TEHACHAPI, Calif. (AP) _ Hundreds of firefighters gained ground Wednesday against the most destructive of two big wildfires that have burned homes and forced 2,300 people to evacuate mountain communities on the edge of the Mojave Desert and in the southern Sierra Nevada.
Breaking news reporting at the AP is always collaborative, but on this story I was in the driver’s seat _ managing a flood of incoming calls, delegating outgoing calls, teasing out a good quote from folks who felt the shaking and getting the seismologists to explain what happened. Add in a few twists (it was downgraded? The tramway’s down?), and it makes for an exciting afternoon.
The moderate earthquake that rattled through Southern California with only minor damage and no injuries came as no surprise to seismologists, who said it was triggered by a much larger April temblor near the U.S.-Mexico border.
The 5.4-magnitude earthquake rattled buildings in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday, toppled wine bottles at desert resorts and briefly halted rides at Disneyland.
It was centered 28 miles south of Palm Springs and was related to the powerful Easter Day quake, but was not an aftershock, researchers said.
LA CANADA FLINTRIDGE, Calif. (AP) _ Residents evacuated from foothill communities deluged by weekend mudslides north of Los Angeles were allowed to return home Sunday as crews moved debris and cleared catch basins in anticipation of more rain later in the week.
The final evacuation order was lifted for about 70 homes in the Paradise Valley area of La Canada Flintridge, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Guillermina Saldana. Only residents with valid identification were allowed back into the neighborhood that was choked with a thick layer of mud and debris during a pummeling rain early Saturday.
The sports side of AP’s Online Video has kept me busy since Pete Carroll announced his departure.
I shot the presser, using my sharpest elbows to earn a spot next to the veteran cameramen. They have better gear, years of experience and 50+ lbs. on me – yet they still couldn’t cut me a break. Then I dashed back to the bureau to send b-roll and bites to NY, where a producer edited and voiced the piece.
LAS VEGAS (AP) – Puerto Rican duo Calle 13 won all five awards it was nominated for Thursday at the Latin Grammys in Las Vegas, including two of the top awards of the night and honors in both urban and alternative categories.
The awards show ran late because Mexico’s “Divo of Juarez,” Juan Gabriel, sang for 40 minutes straight while mariachis stomped on stage and the audience clapped and sang along.
Calle 13 won album of the year for its innovative collaborations and politically charged reggaeton. Left with little time to accept the golden gramophone for the top honor, lead singer Rene Perez, who raps as “Residente,” dedicated the award to Argentine folk singer Mercedes Sosa, who died in October at age 74.
“May she rest in peace. An applause for Mercedes Sosa, please,” he said in Spanish.
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) _ Turning the horizon a lurid orange and raining embers on roofs as it advanced, a wildfire that has destroyed scores of homes in the hills menaced the celebrity enclave of Santa Barbara and other coastal towns Friday, and the number of people ordered to flee climbed to more than 30,000.
AP Photo | Keith D. Cullom
Authorities warned an additional 23,000 to be ready to leave at a moment’s notice.
Columns of smoke rose off the Santa Ynez Mountains as the 4-day-old Jesusita fire — fanned by “sundowner” winds that sweep down the slopes in the evening — blew up from 2,700 acres to 8,600 in less than a day, creating a firefighting front five miles long.
“It’s crazy. The whole mountain looked like an inferno,” said Maria Martinez, 50, who with her fiancé fled her home in San Marcos Pass, on the edge of Santa Barbara. The couple went to an evacuation center at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) _ Battalion Chief Scott Smith’s yellow jacket reeked of wood smoke and his eyes were red with exhaustion at the Emergency Operations Center.
Earlier, one of his crews nearly lost its engine to the flames and Smith fetched them out of a burning home where they had taken shelter Wednesday amid a wildfire near Santa Barbara that had charred 500 acres and driven thousands from their homes.
(Nadya Suleman’s mother sounded exhausted and exasperated when I reached her on the phone only days after the octuplets were born, but she shared a few emotional details before hanging up abruptly. This story went unmatched and kept my byline throughout the weekend.)
By Raquel Maria Dillon | ASSOCIATED PRESS
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ The woman who gave birth to octuplets this week conceived all 14 of her children through in vitro fertilization, is not married and has been obsessed with having children since she was a teenager, her mother said.
Angela Suleman told The Associated Press she was not supportive when her daughter, Nadya Suleman, decided to have more embryos implanted last year.
“It can’t go on any longer,” she said in a phone interview Friday. “She’s got six children and no husband. I was brought up the traditional way. I firmly believe in marriage. But she didn’t want to get married.”
(I covered the Golden Globe nominations for AP’s Spanish language service, focusing on the Latino and international favorites.)
Por Raquel Maria Dillon | ASSOCIATED PRESS
BEVERLY HILLS (AP) _ Shakira y Javier Bardem fueron nominados el jueves a los Globos de Oro mientras que América Ferrera, quien ganó el año pasado el premio en su debut como “Betty la fea”, volvió a ser postulada.
Shakira se medirá por el Globo a la mejor canción con “La despedida”, que compuso especialmente para el filme “El amor en los tiempos del cólera”, inspirado en la novela homónima de Gabriel García Márquez.
Bardem, por su parte, competirá por el premio al mejor actor de reparto por su papel de asesino en la cinta de los hermanos Coen “No Country for Old Men”.
Y Ferrera volverá a medirse por el Globo a la mejor actriz en una serie televisiva de comedia por “Ugly Betty”, la versión anglo de la exitosa telenovela colombiana, producida por Salma Hayek para ABC.