California Sun

Happy Sunday.

Here are a few stories you missed in the California Sun over the last week.

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Sun sampler

1

Trino Jimenez visited his brother’s grave at Resurrection Cemetery in Rosemead.

Francine Orr/L.A. Times via Getty Images

California administers a little-known program that lets people correspond with the inmates who killed their loved ones. It's rare that families of victims want to reach out. But nearly 30 years after his brother's brutal murder, Trino Jimenez was ready to forgive. In a moving story, the L.A. Times recounted how a letter developed into an almost unthinkable friendship.

  
2

Alden Global Capital has been likened to a vulture.

Over the years, a secretive hedge fund named Alden Global Capital has gobbled up nearly 40 California newspapers. They include the Orange County Register, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Riverside's Press-Enterprise, San Jose's Mercury News, and the East Bay Times. In a devastating piece in the Atlantic, McKay Coppins broke down Alden's approach: "The model is simple: gut the staff, sell the real estate, jack up subscription prices, and wring out as much cash as possible."

  
3

Leslie Berkes was an organizational psychologist with two doctorates. His wife, Cheryl, had a career as a high school English teacher and real estate agent. Now both in their 70s, they invited a caregiver into their Bay Area home. But over time, the Berkeses showed worsening signs of cognitive decline, prompting their adult son to one day pull up his father's online banking records. What he saw made him collapse onto the floor, weeping. S.F. Chronicle

  
4

There's no set route in the Speed Project.

Moe Lauchert for Satisfy Running

An underground relay footrace begins at the Santa Monica Pier and ends 350 miles away, across the grueling Mojave Desert, at the Las Vegas Strip. Begun on a lark in 2013, the Speed Project has no website or application form. Yet hundreds of elite runners from around the world try to get in each year. InsideHook investigated what has been called the coolest event in running.

  
5

In March, an 87-second drone video that gracefully swoops at high velocity through a Minneapolis bowling alley was hailed as an instant classic. The drone operator, Jay Christensen, has since done more flights, including this incredible trip through West Hollywood's iconic Mel’s Drive-In: YouTube (~3 mins)

  
6

A half-century ago, immigrants started a garden on a weedy hillside in San Pedro. Over time, San Pedro Community Gardens grew to cover 6 acres, divided into 224 family plots and one communal plot tended by people from all over the world: Italy, Mexico, the Philippines, Ukraine, Ohio. A photographer shared a collection of images from a unique California oasis with deep immigrant roots. N.Y. Times

  
7

Barn owls are a vintner's best friend.

Some of the most important field workers in Napa Valley's $9 billion wine industry have no hands. Where pesticides once kept crop-hungry rodents at bay, barn owls are now used by a majority of the region's vintners, according to a recent survey. Hundreds of the voracious killers live in wooden boxes atop poles scattered across the valley. For proponents, the partnership is a perfect marriage of sustainable practices and economic sense. Bay Nature

  

Thanks for reading!

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

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