Southern California breaking news and trends

KPCC DIGEST PM (Oct. 10)—Astronaut Scott Carpenter, Angels Flight tree branch, Eric Garcetti reflects on 100 days, fake fidos

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1. Angels Flight operators used tree branch to override safety system before accident (KPCC)

Federal safety investigators said in a report issued Thursday that the railway's operators of the historic Angels Flight had broken off a branch from a nearby tree and used it to permanently depress a button so that the cars on the 298-foot track would restart during unintended stops.

No one was hurt Sept. 5 accident on "the shortest railway in the world," though six people had to be helped from the line's two cars.

2. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti looks back at his first 100 days in office (KPCC)

This week saw L.A. mayor Eric Garcetti's 100th day in office. While that isn't a lot of time for an elected official to get much done, it's enough time to gauge how people feel about the job he's doing.

A survey of over 500 registered voters found a 56 percent approval rating and a 5-to-1 ratio of positive over negative feelings about his job performance. Mayor Garcetti joined KPCC to tell us how he thinks he's doing 100 days into his term.

3. It's a federal crime to fake fido as a service dog (KPCC)

Impostor service animals are a growing problem. By strapping a labeled vest or backpack to their pet, anyone can go in stores and restaurants where other dogs are banned. People are calling for better identification.

Those with disabilities are worried about privacy and the safety of their highly trained service dogs; business owners are concerned about health violations and damage. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, it's a federal crime to use a fake dog.

4. Report: Parks shutdown saps $750 million in visitor spending (NPR)

An estimated 7 million people have been shut out at 12 of the busiest and biggest U.S. national parks, costing parks and nearby communities about $76 million in lost visitor spending for each day the partial government shutdown drags on.

The report also concludes that more than 40,000 non-Park Service jobs are at risk in and outside these 12 national parks alone.

5. LAPD officer accused of kicking woman during arrest is charged with assault (KPCC)

An LAPD officer accused of kicking a woman during an arrest — the woman later died — has been charged with assault and could face up to three years in prison if convicted, the L.A. District Attorney's Office announced.
 
Officer Mary O’Callaghan, 48, was recorded by a patrol car video camera kicking Alesia Thomas in the stomach and groin, and pushing her in the throat, according to the D.A. The incident took place when officers were sent to the victim's house to investigate "possible child abandonment."

6. What does the government shutdown mean for San Onofre nuke plant? (KPCC)

The continued shutdown of the federal government caused the Nuclear Regulatory Commission to furlough 90 percent of its employees Thursday and cease normal operations.

The NRC assigns what it calls "resident inspectors" to each active and decommissioned nuclear power plant in the country, including the San Onofre generating station. Chair Allison Macfarlane wrote on the NRC's public blog that all resident inspectors will remain on the job.

7. Scott Carpenter, 2nd US astronaut in orbit dies (KPCC)

Astronaut Scott Carpenter, the second American to orbit the Earth and first person to explore both the heights of space and depths of the ocean, died Thursday after a stroke. He was 88.

Along with John Glenn, who flew three months before him, Carpenter was one of the last two surviving original Mercury 7 astronauts for the fledgling U.S. space program.

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