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Deadly Russian plane crash caught on surveillance video

Deadly Russian plane crash caught on surveillance video

A home security camera captured the moment a passenger plane crashed in a field near the town of Stepanovskoye, in the Moscow Oblast, on February 11, 2018. Seventy one people were on board the plane, including six crew members, when it crashed shortly after departing from Moscow Domodedovo Airport toward Orsk, Siberia, the Ministry of Civil Defense said. No survivors are expected. A list of the passengers and crew was also released by the Ministry of Civil Defense.

Tahoe rental limits are being felt all the way in Modesto

Loud hot tub parties, overcrowded driveways and trash left by vacationers in this alpine community recently prompted elected leaders to enact tough new rules for landlords.

The impact of those already has drawn the concern of one Modesto man.

The city added significant restrictions on existing vacation home rental operators – including a $2,000 fine for over-parking and a ban on hot tub use after 10 p.m.

“I understand that there is a need for some regulation, but I think they have overstepped,” said Don Strangio of Modesto, whose family has owned a South Lake Tahoe home for 30 years. “They have instituted a $2,000 fine for a parking violation.”

Now activists are pushing an even tougher ballot measure that would make operating vacation rentals unlawful in much of the city, which long has been a vacation destination for those in the northern San Joaquin Valley.

The issue pits full-time residents concerned about the impact on their neighborhoods against those making extra income or subsidizing their mortgages by renting out their homes. Over three years, the ballot measure would eliminate 1,400 vacation rentals – or roughly 75 percent of those homes currently licensed as rentals.

“It’s a very hot button issue in our community,” said Mayor Wendy David.

How hot? Last week , when El Dorado County tried to gather community input on the issue, so many people showed up to voice their opinion the fire marshal shut the meeting down. While the city has already taken action, the county is still considering how to address the issue.

Lenore Twomey was one area resident who came to the Thursday evening meeting hoping to voice her opinion.

“There is a real conflict when you have people who have come to party that come to live in our neighborhoods,” said Twomey. She said she recognizes that South Lake Tahoe has always been a tourist community, but wants to keep visitors in the city’s commercial core.

The meeting also attracted people like Mark Salmon, who works for a real estate brokerage. “I wonder if people realize how much tourism dollars support this community,” he said.

South Lake Tahoe is hardly the only resort community grappling with the encroachment of vacation rentals.

“I don’t think there is a mountain community that isn’t wrestling with this one way or the other,” said Tom Foley, who studies mountain lodging for Inntopia, which provides software and consulting to the travel industry.

In addition to the parking and hot tub restrictions, the City Council capped the number of vacation rental permits outside the “tourist core area” at 1,400. The tourist core area is a relatively compact part of the city surrounding the casino and shopping district near the California/Nevada border and along Lake Tahoe and Ski Run Boulevard. It does not include Tahoe Keys, a popular neighborhood for vacationers.

Strangio of Modesto questioned the legality approach to parking fines.

Under the new rules, renters are subject to a $1,000 fine, while the owner will also owe $1,000, if guests park more vehicles than allowed.

Strangio said if a family rents a home, a one-hour visit (in a vehicle) from Grandma and Grandpa could result in a $2,000 fine. The ordinance makes clear how many vehicles are permitted and requires that the number be clearly posted.

Strangio said he works hard to screen people who rent his place, but said, “It’s gone too far and I think they are going to get challenged in court.”

The vacation rental market is multifaceted. There are long-term vacation rental owners like Strangio. There are new buyers who expect rental income to help make the mortgage affordable, and there are large home “McMansions” being built as vacation home rental properties.

Vacation rental limits

South Lake Tahoe has cracked down on vacation rentals outside the city’s core tourist area. A proposed ballot measure would ban them in the rest of the city by 2021.

South Lake Tahoe core tourist area map 

The Sacramento Bee

Vacation home rentals have long been part of the Tahoe economy, but new online tools make it easier than ever for folks around the world to own and rent out a Lake Tahoe property.

“There is an ease of entry into the short term rental market,” said Jerry Bindel of the Lakeland Village resort and the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association. The association would like to see the city and county adopt a “common sense approach” that uses enforcement to calm residential neighborhoods and steers most of the action to the tourist core area.

Tim Coolbaugh of the advocacy group Tahoe Residents First said doesn’t think the city rules have gone far enough. He said the group wants the county to enact an ordinance with more teeth.

“These neighborhoods have been overrun by de facto hotels,” said Coolbaugh.

Advocates for a ballot measure that would restrict vacation home rentals to the tourist core area have begun collecting the 1,036 signatures needed by June 19 to place the measure on the November ballot.

The measure would phase out vacation home rentals outside of the tourist core area by 2021, while also allowing permanent residents anywhere to rent out their home for up to 30 days a year. Under the measure, vacation rentals in the tourist zone would continue to be allowed. Proponents of the measure Tahoe Neighborhoods Group did not return calls seeking comment.

As of October, of the 1,847 total permitted vacation rentals within the city, 450 were within the tourist core. The 1,397 elsewhere in the city would be phased out under the the measure.

Mayor David said she thinks the city took appropriate action, and she does not support the ballot measure.

“I have concerns,” David said. “Last year (transient occupancy tax) was a significant part of our budget.”

City manager Nancy Kerry said losing the rentals outside the tourist zone would put the city in a self-imposed recession. The city would lose 5 to 7 percent of its general fund as a large chunk of the $3 million in tax revenue from vacation homes disappeared, she said.

There already is talk of a competing ballot measure by people who oppose getting rid of so many rentals. Opponents also point out the property managers, cleaning services, grocery stores, restaurants, rental companies and ski resorts would all see the impact of 1,400 fewer vacation rentals in the market. If just half of those homes are sold, they say, property values will also plunge.

Carl Ribaudo, a who runs the tourism-focused SMG consulting, said the scarcity of housing around Lake Tahoe and community resistance to replacing the area’s aging motels have helped distort the local real estate market and have contributed to the current conflict. The aging hotels are filled with workers who can’t afford anything better. Meanwhile, landlords who own houses prefer the more lucrative vacation rental market.

He’d like to see if the steps the city has taken work before anything more draconian and potentially damaging to the local economy is placed on the ballot.

“Let’s see what the policy does,” said Ribaudo, who lives in Lake Tahoe.

Coolbaugh of Tahoe Residents First said the city would just have to make do with less money. “It will be a necessary reduction to get our neighborhoods back.”

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NASA livestreams eclipse of 'super blue blood moon'

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NASA livestreamed a “lunar trifecta” event on January 31, dubbing it a “super blue blood moon.” According to NASA, the full moon on January 31 was “special for three reasons”. Firstly, it was the third in a series of “supermoons,” when the moon is closer to Earth in its orbit – known as perigee – and about 14 percent brighter than usual. Secondly, it was the second full moon of the month, commonly known as a “blue moon.” And thirdly, the super blue moon passed through Earth’s shadow to give viewers in the right location a total lunar eclipse, known as a “blood moon” due to the reddish tint seen during this phenomenon.

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How to recognize the signs of physical child abuse

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics show that more than 700,000 children are referred to child protective agencies as a result of abuse or neglect in the U.S. each year. According to Purva Grover, M.D., a pediatric emergency physician at Cleveland Clinic Children’s, child abuse is something that unfortunately pediatricians and emergency room physicians are always on the lookout for, but parents need to know the warning signs of physical abuse too, especially when their children are left in the care of others.

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Burglar dressed as the ‘Grinch’ caught on home security camera

Los Angeles Police are searching for a man who was caught on camera breaking into homes in Studio City between November 28 and December 3, wearing a Santa hat and scarf. The LAPD press release said the suspect knocked on doors and rang door bells to assess if anyone was home. “When no one answered the door, the suspect would gain entry to the backyards of the homes, smash a rear patio sliding door or back window, then enter the homes,” the press release said. “Once inside, the suspect removed cash, jewelry, safes, and firearms before leaving. A get-a-way driver has been seen in a dark sedan.”

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Yolo County District Attorney Jeff Reisig said Robert Hodges’ alleged killing of his three children, Kelvin, 11, Julie, 9. and Lucas, 7 months, constituted a capital crime, but he said he had not decided whether to pursue the death penalty. In this video, Hodges is shown at his arraignment Monday, September 18, 2017. NO AUDIO

All 35 of the University of California’s highest-paid employees in 2016 were men

Some keys to earning more than $1 million as a University of California employee: Be a doctor. Or a coach. Or maybe an administrator. Also, be a man.

The 35 UC employees with the highest gross pay in 2016 are all men, according to a Bee review of new salary data from the UC system.

Twenty-nine of the men are prominent doctors at UC hospitals. Four are coaches or former coaches of men’s football or basketball teams. One was a hospital executive. One was an investment officer.

Their state-reported pay ranged from $1.1 million to $3.6 million.

The gender disparity among high earners was particularly acute among UC doctors.

Most doctors in California – 65 percent – are men, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. But all 42 UC doctors who earned more than $1 million in gross pay last year were men, according to the Bee review of UC pay data. (The Bee based its analysis on publicly available photos of the doctors on UC websites, in combination with their names.)

The UC system is not unique. A 2016 study in JAMA Internal Medicine, a medical journal, found that women at teaching hospitals holding the rank of professor tended to earn about as much as men holding the lower rank of associate professor.

UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said that highly compensated doctors draw their compensation mostly from clinical fees or grants – not just from taxpayers. Likewise, top-paid coaches are paid mostly using revenue from ticket sales or television contracts.

When looking just at base pay – salaries that are directly controlled by UC administrators – the picture shines a little brighter for women, but large pay equity issues remain.

Twenty-five of the 35 UC employees – 70 percent – with the highest base pay in 2016 were men, UC compensation data show.

The chancellor of the UC system is a woman: Janet Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona and former secretary of Homeland Security for the United States.

But 385 UC employees earned higher gross pay than Napolitano in 2016. Twenty-two earned higher base pay. All but four of these were men.

The 25 highest-paid UC employees in 2016  

Highest-paid UC employees

The 35 University of California employees who earned the highest compensation in 2016:

Name

Campus

Profession

Gross pay

James Lawrence Mora

Los Angeles

Football coach

$ 3,577,299

Cuonzo Martin

Berkeley

Basketball coach

$ 2,933,098

Daniel Dykes

Berkeley

Football coach

$ 2,891,233

Stephen Todd Alford

Los Angeles

Basketball coach

$ 2,721,405

Gordon Alan Cohen

San Francisco

Doctor

$ 2,720,796

Ronald W Busuttil

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 2,482,207

Vadiyala Mohan Reddy

San Francisco

Doctor

$ 1,943,521

Timothy H McCalmont

San Francisco

Doctor

$ 1,926,941

Eric Esrailian

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 1,837,625

Philip E Leboit

San Francisco

Doctor

$ 1,779,457

Robert N. Weinreb

San Diego

Doctor

$ 1,626,782

Benjamin J Ansell

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 1,615,837

Gary L Gitnick

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 1,599,932

Michael M. Madani

San Diego

Doctor

$ 1,579,002

Khalil M Tabsh

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 1,522,723

Naveen D Bhandarkar

Irvine

Doctor

$ 1,476,956

Brian G Derubertis

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 1,426,581

Abbas Ardehali

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 1,413,454

Dinesh K Chhetri

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 1,377,175

Ehtisham Mahmud

San Diego

Doctor

$ 1,356,857

Richard J Shemin

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 1,356,682

Jagdeep Bachher

UCOP

Chief investment officer

$ 1,330,411

Michael T Lawton

San Francisco

Doctor

$ 1,286,949

Jeffrey Dong-Sun Suh

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 1,286,029

Daniel H Geschwind

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 1,249,476

Shang I Brian Jiang

San Diego

Doctor

$ 1,233,021

Mark R Laret

San Francisco

CEO, medical center

$ 1,206,918

James M Heaps

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 1,182,265

Merrill E Gershwin

Davis

Doctor

$ 1,154,733

Gerald S Berke

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 1,140,981

Nicholas C Saenz

San Diego

Doctor

$ 1,130,466

Isaac M Neuhaus

San Francisco

Doctor

$ 1,124,390

Neil A Martin

Los Angeles

Doctor

$ 1,124,019

Michael W McDermott

San Francisco

Doctor

$ 1,116,652

John P Roberts

San Francisco

Doctor

$ 1,116,517

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Peterson Archives: Sharon Rocha shares her thoughts about the jurors

With the 2017 summer broadcast of the documentary series, “The murder of Laci Peterson”, The Modesto Bee is re-releasing selected 2007 interviews conducted by reporter Garth Stapley with some key figures in the case. In this video, Laci Peterson’s mom, Sharon Rocha, talks about the jurors. (Bee File)