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Essential California: L.A. unveils more plans to win Olympic Games

Good morning. It is Tuesday, Jan. 26. There's a new baby giraffe at the Living Desert. The calf is already 5 feet 9 inches tall and 130 pounds. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:

TOP STORIES

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Jailhouse rules: As authorities continue the search for three escaped inmates, attention is turning to Orange County's jailhouse policies. Why weren't there more physical checks on the prisoners? Why weren't the violent men housed in individual cells? Hossein Nayeri, Jonathan Tieu and Bac Duong likely had a 16-hour head start on police after they fled Central Men's Jail. Los Angeles Times

Olympic planning: LA 2024, the group trying to bring the Olympic Games back to Los Angeles, abandoned plans to build the athletes' village along the banks of the L.A. River. Instead, athletes would be hosted at UCLA and journalists at USC should L.A. become the host city. Los Angeles Times

Exiting bankruptcy: Dov Charney will not be returning to American Apparel. A bankruptcy judge signed off on a restructuring proposal put forth by American Apparel Inc.'s executive team that will take the company private and turn over control to its largest bondholder. "This outcome is one that I have been working tirelessly to avoid for nearly two years in an effort to protect value for all of the company's various stakeholders," Charney said in a statement. Los Angeles Times

DROUGHT AND CLIMATE

Staying healthy: Fewer Californians are getting the flu this season and El Niño may be to thank for that. The flu travels easily in dry, cold conditions but so far this winter has been warm and wet. Los Angeles Times

From the air: New drone footage shows the coastal erosion in Pacifica. YouTube

L.A. AT LARGE

Chop 'em down: When city-owned trees started to block their billboards, officials with Outfront Media hired tree trimmers to hack away at the branches. Crews did so without obtaining the necessary city permits. "These are trees that belong to the public. They're a visual and ecological amenity to the city. And for billboard companies to just cavalierly hack them off is really disturbing," said Dennis Hathaway with the Coalition to Ban Billboard Blight. Los Angeles Times

Oil drilling: Residents in South Los Angeles want city officials to determine whether an oil company is complying with city rules as it drills along Jefferson Boulevard. They first complained in a public hearing a year ago; since then, there's been virtually no action. "How does the Planning Department hear all these health and safety concerns — and then just walk away as if it never happened?" asked Richard Parks, president of the nonprofit Redeemer Community Partnership. Los Angeles Times

Football fees: USC could make millions of dollars if the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum becomes the temporary home of the Rams. The football team's new Inglewood stadium won't be ready until the 2019 season and the Coliseum is in the best position to act as a temporary venue. "Any revenues paid to USC would go toward defraying the cost of a $270-million renovation of the Coliseum … the project is expected to get underway in January 2018, with a hiatus for the fall 2018 football season. A second phase would begin in January 2019." LA Weekly

Bike safety: New video shows a driver in Glendale getting too close to cyclists and then slamming on the brakes as the car moves in front of the bikes. LAist

Drained away: The Silver Lake reservoir is empty these days. "This was no Echo Park Lake, that's for sure. In our walk across the lakebed we found only one object: a faded 33 1/3 vinyl record." LA Observed

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

Costly disasters: Last year's Butte and Valley fires were among the costliest wildfires in California history. The state Department of Insurance estimates they resulted in $1 billion in losses. The 1991 Oakland Hills blaze remains the most expensive in state history at $2.67 billion in losses. Los Angeles Times

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Too many nightclubs: There's a fight brewing in San Jose over plans to open a lounge in space that previously housed a restaurant. The building's neighbor, Hopkins & Carley law firm, opposes the development and they've got political muscle behind their fight — they employ former Mayor Chuck Reed. "Everything that's happened is nonsensical and it seems to stem from concerns raised by Hopkins & Carley," according to an attorney for the lounge owner. San Jose Mercury-News

CRIME AND COURTS

Police shooting: In a new lawsuit, the family of an 18-year-old man killed by Indio police allege that officers deleted footage of the shooting from security cameras and a cell phone. Sammy Villarreal was shot after he accelerated a car backward into a patrol vehicle. Police have not said whether Villarreal was armed with a weapon. Desert Sun

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Sexual abuse: The Super Bowl is expected to bring human traffickers, prostitutes and abused minors out to San Jose in the coming weeks. In preparation, one group is preparing backpacks full of clothing, toiletries and underwear that can be given to youths when they're arrested by police. "I hope these backpacks help them find their way home," said one 19-year-old volunteer. San Jose Mercury-News

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New theme park: A San Diego televangelist wants to build a Christian-themed park in Mission Valley. "While there is a growing number of religious themed attractions, including the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, the Creation Museum in Kentucky and, more recently, Hobby Lobby President Steve Green's $400-million plan for a Museum of the Bible in Washington, D.C., they tend to draw from a narrow market niche." San Diego Union-Tribune

Coast to coast: From New York to L.A. Back again, and repeat. "Halfway between New York and L.A., I imploded. I am so much happier now." The New Yorker

Pop quiz: What beasts roamed through Irvine? Which fictional oil tycoon called Newport Beach home? Test your knowledge of Orange County. Orange County Register

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

San Francisco will have sun and a high of 59. Los Angeles will be sunny and 74 degrees. It will be sunny and breezy in Riverside, where temperatures are expected to reach a high of 71. San Diego will be sunny and 71.

AND FINALLY

Today's California Memory comes from Rick Obryan:

"I had just moved to LA in 1973 from Cincinnati, and one year later was putting myself through UCLA working as a waiter at Alice's Restaurant in Westwood. After closing one night, another waiter, also a surfer, suggested we grab our boards, wetsuits, and his dog, and drive in my old Dodge window van up the coast past Leo Carrillo Beach and sleep overnight so we could hit the surf at first light. So the next morning with the first glow of light seeping over the hills behind us, and cold dew coating the windows, I threw open the double-doors of the van to the gray Pacific below, and while the dog danced around us, we put on our wetsuits, sat in the open doors eating two avocados and I basked in the feeling of belonging to Southern California for the first time."

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 Alice Walton or Shelby Grad.

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