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Bay Area Headlines: Wednesday 06/17/20 PM

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Hate Crime Investigation At Oakland’s Lake Merritt / San Mateo County’s New Rules / Smart Trash Cans in SF Tenderloin / Calaveras County Fire

Hate Crime Investigation At Oakland’s Lake Merritt

The mayor of Oakland says several nooses were found hanging on trees in a city park and are being investigated as hate crimes. Mayor Libby Schaaf says in a statement that the nooses were found yesterday evening on trees around Oakland’s Lake Merritt and were removed. She did not say how many were discovered, where precisely they were discovered or give any other details. Schaaf said in her statement that the nooses might have been part of exercise equipment, but she said:

“That does not remove nor excuse their torturous and terrorizing effects.”

The Oakland Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment today.

San Mateo County’s New Rules

If you live in San Mateo and want to eat inside at a restaurant, go to the gym or get a long-needed haircut, there’s good news: Sometime later this week, you’re likely to be able to do all those things. 

That’s because the county’s Health Officer Dr. Scott Morrow is expected to issue a revised, and relaxed, shelter-in-place order. 

San Mateo got the greenlight from the state because it has increased testing capacity, developed its contact tracing program, and secured enough personal protective equipment to deal with a surge in cases.

You’ll also be able to visit zoos and museums, stay at hotels, and campgrounds. Kids will be able to go to schools and day camps. The county requires businesses follow standard guidelines to keep people safe during the pandemic.

San Mateo County continues to see an uptick in COVID-19 cases, but hospitalization rates have declined by more than half since June 9th. The health department says plenty of hospital beds and ventilators available. 

Smart Trash Cans in SF Tenderloin

Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit San Francisco in early March, the Tenderloin has seen a nearly 300 percent increase of homeless residents. Many were forced out of homeless shelters after capacity was limited due to social distancing guidelines. With more people on the streets, trash levels have gotten out of hand. 

In May, the mayor’s office introduced a plan to address safety concerns in the neighborhood within a few months. That included removal of tents and increased street powerwashing. This week, the “BigBelly” trash cans became part of the effort. 

San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney announced, Monday, the installation of 68 smart trash cans into the Tenderloin neighborhood. Haney said the project aims to provide the Tenderloin with the same amenities as any other San Francisco district. 

“This is something that residents have been asking for for a long time. And something I’ve prioritized in last year’s budget. Uh to make sure that in general you shouldn’t have to walk block after block and not even see a trash can. And often the trash cans that you do see, well are broken, or have trash pulled out of it.”

The “BigBelly” trash cans hold 5 times the volume of regular city cans. The new cans also collect data to streamline pickup services, saving the city money on collection long term. Haney says each unit costs between one thousand and fifteen hundred dollars a year. 

Last week, the city settled a lawsuit regarding the sanitation and safety of the streets requiring a reduction in tent occupancy of seventy percent by July 20th. 

Calaveras County Fire

Cal Fire says a wildfire in Calaveras County has grown to nearly 2 square miles. Hundreds of firefighters responded after the fire erupted yesterday about 50 miles southeast of Sacramento. The National Weather Service has issued a red flag warning for critical fire weather conditions in the Sacramento Valley, the northern San Joaquin Valley and the Delta region.