Southern California breaking news and trends

KPCC DIGEST AM (Sep. 16)—Righting a big boat, staffing a light rail, spending the school dough, unfolding the Navy Yard shooting

1. The hues of Exxopolis (KPCC AudioVision)

Exxopolis is part bouncy castle, part space-age church. A group called Architects of Air designs the inflatable structures called luminaria and installs them in cities around the world. Daylight shines through specially designed plastic that comes in four different hues -- green, red, blue and yellow.

Each one is slightly different to meet the needs of its location. On Sunday, the inflatable experience powered down in DTLA's Grand Park.

2. Developing: Shooting at U.S. Navy Yard in Washington, D.C. (NPR)

Multiple shots were fired around 8:20 a.m. ET Monday in a building on the grounds of the U.S. Navy Yard in Washington, D.C., the Navy confirmed minutes later.

Initially, there was word a few people had been injured including a police officer who was struck at least twice. At 10:04 a.m. ET, the Navy added "reports of fatalities," though it wasn't clear whether the Navy was reporting deaths, or just acknowledging that there had been such reports.

3. Classifying obesity as a disease may make it easier to get help (NPR)

More insurance plans are expected to start covering the cost of obesity treatments — like diet and exercise counseling, medications and surgery — under the Affordable Care Act. Most insurance companies don't cover such treatments now.

This move is a response to the increasing number of health advocates and medical groups that say obesity should be classified as a disease.

4. This train: Who will build the new light rail extension? (KPCC)

Metro's upcoming light rail Crenshaw/LAX Transit Corridor Project extension in South L.A. promises to provide thousands of middle-class jobs.  Advocates are lobbying for residents from low-income neighborhoods to get a fair shot at employment along, particularly in construction.

A labor trade policy would require contractors to fill 40 percent of the jobs from areas of high unemployment, and at least 10 percent of the work to disadvantaged workers. Some community groups are skeptical about inclusion.

5. First funding increase in seven years reaching school districts - now how to spend it? (KPCC)

New money for schools promised by Gov. Jerry Brown is starting to reach schools - and administrators are figuring out how to use their leeway to spend it.

The new "Local Control Funding Formula" changes the rules for three dozen state funding sources. It also increases funding for schools with significant numbers of low income and English Learner students. Districts can use the money to hire teachers, reinstate summer schools, or improve technology.

6. How to watch as the Costa Concordia is (hopefully) righted (NPR)

The effort to shift the luxury cruise ship Consta Concordia into an upright position has begun after a thunderstorm delay. Several news outlets are streaming and live blogging coverage of what's said to be the biggest such operation of its kind ever.

It was January 2012 when the ship ran aground off the coast of Tuscany. Thirty-two people died. Two bodies may still be aboard the ship.

7. A stroll through Santa Monica's new Tongva Park (KPCC)

Walking paths, flowing water, a play area and art sculptures — it's all a part of Santa Monica's latest green space unveiled to the public Friday.

Located in front of its City Hall, the new 6.2 acre park has an environmental theme with flowing water and endemic flora. There's also a section called Observation Hill where two lookout points provide views down the street to the Pacific Ocean.

8. Searching the depths of Echo Park Lake (KPCC AudioVision)

When criminals toss something into the ocean or even Echo Park Lake, they think it's gone forever, swallowed by the depths. They're wrong.

Filmmaker and USC Annenberg master's student Matt Yoka spoke with the head of the LAPD diving squad. He's the guy that goes in the water and pulls the evidence out. He hasn't been in Echo Park Lake since the renovation, but in the bad old days, it was a dirty job.

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