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    Immigration services in Los Angeles and across the United States are being affected by the national government shutdown that began on Dec. 22, 2018.

    According to the records office of the University of Syracuse, there are approximately 800,000 people waiting for the status of their immigration cases, and in Los Angeles there are at least 74,000 cases that are affected, with that number increasing by the day.

    Several families are receiving immediate responses because they are new arrivals into the country; however, an immigration lawyer says that even those cases could see an impact if the government shutdown lingers on.

    "Well, I came to my first appointment and they even extended it to me, because it was only for people who had an ankle monitor," said Marvin Carrillas, who had a pending case but was told to return in April due to the shutdown.

    "Many people who have waited to have their final court date will no longer be able to represent their cases, and those cases will be delayed for three to six months or one more year into the future," said Gustavo Mora, an immigration lawyer.

    Los Angeles County only has 40 judges in immigration court, and immigration cases have been delayed by at least 50 percent at the local and national level in the last two years prior to the shutdown, according to Syracuse University. 

    "With the immigration courts, clients who have just arrived in the United States because of political asylum that have ankle monitors and are under supervision order will not be able to hear their cases soon in court," Mora said.

    The immigration office will send a statement by mail if your appointment has been affected. The attorney recommends that you call the toll-free service number at 1-800-898-7180.


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    Paul George rang in the New Year by beating his hometown team.

    George got booed every time he touched the ball, but still torched the Lakers for 37 points, as the Oklahoma City Thunder rolled into 2019 with a 107-100 victory over Los Angeles on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

    The L.A. local from nearby Palmdale was expected to join the Lakers in the offseason after becoming an unrestricted free agent in the summer. Instead, George spurned his childhood team, by refusing a meeting with Magic Johnson and the Lakers brass, and signed a four-year, $137 million contract to stay in Oklahoma City.

    George was booed by the Staples Center crowd during pregame introductions, but promptly quieted the masses by defeating the Lakers, leading the Thunder in scoring in the process.

    "I don't want to say he was extra amped for this game, but obviously the Lakers have great history and tradition, it's a great place to play, great environment," said Thunder head coach Billy Donovan when asked if he thought George played more angry or emotional during the game. 

    The Lakers players noticed that he did. 

    "We heard what the crowd was doing and saying," said Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. "He was aggressive. He fed off that. Paul George is a great player. He came back really aggressive in the second half."

    Six different Thunder players scored in double-figures, but George was the only offense they needed on this night.

    "I think he was great," said Donovan of George. "I thought he did a good job of getting into the flow of the game."

    Steven Adams had 14 points and 15 rebounds, Jerami Grant added 13 points, and Dennis Schroder and Abdel Nader each had 10 points off the bench.

    Russell Westbrook was awful from the field, shooting 3-for-20, but he still managed to record his 115th career triple-double with 14 points, 16 rebounds, and 10 assists.

    "Scoring is just part of my game," said Westbrook. "I do everything, so on nights like that I'm able to impact the game in other ways."

    The highlight of the game came in the first half when George drained a three-pointer in front of former teammate Lance Stephenson. The shot prompted Westbrook to mock Stephenson by impersonating his patented air guitar celebration.

    Caldwell-Pope led the Lakers with a game-high 25 points and five three-pointers. It was the second straight game he's led the team in scoring.

    "I've been staying aggressive and staying in a good rhythm," said Caldwell-Pope of his scoring surge. "I'm just taking my shots when I'm open and not forcing anything."

    Brandon Ingram had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Josh Hart had 13 points and a career-high 15 rebounds in a starting roll, and JaVale McGee chipped in 15.

    "We put a big emphasis on rebounding, so I wanted to help on the glass," said Hart of his big night on the boards. "Obviously Bron [LeBron] is out, Rondo is out, Kuz [Kyle Kuzma] is out. It's a part of the game, but all of us are ready to step up."

    The closely fought game was a back-and-forth battle with eight different lead changes, and 11 ties, as no team led by more than six points until the Thunder pulled away in the final two minutes by going on an 11-0 run.

    "I'm not going to make excuses, so I'm not going to say we're tired or anything like that," said Hart of the team's scoring drought that ultimately led to the loss. "We just have to execute and if we are tired, we have to find times to catch our breath or call a timeout. We're not going to make excuses, we could have and should have won."

    Both teams struggled from the field with the Lakers shooting 41 percent and the Thunder even worse at 38 percent.

    The Thunder got more offensive rebounds (17) and more second chance opportunities (12), but the Lakers had nine blocks compared to the Thunder with just five. 

    "They are a big, strong, physical team," said Lakers head coach Luke Walton of the disparity on the offensive glass. "That was a big part of our scouting: to keep them off the glass. We didn't do that tonight."

    The Lakers continued to struggle from the free throw line shooting a paltry 59 percent, but may have met their equal as the Thunder shot just 64 percent from the line.

    "We have to fix it," said Lonzo Ball who missed three free throws himself. "If we want to win in the playoffs we have to miss free throws. I obviously have to make mine and the rest of the guys that get to the line."

    Kyle Kuzma left the game in the first half with a lower back contusion, and did not return to the game. He will undergo an MRI on Thursday morning and be reevaluated.

    The Thunder are rapidly rising in the Western Conference, winners of seven of their last 10 games. On the flip side, the Lakers are in a freefall without LeBron, losing three of their last four without their superstar.

    We Don't Need You

    Fans started chanting, "We Don't Need You!" towards Paul George as he shot free throws late in the fourth quarter. Many expected George would sign with the Lakers in the offseason, or at the very least take a meeting with them. 

    "I thought he was going to sign here," admitted Lakers center Tyson Chandler after the game.

    Notes and Next

    LeBron James missed his fourth consecutive game with a strained left groin. Rajon Rondo missed the game with a torn ligament on his right ring finger. 

    The Lakers will host the New York Knicks on Friday night at Staples Center.

    Highlights



    Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images
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    Russell Westbrook #0 and Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrate a dunk during the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.Russell Westbrook #0 and Paul George #13 of the Oklahoma City Thunder celebrate a dunk during the first half against the Los Angeles Lakers at Staples Center on January 02, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

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    Good Samaritans stepped in to desperately try and save a motorcyclist and a driver after a fiery collision Wednesday in Santa Ana, and the dramatic aftermath of the deadly crash was caught on video.

    The crash occurred at approximately 1:35 p.m. on Raitt Street near McFadden Avenue after the driver made an illegal U-turn and collided with the motorcycle, according to the Santa Ana Police Department.

    One of the witnesses that rushed to the fiery wreckage was the son of one of the victims, and video shows the son and a neighbor rush into danger to desperately attempt to save a live.

    But it was too late.

    The motorcyclist died at the scene, while the driver was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead, according to police.

    Cell phone video shows witnesses with water hoses trying to put out the flames. 

    "I just saw flames go up," Maria Curiel, a witness, says. "I yelled at my dad, 'Get the water hose. There's a man on fire!'"

    Brianna Benitez, another witness, says, "It was like a movie scene, like its not real. We stood there for a second in shock, but we knew we had to try and help him at least."

    The 35-year-old motorcyclist did not survive the crash, while the 40-year-old woman driving the red car also died as a result of the collison.

    Neighbors say the young man in the gray shirt trying desperately to save the woman from the burning car is the woman's son.

    "I can't even imagine what those families are going through," Curiel says.

    Santa Ana investigators believe the woman was rushing to move her car on Raitt street before street sweeping and made an illegal U-turn. The motorcyclist, who witnesses say was going excessively fast, collided with the vehicle, and both people involved died--Two lives lost in an instant.

    "It felt like a movie - but its life," Steven La Rue, a witness said.

    Curiel added, "It was very heartbreaking to try to help somebody. Both of their lives were taken by an accident."

    How fast that motorcyclist was going is still under investigation.

    The coroner's office has not yet identified the two victims.



    Photo Credit: OC Hawk

    A deadly crash involving a motorcycle and a car resulted in two people losing their lives in Santa Ana on Jan. 2, 2019.A deadly crash involving a motorcycle and a car resulted in two people losing their lives in Santa Ana on Jan. 2, 2019.

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    A decorated Navy SEAL will face court-martial for charges including premeditated murder in the death of a young ISIS fighter in Iraq, NBC 7 has confirmed. 

    Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher faced an Article 32 hearing in November at Naval Base San Diego. During the hearing, U.S. Navy prosecutors accused Gallagher of premeditated murder for the stabbing death of an injured ISIS fighter who they estimate was about 15 years old. The stabbing happened in Mosul, Iraq, in May 2017.

    Gallagher is also charged with aggravated assault for shooting Iraqi civilians.

    Special Operations Chief Gallagher has denied the charges. He will be arraigned at Naval Base San Diego on Friday.

    Rear Adm. Yancy Lindsey, commander of Navy Region Southwest, reviewed evidence presented at the hearing and determined Gallagher should face court-martial, according to a U.S. Navy spokesperson. 

    NBC 7 was the only broadcast news station at the Article 32 hearing at Naval Base San Diego.

    Special Operations Chief Gallagher has been held in the Miramar Brig since Sept. 11 when he was arrested at the Camp Pendleton Intrepid Spirit Center. 

    The Navy outlined its evidence, including cellphone photos that show Gallagher holding up the head of the deceased fighter during a reenlistment ceremony.

    That evidence is considered privileged and was not shown in court because it could be used as propaganda by enemies of U.S. troops.

    The government also said it had a video of the Iraqi fighter before he was killed.

    Prosecutors also presented evidence that they say shows that Chief Gallagher tried to bribe fellow SEALs not to talk about the incident to NCIS investigators.

    Gallagher's private defense attorney, Phil Stackhouse, questioned conflicts in dates and testimony in court and asked if investigators were able to determine if the ISIS fighter could have died from injuries suffered in an airstrike.

    Stackhouse told NBC 7 in an exclusive interview that he's confident his client will be acquitted.

    "What we've asked for and what we're going to continue to ask for is that Eddie is judged by a jury of his peers so that there are special operators, both officers and enlisted sailors that are on this court-martial panel that's going to hear the evidence because of the unique nature of allegations arising in a combat zone," Stackhouse said.

    The defense says Gallagher was turned in by his subordinates because he was too tough on them.

    Naval Special Warfare Group One reviewed the evidence presented at the hearing according to the Navy and requested the charges be reviewed by RADM Lindsay, who then referred most of the charges to the court.

    The Navy SEALs Fund Brotherhood Beyond Battlefield has launched a fundraising campaign for Gallagher who served eight tours of duty with six as an elite special forces operator.

    Gallagher has served 19 years in the U.S. Navy and more than 14 years as a Navy SEAL, his attorney said.

    In 2017, Gallagher was ranked as the top SEAL chief and his platoon was ranked as the top SEAL platoon, the website said.

    If convicted on the most serious charge, Gallagher could face life in prison.


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    Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi isn't ruling out President Donald Trump being indicted in office, telling the "Today" show in an exclusive interview she considers it "an open discussion."

    While standing Justice Department guidelines advise against indicting a sitting president, Pelosi told Savannah Guthrie that it's possible special counsel Robert Mueller could still seek one.

    "I think that is an open discussion in terms of the law," she said ahead of reclaiming the House speaker's gavel Thursday, becoming the first lawmaker to do so in recent history.

    Democrats have discussed whether to impeach Trump, and Pelosi didn't rule it out, saying it shouldn't be done — or avoided — "for a political reason."



    Photo Credit: "Today"
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    As the new year begins, the United States Postal Service is telling customers about changes in 2019 that could impact their mail. 

    Starting Jan. 27, Forever stamp prices will increase from 50 cents each to 55 cents each. The 10 percent increase is the biggest in USPS history. 

    The price hike is to offset losses from 2018. The post office had its worst year yet, resulting in about $4 billion in operating losses. USPS said in November that  sales from shipping and packages had soared 10 percent but rising pay and benefits and higher transportation costs led to the overall decline in revenue, Reuters reported

    Postal employees said it is important to keep the stamp price increase in mind if you plan to print shipping labels at home. 

    "If you come to the post office, we'll weigh it and put the correct postage on," said Eva Jackson, spokesperson for the USPS San Diego District. "If you're at home, that could create a problem if you don't have enough postage on there." 

    Locals say they will be supporting USPS in a personal effort to keep the federal agency afloat. 

    "Keep using the post office, that's my tip," said Kristen Winter as she was mailing letters at the Carmel Mountain Postal Store on Rancho Carmel Drive. 

    USPS said that it had expected 16 billion letters, gifts and packages to be sent out between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve. The estimate for 2017 was 15 billion. 

    The service has been taking steps to compete with major online retailers like Amazon. During the busy winter months, some local post offices set up a drive through the holidays so that customers did not have to leave their cars to mail letters and packages. 

    The Forever stamp price increase was approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission. 


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    The highly anticipated lineup for the 2019 edition of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival was finally unveiled on Wednesday night, with Childish Gambino headlining Friday night and Ariana Grande set to headline Sunday night.

    The three-day festival that repeats on back-to-back weekends is set to be held on the weekends of April 12 and April 19, with over 100 acts performing, ranging in styles from Weezer to YG.

    The annual festival is held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, California, and started in the early 1990s.

    Passes for the event will go on sale Friday at 11 a.m. Pacific Time, with general admission passes set to sell for $429 without shuttle service and VIP passes selling for $999 each.

    To see the full lineup for the 2019 Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, click here.



    Photo Credit: Rich Fury/Getty Images for Coachella, File
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Festival goers during the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 20, 2018 in Indio, California.Festival goers during the 2018 Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival at the Empire Polo Field on April 20, 2018 in Indio, California.

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    A good Samaritan is being credited with saving a woman's life in the early hours of New Year's Day after he ran across several lanes of traffic on the 91 Freeway, jumped over the center divider and pulled a woman from the wreckage of a burning vehicle in Buena Park.

    Alfred Castro says he was driving his kids and wife home after a New Year's Eve celebration on the 91 Freeway westbound when he saw the car on fire in the eastbound lanes. So, he pulled over and grabbed his flashlight.

    Castro used the flashlight to slow cars down to get across the freeway and jumped the center divider. There, he could hear a woman screaming. 

    "I had to find a solution to this problem right now," Castro says about the rescue. "She's got to get out. I got to get out. We all got to get out."

    Alfred’s daughter, Susana, shot video as her dad ran in to pull the woman from the car.

    Castro describes the scene, "The woman's head was literally about one inch from the flames so I grabbed her by the wrists and that's how I was able to pull her out, because she was limp and knocked out."

    Castro covered the unconscious woman in a blanket, and she was taken away in an ambulance where she woke up and spoke to first responders.

    The woman suffered major injuries, but she was conscious and talking to first responders, according to authorities. Castro says he hopes to get in touch with her one day.

    Castro says he thinks he was just at the right place at the right time. 

    "It's not like I woke up and ate my Cheerios to go do this," Castro says. "No, it was a spontaneous reaction. There's a life at risk and I had to react to allow them to survive."


    The burning wreckage on the 91 Freeway on New Year's Day.The burning wreckage on the 91 Freeway on New Year's Day.

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    Drug maker Aurobindo Pharma USA is voluntarily recalling 80 lots of its blood pressure medication valsartan over concerns that tablets could be contaminated with a cancer-causing agent.

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration reported that traces of N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA), a "probable human carcinogen," was found in several lots of Amlodipine Valsartan Tablets USP, Valsartan HCTZ Tablets, USP and Valsartan Tablets USP.

    The recalled medications were distributed nationwide. The New Jersey-based company has not received any reports of adverse effects related to the drugs as of Dec. 31, 2018, when the recall was announced, the FDA said.

    A full list of the recalled products is available here. Products can be identified by checking the product name, manufacturer details, and batch or lot number on the bottles. Expiration dates range from May 2019 to March 2021.

    Valsartan tablets are used to control high blood pressure and for treatment of heart failure. The FDA says patients who are prescribed Amlodipine Valsartan Tablets USP, Valsartan HCTZ Tablets, USP and Valsartan Tablets USP should continue taking their medication, “as the risk of harm to the patient’s health may be higher if the treatment is stopped immediately without any alternative treatment.”

    If a patient's medicine is included in the recall, they should contact their health care professional to discuss alternative treatment options before returning their medication.

    Consumers can contact the company at 1-866-850-2876 or pvg@aurobindousa.com.

    Aurobino’s recall follows a number of others in the last year. In November, Teva Pharmaceuticals voluntarily recalled two of its drugs over the same concerns. In August, the FDA announced an expanded recall of medications that contained the active ingredient valsartan over concerns that it could be contaminated with the cancer-causing agent.

    The agency encourages patients and health care professionals to report any adverse reaction to the FDA’s MedWatch program.



    Photo Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    File photo of a doctor reading a blood pressure gauge during an examination of a patient.File photo of a doctor reading a blood pressure gauge during an examination of a patient.

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    Are you thinking about giving up meat?

    Some people feel strongly about not eating animals and it can have a positive impact on the environment, but as Consumer Reports warns, when some people cut out meat and dairy, they need to take extra care to get the nutrients they need.

    Consumer Reports suggests for a balanced vegetarian or vegan diet, you need to pay special attention to getting enough of these four important nutrients: protein, calcium, iron and vitamin B12.

    There are plenty of plant foods that have protein. For example - tofu, chickpeas, and other legumes, and high protein grains such as quinoa. Eat some protein at every meal.

    And don't forget bone-building calcium. Doctors recommend 1,000 mg a day, and 1,200 if you’re a woman over 50. How do you get it when don’t eat dairy?

    Plant sources of calcium include almonds, bok choy, collard greens, kale, fortified plant milk or orange juice and calcium-set tofu.

    Getting enough iron can be a challenge when you don’t eat meat. Pair good plant iron sources, such as lentils, white beans and other legumes, and swiss chard with vitamin C containing foods such as oranges and red bell peppers. Combining plant foods rich in iron with Vitamin C helps boost iron absorption.

    Another nutrient you may miss out on: Vitamin B12, crucial for brain and nervous system functioning. Fortified plant milks, meat alternatives, breakfast cereals can help you get B12.

    If you’re planning on making the switch to veggie or vegan in the new year, it’s not a bad idea to check in with your health care provider to ensure you’re getting enough of the nutrients you need!

    All Consumer Reports Material Copyright © 2019_ Consumer Reports, Inc.

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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    Outraged over the price of printer ink? You’re not alone.

    A recent Consumer Reports survey shows the price of ink is the number one complaint for printer owners. So why are those tiny little ink cartridges so expensive?

    Experts at Consumer Reports say one reason: There’s a lot of science and engineering behind printing, and it all has to work together seamlessly. Consumers expect a push-button experience and that’s what they try to deliver. 

    Consumer Reports says to think of what you paid for your printer as more of a down payment. The manufacturer hopes you come back to them and buy their original brand ink or toner. That’s the profit motive. So now they sell the printer cheaply, but can charge more for the ink and toner. 

    And when it comes to that ink, most consumers aren’t even getting what they paid for. CR says tests have shown with many inkjet printers, more than half of the ink you buy never winds up on the page!

    Inkjets, which are a very popular type of printer, tend to use up more ink than other types of printers because they have to do a maintenance cycle. That maintenance cycle helps keep the printheads from clogging, which can ruin your prints. CR says consumers who print the average 25 to 35 pages a month should leave their printers on. That’s because turning a printer off and on can trigger more maintenance cycles. Don’t worry about your electricity bill. CR says inkjets nowadays use very little power in sleep mode. 

    Other ways to save? Consider an affordable black and white laser printer, especially if you’re mostly just printing text. You can also check out reservoir inkjet printers. They use ink reservoirs you fill yourself instead of cartridges. And those refills can last up to two years. 

    Consumer Reports urges consumers not to be attracted by low prices when shopping for a printer, especially this holiday season. They say it’s important to consider the price of a printer over time, including ink. CR members can check out the two-year estimated cost of ownership in the printer ratings.

    All Consumer Reports Material Copyright © 2019_ Consumer Reports, Inc.

    ALL RIGHTS RESERVED


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    In an effort to halt the devastating impact of the opioid crisis, state regulators are now reviewing the prescribing history of doctors whose patients overdosed on powerful and addictive narcotics. 

    The Medical Board of California says Dr. Frank Gilman negligently prescribed powerful opioids and sedatives to a San Diego woman, failed to heed warning signs of her possible abuse of those controlled substances, and increased her “risk of harm” by his “haphazard prescribing.” 

    That patient, 66-year-old Diana Barliant, had a history of depression and suicidal thoughts and at least one suicide attempt. 

    On July 3, 2012, Barliant killed herself by overdosing on prescription opioids and sedatives.

    In an accusation filed against Dr. Gilman, the Medical Board cites his allegedly substandard care of Barliant and three other patients as a reason to revoke Dr. Gilman’s license.

    But Barliant’s widow strongly disagrees with those allegations and is refusing to help the Medical Board pursue its action against Dr. Gilman. 

    “This is a witch hunt, and I won’t be part of it,” said Nowell Wisch. “And I will fight [the Medical Board] every step of the way.” 

     

    Wisch said Dr. Gilman diligently prescribed different medications, including narcotics, to help his wife cope with the intense, unrelenting pain of thyroid cancer, fibromyalgia, and nerve pain. 

    “She was just falling apart, and the opioids were the only drug [that helped her],” Wish told NBC 7 Investigates. “This was a highly thought-out process. We discussed every single treatment option. We accounted for every single pill. And no one involved in this process was responsible in any way for her death. Dr. Gilman was responsible for keeping her alive.” 

    Wisch said he has refused a request from the Medical Board to assist with the investigation, and would not help an investigator obtain his late wife’s medical records. 

    The Medical Board has a very different, and extremely critical, view of Gilman's treatment.

    Its 63-page accusation seeks to revoke Gilman's license, based on his alleged sub-standard care of Diana and three other patients. 

    According to that document, Gilman prescribed thousands of powerful opioid pills -- including Oxycodone and Oxycontin -- for Diana in the five years he treated her. 

    The Medical Board accuses Gilman of "haphazard" and "incompetent" prescribing and claims he "failed to respond to warning signs [of Diana's] possible misuse and abuse" of narcotics and sedatives. 

    The Medical Board alleges that those actions amount to “gross negligence" on Gilman’s part, and contributed to Barliant’s suicide by an overdose of narcotics and sedatives. 

    Dr. Gilman did not respond to a request for comment from NBC 7 Investigates. But his attorney said, “To my knowledge, Dr. Gilman’s investigation has not been concluded, therefore detailed comments regarding this matter are premature. However, I can share that Dr. Gilman continues to cooperate with the investigation.” 

    Nowell Wisch isn't the only one questioning the Medical Board's accusation against Gilman and 22 other California doctors, who are all are accused of negligently prescribing powerful and addictive drugs. 

    Those accusations are the result of a relatively new enforcement effort called the "Death Certificate Project." 

    Medical Board investigators reviewed more than two thousand autopsy reports from 2012 and 2013 that implicated prescription opioids in a patient's death. 

    The Medical Board says this new strategy helps it root out negligent prescribers, without waiting for a complaint. 

    “The systematic approach of this project has given the Board a chance to discover who the over-prescribers are, rather than having to wait for specific complaints to be made,” reads the minutes of a July 2017 meeting of the Board’s Enforcement Committee.

    But the California Medical Association, which represents thousands of California physicians, is concerned that the Death Certificate Project has ensnared doctors who were correctly following accepted opiate prescription practices in place when they treated those patients. 

    “Are there bad prescribers? Yes. Are there so many that these investigations had to blanket so many people? We don't think so," said Dr. Ted Mazer, a San Diego physician and immediate past president of the California Medical Association. 

    "The issue is, are the [Medical Board] reviewers applying the right guidelines, and are the investigations focusing improperly on certain areas and certain specialties?" 

    In response to this, a Medical Board spokesman said the Board’s expert reviewers, “...are expected to use the standard of care in effect at the time the incident/care and treatment occurred.” The spokesman also noted that the Medical Board did have opiate prescription guidelines in place as early as 2013. 

    Mazer said the issues of concern to the Medical Association were first raised in a series of articles in the online medical publication “MedPage Today”.

    Those articles and the concerns of some physicians have prompted the Medical Association to request an independent, outside review of the Death Certificate Project. 

    “We’re not accusing the Medical Board of improper investigations, but we’re hearing enough concern that we think it needs to be looked into,” Mazer said. 

    In the meantime, Mazer warns that until California doctors are confident that the investigations are fair, some will stop prescribing narcotics and turn away patients who have a legitimate need for those medications. 

    "The patient who truly needs pain medication may not be able to access it,” Mazer said. “Then they have two choices: They can suffer, which is not what medicine is supposed to have them do. Or they can go to the street” to buy illicit narcotics.


    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Widower Nowell Wisch holds a photo of his wife Diana Barliant, who died from an opiate overdose.Widower Nowell Wisch holds a photo of his wife Diana Barliant, who died from an opiate overdose.

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    Online child predator-shaming group POPSquad has recorded more than 130 stings and claims to have been involved in 14 arrests, which NBC News has verified, though not all were charged with crimes related to videos of the encounters.

    It's one of dozens of such groups that have sprung up online, especially in the last year, mining similar territory to the NBC News "Dateline" show "To Catch a Predator," according to an NBC News review of the groups on Facebook.

    "In this field, sex crimes, no one can hold a candle to me. And that's a problem," said Shane Erdmann, also known as "Incognito," who founded POPSquad in Connecticut two years ago.

    The groups' stings sometimes end with a potential child predator in police custody. But many law enforcement officers consider them dangerous vigilantes.

    In one case from October, a 20-year-old gay man from Torrington, Connecticut, went home after being confronted by Erdman at a sting and hanged himself. Erdmann declined to comment on video of the encounter, posted to Facebook and later removed, and threatened to sue NBC News when asked follow-up questions.

    SUICIDE PREVENTION HELP: If you are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or reach out to the Crisis Text Line by texting 'Home' to 741741.



    Photo Credit: Ron Antonelli / for NBC News

    Shane Erdmann, who uses the alias Shane Erdmann, who uses the alias "Incognito," in his office in Bristol, Connecticut.

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    Perhaps you've spent some time on the floor in recent weeks.

    Perhaps you settled into the middle of the shag rug, the one in the rec room, all to help the kids put together a full-on space castle comprised of 3,498 LEGO bricks.

    Or, yeah, perhaps you did this on your own, because you got the kit your super-wanted for Christmas, the kind of kit what would inspire you to build such a cosmic fortress.

    And while we hate to implore anyone to get up off the comfy shag, and change out of their pajamas, we will say this: If you dig bricks, lots of them, in lots of colors, and you seek out ways to be inspired by other builders of small space castles and pirate ships and city halls, then make your way to Pasadena over the first weekend of January 2019.

    For Bricks LA is back, the large-scale LEGO-loving convention that's all about putting bricks in front of builders, buyers in front of vendors, and a host of activities that lend well to the LEGO-strong lifestyle.

    A ticket is five bucks, and if you're age 5, or under, you'll enter the Pasadena Convention Center for free.

    Just a few of the lock, stack, and rise to-dos on the two-day schedule?

    Brick Building for Beginners, Bricks on the Big Screen, and STEAM learning with LEGO are all on the rundown, as are substantial blocks devoted to exhibits, vendors, creativity, and the always-bustling Play Area.

    Lots of models will be on display, created and fashioned, one brick at a time, by LEGO lovers like you. If more inspiration is sought, and, really, in the land of LEGOdom, fans are always looking to other fans to push their own brickly talents a bit further.

    So, for a Saturday, or a Sunday, or both, best get up off the shag, put your bricks in the bucket, and lock into this weekend-long lark of a LEGO-bration.

    Yes, adding "-bration" onto a word where it typically doesn't appear may not be done, but then, in the LEGOverse, don't you want to build the sort of structures that haven't yet been built?

    Get inspired, on Jan. 5 and/or 6, in Pasadena.



    Photo Credit: LEGO Bricks

    Build a great start to the new year, brick by brick, at the Pasadena Convention Center on Saturday, Jan. 5 and Sunday, Jan. 6.Build a great start to the new year, brick by brick, at the Pasadena Convention Center on Saturday, Jan. 5 and Sunday, Jan. 6.

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    "Snowflakes," "phone zombies," "binge gamers" and "me me me millennials" are the focus of the British army's latest recruitment campaign, NBC News reported

    Posters and billboards reminiscent of the famous World War I "Your Country Needs You" ads have been given a 21st-century twist, sending the message: "The army spots potential. Even if others don't."

    The U.K. has struggled to maintain its target of 82,000 troops in recent years due to a declining number of recruits. The new ads appear to attempt to engage millennials by connecting the stereotype of the screen-addicted generation with desirable skills. "Phone zombies" are wanted for their focus and "binge gamers" for their drive.

    "We are trying to show that we are unlocking potential — potential that many elements of society may not see in young people, but we do," Col. Ben Wilde, head of recruiting for the British Army, told journalists at a press briefing on the initiative Thursday.



    Photo Credit: Ministry of Defence
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    This composite photo shows three of the British army's new recruitment ads targeting millennials.This composite photo shows three of the British army's new recruitment ads targeting millennials.

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    How does an iconic scene, one that's filled with new music and fashion and film, tend to flower? 

    We mean, how does it grow in an authentic and organic way, rising above the status of mere passing fancy to become an unforgettable moment in our shared pop culture timeline?

    Lots of people probably can't answer that, in a firsthand, I-was-there sort of way, but concert goers and art makers living around Seattle and Portland, back in the early 1990s, certainly can. 

    For a certain sound, vibe, outlook, and flannel-covered lifestyle grew with gusto and guitar-backed force, and soon "grunge" as a larger idea had spread far beyond the boundaries of the Pacific Northwest.

    Grunge still grows, clearly, for on Monday, Jan. 14 Brack Shop Tavern will revisit the PNW of '91, ish, for a full-on evening of Nirvana-power'd rock, Pearl Jam-deep melodies, and loads of odes to that big moment in music history.

    Beyond the soundtrack, which, yes, will be fully grungeified inside the DTLA venue?

    There shall be themed cocktails — sip a Cosmo-esque Portlandian, if that's your fancy — and lively visual cues that will speak to the nearly-three-decades-gone era.

    Like?

    Look for tie dye tapestries to cover the bar's televisions and concert fliers to lend a particular spirit to the scene.

    And if you meet "Old Doug," the fictitious proprietor of the bar, prepare to hear stories of standing thisclose to the stage, at the undergroundiest clubs of Seattle, back when the '90s first got rolling.

    A ticket to Grunge Shop Tavern, which is co-produced by Sampson Creative Enterprises? It's five bucks, and that's ahead of time or once you're there. Cool. That's easy and some good-vibing, for sure.

    Small noshable plates to share? Themed eats are also part of the night.

    LA Works? The volunteer program is the evening's beneficiary. So count on part of the proceeds helping out its important work.



    Photo Credit: Guitar

    A A "nineties narrative" will rule Brack Shop Tavern on Monday, Jan. 14, all to summon the vibes of the Pacific Northwest circa the early '90s.

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    Nearly the same amount of Californians are moving out of state as the number of people moving into the state, according to a new study.

    United Van Lines’ National Movers Study found that 54.4 percent of movers are leaving the Golden State and 45.6 of them are settling in, and it may come as no surprise that the majority of people moving in and out make $150,000 or more per year.

    The study tracked people's primary reason for moving and 62.49 percent of inbound movers said the reason was for a job. The majority of outbound movers, 41.19 percent, also moved for their career.

    "Unlike a few decades ago, retirees are leaving California, instead choosing other states in the Pacific West and Mountain West," said Michael Stoll, economist and professor in the Department of Public Policy at the University of California, Los Angeles, said in the study's release.

    Twenty-two percent of retirees moved out of the state compared to 10.13 percent of retirees who moved in, the study found.

    The age of the people moving in and out are mostly balanced but people age 18-34 appear to be moving to California more than any other age group. People older than 55 are also moving out more than the younger generations.

    The study was based on 2018 household moves handled by United. The moving company said it has been tracking migration patterns on a state-by-state basis since 1977.

    New Jersey was the state that had the most people move away from, according to the study. 

    California remained the most populous state in 2018, with nearly 40 million residents, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. California's growth was driven by about 200,000 more births than deaths and a net migration of 21,000.



    Photo Credit: AP
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    A pursuit driver behind the wheel of a mangled Honda who allegedly struck a pedestrian amid the chase continued on through three Southern California counties, despite four attempted PIT maneuvers by police Wednesday afternoon. 

    The Los Angeles Police Department and Culver City police were pursing the car, and despite four PIT maneuver attempts, with car parts flying, the driver kept going. The driver crossed into San Diego County on the 5 Freeway early Thursday afternoon.

    People lined on overpasses appeared to be snapping photos and taking video of the chase. 

    Los Angeles City Fire Department said amid the chase, the driver struck a pedestrian on a scooter in the Playa del Rey area near LAX. The person was taken to the hospital for treatment, and suffered non-life threatening injuries, officials said. 

    The Honda's windshield was badly damaged, with the rear view window completely knocked out, as the chase continued on the 405 Freeway heading southbound. 

    California Highway Patrol officers were blocking some freeway entrance ramps, reducing traffic on what is usually a busy stretch of Southern California freeway.

    "That is our goal, to keep other drivers away from this driver so in the event they do a PIT maneuver or the driver decides to stop... we can keep other vehicles as safe as possible," said CHP Officer Paul Fox.

    The Honda was initially being chased by Culver City police into Inglewood, before the driver circled back into Culver City.

    The pursuit had entered the Inglewood area by 11:30 a.m., passing by the iconic Randy's Donut's giant sign, heading eastbound on Manchester Boulevard.

    By 12 p.m., the chase had continued onto the southbound 405 Freeway heading into the Torrance area, with police performing a traffic break to protect other drivers from the erratic pursuit. 

    By 12:40 p.m., the driver had entered the Westminster area, still traveling on the 405 Freeway. Meanwhile, police in the Playa Del rey area were investigating the scene of the hit-and-run, which showed a scooter laying damaged on the ground. 

     

    The driver was wanted for felony hit-and-run for allegedly striking the pedestrian.

    Refresh this page for updates.



    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

    A pursuit driver, possibly in a stolen Honda, kept going despite four PIT maneuver attempts by police Jan. 3, 2019.A pursuit driver, possibly in a stolen Honda, kept going despite four PIT maneuver attempts by police Jan. 3, 2019.

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    Pope Francis told American bishops in a letter Thursday to stop "playing the victim or the scold" and do something about a "culture of abuse" in the Church, NBC News reported.

    The bishops are at a retreat in a seminary near Chicago. The U.S. Roman Catholic Church has been rocked by sexual abuse allegations, which Francis referred to in the letter.

    "The Church's credibility has been seriously undercut and diminished by these sins and crimes, but even more by the efforts to deny or conceal them," he said.

    The letter is a "big deal" for specifically addressing the U.S. church, with its many divisions and its credibility crisis amid cover-ups, according to Jesuit priest and author Rev. James Martin.



    Photo Credit: Andrew Medichini/AP, File

    This Dec. 1, 2018, file photo shows Pope Francis walk during an audience for members of the diocesis of Molfetta and Ugento-Santa Maria di Leuca, at the Vatican.This Dec. 1, 2018, file photo shows Pope Francis walk during an audience for members of the diocesis of Molfetta and Ugento-Santa Maria di Leuca, at the Vatican.

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  • 01/03/19--08:57: Pet of the Week: Shaily

  • Meet Shaily, the pet of the week for Thursday, Jan. 3, 2018.

    She's a tan and white Chihuahua smooth coated mix. The shelter thinks she's about 10 years old and she weighs approximately 12 pounds. 

    This pup enjoys walks and loves to run and play. She has an old eye injury so her right eye is smaller than the left. Shaily has a spunky personality and she's ready to be adopted from the West Valley Shelter. 

    You can find more adoption information here

    ID: A1829764

    West Valley Center
    20655 Plummer Street
    Chatsworth, CA 91311
    (818) 756-9325 (center)



    Photo Credit: West Valley Animal Shelter

    Shaily is the pet of the week for Thursday, Jan. 3, 2018.Shaily is the pet of the week for Thursday, Jan. 3, 2018.

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