Misfire. Authorities are trying to figure out why a platform holding fireworks mortars collapsed at a Simi Valley 4th of July celebration last night, sending flaming debris into the crowd and injuring at least 28 people.
The mishap – which is being described as an “accidental detonation” – happened right after the start of the fireworks display at Rancho Susana Community Park. More than 1,000 people were watching the show. Witnesses described a chaotic scene with people in the front trying to flee and those further back unaware that anything was wrong.
It took about a minute or so for the explosions to subside and for organizers to stop firing off new fireworks.
Officials say most of the injuries were minor, although a few people were seriously hurt. Most of those injured suffered burns or wounds from shrapnel-like projectiles. Firefighters set up a triage center at the park and about 20 people were taken to hospitals. Ventura County Star, KABC
Supervision gap. California’s county probation officers say they often do not get enough advance notice before the state releases prison inmates to their supervision. Under Governor Brown’s realignment policy of handing non-violent ex-convicts over to the counties instead of state parole officers, local probation departments are supposed to get 30 days notice. But, L.A. County probation officials say that does not happen 15-to-20 percent of the time. A spokesman for the state corrections department says getting the paperwork done on time can be tough when inmates serve short sentences. AP
U.C. Tuition. The University of California is ditching a proposal to impose steep tuition hikes on graduate and professional students. Instead, U.C. officials say they’ll seek hikes for a much smaller group of graduate students, mainly in nursing. And those fee hikes will be less than previously proposed. In November, U.C. President Mark Yudof recommended raising tuition on more than 50 post-graduate programs. The proposal was slammed by student organizations. Gov. Jerry Brown also criticized the plan, calling it “unseemly,” because it came right after state voters approved tax hikes to boost funding for education. L.A. Times
Shelter deaths. L.A. Animal Shelters were on track to euthanize fewer dogs and cats in the fiscal year that ended in June than during any year in the past decade. Officials attribute the decrease to fewer animals entering shelters and increased adoptions by rescue organizations and ordinary folks looking for pets. In recent years, L.A. shelters have euthanized about 20,000 dogs and cats on average. Based on the numbers through May, the city was on track to euthanize about 20 percent fewer animals. The final numbers for the year are due out next week. L.A. Daily News
May Co. flagship. A long-neglected landmark in L.A.’s historic center has hit the market. The one-time May Co. flagship store in the old movie theater district on Broadway has seen better days, but it could still attract a lot of interest because of the area’s ongoing renaissance. The Beaux-Arts style building opened in 1908 as the Hamburger department store. May Co. took it over 15 years later. The nearly one-million-square-foot building takes up most of a city block on Broadway between Hill and Eighth streets. The Beverly Hills investor group that owns the building is reportedly seeking $120 million or more in a sale. L.A. Times