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Tom Sandoval Compares Vanderpump Rules Cheating Scandal to O.J. Simpson and George Floyd; Love Is Blind's Chelsea Responds to Getting "Dragged" Over Megan Fox Comparison; Strictly Come Dancing Alum Robin Windsor Dead at 44; and more from E! News... February 20, 2024   View Online   NEWS VIDEOS PHOTOS SHOP NEWS VIDEOS PHOTOS SHOP   YouTuber Ruby Franke Tearfully Apologizes to Kids During Child Abuse Sentencing VIEW   Tom Sandoval Compares Vanderpump Rules Cheating Scandal to O.J. Simpson and George Floyd VIEW   Love Is Blind 's Chelsea Responds to Getting "Dragged" Over Megan Fox Comparison VIEW   Strictly Come Dancing Alum Robin Windsor Dead at 44 VIEW   Disney Channel Alum Bridgit Mendler Reveals She's a Mom—and a Space Startup CEO VIEW SEE MORE   Follow @enews

Guilty verdicts for an ex-UCLA gynecologist

A jury has found former UCLA gynecologist James Heaps guilty of sexually abusing female patients from 2009 to 2018.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images A jury has found former UCLA gynecologist James Heaps guilty of sexually abusing female patients from 2013 to 2017. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times)

By Amy Hubbard, Elvia Limón

Hello, it's Friday, Oct. 21, and we have another great story we'd like to give special mention to before the top headlines! Our colleague Anousha Sakoui has been following the aftermath of the fatal on-set "Rust" shooting. She told us the death left her personally stunned: "Covering production and labor in Hollywood, I knew sets could be dangerous and crews were fighting for better working conditions. But how could a live bullet end up on a film set and then be loaded into a gun and fired toward Halyna Hutchins? While accidents are rare, they happen among the crew that construct sets or among stunt performers who do some of the most dangerous work on sets. But a cinematographer?"

Anousha notes in her story that the death rocked the industry "to its core" — and yet, what's changed? Little, it seems. "Efforts to legislate the use of guns on sets have been stymied and so far there are no changes in on-set protocols." She spoke to gun and prop specialists and other sources to get a sense of the emotion and frustration in the industry over the issue, as well as what steps toward change actually have occurred. Read the story here.

Now, here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:

TOP STORIES

James Heaps sexually abused patients for years, a jury finds

A Los Angeles County jury convicted former UCLA gynecologist Dr. James Heaps of sexually abusing female patients.

Prosecutors portrayed Heaps as exploiting his position as a renowned cancer specialist to prey on the most vulnerable women during his 35 years associated with UCLA. Hundreds of accusers have been paid nearly $700 million by UCLA in the largest sexual abuse settlement involving a public university.

Heaps' arrest in June 2019 came on the heels of similar charges against George Tyndall, a former USC gynecologist accused of sexual misconduct toward hundreds of students. Tyndall has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial on dozens of sexual assault charges tied to the campus clinic where he practiced for decades.

L.A. has hit a $1-billion earthquake milestone

Seven years into Los Angeles' landmark earthquake safety campaign, more than 8,000 seismically vulnerable buildings have been retrofitted across the city at an estimated cost of $1.3 billion, a new analysis shows.

The improvements mark the biggest advance in seismic upgrades in decades but still leave thousands of buildings vulnerable to damage or even collapse in a catastrophic temblor.

The regulations require a total of nearly 14,000 buildings to be retrofitted and came after years of stalled efforts to improve the resilience of buildings despite growing evidence of earthquake threats.

With another prime minister gone, what's next for an already diminished Britain?

Liz Truss' tenure was so short — only 44 days — that her successor will face essentially the same array of problems she started with: a restive Scotland, where breakaway sentiment could again flare; the damaging longer-term economic ramifications of Brexit, which took effect in 2020; a social safety net and health service frayed by years of austerity; and mixed sentiment about the royal family, now led by the less popular King Charles III.

And this web of woe comes against the backdrop of a war in Ukraine that has come to represent Russian President Vladimir Putin's stark challenge to a rules-based postwar security order in which Britain was once a powerful player.

Can Eunisses Hernandez help solve L.A.'s political crisis?

Two days after a leaked audio recording jolted Los Angeles, angry and pained citizens packed the City Council chamber. It was community activist Eunisses Hernandez's first time on the council floor. Hernandez unseated Gil Cedillo in June, and it was unusual for her to appear there as a council member-elect.

But her appearance amid her future colleagues, some of whom she had never met in person, presented a stark visual symbol of the changes sweeping over the council and the city's political landscape.

More L.A. politics: Our guides to local races

Get more insight into local politics with our L.A. on the Record newsletter.

Where homeless people go to die with dignity

The official mission of the Inn Between, on a quiet street in Salt Lake City, is to "end the tragic history of vulnerable people dying on the streets." But there's debate about the true meaning of its name: Is it in between the streets and the hospital? Or in between heaven and Earth?

Patricia "Patti" Larsen believes it's the latter. She has found peace there that she did not know while living on the streets. Larsen has Stage 4 lung cancer. When she arrived at the Inn Between, she had a prognosis of six weeks. That was a year and a half ago.

The Inn Between is not a homeless shelter; it feels more like a nursing home or apartment complex. Residents have been referred to the inn by local doctors because they are homeless and seeking comfort care or medical respite.

Check out "The Times" podcast for essential news and more.

These days, waking up to current events can be, well, daunting. If you're seeking a more balanced news diet, "The Times" podcast is for you. Gustavo Arellano, along with a diverse set of reporters from the award-winning L.A. Times newsroom, delivers the most interesting stories from the Los Angeles Times every Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Listen and subscribe wherever you get your podcasts.

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CALIFORNIA

Students walked out at Marshall High, demanding better school security after a campus stabbing. The students said the stabbing of two students came after another on-campus student assault in a classroom earlier this week, raising their fears about campus safety. Some students said a stronger law enforcement presence would have downsides and could make others feel uncomfortable. But the tradeoff would be worth it, several said, because they would feel safer.

San Francisco plans to spend two years and $1.7 million to build a single-toilet public restroom. The San Francisco Recreation and Parks Department admits the price tag for the single restroom is attention-grabbing, but officials promise the reason behind the estimate is "more nuanced and less sensational." The city explains that construction costs have risen in the last two years due to the pandemic, inflation and the global supply chain issues, according to the city's statement.

Lower temperatures — and maybe some showers — are headed to SoCal this weekend. The sunny skies are set to make way for a quick drop in temperatures, with a patchy fog expected this morning, cloudy skies throughout the day and maybe even some drizzle by late tonight, according to the National Weather Service. By Saturday, the high is set to peak at 69 degrees at LAX, and there's a 10% to 20% chance of rain.

Californians can get $3,000 grants to retrofit homes for earthquake safety. Residents who live in more than 500 ZIP Codes can apply for the program at Earthquake Brace + Bolt. Registration lasts through Nov. 29. The grants are being paid for with an $80-million allocation from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

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NATION-WORLD

Measures to end forced prison labor have put slavery on the ballot in five states. The effort is part of a national push to amend the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which banned enslavement or involuntary servitude except as a form of criminal punishment. That exception has long permitted the exploitation of labor by convicted felons.

Iranian troops are "directly engaged on the ground" in Crimea supporting Russian drone attacks on Ukraine, the U.S. says. National Security Council spokesman John F. Kirby told reporters that Iran has sent a "relatively small number" of personnel to Crimea, a part of Ukraine unilaterally annexed by Russia in contravention of international law in 2014, to assist Russian troops in launching Iranian-made drones against Ukraine.

European Union leaders are divided on a gas price cap. The officials, at an energy crisis summit in Brussels, stood divided on whether, and how, the bloc could impose a gas price cap to contain the crisis fueled by Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine and his strategy to choke off gas supplies to the bloc at will.

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HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Who is Black Adam and why should you care? A spoiler-free guide. Starring box office juggernaut Dwayne Johnson, "Black Adam," opening today, is the titular antihero's origin story, and will also introduce a new team of superheroes to the DC Extended Universe. Johnson's debut as Black Adam has been a long time coming.

Countdown to "Midnights": What we know about Taylor Swift's new album. In August, the pop idol announced that she would soon be releasing her 10th studio album. The total number of tracks on "Midnights" is 13 — Swift's lucky number. Swift has gushed about the track "Snow on the Beach," featuring Lana Del Rey. Additionally, the album's credits reveal that actors Zoë Kravitz and Joe Alwyn helped write some of its songs.

"The Crown" Season 5 trailer spells out a "genuine crisis" for the royal family. The trailer offers a glimpse at upcoming drama within the House of Windsor and a handful of new stars, including Imelda Staunton, who will now portray Queen Elizabeth II. At the center of the so-called "crisis" are Charles' affair with Camilla and Diana's battle with the monarchy.

BUSINESS

"Whoever planned this ... planned a good one." What happened to the goods stolen in the multimillion-dollar Brink's heist? The Times talked to experts, including an ex-jewel thief, about where the goods could have landed after the July heist in Lebec and how they might have been handled. What seems clear is the crime was carried out by sophisticated criminals. And victims have been left grasping for clues — one jeweler even consulted psychics: "I don't even believe" in psychics, he said.

OPINION

Oil drillers want to overturn California's new health protections. Don't let them. Last month, Gov. Gavin Newsom signed Senate Bill 1137, which bans new oil and gas wells within 3,200 feet of homes and schools to protect public health and safety. The oil industry failed to defeat the buffer-zone bill in the Legislature — as it had in the past — so a few days later it filed a petition to put a referendum on the 2024 ballot to overturn the law.

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SPORTS

Galaxy and LAFC enter playoff game with revamped lineups. No two MLS teams met more often this season than LAFC and the Galaxy, who faced off for the fourth time in the Western Conference playoff semifinals at Banc of California Stadium. Denis Bouanga scored twice in his playoff debut Thursday to help LAFC to a 3-2 win, sending the team to the Western Conference finals

Meet USC's most fashionable and viral sensation: kicker Denis Lynch. With his meme-able fashion statements and consistent kicking, Lynch has grown into an unexpected favorite on a championship-contending team. As his home game outfits become appointment posting for USC's social media team, Lynch accepts his new cult hero status with an "aw shucks" charm that belies what long snapper Jac Casasante called sneaky competitiveness.

LeBron James and Russell Westbrook had plenty to say after the Lakers' loss to the Warriors. James said the Lakers must keep shooting threes even though they aren't good at it. Westbrook said his hamstring injury was "absolutely" related to coming off the bench in the team's preseason finale.

The Chargers' injury list grows, with Seattle coming to town. The team's offense has not been as effective as last season, mostly due to the growing number of injuries, especially at receiver.

YOUR WEEKEND

Overhead view of cookies on a table with a whisk, wooden spoon and ice cream scoop.
Chocolate chip cookies, baked by Julie Giuffrida. (Katrina Frederick / For The Times)

Make chocolate chip cookies. The Times Food crew is searching for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe. So Test Kitchen coordinator Julie Giuffrida started baking: "I tested nine reader favorites from our archives, hailing from bakeries and pastry chefs in Southern California, Washington and even London, often requested by readers through our historical Culinary SOS column. I sought to understand what makes one chocolate chip cookie different from another, the key success factors for a great chocolate chip cookie and if there is a single best recipe among them. More than 20 dozen cookies later, I have some answers." She has recipes for you whether you like them thin, chewy and buttery; gooey in the center; crackly on top; extra chocolaty ... the list goes on. And there's a survey for your opinion on what makes the best chocolate chip cookie.

Take a road trip to Big Sur — but know that the journey is the point. Our travel-guru colleague Christopher Reynolds writes about 12 secret stops on the road to Big Sur. Here's a freebie: "You know the Madonna Inn. It's the place along U.S. 101 in San Luis Obispo with the hot-pink sign, the kitschiest dining room this side of Graceland, the 110 thematically decorated rooms (no two alike) and the waterfall in its men's room. But did you know about its horses? The Madonnas turn out to be a very horsy family, and there's a trail ride operation right next to the hotel, which sits on about 1,000 acres."

WHAT OUR EDITORS ARE READING

Note: Some of the sites we link to may limit the number of stories you can access without subscribing.

Texas schools are sending parents DNA kits to identify their kids' bodies in emergencies. This is making many parents feel even more anxious. In 2021, the state passed a law requiring the Texas Education Agency to "provide identification kits to school districts and open-enrollment charter schools for distribution to the parent or legal custodian of certain students." The Texas public school system will provide ink-free fingerprint and DNA identification cards to all K-6 students who are eligible. Parents are not mandated to use the kits. Today

Know this about rats: They can be cooperative — with humans as well as among themselves. One breed has been trained to sniff out land mines. Gambian pouched rats weigh around 3 pounds so "they're light enough not to set off the explosives." In seven countries in Africa and Southeast Asia, they've sniffed out 150,000 explosives: "Their superb sense of smell enables them to detect the presence of as little as a billionth of a gram of explosive material," according to Experience. Also, rats ask other rats for help finding food, through "ultrasonic begging calls and odor cues," and "the squeaky rat gets the food," says Psychology Today.

Who let retirees move on campus at Arizona State? Housing at Mirabella requires one-time fees of $440,000 to more than $1 million. Residents pay another $4,000 to $8,000 a month, which includes classes and meals. Mirabella also is restricted to people 62 or older. It is one of the country's few senior-living facilities set on a college campus, mixing older and younger generations by design. It hasn't gone as well as hoped. Wall Street Journal

The taquero behind the famous Ricky's Fish Tacos announced he's leaving L.A. Ricky Piña, the award-winning taquero, attracted national attention, first popping up in Silver Lake in 2009 with a metal three-drawer filing cabinet that Piña had converted into a makeshift fryer, then with a food truck parked primarily in Los Feliz, and, more recently, in Hollywood, where he plans to sell seafood tacos for the next two weekends before leaving town. Los Angeles Times

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Taillights on cars light up in a parking lot outside an In-N-Out at dusk.
April 2020: Cars stack up at the In-N-Out drive-through in Alhambra. (Carolina A. Miranda / Los Angeles Times)

Seventy-four years ago this week, on Oct. 22, 1948, In-N-Out opened in Baldwin Park. The site was "10 feet square" and across the street from owner Harry Snyder's childhood home, according to the California State Library. Harry opened the stand with wife Esther. It was the Golden State's first drive-through, believed by some to have had the first two-way speaker box for ordering.

The Times' Patt Morrison wrote earlier this year that customer loyalty to the fast-food restaurant "approaches the devotional. … More than 20 years ago, a U.S. Army sergeant from Baldwin Park was released after spending a month as a POW in Yugoslavia. His mother flew to see him, packing his favorite In-N-Out burgers."

In 2011, The Times wrote about the demolition of the historic Baldwin Park outlet and longtime fans' reaction: "My husband grew up in Baldwin Park," said one woman at the demolition site. "We came here to eat when we dated. This is where everybody came."

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today's Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at headlines@latimes.com.

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