LA County task force to recommend Exide closure
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Los Angeles County is creating a task force to recommend ways of closing a battery recycling plant after elevated lead levels were found in the soil at 39 surrounding homes and a school.
The Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to create the strike team, which will report back in 90 days. The team also will try to identify other facilities that are emitting toxic pollutants.
Supervisor Gloria Molina says state regulators haven't been doing enough to close the Exide plant in Vernon, which was ordered to conduct further testing after the elevated lead levels were found.
Exide plant manager John Hogarth told supervisors that Exide has spent $20 million on upgrades to reduce pollution and considers the health of residents a "top priority."
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA WINDS
Southern California winds to raise fire danger
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Southern California is in for a spate of dry, gusty winds that will raise fire danger.
The National Weather Service says red flag warnings will be in effect Wednesday morning through afternoon.
Meteorologists say the winds will rise as a trough of low pressure near Idaho drops south into eastern California, creating moderate to strong offshore flow through Thursday.
Warnings will encompass all of Los Angeles and Ventura counties, as well as up the coast through the interiors of Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties. Humidity levels will fall to withering levels below 15 percent.
Forecasters say sustained winds will blow at around 40 mph with gusts to 65 mph, bringing potential for extreme fire behavior if a fire starts.
Other parts of the state will have advisory-level winds.
Law enforcement officials get hate crime prizes
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Nearly two dozen law enforcement officials from across Southern California were honored by the Anti-Defamation League for their efforts to fight hate crimes.
The Sherwood family prize was awarded Tuesday at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.
Honorees included FBI agents, Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies, Asst. U.S. Attorney Reema El-Amamy and Trial Attorney Saeed Mody for casework that resulted in the October conviction of two Compton Varrio 155 gang members for attacking black youths.
It was the first application of the federal Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in Southern California.
Los Angeles Police Department officers and Long Beach police and prosecutors were also honored.
A selection committee made up of regional law enforcement leaders determines recipients of the annual prize.
Ex-attorney pleads no contest to bilking LA Metro
LOS ANGELES (AP) - A disbarred attorney has pleaded no contest to stealing more than $3 million from his clients, including the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
The district attorney's office says James Reiss entered the plea Tuesday to grand theft. He'll be sentenced later this month to 10 years in state prison and ordered to pay restitution to three victims.
Prosecutors say Reiss received nearly $2 million in fraudulent reimbursements from the MTA while handling liability claims for the agency between 2010 and 2011.
Malibu officials say feds caused Netanyahu jam
MALIBU, Calif. (AP) - Authorities say a federal switcheroo is to blame for last week's 5-mile-long traffic jam during a Malibu visit by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
City News Service says Malibu officials on Tuesday blamed federal security authorities who diverted from a previously approved traffic plan, resulting in a backup on Pacific Coast Highway.
Motorists had 90-minute delays after two lanes of southbound traffic were shut down and large vans, trucks and buses were searched last Wednesday.
Malibu City Manager Jim Thorsen says the original plan would have blocked traffic for only a few minutes while Netanyahu arrived at a Carbon Beach home for an event.
Man who fled Fontana police station recaptured
FONTANA, Calif. (AP) - A man who escaped from a Fontana police station interview room has been recaptured.
Police say 39-year-old Ramon Torres was found at a motel room Monday night, five hours after he fled. He surrendered peacefully and remains jailed without bail on Tuesday.
Police say Torres was arrested after he allegedly pulled a gun Sunday afternoon during an argument and threatened to kill people in a Fontana home for failing to pay the rent.
Authorities say he was arrested Monday morning on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon and making criminal threats.
Police say Torres somehow managed to walk out of the interview room and the police station.
Prosecutors: money not motive in parents killing
SANTA ANA, Calif. (AP) - Prosecutors say money was not a motive for a 19-year-old man charged with shooting his parents to death and trying to kill two of his siblings inside their luxury Orange County home.
Ashton Sachs, wearing an orange jumpsuit, appeared via video for his first court appearance Monday. He barely spoke, except to tell the judge he could not afford a lawyer.
Deputy District Attorney Ebrahim Baytieh said Sachs was not motivated by money and the crime did not happen in the spur of the moment.
Prosecutors said Sachs made a trip home from Seattle planning to kill his family.
Bradford Sachs and Andra Sachs were found shot to death in February inside their nearly 9,000-square-foot San Juan Capistrano house. Their 8-year-old son was also shot but survived. Two daughters survived.
US OPEN-TORREY PINES
Torrey Pines poised to get another US Open
SAN DIEGO (AP) - The U.S. Open could be headed back to Torrey Pines.
USGA spokesman Joe Goode says the city council is expected to vote Monday on whether to host the 2021 U.S. Open. That would be 13 years after Tiger Woods won his third U.S. Open and 14th major in a 19-hole playoff over Rocco Mediate.
The San Diego Union-Tribune first reported the development Tuesday.
Torrey Pines produced one of the great U.S. Opens in 2008 when Woods won despite playing on a shattered left leg and having not competed in two months.
The course hosts the Farmers Insurance Open on the PGA Tour.
Disney TV exec Sweeney leaving to direct TV shows
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Anne Sweeney, one of Disney's top television executives who helped bring TV shows to Apple's iTunes digital store, is leaving the company at the end of the year.
Sweeney, co-chair of Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, said in a statement that she will pursue becoming a director of TV shows.
The Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger said in a statement he applauded Sweeney for knowing what she wants out of life and for having the courage to follow her dream.
An 18-year veteran of the company, Sweeney was repeatedly named the "most powerful woman in entertainment" by The Hollywood Reporter. She was also considered a possible successor to Iger, who is set to step down as CEO in June 2016.
Doris Day plans animal-friendly birthday bash
LOS ANGELES (AP) - Screen legend Doris Day is celebrating a landmark birthday with an auction to benefit her favorite cause: animals.
A spokesman for Day said Tuesday the nonprofit Doris Day Animal Foundation will mark her 90th birthday in April with a bash in Carmel, Calif.
A sold-out fundraising celebration at Day's Cypress Inn will include a doggie fashion show, adoption event and an April 4 tribute dinner for fans and friends.
Items autographed by Day and celebrity pals including Paul McCartney and Tony Bennett will be auctioned off online and at the dinner. Online bidding ends April 1.
In a statement, Day said she doesn't care much for celebrating birthdays with cards or gifts, inviting fans to help animals instead. As Day put it: "I'm all about the four-leggers."
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