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“The Rugby Player,” a documentary based on the life of United Flight 93 passenger, Mark Bingham showed before a packed theater at the Cinequest film festival in San Jose Thursday night.
The film's director, Scott Gracheff, says he was inspired to tell the story of the Los Gatos native, and UC Berkeley grad after talking with a friend of Bingham's about a year after 9/11. Bingham and his fellow passengers fought back against the terrorists who had taken control of their airplane, which finally crashed in a field in Shanksville, PA.
Gracheff says while the story of how he died is important, the story is just as much about how Bingham lived his life.
"It is about a mother, a son, and what it takes to be a hero; and I think what audiences are coming away with is being inspired by this beautiful mother and son story," said Gracheff.
Alice Hoagland, Bingham's mother, figures prominently in the documentary.
She says she's proud to see her son's life told for the world to see. Everything from his childhood escapades, to his love of rugby, to his coming out as a gay man, she says prepared him for what he would fate on United flight 93.
"It seems as though, in some ways, he spent his whole life preparing for this last day of his life, and on that last day of his life he was able to look around and, and choose from a planeload of very frightened, paralytic passengers, and pick out a few of them that could help him," said Hoagland.
Gracheff says Bingham, himself, documented much of his life on video, so a lot of the source material in the film.
"Mark is a very present and alive character in our film, and I think because he captured so much of that himself in some ways it was our job as film makers was to get out of the way of content and just present that," said Gracheff.
For now the documentary is on the festival circuit, but film makers say they are looking for a distribution deal, so more people can see Bingham's story.
Hoagland says she hopes "The Rugby Player" will inspire others, the way her son continues to inspire her.
"I've realized that there are things that that I need to stand up and fight for, because Mark can no longer do it. I need to stand up against Islamist terrorism, for example, and poor aviation security," said Hoagland.
Prosecutors in Northern California say Safeway has agreed to pay $2.25 million to settle a lawsuit alleging that the grocer engaged in false advertising, unfair competition and violated a 2008 injunction.
Under the deal, the Pleasanton-based supermarket chain does not admit liability, but it is bound by a permanent injunction barring it from making false or misleading statements, charging more than the lowest posted price and failing to honor valid coupons, discounts or offers.
Safeway has also agreed to take certain measures including adding more signs to notify consumers of its price-accuracy policy and hiring an independent auditor to conduct annual reviews.
Thursday's settlement comes on the same day that Safeway and Albertsons announced a merger of two of the nation's biggest supermarket chains valued at more than $9 billion.Thu, 06 Mar 2014 20:25:17 -0800
Investigators confirmed "multiple felony charges" would be brought against a now-suspended 7th grade teacher from Richmond, late Thursday. 33-year-old Ron Guinto is accused of sexual abuse involving six boys, ages 11 to 13.
Richmond Police say Guinto was working at Making Waves Academy charter school when the abuse happened off campus, during "excursions" which included camping trips. On Wednesday morning, plainclothes officers arrested Guinto at his new job, teaching at Mira Vista School.
"Something that wasn't disclosed was that in two or three weeks, he was going to take a group of kids on a field trip, overnight, to Yosemite," said West Contra Costa Unified School Board President, Charles Ramsey.
2 Investigates compiled a timeline of Guinto's teaching history.
Hired as a substitute teacher with West Contra Costa Unified School District in 2008, Guinto took a job as a teacher's aide at Making Waves Academy in October 2011.
Guinto was fired from Making Waves in October 2013 when school officials learned of the alleged abuse and took that information to police.
Guinto was considered a "re-hire" when he started teaching again for West Contra Costa Unified in January.
Ramsey says Guinto's history with the district is why the most recent background check performed on him did not include a phone call to his former school.
"We had a resume already. A body of work," said Ramsey. "Good evaluations, principals liked him. (Guinto) worked at elementary, middle and high school."
Yet, some other school districts, including Oakland Unified, say a phone call to a former employer is a key part of their protocol when evaluating any prospective employee.
"They can't answer every question, but one of the main questions is, 'would you employ this person again?' If the answer is 'no,' then that's the end of that conversation," said Jeff Dillon, Director of Talent Acquisition for Oakland Unified.
Next week, Ramsey says he'll propose changes to how West Contra Costa Unified performs background checks, including calls to former employers for both new hires and re-hires.
Some parents of students at Mira Vista are still frustrated.
"Somebody dropped the ball," said Tatiana Hill. "Somebody needs to do their job. Period."
Thu, 06 Mar 2014 20:04:54 -0800 News Source: MedleyStory More Local News Stories