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WATCH: Trump And Biden Square Off In Final Debate, With New Rules

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(Meg Kelly/NPR)

President Trump and Democratic nominee Joe Biden are holding a final debate Thursday in Nashville, with Kristen Welker of NBC News moderating.

After a haphazard first debate, and a canceled second one, this final debate has new rules established by the Commission on Presidential Debates.

FOLLOW THE PRE-SHOW BLOG AND WATCH LIVE AT 6 PM:

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Help Science By Documenting Plant And Animal Species In This SoCal National Monument

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Rising abruptly from the desert floor, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains National Monument reaches an elevation of 10,834 feet, and is crossed by the Pacific Crest Trail. (Courtesy Bob Wick, BLM)

Exactly 20 years ago, the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains, both part of the San Bernardino National Forest, were awarded National Monument status. Both ranges are run by the Bureau of Land Management (not to be confused with the other BLM) and the U.S. Forest Service.

To celebrate the land's natural beauty and biological beauty, BLM officials are encouraging hikers are to join their BioBlitz, a challenge to photograph and identify as many species of plants and animals as they can over the course of 24 hours -- starting Friday, Oct. 23, at noon.

Monument Manager Dani Ortiz hopes avid hikers will take this opportunity to look a little deeper into the forest:


"There's 20 different species available like plants and amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals that we highlighted . That just helps us to kind of know a little bit more about some of those more rare species that we're looking to get data on."

Organizers will use the images gathered in the BioBlitz for scientific research on the foothills, deserts and mountains that make up the National Monument.

Hiking map of the Santa Rosa and San Jacinto Mountains, Courtesy All Trails

The protected mountain range has over 280 miles of trails, so if you want to get out there, it's probably a good idea to start sooner than later. The Mounument backcountry can be reached via trails from the Coachella Valley and Idyllwild. The BLM also operates several campgrounds in the area, including free, dispersed campgrounds.

To share what you find, organizers ask that you use the iNaturalist app. Uploaded photos will go into the Bureau of Land Management catalogue.

To learn more about the project, go to DesertMountains.org.

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Election Countdown: Last-Minute Answers To Your Voting Questions

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Ballots have been mailed to every active registered voter in California, and more than one million have already been turned in. Is yours still sitting under a pile of mail on your kitchen counter? No judgment here!

If you’re still waiting to cast your vote, join us today at 5:30 p.m. for a last-minute rundown of your burning election questions. News anchor Austin Cross and senior politics reporter Libby Denkmann will take your questions and provide insight on propositions, key local races, and voting logistics.

Have an election question you’d like them to unpack? Send us an email at events@kpcc.org in advance of the event. RSVP here and watch live here at 5:30 p.m.

Our news is free on LAist. To make sure you get our coverage: Sign up for our daily newsletters. To support our non-profit public service journalism: Donate Now.

State Suspends Unemployment Aid For Thousands Of Fraud Victims

Updated
Published
(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

Thousands of out-of-work Californians have had their unemployent benefits frozen because they were victims of fraud, cutting off desperately needed help for people slammed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Some 693,000 people have had their accounts suspended as part of a fraud prevention effort by the Employment Development Department (EDD). In some cases, fraudsters were using their addresses to file bogus unemployment claims, and now the victims are scrambling to verify their identity with EDD so they can start receiving benefits again.

The state's approach to rooting out fraud "punishes first and asks for evidence later," said Daniela Urban, director of the Center for Workers' Rights in Sacramento.

She said EDD's actions go against the recommendations of a recent strike team report, which found the department focused too heavily on fraud at the expense of clearing a backlog that now stands at about 1.2 million claims.

The EDD promises to quickly reestablish payments "for claimants verified to be legitimate and accounting will be done to clear them from any connection to a possible fraudulent claim initiated in their name or involving their address."

Many who were locked out of their accounts say EDD never told them how to fix the problem. We've got some answers.

READ OUR FULL STORY:

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Gap Narrows But Latinos Still Bearing Brunt of COVID-19 In LA

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People walk past a store selling face coverings in East Los Angeles in August. (Robyn Beck/AFP via Getty Images)

During the recent peak of the pandemic in July, Latinos in Los Angeles County had four times the number of new COVID-19 cases as white residents. County health director Barbara Ferrer said Wednesday that the rate of infections among Latinos in the county is still consistently higher than in all other groups, but the gap is closing.

Ferrer said:

"As of October 11, the case rate amongst Latinx residents is now twice the rate for white residents. Compare that to four times the rate in July."

And the case rate among Black residents has also dropped.

"The case rate now among Black residents is less than that of white residents. The case rate amongst Asian residents continues to be the lowest," she said.

Earlier this month the state instituted an “equity metric” that forces large counties like Los Angeles to show they are investing in bringing down COVID-19 cases in their most vulnerable neighborhoods.

That means hitting goals both for overall testing and in lowering the percentage of new positive cases, in areas that have been disproportionately harmed by the pandemic for socioeconomic reasons.

Ferrer urged caution as new COVID-19 cases have ticked up recently.

Since the pandemic began, more than 290,000 people in L.A. County have tested positive for the virus, and 6,944 people have died.

READ MORE:

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Morning Briefing: A Once-In-A-Lifetime World Series

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The Sunset gate entrance to Dodger Stadium. (Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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

Editor’s Note: In yesterday's morning briefing, we incorrectly reported that a ballot box had been set on fire in Baldwin Hills. In fact, the ballot box was set on fire in Baldwin Park. LAist regrets the error.

Good morning, L.A.

The Dodgers are playing in the World Series, but game-watching for fans is in uncharted territory. Large indoor gatherings are prohibited, bars are outdoor-only, and the World Series is being played in Texas.

But die-hard fans of the boys in blue do have one other option: shell out $75 for a spot in the Dodger Stadium parking lot, where the games are being projected onto giant screens. My colleague Aaron Schrank scoped out the scene during Game 1.

Security was tight, he noted, with personnel making the rounds in golf carts to ensure that attendees were staying in their cars or truck beds, and that no one tried to sneak in alcohol. (Godspeed, sirs.) But mostly, Aaron spoke with folks who wanted to relive old memories, spend time with family and friends, and take advantage of what might be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"I probably would never get the chance to afford to go to an actual World Series game," said Kezia Evans of Long Beach. “I think this is the closest we can get. With the year that we've had, I think it's kind of nice to be able to somewhat have a normal experience watching the game with other fans."

The series is now 1-1 after the Rays beat the Dodgers last night 6-4.

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie


Coming Up Today, October 22

We’re hosting a live-streaming virtual event featuring news anchor Austin Cross and reporter Libby Denkmann, who will answer audience-submitted questions about voting, and key races and propositions on the ballot.

Today is the second and final debate between President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden. We’ll be live-streaming the event, and publishing NPR’s live fact-checking as well.

Check out a Dia de los Muertos exhibition, a dead man's party, a virtual Brewery Artwalk and more. Christine N. Ziemba has this week’s best online and IRL events.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Coronavirus Updates: People who work at multiple nursing homes may help spread the coronavirus, but limiting their jobs could hurt the workforce on which such facilities rely.

L.A. Kids: L.A. County’s Department of Public Health approved the first batch of waivers to reopen for grades TK-2, and all four schools are either faith-based or private. Two-thirds of LAUSD parents of kids with special needs say distance learning is ineffective, and that their kids are regressing.

True Crime: The family of David Sullivan, an unarmed 18-year-old fatally shot by Buena Park police in 2019, called for the Orange County district attorney to reconsider his decision not to file criminal charges against the officers. Los Angeles County Sheriff's detectives arrested a man for the sexual assault and murder of a Boyle Heights teenage girl that happened 25 years ago.

Go Dodgers: This is what it was like to watch Game 1 of the World Series from the Dodger Stadium parking lot.


Photo Of The Day

Fans gather in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium to watch the World Series together in the time of social distancing.

(Aaron Schrank/LAist)

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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.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified where the ballot box fire took place. LAist regrets the error.


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