Southern California breaking news and trends

Variety and The Vandals settle punk lawsuit over album cover

Showbiz trade Variety will be settling its long-running lawsuit against O.C. punk band The Vandals

The newspaper initially came after the group for their use of lettering on the 2004 "Hollywood Potato Chip" album cover, claiming it resembled their trademarked logo

The band changed the cover and agreed to pay $50,000 and attorneys' fees if the artwork should ever resurface. In 2010, lawyers for Variety sued the band, claiming they had breached the deal when images appeared on various websites. 

Joe Escalante, the Vandals' bassist/lawyer, told the Hollywood Reporter that this "crash course in federal court litigation" was the worst thing "that's ever happened to me, and to the band, and the hardest thing I've ever done." 

Escalante claimed the band wasn't behind the website postings and openly spoke out against Variety's lawyers on the band's website:

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What Beverly Hills police are not saying about Whitney Houston

2009 AMA Awards Show

Matt Sayles/AP

Artist Whitney Houston performs onstage at the 37th Annual American Music Awards on Nov. 22, 2009 in Los Angeles.

At a press conference Monday morning, police talked about all the things they will not talk about regarding Whitney Houston, and confirmed few details in the investigation of her tragic death. 

Beverly Hills Police Department spokesman Lt. Mark Rosen said many rumors were circulating, but that he did not know where they were originating.

At this time, said Rosen, they are not conducting a homicide or criminal investigation, but noted they were not ruling out anything. 

He said authorities are proceeding with an active, sealed death investigation, calling it a coroner's case. Said Rosen, "We do not know the cause of death," asserting that the investigation is BHPD procedure based on Houston's age, not her "celebrity or notoriety."

He also confirmed she had been moved by the person or persons who found her, and not by Beverly Hilton hotel security or paramedics.

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Actress helping injured animal in Griffith Park struck by two vehicles, killed

Dancer and actress Zina Freeley, known professionally as Zina Bethune, was killed in a possible hit-and-run accident early Sunday morning in Griffith Park.

The 66-year-old was struck by two vehicles on Forest Lawn Drive as she stopped to help an animal in distress.

Bethune reportedly parked her Lincoln Town Car on the side of the road and was approaching the animal when she was struck first by an eastbound vehicle, and thrown into the westbound lane where she was struck again, and dragged more than 600 ft. underneath the second car. 

Authorities are searching for a vehicle that may have fled the scene.

A number of news outlets are reporting the accident as a hit-and-run, however the L.A. Times is saying that may not be the case according to Sgt. Jeffrey Siggers of the Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Traffic Division.

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First of two storms hits LA

Winter Storm Forces Interstate 5 To Close

David McNew/Getty Images

Accumulated snow sits on trucks stranded because Interstate 5, the main route between Los Angeles, to the south, and Sacramento and San Francisco, remains closed due to snow on Jan. 24, 2008, in Frazier Park, California. The National Weather Service says to expect winter conditions near the Grapevine this week.

High temperatures in the valleys will be mostly in the low 60s as the first of this week’s two storms passes through. Bonnie Bartling of the National Weather Service said L.A. will receive small amounts of rain Monday and Wednesday.

“Any rain amounts could be anything from zero to a trace, maybe a quarter inch, unless in the interior areas we got a thunderstorm, might get a little more than a quarter inch,” she said.

But driving in the region north of L.A., including the Grapevine, could be a problem due to wind and approaching snow.

“Snow levels could get down to 3,000 feet at times, also the foothills in the Antelope Valley in Soledad Pass, so I would definitely be in tune for winter weather conditions. And then we’ll have some gusty winds so probably seem rather chilly,” she said.

Bartling is predicting another storm Wednesday, but skies should clear by the end of the week.

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Whitney Houston autopsy: Preliminary results possibly out Wednesday

Speaking to reporters today, an L.A. coroner official said preliminary results of Whitney Houston's autopsy may be available on Wednesday. Officials indicated earlier that the full report, including toxicology tests, could take weeks. The coroner official also indicated that speculation on medication found on the scene did not come from the corner's office. Prescription pill bottles were found in her room, however. The coroner's office also earlier reported that Houston was found in a bathtub.

“I had a conversation with the family at the hotel and at no time did I discuss prescription meds or the drowning issue. I don’t know if detectives discussed that with the family. But no, we have not released any info like that," said Assistant Chief Coroner Ed Winter.

 

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