<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2016http://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California http://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usTue, 03 May 2016 19:00:46 -0700Tue, 03 May 2016 19:00:46 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Mother's Boyfriend Arrested in Toddler's Stabbing Death]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 18:08:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/05-03-2016-LATAZ-gray-stabbing-jefferson-park-1.jpg

The boyfriend of a pregnant woman whose 2-year-old daughter was fatally stabbed Monday night was arrested on suspicion of murder hours after what police described as a "vicious" attack at the couple's Jefferson Park home.

The attack, which left the child's 22-year-old pregnant mother hospitalized with stab wounds, occurred around 10 p.m. in the 3500 block of Arlington Drive bordering Exposition Park, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. The woman was in critical, but stable, condition Tuesday morning, police said.

Lataz Gray, 22, was arrested Tuesday morning at a hospital, where he was seeking treatment for cuts to his hand, police said. Residents told police that Gray had lived with the victims for a few months.

There was no family relationship between the suspect and slain child, but the woman is 5 months pregnant with the couple's baby, police said. 

"This was one of the most vicious incidents I have seen," said LAPD Capt. Peter Whittingham.

Gray allegedly stabbed the woman "multiple times," then stabbed her daughter, according to police. Neighbors reported what sounded like the couple arguing before the stabbing, police said. 

Phillip Gray, the suspect's father, convinced his son to turn himself in, police said. The home is apparently owned by the suspect's father, who lives nearby.

Phillip Gray said talking his son into giving himself up to police was heart wrenching.

"I said, 'They gonna kill you,'" Gray said. "You do something stupid. You gonna turn yourself in? He said, 'OK.'"

The mother has yet to be interviewed by police, who said they are still gathering details about what led to the attack.

NBC4's Angie Crouch and Heather Navarro contributed to this report. 

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Cruz Suspends Campaign: 'Voters Chose Another Path']]> Tue, 03 May 2016 18:41:08 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-527830664-CRUZ.jpg

Sen. Ted Cruz, who despite an early victory in the Iowa caucus struggled to stop Donald Trump from cutting into his support from evangelical Christian voters, dropped out of the race for the Republican presidential nomination Tuesday.

Cruz lost the primary in Indiana on Tuesday, the latest in a string of defeats to the billionaire from New York, who considers himself the party's presumptive nominee.

"I've said that I will continue on as long as there is a viable path to victory. Tonight, I'm sorry to say that it appears that path has been foreclosed," Cruz said at a rally in Indianapolis.

"We gave it everything we've got, but the voters chose another path," he continued, vowing to continue to fight for liberty, a constant theme of his campaign.

Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich had battled to be the alternative to Trump. Kasich said in a statement Tuesday night that he continues to seek the nomination at an open convention.

"Gov. Kasich will remain in the race unless a candidate reaches 1,237 bound delegates before the Convention," his statement said.

But the head of the Republican party indicated for the first time Tuesday night that the establishment was finally ready to back Trump.

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus tweeted that Trump will be the party's presumptive nominee. 

"We all need to unite and focus on defeating @HillaryClinton," Priebus said.

Reversing course after weeks of calling Cruz "Lyin' Ted," Trump said Tuesday night that the senator has "an amazing future" and congratulated him on the race he ran.

"I don't know if he likes me or if he doesn't like me, but he is one hell of a competitor. He is a tough, smart guy," Trump said in a speech at Trump Tower.

Cruz based his campaign on appealing to the most hardline conservatives and evangelical Christians. He outlasted over a dozen other Republican contenders, but despite winning 10 states, including his home state of Texas, Cruz was losing ground to Trump by March.

When an outright win proved out of reach, Cruz turned to a strategy of forcing a contested convention — preventing his rival from amassing the 1,237 delegates needed to clinch the nomination. But after Indiana, Trump was less than 200 delegates shy of doing so, with California among the states left to vote.

Cruz had expected to leverage his role as a Washington outsider — where he is known for stalling legislation and insulting other members of the Senate and where he planned to shut down the government his first year in office in a protest over Obamacare.

Cruz was popular among voters who described themselves as very conservative but Trump outdid him with white evangelical voters, including in the Indiana primary, according to NBC News exit polls. 

And in the contest for the nomination, he was quickly overshadowed by Trump’s outsized personality and non-political standing.

On Tuesday morning, Cruz attacked Trump as "a braggadocious, arrogant buffoon." He didn't mention Trump in his concession speech Tuesday night.

Cruz is unpopular among his fellow senators and others in the Republican establishment, some of whom worked quietly on behalf of Sen. Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the race in March. Afterward, the so-called "Never Trump" movement turned to Cruz, but some in the Senate still only managed lackluster endorsements.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, himself a former candidate, called Cruz a reliable conservative he endorsed over Trump, but said Cruz was "certainly not my preference."

Cruz was born in Canada to an American-born mother and a father from Cuba. The legitimacy of his candidacy was challenged, particularly by Trump who threatened to go to court.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Investigation Into Body Wrapped in Plastic Turned Over to LAPD]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 13:56:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/body-burbank.PNG

An investigation into the slaying of a man whose body was found wrapped in plastic near train tracks in Burbank is being turned over to the LAPD, after homicide detectives concluded that the killing took place in Los Angeles.

The body of Nshan Balyan, a 30-year-old resident of North Hollywood, was found dumped in the 600 block of Victory Boulevard last Thursday. The coroner said Balyan had died of multiple gunshot wounds.

Burbank police detectives served a search warrant at a home in the 6700 block of Orion Avenue in Van Nuys two days later in connection with the slaying, the Burbank Police Department said. Evidence was collected and one person was arrested on an unrelated charge.

The Burbank Police Department said in a news release Thursday Balyan is believed to have been killed in Los Angeles and dumped near the train tracks. The case is now in the hands of the LAPD's Valley Bureau Homicide Division.

"Burbank Police investigators will continue to work with our colleagues at LAPD to ensure continuity and ultimately work towards a successful prosecution of Balyan's killer(s)," the release said.

Balyan's body was found nearly entirely wrapped in plastic, with only the feet exposed.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Ex-NFL Star Refutes Rape Charges]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 18:51:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/49ER+PRESSER+-+10454427.jpg

Attorneys for former San Francisco 49er Dana Stubblefield fired back Tuesday against allegations that the NFL star raped a disabled woman, calling the charges "absolutely ridiculous" and saying Stubblefield's accuser was motivated by money.

Stubblefield, 45, joined his legal team at his church, Jubilee Christian Center, for a news conference in San Jose the day after charges were filed. He faces five felony counts of rape, oral copulation and false imprisonment in connection with the April 9, 2015 encounter, which unfolded at his then-home in Morgan Hill. Two of the charges allege he engaged in activity with a victim incapable of giving consent.

The alleged victim had visited the property to interview for a babysitting job.  Prosecutors have called the woman developmentally disabled, but Stubblefield's attorneys insisted she is of sound mind.

"I am completely innocent," Stubblefield said, surrounded by a bank of attorneys, adding that he would take no questions. "I am not a perfect man but the allegations against that come a year after a consensual encounter with another woman are totally false."

The retired defensive tackle said the allegations are especially hurtful because he has focused much of his charity work on the Special Olympics.

"That was one of his primary charities," said defense attorney Gary Winuk, "and he spent countless hours with people with special needs. That's why this is so deeply offensive."

Winuk said Stubblefield and his defense team had gathered Tuesday to "firmly refute the charges" and question why it took so long — 13 months — for police and prosecutors to charge the case.

Prosecutors have said the woman, who was 31 at the time, interviewed with Stubblefield for 20 minutes that day, but left, the police report said. He allegedly texted her shortly afterward, saying he wanted to pay her for her time that day, the report said.

When she returned, that's when prosecutors allege he raped her and forced her to "orally copulate him," the report stated. He then gave her $80 and let her go. She went immediately to the Morgan Hill Police Department after the encounter to report that she had been raped.

Winuk took aim at the alleged victim, calling into question her criminal past. He said the woman had been convicted of assault and resisting arrest from an unknown location in 2013 and had also been charged in connection with a hit-and-run.

He also said she filed two unknown civil lawsuits and pleaded guilty to an unknown assault charge. Winuk claimed the woman asked Stubblefield for money — texting him 22 times — after they had what he described as consensual sex. Attorneys claimed she was asking him for money.

"This is nothing but a money grab, and an attempt to get money and take advantage of his celebrity status," Winuk said, adding that prosecutors sought "to sensationalize this case" and "arrest someone of notoriety."

Colsaria Henderson, program director of Next Door Solutions to Domestic Violence, disagreed.

"The assault is the assault, and it has nothing to do with how many texts or calls happen before or after," she said.

Henderson stressed that the victim's alleged texts are irrelevant. 

"It doesn’t matter," she said. "It doesn’t negate that an assault happened. We need to focus on what happened between them in that room."

Winuk argued that the woman in question has enough mental capacity to plead guilty, apply for a job and have sexual relations, saying the DA's claim that she is developmentally disabled is "absolute nonsense."

Why the two would have had sex immediately after a job interview was not explained. "The purpose of this news conference was not to flesh out everything that happened," Winuk said. "That's what a jury trial is for."

Deputy District Attorney Tim McInerny, however, stood firm.

"We will present evidence in a court of law, after which we expect Mr. Stubblefield will be held accountable for his crimes," he said in an email Tuesday.

Aside from the rape charges, Winuk questioned why Morgan Hill police would have arrested Stubblefield outside his childrens' school. He said the former player had been cooperative and would have turned himself in.

Stubblefield also provided the district attorney's office results from an independent lie detector test that clearly showed the encounter was consensual, according to Winuk.

But prosecutors, who were not at the news conference, said on Monday there was enough evidence to charge Stubblefield with rape after a prolonged investigation.

"This was a crime of violence against a vulnerable victim," McInerny said in a statement Monday. "She was looking for a job and she was unconscionably assaulted."

Stubblefield posted $250,000 bail Monday night and was released. He is scheduled to be arraigned on June 3 at the South County Courthouse in Morgan Hill.

The football player has encountered legal trouble in the past.

In 2010, a federal judge sentenced the former 49ers star to 90 days in jail for stealing his former girlfriend's mail. Also that year, Stubblefield admitted to submitting a change of address form so his former girlfriend's mail, including her unemployment checks, would be delivered to his residence.

Stubblefield was placed on probation in 2009 after pleading guilty to lying to investigators about his steroid use during his days on the field.

He played 11 seasons in the NFL, including the first five with the 49ers. Stubblefield later returned to the 49ers in 2001 and '02 before finishing his career with the Oakland Raiders.

Stubblefield, a first-round pick of the 49ers' in 1993, recorded 10.5 sacks and was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year. He was named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, with a career-high 15 sacks in 1997, and signed a lucrative contract with Washington in 1998.

He also served as assistant coach at San Jose's Valley Christian High School.

CSN Bay Area's Matt Maiocco and NBC Bay Area's Steve Ellison, Raj Mathai, Cheryl Hurd and Kristofer Noceda contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Man Arrested Allegedly Carrying Meth, Python in Bag]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 12:55:30 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/216*120/meth_snake_backpack.jpg

Deputies arrested a man who was allegedly found with methamphetamine and a 24-inch python in his backpack on Monday, authorities said.

Steven Vanbuskirk, 40, was arrested near the Veteran's Hospital in Loma Linda, according to a news release from the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department.

Deputies received a report around 9:45 a.m. regarding a man possibly breaking into cars at the hospital and responded to the scene. The deputies located a man matching the description of the suspected burglar, according to the news release.

Vanbuskirk was seen walking westbound on train tracks near the hospital. Deputies made contact with Vanbuskirk as he tried to get rid of a backpack, according to the news release.

Deputies allegedly found about 4.3 grams of methamphetamine, needles, burglary tools and a 24-inch ball phython snake, according to the news release.

Vanbuskirk was on "felony formal probation with search times" at the time of the arrest, according to the news release.

Vanbuskirk was booked into the Central Detention Center.

It was unclear if Vanbuskirk had an attorney.

<![CDATA[Hottest Looks From the 2016 Met Gala]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 09:27:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/split3-template-met-new.jpg See all the hottest looks from the 2016 Meta Gala red carpet.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Police Fire Bean Bags at Man With Pellet Gun at In-N-Out]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 12:22:17 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/160502-in-n-out-gunman.jpg

Police fired bean bags at a man outside an In-N-Out Burger late Monday after receiving reports he was armed with a pistol, which turned out to be a pellet gun.

Just after 11 p.m., officers swarmed the restaurant at 4444 Van Nuys Blvd. in Sherman Oaks, where a man was walking around inside with what appeared to be a gun in his waistband, the Los Angeles Police Department said.

Customers were evacuated and police ordered the man to come out of the building. Images from the scene showed the man wearing headphones and eating at a table as a police helicopter buzzed over the restaurant.

The man came out of the building within 15 minutes, police said. Video showed the man, wearing a baseball cap and carrying what appeared to be a dark backpack, pushing a bicycle onto the sidewalk when he was struck by bean bags.

The man then calmly set his bicycle down and got down on the floor. He was taken into custody and taken to a hospital to be treated for his injuries.

The LAPD confirmed Tuesday morning that the weapon on his waist was a pellet gun.

Photo Credit: Loudlabs/KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Man Charged for Throwing Rocks at CHP Car]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 12:27:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/193*120/04.28.16_Trump-Costa-Mesa-Protests.JPG

Criminal charges were filed against a 19-year-old man accused of throwing rocks at California Highway Patrol vehicles during a protest outside a rally for Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump last week in Costa Mesa.

Luis Fernando Alarcon pleaded not guilty to a felony vandalism charge and a misdemeanor count of inciting a riot, according to court records.

Alarcon, who was arrested outside the rally at the Pacific Amphitheatre at the Orange County Fair and Event Center about 9:10 p.m. Thursday, was allegedly among protesters hurling rocks at two different patrol vehicles, according to CHP Officer Tom Joyce.

Officers waited until some of the crowd dispersed before moving and handcuffing him, Joyce said. Another suspect has been questioned and investigators are gathering more evidence, Joyce said.

Seventeen others were arrested Thursday on suspicion of refusing to disperse, Costa Mesa police reported. Alarcon was ordered to return to court May 9 for a pretrial hearing.

During the disturbance outside the venue where Trump spoke to supporters, one protester threw a rock that hit a Huntington Beach police horse in the head.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Man Cleared of Crime After 10 Yrs]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 16:09:54 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Gatling-AP_16123738951308.jpg

A Virginia man who spent a decade in prison after pleading guilty to a New York City slaying over 50 years ago was cleared of the crime Monday.

At the request of a prosecutor, a judge vacated the conviction of 81-year-old Paul Gatling for the 1963 shooting death of Lawrence Rothbort. In doing so, the judge apologized and Gatling hugged his crying ex-wife and a friend.

"There's a lot of water gone under the bridge, but the bridge is still standing," Gatling said after the court proceeding.

The prosecutor asked that the conviction be vacated after Gatling, a retired landscaper, asked the prosecutor's Conviction Review Unit to look into his case.

"Paul Gatling repeatedly proclaimed his innocence even as he faced the death penalty back in the 60s," Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson said. "He was pressured to plead guilty and, sadly, did not receive a fair trial."

Gatling, who walked with a cane as he entered the court, said he came from a civic-minded family and "this has stopped me from voting on every level."

Rothbort was shot in his Brooklyn home. His wife told police that a man with a shotgun had entered the apartment and demanded money, shooting her husband when he refused. She provided a description, but no suspect was found.

Thompson said Gatling, 29 at the time, was questioned after another man said he saw him in the area. That man was a witness in other cases and was known to have committed perjury, Thompson said, adding that other circumstances also led to Gatling not receiving a fair trial.

Rothbort's wife, nine-months pregnant at the time of the trial, said Gatling was the man who had killed her husband, despite not being able to identify him in a line up previously. No physical evidence tied him to the crime. Defense attorneys were never given some police reports, including a description of the suspect as several years younger than Gatling.

Gatling's attorney and family pressed him to plead guilty to second-degree murder, afraid that he would otherwise face the death penalty if convicted. He agreed, and was sentenced to 30 years to life in prison in October 1964. His sentence was commuted by then-Gov. Nelson Rockefeller at the behest of the Legal Aid Society and he was released in January 1974.

His exoneration marks the 20th time in two years that the prosecutor's Conviction Review Unit has helped clear defendants found guilty in Brooklyn of crimes they did not commit, according to The New York Times, which first reported the story.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[The Top 5 Dodgers Double-A Prospects]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 07:27:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/DoubleA+Prospects.png

The Los Angeles Dodgers had an off day on Monday as they traveled to Tampa Bay for a two-game interleague series with the Rays.

With the Big League club traveling, we thought we'd take a look at some of the best prospects within the organization that are currently playing in the Dodgers Double-A Tulsa affiliate. We believe the following players present the perfect blend of raw talent combined with long-term potential. 

Without further ado, here are the top 5 Dodgers' prospects in Double-A: 

1. 1B Cody Bellinger  (6th ranked prospect) 

First baseman Cody Bellinger, 20, is the star of the team. The 20-year-old is the highest ranked Dodgers prospect (No. 6) in Tulsa. 

Bellinger may be the reason alone for Tulsa’s power surge. Last year in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga, Bellinger hit 30 home runs and 103 RBI with a .264/.336/.538 slash line.

Bellinger is the son of Clay Bellinger, a longtime minor leaguer who broke into the big leagues with New York Yankees in 1999 at the age of 30 and was on their 2000 and 2001 World Series roster. Bellinger told the Tulsa World that his upbringing had a major impact on his makeup as a baseball player.

“It’s had a big impact on me,” Bellinger said, “offensively and defensively, being around the game my whole life, growing up and being in a major league clubhouse at a young age.”

Bellinger was on the disabled list for all of April with a strained hip, but returned this weekend to Tusla where he went 2-for-8 with a run scored. 

2. OF Alex Verdugo (7th ranked prospect)

Alex Verdugo, 19, is to the outfield as Bellinger is to the infield. Despite not even being 20-years-old yet, he is pretty advanced at the plate, demonstrating an understanding for the strike zone and recognizing pitches when he hit .311 in 124 games in Single-A.

Verdugo was also a fantastic high school pitcher in Tucson but as he told the Tulsa World on Monday, he preferred to be on the lineup everyday. 

“I wanted to play every day,” Verdugo said. “I wanted to be in the lineup every day, contributing. I think I can be a game changer. If hitting doesn’t work out, although I think it will, I can always have a followup plan and go back on the mound. It's harder to be on the mound and go back to hitting.”

Verdugo is batting .263 with two home runs and 10 RBI in 22 games with Tulsa.

3. RHP Chris Anderson (17th ranked prospect)

Anderson returns to Tulsa after going 9-7 with a 4.05 ERA, 1.44 WHIP and 98 strikeouts in 126.2 innings pitched in 23 starts.

Anderson is known as being the first baseball player ever to be drafted in the first round out of Jacksonville University. With his powerful fastball, Anderson struck out 143 batters in his first pro season back in 2014 in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga.

Anderson has clocked his fastball as high as 98 mph but can cruise to a 92-95 mph fastball with zip and a heavy bite into the late innings. His only issues are his lack of a strong secondary pitch and struggles with command going into late innings. 

Anderson is off to a rough start to the season, and is 2-1 with a 5.50 ERA through 18 innings. He has a lopsided 20 walks to go with just 12 strikeouts thus far.

4. RHP Chase De Jong (20th ranked prospect)

De Jong come in after posting a 3.43 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 25 appearances (24 starts) in Single-A Lancaster and Rancho Cucamonga.

De Jong is more about poise and polish rather than power. De Jong has impressed scouts with his curveball and command and can also reach low 90s in fastball velocity. While it is not an issue now, De Jong is a fly ball pitcher and that is a problem in the NL West, if he were to ever make it that far up the ladder. 

Similar to Anderson, De Jong is also off to a sloppy start in Tulsa as he has a record of 1-3 in five starts with a 4.68 ERA. He's struck out 23 batters and walked eight in 25 innings pitched.

5. RHP Trevor Oaks (21st ranked prospect)

Oaks started the season in Single-A Rancho Cucamonga where he went 1-1 with a 3.60 ERA to start the season. After an impressive 2015 stint that he saw him go a perfect 3-0 in five starts, it was only a matter of time before Oaks was called up to Double-A Tulsa.

Oaks was born in Riverside where he attended Woodcrest Christian High School. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012, and recovered nicely as he was named the PacWest and NCBWA West Region Pitcher of the Year in 2014. 

He was selected by the Dodgers in the seventh round of the MLB draft that same year, and is known as a strikeout pitcher with a full arsenal of pitches to choose from. His best pitch, is his sinker and four-seam fastball, but Oaks also sports a cutter, slider, changeup and curve ball.

"My four seam and sinker usually come out at the same speed," he told TBPC.com. "I try to live around the 91 to 93 range. If I'm feeling fresh I might get it up to 95. I added the cutter this offseason and primarily use it against lefties."

Oaks made his Tulsa Drillers debut last Wednesday and earned his first Double-A victory as the Drillers beat Arkansas 2-1. Oaks allowed just one run on six hits with four strikeouts in six innings.

Photo Credit: Jennifer Stewart/ Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Huell Howser: 'Lost' Episode to Air]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 12:54:55 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/211*120/howser-huell-poppies.jpg

Californians who adore road trips, and local characters, and pie shops, and old diners, and long-standing traditions, and everything else that lends the Golden State its quintessential glow, sure do miss Mr. Huell Howser.

The always affable travel host, a friendly fixture on public television for more than 30 years, knew how to connect with Californians where they lived, doing what they love to do. It was powerful TV, positive and kind, and Mr. Howser's passing in January of 2013 left a void for many viewers around the state.

Those viewers may be delighted to learn that lost footage from "California's Gold," one of the series Mr. Howser helmed, was recently been discovered. The theme of the show? El Alisal, the historic Northeastern Los Angeles home built by author and activist Charles Fletcher Lummis.

KCET partnered with the Huell Howser Archives at Chapman University in Orange to prep the footage for broadcast.

The result? The "lost" episode of "California's Gold with Huell Howser" airs on KCET at 7 p.m. on Monday, May 9 with an encore at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10.

If you're hoping that Huell will stroll the abode, microphone in hand with a single cameraperson in tow, as was his classic style, get excited: That's how the interview-centered episode will roll.

A new "California's Gold" is a big deal for the host's many devotees, people who've not only used his travel tips for their own explorations, but, more importantly, who've been inspired to get acquainted with the people living in the places they visit.

After all, Mr. Howser was a famous people person, encouraging and easy to chat with, and his frequent interjections of "that's amazing!" gave his interviews a buoyancy that's hard for any other broadcaster to match.

Have you seen all of his many shows, over and over? There are "over 1,000 episodes of various public television series," reveals KCET. That's a highly watchable, impressively sized backlog to revisit, truly.

And it is also true that his fans would all like another episode (or many). Check out El Alisal, with Mr. Huell Howser at the mic, on May 9 and/or 10 on KCET.

Photo Credit: Huell Howser]]>
<![CDATA[From Cruz Conspiracies to Cheering Muslims: Trump's Wild Claims ]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 13:59:36 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/trumpImages-527466972.jpg

In the latest in a string of incendiary and often conspiratorial comments, Donald Trump on Tuesday linked Ted Cruz’s father to President John F. Kennedy’s assassin.

Trump, on the day Indiana went to the polls, repeated assertions made by the National Enquirer that the Cuban-born Raphael Cruz was pictured with Lee Harvey Oswald handing out pro-Cuba pamphlets in New Orleans in 1963.

"I mean, what was he doing — what was he doing with Lee Harvey Oswald shortly before the death? Before the shooting?" Trump asked in an interview with Fox News. "It’s horrible."

Cruz’s campaign called the article “garbage.”

From Muslims celebrating en masse after the World Trade Center fell to disparaging the qualifications of his rivals for the presidency, here are some of Trump’s most provocative statements.

"Thousands of people were cheering"
Trump claimed to have seen thousands of Muslims rejoicing in Jersey City when the Twin Towers fell during the 2001 terrorist attacks.

"Hey, I watched when the World Trade Center came tumbling down," he said at a rally in Alabama in November. "And I watched in Jersey City, New Jersey, where thousands and thousands of people were cheering as that building was coming down."

"So something’s going on," he said. "We’ve got to find out what it is."

There were no verified reports of mass jubilation on Sept. 11 — though NJ.com found some residents and a police officer who said they saw small groups of people celebrating.

Jersey City Mayor Steve Fulop tweeted that Trump’s statement was "absurd."

Cruz’s Canadian birth

Before the Iowa caucuses, Trump speculated that Cruz was not eligible to run for president because he was born in Calgary, Canada, and had held both American and Canadian citizenship.

According to the Constitution, the president must be a "natural born citizen" though it does not specify what that term means.

The Texas Republican is a U.S. citizen because his mother is one — and some scholars say the Constitutional issue is not settled.

In February, angry over ads, Trump threatened to sue Cruz.

And what about Rubio?
In another tweet in February, Trump raised questions about whether Marco Rubio could run for the White House. But the Florida senator, who has since dropped out of the race, was born in Miami, though to parents who had immigrated from Cuba.

Trump claimed simply to have retweeted an argument that neither Rubio nor Cruz were eligible.

"I've never looked at it, George," Trump told George Stephanopoulos, on ABC’s "This Week." "I honestly have never looked at it. As somebody said, he's not. And I retweeted it. I have 14 million people between Twitter and Facebook and Instagram, and I retweet things and we start dialogue and it's very interesting."

Born in Kenya?
Trump’s birther claims began with President Barack Obama in 2012, when the New York businessman repeatedly questioned whether Obama was indeed born in the United States. At one of his campaign events, he allowed a false claim that Obama is Muslim to go unchallenged.

Pigs blood
Another discredited story that Trump repeats: Gen. John Pershing shot Muslim extremists in the Philippines with bullets dipped in pigs' blood. 

Photo Credit: Bloomberg via Getty Images
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<![CDATA[NTSB Slams DC Metro Safety]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 17:14:20 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/0112-lenfant-Metro-smoke-dianne-wallace.jpg

The Washington, D.C. Metro often used trains filled with passengers to look for sources of smoke or fire, according to a revelation at a federal safety hearing Tuesday on a 2015 incident that killed an Alexandria woman.

It's a claim that Metro is now disputing — but earlier Tuesday, Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said the practice is no longer in place.

Wiedefeld said he didn't know whether such an action was performed Jan. 12, 2015, the day that 61-year-old Carol Glover died and scores of others were sickened when smoke filled a Metro tunnel and trains near L'Enfant Plaza.

Wiedefeld said trains with passengers aboard are no longer sent to check out smoke or fire, but an empty train may be sent. Wiedefeld, who took over Metro in November, said he didn't know when the practice had changed.

Later, Metro disputed the finding from the National Transportation Safety Board. But the NTSB said it was a common practice at Metro — an action the agency called "reprehensible."

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"[The] investigation found that it was common practice to use trains with passengers to investigate reports of fire or smoke instead of stopping all trains and using a qualified person to follow up on a report," the NTSB said during Tuesday's hearing.

A Metro source said the Rail Operations Control Center (ROCC) tells the train operator to perform a "track inspection," usually with passengers on board. With that process, if the train happens to come across a fire, or other hazard in the tunnel, it's too late to perform a reverse.

[[377961781, C]]

On Jan. 12, 2015, an electrical malfunction caused a Metro tunnel to fill with thick, black smoke and stranded many riders, including Glover, when their Yellow Line train stopped in the tunnel.

Glover died of acute respiratory failure due to smoke exposure.

During Tuesday's hearing, the NTSB also released the probable cause of the deadly incident: "a prolonged short circuit that consumed power system components resulting from the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority's (WMATA) ineffective inspection and maintenance practices." The hearing comes with a familiar line from the NTSB: that safety is not a big enough priority at Metro.

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The NTSB said Tuesday that whatever could have gone wrong that afternoon did go wrong.

If Metro had followed the proper procedures to stop all trains at the first report of smoke, the NTSB said, the train never would have gotten stuck in the tunnel. Instead, 15 minutes elapsed from time that Metro initially reported smoke until the time a call for emergency assistance was made. As time went on, power failed.

The NTSB said Tuesday the problems that led to the deadly incident were caused by senior management's failure to proactively deal with "foreseeable safety risks," as well as the "inadequate oversight" of the Tri-State Oversight Committee and the Federal Transit Administration.

The NTSB said a strong oversight group is needed to force Metro to make safety its top priority. NTSB Chairman Christopher A. Hart said Metro focuses on safety after an incident, but then takes its eye off the ball.

Hart has confidence in the new leadership at Metro, he said Tuesday.

During the hours-long hearing, the NTSB issued a list of 43 findings that it says led to the the deadly L'Enfant Plaza incident — including improperly secured and covered power cables, water problems, poor training and lack of procedures and proper maintenance.

The NTSB said both the tunnel fans during the L'Enfant incident were in "pull" mode, therefore drawing smoke toward the station and over the train.

The NTSB also found fault with the distance between smoke detectors during the L'Enfant incident: 2,000 feet, or more than half a football field. Metro needs more smoke detectors, the NTSB said.

Glover's family has filed a $50 million lawsuit against Metro, accusing the transit agency of negligence.

Patrick Reagan, an attorney representing Glover's family, said in everything he's studied about the accident, Metro simply wasn't taking care of its system.

"That's absolutely at the top of the list to see just what preventive maintenance they've been doing," Reagan said. "Apparently from what we've been told by our experts, they were just ignoring it. They weren't doing any preventative maintenance."

"Carol was the heart of that whole entire family," Reagan said. "She was a mother, a daughter, a grandmother and a sibling."

The lawsuit in federal court was unable to move forward until a cause of the incident was determined, which the NTSB released during Tuesday's hearing.

This is the 13th NTSB investigation of a safety incident on Metro and the ninth since 2004.

Photo Credit: Dianne Wallace
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<![CDATA[Man, Woman Pistol Whipped in North Hills Home Invasion]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 18:51:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/north_hills_home_invastion.PNG

Authorities were searching for two armed men who pistol whipped a man and a woman inside an apartment in North Hills early Tuesday morning.

The home invasion was reported around 1 a.m. in the 9900 block of Sepulveda Boulevard, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

Police responded to the scene and found two people suffering from head injuries.

Neighbors were shocked that a crime this violent happened in their apartment building.

"I was surprised because I saw them wheel him out on a gurney and I couldn't believe it," said Randy Laney. "I couldn't believe it. So I just keep my doors locked."

Brent Jones said it was frightening.

"It could happen to anybody," he said. "It can happen anywhere, anytime."

It was unclear what the two men may have stolen from the residence, but one of the victims said he was not able to find his wallet, police said.

It was also unknown if the victims knew their attackers. The assailants were wearing white T-shirts.

A witness said the men had a dog with them and one said, "Good night," to him in Spanish as they he ran from the crime scene.

Kathy Vara and Oleevia Woo contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: LoudLabs]]>
<![CDATA[Man Waits 14 Months for New IKEA Kitchen]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 17:46:16 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/IKEA_Las_Vegas.jpg

Seeing the charred remains of his Pasadena home is still enough to make owner Eric Lloyd emotional.

"Up in blazes, and it was -- it was a lot of damage," Lloyd said, recalling the October 2014 night he watched his house burn.

The fire ripped through his bedroom, living room and kitchen -- all caused by bad wiring in a light fixture, he said.

"I was numb at first, you know," he said.

The silver lining from the destruction was supposed to be a remodel several months later. And for his kitchen, Lloyd spent more than $10,000 at IKEA for new cabinets and drawers.

But Lloyd said Traemand, the contractor that worked with IKEA, isn't finishing the job. Lloyd wants IKEA's help to get his home back more than a year after the kitchen installation began.

"It's a big company," he said. "I felt like I would have less headaches."

So if you are stuck between an independent contractor and a store, how do you fix it?

The Contractors State License Board's Rick Lopes said consumers often trust big companies to pick reputable contractors, but you should always look up a company yourself before agreeing to any installation.

"The worst thing that can happen is that this thing can just go on for weeks, for months, for years even," Lopes said. "You want to be sure that you're signing things that you know of, and you know what protections are in place."

Fourteen months after the installation began, IKEA fixed Lloyd's problem.

"We do take responsibility for not following up with this customer soon enough," a company spokeswoman said.

Ikea sent Lloyd a check for $15,000 -- more than he paid for the kitchen in the first place -- and more than $10,000 in store credit.

All in all, more than $25,000 to make up for his wait.

Lloyd welcomes the change -- ready for a frustrating chapter of his life to finally end.

"I just went through a lot," he said.

Generally you should never pay more than 10 percent or $1,000 to a contractor up front, whichever is less. This can help you avoid problems like the job not being completed.

Traemand is licensed by the state and a spokesperson apologized to Lloyd for the delays, telling the I-Team they're confident everything has been resolved.

You can look up a contractor using the CSLB's contractor search tool.

If you have a problem you can't resolve with a contractor, you can also file a complaint with the CSLB on this website.

<![CDATA[75-Hour Trip: Fan Visits Every Disney Park]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 18:36:26 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/cwingdisney75hours.jpg

It's right around the beginning of May when some devoted Disneyland regulars get down to the business of setting a few important summer #goals. 

For instance, how many times can a person ride the Matterhorn Bobsleds over the course of a 16-hour day? (Answer: Probably at least two dozen, factoring in bathroom breaks, meals, and parade-watching, if the person frequents the single-rider line.)

Of course, Disney-based goals can stretch beyond a day, and even a single theme park.

Look to Christopher Wing, a Seattle-based Disney buff, for inspiration. Nope, he didn't just take on one attraction over the course of a day. Rather, Mr. Wing visited every Disney park on the planet in one long, plane-tastic, stay-mostly-awake stretch.

It took the theme park adventurer under 80 hours, in fact. (Should you want to think of his Mouse-major plan as a contemporary adventure akin to Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days," well then, go for it.)

But Phileas Fogg didn't start his 19th-century jaunt in Anaheim, like Mr. Wing did at the very beginning of April 2016.

From Disneyland Resort, where he visited both Disneyland and Disney California Adventure, Mr. Wing took wing for Florida, where he called upon the quartet of Walt Disney World Resort parks in Orlando.

Disneyland Paris followed, then Hong Kong Disneyland, then Tokyo Disney Resort, with a return to Disneyland at juuuust about 75 hours after the clock started ticking.

If your first question "but did he ride something in every park?" the answer is "yes, he did." (Mr. Toad's Wild Ride was his pick at the Happiest Place on Earth.)

Mr. Wing's grand 'n Goofy dream truly has a way of upping any fan's Disneyland ambitions. Remember the couple who visited Disneyland every day in 2012? Which made for 366 days in a row, as 2012 was a leap year?

Mickey mavens do bring the popcorn-scented passion when they get a notion as big as Sleeping Beauty's Castle.

Mr. Wing's big notion has a Disney-cute title -- "Mouse Around the World" -- and details on how he mapped out his trip and made it happen (including, of course, the funds) can be viewed at his site.

Want a peek at the process, Disneyians? There are videos, natch, including this one shared on the Disneyland blog:

Photo Credit: Christopher Wing]]>
<![CDATA[Questions Linger 15 Years After Chandra Levy Slaying]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 09:26:12 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Chandra-AP_146851304930.jpg

Fifteen years after Washington intern Chandra Levy was killed and her body dumped in the woods, the pain is still fresh.

"He's got tremendous anger. I have tremendous sadness," said Levy's mother, Susan, who joined her husband for an interview with NBC's "Today" show. "The anger and sadness is really the same."

Levy, 24, a California native, disappeared May 1, 2001 while interning for the federal government in Washington, D.C. Her body was found a year later in a densely wooded area of Rock Creek Park.

The case captivated the nation amid allegations of an affair between Levy and her hometown congressman, Gary Condit. Even her father speculated about the relationship and Condit's possible involvement in the case.

"Girls have their own minds, especially if they're seduced by someone who is older and wiser," Robert Levy said in an interview at the time.

Condit was quickly ruled out, but his career suffered a fatal blow. The congressman sought re-election but lost his seat in 2002.

Attention later turned to Ingmar Guandique, an immigrant from El Salvador who, according to his one-time cellmate, confessed while in prison to killing Chandra Levy. Guandique was serving 10 years for attacking two other women in Rock Creek Park.

He was charged with Chandra Levy's murder in 2009 and convicted in 2010 in a case based largely on circumstantial evidence. Although sentenced to 60 years in prison, questions about the validity of his cellmate's claims earned Guandique a retrial, set to begin this October.

"As far as I can see, it's just some defense attorneys trying to make themselves a name and make more money," Robert Levy told the "Today" show. "You know, he's guilty."

Regardless of what happens when the case goes back to court, Chandra Levy's parents will continue to grieve.

"No matter what, we don't get our daughter back," Susan Levy said.

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Detroit Grapples With Teacher Sickouts, Water Shutoffs]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 08:48:10 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_16123644065118.jpg

Nearly all of Detroit's schools were closed Tuesday as hundreds of teachers called out sick for a second day over concerns that many may not get paid amid a funding crisis, NBC News reported. 

Dozens of teachers gathered outside district headquarters with signs with messages like "No pay no work" and "DPS better have my money" and "This is teacher abuse."

The city was also dealing with a second crisis — this one related to the solvency of the city's water system. The city's Department of Water and Sewerage was preparing to start shutting off water to thousands of commercial and residential customers who have defaulted on their payments.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Democratic Delegate Caucuses Yield Hard-Working Prospects]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 07:47:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Judy+Ki+Democratic+Possible+Delegate+California.jpg

California is five weeks away from the state's presidential primary, but with the focus on the presidential race, it's easy to forget there are some often overlooked and interesting small contests among those jockeying to be delegates at the Democratic convention in Philadelphia.

On Sunday, dozens won places on the Clinton and Sanders tickets for the state’s June 7th balloting.

The Republican White House candidates file their own slates of proposed delegates in each congressional district, and 10 proposed statewide delegates.

The Democrats held caucuses that turned the wannabe delegates into candidates themselves, doing retail politicking.

One of the top vote-getters on the Clinton side was Poway resident Judy Ki, looking to go to the convention as a Clinton delegate from the 52nd Congressional District.

She sold herself, big-time, to about 300 voters in a Miramar District union hall.

"My margin of victory were my personal friends,” Ki said in an interview Monday. “My hairdresser came out. Some of my neighbors came out."

A long career as a middle school science teacher readied Ki for just the kind of research and presentations that serious politics demands.

“Doing any campaign is logical and sequential. It's like setting up a science experiment," she said. "You do step one, step two, step three, step four, right?"

Ki’s showing at the caucus would seem to make her a lock for Philadelphia in late July -- on her own dime, of course.

Or more accurately, somewhere in the neighborhood of $4,000 -- unless she can partner up for a hotel room.

"The (hotel) room is the most expensive. I don't eat a lot and the flights are fine -- I have lots of mileage,” Ki said with a hearty laugh. “But this is so exciting. This is on my bucket list, believe it or not.”

The second-place finisher at the 52nd District Clinton caucus was Jennifer Campbell, a retired physician who lives in Clairemont.

Her family is steeped in Democratic Party politics; her cousin is David Axelrod who served as President Obama’s campaign manager.

"My mother was a great politician in Colorado, and she was one of the first Democrats for (John F.) Kennedy,” Campbell told NBC 7. “And Kennedy used to call my house when I was a kid -- I talked to him on the phone. And it was just marvelous. And I got to go see his acceptance speech in 1960."

Campbell has met Hillary Clinton at Clinton's home in Washington when she was a senator.

She'd seem to be a no-brainer for delegate-picking by Clinton's team if the Democrats went by California GOP rules – but captured more than enough hearts and minds at Sunday’s Miramar District caucus.

“Well, I was thrilled and surprised, but we did work hard and campaigned,” she said. “There were four of us on the team -- two men, two women -- we worked together. And all of our friends and supporters, people who've known us for years in the Democratic Party came out to support us. And it was just wonderful, a wonderful day."

Campbell also appears to be likely to wind up in Philadelphia, and for the sake of her budget, she has relatives there who could spare her a hotel stay.

<![CDATA[Tupac's Mother Dies]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 11:53:07 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/afeni-GettyImages-71836885.jpg

The mother of the late rapper Tupac Shakur has died in Sausalito, California, according to the Marin County Sheriff’s Office. She was 69.

Deputies responded to the home of Afeni Shakur Davis around 9:30 p.m. Monday, after receiving the report of a person possibly in cardiac arrest, according to Lt. Doug Pittman.

Davis was taken to the hospital, where she died about an hour later, Pittman said. The coroner’s office will lead the investigation into her death and a forensic autopsy is planned Tuesday afternoon, according to a statement. Officials said, however, that toxicology results won't be available for several weeks.

Pittman called her a "well-loved and well-respected" woman in the community who served as a leader and activist, especially in southern Marin County. "This is a tragic loss to this community," he said.

Pittman held a news conference Tuesday to assure the public that no foul play was suspected at this point. Davis was in the company of her friend when she started experiencing discomfort, he said. At that point, her friend called 911.

Born Alice Faye Williams in Lumberton, North Carolina, Davis was a reformed drug addict and member of the Black Panther Party, according to biographer Jasmine Guy.

Davis served nearly a year in prison for allegedly conspiring to bomb police stations and department stores in New York City just before giving birth to Tupac in 1971.

She served as her own defense attorney and was acquitted multiple times, according to an account of her trial in a book called "The Briar Patch" by former attorney Murray Kempton.

Davis was the subject of Tupac's Billboard hit "Dear Mama," released in 1995. Her fans on social media referenced that song in their tweets and posts.

A year later, she founded the now-defunct Tupac Amaru Shakur Center for the Arts in Stone Mountain, Georgia, to preserve her son's legacy.

Tupac, also known by his stage names 2Pac and Makaveli, was killed in a drive-by shooting in Las Vegas in 1996. The hip-hop legend's best-selling albums include "All Eyez on Me" and "Greatest Hits."

Shakur attended Tamalpais High School in Mill Valley and lived in public housing in Marin County. He started his career in the early '90s with Digital Underground, an alternative hip hop group from Oakland.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[25 Dogs Seized From Home Puts Strain on Shelter]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 12:56:00 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/carson-hoarding-050216.PNG

Twenty-five dogs found living in what officials call deplorable conditions at a Torrance home are now living at the Carson/Gardena Animal Care Center - but that has posed a big problem because of overcrowding at the shelter.

The dogs, many of them young terrier mixes, were discovered at the home after their owner had to be rushed to the hospital for a medical issue.

Lisa Ferranti of the Carson Rescue Team said some dogs don't seem to be adapting well to their pens. Some sit in their corners and shake, and others don't eat or simply won't leave their beds.

"They're so scared," Ferranti said. "Most aren't socialized. This is a scary place."

The dogs were brought in with a few cats, and their arrival poses a big problem for the shelter, which is already overcrowded by at least 45 animals.

The influx of animals continues by the hour - the shelter gets up to 30 new animals every day. A new batch of Chihuahua puppies found in a cardboard box was dumped at the shelter Monday afternoon. One matted stray was found wandering the streets in the morning.

"Spring and summer are a busy time of year," said Lt. Javier Gutierrez of the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control. "A lot of animals are breeding and we get more animals surrendered. It does bring a burden to our shelter."

It's the bigger, older and sick dogs that are most at risk, because when there are no more empty kennels, shelter officials are left with a tough decision to make.

"They will start euthanizing for space if they feel they have nowhere else for animals to go," Ferranti said.

The shelter is putting out a call for people to come in and adopt or temporarily foster the animals in order to spare their lives.

The hoarding dogs are not yet available. There's a temporary hold on them while animal control officers investigate whether to charge their owner with animal cruelty. That could take up to a month or even more, likely meaning overcrowding at the shelter will only get worse.

Anyone wishing to help can put their name on a list to foster or adopt one of the dogs when they do become available, or adopt another animal that is already available to help make room.

For information on the Carson/Gardena Animal Care Center, including contact information and hours of operation, click here.

For the Saving Carson Shelter Dogs Facebook page, click here.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[ISIS Attack Kills US Navy SEAL in Iraq]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 14:30:05 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/carter-AP_16119550975525-%281%29.jpg

A U.S. Navy SEAL was killed in an ISIS attack in Iraq, officials said Tuesday, NBC News reported. 

Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said the U.S. serviceman was advising and assisting Kurdish Peshmerga forces north of Mosul when ISIS launched an attack. 

Earlier, U.S. military officials told NBC News the American was killed by direct fire about 2 to 3 miles behind the Peshmerga's forward line during a large-scale attack by ISIS. The U.S. launched 20 airstrikes in response to that assault, military officials said. 

"It is a combat death," Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Tuesday. 

Tuesday's was the third U.S. combat death in Iraq in the past seven months.

Photo Credit: AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Sues Getty Foundation Over Racial Discrimination]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 11:29:43 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/001+The+Getty+Center+Los+Angeles.jpg

A woman is suing the Getty Foundation, alleging she was denied an undergraduate internship with the institution because she is white.

Samantha Niemann's Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit alleges violation of her civil rights, racial discrimination and harassment, as well as retaliation. She's seeking unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.

Ron Hartwig, vice president of communications for the J. Paul Getty Trust, issued a statement today in response to the lawsuit.

"The Getty is very proud of the highly successful Multicultural Undergraduate Internship program launched by the Getty Foundation in 1993 in order to increase the diversity of professional staff in museums and visual arts organizations in (Los Angeles) County,'' the statement reads.

"Over the past 23 years Getty grants have supported over 3,000 internships at 152 organizations throughout the county. We review and revise all of our grant categories from time to time and over the years have made a number of policy and procedural changes to the internship program.''

Due to inquiries from potential applicants as well as internal and external discussions, several months ago the Getty modified the eligibility criteria for 2016 to state that applicants must be members of an underrepresented group, including but not limited to, those of black, Asian, Latino, Native-American or Pacific-Islander descent, according to the statement.

The suit filed Friday states that in February 2015, Niemann "was deterred from applying'' for the internship program and told that only black, Asian, Latino, Native-American and Pacific-Islander candidates were eligible.

A Getty Foundation representative confirmed to Niemann -- who is of German, Irish and Italian descent -- that she was disqualified from applying because of her race and national origin, the suit says.

Niemann was "well-qualified'' for the internship because she was a student at Southern Utah University with a 3.7 grade-point average, according to her court papers.

The Getty Foundation's website states that the Multicultural Undergraduate Internship program is aimed at encouraging "greater diversity in the professions related to museums and the visual arts.''

The program supports "substantive, full-time summer work opportunities for college undergraduates from cultural backgrounds that have traditionally been underrepresented in the arts,'' the website states.

Copyright City News Service. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Dodgers Pitcher Josh Ravin Suspended 80 Games]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 06:56:24 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/161*120/Josh+Ravin.jpg

LOS ANGELES – It’s been a rough year for Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Josh Ravin. After a family tragedy a year ago, Ravin broke his arm in a car accident during spring training. On Monday, Ravin received more bad news as he has been suspended by Major League Baseball for 80 games after he tested positive for a banned substance. Yahoo Sports was the first to report the news of the positive test and subsequent suspension.

Ravin becomes just the sixth player in 2016 to be suspended for a positive test for PED’s, following news earlier this week that Miami Marlins All-Star and former Dodger, Dee Gordon, tested positive for two banned substances in spring training. Ravin and Gordon join Toronto Blue Jays slugger Chris Colabello, Cleveland Indians center fielder Abraham Almonte, Philadelphia Phillies reliever Daniel Stumpf and New York Mets reliever Jenrry Mejia (who was banned for life) as the other players in baseball to test positive this year.

“We are disappointed to hear that Josh has violated Major League Baseball’s Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program,” the Dodgers said in a statement released on Monday. “The Dodgers fully support MLB’s policy toward eliminating performance enhancing substances from the sport and, as per the Joint Drug Program, we will have no further comment on this suspension.”

Ravin was currently on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, but has been on the 60-day disabled list since the start of the season. He debuted with the Dodgers last year, and appeared in nine games, striking out 12 batters and posting an ERA of 6.75.

“During 2016 spring training, I came down with a severe case of intestinal flu and strep throat,” Ravin said Monday in his own statement. “I was put on antibiotics and lost a total of 20 pounds in less than seven days. To try and speed up my recovery, I took some supplements that I thought would help. Unfortunately, I was not as careful as I should have been and one of the supplements contained a banned substance.

“I later learned that the substance showed up in a regular drug test done of me during 2016 spring training. This has been a very painful lesson for me. I have always tried to avoid doing anything in violation of the system and I take full responsibility for the consequences of my actions and bad judgment. So, I have decided to accept the suspension and continue my ultimate goal to be able to pitch again in the major leagues.”

Ravin’s reason for the positive test is probable considering that his bout with the flu in spring training was widely reported, and that with the injury to his non-throwing arm, it was doubtful he would pitch for months. Regardless, he knowingly or unknowingly took a banned substance from the MLB Drug Policy list and will serve his suspension immediately.

The timing of the suspension comes on the heels of a bizarre Twitter exchange between Ravin and Dodger teammate Kiké Hernandez last week. NBC LA was one of the first to report the exchange.

Ravin was a fifth-round draft pick by the Cincinnati Reds in 2006. 

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Sanders Within Striking Distance of Clinton for Ind. Primary]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 08:50:32 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/sanders-clinton-split.jpg

In Indiana, where the latest poll shows Sen. Bernie Sanders within striking distance of Hillary Clinton in Tuesday's primary, Kristen Callihan will not even contemplate a general election without the Vermont senator as the Democratic candidate.

Callihan, a 44-year-old freelance writer from Michigan City, likes Sanders' honesty and integrity, that he is not a flip-flopper, and that he fought for civil rights in the 1960s. Callihan says she is no fan of Sanders’ opponent, Hillary Clinton, nor of Republican front-runner Donald Trump.

"[Sanders] is going to win," she said. "That’s all I’m thinking about."

But can Indiana provide enough of a boost to Sanders, badly behind in the delegate count as he is? If he were to lose, would his supporters back Clinton?

Going into Tuesday’s primary, Clinton leads Sanders by 4 percentage points, 50 percent to 46 percent among likely Democratic primary voters, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist poll. The poll's margin of error was 4.6 percentage points. As in past contests, Clinton leads with those 45 and older, while Sanders is ahead among younger voters.

Clinton and Sanders likely will divide the Democrats’ 83 delegates in Indiana, and that will do little to change the narrative on the Democratic side, said Lee M. Miringoff, the director of the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

Sanders trails significantly in the overall delegate count, with 1,367 of the 2,383 needed to win the nomination, while Clinton has 1,663, according to a count by The Associated Press. Clinton also has 520 superdelegates, who are free to support any candidate, to Sanders' 39.

Among likely Republican primary voters in Indiana, Trump is ahead by 15 points and is positioned to take of all the state’s 57 Republican delegates, a big step toward winning the nomination outright. Trump has 956 of the 1,237 delegates needed to win, after a landslide victory in the New York primary two weeks ago and wins in the five Northeastern states that held contests last week — the so-called "Acela primary," after Amtrak’s Acela Express. That compares to 546 for Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas and 153 for Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

"After the Acela primary, there is an aura of inevitability surrounding the Trump and Clinton candidacies," Miringoff said in a statement.

Sanders has acknowledged how difficult it would be to win the 64 percent of remaining delegates he needs to secure the nomination, but he insists he is still in the race, fighting for every vote and delegate, and says the convention will be contested. He held three rallies Monday, the last day before voting.

"It is admittedly a tough hill to climb, but not an impossible one," Sanders told supporters.

But his fundraising has plummeted, off by more than 40 percent in April over March, and he has had to lay off campaign staffers. As Clinton turns her attention increasingly toward the general election, Sanders told a crowd in Evansville, Indiana, on Monday: "Our ideas, the political revolution transforming America, are the ideas for the future of this country and the future of the Democratic Party."

On Sunday night in Detroit, Clinton focused her comments on Trump, not Sanders, in a preview of the general election.

"We cannot let Barack Obama's legacy fall into Donald Trump's hands," she said. "We can't let all the hard work and progress we have achieved over the last seven and a half years be torn away."

Kelly Jay, a musician from South Bend, Indiana, said a debate is raging on Facebook over whether to vote for Clinton should Sanders withdraw. The Clinton campaign has done too much to alienate Sanders supporters, he said.

"I think they’re confident that they can win the general election without the progressive faction of the party," Jay said.

The young people who swarm to the Sanders rallies and favor him over Clinton care about the issues Sanders is addressing: curbing global warming, taking on the enormous inequities between rich and poor, and massive student loans.

"They owe no loyalty to the Democratic Party," Jay said. "And they've said over and over again, 'We don't want Hillary Clinton, we're not going to vote for her.'"

Heath Hensley, a union electrician who lives in Muncie, Indiana, says he was captivated by Sanders the first time he heard him speak and immediately began working to get him on the state’s ballot. A longtime admirer of Eugene Debs, who was a founding member of the Industrial Workers of the World and a presidential candidate for the Socialist party, Hensley, 38, said he was surprised that someone as progressive as Sanders was running for president.

"I’ve just been nuts about him," Hensley said.

Whether or not Sanders wins the nomination, Hensley said he would continue talking about the issues Sanders has raised — including international trade agreements that have harmed American workers — and support progressive candidates for political office. The Democratic Party is abandoning working-class people in favor of college-educated professionals, while the Republicans have nothing to offer labor, he said.

"I don’t want to see Trump get the nomination, but at the same time I didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton in 2008 because I didn’t like her and I didn’t trust her then and I do not plan on voting for her now," Hensley said.

In New York, 23-year-old Carla Cruz was planning to work a phone bank for Sanders in advance of the Indiana primary. She remained hopeful despite Sanders' loss in New York, though she was disturbed by reports of voters dropped from the rolls and being turned away.

She said she also would not vote for Clinton.

"I don't think she's any better than Trump," she said. 

If Sanders fails to win the nomination, Carla Cruz will continue to work to limit the influence of corporations and special interests in elections. 

A suggestion from Trump's campaign manager recently that Sanders' supporters embrace the New York businessman was not met with much enthusiasm. 

"Bernie Sanders has large crowds — not as large as Mr. Trump's, but large crowds — and so there is a level of excitement there for people about his messaging and we will bring those people in," Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told CNN.

Miringoff said how much support Sanders' backers give Clinton will depend on the senator.

"This is all premature," he said. "He will be important in signaling whether it's up to the individual supporters to decide what they want to do or the key thing is to defeat Donald Trump."

Clinton was magnanimous when she lost to President Barack Obama in 2008, he said. But, as an independent, Sanders' ties to the Democratic Party are not as strong.

"We'll just have to see how it all plays out," Miringoff said. "But I suspect he will not be as gracious as she was to Obama in '08."

Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Chemical Found in NY Drinking Water]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 11:01:52 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/newburgh+water+plant.jpg

Update: The state of emergency has been rescinded by City Manager Michael Ciaravino. Our coverage is here

A city in New York's Hudson Valley has declared a state of emergency after potentially harmful chemicals were found in one of its drinking water sources. 

Newburgh City Manager Michael G. Ciaravino says perfluorooctane sulfonate, or PFOS, was found in Silver Stream and Washington Lake.

The Newburgh water department is implementing emergency measures to reduce or eliminate PFOS, and the state Department of Environmental Conservation is working to track down and shut down the source, officials say. 

In the meantime, the city is no longer using Lake Washington as its source of drinking water until further notice. Newburgh will be getting its water supply from Brown's Pond and the Catskills Aqueduct in the interim. 

Because the city is using alternative water, residents are being asked to conserve water. Restrictions in place include: no serving water at restaurants except upon request, no watering lawns, no washing cars and no filling up swimming pools. The full list of restrictions can be found here. 

PFOS is classified as an emerging contaminant of concern -- emerging, the EPA says, because a new source or new pathway to humans has been discovered or a new detection method or treatment technology has been developed. 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says some studies have raised concerns about potential developmental, reproductive and other systemic effects of PFOS -- including possible links to the grown of cancerous tumors -- but the agency cautions the studies were limited in scope and some were done only on rodents, so they didn't offer a conclusion for possible effects on humans. 

PFOS is a human-made substance used as a surface-active agent in a variety of products, like firefighting foams, coating additives and cleaning products. PFOS compounds resist typical environmental degradation, and migrate readily from soil to groundwater, where they can be transported long distances, according to EPA. The compounds can grow and accumulate in wildlife. 

PFOS chemicals are no longer manufactured in the U.S., but the EPA allows them in a "few, limited, highly technical applications" where no known alternatives are available. 

PFOS is readily absorbed after oral exposure, the EPA says. Potential pathways include consuming food -- like fish -- and water, use of commercial products or inhalation during long-range air transport. 

The EPA's guideline for health advisories on PFOS is 0.2 micrograms per liter. Ciaravino said the PFOS levels found in Silver Stream and Washington Lake were lower than that, the state DEC and Department of Health are still recommending that it be eliminated or reduced below that threshhold.

Photo Credit: NBC 4 NY]]>
<![CDATA[Freeway Skateboarding Social Media Challenge 'Reckless': CHP]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 11:01:13 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/179*120/impuestos-dolar-20.jpg

The California Highway Patrol is hoping a new potentially dangerous trend doesn't gain any more traction on social media after videos posted show people jumping out of cars on Southern California freeways and skateboarding in the middle of traffic.

"I am hoping it's not a trend that picks up. We want to get ahead of it," said Sgt. Jose Nunez, of the California Highway Patrol.

Pro-skater Nakel Smith can be seen in one such video on the 110 Freeway skating behind another car in traffic. His manager told NBC4 Nakel is not encouraging anyone to do this.

But it doesn't mean it's going unnoticed.

"Are they endangering people? The answer is yes," Nunez said.

CHP officers said lives are at risk, whether it's the pranksters or drivers trying to avoid them.

Those taking part in the "#freewaychallenge" could end up in serious trouble with the law.

"It's pretty much reckless driving," Nunez said.

That includes those behind the wheel, and those hitting record.

"That's also aiding and abetting," Nunez said.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Police Ask for Help in Finding Missing Torrance Teacher]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 23:33:31 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/222*120/missing-torrance-teacher0502165.jpg

Police were searching for a well-known music teacher after he disappeared following going on medical leave in Torrance, authorities said Monday.

"It's just not in his character to turn his back on the school or to not respond when the school and school district is looking for answers," Mario Di Leva, a colleague of Valenzuela's, said.

Ernie Valenzuela, 60, was last seen a week prior when he visited a doctor in Long Beach, Torrance police said.

"That's just not like him," Tracy Valenzuela, his former wife, said.

The Hull Middle School teacher who has worked at the school for 15 years was due back to teach, but never showed up, making those concerned he may lose his job.

"He's pretty well known in school," Sean Yokoe, a parent of a student, said. "He seemed like a very good guy involved with the kids so it's kinda odd he would just disappear."

The school district began calling loved ones, and his former wife and his mother didn’t have a clue where he might be, police said.

His former wife filed the missing person’s report when he was nowhere to be found.

She said he has a medical condition that requires him to take leave at times, but she said he would never leave the job he loves. She also said he can't go without his health benefits, which have now expired.

"He's a music teacher -- he loves his job. He's passionate about the kids, and he would not do anything to jeopardize his job," Tracy said.

Doctors said at his last visit, he appeared alive and well.

"We want to find him, not just well, but find him so we can make sense of all this," Mario Di Leva, a colleague, said.

Valenzuela was described as having gray hair, brown eyes, measuring 6-feet 1-inch tall, and weighing 210 pounds.

Photo Credit: Torrance Police]]>
<![CDATA[Foster Farms Recalls Chicken Nuggets]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 05:26:39 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Screen-Shot-2016-05-03-at-8.24.49-AM.jpg

Foster Farms is recalling more than 220,000 pounds of frozen cooked chicken breast nuggets after the company received numerous complaints from customers who said that rubber fragments and plastic were found in the product.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, no one has reported getting sick from eating the nuggets. The recall was enacted on April 29 and limited to the company’s two chicken breast nugget products in Costco stores across Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Utah and Washington and wholesale stores in California and Arizona.

The products subject to recall include 5-pound bags of Foster Farms' "Breast Nuggets -- Nugget Shaped Breaded Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat." The bags exhibit "best by" dates of Feb. 21, 2017, and March 8, 2017. Ten-pound bulk boxes of Foster Farms' "Breast Nuggets -- Nugget Shaped Breaded Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat” are also part of the recall. The boxes contain package codes 6053 and 6068.

The poultry company isolated the problem to their home-base farm in Farmerville, Louisiana, the recall notice said. 

Consumers with questions about the recall can contact the Foster Farms Recall hotline at, 1-800-338-8051.

<![CDATA[Stretch of Freeway Named After Fallen Hotshot Firefighter]]> Mon, 02 May 2016 21:46:27 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/kevin-woyjeck-050216.PNG

One of the nation's busiest interchanges was named in honor of an Orange County hero.

A four-mile stretch of the 405 Freeway, between the 605 and the 22, that cuts through Seal Beach was named the Kevin Woyjeck Memorial Freeway on Monday, after the hometown hero firefighter who died while on duty three years ago in Arizona.

Kevin Woyjeck, 21, of Seal Beach, was one of the 19 Granite Mountain Hotshots who was killed in the Yarnell Hill Fire.

His father, a retired firefighter, came up with the idea and contacted assemblyman Travis Allen to dedicate the freeway to his son.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Woyjeck Family]]>
<![CDATA['What Any Good Samaritan Would Do': Pro Boxer Saves Baby]]> Tue, 03 May 2016 15:11:51 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/487988284-sugar-shane-mosley.jpg

Professional boxer "Sugar" Shane Mosley was driving his son and girlfriend home from a soccer game on Sunday when he swerved to avoid a four-car pileup on the 405 Freeway in West Los Angeles.

After safely navigating the wreck, Mosley got out of his car and rushed to help a father and toddler in distress, Mosley said. First he reached into the crushed back window to save a screaming and bloody baby in a car seat. Then he went back to help the baby's dad out of the driver's seat.

Mosley said he feared the child would choke on his blood or the car would catch fire.

"I did what any good Samaritan would do when they see an emergency," he tweeted.

"It feels good to help save lives," he told NBC Southern California. The California Highway Patrol confirmed the details of the crash.

Afterward, Mosley and his girlfriend called the man's wife to tell her about the crash and helped the father and son into an ambulance, they told NBC4. They even followed the ambulance to the hospital when Mosley realized he had the family's baby bag.

On Monday morning, the Levy family woke up to flowers and a "get well" balloon from "Sugar" Shane.

"He's was amazing," said the uncle of the 2-year-old boy.

Mosley's girlfriend, Trista Pisani, who held the boy while Mosley went back to help pull out his father, deflected the praise.

"Shane does this kind of stuff all the time," Pisani said. "He's not really scared of anything."

Mosley, a 44 year old, 5-foot-8 inch world boxing champion in the lightweight, welterweight and super welterweight divisions, is known for his sharp and fast reflexes. This year marks his return to boxing after years in retirement.

He established with his family the Diamond's Love Foundation in honor of his late nephew, Diamond Johnson, who died in a car crash at the age of 3. Mosley has made a point of stopping to help car crash victims since he was 16, Pisani said.

Mosley will reunite with the family later this month, he said. He offered the family ringside seats for his next fight in Arizona on May 28.

"Turns out his wife is 7 months pregnant," Mosley tweeted. "So it's a real gift."

Photo Credit: File – Getty Images for Showtime]]>
<![CDATA[FBI Seeks 'Knuckles Bandit']]> Mon, 02 May 2016 18:15:25 -0700 http://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/knbc-fbi-knuckles-bandit.jpg

The FBI was asking for the public's help identifying a bank robber they've nicknamed the Knuckles Bandit because of the tattoos on his knuckles.

The bank robber is wanted in a string of heists in the San Fernando Valley and Pasadena area stretching from November 2015 to January 2016, the FBI said on Monday.

During the robberies, he showed the teller a note demanding cash, and in one of the heists threated to have a gun.

The FBI says there could be more than one man behind the robberies. In surveillance images, the robber, or robbers, can be seen wearing hooded-sweatshirts along with hats or beanies.

The robber is described as either Hispanic or Armenian with a trimmed beard or goatee. During a robbery on Dec. 8, the thief appeared to have tattoos on his knuckles, which may have been drawn on.

The man is thought to have robbed the following banks:

  • US Bank at 14440 Burbank Blvd., Sherman Oaks, on Nov. 23, 2015
  • Wells Fargo Bank at 390 N. Allen Blvd., Pasadena, on Dec. 8, 2015
  • US Bank at 19307 Saticoy St., Reseda, on Dec. 16, 2015
  • US Bank at 1101 West Huntington Dr., Arcadia, on Dec. 23, 2015
  • Wells Fargo Bank at 9119 Reseda Blvd., Northridge, on Jan. 4, 2016
  • Wells Fargo Bank at 2035 Hillhurst Ave., Los Angeles, on Jan. 20, 2016

Anyone with information was asked to contact their nearest FBI office or call 911.

Photo Credit: FBI]]>