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If you’re new to Orange County, even if you’ve lived in California for years, you have to be aware that driving in the Los Angeles metropolitan area is unlike anywhere else. It’s not just gridlock. Some traffic laws are unique to LA. Due to the size of LA, it can be difficult to navigate. To feel more confident on the road, be aware of these things to avoid needing a Santa Ana traffic ticket lawyer.

Road Etiquette

LA residents know and understand that traffic might move slowly. Honking is reserved for imminent danger, but a light tap on the horn can let someone know that the light is green. When you’re on the freeway, give yourself lots of time to get across multiple lanes to exit. Don’t drive in the far-right lane unless you’re going slower than traffic or need to exit.

Rules to Follow

Avoid getting a ticket by following some rules that are specific to LA:

  • Carpool/HOV lanes
    High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes and carpool lanes have limited access and require a minimum number of occupants.
  • Cell phones

California prohibits using your handheld cell phone when driving. Use a hands-free device or wait until you can pull over.

  • Don’t smoke in your car if you have a child with you

It’s illegal to smoke in a vehicle that is carrying a minor child.

  • Don’t drink and drive
    The legal limit is 0.08 percent, but law enforcement will give you a ticket if you are impaired at lower levels. Don’t have open alcohol in the car. Transport it in the trunk.
  • Red light cameras
    Many major intersections have cameras that will record your license plate if you run the red light.

When You Get a Traffic Ticket, Take It Seriously 

Don’t just pay your ticket, but don’t toss it in the trash either. Get help from a traffic ticket attorney Orange County, when you contact The Ticket Clinic at 1-800-248-2846.

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california

Image Credit:  Pixabay

California has long been known as one of the most popular travel destinations in the U.S.  With beautiful beaches, warm weather and some of the most amazing sightseeing spots in the country, there are countless things that make the Golden State such a highly sought-after place to visit.  I personally make it a point to carve out some time each year and take a roadtrip to many of these great California cities.  If you’re planning a road trip out West this summer, here are 5 of the best California cities to visit.

Joshua Tree, CA

While Joshua Tree isn’t exactly a city (the quaint area is home to approximately 7,000 people), it has all the charms of a city ten times its size.  Nestled in the middle of the Mojave Desert, Joshua Tree is the perfect destination for anyone looking to get away from the hustle and bustle of Los Angeles city life.  The area is also home to the Joshua Tree National Park, which is a big draw for tourists looking to explore the outdoors.  Joshua Tree has also become a popular road trip stop, as the area boasts some unique attractions, like the World Famous Crochet Museum and the Hicksville Trailer Palace.  Joshua Tree was by far one of the coolest places i’ve ever visited, and I recommend making it a point to visit on your trip out West.

San Francisco, CA

There’s a reason San Francisco has been the subject of some of the greatest songs of our time.  Scott McKenzie, Tony Bennett, and even the Arctic Monkeys have all penned songs about the iconic city, and San Fran continues to attract artists and free spirits of all kinds.  Although the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the city’s most famous points of interest, there are tons of other fun and exciting things to do in San Francisco.  Whenever i’m in San Francisco, one of my favorite things to do is hang out in Crissy Field and watch all the cars driving over the bridge.  Crissy Field is a beautiful place to sightsee, and there are always plenty of friendly dogs to pet.  If you visit, be sure to check out the city’s historic Chinatown area, as well as Ghirardelli Square and the Aquarium of the Bay.

Fresno, CA

Fresno is one of those cities that often gets overlooked by people visiting California, but the city is actually home to some of the most interesting attractions in the state.  One huge draw for tourists is the city’s close proximity to Yosemite National Park, which is only a short drive away.  I had the chance to visit Yosemite a few years ago and it was one of the most incredible experiences of my life.  The feeling of standing underneath the Giant Sequoia trees is something that can’t be described.  Fresno real estate is also relatively more affordable than homes in other parts of the state, and many people who visit end up staying after experiencing all of the city’s charms.

Palm Springs, CA

Palm Springs is probably one of my favorite places on this earth.  In recent years, Palm Springs has gained a reputatin for being less of a retirement haven and more of a hipster paradise, due to the city’s close proximity to Indio (aka Coachella).  If the music festival vibe doesn’t appeal to you, there are countless other things to do in the area.  One of Palm Springs’ biggest appeals is the city’s unique Mid-Century Modern architecture, and many A-list celebrities have been known to purchase vacation homes in the area.  Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and Steve McQueen, and countless other celebrities all once owned homes in Palm Springs, and most of these homes are still standing to this day.  If you decide to visit, be sure to check out one of the area’s unique motels, something the city is known for.

Eureka, CA

For those looking to head North, look no further than Eureka.  While underrated, Eureka is one of the coolest cities in California, and truly has something for everyone.  I visited Eureka on a roadtrip through California, and I instantly fell in love with the city.  The downtown area is quirky and quaint, and there’s plenty to do any night of the week.  The city is full of old Victorian homes, and there are historic structures on nearly every street.  The Carson Mansion is one of the city’s most popular attractions, as the building is known as the most grand Victorian home in America.  Eureka is also home to the Sequoia Park Zoo, as well as the Clarke Historical Museum and the Redwood Discovery Museum.

Honorary Mentions

Cities that didn’t make the top 5 list but still deserve some recognition include:

  • San Diego
  • Sacramento
  • Venice
  • Anaheim
  • Laguna Beach

Uber has been fined $7.3 million in California for not giving regulators enough information about its service and operations.

A judge at the California Public Utilities Commission – the regulator that allows the company to operate in the state – said Uber had not filed all the reports required by the body.

The taxi booking app was accused of withholding details on incidents such as accidents.

Uber has been involved in legal battles around the world over its operations.Uber fined in California

The San Francisco based company’s services in cities such as Portland, Oregon have been suspended after a disagreement with the city, while its service of offering unlicensed taxi drivers has been banned in countries like Germany and Italy.

Uber’s app allows passengers to request rides from drivers in the area and its fares are generally lower than those of traditional taxis.

The company has also been accused of not giving data on how often it provided access to disabled passengers in California.

Uber has defended its operations in the state by saying it has given enough information to the commission.

After the ruling, Uber said that it would appeal against the decision.

Uber has up to 30 days to appeal before its license to operate in California is suspended.

The first full-scale Hyperloop will be built in central California in 2016.

Hyperloop is a new transportation method imagined up by entrepreneur Elon Musk.

The 5-mile test track will be built halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco.

The system uses depressurized tubes, as well as magnets and fans, to propel up to 28 people at a time at high speeds.

This model will be slower and shorter than the full-sized near-supersonic system envisioned by Elon Musk.

Hyperloop Transportation Technologies announced the agreement with the developers of Quay Valley, California, a planned community that emphasizes sustainability.Hyperloop to be built in California

The system will be built alongside the Interstate 5 freeway in central California, and the developers claim that it will be the first passenger-ready Hyperloop to be built in an urban area.

Elon Musk, who founded companies like Paypal, SpaceX, and Tesla Motors, first announced the idea of a Hyperloop in a 57-page white paper in August 2013.

In his original envisioning, Elon Musk imagined the system transporting people between Los Angeles and San Francisco- a distance of about 400 miles – in 30 minutes.

Shortly after the announcement Elon Musk handed the concept over to the public for anyone to develop, saying that he was too busy with other projects.

Since then hundreds of engineers have contributed ideas to the project during their spare time.

Elon Musk has described the design as a cross between Concorde, a railgun and an air hockey table.

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Lightning struck on crowded Venice Beach in Los Angeles, California, killing one man and injuring several people.

The lightning struck amid a rare summer thunderstorm, spreading panic among bathers and visitors.

Lifeguards fanned out across the beach and the water to attend to the injured, many of whom were treated at the scene.

Elsewhere in California, emergency crews are battling to contain wildfires that are threatening hundreds of homes.

At least 14 homes have reportedly been destroyed in the fires, which have blazed across drought-stricken grassland and forest.

Lightning struck on crowded Venice Beach in Los Angeles, killing one man and injuring several people

Lightning struck on crowded Venice Beach in Los Angeles, killing one man and injuring several people

A fire in the Sacramento region has spread to cover an area of about 4,000 acres, while another blaze has been threatening homes around Yosemite National Park.

The man killed at Venice Beach is said to have been 20 years old. The exact cause of his death is not yet known, and it is unclear if he was struck directly.

Witnesses say the sky darkened suddenly and screams filled the air as the storm hit the beach on Sunday afternoon. Eight people were admitted to hospital.

One of the injured is said to be in a critical condition. Several people received treatment for milder symptoms, including anxiety.

Stuart Acher told KABC-TV he was hit by lightning while playing volleyball.

“All of a sudden there was a big flash of light and a boom, and it felt like someone punched me in the back of my head,” he told the station.

“It went down the whole side of my right body, and my calves sort of locked up, and I fell over. And I looked up and everybody else was, you know, falling over.”

Lightning also hit Catalina Island, near Los Angeles.

A 57-year-old man who was playing golf was injured in the strike. His condition is said to be stable.

Until the latest strike, at least 15 people had been killed this year by lightning in the US, according to the National Weather Service.

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Two wildfires that hit California threatens homes and could result in the evacuation of hundreds of people, US officials say.

In the Sacramento region, a fire has spread to cover an area of about 4,000 acres, while another blaze threatens homes around Yosemite National Park.

The Sacramento fire is only 20% contained, officials told local media.

Months of drought have caused more fires in California this year – some 1,400, twice the usual number.

Two fast-moving wildfires in California are threatening homes and could result in the evacuation of hundreds of people

Two fast-moving wildfires in California are threatening homes and could result in the evacuation of hundreds of people

The Sacramento fire in the north of the state has doubled in size since it broke out on Friday afternoon, the Los Angeles Times reported officials as saying.

About 515 homes were evacuated as the blaze tore its way through drought-hit grassland.

“The fire’s moving in and around homes in the area,” California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection spokeswoman Lynn Tolmachoff told the AP news agency.

“The leading edge is bumping up against residences as we speak.”

Nearly 1,500 fire fighters and aircraft that included a DC-10 air tanker are battling the blaze, which has sent up huge plumes of smoke and reduced air quality in the Sacramento area.

Officials at dusk on Saturday said that cooler weather and less wind had brought some respite.

Meanwhile a 500-acre fire that started on Saturday afternoon is threatening homes in Yosemite.

Evacuations are reported to have been ordered in Foresta, a community of about 45 homes inside the national park where many employees of the park live.

Californian authorities are searching for fugitive homeless Eduardo Rosas Cruz, who has refused treatment for tuberculosis and may be contagious.

An arrest warrant has been issued for Eduardo Rosas Cruz, 25, of Mexico.

Eduardo Rosas Cruz was diagnosed with tuberculosis at a local emergency room in March but fled when asked to remain in the area for treatment.

Health officials are concerned he may be infected with a drug-resistant strain of the illness.

“We need help getting him in,” San Joaquin County public health officer Dr Alvaro Garza told US media.

“We’ve not been able to find him in places he’s told us he’s going to be.”

Californian authorities are searching for fugitive homeless Eduardo Rosas Cruz, who has refused treatment for tuberculosis and may be contagious

Californian authorities are searching for fugitive homeless Eduardo Rosas Cruz, who has refused treatment for tuberculosis and may be contagious

It is currently unclear if Eduardo Rosas Cruz is contagious, but he has not completed a nine-month course of medicine required for treatment.

Tuberculosis – spread through air when an infected person sneezes or coughs – can be fatal if left untreated.

In March, Eduardo Rosas Cruz arrived in hospital in San Joaquin complaining of a severe cough, shortness of breath, high fever and weight loss.

After he was diagnosed with tuberculosis, he was told to stay in a nearby motel and wait for a health worker to deliver medication.

Eduardo Rosas Cruz did not comply, forcing government officials to add him to a state-wide law enforcement database and later obtain an arrest warrant.

Health officials cannot, by law, force a person to be treated for tuberculosis. They can however isolate the infected person from the public.

“We’re interested in this guy because he broke the orders of the health officer,” San Joaquin County Deputy District Attorney Stephen Taylor told the Associated Press News Agency.

“He could be in a homeless shelter. He could be around the corner from the courthouse,” he added.

The US Geological Survey reported that a 6.9-magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Northern California on Sunday night.

The epicenter was 48 miles west-northwest of Ferndale and 50 miles west of Eureka at a depth of 4.3 miles, the USGS said.

The quake, which occurred at 1:18 a.m. ET, was initially reported as magnitude 6.1 on the Richter scale, but seismologists revised it upward to 6.9. It was followed by about a half-dozen aftershocks, including one of magnitude 4.6.

There were no reports of any damage or injuries though the quake was felt widely and strongly, according sheriff’s and fire officials in Humboldt County, which includes most of the populated areas near the epicenter.

The earthquake epicenter was 48 miles west-northwest of Ferndale and 50 miles west of Eureka at a depth of 4.3 miles

The earthquake epicenter was 48 miles west-northwest of Ferndale and 50 miles west of Eureka at a depth of 4.3 miles

Police in Eureka said the shaking lasted between 20 and 30 seconds.

Earthquakes are very common in Eureka, a city of about 27,000 people about 270 miles northwest of San Francisco and 100 miles south of the Oregon state line.

The probability of a “strong and possibly damaging aftershock” of magnitude 5.0 or greater in the next seven days was 90 percent, the USGS warned, adding that there was a 5 percent to 10 percent of another quake as large as or larger than the initial one in the next week.

No destructive tsunami was expected, and no tsunami advisory was issued, The West Coast/Alaska and Pacific Tsunami Warning Centers said.

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A 71-year-old South California woman is believed to have suffered about 1,000 stings after being attacked by a swarm of killer bees that covered her entire body.

Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Williams says the woman was expected to recover after Thursday’s attack in Palm Desert. He said five firefighters were also hospitalized for stings.

The woman is believed to have suffered about 1,000 stings after being attacked by a swarm of killer bees that covered her entire body

The woman is believed to have suffered about 1,000 stings after being attacked by a swarm of killer bees that covered her entire body (photo National Geographic)

A bee removal specialist told the Riverside Press-Enterprise that up to 80,000 Africanized honey bees found in an underground electrical vault stung a Verizon employee who opened the vault. Lance Davis said the bees then attacked the woman, who had just gotten out of a car nearby.

He said her relatives tossed a blanket over her and rushed her indoors.

Lance Davis said he removed the bees and planned to donate them to farmers.

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Clint Eastwood has been credited with saving the life of a golf tournament director in California who was choking on a piece of cheese.

“Clint saved my life,” said Steve John, director of the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am golf tournament.

Clint Eastwood reportedly saw that Steve John was in difficulty and performed the Heimlich manoeuvre on him.

The technique requires a rescuer to carry out abdominal thrusts on a choke victim to dislodge the blockage.

Clint Eastwood has been credited with saving the life of golf tournament director Steve John who was choking on a piece of cheese

Clint Eastwood has been credited with saving the life of golf tournament director Steve John who was choking on a piece of cheese

“Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. It was as bad as it could have been,” Steve John said of the incident at a drinks reception in Carmel-by-the-Sea on Wednesday.

“Clint came up behind me, and he knew exactly what to do.”

Clint Eastwood told the Carmel Pine Cone that he noticed Steve John had “that look of panic people have when they see their life passing before their eyes”.

Clint Eastwood, 83, moved behind Steve John and carried out the manoeuvre.

“I gave him three good jolts, and that got it out,” he said.

“And then I made him drink a big glass of water with a bunch of lemon squeezed in it.”

Clint Eastwood said he had performed the manoeuvre before, but only “to practice”.

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California Department of Water Resoucers (DWR) has announced it may for the first time be unable to deliver water to local agencies, amid a worsening drought.

Two-thirds of state residents and 1 million acres (404,500 hectares) of farmland get part or all of their drinking and irrigation supplies from the agency.

A state-wide drought was declared earlier this month, as the largest reservoirs sank to record low levels.

Forecasters have warned 2014 could be California’s driest year on record.

The extreme conditions have already caused a wildfire that destroyed homes in the Los Angeles area.

California Department of Water Resoucers has announced it may for the first time be unable to deliver water to local agencies

California Department of Water Resoucers has announced it may for the first time be unable to deliver water to local agencies

Previous extremely dry years led to catastrophic wildfire seasons in California in 2003 and 2007.

It is the first time in the water agency’s history that it has predicted a so-called “zero allocation”, which will affect around 25 million people.

State governor Jerry Brown said the announcement was a “stark reminder that California’s drought is real”.

Jerry Brown urged residents to conserve water, suggesting they avoid flushing toilets unnecessarily and to turn off the tap while shaving.

Meanwhile a spokesman for the state’s farming federation called the news “a terrible blow”.

The water originates from the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.

It is delivered to local agencies via a vast network of reservoirs, pipelines, aqueducts and pumping stations.

The 29 agencies that draw from the state’s water-delivery system have other sources, AP reports, although these too have been badly hit.

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California’s Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state-wide drought, urging residents to conserve water in what could be the state’s driest year on record.

The declaration also means farmers will receive aid and more firefighters will be employed.

Jerry Brown faced pressure to declare the drought as the state’s largest reservoirs are at record low levels.

The dry conditions have been blamed for a wildfire that destroyed five homes north-east of Los Angeles on Thursday.

California’s Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state-wide drought, urging residents to conserve water in what could be the state's driest year on record

California’s Governor Jerry Brown has declared a state-wide drought, urging residents to conserve water in what could be the state’s driest year on record

In a press conference on Friday, Jerry Brown called on residents to cut back “at least 20%” on their water usage but said the move was voluntary.

“We can’t make it rain, but we can be much better prepared for the terrible consequences that California’s drought now threatens,” Jerry Brown said in a statement.

He added the declaration was a way to focus Californians on how serious the drought conditions were.

“We are in an unprecedented, very serious situation that people should pause and reflect on how dependent we are on the rain, nature and one other,” he said on CNN.

Previous extremely dry years led to catastrophic wildfire seasons in California in 2003 and 2007.

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Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick are reportedly separated, InTouch magazine has claimed.

The magazine reported that Scott Disick has moved out of the Kardashian’s Calabasas, California, estate and into the Montage Beverly Hills Hotel.

Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick are reportedly separated

Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick are reportedly separated

According to InTouch, Scott Disick, 30, he was seen last week with an “exotic-looking” brunette, with a body language-reading spy maintaining that the way “they looked at each other suggested they were a lot more than friends. A man with a long-term partner and two children should never behave like that with another woman.”

However, Kourtney Kardashian, 34, and Scott Disick – who have 4-year-old Mason and 17-month-old Penelope together – were spotted Tuesday cruising around Los Angeles in Disick’s red Ferrari.

The Kardashians insiders called the rumors “ridiculous” and “not true”.

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Californian city of Irwindale has sued the maker of Sriracha hot sauce saying the factory’s smell makes the area uninhabitable.

Irwindale has asked a judge to prevent Huy Fong Foods from making the spicy condiment until the factory submits plan to reduce the smell.

Huy Fong representatives have said they are actively trying to fix the problem and have received no citations.

Sriracha sauce is sold around the world, and there was even a recent Sriracha festival in LA.

Californian city of Irwindale has sued the maker of Sriracha hot sauce saying the factory's smell makes the area uninhabitable

Californian city of Irwindale has sued the maker of Sriracha hot sauce saying the factory’s smell makes the area uninhabitable

Irwindale officials say residents have complained of burning eyes, irritated throats and headaches and are unable to escape the smell even inside their homes.

“The odors are so strong and offensive as to have caused residents to move outdoor activities indoors and even to vacate their residences temporarily to seek relief from the odors,” the city alleges in the lawsuit.

Huy Fong moved its factory to Irwindale, 20 miles outside Los Angeles, earlier this year. Before, it had two smaller factories in a nearby town.

During the months of September to December, all the chillies needed for producing the year’s sauce are processed and stored.

The company had been co-operating with the city until representatives denied the odors were a problem, saying workers had no complaints, according to Irwindale City Attorney Fred Galante.

Huy Fong founder David Tran told the Los Angeles Times that the company had already installed filters in the factory, to combat escaping smells, but needed more time to research how to best abate the odor.

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The FBI is conducting an independent investigation of the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a sheriff’s deputy in Northern California.

Sheriff Steve Freitas said in a statement Friday afternoon that he will cooperate fully with federal investigators and welcomes their participation in the probe of Andy Lopez’s killing on Tuesday afternoon. The shooting has generated numerous protests and marches in the suburban town of Santa Rosa, with many residents questioning the deputy’s decision to fire on the youth.

Steve Freitas also expressed sympathy to the Lopez family and thanked the Santa Rosa community for keeping protests peaceful.

Police say Andy Lopez was carrying a pellet gun that looked like an AK-47 assault rifle.

A timeline released Thursday by the Santa Rosa police shows that only 10 seconds passed from the moment that the sheriff’s deputy and his partner called dispatch to report a suspicious person to the moment they called back to say shots had been fired.

FBI spokesman Paul Lee said he did not know why his agency decided to get involved or whether local authorities had requested its help.

The FBI is conducting an independent investigation of the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a sheriff's deputy in Northern California

The FBI is conducting an independent investigation of the fatal shooting of 13-year-old Andy Lopez by a sheriff’s deputy in Northern California

More than 100 angry middle and high school students walked to City Hall on Friday, the Santa Rosa Press Democrat reported. Hundreds of people protested earlier in the week.

City police and the Sonoma County district attorney’s office are also investigating.

The Santa Rosa Police Department said two deputies in a squad car encountered the hoodie-wearing Andy Lopez just after 3:14 p.m.

Witnesses say at least one of the deputies took cover behind an open front door of the cruiser, and one yelled twice “drop the gun.”

Ten seconds after their initial report to dispatch, one of the officers called in “shot have been fired.”

Sixteen seconds later, the deputies were calling for medical help. Cruz was later pronounced dead at the scene. The Sonoma County coroner said he found seven “apparent entry wounds,” two of them fatal.

The deputies, who have not been identified, have been placed on paid administrative leave, which is standard after a shooting, officials said.

Assistant Sheriff Lorenzo Duenas told the Press Democrat that the deputy who shot the teen is a 24-year veteran and his partner, who did not fire his weapon, is a new hire.

Santa Rosa police Lt. Paul Henry told the newspaper the deputy who opened fire later told investigators he believed his life as well his partner’s was in jeopardy. The deputy said the teen didn’t comply with commands to drop the gun and was turning toward the deputies while raising the barrel.

Hundreds of community members marched Wednesday night to remember Andy Lopez and protest the shooting.

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An extended heat wave has hit western US states, with temperatures threatening to break the all-time high recorded on Earth.

In Phoenix, Arizona, the mercury hit 116F (47C) on Friday, and in the desert of Death Valley, California, the thermometer approached 124F (51C).

The heat wave is expected to last through the weekend.

Cities in the region are opening cooling centres and officials fear the heat could delay air travel.

Most large aircraft can operate in temperatures up to 125F (52C), but readings as low as 116F (47C) could affect liftoff conditions.

A US Airways spokesman said the airline would be monitoring temperatures in Phoenix “very closely”.

Michael Fedo of Scottsdale, Arizona, said his family was spending less time outdoors as the temperature rose and that he had taken to going to the grocery store in the middle of the night.

“I’ve installed blackout shades on every window in my house,” he said.

“I’m a fourth-generation native of Phoenix so I expect it to be hot. But when it goes above 113F [45C] it hurts to breathe. The heat sucks the energy from your core.”

The National Weather Service has issued a heat warning for several parts of the region, including Las Vegas, until Monday morning. Parts of five states including Colorado and Utah will see temperatures higher than 98F (37C) over the weekend.

“We’ll be at or above record levels in the Phoenix area and throughout a lot of the south-western United States,” meteorologist Mark O’Malley said.

An extended heat wave has hit western US states, with temperatures threatening to break the all-time high recorded on Earth

An extended heat wave has hit western US states, with temperatures threatening to break the all-time high recorded on Earth

Temperatures in Death Valley in the California desert are forecast to reach 127F (53C) over the weekend. The hottest air temperature ever recorded on Earth, 134F (57C), was marked there almost 100 years ago on 10 July 1913.

Weather officials say the extreme weather is caused by a high-pressure system stuck over the area.

Scientists say the North American jet stream, the path of air that influences weather patterns, has become more erratic in the past few years, making weather systems more likely to become stuck in place.

But they disagree on whether global warming is the cause of the jet stream’s behavior.

The US Border Patrol’s search, trauma and rescue unit has added extra personnel this weekend as the threat of exhaustion and dehydration rises for those attempting to cross the US-Mexico border illegally on foot.

At least seven migrants were found dead in Arizona’s desert last week in lower temperatures. Border officials in Tucson, Arizona, rescued more than 170 people suffering from the heat during a thirty-day period in May and June.

Utility officials planned to monitor electricity usage closely over the weekend but were not immediately concerned about overloads.

“While it’s hot, people tend to leave town and some businesses aren’t open, so that has a tendency to mitigate demand and is why we typically don’t set records on weekends,” said spokesman Scott Harelson of Phoenix-area utility Salt River Project.

And zookeepers at the Phoenix Zoo were expected to keep outdoor animals chilled with water hoses and concrete slabs cooled by internal water-filled pipes.

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Californian voters are to be asked whether they want to abolish the state’s death penalty law.

The measure will appear on November’s ballot after more than 500,000 people signed up to back the proposal.

It would see death row inmates have their sentences commuted to life. Just 13 people have been executed since the law was re-introduced in 1978.

Backers say abolition could save California $100 million per year, but opponents say justice would be harmed.

“Our system is broken, expensive and it always will carry the grave risk of a mistake,” said Jeanne Woodford, a former warden of San Quentin Prison, home to the largest death row unit in the US.

Jeanne Woodford is now an anti-death penalty advocate and is named as the official proposer of the measure, which is backed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

The former warden and other supporters say the cash savings would be achieved by taking prisoners off death row and by cutting down on fees for lawyers arguing death penalty cases. The money could be better spent investigating unsolved crimes, backers of the measure say.

Under the terms of the measure those sentenced to life in prison for murder would in future have to take up jobs while incarcerated.

San Quentin State Prison in California is one of the most famous death row sites in the US

San Quentin State Prison in California is one of the most famous death row sites in the US

With the state of California wracked by long-standing budget issues, there is wide acceptance that the death penalty system needs reform.

Data from the Death Penalty Information Center shows that at the start of the year the state had 723 inmates on death row. The US as a whole had 3,189.

But no inmate has been put to death in California since 2006, and a respected study in 2009 noted that the state was spending some $184 million each year to keep death row and the death penalty infrastructure up and running.

Opponents of the measure argue that the principle of the death penalty is valid and should remain, but say the constant and costly appeals and legal fees are inflating the costs.

“On behalf of crime victims and their loved ones who have suffered at the hands of California’s most violent criminals, we are disappointed that the ACLU and their allies would seek to score political points in their continued efforts to override the will of the people and repeal the death penalty,” former Sacramento prosecutor McGregor Scott told the Associated Press.

The death penalty measure is the fifth to qualify for November’s ballot, California’s secretary of state said on Monday.

Other measures deal with water costs, political contributions, car insurance and local legislative boundaries.

 

A banker dining at True Food Kitchen restaurant in Newport Beach, California, left only $1.33 on a $133.54 tab, enforcing his position as the “one per cent”.

In addition, the arrogant banker gave the server, Breanna, another tip: “Get a real job.”

His belligerent behavior at the restaurant was documented by his dining companion, who posted a photo of the receipt to Twitter, alerting Eater’s Receiprocity blog.

The post – and corresponding blog – was later deleted.

FutureExBanker wrote in a now-deleted post: “I work in the corporate office of a major bank for a boss who represents everything wrong with the financial industry.”

He said that his boss will tip exactly one per cent of the bill “every time he feels the server doesn’t sufficiently bow down to his Holiness.”

The disgruntled employee continued: “[My boss] has blatant disregard and outright contempt for everyone and everything he deems beneath him.

“On top of that, he’s a complete and utter tool.”

A banker dining at True Food Kitchen restaurant in Newport Beach, California, left only $1.33 on a $133.54 tab, enforcing his position as the “one per cent”.

A banker dining at True Food Kitchen restaurant in Newport Beach, California, left only $1.33 on a $133.54 tab, enforcing his position as the “one per cent”.

 

While servers often receive the brunt of a diner’s anger in form of a low or non-existent tip, it is customary to tip a minimum of 15% for good service.

A hostess for True Food Kitchen told LAList.com that she had heard about the receipt but could neither confirm nor deny if it was real, nor if she remembered the customer.

“We have no statement on the issue,” the hostess said.

Vice President of operations for True Food Kitchen told the Huffington Post that the receipt in question is real, but they’re in the process of tracking him down.

He added the restaurant will do “everything they can to make it up to (Breanna) somehow.”

“We are the 99 per cent” was runner up to “occupy” for 2011’s word of the year. The phrase is closely tied to the Occupy Wall Street movement, and states that one per cent of Americans have a disproportionate amount of wealth.

The Wall Street Journal states that someone must be making at least $506,000 before joining the elite one per cent of top American earners.

 

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Michael Gressett, a deputy DA from California, who prosecuted sex crimes, was accused of raping a junior employee using an ice pick, handcuffs and a gun, according to court records.

The incident allegedly left bed sheets stained with blood and caused the traumatized woman to press charges against her boss.

The alleged victim, known only as Jane Doe, 33, claimed her boss Michael Gressett, 53, raped her during a lunch break while he waited for a verdict in a molestation case.

Although the woman had agreed to have sex with Michael Gressett, she later claimed it had been too rough, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Michael Gressett has insisted the tryst was consensual.

Michael Gressett, a deputy DA from California, who prosecuted sex crimes, was accused of raping a junior employee using an ice pick, handcuffs and a gun

Michael Gressett, a deputy DA from California, who prosecuted sex crimes, was accused of raping a junior employee using an ice pick, handcuffs and a gun

A judge dismissed the rape charges last month but the California state attorney’s office is now considering whether to appeal the decision.

According to court records, there was a “raunchy” environment at the Contra Costa County sex crimes unit, north-east of San Francisco.

Deputy DA Michael Gressett and the woman had reportedly had sex once before with her describing him to a friend as “pretty kinky”.

The woman told the grand jury that she went back to his condo near the courthouse in May 2008 after he texted her suggesting they meet up at lunchtime.

She claimed Michael Gressett showed her a knife and traced patterns on her sweater with the point of the blade. She said he then handcuffed her ankle to her wrist and forced her into a sex act.

Initially, the woman did not bring charges and Michael Gressett was not arrested until five months later.

A search of his home found 200 Viagra tablets and marijuana. An ice pick, gun and a pair of handcuffs were also discovered in the nightstand.

A retired judge was assigned to the case after it emerged that one of the county judges had previously dated Michael Gressett.

The case against Michael Gressett began to crumble after it was revealed that the accuser had continued working with him for four months after the alleged rape.

The woman collected $450,000 in a settlement with the county after reportedly suffering employment retaliation for making the rape charge.

 

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Medical marijuana dispensaries in California have been ordered to close from Saturday, as a federal crackdown looms.

Distributors and their landlords were told in late September to shut down in 45 days or face prosecution.

Some marijuana distributors filed for a temporary restraining order earlier this month.

California legalized medical marijuana in 1996, but use of the drug remains illegal under federal law.

US attorneys have said they are targeting large dispensary operators and growers, instead of individuals. For-profit sales are in violation of California’s state law.

It was reported that some outlets appear to have been targeted because they are near schools and parks.

Federal prosecutors say they are focusing on towns and cities that have already banned marijuana shops.

California, which permitted medical marijuana in a referendum in 1996, is by far the leader in the field, with some reports suggesting it has more dispensaries than Starbucks coffee houses

California, which permitted medical marijuana in a referendum in 1996, is by far the leader in the field, with some reports suggesting it has more dispensaries than Starbucks coffee houses

Matthew Kumin, a lawyer for the pro-marijuana group NORML, told reporters earlier this week that the federal government’s marijuana policies were not consistent.

“The government’s irrational policy has reached a breaking point,” Matthew Kumin said.

“The federal government said it will not prosecute patients, and yet they want to shut off their supply. This doesn’t make sense.”

The complaint, filed in four US district courts in California, says a federal crackdown contradicts an agreement from a previous court case.

In that case, the federal government said it would not use its own power against marijuana patients who were acting within the guidelines of state law.

Medical marijuana advocates also contend threatening to close down dispensaries is a violation of the 10th amendment to the US constitution.

However, federal officials say they are well within the law.

“Unless and until ordered otherwise, we will continue to do our duty in enforcing federal narcotics laws,” the US attorney for the Eastern District of California told the New York Times in a statement.

While the NORML suit is the second such filing in California, Matthew Kumin told the Los Angeles Times that only a few so-called pot collectives and landlords wanted to publicly fight.

“Everybody’s gone underground,” Kumin said.

Medical marijuana advocates in California say the drug is a key element of palliative care for patients with a range of conditions, including cancer, chronic pain, glaucoma and arthritis.

Elsewhere in the US, the District of Columbia and 15 additional states allow patients to possess marijuana with a doctor’s prescription.

But many fear the prescriptions are misused and the drug is in effect being made legally available to healthy recreational users.

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A pair of 1,500-year-old and 250 feet giant sequoias – whose branches are the size of normal trees – dramatically fell to the ground on September 30 in California.

Gerrit Panzner, a German tourist, watched the two 250 feet trees fall to the ground at the Trail of 100 Giants in Sierra Nevada, California and captured the amazing moments and the crushing sound on video.

The trees lay the length of a football pitch and their diameter of their torn roots and base was 20 feet.

“It can’t be possible,” Gerrit Panzner, who watched the tree fall, told Catholic Online.

“That tree has been there thousands of years and then you realise the tree is falling and you had to run.”

A pair of 1,500-year-old and 250 feet giant sequoias - whose branches are the size of normal trees - dramatically fell to the ground on September 30 in California

A pair of 1,500-year-old and 250 feet giant sequoias - whose branches are the size of normal trees - dramatically fell to the ground on September 30 in California

Gerrit Panzner heard loud “crinkling” noises before they eventually fell – but nobody was injured. The trees are believed to have fallen over because they could simply not support their weight anymore.

The trees fell on the Trail of 100 Giants in the Sierra Nevada, which is a route accessible to wheelchairs that allows visitors to view more than 100 huge sequoia trees.

At this moment, Forest Service officials are deciding what to do with two of the world’s largest trees, as many conservationists have suggested they should be left alone.

This would mean the trail would have to be rerouted around them, which could cause problems for wheelchair users who would not be able to use steep alternative paths, reported NBC News.

Fallen trees can also be a habitat for wildlife and release nutrients back into the soil, reported the Los Angeles Times. The trees became a national monument 11 years ago.

Forest officials have even suggested building a bridge over the trees or cutting them up for firewood, reported NBC News.

Officials are set to make a decision on what to do by next summer, but until then are inviting the public to help them decide.

“It’s very, very rare for a giant Sequoia tree to die standing up unless it’s in a very, very severe fire,” a district ranger told Catholic Online.

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Eight people have been killed Wednesday afternoon by a gunman at Salon Meritage in Seal Beach, California.

The gunman, Scott Dekraai, apparently enraged over a custody dispute walked into a crowded Seal Beach hair salon where his ex-wife worked and opened fire, killing eight people and critically wounding another person in the deadliest shooting in Orange County history.

The 41-year-old gunman is said to have shot a total of nine hairdressers and customers at Salon Meritage, a beauty salon just blocks from the Pacific Ocean in the upscale seaside resort of Seal Beach.

A 41-year-old gunman is said to have shot a total of nine hairdressers and customers at Salon Meritage, a beauty salon just blocks from the Pacific Ocean in the upscale seaside resort of Seal Beach

A 41-year-old gunman is said to have shot a total of nine hairdressers and customers at Salon Meritage, a beauty salon just blocks from the Pacific Ocean in the upscale seaside resort of Seal Beach

 

According to authorities, the attacker stormed in the salon at 1:30 p.m. and sprayed with gunfire as victims fell to the floor and those who could escape ran onto the street or hid in neighboring businesses in the bustling area of trendy restaurants and shops along Pacific Coast Highway.

Scott Dekraai continued firing outside, where he shot one man who apparently tried to flee in a Range Rover.

Six people were pronounced dead at the scene. Three others, including a 73-year-old woman, were initially rushed to the trauma center at Long Beach Memorial Hospital in critical condition, where two of them died later. One of the shooting victims is thought to be Salon Meritage owner, Randy Fannin, and the other one is Scott Dekraai’s ex-wife, Michelle Fournier. All the victims were adults.

The gunman, who used to work in the military, had allegedly threatened violence after losing the custody of his and Michelle Fournier 7-year-old son, Dominic.

Scott Dakraai was arrested about half a mile away and was the sole suspect in the rampage, according to police

Scott Dakraai was arrested about half a mile away and was the sole suspect in the rampage, according to police

An officer saw the suspect leaving the area as police responded to reports of the gunfire. Scott Dakraai was arrested about half a mile away and was the sole suspect in the rampage, according to police.

Scott Dakraai, a Huntington Beach resident, was thought to have been wearing body armor during the attack.

When officers raided his car they found multiple weapons, police said.

The shooter didn’t offer any resistance when he was arrested.

Sergeant Steve Bowles of Seal Beach Police said: “We believe he is the only shooter. He was taken into custody without injury.”

The Wednesday rampage stunned the normally placid Seal Beach community. Just one homicide had been reported in the city in the last five years, according to authorities.

“A crime of this magnitude is not something Seal Beach is familiar with,” Sergeant Steve Bowles said. “This could be one of our greatest tragedies.”

Salon Meritage was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape

Salon Meritage was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape

According to Mary Hearn, spokeswoman for Los Angeles County Superior Court, Scott Dekraai initiated a divorce case in 2007 against Michelle Fournier, whose last name was then Dekraai. A judge ruled that all contact between the couple had to be via text or email, except for a 10-minute phone call once a week to discuss their child’s education and well-being.

At the time of the court dispute it appeared that Scott Dekraai was awarded custody and Michelle Fournier had to comply with several conditions to see the child, such as to not consume alcohol 24 hours before visiting. Last year, the case was transferred to Orange County Superior Court at Scott Dekraai’s request, according to spokeswoman.

A local man named Bill Horton said: “[It was a] custody battle for seven-year-old son. Ex-Husband lost court case yesterday. Apparently he had been making threats of violence.”

One of Michelle Fournier neighbor’s told KTLA she took out a restraining order against her former husband on Tuesday.

Scott Dekraai is said to have moved to the area in 2009 after being honorably discharged from the military because of a work-related leg injury. He allegedly remarried Mindy Miguel, his rehab nurse. Mindy is currently assisting detectives with their investigations, according to neighbors.

Outside the salon, which was cordoned off with yellow crime scene tape, witnesses described a chaotic scene in which multiple rounds were fired inside the business and in the parking lot. Kimberly Criswell, who owns a neighboring salon, said at least two shots were fired in front of her business as the attacker shot at the man in the Range Rover.

Police confirmed that one of the victims is male and some of those inside managed to escape without harm.

The quiet Seal Beach has approximately 25,000 residents and identifies itself as the Gateway to Southern California’s Orange County and is located about 30 miles southeast of Los Angeles. Sandra Bullock is among its famous residents.

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