<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Southern California News]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/local http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.com en-us Tue, 01 Dec 2015 21:13:31 -0800 Tue, 01 Dec 2015 21:13:31 -0800 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Fatal Deputy-Involved Shooting in Norwalk]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 20:28:52 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/fataldis-120115.PNG

A fatal deputy-involved shooting broke out in Norwalk Tuesday evening, authorities confirmed. 

The initial report came in around 7 p.m. that a shooting occured at Imperial Highway and Pioneer Boulevard.

One man - a suspect - was killed, and the second suspect, also a man, was arrested, police said.

No deputies were injured.

Refresh this developing story for updates. 

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Grandmother Pushes Girl Out of Way in Hit-and-Run]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 18:25:18 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/grandma-gdaugher-hit-120115.jpg

A driver struck an 8-year-old girl and her 55-year-old grandmother as they were walking on their way to breakfast, then took off and left them in the street last Wednesday.

The grandmother, Mae Baham, tried to push her granddaughter out of the way, enduring the brunt of the hit, the family told NBC4.

"She loves her granddaughter. Emonie is her everything," Gala Baham, Mae's sister in law, said.

Inglewood police were still on the hunt for the driver of a dark green or black Nissan Altima Tuesday after the grandmother suffered severe injuries, and was left in a coma. The girl suffered moderate injuries.

The girl and her grandmother were crossing the street in a marked crosswalk when the driver ran a red light, Inglewood police said.

The crash occurred 5:30 a.m. at La Brea Avenue and Queen Street, blocks away from the Inglewood Police Department.

After a brief pause, the driver took off.

"To stop and then see what you did, and to drive off -- it's just crazy," Gala said. "How could you do that? These are people, not just something lying in the street."

Emonie, the girl who was also hit, was doing OK, her family said. But she keeps asking for her grandmother.

The family said that Mae was still fighting for her life.

"She's a fighter," Gala said. "She's not going to give up. She's not the type of person you can easily knock down."

Investigators said the car would likely have a broken windshield and front-end damage. They were still searching for clues from surveillance footage in the area.

"We really need to find that driver," Gala said. "And I hope that he [or she] would definitely see this -- and come and just turn yourself in."

<![CDATA[Residents Say Mail Theft Led to ID-Theft Nightmare]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 18:40:45 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/VANNUYS_MAIL_THEFT_web_image_1200x675_577511491626.jpg

Van Nuys residents are outraged after brazen thieves, caught on surveillance video, appeared to be stealing their mail.

The 30-second clip was captured on surveillance video the weekend before Thanksgiving, after the building manager installed cameras. "It has happened five times since September," one resident, who asked to be identified only as Trey, said Tuesday.

Trey said he is a victim of identity theft and that he had to cancel 30 accounts opened in his name in just the last few months.

"I was constantly looking over my shoulder for the invisible boogeyman," he said.

It's a crime that happens thousands of times over across the country. But, here in LA, U.S. Postal Service officials said they only have six mail theft investigators from LA to Bakersfield.

Jamie Court with the nonprofit Consumer Watchdog in Santa Monica, blames big banks for making it too easy to get credit in the first place.

"This is a really significant, painful life experience. To the bank, it's easier for them to write off a thousand dollars, two thousand dollars and forget about it."

Trey's neighbor, Terry Miller, is fed up. "I am moving out at the end of the month ... I don't feel safe here, even with a secure building."

LAPD officials said they investigate 6,900 cases of ID theft in the San Fernando Valley alone every month. Last month, they arrested 45 people. The reason it is so prevalent, they say, is because it's a minor offense for people to get money for drugs.

Postal service officials recommend getting a secured mailbox and/or a credit monitoring service.

Victims can also call credit bureaus to freeze credit so nothing happens without approval.

<![CDATA[Do You Need a Health 'Consultant'?]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 17:24:28 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-genericsla-nbc4-logo-2.jpg

Questions about medical care have become so confusing, they've given rise to a new industry: health care consultants, private advocates who promise to cut through red tape and get you the treatment you need.

Los Angeles resident Delinah Hurwitz recently hired health care consultant Dr. Valerie Ulene and her partner, former Hollywood agent Byrdie Lifson Pompan, co-founders of Clear Health Advisors.

Hurwitz turned to Clear Health Advisors for help after discovering that the type of brain tumor she had was misdiagnosed.

"Our job really is to confirm [our patient's] diagnosis, identify the most appropriate specialist for their diagnosis and then educate them on their treatment options," said Pompan. "We're in a culture that has been trained not to question our doctors."

Pompan said it's time to change that.

According to the BMJ Quality and Safety Journal, roughly 30 percent of all medical diagnoses are incomplete or inaccurate.

"It's the third leading cause of death in our country," Pompan said. "Medical error."

Now, it’s easy to hire someone to advise you in your search for the best medical care:  organizations such as the National Association of Healthcare Advocacy Consultants and the Alliance of Professional Healthcare Advocates have hundreds of members who promise to "run interference" for patients during a health crisis in return for fees that can run in the thousands of dollars.

But health care advocates suggest choosing a consultant with care.

The I-Team contacted the California Department of Insurance and found out this sector of the industry is not yet regulated. Consumer attorney Stuart Talley says without state oversight, there's potential for abuse.

"One of the big ones is if a consultant was referring a doctor and getting a kickback," Talley said. "If there's no rules or laws against that, that could be a huge problem. They could be referring people to doctors that they don't need."

That certainly wasn’t the case for Hurwitz, who credits Ulene and Pompan with helping her find a specialist within 48 hours — one she says ultimately saved her life.

"Thank God for them because that's the only reason I went where I went and how things got fixed as quickly as they did," Hurwitz said.

If you're considering hiring a health care consultant, do your research to confirm your consultant's qualifications.

And check your benefits — some insurance companies and employers offer health care consultants as part of their coverage plan.

Six steps to better health from Clear Health Advisors:

1. Choose your doctors wisely. Most patients evaluate physician quality by judging the diplomas on the wall of the doctor’s office.  Did they attend an Ivy League college?  Train at a top-ten medical school?  While a doctor’s academic credentials are important, they are certainly not the only things to consider when choosing a doctor.  A variety of factors play into the kind of care a doctor delivers and influence a patient’s level of satisfaction with the care he or she receives.  In fact, sometimes it’s a doctor’s more personal characteristics like their communication style and treatment method that wind up mattering most to patients. Finding a good doctor is no easy feat.  It requires looking beyond the diplomas to the person who earned them. But, ultimately, it's about finding a good fit—a physician whose treatment approach and personality is right for you.

2. Establish a relationship with a primary care physician. As the number of physicians choosing to go into internal medicine and family practice dwindles, so does the number of adults with established relationships with a primary care physician.  Most patients put together their medical team in a piecemeal fashion.  They jump from one medical specialist to the next or resort to the emergency room whenever they are ill or injured. Without a physician to coordinate patients' care, health problems are treated as isolated events and their overall health care falls short.  Chronic problems are largely ignored and symptoms of new and potentially serious disorders pass unnoticed. By providing comprehensive care, primary care physicians can eliminate these "care gaps." People who have a primary care physician are more likely to receive preventive interventions, such as cancer screenings and immunizations, and have their chronic problems managed effectively.

3. When you have a problem, start with your primary care doctor. Some people worry that primary care doctors may not be trained to treat specific medical conditions; specialists, they believe, have more expertise and experience. So, when a problem develops, they bypass the primary care doctor and head straight for the "expert." But not every problem requires the care of a specialist. Primary care doctors are generally equipped to manage straightforward medical problems quite well.  Consulting a specialist becomes more important when serious, complex or confusing medical problems arise or when appropriate therapy is not clear-cut. When a specialist is necessary, consulting with a primary care doctor first offers several advantages:  He or she can help identify the best possible doctors to go see and ensure that their recommendations are consistent and compatible with a patient’s overall care.  A primary care doctor can also initiate a work-up of the problem.  Imaging studies and blood tests can be ordered in advance of the appointment with the specialist, allowing patients to get the most out of the visit.

4. Get the most out of every doctor's visit. One of the biggest mistakes patients make is showing up for a doctors’ visit unprepared, which almost guarantees truly informed choices cannot be made.
Go to every doctor’s appointment armed with a list of concerns and questions.  Once an appointment is underway, it’s easy for patients to forget what they wanted to ask. Spend some time in advance of the appointment, writing them all down. Remember: there is no such thing as a ‘dumb’ question. 
Ask where you can find additional resources, if needed. Although doctors are wary of what patients learn on the Internet, they welcome the opportunity to point their patients toward credible sources of information. Before leaving a doctor’s office, be sure ask how to contact them if with follow up questions or concerns.  Physicians often surprise patients with their accessibility, even sharing their email addresses and cell phone numbers.

5. Work collaboratively with your physicians. When things don't go well during a doctor’s visit, patients are often quick to hold their doctor accountable. Patients blame the doctor for keeping them waiting, for having an unpleasant bedside manner or for delivering poor care.  But, like any relationship, the patient-physician interaction is a two-way street. It's important for patients to recognize that physicians have frustrations too. Doctors work within an imperfect healthcare system that often doesn’t allow them the time or resources to provide the kind of care they’d like to deliver.  And, although it comes as a big surprise to many people, the things that patients say and do can often be irritating to their physicians and ultimately undermine the quality of the care the patient receives.  For instance, doctors dislike it when patients insist on being prescribed a particular drug or a medical test that the physician doesn’t feel is necessary. Doctors also are irritated with patients who visit regularly but largely ignore the medical advice provided. Doctors need to do their best to work collaboratively with their patients, but patients need to hold up their end of the bargain as well.  It’s up to patients to be thoughtful and reflective about what they can reasonably ask of their doctors and to follow through with the advice they’re given. At the end of the day, the best results generally come when patient and physician work together.

6. Get a second opinion. Getting another doctor’s recommendations can protect patients against unnecessary or inappropriate treatment.  A second opinion also provides additional information, often helping patients make difficult decisions. Sometimes, second opinions simply help patients feel that they're heading down the right path. Despite the advantages second opinions offer, many patients don't bother to pursue them.  Some patients worry about the costs that are involved; others are concerned about delaying their treatment while waiting for the consultation. Some patients are reluctant to ask for a second opinion for fear of offending their physician. In fact, the vast majority of second opinions are covered by insurance.  And, for most patients, second opinions rarely cause a meaningful delay and the information they glean from the consultation is well worth the wait –and potentially even life saving.

<![CDATA[Family Mourns Construction Worker Killed in Hit and Run]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 20:14:18 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/hitrun-oc-120115.PNG

Family members on Tuesday mourned the loss of a 35-year-old construction worker killed in a hit-and-run crash.

Jorge Lopez Lobato was fatally struck early Sunday morning as he was walking west on First Street about 1:45 a.m. Someone in a Honda Accord struck him as he crossed the street outside of a crosswalk on his way home from a relative's house in Santa Ana. His body was thrown 100 feet.

"He was a people person," said Andrea Sanchez, his niece. "He liked to hang out with the rest of our family. He just enjoyed being in our company and we enjoyed having his company. He was just a very happy person."

Police said the car that struck Lobato had its driver's-side mirror cracked. It was found at the scene. Two more parts from under the hood were found in the street. Detectives have tied the pieces to a 2013 to 2015, four door, blue Honda Accord with extensive damage.

The collision occurred on the left side of the vehicle, toward the front, left side of the vehicle with such tremendous force something caught and ripped it off the car, said Corporal Matt Wharton, of the Santa Ana Police Department.

Lobato and his sister were walking home from a friend's house, but for whatever reason, she said, he chose not to drive. Police said he was not under the influence.

Lobato was the youngest of seven. His sisters think back on the last time they saw him, the words they exchanged and the knowledge he won't be back.

Police are checking with body shops but say the damage to the car will be obvious, no front wheel well and missing mirror.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA['Operation Santa' Helps Those in Need]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 16:21:58 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/operation-santa-2015.PNG

It's the season of giving, and what better way to celebrate the holidays than to grant a child's Christmas wish?

The U.S. Postal Service launched on Tuesday Operation Santa 2015, an annual event where members of the public — or in this case, Santa's helpers — get to adopt letters children address to Santa.

"[Operation Santa] is a really valuable, rewarding goodwill program," said Richard Maher, a Postal Service spokesman. "It's a way to give back to those in need."

As handwritten letters to Santa pour into the mail, postal employees read them and sort them by ZIP code and need.

Businesses and corporations, charitable organizations and individual citizens may then read and choose to address up to 10 letters.

The "Secret Santas" can fulfill the writer's wishes and return to the same post office with the wrapped gifts. The post office, acting as a middle man, and will then label and deliver the packages to the writer.

The letter writer's personal information, such as last name and address, is redacted from the copy of the letter given to the Secret Santa.

"Feels good to help someone you don't know," Maher said. "Especially if it's for basic needs, like food and clothes, that everyone takes for granted."

Operation Santa has origins that date back to 1912, when Postmaster General Frank Hitchcock first authorized postal employees and local citizens to respond to Santa's letters.

Those interested in participating in Operation Santa can visit these locations, listed by ZIP code, only from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Dec. 3, 8, 10, 15 and 17:

ZIP codes 900-905, 907-908
Los Angeles District Office
7001 S. Central Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90052

ZIP codes 906, 917-918, 926-928
Santa Ana District Office
3101 W. Sunflower Ave.
Santa Ana, CA 92799

ZIP codes 910-916
Sierra Coastal District Office
28201 Franklin Pkwy.
Santa Clarita, CA 91383

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[17-Year-Old Charged With Arson in Monrovia High School Fire]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 15:00:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/MONROVIA+HS+FIRE.PNG

A 17-year-old student was charged today with two felony counts for allegedly hurling a Molotov cocktail through a window at Monrovia High School.

The teenage boy is set to make his first court appearance Wednesday in Eastlake Juvenile Court on one count each of arson of a structure and vandalism, according to Greg Risling of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

The fire at the school, 845 W. Colorado Blvd., was reported at 12:23 a.m. Monday, according to Monrovia police Sgt. Rob Wilken.

Flames could be seen coming out of windows on the second and third floors of the school's administration building. The fire was doused by about 3:30 a.m.

Police said a neighbor saw somebody tossing something through the school windows. The 17-year-old -- a student at the school -- was arrested nearby.

There was no immediate word on a motive for the attack.

Photo Credit: RMG News]]>
<![CDATA[Tanker Fire Forces 15 Freeway Closure in Lake Elsinore]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 18:29:52 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/166*120/12.01.15_Lake-Elsinore-Tanker-Fire.JPG

A gas tanker caught fire, shutting down both directions of the Corona (15) Freeway, in Lake Elsinore on Tuesday afternoon.

All traffic was being diverted off the freeway at Lake Street as of 1:30 p.m., according to California Highway Patrol logs.

The fire was reported at 1:05 p.m. on the right shoulder of the freeway north of Nichols Road. The tanker was reportedly carrying 8,700 gallons of fuel when a tire shredded, contributing to the fire, according to the CHP.

Lanes of the freeway were beginning to be reopened before 3 p.m.

No injuries were immediately reported.

Photo Credit: Alex Vasquez - KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Longtime LAPD Spokesman Offered Green Bay Chief Job]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 16:23:06 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/167*120/money+pursuit+andy+smith.jpg

Los Angeles Police Department Cmdr. Andrew Smith, who heads the LAPD's media relations section and is often the public face of the department at crime scenes and other public events, has been offered the position of police chief in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Green Bay's Police and Fire Commission has instructed the city to make an employment offer to smith, contingent on his satisfying "certain pre-employment requirements."

Smith has been with the LAPD for 27 years.

<![CDATA[Dodgers Introduce Dave Roberts as Manager]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 14:40:07 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/Dodgers+Dave+Roberts.png

Dave Roberts was formally introduced Tuesday as the 10th manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"It's hard for me to put into words what it means to be named manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers," said the 43-year-old Roberts when he was named the new Dodgers skipper last week.

Roberts is a former Dodger centerfielder and UCLA standout who spent the past five years as a San Diego Padres coach.

"This is truly the opportunity of a lifetime," Roberts said. "The Dodgers are the groundbreaking franchise of Jackie Robinson, Roy Campanella, Sandy Koufax, Maury Wills, Fernando Valenzuela and Hideo Nomo. When I put on this uniform as a player, I understood the special responsibility to honor those that played before me as well as the amazing bond between the Dodgers and their fans. I feel that I have now come full circle in my career and there is plenty of
unfinished business left in LA."

Andrew Friedman, Dodger president of baseball operations, called Roberts a "baseball man" and a "people person" who will help the team achieve its "ultimate goal -- bringing a world championship back to the city of Los Angeles."

Roberts, who has a black father and Japanese mother, will be the first minority to serve as the Dodgers' manager.

He will be one of only three minorities to manage in the major leagues; the others are Dusty Baker, who was
hired by the Washington Nationals this month, and Fredi Gonzalez of the Atlanta Braves.

Don Mattingly, who managed the Dodgers for the last five seasons but parted ways with the team at the end of this season, has been hired as manager of the Miami Marlins.

Roberts has no previous major league managerial experience.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2.5-Magnitude Quake Strikes Near Fontana]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 10:25:38 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/151201-fontana-quake.jpg

A 2.5-magnitude earthquake shook the Fontana area Tuesday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

The temblor struck at 10:03 a.m. about five miles north of the San Bernardino County city, the USGS said.


Photo Credit: U.S. Geological Survey]]>
<![CDATA[Wizarding World Opening Gets a Reveal Date]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 18:29:48 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/WWoHP.jpg

Delicious mysteries and hard-to-fathom enigmas and twisty labyrinths full of surprises are part and parcel of the Potter universe, and fans wouldn't have it any other way. After all, how satisfying would it be if Harry Potter marched up to a magical door and found it unlocked and easy to enter?

Answer: Not very.

Universal Studios Hollywood is taking this anticipatory theme very much to heart as it approaches the spring 2016 opening of The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. Indeed, you're correct, this is the theme park experience that's been in the works high on the hill in Universal City for several years, and, yes, it is a story-filled sibling to the one in Orlando.

So where do the clues and mystery and anticipation come in? Well, if you've been watching the roll-out to the experience's grand opening -- and thousands of fans have -- you've seen Universal spin out the delicious details, from the recently released conductor-led virtual tour of Wizarding World to the announcement that an announcement about the opening date has a date.

Do you follow? Keep up now (said in the loving and crisp tone of Prof. McGonagall).

On the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 1, the theme park announced that on the morning of Tuesday, Dec. 8, the official opening date for the ride- and shop- and eatery-filled destination will be revealed. No longer will "spring 2016" simply suffice, in short, and fans can begin to plan any visits or trips around actual, on-the-calendar dates.

Only something as grand as the Potter universe would receive a special date for an announcement regarding another special date. (You're still following, we do so fervently hope.)

In short, keep your wand pointed at Dec. 8, and at this enchanted online HQ, which tells you all things you need to know about The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.

Will your holiday wish list change, once you have an actual April or May or June date in your hands? A new cape or wizard's hat to wear to the park, perhaps? It's only months, not years, away, magical people of Southern California.

Photo Credit: Universal Studios Hollywood]]>
<![CDATA[Threat Closes Antelope Valley College]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 13:14:37 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/avc_threats_web_1200x675_577392707980.jpg

Antelope Valley College was closed today because of "a threat of violence against the college," school officials said.

The closure was announced in a statement posted shortly before 9 a.m. on the college website.

"The college is in regular contact with law enforcement," the statement said. "The evening class schedule will be updated by 4 p.m."

The investigation was being conducted by the sheriff's department, which declined to provide details on the case. Information on evening classes will be posted on the school's website.

College spokeswoman Liz Diachun said that sometime overnight, "nonspecific threats of violence" were posted on social media and also sent to "a few students."

The sheriff's department was notified about the threats and "by early this morning, (sheriff's deputies) had dramatically beefed up their presence on campus," according to Diachun.

"We put the safety and security of staff and students first" and closed the campus for daytime classes, she said.

Diachun had no details about the specific nature of the threats or how many students received them directly via text messaging.

<![CDATA[Suspicious Container Cancels Mt. SAC Classes]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 12:09:52 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/12-1-15-MtSac.JPG

Some classes near the theater and music building at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut were briefly canceled on Tuesday morning as a bomb squad investigated a suspicious container, school officials and police said.

Students were advised to stay away from threater and music buildings, 1A, 1B, 1C, 6, and the campus cafe, according to an alert posted on the school's website. Classes before 9:30 a.m. in those buildings were canceled.

Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies, which patrol the college, received a call at 6:57 a.m. at the school at 1100 N. Grand Ave., officials said.

A bomb squad removed the suspicious package and the area has been declared safe. No explosives were found, according to the sheriff's department.

Photo Credit: Casper News]]>
<![CDATA[WeHo Planned Parenthood Opens With Tight Security]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 14:09:07 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lafile-west-hollywood-planned-parenthood.jpg

A Planned Parenthood health center in West Hollywood was opened under heavy guard Tuesday morning in the wake of a deadly shooting at the non-profit's clinic in Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's West Hollywood station said an operation plan was in place to deal with any safety issues as Planned Parenthood opened its 20th facility in Los Angeles County on World AIDS Day.

"Planned Parenthood's top priority is the safety and wellbeing of patients and staff. Its doors are open today, in Colorado and across the country, and nothing will deter Planned Parenthood from providing high-quality health care to its patients," the group said in a news release.

Last Friday, a shooting attack at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs left three people dead, including a police officer, and nine others wounded. A 57-year-old man was arrested and charged with first degree murder in connection with the killings.

Speaking at a global warming conference Tuesday, President Barack Obama says he hopes the shooting spurs conversation and action on deterring gun violence.

Sue Dunlap, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, said clinics get about 1,000 visitors per day and the demand for service continues to grow. The services at the West Hollywood location will include birth control, cancer screenings, HIV testing and prevention drugs - and eventually, abortion. Dunlap says they will not apologize for providing abortion services despite the opposition to it.

"No matter how much security we put in place hard things happen, and there's sometimes a difference between feeling safe and being safe. And it's our job to work to make sure people both feel safe and are safe," Dunlap said.

Rick Montanez contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Gas Officials to Respond to Concerns Over Gas Leak]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 07:40:34 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/porter_ranch_gas_leak_meeting_120115.PNG

Officials with Southern California Gas Company were expected to respond to questions and concerns about a month-long gas leak that residents said they can smell in Porter Ranch.

SoCalGas officials will attend a Los Angeles City Council meeting at 10 a.m. and appear before the council to address the gas leak at its Aliso Canyon facility. The gas is leaking from a well about 8,500 feet underground.

Before the City Council meeting begins, Porter Ranch residents were planning to stage a rally on the steps of city hall around 9 a.m.  Residents in the Porter Ranch community have held several demonstrations and rallies citing citing health concerns over the leak since it was first discovered on Oct. 23.

SoCalGas said a daily air sampling is being conducted but they are delaying an odor mitigation system. Well pressure was also being monitored.

Some residents claimed the gas leak was making them ill and threatening their health. Some resident complained about dizziness, headaches and nose bleeds.

About 200 Porter Ranch residents have moved out of their homes temporarily and into hotels

SoCalGas told residents the leak posed no threat to residents. The LA County Public Health urged SoCalGas to expedite repairs to the leak.

Gas officials attended a meeting Nov. 25 with Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and said fixing the gas leak could take about three months to complete.

Officials previously said they could not tell how much gas had leaked from the facility since the leak began.

City officials are calling for an investigation.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Teen Alleging Sexual Assault Changes Story]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 13:30:36 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/151201-jack-in-the-box-south-la.jpg

Police were investigating conflicting versions of what happened to a 15-year-old girl who claimed she was kidnapped and sexually assaulted after she met a man at a Jack in the Box in South Los Angeles.

The girl ran away from her home in Yucaipa and met the man at a Jack in the Box near the intersection of S. Figueroa Street and Imperial Highway on Monday according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Police said when she met the man, the encounter did not go as she had planned. She claimed she may have been drugged, then kidnapped and sexually assaulted.

The girl realized she was in danger at the man's house on Hoover Street and Imperial Highway, police said. The victim yelled for help and a neighbor called 911.

The victim was transported to a hospital where she was in fair condition.

Later Tuesday morning, the girl changed her story, police said, and she may not have been kidnapped. Investigators believe she may have gone willingly to the apartment to the drugs with people she met at the restaurant.

Police said a man suspected of being involved in the assault was well-known in the area, but no arrests had been made.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Found Dead Inside House After Fire]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 13:46:05 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/temple_city_house_fire_113015.PNG

A woman in her 60s was found dead Monday night after firefighters put out a blaze inside a two-story home with packrat conditions in Temple City, authorities said.

The fire was reported at 8:28 p.m. in the 6100 block of Golden West Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

Firefighters knocked down the blaze in about 35 minutes, authorities said.

"We were hampered with excessive storage. Made it very challenging to make our way through that fire. Once we did find the person, they were pronounced dead," County Fire Inspector Randall Wright said.

When firefighters made their way inside, they found the woman buried under a pile of debris.
Neighbors said the woman lived alone. They identified her as Emily Smith.

"They went to work. They were quick, trying to get into the house. They had to saw down the gates because she had windows. She had steel gates or metal gates. But we're unsure what happened," said neighbor Marie Carrillo.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

“She was a wonderful person who loved music, who loved animals and who loved to teach,” said Christine Maddox, who met the victim at church 20 years ago. “Full of live, just lit up a room with her joy in living. Just an amazing person.”

Annette Arreola, Beverly White and City News Service contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Mystery Surrounds Disappearance of Producer]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 08:42:46 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/11.30.15_Eric-Kohler-Missing.jpg

By all accounts, 27-year-old Eric Kohler loves what he does, producing visual effects for blockbusters like “The Avengers,” “San Andreas,” and “X-Men.”

But last Tuesday, he walked out of work in Gardena without his wallet, his laptop or his bag — and never came back.

Now his family is doing everything they can to find out what happened.

Night after night, Kohler’s desperate mother and father are posting fliers, hoping for any help in finding their missing son.

Kohler is an up-and-coming movie producer and his family said he is a workaholic and a responsible man who would never just disappear.

"I know my son would never do this," Sheryi Kohler said.

He was last seen leaving work, in the 1700 block of El Segundo Boulevard, last Tuesday in his new Range Rover. Phone records and surveillance video show he went to a Food 4 Less parking lot, but then soon after his phone appeared to have been turned off.

"And he literally disappeared,” said his father, Tony Kohler. “It's heartbreaking. It's damn heartbreaking."

Kohler is originally from Oakley, in Northern California, and relocated to Los Angeles after high school. Kohler moved to Los Angeles to work in the movie industry. Kohler responded to an ad for a receptionist job and worked his way to become a visual effects producer at HYDRAULX.

Since his disappearance, friends and family said they have been in agony. The Thanksgiving holiday came and went without any sign. So did a huge project deadline at work — the kind Eric's parents say he would never miss.

"He had big ambition to work hard and that's what he's been doing and something bad happened," said his mother.

Tony Kohler said they are praying Eric just needed to get away but said there are too many red flags. Eric left his wallet, bags and computer behind. There has also been no activity in his accounts for days.

Kohler was last seen wearing a light blue short-sleeved shirt, blue skinny jeans, brown suede shoes and a brown leather, chrome-plated watch.

Anyone with information on Kohler’s disappearance is asked to call the LAPD Missing Person Unit at 213-996-1800. After hours, please call LAPD’s RACR Division at 213-484-6700.

See LAPD's missing person flier here.

Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy LAPD]]>
<![CDATA[Drought-Dry Island Looks to Ocean]]> Tue, 01 Dec 2015 02:37:14 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/catalina+island.JPG

A newly installed desalination plant, removing salts from seawater, will enable the tourist destination of Catalina Island to avoid pending additional drought cutbacks, according to the Southern California Edison Company, the agency that delivers the island's water.

Unveiled Monday at a ribbon-cutting ceremony and due to go online next week, the plant was put together in less than five months on an urgent basis as an alternative to doubling the required conservation level from 25 to 50 percent.

At the current level of conservation, households are limited to 30 gallons a day, and businesses also face limits so strict that hotels are sending their laundry to the mainland, and many restaurants have stopped serving tap water in favor of selling bottled water customers drink straight from the recyclable plastic, to reduce dishwashing needs.

"We had to do something," said Anni Marshall, mayor of Avalon, the only city on the island 26 miles off the California coast. "Oh my gosh, we would have had to turn people away, I believe."

The new desalination unit is an addition to the facility that first went into operation in response to a previous drought nearly a quarter century ago, when Avalon became one of the first California cities to use desalination to supply a portion of its drinking water.

Catalina has relied on a mix of desalinated water with less expensive wellwater. During the drought of the past four years, the island's main reservoir has dropped to less than a fifth of capacity, according to Greg Ferree, Edison's vice-president for distribution.

The dropping reservoir is nearing the level when the increased conservation would have been required under long-standing guidelines. Edison got permission from the California Public Utilities Commission to waive that requirement in light of the new desalination capacity.

"We are just happy to be able in a very short order to respond to a pretty dramatic situation in terms of the drought here," Ferree said. The original desalination plant can produce 200,000 gallons of water a day. The new unit adds an additional 125,000 gallons of capacity.

On winter days, Catalina often uses no more than 200,000 gallons, but demand skyrockets during the summer tourist season to as much as 800,000 gallons a day, Ferree said.

Avalon has a year-round population of only 4,000, but the island receives an estimated 700,000 visitors every year. During the past year, Catalina has been able to reduce its water usage more than required, 38 percent, despite an 18 percent increase in visitors, Mayor Marshall said.

Catalina residents have not forsaken hope that El Niño conditions will bring a wetter than usual winter, and rollback much of the drought's impact. But need is seen to lessen the island's long-term reliance on wellwater.

"This is a desert island and will always be subject to drought," said Ferree. "Having this desalination ... is prudent and wise."

The new desalination unit is designed to treat the brine produced by the original desalination unit. Doing so simplified the permitting process and enabled the new unit to be brought online more quickly, said Ferree.

Edison intends to seek the necessary permits so that the new plant will also directly draw seawater, which will increase its capacity to around 200,000 gallons a day, said Ron Hite, Edison's district manager for Catalina Island.

The new unit cost $3 million, $500,000 of which was covered by the city of Avalon. The project is seeking additional funds from the County of Los Angeles and possibly a grant in order to reduce the financial load that will otherwise have to be borne by Catalina's 2,000 ratepayers.

Shopkeepers say paying a little more for water is preferable to further water restrictions. "It's the cost of doing business over here, of living in paradise," said Steve Bray, owner of Steve's Steakhouse and Maggie's Blue Rose.

At this point, Edison cannot say whether it will seek a rate increase to cover its portion of the capital cost, and also the additional cost of operating it. The desalination process is electricity intensive. Every gallon of water from the new unit will cost about three times more to deliver than a gallon pumped from one of the island's wells, Hite said.

Catalina Island ordinarily receives even less rain than the Los Angeles basin, and has no access to the aqueducts from northern California and the Colorado River that augment the water supplies available to most of the rest of Southern California. The island historically feels the pressure of drought sooner and more severely than the mainland.

On the mainland, desalination is less common than using recycle water to recharge groundwater supplies. Decades ago, Avalon took a different approach to recycling, equipping homes and businesses with a separate plumbing system to deliver ocean water for flushing toilets. Avalon officials are now looking at upgrading the city's sewage treatment plant to recycle it, said Oley Olsen, a member of the city council and mayor pro tem.

Given the current state of the infrastructure, Edison and city officials agreed it would be better, given the urgency, to purchase the desalination unit, which conveniently operates within the cargo container in which it was shipped.

Progress toward new desalination facilities on the mainland has been slow, though Santa Barbara has taken steps to overhauling a long mothballed plant built about the same time as Avalon's original unit. Nearing completion in San Diego County in Carlsbad is a massive desalination plant intended to produce up to 50 million gallons a day, some 150 times Avalon's capacity.

Don Knabe, member of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, has been a booster of desalination, and flew across the channel to attend the ribbon cutting.

"It's not a panacea," said Knabe. "But it's something we have to look at. It has to be on the table."

Restaurateur Bray suggests the mainland someday will be in the drought situation now confronting Catalina, and can learn from Catalina's experience.

"Watch out," said Bray. "The wave is going to be hitting you."

Photo Credit: KNBC ]]>
<![CDATA[Family Mourns Woman Killed in Big Bear Skiing Crash]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 21:57:15 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/11.30.15_Natalie-Altieri-Big-Bear.jpg

A family is mourning the death of a woman who died while skiing in Big Bear this weekend.

Natalie Altieri died after slamming into a metal stairway at the end of a ski run Sunday morning at Bear Mountain Ski Resort.

"She was just beautiful inside and out,” said her mother, Beth Altieri. “She was talented in so many ways."

From their home in Canton, Ohio, she remembered her 21-year-old daughter.

"She just brought joy to everybody she was around."

Natalie Altieri was a third-year University of Cincinnati student who had come out to California for a fashion design internship in Los Angeles.

On Sunday, after dropping off her older sister Audrey at the airport, Natalie headed to Big Bear with a group of friends.
She was skiing down the mountain when somehow she ended up slamming into a metal stairway toward the end of her run.

"Nobody witnessed it,” said her father, Bruce Altieri. “She must have come into a rail too quick."

Beth Altieri said they were told that her daughter likely had internal injuries, and that first responders were unable to find a pulse.

They are hoping to get some answers from an autopsy report, and said her organs are being donated to help save other lives.

Family members said Natalie Altieri was a recreational skier and it had been awhile since her last trip to the slopes.

Her father said that she loved LA and even called herself a California girl. In 2018, she was supposed to graduate from college.

Natalie’s parents are left heartbroken, after losing the youngest of their three children.

"Just hug your children and embrace the joy they bring to you because it's God's greatest gift," Beth Altieri said.

Photo Credit: Photo Courtesy Altieri Family]]>
<![CDATA[Mother Found Guilty in Stabbing Deaths of Three Daughters]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 20:43:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tlmd_tres_ninas_asesinadas_carol_coronado.jpg

A mother was found guilty Monday of killing her three daughters last year when the little girls were found stabbed to death inside their family home.

Carol Coronado waived her right to a jury trial, choosing instead to have a judge decide her fate. Coronado pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity, specifically citing postpartum psychosis.

“She lost her mind,” her husband, Rudy Coronado said outside of the courtroom after the verdict was read. “She lost her mind.”

Rudy Coronado is standing by his wife Carol, believing that she suffered from postpartum psychosis when she stabbed their three young daughters to death last May at their home near Torrance.

“I lost my whole family — my three little girls and Carol,” he said. “She didn’t mean to do that. I strongly believe that.”

Carol Coronado showed no emotion as a judge found her guilty of three counts of first degree murder in the stabbing deaths of 2-year-old Yazmine, 16-month-old Sophia, and 3-month-old Xenya.

Prosecutors argued she killed the girls to get back at her husband, who they said had threatened to divorce her.

The judge found her not guilty of attempting to murder her own mother, who took a knife away from her when she discovered the deaths.

The defense had asked that 32-year-old Coronado be found not guilty by reason of insanity, portraying her as an overwhelmed mother who got little help raising her children.

During her last court appearance a week ago, Carol Coronado had a breakdown and had to be dragged from the courtroom kicking and screaming and crying out for her mother, husband and children.

“It was just a psychotic break, and it’s something the doctors say you recover from quickly with medication and a little bit of time,” said Steve Allen, her defense attorney.

The horrific deaths of the young girls cast a national spotlight on the issue of postpartum illness, and a documentary film crew is following the family throughout the trial.

Rudy Coronado has surprised some by supporting his wife despite his grief.

“I sit there and think about my little girls and shrivel up and cry like a little kid,” he said.

The penalty phase of the trial begins Tuesday. The District Attorney’s office is not seeking the death penalty, so a judge will decide if Carol Coronado spends the rest of her life in prison or if she is sent to a mental hospital.

Rudy Coronado said he visits his wife in jail and while he hasn’t said the words “I forgive you,” he tells her he believes she was ill.

“She's on meds and she’s not all there, so she rambles a lot. I sit and listen. I don’t blame her for things. There’s no use for that.”

<![CDATA[Deputy Recounts Moment He Found Abandoned Baby Girl]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 19:47:53 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/newborn+baby+riverside+riverbed+1128+2015.jpg

Los Angeles County Sheriff's officials are asking for the public's help to find the mother of a newborn baby girl who was found buried alive underneath a pile of debris and asphalt in Compton.

Detectives believe she was abandoned sometime Thanksgiving morning and spent several hours alone and cold before being rescued by a sheriff’s deputy who couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

"I know what I was hearing, a faint baby cry as I’m digging in the hole," Deputy Adam Collette said. "I still didn’t believe it."

When she was in his arms, Collette said he could immediately feel the baby calm down. It helped that he's a father of two young daughters and said he knows the difference between a cry of hunger and a cry of pain.

"The cry that I heard as a father was more of a cry for help. I’m hungry, but not like I'm injured," Collette said.

Sheriff's officials said the baby is doing well. Two women heard the baby crying and called 911 Thursday, and Collette and fellow Deputy David Perry were able to find her and pull her out of a two-foot-wide hole where she had been buried underneath a pile of debris.

"The hole was filled with loose dirt vegetation and two large pieces of asphalt," Sheriff Jim McDonnell said.

Detectives said they have gotten a lot of leads but they still need the public’s help. They still don’t know who the baby’s mother is, where she gave birth and why she didn’t take advantage of the law that allows for the safe surrender of newborns within 72 hours.

"Any fire station, any sheriff station, any hospital. Not in the parking lot, you have to cross the threshold," LA County Supervisor Don Knabe said, explaining the steps a parent can take.

There have been 16 safe surrenders in LA County so far this year, and 140 since the law was passed in 2001.

The blanket the baby was wrapped in appeared to be a hospital blanket, so detectives are checking area hospitals.

Deputy Collette said he’s thankful the baby was not hurt. Another hour or so and it would have been dark and no one thinks she could have survived the cold night.

Collette said he visited the baby at the hospital over the weekend. He calls her survival "a touch of God."

Photo Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department]]>
<![CDATA[Winter Shelters Opening in Orange County]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 17:28:31 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-genericsla-nbc4-logo-2.jpg

The two National Guard armories in Orange County will open their doors Monday to provide nighttime shelter for the homeless this winter.

The shelters provide up to 400 beds on a first-come, first-served basis. Doors open each night at 6 p.m., and close each day at 6 a.m., when all people and belongings must be gone from the sites.

Families with small children will be enrolled in the Mercy House Family Redirection Program and offered shelter at a private, off-site location. When that service is not possible, families are given a separate area in the armories near staff and on-site security, according to Mercy House guidelines.

The armories tend to slowly fill up at the start of the cold weather season, and generally get close to capacity as winter goes on. With heavy rains predicted from an anticipated El Niño weather system, other emergency shelter plans are being discussed by public officials and service providers.

Occasionally, the armories are closed on "dark nights" when the National Guard conducts drills or training. On those nights, alternate shelter sites are used instead.

The program also provides nutritious meals at dinnertime and for breakfast, a warm shower and donations of warm clothing and other basic needs items.

Mental health services, legal services, referrals for veterans, HIV testing, as well as other services are also provided.

Last year, the program provided 2,077 different people with beds with help from 1,797 volunteers, for a total of 44,032 bed nights.

Free transportation to the shelters is provided from three locations:

5 p.m.
N. La Palma Park Way & Harbor, Anaheim
On North La Palma Park Way between Harbor and Homer (Northwest Side of Park)

Santa Ana
5 p.m.
Flower & Civic Center - near 6th Street, Santa Ana

5:30 p.m.
1901 W. Walnut, Santa Ana

Information on how to donate to the program or volunteer can be found on the Mercy House website, located here.

There is also a wish list for the armories, including warm clothing, hygiene supplies, food and gift certificates.

For more information, contact Lauren Celaya, Community Resource Coordinator at laurenc@mercyhouse.netor (714) 836-7188, extension 128.

<![CDATA[Vandals Target Church]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 19:07:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Church_Vandalized_With_Demonic_Paintings_1200x675_576791619991.jpg

Vandals targeted a Roman Catholic church in Lynwood, painting demonic symbols on the doors, statues and signs.

The vandals struck overnight Saturday or early Sunday morning at St. Emydius Church, at 10900 California Ave.

Vandals cut off the hands of a statue and apparently spray painted "666" on a church sign.

"It's unacceptable," said Lynwood Mayor Jose Luis Solache. "We will not tolerate it."

Pastor Rigoberto Rodriguez thinks the person or people responsible either worship Satan or are on drugs.

Anyone with information was asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Holiday Shipping Tips]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 16:14:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/amazon-prime-package.jpg

It's that time of the year when thieves target unattended packages left on doorsteps and we're offering up tips on how to keep your packages safe.

With Christmas just two months away, the U.S. Postal Service is offering holiday shipping tips to help customers ship the 19 billion cards, letters and packages expected to be delivered in time for Christmas.

FedEx recommends:

Customize your deliveries. Use FedEx Delivery Manager® to customize your residential deliveries. You can change the time and location of delivery, request a signature upon delivery and even ask FedEx to hold your package if you know you’ll be out of the house when we try to deliver. Sign up for free at fedex.com/delivery.

Here's a full list

The United Parcel Service's recommendations:

The United States Postal Service's recommendations.

Photo Credit: NBC 5 News]]>
<![CDATA[Shotgun-Toting Robbers Hold Up OC Pizza Hut]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 18:46:59 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/151129-pizza-hut-robbery.jpg

Two robbers wearing hooded sweatshirts and armed with a shotgun held up a Pizza Hut in Buena Park and ran off with cash Sunday night, police said.

Surveillance video captured the moment when the pair entered the pizzeria at 6832 Beach Blvd. about 11:20 p.m. and held employees at gunpoint. The video showed at least four people behind the counter and one person in the customer area before the robbers walked in.

The men took an unknown amount of cash and fled the location, the Buena Park Police Department said.

The robber armed with a shotgun was described as a male about 5 feet 8 inches tall, weighing about 150 pounds. He was wearing a hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

The other thief, who entered the store with a handgun and bag, was about 5 foot 7 inches and weighed about 150 pounds. He had his face covered with a black bandana and was wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.

Anyone with information was asked to call Buena Park Police Det. Eric Burciaga at 714-562-3901.

Photo Credit: OnScene.TV]]>
<![CDATA[Teacher Arrested for Allegedly 'Sexting' Student]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:22:18 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/verducci.jpg

A 25-year-old high school teacher was arrested Monday for allegedly "sexting" with a student in Mission Viejo, officials said.

Justin Verducci, a math teacher at Capistrano Valley High School, was taken into custody in front of his home in Irvine following an investigation into allegations he was having inappropriate text communication with a 16-year-old student, according to the Orange County Sheriff's Department.

On Friday, the student's parents contacted Sheriff's investigators after they discovered several inappropriate text messages on their daughter's phone.

Investigators said the text messages were "sexual in nature and exchanged between their daughter and Verducci."

Verducci was arrested on suspicion of child annoyance and sexual communication with a known minor online.

He is being held on $20,000 bail and is scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday.

Anyone with information regarding additional victims is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff's Department's Special Victim's Unit at (714) 647-7418 or (714) 647-7000.

Photo Credit: Orange County Sheriff’s Department]]>
<![CDATA[Body of Woman Found in Stolen Car ID'd]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 19:40:05 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/car-in-bodydawn-mceevety.jpg

Sheriff's homicide detectives on Monday identified a woman whose body was discovered inside a stolen car left abandoned in unincorporated Whittier over the weekend.

The woman was identified as 19-year-old Dawn McEveety of Huntington Beach. Her body was found entombed in a container that was placed inside the rear of the car, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

McEveety went by the name Molly, her parents said.

It appeared that McEveety died of a gunshot wound and her body was then dumped in the container, Sheriff's Lt. David Coleman said.

Orange County Superior Court records showed McEveety was set to be arraigned on Dec. 4 on a drug-related charge.

McEveety's parents said she was adopted at the age of 16 months from a drug-addicted birth mother, and that their daughter's own drug issues surfaced when she was just 13. They said they believe that she had been living in Artesia and may have been hanging out with gang members.

"She went back with the wrong crowd," her mother, Maura McEveety said. They last saw her in September, when she was serving time at the James A. Musick jail in Orange County for stealing a car and being in possession of methamphetamines.

"She was a wonderful child, and, unfortunately she was born with an addiction," Maura McEveety said.

Maura McEveety and her husband, Mike Sepa, said they are devastated by what happened to their daughter, and hope their tragedy will be a cautionary tale for parents everywhere.

Sepa said he believes his daughter's death had something to do with her addiction. Her parents said she had tried rehab several times.

The red 1991 Toyota Celica hatchback was reported abandoned about 1 p.m. Sunday in the 8600 block of Bradwell Avenue, near Rivera Road. Neighbors said the car had been abandoned on the isolated road for about two to three days before anyone thought to look inside.

"It's not unusual to see an abandoned car, so I opened the driver side door and I'd seen that there was a big ice chest in the back," said one neighbor.

When deputies arrived, they "smelled a very strong odor indicative of decomposition," officials said.

The body was found stuffed inside a container, described by a witness as a cooler that measured about 4 feet long.

"It's frightening," said neighbor Josephine Madrid. "We're all retired here."

Gordon Tokumatsu and Vikki Vargas contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: RMG News/Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Arsonist Responsible for Multiple Fires Sought]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 13:55:34 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/11-30-15-Arsons.JPG

Deputies are asking for the public's help in identifying the person responsible for multiple arsons in the city of Highland.

During the past weeks, several arson fires have been started in the neighborhoods bordered by the Warm Creek Flood Channel and Baseline, East of Del Rosa, West of Sterling, South of 13th and Jane, and North of Paloma.

The majority of the fires have been in the city of Highland, with a few in the city of San Bernardino, according to a news release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Most are vegetation fires and the suspect appears to favor palm trees, which are highly flammable.

Based on the circumstances of each fire, it appears a single serial arsonist may be responsible.

Several homes and structures have been threatened from these fires, including the old East Valley Water District buildings.

The fire department has been able to respond quickly and extinguish the fires before they spread, but officials fear the worst with the drought.

Anyone who has suspect information is asked to call the Highland Sheriff's Station. Those wishing to remain anonymous may report information to We-Tip at 1-800-78-CRIME or via the internet at www.wetip.com.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA[Downey Police Officer Remembered at Funeral Service]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 11:54:19 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/Ricardo+Galvez+2.jpg Mourners gathered to pay respects to Downey police Officer Ricardo Galvez at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles.on Monday, Nov. 30, 2015.

Photo Credit: Downey Police Department ]]>
<![CDATA[Handmade Finds: A Trio of Holiday Markets]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 09:54:38 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/artisanlapasadenaholiday.jpg

There've been a few commercials that have used Christmas morning, or the first night of Hanukkah, as the central setting, at least three or four, we imagine. 

We jest, of course; gift-opening has long been a central emotional theme of our adverts, but rarely is the physical item the focus of the camera. Rather, the look on the person's face, the one opening the gift, is what hits us square in the heart.

But how does the gift giver draw out such a happy look from the gift receiver, apart from gifting a six-month trip around the world or a hilltop castle? Unique, of course, is the way to go, the funky, beautiful, odd, one-of-a-kind-y, bespoke-as-all-get-out gift. Craft and handmade fairs are awash in such touch-the-heart treasures, and a few are on their way in the days to come...

Artisanal LA: "150 local makers" shall make for Pasadena on Saturday, Dec. 5. The free-to-enter, you-stroll-it street fair -- it runs along Holly between Arroyo Parkway and Fair Oaks -- is the second holiday outing for the festival, which pops up a few times a year, festively, at spots around town. Find great baby togs at LA Dill's Clothing, fragrances via Sigil Scent, small succulents in wee pots at Lutume, and lovely stationery at Alabama Brown. Several Pasadena businesses'll show, too, and a few out-of-towners.

Renegade Craft Fair: There are few grander settings than Grand Park come the holiday season, what with the tree at Music Center Plaza and the general vibrancy in the air at our cultural venues. Adding to this is this robust maker gathering, which'll land at the City Hall-close park on Saturday, Dec. 12 and Sunday, Dec. 13. Over 300 talented people and outfits who make cool clothes/soaps/jewelry/such by hand will be there, including Evelo Designs and Good Company Wares.

Abbot Kinney Marketplace: Venice, and the artists who work and live there, is vivacious most any day of the year, but the sparkliest season has a way of adding a little flavorful salt to the mixture. This recently introduced makers market, which kicked off over the summer, is hosting an extra holiday event on Saturday, Dec. 5. Candles, wearables, and other funky finds await. And, yes, we went with "salt" earlier because you'll stroll in that sweet briny air that's found just a few blocks from the beach.

Lucky you, if you have to find a unique present and aren't doing the whole trip-around-the-world or hilltop-castle gift this year. Maybe next?

Photo Credit: Julia Webb/Sauce LA]]>
<![CDATA[USC Hires Clay Helton as Head Football Coach]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 16:07:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-498202904-2.jpg

The University of Southern California announced Monday it has hired Clay Helton as permanent head coach of the football team.

The 24th-ranked Trojans (8-4, 5-3 Pac-12) beat archrival UCLA 40-21 to win the Pac-12 South title on Saturday, capping a seven-week surge under Helton, their interim head coach, with their first victory in the crosstown showdown since 2011.

USC advanced to the conference championship game against No. 7 Stanford and the chance to contend for a Rose Bowl berth — something that seemed highly improbable last month when athletic director Pat Haden fired Steve Sarkisian and promoted Helton to finish up a turbulent season for the second time in three years.

"After weeks of searching the collegiate and pro ranks, interviewing candidates, and speaking with head coaches, athletic directors, NFL executives, and very knowledgeable football people, and after observing Clay in action the past seven weeks, it became abundantly clear that what we were searching for in a coach was right here in front of us," USC athletic director Pat Haden said in a statement. "Clay Helton is the right man at the right time for the USC football program."

reward for that combination of success and stability is one of the most coveted jobs in college football.

"I totally understand that I am not a flashy name, but I don't want to be flashy," said Helton, who is in his first full-time head coaching job. "I never have been, and never will be."

Haden said Helton signed a five-year deal, and beating UCLA was not the reason he was hired.

"He was not hired because many current and former players voiced their support for him. And he was not hired because he is a Trojan. He is our choice because we believe he can win Pac-12 and national championships here. Clay Helton is the right man at the right time for the USC football program," Haden said.

Helton, 43, was named USC's interim head coach on Oct. 12 after serving as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach.

Helton has been at USC since 2010. Previously, he was an assistant coach at Memphis for 10 seasons.

"During my six years here, I have learned the standard of excellence that it takes to be a Trojan. I understand the expectations of this great university and welcome the challenge. I am so proud to have the chance to lead what I feel is the pinnacle of college football and to represent our Trojan Family," Helton said.

The move and the timing were surprising, but not a total shock.

There had been rumors and speculation that USC would make an attempt to lure Eagles coach Chip Kelly back to the Pac-12. Kelly helped turn USC rival Oregon into a national power before leaving for the NFL three years ago.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[17-Year-Old Student Arrested After Monrovia High Fire]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 18:44:10 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/MONROVIA+HS+FIRE.PNG

A 17-year-old student was arrested in connection to a fire that erupted in a building at Monrovia High School early Monday morning, officials confirmed.

The fire was reported just before 12:30 a.m. at the high school's administration building located in the 800 block of West Colorado Boulevard, according to the Monrovia Police Department.

A neighbor heard sounds of glass breaking and saw a person throw an object into a window and running away.

Monrovia police said the teen male, who was a senior at the school, was arrested on suspicion of arson after admitting to starting the fire. Officials also said there was evidence on the teen that lead police to believe he started  the fire.

The fire caused extensive damage to counseling offices and extended into classrooms on the upper floors.

Officials assured students and parents that there were no ongoing threats to students' safety and school resumed as scheduled Monday.

Students were relocated out of the main building into other classrooms on campus, officials said.

Fire crews remained on scene into the afternoon to assess the damage.

No injuries were reported.

There was no immediate word on a motive for the attack.

Photo Credit: RMG News]]>
<![CDATA[Family Apartment Burned Down on Thanksgiving]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 23:58:45 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/firewinnekta-112915.PNG

A Winnetka family came home on Thanksgiving to find their apartment had gone up in flames.

The Savoie family left their apartment to celebrate with their relatives Thursday.

When they returned, they found a fire had started in their apartment, killing their two cats.

The fire destroyed everything they owned, including Christmas presents for their 2-year-old.

"All his gifts were destroyed, and pretty much I'm just grateful that we're still alive, that's all that matters," Vicky Lara said.

The family is now staying with relatives.

They have set up a GoFundMe account to start rebuilding their lives, which can be found here.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Man Killed in Echo Park Shooting ]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 23:32:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/echopark-1112915.PNG

A fatal shooting broke out in Echo Park Sunday, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

The shooting happened in the 1330 block of Allesandro Street around 10:45 p.m.
A man died at the scene, LAPD said.

No further details were immediately available.

Photo Credit: OnScene.TV]]>
<![CDATA[Film Students Carry Prop Rifle on Overpass]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 10:02:28 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/218*120/studentoverpass-112915.jpg

Film students caused a panic on a California freeway Sunday after at least 10 drivers reported two men standing on a pedestrian overpass carrying assault-type rifles, which turned out to be props, authorities said.

The two students were arrested on suspicion of displaying replica firearms and causing a false emergency.

Around 5 p.m., drivers on the 101 Freeway began calling in to report that two men dressed in military fatigues were carrying rifles on the Chesebro Road pedestrian overpass.

At least 10 of the drivers called 911, saying they felt threatened that the pair were going to cause harm.

California Highway Patrol and the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Station, including a helicopter, immediately responded to the 101 Freeway and found the two.

CHP shut down the freeway.

Over the loud speaker, officers instructed the pair to walk with their hands up toward the officers.

The two had a replica assault rifle, replica handgun, military uniforms, cameras and a gas mask.

The pair explained they were filming for a school project.

"While the intentions of these two individuals might have been harmless, the fact that anyone would appear in a public place displaying a replica firearm is troubling," Capt. Patrick S. Davoren of the Lost Hills Sheriff's Station, said in a statement. "These two men put themselves and our community at risk. This does reflect the fast actions of our community in notifying law enforcement and reminds everyone that if they see something, they should say something."

Photo Credit: Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station]]>
<![CDATA[Woman's Body Found in Car in Whittier Area]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:05:31 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/206*120/bdoyfpundnew-112915.PNG

A woman's body was found "entombed" in a cooler inside a stolen car in Whittier Sunday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said.

"It's frightening, of course," said Josephine Madrid, a neighbor who lives nearby.

Deputies went to the 8600 block of Bradwell Avenue in unincorporated Whittier County around 1 p.m. to investigate an abandoned car.

A neighbor called 911 after noticing a smell coming from the car.

Arriving deputies found the red 1991 Toyota Celica hatchback.

The car was stolen before the suspected murder, deputies said.

They said they smelled a very strong odor of a decomposing body.

When they checked the car, they found the female Hispanic victim, about 20 to 25 years old, in the rear cargo area "entombed in a large container," which was later determined to be a cooler.

"We’ll have the coroner take the vehicle intact to the coroner’s office, and remove the body systematically and figure out what happened," Lt. David Coleman said.

The Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner was working to determine the cause of death.

It was unclear how long the car had been there.

The area is right on the border of Whittier and Santa Fe Springs.

Neighbors told NBC4 that cars often get ditched along the isolated road.

"It’s been happening for at least the past year and it’s gotten progressively worse where we’re afraid to go down there," Madrid said. "It’s dark and secluded.”

Anyone who might have information is encouraged to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

Photo Credit: RMG News]]>
<![CDATA['Dear Basketball': Kobe Bryant Announces Retirement]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 01:26:19 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Kobe-Bryant-Madison-Square-Garden.jpg

Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers has decided to retire after this season.

The 37-year-old Bryant made the announcement in a post on The Players' Tribune on Sunday. The decision was not totally unexpected, given that Bryant has said many times in recent weeks that he was considering making his 20th NBA season his last.

There's no more wondering now.

After two decades, two Olympic gold medals, five championship rings, 17 All-Star selections, an 81-point game that ranks as the second-best in NBA history and more than 32,000 points, Bryant's career is officially winding down.

"This season is all I have left to give," Bryant said in what he called a letter entitled "Dear Basketball."

Bryant said in an interview on Sirius XM Radio just last week that "if something changes," he would come back and play next season. Only a few days later, that's apparently no longer an option.

"My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it's time to say goodbye," Bryant wrote in the post. "And that's OK. I'm ready to let you go. I want you to know now. So we both can savor every moment we have left together. The good and the bad. We have given each other all that we have."

Bryant ranks third on the NBA's career scoring list, and only 13 players in league history played on more championship teams. Bryant helped the Lakers to titles in 2000, 2001, 2002, 2009 and 2010.

This season has been a struggle for the five-time champion, whose young and rebuilding Lakers are mired at the bottom of the Western Conference standings while he's shooting a career-worst 32 percent. Injuries have dogged him in recent years as well, limiting him to 41 of a possible 164 games in the previous two seasons. And even this season, back issues have kept him from playing as much as he would like.

"It's tough to see one of the absolute greatest competitors go through this," Miami guard Dwyane Wade told The Associated Press on Sunday, prior to Bryant making his announcement. "You can put a team around a guy to help a guy, especially late in his career. They're just not in position right now to do that. He's won five championships, so no one feels bad for him from that standpoint. But from a standpoint of seeing one of this era's greatest players go out in a rebuilding process, it's tough."

The Lakers have 66 games remaining after Sunday and it will likely turn into a adoration tour of sorts for Bryant, who has already gotten long ovations from normally hostile fans on road trips this season, particularly in places like New York and Miami where crowds sensed that they might be seeing him as an opponent for the final time.

The Lakers' next road game is, perhaps not coincidentally given the timing of Bryant's announcement, on Tuesday in Philadelphia -- his hometown.

"Philly is where I grew up," Bryant told AP in an interview in Miami earlier this month. "It's always a different emotion there than anywhere else."

Bryant came into the NBA straight out of high school, won the dunk contest at All-Star weekend as a rookie, played in the All-Star game for the first time the following year and a star was fast born. The 81 points he scored against Toronto on Jan. 22, 2006, are second only to Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game in NBA history, and he's the only player to spend 20 consecutive seasons with the same team.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Sisters Carry on Mom's Legacy Raising Cancer Research Funds]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 00:08:59 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/LC+cancer+guild.JPG

Ruth Corbera, a mother, worked tirelessly to raise funds for cancer research, was met by a twist of tragedy and fate - she was diagnosed with late stage leukemia, and very quickly lost her battle to the disease.

Now her daughters are turning the tragedy into hope by carrying on their mother's tradition each year, throwing a holiday party to raise funds for cancer research.

Sisters Alexandra Nilsson, as president, and Rebecca Corbera, as vice president, head the San Fernando Valley Guild.

The 43 member guild throws an annual holiday party raising funds for cancer research at the University of California, Los Angeles' Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation.

The tradition was started by the sisters' mother, Ruth, who joined the guild in 1997.

"My mom took great passion in this foundation and center," Nilsson said.

Ruth Corbera volunteered tirelessly until 2011, when everything changed.

She discovered she had late stage leukemia.

"She had developed some bruising that hadn't gone away," Rebecca Corbera said.

Just two months after her diagnosis, Ruth Corbera — the 54-year-old mother of three — lost her battle with cancer.

Their mother's death left the sisters directly connected to the work at the cancer center.

"Knowing that my mom was treated by them and had the best kind of care was all we really could ask for," Rebecca Corbera said, wiping tears from her face.

The sisters say they are so passionate about what they are doing.

"We just want to fight and get more money raised and be able to educate others too," Nilsson said.

This education includes inviting speakers who have benefited from the foundation's fundraising to the annual holiday event.

Francesca Capasso, a cancer survivor, had two types of cancer in each of her breasts. She credits the work of the guild for her survival.

"Here I am 8 years later living my life doing all of the things I've done before," Capasso said. "It's all because people care."

While the guild has lost 13 members to cancer, including Ruth, the sisters are determined to find a cure.

"We want to be able to provide more money, make money so that other families don't go through what we have all gone through," Rebecca Corbera said.

The Jonsson Cancer Center — whose research has led to long-term federal funding and improved therapies — uses seed grants to support medical research.

Over six decades, the Guild has raised more than $865,000 for cancer research.

If you would like to help, visit their Facebook page or you can donate via PayPal - send donations to uclajccfsanfernandovalley@gmail.com.

If you would like to attend their luncheon, you can see more information here.

Photo Credit: Bobbie Eng]]>
<![CDATA[Slain Downey Police Officer Was 'Humble Man']]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 18:30:16 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/151130-officer-ricardo-galvez-funeral.jpg

Family, friends and colleagues remembered Downey police Officer Ricardo Galvez as a humble man with an infectious personality at a funeral service on Monday.

The 29-year-old former U.S. Marine was honored at a 9 a.m. service at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels in downtown Los Angeles. The service was followed by a graveside salute with full police honors at Rose Hills Memorial Park in Whittier.

Downey Mayor Luis Marquez shared his sympathy with family members, describing Galvez as a positive influence on the Downey community.

"The world lost a caring individual and a hero," said Marquez. "We are so blessed to have been the beneficiaries of his service."

On Nov. 18, Galvez was was gunned down during an apparent botched robbery while sitting in his parked outside the Downey police station. Galvez had just returned from a training program and was not wearing his uniform when he was shot, according to Downey police.

Police Chief Carl Charles described Galvez as a compassionate and humble man with a "smile that would light up a room."

"Today we will not dwell on the circumstances that surrounded his death. Instead we will focus on celebrating his life," said Charles. "[Galvez] left a legacy of love and caring for for others."

Galvez, joined the department in 2006 as a police aide. He was hired as a police officer with the department in March 2010.

Three suspects in connection to the shooting are now in custody, including a 16-year-old Abel Diaz who has been charged as an adult with one count of murder.

Steven Knott, 18, and Jeremy Anthony Alvarez, 21, were also arrested. Their arraignment has been postponed until Dec. 17.

A number of streets were closed to traffic near the cathedral for the service Monday.

A rosary and viewing for Galvez was held Sunday at the Downey Civic Theatre.

Photo Credit: Toni Guinyard]]>
<![CDATA[Last Boeing C-17 Departs from Long Beach]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 20:40:27 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/boeing1.JPG

Marking the end of an era, the final Boeing C-17 Globemaster III military airlifter will fly one last time over the Long Beach facility where the aircrafts were made.

The pilots waved to a sea of people watching the C-17 Globemaster III roll out.

"We put our heart and soul in this," Jane Hampton said.

Hampton, a structure mechanic, joined hundreds of former Boeing employees reuniting near the company's Long Beach assembly plant, sharing memories of working on the military cargo plane.

According to a Boeing spokeswoman, the final C-17 prepared departed from the Long Beach airport Sunday around noon.

The aircraft's fly over marks the end of production at the Long Beach Boeing plant, and the end of Southern California's once thriving aircraft and aerospace industries, the spokeswoman said.

Jose Torres was just a teenager when he began working for Boeing. Now more than two decades later, he still remembers like it was yesterday.

"I still remember working in wings, unhooking and grabbing that air hose," Torres said.

Boeing announced the end of C-17 production in 2013 due to the loss of a U.S. Air force contract and declining international orders.

The C-17s have been integral in both military transport and humanitarian missions, according to Boeing.

Boeing's Long Beach facility is expected to close at the end of the year, leaving 2,200 people without their jobs at the facility.

The extended Boeing family watched as it left Long Beach Airport to San Antonio, arriving at its final destination in Qatar.

Seeing the plane leave brought Hampton to tears.

"It's gone. Yep, it's gone," Hampton said.

Photo Credit: Boeing]]>
<![CDATA[Fire Erupts in Santa Monica Apartment Building]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 08:25:35 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/225*120/santa+monica+fire1.JPG

One person was arrested on suspicion of arson after a fire erupted at an apartment building in Santa Monica

The fire was reported just after 1:30 a.m. in the 1800 block of Euclid Street, according to the Santa Monica Fire Department.

When firefighters arrived, they found one unit of the two-story complex fully involved. The garage below the units suffered minor water damage. No other units were affected.

Witnesses said they heard a loud boom that sounded like an explosion before the fire broke out.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital for dehydration and was later released.

No other injuries were reported.

Santa Monica fire officials said the person who occupied the unit involved was arrested.

The cause of the fire was under investigation.

Photo Credit: Loudlabs News]]>
<![CDATA[Nearly a Dozen Car Windows Shattered in Chatsworth]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 15:06:56 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/194*120/window15.jpg

Windows of nearly a dozen cars were shattered in a string of vandalism cases overnight in Chatsworth, police said.

After alerting police, an NBC4 viewer called the newsroom early Sunday morning to report that a row of parked cars, including hers, had their windows shot out just after midnight.

When officers arrived, they found at least 9 different vehicles with windows shattered, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. Lisa Ortiz was one of the residents to have her car vandalized.

"When we came out we saw all the cars just shot up," Ortiz said. According to Ortiz, while the neighborhood gets a lot of traffic, it is generally pretty quiet.

The incident concerned Ortiz, and she hoped it would not happen again in the future. Another resident in the area said he used his car for work, and that the vandalism would affect his livelihood.

Officials are investigating to find out how many vehicles were affected. They are also looking for homes or nearby businesses that may have surveillance cameras.

LAPD believes a BB or pellet gun was likely used to break the windows.

There is no suspect description at this time.

Photo Credit: Karen Winter]]>
<![CDATA[Officers Search for Man With Gun in Valley Village]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 00:01:26 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/valleyvillage-112815.PNG

Officers warned residents to stay indoors in Valley Village Saturday night as they searched for a man with a gun, according to the Los Angeles Police Department's North Hollywood division.

The LAPD set up a perimeter in the area of Laurel Canyon and Burbank Boulevard around 11 p.m.

Police did not say whether the man was inside or outside of a home in the area.

Twitter users told NBC4 that a helicopter was circling the area.

A K-9 took the man down around 11:18 p.m.

He was loaded onto a stretcher and placed in an ambulance.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Man Dies After Climbing Transformer in Fullerton]]> Sun, 29 Nov 2015 10:36:01 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/212*120/dangerkeepout-fullerton-112815.PNG

A man died after climbing onto a transformer and catching fire, causing an explosion and subsequent power outage in Fullerton, police said on Sunday.

Residents reported hearing a loud boom in the 1800 block of Commonwealth Avenue near Brookhurst Drive around 3 p.m. Saturday.

When crews arrived, they saw wires were down and a small brush fire had broken out.

The man shocked himself when he climbed onto the wiring, which also sparked the power outage. He was transported to the hospital in critical condition following the explosion.

Officials advised residents to avoid the area for at least two hours.

About 630 customers were without power in the area of Brookhurst Road and Valencia Drive due to the explosion.

The outages were restored around 5:30 p.m., according to SoCal Edison’s site. An NBC4 photographer also reported that businesses in the outage area had power.

Police were also investigating the blast.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Shoppers Support Small Businesses]]> Sat, 28 Nov 2015 19:46:46 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/small+business+saturday1.JPG

Small Business Saturday — a day where shoppers are encouraged to visit small businesses for their holiday shopping — follows the better known Black Friday.

According to the Small Business Administration, 77 percent of U.S. consumers are planning to shop small this holiday season.

Shopping at small businesses means 68 percent of money spent in a local store will stay in the local community, according to Maria Contreras-Sweet, an administrator at the Small Business Administration.

Sandy Burnett, who has been shopping local for years, said it is important to invest in the city where she lives.

"These are our neighbors. These are the people who make our neighborhood fun and interesting," Burnett said.

Marti Milakovich, the owner of "Vintage on Venice" in Mar Vista, said she was inspired by the connections small businesses can have with customers.

Milakovich opened the store two and a half years ago, and said she wanted a store in the neighborhood.

"We've lived here for 20 years in Mar Vista," Milakovich said. "[We] wouldn't have opened a store anywhere else."

Photo Credit: Jose Hernandez]]>
<![CDATA[Newborn Found Buried Alive Near Compton Riverbed ]]> Mon, 30 Nov 2015 09:48:20 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/newborn+baby+riverside+riverbed+1128+2015.jpg

A newborn girl was found buried alive near a riverbed in Compton, California, Friday and now officials are seeking the public's help for information on her abandonment.

Two women described the moments when they heard the cries as they walked on a bike path near the riverbed.

"She said, 'I hear a baby crying,'" Angelica Blount said of her sister Evangelina McCrary. "I saw the baby, but not 100 percent of the baby's face."

Sheriff's deputies responded to reports of a baby heard crying near the riverbed located between 136th Street and Slater Avenue at 4 p.m. Friday, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

"Anytime you have a helpless newborn child who can't help themselves, it is frustrating," Blount said.

As deputies canvassed the area, they heard a baby's "muffled cry" and discovered a newborn girl buried alive a foot deep under pieces of asphalt and rubble inside a crevice located along a bike path, LASD said.

Deputies had to remove pieces of asphalt and debris to rescue the baby, who was wrapped in a blanket and cold to the touch, officials said.

The newborn was treated at the scene and transported to a hospital. She was in stable condition and remained at the hospital for observation.

According to the Safe Surrender law, parents can drop off their newborn at any hospital or fire station confidentially within 72 hours without fear of prosecution, said Sgt. Marvin Jaramilla of the LASD.

The newborn was 24 to 36 hours old when she was found.

As of Saturday she was two to three days old, which is within the Safe Surrender window.

"They could have done the right thing, and instead they came and dumped it here," said Angel Flores, a nearby resident. "I don't know the situation they have or what's going on, but this is not right. This is not human."

The person who did this, if found, could be charged with attempted murder and child endangerment, detectives said.

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department - Special Victims Bureau at (877) 710-LASD (5273).

Information on the Safe Surrender law can be found at the following sites:

Safe Surrender in Los Angeles at BabySafeLA.org

Safe Surrender in the state of California at BabySafe.CA.gov

Photo Credit: Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department]]>