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Morning Briefing: The Things They Left Behind

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Flames and smoke overtake a tree in Fairfield, California on August 19, 2020 (Josh Edelson/AFP via Getty Images)
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Good morning, L.A.

Wildfires have ravaged California this year, smashing state records and burning over four million acres so far. Given the constant onslaught of new blazes, it can be hard to remember that for many people, life as they know it is forever altered well after the flames are put out.

That’s the case with Michael Lacroix, who told his story to my colleague Jacob Margolis. Lacroix was at home in the hills north of Palmdale in mid-August when the Lake Fire broke out. He had about an hour to choose which possessions to save before getting in his truck and driving away.

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When he returned the following day, everything was gone. “There's really nothing left,” Lacroix recalls telling his son, who lived next door and also lost his home.

The future is uncertain, but Lacroix has a message for those facing similar challenges.

"It's not the end,” he told Jacob. “It can be kind of a beginning.”

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie

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Coming Up Today, October 16

LAist contributor Gabriel Dunatov has an explainer on why the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict resonates so deeply in SoCal, home to the largest Armenian community outside Armenia.

How are your favorite fast food chains spending their political money this election season? LAist contributor Stefan A. Slater takes a look at how some of your favorite burger slingers are doling out donations during the 2020 election cycle.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

Equity In L.A.: The annual LTX Fest — virtual this year due to the pandemic — wants to remove barriers for Latina/os in the rapidly growing tech industry. Tashon McKeithan is the first Black woman to lead La Cañada’s Child Educational Center.

City Business: Councilman Kevin de Leon was sworn into office for the L.A. City Council District 14 vacant seat this morning. You have to move your car again for alternate street sweeping.

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Money Matters: In Boyle Heights, the nine-story, Art Deco building that’s home to the flagship Sears store is now a strange mix of bustling commerce and yawning, empty space. Candidates for two local races agree that L.A. County's child care system is stressed and needs more investment, but it’s not clear how the victors in the Nov. 3 election would carve out those new funding streams.

Left Behind: According to the federal government, 99.9% of U.S. households have already been counted in the census – but that's not the whole story. Michael Lacroix lost his trailer home in the Lake Fire; here’s how he’s rebuilding his life, two months later.

Policing The Police: The nine-member Sheriff's Civilian Oversight Commission issued a unanimous resolution calling for L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva's resignation. Herb Wesson and Holly Mitchell, the candidates for the L.A. County Board of Supervisors District 2 seat, debated the future of law enforcement accountability and how to build more affordable housing in South L.A.

Coronavirus Updates: A judge has ordered ICE officials to reduce the detainee population at Adelanto in light of the recent COVID outbreak.

Here’s What To Do: Watch home movies made by your friends and neighbors, take a walk through Atwater Village with a friend in your ear, catch a drive-in movie at the L.A. Zoo, and more in this weekend’s best online and IRL events. Our friends at WNYC hosted an 'Audio We Love Festival,' featuring their favorite shows – including LAist Studios California Loveon their podcast Death, Sex & Money.


Photo Of The Day

The property in the hills above Palmdale where Michael Lacroix's trailer and his son's home once stood, after both were destroyed in the Lake Fire.

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(Michael Lacroix)

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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.


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