Southern California breaking news and trends

KPCC DIGEST AM (OCT. 14)—Backyard lizard detectives, anxious Dodgers fans, no holiday for Congress, solar homes of the future

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Photo by Frank Wuestefeld via Flickr Creative Commons

1. LA Dodgers playoffs: Anxious fans try to keep hopes up (KPCC)

With the Dodgers down two games to none against the Cardinals in NLCS, fans are doing what they can to keep their hopes up.  As he sat down to breakfast at Rodeo Mexican Grill on Sunset Boulevard, Tony Chavez was feeling what no Angeleno should on a lovely October morning.

"Stressed, depressed, mad, anxious," said Chavez. "I really want them to win.  If they don't, I'll probably be depressed for like a month."

2. Debt deadline kills holiday plans for Congress; 3 days to go (NPR)

This year's Columbus Day falls on Day 14 of the federal government shutdown, which means both the House and Senate will be in session on the holiday. Over the weekend, senators from both parties assumed key roles in the negotiations, after House Republicans and the White House failed to reach an agreement.

President Obama and Congress have until Thursday, Oct. 17, to reach a deal averting a potential credit default by the U.S. government.

3. US Olympic Committee adds sexual orientation to discrimination rules (NPR)

Months ahead of the Winter Olympics in Russia, where controversy surrounds a law that targets homosexuality, the U.S. Olympic Committee adds protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation to its policies.

"The fact that we do not think it is our role to advocate for a change in the Russian law does not mean that we support the law, and we do not," USOC CEO Scott Blackmun said.

4. Home of the future: Winners of the Solar Decathlon (KPCC)

Officials called it the closest competition in the history of the Solar Decathlon, a design event sponsored by the U. S. Department of Energy that was held this year in Orange County's Great Park. It was the first time the event was held outside Washington D.C.

The solar-powered home designed and built by students from the Vienna University of Technology beat out the second-place team from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.  Czech Technical University of the Czech Republic placed third.  A team from USC finished 10th.

5. Dry ice explosion at LAX delays flights (KPCC)

A bottle containing dry ice exploded at LAX on Sunday causing a commotion that temporarily halted security screening and led to the delay of up to four departing flights.

The FBI said a chemical reaction led to the blast Sunday evening in an employee bathroom in a restricted area of Terminal 2. No injuries were reported, but as a precaution authorities closed the terminal and examined the area for evidence. Flights had returned to normal by Monday morning.

6. Natural History Museum enlists local citizens to discover new species (KPCC)

The Natural History Museum is enlisting citizens to go into their yards and help find reptile species that have, over time, made their home in Southern California.

NHM's herpetology international collection is the10th largest in the country with roughly 184,000 specimens. Curator Greg Pauly is making his new focus very local. He's interested in L.A.'s introduced species, particularly geckos, that traveled long distances through no fault of their own.

7. USC strengthens security with more cameras, closer ties with LAPD (KPCC)

A sign at one of the entrances at the University of Southern California reminds people they’ll be asked for their IDs after dark. It’s just one of the many layers of security added about a year ago in reaction to gunfire that erupted at a Halloween party on campus.

The closing of the campus perimeter gates at night followed the extra policing that was ordered in spring 2012 because of the shocking deaths of two graduate students shot to death in a nearby neighborhood.

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