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California Local Explainers, Guides, Etc.


Image caption: Gov. Gavin Newsom tours a Chinese electric-car factory in October, 2023.
How California Helped Clean China’s Bad Air

A Tesla lobbyist, an LA-based environmental group, and Gov. Jerry Brown brought a rule minted in Sacramento to Beijing, and helped launch China’s EV industry.

Image caption: California has a goal of 6 million heat pumps cooling and heating buildings by 2030.
6 Million New Heat Pumps: Essential to California's Climate Future

Heat pumps, an energy-efficient way to both heat and cool homes, are a necessary element of California's climate goal of net zero carbon emissions. Here's what they are, how they work, and how to get one.

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Pi Day Desert Recipes

We know that Pi Day, 3.14, is universally celebrated by eating pie, but our friends at Sac Digs Gardening apparently prefer other delicious treats. Here you will find a bunch of desert recipes from their cookbook, Taste Spring!

Image caption: The city of Downey is home to the oldest McDonald’s restaurant still in operation.
Beyond the Burger

McDonald’s might be the biggest fast-food chain to get cooking in California, but many others have followed, serving up hot dogs, tacos, and more.

Image caption: The 1965 law known as the Williamson Act has been responsible for keeping about half of California's farmland out of the hands of developers.
The Williamson Act: How the Law That Protects California’s Farmland Works

The Williamson Act, passed in 1965, now keeps more than 16 million acres of farmland out of the hands of developers. Here's how the law puts the brakes on the development of California agricultural properties.

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February Reading List

Mark Black History Month by reading these novels, nonfiction books and collections that feature Black voices exploring the Black experience in the Golden State.

Image caption: Does California’s signature environmental law protect the state’s scenic beauty, or cause more problems than it solves?
CEQA: The Surprising Story of CA’s Key Environmental Law

The California Environmental Quality Act, CEQA, is both the state’s signature environmental legislation, and is also often named as the villain in the state’s housing shortage. But the story may not be that simple.

Image caption: From its factory on the San Francisco Peninsula, Guittard makes chocolates that are used by professional pastry chefs and confectioners, including See’s Candies.
Beans, Bars and Bonbons: A Guide to California Chocolate

From giant companies with roots in the Gold Rush days to local microproducers with a focus on fair trade, California is ground zero for high-end chocolate.

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Bending the Arc of History

Here’s a short list of just some of the organizations working to build better futures for African Americans in California.

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Silicon Valley Billionaires vs. Bay Area’s Housing Crisis?

In NYT‚Äôs ‚ÄúThe Farmers Had What the Billionaires Wanted,‚ÄĚ we meet a man who wants to build a city in the middle of nowhere, and folks who are slowing him down.

Image caption: As residents continue to exit California, the state’s political power at the national level is at risk.
California Exodus, Housing and the State's Political Future

The California housing crisis is not only weakening the state politically at the national level, it could shift the political balance in Washington, D.C., as Republican-led states add population while California’s exodus continues.

Image caption: Though Pea Soup Anderson’s signs may be a bit worn, the restaurant exterior retains its homey charm.
Century Club: A Tour of Classic California Eateries

Pea Soup Anderson’s closed before its 100th birthday. Here are 24 restaurants 100 years or older that you can still visit.

Image caption: The Baldwin Hills area in South Los Angeles is one region where a state conservancy would keep open land accessible to the public.
California’s 10 State Conservancies: How They Protect Parks and Open Land

How California’s 10 state conservancies buy up open land and shield it from developers to preserve the natural environment for public use.

Image caption: As I post this, the tiny pipe-mark beneath the T on this COVID test card, indicating that I am still infected, feels like it’s lodged in my stinging left eyeball.
COVID Still Sucks

A new book, ‚ÄėThe Wisdom of Plagues,‚Äô makes me feel angry that I contracted the disease in what should be the post-COVID era.

Image caption: California traffic deaths dropped by 12 percent in the first three months of 2023, but road fatalities remain at crisis levels.
Death on the Roads: Traffic Fatality Crisis Far From Over

As the COVID pandemic eased, so did the epidemic of death on the road. Somewhat. But the ongoing crisis of traffic fatalities remains at high levels with early numbers form 2023 appearing to top 4,000 in California.

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Give Back: Read All About It

How two Central Coast media companies help thousands of people give millions to local nonprofit groups.

Image caption: The version of Mickey Mouse seen in the 1928 animated short ‚ÄúSteamboat Willie‚ÄĚ is now free for public use.
Mickey Mouse Enters Public Domain. What That Means for California

Disney icon Mickey Mouse is now in the public domain, meaning anyone can create their own Mickey Mouse cartoons. Here’s what that means, and how it could affect the California economy.

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Facing the New Year

California Local looks back at 2023, with an eye toward what stories will matter most in 2024.

Image caption: Long-duration energy storage, such as this thermal energy storage facility, allows renewable energy sources to operate at full capacity without overloading the power grid.
How California Leads the Race For Long Duration Energy Storage

Long-duration energy storage is essential if renewables are to become the basis for a future, carbon-neutral power grid. Here's how California is leading the race to store energy from solar, wind, and other clean sources for use whenever it's needed.

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