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California: This just in
Thousands without power as temperatures, electricity usage soar

About 1,500 customers in Pacific Palisades were without electricity Monday night as a result of a power outage probably caused by high temperatures and over-usage of appliances, utility officials said.

Customers in the area broke a record set in 2010, said MaryAnne Pierson, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power. On Sept. 27, 2010, they used 6,177 megawatts, but on Monday customers used 6,196 megawatts.

“The system is working well considering the temperature and record-breaking usage,” Pierson said. “We’re asking people to cut back on electricity usage especially during the peak hours.”

The power outage affected customers to the north of Dulce Ynez Lane, south of Pacific Coast Highway, east of Bienvenida Avenue and west of Marquez Terrace. There was no estimated time of repair.

Another outage in Hollywood had about 2,000 without power, Pierson said.

The affected area was north of Sunset Boulevard, south of Romaine Street, east of Cherokee Avenue and west of La...

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Wildfire in Northern California ravages small town of Weed

The wildfire that ravaged the Northern California community of Weed on Monday forced hundreds to evacuate, burned down a church and damaged the town sawmill.

Fire officials said the 350-acre Boles fire broke out about 1:30 p.m. near the town of Weed, which is about 50 miles south of the California-Oregon border. Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said the flames were fueled by 40 mph winds and dry conditions.

Berlant said the fire quickly engulfed the small city, destroying or damaging more than 100 buildings.

“The fire was able to rage right into the community before we were able to get fire equipment into the scene,” he said. “Tomorrow we are deploying a damage assessment team to determine the exact damage done by the fire.”

About 1,500 to 2,000 residents were being evacuated to the Siskiyou County fairgrounds. Evacuation orders were issued for the communities of Weed, Carrick and Lake Shastina, fire officials said.

The town's...

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Officer defends actions in questioning Daniele Watts
Man shot, killed in Norwalk

Homicide detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department were investigating the fatal shooting Monday of a man in Norwalk.

The man was shot about 3:45 p.m. in the 12700 block of Rexton Street, the Sheriff’s Department said in a statement. The victim was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead.

No additional information was immediately available.

According to The Times' Homicide Report database, there have been two slayings in the last 12 months within a mile of Monday's shooting.

Anyone with information about the incident is encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Anonymous tips may be sent to "Crime Stoppers" by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), or texting the letters TIPLA plus your tip to CRIMES (274637).

For breaking news, follow @AdolfoFlores3.

 

 

 

 

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N. California Boles Fire damages or destroys more than 100 buildings

A wildfire that broke out in Northern California Monday afternoon has damaged or destroyed more than 100 structures, forced at least 1,500 residents to evacuate and led to the shutdown of two highways, fire officials said.

The 350-acre fire broke out about 1:30 p.m. south of the town of Weed, said Daniel Berlant, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. The flames were fueled by 40 mph winds and dry conditions.

“With the incredible gust of winds, 40 mph, the fire was able to rage right into the community before we were able to get fire equipment into the scene,” Berlant said. “The fire was starting ahead of itself; the embers thrown ahead touched the brush and structures.”

The blaze, dubbed the Boles Fire, also led to the closure of Interstate 5 and U.S. 97. Weed is in Siskiyou County, about 50 miles south of the California-Oregon border.

Hundreds of firefighters were battling the flames, Berlant said. About 1,500 to 2,000 residents were being...

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San Diego County man gets 10 years in death of girlfriend by cannon

A 41-year-old handyman and explosives enthusiast was sentenced Monday to 10 years in prison for the incident in which a blast from his homemade cannon ripped through his trailer and killed his girlfriend.

Richard Fox pleaded guilty in July to felony charges involving the explosion of a destructive device and possession of ingredients for such a device. Prosecutors said he never intended to harm his girlfriend.

On the night of March 3, 2012, Fox and a friend were loading a homemade cannon with powder from fireworks when it exploded, sending shrapnel into the trailer where Fox, his girlfriend, and their 4-year-old daughter lived.

Fox's girlfriend, Jeanette Ogara, 38, was killed instantly. The child and three other adults in the trailer were unharmed.

Fox, who had been drinking, was burned in the explosion and treated at a local hospital, authorities said. The couple had lived in the trailer in Potrero, in rural eastern San Diego County, for several years.

At his sentencing in the El...

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Australian mosquito found in L.A. County, first U.S. report of pest

An Australian mosquito capable of transmitting viruses to humans and heartworm to dogs was found in the San Gabriel Valley, vector-control officials said Monday.

It’s believed to be the first sighting of the species in North America.

Aedes notoscriptus, nicknamed Aussie Mozzie, was first found in June at Monterey Park’s city yard, said Jason Farned, spokesman for the San Gabriel Valley Mosquito & Vector Control District. Another specimen was found at a Montebello home in August.

The mosquito infects humans with the Barmah Forest and Ross River viruses, both of which are non-lethal.

“In Australia this mosquito is very widespread and capable of transmitting several viruses,” Farned said. “Fortunately for us, none of those viruses have ever been reported in L.A. County.”

It’s unknown if the mosquito will become a major public health risk in California, Farned  said. But because it infects dogs in Australia with heartworm, it may be a concern here for pet owners and vets.

The Aussie Mozzie...

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Party bus owner, firm charged with multiple safety violations

The Los Angeles city attorney's office Monday filed multiple criminal charges related to safety violations against the owner of a party bus company that was involved in the 2013 death of a man who fell from the vehicle.

Ayrapet Kasabyan, 42, and his company, Hyros Corp., were each charged with 12 criminal counts, City Atty. Mike Feuer said in a statement. The charges do not pertain to the death itself but to safety problems with the bus. Officials said that the party bus company repeatedly failed to maintain and keep its vehicles safe.

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FOR THE RECORD

An earlier version of this post and its headline indicated that Kasabyan and Hyros Corp. were charged in connection with death of the passenger. The charges pertain to alleged safety violations, not the death. 

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“With the increased popularity of party buses, it is more important than ever that they comply with safety and maintenance laws,” Feuer said.  “My office will take every step we can to assure these buses...

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Assemblyman John Pérez won't run against L.A. Councilman Jose Huizar

Assemblyman John A. Pérez (D-Los Angeles) has decided not to challenge Los Angeles City Councilman Jose Huizar in the March election, his political strategist said Monday.

Campaign consultant Douglas Herman said Pérez, who spent nearly four years as Assembly speaker, made the decision despite receiving "overwhelming requests from residents, from the community" for him to seek Huizar's seat.

"This is not a race he's interested in pursuing," Herman said.

Pérez lives in the downtown section of Huizar's Boyle Heights-to-Eagle Rock district. His announcement comes nearly two weeks after termed-out Los Angeles County Supervisor Gloria Molina shook up the race by announcing that she would run for Huizar's seat.

Huizar has already had one meeting with Pérez to discuss the possibility of an endorsement.  After a coffee with Huizar at a downtown Starbucks, Pérez said he is not prepared at this point to provide his political backing. 

“He wasn’t able to convince me to endorse him. He didn’t make...

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Southwest flight out of San Jose diverted to Oakland due to emergency

A Southwest Boeing 737 leaving San Jose for Phoenix was diverted to Oakland International Airport on Monday afternoon due to an emergency after some flight controls were not performing properly.

The plane, Southwest Flight 468, landed at the Oakland airport at 3:30 p.m. and was able to “taxi under its own power” to a gate, said Mona Hernandez, an airport spokeswoman.

"Indications in the cockpit were that a portion of the redundant flight control surfaces were not performing optimally and, as is required to deviate from a filed flight plan, the captain declared an emergency to receive priority handling into Oakland," according to a statement from Southwest.  

The 128 passengers and five crew members would board a different plane and continue to Phoenix, according to the statement. 

No one was injured during the incident, officials said. 

Follow @theryanparker on Twitter for breaking news.

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Keep the LAPD drone-free, downtown protesters demand

An anti-police drone coalition demonstrated outside Los Angeles City Hall on Monday and criticized legislation they said would help clear the way for law enforcement to use the unmanned aerial devices.

Members of Stop LAPD Spying Coalition said Assembly Bill 1327 tacitly justifies the use of drones by police because it is designed to regulate how and when officers can use the device and store data they gather.

“We’re looking at it from the context of the historical context of these programs,” said Hamid Khan, a protest organizer. “There’s mission creep. When you look at some of the waivers and exemptions [in the bill]…they’ll become bigger and bigger.”

The bill would require law enforcement to get a search warrant in many cases and limit how long police can store data gathered from a drone. Exemptions on the warrant requirement could be made for environmental emergencies, such as  oil or chemical spills.

For their part, L.A. police and city officials said they would only use drones...

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Vegetable garden barrier blamed in Silverado Canyon fire

The Silverado Canyon fire --which prompted the evacuation of dozens of residents as it grew to about 1,600 acres -- was started accidentally by metal sheeting used to protect a homeowner’s backyard vegetable garden, officials said Monday.  

The owner had the metal sheeting around the outside of the garden to prevent small animals and rodents from chewing the vegetables, said Orange County Fire Authority Capt. Steve Concialdi.

“Unfortunately, over time, the sun had reflected off the metal,” he said, and like a magnifying glass, the concentrated heat sparked a fire in the surrounding wood and leaves, which had become tinder dry due to drought-like conditions.

“The fire basically started to burn in the vegetable garden, spread, and ran up the hill,” Concialdi said. “The homeowner called 911, grabbed the hose, and other neighbors grabbed hoses and tried to help too.”

The owner had no idea the metal sheeting could start something like this, said Concialdi, who recommended using...

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