Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It is Saturday, Jan. 18.
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First, a quick scheduling note. This newsletter will be off Monday in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day; we’ll return to your inbox Tuesday. Now, here’s a look at the top stories of the last week:
Jet fuel dumped over Cudahy. A Delta airplane returning to LAX after experiencing engine issues Tuesday dropped jet fuel onto a school playground, dousing several students. According to audio of communications with the control tower, the pilot had originally said no fuel dump was necessary. On Friday, air quality regulators cited Delta, and four teachers sued.
Avalanche near Lake Tahoe. A skier was killed and another seriously injured when an avalanche sent snow barreling down the mountain at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort just west of Lake Tahoe on Friday morning, authorities said.
Astros cheating investigation. Major League Baseball this week released a report detailing how the Houston Astros illegally used technology to steal opposing teams’ pitching signs in home games during the 2017 season. Dodgers fans, still heartbroken from that year’s World Series loss, say they want justice.
Rise of the Resistance opens. Disney’s new Star Wars: Rise of the Resistance, which opened Friday at Disneyland and debuted last month at Walt Disney World, is being heralded as the company’s most technically advanced attraction — and a sign of the immersive revolution happening in our theme parks, writes Todd Martens.
UC tuition increases. The University of California is proposing five straight years of annual tuition increases under a sweeping plan to raise more money for financial aid and campus needs while providing a predictable roadmap of future cost hikes for students and parents.
Hollister Ranch sues California. In a new twist to one of the most high-profile — and longest — beach access battles in the state, Hollister Ranch sued officials Thursday over a new law designed to open its exclusive coastline to the public after decades of stops and stalls.
Adam Schiff takes on Trump. Rep. Adam Schiff was named Wednesday as the lead among seven House managers of the Trump impeachment trial. The 10-term congressman from Burbank has never faced an opponent quite like his current one, a president happy to turn a rival’s name into a potty joke and a schoolboy’s taunt.
The flu hits the young. The emergence of an unlikely strain of influenza has sickened and killed an unusually high number of young people this flu season, according to doctors and public health experts.
College admissions scandal. Emails disclosed in federal court Tuesday show USC questioned whether Lori Loughlin’s daughters were really athletes a year before the admissions scandal.
It’s “firefall season.” Each year, visitors to Yosemite National Park turn out to witness a natural phenomenon that lasts just two weeks in February: the winter “firefall.” Here’s how you can go and see it.
This week’s most popular stories in Essential California
1. The complete list of Oscar nominations. Los Angeles Times
2. Mayor Heidi Harmon calls out harassment. Then, a man is arrested charging into her San Luis Obispo office. San Luis Obispo Tribune
3. Answers to pressing San Francisco etiquette dilemmas, from “Judge” John Hodgman. SF Gate
4. New San Francisco Dist. Atty. Chesa Boudin fires several prosecutors. San Francisco Chronicle
5. The best café de olla in Los Angeles — and why you need to drink it. LAist
ICYMI, here are this week’s great reads
“The many lives of Roberto, a soup.” How a three-year-old soup recipe with a silly name, buried in a newsletter archive, exploded on Instagram. The New Yorker
Blankets, canned tuna and faith in God — how fleeing Venezuelans survive. First, the rich left Venezuela, hopping on international flights and wiring their savings abroad. The middle class departed next, often on buses that took days to cross multiple countries. Now, the poor are leaving on foot. The Los Angeles Times set out to document the journey, immersing a reporter and photographer for five days. Los Angeles Times
Cat Packer embodied the hopes for L.A.’s cannabis program. Can she overcome its stumbles? Los Angeles Times
Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints, ideas and unrelated book recommendations to Julia Wick. Follow her on Twitter @Sherlyholmes. (And a giant thanks to the legendary Diya Chacko for all her help on the Saturday edition.)