Southern California breaking news and trends

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.


San Onofre reactor still down one week later

David McNew/Getty Images

One week after a radiation leak prompted a shut down at San Onofre, the nuclear plant's Unit 3 reactor remains offline. 

The reactor was finally cool enough on Monday for workers to install inspection equipment, but it was unclear how long the unit would remain out of service, according to plant operator Southern California Edison and officials at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, reports U-T San Diego

During an inspection, unusual wear was found on hundreds of steam generator tubes pumping radioactive water in Unit 2, however that reactor is still in service. The NRC said tubes showed excessive wear. Edison called the findings preliminary.

Over the past two years, generators in both reactors were replaced with $670 million worth of new equipment manufactured in Japan by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.


Greek Theatre, Hollywood Bowl named best outdoor concert venues in America

greek theater theater griffith park

Photo by BeverlyHillsPorsches via Flickr Creative Commons

Los Angeles' Greek Theatre named best small outdoor venue by Pollstar.

The Greek Theatre took a bow as the “Best Small Outdoor Venue of the Year” at the 23rd Annual Pollstar Awards, with the Hollywood Bowl hitting a high note as the country's "Best Major Outdoor Concert Venue."

An encore honor for both amphitheaters, this is the twelfth win for the 80-year-old Greek taking up woodland residence in Griffith Park's local greenery and the eighth consecutive win for the legendary Bowl.

Owned by the City of Los Angeles, the nestled 5,900-seat Greek Theatre is managed, operated and booked exclusively by LA-based firm Nederlander Concerts while the LA Phil's acoustically superior Hollywood Bowl has been the summer home of 18,000 expectant seats since 1922.

What's the best show you ever saw at the Hollywood Bowl or Greek Theatre?



Martin Bernard Springer is second Miramonte teacher to face charges of lewd acts

Grant Slater/KPCC

Parents of students at Miramonte Elementary School escort they children out of school on February 6, 2012.

Miramonte Elementary School second-grade teacher Martin Bernard Springer will face charges following last week's arrest on suspicion of fondling two girls, the Los Angeles County district attorney's office announced Tuesday. The charges relate to one of the alleged victims. Springer faces a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison.

The girls, approximately 7-years-old at the time of the incidents, were allegedly fondled in the classroom. Like co-worker Mark Berndt who's being held on $23 million after being charged with 23 lewd acts against children, taught his entire career at Miramonte.

In a closed session earlier Tuesday, the LAUSD board unanimously approved the firing Martin Springer, as well as the firing of Hamilton High School music magnet teacher Vance Miller accused of sexual battery against students during the mid-1990s through 2010, as reported by KPCC's Tami Abdollah.


Arrested: sheriff's official found passed out in a stopped car in the middle of the freeway

210 freeway

Photo by Joseph Stevenson via Flickr Creative Commons

Sheriff’s civilian Director Natalie Salazar was found by authorities on Friday after several 911 calls to the California Highway Patrol reporting a motorist stopped in the middle of the freeway.

The 55-year-old top Los Angeles County sheriff’s official was found passed out in her county vehicle, reports the L.A. Times, with her head on the steering wheel, her engine in drive, her foot on the brake, stopped in a middle lane of the Foothill Freeway.

She was arrested on suspicion of drunk driving, according to CHP Officer Ming Hsu, and tests showed a 0.20 blood alcohol level, twice the legal limit.

Salazar, the head of the sheriff’s Community/Law enforcement Partnership Program, posted $15,000 bail less than four hours after her arrest, according to jail records.

The official was convicted of driving under the influence in 2009 and put on probation, according to CHP.