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    A choir of gay men traveling from Mexico City almost didn’t make it to their scheduled rehearsal in Los Angeles Sunday night due to a dispute with the Department of Homeland Security.

    The Gay Men’s Chorus of Mexico City fought immigration at Houston’s Hobby Airport and feared getting their visas taken away.

    Jonathan Weedman, executive director of Gay Men's Chorus said the problem stemmed because DHS was suspicious about the purpose of the music sheets found in the men’s luggage.

    The men knew they could be sent back to Mexico regardless of their tourists visas. “The worst part would be that they [DHS] take their visas for five years,” said chorus’ member Oscar Urtusastegui.

    After a 13 minute call with DHS in Houston and the chorus’ host in Los Angeles, the situation was solved, but Weedman feels the controversy over the music sheets was unnecessary.

    “I’m very sorry these fine men who had visas and nothing to hide, “said Weedman, “were detained and frightened, frankly, by our immigration services.”

    The chorus is set to perform Saturday alongside the Gay Men’s chorus of Los Angeles and the Mariachi Arcoiris de Los Angeles at the Alex Theatre.

    VIP tickets are already sold out, but single tickets can be purchased here.



    Photo Credit: KNBC

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    The longtime San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos died Tuesday, his family announced. He was 95.

    The team Spanos bought and ran as a family business for decades relocated to Los Angeles in 2017 under the management of his son, Dean Spanos. 

    "From humble beginnings to becoming the top apartment builder across the nation and the owner of an NFL franchise, Alex proved that dreams do come true," according to the family's statement.

    Funeral arrangements will be announced later this week, the family said.

    Spanos borrowed less than $1,000 in the early 1950s to buy a used catering truck. The truck was used to sell meals to migrant farm workers in the Central Valley, according to his biography on the Chargers’ website.

    His autobiography “Sharing the Wealth: My Story” describes his early business ventures.

    Spanos bought an interest in the Chargers in 1980 and acquired the team outright in 1984. Ten years later, he put his son, Dean, in charge of operations and retired.

    In fact, he built the A.G. Spanos organization and the San Diego
    Chargers as family-run operations.

    "His uncompromising drive for success – one rooted in toughness, resilience and hard work – made an indelible mark on the team," the Los Angeles Chargers said in a statement Tuesday.

    In 2008, Spanos announced he was suffering from dementia by publishing a letter in the San Diego Union-Tribune.

    That same year he was awarded the Medal of the Commander of the Order of Honor by the Greece president.

    He and his wife, Faye, met when Spanos was stationed with the U.S. Air Force in Tarpon Springs, Florida. They were together for 77 years until her death in August at age 92.

    He had four children, Dean, Dea Spanos Berberian, Alexis Spanos Ruhl and Michael along with 15 grandchildren, and 12 great-grandchildren.

    In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent in the name of Alex Spanos to the following charities: American Legion – Karl Ross Post #16, 2020 Plymouth Road, Stockton, CA 95204; The Stockton Scholars Endowment Fund at UOP, University of the Pacific, Attn: University Development/Stockton Scholars, Endowed Fund, 3601 Pacific Avenue, Stockton, CA 95211; The Discovery ChalleNGe Academy, 2922 Transworld Drive, Stockton, CA 95206; or YMCA of San Joaquin County, 2105 West March Lane, Suite 1, Stockton, CA 95207.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Stephen Dunn

    2 Jan 1993: SAN DIEGO CHARGERS OWNER ALEX SPANOS CELEBRATES AFTER HIS TEAMS 17-0 AFC WILD-CARD VICTORY OVER THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AT JACK MURPHY STADIUM IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA2 Jan 1993: SAN DIEGO CHARGERS OWNER ALEX SPANOS CELEBRATES AFTER HIS TEAMS 17-0 AFC WILD-CARD VICTORY OVER THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS AT JACK MURPHY STADIUM IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA

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  • 10/09/18--07:53: Images: The Spanos Family



  • Photo Credit: Getty Images

    San Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos watches his team warm up for their game with the Buffalo Bills at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Credit: Stephen Dunn/AllsportSan Diego Chargers owner Alex Spanos watches his team warm up for their game with the Buffalo Bills at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California. Credit: Stephen Dunn/Allsport

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    Residents say their neighborhood is overrun by rodents. Michelle Valles reports for Today in LA on Tuesday Oct. 9, 2018.


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    A tanker truck spilled tar on the 210 Freeway late Monday, forcing an overnight  closure of the road in the northern San Fernando Valley.

    All lanes remained closed at 5:30 a.m. near Yarnell Street after about 2,000 to 3,000 gallons of hot tar coated lanes on the westbound side of the road.

    The crash near the 210 and 5 freeway interchange was reported around midnight. The driver suffered minor injuries.

    The tanker ended up on an embankment on the side of the freeway.

    Details about what led to the crash were not immediately available. Witnesses told the CHP they saw the driver weaving across lanes before the crash. 



    Photo Credit: Jonathan Gonzalez, KNBC-TV

    A tanker truck crash closed the westbound 210 Freeway Tuesday Oct. 9, 2018 in Sylmar.A tanker truck crash closed the westbound 210 Freeway Tuesday Oct. 9, 2018 in Sylmar.

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    Hankerings?

    They can crank up our cravings, at any time of the day.

    And if you're having a hankering for a particular treat, and you can't get to the eatery that famously makes the famous foodstuff, well, your hankering will have to go unhankered.

    But if you're a devotee of dulce de leche besitos, or a maven of meat pies, and you can only be satisfied with how Porto's Bakery & Cafe makes 'em, well then.

    You'd have to get to the company's long-running Glendale restaurant, or the one in Burbank, or the other Porto's places that have been springing up around the area in recent years.

    That's all changing on Tuesday, Oct. 9, thanks to Porto's new "Bake at Home" delivery service.

    Oh yes: You can now slide a cookie sheet lined with guava strudel into your own oven. Guava strudel that you didn't have to pick up at a Porto's, but, rather, was delivered to your door.

    This is happening.

    There are five Porto's home delivery choices in all, at launch, including the three just mentioned — dulce de leche besitos, meat pies, and guava strudel — as well as Refugiado guava & cheese pastry and cheese rolls.

    We'll give a hearty five "mmms" to that line-up: Mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, and, might we add, mmm.

    You have three size choices, when it comes to how many strudels or besitos you'd like with the small incorporating two dozen, the medium comprising three to four dozen, and five to six dozen delectables in a large box.

    "We now ship nationwide our best-selling pastries raw, frozen, and direct to you so you can bake them in your own oven!" is the effervescent message at the top of the new "Bake at Home" page on the Porto's site.

    Porto's pastries. In our own oven. This is, indeed, a happy day.

    Potato ball buffs?

    You'll still need to head to your go-to Porto's for your go-to goodie. Which is always a pleasure, and so very LA: Noshing a potato ball, or six, while watching the bustling scene inside the warm-hearted cafes.

    The popular Cuban eatery was founded by Rosa Porto over 40 years ago with a first storefront in Echo Park. It has grown and grown, perfecting pastries and savory sandwiches and salads, too, over the decades.

    So consider home delivery the next successful step for this Southern California classic. Enjoy your hot-from-the-oven besitos at home, and your potato balls at a Porto's, and don't forget to pick up that fabulously frosted cake for your friend's bridal shower, too.

    It's Porto's gone everywhere, in the tradition of other traditional local eateries, such as Philippe the Original, stepping into the home delivery service arena.

    Oh. Happy. Day.



    Photo Credit: Porto's Bakery & Cafe

    Dig those dulce de leche besitos? You can now have them at home, thanks to a just-launched Porto's Bakery & Cafe delivery service.Dig those dulce de leche besitos? You can now have them at home, thanks to a just-launched Porto's Bakery & Cafe delivery service.

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    A Van Nuys neighborhood has become infested with rats, and residents insist the problem is coming from one house.  

    Video shows rats scurrying around in the backyard of the home, but the problem only worsens at night. NBC4’s cameras captured the rodents running in packs on the roof of one home on Wyandotte Street.

    The neighborhood is fed up with the rats and the feces they leave behind.

    "Our main concern is for our family’s health and wellbeing and also the wellbeing of our neighbors, including the homeowner who has the apparent issue. It’s not healthy to live like this in these conditions," one homeowner said.

    He added that several people in the neighborhood have spent well over thousands to clean up their homes and attics in hopes of exterminating the rats.

    The homeowner of the infested house doesn't live there, but they do store animal food inside the house. They don’t believe in killing the rats.

    LA City Councilwoman Nury Martinez called the situation "appalling" and called on the city to step in.

    "I have asked LADBS (City of Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety) to immediately look into the conditions of the property, as well as asking LA County agencies to assist with the vermin," she added.



    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

    Rats could be seen running rampant in a Van Nuys neighborhood on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018.Rats could be seen running rampant in a Van Nuys neighborhood on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018.

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    There are dreams, as in those ethereal nighttime excursions we softly fall into while sleeping.

    There are daydreams, as in those fanciful waking wanderings we take when imagining realms beyond our own.

    Then there is The Void, a new "hyper-reality" experience located at the Glendale Galleria. 

    It would easy and far too pat to say that this fresh and impressive take on a virtual reality adventure is somewhere between a dream and a daydream, for it possesses its own distinctive virtual vibe.

    You're there, in the world, and moving around in space while occasionally handling physical items that may be one thing, in this reality, but in your goggles, and your mind, are totally another.

    This is the "hyper" in "hyper-reality," and it is now threading through trio of fantastical otherworldly planes happening at the Glendale mall, including...

    "Ghostbusters Dimension" takes you into a vintage New York City building, one that is inhabited by a cadre of gleeful and ghoulish ghosts. Good thing you'll have a positron collider handy, should you be required to bust those ghosts. (Count on it.)

    "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire" whisks you to Mustafer, but where on the planet is the Imperial intelligence that you and your team seek? Finding it is key. You'll be in dressed not as a rebel, but as a Stormtrooper, which'll allow you move around without hassle or guff from the enemy... one hopes. Or will you?

    "Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment" finds you in Victorian-era Chicago, in the empty buildings of the Chicago World's Fair, where incredibly creepy beings lurk unbidden. Creaky old-school elevators, narrow impromptu bridges, and puzzles to unpuzzle fill the freaky, old-timey trip into the past."

    Indeed, the same tech-tastic outfit creating these worlds is behind The Void at Downtown Disney, which features "Star Wars: Secrets of the Empire."

    There are a few to-knows before entering The Void, whatever hyper-realityverse you choose — travelers must be at least 10 or older, for instance — and there are new tales to anticipate, like a VR lark inspired by Wreck-It Ralph.

    Tickets for each experience start at $29.95.

    Eager to find a never-before-seen dream-like vision, one that involves neither the dreams of sleep nor our self-guided daydreams? With a hefty helping of technical wizardry and straight-from-tomorrow pizzazz?

    Get to Glendale Galleria, strap on the backpack, the goggles, the headphones, and your bold sense of exploration, then turn your curiosity up, all the way, before stepping into The Void.



    Photo Credit: The Void

    Venture into a Victorian weird-world via Venture into a Victorian weird-world via "Nicodemus: Demon of Evanishment" at The Void at the Glendale Galleria.

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    California voters will choose the state's next governor, lieutenant governor, superintendent of public education and other statewide offices on Nov. 6.

    Photo Credit: Jonathan Lloyd/NBC4

    The California Republic flag is seen at a Studio City home in this undated photo.The California Republic flag is seen at a Studio City home in this undated photo.

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    There are traditions in life we know so well that describing them, in detail, is actually probably far easier than describing the back of our own hand.

    Take trick-or-treating, a Halloween pastime we might have engaged in as kids, and still do, as parents or the people handing out front-door treats. We know what will be said, we know that candy will be given, and we know how the goodbyes and well-wishes will go, too.

    But what if an event gleefully topsy-turvy-ed that particular tradition, at least a bit, all while giving grown-ups a novel thrill?

    An event is doing just that right now, at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park, and while its centerpiece is the happening that happens to be in its name — an old-school hayride — there are other skin-prickling pleasures to be found around the grounds.

    The low-lit, atmospheric grounds of the LA Haunted Hayride, that is, which is delivering nostalgic Halloween-style scares, on select nights, through Oct. 31. 

    The main attraction, a lengthy hayride where, yes, you actually do sit on actual hay, and not hay bales, wends through numerous wicked and whimsical scenes.

    Some of the terrifying tableaux involve dancing, some feature music, all boast  costumes, and all include scary characters drawing very, very close to the wagon you happen to be sitting inside.

    As in, feet or even inches away.

    And while a monster-laden lane to roll down is quite a quirky treat come October, so is the chance to enter two maze-y experiences that are incredibly different from each other, not to mention a number of other mazes found around town.

    House of Shadows is a real get-lost maze, complete with strobe effect and some scary, around-the-corner creatures. Exit, entrance, this hallway, that corridor...the choices astound, befuddle, and test your courage.

    Trick or Treat is the event's trick-or-treating to-do, one that sends you out to knock on several doors, where you may get a treat, or, eek... a trick.

    And the person behind the door? May actually not be a person at all, but something far more chilling.

    Purgatory is the wander-through area brimming with wandering ghoulies, ghoulies who are up for a stand-together snapshot, if you desire one, and other sights, like a store, snack bars, and the Scary-Go-Round (there are horses, yes, but not the horses you probably expect).

    A ticket to the hayride alone is $35.99, but there are lots of levels and plenty of ways to approach this nicely rustic, under-the-moon outdoor adventure.

    An adventure that has a few modern ways of doing Halloween, but a lot of nostalic cred, too, courtesy of the hayride, some of the practical effects, and the friendly strolling scary characters, too.

    It's eerie-ing up the Old Zoo, through Halloween, over several select and spooky evenings.



    Photo Credit: C. Brielmaier/LA Haunted Hayride

    It's a Griffith Park lark that's well-known for its hayride, but other strange sights await visitors to the LA Haunted Hayride.It's a Griffith Park lark that's well-known for its hayride, but other strange sights await visitors to the LA Haunted Hayride.

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    Movie mavens don't always focus on a character's hands, not when there are on-screen eyes to gaze at, a large face to behold, and other stand-out features that shimmer well beyond the reaches of the silver screen.

    But C-3PO?

    Now that's a character who uses his hands quite a bit.

    The superstar "Star Wars" droid is either shepherding R2-D2 along to the next adventure, or waving his arms in exasperation at some bureaucratic hiccup, or holding his golden palms up in dismay at the sight of approaching Stormtroopers.

    You can't fuss as famously, nor as amazingly, as this particular droid without doing a bit of talking with your metallic mitts.

    And it just so happens that a pair of those movie star mitts have shown up at The Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills. If you know your "Star Wars" flicks, through and through, you just might recognize them from "Star Wars: Episode VI — Return of the Jedi," which is indeed the installment in which they appeared.

    But, like a landspeeder that's got to leave Mos Eisley before the setting of the suns, this special C-3PO memorabilia, which will soon be auctioned, will be gone from The Paley Center before long.

    So best make your way to the television-focused institution for a close-up look at these treasures, which are on view along with several other film-tastic artifacts.

    The main exhibit that these golden gloves just joined, along with a few other film-fun items? "Essentially Marilyn: The Exhibit," which celebrates the life and style of Marilyn Monroe.

    Indeed, the "Star Wars" piece is now a part of the Marilyn show, at least for a few weeks, in addition to some other cosmic pieces. Look for the "original Mark Hamill 'Luke Skywalker' lightsaber from 'Star Wars: A New Hope,' as well as several articles worn by Sigourney Weaver in "Aliens."

    Everything in the exhibit, which will remain on view through Sunday, Oct. 28, will go up for auction on Dec. 11-13 in Los Angeles. (The C-3PO hands are expected to fetch $40,000-$60,000.)

    Other auction-ready gems from "Raiders of the Lost Ark," "The Blues Brothers," "You Only Live Twice," "Back to the Future II," and more are part of the free-to-see Paley happening.

    Planning to bid on C-3PO's hands?

    Or perhaps something from one of the other movies represented by a piece in the exhibit?

    No need to wave your arms in a fuss, like your favorite droid might do. Just be at The Paley Center for Media to see these dazzling digits, but do get there before Oct. 28, 2018. And best skip going on a Monday or Tuesday, when the television museum is closed.



    Photo Credit: The Paley Center for Media

    Admire the famous droid's famous digits at The Paley Center for Media, through Oct. 28 (closed Mondays and Tuesdays).Admire the famous droid's famous digits at The Paley Center for Media, through Oct. 28 (closed Mondays and Tuesdays).

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    A NASA study recently revealed that a part of a known fault is related to larger faults in Mexico and Southern California.

    The study, which NASA worked on for about three years, revealed that the southern end of the Elsinore Fault is linked to the northern end of the Laguna Salada Fault system, north of the Mexican border. The segment that unites both faults is known as Ocotillo. 

    "The Ocotillo section was the site of a 5.7-magnitude aftershock that ruptured into a 5-mile-long fault buried in the California desert two months after the 2010 El Mayor-Cucapah earthquake in Baja California, Mexico," according to NASA.

    The NASA study says the entire fault is about 217 miles long.

    The magnitude 7.2 earthquake caused severe damage in the Mexican city of Mexicali and was felt throughout Southern California. This quake and its aftershocks caused the movement of dozens of faults in the region, including many previously unidentified.



    Photo Credit: NASA/JPL

    A NASA study shows that a part of a known fault is related to larger faults in Mexico and southern California.A NASA study shows that a part of a known fault is related to larger faults in Mexico and southern California.

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    An incomplete drug tunnel was recently discovered on both sides of the United States and Mexico international border after a joint investigation involving multiple government agencies in both countries, according to the United States Customs and Border Patrol.

    Photo Credit: US Customs and Border Protection

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    A 20-year-old Chino Hills man was tied up and beaten during a satellite television installation at his apartment on Monday, and three suspects located at a nearby apartment have been placed under arrest, according to the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

    The 39-year-old man installing the satellite television service was not injured, but he was also bound and held at gunpoint, according to deputies.

    Wearing masks, several suspects entered the residence and restrained both victims, holding the two men at gunpoint per deputies. According to the SBSD, the suspects proceeded to assault the resident multiple times and stole property before leaving the scene of the crime.

    The assault victim had to go to the hospital and have surgery for injuries sustained during the robbery, according to deputies.

    During the investigation, deputies said they located items related to the robbery and assault in a nearby apartment and identified the robbery suspects as Elise Powell, Davied Rivers and Deon Bryant--the last of whom was located with the help of K9 deputy Ellie.

    Sheriff's deputies said the suspects were booked into the West Valley Detention Center for robbery, mayhem and torture.

    Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact the Chino Hills Police Department at (909) 364-2000. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may contact the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78CRIME (27463), or you may leave information on the We-Tip website at www.wetip.com.



    Photo Credit: Ernesto Torres

    A home invasion robbery and assault is under investigation in Chino Hills.A home invasion robbery and assault is under investigation in Chino Hills.

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    Hundreds of people convicted of felony murder in California could soon have another day in court and eventually walk free as a result of a change to the state’s felony murder law. In San Diego, at least 150 cases could be impacted.

    “This new law goes too far. And I am concerned about public safety,” said San Diego District Attorney Summer Stephan.

    SB 1437 was signed into law last month by Governor Jerry Brown and will go into effect on January 1, 2019. Under the change, if a defendant in a crime did not kill, intend to kill, or did not act with reckless indifference to human life in the death in question, that person cannot be found liable for murder.

    “There could be a significant number of prisoners that are released instantly,” said Stephan.

    The District Attorney cited the 2016 stabbing death of Hugh Pettigrew, 33, of Fallbrook. Three alleged gang members were convicted, even though prosecutors could not prove who actually committed the murder. The new law will allow the three to petition for a new hearing. As many as 800 cases could be impacted throughout California.

    “All three were held responsible, rightfully so, because all three cooperated to murdering this innocent man for their benefit to their gang,” said Stephan.

    But under the new law, defendants who did not play a role in the actual killing would not necessarily be found guilty of murder. It will be the burden of the district attorney’s office to show every person had the intent to kill.

    “If we’re able, for example, to prove that all three knew, agreed ahead of time that someone is going to die, they’re not going to leave a witness alive, then they’re going to get to remain in custody as murderers. But that level of proof is very hard to come by,” said Stephan.

    Meanwhile, advocates for criminal justice reform are praising the new law.

    “It’s a much-needed change. It gives many who are hopeless, hope, finally. It tries to reform a very unjust law,” said Laila Aziz with the group Pillars of the Community.

    Aziz says she knows of at least seven people in prison for a murder they did not commit. She cites the case of then 18-year-old Brian Mason who was sentenced to life in prison in 2000. Mason was with several other people in a National City motel when a man was shot and killed. He did not pull the trigger.

    “A young man who never killed anyone or planned to. It's a sad situation,” said Aziz.

    While District Attorney Stephan says she's also concerned about the heartache facing families who "thought" they had received justice, Aziz is hopeful the new law will help achieve justice for those she says are wrongfully imprisoned.

    “Never ever have I wished that person who did not kill my loved one rot in prison to make me feel better. And the victims I know feel the same way, said Aziz.

    SB 1437 was co-written by Republican State Senator Joel Anderson of Alpine.



    Photo Credit: Getty

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    President Donald Trump joked about talk of impeaching him and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh during a campaign rally on Tuesday night, NBC News reported.

    "The Democrats are even talking about doing really bad things now to Justice Kavanaugh," Trump said. "Last week, they were saying, 'We'll impeach.' ... I have to go first, right? Don't I? — Even though we've done nothing wrong other than create one of the greatest economies in the history of the world."

    The president raised impeachment as some progressive groups are pushing forward with efforts to remove Kavanaugh.



    Photo Credit: AP

    President Donald Trump speaks during a Make America Great Again rally at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018.President Donald Trump speaks during a Make America Great Again rally at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2018.

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    Harvard University diving coach Chris Heaton has resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct, according to a statement from the school.

    "Chris Heaton, the Class of 1989 Head Coach for Diving, has decided to step down from his role," the release reads.

    A class action complaint against USA Diving stated that Heaton is accused of soliciting nude photos from female athletes at Ripfest, a diving camp in Indiana. He also allegedly sent pictures of his genitals to young female athletes.

    The school said earlier this month that it was unaware of any allegations of misconduct when it Chris Heaton as head coach for diving in August.

    "I'm shocked that somebody of that caliber would be involved in something like this," said graduate student Mike Vea. "That's a shame."

    Heaton is not named as a defendant in the complaint, which "involves sexual abuse, exploitation, and the forced labor of USA Diving members by the Team USA coaches, entities, officials, and executives who were entrusted to protect them."

    John Wingfield, the president of Ripfest, is named as a defendant. Multiple times since 2015, female athletes complained about Heaton to Wingfield, who was allegedly dismissive of the claims.

    "To hear about something like that, where you can't even really talk to your coach or respect them, it's scary," said Lexi Milunovich of Harvard's tennis team.



    Photo Credit: Go Crimson/Harvard University Athletics

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    For months rat-infested trash has been piling up on Ceres Avenue, a street that connects downtown LA's bustling produce and garment districts. Now, health officials say accumulations of trash like this could be a cause of an outbreak of the bacterial disease typhus. 

    LA's mayor is now in apology mode.

    "It's disgusting and it's unacceptable," LA Mayor Eric Garcetti told NBC4, after the I-Team showed him pictures of garbage piling up for months. 

    When asked why the city hasn't collected trash on a city street, Garcetti responded:

    "Well, it should have been. And we're going to get to the bottom of why it wasn't and make sure that it is."

    The LA County Public Health Department says "typhus is a disease that infected fleas can spread to humans." The fleas often live on rodents, cats, and dogs that are drawn to garbage.

    There are 57 cases of typhus reported in LA County so far this year, far higher than most years. A cluster of nine cases has been identified in what officials now call "The Typhus Zone," a section of downtown LA encompassing Skid Row and newer upscale residential housing and businesses.

    "I actually kind of wanted to die, because I couldn't figure out what I had," said Van Shemirani, who owns a clothing company in the Fashion District. He told NBC4 he suffered two months of high fever and nausea before his doctors at UCLA Medical Center diagnosed him with typhus.

    Shemirani says his warehouse was constantly overrun by rats, which he suspects were the cause of his typhus infection.

    "I definitely think I got it from the rats," Shemirani said.

    People who work in the downtown and Skid Row areas say they've complained constantly to the city's 311 number to pick up piles of trash but the calls often go unaswered.

    Records obtained by the I-Team show the Department of Sanitation received more than 2,200 calls to 311 over a two-year period to pick up trash near homeless encampments but failed to respond to more than half of those calls.

    "If someone is calling 311 and not getting through that's unacceptable," Mayor Garcetti told NBC4. "Things sometime slip through the cracks but this is unacceptable and I'm going to make sure that it doesn't happen, Garcetti added.

    After Garcetti spoke to NBC4 about the typhus outbreak and the city's failure to control trash and rats, the Mayor's Office called the I-Team. His spokesman Alex Comisar said the city is now allocating an extra $300,000 to cleaning up trash and sanitizing streets around the "Typhus Zone." The clean-up, according to Comisar, has already begun.

    There is a typhus epidemic in LA County right now with a recent outbreak of cases around downtown LA.

    Here are five things to know:

    1. Typhus is not typhoid. Typhus is a disease spread to humans by fleas from dogs, cats and rats. Typhoid is a food-borne illness transmitted through contaminated food and water.

    2. A typhus outbreak in LA includes people living on the streets and also workers and business people.

    3. Typhus symptoms include high fever, rash, abdominal and muscle pain.

    4. Typhus is rarely fatal and can be treated with antibiotics.

    5. You can prevent getting typhus by using flea products on your pets and keeping away from wild animals like feral cats and rodents.



      Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

      For months rat-infested trash has been piling up on Ceres Avenue, a street that connects downtown LA's bustling produce and garment districts. Now, health officials say accumulations of trash like this could be a cause of an outbreak of the bacterial disease typhus.For months rat-infested trash has been piling up on Ceres Avenue, a street that connects downtown LA's bustling produce and garment districts. Now, health officials say accumulations of trash like this could be a cause of an outbreak of the bacterial disease typhus.

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      California recently added $770 million to the billions of dollars being held as unclaimed property, the state's chief fiscal officer announced Tuesday.

      Link: California Unclaimed Property Search

      The cash transferred to the state for safekeeping includes bank accounts that might have been forgotten, uncashed checks, insurance policy money, stocks, safe deposit boxes and other unclaimed cash. The $770 million is just part of the $9 billion in unclaimed property being held by the state.

      So, how do Californians find out whether they have unclaimed property? Click here to visit the state controller's unclaimed property search. Users also can download unclaimed property records, check on the status of a claim and download claim instructions and forms.

      "A search of the unclaimed property database only takes a couple minutes and this is a great time to do it because more properties transfer from banks, businesses, employers, and life insurance companies each summer," Controller Betty Yee said in a statement.

      Under California's Unclaimed Property Law, banks, insurance companies, corporations and other entities are required to submit customers' property to the state controller's office when no activity is reported over a certain period of time, usually three years. The property is held by the state until a rightful claim is filed.

      There is no time limit or cost for filing a claim with Yee's office.

      About 580,000 claims were filed in the 2017-18 fiscal year totalling about $309 million. The average amount of money paid out was $534, according to the controller's office.



      Photo Credit: Getty Images
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      California has billions in unclaimed cash held for safekeeping by the state until someone files a rightful claim.California has billions in unclaimed cash held for safekeeping by the state until someone files a rightful claim.

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      At 19 weeks pregnant, Sarah Prowell learned her unborn son had spina bifida. 

      Spina bifida is a birth defect caused when the spine and spinal cord do not form properly, in many cases leaving a portion of the spine exposed. 

      Without medical intervention, the condition causes differing levels of disability, which can include paralysis and lifelong bladder issues.

      The Terrell mom was referred to Dr. Timothy Crombleholme, director of the newly opened Fetal Care Center at Medical City Children's Hospital in Dallas.

      "The open fetal surgery opens up the opportunity for us to intervene at a time when things are not irreparable. We can intervene and save the baby's life or prevent unknown injury to the baby's organs," Crombleholme said.

      Prior to Crombleholme's arrival to North Texas earlier this year, families of babies diagnosed with the most common and severe form of spina bifida, called myelomeningocele, had to travel elsewhere for open fetal surgery.

      Because spinal cord damage is progressive during gestation, prenatal repair of myelomeningocele may prevent further damage.

      "A few years ago, if they came to our practice with this spina bifida problem, they would have had to travel to the east coast, Houston or the west coast to have this surgery," said Dr. Kevin Magee, maternal and fetal medicine at Medical City Children's Hospital.

      Crombleholme is one of only a handful of surgeons nationwide qualified to perform open fetal surgery and he is widely recognized for his skill and successful surgical outcomes. 

      Baby Uriah became his first North Texas patient on June 25, 2018. Now, at almost two months old, Uriah is kicking his legs, signaling early success from leading-edge surgery for spina bifida. 

      "He will have lifelong difficulties, but it's not going to slow him down," Uriah's father, Sean Kirby, said.

      "He's doing so good, better than we thought he'd be," Sarah Prowell said. "I think he'll be very determined. I think he will impress us and everyone else, like he has so far."

      You can follow his progress here.

      Fetal surgery for spina bifida is not a cure, but studies show that it repair can lead to better results than traditional repair surgery after a child is born. 

      The surgery greatly reduces the need to divert fluid from the brain, improves mobility and improves the chances that a child will be able to walk independently, doctors said.



      Photo Credit: NBC 5 News

      The first open-womb spina bifida surgery in North Texas was performed on unborn baby in Dallas. The delicate surgery repairs the most common and severe form of spina bifida, a birth defect affecting the spine.The first open-womb spina bifida surgery in North Texas was performed on unborn baby in Dallas. The delicate surgery repairs the most common and severe form of spina bifida, a birth defect affecting the spine.

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