Southern California breaking news and trends

Neil Young 'LincVolt' sued after '59 hybrid goes up in smoke

Neil Young LincVolt 1959 hybrid LINCOLN CONTINENTAL

AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

Musicians Neil Young and Daniel Lanois are photographed beside Young's 1959 hybrid Lincoln Continental in Woodside, CA.

LincVolt, a company founded by folk-rock icon Neil Young during the fuel-effiiency conversion of his 1959 Lincoln Continental, is being sued over a fire that authorities say began in the modified vehicle. The suit alleges that Young, listed as a LincVolt LLC officer, was negligent in the process of turning his vintage vehicle into an electric and biodiesel-powered hybrid.

Unigard Insurance is seeking $500,000 that it says was paid to the owner of two warehouses damaged in the 2010 San Francisco Bay Area fire. A three-alarm blaze was sparked by a charging malfunction, and caused about $1 million in damage, much to "a lifetime of rock 'n' roll memorabilia -- instruments, photos and film footage as well as the Lincoln -- Young had stored in the warehouse," explains the Mercury News.

Young chose to have the car rebuilt, and the era-confused vehicle is currently undergoing a series of driving tests. LincVolt's progress is being tracked and detailed online.


McCriminal: LAPD seeks violent fast food robber, 7 businesses hit

Mercer 11233

David McNew/Getty Images

It's Unhappy Meals all around for six restaurants and one Radio Shack recently robbed in Northeast Los Angeles.

The suspect, armed with a blue-steel handgun, threatens employees and and demands cash register money, LAPD Capt. Bill Murphy told reporters at a news conference Thursday evening, reports  Eagle Rock Patch.

It is unknown if the gun is real or a prop, however the suspect has "resorted to violence behind the counter,” Murphy remarked, but declined to give additional details because of the ongoing investigation. He did note that the robber typically gets the cash he's after, and that the incidents occurred between the hours of 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.

Captured on video surveillance, the suspect is described as:

  • Male
  • 24 to 27-years-old
  • Spanish-speaking, but speaks English without an accent
  • 5 feet 7 inches tall, approx.
  • 135 pounds, approx.
  • Dark hair
  • Dark eyes
  • Possibly light complexioned
  • Wearing a hoodie-type sweater
  • Wearing dark, baggy pants


No arrests, but lots of leads in Hollywood body parts case

Human Head Found

Jason Redmond/AP

Mounted Los Angeles Police officers search the Bronson Canyon area of Griffith Park after a human head was discovered Tuesday by two people walking their dogs below the Hollywood Sign in Los Angeles.

Last night at least one local media outlet — CBS LA — reported that according to its sources, LAPD had made an arrest in the Hollywood body parts case. They've since walked that back, and the L.A. Times, and now the LAPD themselves, have said no arrests have taken place. 

The Times continue to report, and the LAPD have neither denied nor confirmed, that search warrants have been served in the case. But few details have leaked, except these details CBS and KFI have reported. LAPD says its detectives are plowing through dozens of leads.

In other body parts news, KPCC's Tami Abdollah has this in-depth piece on Indiana Bones, the cadaver dog who found some of the parts, and her handler. 

Also, the park where two hikers found the original head has re-opened. LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith tells AP police scoured seven acres of Bronson Canyon for body parts but found nothing more. Smith says it's believed the victim's torso was not dumped in the park and no other remains are there.


Halle Berry accused stalker will not serve additional jail time

Halle Berry Stalker

Evan Agostini/AP

Halle Berry's accused stalker pleaded no contest before a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge on Thursday, and will not serve any additional jail time.

28-year-old Richard Anthony Franco of Commerce was sentenced to 386 days in county jail, five years of probation, and one year of psychological counseling. A 10-year criminal protective order was also imposed.

For the 193 days he was in custody, Franco received credit for the entirety of his country jail sentence, announced the District Attorney’s office.

According to LAPD, Franco was arrested when Berry reported the presence of a possible burglar after he'd allegedly shown up her at her Hollywood Hills home several times. 

Under the terms of a negotiated settlement, one count of first-degree residential burglary was dismissed at the sentencing. 


Ocean Tetris: Port of Los Angeles breaks yearly export record

shipping containers port of los angeles

Photo by Greg Bishop via Flickr Creative Commons

The Port of Los Angeles is breaking export records again, topping last year's all-time-high by 14.5 percent with more than two million cargo containers loaded and shipped from the port in 2010.

In all, the port handled almost eight million containers, including empties, which also marked an increase from the previous year.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa spoke about future improvements in a statement, saying, “We’re fortunate to have stronger year-over-year results in 2011 but we are not resting on our laurels as the nation’s premier trade gateway.”

"Exports at the port have been helped by the continued weakness of the U.S. dollar," says the Los Angeles Business Journal, which also attributes the boost in business to the arrival of terminal operator California United Terminals from Long Beach.