Bay Area Briefs
Surfers swept away in riptide
SAN FRANCISCO — Ten surfers were plucked from the Pacific Ocean after an unusually strong riptide swept them out and kept them from returning to shore.
Two U.S. Coast Guard boats training in a nearby area were diverted to the scene Sunday to rescue the surfers, said Coast Guard spokesman Darrin Wallace.
Wallace said nine of the surfers were picked up off about 300 to 400 yards off the coast of Ocean Beach. One surfer was taken aboard a passing sailboat about half a mile from the shore. No one was injured.
Wallace said the surfers preferred to be dropped off a few yards from the beach where they were able to swim to shore.
The Coast Guard also dispatched a helicopter to scan along the coast but found no one else in distress.
Oakland library sets them free
OAKLAND — The Oakland Public Library has forgiven almost $120,000 in overdue fines and restored borrowing privileges for nearly 58,000 patrons.
The amnesty program was mainly aimed at a large number of middle and high school students. Officials hope that forgiving fines will bring students back into the fold. Some 20,000 students had borrowing privileges revoked because of unpaid fines for lost or overdue books.
Once a patron accumulates $12.50 in fines, library privileges are suspended.
The Oakland Unified School District co-sponsored the program and publicized it with banners at local high schools.
The foundation dilemma
SAN JOSE — The public parking garage being constructed downtown already has a problem: Its foundation was built 5 feet from where it belonged.
As a result, the project had to be redesigned — and 20 parking spaces disappeared, leaving 755 spaces.
The seven-story structure was approved a year ago by the City Council.
The foundation problem has delayed the opening of the project until December — seven months late. And the garage’s estimated cost, first pegged at $31.4 million, has increased to $54.1 million.
The contractor, Hensel Phelps Construction Co., a national firm with an office in San Jose, blames the mistake on a survey company hired to lay out the foundation.
Jon W. Ball, vice president of Hensel Phelps, did not want to name the surveying firm or comment on the issue, saying that both companies are in the middle of a disputed resolution.
The council is expected to vote Tuesday on another $280,000 to pay for work related to the error.