<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2018 https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California https://www.nbclosangeles.com en-usThu, 16 Aug 2018 06:49:51 -0700Thu, 16 Aug 2018 06:49:51 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Thirty More Women Sue USC Over Former Gynecologist]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 16:20:53 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-959665882.jpg

A lawsuit filed in Los Angeles Superior Court Wednesday accuses former University of Southern California campus gynecologist George Tyndall of sexually assaulting 30 women, bringing the growing number of civil cases filed by former patients to more than 300.

The new complaint, obtained first by the NBC4 I-Team, alleges the women, listed as "Jane Does" in court papers, were sexually abused by Tyndall under the guise of legitimate medical exams at the campus Student Health Center, sometimes while being observed by a USC-employed nurse.

"I think that the sheer volume speaks to how many women were failed by USC and its administration," attorney John Manly told NBC4.

He filed this most recent case and said his firm represents more than 100 plaintiffs.

USC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Board of Trustees chairman Rick Caruso said in a letter to the campus in May that "profound" actions were needed in light of the allegations.

"Our thoughts are with the families that have been affected by this situation, and our pledge to this community is that we will rebuild our culture to reflect an environment in which safety and transparency are of paramount importance, and to institute systemic change that will prevent this from occurring in the future," the letter said.

On Aug. 6, attorney Gloria Allred announced she'd filed a similar lawsuit on behalf of 12 women who said they were abused by Tyndall during exams. Numerous alleged victims claim the university received complaints of Tyndall's alleged sexually abusive behavior dating back to at least 1988, and deliberately concealed Tyndall's actions.

In June LAPD detectives assigned to the Robbery-Homicide Division served a search warrant at Tyndall's condo on Wilshire Boulevard in the Westlake District near downtown.

Tyndall was not arrested.

Manly said many of his clients have been frustrated by the pace of the criminal investigation.

"Almost every one of our clients has had contact with the LAPD," Manly said. "Only six or seven have been interviewed by the LA County District Attorney's Office, and honestly, for our survivors, that's frustrating. They understand it's a slow process, but many of them fear without an arrest, he's going to flee."

Prosecutors have begun to consider criminal charges in 28 cases presented by detectives in the last month, the DA's office told NBC4.

"We are working closely with law enforcement to further investigate where necessary," a statement said.

Attorneys for some victims have argued that following an internal investigation of complaints against Tyndall in 2016 the university paid Tyndall a substantial financial settlement so he would quietly resign.

USC officials have denied any cover up, and Tyndall has denied any wrongdoing.

In an open letter to faculty and staff in May, USC Provost Michael Quick said top administrators did not know about the complaints until 2016.

"It is true that our system failed, but it is important that you know that this claim of a cover-up is patently false," Quick wrote. "We would never knowingly put students in harm's way."

USC established a hotline for complaints about Tyndall and has offered free counseling to his former patients.

Photo Credit: Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Honda Odyssey Tops Minivan Crash Test List]]> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 05:50:25 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/honda-odyssey1.jpg

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has released new crash ratings for minivans.

<![CDATA[Disney Cancels Planned Hotel Construction in Anaheim]]> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 03:36:01 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/californiaadventure-disneyland-lagenerics-hnavarro.jpg

The hotel whose construction was to have begun at Anaheim's Downtown Disney last month has been put on hold indefinitely after Disney and the city of Anaheim could not agree over the terms of the development, according to officials on both sides of the issue, it was reported Wednesday.

The new upscale hotel had been slated to have 700 rooms spread over the west end of the outdoor mall, including the site of the former Rainforest Cafe, ESPN Zone sports bar and restaurant, the AMC Theatres and the Earl of Sandwich eatery, the Orange County Register reported. Those businesses and others were closed in June to make way for the new construction, which had been expected to start July 1.

The hotel was scheduled to open in 2021, making it the fourth Disney-owned hotel at the Disneyland Resort. However, Disney executives pulled the project Wednesday, saying they could not reach an agreement with the city over terms under which the hotel was to be constructed, according to the Register.

The move was in response to an Aug. 6 letter in which Anaheim City Attorney Robert Fabela wrote to Disney saying that a change in the site plan would make the hotel ineligible for expected tax incentive rebates.

"Given the city's position that our project does not comply with the requirements of the Agreement, you have given us no other choice other than to put construction of the hotel on indefinite hold,'' David Ontko, chief counsel for Disneyland Resort and International Parks & Resorts, wrote to the city attorney Wednesday.

City spokesman Mike Lyster said late Wednesday that officials "are disappointed the hotel isn't moving forward,'' the Register reported.

Todd Ament, president of the Anaheim Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement quoted by the Los Angeles Times that "Disneyland's decision to halt development of their fourth hotel is a devastating blow to Anaheim and a direct result of the city's increasingly hostile actions towards our local economy.''

But Anaheim Mayor Tom Tait, who has opposed the subsidy for the hotel project, said Disneyland Resort has the option to build the project without a subsidy from the city.

The hotel was originally proposed for the site of a parking lot on the north end of Disney's property, at 1401 Disneyland Way, The Times reported.

But since the hotel project was announced and the 20-year tax break was approved, Disneyland Resort has changed the hotel location to a larger site within Downtown Disney, a shopping district adjacent to the resort's Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks. The new address, about 1,000 feet south, would be 1601 Disneyland Way.

The ordinance approved by the Anaheim City Council in July 2016 gave the proposed hotel a 70 percent break on the city' transient occupancy tax but specified that the subsidy go to a luxury hotel built at 1401 Disneyland Way, near the north end of the resort -- not for a luxury hotel in the shopping district.

Photo Credit: Heather Navarro]]>
<![CDATA[Sebastian Ridley-Thomas Subject to Sexual Harassment Complaints]]> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 02:51:52 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/215*120/Ridley-Thomas.JPG

Former Assemblyman Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was the subject of two sexual harassment complaints at the time he stepped down from the Legislature last year, according to documents reviewed by the Los Angeles Times and sources familiar with the matter.

Ridley-Thomas, who denied any wrongdoing, went on a few months later to become a professor of social work and public policy at USC. When the junior legislator, the son of Los Angeles County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, abruptly resigned from the Assembly in December, he cited chronic health problems that had necessitated five surgeries in the previous year.

A university source who spoke on the condition of anonymity said USC had found no evidence that Sebastian Ridley-Thomas informed administrators he was under investigation, The Times reported. A background check conducted before his hiring did not identify any red flags, the source said.

USC fired Ridley-Thomas last month amid questions about his appointment and a $100,000 donation to the school from his father' campaign funds.

In a statement to The Times this week, Sebastian Ridley- Thomas' attorney reiterated that his client stepped down from the Assembly solely because of "health reasons.''

"He underwent a number of surgeries and his doctor made it clear that serving in the Assembly was no longer an option,'' Lance Olson said in a statement.

As for the misconduct claims, Olson said: "He categorically denies any accusation, innuendo or conjecture that he conducted himself inappropriately while serving in the Legislature. If anything, he was reserved and always respectful of those around him, be they staff persons, colleagues or the public.''

Sources close to Ridley-Thomas also told The Times he was suffering from health problems at the time of his resignation. Stephen J. Kaufman, an attorney for Mark Ridley-Thomas, said the supervisor remained "convinced his son's decision was a wise one because of the marked improvement in his health.''

According to documents and people familiar with the matter, the two reports of misconduct are under investigation by the Assembly Rules Committee, which is responsible for examining harassment complaints. The complaints are not subject to public review until and unless they are substantiated.

First elected in a 2013 special election at age 26, Sebastian Ridley-Thomas was one of the youngest legislators in the Assembly. He held a significant chairmanship -- the Assembly Committee on Revenue and Taxation. He was also known for his close association with his father. A former state legislator and city councilman, Mark Ridley-Thomas is one of the most influential politicians in Los Angeles, and his connections and donor base repeatedly helped his son at the ballot box. 

Photo Credit: Office of Sebastian Ridley-Thomas]]>
<![CDATA[Pedestrian Injured During Pursuit near Union Station]]> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 01:38:57 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Pedestrian_Injured_During_Pursuit_near_Union_Station.jpg

A pursuit of a stolen vehicle ended with a crash in front of Union Station in Los Angeles. A woman was injured during the pursuit. Beverly White reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on August 15, 2018.

<![CDATA[Inland Empire Teacher's Aide Arrested for Child Pornography]]> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 01:19:11 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Inland_Empire_Teacher_s_Aide_Arrested_for_Child_Pornography.jpg

A teacher's aide at a private Christian school in the Inland Empire was arrested for child pornography. Hetty Chang reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on August 15, 2018.

<![CDATA[Elon Musk's Boring Company Proposes to Build Tunnels to Dodger Stadium]]> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 01:11:52 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Elon-Musk-Dodger-Stadium-tunnel.PNG

Elon Musk's Boring Company is proposing to build "Dugout Loop," a zero-emissions, high-speed underground public transportation system from the Los Feliz, East Hollywood, or Rampart Village neighborhoods to Dodger Stadium.

The proposal drew a public statement from the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday night.

"We were excited when the Boring Company came to us with this project," Tucker Cain, CFO of the Los Angeles Dodgers, said in a statement. "Whether it is flying overhead in an aerial transit system or bypassing traffic through an underground tunnel, we are always looking for innovative ways to make it easier for Dodgers fans to get to a game. We are committed to working with our neighbors and fans as the project moves forward."

The Boring Company insists that its will not interfere with the LA Metro and that the company is coordinating with the Metro on a regular basis to "ensure project compatibility and utility." The proposal posted on the Boring Company's website says that construction on the project will not begin until Metro has "fully approved of the plan."

Per the proposal, a trip to Dodger Stadium will take only four minutes, which is about the length of time it takes to move 20 feet in traffic on the way to Dodger Stadium currently.

For the full Dugout Loop proposal posted by the Boring Company, click here

Photo Credit: Boring Company]]>
<![CDATA[Santa Monica Expands Ban on Single-Use Plastics]]> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 05:19:49 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Pacific+Park+on+the+Santa+Monica+Pier+Photo.jpg

The Santa Monica City Council approved an ordinance to ban a long list of single-use plastics Tuesday night.

Santa Monica expanded its ban beyond plastic straws, which is a ban that has gained popularity in many cities over recent months. The new regulations now also ban utensils, cups, lids, lid plugs, stirring sticks, bowls and the list goes on.

If local businesses want to distribute the aforementioned items to customers, they must be made from marine-degradable material, instead of plastic. Santa Monica, which is a coastal city, is the latest city to take bold measures in an effort to safeguard its coastline from plastic pollution.

"Santa Monica is not the first city to take this step, a number of other coastal cities have done it, including Malibu and Manhattan Beach," says Dean Kubani, assistant public works director and chief sustainability officer for the city. "But we are expanding it beyond what they have done, too."

By expanding the number of single-use plastic items that are banned, Santa Monica is hoping to set an example for other cites -- not only in Southern California but across the nation.

"A lot of cities always look at what Santa Monica is doing," Kubani says. "An example is plastic bag bans. We were one of the first cities to ban plastic bags and then, basically, our ban turned out to be a state-wide ban."

San Francisco and Seattle are among the other cities that have passed full plastic straw bans. Many notable companies, including Starbucks and American Airlines, have also announced efforts to stop offering plastic straws.

For consumers worried about how they will eat their takeout lunches, many eco-friendly alternatives to single-use plastics are starting to hit the market with noticeable popularity. Bamboo utensils and metal straws can be seen for sale in the windows of many shops in Santa Monica and are also popular on e-commerce websites like Amazon. Small pouches that contain a bamboo fork, spoon, knife, chopsticks and metal straw are designed to eliminate the need for single-use plastic utensils by giving customers a personalized pocket-size kit for everyday use. 

In the immediate future, however, Santa Monica's new plastics ban will impact more than 800 businesses, both big and small. According to a statement from the city, the ordinance requirements won't go into effect until January 2019, providing local businesses ample time to get information and assistance from an outreach program created by the city’s Office of Sustainability and Environment.

Photo Credit: Telemundo52]]>
<![CDATA[Underground Transportation to Dodger Stadium]]> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 01:23:04 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Underground_Transportation_to_Dodger_Stadium.jpg

Elon Musk's company is proposing a zero-emissions, high-speed underground public transportation system to Dodger Stadium. Robert Kovacik reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on August 15, 2018.

<![CDATA[Odd Couples: Unlikely Species Form Heartwarming Friendships]]> Thu, 09 Aug 2018 05:25:49 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/dallyandspankypittypiggiessplitcts.jpg

When Kris Gamayo first adopted her pit bull, Moki, she knew easing her into life with her other animals — two guinea pigs — would be a process.

At first, she’d keep Frida and Pandora, the guinea pigs, separated from Moki, before she eventually eased into letting the pittie sniff and lick them while they lie on her lap.

"Three to four months after that, I started putting the piggies down on the ground and just monitored,” she said. “Moki would just sniff and lick them and lay down with them.”

And so began what some might see as an unlikely trio, and the stars of the Instagram account @piggiesandapitty.

“I think I got lucky because Moki is just a sweetheart,” Gamayo told NBC in a phone interview.

Moki was rescued from the streets in November 2015 after she and her owner became homeless. Unable to bring the pit bull with him to a homeless shelter, the man dropped Moki off at an animal shelter.

“He told them if you can’t find someone to adopt her in a month call the shelter and I’ll leave to take her back,” Gamayo added.

Moki was there for almost a month, and the shelter was prepared to call the man to pick her up, when she arrived to adopt her in the eleventh hour.

At the time, Gamayo already had both of her guinea pigs. Frida had actually been adopted earlier the same year from San Francisco Animal Care and Control. And while she was a little anxious at first about the idea of a “bully breed” living with her tiny cavies, Moki’s sweet temperament eased her worries.

“A lot of dogs on the street with their owners are really well behaved because I think they’re with them 24/7; they have a tight bond with them,” she said, attributing Moki’s calm disposition to her time on the streets with her previous owner.

As for the guinea pigs, Gamayo said part of the reason she wanted to adopt them was because she had followed the Instagram accounts of two guinea pig owners, and thought the photos of them dressed up was “so cute."

On adoption, Gamayo said, “I think it’s really important that you go to these shelters and you sit with them on different occasions.”

Before bringing home Pandora the guinea pig, she said she went to the shelter one day to interact with her for a while, then came back again to see her, “to make sure she wasn’t just having a good day.”

She said she did the same thing with Moki the pit bull.

And when it comes to introducing other dogs and guinea pigs, Gamayo said being conscious of their personality and behavior is key.

“I would just make sure that they are sure of their dog's temperament with other animals, not just humans, because that’ll give them an idea of how they’ll react,” she said. “Just always monitor them and take it easy.”

That advice was echoed by Francesca Carsen, the owner of another unlikely pair — Spanky the miniature pony, and Dally the Jack Russell Terrier.

Carsen rescued 8-year-old Spanky when he was two years old. At first, the mini stallion was pretty aggressive, Carsen said, but over time he changed.

“It took a while to train him,” she said. “Anybody that rescues an animal … It’s like dogs; you want to train them to be good citizens and be good with kids and other people.”

In the meantime, Carsen had adopted a 6-month-old Jack Russell Terrier who often watched her train Spanky at her ranch in Washington state.

Tired of being a spectator, one day Dally hopped on a step stool and jumped on Spanky’s back. Carsen had never trained her to do that.

“I was actually rather worried when she first jumped up on him because I thought he might buck her off, so I wasn’t too excited,” she said. 

But, instead, the incident helped bond the pair, and spawned the creation of a modern-day dog and pony show. Carsen taught Dally some commands and now she can jump onto Spanky’s back on call, and without a step stool.

Carsen takes her dog and pony show on the road, performing around the U.S., as well as Canada. They’ve also worked with charities like the Ronald McDonald House. And for those who can’t make it to one of their live shows, Carsen documents the pair's daily activities on their Instagram account @dally_and_spanky

They have books and there’s even a movie being made about the pair, Carsen said.

“Filming should start this fall, so we’re really, really excited about it,” she said. “I’m just excited for everyone to get to know about these amazing animals.”

The movie will be centered around Dally and Spanky’s life, she said — but the script isn’t quite done, so Carsen could not reveal any more details.

Along with Dally and Spanky, Carsen and her partner have cattle, two cattle dogs, several farm cats, 12 big horses and two miniature horses, as well as another dog, named Boots. 

But Dally is protective of Spanky, and barks when even Boots gets too close. "It’s her pony,” Carsen said. “And she loves being up there.” 

The dynamic duo isn't Carsen's only client. She also works with other horses and owners at the equine school Rother Horsemanship in Hunters, Washington.  

Carsen said it's important for people who are interested in adoption to research breeds, what they need and how that suits an owner's lifestyle. She also emphasized the importance of learning more about an animal’s history.

“Most all animals — no matter what’s happened to them — can be changed, for sure, with proper training,” she said.

And when it comes to different species living together, Carsen said she believes most can come to get along.

“I think that these guys really show us that species [that] normally aren’t designed to hang out together, can absolutely get on together,” she added.

Photo Credit: Francesca Carsen; Kris Gamayo]]>
<![CDATA[Man Accused of Molesting, Kidnapping Toddler Appears in Court]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 21:32:22 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Francisco+Diaz.png

A registered sex offender who was attacked by a girl's father and arrested by San Diego police in an alleged kidnapping in Oak Park, faced a judge Wednesday.

Francisco "Frankie" Diaz is accused of entering the 3-year-old's bedroom after breaking the window screen and raping her before taking her to his home two doors away, San Diego police said.

The Deputy District Attorney said Diaz's mother saw him carrying the baby naked from the waist down and returned her to her home.

When officers arrived, Diaz had been injured in an altercation with the girl's father. Her father was in court Wednesday and could be heard crying when details of the case were read.

Diaz pleaded not guilty to five felony charges, including kidnapping, threat to cause death, lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and sodomy with a minor. He is being held without bail.

If convicted he could spend the rest of his life in jail.

Officials who track sex offenders in San Diego County say they knew Diaz was living on the Maple Street, the same street as a school and a park but say he was compliant under the law.

Diaz served four years in state prison for false imprisonment and possession of a controlled substance beginning in 2007. He also had been convicted of misdemeanor charges of molestation involving juveniles. 

When the 46-year-old sex offender was released from custody, he was required to register on the Megan's Law website, which he did.

But when NBC 7 looked on the site's neighborhood map, Diaz did not show up at his Oak Park address.

Attorney Marc Carlos told NBC 7 that is not unusual.

“The more serious ones are listed by address but there are a large number of people who are registered sex offenders who don't necessarily have to do that by law,” Carlos said.

There are three categories or levels of reporting for sex offenders on the Megan’s Law website by full address, zip code and no post at all.

Based on Diaz’s criminal record he was required to give only his zip code.

The San Diego County SAFE Task Force tracks offenders. They told NBC 7 they were aware of Diaz, that he lived across the street from Oak Park Elementary School and that he was compliant prior to his arrest on Saturday.

<![CDATA[Girl's Body Found in Calif. Reservoir]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 17:01:10 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/San-Vicente-Reservoir-081518-blurb.jpg

Search crews looking for a girl missing at San Vicente Reservoir reported finding the child's body Wednesday.

The 12-year-old girl was reported missing Saturday at the Lakeside reservoir that's popular for fishing, water skiing, and personal watercraft use. 

She was wearing a life vest while sitting near the bow of the boat when she fell, officials said. Investigators say as the boat was slowing down, the bow was bouncing and the girl fell into the water. 

The child's life preserver was later found by search teams. 

Late in the evening Tuesday, sonar images located the girl at the bottom of the reservoir, 166 feet below water.

On Wednesday morning, divers were able to retrieve the child and bring her to shore.

Marine Safety Lt. Rich Stropky said the discovery was bittersweet.

The divers were focused on completing the mission to help bring closure to the family, Stropky said.

“This was absolutely a technologically heavy search,” he said. 

Four adults and two children were aboard the boat at the time. It was not powered but moved across the water with the wind and current, officials said.

Shortly after the girl fell in, several adults jumped to find her; one of the adults came back on to the boat to make the 911 call, according to officials.

SDFD lifeguards, San Diego City Public Utilities Department ranger divers and the Lakeside Fire Department helped with the search.

The depth of the reservoir extends beyond 120 feet. At that point, divers said the water becomes murky and there are 15-foot trees and rocks that make searching for the girl a challenge. 

San Diego Fire-Rescue crews deployed sonar devices and remote-operated vehicles. 

The girl was visiting from Canada with several family members, SDPD Sgt. Bryan Brecht said. The couple operating the boat were locals. 

San Diego police towed the boat and launched an investigation into what happened. No foul play was suspected, police said.

The incident was described by James Gartland, Interim Chief of Lifeguards, as a single-vessel accident.

“She was wearing a life jacket,” he said. “The police department is conducting an investigation.” 

Photo Credit: Danielle Radin, NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Woman Convicted of Murder in Gruesome DUI Crash Sentenced]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 20:46:36 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Sanchez-Prelim-121216.jpg

An Oceanside woman who struck a homeless man and continued driving with the man lodged in her windshield before walking home and changing her clothes was sentenced to 15 years to life in prison Wednesday.

Esteysi “Stacy” Sanchez had at least five alcoholic drinks, plus beer, in the hours before her car struck a pedestrian on July 27, 2016.

She was convicted of murder in the second degree, gross vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter while intoxicated and hit and run with death or permanent serious injury in April.

Jack Tenhulzen was walking on the sidewalk of Mission Avenue in Oceanside was struck with such force, the impact stripped him of his clothes and severed his leg. The man's leg flew through the back window and landed on the trunk of the car, police said.

Tenhulzen, 69, bled to death inside Sanchez’s car, which she abandoned on the street near her home.

Sanchez called her boyfriend, walked home and changed clothes. 

In his opening statement, Sanchez’s attorney acknowledged that his client did drive drunk and fled the scene. Attorney Herb Weston told jurors that fatigue, not alcohol, was responsible for the deadly crash.

Sanchez had a blood alcohol level of approximately .22 percent at the time of the collision. That’s almost three times the legal limit of .08 percent.

Photo Credit: NBC 7]]>
<![CDATA[Friends Vow to Rebuild Home for 'Guru on the Mountain']]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 19:19:29 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/08-14-18-Fire.jpg

A community is vowing to help rebuild Bedrock, the unofficial center for serenity, inspiration, and music in a mountain area burned in the Holy Fire.

The 22-acre spot high up in the Cleveland National Forest is where Dan Pritchett's home of 30 years burned in the fire that has been raging since Aug. 6. Pritchett's was among 18 homes destroyed in the 22,986 acre fire. Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, is accused of starting the fire. He labeled the arson charges against him a "lie" in a court hearing Friday.

Pritchett has received support from the Burning Man enthusiasts, doctors, and artists who have made the pilgrimage to the home of the 61-year-old "Guru on the Mountain."

They gathered at his "Venue in the Mountains," under pines and oaks in "The Crater," a DIY amphitheater that was 72 feet in diameter and 8 feet deep. It had a fire pit and a kitchen that was powered by the sun. The fridge was usually stocked with beer, coconut water and food.

"Dan has inspired all of us," said Jared Krystyan, a 30-year-old music producer, whose dad died in a car crash when he was 15 and saw Pritchett as a father figure. "He's always been there. We want to show him the same love that he's always shown us."

Pritchett was in San Francisco getting his pilot's license, but said when he returns to his property on Saturday, he'll start picking up the pieces.The health physicist is moving an Airstream trailer onto the property, will start producing solar power again and begin the process of rebuilding.

Pritchett lost everything in the fire — a bed frame from the 1800s, a NASA flag that had been in space, 14 hang gliders, experimental laser equipment, couches and chairs, a water tank, solar power that he designed, and chickens.

Krystyan said wrote to folks on Facebook, and sent texts and emails to others to help rebuild.

He's put up a gofundme page with the hope of raising $100,000.

He's promised to clean up the site and help rebuild.

Dan's place was special, he said. It was a fun, loving environment.

"It brings together people from all walks of life," he said. "Now I'm hoping it can be like a funeral. I'm hoping it will unite us all in a way that we haven't been united before."

Ian Stone, 47, a Burning Man enthusiast, said he adopted Pritchett as his dad.

"I call him pops. Whatever he needs from me is his."

Photo Credit: Alex Vasquez/NBC4]]>
<![CDATA[Teacher's Aide in Inland Empire Arrested on Child Pornography Charges]]> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 00:46:29 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Brittany-Clark-Child-Pornography-arrest.jpg

A longtime teacher's aide in the Inland Empire was arrested on child pornography charges.

Brittany Clark, 34, of Fontana was arrested for possession and distribution of child pornography, the San Bernardino Sheriff's Department announced Wednesday.

The SBSD said investigators from the Crimes Against Children Division (CAC) found evidence that resulted in interviewing Clark on Monday at the United Christian Academy in Rancho Cucamonga, where Clark was employed as a teacher's aide.

Investigators subsequently placed Clark under arrest for possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography. The teacher's aide was booked into the West Valley Detention Center and bail was set at $100,000.

Clark had been a teacher's aide for eight years and previously also worked at the Water of Life Church in Fontana per the SBSD.

In a related incident, investigators from the Specialized Enforcement Detail (SED) arrested Brett Kuch, 34, of Rancho Cucamonga on Thursday, Aug. 9. Kuch was arrested for possession of child pornography and distribution of child pornography and was being held on $500,000 bail.

According to investigators, Kuck was in a previous dating relationship with Clark.

United Christian Academy Superintendent Tim Hoy sent an e-mail to parents notifying them of Clark's arrest.

In the e-mail obtained by NBC4, Hoy stated, "Investigators have not found any evidence that Ms. Clark had inappropriate photographs of students, or had inappropriate contact with any students during her employment as an aide."

Hoy added, "We are fully supportive of all investigations and prosecutions of crimes against children."

The SBSD is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying any person who may have been victimized by Kuch or Clark. Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact Detective Brian Arias of the Specialized Investigations Division, Crimes Against Children Detail at (909) 387-3615. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call the We-Tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at www.wetip.com.

Clark is scheduled to be arraigned on Thursday. It was not immediately clear if she had a lawyer.

Photo Credit: San Bernardino Sheriff's Department]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: See the Changes Coming to LA Memorial Coliseum]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 13:40:06 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/05-Coliseum.JPG USC is breaking ground on renovations to the historic Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. The Coliseum opened in June 1923 and went on to serve as a stage for the Olympics, two Super Bowls and other NFL battles, Los Angeles Dodgers baseball games, a World Series, a Papal Mass, presidential visits and USC football.

Photo Credit: KNBC]]>
<![CDATA['Want Popsicles': Boy Thanks CA Firefighters With Otter Pops]]> Thu, 16 Aug 2018 04:42:23 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/193*120/boy+otter+pops+holy+fire.JPG

A young boy and his father handed out water bottles and popsicles last weekend to the firefighters battling the Holy Fire in Riverside and Orange counties – a simple gesture to thank the crews who defended their home from the 22,700-acre wildfire. 

The still-burning fire has threatened the Villalobos' Corona home nearly since it erupted in the Cleveland National Forest on Aug. 6 and, while firefighters made progress to contain the blaze last weekend, hot and humid conditions bore down on firefighters from across the state.

The Villalobos family watched in awe as crews with bulldozers cut a containment line to stop the blaze from progressing towards their home. The Holy Fire was 64 percent contained by Tuesday. 

"My son was amazed by the teamwork that took place," said Kevin Villalobos, a retired Riverside County sheriff's deputy.

Villalobos said his sons asked if they could hand out water to the firemen and 8-year-old Aaden Villalobos came up with another idea.

"That is when my son asked, 'Can I share some of my of Otter Pops with them?'"

Two fire trucks loaded with more crews, these from the San Diego area, began to unload in their driveway and walked along their fence towards the burnt area, Villalobos said.

One by one, the eight-year-old perched on a ladder and his father handed the firefighters a water bottle and a popsicle.

'Want popsicles?" "You guys are the best." "Thank you, you guys rock," the Villalobos can be heard saying in a video recorded by the boy's mother, Lori Villalobos. 

As each firefighter passed, they uttered a "thank you" to the family but Lori Villalobos said the gesture was nothing compared to what the crews had done.

"Don’t thank us, that’s nothing. Thank you." 

Photo Credit: Victor Villalobos]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: What You'll Find at the Barris Kustom Garage Sale]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 14:14:32 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/229*120/8-15-2018-barris-garage-sale-main.jpg Classic custom car models, Hollywood memorabilia and box loads of rare and vintage toys will be part of a long-awaited sale of items from the personal collection of custom car-maker and Southern California legend George Barris. The Barris Kustom Garage Sale is Aug. 17-19 at the famed Barris Kustom Shop, located at 10811 Riverside Drive in North Hollywood.

Photo Credit: Again L.A. Estate Sales]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Star Vandalism Suspect Says He Was 'Called' to Action]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 11:13:37 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/209*120/8-15-2018-trump-star-austin-clay.jpg

The vandalism suspect who smashed President Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame to pieces with a pickax pleaded not guilty Wednesday and detailed why he felt compelled to destroy the sidewalk monument.

Austin Clay, 24, of Glendale was charged with a felony count of vandalism in connection with the July 25 case. Officers were called around 3:30 a.m. to the star's location on Hollywood Boulevard near Highland Avenue, where they found a small pile of rubble in place of the star that Trump received in January 2007 for his role in the NBC show "The Apprentice."

Outside of court Wednesday, Clay said he felt compelled to smash the star because of Trump's rhetoric. 

"When I look at the lineage of presidents, I don't think anything about his rhetoric is presidential," Clay said. "There was urgency behind my actions. I feel like I've been called to do what I did." 

He was asked if he'd do it again. 

"I think that somebody else is going to do it," Clay said. "I did my job, so to speak."

Clay reported the crime and turned himself in to Beverly Hills police after leaving the pickax at the scene, according to the Los Angeles Police Department. His attorneys explained Wednesday that Clay doesn't dispute smashing the star. 

"There's been no dispute about the act," said attorney David Pourshalimi. "We dispute whether or not his actions were criminal."

As daylight arrived on the morning of the pickax destruction, Walk of Fame visitors stopped to take pictures of the smashed star and have a closer look. Some visitors kept pieces as souvenirs. 

The Walk of Fame is administered by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which issued a statement.

"The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an institution celebrating the positive contributions of the inductees," said Leron Gubler, President-CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. "When people are unhappy with one of our honorees, we would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways than to vandalize a California State landmark. Our democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property."

This is at least the second time Trump's star has been vandalized in the last two years.

In October 2016, a man dressed as a construction worker smashed the star with a pickax and sledgehammer. James Otis pleaded no contest to felony vandalism in February 2017 and was sentenced to three years probation, 20 days of community service and agreed to pay $4,400 for the damage.

Also in 2016, the star was defaced by spray paint and even surrounded by an artist's 6-inch high wall, a miniature representation of then-candidate Trump's border wall proposal.

Walk of Fame star recipients are selected by a committee that considers hundreds of applications each year. The stars are purchased for $30,000, rather than gifted.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
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<![CDATA[Seventh Inning Scrap: Rivals Clash in Benches Clearing Melee]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 12:43:10 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/182*120/AP_18227170065170.jpg It started with a few words exchanged between LA's Yasiel Puig and Giants catcher Nick Hundley. A benches clearing scuffle erupted at Dodger Stadium during the rivalry game Tuesday night after the face-to-face dispute between the two players at home plate.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Officials Knew Sex Offender Lived Near School, Park]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 17:10:46 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Francisco+Diaz.png

The arrest of a registered sex offender on suspicion of kidnapping and child molestation in San Diego over the weekend has raised questions about the sex offender tracking system.

Officials who track sex offenders in San Diego County say they knew he was living on the same street as a school and a park but say the man was compliant under the law.

Francisco "Frankie" Diaz, the man arrested in the kidnapping of a girl from her family's Oak Park home Saturday, had prior charges, including misdemeanor charges of molestation involving juveniles.

He served four years in state prison for false imprisonment and possession of a controlled substance beginning in 2007.

When the 46-year-old sex offender was released from custody, he was required to register on the Megan's Law website, which he did. But when NBC 7 looked on the site's neighborhood map, Diaz did not show up at his Oak Park address on Maple Street.

Attorney Marc Carlos told NBC 7 that is not unusual.

“The more serious ones are listed by address but there are a large number of people who are registered sex offenders who don't necessarily have to do that by law,” Carlos said.

There are three categories or levels of reporting for sex offenders on the Megan’s Law website by full address, zip code and no post at all.

On August 14, there were 43,808 offenders who were required to post their information and an address, 12,071 who had to post their information and only a zip code and 16,575 who did not need to post at all, according to the website, which updates the numbers regularly. 

Based on Diaz’s criminal record he was required to give only his zip code.

The San Diego County SAFE Task Force tracks offenders. They told NBC 7 they were aware of Diaz, that he lived across the street from Oak Park Elementary School and that he was compliant prior to his arrest on Saturday.

Diaz is accused of kidnapping a 3-year-old child from an open window in the girl's bedroom and taking her to his home two doors away, San Diego police said. 

He was held without bail and scheduled for arraignment Wednesday on allegations of kidnapping, threat to cause death, lewd and lascivious acts with a minor and sodomy with a minor.

“Apparently this individual had complied with all aspects of the laws that were applicable to him,” Carlos said.

Also, NBC 7 checked with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Division of Adult Parole Operations and Board of Parole Hearings with the state, and they said Diaz has completed his parole in 2012 and is no longer under their supervision.

“The public needs to know this particular system this Megan’s law the law system to use has been vetted by the legislature by the district attorneys Association everybody really to come up with a system that works for the most part,” said Carlos.

<![CDATA[Country 'n Critters Rule LA Zoo's 'Roaring Nights']]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 07:59:17 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/084+RoaringNights15+1-Jamie+Pham.jpg

Animals? They may not have twang, as a rule, but several have hang (like those critters that happily swing from branches) and fang (if their teeth are especially pointy) while others boast sang (well, at least they're known for their songs and warbles).

Twang, though, will arrive at one of Southern California's best-known animal parks on the evening of Friday, Aug. 17 when Roaring Nights comes roaring back into the Los Angeles Zoo and Botanical Gardens.

Roaring Nights is the 21-and-over summer series that's all about live music, DJ tunes, food trucks, keeper talks, and sightings of scaly, small, 'n sweet beasties.

Indeed, many of the animals will be asnooze, or soon asnooze, so this isn't an opportunity to stroll the zoo grounds like you might in the daytime. Rather, the sunset-timed to-do is all about seeing keeper talks and in-the-spotlight animals up-close, and learning a lot, too.

The next Roaring Nights, the third of four in the 2018 series, rolls with the aforementioned twang on Aug. 17. Highway Starr brings that country sound, live, while, later on in the event, DJ Johnny Hawkes'll spin songs from all sorts of genres.

A ticket is $21, but, yeah, definitely show with dining cash, and money for a drink, too, if that's your pleasure.

If life is just too life-y at the moment, as in, you've got oodles going on, take heart, animal aficionados of greater SoCal: There's one more Roaring Nights to go, on Sept. 14, the second to last Friday of summer.

That's right: Summer's slipping away, so enjoy your outdoor evenings, tunes, twang, and teeny critter cameos pronto.

Photo Credit: Jamie Pham]]>
<![CDATA[A Mad Tea Party Is Brewing at Muzeo]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 14:45:17 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/tea-generic-teapot-teacup.jpg

It's not every day of the year, or even a decade, that we're able to discuss the great questions of life through a prism of surreal storytelling.

As for speaking in verse? Or wearing gargantuan top hats? Or pinafores and bows? Those delightful things are also somewhat beyond the bounds of everyday life.

But, sometimes, life can journey down a rabbit hole, or through the looking glass, and you can find yourself at the sort of event which encourages all manner of quirky attire and literary know-a-tude and Carroll-esque conversation.

Such an event is brewing, like tea leaves in a fancy teapot, at Muzeo Museum and Cultural Center in Anaheim, a spot that's embraced dress-up opportunities in recent years. And one is ahead, on Saturday, Aug. 25, and the name tells all: We're All Mad Here.

The "Tea Party and Make Believe" party will be placed within the setting the museum's current show, "Ghost Stories and Fairy Tales."

That means over-sized mushrooms and flowers and a "kaleidoscopic multicolored glow" will lend the proceedings panache, fantasy, and beauty.

"Curiouser and curiouser costumes are encouraged!," recommends the museum, so best find your Caterpillar get-up, or a White Rabbit waistcoat and pocketwatch, pronto.

A ticket?

If you're a grown-up, but, of course, a forever fan of fairy tales, your entry to the sweet-filled, tea-tastic gathering is $50. A child's admission is $25.

No need to fall down a rabbit hole, in reality, to reach Muzeo. It's at 241 S. Anaheim Boulevard in the city of Anaheim.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ceremonial First Pitches at Dodger Stadium]]> Wed, 15 Aug 2018 05:55:17 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/173*120/AP_18227126980204.jpg From the adorable Kershaw siblings to a determined looking Danny Trejo and the family of Jackie Robinson, we have a collection of some of the best ceremonial first pitches at Dodger Stadium.

Photo Credit: AP]]>