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June 22, 2012 | By Laura J. Nelson
A New York man is facing charges in the Cape Cod crash that killed his girlfriend, Marina Keegan, a budding writer whose final words on friendship and the opportunity of youth gained national attention. Michael Gocksch, 22, of Centerport, N.Y., has been summoned in Massachusetts for a hearing on charges that include motor vehicle homicide by reckless operation, the Associated Press reported. The Massachusetts State Police did not return requests for comment. Keegan, 22, died in a rollover on Route 6, the highway that follows the curve of Cape Cod, as Gocksch drove her to her father's birthday dinner.
April 8, 2014 | Steve Lopez
In Los Angeles, patrol officers are caught disabling recording equipment that was in place to keep them honest. In Santa Monica, a high school student demonstrates why the wrestling coach is the last faculty member to mess with. And in Glendale, a young woman challenges the definition of "hands-free" driving after getting a ticket for talking on a phone tucked into her head scarf. These three police blotter tales have little in common, except that I've assembled them in a nice spring bouquet, along with a prickly observation or two. First the LAPD.
February 7, 2014 | Sandy Banks
Most reporters I know have a story they've covered that's stuck with them, long after the journalism was done. Mine is about Eddie Dotson, a man who lived for years on the streets, under a freeway near USC - until I met him in 2009 and helped his family retrieve him. I wrote a column then about Eddie and the elegant sidewalk dwelling he'd built from other people's castoffs: He didn't have water or electricity, but he had matching candlesticks...
April 7, 2014 | Sandy Banks
I've been feeling out of sorts lately - cranky, anxious, insecure - and not sure what to blame. My youngest daughter thinks Mercury might still be in retrograde. Her sister blames the recent swarm of earthquakes for my angst. And my eldest daughter suggests it's my advancing age; older people have more trouble adapting to daylight savings time, she says. They want me to figure it out soon so I can stop moping around. That's why last week's invitation for spiritual healing at a wolf preserve sounded like something I needed.
November 24, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
Back in the 1980s, when I lived in Nairobi, foreign residents had a simple way of obtaining Kenyan shillings. They'd write a check in, say, U.S. dollars on their U.S. bank accounts to the Indian man who owned the ice cream store down the block. He'd pay over shillings at the current black market rate. Then he'd mail the check to his brother in Toronto, who would deposit it in the merchant's name in a Canadian bank account. Presto! The expatriates got shillings to spend locally, and the shop owner spirited his profits out of the country for conversion to a hard currency, secure for his retirement.
December 1, 2013 | Michael Hiltzik
The opportunity to be reborn is a rare gift indeed, granted to few beyond the mythical phoenix and some adherents of the Baptist faith. Them - and the Affordable Care Act, which this week will undergo what its supporters hope will be a second launch much different from its first. Reports are flowing in that, the federal enrollment website serving residents of 36 states that didn't bother to set up their own sites, is working much better than at any time since its calamitous launch on Oct. 1. There may still be glitches ahead, especially if the Dec. 1 relaunch brings a torrent of attempted enrollments all at once, but the feds' confidence that the worst of the consumer-facing problems are behind them seems reasonable.
February 24, 2012 | Gale Holland, Los Angeles Times
"You're not going to believe what happened last night," Jeff Galfer said as he opened the door to his Atwater Village apartment. "I got another ticket. " Galfer and I had been talking for weeks about his Kafkaesque battles with the Los Angeles Parking Violations Bureau. Galfer would contest what he thought was an unfair parking citation, and the bureau would tell him his fine was on hold while the appeal was under review. The next thing he knew, a letter would arrive saying he owed not only the original fine, but late fees and penalties.
February 22, 2012 | Chris Erskine
Welcome to this rite and ritual of an American spring, breaking in a new glove. As with anything in baseball, there are 100 views on the proper way to do this, all argued passionately. Glove gurus, some more guru than others, recommend treating a stiff new glove as either your best friend or roadkill. You can drown a glove, you can bake it, you can run it over with the car. Breaking in a baseball glove isn't science so much as a form of testosterone-fueled witchcraft. Tony Pena, former major league backstop and current New York Yankees bench coach, reportedly goes ape on a new catcher's glove, turning it inside out, outside in, punching, prodding, mugging it into submission — it's almost hard to watch.
November 18, 2013 | David Lazarus
What if a shadowy organization told you it had been quietly keeping its eye on you and had concluded that you were exactly the sort of person who should be privy to its secrets for wealth and power? What if that organization promised the success and youthful vitality of investment guru Warren Buffett and Viacom chief Sumner Redstone, who already possess these secrets? And what if all this could all be yours absolutely free? "I'd think it was a scam," said Los Angeles resident Jim York, 60, who recently received a 10-page letter from a recruiter identifying himself only as Bill.
December 17, 2013 | David Lazarus
Peggy Nugent wasn't sure what to make of an offer that arrived recently in the mail. "Congratulations!" it said in big letters. Nugent, of Manhattan Beach, had been selected to receive a three-day vacation in San Diego, including free hotel accommodations, two tickets to SeaWorld and a $100 restaurant coupon. The notice included what looked like a check - but wasn't - bearing the logo of SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment. What caught Nugent's eye was the fine print on the back.
April 7, 2014 | Jonah Goldberg
For years, Republicans benefited from economic growth. So did pretty much everyone else, of course. But I have something specific in mind. Politically, when the economy is booming - or merely improving at a satisfactory clip - the distinction between being pro-business and pro-market is blurry. The distinction is also fuzzy when the economy is shrinking or imploding. But when the economy is simply limping along - not good, not disastrous - like it is now, the line is easier to see. And GOP politicians typically don't want to admit they see it. Just to clarify, the difference between being pro-business and pro-market is categorical.
April 7, 2014 | Bill Dwyre
Somewhere, lost in the sleaze that all so often defines what college basketball has become, are the overlooked culprits. Mom and Dad. We in the media rant on and on about AAU coaches and summer leagues and slimeball agents (is that redundant?). We harp on coaches who cheat to get the blue-chip player and college administrators who look the other way. We make fun of the NCAA because it is so big and pompous and obtuse and full of itself and makes so much money off the pimpled backs of teenagers.
April 7, 2014 | David Lazarus
If you've eaten from a food truck or cart in Los Angeles County, chew on this: About 40% of the roughly 3,200 food trucks and carts cooking up meals in the area have never been inspected in the field by health officials since letter grades were introduced three years ago. And most of the remaining 60% have been checked out only once a year, even though official guidelines call for at least two annual field inspections. How do I know that? Because Angelo Bellomo, director of environmental health for the county Department of Public Health, told me so. He oversees inspections of all eateries, including mobile ones.
April 6, 2014 | Doyle McManus
When Obamacare's first open-enrollment period ended last week, the tally was impressive: 7.1 million Americans signed up for insurance on federal and state exchanges by the March 31 deadline, several million more signed up for Medicaid and a whole lot of under-26 Americans got covered by their parents' plans. Those numbers represent a significant political victory for Democrats, making it highly unlikely that Republicans will be able to deliver on their promise to repeal the law. "You're not going to turn away 7 or 10 million people from insurance coverage," crowed Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
April 6, 2014 | Eric Sondheimer
It's with great trepidation that I announce news that's going to create more nightmares for the defensive coordinators who must figure out how to stop Bellflower St. John Bosco on the football field this fall: Sean McGrew is getting faster, stronger and even better. Yes, he's the same running back who rushed for 367 yards in 17 carries and scored seven touchdowns in the CIF Open Division regional bowl game against Corona Centennial last season. Last month, he ran the 100 meters in 10.67 seconds, setting a school record.
April 6, 2014 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - The most shameful habit of California legislators arguably is their annual summer shakedown of lobbyists. But it finally may be ending, at least in the Senate. Senate leaders - rocked by the corruption scandals of two fellow Democrats - are hoping to quash the unsavory practice of coercing campaign contributions from special interests while high-stakes bills are pending in the Capitol. Outgoing leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) and his designated replacement, Sen. Kevin de León (D-Los Angeles)
August 3, 2010 | David Lazarus
Glendale resident Lee Lanselle ate breakfast the other day at the Hill Street Cafe in La Cañada Flintridge. As he waited for his credit card receipt, he worked out the tip in his head. The receipt arrived and Lanselle was surprised that his estimate of a 15% tip was less than the "suggested gratuity" printed on the form. A closer look revealed that the recommended tip on the receipt included the full amount of the meal, including taxes. "This isn't the first time I've seen something like this," Lanselle, 56, told me. "More and more I see 'gratuity guidelines' or 'suggested gratuity' on the receipt.
June 20, 2013 | David Lazarus
Ed Stoecker's brief, unintended and unhappy stint as a telemarketer occurred recently when he spent several days receiving angry calls from people who didn't appreciate his bothering them. "They all saw my number on their caller ID screen," Stoecker, 58, told me. "They were upset that I seemed to have called them and then hung up just as they picked up the phone, like I was a robo-caller. " Needless to say, he wasn't the culprit. Stoecker was a victim of a growing problem called spoofing, a telephone sleight of hand that allows a scammer, telemarketer or debt collector to trick a caller ID system.
April 5, 2014 | By Ben Bolch
The Portland Trail Blazers expected to make the playoffs. They never envisioned practically wrapping up a spot by the day after Christmas. A 24-5 start gave them the best record in the NBA and made them the league's biggest marvel. "I would lie," center Robin Lopez admitted this week, "if I said the beginning of the season didn't surprise me. " The next three months would be startling in a different sort of way. The Blazers have gone 25-23 since their world-beater days, though they're on the verge of clinching their first playoff berth since 2011 and still have a chance to secure home-court advantage in the first round.
April 5, 2014 | Bill Plaschke
For more than a half century, few in this town have loved and lived the Lakers like Joe Smith. The former record mogul has four season seats on the baseline next to the Lakers bench. He has held those seats since the team arrived in Los Angeles. He has become as much of a fixture under the basket as the ballboys and Laker girls. No single ticket holder has endured longer, and certainly no single fan has invested more. For 54 years, Joe Smith has loved the Lakers graciously, gratefully and unconditionally.
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