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August 2
1935 - Newhall deputy Archie Carter sentenced to 1 year in jail for contributing to the delinquency of a minor after his wife fatally shot his 20-year-old mistress (the age of majority was 21). [story]
Archie Carter


SAN DIEGO — South Bay United Pentecostal Church failed Monday during its fourth attempt to block California from restricting occupancy rates on in-person worship services more severely than COVID-19 pandemic standards set by the state for retail and grocery stores.

But its attempt to block California’s COVID-19 restrictions on churches and places of worship during the Christian Holy Week may not be in vain.

U.S. District Judge Cynthia Bashant, a Barack Obama appointee, set an evidentiary hearing in the case, South Bay United Pentecostal Church v. Newsom, where California must show how it came up with its capacity caps on in-person worship services.

The hearing follows a Supreme Court order last month finding California’s ban on in-person church services was unconstitutional. While the Ninth Circuit found California’s ban during the height of the pandemic was constitutional, it found the state’s capacity restrictions on worship services under relaxed COVID-19 restrictions were not.

A year into the COVID-19 pandemic, California’s restrictions on places of worship are among the most restrictive in the country.

“The Supreme Court has expressed frustration — and I think rightfully so — about the lack of a developed record,” Bashant said, noting South Bay has requested temporary restraining orders against the state just before Christmas and Easter — major Christian holidays.

She added: “What I’m interested in is the occupancy rate. If the state can’t show they’re treating churches the same or better than retail, I’m inclined to issue the preliminary injunction.”

Paul Jonna, of San Diego-based LiMandri & Jonna, argued on behalf of South Bay.

He called California an “outlier,” noting 38 states have lifted pandemic-induced restrictions on churches, but the Golden State has more restrictive occupancy limits on houses of worship than for big box stores including Target and Walmart.

The stores are considered “grocery stores” under California’s pandemic reopening scheme. While in the state’s “Red Tier,” under which San Diego County currently falls, grocery stores can operate at full capacity.

But under the “Red Tier” — the second-most restrictive tier where there’s considered a “substantial” number of COVID-19 cases — churches can only operate indoors at 25% capacity.

“If California wants to place percentage caps on churches, it at least needs to match retail,” Jonna said.

Jonna pointed out only when churches are hosting worship services are their occupancy limits restricted to 25% capacity. But if a church is performing social services such as hosting a homeless shelter or food bank, it can be at 100% capacity.

He also noted San Diego, along with Los Angeles and many other California counties that continue to experience a downward trend in positive COVID-19 cases, could move down to the less restrictive “Orange Tier” as soon as April 7.

Under the “Orange Tier” retail can operate at 100% capacity while churches will see their capacity capped at 50%.

“Why do churches need to eliminate the viral risk while favored businesses only need to lower the risk?” Jonna questioned.

“There is no evidence church services pose heightened Covid-19 risk, especially with masking, social distancing, and other measures in place,” Jonna added.

He told Bashant South Bay “has a perfect COVID record” and has no known cases tied to in-person worship services held during the pandemic.

Deputy Attorney General Todd Grabarsky told Bashant occupancy limits set by the state during the coronavirus pandemic were informed by fire code occupancy rules, under which churches are allowed more people in their buildings than in retail establishments.

During COVID-19, to ensure the number of people per square feet was considered safe by the state’s public health experts, it implemented the capacity restrictions currently in place, he added.

“The state’s experts are not purporting to say the risk in churches must be eliminated but that it must be lower to the similar degree of risk posed in grocery stores,” Grabarsky said.

“These percentage caps are necessary to lower the number of people in a similar-sized sanctuary as in a similar-sized grocery store,” he added.

Bashant scheduled the preliminary injunction and evidentiary hearing for May 13.

— By Bianca Bruno, Courthouse News Service

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SCV NewsBreak
LOCAL NEWS HEADLINES
Monday, Aug 2, 2021
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: Henry Mayo Officials Report 153rd Death; Urge Those Eligible to Get Vaccinated
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported an additional death on Monday, bringing the total of COVID-19 related deaths to 153, hospital spokesman Patrick Moody said.
Monday, Aug 2, 2021
Hahn Announces Plan to Propose Vaccine Mandate for L.A. County Employees
Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn announced Saturday morning that she’s planning to introduce a motion requiring all county employees “to get the vaccine or face weekly COVID testing.”
Friday, Jul 30, 2021
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: SCV Cases Total 29,884; L.A. County Continues Efforts Vaccinating Homeless
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Friday five new deaths and 3,606 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 29,884 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
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Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital reported an additional death on Monday, bringing the total of COVID-19 related deaths to 153, hospital spokesman Patrick Moody said.
Monday COVID-19 Roundup: Henry Mayo Officials Report 153rd Death; Urge Those Eligible to Get Vaccinated
The Santa Clarita Public Library is excited to announce the return of the Summer Book Bag Sale!
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Rancho Camulos Museum has launched a new visitor experience at the Rancho Camulos National Historic Landmark, "Last Sundays at the Landmark."
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The city of Santa Clarita’s Film Office released the 11 productions currently filming in the Santa Clarita Valley for the week of Monday, Aug. 2 - Sunday, Aug. 8, 2021:
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Registration Now Open for River Rally Volunteers
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Saugus High School graduate Abbey Weitzeil anchored Team USA to a silver medal in the women’s 4×100 medley relay in her final swim of the Tokyo Olympics on Sunday.
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Do you believe in magic? Then join The MAIN, located at 24266 Main Street in Newhall, for “Enchanted: An Evening of Magic” on Friday, Aug. 20, at 8:00 p.m.
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Majestic Princess returned to Seattle on Sunday, concluding its sailing to Alaska and marking the first successful United States voyage for Princess Cruises following the extended pause in operations.
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1935 - Newhall deputy Archie Carter sentenced to 1 year in jail for contributing to the delinquency of a minor after his wife fatally shot his 20-year-old mistress (the age of majority was 21). [story]
Archie Carter
1963 - Leona Cox Community School breaks ground in Canyon Country [story]
Leona Cox
1939 - Recording artist, music promoter and longtime Sand Canyon resident Cliffie Stone marries singer Dorothy Darling in Hollywood [story]
Cliffie Stone
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Friday five new deaths and 3,606 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 29,884 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: SCV Cases Total 29,884; L.A. County Continues Efforts Vaccinating Homeless
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With a heavy heart, Gibbon Conservation Center announced that Chris Roderick, long-time GCC Board Member, passed away on July 24, 2021.
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College of the Canyons has received a $74,707 Campus as a Living Lab (CALL) grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to provide opportunities for underrepresented community college students to engage in undergraduate research focusing on native bees.
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The city of Santa Clarita is excited to host “Moments of Zen” as the latest art exhibition featured in City Hall’s First Floor Gallery, located at 23920 Valencia Boulevard.
Community Encouraged to Explore City Hall’s ‘Moments of Zen’ Art Exhibit
Local nonprofit Fostering Youth Independence (FYI) held its fifth annual Back to School Bash, where students received backpacks and school supplies for the upcoming semester, and for the first time also featured a career fair featuring eleven speakers from the FYI community who explained their jobs and career qualifications.
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Public Health Extends Water Use Warning for L.A. County Beaches
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SACRAMENTO — State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond hosted a webinar on Thursday for local educational agencies (LEAs) and education partners to lead a discussion on how schools can use new state and federal funding to invest in strategies that will facilitate a safe and impactful return to in-person learning.
Health, Education Experts Address Ways to Invest New Funding into Safe In-Person Learning
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