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Were There Dangerous Chemicals From Aliso Canyon Before The Big Leak?

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Bette Fernandes taught at Castlebay Lane Elementary school in Porter Ranch for 13 years. The school is just miles from where the 2015 Aliso Canyon gas leak occurred. The massive release at the SoCalGas storage facility forced the evacuation of the entire area. But since Fernandes died six years earlier, the family never thought there was a connection, until now. “It definitely raises a concern. Suspect, was there a relationship with the two?” her daughter Jenifer Fernandes asks. CBS2 News has obtained documents showing that even before the big leak, there was a steady stream of chemicals coming from the gas fields from 2000 to 2014. “Yeah, I started wondering: ‘Could that be part of cause, could that be the main cause?’ ” her husband Ralph Fernandes said. CBS2 took the data to Michael Kleinman, a professor of environmental medicine at UC Irvine. He says some of these spikes are above what he considers safe. “It’s a chemical that has a number of health effects, including cancer.” Marilyn Short worked at Castlebay Lane for more than 40 years and says she and others routinely smelled gas. “We’d call up and say ‘What’s happening?’ and they’d just say ‘We’re releasing gas, it’s too full, we’re releasing it,’ ” Short said.  “So then we figured that’s what they’re doing, we just took their word for it. I think they’re lying to people.” Susie Kimmel was a teacher at Castlebay Lane for 27 years. One year after the gas leak, she was diagnosed with bladder and bone cancer and wonders if she was exposed to toxic emissions over the years. “I was calling my school office in the building because it was hard to breathe,” Kimmel said. “I would call the office and say my room smells like gas. The hallway smells like gas” Kimmel died two weeks ago. According the National Institutes of Health, formaldehyde not only can cause cancer but has toxic effects on the skin and respiratory system. Eileen Cipriano is a teacher at Castlebay Lane and so was her partner, who died of cancer in 2015 before the leak. Cipriano worries about her health. “As long as I can remember, I had a chronic bronchial problem. I know I’ve had it since I’ve been at Castlebay,” she says. “I have friends who did not have migraines until they started working at Castlebay. I have friends with nose bleeds.” A representative from the South Coast AQMD, the state agency that monitors the air quality, says the levels of formaldehyde are safe. They claim they’ve analyzed random years of emissions, although they couldn’t provide any reports. “The potential health impacts from formaldyhyde and all air toxics from the facility was extremely low,” AQMD’s Jo Kay Ghosh says. But the emissions data has Ralph Fernandes living with uncertainty. “How long does it take for some of these symptoms to actually show up?” he wonders. “Can it take months? Can it take years? Those are the type of questions I have now.” Statement from SoCalGas “Aliso Canyon is in compliance with all permit conditions relating to formaldehyde. Moreover, SoCalGas is in the process of replacing natural gas turbines at Aliso Canyon which will reduce formaldehyde emissions and also reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the facility by about 90 percent. “In compliance with state laws, SoCalGas files public emissions reports with the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD). The SCAQMD has not expressed any concerns that formaldehyde levels require any action. “In fact, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health stated that the SCAQMD reported that formaldehyde was not found at elevated concentrations in the community during the gas leak.” Read More »

Benches Clear As Dodgers Easily Handle Marlins, 7-2

LOS ANGELES (AP)  — Alex Wood pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings for his third straight start without allowing a run, and Cody Bellinger, Chris Taylor and Brett Eibner homered to lead the Los Angeles Dodgers to a 7-2 victory over the Miami Marlins on Friday night in a game that saw benches empty in the ninth.Wood (5-0) held the Marlins to six hits while walking two and striking out four. Though not as dominant as he was recently, he allowed only one flyout. Wood, who made is first three appearances of the season out of the bullpen, extended his scoreless innings streak to 20 1/3 innings — spanning three-plus starts. He has struck out 29, walked four and allowed 13 hits during that stretch. The left-hander also lowered his ERA to 1.88, best in the National League. Benches and bullpens emptied in the top of the ninth when Dodgers reliever Ross Stripling threw behind the back of Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton, one inning after Marlins reliever AJ Ramos hit Eibner with a pitch following Bellinger’s two-run homer. Stripling, Dodgers bench coach Bob Geren and Marlins manager Don Mattingly were all ejected. Geren and a heated Mattingly had to be pulled apart during the players’ scrum in the middle of the field. Taylor hit a solo home run in the third and Eibner, just called up from triple-A Oklahoma City earlier in the day, hit a two-run homer in fourth against Miami right-hander Justin Nicolino. Nicolino (1-1) was making his second start of the season. He held the Atlanta Braves to one run in the six innings of his first start. Bellinger hit his eighth home run in the eighth against Ramos, coming in just his 23rd major-league game. He’s the fastest Dodger ever to eight home runs. Justin Bour hit a solo home run off Chris Hatcher in Miami’s two-run ninth. Outfielder Yasiel Puig left the game after the fifth inning with lower mid-back tightness. TRAINER’S ROOM Marlins: Although LHP Wei-Yin Chin, on the 10-day disabled list with left arm fatigue, is not with the team, the Marlins are consulting with famed orthopedic surgeon Neal ElAttrache while in Los Angeles to get a second opinion on his injury. Dodgers: 3B Justin Turner was placed on the 10-day disabled list with what they called a Grade-1 strain of his right hamstring. Manager Dave Roberts said he hoped to have Turner back within a couple weeks. UP NEXT Marlins: RHP Dan Straily (1-3, 3.56) hopes to continue his recent turnaround Saturday in the third game of this four-game series. Straily has allowed only an earned run and four hits in the 12 innings of his last two starts. Dodgers: LHP Julio Urias (0-1, 3.43) will attempt to recover from is first poor outing of the season in his first career start against the Marlins. Last Sunday against the Rockies in his fourth start of the season, he allowed six runs on seven hits in four innings. (@Copyright 2017. The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may bot be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Read More »

5 Must-See U.S. National Parks In Spring

By Randy Yagi As temperatures slowly rise up all across the country, it can be a perfect time to enjoy America’s great outdoors. In fact, springtime is quite possibly the best time of the year to travel, particularly to any of the 58 national parks, with its radiant wildflowers still blooming amid moderately pleasant temperatures, and most certainly smaller crowds in advance of the busy and oftentimes far more hectic summer season. Whether it’s a day trip or an overnight stay, travelers still have a multitude of options for outdoor activities and lodging regardless of any advance reservations. For a few choice recommendations, here is a brief introduction to five must-see U.S. national parks to visit this spring. Arches National Park Moab, UT  84532 (435) 719-2299 www.nps.gov/arch Although onsite camping is closed through October due to ongoing park maintenance and there aren’t any dining or lodging facilities available, Arches National Park is well worth a visit and particularly in the springtime. Located in southeastern Utah, Arches encompasses over 76,000 acres and is best defined by its wealth of stunning red sandstone formations, particularly the park’s signature attraction, the instantly recognizable Delicate Arch . But April and through May is also the best time to enjoy an impressive spectrum of wildflower colors, with species like pallid milkweed, dogbane, prairie sunflower, dwarf lupine and many others. Other popular outdoor activities to enjoy before the much hotter and busier summer months include horseback riding, nature photography, cycling on the paved and unpaved roads and hiking to some of the park’s other prominent geological formations, like Balanced Rock, the Double O Arch and Landscape Arch, the longest natural arch in the park and among the world’s longest. Visitors seeking overnight accommodations can stay at one of the many campgrounds bordering the southeast perimeter of the park, as well as in the popular community of Moab , where more than 25 hotels and motels can also be found. Known as one of the world’s best mountain biking destinations, Moab is also not far from Canyonlands National Park  for more sightseeing and outdoor activities, as well as one of the finest resort hotels in the country, just across the Colorado border at Gateway Canyons Resort and Sp a. Related : Best RV Trips In The United States Photo Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images Yosemite National Park Yosemite National Park, CA  95389 (209) 372-0200 www.nps.gov/yose Among the world’s oldest and certainly among the most popular and most famous, Yosemite National Park is often cited as the top springtime destination amongst all national parks. Not only is the park home to some 1,450 species of flowering plants, it’s also home to some of the world’s most famous waterfalls, including one of the highest in the country,  Yosemite Falls  and a diverse collection of invertebrate species, including fish, mammals, reptiles and birds. What’s more, due to a drought-breaking rainy season, the peak runoff for Yosemite’s most prominent waterfalls may extend well past May or June and into the busier, heavily trafficked and more crowded summer season. Also universally acknowledged as one of the most beautiful places on Earth, Yosemite National Park also has several other iconic landmarks and attractions to marvel at, such as the massive granite formations of El Capitan and the legendary Half Dome, the sweeping vistas of  Glacier Point , the incomparable Yosemite Valley and the AAA Four-Diamond  Majestic Yosemite Hotel , formerly and better known as the historic Ahwahnee Hotel. Additionally, the national park has other exceptional lodging options, like the Yosemite Valley Lodge and Half Dome Village, as well as RV parking and camping, with some available only on a first-come, first-serve basis. Biscayne National Park 9700 S.W. 328th St. Sir Lancelot Jones Way Homestead, FL  33033 (305) 230-1144 www.nps.gov/bisc Not nearly as famous as its national park neighbor the Everglades , Biscayne National Park ranks among the most fascinating and unique segments of the National Parks System. Although this vast stretch of protected land covers more than 170,000 acres, 95 percent of this park is covered with water and contains a significant portion of the Florida Reef, the third largest coral reef in the world, as well as home to one of the largest mangrove forests remaining on Florida’s east coast. Also a premier destination for world-class snorkeling and scuba diving, Biscayne National Park is best accessible by boat or canoe, with local  marinas  at Herbert Hoover/Homestead Bayfront, Black Point, Matheson Hammock and Crandon on the island town of Key Biscayne, just a few miles south of Miami. The wet or rainy season begins in early May and extends through November and the weather is typically hot and humid with temperatures averaging 90 degrees. Nevertheless, the camping and docking fees are waived from May 1 to September for the first-come, first-served campgrounds on Elliott Key, the park’s largest island and Boca Chita, the most popular island. Other exceptional lodging is available in Miami, particularly the Mandarin Oriental Miami on Burlingame Island and in the South Beach area, such as Villa Casa Casuarina, formerly known as the Versace Mansion and Setai Miami Beach, not far from Lincoln Road , the premier shopping destination in Miami. Great Smoky Mountains National Park 107 Park Headquarters Road Gatlinburg, TN  37738 (865) 436-1200 www.nps.gov/grsm Home to the largest collection of wildflower species of any other national park in North America, the Great Smoky Mountains is a perennial favorite destination to visit in the springtime and all year. It’s also the most visited national park in America, drawing more than 11 million people last year and far outdistancing the second most visited park, Grand Canyon National Park. However, visiting this magnificent 520,000 acre park that straddles the borders of Tennessee and North Carolina, is more important than ever, as it and the neighboring city of Gatlinburg recovers from last year’s devastating fire that destroyed thousands of homes and buildings and burned nearly 18,000 acres of both public and private land. Wildflower lovers will especially enjoy many of the 1,500 varieties of flowering plants within this stunningly beautiful national park, although radiant spring ephemerals like violets, trillium and lady slipper orchids will be dormant by May or June. Nevertheless, the park will still present a colorful diversity of flowers well past the park’s recently completed  Spring Wildflower Pilgrimage  last month and throughout the equally popular fall season. The Great Smoky Mountains is also very popular for hiking, horseback riding, cycling and fishing and a variety of campsites options are available, such as backcountry camping and group campgrounds. Additionally, the gateway town of Gatlinburg offers dozens of lodging options, with such favorites like Jack Huff’s, the Lodge at Buckberry Creek and the Greystone Lodge, as well as a similar number of outstanding dining options. Photo Credit: KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images Shenandoah National Park 3655 U.S. Highway 211 East Luray, VA  22835 (540) 999-3500 www.nps.gov/shen Among the country’s top destinations to visit during the springtime, Shenandoah National Park is home to more than 850 species of wildflowers as well as one of America’s most scenic and most beloved roadways. Although the vibrant flowering season began in early April, a significant portion of the park’s most frequently seen species bloom into early May, while other vibrantly colored species like violets, wild geranium and bluets can bloom into mid or late June. Encompassing an area of nearly 200,000 acres within the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains and extending across eight counties, this national park can be best enjoyed by driving along the 105-mile long Skyline Drive , which extends north to south along the crest of the Blue Ridge Mountains and providing extraordinary views of the Shenandoah Valley and the park’s mesmerizing natural beauty at every turn. Located about 75 miles southwest of both Washington D.C. and Lexington, Virginia, Shenandoah National Park has four entranceways, two visitor centers and and lodging facilities, including Big Meadows Lodge, Skyland and Lewis Mountain Cabins as well as three campground sites that just opened in early May. Related : Best Summer 2017 Vacation Spots  Read More »

Heat Wave Melting Record Snowpack In Northern California

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Forecasters expect at least one California river to hit flood stage later this week as a heat wave melts record snowpack in the Sierra Nevada. Forecasters with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Sunday they expect the Merced River in Yosemite National Park to go about a foot over its banks on Wednesday. A wet fall and winter have brought the most rain and snow in history to California’s northern Sierra mountains. The National Weather Service said a hot spell this week will raise Northern California temperatures to levels usually not seen until early July. Forecasters are warning swimmers and others that some California rivers will run extra cold and fast while the record snow melts. (© Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.) Read More »

For The First Time Ever, SpaceX Launches Spy Satellite Into Orbit

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (CBSLA.com/AP) — Hawthorne-based SpaceX has launched a top-secret spy satellite for the U.S. government. The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket lifted off Monday morning from its NASA-leased pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It hoisted a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, marking the first time in U.S. history that a commercial company has sent a spy satellite into orbit. Several minutes into the flight, the first stage booster — its job done — aimed for a touchdown at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SpaceX strives to return most of its first-stage boosters for reuse. Split screen shot of Falcon 9 first stage as it returns to Earth and lands at Landing Zone 1. pic.twitter.com/5hlwTOTGKa — SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 1, 2017 This was the fourth SpaceX booster landing at Cape Canaveral; even more have landed on an ocean platform. Sonic booms, as usual, rattled the area around the launch site. The company’s first recycled rocket flew last month. Sunday’s launch attempt was foiled at the last minute by a bad sensor. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has predicted that reusable rockets will be critical to drastically cutting launch costs, eventually making it possible to fulfill his vision of colonizing Mars. (© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.) Read More »

For The First Time Ever, SpaceX Launches Spy Satellite Into Orbit

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (CBSLA.com/AP) — Hawthorne-based SpaceX has launched a top-secret spy satellite for the U.S. government. The unmanned Falcon 9 rocket lifted off Monday morning from its NASA-leased pad at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It hoisted a classified satellite for the National Reconnaissance Office, marking the first time in U.S. history that a commercial company has sent a spy satellite into orbit. Several minutes into the flight, the first stage booster — its job done — aimed for a touchdown at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. SpaceX strives to return most of its first-stage boosters for reuse. Split screen shot of Falcon 9 first stage as it returns to Earth and lands at Landing Zone 1. pic.twitter.com/5hlwTOTGKa — SpaceX (@SpaceX) May 1, 2017 This was the fourth SpaceX booster landing at Cape Canaveral; even more have landed on an ocean platform. Sonic booms, as usual, rattled the area around the launch site. The company’s first recycled rocket flew last month. Sunday’s launch attempt was foiled at the last minute by a bad sensor. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk has predicted that reusable rockets will be critical to drastically cutting launch costs, eventually making it possible to fulfill his vision of colonizing Mars. (© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.) Read More »

The Democrat behind Trump’s tax plan

President Trump's tax reform plan was unveiled by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn. Cohn, a registered Democrat and former president and COO of Goldman Sachs, joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss Trump's tax cut blueprint. Read More »

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