Newsletter: Essential California: Quake early-warning system gets a boost

Freeway damage in Northridge earthquake
Wreckage from the 5 and 14 freeways after the Northridge earthquake of 1994.
(Jonathan Alcorn / Los Angeles Times)

It’s Monday, May 16, and in the Bay Area, people are asking if the government has microphones hidden in the trees. Here’s what’s going on around California:


Seismic shift

California’s fledgling earthquake early-warning system has received a big boost. Gov. Jerry Brown reversed himself and is asking the state to allocate $10 million to the network, which is now set to debut in 2018. Eventually, scientists hope to provide up to a minute of warning before major quakes are felt in urban areas. Los Angeles Times


Air Cal

Southwest Airlines has long been California’s go-to carrier. But now, there is some new competition. Alaska Airlines is rushing forward with a $2.6-billion deal to acquire Virgin America in hopes of becoming the predominant airline of the West Coast. Los Angeles Times

Just another kid

This 9-year-old is growing up. She used to play with Barbies. Now she’s the class treasurer of her West L.A. elementary school. She plays girls’ volleyball, paints her nails and likes to challenge herself on Minecraft. She’s also transgender. Los Angeles Times


Hospital safety

State inspectors found safety violations at UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center and Cedars-Sinai Medical Center last year after “super bug” outbreaks related to medical scopes. In each case, the state declared an “immediate jeopardy” after finding problems with sterilization procedures, and both hospitals worked quickly to address inspectors’ concerns. Los Angeles Times


Dry and drier: Why did El Niño fizzle in Southern California? Experts have several answers. Los Angeles Times

Long view: Some believe California’s drought will never end and that we need to accept that fact. Wired


House loses: It was once one of Southern California’s most successful casinos. Now, the Normandie Casino in Gardena is on the brink of closure. How it fell so far so fast. Los Angeles Times

Giving thanks: Bryan Stow, the Giants fan beaten into a coma at Dodger Stadium, thanked the doctors and nurses who saved his life at L.A. County-USC Medical Center. L.A. Daily News


Dog friendly to a point: Echo Park appears to be one of the most dog-friendly places in L.A. But there are still some businesses that refuse to let canines into their stores. The Eastsider

New subway: After being abandoned decades ago, downtown L.A.’s old subway terminal will be transformed into retail and office spaces. Downtown News


Fighting words: A member of the California Coastal Commission vented her anger at Times columnist Steve Lopez, who writes: “There is not a sailor, living or dead, who can match her.” Los Angeles Times

Name recognition: For U.S. Senate candidates Loretta Sanchez and Kamala Harris, a big barrier is getting voters to know who they are in the political atmosphere dominated by Donald Trump. Los Angeles Times

Slow Trump: The businessman may be the presumptive nominee, but some California Republicans are still not ready to endorse him. Los Angeles Times


Who is she?: She was burned to death in an Irvine parking lot. Seven years later, she’s still a Jane Doe. Orange County Register


Oxy worries: As Congress showed bipartisan support for legislation to address the nation’s opioid abuse epidemic, a lawmaker urged colleagues to look closely at the role of pharmaceutical companies, citing a Los Angeles Times investigation into the manufacturer of OxyContin. Los Angeles Times

In the cell: How prisoners at California’s notorious Pelican Bay took the system — and started a movement. L.A. Review of Books

Gun safety: Can California force gun makers to install safety controls on weapons? A court might soon decide the matter. Wall Street Journal


A new life: Onetime Hollywood gossip queen Rona Barrett is now in Santa Barbara developing senior housing. BuzzFeed

Market change: L.A. is requiring all farmers markets to accept EBT cards in an effort to make healthier food more available to people with limited incomes. LAist

Dealing with loss: Sheryl Sandberg talked about the sudden death of her husband. “I remember sitting in my first Facebook meeting in a deep, deep haze. All I could think was, ‘What is everyone talking about and how could this possibly matter?’” Los Angeles Times

Stylish stacks: Shopping for books in Venice with “rock’s most stylish woman.” New York Times

A new route: Ten L.A. walks off the beaten track. Los Angeles Magazine


May gray continues in the L.A. area Monday with low clouds in the morning giving way to partly sunny skies in the afternoon. Highs will range from the 60s to the 70s. In San Francisco, it will be sunny with a high of 64. San Diego will be partly cloudy and reach 71.


This week’s birthdays for notable Californians: retired Rep. George Miller (May 17, 1945), Cher (May 20, 1946).

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.