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April 15, 2014 | By Ryan Menezes
A former Compton Fire Department battalion chief pleaded no contest Tuesday to felony charges of arson of property and embezzlement by a public official. Marcel Melanson, 38, was accused of stealing valuable city-owned radio equipment, then setting a fire to cover up the theft. He is expected to be sentenced to three years and four months in state prison, a prosecutor said. Melanson must pay restitution, but the amount is still being determined, the prosecutor added. As a result of the plea, authorities dropped the more severe charge of arson of a structure and a second embezzlement count.
April 14, 2014 | By Samantha Schaefer
Aaron Guy Leroux caught this shot at the start of the Los Angeles Tough Mudder race in San Bernardino on March 29. He took the photo with a Sony ILCE-7. Follow Samantha Schaefer on  Twitter . Each week, we're featuring photos of Southern California submitted by readers. Share your photos on our  Flickr page  or  reader submission gallery .  Follow us on Twitter  and on  Instagram  or visit  for more on this photo series.
April 14, 2014 | By Broderick Turner
VS. DENVER When: 7:30. Where: Staples Center. On the air: TV: Prime Ticket, TNT; Radio: 980, 1330. Records: Clippers 56-24, Nuggets 36-44. Record vs. Nuggets: 1-2. Update: The Clippers need one more win to set a franchise record for most victories in a season. The Clippers, playing in their final regular-season home game, are 33-7 at home. The Nuggets are 14-26 on the road. Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson won't play because of a sprained left ankle.
April 14, 2014 | By Susan Denley
Beyoncé joined her sister Solange Knowles for a set at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio on Saturday. Beyoncé wore a floral-pattern miniskirt and top by Topshop, while Solange rocked an orange romper by Max Mara. [Grazia] Grumpy Cat showed up at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday wearing a miniature hat like the Vivienne Westwood creation Pharrell Williams made famous. [People] Roland Mouret, known for feminine, fitted dresses, is creating a capsule women's collection for Banana Republic, the retailer announced via news release Monday.
April 14, 2014 | By Joseph Serna
A donation fund has been set up to help the families of victims of last week's deadly bus crash in Orland, Calif., that killed 10 people, including several Southern California high school students. The fund was set up to help families offset funeral costs and other financial hardships in the wake of last week's crash on Interstate 5. A FedEx freight truck crossed a median about 5:30 p.m. Thursday and slammed head-on into a charter bus carrying 48 people, including 44 local high school students headed for Humboldt State University.
April 13, 2014 | By Dylan Hernandez
PHOENIX - - Carl Crawford will be sidelined Sunday with tightness on the right side of his abdominal muscles as the Dodgers try to complete a three-game sweep of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Trevor Cahill, who gave up five runs in four innings to the Dodgers in Australia, will be pitching for the Diamondbacks. Dan Haren will start for the Dodgers. The Dodgers will have a day off Monday and resume play Tuesday in San Francisco. Josh Beckett, Paul Maholm and Hyun-Jin Ryu will start the three games against the Giants, Manager Don Mattingly announced.
April 12, 2014 | By Kari Howard
One of the qualities I value most in the writers of the Great Reads are their powers of observation. I'm a big believer in showing, not telling -- in giving those little scenes and details that make readers connect to people whose lives might seem impossibly remote from theirs. The writer of Friday's powerful Great Read, Raja Abdulrahim, is particularly gifted: She finds those moments when she's directly in the line of fire in Syria. In Friday's story, Raja, who has made her way into rebel-held territory many times during the three-year conflict, wrote from Aleppo, where life alternates between terror and a grotesque version of normalcy.
April 12, 2014 | By Kevin Baxter
When the Galaxy signed Swedish midfielder Stefan Ishizaki this winter, it had one specific goal in mind. “We needed to improve our passing in the midfield,” said Bruce Arena, the team's coach and general manager. “We do that, it allows us to get Robbie Keane close to the goal.” Three starts into his Major League Soccer career Ishizaki is already rewarding Arena's confidence, setting up Keane for the only goal the Galaxy would need in Saturday's 1-0 win over the Vancouver Whitecaps before an announced crowd 20,847 at StubHub Center.
April 12, 2014 | By Eric Sondheimer
 The Battle of the Valley boys' and girls' all-star basketball games will be held on Saturday at L.A. Valley College. The boys' game is at 7 p.m. and the girls' game at 5:30 p.m. Among the scheduled boys' players are Evan Wardlow, Julian Richardson and Maleke Haynes of El Camino Real, Chris Sandifer of Taft, Jeremy Lieberman and Austin Smith of Calabasas, Brandon Boyd of Alemany, Devenir Duruisseau of Sylmar, Bryan Alberts and Bear Henderson of...
April 12, 2014 | By Alicia Banks
Members of the USC Trojan Marching Band held up one hand each, making the “V” for victory sign Saturday morning at the opening ceremony for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books. Five cheerleaders clutching pompoms did the same. And it was almost like looking in a mirror for the performers as dozens of children and adults in the crowd followed suit. It was a "victorious" kickoff to the 19th festival sponsored by The Times. Children sat on parents' shoulders for a clear view of the band; other parents bounced their toddlers on their hips to classic fight songs and even a 1980s favorite, Pat Benatar's “Heartbreaker.” Times Publisher Eddy Hartenstein and USC Senior Vice President of Media Relations Thomas Sayles welcomed the crowd, promising two days of exciting events from authors, poets, artists and more.
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