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    In response to a lawsuit filed by a man paralyzed by a fallen palm tree, the City of San Diego argued the incident was an unpredictable act of God.

    Michael Burke suffered serious injuries when a Queen Palm tree along Lark Street fell on his legs in January 2010. He lost the use of his legs and blames the city for improper inspections.

    The plaintiff argues the tree was owned and controlled by the City of San Diego however defense attorneys say the homeowner owned the property and the tree that fell on Burke. 

    The City Attorney's office also pointed out more than 400 trees fell in three days of a major storm.

    Burke’s attorney Browne Greene said the city "walked away from its responsibility" of caring for the trees amid budget cuts.

    However, the defense said city workers only cut down trees if someone tells them there's a problem and in this case, nobody did.

    City attorneys also told jurors when the city does trim palm trees, it’s not to keep them healthy but to simply remove berries before they fall.

    On Tuesday, Burke told reporters he filed the lawsuit because he’d like to see the city take steps to bring back trimming and inspection of palm trees

    “I’m concerned for my family, for my wife, for my special-needs son but I’m also concerned for others. The danger still exists for people in the community of Mission Hills,” Burke said. 

     



    Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

    This photo shows the tree that fell on Burke's vehicle (far right) and the one that crushed Burke's legs (left) according to an attorney for Michael and Edith Burke.This photo shows the tree that fell on Burke's vehicle (far right) and the one that crushed Burke's legs (left) according to an attorney for Michael and Edith Burke.

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    Multiple law enforcement agencies raided a Grantville luxury used-car dealership Wednesday.

    Authorities carried lock cutters as they entered Autohaus on Mission Gorge Road in the raid that began around 7 a.m. Wednesday, according to San Diego County sheriff's deputies.

    Multiple people were brought out in handcuffs and taken to the El Cajon Police Department. Boxes full of papers, a laptop and other items were removed from the dealership.

    The California Highway Patrol led the operation. Authorities were also present from the IRS, the DEA, the El Cajon Police Department, San Diego County Sheriff's Department, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and the FBI. 

    The Sheriff's Department spokesperson could not confirm if other similar raids were also taking place in the county, but said the raid was a "huge operation." The U.S. Attorney confirmed that law enforcement activity was taking place but did not comment further. 

    NBC 7 witnessed raids of two homes by agents at about the same time.

    One of the homes is located in the 6700 block of Park Ridge Boulevard. The other is in the 6000 block of Madra Avenue. Records show those homes are owned by people in the auto industry, but authorities would not specify any connection to the auto business raid from Wednesday morning.

    The car lot raided Wednesday is owned by Amir Bahador and his son Roman Bahador, according to neighbors who confirmed to NBC San Diego that both men lived at the homes that were raided Wednesday morning. Amir no longer lives in the home, though.

    IRS agents could be seen entering the home on Madra Avenue. 

    According to court documents, Bahador has made some of his customers very unhappy over the years. NBC 7 found numerous civil cases filed from by people from all over San Diego county, naming Amir Bahador as a defendant.

    We also found state cases under Roman's name, as well as cases under the name of his car companies -- auto port limited, and European collections, among other names.

    The cases include breach of contract, breach of warranty, bankruptcy filings, filings involving a tenant landlord dispute -- many dismissed after being settled.

    Neighbors and a tenent in Amir's business confirmed that the picture on the right is of Amir. 

    For example, in one, the plaintiff, who says he is a friend, alleges Amir sold a car to him claiming it was in excellent condition, and had never been in an accident --- only to discover the car's frame had been damaged in an accident.

    The case was dismissed after being settled, with a payment due to buyer.

    A federal bankruptcy protection claim was also filed.

    The nature of the raids is still unclear at this time. 

    Ed. Note: An earlier version of this story reported that the dealership involved was located on Balboa Avenue. 


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  • 12/05/12--17:01: End of the Road for 4th & B?
  • Nov. 26 may be the day the music stopped at the longtime downtown music venue 4th & B.

    The building that became 4th & B was originally a bank, but since opening its doors in 1994, the music venue hosted more than 3,000 shows, including concerts by Mute Math, Wilco, the Cardigans and the White Stripes.

    According to court documents filed this month, though, the current owners, Vincent and Judy Puma of Speth Brothers Inc., filed a petition regarding a Nov. 15, 2012, court judgment in which their lease was forfeited and their rental agreement was canceled. The business was also ordered to pay $125,077.56 in past-due rent and “holdover damages.” However a petition for relief from forfeiture of a lease due to hardship was then filed.

    Last Wednesday, on Nov. 26, though, a superior court judge overruled the petition, saying that the “breach of the lease agreement that occasioned this proceeding is not the first time defendants failed to pay their rent” and that “their willingness to now pay what is owed may simply place the landlord in a position to be victimized by another breach in the future.”

    Court papers filed on Judy Puma’s behalf state that a check for $74,370.66 was turned over to the attorney representing the site owner, Crown Invest LLC., on Oct. 1.

    On Wednesday, attempts to contact anyone at the venue failed to bear fruit. Reached for comment, an attorney representing the Pumas and their organization, Speth Brothers, said they could not comment on the case while it was still ongoing.

    Crown Invest LLC.’s legal representative, said they, too, were unable to talk about the case at this time. Christopher Connolly of Connolly Law Office, which is based in San Diego, said his client owns the real estate and that he could not comment because they’re “still in the process” of legal issues.

    “I wish I had info about what’s going on – you can imagine how many phone calls I’m getting right now,” said 4th & B’s marketing and promotions manager, Issa Wilson, who mentioned that agents were calling on behalf of their clients regarding upcoming appearances. She said she had had little contact with the Pumas since last week.

    Court papers filed in that petition on 4th & B’s behalf claim that the venue employs more than 50 people who may be out of work.

    The Pumas bought 4th & B in 2009. The couple lost their home in the 2007 Firestorm and invested the money recouped from that loss into the venue. According to court papers, the couple spent $985,000 plus their 401k savings in order to buy and operate business.

    Rumors about 4th & B’s demise were swirling in the music community last week. Asked to address the issue, Vincent Puma had little to say other than that efforts were under way to close down the site but that he had plans to fight them. The following day, however, the venue announced that one of 4th & B’s two big shows in December, with reggae star Barrington Levy, was canceled and would like be rebooked at the World Beat Cultural Center.

    It’s not clear what the future holds for next Wednesday’s much-anticipated Public Enemy concert. On Wednesday afternoon, the band still had the event listed on its tour schedule, and Ticketmaster was still selling tickets for the event. An attempt on 4th & B's website to buy tickets, though, yielded a "sales stopped" message?



    Photo Credit: Eric S. Page

    The 4th & B marqueeThe 4th & B marquee

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    The Chicago-based maker of Hollywood's most coveted prize plans to lay off nearly 100 workers just before Christmas, the company reported.

    R.S. Owens & Company, long-time manufacturers of Oscar statuettes, expects to lay off 95 employees on Dec. 17. The estimate was published in a report from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

    R.S. Owens didn't report the cause of the layoffs, though the move comes after the company was acquired last month by Indianapolis-based St. Regis Crystal Inc. The acquisition goes into effect the same day as the planned layoffs.

    At the time the company stated it still planned to make the Academy Awards statuettes as well as other top awards out of its northwest side location.

    The company also manufacturers awards for the Emmys and MTV Music Awards.

     


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    As the small boat bobbed in six-foot waves off Bundaberg, Australia, Graham Hine caught a glimpse of the tiny surfboard-sized vessel churning through the surf.

    “Just driving up to it in the boat and seeing it there in the water, really having swam nine-thousand miles was pretty amazing,” recalled Hine, the senior vice president of operations for Sunnyvale, Calif.-based Liquid Robotics.

    The arrival in late November of the company’s wave propelled glider, nicknamed Papa Mau, marked the end of a year-long, 9,000 mile trek across the Pacific Ocean, a world record for distance traveled by an unmanned vessel.

    Papa Mau set-out from the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco November, 2011 along with three other of the company's wave gliders.

    Two headed for Japan, while the other pair aimed for Hawaii on their way to their final destination of Australia. Papa Mau got to Australia first, having endured brutal storms, ripping currents and even a shark attack. 

    “There was a tooth embedded in the rubber,” said Hine, who had scientists review the item. “Sure enough it’s a shark tooth.” But ever the trooper, the robot continued to transmit back scientific data from its solar powered sensors, giving scientists rare access to a long swath of the Pacific Ocean.

    “We were able to collect temperature information, water chemistry information, current information, weather information” said James Gosling, Liquid Robotics’ chief software engineer.

    The wave gliders resemble over-sized Boogie Boards with racks of fins submerge below the surface.

    The waves catch the fins to propel the vessel forward, indefinitely. The rudder is controlled by team members back in Sunnyvale who follow the vessels' progress on large digital maps – helping steer clear of passing ships.

    The wave gliders' true role is as scientific observers, venturing to places where actual scientists would have trouble reaching. Their solar-powered sensors and cameras have been used to search for oil, monitor weather and collect data on climate change.

    “The exciting part is not making it to Australia but the journey in between,” said Gosling. “Because the journey is where the data is. The data is out in the ocean.”

    But the successful trek to Australia represents a victory for the company, and its aim of demonstrating the devices' durability.

    Hine said the company may now use the wave gliders to explore Antarctica and points beyond.

    “To go across the ocean now,” said Hines, “no one can tell me this technology does not have legs.”


    This is what the vessel looks like. It has medal fins below the surface.This is what the vessel looks like. It has medal fins below the surface.

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    New details, just released Wednesday, reveal what happened moments before California Highway Patrol officers shot and killed a Harbison Canyon man.

    Anthony Osorio was shot 18 times by CHP officers following a high-speed pursuit early Sunday.

    Officers tried to pull over a 2005 Chevrolet Tahoe about 2:30 a.m. after noticing the vehicle was speeding and driving erratically.

    Homicide investigators say Anthony Osorio, 27, led CHP officers first on eastbound Interstate 8, then to Greenfield Drive at La Cresta in an unincorporated part of El Cajon.

    After rolling his SUV, officials say Osorio stepped out of the car. That's when officers said it appeared Osorio "gestured with his right hand in a motion simulating bringing a firearm from behind his back" according to new details released Wednesday by San Diego County sheriff's deputies.

    Ted Osorio told NBC 7 San Diego Monday that he did not agree with the actions taken by CHP officers.

    “They shot him, they murdered him. That’s how I look at it. They murdered my son,” he said Monday.

    Osorio's father questioned the initial account from responding officers, wondering how his son could have moved toward the officers if he was gunned down right next to his vehicle.

    “I saw the pictures of him dead and he’s lying right next to his car,” Osorio said. “Right next to the door and they shot him right there.”

    However, the statement from deputies said the confrontation was captured on a patrol car dashcam.

    According to deputies, Osorio can be heard yelling profanities at the officers as he exited the vehicle on the video. He also ignored commands to get on the ground officials said.

    When Osorio pulled his right hand forward, officers fired 33 times, hitting him with 18 of those gunshots deputies said.

    Officers found no weapon in Osorio's hand but said he did have a knife in one of his pockets at the time of the shooting.

    Ted Osorio said his son was good man who got married at 18 and fathered two children.

    Osorio said the entire family has already been hurting because ted's youngest son, Andrew, took his own life just 3 months ago.

    Deputies say they have spoken with an unidentified witness who claims Osorio spoke about suicide by cop earlier in the evening.

    Officer David Bigalk, Officer Ryan Harrison, and Sergeant Phillip Jones were involved in the shooting. Bigalk is a four-year veteran, Harrison is a three-year veteran and Jones is a 15-year veteran with the California Highway Patrol.
     


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    It's a scary and eerie sight: A picture of a small crumpled drone, crashed in front of UC San Diego's iconic library.

    The so-called UC Center for Drone Policy and Ethics released the picture along with an online statement Thursday addressing a “Campus Drone Incident,” which they say occurred Tuesday.

    Not only is the center not affiliated with the university, it's not real either. It was created by artists at the university's Gallery@Calit2, a campus art gallery that explores the relationships between art and technology. 

    “In light of the recent Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) malfunctioning and crash on UCSD’s campus,” the statement reads, “researchers associated with the UC Center for Drone Policy and Ethics have organized a public town hall to discuss the incident with students, faculty and staff.”

    The statement claims the origin and manufacturer of the crashed drone “remains unclear,” but that researchers at the center will reveal details to the public after a brief presentation Thursday at 5 p.m.

    A university spokesperson said they were not aware of the staged drone crash, and that the Center for Drone Policy and Ethics is not real. Both the university and the artists confirmed that the drone crash did not actually happen. 

    The crash is just one part of the gallery’s year-long exhibition, Drones at Home. The artist behind the faux crash, Ricardo Dominguez, is known well-known for his projects, which often play with the mind and blur fact and fiction, said Trish Stone, the gallery’s director and gallery coordinator.

    "I'm sure some of [the students] probably did think it was real," Dominguez said of the drone crash, "but that’s one of the practices of new media art – what we call minor simulation. It creates an event that is difficult to understand as either real or not real."

    The drone crash is one of several intended to raise awareness about the future use of drones. For instance, one artist created a drone made of bones to fly over General Atomics, a major manufacturer of unmanned vehicles used for the military. Another artist developed a drone to locate Homeland Security drones and sing borderland songs to it. 

    Though Dominguez himself is concerned about the use of drones and how it may impact peoples' privacy, he said the staged drone crash is more of a conversation-starter than protest piece. 

    "People and students have a chance to have a conversation around the issues about what it means to be living in the 21st century," he said. 

    For information on the meeting Thursday night at the drone crash site, click here. 

     


    This photo, courtesy of Gallery@Calit2, shows a staged drone crash in front of the campus library.This photo, courtesy of Gallery@Calit2, shows a staged drone crash in front of the campus library.

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    Local leader Lorena Gonzalez, who serves as the chief executive of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, announced that she’s running for office Wednesday night.

    The democrat announced she will run for the 80th State Assembly District once the seat is vacated by the current assembly member.

    Gonzalez said her election may come as early as spring 2013. San Diego Mayor Bob Filner, Congressman-elect Juan Vargas and State Assemblyman Ben Hueso are among the leaders who have already endorsed Gonzalez.

    “I’ve hammered out tough compromises between business and workers, between teachers and our school board, and between developers and environmentalists by putting practicality ahead of ideology.
    That approach worked in San Diego County and it will work in Sacramento. Extremism doesn't work. Pragmatic problem-solving does," Gonzalez said in a press release Wednesday night.

    Gonzalez is known for her advocacy work representing 200,000 local union workers in San Diego and Imperial counties.

    Check back for updates.
     



    Photo Credit: NBC 7 San Diego

    Lorena Gonzalez announced that she will run for State Assembly.Lorena Gonzalez announced that she will run for State Assembly.

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    A lot of the restaurants and shops at Lindbergh Field are closing their doors -- but it's for a good reason.

    Many of the businesses at Lindbergh Field are being replaced by temporary kiosks.

    Over the next 15 months, 87 new restaurants and stores will land at Lindbergh.

    The makeover even includes knocking out an entire wall in terminal two to make room for a spa.

    And one of the highlites will be several local businesses like Phil's BBQ, Stone Brewery and Ryan Brothers Coffee, just to name a few.

    "Really, if the concept catches on, it could go nationwide, and there's other examples of that throughout the country," said Nyle Marmion of Lindbergh Field Concessions. "Phils BBQ for example, people from all over the country are going to be tasting that and bringing that message back home."

    The new shops and restaurants will open in phases throughout over the next 15 months.

    On Monday, a grand opening will be held for a new duty free shop. 



    Photo Credit: Gitzel Puente

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    When trying to impress during an interview, your favorite beer or band may hold more sway than your work history.

    Hiring managers often pick candidates they would want to be friends with, not necessarily the most qualified applicants, according to a new study.

    The study, conducted by Professor Lauren Rivera at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, involved 120 interviews with high ranked investment banks, law firms and management consulting firms. Rivera found that employers often valued identifying with a candidate over technical skills.

    "In many respects they hired in a manner more closely resembling the choice of friends or romantic partners," Riviera said.

    An unnamed hiring manager at a firm explained in the study, “We want people who fit not only the way we do things but who we are.”

    The study was published in the December issue of the American Sociological Review.



    Photo Credit: FILE-Getty Images

    "In many respects they hired in a manner more closely resembling the choice of friends or romantic partners," Professor Lauren Rivera at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management said.

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    A 40,000 pound whale carcass remains stuck on a beach in Malibu three days after it washed up in an area of exclusive homes.

    The male fin whale is believed to have been struck and killed by a boat before it washed up in tidelands near Point Dume on Monday.

    A spokeswoman for the city of Malibu said that Los Angeles County lifeguards and the state department of Parks and Recreation might attempt to remove the carcass on Thursday.

    But state and local agencies continued to argue over who was responsible for removing the animal - and how to do it. The Malibu spokeswoman, Olivia Damavandi, said removal plans had not been finalized, and might roll over to another day.

    The carcass was intact when the whale first landed on the beach on Monday, but by Thursday it had been been partially dissected by scientists seeking to find out how it died.

    Its bones were exposed, and birds feasted on its flesh.

    Malibu resident Mari Stanley went to see the animal after it washed ashore earlier this week.

    "It's a beautiful beast," she said. "It just looked like someone had picked it up and dropped it on the beach."

    On the whale's back, Stanley said, was a big lump. Scientists at first speculated that it might be a tumor, but then came to believe that the swelling was from a blow that came when a boat struck the animal at sea.

    Residents, who need a key to access the beach, came down to look at the whale, snapping pictures and bringing their children.

    But Stanley said most were quiet and respectful upon seeing the massive creature, which was wedged into the rocks along the shore.

    The online news site Malibu Patch has posted pictures and video of the 40-foot whale. The site's editor, Jessica E. Davis, reported that the animal was a juvenile.

    The carcass, which on Wednesday was cut open by wildlife experts who performed a necropsy, is on the beach at Little Dume, near homes owned by Hollywood A-listers and other wealthy residents.



    Photo Credit: Courtesy of Jessica E. Davis, Malibu Patch

    This 40,000 pound juvenile fin whale washed up on a Malibu beach on Monday. Officials said they hoped to begin attempts to remove it on Thursday.This 40,000 pound juvenile fin whale washed up on a Malibu beach on Monday. Officials said they hoped to begin attempts to remove it on Thursday.

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    If you’re looking for a wealthy boyfriend this Christmas, he might be looking for you, too.

    La Jolla millionaire Marc Paskin, 62, purchased a billboard on the I-5 and 28th Street in Barrio Logan that states, “All I Want for Christmas is a Latina Girlfriend.”

    Paskin, a real estate investor, was featured on an episode of “Secret Millionaire” last year when he spent a week living on less than $50 a day.

    There’s a picture of Paskin’s face next to a photo of a wishlist, accompanied by his email address.

    According to “Secret Millionaire”, Paskin has a heart of gold as he donated $125,000 to Detroit families in need in last year's episode.

    He’s also given more than $1 million to the UC San Diego Shiley Eye Center, which helps patients regain their sight. Paskin lost his wife to diabetes and since then has felt compelled to help others in need, according to UCSD.

    So ladies, who’s going to send Paskin an email? He sounds like a catch.


    The sign can be seen on the I-5 and 28th Street in Barrio Logan.The sign can be seen on the I-5 and 28th Street in Barrio Logan.

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    The color of money is about to have a big year.

    Pantone, the leading authority on color used in paint and fabrics, announce emerald as its Color of the Year for 2013. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, picked emerald for social, economic and political reasons.

    “One of the attributes of emerald is that it is the color of prosperity,” Eiseman told Today.com. “We are now in a political year where we have seen a lot of arguments going on about concerns with the economy and we’re all hoping for a brighter future and a glimpse of prosperity. It’s still something people aspire to have."

    The color was top secret until its official announcement on Thursday, after a selection process that began in spring. Pantone looks to the entertainment industry, traveling art collections, new artists, popular travel destinations and socio-economic conditions to select a color, according to their press release.

    The Color of the Year for 2012 was Tangerine Tango, which was the “energy boost we needed to recharge and move forward,” Pantone said. 

    The cheerful orange popped up in clothing, pillows and kitchenware. The more subdued emerald “is absolutely the opposite of 2012 Color of the Year,” Eiseman told The Wall Street Journal.

    Like its predecessors, emerald green has already influenced product development across multiple industries including fashion, home design and beauty products.

    Le Creuset launched cast iron, ceramic and silicone cookware in a deep green they named “fennel,” according to director of marketing, Judy Baker.

    “A lot of people use cookware and tea kettles as fashion for their kitchen,” Baker told the Journal.

    Pantone will collaborate with Sephora on a makeup line in March and JCPenny Home on a line of emerald-accented bed and bath products slated to launch in February, NBC reported.

    The color also made a splash on runways this fall. The color infused the Spring 2013 collections of designers such as Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Marni, Vivienne Tam and Zac Posen.  



    Photo Credit: AP

    This emerald green color swatch released by Pantone is Pantone LLC's Color of the Year for 2013, beating out all the other shades of the rainbow. (AP Photo/Pantone)This emerald green color swatch released by Pantone is Pantone LLC's Color of the Year for 2013, beating out all the other shades of the rainbow. (AP Photo/Pantone)

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    San Diego police officers are responding to an apartment complex after multiple reports of shots fired.

    Once officers arrived to the complex in the 4300-block of Texas Street, they did find a casing and spots of blood on the ground according to the department spokesperson.

    Investigators say they are searching the area for a possible gunshot victim.

    Check back for updates on this developing story.
     


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    Climate change will have a severe negative impact on the $12.2 billion winter sports industry, affecting the tourism economy in 38 states including California, a new report warns.

    With dozens of mountain resorts from Mount Shasta to Big Bear Lake, California is second only to Colorado economic activity from skiing, snowboarding, and the snowmobile industry – and the state thus has much to lose, according to the report.

    Designed to galvanize both politicians and winter sports business leaders to push for legislation addressing global warming, the report was issued Thursday by California-based nonprofit Protect Our Winters and the Natural Resources Defense Council, a New York-headquartered advocacy group. The report was written by two University of New Hampshire researchers.

    "A bad snow season hits the economy of three-fourths of U.S. states, some more than others. … This impact is not something we can just ignore," said the NRDC's Antonia Herzog in a conference call for reporters Thursday. "People's livelihoods, jobs and lifestyles are going to be affected."

    "The trend is clear for the long term – less snow, shorter seasons," Herzog added.

    California's $1.4 billion winter tourism industry – which supports about 24,000 jobs, according to the report's data from the 2009-10 season – has already seen an impact. The state saw a nearly 5 percent drop in skier visits between high and low snowfall years over the past decade, the report states.

    That drop in skier visits meant a loss of $100 million across California mountain resorts, and 1,200 fewer jobs, the report said.

    According to the report, called "Climate Impacts on the Winter Tourism Economy in the United States" (PDF), $1 billion in revenue and up to 27,000 jobs were lost nationwide over the last decade due to reduced snowfall.

    The winter of 2011-12 was the fourth warmest on record, with about half of ski areas opening late and closing early, the report said.

    "There's no doubt that climate change is real and is impacting our industry," said Chris Steinkamp, executive director of Pacific Palisades-based Protect Our Winters, which advocates for snow sports fans and companies to work to address climate change.

    Those conditions will get worse, the report's authors warned.

    Scientists predict that by the end of the 21st century, without any intervention, average global temperatures will increase 4 to 10 degrees – meaning a shorter snow season and reduced snowpack.

    Snow depths in the Western United States could decline by 25 to 100 percent, the report states.

    In the Sierra Nevada, home to Lake Tahoe resorts and Mammoth Mountain, snowpack is projected to decrease between 40 and 70 percent by 2050, the report specifies.

    "The ski and snowboard industry has known for years that climate change threatens the industry," said Auden Schendler, vice president of sustainability for the Aspen Ski Co., on the call with reporters. "We know if it doesn’t snow, we're going to have less revenue, and that means less jobs in ski towns. It's harder for people to feed their families."

    Schendler said snow sports industry leaders needed to "get off their asses" and press Congress for action in recognition of what he called a climate change-caused "existential threat" to mountain resorts and related businesses.

    He added that the science proving the existence of climate change is still denied by some in the winter sports industry.


    A snowboarder with a camera on his helmet carves down a slope during opening day at Mountain High in Wrightwood on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012.A snowboarder with a camera on his helmet carves down a slope during opening day at Mountain High in Wrightwood on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012.

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    "The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey", the upcoming prequel to "The Lord of the Rings," is being shown in a new format that has some fans feeling a bit off -- even though medical science and 40 years of experience say it should be just fine.



    For decades, the standard has been for films to be shot and shown in 24 frames-per-second (fps), but director Peter Jackson decided that he wanted to shoot the Hobbit in 48 fps, citing the heightened clarity the format provides. The movie will be released Dec. 14.

    "For me it gave it more of that reality, that immersive-ness," Jackson said in a press conference this week. "It makes it feel like you're leaving the cinema seat and becoming a part of the adventure."

    There's no question that watching "The Hobbit" in 3D at 48 fps is a totally new experience, one you notice immediately. Everything from the fluidity of motion to the smallest detail is hyper-articulated. At times you can feel like you're there with Bilbo and the dwarves, rather than watching a film, which can be a bit disconcerting.

    Early reports out of New Zealand say viewers have been complaining of nausea. Jackson says he's been "fascinated by the reactions," and argues that a 3D film in 48 fps should actually cause viewers fewer headaches than traditional 3D.

    "With 3D, your left and right eye are seeing two different pictures," Jackson said. "And with 24 frames you're getting strobing and motion blur, your brain is trying to put this stuff together… your brain is struggling to resolve those two images. And 48 frames reduces those artifacts and makes for a smoother picture."



    As someone who's seen dozens of 3D films, and suffered headaches and eyestrain on more than one occasion, I found this format much easier on the eyes.



    Dr. Margaret Livingstone, a visual neurophysiologist and Harvard professor, says the science supports Jackson's theory: a higher frame rate should make for a better experience. She draws an analogy between frame rates and the varying hertz -- flicker speed -- of light bulbs.

    "There are people who complain that they can see the flicker in fluorescent lights, especially in their periphery, and they find that disturbing," she said. "They like tungsten illumination better because it smooths out the flicker. Making the flicker faster should be better."

    Livingstone is confident that what these people are experiencing is just good old fashioned motion sickness, brought on by the 3D, not the frame rate -- there's no physiological reason for the frame rate to cause problems, she said.

    "Stereo and motion are processed by the same system," Livingstone said. "You're sitting still in a chair but you're getting strong motion/depth signals that aren’t consistent with what your inner ear is telling you is going on."

    Douglas Trumbull, an Oscar-winning filmmaker whose credits include "2001" and "Blade Runner" who shoots short films at 120 fps, suspects that the 48 fps is simply exacerbating the discomfort that 3D can cause.

    "It's because (viewers) are more immersed than they would have been otherwise," Trumbull said. "When you go to 48 or higher... it makes it much easier for your brain and visual nervous system to ingest a movie. But if there's an action sequence, it will be more powerful, kinda of like a theme park ride."

    Jackson, who notes that most of the complaints he's heard have come from people over 20, thinks the issue comes down to something as simple as comfort level.



    "As human beings we always have resistance to things that are different," said Jackson. "I remember reading something that the Beatles said that they would never have their albums on CD because it was too clear and all the bad notes would be exposed. So you're never going to hear a Beatles tune on CD. There was all this hysteria."



    Trumbull expects films to be projected at variable frame rates in the future, with some scenes shown at 24 and others at 48, or even higher.

    "You have to apply this hyper frame rate very judiciously to certain kinds of things," he said. "You use it like seasoning in a movie. I don’t think you apply it across the board, because some people, some scenes look terrific, but perhaps some of the close-ups look awkward because it tends to be like television."

    If the whole thing sounds off-putting, there are plenty of options: The film will only be showing in 3D/48 fps in select theaters. On most screens, it will be in either traditional 3D, 2D or IMAX.



    Photo Credit: Warner Bros.

    The new The new "Hobbit" movie was filmed in a controversial new format at 48 frames-per-second.

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    The organizers behind the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon has been purchased by an investment group.

    Calera Capital announced this week that is has acquired Competitor Group, Inc. which is known for active lifestyle events such as marathons, triathlons and races.

    Competitor is headquartered in San Diego with nearly 250 employees. It manages 83 events across the globe, including San Diego’s Rock and Roll Marathon and the Carlsbad 5000.

    “We are very excited about this next chapter as we partner with a great team at Calera Capital and continue our development as the market-leading active lifestyle media and entertainment company,” said Competitor CEO Scott Dickey.

    Competitor has more than 7 million active customers, according to a statement released by Calera.

    The investment company did not release how much it paid for Competitor.



    Photo Credit: Getty Images

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  • 12/07/12--04:15: Top News Photos of the Week
  • Britain's Prince William stands next to his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge as she leaves the King Edward VII hospital in central London, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. Prince William and his wife Kate are expecting their first child, and the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to hospital suffering from a severe form of morning sickness in the early stages of her pregnancy. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

    Britain's Prince William stands next to his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge as she leaves the King Edward VII hospital in central London, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. Prince William and his wife Kate are expecting their first child, and the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to hospital suffering from a severe form of morning sickness in the early stages of her pregnancy.  (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)Britain's Prince William stands next to his wife Kate, Duchess of Cambridge as she leaves the King Edward VII hospital in central London, Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012. Prince William and his wife Kate are expecting their first child, and the Duchess of Cambridge was admitted to hospital suffering from a severe form of morning sickness in the early stages of her pregnancy. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

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    A $449 million bond measure in the San Dieguito Union High School District has officially won after a long month of uncertainty. 

    Proposition AA authorizes the school district to sell $449 million in bonds to pay for upgrades to its aging schools.

    Just after election night, Prop. AA was .53 percent of votes from passing. 

    November 17's count had the measure ahead with 55.16 percent of the votes. This measure requires at least 55 percent 'yes' votes.

    The tally is now official, and 55.52 percent of voters approved the measure. 

    The district was already planning on starting some of the bond projects before they knew it had passed. They have been planning the bond-funded projects for the last four years.

    In total, seven of 11 of the school bond measures on San Diego County ballots appeared to have passed as of Tuesday night. All the measures require 55 percent approval to pass.

    Here's a list of the bond measures and the amount they asked voters to authorize. Those in bold have passed. 

    • PROPOSITION C - Cajon Valley Union School District - $88.4 million
    • PROPOSITION D - Dehesa School District - $3 million
    • PROPOSITION E - Chula Vista Elementary School District - $90 million
    • PROPOSITION G - Mountain Empire School District - $30.8 million
    • PROPOSITION R - Ramona Unified School District - $66 million
    • PROPOSITION V - Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District $398 million
    • PROPOSITION Y - South Bay Union School District - $26 million
    • PROPOSITION Z - San Diego Unified School District - $2.8 million
    • PROPOSITION AA - San Dieguito Union High School District - $449 million
    • PROPOSITION CC - Del Mar Union School District - $76.8 million
    • PROPOSITION EE - MiraCosta Community College District - $497 million

    Propositions C, D, and Y are considered "Reauthorization Bonds," meaning the measures are versions of previously passed bond measures. The new measures authorize the issuance of new bonds.

    The number of bonds in the county has grown significantly since 2010, when there were four school bonds on ballots countywide.In 2008, there were eight, including one in the Primary Election, versus three in 2006.

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    Photo Credit: Getty Images/Flickr RF

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    Homicide detectives are investigating a death reported early Thursday morning in Spring Valley.

    Deputies responded to a home on Lemon Street to make a welfare check at about 6 a.m. Thursday, according to the San Diego County Sheriff's Department.

    When they arrived, they found the back door open and the body of a dead male inside. 

    Deputies said the circumstances around the man's death were suspicious, and they requested a search warrant. The department's Homicide Detail was sent to investigate.

    The identity of the man is not known at this time. 

    Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call the Homicide Detail at (858) 974-2321



    Photo Credit: Tony Shin

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