California Sun

Good morning. It's Tuesday, Feb. 5.

Snow is forecast to fall on San Francisco's peaks.
Humboldt’s flying squirrel is found to glow hot pink.
And a look back at the skaters and punks of the 1970s.



Maria Mendoza-Sanchez returned to San Francisco on Dec. 15 after being deported to Mexico.

Ray Chavez/Mercury News via Getty Images

California's members of Congress are sending messages with their planned guests at President Trump's State of the Union address, scheduled for 6 p.m. PT. Sen. Kamala Harris is bringing an air traffic control specialist who went without pay during the government shutdown. Rep. Barbara Lee is bringing a Bay Area nurse who fought to be reunited with her family after being deported. Press-Enterprise | S.F. Chronicle

For his part, President Trump invited the Redding relatives of a couple found slain in their home last month. An unauthorized immigrant from El Savador is facing murder charges in the case. Record Searchlight


An officer stood guard at San Quentin State Prison.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

After decades of failing to invest in helping people with serious mental illnesses, California's jails and prisons have become default mental institutions. "That is a sad state of affairs in our society, that only when you get locked up does it become a priority to get you treatment," Los Angeles' district attorney said.


Storm conditions were so severe in the Eastern Sierra and Tahoe on Monday that several ski resorts halted operations. As much as 9 feet of snow fell. L.A. Times

Snow also fell on Bay Area mountains with more expected on Tuesday. A forecaster said there's a chance of a dusting atop peaks in San Francisco. | Mercury News

Southern California was bracing for uncommonly cold, moist air on Tuesday that could bring "near blizzard conditions" at higher elevations. S.D. Union-Tribune | Times of San Diego


This is Ubehebe Crater in Death Valley National Park. Half a mile wide and 600 feet deep, it's the result of a massive volcanic explosion. Its birth was initially dated to about 6,000 years ago, but newer research suggests the crater could be as young as 800 years old, making it a relative newborn. That means conditions for similar explosions are likely still present in the area.


Monarch, one of California's last grizzlies, at Golden Gate Park, circa 1910. He died a year later.

California State Archives

It was on this week in 1911 that our state flag was adopted. By then, grizzly bears, once rulers of the California wilderness, had been driven to near extinction by settlers eager to shed the image of a wild west. The mighty predator's symbolism on the flag thus came to carry dual meanings: Of sturdy self-reliance, and humans' turbulent relationship with nature.


Northern California


The new normal has us locked into our online worlds.

Facebook was founded 15 years ago this week. In that time, it's collected more users than there are followers of Christianity. Vox asked 15 thought leaders whether the social network has been a force for good. The social psychologist Jonathan Haidt said Facebook threatens democracy itself by fomenting conflict with "an eternal mudslide of outrage-inducing viral videos and conspiracy theories." Vox

Also, here are Facebook's 15 defining moments. WIRED


"Despite everything, San Franciscans are driving more." A report found that since 2010, San Francisco's use of mass transit has gone up 5 percent, but vehicular traffic entering the city has grown much more — by 27 percent.


Dudleya succulents have become fashionable among the middle class in parts of Asia.

A California couple was sentenced to jail — 40 days for one, and 147 days for the other — after they were seen walking out of a state park near Monterey with at least 600 succulents. Thefts of the pale-green plants known as bluff lettuce have become a growing menace along the coast thanks to a thriving black market in parts of Asia.


The flying squirrel is usually brown, left. Ultraviolet light reveals a pink hue.

Northland College

Not only can Humboldt’s flying squirrels glide from tree to tree, a new study revealed that they glow hot pink when exposed to ultraviolet light. The reason is unclear. It might have something to do with mating or signaling to other flying squirrels. Or, one researcher said, "It could just be a cool color that they happen to produce."


If you're looking for evidence that California makes the best beer in the world, see the results of this year's RateBeer Best, a global ranking of breweries. Out of 100 spots, California breweries secured a whopping 18, with five in San Diego alone. Russian River Brewing in Santa Rosa earned California's top spot, at No. 2 overall. |

Also, the S.F. Chronicle created this wonderful map of 300 breweries across Northern California. S.F. Chronicle


Southern California


Kevin Faulconer, San Diego's Republican mayor, announced a five-year plan to welcome immigrants and refugees into the community and connect them with opportunities. Faulconer has departed from President Trump's immigration rhetoric, including his calls for a border wall. "We were named the safest big city in America," Faulconer told CNN last month. "We're proud of that. And I'm proud of our relationship with our neighbors right next door in Mexico."


Oil platforms in the Santa Barbara Channel have become thriving habitats for marine life.

Bob Chamberlin/L.A. Times via Getty Images

Aging oil rigs off the coast of Santa Barbara are set to be decommissioned in coming years. But some of the structures have unintentionally become among the most productive habitats in the world's oceans. That's led to a movement to leave the underwater portions of the platforms in place. "We say, 'Oh, we'll turn these platforms into reefs,'" a biologist said, "but as far as the marine life is concerned, they already are reefs."


A woman was fatally struck in the head by a foul ball at Dodger Stadium, according to a coroner's report. It happened in August but wasn't reported by the news media or Major League Baseball until Monday. Linda Goldbloom, a longtime Dodgers fan, was celebrating her recent 79th birthday and 59th wedding anniversary.


Coronado Bridge is America's second-deadliest bridge for suicides.

Among U.S. bridges, Coronado Bridge across the San Diego Bay has trailed only the Golden Gate Bridge as the most common perch for suicides. More than 400 people have jumped to their deaths from the span since 1969. After years of pressure by activists, bird spikes are now being added as a temporary deterrent.


Tony Adolescent, left, Henry Rollins, and Dez Cadena.

In the 1970s and 80s, Hermosa Beach transformed from a sleepy beach town into an edgy hardcore mecca. Spot, a legendary music producer, was in the thick of it, capturing photographs of the skaters and punks. The images, one writer said, are "like a beautiful nightmare." Here are a couple collections.


The California Sun relies on personal recommendations to grow its audience. If you've been enjoying the newsletter, please consider sharing it with a friend. Here's the sign-up page.

Thanks for reading!

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

The Sun is built by Marquee on Proof.

Consider becoming a member.

Please tell us how we can make the newsletter better. Email

California Sun masthead
The California Sun, PO Box 6868, Los Osos, CA 93412
Wake up to must-read news from around the Golden State delivered to your inbox each morning.