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    Congressional leaders met with President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday to work on a deal to end a partial government shutdown. Negotiations were expected to continue through the weekend.


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    Just two weeks after issuing a recall for 874,000 F-Series pickups, Ford is announcing another two additional recalls of approximately 953,000 vehicles over Takata airbag inflators and an insufficient seat weld.

    The larger of the two recalls is related to airbag inflators. Ford said in a news release Friday they were expanding the safety recall to 953,000 vehicles after the manufacturer declared more inflators were defective.

    "This action represents a planned expansion of previously recalled vehicles to additional model years within the geographic zones defined earlier by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration," Ford said in a statement.

    Ford said the recall expansion included 782,384 vehicles in the United States and federalized territories and 149,652 in Canada. A list of the vehicles affected by the recall expansion is below:

    • 2010 Ford Edge and 2010 Lincoln MKX vehicles built at Oakville Assembly Plant, Nov. 28, 2008 to July 12, 2010
    • 2010-11 Ford Ranger vehicles built at Twin Cities, Aug. 14, 2008 to June 21, 2014
    • 2010-12 Ford Fusion, 2010-12 Lincoln MKZ and 2010-11 Mercury Milan vehicles built at Hermosillo Assembly Plant, July 3, 2008 to July 29, 2012
    • 2010-14 Ford Mustang vehicles built at Flat Rock Assembly Plant, June 8, 2009 to Dec. 16, 2011

    Ford also announced a second recall over insufficient seat welds in certain 2019 EcoSport vehicles. The bad weld is between the side member and A-bracket on the front seat back and may reduce the strength of the weld, potentially increasing the risk of injury in a crash.

    This action affects approximately 87 EcoSport vehicles in North America including 63 in the United States and federalized territories and 13 in Canada, Ford said.

    No injuries have been reported with the passenger side frontal inflators or the bad weld included in these recalls, Ford said.

    Recall repairs will be done at local dealerships at no cost to the customer. Ford said they'll replace the frontal airbag inflator or module on those affected vehicles and they'll replace the front seats on the EcoSport vehicles with insufficient welds.

    If your vehicle is in need of repair due to a recall, contact your local Ford dealer.

    ONLINE: North American Ford Vehicles Recalled



    Photo Credit: David Paul Morris/Getty Images, File

    This April 26, 2011, file photo shows the Ford Motor Co. logo on a Ford Fusion at the Serramonte Ford dealership in Colma, California.This April 26, 2011, file photo shows the Ford Motor Co. logo on a Ford Fusion at the Serramonte Ford dealership in Colma, California.

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  • 01/04/19--14:16: Top Baby Names in San Diego

  • These days in San Diego, you’re bound to meet a baby Emma or baby Liam. In fact, there were a combined 506 of them born in our county last year alone.

    The San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) released its list this week of the top baby names in San Diego County for 2018. Emma took the No. 1 spot for baby girl names, with 264 born locally in 2018. Liam took the No. 1 spot for baby boy names, with 242 born in San Diego County in 2018.

    Other baby girl names among the 10 most popular in our county were, in order:

    • Olivia (235 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Mia (223 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Isabella (191 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Camila (173 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Sophia (159 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Sofia (151 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Victoria (147 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Mila (138 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Charlotte (137 born in San Diego County in 2018)

    For baby boy names, these landed in these trailed Liam in the top 10:

    • Noah (202 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Sebastian (200 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Mateo (196 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Benjamin (185 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Daniel (178 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Ethan (172 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Oliver (164 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Alexander (162 born in San Diego County in 2018)
    • Logan (156 born in San Diego County in 2018)

    The HHSA records all births in the region. Last year, a total of 41,555 babies were born in San Diego County, of which 20,242 were girls and 21,313 were boys.

    The same statistics released for 2016 also had Liam clutching the No. 1 spot for baby boy names in San Diego. However, that year, Mia was the most popular name for baby girls in the county.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    KNUTSFORD, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 03: (FILE) In this file photograph taken on March 20, 2007, a two-week-old boy finds his feet in his new world. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced, April 3, 2007 that for the first time, mothers-to-be will have a guarantee that the NHS will provide them with a full range of birthing choices - including home births - and a midwife they know and trust to care for them. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)KNUTSFORD, UNITED KINGDOM - APRIL 03: (FILE) In this file photograph taken on March 20, 2007, a two-week-old boy finds his feet in his new world. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt announced, April 3, 2007 that for the first time, mothers-to-be will have a guarantee that the NHS will provide them with a full range of birthing choices - including home births - and a midwife they know and trust to care for them. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

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    How many games did you play over the holidays?

    Did you find yourself on the floor, on your stomach, as you moved the tiny top hat around the Monopoly board? Did you go the Cards Against Humanity Route, or play the family's Checkers champ, or was it all Go Fish all the time, starting well before Christmas?

    Even if you played bunches o' games, and you found yourself dreaming at night of dice and fake money and timers, you probably certainly definitely didn't take on 500 different amusement-delivering pursuits over the holidays.

    If you did, we do doff our tiny Monopoly top hat in your direction.

    If you didn't, you can do so, from Jan. 11 through 13, 2019, in Banning, when the INDISC Pinball Festival ding-ding-dings at The Museum of Pinball.

    It Never Drains in Southern California is the full name of the tournament, and the museum calls it "one of the largest open pinball tournaments in the world" as well as "one of the largest Stern Pinball Pro Circuit events of the year."

    Wowee.

    Finding yourself tempted to go flipper-to-flipper with some of the greatest pinballers to ever pinball? "Come battle the best players from all over for pinball supremacy," is the invite from the museum, which means, yes, you, too, can join.

    Tickets to do just that? Find them here. 

    Once you have your ticket, prepare to find 500 machines set to "free play."

    Suh-weet.

    All of the stuff you need to know? Don't tilt or flash "Game Over"; that info is up on the site, too.

    There are more pinball events ahead at the museum, during 2019, but if you're already in game mode, as the new year begins, consider spending a day or weekend at the mega repository of pinball-onia, in Banning. 



    Photo Credit: Shutterstock

    Tilt toward this: The Museum of Pinball in Banning is the setting for the INDISC Pinball Festival over the second weekend of January 2019.Tilt toward this: The Museum of Pinball in Banning is the setting for the INDISC Pinball Festival over the second weekend of January 2019.

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    Police in Arizona are investigating a long-term care facility after a report, based on a single anonymous source, that a woman who has been in a vegetative state for at least a decade gave birth.

    Phoenix police would only say that "the matter is currently under investigation," when asked about the report of a patient in a vegetative state at Hacienda HealthCare facility giving birth to a baby boy on Dec. 29. 

    A unidentified source told local station KTVK that caretakers weren't aware the woman was pregnant until shortly before she gave birth, and a nurse only realized that the patient was in labor when she started to moan. The source, said by KTVK to be someone "familiar with the situation," said the baby is healthy.

    The source also said the patient has been in a vegetative state and at the facility for about 10 years after a near-drowning incident.



    Photo Credit: Google Maps

    Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix, Arizona.Hacienda Healthcare in Phoenix, Arizona.

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    A convicted sexually violent predator known as the “Bolder Than Most Rapist” will not be released into a community in southeastern San Diego County – at least for now – a judge ruled Friday.

    In October 2018, Alvin Quarles, who was convicted of sexually assaulting four women at knifepoint in 1989, was deemed fit to be released into the community under a conditional release program.

    A court hearing was scheduled for Quarles Friday to discuss whether he would be allowed to live in Jacumba Hot Springs, a small, rural community in San Diego County’s Mountain Empire area.

    The plan was to release Quarles to a home located at 43050 Desert Rose Ranch Rd. but the potential placement of Quarles into the community drew protest from local residents and survivors of sexual assault, including Quarles’ victims.

    The San Diego County District Attorney’s Office strongly recommended the judge rethink the decision to release Quarles into the public because he had not completed a mental health program for sexually violent predators.

    Since the decision in October, Quarles underwent a new mental health evaluation. Deputy District Attorney Jessica Coto said, given those results in the sealed report, the DA’s office has a solid case to keep Quarles off the streets. 

    “The DA’s office does believe that the info in that report provides strong evidence for the court to reconsider his ruling to release Mr. Quarles,” Coto added.

    A judge decided Quarles will, for now, remain in custody of a mental hospital. Eventually, another hearing will be held to determine whether or not the convicted rapist will be released into the community.

    Jacumba Hot Springs is part of the district overseen by San Diego County Supervisor Dianne Jacob. Jacob was able to speak to the judge in Quarles’ case and called Friday’s hearing a win.

    "I applaud the efforts of the DA in being very solid and very firm in asking for reconsideration of the judge’s prior decision,” Jacob said. “That’s the right thing to do – keep this guy locked up, locked up for good; that’s what I hope."

    Coto said the final decision on what happens with Quarles will be a long process. Court will reconvene next week to figure out how future hearings on this case will be handled.

    The DA’s office said in October that Quarles has been diagnosed with Sexual Sadism Disorder, Voyeuristic Disorder, and Antisocial Personality Disorder. 

    Quarles has served a little more than half of his 50-year sentence. In 2013, Quarles was slated for parole but was soon committed to state mental facility after the DA's office fought to keep him in custody.



    Photo Credit: NBC 7/San Diego County District Attorney's Office

    A file image of Alvin Quarles (L) and a recent image provided by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.A file image of Alvin Quarles (L) and a recent image provided by the San Diego County District Attorney's Office.

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    So you've been eating non-breakfast foods for breakfast, throughout the holidays, and we're not just talking about the sorts of suppables you might find at lunchtime, like bologna sandwiches, or even dinner choices, like pasta.

    You've been eating the occasional candy bar. Or the frequent bowl of ice cream. And, if there have been cupcakes around your home, chances are you've savored one alongside a cup of coffee, long before noon.

    One? Two. Cups of coffee can be big, after all.

    Truth, though? Plenty of people resume their former eating patterns when the holidays are officially and truly and absolutely over, but you might not want to let the whole cupcakes-for-breakfast concept slip from your schedule just yet.

    Why?

    Because the ever-popular Breakfast Cereal Cupcakes are returning to Sprinkles Cupcakes on Monday, Jan. 7.

    The four featured flavors won't appear all at once, so take note of when your most-favoritest cereal ever-est is showing up in the boutique bakery chain's stores.

    Fruity Pebbles is up first, from Jan. 7 through 13, and it is a lemon-cakey goodie, with vanilla frosting and "baked in" sprinkles, as well as, yes, some Fruity Pebbles action.

    Jan. 14 through 20 is all about Cinnamon Toast Crunch. The cereal won't be the only cinnamon-themed add-in, however; cinnamon cake and cinnamon frosting have starring roles, too.

    Crunch Berries will be the vibe from Jan. 21 through 27, and the lemon blueberry cake, in the cupcake, is gluten-free. Also? The frosting is vanilla. Mmm.

    Rounding it all out, from Jan. 28 through Feb. 3? Lucky Charms takes the Sprinkles helm, and a strawberry cake is the centerpiece, and in the center of that is marshmallow.

    Cupcakes for breakfast? You can go there, but a Breakfast Cereal Cupcake may be enjoyed at any time of the day, in the way that cereal is good at midnight and cupcakes are an any-time-okay-I'll-have-one food.



    Photo Credit: Sprinkles Cupcakes

    Fruity Pebbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Crunch Berries, and Lucky Charms will all star on top of their very own cupcakes, on select January dates, at Sprinkles.Fruity Pebbles, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, Crunch Berries, and Lucky Charms will all star on top of their very own cupcakes, on select January dates, at Sprinkles.

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    For the first time in U.S. Marine Corps history, women will be training alongside men during boot camp, NBC News reported.

    A platoon of about 50 female recruits began training Friday at a boot camp with five male platoons in what is traditionally an all-male battalion at the corps' facility at Parris Island, South Carolina, according to a statement.

    The integration of women and men at boot camp is "a first in the history of Marine Corps recruit training," the corps said.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Female United States Marine Corps recruits receive instructions for a training exercise during boot camp March 8, 2007 at Parris Island, South Carolina.Female United States Marine Corps recruits receive instructions for a training exercise during boot camp March 8, 2007 at Parris Island, South Carolina.

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    Two passengers jumped out of an SUV during a high-speed chase in Orange County Friday night.

    The chase took place during the evening commute, but traffic didn't slow it down.

    At one point, the driver stopped to let out a passenger.

    At another point, a second passenger jumped out as the SUV slowed, then quickly took off into the Anaheim area.


    Police chase an SUV in Ontario on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019.Police chase an SUV in Ontario on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019.

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    With tax season fast approaching, filers seeking money back on their 2018 income taxes could see delayed refunds if the federal government shutdown continues.

    According to an Internal Revenue Service operational plan for the shutdown, issuing refunds is listed under "non-excepted" activities that would be furloughed during the stalemate.  The agency is operating with just 12 percent of its workforce, mainly focused on technology and security.

    Jenny Brown, head of the union representing IRS employees in Ogden, Utah, told The Standard-Examiner that Ogden serves as a support center for income tax inquiries from the general public. 

    Brown, who's president of Local 67 of the National Treasury Employees Union, said with minimal IRS staffing, those with questions are "not going to get through" on IRS phone lines or they're going to have much longer waits than usual.

    Tax season normally kicks off toward the end of January. Last year, the IRS began accepting returns on Jan. 29, CNBC reported.  Within days, the IRS has received more than 18 million returns and processed over 6.1 million refunds averaging $2,899 each, according to CNBC.

    The IRS plan only outlines how it would handle a shutdown in the first five days, but with Congress and President Donald Trump at an impasse over funding for wall at the U.S.-Mexico border, the agency may have to revise their procedures and force employees to report to work without pay. 

    Additionally, taxpayers are about to file for the first time under the new tax code, which took effect in 2017. Implementing the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act "requires creating or revising hundreds of tax products including worksheets and tax forms, form instructions and publications as well as changes to current IRS policies and procedures." That work is likely to be stalled by the shutdown.

    Taxpayers tend to receive many of the forms they need to file, including the W-2 and 1099 in January. For those still wanting to file as soon as possible, tax prep service providers say they are ready to receive early returns.

    "Filers can prepare their tax returns now and beginning Jan. 4, TurboTax will securely store completed returns for transmission to the IRS and states once they begin accepting e-file," TurboTax said in a statement. 

    The company, along with others, also offers refund advances – short-term loans that you can receive within days of the IRS accepting your return. You would then use your tax refund proceeds to pay off the loan.



    Photo Credit: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg via Getty Images

    This March 19, 2018, file photo, shows the U.S. Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 1040 Individual Income Tax forms for the 2017 tax year arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S.This March 19, 2018, file photo, shows the U.S. Department of the Treasury Internal Revenue Service (IRS) 1040 Individual Income Tax forms for the 2017 tax year arranged for a photograph in Tiskilwa, Illinois, U.S.

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    Reseda homeowner Mark McCaw was taking his dog Bailey on a morning walk on Valerio Street when he made the unusual discovery – a mound of discarded mail, dumped in the gutter.

    "You could tell somebody had rifled through it," McCaw said.

    When he looked close, he saw Christmas cards and bank statements, addressed to homes several miles away in Woodland Hills.

    "Shocking," said Dennis Dudley, a resident of that block. "We've been having such many problems with mail theft here over the past five years that I'm not surprised."

    The mailboxes for Dudley's house and his neighbors are at the end of a long driveway, alongside the avenue, out of view of the homes.

    Dudley had tried posting security cameras, and getting a new, more secure  mailbox with a slot and protective plate. He said it appeared  a thief had forced through the slot.

    His next-door neighbor, whose mail turned up on Valerio, had previously contacted the Postal Inspection Service, Dudley said. But to his knowledge the case was never solved.

    Dudley expressed gratitude at least one batch had been found. And he and neighbors should have it returned shortly. The letter carrier in McCaw's  neighborhood took custody of the recovered mail, with the assurance it would be delivered again.

    McCaw posted the episode on the Nextdoor social app.

    Several of the comments it drew recommended the USPS "Informed Delivery" program, which notifies mail recipients which letters have been processed and are due to be delivered.

    As part of the processing, digital photos are taken, and emailed to those who have signed up for the program.

    "We're going to check into that," said McCaw.

    The program was launched in 2017 as a convenience for recipients awaiting a specific item, said John Hyatt, a United States Postal Service spokesman. But many see usefulness after a theft in determining what specifically was taken.

    "I'd like to know what's coming, whether it makes it or not," Dudley said. "Sounds like a good idea."



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

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    The New York and Los Angeles rivalry wrote another chapter.

    Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 22 points and the New York Knicks knocked out the shorthanded Lakers, 119-112, on Friday night at Staples Center.

    The Lakers were without LeBron James, Rajon Rondo, and Kyle Kuzma, and mounted as furious second half comeback before running out of gas for the second game in a row.

    The Knicks delivered a knock down to the depleted Lakers in the first quarter, leading by as many as 17 points before the comeback commenced. 

    The young Lakers came out of the locker room at halftime with furious energy, completing the comeback by the midway point of the third quarter, when they took their first lead of the game at 85-84 lead with just over two minutes remaining.

    The frantic pace picked up in the fourth quarter as both teams took turns trading blows down the stretch. The lead changed nine different times in the final frame before the Knicks closed out the game on some sloppy mistakes by the Lake Show.

    Los Angeles committed 16 turnovers in the game, and New York finished with 12 steals compared to just four for the Lakers.

    Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball combined for 11 of those turnovers.

    Ingram led the Lakers with 21 points, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 19 in a rare start at shooting guard.

    Michael Beasley returned to the team after the death of his mother, and played in his first game since a December 7 loss to the San Antonio Spurs. 

    Against his former team, Beasley scored six points off the bench in 12 minutes of action.

    New York had seven players in double-figures with starters Kevin Knox and Emmanuel Mudiay combining for 29 points, and Damyean Dotson, Enes Kanter, Trey Burke, and Mario Hezonja collecting 53 points combined off the bench.

    New York Knicks superfan Spike Lee caught the game courtside.

    Notes and Next 

    Kyle Kuzma missed the game and was away from the team with a lower back contusion. LeBron James is not expected to travel with the team on their upcoming road trip and will be re-evaluated in a week with a strained left groin. Rajon Rondo also missed the contest with a torn ligament in his right hand.

    The Lakers will travel on a two-game road trip to Minnesota and Dallas. They square off with the Timberwolves on Sunday afternoon at 12:30PM PST. 

    Please refresh this page for more updates, stats, and player reactions…



    Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images

    Kevin Knox #20 of the New York Knicks dunks in front of Josh Hart #3 and Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter at Staples Center on January 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.Kevin Knox #20 of the New York Knicks dunks in front of Josh Hart #3 and Lonzo Ball #2 of the Los Angeles Lakers during the first quarter at Staples Center on January 04, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.

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    Which is the larger number?

    The number of sighs Elvis Presley inspired through his memorable performances or the number of seconds between the final Saturday in August and the eighth day of January?

    Leave the calculator in the drawer, and instead break out your favorite records, the platters packed with hits like "Love Me Tender" and "Suspicious Minds." 

    For what we're really pondering here is how long Southern California fans have to wait for their next Presley party, what with the famous Elvis Festival of Garden Grove popping up at the end of August and The King's birthday landing, as it always does, on Jan. 8.

    It's a lot of passing time, in short, but Elvis aficionados won't have to wait much longer for his birthday week.

    It's here, and as is tradition, there will be foodstuffs honoring the memory of the legendary performer — Salt & Straw has The Elvis Peanut Butter Banana Split vegan ice cream all January — and live tribute performances, too.

    One of the biggies is popping up on Sunday, Jan. 6 at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach. GRACEBAND will take the stage, summoning the razzmatazz of "The King's Vegas years" through "big hits with big arrangements."

    And "big" is indeed the operative word: Look for a 12-piece outfit to deliver those long-treasured tunes.

    Again, that's rocking on Jan. 6, two days before Mr. Presley's birthday.

    And if you're searching for a way to connect with the memory of the icon, as it relates to our area, check it out: Discover Los Angeles has a line-up of locations that have connections to The King, from The Forum to Canter's Deli.



    Photo Credit: Jeffery Ommen Photography

    GRACEBAND will croon, King-style, on Jan. 6 in Hermosa Beach.GRACEBAND will croon, King-style, on Jan. 6 in Hermosa Beach.

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    Three men died and four were injured in a shooting at a bowling alley in Torrance, California.

    Police responded to calls of shots fired at Gable House Bowl on Hawthorne Boulevard around midnight on Saturday and found multiple people injured with gunshot wounds. Two men were transported to a local hospital.

    One of the dead men was identified as 28-year-old Astin Edwards, who was at the bowling alley with his cousin and some friends when things escalated.

    "He was trying to break up the fight. Girls and this guy came out of nowhere and started shooting," his father, Dwayne Edwards said.

    Another victim was identified as 28-year-old Robert Meekins, who leaves behind a 5-year-old son.

    "When I go home and tell him that his daddy's not coming back, it's going to break his heart because he's a daddy's boy, always has been," Meekins' mother Anglean Hubbard said. "And I wonder the person that sat up here and took all of these people's lives, how is he sleeping? How is he dealing with that? He done took somebody's father. Somebody's son. I just want justice for my son and all the people that was in there."

    The third victim, 20-year-old Michael Radford, was also a father. He leaves behind an 8-month-old daughter, according to his sister.

    Wes Hamad, a 29-year-old Torrance resident, said he was at the bowling alley with his 13-year-old niece and cousin when he saw a "huge fight" break out. Hamad said the brawl, which lasted about five minutes, blocked the entrance of Gable House Bowl and devolved into "complete chaos."

    "I grabbed my niece and started running towards the far end of the bowling alley," he said. "As we were running, we heard 15 shots."

    As he was leaving, Hamad said, he saw a woman weeping over a man who was riddled with multiple gunshot wounds in his head and neck.

    The victims have yet to be identified and police continue to investigate what led to the shooting.

    Associated Press contributed to this report.


    Police tape blocks the scene of a shooting that left three people dead and four injured at a bowling alley in Torrance, Calif. on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019.Police tape blocks the scene of a shooting that left three people dead and four injured at a bowling alley in Torrance, Calif. on Friday, Jan. 4, 2019.

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    One of the advantages of being in government for 50 years, says California Gov. Jerry Brown, is "you get to make mistakes that you then get to correct."

    For Brown, one of those missteps was the criminal justice overhaul he oversaw as a young governor during two terms from 1975 to 1983. Now 80, he leaves office Monday after again reshaping the system during the past eight years.

    Get-tough sentencing laws during and after his first stint helped lead to the mass incarceration that crowded state prisons to the bursting point, spurring a federal takeover of many prison operations and a cap on the inmate population. The Democratic governor spent much of his second stint in office reducing criminal penalties and shuffling less-serious offenders to county jails instead of state lockups.

    "He has done an immense amount to advance smart approaches to justice," said Lenore Anderson, founder and executive director of the reform group Californians for Safety and Justice, calling it a "remarkable legacy."

    Brown said one of his biggest mistakes in his first two terms was signing the state's current sentencing law in 1977, letting judges instead of parole boards decide when most convicts should be released. He said he thought at the time sentencing rules were too uncertain and criminals needed "clear, certain punishment."

    A 1978 study by two University of California, Berkeley law professors called the California sentencing reform an "event of national significance" as it limited parole boards' "almost awesome freedom" with a "new philosophical approach."

    But it had the unintended consequence of dramatically lengthening prison sentences, particularly after lawmakers added hundreds of enhancements for things like using a gun, being a repeat offender or being involved in a gang while committing the underlying crime.

    "It was an enormous social experiment in criminal justice," recalled San Mateo County District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe, who started in the district attorney's office the year Brown first took office. "They've been saying the same thing about the last seven years. They were saying then, 'This is an experiment, this is a gamble, and we don't know how it's going to work.'"

    Brown's voter-approved 2016 ballot measure helped restore some of the flexibility that was lost 40 years ago by allowing most offenders to seek earlier parole hearings. Critics want to scale back the law with a ballot question in 2020 because they think it's too lenient. Among Brown's final acts as governor was to file a lawsuit to try to block the question.

    He also reduced criminal penalties and kept lower-level felons in county jails instead of state prisons. Voters separately eased sentences for career criminals, drug users and petty thieves.

    The result is about 25 percent fewer inmates in California prisons.

    "California has been a leader in criminal justice reform, in proposing large solutions, but also because it has had large problems," said Nazgol Ghandnoosh, a senior research analyst at The Sentencing Project, a Washington, D.C.-based reform group.

    The state's longest-serving governor also eclipsed records dating to at least the 1940s in granting pardons and commutations. His 284 commutations are nearly double the number granted by his eight most recent predecessors combined. His 1,736 pardons are more than triple the number issued by his next most prolific modern predecessor, Republican Ronald Reagan, and are 62 times greater than the last three governors combined. One of highest-profile pardons was of actor Robert Downey Jr. in 2015 for a 1996 drug conviction that sent the actor to prison for nearly a year.

    Many of Brown's changes since retaking office in 2011 were spurred by court orders, but his sister, Kathleen Brown, and niece, Kathleen Kelly, said they spring from the former Jesuit seminarian's deeply held views that people and society can change for the better.

    Kelly said Brown brings the same sense of urgency to criminal justice reform as to his more widely recognized concerns about climate change.

    Brown described his thinking in June while addressing an audience devoted to inmate rehabilitation.

    "You're trying to treat people like human beings that other human beings want to treat as animals and objects," he said. "But I can tell you from a practical point of view, from a public safety point of view, from a religious point of view, what we're endeavoring to do is the right thing to do."

    Former Gov. Gray Davis, who was Brown's chief of staff during his first two terms, said Brown also has reflected voters' changing views.

    "Jerry went from a pretty conservative period when people were generally concerned about their public safety to a time when courts were ordering him, without telling him exactly how to do it, to reduce the prison population," Davis said.

    Criminal Justice Legal Foundation president Michael Rushford, who advocates for crime victims, predicts changes by Brown and voters will spark a crime surge.

    In Brown's legislative decisions and judicial appointments, "he's doubled down," Rushford said. "He's done just as much damage as he did the first time around."

    One punishment Brown twice failed to change is executions.

    Decades ago, he vetoed a bill restoring the death penalty only to have lawmakers override his decision. He then appointed capital punishment opponents to the state Supreme Court, but voters ousted them.

    Dragged by voters and lawsuits, his administration moved to restart executions for the first time since 2006, though legal and practical barriers have pushed the issue to incoming Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.

    Overall, Brown created a culture shift for criminal justice, said Alex Mallick, executive director of the reform group Re:store Justice. She wants other states to follow California's example.

    "Jerry Brown really kind of popularized rehabilitation and the idea that people would get rehabilitated in prison," Mallick said.



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    California Governor Jerry Brown addresses the audience during the opening reception for the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, California on September 12, 2018. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)California Governor Jerry Brown addresses the audience during the opening reception for the Global Climate Action Summit in San Francisco, California on September 12, 2018. (Photo by JOSH EDELSON / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOSH EDELSON/AFP/Getty Images)

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    Millions of Americans could face going without the benefit that allows them to purchase food if the government shutdown continues into February, NBC News reported

    The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP or food stamps, costs an average of around $4.8 billion per month, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. But because of the government shutdown, the program has only $3 billion in emergency reserves for February.

    More than 19 million households in the United States receive food stamps, accounting for nearly 39 million people. Each household receives on average $245.28 per month. 

    But because of the shutdown, USDA has no money to pay for the program in the ensuing months. The agency also had to furlough approximately 95 percent of Food and Nutrition Services, the office that oversees the SNAP program.

    The White House and the USDA did not respond to requests for comment about their plans to address the shortfall, but experts say there is cause for concern for the millions potentially impacted.



    Photo Credit: AP

    In this Friday, March 17, 2017 photo a sign advertises a program that allows food stamp recipients to use their EBT cards to shop at a farmer's market in Topsham, Maine.In this Friday, March 17, 2017 photo a sign advertises a program that allows food stamp recipients to use their EBT cards to shop at a farmer's market in Topsham, Maine.

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    An Uber driver in Baltimore did what Uber drivers tend to do when talking to passengers: Hype the local sports team while bashing their upcoming opponent. He had no idea that while he was lauding the Baltimore Ravens and ripping the Los Angeles Chargers ahead of the teams' playoff matchup, he was talking to one of the Chargers' star players.

    Running back Melvin Gordon shared video he secretly recorded of a good-natured debate with Uber driver in Baltimore on Saturday, a day before the Chargers face the Ravens in an AFC Wild Card playoff game.

    "You see the enthusiasm and motivation," the driver said, expressing confidence that the Ravens would not only beat the Charges, but reach the Super Bowl.

    Gordon countered by praising the skills of LA's quarterback Philip Rivers, tight end Antonio Gates and, of course, himself.

    "I think the Chargers got a good running game too," he said. "I like that Melvin Gordon too."

    The conversation remained amicable until the end of the ride, when Gordon revealed his identity to the driver.

    "Well I'm Melvin Gordon man. I'm the running back for the Chargers," Gordon said as he stepped out of the car.

    The driver, in disbelief, asked Gordon for his autograph and a selfie to which Gordon happily agreed.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images
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    Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs the ball during the first half against the New York Jets in an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on December 24, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images)Melvin Gordon #28 of the Los Angeles Chargers runs the ball during the first half against the New York Jets in an NFL game at MetLife Stadium on December 24, 2017 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Ed Mulholland/Getty Images)

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    Pacific Coast Highway was shut down in both directions Saturday night in Ventura County due to mudslides covering both sides of the famous California roadway, according to the Ventura County California Highway Patrol.

    PCH was closed from Las Posas Road in Ventura County to Encinal Canyon Road in Malibu until at least Sunday due to mudslides and flooding, according to Caltrans. 

    In addition, Flash Flood Warnings were issued across Southern California, including for Woolsey Fire burn areas of the city of Malibu, Agoura Hills, Oak Park and Westlake Village, along with PCH, according to the National Weather Service based in Oxnard.

    Flooding and debris flow were affecting the Woolsey Fire burn area, according to the Moorpark CHP, and the agency advised the public to stay away from the area.

    Firefighters were on the scene of a 40-foot wide debris flow near Yerba Buena Road and PCH, according to the Ventura County Fire Department. The VCFD also stated that PCH was closed southbound at Las Posas Road.

    Later Saturday night, Flash Flood Warnings were extended to southern portions of LA County, including Long Beach, Norwalk, Carson, Cerritos, Signal Hill, Gardena and Compton, according to the National Weather Service. The Flash Flood Warning for the southern part of LA County was expected to be in effect until 12:45 a.m. on Sunday with rainfall rates of 0.30 to 0.62 inches expected over a 30-minute period, the NWS said.

    In addition, portions of Orange County were also under a Flood Advisory until early Sunday morning, according to NBC4 Meteorologist David Biggar.



    Photo Credit: Loudlabs
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    Mudslides shut down Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu on Jan. 5, 2019.Mudslides shut down Pacific Coast Highway near Malibu on Jan. 5, 2019.

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    Gaze deeply into the heart of any funnel cake recipe and you'll find... flour.

    And eggs.

    And baking powder and milk and a few other essential staples of the baker's shelf, plus, of course, oil for the all-important deep-frying step.

    It's a rare day when a funnel cake isn't simply topped with powdered sugar, but it happens. A drizzle of chocolate? Not unheard of, you betcha. Some caramel? Sure, that works.

    But finding a funnel cake that has been met a not-so-standard favorite from the fruit drawer is not so common.

    And if that fruit is also part of a larger Restaurant Week? It can kind of feel like an Event, with a capital E, if you're into funnel cakes and... persimmons.

    It's an unlikely match-up, but it is one that will soon reign, at Pacific Park at Santa Monica Pier, for one snackable January week. That week is happening Jan. 7 through 13, a Monday to a Sunday, and it just happens to be Santa Monica Restaurant Week, which is putting its 2019 focus on persimmon-centered dishes.

    That means that a number of eateries around town will spotlight the deep orange-red, super-juicy produce favorite, in a variety of interesting dishes.

    Certainly one of the most snaggable, if "snaggable" is defined as buying it out on the pier, then eating it as you stroll, is the Persimmon Funnel Cake.

    It's $9, making it a try-it-out-treat that comes in for under a tenner.

    As for the persimmon component in this dessert-meets-fruit fantasy? It's compote, another unlikely but intriguing topper for a funnel cake.

    If these deep-fried indulgences are your once-every-so-often cheats, and persimmons are your go-to good-for-you goodies, pair 'em up, from Jan. 7 through 13, at Santa Monica Pier.



    Photo Credit: Pacific Park

    So you're a funnel cake fan but also a persimmon person? You're in some kind of luck: Pacific Park at Santa Monica Pier will have a mash-up of your two favorites from Jan. 7 through 13.So you're a funnel cake fan but also a persimmon person? You're in some kind of luck: Pacific Park at Santa Monica Pier will have a mash-up of your two favorites from Jan. 7 through 13.

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    The partial government shutdown created a delicious irony at federal prisons — inmates dining on lavish holiday meals in front of disgruntled staffers forced to work without pay.

    The striking dynamic played out at dozens of prisons across the country on Christmas and New Year's Day, several workers told NBC News, aggravating staffers who were already fretting about bills to pay and children to feed.

    Inmates at FCI Pekin in Illinois enjoyed a fancy meal of steak and shrimp on Jan. 1. Cornish hen and Boston Creme pie were on the menu at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn. And the prisoners at a federal institution in Minnesota munched on heaping plates of chicken wings, according to staffers and documents obtained by NBC News.

    The shutdown marks the latest hardship for a group of roughly 36,000 federal employees who have been complaining about staff shortages and dangerous work conditions for months.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images, File

    adult eating grilled steak on a plateadult eating grilled steak on a plate

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