Wednesday, Oct.17, 2018

LA County Oks $14.3M payout over deadly deputy shooting

Los Angeles County will pay more than $14.3 million to the family of a 54-year-old grandfather who was mistakenly shot to death in his doorway by a sheriff's deputy.

City News Service reports county supervisors have approved the payout to settle a negligence lawsuit filed over the 2014 death of Frank Mendoza.

Mendoza was shot when he came out of his home in Pico Rivera after a wanted parolee and gang member, Cedric Ramirez, broke into the home and fired at deputies.

Sheriff's officials say the deputy who killed Ramirez mistakenly thought he was the gunman.

Ramirez hid in the house for eight hours with Mendoza's wife as a hostage before deputies killed him.


California regulators cite utilities over safety violations

California regulators have fined two utilities more than $13 million for violations of safety rules for incidents that caused injuries.

The Public Utilities Commission hit Southern California Edison with an $8 million citation for a downed power line that was run over by an off-road vehicle in 2015. The driver was injured along with two people who tried to help the motorist.

The commission says Edison failed to ensure the cross arms on its power poles were properly designed, installed and maintained.

Officials also fined Pacific Gas & Electric more than $5 million for two incidents, including one in which workers caused natural gas to leak while repairing a valve in 2016. Two people were injured in a resulting explosion.

The utilities have 30 days to appeal the citations.


California drug ring shipped meth disguised as Aztec statues

Federal prosecutors say nine members of a California drug ring have been arrested on suspicion of trying to send methamphetamine to Hawaii inside replica Aztec calendar stones and statues.

The U.S. Attorney's office says 25 pounds of meth disguised as the decorative items were intercepted in July in Orange County.

Officials say the traffickers also tried to ship five pounds of the drug to Hawaii inside bags of ground coffee.

Each defendant faces a series of charges including conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine.


Delayed Obama for-profit fraud protection ordered into force

Students defrauded by for-profit colleges scored an important victory when a court cleared the way for an Obama-era policy that will make it easier for them to get their student loans forgiven.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had said the regulation, known as borrower defense, made discharging loans too easy and was unfair to taxpayers. The rule was due to take effect in July 2017, but DeVos froze it until she issued a new policy in its place.

But U.S. District Judge Randolph Moss ruled last month that DeVos' delay was unlawful. Yesterday, he denied a request by an organization representing for-profit colleges in California, to further postpone the rule, thus paving the way for borrower defense to enter into force.

An attorney with Public Citizen, who is representing the defrauded students in their suit against DeVos Julie Murray says "the rule is finally in effect. No more excuses. No more delays.”

Education Department press secretary Liz Hill said last week that the agency respects the court's decision and won’t try to further delay the rule, but will keep working on revising the policy.


Obesity surgery may lower heart attack danger in diabetics

New research suggests obesity surgery may dramatically lower the danger of heart attacks and strokes in patients with diabetes, reinforcing evidence that benefits extend beyond weight loss.

The study tracked about 20,000 severely obese patients with Type 2 diabetes. Those who had weight loss surgery had a 40 percent lower chance of developing a heart attack or stroke in the five years following surgery compared to those who got usual care with diabetes medicines or insulin.

For every 1,000 patients in the study who had surgery there were roughly 20 heart attacks or strokes compared to 40 such events per 1,000 who got regular care.

More than 30 million Americans have diabetes, mostly Type 2 where the body loses the ability to produce or use insulin to turn food into energy.

Other research has shown obesity surgery can reverse and even prevent diabetes.

Research results were published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.


Bono resigns as USA Gymnastics president after 4 days

When former California Congresswoman Mary Bono took over as the interim president for USA Gymnastics last week, she pointed to the opportunity to "reconnect" with a sport she loved growing up.

The connection lasted all of four days.

Bono stepped down yesterday, saying she felt her affiliation with the embattled organization would be a "liability" after a social media post by Bono criticizing Nike and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick drew widespread scrutiny within the gymnastics community.

She posted a picture on Twitter in September of herself drawing over a Nike logo on a golf shoe. Bono, who was at a golf tournament for families who have lost members of the armed services at the time, called the tweet "an emotional reaction" to Nike's use of the phrase "believing in something even if it means sacrificing everything."

Bono said in a statement "I regret that at the time I didn't better clarify my feelings." Bono defended her right to express her beliefs, though she later deleted the tweet and the USA Gymnastics board of directors expressed its disappointment while pledging its support.


Angels opt out of stadium lease, look at 'all our options'

The Los Angeles Angels opted out of their Angel Stadium lease with the city of Anaheim renewing the possibility they could build a stadium somewhere near their longtime Orange County home.

The team and the city will negotiate on a new deal to keep the Angels in the fourth-oldest ballpark in the major leagues. The Angels also will renew their explorations of the feasibility of building a stadium elsewhere in Southern California.

The Angels terminated their lease on the last day possible before 2028. The decision means the club has the ability to leave Angel Stadium after the 2019 season.

The renewed possibility of the Angels leaving their longtime hometown could become an issue in the upcoming city elections: Anaheim will elect a new mayor and three city councilmembers next month.


Earthquake Drill

Tomorrow millions of people all over the world will participate in the annual earthquake drill called the International ShakeOut. 

California Earthquake Authority Chief Communications Officer Chris Nance says at 10:18 in the morning, which is also October 18 on the calendar, we will be encouraged to behave as if we’re experiencing an actual earthquake. We should Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

He says last year over 58 million people around the world participated in the drill.