Edited BY BARRY LANK
A recap of some of the past week’s scenes, sightings and stories from across the Eastside.
- Ground has been broken to extend the Metro Gold Line to Montclair. The $1.5 billion, 12.3-mile project is expected to be completed by 2027. The Source
- Silver Lake businesswoman Dana Hollister has been ordered to pay pop star Katy Perry about $10 million in punitive damages for interfering with Perry’s purchase of a former Los Feliz convent. The punitive damages are in addition to the estimated $5 million in compensatory damages Hollister was ordered to pay last month by the same jury. The Eastsider
- L.A. Unified might introduce vegan menu items at all of its campuses based on the results of a pilot program at Roosevelt High in Boyle Heights and several other schools. On some days, the vegan lunch option is ordered by more than half the students. L.A. School Report
- The Bob Baker Marionette Theatre will close in 2018 for two years as construction begins on a large apartment complex that will replace the venue on the southern edge of Echo Park. While the developer did not initially include space for a theater, the most recent plans for the 104-unit apartment building include a small museum and workshop spaces for the theater. Downtown News
- The Audubon Center in Debs Park was vandalized and burglarized. The Montecito Heights facility’s security system and siren were smashed, a glass door into the offices was broken and many items were reported stolen — including binoculars, spotting scopes, tripods, field guides, wildlife cameras as well as two office laptop computers. The Eastsider
- Wendy Carrillo defeated Luis López in 51st State Assembly runoff election, the last in a long string of special elections that started when Xavier Becerra left Congress to become California Attorney General. Carrillo had run earlier this year to replace Becerra as representative of the 34th Congressional District. But when Jimmy Gomez won that election, he left his seat in the state Assembly up for grabs. The Eastsider
- The cremated remains of 1,495 people whose bodies were never claimed were given a burial service at the Los Angeles County Crematory and Cemetery in Boyle Heights. NBC4
- Keeping the North Central Animal Shelter from sinking into the ground is part of the $20 million upgrade to the Lincoln Heights facility. Engineers will be shoring shoring up the foundations so the building will stop settling unevenly into the landfill on which it was built. The Eastsider
- Elon Musk is proposing tunnels from Downtown to Echo Park and Silver Lake, as part of a high-speed underground transportation idea called the “Loop.” Electric skates or platforms traveling at 125-150-mph would transport vehicles through a network of such tunnels, exiting at stations “as small as a single parking space,” according to Musk’s The Boring Company. The Eastsider
- Fire season came roaring back this week. Thunderhead-like clouds of smoke obscured the skies throughout the day Wednesday from the Bel-Air blaze. The Skirball Fire burned more than 400 acres, according to NBC LA. In far lesser fires closer to home, flames in El Sereno consumed about six acres of grass and brush, spreading up a hillside near Ascot Hills Park, according to The Eastsider. And a trash fire near Bixel and Court streets sent a thick plume of black smoke across the southern edge of Echo Park, The Eastsider reported.
- Police are seeking a driver involved in a road rage crash in Los Feliz that left five people injured, one of them critically. The driver of a Chrysler PT Cruiser and another vehicle, possibly a Chrysler Sebring, became involved in a dispute as they traveled westbound on Los Feliz Boulevard near Riverside Drive. Police say the Sebring cut off the Cruiser and slowed down in front of it as they reached the intersection of Tica Drive and Los Feliz Boulevard. To avoid a rear-end collision, the Cruiser swerved to the left onto eastbound Los Feliz Boulevard traffic, hitting an Infiniti G35 head-on. The driver of the Sebring fled the scene. The Eastsider
- A Frogtown gang member from Elysian Valley pled guilty to racketeering conspiracy, drug trafficking and other charges for his role in a Mexican Mafia-controlled network of gangs. Federal prosecutors said 28-year-old Jonathan Zepeda faces at least 15 years in federal prison for distributing methamphetamines and collecting “taxes” from dealers in nearby gang territories. Zepeda, his brother, Santos, who pled guilty in August, and Giovanni “Suspect” Olvera, an Atwater Village gang member who plead guilty in June, were among those named in a 2015 federal racketeering indictment against three former rival gangs working under the direction of the Mexican Mafia. EGP News
- The interim editor for LA Weekly will be Hillel Aron, the paper’s Echo Park bureau chief. The new owners of the publication recently fired most of the editorial staff. The Wrap
- The former head of Chicana Service Action has been sentenced to six years in prison and ordered to pay more than $10.5 million in restitution for embezzling funds. Sophia Esparza, along with other former leaders at the East L.A.-based nonprofit, pled guilty this summer to charges that they misused and stole funds from the organization — which serves victims of domestic violence, the homeless and the jobless — for more than a decade as it received financial support from the county and city. Esparza used the money to rent luxury apartments in Downtown and a home in San Marino and also bought a sports cars as well as Dodger and Clippers season tickets. EGP News
Photo of the Week
- Cirque du Soleil has come to town, setting up tents in Dodgers Stadium. Their show, Luzia, plays here through the beginning of February. The Eastsider
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