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Possible threat on school bathroom wall prompts patrols


SANTA CLARITA (CNS) – Sheriff’s deputies will patrol La Mesa Junior High School in Santa Clarita today in response to an alleged verbal threat made against the campus.

A boy who attends the school was detained Monday night, but it was unclear if he is the person suspected of scrawling a threatening message on the wall of a campus restroom last week.

The boy allegedly made verbal threats to “shoot up the school,” according to Shirley Miller, public information officer with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Santa Clarita Valley Station.

The scrawled message, which was found on Thursday, referenced a shooting and used the number 21, Miller said.

The school will remain open today, but out of an abundance of caution and in order to reassure parents and others concerned by the message, sheriff’s patrols will be added to the school’s security measures, Miller said.

Principal Michele Krantz issued her own message informing parents of the threatening statement and the patrols at the school at 26623 May Way.

The author of the possibly threatening message has not been identified, but the matter remains under investigation and whoever is responsible faces possible arrest on suspicion of making criminal threats, Miller said.

Recycling EV batteries still poses challenge

Rachel Parsons
Hub Correspondent

We like our electric cars. And that’s not the Imperial We, either.

In the past decade the global market for EVs has grown exponentially as consumers are drawn to the vehicles for environmental reasons. Driving something that has no tailpipe emissions makes us feel good. Our air is cleaner. Our rates of respiratory disease decrease. Our wallets are happier when gas prices go up.

But our EVs have a dirty little not-so-secret: batteries.

Read more at The Fourth Revolution >>>

Commerce mayor to press charges in alleged attack at meeting


INDIAN WELLS (CNS) – The mayor of the City of Commerce said today he plans to press charges against two people whom he alleged attacked him at a meeting of local government officials at the Renaissance Indian Wells Resort after two Commerce city councilmen got into a fight.

Mayor John Soria describes the brawl that took place at about 12:30 a.m. Saturday in an official statement.

Mayor Pro Tem Ivan Altamirano and Councilmember Leonard Mendoza were having a conversation that “became elevated and I went to the area to defuse any potential conflict,” Soria said. “Upon arriving I witnessed Mr. Mendoza on the floor, apparently unconscious and Mr. Altamirano standing nearby with a facial injury.”

Soria said he attempted to establish “a safe distance between people standing in the area and Mr. Altamirano” while others attempted to render aid to Mendoza.

“Within seconds Mr. Altamirano and I were attacked from behind by two individuals,” Soria said. “Mr. Altamirano was knocked to the ground and I was further attacked by these two individuals, being punched several times on the head and face from which I sustained multiple injuries,” he said.

“I know who the attackers are, but I will refrain from naming them at this time so that the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department can conduct a thorough investigation,” Soria said.

“I want to be clear in condemning the violent behavior from the individuals who initiated these assaults,” he said. “Violence is never the answer, and as elected officials we are held to a higher standard. Such behavior is unacceptable and is an embarrassment to the people of Commerce and Southeast Los Angeles.”

Golden State Freeway closed Monday morning in East Los Angeles by overturned rig


EAST LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The northbound Golden State (5) Freeway was shut down in East Los Angeles early today after a big rig hit the center divider and overturned at Indiana Street, authorities said.

The crash, which may have also involved four other vehicles, was reported at 11:21 p.m. Sunday, the California Highway Patrol said. A SigAlert was issued at 11:36 p.m. shutting down the northbound lanes at Indiana Street.

The CHP listed the incident as an injury collision but no one was treated at the scene or taken to a hospital, Los Angeles County Fire Department Dispatch Supervisor Jeremy Stafford said.

The section of freeway was shut down so the big rig could be righted and removed and so that debris from the damaged center divider could be removed, CHP Officer Elizabeth Kravig said.

The SigAlert was canceled at 3:08 a.m.

Chaotic conditions reported at L.A. County youth detention facilities


SYLMAR (CNS) – L.A. County juvenile halls have become overwhelmed by chaos and violence, and staff members often call in sick because they’re afraid to come to work, it was reported Sunday.

Juvenile Hall officers have long argued that their workplaces are becoming more violent, and data backs that up. But internal reports and photographs obtained by the Los Angeles Times show just how dangerous and dysfunctional Los Angeles County’s youth detention operation has become.

The L.A. County Probation Department is facing a series of serious problems, including bursts of violence among detainees, plummeting officer morale and the organizational headaches from closing several detention facilities. Six officers also were recently charged with child abuse and assault over the unreasonable use of pepper spray on several teenagers, putting even more political pressure on the department to stop using it by the end of the year.

“We have way more than enough staff. The problem is people aren’t coming to work because they are afraid,” Stacy Ford, a veteran detention officer and an executive on rehabilitation camp issues for the rank-and-file union, AFSCME Local 685, told The Times.

In recent months, the department has acknowledged large fights involving multiple youths, including one last month at Camp Rockey in the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains. In that incident, young detainees engaged in two separate fights, requiring staff to call in reinforcements to help restore peace and supervise the facility, the department said. Two staff and one detainee required medical attention.

In March, a female detainee leaving a court facility in Compton began to kick the seats and windows of her transport van. The officers struggled to control her, and she repeatedly spat on them. When one officer tried to block the flying saliva, the youth lunged forward and bit the officer’s hand, breaking the skin. She continued to kick, yell obscenities and resist. The officers had to repeatedly call for assistance en route to their destination.

In April at Central Juvenile Hall, three youths refused to enter their rooms after eating, delaying a second group’s entrance into the food hall for dinner. At the same time, officers reported they could sense tension coming from the second group related to a previous incident, in which one youth refused to hold a door for another. An officer tried to cool the tension. But they refused to calm down and words involving “gang activity” were exchanged.

The officers eventually had to use an upper-body restraint to keep the enraged youths apart.

Such incidents occur almost daily. When they do, detention officers say the recent backlash over the use of force inside the facilities, including an overreliance on pepper spray, has made them increasingly worried about being subjected to internal discipline. Over time, officers have become reluctant to physically restrain youths to control tense situations, allowing eruptions to occur that have led to injuries or property damage.

“There are no consequences for the negative behavior,” Ford said.

Essential Events: Enjoy cool evenings with these cool L.A. adventures


Despite the rainy weekend, it seems as if cooler temperatures will stick around just a bit longer. Most days this week will hover in the high 60s, while nights cool to the mid-50s. That’s as perfect weather as you can get in Southern California, so throw on a light jacket and check out these essential events this week.


Monday – Shame of Thrones: The Musical


The first of two events at the Whitefire Theatre this week are a must-attend for any fan of the HBO epic fantasy series. Whether you loved or hated the final episode of “Game of Thrones,” you’ll laugh out loud at this off-broadway rock musical spoofing the cultural phenomenon.


Tuesday – Jewish Life In Boyle Heights: An Oral History Video Screening


Although Boyle Heights has long been known as a Hispanic neighborhood, the Angeleno Jewish community has long called Boyle Heights its home. In this series of video interviews, six Jewish women who grew up there together in the 1930s and 40s share their memories. The six participants will be in attendance and available to answer questions following the screening.


Wednesday – The Columbine Project


20 years ago, one of the most devastating school shootings took place at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado. Head back to The Whitefire Theatre Wednesday for “The Columbine Project,” Paul Storiale’s award-winning drama. Directed by Bree Pavey, the retelling of the week leading up to the shooting has won praise from theatre critics, survivors and families of the victims.


Thursday – Hot Off The Press


Women in the entertainment and creative fields have fought hard for their place in the spotlight, and on Thursday the Los Angeles Women’s Theatre Festival will put the fruits of their labors on stage. “Hot Off The Press” will feature new solo writings presented by talented women playwrights in staged readings.


Friday – The Meatballs Of Comedy


Italian-Americans take center stage on Friday at Sal’s Restaurant and Comedy Club in Hollywood. Comedians from The Comedy Store, The Improv, The Laugh Factory and more will entertain while their audience munches on some of the best Italian fare this side of Sicily.


Saturday – You Win Or You Die: Tales Of The Seven Kingdoms And Beyond


Disappointed with the latest twists on “Game of Thrones,” which came to an end Sunday? Look back on better times with Celtic Arts Center musician Becky Bishop’s live performance of Westeros-inspired songs. Local artists will feature in this lively folk-rock performance. Both original songs and covers from the series will be played.


Sunday – Agatha Christie’s “And Then There Were None”


Mystery fans will love closing out the week with this performance of the Queen of Crime’s classic best-seller. A lonely resort becomes the backdrop for serial killings in this production. Resort guests, each with skeletons in their closets, must either come together to survive or be the last vacationer standing.

Sheriff defends rehiring of fired deputies


LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva Friday night defended himself from criticism from officials in some cities his department patrols over his decision to hire back previously terminated deputies.

“The department has acted responsibly in dealing with such personnel matters, and we continue to work to mediate the concerns of the Board of Supervisors,” Villanueva said in a statement.

Villanueva insisted last month that the contract cities “couldn’t care less” about the turmoil between him and the county Board of Supervisors, which has sued over his decision to reinstate a troubled deputy.

However, in a letter in response, the cities’ membership organization said the sheriff’s comment about the contract cities was “inaccurate and highly troubling,” the Los Angeles Times reported. The letter also cited The Times reporting about Villanueva’s feud with the Board of Supervisors.

“There is significant risk associated with reinstating deputies who have a history of excessive force or other misconduct and were previously dismissed in accordance with long-established department policy, particularly if those deputies are ever assigned to a contract city,” said the letter, signed by the leaders of the California Contract Cities Association.

The majority of the reinstatements cited by the Office of the Inspector General and news media were the result of Civil Service Commission findings, Villanueva said.

“The Civil Service Commission arrives at (its) decisions regarding reinstatement of deputies independent of the Sheriff’s Department,” Villanueva said. “It is a charter-mandated body, charged with acting as the appellate body for major disciplinary actions, discharges, demotions, suspensions in excess of five days and discrimination complaints filed by county employees.”

Villanueva said other deputies who were returned to duty as a result of internal administrative investigations occurred because those investigations were not completed in “the time frame allowed by legal statute” and would have ultimately resulted in reinstatement.

“We value the solid relationships that we have with our contract cities and their safety is paramount to the service we provide,” Villanueva said. “This department would never take any action that would jeopardize our communities.”

Villanueva added that he was “fully aware” of the department’s obligation to minimize any civil liability and “routinely examine any action, police or training we implement to achieve that ultimate goal.”

Speaking at a Times editorial board meeting on May 7, Villanueva said he had received positive feedback at recent community meetings in Lancaster, Palmdale, Carson and Norwalk. He said leaders of some of those cities are “tickled to death” by the department’s performance.

Garden Grove police kill man who allegedly stabbed relative


GARDEN GROVE (CNS) – Officers shot and killed a 20-year-old man armed with a knife today who had earlier stabbed an 18-year-old relative at a home in Garden Grove, a police lieutenant said.

Officers were dispatched a little before 2 a.m. to the 12100 block of Wilken Way in response to reports of a suicidal man who had just stabbed a woman and was armed with a knife, Garden Grove Police Lt. Carl Whitney said.

As officers approached the front of the home, an officer-involved shooting occurred and Andrew Giovanni Meza of Garden Grove was shot several times. A knife was recovered at the scene, Whitney said. Arriving paramedics pronounced Meza dead at the scene.

Officers then located the 18-year-old woman who had allegedly been stabbed by Meza. She was taken to an area hospital and is in stable condition, he said.

Amgen Tour of California to conclude in Pasadena

PASADENA (CNS) – The 2019 Amgen Tour of California will conclude today outside the Rose Bowl with the women’s race ending in Southern California for the first time in its five-year history.

The women’s stage was set to begin at 9:05 a.m. and the men’s at 10:35 a.m., both in front of the Town Center Mall in Santa Clarita. The estimated finish time for the women is 12:34 p.m. and 1:37 p.m. for the men.

The stage begins with a gradual uphill outing through Valencia, then passes through a rural area, then returns to the Santa Clara River, bound for the Antelope Valley community of Acton. The cyclists will continue to follow the Santa Clara River through Aliso Canyon into the heart of the San Gabriel Mountains.

There will be a 20-mile finishing descent into the Crescenta Valley, La Canada Flintridge and Pasadena.

The inaugural Rose Pedal will be held from 2-8 p.m., allowing the public to run, walk or bicycle on the 5-kilometer loop around the Rose Bowl without vehicle traffic and participate in fitness and health classes.

Anna van der Breggen of the Netherlands, the 2017 champion, leads the women’s race by 29 seconds over defending champion Katie Hall of Oakland, a teammate with the Netherlands-based Boels Dolmans Cycling Team.

Tadej Pogacar of Slovenia holds a 16-second lead over Sergio Higuita of Colombia in the men’s race.

Some Torrance roads to close for Armed Forces Day events


TORRANCE (CNS) – City officials announced the following road closures today for the Armed Forces Day Celebration:

— Madrona Avenue will be closed from Torrance Boulevard to Carson Street;
— Torrance Boulevard will be closed from Madrona Avenue to Crenshaw Boulevard;
— Maple Avenue will be closed from California Street to Torrance Boulevard;
— At 11 a.m., Torrance Boulevard as well as all north and southbound streets along Torrance Blvd. will be closed to traffic from Madrona Avenue to Western Ave.
— At noon, Madrona Avenue will be closed from 190th St. to Torrance Boulevard.

A 5K Run/Walk began Saturday morning. At 1:30 p.m., the parade steps off at Crenshaw Boulevard, traveling west on Torrance Boulevard and ending at Madrona Avenue.

Motorists were advised to expect delays until approximately 4 p.m.