Updating . .   

Highway 50 to fully reopen this week, a month after Caldor Fire closed it down -- The highway as of Monday morning remained shut down in both directions between Kyburz and Meyers for general travel, but residents with documentation of residency or homeownership as of 8 a.m. were allowed access to closed areas along that stretch, according to the El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office. Michael McGough in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/20/21

Grizzly Flats family lost everything in the Caldor Fire. Will they rebuild in the woods? -- The Caldor Fire leveled 440 single-family homes in Grizzly Flats before forging eastward across nearly 220,000 acres of private and federal forest lands and into the Lake Tahoe basin. Thousands of firefighters prevented it from reaching South Lake Tahoe. Julie Johnson in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/20/21

Update: Sequoia forest fires have burned a combined 43,375 acres -- A rapidly expanding wildfire in California’s Sequoia National Park continues to threaten five of the oldest and most-visited trees in the world, including the General Sherman, which lives on the western edge of the Giant Forest. It is the park’s largest giant sequoia and dates back 2,700 years. Jessica Yadegaran in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/20/21


Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine works in kids ages 5 to 11 -- Pfizer said Monday its COVID-19 vaccine works for children ages 5 to 11 and that it will seek U.S. authorization for this age group soon — a key step toward beginning vaccinations for youngsters. Lauran Neergaard Associated Press -- 9/20/21

What the booster rollout will look like in the Bay Area -- In early summer, when demand for coronavirus vaccine was low, Santa Clara County health officials closed the public vaccination clinic at Mountain View Community Center, a site that on its busiest days was administering 1,000 shots a day. Catherine Ho in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/20/21

The Bay Area’s COVID hotel experiment: Successes and uncertainty -- For much of the past year, Heather Chavez waited in fear of being kicked out of the comfortable Livermore hotel room that had become her refuge during the COVID pandemic. As funding deadlines came and went, and residents received frightening notices warning that they’d soon have to move along, she was terrified she’d have to go back to sleeping in a car or RV on the side of the road. Marisa Kendall in the San Jose Mercury$ -- 9/20/21

Where critics see shifting COVID messaging, San Diego researchers see science at work -- The public’s view of research as a straightforward search for answers is clashing against the reality of how San Diego scientists have pieced together information to understand the coronavirus. Jonathan Wosen in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/20/21


New lawsuit could halt Sacramento’s $100 million homeless shelter and tiny home plan -- The lawsuit — filed Wednesday in Sacramento Superior Court by a group called the Coalition for Compassion and city resident Michael Malinowski — alleges the new plan skirted an environmental review. Theresa Clift in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/20/21

How a new city team is responding to resident calls about Sacramento homeless camps -- A resident contacted the city of Sacramento on Wednesday to report a small homeless encampment near Robla Community Park in North Sacramento. Theresa Clift in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/20/21


The crazy SoCal housing market is cooling. But don’t expect a bargain -- Southern California home prices were essentially flat in August from the previous month, as the market cools slightly from its torrid pace earlier this year. Andrew Khouri in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/20/21

San Diego County’s traffic impact rules could limit new housing in unincorporated areas -- The San Diego County Board of Supervisors recently voted unanimously to rescind its rules for calculating the potential impact of traffic from proposed new housing developments. Deborah Sullivan Brennan in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/20/21

Victorious in recall, Newsom refocuses on California housing crisis -- Fresh from beating back a recall, the governor signed a package of bills to address the California housing crisis. But what do these new laws mean for housing affordability in a state where median home prices have already shot past $800,000? Manuela Tobias CalMatters -- 9/20/21


Unemployment rate stagnant: Why many Californians aren’t back at work -- Although the Golden State created a whopping 44% of the nation’s new jobs last month, its unemployment rate remained the second-highest in the country at 7.5%, according to figures released Friday by the state Employment Development Department. Emily Hoeven CalMatters -- 9/20/21

What can California workers expect from Biden’s COVID vaccine mandate? Here’s what we know -- More COVID vaccine mandates are on the way for California. President Joe Biden last week rolled out his plan to get more Americans vaccinated by requiring federal workers and their contractors to get the shots. Jeong Park in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/20/21


California will try to fix its unemployment system. Here’s when it could happen -- Little by little, it should become easier to deal with the Employment Development Department, thanks to a series of measures the Legislature has passed. But don’t expect problems to suddenly evaporate. David Lightman and Hannah Wiley in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/20/21

Policy and Politics  

Candidates visit L.A. homeless encampments. Not everything goes according to plan -- The shouting started shortly after L.A. City Atty. and mayoral candidate Mike Feuer began speaking to reporters near a high-profile homeless encampment outside the Veterans Affairs campus in West Los Angeles. A homeless veteran had been killed there earlier in the day. Dakota Smith in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/20/21

Skelton: In California recall, Gavin Newsom should have been the only name on the ballot -- Larry Elder never should have been on the gubernatorial recall ballot. Neither should have Kevin Faulconer, Kevin Paffrath or Angelyne. Only one name should have been presented to voters: Gavin Newsom. And just one question: Should he be recalled as governor? George Skelton in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/20/21

After California Recall, Democrats Fret Over Latino Vote -- Democrats are wondering whether they have a problem with Latino voters. What they actually might have is a problem with working-class voters. Gerald F. Seib in the Wall Street Journal$ -- 9/20/21


9 Oakland cops disciplined for engaging with 'sexist and racist' Instagram account -- City officials released a statement summarizing the findings of a lengthy investigation into the Instagram account, one that had already prompted the Police Department to add to its sexual harassment and workplace behavior training and to increase oversight of employee social media use. Sarah Ravani in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/20/21

LAPD responds to a report of vandalism at the home of a Bonin recall backer -- Officers responded last week to the Venice home of Katrina Schmitt, one of two people spearheading the signature-gathering drive against Bonin, who represents coastal neighborhoods. Schmitt said she was inside her condominium around 8:30 p.m. Thursday when her glass door was smashed. David Zahniser in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/20/21

San Diego Police Department pledges to increase number of women recruits by 2030 -- Currently, less than 17 percent of San Diego police officers are women; The department has pledged to raise that to 30 percent. Teri Figueroa in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/20/21


Students with disabilities across California stuck in limbo -- Some parents are being forced to decide between risking sending their kids with disabilities to school and getting all their needs met or keeping them at home and forfeiting their special education services. JOE HONG CalMatters -- 9/20/21


Climate change lets mosquitoes flourish — and feast — in Los Angeles -- Many try and fail to make it in L.A. But one group is proving unstoppable: mosquitoes, which have taken over Southern California and are driving the humans here crazy. Erica Werner in the Washington Post$ -- 9/20/21

Also . . .   

’Vicious cycle:’ How California leaders are trying to redefine domestic abuse in courtrooms -- Survivors of domestic violence are gaining the ability to have all they endure considered in court, their advocates say, as California’s leaders have updated state law to recognize the role of coercion in intimate partner abuse. Cathie Anderson in the Sacramento Bee$ -- 9/20/21

He found forgotten letters from the '70s in his attic. Turns out they were missives from the Unabomber -- Forty-two years ago, I gave the Unabomber travel advice. I didn’t know back when Ted Kaczynski and I were exchanging letters that he would become one of America’s most infamous domestic terrorists. Jack Epstein in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/20/21

Renzo’s Revenge: The new Academy Museum has landed — and it’s out of this world -- The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures has landed. And it has added an unmistakable silhouette to the landscape of Los Angeles. Carolina A. Miranda in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/20/21

Flower Piano comes back after 26-month absence, crowding players and listeners into Golden Gate Park -- Liam Ramakrishnan, age 3, was not planning to perform at Flower Piano. He’d never played the piano. But there he was at the keys of an expertly tuned Schafer & Sons before an audience spread across the Great Meadow at 10 a.m. Sunday. Sam Whiting in the San Francisco Chronicle$ -- 9/20/21



California Policy and Politics Monday Morning  

Sequoia National Park’s General Sherman tree, one of largest in the world, still safe amid growing wildfire -- Firefighters battling a major wildfire in Sequoia National Park had some good news to report on Sunday: General Sherman — the giant sequoia and one of the largest living trees in the world — is still standing. Rosanna Xia in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/20/21

Efforts to replant trees can’t keep pace as forest fires blast through California -- Forest land managers worry that tree canopies will be lost forever without significantly more planting. Some environmentalists call reforestation unnecessary, even destructive. Joshua Emerson Smith, Nelvin C. Cepeda, Michelle Gilchrist in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/20/21


After months of COVID-closed doors, Boyle Heights’ Casa 0101 gingerly steps forward -- On a recent Saturday morning in Boyle Heights, some two dozen youths line up just off the corner of St. Louis and 1st streets, outside Casa 0101, the 99-seat theater founded by “Real Women Have Curves” playwright Josefina López. Julia Barajas in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/20/21

Chris Rock says he has COVID-19, urges vaccination -- Chris Rock on Sunday said he has been diagnosed with COVID-19 and sent a message to anyone still on the fence: “Get vaccinated.” The 56-year-old comedian wrote on Twitter: “Hey guys I just found out I have COVID, trust me you don’t want this. Get vaccinated.” Associated Press -- 9/20/21

Group of deported veterans allowed back into the U.S. just to get their COVID vaccine -- A group of deported veterans was allowed back briefly into the country Wednesday to receive the COVID-19 shot as part of a special clinic held by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. One of them was U.S. Marine veteran Milton Tepeyac, 45, who made the trip from Sonora, México. Alexandra Mendoza in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/20/21


California’s reboot of troubled Medi-Cal puts pressure on health plans to perform -- When Denise Williams’ son was 2 months old, she became alarmed by a rattling sound in his lungs and took him to the emergency room. While undergoing treatment, he spiraled into a disabling neurological disorder. Bernard J. Wolfson Kaiser Health News in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/20/21


San Diego’s DA touts justice reform. Not all reformers are buying it -- In April San Diego County District Attorney Summer Stephan announced she was putting an end to the use of civil gang injunctions, a tactic deployed for years by law enforcement that restricts movements of alleged street gang members in designated neighborhoods. Greg Moran in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/20/21


California schools prepare for thousands of Afghan refugee students -- In California, home to the largest number of Afghan refugees in the country, school officials are preparing for an influx of refugee students who fled Afghanistan with their families after the Taliban seized power in the country last month. Diana Lambert EdSource -- 9/20/21

Some Santa Ana teachers went to work but didn’t get a paycheck -- Santa Ana’s newest teachers welcomed students back to school more than a month ago – but more than a hundred of them have yet to be paid. Roxana Kopetman in the Orange County Register -- 9/20/21


Reporter notebook: Trek up Otay Mountain reveals risks border crossers take -- As border enforcement efforts have increased over the past several decades, migrants hoping to sneak into the United States have taken riskier routes. That includes people hoping to find work and people who have already been deported who are trying to get back inside the United States. Kate Morrissey in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/20/21

Also . . .   

Sports wagering approved for Del Mar Fairgrounds, but don’t place that bet yet -- Sports enthusiasts could be able to bet on the Padres and even SDSU Aztecs games at the Del Mar Fairgrounds as soon as 2023. Phil Diehl in the San Diego Union-Tribune$ -- 9/20/21

L.A. County confirms its first West Nile virus-related death of 2021 -- Los Angeles County health officials have reported the county’s first death this year due to West Nile virus. The patient, a resident of the eastern region of the county, was hospitalized and died from a neuro-invasive disease associated with the virus, officials announced Friday. Kiera Feldman in the Los Angeles Times$ -- 9/20/21

Return to sender: Couple receives mountain of EDD mail that isn’t theirs -- Attention Jeffrey B. Feller, Melvin M. Mosby, Patricia Ellis, Laquita Ortiz and dozens of others wherever you are, if you even exist. That letter you’ve been waiting for from the California Economic Development Department, possibly containing an unemployment benefit payment, was indeed delivered — just not to you. Scott Schwebke in the Orange County Register -- 9/20/21