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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 18, 2013 | By Rong-Gong Lin II, Los Angeles Times
Some of the most extensive damage and loss of life from recent earthquakes in California have occurred in apartment houses where dwellings sit on top of a ground-level parking garage or a storefront. The shaking undermines the bottom floor, causing the buildings to collapse and in some cases to pancake. After years of study and debate, San Francisco on Thursday formally adopted a new law requiring owners to retrofit thousands of these so-called wood-frame soft-story buildings, marking the most sweeping seismic regulations in California in years.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 28, 2013 | By Joseph Serna and Jean Merl
More than 100 buildings are threatened and more than 1,200 acres have burned in a Santa Barbara County wildfire that could be pushed deeper into the brush Tuesday by dangerously strong winds. The so-called White fire appears to have started near a campsite in the Los Padres National Forest at about 2:30 p.m. Monday. The blaze was only 10% contained Tuesday morning and the U.S. Forest Service predicted firefighters wouldn't gain full control over it until next week. About 1,000 campers and 4,000 mountain residents were evacuated Monday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 8, 2013 | By Rosanna Xia
Los Angeles city building officials have concluded that inspectors would most likely have to visit all of the city's 29,000 older apartment buildings to determine which ones have a certain type of wood frame that is particularly vulnerable to collapse during a major earthquake. City staffers are developing a plan to winnow out these so-called “soft” story wood-frame buildings among the 29,000 apartment buildings across the city that were built before 1978, Ifa Kashefi, chief of the engineering bureau at the building and safety department, told a group of structural engineers and stakeholders at the annual Buildings at Risk conference.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 20, 2013 | By Rong-Gong Lin II, Rosanna Xia and Doug Smith
Seismic experts and engineers have long warned that a certain type of wood-framed building is particularly vulnerable to collapse during a major earthquake, because the first story cannot support the weight of the upper stories. During Southern California's last destructive temblor in 1994, about 200 of these buildings were seriously damaged or destroyed, including the Northridge Meadows apartment complex, where 16 people died. Nearly two decades after the Northridge quake, a Los Angeles councilman is calling on the city to consider an inventory of thousands of these so-called soft-story buildings - many of them apartments - that dot the region.
BUSINESS
March 13, 2013 | By Roger Vincent, Los Angeles Times
Two rundown 1920s-era buildings in Long Beach will be converted to a medical office complex as the city's historic downtown notches another addition to its budding revival along North Pine Avenue. The $60-million development will provide offices for Molina Healthcare Inc., a Long Beach medical services provider expected to grow in the next few years by serving more clients through the federal Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. Anchoring the development that will cover a city block is the former headquarters of the Long Beach Press-Telegram.
BUSINESS
February 26, 2010 | By Roger Vincent
Two dozen state office buildings across California officially go on sale Friday as the cash-strapped state seeks to raise more than $2 billion to pay off some of its long-term debt. The state plans to sell the buildings, which include the Ronald Reagan State Building in downtown Los Angeles, and then lease back the office space for state use for at least 20 years. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature approved the sale last June. Under the proposal, for example, the twin-towered Reagan state office building at 3rd and Spring streets would be purchased by an investor who would in turn lease it to the state.
OPINION
December 3, 2013 | By The Times editorial board
On Tuesday, the Los Angeles Department of Building and Safety will propose a plan for identifying which of the approximately 29,000 apartment buildings constructed in the city before 1978 might be potentially deadly wood frame "soft-story" structures. These buildings, supported by inadequate perimeter walls around open spaces on the ground level - such as carports - run the risk of collapsing during a serious earthquake, causing injury and death. In the 1994 Northridge earthquake, about 200 soft-story buildings were severely damaged or destroyed.
WORLD
February 22, 2011 | By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
A devastating magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck the New Zealand city of Christchurch on Tuesday, killing at least 65 people and collapsing buildings onto victims, some of whom used their cellphones to frantically call for help, officials said. Photos: 6.3 earthquake hits New Zealand Rescuers dug through the rubble overnight amid reports that many people were still trapped and that the death toll could rise much higher. A statement posted on the website of the Christchurch Police Department said the fatalities included "two buses crushed by falling buildings.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 16, 2011 | By Michael Miller, Los Angeles Times
The old church building looks forlorn at Warner Avenue and Nichols Street in Huntington Beach, its windows boarded up and the sign that juts over the sidewalk mostly smashed. From a distance, the structure doesn't give many indications of the role it once played in Orange County. Near the front door, though, a small cornerstone bears the words "Japanese Presbyterian Church A.D. 1934. " And that's the history that some in Orange County hope to save. The former Wintersburg Japanese Presbyterian Church — located on a 3.7-acre property along with a historic house, mission and minister's quarters — has belonged to Rainbow Disposal since 2004.
BUSINESS
May 17, 2010 | By Michelle Hofmann
Finding someone to replace windows just got a little more challenging because of tough new lead-safety requirements for contractors working on older homes. The Environmental Protection Agency's Renovation, Repair and Painting rule, which kicked in last month, requires additional safeguards by contractors working on homes, schools and childcare facilities built before U.S. regulators banned lead paint in 1978. The intention is to reduce the harm from lead for contractors and their workers as well as for the people who live, work or attend school in older structures.
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