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After years of drought in California's Central Valley, the residents of Hanford are finally singing in the rain

After years of drought in California's Central Valley, the residents of Hanford are finally singing in the rain
Marley Oliver, 6, digs into a bowl of chocolate ice cream as her mother, Laura Benavides, takes on a root beer float at Superior Dairy in Hanford, Calif. (Diana Marcum / Los Angeles Times)

Good morning. It is Saturday, March 18. Here's what you don't want to miss this weekend:



The fallacy of the labor market: Wages are on the rise for California's farm workers, but there's still a problem. American citizens don't want to do these jobs. Nine in 10 agriculture workers in California are still foreign born, and more than half are undocumented, according to a federal survey. With the Trump administration's clampdown on immigration, some farmers worry that this will put a choke hold on an already tight pool of workers. "That's killing our labor force," one grower said. Los Angeles Times

A plan to save the rivers: San Francisco is pitching a plan to save California rivers by increasing the amount of water flowing on the rivers between the Sierra and San Francisco Bay. This is all an effort to help prevent the collapse of some of the state's most precious wetlands. San Francisco Chronicle

Killing spree in San Bernardino: A suspect in the shooting of a deputy Thursday at a gas station may have been part of a violent Inland Empire crime spree, including the fatal shooting of a driver who was followed by the gunman on the freeway and gunned down as he got out of his car. Associated Press

A warning for Gorsuch: The California Legislative Women's Caucus released a video Friday appealing to President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, to maintain abortion rights, protect Planned Parenthood and uphold gender equity laws. Los Angeles Times

Child porn arrest: San Francisco Police have arrested a youth educator at the California Film Institute in San Rafael in a child pornography investigation. Authorities suspect that John Morrison, 71, was uploading and trading graphic child pornography through a chat messenger application. Marin Independent Journal

New costal commissioners: State leaders have filled three vacant seats on the California Coastal Commission — the powerful land use agency that has been buffeted by controversy, including the firing of its executive director last year. Los Angeles Times

More money, more problems: Repair costs for the troubled Oroville Reservoir will run "much higher" than $200 million, official says. Los Angeles Times

But there's this: California's ranchers are still cheering Trump and welcoming his policies. Here are the reasons why. KQED

This week's most popular stories in Essential California:

1.The desert is in super bloom at Anza-Borrego state park. Los Angeles Times

2. The 16 best spring escapes in California. Sunset

3. Meet the guy who catches 35-lb. fish in MacArthur Park Lake. Laist

4. Crazy-high rent, record-low homeownership, and overcrowding: California has a plan to solve the housing crisis, but not without a fight. Business Insider

5. The latest test of the Bernie Sanders movement may be in this L.A. race for Congress. Los Angeles Times


ICYMI, here are this week's Great Reads

Singing in the Central Valley: The drought is over in California's Central Valley, and that has residents of the town of Hanford over the moon with joy. At the local Art Deco theater downtown, the classic musical "Singing in the Rain" was playing. The theater's owner made plans months ago to show the film on its 65th anniversary before the rains descended on the state. "I do remember saying: 'Can you imagine if it rained?'" the movie theater's owner said. "But it was a wistful thing." Los Angeles Times

Refashioning Banc of California: After a year marked by scandal with questions of insider trading swirling in the air, the Banc of California is trying to be boring again. "In August, its ambitious chairman and chief executive, Steven Sugarman, announced a deal aimed at making the little-known bank a household name: It would pay $100 million to put its name on a Major League Soccer stadium being built near USC." But after months of controversy, the bank will cut back on its other ad and sponsorship campaigns. Los Angeles Times

High style weed: Meet the guys who have created the Hermès of marijuana."You go in to buy weed, and it's like visiting your parole officer," said one of the founders Scott Campbell, who lives in Los Angeles. "You get buzzed through three metal gates." Along with his partner, Campbell wants to class up the pot shop aesthetic. The New York Times

Looking Ahead

Sunday: Los Angeles Marathon through the streets of the city.

Monday: The Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle awards.

Wednesday: California State University Board of Trustees meets in Long Beach.

Thursday: Sheriff Jim McDonnell roasted at event in Beverly Hills.


Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send comments, complaints and ideas to Benjamin Oreskes and Shelby Grad. Also follow them on Twitter @boreskes and @shelbygrad.