Today’s Headlines: The forecast is not good for snow in California

An aerial view of a neighborhood of homes with snow on the ground and a mountain in the background.
Mammoth Mountain had snow in late October. A recent study finds snow could become much scarcer in coming years.
(Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

Hello, it’s Friday, Dec. 3, and on Saturday the Los Angeles Times celebrates its 140th birthday. To mark the occasion, today’s “From the Archives” (at the bottom of the newsletter) has the top of that first edition from Dec. 4, 1881. Here’s a rundown of the top stories from what was then the Daily Times.

“A Breezy Letter” from the San Francisco correspondent revealed he was unimpressed with the city: “Everything is dull here except the holiday trade, which is just fairly begun. Theatres are suffering from bad weather and bad plays.” The headline for a story out of Philadelphia reads: “A Vial of Vitriol: An Unknown Scoundrel Hurls it on a Crowd.” There was also a poem. More than half the page was taken up by ads. Among them was one for De Turk’s Livery, Feed and Sale Stable on 1st Street. If you wanted to spend a day tooling around the city, you could rent two horses and a buggy for $2.50.

Now, back to 2021.


A ‘no-snow’ California could come sooner than you think


A recent study found that the already dwindling snowpack across California and the western U.S. could shrink dramatically — or in some cases disappear — before the end of the century. Should greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, winters of low snow, or even no snow, could become a regular occurrence in as little as 35 years.

Many of the worst effects will be felt in California, where snowpack in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges could decline 45% by 2050.

Biden unveils COVID-19 plan. Plus: Omicron turns up in L.A. County

Warning that COVID-19 caseloads are poised to climb this winter, President Biden said “we need to be ready” as he announced his plan for limiting the spread of infection. Under the new plan, pharmacies will start reaching out to an estimated 100 million Americans who are eligible for booster shots but have not yet received them. His administration also will require insurance companies to reimburse people for the purchase of home tests.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County reported its first case of the Omicron variant of the coronavirus. County health officials said the infection was most probably travel-related, as the patient — who was said to be improving — had returned from South Africa via London on Nov. 22.


More top coronavirus headlines

  • The South African scientist who detected the Omicron variant said it was probably incubated in the body of a person with an immune system battered by HIV or another immune-compromising condition.
  • Norway reports that at least 50 Omicron cases are linked to one office Christmas party.

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

Beverly Hills police make an arrest in Jacqueline Avant’s killing

Beverly Hills police arrested a 29-year-old Los Angeles man in connection with the killing of Jacqueline Avant, a prominent philanthropist and wife of music legend Clarence Avant, as more details emerged about the crime.

Authorities accused Aariel Maynor of entering the couple’s Trousdale Estates home early Wednesday and shooting Jacqueline Avant with an AR-15 rifle. Hours later, Maynor shot himself in the foot at another home during an alleged burglary attempt, police said, and that is how he was connected to the Avant slaying.

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LAPD announces 14 arrests in connection with recent smash-and-grab robberies

After a spate of brazen smash-and-grab robberies left Los Angeles-area retailers and shoppers on edge last month, officials announced they had arrested 14 suspects in connection with the crimes. None of the 14 suspects remains in custody.

Los Angeles Police Chief Michel Moore pointed to zero-bail policies that were put in place last year for certain crimes, including burglary, as a public health measure to reduce jail populations during the COVID-19 pandemic: “There’s criminal elements that are recognizing that condition and are capitalizing on it.”


A woman steps into a swimming pool.
“Mighty Mo”: Maurine Kornfeld enters the pool for 6:30 a.m. swim practice at the Rose Bowl Aquatics Center in Pasadena. Maurine, known to her team as “Mo,” just turned 100, and her team celebrated.
(Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)


PG&E agrees to pay $125 million in the Kincade fire. The utility, whose faulty equipment was blamed for sparking California’s worst wildfire of 2019, will pay the fines and penalties under a settlement reached with state regulators, officials announced.

A Republican-led legal challenge to California’s redistricting seeks document disclosure and new advisors. The California Supreme Court has been asked to fire the state independent redistricting commission’s legal advisors and force disclosure of private meetings and research into race-based voting patterns.


L.A. County voters back a right to shelter for all but are wary of taxes to pay for it. A new poll has found that even as voters want to see dramatic government action to reduce the number of people sleeping in streets and parks, many doubt the capacity of the region’s leaders to get the job done.

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When the Kremlin talked about what it said was a war threat in Ukraine, the U.S. delivered a warning. Russian leaders said they were concerned about a possible escalation of fighting in a separatist conflict in eastern Ukraine. The U.S. warned them to stay away from Ukraine, or “there will be serious consequences.”

“Remain in Mexico” is reinstated. Migrants seeking to enter the United States will again have to stay in Mexico as they await immigration hearings, as the Biden administration reluctantly announced plans to reinstate the Trump-era policy and agreed to Mexico’s conditions for resuming it.

Congress extends government funding until February, averting a shutdown. Lawmakers OK’d a government spending bill, averting a potential government shutdown with about 24 hours to spare after the latest example of the partisan standoffs crippling Washington’s most basic functions.

The Kamala Harris-Pete Buttigieg rivalry is the talk of Washington. Now, they are hitting the road together to promote the Biden administration’s infrastructure plans.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting and the latest action in Sacramento.



Review: “West Side Story” is Steven Spielberg’s most exhilarating movie in years. The Times’ Justin Chang writes that Spielberg’s movie may be rougher, grittier, more lived-in and more truthful than its 1961 cinematic incarnation. But it is also more unabashedly classical than just about anything a major American studio has released in years.

A second man testified that Jussie Smollett plotted a racist and antigay attack on himself. Olabinjo Osundairo said Smollett paid the man and his brother to carry it out, giving them lines to shout and pointing out a surveillance camera that the former “Empire” actor said would capture the hoax on video to use for publicity.

“Guns don’t just go off.” A member of the camera crew on the film “Rust” disputed claims by actor Alec Baldwin that he didn’t pull the trigger on the Colt .45 prop gun, fatally shooting the movie’s cinematographer and injuring its director.

Review: “The Band’s Visit” brings its musical poetry to the Dolby Theatre. A musical doesn’t have to make a lot of noise to dazzle. “The Band’s Visit,” the exquisitely delicate Tony-winning show now receiving its Los Angeles premiere, treads lightly across the stage in a hush of magic.


Officials say the ports logjam is easing. But that doesn’t necessarily mean the backlog of seaborne cargo waiting to be processed is shrinking. Boats crossing the Pacific have been asked to sit 150 miles offshore as they wait for a slot to unload their cargo, and boats traveling north or south along the coast to sit 50 miles out. Although only 46 ships are waiting in San Pedro Bay as of Wednesday, an estimated 50 additional container ships that embarked after the change are now loitering over the horizon.


The playoff-hungry Chargers are in an offensive slump and need to hit the ground running. It is now December, and the Chargers’ second-leading rusher remains Justin Herbert. On Sunday in Denver, the Chargers ran just 17 times, their second-lowest single-game total. They are passing on 65% of their snaps for the season, which is third in the NFL and up from 58.6% a year ago.


LeBron James is back in the lineup. The Lakers star cleared the NBA’s health and safety protocols after negative COVID tests and will play against the Clippers tonight.

News analysis: Can the Dodgers really afford to lose Clayton Kershaw? Re-signing Kershaw and trading for an established starter could be the Dodgers’ first moves post-lockout. And how about signing Freddie Freeman?

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Another scandal? Is anyone running Los Angeles City Hall? Bribery and corruption cases are piling up at L.A. City Hall, writes the editorial board. At what point will Mayor Eric Garcetti and City Atty. Mike Feuer take responsibility?


10 places to get your photo taken with Santa Claus. Sit-downs with Santa Claus are back in full force this year. Here are some of the places around the Southland where you’ll be able to snap a selfie with the jolly one.

Time to get baking. Cooking columnist Ben Mims has put together his annual list of cookie recipes, including candied gingerbread macarons and cherry-walnut Mexican milk fudge. This year, he wants to show that even cookies that don’t use traditional baking ingredients can still be wonderful on their own.



As President Biden was tapping into the U.S.’ strategic oil reserves, Canada was tapping its maple syrup reserves. The Canadian group Quebec Maple Syrup Producers recently announced it was releasing about 50 million pounds of maple syrup — about half of its total stockpile. Why? Maple sap can be harvested only in specific weather conditions, and a short, warm spring meant uncharacteristically low yields. From NPR

These teenagers are getting six figures to leave their high schools for basketball. The new pro league Overtime Elite is luring young phenoms with hefty salaries, viral success and — perhaps — a better path to the NBA. From the New York Times

What happens when you make the blandest Facebook profile? In a 2019 experiment, two fake profiles with particular political viewpoints were sent down rabbit holes of extreme and conspiratorial content. But the Atlantic posits: “Let’s say you made yourself as bland and centrist as you possibly could be, and then let the system do its algorithmic work.” The results are interesting and the outcome concerning: In the end, the writer said, she felt “preyed upon.” From The Atlantic


The sun lights up chairlifts as, in the shadow, snow blasts from machines.
Snow-making machines blast the slopes at Big Bear Mountain Resort on Nov. 26.
(Lee Stockwell / Big Bear Mountain Resort)

We’ve rounded up the 40 best California winter experiences. The rest of the world might not understand our winters, but Southern Californians know. It’s not just holiday lights and snow in the mountains but whale migrations, elephant seal love-ins, butterfly conventions. Also excellent surf. Easier desert hikes. A parade in Pasadena. A fresh rewriting of every farm-to-table menu and more.

Our top 40 list has advice and details and maps. Among destinations, Big Bear is a personal favorite — a lovely place to be snowed in. Big Bear Mountain Resort opens to the general public today for skiers and snowboarders. Drop in at Grizzly Manor for a mountain breakfast.



The top of a newspaper page reads "Los Angeles Daily Times": Los Angeles, California, Sunday morning, December 4, 1881.
140 years ago: The first edition of the Los Angeles Times was published. The paper was started by Nathan Cole Jr. and Thomas Gardiner and was printed by the Mirror Printing Office. It published daily except Mondays. The Times’ first home was a small brick building at Temple and New High streets in downtown Los Angeles.
(Los Angeles Times)

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— Amy Hubbard and Laura Blasey