Southern California breaking news and trends

Disneyland's $1 million Matterhorn makeover


Photo by Disney via Getty Images

Senator Edward M. Kennedy visits the Matterhorn at Disneyland in Anaheim, California (1960)

No one will be coming around the mountain of the Matterhorn Bobsled ride for the next six months as Disneyland doles out an extreme makeover to its popular, abominable snowman-inhabited attraction.

In one of the most extensive ride overhauls in the park's history, the improved version of the Matterhorn will feature new bobsled cars/seats, and a mountain that's freshly coated in new painted snow. City of Anaheim permits describe the work as a $1 million project, notes the L.A. Times.

Officials said no major track changes are planned for the roller coaster, and that no plans currently exist to tie-in the Matterhorn revamp with a new, Swiss Alps-themed Walt Disney Studios film in development.




Man pleads not guilty to murder charge in teen soccer player slaying

arrests suspects jason schumann elizabeth ibarra

Photo by KimNBCLA via Twitter

Jason Schumann pleaded not guilty to murder charges in the shooting death of 17-year-old Francisco Rodriguez.

24-year-old Jason Alejandro Schumann of Calabasas pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to the murder charge in the shooting death of 17-year-old Francisco Rodriguez on Jan. 11.

Prosecutors say Schumann shot the El Camino Real High School soccer goalie after he was lured outside of his Winnetka home in the San Fernando Valley by a woman believed to 19-year-old Elizabeth Ibarra.

Investigators say Ibarra is Schumann's girlfriend, however she has not been charged in the case and no motive has been revealed. The pair are charged in an unrelated armed robbery that occurred two weeks before the shooting.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled on Feb. 21, according to CNS.


Will the U.S. Supreme Court take the Prop 8 case?

prop 8 same-sex marriage ban

Julie Small/KPCC

Experts say the U.S. Supreme Court may not take the Prop 8 case following Tuesday's federal appeals court ruling that same-sex marriage ban is unconstitutional. Legally, it may be too "narrowly written," explains the L.A. Times.

The Supreme Court may be able to "affirm without having to significantly expand on its existing jurisprudence and without having to rule on marriage for same-sex couples on a national scale," said Loyola law professor Douglas NeJaime.

The three panel 2-1 decision by U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to overturn the 2008 voter-approved ban could be the last word since the ruling was California specific.



The Simpsons 500-episode marathon begins in Hollywood

20th Century Fox Marketing

Shhhh.... tv.

Like something out of that twilighty show about that zone, one hundred people will begin competing Wed. Feb 8 for the honor of top couch potato as The Simpsons 500 Ultimate Fan Marathon Challenge powers on in Hollywood.

In celebration of show's 500th episode later this month, and in an effort to set a new Guinness World Record for longest continuous television watching, Twentieth Century Fox is moving the marketing team from Century City to the center of Hollywood & Highland to run a 500-episode marathon for super fans.

90 people were selected from online applications to compete, with additional spots coming from random drawings and trivia winners. Rules and regulations are detailed on the main contest page including information about how to become a standby viewer. 

It will take around 200 hours to watch the episodes -- that's just 64 hours short of the scientifically monitored record set for a human to go without sleep in 1965, notes the L.A. Times.


Miramonte abuse scandal developments: Teacher aide's alleged love letters, and 1 child recants

Grant Slater/KPCC

Miramonte Elementary School scandals get muddier as more is revealed.

There have been two new developments in the Miramonte child abuse scandals, both via the L.A. Times.

First, the Times reports former Miramonte teacher's aide Araceli Luisjuan allegedly wrote three love letters to an 11-year-old boy. The mother told the Times that she made the discovery in June 2009:

"One letter, meant as a short-term farewell note, included a passage that the mother found especially disturbing: 'When I was writing this letter, I was crying. My heart was breaking into pieces," wrote the teacher's aide, who has been identified as Areceli Luisjuan. "Oh! I didn't tell you that I like when you put your arm around my shoulder, and if I told you not to do that it's because I don't want to put you in trouble, but I like it…'"

The distraught mother said the teacher's aide appeared to be in her 50s. Luisjuan was in the process of being relocated to a nearby middle school, hence the parting nature of the letters.