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Runyon Canyon Is Closing For Fourth Of July To Slow Coronavirus Spread

File: Chuck McCarthy chats with his client Anie Dee (R) as they walk in the Hollywood Hills, May 24, 2018 in Runyon Canyon Park in Los Angeles. (Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images)

Woe are the many L.A. dogs that looked forward to leaving their mark on Runyon Canyon this weekend. Y'all couldn't stay away and keep it from getting crowded, so the popular hiking spot has been added to the list of closures this holiday weekend. Runyon will be closed starting at 5 p.m. Friday and all day Saturday for the Fourth of July. L.A. City Councilman David Ryu made the announcement late Friday afternoon.

The closure is designed to keep crowds away and help slow the spread of COVID-19. Concerns over hikers' ability to socially distance led officials to reopen Runyon later than the rest of the city's trails.

There were multiple calls earlier in the day on social media for Runyon Canyon to be closed, and people ended up getting their wish.

So you're going to have to find a different trail to walk or run. Make sure to wear a mask and socially distance so that trail doesn't get shut down, too. Or maybe just go walk or run around your neighborhood.

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31 Major League Baseball Players Test Positive For COVID-19

Dodgers President/CEO Stan Kasten walks onto the field at a summer workout in preparation for a shortened MLB season during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic at Dodger Stadium on Friday. (Harry How/Getty Images)

Before umpires could tell Major League players to "play ball" and the shortened, fan-less season gets underway, 31 MLB players have tested positive for COVID-19. It remains unknown if the Dodgers were one of the teams affected. Workouts and "full baseball activities" start today, according to the league.

Of the 3,185 samples collected and tested, there were 38 positives: 1.2% of the total. That includes both players and office staff — seven of the positives were staff members. Major League Baseball and the pro sport's Players Association made the announcement in a joint statement Friday.

Nineteen out of 30 teams had one or more people who tested positive, but which teams and players remain unknown. Health privacy laws will keep fans guessing — though everyone will be watching the injured list to see potential candidates.

The MLB’s positivity rate is significantly lower than the nation’s as a whole, which is currently above 7% over the past week, according to Johns Hopkins University. California's own positivity rate is above 6% over the past two weeks. It compares to a 5.3% positivity rate among NBA players in early testing and a 2.7% positivity rate among Major League Soccer players.

The plan for MLB players is to have anyone who tests positive self-isolate immediately, then be treated according to protocols agreed upon by the league and the players union.

The news follows the announcement Friday morning that the MLB All-Star Game, which was supposed to be hosted by the Dodgers in Los Angeles, was officially cancelled. Next year's All-Star Game is already set for Atlanta, so the new plan is to bring the game back to L.A. in 2022. This year's shortened season starts in three weeks.

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No, President Trump, Testing Isn't Causing California's Case Counts to Rise

Tests vs. positive cases in California. (The COVID Tracking Project)

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have repeatedly attributed the increase in the coronavirus case count in the United States to an increase in testing.

“We’re doing so much testing, so much more than any other country,” Trump said in an interview with CBN News on Monday. “And to be honest with you, when you do more testing, you find more cases. And then they report our cases are through the roof.”

“I would just encourage you all, as we talk about these things, to make sure and continue to explain to your citizens the magnitude of increase in testing,” Pence said on a call with the nation’s governors last week, according to audio obtained by The New York Times. “And that in most of the cases where we are seeing some marginal rise in number, that’s more a result of the extraordinary work you’re doing.”

Charles Ornstein and Ash Ngu of ProPublica took a hard look at those claims and found the assertions were not backed up by the data.

The found California is among a handful of states that saw "increases in both testing and in positive results that roughly tracked each other, though the increase in positive cases outpaced the increase in testing."

ProPublica also found that positive cases in California "had recently pulled away from any increase in testing."

The bottom line:

While it is true that there has been a dramatic increase in testing since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, the increase in positive cases in recent weeks cannot be attributed to the rise in testing alone.


DTLA's Anime Expo's Still Happening This 4th Of July Weekend — Just Online, For Free


Anime Expo is one of Los Angeles's biggest fan conventions, with more than 100,000 anime otakus packing the L.A. Convention Center every July to celebrate the Japanese animation style. The event rivals Comic-Con for size and intensity of fan devotion. Except this year, because, well, COVID-19.

Instead, the convention is packing a virtual convention center for a slimmed down livestream event, "Anime Expo Lite" — and unlike Anime Expo, it's free. The Lite version of AX (as it's affectionately known) runs Friday and Saturday online, as opposed to its usual four-day-long analog extravaganza. And you can watch the main stream above.

The virtual convention had some technical difficulties starting out — its YouTube stream was pulled almost immediately for violating the site’s terms of service, but they’ve since gotten back online. You can watch the full livestream above, with events on multiple channels until midnight Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

The panels include interviews with creators and voice actors, socially distanced cosplay, Japanese culture from calligraphy and cooking to karate, and more. The guests range from hardcore cosplayers to the stars of iconic anime like Sailor Moon and Naruto. Some of the panels are pre-taped, though there’s still plenty of live programming too.

People dress in costume to attend the 24th annual Anime Expo in Los Angeles, California on July 2 , 2015, the largest Anime convention in North America. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

One of the biggest parts of attending a convention like Anime Expo is geeking out with other fans who love what you love, or learning more about it from the most devoted. Beyond comments on the video streams and social media, the convention is also offering some panels in virtual meeting rooms that include features like interactive Q&As, allowing for some semblance of that in-person interaction.

There’s even a virtual version of Artist Alley for you to browse and shop for art or a custom commission. And dozens of companies are exhibiting their wares in a virtual exhibition hall — you can buy anime, toys, cosplay attire, Japanese fashion, and more.

The shortened convention will be running programming on YouTube, Twitch, and in interactive online meeting rooms. You can find the full schedule here. So get your best cosplay on at home and get in front of a screen faster than a Naruto run. It may also give a bit of a preview of what to expect later this month when San Diego Comic-Con launches its own free virtual convention.

Oh, and this might be a little scary in these times given all the images of fans packed very tightly together, but they've also put together a video simulating the experience of waiting for the convention to start in the crowded lobby — check that out right here:

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Looking To Blow Off Steam This Fourth Of July Weekend? Maybe Don’t Blow Stuff Up

File: Fireworks explode over the Rose Bowl during the 4th of July Taste of America, July 4, 2003. (Photo by Steve Grayson/WireImage) Steve Grayson/WireImage

For a lot of us, Fourth of July weekend means grilling, hanging out with friends — and, of course, fireworks. But this year, at least in Southern California, one might reconsider blowing stuff up in the name of freedom.

Don’t get us wrong, we want to see things go boom too. Especially after nearly four months of Groundhog Day-style lockdowns. So we’re not going to tell you not to light those Crackling Balls, Widowmakers, and Fat Cats.

That’s Los Angeles City Fire Captain Eric Scott’s job. Here’s what he said when we checked in with him this morning:

“We understand that the Fourth Of July is a time to celebrate with family and friends, and fireworks historically are a big part of the fun. And we get that. But we see the other side, and that’s the fires that increase, that fireworks will go off into trees, or spread into the nearby grass, or get into the brush and hillsides.”

From a weather standpoint, it’s not a good time for sparks to fly. Besides low humidity and temperatures in the 90s this weekend, there’ll be wind gusts in some places up to 30 miles per hour — the key ingredient for fast fire spread. That adds up to Elevated Fire Weather, per the National Weather Service.

We’ve already seen sizable fires pop up and tear through dry grass and brush over the past few weeks in places like Agua Dulce near Santa Clarita. Not to mention the devastating brushfire in Niland, which destroyed 40 homes and resulted in one death. So, maybe listen to the fire captain, OK?

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FilmWeek: Our Reviews Of ‘Hamilton,’ ‘The Truth,’ ‘John Lewis: Good Trouble’ And More

Disney is releasing a live capture film of the original Broadway production of "Hamilton," starring Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Courtesy of The Walt Disney Studios)

Every week, Larry Mantle, who also hosts our newsroom's longtime public affairs show AirTalk, and KPCC film critics spend an hour talking about new films.

This week, Amy Nicholson and Christy Lemire join Larry to review this weekend’s new movie releases and share some of their recommendations:


  • Available on Disney+

Here’s Christy’s review:

“What they achieve here is really putting you in even better than the best seat in the house. They’ve got 9 cameras all over the theatre, they’ve got 100 mics, and so you can appreciate it as a stage production but you really get a sense of intimacy and just the detail in the performances, in the songs, that no ticket could buy you. And I don’t think you’re losing out that much on the shared, communal, theatrical experience.”

“The Truth”

  • Available on iTunes, Google Play & Vudu

Amy says:

“I was a little disappointed. It feels like Kore-eda used his awesome clout and this attention he’s getting to make kind of the standard picture I feel like we get a dozen of every year, which is it’s a family, they’re inside a lovely villa (this one’s in France) and they’re arguing about past injuries and everybody’s drinking wine and there’s a lot of sniping and back-biting, and eventually there’s a group hug sort of moment. And that’s basically what this is, but at least you have the benefit of terrific actors.”

“John Lewis: Good Trouble”

Christy had this to say:

“This is very much a love letter to John Lewis, who very much deserves that. The director...doesn’t really press him on anything, she doesn’t really ask any uncomfortable questions. She does conduct some interviews with him in a way that is reminiscent of Errol Morris’ interviewing style in that it allows him the opportunity to look straight into the camera and talk, and just the warmth and the wisdom that he has to impart are quite impactful.”

“Fire on the Hill”

Amy’s review:

“This is a great documentary, a really local story that I hope people check out. It’s not just a story about the Compton Cowboys, who deserve to be recognized, it’s really well done. The editing is gorgeous, the cinematography is gorgeous, it is a really high-class documentary.”

Listen above to hear more in-depth reviews of these films and more:



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Orange County School Board Promises Reopening Guidance That Won’t Require Mask Use, Social Distancing

(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Several elected members of the Orange County Board of Education — who’ve voiced skepticism about the scientific consensus that masks help prevent the spread of COVID-19 — are preparing to issue guidance to schools as they explore reopening this fall.

Board members promise the forthcoming guidance will advise OC schools that “requiring children to wear masks during school is … not based on science and could be potentially harmful.

Another guiding principle that will shape the guidance: requiring students to maintain social distancing is “unacceptable.”

Those guidelines in particular have touched off a backlash. In a letter last week, more than 600 critics accused the board of “gross misinterpretation of the available evidence” about masks and social distancing.

But on another point that will shape Orange County board members’ forthcoming guidance, even their letter-writing critics “wholeheartedly” agree: “Delaying the opening of public schools … is unacceptable.”

What do public health experts say about masks, social distancing and school reopening? Read our full story >>

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Morning Briefing: Celebrating Independence A Different Way

Last year's fireworks as seen over Los Alamitos Army Airfield during the 4th of July Fireworks Extravaganza. Senior Airman Crystal Housman via Creative Commons/Flickr

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This weekend is the 4th of July, but overwhelming sentiment on social media says that the holiday is essentially canceled as protests against our country’s deeply entrenched racism continue. The news that an American soldier, 21-year-old Vanessa Guillen, was brutally murdered on base after family members accused Army officials of dragging their feet on an investigation has only added fuel to the fire.

In California, there’s not much we can or should be doing anyway, as the official recommendations are to stay home this weekend. So, maybe now is a good time for some serious self-reflection.

We're halfway through 2020, one of our country's most tumultuous years in recent history. What do you want to see change in the second half of the year and in the years ahead? Independence, as any adult (hopefully) knows, comes with responsibility. So let’s celebrate this Independence Day by figuring out what ours is – and how we’re going to put it into action.

Keep reading for more on what’s happening in L.A. today, and stay safe out there.

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, July 3

Darren Fung is Chinese Canadian. His wife was born in Ghana. Lately, they’ve been at a loss to explain to their six-year-old son what’s happening in the world around him, and how people will see him as he matures.

Erick Galindo writes about the disappearance, death and discovery of missing soldier Vanessa Guillen, and why there’s typically less attention paid when women or girls who go missing are non-white.

More than a week after the Supreme Court upheld the DACA program, there is still no guidance from the feds on next steps, reports Josie Huang.

During a recently convened special meeting by the OC Board of Education, an "expert panel" made the following recommendation: "Requiring children to wear masks during school is not only impossible to implement but not based on science and could be potentially harmful. It’s therefore unacceptable." Kyle Stokes looks into who was on the panel, and whether there really is any science to that effect.

Every week, Larry Mantle, host of AirTalk, spends an hour talking with KPCC film critics about new releases. This week, it's Hamilton (yes, that Hamilton), The Truth, and more.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Reopening L.A.: The Rose Bowl Aquatics Center is making its pandemic comeback with appointment-only swimming, mandatory pre-swim showers, and fewer people per lane. Many workers are being called back in after months of furlough, but some don't want to return.

L.A. Schools: Deputy Chief Leslie Ramirez will serve as Interim Chief of the L.A. School Police department.

Coronavirus Updates: The governor used his last coronavirus press conference before the Fourth of July weekend to encourage everyone to wear masks and to avoid gathering with people outside their households. Private labs contracted by the county to conduct COVID-19 tests are not turning them around in a timely fashion.

A Pirate Party: In this week’s L.A. Diary, a previously-planned pirate party for a 5-year-old in West Covina was converted into a Zoom celebration, bringing together family from the Philippines and across the U.S., and a parade of well-wishers driving by the house.

Here’s What To Do: Join a watch party with Hannibal Burress, celebrate the 4th of July virtually with Grand Park and the Music Center, and more in this week’s best online and IRL events.

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Photo Of The Day

LAist visual journalist Chava Sanchez captured this moment of two young people chatting at a distance in Little Tokyo.

(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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