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    A fast moving brush fire exploded on Monday. At approximately 8:30 p.m., the Holy Fire was at over 4,000 acres with zero percent containment.

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    Rainbow hues, pineapple bowls, and other photo-ready tasties await in Costa Mesa.

    Photo Credit: OC Fair

    Unicorn-themed goodies will pop up at more than one spot at the OC Fair. Find the colorful and sweet concoctions at Texas Donuts as well as the Candy Factory.Unicorn-themed goodies will pop up at more than one spot at the OC Fair. Find the colorful and sweet concoctions at Texas Donuts as well as the Candy Factory.

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    A Palm Springs Mid-Century Modern residence once owned by billionaire film and aviation mogul Howard Hughes has sold for $1.3 million.

    Photo Credit: Courtesy of USC Digital Library/James Butchart

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    A decomposing body was found inside a column outside a Winco store in Lancaster on Saturday.

    Around 2:30 p.m., the manager of the store on the 700 block of West Avenue K reported a strong smell from the column. He called a repairman thinking it was some type of sewer leak. 

    A handyman and plumber began removing bricks and soon afterward, they noticed a shoe and leg inside the grocery store column. 

    The body was in a state of decomposition and the person's gender is unknown at this time, according to Lt. John Corina with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

    "I saw some gooey liquid and it smelled really foul ... it was oozing out of the pillar onto the pavement," one witness said. "It smelled like death." 

    The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is investigating the death. 



    Photo Credit: DonLuisMeza

    A decomposing body was found in a column outside a Lancaster Winco store on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018.A decomposing body was found in a column outside a Lancaster Winco store on Saturday, Aug. 11, 2018.

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    A pilot died after his airplane crashed near the 5 Freeway in Los Angeles Sunday afternoon.

    The pilot was reportedly trapped in the wreckage after the small, fixed-wing, single-engine aircraft crashed in a field adjacent to the interstate at 12600 Encinitas Ave. in Sylmar, the Los Angeles Fire Department said.

    The Beechcraft BE33 aircraft crashed under "unknown circumstances" about 5 miles north of Van Nuys Airport around 1:45 p.m., Federal Aviation Administration Public Affairs Manager Ian Gregor said.

    Rescuers managed to pull the man from the plane, but he was pronounced dead at the scene, the LAFD said.

    The airplane is registered to Scott Watson, of Marina Del Rey, and was manufactured in 1980, according to FAA records. Authorities have not yet said whether Watson was piloting the plane at the time of the crash.

    The crash did not spark a fire, damage structures or cause any other injuries, the LAFD said.

    The National Transportation Safety Board is overseeing the investigation.

    This is a developing story. Refresh this page for updates.



    Photo Credit: Newschopper4 Bravo

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    The Angel City Chorale has gone where no choir has gone before.

    "Golden Buzzer...a choir? Come on!" Sue Fink, artistic director for the choir, says in reference to the honor her group received on NBC's "America's Got Talent" with the buzzer that automatically qualified the group for the live show. "That's so cool!"

    The Angel City Chorale is a group that has collectively harmonized its way into the hearts of America.

    But this is no ordinary choir. The Angel City Chorale is fueled by charity, as it has been for the past quarter century. 

    "That's the exciting part of it is reaching certain level of recognition to able to carry on our work," says Jimmer Bolden, a singer.

    That work and the spirit that goes with it always involves a song, whether belted out on a stage, on the streets or on another continent.

    "The purpose of our group is to bring people together, like ordinary folks like me that when we're together, we create something better than any of us could alone," Fink says.

    Alone, they are not. This is a choir consisting of 160 strong voices working in harmony.

    "We're back, white, rich poor, gay straight," Fink says proudly.

    She adds, "Even our democrats and republicans can sit next to each other and sing, which is a far better job than they're doing in congress."

    They call themselves the "model of America," reconnecting via harmony and heart.

    "Music is the language that everyone can understand," Leena Mathew, who is the president and on the board of the directors, says. "It really unites people."

    The Angel City Chorale stands for unity, inclusion and strength in numbers. It prides itself on giving back without expecting a pay back.

    "One of our members needed glaucoma surgery and he didn't have the money to pay for it," Fink says. "We put on a concert for him and raised $10,000 in one night so he could have his surgery."

    And this is not a group intimidated by boundaries.

    In 2011, the group even traveled to South Africa and did concerts that raised money for underprivileged youth after school programs. Seven years later, the choir fundraised and collaborated to bring those same kids to LA to sing, an experience that struck a chord.

    "Each one of them went back saying, 'I want to go to college,' 'I want to see more of the world,'" Fink says with pride.

    The one blessed with the voices of angels are truly doing the work of angels on earth and using music to connect, unite, stand up and speak up for the many without a voice.



    Photo Credit: America's Got Talent

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    The March for Our Lives ended its national Road-To-Change bus tour on Sunday in Newtown, Connecticut, six months after the shooting at a Parkland, Florida, high school inspired protests calling for what activists say are common-sense gun reforms.

    Teenage activists took center stage Sunday as throngs of people gathered to hear them at the Fairfield Hills Campus in Newtown, ten minutes from Sandy Hook Elementary School. Among them was Natalie Barden, with the Junior Newtown Action Alliance, who lost a younger sibling in the shooting there six years ago.

    “We are all here today because no one should have to feel the life shattering pain of losing a loved one to a gun,” she said, addressing the crowds.

    Tommy Murray, also with the Junior Newtown Action Alliance, called attention to his fellow teens from Parkland, who began the March for Our Lives movement in the days after the Feb. 14 shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School there claimed 17 lives.

    “Five years ago, many of us were too young to fully understand what happened at Sandy Hook, but when you spoke up and demanded that you be heard, you inspired us to do more,” he said.

    The teens traversing the country with March for Our Lives were on a mission to encourage young people who are turning 18 to register to vote in the November elections. They hope to bring about gun-law reforms and weaken the National Rifle Association by changing the makeup of Congress.

    About 30 students with the Hartford non-profit, Hartford Communities That Care, took part in the forum. They met at the Ana Grace Love Wins playground before they headed to Newtown.

    Some of the students said they have been captivated by the movement and wanted to be a part of it. One of the young activists said he was eager to share what he has learned over the past year. 

    ”It’s not about just school shootings and all that,” said Joshua Fee with HCTC. “It’s about urban gun violence as well because it starts in our own communities and goes further out, so if we control it in our own communities then maybe it can prevent it from going to other communities.”

    ”I was confused really by why Newtown when a lot of the gun violence happens in Hartford, Bridgeport and New Haven, so when they reached out and said we can send a bus for anyone else who you feel like should be at the table I was just really, really excited to partner with Hartford Communities That Care and make that happen today,” said Nelba Marquez-Green, who lost her daughter Ana Grace in the Sandy Hook shooting.

    Jackie Corin, a student speaker with March for Our Lives, spoke to the similarities between Parkland and Newtown and the symbolism inherent in ending their 50-city tour there, after the summer tour made stops in other notable sites of gun violence like Chicago, Illinois; Aurora, Colorado; and Charlottesville, Virginia.

    “We are both suburban areas with similar population demographics, and we are both cities that forced our nation to come together when violence unexpectedly moved in,” Corin said.

    Connecticut, unlike Florida, has some of the toughest gun laws in the country. The March for Our Lives organizers also encourage people to look beyond the laws and politicians where they live to areas with weaker gun laws, pointing to gun trafficking from those places as another reason to join a political campaign for change.



    Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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    A long day at Disneyland turned into a long night for visitors after a car caught fire in one of the Anaheim theme park's parking structures.

    Smoke filled the Mickey and Friends parking structure Sunday, forcing visitors to wait outside as firefighters doused the flames. The fire was out in about 30 minutes. Only one car was damaged.

    No injuries were reported. It was not immediately clear how the fire started.



    Photo Credit: Kelli Gifford

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    Life can grow a little dull, and a bit gray, and sort of flat sometimes, but then Bring Your Own Cup Week arrives at 7-Eleven, or Free Slurpee Day, and suddenly there's a bit of flavorful sunshine breaking through the clouds.

    Alas: Those events come and go, and aren't always happening, understandably. But then there's a third Slurpee-based occasion to anticipate, one that can cool down our hottest summer afternoons and warm up our dearest friendships.

    Why'd we mention the friendship part? Because Buy One, Get One Free Week is all about heading to your nearest participating 7-Eleven with a pal and snagging two Slurpees for the price of one.

    That's any size of Slurpee, so if you both want to go for the 32-ouncers, and have a lot of Slurpee to sip, you can.

    And that's any flavor of Slurpee, so if you both want to try Cap'n Crunch Berries, the featured Slurpee flavor of the moment, go. For. It.

    It's "bright blue," oh yeah, and if ever there was a time of year for drinking incredibly cold, blue-lush libations, it's summertime. Leave the yawnier beverages for the down-to-business months, aka not August.

    The dates for the Buy One Get One Free Slurpee promotion? Monday, Aug. 13 through Sunday, Aug. 19. You could line up a lot of buds over a lot of days for this one, so get going already.



    Photo Credit: 7-Eleven

    7-Eleven stores have a frosty-cool deal going over several toasty August days.7-Eleven stores have a frosty-cool deal going over several toasty August days.

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    In the months after Hurricane Maria, between September and January, Puerto Rico's schools lost 26,674 students, according to the Department of Education. Many students are now returning for the new school year to a host of challenges, NBC News reported.

    Public schools are starting the semester with 305,000 students and 23,000 teachers, according to the Education Department; in 2017, enrollment was at 346,096.

    Meanwhile, as the Department of Education deals with a budget shortfall of $300 million, 266 public schools have closed. That's meant that some families will have to make longer commutes to schools that are further away from home. Schools that are taking in new students will be using trailers, paid for with FEMA funds, to support the influx.

    And roughly 128 out of nearly 850 operating schools still had teacher vacancies as of Friday, according to the Puerto Rico Teachers Association.



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    Students walk through the Sotero Figueroa Elementary School campus in San Juan, Puerto Rico, November 6, 2017.Students walk through the Sotero Figueroa Elementary School campus in San Juan, Puerto Rico, November 6, 2017.

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    Cameras were rolling as a man attempted to break into a Studio City home early Sunday morning, on Aug. 5.

    The suspect attempts to get into the home after watching a woman go inside moments earlier, near the corner of Moorpark Street and Colfax Avenue.

    Following the incident, the homeowners have been very vigilant, making their own flyers and posting on their "Next Door" app about this attempted home invasion.

    The woman in the video is a cousin of the home owners, and she was visiting from out of town. She was coming home after a late night out, and a man can be seen attempting to break into the home minutes later.

    The Ring doorbell video captured the woman arriving at the home at approximately 3 a.m.

    On the video, the suspect can be seen walking past her as she enters the door, so he seems to know that someone is home. Once their cousin is inside, 27 minutes pass, and then the man shows up outside their doorstep.

    "If you notice on the first part of the video, he watches my fiancé's cousin come in," the homeowner says, wishing not to be identified for safety concerns. "And it just kind of changes the lens, when he knows that there is someone inside."

    On the video, the man boosts himself up on their wall, possibly peering in through a window, or trying to climb over. Then he wraps his hand with his sweater as he tries the doorknob in what appears to be an attempt to avoid leaving fingerprints.

    "We don't know what he could have done," one of the people who lives in the home, who was also inside, says. "He could have hurt all of us. He could have had intention to take advantage of a girl, to take advantage of any of us. You don't know."

    Thanks to their surveillance system, the home owners were notified that someone was outside, so they called the police. Police officers searched the complex, but the man disappeared.

    Now, the couple is trying to warn others with posters and online posts.

    "My fear is that, I don't want anyone to worry that they didn't lock their door correctly behind them," one of the homeowners says. "Or what if they meet up with this guys when they go jogging? So yeah, we want this guy found."

    A lot neighbors in the complex have the same Ring branded doorbell cameras, too. The neighbors tried to match up timelines to see how long this guy was lingering around and to see if there are any more clues that may help find the suspect.

    Police are also investigating to see if this man is connected to any other crimes in the neighborhood.



    Photo Credit: KNBC

    Photos of a suspect that attempted to break into a Studio City homePhotos of a suspect that attempted to break into a Studio City home

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    Homicide detectives were called to the Gaslamp Quarter of San Diego early Monday to investigate a deadly shooting. 

    A 33-year-old man was shot at least one time just before 2 a.m. after a confrontation between two groups near the intersection of 5th Avenue and Market Street, the San Diego Police Department said. 

    Witnesses who learned they knew the victim told NBC 7 the man worked in the Gaslamp. Authorities are still working to notify the man's family of his death so no other information was released. 

    Less than a mile away at 15th Street and Imperial Avenue, two persons of interest were taken into custody, SDPD said. Police did not say they were suspects but said they were not looking for any other suspects connected to the shooting. 

    Several blocks of both 5th and Market were blocked off to traffic for the investigation. A Sig Alert was issued just after 5 a.m. and SDPD said the closures could last until noon.

    The area near 15th and Imperial was also shut down. 

    San Diego Police Department (SDPD) officers could be seen going door-to-door to nearby businesses to gather information on what may have occurred. 

    No other information was available.

    Please refresh this page for updates on this story. Details may change as more information becomes available.



    Photo Credit: Shane Leivas

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    A Santa Rosa Family is celebrating the first day of school Monday because, thanks to a judge’s order, their five-year-old child will be able to attend her first day of kindergarten and bring her medical marijuana on campus.

    When Brooke Adams walks onto campus Monday morning she will be setting a legal precedent.

    Brooke will be one of the first children in the country — and the first in California — to be legally allowed to be given medical marijuana at school.

    When she was just an infant, Brook was diagnosed with a rare form of epilepsy called Dravet Syndrome.

    “It gives her seizures that don’t stop very easily, or don’t stop at all,” her father Jon Adams told NBC Bay Area.

    Her seizures would last for half an hour — or longer — and paramedics would often have to be called.

    Doctors tried a number of powerful drugs to control and prevent them. But none seemed effective — and they all had powerful side effects.

    “Behavioral problems, sleep deprived, different things that not good for her,” her mother Jane Adams said.

    When Brooke was a little more than a year old she was issued a medical marijuana card. Her parents say the daily CBD oil she uses and the emergency THC oil are very effective.

    She now has fewer seizures and they only last three to four minutes.

    “With the Emergency THC medicine, she pretty much just like, takes a nap, and she’s back to normal,” her father said.

    Medical marijuana and recreational marijuana may be legal in California but because it’s still a federally restricted drug, doctors cannot prescribe it for treatment. All they can do is issue a medical marijuana card which is a doctor’s “recommendation.” So it’s still illegal to bring it on school campuses.

    “They didn’t take into account that maybe students would be on cannabis and need it at school.”

    The Adams went to court.

    A judge is still weighing their case but he did issue a temporary stay, allowing brook to attend class at least until his decision.

    The school district issued this statement about brook’s situation: “the Rincon valley unified school district is happy to have the opportunity to serve brook and now has direction from the court to be able to do so.”

    The Adams have already met with the school nurse to teach her how to administer the emergency THC oil.

    The judge is expected to issue his final decision on this case in late September or early October.


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    Prosecutors in Northern California on Monday announced a new murder charge against a man suspected of being the notorious "Golden State Killer," closing a murder case in Tulare County that has gone unsolved for more than four decades.

    Joseph DeAngelo, 72, was charged in the fatal shooting of Claude Snelling, a 45-year-old journalism instructor at the College of the Sequoias, in 1975, prosecutors in Tulare County said.

    Snelling died while trying to protect his daughter from an apparent rapist, prosecutors said. Snelling was shot when he tried to confront the ski-masked gunman who was dragging his daughter away in their backyard, The Associated Press reported at the time.

    The man fired two shots from a pistol at Snelling, then released Snelling's 16-year-old daughter, kicked her in the face and fled, Lt. Dale Treece, of the Visalia Police Department, said, according to the AP.

    DeAngelo, a former police officer, was arrested in the Northern California city of Citrus Heights in April after authorities say they linked him to cases in Sacramento through DNA.

    Detectives linked DeAngelo to the Snelling slaying and believe he is the "Visalia Ransacker," whose 18-month home burglary spree of 100 homes shocked the Visalia community for over 18 months in 1974 and 1975, Visalia Police Chief Jason Salazar said.

    The gun used to kill Snelling had been stolen from a home during a burglary in Visalia a month earlier, Salazar said.

    The bicycle the gunman used to get away was recovered a block away from Snelling's the day after the crime. The bike had been stolen from a nearby yard two days before murder, the chief said.

    The timing of the ransackings and Snelling's killing match the time that DeAngelo was a cop for the city of Exeter, about 10 miles away from Visalia, from May 1973 to August 1976, Salazar said.

    The methods that the "Visalia Ransacker" used matches the "Golden State Killer," Salazar said.

    He'd break into homes in the evening by prying open doors or windows. He stole keepsakes and left valuables, he'd leave items on doors or doorknobs to alert him of returning residents, and he'd eat or prepare food during his crimes, the chief said.

    Victims told police they received strange phone calls weeks after the crimes, Salazar said.He prowled locations and planned escape routes and often used a bicycle to get away.

    On Dec. 10, 1975, months after Snelling was killed, police believe they spotted the man responsible while doing surveillance to try to capture the "Visalia Ransacker."

    The man shot at an officer during a confrontation with police in a backyard.

    The bullet struck the officer's flashlight and the shooter got away.The officer saw his face and was able to give investigators a detailed composite sketch.

    Afterward, the ransacker went underground and no further crimes that fit the pattern were committed in the city of Visalia, Salazar said.

    A few months later, the "East Area Rapist" began terrorizing east Sacramento from 1976 to 1979, the time when DeAngelo was a cop for the nearby city of Auburn, Salazar said. He left the Exeter Police Department in 1976.



    Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area

    Accused serial killer and rapist Joseph DeAngelo appears in court Thursday, July 12, 2018.Accused serial killer and rapist Joseph DeAngelo appears in court Thursday, July 12, 2018.

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    Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund would be the main source of money for Tesla CEO Elon Musk's grand plan to take the company private, but the deal isn't done yet, Musk disclosed in a blog on Monday.

    The fund approached Musk about going private multiple times during the past two years, and Musk says he left a July 31 meeting with no question that the deal would be closed. That's why he tweeted on Aug. 7 that the funding had been secured, Musk wrote. The fund itself has not publicly commented on the possibility of a deal.

    Under the proposal, only investors who don't want to remain with a private company would be paid and funding for the deal would come from Tesla stock, not debt. Musk wrote that he expects about one-third of shareholders to take an offer of $420 per share, making the buyouts worth roughly $23.6 billion.

    Musk's blog was posted before the markets opened Monday, and there was little reaction from investors. Shares were up 2 cents to $355.51 in morning trading.

    Musk wrote that at the July 31 meeting, the fund's managing director "strongly expressed his support'' for taking the electric car and solar panel maker private. "I understood from him that no other decision makers were needed and that they were eager to proceed,'' Musk wrote in the blog.

    But the deal appeared to be far from finished. Since the meeting, the men have continued discussions and the managing director has expressed support "subject to financial and other due diligence and their internal review process for obtaining approvals,'' Musk wrote.

    The wealth fund recently bought nearly 5 percent of Tesla's shares.

    Musk wrote that he made the Aug. 7 announcement because he had talked to large investors about his desire to take the company private. "It wouldn't be right to share information about going private with just our largest investors without sharing the same information with all investors at the same time,'' he wrote.

    He wrote that in the blog and the Aug. 7 tweet that he was speaking for himself as a potential bidder for the company.

    Musk also wrote that the Saudis are interested in the company because they want to diversify away from oil.

    He also is in talks with other investors because he wants Tesla to continue to have a "broad investor base,'' he wrote.



    Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images

    Billionaire entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX Elon Musk speaks at the 68th International Astronautical Congress 2017 in Adelaide on September 29, 2017. Musk said his company SpaceX has begun serious work on the BFR Rocket as he plans an Interplanetary Transport System. / AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKS (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)Billionaire entrepreneur and founder of SpaceX Elon Musk speaks at the 68th International Astronautical Congress 2017 in Adelaide on September 29, 2017. Musk said his company SpaceX has begun serious work on the BFR Rocket as he plans an Interplanetary Transport System. / AFP PHOTO / PETER PARKS (Photo credit should read PETER PARKS/AFP/Getty Images)

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    Songs of Summer: Finding a leafy oasis not far from the 101, one that's lush with natural beauty, sweet vibes, and the kick-back-a-tude of the season? You only need to pull into The Garland on Thursday, Aug. 16 to discover such a wind-down, feel-fine location. The vintage-cool hotel is presenting a concert at Beverly Park — that's the aforementioned leafy oasis, and it is right on the property — and the Cowling Band will be on the stage. It's free, but you'll want to snag your entry now. Just be over 21 and be ready to buy beverages and small bites, if you fancy them. Self-parking? It's eight bucks.

    Downtown Culver City Third Wednesdays: Sometimes we're toodling through an area that we like but don't live in or know all that well, and we're delighted and mystified to see lots of people out, strolling, gabbing, ducking into shops and galleries. That's the sign of a rockin' neighborhood, and Culver City is just such a place. The Third Wednesdays series, a warm-weather favorite, is all about being out, seeing art, seeing people, and not paying to join the conviviality. "Tropical Staycation" is the theme of the Aug. 15 event, so bring cash for sips and eats.

    El Segundo Art Walk: Speaking of rockin' neighborhoods and free 'n social walk-arounds, there's this eveningtime gem, an easygoing gathering that's rife with paintings, sounds, food trucks, and an over-sized wallet sculpture, an homage to the city's best-known song. This is the last art walk of the 2018 summer run, so if you're keen to discover a bunch of new artists, or at least appreciate a bunch you already love, and nosh along the way, best make for the nexus of Main and Grand on Thursday, Aug. 16.

    Sizzling Summer Nights: Lately? The whole "sizzling" part of this beloved dance event's name has been true basically every night, or so it seems. It's been toasty, which only leaves one thing to do: Get outside, under the stars, and twirl to live Latin fusion tunes. The Autry can help us out with this desire, as it does each summertime. But alas: Thursday, Aug. 16 is the last one for 2018, so if you're going to move outside the museum, to nosh on delectables from the taco bar, to sip cool libations, and to see exhibits inside, do so, well, now. Or, rather, on Aug. 16, because this sweet tradition is dancing its final number for the year.

    Happy 40th, "Grease": Picking a movie from both the "timeless" and "nostalgic" categories? It would have to be this song-packed dancefest from 1978, a flick that can take those who adore it back to both the late '70s, when it became all-out iconic in an instant, and the 1950s, when the film is set, simultaneously. Have a Pink Lady jacket? Can you style your hair like Sandy might or Roz? Then you'll want to be at The Wiltern for this four-decades-along celebration. A bonus? A dance party'll bobby-socks-up the theater lobby post-credits.



    Photo Credit: Wedding 64 & Associates of Weddi

    The Cowling Band will play at beautiful Beverly Park, located at the stylish North Hollywood inn, on Thursday, Aug. 16.The Cowling Band will play at beautiful Beverly Park, located at the stylish North Hollywood inn, on Thursday, Aug. 16.

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    Feeling pleased that your conscientious recycling is helping to save the environment? Not so fast. Your yogurt container or takeout clamshell might end up in a dump thanks to a ban on discarded items that the United States had been sending to China for processing.

    This year, China followed through with its threat to prohibit the import of U.S. plastics, mixed paper and other materials that it says were turning the country into the world’s garbage dump. The repercussions from the new policy have been quick and nowhere close to sorted out in communities across the U.S. 

    Sacramento, California, cut back on which plastics it will pick up curbside, and will send items like egg cartoons, medicine bottles and some yogurt containers to landfills instead.

    San Diego’s recycling program brought in $4 million in revenue last year. Recycling could now cost the city $1.1 million.

    In New Jersey, Sunil Bagaria is retooling his company, moving from one that exported to China to one that will do the work of recycling in the U.S.

    “What we are trying to achieve is recycling at source,” said Bagaria, president and co-founder with his brother of GDB International, a recycling and sustainability company based in New Brunswick. “That means the community that produces the plastic waste will be responsible for the recycling.”

    But until that happens, recycling markets are in turmoil. China had been taking half of the world’s paper and plastic when it called a halt to the imports, tightening the contamination limit to 0.5 percent for most imports. The material it used to accept was too dirty, it said.

    Now no one knows where that material will go instead. While the developed world looks for new markets for its scrap, environmentalists warn that we must curb our addiction to disposable items, from plastic cups to food containers and other items that we use once and throw away.

    “The human footprint on the planet and here in the United States is still too large,” said Benjamin Orlove, a director at Columbia University’s Center for Research on Environmental Decisions and a faculty member of its Earth Institute.

    CHINA TACKLES POLLUTION
    Here's how we got to this point: For decades, the U.S., rather than recycling its own material, had been sorting it, baling it and shipping it to China, where it became raw materials for new goods. But then China began warning that as part of its efforts to tackle its environmental pollution, it would impose stricter demands on scrap imports. China launched Green Fences in 2013 to enforce regulations on the quality of the imports, and announced its latest policy, National Sword, last year. It told the World Trade Organization that it needed to protect China’s environment and the health of its people.

    Dirty or hazardous waste mixed in with raw materials had "polluted China's environment seriously," the WTO filing said.

    China’s 40 years of economic growth has pushed the country’s carbon dioxide emissions to the highest in the world, and left China dealing with terrible smog and water and other pollution. Its economy now is the second largest of all nations, about two-thirds of the U.S. output last year. China has less need for imported scrap material, though some economists question whether fewer recyclables could result in a slowdown. At the same time China banned imported trash, it announced plans to step up enforcement of recycling within the country.

    “They have a mountain of plastic scrap of their own so they want to first solve their own problem before importing plastic scrap from overseas,” Bagaria said. The takeaway for him was that China’s shutoff means other countries have to take responsibility for recycling at source.

    LOW RECYCLING RATE
    The U.S. has a long way to go. Of the 258 million tons of waste that Americans generated in 2014 more than 89 million tons were recycled and composted for a recycling rate of 34.6 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

    China had been taking about 40 percent of U.S. paper, plastics and other recyclables but after the new restrictions began going into effect, the numbers plummeted. Recycled plastics from the U.S. to China dropped by 92 percent over the first five months of the year. All types of exported scrap, from plastics and paper to aluminum, cooper and stainless steel, fell 36 percent.

    The Chinese market was greater than the next 15 markets combined, leaving the U.S. with little in the way of backup. Thousands of tons of material that would have been recycled are now going into landfills instead. Some municipalities have stopped collecting items that used to be recycled and others have been stockpiling them.  

    “No other market can possibly take in that much volume and they gave us so little time for transition that the industry is still having to react,” said Adina Renee Adler, a senior director at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. “So unfortunately we have seen some materials go to landfill, which is no good.”

    California is especially dependent on China. It had been exporting about a third of all recyclable material that it generated, 62 percent of that to China.

    The new ban is playing out by the numbers. Sacramento continues to take plastics marked with codes one through three — PET or polyethylene terephthalate which is used for soft drink bottles and peanut butter jars; HDPE or high density polyethylene, which is used for milk jugs, butter tubs and detergent bottles; and V or polyvinyl chloride, which is used in shampoo bottles. But it is no longer accepting plastics four through seven, which typically are found in grocery bags, many yogurt containers, bottle caps, meat trays and other items.

    Sacramento asked its Houston-based waste and recycling hauler, Waste Management, to indicate which items should no longer be included in its recycling collection before changing its recycling criteria.

    Waste Management spokesperson Janette Micelli said there is no "system-wide restrictions on materials" and it makes sure customers understand what the markets will pay for recyclables being collected. The company has shifted material to alternative markets, some domestically, some elsewhere.

    “While we've been shipping into China for years, we also have opened up market in other parts of Southeast Asia, India, South America and Europe,” said Brent Bell, a Waste Management vice president for recycling. “And so when the Chinese starting restricting the imports we quickly shifted that material to some of these alternative markets.” 

    San Diego historically had exported 80 percent of its curbside material, 60 percent to China, according to the city’s Environmental Services Department. The percentage dropped to 24 percent in the first quarter of 2018.

    Its recycling processing contractors in May proposed suspending all revenue payments to the city — which stood at $4 million in the last fiscal year. Instead it would assess the city a $1.1 million annual cost. The loss of the China market and low oil prices together have tanked the value of plastic.

    The department is working to amend the contract to adjust for the effects of China’s National Sword Policy. 

    CATALYST FOR THE INDUSTRY
    Back in New Jersey, Bagaria’s company had been baling recyclables for shipment to China, where the material was sorted by hand. It now is investing in machinery to do the recycling in the U.S. Two facilities in New Jersey are up and running; the others are to be outfitted by the end of August. They will be able to clean the recyclables, grind them up and convert them into small pellets that can serve as raw material for new products.

    “There is a lot to be still done, but the China ban was almost like a catalyst in that direction,” he said. “It helped the industry. Now we don’t have a choice.”

    As disruptive as the ban is, experts hope the upheaval will spur even more innovation. Marilyn Chertow, an associate professor at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and director of the program on solid waste policy, noted that in 2008 China passed a law promoting a circular economy. The idea is you make a product with material you know can be recycled rather than make a product and then figure out how to recycle it.

    China’s move to ban recyclables now is an enormous opportunity for the U.S. to see value in its own scrap, Chertow said. That said, change will not be easy, nor will it be quick, she and others said. Many municipalities invested heavily in single stream recycling, in which everything is put into one recycling box and separated later, a decision that may have contributed to poorly separated items.

    “When single-stream became popular some years ago, I was dismayed, even aghast,” Richard Holden Bole, the owner of Recycle Midwest in Cleveland, wrote in Recycling Today last year. “Treating recyclables the same way you treat the trash – in a trash truck – seemed terrible to me. I knew it would result in contamination and sorting difficulty of all the materials. Sure enough, for years many of the materials coming out of single-stream plants have been poorly sorted.”

    Bole says the best solution going forward would be to return to separating recyclables before they are picked up, as some communities still do: a pile of flattened cardboard preferably tied with string, mingled bottles and cans and finally mixed paper.

    “It’s a true crisis,” he said. “It was poorly thought out to begin with.”

    RECYCLING WILL SURVIVE
    The industry is facing a massive retooling, that in the end will be for the better, said National Recycling Coalition executive director Marjorie Griek. Recycling will survive the setback, though individuals have few choices at the moment, she said.

    “It’s too entrenched in society and too many people understand the importance of recycling both for the environment and for the economy,” she said.

    Eric Goldstein, a senior attorney at the Natural Resources Defense Council and its environmental director for New York City, said that recyclables are likely to be stockpiled in the short term until new markets are found. The key is to focus on the long term. Recyclables are like all commodities — whether corn or oil or bitcoin — and their markets fluctuate. New uses are being found for typically hard to recycle items, recycled glass in concrete, for example. Manufacturers must be brought into the loop so that the producers of products or packaging share the responsibility of recycling them, he said.

    Studies show that recycling and composting trash produce more jobs per ton handled than does bringing it to landfills or incinerators. A study by the Institute for Local Self-Reliance found that the removal of 10,000 tons of solid waster creates six jobs versus as many as 36 if that waste were recycled instead.

    “It’s very unlikely that America’s cities and towns are going to abandon recycling, which makes so much sense both from an environmental standpoint and a climate change standpoint and a jobs production standpoint,” Goldstein said.

    Orlove, of Columbia University’s Earth Institute, notes that recycling is not an end to itself but a way to address an excess use of resources and to curb climate change.

    With a recycling rate of only about 34 percent, the U.S. has not progressed fast enough, he said. 

    NEW TECHNOLOGIES EMERGE
    New practices and technologies are emerging. Ikea will start using biodegradable mushroom-based packaging that can decompose in a couple of weeks and which Dell is already cushioning its computers with. Clothing designer Eileen Fisher and Fabscrap, a non-profit in New York City, are reusing fabric, Terracycle's Zero Waste Box provides 120 different boxes to segregate waste better, and Enerkem uses municipal waste to manufacture biofuel. Apple has a robot that dismantles cell phones, while DSM-Niaga, a technology and chemical company based in the Netherlands, recycles carpets.

    At the Burbank Recycling Center in Burbank, California, the coordinator, Kreigh Hampel, said the U.S. had lost control of its consumption. Looking forward, the situation is very unstable, he said.

    “It’s a big ask to change things very quickly in the United States about our consumption habits,” he said. “It’s a big ask to find other countries and other mills and processors to take the amount of waste that we generate in the U.S. every year and try to get it into re-use programs or recycling programs. So I wish I had a crystal ball to predict the future. And I just don’t.”

    Jeremy Berg contributed to this article.


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    The 710 at the 5 freeways are among the 15 top Freight-Impacted areas in Southern California, according to a new report.

    Freight impact areas are locations where the amount of truck traffic on the road actually imposes delays on other traffic. Researchers analyzed traffic during afternoon peak hours.

    A 10-mile stretch on the 60 Freeway west of I-15 is the longest freight-impacted area, according to the report.The average speed during peak time -- about 20 mph.

    Those 10 miles take commuters an average of 30 minutes. Researchers say if a driver in no traffic traveled 60 mph, that same distance would take them 20 minutes less.

    Some solutions can be costly. But the report recommends fixes that could bring more bang for the buck, like creating truck-only lanes and getting more trucks travelling during off hours.

    "I can't work overnight," said Cesar Otero, a truck driver who delivers staging equipment. "I do work in the daytime. So maybe the trucks that do it like from city-to-city, not this one."

    The California Trucking Association says to operate off hours someone has to receive the shipment, which complicates mandating delivery times. They point to the need for more truck parking, especially since freight drivers must take breaks.

    But Caltrans says finding parking is complicated too. It depends on who owns the property and how owners will provide things like restrooms and even trash cans on site.Commuter Oscar Parra is hoping changes come soon. The state's freight mobility plan will be ready for public review by next summer.

    "It's horrible," said Oscar Parra, a commuter. "Like, you spend practically an hour waiting to get where you needing to go."

    Some 90 detectors across the state track the number and types of trucks passing through certain areas. The idea is to create better times to move certain cargo.

    The 2016 Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act requires states to address the significant impact of congestion or delays caused by the freight industry by 2019.

    California's freight mobility plan will be ready for public review next summer.


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    The 710 and 5 freeways are among the heaviest for truck traffic, according to a new study released in July 2018.The 710 and 5 freeways are among the heaviest for truck traffic, according to a new study released in July 2018.

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    Two years ago, IKEA recalled millions of dressers of safety concerns that the dressers could tip over. Now, four safety groups say IKEA has not done enough to remove the recalled dressers from consumers home posing a safety risk for everyone, especially young children.

    2-year-old Curren Collas was found crushed under an IKEA dresser by his mother. 

    "I didn't see him anywhere," his mother said. "I went over and kind of pulled everything apart and I saw the top of his little head trapped between the dresser and the edge of the bed."

    Curren was killed as a result of being crushed by his dresser. 

    Camden Ellis, also 2, was also killed in an eeirly similar situation. 

    "He was under the dresser trying to gasp for air," said his mother. "He was unable to breathe, unable to scream while we were in the room next to him."

    Both Curren and Camden are 2 of the 8 children killed by toppling IKEA furniture since 1989.

    IKEA announced a voluntary recall of the dressers due to a serious tip-over hazard after the 2016 death of toddler, Teddy McGee. However, safety groups are saying that that is not enough. 

    "There just has not been enough effort by IKEA to make sure that people understand or know that the product was fully recalled," said Nancy Cowles of the safety group Kids In Danger. "They need to spend the same marketing know-how and dollars they use to sell products to get these products out of homes." 

    IKEA did re-announce it's recall of the dressers in question in November 2017 — but that was only after another child died.

    IKEA released a statement in regards saying it has taken "extraordinary steps" to communicate the recall to it's over 13 million consumers. 

    However retailer of the dresser said they have been sold for over 30 years and there is no way to determine how many units are still in use. 

    "About 175,000 people have gotten the refund- of some 17 million people at least, probably more," said Cowles.  

    IKEA has reported 186 tip-over accidents and 91 injuries since the recall. 

    If you have an IKEA dresser that is part of the recall, you are eligible for a refund or repair kit. The list of items involved in the recall can be found here. 


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    The Holy Fire, which continues to burn on the Riverside and Orange County line, has prompted two school districts to delay the start of school.

    The Corona Norco Unified School District announced that schools located south of the 91 Freeway and east of Border Avenue in Corona will remain closed due to the Holy Fire, pushing back the start of school to Aug. 20.

    The following schools have delayed start dates for the CNUSD:

    High Schools:

    -Corona High
    -Centennial High
    -Santiago High
    -Pollard High
    -Orange Grove

    Intermediate Schools:

    -Citrus Hills Intermediate
    -Corona Fundamental Intermediate
    -El Cerrito Middle
    -Raney Intermediate
    -K-8 Academies
    -Home Gardens Academy
    -Todd Academy

    Elementary Schools:

    -Susan B. Anthony
    -Eisenhower Elementary
    -Foothill Elementary
    -Franklin Elementary
    -Garretson Elementary
    -Jefferson Elementary
    -Lincoln Fundamental
    -Orange Elementary
    -Stallings Elementary
    -Temescal Valley Elementary
    -Vicentia Elementary
    -Wilson Elementary

    In addition, the Lake Elsinore Unified School District also delayed its start date by a week to Aug. 20.


    With the Holy Fire still burning, ash and smoke is an issue, as is fire damage. The smoke continues to linger, making breathing a health concern.

    "Because of the heat and temperatures, we may have lost some systems such as data systems that are very sensitive to high temperatures," Mark Dennis of the Lake Elsinore Unified School District told NBC4.

    The problem, though, is twofold.

    With school delayed, working parents are scrambling to find babysitters for their children for the unexpected week off.

    "Bring evacuated and now our schools have been delayed, to find babysitters for the week, you know," Dani Hall, a parent, shared her concerns.

    To help parents, Summer Kids Camp has not been extended at Circle City Center to give parents an added childcare option.

    "It is $110 for the week for residents and $140 for non-residents," Abbie Schellberg of the Corona Public Library says.

    Since the governor declared a state of emergency for the Holy Fire, school administrators say students most likely will not have to make up for the missed days, so the school year should end on time.

    For more information, please visit the FAQs put forth by the CNUSD here.


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    Bird and Lime have recently become as much a part of the Santa Monica landscape as the pier and the Ferris Wheel, but a key vote on Tuesday could change all that in an instant.

    According to an e-mail sent out by Bird Monday night, a committee recommended giving control of the shareable scooters in the city of Santa Monica to two ride-sharing companies for Santa Monica's electric scooter pilot program, which launches in September.

    The Santa Monica Daily Press reported that the committee recommended awarding contracts for Lyft and Jump (which is owned by Uber) Friday to launch their electric bike and scooter operations in Santa Monica.

    In response, Santa Monica-based Bird Scooters suddenly shuttered its operations on Monday afternoon, per the Santa Monica Daily Press.

    Bird's e-mail to customer pleading for help ahead of Tuesday's key vote came along with news that the company would make all its scooters inoperable in the city until Tuesday's vote--possibly forever.

    "All Birds are unrideable today and will return depending on the outcome of the City Hall meeting on Tuesday at 5:00 p.m.," the e-mail read.

    The e-mail also argued that "Giving complete control of sustainable transportation alternatives to two ride-share corporations is like giving Exxon and BP Oil a monopoly on solar power."

    The Santa Monica City Council approved a pilot program earlier this year that will award contracts to two electric scooter companies and two bike share companies, and each company vying for the contracts submitted detailed plans.

    Per the Santa Monica Daily Press, Bird and Lime each performed poorly on the compliance portion of the assessment, while Lyft coming out strongest in the assessment.

    Recently, the city of Beverly Hills banned all shareable electric scooters from its city limits. While Santa Monica may not be rushing to ban electric scooters, a vote on Tuesday could quickly transform which companies control the market.



    Photo Credit: KNBC

    A man rides a Bird Scooter in Santa Monica.A man rides a Bird Scooter in Santa Monica.