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    Security cameras captured a shirtless man in a stolen ambulance as he stopped for cigarettes before a pursuit Sunday that began in the Lake Elsinore area and continued into the high desert north of Los Angeles.

    The man, a patient who was being transported to Temecula Valley Hospital, apparently broke free from his restraints in the private ambulance and scuffled with a paramedic in the rear of the van. When the driver stopped on a freeway to help, he then commandeered the ambulance and drove to a nearby AM/PM store to buy cigarettes.

    Security camera video from the store showed the driver get out of the ambulance and open the rear doors before putting on pants in the parking lot.  Aylin Brambila was working inside the AM/PM when the man cut to the front of a line to pay.

    "He started shaking a little, getting a little panicked, I guess," said Brambila. "That's when he was like, 'I'm just going to get this, and I'm going to leave.'

    "Then he gets in an ambulance, doesn't close the door properly and just drives off."

    He can be seen buying cigarettes on video from cameras inside the store. Video also showed the man driving off in the ambulance -- its rear doors still open -- as a customer at a fuel pump pointed out the vehicle to pursuing officers.

    The pursuit continued on the 15 Freeway and ended about 70 miles later in the Hesperia area when the driver got out of the ambulance as is rolled to a stop in the median. Shirtless and barefoot, the man sprinted across a field before he was taken into custody.



    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

    Security camera video shows a sheriff's department patrol car chasing a stolen ambulance Sunday Dec. 16, 2018 in a convenience store parking lot.Security camera video shows a sheriff's department patrol car chasing a stolen ambulance Sunday Dec. 16, 2018 in a convenience store parking lot.

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    Sharing our own special day with another notable event, one that just happens to coincide with our birthday or anniversary or graduation?

    It's not unheard of.

    In fact, it's so not unheard of, you've probably experienced it multiple times, over the course of your life. For making way for something else to share your spotlight is part of the larger life experience, due to the finite nature of the annual calendar.

    And there just happen to be two things sharing the spotlight at Griffith Observatory on Friday, Dec. 21, two things that might be described as sun-bright, moon-big, and as interesting as astronomy itself.

    No pressure there, what with all of the hyperbole we're trucking out, but let us argue our case: Dec. 21 is the winter solstice, a mighty big day for this planet, and, as is tradition, observatory staffers will give informative and free talks on the topic, both at local noon and sunset.

    Local noon, on Dec. 21, 2018, will happen at 11:51 a.m., by the by, so just be at the Gottlieb Transit Corridor well ahead of noon-noon, as in the hour on the clock.

    The sunset talk will take place on the observatory's West Terrace.

    And at 7:30 that night, in the Leonard Nimoy Event Horizon Theater? Look for a special presentation devoted to the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8, which "... launched on Dec. 21, 1968... the first to take humans beyond Earth to another world."

    Indeed, the famous "Earth Rise" photograph was snapped during this mission, on Dec. 24. Also? "The mission set the stage for the first Moon landing in July, 1969," observes the observatory. 

    Major. Beyond. Epic. And all of the super-hyperbolic words, which are well-earned in this case.

    The Apollo 8 celebration is also free, do note. And one more bonus: If you can't make it, it will be streamed live.

    Do you like some moon with your solstice or some sun with your Apollo 8? Dec. 21 is the day to head up the hill for history, astronomy, community, and deep-sky'd wonder.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Two astronomically awesome events are sure to send fans of Griffith Observatory over the moon on Friday, Dec. 21.Two astronomically awesome events are sure to send fans of Griffith Observatory over the moon on Friday, Dec. 21.

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    Seeking ways to reach out to communities recovering from the recent fires, and to help them rebuild, and to thank firefighters, and to tell our neighbors that we're thinking of them, not only during this holiday season but always?

    There are multiple routes, through several organizations, to do just that right now, and thousands of Californians are stepping up and donating money, time, and hosting a plethora of fundraising events.

    And a major one will take place on Tuesday, Dec. 18 when California Pizza Kitchen restaurants across the country donate "20 percent of participating purchases" to "the California Fire Foundation to support firefighters and impacted communities."

    Indeed, "across the country" is the theme, though there will be exceptions on the participating locations list, including airport and university locations, as well as a few other spots.

    The best bet? Check with your local CPK to see if they're on board for the fundraiser.

    What next?

    Dine in, or order out, or order online, and mention the fundraiser to your server or the employee taking your order. (Or, yes, you can show them this page.)

    Then, 20% of your bill will go to the California Fire Foundation, "..a non-profit organization that provides emotional and financial assistance to families of fallen firefighters, firefighters, and the communities they protect."



    Photo Credit: Kristi Klemens/CPK

    Several California Pizza Kitchens will take part in the Dec. 18, 2018 event, which will help support the California Fire Foundation.Several California Pizza Kitchens will take part in the Dec. 18, 2018 event, which will help support the California Fire Foundation.

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    Suffolk District Attorney John Pappas announced Monday that his office is ending prosecution of Sean Ellis for first degree murder and armed robbery in the 1993 slaying of a Boston police officer.

    The case is being dropped because prosecutors don't believe they would be successful in a retrial due to the amount of time that has since passed.

    "The nature of the evidence has not changed in 25 years, but the strength of it has declined with time," Pappas said.

    He also said the involvement of corrupt police detectives in the investigation has compromised their ability to prosecute the case.

    "This was not an easy decision. It may not be a popular decision, but it is the right decision," Pappas said.

    Ellis was sentenced to life in prison after he was convicted in 1995 of the shooting death of Detective John Mulligan. Mulligan was shot five times in the face at about 3:30 a.m. on Sept. 26, 1993, while he slept in his car while on a security detail outside a pharmacy.

    The Supreme Judicial Court released Ellis from jail in 2015, saying he didn't get a fair trial because two police detectives who played key roles in the investigation later pleaded guilty to corruption charges, and prosecutors didn't provide Ellis' defense team with all of the evidence.

    "It's kind of like surreal," Ellis told NBC10 Boston on Monday. "To say that I'm happy and ecstatic is an understatement."

    He said he still had the GPS monitoring device on his ankle as he heard the news Monday.

    Asked what he has learned about himself since 1993, he said he has learned that he is "resilient." He still maintains his innocence.

    As for what's next, he said he wants to go back to school so he can get a better job. He's in his 40s now and says he's doing entry level work that someone in their late teens, early 20s would typically be doing.

    Boston Police Commissioner William Gross said he agrees with the district attorney's decision but said that doesn't mean that Ellis didn't kill Mulligan.

    "He's a father, and a brother and a son. It was with heavy heart we had to discuss this with the family for this final outcome," Gross said of Mulligan.

    "Sean Ellis is culpable," he added. "Not innocent at all."



    Photo Credit: necn

    Sean Ellis.Sean Ellis.

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    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

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    An off-duty Oakland police officer was in stable condition Monday after accidentally shooting himself Saturday night in the Northern California city of San Leandro, according to police.

    At about 8:55 p.m. Saturday, San Leandro Police officers responded to an apartment in the 400 block of Dolores Avenue on reports of a man who had been shot, San Leandro police said. When officers arrived, a female told them her boyfriend, an off-duty Oakland police officer, was inside the apartment suffering from a gunshot wound.

    Officers immediately began first aid until paramedics arrived. The off-duty officer was alert and talking to investigating officers, police said.

    "At this point in the case, we know the shooting occurred in the parking lot of Bayfair Mall, and appears that he accidentally shot himself," San Leandro police Lt. Isaac Benabou said.

    The off-duty officer was taken to a hospital, where he remains in stable condition, police said.

    Anyone with information on the incident should contact the San Leandro Police Department at 510-577-3315.


    File image of Oakland police.File image of Oakland police.

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    What seemed like a simple school assembly turned into a pleasant surprise for the Agoura Hills High School baseball and softball teams thanks to Olympic Sports and Team USA.

    Olympic Athletes visited the high school Monday morning where Olympic Sports donated new equipment to the high school teams after their sports shed was destroyed in the Woolsey fire last month.

    The Woolsey fire left many devastated after it caused about 95 percent of families in the district to be evacuated.

    Schools were closed for a long period of time, more than 100 families lost their homes and more than 200 students are still out of their homes.

    Students came together for a brief rally where they participated in giveaways and had fun chanting with Team USA.

    Varsity baseball and softball team members met at Yerba Buena Elementary School for an assembly then headed back to the high school to see all of the new equipment that had been donated.

    Students met with athletes Sahvanna Jaquish, Danielle O'Toole, Janie Reed and Delaney Spaulding, members of the U.S. National Softball Team, the first team from any nation to already have qualified for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

    Amid all of the devastation the Woolsey fire left behind, school officials are trying their best to give students a positive and cheerful experience this holiday season.


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    An East Hollywood apartment building had a stripped roof for ongoing repairs when rains hit Southern California in early December, so it's now life with water stained walls and floors, but without ceilings and cabinets for tenants.

     "This is not right for us," said Matilda Castillo, who, like her neighbors, has chosen to remain, even though her unit now lacks a functioning kitchen.

    Following the rains, building management quickly began demolition work on the apartment building. But that came to a halt after residents raised questions about notification and their relocation during the repairs, so lawyers became involved.

    "The landlord and management are doing everything the can to get these tenants' apartments repaired as soon as possible," an email statement from attorney Niv Davidovich reads.

    But residents and families expressed distrust.

    "We're just fearful," said Joe Aguila, whose mother is a tenant. "We don't want to lose our homes."

    Rents are stabilized in the building at 1144 N. Westmoreland Ave.--currently under $1,600 for Castillo's two bedroom--and several of the tenants said they suspect management wants them to leave for good. Castillo said her family was offered $20,000 to relocate permanently. They declined, she said, out of concern they could not afford the rent at a comparable apartment.

    That an offer was made to residents to relocate permanently was acknowledged by Davidovich.

    "That offer was rejected," Davidovich wrote in an email. "The landlord has now made offers to relocate temporarily, and we are still waiting for a response from tenant's attorney."

    Tensions escalated last week when the landlord posted notices of needed unit access, but the date and day were out of sync.  Several residents cited that in denying access when personnel arrived on Friday.

    Later, in another notice demanding tenants quit occupancy within three days, management asserted that, in denying access, tenants had violated their rental agreement.

    That was decried as "bad faith," in the view of Daniel Lavi, lead attorney of The Tenants Law Firm, a nonprofit that is representing the renters. "The Tenants are simply looking for a way to have a win-win solution," Lavi wrote in an email statement.

    Residents contend deferred maintenance has been a recurring problem. A partial ceiling collapse was reported in Unit 6 after the early rain in October. As it was, the roof was stripped for a re-do just days before the early month rains.  Davidovich said work was delayed, first by a contractor issue, and then to await a city inspection.

    Plastic sheeting was put down, but proved no match for the heavy rain.

    The repaired roof was still awaiting final sign-off when a Building and Safety inspector arrived Monday. A city housing inspector also arrived to examine the interior damage.

    Tenants have been notified property management will need access again Tuesday.


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    A 42-year-old man was shot and killed while changing his tire in a North Hollywood parking lot Monday, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

    The man was shot at approximately 6 p.m. in the parking lot of the Valley Park Recreation Center on the 12200 block of Archwood Street in North Hollywood.

    The victim was taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

    Police believe two men fled the scene after the shooting but did not know what caused the shooting.

    Authorities are asking for the public's help. 


    Police investigate a fatal shooting in the North Hollywood area on Dec. 17, 2018.Police investigate a fatal shooting in the North Hollywood area on Dec. 17, 2018.

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    Three vehicles were involved in a crash at the end of a pursuit on the streets of Hollywood Monday, with bystanders capturing the conclusion of the pursuit on video.

    The chase ended near the intersection of Vine Street and De Longpre Street, near the doorsteps of a restaurant. Diners hear the collision and recorded the takedown of the suspected reckless driver in a possibly stolen Dodge Charger.

    Genevieve Lake, a witness, says, "There was a body on the ground. Thought he was dead. It was the guy surrendering! Cops yelling, 'Get on the ground!'"

    Lake added, "I never saw that before. First time! I'm scared."

    The runaway sports car slammed into a northbound van, and the incident was described by the innocent van driver.

    "He sent my entire big van from the outer lane to the inside lane," Kristopher Roe says. "My dog, little French bulldog, went flying."

    Roe's van filled with smoke, and the driver and his dog had to escape out of the vehicle's window.

    Traffic was disrupted for hours as the Los Angeles Police Department took statements and gathered evidence. Miraculously, no one was seriously injured or killed.

    "I love watching high speed pursuits on TV, but I don't want to be part of one," Roe said.



    Photo Credit: Newschopper4 Bravo

    Pursuit ends in a three-vehicle crash in Hollywood on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018.Pursuit ends in a three-vehicle crash in Hollywood on Monday, Dec. 17, 2018.

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    The Defense Department's internal watchdog said in a new report that cybersecurity lapses like neglecting to encrypt classified flash drives and failing to put physical locks on critical computer servers leave the United States vulnerable to deadly missile attacks, NBC News reported

    The findings came in a new report made public Friday, summing up an eight-month-long investigation into the nation's ballistic missile defense system by the Pentagon's Office of Inspector General. 

    The audit examined five of the 104 Defense Department facilities that manage ballistic missile defense systems and technical information.

    It's just the latest internal finding that U.S. defense infrastructure is deeply vulnerable to cyberattacks.



    Photo Credit: Mark Wright/Missile Defense Agency via AP

    This Monday, Dec. 10, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) shows the launch of the U.S. military's land-based Aegis missile defense testing system, that later intercepted an intermediate range ballistic missile, from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.This Monday, Dec. 10, 2018 photo provided by the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) shows the launch of the U.S. military's land-based Aegis missile defense testing system, that later intercepted an intermediate range ballistic missile, from the Pacific Missile Range Facility on the island of Kauai in Hawaii.

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    See some of the images in the news around Southern California.

    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Upset Los Angeles Rams fans look on during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)Upset Los Angeles Rams fans look on during the fourth quarter against the Philadelphia Eagles at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on December 16, 2018 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

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    Bells and chimes and ticking clocks play prominent roles in that most prominent holiday tale of all, "A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens.

    Consider, if you will, that Marley's ghost tells Ebenezer Scrooge that three spirits will arrive at specific appointed times. It's pivotal, to the tale, and memorable, too.

    In short? At Christmas, clocks play starring roles.

    Where, though, to find a stately historic clock, the kind of clock seen in yarns of old, done up in its yuletide best, around Los Angeles?

    You only need look to the corner of Third & Fairfax, at the Original Farmers Market, the famous home to two handsome clock towers and some very unScroogean celebrating when the week ahead of Christmas arrives.

    We say "unScroogean" because everything is free to enjoy, from the concerts (Merle Jagger's Country Christmas and Einstein Brown's Calypso Christmas are coming up) to the crafts (think elf ears and pine cone decorating).

    But the spirit weaving through the charming market is also deeply non-Scrooge, thanks to the seasonal boughs and bows, the bustling vendors (from grocers to gift purveyors), and the chance to snack upon foodstuffs that fit the season, from hot chocolate at the Coffee Corner to the iconic toffee at Littlejohn's Candies.

    If you'd like to join a particular craft activity, or hear the Dickensian carolers or mariachis, best check the schedule first, before heading to the beloved local favorite.

    Or just show up, through Dec. 24, to see what is happening, holiday-wise.

    Something great will likely flower, with the panache of a poinsettia, during your time there, if you settle in with a warm drink and the desire to people watch, read a book, or just pass the time in an unhurried and pleasant manner.

    No bahs, and zero humbugs, are to be found during the Christmas festivities at the Original Farmers Market.

    So follow the sound of the clock tower to one of LA's freest and light-of-heart-iest holiday fun times, before the hour strikes 3 p.m. on Christmas Eve.



    Photo Credit: Original Farmers Market

    It's that week, the most carol-filled, mariachi-merry week of the year at the Third & Fairfax-based landmark. Be there through Dec. 24, 2018 to revel in the yuletide to-dos.It's that week, the most carol-filled, mariachi-merry week of the year at the Third & Fairfax-based landmark. Be there through Dec. 24, 2018 to revel in the yuletide to-dos.

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    PG&E says it shook up management in light of what it calls “unacceptable” conduct by unspecified managers who regulators say exerted pressure on crews to falsify “tens of thousands” of gas safety inspections as being on time when they were late.

    In its statement last week when the falsification allegations were formally lodged by California regulators, the company did not mention any management shakeup.

    But in a statement posted over the weekend on its website, PG&E said it had carried out a number of reforms in the wake of “unacceptable” conduct as alleged by state regulators in its 811 program to mark and locate gas lines. The state Public Utilities Commission accuses the company of urging crews called out to mark and locate gas lines for construction projects to claim the inspections were done on time, when in fact they were not within the three day regulatory deadline.

    The company noted it had beefed up staffing while voluntarily submitting the results of an independent review to state regulators and the federal monitor overseeing safety in the aftermath of PG&E’s conviction for federal gas safety violations following the deadly San Bruno pipeline explosion.

    The company also cited “making a number of personnel and organizational changes including some leaders no longer being with the company.”

    According to the CPUC’s filing last week in the case, two top PG&E officers, then-President Nick Stavropoulos and gas safety official Jesus Soto, were called in to account for “the safety consequences” of the falsification alleged in the case. Stavropoulos, 60, officially retired in September, but Soto remains with the company.

    Meanwhile, the Public Utilities Commission has ordered the company to review its entire “Mark and Locate” program and vouch, under penalty of perjury, that it is now capable of meeting its obligations under state law.

    The regulators allege the company falsified mark and locate records to reflect timely responses between 2012 and 2017, when they clearly lacked the staffing needed to dispatch crews promptly, as required by law.

    Crews, acting under pressure, altered late response to appear to be on-time responses, regulators allege. The law requires the company respond within two days after receiving a call.

    “Utility falsification of safety related records is a serious violation of law and diminishes our trust in the utility’s reports on their progress,” said Commission President Michael Picker when the formal investigation was launched last week.

    “These findings are another example of why we are investigating PG&E’s safety culture. Our upcoming consideration of measures that address systemic safety issues at PG&E will determine the best path forward for Northern Californians to receive safe electrical and natural gas service in the future.”

    In a regulatory filing released Friday, the commission alleges that the wrongdoing occurred “immediately following the 2010 San Bruno gas explosion and fire that resulted in eight fatalities, numerous injuries and damage to property.”

    “This Commission would expect that after such a tragedy, caused by multiple proven violations of law, PG&E would have sought to vigorously enhance and increase its effectiveness in all aspects of its gas safety.’’

    The investigation began when federal pipeline safety regulators notified the commission in April 2016 that PG&E may have been falsifying records.

    PG&E’s commissioned auditor concluded that although the company lacked staffing, management “placed inherent pressure’’ on crews to complete their work within state deadlines. “It was common knowledge among supervisors that locators entered false notes to avoid tickets from going late,” the auditor found, citing “pressure to falsify tickets so they would not appear as late.”

    The PUC-commissioned auditors later found the company was undercounting the number of late responses “on the order of tens of thousands” between 2012 and 2016 and did not count least 5,000 additional late responses in 2017.

    Each failure, the regulators contend, “increased the risk of another catastrophic gas incident, regardless of whether there was an actual hit or ‘dig-in’ on PG&E’s infrastructure, or not.”

    Regulators say they hope the investigation will delve into whether the management knew or should have known about the falsification as alleged.

    PG&E, one of the largest natural gas and electric energy companies in the U.S., provides service to 16 million people in northern and central California. The utility has also been under scrutiny over the possible role of failing PG&E equipment in recent deadly wildfires.



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

    File image of PG&E crews inspecting power lines in the North Bay.File image of PG&E crews inspecting power lines in the North Bay.

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    Plenty of travelers will roam plenty of airports in the days ahead, which is, we needn't even say, the natural way of things when we reach Peak Holiday.

    And while the styles and colors and shapes of the suitcases trailing these travelers will fill out the gamut, and then some, we can confidently say that very few people, if any, will be flying with a gigantic, old-style steamer trunk.

    That particular form of luggage, after all, definitely doesn't fit into an overhead bin, but they can fit inside hotel lobbies.

    Which is exactly what's happening at a pair of Southern California hotels at the moment, in the form of the pop-up, not-here-forever Bellhop Bar by Loews Hotels. 

    The bar is actually a "retrofitted steamer trunk packed with bespoke beverages stored in antique, apothecary-style bottles," and it can be found near the hotels' lobby lounges.

    As to where to find The Bellhop Bar 'round these parts?

    Loews Santa Monica and Loews Hollywood are the spots to see this stylish and small saloon, an actual over-sized trunk that holds beautiful glasses, top-shelf liquors, and the other accoutrements that nicely add to a very nice drink.

    And those very nice drinks will be poured from 5 to 7 p.m. each day, through the middle of January, when both trunks will again be locked and sent on the road.

    The libations are described as local and "pre-batched," and each boasts a nod to "the golden age of the cocktail era." Angel's Envy Bourbon and Hangar One Vodka are the featured spirits in the pre-batched sips.

    Love an Old-Fashioned? Go for The High Press. Prefer vodka and St. Germain in your glass? The Sunset Blues may be for you.

    The picturesque, bar-holding trunk has cameo'd before at our local Loews properties, but it must, after all, venture back out onto some adventuresome trail, in the way that old steamer trunks were so often known to be on the go, go, go.

    So wait not, if such retro panache appeals to your spirit-sipping side: Get to Loews Hollywood or Santa Monica before we're deep inside the first month of the year.



    Photo Credit: Wilson Webb

    Savor a bespoke beverage at the Bellhop Bar at Loews Santa Monica and Loews Hollywood, between 5 and 7 p.m. each day, through the middle of January.Savor a bespoke beverage at the Bellhop Bar at Loews Santa Monica and Loews Hollywood, between 5 and 7 p.m. each day, through the middle of January.

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    Saying you won't encounter a queue during the rush-rush of the holiday season is, let's be honest, some real wishful thinking.

    Because lines do abound, even year-round, at popular Southern California shops and attractions and restaurants.

    And when a new location for a boutique burgery debuts? And the burger chain in question is known for its extreme popularity, and, yes, opening-week, er, month lines? 

    It's queue time, and that's that, but you can take solace that a savory 'n munchable icon is at the end of the process for you.

    And that icon is the Shake Shack burger, a meaty treat that has built a mondo reputation around SoCal (and, indeed, in New York City, where it was founded in 2004).

    Now the latest Shake Shack is here, at 200 N. San Fernando Boulevard in Burbank, and it boasts a bevy of burger-luscious options, as well as those famous frozen custard concretes.

    Including a few that will be only sold in Burbank, like the Hopscotch. The spoon-diggable dessert includes vanilla custard, salted caramel sauce, Mast Brothers dark chocolate chunks, and chocolate toffee.

    Mmm to all that.

    And if you're hoping and crossing various fingers that the Roadside Burger will make a menu showing, uncross those fingers and wrap them around the edible in question: Yes, is the answer, the LA-exclusive burger will be on the Shake Shack Burbank menu. 

    Think "onions simmered in bacon and beer" and Dijon mustard and a double burger sitch, oh yeah.

    Best think about getting to the Burbank location, which debuted on Dec. 17, soon, if you're looking for hearty fare to complement your holiday running-around.

    So what if there's a bit of a line? Maybe you'll chat up other Shake Shackers while waiting, or figure out which burger you'll order, which is not the easiest choice to make.

    But make it, many will, at this latest Shake Shack, in the days/weeks/months ahead.

    Years, we mean. Yeah, years.



    Photo Credit: Shake Shack

    Love a classic burger, a frozen custard concrete, and crinkly French fries? And love to eat them in Burbank, too? You're in luck: There's a brand-new Shake Shack on San Fernando Boulevard.Love a classic burger, a frozen custard concrete, and crinkly French fries? And love to eat them in Burbank, too? You're in luck: There's a brand-new Shake Shack on San Fernando Boulevard.

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    Penny Marshall, who starred in "Laverne & Shirley" before becoming one of the top-grossing female directors in Hollywood, has died. She was 75.

    Marshall's publicist, Michelle Bega, said Marshall died in her Los Angeles home on Monday due to complications from diabetes. "Our family is heartbroken," the Marshall family said in a statement.

    Marshall starred as Laverne DeFazio, the Milwaukee brewery worker, alongside Cindy Williams in the hit ABC comedy "Laverne & Shirley." The series, which aired from 1976 to 1983, was among the biggest hits of its era.

    It also gave Marshall her start as a filmmaker. She directed several episodes of "Laverne & Shirley" before making her feature film directorial debut in "Jumpin' Jack Flash," the 1986 comedy starring Whoopi Goldberg.

    Her next film made Marshall the first woman to direct a film that grossed more than $100 million. Her 1988 hit comedy "Big," starring Tom Hanks, was about a 12-year-old boy who wakes up in the body of a 30-year-old New York City man. The film earned Hanks an Oscar nomination.

    Marshall reteamed with Hanks for "A League of Their Own," the 1992 comedy about the women's professional baseball league begun during World War II. That, too, crossed $100 million, making $107.5 million domestically.

    Marshall's former husband Rob Reiner, also a film director and former star of 70's telelvision, expressed his condolences on Twitter Tuesday. "I loved Penny. I grew up with her. She was born with a great gift. She was born with a funnybone and the instinct of how to use it. I was very lucky to have lived with her and her funnybone. I will miss her."

    As news of her death spread other friends and fans expressed their condolences across social media.

    A Bronx native, Marshall became a dedicated Los Angeles Lakers fan, and a courtside regular. Her brother Garry Marshall, who died in 2016, was also one of Hollywood's top comedy directors. Penny Marshall was married to Michael Henry for two years in the 1960s and to the director Rob Reiner from 1971-1981. Their daughter Tracy Reiner is an actress; one of her first roles was a brief appearance in her mother's "Jumpin' Jack Flash."

    Marshall is also survived by her older sister, Ronny, and three grandchildren.



    Photo Credit: FilmMagic
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    Penny Marshall attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Celebration at Rockefeller Plaza on February 15, 2015 in New York City. The acclaimed director died Monday at age 75.Penny Marshall attends the SNL 40th Anniversary Celebration at Rockefeller Plaza on February 15, 2015 in New York City. The acclaimed director died Monday at age 75.

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    It's beginning to feel a lot like Grinchmas at Universal Studios Hollywood.

    The annual event based on Dr. Seuss' "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" is back for the Who-lidays!

    A towering 60-foot tall Grinchmas tree serves as the center of Who-ville, where you never know who you just might run into – perhaps the Grinch's love interest Martha May Whovier or Mayor Augustus Maywho?

    Guests can enjoy live performances from the Who-liday Singers or the Who Dolls while munching on Grinch-inspired Christmas treats.

    And, if you're in the holiday spirit, you can stop by the Whoville Post Office where you can send a postcard to the Grinch and support tutoring for homeless youth. Who knows? Your heart might just grow three sizes.

    You can even meet the green man himself along with his faithful dog Max in this real-life Whoville.

    Grinchmas runs now through Dec. 30, 2018.

    Universal Studios and NBC Owned TV Stations operate under the same parent company NBCUniversal.



    Photo Credit: David Sprague

    The Grinch and his faithful dog Max pose for a photo during Grinchmas 2018 at Universal Studios Hollywood.The Grinch and his faithful dog Max pose for a photo during Grinchmas 2018 at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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    Celebrate the season with The Grinch, his faithful dog Max and Who-ville Whos at Universal Studios Hollywood. "Grinchmas" is back now daily through Dec. 30, 2018.

    Photo Credit: Whitney Irick

    The 60-ft. Grinchmas tree at Grinchmas 2018 at Universal Studios Hollywood.The 60-ft. Grinchmas tree at Grinchmas 2018 at Universal Studios Hollywood.

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    Christmas is an interesting time for film fans, and not just because it revives the annual argument involving whether "Die Hard" is a Christmas movie or not.

    For the yuletide-iest time of the year also sends several cinematic treats from the past back to the big screen, so fans can revisit "Elf" and "It's a Wonderful Life" in the way that the works were first enjoyed: largely and in chargely.

    But the rest of the year? It can seem to be a bit empty of iconic films returning to cinemas, at least when compared to the holidays. There are groups and organizations changing this up, however, and, at the forefront, is the partnership between Fathom Events and Turner Classic Movies.

    For this team-up will once again deliver a dozen movies, plus two extra, to theaters throughout 2019. Movies that were released decades ago, but still rock quite the dedicated fanbase.

    If you're a fan of "Field of Dreams" or "Steel Magnolias" or "Glory," but you've only ever watched your go-to flick on the small screen, you're in some happy luck, for those movies, and several others, will be back 'n big in 2019.

    As is the way with the TCM Big Screen Classics series, a film will return for two nonconcurrent days, or perhaps three, so keeping on top of the schedule is super-important. 

    Movies don't play for a month or even a week; you've got two days to catch what you want to see, maybe three.

    "The Wizard of Oz 80th Anniversary" is up first, at the end of January, and "My Fair Lady" follows, later in February. Of note? It's the 60th anniversary of "Ben-Hur" in 2019 and the 50th anniversary of "True Grit," and, indeed, both are on the roster.

    As is the 50th anniversary of "Hello Dolly," the 25th anniversary of "The Shawshank Redemption," and the 40th anniversary of "Alien."

    Oh, and the big 30th for "...When Harry Met Sally" is on the way, too.

    For all of the 2019 dates, visit Fathom Events, and visit the TCM Big Screen Classics page.



    Photo Credit: TCM

    TCM and Fathom Events will again team up to deliver a line-up of famous, from-the-past films back to the big screen, throughout 2019.TCM and Fathom Events will again team up to deliver a line-up of famous, from-the-past films back to the big screen, throughout 2019.

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