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ENTERTAINMENT
February 24, 2014 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Ask and ye shall receive. At least when it comes to authors and Amtrak. Amtrak has launched a still-unstructured writers residency program thanks to an offhanded remark by Alexander Chee and some impassioned pleas on Twitter. In a PEN Ten interview that posted Dec. 23, Chee, author of the forthcoming novel "The Queen of the Night," said that trains are his favorite place to write. He then commented, "I wish Amtrak had residencies for writers. " Not two months later and Amtrak does.
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OPINION
February 23, 2014 | By Gary Paul Nabhan
" But most of all I shall remember the monarchs, that unhurried westward drift of one small winged form after another, each drawn by some invisible force. " - Rachel Carson, in a letter to Dorothy Freeman, Sept. 10, 1963 . After news broke recently that the number of migratory monarch butterflies that had arrived to winter in Mexico was the lowest since reliable records began, I went on the road on behalf of the Make Way for Monarchs initiative. This solutions-oriented collaboration is working to place millions of additional milkweeds in toxin-free habitats this next year.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 21, 2014 | By Richard Winton, This post has been corrected, as indicated below.
State Sen. Ron Calderon has been indicted in a sweeping corruption case, accused of taking about $100,000 in bribes.  Federal authorities allege that Calderon (D-Montebello) took the bribes from a Long Beach hospital official as well as people connected to what he believed was a Hollywood studio. In fact, the studio was an FBI front and the business associates were FBI agents. Authorities claim Calderon received cash bribes, trips and dinners in exchange for "official acts.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 21, 2014 | By Ralph Vartabedian
California bullet train officials have been granted an extra three months to come up with funding to start meeting their obligations under a grant for the project, federal officials said Friday. The deal was struck under a new state funding contribution plan in which the state would begin spending its own money starting July 1 rather than April 1. The additional time would presumably allow the Legislature to act on Gov. Jerry Brown's request for $250 million for the project, allocated from the state's fees on greenhouse gas emissions.
NATIONAL
February 19, 2014 | By Ralph Vartabedian and Neela Banerjee
A Nebraska court ruling Wednesday left the long-troubled Keystone XL pipeline with no approved route through the state, dealing the project a legal setback that could delay it at least a year. Lancaster County District Judge Stephanie F. Stacy struck down a 2012 law that gave Republican Gov. Dave Heineman authority to approve the pipeline's route, bypassing the state's Public Service Commission. Her decision came in a lawsuit filed by three property owners whose land was in the pipeline's path.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 18, 2014 | By Elaine Woo
When Lewis Yablonsky was growing up in New Jersey in the 1930s, he was beaten by poor whites for being Jewish and by black gangs for being white. He committed petty thefts, ran crooked card games and carried a switchblade for protection. Some of his closest friends wound up behind bars. "I wasn't sure where I belonged," he told The Times years later. "But when my best friend went to prison for hijacking a fur truck … I realized I had to get on one side of the law or the other. " Yablonsky chose the straight path, using his rough-and-tumble youth as a springboard to a distinguished career: He became the "Sociologist With Street Smarts," as one headline described him, an authority on youth gangs, hippies and drug addicts whose personal experiences gave him insights other scholars lacked.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 15, 2014 | By Corina Knoll
Authorities continued Saturday to investigate the shooting of a 37-year-old man who fled a Long Beach motel parking lot and attempted to run over a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy. Deputies from the Lakewood Sheriff's Station arrived Friday about 12:20 p.m. at a motel in the 1100 block of Pacific Coast Highway in search of a man wanted in the assault of a police officer, the Sheriff's department said in a statement. When deputies approached the suspect, he got into his car and attempted to run over one of the deputies while escaping the area.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 15, 2014 | By Nicole Sperling
PITTSBURGH - Most movie sets orbit around one key individual. Usually, it's the director or the star. Occasionally, it's a heavyweight producer. Seldom is it the writer of the movie's source material. But John Green is not just any writer. On a crisp day in early October as cameras rolled on Fox 2000's film adaptation of his 2012 novel "The Fault in Our Stars," a bestselling love story about two wry, cancer-stricken teenagers, the 36-year-old author was exerting a strong gravitational pull.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 14, 2014 | By Larry Gordon
Members of the union representing the university of California's 21,000 service workers and patient care employees have voted to authorize another possible strike -- which would be their third walkout in less than a year. The food workers, custodians, respiratory therapists and others at UC's 10 campuses and five medical centers overwhelmingly authorized their leaders to call a strike if need be, officials of AFSCME Local 3299 said Friday. No date or duration of a potential strike has been set by the union, which has been locked in lengthy and tense negotiations with UC administrators over such issues as employee contributions to pensions and safe levels of staffing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 14, 2014 | By a Los Angeles Times staff writer
A camel that escaped from a Palmdale property and began charging people and cars is now in the custody of animal control officials. Investigators are trying to determine how the camel got loose. The camel's capture was recorded by TV crews. The L.A. County Department of Animal Care and Control said in a statement to KTLA-TV Channel 5 that the "alleged owner is known not to be permitted to have the camel. The camel will be held as evidence and will be in the care of the Lancaster shelter.” A call reporting the camel, which broke loose about 8:38 a.m., came from a person in one of the cars that the animal charged, said sheriff's Deputy John Cereoli.
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