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June 2, 2013 | By Phil Marty
CORTINA D' AMPEZZO, Italy - Hiking up a road should be simple, right? It's relatively wide, so you're not apt to step off and tumble down the mountain. It's relatively smooth, so you're not likely to stumble. So why am I stopping for a breather every couple of hundred yards while I just saw a guy pushing a baby buggy down the road and my "baby" is by this time somewhere near the top? Well, there is that little matter of grade - or steepness - and Italy's Dolomites, though not of the dizzying height as the Rockies, do make the grade.
May 23, 2013 | By Ruben Vives and Hector Becerra
The city of Bell could be on the hook for $4 million in legal fees for court cases stemming from its corruption scandal, according to a state audit. Adding to the problems, the city is showing a possible negative balance in its general fund of $1.1 million, the auditors found , and has seen a significant drop in revenue after it stopped collecting the illicit taxes. "The city is facing significant fiscal challenges that, if left unresolved, could lead to a fiscal crisis," the report released Wednesday said.
May 17, 2013 | By Chad Terhune and Ben Poston, Los Angeles Times
When Medicare disclosed average charges from thousands of U.S. hospitals for 100 common procedures last week, only one hospital was near the top in every category: Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Be it a cardiac stent, a hip replacement or a pacemaker, Cedars-Sinai's list prices for these routine treatments ranked among the top 5% in the country. For example, the average charge at Cedars-Sinai for gallbladder surgery with complications was $153,302 in 2011 compared with the U.S. median charge of $42,380, government data show.
May 11, 2013 | Roy Wallack, Gear
"How do I make this old bike go faster?" That refrain, heard frequently among the teeming masses riding from downtown to the beach in last month's CicLAvia and sure to be repeated again at the next one on June 23, has one obvious answer (work out more, dude) and three not-so-obvious ones: Oil the chain, adjust the seat to the proper height (so there's a slight bend in your knee at the bottom of the pedal stroke) and get some "clip-in" cycling shoes and pedals. Snapped into matching pedals via a step-in cleat you attach to a port on the bottom, clip-in shoes include a stiff sole and the ability to pull up as well as push down, thereby providing a huge mechanical advantage that transfers more of your energy into the crank.
April 21, 2013 | By Julia Flynn Siler
HONOLULU - He's known as the Woody Guthrie of Hawaiian music, a virtuoso ukulele player who's helped to introduce new generations to music that might otherwise be lost. But on the autumn morning I met up with Eddie Kamae, few people seemed to recognize the octogenarian wearing Levis and a blue work shirt. It was just after 9 a.m., and Eddie was eating a bowl of vanilla ice cream at the Wailana Coffee House in Waikiki. He had risen before sunrise to pray, read the paper and watch the sky lighten from the nearby apartment building where he and his wife, Myrna, have lived for nearly half a century.
March 20, 2013 | By Louis Sahagun and David Zucchino
HAWTHORNE, Nev. -- As investigators continued Wednesday to probe the cause of an explosion that killed seven Marines during a training exercise here, residents in this remote military town mourned the loss of service personnel who are part of their “military family.” “It's unusually quiet around here,” said Glenn Carns, general manager of El Capitan Lodge & Casino. “We've lost seven members of our military family who were helping defend our country. It's the same as if they had died in battle.” Late Monday night, 60-millimeter mortar round exploded at the Hawthorne Army Depot outside Reno, killing seven Marines and injuring seven Marines and one sailor.
February 25, 2013 | George Skelton, Capitol Journal
SACRAMENTO - The Republican Party has become so pathetic in California that it can't even find a candidate to run for governor next year. Correct that. It isn't even looking. Wouldn't know where to begin. The party's in no position to recruit anyway. It has little to offer. Certainly not a brand name, not in a state where the GOP steadily has been losing market share. Definitely not money. The party's deep in debt. Actually, neither major party historically has had to recruit top-of-ticket candidates.
February 21, 2013 | By Seema Mehta and Maeve Reston, Los Angeles Times
Wendy Greuel and Eric Garcetti remain locked in a tight fundraising battle, with the front-runners in Los Angeles' mayoral contest each raising just under a half-million dollars in recent weeks and both showing ample cash reserves to wage a vigorous effort in the closing days of the primary campaign, according to disclosure reports filed with the City Ethics Commission on Thursday. Greuel has a razor-blade edge - the city controller raised $473,582 and spent more than $1.7 million in the latest reporting period between Jan. 20 and Feb. 16. She enters the final days before the March 5 contest with nearly $1.7 million cash on hand, according to the reports.
February 13, 2013 | David S. Cloud
The Pentagon will withdraw about half the 66,000 U.S. troops now in Afghanistan over the coming year, a steep reduction that reflects President Obama's determination to end America's role in the 11-year-old conflict. In his State of the Union address, Obama said 34,000 Americans would be brought home over the next 12 months, and further reductions will continue through the end of 2014, when all U.S. and other foreign troops are scheduled to leave. "American troops will come home from Afghanistan," Obama said.
February 5, 2013 | By Christi Parsons and Lisa Mascaro
WASHINGTON - President Obama on Tuesday called on Congress to come up with short-term spending cuts and revenue increases that would stave off more drastic cuts set to take effect in March. In a brief appearance in the White House briefing room, Obama asked lawmakers to come up with a quick fix that would postpone the automatic cuts and their "devastating" effects on the economy. The economy is in recovery, Obama said, but that won't continue if there are “self-inflicted wounds” caused by elected officials.  The economy shouldn't be at risk “just because folks in Washington couldn't come together to eliminate a few special-interest tax loopholes or government programs that we agreed need some reform,” he said.
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