1. Weekend warriors may be battling the devil winds (KPCC)
The weather may be mild right now, but dry air coming off the desert will push the marine layer back to its watery lair on Thursday. Santa Ana gusty winds are forecast for the mountains and inland valleys, accompanied by a sharp drop in humidity levels to single digits.
The National Weather Service has issued extreme fire danger warnings for late Thursday night through Saturday, with Santa Ana winds gusting up to 55 miles an hour in local mountains. Friday's highs in the valleys are set to climb to around 90 degrees — even higher Saturday.
2. The best-kept secret of local musicians opens its doors to the public (KPCC)
RZA will headline a block party in Echo Park this weekend in celebration of Bedrock Studios — a 40,000 square-foot former jewelry factory that now operates as a rehearsal space, recording studio, and vintage pinball arcade.
The 5-year-old location, with its plentiful parking and welcomed air conditioning, has attracted the likes of Beck, Divine Fits, Janelle Monáe, and countless working musicians in L.A.
3. Erasing the 15-year-old standardized test (KPCC)
Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill Wednesday that officially puts an end to the state's 15-year-old multiple-choice standardized test and ushers in a new test — creating a conflict with the federal government.
The conflict is not with the test itself. Instead, the U.S. Department of Education has raised objections to the state's plan to only pay for either math or English portions of the test while in a pilot phase. Federal law requires students be tested in both in grades 3-8 and once in high school.
4. Undocumented immigrants could legally obtain driver's licenses in California by 2015 (KPCC)
After years of failed attempts, California is close to becoming the tenth U.S. state to let unauthorized immigrants apply for driver's licenses. Governor Jerry Brown is expected to sign a landmark bill Thursday morning at L.A. City Hall.
Between now and 2015, the state DMV must complete two major tasks: Collect input on what the licenses will look like, and determine which documents can be used for identification by a pool of applicants who don't have Social Security numbers.
5. Shutdown Day 3 calls up Lewis Carroll, Yogi Berra (NPR)
NPR's Mara Liasson went with a Lewis Carroll reference, saying there was a "down the rabbit hole" sense Wednesday night when congressional leaders and the president essentially said they'd made no progress. Since it's the playoffs, others went with that sage of the baseball diamond, Yankee great Yogi Berra stating "It's deja vu all over again."
Liasson also noted it takes about 7 days for public anger to build over closed offices, barricaded parks and lost federal business.
6. Santa Monica Airport crash re-ignites shutdown campaign (KPCC)
The fiery, fatal crash of an executive jet at Santa Monica Airport last Sunday has added momentum to longstanding community efforts to reduce or end flights into the densely populated area.
Martin Rubin, director of Concerned Residents Against Airport Pollution, said a coalition of local groups is hosting a workshop meeting Thursday for residents to envision the change they'd like to see in the airport's use.
7. Hate crimes drop by 6 percent last year in Los Angeles County (KPCC)
Hate crimes in Los Angeles County fell by 6 percent in 2012 compared to the previous year, but the data show African-Americans continue to be targeted, as well as gay, lesbian and transgender people, according to a report released by the county.
The L.A. County Commission on Human Relations released its annual hate crime report on Wednesday. It showed that in 2011 there were 489 hate crimes compared to 462 in 2012, marking a 6 percent decline and continuing a downward trend that began in 2007.