Southern California breaking news and trends

LA Fire Department response time lags after budget strain

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Collin Robinson/KPCC

An LAFD paramedic vehicle is seen here at the Avenue 19 maintenance facility in downtown.

Following changes to its deployment plan to save the city money, the L.A. Fire Department's emergency response times appear to be up and further away from its goals, according to an NBC LA report.

Under the new deployment plan, four ambulances and 18 fire companies have been shut down for good. When the new deployment plan was put in place last July, the department found it was able to respond within five minutes of a call about 63 percent of the time, according to documents obtained by the station. Its goal was to be able to meet the five minute mark at least 90 percent of the time.

Now, fire officials find they're able to respond within five minutes of a call less than 60 percent of the time. For the majority (90 percent) of calls, it takes LAFD an average of seven minutes and 24 seconds to reach their destination.

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Andrew Breitbart, conservative publisher and activist, dies at 43 in LA (updated)

Online Insurgent

Reed Saxon/AP

In this Feb. 11, 2010 file photo, conservative publisher Andrew Breitbart is seen during an interview at his home in L.A. The 43-year-old father of four died early Thursday morning.

Conservative media publisher and activist Andrew Breitbart has died at the age of 43.

The news broke on one of his websites on Thursday morning that he died of natural causes in L.A. just after midnight. Father-in-law Orson Bean said that's when Breitbart collapsed, walking near his Brentwood home. Breitbart had suffered heart problems a year earlier, but Bean said he could not pinpoint what happened.

"I don't know what to say. It's devastating," Bean told The Associated Press.

His death was confirmed by Breitbart.com editor-in-chief Joel Pollak, who says he was at the hospital. Larry Dietz, watch commander at the L.A. County coroner's office, said the cause of his death was unknown and an autopsy would "more than likely" be conducted. Breitbart lived in L.A. with his wife and four children.

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Occupy Education: March 1 protests planned for CA campuses

empty desks

Photo by alamosbasement via Flickr Creative Commons

Occupy Education will be schooling California college campuses on March 1 with scheduled protests denouncing cuts to higher education and promoting a message that, "education is not for sale."

Dubbed the "National Day of Action," the call for change is detailed on the movement's website:

"We refuse to accept the dismantling of our schools and universities, while the banks and corporations make record profits. We refuse to accept educational re-segregation, massive tuition increases, outrageous student debt, and increasing privatization and corporatization.

They got bailed out and we got sold out. But through nationally coordinated mass action we can and will turn back the tide of austerity.

We call on all students, teachers, workers, and parents from all levels of education —pre-K-12 through higher education in public and private institutions— and all Occupy assemblies, labor unions, and organizations of oppressed communities, to mobilize on March 1st, 2012 across the country to tell those in power: The resources exist for high-quality education for all."

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Dunkin' Donuts to open in Southern California

dunkin' donuts to california

Photo by Qfamily via Flickr Creative Commons

Dunkin' Donuts is coming to Southern California, and not just to hang out on the beverage shelves of the supermarket. It's going to live here. 

Wipe the glaze from your eyes, L.A. transplants, and let that long hoped-for news sink into your gut like the forthcoming iced dozen in the double D box. 

With their little cardboard suitcases and cloudy-sweet iced coffee, the beloved orange-on-pink chain will be opening location number one at Camp Pendleton in San Diego county. 

The Boston Business Journal wrote about the franchise's newly frosted frontier after details and a job posting were discovered via Facebook.

It is unknown exactly what the groundbreaking groundbreaking means in terms of opening more local outlets, but Dunkin’ Brands Inc. executive, Jeremy Vitaro, told the Journal last month that the company hoped to go back into California with a "critical mass" of stores.

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More details emerge in Long Beach school girl's death

Joanna Ramos Memorial

Grant Slater/KPCC

Part of a memorial to Joanna Ramos, a 10-year-old student who died several hours after a fight with a classmate.

Joanna Ramos Memorial

Grant Slater/KPCC

Ricardo Quintanar waits for his brother to get out of school at Willard Elementary School in Long Beach.

Joanna Ramos Memorial

Grant Slater/KPCC

Amalia Quintanar and her son Ricardo vist a memorial to Joanna Ramos at Willard Elementary School in Long Beach. Quintanar's older son sat in front of Ramos in class.

Joanna Ramos Memorial

Grant Slater/KPCC

Part of a memorial to Joanna Ramos, a 10-year-old student who died several hours after a fight with a classmate.

Joanna Ramos Memorial

Grant Slater/KPCC

A student Willard Elementary school in Long Beach exits the building for recess on February 28, 2012.


Details are emerging in the death of a 10-year-old girl on Friday who was brought to a hospital unconscious hours after an after-school fight with an 11-year-old girl near an elementary school. The victim, Joanna Ramos, died of injuries from blunt force trauma to the head.

Trauma surgeon Mauricio Heilbron Jr. said the girl wasn't breathing and was brought to the emergency room with the "lifeless eyes of a little child's doll," reports the Long Beach Press-Telegram. A CT scan showed severe bleeding inside her skull from an epidural hemorrhage — a buildup of blood between the skull and the brain.

Heilbron called the trauma a "nightmare situation" because brain hemorrhages may not be discovered for several hours based on the speed of the bleeding. The medical team worked for three hours to save the 5th-grader.

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