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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 22, 2014 | By Robert J. Lopez
This post has been updated below. People were being evacuated Wednesday afternoon in West Hollywood after an underground gas line was ruptured during construction work, law enforcement officials said. Officials were closing Melrose Avenue between La Cienega Boulevard and Orlando Avenue, and the northbound lane of Croft Avenue near Clinton Avenue, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department said. Roads were expected to reopen around 5 p.m. A watch commander at the department's West Hollywood Station said it was not immediately clear how many people were being evacuated.
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ENTERTAINMENT
January 18, 2014 | By Christopher Knight, Los Angeles Times Art Critic
The Museum of Contemporary Art continues to take steps toward pulling itself out of a deep, nearly six-year slump that almost sank the once widely acclaimed institution. With $100 million in endowment pledges and an ambitious plan to up that ante by 50%, MOCA announced the hiring of a new director this week. One can greet the appointment of Philippe Vergne, 47, with cautious optimism. L.A. wants its MOCA back. Vergne's job is to deliver it. Vergne faces the desperate need - and the golden opportunity - to rebuild a critically important institution battered by long-standing administrative mismanagement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 17, 2014 | By Jason Wells and Ari Bloomekatz
Los Angeles County public health officials on Friday issued an air-quality alert as crews continued to fight the Colby fire, which has displaced  roughly 2,000 people in Azusa affected by mandatory evacuation orders. The fire, which started early Thursday above neighboring Glendora, has so far consumed 1,709 acres and destroyed five homes, officials said. Crews were able to hold fire-break lines overnight, stopping the forward progress of the blaze and keeping containment at 30%. But Azusa Police Lt. Paul Dennis said mandatory evacuation orders for those living north of Sierra Madre Avenue and east of Azusa Avenue would remain in place indefinitely, saying the situation remained extremely dangerous.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 16, 2014 | By Joseph Serna
A rapidly growing fire in the foothills of Glendora showered a wide area of Los Angeles County with smoke and ash Thursday, prompting air quality alerts across the region. As hundreds of firefighters raced to the Angeles National Forest to battle the Colby fire, the South Coast Air Quality Management District warned that air quality was forecast to quickly plummet to unhealthy levels across the region. They urged residents from the San Gabriel Valley to the Pomona Valley to stay indoors, with the towering plume visible to residents from West Los Angeles to Orange County.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 13, 2014 | By Robert J. Lopez
San Bernardino law enforcement officials on Monday were advising residents in a Highland neighborhood to beware of an aggressive mountain lion that has attacked two small domestic animals. Mountain lion tracks were found over the weekend in the backyard of a home in the 6700 block of Grove Avenue, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said. "The tracks are consistent with that of a large mountain lion," department officials said in a statement. In November, a mountain lion attacked the two domestic animals at the same home and "became aggressive toward the home owner as deputies arrived," officials said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 12, 2014 | By Teresa Watanabe
Federal officials kicked up their campaign against discriminatory school discipline policies last week, issuing first-ever guidelines for school districts on how to avoid racial disparities in student punishment. In a 23-page letter, officials with the U.S. departments of justice and education said they recognized that schools must use discipline to promote a "safe and orderly" environment but that federal data and investigations showed that African Americans were punished more harshly and frequently than whites in similar situations.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 9, 2014 | By Jason Wells
Gusty winds Thursday and Friday could pose a hazard for high-profile vehicles, such as big rigs and RVs, as they traverse the Grapevine and other mountain areas, weather forecasters say. Wind gusts of up to 50 mph are expected through Thursday evening for mountains in Los Angeles and Ventura counties, while gusts of up to 45 mph could hit over the same period in the Santa Clarita and San Fernando valleys, the National Weather Service warned....
SPORTS
January 3, 2014 | By Melissa Rohlin
Sparks Chairwoman Paula Williams Madison said Friday that her family-owned company realized in December that it could no longer afford to be the primary investor in the WNBA team because of continuing losses. Madison told The Times that since their family firm, Williams Group Holdings, began investing in the Sparks in 2007, the firm had lost nearly $12 million on the team and was projected to lose more than $1 million in the 2014 season. "You kind of get to a point where you say how much more can I afford to invest," Madison said.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 2, 2014 | By Marisa Gerber, This post has been corrected. See the note below for details.
Thick flames raced through a lumberyard in Pacoima on Thursday evening, prompting fire officials to ask for the shutdown of a nearby Metrolink station. The Los Angeles Fire Department got a call just before 8 p.m. and classified the blaze in the  11100 block of Sutter Avenue  as a greater alarm fire, according to department spokesman Brian Humphrey. Although no injuries or evacuations have been reported, Humphrey said the “greater alarm” description was triggered because of the number of firefighters deployed to the blaze: 87. The department asked Metrolink to stop the trains coming in and out of the Antelope Valley station, he said, because there were fire hoses crossing over the tracks.
BUSINESS
January 2, 2014 | By Maria La Ganga and W.J. Hennigan
SEATTLE - Waving angry signs and clenched fists, several hundred union members rallied Thursday afternoon for a vote against a contract that would cut their benefits but guarantee that Boeing Co. builds its latest wide-body jet in the Puget Sound area. "This is the fight of our lives," said local union leader Wilson Ferguson of the International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers as the raucous crowd in the union's hall cheered. "This is the front line of the labor movement right now. Thank you for coming out and supporting us. " The machinists union, which represents more than 31,000 Boeing workers in Washington state, is planning to vote Friday on a contract aimed at keeping the aerospace giant's 777X project in the region.
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