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    A San Pedro woman said an intruder broke into her home while her family was gone, but when they arrived, he was still there, hiding on the patio. She saw him run off – but that wasn’t the last time she would see him.

    “I ran after him and he stepped up here, and he climbed that way and I saw his face,” Lissett Bonilla said.

    The suspect allegedly broke in and stole cash while her family was out.

    It wasn’t until after the prowler took off that Bonilla realized money was missing.

    He allegedly broke in again later while she and her daughter were getting ready for bed.

    “We don’t have the same strength as men. That’s what I’m thinking. What if he was waiting for us?” she said. “So that’s really scary.”

    It was the burglary last week that ultimately led the Los Angeles Police Department to arrest 23-year-old Elmer Lopezjimenez, who detectives believe was the same man captured on video trying to break into another home two blocks away last fall.

    A woman who wished to remain anonymous said she was home with her young son when Lopezjimenez allegedly tried to pry open her window and door.

    “It was nerve-wracking for us. A lot of sleepless nights,” she said. “This man was not afraid to even get into my window. If it wasn’t for the neighbors getting home that evening, he probably would have got in through the window.”

    She says her cameras captured him lingering around her home for weeks, even seen allegedly touching himself inappropriately as he walked past her apartment.

    Police say he may have targeted the homes.

    The victims were relieved no one was hurt.

    Detectives say the suspect’s actions are alarming, and show a pattern of serious criminal behavior.



    Photo Credit: LAPD

    Los Angeles Police Department arrested 23-year-old Elmer LopezJimenez, who detectives believe was the same man captured on video trying to break into another home two blocks away last fall.Los Angeles Police Department arrested 23-year-old Elmer LopezJimenez, who detectives believe was the same man captured on video trying to break into another home two blocks away last fall.

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    For the first time since 1989, Los Angeles teachers could potentially go on strike Monday, leaving parents scrambling.

    Teachers across the Los Angeles Unified School District, comprised of 600,000 students, could simply not show up Monday.

    A labor contract dispute has fueled the discord between the district and United Teachers Los Angeles.

    A meeting took place Wednesday morning, after the union rejected LAUSD's proposal Monday that would have added nearly 1,000 more librarians, counselors, and teachers.

    United Teachers Los Angeles President Alex-Caputo Pearl said he was shocked at the proposal, saying he was surprised the district had "so little to offer."

    That did little to stymie many parents' frustrations with the potential strike, as plans were put in place to care for their children. 

    Some were left stunned that the school board voted to allow volunteers into the classroom without full background checks. The board initially said no to the idea, but changed its position Tuesday ahead.

    "I would've thought the district would have learned its lessons from Miramonte and the millions of dollars you paid out in claims," Carl Petersen, who has two special-needs daughters within the LAUSD, said, referring to a LAUSD elementary school teacher convicted of sexually abusing students. "This is one of the reasons we have financial problems."

    With criticism also came support. 

    Several GoFundMe accounts were started to help feed teachers and students if there were to be a strike, despite the district promising to feed everyone. 

    More resources:



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

    LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 15: School buses stand idle as all Los Angeles city schools are shut down in reaction to a threat on December 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. A bomb threat against LAUSD schools was sent to various members of the Los Angeles school board late last night, according to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. Local authorities immediately notified the FBI. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)LOS ANGELES, CA - DECEMBER 15: School buses stand idle as all Los Angeles city schools are shut down in reaction to a threat on December 15, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. A bomb threat against LAUSD schools was sent to various members of the Los Angeles school board late last night, according to LAPD Chief Charlie Beck. Local authorities immediately notified the FBI. (Photo by David McNew/Getty Images)

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    A driver allegedly pointed a gun at a car full of children Tuesday in a road rage incident in Riverside County, and new footage from a dash cam shows a man driving a similar vehicle involved in a different road rage incident.

    Natalie Palmer says she was driving down Clinton Keith Road in Wildomar with her three younger siblings, ages 7 to 16, in the vehicle when a man cut her off on the road. She honked at the a driver who cut her off, and she says he quickly cut her off again.

    "I honked at him once again, and kind of did the 'Are you kidding me' look," Palmer says.

    Moments later, the man blocked Palmer's vehicle at Hidden Springs Road, got out of his truck and began screaming at her, she says.

    Then, Palmer alleges, he pointed a gun at her. 

    "My heart dropped," Palmer, who is only 18, says. "My whole life was in that car."

    Palmer quickly drove off as the man walked back to his truck, but she says he followed her and continued to screaming more threats before finally driving away.

    "I was hysterical," Palmer recalls. "I was shaking."

     Natalie Palmer immediately told her mother, Tracey Palmer, what happened.

    "We are just very thankful everything turned out OK," the mother says.

    Tracy Palmer posted an emotional message on Facebook asking for help identifying the man. Soon after, a woman responded by sending a dashcam video of another incident.

    The woman says a man in a white truck tailgated her before cutting her off at the exact same intersection just a few weeks earlier.

    The video shows the driver getting out of the truck and acting strangely.

    The woman, who did not want to be identified, told NBC4 that she and her boyfriend quickly drove away because they thought the man might have a gun.

    Natalie Palmer saw the video and says she believes that the man in the dashcam video is the same person that pulled a gun on her.

    "I knew right away," Natalie Palmer says. "That was him."

    At this point, it's still unclear if the two incidents are connected to the same suspect. If anyone has any information about the incident or the driver, you are asked to call the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.


    Two separate road rage incidents take place in Wildomar at the same intersection, and it is unclear if they are connected.Two separate road rage incidents take place in Wildomar at the same intersection, and it is unclear if they are connected.

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    Electric scooters may now be officially coming to many areas of Los Angeles County, the NBC4 I-Team can report. 

    After electronic scooter seemingly arrived unannounced overnight, the county conducted a review. Now, one supervisor is expected to ask for a temporary complete cessation of e-scooters as new rules are created. 

    Electric scooters have been a source of efficient transportation and a cause for concern for law enforcement, businesses and government officials now trying to regulate and keep everyone safe since they suddenly appeared and began dominating roads and sidewalks.

    "We just want to put some order into this," LA County 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger says. "I am all about free markets."

    Barger stepped in when, she says, e-scooters showed up with no warning in Altadena and East Pasadena. 

    The supervisor tells the I-Team that she is calling for a temporary halt as the county develops a new pilot program that will bring e-scooters and bikes to unincorporated areas, which accounts for more than 65 percent of the county.

    She says the plan will have taxpayers in mind, in terms of safety and their wallets. 

    "The taxpayers pay, that is who pays, when we get sued, so i want to make sure we put an ordinance in place that also protects the taxpayer," Barger says.

    The proposal follows a report showing what other cities within in the county have been doing to regulate e-scooters. Alhambra has a formal ban on them within its city boundaries, but nearby Pasadena created a voluntary "no ride zone." In Santa Monica and the city of LA, e-scooters are welcome through a temporary and pilot program that hands out permits to companies and caps the amount of scooters in each city.

    E-scooters are still not allowed on sidewalks, and the maximum speed under state law is now 15 miles per hour.

    Also, as of this month, only those 18 and under need to wear a helmet when riding an e-scooter. However, most of the scooter companies require a minimum age of 18 and a valid driver's license to hop on the eco-friendly transportation devices.

    A vote on the proposal is expected at next week's board meeting, and then, the plan itself will be presented in 45 days.


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    Kuz control.

    Kyle Kuzma scored a career-high 41 points in just three quarters, and the Los Angeles Lakers dominated the Detroit Pistons, 113-100, on Wednesday night at Staples Center.

    After a 4-for-20 shooting night in Dallas just 48 hours prior, Kuzma took shot-after-shot in an empty gym on Tuesday, hoping to get back into a rhythm after missing two and a half games with a lower back contusion. The sophomore sharpshooter put up 500 shots in total. 

    "I shot 4-for-20, so that's a reason to go to the gym," said Kuzma of his workout on Tuesday. "I'm always in the gym continuing to put work in every single day and it paid off today."

    Kuzma was raised in Flint, Michigan rooting for the hometown Detroit Pistons. One of his fondest childhood memories is when the 2004 Pistons team defeated the Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals. So it was only fitting that his career-high in points game against his favorite team growing up.

    "It's pretty cool," Kuzma said of the milestone coming against the Pistons. "That's the team I grew up watching. It's pretty awesome just to do it in Staples."

    Unfortunately for the Pistons, they could not stop the Michigan product, nor could they contain him, as the forward was lights out on the night, shooting 16-for-24 from the field and 5-for-10 from beyond the arc.

    "If I'm a great scorer, than Kuz is scary..." said teammate Michael Beasley who had a season-high 19 points off the bench in the win.

    In addition to scoring a career-high in points, Kuzma joined some elite company as well as he became the only Laker in the shot clock era to score 41 points in less than 30 minutes. He also joined Klay Thompson, James Harden, Steph Curry and teammate LeBron James, as the only players in the NBA to score 40 points in three quarters this season. 

    According to Stats by Stats, Kuzma also became the first NBA forward to score 41 points in under 30 minutes of action since Larry Bird scored 43 points in 29 minutes in 1986.

    "No matter what's going on in the game he believes the next shot's going in," said Pistons guard Langston Galloway of Kuzma.

    The Pistons put up a fight in the first half, leading by as many as five points before Kuzma caught fire at the end of the second quarter.

    Kuzma stayed hot in the second half, scoring 22 points in the third quarter, as the Lakers extended the lead to 15 points.

    "I felt hot," Kuzma said of his third quarter performance. "Everything was in the flow of the offense. Nothing was forced. My teammates did a good job of finding me. I was in a rhythm. Anytime someone gets in a rhythm, you just try and build off of that."

    The Pistons countered Kuzma's hot-shooting, by playing a 2-3 zone defense, and cut the score to six points before Kuzma broke it open. Los Angeles led by as many as 23 points in the fourth quarter.

    "He had a big night," Pistons head coach Dwayne Casey said of Kuzma. "The young man had his career night. I thought in certain situations we defended him right and other situations we did not. That's something we have to get better at one-on-one. The postive was I thought our zone defense was good."

    Former Clipper, Blake Griffin, led the Pistons with 16 points and six assists, but did not have a rebound. It is the first time in Griffin's nine-year career spanning 505 regular season games that he did not grab a single rebound.

    "You never want to come in and have a performance like that," said Griffin. "Especially when you need wins. The energy wasn't there. We have to figure that out."

    Andre Drummond had six points and 17 rebounds. Reggie Jackson chipped in 15 points in the loss. 

    "The game plan was to limit Drummond and Griffin on the boards," said Kuzma of the Lakers defensive strategy. "Those guys are beasts. The guards did a great job of flying in and grabbing rebounds."

    The Lakers out-rebounded the Pistons, 47-to-34 in the game.

    The Lakers also had one of the best passing nights of the season with 30 assists, and their best shooting night, with a season-high 56 percent from the field.

    Additionally, the Lakers shot 72 percent from the free throw line, a vast improvement of their season average of 68 percent, last in the NBA.

    "It felt like it was skipping around out there until it hit Kuz's hand and would go up every time," said Lakers head coach Luke Walton of the ball movement. "I thought Lonzo [Ball] and Brandon [Ingram] were great again as far as them being aggressive and playing with that competitive spirit and just making the right plays."

    Ball had five points and 11 assists and Ingram had 10 points. Former Piston, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope had 15 points off the bench.

    The Lakers played their eighth game without LeBron James, and this was a big win against a Detroit team that features two All-Stars in Griffin and Drummond.

    Birthday Boy

    Michael Beasley celebrated his 30th birthday on Wednesday night, and celebrated by scoring 19 points off the bench on 9-of-13 shooting.

    Notes and Next

    LeBron James (left groin strain) and Rajon Rondo (finger) did not play in the game. James is expected to be reevaluated on Friday.

    The Lakers will travel to Utah to face the Jazz on Friday night at 7:00PM PT. 

    Highlights



    Photo Credit: Harry How/Getty Images
    This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.

    Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers had a career-high in points against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers had a career-high in points against the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday, January 9, 2019 at Staples Center in Los Angeles, CA.

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    About 150 people showed up Wednesday night ahead of the opening of a new Chick-fil-A location in Burbank in the hopes of winning a year of free food from the popular restaurant.

    The first Burbank location for the fast food chain restaurant is due to open at 6 a.m. Thursday at 3113 W. Olive Ave, and the chain has a history of giving out prizes for campouts ahead of openings.

    A year of free food, though, is not an all-you-can-eat offer. The prize for the lucky 100 is defined as 52 Chick-fil-A Chicken Sandwich Meals, with each meal featuring one sandwich, a side of medium waffle fries and a medium drink. The company lists the total value of each Grand Prize as $319.28.

    With more than 100 people showing up 12 hours ahead of the Burbank location's opening, a random drawing was employed to determine which 100 people received the right to camp out and win the Grand Prize, according to Cindy Chapman of CP Communication.



    Photo Credit: CP Communications

    Over 100 people lineup outside a Chic-fil-A in Burbank ahead of a campout to win 52 combo meals for the year on Jan. 9, 2019.Over 100 people lineup outside a Chic-fil-A in Burbank ahead of a campout to win 52 combo meals for the year on Jan. 9, 2019.

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    Police were pursuing a vehicle at high speeds in the San Fernando Valley area Wednesday night before the wild chase concluded in the Hollywood area.

    Eliana Moreno and Newschopper4 Alpha were overhead at approximately 11:05 p.m. with a van racing on the 101 freeway at high speeds in an attempt to elude law enforcement.

    The pursuit originally began in Van Nuys but made its way into the Hollywood area.

    When the van attempted to get off the freeway and was met by cars at a traffic light, the pursuit vehicle plowed through the vehicles blocking its way and even collided with one vehicle with enough force to knock off a bumper and flip it around.

    Eventually, the van crashed into several parked cars before coming to a halt near the corner of North Highland Avenue and Leland Way in the Hollywood area at approximately 11:15 p.m.

    The driver attempted to flee but did not get far, as police took the driver into custody and cleared the van of additional potential threats.



    Photo Credit: Newschopper4 Alpha

    A van police pursuit starts in Van Nuys and travels through Hollywood on Jan. 9, 2019.A van police pursuit starts in Van Nuys and travels through Hollywood on Jan. 9, 2019.

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    Americans are having fewer and fewer babies, a new government report finds. In fact, we now aren’t making enough babies to replace ourselves, NBC News reported.

    For the population to reproduce itself at current numbers, the “total fertility rate” needs to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age per year, researchers for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in their report, released early Thursday.

    But the latest data show a current rate of just 1,765.5 per 1,000, or 16 percent below the number needed to keep the population stable without additions through immigration.

    The total fertility rate has been declining steadily for seven years, but the numbers for 2017 represent the biggest drop in recent history. The rate for 2016 was 1,820.5; for 2015, 1,843.5; and for 2014, 1,862.5.



    Photo Credit: iStock/Getty Images

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    January is a month that's positively rife with new-o-sity. 

    After all, we're probably rocking the new socks we opened in December, and maybe a new shirt, and chances are probable that we've committed to walking more, or hitting a spin class now and then.

    But major ongoing events, too, can have a whiff of the new, even as they remain true to their vision, and character, at their cores. 

    Smorgasburg LA, the large-scale, every-Sunday, foodie-dreamy market pop-up at ROW DTLA, has become known over the last couple of years for its eclectic and appetizing assortment of vendors and its adjacent happenings, like its every-now-and-then Record Fair.

    But it also welcomes fresh food-makers on the regular, which it shall do during its "Grand Re-Opening" on Sunday, Jan. 13.

    Nope, it didn't really go away-away; it simply took some downtime for the holidays.

    As for the newbies starting at the market at the start of 2019?

    Well, Moo's Craft BBQ isn't unfamiliar to regulars, for it joined the most recent Smorgasburg LA pop-up at Santa Monica Pier, as well as the special BBQ Day at the ROW DTLA event.

    Now it is a permanent addition, so ladle on the sauce and tuck in that bib.

    You'll want to protect that new shirt you just opened after all, and maybe even your new socks, if you're an especially enthusiastic eater of BBQ. And who isn't?

    Also joining the delicious fun as permanent vendors?

    Tacos 1986, which was also seen/eaten at the Santa Monica Pier pop-up, and Broad Street Oyster Co., which can be found next to the Jolly Oyster booth.

    Special goings-on, special chompable chows, and other happy happenings are coming up, over the next several Sundays, so keep watch.

    Or simply show up at ROW DTLA, from 10 a.m. to 4 in the afternoon, and see what you can scarf.

    Entry, as always, is free, while the dollars in your pocket are for fried chicken sandwiches, and burritos, and ice cream cones, and Micheladas, and French fries, and tamales...



    Photo Credit: Smorgasburg LA

    Why hey and hello again, Smorgasburg LA. Ready to chomp around the ROW DTLA market? It's back on Sunday, Jan. 13 (and, yep, admission is free, as always).Why hey and hello again, Smorgasburg LA. Ready to chomp around the ROW DTLA market? It's back on Sunday, Jan. 13 (and, yep, admission is free, as always).

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    President Donald Trump has repeatedly advocated for a steel slat design for his border wall. But Department of Homeland Security testing of a steel slat prototype proved it could be cut through with a saw, according to a government report.

    A photo exclusively obtained by NBC News shows the results of the test after experts from the Marine Corps were instructed to attempt to destroy the barriers with common tools.

    Testing by DHS in late 2017 showed all eight prototypes, including the steel slats, were vulnerable to breaching, according to an internal February 2018 U.S. Customs and Border Protection report.

    Photos of the breaches were not included in a redacted version of the CBP report, which was first obtained in a Freedom of Information Act request by San Diego public radio station KPBS.

    DHS did not respond to NBC News' request for comment. A department representative had told KPBS that the prototypes "were not and cannot be designed to be indestructible."



    Photo Credit: NBC News

    A test of a steel prototype for the proposed border wall showed it could be sawed through.A test of a steel prototype for the proposed border wall showed it could be sawed through.

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    If the ongoing partial government shutdown lasts "months or even years," as President Donald Trump has suggested, the country would face an economic hellscape, experts told NBC News.

    That would include 38 million people without food stamps, 2 million losing rental assistance, 800,000 federal employees missing many paychecks, lapsed FDA and EPA inspections and more.

    "We'll be in no man's land," said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's Analytics. He said the country would face a "pretty severe recession."

    Such a long shutdown is unprecedented, but the current one will become the longest in U.S. history on Saturday, which would be its 22nd day. And talks between Trump and congressional Democrats blew up on Wednesday.



    Photo Credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, File

    This Jan. 3, 2019, file photo shows the U.S. Capitol dome under a cloudy sky in Washington, D.C.This Jan. 3, 2019, file photo shows the U.S. Capitol dome under a cloudy sky in Washington, D.C.

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    Nearly one thousand people gathered for a memorial and candlelight march through Montecito Wednesday night in remembrance of the horrific storm flow disaster that claimed 23 lives exactly one year ago.

    Among the attendees were many grateful to have escaped with their own lives after torrrents of floodwater and mountains of mud and debris slammed into homes in the early morning darkness of Jan. 9, 2018.

    Marching at night was symbolic of the community's emergence from that darkness -- prolonged by loss of electricity service -- back into the light, said Layla Farinpour, LMFT, a therapist at Cottage Hospital and a member of the 1-9 Planning Committee.

    The year ago flooding and flows that overwhelmed ordinarily dry creeks were unleashed by a cell of intense rain onto the Santa Ynez mountains, left vulnerable by the Thomas wildfire that had scorched slopes and consumed vegetation only weeks before. Some of the boulders were the size of bungalows, and far more massive.

    Hundreds of homes sustained serious damage, scores beyond repair and since leveled. Dozens of the cleared sites stand empty. 

    Many evacuees remain in temporary housing outside Montecito. Amye Leong and her husband Bob Price observed the anniversary in the rental house they found in adjacent Santa Barbara. 

    "There's still a lot of unsettledness, a lot of pain," Leong said.

    Leong was downstairs in their house on Hot Springs Road when a wall of mud and boulders roared down Montecito Creek, topping its banks, and flooding through the ground floor. She barely made it upstairs to safety.

    "It's not so much the fear of it," Leong recalled. "I actually lived through that. How do you deal with that when others didnt't?"

    Leong has been diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the ongoing stress worsened her rheumatoid arthritis, she said.

    "The effects of all of this are not necessarily visible," she said. "And that's what I'm having to deal with."

    She and her huband find joy in the recovery of precious heirlooms wrenched from their house during the flow, and found weeks later buried in mud as much as a quarter mile away. Part of their hand-painted armoire turned up, as did place settings, silver serving ware, and two delicate porcelain vases -- filled with mud, but otherwise unharmed.

    "Go figure," Leong said, shaking her head.

    "We've got to stay optimistic," Price said.

    Rain returned to Montecito on the anniversary day, but fortunately it was light -- enough to encourage regrowth, but not enough to cause further erosion.

    During the day, earthmovers worked to clear the Cold Springs Debris Basin, which had accumulated some debris from runoff earlier this season.

    In hope of increasing protection, Santa Barbara County wants to create an additional debris basin for the San Ysidro Creek, said Supervisor Das Williams, whose first district included Montecito. The county is seeking grant money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

    Meantime, a private, non-profit group is pursuing a plan to locate giant steel nets strategically on private property to stop any boulders that might come loose during future storms.

    A year ago, evacuation warnings had been issued for much of Montecito in the hours before the storm hit, but were not received by many residents, and not heeded by others who did not see urgency. In the past year, state legislation has been enacted with the intent of increasing the reach of emergency notification systems.

    After the disaster, subsequent forecasts of rain last winter led to renewed evacuations, though there were no further significant flow events.  Since then, with a calculated effort to minimize avoidable inconvenience and the boy who cried wolf syndrome, the county has adjusted the evacuation order threshhold to a higher level of forecast rain intensity.

    Insurance coverage was another issue to be tackled after the disaster.  External flood and debris damage ordinarily is excluded from a standard homeowner's policy, and usually requires separate flood insurance. But California's Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones issued an opinion that exclusion should not apply in Montecito, finding that the damage was directly linked to wildfire destruction, which is covered by homeowner policies.

    Supervisor Williams expects the pace of home rebuilding will pick up in year two, and does see healing, but said it is a "process" as yet far from finished.

    "We as a community are still rebuilding."



    Photo Credit: KNBC-TV

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    Perhaps, in recent weeks, you've gotten a passing case of the goosepimples, thanks to a wonderful holiday gift, or a moving seasonal light show, or because you made your flight to head home and see your family with moments to spare.

    Wintertime's goosepimple delivery system hasn't wrapped quite yet, however, and we're not talking about the brisk breezes that have a way of sweeping through LA, with regularity, during the first month of the year.

    Nope.

    Rather, we're talking about the No Pants Subway Ride, which is known as the No Pants Metro Ride 'round Southern California.

    Which is an event that, yes, follow along with us here, involves people riding public transportation with calves, knees, and maybe/probably some thigh explosure.

    Yes, they are wearing bottoms of some sort, so wipe your brow and breath a sigh of relief, if that was your first question. 

    If your second question is "how can I join the Sunday, Jan. 13 ride?," then best visit the LA HQ to learn all that you need/must know about the No Pants Metro Ride.

    You'll discover the six "rendezvous" spots — they're Metro stations, yep, covering particular points along the Gold, Red, Blue, Purple, and Expo Lines — and that having a TAP card is essential.

    Started by Improv Everywhere, in New York City, just a few years into this millennium, the No Pants Subway Ride has a mirthful and high-jinks-y spirit, no doubt.

    Participants are welcome to "bulk up" with coats and hats, while keeping a lot of their legs breezy 'n kneesy.

    The "high-jinks-y" part hails from the fact that no-pantsers have a way of purposefully not noticing each other, making it a very straight-faced affair.

    It's happening all over the world, too, or at least a lot of locations in the U.S. and beyond, on Jan. 13, so read more now. That is, if you're curious about the history, the widespreadness, and the impish inclinations of this long-running wintertime lark.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

    Ride Metro on Sunday, Jan. 13 and you may see knees and even lower thighs in their au naturelle state, thanks to this annual prankish party.Ride Metro on Sunday, Jan. 13 and you may see knees and even lower thighs in their au naturelle state, thanks to this annual prankish party.

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    A New Jersey high school wrestler who was forced to cut off his dreadlocks before a match to avoid forfeiting was asked to cover his hair before another match this week — the result of an "unrelenting fixation" on the boy’s hair by wrestling officials, his attorney claims.

    Buena Regional High School junior Andrew Johnson, 16, and his team were supposed to compete in a wrestling meet on Wednesday, attorney Dominic Speziali said in a letter sent to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, which is investigating the December incident.

    A day before the meet, a referee contacted Buena’s athletic director and said Johnson would have to wear a covering over his now cut hair if he planned to participate in the meet, Speziali said.

    After some back and forth between the Buena school district, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, the New Jersey Wrestling Officials Association and the National Federation of State High School Associations, the meet was “abruptly canceled, without explanation and to the dismay of Andrew, and conceivably his teammates, who, like all wrestlers, must prepare and sacrifice in the lead up to every match,” according to Speziali.

    The cancellation came two days after a NJSIAA wrestling official allegedly sent out an email with photos of hairstyles that would require coverings during matches, including a photo of "a young black man with a short twist out (a similar hairstyle to that of Andrew’s after his hair was cut),” Speziali wrote in the letter.

    “The motivation behind the NJSIAA’s email reinterpreting the applicable rules isn’t clear, but it does not appear to be based on any known, or even alleged, safety issues that have recently come to the fore,” Speziali wrote.

    Speziali claimed the email’s “questionable timing” was an attempt to “garner support” for Alan Maloney, the referee who told Johnson he'd have to cut his hair.

    A now-viral video tweeted by a reporter in December showed an official cutting Johnson’s dreadlocks after Maloney, who is white, told Johnson, who is black, that he would have to get a haircut or forfeit the match.

    Johnson participated in a tournament on Saturday "without wearing a hair covering and without any referee raising an issue about his hair,” Speziali noted in his letter.

    “Andrew, his family, and, I would venture to say, the entire Buena wrestling team all desire to return to how things were before Alan Maloney’s actions set this chaotic atmosphere in motion,” Speziali wrote in his letter.

    “Yet it appears, for reasons that the Division can hopefully soon unmask, that certain officials have a desire to unnecessarily escalate and prolong this ordeal due [to] an unrelenting fixation on the hair of a 16-year-old young man that asked for absolutely none of this,” Speziali added.

    In a statement released on Wednesday, NJSIAA maintained it “shares the public’s desire for a speedy resolution to this important matter, [but] also is strongly committed to taking as much time as necessary to ensure that all aspects of the situation have been assessed.”

    “As we previously noted, the referee in question [Alan Maloney] will not be assigned to matches until this matter has been thoroughly reviewed,” NJSIAA said. “This will help to avoid disruption of events for student athletes.”

    News 4 has reached out to NJSIAA for comment on Speziali's letter.



    Photo Credit: SNJ Today

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    Prosecutors have cleared two Los Angeles Police Department detectives in the 2016 shooting and capture of a man on the 5 Freeway in Burbank, who was wanted in a six-month crime spree that included a murder, shootings, carjackings, and robberies across Southern California.

    The two detectives assigned to the Department's Special Investigations Section lawfully shot Artyom Gasparyan during a footchase on the freeway shoulder when Gasparian turned pointed a .357-magnum handgun towards officers.

    "Under the circumstances, the detectives had a choice to either allow a dangerous felon to escape and/or possibly fire at them, or use deadly force to apprehend him," the LA County District Attorney's Office concluded. "Gasparyan was clearly a continuing threat to public safety and, under the circumstances, the detectives and officers could not allow Gasparyan to escape into the community and continue his deadly crime spree." 

    Gasparyan was shot seven times with rifle rounds fired by the detectives and survived.

    According to prosecutors, at the time of the police shooting on Jan. 4, 2016, Gasparyan was wanted for a violent crime spree that began on August 5, 2015, when he allegedly stabbed a woman who refused to have sex with him after the two smoked crystal meth.

    Gasparyan is suspected in dozens of other crimes, including a murder on Dec. 30, 2015 at Plummer and Van Nuys Boulevard in which he allegedly shot a driver at random while fleeing from another shooting scene.

    The 37-year-old driver, Adan Alexis Corea-Santillana, was struck in the shoulder, collapsed, and died.

    Gasparyan is awaiting trial on a multitude of charges and will appear in court on for another pretrial hearing Jan. 24, according to the district attorney's office.



    Photo Credit: Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Offfice

    The moment of the 2016 police shooting involving a man accused of going on a monthslong violent crime spree was recorded on cellphone video.The moment of the 2016 police shooting involving a man accused of going on a monthslong violent crime spree was recorded on cellphone video.

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    Federal health experts reported Thursday that the U.S. drug overdose rate has soared for middle-aged women between 1999 and 2017, NBC News reported.

    It rose a startling 260 percent for women between 30 and 64 years old, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The rate of drug overdose deaths rose 492 percent for the same group over the same time period.

    "Prescription opioids clearly were overutilized for more than a decade," said Dr. Michael Lynch, medical director of the the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's poison center, who was not involved in the study.

    Last year, the government reported that overdoses killed more than 70,000 Americans, driven most by opioid drugs like fentanyl.



    Photo Credit: Rick Bowmer/AP, File

    This June 1, 2018, file photo, shows syringes of the opioid painkiller fentanyl in an inpatient pharmacy.This June 1, 2018, file photo, shows syringes of the opioid painkiller fentanyl in an inpatient pharmacy.

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    Curling?

    To say that the icy sport has a cult following during any given winter Olympics is to not quite understand the meaning of "cult" in this instance.

    For curling fandom is robust, huge, dedicated, and prone to discussing the finer points of houses, brooms, and the incredible finesse and foreplanning required to ensure a stone moves toward ultimate victory in a successful manner.

    You love to watch it, but have you sadly swept your learn-to-curl dreams under the nearest sheet of ice?

    Okay, so that was a sweeping assumption on our part.

    So get happy: For ten bucks, you can get out on the Bai Holiday Ice Rink at Pershing Square, on a lovely Saturday morning, all to try your hand, and a broom, at the beloved sport.

    That Saturday morning?

    Jan. 12, which is just about a week, give or take, before the seasonal downtown rink shutters.

    The Hollywood Curling Club will deliver the details on what's done, and what your goals are, and how to best move that stone along a cold sheet of frozen water. 

    You?

    You'll be on the ice, so dress for that, and for the early hour of 8 a.m. (it all wraps by 9).

    Might you one day aspire to Olympic greatness? Well, another major curling tourney is always just a stone's throw away, so don't you dare ever sweep that dream away.



    Photo Credit: Bai Holiday Ice Rink at Pershing Square

    Is learning the sport of curling on your 2019 bucket list? Start on Saturday morning, Jan. 12 at Pershing Square.Is learning the sport of curling on your 2019 bucket list? Start on Saturday morning, Jan. 12 at Pershing Square.

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    President Donald Trump flew to Texas Thursday to tour the southern border and make the case for his proposed border wall. This comes as the federal government entered its 20th day of a partial shutdown. President Trump has refused to sign any bill that doesn’t include $5.7 billion in funding for the border wall.


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    dineL.A. Opens: Counting to 400? It's going to take you awhile. Eating at the 400+ Southern California restaurants participating in the wintertime dineL.A. Restaurant Week, which sautés from Jan. 11 to the 25th? You can, of course, feast at a fraction of the participating places, which will put the focus on prix fixe lunch and dinners that offer both 2+ courses and, you bet, deals, too (lunch at some spots begins at $15). In the spectacular swing during this huge dining-oriented event? Castaway, Terra at Eataly LA, Hinoki & the Bird, and so. Many. More. Spots. (We hope that emphasis underlines the massiveness; see more now.)

    Woolsey Fire Fundraiser Concert: Beautiful and rootsy music will sound at King Gillette Ranch on Saturday, Jan. 12, all to help raise much-need money, money that will benefit the rebuilding of the Western Town at Paramount Ranch, as well as cameras that track wildlife and park restoration, too. On the stage? The Wardens, a Banff-based group that'll be playing "music from the mountains." It's an all-ages show and the suggested donation is $25. 

    Mobile Museum Fair: What's free, and offers oodles of places to grow your thoughts/spirit/mind, and shall take place at Central Library downtown on Sunday, Jan. 13? It's this glorious gathering of several "libraries on wheels," or, if you prefer, institutions that offer art, joy, scientific study, and fun. The Library Foundation is at the helm, and the California Sneaker Museum, Sky Dome Planetarium, and several other SoCal favorites will show. Times/details yep/yep.

    Smorgasburg LA Returns: The popular every-Sunday food market at ROW DTLA took some time for the holidays, but now it is back and brimming with bites and morsels and funky sips and outdoorsy sunshine. A few new vendors are joining the permanent roster, with Moo's Craft BBQ, Tacos 1986, and Broad Street Oyster Co. on the list. As always, it's free to enter, but, if you want to snack, snack, and snack some more, show with funds. And the date to do just that? Sunday, Jan. 13, beginning at 10 in the morning.

    Cool Camellia Celebration: Longing for springtime, and the floral pleasures of summer, can be a real thing in January. But the fact that camellias bloom so beautifully in our region during the heart of wintertime is a comforting one, as is the notion that a local garden pauses to pay tribute to the petal-pretty icon. Descanso Gardens will do just that on Saturday, Jan. 12 and Sunday, Jan. 13, with camellia walks, camellia crafts, and live music, too. How to join? Simply pay your get-in fee at the La Cañada Flintridge oak-dappled destination.



    Photo Credit: Kreation Kafe

    The Kreation Kafe is participating in dineL.A. from Jan. 11 through 25, 2019. Heading to the Brentwood eatery? Find selections like The Kreation Kafe is participating in dineL.A. from Jan. 11 through 25, 2019. Heading to the Brentwood eatery? Find selections like "guilt-free" tapas and vegan cheesecake on the prix fixe lunch and dinner menus.

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    Lorinda Hixon says she was driving on the freeway when she heard a popping sound. Then she saw smoke.

    She pulled over, and within minutes - her 2012 Kia Sorento was in flames.

    "Thank God, I just say, 'Thank God.' Thank God I got out of the vehicle and I'm here today."

    Hixon's not alone. Kia owners across the country say their cars have spontaneously erupted in flames. It's happening with some Hyundai's too.

    Both automakers previously recalled more than a million cars for an engine defect. They say the recall fixes the problem. But Hixon disagrees. She says her car was fixed under the recall, but caught fire anyway.

    Attorney Steve Berman is hearing the same story from other Kia and Hyundai owners.

    "We have many clients that took it in for the recall, it was supposedly fixed, and then it caught fire," he said. "So it's pretty clear the company doesn't have the proper fix."

    Berman also says the problem is even bigger, that Kia and Hyundai cars not included in the recall are also catching fire. He filed a class action lawsuit.

    "I think they've attempted to address this issue in an inadequate way," he said.

    Kia told the NBC4 I-Team it doesn't comment on pending litigation.

    In a statement, Hyundai didn't address the lawsuit, but said: it "actively monitors and evaluates potential safety concerns, including non-collision fires ... and acts swiftly to recall any vehicles with safety-related defects."

    The nonprofit group Center for Auto Safety says it has counted 280 non-collision Kia and Hyundai fires. It's been urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to investigate.

    "What they should be doing is opening a new investigation into why Kias and Hyundais are catching fire," said Jason Levine, the executive director of the Center for Auto Safety.

    Added Hixon: "I don't wanna see anybody get seriously hurt, or God forbid, die."

    NHTSA is one of the agencies impacted by the government shutdown so any safety defect investigations are suspended.

    But in regards to this issue, it previously told the I-Team: "It's dedicated to public safety."

    Affected models/years:

    • 2011-2019 Hyundai Sonata
    • 2013-2019 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport
    • 2011- 2019 Kia Optima
    • 2012-2019 Kia Sorento
    • 2012-2019 Kia Soul
    • 2011-2019 Kia Sportage

    Hyundai's full statement:

    Nothing is more important than the safety and security of Hyundai customers. Hyundai actively monitors and evaluates potential safety concerns, including non-collision fires, with all of its vehicles and acts swiftly to recall any vehicles with safety-related defects.

    Hyundai has recalled more than one million vehicles (certain model year 2011-2014 Sonatas and 2013-2014 Santa Fe Sports) in two separate actions in 2015 and 2017 (NHTSA 15V-568 and 17V-226) to address a manufacturing issue that could lead to bearing wear and engine failure. In certain circumstances the affected engines have caught on fire.

    Hyundai is working collaboratively with NHTSA on these recalls, which to date have completion rates of 86 and 72 percent respectively, versus an industry average of 69 percent for recalled engines.

    [1] Hyundai continues to make every effort to contact customers who have not had the recall completed, including through traditional mailings, digital correspondence, owner website alerts, and in-vehicle notification through Hyundai's Blue Link telematics systems and its monthly vehicle health reports.

    Hyundai has also launched and is promoting an online resource for the recalls, www.HyundaiEngineInfo.com, where customers can learn more about the recall condition, what indications and signs to watch for in their vehicle, and what steps they should take so we can fix the condition at no cost. We have also enhanced our customer service response for these vehicles by adding staff and resources so we can more quickly respond to and address any questions or concerns a customer may have.

    In the rare case of a fire that results from a potential product defect, Hyundai takes immediate action to have the vehicle inspected, often with independent engineering and fire investigator experts, to determine the cause and works directly with the customer on a resolution. That includes covering expenses associated with the incident and offering complimentary transportation through a rental car or ride sharing, among other actions. Hyundai values its continued cooperative relationship with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) and NHTSA.

    Over the past three years, we have held numerous meetings with DOT and NHTSA representatives, and proactively discussed and identified possible safety items for NHTSA’s evaluation, including the engine recalls. NHTSA has been fully briefed and kept apprised of these recalls and low rates of associated non-collision fires. Customers who have any question or concern with their Hyundai vehicle should contact the Hyundai Customer Care Center here, (800) 633-5151 or here.


    This is what's left of Lorinda Hixon's 2012 Kia Sorento that she says erupted in flames while she was on the freeway.This is what's left of Lorinda Hixon's 2012 Kia Sorento that she says erupted in flames while she was on the freeway.

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