California Essential Week in Review: Monkeypox hits an area of ​​LA County hard

Hello and welcome to the Essential California newsletter. This is Saturday August 20.

Here’s a look at the top stories from the past week.

Monkeypox is on the rise in LA County. Cases have more than doubled in the past two weeks as authorities raced to better track the virus and vaccinate vulnerable communities. Just under half of the county’s cases for which geographic information is available involved residents of a central area including West Hollywood, Hollywood, downtown Los Angeles, Eagle Rock, Highland Park and Boyle Heights.

A school meals program has been expanded. California public school students can continue to receive at least two free meals a day this school year, thanks to the Universal Meals program, a state initiative launched during the pandemic. The Los Angeles Unified School District is providing even more help, providing students with three free meals a day.

Public hospitals and a health union make an unusual pair. California hospitals, which have long sought to weaken legally required and costly seismic upgrades intended to ensure their doors remain open after a major earthquake, have an unexpected ally in this fight: an influential union backs watered-down seismic standards in an agreement that gives employees this represents a pay raise.

$310 million to fight the “mega-drought”. Federal authorities have announced funding for 25 water recycling projects, including 20 in California. The money will come from the bipartisan infrastructure bill that President Biden signed into law last year.

A bill that would seal some criminal records could open doors for millions of Californians. State lawmakers have approved legislation that would allow certain residents with criminal convictions to have those records sealed. if they maintain a clean criminal record, a decision hailed by supporters of criminal justice reform and criticized by law enforcement. Those who have been in prison often face discrimination when trying to find employment or housing.

george Gascón avoided another recall attempt. A campaign to force the Los Angeles County prosecutor in a recall election failed after backers failed to secure enough valid signatures. Gascón’s policies have come under heavy criticism from law enforcement and business leaders, but this is the second time a recall effort has failed.

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A lawyer’s bragging led to a thrown verdict. Robert McKenna III appeared in a celebratory video online, bragging about his work representing a surgeon in a medical malpractice lawsuit and saying the case involved “a guy who was probably killed by negligence, but we have in somehow make it look like other people did it.” Citing McKenna’s remarks, the judge presiding over the trial overturned the verdict, ordering the case to be returned to trial.

Children return to school, with changes and challenges. The school year has started in Los Angeles, San Francisco and other districts. The first bell rang at later start times, easing pandemic measures and, on many campuses, increasing safety as educators and families expressed optimism for near-normal times despite lingering issues.

The Windsor Hills crash puts the state’s fetal homicide law to the test. Authorities found six bodies after a driver crossed a busy intersection: four adults, a baby and the remains of an unborn child torn from the body of his mother in the violent accident. Yet California law remains divided on how to count victims and what defines justice for pregnant women whose babies die before birth.

Kobe Bryant photo trial highlights conflicting testimony. Two Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies and a retired fire captain spoke during the trial over photos of the helicopter crash that killed the basketball star, his daughter and seven others . But their testimony provided little clarity on how the photos were leaked, with shifting stories, sudden amnesia and inconsistencies.

Southern California home prices fell again. Are more declines to come? Rising mortgage interest rates dampened a buoyant housing market as potential buyers opted to stay away, sales plunged and homeowners slashed prices. Few are predicting a crash similar to 2008, but a growing number of experts say overall home values ​​are likely to fall.

ICYMI, here are this week’s good reads.

The violence has overshadowed the world’s largest concert promotion company for years. nation live was repeatedly accused of failing to follow industry safety protocols for controlling large crowds and protecting spectators and performers from weapons and faulty stage construction, the Times found. We look at past tragedies, including the stabbing of Los Angeles rapper Drakeo the Ruler and the Astroworld disaster – an event equated with “hell on Earth” by many of its thousands of participants, while eight people were killed in a wave of mobs. These incidents served as a wake-up call for the industry as well as for Congress.

Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine’s high school has officially opened. The Iovine and Young Center Integrated Design, Technology, and Entrepreneurship Magnet is the brainchild of André “Dr. Dre” Young and fellow music mogul Iovine. The star power of the school’s namesakes has helped attract students from first and second graders — and educators hope the school in Los Angeles’ Leimert Park neighborhood will serve as a bright spot to reverse declining enrollment by engaging young minds in cool, cutting edge paths.

They love plants and each other. SarahCotta Plants opened in Glendale in July 2020, a bold move by its married owners, Sarah and Tadeh. Their store was born out of tough ground — the summer when the pandemic shuttered many small businesses — but it’s still thriving two years later. Now, standing behind the shop’s wooden counter, the Baziks answer the big question: How?

Today’s newsletter was curated by Laura Blasey and Jason Sanchez. Please let us know what we can do to make this newsletter more useful to you. Send your comments, complaints and ideas to [email protected]

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