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Texas aquarium accidentally kills nearly all fish in its biggest indoor tanks

Written By kolimtiga on Kamis, 16 April 2015 | 12.56

Texas State Aquarium accidentally killed almost all the fish in its two biggest indoor tanks, an aquarium spokesman told the Los Angeles Times.

The animals at the aquarium in Corpus Christi died Tuesday when a new medication was introduced into the water in an effort to control a parasite that was resistant to other treatments, spokesman Richard E. Glover Jr. said.

Such an incident "is extremely rare," said Rob Vernon, spokesman for the Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums.

"It appears to be a truly sad fluke," Glover said. "Considerable losses were sustained."

Before introducing the chemical into the tanks, staffers tested it on a smaller exhibit and found no adverse reaction, he said.

As many as 100 fish were killed in the four affected tanks, the largest of which holds 125,000 gallons, Glover said.

That largest tank held an exhibit called the Islands of Steel, featuring nurse sharks, green moray eels, spadefish, amberjack, tarpon, grouper and a sand tiger shark, according to the aquarium's website.

The creatures the aquarium was trying to kill were the trematoda parasite, Glover said

"Trematoda is a class within the phylum Platyhelminthes," he said. "It includes two groups of parasitic flatworms, known as flukes. They are internal parasites."

Glover did not specify what chemical was used to try to kill the parasite, but the aquarium said in a statement that it "is commonly used by many other aquariums in treating similar issues."

"Nothing like this has ever happened before," Glover said.

Staffers worked through the night to save as many animals as possible and try to figure out what went wrong, and water samples have been sent to labs for testing, he said.

An official at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach said he sympathizes with the Texas aquarium staffers.

"We manage health problems like parasite infections in fish and also take precautionary steps to minimize the risk to the fish, but complications can still occur," Perry Hampton, Aquarium of the Pacific vice president of animal husbandry, told the Los Angeles Times in an email.

"Fortunately," he said, "we have not experienced such a significant adverse reaction to date and empathize with the staff over the loss of their animals."

Follow Ryan Parker on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

8:38 p.m.: This story has been updated with a comment from Perry Hampton of the Aquarium of the Pacific.

7:59 p.m.: This story has been updated with more information on the trematoda parasite.

7:05 p.m.: This story has been updated with a comment from the Assn. of Zoos and Aquariums.

The first version of this story was published at 6:32 p.m.

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Cities criticize California water cuts as unfair, unrealistic

Representatives of urban water suppliers and advocacy groups from across the state have criticized a plan from state water regulators that would force some to cut water consumption by as much as 35% over the next year.

In more than 200 letters to the State Water Resources Control Board released Wednesday, some agencies urged state officials to reconsider how they would implement the mandatory  statewide water-use cut that Gov. Jerry Brown ordered this month.

Many communities called on the board to consider its previous water conservation efforts when setting a reduction target. Other cities said their population data was skewed by an influx of seasonal residents. A few questioned whether their reduction targets were fair, even amid a persistent drought.

The city of Beverly Hills needs to cut water usage by 35% under the state board's current plan. In his letter to officials, Beverly Hills interim City Manager Mahdi Aluzri said meeting that target would take time, adding that the board "should delay any formal enforcement actions until water suppliers have been given an opportunity to develop and fully implement new conservation measures."

"The city recognizes that further conservation measures will be required to achieve the Governor's conservation mandate," Aluzri wrote. "However, the city is concerned that achieving a 35% conservation standard in such a short time may ultimately be infeasible."

A document outlining the state water board's proposed framework says it will "assess suppliers' compliance for both monthly and cumulative water usage reductions."

Writing on behalf of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, Senior Assistant General Manager Marty Adams said that because water usage fluctuates due to varying temperatures and precipitation levels, the monthly water-use numbers reported by the state are "meaningless."

"The use of these numbers for compliance will result in failure by the water agencies," Adams wrote.

Instead of using a "one-month snapshot," DWP recommended using a "12-month rolling average" to assess compliance and perform enforcement.   

An official in the City of Compton wrote to the state with another perspective.

Deputy Director of Public Works Chad Blais wrote that residents "simply can't afford" many basic services such as water, electricity and gas. Under the state's framework, Compton residents are credited with using only 65 gallons per person per day, which Blias said is "a direct reflection of …  economic hardship" rather than proof that the community has changed its water-use habits.

Still, 65 gallons per capita means Compton would have to cut 20% of its overall water usage over the course of the next year.

"If you drive through the city of Compton most of the front yards are brown," Blais wrote.  "Therefore, the prospect of achieving an additional 20% reduction from this community is not feasible."

Desert Water Agency General Manager David K. Luker urged the water board to "take a position on outdoor landscaping rather than laying blame at the feet of local agencies." He wrote that a 35% water-use reduction would result in a $10.1-million loss in revenue for the water supplier, which serves resort communities in the Coachella Valley such as Palm Springs.

"A customer came to our office this week and asked us who he should file suit against when his property value decreases because the landscaping that he has invested tens of thousands of dollars in has died," Luker wrote.

Cities and water agencies in San Diego County followed the lead of the county water authority in protesting that the proposed reductions do not give credit to areas that have already begun reducing water usage and finding new sources of water.

The water authority is investing in a $1 billion-desalination plant under construction in Carlsbad that, by year's end, is expected to begin providing 7% to 10% of the county's water needs, decreasing the demand for water from northern California and the Colorado River.

Potable water use in the county was 12% lower last year than in 1990 despite an increase in population of 700,000, according to the water authority.

The proposed percentage cutbacks "punish those who have conserved and reward communities that did not make such early and sustained commitment to conservation," said Kimberly Thorner, general manager of the Olivenhain Municipal Water District in northern San Diego County.

Also, farmers said their businesses would be "devastated" by the percentage cutbacks that would treat San Diego County farming areas like urban districts rather than with the same exemption as water districts serving farmers in the Central Valley. The county has a $2 billion a year farming economy.

"We cannot just turn off water at 20-35% and expect the trees and bushes to thrive," wrote Neil Nagata of Nagata Bros. Farms in San Luis Rey near Oceanside. "If I do not produce a crop I will not have any income to continue farming at all."

A different perspective came from Dan Singer, city manager in Vista, who suggested that public schools and college campuses "be subject to the mandatory water use reductions" imposed on cities.

"Frequently school districts override local building and zoning codes," Singer wrote.

The state water board's preliminary plan places the heaviest conservation burden on cities and towns with the highest rates of per-capita water consumption during one month in 2014. The 135 communities facing the largest water usage cut include small rural communities as well as affluent enclaves such as Newport Beach and Beverly Hills.

Cities that had the lowest per-capita water use in September 2014 — including Santa Cruz and Seal Beach, and the community of East Los Angeles — would be required to cut just 10%.

Most communities would be required to cut water use by 20% to 25%, including Los Angeles, San Diego, Long Beach, Santa Ana, San Jose and Anaheim.

The conservation targets were part of a framework the state board unveiled to comply with Gov. Jerry Brown's historic order requiring a 25% cut in water use in cities and towns statewide over the next year. The proposal assigns targets to more than 400 local water agencies, though not all of them submitted input.

Under the preliminary framework, the state will measure whether each community hits its target by comparing overall water use over the next year with 2013 levels.

Agencies that don't comply with the rules could face fines of up to $10,000 a day.

"State Water Board staff are currently working on a set of draft emergency regulations intended to reflect the thoughtful comments we receive to the framework issued last week," board spokesman George Kostyrko said in an email.

Those draft regulations are due out Friday, according to a schedule previously set by the water board.

Twitter: @bymattstevens


Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

5:40 p.m.: This post was updated to include comments from a representative of the city of Compton.

5:20 p.m.: This post was updated to include comments from a representative of the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.

This article was first posted at 4:54 p.m.

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Baseball: Logan Pouelsen leads Huntington Beach comeback win

Down, 5-1, early on, Huntington Beach rallied for a 9-5 victory over Edison on Wednesday in a Sunset League game.

Logan Pouelsen had a double, triple and four RBI for the Oilers (11-7, 3-1). He also struck out two in his one inning of relief. Jake Scott had two hits and three RBI for Edison (14-3, 4-2).

Huntington Beach took over first place after Newport Harbor defeated Los Alamitos, 3-2, on a walk-off single by Rigsby Duncan. Liam Ogburn threw a complete game.

In the Trinity League, Santa Margarita defeated St. John Bosco, 11-1. Nick Plaskett and Andrew Mendonca each had three hits. Kyle Bushousen picked up the pitching win.

In the Foothill League, Valencia defeated West Ranch, 10-1. Kevin Chandler improved to 5-0. Scott Ogrin had three hits and raised his batting average to .557. Valencia is 12-4 and 5-1. Hart defeated Canyon, 6-1. Jack Ralston allowed three hits and struck out seven. Austin Russ had three hits. Saugus defeated Golden Valley, 8-0. Anthony Donatella threw a three-hitter.

In a battle for first place in the Crestview League, Nick Sprengel struck out eight in El Dorado's 6-2 win over Foothill. El Dorado is 7-0 in league. Esperanza defeated Yorba Linda, 15-2. Erick Leef went four for four. El Modena defeated Brea, 8-3. Brett Conine finished with three hits.

In the Baseline League, Etiwanda defeated Los Osos, 5-1, behind Grant Ashcroft, who threw a complete game. Chino Hills defeated Rancho Cucamonga, 6-0. Bailey Falter struck out six and allowed eight hits in the shutout. Konnor Zickefoose had a triple and home run.

In the Marmonte League, Calabasas defeated Westlake, 10-2. Grant Nechak threw six innings and also contributed two hits and two RBI. Parker Brahms had three RBI and Max Sonnenberg added two hits. Matt Lautz threw a complete game in Agoura's 8-1 win over Newbury Park. Joey Dawes had three hits and two RBI.

Oaks Christian defeated Thousand Oaks, 6-5. Holden Christian struck out 10 in five innings. Noal Prewett went three for three with three RBI. John Glenn homered for Thousand Oaks.

In the Coastal Canyon League, Ryan Bill threw shutout ball for 6 1/3 innings in Moorpark's 2-0 win over Simi Valley. Fox Anderson and Patrick Valdez had two hits apiece.

In the Palomeres League, Erik Cha threw a complete game in Ayala's 15-2 win over Claremont. Ayala is 11-7 and 5-1. South Hills defeated Diamond Bar, 5-0. Ryan Mauch and Hayden Petrovick combined on the shutout. Glendora defeated Bonita, 7-4. Hayden Pearce threw five shutout innings of relief. RJ Romo had two hits and two RBI.

In the Southwestern League, Great Oak defeated Vista Murrieta, 9-3. Logan Morrison, Hunter Johnson and Tyler Haggard each had two hits.

Left-hander Easton Lucas of Grace Brethren threw his second no-hitter of the season, striking out 14 in a 5-0 win over Santa Clara.

In the Bay League, Mira Costa defeated Palos Verdes, 5-3. Michael Rumpp picked up his fifth win and Trevor Franklin got the save.

In the South Coast League, Noah Fluman threw a complete game and El Toro knocked off Aliso Niguel and Kyle Molnar, 5-2. Eric Wagaman hit a home run for Aliso Niguel. Dana Hills (18-3, 3-2) defeated Tesoro, 3-2. Marrick Crouse threw the complete game, giving up six hits.

In the Del Rey League, Bishop Amat defeated Cathedral, 7-5. Sergio Robles had two hits and two RBI. Brandon Godoy hit a grand slam during a seven-run sixth inning.

In the Empire League, Cypress defeated Pacifica, 3-1. Dominic Fletcher had a three-run home run.

Jacob Barham went four for four in Long Beach Wilson's 8-5 win over Gardena Serra.

In the Suburban League, Omar Myzel had three hits in La Mirada's 9-0 win over Artesia.

In the Golden Coast League, Sierra Canyon defeated Campbell Hall, 3-2. Christian Hernandez improved to 4-0 with five strikeouts. Jake Patterson and Billy Edwards each had two hits.


Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Baseball: Jeremy Polon pitches ECR past Chatsworth, 4-1

You can always count on a little drama in the El Camino Real-Chatsworth game.

Left-hander Jeremy Polon of El Camino Real was cruising along with a 4-0 lead. Then Chatsworth loaded the bases in the seventh. Would the Chancellors pull out a comeback win?

Not on Wednesday. Polon was able to complete the 4-1 victory and provide a critical West Valley League win for the Conquistadores (15-6, 3-0) over the Chancellors (14-8, 2-1).

Polon scattered seven hits, striking out four and walking three. El Camino Real knocked out sophomore Tommy Palomera early on. Colton Snyder went three for three and James Terrazas added two hits. Adrian Acosta had three hits for Chatsworth. The two schools meet again on Friday at Chatsworth.

Cleveland held on for 10-8 win over Taft. Ben Kaser and Austin White had three hits each. For Taft, Max Mehlman went three for three with a home run. Jake Stacy had a two-run home run.

Adrian Rodriguez struck out eight and walked none in Birmingham's 3-1 win over Granada Hills. He outdueled Chris Murphy, who struck out 10. Jorge Navarrette had two hits for Birmingham.

In the Valley Mission League, Felix Rubi threw the shutout in Kennedy's 2-0 win over Sylmar, giving the Golden Cougars a sweep this week and pretty much assuring that they will face San Fernando for the league title in the final week of the regular season. Rubi struck out eight, walked one and gave up three hits. Juan Jose Gonzalez had two hits.

In the East Valley League, Poly took over first place with a 5-1 win over Verdugo Hills. Isaac Gutierrez threw a complete game, striking out five. Michael Galindo had two hits and two RBI. Arleta defeated North Hollywood, 4-3. Nate Casillas threw a complete game.


Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Drew Rucinski has spotty effort in spot start as Angels lose in Texas

Written By kolimtiga on Rabu, 15 April 2015 | 12.56

No matter how well Drew Rucinski pitched Tuesday night, he was not going to remain in the Angels rotation for long, not with Garrett Richards on the verge of returning from left-knee surgery.

But Rucinski was so shaky in his first major league start, an 8-2 loss to the Texas Rangers in Globe Life Park, that he wasn't merely demoted to the bullpen afterward.

The right-hander was optioned to triple-A Salt Lake after getting rocked for four runs and six hits in 22/3 innings, walking four and striking out none in a 77-pitch outing was probably worse than the line score indicated.

Yes, Rucinski could have avoided a three-run second had center fielder Mike Trout and left fielder Matt Joyce not miscommunicated on a catchable Robinson Chirinos drive that fell for a two-run double. Rucinski needed 40 pitches to complete the inning.

But Rucinski fell behind in counts to nine of 16 batters, threw two wild pitches and gave up several hard-hit outs. And right fielder Collin Cowgill bailed him out in the third by throwing out Shin-Soo Choo at second when Choo tried to stretch a single into a double.

"He pitched himself into a lot of trouble tonight," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "I don't think he brought his best game to the mound. He never got on track."

Rucinski, 20 months removed from independent-league ball, won a roster spot with a solid spring in which he went 2-1 with a 2.60 earned-run average, attacked hitters and threw strikes. That Rucinski failed to appear Tuesday night.

"I never got into that groove," Rucinski said. "I fell behind in counts and was kind of all over the place with my fastball."

Much like many of his wayward pitches, a pivotal play in the second did not go Rucinski's way. With the Angels trailing, 1-0, Rucinski was one strike away from escaping a two-on, two-out jam when Chirinos capped an eight-pitch at-bat by driving a ball to deep left-center.

Trout raced to the gap and appeared to have a bead on the ball, and Joyce charged hard from left. Both players pulled up slightly at the last second, and the ball nicked off Trout's glove and fell for a two-run double.

"I thought I was going to catch it," Trout said. "I had a bead on it. I called it, and I think he called it. I thought we were going to run into each other, so I kind of backed up a little bit. It's just one of those things, where I'm getting adjusted to him in left field. It's a big play in the game, obviously. But we'll straighten it out."

Injuries limited the amount of time Joyce, who was acquired from Tampa Bay last winter, spent in left field this spring, and he and Trout are still learning each other's range and tendencies. The two nearly collided on Seth Smith's double to the gap in the April 6 season opener in Seattle.

"We've had a couple of in-between plays, where it's no-man's land," Joyce said. "Two guys are going as hard as they can. I thought I could get there. I called it. Trout came over, he has priority, and he called it. I tried to get out of the way, and I'm sure he caught me out of the corner of his eye."


Twitter: @MikeDiGiovanna

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Grand Jury urges Central Coast city of Guadalupe to dissolve

A speck along the Central Coast, the city of Guadalupe, population 7,080, has seen a lot of history: Father Junipero Serra hauled in the now-agricultural mecca's first cattle, and the sets for director Cecil B. DeMille's silent 1923 epic "The Ten Commandments" rose in the majestic dunes just outside the town limits.

Now the city six miles west of Santa Maria, and four from the ocean, may be facing another historic landmark. A Santa Barbara County grand jury has recommended that cash-strapped Guadalupe dissolve, which would make the city the first in the state to disincorporate since 1973.

In a report titled "Guadalupe Shell Game Must End," the grand jury concluded that more than a decade of financial mismanagement, a declining tax base and increasing debt obligations have all but ensured the doom of the 1.3-square-mile working-class town that was first established in 1840.

According to the grand jurors, well-intentioned but incompetent bureaucrats "inappropriately" transferred about $7.6 million from restricted funds to cover budget shortfalls and ignored the recommendations of city audits and prior grand jury reports to trim expenses. With costs expected to outpace revenue, the report urged the city to pull the plug.

By "moving money from one account to another to keep the city afloat," Guadalupe has engaged in a "shell game" that must come to an end with disincorporation, the jury said.

City Administrator Andrew Carter said he doubted that the Guadalupe City Council would follow the grand jury's recommendation, which is not binding. Disincorporation is a multi-stage legal process that can either be forced on the city by the state Legislature or approved by city voters.

"There's nothing in the report that we don't already know," said Carter, who has held the post since 2013. He faulted grand jurors for dwelling on missteps by past management and giving short shrift to recent efforts to turn the city around.

City employees have taken a 5% pay cut, and this winter, ground broke on a long-awaited housing and commercial development that is expected to boost tax revenue by adding 800 homes. In November, voters overwhelmingly approved three tax initiatives that are expected to bring an additional $315,000 to the city's coffers.

"I doubt that any other community voluntarily imposed three tax measures on themselves," Carter said. Additional changes in utility and other taxes should yield a balanced budget for the next fiscal year, he said.

Carter said county officials' suggestion that Guadalupe disband strikes some in the city as representative of a larger chasm between the farming town and the well-heeled county seat.

"The demographics of Guadalupe are the exact opposite of the demographics of Santa Barbara's," Carter said.

According to the U.S. Census, about 87% of Guadalupe's residents are Latino; 6% of them have a college degree. In Santa Barbara, about 42% of residents have a college degree; 38% are Latino.

No city has dissolved in California since tiny Hornitos in Mariposa County in 1973, one year after the city of Cabazon lost its legal status and was integrated into unincorporated Riverside County. In recent years, Jurupa Valley, Vernon and Maricopa have edged close to dissolution.

At a meeting Tuesday night — the first time the City Council has met since the report was issued last week — members were expected to appoint two of their peers to draft a response to the grand jury. The response is due within three months.


Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Clippers guaranteed at least a No. 3 seed after beating Suns, 112-101

The Clippers won their seventh game in a row, and their 14th of their last 15 games after beating the Suns in Phoenix, 112-101, in their final game of the regular season.

More importantly, the win guaranteed the Clippers (56-26) at least a No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. They're currently in second place, half a game ahead of the Houston Rockets and the San Antonio Spurs, who both play Wednesday. The Clippers will keep the second seed only if both the Rockets and the Spurs lose.

The Clippers will start the playoffs Saturday or Sunday, owning home-court advantage in the first round.

The Clippers led by as much as 30 points before the Suns cut the margin to 11 points with two minutes left, prompting Clippers Coach Doc Rivers to put the starters back in the game. But it was too little too late for the Suns (39-43), who finished in 10th place in the West, out of playoff contention.

Each of the Clippers starters except for Matt Barnes finished in double figures. Chris Paul had 22 points on eight-for-17 shooting, including a season-high six three-pointers in 11 attempts in 29 minutes. He also had six assists.

Paul also had a first  -- he played in all 82 games for the first time in his 10 seasons in the league.

Blake Griffin had 20 points on eight-for-14 shooting, eight rebounds and five assists in 30 minutes. DeAndre Jordan had 13 points, 14 rebounds and two blocked shots. Jordan finished the season with 1,226 rebounds, the all-time franchise season record. 

Spencer Hawes had 13 points on five-for-seven shooting, his first time scoring in double figures since March 1.

Follow Melissa Rohlin on Twitter @melissarohlin

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Angels fall to Rangers, 8-2, thanks to Robinson Chirinos' five RBIs

AT THE PLATE: The Angels threatened in the first two innings, but Rangers starter Nick Martinez got Matt Joyce to line out to shortstop and David Freese to ground out to first with two on to end the first, and Erick Aybar to ground into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded to end the second. Texas catcher Robinson Chirinos had a career-high five runs batted in, highlighting a three-run second with a two-run double and a four-run sixth with a three-run homer. Elvis Andrus had gone 481 at-bats without a homer before his solo shot to left in the sixth, the longest active streak in the major leagues.

ON THE MOUND: Angels left-hander Jose Alvarez replaced struggling starter Drew Rucinski with two outs in the third and retired seven straight batters, three by strikeout, but he was rocked for four runs and three hits in the sixth. Martinez (2-0) allowed no earned runs and five hits in seven innings. Relievers Mike Morin, Fernando Salas and Vinnie Pestano threw scoreless innings for the Angels.

REHAB REPORT: Garrett Richards, in the final stage of his recovery from left knee surgery, allowed four earned runs and seven hits, including a homer, in five innings Tuesday night, striking out five and walking four for triple-A Salt Lake at Fresno. The right-hander threw 91 pitches, 57 for strikes, and his fastball was clocked at 93 to 94 mph. Richards, who hasn't pitched since last August, is expected to start for the Angels on Sunday in Houston.

ON THE SHELF: Kole Calhoun (right calf tightness) did not start for the third straight game, and the right fielder won't start again until Friday or Saturday at the earliest. "It's moving in the right direction," Manager Mike Scioscia said, "but we don't want to take a chance of setting him back a few weeks when it could be just a couple of days here."

UP NEXT: Left-hander Hector Santiago (0-1, 5.06 earned-run average) will oppose Rangers right-hander Anthony Ranaudo (making his season debut) at Globe Life Park on Wednesday at 11 a.m. PDT. On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 830.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Los Angeles pays $8 million to settle wrongful-imprisonment lawsuit

Written By kolimtiga on Selasa, 14 April 2015 | 12.56

A man whose murder conviction was thrown out by a judge after he spent 17 years in prison said Monday that an $8.3-million legal settlement from the city of Los Angeles could not make up for the years he lost behind bars.

"We've suffered and we're still suffering," said Obie Anthony, 40, gesturing toward Reggie Cole, his co-defendant in the case whose conviction was also thrown out.

The payout, reported by The Times this week, settled a lawsuit that portrayed a murder investigation rife with problems — including the withholding of potentially exculpatory evidence, perjured testimony and the ignoring of leads that pointed to a different suspect.

"No compensation...can give me my years back," Anthony said.

The city admitted no wrongdoing in the settlement. The city's attorneys argued that detectives had conducted the investigation properly.

Anthony and Cole were convicted in the murder of Felipe Gonzales Angeles, who was shot to death outside of a South L.A. brothel in 1994. There was no physical evidence connecting Anthony and Cole to the crime, and the case relied almost entirely on eyewitness testimony.

A key witness in the case was John Jones, a pimp who ran the brothel.

The men were found guilty of murder and sentenced to prison without the possibility of parole.

Their journey toward freedom began in 2000 when Cole stabbed a fellow inmate to death.

Cole said he had acted in self-defense. He was charged with murder, which would have made him potentially subject to the death penalty because of his conviction in the Angeles killing. The California Innocence Project, which reviews inmates' claims of wrongful conviction, began looking into his case.

The group determined that Jones, the pimp, had fabricated his testimony. A Los Angeles County judge in 2009 overturned Cole's murder conviction.

Two years later, after a petition by Anthony, another Los Angeles County judge concluded that not only did Jones lie during his testimony, but prosecutors had failed to disclose an agreement to give him a lighter sentence on pimping and pandering charges in exchange for his testimony. He was released and later found factually innocent.

Anthony and Cole sued the detectives and the city of Los Angeles for wrongful imprisonment.

The lawsuit alleged that detectives protected Jones by ignoring his ongoing illegal activities and by refusing to pursue an alternative theory that he, or someone he knew, was the killer.

The lawsuit also alleged that detectives wrote reports that mischaracterized the accounts of eyewitnesses and suppressed evidence that was favorable to Anthony and Cole.

"The city of Los Angeles doesn't pay $8.3 million to guilty men. They paid Obie Anthony $8.3 million because he's innocent and the police engaged in wrongdoing," said David McLane, who along with attorney Marilyn Bednarski, represented Anthony in the civil case.

Anthony said he plans to open a transition center for those exonerated — who often have nobody to rely on after their release from prison, he said.

"The system that falsely accuses them sends them back out into a revolving door," he said. 

For court-related news, follow @sjceasar

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Spencer Hawes hasn't been the player the Clippers expected him to be

That Spencer Hawes has had a poor season in almost every way isn't something the Clippers reserve center is hiding from.

Hawes was honest when asked to evaluate his substandard play.

"It's been bad," he said. "There's no other way to put it. You just can't let it defeat you when you go through the low stretches."

Hawes was the Clippers' big free-agent signing last summer, as he was given a four-year, $23-million deal.

He was expected to be the quality big man the Clippers lacked over the years. He was expected to fill a void as the backup behind center DeAndre Jordan and as a shooter who could spread the floor from three-point range when Hawes replaced power forward Blake Griffin on the floor.

But Hawes hasn't been that player.

He's averaging 5.8 points per game, the lowest since his rookie year, and 3.6 rebounds, also the lowest since his first year in the NBA.

He's shooting just 38.8% from the field, the lowest of his career.

In his first seven years in the NBA, Hawes shot 36.1% from three-point range. With the Clippers, he's shooting just 31% from there.

"Obviously I thought the adjustment would be easier," Hawes said. "It didn't really shake out the way I thought it was going to go, how I hoped it would go."

Hawes admits it has been a trying season, but hopes that when the playoffs start this weekend that his game improves.

"Obviously when you go through a season like this, it tests you," he said. "But at the same time, you've just got to stay ready, handle what you can control. You go around enough times, odds are enough guys experience a little bit of this. You have been through this before. I'm lucky that that's the case. You keep doing what you do and just be ready for when the time comes."

Seeking better bench play

Other than super-sub Jamal Crawford, the Clippers' reserves have had an uneven season.

Still, Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said he could see himself playing "eight, nine, 10" players in the playoffs.

"Usually during the playoffs, most of us [coaches] mix and match," Rivers said. "You usually keep a starter or two on the floor at all times. It'll be no different this year."


Twitter: @BA_Turner

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Famed P-22 mountain lion stuck under house, won't come out

The famed mountain lion P-22 wandered into a classic L.A. moment Monday when he holed up under a home in Los Feliz as helicopters buzzed overhead, news vans crowded the streets and a TV network offered the city a live feed of the attempt to free the animal.

The cougar had padded out of the woods of Griffith Park sometime after midnight and taken refuge in the dark, shallow space under the contemporary, white-walled home of Jason and Paula Archinaco.

By midday, two workers installing a security system as part of a home renovation climbed into the crawl space. One worker quickly came uncomfortably close — eyeball-to-eyeball close — with the cat.

The workers quickly ran upstairs to alert the owners, who called the city, which then contacted the state.

"I didn't think for two seconds that it was a mountain lion in my house," Jason Archinaco said. "If someone says Big Foot's in your house, you go, 'Yeah,' and you stick your head in there."

P-22 has become a cult figure since being discovered living in Griffith Park more than three years ago. Scientists, who surmised that he crossed the 405 and 101 Freeways to enter the park, successfully captured him and attached a GPS collar.

Using remote cameras, a National Geographic photographer snapped images of P-22 with city lights and the Hollywood sign behind him, all but cementing his reputation.

Armando Navarrete, a team leader with Los Angeles Animal Services who was the first wildlife official on the scene in Los Feliz, said the mountain lion was about 25 feet behind a wall separating the crawl space from a balcony under the house.

The worker who discovered the animal looked as white as a ghost, Navarrete said, and had gotten out of there "like a bat out of hell."

Navarrete said he at first figured the beast for a bobcat. But when he crawled in himself and got about 10 feet away, he knew he was staring at a top-of-the-food-chain animal.

A state Department of Fish and Wildlife warden confirmed from the lion's ear tag and collar that it was P-22. Officials seemed ecstatic to see that the cougar appeared healthy and in decent spirits.

Paula said the lion appeared calm and at home in his protected perch on a narrow, winding road just above the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Ennis House.

"He was just lying there looking like, 'What? I don't understand what the hullabaloo is about.'"

But with wildlife officials, news reporters and bystanders pacing about and helicopters whirring overhead, they blocked the crawl space with a plastic folding table instead, and settled in to wait for darkness to descend.

"Even if the cat could come out, he wouldn't," said Janice Mackey, a spokeswoman for the fish and wildlife agency. "There's too much activity out there."

About 8:30 p.m., officials shooed reporters and others away from the opening and prepared to lift the plastic table. The hillside home abuts open space, and the expectation was that, with the coast clear, P-22 might dart back to the woods.

Marty Williams, a patrol lieutenant with the Department of Fish and Wildlife, said authorities were clearing the street and that they tried to poke the mountain lion with a long pole to urge him to vacate the premises.

When that didn't work, they turned to tennis balls to get his attention. Finally, they fired bean bag rounds at the lion, but that didn't work either.

After that, officials called it a night.

Most of the time, mountain lions keep to their natural habitat, said Jeff Sikich, a biologist who has tracked P-22 as part of a cougar study in the Santa Monica Mountains National Recreation Area.

"But in this fragmented system we have here, with roads and homes, they really can't avoid houses," he said.

Such interactions between mountain lions and human beings are increasing as people put their homes deeper into lion habitat, said David Baron, a science writer in Boulder, Colo., and author of "The Beast in the Garden," a book about the mountain lion-human conflict.

"You've got lions living right next to people, and lions have learned to adapt," Baron said.

"Probably the only surprising thing was that the lion was seen under the house. He probably spends more time under houses than anyone knows."

If anything good comes "of this crazy mayhem," Baron added, "it might teach the lion not to come out of the park."

"I would suspect," he said, "that all those news crews and helicopters are providing some very serious aversive conditioning."




Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

7:20 p.m.: This story was updated to include that the crawl space under the Los Feliz home was blocked off.

6:14 p.m.: This story was updated to include comments from Janice Mackey

This story was originally published at 5:53 p.m.

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Metro to study converting busy Orange Line busway to a rail line

A generation ago, Los Angeles County officials envisioned a subway that would gather up commuters across the San Fernando Valley and whisk them to downtown Los Angeles, avoiding the infamous traffic of the 101 Freeway.

But after years of funding, design and political battles, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority scuttled plans for a rail line — either above or below ground — and opted for a dedicated 18-mile busway that could be built relatively quickly and cheaply on an old streetcar right-of-way.

The Orange Line has since become the busiest bus route in the Valley, carrying about 30,000 riders a day between Chatsworth, Warner Center and North Hollywood. That's a sign, advocates say, that it's finally time for the busway to become a rail line.

Such a conversion — including buying trains, building stations and laying track — would cost $1.2 billion to $1.7 billion and take two to three years to complete, according to a new report prepared for Metro and reviewed by The Times.

Metro's board of directors is scheduled to review the analysis this week.

Some elected officials and advocates argue the county's rail-building boom over the last three decades has shortchanged the Valley, home to nearly 20% of county residents. The sprawling and largely built-out suburb, with its own large employment and commercial centers, has just two of Metro's 80 rail stations.

None of the 37 miles of rail Metro currently plans to build in the next decade would be north of the 101 Freeway.

When the Orange Line was built, its bridges were engineered to one day accommodate trains. With that sort of infrastructure in place, along with existing station parking lots, drainage and bikeways, the cost of converting the line to rail has been reduced 25%, the report said.

But the analysis also notes there are other alternatives to increase the line's capacity. Those include buying more or larger buses and adding overpasses at the busway's busiest intersections. Currently, long, articulated buses run in their own transit way, but in some locations they still can be required to stop for traffic lights.

Upgrading the bus service on the line would cost up to $350 million, less than a third of the cost of replacing it with rail, according to the MTA analysis.

Either change could lead to at least a 10% increase in ridership, the report estimated. But it concluded a rail line would be slightly faster, shaving about 15 minutes off a cross-Valley trip, compared with a 10- to 12-minute travel time reduction with improved bus service.

How any Orange Line upgrade would be funded isn't clear. Money for such a project was not included in Measure R, the half-cent sales tax for transportation projects passed by Los Angeles County voters in 2008. That measure has provided local financing for the bulk of the county's recent rail construction, and helped attract matching state and federal dollars.

Political observers say that upgrading the Orange Line, particularly to rail, could encourage Valley voters to support another sales tax ballot measure.

Metro plans either to seek voter approval next year for a proposal that could add a new tax for transportation — raising the overall county sales tax rate to 9.5% — or extend Measure R beyond its 2039 expiration date. The latter approach would allow officials to borrow billions more for new transit construction in coming years and repay it with sales taxes to be collected decades from now. Any tax increase would need the approval of a super-majority of more than 66% of voters.

The recent MTA report also examined the cost of extending the Orange Line bus route to Pasadena. That project, estimated at $130 million to $230 million, could include adding bus ramps linking to the 134 Freeway's carpool lanes and building stations in Burbank and Glendale. That extension could increase daily boarding by up to 30,000, the report said.

Building light rail along the extended corridor, from Warner Center to Montclair, could cost $4.6 billion to $8 billion and would require two hours to travel from end to end, the report said.


Twitter: @laura_nelson

Have an idea, gripe or question? Times staff writers Laura J. Nelson and Dan Weikel write California Commute and are looking for leads. Please send them along.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Earthquake: magnitude 3.5 tremor jolts L.A.

Written By kolimtiga on Senin, 13 April 2015 | 12.56

A magnitude 3.5 earthquake was reported Sunday night about a half mile from View-Park Windsor Hills in South Los Angeles, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The temblor occurred at 9:17 p.m. Pacific time and occurred at a depth of 6 miles, according to the USGS.

Although tremors were felt across large swaths of Southern California, the epicenter was located near the Baldwin Hills oil fields and the Kenneth Hahn State Recreation Area, about eight miles west of downtown Los Angeles.

The proximity to the oil fields left some to speculate on social media that the earthquake owed to heavy drilling in the area.

But Dr. Lucy Jones, a USGS seismologist, wrote on Twitter that the quake occurred near the Newport-Inglewood fault and at a depth "way below the oil fields."

"The focal mechanism matches the Newport Inglewood fault which was producing [earthquakes] long before we were pumping oil," Jones wrote.

The epicenter was about 2,000 feet from that of a magnitude 2.5 earthquake which was reported at 4:35 p.m. The smaller quake was a foreshock that typically precedes larger seismic activity, Jones said.

In response, the Los Angeles Fire Department went into earthquake mode, with firefighters fanning out across the city to survey for possible damage.

After crews from all 106 LAFD stations inspected strategic areas across 470 square miles of the city, no damage was identified, according to fire department spokesman Shawn Lenske.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno. 

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Jaime Penedo, Alan Gordon lead Galaxy to 1-0 win over Seattle Sounders

The Galaxy had just one direction to go heading into Sunday's game with the Seattle Sounders.

The team was already in the Western Conference cellar, hadn't won in its last four tries and was missing so many regulars to injury — among them reigning league most valuable player Robbie Keane — it had to call Bradford Jamieson up from the second team just to fill out the bench.

If the Galaxy was to rise, though, it would need someone to lift it. And goalkeeper Jaime Penedo proved equal to that challenge, making a career-high 10 saves in a physical 1-0 win before a sold-out crowd at StubHub Center.

The only goal belonged to Alan Gordon, who knocked home a perfectly placed header from Omar Gonzalez in the 23rd minute for the Galaxy's first score in 290 minutes.

The game, however, belonged to Penedo.

"He did what a goalie needs to do: Step up when we need him," midfielder Baggio Husidic said. "And he did a great job.

"It's still a little bit early to say he turned the season around. But the game is a fair point. He probably had two or three very, very good saves. So that's the game right there."

Two or three good saves? Penedo had that many in the 10th minute alone, turning away back-to-back shots from Lamar Neagle and Chad Marshall.

"As a goalie, what you want going into a game is to stop the first shot," said Penedo, whose early-season struggles have mirrored that of his team with the goalkeeper sitting out two games because of medical issues and a third because of international duty with Panama.

"It gets really complicated when they score on the first shot," he said. "Those two saves gave me a lot of confidence for the rest of the game."

And the rest of the game would get better for Penedo, who stopped a point-blank shot from Andy Rose in the 53rd minute that he later admitted he never saw.

"I honestly don't know how I saved that one," he said in Spanish. "It just bounced off me.

"It happened so fast. You really don't have time to think. The ball just came and I happened to be just standing there to stop it."

The Sounders came in banged up, too, missing U.S. national team captain Clint Dempsey because of a hamstring strain. They still managed to keep both Penedo and Gordon busy, though, peppering the goalkeeper with shots while Gordon got pounded with knees, elbows — even a shot off his face.

But Gordon, playing in his 200th regular-season game, hurt Seattle badly the one time he was able to run free. The sequence started with Juninho sending a long cross to Gonzalez at the edge of the area that he headed back across the goal to Gordon at the far post. From there it was an easy tap-in for the only score the Galaxy would need.

"Alan Gordon was a real man today," Galaxy Coach Bruce Arena said. "You've got to win these kinds of games. Listen, this isn't going to go down as a classic. But the fact that we were able to grind it out and get an important three points is very pleasing."


Twitter: @kbaxter11

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Many small firms may face health insurance rate changes under Obamacare

In recent years, as millions of individual consumers coped with new and different kinds of health insurance, small businesses got some breathing room.

Millions of small businesses nationwide — and an estimated 70% of California's small firms that offer employee health insurance — haven't yet faced all the sweeping changes that resulted from the Affordable Care Act.

The government gave them extra time to sign onto Obamacare, and instead they took advantage of provisions that allowed them to stay put with their old policies. "Most of the small group plans that had larger-than-average rate increases by switching to ACA plans [instead] grandmothered their plans" to avoid a rate increase, says Patrick Burns, president of the California Assn. of Health Insurance Underwriters.

Grandmothered health plans are older policies that were in place before 2014 but must ultimately be phased out.

In California, "that grandmothering ends December 2015, so a lot of the companies that have avoided the rate changes due to the legislation will be facing that this year," Burns says.

What kind of rate increases small businesses will face is hard to estimate. Rates vary from region to region, and the Affordable Care Act mandates more healthcare services that some older insurance policies did not.

The law also prohibits insurers from charging higher premiums based on the health status of employees, and places limits on how much they can charge for older workers. As a result, firms with older-than-average employees or those in poorer health may see their rates drop.

"Some companies who have had healthy employees may see their rates go up, and some who have had sicker employees may see them go down on average," says Gary Claxton, a vice president with Kaiser Family Foundation.

When the Santa Monica e-commerce company ZipfWorks switched last year to a policy that complied with the health reform law, the small firm's insurance premiums for its 18 full-time employees rose nearly 30%, says Chief Executive Michael Quoc.

But that's not deterring Quoc. He says employee health benefits are pricey, but they are key to attracting top-notch employees.

"It's very, very competitive, especially as the economy is getting better," Quoc says. "Having a really great healthcare plan is something we value highly."

Health experts and brokers say Quoc's position is common in the small-business world. Despite the uncertainty, small firms remain very interested in offering employee health benefits.

"Small business will continue to offer insurance," says Anthony Lopez, manager of small business for online insurance broker EHealthInsurance. "We've seen an increase in the number of groups we've placed with an insurance company. The small-group market hasn't slowed down."

Experts offer suggestions for small businesses shopping for employee health insurance:

Keep tax credits in mind. The federal government makes tax credits of up to 50% available to companies with fewer than 25 low-wage employees that buy insurance through their state's online health insurance market.

Ask employees what they want. Too often, business owners make benefits decisions in a vacuum, says Michael Letizia, a human resources consultant and representative of the Society for Human Resources Management.

"A lot of times, benefits are selected based on what the owner or the senior management in the organization wants," he says.

Ask employees directly what benefits they most value, Letizia advises. That will help a small business avoid paying for benefits employees don't care about and never use.

Consider your employees' financial interests. Not offering insurance may be better for some employees of small firms. Lower-income workers might qualify for subsidies available only to those who buy individual health plans through state-based insurance markets.

"If your workers are low wage, they're probably better off going to the exchange," Claxton says.

In addition, when employers offer family coverage that complies with the health law, dependents who could find cheaper policies in the individual exchange are often disqualified from taking advantage of tax credits.

Employees with higher earnings — more than about $96,000 annually for a family of four — are likely to do better with work-based health insurance, which is offered on a tax-free basis.

Quoc of ZipfWorks isn't backing away from his commitment to provide employee health benefits, but like most small firms, says he wouldn't mind a price break. "If there are opportunities to offer great plans for less, we're always open to them."


Twitter: @lisazamosky

Zamosky is the author of "Healthcare, Insurance, and You: The Savvy Consumer's Guide."

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Lakers moving ahead on planned training center in El Segundo

The Lakers took an expected, but important, step in the development of their new training facility, receiving preliminary approval from the El Segundo City Council last week to keep moving ahead with their plans.

A final vote will be taken in June. The team hopes to break ground in October and finish its planned $80-million complex in the summer of 2017. The facility will be located on a five-acre parcel within a quarter mile of the Lakers' current location. The team will no longer share a building with the Kings and a trio of ice-skating rinks sometimes open to the public.

Since 2000, the Lakers have been at the place currently known as Toyota Sports Center, built for about $24 million by Anschutz Entertainment Group.

There is only one basketball court at the center and the team long ago outgrew its office space. Several departments, including marketing, ticketing and community relations, are located at a different building down the street.

The Clippers' relatively new training facility is only five miles away in Playa Vista and represents everything the Lakers want — two basketball courts, plenty of executive offices and enviable video and weight rooms in 42,500 square feet.

The Lakers' minor league affiliate, the L.A. D-Fenders, will also be based out of their new complex. The D-Fenders currently play home games at Toyota Center.

Lin officially done

Jeremy Lin's first — and only? — season with the Lakers officially ended Sunday, Coach Byron Scott said.

Lin will have missed the final five games because of a sore left knee, which is not expected to require surgery.

Scott recently acknowledged Lin's season was "up and down" but spoke more highly of him Sunday.

"I think he's obviously gotten better. When he first got here, his mind of what a point guard is was totally different than mine," Scott said. "As we went along, he started to understand what I wanted on a day-to-day basis."

Lin, 26, was in and out of the starting lineup this season and averaged 11.2 points while shooting 42.4%, numbers slightly below his career averages. He will be an unrestricted free this summer and faces a fairly steep pay cut from the $14.9 million he made this season.

"The one thing about him, the kid takes criticism," Scott said. "You can jump on him about things. He takes them with a grain of salt and tries to get better. That's the one thing I do love about him. He doesn't pout about it, doesn't cry. He just goes out there and tries to implement the things that you give him, and tries to be a better basketball player."

The Lakers will receive Houston's first-round pick as part of the Lin trade last July. A surprising amount of positioning is still taking place in the Western Conference as the regular season winds down, but the pick is conservatively expected to be in the mid-20s.

The Lakers were left with only two healthy guards when Dwight Buycks sustained a broken right hand in the 120-106 loss Sunday to Dallas. Buycks' 10-day contract was set to expire after the game, and it was unclear if the Lakers would sign a third guard to support rookie starters Jordan Clarkson and Jabari Brown for Monday's game at Sacramento.

The Lakers' season finale is Wednesday against Sacramento at Staples Center.


When: 7:00 p.m. PDT.

Where: Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento

On the air: TV: TWC SportsNet, TWC Deportes; Radio: 710, 1330.

Records: Lakers 21-59, Kings 27-53.

Record vs. Kings: 1-1.

Update: Sacramento recently shut down All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins because of a lingering ankle injury and high-scoring forward Rudy Gay because of persistent concussion symptoms. The Lakers end their season Wednesday with a home game against the Kings.


Twitter: @Mike_Bresnahan

Times correspondent Eric Pincus contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Track & Field: Williams wins 100 and 200 at Arcadia

Written By kolimtiga on Minggu, 12 April 2015 | 12.56

Lauren Rain Williams made quite a debut at the Arcadia Invitational.

The Oaks Christian sophomore won the 100-meter dash in a wind-aided 11.42 seconds and the 200-meter dash in 23.57 at the Arcadia Invitational. 

She also anchored the Lions' national-leading 45.57 in the 4x100 relay and anchored the 4x400 relay, which finished second in a national No. 2 time of 3:47.83. 

-- Steve Galluzzo  

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Bosco's Matt Katnik gives his best effort in shotput at Arcadia

From the moment he stepped into the shotput ring Saturday afternoon, Matt Katnik was confident he could win the Elite Invitational competition at the 48th Arcadia Invitational at Arcadia High.

The USC-bound senior from Bellflower St. John Bosco finished second by less than a foot last year and wanted to leave no doubt this time around. Entering the event as the national leader at 68 feet 9 inches, he threw 71-31/2 on his second attempt and had two other throws better than 69 feet.

Katnik fell three-quarters of an inch short of the meet record set by Fallbrook's Brett Noon in 1990, but he wasn't complaining.

"Warming up I felt really good, really centered, and that first throw [68-1] was the best throw I've had in weeks so it gave me a lot of confidence," said Katnik, who became only the third athlete in California to reach the 70-foot mark, and the first since 1997. "I felt even better on the second one. I knew it would be a good throw but I didn't know it would be a 71. I'm just happy to PR [personal record]."

Westlake Village Oaks Christian's Lauren Rain Williams won the girls Invitational 200 meters in 23.57 seconds, just off her own nation-leading time of 23.43. She also won the 100 in a wind-aided 11.42 and anchored the winning 400 relay team.

Vista Murrieta junior Michael Norman ran the Invitational 400 meters in a national-leading 45.91 seconds, breaking the meet record of 46.02 set by Bryshon Nellum of Long Beach Poly in 2007. Norman's effort was the 10th fastest in state history.

Malik McMorris of Santa Ana Mater Dei won the discus in a personal-best 194-8 after placing third last year.

Harvard-Westlake's Courtney Corrin leaped 19-101/2 to win her second long jump title in three years.

Santa Margarita senior Kaitlyn Merritt captured her third Arcadia pole vault title with a height of 13-7.

Amanda Gehrich of Rancho Santa Margarita Tesoro was second in 4 minutes 47.66 seconds in the Invitational mile and City Section champion Marissa Williams of Palisades was fifth in a personal-best 4:49.23. Jordyn Colter of Cherry Creek, Colo., won in 4:45.24.

Temecula Great Oak won the girls' distance medley in 11:49.59 with the foursome of Kiyena Beatty, Taylor Lawson, Ally Talpash and Destiny Collins. Dana Hills' team of Mason Coppi, Diego Southard, Colin Stein and Jake Ogden won the boys' race in a national-leading time of 10:06.73.


Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Clayton Kershaw is roughed up in Dodgers' 6-0 loss to Arizona

Clayton Kershaw can't explain why his season has started the way it has. Yasiel Puig can't explain his slow start, either.

Kershaw was knocked around Saturday in a 6-0 defeat to the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field, the last two runs coming on a two-run home run he served up to Paul Goldschmidt in the seventh inning.

"Basically, I got blasted today," Kershaw said. "I don't know what else to say."

Kershaw is winless in his two starts and has a 5.84 earned-run average. Saturday, he was charged with six runs (five earned) and 10 hits in 61/3 innings.

Puig watched the performance from the bench, as he was reduced to the role of spectator.

Puig was two for 17 with six strikeouts in the Dodgers' previous four games, which prompted Manager Don Mattingly to replace him with Andre Ethier in right field.

"He's just getting more frustrated, it seems like, as it goes along," Mattingly said.

Mattingly said Puig will return to the lineup for the series finale Sunday.

Whereas Kershaw was barely audible when he spoke of his failure, Puig was laughing before the game as he talked about his season-opening slump.

"I can't even hit it when they throw it down the middle," Puig said jokingly in Spanish.

Puig insisted nothing was wrong physically.

"Maybe my eyes," he said, still joking.

Nearby, sidelined closer Kenley Jansen was listening. Jansen interjected, "He's not relaxed. I'm telling him."

Puig smiled.

Replacing Puig with Andre Ethier did nothing for the lineup, which can't generate runs when the opponents refuse to pitch to Adrian Gonzalez, as the Diamondbacks did in their two victories in this series. With Gonzalez drawing two walks for the second consecutive day, the Dodgers were limited to one hit in the first eight innings Saturday, a fourth-inning double by Howie Kendrick.

Kershaw could have pitched eight scoreless innings and it might not have mattered.

Still, Kershaw sounded bothered by how he pitched.

"I'm sure I was missing some spots and leaving the ball up," he said. "I made a lot of mistakes."

Mattingly thought Kershaw never developed a rhythm.

"It wasn't a typical Clayton game where he's ahead in the count and he's able to use his slider down in the dirt and throw his curveball," the manager said.

The Dodgers used exaggerated defensive shifts early in the game, but reverted to a more conventional defensive alignment in the middle innings.

The team's new front office is known to be an ardent proponent of defensive shifts, which could be why Mattingly became defensive when asked about the tactics.

When it was suggested to him that the Diamondbacks hitters exploited the openings that were created by the shifts, Mattingly snapped, "Let's get this straight: These guys aren't that good, as far being able to hit the ball wherever they want whenever want to."

Kershaw was diplomatic on the subject, saying, "A lot of people do a lot of research and a lot of homework to put guys where they're supposed to be. You execute the game plan, the theory is they'll hit it where they are. Sometimes, it works. Sometimes, it doesn't."

Kershaw also refused to blame the ballpark. He pitched a much worse game here in May, when he gave up seven runs and six hits in 12/3 innings.

"No excuses, as far as that is concerned," he said.

As disappointing as the game was, it could have been worse, as the Dodgers nearly lost their top two third basemen.

Justin Turner started in place of Juan Uribe, but he wasn't there for long. Neither was Uribe.

Over one Paul Goldschmidt at-bat in the third inning, Turner and Uribe each departed because of injuries.

Turner was spiked on his glove hand by A.J. Pollock on a stolen-base attempt. Pollock was called safe, as Turner dropped the throw from catcher A.J. Ellis.

Turner exited the game with a bleeding left index finger and was replaced by Uribe, who started the previous four games.

Uribe, 36, strained a hamstring as he threw out Goldschmidt on a run-scoring groundout.

Uribe remained in the game for the last two outs of the inning, but Alex Guerrero pinch-hit for him in the fourth inning.

X-rays on Turner's finger were negative. He and Uribe were listed as day to day by the Dodgers.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Grinding effort goes Clippers' way for 94-86 win over Grizzlies

The Clippers intended to win a fight for one of the top playoff seedings in the Western Conference, not a battle of attrition.

Things changed considerably in the first quarter Saturday night when Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol sprained his left ankle, joining injured teammates Mike Conley and Tony Allen on the sideline.

What was left of the Grizzlies fought gamely before ultimately succumbing to the Clippers, 94-86, at Staples Center after a fourth-quarter flourish by Chris Paul.

The point guard scored five consecutive points on a three-pointer and a mid-range jumper, helping the Clippers avoid a potentially deflating defeat while delighting team owner Steve Ballmer in his courtside seat.

"We just had to grit and grind a little bit," Clippers shooting guard J.J. Redick said, using the catchphrase favored by Memphis.

The Clippers (54-26) moved into a three-way tie with the Grizzlies and San Antonio Spurs for the second-best record in the West, though the Grizzlies would own the No. 2 seeding by virtue of holding the tiebreaker that puts them atop the Southwest Division.

The Clippers hold a tiebreaker with San Antonio by virtue of having a better record against West opponents, provided the Spurs do not win their division.

"I guess it's more confusing now," Clippers Coach Doc Rivers joked of the playoff picture. "When you figure it out, let me know."

Paul finished with 15 points and 14 assists and Blake Griffin and Redick added 18 points apiece for the Clippers. Center DeAndre Jordan had 16 points and 16 rebounds, his last two points coming on free throws with 20 seconds left after he was bopped in the face by Memphis' Jeff Green.

The crowd roared in appreciation of Jordan's free throws several hours after Clippers forward Matt Barnes had issued a verbal call to arms on social media. Barnes sent a message to his 560,000 combined followers on Twitter and Instagram, asking for their support.

"Big Game 2nite!," Barnes wrote. "It's almost that time of year. WE NEED OUR CROWD MORE THAN EVER, let's make Staple [sic] Center the BEST HOME COURT THIS YEAR IN THE PLAYOFFS!! That means Yall are gonna [have] to get off your phones, stop talking to the person [next] to you & actually stand up & cheer!!"

The Clippers had some extra help on their bench after signing veteran guard Lester Hudson before the game to a contract that includes a partial guarantee for next season.

The chippy play that seems a given when these teams meet materialized in the third quarter when Griffin appeared to be pulled down on top of Memphis center Kosta Koufos, who pushed Griffin with two hands to try to get him off. Both players were assessed technical fouls.

"We probably lead the league in double technicals between franchises," Griffin deadpanned.

Zach Randolph finished with 21 points and 13 rebounds for Memphis, which was playing for the second time in two days after having defeated Utah in Salt Lake City on Friday night.

"That's not the team that will be there in the playoffs," Paul said of the Grizzlies, "but we couldn't do anything about it. We had to play our game."


Twitter: @latbbolch

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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California PUC member moves to block Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger

Written By kolimtiga on Sabtu, 11 April 2015 | 12.56

Just days before an important public hearing, a California Public Utilities Commission member has raised the stakes by proposing the regulatory panel block Comcast's bid to acquire Time Warner Cable.

PUC Commissioner Mike Florio on Friday submitted an alternative proposal to the five-member PUC. His measure would deny Comcast's request to take over the licenses held in California by Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications.

"This transaction is not in the public interest," Florio's 89-page proposal said.

Among the possible harms outlined in his recommendation was a potential to lower the quality of service for cable TV customers in California. He also raised concerns about privacy and a shortage of competition in the delivery of high-speed Internet service in the state.

Florio also embraced the arguments of the Writers Guild of America, West.

The Los Angeles guild has been arguing for months that a bigger Comcast would threaten the development of the burgeoning online streaming services market because those entities, including Netflix, Hulu and Sling TV, compete with Comcast's core business of delivering packages of TV channels.

"Handing Comcast a near-monopoly in high-speed Internet service in California threatens continued progress towards a more diverse and competitive media landscape," the WGA said in a statement late Friday. "The merger would cause too much harm to Californians."

Florio's move means now there are two proposals on the table.

In February, Administrative Law Court Judge Karl Bemesderfer recommended the PUC approve the Comcast merger, saying it was in the public interest. 

But Bemesderfer added a lengthy list of suggested conditions, including requiring that Comcast work diligently to expand high-speed Internet access to low-income residents in Los Angeles and other counties in California.

PUC commissioners are expected to vote May 21 on the merger.

The PUC also plans a public hearing on the matter from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday at Junipero Serra State Office Building, 320 W. 4th St. in Los Angeles.

"We continue to believe the administrative law judge's decision, reached after months of briefings, analysis, and careful consideration, has properly recommended approval of the Comcast-Time Warner Cable-Charter transaction," Bryan Byrd, a Comcast spokesman, said in a statement.

Comcast needs the PUC's blessing for the deal because the group regulates cable TV and phone service in the state of California. The merger, if approved, would increase Comcast's service footprint to four-fifths of the state. 

The Federal Communications Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice separately are reviewing the proposed merger, which would give Comcast nearly 30 million customers nationwide.

Comcast hopes to prevail and complete the merger this summer.

The Philadelphia cable giant has said benefits to consumers would outweigh any worries that the company would use its added clout to squeeze customers.

"Comcast has persuasively demonstrated that these benefits will include faster Internet speeds, innovative video and voice services, Comcast's nationally acclaimed broadband adoption program Internet Essentials, and Comcast's commitment to workforce and supplier diversity," Byrd said Friday.

"We remain confident this process will ultimately lead to approval of the transaction," he said.

Twitter: @MegJamesLAT

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Kings against Sharks in finale won't be the game that was anticipated

The NHL's schedule makers had a delicious and almost warped sense of humor when they crafted the opening- and closing-day programs.

Kings vs. Sharks.

San Jose had to watch the Kings raise their Stanley Cup champion banner on Oct. 8 at Staples Center, a reminder of having lost to the Kings after holding a 3-0 series lead in the first round of the 2014 playoffs.

Bookending that, nearly everyone thought that Saturday's final regular-season game for the teams could carry weight in the playoff race. Instead, it turned into a "wait until next year."

San Jose and the Kings are lottery bound, not playoff bound, and you would have to go all the way back to 2003 to find the last time the clubs both failed to make the playoffs.

The Kings were officially eliminated Thursday night at Calgary. On a pivotal three-game trip, they showed only rare flashes of inspiration against Vancouver, Edmonton and Calgary, and scoring from their top six forwards almost went missing.

"We just didn't play good enough hockey this year," Kings center Anze Kopitar said. "Too much of the inconsistency, four- or five-game losing streaks. You can't do that. It's too tough coming down the stretch this time of year to be playing catch-up. There's not a lot of teams that do it and it didn't work for us.

"There were a bunch of games that we did give up leads in the third — a couple in Anaheim and one in particular against Calgary, not to mention our shootout record this year. It's horrendous. If we would have won half of those things, we're in a different spot."

There are bound to be postseason changes for both California teams, probably the ones in Southern California less jolting. Still the sense of family and familiarity is bound to take a hit after the Kings missed the playoffs for the first time since 2009.

Forward Justin Williams, center Jarret Stoll and defenseman Robyn Regehr are all on expiring contracts. The agent for Williams said recently, via email, that there was nothing going on in terms of contract talks with the Kings. They also are facing the question of what to do with the contract of Mike Richards.

Even teams reaching the playoffs end up making changes, especially in the salary-cap era. Saturday's finale against the Sharks could be one part fan appreciation, one part celebration of what the team has accomplished and one part farewell to some beloved figures.

This won't be the last game before next fall for possibly several Kings. The World Championships are next month in Prague. For instance, Team Canada would certainly be interested in the services of center Jeff Carter, youngster Tyler Toffoli, defensemen Drew Doughty and Jake Muzzin, and perhaps left wing Tanner Pearson, if his injured leg is fully healed.

But it's hard to imagine an overworked Doughty wanting anything but a lot of rest this spring. Kings Assistant General Manager Rob Blake said Friday that they had not heard anything from Jim Nill, who is Team Canada's general manager for the World Championships. Canada's first game is May 1.

Blake served in the same position last year, and that's not the easiest job, trying to coax players back on the ice after a long season.



When: noon.

On the air: TV: Channel 4; Radio: 790.

Etc.: It appears forward Jordan Weal will be making his NHL debut, getting called up from the Kings' American Hockey League affiliate in Manchester, N.H., according to Blake. Weal, who has 65 points in 70 games, will turn 23 on Wednesday.


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Lakers vs. Timberwolves: quarter-by-quarter updates

The Lakers stopped a five-game skid with a 106-98 victory over the depleted Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night.

Ryan Kelly led the Lakers with 21 points, making five of six three-point shots.  Rookie Jabari Brown added 20 points and had a career-high seven assists.

Fellow first-year players Tarik Black (career-high 18 points, 10 rebounds) and Jordan Clarkson (18 points, nine assists) also had big games.  Wesley Johnson finished with 10 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Kelly added seven assists, the Lakers dishing 35 on 41 made baskets.

Andrew Wiggins, likely the NBA's rookie of the year, was a force for the Timberwolves, scoring 29 points to go along with 10 rebounds and six assists.  In addition to a serious dunk on just about the entire Lakers' squad in the fourth, Wiggins hit 15 of 16 free throws.

Minnesota also got 18 points from Zach LaVine, 14 from Adreian Payne and 10 from Lorenzo Brown.  The Timberwolves shot 43.2% from the field and 20% from three-point range (3 of 15) as well as 91.2% from the free-throw line (91.2%).

The Lakers shot 49.4%, 39.1% (9 of 23) and 62.5% (15 of 24), respectively.

The Wolves' 32 field goals came on 17 assists and they had 12 turnovers.  The Lakers had 14 miscues.

Minnesota sat a long list of players, including Ricky Rubio (ankle), Gorgui Dieng (facial contusion), Shabazz Muhammad (finger), Nikola Pekovic (ankle), Gary Neal (ankle), Anthony Bennett (ankle) and Kevin Garnett (knee).

The Lakers were without their share of players -- Jeremy Lin (knee), Wayne Ellington (shoulder), Nick Young (knee), Ronnie Price (elbow), Kobe Bryant (shoulder) and Julius Randle (knee) were all absent.

With the win, the Lakers improve to 21-58.  They'll next host the Dallas Mavericks (48-31) on Sunday at Staples Center.  The Timberwolves (16-63) travel to play the Golden State Warriors (64-15) on Saturday.

Lakers 80, Timberwolves 71 (end of third quarter)

The Lakers jumped on Minnesota in the third quarter, pulling ahead by 18 points after a Jordan Clarkson dunk, but the Timberwolves were able to trim the gap to nine heading into the fourth quarter.

Ryan Kelly hit his first five three-point attempts and has 19 points to lead the Lakers. Clarkson has 16 points and seven assists.

Jabari Brown and Tarik Black both scored 12 for the Lakers. Brown has a career-high seven assists.

Andrew Wiggins is the game's leading scorer with 21 points. Adreian Payne is the only other Minnesota player in double figures with 11.

Lakers 52, Timberwolves 47 (halftime)

Turnovers and missed shots hurt the Lakers in the second quarter and helped Minnesota tie the score at 43 with just more than 4 1/2 minutes left until halftime.

The Lakers had pulled back ahead by five before the intermission, thanks in part to Jabari Brown, who has 12 points and a career-high five assists.

Jordan Clarkson added 11 points and Ryan Kelly 10 for the Lakers, who are shooting 55.3% from the field and 4 of 10 from three-point range.

Minnesota has been led by rookie Andrew Wiggins' 12 points.  Robbie Hummel gave his team seven points off the bench.

The Wolves are shooting 43.2% from the field and 1 of 5 behind the arc.  They also made all 14 of their free throws while the Lakers converted six of 10.

Minnesota has eight turnover but commited only three in the second quarter. The Lakers have seven miscues, with five coming in the second quarter.

Lakers 30, Timberwolves 21 (end of first quarter)

The Lakers opened the game well against the Timberwolves, shooting 61.9% from the field in the first quarter to take a nine-point lead.

Jordan Clarkson made all four of his shots for nine points to lead all scorers.  Ryan Kelly added eight points and Tarik Black seven.

Minnesota shot 45% from the field and have been led by Zach LaVine with six points.  Robbie Hummel scored five off the bench for the Timberwolves.

The Lakers turned the ball over just twice.  Minnesota has five miscues.


The Lakers (20-58) host the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves (16-62) on Friday at Staples Center.

Jeremy Lin is out with a knee injury. Wayne Ellington (shoulder), Nick Young (knee), Ronnie Price (elbow), Kobe Bryant (shoulder) and Julius Randle (knee) are all done for the season.

The Timberwolves will play without Ricky Rubio (ankle), Gorgui Dieng (facial bruise), Shabazz Muhammad (finger), Nikola Pekovic (ankle), Gary Neal (ankle) and Anthony Bennett (ankle), while Kevin Garnett (knee) is doubtful.

For an in-depth breakdown, check out Preview: Lakers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves.

Email Eric Pincus at eric.pincus@gmail.com and follow him on Twitter @EricPincus.

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Baseball: JSerra wins Southern California Division of Boras Classic

JSerra's pitching has been magificient this week, and the Cavaliers ended up winning the Southern California Division of the Boras Classic on Friday night with a 5-0 win over Trinity League rival Santa Ana Mater Dei.

Jack Owen threw a complete game in the championship, allowing four hits while striking out one and walking none. Chase Strumpf had two hits and two RBI. JSerra is 13-1 and opens the Trinity League next week with a three-game series against the Monarchs.

JSerra advances to the Boras Classic championship game against the Northern California champion, St. Francis, on May 2 at noon at Cal State Fullerton.

Huntington Beach defeated Alemany, 7-0, in the third-place game. Mitchell Kovary threw a four-hitter, striking out two and walking none. Hagen Danner went three for three. The Moberg brothers, Jack and Jake, pitched Vista Murrieta past Chatsworth, 2-0. Jack threw five shutout innings and Jake finished with the save. Connor Cannon hit a home run.

Chaminade defeated Damien, 6-5. Jonathan Kennedy threw four shutout innings. Blake Solis, Nick Kahle and Anthony Acosta each had two hits. Long Beach Wilson defeated San Clemente, 5-4, in eight innings. Lucas Herbert had three hits for San Clemente. Jacob Barham had three hits and Chris Betts added two hits for Wilson.

Aliso Niguel defeated Great Oak, 5-4. Domenic Colacchio and Blake Sabol each had two hits for Aliso Niguel. Mitch Hayes had two hits and RBI for Great Oak. Corona defeated Birmingham, 1-0. Isaac Meza threw a complete game in defeat. JC Hatch threw five shutout innings for Corona.

Bishop Amat defeated Buena, 15-7, in the Righetti tournament. Sergio Robles had two hits, three RBI and scored five runs. Sophomore Jayson Gonzalez went four for four with four RBI.

Foothill (15-5) won the Righetti tournament championship with a 4-2 win over Thousand Oaks. Luke Diradoorian threw five shutout innings. Earlier, Foothill defeated Calabasas, 3-0, in a semifinal. Soren Yarnall threw a three-hitter. Sebastian Lopez had two hits and two RBI.

In the Pacific League, Danny Bustos struck out eight in Burroughs' 3-1, 11-inning win over Hoover. Bustos didn't walk a single batter in nine innings while allowing four hits. Anthony Bocanegra had three hits for Burroughs.

In the Palomares League, Austin Isenhart of Glendora threw an eight-inning no-hitter to lift his team past South Hills, 1-0. Nate Orosz hit a walk-off double. It was only the second hit for Glendora against Gavin Velasquez.

Chino Hills defeated Los Osos, 18-7. Chris Arcos had two hits and four RBI.

San Dimas improved to 18-0 by winning the championship game of the Don Lugo tournament with a 5-2 win over Virginia Paul VI behind pitcher Peter Lambert.


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'Disturbing' video shows deputies beating man after horse pursuit

Written By kolimtiga on Jumat, 10 April 2015 | 12.56

A group of San Bernardino County sheriff's deputies are seen in a video shot Thursday repeatedly kicking and punching a suspect at the end of a bizarre horseback pursuit in a scene the county's sheriff described as "disturbing."

A KNBC Channel 4 helicopter captured the chase, which appears to show the deputies striking the man, identified as 30-year-old Francis Pusok, even after he was on the ground with his hands held behind his back.

"It is disturbing and it appears on its face that there are violations of policy, but that will ultimately be determined in the investigation and to what degree," said Sheriff John McMahon.

He said he has ordered an internal investigation into the pursuit and a separate criminal investigation into Pusok's actions and those of the deputies involved in subduing him.

"We'll figure out exactly what happened and proceed from there whether there was criminal wrongdoing on the part of our deputies," McMahon said.

Deputies are equipped with digital audio recorders, which will be reviewed by investigators along with video footage and interviews with witnesses, McMahon said.

Former Los Angeles Police Capt. Greg Meyer, an expert on police use of force, described the video as "ugly."

"This is a highly concerning video," Meyer said.

Pusok had "obviously surrendered, followed commands to keep his hands behind his back — that would be the time for the deputies to drop the knees on him and get him handcuffed," Meyer said. "But it didn't happen, and they will have to answer for the force they used on him."

During the beating, which involved as many as 11 deputies and lasted for about two minutes, Pusok was kicked and kneed about a dozen times and punched more than two dozen times, according to the video footage. 

The violence bookended a chase that began about 12:15 p.m. when deputies arrived at a home in unincorporated Apple Valley to serve a search warrant in an identity theft investigation, according to a statement from the sheriff's department.

Pusok was the "prime suspect" in the alleged identity theft, Bachman said, but when deputies arrived at the home, he was already in a car.

He fled, starting a nearly three-hour chase through Apple Valley and Hesperia. He led deputies through narrow trails and rugged terrain in Hesperia, requiring the California Highway Patrol and sheriff's department to bring helicopters and motorcycle teams to help track him, Bachman said.

After Pusok dumped his vehicle, he stole a horse from a group of people at Deep Creek Hot Springs, Bachman said. 

A team of deputies came upon him around 3 p.m. near Highway 173 and Arrowhead Lake Road, sheriff's officials said.

Deputies used a Taser on Pusok but it "was ineffective due to his loose clothing," according to the sheriff's department.

Pusok had his hands behind his back as he lay on the ground when two of the deputies began landing blows, including a kick to the groin, according to the video footage. More deputies soon arrived, and the video shows one trying to get one of the original deputies to step away from Pusok.

He was transported to the hospital and his condition was not immediately available.

Three deputies were also transported to the hospital; two are being treated for dehydration and one was kicked by the horse, according to the sheriff's department.

Pusok's brushes with the law span more than a decade through several counties in California, according to public records.

He has pleaded no contest to felony attempted robbery in a 2006 incident as well as several misdemeanors, including resisting arrest, disturbing the peace and animal cruelty. In December, he was charged in San Bernardino County with a misdemeanor count of resisting arrest; he pleaded no contest.

The ACLU of Southern California lauded McMahon for promptly launching an investigation into the deputies involved in the beating but called on the department to thoroughly scrutinize its use-of-force and Taser policies.

"Once again video has provided an important account of what really happened, this time in San Bernardino County," said Hector Villagra, executive director of the ACLU of Southern California.

The incident comes about a month after a video of Los Angeles police fatally shooting a homeless man on skid row made national headlines. In that case, the LAPD said the officers opened fire after the man tried to grab one of the officer's guns.

On Tuesday, a video emerged showing a South Carolina police officer shooting motorist Walter Scott in the back as he running away in a public park. That officer has been charged with murder.

The horse involved in the pursuit sustained numerous injuries to its legs, but Bachman said the animal was released to its owner for medical treatment.

For breaking news in California, follow @MattHjourno and @LAcrimes. 

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

10:33 p.m.: This story was updated to include comments from the ACLU of Southern California.

9:50 p.m.: This story was updated throughout with additional detail and comments from Sheriff John McMahon.

5:49 p.m.: This story was updated with a statement and incident details from the San Bernardino County sheriff's department.

This story was originally posted at 5:15 p.m.

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Sprint to pay $15.5 million to settle DOJ wiretap overcharging case

Sprint on Thursday agreed to pay the government $15.5 million to resolve allegations that it overcharged for carrying out court ordered wiretaps, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The telecommunications company did not admit any wrong concerning the accusations that it hid charges for certain upgrades to its system in the government's wiretap service bills froom 2007 to 2010, according to a news release from the Justice Department Northern District of California.

Telecommunications carriers are allowed to bill law enforcement agencies for the reasonable expenses incurred for the wiretap service, but those expenses cannot include costs to "upgrade their equipment, facilities, or services to ensure they were capable of enabling the government, pursuant to a court order, to intercept and deliver communications and call-identifying information," according to the news release.

The Federal Communications Commission prohibited carriers from passing along those upgrades in 2006.

Follow Ryan Parker on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

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Pittsburgh Steelers' Troy Polamalu retires

Pittsburgh Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, among the most revered players in franchise history, is retiring. He announced the decision Thursday in an interview with the Herald-Standard of Uniontown, Pa.

Polamalu, 33, a standout at USC, was selected in the first round of the 2003 draft, marking the first time the Steelers took a safety in the opening round. He played 12 seasons, made eight Pro Bowls, and four times was selected a first-team All-Pro. The Steelers moved him all around the defense, and he helped redefine the position.

The Steelers have wanted to get younger on defense, had talked to him about retiring, and reportedly were considering releasing him. Polamalu told the Herald-Standard that for most of his career, he would have gone to great lengths to keep playing.

"But when I started this process and started to debate whether I should come back or should I play, that was kind of the sign for me to say, 'Whoa, if you're just even debating it, maybe you shouldn't play anymore,'" he said. "Because what I do know about this game is it takes a lot -- a lot -- of commitment just to be an average player."

Polamalu's uncle, Kennedy Polamalu, who coaches running backs at UCLA, said he has had several phone conversations with his nephew in recent weeks about the decision.

"It was an emotional thing," the elder Polamalu told The Times. "We never planned for the way he played the game with such love and spirit, and that it would go 12 years. He wasn't a highly recruited kid, so we went back through his journey and reminisced about how when he got into college no one knew who he was."

Kennedy Polamalu said his nephew, who has two sons, lamented spending time away from his family to train for football.

"He's getting a chance to take them to school now, be with them in the off-season," he said. "He told me once, 'Uncle, you know how I love to go to the movies? Well, if I go to the movies, I want to get popcorn, but I can't eat it because it makes me gain weight.' … He's going to have popcorn now."

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Census Bureau guard fatally shot; suspect nabbed after chase, shootout

A guard at the U.S. Census Bureau headquarters in Maryland was shot at least once Thursday evening before the suspect and a Washington, D.C., police officer were shot following a high-speed chase, officials said.

The guard died at the hospital, according to the Associated Press. 

The initial shooting happened around 6:15 p.m. local time at the U.S. Census Bureau headquarters building in Suitland, Md., said Mark Brady, spokesman for Prince George's County Fire Department.

"The guard suffered at least one gunshot wound to the upper torso," Brady said.

The FBI responded to the scene.

"Situation ended in D.C., and looks like it started there as well," FBI spokeswoman Amy J. Thoreson said in an email. 

The suspect was seen in front of the Census Bureau in a car arguing with a woman whom he is believed to have kidnapped. When the guard approached the vehicle, the suspect opened fire, the Washington Post reported. 

The suspect then led police on a high-speed chase that ended in a shootout in the 1100 block of H Street NE, a commercial corridor, said Lt. Kelvin Cusick, a spokesman for the D.C. Police Department. 

A police officer was shot in the leg and the suspect was shot during the exchange, Cusick said. No other injuries were reported. 

It is unclear where the suspect was shot, but he is alive and in custody. The condition of the officer was not released. 

The Census Bureau released a statement on Twitter saying that employees' safety was its primary concern and that it is "currently making sure everyone is safe and secure."

Follow Ryan Parker on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times

10:08 p.m.: This story has been updated with the guard's death. 

7:56 p.m.: This story has been updated with additional information from the scene. 

6:13 p.m.: This story has been updated with information from the FBI. 

5:28 p.m.: This story has been updated with more information from the scene and a comment from the Census Bureau.

This story was originally published at 4:31 p.m.

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Adrian Gonzalez hits three homers to power Dodgers to 7-4 win

Written By kolimtiga on Kamis, 09 April 2015 | 12.56

He did it again. Then again. And then still again. Very repetitive, in that wonderful kind of way.

By the time Adrian Gonzalez was finished breaking records for the night, he had hit three home runs Wednesday, which only gave him five in the first three games of the season. Not that it's a big deal or anything, but no other player in major league history has ever hit five homers in a team's first three games.

And baseball's only been around since 1869.

By the time Gonzalez was through changing the record books, the Dodgers had defeated the Padres, 7-4, before a Dodger Stadium sellout crowd of 52,204.

Gonzalez is in that kind of zone where the baseball must look like the size of the moon. In his first three games, he is 10 for 13, which makes for a nifty .769 batting average. It's possible he will not be able to keep up that pace.

All three homers Wednesday night were solo shots. No team in baseball currently has hit more than his five home runs.

He's also had at least three hits in each of the first three games, becoming the first National League player to pull that off since Orlando Cepeda for the San Francisco Giants in 1963.

All five of his home runs have been against right-handed pitchers. His three home runs Wednesday were against Padres starter Andrew Cashner, all hit to right field. When he came up for a fourth time in the sixth with runners on the corners, Padres Manager Bud Black called on left-hander Frank Garces.

Gonzalez settled for an RBI single.

All this power from a guy who kept telling people last season his days as a home-run hitter were behind him. Of course, then he went out and hit a team-high 27 homers.

Gonzalez, who turns 33 next month, has belted 267 home runs during his 12-year career. Never before, however, has he hit three in one game.

The victory went to right-hander Brandon McCarthy, who was making his Dodgers' debut. It got off to a rocky start when he gave up a pair of runs in the first inning on a Justin Upton home run, but then McCarthy threw four strong innings before appearing to run out of steam in the sixth, when he gave up two more runs.

In his five-plus innings, he was charged with four runs on nine hits and a walk. He struck out nine.

The Dodgers' bullpen, which had an up-and-down first two games, held the Padres in check over the last four innings thanks to Paco Rodriguez, Pedro Baez, J.P. Howell and Joel Peralta.

Peralta earned the save, matching his total all of last season for Tampa Bay. It was the 13th save of his 12-year career.

It was the 11th time in Los Angeles Dodgers history a player has hit three homers in one game. 

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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Lakers season-ticket renewals will be due before NBA draft lottery

As the 2014-15 season stumbles to a conclusion, the Lakers are readying their season-ticket holders for next year's campaign.

That's right, it's time for annual renewals.

The big question facing those holding Lakers season tickets is whether they should choose to shell out thousands of dollars to keep their seats after two straight disastrous seasons.

A major piece of the puzzle will be decided May 19, when the NBA holds their annual draft lottery.

The catch for season-ticket holders — they won't know the results of the lottery when they sign off on another season. The Lakers set the deadline to renew on May 18, exactly one day ahead of the lottery.

Ticket prices did not increase, an apparent acknowledgment of the team's recent struggles.

The Lakers (20-58) probably will finish with the NBA's fourth-worst record, giving the franchise nearly an 83% chance of staying within the top five in the draft. If the Lakers drop to six or lower, their pick goes to the Philadelphia 76ers, to close out the Steve Nash trade with Phoenix.

A player such as Duke's Jahlil Okafor or Justise Winslow, Kentucky's Karl-Anthony Towns or Willie Cauley-Stein, or Ohio State's D'Angelo Russell could be the prize for the Lakers — if the lottery balls prove favorable.

If not, the franchise will have to hope it has a better free-agent summer than a year ago. The Lakers project to have enough salary-cap space to lure a high-priced free agent in July.

"As the season nears its end and we begin preparing for next year, we are encouraged by the development of our talented young players and the leadership of Coach Byron Scott," reads the cover letter to season-ticket holders, signed by Tim Harris, the team's senior vice president of business operations and chief operating officer. "Our goal for the future remains the same, to deliver you a championship caliber team every season. That mission will never change and we hope you continue to join us on this journey."

Blue-chip rookie or no, some fans will be happy to renew just to see Kobe Bryant's likely swan song.

Marketing to just that, the Lakers have their All-Star adorning the outside and inside covers of the renewal folder, with images labeled 1996, 2002, 2006 and 2015. The first three show Bryant in his No. 8 jersey, in the years he came in as a rookie, won his third championship and scored 81 points, respectively. The back cover shows Bryant in his current No. 24. He is under contract for one more season and $25 million. He will turn 37 in August and begin his 20th NBA season in October, assuming the torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder has healed.

Bryant has missed most of the last two seasons with shoulder, knee and Achilles' injuries. Lakers fans have sat through two straight campaigns with win counts below 28.

Harris thanked the season-ticket holders for their "support throughout the season. The commitment from our most loyal fans has always been the cornerstone for our success."


Twitter: @EricPincus

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