<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Southern California News]]> Copyright 2014 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:56:46 -0700 Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:56:46 -0700 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Vigil Held for Release of Couple Held in Qatar]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 23:44:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP305303061976.jpg

A candlelight vigil was held for the release of a Los Angeles couple allegedly kidnapped by the Qatari government.

Matthew and Grace Huang are facing years in prison in Qatar, where they lived, when daughter Gloria died, 20 months ago.

"Matthew and Grace are innocent," said Joanne Chin, Grace's sister. "They love their kids.They worked so hard to adopt them."

Eric Volz, a crisis manager said, "The wrongful imprisonment case of Matthew and Grace Huang is just the latest show trial of American citizens being held overseas."

The couple, convicted of child endangerment, is unable to leave Qatar.

Relatives blame a culture suspicious of interracial adoptions and say they never had time to grieve.

"January 15, we find out she passed away," said Daniel Chin, Grace's brother ."And then we find Matt and Grace have been detained. Accused of murder, suspected of human trafficking."

Activists say the US State Department is aware, but only Qatar authorities can end this nightmare.

"This family lost their daughter, were thrown in prison. Had two sons ripped away from them in a 24 hour period. And then spent eleven months in prison."

From a Qatari orphanage, the Hong's sons now live in Washington with grandparents, where the family says a reunion is overdue.

"We want them not to be missing from us," Joanne said. "Be reunited with their kids who need their parents. Having parents for the first time in their lives."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Activists Want "Django" Actress to Apologize to LAPD]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 23:56:14 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/django+actress+detained.jpg

It's a story that went viral -- Daniele Watts, a black actress claiming she was detained by the LAPD for kissing her white boyfriend in public.

Civil rights advocates jumped to her defense, including Earl Ofari Hutchinson.

"I was one that was very outspoken about it," he said. "We take racial profiling very seriously. It's not a play thing. It's not trivial."

For that reason, he's now calling on Watts to apologize to the LAPD.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck has said that he believes the officers who detained the actress after responding to a report of a couple engaged in lewd behavior inside a car in Studio City acted properly.

He said Thursday that he looks forward to finding out what "really happened."

"I look forward to being able to adjudicate this case,"  he said.

It's a case that some are now saying may not involve racial profiling.

Comments from the public on Watts' Facebook page are increasingly negative.

"I'm black, but the latest audio that was released proved to MANY people that this Danielle Watts actress is a calculating, attention seeking DIVA who refused to cooperate," wrote Jordan Dermont. "The cop was doing his job, was professional AND WAS VERY POLITE!"

Brittany Nicole wrote, "I guess you would be the girl who cried wolf? I am ashamed of this whole thing. Can we as black people stop pulling the race card EVERY single time we get in trouble."

Hutchinson said it was a teaching moment for him.

"We began to see pictures that actually show that perhaps there was probable cause for the stop. There was provable cause for the detention," he said. "You must have your facts. You can't rush to judgment. If you do that, you have no credibility."

He hopes it's a lesson learned for others.

"It's like crying wolf," he said. "After awhile, it has no meaning."

A call to Watts was not returned.

The actress, best known for her role in the Quentin Tarantino western, "Django Unchained," has criticized the actions of police, complaining that she was handcuffed and briefly detained on a Studio City street on Thursday because officers mistook her and her boyfriend for a prostitute and customer. Watts also declined to provide her ID to an officer, prompting a lengthy exchange that has drawn national attention.

Photo Credit: Facebook/Daniele Watts]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested in Son's Murder]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 22:12:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/224*120/policetape5.JPG

A 6-year-old boy was fatally stabbed Thursday in the unincorporated Florence Firestone neighborhood, and his 38-year-old father was arrested on suspicion of killing him, the sheriff's department reported.

It happened about midnight in the 1600 block of East 88th Street, Los Angeles County sheriff's Deputy Trina Schrader said.

The child's father -- identified as Alejandro Sanchez --was screaming incoherently and covered in blood when he was was taken into custody at the scene, Schrader said.

A Los Angeles County sheriff's detective said the child was found in a trailer at the rear of the house suffering from multiple stab wounds following a 911 call to law enforcement, Schrader said.

Deputies performed CPR on the boy and paramedics later took him St. Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, where he died, she said.

The motive for stabbing the boy was not immediately reported. Sanchez was jailed on $1 million bail, Schrader said.

<![CDATA[iPhone Fans Wait Days in Line for New Devices]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:29:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/iphonepic.JPG

This is not the first time Francisco Naranjo has been the first person in line at the Apple Store in Pasadena.

In a line that wraps around the block, Naranjo, who’s been there since Monday night, and many others, sit anxiously awaiting the release of the iPhone 6 on Friday. The phone has already seen a record number of orders.

Fanatics of iPhones from far and wide, some bearing Apple-themed cupcakes for sustenance, have flocked to the store, and others around the country, to be the first to buy Apple’s newest release.

"We have, um, peanut butter chocolate sprinkled sandwiches," said Brenn Corcoran, 11. "I wanted to stay the whole time from Tuesday, but my mom wouldn't let me do that."

Martin Gijzemijter, for instance, came all the way to Pasadena from the Netherlands to get his hands on the new iPhone just a week before his compatriots. Gijzemijter said this is the seventh or eighth time he’s flown across the Atlantic to get new Apple hardware.

"We have great weather," he said. "We meet great people and I have a vacation and I get to go home with a phone."

Some eagerly await the iPhone 6 Plus, which has a 5-and-a-half-inch screen, while others just seek the newest iPhone model.

The people waiting in line don’t know how many or what make of the new phones the store will carry when it opens, but they all hope their prime real estate will give them an advantage in getting the one they want.

<![CDATA[Androids Vs. iPhones: Tech Blogger Weighs In]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 18:58:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/tlmd_iphone64.jpg

With the release of the iPhone 6 slated for Friday, it’s time again for smartphone users to consider which phone is the smartest choice.

This time around, choosing between an iPhone or Android, or switching between the two, may not be as big of an undertaking, according to tech blogger Juan Carlos Bagnell.

Unlike late 2008 and 2009, when switching devices meant music files might be restricted or email accounts did not always transfer smoothly, operating systems are slowly merging, both in appearance and internal hardware, Bagnell said.

The last time Apple rolled out a new iPhone, research showed that a fifth of new users came from Android phones.

If you are going to switch to a new device, Bagnell recommends having a "digital date" with the phone, sitting down and getting to know it.

Bagnell added that there will still be accessory differences, and to be prepared to pay extra for docking stations and the like if switching types.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Residents Split Over Teen's Killing in Neighbor's Backyard]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 22:55:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/09-18-14_Erlindo-Rodriguez-Redlands.JPG

 The shooting death of a Redlands teen has neighbors at odds, with one in custody for the killing and a debate about self-defense running through the conversation.

The wife of a Erlindo Rodriguez, accused of murdering a teenager caught trespassing in their yard, said Thursday her husband was simply defending his family.

The woman, who does not want to be identified by name, said it all began at around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night, when her husband spotted someone on their surveillance system, breaking into their yard.

"He saw the guy jumping into the back gate where my room and my kids room is at," she said.

Rodriguez’s wife said her husband, a 34-year-old father of five children, ran outside to confront the intruder.

"The guy pulled out, I believe it was scissors, on Erlindo and was about to attack him," she said.

She said her husband opened fire in self defense, killing 17-year-old Marcus Green, a senior at nearby Redlands East Valley High School.

But family and friends of the victim, while acknowledging the teen was trying to steal marijuana from the alleged killer and was trespassing on their property, argue it should never have escalated to fatal violence.

"I'm very angry,” said Jessie Gonzales, Green’s mother. “It was totally unnecessary."

Gonzales admits her son was in Rodriguez’s yard.

"The guy shot him over his weed plants,” she said. “He was over here picking his weed plants and he shot my son in the chest."

She said Rodriguez could have handled the situation differently

"I think he should have detained my son or called the police"

David Padilla was a fellow student and a close friend of Green.

"He was a great kid he loved skateboarding," Padilla said.

Padilla is also a neighbor of Rodriguez, and spoke highly of him, too.

"He's a great guy he's always inside trying to take care of his family," he said.

But not everyone shares his view.

"I have witnessed him selling drugs to minors and whoever drives up on a bike," said neighbor Carolyn King.

Rodriguez is in police custody, charged with murder. Family and friends will hold a candlelight vigil for Green Thursday night.

But his wife insists that while the circumstances are tragic, her husband did what he thought was best at the time.

"He shouldn't have done what he did but I understand that he did it to protect his family,” she said.

<![CDATA[Crews Fight West Hollywood Fire]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 23:30:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/West+Hollywood+Fire.JPG

One firefighter suffered a twisted knee battling that three-alarm apartment building fire in West Hollywood.

He was taken to a hospital for treatment, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

The blaze was reported around 4 p.m. Thursday at an apartment building in the 1200 block of North Horn Avenue in West Hollywood.

Elyse Eisenberg said it was the second fire at the complex in 15 years.

"I went out on the balcony," she said. "I heard the helicopters and fire trucks and I could see the black smoke rising from the building."

<![CDATA[Gordo the Dog Fights to Keep Injured Leg]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:12:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/09-18-14_Gordo-Chase-Dog.JPG

Donations from across the country could mean the difference between four legs and three for one lucky dog who captured hearts when he was the unexpected victim of a televised police chase in South LA.

Gordo the Maltese-mix was struck by the driver of a white van involved in a high-speed pursuit, and despite injuries, veterinarians said Thursday the dog may get to keep all his limbs.

Though the runaway van’s rim sliced Gordo‘s right thigh, vets confirmed that Gordo did not suffer any organ or nerve damage.

"I haven't ever seen such a clean injury without nerve damage or bleeding," said Dr. Kim Carey. "I don't know if that rim was so hot it acted to cauterize or close up vessels with heat. Strange Injury."

Carey said Gordo's survival is surprising.

After he was hit by the car, Gordo limped home, and owner Santos Son said his children were the first to see the dog, covered in blood.

The injured pup was taken in a shoebox by a crying Son to Access Specialty Animal Hospital in Culver City, where he underwent surgery Thursday afternoon.

Gordo’s story spurred an outpouring of support.

Generous donations made it possible for Gordo’s owners to afford the expensive operation necessary to save Gordo’s leg.

Son said he is grateful for the response.

"He's going to be fine," Son said in Spanish. "Gordo has a lot of luck and wants to live."

<![CDATA[Rough Surf and Dangerous Rip Currents Hit SoCal Beaches]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 15:44:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/venice+beach+surf+lageneric.jpg

LA County lifeguards braced for another day of rough surf and strong rip currents Thursday.

Their advice is simple: stay out of the water unless you are an experienced swimmer.

For those who are daring enough to take a dip, officials recommend consulting a lifeguard before entering the water and swimming near an open tower.

Yesterday, 167,000 people decided to beat the heat by escaping to one of LA County’s beaches, according to LA County Lifeguard Captain Julio Rodriguez.

Even after hiring additional lifeguards, Rodriguez said the county was still short-staffed in the face of 75 ocean and 53 medical rescues.

Today, waves are predicted to reach as high as four feet at some beaches.

While the riptide danger appears to have subsided since yesterday, the high surf advisory is expected to remain in effect through the end of the weekend.

<![CDATA[Newlywed Run Over By Lifeguard Truck Remains Hospitalized]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:10:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/09-18-14_Lorae-Bermudez-Lifeguard.JPG

A 26-year-old newlywed who was run over by an LA County lifeguard truck earlier this week suffered lacerations to her liver and fractures to her pelvic area, her attorney said Thursday.

Lorae Bermudez and her husband, Thomas Kim, were sunbathing at Venice Beach Monday afternoon when she was run over by a lifeguard truck in the sand near the 1500 block of Ocean Front Walk.

The couple were married just a few days before the incident, attorney Robert Pecora said. He said Bermudez remains hospitalized, recovering from her injuries

A lifeguard specialist driving a Ford Escape was coming back from a rescue and did not see Bermudez in the sand, according to police. The lifeguard was not en route to an emergency, so the SUV did not have lights and sirens on at the time.

The county is investigating, and Pecora is representing Bermudez in any possible litigation stemming from the incident.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Robert J. Pecora]]>
<![CDATA[Long Beach Airport Reopens After Emergency Landing]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:23:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/long+beach+airport+shut+down.jpg

Long Beach Airport was reopened after a JetBlue plane with a disabled engine made an emegency landing and shut down the airportThursday morning.

JetBlue Flight 1416 from Long Beach to Austin, Texas had to return to the airport shortly after taking off at 9:05 a.m. because smoke was coming from one of the plane's engines.

The flight landed around 9:30 a.m. Passengers were evacuated on the runway using emergency slides.

Three people suffered minor injuries and were relased at the scene and one person was taken to a hospital for shortness of breath.

JetBlue released a statement following the emergency landing.

"The airplane landed safely, and all customers and crew have evacuated via slides with no reported injuries at this time. While the runway at Long Beach is closed, inbound flights are being directed to nearby airports."

Jackson Rathborne, an actor who had roles in the "Twilight" films, said he was on the flight and shared his experience on Twitter.

"Over the PA, the pilot yelled 'Brace!'" Rathborne tweeted.

"I grabbed my son and jumped down the inflated ramp, my wife following. We left all our personal effects onboard. Who cares. We were alive," he said in another post.

Shawn Mahoney, who recently became a father, was also on board the flight. Mahoney said he could think of little else as he braced for the landing.

"All I could really think about is my son," Mahoney said. "This is the best feeling that I've probably had in my life to date."

The airport is located at 4100 Donald Douglas Drive.

NBC4's Vikki Vargas and Nyree Arabian contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Stranded Travelers Relieved to be Home]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 12:09:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cab+san+lucas+hurricane+odile+amage.jpg

What started as a vacation for travelers in Cabo quickly turned into a days long nightmare when Hurricane Odile tore through the tourist destination.

More than 300 travelers were relieved to make it back to Los Angeles International Airport after the tropical storm turned hotels upside down, leaving visitors without power, water or a functioning airport to get home.

“Once I heard people screaming I knew it was serious,” said traveler Nicole Wilczynski. “The wind was knocking through the door. I thought it was going to knock down the door.”

When word got out that there was a flight available to the U.S., thousands of stranded travelers lined up for a chance to board.

“There was a hotel that was just devastated and they said ‘that’s where you guys start,’” sai traveler Matt Mejer. “Maybe 5,000 people just waiting to get a plane.”

Those who made it back on the plane were treated to hamburgers as they eagerly awaited touching down at LAX.

“When we got back to the United States there was a big cheer,” said Alaska Airlines Capt. Thomas Kemp.

Thousands of people were still stuck in the hurricane-ravaged vacation spot Wednesday night, and Alaska Airlines continued their efforts to get weary travelers home.

<![CDATA[6-Year-Old Boy Fatally Stabbed in South LA]]> Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:14:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/6-year-old+boy+fatally+stabbed+south+laPNG.PNG

A 6-year-old boy died after being stabbed multiple times early Thursday morning in South LA, sheriff’s officials said.

Just after midnight, deputies responded to a call of a person screaming in the 1600 block of 88th Street. Upon arrival, deputies found the child had multiple stab wounds on his upper torso.

Deputies administered life-saving efforts to try and save the boy, then rushed him to St. Francis Hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Authorities are investigating at the hospital as well as the initial location to determine the cause.

The suspect is believed to be the boy's father, who was covered in blood when deputies responded to the scene, sheriff's officials said. The man has been detained and is being questioned, but has not been officially charged with any crime.

Deputies are looking for the boy's mother or any other siblings who may have been around at the time of the incident.

Kevin LaBeach contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Man Wanted in Deputy-Involved Shooting]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 06:47:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/compton+deputy-involved+shooting.PNG

A man is in stable condition after being involved in a deputy-involved shooting in Compton Wednesday night, officials said.

The shooting occurred around 10:50 p.m. near West Compton Boulevard and North Paulsen Avenue. Deputies were driving in the area of Compton Boulevard and Wilmington Avenue when they saw two people wearing ski masks running across the street, one of whom turned toward the deputies with a handgun, officials said.  

One man was struck and taken to the hospital. Another man remains outstanding.

The two people wearing ski masks may have been involved in a robbery at a business on the 700 block of Compton Boulevard, officials said.

No Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies were injured.

<![CDATA[Suspected Gunman Critically Injured in OIS]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 02:58:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/boyle+heights+ois.PNG

A suspected gunman is in critical condition after being struck by police gunfire in Boyle Heights Wednesday afternoon in an altercation that was caught on cellphone camera.

LAPD officers responded to a report of a man with gun near Marengo Street and North State Street just before 5:30 p.m.

Investigators said officers were forced to shoot when the man pulled out a gun.

"They told him put your hands up, but no. He reached in. He pulled out a gun. I seen it. I don't know if I was a BB gun or whatever it was but yeah he did," witness Richard Montes said. "They did what they had to do, you know?"

A woman riding with her family in a car nearby recorded the incident on her cellphone and shared the footage with NBC4.

As for what happened, LAPD says their probe into the shooting is just getting started.

"Officers were not injured in this and this is an ongoing investigation," LAPD Lt. Andrew Neiman said. 

The unidentified suspected gunman was taken to a hospital and was in critical condition as of Wednesday night.

<![CDATA[Angels Win American League West Title]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 23:11:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/455630948.jpg

The Los Angeles Angels clinched the AL West title Wednesday night, getting seven dominant innings of one-hit ball from C.J. Wilson in a 5-0 victory over the Seattle Mariners.

C.J. Cron hit a three-run homer for the major league-leading Angels (95-57), who wrapped up their first division crown since 2009 when Oakland lost to Texas about an hour after Los Angeles' game ended.

The Angels had already secured a playoff spot Monday. They have won 12 of 14.

Howie Kendrick sparked the Angels' five-run rally in the seventh by scoring from first base when Chris Denorfia misplayed David Freese's single to right for an error.

Los Angeles' surge broke up a pitchers' duel between Wilson and Seattle rookie James Paxton, who traded zeros until the seventh.

Wilson (13-9) earned his third straight victory in intimidating fashion, striking out seven and allowing just four baserunners in a major improvement from recent starts. He escaped his only jam in the seventh, stranding two runners.

Paxton (6-3) yielded four hits and had eight strikeouts for the Mariners, who have lost six of eight. Seattle managed just one hit and is two games behind Kansas City and Oakland for the second AL wild card.

Paxton kept the Mariners in contention until his teammates made two errors and reliever Danny Farquhar flopped in the seventh inning.

After Kendrick's one-out single, Denorfia thought about diving to catch Freese's drive, but instead pulled up and allowed it to roll past him to the right-field wall. Austin Jackson then double-clutched the ball while retrieving it, and Kendrick scored easily.

Farquhar relieved Paxton with two outs and two runners on, but Cron mashed his 11th homer into the fake rock pile behind center field. Kole Calhoun followed with an RBI double as the Angels batted around.

Paxton was even more dominant than Wilson, retiring 17 of the Angels' first 18 hitters. Paxton allowed only two bouncing singles in the first six innings while striking out Mike Trout three times.

Trout also struck out to end the seventh, tying Baltimore's Chris Davis for the AL lead with 173 strikeouts.


Mariners: LHP Roenis Elias headed back to Seattle for an MRI after feeling stiffness in his elbow. Manager Lloyd McClendon said Elias is probably done for the season.

Angels: Josh Hamilton was out of the starting lineup after feeling a bit sore following his return from a shoulder injury Tuesday. The cleanup hitter likely wouldn't have started anyway against a tough left-hander.


Two aces meet in the series finale when Seattle RHP Felix Hernandez (14-5, 2.14 ERA) takes on Jered Weaver (17-8, 3.50).

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dog Struck During Pursuit in "Critical Condition" ]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 07:57:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/227*120/pursuit11.JPG

A family dog was in critical condition Wednesday night after being struck during a harrowing 30-minute police chase that wound through streets in South LA and drew out lookiloos who gathered on street corners while the chase went down.

The pursuit ended after 9 p.m. with the driver and a female passenger in police custody. Police in riot gear formed a line in the street afterward to try to disperse the crowd.

The chase started about 8:30 p.m. with a report that the white Chevrolet Astro van may have been stolen.

The van jumped curbs onto sidewalks and circled at intersections, while groups of people gathered and raised their arms as the van passed.

The van drove mostly with its headlights out.

At one point, the driver of the van hit a dog that was running in the street. 

The dog, named Gordo, is a small, white poodle mix who lived with his family at a home on 87th Street in South LA. He was taken to a 24-hour animal hospital and was in critical condition as of Wednesday night. 

Hospital officials confirmed with NBC4 Thursday morning that the dog will have to do undergo surgery. One of the dog's hind legs may have to be amputated. 

For those who would like to donate to help with Gordo's recovery, visit the Access Specialty Animal Hospitals site and click on the link that says "Click here for Access Los Angeles payment" and pay via PayPal. 

Robert Kovacik and Samia Khan contributed to this report. 

<![CDATA[Questionable Claims Investigated at LA County Probation]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 23:46:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/221*120/probation.JPG

Los Angeles County Probation workers spent months away from the job after getting spider bites, tripping in parking lots or falling out of chairs, according to an investigation by NBC4 media partner KPCC which found dozens of questionable cases in hundreds of workers’ compensation files from 2010-2012.

In one case, a probation officer’s first workers’ compensation claim stated that he hurt his hand restraining a minor in one of the county’s juvenile camps.

From there, the claims piled up: stress-related asthma, a hurt wrist from tripping on a curb, a shoulder strain from putting up a bulletin board, and a "contusion" from hitting his knee on a desk.

All in all, in 24 years with the probation department, the employee worked just five of them.

Chief Probation Officer Jerry Powers stresses that the vast majority of workers’ compensation claims are legitimate, but he has taken several steps to crack down on questionable injuries since taking office in 2011.

Since then, the number of probation staff on disability has dropped by one third, Powers says.

Read the full story by KPCC.

<![CDATA[Groundwater Levels Plummet in Crucial LA County Basins]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:00:37 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/colorado+river+basin+copy.jpg

New laws intended to safeguard California's dwindling groundwater largely exclude crucial basins in Los Angeles and Orange counties, on the grounds that local monitoring systems for them are already in place.

But that is not keeping their water levels from descending to historically low levels, NBC4 has learned.

"The system has worked until now," said Anthony Zampiello, executive director for the watermaster overseeing the main San Gabriel basin, historically replenished by runoff from the mountains.

What has changed things is this third year of drought.

"Now it's stressing all the safeguards put into place," Zampiello said.

The court order that established the San Gabriel watermaster four decades ago also specified an "operating range" for groundwater levels.

Water as measured at the key well in Baldwin Park fell below the operating range in February and has continued to drop to the point it is now 18 feet below. "It's never been this low," Zampiello said.

Groundwater levels are also plummeting in the central groundwater basin which underlies much of the southern end of Los Angeles County.

At one test well checked Wednesday in Pico Rivera, the water level had dropped to 102 feet, 17 feet lower than recorded just half a year ago. Similar drops have been recorded across the basin.

"One more foot, and it will be at the lowest level in 57 years," said Ted Johnson, chief hydrogeologist for the Water Replenishment District.

The state legislature created the WRD in the 1950s after the post World War II population boom led to rapid drawdown of groundwater, both in the Central Basin and to the west in the coast basin beneath the South Bay. With both the San Gabriel Watermaster and the Replenishment District, the goal was to apportion allocations in order to stablize the basins so they could meet ongoing demand.

Dealing with prolonged drought was not part of the original vision for either entity.

The original source of replenishment for both the San Gabriel and Central basins was runoff from the mountains, captured in giant spreading basins so the water could percolate through the soil and into the basins. Later, after the completion of the California Aqueduct in the 1970s, the entitites purchased water sent south by the California Water Project.

Both those sources have been severely curtailed by the drought. During the drought, recycled and treated waste water has proven to be the most reliable replenishment source for the WRD, and it is moving to expand its recycling capability with the goal of achieving independence from imported water. But a major increase in recycling capacity may not go online before 2018.

How much accessible groundwater remains in the Central Basin is not known with cetainty, Johnson said.  What the historical record shows is that prior to WRD replenishment, the basin had dropped hit a low 30 feet below where it is today.  At current drawdown rates,  it would be a year at soonest before the aquifer would hit that level, said Johnson.

The Orange County Water District has been a longtime proponent of water recycling. Its groundwater basin has dropped to the lower one-third of its operating range, according to the district. Groundwater rights in some other basins have also been "adjudicated," but much of the state has lacked grounwater monitoring, and the absence of statewide regulation had made California unique among the western states.

The package of groundwater bills signed Tuesday by Gov. Jerry Brown creates a framework for reporting groundwater pumping and replenishment, and ultimately calls for development of local sustainability plans. Apart from reporting requirements, the existing overseers of basins such as San Gabriel, Central, and Orange County are specifically exempted from the other provisions of the bills. The overseers have not attempted to order cuts in pumping from wells.

"We can't dictate," said WRD Board Director Sergio Calderon.

Whether the watermaster could do so is yet to be explored. For now, the watermaster hopes to the drawdown can be slowed by its member water districts taking more from the Colorado River, which has been less affected by the drought.

When Gov. Brown proclaimed a drought emergency in January, he called on Californians to reduce water consumption by 20 percent.  In fact, most areas have fallen far short of that goal.  As recently as May, Los Angeles and other cities were using more water than the previous year.

Perhaps as soon as a month, Calderon said the WRD board will consider proclaiming a Drought Emergency for the Central Basin.  Like the Watermaster for the San Gabriel Basin, Calderon does not  see the need for mandatory curtailment of deliveries in the months ahead, but that could change if another dry winter propels California into a fourth year of drought.

Photo Credit: U.S. Bureau of Reclamation]]>
<![CDATA[Deputies Rescue Two Pigs in Santa Clarita]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 07:23:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/217*120/pigs4.JPG

You wouldn't think that pig wrangler would be in a cop's job description.

But for deputies in the bedroom community of Santa Clarita on Wednesday, it was.

Two pigs got loose from their home near Cherry Street and Peachland Avenue in Newhall, more than 30 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.

It took the muscle of deputies from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Santa Clarita station to save them. Neighbors called deputies reporting pigs running loose in the streets.

"As you consider commenting on this story online or on social media, we ask you to remember that law enforcement officials are here to serve and protect the public and uphold a tradition of service, a job that requires thick skin and a sense of humor," Deputy Josh Dubin quipped.

It took about 90 minutes for deputies to find out where the pigs lived and returned them safely to their pens.

The pigs were unharmed.

Animal care officials were trying to figure out how the animals got loose.

<![CDATA[Call Made for "Help" Following Traffic Collision Involving LAPD Motorcycle Officer]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 08:19:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/breaking+news+la+generic.jpg

A call for help was made after a Los Angeles police motorcycle officer was involved in a traffic collision on the 105 Freeway near Bellflower Thursday morning.

The crash was reported around 8:10 a.m. on the westbound side of the freeway.

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story.

<![CDATA[Family of Teen Killed By LAPD Files $75M Lawsuit]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 03:29:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ezell+ford+lapd+ois+victim.PNG

The mother of Ezell Ford, an unarmed black teenager shot and killed by LAPD officers during an altercation, filed a $75 million wrongful death lawsuit against the department Wednesday, arguing her son’s civil rights were violated the night he died.

Ford, 25, was fatally shot Aug. 11 after he allegedly struggled with two Los Angeles police officers from Newton Area Gang Enforcement Detail after he was stopped near 65th and Broadway streets. Police said Ford reached for an officer’s gun when they opened fire.

Family members have contradicted that narrative, and asserted that Ford was mentally ill and the officers should have better known how to deal with him.

“This was a homicide plain and simple,” said Steve Lerman, who is representing Ford’s family. “A disarmed, unarmed, helpless, hapless person who was shot to death for no reason other than two officers were bored on Monday at 8 p.m. and they knew Ezell Ford was handicapped.”

Lerman, who represented Rodney King in his lawsuit against LAPD 22 years ago, did not elaborate on why the family believed the two officers knew Ford was handicapped, but said new evidence and scores of witnesses have come forward in the case who will back up his claims.

Ford’s death has sparked outrage, demonstrations and marches from activists who say they’re fed up with the recurring problem of law enforcement and how they deal with the mentally ill.

Ford battled bipolar and schizophrenia, according to Lerman, the family attorney.

The family’s claim argues officers Sharlton Wampler and Antonio Villegas unjustifiably shot Ford and denied him due process.

LAPD did not comment on the lawsuit because the investigation is ongoing and the department does not comment on pending litigation.

<![CDATA[Red Light Camera Debate Heats Up in Santa Ana]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 22:34:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/232*120/redlightcameras.JPG

The intersection of Pullman Street and East Dyer Road is one of 15 monitored by red light cameras in Santa Ana.

Last June, Cynthia Renee was photographed as a red light runner and cited and fined $544 dollars.

"I figured if I'm upset about it I can imagine the hundreds and thousands of other people who have received other tickets," Renee said.

Renee challenged the citation in court.

"I had heard that a lot of yellow lights are shortened just for revenue," she said.

At Pullman and Dyer, driving 40 mph, the minimum standard for a signal light to appear yellow, is 3.9 seconds.

"So for that intersection it's 4 seconds," Anthony Bertagna, a Santa Ana Police Department spokesman, said.

But Renee said she taped it five times and it came out between 3.6 and 3.8.

NBC4 recorded the yellow signal and each time it was exactly 4 seconds, legal but still unfair, critics say.

"You're either going too fast to stop before the intersection or too slow to make it into the intersection before the light turns red," said Allen Baylis, a defense attorney who has been defending clients against red light camera citations since 2005. "They've set the intersections up in order to maximize red light runs by using a yellow time that is at or near the minimum."

Bertagna said it's not about the money.

"It's about education. It's about keeping people safe."

Santa Ana police say red light running collisions declined by 54 percent between 2005 and 2009, while ticket revenues are increasing. The city netted more than $1.6 million for fiscal year 2012-2013.

The Santa Ana City Council voted to remove red light cameras citywide next summer.

Renee says removing the cameras means no more snapshots of time, that citations will be based on an officer witnessing the reasonable or unreasonable decisions of drivers.

"Everybody should be treated fairly," she said.

Photo Credit: Randy Mac/NBCLA]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Preparing for Catastrophes]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 15:40:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/231*120/09-12-14_Anaheim-Hills-Brush-Fire06.JPG

Southern California faces the prospect of natural disasters every year, from wildfires to earthquakes, and the agencies responsible for responding to those events met Wednesday in Los Angeles to plan for the next major catastrophe.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency brought together local government department heads and academics as part of its twice yearly National Advisory Council, aimed at developing coordination between federal and local agencies during disasters.

The council reviewed proposals for the area’s preparation, disaster protection, response, recovery from a major incident and insurance issues, for natural catastrophes as well as other potential disasters including a pandemic flu outbreak, terrorism and cyber attacks.

Jim Featherstone, head of emergency management for LA and former interim chief of the Los Angeles Fire Department, said the city is as prepared as any other big city in the nation.

He said one key to getting the preparedness message across to Angelenos has been educational outreach. He said the city’s children have been very helpful in spreading the message to their parents.

“The kids take the message home, they take the significance of the message to… their parents and hopefully the parents take that to heart,” he said.

<![CDATA[$50,000 Reward Offered in Fatal Hit-and-Run]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:42:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/224*120/fredy+freddy+mendez+hit+run+koreatown.jpg

A $50,000 reward was announced Wednesday in the case of a hit-and-run crash that killed a father of two children in July.

The crash that killed 45-year-old Javier Hernandez occurred at the intersection of Beverly Boulevard and Normandie Avenue in Koreatown. There have been no arrests in the nearly two-month investigation to find the driver who ran a red light, struck two vehicles and crashed into a group of people near a bus stop.

Authorities have identified the driver as 38-year-old Fredy Mendez. The reward approved Wednesday by the Los Angeles City Council is for information leading to his arrest. He was identified by witness at the crash site, who said he left the scene and his Ford F150 pickup after striking at least three people at the bus stop, including Hernandez.

Family members described Hernandez as respectful and the sole provider for his wife and two children.

Mendez is from El Salvador and entered the United States illegally, according to investigators. He also has family members in Los Angeles.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Phony Housekeepers Clean Out Homes]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 21:43:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/oc+housekeeper+bust.jpg

Two women arrested earlier this week in connection with burglaries at homes in southern Orange County posed as housekeepers to enter the residences, acccording to investigators.

During the past year, the Orange County Sheriff's Department received reports of several burglaries in which thieves took cash and jewelry, but did not break into the homes. Authorities determined that the thieves were allowed to enter the homes after telling homeowners they were a cleaning crew.

Surveillance video collected from a Riverside residence connected the women to the crimes, sheriff's officials said.

They were identifed by the OC Sheriff's Department as Sandra Elizabeth Rojas, 36, and Marie Alejandra Rojas, 38, both of Riverside.

Investigators said the pair would identify residences with legitimate cleaning crews.

"They would identify the residence and once the legitimate cleaning crew left they would go in and steal cash or jewelry," Lt. Jeffrey Hallock said.

He said they posed as housekeepers in case the residents came home, even bringing their own vacuum.

"We know that they're good for residential burglaries over several months. A lot of time steal cash or jewelry then sell or pawn that jewelry," Hallock said.

It was not immediately clear whether the women obtained an attorney.

Anyone with information about the cases can call the Orange County Sheriff's Department at 949-425-1901. 

Hallock said their could be additional victims.

Note: This story originally appeared on NBCLA.com Sept. 17, 2014. The story was broadcast on NBC4 Sept. 18, 2014.

Photo Credit: Orange County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Owner to Restore "Miracle" Jag Stolen Decades Ago ]]> Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:49:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/jaguar+xke+stolen+ivan+schneider.jpg

A classic British roadster regarded as one of the most beautiful cars ever made will be returned to its 82-year-old owner nearly five decades after the vehicle was stolen.

The 1967 Jaguar E-type convertible was seized by authorities last month at the Los Angeles/Long Beach seaport. Referred to the XKE in the United States, the car has captured hearts of auto enthusiasts, including Ivan Schneider, since it roared onto the scene in the 1960s with its sporting pedigree, graceful long hood, sleek profile and other timeless design elements. The New York Museum of Modern Art even added an XKE to its permanent design collection in the 1990s.

This particular car's story is not all about looks -- although, most of it is.

The car was stolen 46 years ago in New York City and Schneider, now living in Miami Beach, had no reason to believe he would ever see his beloved sports car again. He was so enamored with it that whenever he bought a new car, Schneider recalled regaling dealers with tales of his lost E-type, which the trial lawyer then in his mid-30s bought for $15,000 after winning a big case. Hagerty's classic car price guide now values the convertible 4.2-liter engine model at more than $112,000.

"I've had a lot of great cars since then, but none of them as pretty," Schneider, a car collector, said Wednesday. "I've had every car you can think of. That was, in looks, my favorite car.

"It's gorgeous. It looks like a bullet almost. It's a car they should make now again."

The theft occurred outside his New York City residence. Schneider walked downstairs on his way to work and realized the car wasn't where he parked.

"I walked up and down Madison Avenue, then up and down 5th Avenue, and it wasn't there," he said. "I was heartbroken."

He filed a police report. Holding out hope that the Jag would be found, he did not buy another car for about four weeks. Eventually, he accepted the possibilty he would never see it again.

Forty-six years later, he found what a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official told him during an August phone call even more difficult to accept. The car had been located in a shipping container at the Port of Long Beach/Los Angeles that was bound for Europe.

"When I got the call, I thought they were kidding me," Schneider said.

The break in the decades-old vehicle theft case came when Customs and Border Protection was notified by the National Insurance Crime Bureau of a vehicle reported stolen. CBP typically cross-references documentation provided by exporters with information, including vehicle identification numbers, in the Crime Bureau's active stolen vehicle reports.

"When we located the vehicle, it was in a container bound for the Netherlands," said Javier Larios, of the CBP.

The agency notified the carrier that the container should be returned to the Southern California port complex. When agents opened the container, they found Schneider's Jag, painted white over its original gray color.

"The outside looks great, the inside looks terrible," Schneider said. "This is just a miracle, a miracle."

Schneider plans to have the car restored in New York before it is shipped to his Florida home. He said he is "very excited" to take it for another ride after only putting 6,000 miles on the car before it disappeared.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Photos Surface of "Django Unchained" Actress, Boyfriend]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 21:59:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/django+actress+detained.jpg

Photos have surfaced of “Django Unchained” actress Daniele Watts and her significant other, Brian James Lucas, moments before LAPD responded to a call that the pair were “involved in a lewd” act in a parked car.

The photos, obtained by TMZ, show Watts straddling Lucas in the passenger seat of a Silver Mercedes. They appear to be holding onto the sunroof opening, both in the passenger's seat of the vehicle.

Workers in a nearby building on Radford Avenue in Studio City called LAPD to report the incident.

When officers arrived, Watts claimed her detainment was racially motivated because she is black and Lucas is white.

Watts wrote on her Facebook page after the incident that she was “humiliated” and forced into handcuffs by two LAPD officers for publicly showing affection to her significant other, Brian James Lucas. Her post, which went viral along with video and photos of the incident, suggested that she was racially profiled.

But both the LAPD sergeant involved and LAPD Chief Charlie Beck have denied that account.

Beck said the officers did what they were supposed to do – respond to a report of indecent exposure.

"The officers made no selection, the officers were directed to that location because a citizen observed what they believed to be a crime and called the police department,” Beck said.

An audio recording thought to be made by the police officer, Sgt. Jim Parker, was leaked this week. It shows Watts refusing to provide identification before she was detained in handcuffs.

Neither Watts nor Lucas were arrested. Watts has formally filed a personnel complaint against the officers.

Patrick Healy and Samia Khan contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: Facebook/Daniele Watts]]>
<![CDATA[Lockdown Lifted at Two Carson Schools]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:15:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-genericsla-nbc4-logo-2.jpg

Two Carson schools were placed on lockdown Wednesday morning while police searched for a robbery suspect in the area.

Instruction continued and students remained on campus at Annalee Avenue Elementary School and nearby Curtiss Middle School. 

The suspect was taken into custoday and the lockdown was lifted just after 11 a.m., according to Sgt. Richard Torres of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Both schools are within the Los Angeles Unified School District.

<![CDATA[Girl Seriously Injured in Crash on Walk to School]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:05:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/210*120/siren3.jpg

A young girl was struck by a car and seriously injured on her way to school in Anaheim Wednesday morning, according to police.

The crash happened around the corner from Juliette Low Elementary School at 7:09 a.m., and it is believed the girl is a student at the school.

The driver of the car stopped at the collision scene, at the corner of Lincoln Avenue and Monterey Street, said Lt. Bob Dunn of the Anaheim Police Department.

The girl, whose exact age is not immediately available, was transported to a local hospital with serious injuries.

<![CDATA[Power Returning After Heat Wave Outages]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:47:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/power+utility+electricity+lafile.jpg

Utility crews continued to work on restoring power Wednesday morning to thousands of customers as record heat and power demand taxes Southern California.

At 7 a.m., the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported 634 customers without power. The majority of the outages, which come during a heat wave that began late last week and pushed temperatures into triple digits, were in the Los Angeles metro and valley service area.

About 6,000 customers were without power Tuesday, when the DWP reported an all-time record energy demand of 6,396 megawatts. That broke the record set Monday of 6,196 megawatts. The usage taxed power lines and triggered transformer fires.

"This actually started Saturday, the heat, so we've been busy all the way through," said Juan Esparza, LADWP district superintendent.

Southern California Edison reported 1,800 customers without power Wednesday morning because of extreme heat and heavy power usage, utility officials said. That figure is down from 3,500 customers Tuesday night.

Southern Californian's can expect a slight drop in temperatures Wednesday. The NWS forecast highs of 80  in San Clemente; 82 in Avalon; 83 in Newport Beach; 85 at LAX; 88 in Laguna  Beach; 91 on Mount Wilson; 94 in downtown L.A. and Long Beach; 95 in Anaheim,  Irvine, Fullerton and Yorba Linda; 96 in Mission Viejo, San Gabriel and  Burbank; 99 in Pasadena; 100 in Lancaster; 101 in Palmdale; and 102 in Saugus  and Woodland Hills. Friday's highs will be lower -- 11 degrees lower in  downtown Los Angeles and 12 degrees in Woodland Hills.

Heat advisories expired for several areas late Tuesday, but flash flood watches remained in effect for parts of Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Tree With Beehive Crashes Down on Street]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 07:35:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/studio+city+tree+beehive+2.jpg A tree with a beehive on a branch fell Wednesday Sept. 17, 2014 in Studio City.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Tree With Beehive Crashes Down on Street]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 10:01:41 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/tree+beehive+sept17+studio+city.jpg

Residents in a Studio City neighborhood woke up Wednesday to find a tree blocking a street after it split at the trunk and toppled overnight at the same corner where another large tree fell two years ago.

Neighbors said the tree at Landale Street and Farmdale Avenue was home to a beehive, which brought city workers to the neighborhood Tuesday. They advised residents to stay away from the tree, but did not have protective gear required to remove the hive, neighbors said.

The beehive remained attached Wednesday morning to the underside of a branch just a few feet from the ground. Several residents stopped by to take a look.

"It's just another sign that these trees are unsafe," Linda, a resident, told NBC4. "This is the fifth tree that's come down in the past four or five years. Just looking at this beehive is making me weak in the knees."

"We're so lucky it has fallen into the street and not on someone's car, someone's home or on someone."

There were no reports of damage to vehicles or houses. The tree, estimated at 70 feet tall, fell across Farmdale Avenue about a block north of Moorpark Street.  Workers had just completed branch trimming on several towering trees along Landale Street earlier this month.

Crews are expected to return to the site Wednesday to remove the tree, located across the street from where a larger tree toppled in late August 2012. That tree tore up a portion of sidewalk and blocked Farmdale Avenue over Labor Day weekend.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Driver Suspected of DUI Crashes Into Bank]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:59:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/car+into+bank+la+habra.PNG

A woman who crashed her vehicle into a bank Wednesday morning in La Habra was arrested on suspicion of DUI, police said.

Witnesses reported the crash just before 2 a.m. at the Popular Community Bank at the intersection of Imperial Highway and Idaho Street. The side of the bank closest to the street was damaged.

The 34-year-old driver was not injured. The vehicle was towed and impounded. 

Adrian Arambulo contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[LAPD Defends Detainment of "Django Unchained" Actress]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 11:28:11 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/actress+daniele+watts+detained+lapd.jpg

Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck is defending the actions of officers who briefly detained and questioned an actress who had a part in the film "Django Unchained" following reports that she was "involved in a lewd act" in a parked car.

Daniele Watts wrote on her Facebook page that she was “humiliated” and forced into handcuffs by two LAPD officers for publicly showing affection to her significant other, Brian James Lucas. Her post, which went viral along with video and photos of the incident, suggested that she was racially profiled.

"Daniele Watts was stopped for kissing while black," activist Najee Ali said.

But Beck said the officers did what they were supposed to do – respond to a report of indecent exposure.

"The officers made no selection, the officers were directed to that location because a citizen observed what they believed to be a crime and called the police department,” Beck said.

Watts told NBC News Sunday that she and her partner were kissing inside their car at the CBS lot when they were approached by a man in a suit who asked them to leave because "employees were distracted." The couple stopped after a few minutes and police arrived shortly after, Watts said.

An audio recording of the incident reveals that Sgt. Jim Parker told Watts that someone called police, and that gave him the right to be there and identify her.

The dispatch call described a black female, wearing a white shirt and floral shorts, “involved in a lewd act” in a vehicle with the door open. Police approached Watts because she matched the description. 

When asked for identification, Watts refused and walked away. She was then detained.

"The decision to detain, investigate further, and then release, is well within the bounds of a policing and the authority of police in the state of California,” Beck said.

Watts has formally filed a personnel complaint.

Photo Credit: Facebook]]>
<![CDATA[Metal Sheet Ignited 1,000-Acre Brush Fire: Authorities]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:40:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/firenight.JPG

The four-day-old Silverado Fire, which has burned 1,500 acres, was apparently ignited by the sun reflecting off metal sheeting put up by someone trying to keep rodents out of a vegetable garden, a fire official said.

The fire was started by pyrolytic decomposition. In this case, the metal sheeting around a vegetable garden to keep rodents out reflected the sun for so long it dried out the wooden base and caught fire.

"At some point, when conditions were right, the comibnation of fuel, air, and heat -- we have ignition," said Jim Wilkens, a United States Forest Service spokesman.

The fire broke out Friday about 10:30 a.m. in the 30500 block of Silverado Canyon Road. About 1,059 firefighters, with help from five helicopters making water drops, battled the fire, which blackened nearly 1,000 .

Six firefighters were treated for heat-related injuries.

The fire blackened a remote area on the western flanks of Santiago Peak, south of Corona.

The fire was not a threat to any cross-mountain routes, firefighters said.

Mandatory evacuations ordered for residents east of 30311 Silverado Canyon Road were lifted Sunday evening.

Jonathan Graham is grateful his house was spared.

But he's left wondering if his yard has any hidden fire hazards.

"Makes you double check about piles of trash ... anything that can produce heat," he said.

Firefighters say anything that reflects light can act like a mirror, amplifying the sun's power in the wrong direction.

It's why Jim Fainer said he stops whenever he sees a broken bottle.

"If I'm hiking and I see broken glass, I'll pick it up and put it in my pocket," he said. "Because it can start a fire. And fires move really fast here."

City News Service contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Take a Nap at the Gamble House]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 23:35:04 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/194*120/gamble-house-front123.jpg

While your spirit is prone to soaring upon entering Pasadena's The Gamble House, one of the most exquisitely imagined houses to be found anywhere, it can make your heart sink, just a pinch, to realize you'll never participate in any normal, everyday tasks while politely calling upon the grand Arts & Crafts jewel.

The homey stuff is the stuff you kind of miss, is what we're saying. You'll never write letters, enjoy a snack, or take a nap at The Gamble, all of which docents might frown upon (and rightly so). But that's changing, with a wink and a twinkle, during the Machine Project's two-week residency at one of California's finest estates.

The art-minded, science-loving, poetry-spouting innovators -- they built the cavern behind their Echo Park storefront last autumn, remember -- are gently taking over the multi-roomed, lawn-lavish gem, with its blessing, from Friday, Sept. 19 through Sunday, Oct. 5, in conjunction with the AxS Festival 2014, a Pasadena-big science-and-art love-in.

As for what shall go down at the eave-iest wonder in all of Southern California? Group naps on the Gamble House's sleeping porch (for which you'll need a ticket) (yes, this is a ticketed nap). 

Look also for the drawing of ghosts and artificial sunlight demonstrations and embroidery lessons and the building of cat dwellings and poetry readings that take place just between the poet and a single listener, inside a Gamble House closet.

Oh, and a tableaux vivant -- or living painting, if you prefer -- brought to vivid life by cat-women.

For sure, a deep streak of the surreal and scientific whimsy threads through the Machine Project's mirthful but meaningful mission: Open minds, tickle our fancies, recall past pleasures of oration and the handcraft arts, elevate scientific inquiry, and take us a bit out of our screen-focused, now-focused lives.

The to-dos are plentiful and there's a bunch of 'em, too. Some are ticketed, some are free, and a lot of doings are happening on the vast lawn, like the two-story puppet that will be periodically animated on a few special days during the fest.

Call it a new way to interact with the Gamble House. Especially if you nod off there, something we're almost never invited to do inside the hallowed spaces of our most treasured landmarks.

Photo Credit: Gamble House]]>
<![CDATA[Freak Storm Causes Flooding, Damage in IE]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 20:55:49 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/140916-ie-storm-elsinore-high.jpg As some parts of Southern California baked in near-record temperatures, a storm blowing through the Inland Empire on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2014 brought heavy rainfall and severe thunderstorms to the region, causing damage and flooding.]]> <![CDATA[Downpour Wreaks Havoc in Inland Empire]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 18:40:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/elsinoretrack.JPG

Driving rain and wind socked the Inland Empire Tuesday afternoon, flooding streets, school buildings, a school track and a general aviation airport and causing havoc for drivers.

It rained up to 30 minutes in neighborhood Canyon Lake, just east of Lake Elsinore.

The rain flooded roadways in minutes.

Some roads were nearly covered in water, making driving conditions extremely dangerous.

At Elsinore High School in Wildomar, about 20 classrooms suffered water damage. Crews were working late into the night Tuesday to remove water, but the school has implemented a contingency plan and reassigned classrooms for Wednesday.

Heavy winds also caused damage. An outhouse was blown apart and exploded onto the track at Elsinore High School.

Wind knocked down power lines and trees.

Karen Fisher was getting gas for her generator because her power was out.

"It was hot, really hot out," Fisher said. "All of a sudden, it came in like crazy. It just started raining ... like little droplets. And it looks like everything is flooding right now."

A large limb knocked out power for several hours in the area. 

"It looked like a tornado," said Crystal Thibeault. "The winds got really, really strong. We had our trash cans that blew all the way across the parking lot. It's zero visibility. It was really crazy."

Gadi Schwartz contributed to this report.

<![CDATA[Kuehl, Shriver Debate]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:34:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/198*120/shriverkuehldebate1.JPG

Sheila Kuehl and Bobby Shriver faced off in a debate Tuesday to fill a Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors seat.

The runoff candidates debated in anticipation of the Nov. 4 general election.

The five-member Board of Supervisors represents 10 million people, oversees 4,000 square miles of land -- 88 cities -- and controls a budget of roughly $25 billion.

The sitting members have held office for a combined century.

The third district covers the western part of Los Angeles County, including the Westside and the Santa Monica Mountains to the Ventura County line, the San Fernando Valley and east to Atwater Village.

The two sparred when it comes to experience.

"This is not an entry-level position and I look forward to the election," Kuehl told the crowd.

Shriver quickly dismissed her criticism, noting his nonprofit experience with high-level government agencies.

"I’m not an entry-level guy. I’m 60 years old. I got George Bush and his Republican legislature to give HIV treatment to 7 million people in Africa. That’s a complicated system," Shriver said.

Kuehl served for eight years in the California State Senate and six years in the State Assembly. She represented over a million people on the westside of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley in a district that ran from the ocean to Hollywood and Westlake Village to Universal City.

In 2008, she left the legislature under California's term limits statute.

She currently serves as founding director of the Public Policy Institute at Santa Monica College, an institute devoted to undergraduate and community education and the exploration of public policy at the local level.

In the spring of 2012, she was appointed regents' professor of Public Policy at UCLA, and taught a class for graduates and undergraduates on the role of law and regulation in the formation of public policy.

She was the first woman in California history to be named Speaker pro Tempore of the Assembly and the first openly gay or lesbian person to be elected to the California Legislature.

Shriver is cofounder and chairman of DATA and (PRODUCT)RED, which lobby governments on the issues of debt, AIDS and trade policies as they effect Africa. He started both organizations with Bono of the rock band U2.

Shriver served on the California State Parks and Recreation Commission from 2004- 2008 and was elected to the Santa Monica City Council in 2004, and re-elected in 2008 serving until 2012, serving as mayor pro tem in 2006 and mayor during part of 2010.

Shriver attended Yale College at Yale University with a BA in American Studies and earned his law degree from Yale Law School in 1981.

<![CDATA[Heat Blamed for Electrical Fire That Cut Power]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 08:39:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-1-a-breaking-news-la-generic-graphic-april2014.gif

Oppressive triple-digit heat was blamed on Tuesday for causing a fire at a DWP facility, cutting power to a swath of the San Fernando Valley and shutting down a one-block stretch of road while crews doused the flames, officials said.

Receiving station circuit breaker failed. Power was shut for five minutes. Small fire was put out quickly while officials closed the road off Oxnard Street and Tyrone Avenue in all directions.

The fire came during a punishing heat storm that caused outages in parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties since Sunday.

Transformer problems were blamed for power outages Sunday and Monday during the heat wave.

<![CDATA[Crestline House Fire Reportedly Caused By Lightning Strike]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 16:00:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-genericsla-nbc4-logo.jpg

A lightning strike reportedly caused a fire at a home in Crestline Tuesday afternoon, according to the San Bernardino County Fire Department.

Firefighters were responding to the blaze just after 2 p.m.

This is a developing story. Refresh for updates.

<![CDATA[One Injured in Industrial Site Explosion]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 13:22:50 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/boyle+heights+explosion+industrial+site+sept16.jpg

The driver of a propane service truck suffered burns Tuesday in an explosion at an industrial site east of downtown Los Angeles

Los Angeles Fire Department personnel responded to the 1700 block of Perrino Place at about mid-day after a report of an explosion and fire. Aerial video showed one person transported from the scene in an ambulance.

Authorities determined that the 40-year-old victim was injured as he was filling a propane tank. The man suffered critical burn injuries, according to authorities.

Refresh this page for updates.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Compton City Hall Evacuated Due to Bomb Threat]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:49:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-genericsla-nbc4-logo.jpg

Evacuations were ordered at Compton City Hall Tuesday morning after a reported bomb threat.

The threat was called into the government offices, Sgt. Terrence Bell of the Los Angeles County Sheri'ff's Department said.

No bomb was located and normal operations were resumed around noon.

<![CDATA[Power Boat Crashes Into Jetty]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:40:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/jetty+crash+boat+la+county+helicopter+landing.jpg

A small power boat crashed into the jetty in Marina Del Rey at the Pacific Tuesday morning, Los Angeles County Fire Department spokesman Inspector Scott Miller said.

Aerial video showed one person being treated by medical personnel on the jetty before being transported to a local hospital by helicopter. The Los Angeles County Fire Department pilot landed the helicopter on the rock jetty to expedite the transport.

It was not immediately clear if anyone else was on board the boat.

The crash was reported at 10:56 a.m.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Men Attacked In Glendale After Altercation With Wrong-Way Driver]]> Wed, 17 Sep 2014 09:53:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/247*120/09-16-14_Glendale-Assault-Street.JPG

Three to four men are being sought for apparently assaulting two Glendale men who told them they were driving the wrong direction on a one-way street, leaving one in the intensive care unit of a local hospital, police said Tuesday.

A 31-year-old man and a 41-year-old man were standing on a street corner at Concord Street and Glenwood Road Saturday, Sept. 13, at about 2:30 a.m. when they saw a black SUV driving northbound on Concord, a one-way southbound street.

The 41-year-old victim yelled out, indicating to the driver he was going the wrong way. The SUV drove back toward the victims and the suspects got out and attacked them, according to a statement from the Glendale Police Department.

The victim who called out to the car, a father of three, suffered head injuries and remains hospitalized in stable condition.

The second victim sustained minor injuries, said Detective Jason Ross. He said there is no indication the victims and suspects knew each other.

The suspects are described as between 18 and 30 years of age, between 5 foot 8 inches and 6 foot tall. They were clean shaven at the time of the attack.

The SUV may be a BMW X5.

Anyone with information is asked to call Detective Ross at 818-548-2097.

Photo Credit: Pete Garrow]]>
<![CDATA[End to "Dangerously Hot Weather" in Sight]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 17:02:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/224*120/heat+water+hot+weather+generic.jpg

Southern Californians face one more day of sky-high temperatures before they get some relief from days of draining, triple-digit heat.

The region should expect "dangerously hot weather" Tuesday, with an excessive heat warning in Los Angeles County valleys in effect until 7 p.m, according to the National Weather Service. Downtown Los Angeles broke a nearly-century-old record for the date with a high of 103 degrees.

Record high temperatures are possible Tuesday. The record high for Sept. 16 in downtown Los Angeles is 103 degrees, set in 1909. Other Sept. 16 record highs include 99 (1966) in Long Beach; 105 (1984) in Burbank; 104 (1951) in Lancaster; and 91 (1958) in Camarillo.

Wednesday will bring relatively cool weather, but highs will remain in the 90s in many places.

Tuesday brought more than punishing heat to the Southland. The Inland Empire was slammed by heavy rainfall and severe thunderstorms. A flash flood warning was issued for parts of Riverside County.

A lightning strike in Crestline caused a fire at a home, the San Bernardino County Fire Department said.

The region also is under a red flag fire weather warning through 9 p.m. The warning indicates the possibility of explosive fire growth in the mountains of Los Angeles County, Ventura County and Santa Barbara County, where "sundowner" winds -- hot, gale-force winds that make firefighting difficult to impossible -- could stoke flames.

Monday's record heat also led to record power use as air conditioners taxed the electric grid. The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power reported record high power demand Monday during the late-summer heat wave.

The LADWP is forecasting that it will break Tuesday's demand record and exceed 6,200 megawatts as heat-wave temperatures continue.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Magnitude-2.4 Quake Reported Near SoCal Coast]]> Tue, 16 Sep 2014 09:24:34 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/earthquake+sept16+ci37268832_ciim.jpg

A magnitude-2.4 earthquake was reported Tuesday morning near the Southern California coast.

The small quake occurred at 8:27 a.m. about one mile southeast of Palos Verdes Estates. Shaking was reported in Rancho Palos Verdes, Torrance and Hawthorne, according to the USGS web site.

There were no reports of significant damage.