California Sun

Good morning. It's Friday, Dec. 10.

Weekend storm projected to dump a month's worth of rain.
Serial drunk driver accused in deaths of Bakersfield siblings.
And a look back at Steph Curry's craziest deep 3-pointers.



A storm barreling across the Pacific toward California is shaping up to be a doozy. Meteorologists said a slow-moving atmospheric river would dump up to 5 inches of rain across coastal Northern California and several feet of snow in the Sierra Nevada between Saturday and Tuesday. Typical rainfall for the entire month of December in San Francisco is about 4 inches. Significant precipitation was projected to dip into Southern California starting Monday. Accuweather | Washington Post


David Swanson/Reuters

Tiger Woods' rollover crash. The recall election. The Orange County oil spill. And fire, fire, fire.

In recent days, news publications have been rolling out their annual "Year in Photos" collections. California shows up most often amid fire, after a year in which extreme heat and drought fueled four of the 20 largest blazes in the state's history. The Atlantic included the image above, capturing a tender moment between a volunteer and a horse during the Windy Fire on Sept. 25. CNN | A.P. | Washington Post | The Atlantic


Northern California


The rugged property extends along the Lost Coast near Rockport.

Max Whittaker/Save the Redwoods League

A conservation group signed an agreement to buy a scenic stretch of the Lost Coast from a lumber company, in what was called the largest coastal land preservation deal in Northern California in decades. Save the Redwoods League said it would pay nearly $37 million for the DeVilbiss Ranch, 5 miles of forested terrain that plunges to isolated beaches — if it could raise the money by the year's end. Trails would eventually be added for public access, the group said. Mercury News | A.P.


An attorney for the father and son arrested in connection with the Caldor fire told a reporter that officials believe the men ignited the blaze shooting guns in the bone-dry wilderness. An El Dorado County investigator said the men were reckless, and "ultimately should’ve known that wasn’t the smartest thing to do at that time of the year and the conditions right there." KTXL | Sacramento Bee


Vice Mayor Scott Thomson said everyone knows each other in Oroville.

Matt Gush

SFGATE interviewed the Oroville Vice Mayor Scott Thomson, the architect behind a resolution declaring the city a "constitutional republic" that would defy Covid mandates. Thomson depicted California as a place of imperious urban elites in contention with folksy rural communities that know what's best for them. All he wanted is dialogue, he said: "But right now it feels like they're saying, 'We're mandating it and you're following suit. Shut up if you have questions, you idiots.'"


LeBron James is often called the greatest NBA player in the modern era. But no one, many sportswriters say, has had a more profound influence on the game than the Warriors' Stephen Curry. The 6'2" point guard commonly hoists shots from distances once thought verboten, up to 10 feet beyond the 3-point arc — and with murderous accuracy. "Suddenly," the basketball writer Shauntel Lowe wrote, "here was a player for whom there was no such thing as a bad shot." Curry is now just 10 shots away from breaking Ray Allen's record for most career 3-pointers. Here's a great look back at his craziest long-distance 3s. 👉 NBA/YouTube (~6:30 mins)


On this week's California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talked with Max Chafkin, author of the new book “The Contrarian,” on the life of Peter Thiel. Chafkin discussed how instrumental the entrepreneur has been in forging Silicon Valley's libertarian ethos. "The idea," he said, "is basically that rich people should have a way to shield their assets and to shield their lives from the, as they see it, overly aggressive regulations of the U.S. government."


Southern California


The dried-up Kern River in Bakersfield.

David McNew/Getty Images

You can stand on the dry bed of the Kern River in Bakersfield and see irrigation canals at full flow, diverting water to farming operations. It's an outrage to residents who are campaigning to bring back the river that once thrived in Bakersfield. The city is on board, backing an effort to renegotiate water rights that would help replenish the waterway. “Things are going to change,” said Adam Keats, a water lawyer. A big reason, he said, is that people are “done with the impossibility of it all, the impossibility of putting water back in the river.” L.A. Times


JJ Malone, left, and his sister, Caylee Brown, were killed by a motorist in Bakersfield.

Officials said a motorist who veered onto a Bakersfield sidewalk on Wednesday, fatally striking a teenager and his little sister, was a serial drunk driver and was intoxicated at the time of the crash. Lisa Core, 46, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, among other charges. She has four prior DUI convictions. A member of the victims' family said the siblings left behind a brother, age 7, who was struggling to comprehend what happened. He asked repeatedly, "Why did she have to go?" Bakersfield Californian

A GoFundMe is raising money for the family.


A mother is facing jail time after she encouraged her teenage daughter to hit another player during a basketball game in Garden Grove, prosecutors say. In an attack caught on video, the daughter delivered a sucker punch to a girl's face that left her with a concussion. Witnesses said the mother, Latira Hunt, had yelled out just before the attack, “You better hit her for that!” The father of the girl who threw the punch is former NBA player Corey Benjamin. In a statement, he said he was "shocked" and apologized. CBSLA | O.C. Register


One of the rescued mountain lions.

National Park Service

Four tiny mountain lion kittens were found under a picnic table outside a Thousand Oaks office building last week. Wildlife officials watched for their mother to return, possibly from a daylong hunt — but she never did. So biologists brought the kittens to a veterinary hospital. Two of them died overnight, but the others are now eating and gaining weight. Hemmed in by freeways, cougars in the Santa Monica Mountains are threatened by inbreeding and rodenticide poisoning. Ventura County Star | LAist


In case you missed it


Los Alamos in an undated photo.

California State Library

Five items that got big views over the past week:

So many motorists blow past the charming coastal town of Los Alamos that it's earned nickname: Lost Almost. Located just north of Santa Barbara, it was a stagecoach stop in the 1800s. The main drag is now lined with with tasting rooms and restaurants, but the old-timey ambiance still echoes. Thrillist
California is potentially moving toward an enirely new system of learning in public schools. Some of the state's largest districts are now phasing out Ds and Fs, allowing students to retake tests and spend more time on assignments. EdSource
Fresno Bee columnist Marek Warszawski: "Devin Nunes chose Donald Trump over voters. It’s an early Christmas gift for Fresno, Valley."
Exactly 80 years ago this week, America’s Pacific fleet lay in ruins at Pearl Harbor. Reuters compiled a gallery of 29 definitive images of the attack that killed more than 2,400 Americans.
California is shifting to mandatory composting on Jan. 1. Under the new rules, residents will have to start tossing their banana peels, chicken bones, and leftover veggies in green waste bins rather than the trash. A.P. | O.C. Register

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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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