Good evening, SoCal. We’re wrapping up the day for you with the most important stories you need to know and your weather outlook.
Your Weather Planner
Winds will be much weaker Friday morning compared to Thursday, but there will still be offshore gusts in the 20 and 30-mph range, mainly for the higher terrain.
Skies stay clear much of Friday and temperatures remain warm for most, despite cooling a few degrees compared to Thursday. Inland valleys remain around 10 degrees above average, while coastal locations will be about five degrees above average.
Clouds increase late Friday as a storm approaches SoCal, arriving late Saturday into early Sunday.
Get your 7-day forecast: LA West | LA East | San Fernando Valley/Ventura County | Orange County
Today’s Big Stories
1. Live Updates: U.S. citizen killed in Ukraine, State Dept. confirms; Biden calls Putin a ‘murderous dictator’
A United States citizen has been killed in Ukraine, a State Department official confirmed Thursday.
“We offer our sincerest condolences to the family on their loss,” a spokesperson for the State Department said. “Out of respect to the family during this difficult time, we have no further comment.”
Secretary of State Antony Blinken confirmed the news Thursday afternoon, but declined to give any further details at this time.
“I can confirm that an American citizen was killed,” Blinken said. “I don’t have any more details than that.”
This is the second U.S. citizen confirmed to have been killed in Ukraine so far after American journalist Brent Renaud was killed by Russian forces last weekend.
2. Big new California reservoir on track for $2.2B federal loan
A long-delayed plan to build a giant reservoir in Northern California to help withstand the U.S. West’s notorious droughts got a huge boost on Thursday when the federal government signaled its intent to loan the project nearly $2.2 billion — or about half the cost.
The announcement by the Environmental Protection Agency is the equivalent of being preapproved for a loan. It will take up to two years for the federal government and project officials to negotiate the terms and sign documents before the money is delivered.
The reservoir would flood what’s left of the town of Sites, a town with just a handful of residents nestled in a valley of the coastal range mountains in rural Colusa County. The idea has been around since the 1950s, but it’s never had the money or the political will to move forward.
Once completed, the reservoir would hold about enough water to supply 3 million households for one year. It would be nearly twice the size of the most recent reservoir built in California, but is much smaller than some of the state’s better known lakes.
Project officials called the loan a “game-changer.”
Jerry Brown, left, and Kevin Spesert stand at what would be the bottom of the Sites Reservoir in Sites, Calif., on Friday, July 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Adam Beam, File)
3. California lawmakers vote to make abortions cheaper
California lawmakers on Thursday voted to make abortions much cheaper for people on private health insurance plans, bringing California closer to becoming the fourth state in the country to ban insurance fees for the procedure.
Thursday’s vote is part of lawmakers’ strategy to make reproductive care more accessible in preparation for a potential U.S. Supreme Court decision this summer that could overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 case that banned states from outlawing abortions.
California already requires private health insurance plans to cover abortion services. But insurers are allowed to charge people things like co-pays and deductibles, which adds an average of $543 to the cost of a medication abortion and $887 to the cost of a procedural abortion, according to an analysis by the California Health Benefits Review Program.
The Assembly approved a bill that would eliminate out-of-pocket costs for abortions on private health plans. While the bill would reduce the cost of abortions, it would also slightly increase monthly premiums for patients and their employers. But the savings from eliminating out-of-pocket costs would be greater than the increase in monthly premiums.
4. Biden challenges building owners to improve air quality to reduce COVID spread
The White House on Thursday launched the Clean Air in Buildings Challenge, a call to action aimed at improving indoor air quality to make it harder for the virus to spread.
The initiative is part of Biden’s National COVID-19 Preparedness Plan, released earlier this month. The challenge asks government leaders and building owners and operators to assess their indoor air quality and improve ventilation and air filtration.
The Environmental Protection Agency released a guide Thursday that includes a series of recommendations, including steps that can be taken immediately, as well as links to resources with more information.
The American Rescue Plan, passed in March 2021 by Congress, included $350 billion for state and local governments and $122 billion for schools that could be used to improve ventilation and filtration in buildings.
5. Bauer leave extended through April 16 by MLB, players’ union
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Trevor Bauer will miss the start of the season after his administrative leave was extended through April 16 on Thursday by Major League Baseball and the players’ association.
He was placed on seven days’ paid leave last July 2 under the union and MLB’s joint domestic violence and sexual assault policy.
MLB and the union have since agreed to several extensions.
Los Angeles prosecutors last month decided not to charge Bauer for allegedly beating and sexually abusing the San Diego woman he met through social media.
Prosecutors were unable to prove the woman’s accusations beyond a reasonable doubt, the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office said in a document concluding their investigation.
Your Notes for Tomorrow
- Vice President Harris visits Louisiana to highlight administration internet investments
- 4th anniversary of Russian President Vladimir Putin winning a fourth term
- New iPhone SE available to buy
- NCAA Women’s March Madness First Round
- The Lakers travel to Toronto to take on the Raptors at 4:30 p.m.
In Case You Missed It
Hollywood is synonymous with entertainment and star power, and when you think back to its Golden Age, The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel was front and center. Opening in 1927, the hotel played host to legendary icons, including Marilyn Monroe and Clark Gable, just to name a few.
Today, the Hollywood Roosevelt still glitters with all its glory, and our vintage LA Correspondent Alison Martino got the VIP treatment with an exclusive tour.
Click the link above to watch Alison’s exclusive tour of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.