Newsletter

The Oroville Dam isn't the only trouble spot

Good morning. It’s Thursday, Feb. 16, and here’s what’s happening across California:

TOP STORIES 

Will Oroville hold?

Tons of rain will be dumped on Northern California this week, but state officials are confident that this inclement weather won’t break the Oroville Dam or its damaged spillways. “It's holding up really well,” said Bill Croyle, acting director of the state Department of Water Resources.  Los Angeles Times

It’s not just Oroville

Beyond the dam, though, there are fears that the massive rainfall the state has experienced this season will strain Northern California’s flood control network. “You got this big bathtub — water doesn’t flow out of it very quickly,” said Jeffrey Mount, senior fellow at the Public Policy institute of California and former director of the UC Davis Center for Watershed Sciences. Los Angeles Times

Mistakes were made

Since 2008, inspectors have visited the Oroville Dam 14 times but never looked at the hillside erosion occurring below the emergency spillway, state records show. This oversight nearly led to a disaster. San Francisco Chronicle

Central Valley stories

L.A. Times columnist Robin Abcarian traveled to the Central Valley recently and found that “after years of drought, suddenly everything is green.” But she also reports that farmers are worried about a new threat from the east, and that’s President Trump. Los Angeles Times 

L.A. STORIES

Big storms a-brewing: What could be the biggest storm of the season is bearing down on L.A. and looks as if it will hit the region Friday. Be ready for flash floods, mudslides and rock slides. Los Angeles Times  

Bright lights in the sky: If you were up early Tuesday morning and saw a bright light racing across the sky, know that it wasn’t an UFO. It was the U.S. Navy testing unarmed missiles from a submarine off the cost of California. Los Angeles Times 

A dream blocked: A family of Armenian Christian refugees trying to come to Los Angeles were some of the people unable to enter the United States because of President Trump’s executive order.  KPCC

Immigrants in fear: Here’s the story of a 50-year-old Van Nuys man who was picked up during the ICE "enforcement surge" that led to 161 arrests over five days in Southern California. LA Weekly 

Get your tacos! The Los Angeles City Council voted Wednesday to decriminalize street vending. But it will take some time to sort out the details. Los Angeles Times 

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Cities and science research: As the Trump administration seems to be preventing climate change research, California cities are working with scientists to respond to the global warming threat. Curbed

Toll hike in the offing: In San Francisco, BART may ask voters to raise the tolls on bridges to help fund transit projects. San Francisco Chronicle 

FEMA money for storms: The federal government has approved an allocation of money to help 34 counties as they recover from deadly storms, flooding, mudslides and avalanches last month. Los Angeles Times

Bridge problems here: A new report finds that more than 1,300 of California’s bridges are structurally deficient and are in desperate need of repair. KCRA 

CRIME AND COURTS

Ford could be punished: Actor Harrison Ford may be punished for failing to land his plane in the right place at John Wayne Airport. Ford’s actions could have led to a crash, aviation experts said. Los Angeles Times 

Bullock’s alleged stalker gets a win: A state appeals court ruled Tuesday that the LAPD had conducted an illegal search of the home belonging to the man who has been accused of stalking and breaking into Sandra Bullock’s mansion. Los Angeles Times

Secret witness revealed: The secret witness at a hearing Wednesday in the Robert Durst murder case turned out to be a friend of the victim Susan Berman. Los Angeles Times

DROUGHT AND CLIMATE

Blowing in the right direction: The owner of the L.A. Kings is embarking on an ambitious $5-billion project to set up the country’s largest wind farm in Wyoming to serve utilities in California. Reuters  

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

VR date night: An Imax theater dedicated to watching movies in virtual reality has opened in Los Angeles. It’s the first of its kind but won’t be the last. Engadet

New Disney ride: A new Guardians of the Galaxy attraction at Disney California Adventure will open on May 27. Los Angeles Times

Great BBQ coming to you: An Austin BBQ joint that’s been called one of the best barbecue spots in the world may soon be opening up a Los Angeles location. LA Weekly 

Click: Check out these incredible photos of the Horsetail Waterfall at Yosemite National Park. It looks like lava, but it’s just an optical illusion. USA Today

Watch: Check out this video from the Natural History Museum about the story behind some of L.A. most historic street names. LAist

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

Los Angeles and San Diego: partly cloudy Thursday, rainy Friday. Sacramento and San Francisco: rainy Thursday and Friday. More weather is here.

AND FINALLY

Today’s California memory comes from Julie Shy-Sobol:

“My husband and I moved from Ohio to L.A. in the early ’80s. When it began to rain so hard on a trip up the coast we couldn't see out the windshield, we pulled off the 101 at San Ysidro Road, near Santa Barbara. After rushing through the downpour into the lobby of the almost century-old Miramar Hotel, we were told there was just one cabin left and happily took it! We didn't get far that weekend, but a love affair with the old Miramar began and never ended — not even when they tore it down. I loved looking through the guestbook with U.S. presidents’ signatures, splashing in the waves and listening to the Amtrak trains pull through the middle of the property in the middle of the night! The Miramar Hotel was heaven on earth. I still get off at San Ysidro Road every trip up the coast to cruise past the empty site and relive those memories.”

If you have a memory or story about the Golden State, share it with us. Send us an email to let us know what you love or fondly remember about our state. (Please keep your story to 100 words.)

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad

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