California Sun

Good morning. It's Thursday, Sept. 3.

Forecasts call for record heat over Labor Day weekend.
Bay Area officer faces rare charge of felony manslaughter.
And a summer of cougar kittens in the Santa Monicas.



Get ready for another sustained blast of heat. Meteorologists are predicting record temperatures over Labor Day weekend and into next week, with some places reaching up to 20 degrees warmer than normal. The forecast comes just as firefighting crews are gaining control of the massive wildfires ringing the Bay Area. The Guardian | Washington Post

The heat could be followed by dangerous Santa Ana and Diablo winds. The reaction from climate scientist Daniel Swain: "It's exactly the worst sequence I could imagine right now."


Some experts have questioned beach limits in the name of coronavirus safety.

Check before you try to cool off at the beach this weekend. Citing coronavirus fears, a number of cities and counties have announced closures of parts of the shore, among them Santa Cruz, Monterey, Pacifica, and Santa Barbara. No closures appeared to be planned for the corridor from Los Angeles to San Diego. | L.A. Times

Epidemiologist: "The beaches are not the problem." Mercury News


As students have arrived at college campuses for the fall semester, so has the coronavirus.

San Diego State University halted in-person instruction on Wednesday amid surging Covid-19 cases. Officials said 64 students had tested positive. "We do expect more cases," an epidemiologist said. S.D. Union-Tribune | City News Service
After students returned for the start of Chico State's semester, the city reported 464 new coronavirus cases in the span of a single week. Nearly 80% were among people ages 18-24. KRCR | Enterprise-Record

Californians overwhelmingly favor police reform, and state Democrats who control the Legislature have been publicly sympathetic to the cause. Yet as the deadline neared to advance a reform package, including a measure that would have stripped problem cops of their badges, it got derailed on Monday. "Overall," wrote the L.A. Times, "it was a demonstration that law enforcement unions still hold serious sway at the Capitol." L.A. Times


Northern California


Tom Seaver, in 1969, was one of the greatest pitchers in baseball.

Focus On Sport/Getty Images

Tom Seaver died at 75. The Hall of Fame pitcher became synonymous with the New York Mets, but he was bred in California's farmlands. Seaver was born in 1944 in Fresno, where his father worked in the fruit business. He bloomed as a pitcher after high school, packing on muscle while helping wrangle crates of raisins for his father's business. He was recruited by USC, then drafted into the majors and baseball immortality. Seaver spent his twilight years in Calistoga, where he and his wife ran a winery. N.Y. Times | KGPE


Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday declined to apologize for having her hair done at a San Francisco salon in apparent violation of city health codes. The salon, she said, tricked her, an assertion backed up by her stylist. "It was a setup, and I take responsibility for falling for a setup," Pelosi said. "I think that this salon owes me an apology." S.F. Chronicle | Politico

The editorial boards of the S.F. Chronicle and Sacramento Bee denounced Pelosi for not knowing better. So did a beauty services group that had lobbied the state to relax lockdown rules. "Our entire industry was appalled at the hypocrisy," it said. Sacramento Bee


Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O’Malley called a cop's use of force "unreasonable."

Jeff Chiu/A.P.

A Bay Area prosecutor has charged a police officer with felony manslaughter in the fatal shooting of a Black man at a San Leandro WalMart in April. The remarkable move to prosecute a cop came after Officer Jason Fletcher fired a single gunshot at Steven Taylor, 33, who was holding a baseball bat and stumbling at the time. District Attorney Nancy O’Malley said Taylor posed no threat. S.F. Chronicle | KTVU

Here's body-cam footage of the shooting. (Occurs at ~3:20 mins). 👉 YouTube


A GoFundMe campaign has raised more than $140,000 for the family of two girls who were seen in a viral photo using the free WiFi outside a Salinas Taco Bell to do schoolwork. The image was seen by many as emblematic of an intolerable class divide exacerbated by the pandemic. The sponsor of the fundraiser, which GoFundMe verified, said the money had made the family's dreams a reality. USA Today


Southern California


Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, are now Hollywood players. The couple signed a multiyear deal with Netflix to make documentaries, feature films, scripted shows, and children’s programming. The value of the pact wasn't disclosed, but sources told Deadline it could be in the ballpark of $150 million. Harry and Meghan moved to Los Angeles in March. They've since bought a $14.7 million place in Montecito. N.Y. Times | L.A. Times


It's been the summer of cougar kittens in the Santa Monica Mountains. National Park Service officials announced that 13 kittens were born to five mountain lion moms between May and August, a level of reproduction not seen in the 18 years since tracking began. Ventura County Star | L.A. Magazine

They kindly shared pictures. 👇

National Park Service

National Park Service

National Park Service


If you live in Chicago, you may have never seen a fumigation tent. But in Southern California, where termites revel in the warm weather, turning your home into a gas chamber is a rite of passage. In the introduction to a photo project on the phenomenon, D.J. Waldie said the strangely cheerful tents are irresistible to thieves. "When a man and woman were questioned about a recent burglary by the police department, they said that the crime was so easy, it was 'like going to the circus.'" See images from the collection. 👉 | The Guardian


California wonders


It's September, which means it's apple-picking season. Every fall, dozens of farms across the state invite the public to fill their baskets among ripened rows of Gravensteins, Granny Smiths, Honeycrisps, and Fujis. Many have added attractions: BBQ, hay rides, live music, and more.

This year, some farms have opted to stay closed, citing concerns about the pandemic. But others are promoting apple-picking as an ideal social-distancing activity. "The good news is it is outside," Freeman House, the owner of Stone Pantry Orchard, told the Sun. "Your little family group can wander around and just use your judgment."

Here are three premier apple-picking destinations in California, from south to north. 👇

An apple orchard in Julian.

Grant Heilman

Julian, San Diego County

When the leaves start to don their fall colors, San Diegans drive 90 minutes east to this mountain town perched between the desert and coast. It's famous for three things: natural beauty, Gold Rush history, and apple pie. Visit Julian |

Oak Glen Road is an autumn lover's delight.

Oak Glen, San Bernardino County

Nestled a mile high in the foothills of the San Bernardino Mountains, this farming region is one of the most scenic spots in Southern California. A 5-mile loop is lined with more than 30 ranches, farms, restaurants, and curio shops. KCET |

Wofford Acres Vineyards is one of several wineries in Apple Hill.

Apple Hill, El Dorado County

This forested region in the foothills east of Sacramento includes dozens of family-owned apple orchards and bakeries, plus an added bonus: a handful of wineries that light up in crimson toward the end of autumn. |


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The California Sun is written by Mike McPhate, a former California correspondent for the New York Times.

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