Daily Dose - Hep A at Jerry's Deli, California's economic ranking, National Board of Review awards

December 2, 2010 -- I've long been a fan of Jerry's Deli. I grew up going to the one on Ventura Boulevard where my mom and I would often order "The Yummy" -- a ridiculous sandwich made of cream cheese and jelly, grilled and topped with powdered sugar. MMMMMM!

It's always been delicious and Jerry's is always a great place for people-watching. That's why I was especially saddened to hear that an employee of Jerry's Deli in Westwood has been diagnosed with Hepatitis A.
 
Los Angeles County Public Health officials have issued a "Health Alert" for the popular eatery near UCLA. 
 
Public Health Director Dr. Jonathan Fielding says that if you ate there on November 18, 21, 23, or 24, you should get tested. Hear what he had to say:
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Fielding says people must get their shots within 14 days of exposure in order to reduce or prevent illness. Signs and symptoms include: yellowish eyes or skin, nausea, and vomiting.
 
Again, this Health Alert is only for folks who ate at Jerry's Deli on those specified days. No other cases have been reported yet. Here's hoping that no one else is ill!

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A bit of good news... Even with all our budget troubles, California is still not too shabby when it comes to its economy. Despite three years of recession, we still would have the world's eighth largest economy if we were a separate nation.

That's what the folks at the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy are reporting. The center looked at last year's U.S. Commerce Department estimates for gross domestic product, which valued all goods and services produced in the state at $1.9 trillion.

Compared to data compiled by the World Bank, California is ahead of Brazil's $1.6 trillion economy.

We'd be the 11th largest when using a method that compares purchasing power across countries. Texas is the next largest state with a $1.1 trillion economy, followed closely behind by New York.

One of the industries that makes our economy so big is Hollywood, of course. And today, the award madness may just have officially begun.

The National Board of Review has chosen "The Social Network'' as the best film of the year. The NBR is widely considered a harbinger of the Academy Awards.

The NBR gave four awards to the film, including best director for David Fincher; best adapted screenplay to Aaron Sorkin and best actor to Jesse Eisenberg best actor.

The National Board of Review, a group of film historians, students and educators was founded in 1909. NBR President Annie Schulhof said she expects ''The Social Network'' will "stand up over time and appeal to many generations.''

Lesley Manville was named best actress for her performance as a desperate middle-aged secretary in 'Another Year." Best supporting actor went to Christian Bale, who plays Dicky Eklund, the junkie former boxer and older brother to Mickey Ward in "The Fighter.'' Jacki Weaver won best supporting actress for her role in the Australian drama ``Animal Kingdom.'' And Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall, Jeremey Renner and Jon Hamm were awarded best ensemble cast for their work in "The Town."

See the full list of winners here.
    

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Daily Dose: cold shelters, KFC Tweet Scholarships and AAA Five Diamond recepients in southern California

December 1, 2010 - Even though today is the first day of December, it's been chilly in southern California for quite a while now. A "Cold Weather Shelter" opened today in Riverside. The city and county pay for the program that provides homeless people a warm and safe place to sleep.

The shelter is located at Path of Life Ministries on Hulen Place. The shelter has added 72 extra beds to accommodate people.

Ronald Stewart with Riverside County's Department of Public Social Services says case managers will also be on site. Take a listen:
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Check-in starts at 5 pm. Beds are available first come, first served. There'll be a hot meal in the evening, breakfast in the morning, and a place to shower.  The shelter is open seven days a week, and the program continues until April 15th.

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Twenty-thousand dollars for 140 characters is not a bad deal. And that's just the deal that Amanda Russell is getting thanks to KFC and Twitter.

The national chicken chain is sponsoring a contest where students can tweet to apply for a scholarship. Russell, a Long Beach Polytechnic High School student, started a Twitter account just to enter the contest.

The 17-year-old wrote "hey Colonel! Your scholarship's secret ingredient missing from my recipe for success! Got the grades, drive, just need the cash!"

The entries ranged from the lyrical -- "If you give a girl a drumstick, she'll want wings. Give her wings, she'll get a degree, take flight, and change the world" -- to the heartwarming -- "1st to go to college in my Family. KFC can be the 1 st to change my future. Being the victorious KFCScholar will feel S-O G-DOUBLE-O-D Good!"

KFC is accepting applications for 2011 scholarships through Feb. 9. Seventy-four additional scholarships will be awarded for next year. Visit www.KFCscholars.org for more information.

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Looking for a deluxe hotel or restaurant to whilst away the holiday hours at? Well, today the AAA released its list of Five Diamond rating recepients. Sixteen hotels and two restaurants in Southern California, including 11 in Los Angeles and Orange counties, are on that list.

"The AAA Five Diamond Award is North America's most coveted and respected trademark in the global hospitality industry," said Patricia Marenco, the Auto Club's approved accommodations supervisor. "It is a symbol of excellence."

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Daily Dose - Venice RV ban, rabid bats and unclaimed tax refunds

November 17, 2010 - Today the L.A. City council unanimously approved new restrictions on parking oversized vehicles overnight on some streets in Venice.

Tensions have flared between people who live in parked campers or Rvs and those living in homes nearby, especially over the disposal of human waste.

City Councilman Bill Rosendahl represents Venice and said the new ban on parking will be accompanied by a program the city is working on to offer save overnight parking and other social services to people who live in their vehicles. Take a listen:
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Beware of bats! No, this isn't some belated Halloween prank... An unusually high number of rabid bats have been found in L.A. County this year.

According to the Department of Public Health, 21 rabid bats have been found in the county. That's more than double the annual average of 10 bats. The reason for the spike in rabid bats is unknown.

County officials say a resident who was trying to rehabilitate a sick bat wound up bitten and had to be treated for rabies. Also, two dogs and a cat were found playing with a live, rabid bat. Thankfully they had their rabies shots, otherwise, they might have been put down.

Click here to find out more about bats and health hazards.

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In the midst of a bad recession, it may be hard to believe that some people haven't claimed their tax refunds, but turns out that is the case.

The IRS says it wants to send checks to about 6,600 residents of L.A. And Orange counties and about 800 Riverside county residents, but they don't know where to send the checks.

"We want to make sure taxpayers get the money owed to them," said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. "If you think you are missing a refund, the sooner you update your address information, the quicker you can get your money."

Los Angeles County residents are owed a total of  $11.38 million and average about $2,145 per refund recipient. The unclaimed checks for Orange County residents total $1.66 million and average $1,229 per refund recipient.

About 15,700 Californians have unclaimed refund checks awaiting them, totaling $23.4 million.

Taxpayers can check the status of their refund by visiting IRS.gov and selecting the "Where's My Refund" option, or they can contact the agency at (800) 829-1954.

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Daily Dose -- new multiplex owners in Baldwin Hills, "The Illusionist" dispute and militar ban on smoke shops

November 8, 2010 -- Big news for movie-goers in Baldwin Hills! Today developers announced that Rave Motion Pictures will run the multiplex at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza.  Rave operates the former Bridge multiplex near Culver City and dozens of other theaters across the country.

Developers will transform the 15-year-old theater with 3D technology, stadium seating and digital projection and sound.   Magic Johnson partnered with another theater chain in the 1990s to open this theater and others in urban centers. Owners expect the newly renovated theater to open Memorial Day, 2011.
 
Project planner Ken Lombard says he and others spent months sifting through potential operators before they inked a deal with Rave. Take a listen:
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What's your favorite movie theater in L.A.? I think mine has got to be the Dome at the Arclight. I saw "E.T." there when it first opened and since have had many enjoyable experiences there, most recently watching "Jackass 3D!"

And speaking of films, what do the movies "Jersey Girl," "The Island," and "Persuasion" have in common? They are just a few of the titles that have been used for more than one movie - even though they aren't remakes.

Now two more films will join those ranks. A federal judge has ruled that "The Illusionist" is an okay title for an upcoming film by director Sylvain Chomet, nominated for an Oscar for the film "The Triplets of Belville."

Rights-holders of the 2006 film "The Illusionist," starring Ed Norton and Paul Giamatti requested a temporary restraining order to stop the Christmas release of the new animated film with the same name. They argued that the new film, which has gotten a lot of great buzz, would infringe on its trademark and mislead consumers.

U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee disagreed. She wrote that the title isn't distinctive enough to mislead consumers.

If you listen to the Madeleine Brand show, you may have recently heard a piece that Sanden Totten did on fake pot used for films. Well, turns out there's another sort of fake pot and its now banned from U.S. Military members, too...

A synthetic pot substitute sold under the names K2, Spice and Genie are sold at shops outside of the Travis Air Force base in Fairfield. Commanders have no banned military personnel from those shops.

Manufacturers won't release the ingredients of the substances which are often sold as incense. Users report that smoking such fake pot can have similar effects even though it won't show up on drug tests.

A local paper reports that one of the now off-limits smoke shops was very popular among soldiers.

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Daily Dose - Gold's Gym political flap, buckyballs in space, "The Dark Knight" sequel

October 27, 2010 -- Are you a member of Gold's Gym? Then you may be interested in this... Several Gold's Gym franchises in San Francisco say they'll cut the cord with the bodybuilding chain. This because the company's CEO has been contributing to a group backed by Karl Rove.

Don Dickerson is the director of operations for Gold's Gym Bay Area (where I used to be a member, back when I worked at KQED in San Francisco). He says Rove's American Crossroads is supporting anti-gay candidates in the upcoming elections.

Robert Rowling is a Texas billionaire and head of TRT Holdings, Inc. -- Gold's parent company. In a statement, Dickerson said Rowling made an "unfortunate" choice to give $2 million to the group, adding that many of his gym's members and employees are gay.

Rowling says his contribution has nothing to do with gay rights, but rather that American Crossroads supports candidates who are fiscally conservative.

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The universe has more buckyballs than originally thought! Buckyballs are soccer ball-shaped carbon molecules that some scientists think may have helped seed life on Earth.

Researchers using NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope spotted the buckyballs around three dying sun-like stars in the Milky Way and in the space between stars. The telescope also picked up on the cosmic balls floating around a dying star in a nearby galaxy.

Before the telescope only found buckyballs in one location in space. Scientists hope to better understand the role these awesomely-named molecules play in the creation and destruction of stars and planets.

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Speaking of stars, none have been announced yet for the sequel to "The Dark Knight,' but there WILL be a sequel and it has a title - "The Dark Knight Rises."

Warner Brothers confirmed the name for director Christopher Nolan's third Batman film which is due in theaters in summer of 2012.

Nolan says despite the popular trend now, he won't be making the film in 3D. He didn't reveal which villain will be in the film, though he said it won't be the Riddler nor the Joker. I'd be kind of stoked to see Catwoman or Harley Quinn. Which bad guy/gal would you like to see? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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