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Diablo's Week in Review April 25-May 2, 2009

Swine flu reaches East Bay suburbs, including, San Ramon and possibly Pleasanton, Scott Dyleski loses appeal of murder conviction, and woman claims her stepdad is the Zodiac killer



An image of the swine flu, or H1N1 virus, that is spreading in the Bay Area, but may not be as potent as initially feared.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Swine flu reaches the East Bay suburbs: Contra Costa Health officials Friday night announced the closure of Coyote Creek Elementary in San Ramon, after a probable case of the H1N1 virus showed up there. Also, 13 students and one staff member in the Pleasanton schools were tested for possible infection with the HIN1 virus, and students at a Concord elementary were tested, but the results turned out negative. The young people and adults join the around 20 other people, whose suspected or confirmed cases of infection, showed up in the Bay Area in the Bay Area this week. Worries about the spread of the illness have so far prompted the closure of nine schools throughout the Bay Area, including the one in San Ramon, one in Pittsburg and one  in Bay Point Friday night.  where a second grader tested positive. John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek has set up tents at its Walnut Creek and Concord campuses to examine patients who fear they might have the illness. As of Friday, 141 cases of H1N1 infection and one death had been confirmed in the United States. Despite the one death, federal flu experts said Friday that  the disease, while spreading may not be as potent as first feared.

Murder conviction of former Lafayette teen upheld: A state appeals court rejected arguments for why Scott Dyleski, now 20, should get a new trial in the October 2005 murder of Pamela Vitale, 52, who was found bludgeoned and stabbed in her home in Lafayette’s rural Hunsaker Canyon. Dyleski, who was 16 when the killing happened, was sentenced in 2006 to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Among his legal arguments, one questioned whether denying Dyleski the possibility for parole constitutes cruel and unusual punishment for juveniles who commit murder. Sources tell Diablo that Dyleski will likely appeal his case to the state Supreme Court.

Misdemeanor prosecutions will continue in Contra Costa through the fall: District Attorney Bob Kochly told county supervisors that he would take a 10 percent pay cut and that he had found other ways to allow his office to continue prosecuting all misdmeanors through the fall. Both Kochly and the supervisors came under fire after Kochly announced that county budget cuts would prevent his office from reviewing and prosecuting certain misdemeanors, including petty theft, certain drug crimes, simple assault, and trespassing. 

Woman claims stepdfather was the Zodiac killer: Deborah Perez, a Southern California real estate agent--interestingly, with a documentary in the works—claims her stepfather was the infamous killer who terrorized the Bay Area 40 years ago. In a press conference outside the San Francisco Chronicle, Perez said that, as a young girl, she accompanied her father, a carpenter who died 28 years ago, on trips to the Bay Area when he killed five people, including two in Benicia and Vallejo. Her most compelling evidence, which she is handing over to police, is a pair of eyeglasses that she says her stepfather snatched from a San Francisco cabbie he shot in October 1969. Perez also says that through “recovered memories,” she remembers, at age 7, penning the letter that the Zodiac purportedly sent to flamboyant attorney Melvin Belli in December 1969. 

Alameda and Contra Costa counties receive an "F" for air quality: The American Lung Association says that the air quality in these two East Bay counties dropped from a "C" to an "F" in the past year. In its State of the Air report 2009, the Lung Association gives A-F grades to counties for their air quality, with F being the lowest score. The scores are based on the most widespread types of pollution, including levels of smog and particle pollution. ,Five of the Bay Area's nine counties received failing grades. The dropping scores for Alameda, Contra Costa and four other counties reflected tighter national ozone standards implemented in 2008 by the EPA.

Chevron profits plunge 64 percent: Even San Ramon-based oil giant Chevron Corp. is not immune to today’s economic roller-coaster. Hit by lower prices for crude oil and natural gas, Chevron earned $1.84 million for the first quarter of 2009, a 64 percent drop from a year ago. Chevron’s stock has also dropped 11 percent this year.

Bakery leader indicted in Oakland journalist’s murder: Yusef Bey IV, the one-time leader of the now-defunct Your Black Muslim Bakery was indicted in connection with three murders, including the August 2007 killing of Chauncey Bailey, who was about to publish a story about the black empowerment group’s financial problems. A bakery handyman, who agreed to testify against Bey, 22, says Bey ordered him and another man to follow Bailey and kill him. An Alameda Grand jury also indicted Bey on charges of killing two other men.

Danville mayor eyes state office: Newell Arnerich says he is looking to run for the seats of either state Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan or state Senator Mark DeSaulnier should either win the special election to replace Congresswoman Ellen Tauscher. Of course, we’re still dealing with a lot of "ifs" in this whole scenario. Tauscher has said she will give up her job as U.S. representative for the 10th congressional district if she receives Senate confirmation to assume the No. 3 spot at the U.S. State Department. Both Buchanan and DeSaulnier have announced their intention to run for Tauscher’s seat, but that race is looking to get crowded with other possible contenders, both Democrats and Republicans, expressing interest in running as well.

Former Castlewood Country Club tennis pro faces 15 years in state prison for child molestation. Henry Germain, 62, pleaded no contest to three counts of child molestation, after being originally charged with crimes against six female victims. Reports show there were 16 total victims in cases going back to the 1980s, but not all were willing to testify and others’ cases could not proceed due to the statute of limitations. Some victims were from Southern California where Germain worked a Palm Desert resort.