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LA Has 13 New Mountain Lion Kittens (!!)

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Published
Two of the new mountain lion kittens doing their best Instagram poses (Santa Monica Mountains Flickr page)

Five dens and 13 kittens and that's a record. In recent months, National Park Service biologists have discovered the highest number of dens and most kittens since they began studying big cats in the Santa Monica Mountains and Simi Hills.

Jeff Sikich is one of the wildlife biologists who's been studying the local mountain lion population. He said all of the 13 kittens looked "good and healthy."

He told us:

"It's amazing, even at two or three weeks of age, they'll start to open their eyes. And they have this beautiful blue eyes. Even at a young age, though, they're still snarling at you."

Warning: this video is extremely cute overload and might make you cry a little.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Santa Monica Mountains (@santamonicamountainsnps) on

SEE THE REST OF THE KITTEN PHOTOS AND LEARN MORE HERE:

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WATCH: Understanding 'California City' And The Desert Boom That Wasn't With Our Podcast Host Emily Guerin

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For over 60 years, real estate developers have sold a dream in the California desert: If you buy land now, you will get rich one day. Thousands of people believed this dream, but much of the land they bought was nearly worthless.

Join us today for a special live virtual conversation in partnership with The Autry Museum of the American West featuring KPCC/LAist senior reporter and “California City” podcast host Emily Guerin, the Desert Oracle’s Ken Layne, and artist and curator Kim Stringfellow. Together they’ll explore who lives in the desert, their motivation for doing so, and how this obsession with getting rich off the desert came about.

JOIN VIA ZOOM:

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LA Metro Rolls Out New Touchless TAP App — For Now, Only For Apple Devices

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A passenger refills a TAP card at the Metro Red Line Station at Union during rush hour on March 23, 2020. (Chava Sanchez/ LAist)

A new way for Metro riders to get from point A to B with touchless fares rolled out today.

The Tap LA app lets riders swipe their smartphones or smart watches on Metro buses and rail stations for contactless payment — which also serves as an added barrier to prevent spread of the coronavirus.

An important caveat: the Tap LA app is only available for iPhone and Apple watch. An Android app is in the works.

If you do have a compatible device, the new system makes loading your Tap card much easier. Nadine Lee, Metro's chief of staff, told us once you've loaded the app with money it's like having a ticketing machine in the palm of your hand:

"All you have to do to board the bus or train is to put the device near the tap reader. Your fair will be promptly validated. There's no need to unlock it or to even wake the device."

Your remaining balance appears on the screen in real time. The app also has a regional trip planner.

The new app is being released the same week L.A. Metro launched an ambitious new initiative to study how to eliminate passenger fares on the transit system.

A task force got started on September 1, with the goal of having recommendations in place so Metro could go fare-free at the start of 2021.

Why now? Metro CEO Phillip Washington said the pandemic is having on outsized impact on communities of color and low-income residents, who make up the majority of Metro’s ridership.

The agency is also hoping to get people back on the system, which lost roughly 70% of its ridership when local stay-at-home orders were enacted. Right now, Metro service levels are at about 80% of what they were before the pandemic and ridership has ticked up to about 50% as the recovery process continues.

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How To Stay Cool During A Scorching Hot Labor Day Weekend

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Published
Palm trees silhouetted against a California sunset. (Stock photo by Molly Martirez Via Unsplash)

Southern California is expecting another scorching heat wave this weekend. The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat warning for parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties starting Friday and running through Labor Day.

The hottest day is expected to be Sunday, when the San Gabriel and San Fernando valleys could hit 115 degrees.

David Sweet with the National Weather Service says the lack of sea breezes means the beaches will also be warmer than usual.

"Even locations on the coast, especially on Sunday, are going to be looking at high temperatures anywhere from 85 to 95, even right near the beaches."

For tips on preventing heat-related illnesses, you can watch this painfully cool video from the L.A. Fire Department:

As always, county and city agencies will open cooling centers for vulnerable populations. Space is limited because of the pandemic, so check before you go.

COOLING CENTER LOCATIONS

The following list of cooling centers is courtesy of the county's emergency website, Ready LA County.

Los Angeles County

(Trained service dogs welcome, according to the county)

Quartz Hill Library
Wednesday, September 2, 2020 to Sunday, September 6, 2020
12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
5040 W. Ave. M-2, Quartz Hill, CA 93356

Salazar Park
Friday, September 4, 2020 to Sunday, September 6, 2020
12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
3864 Whittier Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90023

Sunshine Park
Friday, September 4, 2020 to Sunday, September 6, 2020
12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
515 Deepmead Ave., La Puente, CA 91744

Valleydale Park
Friday, September 4, 2020 to Sunday, September 6, 2020
12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
5525 N. Lark Ellen Ave., Azusa, CA 91702

Stevenson Ranch Library
Wednesday, September 2, 2020 to Sunday, September 6, 2020
12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
25950 The Old Rd., Stevenson Ranch, CA 91381

City of El Monte

El Monte Community Center
Saturday, September 5, 2020 to Sunday, September 6, 2020
12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
3130 Tyler Ave., El Monte, CA 91731

City of Glendale

Griffith Manor Park
Friday, September 4, 2020 and Tuesday, September 8, 2020
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
1551 Flower St., Glendale, CA 91201

Pacific Community Center
Saturday, September 5, 2020 to Monday, September 7, 2020
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
501 S. Pacific Ave., Glendale, CA 91204

City of Palmdale

Chimbole Cultural Center
Wednesday, September 2, 2020 to Tuesday, Septmber 8, 2020
12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
38350 Sierra Hwy., Palmdale, CA 93550

City of San Fernando

Las Palmas Park
Friday, September 4, 2020 to Tuesday, September 8, 2020
10:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
505 S. Huntington St., San Fernando, CA 91340

City of Burbank

Buena Vista Library
Friday, September 4, 2020 to Monday, September 7, 2020
12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
300 N. Buena Vista St., Burbank, CA 91505

City of Pasadena

Robinson Park
Friday, September 4, 2020 to Monday, September 7, 2020
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
1081 N. Fair Oaks Ave., Pasadena, CA 91003

City of Lancaster

Museum of Art and History
Ongoing
10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
665 W. Lancaster Blvd., Lancaster, CA 93534

City of Torrance

Ken Miller Recreational Center
Saturday, September 5, 2020 to Sunday, September 6, 2020
12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
3341 Torrance Blvd., Torrance, CA 90503

City of San Dimas

Senior Center/Community Center
Thursday, September 3, 2020 to Thursday, September 10, 2020
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
201 E. Bonita Ave., San Dimas, CA 91773

City of Glendora

Crowther Teen & Family Center
Friday, September 4, 2020 to Monday, September 7, 2020
10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
241 W. Dawson Ave., Glendora, CA 91740

KNOW BEFORE YOU GO:

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Rethinking Of LA's Homeless Services Authority Likely

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Published
Homelessness on Skid Row (James Bernal/LAist)

Faced with a mounting homelessness crisis, Los Angeles politicians are considering reforming the L.A. Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA), the agency that is tasked with managing the crisis.

This week, the L.A. County Board of Supervisors approved a proposal to potentially rethink how LAHSA works. It’s the third such proposal this year.

Precisely how — or even if — LAHSA may be restructured is unclear. But all the various efforts to reform the agency have been aligned, and will likely be presented to the public later this year or early next.

LAHSA coordinates and manages approximately $400 million annually in federal, state, county and city funds. It’s responsible for overseeing the regional case management system, a substantial amount of contract management related to homeless services, and executing the annual homeless count, among other responsibilities.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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LADWP Rushes To Fix Methane Leak They'd Known About For Months

Updated
Published
The Valley Generating Station in Sun Valley (Courtesy LADWP)

Equipment at a Los Angeles Department of Water and Power generating plant in the San Fernando Valley has been leaking natural gas for months, and staff knew about it. But they didn’t make the leak public until scientists flying overhead on a methane mapping mission noticed it.

Workers at the Valley Generating Station in Sun Valley found the leak in a compressor back in the spring. The compressor had been installed in 2015 to replace older equipment that also leaked gas. LADWP ordered parts and planned repairs for November.

Why wait so long? Summertime is when air conditioning puts peak demands on the power grid.

Southern California will be in the sweaty grip of a heat wave this Labor Day weekend. And that’s when every bit of generating power the city can find will be put to use, if not for city residents, then to share outside city limits in Southern California Edison territory, to help reduce the chance of rolling power outages.

Not a good time to shut down for repairs.

In the meantime, DWP allowed the equipment to continue leaking. At about 100 kilograms of gas per hour, the utility considered the leak small enough to be “incidental emissions that are not generally subject to regulation or permitting.”

But then, scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab detected the leak in July and early August while using special aircraft-mounted cameras to map methane emissions. JPL scientists notified LADWP about it on Aug. 21. It was part of a statewide survey to map leaks.

That’s when DWP finally went public. Environmentalists complained that even at the level detected the plant was polluting the area and adding to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council also called for an explanation.

The DWP now says temporary repairs should be done by Friday, and a permanent fix completed later this year after the temperatures cool.

PAST COVERAGE OF GAS LEAKS

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The New Landmark Towering Above Long Beach Port

Updated
Published
The Gerald Desmond Replacement Bridge with all 80 cables in place. (Courtesy Port of Long Beach)

The new Gerald Desmond Replacement Bridge rising above the Port of Long Beach is tall and sleek, nothing like the aging bridge it was built to replace.

Built to freeway standards, it will become the southern end of the 710, connecting Long Beach and Terminal Island.

At night the new bridge’s supporting cables will be lit up with different colors themed to civic holidays, visible across the L.A. basin.

The old bridge, which opened in 1968, is more of a squat, steel structure. But it's too narrow for today’s volume of truck traffic, and is losing chunks of concrete from the underside. It will be demolished after the new bridge opens.

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THIS $1.5 BILLION DOLLAR PROJECT

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Morning Briefing: It’s Going To Be Hot (Again)

Updated
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Sunny afternoon surrounded by palm trees in Venice Beach California. Guillaume Bassem Via Unsplash

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After a lovely respite from the heat this week, high temperatures are about to come back with a vengeance. According to the National Weather Service, many regions in SoCal will reach triple digits this weekend, far hotter than usual at this time of year.

"Temperatures this high, and this widespread, are rarely ever seen in this area,” NWS meteorologists said in a recent statement.

To give you an idea of what to expect: Woodland Hills could reach 115 degrees, Burbank could hit 110, downtown L.A. could break 100 and beach towns could get up to 90 degrees. The NWS is calling the weather “exceptionally dangerous,” given the holiday weekend and the pandemic.

So do your best to remain indoors, drink plenty of water – and of course, if you do go out, wear a mask.

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, September 3

This fall, a massive new $1.5 billion bridge rising above the Port of Long Beach will open to the public, reports Sharon McNary. And when it’s lit at night to celebrate civic holidays – like a future Dodgers World Series win! – it will become a familiar landmark visible for miles.

McNary also has the story of a natural gas leak at an L.A. Department of Water and Power generating plant in the Valley, which staff knew about. But they didn’t make the leak public until scientists flying on a methane mapping mission noticed it.

Corpse flowers, samba lessons, mint juleps and more. Christine N. Ziemba has this week’s best online and IRL events.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

L.A. History: Charlotta Bass published an influential Black newspaper, ran for Congress, helped found the Progressive Party and spent most of her life fighting for social justice. KPCC/LAist reporter Emily Guerin discusses what she learned while making California City, a podcast about a development in the Mojave Desert where salespeople once made tens of millions of dollars hawking empty land to unsuspecting buyers.

Policing Law Enforcement: A video of L.A. Sheriff's deputies fatally shooting Dijon Kizzee on Monday has surfaced, showing Kizzee struggling with one deputy before that deputy and another deputy open fire. They continue shooting after Kizzee falls to the ground.

Hair’s Looking At You: L.A.'s hair salons and barbershops are allowed to reopen indoor service at 25% capacity (but that could change after the holiday weekend).

Money Matters: A group of California charter schools sued the state, saying the COVID-era K-12 funding procedure is unconstitutionally denying them money. The L.A. City Council declared a fiscal emergency, clearing the way for buyouts for about 1,300 employees and furloughs of approximately 16,000 workers.

A Podcasting Journey: On this week’s episode of Servant of Pod with Nick Quah, we learn about Paul Bae's journey from actor to stand-up comedian to preacher to podcast creator and back again.

It’s Hot: Starting this Friday Southern California will heat up with temperatures reaching triple digits over the weekend.


Photo Of The Day

A student writes on a divider used for socially distanced learning at Westwood STAR Tutoring & Enrichment Center.

(Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

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This post has been updated to reflect changes in what's coming up for today.


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