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Morning Brief: Grasshoppers Wreak Havoc, Missing Rent Relief, And CicLAvia Returns

A grasshopper is pictured on a flower stem with small yellow flowers in the background.
A grasshopper
(Photo by Mesh
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Good morning, L.A. It’s July 5.

California’s ongoing drought affects the state in myriad ways, from an increased risk of wildfires to devastation in wine country. Now, another issue is cropping up from the unusually dry weather: a plague of grasshoppers.

My colleague Olivia Richard reports that in Northern California, where the pests seem to be at their worst, farmers and ranchers are afraid their land will be decimated.

“[Grasshoppers] hate shade or darkness ... but now the sun’s out, and they are just everywhere,” said Deborah Jones, 70, who lives on a remote patch of land near the Oregon border.

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Part of the problem, said Jones, is that the insects are encroaching on cows’ and other livestock’s usual diet of summer grass. That means farmers have to buy hay; an unexpected expense in an already difficult year.

“Ranchers are already short of forage because of the drought,” said David Lile, the Lassen County Director of the U.C. Cooperative Extension. “They can’t afford to lose more.”

Recent images taken from space show a shocking change in Southern California’s landscape between 2020 and 2021 as a result of the drought. The photos, captured by satellite courtesy of European Space Agency, show the Angeles National Forest and the San Gabriel Reservoir looking lush and green in 2020, then as dry as the landscape of Mars in 2021.

In a statement, researchers with the agency said, “California is no stranger to heat and water shortages, but vast swathes of western U.S. are experiencing extremely dry conditions, the likes of which haven’t been seen there since 1977.”

The Morning Brief will be on hiatus tomorrow, and will return on Wednesday. Thanks for reading!

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

What Else You Need To Know Today

  • Many local cities paid extra attention to Fourth of July-related misbehavior, including illegal fireworks and underage drinking.
  • Throughout Southern California, hundreds of millions of dollars available for rent relief have not been disbursed.
  • California’s colleges are not retaining Black and Latino men at the same rate as other groups of students.
  • U.S. officials will search former government-run Native American boarding schools, in which Indigenous children were forcibly enrolled for nearly a century, to look for mass graves.

Before You Go ... CicLAvia Is Back!

A group of people ride their bikes down the middle of a multi-lane street. In the center is a small boy on a red tricycle who is looking down to his side at his own shadow on the asphalt.
CicLAvia, April 21, 2013.
(LAist Featured Photos pool on Flickr)
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After being off the roads for more than a year, CicLAvia is ready gearing up for it's first event since the COVID-19 closures.

The beloved local festival, which closes down streets throughout the city to make way for people on bikes, scooters, skateboards and on foot, recently announced its upcoming events. The first takes place on Aug. 15 in Wilmington.

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