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ENTERTAINMENT
March 12, 2014 | By Martin Miller
If there is such a thing as a comic antihero, Elder Cunningham in the highly acclaimed and wildly irreverent "The Book of Mormon" is it. Cody Jamison Strand portrays the character who is the kind of person - very clingy, prototypically schlubby and frequently less than truthful - that would have folks of all religious denominations unified in their haste to un-friend him on Facebook. And yet, Strand's character is able to harness those repellent qualities and humorously bring together Mormon missionaries and a small village in Northern Uganda - not only in their appreciation of each other, but for the universal role that storytelling and religion play as well.  PHOTOS: Best in theater 2013 | Charles McNulty The Tony-award winning musical is now on national tour at the Pantages Theatre through May 11. Below is an edited transcript of a conversation with Strand, 24, who also performed the role on Broadway.
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NEWS
March 11, 2014 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
The California Coastal National Monument runs the length of the state and is filled with offshore islands, reefs and rocks -- until now. President Obama on Tuesday will add 1,665 onshore acres near Mendocino to the parkland said to be the most viewed but least recognized of U.S. national monuments. Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands , as the new area is known, will receive added federal protection for a stretch of breathtaking shoreline north of Port Arena. Locals who campaigned to beef up the federal parkland hope to stimulate tourism to the area.
NATIONAL
March 11, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
The head of the National Transportation Safety Board is leaving to lead the National Safety Council, it was announced Tuesday. Deborah A.P. Hersman announced her departure after nearly 10 years at the agency and said she was moving on to what she called another dream job at the council. She will continue at the NTSB until April 25 when vice chairman Christopher A. Hart will take over on an interim basis, the agency announced. "I look back at the hundreds of investigations and recommendations that have been issued during my tenure at the NTSB, and I have seen the landscape of transportation safety improve before my eyes,” Hersman s aid in a written statement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 11, 2014 | By Julie Cart
President Obama expanded the California Coastal National Monument on Tuesday by adding the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands on the Mendocino County coast, a region of dramatic and wind-swept bluffs and dunes. Obama acted unilaterally after legislation expanding the monument stalled in Congress. The presidential order will add 1,665 acres of federal land north of the town of Point Arena to the monument, which was established in 2000 to protect marine habitat and the thousands of islands and reefs that hug 1,110 miles of California coastline.
BUSINESS
March 10, 2014 | By Hugo Martín
The partial government shutdown in October was largely to blame for a 3% drop in visitors to America's national parks in 2013, according to a report released Monday by the National Park Service. The country's 401 parks, historic sites and recreation areas drew 273.6 million visitors in 2013, about 9 million fewer than the previous year, according to the report. The 16-day government shutdown, sparked by a budget dispute in Washington, was responsible for reducing the visitation numbers by about 7.9 million, the report said.
BUSINESS
March 10, 2014 | By Hugo Martin, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
The government shutdown in October was largely to blame for a 3% drop in visitors to America's national parks in 2013, according to a report released Monday by the National Park Service. The country's 401 parks, historic sites and recreation areas drew 273.6 million visitors in 2013, about 9 million fewer than the previous year, according to the report. The 16-day government shutdown, sparked by a budget dispute in Washington, was responsible for reducing the visitation numbers by about 7.9 million visitors, the report said.
SPORTS
March 10, 2014 | By Eric Sondheimer
 The Hard 9 National Classic is set to begin on April 14 in Orange County. The championship game is April 17 at Cal State Fullerton. The matchups: Huntington Beach vs. Elsinore; Santa Margarita vs. Spanish Fork; IMG Academy vs. Alemany; Sunrise Mountain vs. El Dorado; Greenway vs. Riverside North; San Jose Valley Christian vs. Gahr; Fountain Valley vs. Bingham; Rocklin vs. Esperanza. Eric.sondheimer@latimes.com  
BUSINESS
March 9, 2014 | By Hugo Martín
United Airlines, the nation's third-largest carrier, is cracking down on passengers who drag oversized bags into the cabin. And the airline is doing this to win points with passengers. After all, the Chicago carrier was recently ranked eighth among the nation's top 10 carriers in a survey of about 24,000 people in the U.S. The survey by Satmetrix, a cloud-based software company, named Southwest Airlines as the top-rated carrier. The crackdown on oversized bags is an effort to address what United says is one of the biggest gripes among its passengers: The overhead bins are so overstuffed with carry-on bags that the boarding process is often bogged down as fliers try to find space for their luggage.
NATIONAL
March 8, 2014 | By Justin George
They're known as Arabbers and their profession as Arabbing - words that are supposed to evoke the nomadic life of a street merchant. Arabbers sell fruit and vegetables from horse-drawn carts, much as the first Arabbers did when the profession took root in Baltimore after the Civil War as a way to provide blacks with work. Once a thriving niche with more than 40 stables across the city, the trade has declined to just three stables. The job of guiding a horse and a day's worth of inventory through city streets has always been hazardous.
NATIONAL
March 8, 2014 | By David Lauter
CLEARWATER, Fla. - The two major political parties look at off-cycle congressional elections the way great powers eye wars in small lands - as a chance to test weapons and tactics they'll soon deploy elsewhere. That's why many of the ads running on television here - for a race to fill a congressional vacancy representing a swath of Florida's Gulf Coast - will probably sound familiar soon to voters in competitive districts nationwide. "Cut spending, stop Obamacare," proclaim the spots supporting Republican David Jolly . "I'll bring Republicans and Democrats together," Democrat Alex Sink promises in her ads, while simultaneously accusing Jolly of endangering Social Security, Medicare and abortion rights.
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