Bay Briefs

Monday October 07, 2002

One dead, two injured in cliff fall 

MOSS BEACH – The U.S. Coast Guard reports that a woman is dead and a man and a child have been hospitalized following an accident in which a van tumbled over a cliff on the San Mateo County coast Sunday morning. 

Rescuers with the U.S. Coast Guard and the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office were summoned to Moss Beach at around 9:30 a.m. Sunday after the van containing a man, a woman, and a 4-year-old boy fell off the cliff and into the ocean. 

The Coast Guard used a helicopter to pull the victims from the water, one of whom was reportedly trapped in the vehicle. 

Authorities pronounced the woman dead at the scene. The man and the 4-year-old were taken by helicopter to Stanford Medical Center. Their condition is not immediately known. 

The Coast Guard says the incident is being treated as an accident at this point. No one from the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office was immediately available for comment. 


New casino violates fire codes 

SANTA ROSA – Sonoma County’s top fire official cited leaders of the Dry Creek Rancheria for fire code violations at the tribe’s new casino, launching a legal battle that could determine whether local governments can enforce public safety laws on California tribal land. 

Fire Chief Vern Losh said Friday he sent notice to tribal leaders that he is seeking a warrant to inspect the casino, and cited tribal chairwoman Liz Elgin De-Rouen and casino manager Douglas Searle for several misdemeanors. 

County Attorney Steven Woodside has advised Losh he has jurisdiction over the River Rock Casino, which opened Sept. 14 on the Dry Creek Rancheria in the Alexander Valley. 

Tribal lawyers contend the rancheria is a sovereign nation over which county officials have no authority. The attorneys also said the casino is safe. 

Tribal law experts say Losh’s attempt to enforce local safety standards could force the courts to establish new guidelines in what is now a legal gray area. 

Tribes would lose a measure of independence over a range of activities if courts uphold Losh’s claim, said Charles Starr, a consultant to tribes on governance issues. 


Ballet company is back 

SAN JOSE – A year after the historic San Jose Symphony shut its doors, Ballet San Jose Silicon Valley is forming a new symphony that will play concerts in addition to ballets. 

The new 75-piece symphony will play four classical music concerts at San Jose’s Center for the Performing Arts and three pops-style concerts at the Flint Center in Cupertino, said Andrew Bales, the ballet’s executive director. 

The new Symphony San Jose Silicon Valley includes members from the shuttered symphony, which is expected to declare bankruptcy in the coming weeks. 

The effort’s success relies on funding, which has fallen as donations from corporations and individuals sagged along with the economy.