Los Angeles County recorded more than 1,900 new coronavirus cases Friday, another major jump, as a mandatory mask restriction for inside public places takes effect Saturday night. Over the last week, L.A. County has reported an average of more than 1,000 new coronavirus cases a day -- a tally that, though merely a fraction of the sky-high counts seen during previous surges, is still six times as high as what the county was seeing in mid-June. Daily case numbers have jumped: 1,537 new cases were reported Thursday, and 1,902 more were added Friday. COVID-19 hospitalizations also doubled over that same time period, from 223 on June 15 to 462 on Thursday. More than 8,000 coronavirus-positive patients were hospitalized countywide during the darkest days of the winter wave.
It's been a tough year for elegant terns in Southern California. A drone crash in June forced an estimated 3,000 of the sleek seabirds with their pointed orange bills to abandon their eggs on Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Orange County. Experts say it's possible that many of the birds set up camp on two commercial barges in nearby Long Beach Harbor. Now droves of the baby birds are falling into the ocean and drowning. "They basically landed on the barge a day or so, and it may have been two or three days, after the incident involving the drones when they left Bolsa Chica," said Tim Daly, spokesman for California Department of Fish and Wildlife.
As injured patients and consumer rights groups fight for tougher penalties on grossly negligent doctors, California's powerful physicians lobby is working hard behind the scenes to water down any proposed reforms. So far, the lobbyists seem to be winning. It gained fresh momentum this week in the wake of a Times investigation that found the Medical Board of California, which oversees physicians, has consistently allowed negligent doctors to keep practicing and harming patients: leaving them dead, paralyzed, brain-damaged and missing limbs. The board allowed some doctors to keep practicing even after accusing them of misleading patients -- and the board's own investigators -- to conceal significant medical errors. On Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom, whose office is responsible for appointing most of the board members, refused to be interviewed about The Times' findings or to offer comment.
The Animal Legal Defense Fund announced Thursday a reward of $5,000 for information on the person or people who operated a drone that crashed-landed in May into nesting grounds at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve in Huntington Beach. About 3,000 elegant terns -- notable for their orange bills and black crests -- fled the reserve after the crash in mid-May. They left behind 1,500 to 2,000 unsavable eggs, the largest abandonment that scientists who work there could remember. The operators of drones that fly over state wildlife preserves and disturb habitats can face charges for nest destruction and harassment of wildlife, according to Officer Nick Molsberry of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. Tim Daly, a spokesperson for the agency, said that he had no knowledge of the drone operator in the Bolsa Chica incident having been identified or of the birds having returned to the reserve, which spans more than 1,000 acres.
In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the so-called normal people are often nonessential. We get in the way, we muck things up, we need help, we get turned to dust and in the case of last year's "WandaVision," we mortals exist mostly to be playthings for those with powers. Disney California Adventure's Avengers Campus aims to flip the script. Superheroes, they're just like us, the land argues. They get captured, they need our help, they make mistakes and sometimes they just have to do dreary, daily work.
Eggs littered the sand, but there was no sign of life around or in them. The seabirds that should have been keeping watch had taken off, terrified by a drone that crash-landed into their nesting grounds on an island at the Bolsa Chica Ecological Reserve. "We've never seen such devastation here," said Melissa Loebl, an environmental scientist who manages the Huntington Beach reserve. "This has been really hard for me as a manager." Some 3,000 elegant terns fled the reserve after the drone crashed May 12, leaving behind 1,500 to 2,000 eggs, none of them viable.
This morning I walked through a new land at Disney California Adventure -- the first proper space dedicated to the Marvel Cinematic Universe in one of Disney's North American parks -- and what I remember most is a moment of silence, a collective pause clearly dedicated to the late Chadwick Boseman, the star of "Black Panther." Avengers Campus, opening Friday in Anaheim, boasts a new interactive ride and a glossy, silver airship. But what truly contrasts the land with others in the Disney parks is its devotion to theater, its embrace of the present and its lack of fear of the so-called "real world." Here, you may not mind standing in lines for food or rides -- or maybe you'll mind a little less -- because you might catch the royal female guards from the world of "Black Panther." When the battle spear-equipped warriors known as the Dora Milaje make an entrance, it's safe to say audiences will stop and pay attention.
Robotics, digital trickery, trackless rides -- modern theme parks are full of technological innovations. Rolly Crump, the 91-year-old designer who helped shape It's a Small World, the Enchanted Tiki Room and the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland, has his share of myth-making tales as well. He's one of the few surviving ex-Disney staffers who not only knew Walt Disney but also enjoyed a somewhat close relationship with him. When it comes to the creative process, he can be blunt -- myth-shattering, if you will. Consider this Crump insight: Sometimes the best theme park rides are built on lots of beer, probably even more marijuana and large purchases of pantyhose. Now, Crump's influence can be seen in a new ride at Knott's Berry Farm that's based on an old ride at Knott's Berry Farm. Knott's Bear-y Tales: Return to the Fair is an adorable, video-game like animated romp with cartoon critters and lots of pies -- a respectful and nostalgic 2021 endeavor that livens up the park by celebrating its history.
A $1.7-billion expansion project at Los Angeles International Airport was officially unveiled Monday by local officials who expressed optimism that the facility will soon help serve a resurgence of travel demand from the yearlong pandemic slump. The new facility, named West Gates and billed as an expansion of the Tom Bradley International Terminal, holds 15 gates. The project broke ground in 2017, when international travel was surging, particularly with big-spending visitors from China. At the time, the airport was the second-busiest in the nation and was considered the West Coast gateway to the United States. The airport served more than 84 million domestic and international travelers that year, according to LAX records.
Anika Madan, a senior at Sunny Hills High in Fullerton, had a loaded school resume when she applied to six University of California campuses for admission this fall: a 4.6 GPA, 11 college-level courses, student leadership positions and community service building robotic hands for people with disabilities. She was accepted to UC campuses at Irvine, Riverside and Santa Barbara -- but wait-listed at Berkeley, Davis and San Diego. Once again she is on edge -- along with tens of thousands of others -- as yet another nail-biting phase of a record-breaking UC admission season begins this week. Campuses are diving into their massive waitlists, selecting students to fill the seats of those who turned down UC offers by the May 1 college decision day. For the waitlisted, this next round is sparking more anxiety, frustration and even defiance as they try to decide whether to hold out for an offer from a favored campus or just move on.