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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):
    5:25
    L.A.'s DCFS director stepping down; Record-high gas; Santa Ana winds; LAX holiday surge; Homeless Angelenos – The P.M. Edition
  • Arts and Entertainment
    Updated Nov. 26, 2021 5:28 PM
    Published Nov. 26, 2021 3:50 PM

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    SONDHEIM holds a plaque in a large hall with many fancy wooden chairs
    Composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim receives the Freedom of the City of London award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to musical theatre at The Guildhall on September 27, 2018 in London, England.
    (Tim P. Whitby)

    Stephen Sondheim, the Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning Broadway songwriter has died at age 91. His death occurred early this morning, according to Aaron Meier at DKC O&M, the producers of Company on Broadway.

    Sondheim would have been the first to tell you he was a Broadway baby. As a teenager, he learned about theatrical songwriting from a master — Oscar Hammerstein, the author of Showboat and Oklahoma!, among others — and, by the time Sondheim was 27, he had his first show, West Side Story, on Broadway.

    Even though he only wrote lyrics to Leonard Bernstein's music for West Side Story, it was the beginning of a remarkable career in which Sondheim — as lyricist and composer — elevated what was, essentially, a lighthearted, optimistic commercial entertainment into an art form.

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  • News
    Updated Nov. 26, 2021 4:52 PM
    Published Nov. 26, 2021 3:35 PM

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    shoppers peruse racks of clothes outside a store
    Shoppers line up outside of "It's A Wrap!" in Burbank, which sells wardrobe items and props from actual movie and TV sets, on Friday, Nov. 26, 2021.
    (Julia Barajas/LAist)

    Instead of fighting over parking at one of Southern California’s many malls, some shoppers had Thanksgiving leftovers for breakfast, then drove over to Magnolia Park in the city of Burbank.

    With the Verdugo Mountains looming above, the area has a small town feel. It’s the kind of place where local shopkeepers greet regulars by name. But it’s also the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind gifts. Within a few blocks, shoppers can stop by several antique and thrift shops.

    It’s A Wrap! is one of those shops. There, clients can buy wardrobe items and props from actual movie and TV sets, most of which have barely been used. And with several vintage shops along the street, it’s the perfect spot to find one-of-a-kind gifts.

  • Criminal Justice
    Updated Nov. 26, 2021 3:26 PM
    Published Nov. 26, 2021 3:22 PM

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    A still from LA County Sheriff's deputy body camera shows a man wearing a white shirt and dark pants holding a gun in his right hand.  He is kneeling on a metal shed surrounded by tires and other debris in a Willowbrook backyard.
    A screenshot from a deputy's body camera video released Friday, Oct. 30 by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Dept.

    The mother of a 25-year-old-man who was shot in the back and killed by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputies just over a year ago is suing the county for assault and battery, negligence, false imprisonment and civil rights violations.

    The shooting occurred on October 16, 2020 in the backyard of a Willowbrook home where a deputy had chased Fred Williams III from Mona Park.

    Authorities say Williams, who had a gun in his hand, was running away and climbing over a fence when deputy Adrian Ines shot him eight times. The coroner determined Williams died from one bullet to the back

  • Criminal Justice
    Updated Nov. 26, 2021 3:21 PM
    Published Nov. 26, 2021 3:10 PM

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    Collection of brown paper bags at the feet of shoppers standing next to a wooden counter.
    Shoppers wait outside Macy's department store on Black Friday, November 26, 2021.
    (YUKI IWAMURA)

    The official start to holiday shopping comes with more Los Angeles Police officers patrolling high-end malls to deter smash-and-grab robberies. Prior to Thanksgiving, organized groups stole tens of thousands of dollars in merchandise here and at stores in the Bay Area.

    Deputy Chief Alan Hamilton says there are more uniformed and undercover officers patrolling shopping areas.

    Wednesday a security guard was attacked with bear spray during a "flash mob" robbery at the Westfield Topanga mall.

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  • Education
    Updated Nov. 26, 2021 9:47 AM
    Published Nov. 26, 2021 9:47 AM

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    A woman in a red dress sits next to a student in a black shirt. Both are masked. They sit before a laptop while the former provides pointers on how to strengthen her college application.
    Beatriz Rafael, the academic advisor at InnerCity struggle, shows high school senior Kristen Roman how to strengthen her application.
    (Julia Barajas/LAist)

    College apps for UCs and CSUs are due November 30, which means it’s crunch time for high school seniors.

    On the east side of the city, one nonprofit took advantage of the Thanksgiving break to give students in the area crucial last-minute support.

    InnerCity Struggle has been part of the community for decades, taking on a host of issues including health care and affordable housing. Advocating for high-quality public education is also central to its mission. In recent years, the organization has doubled down on efforts to help local youths earn college degrees.

    Earlier this week, InnerCity Struggle facilitated three days of in-person and virtual office hours for local seniors, inviting them to bring their college applications for a thorough review.

  • Food
    Updated Nov. 26, 2021 8:33 AM
    Published Nov. 26, 2021 8:00 AM

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    Three cartoon sprites, all the size of the food that surrounds them, carrying desserts like cookies and macarons. Behind them is a sundae with ice cream, waffle, chocolate, strawberries, and more.
    Get ready for some sugar to hit your eyes' bloodstream.
    (Courtesy Random House Graphic)

    Cake. Donuts. ICE CREAM. If you want to explore the sweet life with a guided tour of treats from around the world, pick up Yummy: A History of Desserts. Cartoonist Victoria Grace Elliott's new graphic novel takes readers on a global tour with recipes, history and adorable illustrations.

    Elliott, who made her name in the world of webcomics, has illustrated three children's books but Yummy is her first graphic novel. She combined her cartooning skills, a love of food history and a background in media studies to bring these tales to life. Although the target audience is 8- to 12-year-olds, the material is mouthwatering enough to intrigue most adults.

  • Play In LA
    Updated Nov. 25, 2021 4:18 PM
    Published Nov. 25, 2021 4:18 PM

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    Woman hiking with a small boy as a man approaches  along a trail.
    Georgia Davis walks with her son Oliver, 3, on the Backbone Trail as hiker Ivan Soriano approaches
    (Sharon McNary/LAist)

    Some Angelenos braved the Santa Ana winds Thursday to run and hike parts of the 67-mile the Backbone Trail in the Santa Monica Mountains, getting an active start to their Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

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  • News
    Updated Nov. 26, 2021 3:01 PM
    Published Nov. 25, 2021 11:01 AM

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    DARK HOUSE stock pix
    A dark house.
    (James Cousins/Unsplash)

    Nearly 64,000 Southern California Edison customers are dealing with power outages this morning. That's a lot more than the number of customers who were cut off last year on Thanksgiving.

    With the Santa Ana winds blowing strong and fierce, the utility has cut electricity to thousands of homes and businesses as a safety precaution. Wind increases the risk of equipment toppling or being damaged and causing a wildfire.

  • Arts and Entertainment
    Updated Nov. 25, 2021 8:00 AM
    Published Nov. 25, 2021 8:00 AM

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    several triangular lit-up structures sit on the water at dusk
    Lighting of the Bay begins at dusk on Friday, Nov, 26, and continues through New Year’s Day in Newport Beach.
    (Courtesy of Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort)

    Kick off the season at a Dodgers Holiday Fest or a NASCAR racetrack experience. Watch Love Actually Live on stage. Head to Solvang for Julefest. Hide from HOLIDAY shoppers at a Dawn of the Dead screening. Check out live music from Dawes. Celebrate the first night of Hanukkah. Start your holiday shopping on Small Business Saturday. Nosh on chiles en nogada, sufganiyot, tamales and giant cookies.

  • Food
    Updated Nov. 25, 2021 5:53 AM
    Published Nov. 25, 2021 5:53 AM

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    WIC FRUIT CUT illustration
    Monthly WIC benefits for whole grains, dairy, dried beans, peanut butter, produce and more come loaded onto a debit-like card. We've obscured this participant's number for privacy.
    (Alborz Kamalizad/ LAist)

    Earlier this year a federal nutrition program that helps pregnant people and moms of young children more than tripled the amount of money allocated for fruits and vegetables each month.

    Before the pandemic, WIC’s monthly “cash value benefit” was $9 dollars per child and $11 for moms. The American Rescue Plan designated $490 million to increase the monthly benefit to $35 for each child and adult.

    The country’s largest WIC program, Southern California’s PHFE WIC at Heluna Health, rolled out the expanded benefit in June.

    “People used all of it, and they used it right, right away in that month,” said PHFE WIC Director of Research and Evaluation Shannon Whaley. “Benefits didn't go unspent.”