Auto Club offers free tow

For the 14th year in a row, the Automobile Club of Southern California will offer free towing on New Year’s Eve in an attempt to keep drunken drivers off the road. The Tipsy Tow program will be available to intoxicated drivers from 6 p.m. Friday until 6 a.m. Saturday in the 13 counties served by the Auto Club. Motorists, bartenders,... Read more →


Clean and green

Dear EarthTalk: What’s up with dishwasher detergents of late? They’re clearly not working as well. I hope whatever was done is helping the environment because it’s not helping my dishes. — Sally P., Everett, Wash. What happened was that in July 2010 a significant reduction in the amount of phosphates... Read more →


Resident hit in crosswalk, killed

WILSHIRE BLVD — Santa Monica police are investigating the cause of a fatal traffic accident in which a 66-year-old man was struck while crossing Wilshire Boulevard Thursday night. The accident was the first deadly collision of 2010, police said. Santa Monica’s last fatal traffic accident occurred Dec. 15, 2009. Police said a... Read more →


Displaying displeasure with nativity scenes

OCEAN AVE — Damon Vix isn’t a Grinch by any means. He celebrates Christmas, giving gifts to family and friends. But when it comes to the nativity display in Palisades Park, Vix response is “bah-humbug,” or better yet, “Happy Solstice.” The Hollywood prop maker is the man behind a display that can be... Read more →


Providing homeless with a place to recover

MID-CITY — At night, following her breast cancer surgery, Patricia Parker would lie awake in her battered, 40-year-old pickup truck parked curbside on a Santa Monica street, wishing she was anywhere else. The skin on her back and breast was burned raw from the radiation therapy she was undergoing to keep her cancer at bay. The... Read more →


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 →