(Eds: Following are brief summaries of some top Los Angeles and Orange County stories that CNS has carried since midnight.)


(Eds: Following are brief summaries of some top Los Angeles and Orange County stories that CNS has carried since midnight.)

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Angeles County health officials again recommended flu shots for all today in hopes of avoiding a surge of hospital demand due to influenza and COVID-19.

And with another weekend starting, they urged residents not to misuse new health guidelines allowing small gatherings.

SANTA ANA (CNS) – Orange County health officials today reported 10 coronavirus-related fatalities, hiking the death toll over 1,400, and 151 new diagnoses of COVID-19.

The county’s death toll stands at 1,401 and the cumulative case count is 56,587.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A 24-year-old man was charged today with trying to kill two transgender women — one of them twice — in separate attacks in MacArthur Park.

Donoban Fonseca is scheduled to be arraigned Nov. 5 in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on three counts each of attempted murder, conspiracy to dissuade a witness and attempting to dissuade a witness and two counts of extortion, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – More than 335 people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles have left the streets and entered housing since June, according to a report obtained today as part of a city and county agreement to provide beds for the indigent under the threat of the coronavirus.

Of the target homeless populations, shelter has been provided for 20 people previously located within 500 feet of a freeway, 36 indigent individuals aged 65 or older, and 282 otherwise vulnerable people during the period from June 16 to Thursday, according to the city’s Homeless Roadmap Quarterly Report.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The initial federal court hearing for a former Mexican defense minister arrested at Los Angeles International Airport on drug trafficking and money laundering charges was delayed until Tuesday.

Salvador Cienfuegos — Mexico’s defense minister from 2012 to 2018 — was arrested Thursday night after arriving at the airport with several family members, becoming the first high-ranking military official to be taken into custody in the United States in connection with drug-related corruption in his country.

VAN NUYS (CNS) – A brush fire in the Sepulveda Basin blackened about seven acres today and threw up a lot of smoke in the San Fernando Valley, but no structures were damaged.

More than 100 firefighters were sent to the 15700 block of Burbank Boulevard after the blaze broke out about 1:15 p.m. amid 100-degree heat. Aircraft also were deployed, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A state appeals court panel today upheld a man’s second-degree murder conviction for a crash that killed a Los Angeles police officer and injured his partner, who had been chasing one of the defendant’s friends in the Harbor City area.

The three-justice panel from California’s 2nd District Court of Appeal found that the evidence “reasonably supports” the jury’s finding that Mynor Enrique Varela “intentionally used” his Chevrolet Tahoe SUV as a deadly weapon.

VERNON (CNS) – Over the objections of state and local officials, a judge today approved a bankruptcy settlement allowing Exide Technologies to abandon its former battery-recycling plant in Vernon, leaving the state — and taxpayers — on the hook to pay for continued environmental cleanup of the site.

Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Sontchi in Delaware ruled that there was no “imminent” threat posed by Exide’s abandonment of the plant, which resulted in extensive lead pollution in the air and soil in surrounding neighborhoods. State attorneys strongly objected to the settlement reached between Exide and the federal government and vowed to appeal.

SAN FERNANDO (CNS) – A woman who struck several vehicles with a motorhome while leading police on a bizarre chase from the Santa Clarita area to Tarzana with two dogs inside the RV has been sentenced to nearly nine years in state prison, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced today.

Julie Ann Rainbird — also known as Julie Ann Fehlman — was also banned for life from driving a vehicle, according to the District Attorney’s Office.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A man is suing a Cadillac dealership that is the largest business in Sherman Oaks, saying he fears his four-decade career as a mechanic is in jeopardy because he is a 63-year-old cancer survivor.

Steven Thun’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against Casa de Cadillac alleges age and disability discrimination, hostile work environment and retaliation. He seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages and that the dealership’s management be ordered to undergo employee anti-harassment training.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Federal prosecutors in Los Angeles said today they have filed two cases that charge seven defendants as part of a joint-agency crackdown on transnational criminal organizations.

In one case, a Los Angeles federal grand jury late Friday indicted three defendants, including an alleged drug courier who is accused of driving a car from Tijuana into the United States with 48 pounds of pure methamphetamine hidden in his car doors and quarter panels, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

ANAHEIM (CNS) – Former Angels public relations director Eric Kay has been indicted on two federal counts stemming from the 2019 overdose death of pitcher Tyler Skaggs, according to court papers obtained today.

Kay, 45, is charged with distributing the fentanyl that resulted in Skaggs’ death. The indictment returned in Texas also alleges Kay and others who are not named conspired to possess with intent to distribute fentanyl beginning in or before 2017, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Dallas.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – More than 100 dogs from a commercial breeding kennel that was in the evacuation zone at the height of the recent Bobcat Fire were turned over for adoption, authorities said today.

The displaced dogs — which had been taken to Los Angeles County animal shelters in Baldwin Park and Lancaster as a result of the fire — were relinquished several weeks later by the kennel’s owner, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Animal Care and Control.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A vehicle crashed into a Sawtelle hair salon this afternoon, and two men and a woman were taken to a hospital with minor injuries.

The crash occurred about 4 p.m. in the 11600 block of Santa Monica Boulevard, near Barry Avenue, according to Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Brian Humphrey.

SAN DIMAS (CNS) – A woman was fatally shot today in San Dimas.

Deputies were dispatched about 11:10 a.m. to the 1100 block of Valley Center Avenue for a shooting death investigation, according to Deputy Eric Ortiz of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Two teenage boys were found with fatal gunshot wounds in a vehicle that crashed into a parked car in the South Los Angeles area, and the shooter or shooters were at large today.

The victims were found about 11 p.m. Thursday in the 12200 block of Maple Avenue, said Deputy James Nagao of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He said deputies from the Century Station were sent to the location on a report of a crash.

SANTA FE SPRINGS (CNS) – All northbound lanes of the Santa Ana (5) Freeway in the Santa Fe Springs and La Mirada areas will be closed overnight for at least five days next week, starting Sunday, and southbound lanes will be closed on Wednesday and Thursday.

The northbound lanes will be closed between Carmenita Road and Artesia Boulevard from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and possibly Friday, Oct. 24, according to Caltrans.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, who allegedly arranged to meet an undercover officer posing as a teenage girl on a dating app, pleaded not guilty today to felony charges.

Miguel Cabrera, 38, was charged this week with one felony count each of meeting a minor for lewd purposes and distributing pornography to a minor, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced settlements today with three interstate trucking companies that use Southland freeways, imposing $417,000 in penalties for contributing to the high levels of air pollutants in Southern California.

“As trucks are one of the largest sources of air pollution in California, EPA will continue to ensure these heavy-duty vehicles have the needed pollution-control equipment and operate in compliance with the rules,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator John Busterud. “These companies have agreed to bring their trucks into compliance and operate more cleanly in all communities they serve.”

SANTA ANA (CNS) – California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Attorney General Xavier Becerra said today that state Republican Party officials have agreed to stop using unauthorized ballot collection boxes, but a state party spokesman had a different message.

“The rhetoric is one thing… but our observations in the field… is another,” Padilla said in a phone call with reporters. “Despite the rhetoric, we continue to hear the state Republican Party has agreed to cease the deployment of unauthorized, unofficial, unsecure ballot drop boxes.”

NORTHRIDGE (CNS) – A person was fatally struck by a Metrolink train this afternoon in Northridge.

Metrolink Ventura County line train 116 was traveling to Los Angeles and struck the unidentified victim near the 9000 block of Tampa Avenue shortly before 3 p.m., according to Metrolink officials and Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

LONG BEACH (CNS) – A Los Angeles man pleaded not guilty today to charges that he tried to kill two officers at the LAPD’s Harbor Station in San Pedro, including one who was pistol-whipped and another with whom he allegedly exchanged gunfire.

Jose Cerpa Guzman, 29, is charged with two counts each of attempted murder and assault with a semiautomatic firearm, along with one count each of second-degree robbery, evading and resisting an officer.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – After initially rejecting the request, the federal government today approved California’s bid for disaster relief funds to assist the response to wildfires statewide, including in Los Angeles and San Diego counties.

“Just got off the phone with President (Donald) Trump who has approved our major disaster declaration request,” Gov. Gavin Newsom announced early Friday afternoon. “Grateful for his quick response.”

SAN PEDRO (CNS) – A body was found this afternoon on a rocky shoreline below a cliff in San Pedro.

Land and sea crew were dispatched at 1:47 p.m. to Point Fermin, in the 800 block of West Paseo Del Mar, according to Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A judge today denied a motion by the city of Gardena to pare a former police lieutenant’s lawsuit alleging he was fired in 2019 because he is gay and has HIV.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Green said there were enough facts in former Lt. Steven Prendergast’s lawsuit for now to support his cause of action for medical condition discrimination. The allegation was the only one the city sought to dismiss in the suit, which also alleges sexual orientation discrimination, disability discrimination and failure to prevent discrimination.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Calling it an “extraordinary election,” Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer urged law enforcement and prosecutors nationwide today to ensure that voters are not harassed or intimidated when they go to the polls next month.

“Here in Los Angeles, we need to be vigilant and ensure that every single person feels free to vote the way they intend to vote …,” the city attorney said as part of a national briefing by Prosecutors Against Gun Violence and the organization Everytown for Gun Safety on the threat of voter intimidation.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The Los Angeles-based Japanese American National Museum announced today that it has been awarded a four-year, $5.5 million grant from the Ford Foundation.

“We are deeply grateful for this support that will help JANM meet its most urgent and immediate needs and help to stabilize the museum during this time of great uncertainty,” said Ann Burroughs, the museum’s president and CEO.

PASADENA (CNS) – A 3-year-old girl found unattended early today in Pasadena was placed in protective custody, and an investigation was underway to determine whether it’s safe to return her to her parents, police said.

The girl was found about 1:45 a.m. near Yolo Street and Wilson Avenue, which is about 400 yards from her home, said Pasadena police Lt. Jesse Carrillo.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A woman who was fatally shot in Koreatown was identified today as investigators continued their efforts to solve the crime.

Cindy Avila, 34, of Los Angeles died at the scene of the shooting, which was reported about 9:15 p.m. Wednesday in the 900 block of South Wilton Place, according to the coroner’s office and the Los Angeles Police Department.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A longtime Johnny Rockets employee who was hired by the company’s founder in 1991 and promoted often over his career is suing the restaurant chain, alleging he was fired earlier this year because he took time off for an on-the-job injury and made complaints about workplace discrimination.

David Rodriguez’s Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against the Johnny Rockets Group Inc., Fat Brands Inc. and one of his supervisors, Barbara Anaya, was filed Tuesday and seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages. The 58-year-old plaintiff also maintains he was a victim of age and sexual orientation discrimination and that he was subjected to intentional infliction of emotional distress.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A rapper who boasted in a YouTube music video about getting rich from committing unemployment benefits fraud was arrested today in Los Angeles on federal charges of carrying out that very scheme by fraudulently applying for more than $1.2 million in jobless benefits, including by using stolen identities, federal prosecutors announced.

Fontrell Antonio Baines, 31, who uses the stage name “Nuke Bizzle,” was arrested on federal charges alleging he fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance benefits under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A man who was fatally shot by police while he was allegedly trying to rob four people at gunpoint in the South Los Angeles area was identified today.

Kevin Carr, 23, of Compton, died at scene of the shooting that occurred about 9:55 p.m. Wednesday near 111th and Figueroa streets, according to the coroner’s office and the Los Angeles Police Department.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – Los Angeles County this week debuted a half dozen artworks in honor of the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote in the U.S.

The county’s Department of Arts and Culture collaborated with the Women and Girls Initiative to commission the art, which is intended to reflect a diversity of women and perspectives and highlight themes such as empowerment, civic engagement, resiliency and the right to vote.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – The seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 15.1% in Los Angeles County in September, down from 16.4% in August, according to figures released today by the state Employment Development Department.

The 15.1% rate was well above the 4.3% rate from the pre-coronavirus era of September 2019.

SYLMAR (CNS) – Beginning tonight and continuing through the weekend, a stretch of the eastbound Foothill (210) Freeway in the Sylmar area will be closed for paving work.

Starting at 10 p.m. and continuing through 5 a.m. Monday, the eastbound 210 will be closed between the Golden State (5) Freeway and Roxford Street, according to Caltrans. Also closed will be connectors from the 5 Freeway to the eastbound 210, and eastbound Yarnell Street on- and off-ramps.

NEWPORT BEACH (CNS) – President Donald Trump is scheduled to come to Orange County Sunday for a private fundraiser at tech mogul Palmer Luckey’s estate, it was reported today.

The news came Thursday, just as latest fundraising numbers showed the president falling behind former Vice President Joe Biden in campaign cash, The Orange County Register reported.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A new Alzheimer’s study at USC has found that impaired blood flow in the brain is correlated with the buildup of tau tangles, a hallmark indicator of cognitive decline, the University said today.

The study published this week in the Journal of Neuroscience suggests that treatments targeting vascular health in the brain as well as amyloid plaques and tau tangles may be more effective in preserving memory and cognitive function than single-target therapies, according to a USC statement.

LOS ANGELES (CNS) – A fire in the attic of a four-story apartment building in Los Feliz was extinguished by firefighters in 38 minutes this morning.

Crews responded to the 4600 block of Los Feliz Boulevard, near Vermont Avenue, at 5:04 a.m. and worked to keep the flames from spreading to any of the 78 units in the 64,160 square-foot building, according to Brian Humphrey of the Los Angeles Fire Department.

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