Fire Wipes Out OC Nonprofit That Helps People Get Back Into The Workforce – LAist

Posted: February 3, 2020 at 3:44 pm

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COLLEGE ADMISSIONS

Updated February 3, 2020 12:21 PM

Published February 3, 2020 12:10 PM

There's no shortage of criticisms about the standardized tests most colleges use to decide whether to admit students. Opponents say the SAT and ACT tests are a better measure of whether you can afford test preparation than a gauge of academic aptitude.

The University of California system has been debating whether to keep the tests, and last year it asked faculty leaders to study the issue. Now the results of the yearlong review are in:

Don't ditch the tests, faculty leaders say.

Well, that's the very short answer. The Academic Senate's executive committee released more than 200 pages of reasons why they think the tests are worthwhile. The main takeaway: after factoring in demographics and other socioeconomic information, less-advantaged students are actually admitted at a higher rate than other students with similar test scores.

The committee's preliminary recommendations will continue to be debated over the next few months. The full Academic Senate is expected to issue a final set of policy recommendations at its meeting in April.

You can read the full report here:

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Adolfo Guzman-Lopez

Weather Alert

Updated February 3, 2020 11:46 AM

Published February 3, 2020 10:53 AM

Gusty winds are sweeping across Southern California this morning.

Across the region, winds will be blowing up to 50 mph, with gusts up to 70 mph, before gradually tapering off, according to the National Weather Service. Isolated gusts of up to 90 mph in the hills around the I-5 corridor are also expected.

Drivers beware. Meteorologist David Sweet says these strong winds can make you lose control of your vehicle.

He also advises homeowners to be mindful about the items they're leaving outside.

As a matter of fact, I heard potted plants being blown off balconies last night and crashing, so any potted plants, any loose items should be brought indoors, Sweet says.

And whenever we get high winds like this, you can count on reports of downed trees and problems with the power grid. The Huntington Library and Gardens says its closed today because it lost power.

Mayor Eric Garcetti noted on Twitter that crews have been working to restore electricity in neighborhoods where the wind knocked down power lines.

Slightly calmer Santa Anas are expected tomorrow, and temperatures are expected to remain cool Monday and Tuesday, with a slow warm-up later in the week.

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Brianna Flores and Brian Frank

Highway Shooting

Updated February 3, 2020 11:50 AM

Published February 3, 2020 10:22 AM

A woman is dead and five others injured after someone opened fire on a Greyhound bus bound for San Francisco.

The California Highway Patrol says a man boarded the 6848-1 and then started firing shots just before 1:30 Monday morning, while the bus was traveling on Interstate 5. The bus then pulled over near Lebec, and the alleged shooter got off.

The woman who died is believed to be from Colombia. Two of those injured are in serious condition.

A suspect is in custody. Its still unclear whether this was a random or targeted shooting.

"At this time there's no evidence to indicate that there was terrorism involved, or anything like that. We are still trying to establish a motive," CHP Sgt. Brian Pennings said at a late morning press conference.

A black handgun with additional magazines were left behind and later recovered by authorities, Pennings said.

Passengers are being questioned. Police say cell phones are being provided to passengers so that they can contact their loved ones.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to everyone and every family member impacted by the incident today," Greyhound said in a statement.

This is a developing story.

The California Highway Patrol says a man got onto bus 6848-1 and started firing shots just before 1:30 Monday morning.

Brianna Flores

Warehouse Destroyed

Updated February 3, 2020 12:40 PM

Published February 3, 2020 10:10 AM

A four-alarm fire early Sunday wiped out the inventory and Irvine headquarters of Working Wardrobes, a nonprofit dedicated to providing professional attire and job training for people who've fallen on hard times and are trying to get back into the workforce.

The fire broke out at 5:50 a.m. Sunday. Video posted on Twitter by the Orange County Fire Authority showed massive flames billowing into the sky.

OCFA spokesman Tony Bommarito said firefighters initially pulled back because of the intense heat and smoke. "It was too dangerous," he said.

Working Wardrobes posted a press release on its website:

"Everything has been destroyed, including:

Donation Center: Large warehouse filled with racks, bins, and boxes filled with thousands of donations. Including jackets, pants, shirts, blouses, ties, shoes, jewelry and additional accessories, as well as housewares, office and cleaning supplies.

Career Center: Computer labs where clients worked to research and apply for jobs online, training rooms and IT computer lab. Plus, the VetNet team and program for veterans, SCSEP program for seniors, all client services for women, men, young adults, and all wardrobing services.

"We are absolutely devastated by this catastrophic loss, the heart of our operations is gone and so is 30 years of history," Working Wardrobes founder and CEO Jerri Rosen said in a statement. "We are grateful and relieved to report that no one was hurt or in the building at the time of the fire. Now our job is to get back on our feet so we can serve our clients very quickly and we aim to do just that with the help of our remarkable community."

The organization will set up temporary headquarters at a Goodwill facility in Santa Ana.

Bommarito says the preliminary estimate is $10 million in damage to the building and a $2 million loss of contents in the building, but that last figure may go up when Working Wardrobes does a full inventory.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

"At this point were not ruling out anything," he said. "This is a super challenging fire investigation because of the amount of damage. You have the entire roof laying on everything that burned below. This is very challenging to be able to get in there and start working on that."

Crews will be on site in the next several days. Bommarito said his agency will look at whether it was intentionally set.

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez

Broken Buildings

Updated February 3, 2020 6:05 AM

Published February 3, 2020 6:05 AM

You know that sinking feeling you get in your stomach when a pipe breaks and you get the plumbers bill? Well imagine taking a look at an invoice for close to $4 billion.

Thats what it would cost if you total up everything on all 23 campuses of the California State University system that needs to be fixed and maintained the heating and air-conditioning systems, the sidewalks, the locker-room lockers, the elevators, and on and on.

Some of that work is contracted out, but a lot of the daily maintenance falls to a relatively handful of trades workers. Christopher Rooney, a metal worker at Cal State Northridge, let LAist tag along while he made his rounds. When hes not crawling around in air-conditioning ducts, hes got plenty more to do. Mostly by himself the only other metal worker on the campus recently retired. He told us:

A lot of times there will be what they call trip hazards, cement will move and stuff or crack on walkways, and we have to constantly fix that. Handrails get broken, we fix those because once metal breaks it tends to be sharp and people can get hurt on that.

Everything Rooney and all of his fellow trade workers on all of the Cal State campuses is in this 282-page report. Be warned it isnt light reading.

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This Is What A $4 Billion Maintenance Backlog Feels Like To A Cal State Worker (LAist)

Adolfo Guzman-Lopez

VOTER GAME PLAN

Updated February 3, 2020 6:00 AM

Published February 3, 2020 6:00 AM

Primary election season 2020 is officially underway vote-by-mail ballots start going out today (although you still have till Feb. 25 to request yours). Our Voter Game Plan project has been fielding questions about all the big changes happening in the way we vote.

Here's one question we've been hearing: "I want to vote in the presidential primary. Do I have to change my party registration to vote for the candidate I want?"

You might have heard about a change this year that lets you vote for a candidate in the presidential primary even if you are not registered with that candidate's party and that's partially true.

If you are a registered voter with any party be it Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, etc. you'll automatically get a ballot with your party's presidential candidates. Simple enough.

If youre registered as No Party Preference, you are still allowed to vote for a presidential candidate in the Democratic, Libertarian, or American Independent parties. But in order to do so, you have to request what's called a "crossover ballot." If you plan to vote in person, you can simply request one when you get to the voting center.

But if you're voting by mail, then youll have to request that crossover ballot before February 25. You can do that by contacting your county elections office.

For L.A. County residents: The Los Angeles County Registrar's office in Norwalk is open weekdays 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and can be reached at (800) 815-2666. You'll get a phone menu to navigate, so here's a shortcut: press 2 and then 3 to reach someone who can help you request a crossover ballot. You can also email voterinfo@rrcc.lacounty.gov for more help.

Important reminder! This does not apply to the Republican, Green or Peace and Freedom parties. Youll have to register with those parties if you want to vote for their candidates.

Have more questions about the voting process? Our Voter Game Plan has been answering frequently asked ones here. If you want to ask us anything else, submit your question below.

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Brianna Lee

COMING UP

Updated February 3, 2020 10:23 AM

Published February 3, 2020 5:00 AM

In case you weren't watching, the Kansas City Chiefs staged a final-quarter comeback to win their first Super Bowl in 50 years, beating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20. There was also that superstar halftime show, with Shakira and Jennifer Lopez sharing a stage, and another tribute to late Lakers great Kobe Bryant.

But on to Monday. Temperatures will be in the 60s today, and you can expect a very chilly night -- the mercury could dip into the high 30s. If you're planning to brave the waves, note that a high surf advisory is in effect through tomorrow.

The March 3 primary is on the horizon. We now know where all of the county's new vote centers will be, and vote-by-mail ballots go out today.

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The news cycle moves fast. Some stories don't pan out. Others get added. Consider this today's first draft.

Brian Frank

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Fire Wipes Out OC Nonprofit That Helps People Get Back Into The Workforce - LAist

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