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Newsletter: Today: A Fallen Hero in Parkland

Amid a tragedy in Florida, there were stories of bravery too.

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A Fallen Hero in Parkland

“No, that is not firecrackers,” assistant football coach Aaron Feis told his boss. It was the last time the head coach would hear the voice of a “big ol’ teddy bear” of a man who could also be strict as an on-campus security guard. Witnesses say Feis was scrambling to usher students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to safety. At one point, he shielded several girls from gunfire. “I saw him running toward the gunshots,” said one high school junior. It cost Feis his life. Here is his story — and more about the other people killed this week at the school in Parkland, Fla.

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More About the Shooting

-- The investigation paints a picture of a gunman who appeared calm after one of the deadliest mass shootings in modern U.S. history. Former classmates and neighbors say there were many warning signs.

-- Student David Hogg filmed this video while the high school was on lockdown. “Thousands of people have died from gun violence, and it’s time to take a stand,” Hogg said.

-- President Trump urged Americans to embrace the “dignity of life” but sidestepped the idea of amending gun laws. Some say he has also struggled to show his empathetic side.

The ‘Dreamers’ in Limbo

Last month, Trump said, “I’ll sign whatever immigration bill they send me.” Not so fast. The president pulled out his first threat of a veto for a bipartisan Senate immigration bill, which included border security and protections to prevent “Dreamers” from being deported. Trump tweeted it would be a “total catastrophe” and has thrown his support behind a rival measure from Sen. Charles E. Grassley that would also severely limit legal immigration in the future. With both bills failing to advance, watch for the Dreamer battle to next shift to the courts.

Good/Bad News on Smog

First, the good news. Thanks to clean-air laws and technology, the amount of volatile organic compounds from cars and trucks has dropped over the years. The bad news? Consumer and industrial products such as paint, pesticides, adhesives, body spray and so on now rival tailpipe emissions as a source of these harmful atmospheric pollutants, according to a new study. Of course, cars still produce tons of carbon dioxide, but that’s another story.

Colombia’s Fight to Assimilate

When the fighting between rebels and the government in Colombia ended in late 2016, a peace accord provided for “training and normalization camps” to help bring the rebels into mainstream society. The idea was for them to stay there for up to six months. But moving on from the Western Hemisphere’s longest armed conflict isn’t easy. Of the 7,400 who reported, about half remain — and many have no plans to leave any time soon.

The Olympics in a Snap

The average prime-time audience for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics is about 23 million, a huge number in the TV business but also one that is down 6% from 2014. Online streaming, though, is on the rise, especially with younger viewers. And this year, NBC is for the first time is offering live streaming coverage on a platform other than its own apps, thanks to an Olympics partnership with Snapchat.

More From the Olympics

-- Japan’s Yuzuru Hanyu put to rest any doubts about his injured ankle with an amazing performance in the men’s figure skating short program.

-- U.S. Alpine skiing sensation Mikaela Shiffrin failed to medal in her best event, finishing fourth in the slalom. Stomach problems didn’t help.

FLASHBACK FRIDAY

This week in 1979, crews took down a large boulder from a Malibu cliffside that was threatening six homes along Pacific Coast Highway. Waiting for it below was sculptor Brett-Livingstone Strong, who bought part of it for $100. At first he was going to create an homage to Gov. Jerry Brown. Instead, he chose John Wayne. Here’s how the rock got the Duke’s chiseled features.

MUST-WATCH VIDEO

-- Film critic Kenneth Turan says “Early Man,” from “Wallace and Gromit” creator Nick Park, is a droll romp through prehistoric times.

-- The film “Golden Exits” gazes deeply into its characters’ unhappiness and “emerges with something searching, sad — and perilously close to likable,” says critic Justin Chang.

CALIFORNIA

-- Orange County leaders have approved a plan to provide motel vouchers, food and other services for about 400 homeless people living in encampments along the Santa Ana River trail.

-- The mother of an 8-year-old Palmdale boy who died after suffering brutal beatings and starvation has pleaded guilty to first-degree murder.

-- A Simi Valley man found to have been wrongfully convicted in a 1978 double murder has been approved to receive nearly $2 million, or $140 for each of the 13,991 days he spent in prison.

-- A Southern California legislator wants Facebook and other social media sites to obtain clear permission from parents before allowing children and teens to use their services.

YOUR WEEKEND

-- The ultimate guide to Koreatown: Where to find the best restaurants, bars, spas, shopping and more.

-- Chinese New Year is here. Check out these 75 recipes, from niangao to dumplings.

-- Take an urban walk in Pasadena that starts on Green Street at a castle and includes stops in three parks.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

-- John Oliver sat down with us to talk about “Last Week Tonight’s” labor-intensive creative process, Dustin Hoffman, Alec Baldwin and how fatherhood has influenced his comedy.

-- Our pop music critic says Kendrick Lamar’s gripping soundtrack for “Black Panther” joins a tradition of black movie music.

-- Jeffrey Tambor is officially gone from “Transparent,” Amazon Studios’ breakout transgender-themed series.

NATION-WORLD

-- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report the much-maligned flu shot has reduced the risk of serious illness this year by 36%.

-- After days of evading questions about Russian mercenaries killed in a U.S. air strike in eastern Syria, the Kremlin said five of the dead were Russian but insisted they were not military.

-- Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for more than three hours in what both sides predicted would be two days of difficult talks.

-- Millionaire ex-businessman Cyril Ramaphosa, sworn into office as South Africa’s new president Thursday evening, will face some very entrenched problems.

BUSINESS

-- Billionaire Peter Thiel is leaving Silicon Valley for Los Angeles, a move his camp describes as a bid to escape the political hegemony of the San Francisco Bay Area.

-- A doctor says this 500-pound man will die without gastric bypass surgery. His insurer has shrugged it off.

SPORTS

-- Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn’t shy away from discussing the second guesses about his decisions in the team’s losing World Series effort.

-- The NBA All-Star weekend is taking place at Staples Center and is being described as a form of “very managed chaos.”

OPINION

-- Everyone knows we can’t arrest our way out of homelessness. So, why is L.A. still trying?

-- No, the Olympics will not defuse the North Korea crisis.

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

-- Will students’ cellphone videos at the Florida high school force the public to see shootings in a different light? (CNN)

-- American intelligence agencies are surging resources to focus on the Korean Peninsula. (Foreign Policy)

-- “The bittersweet beauty of Adam Rippon”: how an openly gay Olympian could mean so much to viewers. (Vanity Fair)

ONLY IN L.A.

Chris Burden’s “Urban Light” installation has been seen in countless selfies, movies and TV shows. “People do séances there,” says Mark Gilberg, who used to work at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “They light fires and do crystal worshipping there. Just go over there at midnight. People wanna climb it.” But did you know that this L.A. landmark is turning 10 years old and recently switched from light bulbs to LEDs? Or that it uses an astronomical timer?

If you like this newsletter, please share it with friends. Comments or ideas? Email us at headlines@latimes.com.


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