Storm runoff fouls beaches, water

LOS ANGELES — California residents who endured flooding, mudslides and evacuations during a weeklong onslaught of rain now have another problem: contaminated water and fouled beaches. The rain washed trash, pesticides and bacteria into waterways, prompting health warnings. Four beaches were closed in Northern California’s San... Read more →


‘Tis the season … to shoplift

Crime Watch is a weekly series culled from reports provided by the Santa Monica Police Department. These are arrests only. All parties are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. Monday, Dec. 13, at 4:48 p.m., Santa Monica police officers responded to the 200 block of Broadway — Nordstrom — regarding a shoplifter in... Read more →


Trying to please meat lovers, vegetarians

WILSHIRE BLVD — When the owners of the mini restaurant chain Veggie Grill were planning on opening their fifth location, they had their sights set on Santa Monica. They felt the health-conscious community known for its fresh Farmers’ Markets and dedication to living healthy lifestyles would make a good fit for the fast-casual... Read more →


Smoking rates decline across state, county

CITYWIDE — The prevalence of smoking among adults decreased 12.8 percent in California between 2005 and 2008 to 11.6 percent of the population, with tobacco use less common in Los Angeles County than statewide, according to a report released this week by the California Department of Public Health. In L.A. County, the 2008 smoking rate... Read more →


Fairmont voted best travel hotel

The historic Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows, situated atop the scenic Palisades Park bluffs overlooking the Santa Monica Bay, was named best hotel for business travelers in Los Angeles County by the readers of Travel + Leisure magazine. Business travelers staying in the hotel’s signature bungalow accommodations may take... Read more →


Armenian taxi drivers allege discrimination, sue City Hall

DOWNTOWN — A Los Angeles County judge has issued an injunction against City Hall’s recently adopted taxi cab franchise system in response to a lawsuit alleging civil rights violations filed by five Armenian-American-owned cab companies that failed to win franchises. A hearing in Downtown Los Angeles is set for Jan. 7 to determine... Read more →


Senior center wins award for lunch service

PICO BLVD — For the seniors who attend the Adult Day Service Center here, lunchtime means more than just a meal. It’s a social hour in a bright setting with flowers on every table. And it comes with entertainment. On Friday, the show was courtesy of Bob “The Music Man” Levy, who played his guitar and taught World... Read more →


California Incline closed over night

CALIFORNIA AVE — City officials will close the California Incline, one of the few Santa Monica streets connected to Pacific Coast Highway, Tuesday night at 10 p.m. until 7 a.m. on Wednesday morning in advance of a major storm expected to make landfall over night, which is expected to drop 3 to 6 inches of rain. Officials will make the... Read more →


Wisconsin to hold pre-Rose Bowl rally at Santa Monica Pier

SM PIER — Expect to see a flood of college football fans dressed in red and white if you’re in Downtown Santa Monica on Dec. 30 — the date when the Big Ten co-champion Wisconsin Badgers will hold a pep rally at the Santa Monica Pier ahead of their Rose Bowl appearance opposite Texas Christian University on New Year’s... Read more →


Desertification a real threat

Dear EarthTalk Can you explain what “desertification” is and why it is an important environmental issue? Jay Harris Nashville, TN Desertification is the degradation of land in already dry parts of the globe that results from various factors, including natural climate changes as well as human activity. As the name connotes it is... Read more →


Bus crash on PCH

CITYWIDE — It certainly was a manic Monday for one Metro bus driver who missed a freeway ramp early this morning, tried to make a U-turn and ended up with his bus disabled and blocking six lanes of Pacific Coast Highway in Santa Monica.  The driver, heading from a garage to his route up Santa Monica Boulevard, instead steered onto... Read more →


Slide closes PCH west of Malibu

MALIBU — A scenic stretch of Pacific Coast Highway west of Malibu has been closed because of a rock and mud slide as record rains soak Southern California. The California Highway Patrol says PCH was shut down at about 8:10 p.m. Sunday because of the slide near the border of Los Angeles and Ventura counties some 40 miles west of Downtown... Read more →


Promenade, traffic lights without power

DOWNTOWN — To make a dreary rainy day even worse, about 50 businesses on the Third Street Promenade were without power, and were expected to remain without electricity until as late as 2 a.m. Tuesday, said Vanessa McGrady of Southern California Edison. More than 2,000 customers were initially affected by a large outage, caused by an... Read more →


New stats reveal greater number of dropouts

SMMUSD HDQTRS — Last school year 13.5 percent of local public high school students dropped out, an increase from 8.1 percent during the previous year, according to new statistics compiled by the California Department of Education. Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District officials blamed the steep increase on a new system for... Read more →


FAA: Santa Monica Airport must stay open

SMO — Although an agreement between the federal government and City Hall governing the operation of Santa Monica Airport expires in 2015, FAA officials say that’s no reason to expect significant change at SMO. And it’s certainly not a reason to look forward to an airport closure, the agency says. “In the FAA’s... Read more →