Archive: San Fernando Valley

Entries in this category going back awhile

Charles Manson dies 48 years after the murders that changed LA

manson-1970-wally-fong.jpg "Many people I know in Los Angeles believed the '60s ended abruptly on Aug. 9, 1969," Joan Didion wrote of the most notorious multiple murders in Los Angeles history.

Biggest maybe, but not close to the worst LA brush fire

latuna-fire-lacty.jpg This weekend's fire in Los Angeles isn't even the worst La Tuna Canyon fire in recent times.

Tail o' the Pup headed to Valley Relics Museum*

tail-o-the-pup-sv.jpg The iconic hot dog facade will go on public display in Chatsworth sometime soon.

Palm weeds of Santa Susana

santa-susana-palm-weeds.jpg Even those Angelenos who like the promiscuous sprouting of non-native Mexican fan palms across the urban terrain will have to agree these are misplaced.

Ritchie Valens legacy keeps growing

ritchievalens-631x420.jpg Been a few years since I posted on the anniversary. But here are a couple of videos.

P-51 found dead on freeway where mother and other cub died

P-50-P-51-and-P-52.jpg The mother P-39 and both cubs died on the 118 in Santa Susana Pass since Dec. 3.

Lynne Westmore Bloom, 81, painted the Pink Lady of Malibu Canyon

pink-lady-in-pink.jpg As Lynne Seemayer, she created an indelible part of LA street art lore and became something of a legend.

Winter solstice cave pictograph at Burro Flats

burro-flats-ruggles-3.jpg From the LA Observed archives, a piece for the winter solstice on a Chumash cave painting in the local hills.

P-39 hit and killed crossing freeway

P-39-nps.jpg The mother of three mountain lion kittens was killed on the 118 freeway, the National Park Service confirmed.

James Dean gas station corner to become grocery

james-dean-casadepetrol-thumb-640x444-29454.jpg An update to our guest blogger post from last month about the demise of Casa de Petrol in Sherman Oaks.

Code 7 in Sherman Oaks: A little bit of history

Cde7-shermanaks.jpg A popular spot with Valley motor officers is one door over from a notorious crime location.

Museum of Neon Art thriving in Glendale

mna-eastsde.jpg MONA had to leave downtown in 2011 but things are all right now. Visiting is like seeing old friends again.

Councilman Felipe Fuentes to resign, become lobbyist

felipe-fuentes.jpg The councilman from the northeast Valley stayed less than one term.

Valley candidate is in, then he's out of runoff

joe-shammas-certif.jpg The Secretary of State gave Joe Shammas a certificate saying he finished second to Rep. Tony Cardenas. Then he took it away.

Meet P-48, P-49, P-50, P-51 and P-52

p48-49.jpg New mountain lion kittens have been tagged in two litters in the Santa Susana Mountains.

Is Hansen Dam park the most Mexican corner of LA?

Hansen-Dam-laopinion.jpg La Opinión says the Sunday scene of families, horses and bands is like a rural Mexican village.
mystery-imagination-bookstore.jpg Big sale starts today then the Brand Boulevard shop will move online.

Fire evacuations in Calabasas. Channels 4 and 7 on live

kabc-fire-grab.jpg A brush fire started by a car accident this afternoon is burning right up to homes in Calabasas, close to the area of Old Topanga Road and Mulholland Highway.

When Van Nuys was a name downtown too

barclay-garyleonard.jpg Before it was a boulevard and a suburban community, Van Nuys was a name from LA's past that people should know.

Still just Burbank Airport to many of us

united-airport-opens-1930.jpg Bob Hope has been a dumb name for an airport for 12 years. So they are going with Hollywood Burbank (again.)

Filthy McNasty, LA club owner of lore

filthy-and-friends.jpg The original Filthy McNasty's occupied the Sunset Strip spot now the Viper Room. He also ran FM Station in the Valley.

New leak over the weekend above Porter Ranch

porter-ranch-gas-well.jpg The amount of gas and oil to escape was small, but everyone is jittery.

Auto junk yard burns Sunday in the Valley

Pick-your-arts-fire-lafd-Rick-McClure.jpg Afternoon fire at Pick Your Part required 150 firefighters to knock down.

Feds looking at small donations to Nury Martinez

nury-martinez-campaign.jpg Aides of the Valley councilwoman and their family members have been called into a grand jury over $5 and $10.

Richard Alarcon wants back in the politics game

richard-alarcon-flora.jpg With his convictions overturned on appeal, Alarcon says he is a candidate for Congress in the Valley.

Porter Ranch leak sealed off, now on to Exide

porter-ranch-gas-well.jpg Gov. Jerry Brown wants the state to spend $176 million on cleanup of lead contamination.

Gas leak stopped above Porter Ranch, at least for now

porter-ranch-gas-well.jpg A relief well has allowed SoCal Gas to stop the uncontrolled release of odorized natural gas, but the utility describes the stoppage as temporary pending a final seal over the well leaking since October.

Locations for 'Hail, Caesar!' and 'Birth of a Nation'

boan-tree-study-bengston.jpg If you enjoy spotting LA locations in Hollywood movies, you'll like this.

Alex Padilla is among the Porter Ranch dislocated

padilla-news-conf.jpg California's Secretary of State put his family in a Burbank hotel about six weeks ago.

Negligence to blame in Porter Ranch, AQMD says

porter-ranch-well-earthworks.jpg Civi lawsuit blames SoCal Gas for the three-month methane leak in Aliso Canyon

Feds looking at small donations to Nury Martinez

nury-martinez-campaign.jpg Some details are getting out about the federal criminal investigation that seems to involve City Councilwoman Nury Martinez and her staff. City Hall reporter David Zahniser reports in the LA...

Alarcon convictions overturned on appeal

Thumbnail image for richard-alarcon-2013-dn.jpg Former LA City Councilman state lawmaker Richard Alarcon and his wife have already served their sentences in a case about where they officially lived for voting purposes.

Video of Aliso Canyon gas leak taken down*

sherman-englander-alisocyn.jpg Aides for elected officials get to go where news cameras can't. But the Gas Co. got Sherman to take the videos down.

New fear in Porter Ranch: Blowout of the well

porter-ranch-gas-well.jpg "If the wellhead fails," says a physical sciences professor, "It will be a horrible, horrible problem."

Governor declares Porter Ranch gas leak a disaster

socalgas-cap.jpg Several state agencies are ordered to take a role in getting SoCal Gas to stop the methane venting above Aliso Canyon.

Photos: Valleywood junkyard cleans up well

upick-door.jpg All the junkyard cars are gone from U-Pick Parts and Aadlen Brothers Auto Wrecking in Sun Valley, after 53 years serving car owners and Hollywood.

Porter Ranch gas leak in 8th week and not going away

porter-ranch-gas-well.jpg "It’s the climate equivalent of the BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico," the Guardian says. More than 3,000 Angelenos remain out of their homes.

Appreciating LA's ghost streets and shapes

la-ghost-streets.jpg Writer Geoff Manaugh has posted at BLDGBLOG his observation that from above, the shapes of blocks, yards and even specific homes reveal the existence of old streets we can't see anymore. And more.

Home in the Valley, the podcast

orange-trees-csun.jpg In his terrific new podcast series, Santa Monica author Bill Barol seeks to explain what it meant to call the San Fernando Valley home.

George Barris, LA's king of car customizers, was 89

george-barris-vla.jpg The creator of the Batmobile and many other "kustom" cars for Hollywood was first a legend in the LA car culture.

Valleywood's 26 acres of wrecked cars closing for good*

Googie-Arches.jpg AAdlen Brothers Auto Wrecking, an institution in Sun Valley for 53 years, has supplied or been in a lot of movies, TV episodes and music videos.

Wrong way to hype an investigative story

nuclear-secret-grafic.jpg There's nothing secret about KNBC's Santa Susana nuclear accident package -- the station broke the story for TV in 1979 with Warren Olney reporting.

RV encampment on Tujunga Avenue in North Hollywood

rv-nh-12.jpg The blogger at Here in Van Nuys visited with some of the homeless parked in 15 vans, campers and RVs at North Hollywood Park.

Cops and prosecutors oppose parole for Voltaire Williams

voltaire-williams-cdc.jpg In early August we published a blogger piece about Williams, convicted in the murder of Los Angeles police officer Thomas Williams in 1985.

William Finnegan's San Fernando Valley days

barbarian-days-cover.jpg In his new memoir about surfing, the New Yorker staff writer remembers the hot and dry, white, inland place that spawned him. We help him a little with the origin story of Tarzana.

Susan Ahn Cuddy, 100, Korean-American pioneer in LA

susan-ahn-cuddy.jpg Born to the first Korean couple to immigrate to Los Angeles, she was a Navy code breaker in World War II, an activist in LA and part of a popular postwar restaurant family in the San Fernando Valley.

P-39 and cubs feeding on a deer

p-39-kitten-nps.jpg New batch of photos gathered by remote camera in the eastern end of the Santa Susana Mountains.

Three bowling alleys and a Marilyn Monroe house go away

friendly-hills-bowl.jpg Mission Hills Bowl, Friendly Hills Lanes in Whittier and Wagon Wheel Bowl in Oxnard all went dark this month. And a home where Norma Jean Dougherty lived in what's now Valley Village was torn down.

Jue Joe Ranch in the middle of the Valley (photos)

jue-joe-barn-side.jpg An old barn and packing shed remain from an asparagus ranch where a Chinese immigrant family thrived before the San Fernando Valley became the suburbs.

Birds still not thriving in damaged Sepulveda Basin reserve

sepulveda-dam-tagging.jpg Greenery has returned, but few bird species are spotted in the reserve where the Army Corps abruptly tore out trees and habitat in 2012.

Teardown: Daily News building in Woodland Hills

daily-news-tear-down-pool.jpg Bob Pool, the recently retired Los Angeles Times staff writer, posted a Twitter photo today of the former Daily News headquarters in Woodland Hills being razed.

100 years ago today, the Valley made Los Angeles big

annex-map-sfv-part.jpg Sunday is the centennial of, arguably, the most significant public vote in the history of Los Angeles.

NPR gives some love to Eichler and Balboa Highlands

Balboa_Highlands_OfficeHistoricResources.jpg The early 1960s neighborhood of homes designed by A. Quincy Jones and partners was the first postwar tract in the Valley to be given Los Angeles historic district status.

Alarcon finishes house arrest, such as it was

richard-alarcon-2013-dn.jpg Ex-councilman could not go in the backyard, but he could drive downtown, take meetings and play a lot of online poker.

Bob Hope estate in Toluca Lake back on the market

Bob_Hope_Estate_2014.jpg This time I guess it's a bargain: just $23 million, cut $4.5 million since 2013.

Rabbi Harold M. Schulweis dies at 89

rabbi-Schulweis-jj.jpg The rabbi at Valley Beth Shalom in Encino for nearly 45 years was "regarded as the most influential synagogue leader of his generation." "The John Wooden of rabbis," says Zev Yaroslavsky.

Larry Cano, founder of El Torito, dies at 90

oc-weekly-cano-cover.jpg Another of LA's chain restaurant pioneers passes away. He 'popularized the concept of the sit-down Mexican chain.'
Thumbnail image for richard-alarcon-2013-dn.jpg Richard Alarcon moved up his jail date but was sent home with an electronic monitoring device.

Photos: Great LA Walk on Ventura Boulevard

great-la-walk-fleetwood.jpg Michael Schneider's Great LA Walk marked its ninth year by traversing Ventura Boulevard from Woodland Hills east across the Valley to Universal City, then up to North Hollywood.

Bocanegra concedes defeat in Valley race (updated)

raul-bocanegra-facebook.jpg First-time candidate Patty Lopez has defeated Assemblyman Raul Bocanegra in a cliffhanger between two Democrats in the 39th Assembly district. Jeffrey Prang wins the Assessor race.

Patty Lopez' lead grows in the Valley

ad39-votes-grab.jpg The inexperienced candidate who appears to be unseating fellow Democrat Raul Bocanegra in the Valley's 39th Assembly district has expanded her lead to 235 votes.

Patty Lopez still leads by 46 votes in the Valley

39ad-results-grab.jpg They are both Democrats so there is not a whole lot at stake politically, but the still-continuing race in the Northeast Valley's 39th Assembly district is intriguing. Incumbent Raul Bocanegra could lose.

Sylmar Cascades open to visitors again this weekend

Thumbnail image for cascades-in-spray.jpg If you missed last year's rare opening of the gates to the historic Cascades in Sylmar, the DWP is allowing visitors on Sunday.
holiday-mag-screenshot.jpg Holiday magazine sought to delight Americans with tales of "the cliff dwellers [who] cling precariously to the brush-covered slopes of the Hollywood hills, sharing the common perils of fire and flood."
jolly-donuts-dn-crane.jpg The county calls him a John Doe, but on certain corners in Canoga Park he was known as Tuan Nguyen. "This is one of the best stories I've read in a long time," says a former LA Times reporter on Facebook.

Actress Daniele Watts charged with lewd conduct

Thumbnail image for daniele-watts-detained.jpg Two leading civil rights activists applaud the prosecution, saying that allegations of racial profiling are not "toys" to be tossed out lightly to cover up misdeeds.

Inside the Al Struckus house in Woodland Hills

struckus-vert-jg.jpg I got a chance on Saturday to visit the distinctive circular design by architect Bruce Goff set amid the urban forest in the old Girard section of Woodland Hills. "The house is unlike any other," the LA Conservancy says.

Richard Alarcon sentenced to 120 days in jail for lying

alarcon-home-dn.jpg The former councilman and state lawmaker is banned from ever holding office again and must perform 600 hours of community service in his old Valley district. Alarcon's wife gets no jail time.

'Django Unchained' actress cuffed by LAPD after refusing to show ID*

daniele-watts-detained.jpg Daniele Watts, who is black, and her white husband posted on Facebook they were rousted for being affectionate on Ventura Boulevard and deemed to be a suspected prostitute and john.

Burbank lion cubs now in the Inland Empire

BurbankLions-leno-scw.jpg The cougar kittens that were extracted from under a car in Burbank in 2011 — saved from curious residents who were poking at them with broomsticks — now live at a sanctuary in Riverside. An update.

Sunkist leaving the Valley for, well, Valencia

Sunkist_LynneTucker.jpg The Sunkist building on Riverside Drive in Sherman Oaks has been a visual landmark beside the Ventura Freeway for 45 years. "A symphony in concrete," the LA Conservancy says.

Hamlet in Encino

hamlet-in-encino.jpg Los Encinos State Historic Park, as I've said before, is my favorite history-drenched enclave of Los Angeles. So why not Hamlet on the grass?

Historian of the Valley hangs up his tour shoes

fernand-vncityhall.jpg Richard Hilton guided his final walking tour of old Van Nuys on Saturday -- so I just had to go along.

Alarcons guilty of some charges in phony residence

alarcon-home-dn.jpg Former Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife were acquitted on most charges, but convicted on enough. Alarcon said he would probably appeal.

Under the 405 in America's Suburb (photo)

under-405-parthenia.jpg Homeless' belongings parked in the shade under the freeway on Parthenia Street in North Hills, in the heart of the San Fernando Valley.

A sign of the print apocalypse?

newsbox-apocalypse.jpg News boxes observed, spotted on Ventura Boulevard in Tarzana.

Metro's 405 contractor sues the agency over delays

405-ramp-closed.jpg This seems like a twist in the long saga of the 405 freeway improvement project through Sepulveda Pass. Kiewit, the project's main contractor, is suing Metro — not the other way around.

LA's last Hamburger Hamlet may have closed

hh-sherman-oaks-mural-mark-london.jpg The Sherman Oaks location on Van Nuys Boulevard has gone dark. There's some talk of reopening under new ownership.

The best pictures I've seen of Van Nuys Boulevard cruising

van-nuys-blvd-mack-girls.jpg Deep collections of photos showing the faded Wednesday night car culture tradition don't really exist. These photos by Ricard McCloskey are fun to look at.
405-north-after-completion.jpg The northbound carpool lane that was the nominal reason for work on the 405 opened Friday morning. Time to look at what five years of work and $1.1 billion bought.

History mural in the Valley painted over

flores-mural-main.jpg Mural by Alfredo Diaz Flores at Louise Avenue and Vanowen Street depicted Mission San Juan Capistrano. I don't know how long it has been gone, but it was there last time I looked.

Times adds a veteran reporter in the Valley

Former national correspondent will double the allotment of Times staff to the Valley. Wonder if this move is Register related? Meanwhile, in Orange County the Register partners with a local startup newsroom.

Mayor saddles up in Chatsworth like the mayors before him

garcetti-englander-on-horse.jpg Mayor Eric Garcetti rode on a Chatsworth trail ride with other electeds this weekend — it's kind of a tradition for LA City Hall politicians. Photos inside.

Church surrounded by palm trees

palms-central-luth-church-l.jpg The heart of old Van Nuys is lousy with mature fan palms. Indiscriminate placement is the rule.

KCRW's Matt Miller joins race for Waxman seat

matt-miller-bw.jpg The race to succeed Rep. Henry Waxman in the 33rd congressional district just got more crowded. Miller will take a leave from KCRW and his Washington Post column.

This will be a bad traffic weekend around Sepulveda Pass

405-sepulveda-pass.jpg Westside, Valley side or up in the canyons — doesn't matter. Metro officials are urging everyone to avoid driving on the northbound 405 freeway or nearby over this holiday weekend.

KNBC says farewell to Burbank with backstage looks (videos)

colan-knbc-newsroom.jpg Conan Nolan, the host of "News Conference" on NBC 4, goes behind the scenes with a camera on the final show before the station moves a few miles onto the lot at Universal City.

Wendy Greuel will run for Waxman seat in Congress -- and move

greuel-clinton-langers-gary.jpg Greuel doesn't live in the Westside and coastal district, but the law doesn't mind — the voters may be another story. The list of other candidates still may be long.

Second ant-decapitating fly found in Glendale

ant-decapitating-fly-nhm.jpg The Natural History Museum's entomology people give the intriguing details. "Some ant decapitating flies, like zombie hunters, aim for the head..."

Northridge quake anniversary kicks in with the media

daily-news-newsroom-jan1794.jpg The Daily News package includes a dramatic shot of what the newsroom in Woodland Hills looked like when staffers tried to get in. The paper's executive editor recalls the day.

Requiem for NBC Burbank

nbc-burbank-color.jpg With NBC moving from Burbank to Universal City, and "The Tonight Show" returning to New York, the website Pro Video is remembering the first studio built specifically for color television.

North Hollywood actors and crew get naked for costumes (video)

Members of the Antaeus Company classical stage troupe made a humorous end-of-year fundraising video that uses a lot of pixelated skin to make the point that actors need costumes.

'Carmageddon' bridge over 405 opens

Thumbnail image for mulholland-bridge-dusk-thesource.jpg The rebuilt Mulholland Drive bridge opened this morning across the 405 freeway in Sepulveda Pass.

You can visit the cascades through Saturday

cascades-in-spray.jpg Have you ever wanted to see and hear (and get sprayed by) the Sylmar cascades up close? The Department of Water and Power is leaving the gates until the end of the day on Saturday.

Final Wilshire@405 fly-over ramp to open Thursday

wilshire-ramps-metro.jpg When the eastbound Wilshire Boulevard onramp to the northbound 405 opens, the transformation will be essentially complete at one of the city's most painful traffic choke points. The ramp project is done 13 days early.

LA Aqueduct observances can wind down now

cascades-whitewater.jpg For months now, Los Angeles media, historians and civic officials have been thinking and talking about the city's water link to the Eastern Sierra and what it all means. It has been a good and useful exercise. Tuesday's reenactment was itself pretty cool.

Book excerpt: The Valley rises as Mulholland falls

water-comission-lapl.jpg Part 2 of an excerpt adapted from "San Fernando Valley: America's Suburb" for the 100th anniversary of the Los Angeles Aqueduct.

Part one: LA and its Owens Valley water

cascades-crowd-watches.jpg A couple of the chapters in my book on the San Fernando Valley deal with the Los Angeles Aqueduct and how abundant water changed the city and the valley. It holds up, I'm pleased to say. For this week's anniversary, here's an adapted version.

Related links with LAT story finger wrong Westlake school

wrong-westlake-lat.jpg Harvard-Westlake is the tony private academy that produced Eric Garcetti. Westlake High School is a public school.

Sex harassment suit names chief of staff to Councilman Englander

mitch-englander-in-uniform.jpg The suit says that Englander himself made offensive sexual comments and allowed the culture to permeate his office. Englander said he was "surprised" by her allegations.

First flyover ramp opens at Wilshire and the 405

405-flyover-ramp-metro.jpg The Westside is starting to slowly wake up from its long traffic nightmare around the 405 freeway construction, known officially as the I-405 Sepulveda Pass Improvements Project.

Bob Hope estate in Toluca Lake listed for $27.5 million

bob-hope-pool-people.jpg The five-acre estate on Moorpark Street where Bob and Dolores Hope first moved in 1939 is officially on the market. It's the last big intact Valleywood estate. With pictures.

San Fernando Valley Relics museum to open

white-horse-inn-sign.jpg Tommy Gelinas, the prolific collector of memorabilia, photos, signage and documents related to the San Fernando Valley, plans to put some of his collection on display in Chatsworth on October 12.

Lamar Odom arrested in the Valley for DUI *

Thumbnail image for odomlakers.jpg This is, I guess, a follow-up to the earlier gossip from TMZ and others that the former Laker and Clipper's family feared he was off on a drug binge. His rep said he was fine.

Changes and a deleted post at Studio City Patch

A columnist writes that she and her editor have been let go. The editor, however, suggests he has a new bigger role in the downsized Patch empire.

Dick Van Dyke's Jaguar goes boom on the 101 Freeway

dick-van-dyke-tweet.jpg Van Dyke was driving east on the Ventura Freeway in Calabasas today when his Jaguar started smoking. The 87-year-old pulled over and needed some help getting out before the car burst into flames. He and his wife followed with tweets.

Obama dined with Katzenberg in Woodland Hills

obama-leno-grab.jpg When President Obama dropped off the news radar last night in the Valley, he didn't just go to bed and watch Showtime or Evelyn Taft. (Oh wait, they are not on most TVs in Los Angeles this week.)

Is Obama the first president to sleep in Woodland Hills? (video)

afone-lax-garcetti.jpg We think so! Not counting Reagan in his acting days (because who knows, he was local for a long time, and a lot of actors lived in the West Valley.)

Obama's visit will have distinctly Valley flavor

obama-leno-file.jpg All of the streets that the LAPD is warning drivers to avoid during President Obama's brief visit to the area today and Wednesday are out in the Valley. Obama lands...

Driving on Devonshire Street in the Valley 1940 (video)

Thumbnail image for oakie-house-dn.jpg Kinda cool if you know the west San Fernando Valley today as just suburban sprawl and Devonshire Street as a six-lane boulevard. Devonshire in 1940 was a rural state highway through the horse ranches of Northridge and Chatsworth.

Celebrate Reseda's rock and roll history

tom-petty-reseda-show.jpg An exhibit of of photos taken by the house photographer for the late Country Club is bringing some attention to the days when rockers flocked to Reseda. They would buy vinyl at BeBop Records or attend shows at the Country Club on Sherman Way.

Obama coming back next week to be on Jay Leno

Thumbnail image for av-obama-lax.jpg President Obama is returning to California for a two-day swing that will include a stop at NBC in Burbank for his sixth appearance on "The Tonight Show."

Preserving LA's sprawl: a panel discussion

sfv-sprawl.jpg On Saturday morning I'm taking part in an LA Conservancy panel on suburbanization and sprawl in Woodland Hills. It's part of the Curating the City: Modern Architecture in L.A. series, which itself is included in Pacific Standard Time Presents: Modern Architecture in L.A. Info inside.

Art Ginsburg, deli owner was 78 *

art-ginsburg-fb.jpg Art Ginsburg was the proprietor of Art's Deli in Studio City, which has been a politics, community and Valleywood hangout for decades. The deli will be closed Friday.

And the woman on the City Council will be...Nury Martinez *

nury-martinez-campaign.jpg Martinez defeated Cindy Montanez tonight for the vacant seat on the Los Angeles City Council — in a battle of former San Fernando City Council members who represent rival factions of Northeast Valley Democrats. That's a 30-point swing from the primary election results.

Even the robbers are older in Hidden Hills

hidden-hills-entrance.jpg A 75-year-old man wearing an unlikely wig posed as a Los Angeles County sheriff's official to invade a woman's home in the gated community. He came armed but deputies were able to capture him safely.
moon-zappa-valley-girl-grab.jpg It's '80s night at LA Observed. Moon Zappa does the full version of her odd little hit with father Frank, "Valley Girl," on "Solid Gold." Yes, the Zappas were Valley people.

Harry Shearer's 'Le Show' lands on KCSN

Thumbnail image for harry-shearer-thumb.jpg The mostly music radio station at Cal State Northridge, FM 88.5, will be the over-the-air outlet in Los Angeles for "Le Show," Harry Shearer's long-running weekend program.
hendrix-newport-69.jpg Mark Robinson organized the biggest and best rock and roll show to be held within the city limits of Los Angeles. He's now a Newport Beach lawyer. We look back at the first weekend of a historical summer.

Universal Studios theme park offers $299 VIP ticket

universal-backlot-flackage.jpg For their $299, guests get valet parking, breakfast sequestered away from the crowds in a luxury lounge, special access to the studio back lot, unlimited line-skipping, a tour guide and lunch. Plus lovely free gifts.

Hertzberg moves to lock up Valley race

Thumbnail image for BobHertzberg.jpg Former assemblyman Dario Frommer and attorney David Fleming, a big player in the San Fernando Valley secession crusade a decade ago, are the co-chairs of Robert Hertzberg's bid to get back into elected office.

Student paper dispute, round 3: Taranto disputes the facts

csun-matador.jpg James Taranto, the editor of OpinionJournal, does not agree with the version of his suspension from the Daily Sundial 20+ years ago offered by the former publisher.
Thumbnail image for BobHertzberg.jpg Former Assembly Speaker Robert Hertzberg finished out of the money when he ran for mayor in 2005, and until now has resisted the urge to run again. He announced at a reception up in Sacramento tonight and posted to Facebook.
office-location-grab.jpg A little taste of Scranton (and Dunder Mifflin) on Saticoy Street.

One way or another, next LA mayor to have Valley roots

Thumbnail image for Vannuys-victory-sky.jpg There has never been an LA mayor who grew up on the San Fernando Valley side of the city's geographic and cultural divide. Good story in the Times on Greuel and Garcetti — but look what Austin Beutner says.

She rides 22 miles to work at UCLA (video)

rugg-map-ucla.jpg UCLA staffer Annelie Rugg bicycles to her job from West Hills, over the Santa Monica Mountains via Sepulveda Pass. Her route takes her two and a half hours -- or three minutes on video. Check it out.

Northridge kidnap fugitive captured in Baja

Summers gave up without incident and "police confirmed his identity through the Superman logo tattoo on his chest." Heh. He is scheduled to be pushed back across the border today.

Annette Funicello, most popular original Mousketeer was 70

annette-funicello-bc.jpg America's 1950s darling was discovered by Walt Disney in a dance recital at the Starlight Bowl in Burbank. After the original "Mickey Mouse Club" on ABC, she became popular again as a teen idol and in the mid-1960s "Beach" movies with Frankie Avalon. Diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, she long ago lost the ability to walk or talk. Last year, Canada's CTV aired a superb report on Funicello and MS. Videos and links inside.

Tujunga Village taco wars heat up: Henry's gets a rival

henrys-new-place-dk.jpg Just days after Henry's Tacos opened in its new location on Tujunga Avenue in Studio City, the popular spot's old location on Tujunga and Moorpark has been leased: to a competing taco joint. Hmm, I wonder if the landlord had a hand in this?
alex-renteria.jpg Kate Linthicum, one of the City Hall reporters for the Los Angeles Times, had written about Alex Renteria two years ago for a feature on the opening of the building's newly opened Homeboy Diner. In Monday's paper she writes about Renteria again, this time as someone she had come to know and who became the subject of a tragic news story.

With all votes counted, we still have an Eastside council race

city-hall-from-lat.jpg Gil Cedillo falls short of 50% and has to face Jose Gardea in the runoff. There's no change in the order of finish in the mayoral race or other contests, but as expected the low voter turnout to be moaned about creeps up to 20.79 percent.

Howard Berman lands with DC lobbying firm

Thumbnail image for berman-tv-grab.jpg Former congressman, defeated last November in that costly and bruising battle in the Valley with fellow Democrat Brad Sherman, has signed on as a senior policy adviser with the largest law firm on Washington's K Street.

Woe to the commuters of Coldwater Canyon

coldwater-closed-dwp.jpg For a month starting on March 23, the main canyon road connecting the Valley with Beverly Hills will be closed during the day. Coldwater Canyon Avenue needs to be dug up to replace the main water line installed during the William Mulholland era with a new trunk line.

405 northbound lanes opened early Sunday

405-work-buildings.jpg Metro, the agency in charge of the massive 405 freeway upgrade and widening project, announced that the weekend work was completed 29 hours early. It went to so well that no full shutdown of the northbound freeway was required, as originally threatened.

Susan Orlean writing a book about Central Library

central-library-up.jpg Author and New Yorker writer Susan Orlean has a deal with Simon & Schuster to write a nonfiction book about urban libraries, based around the Los Angeles Public Library downtown. Apparently her starting point is the 1986 fire.

Check out the progress on the 405 project at Wilshire

405-wilshire-from-va.jpg The 405 freeway widening and upgrade project on the Westside and in Sepulveda Pass is about a year behind schedule. But if you haven't been through there in awhile, you might be surprised at the visuals. The skyline at the Wilshire Boulevard interchange is starting to look very different.

Henry's Tacos to reopen in Tujunga Village

studio-sub-patch.jpg The late, apparently missed Studio City taco and burger stand that closed in January will reopen next month a half-block away on Tujunga Avenue. What that means more immediately is that Studio Sub, a sandwich shop that opened in 2010, will be closing on Sunday. More inside.

Aviation mechanic school in Van Nuys gets OK for $1 rent

vny-mechanic-school-sign.jpg A letter from the FAA to city officials says it would be within federal policy to charge the school just $1 a year rent for its facility on the west side of Van Nuys Airport at Saticoy Street. Although the city of Los Angeles airports department runs VNY, the FAA is allowed to dip its bureaucratic fingers into all kinds of policy areas at airports.

Portola Middle School teacher arrested for molestation

portola-ms-sign.jpg Jason Leon, 32, a teacher at the Tarzana middle school, was taken into custody today on an arrest warrant and charged with four counts of child molestation and three counts of battery. The victims were girls aged 13 and 14 at the time of the alleged crimes.

Old Nike site above the Valley a trouble spot

oat-mtn-bus-dn.jpg The former Cold War missile base in the hills above Chatsworth has become an "unsanctioned playground for hikers, taggers and vandals, raising safety concerns among neighbors and triggering a Los Angeles Police Department internal investigation."

Burbank lion cubs are doing pretty well

lion-olive.jpg You may remember the hungry mountain lion cubs that were collected from under a parked car in Burbank in late 2011. They are now big cats living in a facility in Paso Robles and being trained to educate school kids.

Fake books for the movie industry

faux-library-valleywood.jpg Vose Street in North Hollywood is a workaday LA industrial street under the final approach path for jets landing at Bob Hope Airport. Valleywood shops and services, the Doc Johnson factory for rubber sex toys, and a mysterious driveway marked Faux Library.

Andrea Alarcon to resign from City Hall post

Thumbnail image for andrea-alarcon-fb.jpg The president of the Board of Public Works apologized for unspecified actions and said she has learned that her top job is "being a mom." Possible prosecution still looms for leaving her 11-year-daughter alone in City Hall to go drinking on a Friday night.

Greuel gets Police Protective League endorsement *

greuel-garcetti.jpg The union representing rank-and-file LAPD officers today gave its mayoral nod to Controller Wendy Greuel.

Harry Carey Jr. remembered as the last Hollywood cowboy

Thumbnail image for harry-carey-jr-rifleman.jpg Director Peter Bogdanovich wrote a short tribute for Saturday's memorial for the actor Harry Carey, Jr., who had been the last surviving member of director John Ford's company of western actors. "A solid professional, but also a brilliantly deadpan, hilarious raconteur of the days of the giants in pictures."

Henry's Tacos signs and menus already history

henrys-stripped-gary.jpg By the time Gary Leonard got over there today, the period signage that a lot people liked about Henry's Tacos in Studio City had been taken down. Same with the old menu boards above the front window.

Saturday is the final day for Henry's Tacos *

henrys-tacos.jpg Owner Janis Hood said Friday that a potential sale of her family's 51-year-old business in Studio City fell through. She announced she will open at 9 a.m. on Saturday and go until the food runs out, or until 9 p.m.

Barry Lopez on being molested as a boy in the Valley *

barry-lopez-mug.jpg Acclaimed author Barry Lopez lives now in Oregon, but he grew up in the San Fernando Valley in the 1940s and 50s. He writes in this month's Harper's about being sexually abused for four years by a North Hollywood sanitarium doctor who pretended to court his divorced mother.

Henry's Tacos may not close, owner says

Thumbnail image for henrys-tacos-line-gary.jpg The owner of Henry's Tacos said on Facebook tonight that the Studio City stand may not be closing entirely when its lease is finished. It might move, Janis Hood posted.

LAT says Greuel 'walks tightrope' in mayoral race

greuel-426.jpg Controller Wendy Greuel's prospects of being elected mayor "depend largely on how effectively she can repel" criticism that her publicized audits are for show and that her record, including a vote for the big 2007 raise for city employees, mark her as a City Hall insider, LA Times political writer Michael Finnegan says.

Ten stories I missed during the holiday avoidance

laura-galloway-cnn.jpg These are stories, news or other items that I mentally noted and should have posted about during the last two weeks. Or I overlooked them completely until now. I was trying to spend a little less time tapping on keys.

Barnes & Noble in Woodland Hills closed doors tonight

bn-wh.jpg The shutdown of the Barnes & Noble store in the Westfield Promenade shopping center leaves just two of the book chain outlets in the Valley, none of them within the city of Los Angeles portion (population about 1.5 million people.) The company had no comment.

End-of-year restaurant closure roundup

juniors-sign-wide-lao.jpg Junior's Deli in Rancho Park closes today at 5 p.m., and there are other longtime LA restaurants shutting down or already gone.

Army Corps clears Valley wildlife area used for sex

la-river-burbank-blvd-lao.jpg A portion of the Sepulveda Basin Wildlife Reserve was cleared of trees and brush in an abrupt move by the Army Corps of Engineers that caught the area's birdwatchers and volunteer caretakers by surprise. Reacting to an outrcy, the Army Corps halted work for more discussion.

Plumber saves girl from jumping off freeway bridge

Jay Schaefer, a father of four daughters, saw a bicycle parked on an overpass above the Hollywood Freeway. Then he spotted the 16-year-old girl perched on the ledge above the freeway. He stopped, jumped out, and grabbed her through the fence rails. "I asked her if she was OK. She said, No, she wanted to die."

Harry Carey, Jr., character actor for John Ford was 91

harry-carey-jr-rifleman.jpg The son of cowboy star Harry Carey was born on his father's ranch near Saugus and went on to ride horses in the westerns directed by pal John Ford and act in many other films and TV shows. Through Ford, Carey also was part of an exclusive San Fernando Valley club of Hollywood men that's now mostly forgotten.

Henry's to stay open two weeks longer as lease talks go on

henrys-tacos.jpg Janis Hood, the owner of Henry's Tacos in Studio City, says on Facebook that the landlord has asked her stay open until Jan. 15 and has agreed to hold lease talks with a possible new owner. Hood had previously said the landlord would not discuss a lease with the person she hopes will buy the business her family opened 51 years ago.

Cooler (local) legend than the Mayans: Burro Flats pictographs

Iron-Mountain-Trail.jpg By legend and observation, today is when the sun lines up with a target-like pictograph in a cave in an area of the Simi Hills called Burro Flats. Hopefully, you will never find this place.

One Adam 12: Code 7 at Henry's Tacos

henrys-reed-malloy.jpg Sunday's scene at Henry's Tacos in Studio City included actors Aaron Paul, Elijah Wood and George Lopez, plus City Councilwoman Jan Perry, taking her candidacy for mayor to the corner of Moorpark and Tujunga. Newbies all. About 1969 or 70, officers Reed and Malloy came by in Adam-12.

Whoa: Long lines at Henry's Tacos on Sunday

henrys-lice-facebook.jpg Celebrities such as George Lopez, Adam Carolla and Elijah Wood have rallied around the Henry's Tacos cause, and there's a group. The result is a very long line outside Henry's on Sunday afternoon.

Henry's Taco's to give employees a break

Thumbnail image for henrys-tacos-close-sign.jpg Business has been so overwhelming since the news got out about Henry's losing its lease that the staff needs Monday off "to regroup."

Berman proposes massive overhaul of U.S. foreign aid

Thumbnail image for berman-tv-grab.jpg Rep. Howard Berman won't go out quietly after most of three decades in Congress, ending as a respected senior member of the House foreign affairs committee.

As San Fernando turns: bench warrant for ex-mayor

mario-hernandez-150x180.jpg A judge issued a bench warrant today for former city of San Fernando mayor Mario Hernandez, who failed to show up and testify at the trial of his ex-girlfriend, the former San Fernando City Councilwoman Maribel De La Torre.

How the media missed Jenni Rivera: part two

jenni-rivera-smile.jpg The Washington Post's Paul Farhi takes his stab at explaining why most Americans had never heard of Jenni Rivera until the Mexican-American performer died in a plane crash — and why very few media in Southern California had ever done stories on the local girl who made good. Make that very good.

Cost of Berman-Sherman campaign: $16.3 million

Thumbnail image for ShermanANDBerman.jpg And that's not even the most spent this year on a California congressional race.

Councilman Krekorian says don't blame him for Henry's Tacos

henrys-tacos.jpg Reaction to the news that Henry's will close has been swift and intense. Krekorian felt moved to post a lengthy statement denying that his office is aware of any development plans for the site.

Henry's Tacos announces it will close this month

henrys-janis-hood.jpg Signs went up Saturday saying the Studio City landmark would close at the end of December. The owner contends that the landlord and Councilman Krekorian have plans for the corner. Last year's cultural heritage commission vote never went into force.

Traffic jam in Toluca Lake: Bob Hope yard sale

bob-hope-sale-entrance.jpg There's wasn't much to buy or even see, but that didn't stop the crowds from converging Saturday at the corner estate where Bob and Dolores Hope lived from 1939 on. Photos inside include the Hopes' nativity scene that is displayed this Christmas for the final time.

Eloise Klein Healy to be LA's first poet laureate

eloise-healy.mug.jpg Healy is the author of seven books and emeritus professor of creative writing at LA's Antioch University.

Four arrested in connection with Northridge murders

The suspects are picked up at a Las Vegas casino.

Hope compound in Toluca Lake coming on the market *

bob-hope-estate-google.jpg The 1.3-acre estate on Moorpark Street, built for Bob and Dolores Hope in 1939, has never changed hands. We're calling it the most celebrity-infused property left in the San Fernando Valley.

Arrest made in Northridge killings of four

Police arrested a suspect in Las Vegas who they believe was involved in the weekend shootings at a Devonshire Street unlicensed boarding house where four people were killed. A news conference is expected later this afternoon.

Murder house in Northridge may have had 17 residents

he owner, an elderly man who lives there, denied it was a boarding house despite evidence that the rooms had been partitioned so completely that one section of the house could only be accessed via a window.

Four slain in yard of Northridge home

lapd-valley-bureau.jpg Until these four killings, the LAPD's crime maps show just one homicide since July 1 on the Devonshire division's turf.

DA drops murder case against tennis umpire

Los Angeles county prosecutors said only that new information led them to dismiss the murder charge against Lois Goodman over the death of her 80-year-old husband, Alan Goodman, in the couple's Woodland Hills condo last April.

Former Angel Doug DeCinces indicted on insider trading charges

doug-decinces-card.jpg A federal grand jury in Santa Ana today indicted retired baseball star Doug DeCinces and three associates "for allegedly using non-public information regarding a takeover bid to purchase stock in an Orange County-based medical device company – stock that dramatically increased in value when the takeover bid was publicly announced.

Not so fast on CD 12's parking perk

Thumbnail image for cd-12-staff-parking.jpg Those signs are outdated and never were a perk, and they are coming down, says the spokesman for Councilman Mitchell Englander.

Kinde Durkee could get eight-year sentence this week

Kinde-Durkee-mugshot.jpg Federal prosecutors in Sacramento intend to seek a prison sentence of 97 months for Kinde Durkee, the Los Angeles-area political campaign treasurer who pleaded guilty to absconding with more than $7 million in funds she managed for Democratic candidates, including Sen. Dianne Feinstein.

Perks in the Valley: train-side parking *

cd-12-staff-parking.jpg Making Angelenos suffer to park their cars is all the rage in City Hall these days. But if you work for Councilman Mitch Englander and want to park at the Chatsworth Metro station, there are a couple of nice spots right in front. (Updated.)

Councilman Alarcon makes statement about daughter

Thumbnail image for andrea-alarcon-fb.jpg The story on Board of Public Works president Andrea Alarcon being in trouble for the handling of her 11-year-old daughter inched forward a tiny bit on Friday.

Greuel saddles up in Chatsworth

greuel-in-saddle.jpg On Sunday it was mayoral hopeful Wendy Greuel's turn to go for a trail ride with the equestrians of Chatsworth. It's a rite of political passage in LA: we even have a pic of Antonio Villaraigosa in the saddle.

Councilman Krekorian caught faking his Patch columns

paul-krekorian-rect.jpg Self-serving questions from constituents for the 'Ask Paul" column on AOL Patch are actually written by the councilman's press deputy. But let's hope you knew that.

Berman loses, Cardenas and Lacey win, more quick results

Howard Berman and Laura Richardson lose their seats in Congress, Councilman Tony Cardenas goes to Washington, Jackie Lacey wins DA of Los Angeles County, Prop. 30 leads, the death penalty stays, three strikes as we know it goes, and from now on LA porn actors have to cover up. Plus more.

Daily 'SoCal Connected' airs Monday with Madeleine Brand

brand-zavala-kcet.jpg I went over to KCET's new studios in Burbank last week to catch the first day of run throughs for the made-over "So Cal Connected." Here's what to expect from the nightly show and some pictures of KCET's digs.

Obama dropping in Wednesday to do Leno

The White House Press Office advises that President Obama will land at LAX aboard Air Force One on Wednesday evening, go tape "The Tonight Show" and depart again from LAX two hours later. Should be minimal traffic impact.

Video: Sherman and Berman get in each other's face

Well this can't be good. The heated acrimony in the bitter race between Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman boiled over into something a bit more...unseemly. At one point, Sherman roughly grabs his more senior colleague and shouts, "Do you want to get into this?" Then a lawman arrives to calm things down. Videos inside

NPR drops in on the Berman-Sherman race

"One of the toughest, and strangest, congressional races in the country is between two Los Angeles incumbents...Democrats," the national audience learned on "All Things Considered."

LANG papers take the logical next step into digital

The newspapers that make up the Los Angeles News Group have been gradually blending over recent months, and today take a big step toward being a regional news operation with the emphasis on digital — and less on geography. One upshot: Daily News editor Carolina Garcia has a new role and title.

Media will pool helicopters for Carmageddon II

If things go right, there will be fewer media choppers hovering pointlessly above the ends of the closed 405 freeway during this weekend's traffic event. Or non-event, whatever.

Finally, something gets better on the 405

Sunset-Bridge-new-metro.jpg No, Carmageddon II is still coming this weekend. But the people behind Carmageddon had a ceremony out along the 405 freeway this morning to reopen the rebuilt Sunset Boulevard bridge.

Valley notices the space shuttle snub

shuttlke-dn-holzman.jpg The San Fernando Valley has been a major player in the Southern California aerospace legacy, dating from Amelia Earhart and Howard Hughes up through America's first moon rocket tests and the invention of the stealth warplane. The engines that blasted the space shuttle into the sky came, I think, from the Rocketdyne plant in Canoga Park. But no flyover.

Berman gets the Times endorsement too

The Los Angeles Times editorial page on Sunday endorsed Rep. Howard Berman in the big Democratic Party battle in the San Fernando Valley. "The Times supported Berman in the first round of voting, and we're sticking with him in the head to head" over Rep. Brad Sherman.

Berman and Sherman play 'Dueling Republicans'

Thumbnail image for Berman+Sherman+Town+Hall+JJ.jpg Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman are both liberal Democrats, more or less. But they also are fighting for their political survival in a San Fernando Valley congressional district that is about 26% Republican in registration, and by now most of the Democrats (48%) have probably long made up their minds who to vote for. So this has been claim a Republican week.

Lily's Library is Valley's answer to Libros Schmibros

gary-platt-books-dn.JPG Gary Platt, 86 years old and retired, has put up a community book exchange and lending library on the curb in front of his house in Woodland Hills. Lily's Library is named for his granddaughter.

When Ayn Rand lived in the Valley

von-sternberg-home.jpg With Ayn Rand in the media conversation around Paul Ryan and the Republican convention, here's a look at the home that Rand used to occupy in Northridge. And what a house it was — if it still existed, the Richard Neutra design might conceivably be the most architecturally renowned home in the San Fernando Valley.

Kiss and ride: LA's newest dance venue

van-nuys-flyaway-front.jpg The Heidi Duckler Dance Theatre's latest work, "Kiss n' Ride," will be performed inside the city's Van Nuys FlyAway Bus Terminal on Woodley Avenue.

Head rolls already over LAPD use of force in Pacoima

michellejordan-cbs2.jpg Whoa, this was decisive: LAPD Chief Charlie Beck announced tonight that he has relieved Foothill division commander Capt. Joseph Hiltner for his "severely deficient" response to the appearance of excessive force used against a handcuffed woman in Pacoima. "Proper steps were not taken," Beck said.

Wow: No fee waiver for women electrocuted at Valley crash *

magnolia-crash-cbs2.jpg Instead of a Thursday press conference to appeal to the public for help, Councilman Paul Krekorian might shame his fellow council members into taking care of it like they do so many, many lesser things — or just absorb the bills in his office slush fund.
michellejordan-cbs2.jpg LAPD chief Charlie Beck, on the Patt Morrison show on KPCC just now, said he's very concerned by a video showing officers throw a handcuffed woman to the ground during a traffic stop. He said there are criminal and internal investigations going on and the main officer has been assigned to home duty. Watch the video.

LA River opens a visitor's eyes

lariver-kayak-folar-fb.jpg British readers of The Guardian got a glimpse the other day of a Los Angeles they may not have known about. West Coast correspondent Rory Carroll became the latest journalist to take one of activist George Wolfe's kayak tours on the short stretch of unpaved Los Angeles River in the Sepulveda Dam Basin. Carroll makes some cogent observations, but first he has to find the place.

Street racing may have caused crash where two were electrocuted

magnolia-crash-cbs2.jpg LA police confirmed that last night's crash in Valley Village is being investigated as a reckless driving case. Witnesses said they believed two cars were speeding along Magnolia Boulevard at Ben Avenue when the crash occurred. Two women who rushed to help the driver of the car that sheared off a fire hyrdrant were electrocuted, and at least six other people who tried to help were treated for electric shocks.

Berman up with two TV spots, Sherman files FEC complaint *

berman-tv-grab.jpg Rep. Howard Berman is airing two new campaign spots that push his record on issues in the Valley and show him being thanked by the Republican father of a soldier killed in Iraq. Also, rival Rep. Brad Sherman today alleged that Berman "enriched" his brother with campaign funds.

Herd on the street

cattle-sfv.jpg How dry are the hills around Los Angeles right now? So dry that a small herd of cattle showed up eating lawns on the edge of Chatsworth this morning. And last night. Then a mysterious woman with a bullwhip herded them back home.

Video: Filming location for 'The Office'

This is a few years old. But with producers announcing the end of "The Office" after next season, here's a look back at a clip of LA Observed video showing the filming location on Saticoy Street. A little taste of Scranton (and Dunder Mifflin) in industrial Van Nuys.

Central and South Americans on the rise in the Valley

Vannuys-victory-sky.jpg The Times has caught on to the demographic shifts in the middle of the Valley that are finding places like Van Nuys taking in more Latin American immigrants from beyond Mexico. As the stream of illegal arrivals from Mexico slows, "the greater Van Nuys area, with its apartment-rich neighborhoods, has become a thriving hub not of Mexican immigrants as much as Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Hondurans, Ecuadoreans and Peruvians." Plus our pictures from the hub of the community.

Tarzan Inc.

burroughs-yard-gate.jpg Edgar Rice Burroughs' home in Tarzana is gone, but the offices where his family business — and everything Tarzan — is administered remains behind a low wall on Ventura...

Freeways before the Arroyo Seco Parkway

ramona-fwy-construction.jpg Fun and informative history piece on Los Angeles' first freeways by Nathan Masters on the KCET website. The very first freeway was not the Arroyo Seco Parkway from Pasadena to almost downtown, as many believe. Have you ever seen the Ramona Boulevard freeway?

Sherman and Berman go at it

sherman-berman-fox11-grab.jpg The Valley's battling Jewish Democrats debated Wednesday night in a Catholic school cafeteria in Sherman Oaks — first time since the June primary — and if anything the race is getting nastier. Our columnist Bill Boyarsky was there, as were other interested journalists and a crowd that was a bit on the old side.

Kate Gale on the cultural geography of LA

kate-gale-lamag.jpg Says the editor at Red Hen Press: "Before we moved to Pasadena from the Valley in 2009, there was a lot of discussion about where we should go. We really wanted to move to a place that celebrates arts and culture."

The older guy who dances at concerts around LA

dancing-man.jpg Daily Bulletin columnist David Allen tracked down his man — the mysterious figure who stands up and dances at so many live music performances around town that he showed up in "Shut Up and Play the Hits," a documentary on the band LCD Soundsystem. Here's the scoop.

Greuel lines up a bunch of Valley folks

victory-van-nuys-palms.jpg In her bid to become the first mayor of Los Angeles from the Valley since Sam Yorty, Controller Wendy Greuel has put together an early list of supporters that has some range to it.

San Fernando's JC Penney closure goes national

penneys-sf-neon-dn.jpg A 'Marketplace" reporter made the drive out to the city of San Fernando to do a radio piece on the upset over closure of the town's once-popular J.C. Penney store. The story begins with a historical error but goes on to explore the hopes of some in town that the chain will either reconsider or the Penney's will be replaced by something better.

Not hot enough to fry an egg on the sidewalk

egg-no-cook.jpg John Rabe of KPCC enticed me out to Northridge on Wednesday for an "Off-Ramp" story, and since it was midday in the West Valley, in the middle of a heat wave, and Rabe's an intrepid reporter slash radio host, he brought along the makings of a classic journalism experiment. The temperature was a few notches over 100, but was it hot enough to cook an egg? Find out inside.

The Valley grows another neighborhood name

sherwood-forest-map.gif The real estate industry's name for my old neighborhood in Northridge has gained official status at City Hall. Blue signs marking Sherwood Forest as LA's newest community should be going up shortly. Plus: Part of North Hills jumps to Northridge, officially.

Remains found in Verdugos near home of missing FBI agent

Burbank police say the body is that of Stephen Ivens, missing since May 11. His remains were located in woods in the 3600 block of Scott Road near St. Francis Xavier School. His weapon was found nearby.

San Fernando rallies around neon sign at shuttered Penney's

penneys-sf-neon-dn.jpg Residents in the city of San Fernando could not stop their J.C. Penney store from closing over the weekend. But they did manage to stop the dismantling of the store's long-time neon sign.

Sherman claims the lead, Berman goes negative

Berman+Sherman+Town+Hall+JJ.jpg There have been some developments, political and media, since we last checked in on the congressional race in the Valley between incumbent Democrats Brad Sherman and Howard Berman. Today's serve came from the Sherman side.

Sally Ride, LA-born astronaut and scientist was 61 *

sally-ride-space,jpg.jpg Sally Ride, who grew up in the Encino and graduated from Stanford, became in 1983 the first American woman to work in space. She was also the youngest American at the time to fly into space for NASA. She died today of pancreatic cancer.

NYT Travel: the Valley's 'way cooler' than LA

trailhead-wsfv-lao.jpg Freelance travel writer extolls the virtues of the San Fernando Valley for the global audience of the New York Times. Plus more from Sunday's paper.

A mom no kid can be proud of

Check out the story in the Daily News on a Valley mother who gave her daughter (and her middle-school friends) a ride to terrorize some ex-friends. Hey, at least they weren't out walking in the unsafe city.

Carmageddon II has a date: weekend of Sept. 28

I405-East-View-of-Mulholland-Bridge-5501.jpg Metro has decided when to drop the other shoe on the necessary weekend closure of the entire 405 Freeway through the Sepulveda Pass. The follow-up to last summer's disruptive but successful closure will begin about 7 p.m. on Friday, September 28. The freeway will be scheduled to reopen at 5 a.m. on Monday, October 1

Berman campaign puts Brandon Hall in charge

ShermanANDBerman.jpg The Democratic strategist who joined the Howard Berman reelection campaign in March as a senior advisor is taking full charge of everything, campaign sources say. That would be a big and serious shift in approach by Berman, who for decades kept his political campaign machinery tightly in the hands of his brother Michael. For the first time, Berman is also using an outside pollster.

Universal expansion plan drops residential

nbc-universal-plan.jpg NBCUniversal has killed a controversial proposal to build 3,000 homes on its property at Universal City. Instead the expansion will feature a new hotel and more room for the movie and TV studios and the theme park.

San Fernando ex-mayor wants charges dropped against ex

mario-hernandez-150x180.jpg Mario Hernandez, who resigned last week as a San Fernando City Councilman, said the DA's charges against Councilwoman (and ex-girlfriend) Maribel De La Torre over a violent argument should be dropped. He also said that he only filed for a restraining order against De La Torre at the urging of a biased San Fernando police sergeant who was motivated by revenge.

Look who's using the Expo Line

red-line-station.jpg To the surprise of some transportation experts, the new Expo Line is drawing a healthy number of riders who use it to commute from the San Fernando Valley. They take the Red Line subway to the 7th Street station in downtown, then jump on the Expo Line heading toward USC then west to Culver City.

Suspect in Ventura Blvd. vandalism: 58-year-old broker

encino-commons-sign-lao.jpg Michael Steven Poret has an investment brokerage office on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and a home in the posh hills of Encino. Still, police have now arrested him twice as the suspect in a siege of broken windows on Ventura Boulevard and in Beverly Hills.
maribel-delatorre-150x180.jpg San Fernando city council member Maribel de la Torre was booked Friday on misdemeanor charges of vandalism and battery in connection with her stormy visit on June 28 to the home of her ex-lover and fellow city council member, Mario Hernandez. De Le Torre was released without bail, but she was fingerprinted.

One of San Fernando's battling electeds resigns

mario-hernandez-150x180.jpg Mario Hernandez, the elected and married San Fernando city council member who either was the victim of an assault by his estranged girlfriend — or the perpetrator — or both! — resigned from office before tonight's council meeting. While he didn't show his face at the meeting, his ex-girlfriend did.

Uh-oh: restraining orders for San Fernando's dating pols

maribel-delatorre-150x180.jpg The small but curiously interesting city of San Fernando has slid one more step into the bizarro world. Both of the City Council members who last year were reveled to be dating sought and received temporary restraining orders against the other, citing a violent argument over a disputed iPad.
Greg Krikorian, the Republican candidate in the Glendale area's 43rd assembly district, said it was his wife's debt and that she filed for bankruptcy protection

State parks mostly saved in budget

All but five of the 70 state parks that were listed for closure will remain open either due to arrangements with private donors or money included in the state budget.

Channels 2 and 9 went off the air for more than an hour

kcal-power-out-tweet.jpg So, let's see. if a small power outage in Studio City knocks out two stations for a prolonged period, I guess we should write off the CBS stations in a big earthquake.

A visit with the Valley's sex toy kings

chad-ron-braverman.jpg Dave Gardetta of Los Angeles magazine explores the company behind the somewhat legendary, or at least time-tested, sex toy company that markets as Doc Johnson products. The real Doc Johnsons are Ron Braverman and his 30-year-old son, Chad. Their company is "the Procter & Gamble of sex toys. Each month the company pours 125 tons of rubber, manufacturing 330,000 dildos, vibrators, and synthetic buttocks."

Orange Line extension across the Valley opens June 30

sherman-way-mosaic-orange-line.jpg Another four miles of the Orange Line busway are about to ready to open between Woodland Hills and Chatsworth. Out-of-service buses will be seen making test runs as soon as this weekend.

Berman's Super PAC gets national attention

Thumbnail image for Berman+Sherman+Town+Hall+JJ.jpg Both the Washington Post and the New York Times have taken note this week of the committee funded by Marc Nathanson that is spending big bucks on behalf of Rep. Howard Berman in the Democrats' congressional district showdown in the Valley.

Hospital bed interview with Bobby Womack

bobby-womack.jpg The nurse attending Bobby Womack in Encino wears an expression for which the phrase "long-suffering" was invented. "Can I give you your meds?" she asks, proffering a handful of tablets. "Potassium, magnesium, something for blood sugar," she explains.

Up close with the collector behind Valley Relics

tommy-gelinas-dn.jpg Burbank native Tommy Gelinas reckons he's spent $300,000 acquiring his personal collection of San Fernando Valley memorabilia and ephemera. He's got a website, blog and busy Facebook page devoted to Valley stuff. Plus: TV writer and ex-Dodgers broadcaster Ken Levine has a Kindle book on growing up in the '60s Valley.

405 project months behind, Carmageddon II delayed

Thumbnail image for 405-mulholland-bridge-zevweb.jpg The overall project is now four to six months behind schedule. This means that the plans to close the freeway over a weekend to finish tearing down the Muholland Drive bridge in Sepulveda Pass are now delayed at least until late summer. Plus: Wilshire Rampture by the numbers.

Otto Jensen, Burbank photographer was 101

Otto Jensen, reportedly a longtime photographer for Hollywood studios, was 101 years old when he was struck and killed Tuesday night by a car driven by a 91-year-old woman, Burbank police said.

Brad Sherman mailers come with (or without) mom *

Some Valley voters are getting campaign mail that shows Rep. Brad Sherman with his wife and three young children. The lucky ones also get his mother, apparently photo-shopped in to the same scene.

Restoration work begins on Lankershim depot

lankershim-depot-dn.jpg The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has begun the initial phase of work to restore the 1896 Southern Pacific Railroad depot from the San Fernando valley farming town of Lankershim, now known as North Hollywood. The decaying wooden structure sits at the corner of Lankershim and Chandler boulevards. Local historians took up the cause of saving the depot more than a decade ago.

Full text of Obama's remarks at Clooney fundraiser

This is the official transcript from the White House of what President Obama said from the stage at last night's Democratic fundraiser at George Clooney's home in Studio City.
President Obama told the guests at tonight's Democratic Party fundraiser in Studio City that his comments yesterday on completing his move into the yes column on same-sex marriage were "a logical extension of what America is supposed to be." Plus notes on who attended, what else Obama said during his 19-minute talk.

Obama chooses Berman in the battle of the Valley

Berman+Sherman+Town+Hall+JJ.jpg Rep. Howard Berman, not Brad Sherman, was invited to meet the president's helicopter at Bob Hope Airport this evening in Burbank. Berman then was swept into the car with Obama and got to discuss the weighty matters of state — or perhaps the Wolfgang Puck menu — on the drive to George Clooney's house for the big fundraiser in Studio City. I'll score that as a major point for Berman.

Signs point to Burbank Airport for Obama

BobsBigBoy-burbank.jpg If I were a betting man, or a Valley commuter hoping to avoid tonight's presidential motorcade traffic snarl, I would avoid the route between Bob Hope Airport in Burbank and Studio City as the clock approaches 7 p.m.

Some updates on Obama's visit to Studio City on Thursday

clooney-obama.jpg Los Angeles City Councilman Paul Krekorian, who represents Studio City, says he has been told that the area south of Ventura Boulevard around Laurel Canyon Boulevard and Fryman Canyon will be pretty much a mess between 8 and 10 p.m. on Thursday. He also confirms that President Obama will stay overnight in Beverly Hills, as on recent trips.

Obamajam moves to uncharted territory: the Valley

obamajam-creshts-1011.jpg President Obama returns to Los Angeles on Thursday to separate more Democrats from their $40,000. He's going to George Clooney's house in Studio City's Fryman Canyon, but how he will get there nobody's saying. The president will overnight somewhere in the LA area — back in Beverly Hills or does a new hotel get to host Obama this time?

Daily News endorses Berman over Sherman

ShermanANDBerman.jpg In "one of the most competitive congressional races in recent history," the Daily News editorial is asking voters to cast ballots for Democrat Howard Berman and Republican Susan Shelley. That leaves out the Valley's other big congressional incumbent, Brad Sherman. Here's what they say in this morning's editorial.

Sherman wants investigation of Berman-flavored super PAC

A supposedly independent committee that is spending money on behalf of Rep. Howard Berman in the big San Fernando Valley showdown is too close to the congressman, says the campaign of rival Rep. Brad Sherman.
The office of City Councilman Richard Alarcon released a statement this morning repeating that Alarcon and his wife, Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon, are not guilty of the voter fraud and perjury charges filed yesterday by District Attorney Steve Cooley.
alarcon-home-dn.jpg Superior Court judge Kathleen Kennedy dismissed the DA's two-year-old perjury and voter fraud case against City Councilman Richard Alarcon and his wife, Flora Montes de Oca Alarcon, saying the prosecution failed to present evidence to the grand jury that undercut its case. Prosecutors indicated they would refile the charges.

Tow truck guy leads LAPD on two-hour chase

Starts in the Valley around Magnolia and Woodman, moves slowly and almost politely through Hollywood, Los Feliz and Atwater Village, then into the city of Glendale.

Portrait of a Bookstore to close on Tujunga Avenue

aroma-cafe-bookstore.jpg The store inside Aroma Cafe in Studio City closes May 17. "In the words of Orson Welles, 'If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.' This is our happy ending," a note says.

Moving day at KCET

kcet-studios-sunset.jpg Today's the day that television station KCET has to be out of its historic former movie studio on Sunset Boulevard. Everyone has been told to vacate by 3 p.m., I'm told. The new home is in Burbank in a media building adjacent to NBC.

Video of fatal police shooting on the 101 freeway *

Police were reportedly in cellphone contact with Abdul Arian, 19, and his mother during last night's chase across the West Valley.
The inbound 101 at Canoga Avenue in Woodland Hills has been closed all night because of a police shooting following a chase.

Touring the history of the Valley in five hours

survey-la-tour-tujungaave.jpg A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I took a day to serve as guide for the team of architecture historians, researchers and others who will be studying the pre-1980 San Fernando Valley for the SurveyLA project. They blogged about it.

Berman and Sherman on 'Which Way, LA?'

Warren Olney will host a little radio debate tonight between the Valley congressmen who are running against each other.

Canoga Park celebrates 100 years

sherman+way+owensmouth.jpg Sherman Way, the main street of Owensmouth, California, in the teens or 1920s. The town was annexed into Los Angeles around then and changed its name to Canoga Park in...

Lou Grant regaling the LA Daily News staff

asner+at+daily+news.jpg Fun photo of Ed Asner with city room staffers circa 1980 — and plans for a big reunion of Daily News alumni.

Sherman and Berman add flacks

Schwada1.jpg John Schwada, the former Fox 11 reporter and LA Observed contributor, goes to work for Rep. Brad Sherman's campaign.

Speaking of Amelia Earhart photographs *

eddie-meyer-airplane-aaa.jpg In addition to the relaxed Amelia Earhart photo I posted again earlier this week, the Automobile Club of Southern California Archives has some more nice photos of her in Burbank. Gotta love this one.

Notice the weather widgets this afternoon?

Eighteen-degree gradient between the beach and the Valley. The fog is definitely in.

Amelia Earhart's LA connections

Earhart at Lockheed.jpg Hard to know what to make of the latest project to go look in the Pacific for Amelia Earhart's missing plane from 1937. Probably nothing at all, like every other...

Berman adds top Demo campaign strategist

Brandon Hall, who ran Sen. Harry Reid's reelection campaign and some other big Democratic wins, has been named senior advisor to Rep. Howard Berman's campaign and put in charge of day to day operations.

Times goes back into Orange County

latimes-east-face-tighter.jpg After a decade of retreat, the Times' California editor announces today the paper's "reoccupation of Orange County."

Programming notes: Kenny Burrell on KCET, Valley Times photos

vt-driveinchurch.jpg At 9 p.m. tonight KCET's new Open Call series is airing a documentary I helped produce on UCLA professor and jazz guitar legend Kenny Burrell. Then on Saturday, I'm showing photos from the old Valley Times newspaper at the Central Library.

Radioactive chemical levels still high at Santa Susana *

reactor-chatsworth.jpg Some levels of radioactive chemicals at the Santa Susana Field Laboratory site were as much as 1,000 times higher than standards, according to federal data released on Monday.

Work on 405 getting intense again (for drivers)

Thumbnail image for I-405-logo-color.jpg Midnight freeway closures this week and, as of Monday night, one direction or another of Wilshire Boulevard is subject to complete closure over the next week, starting each night at 8 p.m.

Daily News runs with our 'Sherman Way' story

sherman+way+movie+collage.jpg The plan, if the movie actually gets made, is to set it at the Canoga Park end of Sherman Way.

Now comes Sherman Way, the movie

sherman+way+movie+collage.jpg Film, music and pop culture references to the San Fernando Valley never get old.

Video: Fighting with LA's sidewalks

From the Daily News, an 80-year-old woman in a wheelchair tries to get over the hump caused by a street tree in Northridge.

Watch live stream of tonight's Berman-Sherman debate

bermanshermanRGB_585.jpg Democratic Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman are facing off at 7:30 p.m. at Temple Judea in Tarzana. Republican Mark Reed is also taking part — in fact he kind of gets featured billing as the outlier in the race for the heavily Democratic 30th district.

Bill James makes a good case for the Valley's Dwight Evans

dwight-evans-1986-topps.jpg Dwight Evans is one of the most underrated players in baseball history, the godfather of baseball stats writes to the sport's hall of fame, urging enshrinement for the retired Chatsworth High alum.

Sherman and Berman rag on each other all weekend

Berman+Sherman+Town+Hall+JJ.jpg The entertainment highlight of the Democratic Party's state convention this weekend in San Diego was apparently the unusually harsh words from Reps. Brad Sherman and Howard Berman, aimed at each other.

NBC 4's newsroom moving to Universal

universal-studios-gate-clos.jpg All of the news operations at the longtime NBC home on Alameda in Burbank will move to a building formerly occupied by Technicolor on the Universal Studios lot.

George Clooney is just a Valley guy

The actor gives CBS' "Person to Person" a tour of his Studio City home of 20 years. His dad became the anchor at KNBC News in 1984.

Bert Bonnett, horseman was 101

bert-bonnett-dn.jpg Equestrians of the northeast Valley will ride Sunday in memory of Bert Bonnett, a legend in the horsey communities of Shadow Hills and Sunland.

Looking back at the Sylmar quake after 41 years *

sylmar-quake-bridge-usgs.jpg Vanessa Whang, the director of programs at the California Council for the Humanities in the Bay Area, contributes a reminiscence of the 1971 Sylmar earthquake on the Zocalo Public Square website.

Nice personal take on saving Los Encinos park

lang-oak-lapl.jpg Editor Rob Eshman calls the Encino State Historic Park threatened with closure his personal retreat growing up in the neighborhood.

Universal City deletes Buddy Holly, Muddy Waters and Patsy Cline *

muddy-waters-drive.jpg Fifteen or so years since Universal Music Group left for Santa Monica, the honchos at Universal City are taking down the signs on various streets and driveways that honor music legends.

Tale of two LA congressional campaign planets

ShermanANDBerman.jpg Berman-Sherman are in one orbit, Richardson-Hahn in another with fewer zeroes.

Hertzberg not running, but he got his name around

BobHertzberg.jpg Former speaker and losing candidate for mayor releases a statement (through campaign strategist John Shallman) saying thanks but no thanks.

Let the redistricting fun begin

white+horse+inn+lao.jpg The secret City Council district maps were released publicly today, revealing whose ox is being gored. As she foreshadowed, Councilwoman Jan Perry is among the gored.

Newhall Pass closed again? There's an app for that

what+will+close+nehall+pass.jpg The narrow squeeze between the San Fernando Valley and points north shuts down so often that a blog has come up with the, um, Comprehensive Newhall Pass Disaster Planning Tool.

Dennis McCarthy taking his leave from Daily News

dennis+mccartthy+DN.jpg "It's been 40 years since I took a vow of poverty and became a newspaperman," Dennis McCarthy writes in his column announcing he will retire from the Daily News on January 31.
qqSan Fernando Laundry.jpg The acting police chief in the city of San Fernando has been placed on administrative leave during an investigation into an allegation that he fixed a traffic ticket for Fred Flores, an aide to Rep. Howard Berman

High school goalie may have been killed over jealousy

murder+suspects+pancho.jpg Romantic rivalry, not gangs, appears to be the motive in the murder of Francisco Javier Rodriguez Jr. outside the teenager's home in Winnetka. Two suspects with long rap sheets, a man and a woman, have been arrested.

This day in L.A. history: Carole Lombard killed

gable-lombard-home-postcard.jpg Good on Cheryll Devall of KPCC for working up a radio piece on today's 70th anniversary of the day that Hollywood comic actress Carole Lombard died in a plane crash. Famously married to Clark Gable, Lombard was honored by FDR as the first American woman to die in the line of duty during World War II.

Berman-Sherman reminds him of earlier speakership fight

This year's showdown in the Valley between Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman does more than just echo the 1980 fight in Sacramento when Berman tried to unseat fellow Democrat Leo McCarthy as Speaker of the Assembly.

Berman picks up a nice union endorsement

The Service Employees International Union in California will announce today its backing of Rep. Howard L. Berman in the San Fernando Valley showdown with fellow Democrat Rep. Brad Sherman.

Hertzberg pondering run against Pavley for state Senate

The former Assembly Speaker and unsuccessful candidate for mayor says he can win and she can't.

Donor puts up $150,000 to keep Rancho Los Encinos open

History buffs in the know revere it as the spot where the Portola expedition, the first European land explorers in the region, left the riverbank that later became Los Angeles and came upon a Tongva camp beside a spring in a wide grass-covered valley in August 1769.

Berman-Sherman starting to get the media's attention

Berman+Sherman+Town+Hall+JJ.jpg The number of links to coverage of last night's forum between Reps. Howard Berman and Brad Sherman (and their Republican accessories) has kept growing through the day. So I'm gathering them here.

Politics notes: Nicole Avant comes home to help Obama

olbermann-current-tv.jpg She resigned as ambassador to the Bahamas and will return to Los Angeles "to help fix the president's troubled relationship with the entertainment industry." Plus: Keith Olbermann, Berman-Sherman.

An addendum to fake Christmas snow in the Valley

Last week's post about Life magazine's newly available trove of unpublished on-set photos from the film shoot for "It's a Wonderful Life" brought a nice email pointer to a story by Michael Fessier.
Previously on LA Observed:
Valley of 'It's a Wonderful Life'
When Encino became Bedford Falls

Valley of 'It's a Wonderful Life'

Life magazine has posted online a gallery of unpublished photos from the Encino set of the 1946 holiday classic starring Jimmy Stewart.

LA Sketchbook: San Fernando

qqSan Fernando Laundry.jpg

Phil's Diner makes it 8 months, but that's it

phils-diner-2.jpg There's less demand in NoHo for an "organic, sustainable fast food restaurant that embraces local, hormone-free and pesticide-free food, compostable containers and other green components" that one might have thought.

Got to admire the councilman's sense of history

sunland-protest-50s.jpg City Councilman Paul Krekorian's latest emailed newsletter got my attention, and not for any of the headlines or stories.

Berman gets help from 22 California Dems

berman-invite-dc.jpg Berman's friends in the House are lending their name to a "California wine tasting" fundraiser next week in Washington.

Samuel French to close Valley store, keep Hollywood

samuel-frencyh-studio-city.jpg This isn't a total dose of bad bookstore news, just a demi-dose for people in Valleywood.

San Fernando gets more interesting

hernandez-sanfernando-back.jpg San Fernando Mayor Mario Hernandez is expected to face a crowd calling for his resignation at next week's City Council meeting, but his girlfriend will be in Israel.

Looking for the next city to investigate? Try San Fernando *

mario-hernandez-sf.jpg Are any of the small cities in Los Angeles County not havens of crazy or worse?

Wal-Mart pepper sprayer surrenders to LAPD

porter-ranch-walmart-sign.jpg The women suspected to using pepper spray on a crowd of Black Friday shoppers at the Wal-Mart in Porter Ranch turned herself in at the Devonshire Area station late last night.

Read the memo: Don't feed the squirrels

daily-news-box-200.jpg Reporters, editors and other staffers at the Daily News offices in the Valley have been told to stop feeding the wildlife.

Car clubs of the San Fernando Valley

Sinners_SFV.jpg A website gathers the rear-window plaques for hundreds of car clubs across the U.S., including more than 100 in the San Fernando Valley alone — covering generations of low riders, high riders and more.

Three LANG papers get new management structure *

When Daily News editor Carolina Garcia was named editor over the Daily Breeze and Press-Telegram as well, it seemed pretty clear more moves were coming. Now they have come.

NYT declares war on Encino

encino-commons-sign-lao.jpg In an online commentary under the New York Times' Opinionator banner, newly New Yorkified journalist Katie J.M. Baker ticks off why she loathed growing up in Encino and the San Fernando Valley.

LANG papers begin the inevitable consolidation

Carolina Garcia, the editor of the Daily News, will now be the executive editor for the Daily Breeze and the Press-Telegram in Long Beach as well.

Daily News celebrates 100 years in the Valley

dn-100-panorama.jpg It was on this day in 1913 that the pop-up town of Van Nuys — located at the intersection of a vast former wheat field turned dustbowl and a sandy seasonal flood wash — got a newspaper.

Current temperature in Downtown: 99 degrees

weather-oct12.jpg Coming up on 4 p.m. on October 12, the LA Observed weather center reports a Downtown temperature of 99 degrees. 97 in the Valley, 88 along the KOST (sorry, couldn't...

20 years after Nirvana at Sound City

sound-city-nirvana.jpg Sound City Studio Center in Van Nuys is where many top records were made. "If you're a fan of rock and roll...this is hallowed ground."

Berman endorses Cardenas for Valley seat in Congress

Rep. Howard Berman today endorsed Los Angeles City Councilman Tony Cardenas in his bid to win the Valley's newly drawn 29th congressional district.

Catherine Mulholland exhibit opens in Northridge

mulholland-exhibit-cover.jpg I'm taking part in a panel discussion Tuesday at the Cal State Northridge library.

Sherman-Berman is now a blog

ShermanANDBerman.jpg The Jewish Journal intends to keep a close eye on the divisive local race.

Lights dim for the last time at Charlie O's

charlie-os-logo.jpg Daily News columnist Doug McIntyre on the weekend shuttering of the Van Nuys jazz bar.

Berman v. Sherman divides Hollywood

Many in Hollywood (and especially in Valleywood) wish the looming primary fight between the two Democrats would just go away.

Hot Dog Show closes after 62 years in Toluca Lake

hot-dog-show-share.jpg There used to be others around the Valley, but far as I know this is the last Hot Dog Show.

LA Observed on KCRW: Season of the map

My weekly column this evening centered on the redrawing of political lines in California, mostly on the new districts that will see Reps. Henry Waxman, Howard Berman and Janice Hahn seek reelection outside their traditional home turf.

Spielberg, Katzenberg & Geffen pitch for Berman

bermandinnercrop.jpg Rep. Howard Berman may face reelection in a new (if still Democratic) district, and a likely opponent from his own party in Rep. Brad Sherman. But his Hollywood friends are still with him.

Lede o' the day

From Al Martinez in his Daily News column.

Valley's 'Great Wall' being upgraded

great-wall-zevweb.jpg The murals inside the Tujunga Wash flood control channel known as The Great Wall of Los Angeles are getting some fresh care.

Angeleno weekend in Cooperstown

Rich and Bert.jpg Bert Blyleven, Pat Gillick and blogger Rich Lederer will stand up at the baseball Hall of Fame in upstate New York.

Dems pile on local Mitt Romney appearance

Republican candidate for president Mitt Romney was at the Valley Plaza shopping center in North Hollywood today, using it as a photo op for some claim about jobs and the economy.

Business as usual on the 405: night closures

Now that the big media event is over, it's back to the routine closures that users of the 405 freeway have experienced over the past several months. Here's tonight's partial list.

Pre-Carmageddon traffic report

It's not bad out there. I came over Sepulveda Pass about 2 o'clock, and except for what seemed to be a bit of lookie-loo slowdown on both sides approaching the...

Dedication of the Sepulveda tunnel

sepultunnel1300.jpg Until the tunnel under Mulholland Highway opened in 1930, there wasn't much "pass" to Sepulveda Pass. There was a dirt road and trails, but most of the traffic between...

Channel 2 interviews text message murder suspect

CBS 2 says it has an exclusive with the local murder suspect who was released from custody in Puerto Rico then disappeared.

Travis Bean, influential guitar maker in the Valley was 63

travis-bean-guitar.jpg "Born of the motorcycle and hot rod culture of Burbank California in the early 1970s, the Travis Bean guitar was fused from gear head sensibility and rock and roll creativity," says a website.

Weekend 'no stopping' streets for 405 closure

The city Department of Transportation is slapping up new No Stopping any Time signs for Carmageddon weekend on these streets, mostly in the Valley.

LA Observed on KCRW: Preparing for Carmageddon

SEPULVEDA CUT 1962 AERIAL.jpg The Automobile Club of Southern California Archives have some stunning photos from the years in which the L.A. area was discovering its relationship with the car. Like this one.

405 Carmageddon machine cranks up

kiewit-snake-soqui.jpg The latest news and gimmicks on the coming 405 shutdown, including the LAPD asks a favor of Lady Gaga.

You think kids don't care about teacher layoffs?

I don't know what's going on at Roy Romer Middle School in North Hollywood, but after watching this video posted today at YouTube, if I were on the school board or a news assignment desk, I'd get somebody out there tomorrow.

Conan's street isn't just a joke

raymer-street-sign-dn.jpg Not everyone's happy, but Councilman Krekorian is willing to play along.

Conan really wants that street named for him

west-raymer-conan.jpg Conan O'Brien has sweetened, so to speak, his request for the city of Los Angeles to rename a segment of West Raymer Street beside the train tracks in Van Nuys....

405 shutdown will be "heard around the world"

405-mulholland-bridge-zevweb.jpg How LAX is planning for the worst weekend ever. Isn't it weird how the best job of covering the 405 freeway construction disruption so far hasn't been by any traditional media at all, but by the websites of Metro and of Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky?

Sky Daniels to run KCSN in the Valley *

KCSN, the FM station from Cal State Northridge, has a new program director. Sky Daniels, formerly of the late KMET and other stations, has also been a label executive at...

Details of the 405's weekend closure in July: it's Big

405detailsmap1.jpg When was the last time you saw a news release issued jointly by Caltrans, Metro, the California Highway Patrol, the Los Angeles Police Department and the L.A. Fire Department?

Conan wants an L.A. street named after him

Inspired by Oprah Winfrey's street in Chicago, Conan O'Brien calls on Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa to get it done. Video.

New editor in the Valley

The San Fernando Valley Business Journal has a new editor. Plus: The story of ValSurf, and the band She Wants Revenge really loves the Valley.

Lovely downtown Canoga Park, not

A YouTube videomaker who doesn't care for the grittier realities of life in the Valley has made a series of "tourism" videos on Canoga Park and Van Nuys.

LA Observed on KCRW: The freeway that ate summer

I-405-logo-color.jpg Tonight's KCRW column, airing at 6:44 p.m. talks about the massive I-405 freeway makeover and the plans to close the freeway for a weekend in July.

405 project: No more playing nice

I405-East-View-of-Mulholland-Bridge-5501.jpg All lanes of the freeway will close in Sepulveda Pass for an enitre weekend in July. You've been warned, but you will be warned again.

San Fernando Valley Fair won't be held this year

devonshire-downs-flier.jpg End of an era in the Valley, which was still agricultural enough in the 1940s to launch an annual livestock and equestrian fair held for a few decades at the Devonshire Downs race track and fairgrounds in Northridge.

Beethoven at the bowling alley

The cocktail lounge at the Canoga Park Bowl features classical music on Wednesday nights.

Lockheed in camouflage

lockheed-war-after.jpg These pictures reemerge every so often, but they are always interesting. These are World War II shots of Lockheed Aircraft, a major builder of war planes at Burbank Airport,...

Dennis McCarthy picks winners for a book

dennis-mccarthy-book.jpg Daily News columnist Dennis McCarthy writes "when I arrived at the Daily News 30 years ago this month, I had dark hair, a flat stomach, and the stamina to chase stories all day and night. Five thousand plus columns later, what's left of the hair is white, I've got a pot belly, and need a nap after lunch."

Van Nuys Airport no longer special

vny-exangbase-lao.jpg Valley boosters used to take pride in the stat that Van Nuys Airport was the busiest in the country, due mostly to all the private pilots and students who flew there. Now traffic has fallen to 1963 levels.

LAPD officer shot in Sylmar, in surgery

Steve Jenkins is in surgery in "very guarded" condition after being shot in the face on Dronfield Avenue, LAPD chief Charlie Beck announced.

In L.A., streets and bikes are fight-worthy

wilbur-mtg-streetsblog.png Last week in the Valley, something like 450 people turned out at a raucous community meeting called to discuss the restriping of upper Wilbur Avenue to add left-turn and bike lanes.

The Valley as cricket mecca

cricket-espn.jpg ESPN Los Angeles discovers the Woodley Park cricket field in the Sepulveda Dam Basin, "a Shangri-La to cricketers around the world."

How to run for office on $4,000 or less

KCET and Annenberg News21 have co-produced a piece on Rich Goodman, the 27-year-old political novice who is running against Councilman Tony Cardenas.

Jane Russell, movie sex symbol was 89

jane-russell-hurrell-1941.jpg Jane Russell is probably best known as the busty actress whose cleavage Howard Hughes exploited so flagrantly in "The Outlaw." Her life story, though, runs through several other prominent Los Angeles threads.

Simpsons pick out the L.A. hot spots

simpsons-la-tour.jpg On a recent episode of "The Simpsons," Bart Simpson's list of "must-see attractions" for Los Angeles included Cerritos Auto Square, Keyes on Van Nuys, "The Valley," LAX lot C, the...

Happy centennial, Van Nuys

flooding-van-nuys.jpg On Feb. 22, 1911, trains from Los Angeles delivered the first buyers of vacant lots to the new town of Van Nuys.

LA Observed on KCRW

Coming up on the air at 6:44 p.m., a often-forgotten corner of the city — the far northeast Valley — and two historical milestones there.

Feb. 9, 1971, 6:01 a.m.

sylmar-quake-usgs-tracks.jpg Sixty-five people died in the 6.6 magnitude Sylmar earthquake 40 years ago today. We have pictures.

Alarcon raising money for next job, indictments or not

alarcon-invite.jpg City Councilman has a Sacramento fundraiser scheduled next month for an Assembly run in 2012.

Ritchie Valens, garage band success was 17

valens-grave.jpg There's a reason that, 52 years later, they still remember Ritchie Valens. Especially in Pacoima.

Valley finally gets another concert hall

valley-perf-arts-center-big.jpg Forty seven years later, the San Fernando Valley gets another performing arts space and it's bigger and grander.

Mystery jet skids off runway at Van Nuys *

vny-mystery-jet.jpg Men with plastic sheeting rush out and cover the words Policia Federal: now we're intrigued.

Meanwhile, in real Woodland Hills crime

An LAPD alert posted to Facebook by a resident: "Burglary Suspects posing as DWP employees are attempting to enter homes in Woodland Hills.

El Camino High shooting all a hoax by the 'wounded' cop *

Last week's lockdown of Woodland Hills schools, fear felt by students and parents, and massive dragnet for a gunman that disrupted entire Valley neighborhoods — all the result of a dishonest LAUSD police officer, LAPD chief Charlie Beck said tonight.

On the Valley's news wars of the 1960s

My posts on Dr. Martin Luther King in the west valley and mention of the late Valley Times newspaper led reader Jim Houck to point me to a Time magazine story on that newspaper in 1963.

Print coverage of MLK's 1961 speech in the Valley

mlk-in-canoga.jpg A history teacher at Canoga Park High School graciously pointed me to this online evidence of Dr. Martin Luther King's 1961 appearance.

Milton Bradley arrested in the Valley

Troubled ex-Dodger Milton Bradley looks to be in trouble again. He was booked into the Van Nuys jail today on suspicion of making criminal threats, reportedly involving a woman in...

Demos' endorsement doesn't keep candidate in CD 12 race

Brad Smith got the endorsement of the Los Angeles County Democratic Party the other night in the 12th district City Council race in the west Valley. On Thursday, Smith dropped out of the contest.

Ron Kaye to write column for LAT community paper

I'm not sure where Ron Kaye's grand plan to topple the L.A. City Council with a slate of candidates stands, but he'll be columnizing on Sundays in Glendale and Burbank.

Last day for Barnes & Noble Encino

The bookstore and its adjoining Starbucks have been pretty popular hangout spots at Ventura and Hayvenhurst in Encino.

Two more Patch sites debut

Sherman Oaks and Echo Park start up this week, with familiar names involved.

Learning new lines at Universal City

universal-map.jpg If the Universal City development project goes through, the size of the city of Los Angeles will grow by 44 acres. How's that, you may ask?

L.A. emergency agencies practice for nuclear terrorist attack

opgoldenphoenix.jpg Over the past two years, Los Angeles County emergency responders have been quietly preparing for a massively bad scenario: explosion of a 10-kiloton "improvised nuclear device" in the San Fernando Valley.

Phil's Diner in NoHo gets a new home

phils-diner-2.jpg Phil's Diner was a beloved hangout for its fans in North Hollywood when it was located on Chandler Boulevard, from the 1920s until about ten years ago.

War coming over Valley seat in Congress

The Daily News' Tony Castro writes on his personal blog that despite Alex Padilla's talk of running for mayor, the state Senator from Pacoima really wants to be in Congress.

Admiral Mullen a local boy

Admiral-Michael-Mullen.jpg Admiral Michael G. Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff who is making the L.A. rounds today, grew up in the Valley.

Bing Crosby's Valley estate on the market

bing-crosby-estate.jpg Bing Crosby's old Toluca Lake estate is up for sale: just $6.595 million for almost two acres, a main house with 6 bedrooms and five fireplaces, plus pool, cabana and tennis court.

Daily News turns 100

dn-centennial.jpg The Daily News is celebrating next year's 100th anniversary with a series of centennial stories on the paper's and the Valley's history.

Two porn houses shut down after male actor tests HIV +

Wicked Pictures and Vivid Entertainment stopped production after a performer identified by one industry source as a male who does gay and straight films tested positive for HIV.

Deli's sandwiches no longer a work of Art *

art-at-deli-grab.jpg Art Ginsburg is leaving Art's Deli to his children, but look who reported the story for AOL Patch.

Valley Peforming Arts Center getting ready for its closeup

sfvpac-piano-dn.jpg Sound consultants have already begun tuning the concert hall's acoustics, with the help of a single pianist at a Steinway.

Oops, Google Maps robot drinking again

wahoo-to-louisvuitton.jpg More fun with Google Maps and its perplexing take on the geography of Los Angeles. I will say, this one seems more like a technical glitch than a failure of...

Bruce Ackerman, Valley business leader was 64 *

Ackerman, chairman of the Community Redevelopment Agency board of commissioners, died today of cancer.

More fun with Google Maps fails

achoi-googlemap.jpg Achois was the name that Europeans and, later, Americans thought more or less reflected the pronunciation that the local Tongva used for their settlement at the north end of the...

Here's where Councilman Alarcon 'lives'

alarcon-home-dn.jpg Well, we know he hasn't been violating the city's watering ordinance.

Video: Man rescued from burning car in Valley

Good Samaritans on Burbank Boulevard in Van Nuys used a crowbar and guts to free an older man trapped in his burning 1932 Ford after a four-car accident on Sunday. Watch the video.

Police bust up homeless camp in the Valley

tujunga-wash-camp.jpg Los Angeles police on horseback raided a long-standing homeless encampment under the 210 freeway in Big Tujunga Wash and used ropes to rip down shelters.

Weekend obits: Keith Richman, Jon Douglas

In the San Fernando Valley secession election in 2002, state Assemblyman Keith Richman received the most votes and would have become the first mayor of the newly formed sixth-most populous U.S. city if voters had allowed the split.

Ex-Burbank official dies on Northern California bridge

Kevin Jolly, 45, left as superintendent of the Burbank schools a few weeks ago to take over a troubled school district in Mendocino County.

Alarcon residency plot thickens

At least six of Councilman Richard Alarcon's staffers have received subpoenas to testify Wednesday in front of a grand jury looking into where the boss actually lives.

LA Observed on KCRW: What a trip

sfv-the-onion.jpg My weekly column on LA Observed tonight talks about my visit to the Valley to talk to Los Angeles Conservancy folks at The Onion, the Unitarian church where the first Los Angeles acid test was held in 1966.

Heading to North Hills

sfv-the-onion.jpg I'm the keynote speaker this afternoon at the Los Angeles Conservancy's annual meeting.

Child killed by driver fleeing LAPD pursuit *

The suspects' car struck and killed a child who appeared to be five years or under in Lake View Terrace.

Disputed Calabasas area land saved as open space

calabasas-land-aerial.jpg Nearly 200 acres of grassland and oak trees at the junction of the Ventura Freeway and Las Virgenes Canyon Road have been acquired by the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority.

Fugitive porn actor goes over cliff in the Valley *

Stephen Clancy Hill, apparently known in the adult video business as Steve Driver, has been wanted since an attack Tuesday night porn warehouse in Van Nuys.

New acronym to remember: SFVCOG

Valley-by-550.jpg If you're one of those who never memorized what SCAG stands for, well, it doesn't really matter. Same for this new entry of local semi-officialdom, but some folks in the Valley are happy anyway that as of next Tuesday, when the Board of Supervisors votes it into existence, there will now be a formal San Fernando Valley Council of Governments.

Los Angeles newspaper of 1907 skewers Supes

la-herald-cartoon-1907.jpg The design isn't much to brag about, and they were partisan to the max, but one thing about the newspapers of Los Angeles a hundred years: they were chock full of news.

Kobe phone home

kobe-et.jpg When was the last time a fashion spread in the L.A. Times got this much attention? Kobe as ET.

Dump trucks overrun Sylmar neighborhood

dumptruck-sylmar.jpg Hundreds of dump trucks a day have been driving through a Sylmar neighborhood to dispose of sediment from the Station Fire.

LA Sketchbook: Shotgun wedding in SFV

qqxsgValley shotgun.jpg

Happy anniversary to the Valley

annex-map-1918-raremaps-com-200.jpg On this day in 1915, the voters of the San Fernando Valley chose to join the city of Los Angeles — and nothing here was ever the same

Who killed the GM plant in Van Nuys

cesar-chavez-waters-gmplant.jpg "This American Life" revisited the demise of the former General Motors assembly plant in Van Nuys, where an entrenched work force never came around to more efficient and reliable Japanese-style methods. The plant closed in 1992.

Valley Fair returns to the Valley

devonshire-downs-flier.jpg The San Fernando Valley Fair used to be a pretty big community affair — with horse racing, rodeo events, and barns full of sheep and rabbits raised by 4-H kids in their backyards — that kept alive the Valley's equestrian and agricultural tradition.

The timelessness of Little League in the Valley

encinoll-sherman-flickr.jpg Saturday was opening day at the Encino Little League baseball diamonds, located at Hayvenhurst and Magnolia since 1954. John Scheibe, the author of "On the Road With Jim Murray: Baseball and the Summer of '79" and an editor in Sports at the L.A. Times, played there as a boy and returned for the annual ritual.

Burbank teacher turns herself in for sex with 14-year-old

amy-beck-300x235.jpg Amy Beck is 33 and a sixth-grade teacher at Jordan Middle School in Burbank.

Westall drops out of 43rd AD race

Democrat Andrew Westall has dropped out of the race in the 43rd assembly district, citing the weekend death of Charmette Bonpua, his colleague and the chief of staff for Councilman Herb Wesson.

Political type balances with yoga studio

Valley-based campaign consultant Julie Buckner is opening InYoga Center, a studio with boutique, in the former Dutton's bookstore on Laurel Canyon Blvd.

Oakie estate in Northridge acquired by city

oakie-house-dn.jpg The city has paid $3.35 million for ten acres and the home designed by Paul R. Williams for actress Barbara Stanwyck, a vestige of the Valleywood horse-ranching heyday.

'Runaways' hits Sundance 'like a freight train'

stewart-fanning-sundance.jpg Kristen Stewart, as usual, is so uncomfortable doing media it always creeps me out a bit to watch her.

Alarcon has a new story about his residence

Councilman Richard Alarcon now concedes he hasn't been staying at the Panorama City home his wife owns in his council district for three months, citing a break-in and attempted squatting...

DA investigating where Alarcon really lives

Alarcon_profile.jpg Search warrants were served this week at homes owned by Alarcon's wife in Panorama City (in his district) and Sun Valley (not.)

It takes a military man to fix the 405 freeway mess

mike-barbor-featured.jpg When work begins Wednesday night on the Sepulveda Pass Widening Project — the first full closure of the northbound freeway is after midnight — Metro's man in charge will be an Iraq veteran.

The Valley now has 1.75 million residents

san-fernando-valley.jpg he latest census data gathered at the request of Rep. Brad Sherman shows that Latinos are still the largest population group at 42.8%.

Three years of hell on the 405

405projectlogo.jpg Think the new construction project only affects the freeway? Ho ho ho.

Orange Line gets New Year's Eve deal too

Yeah, Metro CEO Art Leahy changed course and approved running free all-night service on the Metro Orange Line this New Year’s Eve — after the Daily News reported that the...

Burbank hires a police fixer

The city of Burbank wants Debra Wong Yang, the Los Angeles police commissioner and former U.S. Attorney here, to help clean up whatever ails the Burbank Police Department. KPCC...

Is Phil Spector in Toluca Lake? *

KFI's news Twitter feed says that convicted killer Phil Spector is at a dentist's office in Toluca Lake right now, escorted by prison correctional officers. Update: Yes, Spector was allowed...

LAPD view of Israeli organized crime

Israeli organized crime activity in Los Angeles has gotten "a little bit worse" recently, LAPD terrorism chief Michael P. Downing told the Jerusalem Post this week on a visit in...

Burbank police chief opts to retire

I have no idea what is really going on at the Burbank police department, only that things seem pretty messed up. This afternoon, Chief Tim Stehr announced he would retire,...

Water main break in Van Nuys *

watermainbreak11209.jpg Dramatic geyser is blowing higher than the rooftops on Van Nuys Boulevard near Sherman Way. Screen cap is from CBS 2. * Noon update: DWP says the main, which broke...

Jewish schools, synagogues alerted *

The Los Angeles Police Department has issued an alert to all Jewish day schools and synagogues in the wake of this morning's attack in North Hollywood. The Jewish Journal has...

2 shot at Valley synagogue *

Police are investigating this morning's shooting at Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic synagogue on Sylvan Street in North Hollywood as a hate crime. Two Jewish men were shot inside the synagogue...

Fog over the Valley

fogwestvalleyveronique.jpg Veronique de Turenne was up and outside early this morning and caught this view across the West Valley from the top of the Santa Monica Mountains. She's got another view...

Krekorian v. Essel

Not much surprise in the 2nd City Council district: Assemblyman Paul Krekorian (34%) will face Christine Essel (28%) in the December runoff. Only 14,525 people voted, a bit more than...

Kevin Starr's Valley

kevin-starr-california-gold.jpg Historian Kevin Starr's latest thick work on California, "Golden Dreams: California in an Age of Abundance, 1950-1963," devotes much attention to the San Fernando Valley, which swelled during the time...

Studio City still sinking

While city crews try to repair that giant hole where a water trunk line failed on Coldwater Canyon Avenue over the weekend, another water main break has claimed a fire...

Firefighters hold moment of silence

fftribute9409.jpg At the morning shift change at the Hansen Dam command post, more than 1,000 firefighters paused to remember Capt. Tedmund Hall and Arnaldo Quinones, the County Fire veterans who died...

Official fire info

Here's the latest page from the U.S. Forest Service command post, with evacuations and other data. The Station Fire stands at 121,762 acres....


smokecloudtj83109.jpg If it's not a word, it should be. TJ Sullivan's daily view from the Westside captures perhaps the week's most voluminous pyrocumulus cloud yet, dwarfing the InterContinental Hotel in Century...

'This is a very angry fire'

actonfireblevins83009.jpg Incident commander Mike Dietrich just told the 5 p.m. media briefing that the weather is still working against firefighters in the Angeles National Forest. "This is a very angry fire...

Aerial pyrotechnics

strudwickaerial.jpg I'll do a fire news roundup after the 5 p.m. briefing at Hansen Dam. Meanwhile, flying in or out of Los Angeles has been more visually dramatic during the fires....

Villaraigosa statement on fires

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's face was not in evidence in the fire coverage this weekend — it has been a county, state and national forest show. But with the fire coming...

Fire acreage doubles overnight

Wow. The Station Fire is now at 85,000 acres — and there have been no Santa Ana winds pushing this monster along. Some homes were lost last night near Acton,...

LAO video: Sunday night's fire briefing

What begins as a behind-the-scenes video of the fire camp and media swarm at Hansen Dam turns into an emotional briefing on the deaths of two Los Angeles County firefighters....

View of fires from space

firesfromspace83009.jpg Here is today's image from Earth Snapshot. Click it to biggify....

2 firefighters die on Mt. Gleason **

StationFireTJ83009.jpg Tonight's briefing at the fire command post at Hansen Dam began with deputy chief Mike Bryant of the county fire department announcing that two of his men died about 2:30...

Fire at 32,000 acres *

stationfirelineactonknbc.jpg * Updated through the afternoon The fire front in the San Gabriels stretches 19 miles east to west, with containment essentially at nil. Previously evacuated area in La Cañada...

Channel 9 covers fire at Welk's home

Channel 9's fire coverage in the 9 o'clock hour included several minutes with reporter Dave Lopez on the battle by firefighters to save the La Cañada Flintridge home of the...

Weekend's best fire video? *

stationfireflamesjablon.jpg Los Angeles lawyer web content producer Eric Spiegelman, an LA Observed reader from way back, made a time lapse video — 90 minutes in 24 seconds — of the smoke...

Van Nuys for cruising again

vnblvdmovie.jpg It took Van Nuys merchants, the Daily News and the LAPD decades to eradicate the Los Angeles tradition of cruising on Van Nuys Boulevard. They finally had to shut the...

Community found dead, film at 11

northhillsfounddead.jpg Amusing omission on the Daily News website, submitted by a mutual reader who observes "the neighborhood has its faults, but it ain't thaaat bad." Police reportedly suspect a link to...

Kaye's meltdown 'denier' called out

Ron Kaye's new organ for his activist brand of politics and news,, ran a long piece yesterday claiming to debunk the "meltdown myth" regarding the 1959 nuclear reactor incident...

What's up with the Burbank PD?

Another lawsuit has been filed against the city of Burbank by officers (or former officers) in the city's police department. This is the second suit alone by former detective Christopher...

LA Sketchbook: Out of Van Nuys

sgVan Nuys.jpg In honor of Sherman Oaks adding a new precinct of ex-Van Nuysians, here's the latest by Steve Greenberg. For the heck of it, here's my timeline of San Fernando...

The Valley's nuclear past

ssfl.jpg With local media obsessing a bit this week on the 50th anniversary of the partial meltdown of an experimental nuclear reactor above Chatsworth, here's the first comprehensive news story on...

Piece of Van Nuys OK'd to move

Sherman Oaks now extends north of Burbank Boulevard, at least in one neighborhood, in another blow to Van Nuys. Lots of levity during the City Council debate, so to speak...

Jackson to be buried in the Valley

The Forest Lawn cemetery wedged between Griffith Park, Burbank and Toluca Lake calls itself FL Hollywood Hills for marketing purposes, but make no mistake: it's in the San Fernando Valley....

Little Tujunga brush fire *

lvtfire7509.jpg Lori Jablons sends this photo of a brush fire burning this afternoon in the hills behind her Lake View Terrace neighborhood. "You can see the flames within the smoke, and...

Principal, coach disciplined over Bruno

brunobham.jpg LAUSD chief Ramon Cortines said he was taking "appropriate personnel action" against the principal and athletic director of Birmingham High School for letting Sacha Baron Cohen (as gay character "Bruno")...

Bruno and the Birmingham High kids

brunobham.jpg As part of the promotion for the new Sacha Baron Cohen movie Bruno, GQ magazine runs photos of Cohen-as-Bruno cavorting on the field with the football team at Birmingham High...

Los Angeles history bits

The Orange Line busway extension from Woodland Hills to Chatsworth will follow the route of old Southern Pacific railroad tracks that crossed the Valley starting in 1888. The trains carried...

L.A.'s Woodstock, 40 years later

newport69poster.jpg This weekend is the 40th anniversary of Newport '69, the first — and last — ginormous rock festival to be staged within a leafy Los Angeles suburb. On June 20,...

Famous spot on Ventura Boulevard

News reports of a Crips gang party in Studio City on Wednesday night made me smile, if only because of the location. The stories gave the club's name as Platinum...

Lucky market returns

A few readers have emailed in the last couple of days wondering about the Lucky market that re-appeared at Van Nuys and Sherman Way in the Valley, taking over an...

Wild art: Mayor goes to the Valley *

avmattepstein.jpg Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa dropped in Saturday at the opening of actress Melissa Joan Hart's store Sweet Harts in Sherman Oaks. He's getting a hug from Valley restaurant and real...

At the Jesse James Hollywood trial

Natasha Vargas-Cooper, who is watching the murder trial of Jesse James Hollywood up in Santa Barbara for The Awl, grew up with killing victim Nick Markowitz in West Hills. The...

What went wrong at the Children's Museum

"It was supposed to be the Valley's first public museum, our own Disney Hall," says a Daily News editorial. Instead, the plan to relocate the Children's Museum to Hansen Dam...

Children's museum in Valley pondering bankruptcy

The troubled museum-in-waiting near Hansen Dam in Lake View Terrace has taken steps to file for Chapter 7 protection, at least partly due to the impact of a scam, per...

The battle over Part of Sherman Oaks

Daily News staffer and blogger Steve Rosenberg lives in the latest part of Van Nuys that wants to transfer its real estate karma into Sherman Oaks — and he isn't...

Game on over *

The Cal State Northridge Matadors are leading Memphis by 3 in their NCAA tournament game with 8 minutes left. On Channel 2. * No Cinderella story: Memphis 81, Northridge 70....

Burbank Airport, even older

Ron Dickson, who writes about the aviation history of the San Fernando Valley, sends along this photo of the terminal and tower at Burbank before Lockheed took over and stucco-ized...

Peering into Burbank's time capsule

The Burbank Times did a nice job with the 1959 photographs that were recovered from a time capsule dug out of a bridge in Burbank last month. The publication put...

When the Times was in the Valley *

A promotional video from 1993 [? see below] for the Los Angeles Times Valley Edition — an almost stand-alone newspaper put out by dozens of reporters, editors and other journalists...

Where 'The Office' exteriors are filmed

Dunder Mifflin's office, parking lot and hedge are located on Saticoy Street in an industrial part of Van Nuys. In case you suspected Scranton looked eerily like the San Fernando...

Daily News re-lowers sights on the Valley

David Kronke, who covered television for the Daily News and wrote the paper's Mayor of Television blog, posted his final item today and said to watch for the launch of...

One minute video: 16-car pileup in the Valley

It's not what you think — perhaps, though, it's the logical Darwinian outcome of car culture? Observed Sunday on Reseda Boulevard in Northridge. Video link More LA Observed video: Downtown...

Snow in Sylmar

David Garza of Los Angeles Mission College grabbed this photo of snow dusting the hills behind Sylmar this afternoon....

Takes a village to save an opossum

After an adult male opposum was shot in the head in Van Nuys on Saturday, it required the neighborhood kids, an Animal Services officer, Valley Wildlife Care in Woodland Hills...

Motion Picture Home to close nursing facility

Jeffrey Katzenberg and other Motion Picture & Television Fund officials just revealed plans to close the acute-care hospital and long-term care residence at the home in Woodland Hills. About 100...

Home Depot gives up on Sunland-Tujunga

Looks like the former K-Mart store on Foothill Boulevard will stay empty. Home Depot has given up trying to get approval — over concerted neighborhood opposition — to open a...

When it snowed in the Valley

In the winter of 1949, snow blanketed the floor of the San Fernando Valley and other parts of the basin. But swimming lessons must go on — it was the...

Michael Crichton dies at 66 *

The author and creator of "ER" died yesterday in Los Angeles "after a courageous and private battle against cancer," his website announced. His books included "Jurassic Park" and "The Lost...

Scratch another Hamburger Hamlet

Sign on the Sepulveda and National Hamlet on the Westside cites loss of the lease, but skeptical Chowhound posters suspect "loss of customers" is behind the closure. "We'll certainly see...

Careers in Scientology

Fear for your job? Looking for a safe haven to sit out at the recession? The Church of Scientology is hiring. And offering a free personality test. Spotted on Sherman...

Six parts later, it's still 1959

I enjoy Los Angeles history as much as the next guy, and probably more than the guy beside him. Yet I haven't felt motivated to read the L.A. Times' seven-part...

One-minute video: Kagel Canyon post-fire

Kagel Canyon looked scorched but almost serene over the weekend. The locals had put up signs thanking the firefighters who knocked down last week's wildfire. Here's a one-minute video of...

Tale of two fires

The fire that began on Oat Mountain above Porter Ranch doubled in size overnight to 9,872 acres and was burning southwest across Ventura County, while the Marek fire that began...

Fires reach 10,000 acres

The two wildfires burning in and around Los Angeles have destroyed at least three dozen mobile homes in Lopez Canyon and 19 structures, many of them homes, in the area...

Fire to the sea 'a real possibility'

Los Angeles County fire chief P. Michael Freeman is quoted on City News Service saying that firefighters are doing their best to check the Porter Ranch-Browns Canyon fire "from making...

Cal State Northridge cancels classes

The campus is probably five miles from the nearest flames, but the heavy smoke over the Valley and interrupted freeways prompted CSUN to cancel afternoon and evening classes. Also, Chatsworth...

Evacuations spread to West Valley *

Channel 7 just reported that, with the wind blowing more fiercely, evacuations have just been called for Box Canyon, Woolsey Canyon, Bell Canyon, Dayton Canyon and Lake Manor. KABC thought...

Awesome fire photo

It's by Mel Melcon of the Los Angeles Times, on It shows the smoke roiling off the Sesnon fire in Browns Canyon and Porter Ranch....

Fire fatality on 118 Freeway *

Channel 4 says there is a report that someone died in a car fire on the freeway near DeSoto Avenue, a bit east of where the Sesnon fire has jumped...

Evacuations above Chatsworth *

* Updated post Twin Lakes and Indian Hills, two communities hard up against the brush north of Chatsworth, are evacuating. Flames are moving across Browns Canyon, the access up to...

Oat Mountain burning above Porter Ranch *

* Update: All Los Angeles TV new stations are live on the fires. A fast-moving new fire has erupted in the Santa Susana Mountains and is laying down smoke on...

Walter Reed puts out a statement

Quick update from an item this morning: Principal Donna Tobin posts at the Walter Reed Middle School website that "permission to use the front of our school for the Republican...

Wrong Walter Reed?

The backdrop photo chosen to illustrate John McCain's speech last night sure appears to be Walter Reed Middle School in North Hollywood. No one has said why a school in...

The Valley still striving

Back in the 1920s, when Ventura Boulevard through Sherman Oaks was a two-lane highway with dirt shoulders, real estate agents pitched it as the "Wilshire Boulevard of the Valley." It...

Oops: Sportsmen's Lodge not closing *

Unfortunately, the Daily News this morning bannered Dana Bartholomew's story saying the hotel and banquet center in Studio City would close. It's still big on the website. Miscommunication — but...

Sportsmen's Lodge to close stay open *

The quirky Sportsmen's Lodge hotel on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City will shut down Dec. 31, the Daily News says. [* But the paper was wrong. See below.] The 11-acre...

DNA helps solve burglaries

The LAPD says that in a study it ran in the Valley, DNA samples collected at the scene of residential and commercial burglaries helped identify a suspect in 45 percent...

Valley parish donates $1.5 million for Mahony's tab

St. Bernardine of Siena Parish in Woodland Hills has donated nearly $1.5 million of its savings to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles to help fund last year's multimillion-dollar...

Still looking for the West Valley

The Times' website today is pushing a travel feature on the West San Fernando Valley, writing that "in what we hope will be an ongoing series, we present you a...

More Latino-Armenian conflict at Valley school

Grant High School has been plagued for years by clashes between Latino and Armenian students — dating, some say, to hard feelings over the response to major earthquakes in Mexico...

Home Depot tries again in Tujunga

The Home Depot project on Foothill Boulevard that ran into a mountain of community opposition is back on the agenda. The store applied to City Hall for a permit to...

Google responds

I'm told by Alex Fay, legislative deputy to Los Angeles City Councilman Bill Rosendahl, that Google will be fixing its maps listing Van Nuys as "Van NY." When I saw...

Google Maps doesn't get Van Nuys *

A few readers have sent this to me. (Thanks.) Google Maps has the Van Nuys community name just right, but the airport, boulevard and golf course are all reduced to...

Kaye does sound like a pol

From ex-editor Ron Kaye's new blog: In my mind, it's time for people to make a stand for what they believe in, to act like the free people Americans are...

At heart, the Valley is still the Valley

This is a pretty good animal story, told in today's Daily News by columnist Dennis McCarthy. On Tuesday morning, John Caruso spotted a sheep and a German shepherd running together...

'My entire reputation has been damaged'

Rev. Eric Lee says the whole episode in which philanthropist (and Hillary Clinton supporter) Daphna Ziman accused him of anti-Semitic remarks has been wearing and hurtful. Lee, who is African...

Valley's day in the media

Every so often, one of the local media outlets returns to the theme of "The Valley, it's not so bad" and pretends the concept itself isn't kind of old. Today...

Buddy Miles, Hendrix drummer was 60

Not too many musicians follow this particular career arc. Buddy Miles, who died yesterday in Austin of congestive heart failure, began as a session player with the Delfonics and on...

Buried 'treasure' dug up in the Valley

OK, more loot than treasure. But when cops followed the map scrawled by burglar Roberto Caveda and dug where the X was marked near White Oak Avenue and the Reagan...

Debating the future of Ventura Boulevard

With seven residential projects containing 900 units already under construction — and another two dozen projects approved — the most upscale shopping street across the Valley is evolving. But the...

The new Koreatown

Actually it's not so new, but the Koreanization of the suburbs in the northwest Valley has really taken hold. I think every church my parents tried to drag me into...

Coming war between the Valley and Westside

Much honored Los Angeles sci-fi writer and alternate historian Harry Turtledove writes about time travel in his Crosstime Traffic series. Could he be predicting the future with the sixth book...

Original Van Nuys Airport hangar saved

Valley history buffs were aghast to learn last week that the first hangar built at what's now called Van Nuys Airport was in the process of being torn down. The...

Latest Valley secession try

A portion of Reseda with large lots wants to rename itself Reseda Ranch to help fend off developers and instill some community pride. If the City Council agrees to let...

Judge orders more Rocketdyne clean-up

Environmental rehab of the Santa Susana Field Lab site in the West Valley has been inadequate, U.S. District Court Judge Samuel Conti ruled. He told the Department of Energy to...

Burning out on Van Nuys

Blogger Andrew Hurvitz at Here in Van Nuys sounds exasperated, or worse, at the way the onetime downtown of the Valley has gone. He writes in a post called Columbus...

When Encino became Bedford Falls

One thing I can add to the Times' appreciation today of It's a Wonderful Life, the film classic starring James Stewart and Donna Reed: all that fake snow was created...

Snapshot: the San Fernando Valley

With Glendale and Burbank included the Valley's population is now 1.74 million, larger than every U.S. city except New York, Los Angeles, Chicago and Houston.

Another parking rage murder

It happened Sunday night on Woodale Avenue in Arleta, says the Daily News' Susan Abram. Filimon Ramos was killed and his 19-year-old son wounded, apparently by a neighbor who had...

Sorry, but no

I like Encino. Oak-shaded streets, some nice restaurants and oozing with Valley and Hollywood history. The impetus to spruce up Ventura Boulevard is a good one. I can even live...
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Wet coyote
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Performing arts with cheer
guys-dolls-kevin-parry.jpgDonna Perlmutter closes out 2015 with productions downtown and on the Westside.
Junkyard down
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