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LA Daily News

Abandoned baby found in restroom at Lynwood park, is hospitalized and reported to be stable

The infant was found Friday morning.

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SGV Tribune

Coronavirus: L.A. County Archdiocese to fully reopen June 19

Masks will not be required indoors or outdoors for those fully vaccinated.

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LA Daily News

Coronavirus: L.A. County Archdiocese to fully reopen June 19

Masks will not be required indoors or outdoors for those fully vaccinated.

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NBC Los Angeles

Venice Groups Condemn Sheriff’s Actions Toward Homeless in Venice

Several Venice organizations have criticized the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department; saying it is calling for the “forced displacement and criminalization of unhoused people” on the boardwalk. 

“This week, the L.A. County Sheriff and others unfamiliar with Venice and its unhoused residents held press events on the Venice Boardwalk calling for the forced displacement and criminalization of unhoused people in order to ‘clean up’ the Boardwalk,” according to the statement released Friday afternoon by the Venice Family Clinic; Grass Roots Neighbors; Safe Place for Youth; Venice Black, Indigenous and People of Color Elders; Venice Community Housing; and Venice Justice Committee. 

“Time and time again, this approach has proven to fail in Los Angeles, and cause harm to people already dealing with crisis, trauma and the extreme lack of affordable housing across our region and especially on the Westside.”

The groups added that the homelessness crisis has been caused by “decades of disinvestment in affordable housing and other critical resources, systemic racism in land-use policies, housing, employment and mass incarceration policies, and growing income and wealth inequality.” 

It called for kindness toward the homeless, local outreach, access to medicine and an investment in permanent housing solutions. 

“Our collective community will work to provide emergency services, secure, preserve, and build more housing, and stand in solidarity to protect the rights of unhoused folks, and hope that anyone interested in helping alleviate homelessness in Venice and beyond joins the effort from a human- centered, social justice framework,” the statement said. 

Councilman Mike Bonin, who represents the neighborhood on the Los Angeles City Council, also criticized the sheriff’s department’s efforts to meet with homeless people around Ocean Front Walk in Venice — outside the sheriff’s jurisdiction — and clear an encampment, calling the deputies’ presence “disruptive and counterproductive.” 

Bonin on Thursday tweeted that Sheriff Alex Villanueva “should leave outreach & housing to the professionals. It’s harmful to strut in & interfere with the work of service providers who are trying to house people, quietly, diligently and in good faith.”

Villanueva, who described the department’s work in Venice as a “humanitarian mission,” told reporters on Monday that deputies will talk to people residing in an encampment at the beach to determine what they are doing to move from being homeless to having a place to stay. 

He said the homelessness crisis within Los Angeles city limits prompted him to take action. He also accused Bonin and Mayor Eric Garcetti of hampering the Los Angeles Police Department in its ability to do its job with regard to encampments. 

“I’m not going to blame LAPD whatsoever,” Villanueva said. “I think they can definitely do the job. They’re more than capable, have good leadership. However, if they’re hamstrung by politicians that don’t want them to do their job, well, then they’re left in a very, very bad situation.”

He visited the Venice encampment this week “to view the failures of local politicians in regard to the homeless crisis,” he said, adding that the agency’s Homeless Outreach Services Team would be dispatched to the beach Tuesday “assessing Venice in order to triage the crisis and develop an action plan to compassionately offer services while employing common sense in the regulation of public space within Los Angeles County.”

He told reporters he would like to see the Venice Beach encampment cleared by the Fourth of July holiday.

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NBC Los Angeles

Three SoCal Students Set To Begin Competing in National Spelling Bee

The 2021 Scripps National Spelling Bee began Saturday on a virtual basis with a 13-year-old from Tarzana and two from Orange County among the reduced field of 209. 

Irene Thomas graduated Friday from eighth grade at the Sherman Oaks Center for Enriched Studies, a fourth through 12th grade magnet school in Tarzana. It kept its original name after moving to the site of the former Sequoia Junior High School in 1980. 

She enjoys reading books (dystopian novels in particular) and playing chess, the video game Minecraft and the multiplayer online game Roblox. She also likes making origami (mostly animals), building with Lego, eating chocolate and deciphering riddles and jokes. Her favorite book is the young adult high fantasy novel “Eragon,” favorite author is J.R.R. Tolkien and favorite actress is Emma Watson. 

“Irene is studious and an exceptional scholar with a perfect GPA,” Sherman Oaks CES Principal Katie McGrath said. “She is kindhearted and shows patience and compassion toward others.” 

Baominh Le and Sophia Lin both graduated Thursday from The Pegasus School, a private, pre-kindergarten through eighth grade school in Huntington Beach. They qualified for the national bee by tying for the championship in the Orange County Spelling Bee, which was conducted March 6 with a 50-question online test. 

Plans for a tie-breaking round were dropped when they were notified by The Orange County Register and Orange County Department of Education that both would advance to the national bee. 

Baominh is a pianist, enjoys running in 5K races and started the Lexington Chapter of the Little Free Library, putting a book-sharing box in the neighborhood near his school. 

Baominh is highly interested in technology, would love to tour the Apple headquarters in Cupertino and hopes to obtain a pilot’s license. 

Sophia has been an avid reader since a young age, quickly befriending the school librarians to get more and more book recommendations. She also enjoys mathematics and coding and wants to pursue a career in medicine or science. Sophia is a flutist with the Southern California School Band & Orchestra Association Honor Band. She finished second at an international music competition playing the piano and competes in dance competitions. 

No speller from Los Angeles or Orange counties has won the bee. 

Saturday’s preliminaries consist of three rounds of oral competition. In the first round, spellers are asked to spell a word. If they spell it correctly, they will compete immediately in the second round, answering a multiple-choice word meaning question. If they answer that correctly, they will be asked to spell another word. 

Spellers answering all three questions correctly will advance to Tuesday’s quarterfinals. 

The preliminaries will be televised by the streaming service ESPN3 from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Pacific Time. 

All competition through the semifinals will be held on a virtual basis. 

The top 10-12 finalists will travel to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Bay Lake, Florida for the finals, which will be held July 8. 

The bee is limited to students who were in eighth grade or lower on Aug. 31, 2020.

Contestants range in age from 9 to 15 years old. The field consists of spellers from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, along with Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Department of Defense schools in Europe. 

California COVID-19 Vaccinations

The map tracks the number of doses administered by a recipient’s county of residence according to the The California Department of Public Health.

Source: The statewide totals for doses administered reflect Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data. Otherwise we used data from the California Department of Public Health.
Amy O’Kruk/NBC

Four foreign nations are also represented — the Bahamas, Canada, Ghana, and Japan. The winner will receive $50,000, a commemorative medal and the Scripps Cup, the official championship trophy of the Scripps National Spelling Bee, from Scripps, which owns television stations and cable and broadcast networks. 

The winner will also receive $2,500 and a complete reference library from the dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster; $400 of reference works from Encyclopedia Britannica, including a replica set of the 1768 encyclopedia, and a three-year online membership. 

The coronavirus pandemic prompted organizers to make several changes to the bee in addition to holding the competition on a virtual basis through the semifinals and dropping a multiple-choice test with 12 spelling words and 14 vocabulary questions. 

A proprietary online testing platform was developed to provide educators and other program sponsors with an alternate and easily accessible mechanism to administer testing for local-level bees, allowed for greater flexibility to participate while complying with local pandemic response requirements. 

Organizers also provided guidance for schools and sponsors who carried out video conference spelling bees. The bee contracted with a technology vendor to create a level playing field and competition space so every speller in the national finals has the same virtual experience. 

The vendor also provided the bee with tracking information to uphold the integrity of the competition. In an attempt to duplicate the bee’s comradery amongst the spellers and to ensure spellers and families felt like they were at Bee Week organizers designed a virtual suite of programs, with a space to connect and celebrate their accomplishments.

Virtual events for spellers and families included a virtual kickoff party, including a family scavenger hunt and dance party, and a virtual opening ceremony Friday livestreamed on Facebook and YouTube. 

The field dropped 62.8% from the record field of 562 when the bee was last held in 2019 mainly because of the dropping of the RSVBee program, which gave students living in areas without sponsored regional competitions the opportunity to advance to the national bee along with spellers in competitive regions, where one speller is declared the winner from thousands of schools. 

All but one of the five spellers from Los Angeles County in the 2019 national bee qualified through the RSVBee program and one of the two from Orange County. 

The coronavirus pandemic prompted cancellation of the 2020 bee. The program was first offered for the 2018 bee and that year’s champion, Karthik Nemmani, from McKinney, Texas, was an RSVBee participant. 

A decision on whether the program will return in 2022 has not been made because “the Bee is laser-focused on the 2021 competition and creating a fun and memorable experience for its 209 finalists this year,” Becca Cochran McCarter, Scripps’ manager, external communications, told City News Service. 

“The Scripps National Spelling Bee is always evaluating its program to make sure it’s the best experience for all and provides the greatest opportunity for spellers everywhere,” Cochran McCarter said.

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SGV Tribune

Venice groups condemn Sheriff Villanueva’s actions toward homeless

The groups added that the homelessness crisis has been caused by “decades of disinvestment in affordable housing and other critical resources, systemic racism in land-use policies, housing, employment and mass incarceration policies, and growing income and wealth inequality.”

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LA Daily News

Venice groups condemn Sheriff Villanueva’s actions toward homeless

The groups added that the homelessness crisis has been caused by “decades of disinvestment in affordable housing and other critical resources, systemic racism in land-use policies, housing, employment and mass incarceration policies, and growing income and wealth inequality.”

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SGV Tribune

LA, Orange County students set to begin competing in National Spelling Bee

A 13-year-old from Tarzana and two from Orange County are among the reduced field of 209.

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LA Daily News

LA, Orange County students set to begin competing in National Spelling Bee

A 13-year-old from Tarzana and two from Orange County are among the reduced field of 209.

Categories
LA Daily News

Search called off for man overboard from the Catalina Express near Long Beach

There were no immediate plans Saturday morning to resume the search for the 24-year-old man.