California Sun

Good morning. It's Wednesday, May 1.

Hundreds of dogs are being housed for their blood.
A jury lets off a man seen punching a woman in a bar.
And Bakersfield is the latest city to draw millennials.



California has two licensed canine blood banks that operate in virtual secrecy. Hundreds of caged dogs have their blood drawn every 10 to 14 days to supply veterinary hospitals, and animal rights groups aren't happy about it. "Even if they were run to perfect standards, should California be kenneling dogs for the purpose of taking their blood to help other dogs?"


The hydropower project at Don Pedro Reservoir has generated carbon-free electricity for nearly a century.

Phil Schermeister/Getty Images

California has pledged to get 100 percent of its electricity from clean energy sources by 2045. But none of the carbon-free electricity churned out by existing hydropower plants counts toward that goal. A new bill would change that — and it's being fought by environmental groups who say it would undermine the mandate to build solar farms and wind turbines. L.A. Times

As part of a new state program, some California restaurants will add a 1 percent surcharge to diners' bills to fight climate change. S.F. Chronicle | Sacramento Bee


Cows roamed a ranch on the outskirts of Delano. Heat waves can cause widespread cattle deaths.

Frederic J. BrownAFP/Getty Images

When heavy rain migrates across the tropical Indian and then Pacific Oceans, it's a good bet that temperatures in California's Central Valley will reach 100°F in four to 16 days. That's according to new research by a team of climate scientists in California and South Korea. The insight could lead to crucial forewarnings of approaching heat waves, like one a couple summers ago that killed thousands of cows.


A data analyst ranked metro areas according to how many pleasant weather days they have per year. No surprise: California dominated, with the Ventura-to-San Diego corridor leading the pack. Here are a bunch of great graphs breaking down the data.


Gif created from video by Caltrans

Caltrans released drone footage showing road crews working to clear Tioga Road, which is still gripped by snow. The eastern route into Yosemite is usually closed each winter until late May or early June. But this year's parade of snowstorms could delay the reopening until well into June.


A Yokut family on the Kaweah River in an undated image.

U.C. Berkeley, Bancroft Library

In the 1850s, massacres of indigenous peoples were all but officially endorsed in California as gold miners poured into their homelands. It was on this week in 1856 that the Yokuts of the southern San Joaquin Valley mounted an ill-fated defense that became known as the Tule River War.

Federal agents had negotiated treaties with the area's tribes, but the notion of giving up sovereignty over some of California's most fertile soil was too much for state leaders to stomach. They urged the rejection of the deals, and in 1852 the U.S. Congress voted them down. The Yokuts, reasonably, feared the whites meant to kill them all.

As violence escalated, several hundred Yokuts established a fortified position on the north fork of the Tule River. An armed militia, organized ostensibly to seek retribution for pilfered livestock, discovered the encampment in the spring of 1856 and started a war that lasted six weeks, leaving an estimated 100 natives dead. No non-Indians died. The remaining Yokuts melted into the forest to uncertain futures.

When gold was discovered in 1848, there were an estimated 14,000 Yokuts in California. By 1870, fewer than 1,000 remained.


Northern California


A prosecutor in the trial of Derick Almena and Max Harris, charged with involuntary manslaughter in Oakland's 2016 warehouse fire, delivered an emotional opening statement on Tuesday. He projected the faces of the 36 victims, one by one, onto a screen. "They died because they had no notice, no time and no exits," he said. Family members wept.


Ellen Tauscher at an event in San Francisco in 2017.

Jeff Chiu/A.P.

Ellen Tauscher died at 67. A centrist Democrat, the former congresswoman represented the East Bay for more than a decade then joined the Obama administration and negotiated a major nuclear arms control treaty with Russia. She once said politics is about the ability to understand what people are saying: "You have to remember that you (may) know more than your constituents, but you don't know better than they do."


A disoriented sea lion ended up in the back of a patrol car.

California Highway Patrol

The California Highway Patrol got a call reporting "a sea lion in distress" on Highway 101, just south of San Francisco. A responding officer opened the door of his patrol car, and the big-eyed pup "willingly jumped right into the back seat," the CHP said. Photos of the unlikely passenger were shared widely on social media.


"There may be no prettier lake in California to paddle a kayak or canoe across on a summer's dawn."

That's the S.F. Chronicle's Tom Stienstra gushing over Donnells Reservoir, set in a remote gorge of the Stanislaus River Canyon in the central Sierra. In the spring, melting snow feeds Little Niagara Falls, which pours over a canyon rim to create a 500-foot waterfall. Here's Stienstra's writeup, along with a gorgeous drone video of the lake and falls on YouTube.


Southern California


A night out at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace in Bakersfield.

The latest California city to attract big numbers of millennials? Bakersfield. A survey found that more than two-thirds of recent newcomers to the dusty Central Valley outpost are millennials. Bakersfield may not have the nightlife of a San Francisco or Los Angeles, but it's one the most affordable cities in California.


The police chief of Desert Hot Springs in the Coachella Valley was placed on leave while an investigation is conducted into potential misconduct connected to his activity on social media. The move came hours after a local broadcaster published sexually suggestive messages that were alleged to involve the chief and a woman who had reached out about becoming a police officer.


Surveillance video captured Chris Olcott attacking a woman at a bar in Avila Beach.

A man cold-cocked a woman in a Central Coast bar then pummeled her friend repeatedly, seemingly to defend his space — and it was captured vividly on a security camera. Yet a jury failed to find the man guilty. Why? One juror was said to explain it this way: "Why should he lose his job for two Mexicans in a bar?"


P-47 wandered in the Santa Monica Mountains in February.

National Park Service

A 3-year-old mountain lion died last month in the Santa Monica Mountains after ingesting rat poison, wildlife officials said. A necropsy on the lion dubbed P-47 found that he had internal hemorrhaging in his head and lungs. "It's unfortunate to see an otherwise healthy mountain lion lost from what appears to be human causes," a wildlife ecologist said.


"Rascal In The '47 Fleetline"

Estevan Oriol

Estevan Oriol, a former tour manager for Cypress Hill, has been called the Ansel Adams of Los Angeles. The photographer alternates between Hollywood A-listers and Los Angeles's gritty underworld. Here's a collection of his photos at LA Weekly, along with a CNN feature on Oriol's process (~4 minutes).


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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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