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Northern California wildfire advances, threatens communities

A roughly 64,000-acre wildfire burning along the Northern California-Oregon border for three weeks continues to threaten two communities.

Officials have increased the number of firefighting personnel assigned to the Happy Camp Complex fire by 30% as flames advance in steep terrain, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

The wildfire, which is just 15% contained, started Aug. 11 in the Klamath National Forest. A thunderstorm that day pummeled the region at the Happy Camp Ranger District with lightning strikes, igniting 17 fires. All but three blazes have been extinguished.

The Happy Camp Complex fire now threatens homes and structures in the communities of Hamburg and Seiad Valley, and has so far cost $36 million to fight, officials reported.

Mandatory evacuation orders remain in effect along Scott River Road from Bridge Flat to the intersection of Highway 96 and all areas south of Highway 96 between Scott River Road and Cade Summit.

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Woman standing on I-5 shoulder killed by small SUV

Authorities on Monday identified a woman who was killed Sunday while standing behind a pickup truck and trailer along Interstate 5 near Castaic.

Cynthia Ray, 36, of Bakersfield died shortly before 2 p.m., when the driver of a small SUV hit her as she stood on the shoulder of the freeway's northbound lanes, just north of Lake Hughes Road.

The California Highway Patrol said the chain of events that sent four other people to the hospital began when the drivers of two pickup trucks pulling trailers, traveling together, stopped to check the tie-downs on their motorcycles and a small boat.

Jason Trinidad, 24, the driver of the SUV, drifted onto the shoulder, striking Ray, who was standing behind the truck with the trailer.  She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Two others were struck by debris from the collision and suffered minor to moderate injuries, as did Trinidad and his passenger, the CHP said.

Two northbound freeway lanes were closed for several hours for the crash investigation,...

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Police seeking clues in two Labor Day shootings in South L.A.

Police continued to investigate a pair of shootings that occurred an hour apart in South Los Angeles on Monday.

The first shooting, in which two men were killed, occurred when two vehicles pulled into the Green Forest carwash in the 900 block of West Florence Avenue in Vermont Knolls about 2 p.m., police said.

Witnesses told detectives both vehicles stopped and that two groups of men got out in an apparent argument, according to LAPD Lt. Jeff Nolte.

One of the men fired a handgun at the other group, striking two men, ages 33 and 26.  Both men were pronounced dead at California Hospital Medical Center. Their identities have not yet been released.

A dark-colored SUV was seen fleeing west on Florence, Nolte said.

Investigators said the incident does not appear to be gang-related.

Another shooting occurred about an hour later at South Vermont Avenue and West 65th Street. The victim is expected to survive.

Detectives do not believe the two shootings are related.

LAPD's South Bureau was put...

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Deputies investigating face-slashing of passenger who jumped from car

Sheriff's deputies were investigating the circumstances surrounding a woman passenger who leaped from a car in East Los Angeles on Monday after her face was slashed.

The incident occurred shortly before 2 p.m. in the 3200 block of East Cesar Chavez Avenue.

The woman, who was not identified, told investigators she had overheard a possible threat on her life, then jumped from the car after her face was slashed.

There may have been two other people in the car, but investigators were unable to provide descriptions.

The woman was hospitalized with serious to critical injuries, according to a Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman.

Sheriff's dectectives interviewed the victim but found her to be uncooperative, a department spokesman said.

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Driver remains jailed after striking seniors' tour bus in Irwindale

A 23-year-old driver who crashed into the back of a charter bus carrying senior citizens remained jailed Monday, Irwindale police said.

Police said Montiel Reyes of Los Angeles was arrested on suspicion of felony drunken driving after his Honda Civic struck the rear of the bus.

Several of the approximately 50 passengers complained of pain after the crash but there appeared to have been no serious injuries in the accident, which occurred about 7 p.m. Sunday on Arrow Highway, police said.

Reyes was unlicensed, police said.

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Two dead, one injured in back-to-back South Los Angeles shootings

Two shootings — one involving fatalities — and an unusually high volume of calls prompted the Los Angeles Police Department to put its South Bureau on modified tactical alert Monday afternoon, a department spokeswoman said.

The first shooting occurred at 2 p.m. at Vermont and Florence avenues in South Los Angeles, according to Officer Jane Kim. 

One victim died at the scene and a second died at an area hospital, she said.

An hour later, another shooting was reported at Vermont Avenue and 65th Street. A victim in that incident was in stable condition at a hospital, Kim said.

No additional details were available on the victims, she said.

The suspect or suspects were still at large Monday afternoon and investigators were trying to determine if the shootings were gang-related.

The modified tactical alert was canceled at 5:30 p.m. Such an alert allows commanders to hold some officers over from one shift to the next to bolster personnel available in the field.

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Made in America festival was boon to downtown L.A., backers say

A day after the Budweiser Made in America music festival brought the largest party ever to the Los Angeles Civic Center, downtown boosters said the weekend event had successfully recast the city’s image.

“We showed L.A. can do big things for our economy and people's enjoyment,” Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said in a statement Monday. “We want leading companies and event organizers to know we're changing L.A. so it's no longer a place where red tape is allowed to stand in the way of jobs, innovation and entertainment.”

The festival, which was also co-sponsored by rap mogul Shawn “Jay Z” Carter and Live Nation, drew more than 70,000 people to Grand Park for a weekend of rock, hip-hop and electronic acts. The event was the largest ever for the two-year-old park, a 12-acre space that stretches from City Hall to the Music Center, and was pulled off with no major problems.

Los Angeles police reported 17 arrests for the weekend -- six felonies for narcotics possession and parole violations...

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Naked man arrested in graffiti incident at San Diego State

A 53-year-old man was taken to a mental health facility after being found running naked, eating toothpaste and scribbling graffiti inside a classroom building at San Diego State University, campus police said.

The man had called 911 to report his activities, police said. While most of the graffiti was indecipherable, one marking appeared to be a Star of David, said Capt. Josh Mays.

When taken into custody, the man said he was "fighting for a cause" and also that he wanted to see a doctor about his medications, Mays said.

The incident, which occurred Sunday, is not considered a hate crime and no criminal charges are pending, Mays said. The man, who lives in Santee and has no connection to the university, was taken to mental health facility run by the county health department.

The graffiti was scrawled in five classrooms.

Follow @LATsandiego for more news about San Diego



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Garcetti calls for boosting minimum wage to $13.25 after three years

Leading a Labor Day rally at a park in South Los Angeles, Mayor Eric Garcetti proposed on Monday creating a minimum wage in Los Angeles that would reach $13.25 after three years. 

Garcetti was backed by billionaire businessman Eli Broad, County Federation of Labor chief Maria Elena Durazo and seven members of the City Council, who will have to approve the increase.

Garcetti’s plan follows those of several West Coast cities this summer -- San Diego, San Francisco and Seattle -- in mandating wages well above those required by the state and federal governments.

The $13.25 proposal will stir opposition from business groups, who say it will force employers to cut jobs, and from some in the labor movement, who wanted bolder action to match the $15 wage approved by Seattle in June.

Garcetti also released an economic analysis prepared by academics at UC Berkeley that said an L.A. wage of $13.25 -- $4.25 more than the state minimum of $9 -- would significantly improve the lot of low-income...

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FBI joins hunt for hacker who leaked nude photos of actresses

The FBI confirmed on Monday that it has joined a hunt for the hacker or hackers who leaked hundreds of revealing images online of Hollywood actresses in what appears to be a breach of celebrity iCloud accounts.

“The FBI is aware of the allegations concerning computer intrusions and the unlawful release of material involving high profile individuals, and is addressing the matter,” said Laura Eimiller, spokesperson for the FBI in Los Angeles. “Any further comment would be inappropriate at this time.

The problem emerged Sunday, when a search for Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton or related hash tags on Twitter yielded hundreds of retweets of several nude or near-nude images.

"This is a flagrant violation of privacy," a spokesperson for "The Hunger Games" star Lawrence said in a statement Sunday. "The authorities have been contacted and will prosecute anyone who posts the stolen photos of Jennifer Lawrence."

The hacker behind the stolen photos first posted them on the image-based online...

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Coachella Valley High drops mascot that offended Arab Americans

For 83 years, Coachella Valley High School has rallied behind a mascot with a snarling face, a hooked nose, a heavy beard and wearing a headscarf — the campus’ beloved Arab.

The image, inspired by the Middle East ambiance of Coachella Valley’s desert landscape of date palms and communities named Mecca and Oasis, was displayed in school murals, on the basketball court and at half-time shows featuring a belly dancer who entertains a student clad in “Arab” garb.

Now, in a compromise with offended Arab Americans, the Coachella Valley Unified School District in Riverside County has dumped the controversial mascot and belly dancer, but held on to its team nickname, Arabs, according to one official. Both sides are also in negotiations over a more benign “Arab” logo.

The mascot and belly dancer were absent from the sidelines when the Coachella Valley High football team defeated Rancho Mirage High 26-7 in its season opener on Friday night.

The American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, a...

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Earthquake leaves Napa wine industry quietly tallying the damage

Oak barrels cracked open and a river of red gushed out. Before long, hundreds of thousands of dollars of wine had coated the concrete floor of Napa Barrel Care, a warehouse near downtown where 40 wineries share storage space.

About an hour later and a few miles north on California 29, Hailey Trefethen had just pulled up at the winery her grandparents bought half a century ago. It was still dark outside, but she could make out a silhouette of the old building they use as a tasting room.

The earthquake's shaking had pushed the building's upper stories four feet to the west, creating a precarious-looking structure Trefethen described as Salvador Dali-esque. Now, a small piece of red paper affixed to an outside wall reads, “UNSAFE.”

Since the 6.0-magnitude temblor, more than 100 wineries have reported earthquake damage, according to Napa Valley Vintners, a local trade association. But they’ve maintained a low profile. The few places that have done news interviews have steered clear of...

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