<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usMon, 05 Dec 2016 19:01:53 -0800Mon, 05 Dec 2016 19:01:53 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Santa Brings Presents to Children from Low-Income Families]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 18:24:40 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Santa_Brings_Presents_to_Children_from_Low_Income_Families_1200x675_825532995682.jpg "Santa" brought gifts to 250 children with developmental disabilities from low-income families while their parents "shopped" for gifts in Orange County. Angie Crouch reports for the NBC4 News at 4 on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016. ]]> <![CDATA[Oakland Warehouse Fire Recovery]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 18:27:58 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/webOaklandFireDamage.jpg

The search for victims in the charred wreckage of an Oakland warehouse resumed on Monday after a brief break due to safety concerns, with 36 bodies recovered so far in what's become the city's deadliest blaze.  

Authorities have tentatively identified 33 of the bodies, officials said at news conference Monday afternoon. The families of 16 victims have been notified and five more are pending notification that their loved ones were among the dozens killed.

The death toll from the "Ghost Ship" warehouse that burned down Friday is expected to rise as firefighters continue a painstaking search for victims. Flames quickly consumed the converted East Oakland warehouse during a dance party, leaving the structure a mess of blistered wood and twisted steel.

Seven names have been released to the public, while many others were witheld so that families can take a moment to grieve, Alameda County Sheriff's Deputy Tya Modeste said at a news conference early Monday. One of the dead includes the son of a sheriff's deputy.

Three of the victims were foreigners from Finland, Korea and Guatemala, officials said.

The investigation into the fire and recovery of the bodies from the illegally converted warehouse on East 31st Avenue resumed Monday morning after it was temporarily suspended Sunday night because of an unstable wall that was deemed dangerous, Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton said early Monday.

Drayton said Monday it appeared the "extremely hot fire" may have started in the back of the building and burned underneath the dance floor.

"We've got some areas where the steel is actually twisted and wrapped," she said.

Power was shut down at noon Monday to PG&E customers in the surrounding area so that a crane and large equiptment, which could hit power lines, could be moved in conduct work at the warehouse. It was expected to last for about 12 hours.

The fire ripped through the warehouse on Friday about 11:30 p.m. and the cause remains unknown, but occupants saying the place was a "deathtrap," littered with junk, electrical wires and butane cooking tanks. Artists, musicians and mostly 20-somethings had gathered for an electronic dance party, one of countless such gatherings throughout Oakland over the years.

The warehouse was an artist's "labyrinth" full of art, wooden structures, tapestries, musical equipment and other relics. People had been illegally living and partying there, according to witness statements, interviews and records.

The blaze burned for hours and has cast a pall over the entire California Bay Area. Survivors described chaos inside the building as flames quickly burned through the two-story space. The power cut out and smoke filled the halls.

"I feel like it was 30 seconds from when I looked down the hall to when it was pretty much engulfed. It was so fast," warehouse resident Nikki Kelber recalled.

She and a friend, Carmen Brito, were able to get out of the building along with others.

"We all looked out for each other, we all helped each other," Brito said of the people who lived at the space.

President Barack Obama sent prayers Monday to the victims of the "awful tragedy" and their families, and said his administration was ready to assist local and state agencies.

"While we still don't know the full toll of this disaster, we do know that an American community has been devastated, and many people – including young men and women with their whole futures ahead of them – have tragically lost their lives," Obama said in a statement.

A criminal investigation was launched by the Alameda County District Attorney's Office on Sunday into possible criminal negligence.

District Attorney Nancy O'Malley said Monday her office has sent a team to search for evidence of a crime in the warehouse, but has not yet determined whether a crime even occurred. She said potential charges could range from involuntary manslaughter to murder.

O'Malley said anyone with information about the warehouse and the people living there can call a hotline the DA's Office has set up at 877-288-2882.

Many in the artist's community are now focusing their anger at Derick Ion Almena, the founder of the collective who escaped the fire. His wife and children were at a hotel when the fire broke out.

Almena also has a criminal history.

People had long complained to Almena that his enclave was unsafe, and he had simply laughed it off, according to many comments on a now-deleted Facebook post.

Immediately after the fire, he had written to lament the fact that "everything I had worked so hard for is gone." Facebook users excoriated him for not being sensitive to the loss of life.

On Monday, he sent a statement to NBC News that read: "In my previous Facebook post, I had no idea there was a loss of life. This tragic event consumes me every moment. My heart is broken. My heartfelt condolences to the family and friends who have suffered the loss of loved ones."

The deadliest fire in Oakland history until Friday, the Oakland Hills Firestorm, took place in 1991, when about 3,000 homes were destroyed and 25 people killed.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Warehouse Operator Grief-Stricken by Tragic Fire]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 18:42:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/1205-2016-DerickAlmena.jpg

The founder of the artists' collective at the Ghost Ship warehouse is grief-stricken by the tragic fire that took his home and many of his friends.

Derick Almena leased and operated the warehouse in Oakland where a blaze erupted Friday night during a dance party, leaving at least 36 people dead.

"I'd gladly would give my entire life of fortune, of wealth, of experence again and again," Almena said. "There's nothing more important than the lives lost there."

Almena, 46, said he did not organize or attend the event, which he described as a fusion of art and culture. He said he rented a hotel room Friday evening so that his wife and the couple's three children could get some rest.

City officials said the space was not permitted as a residential building, but Almena said about 20 people lived there. Almena said the group was a collective of young artists called Satya Yuga, and that he was like the group's grandfather.

"The center that we all lived there, was one of creativity, and beauty, and optimism," Almena said.

Almena said police had been in and out of the East Oakland building through the past few years to respond to break-ins and other concerns of the people who lived there.

"They'd come in and walk through our space, and they'd always say, 'Wow, what an amazing space,'" Almena said.

Almena and his wife, Micah Allison, are cooperating with investigators and want to offer their condolences to the victims and their families.

"We're sorry to the families and all the friends that have lost loved ones," Almena said.

Almena is on probation until 2019 after pleading no contest to a misdemeanor charge of receiving stolen property, The Associated Press reported. A former landlord accused him of stealing her Airstream trailer.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[California Considers Bills to Protect Immigrants Under Trump]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 12:35:03 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/inmigrantes-indocumentados-deportaciones-victoria-donald-trump.jpg

California lawmakers are planning bills to help protect immigrants from an expected increase in immigration enforcement under President-elect Donald Trump.

Lawmakers on Monday are expected to introduce a resolution committing the state to protecting its immigrant population. They are also expected to introduce bills to provide attorneys to immigrants in deportation proceedings and help public defenders weigh the immigration consequences of criminal convictions.

The moves come as the nation’s most populous state prepares for tougher immigration enforcement promised by Trump during the presidential campaign.

Immigrant advocates say state bills are also being considered to limit federal immigration enforcement and protect immigrants’ information in state databases.

U.S. Census Bureau data shows California has more than 10 million foreign-born residents.

Both houses of the California legislature have Democratic supermajorities.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Main Street Electrical Parade: January Return]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 11:49:35 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/693-DLC-37msep.jpg

No Disneyland devotee would truly and seriously pit two iconic park-based attractions against each other in The Battle of Best. But over a churro or Dole whip? It can be fun to lightly ponder such matters.

Which has the eekier drops: Pirates of the Caribbean or Space Mountain? Which ride gives the best castle vantage point, Dumbo the Flying Elephant or the Astro Orbiter?

And is the theme to It's a Small World or the Main Street Electrical Parade more likely to stick in your noggin for a full week?

You're about to put this final question to the test, once again, dear Mickey mavens: The beloved nighttime, bulb-bright parade is wending its way back into the park starting on Jan. 20, 2017.

If you recall seeing the Main Street Electrical Parade when it first opened 'round about the early '70s, you're correct: The sparkly, on-the-move show became a favorite at the Anaheim theme park soon after its debut in the summer of '72.

And, you're also right if you remember seeing it elsewhere in the vicinity: It was at Disney California Adventure for a time, though that run wrapped in 2010.

Disneyland revealed in August that the parade's Magic Kingdom engagement was wrapping up, and the Main Street Electrical Parade would soon return to Disneyland "for a limited time."

For fans, this announcement was as major as scoring the front seat on the Matterhorn Bobsleds.

That limited time begins on Jan. 20, it was revealed on Dec. 5, 2016, so let the calendars be thusly marked. And the closing date? It's June 18, which happens to be 45 years to the day the Main Street Electrical Parade first debuted.

That means you have about five months to find some curb for the merry after-dark parade, so dally not.

Sweetening the nostalgic-sweet deal for longtime fans is the fact that "special merchandise and food offerings inspired by the Main Street Electrical Parade" will be available during the event's much-anticipated return.

A ticketed kick-off event is slated for Jan. 19, with annual passholders getting a first crack at tickets on Dec. 6 (general public tickets will be available on Dec. 13).

Do you have the Main Street Electrical Parade theme song in your head now? Have you never stopped having it in your head, since you first saw the parade in 1977 or 1989 or 1992?

Did you know its name is "Baroque Hoedown," or that's the ditty that inspired it?

Of course you do. Disneyland fans do charmingly obsess over their historical references, and when a major, from-the-past happening blooms again in the middle of Main Street, bet those same fans shall pay a visit to see what is surely the best-known after-dark parade in theme park history.

Photo Credit: Disney Enterprises, Inc.]]>
<![CDATA[Inside the Oakland 'Ghost Ship' Warehouse ]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:49:29 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/oakland-ghostship1.jpg Images from inside the warehouse commonly referred to as the "Ghost Ship" that was the site of one of the deadliest fires in Oakland history.

Photo Credit: OaklandGhostShip.com]]>
<![CDATA[Hit-and-Run Driver Sought in Crash that Injured Boy]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 17:46:19 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/lagenerics-genericsla-nbc4-logo-2.jpg

A 3-year-old boy was hospitalized Monday after he was hit by a car right in front of his mother and police hope new surveillance video will help them catch the driver.

The crash happened in a parking lot in Highland on Saturday.

In surveillance video a group of people can be seen heading out the front door of a laundromat, including several children who were inside playing video games.

In the video, the boy in a blue shirt disappears from the camera view as he walks between two parked cars. Witnesses say he was following his mother to their car. Seconds later, a commotion can be seen as people realize the little boy was hit by a truck.

Kenneth Tolliver ran outside and saw the little boy lodged under the wheel of the truck.

"He was on the inner side of the wheel and instead of him moving forward he actually started going backwards and drug the kid," Tolliver said.

Witnesses say they screamed at the driver to stop.

He took off out of the driveway and drove down East Baseline Street, said Tim Malveaux.

As he backed up out of the parking lot, the driver plowed into a small tree that once stood at the entrance, witnesses said.

"And I chased him but he was driving really crazy and running red lights I couldn't keep up with him," Malveaux said.

San Bernardino County Sheriff's investigators described the vehicle as a 1997 Ford F150 with the license plate number of 5H14823.

The boy is recovering from his injuries at a hospital.

<![CDATA[Bussin' Blankets to Baja: Man Helps Haitian Refugees in MX]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 17:07:42 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/12-4-16-Orthodontist-Donations-TJ-Refugees1.jpg

An Encinitas man is rallying the community to gather donations for Haitian refugees who are living in camps in Tijuana.

Orthodontist Torin Chenard is preparing for his third trip to take donations of food and blankets to one of the shelters at a Tijuana church, as part of a blanket and food drive he calls “Bussin’ Blankets to Baja.”  He delivers the donations in his VW bus.

“The response was just amazing,” Dr. Chenard told NBC7. “Our patients went to Costco they went to Walmart they bought new blankets. The kids have got really involved in it.

He says he’s already delivered 26 large bags filled with hundreds of donated blankets and sheets, as well as food.

“They say they really want rice, beans cooking oil and sardines and I think those are just the things they can prepare easily in a big pot," Dr. Chenard said.

In the last year, thousands of Haitian refugees have entered the U.S. through Southern California border crossings. Many of those refugees have ended up in Tijuana.

According to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as 2016 comes to an end, there is still a steady stream of people arriving and the centers to hold and process the refugees are operating beyond capacity.

Dr. Chenard said the refugees are in great need of clothing, but because of customs regulations he has not been able to take clothes across the border.

A monetary donation from other dentists did allow him to purchase dozens of shoes for the refugees on his second visit.

"As the guys are trying on their shoes,” he added. “I saw lots of really scuffed up and scarred legs and I know they've been through a lot just to get here." 

On his next trip, he plans to take tent repair kits he purchased to help fix their tents, which he said are falling apart.

"As long as people keep bringing things I'll keep I'll keep getting it there," Dr. Chenard said.

If you would like to contribute to the Bussin’ Blankets to Baja drive, you can find information at the Encinitas Orthodontics Facebook page.

Photo Credit: Torin Chenard
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[FBI Receives Uncorroborated Threat Against Metro Red Line]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 18:36:47 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/FBI-Generic2.jpg

FBI, LAPD and sheriff's department officials said Monday they received a telephone call about an imminent but un-corroborated threat against the Metro Red Line in Universal City.

The threat came through an anonymous phone call to a public safety line, said FBI Assistant Director in Charge Deirdre Fike in a news conference.

The caller indicated that something would occur at the station on Tuesday, she said.

Law enforcement officials have stepped up security at the station and other transit stations across the area while authorities worked to determine the credibility of the threat.

Mayor Eric Garcetti urged caution but asked that the public go about their normal day on Tuesday. He said he intended to ride the Metro Red Line in Universal City on Tuesday.

Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell is urging "people to always be vigilant as they go about their daily routine."

He said uniformed deputies will have an increased presence at stations, and
undercover deputies will also be on the job on the transit system.

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck says the threat was "very specific," targeting the specific station, "but the credibility still needs to be vetted out."

<![CDATA[New Push for Oversight of Hollywood 'Open Air' Tour Vans ]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 16:36:22 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/194*120/Hollywood-Tour-Dangers.JPG

A Los Angeles assemblyman on Monday introduced new legislation in Sacramento that would create new, stricter oversight of the Hollywood celebrity tour van industry.

The proposal by Adrin Nazarian (D-Sherman Oaks) comes after an NBC4 undercover investigation raised serious questions about the safety of the popular "open top" vans that carry thousands of tourists into the star-studded neighborhoods of the Hollywood Hills and Beverly Hills every week.

I-Team cameras revealed how many of the vans have had seat belts altered or removed altogether, putting passengers at risk in the case of a crash.

NBC4 also showed how modifying the vans to turn them into "convertibles" could undermine the structural integrity of the vehicles, a weakness that car designers say could prove fatal in the case of a rollover crash.

In response to the I-Team investigation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) sent special orders to "open top" tour van operators, advising them that the federal government considers the vehicles to be unsafe in their present condition, and urging them to stop transporting passengers.

An I-Team follow-up report found that despite the NHTSA special order, tour operators continue to carry hundreds of tourists aboard the vans every day.

Nazarian's spot bill, a bare-bones measure that will later be dealt with, is aimed at improving oversight of a highly unregulated industry, in order to increase public safety. The proposed legislation would:

  • Implement a new state certification program for open-air tour vans that would guarantee their structural soundness
  • Prohibit the removal of seatbelts from open-air tour vans
  • Require passengers of open-air tour vans wear seatbelts
  • Require open-air tour van operators inform passengers that the NHTSA has determined the vehicles could be unsafe in the event of a rollover crash
  • Restrict tour routes
  • Allow law enforcement to revoke tour operators' permits if they violate the law

The proposed legislation now goes to committee. A bill is expected to be presented for a vote by the California State Legislature in 2017.

Next year, Nazarian plans to introduce another bill to regulate the behavior of Hollywood tour guides.

The I-Team investigation revealed how some guides lie to tourists about the locations of celebrity homes. Los Angeles police say some passengers have returned to the addresses given during the tours to "meet" celebrities "in person."

One homeowner described to the I-Team how one "crazed fan" has visited his home several times after being falsely told during a tour that the house was the residence of actress Julia Roberts. The homeowner, who is not involved in the entertainment industry, says this "fan" has assaulted him twice.

The second bill would require tour guides to obtain a license, and prohibit them from providing misinformation to tourists.

<![CDATA[Picture Perfect: Mom Fights to Model Son With Down Syndrome]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:55:37 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/161204-asher-nash-nbc-news.jpg

One proud Georgia mom sent head shots of her son, little Asher Nash, to a modeling agency, but she got a response she never expected, NBC News reported.

Asher "really likes the camera" and loves the attention of a photo shoot, according to Meagan Nash, but the agency behind a casting call for Carter's clothing for children said that they weren't looking for children with special needs. Asher, who is 16 months old, has Down syndrome.

"I was hurt, because here is my little boy — I look at him, and nothing's wrong with him," she said.

Nash wrote a Facebook post about the experience. It went viral, and it wasn't long before modeling executives came calling.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Nash family
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Orange County Man Escapes Oakland Warehouse Fire With Dogs]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:53:21 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/208*120/oakland-escape-dogs.PNG

An Orange County native who lived and worked in the Ghost Ship warehouse in Oakland escaped the flames that left at least 36 others dead in a horrific blaze Friday.

"By the time I got out of my space into the hallway, I can see smoke and the flames behind me -- just coming toward the front of the building," said Jose Avalos.

Avalos was working as a sculptor in the Bay Area and living in the warehouse for two years before it went up in flames.

He said he was one of about 25 people who lived in loft spaces on the first floor of the warehouse and that the electronic music party was happening upstairs on the second floor.

He said he knew the building was "not up to code," but that it was an affordable living-solution for artists who can't afford to live elsewhere in the Bay Area.

On Friday night, he was taking care of his two dogs in his loft when the fire broke out upstairs and everyone rushed to evacuate the building.

"I heard somebody scream, 'Fire! Get me a fire extinguisher!'" Avalos said. "So I ran to jump down from my loft to go try and help, but before I could even do that, they called out a second time, 'Fire! Everybody, get out!'

Then he had to think fast.

"I grabbed my dog that was closest to me, Elsa, and I jumped down from my loft, put her down and then came up to get my other dog Frankenstein, and by then, my whole loft was engulfed in smoke," Avalos said of his escape.

It's still unclear what started the fire.

The investigation was still ongoing Monday. Officers had combed through 70 percent of the building and were to resume searching for additional victims hidden in the rubble later Monday.

"We are no closer to finding a cause, and we absolutely believe the number of fire fatalities will increase," said Oakland Fire Battalion Chief Melinda Drayton at an early Monday news conference.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Arraignment Postponed for Couple Charged With Murder]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:17:08 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/knbc-joshuan-robertson-brittany-humphrey-gorman-body.jpg

Arraignment was postponed Monday morning for a couple charged with killing the woman's stepsister and kidnapping her three children after her body was found on a remote road back in August.

Britney Sue Humphrey, 22, and her boyfriend, Joshua Aaron Robertson, 27, were charged with killing Humphrey's stepsister and kidnapping her 2-year-old, 3-year-old and 5-year-old.

Robertson refused to come to court and his arraignment was postponed to Tuesday morning. Humphrey was ordered to return to court on Dec. 15 to enter a plea.

Both defendants could face up to life in prison.

The couple was charged with murder and kidnapping in September after the body of Humphrey's stepsister, 26-year-old Kimberly Harvill, was found in northern Los Angeles County, in brush along Gorman Post Road. The sheriff's department said the victim had been shot in the upper body.

After killing Harvill, Humphrey and Robertson kidnapped her three young children and fled to Colorado. The children were found safe in a motel outside Albuquerque, New Mexico, about 10 days later.

Humphrey and Robertson were arrested a day after the children were found.

<![CDATA[Special Sips: It's Repeal Day]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 07:45:28 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/185*120/IMG_2392repeal.jpg

Where were you on Dec. 5, 1933?

Wherever you happened to be, chances are you slipped into your finest threads, a party-ready get-up with some swinging fringe and sparkly dash, and hopped a street car for a club downtown, all to raise a glass to Repeal Day.

The books were closed on Prohibition on that very date, and, each fifth of December, even over 80 years later, taverns and bars and restaurants across the nation pull out all the stops, or at least some fancy swizzle sticks and expertly made cocktails, to honor the libation-centered occasion.

So bone up on the background of the Eighteenth and Twenty-First Amendments — the amendments that stopped the sale of alcohol in the United States and, about 13 years later, reinstated it — and hop a street car for...

Eureka! This company has a few Southern California outposts (Woodland Hills, Huntington Beach, and more) and a ice-filled goal on Dec. 5: To make some very top-notch Old Fashioneds with Templeton Rye, all in honor of Repeal Day. The special price? They're five bucks each.

The 1933 Group Restaurants: The name of this local boutique chain, which is all about the swanky sip spot stylings, recalls the end of Prohibition, yep. And, yep, the bars that are part of the group, from Oldfield's to Thirsty Crow to Bigfoot Lodge, will nod to Repeal day from 5 to 7 p.m. on Dec. 5. Find $1 Old Fashioneds at several of the 1933 bars, with $1 Tequila Presses at La Cuevita.

Paley: This Hollywood eatery will start the Repeal Day doings at 2:30 p.m. with "five featured classic cocktails priced at $5." The Bee's Knees and Penicillin are two of the charmingly monikered refreshments on the special occasion menu.

Tart: If you're catching up on some holiday shopping at The Grove, consider swinging by this Farmer's Daughter restaurant for a classic Mule. They're five bucks beginning at 4 p.m, and you can request the liquor you'd like the bartender to use, from a trio of standards. How long is this deal on? Throug close on Dec. 5.

Photo Credit: Eureka!]]>
<![CDATA[The Dangers of Decorating]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:54:37 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_decoratingdangers1204_1920x1080.jpg The holiday season is supposed to be festive when it comes to decorating, but experts say it can be extremely dangerous.

Photo Credit: NBCNC]]>
<![CDATA[Worm May Hold Answers for Human Body Part Re-Growth]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:53:04 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_wormbody1204_1920x1080.jpg Researchers at the University of Washington in Seattle are hoping to re-grow body parts with the help of some slimy friends.

Photo Credit: KING-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Dog and Owner Rescued From Flood]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:51:25 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2016-12-05-13h47m12s30.jpg A video released by the Spanish Civil Guard showed the rescue of a dog and its owner in flooded waters in Malaga,after torrential downpours left two dead and many roads and buildings flooded in several Spanish towns.

Photo Credit: Spanish Civil Guard]]>
<![CDATA[Zoo Workers Caring for Tiger Cubs]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 14:49:50 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/vlcsnap-2016-12-05-13h50m34s11.jpg Zoo workers in Crimea have been hand feeding and caring for three male white tiger cubs after their mother refused to feed them.

Photo Credit: APTN]]>
<![CDATA[A Van Gogh Masterpiece to Visit Pasadena]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 17:09:49 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Van-Gogh_The-Bedroom_1889_Art-Institutedetail.jpg

If someone were to suddenly hand you a paintbrush, and a palette, and guide you to an easel, would you be able to accurately portray your private world in a detailed way, specifically the place you place your head at night?

Capturing our bedroom from memory is trickier than it sounds. (What, indeed, is on our nightstand?) But art lovers, museum mavens, and those immersed in pop culture history could very likely describe Van Gogh's "Bedroom" in astoundingly complete fashion.

There's that red blanket, and a window, and blue walls. Some chairs, too, placed askew.

But you won't need to summon your memory to piece the iconic painting together: The masterpiece is calling upon Southern California for a short, and sure to be quite popular, stay.

The 1889 painting, which normally may be viewed at The Art Institute of Chicago, will be on loan to the Norton Simon Museum in Pasadena from Friday, Dec. 9 through Monday, March 6.

Emblematic of the artist's "elusive search for repose," the work, both melancholy and cozy in turn, is in the pantheon of widely known paintings that represent the notion of home.

And while this painting hails from Chicago, you're correct if you recall seeing "Bedroom" at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam or the Musée d'Orsay in Paris. The painter created three takes on "Bedroom" in all, and this is The Art Institute's version first Southern California visit.

Van Gogh, though, didn't paint this particular work while actually standing in his bedroom, but while in an asylum in Saint-Paul-de-Mausole, the place where he went to heal following his breakdown in the city of Arles.

It's a painting that has quietly connected with, then profoundly moved, millions over the years.

Viewers are touched by what they see as well as what it means, responding to the painting's deep hues, slightly discombobulating perspective, and homey subject matter while also staying aware of the history of the man who created it.

And, of course, where he was on his journey when he chose to again depict this small space. The Norton Simon describes it as "a meditation on friendship, hope, and crushing disappointment," reminding us that even a simple room, one without people or clutter or the usual visual cues that guide a viewer, can tell a many-layered story that packs a wallop of emotion.

Photo Credit: The Art Institute of Chicago]]>
<![CDATA[Man Allegedly Steals Riverside Sheriff's Cruiser]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 18:26:30 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/12-5+patrol+vehicle+thief+blue.jpg

A suspect has been taken into custody for allegedly stealing a Riverside County Sheriff's Department cruiser.

The car was stolen about 2:40 a.m. Saturday from the Inland Valley Medical Center while the deputy assigned to it was getting medical treatment for an arrestee. The deputy had left the car locked in the parking lot.

Deputies located the vehicle and after a short chase, took the suspect, Alvin Smith, into custody.

No one was injured during the incident.

Photo Credit: Riverside County Sheriff Department]]>
<![CDATA[Judge: Prosecutors Can Use Bill Cosby's Deposition at Trial ]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 16:35:23 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/billcosby2.jpg

Damaging testimony that Bill Cosby gave in an accuser's lawsuit, including admissions that he gave young women drugs and alcohol before sex, can be used at his criminal sex assault trial, a judge ruled Monday.

The defense had insisted that Cosby only testified after being promised he wouldn't be charged over his 2004 encounter with accuser Andrea Constand. But his lawyers at the time never had an immunity agreement or put anything in writing.

"This court concludes that there was neither an agreement nor a promise not to prosecute, only an exercise of prosecutorial discretion," Montgomery County Judge Steven O'Neill wrote in his ruling.

Cosby, 79, acknowledged in the 2006 deposition that he had a string of extramarital relationships with young women. He called them consensual, but many of the women say they were drugged and molested.

The release of the deposition testimony last year prompted prosecutors to reopen Constand's 2005 criminal complaint.

Cosby, asked about the 2004 encounter at his home with Constand, described being on his couch and putting his hand down her pants.

"I don't hear her say anything. And I don't feel her say anything. And so I continue and I go into the area that is somewhere between permission and rejection. I am not stopped," he testified.

Prosecutors describe Constand as being semiconscious after Cosby gave her three unmarked blue pills for stress.

The ruling on the deposition is one of two key pretrial issues that will determine the scope of the evidence against Cosby at trial. The other question is how many other accusers will be allowed to testify in prosecutors' attempt to show a pattern of similar conduct. Prosecutors hope to call 13 additional women who say they were assaulted by Cosby as far back as the 1960s. Two days of arguments on that issue are set for next week.

The release of the deposition testimony last year prompted prosecutors in suburban Philadelphia to reopen accuser Constand's criminal complaint and charge Cosby with felony sexual assault.

O'Neill has suggested that Cosby's decision to testify at the deposition could have been strategic. The actor -- known as America's Dad for his top-rated family sitcom, "The Cosby Show," which ran from 1984 to 1992 -- could have invoked his Fifth Amendment right not to incriminate himself. But jurors would have heard of that decision if the case went to trial.

Cosby instead settled Constand's lawsuit, for an undisclosed amount, after finishing four days of testimony about his extramarital affairs, his friendship with Constand and other topics.

In another excerpt, Cosby described a phone call with Constand's mother a year later, when he refused to say what the pills were.

"I'm not going to argue with somebody's mother who is accusing me of something," he testified. "And I'm apologizing because I'm thinking this is a dirty old man with a young girl. I apologized. I said to the mother it was digital penetration."

Cosby also described getting seven prescriptions for quaaludes in the 1970s, which he said he kept on hand to give women he hoped to seduce, "the same as a person would say, 'Have a drink.'"

Constand had met Cosby at Temple University when she managed the women's basketball team. He was a prominent booster and university trustee. She went to police in 2005 to report that he had sexually assaulted after taking what Cosby described as an herbal product.

The defense will fight strenuously to block the testimony of the other women, arguing that their accounts are vague, decades old and impossible to defend. They also say Cosby is legally blind and can no longer recognize his accusers or help with the defense.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Stormtrooper Misses the Mark in Police Recruitment Ad]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:54:55 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Stormtrooper_Police_Range_1200x675_825100867950.jpg

Is the police force with you? Well, intergalactic combat experience may not be enough to qualify as a candidate for the Fort Worth Police Department, at least according to a new recruitment video.

The clip features an officer attempting to teach a stormtrooper how to shoot. He finds the trooper's lack of accuracy disturbing.

"Stop jerking the trigger," the officer says before firing a series of rounds into the dead center of the target.

The department is capitalizing on the excitement over the upcoming release of "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story" to draw applicants to its next civil service exams, which are scheduled for Jan. 10-11.

It's not the first time the department used "Star Wars" to help with recruitment. Last year police posted a video that showed Darth Vader interviewing for a position

<![CDATA[Dakota Pipeline Protesters Remain Wary of What's to Come]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 12:44:02 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-627706458_master.jpg

Celebrations followed in the wake of the federal government’s announcement Sunday that it would not permit the completion of the Dakota Access oil pipeline.

The Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who lives on land adjacent to the construction project, and the thousands who’d gathered in Cannon Ball, N.D., to protest the pipeline saw Sunday’s news as a victory.

But some say they’re celebrating with caution, as NBC News reports, because with a new presidential administration right around the corner, the federal government may change its position.

President-elect Donald Trump, who has been shown to have financial ties to the pipeline construction company, Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, would have the power to impact or change Sunday’s decision.

Photo Credit: Scott Olson, Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Lakers: Jose Calderon Joins Injured Contingent]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 12:20:21 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Lakers-injuries-Jose-Calderon.jpg

The Los Angeles Lakers are down to one true point guard, and his name is Marcelo Huertas. Jose Calderon joined D'Angelo Russell on the sidelines, when the 35-year-old underwent an MRI on Monday to reveal a strained hamstring. The expected recovery time for the injury is 2-4 weeks, so the Lakers expect to field an even thinner roster in the coming days.

Russell, however, could be back sooner rather than later if his sore knee has healed. On Monday night, the 20-year-old point guard will miss his ninth straight game due to the injury and 10th overall. The Lakers have won three and lost seven of the 10 games the former Ohio State Buckeye has skipped thus far.

In the best case scenario, Russell could be back as early as Wednesday night in Houston, if his sore left knee has responded to the PRP injection administered nearly two weeks earlier.

LA is also without starting shooting guard Nick Young due to a strained calf, so the back court has become a bit of a MASH unit in recent weeks. For Tuesday's game, LA will likely look to Jordan Clarkson and Brandon Ingram to start, with Lou Williams, Metta World Peace and Huertas as the only other viable options.

Lakers coach Luke Walton decided to cancel Monday's shootaround, probably because the team is still reeling from a strenuous road trip but also because the Lakers are short on numbers these days. The team also announced that rookie center Ivica Zubac had been recalled to the team from the LA D-Fenders, which is the Lakers' Development League affiliate.

Considering the size and length of Jazz center Rudy Gobert, the decision to recall Zubac may be an insurance policy should starting center Timofey Mozgov get in foul trouble. Or, considering Larry Nance Jr. is also listed as questionable, it could just be a desperate attempt to guarantee at least 11 active players for Monday's game.

Considering Monday kicks off a stretch of 11 games in 19 days in nine different cities, the Lakers will need every healthy body they can get.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dakota Access Pipeline Halted After Months Of Protest]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:37:37 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NC_piplinedenied1204_1500x845.jpg A months-long standoff between the Dakota Access Pipeline and the Standing Rock Sioux tribe ended Sunday, Dec. 4, 2016 after the Army Corps of Engineers declined to grant the permit to extend the pipeline beneath Lake Oahe in North Dakota. ]]> <![CDATA[Oakland Building Fire Among US's Deadliest in 50 Years]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:53:57 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/627450192-oakland-warehouse-fire-firefighters.jpg

Dozens of people were killed Friday when an Oakland warehouse that was used as an unsanctioned residence and event space went up in flames.

The death toll at "The Ghost Ship," as the warehouse was called, is the seventh highest of any building fire in the last 50 years, NBC News reported. Thirty-six bodies have been recovered, with more expected to come.

The two deadliest fires came after massive explosions: The September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the bombing in Oklahoma City on April 19, 1995. The buildings burned after the initial blasts in both instances, killing more.

The next deadliest building blaze took place nearly 40 years ago, leaving 165 dead at a supper club in Kentucky in May 1977. And fires at a night club, social club and a Las Vegas casino also left more dead than in Oakland.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Oakland Fire Victim From Santa Monica]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 09:09:35 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/203*120/oaklamd-vic-santamonica.PNG One of the 36 victims identified so far in the horrific Oakland warehouse fire was from Santa Monica. Jonathan Gonzalez reports for Today in LA Monday, Dec. 5, 2016.]]> <![CDATA[Who's Who in Trump's Brain Trust]]> Fri, 02 Dec 2016 13:58:07 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/223*120/trump-cab-adv-th.jpg
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Hateful Rant at Muslim NYC Cop]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 10:27:08 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/muslim+cop+attacked.jpg

A man has been arrested in connection with an attack on a Muslim off-duty NYPD officer and her teenage son, police said. 

Officers arrested Christopher Nelson, of Bay Ridge, on Sunday evening. The 36-year-old was charged with menacing hate crime and aggravated harassment.

Aml Elsokary, who was off-duty and wearing her hijab, dropped her 16-year-old son off near Ridge Boulevard and 67th Street shortly before 6 p.m., authorities said. After parking her car, she returned to find her son being shoved by Nelson.

When Elsokary — a native New Yorker — approached Nelson, he allegedly shouted, "ISIS (expletive), I will cut your throat, go back to your country!" before he fled the scene, authorities said. She didn't identify herself as a cop and was unarmed.

Elsokary got emotional speaking about her experience at a news briefing Monday. She said Sunday was the first time in her life she'd experienced such an encounter and vowed to continue fighting for the rights of all New Yorkers.

Nelson was ordered held on $50,000 bail after his arraignment Monday on a felony charge of menacing as a hate crime. His attorney didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from the Associated Press.  

Photo Credit: Handout
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[LAPD Officers Running From LA to Sacramento Cover 330 Miles]]> Sun, 04 Dec 2016 16:40:51 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LAPD_Officers_Running_From_LA_to_Sacramento_Cover_330_Miles_1200x675_824528451533.jpg Two LAPD officers are running 420 miles from Los Angeles to Sacramento to raise money for the families of officers killed in the line of duty. They began the run on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. A week into their journey on Dec. 4, 2016, the pair had covered 330 miles. ]]> <![CDATA[ Holiday Lights Honor Fallen Law Enforcement Officers]]> Sun, 04 Dec 2016 18:09:11 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/161204-lasd-holiday-lighting-display.JPG A holiday light display in Leona Valley, just west of Palmdale, was created to honor fallen law enforcement officers and public servants. The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department called the display a "touching tribute" in a message posted to their Facebook page.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Twitter Account of 7-Year-Old Syrian Girl Disappears]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 05:12:43 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_16253598019602.jpg

Fatemah Al-Abed's final message to her Twitter followers Sunday was harrowing and heartbreaking.

The Syrian woman's post read: "We are sure the army is capturing us now. We will see each other another day dear world. Bye. — Fatemah."

Shortly after the post, her Twitter account disappeared, NBC News reporters.

Al-Abed's dispatches from inside Eastern Aleppo have shocked and captivated readers around the world since she began tweeting from the account on behalf of her 7-year-old daughter, Bana, in September.

The family has been documenting their struggle to survive, calling on world leaders to stop the violence and rescue Syrian children as recently as Sunday morning.

Photo Credit: Syrian Civil Defense White Helmets via AP]]>
<![CDATA[Victims From Warehouse Fire ID'd]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 18:51:42 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/SevenVictimIDd.jpg

Eleven of the 36 victims who died in the Oakland warehouse fire late Friday night have been identified as of Monday morning.

But only seven of the victim's names were released so that families could have a moment to grieve, Alameda County Sheriff's officials and Oakland police said. Among those who died is the son of a sheriff's deputy.

The city also knows the identity of an eighth victim, but would not release the person's name because the 17-year-old is a minor. However, on Monday, officials from the Ruth Asawa School of the Arts in San Francisco identified the teen as Draven McGill, an 11th-grade student at the school.

Student body president Gabriel Bibliowicz said that Draven was a "really sweet" guy who mostly "kept to himself." He was a "gifted baritone and a quiet leader with a strong voice."

The seven victims who have been officially identified are Donna Kellogg, 32, of Oakland; Cash Askew, 22, of Oakland; David Cline, 35, of Oakland; Nick Gomez-Hall, 25, of Coronado; Sara Hoda, 30, of Walnut Creek; Travis Hough, 35, of Oakland; and Brandon Chase Wittenauer, 32, of Hayward.

The death toll in the warehouse fire is expected to rise, but it will be days before recovery crews can access the entire structure, officials said. As of Monday, they had made it through 70 percent of the building.

Kellogg, one of the first people to be confirmed dead, was going to culinary school and worked at High Wire Roasters coffee shop in Berkeley. Her coworkers learned Sunday night that she was killed in the fire.

Kellogg was a former resident of Chico who graduated from Chico High. One friend described her as a freewheeling, free-spirited, candid person.

Wittenauer, better known by his stage name Nex Iuguolo, was an electronic music artist and vocalist for the band Symbiotix Fungi.

Hough was a musician with the Oakland-based electronic band Ghost of Lightning. Hough often went by the stage name Travis Blitzen.

Askew, another musician, was a member of the Bay Area dream pop band Them Are Us Too.

Gomez-Hall was an administrative assistant at Counterpoint Press who called himself a decomposer of music.

Cline was a UC Berkeley graduate, having earned degrees in cognitive science and computer science.

Hoda's friends on Facebook said she was a teacher, gardener and a hardworking person who loved children.

The victims' families have been notified. Other names are expected to be released in the coming days. Some of the victims are non-citizens, officials said.

The Alameda County Coroner's Bureau has asked that the families of people who are still missing "preserve sources of DNA," including combs and toothbrushes, to "prevent future delays" in the identification process. She also asked that such items be stored in clean paper sacks, but not sent to the coroner's bureau. Officials will ask for them, if needed.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Amazing Gingerbread Manor Took 500 Hours To Make]]> Mon, 05 Dec 2016 13:27:49 -0800 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Gingerbread_Thumbnail.jpg

It's a manor good enough to eat. London cookie boutique Biscuiteers took 500 hours, 65 pounds of butter and sugar, 240 eggs and 475 pounds of icing to reproduce the Waddesdon Manor in gingerbread. The manor, a French Renaissance-style chateau in Buckinghamshire, England, was a Rothschild property built for Ferdinand de Rothschild in 1874 for his art collection.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of Biscuiteers
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>