Merdies Hayes

Staff Writer

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Recent Stories

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Ben Carson brings ‘outsider’ status to packed GOP presidential field

Joins Trump as Iowa frontrunner

Ben Carson is definitely an “outsider.” He’s never run for public office. He is not a “Beltway insider” nor a career politician. There are few, if any, known lobbyists or big business interests pulling his strings. Within the ranks of the GOP, he does not fit within any prescribed characterization or historic image so familiar to American voters.

New state ordinance will limit amount of homes’ natural turf

One of the joys of homeownership is that neatly-trimmed patch of green grass in the front and back of a house which has traditionally signified pride, dedication and character. Whether a regular crew is needed to manicure a stately landscape, or the homeowner every other weekend rolls out the trusty power mower and edger, maintaining your lawn in pristine condition is one of those regular pleasures which has been learned from childhood.

High school football fields melting prior to new season

It couldn’t be a worse time for prep football players. With the season scheduled to begin in the next few weeks, five high schools that had all-weather sports fields (commonly known as “Astroturf”) installed by the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) during the past five years must scramble to replace the turf—and find another field to play—because the material used is defective.

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Amelia Boynton Robinson, civil rights icon, dead at 104

Amelia Boynton Robinson, the civil rights activist who was almost beaten to death during the “Bloody Sunday” march in 1965 in Selma, Ala., and the first African American woman to run for Congress in Alabama, died early Wednesday at age 104.

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Black Lives Matter movement takes presidential contenders ‘off point’

Activists force way into political season

Is it a groundswell among young, disenfranchised African Americans? Or is it the latest en vogue fad resulting from the “instant information” age? Whatever the rationale for the mass movement, the Black Lives Matter pilgrimage is quickly reaching a level of social activism almost forgotten by baby boomers, while attracting the attention of the mass media in ways not seen since the “Free Speech,” “Anti-War” or “Black Power” movements almost 50 years ago.

Central Valley land is sinking

Problem caused by over pumping water

Agricultural profits are not the only things sinking in the Central Valley. The ground is sinking—in some places as much as two feet per year—because during the drought thirsty residents and desperate farmers have extracted too much ground water from the aquifer beneath the terrain in the region. New data from NASA suggests this practice has led to an unexpected dilemma because infrastructure—from roads, train tracks and bridges—is being placed as risk.

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‘Anti-vaxer’ movement contests studies touting benefits of early inoculations

In caring for your child, ‘who calls the shots?’

The anti-vaccination movement (“anti-vaxers”) may be considered as a two-pronged campaign. One prong denies a casual connection between vaccines and the eradication of diseases like smallpox, polio, measles and rubella, while the other prong believes vaccines—particularly the MMR shot for mumps-measles-rubella—are a direct cause of autism.

El Nino chance looks promising

Popular river in north now dry

As wildfires continue to rage in parts of northern California, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) this week issued some promising news for the drought-stricken state: El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean are gaining momentum thereby increasing the chances of an extra-wet winter on the West Coast.

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Watts Riots: What has changed 50 years later?

A look back at a week of terror

The ring of the old black phone had an ominous tone. Something had happened not far away which had the neighborhood on edge. “Hello, M.D.? Oh, M.D.! We’ve got to come pick you up (from work) right now ... the police beat up a boy down in Watts and they’ve been burnin’ things ever since. Yeah, we’re fine ... but you’ve never heard so many sirens. They’re ’bout to break into White Front. We’re on our way.”

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Central Valley dam project could bring relief

Water-starved farmers may benefit

The debate about how to better manage water has continued for four years, but now the drought is triggering more political momentum for several water storage projects in the Central Valley. The Bureau of Reclamation said, in a report released this week, that it wants to increase the height of the Shasta Dam near Redding by almost 20 feet, thereby adding capacity to store an additional 634,000 acre-feet of water for agricultural, municipal and industrial use.

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