Bay Briefs

Wednesday January 02, 2002

ANTIOCH, Calif. (AP) — A body found floating in the Delta on Sunday afternoon was identified as Mark Osborn, a 17-year-old Oakley youth who apparently drowned in an accident while duck hunting with his father and a friend. 

Sgt. John King of the East Bay Regional Parks police said three fishermen found the body near the Antioch Bridge. 

The Contra Costa Sheriff’s Department and East Bay parks police recovered the body. The county coroner’s office later made a positive identification. 

Osborn was duck hunting with his father, Kent Osborn, and his friend Michael Valin, 15, on Dec. 2 when their boat capsized in rough waters on the Delta. 

Kent Osborn was rescued about eight hours later, floating with the help of a pair of duck decoys and suffering from hypothermia. The two boys could not be found. 

Valin’s body was found Dec. 21 near the site of the accident. 


BELMONT, Calif. (AP) — A man driving a motor home led police on a two-day odyssey this weekend that began with a series of crank 911 calls and ended in a decidedly low-speed chase on Peninsula highways. 

The motor home was “not exactly a choice vehicle when you’re trying to outrun a police officer,” said Belmont Police Department Sgt. Dan Desmidt. 

Twice on Saturday, officers responded to 911 reports of a disturbance at a home on Christian Drive. But each call was found to be a prank, said Desmidt. 

Police discovered that Tom Lovecchio, 52, was allegedly making phony 911 calls regarding his estranged wife. 

Lovecchio’s wife, who was not identified, told police her husband was drunk and repeatedly called her throughout the day. 

A patrol officer spotted Lovecchio around midnight on U.S. Highway 101, in San Carlos. Lovecchio refused to pull over his motor home, starting a pursuit — reaching speeds no greater than 55 mph — along northbound 101, west on Highway 92 and ending in Half Moon Bay. 

Less than half an hour later, Lovecchio was taken into custody without further incident. 

He was booked into San Mateo County Jail in Redwood City on numerous charges including driving under the influence, evading a police officer, making false emergency reports and violating a restraining order. 


UNION CITY, Calif. (AP) — Tony Schollar picked a tough way to earn a merit badge for his Eagle Scout project. 

Schollar agreed to repaint and refurbish 200 of the city’s more than 1,500 fire hydrants. 

The 17-year-old scout is repainting the fireplugs in the city’s preferred bright yellow, as well as cleaning inside the hose connection, checking water pressure, cleaning up brush and trash and loosening frozen caps. 

Since he got to work in September, Schollar has completed about 25 percent of his project. He has to finish before August, when he turns 18. An Eagle Scout must be 17 when he earns the honor. 

Fire officials say the hydrants, which are supposed to be serviced annually, have not been touched since 1994. 

Fortunately, Schollar has some help. He’s now supervising a crew of nine Boy Scouts — and his father — who are helping out with the project. 


SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — More than a quarter of the 1,800 teachers in Santa Clara County’s largest district are eligible to leave classrooms with a generous retirement package thanks to a deal crafted in a spring 1999 contract. 

The prospect of an unprecedented exodus of experienced San Jose teachers has left some wondering how the school district will cope with the loss of so many veterans at a time when the state is pressuring schools to show academic improvement every year. 

School officials and teachers’ union officials viewed the package as a way to pay tribute to instructors who have given years to the students of San Jose. And they say putting the deal together three years ago to take effect this spring bought them time to plan for mass retirements and the ensuing hiring push. 

No one will know for sure how many teachers are leaving until April, when teachers must notify the school district if they plan to return next year. 

So far, 24 administrators — about a third of those eligible — have taken the package. And 500 San Jose teachers could choose to cash in, too. The deal offers a $40,000 annuity, paid over several years, and seven years of medical coverage to teachers who are eligible to retire under the state retirement system. 

The district expects 200 to 250 experienced instructors to leave, in addition to the 100 to 125 teachers who normally depart in a given year.