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Bay Briefs

Monday December 10, 2001

Fundraiser nets $5,000 for Doggie Diner 

SAN FRANCISCO – A fund-raiser Saturday collected about $5,000 to pay off the Bay Area’s famous Doggie Diner statue’s restoration. 

The dachshund head was repaired this summer by the Department of Public Works after high winds last April ripped the 500 pound dog head off its pole, sending it into the street. 

The restoration cost a total of $25,000, and the city of San Francisco paid for $15,000 of it. 

The fiberglass dachshund sustained damage to its nose and mouth. 

The last of the 30 Doggie Diner restaurants, once landmarks in the San Francisco Bay area, closed in 1986. In all, 12 heads — including the one on Sloat — are known to remain, said John Law of Emeryville, who owns three. 


Man finds baby on his doorstep 

LIVERMORE – Friday night Eric Leroy Miller heard two thumps on his front door and when he opened it, he found a newborn baby lying on his doorstep. 

Miller, a chemist and a bachelor, took the baby girl inside his upscale apartment and called police. 

Police say the infant was just hours old when she was left wrapped in blankets on the doorstep. 

Police went door-to-door to see if anyone had any information that might help them locate the baby’s mother, but their efforts were fruitless. 

The baby was taken to a hospital and later released to child welfare authorities. She will be placed in foster care. 

A new law in California allows mothers to leave unwanted babies at hospitals without facing punishment. But abandoning a child elsewhere is a crime punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and a year in jail. 


Officer shoots naked man 

SAN JOSE – An officer shot a naked man wielding a steak knife in an apartment Saturday morning. 

The 59-year-old man was taken to the hospital after being shot twice and is expected to survive. 

Police arrived at the scene after receiving a call that a man was yelling from an upstairs apartment. Police say after another resident accompanied the officer upstairs and unlocked the door, the nude man grabbed the knife and began moving toward the officer. 

Police say the officer ordered the man to drop the knife and when he didn’t, the officer fired three times. Two bullets hit the man in the torso. 

Neither the officer nor the man were identified. 


Former Mercury publisher to chair symphony 

SAN JOSE – Former San Jose Mercury News publisher Jay Harris has been named chairman of the San Jose Symphony’s new executive committee. 

Harris will head a seven-person group that will try to relaunch the insolvent symphony next year.  

A $2.5 million deficit prompted the organization to dissolve its full board and shut down regular business operations in mid-October. 

The group held its first meeting Friday, after which Harris announced there no longer is a target date to restart the symphony. 

Oakland waste incinerator to shut down operation 

OAKLAND – Opponents of an Oakland medical waste incinerator are rejoicing after its new owner said the facility will be shut down. 

The High Street incinerator has been the only one in California that burns large amounts of medical waste. Its shutdown ends a long dispute with critics who say it was spewing toxic substances into the air, a claim the company that ran it denies. 

Now it’s closing, because Integrated Environmental Systems was bought by an Illinois firm. The new owners say they will shutter the plant Sunday and burn the medical waste elsewhere. 

While neighbors cheered the news, incinerator workers were not as happy. Seventy full-time employees were laid off Friday. 


Richmond residents vow to fight Starbucks 

RICHMOND – Residents of a quiet Richmond neighborhood say they don’t want a Starbucks within their borders, and are steeling themselves for a fight against the chain. 

There are no chain stores in the Point Richmond commercial district, and residents say they don’t want the coffee brewer to become the first. 

Starbucks wants to move in, though, and plans to do so in cooperation with a development firm run by former basketball great Magic Johnson. 

The company says having a Starbucks would improve business for everyone in the area. 

Starbucks already has signed a lease for a storefront. The issue will come up at a neighborhood council meeting after Christmas. 


Animal Rescue swaps $1 million grants 

WALNUT CREEK – The Animal Rescue Foundation has lost one $1 million grant and gained another. 

Baseball manager Tony La Russa and his wife Elaine founded ARF 10 years ago to rescue abandoned cats and dogs and find new homes for them. 

The Walnut Creek-based group lost the first grant because its board of directors had not raised as much matching money as a Southern California investment banker had wanted, but told him it had. 

But an anonymous benefactor stepped forward Friday and agreed to provide a $1 million matching grant with fewer strings attached. 

ARF leaders have launched a fund-raising campaign to build a nearly $16.8 million facility near their current campus. There, they hope to provide a spot with spay and neuter programs, dog training classes, emergency veterinary assistance and more room to house homeless animals.