<![CDATA[NBC Southern California - Top Stories]]>Copyright 2017https://www.nbclosangeles.com/news/top-stories http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC4_40x125.png NBC Southern California https://www.nbclosangeles.comen-usTue, 12 Dec 2017 08:31:39 -0800Tue, 12 Dec 2017 08:31:39 -0800NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[LAPD Officer Pinned Between Two Vehicles After Crash]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 08:15:31 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/dui+driver+hits+lapd+officer.jpg

A Los Angeles Police Department officer was hospitalized Monday after a suspected DUI driver struck the officer and another vehicle on the 405 Freeway.

The officer pulled over a motorist for speeding at 11:47 p.m. near Santa Monica at the time of the crash, according to the California Highway Patrol. The suspected DUI driver then crashed into the officer's cruiser, which caused him to be pinned between the vehicle the car of the motorist he pulled over.

The crash shut down all northbound freeway lanes that are south of Santa Monica Boulevard. As of 5:30 a.m., the carpool lane and first lane were opened.

A second car crash temporarily closed all lanes of the southbound 405 Freeway. Police speculated that the crash was caused by rubbernecking. As of 5 a.m., all southband lanes reopened.

The officer suffered a major leg injury, but is expected to survive. The driver was arrested for possibly driving under the influence.

NBC4's Karla Rendon contributed to this report.

Photo Credit: LoudLabs News]]>
<![CDATA[NFL Network Suspends Faulk, 2 Others Over Allegation]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 03:21:10 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NFLAP_17257826351257.jpg

The NFL Network suspended Pro Football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk and two other former NFL players-turned-analysts on Monday, after they and a former network executive were alleged to have sexually harassed a female colleague.

Faulk and fellow on-air analysts Ike Taylor and Heath Evans, along with former executive producer Eric Weinberger and former network analysts Donovan McNabb, Warren Sapp and Eric Davis, were named in an updated lawsuit against NFL Enterprises by Jami Cantor, a former wardrobe stylist for the network.

An amended complaint in the lawsuit, originally filed in October in Los Angeles Superior Court, accuses Faulk and Evans of having groped Cantor while she was at the network, while it accuses Taylor and McNabb of having sent her sexually inappropriate communications.

NBC News reached out to Faulk, Taylor, Evans, McNabb, Weinberger and Davis for their responses to the allegations and was attempting to reach Sapp.

Photo Credit: Frank Victores/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA["Spots" the Kitten Returns Home]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 04:20:34 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Spot_the_Kitten_Returns_Home_After_Being_Thrown_Into_Street.jpg

The kitten who was thrown into a a street by an Ontario teenager in a disturbing Snapchat video is now home and recovering from a broken leg.

<![CDATA[Three Strange Moments From Roy Moore's Election-Eve Rally]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 08:24:52 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/roy-moore-elecciones-alabama-martes.jpg

That time in 2017 when political testimonials include a brothel in Vietnam and love for your Jewish attorney. 

Senate candidate Roy Moore's final campaign event Monday on the eve of Alabama's special election produced a trio of eyebrow-raising moments that caught fire on social media.

Moore's surrogates, speaking from what Al.com described as a barn-style building in Midland City, championed their candidate in sometimes unorthodox ways. Let's roll the tape: 

The Brothel Story
Bill Staehle, who served with Moore in Vietnam, recalled from the stage an experience with another officer who had invited the pair to a "private club" to celebrate his last night in the country. 

"He took us to this place which turned out to be a brothel," Staehle said. "We walked inside. I could tell you what I saw, but I don't want to. It was clear to us what kind of place this was." 

He went on to describe the place. 

"There were certainly pretty girls and they were young," Staehle said. "Some were probably very young." 

Moore has been accused of sexual misconduct with teenage girls when he was a prosecutor in his 30s. He has denied all allegations.

Staehle said that Moore told him, "we shouldn't be here. I'm leaving." 

Both left in the other officer's Jeep. 

"That was Roy - honorable, disciplined, morally straight and highly principled," Staehle said. 

The Jewish Attorney
Roy Moore's wife Kayla fought back against claims that her husband was anti-Semitic after suggesting during the campaign that George Soros, a liberal billionaire and Holocaust survivor, was going to hell. 

"Fake news would tell you that we don’t care for Jews," Kayla Moore said. "I tell you all this because I’ve seen it all and I just want to set the record straight while they’re all here." 

She proceeded to outline the case. 

"Well, one of our attorneys is a Jew," Moore said, adding heft to her pronunciation of Jew. "We have very close friends who are Jewish and rabbis and we also fellowship with them.” 

Moore earlier noted friendships with black people and touted that her husband appointed the first black marshal to the state Supreme Court. 

Steve Bannon's Education Swipe
The pro-Moore barnstorm also featured former White House strategist Steve Bannon, who argued that Tuesday's election is a referendum on President Donald Trump's agenda. 

His comments about MSNBC's "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough may have stepped on the message. 

Bannon mocked the former GOP Florida congressman by saying that he had gotten into better schools — Georgetown and Harvard. 

It turns out Scarborough graduated from the University of Alabama. So did Bannon's guy Roy Moore, who graduated from the University of Alabama School of Law. 

Scarborough didn't let the gaffe go unanswered. 

Meanwhile, Moore's Democratic opponent Doug Jones held his final rally on Monday. It featured Alabama native Charles Barkley, who also delivered a notable moment on the trail. 

"I love Alabama, but at some point we've got to draw a line in the sand and say, 'We're not a bunch of damn idiots,'" Barkley said.


Comcast is the parent company of both MSNBC and this station.

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Smoke and Fire From Above: Wildfire Images From Space]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:29:23 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/12-08-2017-nasa-smoke-wildfire-california-socal_fires_363a6066.jpg NASA is tracking wildfires globally, offering a view from high above Earth that reveals the scope and size of major fires, some of which produce smoke plumes that stretch for miles.

Photo Credit: NASA/Randy Bresnik]]>
<![CDATA[Trump Attorney: FBI, DOJ Conflicts Need 2nd Special Counsel]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 08:17:19 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/AP_17202179082816-Jay-Sekulow.jpg

A member of President Donald Trump's legal team said Tuesday that it's time to create a second special counsel to start investigating the FBI and Department of Justice, NBC News reported.

Jay Sekulow confirmed his remarks, which were first reported by Axios, in which he said the DOJ and FBI can no longer ignore the "multiple problems" created by "obvious conflicts of interest" while a special counsel investigates allegations of collusion between Russia and Trump's presidential campaign. Robert Mueller, a former FBI director, began leading that federal probe in May.

"These new revelations require the appointment of a special counsel to investigate," Sekulow said. He said the call for another special counsel "has nothing to do with Bob Mueller or Mueller's team."

Sekulow's comments come after a senior Justice Department official was demoted in the wake of a report that he met with a private intelligence firm collecting anti-Trump opposition research and a top FBI agent was revealed to have been reassigned for potentially sharing personal texts that were critical of Trump

Photo Credit: Steve Helber/AP, File]]>
<![CDATA[$5K Reward Offered for Dog Missing During Creek Fire]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 04:03:00 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/taco+the+missing+frenchie+creek+fire.jpg

The fire captain of the Little Tujunga station and his girlfriend are offering a $5,000 reward to anyone who finds their missing dog, "Taco," since the pooch went missing during the destructive Creek Fire.

Fire captain Joel Gonzalez and Cristina Lorenzo were out of town when the Creek Fire began to scorch parts of Angeles National Forest in Sylmar.

The couple was about to board a plane back to California when Gonzalez’s brother, who was dog-sitting Taco, called to tell inform them of the devastating news on Dec. 5. Gonzalez’s brother was forced to evacuate while he was watching the pup, who ran off.

Taco is described as an "important member of our fire family." Since his disappearance, Gonzalez and Lorenzo organized a search party, but said the fog has made it difficult to find their missing dog.

A search and rescue team event has been organized for 1 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 16 at 12560 Filmore St. in Pacoima.

Taco was last around 3 a.m. at the 7-Eleven in the 11000 block of Sunburst Street in Lake View Terrace. His coat is described as brindle with white markings on his forehead and chest.

Anyone who has seen Taco is asked to contact Gonzalez and Lorenzo with this Instagram account.

Photo Credit: Cristina Lorenzo]]>
<![CDATA[Neighbors Work Together, Save Dozens of Homes from Fire]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:41:28 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*152/three+muskateers.jpg

Three people are being credited with saving an entire neighborhood in the devastating Lilac Fire that destroyed more than 100 homes when it sparked Thursday.

Don Philippbar, his stepson Todd Smith and his neighbor Cathy Orchard will not be forgetting the Lilac Fire anytime soon. 

"It was pretty crazy, my heart’s beating right now just thinking about it," said Smith.

Instead of evacuating, the three saved their neighborhood.

"I was talking to Don and I said, 'God, I feel like the Three Musketeers out here,'" Orchard said with a laugh.

Together they ran from house to house putting out hot spots after a home nearby caught fire and sent embers flying into the sky.

One ember landed on their 80-year-old neighbor's back door.

"That was lit on fire so I took the garden hose, just hosing that thing down, and just kept hosing it down," said Philippbar. "And then I'm running down getting other spot fires on the next couple of houses."

They used garden hoses along with old hoses from when Orchard was a fire chief in Monterey Park.

Philippbar was also at one time a firefighter.

"I remember a friend of mine who's an attorney, he said, 'Why do you stay?'"  recalled Orchard. "And I said, 'Because I know what I'm doing.' I wouldn't go into court and pretend I'm a lawyer. So people shouldn't pretend they’re firefighters if they don't know what they're doing."

Even the ground next to the fire hydrant was burned to a crisp.

The three demonstrated the saying, "All for one, and one for all," and in the process, became heroes for their hometown. 

"I have no doubt that my house would've burned down if we weren't out here," Orchard said.

The three combined have dozens of years of both firefighting and military experience.  

<![CDATA[At a Glance: Southern California Wildfires]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:23:39 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/201*120/thomas-fire-new-121117.png

Some Southern California wildfires that ravaged the region the previous week are reaching containment, allowing residents to return to their neighborhoods and begin the lengthy process of rebuilding.

While several blazes are at or near containment, the catastrophic Thomas Fire is still proving to be a force, burning hundreds of thousands of acres and forcing evacuations. 

Here are the statuses of each fire:

Thomas Fire

  • Acres Burned: 231,700
  • Containment: 20 percent
  • Location: Santa Barbara County, Ventura County
  • Date Began Burning: Monday, Dec. 4, 6:28 p.m.
  • Structures destroyed: 868

Lilac Fire

  • Acres Burned: 4,100
  • Containment: 80 percent
  • Location: San Diego County
  • Date Began Burning: Thursday, Dec. 7, at 11:15 a.m.
  • Structures destroyed: 182

Creek Fire

  • Acres Burned: 15,619
  • Containment: 98 percent
  • Location: San Fernando Valley region of Los Angeles County
  • Date Began Burning: Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 3:44 a.m.
  • Structures destroyed: 63 homes, 60 outbuildings

Rye Fire

  • Acres Burned: 6,049
  • Containment: 93 percent
  • Location: West Valencia in Los Angeles County
  • Date Began Burning: Tuesday, Dec. 5 at 11:31 a.m.
  • Structures destroyed: 6

Liberty Fire

  • Acres Burned: 300
  • Containment: 100 percent
  • Location: Riverside County
  • Date Began Burning: Thursday, Dec. 7, 1:15 p.m.
  • Structures destroyed: 7

Skirball Fire

  • Acres Burned: 422 
  • Containment: 98 percent
  • Location: Brentwood area of Los Angeles County
  • Date Began Burning: Wednesday Dec. 6 at 4:52 a.m.
  • Structures destroyed: 6

See detailed information about Southern California wildfires here.

Photo Credit: KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[LIST: Largest California Wildfires]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 06:33:15 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/186*120/90246169.jpg

The list below shows the locations of California's 10 largest wildfires.

Each fire includes the cause of the fire, date, location, acres burned, number of buildings damaged and fatalities. The data was compiled by Cal Fire and does not include fires before 1932, when less reliable records were available. 

The list includes all fires in California, regardless of whether they were under local, state or federal agencies' responsibility.

Note: The complex of deadly wilfires burning in Northern California are not included in this list. Taken as a whole, the October Fire Siege burned at least 245,000 acres in several counties.

1. Cedar

Cause: Human Related
Date: October 2003
Location: San Diego County
Acres: 273,246
Structures: 2,820
Fatalities: 15

2. Rush

Cause: Lightning
Date: August 2012
Location: Lassen County
Acres: 271,911 California/43,666 Nevada
Structures: None
Fatalities: None

3. Rim

Cause: Human Related
Date: August 2013
Location: Tuolumne County
Acres: 257,314
Structures: 112
Fatalities: None

4. Zaca

Cause: Human Related
Date: July 2007
Location: Santa Barbara County
Acres: 240,207
Structures: 1
Fatalities: 0

5. Thomas

Cause: Undetermined
Date: December 2017
Location: Ventra, Santa Barbara counties
Acres: 231,000
Structures: At least 800
Fatalities: 1

6. Matilija

Cause: Undetermined
Date: September 1932
Location: Ventura County
Acres: 220,000
Structures: 0
Fatalities: 0

7. Witch

Cause: Powerlines
Date: October 2007
Location: San Diego County
Acres: 197,990
Structures: 1,650
Fatalities: 2

8. Klamath Theater Complex

Cause: Lightning
Date: June 2008
Location:Siskiyou County
Acres: 192,038
Structures: 0
Fatalities: 2

9. Marble Cone

Cause: Lightning
Date: July 1977
Location: Monterey County
Acres: 177,866
Structures: 0
Fatalities: 0

10. Laguna

Cause: Powerlines
Date: September 1970
Location: San Diego County
Acres: 175,425
Structures: 382
Fatalities: 5

Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee Dies at 65]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 08:12:34 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/Ed+Lee00000004.jpg

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee died early Tuesday morning at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, his office announced. He was 65 years old.

The office didn't immediately explain what Lee died of at 1:11 a.m., and had not previously announced any illness. Lee's "family, friends and colleagues were at his side," his office said. 

Former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown said Lee died of a heart attack, but that point has yet to be confirmed by Lee's office. 

San Francisco Board of Supervisors President London Breed became acting mayor of the city, per the city charter.

Breed held a brief news conference at the hospital Tuesday morning just hours after Lee's death, confirming "with profound sadness" that Lee died and that she stepped into his role.

A second media availability with Breed and other city officials was set for Tuesday at 10 a.m. at City Hall.

[[463650103, C]]

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Anita, his two daughters, Brianna and Tania, and his family," the office wrote in its news release.

Lee was San Francisco's 43rd mayor and its first Asian-American mayor, taking office in January 2011 to serve out Gavin Newsom's term after Newsom was elected lieutenant governor of California. He had been San Francisco's city administrator.

He won an election for mayor in 2011 and was re-elected in 2015.

It is the first time since 1978, when Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk were assassinated, that a successor is taking over the office of San Francisco mayor. Supervisor Dianne Feinstein became mayor, the first woman to hold the office, and is now California's senior U.S. senator.

Lee was born in Seattle and attended Bowdoin College and Boalt Hall School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. He was a housing activist and civil rights attorney.

The city's website credits him with overseeing San Franciso's "most successful economic expansion in City history," having added 140,000 jobs and more homes to the housing market than any other mayor in the city's history.

Still, under Lee's tenure the city has grappled with the high cost of living amid San Francisco's tech boom.

During his 2012 inaugural address, Lee spoke of the need to embrace technology even when it causes disruption, then pulled out his smartphone to send a tweet mid-speech.

"That's a little disruption," Lee said after tweeting an infographic of the city's jobs numbers. "But it show how important, I think, innovation and technology are to reforming our government and building our future."

Photo Credit: NBC Bay Area]]>
<![CDATA[Calif. Sex Offender Arrested in 1980 Rape, Murder of 14-Year-Old Girl]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:52:36 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/bacom-suzanne-1211.jpg

A convicted rapist was arrested Monday in the 1980 abduction, rape and killing of a teenage girl, Antioch police said. 

The killing had been the oldest open cold case homicide on record in the East Bay city. 

At about 5 p.m., Mitchell Lynn Bacom, 63, was taken into custody in the June 1980 murder of 14-year-old Suzanne Bombardier, who had been taken in the middle of the night from her sister's home in Antioch, police said. She had been missing for five days before her body was found in the San Joaquin River, near the Antioch Bridge.

The cause of death was determined to be one stab wound to the chest that penetrated her heart, police said. Evidence at the time indicated she had been sexually assaulted.

Bacom was identified as the suspect through DNA testing, police said. He is being held on charges of murder, kidnapping, rape and oral copulation.

Since Suzanne's death, Bacom has been convicted twice on sex-related crimes and other felonies: in Iselton in 1981 and in Contra Costa County in 2002. Before Suzanne's death, he had been convicted of rape and other felonies in Mountain View in 1974.

Photo Credit: Antioch PD]]>
<![CDATA[Suspected DUI Driver Creates Domino Effect of Car Crashes]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:32:40 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/200*120/suspected+dui+driver+crash+in+whittier+domino+effect.jpg

Sparks flew as an overturned car driven by a suspected DUI driver crashed into a parked vehicle Saturday and created a domino effect in Whittier.

The caught-on-camera crash scared residents of a nearby apartment complex as they wondered what the loud sound from the accident was.

"Sounded like a train derailing and a real loud, strong boom," Gianni Cortez, a nearby resident, said. "It actually shook like an earthquake in my bedroom,"

The impact’s force was so strong that one parked car crashed into the next in a domino effect. The suspected DUI driver’s car stopped only because it hit a utility pole.

Residents from the apartment complex rushed to pull the driver out of the wreckage as a "large amount" of empty beer bottles fell out of the car.

"She was out of it, very out of it," Cortez said.

The driver was hysterically crying out for her baby, but no infant was in the vehicle and she did not look visibly pregnant.

Pedestrians were by the site of the crash when it happened and the driver nearly hit Sarah Cortez.

"I was in shock," she said. "I was super scared."

Norwalk sheriff’s deputies responded to the crash and transported the driver to St. Francis Medical Center, where she was treated for moderate injuries. She was then arrested for driving under the influence.

Miraculously, no one was seriously hurt.

Photo Credit: Gianni Cortez]]>
<![CDATA[56 Dems Ask House to Investigate Trump Sexual Misconduct]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:11:26 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/demsGettyImages-874578160.jpg

Over 50 Democratic lawmakers on Monday asked the House oversight committee to investigate sexual misconduct allegations made against President Donald Trump.

The Democratic Women’s Working Group wrote that the country deserves "a full inquiry into the truth of these allegations" in a letter to committee chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., and ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md.

“At least 17 women have publicly accused the President of sexual misconduct,” said the letter, which was signed by 56 lawmakers. “We cannot ignore the multitude of women who have come forward with accusations.”

The letter added that Trump should be allowed to present evidence in his own defense. 

In a tweet Tuesday morning, Trump denied he knows or ever met his accusers: "Despite thousands of hours wasted and many millions of dollars spent, the Democrats have been unable to show any collusion with Russia - so now they are moving on to the false accusations and fabricated stories of women who I don’t know and/or have never met. FAKE NEWS!"

Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images, File]]>
<![CDATA[Trump on NYC Subway Bombing: 'End Chain Migration']]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 23:45:51 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/NYC+explosion.jpg

President Donald Trump said in a statement that Monday's underground explosion near Manhattan's Port Authority Bus Terminal "highlights the urgent need for Congress to enact legislative reforms" on immigration.

In the statement issued just before 5 p.m., the president said Congress needs to end what he called "chain migration" and increase immigration security after police said Akayed Ullah -- a 27-year-old man of Bangladeshi descent with a last known address in Brooklyn -- detonated a crude explosive device in the tunnel between the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the Times Square/42nd Street subway station about 7:15 p.m. Monday. 

"First and foremost, as I have been saying since I first announced my candidacy for President, America must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access our country," Trump said in the statement.

Ullah is not a U.S. citizen but had attained permanent residency. He came to the country on Feb. 21, 2011, on a F43 family immigrant visa. A Department of Homeland Security spokesman said he benefited from "family chain migration."

"Today’s terror suspect entered our country through extended-family chain migration, which is incompatible with national security," Trump said in the statement.

The president, who often takes to Twitter after terror attacks, has yet to tweet about Monday's explosion.

After Halloween's attack in Tribeca that left 8 people dead, the president likewise zeroed in on immigration, tweeting that he wanted to end the diversity visa lottery program that suspect Sayfullo Saipov used to enter the country.

Read the president's full statement below:

Today’s attempted mass murder attack in New York City—the second terror attack in New York in the last two months—once again highlights the urgent need for Congress to enact legislative reforms to protect the American people.

First and foremost, as I have been saying since I first announced my candidacy for President, America must fix its lax immigration system, which allows far too many dangerous, inadequately vetted people to access our country. Today’s terror suspect entered our country through extended-family chain migration, which is incompatible with national security. My Executive action to restrict the entry of certain nationals from eight countries, which the Supreme Court recently allowed to take effect, is just one step forward in securing our immigration system. Congress must end chain migration. Congress must also act on my Administration’s other proposals to enhance domestic security, including increasing the number of Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers, enhancing the arrest and detention authorities for immigration officers, and ending fraud and abuse in our immigration system. The terrible harm that this flawed system inflicts on America’s security and economy has long been clear. I am determined to improve our immigration system to put our country and our people first.

Second, those convicted of engaging in acts of terror deserve the strongest penalty allowed by law, including the death penalty in appropriate cases. America should always stand firm against terrorism and extremism, ensuring that our great institutions can address all evil acts of terror.

Photo Credit: AP/Andres Kudacki]]>
<![CDATA[LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball Turn Pro, Heading to Lithuania]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 23:09:05 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/LaMelo-Ball-Lithuania-Liangelo-Ball.jpg

On Monday, LaMelo Ball and LiAngelo Ball, the younger brothers of Los Angeles Lakers point guard Lonzo Ball, turned professional and agreed to contracts with Lithuanian first division basketball club Prienu Vytautas, first reported by ESPN.

Nineteen-year-old LiAngelo Ball recently gave up his UCLA scholarship after a shoplifting incident in China left him, along with two teammates, suspended from the team indefinitely. The incident occurred during the team's preseason tour in China and caused an international media frenzy, including multiple tweets from the President of the United States directed at the father of the family, LaVar Ball.

In addition, President Donald Trump claimed to have spoken to his Chinese counterpart and publicly asked for gratitude for helping in the release of the three basketball players involved, which included LiAngelo Ball. While the players thanked the president for his efforts, LaVar Ball refused to offer any gratitude, and that led to angry tweets from the president and a prime time CNN appearance for LaVar Ball.

LaVar subsequently went on to announce that LiAngelo Ball would not be returning to UCLA, and UCLA coach Steve Alford released a statement acknowledging the decision by LiAngelo and his family. Even before the indefinite suspension, LiAngelo Ball did not figure to play heavy minutes for the Bruins.

Prior to the media attention over the shop lifting incident, LaVar Ball had already pulled his youngest son, LaMelo Ball, out of Chino Hills High School. On Monday, the 16-year-old LaMelo Ball turned professional as a basketball player and gave up his future commitment to UCLA and his amateur status in the process. Considering he already had a signature shoe, LaMelo Ball's eligibility would have forced the NCAA to ask tough questions in a couple years, but the decision to go to Europe solved the potential headache for college basketball administrators.

While the practice of athletes turning professional as minors is common in Europe, the practice is literally and figuratively foreign to American sports culture. With the exception of a standout soccer player like US Mens National Team star Christian Pulisic, underage American athletes almost never turn professional and move to Europe.

In terms of basketball players, the practice of sending an underage player to develop in Europe is unheard of and would normally make little sense when considering the end goal is to play in the NBA, which is based primarily in the United States, with one team in Canada.

"They are excited to be playing on the same team," a tweet from the Official Big Baller Brand account confirmed the early report from ESPN. The tweet also showed both brothers signing their professional contracts.

LiAngelo Ball can enter into the 2018 NBA Draft, but the general consensus is that the middle brother in the family has almost no shot of hearing his name called among the 60 players selected to join the NBA annually. As such, the move to Europe did not come as a shock for the ephemeral UCLA Bruin.

LaMelo Ball would not be draft eligible until 2020, so his decision to give up his amateur status and play in Europe for the next three seasons is unexpected. If all goes according to plan for the youngest of the brothers, he would hear his name called at age 18 and play his first NBA game at age 19. While the decision to send LaMelo Ball abroad may not work out, it is also undoubtedly revolutionary.

More than likely, the desire to keep the two siblings together and guarantee playing time for the two teenagers played into why the family chose Prienu Vytautasi, which is based in a Lithuanian city with a population of fewer than 10,000 people.

The City of Los Angeles counts nearly four million residents based on the 2016 Census, and to underscore the dramatic shift in backdrops, Pauley Pavilion, where UCLA plays its home games, holds over 12,000 people.

The Balls' new home arena holds a total of 1,700 seats, with 500 of those reserved for sponsors according to ESPN. Tickets cost 5 Euros, though that price could jump if the Balls attract the same level of fans in Lituania as they do in New York or Los Angeles.

"It's not about money for the Ball Brothers," that same Big Baller Brand tweet read.

Johnatan Givony of Draft Express offered further perspective on the financial implications when he shared that salaries for players at the level the Balls would be playing would not exceed $500 per month.

Possibly, LaVar, LiAngelo and LaMelo chose to play in Lithuania because the country's name starts with the letter "L". More likely, the decision to join the fledgling club in Eastern Europe has to do with guaranteeing playing time and keeping the siblings together.

ESPN also reported that the two Ball brothers are meant to move to Europe in January.

Photo Credit: Getty Images for Crosswalk Produ]]>
<![CDATA[California Chief Justice Confirms Investigation of Judge]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 20:07:44 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/169*120/AP_17075662641690.jpg

A California court hired a firm to investigate complaints against a state appellate court judge, California's chief justice said Monday.

Tani Cantil-Sakauye said during a meeting with reporters that the 6th District Court of Appeal based in San Jose sought legal advice from the policymaking body of the state court system and hired a firm to look into allegations against Justice Conrad Rushing, who served as the 6th district's head judge.

The San Jose Mercury News reported last week that a confidential report commissioned by the judiciary concluded in May that over the previous decade, Rushing had looked at nude images of women in his chambers and made overly personal comments about female employees' appearance, attire and bodies. The report also found that Rushing treated male attorneys who worked for the court more favorably than female attorneys, according to the Mercury News.

Rushing retired on Oct. 31, and Cantil-Sakauye said the investigation into his behavior has been resolved. The Associated Press could not immediately locate a phone number for Rushing.

Cantil-Sakauye said the investigation was protected by attorney-client privilege, so she was not aware of its findings. Rushing's letter informing her that he was leaving the bench came as a "surprise," she said.

The chief justice spoke about Rushing's case during a broader discussion about sexual harassment and discrimination. She said she's been called "sugar," ''honey" and "girl" during her legal career.

"What's happening now harkens back to all the things you learned in kindergarten," she said. "Keep your hands to yourself. Don't say anything that you wouldn't want said to yourself and behave."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Man Caught in Sex Act With Child on Disney Ride Sentenced]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 19:51:12 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/214*120/800px-Haunted_Mansion_Exterior+%281%29.jpg

A 47-year-old Long Beach man who sexually assaulted a female relative, beginning when she was 9 and ending two years later when he was caught in a sex act with her on a Disneyland ride, was sentenced Monday to 31 years to life in prison.

Johnny Lawrence Johnson was convicted Nov. 9 of four counts of lewd acts on a child younger than 14 and two counts of having sex with a child 10 or younger, all felonies, according to Deputy District Attorney Rick Zimmer.

Johnson sexually assaulted the girl, who was living in Texas at the time, when she would visit him in the Long Beach area in the summers of 2013 and 2014, Zimmer said. She was 9 and 10 years old then, he said.

Prior to the March 12, 2015, incident at Disneyland the defendant was living with the girl and her family, Zimmer said.

Johnson and the girl, who was 11, were on the Dune Buggy ride in the Haunted Mansion's graveyard scene when a Disneyland employee noticed the victim performing a sex act on the defendant, Zimmer said.

Moments before in an unrelated incident, a man jumped off the ride, prompting an employee to summon his supervisor for help, Zimmer said. The supervisor first noticed the suspicious activity on a camera, Zimmer said.

Los Angeles prosecutors agreed to let the Orange County District Attorney's office take over the entire case, Zimmer said.

<![CDATA[High-Rise for the Homeless Could Arrive in LA]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 19:11:12 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/204*120/AP_17151659069908.jpg

The Weingart Center, one of the the many places on Skid Row where homeless men and women come for shelter, food and support, is expanding its mission into permanent housing and plans to reshape the skyline of L.A.'s most depressed neighborhood, it was reported Monday.

Weingart has filed applications with the city to build three high-rise residences on the two blocks it shares with the homeless services providers Lamp Community, Union Rescue Mission, Volunteers of America and the Midnight Mission, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Weingart filed the plans for all three buildings early this year to have them on record before the vote on Measure S, the city initiative that would have imposed new restrictions on building apartment towers, shops and offices in Los Angeles.

After the measure's failure in March, the agency is now pressing ahead first with an 18-story tower next to Weingart's existing facility at San Pedro and 6th streets, according to The Times. It could be completed as early as 2021, President and Chief Executive Kevin Murray said. Plans for the other two buildings are still in flux.

Murray said the sleek metal-and-glass design by Joseph Wong Design Associates of San Diego would "improve the neighborhood through architecture."

"One of the things we asked the architect is we don't want it to look like a housing project," said Murray, a former state senator, according to The Times. "We want it to look like one of these other first-class downtown apartments."

The $138-million project would provide 278 new units of affordable housing, most of them for the chronically homeless, and would dominate the block, The Times reported. Weingart's existing facility, in the 11-story former El Rey Hotel, is already more than twice as tall as any other building around it.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[California Insurance Premiums May Rise Due to Wildfires]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 18:47:14 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/160*120/827fe50c20574a54b9ce4995f8537f1f.jpg

The recent rash of brush fires may burn a hole in our wallets with insurance premiums likely to rise in California, according to the State Department of Insurance.

Claims from the massive and deadly wildfires in Northern California in October topped more than $9 billion. Add last week's damage from fires here in Southern California, and it's a recipe for rising rates.

It seems like whether you're a victim of the wildfires or not, you're going to be paying for it. The only question is just how much. By law, insurance companies can't dump all of their losses from this year into next year's premiums. That said, we could be seeing some slight increases for years to come related directly to wildfires.

According to the Department of Insurance, California collects $289 billion per year in insurance premiums — an amount far and away more than any other state. Increases to insurance premiums are regulated by state law. Insurance companies in California must follow a formula that tracks losses due to catastrophes over the past 20 years to set future rates.

Premium increases will vary based on individual insurance companies and each increase is reviewed by the Department of Insurance, but here's the thing: fire season is every day of the year now in California. The more destructive fires break out, the more claims for damages insurance companies will receive, which means expect an uptick in rates.

On Monday, the Department of Insurance announced that their investigators have found that some insurance companies have issued moratoriums on writing new auto policies for people living in wildfire zones where fires are burning or threatening.

There have been folks seeking to change their policy or add more coverage and have been denied. The state's insurance commissioner says that violates California law and insurers are being reminded that they must make changes to existing policies if drivers qualify under good driving requirements.

If you have a question or concern about your premiums, the Department of Insurance can investigate that for you. Call their hotline at 1-800-927-4357.

Photo Credit: Clinton Herniman]]>
<![CDATA[Officers Dove on NYC Bombing Suspect After Explosion: Union]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 21:08:01 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/papd-officers-1211.jpg

When the violent rumble of a crude explosive detonating sent hundreds of commuters running in a crowded tunnel near Manhattan’s Port Authority Bus Terminal, four officers did what they were trained to do: They headed to the source of the sound.

Port Authority Police Department officers Jack Collins, Anthony Manfredini, Drew Preston and Sean Gallagher were credited with saving dozens of lives after the blast in a tunnel between the Port Authority/42nd Street subway station and the Times Square/42nd Street stop on Monday morning by jumping on the suspect in the attack, Akayed Ullah, as he reached for his cellphone.

"These police officers are among the most highly trained police officers in the nation, as are all Port Authority police officers,” said Paul Nunziato, the president of the PAPD’s rank-and-file union. "I am so thankful there was no loss of life and I could not be prouder of our Port Authority police officers, their actions and dedication to their sworn duty."

Nunziato said that Manfredini first heard the commotion and made the call for help. Then, he rushed through waves of terrified straphangers and into the smoke left by the crude explosive’s blast alongside Collins, Preston and Gallagher.

Collins pulled out his service weapon and drew down on the man. Nunziato said when they saw the wires peeking from under his ripped shirt as the man reached for his phone and jumped -- literally -- into action.

"Whether he was trying to other people that could be involved in terrorism or trying to detonate the device, they jumped right on him," Nunziato said.

Nunziato said their split-second decision could have left them dead -- but it was one that potentially stopped the attack from progressing further.

"All four of those officers, if the rest of that device detonated, they would have all been dead," he said. "Along with anyone else who was just trying to get to work."

Two of the officers' neighbors on Monday night described the men as "great guys."

"I'm really not that surprised that he would be involved in saving others and helping others prevent an atrocity from happening in New York City," said Preston's neighbor, Juan Quezada, who added that the officer had a pregnant wife due in a couple months. 

Joe Caiati said that Manfriedini, meanwhile, had always wanted to be a cop.

"I think it's great he acted so quickly," he said. 

The officers aren’t the only ones who were credited with heroism in the face of what Mayor Bill de Blasio called an attempted act of terror.

MTA station cleaner Sean Monroe said he was just steps behind Ullah when the device went off. But rather than run for his life, he said he helped others get to safety.

"It was a very scary moment but MTA trained me they trained me to do stuff like that so I said, 'Let me help these people,'" he said.

Photo Credit: Provided by the Port Authority Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[Photos: Wind-Driven Fire Burns More Than 230,000 Acres]]> Tue, 12 Dec 2017 07:51:37 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-889354384.jpg The Thomas Fire that broke out near Santa Paula Monday, Dec. 4, 2017, had scorched more than 234,000 acres as of Tuesday Dec. 12. The fire has burned nearly 900 structures. It has forced more than 94,000 people from their homes and it continued to burn from Ventura County into Santa Barbara County.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[And Your 2018 Golden Globe Nominees Are...]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:27:55 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/goldenglobesthumb.jpg Did your favorite movies and TV shows make the cut for a Golden Globe nomination? Click through for nominees for the upcoming Golden Globes, hosted by Seth Meyers on January 7, 2018.]]> <![CDATA[See Inside the $2.5 Million ‘Saturday Night Fever’ House]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:25:40 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/saturday+night+live+house.jpg The Bay Ridge house from the iconic disco film “Saturday Night Fever” is up for sale.

Photo Credit: AP/Ben Bay Realty Co.]]>
<![CDATA[Chewie on This: 'Jedi' Costumes Fly for Hollywood]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 18:23:49 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/chewbaccaporgthelastjedi.jpg

We've never met your Porg, so we wouldn't dare make assumptions or generalizations regarding what your Porg can or can't handle in the way of exciting news, but we will say this: Something galactically great is brewing at 6838 Hollywood Boulevard, which is only handful of parsecs from where a lot of the action in "Star Wars" takes place.

But knowing what we know of Porgs, principally from the "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" trailer, and the buzzy fan conversation that followed the trailer's too-brief Porg cameo, we can guess that your Porg might be a tad excitable and prone to getting flappy over fun news.

So tell your favorite space bird-animal critter this: To celebrate the run of the newest film in the "Star Wars"-verse, the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood will throw in a few extra gahhhrrrrrs, which we think means "extras" in Wookiee speak.

Those extras include a display featuring a few props and costumes from the film, oh yeah. And look for an appearance by a Stormtrooper, who will pop up over opening weekend at the landmark theatre as well as a few select dates further along the run.

There's Tiny Tot Tuesdays, which means that the first screening each Tuesday will include "reduced sound levels" and a bit more light in the cinema. Parents and their younger young'uns might enjoy these sweetly tailored screenings.

And there's a meal package and screening option, too, with the Hard Rock Café, which is located across Hollywood Boulevard from the El Cap, providing the meal end of the deal.

As for that kick-off super-marathon? It's sold out. The El Capitan, which is owned by Disney, is just one of four venues in the U.S. showing all of the films beginning with "The Phantom Menace."

As for opening night? The movie will play all night long, three times in a row, beginning at 10 p.m. on Dec. 14 (then at 1:35 a.m., then at 5:45 a.m.). The first daily time will be 9:30 in the morning, each and every day for the length of its engagement.

The movie'll find the Force at the theater through Sunday, Jan. 28. Adding more Force to the already Force-y situation? "The Last Jedi" will soar in (2D) Dolby Vision Laser Projection and Dolby Atmos Sound.

There's also a new laser show that'll open each showing with mega-laser-tronic coolness.

Hey, on second thought? Maybe do tell your Porg that all of this is happening, in Hollywood, and that the high emotion and excitement that such news brings is good stuff, indeed.

Maybe he'll even flap his wee Porg wings over the El Cap events, which would be the cutest sight in the "Star Wars" stories ever, save, perhaps, for an Ewok's teddy bear-like ears.

Photo Credit: Industrial Light & Magic/2017 Lucasfilm Ltd. ]]>
<![CDATA[Woman Arrested for Looting Bonsall House During Lilac Fire]]> Sun, 10 Dec 2017 16:32:10 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/POLICE+LIGHTS+Connecticut.jpg

Sheriff’s deputies patrolling through Bonsall for looters taking advantage of the Lilac Fire arrested a woman for burglary in the 29000 block of Disney Lane Saturday afternoon.

A real estate agent called the deputies to report a suspicious person inside a house for sale around 12:45 p.m. 

After determining the suspect didn’t live there she was arrested for burglary (looting) during a state of emergency. She had entered the property, taken various household items and put them in her car.

The resident arrived at the home and confirmed the suspect did not belong there.

The suspect was later identified as Sacheen Silvercloud. Silvercloud was booked into the Vista Detention Facility.

Vista Station Detectives will be handling the follow-up investigation.

<![CDATA[Prosecutors Seek Death Penalty in Boy's Torture-Murder Case]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 19:44:46 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/223*120/11-13-2017-gabriel-fernandez-isauro-aguirre-child-abuse-trial-5.jpg

A prosecutor told jurors Monday that the death penalty was the "only appropriate and just punishment" for a Palmdale man convicted of the torture-murder of his girlfriend's 8-year-old son, while a defense attorney pleaded for mercy and warned the panel about dehumanizing his client.

The seven-woman, five-man panel found Isauro Aguirre, a 37-year-old former security guard, guilty of first-degree murder for the May 2013 killing of Gabriel Fernandez. Jurors also found true the special circumstance allegation of murder involving the infliction of torture, making him eligible for capital punishment.

The boy's mother, Pearl Sinthia Fernandez, 34, is awaiting trial separately in her son's killing. She could also face the death penalty if convicted.

Deputy District Attorney Jonathan Hatami began his closing argument for the penalty phase of trial by showing the jury panel autopsy photos of Gabriel's "head-to-toe" injuries, which a doctor, a nurse, a social worker, a sheriff's deputy and others working with child abuse victims had testified were the worst they had ever seen.

"There is nothing worse in our society than a grown man murdering and torturing an innocent little boy," Hatami told the panel.

Then he set a large photo of Gabriel, with a small smile on his face, on an easel in front of the jury box.

"Always remember what this case is about," Hatami said. "This case is not about the defendant's excuses. You are here because of this little boy and all the horrible and unimaginable things the defendant did to him."

Hatami imagined the "helplessness and hopelessness" Gabriel must have felt, reminding jurors of testimony that the boy was forced to sleep in a small wooden cabinet with his hands tied behind his back and his ankles handcuffed.

"Stuffed in that box ... cold, afraid, lonely, hungry, probably hard to breathe," the prosecutor said. The boy "defecated and urinated in that box" and "even was force-fed his own vomit. The defendant broke Gabriel's spirit."

Aguirre "beat Gabriel to death with his fists and his hands ... in front of Gabriel's own brother and sister. What type of man would do that?" Hatami asked. "Not a man with any goodness in him."

The prosecutor recalled all the abuse Gabriel suffered, reminding jurors "his emaciated little body had nine metal BBs in it ... a lacerated liver, a fractured skull, whip marks on his back ... unimaginable pain and suffering at the hands of the defendant.

"What type of man would punch a child 10 times in the face? Not a man with any goodness in him," Hatami said.

"Death was likely a merciful end to Gabriel's pain and suffering," the prosecutor said before asking that jurors hold Aguirre accountable. "Gabriel will not be forgotten."

He objected to any characterization of Aguirre as a victim, calling him "a bully and a coward" and argued that the "severity of the injuries, the enormity of the crime" outweighed any mitigating factors.

Hatami also discounted any sway the boy's mother had over Aguirre.

"At any time when the defendant was alone with Gabriel, he could have fed him. He knew better," the prosecutor said. "He wanted to starve Gabriel. He hated Gabriel."

After silently showing two minutes of photos of Gabriel in happier times, Hatami closed with an empty screen.

"This, ladies and gentlemen, is what's left of Gabriel ... he'll never graduate from elementary school or junior high or high school .... he'll never know the feeling of a first crush ... or be a father," Hatami said. "Show the defendant the exact same mercy he showed Gabriel. Remember, we are not asking for revenge, we are asking for justice."

Defense attorney John Alan told jurors that it was up to them whether Aguirre would spend his life "behind concrete walls and steel bars in prison until he departs this Earth in God's time" or dies "prematurely at the hands of man."

His client was never convicted of another crime and had no prior history of violence, Alan reminded the panel.

"Prison will never feel like home for Isauro Aguirre. The prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison terrifies him," Alan said. "He will be forever separated from ... his loving family. He will no longer have the freedom to make his own decisions" about when to wake up, eat, shower, go to sleep and will be "tormented by the knowledge" of what he did to Gabriel.

"The death penalty is not required for even the most heinous crime," the defense attorney said, reminding jurors that they were each being asked to make "a personal, moral decision."

He recalled testimony about Aguirre's childhood.

"Isauro Aguirre was a loving, respectful, obedient son" and " a kind, loving brother," who was proud of his sisters and did them many kindnesses, including walking his sister Elizabeth down the aisle when her father refused and caring for his mother when she had a stroke.

"He may have a learning disability. His grades and test scores were very low," Alan said of his client, who was held back in 9th and 11th grades and never graduated from high school, despite trying until he was 19 years old.

The defense attorney recalled co-workers' testimony about the defendant's "compassion, empathy, gentleness, kindness, respectfulness and patience" in dealing with elderly patients at an assisted-living facility in Woodland Hills. "He changed diapers, he bathed seniors, he fed, he dressed them ... he had a good soul."

Each of those co-workers "were shocked to hear what he had done" yet testified that they felt "there was still good in him that was worth saving.

"I don't think we'll ever truly understand how that person ... gentle, kind, patient, respectful ... came to commit this horrific crime," Alan said. "I believe that the answer, at least in part, lies where Isauro's life intersected with Pearl's."

Pearl Fernandez was "violent, abusive and neglected her children even before she met Isauro. Even her own family considered her a danger to her children," the defense attorney said.

The death penalty, Alan argued, is reserved for the worst criminals, "those who cannot be safely housed in prison ... who remain a danger while incarcerated. Isauro does not need to be executed. Mercy is a reason to choose a life sentence.

"If Isauro is sentenced to death, this family will be devastated," Alan told the jury of Aguirre's mother, siblings and cousins. "A sentence that punished Isauro for what he did to Gabriel, but also shows compassion for his family is true justice in this case."

Jurors deliberated for just over two hours before being sent home without reaching a verdict. They are set to return Tuesday at 10 a.m. to resume deliberations.

Los Angeles County Fire Department personnel went to the family's home in the 200 block of East Avenue Q-10 in Palmdale on May 22, 2013, in response to a call that Gabriel was not breathing. He was declared brain-dead that day and taken off life support two days later.

Aguirre and Fernandez have been jailed without bail since being charged in May 2013 with the boy's death. The two were subsequently indicted by a Los Angeles County grand jury.

Two former Los Angeles County social workers -- Stefanie Rodriguez and Patricia Clement -- and supervisors Kevin Bom and Gregory Merritt are awaiting trial on one felony count each of child abuse and falsifying public records involving the boy.

Photo Credit: Family Photo/KNBC-TV]]>
<![CDATA[Save Bucks in Buena Park at a Free 4DX Film Fest]]> Mon, 11 Dec 2017 16:04:21 -0800 https://media.nbclosangeles.com/images/213*120/estrenos-de-cine-mas-esperados-en-2015-17.jpg

Enjoy a film? It's never a standard, one-size-fits-all, one-popcorn-fits-the-bucket, one-story-is-the-same-as-the-next kind of experience, for any film lover, really.

But come the end of the year, how we take in movies can change up a little bit more than usual, compared to the 11 months that just led into December. 

We're catching mega holiday blockbusters in theaters, we're revisiting beloved animated classics at home, and we're lining up our awards-type film fare, and what we need to see.

And if we happen to be in Buena Park, near CGV Cinemas Buena Park 8, and we're in that neck of the woods, er, of the Orange County, from Monday, Dec. 11 through Thursday, Dec. 14?

It's very likely we're there to enjoy a major flick, one that came out in the last couple of years, all for free, all while experiencing the new 4DX technology. 

It's the 4DX Film Festival we're talking about here, it is on for four days, and there are four movies to choose from: "Jurassic World," "Minions," "Fate of the Furious," and "Furious 7."

And, four real, er, for real: The free seats'll go for these screenings, four sure. We mean, for sure.

Because the must-gotta know-keep in mind thing before trekking for the BP in the OC?

It's first-come, first-served, with no advance reservations. So if you have your flick-fancying heart set on one or all of those movies, and getting acquainted with 4DX, best arrive way early.

"Way" in "way early" is up to interpretation here, but we're not talking five minutes ahead of a film's start time.

You get us. The schedule is here. Plan accordingly.

The 4DX part of this great (as in free, which is almost always great) offer? It's pretty darn nifty. The tech is focused on "... delivering a fully immersive cinematic experience with motion chairs and environmental effects such as rain, wind, bubbles, lightening, and even scent."

What better time of year to get acquainted with this leap of movie-watching interactivity than in December, when fantasy elements are already woven through so much of what we encounter in our day-to-day doings?

So best score your free ticket at the CGV Cinemas box office through Dec. 14. And, yep, this is the very same place that had live monsters in the cinema lobby, haunting the concessions area, around Halloween.

Pushing envelopes, and moving theater seats, and creating lightening inside theaters, is clearly not too far up this venue's cinema-magic sleeve.

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures]]>