<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2019 https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California https://www.nbclosangeles.com en-usTue, 25 Jun 2019 17:27:53 -0700Tue, 25 Jun 2019 17:27:53 -0700NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[#Pride50: LGBTQ People Who Are Making the Community Proud]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 14:12:11 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/larissa-hoff-rsz.jpg

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall rebellion, in addition to recognizing 30 contemporary change-makers, innovators and rising stars during Pride Month, NBC News is also honoring 20 veterans of the LGBTQ movement.

Five Angelenos made the list including: Ryan O'Connell — Actor, producer and disability advocate; Asia Kate Dillon — 'Billions' breakout star; Tanya Saracho — Queer Latinx showrunner; Steven Canals — 'Pose' co-creator and writer; and, Patricio Manuel — Barrier-breaking trans boxer. 

Ryan O'Connell — Actor, producer and disability advocate

In addition to being a well-received LGBTQ comedy series, "Special" gave a huge opportunity and platform to a creator with a disability. With Ryan O’Connell in control of the story, he was able to do something on television people may not have seen before. Read more here.

Asia Kate Dillon — 'Billions' breakout star

Asia Kate Dillon, of Showtime's hit series "Billions," is the first nonbinary actor with a starring role on American TV. Now, they're using that platform to introduce the world to the spectrum of gender and advocating for their queer and trans siblings. Read more here

Tanya Saracho — Queer Latinx showrunner

The Starz show "Vida" was always going to be about the "gentefication"— gentrification driven by young, upwardly mobile Latino individuals — but it was the series' showrunner, Tanya Saracho, who decided to place queer actors, crew members and writers at its forefront. The result? "Vida" has been praised by viewers and critics alike for moving beyond buzzwords, pushing past tokenism and caricaturization and revolutionizing queer representation in television. Read more here

Steven Canals — 'Pose' co-creator and writer

In 2018, FX gave us "Pose," a series about a group of complex queer and trans characters or color. The award-winning drama, which is set in the '80s, was the brainchild of Bronx-born writer Steve Canals, who came up with the idea more than 15 years ago. The show has won many awards, including GLAAD Media Awards and Peabody. Read more here

Patricio Manuel — Barrier-breaking trans boxer

Patricio Manuel made boxing history in December, when he became the first transgender male to fight professionally in the United States. The boxing champion grew up in Gardena, just outside of Los Angeles, and first tried the sport when he was barely a teenager. Read more here

Take a look at NBC News' full list here

Photo Credit: Larissa Hoff for NBC News ]]>
<![CDATA[Seven Riverside Hiking Spots Closing for Wildfire Season]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 17:13:43 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ranch+Fire+California+Cal+Fire+AP_18236800653518.jpg

Wildfires are less likely in fire-prone locations if foot and vehicle traffic are reduced.

Riverside County supervisors Tuesday authorized Fire Chief Shawn Newman to close access to seven outdoor recreational locations for the duration of wildfire season to minimize public safety risks.

Since 2007, the fire department has sought and received authorization to close the grounds -- located mainly in the central and southwest portions of the county -- from June to November.

"The potential for large damaging fires occurring this year may be enhanced by the extreme vegetation growth ... throughout Riverside County,'' Newman wrote in a statement posted to the Board of Supervisors' agenda.

Wildfires in each location would be difficult to manage given the sites' terrain and remoteness, according to the fire department.

The following locations fall under the county's closure order, which will take effect Monday:

-- Avery Canyon, along Gibbel Road, east of State Street in southeast Hemet;

-- Indian Canyon and North Mountain in San Jacinto;

-- Minto Way in Sage, north of Aguanga;

-- Nuevo, east of Menifee Road and San Jacinto Avenue;

-- Ramona Bowl and Bautista Canyon, southeast of Hemet;

-- Reinhardt Canyon, north of state Route 74 and California Avenue in Hemet; and

-- Whitewater Canyon, near Cabazon.

By reducing foot and off-road vehicle traffic in each location, the chances of a wildfire starting are much slimmer, according to the fire department.

Closure signs will be posted at entry points to warn potential violators of fines and other penalties. First offenses usually result in a minimum $100 ticket.

People who reside in or near the locations will be permitted to come and go as they please, using public roadways.

The closures are usually lifted at year's end but can be rescinded before then by the chief, depending on the timing of winter rains.

Photo Credit: Noah Berger/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[Mother Arrested After 12-Year-Old Accidentally Shoots, Kills Twin Brother]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 17:21:39 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Mother-arrested-twin-shooting-June-25-2019.JPG

A 12-year-old boy is dead after investigators say he was accidentally shot by his own twin brother in San Bernardino, and the twins' mother has been arrested, authorities say.

Investigators say there were no adults at the home on East Central Avenue when one of the brothers found a gun and pulled the trigger, not realizing the weapon was loaded.

"It's a tragedy; it just shocked the neighborhood," Julio Chavez, a neighbor, says.

"You hear a kid die in our neighborhood...I have a stepson, and he's almost that age," Katherine Chavez, Julio Chavez's wife, says.

The Chavez family has three kids of their own, which is why they say they don't have any guns at home.

"The same reason why I don't (want) my kids trying to think it's a toy and start playing out here with it or something." 

Investigators say the boy found the gun in his parent's bedroom, thinking it wasn't real or loaded and pointed it at his brother. The 12-year-old shot his twin brother in the torso.

Their mother apparently rushed home after hearing what happened and even parked her car the wrong way on Central Avenue.

Neighbors want to know why the kid's had access to the firearm.

"The parents should have been more secure with the gun, (put it) somewhere more safe, so the child wouldn't be able to get it," Eduardo Garcia, another neighbor, says.

Officers arrested the boy's mother, 45-year-old Gabriela Keeton. She faces one count of felony child cruelty causing injury or death.

Neighbors say the shooting is a tragic reminder of why you cant be careless with guns.

"They should have known not to leave the gun lying around," Katherine Chavez says.

Investigators say the boy's father is in the hospital with an unrelated illness.

At this point, it is unclear who is caring for the surviving brother, but police say they have notified Child Protective Services.

Photo Credit: NBCLA]]>
<![CDATA[Deputies End 8-Week Search for Missing 6-Year-Old ]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 16:34:25 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/duke-flores-missing-boy-apple-valley.jpg

The search for a missing child whose mother and aunt, who are twin sisters, were charged with murder ended at an Inland Empire landfill on June 21, more than two months after family members had last seen the boy. 

Duke Flores, a 6-year-old boy who went missing in Apple Valley, was reported missing to authorities on April 25, but Jackee Contreras, Duke's mother, said she had not seen him for two weeks prior to that date.

For eight weeks, the Apple Valley Police Department continued to comb refuse at the Victorville landfill located at 18600 Stoddard Wells Rd., using search dogs, volunteers and employees. 

The department said they had to pore over an estimated 7,000 tons of garbage in the hopes of finding him, but were not successful.

The search eventually turned from the Apple Valley area near the boy's home in the 22000 block of Cherokee Avenue April 29 after authorities received a tip that Duke was put in a dumpster, officials said in a news release. 

Detectives believe the sisters discarded the boy’s body in a dumpster near the family home. 

Jackee Contreras, Duke's mother, and her twin sister Jennifer Contreras, both 29, pleaded not guilty in the boy's death on April 30.

"This is not the outcome we had hoped for," Sheriff John McMahon said. "But we knew going into this search that there was a chance we would not locate Duke. I am extremely proud of the dedication shown by every person who continued to show up day after day, desperately hoping to locate the young boy." 

Both Jackee and Jennifer Contreras remain in custody and are due in court on June 26. 

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Specialized Investigations Division, Detective Narcie Sousa at 909-387-3589 or sheriff’s dispatch at 909-387-8313.

NBC4's Whitney Irick contributed to this report. 

Photo Credit: Apple Valley Police Department
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<![CDATA[Wayfair Employees to Stage Walkout to Protest Sales to Border Camps]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 15:19:11 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_18107749929776-Wayfair-Online.jpg

Wayfair employees are planning a walkout to protest the company's decision to sell furniture to a detention camp for migrant children at the Mexican border, according to multiple reports.

An employee, who did not wish to be named, told The Boston Globe that Baptist Children's Family Services, a charity group that works as a government contractor managing some of the camps along the southern border, placed a $200,000 order for mattresses on June 13.

More than 500 employees upset with the Boston-based company's decision said they co-signed a letter last Friday to address their concerns to Wayfair co-founders Niraj Shah and Steve Conine. The letter asked the company to "cease all current and future business" with Baptist Children's Family Services.

"We believe that the current actions of the United States and their contractors at the Southern border do not represent an ethical business partnership Wayfair should be a part of,” the employees said in the letter.

CNBC said the employees have asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation.

According to The Globe, company executives responded Monday by thanking the employees for bringing the issue to their attention but said as business leaders, they believed in the importance of "respecting diversity of thought within our organization and across our customer base."

Employees are planning a walkout at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Wayfair did not return repeated requests for comment Tuesday, according to CNBC.

Two Democratic members of Congress tweeted their support for the Wayfair employees on Tuesday afternoon.

"Wayfair workers couldn’t stomach they were making beds to cage children. They asked the company to stop. CEO said no. Tomorrow, they‘re walking out. This is what solidarity looks like - a reminder that everyday people have real power, as long as we’re brave enough to use it," U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York said.

"We must actively #resist any & all efforts by this cruel, incompetent administration to cage children and separate families," added U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. "I proudly stand in solidarity w/ the hardworking individuals at #Wayfair who are walking out in the name of #justice & humanity."

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also tweeted her support saying, "I stand with the hundreds of @Wayfair employees who are planning to stage a walkout at their Boston headquarters tomorrow. The safety and well-being of immigrant children is always worth fighting for."

Photo Credit: Jenny Kane/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Watermelon Skiing Has to Be Seed to Be Believed]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 16:43:05 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/ws5-horz2.jpg

Throwing together a succulent dish that involves numerous watermelon chunks?

You can easily do that, if you have two or three ingredients that go well with that joy-bringing, super-juicy football of a fruit.

Carving a watermelon?

Also not too difficult, if you've ever fashioned a jack o'lantern in the fall.

But stepping into two melon "skis" that are comprised of mostly hollowed-out rinds seems like a far more challenging watermelon-based pursuit.

And yet? A number of adventurous souls will step into those squishy shoes, all to see if they can master the art of watermelon skiing, at the annual California Watermelon Festival.

The hydrating high jinks will bloom, like little green orbs on a young vine, at the Hansen Dam Soccer Fields in Lake View Terrace on June 29 and 30, 2019.

Beyond the competitive spirit of the weekend, there shall be plenty of culinary-type events, like a demo of watermelon drinks, watermelon salads, and watermelon pickling.

Oh, and yum, all of those demos include tastings, too.

Speaking of snacking upon good things, there shall be watermelon slices to munch, and there shall be a lot of them, and they will be available all day long, whenever you like, from 10 a.m. to 10 at night.

How many slices can you eat? Have you finished a whole watermelon in your time?

If you're a true-blue, we mean a true-red fan, even biting into the surprise seed can't slow your munching roll in the watermelon department.

Live bands, a Kids' Zone, BMX bike stunts, a costume contest, an appearance by the Guide Dogs of America, and magic are some of the other ways to have a rind, er, fine time.

And hey: There's a melon throne, for photo-opp-ing, if that fruits you.

Suits you, we do mean.

A ticket is $15 for an adult, ten dollars for a child to enter, and parking is ten bucks, too.

Who says you can't ski in the summer? As long as there's grass under your feet and a pair of melons nearby.

Photo Credit: California Watermelon Festival]]>
<![CDATA['Songs of Summer' to Give Back at The Garland]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 12:50:15 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/songsofsummergarland.jpg

Concerts have a way of showing up in surprise locations. 

One minute you're running an errand or waiting in line or rolling your suitcase to your hotel room door and strummmm: Someone is playing a delightful song in your vicinity.

If that third location tempts you — a hotel, which only ever really expresses itself through music via a couple of speakers placed around the lobby — consider making your way to North Hollywood, and The Garland, over three select summer nights.

For Songs of Summer will flower at the panace-packing property's Beverly Park, delivering the tunes, the bites, the beverages, and one we're-all-connected focus: Raising money for charity.

There'll be a nonprofit attached to each night of the series, which will take place over three 2019 Thursday nights: June 27, July 18, and Aug. 15.

Love Stoned is up first, in June, Impuse Country is the July jam, and Midnight Special is the featured August act.

The three organizations that these nights'll raise funds for, respectively? The Village Family Services, weSPARK, and North Hollywood Interfaith Pantry.

Entry is five dollars and parking? It's eight (and, yep, it's self-validated, do note).

And the delish snacks, which'll hail from the hotel's own The Front Yard? Those will be purchase-able, and an array of stylish cocktails will be, too.

It's no surprise, truly, that The Garland has become one of North Hollywood's happening music spots, despite the fact that it is, in fact, a hotel. 

There's actually no "despite" about it, though, for if you've spent a few minutes in the '70s-inspired lobby, you know that The Garland has a solid vintage soundtrack spinning at all times.

Making it a prime place to bask in the Songs of Summer, and the good-feeling-a-tude of giving back to a great line-up of excellent nonprofits.

Photo Credit: Wedding 64 & Associates of Weddi]]>
<![CDATA[Flamin' Foodstuffs to Rock the 2019 OC Fair]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 11:37:03 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/ocTurkey-leg-with-cheese-and-hot-Cheetos.jpg Craving a Hot Cheetos and Cheese Turkey Leg? You're in luck.

Photo Credit: OC Fair]]>
<![CDATA['Her Bark Always Gave Hope': Mexican Rescue Dog Frida Retires]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 17:10:40 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_19175692345366.jpg

After participating in 53 rescue operations, saving a dozen lives and finding over 40 bodies in disaster zones, Frida, the beloved yellow Labrador retriever from Mexico’s Navy unit, has retired.

The Mexican navy celebrated the canine's contributions by honoring her in a ceremony on Monday, as part of the International Rescuers Day.

"Her bark always gave hope, and in moments of pain and uncertainty she brought relief," said Deputy Naval Minister Eduardo Redondo.

The 65 pound and 10-year-old dog was part of rescue operations not only in Mexico but also in Ecuador and Haiti in 2010, after the deadly earthquake in Port-au-Prince. But it wasn’t until September 2017 that she gained international recognition on social media after the Mexican navy posted a video of her. 

In September 2017 two devastating earthquakes shook Mexico just days apart. The second one, on Sept. 19, killed more than 300 people, including 205 in Mexico City, and caused many structures to collapse. Frida assisted in rescue efforts in both disasters that month.

Wearing goggles and neoprene booties, Frida accompanied first responders looking for the children that perished in a school in Mexico City during the earthquake. The images traveled the world and became a trending topic to the point that celebrities like actor Chris Evans shared the video saying “What did we do to deserve dogs?”

Even though she didn’t rescue anyone during the aftermath of the earthquake in Mexico City, first responders agreed that Frida gave hope to people in the country and people watching the disaster from afar. 

"In social terms, this dog functioned like a transitional object because maybe she didn't help us in anything real or concrete — meaning she didn't rescue anyone — but she let us feel like there was hope and that there were things that could help us," Fátima Laborda, a psychoanalyst and director of Casa Grana, a psychological assistance and research organization, told The Associated Press at the time.

Now, her gear has been hung up and members of the Mexican navy awarded their canine fellow with a chew toy for her to play in her upcoming phase.

Frida is expected to move to the countryside and help in the training of the rescue dogs next generation, according to Mexican authorities.

Photo Credit: Rebecca Blackwell/AP]]>
<![CDATA[Experts Warn Census Citizenship Question Could Hurt Blue and Red States]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 09:17:10 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/census5.jpg

In the Corona-Elmhurst neighborhood of New York City's Queens, the sewer grid is at maximum capacity, the schools are overcrowded and sanitation services barely cover the neighborhood’s requirements. The citizenship question on the 2020 census could make confronting these challenges harder should a significant portion of its population go uncounted, and consequently off the radar for infrastructure and services planning.

A high proportion of residents in Corona-Elmhurst are Latino and Chinese immigrants, and even before the Trump administration's focus on cracking down on immigration, many were wary of the government, according to community leaders. 

“Fear is what happened in 2010. People would not answer the door, so, on paper, the neighborhood became a ghost town,” the Rev. William M. Hoppe of the Church of St. Leo said of the previous census.

“The 2010 census says we have 178,000 residents. But we know the number would be a lot more and our services are strained because of that,” added Christian Cassagnol, district manager for the neighborhood’s community board.

The census, which is required by the U.S. Constitution, takes place every 10 years and is used to determine representation in Congress, draw up state legislative districts and distribute more than $675 billion in federal funds annually.

New York City has a history of undercounting because its neighborhoods have a high proportion of hard-to-count residents: undocumented immigrants and young, single people. But experts fear that the citizenship question on the 2020 census will worsen the undercounting not only in New York, but nationwide --with far-reaching damages.

Undercounting will not only hurt the undocumented, or sanctuary cities. It will affect representation and federal funding in many states, including Republican states, as well the capacity of both public and private institutions to plan over the next decade.

This week, the U.S. Supreme Court will be deciding whether it will allow a citizenship question on the 2020 census. If accepted, this would be the first time the question is included in the census since 1950.

The administration’s argument that the question would provide data to assist the Department of Justice in its enforcement of the Voting Rights Act was struck down as a pretext by federal judges in New York, Maryland and California between January and April. During an April 23 hearing at the Supreme Court, conservative judges seemed inclined to accept the question, despite arguments that including the question would hurt the count. Opponents argued that adding the question would not improve the accuracy of the current method used to count non-citizens.

New evidence was discovered after the hearing, which the American Civil Liberties Union notified the court of. The ACLU says that it shows that a Republican redistricting specialist "played a significant role in orchestrating the addition of the citizenship question" in order to give an electoral advantage to "Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites."

The Justice Department has said that the specialist Thomas Hofeller, who died in August, had no role in its request to the Commerce Department to add the question. Hard drives that his daughter discovered after his death included his work on a citizenship question.

In the United States, 43 million people are foreign-born, 45 percent of whom are Latino, and 22 million are non-citizens, according to the American Community Survey of 2016. In addition, the Census Bureau estimates that 11.3 million undocumented individuals are living in the United States (about one in four immigrants).

For New York, the undocumented population is estimated at 560,000, with about 1 million New Yorkers living in a mixed-status household, according to the city

Experts expect the citizenship question to deter more than the undocumented from responding to the census. Trust in government is at a historic low, and the question of immigration has been especially heated since 2016. In this context, “the problem with the citizenship question is that it seems to point in the direction that individuals might say ‘well, I may be outside the law,’” said Joel Perlmann, professor of sociology at Bard College.

Millions of households have at least one undocumented member, and this could lead the whole household to not participate in the census for fear of getting in trouble with the law. Even in cases where everybody in the household is documented, fear of the government's intention could lead people to become uncertain about the legality of their status, Perlman said.

“People have a stereotype about who will be hurt by this,” said Justin Levitt, professor of law at Loyola Law School. “People have been assuming that it will be targeted to the people who don’t answer the census. It’s not. It will affect all of the surrounding communities.”

The most affected will be states where people are most distrustful and fearful of government, and that includes, most prominently, Republican states that have a high proportion of Latinos.

“Texas has been growing like crazy. If the census were correct, it should get three or four more representatives and billions in funding,” Levitt said. But because the vast majority of the state is Latino and many are undocumented, if the question gets approved, Texas as a whole would lose both federal funds and the new seats that would probably have been drawn by Republicans. Republicans would suffer similarly in Florida and the central valley of California, he said.

In Corona-Elmhurst, and in New York City in general, the city government and community districts are preparing to mobilize people to participate in a context that is more difficult than in 2010: with the citizenship question and in a storm of anti-immigrant rhetoric.

The city has allocated $40 million to ensure a full 2020 census count. This includes $14 million to support community-based organizations "whose work is essential to ensuring a complete count of all city residents."

Community Boards have created Census Committees to help in the process. Organizations, such as NYC BLAC for Census 2020, the Brooklyn Community Foundation, and The New York Community Trust, among other local nonprofits, are leading grassroots initiatives. And in Brooklyn, where a large portion of the undercounting took place in the 2010 census, the Brooklyn Borough president, Eric Adams, has launched the Brooklyn Complete Count Committee and the #MakeBrooklynCount campaign.

“We want the number. Just give us a number of how may people live here,” Cassagnol said.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Exhaustive Trash Facility Search Ends With No Sign of Missing Conn. Mom]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 08:39:54 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Horse_Farm_Owner_Remembers_Jennifer_Dulos.jpg

The investigation continues into the disappearance of Jennifer Dulos, a 50-year-old mother from New Canaan, but police said Tuesday morning that their search of a Hartford trash facility for evidence is finished.

Jennifer's husband, Fotis Dulos, and his girlfriend, Michelle Troconis, have both been charged with tampering with evidence and hindering prosecution in connection with her disappearance a month ago and pleaded not guilty.

Jennifer was last seen on May 24 and police are still referring to her case as a missing person's case.

On Monday, Fotis Dulos' lawyer claimed that Jennifer may have staged her disappearance like a character in the book "Gone Girl," citing a "very dark 500-page plus novel" that she had written. 

That prompted a spokesperson for Jennifer's family, Carrie Luft, to dismiss the claim as "false and irresponsible allegations," saying that Jennifer's novel was written well before "Gone Girl" and was not a mystery tome.  

"Trying to tie Jennifer’s absence to a book she wrote more than 17 years ago makes no sense. Evidence shows that Jennifer was the victim of a violent attack in her New Canaan home," the statement said. "As of today, she has been missing for a month. This is not fiction or a movie. This is real life, as experienced every single day by Jennifer’s five young children, her family, and her friends." 

Investigators have spent the better part of the last month searching for clues related to Jennifer's disappearance. As of Tuesday morning, New Canaan police have received more than 950 tips and nearly 80 responses to a request for video surveillance in town. 

State police provided video of them searching inside of the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority trash facility in Hartford. In the video, you can see investigators combing through piles of garbage using rakes, shovels and other tools, including heavy equipment.

A source told NBC Connecticut that troopers were specifically looking for evidence that might have been picked up by a garbage truck and shredded inside the facility days after Jennifer disappeared.

The search at MIRA ended around 7:30 p.m. Monday, according to police.

While that part of the search is over, police said this is a "very active and dynamic investigation" involving dozens of investigators who are committed to finding Jennifer.  

City surveillance cameras captured a man police said matched the appearance of Jennifer's estranged husband Fotis throwing away bags of garbage along Albany Avenue in Hartford the day Jennifer disappeared.

Court documents say authorities have found a kitchen sponge and clothes soaked in Jennifer's blood.

Jennifer's family and friends paid tribute to her in another statement on Friday. It reads in part:

“Many people have asked for more details about Jennifer, as a person, a mom, a friend. Jennifer is brilliant and creative—she graduated with honors from Brown University and earned an MFA in writing from NYU. As a teen, she was a nationally ranked junior squash player,” Luft said.

“Much more important, Jennifer is a deeply genuine person, compassionate and trustworthy. She is also subtly hilarious. She loves silly movies as much as she loves great literature. An avid traveler, she delights in learning about other people and has imbued her five children with this love of discovery. She cares about her children more than anything in the world.”

Jennifer, who moved from Farmington to New Canaan after filing for divorce, was last seen while dropping off her children at school in New Canaan on Friday, May 24. Since Jennifer disappeared, her children have been living with her mother.

Fotis Dulos’ attorney, Norm Pattis, said his client is presumed innocent and should not be kept from those he loves, including his children and his girlfriend.

"We filed a motion this afternoon to clarify whether existing court orders permit him to have contact with Ms. Troconis, and I have filed my appearance in his family case where we will seek visitation with, and custody of, the children," Pattis said Monday.  “We have learned that Ms. Troconis believes in his innocence, and loves him still. We see no reason why the two of them should not be free to live as they see fit."

Dulos was reported missing after she missed several appointments and her friends became concerned when they could not reach her.

As the search continues, police have dedicated a website, FindJenniferDulos.com, and an email address, FindJenniferDulos@newcanaanct.gov, to the investigation. Police have also set up a tipline, 203-594-3544.

<![CDATA[Residents Near Simi Valley Business Park Fire Asked to Remain Indoors]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 11:55:12 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/199*120/fire-simi-valley-june-25-2019.jpg

Residents were asked to remain indoors and nearby businesses were closed Tuesday morning due to a fire at an industrial building in Simi Valley.

The fire was burning at a business park in the 100 block of West Cochran Street. A hazardous materials team responded to the building.

Details about the fire and the building were not immediately available.

An alert from the Ventura County Fire Department asked people in the business park to evacuate the area. Nearby residents were told to shelter in place and close doors and windows.

Early Tuesday afteroon, nearby businesses, including a Costco, remained closed. 

Refresh this page for updates.

Photo Credit: Ventura County Fire Department]]>
<![CDATA[Aspiring Monsters Welcome at Dark Harbor Tryouts]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 10:47:18 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/QMauditionsdarkharbor928390232.jpg

It isn't uncommon, around in Southern California, to suddenly come across someone practicing lines for a role.

You might see a person reciting "I love you, I love you," over and over while seated at a café table, or loudly singing a showtune as they saunter down the street.

Where, though, should you go to polish your scowls and growls and your terrifyingly ghoulish techinique?

As in, the sorts of skills needed to become a monster at Dark Harbor, the Queen Mary's annual falltime fear-tacular?

Well, your home is a primo place, but perhaps you already knew that, and have been groaning and moaning months ahead of the July tryouts.

For, yes, the Long Beach ocean-liner, which has become synoymous with Halloween fun for many revelers, traditionally holds its eerie-est auditions in the middle of summer. 

And that will happen again, aspiring eekers of Southern California, on July 27 and 28, 2019. This time? You'll want to head for the Courtyard by Marriott Long Beach Downtown.

If you this famous maze fest, you know that there are several characters tied to the legends swirling around the storied ocean-liner (yep, there's a captain in Dark Harbor, and a '30s-era starlet, too). 

And you know that the ghostly good time takes a lot of talented and dedicated people to stage.

Are you such a person? Do you delight in Halloween, in making your friends jump, in working hard with a team, and, ultimately, playing memorable monsters?

You'll want to sign up, and watch a behind-the-scenes video, too, to help you find your inner haunter.

The chance to work at a sizeable seasonal event has become a must-do on many Southern Californians' calendars, as it gives Halloween fans the unusual opportunity to explore their fall affections, their devotion to cool costuming and make-up, and their acting prowess, too.

For more on the upcoming auditions, which, really, are just over a month away — eep — sail your own ship to The Queen Mary's Dark Harbor Facebook page now.

Photo Credit: Queen Mary]]>
<![CDATA[Adam Sandler Surprises NJ Kids With Pickup Game of Basketball]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 09:22:53 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Adam+Sandler+Basketball+with+Atlantic+City+Kids+1.jpg

Adam Sandler shocked a bunch of Atlantic City kids Friday when he showed up to play some hoops at a basketball court in the South Jersey beach town.

"I couldn’t believe it,” said Jahmir Campfield, one of the kids at the basketball court. “I wanted to see him in person because he’s mad funny in the movies.”

The comedian and three of his friends stopped by a basketball court on Pennsylvania Avenue in Atlantic City, New Jersey, Friday afternoon before he performed at the Hard Rock casino that night.

"He was like, 'Can I play with you guys?' And we’re like, 'Yeah, sure,'" 12-year-old Jahlil Boston said.

Boston and his group of friends immediately recognized Sandler and took pictures with him on Snapchat.

"I got so excited. I ran to the bench and got my phone and started recording,” another player, Abdul Hawkins, said.

Sandler spent 20 minutes playing hoops with the kids, including some two-on-two games and four-on-four's.

"It’s amazing how he just came to play basketball with us and not like somewhere else,” Hawkins said.

Before he left, Sandler joined the kids for a group photo. He even gave the kids some Hard Rock water bottles.

"Call me so I can come out there and be the funny kid in a movie,” Campfield said he told Sandler before he left.

Photo Credit: Jahlil Boston]]>
<![CDATA[LA Suing FAA Over Changes to Flight Patterns Into LAX]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 04:16:07 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LAX_1200x675_1463637059675.jpg

Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer said Monday that the city of Los Angeles is suing the Federal Aviation Administration due to changes in flight paths of planes flying into Los Angeles International Airport, specifically affecting the areas of Mid-City and central Los Angeles.

Feuer told NBCLA that he's received "hundreds" and "thousands" of complaints about the flight paths. The district attorney said that the goal should be to disperse the flights.

"No community should be particularly unduly burdened by a concentration of these flights," Feuer said.

The city will file the case in the U.S. Court of Appeals, challenging the FAA's recent changes to planes flying into LAX.

Feuer alleges that the FAA's changes were implemented "without proper environmental review or public input" and says the changes represent the latest "failure to address noise and other negative impacts from aircraft overflights in those areas" by the FAA.

The petition also challenges the FAA's recent decision to limit public comment, the statement said.

Said Feuer in a statement, "The FAA made changes to a major flight path over Los Angeles without ever considering the environmental consequences of those actions. Then, the agency sought to curtail public comment on the FAA's own flight procedures website, including compelling members of the public to agree their input on the environmental impacts of proposed flight procedures won't count, as a condition of commenting on those procedures in the first place.

"Those decisions must not stand. We're fighting to give LA residents the chance to engage on a major issue affecting their quality of life, and, ideally, to create opportunities to find real solutions to noise and other concerns. And we're fighting for the American public's right to have their comments on FAA actions actually matter."

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti backed Feuer's decision, "Angelenos should be informed, heard, and presented with options for relief when flight path changes affect their communities. This did not happen when FAA implemented the new North Downwind Arrival flight path — and this lawsuit demands that the agency better engage the public and help protect our residents' quality of life."

Los Angeles City Council President Herb Wesson added, "Since May of 2017, we have been working with city, state and federal officials to mitigate the non-stop disruptions to our constituents created by the FAA's implementation of the NextGen Metroplex program. It's unfortunate that it has come to a lawsuit, but I will do everything in my power to protect my constituents and their quality of life."

Three years ago, the FAA changed flight patterns for aircrafts landing at LAX, including consolidating flight patterns over West Adams and other communities in Mid-City and central LA, causing significant noise and other environmental impacts, according to the city attorney.

In May 2018, the FAA made further changes to the LAX flight arrival pattern but allegedly failed to perform the required environmental review or seek public comment, Feuer said.

Feuer is monitoring the FAA's actions with regard to the anticipated Environmental Assessment for Hollywood Burbank Airport, the arrival procedures for LAX, and in all other respects, the statement said.

The FAA does not comment on pending litigation. But a spokesperson told NBCLA that the agency is sensitive to noise concerns and said, "In pursuing solutions, it is critical we don't solve one community's noise issue by moving it to another community."

<![CDATA[McStay Family Killings Trial: Jury Recommends Death Penalty ]]> Mon, 24 Jun 2019 18:15:42 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Merritt-Mcstay-Family-Killing.jpg

A jury recommended the death penalty Monday for a man found guilty of the murders of a family of four whose bodies he buried in the Mojave desert.

The jury's decision, which was read at 3:45 p.m., comes after Charles "Chase" Merritt was found guilty June 10 on four counts of murder. He was convicted in the killings of his former business associate Joseph McStay, McStay's wife Summer and the couple's 3- and 4-year-old sons.

The jury recommended life without the possibility of parole in Joseph McStay's killing and the death penalty for the murders of Summer and the couple's two children. 

They vanished from their San Diego County home in 2010. Three years later, their bodies were found in shallow graves more than 100 miles away in the high desert north of Los Angeles.

Merritt was arrested in 2014. Authorities said they traced his cellphone to the gravesite area and to a call seeking to close McStay's online bookkeeping account.

Merritt killed the McStays because he was embezzling thousands of dollars from Joseph McStay's custom fountain business, prosecutors said. 

After the McStay family disappeared, authorities found bowls of uneaten popcorn at their San Diego County home, which had no signs of forced entry, and their car parked at a strip mall near the Mexican border.

When their bodies were found in 2013, authorities also unearthed a rusty sledgehammer that they said was used to kill the family.

Merritt's attorneys said the two men were best friends and investigators overlooked another possible suspect in the killings.

Instead, they said, authorities zeroed in on an innocent man.

Photo Credit: NBC 7
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<![CDATA[Dashcam Captures a Confrontation Between SUV Driver and Motorcyclists]]> Tue, 25 Jun 2019 09:49:45 -0700 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/Biker-incident-June-24-2019.JPG

A father says he was with his family on his way to a Father's Day picnic in Trabuco Canyon when a group of motorcyclists blocked the road and appeared to be enraged, with the interaction caught on dashcam video.

Lee Vogel says he was making a right turn, and he was certain the motorcyclists saw him. He believed he had the right of way, but in the video, it appears that both sides thought they had the right of way.

Vogel says he always has his dashcam on.

As he attempted to go around the motorcyclists, one motorcyclist blocks the vehicle and gestures obsenely at him before punching the hood of Vogel's car.

"She pounds my hood first...and then she punches my light," Vogel says.

Vogel says his girlfriend and their 6-year-old daughter were in the car with him.

"Hey, hey, my kid is in here," Vogel can be heard saying.

Vogel says he was trying to leave to get to safety.

"My daughter was getting extremely scared," the father says. "It was one of those moments where a lot of people are surrounding your vehicle at once. And you're really not sure what’s about to happen next."

Vogel says it started after he turned right onto El Toro Road, just as the motorcyclists were merging on from Cook's Corner Bar. Vogel honks, and that's when the stop-and-go between them began.

At one point, Vogel's car appears to tap the motorcycle, which only escalates the situation.

"I was unable to move my vehicle, and the entire time, she's screaming at me to move," Vogel says.

The father says he's not sure he'll press charges. For now, he's just grateful his family is safe.

Vogel says, "Dashcams exist you can't get away with things like that. You can't intimidate people just because you ride something loud on two wheels."

Photo Credit: NBCLA]]>