Eric Westervelt | KUNR

Eric Westervelt

It's a sun-filled, fall day and Nicholas is strapped to an ambulance gurney near 8th and Market streets in downtown San Francisco, dazed and barely conscious. Plastic IV tubes snake around his left hand where L-O-V-E is tattooed just below his knuckles.

"Nicholas, try to wake up a little bit for me, come on," paramedic Paula Fartash coaxes, as she unsuccessfully tries to rouse him from his drug-induced stupor.

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A Northern California family found mysteriously dead in August on a hiking trail in the Sierra most likely died from a combination of hyperthermia and dehydration, the local Sheriff who led the investigation said Thursday.

The news sheds light on a case that has confounded investigators and the public and raised new questions about outdoor recreational activities in an era of rising temperatures and climate fueled extreme weather.

The uniquely American epidemic of mass killings by firearms grabs most of the attention from the media, politicians and the public. And the big increase in homicides in 2020 and overall violent crime — on the rise across many American cities — also get their share of coverage.

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The historic calls for police accountability, reform and attempts at racial reckoning have left police departments nationwide struggling to keep the officers they have and attract new ones to the force.

The crisis comes as many cities continue to grapple with the fallout from the pandemic and sharp increases in shootings and murders.

It might be tempting to shrug at the scorching weather across large swaths of the West. This just in: It gets hot in the summer.

But this record-setting heat wave's remarkable power, size and unusually early appearance is giving meteorologists and climate experts yet more cause for concern about the routinization of extreme weather in an era of climate change.

These sprawling, persistent high-pressure zones popularly called "heat domes" are relatively common in later summer months. This current system is different.

Last fall Oregon voters decriminalized possession of small amounts of almost all hard drugs, taking a groundbreaking step away from the arrest, charge and jail model for possession that's been a centerpiece of American drug policy since President Richard Nixon declared his War on Drugs 50 years ago this week.

Some of the boldest reform experiments underway in the wake of the national reckoning on police violence and systemic racism following George Floyd's murder are pilot projects in Denver, San Francisco, Portland, Ore., and elsewhere.

After one of the most destructive and extreme wildfire seasons in modern history last year, a widening drought across California and much of the West has many residents bracing for the possibility this season could be worse.

Alameda Police "mishandled" the arrest of 26-year-old Mario Gonzalez last week and caused his death, according to the attorney representing the man's family.

Gonzalez died April 19 after police pinned him to the ground for at least five minutes. The Alameda Police Department said Gonzalez suffered a "medical emergency" after a scuffle with officers.

Julia Sherwin, the attorney representing Gonzalez's family, said Gonzalez's actions that day didn't warrant law enforcement response from the start.

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On a frigid late January afternoon, Rochester, N.Y., police responded to a reported domestic disturbance on the city's north side.

An unusually aggressive coyote roaming an eastern suburb of the San Francisco Bay has hikers and residents on edge after biting five people and sparking an urgent effort by police and wildlife officials to capture the elusive predator.

DNA taken from the victims' bite wounds and clothing has linked all five attacks since last summer to a single coyote in a roughly two-mile radius in and around the East Bay cities of Moraga and Lafayette. The predator has bitten adults and kids, including children ages 2 and 3.

Business and civil rights groups in California are demanding action after a recent surge of xenophobic violence against Asian Americans in the San Francisco Bay Area left one person dead and others badly injured.

The brazen, mostly daylight assaults have rattled nerves in communities ahead of Friday's Lunar New Year holiday.

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California's muddled county-based coronavirus vaccine distribution system has stoked confusion, frustration and angst for citizens across America's most populous state.

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