<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Southern California News]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usSat, 25 Jun 2016 00:02:28 -0700Sat, 25 Jun 2016 00:02:28 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Man Tried to Kidnap Jogger in Park]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 22:28:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics_red-breaking-news.jpg

A man may have been watching his victim before he attempted to kidnap her.

Neighbors who live near cerritos park east feel their sense of safety shattered.

"It's crazy because nothing ever happens around here," said Samuel Kim.

The incident happened Monday night around 9 p.m. near Hampton Court and 166th Street in Cerritos. Detectives said a woman on an evening jog noticed a man ride past her on a bike and then moments later he came from behind, wrapped a cloth around her head and tried to kidnap her.

It is a frightening thought for Vivian Chen who said she's always felt safe until now.

"After dinner we will walk around -- there's so many neighbors that walk around and we don't have to be afraid of anything," she said.

Despite the attacker covering her head, the victim fought and screamed. She managed to get away but so did he.

"You always have to be careful," said John Crawford. "Just because you live in a neighborhood that has lower crime rate does not mean there's no crime."

Detectives had no description of the man.

<![CDATA[Man Sentenced in Murder of Transgender Woman]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 22:37:21 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GAVEL_GettyImages-144096770.jpg

A 40-year-old man was sentenced Friday to 15 years to life in prison for choking a transgender woman to death during a sex act and dumping the body behind an Anaheim Dairy Queen.

Randy Lee Parkerson was convicted May 17 of second-degree murder in the death of 28-year-old Zoraida Reyes.

Parkerson, an unemployed methamphetamine user, routinely met men and transgender people online and got together with them in person for sex, according to Senior Deputy District Attorney Steve McGreevy.

The defendant met Reyes online, and he picked her up in Santa Ana on June 10, 2014, the prosecutor said.

They negotiated oral sex for $10 in his car, which led to another sex act that involved choking to deprive the recipient of oxygen to heighten sexual pleasure, McGreevy said.

Afterward, he noticed Reyes wasn't moving and saw blood on her face, the prosecutor said.

He pushed her body further down in the backseat and drove to a motel, where he dragged the body into the car's trunk, McGreevy said.

Parkerson drove around the Southland looking for a place to get rid of the body, which was in his trunk for two days, the prosecutor said.

He eventually dumped the victim at 201 N. State College Blvd. in a Dairy Queen lot, where she was found on June 12, McGreevy said.

Investigators matched DNA on the victim to Parkerson, whose DNA was collected after a DUI conviction, and by testing a beer can the defendant discarded while he was under surveillance, McGreevy said.

He was arrested in October 2014.

Records on Parkerson's smart phone show he searched for information on second-degree murder, manslaughter and how bad is it in prison," McGreevy said.

The cause of Reyes' death was asphyxiation, and a coroner told investigators it would take two to six minutes to choke a victim to death, the prosecutor said.

Parkerson's attorney, Sara Nakada, said her client "never intended to kill" Reyes, calling it a "tragic accident."

"The furthest thing from Randy Parkerson's mind was killing Zoraida Reyes," Nakada said.

"What was on his mind was oral sex." Parkerson started smoking methamphetamine in June 2014, prompting him to seek out sexual encounters with "strangers in motel rooms, his home and even in his car," Nakada said.

"The drugs made him more sexual and sexually curious," Nakada said.

During sex with Reyes, Parkerson touched her arm a few times and eased off because he was concerned about her choking, Nakada said.

However, Reyes said, "No, no, I like it. Keep going," the defense attorney said. When Parkerson saw the blood on Reyes' face from a nose bleed, he "panicked," Nakada said.

Reyes' friend, Jiselle Neel, said after today's hearing that she met Reyes through a support group for transgender people and that they were friends for about six years.

"She was just such a gentle, peaceful person," Neel said. "She lit up a room wherever she went. She had this gentle strength that brought people together."

In denying probation, Orange County Superior Court Judge Glenda Sanders noted the defendant "went to great lengths to cover up his conduct," which included, "the hiding and disposal of evidence, which indicated a lack of remorse."

Parkerson "did not come forward to explain what he says was an accident" until much later, Sanders said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Rainbow Flags Stolen From Riverside County Church]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 22:19:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/rainbowflagchurch.jpg

After two of its rainbow-colored flags were stolen earlier this year, a church in a Riverside County community on Friday mounted a new one on its outer wall in a display of solidarity with people of different faiths and orientations.

The flag is displayed to the side of the Menifee United Church of Christ. Below it sits a sign saying "Coexist," with a peace sign and symbols representing various religions embedded into its letters.

Congregants decided to hoist the flag June 12, the day a gunman killed 49 people at a gay nightclub in Orlando in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history before he was shot by police. The gunman had expressed anti-LGBT views and declared his allegiance to ISIS.

"I hope especially in this post-Orlando time that we show solidarity with the lesbian and gay community and with our Muslim brothers and sisters," Reverend Bill Freeman said.

The church scheduled the vote before the shooting occurred, but ended up making the decision the same day.

The church put up rainbow flags twice before, but both times the flags were stolen.

The reverend said he hopes these flags will remain attached. Unlike the other ones, which were made of cloth, this one is stuck to the wall, he said. Any potential thief would have to peel it off piece by piece, and "in the time it takes them to do that, maybe a cop will drive by and catch them," Freeman said.

The old flags elicited positive reactions from people driving by, the reverend said. Several lesbian members of the congregation joined because of them.

"I hope that this time there is respect for the LGBT community. Universal respect for the LGBT community and the Muslim community and all faith communities," Freeman said. "And that our flag will just be left alone."

Photo Credit: Courtesy/Kathleen Freeman]]>
<![CDATA[Security Stepped Up for OC Pride Parade]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 20:28:42 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Security_Stepped_Up_for_OC_Pride_Parade_1200x675_712548419828.jpg Orange County prepares to celebrate its first Pride Parade this weekend, with increased security, in light of the Orlando shooting. ]]> <![CDATA[Dodgers Scratch and Claw but Lose to Pirates]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 19:39:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/205*120/Puig+in+Pittsburgh.png

The Dodgers played a game of chase the dragon.

The Los Angeles Dodgers scratched and clawed to get back into the game multiple times, but were unable to complete the comeback in their 8-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday night at PNC Park.

Jameson Taillon had LA chasing their tail all night as the Pirates staked an early 4-0 lead for their rookie pitcher.

Pittsburgh put up four runs on Nick Tepesch—who made his Dodgers debut—in the second inning surrendering two doubles and three singles as the Bucs beat up on the right-hander.

The Dodgers scored two in the top of the third to get back into the game, but the Pirates added another run in the bottom half to extend their lead to 5-2.

After a scoreless fourth, LA added two more in the top of the fifth, but the Pirates tacked on two more in the bottom half.

The cat-and-mouse game continued as the Dodgers got two more runs in the top of the sixth, one courtesy of a solo blast from right-fielder Yasiel Puig.

Jung Ho Kang and Matt Joyce both homered for the Pirates as Pittsburgh never relinquished the lead despite the best efforts by the boys in blue.

Tepesch (0-1) took the loss in his 2016 MLB debut, allowing five runs on seven hits in four innings. Tepesch was activated for a spot start before the game, but will more than likely get sent back to Triple-A Oklahoma City tomorrow. 

His counterpart, Taillon, didn't fare much better, allowing four runs on eight hits with two strikeouts in four innings for the Pirates.

Pittsburgh reliever, Neftali Feliz (2-0), vultured the win from Taillon's talons, allowing no runs in 1 and 2/3 scoreless innings of relief. Mark Melancon worked the ninth for his 21st save of the season.

The loss snaps LA's six-game winning streak, and is just the Pirates third victory in their last 16 games. 

Players of the Game:

Yasiel Puig:
2-for-4 with a home run.
Matt Joyce: 3-for-4 with a double, home run and two RBI.
Corey Seager: 4-for-5 with a double, RBI and run scored. 

Three Takeaways:

1. Opening Night: A couple of players made debuts on Friday. Before the game, the Dodgers purchased the contract of pitcher Nick Tepesch from Triple-A Oklahoma City, designating outfielder Will Venable for assignment. It was Tepesch's 40th career start, but his first of 2016 and first with the Dodgers. Pittsburgh Pirates second baseman, Adam Frazier, made his Major League debut during a double-switch and promptly singled in his first career at-bat.

2. Rib-Tickler: Los Angeles Dodgers right-hander, Frankie Montas, was expected to make the start on Friday, but it was announced before the game that he had a broken rib and would be out for the next 4-8 weeks. Montas had surgery to relocate a rib in February.

3. Puig Power: Yasiel Puig blasted a solo home run for Los Angeles in the top of the sixth inning and is now 5-for-10 since he was activated from the disabled list on Tuesday. Puig's blast was hit so far, the Pirates did not even move on contact as they watched the ball fly out of the park.


Up Next:
Dodgers (41-34): Kenta Maeda heads to the mound on Saturday on six-days of rest as Los Angeles looks to…

Pirates (35-39): Jeff Locke gets the job of making… at 4:15PST at PNC Park.


Photo Credit: Justin K. Aller/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Community Rallies to Stop Man From Being Deported]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 19:55:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/6-24-16-Benitez.jpg

Josalin Benitez welled up in tears Friday when talking about the possibility that her father, Alvaro Benitez Reyes, a beloved fixture in Huntington Beach, would be deported.

"I'm not going to have my dad," she said. "I wasn't going to be able to go to school. My plans were ruined. I was confused, upset, sad."

But it didn't happen.

In a big show of community support this week, Benitez Reyes earned a reprieve from being deported to Mexico after the community made hundreds of calls to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials and lawmakers demanding they stop his deportation.

"I never lost faith in God," he said in Spanish. "I said to myself, 'only a miracle will make them return me.'"

It all began Wednesday when he was required to check in at an ICE office. When he showed up, he was detained. The family got a call saying they weren't going to let him out, that he would be deported and was on his Tijuana.

In a statement, community groups RAIZ, Oakview Communidad and the National Day Laborer Organizing Network said they forced ICE to stop the bus and returned Alvaro to his family.

The groups said in a statement that on the day when the U.S. government "once again failed our communities on the Texas v. U.S. case," the immigrant community didn't wait for the administration and "took matters into their own hands to keep a family together."

Alvaro, the father of four, is also a member of RAIZ, a migrant led group who focuses on stopping deportations and fighting against police abuse.

"Yesterday a man was being deported and the community of Orange County stepped up and successfully turned ICE's arm in order to bring back Alvaro from the bus heading to Tijuana," said Alexis Nava Teodoro, staff at NDLON and member of RAIZ. "The people spoke and it should be made clear to ICE and the Obama administration that we will only escalate our efforts when they deny us justice."

They pointed out that ICE eventually exercised discretion in releasing Alvaro, but it came only after "we launched a massive campaign."

Virginia Kice, an ICE spokeswoman, said authorities decided to delay the deportation after receiving inquiries about the case from several local congressional offices.

"U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement remains focused on smart, effective immigration enforcement that prioritizes threats to national security, public safety, and border security," she said in a statement. "Based on his case history, which includes a final order of removal upheld by both the Board of Immigration Appeals and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, Mr. Benitez fell within ICE's enforcement priorities."

<![CDATA[10-Year-Old Girl Who Was Shot in Drive-By Shooting Speaks Out]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 20:23:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Shooting+Boyle+Heights.jpg

The unintended victim of a drive-by shooting in Boyle Heights, 10-year-old Alyn vividly remembers what happened that night.

She and her sister were walking to the store, when she saw the gun.

"All I just heard in my head was, 'beeeep' and I fell down," said Alyn.

The bullet grazed her skull, authorities said.

"They haven't caught the person, I'm afraid if they'll want to shoot me again," said Alyn.

LAPD detectives said the shooter intended to fire at a man riding his bike nearby. Alyn does not remember the shooter's face, only the gray car the shooter was driving.

The LA City Council approved a $50,000 reward for any information that will lead to a conviction.

"Think of this young girl, it could be your own relative," said LA City Councilman Jose Huizar. The girl's mother said she was not angry.

"I only think that God can give justice, he will decide when that will be," she said.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Celebrities Come Out for National HIV Testing Day]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 18:35:47 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DanielFranzese-GettyImages-533405824.jpg

The Elizabeth Taylor AIDS foundation is among the organizations putting resources behind HIV prevention and is urging people to get informed and tested. 

The foundation will hold its first HIV-testing event at the Abbey in West Hollywood on June 27, which is National HIV Testing Day, NBC News reports.

Celebrity advocates, including Daniel Franzese, Julie Benz, Lance Bass, Frances Fisher and Kyle Pratt, will be in attendance to encourage people to get tested, increase awareness and help eliminate the stigma surrounding HIV. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.2 million people are living with HIV in the U.S. More than 156,000 of them are unaware they are infected.

Photo Credit: FilmMagic]]>
<![CDATA[Man Sentenced in OkCupid Extortion]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 19:49:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/gavel15.jpg

A 20-year-old Simi Valley man was sentenced Friday for attempting to extort a woman he met through dating app OkCupid.

Alex Scott Roberts pleaded guilty to felony attempted extortion and misdemeanor unauthorized distribution of sexual images in May, according to the Ventura County District Attorney's Office.

In addition to serving 364 days in jail, Roberts is required to get sex offender counseling and pay more the $2,500 in fines. 

Roberts met the woman through the app in August 2015. He sent her photos he said were of himself, but were really of another man. He then requested she send him intimate photos.

The photos the woman sent were revealing but not nude images, and using the false identity, Roberts demanded nude photos.

When the woman refused, Roberts posted the intimate photos so that her family and friends could see them, later claiming that his OkCupid account had been hacked, authorities said.

Roberts is set to begin his sentence in July.

Photo Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto]]>
<![CDATA[Missing 16-Year-Old Girl Sought]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 17:15:01 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/JeidaMoore.jpg

A 16-year-old girl from Alabama went missing in Van Nuys earlier this month, and now police are asking for help to find her.

Jeida Moore has not been heard from by her family since June 15, according to LAPD. She was last seen that night around 10:30 p.m., when Moore left a group home in the 14500 block of Sylvan Street in Van Nuys.

Moore has no family in California and is not familiar with the area. Police describe her as black, with brown hair and brown eyes, 5-feet-4-inches tall and 165 pounds.

She was last seen wearing a silver bow headband, black long-sleeved shirt, black pants and green shoes and carrying a green cinched backpack, police said.

LAPD asks that anyone who has seen Moore or has information about her whereabouts contact missing juvenile Detective Darrell Van Roy at (818) 374-0001 or Officer Roel at (818) 374-0005. Those with information can also call (877) 527-3247 or the anonymous line 800-222-TIPS, or text 274637 with a message beginning with "LAPD."

Photo Credit: Courtesy/LAPD]]>
<![CDATA[LA Considers Reducing Parking Ticket Fines]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 17:19:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tr_parking_tickets.jpg

The cost of some Los Angeles parking tickets could be reduced under a proposal being considered by city officials, KPCC reports.

A report by the Department of Transportation suggests various options for changing parking ticket fines, according to NBC4's media partner KPCC.

The options include dropping the fines for expired meters and street sweeping violations by $10. Together, the meter and street-sweeping violations make up about half of all parking citations issued. Currently fines for expired meters are $63 in L.A. while tickets for street sweeping are $73.

The lower fines would place Los Angeles in line with neighboring cities like Santa Monica, West Hollywood and Pasadena.

"We want to show people that government is on their side and not on their back," said Councilman Mike Bonin, chairman of the council transportation committee that discussed the issue Wednesday, KPCC reports.

The Los Ageles City Council also is considering a proposal to allow the homeless and low-income individuals to perform community service instead of paying fines.

Read more from KPCC

Photo Credit: KVEA]]>
<![CDATA[Punk Club The Smell Could Be Safe for Another Year]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 20:38:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/knbc-the-smell.jpg

A long-established downtown Los Angeles music space could be safe from the wrecking ball for another year.

Notices posted outside The Smell, an all-ages punk club, as well as the theater next door and another building on the block at the intersection of 3rd and Spring streets warned that an application for a demolition permit had been filed for the buildings.

"We didn't get any other notice prior from the city or the property owner," said Jim Smith, the club's owner and founder.

Smith contacted the L&R Group, which owns his building and his neighbors', as well as parking facilities like WallyPark and Joe's Auto Park, which have lots on each side of The Smell.

The company's COO, Kevin Litwin, told Smith there aren't any plans for his building, or any of the others.

Smith and Litwin met last week to discuss The Smell's options. Smith said Litwin told him his lease is good for at least a year, and he's helping Smith look for a new location.

Litwin said the demolition scare was accidental. L&R files demolition permits for all their buildings, and it's usually just over-the-counter. But because the buildings were over 30 years old, the city had to post a notice to let the community know.

Though The Smell is safe for now, Litwin said there will probably be plans for the building in the future. Just last year, the company put the property up for sale, pitching a retail and housing development they called "The Hub." Litwin took it off the market earlier this year.

Smith, hoping to avoid the panic of potential eviction in the future, started "Save the Smell," a GoFundMe campaign to raise money to buy a building of his own. So far, it has raised more than $20,000.

Smith said he understands why developers look to build in downtown, but he worries about what's lost in the progress.

"[We're] part of downtown's cool vibe," he said. "There is really not going to be anything to enjoy of what made downtown what it is."

Founded in 1998 in North Hollywood, The Smell calls itself an affordable, alcohol-free music and arts space for people "who are interested in participating in and supporting an environment of creativity and artistic innovation and freedom."

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Gymanst Doesn't Bend to Injuries]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 18:49:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/sammikulak.JPG

A couple weeks ago, Sam Mikulak won his fourth straight national championship.

The gymnast from Newport Coast, who hopes to lock up his spot on the Olympic team on Saturday night, makes it look simple. But it hasn't always been as easy as it seems.

"In college, I broke both ankles. Look at this pinky, it's like my E.T. Finger. Snapped the tendon there, dislocated this finger," Mikulak said.

And the list goes on and on. But when Mikulak had a broken ankle, he spent a lot more time on one of his weaker events, the pommel horse. He got so good, they named a new technique after him.

"I came up with my own skill, and it gave me a little more passion for that event, and it's something that I've now tried to make my best event," Mikulak said.

As a kid, his best event sure wasn't baseball. He played a lot of sports, but they all pointed back to gymnastics.

"You wanna know what my baseball career was like?" he said. "My biggest moment was when I was doing a dive to catch the ball, I think I was at 3rd base, and I turned it into a cartwheel."

No matter what he's doing, he's always having fun and always smiling. And half the time, he's dancing too.

"I've seen some comments, but I don't dwell on it. They're just like 'It needs to be professional,' and I'm like, 'Well, I am a professional and dance. I'm a man of multiple talents,'" Mikulak said.

Photo Credit: KNBC - TV]]>
<![CDATA[Gay, Bisexual Men Warned of Meningococcal Outbreak]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 14:27:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Mengitis-GettyImages-166665957.jpg

State health officials have issued an advisory in Southern California following an outbreak of invasive meningococcal disease, primarily among gay and bisexual men.

Meningococcal disease is caused by a bacteria and can cause meningitis and bloodstream infections, known as sepsis. Although rare, meningococcal disease is serious and potentially fatal.

Since the beginning of May, nine meningococcal disease cases have been identified in men living in Los Angeles and Orange counties. One patient died as a result of the infection. Six of the cases are known to have been caused by a particular strain of meningococcal bacteria.

Several outbreaks and clusters of meningococcal disease among gay and bisexual men have been reported in New York City, Los Angeles County, and Chicago since 2014. Similar outbreaks have also been reported recently in Europe Many of those affected were infected with HIV.

"We are concerned that gay and bisexual men in Southern California may be at increased risk for meningococcal disease," said Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith. "We encourage men who partner with other men to be aware of the risk of meningococcal disease and consider getting vaccinated."

HIV-infected people are at increased risk of contracting meningococcal disease. As a result, the U.S. Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommended this week that all HIV-infected persons 2 months and older be routinely vaccinated with the meningococcal vaccine.

Symptoms of meningococcal disease may include fever, vomiting, severe headache, stiff neck, confusion, rash and generalized muscle pains. The time from exposure to the start of symptoms is typically just a few days. People who experience these symptoms should seek medical care immediately.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Video - Luke Walton: Brandon Ingram "Is the Player I Wanted"]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 14:47:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Brandon-Ingram-Lakers-draft-2016.jpg

Only a couple days on the job, Luke Walton took part in LA's draft night on Thursday and sounded ecstatic about LA's choice with the no. 2 pick in the 2016 Draft, Brandon Ingram.

"I don't know if he's the best (player in the draft) or not, but he's the player I wanted, for sure," Walton said. "What he has the potential of doing and what he can already do at his age, with his length and skill set, is very impressive and unique."

Walton added, "You can tell pretty quickly, when a kid is that special, what he can do on a basketball court."

Walton sounded enthusiastic about the choice and excited about working with the 18-year-old over the summer and into the 2016-17 season. Asked about what stood out with the newest Laker, Walton spoke about Ingram's natural ability to make reads on the court, especially defensively. The Lakers coach invoked the name of Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green when talking about Ingram's ability to read the game and help defensively.

"It means that the player is inteligent," Walton said.

While Walton may not have been overtly smiling and cracking jokes, Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak was in rare form on Thursday night. Kupchak sounded thrilled with the team's selection, despite taking a subtle jab at Ingram coming from Duke University in the process. Kupchak went to rival University of North Carolina.

Kupchak said about Ingram, "We look at him and his age and his body type, his willingness to work and be coached, so we think the upside and the potential in him, right now, there is no ceiling on him."

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Evacuations Lifted in San Gabriel Complex Fires]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 14:10:44 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/San+Gabriel+Fires+AP.JPG

About 1,250 firefighters continued their efforts to extinguish the 5,235-acre San Gabriel Complex Fire, which was 30 percent contained, but all evacuations were being lifted Friday.

As of noon, all residents who were evacuated will be allowed home, but access to evacuated areas will be restricted to residents only, according to the U.S. Forest Service.

Livestock will not be allowed back in until 8 a.m. Saturday.

For those residents evacuated from the forest area, access to their homes can only be made by using East Fork Road because Highway 39 will remain closed.

Earlier Friday morning, the Sierra Madre Police Department announced that the Chantry Flats Recreational Area had been closed due to the fire danger.

"Law Enforcement realizes that this is a very popular area, especially during the weekends; however for the public's and the community's safety we must ask that you be diligent in remaining out of the area,'' police said.

The fires previously were called the Fish and Reservoir fires before authorities decided on the San Gabriel Complex Fire designation even though the blazes, burning about 1.5 miles apart, have not merged.

Firefighting personnel from both the county and U.S. Forest Service were working to extinguish the flames.

The Reservoir Fire broke out shortly after 11 a.m. Monday off Highway 39 near the Morris Reservoir dam north of Azusa, according to Sherry Rollman of the U.S. Forest Service.

The fire was sparked by a vehicle running off the highway, as officials received a report at 10:57 a.m. Monday of a fatal car crash along Highway 39 near the reservoir where the fire broke out, California Highway Patrol Officer Alex Rubio said.

About 90 minutes after the Reservoir Fire began, a second blaze was reported near Opal Canyon and Brookridge roads near the Duarte/Azusa border, about four miles southwest of the Reservoir Fire. That blaze, dubbed the Fish Fire, quickly roared into the foothills, burning north away from homes but threatening some remote horse stables.

One firefighter was taken to a hospital around 6 p.m. Monday with "minor injuries'' related to heat exhaustion, and a sheriff's deputy suffered similar injuries earlier that day, fire authorities said. No other injuries were reported.

The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued a smoke advisory because of the blazes, urging residents in smoke-affected areas to avoid strenuous outdoor activity. Those with respiratory or heart disease, older adults and children were advised to remain indoors.

Copyright City News Service

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Brothers Convicted in Murder Plot to Collect $2.5M]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 14:05:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/crime+scene+tape1.jpg

A 37-year-old man and his younger brother have been convicted in a plot to collect on a $2.5 million insurance policy by killing the man's ex-boyfriend, prosecutors said Friday.

A jury on Friday found Hovanes "John" Maskovian guilty of murder and attempted kidnapping in the 2013 slaying of 33-year-old Joshua West, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office said.

He was also found guilty of special circumstances of lying in wait, murder for financial gain and murder during an attempted kidnapping.

Maskovian's 31-year-old brother, Hachik "Kriss" Maskovian, was also found guilty of the same charges by a separate jury a day earlier.

On April 24, 2013, the victim was lured to Sun Valley, where prosecutors say the brothers beat him, ran him over with a car and shot him. West's body was then dumped in the 10200 block of Penrose Street.

Sentencing is set to take place for Hovanes Maskovian on Aug. 25 and his brother the following day. They face a sentence of life in prison without the possibility of parole.

A third co-defendant, 22-year-old Nazaret "Nick" Bayamdzhyan, is awaiting trial for his role, prosecutors said.

<![CDATA[DNA Evidence Links Man to 2012 Sex Assault]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 13:27:59 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/OC+Sex+Assault+6.24.jpg

A 26-year-old man accused of sexually assaulting an employee during a robbery at a Fountain Valley business four years ago was behind bars Friday, police said.

Danny Thein Nguyen, of Garden Grove, was arrested Thursday after DNA linked him to the sexual assault, which occurred on Jan. 10, 2012, according to the Fountain Valley Police Department.

Police said the female employee was working alone inside a business located in the 9000 block of Talbert Avenue when Nguyen entered and robbed the victim of her belongings at gunpoint.

Nguyen allegedly took the woman to a back room and sexually assaulted her.

He was booked on suspicion of robbery, kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon and penetration with a foreign object, police said.

Nguyen, who is on probation from a robbery case in Westminster, was booked into an Orange County jail and is being held on $1,000,000 bail.

Any other potential victims are asked to contact the Fountain Valley Police Department at 714-593-4480.

Photo Credit: Fountain Valley Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Search Underway in Canoga Park After Officer is Injured]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 18:28:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/160624-canoga-park-search.jpg

Police were scouring a Canoga Park neighborhood for a man following a Friday morning altercation in which an officer was injured.

A citywide, modified tactical alert was ordered as officers set up a perimeter in the area of Vanowen Street and De Soto Avenue, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

A description of the man they were searching for was not provided. Police said they know him and he is not wearing shoes. They identified him as 26-year-old Broomi Mansour.

"I almost hit him with the vehicle, because he just jumped straight into the road in front of us," said Dalton Richards describing the moment behind the wheel of his work van when the suspect ran through the street. "He was running like this, hands behind him, just running as fast as he could."

The officer suffered cuts to the head in a fall during the altercation, the LAPD said. The severity of the injury was not immediately known.

Dalton and his co-worker, Chanson Flowers, who work for a water conservation company, ran to the officer and pulled him out of the street and onto the sidewalk. Both have ROTC and medical training and used gauze from Dalton's first-aid kit to stop the bleeding.

"There was just blood everywhere, I thought he got shot," Flowers said.

The men said the officer had a gash over his eye and they could see a bone underneath.

Mansour took off running after officers handcuffed him when they saw him lying on ground and discovered he had an outstanding warrant.

While the officers were running after him, one of them tripped and fell on his face.

One person was questioned and released during the search.

Officers broke down the perimeter before noon.

Joe Studley contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Four Sunshiny Soirees: Summer Solstice Contd.]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 17:25:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SolsticeParade_Steve+Hospodar_VSB.jpg

Daylight, says science and people and magazines and TV shows and every other source that produces opinions, is on the whole good for us and everything that's alive.

We know this — we crave a dose of beamful rays come the gloomier days of winter — but we don't often pause to give the daytime its full and festive due.

A prime moment to give due typically arrives on the longest day of the year, which was June 20 in 2016. But as that was a workaday Monday, the biggest bashes surrounding the summer solstice are scheduled to fall over the first weekend of summer.

Or perhaps "rise" is more accurate. The two-day stretch of sunny soirees begins at sunrise at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Saturday, June 25. Actually, make that 5 a.m., which is a pinch before sunrise. What's the theme of the gathering? Watching our nearest star come up over "Levitated Mass," the mega boulder at the mid-city museum. 

Yoga and morning beverages are part of the ticketed LACMA Local event.

Later in the day, and up the coast, one of California's biggest solstice celebrations will unfurl like a colorful banner. It's Santa Barbara's famous Summer Solstice Parade, a procession that has been around since the '70s. Costumes, inflatables, and pretty things that flap in the breeze are hallmarks of the popular event.

Should you want to keep the beams turned up high through the following day, both Fullerton and Santa Monica will be going the solstice-honoring route, and both for free (like the Santa Barbara parade).

The Muckenthaler Cultural Center's afternoon jamboree on June 26 will include tunes -- zydeco favorites Lisa Haley and the Zydekats will be there -- and food booths and craft beers, too. Meanwhile, on Main Street in Santa Monica, the Main Street Summer SOULstice will feature four stages, lots of live music, a petting zoo, and a food court and beer garden.

Our nearest star rises in the east once a day, and twice on the weekend — spoiler alert? — but there's a way to honor it four times over two days, in a quartet of SoCal and up-the-coast locations.

Four solstice parties in the span of a weekend won't change the sun's path, but it should remind revelers to stop and enjoy the sunshine, especially when summer kicks into full, glorious gear.

Photo Credit: Steve Hospodar]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dies in Confrontation With Police at McDonald's]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 18:26:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/McDonalds+OIS+6.24.16.jpg

A man died after exchanging gunfire with police and shooting himself at a McDonald's in Burbank early Friday morning, authorities said.

The incident began when officers responded to a disturbance call at the restaurant in the 2500 block of Hollywood Way near the Burbank Airport, according to the Burbank Police Department.

Officers evacuated employees, who were the only people inside the fast-food restaurant, after they learned the man was armed with a gun. Police attempted to communicate with him but he did comply with orders to exit, police said.

Just after midnight, the man fired multiple rounds and pointed the gun at the officers. Three officers fired their guns, striking him multiple times, according to Burbank police.

After he was shot, the man stepped out of the restaurant through a shattered glass window and into the drive-thru area, where he shot himself.

The wounded man was taken to a hospital where he later died. His name was withheld, pending notification of his relatives.

No officers were injured during the incident.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Emil Brimway at 818-238-3210 or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS to remain anonymous.

Photo Credit: Burbank Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Wildlife Near Us: Urban Nature Festival]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:22:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/nhmurbansweet12345.jpg

Wherever you happen to live around Southern California, the chances of you stepping outside your door and encountering A) a squirrel or B) a butterfly or C) a raccoon or D) a coyote or E) a bear playing with a pool noodle is likely on the high side.

If you see all five at once? A slim chance, but not entirely outside of the realm of the possible.

For we live in a wild stretch of land, ocean to mountains to desert, and just because we've built a few (correction: many) freeways and the occasional skyscraper slide along the way does not mean our area's critters have vamoosed.

The Natural History Museum loves upon our local fauna each year during the annual LA Urban Nature Fest, which will scurry with squirrel-like efficiency into the museum's Nature Gardens on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26.

Demos on wildlife photography (with scientific purposes), meet-and-greets with real beasties, silk screening projects, a demonstration on how to feed a snake, and more connect-with-nature doings are on the two-day schedule.

The cost for all this creatureful, educational, hands-ons-y goodness? Just your admission to the Exposition Park institution.

Beyond the crafty fun times, and snake-feeding interesting moments, LA Urban Nature Fest serves as a sweet reminder that we share this land with loads of local residents that boast tails and scales and wings.

We may have laid some asphalt, and put in structures built of cement and glass, but look to the trees, and rivers, and canyons, for beautiful proof that Southern California is now, and always was, deeply wild.

Photo Credit: NHM]]>
<![CDATA[Pot Shop Robbers Shoot Security Guard in the Face]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 13:07:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/SB+Pot+Shooting+6.24.16.JPG

A search was security guard is in critical condition after he was shot in the face by robbers at a marijuana dispensary in San Bernardino, police said.

The shooting was reported just before 9 p.m. Thursday in the 1400 block of Waterman Avenue, according to the San Bernardino Police Department. 

Investigators said three men armed with handguns entered the business and fired one round at the armed security guard, striking him in the face.

The guard, identified as a 35-year-old man from Victorville, was taken to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition.

The thieves took off with cash and unknown amount of marijuana in a gray vehicle with a fourth suspect, police said. 

Police said the dispensary, running out of a mobile home-like shop, was already under investigation. 

"We have received some complaints on it," said Sgt. Viki Cervantes with San Bernardino police. "It is absolutely ilegal to run a marijuana dispensary in the city of San Bernardino however... like any other business, we can't just walk in and shut it down."

No description of the suspects was immediately available. Police will review surveillance video from the area. 

Anyone with information on this crime is urged to contact the San Bernardino Police Department at (909) 384-5742.

Photo Credit: NewsPro]]>
<![CDATA[Erskine Fire Destroys Kern County Homes]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 12:47:03 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/06-24-2016-fire-kern-county-erskine-4.jpg A wildfire swept through a Kern County community Thursday June 23, 2016, leaving behind destruction. More than 100 buildings, including homes, were destroyed by the fast-moving fire near Lake Isabella.

Photo Credit: RMG]]>
<![CDATA[Suspect Arrested in Shooting That Injured 2 Deputies]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 20:30:40 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/06-24-2016-bellflower-shooting-dis-2.JPG

A suspect was arrested Friday morning after an overnight search for the gunman in a shooting that left two Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies critically injured in Bellflower, authorities said.

The shooting occurred around 10:50 p.m. in the 16600 block of Lisa Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The deputies were conducting a DUI check point on Lakewood Boulevard and tried to conduct a traffic stop. A motorcycle deputy followed the driver who then stopped on Lisa Avenue, got out of the vehicle and pulled out a firearm, and shot at the deputy, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

It was not immediately clear why the man opened fired, Sheriff Jim McDonnell said.

More deputies responded to the scene and the gunman fired several more rounds, striking another deputy, according to the news release.

The deputies, both men, were rushed to a hospital where they were in critical, but stable condition early Friday morning. Both deputies were underwent surgery, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The suspected shooter, considered armed and dangerous, was taken into custody after deputies responded to a home where he was holed up, according to the sheriff's department. The gunman, who was holding someone hostage in the residence, was arrested after deputies tossed tear gas into the building, a guest house behind a main residence, McDonnell said.

Authorities also did not provide details about the suspect's identity or hostage situation. He was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, according to the sheriff's department.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[$20,000 of Equipment Stolen From Youth Football League]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 22:15:23 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/footballbreakin.JPG

A Buena Park youth football program lost almost all of its footballs, fog machines and other equipment in a Wednesday break-in of its storage container.

The more than $20,000 worth of equipment taken from the Fullerton Bears Junior All American league also includes a sound system, portable scoreboard, shoulderpads and generator.

The break-in, which occurred before a parent orientation meeting, is the program's third in the last six months.

"To start off the season, our kids don't have the footballs to be able to even throw," said Kathy Lira, a league volunteer and mother. "Our flag teams, they can't even practice pulling a flag right now."

The league posted on its Facebook page a strongly-worded message for the culprit or culprits.

"Thank you again for stealing our equipment. It just means our Bears Family and our communities will rally behind our Bears Family players and cheerleaders and purchase new equipment," the message said. "Thank you for stealing nearly all of our footballs. It just means our Bears Family players will play with the newest equipment available.

The Bears Junior All American Football and Cheer program facilitates cheer and football activities for kids throughout North Orange County.

"The person who stole from us, they stole from kids. And Karma will come back to them," Lira said.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Vacation Rental Company Faces Lawsuit ]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 21:34:29 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/06-24-2016-vrbo-1.JPG

Some customers across the country are outraged, saying VRBO took their money for a service, then changed the terms of that service.

Just steps from sunny cove beach in Santa Cruz is Carrie Walton's vacation home. She rents it to travelers who book on the website VRBO. Walton paid the company $1,200 for a one year "Platinum membership," designed to boost her home's ranking in search results.

"Someone looks, there's maybe 10 pages of homes, and maybe this way, with platinum, you'll be on the first page, mostly likely at the top," she said. "We thought it was worth the cost — it was an investment in marketing."

Walton said it worked for a few months. Then VRBO started charging travelers a "service fee," an extra 4 to 9 percent that VRBO pockets.

Walton said it's killing her business. She thinks travelers aren't renting her home because it's more expensive now.

"We didn't pay a platinum subscription to have VRBO scare business away," she said.

Walton said VRBO told her it made another change. Her "Platinum membership" alone no longer guaranteed high search results.

Leena Shah's story echoes Walton's. She paid a platinum membership fee too and said she is now seeing rentals of her Maui condo drop drastically.

"I'm just throwing my hands up in the air now with VRBO," Shah said.

Complaints about VRBO litter the internet. Angry homeowners even created a Facebook page.

"We receive dozens and dozens of calls," said Michael Bowse, an attorney.

Bowse filed a class-action lawsuit against HomeAway, which owns VRBO, accusing the company of bait and switch, and breaching its contracts by charging the new service fee.

"So it essentially took people's money under one set of circumstances and then changed the circumstances once it took their money," he said.

Walton and Shah aren't part of this lawsuit. But they do want their money back.

"I want my money refunded because it's a breach of contract," Walton said. "This is not what I signed up for."

VRBO wouldn't say whether it would refund Walton and Shah, citing pending litigation.

The company said since adding the new service fee, it's introduced new security guarantees and "24/7 customer service."

They said they're now quote, "Delivering more happy consumers to VRBO owners."

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[DA Considers Hidden Camera Charges Against Lifeguard]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 22:37:45 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lifeguard_Feed_1200x675_711002691666.jpg

The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office is expected to decide Friday whether to file charges against a 23-year-old Burbank city lifeguard accused of secretly videotaping people in a public pool locker room.

Arturo Montano, 23, was arrested Wednesday at the Verdugo Park pool where he worked, police said.

Detectives are reviewing videos and photos stored on the suspect's computer and cellphone, officials said. Police said they found numerous people, some of whom are minors, in various states of undress in the files.

The images were taken "for the purpose of sexual stimulation," said Burbank Police Sgt. Claudio Losacco, a department spokesman.

The case was opened after one of Montano's co-workers discovered a partially-hidden cellphone while changing in the staff locker room, Losacco said.

"She looked up, saw it for what it was, and took it down," he said.

Police said the phone had been in a video-record mode, and consider the co-worker who found it to be among several victims. Police have not determined how many people were victimized.

Detectives said that additional video shows women and girls inside the women's public restroom at the pool, but officers were unsure where the camera was recording.

The pool is one of two operated in Burbank by the city's parks and recreation department.

Montano began working summers for the department seven years ago at age 16, and became a full-time, year-round lifeguard at the Verdugo pool three years ago, said Drew Sugars, a spokesman for the city of Burbank.

Co-workers feel "betrayed," Sugars said. "It was shocking to them and very disappointing."

Montano had no previous arrests before Wednesday, police said.

Police seized a computer from his home near the Burbank Bob Hope Airport in Sun Valley where he lives with his mother and younger siblings.

A woman at the house Thursday declined to comment.

The city of Burbank is looking at ways to prevent surreptitious recording at its pool facilities, including securing employees' personal cellphones while at the workplace, Sugars said.

Parks and Recreation officials are already requiring pool employees to change in the public restroom/locker room area, rather than the staff office, where staffers store personal belongings.

"If you have, say, a backpack, there might be an opportunity to hide something in there," Sugars said. "We want to make sure that does not happen."

Word of the arrest did not deter parents from bringing children to the pool Thursday, though many were already in their swimsuits and did not use the changing area.

Teacher Nancy Martin and her daughter did.

"When we go in, it's going to be, 'who's in here with us and what's out of place?'" Martin said. "But you can't let that stop you."

<![CDATA[Los Angeles Kids Celebrate Olympic Day]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 21:20:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Olympic_Day_Coaching_for_Kids_1200x675_711479363645.jpg

Los Angeles is getting into the Olympic spirit, with only a little over a month left for the Rio Games, with Olympic Day.

The event is celebrated every June 23 in cities around the world. Some 500 kids from different LA schools get a chance to meet Olympic athletes at the LA Memorial Coliseum.

The day was kicked off by the lighting of the Coliseum Olympic Cauldron, a symbolic gesture to get the kids excited for the upcoming games in Rio.

The kids were able to meet Olympic athletes, such as swimmer Janet Evans.

"I decided I would do anything to one day become an Olympian and represent my country at the Olympic games," said Evans.

The important thing was not to win, but to take part, said Jada Williams of the LA Academy Middle School.

The kids also got to try sports that they may have never tried before, such as archery, bowling, and badminton.

"To be out here and show these kids one of the sports not that popular in the U.S. to what it's about is a fun day for me as well," said Olympic badminton athlete Howard Shu.

Olympic Day is not only meant to get the kids into the spirit of the Olympics but to teach kids about fitness and good sportsmanship.

John Naber, an Olympic swimmer from 1976, said the event is a perfect way for older Olympians to share the joy of competition with a new generation.

"The Olympic characters and ideals are so important: sportsmanship, teamwork, hard work, overcoming obstacles, this is what goes on in Olympic Day," he said. "It's not about gold medals and winning, it's about playing and learning and discovering and sharing."

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[SoCal Student Heads to Nation's Top Junior Chess Tournament]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 22:23:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/MichaelBrown.jpg

Michael Brown's dad was a tough chess player growing up.

At age 6, Brown's dad could beat him while watching TV.

But within a year, something started to change.

"You have this genius son who's not even watching the chess board, playing his dad who's putting all his energy and thought into his next move," Bill Brown said. "There's just no point."

Brown, 18, is the only Californian who has qualified for the U.S. Junior Closed Championship, the top chess tournament in the country for players under 21. Next month he'll head to St. Louis, the U.S. chess capital, to compete against nine others from across the country for the chance at $6,000 and to follow in the footsteps of chess greats like Bobby Fischer, who won the junior championship in 1956.

"I'm sure that every one of my games is going to be a tough battle," Brown said. "I'm just excited to play some of these guys."

Brown will be a first-time contestant in the tournament. His competitors include 18-year-old Kayden Troff from Utah, who won in 2014, and 16-year-old Akshat Chandra from New Jersey, who won last year.

"In America, we look at this as the next generation of chess," said Joy Bray, the general manager for the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. "It keeps becoming the strongest and strongest tournament ever."

Brown is one of three children and both his parents are electrical engineers. Brown has come a long way from his youth when his dad drove him to lessons and accompanied him on flights when he traveled for tournaments.

His dad recalls one of his early successes in third grade, when he won first place in a local tournament and got a trophy practically double his height.

"It was really the first time I noticed how much talent he had," Bill Brown said.

As a teenager, Brown played with the U.S. chess team. He's been to Brazil, Turkey, Slovenia and other countries to compete, traveling so often his parents sometimes made family vacations out of the trips.

Most recently, he ventured to Illinois to compete in the Chicago Open, where he played one of his most memorable games. He and a player ranked in the tournament's top seed got into a "crazy position" on the board, Brown said. His opponent offered a draw. Brown declined.

"No one expected anything out of me, but I actually managed to win the game," Brown said. "A draw is usually a good result against that high of a player."

Brown's opponent in that game held the rank of Grandmaster, the highest title given by the World Chess Federation. Brown has applied for International Master, the second-highest rank.

Brown, who is a sophomore at Brigham Young University in Utah, tries to fit in up to 10 hours a week on chess while keeping up his studies.

He said he plans to keep playing chess for the rest of his life, although he doesn't think he'll make a career out of it. Next, he wants to work on his Grandmaster title. But for now, he's focusing on the task at hand.

In St. Louis next month, he will clear his mind, shut his mouth and practice patience for hours as he sits and contemplates his and his competitors' next moves. He'll calculate when to attack, when to defend, when to take or leave the draw -- in concentrated silence.

"Patience is probably one of the things that defines me," Brown said. "I have to sit at the board sometimes and just wait for the other guy to make a mistake."

Photo Credit: Courtesy/Michael Brown ]]>
<![CDATA[Creativity Reigns: Hollywood Fringe Festival]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 22:18:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/hff16_main_herofringe.jpg

When it comes to a fringe festival, you want some mirth, some merriment, some deep thinking, and an iconoclastic spirit, one that says that theater, or comedy, or dance, or all of the above, can be anything it wants to be.

Such is the nature of this sort of creative happening, one that famously takes over Edinburgh for a chunk of the summer, and San Diego, and Santa Cruz, and Hollywood, too.

Tinseltown's mondo extravaganza is pushing into its final days, which means the time is nigh for connecting with a fresh comedy, an intriguing one-person show, or a twist on Shakespeare.

Still to come in the Hollywood Fringe Festival, which can be found on stages both cozy and more capacious around its namesake town? Marcie Maxfield's "Girls Together Always" gets real about love, grief, and more at the Ensemble Theatre, "Alien vs. Musical" pairs, well, the alien from "Alien" with the concept of musical theatre at Sacred Fools, and festive murder mystery "Happy No Year" makes our seasonal occasions more offbeat at the Dark Horse.

As with any fringe-fanciful spectacular, it is impossible, or nearly, to take in all the shows, unless you get very lucky with A) time and B) parking and C) planning.

But dipping into a few tempting one acts or ensemble events or cabarets or a show that combines all of those elements, or more, is at the heart of a fringe festival's appeal.

There's still time to get that happy jolt of a newfound discovery, in Tinseltown.

Photo Credit: Hollywood Fringe Festival]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers Draft Brandon Ingram With No. 2 Pick]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 02:40:15 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-draft-Brandon-Ingram-no-2-2016.jpg

On Thursday, the 2016 NBA Draft played out as expected, with the Philadelphia 76ers taking LSU's Ben Simmons with the no. 1 pick and the Los Angeles Lakers promptly following up by selecting Brandon Ingram out of Duke University with the no. 2 pick.

Both teams followed the script, as the experts seemingly all got their predictions correct for a change.

Most analysts considered Ingram and Simmons to be well ahead of the pack, so the top two prospects going no. 1 and no. 2 hardly came as a shock on Thursday. With reports of Philadelphia informing Simmons that he would be the no. 1 pick and reports stating that the Lakers had every intention of taking Ingram with the no. 2 pick earlier in the week, the top of the 2016 draft did not exactly feature Hollywood drama.

Entering Thursday, most fans and experts agreed that the Lakers picking Ingram would be the right move for the rebuilding franchise. LA drafted a 6-foot 9-inch small forward whose frame and skill set draw direct comparisons to Kevin Durant. Ingram's wingspan, standing reach and height are all strikingly similar to Durant's at the same age. However, Ingram's 195-pound frame is even lighter than Durant's stick-figure frame before the Oklahoma City Thunder forward entered the draft.

"Obviously, it's unfair," Kupchak said about the comparison to Durant on Thursday, after making the pick. "I can see why people would make the comparison. I think they're both gifted players. If you looked at Kevin in college as a freshman, the similarities are striking in terms of the size and body build and body type."

Kupchak added, "Beyond that, Brandon has a long, long way to go. He's got a lot of work in front of him."

One should keep in mind that Ingram is only 18 years old. He's yet to take his first steps in the NBA, so his potential is impossible to predict. He needs to bulking up and add weight, though Lakers coach Luke Walton did not seem concerned about the draftee's slight figure. Younger rookies take time to grow into their bodies, and reaching a level of consistency takes time, which should have been a lesson fans learned with 2015's no. 2 pick, D'Angelo Russell.

However, the Lakers expect to start the season with Ingram starting at small forward, as their 2015-16 starting small forward, Kobe Bryant, retired at the end of the previous season. In his lone season with Duke, Ingram averaged 17.3 points and shot 41 percent from beyond the college three-point line, along with 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game.

"We're not picking a player that hasn't played much and kind of came off the bench and you're trying to project what he may turn into," Kupchak said. "We're picking a player, some may say, played at a very established college basketball program. He played big minutes. He started in an excellent league with excellent competition."

Kupchak added, "Right now, there is no ceiling on him."

The Lakers also had the no. 32 pick and drafted 7-foot 1-inch center Ivica Zubac out of Serbia. On his conference call, Zubac shared that he was a massive Lakers and Kobe Bryant fan. In fact, the 19-year-old owned a no. 24 Bryant jersey, and Pau Gasol and Andrew Bynum jerseys. Given Zubac's age, Kupchak did not say either way whether the Croatian would join the Lakers for the upcoming season or remain in Europe.

Zubac has earned comparisons to Marc Gasol, who the Lakers drafted in the second round of the 2007 NBA Draft. Gasol did not join the NBA until the 2008-09 season, after his rights had been traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in a trade that landed LA Pau Gasol.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Father Accused of Causing Baby Severe Brain Injury]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 15:13:02 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/TLMD-HANDCUFFS.jpg

A 23-year-old Victorville man was set to be arraigned Thursday on charges that he shook his 4-month-old baby so forcefully the infant suffered severe brain injuries, sheriff's officials said.

James Wright, who has been jailed since Monday on $500,000 bail, faces child endangerment charges at Victorville Superior Court, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said.

Wright was caring for the child when he allegedly shook the baby. On Sunday when the infant began having difficulty breathing, Wright and the boy's mother took him to Victor Valley Global Medical Center.

The baby was then transferred to Loma Linda University Children's Hospital, where forensic pediatricians discovered bleeding in his brain and blood clots in the veins leading up to his brain. The injury also caused the child to suffer seizures and a stroke, deputies said.

On Monday, hospital staff contacted the sheriff's department to report the "suspicious" brain injury. Detectives questioned and arrested Wright. His explanation "was not consistent with the injuries" the baby suffered, deputies said in a news release.

The child was admitted into the hospital's intensive care unit.

<![CDATA[INFOGRAPHIC: Taking Care of Pets in Hot Weather]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 13:47:28 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dog+heat+wave.jpg

Southern California is off to a warm start to summer with several days of temperatures well into triple digits.

With that in mind, the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has a few reminders for anyone with an animal pal. 

  • Dogs and cats can become dehydrated quickly, so give them plenty of water when it's hot outdoors. In extreme heat, try to save the longer walks for the coolest parts of the day, i.e. early in the morning or late at night
  • Make sure your pets have a shady place to escape the sun if they are outside, be careful not to over-exercise them, and keep them indoors when it's extremely hot
  • Pet owners should never leave their animals unattended in a parked vehicle. Parked cars, even with windows open, become very hot in a short amount of time, and this can lead to heatstroke or death. On an 85-degree day, it takes only 10 minutes for the inside of your car to reach 102 degrees, even with the windows cracked an inch or two; and in 30 minutes, the inside of a locked car can reach 120 degrees
  • The symptoms of overheating in pets can include an increased heart rate, drooling, excessive panting or difficulty breathing, mild weakness, seizures and an elevated body temperature (over 104 degrees)
  • Elderly, overweight, and pets with heart or lung diseases are more susceptible to heatstroke. Pets with short muzzles like pugs, bulldogs and Persian cats become overheated because they cannot effectively pant. These pets should be kept in air conditioning to stay cool

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Public Reaction to Supreme Court Decision on Obama Immigration Reform]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 12:59:57 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/immigration+SCOTUS+thumb.JPG A tie vote by the Supreme Court on Thursday, June 23, 2016 is keeping on hold President Barack Obama's immigration plan that sought to shield millions living in the U.S. illegally from deportation. Immigration reform supporter vow to continue the fight despite the day's decision.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Forsooth: Free Shakespeare in Griffith Park]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 13:31:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Festivaltempestisc.jpg

Summer 2016 may only be a few days old, but one of the surest signs of its arrival comes in the form of something that's free, something that's old, something that's spritely, and something that's a warm-weather tradition at green spaces around the country.

It's the words of one William Shakespeare — perhaps you've heard of him? — performed, for free, in a park. Like dribbly ice cream cones, and sand in your trunks, watching a play that was penned centuries ago while sitting atop a picnic blanket is about as rites-of-summer-ish as one can get.

And one only need to look to the Independent Shakespeare Company, which is set to launch its light-hearted, pay-nothing summer season at the Old Zoo in Griffith Park on Saturday, June 25.

Well, not exactly "light-hearted"; "Richard III" opens things up, with intensity and anti-hero-ness. But ready yourself for an "electrified retelling" of the tale (one intriguing hint: The photo has the kingly figure swinging an electric guitar.)

"The Tempest" follows in late July. Magic and family reign in what was the Bard's last play through early September.

Yes, both are free, though donations are "gratefully accepted." For sure, picnics are welcome, but leave the wine at home (not allowed in the park). And layering? It gets cool, even after a toasty July day.

For the full schedule, and how to wend your way to the Old Zoo for some riveting dramatics, pack your wicker hamper and hike in this direction.

Photo Credit: Mike Ditz/ISC]]>
<![CDATA[Gas Station Bandit Robs 2 Stations in Pomona]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 12:37:18 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Gas_Station_Bandit_in_Pomona_1200x675_711433283593.jpg Police are still searching for an individual who is said to have robbed two gas stations with a gun in Pomona on Wednesday, June 22, 2016. Officials said similarities in the two robberies suggests the crimes were committed by the same person. ]]> <![CDATA[1 Dead in Apartment Fire In Long Beach]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 12:34:22 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Apartment+Fire+Thumb1.JPG Officials are looking into a suspicious death after an apartment fire on on Wednesday night, June 22, 2016.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Pipeline Burst in Ventura Spews Gallons of Oil ]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 12:36:06 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/160623-ventura-oil-spill-2.jpg An oil spill early on Thursday, June 23, 2016 caused thousands of gallons of oil to spill into a Ventura canyon. Cleanup crews have capped the spill and are working to clean up the remaining oil.

Photo Credit: Ventura County Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[OC Pride: Celebrate in Santa Ana]]> Fri, 24 Jun 2016 08:38:53 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/pridejune123.jpg

The first Saturday of summertime possesses a few mythic properties for many people. You want to get out and enjoy the sunshine, and celebrate with your friends, and be a part of a community, and welcome a season that has shine in both the literal and figurative sense.

The Orange County Pride parade, which will take place on Saturday, June 26, embraces those ideals, and does so in a hue-happy, dance-tastic, "Live Your Life!" kind of way. 

In fact, "Live Your Life!" is the 2016 theme of OC Pride Week, which was founded in 1989 and has become one of the Golden State's most vibrant gay pride happenings. The new theme was "(i)nspired by exciting changes, milestones and accomplishments in the name of LGBT pride," reveals the event's site. 

"(W)e decided to transform those feelings of admiration, gratitude, and happiness into something visual. Something creative. Something that vividly flaunts what it is we all feel inside!"

It's a festive feeling that will permeate other parties during the June 25 and 26 weekend, from the festival spreading out through a goodly chunk of downtown Santa Ana to the quartet of dance stages to the Kids' Club area to the multiple vendors selling merch that emphasizes unity, joy, and the spirit of "Live Your Life!"

How many people are expected? Over 10,000 attended in 2015. The cost to attend? Watching the parade is totally free, as is browsing the vendor area, but you'll want to alight upon a festival ticket asap.

Happy Pride, OC!

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[Crow Triggers Power Outage for Thousands in San Fernando Valley]]> Thu, 23 Jun 2016 22:11:19 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/160623-sfv-power-outage.jpg

Thousands of people in the San Fernando Valley were without electricity Thursday after a crow flew into a circuit breaker and triggered a blackout, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power said.

The outage, which affected 15,000 customers, was reported about 8:45 a.m., after a crow landed on a  34,000-volt circuit breaker at a power distribution station in the Valley Village area, the utility and Mayor Eric Garcetti said.

The affected areas included Studio City, Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, Valley Village and North Hollywood.

All power was finally restored by 10 p.m.

Among the most affected are restaurant owners. Juan Ventura of El Taco Loco said he will likely be forced to toss 400 pounds of meat.

"We have to throw it away, which is a lot of money, especially because we use a lot of meat that's very expensive," he said.

The LAPD said the type of outage it's dealing with is typically restored quickly by switching the circuit to a functioning power bank, but in this case the entire distribution station had lost power.

"Crews are moving a large remote electric transformer called a 'hog wagon' into the area to use, if needed, to help restore power," the LADWP said in a statement. "At this time, they continue to work on the equipment in the station and in the surrounding area to restore power as quickly as possible."

Refresh this page for updates on this developing story

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
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