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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 6, 2014 | By Hailey Branson-Potts
Councilman John Duran and his gay colleagues on the West Hollywood City Council never expected a backlash when they voted recently to remove the rainbow flag from above City Hall. For Duran, who is gay, taking down the flag wasn't about slighting gays but sending a message about the city's diversity. "It's not just a city of gay men. It belongs to heterosexual people as well," he said. But the flag's removal in a place synonymous with gay life outraged many, and the city this week changed course, raising above City Hall a flag with a rainbow-colored city logo.
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BUSINESS
March 5, 2014 | By Soumya Karlamangla
With less than a month left for enrollment in Obamacare, California's insurance exchange is applying a major dose of peer pressure. In a new TV ad blitz, recent enrollees extol the benefits of having coverage for checkups or a serious illness. A man plays soccer with his sons, a musician carries his guitar down the street. "I'm in," young, fit-looking people say. "Are you in?" the announcer asks. This new marketing marks a more direct appeal to millions of uninsured Californians before open enrollment ends March 31. After March 31, people can't enroll in most health plans again until late fall.
SPORTS
March 5, 2014 | By Mike DiGiovanna
TEMPE, Ariz. - There was a Nike photo shoot, the filming of a commercial for Major League Baseball, appearances on ESPN, MTV, Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports West, and interviews with newspapers, websites and radio stations. Still to come is a Sports Illustrated cover photo shoot. Mike Trout has been busy this spring, the demands of stardom pulling the Angels center fielder in many directions, and negotiations with the team for a possible nine-figure contract extension provide yet another potential distraction.
TRAVEL
February 28, 2014 | By Charlie Vascellaro
Sure, there are changes in the ballclubs that populate Arizona's Cactus League, as those teams begin to mold themselves into contenders. But the biggest change this spring may be the new Cubs Park in Mesa. The park is part of the league's consolidation trend for the Phoenix area: The Chicago team's new home is at the busy junction of Arizona 101 and 202 loop highways on the Tempe-Mesa border. Some design elements will remind you of the Cubs' historic Wrigley Field. The left-field party deck is modeled after the famous rooftops of the Chicago neighborhood surrounding Wrigley.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 25, 2014 | By Elaine Woo
Who knows what danger lurks in your plumbing? If you grew up in Southern California after 1965 and watched any of the major TV channels, it's likely you know the answer: "Adee do!" Those words were drilled into pop-culture posterity by a series of campy commercials that played day and night for decades thanks to Jack Stephan, a flamboyant entrepreneur with a flair for marketing who founded two of the region's most heavily advertised plumbing companies. "He was the Cal Worthington of plumbing," Jack Stephan Jr. said of his father, who died of natural causes Saturday at Torrance Memorial Medical Center.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 21, 2014 | By Gerrick D. Kennedy
Vanilla Ice has made a career out of being embarrassing in a wholly self-aware way. The rapper's latest foray into cringe-inducing territory? Shucking and jiving for Kraft macaroni and cheese. Ice lends his “Ninja Rap” to a new commercial for pasta shaped like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The song appeared on the soundtrack to 1991's “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze,” and the branded mac likely coincides with a reboot of the live action film set to hit theaters later this year.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 19, 2014 | By Saba Hamedy
Here's an image you might not see every day: “The Bachelor” Juan Pablo Galavis selling appliances in upstate New York.  But as a favor to a friend, the ABC-TV reality show star does just that in a commercial for Rochester Appliance in Rochester, N.Y. Galavis, an Ithaca-born, Venezuela-raised former professional soccer player, made his reality show debut as a contestant on "The Bachelorette" in 2013. He didn't win then-bachelorette Desiree Hartsock's heart, but he did land a second chance at love on the current season, which premiered in January.
ENTERTAINMENT
February 7, 2014 | By Meg James
The lighting of the Olympic flame in Russia will launch a nearly $900-million bet by U.S. advertisers that this year's Winter Games will become a feel-good event for television audiences. Leading up to Friday's official opening of the XXII Olympic Winter Games, most of the attention has centered on difficulties - and not the athletes. The Sochi athletic competitions will be unfolding against a backdrop of threats of terrorist attacks, allegations of corruption, tense U.S.-Russia relations and protests over Russia's controversial anti-gay laws.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 4, 2014 | By Martha Groves
The Huntington Library has purchased the extensive photographic trove of Ernest Marquez, a descendant of Mexican land grantees who owned what became known as Santa Monica and Rustic canyons and parts of Pacific Palisades and Santa Monica. Amassed over 50 years, the 4,600-image compilation includes rare photos of 1870s Santa Monica and Los Angeles. "The group of photographs is the best and most comprehensive collection of its kind in private hands," said Jennifer A. Watts, curator of photographs at the Huntington Library, Art Collections and Botanical Gardens in San Marino.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 4, 2014 | By Mark Kellam
A Doritos commercial starring and cowritten by a Burbank resident was a cowinner of an annual contest sponsored by the snack company and it aired during the Super Bowl on Sunday. The ad follows a boy who has created a time machine as he tricks a neighbor, played by Burbank resident Daved Wilkins, into entering the contraption in a ploy to steal his Doritos. When the machine "takes off" using simple maneuvers created by the boy, Wilkins believe he's being transported into the future, the Burbank Leader reported . Wilkins worked on the 30-second spot with two longtime friends Ryan Thomas Andersen and Raj Suri, both of whom live in Phoenix.
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