Daily news roundup for Wednesday, October 14, 2015 | KALW

Daily news roundup for Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Oct 14, 2015

Here's what's happening in the Bay Area, as curated by KALW news:

Experts urge quick action to protect Bay Bridge cable // SF Chronicle

“An international group of bridge maintenance experts is urging the immediate retrofit of the $6.4 billion new eastern span of the Bay Bridge to protect the main cable from corrosion and to allow for inspections of other potentially vulnerable areas on the structure.

“In its report to Caltrans and a Bay Bridge oversight committee, the maintenance peer review panel cited concerns ranging from the span’s well-publicized problems with high-strength rods to a lack of maintenance access on the project.

“Recently, the chief designer of the Bay Bridge project warned Caltrans that rainwater leaks posed a corrosion risk to the two chambers where the cable strands splay out under the road deck. Now, the maintenance panel is sounding the alarm about the main cable itself — a bundle of steel strands that loops over the top of the tower, under the bridge and back over the tower.”

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UC Berkeley sex harassment scandal: Astronomy faculty members call for Geoff Marcy's dismissal // Mercury News

“Pressure is mounting on UC Berkeley to take tougher action against pioneering astronomer Geoff Marcy for alleged serial sexual harassment of his students, with many of his closest colleagues now calling for his firing.

“‘We urge the UC Berkeley administration to re-evaluate its response to Marcy, who has been found in violation of UC sexual harassment policy,’ said an open letter dated Monday and signed by 22 of the astronomy department's 31 current and emeritus professors. ‘We believe that Geoff Marcy cannot perform the functions of a faculty member.’

“After concluding in June that the professor sexually harassed students over a nine-year period, the university allowed Marcy to stay but warned it would have ‘zero tolerance’ for similar behavior in the future -- a reprimand first made public last week by BuzzFeed.”

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Gov. Brown gives green light to motorized skateboards and scooters // SF Gate

“Move over bicyclists, electric skateboards and motorized scooters now have the legal right to share your lanes.

“Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation reversing a 38-year-old state ban on motorized boards, giving riders of such mobility devices the same street cred as cyclists.

"The legislation, signed by Brown on Sunday, will go into effect on Jan. 1.

“The bill gives operators the green light to roll on any ‘public bicycle path, sidewalk, or trail,’ reads Assembly Bill 604 introduced by Assembly Republican Leader Kristin Olsen of Modesto.”

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Evidence mounts for El Nino that could ease Calif. drought // SF Gate

“Evidence is mounting that the El Nino ocean-warming phenomenon in the Pacific will spawn a rainy winter in California, potentially easing the state's punishing drought but also bringing the risk of chaotic storms like those that battered the region in the late 1990s.

“In the clearest warning yet that Southern California could be due for a deluge, meteorologists said in a report last week that the already strong El Nino has a 95 percent chance of lasting through the winter before weakening in the spring.

"’This is as close as you're going to get to a sure thing,’ said Bill Patzert, a climatologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, calling this El Nino ‘too big to fail.’

"’In the abstract,’ he said, ‘El Nino seems like our savior.’ But if floods and mudslides develop, it's ‘not going to look like the great wet hope charging across the landscape on a white horse.’’

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Indigenous Land Access Committee Holds Ongoing Ceremony on Gill Tract to Reclaim Land // Indy Bay

“The Indigenous Land Action Committee - a group of Ohlone leaders and other indigenous people have just reclaimed the south side of the Gill Tract in Albany, CA, the site Occupy the Farm has been resisting development of a parking lot and grocery store on for the last three years. Come join the ongoing sacred ceremony at San Pablo Ave. and Monroe Street in Albany, CA; just north of Berkeley.

“From ILAC: ‘For 10,000 years, we Ohlone have lived on and cared for this land. This land holds our ancestors, our spirit, our culture, our traditional knowledge and our wisdom. We call for the recognition of this land as Ohlone territory and its preservation as a collective space for restoring indigenous cultures and practices. Join us in ceremony to honor our ancestors, restore right relationship to the land and reclaim lifeways and foodways on the land our ancestors called home.’”

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New Oakland Park to be a Giant Wooden Deck // East Bay Express

"A proposed shoreline park in Oakland includes a giant wooden deck, two football fields in length, and little else — and advocates fear the lack of greenery and inviting features could doom the site to failure.

"Just southeast of Lake Merritt, pedestrians and cyclists who cross over the Union Pacific Railroad tracks and under the Interstate 880 freeway reach a mostly vacant plot of land along the Oakland Estuary. The waterfront site — which people can only access via Embarcadero Street in the Jack London district or 5th Avenue by Laney College — is the future home of Brooklyn Basin, a massive mixed-use development project now under construction. The 64-acre project by Signature Development Group is slated to include 3,100 units of housing and 200,000 square feet of retail and commercial space. For civic groups that have followed the project for years, one of the most anticipated features of the plan is the proposed revitalization of the waterfront through a series of public parks along the shore."

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Livermore: Las Positas cadaver program gives powerful anatomy lesson // Inside Bay Area

“Anatomy student Savannah Winters, 20, of Livermore, never imagined that one of her most influential teachers might be a 96-year-old Alzheimer's patient -- a man she met after his death.

“Winters and her fellow students only know that before his death, the man donated his remains to the Willed Body Program at UC San Francisco. Today, he lies in an immaculate, temperature-controlled dissection room at Las Positas College in Livermore, where his remains are opening a window into the human body for Winters and hundreds of other anatomy students, affording them a view that could never be matched by a textbook or plastic model.

"The program has one cadaver currently, with a second scheduled to arrive in January."