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The Brief

The most important stories for you to know today
  • The L.A. Report
    Here's your daily audio briefing (updated weekdays):
    Health experts say intentionally contracting Omicron is a bad idea. Plus: Azusa mayor's COVID, mandating school vaccinations, and more – The P.M. Edition
  • News
    Updated Jan. 24, 2022 4:54 PM
    Published Jan. 24, 2022 4:54 PM

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    A copy of a IRS 1040 tax form.

    This Monday marks the beginning of tax filing season, when the IRS will begin accepting 2021 income tax returns from individuals and businesses. Most people have until April 18 to submit them this year.

    As it starts to accept this year's returns, the IRS is still working through millions filed last year. And that's just one of its problems.

    "The service is in the roughest shape it's been in in 50 years," says Mark Everson, who served as IRS commissioner in the George W. Bush administration.

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  • Education
    Updated Jan. 24, 2022 4:12 PM
    Published Jan. 24, 2022 3:59 PM

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    In the courtyard of a high school, a row of people stand in a line with the sun at their backs, with the sunlight casting long shadows onto the pavement. Two younger women at left hold basketballs at their stomachs. Others in the line are wearing business attire, and two people wear white doctor's coats.
    State Sen. Richard Pan (middle) stands with officials from the L.A. Unified and San Diego Unified school districts, as well as students at Arleta High School (left), during a press conference to announce a proposal to tighten California's K-12 student vaccine mandate.
    (Kyle Stokes)

    A leading state lawmaker wants to end the legal and logistical confusion over COVID-19 vaccine mandates for students in California’s K-12 schools.

    State Sen. Richard Pan (D-Sacramento) said Monday he will introduce legislation this session to add the coronavirus to the list of shots students must take in order to attend public or private schools.

    An executive order from Gov. Gavin Newsom will eventually require the vaccine for students statewide, and a patchwork of California districts have already developed their own mandates: Los Angeles Unified will require eligible students to get their COVID-19 shots starting next fall.

  • Health
    Updated Jan. 24, 2022 2:53 PM
    Published Jan. 24, 2022 2:53 PM

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    A grocery cart full of food is pushed by a young woman shown from the waist down. She is wearing ripped grey jeans and black Converse sneakers.
    A person pushes a full shopping cart with various groceries on March 13, 2020.
    (Herbert Pfarrhofer /APA/AFP via Getty Images)

    A $13.5 million donation to UCLA will go towards creating the UCLA Rothman Family Institute for Food Studies, with the goal of addressing global food challenges and practices.

    The institute will bring together a range of experts and individuals, including faculty, staff, students, chefs and community members.

  • News
    Updated Jan. 24, 2022 5:29 PM
    Published Jan. 24, 2022 2:08 PM

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    A lit billboard featuring the image of a smiling woman of Asian descent (Michelle Go) that is bordered by images of other men of Asian descent -- all have died in the last few years at a time of increased anti-Asian incidents.
    A billboard at Times Square features the images of Michelle Go, who was killed after being pushed onto subway tracks on January 15 in Times Square.
    (ED JONES/AFP via Getty Images)

    Jonathan Chang's art has become some of the most recognizable of the #StopAsianHate movement.

    He talked to me at length about how he got started drawing portraits of Asians who have been physically attacked during the pandemic, and why he feels his work is important.

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  • Essays
    Updated Jan. 24, 2022 9:43 AM
    Published Jan. 24, 2022 8:00 AM

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    Von Miller #40 wears a blue and yellow jersey and hold his helmet aloft on the football field.
    Von Miller of the Los Angeles Rams reacts after defeating the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the NFC Divisional Playoff game in Tampa.
    (Kevin C. Cox)

    Next Sunday, the sheepish Rams — relieved to have won after four critical turnovers — play the San Francisco 49ers at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood for a shot at their fifth trip to the Super Bowl, which will also be at SoFi on Feb. 13.

  • Play In LA
    Updated Jan. 24, 2022 7:00 AM
    Published Jan. 24, 2022 7:00 AM

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    Mass of runners at the start of a charity run with Los Angeles City Hall in the background
    Runners in the 2020 Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 10K run
    (Courtesy of Firecracker L.A.)

    Be it the Year of the Rat, Dog, Ox, Dragon or Snake, Angelenos love celebrating the Lunar New Year by running in the Los Angeles Chinatown Firecracker 5K/10K Run. But in this Year of the Tiger, the streets of Chinatown will be empty of runners, walkers and cyclists.

    The pandemic and increasing hospitalizations due to the omicron variant of the coronavirus led organizers of one of the biggest events on the local running calendar to go virtual this year.

    That means participants pay money to enter an event, cover the distance independently, and receive race swag such as a souvenir t-shirt and goody bag of treats and discount coupons by mail.

    This year marks the 44th Annual Firecracker 10K race, one of multiple events that had been scheduled for Feb.19 and 20. If you’re already signed up, you can roll the registration over to next year's 45th annual event if you prefer to race in a crowd, or request a refund.

    People who register for the virtual run have a few weeks to do their run/walk/cycling.

    Firecracker Run volunteer Raymond Su said moving the race to virtual status for the second consecutive year was in line with the group’s mission to promote good health and fitness. Also, the Chinatown community has a large population of older people who might be at higher risk of getting infected if thousands of runners showed up on the streets. In a non-pandemic year, the weekend of events draw more than 9,000 participants.

    Proceeds from this year's running, walking, dog-walking and bicycling events will go to help four local elementary schools and several nonprofit organizations.

    What do you want to know about how we Play in L.A.?
    And, how do you play? Sharon McNary wants to hear your questions and stories about affordable, accessible and inclusive ways we stay active for physical and mental health. 🚵🏻‍♀️ 🎳 🛶 🏕 ⚽️ 💃 🏄🏾‍♂️ 👨🏿‍🦽 🏃🏽‍♀️ 🏓 🛹 🤹🏻‍♀️

  • Arts and Entertainment
    Updated Jan. 24, 2022 7:00 AM
    Published Jan. 24, 2022 7:00 AM

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    Musician/singer Damon Albarn from Gorillaz performs at Demon Dayz Festival LA, at Pico Rivera Arena and Ground, in Los Angeles, California on Oct. 20, 2018.
    (VALERIE MACON/AFP via Getty Images)

    Catch Damon Albarn live, performing with a string section. Watch a Nanfu Wang virtual retrospective. Hear from Spirit Award-nominated filmmakers in a Film Independent conversation series. Attend Trust Records’ 99 Cents Movie Night. Eat your way across the LBC for Long Beach Black Restaurant Week.

    With COVID-19 variants spreading, many in-person events are being canceled or postponed. Please check ahead of time to confirm event status and vaccine/testing requirements for entry.

    Monday, Jan. 24: 8:30 p.m.

    Damon Albarn
    Walt Disney Concert Hall
    111 S. Grand Ave., downtown L.A.
    Albarn (of Blur, Gorillaz) plays a one-off concert in support of his recently released second solo album The Nearer the Fountain, More Pure the Stream Flows. The album’s 11 tracks evolved during lockdown after being originally conceived as an orchestral piece inspired by the landscape of Iceland. Albarn performs on the piano, accompanied by a string section.
    COST: $65 - $125; MORE INFO

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  • News
    Updated Jan. 24, 2022 5:00 AM
    Published Jan. 24, 2022 5:00 AM

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    A palm tree sways in the wind, with a blue sky behind it.
    (Photo by Meduana )

    Good morning, L.A. It’s Jan. 24.

    Did you hear the winds over the weekend?

    Depending on where you live, the answer is likely to be a resounding yes. The Santa Anas wreaked havoc in parts of L.A. on Friday and Saturday, leaving as many as 30,000 SoCal Edison customers without power as of Sunday morning.

    Dozens of other instances of damage were reported as well: a large tree fell on a house in Ontario, another landed on cars in a parking lot in Upland, and a semi-tractor-trailer truck was blown over on I-15 near Fontana.

    Downed trees reportedly blocked roads in areas from Altadena to Malibu to Claremont, and winds as high as 78 mph blew through the Santa Monica Mountains.

    On the other side of town, the weekend’s gusts were the most significant wind event to hit the San Gabriel foothill communities in a decade, according to the National Weather Service. Further south, in Corona, officials canceled a planned closure of the westbound 91 Freeway, where crews were scheduled to work on the 15/91 Express Lanes Connector Project.

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    The winds’ damage lent yet another ominous layer to the already strange feeling of this new year, with omicron raging just when we thought we might turn a corner in the pandemic. As the late Joan Didion wrote in her essay “Los Angeles Notebook,” which appeared in the 1968 book Slouching Towards Bethlehem: “Los Angeles weather is the weather of catastrophe, of apocalypse … the violence and the unpredictability of the Santa Ana affect the entire quality of life in Los Angeles, accentuate its impermanence, its unreliability. The wind shows us how close to the edge we are.”

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

    What Else You Need To Know Today

    • The family of Tioni Theus, a 16-year-old girl found dead on Jan. 8 near the 110 freeway, is demanding the state step up efforts to find her killer.
    • Four people were killed and one was wounded when gunmen opened fire on a birthday party in Inglewood.
    • L.A. County reported a record number of deaths among the unhoused community again in 2021.
    • A proposal to rename a street in Boyle Heights for the late Mexican singer Vicente Fernández is facing opposition from the Boyle Heights Neighborhood Council.
    • Short haul truckers who work at the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach want a union election that they hope would grant them employee status. 
    • The California State University system added caste as a protected category to its anti-discrimination policy this week, making it the largest university system in the country to do so.

    Before You Go ... 12 Surprising Ways To Find Joy During The Pandemic

    A young Asian child runs through a sprinkler wearing a t-shirt and jeans. He is laughing and the sunshine is bright behind him, illuminating the water.
    Summer happiness
    (MI PHAM

    The coronavirus pandemic is lingering for much longer than many of us thought it ever would. If you’ve run through your ideas of ways to stay sane — and even happy — during this unprecedented crisis, we have some suggestions.

    Help Us Cover Your Community
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  • Criminal Justice
    Updated Jan. 24, 2022 10:19 AM
    Published Jan. 23, 2022 2:38 PM

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    Two uniformed officers walk up a driveway toward police tape. The house is a dark blue.
    Police investigators leave a crime scene at a home in Inglewood
    (Damian Dovarganes)

    Four people were killed and one was wounded when authorities say multiple shooters opened fire on a birthday party in Inglewood.

    Speaking to reporters Sunday, Inglewood Mayor James Butts said that the incident reflects the largest number of shooting victims in a single crime since the 1990s.

    “This is a tragic loss for the families, and that's what we're focused on,” he said.

  • News
    Updated Jan. 23, 2022 12:12 PM
    Published Jan. 23, 2022 12:12 PM

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    An image of yellow caution tape across metal railings in front of steps.
    (Photo by Michael Marais on Unsplash )

    The family of Tioni Theus, a 16-year-old girl found dead on Jan. 8 near the 110 freeway, is demanding the state step-up efforts to find her killer.

    Joined by community leaders and members of the California Highway Patrol, the family is calling for an official reward to be offered for help in solving the case.

    They're making the appeal to legislators in Sacramento because Tioni was found on state property, and the investigation is being conducted by the CHP.

    The teen’s body was found with two gunshot wounds on the West Manchester Ave. on-ramp near South Figueroa St.

    Anyone with information related to her murder is asked to contact Highway Patrol.

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