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Wintertime, specifically a couple of weeks after the holiday hubbub has fully settled down, and a chill, even in Southern California, has settled in, life can feel a little low energy.

Syrupy, even, and definitely slow. But a spectacular is springing into town on Jan. 18, and when we say "springing" we mean "back-flipping" or even "hands-free cartwheeling," all to deliver some pep to our winter dormancy.

It's Cirque du Soleil's "VOLTA," an under-the-big-op treat that takes its inspiration from the world of go-go-go street sports.

Making its sporting location a perfect fit: Dodger Stadium.

While traditional baseball antics won't be on the roster, there shall be some high-flying BMX action inside the tent, and don't-blink rope skipping, and shape diving, too. (Indeed, that involves acrobats leaping through small shapes at astounding speeds.)

As is tradition with the troupe, which traces its fanciful, clown-smart roots back to the Montreal of the 1980s, there will be a moving tale to tell, too. 

It's a tale grounded in the nature of transformation, a fitting theme to help launch the new year.

The show "... is about being true to oneself, fulfilling one's true potential, and recognizing the power to make it possible," is the uplifting, message-strong word from the Cirque staffers.

Be emboldened by this spirit of self-acceptance from Jan. 18 through Feb. 23, under the troupe's now-iconic big top, at Dodger Stadium.

And, for sure, the BMXers, and all of the talented athletes, acrobats, and artists, will head for Orange County near the start of spring.

Find "VOLTA" in Costa Mesa from March 18 through April 19, 2020.

Tickets are on sale now.


Photo Credit: Benoit Z. Leroux
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The South Philadelphia oil refinery that caused a series of massive explosions last week will close within the next month, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney confirmed.

"I am extremely disappointed for the more than [1,000] workers who will be immediately impacted by this closure, as well as other businesses that are dependent on the refinery operations. " Kenney said in a statement. "The City is committed to supporting them during this difficult time in any way possible."

The announcement comes less than one week after the inferno rattled entire parts of the region, reigniting a debate among city leaders and residents who worried about the safety of the 150-year-old refinery, which is considered the largest single source of pollution in the area.

Kenney said that the city will convene a group of "quasi-governmental organizations" to look at the economic repercussions of shutting down the refinery. The Philadelphia Fire Department and the city's managing director will also lead efforts to determine the future of the site.

City Councilwoman Helen Gym, one of the most vociferous voices calling for the refinery to close, said via Twitter that the "city has a lot of work to do to prioritize clean energy and sustainable futures for everyone."

"The 1,000 plus workers at the refinery and residents deserve a real transition plan," she tweeted.

Around 4 a.m. Friday, a mixture of butane and propane ignited a fire that caused three explosions. They could be seen and felt across the city and suburbs.

The fire burned for two days until plant staff were able to turn off a valve that sent fuel into an alkylation unit. City fire officials and the refinery's private fire brigade let the fire burn to avoid the uncontrolled release of explosive gas into the atmosphere.

Philadelphia Fire Department Commissioner Adam Thiel said most of the fuel burned was similar to what fuels gas barbecue grills.

A joint investigation between his fire marshal's office, city police and the ATF is underway, Thiel said. While a fire is no longer burning at the site, the incident has yet to be placed under control because investigators are unable to tour the entire affected area.

A representative from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection said that agency plans to inspect the large gas storage tanks nearby to ensure they were not damaged by the fire.

The refinery complex, which is split into two refineries, dates back to the 1800s and is the East Coast's largest — producing gasoline, diesel, jet fuel and other fuel. It is the single largest cause of particulate pollution in Philadelphia.

Philadelphia Energy Solutions emerged from bankruptcy protection in October 2018. At the time, the limited liability company owed the local and state government more than $3 billion. The amounts were negotiated down to tens of thousands of dollars.



Photo Credit: AP
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A New Jersey mother says she was walking home after picking up her son from school when she was attacked — and the 13-year-old attacker, a student who had allegedly been bullying her son, was arrested and charged with assault Tuesday.

Beronica Ruiz said she had just gotten her 7th-grader son from The Gifted and Talented Academy in Passaic on June 19 and was walking home with him and her 1-year-old daughter when a student approached them at Lexington Avenue and Monroe Street.

The student verbally accosted them, and when Ruiz told him to stop, he punched her. Ruiz was knocked unconscious, waking up on a stretcher. Her face was left bruised and fractured, and her eye is still red, days after the assault.

The juvenile also allegedly struck Ruiz's son in the face, according to officials. He was later released to his parents.

"Despite this accusation, the juvenile is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt," Passaic County Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes said in a statement.

The Ruiz family says the trouble actually started inside the school, with students allegedly telling their 12-year-old son to "go back to Mexico" on Tuesday before the attack. Their son is a U.S. citizen.

"They told my son Mexicans should go behind the wall," Ruiz said.

Beronica and Alfonso Ruiz were never contacted by the school about the alleged bullying, and the administrators said they talked to the students about the bullying when Alfonso confronted them about it.

The family believes if the school had handled the situation better, the attack may never have happened.

“This incident is being taken extremely seriously," the mayor of Passaic said to News 4 in a statement. "I have met with and spoken personally with the family, I have met with my Chief of Police, local officials and school administration as well as board members to make sure there is accountability and that this family receives justice.”

Alfonso Ruiz said that they forgive the child who beat Beronica, but wants their son to be able to learn in an inclusive — and more importantly, safe — environment.

"Education like I said before is very important," Alfonso said, "But their safety has to be priority."

The school refused to comment.


Photo Credit: News 4
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First, the bad news.

Five beaches in Southern California and four in the Bay Area are on this year's list of Beach Bummers, the state's 10-most polluted beaches, according to an annual report card issued by environmental advocacy group Heal the Bay. This year's report, released Wednesday, notes that water quality dipped slightly in 2018-2019 due in large part to winter's persistent rainfall.

Heal the Bay gives A-F letter grades to beaches based levels of weekly bacteria measurements by county health agencies. Fifty-four percent of California beaches scored an A of a B during wet weather, when runoff triggered by rainstorms tends to increase bacteria levels in oceans. That's an 8 percentage point drop from the five-year average.

Now, the good news.

Thirty-three California beaches were named to the report's Honor Roll, which is a list of locations that scored perfect A+ grades each week in all seasons and all weather conditions. To make the list, a beach must be monitored year-round. Two LA County beaches are on the 2018-2019 Honor Roll.

"A day at the beach shouldn’t make anyone sick," said Dr. Shelley Luce, president and CEO of Heal the Bay. "We are glad to see water quality improving at some beaches, but there are no guarantees."

Click here to find reports for your favorite beaches.

Below, you'll find Heal the Bay's list of Beach Bummers with the organization's summary of conditions at each location. Scroll down to see the state's Honor Roll beaches.

Beach Bummers

No. 1: San Clemente Pier, Orange County

"San Clemente Pier was one of two Orange County beaches to make the Beach Bummer list this year. San Clemente Pier last appeared on this list in 2016. This beach is impacted by untreated runoff from a nearby storm drain." 

No. 2: Clam Beach County Park, Humboldt County

"This chronic Beach Bummer is on the list for the sixth straight year. The beach is impacted by flows from Patrick Creek and Strawberry Creek. Private septic systems located nearby are also potential sources of bacterial pollution."

No. 3: Linda Mar Beach, San Mateo County

"Making a second consecutive appearance on the Beach Bummer list, this Pacific-side beach is impacted by polluted runoff during dry weather from nearby San Pedro Creek."

No. 4: Long Beach City Beach at Coronado Avenue, Los Angeles County

"This beach is making its first appearance on the Beach Bummer list. It’s one of three L.A. County beaches on the list this year. At this location, beach water quality is negatively impacted by flows from the L.A. River."

No. 5: Cowell Beach, West of The Wharf, Santa Cruz County

"This historically troubled spot makes the list for the tenth straight year. The local community is making steady improvements with the formation of a working group dedicated to addressing water quality." 

No. 6: Monarch Beach at Salt Creek, Orange County

"This spot last appeared on the Beach Bummer list in 2015 and is the second Orange County beach to make the list this year. Water quality is negatively impacted by untreated runoff from a storm drain on the beach."

No. 7: Marina Del Rey Mother’s Beach, Los Angeles County

"This beach is making its fifth consecutive appearance on the list this year. The lack of waves makes it a popular spot for families with young children. But, the minimal water circulation causes bacteria and pollution to build up." 

No. 8: Cabrillo Beach, Harborside, Los Angeles County

"This beach has appeared on the list eight times in the last 10 years and is one of three L.A. County Beach Bummers. Cabrillo Beach (harborside) is enclosed by a seawall and the absence of large waves makes it a popular beach for families." 

No. 9: Keller Beach, South Beach, Contra Costa County

"This spot is making its debut on the Beach Bummer list. Because it is enclosed, there is little water circulation. As a result, bacteria and other pollution do not get flushed away from the beach."

No. 10: Aquatic Park, San Mateo County

"This beach was on the Beach Bummer list in 2014 and is back again this year. This spot, located in a channel within the San Francisco Bay, is even more cut-off from the open ocean than a typical enclosed beach."

Honor Roll

  • Santa Cruz: Natural Bridges State Beach
  • Pismo Beach: Sewers at Silver Shoals Dr.
  • Cayucos: Downcoast of the pier
  • San Simeon: Pico Avenue
  • Morro Bay: City Beach, 75 feet north of parking lot
  • Guadalupe, Santa Barbara County: Guadalupe Dunes
  • Channel Islands Harbor: Santa Paula Drive, south of drain
  • Channel Islands Harbor: Sawtelle Avenue, south of drain
  • Ventura: Oil Piers Beach, south of drain
  • San Pedro: Cabrillo Beach, ocean side
  • Malibu: Las Tunas County Beach at Pena Creek
  • Dana Point: Harbor Youth Dock
  • Huntington Harbor: Trinidad Lane Beach
  • Huntington Harbor: Coral Cay Beach
  • Corona del Mar: El Moro Beach
  • Laguna Beach: Victoria Beach
  • Dana Point: South Capistrano Bay Community Beach
  • Dana Point: Dana Strands Beach (AWMA)
  • San Clemente: Linda Lane Beach
  • San Clemente: North Beach at Avenida Pico
  • San Clemente: Avenida Calafia
  • Oceanside: Projection of Cassidy Street
  • Carlsbad: Projection of Poinsettia Lane
  • Carlsbad: Projection of Ponto Drive
  • Carlsbad: Encina Creek outlet
  • Carlsbad: Projection of Palomar Airport Road
  • Carlsbad: Projection of Cerezo Drive
  • Solana Beach, San Diego County: Tide Beach Park at Solana Vista Drive
  • Cardiff, San Diego County: Seaside State Park
  • Cardiff: Las Olas, 100 yards south of Charthouse
  • Cardiff: Charthouse parking, south of Kilkeny
  • Encinitas: San Elijo State Park at Liverpool Drive
  • Encinitas: San Elijo State Park, north end of stairs

Heal the Bay's annual Beach Report Card includes water analyses for summer dry season (April through October 2018), winter dry season (November 2018 through March 2019) and year-round wet weather. California county health department are required to conduct weekly tests for fecal indicator bacteria during summer. Some counties test popular beaches year-round. Heal the Bay uses that data to assign its letter grades.


Photo Credit: KNBC-TV
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Eric Trump, the son of President Donald Trump, was spit on by an employee of a Chicago bar Tuesday night, multiple sources told NBC 5. Eric Trump later confirmed the incident to a right-wing commentary website. 

The incident took place at around 8:30 p.m. at the Aviary, located at 955 W. Fulton Market. Sources said Eric Trump was a patron at the cocktail lounge when an employee approached and spit on him.

Chicago police responded to the scene, with CPD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi tweeting just before 10:30 p.m. that officers were "assisting the United States Secret Service with a law enforcement matter," adding that any further inquiries "regarding a federal protectee" should be directed to the Secret Service. The Secret Service declined to comment.

Eric Trump was seen leaving the restaurant in a motorcade of two black SUVs. In a statement to right-wing commentary site Breitbart News, he called the incident "purely a disgusting act by somebody who clearly has emotional problems.”

Eric Trump tweeted photos of the Trump Hotel in Chicago at around 10:45 p.m. Tuesday, with the caption "Always love visiting @TrumpChicago⁩! It is one of the most beautiful buildings in the world! @TrumpHotels," but made no mention of the alleged incident.

Representatives for the Aviary did not respond to requests for comment. It was not immediately clear if anyone was taken into custody in connection with the incident, or if charges would be filed.


Photo Credit: NBC 5
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Hundreds of Wayfair employees are expected to walk off the job Wednesday to protest the online retailer's decision to furnish a detention camp for migrant children at the U.S.-Mexico border.

The workers are expected to walk out from their Boston headquarters at 1:30 p.m. and head to Copley Square, about a seven-minute walk away. Organizers are calling on employees who are based in the headquarters and remote workers to participate in the protest.

More than 500 employees signed a petition demanding the Boston-based e-commerce company cease all current and any future sales with contractors who work with detention camps. The petition directly addresses Wayfair co-founders Steve Conine and Niraj Shah.

CNBC reports organizers for the protest claim the company made $86,000 in profits made by selling mattresses for the detention camp. An anonymous employee told The Boston Globe that a $200,000 order was made on June 13 by Baptist Children's Family Services, a charity group that works as a government contractor that manages some of the centers.

The controversy was followed by the company's stock dropping by 5.3% Tuesday. Employees are demanding those proceeds be donated to RAICES, a non-profit agency that offers low-cost legal services to undocumented immigrants.

Politicians including 2020 contenders Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley and U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez took to Twitter to voice their support for the walkout.

DoneGood, a Cambridge-based online retailer, also voiced its support for the walkout and vowed to donate 100% of the revenue they make Wednesday to Raices.

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



Photo Credit: Jenny Kane/AP, File
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A road rage incident takes a bizarre turn when a man pulls out a large knife. Hetty Chang reports for NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on June 25, 2019.

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A road rage incident in Long Beach is drawing attention because of a video showing a man brandishing a large knife in a threatening manner.

One of the vehicles cut off the other, which was not filmed, but the aftermath was caught on camera. The bizarre road rage encounter was caught on camera by a quick-thinking witness.

"He started pointing the knife at them and yelling at them," Greg Danner, the witness who caught the encounter on his phone, said.

The driver in the dark mini van can be seen getting out of his vehicle and waving a knife. Then, after he returns to his vehicle, he again brandishes the knife and appears to lick it while looking at the people in the other vehicle.

"Who does that? It was a huge Ka-Bar," Rickease Williams, who was the driver of the jeep, says. "He was just gallantly waving it around"

A Ka-Bar is a common name for a combat knife Williams immediately recognized.

"You do not pull--I repeat--you do not pull a weapon on a marine, especially a disabled veteran," Williams says emphatically.

Williams, who says he suffers from post traumatic stress disorder, shared that the incident upset him. He was dropping off a friend at the airport when, he says, the knife-wielding driver cut them off.

"He went up a little further and braked again," Williams says. "So I'm like, 'I'm not playing these games with you.'"

The encounter doesn't stop there. Williams pulls over to get the cell phone video from that witness, who continues to record as the knife-wielding driver threatens to take his phone.

Williams' message to the driver? "You could have hurt somebody. Just wave your sorry and go about your day. That's what normal Long Beach people do."

The  knife-wielding driver appears to have out of state plates, and Williams filed a police report.


Photo Credit: NBCLA
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Federal agencies responsible for safeguarding millions of Americans' security, public safety and personal data have failed to apply even basic defenses to cyberattacks, Senate investigators said Tuesday.

The alarming warning comes after a 10-month review of 10 years of inspector general's reports by the Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, NBC News reported.

The 99-page report accuses eight critical agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, the State Department and the Social Security Administration, of:

  • Having relied on outdated systems — at least one of them almost 50 years old.
  • Having neglected to keep track of hardware and software.
  • Having failed to apply mandatory security patches.
  • Having ignored well-known threats and weaknesses, in some cases for more than a decade.
The failures worsened even as the number of cyberincidents reported by federal agencies exploded from about 5,500 in 2006 to more than 77,000 in 2015, a 13-fold increase, investigators said. Reported incidents dropped by 56 percent in 2017, they said, but only because the rules changed to allow agencies to report fewer kinds of attacks, including hostile network scans and probes.

Photo Credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images, File
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Time to find a detour for the I-15 in Corona.

The Corona Public Works Department, along with a partnership with the California Department of Transportation, has scheduled a demolition of the I-15/Cajalco Road Bridge as part of the I-15/Cajalco Road Interchange Improvement Project.

The demolition will require full overnight closures of the I-15 to be able to safely demolish the bridge on Saturday, June 29 through Sunday, June 30, and closures will begin at 7 p.m. on Cajalco Road and will open back up by 10 a.m.

According to the city of Corona, regional and local detours will be placed to ease traffic from the construction area. Drivers are encouraged to plan ahead, as delays are expected. The Road Interchange Improvement Project features the reconstruction of the interchange located on 15 Freeway at Cajalco Road from Temescal Canyon Road to Bedford Canyon Road.

The $45 million investment includes the expansion of Cajalco Road from a two-lane bridge to a six-lane overcrossing bridge with a new alignment north of the bridge. In addition, the bridge will include a striped median, outside shoulders and a sidewalk on the southern side, according to the city of Corona.

"It is an exciting day in Corona to see this important phase of the project come to completion," said Public Works Director, Nelson Nelson. "The improvements will increase the capacity of the bridge and ramps in order to reduce congestion and accommodate projected growth in the area.

The road completion is estimated to be done by this Fall. 

For more project and detour information, please visit the project webpage at www.i15Cajalco.com


Photo Credit: City of Corona
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