Bay Area Briefs

Monday July 15, 2002

Yerts for homeless 


PITTSBURG — Homeless advocates want to set up yurts to help alleviate the problem in east Contra Costa County. 

The lightweight, portable homes are used by nomadic people in Central Asia. 

The East County Focus Group on Homelessness hopes to find a site for the circular houses, and are hoping the public will help locate that area. 

The idea came from a Napa County program for farm workers. 

Contra Costa Health Services operates two emergency shelter programs in Concord and Richmond, which serve 75 single men and women each, but more than 400 homeless people from East County have called the homeless hot line, according to homeless service manager Minerva Blaine. 

An estimated 65,000 people are homeless in the Bay Area. 

Don Brown, director of Phoenix Homeless Services and of Project Hope, run by the county’s health services department, liked the idea. 

“It’s a great idea because a shelter is better than no shelter,” he said. 


Warning labels required
on nicotine patches


SAN FRANCISCO — A California law requiring warning labels for ingredients that cause cancer or birth defects applies to over-the-counter medicines, a state appeals court has ruled. 

A Court of Appeal panel in San Francisco reinstated a suit Friday that aims to get new or additional warning labels on patches and other products containing nicotine that help people quit smoking. 

A San Francisco Superior Court judge said the California law — Proposition 65, passed in 1986 — conflicted with federal regulation of the same products. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration had objected to the additional warning labels, saying it did not want to discourage people from using the anti-smoking products. 

But the appeals court ruled that federal law exempts California from a uniform labeling requirement. 

Justice Barbara Jones criticized the FDA, calling it “either unwilling or unable to recognize the limited scope of its authority.” 


Neighbor spat ends in murder 


VALLEJO – Vallejo police say a man was taken into custody on murder charges this afternoon after an officer saw him in the act of allegedly shooting another man. 

Lt. David Jackson said Officer Les Bottomley was patrolling on Georgia Street at 3:50 p.m. when he heard yelling nearby at 522 El Dorado St. and saw a man lying on the street near a parked car, with another man standing over him holding two objects in his hands. 

Bottomley pulled over, just in time to see the standing man apparently fire a single shot at the man on the ground. 

The officer ordered the suspect, later identified as Dennis McGraw, 45, to drop his weapon, which he did. However, McGraw then allegedly resisted being put into handcuffs, struggling with Bottomley and other officers who arrived on the scene before being taken into custody. 

The victim, whose identity has not yet been released, was taken to Kaiser Hospital, and was pronounced dead a short time later. 

Jackson said investigators have learned that both McGraw and the victim lived in separate apartments at 522 El Dorado St., but still do not know their exact relationship or what might have motivated the alleged shooting. 


Slaughterhouse in question 


AMERICAN CANYON — The city will go to court Monday to pursue a temporary restraining order against Cleatus Joe Satterfield’s ranch to prevent him from running a slaughterhouse. 

Officials say the town has grown up around Satterfield’s ranch and that he can no longer butcher livestock in a residential neighborhood. 

Satterfield, 61, says he just wants to go on living the way he has since he moved there in 1978. 

The city’s suit claims Satterfield is running an unlicensed slaughterhouse. It seeks to have him stop killing animals and clean up any carcasses. 

The city says it has received numerous complaints, ranging from reports of butchering animals in open view to goats being caught in the fence. 

The city says the ranch poses a health risk. Satterfield says he kills animals as food for his family. 


S.F. gets new art 


SAN FRANCISCO — San Francisco’s newest piece of public art will be a gigantic bow and arrow sculpture by world-famous pop artist Claes Oldenburg and his wife, Coosje van Bruggen. 

The sculpture, titled “Cupid’s Span,” will be almost five stories tall and as wide as half a football field. 

It was commissioned by Gap Chairman Donald Fisher as a gift to the city. Fisher would not say how much it cost. 

The sculpture is going up in September in a new park on the eastern waterfront.