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December 3, 2013 | By Kerry Cavanaugh
Los Angeles is proud of its sunshine and 75-degree winter days. We like to flaunt our balmy weather when New York and Chicago are buried under snowdrifts and Boston and Minneapolis are worried about black ice. So, why does L.A. put fake snow on its public Christmas trees? Downtown, in the heart of L.A.'s Civic Center, are not one but two - two! - flocked Christmas trees. One is across from City Hall in Grand Park and the other is at the Music Center. YEAR IN REVIEW: Ted Rall's five best cartoons of 2013 It hasn't snowed in downtown Los Angeles since 1949, according to the National Weather Service.
December 1, 2013 | Times staff and wire reports
A U.S. State Department travel warning on Venezuela, issued Nov. 22, says "violent crime in Venezuela is pervasive, both in the capital, Caracas, and in the interior. " In a country of about 28.5 million, 21,629 people were slain, one of the highest homicide rates in the world. Kidnappings, the State Department notes, "are also a serious concern…. In 2013, 583 kidnappings were reported," adding that 80% of kidnappings aren't reported. The department warning adds that "all U.S. direct-hire personnel and their family members who are assigned to U.S. Embassy Caracas are required to take an armored vehicle when traveling to/from Maiquetía Airport.
November 28, 2013 | By Carolyn Kellogg
Disneyland was built on a 1,600-acre orange ranch; to make way for Mickey, 4,000 Valencia trees were bulldozed and uprooted. This is one of the jillion tree-related facts crammed into Jared Farmer's new history, "Trees in Paradise," which connects the stories of four trees to California's culture: redwood, eucalyptus, orange, palm. As arbor-scenti know, there are actually two kinds of redwoods - the Giant Sequoia ( Sequoiadendron giganteum) and the Coast Redwood ( Sequoia sempervirens )
November 21, 2013
Re "Bough wow," Nov. 19 That Steven Craig and other major mall operators pay $1,000 a foot to have these majestic trees ripped from the earth to be transplanted and die in shopping malls reeks of selfish greed. The true goal is to lure shoppers to spend on oftentimes unwanted and wasteful products, many made in China and other countries where we have sold out our workforce to those employed in the confines of sweatshops. The true meaning of Christmas was lost many generations ago. Far more meaningful - and in place of these monster trees that have lost their oxygen-producing, carbon-consuming values - might be a smaller, locally grown tree next to a Nativity scene.
November 20, 2013 | By Mary Forgione, Daily Deal and Travel Blogger
Remember the moment in the 1965 TV special "A Charlie Brown Christmas" when Lucy says she wants "the biggest aluminum tree" anywhere? She was tapping into a holiday fad of the day: aluminum Christmas trees. Now 20 of these silver, pink, gold and green trees will be on display during the holidays in "' Tis the Season " at the Wisconsin Historical Museum in Madison. "It's a huge Wisconsin story of innovation and holiday nostalgia that only the [museum] can tell," museum spokeswoman Ellen Pincus said by email.
November 18, 2013 | By Emily Foxhall
When the lights were flipped on, the 90-foot Christmas tree at Fashion Island stood as another enormous sentry in the forest of arbors that sparkle to life during the holidays in shopping centers throughout Southern California. But the white fir, which cost roughly $1,000 a foot, still came up 25 feet short of being the tallest in the region. That's because the title of tallest tree comes at a premium and is covered by a contract so precise that the buyer is guaranteed a 15-foot height advantage over the next loftiest competitor.
November 18, 2013 | By Emily Foxhall
When the lights were flipped on in a night of song and celebration over the weekend, the 90-foot Christmas tree at Fashion Island stood as another colorful and enormous addition to the small forest of arbors that sparkle to life for the holidays in shopping centers throughout Southern California. The Newport Beach center's white fir cost roughly $1,000 per foot, a price that covered transportation, set-up and decoration. But even with such a hefty price tag, the tree still falls 25 feet short of being the tallest in the region, and perhaps the country.
November 14, 2013 | By Anne Harnagel
It's easy to spot heavenly bodies in SoCal -- just check out the beach or your local gym -- but heavenly bodies of the celestial kind, well, not so much. That's where Joshua Tree National Park and its dark night skies can help. It is partnering with Celestron Telescopes , NASA, American Park Network and the Joshua Tree National Park Assn . to host a stargazing event for the public on Nov. 23 from 6:30 to 10 p.m. As part of "My Night Sky," stargazers will learn about the night sky from local experts and use a variety of telescopes from the most basic to high-powered computerized models.
November 12, 2013 | By Tony Perry
SAN DIEGO - A tree-trimmer was killed Tuesday morning when he was struck in the head by a large falling branch from a eucalyptus tree, officials in the San Diego suburb of La Mesa said. The man was standing in the platform of an elevated "cherry picker" when the accident occurred in a residential neighborhood. A co-worker had just cut the branch when it struck the man, who was declared dead at the scene. The cherry-picker platform was lowered to the ground with the man's body.
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