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January 24, 2014 | By Christopher Reynolds
It's good to be reminded that Sacramento isn't just a consumer of our tax dollars and a dispenser of red tape. It's also a real place with real seasons - daunting heat in summer, golden leaves in fall, chill winds in winter, rampant green renewal in spring. My family and I spent a weekend in November, when fall foliage was still draping Capitol Park (between L and N and 10th and 15th streets) with gravitas. I found J Street livelier than I remembered from a few years before. My wife and daughter liked the wooden sidewalks and Old West flourishes of Old Sacramento.
January 10, 2014 | By David Horsey
Gov. Chris Christie is in extreme damage-control mode, apologizing to constituents and asking forgiveness for the dunderheaded shenanigans of some of his closest staffers. He is desperate to evade a growing reputation as a political bully that could scuttle his chance to become the Republican nominee for president in 2016. As revealed by a series of email exchanges, three of Christie's top aides closed down all but one of the traffic lanes at the entrance to the George Washington Bridge to punish the Democratic mayor in the nearby town of Fort Lee, who failed to fall in line behind the Republican governor in his recent reelection campaign.
January 7, 2014 | Matt Pearce
It's been freezing almost everywhere this week, but it got so cold in Kentucky that an escaped inmate asked to be taken back to prison. The strange tale began Monday morning, when Maurice King, the 61-year-old manager of the Sunset Motel in Lexington, heard a knock on the door at the motel. Standing outside, in a wind chill of about 18 degrees below zero, was Robert Vick, 42, wearing a pair of ripped-up jeans and a khaki prison jumpsuit. Authorities said he'd escaped the Blackburn Correctional Complex about three miles away just the night before.
January 3, 2014 | By Tom Bentley
Designated a national park just a year ago, Pinnacles can overwhelm with the sheer number of adjectives that leap to mind. "Mind-bending," "extraordinary," "wondrous" - all fall flat when you try to describe this surreal landscape of cloven cliffs, jagged spires and imposing boulders southeast of Salinas off the 101 Freeway. My sweetheart and I took a 10-mile trek through creek bed and cliff top there, earning our sighs of relief in the whirlpool tub that soon followed. The charge for our sweat equity?
January 1, 2014 | By Matt Pearce
Fourteen people were hurt, at least three critically, when an explosion and fire rocked a three-story apartment building in Minneapolis on Wednesday morning, forcing residents to jump from windows and flee into subzero temperatures. The explosion in the largely Somali American neighborhood was first reported at 8:16 a.m. By the time firefighters arrived, smoke and 20-foot flames were pouring out of the second and third stories of the building, officials said. "People are jumping out of the windows now," one fire official radioed.
December 27, 2013 | By Marc Stirdivant
Williams, Ariz., also known as the Gateway to the Grand Canyon, was the last city on Route 66 to be bypassed by the Interstate Highway System. On Oct. 13, 1984, Interstate 40 opened and Route 66 through Williams was forgotten - almost. Over the years, Williams refused to turn its back on the Mother Road and has instead embraced Route 66. Dozens of businesses have been remodeled, and the historic downtown has been revamped, with new gift shops, restaurants and classic roadside motels all paying homage to America's Main Street.
December 27, 2013 | By Ari Bloomekatz
A minimum-security inmate has escaped from the Acton Conservation Camp in Los Angeles County, a fire camp that houses some inmates who help battle brush fires across the state. Miguel Velasquez, 22, was last seen Thursday just before midnight during an inmate count, according to a news release from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Authorities did not describe how he escaped and simply said he "walked away. " Velasquez was serving a sentence for vandalism and criminal gang activity and was due to be released in March 2016.
December 26, 2013 | By Betsy Sharkey, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
Sometimes the past trips you up. It certainly does Frank, the escaped con played by Josh Brolin in Jason Reitman's new drama, "Labor Day. " It definitely unravels Adele, the reclusive single mother Kate Winslet makes so fragile. It is already a defining factor for 13-year-old Henry, played by newcomer Gattlin Griffith, by the time Frank comes into their lives. What I didn't anticipate is the way the past might trip up the filmmaker. "Labor Day" is only Reitman's fifth movie, but one of the distinguishing features in his films - from 2006's "Thank You for Smoking" through "Juno" in 2007, "Up in the Air" in 2009 and 2011's "Young Adult" - is how carefully constructed they are. The dialogue may be loose, the characters quite frequently a mess, but the progression of the film from beginning to end, and the narrative links, are always solid.
December 19, 2013 | By Irene Lechowitzky
Presto change-o; now you see it, now you don't. If you're looking for an undiscovered, secluded escape hidden from view yet minutes from the bustling center of San Marcos and its restaurants, bars and entertainment, Lake San Marcos is for you. My husband hurt his back last month and wanted a slow-paced weekend to relax. We came to the right place: Leisure is king in this mellow enclave tucked away on a lake in a quiet residential neighborhood in northern San Diego County. Here, paddle boats rule the lake, and golf is the preferred "action" sport.
December 13, 2013 | By Jenny Deam and Michael Muskal
CENTENNIAL, Colo. - Authorities and parents searched for answers Friday after a student at a suburban Colorado high school opened fire on teachers and students, wounding two before killing himself - the latest incident to fray the nation's nerves already drawn taut by repeated episodes of gun violence. The gunfire occurred about 10 miles from the site of the 1999 shooting at Columbine High School that killed 13, and almost a year to the day after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut that killed 26. There have been 28 school shootings this year, according to Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense In America and Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
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