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Essential California: Which celebrities aren't saving water in this drought

Good morning. It is Friday, Aug. 28. One man sailed around Echo Park Lake in a tequila barrel, which is now for sale on EBay. Here's what else is happening in the Golden State:

TOP STORIES

Conservation: It's working

Californians cut urban water use 31% last month, according to the latest figures. "Millions of conscientious Californians are the real heroes here -- each stepping up to help local water resources last longer in the face of a historic drought with no certain end date," said Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. Los Angeles Times

Transfers under scrutiny

Two years ago, the Calabasas High School football team didn't win a single game. It hadn't been to the playoffs in more than a decade. Then in 2013, former University of Tennessee quarterback Casey Clausen became the coach, and about 30 players have since transferred to the school. That's raised a lot of questions for the California Interscholastic Federation, which oversees the sport. Los Angeles Times

DROUGHT

Making the grade: How well did your community save water? Check out the updated drought report card. Los Angeles Times

Walkers, beware: Visiting San Francisco? Watch your step. Many sidewalks are plastered with urine and feces. A good rain would help wash it away, writes columnist Robin Abcarian. So would addressing such problems as homelessness, mental illness and a lack of public restrooms, which can leave a person with few other options. Los Angeles Times

Holding steady: Reports of the sequoias' demise may have been premature. Even with their brown leaves, most are doing just fine in the drought, researchers report. "The trees have lived for millenniums, through lightning strikes and blizzards, through fires, windstorms and severe drought, and no matter how beaten down they are, they endure, creating new crowns where old ones have broken and fallen." Los Angeles Times

Rules don't apply: Plenty of celebrities in the Calabasas area have ignored calls to conserve water and been hit with warnings and fines. A publicist for Kim Kardashian blew off criticism of the reality star's lush green lawn, saying, "They're traffic tickets, who cares? Their water use means nothing in the grand scheme of things. It's a swimming pool full of water." NBC4

L.A. AT LARGE

"It's not going to stop": Californians should prepare for rising sea levels, scientists warn. While oceans around the world have risen 3 inches on average in the last 23 years, water levels on the West Coast have actually fallen. That's about to change as a relative cold phase in Pacific waters comes to an end. Los Angeles Times

Reaching immigrants: The city of San Gabriel is the latest municipality to sign onto Weibo, a social media site that's popular with the Chinese community. "This is about reaching our Chinese population where they're already spending time and in a language they're most comfortable with," San Gabriel Mayor Jason Pu said. Los Angeles Times

Fireworks investigation: L.A. County Supervisor Don Knabe wants an official investigation into a midnight fireworks show that shook residents from Venice to Marina Del Rey to Redondo Beach. "Where is the common sense in a midnight fireworks display when normal people have to get up early for work or families have to get kids ready for school?" his spokeswoman said. The fireworks were for a party thrown by reality television star Khloe Kardashian. Los Angeles Times

Driver shaming: This photo gallery shows 17 of the worst parking jobs in L.A. LA Weekly

POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT

GOP leadership: State Sen. Jean Fuller, a Bakersfield Republican, was voted in as the new minority leader on Thursday, months ahead of schedule. She'll take over the leadership position being vacated by Sen. Robert Huff (R-Diamond Bar), who is running for the L.A. County Board of Supervisors. Sacramento Bee

Curbs on smoking: Under bills approved by the state Senate, the smoking age would increase from 18 to 21 and electronic cigarettes would be banned anywhere that doesn't allow traditional tobacco products. "This is important because the fastest-growing segment of the e-cigarette market is middle and high school students," said Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco). Los Angeles Times

COURTS AND CRIMES

Up for parole: A member of the Manson family is eligible for parole. Bruce Davis was convicted in two of the nine murders tied to Charles Manson and his followers. Gov. Jerry Brown could block the parole finding as he did in 2013 and 2014. Los Angeles Times

Rape allegations: In a civil lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, Chicago Bulls player Derrick Rose is accused of taking part in the drugging and rape of a woman with whom he had previously had a consensual relationship. His accuser, who is not identified, says she did not go to police initially out of embarrassment and fear. Rose and his attorney denied the allegations. Los Angeles Times

Suspicious fires: Arson investigators are trying to figure out who is responsible for setting three small fires in the Beverly Crest neighborhood. The fires burned through dry brush before they were extinguished by firefighters. Los Angeles Times

HEALTH

Immunization report: At 92.6%, California's vaccination rate for measles, mumps and rubella is slightly lower than the national average, but that will probably change now that state officials have clamped down on exemptions. "Though they may not always get the headlines, the overwhelming majority of parents continue to protect their children with recommended vaccinations," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. Los Angeles Times

Insurance fight: A Southern Californian woman has taken a dispute with her insurer public. After having three children, Rosie Wiklund was ready for an IUD, which she preferred to have implanted by a female gynecologist. To do that through Anthem Blue Cross would probably result in a six-month wait. Experts say that such delays are common in California because of thin provider networks. Daily News

CALIFORNIA CULTURE

Out on a limb: Joni Doherty built a $16,000 treehouse to honor her late husband. After it was completed, an anonymous neighbor complained to the county, and now she'll have to bring it up to code or see it removed. Orange County Register

Next act: The Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa is undertaking a $68-million fundraising campaign. Most of that money will go toward paying off old projects that didn't meet their fundraising goals. The center plans to construct a 46,000-square-foot plaza that will be open to the public. Los Angeles Times

When animals attack: A contractor had to be flown from Catalina Island after he was gored by a bison. And in Burbank, a mountain lion decided that a pet poodle would be a hearty snack. Los Angeles Times

Remembering a comrade: IndyCar drivers took to the Golden Gate Bridge on Thursday to honor Justin Wilson, a driver who died after he was hit in the head by a piece of flying debris during the ABC Supply 500 at Pocono Raceway. NBC Bay Area (video)

GOLDEN STATE PERSPECTIVES

A smaller, better jail? It seems that everyone wants the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to replace the dungeon-like Men's Central Jail with a lower-capacity facility optimized for diversion and the humane treatment of mentally ill inmates. The Times editorial board likes this plan too. But in considering this proposal, the editorial board wants "something more substantive than a quick-and-dirty repeat of the supervisors' previous discussion and vote." Los Angeles Times

CALIFORNIA ALMANAC

San Francisco will be partly sunny and 76 degrees. Sunshine and 102 degrees are expected in Riverside. In Los Angeles, it will be sunny and 94. San Diego will be partly sunny and 86 degrees.

AND FINALLY

Here are 12 of the best vegan hot dogs in Los Angeles. Yes, the Patt Morrison Baja Vegan Dog from Pink's made the list.

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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