A look at upcoming news events:
New hotel: The Beverly Hills City Council is expected to approve a proposal to build a Waldorf-Astoria hotel and two condominium buildings on the Beverly Hilton property.
Ortega Highway widening: Caltrans will meet with residents to discuss widening a stretch of Ortega Highway from two to four lanes.
Sex education: Planned Parenthood of Orange will release an Orange County-wide audit on high school sex education programs.
L.A. Mission: The Los Angeles Mission will reopen the renovated Anne Douglas Center, which serves women finding respite from skid row.
Commuters: The Orange County Transportation Authority and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority will present a public open house to gather input on commuting.
Outreach: The Palm Springs Police Department will hold an outreach forum for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender residents, focusing on hate crime awareness and reporting.
Sci-fi conference: The UC Riverside Eaton Science Fiction Conference will feature science fiction writers from around the world at the three-day event.
Fire prevention inspectors are poised to issue warnings and $200 fines to residents who fail to clear brush properly. Those who delay will face bills of more than $600, said Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Capt. Mike Brown. Early winter rains fostered plant growth that shriveled into "flashy fuels" during recent dry weather, he said. Residents can get more information by calling (626) 969-2375 or by looking online at http://www.fire.lacounty.gov/PressRoom/PDFs/Brush%
Ask a reporter
Will the lotuses be in bloom for this year's Echo Park Lotus Festival?
The famous pink and ivory flowering lotus beds have turned unpredictable, blooming too late for the 2006 festival and sending out only a few dozen flowers in 2007. So park gardeners let dormant stalks dry untrimmed last winter, alarming some residents who feared the forlorn stalks meant the lotus was gone for good. But more than 100 lotus leaves lined Echo Park Lake one warm afternoon last week, including some on new stalks that look like bright green umbrellas. It's still too early to assess the beds' overall health, but city regional parks Supt. Debby Rolland is hoping for prolific blooms for the July 12-13 festival. "There's growth happening," she said, "and that's always a good sign."
-- Deborah Schoch