Friday desk clearing

Interstate 5 north out of Los Angeles was closed at Castaic for all of Friday afternoon and evening's getaway hours due to a brushfire. Yes, a traffic mess.

Fifteen California election races remain too close to cal; because of the million or so still-uncounted ballots out there. Possibly affected are the 46th, 50th and 57th assembly districts in the LA area. LAT

Francis Gary Powers, the ex-Lockheed test pilot who was shot down over the Soviet Union in 1960 leading to public disclosure of the existence of the U-2 spy plane, will be awarded a posthumous Silver Star by the Air Force. Powers died in 1977 when his Channel 4 helicopter crashed in Encino.

Nice piece by Patrick Goldstein on LA ghost writer David Ritz, who has "collaborated with generations of musicians, athletes and talk show hosts, including Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, B.B. King, Janet Jackson, Gary Sheffield and Tavis Smiley."

Alumni of the Los Angeles Daily News back at least to the Tribune ownership era are gathering for a reunion Saturday evening on the patio at the Sagebrush Cantina in Calabasas. Ray Richmond is the main convenor. Facebook page

Meanwhile, the current DN has hired Eric Hartley, a reporter and columnist for The
Capital in Annapolis, Md., to cover cops and courts. He replaces Melissa Pamer, who jumped to the NBC LA online team.

Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein shared a byline for the first time in decades, and in the Washington Post, saying that 40 years of disclosures since the Watergate break-in have proven that Richard Nixon was a bigger crook than they ever knew.

Don Rickles did his old shtick at AFI's tribute to Shirley MacLaine, shocking some of the young un's with stuff like “I shouldn’t make fun of the blacks...President Obama is a personal friend of mine. He was over to the house yesterday, but the mop broke.”

KLCS, the LAUSD-owned TV channel which now bills itself as "the only PBS station still originating from Los Angeles," will hold its first pledge driver in 40 years starting Tuesday at 9 p.m. with the world television premier of "Hollywood to Dollywood."

The Dolby Theatre signs have gone up (under wraps until Monday) on that venue at Hollywood Highland that's not Grauman's Chinese. Curbed LA

AIDS at Thirty, a prospective documentary by producer Paul M. J. Suchecki, is looking for Kickstarter funding.

The Santa Monica Pier Paddle and Ocean Festival returns to the beach on Saturday.

More by Kevin Roderick:
'In on merit' at USC
Read the memo: LA Times hires again
Read the memo: LA Times losing big on search traffic
Google taking over LA's deadest shopping mall
Gustavo Arellano, many others join LA Times staff
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End of the week desk clearing
News and notes: 2015 into 2016
LA Unified closes all schools due to threat