Sacramento Bee

Rural California could lose thousands of jobs as prisons close. What can the state do?

Just days after Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration announced a plan to close a prison in Susanville last month, dozens of “for sale” signs for homes began popping up in a rural Lassen County town. “We went from a market where there were no homes,” said Patricia Hagata, executive director at the Lassen County Chamber of Commerce. “To where we have an overload of homes.”
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Sacramento Bee

California’s COVID vaccine schedule keeps changing. Here’s why

It took a lot of discussion, but in December, California came up with a multi-tiered, multi-phase plan on how the state would vaccinate its residents against the coronavirus. First would be healthcare workers, followed by teachers, farmworkers, emergency responders and people 75 years and older. In the subsequent phases, people’s jobs, medical conditions, disabilities and living situations would all be factors in deciding whether someone got a vaccine ahead of others.
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Sacramento Bee

California’s food banks will get a shake-up on Jan. 1. Will it interrupt supply?

Come Jan. 1, many of California’s food banks will get food distributed from a new organization, which promises cost savings that could result in more supplies for the facilities, more frequent delivery and a “produce mobile” with fresh fruits and vegetables. But Sacramento-based California Emergency Foodlink, the current entity in charge of distributing the food, is asking the federal government to stop the change. The state used a flawed and biased method to pick the new organization, a Foodlink representative said in his October letter to the federal government.
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Sacramento Bee

Fact check: Do Uber, Lyft drivers want out of California’s gig economy law?

Jim Pyatt and Carlos Ramos both live in the Central Valley and drive for gig companies in the Bay Area. But their thoughts on Prop. 22, which would keep gig workers such as Uber and Lyft as independent contractors, are worlds apart. Pyatt, a 63-year-old living in Modesto, usually drives full-time for Uber on Fridays and Saturdays, as well as a couple hours on some weekdays.
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Orange County Register

Huntington Beach police fire pepper balls at protesters who do not disperse

Huntington Beach police fired pepper balls at demonstrators who would not disperse on Sunday, though a crowd of hundreds of protesters had shrunk significantly after unlawful assembly was declared. The demonstration – one of many around Southern California and the nation protesting the death of George Floyd – began about 11:30 a.m. and proceeded largely peacefully for several hours, with some protesters and counterprotesters urging their groups to calm down and avoid confrontation.
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Orange County Register

Coronavirus: Orange County has been waiting nearly a month for a million N95 masks it ordered

Orange County officials ordered 1 million N95 respirator masks on March 16, but more than three weeks later, with demands for protective gear at an unprecedented level, the supplier can’t say when they might be delivered. Out of 1,203,000 N95 masks ordered since mid-March, 200,000 should be delivered on April 13.
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Orange County Register

TCA makes it official: 241 extension will not happen, Los Patrones Parkway will be extended

A controversial extension of the 241 Toll Road was officially dropped Thursday, March 12, likely ending a bitter debate that’s lasted more than two decades about how to best address transportation needs in south Orange County. Board members of the Transportation Corridor Agencies – which oversees the county’s toll roads – unanimously voted on Thursday to support instead extending Los Patrones Parkway to Avenida La Pata, concluding the study of how the 241 could be connected to the 5 Freeway. W
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Orange County Register

How Kobe Bryant helped connect Asian Americans with both Asia and America

With limited English, 10-year-old James Kim broke the ice at lunch with his new classmates talking about Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, and how they took the Los Angeles Lakers to the championships in 2001. Now living in Long Beach, cheering for Bryant was how Anne Milo Shanahan’s family still connected with cousins back home in the Philippines. And, watching the basketball legend run the court on television with her 90-year-old grandmother are special memories for Yvette Tung.
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Orange County Register

How Fullerton’s $23 million bet on the Richman Park neighborhood paid off

When the usual city tools – code enforcement visits and increased police presence – weren’t enough, frustrated officials reached for a sledgehammer to address the problems of the Richman Park neighborhood in south Fullerton: The city would buy all of the properties in the neighborhood, and convert them into affordable housing.
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Orange County Register

Here’s how boy band BTS inspired a school in South L.A. to teach Korean culture

Two years ago, Ruben Hernandez didn’t know what the Korean boy band BTS was. But his students at the Los Angeles Academy Middle School in South Los Angeles surely did. They asked him to play the band’s songs over speakers at lunchtime. “When I put on the songs, I could hear the screaming,” said Hernandez, the school’s principal. The student body of 1,246 is more than 90% Hispanic; only one person identified as Asian, according to 2018 state data.
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Orange County Register

Your guide to Garden Grove’s newly named ‘Orange County Koreatown’

Welcome to Garden Grove Boulevard: The birthplace of Orange County’s Korean American community, established in the 1970s. Here, the cool kids were grilling pork belly and briskets in the ’80s at what is believed to be Southern California’s first Korean barbecue restaurant. For decades, a bakery at Gilbert Street has been selling traditional Korean rice cakes, so chewy some stretch like mozzarella cheese. Korean celebrities held huge parking lot concerts here in the ’90s
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Orange County Register

Ahmad Zahra, likely the country’s first openly LGBTQ Muslim city councilman, set to take office in Fullerton

Ahmad Zahra is not here to make history. But he — a gay Muslim immigrant film producer from Syria — knows what his election to the Fullerton City Council means. “It’s a pleasant surprise,” he said. “We’re maturing as a county.” Election results still need to be finalized and certified, but if Zahra, 50, holds on to his substantial lead, it is believed he will be the country’s first ever openly LGBTQ Muslim city councilman, according to the political action committee LGBTQ Victory Fund. The gr
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Journal & Courier

Fact-Check: Hundreds of cases with no criminal charges. Is that normal?

TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. — It doesn't take long to get Earl McCoy's message. Look at his latest television commercial, where many people knock on a door of the Tippecanoe County Courthouse. "Each one of these people represent the thousands of criminal cases that have not been filed by our current prosecutor," the voice-over says. "Leaving our community feeling unsafe, unimportant and ignored." McCoy is challenging the incumbent county prosecutor Pat Harrington, who has held the office since 20
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Orange County Register

Are Asian-American churches in Orange County slowly shifting their stance on LGBTQ relationships?

Just a single street separates Epic Church and InChrist Community Church, both in the same Fullerton neighborhood and both led by Asian-American ministers. But when it comes to their stance on same-sex relationships, the two churches feel miles apart. One welcomes the LGBTQ community, the other views homosexuality as an affront. The difference isn’t trivial. In a newsletter written earlier this year, the leader of InChrist Community Church urged his congregation to aggressively fight homosexua
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