Hello, it’s Thursday, March 23, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:
California storm moves out, but flood dangers remain
Heavy rain and damaging winds gradually subsided Wednesday as one of the wildest storms of the season made its exit from the Golden State, leaving at least five people dead and others critically injured as it felled trees, knocked out power and threatened additional flooding in the Central Valley.
Weeks of wild weather have left few corners of California unscathed. Over the last month or so, Gov. Gavin Newsom has proclaimed a state of emergency in 43 of the state’s 58 counties.
More about the storms
LAUSD workers and teachers rejoin pickets for Day 2
A mammoth strike led by Los Angeles Unified’s lowest-paid workers and supported by teachers kept district campuses closed Wednesday, as the second day of a three-day walkout brought throngs of staff and teachers back to the picket lines.
The strike, set to last through Thursday, culminated a months-long escalation of labor tensions in the nation’s second-largest school district of 420,000 students. Bus drivers, custodians, special education assistants, cafeteria workers — members of Local 99 of Service Employees International Union — are calling for a 30% salary increase, plus $2 more per hour for the lowest-paid employees.
Why is this Trader Joe’s pushing for a union?
Employees of a Trader Joe’s store in Oakland say they see a rat infestation as a vivid example of how the company has disregarded crew safety and prioritized profit at workers’ expense. It’s also one of many reasons they are pushing for a union.
The group filed a petition late Tuesday with the National Labor Relations Board seeking a union election.
The Oakland store is the latest Trader Joe’s location and the first in California to join a national push that began in May.
Debate rages on over the Echo Park Lake fence
Two years ago, construction crews put up a chain-link fence around the perimeter of Echo Park Lake. At the time, it was described as a temporary barrier, one that would allow the city to clear out a massive homeless encampment, then start the work of cleaning, repairing and restoring the park.
Now, Councilmember Hugo Soto-Martinez is preparing to take that fence down. But the neighborhood remains at least partly divided over the fence — and the future of the park, one of the city’s most scenic locales.
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PHOTO OF THE DAY
Ridley-Thomas rests defense, calling two former L.A. County supervisor colleagues. Lawyers for suspended City Councilmember Mark Ridley-Thomas concluded their defense, with two former colleagues on the Board of Supervisors taking the witness stand.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department saw signs of a deadly street drug 4 years ago, but told health officials about it this month. xylazine, a powerful sedative also known as “tranq,” has been linked to deaths across the country and can cause human tissue to rot, leaving users with grisly wounds that sometimes lead to amputations.
An unusual parasite is killing sea otters off the California coast, scientists warn. A parasite appears to be capable of killing healthy, adult otters that showed no other signs of disease.
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Arkansas bans trans people from school bathrooms corresponding to their gender identity. Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders signed a law prohibiting transgender people at public schools from using the restroom that matches their gender identity, the first of several states expected to enact such bans this year amid a flood of bills nationwide targeting the trans community.
In Ukraine, Russia strikes apartments and dorms, killing civilians. Russia stepped up its missile and drone attacks against Ukraine on Wednesday, killing students and other civilians in a violent follow-up to dueling high-level diplomatic missions aimed at bringing peace after 13 months of the war.
HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS
Dominion’s $1.6-billion defamation suit against Fox News heats up in court. Attorneys for Dominion Voting Systems hammered away at Fox News’ assertions that its reporting on false information about alleged voter fraud in the 2020 election was protected by the 1st Amendment during a court hearing.
Jennifer Aniston ribs Adam Sandler’s Vogue-approved style and his dating advice. “Murder Mystery 2” star Jennifer Aniston gave her co-star Adam Sandler a gentle ribbing on the “Tonight Show,” weighing in on his affinity for underdressing and his thoughts on her dating life — even how far he’s come to be awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor last weekend.
Bad Bunny’s ex-girlfriend sues over voice recording used in his songs. Bad Bunny’s ex-girlfriend is trying to get her due in a recent lawsuit filed against the Latin superstar. Carliz De La Cruz Hernández alleges in a lawsuit filed in Puerto Rico this month that the “Neverita” and “Títí Me Preguntó” hitmaker has been using her voice without her consent.
California bill would force Big Tech to pay for news content. In the latest attempt by legislators to rein in Silicon Valley, a measure has been introduced in California that would force tech companies such as Facebook and Google to pay publishers for news content from which their platforms profit.
Biden to limit growth in China for chipmakers getting U.S. funds. The Biden administration unveiled tight restrictions on new operations in China by semiconductor manufacturers that get federal funds to build in the U.S.
Newsmax returns to DirecTV after nasty dispute, censorship claims. DirecTV’s dispute with conservative network Newsmax — which turned bitter when the small channel enlisted support from Republican politicians — is ending with Newsmax returning to programming lineups of satellite TV customers.
How Shohei Ohtani fanned Mike Trout to win WBC. Shohei Ohtani and Mike Trout, the captains, carried their respective country’s flags. Three weeks ago, they were Angels teammates in spring training together. But on Tuesday they were opponents for the World Baseball Classic championship, the biggest game of their baseball lives.
Betting odds and how to watch UCLA vs. Gonzaga in NCAA tournament. Here’s everything you need to know to make a smart bet on UCLA vs. Gonzaga in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
Soccer star Alex Morgan makes her latest key assist: launching her foundation. Alex Morgan has assisted on goals in World Cup games and in World Cup qualifiers. But on Tuesday she began setting up what figures to be one of the most important assists of her career by launching her own foundation to provide support, empowerment and an example for young girls and mothers in San Diego’s South Bay.
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Metro riders need safer trains and buses, but that doesn’t necessarily mean more police. The security issues, crime and disorder on the system have the biggest effect on the people who rely on public transit to get to schools and jobs, primarily low-income people of color. Disorder, rising crime and declining confidence not only pose an existential crisis to the Metro system but also to the region’s climate, sustainability and livability goals.
China is not a credible peacemaker in Ukraine war. China’s coziness with Russia, celebrated in the pomp of Xi’s visit to Moscow, undermines any suggestion that Beijing is “objective and impartial” when it comes to the Ukraine conflict.
ONLY IN L.A.
This magical L.A. garden will make you rethink turf. As 5-year-old Stella Penn and her sister, Maxine, 3, enthusiastically play hide-and-seek in the backyard of their Eagle Rock home, the girls are accompanied by a merry band of lizards, butterflies and birds drawn to the yard’s low-water California natives, abundant fruit trees and the fragrance of Cleveland sage and champaca trees.
Kyle and Claire Penn pulled out their lawn in Eagle Rock and never looked back. “We haven’t given up anything by not being able to run around on grass,” Kyle says.
FROM THE ARCHIVES
The Russian space station Mir endured 15 years in orbit, three times its planned lifetime. It outlasted the Soviet Union, which launched it into space. The legendary station was disposed of in a controlled crash.
Some lawmakers pleaded that it be saved, but space officials were adamant that it must die.
Mir reentered Earth’s atmosphere on March 23, 2001, at 9 a.m. Moscow time. The 134-ton space structure broke up over the southern Pacific Ocean. Some of its larger pieces blazed harmlessly into the sea, about 1,800 miles east of New Zealand. Observers in Fiji reported spectacular gold- and white-streaming lights. An amazing saga and a highly successful program finally had come to a watery end.
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