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Why eating out is getting so expensive

Essential California By the end of 2023, at least 65 notable restaurants had shut down in L.A. What does this mean for a city that wouldn't be complete without its robust restaurant scene?  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  May 23, 2024   View in browser By Defne Karabatur Good morning. It's Thursday, May 23 . Here's what you need to know to start your day. The L.A. restaurant industry is facing another harsh year as new legislation, inflation, higher wages and pandemic fallout are creating obstacles. EVs and hybrids are twice as likely to hit pedestrians as gas cars. 24 superb things to do around L.A. to kick off the summer of 2024. And here'

A rare snowy weekend for SoCal

An unusual storm brought snow to parts of the state, with more storms on the way. Plus: spiking gas bills and one year of war in Ukraine.
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Los Angeles Times
Today's Headlines
Click to view images Lusin Torosyan, left, and Shant Yedigaryan, 12, build a snowman Saturday at Dunsmore Park in Glendale. (Francine Orr / Los Angeles Times)

By Laura Blasey

Hello, it's Monday, Feb. 27, and here are the stories you shouldn't miss today:

TOP STORIES

Epic winter storm turns Southern California snow white

Residents in parts of Southern California who have not seen snow in decades woke up to an icy wonderland Sunday morning following an epic winter storm that broke rainfall records and scattered fresh powder across the normally warm, sunny region.

The storm, which originated in the Gulf of Alaska, tapped into an atmospheric river system, unleashing a "very memorable" storm, one meteorologist said. There were reports of flurries at the Hollywood sign and snow falling in places like Glendale and Santa Clarita.

For communities that didn't see snow, rain was plentiful. More rain and snow are on the way beginning late Sunday.

More about the storm

'Impossible' gas bills push restaurants to the brink of closure

As the wholesale cost of natural gas hits record highs, businesses that require gas cooking methods — such as tabletop Korean barbecues, wok stations, and gas-powered stoves and ovens — are costing restaurateurs thousands of dollars more than their typical expenses, causing some owners to consider closing temporarily or raising prices to offset the charges.

Adding to existing concerns over inflation, supply-chain difficulties and labor costs, some feel helpless.

Russia's war on Ukraine grinds into second year as Putin gambles on the long game

Russia's war on Ukraine has entered its second year, with a universal realization that the world is witnessing a long, protracted conflict, the deadliest in Europe since World War II, in which Moscow and Kyiv are hoping against long odds for a decisive breakthrough in 2023.

Church bells tolled, weeping mourners embraced and blue-and-yellow national flags fluttered Friday as Ukraine marked the first anniversary of the Russian invasion and looked back on the year with a mixture of sorrow and pride.

After 100 years, the San Gabriel Nursery and Florist continues to bloom

Seeking new opportunities, Fred Yoshimura left his home in Yamaguchi, Japan, at 21.

He saved enough money to lease a parcel of land that he used to open the Mission Nursery in 1923. It would blossom into a major commercial success now known as the San Gabriel Nursery and Florist, which this year is celebrating its 100th anniversary.

But it didn't come easily.

Mary Ishihara Swanton holds a pink flower and stands among blossoming plants
Mary Ishihara Swanton, granddaughter of Fred and Mitoko Yoshimura, at her family's San Gabriel Nursery and Florist. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

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OUR MUST-READS FROM THE WEEKEND

How one studio is reverse engineering a video game using TikTok. With "Ashfall," Liithos is banking on characters and an immersive world being strong enough to draw fans before any gameplay. A five-episode TikTok show and a comic book come years before the game will be completed.

In a sign of the times, O.C. malls will be places to live as well as shop. In Orange County, the San Fernando Valley and suburbs throughout America, the mall was a gathering spot where there were few other places to hang out. But as communities strain for new housing, some see declining malls as opportunities.

CALIFORNIA

Meet the Salk Institute's 'next-generation leader' who is taking the helm at a pivotal moment. One of the nation's top experts on how disease arises in humans has been appointed the new president of the Salk Institute in La Jolla, which is undergoing a historic expansion that's meant to help scientists demystify such diverse conditions as cancer and dementia.

State officials 'vow to do better' on Exide lead cleanup. Some residents aren't satisfied. The vow from the Department of Toxic Substances Control came in response to a Times investigation this month showing that numerous properties that had been remediated at great cost to state taxpayers were left with concentrations of lead in their yards in excess of state health standards.

What Saddleback Church's ouster means for Southern Baptists. Last week the Southern Baptist Convention ousted Saddleback Church, one of its largest and highest-profile member churches, from its ranks. The Orange County megachurch decided to include female pastors, a violation of convention's core beliefs.

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NATION-WORLD

Chicago mayor's race dominated by concerns about city crime. For years, Republicans have sought to win over voters by depicting Democratic-led cities as lawless centers of violence that need tough-on-crime policies. In Chicago, some of the Democrats running for mayor are deploying the same strategy as they debate how to make the city safer.

Weeks after rail disaster, Biden has no plans to visit East Palestine. Republicans are continuing to criticize President Biden for not visiting East Palestine, Ohio. The Biden administration insists that disaster response is about more than the president personally appearing on scene.

Mexican protesters see electoral overhaul as a threat to democracy. More than 100,000 people gathered in Mexico City to march Sunday against the major downsizing last week of the agency that oversees Mexico's elections, a measure that they say could harm the 2024 presidential race.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

The 'Party Down' revival is every bit the equal of the original. Revivals are a challenge to pull off. And the long-awaited third season of the cult Starz comedy now seems very much worth the effort, of a piece with its splendid predecessor in style and humor but not in any sense outdated, writes television critic Robert Lloyd.

How L.A.'s Blondshell pulled off the rock debut of 2023. A bruised yet darkly funny set of serrated, hook-riddled guitar rock, Blondshell's upcoming self-titled LP is the most impressive debut of the year to date. In a cool Gen Z deadpan, she ponders social anxiety and toxic sex amid fuzzy-crisp arrangements that echo '90s classics, writes critic Mikael Wood.

The Hammer pulls off a marvelously orchestrated show of Bridget Riley's drawings. "Bridget Riley Drawings: From the Artist's Studio" features 24 little-seen figurative and landscape works in pencil, crayon, oil and pastel from the 1940s and '50s, plus 65 mostly geometric abstractions from 1961 and after.

BUSINESS

More restaurants trying subscription programs. Will it work? Large chains such as Panera and P.F. Chang's as well as neighborhood hangouts are increasingly experimenting with unlimited drinks or free delivery for a monthly fee; others will bring out your favorite appetizer each time you visit.

Start-ups' Hyperloop dreams are still distant, almost 10 years after Elon Musk. Musk described a dazzling vision in a widely read paper. But a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars later, more than a half-dozen start-ups have tried to create the 760-mph superhighway, and not one has succeeded.

SPORTS

UCLA defeats Colorado to clinch its first Pac-12 championship in a decade. The fourth-ranked Bruins got there after making the key plays down the stretch to pull out a 60-56 victory over Colorado on Sunday afternoon at the CU Events Center.

How Lindsay Gottlieb blends family into USC's 'once in a lifetime' season. While putting USC's women's basketball team in position for its first NCAA tournament appearance since 2014, the 45-year-old Gottlieb is also adjusting to life as a mother of two.

Auto Club Speedway's two-mile oval takes a final lap into Inland Empire racing history. The speedway begins its long-awaited and extensive remodeling after Sunday's Pala Casino 400, with plans to appeal to a broad demographic as NASCAR's aims to make attending a race more than simply attending a race.

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OPINION

No, California doesn't have a population crisis. "As population scientists, we do see a concerning impact on California's rural counties — but overall, there are more opportunities in Californians' relative youth and the state's ability to attract immigrants than there are alarm bells."

I am a Black man and a death doula. This work chose me. "While Black death is traditionally celebrated, when it comes to Black dying, we do little work to prepare ourselves and those we leave behind for the inevitable. A large part of my mission as a Black death doula is to ensure those in my care don't walk blindly into grief, tragedy or into their final moments alone."

ONLY IN SOCAL

Think you like Disneyland? This fan set a new world attendance record. Daily trips to Disneyland started out for Jeff Reitz as a way for him to get out of the house, get some exercise and get a break from the toil of looking for work when he was unemployed in 2012.

Last week, the Guinness World Records recognized the 50-year-old as the world record holder for the most consecutive visits to Disneyland, an astonishing 2,995 days.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

The Feb. 26, 1942 front page of The Times.
The Feb. 26, 1942 front page of The Times. (Los Angeles Times)

After the Dec. 7, 1941, attack on Pearl Harbor, Los Angeles became paranoid about possible attacks — so much so that weather balloons unleashed a mass panic on the night of Feb. 25, 1942, in what became known as the Great Air Raid or the Battle of L.A.

Air-raid sirens, searchlights, blackouts and drills had become common in Los Angeles. A Japanese submarine had shelled oil installations off the coast of California on Feb. 23, further heightening anxiety. Then, at 2:25 a.m. on Feb. 25, Army gun crews thought they spotted enemy aircraft preparing to attack, triggering sirens and firing bullets into the sky. Five people died in the panic — three in car crashes on chaotic roads, two from heart attacks.

The mistake put a spotlight on embarrassed military and city officials. Later reports concluded the crews had simply seen weather balloons. You can read a Times account of the "battle" here.

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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