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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 17, 2014 | By Scott Gold
It had already been a tough winter in the Central California farm town of Riverdale. The drought had crippled some farms and caused some of the almond trees, long a sign of pride and prosperity, to wither and die. "Everybody's been tightening their belts," said Kathryn Ervin, 60. "Times are hard. " But no one was prepared for what unfolded Saturday night: A horrific accident that sent an SUV carrying a mother and her four children hurtling in flames toward a nearby house. A man pulling up seconds later, sprinting toward the wreckage to help, burning his hands and arms as five people died in the flames - his people.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 17, 2014 | By Scott Gold
It had already been a tough winter in the Central California farm town of Riverdale. The drought had crippled some farms and caused some of the almond trees, long a sign of pride and prosperity, to wither and die. "Everybody's been tightening their belts," said Kathryn Ervin, 60. "Times are hard. " But no one was prepared for what unfolded Saturday night: A horrific accident that sent an SUV carrying a mother and her four children hurtling in flames toward a nearby house. A man pulling up seconds later, sprinting toward the wreckage to help, burning his hands and arms as five people died in the flames - his people.
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NEWS
November 27, 1996 | PETER H. KING
This little San Joaquin Valley town, like so much of what might be called civilized California, originated within the imagination of a real estate speculator. Nearly a century ago, one E.J. Whitley of Los Angeles, a subdivider of Hollywood and Van Nuys, stepped off a train, observed a rough landscape of long grasses and wild pigs, and declared that here he would build his next community. He backed his vision with the purchase of 3,200 acres, and started plotting streets. Soon a problem emerged.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 16, 2013 | By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times
SOLEDAD, Calif. - For decades the slogans have sought to entice motorists who pull off Highway 101 in this Salinas Valley farm town - usually for gas or a cup of coffee - to stay and visit a while. "It's Happening in Soledad," declares a billboard that looms over the asphalt artery. "Soledad: Feel the Momentum" urge the stone markers planted at the town's highway exits. PHOTOS: Soledad's success rests on Pinnacles Now city officials think they have seized on an idea to provide the economic boost the community desperately needs: "Gateway to the Pinnacles.
NEWS
May 7, 1986 | JENNINGS PARROTT
--Folks from Japan to Virginia are filling the mailboxes at City Hall, the Chamber of Commerce and the local newspaper as they respond to ads from the northern Oregon farm town of Condon for "a few good residents." Worried about a population that has shrunk from nearly 1,000 to about 700, Condon put ads in the Los Angeles Times and the Oregonian of Portland. Nearly 200 calls and letters had been received so far, said Max Stinchfield, editor of the Condon Times-Journal.
NEWS
September 14, 1986 | LISA LEVITT RYCKMAN, Associated Press
Two types of folks live in the little town that could: the mighty neighborly, who smile and wave at everybody, and the recently arrived, who hope to be considered mighty neighborly any day now. "People drive along the road around here, and they wave to me, and they don't know me from Adam," said recent arrival Theodore Keifer, a retiree who traded big city life in New Orleans for eastern Oregon's yellow wheat and dark tilled earth. "I've got to get in the habit of waving back."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 5, 2002 | Amanda Covarrubias, Times Staff Writer
Residents of the Ventura County farm town of Somis say they want to maintain the rural atmosphere of one of Southern California's last undeveloped agricultural valleys. Caltrans says it wants to improve and expand an unsafe and overcrowded intersection where two highways meet in the tiny hamlet near Camarillo. The debate brought both sides Monday to Ventura County Superior Court, where Judge Henry J.
NATIONAL
August 31, 2010 | By Jenny Deam
Thirty-nine months ago, standing in the wasteland that was once his beloved farm town, Greensburg School Superintendent Darin Headrick made a bold promise to the media, to parents and to himself: "Whether we have 270 kids or we have one, we will be open in the fall," he said. Just days earlier, on May 4, 2007, a monster tornado had roared into Greensburg, its 200-mph winds slicing through cars, trees and sheetrock like helicopter blades. Ninety-five percent of the buildings were flattened, including the town's elementary and high schools.
NEWS
January 9, 2000 | MARK ARAX, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Winter comes to this beleaguered farm town the same way every year: The last vineyard is picked and the jobless rate soars to 30%, rain falls, fog descends and the boys from McFarland High--running for a town's pride--try to bring home another state championship. This winter, the cross-country team, drawn from farm worker families in the tiny Kern County community, won its seventh state title in 13 years of competition--more championships than any other high school in any sport in California.
NEWS
October 7, 1991 | LAURA LAUGHLIN, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
Big changes are taking place in Guadalupe. Crumbling adobes and dilapidated shacks are being razed to make way for spanking-new houses. Homeowners are planning improvements never before possible. People such as Dolores Meza are smiling and giving thanks for wonderful twists of fate, for rays of hope in a town that has been mired in despair and poverty for so many years. "I prayed to God and he heard me," said Meza, beaming, in the living room of her new $44,000 home. "I got my house."
ENTERTAINMENT
December 27, 2012 | By Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times Film Critic
"Promised Land" certainly sounds promising. It's got a strong cast and an intriguing premise that has the added bonus of real-world relevance. But, good intentions and good work aside, the film flounders before it reaches its conclusion. The film, which stars Matt Damon and John Krasinski, who co-wrote the script (from a story by Dave Eggers), ends up too gimmicky for its evident earnestness. Smoothly directed by Gus Van Sant, it wants to both entertain and enlighten, but that combination eludes it. The tale of what transpires in a small town when a large corporation attempts to purchase control of a previously untapped natural resource, "Promised Land" was originally conceived of with a focus on the wind energy boom.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 19, 2011 | By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
Reporting from Mendota, Calif. -- The Knucklehead Code of Honor always included honesty and kindness. Humility is a recent addition. "We never had to worry about gloating before because we never won before," said Vaness French, coach of the Knuckleheads, otherwise known as the Mendota High School chess team. The nickname refers not to human blockheadedness, but to the cylinders on vintage Harley-Davidson motorcycle engines known for their durability. Drought-weary Mendota — a Central Valley town of stilled machinery and packinghouses surrounded by industrial agriculture — is the kind of place that requires durability just to survive.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 25, 2011 | By Diana Marcum, Los Angeles Times
On a chilly day in March, a U.N. human rights lawyer came to this tiny farm town to investigate unsafe drinking water — part of a world tour that also included Bangladesh and Namibia. Advocates who had long been trying to call attention to Central California's increasingly tainted groundwater were elated. Ruben Tavarez, a school board member, was miffed. "It makes it sound like Seville is a Third World country!" he said. "There's nothing wrong with the water. The pipes are just bad. " Indeed, when students in the city of Visalia, where Tavarez works as a substitute teacher, asked about nitrate contamination in Seville, he drank a big bottle of water in front of them, making a point of telling them he'd filled it from his tap at home.
WORLD
March 21, 2011 | By John M. Glionna, Los Angeles Times
They covered the body with a child's blanket, a fluffy blue-green cloak decorated with white lilies. Beneath the cloth was a man, maybe in his 40s, missing his right arm from the elbow, a final insult to one of the countless victims of this agricultural town's tsunami nightmare. On a warm late-winter morning, four recovery workers bent low, slowly lifting the corpse in silent deference, before splashing through the muck and ooze of the rural rice field toward the road. On Sunday, the ritual was repeated again and again, at least a dozen times, as teams ?
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 7, 2010 | By Scott Kraft, Los Angeles Times
The beige notice appeared on Becky Quintana's doorstep one recent morning here in Seville, a century-old settlement nestled amid fruit and almond groves in the Central Valley. "Boil your water," it warned in bold, capital letters. Alarming as that was, the blue "unsafe water alert" that came the next day was more worrisome: Don't drink, cook or even wash dishes with the water ? and don't boil it, because that just concentrates the nitrates. But, a day later, more pastel-colored circulars arrived.
NATIONAL
August 31, 2010 | By Jenny Deam
Thirty-nine months ago, standing in the wasteland that was once his beloved farm town, Greensburg School Superintendent Darin Headrick made a bold promise to the media, to parents and to himself: "Whether we have 270 kids or we have one, we will be open in the fall," he said. Just days earlier, on May 4, 2007, a monster tornado had roared into Greensburg, its 200-mph winds slicing through cars, trees and sheetrock like helicopter blades. Ninety-five percent of the buildings were flattened, including the town's elementary and high schools.
NEWS
August 14, 1997 | MARK ARAX, TIMES STAFF WRITER
For the better part of two decades now, this tiny farm town on the outskirts of Kern County has baffled health officials and government scientists searching for a deadly agent in the environment. McFarland has seen 21 of its children stricken with cancer since 1975--more than three times the expected number for a community of 8,000. Surely, it was some chemical lurking in the fields, residents reasoned. McFarland wasn't called the "Heartbeat of Agriculture" for nothing.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 16, 2013 | By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times
SOLEDAD, Calif. - For decades the slogans have sought to entice motorists who pull off Highway 101 in this Salinas Valley farm town - usually for gas or a cup of coffee - to stay and visit a while. "It's Happening in Soledad," declares a billboard that looms over the asphalt artery. "Soledad: Feel the Momentum" urge the stone markers planted at the town's highway exits. PHOTOS: Soledad's success rests on Pinnacles Now city officials think they have seized on an idea to provide the economic boost the community desperately needs: "Gateway to the Pinnacles.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 13, 2009 | Catherine Saillant
Adecade ago, Lindsay was the Central Valley town that the middle class had abandoned. Its farm economy was in tatters and its downtown looked tired and deserted. An influx of immigrant farm laborers, combined with white flight, made it one of the poorest cities in Tulare County. But the forgotten city of 10,500, located off state Highway 65 southeast of Visalia, is undergoing something of a rebirth. A large downtown plaza has been redesigned and lushly landscaped, drawing 5,000 people for a Friday night farmers market.
WORLD
February 15, 2009 | Ashraf Khalil
The reddish-brown scorch marks are still visible on the roofs and cream-colored stucco walls. Villagers here in this southern Gaza farm town say their neighborhood was showered with hundreds of chunks of burning white phosphorus, a controversial substance commonly used as a smoke screen to cover troop movements, over a three-day Israeli incursion in Khozaa last month. Majid Najar said the phosphorus started fires all around the home where he had taken shelter along with 20 relatives.
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