CaliNews

Lawsuit settlement results in $50 million for reading programs in California schools

Seventy-five California elementary schools where students have the lowest average reading scores will share $50 million in state grants to improve reading and writing instruction, according to a legal settlement announced Thursday. The settlement in Los Angeles Superior Court ends a much-watched lawsuit filed on behalf of students who struggled with reading at three elementary schools — La Salle Avenue Elementary School in the Los Angeles Unified School District, Van Buren Elementary School in the Stockton Unified School District, and Children of Promise Preparatory Academy, a charter school in the Inglewood Unified School District. The lawsuit, Ella T. vs. the State of California, alleged that the state violated the students’ civil rights by denying them a quality education. “Achieving literacy for all children is one of the single most urgent issues in California,” said Mark Rosenbaum, a director at Public Counsel, a public interest law firm that filed the lawsuit with the law firm Morrison & Foerster. “This settlement is a milestone in that struggle.” The literacy block grants, given over three years, will pay for literacy coaches, teacher’s aides, training for teachers and reading material that reflects…

California to receive $300M from US for Oroville Dam repairs

SACRAMENTO (AP) — In an unusual reversal, federal regulators this week agreed to cover about $300 million in repair costs at the Oroville Dam, where a spillway collapse three years ago prompted the evacuation of nearly 190,000 people in Butte County, Northern California. The Federal Emergency Management Agency said last March that it wouldn’t pay for repairs involving damage regulators said existed at the Sierra Nevada dam before the collapse. But after an appeal, FEMA agreed to cover the repairs, the Sacramento Bee reported Thursday. The state now expects to be reimbursed for about $750 million of the $1.1 billion in repair costs, Erin Mellon, spokeswoman for the state Department of Water Resources, said in an email to the Bee. “This is pretty rare, and for California it’s huge money,” Jerry Quinn, a Sacramento consultant who helps government agencies recover money from FEMA, told the paper. Local water agencies will cover anything not paid by the federal government. The dam northeast of San Francisco was built in 1968. In February 2017, storms drenched the state, and a concrete flood-control chute broke apart as it carried…

Trillions of dollars, millions of affordable homes: How presidential candidates would fight California’s housing crisis

Housing has long been an afterthought on the national political stage, but as skyrocketing housing costs and staggering homelessness have struck cities in California and across the country, the Democratic presidential contenders are finding the issue harder to ignore. Many of the 2020 White House hopefuls have rolled out sweeping and expensive plans to deal with the problem, which would go farther than anything the federal government has done on housing in generations. Experts say that building more affordable housing is key to lowering housing costs in places like California, where demand has driven up prices — and several candidates would invest huge federal sums to do so. Sen. Bernie Sanders would go the furthest, proposing an investment of $2.5 trillion over 10 years to build and rehabilitate nearly 10 million affordable homes over the next decade. That’s a staggering amount, considering the U.S. is building about 1.3 million housing units a year — period. Sen. Elizabeth Warren would invest $500 billion, in what the accounting firm Moody’s found would create more than 3 million new affordable housing units and reduce rents by 10 percent. And…

Giants give Billy Hamilton a chance to thrive, show he’s more than a runner

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — First basemen are known to have some of the most interesting conversations on the baseball field, but their creativity seems to disappear when Billy Hamilton stands alongside them. Hamilton said they all give him the same line. “When are you going? Which pitch are you going to go on. I’m like, I don’t know yet,” Hamilton said. “But it’s something like that. It’s like, I know you’re going so it’s like, just hurry up and get going so I can get back a little bit.” The outfielder best known for his tenure with the Cincinnati Reds is in Giants camp as a minor league free-agent trying to win a job this spring. How does a 29-year-old with 299 stolen bases in just seven major league seasons end up without a guaranteed contract during the prime of his career? For those who have followed Hamilton’s life in baseball, his status as a low-profile pickup this offseason wasn’t entirely surprising. His career on-base percentage of .297 tells the story. Free-agency may not have unfolded as Hamilton once envisioned, but when one tool –in this…

Warriors longtime foil Russell Westbrook goes all alpha male at the end of a Houston blowout

CLICK HERE if you are having a problem viewing the photos on a mobile device Poor Russell Westbrook. The one time he ran up against the Warriors in the playoffs, in 2016, he and his Oklahoma City Thunder mates blew a 3-1 series lead. After which Kevin Durant bolted OKC for GSW without so much as a rousing chorus of “So long, it’s been good to know ye.” Last offseason, Westbrook was traded from the Thunder to the Houston Rockets, to spend in perpetuity attempting to pry the ball from James Harden. If that’s not a spirit-crusher, Westbrook’s new team has had its own postseason frustrations when facing the Warriors. They took it on the chin from Golden State three times — 2015, ’16 (coughing up a 3-2 series lead) and ’19. At this point, you could paint Westbrook as the anguished face of the typical, frustrated, vanquished Warriors foe. Related Articles Warriors blitzed by small-ball and 2 more thoughts from 135-105 loss to Rockets Warriors announce Klay Thompson will be out for rest of season Can Jordan Poole emerge as Steph Curry’s longterm backup?…

Mother of Two Missing Idaho Children Arrested in Hawaii

(CNN) — Authorities are still trying to piece together what happened to the two Idaho children who have been missing for five months. In that time, their mother re-married and fled to Hawaii with her husband once police began investigating the disappearances. On Thursday, she was arrested. Lori Vallow, 46, is facing two counts of felony desertion of a child and misdemeanor charges of resisting and obstructing officers, solicitation of a crime and contempt, a statement from the Madison County, Idaho, Prosecuting Attorney said in a statement. Vallow “abandoned her two minor children, delayed law enforcements attempts to locate her children, and encouraged another individual to delay law enforcements attempts to locate her children,” a complaint filed by the prosecutor’s office says. She was arrested in Hawaii on a Madison County arrest warrant and is being held on $5 million bail. CNN has previously reached out to Vallow and Daybell’s attorney, Sean Bartholick, but has not heard back. An attempt to reach Bartholick on Thursday was not immediately successful. Meanwhile, nobody has still seen or heard from Tylee Ryan, 17, and Joshua “JJ” Vallow, 7, since September and…

Richard Branson launches his luxury, adults-only cruise ship

(CNN) — Richard Branson is sailing into new waters with the launch of his first cruise liner, making a bold pitch to younger travelers at an undeniably awkward time for the industry. The Virgin founder launched the Scarlet Lady on Friday, hoping its modern design and adults-only rule will prompt younger vacationers to take a fresh look at cruises. The ship has docked at the Port of Dover in England and will enter operation in April, mainly offering trips around the Caribbean from a base in Miami. “The Scarlet Lady is truly special and we’ve worked with some of the world’s most sought-after designers, artists and architects to craft an extraordinary experience,” Branson said as he presented the ship to the media on Friday. But the launch comes as another liner — the Diamond Princess — reaches the end of a 14-day quarantine amid the coronavirus outbreak. A total of 624 confirmed cases of the virus have been linked to the ship during its isolation in Tokyo Bay, with 79 new cases confirmed on Wednesday. Having tested the waters of just about every other travel business over the course of his…

Mike Fiers, the Astros whistleblower, says he’s received death threats

(CNN) — Mike Fiers, the Major League Baseball pitcher who was the whistleblower in the Houston Astros’ sign-stealing scheme, has said that he has received death threats. “Whatever, I don’t care,” Fiers said to the San Francisco Chronicle on Thursday. “I’ve dealt with a lot of death threats before. It’s just another thing on my plate.” Fiers, who currently pitches for the Oakland Athletics, said to the Chronicle that he’s not concerned about his safety but that he is always concerned about his family’s safety. In a November 12 story in The Athletic, Fiers said the Astros had engaged in sign-stealing methods in 2017 that violated MLB’s rules. Fiers pitched for the Astros in 2017, the year Houston defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers to win the franchise’s first World Series. The Athletic’s report with Fiers’ on-the-record comments spurred MLB to launch its investigation, which found that the Astros illegally created a system that decoded and communicated the opposing teams’ pitching signs to their own players. On Tuesday, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred was asked if the league was concerned about Fiers’ safety — and, if so, what steps would…

California Inmate Confesses Killing 2 Molesters In Letter To Newspaper

CORCORAN (AP) – A California prison inmate confessed in a letter that he beat two child molesters to death with a cane while behind bars just hours after his urgent warning to a counselor that he might become violent was ignored, a newspaper chain reported Thursday. Jonathan Watson, 41, confessed in the letter to the Bay Area News Group in Northern California that he clubbed both men in the head on Jan. 16 at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in Corcoran. Prisoner David Bobb, 48, died that day. Graham De Luis-Conti, 62, died three days later at a hospital. Both were serving life sentences for aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14. “We can’t comment on an active investigation,” Dana Simas, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, wrote in an email. Watson is serving a life sentence for a 2009 murder conviction. Days before the attack, he said his security classification was changed and he was transferred from a single-person cell to a lower-security dormitory pod at the Central Valley facility. Watson called the switch a “careless”…

California Schools Violating Pesticide Law – CBS13 Investigates: Weed Killer Warnings On Campus

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — When a local grandma saw Roundup weed killer warning signs posted at three of her grandsons’ schools, she had questions that the schools couldn’t answer. She turned to CBS13 and we learned those schools are among many in the state that are violating state pesticide law by failing to warn parents before they spray on campus. When we brought our findings to the state, the agencies in charge of regulating pesticides and schools told CBS13 they don’t have the authority to enforce the law. Is your school violating state pesticide law? CBS13 submitted pesticide-related public records requests to every school district in the state. CBS13 Database: Glyphosate on Campus CLICK HERE to find out if your school is on the list. If not, you can help CBS13 get answers. Playing outdoors is an important release for eight-year-old Brandon who is on the autism spectrum. So, his grandma Lani Williams was concerned when she saw a Roundup weed killer warning sign posted in the office at his school. Then she saw a sign at her other grandson’s school and another at Brandon’s summer…

Central CA Inmate Admits to Killing 2 Child Molesters, Says Attack Began After He Saw 1 Watching Kids Show

A California inmate serving a life sentence for murder confessed in a letter that he beat to death two child molesters with a cane hours after a prison counselor ignored his urgent warning that he might become violent. Jonathan Watson is seen in a booking photo obtained by KTLA sister KSEE/KGPE in Fresno. In a letter to the Bay Area News Group, Jonathan Watson, 41, said he clubbed both men in the head on Jan. 16 at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison in the small central city of Corcoran. The first attack occurred after Watson became enraged that the one of the sex offenders was watching a children’s television show, the Northern California newspaper group reported Thursday, Prisoner David Bobb, 48, died that day. Graham De Luis-Conti, 62, died three days later at a hospital. Both were serving life sentences for aggravated sexual assault of a child under 14. “We can’t comment on an active investigation,” Dana Simas, spokesman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, wrote in an email. Watson is serving a life sentence for a 2009 murder…

105 Children Have Died From Flu in U.S., the Most Ever at This Point in the Season

So far this season,105 children have died from the flu, according to data released Friday by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This is the highest number of child flu deaths at this point in the season since the CDC started keeping records in 2004, except for the 2009 flu pandemic. It has been an “unusual” flu season with a higher proportion of children and young adults affected than the older population, according to Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The earlier prevalence of influenza B — a flu strain that tends to be more common in children — could be a reason why more children were affected, Schaffner said. Also, as the number of influenza B cases decreased, the number of H1N1 cases increased, he said. H1N1 is a subtype of the influenza A strain, which also affects children more than adults. “This is the first time in 25 years where [influenza B] became so common so early,” said Dr. Buddy Creech, an associate professor of pediatric infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Neither Schaffner…

Pop Smoke’s Killers May Have Gotten Clues From Rapper’s Social Media Posts

Pop Smoke landed in Los Angeles on Monday evening for a five-day work trip that would include studio time and meetings with other artists. The 20-year-old New York rapper then began sharing posts on social media that were followed by thousands of people. They saw him posing by an infinity pool in the sunny backyard of the Hollywood Hills home where he was staying. Later that evening, they saw a photo of the Los Angeles skyline from what appeared to be the home’s backyard. At one point, the rapper or a member of his entourage uploaded a photo of a black gift bag tagged with his Hollywood Hills address. Another photo showed him posing by a white Range Rover with the address of the home partly visible in the background. Early Wednesday, a group of people, including one wearing a mask and armed with a handgun, burst into the mansion and repeatedly shot the up-and-coming musician. Security video shows the suspects fleeing the home in the 2000 block of Hercules Drive. A law enforcement source said the rapper and his friends partied at the home…

Magnitude 3.5 Earthquake Jolts Castaic Area

A magnitude 3.5 earthquake was reported Friday at 5:42 a.m. Pacific time in Castaic, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The earthquake occurred four miles from Santa Clarita, six miles from Stevenson Ranch, 13 miles from Simi Valley and 13 miles from Los Angeles, at a depth of 10.8 miles. In the last 10 days, there have been no earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater centered nearby. An average of five earthquakes with magnitudes between 3.0 and 4.0 occur per year in the Greater Los Angeles area, according to a recent three-year data sample. Read the full story on LATimes.com. 

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