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4.5 Magnitude Quake Hits LA

Updated
Published
Orange star marks the epicenter of a quake that hit L.A. late Friday night. (Screenshot via USGS)

An earthquake struck east of downtown Los Angeles at 11:38 p.m. According to the U.S. Geological Survey the quake hit about 2 miles southwest of South El Monte and had a preliminary magnitude of 4.5.

Initial reports have the earthquake's magnititude, which has since been revised downward twice which is not uncommon as scientists assess the data coming in from their monitors.

Seismologist Lucy Jones reported from Pasadana via Twitter:

"Still getting everything processed, but it was a pretty good jolt here in Pasadena"

As Jones noted in her Tweet, it's the same location of the deadly 1989 Whittier Narrows quake. That temblor killed eight people and caused $360 million in damage.

The USGS is asking for people if they felt the quake, information they use to determine the range of the shaking.

THE BIG ONE IS COMING. GET PREPARED

We don't want to scare you, but the Big One is coming. We don't know when, but we know it'll be at least 44 times stronger than Northridge and 11 times stronger than the Ridgcrest quakes last year. To help you get prepared, we've compiled a handy reading list

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Dies At 87

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Published
File: Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg greets participants at an annual Women's History Month reception hosted by Pelosi in the U.S. capitol building on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. (Allison Shelley/Getty Images)

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the demure firebrand who in her 80s became a legal, cultural and feminist icon, died Friday. The Supreme Court announced her death, saying the cause was complications from metastatic cancer of the pancreas.

The court, in a statement, said Ginsburg died at her home in Washington surrounded by family.

Architect of the legal fight for women's rights in the 1970s, Ginsburg subsequently served 27 years on the nation's highest court, becoming its most prominent member. Her death will inevitably set in motion what promises to be a nasty and tumultuous political battle over who will succeed her, and it thrusts the Supreme Court vacancy into the spotlight of the presidential campaign.

Just days before her death, as her strength waned, Ginsburg dictated this statement to her granddaughter Clara Spera: "My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed."

She knew what was to come. Ginsburg's death will have profound consequences for the court and the country. Inside the court, not only is the leader of the liberal wing gone, but with the Court about to open a new term, Chief Justice John Roberts no longer holds the controlling vote in closely contested cases.

READ THE FULL STORY:

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California’s Unemployment Rate Falls, But Many Job Gains May Not Last

Updated
Published
Unemployment fell in a state jobs report released on Sept. 18, 2020. (California Employment Development Department)

California’s unemployment rate dropped to 11.4% in August, according to a new jobs report released Friday by the state’s Employment Development Department (EDD).

For the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the state’s unemployment rate is now below the 12.3% peak seen during the Great Recession.

However, many of August’s job gains will only be temporary. And Los Angeles County’s unemployment rate continues to be among the highest in the state.

California added close to 102,000 jobs last month. Government employment posted the biggest gains, driven in large part by temporary hiring for the 2020 U.S. Census.

In contrast, the hard-hit leisure and hospitality industry continued to see layoffs. Close to 15,000 jobs vanished from businesses such as restaurants and hotels. L.A. County’s economy relies more heavily on employment in this sector. Local joblessness remained high at 16.1% while many other parts of the state have returned to single-digit unemployment figures.

Employment attorney and former EDD director Michael Bernick said California appears to be past the worst of the job devastation wrought by the pandemic. But other indicators suggest the state’s economic recovery has stalled.

“Job postings are down more than nationwide and consumer spending is way down,” Bernick said.

California continues to receive hundreds of thousands of new unemployment filings every week, Bernick noted, though he warned that some of those claims may be fraudulent.

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Bobcat Fire: First Structure Claimed By The Flames; New Evacuation Orders

Updated
Published
The Bobcat Fire continues to burn through the Angeles National Forest on Sept. 17, 2020. (Kyle Grillot/AFP via Getty Images)

This story is no longer being actively updated. Get the latest news on the fire >>

Jump to: Basics | Evacuations | Air Quality | About Mt. Wilson | Additional Resources

The Bobcat Fire in the Angeles National Forest continues to grow in the firefight's 13th day.

The flames have been rapidly spreading north, prompting new evacuation orders and warnings for communities in the Angeles National Forest and foothills near the High Desert.

This afternoon, fire officials reported the fire was "making a hard push" into the Valyermo area, fueled by winds exceeding 30 mph. Hand crews and aircraft are working to slow the spread.

They're also warning that firefighters are doing "all they can to reduce the fire spread" in the Juniper Hills area — but according to ABC7, the Bobcat Fire has claimed its first structure, and more homes are likely building in the area.

At the start of today's firefight, authorities said their "primary focus will be to respond to and address the threats to the communities on the north end of the fire. A combination of air and ground resources will work at halting the fire’s forward progress while having structure protection in place."

Here's what else we know about the fire so far today.

THE BASICS [As of late Friday, Sept. 18]

  • Acreage: 72,757 acres
  • Containment: 15%
  • Resources deployed: 1,663 firefighters

The fire erupted on Sept. 6 near the Cogswell Dam and then spread rapidly amid an intense, record-breaking heat wave, prompting evacuation orders for Mt. Wilson Observatory. The cause is under investigation.

The blaze jumped Highway 2 earlier in the week and continues to rapidly advance north, threatening communities in the northern foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. Firefighters shifted resources there and are working to keep the fire south of Pearblossom after it reached Juniper Hills Thursday.

To the east, flames pushed downhill toward the San Gabriel Reservoir, leading to a new evacuation order for the San Gabriel Canyon area.

To the south, crews are mopping up and continue to patrol foothill communities.

Firefighters also continued to defend Mt. Wilson Observatory overnight as flames continued to threaten the facility. Hand crews and fire engines were used to protect the buildings, and firefighters set back fires to expand containment lines around the science station.

Cameras live-streaming from the peak showed just how close the fire got to the observatory, which is arguably one of the world's most important spots for scientific discovery.

Forest officials said Friday morning that the observatory is "still safe" and firefighters are focusing their efforts on the northern perimeter of the fire.

EVACUATIONS

Mandatory

Emergency officials issued evacuation orders for residents in the following areas:

  • North of Angeles Crest North and between Clear Creek Station and Highway 39
  • Juniper Hills
  • Devils Punchbowl
  • Paradise Springs
  • Area east of Devils Punch Bowl Road, south of the Big Pines Highway, north of the Big Rock Creek, and west of Jackson Lake
  • All areas east of Highway 39, South of East Fork Road, west of Glendora Mountain Road and north of Glendora Ridge Road

NEW:

  • South of Pearblossom Hwy, north of Big Pines Hwy, west of Largo Vista Rd, east of 165th St East
  • South of Fort Tejon Rd. west of Longview Rd, North of Colley Pl, and east of 89th St East
  • South of East Ave W-14, eest of 165th St East, north of Tumbleweed Rd, & east of Longview Rd.

"Residents in these areas should quickly gather their families and pets and head to your preplanned location outside of the fire evacuation zones," forest officials wrote on the fire incident page. "Residents must take these necessary steps to ensure your family’s safety. Delaying evacuation will prevent fire crews from suppression activities and compromise the safety of the public and first responders."

A firefighting aircraft drops the fire retardant Phos-Chek as the Bobcat Fire threatens nearby homes on Sept. 17, 2020 in Juniper Hills. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

Warnings

The mountain town of Wrightwood has been issued an evacuation warning.

Warnings also remain in effect for communities along the southern foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains:

  • Monrovia
  • Arcadia
  • Sierra Madre
  • Bradbury
  • Duarte
  • Pasadena
  • Altadena

"Residents should have evacuation plans in place, organize their emergency evacuation supplies, and have essential evacuation personal belongings easily accessible," U.S. Forest Service officials wrote on the fire incident page. "Vehicles should be fully fueled, facing out in their driveways and ready to leave."

Earlier evacuation orders for some residents in Arcadia and the adjacent city of Sierra Madre were lifted Wednesday afternoon.

Evacuation orders have been lifted for residents in the East Fork area, which includes Camp Williams and the River Community Center. Residents returning to their homes were advised to use Glendora Mountain Road, as State Route 39 remains closed.

SHELTER SITES

The Red Cross has established a temporary evaction point at Palmdale High School, 2137 East Avenue R. Accomodations for 300 large animals are available at the Antelope Valley Fairgrounds, 2551 W. Avenue H, Lancaster.

L.A. County officials said a shelter site for horses has been established at the Pomona Fairplex (entry at Gate 12).

CLOSURES

  • The Angeles National Forest remains closed through Sept. 21 — along with all other national forests in California
  • State Route 39 is closed at Old Gabriel Canyon Road to State Route 2
  • State Route 2 is closed from Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road to Big Pines
  • Upper Big Tujunga Canyon Road
  • Mt. Wilson Road
  • Glendora Mountain Road
  • Glendora Ridge Road

AIR QUALITY

The South Coast Air Quality Management District extended a smoke advisory through Saturday afternoon as unhealthy air continues to blanket much of the L.A. Basin and Inland Empire. It's not just local fires though; smoke is also making its way to us from wildfires in Northern California, Oregon and Washington.

Look up the latest air quality info for your area at airnow.gov.

ABOUT MT. WILSON

Firefighters on duty to protect Mt. Wilson Observatory and nearby broadcast towers as the Bobcat Fire burns in the Angeles National Forest on Sept. 17, 2020. (Frederic J. Brown/AFP via Getty Images)

The Mt. Wilson Observatory houses 18 telescopes, many of which were used to make some of the greatest astronomical discoveries of the last century. They include the 100 inch Hooker telescope that Edwin Hubble used in the 1920s to prove that our universe is still expanding.

Crews have been prepping structures near Mount Wilson. Retardant is also being placed around it.

Observatory Director Tom Meneghini said he's afraid they could be seriously impacted if the fire gets close enough.

"The heat can do irreparable damage. Our two big telescopes are historically significant and irreplaceable,” Meneghini said.

However, he said fires have gotten close before and the decades-old firefighting setup at the Observatory is ready to be used again. "We have an inground system of hoses and pumps," he said.

"We have half a million gallons of water ready to pump so that’s all been prepared for any fire professional to come in and take over."

The fire also threatens a seismic station that has recorded earthquake activity for 100 years, seismologist Lucy Jones said via Twitter.

Numerous television and radio stations have transmitters in the area, including our newsroom which broadcasts on the radio at 89.3 KPCC.

HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

Ryan Fonseca and Mike Roe are gathering updates on the fire.

This is a developing story. We fact check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (think fire, police, government officials and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, however, we make mistakes and/or initial reports turn out to be wrong. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:

FIRE RESOURCES

YOUR QUESTIONS OR IDEAS

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Emmys 2020: 'Even If It's A Train Wreck, That'll Be Good TV'

Updated
Published
Emmy Statue is seen in front of the Television Academy during the red carpet for the 68th Los Angeles Emmy Awards in North Hollywood in 2016. (Angela Weiss/AFP via Getty Images)

At the Emmys this Sunday, the TV industry will attempt to pull off the first big awards event of the COVID era — as a live, socially distanced, global broadcast.

Since the TV Academy wouldn’t give the Emmy producers the names of the winners in advance, they had to create a production plan that would allow them to capture the reactions of everyone in real time. They are deploying more than 140 camera crews across multiple time zones in the U.S. and overseas, including in Berlin, Tel Aviv and the UK.

“Even if it’s a train wreck, that’ll be good TV,” The Hollywood Reporter’s Rebecca Keegan told A Martinez, who hosts our newsroom's culture and local news show Take Two this week.

Jimmy Kimmel will serve as the emcee from downtown Los Angeles inside a largely vacant Staples Center. That location was chosen because it is big enough for the crew to be able to keep an appropriate distance from each other while handling all the data coming in and going out from those camera crews.

The task of creating cohesion in the midst of potential chaos falls on Kimmel. Fortunately he knows how to handle an unpredictable awards show, says Keegan.

Kimmel hosted the infamous year of “envelopegate” at the Academy Awards:

So he’s a guy who has experience rolling with it when things go wrong. I have faith that he knows what to do when one of these 140 camera crews maybe can’t get the shot that he’s waiting for.

The Emmys air live on ABC, Sunday Sept. 20 at 5 p.m. Pacific.

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El Dorado Fire: Firefighter Killed While Battling Blaze; More Than 21K Acres Burned

Updated
Published
Big Bear Hot Shots wait for the El Dorado Fire to drop to a roadway before going to work. (Courtesy San Bernardino National Forest)

This story is no longer being updated. Get the latest news on the fire >>

Jump to: Basics | Evacuations | Closures | Air Quality | Additional Resources

U.S. Forest Service officials say a firefighter has died while battling the El Dorado Fire.

The victim, reportedly a member of a "hotshot" team working in the Pinezanita area, went missing Thursday, prompting a search by law enforcement and firefighters.

Officials have not yet released the name of the firefighter pending notification of family. The cause of death is under investigation and officials say more details will be made available as they work to confirm what happened.

The wildfire continues to burn in the San Bernardino National Forest, forcing thousands of residents to flee their homes in mountain communities.

Here's what we know about the blaze so far today:

THE BASICS

  • Acreage: 22,071
  • Containment: 65%
  • Structures destroyed: 4 homes, 6 other structures
  • Structures damaged: 2 homes, 4 other structures
  • Residences evacuated: 3,467
  • Structures threatened: 26,031
  • Personnel: 1,351 firefighters
  • Deaths: one firefighter killed
  • Injuries: 12

The El Dorado Fire began on Saturday, September 5, with a bang — literally — when a firework from a gender reveal party in Yucaipa ignited a blaze that has threatened thousands of homes and caused the mandatory evacuation of tens of thousands of residents.

Officials say fire intensity increased along Highway 38 near Angelus Oaks. The roadway was being used as a containment line and firefighters had been able to keep the blaze south of it.

Crews are also actively protecting structures from the Pinezanita area east to Jenk Lake.

The fire has reached the burn scar of the 2015 Lake Fire but continues to advance north, fueled by upcanyon winds and aided by topography in the mountains.

Officials also report "spotting" about half a mile in front of the main body, meaning spot fires are igniting outside the fire perimeter. That distance has the potential to increase to about a mile later today, officials said.

Forest officials also had a message for residents who might be alarmed by what they're seeing north of Highway 38 on satellite imagery available online through Modis.

Modis is an instrument aboard the Terra and Aqua EOS Satellites and measure thermal and infrared detections. This can create confusion as anything emitting heat registers in Modis, including smoke AND fire-fighting equipment. What communities are perceiving as spot fires across Hwy 38 is likely smoke or equipment operating in the area. As of this update [just before 9a.m.], the El Dorado Fire has NOT crossed Highway 38.

EVACUATIONS

Mandatory evacuations remain in effect for the following communities (detailed map here):

  • Angelus Oaks
  • Seven Oaks
  • Barton Flats / Jenks Lake Area east to Onyx Summit

A Red Cross evacuation center is open at the Redlands East Valley High School, 31000 E. Colton Ave.

At noon today, evacuation orders were lifted for the communities of Mountain Home Village and Forest Falls, though both are still under an evacuation warning. A community meeting for residents there is slated for 4 p.m.

Big Bear residents are not currently under any evacuation warnings or orders, but local officials there have issued a fire advisory, asking residents "to closely monitor the El Dorado Fire, and take appropriate precautions based on your individual circumstances."

CLOSURES

CalFire Captain Fernando Herrera in his SUV along Highway 38 during the El Dorado Fire. (Sharon McNary/LAist)

Highway 38 remains closed between Bryant Street and Lake Williams Drive.

The San Bernardino National Forest remains closed through Sept. 21 — along with all other national forests in California.

AIR QUALITY

The South Coast Air Quality Management District extended a smoke advisory through Friday afternoon as unhealthy air continues to blanket much of the L.A. Basin and Inland Empire. It's not just local fires though; smoke is also making its way to us from wildfires in Northern California, Oregon and Washington.

Look up the latest air quality info for your area at airnow.gov.

CAUSE AND POSSIBLE CHARGES

The family behind the party where authorities say a pyrotechnic device was set off tried to put out the fire and called 911, but it was too late. They have cooperated with authorities, but Cal Fire spokesperson Captain Bennett Malloy says it's possible they could face misdemeanor charges:

"Some of the laws they could have broken: a public resource code where you cause a fire on somebody else's land, or, in California under a penal code, there's provisions for what's called recklessly causing a fire. And that may be the case with this fire, but that would be up to the district attorney to determine."

Prosecutors could pursue felony charges if someone is hurt or killed, or if homes are damaged by the fire, though no charges had been filed yet.

As of Friday, Sept. 18, one person has died, a dozen others have been injured and several homes and other structures have been destroyed or damaged.

Irvine attorney William Weinberg, who has defended people accused of setting wildland fires, says possible charges include homicide and manslaughter. Weinberg said it all depends on how much knowledge the person had about the fire risk of their actions.

He noted that a criminal sentence could force repayment of millions of dollars in restitution, forcing the person into bankruptcy. On top of that, the people who lost homes and property can file civil lawsuits of their own.

Charges against people accused of starting wildfires can vary widely depending on the circumstances of the fire and which agency is doing the charging.

For example, in January 2014, three men faced felony charges after a campfire they started to keep warm in the Angeles National Forest grew out of control. That was the beginning of the Colby Fire, which burned about 2,000 acres and destroyed several homes in Glendora. Two of those men were later sentenced to several months in federal prison.

Going further back, a man convicted of intentionally starting the Old Fire in 2003 was sentenced to death. Five people died of heart attacks as that blaze spread in the San Bernardino Mountains, burning some 90,000 acres and destroying more than 1,000 structures.

HOW WE’RE REPORTING ON THIS

Sharon McNary is reporting on the death of the firefighter and legal implications. Ryan Fonseca and Brian Frank have been helming the digital story.

This is a developing story. We fact check everything and rely only on information from credible sources (think fire, police, government officials and reporters on the ground). Sometimes, however, we make mistakes and/or initial reports turn out to be wrong. In all cases, we strive to bring you the most accurate information in real time and will update this story as new information becomes available.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES:

For the latest information straight from local emergency officials, check the following websites and social media accounts:

FIRE RESOURCES

YOUR QUESTIONS OR IDEAS

After One Teacher Tried To Decide His Fate, Others Stepped In -- And Let Him Decide It For Himself

Updated
Published
Jervey Tervalon was born in New Orleans but moved to the Jefferson Park neighborhood of Los Angeles with his family as a boy. Here, he's pictured as a young man in 1980. (Courtesy Jervey Tervalon)

Jervey Tervalon grew up in L.A.'s Jefferson Park neighborhood, where his family settled after moving here from New Orleans. As a child, he writes, he wasn't always appreciated by educators. One teacher who claimed he had "a serious learning disability and free-floating hostility" suggested that he be held back -- to which his mother responded by pulling him out of that school.

He's glad that she did, because at his new school he met Mr. Martin, a tough teacher who set him on the path toward defining his own future. Tervalon writes:

He was doing his best to prepare us for the attrition that was coming: that some of us would be spirited away to while away our lives behind bars — and this was only the second grade.

He'd constantly admonish us about the importance of education, and that if we didn't educate ourselves, we were going to live bad lives and go to jail or worse.

Now a successful author, Tervalon remembers the teachers who cared.

READ THE ESSAY:

MORE FROM OUR RACE IN LA SERIES

Morning Briefing: L.A. County Sheriff Called On To Resign

Updated
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Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputies stand in formation defending the South Los Angeles Sheriff’s station in the face of protests of the shooting and killing of Dijon Kizzee. (Brian Feinzimer) Brian Feinzimer/Brian Feinzimer

Never miss a morning briefing. Subscribe today to get our A.M. newsletter delivered to your inbox.

Good morning, L.A.

At today’s meeting of the L.A. County Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission, commissioner Robert Bonner called on Sheriff Alex Villanueva to resign. Noting that he made the call with “great reluctance,” Bonner nevertheless went on to lay out the reasons for his request.

They include Villanueva’s repeated attempts to avoid oversight by Inspector General Max Huntsman, the lack of enforcement of the Sheriff’s own policy that prohibits deputies from joining secret cliques inside the department, and his contentious relationship with the Board of Supervisors, among other perceived transgressions.

Bonner went on to say that Villanueva has “demonstrated on multiple occasions that he lacks the judgement needed to be the sheriff, and that he's unable to provide the leadership needed by the Sheriff's Department."

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, September 18

Contributor Jervey Tervalon reflects on his childhood in Jefferson Park and the teachers who could have decided his future — and one who let him have that future back.

Caroline Champlin takes a deep dive into what’s at stake for L.A. in the 2020 Census, and how a lawsuit that's playing out in federal court may or may not change things.

David Wagner reports on the state's new unemployment numbers, which are out today.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Wildfires: The Bobcat fire has burned 50,539 acres in the Angeles National Forest and is at 3% containment. The El Dorado fire has burned 18,506 acres in the San Bernardino Forest and is at 63% containment.

Policing Law Enforcement: Robert Bonner, the most conservative member of the Sheriff Civilian Oversight Commission, today called on L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva to resign.

Coronavirus Updates: At least 38 detainees at ICE's Adelanto detention center have tested positive for the coronavirus, with more test results on the way. A new report finds shortcomings in the Sheriff's Department's efforts to contain COVID-19 in the jails. And the coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately impacting L.A.’s working moms.

The 2020 Census: The winding down of the 2020 Census must remain on hold nationwide through Sept. 24, at the latest.

Here’s What To Do: Attend a new drive-in movie experience in Chinatown, learn about the solstice and the equinox, discover the scents of mummification, and more in this weekend’s best online and IRL events.


Photo Of The Day

Four-year-old Ayla Ballesteros's drawing of herself and her friend Jackson. She says the line between them shows they're standing six feet apart, and the blue circles around them are the "sickness."

(Courtesy Delilah Ballesteros)

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft, and check LAist.com for updates on these stories and more. Follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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


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