Southern California breaking news and trends

Possible avian botulism outbreak at Laguna Niguel lake


Photo by Isidro Vila Verde via Flickr Creative Commons

The OC Register reports that more than 20 ducks and other water birds are being taken to a wildlife center in Huntington Beach suffering from what appears to be an outbreak of avian botulism.

The Wetlands & Wildlife Care Center -- a facility already overcrowded from a recent rush of starving brown pelicans -- is receiving the animals via volunteers who are transporting the birds from the lake at Laguna Niguel Regional Park. 

The illness makes the birds "floppy," or unable to hold up their heads; as it worsens they can lose the ability to close their eyes.

The paralysis can quickly progress, leading to death. "They’re looking pretty stable," [Wildlife director Debbie] McGuire said Tuesday. "They’re able to hold their heads up today. It’s best to get care as quickly as possible — give IV fluids right into their veins, and start flushing out that toxin."


Pickup slams into 106-year-old Huntington Beach church, injuring driver

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The Warren Avenue Baptist Church, located at 7360 Warner Ave. in Huntington Beach, was hit by a pickup truck on Tuesday, June 5, 2012. The structure sits close to the street and has been hit by vehicles before, according to the church's pastor.

A Huntington Beach pastor got an unpleasant surprise this morning when a truck blew through a red light and slammed into his church, smashing a corner out of the 106-year-old building.

“I heard a loud, loud crash,” Pastor Steve Orman of Warner Avenue Baptist Church told KPCC. Running outside, Orman saw a pickup truck had jumped the curb and smashed into the building -- in fact, he said, it had dented a light post, hit the church’s brick steps, “took the whole corner right out” of the building, then flipped backwards and landed on the opposite steps, smashed up and with its airbag deployed.

“There were people trying to check on the driver. Witnesses said he went through the light at about 50 miles an hour.”

Orman said he “was in pretty bad shape,” noting that the Huntington Beach Fire Department “had to cut him out” of the wreck. Fire Capt. Jeff Lopez told the Associated Press that the driver suffered significant injuries and was taken to a local trauma center. No one else appears to have been hurt.


Huntington Beach council candidate Tim Ryan appears in court on drunk driving charges

Tim Ryan is running for Huntington Beach City Council

A Huntington Beach City Council candidate is appearing in court today on charges of misdemeanor drunk driving.

Tim Ryan, a member of the city’s planning commission who is currently making a bid for city council, was arrested on Jan. 28 by local police for allegedly driving with a blood alcohol level above .08 percent, the Huntington Beach Independent reports.

The Orange County District Attorney’s Office claims it was more like 2.0 percent.

Ryan, a consumer protection lawyer, referred all questions about the case to his attorney. He pleaded not guilty to all charges earlier this month, according to the Independent.

Ryan is said to be making a strong bid for the council, and around the time of his arrest he had raised more money -- nearly $30,000 -- than any other candidate including the incumbent, the Independent reports in a separate story.


Adult killed, 7-month-old critically injured in three-car crash in Huntington Beach

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Bolsa Chica Street at Tasman Drive in Huntington Beach

One person was killed and a 7-month-old infant critically injured in a three-car crash in Huntington Beach this morning, police said.

The crash occurred at 7:30 a.m. today on Bolsa Chica Street near Tasman Drive when an orange Ford Bronco drifted into oncoming traffic and smashed into a silver Honda, the Orange County Register reports. A third car then ran into the wreckage.

The Bronco was overturned during the crash and came to a stop with its wheels in the air, according to the Register.

Two other people were also injured in the crash, though not seriously. No names have been released. Huntington Beach police spent the morning investigating the scene.