Good morning, and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. It's Wednesday, June 21, and here's what's happening across California:
Holy cow! That heat!
Records were broken and feet were burned as temperatures reached new heights throughout Southern California. It was so hot at one Death Valley diner that it stopped serving customers at 8 a.m. Death Valley hit 127 — seven degrees shy of the hottest day ever recorded on the planet. Los Angeles Times
Plus: As the first heat wave of summer reached its anticipated peak Tuesday afternoon, Southern California residents employed a variety of methods to keep cool amid the swelter. Los Angeles Times
Is the heat to blame for streets buckling in the Bay Area? SFGATE
Mandatory evacuations were announced in Big Bear as the fire danger worsened. Los Angeles Times
A game-changer that could save lives?
The Los Angeles Fire Department could soon seek federal permission to fly drones, a tool that officials say could help them track down missing hikers, gauge the risks in burning buildings and search confined spaces. "I think there's a tremendous opportunity to save lives," said Councilman Mitch Englander, who has championed the idea. But there are privacy concerns. Los Angeles Times
Everybody hates the Raymond fault
A little known earthquake fault named Raymond runs through northeast Los Angeles and Pasadena. The fault caused the 1988 Pasadena earthquake, which literally threw seismologist Lucy Jones out of bed. "The wave was coming up at me," Jones recently recalled. "It was the most scared I have been in earthquake shaking." And it's capable of a much worse earthquake. Los Angeles Times
A parking problem
In city of car-related headaches, the City of Los Angeles and disabled drivers are wrestling with a 7-year-old parking problem. For the better part of the last decade, the city hasn't built any blue curb parking spots that have been requested by residents. Los Angeles Times
A classic: The ultimate guide to L.A. avocado toast — before it jumps the culinary shark. New York Times
Tragic death: Los Angeles firefighters found a woman's body Tuesday after they knocked down a vegetation fire that began in a homeless encampment in Granada Hills. Los Angeles Daily News
IMMIGRATION AND THE BORDER
A moving video: From Aleppo to Los Angeles. New York Times
POLITICS AND GOVERNMENT
California's two senators: Amid an ever-expanding probe into Russian interference in the election, Sen. Kamala Harris is getting buzz but it's Sen. Dianne Feinstein who is doing lots of work behind the scenes. McClatchy
Plus: To celebrate June being African American Music Appreciation Month, Harris just released a Spotify playlist that pays homage to pivotal black musicians of the last century. Los Angeles Times
CRIME AND COURTS
Alt-right attack: Two men were charged with attempted murder Tuesday in the stabbing of a man who works as a bodyguard for a nationally known figure popular among the alt-right, prosecutors said. Authorities said the attack was not a hate crime. Los Angeles Times
Death in the desert: Detectives are investigating an apparent murder-suicide in Lancaster in which authorities say a man shot his wife and then himself early Monday. Los Angeles Times
What do we have here? The smell of "something dead" led authorities to a truck filled with 955 birds, rabbits, piglets, guinea pigs and other small critters. Los Angeles Times
Get ready! The South American palm weevil is bursting onto the scene in California. Its arrival could put one of the state's most cherished botanical icons at risk of oblivion. KQED
Out for a swim: Who is putting up mermaids along the 10 Freeway? We track down the guerrilla artist. Los Angeles Times
The ultimate question: Is Los Angeles really that walkable? Curbed LA
Amazing story: Former Patriots and Chiefs tackle Ryan O'Callaghan is a Redding native who recently became one of the few former professional football players to come out as gay. Outsports
Buy your tickets: A pop-up drive-in movie theater in the Valley is showing valley-filmed movies this summer. LA Weekly
Out in Santa Monica: "Launched by a Southern transplant, this Santa Monica shop is a revelation to anybody with a taste for handmade lettering and graphic art." Los Angeles Magazine
Sacramento and Los Angeles area: sunny Wednesday and Thursday. San Diego: partly cloudy Wednesday and Thursday. San Francisco area: partly cloudy Wednesday, sunny Thursday. More weather is here.
Today's California memory comes from Roslyn Farhi:
"My memories of Los Angeles have a great deal to do with education since I spent many years working as a teacher at View Park H.S., an alternative high school for students who couldn't 'make it' in a traditional high school. The program was overseen by Betty Graves, our school principal, one clerk and three teachers. We were mothers and fathers, friends and counselors to the students who attended the program. When graduation time rolled around we asked each student to invite one person who cared about their education to the final ceremony. To our surprise students invited a neighbor friend, a cousin a grandmother or grandfather to be their guest. You never knew who the loving support person behind each student might turn out to be. Those students are now grown-ups with families of their own. I hope they are extending a love of education to family, friends and even strangers."
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.)