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Morning Briefing: Planting Victory Gardens Amid Staggering Job Loss Predictions

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I’ll admit that I'd never heard of victory gardens before reading LAist contributor Hadley Meares’ story on their history in L.A. For those in the same boat: victory gardens are home or community plots, cultivated during financially unstable times (wartime, historically) to reduce reliance on communal resources.

The idea came about during WWI in England, and the name “victory garden” took hold in the U.S. during WWII — a patriotic rallying cry with the implication, as you can no doubt infer, that each garden planted brought the country one step closer to triumph.

Now, Angelenos are rebooting the idea for 2020. (One modern update? If you’re so inclined, you can grow weed in there). It certainly feels like the victory garden’s moment to shine: we’re stuck at home, looking for ways to keep busy; we’ve been specifically asked to limit our trips to the grocery store; and gardening has been shown to reduce stress and anxiety.

Of course, urban farming alone won’t solve our problems, which are mounting by the day. But it’s one small way we can contribute, and it’s also a way to briefly lose track of our worries, to let our minds temporarily drift to the simplicity of a leaf, a flower, a seed, and the hope of something new to come.

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Coming Up Today, April 22

Sheriff Alex Villanueva claims that if county officials don't unfreeze $143 million, he won’t be able to keep jails supplied with cleaning and hygiene equipment to combat the coronavirus. Frank Stoltze has the story.

Kyle Stokes examines why low-income residents of South L.A., Watts and Boyle Heights are having a difficult time signing up for free or low-cost internet being advertised by major providers like AT&T.

Aaron Mendelson will monitor the L.A. City Council as it debates several motions designed to protect renters during the coronavirus pandemic.

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L.A.'s Mexican immigrants face a double challenge during the pandemic, reports Alyssa Jeong Perry: Whether to pay for food and rent here, or keep sending money back home.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

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L.A., California, The World: There are at least 15,140 coronavirus cases in L.A. County. There are 33,897 cases in California, and over 2.5 million cases worldwide. More than one-third of L.A. County’s deaths were people living in institutional facilities, including nursing homes, treatment centers and jails.

Job Loss: According to a forecast released last night by the non-profit Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, the economic slowdown and safety measures caused by the pandemic will cause 2,816,700 Southern California jobs to disappear by May. That would push unemployment past 31%, well over double the height of the Great Recession. Mayor Eric Garcetti urged anyone experiencing psychological stress and/or depression to get help. In the same news briefing, L.A.’s mayor questioned why California (the most populous state) got the fewest federal small business loans.

Easing Restrictions: Gov. Newsom said guidelines for easing stay-at-home orders in phases in California will be announced Wednesday. Meanwhile, the White House's coronavirus task force convened as political wars continue over how the U.S. will move into reconstruction after the pandemic.

Experiencing The Great Outdoors: Many Angelenos are interested in cultivating a victory garden. Here’s a history of how they’ve been implemented in the city. Meanwhile, L.A. has some of the worst air in the nation — again.

Courts And Classes Online: After facing criticism from county attorneys and judicial advocacy groups, L.A. County will implement remote video hearings in 32 courtrooms across 17 courthouses. Cal State Fullerton will begin the fall 2020 semester online, the first college in the nation to announce such plans. Top LAUSD officials, including Superintendent Austin Beutner, joined KPCC's AirTalk to discuss the district’s remote learning, and how those adaptations will be paid for.

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Tiger King And Sushi Chains: Releasing the docu-series Tiger King right when stay-at-home orders were issued proved quite fruitful for Netflix, bringing in more than double the number of new subscribers than what had been forecast. Kura, an Irvine-based sushi restaurant chain with locations in five states, got $5.9 million from the Paycheck Protection Program, despite having access to a $20 million line of credit from its parent company.

A River Champion Passes Away: Lewis MacAdams, known for founding the Friends of the Los Angeles River (FoLAR) to advocate for the waterway's restoration, died today at age 75 from complications due to Parkinson's.


We Want To Tell Your Stories

Everyone has a story about where they were on days like 9/11 or the moon landing. The coronavirus pandemic is different.

This story is made up of millions of smaller ones, and its impact will be with us for a long time. L.A.'s schools, freeways and workplaces have been shut down. It literally hit home, where the majority of us (who are lucky enough to have one) were told to remain isolated. Every Angeleno has been left to negotiate a new way of living, and navigate what has already shaped up to be one of the worst recessions in living memory.

Our newsroom wants your help documenting this historic time and its aftermath. What has it been like for you? What have been your ups, your downs? What do you want your future self to remember?

We invite you to join us in creating the diary of a city in the time of coronavirus. Pick any day that stands out to you, and share it with us. A KPCC/LAist journalist may be in touch to follow up. We'll read every response, and nothing is shared without your permission.


Your Moment Of Zen

Venice Beach is closed off now, but a sailboat on the horizon never gets old for us.

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(AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

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