Essential California: The Powerball hoax

Good morning. It is Saturday, Jan. 16. Here's what you don't want to miss this weekend:



Medical recall: Olympus Corp. will voluntarily recall and redesign a medical scope that has been linked to outbreaks of potentially deadly infections, including two at UCLA's flagship hospital. The medical scope has been described as nearly impossible to properly disinfect. The duodenoscope is used by doctors to look into a patient's digestive tract and diagnose cancers, gallstones and other conditions. Los Angeles Times

Within policy: A Los Angeles police officer who shot a teenager because his friends had a replica gun was justified in his actions, the Police Commission decided this week. The officers said they believed the gun was real and that there was a crime in progress. However, an attorney for the teens pointed out the gun had an orange tip, indicating it was fake, and that the officers never identified themselves as the police. Jamar Nicholson, 15, was shot in the upper back. Los Angeles Times

See something, say something: Women in Los Angeles' comedy community are coming together to report sexual harassment and assault committed by their male counterparts. But they're not necessarily making the reports to police. They communicate via Facebook and then often take their reports directly to the managers of the city's best known improv and comedy theaters. BuzzFeed

Too late now to say sorry: A Pomona nurse did not win this week's Powerball jackpot. However, the woman, her co-workers, employer and scores of journalists believed that she did after her son texted her that her ticket had the winning numbers. It turns out it was all a prank. That's one way to be dis-invited from Mother's Day. Los Angeles Times

Winner winner: Albert Graham, 79, was one number away from becoming a billionaire. Though he was "disappointed," the Carmichael retiree still won $638,000 in the Powerball drawing. He and his wife plan to take a vacation to Hawaii and then give the winning funds to their children and grandchildren. Sacramento Bee

What's in a name? A lot of history and emotion as it turns out. In Yosemite National Park, people are outraged that an intellectual property dispute has the National Park Service renaming beloved places like the Ahwahnee Hotel and Curry Village. "These names hold our history and our oldtimers are feisty," said an Oakhurst waitress. Los Angeles Times

Legal woes: A Taco Bell employee who was fired after video of him beating an Uber driver went viral is now suing that driver for $5 million, arguing the driver illegally recorded the assault. Last year, an attorney for the 32-year-old man said his client was too drunk to remember slapping the driver and pulling his hair. But in new court papers, Benjamin Golden argues that any injuries suffered by driver Edward Caban were his own fault. NBC News

Wet conditions: Northern California could get as much as 10 inches of rain in the next seven days. "It's just going to be a cloudy, drippy Saturday," according to a forecaster with the National Weather Service. SFGate

Extra ticket: Sometimes situations call for creative solutions. That's how one man ended up on a BART train with a refrigerator, a dolly and some bungee cords. SFGate


1. Here is a depressing activity: Look at all of the fabulous places you could live for the same rent that you're paying to live in a tiny space in San Francisco. BuzzFeed

2. Test your knowledge of the Golden State with this California quiz. BuzzFeed

3. After a 21-year absence, the NFL is returning to Los Angeles. The Rams will play in a brand new stadium in Inglewood beginning in 2019. Until then, the team will kickoff in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Los Angeles Times

4. Take a trip back to San Francisco's Playland. SFGate


5. Disney is teasing fans with a sneak peek at what the new riverfront will look like after the Star Wars Land opens at Disneyland. Los Angeles Times


Winter escape: Southern California's snowy mountains still amaze Angelenos who are often more familiar with surfboards than snowboards. "Golden State developers originally feared that knowledge of the snow might diminish the idyll of balmy, eternal sunshine they had been hawking back east. But by the late 1920s, the realized the two could coexist, an alpine fantasy layered onto the subtropical one." Los Angeles Times

Second chances: At the Motion Picture & Television Funds' retirement home, columnist Steve Lopez is reminded that it's never too late to find love. "I've never met anybody who has the energy and the spark of life that she has. She's a 75-year-old going on 30," an 87-year-old resident said about his new wife. Los Angeles Times

Water works: An anonymous blogger who has been writing about California's water policy for years is finally unmasked — sorta. She is a "low-level civil servant." "I frequently think my role is to speak the taboo, so that others can offer more moderate versions," she explains. Los Angeles Times



Monday: Government offices will be closed in recognition of Martin Luther King Day.

Thursday: Assemblyman Mike Gatto will chair a Utilities and Commerce Committee hearing on the gas leak in Aliso Canyon.

Friday: Former President Bill Clinton will speak at the World Patient Safety Science and Technology Summit in Dana Point.

Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Alice Walton or Shelby Grad.