Today’s Headlines: California to experience high gas prices from Russian oil imports ban

By Elvia Limón, Laura Blasey and Amy Hubbard

Hello, it’s Wednesday, March 9, and here are the stories you shouldn’t miss today:

TOP STORIES

California to experience high gas prices from the Russian oil ban

President Biden said the U.S. will ban the importing of Russian oil, liquefied natural gas and coal, broadening the economic sanctions leveled against Moscow over its war in Ukraine. California drivers will be uniquely squeezed at the fuel pump with this ban because West Coast oil refineries are Russia’s best U.S. customers.

Russian oil is only a small piece of the U.S. energy picture. But nearly half of Russian oil shipped into the U.S. last year, or close to 100,000 barrels a day, ended up primarily in California, Washington and Hawaii, refinery consultant Andrew Lipow said. And the amount of Russian oil imported into the West Coast has been on the rise.

Of course, taking a hard stance against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine was never going to be cost-free. But many people have been surprised and concerned at how quickly those costs have hit home — especially after gas prices jumped almost overnight.

More about Ukraine

Gov. Newsom touts the ‘California way’ and teases a gas tax rebate

Gov. Gavin Newsom cast the state as a beacon of democracy in a turbulent world in his annual address to lawmakers, contrasting the “California way” through its embrace of diversity and inventive solutions with the politics of division and rising “authoritarian impulses” in America and driving the war in Ukraine.

But as he embarks on a campaign for reelection, Newsom also promised a tax rebate for Californians as high gasoline prices weigh on the minds of voters and his Republican critics. Newsom blamed “geopolitical uncertainty” for the rising cost of gasoline.

Sign up for our California Politics newsletter to get the best of The Times’ state politics reporting and the latest action in Sacramento.

Is it too risky for kids to go maskless at school and day care?

With mask mandates easing, some parents and schools will have much to think about in the coming weeks. After Friday at 11:59 p.m., California will lift its indoor K-12 and child care mask mandate, and it’ll be up to school and child care operators to decide for themselves their own masking policy.

Health officials are strongly recommending masks still be worn in indoor public settings, but school operators will have their own power to retain a mask order or to make wearing them optional. Here is what experts are saying about the risks.

More top coronavirus headlines

Stay up to date on variant developments, case counts and vaccine news with Coronavirus Today.

In the Gold Rush birthplace of downhill ski racing, the longboarders are back

Where did downhill ski racing begin? If Scandinavia comes to mind, consider this: Years before there were organized races in Europe, miners were competitively hurtling down mountains in a part of California known as the Lost Sierra.

This heritage is celebrated and reenacted each year at Johnsville Ski Bowl in Plumas-Eureka State Park. But COVID-19 halted the festivities for two years and, during that time, the Dixie fire devastated the surrounding areas.

So this year’s Longboard Revival Races, concluding this weekend, celebrate not only the resilience of early Californians, but also the modern-day fortitude of hard-hit mountain communities.

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PHOTO OF THE DAY

Ukrainian refugees board a train to Krakow after crossing the border in Medyka, Poland. On Tuesday, the number of people who fled Ukraine was estimated at more than 2 million. While many families have sought safety in Poland, a growing bottleneck at the countries’ shared border has pushed other refugees into Hungary, Slovakia and Romania.

(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

CALIFORNIA

Some L.A. schools face uncertain futures as student enrollment declines dramatically. State funding is based on the number of students in the classroom. But across California, enrollment is collapsing, driven by declining birthrates, out-of-state migration, the high cost of living and the growth of charter schools.

A California food assistance program hits a ‘crisis point’ in keeping up with demand. Families are experiencing longer wait times for assistance due to prolonged staff vacancies and casework backlogs because of underfunding of administrative costs for the CalFresh assistance program.

Older homeowners face hefty tax bills as L.A. County struggles to implement a 2020 tax law. Proposition 19, narrowly approved by California voters in 2020, gives older homeowners a property tax break when they move. But processing delays at the Los Angeles County assessor’s office have left property owners facing hefty tax bills.

Sherri Papini was released on $120,000 bail after being charged with faking her kidnapping. Papini, 39, was arrested and charged with lying to federal agents in faking her abduction and defrauding a California victim compensation fund of more than $30,000 meant for therapy and other costs. She faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted.

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NATION-WORLD

First trial for a Capitol rioter ends with conviction. A Texas man was convicted of storming the U.S. Capitol with a holstered handgun, a milestone victory for federal prosecutors in the first trial among hundreds of cases arising from last year’s riot. Jurors deliberated about three hours and convicted him on all counts.

Florida Republicans passed a bill to forbid instruction on sexual orientation and gender identity in kindergarten through third grade, rejecting a wave of criticism. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to sign it into law.

Querétaro owners are banned from Mexican soccer league after fans riot. The owners of a club in the central Mexican state have been banned from Mexican soccer for five years in the wake of a bloody riot that left more than two dozen people hospitalized.

What to know about South Korea’s presidential election. Whoever wins South Korea’s presidential election today will face a host of major issues, including skyrocketing housing prices and threats from nuclear-armed North Korea.

HOLLYWOOD AND THE ARTS

Morgan Wallen wins album of the year at ACM Awards. Wallen took home the prize on Monday night for “Dangerous: The Double Album,” a year after he was removed from the ACMs ballot after he was caught on camera using a racial slur.

For young female pop stars, dropping choice F-bombs in songs proves to be liberating and profitable. From Gayle to Olivia to Demi to Taylor, the Spotify charts are filled with young women gleefully deploying expletives with a newly found freedom.

At 102, idiosyncratic L.A. artist Ernest Rosenthal is having his moment. Printmaker and painter Rosenthal has had a prolific career, yet he’s remained relatively obscure. A new retrospective at Tin Flats, featuring artworks he’s created over 80 years, aims to bring the centenarian into the spotlight.

How ‘Jeopardy!’ star Amy Schneider fell in love with her new fiancée Genevieve Davis. The ensuing romance was a slow burn. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Davis and Schneider began hanging out every day. They “weren’t, like, dating,” Davis says, but they ran errands together.

BUSINESS

Congresswomen ask the IRS to look at Golden Globes group’s tax exempt status. More than a year after a Los Angeles Times investigation into the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., two congresswomen have asked the Internal Revenue Service to investigate the tax-exempt status of the organization behind the Golden Globes.

On Florida’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ bill, Disney sets a new standard for corporate cowardice. CEO Bob Chapek tied himself in knots justifying the company’s silence. Columnist Michael Hiltzik says it should be crystal clear that this is corporate claptrap — a move aimed at preserving Disney’s ability to pump out anodyne depictions of the world without suffering the least bit of partisan pushback.

OPINION

The latest chapter in an endless work of fiction about crime. Proposition 47 is the smart ballot measure adopted by Californians by a wide margin in 2014. It’s also the target of opponents seeking to scare up votes with ridiculous claims that we’ve “decriminalized” crime.

Of course, Black people should get reparations. The question is which Black people. Twin brothers want California to return land owned by their ancestors. But a task force’s debate over eligibility for reparations is complicating matters.

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SPORTS

Two NFL deals shake up the league. Amid news that the Green Bay Packers were putting the final touches on a reported $200-million deal to keep Aaron Rodgers came news that the Seattle Seahawks will trade Russell Wilson to the Denver Broncos.

The Chargers sign Mike Williams to a three-year contract with $40 million guaranteed. Through his first four seasons in the NFL, Williams’ big-play ability downfield was emphasized as the 6-foot-4, 218-pounder proved to be among the league’s best at going over defensive backs to win 50/50 battles.

Most fans are losing interest in baseball because of the lockout, a Times poll suggests. In the poll, 6 of 10 Americans said they were not baseball fans. Of those that described themselves as fans, 6 in 10 said the lockout has caused them to lose interest in the baseball season this year.

ONLY IN L.A.

A poodle with dyed fur in various colors and designs.

Cure’s grooming is on the theme of Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man.

(Mariah Tauger / Los Angeles Times)

The 2022 Groom Expo West — and its centerpiece event, the Andis Creative Styling Competition — was held in late February at the Pasadena Convention Center. Groomers competed live to primp out their poodles into fantastical works of art. Held on the final day of the annual confab billed as “the West Coast’s most illustrious grooming show,” the contest caps several days of panels, demonstrations and trade show booths. This year, veteran and rising stylists showed off designs inspired by movies, television and music, such as “The Nightmare Before Christmas,” Pac-Man, Monopoly, “Coraline” and the recent Disney hit “Encanto.” More photos here.

FROM THE ARCHIVES

Alfred Hitchcock looks at Jimmy Stewart, who holds a large plaque. Cary Grant stands nearby.

March 7, 1965: Alfred Hitchcock accepts the Producers Guild’s Milestone Award from presenters Cary Grant, left, and Jimmy Stewart.

Fifty-seven years ago this week, Alfred Hitchcock received the Milestone Award from the Producers Guild. Above, the legendary director takes the stage with a couple of other famous faces. A not-yet-famous filmmaker was also among those attending the March 7, 1965, ceremony. Martin Scorsese, 22, had made his first trip to Los Angeles to accept an award bestowed on promising young college film students.

Scorsese relived his close encounter with Old Hollywood in a 2005 interview with The Times. His winning entry, he said, was “It’s Not Just You, Murray!” — the 15-minute riff on 1920s gangster films starred, among others, his mom. He said: “I remember being in the backroom where they worked out how everyone was to come out. There’s David O. Selznick, Sam Goldwyn [and] Cary Grant, who … saw I was a little nervous, so he said, ‘Oh, calm down, don’t worry about it.’ He asked my name. I told him my name. He said, ‘You may have to change that.’”

We appreciate that you took the time to read Today’s Headlines! Comments or ideas? Feel free to drop us a note at [email protected]

Eleanore Beatty

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