49ers Fire Singletary
The San Francisco 49ers were eliminated from contention for the playoffs yesterday. They responded by firing Coach Mike Singletary to end a weird season. We’ve got more here: 49ers Fire Singletary.

Travelers stuck on the ground at SFO

The weather woes of holiday travelers coming to and leaving San Francisco continue to mount — and they are not over. Blizzards on the East Coast led to the cancellation of dozens of flights for travelers trying to leave San Francisco International Airport … and a new weather front coming to the Bay Area might cause more of the same later this week.

Bay Area gas prices hit highest mark since 2008 (San Mateo Times/Bay Area News Group)

The average price of a gallon so far this month has been $3.28, up 76 percent from the low point in December 2008, according to AAA Northern California. December marks the 13th time in the last 14 months that the average price has gone up compared with the prior year. In fact, the slow and steady rise in gas prices over the past two years has put the Bay Area more than halfway back to the peak average price of $4.50 during the summer of 2008. After reaching that high, gas prices fell to about $2 through the winter amid the economic collapse. They’ve been creeping back up ever since.

Twitter has a lot to prove in 2011 (San Francisco Chronicle)

Twitter Inc. gained more than 100 million registered members this year and approached the new year with a fresh investment of $200 million. Now the San Francisco firm must prove it can live up to its newly elevated valuation of $3.7 billion.So ‘2011 is the year where they’re going to need to increase their user base pretty dramatically and prove to advertisers that Twitter advertising works,’ said Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst with the online research firm eMarketer Inc. ‘Right now, the advertising is mostly experimental.’ “

State Poised to Sell Trophy Buildings to Unidentified Investors (The Bay Citizen)

“As Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger prepares to decamp from Sacramento on Jan. 3, he has displayed zealous determination to complete what critics say will be among the worst deals the state has ever made: the sale of 11 premier state office complexes to a group of politically connected private investors. The deal, which includes the San Francisco Civic Center, has been pitched as a way to generate much-needed cash. California would pocket about $1.3 billion after debt is paid off, but would then be a tenant in the same buildings. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office, the deal would cost taxpayers $6 billion over 35 years.”

In Marin, foreclosures show no sign of letting up (Marin Independent-Journal)

When Reyna and Jose Gonzalez moved to Terra Linda six years ago, it was a welcome change from their former home in San Pablo. Their new three-bedroom, two-bathroom house was nestled against an open hillside, just a few minutes from their jobs and their daughters’ school. ‘We have a very nice life here with our kids,’ Reyna said. The trouble started in 2008 when their mortgage payment adjusted from $4,500 a month to $5,600, they said. They kept paying until September 2009 when Jose lost one of his two jobs as a school custodian.

San Joaquin Valley West-siders hope for more summer irrigation water
(Fresno Bee)

Huge December storms and a federal court ruling have given west Valley farmers the best Christmas gift in years — hope for more irrigation water next summer. San Luis Reservoir on the west side is forecast to be full of Northern California water for the first time since 2006. West-side farm water supply next summer might be 55% of what growers want, a noticeable improvement from the 45% allotment this year.

Where will boomers get long-term health care?
(Sacramento Bee)

“After a severe leg infection landed Bill Hollingworth in the hospital a few years ago, the Citrus Heights man was sent to a nursing home to recuperate for what he hoped would be a few weeks. A few weeks turned into 13 months. Hollingworth, who relies on a wheelchair to get around, figures he would have stayed there indefinitely if he didn’t have access to In-Home Supportive Services, a publicly financed program that helps some low-income elderly and disabled people receive care at home.”

Another Bay Area sports drama:

The fate of San Francisco’s bid to host the 2013 America’s Cup. There’s precious little news to report other than 1) the pre-Christmas tiding that BMW has dropped its partnership with Larry Ellison’s Oracle Corp., the Cup defender and 2) Ellison and minions are still weighing the host bids. San Francisco is in competition with Newport, Rhode Island and, perhaps, Rome. From the East Coast, the Providence Journal offers an iota (and not a jot more) of news: Rhode Island officials worked on their Cup bid over the holiday weekend. One way or the other, the wait will be over soon: Ellison’s crew has said it will announce the Cup site by this Friday.

Killing in L.A. drops to 1967 levels (Los Angeles Times)

For the first time in more than four decades, Los Angeles is on track to end the year with fewer than 300 killings, a milestone in a steady decline of homicides that has changed the quality of life in many neighborhoods and defied predictions that a bad economy would inexorably lead to higher crime. As of mid-afternoon on Sunday, the Los Angeles Police Department had tallied 291 homicides in 2010. The city is likely to record the fewest number of killings since 1967, when its population was almost 30% smaller.

Author Timothy Ferriss says his book holds key to weight loss, great sex (San Jose Mercury News)

Wired magazine once dubbed Timothy Ferriss ‘the Superman of Silicon Valley.’ Now he has written a choose-your-own-adventure guide for the human body: ‘The 4-Hour Body: An Uncommon Guide to Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex and Becoming Superhuman’ (Crown, $27). Ferriss says he spent 10 years testing hundreds of fads, diets and workouts — anything that might help readers overhaul their lives. He lives large: Only 33, he is a tango world record holder, a former national kickboxing champion, a faculty member at Singularity University (based at NASA Ames Research Center in Mountain View), as well as author of the bestselling ‘The 4-Hour Workweek.’ “

Judge upset with TV and Twitter in kitten abuse case bans cameras

(San Diego Superior Court Judge Frank) Brown’s displeasure with San Diego 6 began in September when Marine Sgt. Fernando Pacheco, 27, pleaded guilty to felony animal abuse, which the judge reduced to a misdemeanor. San Diego 6 News reported the story and asked viewers to respond through the social networking site Twitter with their views on the judge’s decision.”

Morning Splash: SFO Delays; Gas Prices; Twitter’s Future 27 December,2010Dan Brekke


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area’s transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED’s comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

Email Dan at: dbrekke@kqed.org

Twitter: twitter.com/danbrekke
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