose is poised to become the largest city in California to ban the sale of flavored tobacco products and prohibit all smoking inside apartments. At a rally outside San Jose City Hall on Monday, Mayor Sam Liccardo, city council members and community leaders agreed that it was “far past time” for the city to enact these laws and keep the enticing fruity, minty and candied flavors away from San Jose children. The full 11-member city council will vote Tuesday on the proposed measures. “We know better,” Liccardo said at the rally. “And we just need to make sure that our young...

Palo Alto scientist pleads not guilty to setting Shasta fire that has claimed 41 homes

SAN JOSE, Calif. — A Palo Alto woman has been charged with arson in connection with Shasta County’s Fawn fire that has destroyed 41 homes and 90 smaller structures and is threatening thousands more. Alexandra Souverneva, a 30-year-old graduate of the California Institute of Technology and former Bay Area biotech employee, pleaded not guilty to the felony charges against her during a Friday arraignment in the county’s Superior Court. She could face up to nine years in state prison if convicted. Facing a crowd of angry and displaced Shasta County residents at a community meeting on Saturday nigh...

Fawn fire in N. California swells to more than 7,000 acres, but officials ‘optimistic’

ANDERSON, Calif. — Firefighters faced off against the fast-moving Fawn fire as it edged closer to Shasta Lake on Saturday, hoping to take advantage of lighter winds and cooler temperatures expected to last through the weekend. The fire broke out Wednesday afternoon in a rocky quarry area near Bear Mountain Road and has charred 7,544 acres in just three days, leveling at least 100 structures and threatening 9,000 more. Nearly 2,000 residents have been evacuated. Still, Cal Fire officials reported progress: As wind gusts died down Friday, more than 1,600 crews built new containment lines and def...

Elizabeth Holmes trial: Theranos cared more about PR and raising money than patients, former lab chief testifies

When former Theranos laboratory director Adam Rosendorff joined the startup, he saw so much promise in the idea of using a small blood-sized sample from a simple finger stick that he thought the company could become “the next Apple,“ he testified Friday. But as the months wore on, he became concerned about Theranos’ technology and priorities. “I came to realize that the company really valued PR and fundraising over patient care,” he testified during the criminal trial of company founder Elizabeth Holmes in U.S. District Court in San Jose. His feelings about the company’s priorities were one of...

San Jose to apologize to Chinese community for past wrongs

In May 1887, a deliberately set fire tore through San Jose’s Chinatown on Market Street, destroying homes and businesses and displacing 1,400 people. The fire happened not long after the City Council had declared Chinatown — the second on that site and one of five in the city’s history — to be a public nuisance in the way of plans to build a new city hall. This was just perhaps the worst example of the discrimination faced by the Chinese community in San Jose, and all happening during an intense anti-Chinese period of California history that included the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. Next wee...

Former Defense secretary Mattis applauded ‘young Elizabeth’ Holmes, but bloom came off

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Retired four-star general and former U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis wrote admiring messages to Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes after she told him of her startup’s technology, but after he joined the board he came to question her promises, jurors heard at Holmes’ criminal fraud trial Wednesday. “There just came a point where I just didn’t know what to believe about Theranos anymore,” Mattis testified. Mattis was the commander of U.S. and allied forces in the Middle East when he first met Holmes in San Francisco in 2011 after he gave a speech, he testified. She describe...

Elizabeth Holmes trial: Theranos’ use of workers’ blood led to whistleblower’s concerns

Theranos whistleblower Erika Cheung’s first inkling that the company’s technology fell short of founder Elizabeth Holmes’ claims arose because the startup used its workers’ blood to check how well tests performed, the former laboratory assistant testified Tuesday. “Employees would essentially donate their blood to Theranos for cash,” Cheung told jurors on the second day of Holmes criminal trial, without saying how much was paid. When Cheung’s blood was used to “validate” Vitamin D testing on Theranos machines, “it would always come up that I was deficient,” she testified. But her results didn’...

Caldor fire: Firefighters get a break as South Lake Tahoe escapes damage, but danger still looms

For the first time in days, the pace of the Caldor fire’s growth slowed Thursday, giving firefighters a sense of cautious optimism even as they warned that the unpredictable blaze still threatens parts of California’s famed Tahoe Basin. Winds over the next few days are expected to be mild, giving crews a chance to cut off the 210,259-acre fire’s advance before it burns through another community. South Lake Tahoe so far has been spared — in part thanks to a lucky break in the weather, but it’s far too early for those on the front lines to feel a sense of relief. The fire remains too close to th...

‘Impeachment: American Crime Story’: Will we see Monica Lewinsky in a different light?

Actress Beanie Feldstein admits that she took on an extra layer of responsibility when she accepted the lead role in “Impeachment: American Crime Story,” the star-studded dramatic retelling of an explosive political scandal. Not only did she have to portray Monica Lewinsky, she had to protect her. “I made it very clear to her when we started filming that I saw myself as her bodyguard,” Feldstein said. “I was like, ‘I’m putting my body in for you. I’m going to protect you. I have your back. I know your heart.’ And that’s my job.” Long before Donald Trump was impeached twice, Bill Clinton faced ...

Tail-chasing in a cat could be a sign of a health issue

DEAR JOAN — What do you know about cats chasing their tails? Our cat, who found us and said "I live here now, feed me," has chased his tail (before), although only one or two times. Within the last week he seems to be aggressively going after his tail. I know this is worrisome. Obviously, I need to take him to the vet. To be sure I get the right diagnosis what questions should the vet be looking at? Joan, Palo Cedro, California DEAR JOAN: It's normal for kittens to chase their tails, but less common in adult cats. Anytime a pet starts exhibiting a strange, unexplained behavior, it's time for a...

Northern California's Dixie fire has burned more than 500,000 acres, but growth has slowed

SAN JOSE, Calif. — The Dixie fire had burned more than half a million acres across Northern California as of Wednesday, but light winds helped to stave off the intense growth that pushed flames into Lake Almanor towns last week. The enormous wildfire — now the state’s second-biggest of all time — had charred 501,008 acres of land and was 30% contained Wednesday morning, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Prevention, or Cal Fire. Most of its overnight expansion occurred after it jumped containment lines northwest of Chester and to the northeast moving closer to Janesvil...

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