Los Angeles

Azusa Police: Ranch Fire Started By Arson, Search For Suspect Continues

AZUSA (CBSLA) — The Azusa Police Department Friday said it was searching for a man wanted in connection connection with the Ranch Fire, which has burned roughly 1,500 acres since it started Thursday afternoon. Azusa Police along with @LACoFDPIO Arson Investigators have been conducting a joint investigation of yesterday’s #ranchfire. A suspect has been identified and is being sought for questioning. Please see press release for details.#azusa #CityofAzusa #AzusaPD pic.twitter.com/io2DPi9qMU — Azusa Police (@AzusaPD) August 15, 2020 According to police, 36-year-old Osmin Palencia is wanted in connection with starting the fire. His last known residence was an encampment in the Azusa Canyon Riverbed near the origin of the blaze. Police said Palencia was believed to be violent and encouraged the public to use caution if they see him. Anyone with information was asked to call the Azusa Police Department at 626-812-3200.

EPA Reaches $56.6M Settlement For Groundwater Cleanup Throughout LA County

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Federal officials announced on Friday that more funds have been devoted to the further cleanup of contaminated groundwater throughout Los Angeles. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and other agencies have reached a $56.6 million settlement to assist in cleanup at the Dual Site Groundwater Operable Unit of the Montrose Chemical Corp. and Del Amo superfund sites. “This settlement ensures the long-term operation of the groundwater cleanup system,” said John Busterud, EPA’s regional administrator for the Pacific Southwest. “EPA is committed to the removal of contaminants from our groundwater in Los Angeles County.” Groundwater at the Dual Site is contaminated with hazardous substances, including chlorobenzene and other contaminants The settlement with Montrose Chemical Corporation of California, Bayer CropScience Inc., TFCF America Inc., Stauffer Management Company LLC, and JCI Jones Chemicals Inc. also includes payment to the EPA of $4 million in past costs, another payment of costs incurred by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control and payment of the EPA’s and DTSC’s future oversight costs. For cleanup, officials will pump the groundwater in the Cleanup activities will involve pumping chlorobenzene plume…

Trump orders Chinese owner of TikTok to sell U.S. assets

President Donald Trump on Friday gave the Chinese company ByteDance 90 days to divest itself of any assets used to support the popular TikTok app in the United States. Trump’s executive order said there is “credible evidence that leads me to believe that ByteDance … might take action that threatens to impair the national security of the United States.” Trump last week ordered sweeping but vague bans on dealings with the Chinese owners of TikTok and the messaging app WeChat, saying they are a threat to U.S. national security, foreign policy and the economy. It remains unclear what the TikTok orders mean for the app’s 100 million U.S. users, many of them teenagers or young adults who use it to post and watch short-form videos. Trump on Friday also ordered ByteDance to divest itself of “any data obtained or derived” from TikTok users in the U.S. Microsoft is in talks to buy parts of TikTok. White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended Trump’s earlier TikTok and WeChat orders Thursday, telling reporters he was exercising his emergency authority under a 1977 law enabling the president to…

In-person classes continue at Fresno County private school despite orders to close

Students at a private school in California attended their second day of in-person classes Friday despite state and county orders to close the school. Immanuel Schools in Reedley was told to close its classrooms until the county is removed from a state monitoring list for two weeks. Fresno County also issued a health order Thursday against the K-12 school. The school, which has about 600 students, allowed students into classes Thursday and Friday without masks or social distancing. The school’s trustees and superintendent said they believe students’ development will suffer if they can’t be taught on campus. 

Priest files lawsuit alleging LAPD officer struck his stomach and kicked him in the chest during protest

A 55-year-old Armenian priest has alleged in a lawsuit that a Los Angeles police officer struck him in the stomach with the end of a tactical gun and then violently kicked him in the chest as he sought to regain his balance at a recent protest. Father Armen Bagramyan, a priest in the Armenian Apostolic Church, claims the officer’s actions during a demonstration outside the Azerbaijani Consulate in Brentwood in July represented excessive force and violated his civil rights, sending him to UCLA Medical Center in an ambulance. He also says they came despite the fact that Bagramyan had been helping police maintain order throughout the day. “On numerous occasions, Father Bagramyan positioned himself between protesters and law enforcement and would speak to protesters via megaphone, instructing them to comply with the officers’ commands,” the lawsuit says. Read the full story at LATimes.com.

Police: Beverly Hills man arrested and charged with sexually assaulting women targeted at bars, nightclubs

A Beverly Hills man accused of sexually assaulting and raping women while they were unconscious is facing criminal charges, police said Thursday. Kamran Syed, 39, allegedly targeted women at bars and nightclubs throughout Los Angeles and Orange counties before driving them back to his home and assaulting them, the Beverly Hills Police Department reported. Authorities said the attacks span from 2017 to this year. Investigators believe Syed may be responsible for other assaults, so police are asking potential victims or anyone else with information to come forward. Kamran Syed, 39, appears in a photo released by the Beverly Hills Police Department on Aug. 14, 2020. Authorities arrested Syed on June 20, police said. He faces felony charges including assault with intent to commit a felony, forcible oral copulation, oral copulation of an unconscious person and three counts of rape of an unconscious or asleep person, according to Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Pamela Johnson. “He would target intoxicated females that were at bars,” said Beverly Hills Police Lt. Max Subin. “That was his MO.” Subin said investigators believe the women were under the…

Cal ISO Issues Stage 3 Emergency Notice, Rolling Blackouts Underway

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — The California Independent System Operator Friday declared a statewide Stage 3 Electrical Emergency due to high heat and increased electricity demand — initiating rotating outages throughout the state. According to Cal ISO, the emergency was declared because demand outpaced availability, prompting the rolling blackouts to maintain the stability of the electric grid. “The California ISO is working closely with California utilities and neighboring power systems to manage strain on the grid and to restore the power grid to full capacity,” the operator said in a statement. “As portions of the grid are restored, local utilities will restore power in a coordinated fashion.” The rolling outages will not impact Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers, according to the department. “LADWP is a municipally owned utility and owns its own generation, but has the ability to buy and sell power back and forth to the rest of the grid as needed and as available,” the department said in a statement. “Our own generation and transmission are the reasons we aren’t affected.” As of 7:12 p.m., Southern California Edison confirmed it had…

Ventura Surpasses 9K Coronavirus Cases; Riverside, San Bernardino Report Additional Deaths

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — Riverside, San Bernardino and Ventura counties all reported additional deaths attributed to the novel coronavirus Friday. A volunteer, left, hands three-year-old Zayla a backpack filled with school supplies at a Los Angeles distribution event Aug. 14 to support neighborhood families as her mom Claudia Rodriguez, right, watches. (Photo by Robyn Beck/AFP-Getty) Riverside County health officials reported 965 newly confirmed cases and two additional fatalities, bringing countywide totals to 45,662 confirmed cases and 881 deaths. There were 23,689 reported recoveries. Officials said 314 confirmed COVID-19 patients were hospitalized Friday, with 91 being treated in intensive care units. San Bernardino County health officials reported 614 newly confirmed cases and three additional fatalities, bringing countywide totals to 39,374 confirmed cases and 561 deaths. An estimated 31,755 people have recovered. As of Monday, the county’s latest update, 468 confirmed coronavirus patients were hospitalized, with 152 being treated in intensive care units. Ventura County health officials reported 181 newly confirmed cases and one additional fatality, bringing countywide totals to 9,090 confirmed cases and 95 deaths. Of those who contracted the virus, 6,178 had recovered and 2,817…

21-Year-Old Facing Felony Charges, Held On $1M Bail In 4 Orange County Groping Incidents

ORANGE (CBSLA) — A 21-year-old man was charged on Friday with groping four women in Orange area after pleading not guilty to the accusations. Saul Montiel-Tejada faces the felonies of one count of kidnapping to commit a sex offense, two counts of assault with the intent to commit a sex assault and two counts of sexual battery by restraint, along with two misdemeanor counts of sexual battery. In the most recent incident, Montiel-Tejada is accused of grabbing a woman’s buttocks while she was walking in the 4700 block of East Walnut Avenue about 7:40 p.m. Wednesday, the Orange County District Attorney’s Office said. The woman called police and Montiel-Tejada was arrested nearby, according to prosecutors. In separate instances, the defendant also allegedly grabbed a woman from behind on Sunday on North Tustin Avenue near Cambridge Street before fleeing on a bicycle, groped a woman’s buttocks about 6:35 p.m. August 2 in Grijalva Park, and grabbed a woman from behind on July 25 about 4:10 p.m. and dragging her into an alcove on Santiago Creek Trail near Tustin Street and La Veta Avenue. Both victims who…

8-months-pregnant woman with toddler daughter scrambling after losing home, baby gear in the Lake Fire

A couple with a 1-year-old daughter who’s preparing to welcome a new infant say their scrambling to replace baby supplies after their Lake Hughes area home was destroyed this week in the Lake Fire. At 8 months pregnant, Brittny Daskey was forced to evacuate with her family Wednesday afternoon. As she was scrambling to gather important belongings, a firefighting aircraft dumped a load of Phos-Chek fire retardant on her and her home, Daskey said. “Probably the scariest moment of my life was running, packing, hot — the stuff covers me and (my daughter), the dog, all of our stuff,” she told KTLA. “It felt like a war zone.” Despite the upheaval, Daskey says she didn’t imagine it would be the last time she saw their house standing. But Friday morning, they returned to find a burnt-out lot. Cellphone video captured Daskey’s immediate reaction: “Oh my God, that’s our f—ing house.” The expectant mother says she “lost everything.” Daskey, her boyfriend and 1-year-old Victoria have been staying with relatives in Saugus. Their home is among at least three consumed by flames since the Lake Fire exploded Wednesday…

California schools scrambling for info, technology as year begins

Millions of California children are already back in the virtual classroom. But families, teachers and districts are still scrambling to figure out some of the basics. How and when they can resume in-person learning and how to get the in-demand technology they need for distance learning now? State officials estimate 97 percent of California schoolchildren are starting the year online. Gov. Gavin Newsom tried to project control over the situation Friday, though he acknowledged it’s a “sub-optimal environment.” And though there are a slew of rules about what schools should do, the rules for being able to reopen for in-person instruction aren’t set in stone.  Newsom said more information on the upcoming school year will be provided next week.

Study: Greenland’s ice sheet has melted to a point of no return

Greenland’s ice sheet has melted to a point of no return, and efforts to slow global warming will not stop it from disintegrating. That’s according to a new study by researchers at Ohio State University. “The ice sheet is now in this new dynamic state, where even if we went back to a climate that was more like what we had 20 or 30 years ago, we would still be pretty quickly losing mass,” Ian Howat, co-author of the study and a professor at Ohio State University, said. Greenland’s ice sheet dumps more than 280 billion metric tons of melting ice into the ocean each year, making it the greatest single contributor to global sea level rise, according to Michalea King, the lead author of the study and researcher at Ohio State University. The ice loss has been so massive in recent years, she said, that it has caused a measurable change in the gravitational field over Greenland. Ice melting in Greenland contributes more than a millimeter rise to sea level every year, and that’s likely to get worse. Sea levels are projected to rise by more…

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