I’m Ventura County Star reporter Cheri Carlson writing from a toasty Agoura Hills with the news to know this Thursday.
But first, there may be an end in sight to the extreme heat. Well, at least a little bit and at least in the desert. The Desert Sun says Coachella Valley residents only need to get through the weekend before triple-digit temperatures dip into the double digits for the rest of the year.
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Census: Today is the last day to get counted
Thursday is the last day to complete the Census and there’s still time to go online and get it done. Census officials said the online survey is available through 11:59 p.m. Hawaii Standard Time. That’s 2:59 a.m. Oct. 16 in California.
Why does it matter? The count is used to distribute more than $675 billion in federal funding for schools, health systems, roads and bridges. It also affects how many members represent a state in the U.S. House of Representatives. City and state leaders were urging residents to participate, the Sacramento Bee reported.
“If you don’t, you will absolutely be invisible for the next 10 years,” said Ditas Katague, director of the California Complete Count – Census 2020. “We don’t want people having someone else, either erasing them or answering for them. Your community is going to be impacted for the next 10 years.”
Nearly 53,000 PG&E customers face power shutoffs
Tens of thousands of Northern California residents could lose power for a third day as hot, dry, windy conditions continue.
In some spots, Pacific Gas and Electric turned off power to try to prevent its equipment from sparking wildfires over the past two days. Now, the utility company says outages will continue through Friday and could affect customers in two dozen counties.
In total, nearly 53,000 PG&E customers could lose power, the Redding Record Searchlight reported. A red flag warning also is in effect through 11 a.m. Friday in parts of the northern half of the state.
Meanwhile, parts of Southern California will face their own red flag warning as the familiar combo of heat and Santa Ana winds picks up.
The National Weather Service warned of potentially dangerous fire conditions in the mountains of Ventura and Los Angeles counties, as well as the Santa Clarita Valley and the coastal slopes of the San Bernardino and Santa Ana ranges.
“We’ve got very hot temperatures, very low humidities down into the single digits and strong gusty winds tomorrow morning,” meteorologist David Sweet told the Ventura County Star on Thursday.
The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection is increasing staffing, the Los Angeles Times said, and asked residents to get prepared. “With red flag conditions in many parts of the state over the next couple of days, fires in these areas can spread rapidly,” Cal Fire officials wrote in a Thursday update.
GOP says it won’t comply with cease-and-desist letter
Officials with the California Republican Party say they won’t comply with a cease-and-desist letter from state officials telling them to stop using unofficial ballot boxes.
GOP officials say the ballot dropboxes are legal and they have no plans to remove them.
The battle over the boxes started last weekend when they started showing up in a few California counties. On Monday, California’s attorney general and secretary of state sent the cease-and-desist letter, saying the boxes violated the law.
On Wednesday, the GOP responded. Thomas Hiltachk, the Republican Party’s general counsel, said the boxes comply with California’s “ballot harvesting” law, which lets people collect ballots from voters and return them to county election offices to be counted, the Visalia Times-Delta reported.
Republican officials have declined to say how many boxes they have and where exactly they are located, but they have shown up in at least three counties.
Kamala Harris cancels travel as two people connected to campaign test positive
Kamala Harris, the Democratic vice presidential nominee and junior senator from California, canceled campaign trips through Sunday after two people associated with the campaign tested positive for COVID-19.
USA Today reported that neither the flight crew member or the senator’s communications director, who had tested positive, had contact with Harris or presidential nominee Joe Biden during the 48 hours before their tests.
But both had been on a flight with Harris on Oct. 8, when each wore an N-95 mask. Harris had taken two PCR tests since Oct. 8 and both were negative.
Meanwhile, Congressman Salud Carbajal, D-Santa Barbara, said Wednesday he’s still in isolation but is recovering from COVID-19.
Carbajal announced Oct. 5 he had been exposed to someone who tested positive to the virus but he tested negative. A day later, he said he was tested again after experiencing symptoms and came up positive.
His symptoms have been mostly mild and have included body aches, fever, chills and a lack of appetite, the Ventura County Star reported.
A representative for Carbajal said there is no way to know the exact source of the exposure. But he said congressman tested positive after interacting with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah.
Lee, one of several people who tested positive after attending a White House event, and the congressman live in the same building in Washington, D.C.
Move over pumpkin spice?
Smack in the middle of pumpkin spice season, Dunkin’ switched things up this year. Its Spicy Ghost Pepper Donut is making a debut in time for Halloween.
Glazed with a strawberry-flavored icing and topped with a blend of cayenne, ghost pepper and red sanding sugar, a company spokesperson said it packs “a touch of heat with something sweet.”
In California is a roundup of news from across USA TODAY Network newsrooms. Also contributing: Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee.