Southern California breaking news and trends

Nonprofit CicLAvia marches toward April event with Kickstarter campaign

ciclavia map april 15 2012

Screenshot via ciclavia.org

Hundreds of thousands of car-dominated Angelenos have abandoned their vehicles (for a day) to participate in CicLAvia's traveling block parties since 2010 when the local group took its first giant step for urban-kind.

CicLAvia, the free wheeling, street closing, public event throwing organization that periodically shuts down roads to car traffic, kicked off a Kickstarter campaign Tuesday in support of their upcoming April 15 happening.

The donor-funded and City of Los Angeles supported organization -- which aims to get people out of their vehicles and interacting with each other and the city -- became an official non-profit operation in September 2011, board member Heidi Zeller told KPCC.

CicLAvia's events are free, but the $12,000 Kickstarter goal is not as much a financial necessity as it is a fundraising effort to raise community involvement, Zeller explained.

Read More...

Woman killed by cannon fire in San Diego County

cannon

Photo by Glenn Scofield Williams via Flickr Creative Commons

Replica cannon | Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Washington

A 33-year-old woman is dead after a homemade cannon went off outside of her mobile home in San Diego County on Tuesday.

The cannon blast blew a projectile into the woman's Twin Lakes Resorts home in Potrero, CA near the Mexican border.  She was pronounced dead at the scene at about 12:15 a.m. 

Capt. Mike Mohler of the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said two men, including the woman's husband, were playing with the homemade weapon when it discharged. One of the men was taken to a hospital. His condition was unknown.

There were varying reports about whether alcohol was involved in the incident, and few details were immediately available about what exactly killed the victim.

The incident is being investigated by the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department.

Read More...

LA County courts dealt 'crippling blow,' laying off 350 employees as part of a $30 million cut

Jordon Cooper/Flickr (Creative Commons-licensed)

Los Angeles Superior Court

The Los Angeles County court system is planning to lay off around 350 employees at the end of June, Courthouse News Service reports, as well as restructuring more than 50 courtrooms, which is expected to save $30 million. This comes as a result of deep state funding cuts.

Laying out the reasoning for the cuts, a memo to court staff titled "Los Angeles Superior Court Budget Plan" explains that the budget crisis that began in fiscal year 2008-09 continues "with little improvement," and that California courts have faced permanent budget reductions that total $652 million. Courts face another $125 million "trigger cut" in the coming fiscal year if Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed tax initiative fails to pass in November.

"The impending layoffs are the next step in the process of achieving this downsizing gradually, rather than catastrophically," Presiding Judge Lee Smalley Edmon and Executive Officer John A. Clarke wrote in the memo. "There is no escaping the fact that this next round of cuts will be the most significant event to happen in our court ... Never before has a budget crisis dealt so crippling a blow to our court."

Read More...

North Hills kindergarten teacher removed after 'inappropriate behavior' allegations

lassen elementary

Screenshot via Google Maps

Lassen Elementary School in North Hills is the latest local institution to remove a teacher for "inappropriate behavior," NBC LA is reporting.

Parents were notified in a letter dated March 1 that a kindergarten teacher was "removed from the school" after allegations of inappropriate contact with a student, LAUSD officials confirmed Tuesday morning.

"This letter is to inform you that an allegation has been made of inappropriate behavior involving a staff member," Principal Dana Carter said in the letter. "Upon receiving the information, the proper authorities were notified. As part of the investigation, the employee has been temporarily removed from the school."

LAUSD officials said the male teacher was moved to a non-teaching facility during the investigation. It was not immediately known how long the man had been teaching within the district.

Read More...

Occupy bathrooms, Occupy pizza: 72 arrested in 'Occupy the Capitol' tumult

California Education Protest

Rich Pedroncelli/AP

Derrick, a member of Occupy San Francisco, sits in front of California Highway Patrol officers dressed in riot gear during a demonstration against cuts to higher education held at the Capitol in Sacramento, Calif., Monday, March 5, 2012. Thousands of students, teachers and supporters marched to the Capitol as part of a daylong protest over state budget cuts to higher education.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)

Demonstrating against the rising costs of higher education, protesters descended on the state Capitol on Monday for a rally that resulted in 72 arrests. Four people were pinched by police early on, notes the L.A. Times, but the bulk of arrestees were taken in after they refused to leave the premises. Outrage was reserved for business hours only, and the Capitol closed at 6 p.m.

At one point during the day, protesters outside began chanting "let them eat" and "pizza now!" when protesters inside the building were reportedly having difficulty accessing bathrooms and were not permitted food or water once the area was sealed off by authorities.

Gov. Jerry Brown did not make an appearance at the hours-long "Occupy the Capitol" tumult, however he commented, via a spokesperson, that students today "are reflecting the frustrations of millions of Californians who have seen their public schools and universities eroded year after year." Referencing a proposed initiative to raise taxes, he continued, "that's why it's imperative that we get more tax revenue this November."

Read More...