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West Covina Moves Ahead With Plan to Start Own Health Department, Banana Trees Fighting Fires, Goodbye Fry's




East College Prep High School senior Jocelyn Hernandez follows a remote Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus class while sitting in a community garden near her home, August 14, 2020 in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. - Due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic all Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools will be closed and students will return to class via remote learning when the 2020-21 school year starts on August 18, 2020. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
East College Prep High School senior Jocelyn Hernandez follows a remote Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus class while sitting in a community garden near her home, August 14, 2020 in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles, California. - Due to the continuing coronavirus pandemic all Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) schools will be closed and students will return to class via remote learning when the 2020-21 school year starts on August 18, 2020. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP) (Photo by ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)
ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images

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West Covina Moves Ahead with Plan to Start Own Health Department - How Might that Work? 

It's rare for a city in California to run its own health department-- that's a task usually left to counties. But since the arrival of the coronavirus, some municipalities are looking to split off on their own-- largely to avoid county-mandated health measures and the subsequent economic hardship. One of those is West Covina. The city council there voted earlier this week to move forward with a plan to separate from the LA County Health Officer's jurisdiction... while retaining some department services. But really, how easy IS it for a city to run its own health department - and what are the benefits? We turn to someone who know a lot about that.

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Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) are Down

The pandemic has thrown many high school seniors off their college path, including the crucial step of filing for state and federal financial aid. We look at which students, and schools, are falling farthest behind and which are managing to keep students on the college path despite the difficulties. KPCC's Jill Replogle has the story.

Gimlet and the Podcast Industry's Reckoning Over Discrimination and "Toxic Workplace" Environments

One of the big issues we’ve returned to over the years - and quite a lot more recently - is how different industries have handled issues of discrimination, specifically around race and gender, and specifically in newsrooms. We’ve been going through our reckoning here at KPCC, and now it’s spilled into the world of podcasting as well. Earlier this month some accusations were made against the host and lead reporter of the popular Gimlet-produced podcast Reply All that’s resulted in both of them stepping away from the show. So what does this mean for Gimlet and the podcast industry? 

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How Banana Trees Can Help Fight Fires in California 

An innovative way to prevent wildfires from engulfing homes: banana trees. It's based on the concept of "green fire breaks", where plants with high levels of moisture, like bananas, are planted around a development or houses, to slow down fires from nearby hills. It's being proposed by Barath Ragavan, a rare fruit enthusiast and professor of engineering at USC. KPCC's Jacob Margolis has the story.

Goodbye Fry's and Your Alien-Invasion-Themed-Building in Burbank 

Just this week, Fry’s Electronics officially flipped the “off” switch on its last 31 stores around the country. The 36-year-old retail chain was battered by both the pandemic and the new ways that customers shop. But aside from electronics, the stores were probably most well-known for what you saw before you walked inside. Each location was unique for its iconic architecture, especially right here in Southern California. 

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How LA's Home Cooks Adapted to the Pandemic 

The coronavirus pandemic has altered life in L.A. as we knew it for nearly a year now… and one of those changes comes to the food scene. In 2020, cooks and food vendors ALL over turned to social media to sell their goods from home -- a trend that could reshape the way Angelenos eat. 

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