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Today’s Headlines: Second storm to bring more rain and snow to Southern California

Maria Fernandez takes in the partially obscured view of the skyline
Maria Fernandez of Arcata, Calif., takes in the skyline as seen from Vista Hermosa Natural Park in Los Angeles on a rainy afternoon.
(Mel Melcon/Los Angeles Times)

Hello, it’s Wednesday, Dec. 29, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

New storm heading to Southern California

The second of two storms forecast for this week is expected to hit Southern California today, bringing more precipitation to close out a wet December and likely providing more white stuff for skiers.

Forecasters expect 1 to 3 inches of rain for coastal and valley areas, with 1½ to 2 inches in the mountains of Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. The area could also see significant snowfall at high elevations. Record-breaking snowfall hit the Sierra Nevada on Monday — a much-needed surprise for the bone-dry West, where only months ago, officials declared a state of drought emergency.

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Mother of 14-year-old girl killed in LAPD shooting held her as she died

Soledad Peralta fought back tears while describing last week’s Los Angeles police shooting that killed her 14-year-old daughter, Valentina Orellana-Peralta, and assault suspect Daniel Elena-Lopez at a Burlington store. She and the girl’s father, Juan Pablo Orellana, stood outside LAPD headquarters in downtown L.A. to demand justice for their daughter.

Handmade paper signs reading “Justice for our daughter, Valentina” in English and Spanish hung over their chests as they spoke about the girl they described as full of joy with big dreams for the future.

Although the exact tactics used by police Thursday remain under review, they were in many ways using a playbook that has come to define police responses to “active shooter” situations. But in cases such as the one at Burlington, where suspects turn out not to be armed with a gun, the tactic raises serious questions.

California’s COVID-19 hospitalizations are up 25% in the last week

COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising rapidly in California, placing fresh strain on healthcare systems worn thin by nearly two years on the frontlines of the pandemic. Though the number of COVID-19 patients statewide remains far below the high marks seen during last winter’s surge, the daily count has swelled. This is likely a byproduct of a spike in coronavirus cases that officials say is being fueled by the heavily mutated Omicron variant.

Officials are urging people to avoid large indoor gatherings for New Year’s Eve. They also say the best way for residents to armor themselves against infection and serious illness is to get vaccinated and, if eligible, get a booster.

More top coronavirus headlines

  • The Omicron surge means it’s time to upgrade your mask. We tell you how — for instance: Gaps around the sides of a surgical mask make it less protective than a tighter-fitting mask; layer on a cloth mask to tighten the fit.
  • The Rose Parade will return Saturday. For many, the return will be seen as a cheerful respite from two painful pandemic years. But the parade comes as coronavirus infections and hospitalizations are soaring again.

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

NFL icon John Madden dies at 85

John Madden, who reached the top of his profession in three fields — coaching, announcing and video games — died unexpectedly Tuesday morning, according to the NFL.

Madden frequently said he answered to three different names, each coming from a different generation of NFL fans. He was “Coach” to the people who followed his Oakland Raiders, “John” to the millions who remembered him best as a broadcaster and “Madden” to legions of video-game devotees.

Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat and former Senate majority leader, dies at 82

Harry Reid, known for his blunt style and shrewd political tactics that helped turn conservative Nevada into a reliably Democratic state, died Tuesday after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

His long career on the national stage — 34 years on Capitol Hill, including 12 as Senate Democratic leader — spanned an era in which Congress transformed into an institution deeply split along party lines. A former professional boxer with a pugilistic political style, Reid was well-suited to the partisan combat of the early 21st century.

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CALIFORNIA

California has a new generation of star college applicants. The 259 seniors in the class of 2022 at Downtown Magnets High School represent the new generation of students reshaping the face of higher education in California: young people with lower family incomes, less parental education and far more racial and ethnic diversity than college applicants of the past.

Nashville’s Southern hospitality and affordability beckon Californians. The migratory shift coincides with multinational businesses once headquartered in the Golden State relocating their U.S. headquarters to the Nashville area or opening large offices there.

Poway synagogue shooter gets a federal life sentence. The April 27, 2019, shooting killed Lori Gilbert-Kaye, 60, and wounded Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein, 8-year-old Noya Dahan and her 34-year-old uncle, Almog Peretz. The attacks came during a Passover service at the synagogue.

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NATION-WORLD

Lou Cannon, “Hall of Fame” political writer and Reagan chronicler, hangs it up. Sort of. One of the giants of political journalism, Cannon has decided to focus full time on his memoirs at age 88, writes columnist Mark Z. Barabak.

First U.S. gay bishop remembers Tutu’s generosity and kindness. In 2008, when the Right Rev. Gene Robinson of New Hampshire was excluded from a global Anglican gathering because of his sexuality, Desmond Tutu, who died Sunday, came to his defense.

Evangelicals are a rising force inside Argentine prisons. Over the past 20 years, Argentine prison authorities have encouraged the creation of units effectively run by evangelical inmates to one extent or another. The cellblocks are much like those in the rest of the prison. But they are safer and calmer than the regular units.

Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo won’t face criminal charges stemming from allegations from two women. The women, including a state trooper, said he planted unwanted kisses on their cheeks. It’s the latest in a series of decisions about whether a raft of sexual assault and harassment claims against Cuomo will end up in criminal court.

PHOTO OF THE DAY

Writer Joan Didion waits in Doe Library at UC Berkeley.
A portrait of Joan Didion. The author, who died Dec. 23, waits in Doe Library for an appearance at UC Berkeley in early 2020. Read author-editor Seyward Darby’s touching tribute.
(Robert Durell/Los Angeles Times)

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Meow! Robert Pattinson’s Batman spars with Zoë Kravitz’s Catwoman in a new trailer. “The Batman” opens March 4 and will be one of the first Warner Bros. films to debut exclusively in theaters since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Andrew Garfield, Oscar Isaac and more reveal their most daunting experiences on set. COVID-19 complicated matters for Isaac in bouncing between two films. Javier Bardem talks of being overwhelmed by his castmates. And Garfield and Peter Dinklage talk about having to burst out into song.

Why Ann Dowd and Martha Plimpton felt so good when the filming of “Mass” was done. Written and directed by Fran Kranz, “Mass” revolves around two sets of parents facing the unbearable repercussions of a school shooting, and takes place largely in one room.

BUSINESS

Customer support has become a crowded battlefield in enterprise technology. The future is centered on artificial intelligence, and software vendors such as Microsoft and Salesforce are rushing to arm organizations with tools to create one-stop service centers.

Logan Paul, one of the most famous YouTubers in the world, has traded in the platform for Subify. Part of Subify’s pitch is that there’s almost no limit on what celebrities can post. In an era when social media censorship is a top-of-mind concern for everyone, including content creators and members of Congress, it’s a vision with appeal to some. But it also raises a lot of messy, ethically fraught questions.

Rescuing the languages that Western tech ignores. American tech giants don’t have a great track record of making their language technology work well outside the wealthiest markets. A coalition of African researchers is trying to change that.

SPORTS

UCLA “lied,” N.C. State coach claims after the Holiday Bowl is canceled hours before kickoff. About five hours before kickoff, the Bruins learned their matchup was canceled because of worsening COVID-19 issues. The late notice touched off anger and conspiracy theories among the Wolfpack, with coach Dave Doeren describing a lack of communication from UCLA regarding the possibility that the Bruins would be unable to play.

Angels’ Shohei Ohtani is named AP male athlete of the year. The unanimous American League MVP put together a season like no other in the past century of his sport.

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OPINION

Yes, there are problems with Prop. 47 and $0 bail. Just not what you think. Debunked tropes about California’s justice reforms supposedly causing crime keep coming up. They were false when crime was dropping, and they’re just as false now.

Gov. Gavin Newsom can have a historic “Sotomayor moment” by appointing a Latina to the state Supreme Court. In a state where 20% of the population is Latina, one has never served on the state Supreme Court. The governor has the opportunity to correct this omission by naming a Latina to fill the vacancy left by Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar.

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

2021 IN REVIEW

2021 tried to start on a unified note but soon fell to the pandemic’s contentious chorus. The coronavirus had changed the world, and vaccines promised to change it back. With numbers like these, the shutdowns would end. Shuttered schools, businesses, restaurants would reopen, the silence and isolation would soon be over. Little did we suspect that we would become our own worst enemy.

Rediscovering the L.A. Times’ investigative reporting from 2021. Last year, Los Angeles Times journalists demonstrated their commitment to truth-telling in tens of thousands of stories, graphics, photographs, videos, podcasts, social media posts and other types of content.

ONLY IN CALIFORNIA

Cattle ranching is a top industry in northeastern Lassen County, home of Susanville. And in the rural area around that town, cattle and other large animals frequently break out of fences and pose a hazard to drivers, say officers with the local California Highway Patrol office. They easily field four or five calls a week about cattle that are doubling as road hazards.

An officer went out on one such call recently to shoo a cow away from the roadway. But the cow decided to shoo him. The bovine dealt the officer a “glancing blow,” according to a CHP spokesperson — which sounds rather mild. But watch the dashcam video and you’ll see what the officer saw: 2,000 pounds of charging animal. Neither the officer nor the cow were seriously hurt.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

A woman holds dollar bills, 10s and 20s in front of four small stacks of cash.
Dec. 29, 1963: A bank teller with cash equaling the average annual income of Valley families in 1963.
(Los Angeles Times)

Fifty-eight years ago today, The Times ran an article on prosperity in the San Fernando Valley. “The full story of one of the world’s fastest-growing areas is being acted out down on the Valley floor in the clatter of new lumber and the rumble of ready-mix concrete trucks that are helping to build apartment houses and homes and factories and stores and offices in a frantic effort to keep a step ahead of a population influx which continues to astound officials.”

The photo above of “Mrs. Joe Melton” accompanied the article and included the average income of Valley families in that year: $8,736.

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at headlines@latimes.com. — Elvia Limón and Amy Hubbard


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