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Morning Brief: Pandemic Recovery, Dodger Dogs, And Lavender Fields

pandemic veteran essay
The former Surplus Value Center, a military surplus store in Silver Lake, is boarded up.
(Courtesy of Richard Hayden)
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Good morning, L.A. It’s June 4.

California’s lockdown will be lifted in less than two weeks. But as one Angeleno looks back on it, he also reflects on how we might heal, moving forward.

LAist contributor Richard Hayden is a Navy veteran. Cloistered for the past year with his wife and daughter, constantly worried about an invisible virus, he considers in a new essay how coronavirus closures eventually took on “eerie parallels with Iraq”:

“In Fallujah, we always had to be on guard. Insurgents hid improvised explosive devices beneath the sand. They sometimes sent suicide bombers to try to kill us, detonating their devices when they thought we were in range. COVID-19, invisible and potentially carried by anyone, could be just as lethal. Whenever I found myself inside someone's six foot social bubble, I leapt out of the way as if proximity equaled death.”

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Hayden notes as well how things have changed irreversibly during the course of the pandemic. The loss of life has made many people’s futures totally different than they once were. Jobs have been lost as well, as have homes, financial status, and businesses. Hayden writes:

“Life under COVID-19 shared another parallel with my experience in Iraq. Like my deployment, when the pandemic eventually ended, adapting to what came afterwards wouldn't be easy.”

Read the entire essay here.

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

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What Else You Need To Know Today

  • L.A. officials have issued thousands of citations for unapproved dwelling units in recent years, but that changed in 2020.
  • You can now get a vegan hot dog at Dodger Stadium.
  • Lucky Boy has settled its lawsuit with Postmates.
  • The L.A. City Council elected to designate a building in East Hollywood a historic cultural monument, in recognition of the work pop artist and nun Corita Kent created there.

Weekend Reads

There's a lot going on in the world right now, and it’s hard enough to keep up with our day-to-day lives, let alone to stay current on the news. But if you have some time this weekend, here’s what you may have missed:

In Arcadia, residents have successfully put a temporary hold on a proposal to build a tiny home community for the unhoused. (LAist)

For many Black students in L.A., the deck is stacked against reaching high school graduation. (Capital & Main)

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Money for the gubernatorial recall election is coming from some unexpected places. (CalMatters)

Unpermitted rentals abound in L.A., and many residents say the past year has made an already difficult living situation much worse. (LAist)

Long Beach is becoming a Southern food mecca. (Eater L.A.)

The L.A. River’s recreation areas have opened back up — here’s what you need to know. (LAist)

These middle-schoolers are launching carrot seeds into space. (The Santa Clarita Valley Signal)

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In this essay, a self-described “brown Mexicano” gets honest about colorism. (LAist)

Before You Go ... This Week's Outdoor Pick: Lavender Fields

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Explore the lavender fields in Cherry Valley in Riverside County.
(Sagesolar, licensed under CC BY 2.0)

Located in Cherry Valley in Riverside County, 123 Farm and Highland Springs Ranch & Inn invites visitors to walk through its fields and celebrate the lavender harvest season. You can watch a distillation demo, take a wagon ride or participate in crafting activities.

Or, you could: Take in movie screenings, art exhibitions and concerts to kick off Pride Month. Learn about L.A.'s murals. Attend a Beastly Ball. Watch comedian Maria Bamford at an in-person residency. Celebrate National Donut Day. And more.

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