Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Homeless man’s honest act goes viral
February 14, 2013


I wanted to write a post that would be relevant to Valentine’s Day, but I absolutely couldn’t think of anything to write that wasn’t cutesy or cliché. Then I remembered overhearing a story on the news this morning that put a smile on my face. Perhaps a story about a heartwarming act of integrity is just as relevant as any other post I could have written.

Earlier this week, a homeless man in Kansas City, Missouri was asking for change as he usually did. A woman dropped some change in his cup, and accidentally left the man something else as well – her engagement ring. Instead of pawning the ring for thousands of dollars, Billy Ray Harris waited until the woman returned and immediately handed it over. The story has since received national media coverage.

We can all learn from Harris’s level of integrity. He chose to do the right thing, even when he could have greatly benefited from selling the ring. What would you have done if you were in his situation? I can honestly say that I am unsure.

Valentine’s Day exists to remind us to show love to others. Showing a stranger love can be a powerful act, and I think Harris acts as a great example of this. Today, I hope that we all remember to “love thy neighbor” just as much as we love our significant others, family, friends, pet, etc. Wouldn’t this world be such a happier place?

Bizarre Tragedies at Coronado Mansion are Ruled Accident, Suicide
September 3, 2011


A whirlwind of debate is surrounding a recent Hollywood style crime scene after a press conference Friday. What seemed clearly to be a homicide case has now been ruled a suicide by investigators. Everyone from local San Deigo television stations to Good Morning America have reported every twist and turn of this tragic story.

Rebecca Zahau was found bound by her hands and feet, naked, hanging from a balcony at a historical Coronado mansion. The mansion belongs to Medicis CEO Jonah Shacknai, the boyfriend of Zahau at the time of her death. Shacknai was at the hospital with his dying son on July 13th when his brother discovered Zahau’s hanging body. Two days before her death, Shacknai’s son, Max, fell down the stairs and later passed away as a result of the sustained injuries. Rebecca Zahau, who performed CPR on little Max immediately after the accident, was the only adult home when it happened.

The Coronado house known as "Spreckels Mansion."

The days before Rebecca’s suspicious death gave no indication she wanted to end her life. She had been in contact with her family several times and promised to keep them updated about the state of Max Shacknai. However, police were quick to say that suicide was being considered as a possible cause. Immediately after the autopsy and investigation began, police sealed the case, leaving us all to fill in the gaps with pure speculation.

At the briefing Friday, investigators went into a detailed analysis of exactly how Zahau could have successfully ended her life in the manner that she did. Around midnight of the night she allegedly killed herself, she received a voicemail about the state of Max’s grave condition. Police say grief and guilt overwhelmed Zahau, causing her to commit suicide. After painting a cryptic message on her bedroom door, she wrapped the rope around her neck. Then she tied her feet and made a loose, handcuff-style knot to slide her hands into behind her back. Finally she climbed over the side of the railing and jumped off to her death. Investigators claimed that her DNA was the only DNA found at the crime scene and have no evidence pointing to homicide.

Zahau’s family simply isn’t buying it though. Zahau’s sister has told various media sources that they will be hiring an attorney and a detective to further investigate this tragic event. Her sister has repeatedly said that Zahau would never have ended her own life because of her religious beliefs and passion for life. Sherriff Bill Gore only said it was “unfortunate” that the family is not coming to terms with their ruling. He also stated that “science doesn’t lie.”

As a former intern for San Diego 10News, I have watched all the drama unfold from a unique perspective. I was present in the newsroom the day the son was officially pronounced dead. I called Zahau’s family (with no response) and communicated with police about the case. After watching the briefing and piecing together all the evidence I am aware of, I honestly believe the police are right. All evidence does point to suicide. The little boy’s death was simply an unfortunate accident. HOWEVER, I do not believe the police have adequately researched the motive behind her suicide. Did someone threaten her? Was her suicide provoked? The voicemail she received before ending her life was deleted; maybe there was more to the voicemail than we are being told. Only Rebecca Zahau can tell us exactly how this tragedy unfolded and why it did in such a bizarre manner. While many people are going to say that the police were paid off, I do not believe this insult to be true.

What do you think? Was it suicide or something more? Leave comments with your opinions!

All the above information was derived from previous 10News articles, my personal research, and statements made at the briefing Friday.

Casey Anthony Trial: The Bottom Line
July 6, 2011


By now most of us are very familiar with the Casey Anthony case.  What started as a missing child report in June 2008 ended up becoming a controversial story of a broken family, death of an innocent child, and the brutal response from the American people.  Yesterday, Casey Anthony was found not guilty on all charges related to the murder of her daughter, much to America’s surprise.  The media turned the entire trial into a riveting play-by-play that resembled a Law and Order episode.  The coverage of Caylee Anthony’s death and the events that followed reflected the revolutionary way the media and the American people react to current events.

Social media sites were the perfect outlet throughout the case for people to give their own two cents.  While Nancy Grace ranted and raved about her (educated though sometimes annoying) opinion, everyday people were able to write a blog, note, status, etc. from their perspective.  Sites such as Facebook and Twitter were a perfect place to vent, and the trend soon became a phenomenon.  According to a recent article on the Boston Herald’s website, the phrase “Casey Anthony” was used on Twitter 34,000 times within an hour after the verdict was announced.  Such an immediate public response made it almost impossible for the everyday internet user to miss the trial’s verdict.

Heated debates shown on national television were a popular way to cover the Casey Anthony case.  While greatly entertaining, these debates were based highly upon speculation as opposed to only stating the hard facts.  Fueled by opinion and driven by TV ratings, head-to-head arguments were on display for everyone to watch.  Every twist in the story gave analysts on television something else to debate, no matter how truly trivial it was.    Talk shows and debates are growing more and more popular over the traditional straight-to-the-facts news coverage.  Unfortunately, a little of the media’s reliability has been lost along the way.

When the verdict was announced “Not guilty,” most Americans were stunned, outraged, and confused.  But it taught us a lesson.  No matter how many Facebook updates and Twitter trends agree she killed her daughter, Caylee Anthony, only the jury and judges ultimately could decide Casey Anthony’s fate.  Even if at times the news spent half their broadcasts on the trial, in the end, it held little value in court.  We may all THINK our opinions matter, and we may all ENJOY giving our two cents, but maybe we should leave it to those who truly know all the facts.  Most of the time, the majority of us are not actually the experts (even though we like to think we are).

San Diego Weather: July Fourth Weekend and the Days to Follow
July 3, 2011


Lifeguards called in extra help to prepare for the high volumes of people at the beach this weekend.

Along with fireworks and highly congested beaches, the holiday weekend was accompanied by above average temperatures in inland San Diego County.  Communities in East County saw triple digits on Saturday such as Alpine, which reached 100 degrees. Humidity and haze made the hot weather even more unpleasant.

The inland viewing area can expect these extreme temperatures to continue for the next few days before seeing some relief around Saturday.  Mountain and desert areas may experience a chance of thunderstorms beginning today and continuing throughout Wednesday.

Coastal areas are quite cooler, meaning packed out beaches this weekend.  As of 11 a.m. this morning, parking at Mission Beach was impossible.  Other beaches are seeing the same turnout as well.

While a trip to the beach can provide some relief from the heat, surfing conditions will be poor tomorrow.  Local beaches will see weak surf averaging between 1’ and 3’.  Light winds will also mean sailing conditions will only be mediocre.

Until the temperatures creep back down, remember to remain hydrated whenever you are spending time outdoors.  Heat exhaustion and dehydration can be easily avoided even in conditions such as these.

Noisy Neighbors in San Diego Spur Violence
June 27, 2011


Could noise pollution lead to crime?  For San Diego, the answer has been yes two weekends in a row.  In both cases, a noisy neighbor has provoked confrontation  ending in a trip to the hospital.

For Chula Vista resident Arnulfo Luis Flores, the sound of a lawn mower is a nuisance.  In fact, Flores found it so annoying he went to extreme measures to make sure neighbor Ulysses Rochin would no longer disturb the neighborhood by using his lawn mower.  Shortly after 8pm on June 17, Flores confronted Rochin about the noise.  When Rochin refused to stop using the mower, Flores stormed home and returned with a handgun.  Flores fired two shots at Rochin in short-range.  To Flores, violence was the best way to end the disturbance.  However, shortly after the incident, Flores realized his wrongdoing and ran from the police for two days before turning himself in.  Rochin was injured but said to be in stable condition.

One week later, a party in Pacific Beach, CA ended in a similar manner.  The party was getting a little too loud for a nearby neighbor who went to tell them to quiet down.  The complaining neighbor brought along a gun, which the partygoers quickly took away from him.  After they retrieved the gun, they stabbed the man in the upper body.  Though taken to a nearby trauma center, the victim is not believed to have life-threatening injuries.

Should neighbors confront those who are being too loud, or should they simply go to the police?  For residents in the San Diego area, it may be better to play it safe.  They never know when a noise disturbance can become dangerous.