Southern California breaking news and trends

High fives for 'Hand Jive' composer Johnny Otis, dead at 90

Johnny Otis, the "godfather of rhythm and blues," actual father of Shuggie Otis, composer of "Willie and the Hand Jive," producer of Big Mama Thornton's original "Hound Dog" recording, and the fellow who suggested the Creolettes' lead singer Jamesetta change her name to Etta James, died Tuesday at his home in Altadena, CA. He was 90.


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Catalina Island Fox outsmarts extinction

santa catalina island fox

AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian

A Santa Catalina Island fox pup dashes into the wilderness after being released on Santa Catalina Island, CA. The Catalina Island Conservancy released 10 captive-bred pups from one breeding season in an effort to reestablish the subspecies.

The Catalina Island Fox, an omnivorous fox subspecies found only on Santa Catalina Island, has outwitted extinction in an unprecedented creature comeback.

Conservationists began a recovery program for the gray, pointed nose canid in the late 1990s following a distemper epidemic that saw the fox population plummet to a sparse population of about 100 on the 76-square-mile island. When the captive breeding program ended in 2004, the foxes were listed as endangered.

There are now 1,542 cat-sized foxes that share the island with approximately 3,200 humans and more than 1 million tourists a year, reports the L.A. Times. In the foxes' favor, no natural predators exist on the island, and plenty of food — from mice to cherries — is readily available.

It's considered one of the most successful recoveries ever for an endangered species, according to U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

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Human feet found in Hollywood Hills near severed head, hands

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, Jan. 18, 2012. Investigators have also located two severed feet.

The body part tally in the Hollywood Hills continues to climb with the discovery of two severed feet near a hiking trail in Bronson Canyon Park on Wednesday afternoon.

Two severed hands were found by Los Angeles Police Department investigators earlier on Wednesday following the discovery of a severed head in a bag by two dogs on Tuesday.

Officials have not identified the victim, but believe he may have been of Armenian descent. 

The cause of death has not been determined, but police do not believe the man died at the location where the body parts have been found. 

The death is thought to be recent given the lack of decomposition.

 

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TSA 'PreCheck' program arrives at LAX with speedy security options

Mercer 6715

Getty Images

LAX

A new, passenger pre-screening program will have travelers flying through TSA security ASAP at LAX.

The Transportation Security Administration "PreCheck" pilot program touches down at Los Angeles International Airport on Jan. 18, offering pre-approved fliers an expedited security experience. 

At check-in, PreCheck enrolled passengers will not have to go shoeless and beltless, they can leave liquids and laptops inside carry-on luggage, as they mosey a reserved fast path through the security area.

Expedited screening does not guarantee immunity from standard security restrictions, however. Random searches and unexpected measures are still a possibility.

As part of the program's application process, individuals are required to release personal information, submit to fingerprinting and background checks, and participate in a face-to-face interview. 

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A second severed hand found below Hollywood sign, to go with other hand, head

With AFP Story by Michael THURSTON: US-e

Robyn Beck/Getty Images

The famous Hollywood sign

A second human hand has been found near the head and hand already found below the Hollywood sign, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The human head was found Tuesday afternoon, the first hand was found Wednesday morning and the second hand was found Wednesday afternoon. Police believe the murder occurred elsewhere and the body was dumped in the park.

"We're hoping we can find more remains," LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said, according to the Times.

The victim appeared to be an Armenian man between 40 and 60.

The search is expected to continue Wednesday night and Thursday morning, the Times reported.

The LAPD told KPCC that the case was still under investigation and they couldn't provide any further information at the moment, and that they do not know when there will be further info available.

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