California Sun

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Shasta County is exception to state's flattening curve.
The fuzzy line between Northern and Southern California.
And a look back at the LSD sessions of Cary Grant.



Midwestern states are reporting record numbers of new coronavirus cases. A surge in New York has officials planning to roll back openings of businesses. But in California, an easing of restrictions that began four weeks ago has been accompanied by declining infections, hospitalizations, and deaths. "We’ll see little spikes because of one thing or another," said one public health expert. "But we’ve learned from seven, eight months of experience." S.F. Chronicle

An exception: Shasta County, where opposition to health orders is widespread and infections are now spreading "exponentially." Record Searchlight


Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday appointed Martin Jenkins, a moderate former prosecutor and judge, to the California Supreme Court. Jenkins will become the first openly gay justice on the court. He delivered powerful remarks during a news conference, urging young people to live a life of authenticity. "I am not here in spite of the struggle," Jenkins said. "I'm here because of the struggle." L.A. Times | CalMatters

See Jenkins' speech. 👉 YouTube


North Lake in Bishop Creek Canyon on Saturday.

Steve Arita, via California Fall Color

The autumn colors in parts of Bishop Creek Canyon have reached full peak. Just a few hours north of Los Angeles, the Eastern Sierra wilderness is among the country's premiere fall destinations, dotted with alpine lakes and dense with aspen, cottonwood, and willow trees. The advice from fall foliage connoisseur John Poimiroo: "Go now!" California Fall Color


A map depicts perspectives on where is "definitely northern," in blue, and "definitely southern," in white.

Napa County is in Southern California?

Ask residents of Redding and the answer may be yes, according to the survey illustrated in the map above. A few years ago, a Stanford University project asked people in Redding, Red Bluff, and Merced to name the dividing line between Northern and Southern California. Given that no official boundary has ever been declared, no answer is really incorrect. As such, Californians have embraced their own ideas — informed heavily, it would be appear, by where one lives. North State Public Radio |

The California Sun's official position: The boundary is just south of Madera on Highway 99, where a cedar tree and palm tree rise from the center median. They were planted many years ago as a monument to the midline of California — the palm for the south, and the cedar for the north. 👇


Northern California


A highlighted satellite image of the August Complex burn scar in the Mendocino National Forest.

They're calling it a "gigafire."

A single California wildfire on Monday surpassed 1 million acres, or roughly 1,570 square miles. Begun as dozens of fires sparked by lightning, the August Complex has burned across three national forests and seven counties between the Sacramento Valley and the Lost Coast. The footprint is larger than all recorded California fires from 1932 to 1999 combined. “If that’s not proof-point testament to climate change, I don’t know what is,” Gov. Newsom said. A.P. | Gizmodo


Alameda County prosecutors said they would reopen their investigation into the 2009 killing of Oscar Grant by a BART police officer. The stunning development came hours after Grant's family held a press conference comparing his death to that of George Floyd and demanding more charges in the case. The BART officer, Johannes Mehserle, was convicted of involuntary manslaughter and served 11 months. East Bay Times | S.F. Chronicle


Charles Rice, professor of virology at Rockefeller University, at his office in New York on Monday.

John Minchillo/A.P.

Charles Rice, a Sacramento native and alumnus of UC Davis and Caltech, was awarded the 2020 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with two other scientists, Harvey J. Alter and Michael Houghton. The committee said the men's discoveries led to the identification of the hepatitis C virus, a breakthrough that “made possible blood tests and new medicines that have saved millions of lives.” Sacramento Bee | N.Y. Times


Southern California


Surfer magazine

Surfer magazine, a bible of surf culture since its founding in San Juan Capistrano 60 years ago, has printed its final edition. Todd Prodanovich, Surfer’s editor in chief, said word came down on Friday that everyone was being furloughed. “But it was made clear that this was the closure of the title," he said. "It was not ambiguous. Literally, there is nobody left.” O.C. Register | N.Y. Times


Los Angeles is home to the largest Armenian diaspora. For more than a week, members of the community have been holding demonstrations drawing attention to a deadly conflict between Armenia and neighboring Azerbaijan. Some Armenians have portrayed it as an unprovoked war, instigated by Azerbaijan and backed by Turkey. On Monday, Mayor Eric Garcetti and other Southern California leaders stood in solidarity with Armenia. L.A. Times | KABC


An Amazon protester held a sign rally in Beverly Hills on Sunday.

Genaro Molina/L.A. Times via Getty Images

Amazon workers marched to Jeff Bezos' $165 million mansion in Beverly Hills on Sunday and demanded a $30 minimum wage and free healthcare and childcare. "You don't need Jeff Bezos," a protester said through a bullhorn. "He needs us. We made him the richest man in the world." Bezos' personal fortune has increased by an estimated $70 billion this year. Vice | CBS News


The pastor of a Riverside megachurch has tested positive for Covid-19 after attending a ceremony at the White House Rose Garden last month where President Trump announced the Supreme Court nomination of Amy Coney Barrett. At least 11 attendees have since tested positive, including the president. Politico | A.P.


California archive


Cary Grant, circa 1955.

Getty Images

Cary Grant, a leading man of Hollywood's Golden Age, dropped LSD more than 100 times in his later years. The sessions were conducted under a therapist's care at a time when a group of Los Angeles psychiatrists became convinced that the drug was a tool that could change lives.

Grant endured an appalling childhood. His mother was institutionalized when he was 10. His father abandoned him. It was "just horrendous," the actor's former wife said years later. "And he never really dealt with those things. He tried to. That's the reason he tried LSD."

After his sessions, Grant declared himself “born again." "All the sadness and vanities were torn away," he said.

Then came Timothy Leary. According to Michael Pollan's history of psychedelics, the Harvard psychologist almost singlehandedly recast LSD in the public imagination as a vehicle of revolution, urging America's youth to “turn on, tune in, and drop out.”

Middle America panicked. So did California, and on this day in 1966 the state that birthed the hippie movement became among the first to outlaw LSD.

Experimentation on the drug retreated into the shadows. Only in recent years have psychedelics begun to reemerge as a respectable treatment for addiction and PTSD, with research performed at august institutions such as Johns Hopkins and, more recently, UC Berkeley.

In September, Berkeley announced a new psychedelic research center. Among its goals: Not only to advance therapies for the mentally anguished, but to better the lives of the healthy.


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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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