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Clayton Kershaw gives his assent to Dodgers' ascent to first place

Written By kolimtiga on Senin, 30 Juni 2014 | 12.57

Clayton Kershaw delivered the kind of performance Sunday that turned the Dodgers' ascension to first place into an afterthought.

Kershaw pitched seven innings in a 6-0 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium, dominating in a fashion that made first baseman Adrian Gonzalez wonder if the game has become too easy for him.

"Baseball's boring for him, I think," Gonzalez joked.

Kershaw moved the Dodgers into a virtual tie for first place with the San Francisco Giants in the National League West by limiting the Cardinals to five hits and two walks. He struck out 13. He won his sixth consecutive start and extended his scoreless streak to 28 innings, the longest such run in a career that includes two Cy Young Awards.

Imagining himself retired, Andre Ethier pondered how he would remember playing behind Kershaw.

"I'll look at it and probably say, 'I can't believe I got a chance to play with that guy and be his teammate,'" Ethier said.

Predictably, Kershaw didn't have much to say about himself.

He struck out 61 batters in 44 innings this month. Why was he striking out so many batters?

"I don't think about that," he said.

Asked if he could explain his 6-0 record and 0.82 earned-run average in June, he said, "Not really. I don't know."

Told his curveball looks sharper now than it did earlier in the season, Kershaw smiled and said, "I was just sick of you guys asking about it."

He was more forthcoming when talking about how the Dodgers erased a 9 1/2-game deficit to the Giants in only 21 days.

The Dodgers have won 12 of their last 16 games. The Giants have lost 15 of 19.

"Coming back and tying up the Giants in a month is not something we expected," he said.

Kershaw was encouraged by the form of the entire rotation, which has set a modern-day record. Dodgers starting pitchers have walked two or fewer batters in 33 consecutive games, the longest streak in the National League since at least 1914, according to Stats LLC.

"The rotation, it just sets the tone for the whole team," Kershaw said. "If your starters are going deep into games, it sets up the bullpen to do their jobs. From there, if you're having quick innings and getting the guys off the field, they're going to score runs for you. It's just kind of a domino effect."

He also was pleased with what he viewed as the increased versatility of the team's offense.

"We're been scoring in a lot of different ways," he said. "That's the sign of a good team."

As the Dodgers have scaled up the standings, they have started to become more playful.

While outfielder Scott Van Slyke watched the game Sunday from the dugout railing, Josh Beckett used gum to attach a small bundle of matches to his cleats.

"He was trying to get it lit, trying to get it lit, trying to get it lit and I said, 'Give me the lighter, I'll light it,'" Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez did and players laughed as Van Slyke looked around for the source of a strange smell.

"When you start winning, you're allowed to do more things," Gonzalez said. "When you're losing, you can't really have too much fun, you have to keep it a little more serious."

As Van Slyke recalled the incident later, he was repeatedly interrupted by a mischievous Beckett.

"His future's so bright, he has to wear sunglasses all the time," Beckett called out.

Van Slyke glanced over at Beckett and deadpanned, "Yeah, it's more fun. Even the guys that don't know how to have fun have fun."

Beckett laughed.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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It's another painful World Cup exit for Mexico

It's a curse. There's no other way to explain it.

In six consecutive World Cup tournaments, Mexico has made it to the second round. But it has never gone further.

Sunday that streak was only minutes away from ending when the Netherlands struck for goals by Wesley Sneijder in the 88th minute and Klaas Jan Huntelaar on a penalty kick four minutes into stoppage time to send Mexico home early again.

"It isn't easy to go out this way, the way this match went," goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa said. "It's just very hard to deal with when victory escapes you this way."

For Coach Miguel Herrera, it wasn't so much that victory escaped them. In his mind it was taken from them by Portuguese referee Pedro Proenca, whose questionable call against defender Rafa Marquez led to Huntelaar's game-winning penalty shot.

"We were eliminated because of an invented penalty," Herrera said. "We are going home now and so should the referee."

Playing in the intense heat and humidity of Fortaleza, both teams struggled through a scoreless first half before Giovani Dos Santos put Mexico in front with a brilliant left-footed strike in the 48th minute.

And for another 40 minutes that goal stood up with Ochoa, who had given up only one goal in three games, refusing to bend against an unbeaten team that had a World Cup-high 10 goals.

As good as Ochoa was, though, he had no chance to stop a wicked Sneijder shot two minutes from the end of regulation time.

The sequence started with an Arjen Robben corner kick toward the far post, where Huntelaar chested it out toward the top of the box. Sneijder charged into the area and met the ball on the first hop with a strong right-footed shot that found the back of the net.

But the turning point in the game came six minutes later when Robben, under pressure from multiple defenders along the end line, cut back, then went down easily when Marquez stuck his foot out, clipping Robben's heel.

Herrera called it one of three dives for Robben in the game. Proenca called it a foul, awarding the Netherlands a penalty kick. And again Ochoa had no chance, diving to his left as Huntelaar's shot went to the opposite side just inside the post.

"We ended up losing because he whistled a penalty that did not exist," Herrera said.

For Herrera, who rescued Mexico from the brink of elimination in World Cup qualifying, then guided it to the second round in Brazil, there was little solace in the team's remarkable journey. There was only disappointment at how it ended, with Mexico being cursed again six minutes from the quarterfinals.

"We've achieved some very good things, but nobody can take away the bitter taste of this defeat," Herrera said. "We did a good job but made mistakes, while the Netherlands did a great job to hold on, keep fighting and finally turn the scoreline around.

"But this wasn't the Dutch team everyone's been talking about. This is a side that's vulnerable and can be beaten. In physical terms, we never dipped, we were solid and we fought to the final whistle. In my view, my players were extraordinary."

Just cursed.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Dodgers find plenty of offense in 6-0 win over Cardinals

KEY MOMENT: The Dodgers scored their first two runs in the fourth inning, which Yasiel Puig led off with a walk. Adrian Gonzalez countered the Cardinals' defensive shift with a bunt single down the third-base line, which set up a run-scoring hit by Matt Kemp. Gonzalez later scored on a sacrifice fly by Juan Uribe. Manager Don Mattingly credited Gonzalez's bunt for jump-starting the lineup. "I've been trying to bunt for a while," Gonzalez said. "I've been squaring up a lot. I'm not faking it. I'm waiting for a pitch I can bunt. Just haven't gotten a good pitch."

AT THE PLATE: Andre Ethier delivered the final blow in the fifth inning, when he hit a three-run home run to increase the Dodgers' lead to 6-0. The home run was the fourth of the year for Ethier and his first since May 27. Gonzalez and Matt Kemp each had two hits, with Gonzalez scoring two runs and Kemp hitting a double. Puig, who was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk, scored two runs.

ON THE MOUND: Clayton Kershaw pitched seven scoreless innings. Brandon League and Jamey Wright each tossed a scoreless inning to lower their earned-run averages to 2.06 and 2.11, respectively.

MEDICAL REPORT: Utilityman Justin Turner was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left hamstring, as was expected. "We're hopeful it's not one of those two-month hammys and more between three weeks to a month type thing," Mattingly said. "He came in actually decent today. It's not one of those where you can't walk at all." Hanley Ramirez didn't play for the fourth time in five games, as he was recovering from a left calf strain he sustained the previous night. A similar injury to the same muscle forced Ramirez to miss three games last month. "I don't know if it should be more of a concern now or not," Mattingly said.

ROSTER MOVE: To replace Turner on the active roster, the Dodgers recalled Carlos Triunfel from triple-A Albuquerque.

UP NEXT: Dan Haren (7-4, 3.83) will face the Cleveland Indians and Corey Kluber (7-5, 3.09) at Dodger Stadium at 7 p.m. Monday. On the air: SportsNet LA. Radio: 570, 1020.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Obama's bid to deport children complicates immigration reform effort

President Obama's surprise request that Congress give him authority to quickly deport thousands of Central American children illegally crossing the border is likely to renew the on-again, off-again immigration reform debate that many Republicans had hoped to avoid.

The administration is asking Congress to approve $2 billion in emergency funding for beefed-up border security and assistance, as the children — many traveling without their parents under the mistaken impression that they will be allowed to stay — slip across the Southwest border. Amid a growing humanitarian crisis, many of the children are being sent as far away as California and Oklahoma for processing and shelter.

The request, expected to be formally made Monday, seems intended to blunt criticism that White House immigration policies have inadvertently encouraged the crush of youngsters.

But the proposal presents lawmakers with an unpleasant vote on whether to deport children, something the U.S. has historically resisted. It also would undo part of a bipartisan 2008 law passed under President George W. Bush that mandated certain protections for minors fleeing violence and poverty in Central American countries and other nations.

Some conservative lawmakers may decide, particularly in an election year, that deporting the children is an appropriate response that would send a hard-line message against illegal immigration.

But for many others, particularly Democrats and Republicans representing areas with large immigrant populations, the prospect of such a heart-wrenching vote could fuel arguments that the time has come for broader immigration reform.

"It's pretty sad if the one thing they pass this year is deporting a bunch of kids — not just deporting, but permanently rolling back due process," said Michelle Brané, director of migrant rights and justice at the immigration advocacy group Women's Refugee Commission.

Democratic aides said Sunday that the president's proposal would provide an opportunity to reopen the legislative debate. But passage of an immigration overhaul remains a long shot, given deep resistance from the Republican-led House; many consider the bipartisan reform package that passed the Senate last year all but dead.

Once lawmakers return from their weeklong Independence Day break, the White House intends to ask Congress to move quickly to address its latest border request, which it views as an "aggressive deterrence strategy focused on the removal and repatriation of recent border crossers," a White House official who was not authorized to speak publicly said Sunday on condition of anonymity.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State John F. Kerry will meet with the leaders of El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala on the sidelines of the Panamanian president's inauguration to reinforce items agreed to during Vice President Joe Biden's visit to the Central American countries earlier this month, the official said.

Authorities have apprehended more than 52,000 unaccompanied minors at the Southwest border so far this fiscal year — about double the number from a comparable period in the last fiscal year. Many are fleeing violence at home, or reacting to false rumors that children and families will be given permission to stay.

Although no program grants residency to such migrants, in a strange way, the rumor has become somewhat true. After 72 hours, the Department of Homeland Security must transfer detained children to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which is required to "act in the best interest of the child." That often means reuniting the child with a parent or relative living in the U.S. With the massive backlog in immigration courts, migrants can spend years in the U.S. before their cases are heard.

As the number of immigrants grows, U.S. lawmakers have reacted with a mix of partisan fervor against the administration's policies and, at times, exasperation over what to do next.

"I think, you know, we have to be humanitarian, but at the same time let them know that if they do come, they cannot stay here," Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation." "Otherwise, we'll never stop the flow."

Democrats who have pushed for the Republican-controlled House to take up an immigration measure after the Senate approved its bipartisan bill a year ago said the border crisis only amplified the need for Congress to act.

"We never give up," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco) said during a weekend trip to the border in south Texas. "There's still the month of July and, again, public sentiment is everything."

The $2 billion in emergency border funding to detain and process arrivals specifically in the Rio Grande Valley along the Southwest border will probably appeal to all but the most conservative deficit hawks in Congress, who tend to oppose any new spending. An administration official said Sunday that the amount requested was likely to rise.

But the administration's proposal to undo part of the 2008 law that provided specific protections for minors from countries with noncontiguous borders — all but Mexico and Canada — has already raised alarms, especially from the president's Democratic allies.

Under current law, children from Central American countries are afforded an immigration or asylum hearing, a process that smugglers, or coyotes, portray to immigrants as a permiso — permission to remain in the U.S.

The change sought by the administration means the children would no longer get that hearing. Instead, they would have just one opportunity to make their case to immigration officials as soon as they were detained.

"This is what's shocking about what this administration is asking for," Brané said. "Even under the Bush administration, before the law was codified, it was [accepted] that children shouldn't be put through that process. The idea was if you're going to put a kid on a plane, you need to think about that a little more."

Immigration activists said the White House's sudden strategy was little more than a quick fix to deeper problems that have been exacerbated by Congress' failure to act. It could also fuel the disenchantment of some activists who have dubbed Obama the "deporter in chief" in an effort to goad him into relaxing deportations by executive order.

Republicans say the rise in new arrivals shows the president's executive actions have become a magnet for immigrants. They point to his 2012 decision to give young adults who arrived illegally as children temporary permission to stay in the country as long as they are enrolled in school or have served in the military.

Others, though, say the broken system has left immigrants little choice but to take their chances with illegal entry if they ever hope to reunite with family members already in the U.S. or escape the poverty or wartime conditions in their own countries. The waiting list for legal entry can stretch for decades.

"It is incredible we're reacting from crisis to crisis instead of solving the problem," said Alfonso Aguilar, a Republican strategist who supports immigration reform and blames both parties for failing to pass legislation. "It is sad if they could reach an agreement on [Obama's latest request] but not anything else."



Twitter: @LisaMascaroinDC

Twitter: @ByBrianBennett

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

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Dodgers lose two players during otherwise productive game

Written By kolimtiga on Minggu, 29 Juni 2014 | 12.56

KEY MOMENT: The Dodgers blew open the game in the second inning, when they scored six runs to extend their lead to 7-0. In one 10-batter stretch, nine Dodgers reached base, including Andre Ethier, who did so twice. But the inning was as painful as it was productive. Justin Turner strained his left hamstring on a run-scoring double, and third base coach Lorenzo Bundy sustained a calf injury on the same play. Hanley Ramirez injured his left calf as he scored on a single by Matt Kemp.

ON THE MOUND: Zack Greinke made what was arguably his best start in the more than a month, limiting the Cardinals to one run and four hits over seven innings. He struck out 10 and walked none. The Dodgers were leading, 7-0, when he served up a solo home run to Matt Carpenter in the third inning. This marked the 32nd consecutive game for the Dodgers in which their starting pitcher walked two or fewer batters. The streak is the longest in the National League since at least 1914, according to Stats LLC.

AT THE PLATE: Dee Gordon remained on a hot streak, going three for five with two doubles, a run scored and a run batted in. Four other Dodgers had multi-hit games: Yasiel Puig, Kemp, Ethier and A.J. Ellis.

UP NEXT: Clayton Kershaw (8-2, 2.24 ERA) will face the Cardinals and Shelby Miller (7-6, 3.75) at Dodger Stadium on Sunday at 1 p.m. On the air: TV: SportsNet LA. Radio: 570, 1020.

KEY MOMENT: The Dodgers blew open the game in the second inning, when they scored six runs to extend their lead to 7-0. In one 10-batter stretch, nine Dodgers reached base, including Andre Ethier, who did so twice. But the inning was as painful as it was productive. Justin Turner strained his left hamstring on a run-scoring double, and third base coach Lorenzo Bundy sustained a calf injury on the same play. Hanley Ramirez injured his left calf as he scored on a single by Matt Kemp.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Obama to seek $2 billion to stem surge of Central American immigrants

President Obama will seek more than $2 billion to stem the surge of illegal immigration that has overwhelmed authorities in the Southwest, according to a published report.

Obama will also ask Congress to give immigration officials broader powers to speed up the deportation of unaccompanied minors and parents with children. The New York Times, quoting Cecilia Muñoz, director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, reported the plan Saturday. The report said Obama also would ask for tougher penalties for smugglers who bring children across the border.

Unaccompanied minors and families — often women traveling with children — have been crossing the U.S.-Mexico border by the thousands, mainly in the Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas. An estimated 52,000 unaccompanied youths have been caught along the Southwest's border with Mexico since October, almost double last year's total.

Most of the migrants come from Central America, driven north by unstable conditions in their homelands and by a widespread rumor that the U.S. government is giving families and unaccompanied children permission to stay in the country indefinitely.

There is no special program granting such migrants residency, but in a strange way, the rumor has become somewhat true. Immigration officials were not prepared to handle the special needs of so many families or children and have responded by holding them in detention centers or releasing them to relatives or caretakers with the understanding they will report to immigration officials later.

Temporary shelters have been opened at military facilities, such as Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, to handle the influx. On Friday, officials announced that adults with children being held in overcrowded Border Patrol facilities in the Rio Grande Valley would be moved to California, housed in Border Patrol stations in the Imperial Valley and the San Diego area.

The children from Central America present a particular challenge to the government.

Under U.S. immigration law, Mexican or Canadian children who enter illegally and alone can be returned to their homelands immediately. Children from elsewhere, however, cannot be removed immediately and must first be taken into U.S. custody.

The Department of Homeland Security can detain children who aren't from Mexico or Canada for a maximum of 72 hours.

The children then must be transferred to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which places them in temporary shelters. That agency is required to "act in the best interest of the child," which often means reuniting the child with a parent or relative living in the U.S. Others are placed in foster care.

Children have long crossed the border alone and illegally, but in the past most were Mexicans. According to U.S. authorities, a change occurred in fiscal year 2013 when more Central American children — nearly 21,000 from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador — entered the U.S. illegally. A little more than 17,000 originated from Mexico.

Through May of this federal fiscal year, 34,611 were from Central America and 11,577 from Mexico. 

Follow @StevePadilla2 for national news.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Dodgers strike early, overpower Cardinals, 9-1

The Dodgers might not be playing like this in October, or playing at all, for that matter.

But over the last three days, they have shown they can play with the St. Louis Cardinals.

With Clayton Kershaw scheduled to pitch in the series finale Sunday, the Dodgers already have two victories in a four-game series against the team that eliminated them from the playoffs last season.

Their victory Saturday was a resounding 9-1 thrashing at Dodger Stadium that included their highest-scoring inning of the season, a six-run second inning against Lance Lynn. They finished the game with 15 hits.

The Dodgers won the opener, 1-0, and lost the second game, 3-1.

The Dodgers have more than held their own against the National League's standard bearers with minimal contributions from Hanley Ramirez, something they couldn't do last year in the NL Championship Series. The Cardinals won that series in six games, as Ramirez was ineffective as he played with fractured ribs.

Ramirez was a late addition to the lineup Saturday after sitting out the previous four games because of an irritated right shoulder. He singled, walked and scored a run in his two plate appearances, but was replaced in the top of the third inning at shortstop by Miguel Rojas.

Ramirez felt tightness in his left calf, the Dodgers said.

Manager Don Mattingly said he was uncertain of the severity of Ramirez's injury, but that he expected to know more Sunday. Ramirez declined to speak to reporters.

As well as the Dodgers have played without Ramirez, Mattingly made clear he thinks they need Ramirez, particularly to make a run in October.

"When you get to the playoffs, good pitching gets pretty much everybody out," Mattingly said. "You only have a couple guys on every team that hit good pitching. That's why the scores get so low."

Ramirez wasn't the only player to go down in the second inning. Utilityman Justin Turner did, too.

Turner is expected to land on the 15-day disabled list because of a strained left hamstring.

Turner was removed from the game immediately after he drove in the first run in the Dodgers' six-run inning.

"Every team has to deal with this stuff, but Turner has been extremely valuable for us," starting pitcher Zack Greinke said. "There's not many guys that can play all the infield spots and still put up quality at-bats. His at-bats are even above quality, I think. So far this year, I'd put him in the top tier of utility guys in the game. You just can't replace that."

Turner was particularly valuable in the absence of third baseman Juan Uribe, who returned from the disabled list Thursday.

Uribe was put on the disabled list May 21. Since then, Turner has started 22 games at third base and batted .365.

Even with Uribe back, Turner was expected to be a frequent presence in the lineup, as Mattingly said he didn't want to overuse the 35-year-old Uribe.

"We'll still be careful," Mattingly said. "I'm sure we'll bring somebody that gives us flexibility at short and third. We're going to have the flexibility to not throw Papi out there every day."

Possible replacements for Turner include Erisbel Arruebarrena and Carlos Triunfel, who are with triple-A Albuquerque.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Erick Torres scores his 10th goal in Chivas win

Erick Torres scored his 10th goal of the season on a stunning volley, and Chivas USA edged 10-man Real Salt Lake, 1-0, on Saturday night.

Torres' one-touch finish to the upper near post, off a long cross by Tony Lochhead, came in the 35th minute. Lochhead stole the ball near midfield, took two dribbles, lobbed a pass to the inside of the penalty area and Torres timed it perfectly to put it past goalkeeper Cole Grossman.

Chivas USA (3-7-5) ended a four-game winless streak and recorded its first shutout of the season.

Real Salt Lake's Luke Mulholland was given a red card in the ninth minute for a studs-up tackle of Martin Rivero.

Salt Lake (6-3-7) was already without central midfielder Kyle Beckerman and goalkeeper Nick Rimando, who are playing in the World Cup for the U.S. The loss extended Real Salt Lake's winless streak to five matches.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Dodgers lose to Cardinals, 3-1, but Giants continue their freefall

Written By kolimtiga on Sabtu, 28 Juni 2014 | 12.56

And now all Dodgers fans should take a moment to thank the San Francisco Giants for suddenly being so putrid.

The Dodgers lost 3-1 to the Cardinals on a warm Friday night before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 48,159, and once again it did not cost them a game in the standings.

The Dodgers remain two games back of the Giants in the National League West, thanks to San Francisco also losing Friday. For those who keep track of these things -- or take glee -- that means the Giants now lost 13 of their last 17 games.

So even with the Dodgers stumbling Friday, the only thing really lost was opportunity.

Hyun-Jin Ryu started and pitched well, he just wasn't strong enough to overcome another tenacious effort by the Cardinals and, maybe, his own team's the fear of Yasiel Puig.

It's pretty much accepted by the Dodgers faithful that one day Puig is either going to ram that NFL fullback body of his into a wall and injury himself or over a teammate and flatten him like road kill.

It was a 1-1 game in the fifth, the Cardinals with runners on first and second with two outs, when shortstop Jhonny Peralta hit a drive into the right-center gap. Center fielder Scott Van Slyke sprinted after the ball, but at the last moment appeared to let up. Coming hard from right was Puig.

The ball landed between them for a two-run double. It's not clear Van Slyke could have reached the ball if he'd continued his all-out sprint, but no one will ever know. It's not like the 6-foot-five, 220-pound Van Slyke is a small man, but neither is he built like the 6-3, 235-pound battering ram in right.

Ryu (9-4) went seven innings for the Dodgers, allowing the three runs on nine hits and a walk, with seven strikeouts. He gave up a solo home run off the left-field foul pole to Yadier Molina in the fourth to account for the other run.

The Dodgers scored only once against right-hander Carlos Martinez. They pushed a run across in the second after A.J. Ellis walked and Miguel Rojas was safe on an infield hit.

Dee Gordon singled in the run, one of his three hits. Rojas tried to score on a wild pitch, but Molina quickly recovered and fired to Martinez at the plate, who easily applied the tag.

This was the sixth time this season the Dodgers were unable to extend a three-game winning streak.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Senate bill seeks to increase access to government records

Hoping to make some of the most significant reforms to the Freedom of Information Act in decades, the Senate has introduced bipartisan legislation — similar to one already passed in the House — to improve public access to government records.

The Freedom of Information Improvement Act, introduced Tuesday by Sens. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas), would limit the most commonly used — and criticized — exemption to FOIA. The exemption, which critics see as vague and overused, permits government officials to refuse to release documents deemed to be part of any "deliberative" process.

The bill would also codify the "presumption of openness" that President Obama declared on the first day of his first term in office.

"Open government is the hallmark of a healthy democracy," Cornyn said in a statement. "And the American people have a fundamental right to know what their government is doing."

Given the gridlock in Congress and distractions of midterm election campaigns, prospects for passage this year remain unclear, but supporters said they were encouraged.

"It is a real bipartisan effort," said Thomas Blanton, director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University. "It represents a real possibility for actual congressional movement."

The 48-year-old act, commonly used by journalists and research groups, requires the government to disclose documents upon public request, but allows for exceptions, such as records that might endanger national security or reveal trade secrets.

The Senate bills targets so-called Exemption 5, which excuses records that are a part of a decision-making process, such as ones that could be a part of civil or criminal litigation, or policymaking. Many transparency advocates refer to the provision as the "withhold it because you want to" provision.

Despite Obama's promise to make government more transparent, in 2013 his administration cited "national security" to withhold FOIA-requested information a record 8,496 times, according to an Associated Press analysis of government FOIA requests. Agencies cited "deliberative process," or Exemption 5, nearly 82,000 times that year.

Nearly half — 50 out of 101 — agencies have not updated their FOIA regulations to comply with amendments Congress made to the law in 2007, according to a National Security Archive report released in March. Even more agencies — 54% — have not changed their guidelines to reflect Obama's 2009 directive.

The administration "hasn't had good control," said Nate Jones, the FOIA coordinator for the National Security Archive. "They haven't been able to beat that message into the FOIA shops" at government agencies.

Under the proposed Senate legislation, documents that agencies consider to be a part of a decision-making process would be subject to a public-interest balancing test. If the public interest in seeing the records outweighs the agency's interest in protecting the information, the law would mandate disclosure.

Additionally, any document created more than 25 years ago could not be withheld under Exemption 5.

The House version, sponsored by Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Vista) and passed unanimously in February, would set a six-month deadline for agencies to update their FOIA regulations.

Transparency advocates applauded the Senate for addressing FOIA's weakness, but warned that other disclosure obstacles remained.

"There is still the problem of over-classification," said Courtney Radsch, advocacy director for the Committee to Protect Journalists. "That's not going to be addressed by legislation, but it's a step in the right direction."

She noted that even if stronger legislation were approved, it's still up to the government to implement it.


Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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Missing Arcadia firefighter Michael Herdman found dead in forest

Two weeks after he ran off after his dog at a campsite and disappeared, the body of an Arcadia firefighter was found Friday on a cliff in the Los Padres National Forest.

Michael Herdman's body was spotted about 10 a.m. by a helicopter search crew who noticed "something that didn't belong" in the very rugged terrain near Sespe Creek, according to Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean. The body was airlifted to a medical examiner's office, where the identity was confirmed using dental records.

No cause of death has been determined, but Dean said there was no indication of foul play. The sheriff said the body was about three-quarters of a mile from and 1,200 feet above the campsite, which was in the creek basin.

Herdman, 36, may have tried to climb the cliff in the dark and fell, according to the sheriff.

"Candidly, I'm not sure if we'll ever get an answer because he's the only one who can answer about why you go so far in the middle of the night like that," Dean said during a televised news conference.

The area had not been closely examined in the massive search effort over the last two weeks because authorities thought it was unlikely that Herdman would have climbed up there, officials said.

"When you're searching, you're looking at where people are going to go to survive" — flat areas with water and shade, said Ventura County sheriff's spokesman Don Aguilar.

More than 100 searchers from throughout Southern California scoured more than 50 square miles of rugged backcountry north of Fillmore. Several were treated for heat exhaustion and injuries from rock slides. One was bitten by a rattlesnake and needed 52 vials of antivenin to survive.

The search had been scaled back five days ago, but then one of the remaining search teams took a "shot in the dark" Friday morning to examine the cliff, said Ventura County Sheriff's Department pilot Ken Williams, who flew the helicopter.

While flying near the 200-foot sheer rock face, Williams spotted something that did not match the rest of the topography.

"It was something that was not meant to be there. It was a change in color," he said. At first, he thought the object was a black sleeping bag. As he got closer, he realized it was a body.

The body was attired in board shorts and a black T-shirt and was barefoot, officials said. That matched what his camping partner said Herdman was wearing when he vanished June 13. Herdman and fellow off-duty Arcadia paramedic Tyler Byars had been midway through a planned four-day backpacking trek in the forest when Herdman's dog, Duke, ran off in the night, Byars told authorities. Herdman, an experienced outdoorsman, gave chase, he said.

Officials said Byars tried to find Herdman through the night and the next day. He then tried to find his own way out and got lost. A pair of fishermen found Byars "dehydrated, disheveled and disoriented" and guided him back to the beginning of the trail at Tar Creek, where Byars and Herdman's trip began.

Duke was spotted several times throughout the search but wasn't caught until Sunday, when a hiker found him at a trail head. Authorities described the German shorthair mix as dehydrated and exhausted.

Herdman, who lived near Dana Point, was married and had a young daughter.

On the Arcadia Firefighters Assn.'s Facebook page, people posted their condolences Friday. "Our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to the Herdman Family, and his Firefighter Family!" one user wrote.

"We're glad that he was found but at the same time we're sad that we lost a family member. So obviously we've got heavy hearts here," Arcadia Fire Chief Kurt Norwood told KABC-TV Channel 7.



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Zach Randolph agrees to contract extension with Grizzlies

Memphis forward Zach Randolph has agreed to a contract extension with the Grizzlies, his agent said Friday.

Raymond Brothers confirmed to the Associated Press in a text message a Yahoo Sports report that Randolph is exercising his $16.5-million option for the 2014-15 season and has agreed on a two-year extension worth $20 million.

Since coming to Memphis in 2009, Randolph has been a cornerstone of the Grizzlies franchise. His return indicates the Grizzlies will bring back the nucleus of a team that won 50 games this season and lost to the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs.


Washington Wizards forward Martell Webster is recovering from surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back and could miss the start of next season.

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U.S. World Cup fans can't get to stadium

Written By kolimtiga on Jumat, 27 Juni 2014 | 12.56

The mother and father of U.S. defender Omar Gonzalez flew more than 5,000 miles from their home in Dallas to see their son play in a World Cup game. Gonzalez had barely touched the field, coming on only in stoppage time in the last game, but then he started in Thursday's rain-soaked game with Germany.

The only problem was his parents followed the game by huddling around a cellphone with Gonzalez's wife, Erica, and watching streaming video from a hotel room about 20 miles from the stadium.

"It was a pretty cool experience for them even though they weren't here," Gonzalez said. "They were all watching and biting their nails in front of this little phone."

Gonzalez's relatives were among nearly 200 friends and family of U.S. team members who were stranded in their beachfront hotel when their charter buses were unable to navigate Recife's flooded streets Thursday morning. A handful made their way out and to the game, but most followed the action in their rooms or by treading water long enough to get to a nearby bar.

Clint Dempsey's family was also trapped in the hotel. But for Dempsey, this is his third World Cup. For Galaxy defender Gonzalez, Thursday's game marked only the second time he has stepped on the field in Brazil.

"It's just a dream come true," said Gonzalez, the son of Mexican immigrants. "I was nervous on the bus ride over. But the national anthem got me even more pumped. It's amazing to see how many Americans traveled to cheer us on. I definitely got goose bumps with everyone singing so loud. And it just made me really proud."

Going back for seconds

The U.S. is headed to the knockout round for a second consecutive World Cup, something the country has never done before. And it had to survive arguably the toughest of the tournament's eight groups to do that, which in midfielder Jermaine Jones' mind makes the accomplishment even more special.

"Before this tournament started, no one was talking that America can come to the next round. It was always Portugal and Germany," he said. "We showed people that we have a good team and we have a good atmosphere in the group.

"Everything that the coach did before the tournament, who he sent home and who he took for the team, I think was a good decision. The team showed heart and gave good feedback. Now for the next game … it's a knockout game and we have to see it like [a] final."

Critical acclaim

One overlooked perk of finishing second in the so-called "Group of Death," as opposed to winning it is an extra day off. Germany, the Group G champion, will play its first knockout game Monday against Algeria in Porto Alegre, then the U.S. gets Belgium on Tuesday in Salvador.

And U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann, like Jones, was only too happy to remind the critics who sold his team short that the U.S. managed to avoid death's door while teams like Italy, England and Spain have already gone home.

"It's huge for us getting out of this group that everybody said, 'You have no chance,'" Klinsmann said. "We took that chance and now we move on. We really want to prove a point.

"[But] we still can do better. We got through the group, but we have to do better in the round of 16 and we will do better."

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Dodgers closing in on Giants in NL West after win over Cardinals, 1-0

The Dodgers reached the halfway point to their season Thursday, neither as good as they originally hoped nor as bad as they once feared.

After 81 games, the Dodgers (45-36) may not lead the National League West, but they remain in very comfortable striking distance of the lead.

They began the night three games back of the Giants in the N.L. West and then went out and edged the Cardinals, 1-0, before a Dodger Stadium crowd of 48,264.

The Dodgers got a lift from the return of Juan Uribe, another strong starting effort from Josh Beckett, one inning of perfect relief from Brian Wilson on his bobblehead night and a game-winning pinch hit from Justin Turner to overcome and outstanding effort by Cardinal right-hander Adam Wainwright.

Wainwright started off the game like he wanted to join the recent no-hit parade. He held the Dodgers without a hit until Miguel Rojas led off the bottom of the sixth with a clean single to left. One out later, Dee Gordon blooped a hit to left, but the would-be rally ended quickly when Yasiel Puig bounced into a double play.

If Beckett was unable to match Wainwright's no-hit bid, he was able to hold the Cardinals scoreless.

Beckett went seven innings, holding the Cardinals without a run on four hits and two walks. He did need, however, some sterling defensive plays behind him.

Rojas made a leaping, one-handed stab of ex-Dodger Mark Ellis' line drive in the third, but it was a pair of defensive plays in the seven that really saved him.

Gordon made an excellent stop of a drive in the hole between second and short on a Yadier Molina hard-hit bouncer, then spinning in the air and firing a one-hopper nabbed by first baseman Adrian Gonzalez.

That play loomed even bigger when with two outs, Allen Craig doubled just beyond the glove of Puig in right. Jon Jay then lined a hit to left. Matt Kemp charged, fielded the ball on a hop, and as Craig rounded third, fired home.

The throw was on line and catcher Drew Butera tagged out a sliding Craig just before his hand touched the plate. The Cardinals requested the play be review, but the original call was upheld.

The Dodgers finally scratched a run against Wainwright (10-4) in the eighth after Uribe -- who had struck out in his first two at-bats after being activated from the disabled list prior to the game -- singled sharply to center.

A Butera bunt sacrifice him to second before Rojas beat out an infield hit nicely stopped by shortstop Jhonny Peralta, which sent Uribe to third. Turner then hit for Wilson (1-2) and lined a hit to left to score Uribe.

Kenley Jansen came in to pitch the ninth and gave up a one-out single to Matt Adams. He promptly broke to steal second, and had it stolen but popped briefly off the bag and Rojas -- ompleting an excellent all-around game -- tagged him out. Jansen got Peralta to fly out and end it and capture his 24th save.

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Nuggets get Aaron Afflalo from Magic

The Denver Nuggets have brought back Arron Afflalo, acquiring the veteran guard from the Orlando Magic on Thursday for point guard Evan Fournier and the No. 56 pick in the draft.

Afflalo, a former UCLA standout, played for the Nuggets for three seasons before being dealt to Orlando on Aug. 10, 2012, as part of the blockbuster four-team, 12-player deal that also involved Dwight Howard. Afflalo averaged 18 points for the Magic last season.

Fournier, 21, is an up-and-coming guard whose minutes increased late in the season after Andre Miller was traded to Washington and Nate Robinson went out with a knee injury. Fournier averaged 8.4 points and 1.5 assists in 2013-14.

Afflalo will turn 29 in October, and he has a player option for the 2015-16 season. He has indicated that he plans to decline his player option and become an unrestricted free agent in July 2015.

"Even a casual fan could probably tell that, if a player is maybe four years older than the average player on the team that it takes time for those other guys to develop," Afflalo said. "Basketball has a shelf life. Although I feel like I'm a player that's only going to get better with time . . . every franchise, every team has to give a lot of insight to what they feel is best."

NBA relativity

It didn't take long for one of the coolest streaks in sports to reach 13 years.

Andrew Wiggins was taken by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the No. 1 overall pick Thursday night in the NBA draft, meaning at least one son of a former NBA player has been selected every year since 2002.

Wiggins, whose father Mitchell played six seasons in the NBA, left Kansas after just one season. He is the first son of a former player to be taken No. 1 overall in the draft.

Jabari Parker of Duke, who was taken second by the Milwaukee Bucks, is the son of Sonny Parker, who played six seasons in the NBA.

Mike Dunleavy started the father-son streak in 2002. There were three sons of former players taken last year: Tim Hardaway Jr., Glen Rice Jr., and Erik Murphy.

Hornets are back

The Charlotte Hornets unveiled a new basketball court design Thursday that features a fierce-looking hornet logo at center court.

It's the final step in the team's brand identity transformation from the Bobcats to the Hornets.

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Luis Suarez gets nine-game suspension for biting

After leaning over and biting an opponent on the shoulder during a World Cup game this week, Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suarez offered a simple explanation.

"These situations happen on the pitch," he said.

That statement failed to quell immediate outrage in the sports world and ultimately did nothing to satisfy officials at FIFA, soccer's governing body, who on Thursday hit Suarez with a nine-game ban, shutting him out for the rest of the World Cup.

"Such behavior cannot be tolerated on any football pitch and in particular not at a FIFA World Cup, when the eyes of millions of people are on the stars on the field," said Claudio Sulser, chairman of the disciplinary committee for FIFA.

The suspension, which begins with Uruguay's knockout-round game against Colombia on Saturday, represents the harshest penalty for an on-field offense in tournament history.

The 27-year-old striker must also pay a $112,000 fine and is suspended from all soccer-related activity for four months, which will keep him on the sideline when his club team, Liverpool, opens the English Premier League season in August.

Yet, for all the shock and recrimination engendered by his infantile act, he isn't the first athlete to bite and sports psychologists aren't surprised, saying that elite sports often require players to walk an emotional tightrope.

"Suarez is very passionate and that passion has helped him," said Mitch Abrams, author of "Anger Management in Sport."

"The problem is, there's a fine line that, when you step over it, you do something stupid."

The breaking point for Suarez came during a tough match against Italy on Tuesday.

The referee did not see him bite defender Giorgio Chiellini, but FIFA investigators were able to watch video and scrutinize still photos, which showed the Italian tugging down his shirt collar to reveal red puncture marks.

After Uruguay scored the game's only goal to advance to the knockout round and eliminated Italy, fans and the media kept asking the same question: What was Suarez thinking?

"We tend to forget it's about emotion, not intellect," said Adam Naylor, a sports psychology professor at Boston University. "Decisions get made much too quickly under stress."

In tense moments, the passion to run faster and jump higher can turn to frustration, which experts have identified as a trigger for aggressive behavior. Most athletes have a knack for stopping just short of a blow-up. Not Suarez.

Four years ago, while playing in the Dutch Eredivisie, he served a seven-game suspension for biting an opponent in the neck. More recently, he sat out 10 games over parts of two seasons for a biting a player's arm.

Suarez also missed a total of nine Premier League games for obscene gestures and racial comments.

In terms of his biting, he joins a select group.

Mike Tyson provided the most famous example in sports history, taking a chunk out of Evander Holyfield's ear during a 1997 heavyweight bout. Tyson later said: "I'd do it again."

The Dodgers had to deal with a similar incident in May after a scuffle broke out in the dugout of their Albuquerque minor league affiliate.

Backup catcher Miguel Olivo bit off a large portion of teammate Alex Guerrero's left ear, an injury that required plastic surgery and has kept Guerrero — a top prospect — out of action through this week.

The team subsequently released Olivo, with team President Stan Kasten saying: "It's unimaginable, inconceivable and, frankly, unforgivable."

Tell that to NHL player Alex Burrows, former NBA center Tree Rollins and other professional athletes who bit opponents during games.

If biting seems baby-ish, well, that might be a part of big-time sports.

"We like our athletes to be childlike," Naylor said, adding that former Dodgers and Boston Red Sox star Manny Ramirez "was the world's biggest kid and it led to him being a really good player."

Immediately after sinking his teeth into Chiellini, Suarez fell to the ground holding his mouth as if he were the victim. Experts compare his reaction to a young boy breaking a lamp and pointing at his little sister.

In some ways, biting might be a higher form of anger in sports, which often surfaces in the form of cussing at or even spitting on an opponent. Hockey is famous for its fighting.

Naylor believes these acts suggest "no effort at self control."

"We can work our way up the food chain and the next level is biting," he said. "It's like, 'I tried and tried and then I completely snapped.'"

The trick for athletes is to manage their temper without losing the passion. That could require learning to recognize moments of extreme stress and turning down the emotional volume.

On a broader scale, punishments such as the ban that FIFA handed down to Suarez can play an important role in motivating players to behave.

"How often do we give these great athletes a pass?" Naylor asked. "We have to say it doesn't matter how good they are, this is unacceptable."

Baxter reported from Brazil. Wharton reported from Los Angeles.

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Jeh Johnson says 'no free pass' for children after border crossings

Written By kolimtiga on Kamis, 26 Juni 2014 | 12.56

Moments after Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson took his first tour of a southern Arizona detention facility housing about 900 migrant children in makeshift cages Wednesday, he had a message for Central American parents who are on the brink of sending their children illegally and alone into the United States.

"This journey is a dangerous one, and at the end of it there is no free pass," he said. "There are no permisos for children, for your children, who come to the United States. The journey from Central America into south Texas is over a thousand miles long. It is hot. It is treacherous and you are placing your child in the hands of a criminal smuggling organization. It is not safe."

After walking through the facility with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Johnson reiterated the warning in an attempt to dispel rumors that are contributing to the unprecedented wave of unaccompanied children who are illegally entering the U.S. through the Rio Grande Valley.

A surge of border crossers, about half of whom are unaccompanied children, has led to what many see as a humanitarian crisis. Faced with such increasing numbers, immigration officials transported some of them to Arizona for further processing, such as the children who are housed in Nogales.

Brewer on Wednesday renewed her criticism of the Obama administration's handling of the situation.

"This crisis that America is facing with these children, unaccompanied children, is because we have not sent a strong message to these countries that our borders are closed," she said. "And we need a federal government to step up and secure the borders."

Although illegal immigration has decreased overall, there has been a jump in the number of children from Central America making the illegal trek without parents or other adult relatives.

Since October, nearly 52,000 unaccompanied children have been caught crossing the border, an increase of more than 90% from last year, according to federal officials, who said the number could reach 90,000 this year.

Meanwhile, there is also an influx of single parents from Central America with at least one child.

Although many of these family units and unaccompanied children have said they are escaping crushing poverty and escalating violence fueled by gangs, many have told The Times that they are also coming because of a rumor circulating in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador that there is a new opportunity for a permiso, or pass, that will allow them to stay indefinitely.

"When your child comes here, they are given a notice to appear in a deportation proceeding," Johnson said in his message to parents.

Johnson again declined to say how many children are actually appearing in immigration court. He also said he couldn't provide information on the number of single parents with at least one child who have been released and given notices to appear at an immigration office, or whether they were reporting as directed.

Unaccompanied children, though, are often reunited with family members already in the U.S. while they wait to make their case before an immigration judge to stay. A ruling could take months and even a year.

For now, officials are focusing on processing and housing these children. Plans are underway to house families with children at a federal law enforcement training facility in Artesia, N.M.

In Nogales, about 140 children daily are brought to the facility, and about the same number are transferred to the care of the Department of Health and Human Services, which looks to place a child with a parent or family member in the U.S., Brewer said. Some of the youths in the facility are pregnant, she said.

"I can tell you that as a mother it breaks your heart to know that they are in the situation that they are in," Brewer said. "But more than that it breaks your heart that the parents themselves would put their children in harm's way in the manner of which they have arrived here in."


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A.J. Ellis takes a hit in Dodgers' 5-4 win over Royals

KEY MOMENT: A.J. Ellis, in the batter's box, turned his back to the mound. It was the eighth inning, with the score tied, 4-4. The bases were loaded. The ball was coming at him. Ellis realized the ball would hit him. He absorbed the hit by pitch, and his reward was the game-winning run batted in.

AT THE PLATE: Dee Gordon had four hits, including a triple. He also stole his 40th base — in his 80th game, getting to 40 faster than any player in Dodgers history except Maury Wills. No Dodger has stolen more than 40 in a full season since Juan Pierre had 64 in 2007. Matt Kemp hit his eighth home run — all off right-handers, for the right-handed Kemp — and Yasiel Puig tripled and doubled.

ON THE MOUND: Dan Haren delivered his shortest start of the season, giving up four runs and five hits in 4 1/3 innings. Haren gave up two home runs and has given up 16 this season, fourth-most among National League pitchers. Jamey Wright relieved Haren and earned the victory with 2 2/3 scoreless innings. Wright's earned-run average is 2.17; the 39-year-old never has posted an ERA below 3.00 in a full season. With Kenley Jansen used on four of the five previous days, Brian Wilson worked the ninth for his first save in two years.

RAMIREZ TO DOC: The Dodgers, not sure when shortstop Hanley Ramirez might return, plan to send him to team orthopedist Neal ElAttrache for testing and evaluation on Thursday. For the second consecutive game — and the fourth time in 14 games — Ramirez did not start because of an irritated joint in his right shoulder. Wednesday's game marks the eighth this season in which Ramirez has not started because of injury — four for this shoulder injury, three because of a bruised calf, and one because of a bruised thumb.

ROSTER MOVE: The Dodgers promoted first baseman Clint Robinson from triple-A Albuquerque and designated utilityman Jamie Romak for assignment. Romak, 28, batted .048 in his major league debut, with one hit and eight strikeouts in 21 at-bats. Robinson, 29, was promoted to serve as a left-handed pinch-hitter. He batted .309 at Albuquerque, including a .355 average against right-handers.

SHORT HOPS: The Dodgers expect to activate third baseman Juan Uribe on Thursday. Uribe has not played since May 20 because of a strained hamstring. … Outfielder Joc Pederson, the Dodgers' top prospect, is expected to sit out at least 10 days because of a separated right shoulder. Pederson is batting .319 in 74 games at Albuquerque, with 17 home runs and 20 stolen bases.

UP NEXT: The Dodgers' Josh Beckett (5-4, 2.28) faces the Cardinals' Adam Wainwright (10-3, 2.08) on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Dodger Stadium. TV: SportsNet LA. Radio: 570, 1020.

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Violations surge after O.C. toll roads end cash option

Orange County's transition to making its network of toll roads cashless has now resulted in more than 13,000 violations a day — a figure that has prompted the toll agency to ease first-time penalty fees through the summer.

The Transportation Corridor Agencies closed down its tollbooths in mid-May in favor of a cashless system in which commuters would either use transponders or go online to pay tolls.

But that change appears to have caused confusion with some commuters, causing the number of violations to nearly double from the usual 7,000 each day.

"It was obviously more than we had anticipated," said agency spokeswoman Lisa Telles. "We want to educate the consumer on how to use the toll road."

To ease the transition, the toll agency is waiving a $57.50 penalty fee for first-time violators at least through Labor Day, provided they pay the toll within 30 days of receiving the violation.

Under the cashless system, motorists without accounts are supposed to pay one-time tolls online within 48 hours of their trip or be hit with a penalty.

"We're trying to make sure that first-time users are not penalized because they're just not familiar with the system," said Orange County Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who serves on two toll agency boards.

Before the changeover, the agency had been hard at work to spread the message among groups like the county's visitors bureau, hotel concierges and local residents, Telles said.

But apparently not everyone had gotten the word yet.

Drivers were pulling over on the roadside ahead of the tolls, trying to figure out how to pass through without getting in trouble, Spitzer said.

In Spitzer's view, information on the varied methods of payment have not been presented well enough for drivers who range from first-time visitors to daily users.

Even drivers who use the toll roads often, such as himself, may not be able to decipher it, Spitzer said.

"You can't possibly communicate all these messages simultaneously at 65 mph," he said.

Between now and Labor Day, the Transportation Corridor Agencies plans to monitor data and continue to make improvements. It will then evaluate whether a longer grace period is needed to ensure that drivers understand how the new pay system works, Telles said.

In the meantime, to further aid the transition, additional signs will be installed and messages will be flashed on the changeable freeway information boards. Ten additional customer service representatives are also being hired temporarily.

Spitzer suggested that a dial-in voice recording should be implemented.

Since the changeover, about 13,500 violation notices had been sent out daily, agency spokeswoman Lori Olin said. An estimated 250,000 people use the 73, 133, 241 or 261 toll roads each day.

Information about the payment options can be found on the agency's website.


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Angels' Garrett Richards strong again in 6-2 win over Twins

KEY MOMENT: Kevin Jepsen relieved starter Garrett Richards in the eighth inning and gave up a run-scoring single to Kendrys Morales that cut the Angels' lead to 5-2 and put runners on first and third with one out. But Jepsen struck out Oswaldo Arcia with a slider and got Eduardo Escobar, who fouled off two full-count pitches, to ground to first, ending the inning.

AT THE PLATE: Erick Aybar, who is hitting .315 since April 21, sparked a three-run second inning with a double. C.J. Cron singled, Grant Green hit a sacrifice fly, Chris Iannetta walked and Kole Calhoun ended a 1-1 tie with a two-run double to right field. The Angels scored twice in the third when Albert Pujols singled, Josh Hamilton doubled, Aybar hit a sacrifice fly and Howie Kendrick hit a run-scoring single. Aybar singled, stole second and third and scored on Cron's single in the eighth.

ON THE MOUND: Richards may have secured his All-Star selection with a 7 1/3-inning, two-run, four-hit, five-strikeout, five-walk effort that improved the right-hander to 4-0 with a 1.05 earned-run average in five June starts and 8-2 with a 2.76 ERA overall. Arcia's home run in the second, which ended an 0-for-31 skid, was only the third home run Richards has given up in 101 innings.

EXTRA BASES: The Angels extended their winning streak to five games and improved to 43-33, a 10-game improvement over last season, when they were 33-43 after 76 games. … Twins shortstop Danny Santana injured his left knee while legging out a third-inning double and was replaced by Pedro Florimon.

FUTURES FILL-IN: Venezuelan shortstop Jose Rondon, who is batting .333 for Class-A Inland Empire, was selected for the Futures Game on July 13 as an injury replacement for Houston prospect Carlos Correa, giving the Angels two players — Class-A Burlington pitcher Alfonso Alcantara is the other — in the showcase event.

UP NEXT: Right-hander Jered Weaver (7-6, 3.47 ERA) will oppose Minnesota right-hander Ricky Nolasco (4-5, 5.52) at Angel Stadium on Thursday at 12:30 p.m. On the air: TV: FS West. Radio: 830.

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Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw shows pitching virtuosity in Kansas City

Written By kolimtiga on Rabu, 25 Juni 2014 | 12.56

On this night, no one would be sitting on the edge of the seat. In his first start after his no-hitter, Clayton Kershaw gave up a hit to the second batter he faced.

Instead, fans could sit back and appreciate the greatness of Kershaw. On a night when he said his fastball command was "all over the place," he pitched eight innings in the Dodgers' 2-0 victory over the Kansas City Royals.

Kershaw never had pitched in Kansas City, in this terrific baseball town starved for a winner. The Royals sold 7,500 walk-up tickets Tuesday, that is, one of every four tickets was sold on the day of the game, when the best pitcher in baseball put on a show.

Remember, this was an off night for Kershaw, in his words. This was his line: eight innings, six hits — all singles — one walk and eight strikeouts. He has pitched 21 consecutive scoreless innings. In June, he is 5-0 with a 0.97 earned-run average – with two walks and 48 strikeouts.

What is so stunning about Kershaw's success this season is that he has gotten so much better after winning two Cy Young awards in three years, after leading the majors in ERA three consecutive years.

"You don't want to just shut it down in the off-season and say, 'Try again next year and do the same stuff,' " Kershaw said.

Of his 24 outs Tuesday, 13 came on the ground. For the first time in his career, more than half the outs he gets on balls in play are ground balls. He is throwing the ball lower in the strike zone and is throwing a first-pitch strike seven times out of 10, well above his career norm.

"It's hard to say a two-time Cy Young Award winner is still evolving into a pitcher," catcher A.J. Ellis said, "but I think he's becoming more of that power pitcher, as opposed to that overpowering thrower.

"He's attacking the strike zone. You get a lot of weaker swings when you are ahead in the count. You have a tendency to get more defensive-type swings. That shows in his strikeout-to-walk ratio."

Oh, that. His strikeout-to walk ratio is 10.4 to 1. The best in Los Angeles history: Sandy Koufax, in 1965, at 5.4 to 1.

"It's ironic to me that the big knock on him when he came up was, this guy couldn't command the ball, couldn't throw strikes," Ellis said. "He was almost sent back to the minor leagues due to his inability to go deep into games because his pitch count was so high.

"And now it's almost to the point where you're saying, 'Hey, Clayton, maybe you're throwing too many strikes?' "

Kershaw did not make these changes because he had to, because he had lost velocity on his fastball or the feel on off-speed pitches. He did it to get better, even though the National League could not hit him anyway. Yet, he said this transition was just evolution, not the execution of an off-season plan.

"As far as making a conscious effort to get ground balls or get early outs, no, not really," Kershaw said.

This is a rather startling transition for a pitcher at the top of his game. Really, what was the game plan?

"Just don't suck, basically," he said with a smile.

Ellis talked about how Kershaw would not deviate from his routine even amid the hoopla surrounding the no-hitter, how his dedication and work ethic are so special. Still, players who cannot perform the magic trick Kershaw does to throw his curve ball can be dedicated and work hard.

"It's a grind," Ellis said. "It's 162 games, doing the same thing. As humans and athletes, we're going to break that pattern. We're lazy. We're selfish. We think we can skip it.

"He doesn't do that."

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Rafael Nadal has shaky Wimbledon start, then wins convincingly

WIMBLEDON, England — Three of tennis' marquee players cruised down the road in first-round matches at Wimbledon on Tuesday, and Rafael Nadal, perhaps the brightest star of all, traveled a bumpy path.

That's relatively speaking. Nadal lost a set. The others — Roger Federer, Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova — barely lost a game.

Nadal has struggled here the last two years. So when he dropped the first set on Center Court to Slovakian left-hander Martin Klizan, antennas went up.

But then he set his jaw, pumped his fist a lot and won the next three in a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, 6-3 victory that was, in the long run, quite convincing.

"It was a positive match for me," Spanish star Nadal said. "First thing, because I won. That's the most important thing."

It was the same for Federer, Williams and Sharapova. No matter how big a star you are, just getting that first-rounder out of the way, as well as the normal nerves that accompany it, makes for a good day.

Federer barely had to breathe heavily in his 6-1, 6-1, 6-3 rout of Italy's Paolo Lorenzi.

"I got the break, I think, in all three sets in the return game," the Swiss legend said. "I was always up in the score.… It's easier to play that way."

Williams was on Center Court just long enough to get her racket strings stretched in her 6-1, 6-2 victory over fellow U.S. player Anna Tatishvili.

"I like the grass," Williams said. "There is so much history here. I like that. I like that everybody wears white."

Sharapova was even quicker than Williams. Fresh from her French Open title, her second at Roland Garros, she dispatched England's Samantha Murray, 6-1, 6-0.

"As the match progressed, I got more comfortable," Sharapova said.

All four of these superstars have dealt with recent demons at Wimbledon.

Nadal went out in the second round here two years ago, and in the first round last year against Lukas Rosol of the Czech Republic, his next opponent.

But he also has won this tournament twice, in 2008 and '10, and has been in three other finals.

Federer has won here seven times but was upset in the second round last year. This year, he has added former star Stefan Edberg to his support team, and that prompted questions about the possibility of more serving-and-volleying, which was Edberg's style.

"I think it could be that little extra piece to the puzzle that could bring me through … an extra option," Federer said.

Williams, who has won five Wimbledon titles, lost to Sabine Lisicki of Germany in the fourth round last year. She also lost early in the French.

"Whenever I slip," she said, "I try to get back up."

Sharapova, who won her Wimbledon title 10 years ago as a 17-year-old, also had a bad slip here last year, losing in the second round.

"This is a new day," she said. "It is not a new tournament, but it's a new opportunity."

U.S. players

Seeded U.S. men's player John Isner, No. 9, advanced past Daniel Smethurst of England, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4. Another U.S. player, Jack Sock, got through a tight 6-7 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (5), 6-4 match against Pierre-Hugues Herbert of France, as did U.S. women's player Victoria Duval, who beat Romania's Sorana Cirstea, 6-4, 3-6, 6-1. Other U.S. winners: Denis Kudla, Sam Querrey, Varvara Lepchenko, Madison Keys and Alison Riske.


Twitter: @dwyrelatimes

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After 11 years, rare corpse flower ready to bloom in Costa Mesa

For 11 years, the horticulture department at Orange Coast College has been dutifully cultivating a large, nearly 5-foot-tall plant indigenous to Sumatra that only now is blooming for the first time.

The payoff? A giant flower that, for roughly 36 hours, emits a pungent stench akin to that of rotting flesh.

They don't call it the corpse flower for nothing.

The titan arum produces the stink as it tries to attract insects to pollinate the male and female flowers it holds deep inside a pod. But the rarity of the plant — and its bloom — makes the stench worth it to horticulturists, few of whom can claim the achievement of growing one.

A smaller corpse flower measuring 3 feet 8 inches tall attracted throngs of curious visitors when it bloomed at the Huntington Botanical Gardens in San Marino in 2010.

"It's not an easy thing to grow," said Rick Harlow, who heads Orange Coast College's horticulture department. "You have to be committed to it."

As the 4- to 5-foot-tall specimen prepares to have its inaugural bloom, Harlow and his staff at the Costa Mesa campus have already had a whiff of what's to come.

"We smelled something for the first time," he said. "To me, it smelled like rotten eggs."

A live-stream video focused on the flower — named Little John — showed the bloom starting to unfold Tuesday, indicating that the rare event is near.

Although the horticulture department doesn't know exactly when the corpse flower will fully open, when it does, staffers will have only a 24- to 48-hour window to pollinate it. The college plans to freeze some of the pollen gathered from the fussy plant to use years down the road for future titan arum blooms.

For those who want to sniff out nature's rendition of rotting flesh for themselves, the plant has been on display since Thursday, and will remain so until the bloom fully opens.


Twitter: @jeremiahdobruck

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Ducks' Bob Murray is touched by award from fellow general managers

Ducks front-office executive Bob Murray, not relishing the spotlight, survived the moment and his speech after being named the NHL's general manager of the year.

Soon after, he received kudos from a crosstown rival and peer, Kings General Manager Dean Lombardi, who was also nominated for the award, finishing third behind Murray and Montreal's Marc Bergevin. Lombardi's Kings beat Murray's Ducks in the second round of the playoffs, along the way to winning the Stanley Cup.

"Dean gave me a pat on the back and said, 'Congratulations.' There's a mutual respect there," Murray said on a conference call with reporters. "As I said, I'd trade this one for that one if he wants to make a deal."

Those aren't just empty platitudes. Lombardi has been just as complimentary, impressed with what Murray has been able to do in Anaheim and the two plan to get together after the business of hockey slows down after the draft and free agency.

Before that, they were at the NHL's Awards at the Encore Theater at Wynn Las Vegas on Tuesday night. The general manager award is voted on by the league's 30 GMs, a small panel of NHL executives and media members. Murray was a finalist for the honor in the lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.

"When you're voted by your peer group, that makes anything all the more special," Murray said. "The people you work with and work against — when they vote for this — it's very special. It'll be an honor my whole life because they voted for that.

"Second of all, it means my off-the-ice team is doing a good job. That's something we've tried to create … we're getting better and better at it."

Murray, the Ducks' GM since 2008, put together back-to-back Pacific Division-winning teams. This past season, the Ducks established organizational records with wins (54) and points (116) and led the league in goals (263) for the first time in franchise history.

There were several other local finalists for the league's major awards. Kings center Anze Kopitar finished second in voting for the Frank J. Selke Award, which is given to the league's best defensive forward. Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins won the award for the second time in three years. Chicago's Jonathan Toews, who won in 2013, finished third in the voting.

Kings captain Dustin Brown won the Mark Messier Leadership Award in "recognition of his commitment and service to charities in his community."

The Kings were honored for their Stanley Cup win. Goalie Jonathan Quick, who was not on hand because of wrist surgery, won the William M. Jennings Trophy given to the goaltender of the club allowing the fewest goals.

The Colorado Avalanche franchise was a big focus at the awards: Nathan MacKinnon won the Calder Trophy (rookie of the year), Patrick Roy took the Jack Adams Award (coach of the year) and Ryan O'Reilly, the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy (sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct). MacKinnon, 18, is the youngest player to win the Calder.

Other winners included Pittsburgh's Sidney Crosby, who took his second Hart Trophy (most valuable player), Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask, the Vezina Trophy, and Chicago's Duncan Keith, the Norris Trophy as the top defenseman.

The Ducks' Ryan Getzlaf finished second in Hart voting to Crosby, who also took home the Art Ross Trophy (league scoring champion) and the Ted Lindsay Award (players' choice for league's top player).

The Ducks' Corey Perry was voted first team NHL All-Star and Getzlaf second team All-Star. Anaheim rookies, goaltender Frederik Andersen and defenseman Hampus Lindholm, were named to the league's all-rookie team.

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Dodgers' Zack Greinke is treated rudely in Kansas City

Written By kolimtiga on Selasa, 24 Juni 2014 | 12.56

It took four years, but the good people of Kansas City finally got their chance to boo Zack Greinke.

His days were good ones here. The Kansas City Royals made him a first-round draft pick, stuck by his side when he asked for time off to treat an anxiety issue, beamed as he blossomed into a Cy Young Award winner in 2009. The Royals have not taken down the oversized, framed copy of the Sports Illustrated cover that proclaimed him "The Best Pitcher in Baseball."

The best pitcher in baseball wanted to play for a team that could play in October. Greinke said it loud and clear, and the Royals traded him in 2010. Four years have passed and still the fans remember the guy with the golden arm that essentially called their team a loser.

"Fans want people that want to be here," the Royals' Billy Butler said Monday. "I don't think they ever forgot that."

Greinke took the loss Monday, not the Royals. He gave up a season-high five runs in 52/3 innings, enough for the Royals to hang a 5-3 loss on the Dodgers.

The Royals traded Greinke to the Milwaukee Brewers, who got 49 starts out of him. The Brewers forwarded him to the Angels, who got 13 starts out of him.

And then came the big contract, the one Greinke had vowed he never would sign with the Royals. He got it from the Dodgers, for $147 million, at the time the most money ever lavished on a right-handed pitcher.

The Royals signed Jason Vargas for $32 million last off-season, and that was a big deal around here. Might the fans have booed out of spite, since the Dodgers play in an economic league in which the Royals cannot hope to compete?

"I don't know," Greinke said. "I was pretty rude on the way out. They have every right to be mad at me."

Any regrets?

"I didn't want to be rude," he said. "I felt I had to in order to get traded, and I wanted to get traded."

In his two previous starts in Kansas City as a visiting player, one with the Brewers and one with the Angels, he gave up one run each time. He said the fans treated him just fine both times.

"It's weird," he said. "I pitched good the last time I was here, and they cheered. I pitched good the first time, and they cheered. This time, they cheered when they announced my name, and they booed when I gave up the runs."

Might the fans be conflicted? Greinke wouldn't go there.

"I'm not a psychologist," he said.

On Monday, the Dodgers lost for the fourth time in Greinke's last five starts. He gave up 11 hits Monday, for the second time in four starts.

"I don't think he's been extremely sharp for three or four starts," Dodgers Manager Don Mattingly said. "He's still been good."

Greinke sounded reluctant to give himself that much credit on a night his fastball was working and his off-speed pitch, any off-speed pitch, was not.

"They didn't even have to respect it," he said. "It was like a favor if I threw them an off-speed pitch."

Here's the thing: The Dodgers, and their world-record payroll, are 42-36. The Royals are 40-36. Outfielder Lorenzo Cain and shortstop Alcides Escobar, two of the players the Royals got from Milwaukee for Greinke, each had two hits Monday.

History suggests Greinke made the right call here, if the rude one. The Royals have not appeared in the playoffs since 1985.

For now, however, the Royals are closer to first place in their division than the Dodgers are in theirs.

"They're playing good now," Greinke said. "You knew it was going to take time, and now is the time, it seems like."

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After nine-run third inning, Vanderbilt holds off Virginia, 9-8

Vanderbilt capitalized on Virginia starter Nathan Kirby's sudden loss of control to score nine runs in the third inning, then held off the Cavaliers to win, 9-8, in Game 1 of the College World Series finals Monday night.

The Commodores (50-20) can win their first national championship in a men's sport with a win Tuesday night.

Tyler Campbell continued his improbable breakout for the Commodores, doubling twice in the third inning. His second double came off reliever Whit Mayberry with the bases loaded to put Vanderbilt up, 9-2.

But Virginia (52-15) chipped away, scoring three runs in the third, two in the fifth and another in the eighth to make it a one-run game.

Adam Ravenelle came on in the ninth to get the last three outs for his second save of the CWS.

It was the highest-scoring CWS game at TD Ameritrade Park, which opened in 2011, and the most runs given up by Virginia since an 11-6 loss to Mississippi State in super regionals last year.

The nine runs in the third, off three hits, five walks and a hit batsman, were the most in an inning in the CWS since Stanford scored 11 against Florida State in the ninth on June 14, 2008, at the old Rosenblatt Stadium.

Jared Miller (7-2) got the win for two innings of relief of Walker Buehler. Kirby (9-3) took the loss after his shortest outing of the season.

The Cavaliers got back into the game on Brandon Downes' two-run single in the third, and Nate Irving's double and Daniel Pinero's base hit in the fifth pulled the Cavaliers to 9-7.

Vandy's John Kilichowski, a 6-foot-5 freshman left-hander making his first appearance since May 17, pitched a 1-2-3 sixth and seventh inning, but gave up back-to-back singles to start the eighth. After Mike Papi's sacrifice moved over the runners, Joe McCarthy's RBI groundout made it 9-8.

Virginia held the Commodores scoreless every inning but the third. That inning proved too much to overcome.

Things went south for Kirby in a hurry after he struck out Chris Harvey to start the inning. He walked Jason Delay on four pitches, gave up Campbell's first double, and walked Dansby Swanson to load the bases.

Bryan Reynolds' infield single drove in a run, and then Kirby issued the first of three straight bases-loaded walks — all while Whit Mayberry was warming up in the bullpen. By the time Mayberry came on, after Rhett Wiseman reached on an error, Vandy led, 5-2.

Of Kirby's last 50 pitches, 31 were balls. He walked five in the third inning after having never walked more than three in a game in his 18 previous career starts.

Buehler wasn't nearly as sharp as he was a week earlier when he pitched 5 1/3 innings of no-hit relief against UC Irvine. He gave up five runs on eight hits in three innings before Miller took over.

Virginia reliever Austin Young kept the Commodores from adding to their lead in the seventh, striking out pinch-hitter Nolan Rogers and Delay after they had gotten two runners on base with one out.

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Texas governor warns of 'trail of tears' from border crisis

With young immigrants slipping into the U.S. under the mistaken impression they will be allowed to stay, Texas Gov. Rick Perry warned Monday of a deadly "trail of tears" in the unforgiving Rio Grande Valley if the federal government doesn't act.

More than 52,000 unaccompanied youths have been caught along the Southwest border this fiscal year, almost double last year's total. The influx is fueled by danger at home, experts say, and by false rumors that minors and women with young children will be welcomed.

"The governor's right: It's going to be a really bad year," said Lori Baker, an associate professor of forensic anthropology at Baylor University who has been excavating and identifying migrant remains in Texas for years, most recently this month.

"There are just so, so many people crossing," she said. "We're not going to find a lot of the remains."

Unlike earlier generations of immigrants who came prepared to cross harsh desert terrain, many today make the journey casually dressed, planning to turn themselves in for what they expect to be sanctuary. That attitude can prove fatal.

In rural Brooks County, population 7,200, the sheriff's office has only four deputies and about 15 reserves, and no medical examiner. The county recovered 87 bodies last year and 129 the year before, Chief Deputy Sheriff Urbino Martinez said, and 33 so far this year.

"If we find one body, we're probably missing 10," he said. "That's how many bodies I think are out there that haven't been discovered."

The brush is still high and green. When it dries and thins, the bones appear.

What does he see ahead this summer? "More death."

Last week, deputies found the body of a 16-year-old Central American youth who died from exposure.

On Friday, they rescued another Central American adolescent, also suffering from exposure.

A few weeks ago, Martinez said, more than 100 Guatemalan and Mexican women and children showed up at the Border Patrol checkpoint on U.S. Highway 281, overwhelming agents who were armed with cameras and drug-sniffing dogs — not blankets and baby wipes.

"They were in dire straits. They were having to go out and get formula, milk for the infants," he said.

Martinez called on Washington to fix the immigration policies that have contributed to the influx, and to send help.

"We need to protect our community and all the travelers traversing Brooks County," he said. "Without the resources, how am I going to do that?"

Last week, Perry and other Texas officials ordered a "surge" of resources at the border for the Texas Department of Public Safety, including $1.3 million a week in added spending.

State Sen. Wendy Davis, a Democrat vying with Republican Atty. Gen. Greg Abbott to replace Perry, supported the surge and faulted the Obama administration for not doing more.

"It truly is a humanitarian crisis," she said Monday after touring the Border Patrol's McAllen Station, which, Davis said, is processing 1,200 migrants a day, half of them children.

Abbott toured a shelter for young migrants at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland on Monday, along with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). Abbott called the border situation a "man-made crisis." Cruz called it "tragic and heartbreaking," and blamed Obama.

On Monday, Perry highlighted the children's plight. Young migrants have been flown from south Texas to shelters in other parts of the state as well as to Arizona, California, Oklahoma and Massachusetts, he said.

A Department of Homeland Security official who was not authorized to speak on the record said Customs and Border Protection regularly flies unaccompanied children to different parts of the country to place them with relatives or into foster care.

Federal officials have struggled to find places to house children in recent months as more have been caught crossing and this has contributed to the crowded conditions in Border Patrol stations, the official said.

Homeland Security last week said it was rushing additional lawyers, asylum officers and immigration judges to the Texas border to help process new arrivals.

Meanwhile, in Washington, a group of Democratic lawmakers introduced legislation that would ensure immigrant youths have attorneys.

The Vulnerable Immigrant Voice Act comes as congressional committees prepare to hold hearings Tuesday and Wednesday on the crush of new arrivals from Central America.



Times staff writers Richard Simon and Brian Bennett in Washington and Cindy Carcamo in Tucson contributed to this report.

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Tuition financial aid on the way for middle-class California families

Some financial relief is in sight for thousands of middle-class students at California's public universities, under a new and unusual state program that will provide aid to families that earn up to $150,000 annually.

Over the next month or so, an estimated 156,000 undergraduates are scheduled to be notified that they will receive tuition grants for the academic year estimated to be as much as $1,450 for UC students and $650 for Cal State, with smaller amounts for more affluent families in the eligible range.

The assistance is an attempt to help middle-class families that earn more than $80,000 and typically aren't eligible for the federal and state grants that cover much or all of the tuition for lower-income students.

The awards are relatively low initially but could more than triple over the next three years and cover between 10% and 40% of UC and Cal State tuition on a sliding income scale by 2017 — if promised state funding comes through.

Yet even before the first awards, problems and uncertainties have arisen. Because of funding shortfalls, many students this year are expected to receive about $200 less than the plan originally called for, according to the California Student Aid Commission, which is administering it.

And despite publicity efforts, many students said they were unaware of the program or confused about why they have not been told the amount of their grant.

Incoming UCLA freshman Madison Acampora said she would be grateful for whatever she receives. Although she had won some small private scholarships, her family's $96,000 income made her ineligible for most government grants. At first, her parents plan to pay her expenses without loans even though they only recently finished paying college bills for two older daughters.

UCLA has told Acampora that she seems likely to receive one of the new grants, with details to come next month. "I became used to not getting any money. So this makes me very happy," said the El Cajon resident, "even if it just helps cover my books and supplies."

Lower-income families have been mainly protected from the steep rise in UC and Cal State fees during the recent recession, and more affluent families are able to pay full tuition, said John Vigna, spokesman for Assembly Speaker Emeritus John Pérez, who was the main force behind the program.

The new aid "targets middle-class students who have been squeezed the hardest by all these fee increases and had to take out higher student loan debts," he said.

In recent years, some wealthy private universities, including Harvard, Princeton and Stanford, have increased assistance to families making as much as $200,000 a year and replaced loans with grants. UC Berkeley and UC Davis have added some aid for families who make well above $100,000.

Many other states offer aid that rewards academic merit regardless of income. (UC and Cal State offer some of those.) Yet, California's middle-class scholarships are "groundbreaking" because they are so wide-reaching, don't focus on the best students and have a high income cap, said Frank Ballmann, director of federal relations for the National Assn. of State Student Grant and Aid Programs.

With all the political pressure to reduce student debt, he predicted that the new plan could become a national model. "Even if [California] is the first, I suspect they won't be the last," Ballmann said.

Critics say the program responds more to political pressures than to real needs, and they contend the money would be better spent to help lower-income students. Much of the alarm about student debt is based on other states, according to Debbie Cochrane, research director for the Institute for College Access & Success.

Only about half of recent college graduates in California took on student debt, and their totals average about $20,000, compared with the $30,000 average owed by about three-quarters of graduates nationwide, according to the group.

The new program "misunderstands the problem," Cochrane said. "All the data continues to show the real affordability problem is among the low-income students."

Additionally, she and others note that the middle-class scholarships, unlike most other aid, do not count families' assets such as stocks or real estate investments beyond the family home. So some families with high resources may be eligible, which opponents say is an unwise use of tax money.

On the other hand, Christopher Carter, UC's student financial support director, said recent reports show that a higher proportion of UC students from families in the $100,000 to $150,000 range are taking education loans, and the size of their average debt is growing.

He said it is too soon to say whether the new grants will reduce loans and also encourage more students to attend the university, but he said "our hope is that these awards are going to make it easier for students and their families to afford an education."

Officials estimate that this year's grants will range from about $162 to $651 toward the $5,472 Cal State tuition and from about $362 to $1,450 toward UC's $12,192 fees, not including room and board. State funding for the program is expected to increase to $305 million by 2017, with maximum grants by then of $2,189 for Cal State and $4,876 for UC.

Students generally do not have to apply specifically for the new aid, but they need to have submitted the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by March to be automatically considered. If they didn't, it is too late for the upcoming school year.

Some middle-class families skip the FAFSA, wrongly assuming that they are eligible only for loans, said Diana Fuentes-Michel, executive director of the Student Aid Commission. She said she expects that more will complete the form next year as word spreads about the scholarships.

"I think this changes the messages about financial aid. Everybody needs to fill out the FAFSA and get consideration," Fuentes-Michel said.

She attributed the notification delays to the program's infancy and delays in legislative action and enrollment statistics. She said students will be told earlier next year.

Yet even as officials say they want more families involved, they also concede that more applicants may cause complications. An effort in the Legislature to add $20 million to this year's $107-million appropriation failed this month.

The aid commission is projecting that the grants will be about 15% less than initially expected. Analysts say the spending could face annual political battles, including efforts to curtail eligibility.

Among those hoping to hear some good news soon is Disha Banik, a political science major from San Jose entering her third year at UC Berkeley. She said she was rejected for financial aid in the past but expects that her family's income of about $100,000 will make her eligible for the new program.

Her family has felt "a level of financial stress in paying for college," Banik said. "I don't mean to take away from the struggles for low-income families, but I think a lot of the costs are falling on the middle class."

Twitter: @larrygordonlat

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Hyun-Jin Ryu leads Dodgers past Padres, 2-1

Written By kolimtiga on Senin, 23 Juni 2014 | 12.56

ON THE MOUND: Hyun-Jin Ryu won for the sixth time in his last eight starts, limiting the Padres to one run and four hits in six innings. Ryu retired the first nine batters he faced. The run he gave up came in the sixth inning, when he gave up doubles to Chris Denorfia and Tommy Medica.

AT THE PLATE: Hanley Ramirez collected the first of his two hits in the first inning, after which he stole second base, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout by Adrian Gonzalez. Dee Gordon drove in the Dodgers' other run with a second-inning single.

MEDICAL REPORT: Juan Uribe asked for his minor league rehabilitation assignment to be extended, Manager Don Mattingly said. Uribe will play at least two more games with Class-A Rancho Cucamonga. The third baseman is expected to be activated during the Dodgers' next homestand, which starts Friday against the St. Louis Cardinals.

UP NEXT: Zack Greinke (9-3, 2.57 ERA) will face the Kansas City Royals' Jeremy Guthrie (4-6, 3.86) at Kauffman Stadium on Monday at 5 p.m. PDT. On the air: SportsNet LA. Radio: 570, 1020 (Spanish).

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Kenley Jansen regains form to help Dodgers take series from Padres

The Dodgers claimed another series, a 2-1 victory over the San Diego Padres on Sunday marking their second win in the last three days at Petco Park.

If the aim for the Dodgers over the weekend was to maintain their collective momentum, for closer Kenley Jansen it was to rediscover his dominance.

Jansen blew a two-run lead in a series-opening defeat, but returned with a cleaner delivery to close out the last two games.

Jansen faced three batters Sunday and struck out all three.

"Today was as good as I've caught him all season long, the way the ball was moving," said catcher A.J. Ellis.

Jansen's 22 saves are the second-most in baseball, but the 6-foot-5 right-hander has been considerably more hittable than he was last season.

His earned-run average is an unremarkable 4.26. Opposing hitters are batting .264 against him.

But Jansen thinks that his three-run meltdown Friday led to the coaching staff finding the source of his problems.

In the aftermath of that game, assistant pitching coach Ken Howell and bullpen coach Chuck Crim studied video of Jansen. The next day, with pitching coach Rick Honeycutt by their side, Howell and Crim advised Jansen to make small changes to his form during a pregame bullpen session.

"Kenley's a big boy," said Manager Don Mattingly. "He can get out of line every once in a while. He's got a lot going on, he has a long arm swing. When that gets out of whack, all of a sudden, he's fighting against himself."

Jansen agreed.

"I've been pulling my head a little too early and my arm kept dragging and the ball didn't cut as much, the ball was flat and straight," he said. "We went back to the old tapes and saw how I threw last year.

"Now that ball has that cut again."

Mattingly figured Jansen would be fine as long as his delivery could be fixed. The manager wasn't concerned about Jansen's emotional resiliency.

"That closer has to be able to clean the slate," Mattingly said. "You've seen it over the years: Guys are going to give up games. It's just the way it is. The key is to bounce back. That's where Kenley's been pretty good. He seems to keep confidence, especially since he's grown up in this role a little bit."

The Dodgers are starting to gain a sense of identity. Their starting pitching remains among the best in baseball. Their defense and situational hitting are improving. They have won 10 of their last 14 games and are four games behind the first-place San Francisco Giants in the National League West.

However, their relief pitching remains somewhat unsettled. Their bullpen's 15 losses are second-most in the NL and 3.82 ERA fourth-worse.

Left-hander J.P. Howell has also established himself as a dependable setup man. Howell leads the Dodgers in ERA (1.61) but also in appearances (37), meaning Mattingly has to be mindful of how often he uses him.

Mattingly's other preferred late-inning options these days are Brian Wilson and Brandon League, neither of whom has been consistent.

But with roles starting to be defined, Howell said he thinks the bullpen is finding its rhythm.

"It's a unit," he said. "It's hard to build that. We were a unit in April but it was still in the building process. Every year the bullpens change. The early part of the season is a process that has to happen, grow with each other, knowing who's behind you."

Jansen thinks the Dodgers will go as far as their bullpen will take them.

"Not because I'm a bullpen guy, but the biggest piece of this team is the bullpen," he said.

Jansen pointed to the win Sunday. Hyun-Jin Ryu limited the Padres to one run, but the bullpen had to protect a one-run lead over the final three innings. Howell pitched 1 1/3 innings and Wilson 2/3.

"A day like today, we have to pick the team up," Jansen said. "You're going to have days like that."

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