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Morning Briefing: Focus On Donuts, While You Can

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Good morning, L.A.

Between now and Tuesday (and likely for many weeks after), America will be flooded with election news, and only election news. As a brief escape before the storm, I’d like to share with you a story about donuts.

My colleague Elina Shatkin took a look at a new documentary telling the tale of Ted Ngoy, the man behind what was once Southern California’s most prolific fried dough franchises. After immigrating with his wife and children from Cambodia (the story of how he met his wife is documentary-worthy in and of itself), Ngoy worked his way up to become the owner of a Winchell’s, then opened his own shop.

Soon, Ngoy was using the donut trade as a way to help other Cambodians transition to life in California, making millions of dollars in the process – then losing it all. Filmmaker Alice Gu captures the entire saga in The Donut King.

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

Jessica P. Ogilvie

Coming Up Today, October 30

Mike Roe speaks with several Halloween haunts about how they addressed COVID-safety this year, and how they've been affected by the pandemic.

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LAist contributor Mark Moya reflects on life as a biracial man in Southern California, the history of his Russian/Filipino family, and how he bonded with his Filipino immigrant dad as they faced COVID-19.

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The Past 24 Hours In LA

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Money Matters: The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power is offering one-time $500 grants to low-income households that have lost work or had extra expenses due to COVID-19. In the wake of the pandemic, American Legion posts are coming up with new ways to generate revenue – like comedy nights. Long Beach is rolling out a program to provide free in-home child care to a limited number of families.

Wildfires: The Blue Ridge and Silverado Fires have burned a combined total of more than 25,000 acres in Orange and San Bernardino counties.

Identity And Education: Joseph Castro, the next chancellor of California State University system, specifically self-identifies as "Mexican American" over Hispanic or Latino/Latinx, because it embodies his heritage as a son of the San Joaquin Valley.

Spooky L.A.: These photos prove that not even 2020 could kill Halloween.

Election 2020: Election officials reported that 767,299 early voting ballots have been returned in Orange County as of Wednesday night – about 20% ahead of the same time period in 2016. In an ad paid for by Lyft, the company says "Prop. 22 will give [drivers] ... health care benefits" – but the truth is a little more complicated.

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Here’s What To Do: Attend a talk with Dolores Huerta, hit up Joe Bob's Haunted Drive-In, check out the Echo Theatre's storytelling night, and more this Halloween weekend. Watch director Alice Gu’s The Donut King, which chronicles Ted Ngoy's thrill-of-victory/agony-of-defeat rollercoaster ride through the American Dream.

Photo of the Day

A family walks through a pumpkin-lined walkway in Burbank.

(Chava Sanchez/LAist)

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