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February 15, 2013 | By Hector Tobar, Los Angeles Times
Long before they sat down to write books, Charles Falco and George Rowe sold drugs and used them, raising hell as poor white guys in the desert small towns and exurban fringes of Southern California. They roamed with "tweakers" (meth addicts) and exploited them for cash. But both Falco and Rowe saw the light. Eventually they joined the "good guys" in a crusade against the meanest, cruelest purveyors of darkness in their communities - the biker gangs that collectively share the name Vagos.
April 27, 2014 | By Matt Pearce, This post has been updated, as indicated below.
Tornadoes dashed buildings and homes in several states as one of the first serious tornado outbreaks of the season scoured the lower Midwest on Sunday. Significant damage has been reported in the towns of Mayflower, Ark.; Baxter Springs, Kan.; and Quapaw, Okla., with Arkansas expected to face tornado danger into Sunday evening. Small tornadoes also have been reported in rural areas in Nebraska, Iowa, Missouri and northern Mississippi. [Updated, 7:48 p.m. PDT, April 27: One person was killed after a tornado struck Quapaw, Okla., Ottawa County emergency dispatcher Kelli Flechs told the Los Angeles Times, adding that a previous report from the Associated Press that two people had been killed was incorrect.  “I know everybody's been saying two, but it's actually one,” Flechs said.
Hidden from view in a bucolic grove about 20 miles from Baton Rouge, La., the only operating leper colony in the continental United States has been Jose Azaharez's home for a quarter of a century. "This is all I have in the whole world," said Azaharez, a former welterweight boxer from Cuba who was diagnosed with the disease in the 1950s and is now marginally disfigured. "If I had to leave here, where would I go? Who would I stay with? This is the only home I know."
April 26, 2014 | By Cindy Carcamo
JACKSON, Wyo. - Just a few years after Thomas Ralston moved to town, a chimney fire burned down his home. Last month, he was driving when a 3,000-pound boulder fell from a mountain onto the roof of his brand-new truck. So when a police officer visited his condo a few weeks ago to tell him he had an hour to evacuate because a landslide was threatening the building, he responded the only way he could. He sort of laughed. "What are you going to do?" he said to himself and shrugged.
Michael Verhoeven's film "The Nasty Girl" is Germany's entry in the foreign-language category in this year's Academy Awards. It is an occasionally surrealistic and often very funny account of a teen-aged Fraulein's distinctly unfunny and dangerous attempts to investigate the Nazi years in her hometown.
September 30, 2009 | Catherine Makino, Makino is a special correspondent.
Shop owner Hideo Sakamoto knows this sad truth about his dying town: When he retires, no one will be left to take the reins of his tiny business selling eyeglasses and clocks. His two children have fled to big cities and his mother is bedridden. "It's a sad story," says the 57-year-old, "because I will not be passing down my business to my children." And not just that, he says. He and his wife, Mariko, are "so lonely." Almost every day, this Japanese town surrounded by streams and mountains is eerily quiet, with only a few elderly people walking down its narrow streets.
April 5, 2011
  In addition to everything else that Madrid has to offer, there are numerous possibilities for day trips that are less than an hour away. So it’s easy to get a complete change of scenery without packing your suitcase or hunting for lodging.    Aranjuez Other than flamenco, no music cries “Spain” in such vivid harmonic flourishes as Joaquin Rodrigo’s dramatic  “Concierto de Aranjuez.” So what better way to immerse yourself in Spain’s glory than to stroll the gardens that inspired this iconic piece of music?
February 24, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Los Angeles Times Daily Travel & Deal blogger
Mike Wolfe of "American Pickers" addressed a Sunday morning audience at the Los Angeles Times Travel Show with some sobering advice on visiting small-town America: Go before it's all gone. "Please travel, experience, discover -- not just items and people but communities, because there are so many cool places," the star of the History Channel show said. In the series, Wolfe spends his time with cohort Frank Fritz crisscrossing tiny towns, rifling through barns and sheds in search of antique treasures.
May 16, 2011 | By Tina Susman, Los Angeles Times
More water gushed from additional floodgates opened Sunday to divert the swollen Mississippi River down a southern Louisiana floodplain, leaving residents of tiny towns in the water's path a grim choice: leave, or hope that the sandbags, levees and walls protecting them from inundation hold against the worst floods in decades. Nancy Allen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in New Orleans, said two more gates were lifted at the giant Morganza Spillway, some 40 miles north of Baton Rouge, which was put into operation Saturday for the first time since 1973.
May 30, 2011 | By Molly Hennessy-Fiske and Roula Hajjar
Syrian forces attacked several towns Sunday, killing at least nine people as protests continued against the embattled regime of President Bashar Assad, activists said. Government troops and security forces stormed the central town of Rastan, using tanks and armored vehicles and shooting randomly, the activists said. At least four people were killed in the town of 80,000 and several injured, some critically, according to Wissam Tarif, executive director of the Beirut-based human rights group Insan.
April 26, 2014 | Steve Lopez
Let me state my bias up front. I like hot sauce. I like it on eggs. I like it in ramen. I like it on stir-fry dishes and Mexican food, and I don't think you can honestly call yourself a Californian if you're not a hot sauce lover. And so I went to Irwindale last week to investigate the Sriracha sauce standoff. As you may have heard, city officials are waging battle against the manufacturer, responding to citizen complaints that jalapeño-scented air blowing out of the hot sauce plant can irritate your throat and make your eyes water, especially during the late summer, which is pepper-grinding season.
April 25, 2014 | By David Zucchino
LATTA, S.C. - Police Chief Crystal Moore was born and raised in this tiny farming crossroads and served as a volunteer police dispatcher while she was still in high school. She became the town's first female officer with a sterling 23-year record on the force - until she was ordered into the mayor's office this month and summarily fired. Mayor Earl Bullard handed Moore a list of seven reprimands citing, among other alleged transgressions, questioning authority and failing to maintain order at a council meeting.
April 24, 2014 | By Paresh Dave
Soaring flames kept a major natural gas plant in southwestern Wyoming closed on Thursday, affecting fuel supplies across the West. The fire followed an explosion Wednesday afternoon at one of the five natural-gas processing units at a Williams Cos. plant near Opal, Wyo. About 40 workers immediately left the plant, shutting off incoming and outgoing pipes on the way out. No one was injured. The entire 88-acre town of Opal was evacuated Wednesday and some 60 residents who spent the night in hotels were allowed back into their homes at about noon Thursday, Opal Mayor Mary Hall told the Los Angeles Times.  Authorities used air monitoring equipment to see whether methane levels were low enough for the town to be safe, Williams spokesman George Angerbauer told The Times.
April 23, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko, This post has been corrected, as noted below
DONETSK, Ukraine - Ukraine government forces on Wednesday recaptured a southeastern town that had been held by separatist rebels, the Interior Ministry said. There were no casualties in the operation in the town of Svyatogorsk, according to an statement posted on the ministry's website. The ouster of the rebels was a welcome strategic gain by the Kiev government in the troubled Donetsk region, close to Ukraine's eastern border with Russia. “The recapture of Svyatogorsk is an indication that the anti-terrorist operation, which experienced certain problems last week, is now gaining momentum,” said Dmitry Tymchuk, head of Kiev-based Center for Military and Political Research.
April 23, 2014 | By Sergei L. Loiko and Carol J. Williams
DONETSK, Ukraine - Ukrainian government troops on Wednesday claimed to have swept out pro-Russia gunmen from a town in embattled eastern Ukraine, an operation the Kremlin warned could spark retaliation. The Ukrainian Interior Ministry statement that Svyatogorsk was under government control was dismissed as "a propaganda lie" by a leader of insurgents holding nearby Slovyansk, scene of the most violent and destabilizing clashes of the separatist movement that has been gaining momentum since Russia's annexation of Crimea last month.
April 21, 2014 | By Robyn Dixon
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- The United Nations on Monday condemned ethnic killings by South Sudan rebels that left hundreds of people dead last week after the fall of an oil town to the opposition forces. The world body said the killings took place in Bentiu, the hub of the country's main oil producing region in the north.  U.N. spokesman Joe Contreras said in a statement that some members of the rebel Sudan Peoples Liberation Movement in Opposition broadcast hate messages on radio after taking control of Bentiu, urging certain ethnic groups to leave town.
April 6, 2007
Re "A deep tide of goodwill at Bruce's Beach," April 1 The ousting of African Americans from Manhattan Beach in the 1920s stemmed from an aspect of American racism that created "sundown towns." Many suburban and small towns outside of the South prohibited blacks from living in or even frequenting their communities. This was accomplished one way or the other (usually the other). Signs were often posted at the city limits warning blacks not to let the sun go down while they were in town.
June 25, 2011 | By David Shaffer
The white plume still billows from the smokestack at the ethanol plant off Highway 14, and the 18-wheelers still screech to a stop at the corn unloading station. Nothing is visibly different at the Al-Corn plant, one of Minnesota's oldest ethanol makers — except that an era of nearly unwavering government support for the industry seems to be over. "I had a feeling this was coming," local corn farmer John Fosness said of the U.S. Senate's June 16 vote to immediately kill ethanol subsidies.
April 21, 2014 | By Anh Do
Along with its manicured greenbelts and meticulously neat neighborhoods, Irvine suddenly has something else on its hands: an international incident. Members of its vast Chinese American community are fighting a city decision to bow to the demands of Vietnamese Americans, who arrived by the hundreds this month to demand that Irvine abandon its plans to formalize a relationship with a tourist town in coastal Vietnam. A parade of speakers spent hours pleading with council members to reject the proposal, saying it would be insulting for the city to forge a "friendship" with a country they'd fled to escape a brutal communist regime.
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