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Homeless Advocates Are Planning To Protest Tomorrow’s Echo Park Lake Clean-Up

Visitors pedal swan boats on Echo Park Lake. Andrew Cullen for LAist Andrew Cullen/Andrew Cullen for LAist

The city of L.A. is planning a clean-up at Echo Park Lake on Wednesday morning, which will occur in and around a homeless encampment that now includes approximately 60 residents. Protests are planned, with groups including the Democratic Socialists of America announcing their intent to show up at the park prior to the clean-up.

There have been a number of protests at the lake amid the evolving debate about how to best serve Los Angeles’ unhoused residents. In January, a similar clean-up at Echo Park Lake was met with protesters who blocked city vehicles and stood near tents.

In a statement, Councilmember Mitch O'Farrell’s office said that tomorrow’s action will be a “regular maintenance day to ensure safe accessibility of amenities for all park users, conduct outreach to those experiencing homelessness, and educate the public on the rules governed by the City Charter.”

In addition to clean-up crews, staff from the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority and L.A. Sanitation and Environment will be on hand.

Homeless sweeps have been the target of protests over the past year. Those who oppose them claim that they are ineffective and result in people’s belongings being lost, destroyed or confiscated.

KPCC/LAist will follow the story with a reporter on the scene Wednesday morning..

Coronavirus Quarantine Is Lifted At March Air Reserve Base

Some of travelers who had been quarantined at March Air Reserve Base toss their face masks to celebrate their pending release. (Courtesy of Riverside County Public Health Department)

Nearly 200 people who have been quarantined at an Air Force base in Riverside County are now free to return to their families.

The group had been flown in from China and placed under a 14-day federal quarantine as a precaution to protect against the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that started in the city of Wuhan.

“All 195 evacuees have completed final health check” and “pose no health risk,” said Dr. Nancy Knight with the Centers for Disease Control.

Knight said authorities have successfully pulled off the first quarantine in almost 60 years. She said the travelers won’t need any additional follow-up.

A photo released by the Riverside County Department of Public Health showed some members of the group flinging their surgical masks into the air in a scene reminiscent of a graduation ceremony.

The new virus, long referred to simply as the "novel coronavirus," now has an official name: COVID-19. It has surpassed the 2003 SARS outbreak in terms of fatalities.


The LA Zoo's First Baby Gorilla In 20 Years Is A Girl

Female Western Lowland Gorilla, N'djia, and her newborn baby girl. (Photo by Jamie Pham/Courtesy L.A. Zoo)

The Los Angeles Zoo announced its first gorilla birth in 20 years just a few weeks ago, but until now the gender wasn't known.

First-time mother N'djia, 25, gave birth to a baby girl on Jan. 18. She and the father, 32-year-old Kelly, are Western Lowland gorillas, a species that has become critically endangered because of illegal hunting, dwindling habitat and susceptibility to diseases like the Ebola virus, according to the zoo. The birth is part of a species survival program.

For the next four to six months, the baby girl will grow rapidly from her original birth weight of about 3 pounds. If you're lucky, you might be able to catch a glimpse of her clinging to mom while nursing and observing her surroundings.


County Supervisors Could Revamp LA’s Top Homelessness Agency

A homeless man sleeps on a bus bench on a hot day in Downtown Los Angeles. (Chava Sanchez/ LAist)

Last year was rough for L.A.'s Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), with homeless numbers going up, not down. Today the L.A. County Board of Supervisors is stepping in, and will vote on a proposal to re-evaluate and potentially restructure the embattled agency.

A number of issues have caused concerns, including

Created in 1993, LAHSA coordinates and manages funding for homelessness in the city and county. But it doesn't directly provide shelter, housing or services for homeless people.

The city of Los Angeles is also reassessing its approach to tackling homelessness, including LAHSA.

The motion by County Supervisors Kathryn Barger and Hilda Solis would give LAHSA a week to work with county agencies to identify the barriers to placing homeless people in permanent housing — and to offer potential solutions. LAHSA would have two months to offer bigger, structural changes to its governance.

The L.A. County Board of Supervisor's meeting starts at 9:30 a.m.


It’s Tuesday, Feb. 11 And Here Are The Stories We’re Following Today


We're withstanding another wind advisory through this evening -- which probably explains a rising number of allergy medicine requests on our newsroom Slack. Our friends at the National Weather Service say we can expect gusts as high as 45 mph through 9 p.m. from the coast to the "passes and canyons from Malibu to the Hollywood Hills."

They're also cautioning that unsecured objects may blow around. We advise taking extra precaution if you plan on wearing ruby slippers. And here's....

What We’re Covering Today:

  • Reporter Robert Garrova spoke by phone with a Santa Clarita couple stuck on a cruise ship docked in Japan. They're under a 2-week quaratine because more than 130 fellow passengers have now contracted coronavirus. Carl Goldman and Jeri Seratti-Goldman have been documenting their 2-week quarantine in Facebook videos
  • Plus, politics reporter Libby Denkmann and engagement editor Brianna Lee will be adding to our growing list of voter guides to help you prepare for the March 3 primary.
  • Sandwiches don't get more basic than cheese and bread, but a grilled cheese sandwich is so much more than the sum of its parts. Food contributor Anna Gragert has rounded up 13 of the best you'll find in L.A. (And we'd stack any of them up against our own Elina Shatkin's mastery of the medium.)

In Case You Missed It:

  • Another mountain lion that was part of a study in the Santa Monica Mountains has died. This one was killed on purpose -- and with permission from the state -- after at least a dozen livestock were killed.
  • The LAUSD school board races are heating up, with gobs of money being spent to influence the outcome. This year's already on track to match 2017's record spending.
  • Before L.A.'s new football stadium plays host to its first Super Bowl, it will serve as a massive stage for another spectacle: WrestleMania.
  • And you remember that LAPD scandal in which officers were suspected of falsifying records to put innocent people in the state gang database? Well, now the state's involved. Attorney General Xavier Becerra said his department will conduct an "independent audit and validation" of LAPD's entries.

Help Us Cover Your Community:

  • Got something you’ve always wanted to know about Southern California and the people who call it home? Is there an issue you want us to cover? Ask us anything >>
  • Have a tip about news on which we should dig deeper? Let us know >>

The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft.