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How was your Black Friday? SoCal's was pretty laid-back

How was your Black Friday? SoCal's was pretty laid-back
Southern California shoppers said crowds seem calmer this year on Black Friday. At South Coast Plaza, Mandy Zhao, 20, left, Mia Hou, 19 and Keer Xu, right, rest after shopping since 2 a.m. Friday. (Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It is Saturday, Nov. 26. Here's what you don't want to miss this weekend:

TOP STORIES

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Less crowded, less crazy: It looks as if the Internet is continuing to eat away at Black Friday sales in stores, where some shoppers said there was less company. "There's less people, and you don't feel the holiday spirit," said a seven-year veteran of Black Friday sales. "It's scary. It doesn't feel like Black Friday. This year is very weird." Los Angeles Times

Environmental crisis: For years, residents of Paramount watched as regulators launched studies and promised stricter rules to protect homes and schools from toxic emissions from the array of metal-processing facilities operating in their midst. But they have seen little action. Then, a few weeks ago, air-quality monitoring detected high levels of a potent, cancer-causing metal in Paramount, forcing authorities to pay attention. Suddenly, what was a problem has become a crisis. Los Angeles Times

Tragedy on the freeway: A promising high school football star has died after a freak accident on the 57 Freeway in which a large piece of metal crashed in his mother's car as they were driving. Orange County Register

Air wars: Orange County has filed a petition in federal court to join Newport Beach in suing the Federal Aviation Administration, with both trying to block revised air traffic plans for planes coming in and out of John Wayne Airport. Los Angeles Times

Entering USC territory: Pepperdine University is expanding its presence in downtown Los Angeles under a new partnership with AEG that will create classroom space in Staples Center for students pursuing careers in sports and entertainment business. Los Angeles Times

Under fire: An Orange County Republican official is coming under fire — even within her own party — for comments she made about Muslims on Facebook. "I DO NOT WANT ANY TYPE OF MUSLIMS IN OUR COUNTRY, PERIOD!" she wrote. Orange County Register

Downshift: After six years of growth, car sales in California are finally stalling. San Diego Union-Tribune

THIS WEEK'S MOST POPULAR STORIES IN ESSENTIAL CALIFORNIA

1. This is why it takes so long to count votes in California. Los Angeles Times

2. Breitbart News Network stands poised to become one of the most influential conservative media companies in the country. And the nationalist site has global ambitions. Los Angeles Times

3. A young mother was shot and killed as her husband and 6-month-old son looked on in their car. It took decades to solve the mystery of who was behind it. Los Angeles Times

4. Agreeing to labor unions' requests, the California Supreme Court will review a pension ruling that would give state and local governments new authority to cut public employee benefits. Los Angeles Times

5. Here is the most Googled Thanksgiving recipe in California — and every other state. Business Insider

ICYMI, HERE ARE THIS WEEK'S GREAT READS

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Election angst: It's an election that left California feeling, well, very blue. Robin Abcarian sought help understanding it all. "The rabbi told me to buck up. The priest counseled tenderness. The social scientist said, with regret, that it's a good time to be a white male." Los Angeles Times

Conquering a legend: The incredible story of the first people to scale Yosemite's El Capitan back in the 1950s. One member of the team, now 85, looks back. Fresno Bee

Town survives: How pistachios and a prison are keeping this little California town afloat. "It's an amazing little town, and yes it has changed. But it also has remained the same as far as helping out each other, and watching out for each other. We've got a lot of hardworking people in this town, and a lot of good people." Los Angeles Times

Delayed victory: The story of a California whistle-blower who paid the price for speaking out but got some vindication — and a lot of money — in a court victory. New York Times

Fight of her life: Can California's Nancy Pelosi survive in the Trump era? The answer has to do in part with another question: Should the Democratic Party be a coastal organization or make more inroads in the middle of the country? The Atlantic

LOOKING AHEAD

Monday: The Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens celebrates its 50th birthday.

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Tuesday: The city of Monterey Park marks its 100th birthday with the opening of a time capsule.

Thursday: A ceremony marking World AIDS Day at Las Memorias AIDS Monument in Lincoln Park.

Friday: The Harvest Festival begins in Pomona.

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

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