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March 17, 2014 | By Kim Christensen
Scores of small businesses burned in a payroll-tax scam got some welcome news late last week when an insurance company said it would cover $3 million of their total losses. "We won't get all of our money back, but at least it looks like we will get a good chunk," said Melissa Meltzer, who with her husband, Robert, owns a Los Angeles children's fitness franchise that lost about $55,000. The Meltzers are among about 150 mostly Southern California restaurateurs, dentists, hairstylists and others who learned around Christmas that money they had deposited with LA Payroll for state and federal taxes had disappeared - as had the company's owner, Tovmas Grigoryan.
March 17, 2014 | By Jason Wells and Rong-Gong Lin II
The 4.4-magnitude earthquake that struck Monday near Westwood caught many early risers off guard, but for KTLA-TV Channel 5 news anchor Chris Schauble, it was the shock heard 'round the Internet. Schauble's expression and ensuing on-air duck-and-cover during the temblor took off on social media almost as quickly as the quake itself. The quake hit at 6:25 a.m., just as  Schauble and his on-air partner, Megan Henderson, were transitioning to a commercial break. But fate had other plans.
March 15, 2014 | By Chris Foster
Pac-12 officials remain unable to come to terms with satellite provider DircecTV to carry the conference television network, Commissioner Larry Scott said. The two sides have remained far apart since the launch of Pac-12 Networks two years ago. DirecTV has about 20 million subscribers. “We keep trying to open the door, trying to find solutions,” Scott said. “We have 65 other distributors. There is nothing more to say. There is no immediate   sign of a resolution.” If the conference were to cut its price demand to get on DirecTV, it probably would have to drop its price with other distributors.
March 14, 2014 | By Deirdre Edgar
Announcing a promotion and two recent additions to The Times' staff: Stacey Leasca Stacey Leasca has been named social media editor. Stacey will work with Jimmy Orr to direct our social media strategy across the newsroom. She and her team will work with writers and editors in all sections to enhance the reporting process, assist with breaking news coverage, increase reader engagement and expand the audience for our journalism. Stacey joined us last April and quickly became known through her lively coaching sessions, entertaining videos and fun blog posts.
March 14, 2014
Lakers' ownership announces they've signed Kobe to a max contract without knowing the status of his health, Phil announces he's signing with the Knicks, and Webster's dictionary announces they're putting a picture of Jim next to the word "Blunderbuss. " Jerry Leibowitz Culver City :: You could put Phil Jackson, Pat Riley and Jerry West in the Lakers' front office and they still wouldn't be able to surround the aging $24-million-per-year Kobe Bryant with enough talent to resurrect the Lakers in one or two years because there isn't enough room left under the salary cap. Bryant will just have to endure his frustration over the Lakers losing all the way to the bank.
March 13, 2014 | By Michael Muskal
Police and municipal officials in Austin, Texas, are set to discuss an incident that left two dead at SXSW, the city's annual arts, cinema and interactive festival. Watch the news conference live below: (That livestream event is over. More here from KXAN Austin.)
March 12, 2014 | By Ruben Vives
The Fresno Bee is testing a small drone aircraft that could possibly be used for news reporting purposes, the Business Journal reported this week. “This is a new thing and it's way down the pike,” Tom Cullinan, president and publisher of the Fresno Bee, told the Business Journal. “We saw it demonstrated and the cost is reasonable.” The quadcopter would possibly be used for aerial photography of accidents, fires, farmland and waterways, the Journal reported.  Cullinan said the remote-controlled drone would also come in handy in situations where reporters are unable to get to a news scene.
March 7, 2014 | By Chris O'Brien
The purported unmasking of Satoshi Nakamoto by Newsweek on Thursday trumped any other bitcoin news. Whatever else was going on in the world of the world's favorite virtual currency pretty much got ignored. Makes sense.  But to show just how strange and crazy things can be around bitcoin these days, here are four stories we ignored because of the Nakamoto revelation:  1. Bitcoin firm CEO found dead in suspected suicide : "Autumn Ratke, a 28-year-old American CEO of  bitcoin exchange firm First Meta  was found dead in her Singapore apartment on Feb. 28. Local media are calling it a suicide, but Singapore officials are waiting for toxicology test results.
March 6, 2014 | By Jon Healey
FilmL.A. produced another one of its gloomy reports on runaway production Thursday, this time looking at the 108 films released last year by the 11 leading studios. One of the most galling findings : More of those films had been shot in Louisiana than in the state that's home to 10 of those studios (that would be California, in case you've forgotten). Louisiana, really? That's almost as bad as the Lakers getting stomped by the Pelicans. What's worse, as my colleague Richard Verrier reports , California's share of big-budget films has shrunk dramatically.
February 28, 2014 | By Robert Gauthier, Hailey Branson-Potts and Rong-Gong Lin II, This post has been updated
A TV news employee trying to report from the scene of an unstable Azusa hillside Friday got stuck in waist-high mud and had to be rescued.  The man was reporting in the hillside above the home of Dennis Sanderson on Ridge View Drive when he got stuck in the mud. Sanderson aided authorities in the rescue. According to Sanderson, the news employee had intentionally waded into a pool of mud Friday afternoon to demonstrate how thick it was. A rescuer could be seen using a shovel.  [ Updated, 9:46 p.m. : Fire officials said they believe the reporter they helped rescue was Miguel Almaguer from "NBC Nightly News.
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