Southern California breaking news and trends

The happiest spray on earth? Disney altercation video raises security questions

tower of terror disney

Photo by Missy Martinez via Flickr Creative Commons

A four-minute, profanity-heavy altercation between a seemingly drunk man and an employee of Disney's California Adventure was recorded Saturday afternoon by a park visitor.

The incident occurred near the "Tower of Terror" attraction where the suspect is seen punching, kicking, and grabbing a costumed park worker -- dressed as a bellhop in a straw hat -- who was attempting to subdue him with a repellent spray.

Despite long blasts to the face, the happiest spray on Earth administered by the Disney employee did very little to stop the suspect, who continued to curse and fight and ultimately knock the employee to the ground.

The suspect -- 53-year-old Glenn Horlacher -- was eventually restrained on the ground by two guests until authorities arrived. He was arrested for battery and assault by Anaheim police, booked into jail, and later released on a citation.


Well, well, well... EPA digs for chromium-6 in Burbank and Glendale


Photo by Mark Kelley via Flickr Creative Commons

The San Fernando Valley's aero-tech industry may have been dismantled decades ago but its carcinogens live on in local water wells. 

Chromium-6, the toxic contaminant brought to widespread attention by Erin Brockovich, has been detected in groundwater, however the extent of contamination in unknown.

In an effort to determine the reach of the underground spread, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be installing thirty wells in Glendale and Burbank "to figure out whether the areas [where] we don't have wells have contamination," EPA project manager Lisa Hanusiak told the L.A. Times

Data from the new wells will enhance the picture already being developed from the area's existing monitoring stations. For the next two years, groundwater samples will be collected by the EPA every three months, according to a city report.


LADWP lights go out for 60,000 Westside customers

lightbulb terrarium

Photo by Jennifer Feuchter via Flickr Creative Commons

Lightbulb terrarium.

A power outage darkened a large portion of Los Angeles' Westside on Tuesday. 

A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power told KPCC that 60,000 customers saw their electricity service interrupted in Venice, Westchester, Playa del Rey and surrounding areas.

The utility was restored to the majority of the affected areas within 13 minutes, however crews are responding to the 8,600 customers still without power.

Supply disruption to a main hub receiving station is being blamed for the blackout. It was unknown what caused the disruption.

LAX was affected in the short ordeal, but all power has been restored to the airport, according to the LADWP spokesperson.


Former Miramonte teacher Mark Berndt pleads not guilty (updated)

Mark Berndt

L.A. Sheriff's Department

Accused teacher Mark Berndt.

Former Miramonte Elementary School teacher Mark Berndt, looking disheveled but confident, pleaded not guilty in court today on charges of committing lewd acts against 23 children from 2005 to 2010.

The former teacher is charged with taking bizarre, bondage-style photographs of his grade-school students in a case that has brought shock and outrage to LAUSD.

Berndt, who was a teacher for more than 30 years at Miramonte Elementary, has been jailed since his Jan. 31 arrest. 

His attorney, Victor Acevedo, made three requests at the arraignment – to reduce Berndt's  $23 million bail; to get a full copy of the district attorney's file on the investigation into Berndt, including all 600 photographs depicting Berndt's alleged crimes; and to ensure that Berndt is treated fairly in jail, where Acevedo alleges sheriff's deputies have called Berndt a child molester over a loud speaker.


5-year-old victim of mother's alleged attempted drowning still on life support

 Pastor Joyce Williams

Nick Ut/AP

Neighbors, led by Pastor Joyce Williams, second from left, prayed last Wednesday outside the home where a mother allegedly drowned her 1-year-old and attempted to drown her 5-year-old daughter.

A 5-year-old whose mother is charged with her attempted drowning and the drowning of her 1-year-old sister has not been been taken off life support, LAPD said this morning. Various news organizations, citing law enforcement sources, had been reporting that she was taken off life support and she was dead.

The girls' father, Jose Humberto Lopez, told ABC7 that he planned to take the girl off life support and hoped some good would come from the situation because he had decided to donate the 5-year-old's organs for transplant.

The girls' mother, Lorna Valle, 32, was charged with murder and attempted murder Friday and is being held on $1.5 million bail. She will face a second count of murder if her 5-year-old dies.

Lopez told police he found his wife trying to drown the girls in a tub when he returned home from a store Wednesday morning.