Good morning. It’s Friday, July 22.
- Monarch butterflies are classified as endangered species.
- Track phenom Allyson Felix runs her last competitive race.
- And 1990s San Francisco’s renegade lesbian scene.
“It’s just a devastating decline.”
Monarch butterflies were just classified as endangered — two steps from extinct — by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, a leading authority on the status of species. Numbers of the insect have plummeted across the American West by an estimated 99.9%, from as many as 10 million butterflies in the 1980s to fewer than 2,000 in 2021, according to the new assessment. Scientists blame habitat destruction, pesticides, and rising temperatures. National Geographic | Washington Post
In August, California state lawmakers will decide the fates of hundreds of new bills, including efforts to regulate the crypto market and make social media safer for kids. But first, a group of them plan to gather for two days of wine tasting and schmoozing with powerful tech lobbyists at a resort in Napa Valley. For $35,000, companies can pick a topic they want to brief lawmakers on. For $20,000, they can speak on a panel. In a column, Laurel Rosenhall described the confab as nothing but “sleazy politics.” L.A. Times
In California, most students with cognitive disabilities earn a “certificate of completion” from high school, not a diploma. A new state program changes that. Starting as soon as next year, students with cognitive disabilities will get the option to earn a diploma through coursework tailored to their abilities. Supporters say it could be life-changing for as many as 80,000 students. “It’s real simple,” said Sue Sawyer, an advocate for people with disabilities. “If you leave school without a diploma, it shuts doors. If you have a diploma, you have options.” EdSource
A full third of California, about 50,000 square miles, is forestland — which means a lot of owls. The tiny western screech owl is one of the most abundant, living throughout the state year-round. Perk your ears after nightfall while camping and you may hear its short series of melodious toots, nothing at all like a screech. Above, a fantastic shot of a western screech owl in Palo Alto by Maximilian Rabbitt-Tomita was just featured in the 2022 Audubon Photography Awards.
Owling in California. 👉 Audubon
Amazon announced Thursday that is was buying San Francisco’s One Medical for $3.9 billion — and a lot of people don’t like it. “I am less than pleased to learn that Amazon is acquiring my doctor,” Corey Quinn, an economist, wrote on Twitter. The concierge-like health care provider had about 767,000 members as of March and works with thousands of companies, including Google. After the deal was announced, Sen. Amy Klobuchar asked the FTC to investigate, warning of sensitive health information falling into the hands of a “data-insensitive company.” S.F. Chronicle | Reuters
A criminal grand jury charged a suburban Sacramento private school and three of its staffers with involuntary manslaughter for the 2018 death of a 13-year-old student with autism. Accused of spitting on a classmate, Max Benson was pinned face-down for nearly two hours by staffers at the El Dorado Hills school as he vomited and urinated on himself, according to court records. When paramedics arrived, he had no pulse and was not breathing. Sacramento Bee | A.P.
In 1990s San Francisco, rent was cheap enough to attract a world of outcasts, artists, and free spirits. As an art student, the photographer Chloe Sherman took candid pictures of her social circle of “femmes and butches, punks and studs,” who were living defiantly out loud. Her work is now on display at San Francisco’s Schlomer Haus Gallery in an exhibit titled, “RENEGADE San Francisco: the 1990s.” See a selection of 12 photos. 👉 Vice
If Los Angeles County imposes a mandatory masking order next week, it would become the only one among California’s 58 counties. Speaking to the N.Y. Times, Barbara Ferrer, the county’s public health director, defended the potential mandate as a simple but effective measure. “I’m not sure why other people feel comfortable sort of doing nothing when cases are going up this dramatically,” she said. But many other public health leaders around the country are holding back this time. “I feel strongly that you can’t just kind of cry wolf all the time,” said Dr. Allison Arwady, the commissioner of the Chicago health department. L.A. Times | N.Y. Times
When L.A. Baptist High held track-and-field tryouts in 2000, a lanky teen in basketball shoes clocked a sprint so fast the coach assumed he had placed the cones wrong. He had her run it again. Same result. “‘Now, what’s your name again?'” he recalled asking her. Twenty-two years later, Allyson Felix, now 36, is the most decorated sprinter in American history. Last Friday, she ran the last competitive race of her career, collecting a bronze medal in the mixed-gender 4×400-meter relay at the World Track and Field Championships in Oregon. She said she could feel the love inside the stadium. ESPN
See Felix’s final run. 👉 NBC Sports
Comic-Con returned to San Diego on Thursday after two years of virtual events and postponed gatherings necessitated by the pandemic. Thousands of fans poured into town dressed as super-villains, Greek water gods, Captain America, Mysterio, Pennywise, a Tusken Raider, and other fictional characters. Here are 20 of the best costumes. 👉 Variety
On this week’s California Sun Podcast, host Jeff Schechtman talks with Gale Holland and Claire Hanna Collins, the reporting team behind the L.A. Times’s powerful project on Mckenzie Trahan, a young pregnant woman living on the streets of Los Angeles. Collins talked about how much Trahan relied on her circle of homeless companions. “We act as if unhoused people are at rock bottom and anything we offer them is a step up in their lives,” she said. “We don’t always recognize how much they actually have to give up to get off the streets.”
In case you missed it
Five items that got big views over the past week:
- A high-design Spanish-colonial hotel in Santa Barbara, a Norwegian inn along the Big Sur coast, and a rustic getaway in the remote northern reaches of Mendocino County. A travel writer compiled a solid list of five coastal California getaways. Financial Times
- A wildlife rehabilitation group took in a bobcat kitten found abandoned and wandering alone in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Thankfully, they shared video. @wercmh
- In 1986, the photographer Arthur Grace was assigned to shoot Robin Williams for the cover of Newsweek. A friendship blossomed that lasted nearly 30 years, throughout which Williams allowed Grace to photograph even his most private moments. See 14 images from his collection. 👉 N.Y. Times
- Up for Growth, a nonprofit research group, quantified the mismatch between housing demand and supply in 800 cities and towns across the country. Of the 20 with the most severe housing deficits, seven were in California. See how bad it is in your city. 👉 NPR
- Founded in 2019 by a pair of California journalists, DoubleBlind is an enterprising new media outfit for the psychedelic set. Last month the organization hosted a weekend of tripping and glamping in Central California’s Cuyama Valley. There were sound baths, cannabis prayers, and sunset howls. N.Y. Times
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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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