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LAist’s News Team Top Stories of 2022

The Big Burn text above hills with homes on fire, four palm trees in the middle ground, and a person watching from afar in the foreground
The Big Burn podcast launched in 2022.
(Dan Carino
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I hope you got everything you wanted for the holidays. I myself had some great family time on a cruise ship in Mexico. But, can you believe it? We are finally here at the end of 2022.

While many of us are already envisioning what we want to happen in 2023, it’s important to pause and reflect on the past year as well. And as we noted last week, a lot happened in 2022, not just in politics. Here’s what some of my colleagues pointed out as their biggest L.A. stories this year:

Some Of Our Top Stories of 2022

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Housing — David Wagner 

Senior Housing Reporter David Wagner says the biggest story on his beat was the constant changes for L.A. renters who were impacted by COVID.

“Those protections probably saved hundreds of thousands of Angelenos from facing eviction and housing experts really pointed to those rules to help explain the lower than expected rise in homelessness that L.A. saw during the pandemic.”

Criminal Justice — Emily Elena Dugdale 

For Emily, her most standout coverage was inside L.A.’s juvenile halls. Not only did Emily break a story about a person who snuck into the juvenile halls posing as a medical professional, she also reported on the increased use of pepper spray in juvenile facilitieseven after L.A. County Board of Supervisors banned the use.

"I think when you talk about incarceration, you don't always think about kids, right. And so that was why I think this was so important for me to focus on is that the fact remains that we still have hundreds of kids who are incarcerated in our two juvenile halls. And for me, it was like, there weren't a lot of other reporters who were really looking in on what was going on there."

WildfiresJacob Margolis

Wildfires are getting increasingly more dangerous and common. Jacob hosted The Big Burn: How To Survive In The Age of Wildfires podcast this year. Through that reporting, he learned even though fires are getting worse, there’s still hope to be found.

"At the start of 2022, I felt quite despondent and scared,” Jacob said. “...I spent the year putting together a podcast called The Big Burn, which is all about the science of fires, why they've gotten so bad and what we can do about them. There are things we can do to change and adjust to our fire-filled future. The show gave me just what I needed when it came to fire, and I hope it helps you too."

Asian American Communities — Josie Huang 

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Earlier this year, Josie covered the shooting at a Taiwanese American congregation in Laguna Woods. As a second generation Tawainese American, covering the shooting struck a chord with Josie.

“It was this instance of homeland politics that was playing out among the diaspora in California, but really, in the tragically American way possible, you know, through gun violence.”

Immigration/Ukraine — Leslie Berestein Rojas 

In February, Russia invaded Ukraine. Leslie reported on stories that looked at Ukrainian communities in L.A.

“Many of them were coming to the U.S.-Mexico border, and now we have many new Ukrainian families here in L.A. with temporary protected status,” Leslie said. “They're not sure if or when they'll ever go home as the war there continues and we're gonna continue to tell their stories.”

Arts — Mike Roe

How did the pandemic impact the art scene in L.A.? Well, Mike would definitely know.

"One theater I watched was The Complex,” Mike said. “They had some rent disputes with their landlord over the pandemic, but they were in the middle of trying to resolve that, and were going to give twice as much rent to be able to stay there. But, you know, the landlord eventually just said, 'no,' and was going to be forcing them out at the end of this year."

Well, that’s a wrap for us this year. See you in 2023, my friends!

As always, stay happy and healthy, folks. There’s more news below — just keep reading.

We’re here to help curious Angelenos connect with others, discover the new, navigate the confusing, and even drive some change along the way.

More News

(After you stop hitting snooze)

*At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding. 

  • People can now get married in LA County jails after a more than two-year COVID-19 suspension. This comes after my colleague Emily Elena Dugdale asked the LA County Sheriff’s Department why their COVID-19 policy that suspended weddings in March 2020 was active. 
  • In early December, L.A. became the 69th and largest city in the state to require all new buildings to be all-electric. That’ll be the law of the land for new construction come end of January, according to the ordinance. Erin Stone, who covers the climate emergency, breaks down the details.
  • Pasadena's 134th Rose Parade will be Monday, Jan 2. My colleague Caitlin Hernández has all of the information you should know. 
  • A historic and dangerous winter storm has caused Southwest Airlines to cancel 5,400 flights in less than 48 hours. This full-blown meltdown has caused holiday travelers to be left stranded at airports across the country. 
  • Could shrooms soon be a part of mainstream psychiatric treatment? Brain scientists gathered for a symposium in San Diego called Psychedelics and Neural Plasticity to discuss how drugs like psilocybin and MDMA could potentially treat disorders like depression, anxiety and PTSD. 
  • After the mass shooting at a LGBTQ+ nightclub called Club Q in Colorado Springs, Colo. right before Transgender Day of Remembrance, drag queens are ramping up their security measures in their safe spaces. 
  • Linda Holmes, who covers pop culture for National Public Radio, has a list of the 50 Wonderful Pop Culture Things from 2022. Her list includes the Netflix show Is it Cake, Grant Grinder’s political thriller/comedy novel Let’s Not Do That Again and her favorite tweet this year.
  • I don’t know about you, but keeping New Year resolutions alive and well past for the first couple of weeks in January can be quite challenging. Here’s five different strategies to ensure this year goes smoothly for all of us. 
  • Watch Jesus Christ Superstar at the Pantages Theatre, get a sneak peek of the Rose Parade floats with the little ones or check out UCB’s hilarious Jewish comedians in A Very Jewish Christmasthis last week of the year. Take a look at the very last list of things to do this week of 2022 here.
  • *At LAist we will always bring you the news freely, but occasionally we do include links to other publications that may be behind a paywall. Thank you for understanding! 

Wait... One More Thing

The Dunbar Hotel: A Mecca Of Black L.A.

The exterior of the Dunbar Hotel on Central Ave. in 1928. (Security Pacific National Bank Collection/Los Angeles Public Library Collection)

We’ve made it through another year. For our last 2022 trip in my yellow DeLorean lowrider coupe, we’re going to vacay at the one and only Dunbar Hotel on Central Avenue. It used to be the mecca of Black L.A. going all the way back to 1928 (which was honestly one of my favorite time periods for Black folks in the arts and entertainment industry in the U.S.).

Of course, the East Coast has the Harlem Renaissance. The great thing is, if we get there in time, we can see some of the Black creatives that made Harlem shine here on the West Coast at the Dunbar. I’m talking about Billie Holiday, Lena Horne, Cab Calloway AND Langston Hughes. This was also the location of the NAACP’s FIRST West Coast convention. For three decades, it grew L.A.’s vibrant culture scene.

Let’s just say I wanted to save the best trip for last with this fascinating Hadley Meares story about a mecca of Black L.A.

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