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Mystery Of What Killed A Family Hiking In Mariposa County Solved

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Investigators have finally nailed the cause of death of a young family and their dog, who all perished mysteriously during a hiking trip on a remote trail in Mariposa County in August, authorities said.

Mariposa Sheriff Jeremy Briese on Thursday said the family perished due to hyperthermia and dehydration as temperatures reached 109 in the afternoon while it was just 74 when they started the hike, reports San Francisco Chronicle.

Investigators reached this conclusion after conducting investigation, autopsies and toxicology reports, said Briese.

When body temperature rises to dangerous levels hyperthermia sets in. “Heat and lack of water on the steep stretch of switchbacks with no shade was too much for them to handle and they all succumbed,” Briese said.

‘Family Underestimated Difficulties’

Addressing a crowd of reporters, the sheriff said they were new to the area and hence underestimated the difficulties of the remote trail, unforgiving terrain, and the heat.

Some questions though remain unanswered like exactly when the members of the family and their pet died and whether they passed away at almost the same time. Their bodies were found close to each other more than two days after they started their hike.

Hites Cove Trail. Pic credit: yosemite.com

According to authorities, Jonathan Gerrish, 44, his wife Ellen Chung, 31, their 1-year-old daughter Miju and dog Oski started their hike on Aug. 15 on the Hites Cove Trail loop.

Investigators said that the family had almost completed the 8-mile loop before they died on a steep switchback, just under 2 miles from where they had parked their car.

Gerrish was found in a seated position with Miju and Oski next to him while Chung was slightly farther ahead on the path. Gerrish had a cell phone in his shirt pocket but the area had no reception. The FBI is working on unlocking the phone to find more clues.

‘They Weren’t Carrying Enough Water’

According to Briese, the family had a bladder backpack which held just 85 ounces of water when they started the hike, which was inadequate. Only a tiny quantity was found remaining when the bodies were found. They were also carrying some snacks and a bottle of baby formula.

The water was tested for toxins but the result came back negative.

The couple was wearing shorts and tank tops but no hats while the baby was in a backpack. They were just 1.6 miles from finishing the loop trail.

The cause of death of the 8-year-old dog remains undetermined but it also appeared to have succumbed to heat.

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California News

A Simple Tip To Boost Social Security Benefits By $800

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Inflation sure did inflict some heavy blows to benefits in Social Security, including the amount of coverage to its beneficiaries in the United States. Prices of commodities have surged significantly by six percent in the past year alone. Putting things into perspective, inflation stagnated to almost zero for the better part of the last ten years, and in less than a year, prices have skyrocketed in nearly each of the major categories. A good example is the grocery prices that went up by 12 percent in several categories.  

COLA 2022’s 5.9% may not be enough for some  

To ease things up, the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) for 2022 will be up by 5.9 percent, which is the largest tweak in the last four decades. Albeit such an increase, some still need additional funds to make ends meet. That said, here are some tips to substantially boost one’s income.  

The Significance to Beneficiaries If the Social Security Benefits Get Slashed Early

Image credits: (FDR Presidential Library & Museum/flickr)

All about timing  

An essential factor in determining a person’s Social Security benefit is timing. That said, the timeliest one can get in filing for the program’s benefits is by the time that individual has reached the age of 62, with age 70 being the latest. Americans are well-aware, though, that there’s a catch to this. Early filing of it would only yield lesser benefits. However, waiting for the ripe age of 70 would result in them receiving the maximum benefits, GBR writes 

Further, delayed retirement credits are some sort of reward that Social Security provides its recipients with for putting off claiming an individual’s retirement benefit. These credits start to stack up the month a person reaches their retirement age of 66 years and four months for people born in 1956, as this slowly increases to 67 for folks born in 1960 and above.  

Additionally, these credits accumulate through age 69, though this may seem to work in reverse if one decides to get the benefits earlier.  

The Social Security Administration stated that if a worker starts getting benefits prior to his/her full retirement age, that worker is said to be getting a reduction in benefits. The program stated that a worker can opt to retire as early as 62, though doing such may ensue a benefit reduction to as much as 30 percent. 

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San Francisco

Nissan Owners Complain Of Dashboards ‘Melting’, Sparking Safety Concerns

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Nissan cars owners are up in arms against the manufacturer for what they say is a “serious defect” in their vehicles. More than 1,000 owners have complained to federal authorities that the dashboards in their vehicles have started melting, reports say.

According to the Center for Auto Safety, the defect in older Nissan models can potentially cause an accident on the road and is more than a cosmetic issue, reports ABC 7 News.

Adam Klock, who owns a 2008 Nissan Altima, said that underneath the piece of felt he placed on the dashboard, he noticed a gooey mess, the report said.

“The dashboard became so sticky I didn’t need an adhesive to stick the felt in place,” Klock said, adding: “It looks horrible and that’s why you don’t want anyone in the car to look at it. You want to keep it covered to hide the mess.”

Center for Auto Safety’s Jason Levine said, “What we have is what can only be described as melting dashboards, which are changing properties in the sun, in the heat.”

Dashboard giving off glare making it difficult for the driver to see the road ahead.

Another issue pointed out by Klock is that the dashboard gives off a lot of glare.

“It is always in your face,” he said. “To avoid it you need to put something on the dashboard which’s doesn’t reflect light.”

Safety Hazard

Steckler Wayne Cochran law firm has filed a class-action suit against Nissan alleging that the glare is so harsh that it can become a safety hazard.

Most of the complaints made to federal regulators are from southern states, but an Oakland resident who owns an Infiniti, Nissan’s luxury brand, says the dashboard of his 2004 model has bubbled and is peeling.

Dashboard peeling off.

A 2005 Infiniti SUV owner from Campbell said his vehicle melted internally and another from San Francisco said his car’s dashboard is cracking.

According to Levine, the complaints are coming from across the country and not just from southern states.

In a statement issued by Nissan, the company said it has found that the issue doesn’t pose any safety risk and it was continuing to assess car owners’ concerns and take the required steps to deal with each case.

The average cost of replacing a dashboard is $2,000.

However, a settlement was reached for the lawsuit filed by Steckler Wayne Cochran in which Nissan owners in Florida would get their dashboards replaced for only $250.

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San Francisco

San Francisco Announces Cash Rewards To Control Rampant Auto Burglaries

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San Francisco has decided to hand out cash rewards of up to $100,000 for information about the brains behind the spate of auto burglaries that have become endemic in the city. This move is yet another drive against rising crime in the city marked by vehicle smash and grab, retail theft, and home break-ins.

In a news conference Tuesday, Mayor London Breed, with the city police chief Bill Scott by her side, said the cash reward will be donated by the hospitality and tourism industry, reports ABC News.

A video grab shows a thief getting into a getaway car after stealing from a parked SUV (which has its rear left door window smashed).

A statement issued by the mayor’s office said the fund has collected $225,000 so far and it will be used for getting information that will result in the arrest and conviction of leaders leading gangs of organized auto burglars and fencing operations.

According to authorities, there are less than a dozen crews who are responsible for smash-and-grabs auto burglaries in the San Francisco Bay Area.

City Lawless, Police Lenient

However, viral videos and news reports of burglaries have strengthened the perception that the city is lawless and its police force lenient.

Last month, authorities announced that more police officers will be tasked to try and stop shoplifting and make reporting the crime easier for people.

The mayor’s office said the number of vehicle burglaries reported to police is down since 2017 when the figure was 31,400. In 2021, the number is more than 15,000 but the final figure at the end of the year is expected to fall below that of 2019 when nearly 26,000 vehicle burglaries were reported, the mayor’s office said.

Break-ins Tarnish Experience

“These break-ins hurt people, especially the working class who don’t have the time or money to deal with the after-effects. Visitors who come here have their otherwise positive experiences tarnished,” Breed said.

Australian singer Clinton Kane had more than $30,000-worth of equipment stolen from his SUV last week as he and his team dined nearby. When they saw robbers breaking into his vehicle, they rushed over only to be threatened and have guns pointed at them.

Motorists and tourists in San Francisco are constantly warned not to keep anything valuable in their cars where it is visible but to keep things in their vehicle’s trunk. They are also advised to park their vehicle in lots that are supervised.

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