Today’s Headlines: The San Joaquin Valley becomes the land of the eternal COVID surge


Here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:


As infections rise, the San Joaquin Valley becomes the land of the eternal COVID surge

Case numbers and hospitalizations plummeted across California, including in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, after the height of the summer surge. But not in the San Joaquin Valley.


More top coronavirus headlines

Unvaccinated adolescents have been the driving force behind a stubbornly persistent Delta surge in Britain, a potential warning sign for California if inoculation rates don’t improve considerably among this age group, health experts warn.

— Arellano: Thousands gathered to protest the city’s mandate that all public employees vaccinate themselves against COVID-19, or lose their jobs. The public workers gathered to protest, but also to offer a threat to the rest of us: We’re ready to quit over this vaccine mandate. And if that happens, L.A. will suffer.

— Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging Newsom’s school mask rules.

— Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, recovered from a bout of COVID-19, was scheduled to return to L.A. on Tuesday.

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Keeping California’s last nuclear power plant open could help state meet its climate goals, study says

The Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant in San Luis Obispo is the last of its kind in California and keeping it open could help the state achieve its climate goals and save more than $2 billion. But PG&E says plans to close the plant beginning in 2024 remain in place.

McManus: Can Biden and Xi talk their way out of a slide into conflict?

This week’s meeting between the two presidents, their first full-scale summit, could cover a long list of issues: nuclear proliferation, trade talks, easing military tensions in the Taiwan Strait, even visa regulations.

In gun debate, Rittenhouse verdict unlikely to be last word

On the streets of Kenosha, Wis., that night, Kyle Rittenhouse was notable to some for his apparent youthfulness. But, for a while anyway, he was just another person with a gun. Among much of society, whether Rittenhouse is guilty or not guilty won’t change anyone’s minds about guns.

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— Houstonians, who had taken pride in Travis Scott and his reimagining of the Space City’s urban theme park that once stood next to the Astrodome and shaped childhoods across race and class lines, have been shaken.

— Granderson: Nikole Hannah-Jones became a political target. What she’s learned from the ‘hurtful’ attacks

— Smith: The first time he died, it changed his life. Then he was brutally gunned down in the middle of the day outside his Compton church.

— At Tennessee’s Body Farm, Mexican investigators learn how to dig up graves.

— Abcarian: The awful echoes of the Trayvon Martin tragedy in the trial of the men who killed Ahmaud Arbery.

— L.A. Affairs: Empty-nest syndrome turned me against my husband.


At least 130 people were killed and hundreds injured in a series of shootings and explosions in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015. French President Francois Hollande blamed Islamic State and said his country was at war with the extremist group. President Obama said the Paris attacks were an assault on ‘all of humanity.’ Nohemi Gonzalez, a Cal State Long Beach student, was among those killed in the Paris terrorist attacks, according to the university.


— Crew takes valuables from Fairfax district house, part of follow-home robbery trend in L.A.

— Body discovered in Mendocino County identified as man missing for more than 15 years

— Lopez: In Carson, the stink will go away soon. But the rest of the hazards will remain, and residents are weary of it all.

— ‘When will we get out?’ Parents plead with California son to help them flee Afghanistan

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— The federal Bureau of Prisons, with an annual budget of nearly $8 billion, is a hotbed of abuse, graft and corruption, and has turned a blind eye to employees accused of misconduct.

— More than a thousand people have recounted their run-ins with Minneapolis police to activist groups that plan to share their stories with U.S. Justice Department officials conducting a civil rights investigation into the police force.

— Moammar Kadafi’s son announces candidacy for president of Libya

— Gun battle between rival gangs at Ecuador prison leaves at least 68 dead


— For ‘King Richard,’ Will Smith and Aunjanue Ellis serve a nuanced look at Black life and love in their portrayals of the parents of future tennis legends Venus and Serena Williams.

— How Pasadena Playhouse’s ‘Head Over Heels’ defies pre-pandemic theater rules.

— Come for Adele’s concert and interview with Oprah, but stay for the ‘filthy jokes’

— During Saturday Night Live’s installment of “Weekend Update,” co-anchor Colin Jost pretty much spoke for everyone when he said, “I think the lesson we all learned this week is: Never break up with Taylor Swift,” after Swift performed the 10-minute version of “All Too Well”


— Hospital workers and management at Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s largest healthcare systems, reached a labor agreement Saturday, two days before nearly 32,000 employees were set to strike over a proposed pay system for future hires.

— If you’re a talented singer, songwriter, instrumentalist — or even just a passionate listener — there are a number of ways you can make money with music.


— Justin Herbert and Chargers can’t find offensive rhythm in loss to Vikings.

— Plaschke: UCLA basketball is officially back with talent and swagger amid renewed title hopes.

— UCLA students describe ‘terrifying’ scene amid crush of bodies outside Pauley Pavilion.

— McCollough: Hire Dave Aranda because he’s right for USC. Not because he beat Oklahoma

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— In an era of dwindling global institutions, the university is the latest to experience a decline in power and influence. The open flow of ideas is now at risk. Can that be changed?

— Editorial: A ballot-box budgeting proposal for arts education? Let’s stop it before it starts.


How a performance about California’s environment was shaped by water and fire

Carmina Escobar, an experimental voice artist who is based in L.A. but originally hails from Mexico City, says she was intrigued by the wild nature of Mono Lake. But also the fraught history. “It exemplifies in a concrete and poetic way our relationship to nature through water,” she says.

Namely, the draws that go to feed water-thirsty Los Angeles, exposing the lakebed and clogging the lungs of the area’s inhabitants with fine alkaline silt.

Escobar’s journeys to Mono Lake have now inspired a performance that will land at REDCAT for three nights beginning Thursday.

Today’s newsletter was curated by Seth Liss. Comments or ideas? Email us at