Emmys 2021: ‘The Crown’ takes 7 awards including best drama, while ‘Ted Lasso’ scores 4 including best comedy

“The Crown” conquered the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards on Sunday with seven wins including outstanding drama and all four acting categories, while “Ted Lasso” finished second with four Emmys including outstanding comedy.

More: See all the 2021 Emmy Awards action

“Thank you, the Television Academy; thank you, Netflix; thank you, Sony,” said creator Peter Morgan, who appeared virtually with most of “The Crown” cast and creators in England where it was just after 4 a.m. Monday when the best drama award was announced.

“Thanks … this lot,” said Morgan, who earlier won best writing for a drama, smiling broadly at the cheering crew around him in the room. “We’re going to have a party now. I’m lost for words and I’m very, very grateful.”

Olivia Colman won best actress for “The Crown” for her role as Queen Elizabeth, while Josh O’Connor won best actor for his work as Prince Charles. Earlier, Tobias Menzies and Gillian Anderson won the supporting actor and actress awards for portrayals of Prince Phillip and Margaret Thatcher.


In this video grab issued Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, by the Television Academy, the team of “Ted Lasso” accept the award for outstanding comedy series during the Primetime Emmy Awards. (Television Academy via AP)

In comedy, Jason Sudeikis won best actor for “Ted Lasso,” which ended up with four Emmys, including best supporting actor and actress for Brett Goldstein and Hannah Waddingham, while Jean Smart was the winner of best actress for a comedy series for her work in “Hacks.”

“Mare of Easttown” and “The Queen’s Gambit” split the top categories for limited series, anthologies or movies. Kate Winslet won best actress in the title role of “Mare of Easttown,” which won three overall, while “The Queen’s Gambit” won two awards including outstanding limited series.

“Anya Taylor-Joy, what can I say, you brought the sexy back to chess,” said William Horberg, producer of “The Queen’s Gambit.” “And you inspired a generation of young  women and girls to realize the patriarchy has no defense against our queens.”

.

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OCVarsity football wrap-up: All of Friday’s stories, scores and more from Week 4

This is the place to find all of OCVarsity’s coverage of Friday’s high school football games, plus the stories, scores and photos from Thursday’s games.

FRIDAY’S GAMES

SCORES

High school football: All of the scores from Friday’s Week 4 games

PHOTO GALLERY

High school football: Our top photos from Friday’s Week 4 games

GAME STORIES

Santa Margarita football knocks off Los Alamitos with second-half comeback

Servite football sparked by Fifita and McMillan in victory over Sierra Canyon

Edison football starts fast, beats San Clemente behind defense, special teams

Records broken as Orange football defeats Capistrano Valley in 67-47 shootout

Everything goes right for Foothill football in rout of La Mirada

El Modena football uses late TD and some trickery to beat Aliso Niguel

Mission Viejo football handles Alemany

Rancho Cucamonga’s turnovers prove costly against JSerra football

Trabuco Hills football rallies to beat Newport Harbor with huge boost from Perez

THURSDAY’S GAMES

OCVarsity football wrap-up: All of Thursday’s stories, scores and more

Focused Cypress football sprints past Katella to continue sizzling start

Huntington Beach football scores early, often in win over Marina

Pacifica football routs Buena Park with big plays from Cowens, Ross

Tustin football dominated by Ayala, sophomore QB Bryan Wilson

Defense stars for Laguna Hills football in victory over Northwood

Saddleback football continues hot start with win over Bolsa Grande

High school football: Scores from all of Thursday’s Week 4 games

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High school football: All of the scores from Friday’s Week 4 games

All of the scores from the CIF Southern Section and L.A. City football games on Friday, Sept. 24.

FRIDAY’S RESULTS

CIF-SS

NONLEAGUE

Servite 44, Sierra Canyon 22

Santa Margarita 42, Los Alamitos 21

Edison 42, San Clemente 0

Villa Park 17, Valencia 7

Mission Viejo 30, Alemany 7

El Toro 35, Garden Grove 7

El Modena 20, Aliso Niguel 15

JSerra 48, Rancho Cucamonga 28

Foothill 34, La Mirada 7

Orange 67, Capistrano Valley 47

Orange Lutheran 42, Notre Dame/So 24

Corona del Mar 45, San Juan Hills 27

Yorba Linda 23, Chino Hills 7

Walnut 21, Ocean View 0

Laguna Beach 48, Crean Lutheran 26

Kennedy 29, Canyon Country Canyon 11

Troy 49, Cerritos 6

Brea Olinda 26, Fullerton 18

Costa Mesa 20, Los Amigos 16

Dana Hills 34, Woodbridge 6

Estancia 36, La Quinta 16

Irvine 57, University 0

Capistrano Valley Christian 46, Desert Christian/BD 14

Santiago 41, Magnolia 35 (2OT)

Trabuco Hills 23, Newport Harbor 13

Sunny Hills 56, Gahr 0

Sonora 10, Esperanza 7

Portola 28, Beckman 7

Rancho Alamitos 37, Godinez 7

Calvary Chapel/SA 46, Santa Ana Valley 7

Segerstrom 29, Thousand Oaks 28

St. Margaret’s 54, Riverside Prep 0

St. John Bosco 49, Smith (Va.) 0

Mira Costa 40, West Torrance 14

Mayfair 24, Valencia 7

Agoura 41, Moorpark 6

Apple Valley 41, Silverado 0

Arroyo 24, Whittier 21

Barstow 20, Burroughs 0

Bishop Amat 47, Leuzinger 19

Bonita 42, Los Osos 7

Brentwood 45, Carpinteria 0

Calabasas 44, Crescenta Valley 6

Campbell Hall 27, La Canada 23

Cantwell-Sacred Heart 51, Verbum Dei 0

Cerritos Valley Christian 35, Ontario Christian 21

Charter Oak 36, South Hills 0

Chino 49, Don Lugo 0

Citrus Valley 35, Orange Vista 0

Colton 34, San Gorgonio 12

Corona 35, Vista del Lago 30

Centennial 52, Long Beach Poly 7

Dos Pueblos 17, Royal 14 (OT)

Eastvale Roosevelt 28, Heritage 7

Eisenhower 49, Kaiser 28

El Monte 30, Sierra Vista 20

El Rancho 29, Covina 0

El Segundo 48, Hawthorne 20

Elsinore 38, Lakeside 6

Etiwanda 42, Colony 13

Fillmore 17, Oak Park 14

Garey 41, Gladstone 7

Glendale 32, South El Monte 20

Great Oak 35, Paloma Valley 6

Hemet 20, Adelanto 18

Hueneme 20, Burroughs 0

Jurupa Hills 48, Grand Terrace 6

Jurupa Valley 48, Perris 18

King 27, Patriot 7

La Serna 49, Valley View 6

Lawndale 16, Cathedral 6

Mary Star 27, Viewpoint 26

Montclair 22, Ontario 0

Nogales 33, Workman 0

Norco 35, Murrieta Valley 34

Nordhoff 15, San Marcos 14

Norte Vista 50, Linfield Christian 7

Norwalk 51, Glenn 7

Oak Hills 77, Citrus Hill 0

Palm Desert 17, Santiago 7

Palm Springs 40, Redlands 0

Paraclete 43, Redondo 20

Pasadena 53, Harvard-Westlake 13

Rancho Mirage 35, Chaffey 8

Ramona 57, Riverside Poly 7

Rialto 48, Pacific 0

Rim of the World 51, Rowland 13

Rio Hondo Prep 55, Temple City 14

Riverside North 34, Los Altos 7

Salesian 66, Pioneer 0

San Bernardino 32, Silver Valley 0

San Dimas 42, Schurr 12

San Jacinto 44, Beaumont 36

Santa Barbara 28, Ventura 21

Santa Ynez 34, Lompoc 30

Saugus 35, Oxnard 12

Simi Valley 42, Golden Valley 14

South Pasadena 45, Alhambra 27

South Torrance 28, Peninsula 21

St. Anthony 43, St. Pius X-St. Matthias 25

St. Francis 42, Muir 6

St. Genevieve 54, Burbank 21

Summit 49, Carter 8

Temecula Valley 35, Redlands East Valley 27

Temescal Canyon 31, Hillcrest 14

Trinity Classical Academy 31, St. Monica 0

Upland 7, Aquinas 6

Victor Valley 35, Sultana 20

West Ranch 49, Crespi 34

Cajon 39, El Cajon Grossmont 7

Camarillo 29, Santa Maria Righetti 6

Contreras 40, Beverly Hills 0

Serra 54, Carson 0

Heritage Christian 19, Chatsworth 7

Hoover 14, Angelou 0

Loyola 42, San Diego Mira Mesa 20

Lynwood 37, Manual Arts 24

Palos Verdes 27, Banning 21

Santa Maria 35, Cabrillo 7

Sylmar 20, Morningside 0

Torrance 48, Gardena 8

Yucaipa 37, San Diego University City 28

DESERT VALLEY LEAGUE

Coachella Valley 44, Desert Hot Springs 6

Indio 53, Desert Mirage 0

Yucca Valley 15, Banning 6

MOORE LEAGUE

Compton 36, Long Beach Wilson 14

Lakewood 67, Long Beach Cabrillo 0

Millikan 42, Long Beach Jordan 0

 

L.A. CITY

EAST VALLEY LEAGUE

Arleta 13, North Hollywood 0

Chavez 24, Sun Valley Poly 14

Verdugo Hills 24, Monroe 14

EASTERN LEAGUE

Garfield 49, Bell 0

L.A. Roosevelt 48, Legacy 0

VALLEY MISSION LEAGUE

Canoga Park 35, Panorama 14

Granada Hills Kennedy 41, Van Nuys 0

Reseda 49, San Fernando 0

NONLEAGUE

Cleveland 54, Hollywood 0

Crenshaw 42, Taft 7

Dymally 38, Rivera 0

Franklin 64, Narbonne 6

Granada Hills 16, Eagle Rock 13

Lincoln 57, Mendez 8

L.A. Wilson 53, Maywood CES 20

Marquez 40, Torres 6

San Pedro 41, Dorsey 6

View Park 26, L.A. Marshall 0

Westchester 42, Jefferson 6

8 MAN

CIF-SS

Chadwick 43, San Jacinto Valley Academy 14

CSDR 64, Hesperia Christian 22

Avalon 48, University Pathways 0

Chula Vista Victory Christian 42, La Verne Lutheran 10

Malibu 34, East Valley 0

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Pregnant during pandemic: COVID-19 fears fuel increased interest in home births

When Tameka Issartel went into labor shortly after midnight on Feb. 3, she found herself drifting into a trance-like state. She didn’t remember when her husband called their midwife or how she arrived with her assistant at her El Sereno home.

“I had an out-of-body experience,” she said.

As her pain intensified, Issartel spent several hours moving around her house, stepping into a shower, sitting in a bathtub and leaning up against the sofa in her living room, while midwife Racha Tahani Lawler massaged her back and encouraged her through labor. But the baby was still not coming out.

The pain grew so intense, Issartel said, she roared like a tiger.

That’s when the midwife told her husband to call 911.

Issartel kept pushing, changing her birthing positions several times with the assistance of midwives and her husband, who was also trying to take care of the couple’s three daughters patiently waiting nearby to meet the baby.

When Issartel’s son finally arrived around 9 a.m., she noticed that he was not breathing. Her daughters surrounded the baby as Lawler kneeled next to him, pulled off her N-95 mask and performed CPR, as Issartel stared in shock.

“Breathe, baby, breathe,” one of the girls said. “Come on, Tenshin.”


Midwife Racha Tahani Lawler describes Tameka Issartel’s difficult labor where she had to perform CPR on the baby all the way to the hospital after he had trouble taking his first breath during a coronavirus surge. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

FOURTH IN A SERIES: Pregnant during the Pandemic

Previous stories:

Programs, midwives step up to support Black mothers

Black midwives in demand; are there enough to handle influx of clients?

Birth centers grow in popularity, but owners say it’s difficult to qualify for state license

Rising interest in home births 

Home births have been on the rise across the Los Angeles region for the last couple of years, in part because of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.

More women have been opting for home birth as hospitals postponed or moved most of their health care online due to the pandemic, barring partners, canceling antenatal classes and often leaving women to deliver and recover alone. And many women chose home delivery because they were worried about being exposed to the virus at hospitals.

Another factor contributing to the rise of home birth, experts say, is the growing awareness of health disparities in maternal and infant mortality faced by Black women, who bear a greater risk of childbirth complications than any other demographic group, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It’s estimated that about 700 women die each year in the United States from pregnancy-related complications, including infections, severe bleeding and high blood pressure. Black, American Indian and Alaska Native women have been disproportionately affected by pregnancy- and birth-related complications, with the CDC reporting they are two to three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than other demographic groups.

Interviews with more than two dozen midwives indicate they have attended double or triple the number of home births since the first days of the pandemic, with many of them unable to meet the demand and even turning clients away.

Lawler said she has been receiving dozens of inquiries each day from families inquiring about home birth. On some days, she visits her clients not to provide any prenatal or postpartum care, but just to hold their babies and listen.

“So many Black people are struggling with feeling whole because of everything that is going on,” she said. “They are piecing themselves together, worrying about the pandemic, worrying about their family, worrying about their housing, worrying about their food and struggling to hold it together.”

Nurse midwife Shadman Habibi, who works at UCLA Health Birth Place in Santa Monica, said at least 25 women of 150 patients who were planning their deliveries there changed their birthing plans in the past few months.

“They stopped coming to us and decided to have a home birth,” Habibi said.

The number of home births in Los Angeles County increased by 5.3% to a total of 631 from 2018 to 2020. During the same period, the numbers in San Bernardino County increased by nearly 25% to 186, according to preliminary data from the California Department of Public Health.

In Riverside County, that number rose by 121% to 310 from 2015 to 2020, according to the Riverside University Health System-Public Health.

In Orange County, the numbers have remained about the same from 2018 to 2020, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Licensed midwife Angelica Miller, who is based in Long Beach, said she has seen an uptick of inquiries about home birth since last year.

“A lot of moms choose home birth outside the pandemic because they can be active participants of their care,” she said. “With the pandemic, it’s a fear of COVID.”

Many of her clients, Miller added, choose a home delivery because they want to have control over their birth experience and make sure their needs are met.

One of her recent clients, MyLin Stokes Kennedy, decided to have an out-of-hospital birth after witnessing her wife, Lindsay, being pregnant with their son Lennox about two years ago. She watched in shock as an obstetrician failed to check on her wife while she was in pain.

Stokes Kennedy made up her mind to deliver her baby at home once she became pregnant with the couple’s third child.

  • Midwife Angelica Miller does a prenatal visit with MyLin Stokes Kennedy and her wife Lindsay at their Fountain Valley home on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Midwife Angelica Miller listens to the heart beat of MyLin Stokes Kennedy’s baby with her wife Lindsay and their child Lennox, 21 months, at their Fountain Valley home on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Midwife Angelica Miller does a prenatal visit with MyLin Stokes Kennedy and her wife Lindsay who plays with their son Lennox, 21 months, at their Fountain Valley home on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

  • Lennox Stokes Kennedy, 21 months, plays with bubbles as his mom Lindsay watches during a midwife visit for his other mom at their Fountain Valley home on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

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“I’m just more aware of what’s happening to women like me in the hospital,” said the 34-year old resident of Fountain Valley, who is Black. “I didn’t want to be part of those statistics.”

Stokes Kennedy said she was drawn to home birth and midwifery care because of its focus on avoiding unnecessary interventions. The idea of receiving guidance and support from a midwife made her feel seen and heard. The pandemic was the final straw, she added, convincing her to opt for out-of-hospital delivery.


Lindsay Stokes Kennedy wrote her wife MyLin’s birth affirmations on a mirror where Mylin’s paintings are reflected as seen on Thursday, September 16, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

“With the pandemic, I wouldn’t want to be in the hospital,” she said.

It took her more than two months to find Miller, a Black midwife who attended home births in Orange County.

She envisioned delivering her baby in a birthing tub surrounded by candles, lavender scents and family members.

“I wanted a holistic, beautiful, spiritual journey and it has been like that so far,” Stokes Kennedy said. Miller, she added, encouraged her to ask questions during appointments that sometimes stretched to more than an hour — a type of care she believed she wouldn’t get with obstetricians.


MyLin Stokes Kennedy has her wife Lindsay feel their baby move at their Fountain Valley home on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

But once she went into labor in the late hours on Sept. 3, all her birthing plans went out of the window.

As her labor progressed quickly, her contractions became longer and more intense. She labored in the bathroom for a while before her water bag dropped. About 30 minutes later, with the midwife still on the way, Stokes Kennedy noticed the baby’s head popping out.

“I said: ‘My baby is coming,’ ” she said.

When Lindsay heard her wife’s voice, she ran over from the dining room, where she was filling the birthing tub with water, and encouraged her wife to breathe and keep pushing. Stokes Kennedy’s doula, mother, and 13-year-old son stood by her side.

She pushed and pushed. Then she rested for a minute and pushed again.

Maddox Levi was born before midnight on Sept. 3. He weighed 9 pounds, 3 ounces and was 23 inches long. Right after he was born, the family FaceTimed the midwife and stayed on the call until she arrived about 15 minutes later.

Stokes Kennedy said although her mother was nervous witnessing home birth without professional help, no one considered calling 911.

“I was safe at home,” she said. “It was never a terrible pain. … Once his head was out, he was fine. There was never any worry.”

Although Stokes Kennedy didn’t have a chance to experience a water birth or light $200 worth of candles, she said she would do a home birth again. “My wife caught the baby,” she said. “It was very calm, intentional and beautiful.”


MyLin Stokes Kennedy rests at home on Thursday, September 16, 2021 with her son Lennox and Maddox, who her wife Lindsay delivered in their Fountain Valley home days ago. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Maddox Stokes Kennedy, 13 days, sleeps in his cradle on Thursday, September 16, 2021 next to his mom MyLin in his Fountain Valley home where he was born. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

As the pandemic continued battering hospitals, midwives say they occasionally received phone calls from women who couldn’t afford to pay for midwifery care but needed advice preparing for an unassisted birth, also known as free birth.

Some expectant mothers turned to Facebook groups, seeking advice on unassisted birth where women shared pictures of themselves laboring in inflatable pools surrounded by candlelight and family members. They also asked questions on how to talk to neighbors about potential screaming during labor, whether free birth is possible with previous C-sections and if there’s a need to call 911 if labor doesn’t progress after a certain period of time.

Although free birth is not illegal in California, there have been instances in other states in which women who delivered stillborn babies at home have been prosecuted.

Doctors maintain that hospitals remain the safest option for pregnant women even amid the pandemic.

Dr. Amos Grunebaum, an obstetrician and gynecologist and a professor at the Zucker School of Medicine in New York, said out-of-hospital birth puts mothers and babies at risk.

“Complications can happen quickly and unexpectedly, even with people who have low-risk pregnancies,” he said. “People who deliver at home put their babies at an increased risk.”

Grunebaum and a team of researchers examined records from 2016-2018 and discovered that nearly 60% of women who planned a home birth had risk factors that could potentially end up in complications and neonatal mortality, according to a study published in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology and covered by Reuters.

“These significantly increased risks of neonatal mortality in home births must be disclosed by all obstetric practitioners to all pregnant women who express an interest in such births,” according to the study.

Grunebaum was among a group of researchers who analyzed National Center for Health Statistics data on 88,000 planned home births across the county and discovered that nearly 4% of births followed prior C-section, about 23% of the mothers were 35 or older, and nearly 5% were 40 or older.

He also found that expectant mothers chose home birth despite risk factors like older age, prior cesarean delivery or obesity — factors which whole disqualified them from home birth in other developed countries.

“You have only one or two babies in your life,” he said. “Why would you risk it?


Obstetrics Service Chief Dr. Mya Zapata says the birth center at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood supports all births from hypnotic to high-risk births. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Dr. Mya Zapata, an obstetrician and gynecologist and the chief of the obstetrics service at Ronald Reagan Medical Center at UCLA, said she would recommend having a baby in the hospital.

“Most patients who get COVID, get it in the community from people they interact with,” she said. “The risk is much higher of getting COVID going to other locations and gatherings. In the hospital, at least the health care workers are vaccinated and everyone is wearing a mask.”ase

No regrets

As the Issartel family was waiting for paramedics to arrive, Lawler continued performing CPR for at least 12 minutes.

During labor, Issartel learned that the baby was large and his shoulder was stuck inside her pelvis, a birth complication known as shoulder dystocia.

When paramedics arrived, they put Lawler on the gurney with the baby as she continued performing CPR.

“I was terrified that I was going break his ribs,” she said.

Issartel, 34, was transported to the hospital in a separate ambulance.

At the hospital, the boy received a cooling treatment, also known as therapeutic hypothermia, used to treat babies who were deprived of oxygen during birth. The treatment lowers the baby’s body temperature to prevent his or her health from deteriorating, by stopping the death of oxygen-deprived cells.

Because of pandemic-related restrictions, Issartel was not allowed to see her son until later in the afternoon. She was allowed to hold him for the first time only after three anxious days.

When doctors returned the boy’s temperature back to normal three days later, Issartel placed him on her chest, watching him latch onto her breast right away, with breathing tubes and oxygen still attached to his body. His MRI images showed no signs of trauma or injury.


Tameka Issartel poses with her husband Yukio Hoshi and their children Kalea, 10, Tenshin, 7 months, Nalani, 5, and Luana, 7, in their El Sereno living room on Thursday, September 9, 2021 where she birthed Tenshin. Midwife Racha Tahani Lawler pulled off her N95 and performed CPR all the way to the hospital after Tenshin struggled to take his first breath. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

“I was very blessed that we didn’t have any issues with nursing,” she said.

Before Tenshin was born, Issartel said she was debating whether to have a home birth. She even considered unassisted birth, but eventually decided to hire a midwife.

“I didn’t want to go to the hospital in the middle of the pandemic,” Issartel said.

Home birth allowed her and her son to avoid lengthy and painful recovery, which Issartel said took more than two months after her previous pregnancy.

“I do believe this is really meant to be,” she said. “If I was in the hospital, the healing journey for him and I would be worse. I have no regrets.”


Tameka Issartel and her daughter, Nalani, 5, laugh with Tenshin, 7 months, in their El Sereno living room on Thursday, September 9, 2021 where Issartel birthed Tenshin. Midwife Racha Tahani Lawler pulled off her N95 and performed CPR all the way to the hospital after Tenshin struggled to take his first breath. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Olga Grigoryants’ reporting on pregnancy during the pandemic was undertaken as a project for the USC Center for Health Journalism’s 2021 California Fellowship.

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Man gets time served for assault of 69-year-old man in Irvine that was captured on video

SANTA ANA — A Tustin resident pleaded guilty Monday and was immediately sentenced to time already served in jail for assaulting a 69-year-old man in Irvine over a dispute about an unleashed dog.

Keven Alexander Quiroz, 23, admitted to assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury, according to court records. Quiroz, who was in jail from the end of March until he posted $10,000 bail on May 20, was also placed on two years of formal probation.

As part of the plea deal, a felony charge of inflicting injury on an elder adult was dismissed.

In an attempt to generate leads, police released video of the attack, which occurred about 7 p.m. March 19 at Sierra Vista Middle School. The surveillance video and photos led to an anonymous tip, which resulted in the suspect’s arrest, according to Sgt. Karie Davies of the Irvine Police Department.

Quiroz was arrested at his apartment in Tustin, and police also seized a rifle from his vehicle, according to Davies, who said investigators suspect the attack stemmed from a dispute over Quiroz letting his dog off-leash.

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Whicker: At USC, the benefit of the doubt is now exhausted, as are its fans

  • Running back Vavae Malepeai #6 of the USC Trojans runs for a first down against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans walks off the field after the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans reacts after a turnover against Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Defensive end Ryan Johnson #23 of the Stanford Cardinal pressures quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans looks on from the bench in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans after the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans walks off the field after the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans runs off the field as the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr. #1 of the USC Trojans drops a pass in the end zone against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans looks on against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr. #1 of the USC Trojans drops a pass in the end zone against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans looks down after the Stanford Cardinal scores in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr. #1 of the USC Trojans drops a pass in the end zone against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Tahj Washington #16 of the USC Trojans drops a pass in front of cornerback Zahran Manley #31 of the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans looks toward the video board against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans looks on from the bench in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Isaiah Sanders #0 of the Stanford Cardinal runs for touchdown against the USC Trojans in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Cornerback Chris Steele #8 of the USC Trojans reacts after being called for a interference call against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • USC Trojans honors those that lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks prior to a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • USC Trojans honors those that lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks prior to a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • USC Trojans enters the field prior to a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • A fan holding a US flag as the USC Trojans honors those that lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks prior to a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans looks on prior to a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • A fan holds a sign “LA Loves NY” as the USC Trojans honors those that lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks prior to a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans runs off the field as the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • head coach David Shaw of the Stanford Cardinal walks off the field after the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans runs off the field as the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Nathaniel Peat #8 of the Stanford Cardinal runs for first down past linebacker Clyde Moore #36 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Elijah Higgins #6 of the Stanford Cardinal dives for yardage against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach David Shaw of the Stanford Cardinal reacts against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans reacts against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans scrambles against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Drake London #15 of the USC Trojans catches a pass for first down against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Defensive lineman Colin Mobley #90 of the USC Trojans hands off to running back Keaontay Ingram #28 of the USC Trojans against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Keaontay Ingram #28 of the USC Trojans runs for touchdown against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Nathaniel Peat #8 of the Stanford Cardinal reacts after a 87 yard touchdown run against the s in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Qide receiver Drake London #15 of the USC Trojans can’t reach a pass against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart #6 of the USC Trojans is called for pass interference against wide receiver John Humphreys #5 of the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Qide receiver Drake London #15 of the USC Trojans can’t reach a pass against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Nathaniel Peat #8 of the Stanford Cardinal runs for a 80 plus yard touchdown against safety Calen Bullock #27 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans sliders for the first down against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Elijah Higgins #6 of the Stanford Cardinal catches a pass for a touchdown past cornerback Joshua Jackson Jr. #23 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Keaontay Ingram #28 of the USC Trojans is upededend against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Keaontay Ingram #28 of the USC Trojans runs for touchdown against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Elijah Higgins #6 of the Stanford Cardinal catches a pass for a touchdown past cornerback Joshua Jackson Jr. #23 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart #6 of the USC Trojans is called for pass interference against wide receiver John Humphreys #5 of the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Drake London #15 of the USC Trojans drops a pass against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Keaontay Ingram #28 of the USC Trojans runs for first down against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans with the quarterback keeper for the first down against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Offensive lineman Courtland Ford #74 of the USC Trojans silhouetted walks toward the bench as they warm up prior to a NCAA football game against the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • USC Trojans warms up prior to a NCAA football game against the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

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A lot of things died on the Coliseum turf Saturday night, including all extenuating circumstances.

USC football has sunk below the water table. The excuses fly out the window like a misguided pass by Kedon Slovis.

There are no unbearable injuries. There are all these gleaming new recruits and transfers. Patience, usually a virtue, descends into blindness if it tries to justify this 42-28 loss to Stanford, which was 42-13 early in the fourth quarter, conducted on the corner of Fiasco and Debacle.

All coaches’ days are numbered, to some extent, but Clay Helton’s tenure at USC seems closer than it’s ever been to the notary public’s signature book.

Some things can’t be helped, like Parker Lewis getting ejected on the opening kickoff for targeting. Lewis is, or was, the kicker himself. The only rational explanation is that Lewis was angling for an NIL endorsement deal with Target. A coach shouldn’t have to warn his players against that.

In any event, this wouldn’t be decided by field goals. But the hail of blunders that the Trojans have often survived in the past are no accident. You don’t have to be a firewater-belching Trojan alum who wonders why it isn’t still 1978 to demand a do-over, complete with the dreaded “culture change.”

Stanford, which had seven points and 233 yards against Kansas State last week, got one touchdown after two USC pass interference penalties. It was happy with a field goal at the end of another drive until Joshua Jackson lined up in the neutral zone, the third critical USC infraction of that drive, at which point Stanford coach David Shaw took the three points off the board and called for a touchdown, which Tanner McKee provided with a pass to Elijah Higgins.

Slovis wound up fielding almost as many as boos as Helton did. On third and five, he ignored one-on-one matchups on the right side and threw left, where the Cardinal had help. The pass was wayward, and Ryu Blu Kelly picked it and scored. Kelly’s dad Brian was a cornerback who did those types of things for USC, once upon a time.

Time and again Stanford’s receivers won simple battles against USC’s defensive backs, a process that was accelerated by the Trojans’ inability to bother McKee, a Corona Centennial alum who spent two years on a church mission to Brazil. Here, he burned USC with 16 for 23 passing and two touchdowns. It helped that he was not sacked or hit by USC’s socially-distant pass rushers.

“They showed a lot of faith in their young quarterback and he was exceptional,” said Helton, who said little about Slovis but otherwise was trying to lip-gloss what 56,945 had just witnessed.

Stanford enjoyed four plays that went 37 yards or more, including the simplest of sweeps by Nathaniel Peat that spanned 87 yards for a touchdown. USC’s so-what flurry at the end of the fourth quarter helped to balance the yardage, but it took Slovis 42 throws to amass 223 yards.

“This is Game 2,” Helton said pointedly. “I’m looking forward to winning some games and hearing how much we’ve improved since this game.”

The problem is that the top tier of the Pac-12 looks unusually strong. Oregon and UCLA have already toppled Ohio State and LSU, and Colorado nearly upset Texas A&M. The Trojans avoid Oregon but play the other two, along with Notre Dame,  Arizona State and BYU. But the presumed underdogs in the other games will see plenty of hope in this particular game tape.

A win would have at least provided some locker room mirth. Alex Stadthaus was the kicker who had to replace Lewis, and he converted both field goal tries.

“Parker is the type of guy who you can see going after people,” Stadthaus said. “He wants to make plays. When it happened, I said, no, it couldn’t be Parker. Then I saw that it was. So it was time to get going, make a few kicks. I told him that I’ll be you for tonight and you can be me.”

A team’s identity isn’t nearly that easy to exchange. In USC’s case it’s also hard to identify. Helton’s muscular 2017 team, the one that won the Pac-12 championship, twice bullied Stanford into submission. Then, once Sam Darnold left, the Trojans got suckered into playing pitch-and-catch, and that’s where they still are.

It does no good to have overflowing talent at tight end when you rarely use one. Jude Wolfe and Michael Trigg made one catch each for a total of 16 yards. But you also can’t change systems in a week or three or six. That’s why Saturday night felt like the end of something.

“It’s early in the season,” Clay Helton kept saying, and no one argued. It’s also late in the program.

Read more about Whicker: At USC, the benefit of the doubt is now exhausted, as are its fans This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. OC Shredding Business

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Whicker: The benefit of the doubt is now exhausted at USC, as are its fans

  • Running back Vavae Malepeai #6 of the USC Trojans runs for a first down against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans walks off the field after the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans reacts after a turnover against Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Defensive end Ryan Johnson #23 of the Stanford Cardinal pressures quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans looks on from the bench in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans after the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans walks off the field after the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans runs off the field as the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr. #1 of the USC Trojans drops a pass in the end zone against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans looks on against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr. #1 of the USC Trojans drops a pass in the end zone against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans looks down after the Stanford Cardinal scores in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Gary Bryant Jr. #1 of the USC Trojans drops a pass in the end zone against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Tahj Washington #16 of the USC Trojans drops a pass in front of cornerback Zahran Manley #31 of the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans looks toward the video board against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans looks on from the bench in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Isaiah Sanders #0 of the Stanford Cardinal runs for touchdown against the USC Trojans in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Cornerback Chris Steele #8 of the USC Trojans reacts after being called for a interference call against the Stanford Cardinal in the second half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. Stanford Cardinal won 42-28. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • USC Trojans honors those that lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks prior to a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • USC Trojans honors those that lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks prior to a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • USC Trojans enters the field prior to a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • A fan holding a US flag as the USC Trojans honors those that lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks prior to a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans looks on prior to a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • A fan holds a sign “LA Loves NY” as the USC Trojans honors those that lost their lives in the 9/11 attacks prior to a NCAA football game between the USC Trojans and the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans runs off the field as the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • head coach David Shaw of the Stanford Cardinal walks off the field after the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans runs off the field as the Stanford Cardinal defeated the USC Trojans 42-28 during a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Nathaniel Peat #8 of the Stanford Cardinal runs for first down past linebacker Clyde Moore #36 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Elijah Higgins #6 of the Stanford Cardinal dives for yardage against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach David Shaw of the Stanford Cardinal reacts against the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Head coach Clay Helton of the USC Trojans reacts against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans scrambles against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Drake London #15 of the USC Trojans catches a pass for first down against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Defensive lineman Colin Mobley #90 of the USC Trojans hands off to running back Keaontay Ingram #28 of the USC Trojans against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Keaontay Ingram #28 of the USC Trojans runs for touchdown against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Nathaniel Peat #8 of the Stanford Cardinal reacts after a 87 yard touchdown run against the s in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Qide receiver Drake London #15 of the USC Trojans can’t reach a pass against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart #6 of the USC Trojans is called for pass interference against wide receiver John Humphreys #5 of the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Qide receiver Drake London #15 of the USC Trojans can’t reach a pass against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Nathaniel Peat #8 of the Stanford Cardinal runs for a 80 plus yard touchdown against safety Calen Bullock #27 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans sliders for the first down against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Elijah Higgins #6 of the Stanford Cardinal catches a pass for a touchdown past cornerback Joshua Jackson Jr. #23 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Keaontay Ingram #28 of the USC Trojans is upededend against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Keaontay Ingram #28 of the USC Trojans runs for touchdown against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Elijah Higgins #6 of the Stanford Cardinal catches a pass for a touchdown past cornerback Joshua Jackson Jr. #23 of the USC Trojans in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Cornerback Isaac Taylor-Stuart #6 of the USC Trojans is called for pass interference against wide receiver John Humphreys #5 of the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Wide receiver Drake London #15 of the USC Trojans drops a pass against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Running back Keaontay Ingram #28 of the USC Trojans runs for first down against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Quarterback Kedon Slovis #9 of the USC Trojans with the quarterback keeper for the first down against the Stanford Cardinal in the first half of a NCAA football game at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • Offensive lineman Courtland Ford #74 of the USC Trojans silhouetted walks toward the bench as they warm up prior to a NCAA football game against the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

  • USC Trojans warms up prior to a NCAA football game against the Stanford Cardinal at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles on Saturday, September 11, 2021. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)

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A lot of things died on the Coliseum turf Saturday night, including all extenuating circumstances.

USC football has sunk below the water table. The excuses fly out the window like a misguided pass by Kedon Slovis.

There are no unbearable injuries. There are all these gleaming new recruits and transfers. Patience, usually a virtue, descends into blindness if it tries to justify this 42-28 loss to Stanford, which was 42-13 early in the fourth quarter, conducted on the corner of Fiasco and Debacle.

All coaches’ days are numbered, to some extent, but Clay Helton’s tenure at USC seems closer than it’s ever been to the notary public’s signature book.

Some things can’t be helped, like Parker Lewis getting ejected on the opening kickoff for targeting. Lewis is, or was, the kicker himself. The only rational explanation is that Lewis was angling for an NIL endorsement deal with Target. A coach shouldn’t have to warn his players against that.

In any event, this wouldn’t be decided by field goals. But the hail of blunders that the Trojans have often survived in the past are no accident. You don’t have to be a firewater-belching Trojan alum who wonders why it isn’t still 1978 to demand a do-over, complete with the dreaded “culture change.”

Stanford, which had seven points and 233 yards against Kansas State last week, got one touchdown after two USC pass interference penalties. It was happy with a field goal at the end of another drive until Joshua Jackson lined up in the neutral zone, the third critical USC infraction of that drive, at which point Stanford coach David Shaw took the three points off the board and called for a touchdown, which Tanner McKee provided with a pass to Elijah Higgins.

Slovis wound up fielding almost as many as boos as Helton did. On third and five, he ignored one-on-one matchups on the right side and threw left, where the Cardinal had help. The pass was wayward, and Ryu Blu Kelly picked it and scored. Kelly’s dad Brian was a cornerback who did those types of things for USC, once upon a time.

Time and again Stanford’s receivers won simple battles against USC’s defensive backs, a process that was accelerated by the Trojans’ inability to bother McKee, a Corona Centennial alum who spent two years on a church mission to Brazil. Here, he burned USC with 16 for 23 passing and two touchdowns. It helped that he was not sacked or hit by USC’s socially-distant pass rushers.

“They showed a lot of faith in their young quarterback and he was exceptional,” said Helton, who said little about Slovis but otherwise was trying to lip-gloss what 56,945 had just witnessed.

Stanford enjoyed four plays that went 37 yards or more, including the simplest of sweeps by Nathaniel Peat that spanned 87 yards for a touchdown. USC’s so-what flurry at the end of the fourth quarter helped to balance the yardage, but it took Slovis 42 throws to amass 223 yards.

“This is Game 2,” Helton said pointedly. “I’m looking forward to winning some games and hearing how much we’ve improved since this game.”

The problem is that the top tier of the Pac-12 looks unusually strong. Oregon and UCLA have already toppled Ohio State and LSU, and Colorado nearly upset Texas A&M. The Trojans avoid Oregon but play the other two, along with Notre Dame,  Arizona State and BYU. But the presumed underdogs in the other games will see plenty of hope in this particular game tape.

A win would have at least provided some locker room mirth. Alex Stadthaus was the kicker who had to replace Lewis, and he converted both field goal tries.

“Parker is the type of guy who you can see going after people,” Stadthaus said. “He wants to make plays. When it happened, I said, no, it couldn’t be Parker. Then I saw that it was. So it was time to get going, make a few kicks. I told him that I’ll be you for tonight and you can be me.”

A team’s identity isn’t nearly that easy to exchange. In USC’s case it’s also hard to identify. Helton’s muscular 2017 team, the one that won the Pac-12 championship, twice bullied Stanford into submission. Then, once Sam Darnold left, the Trojans got suckered into playing pitch-and-catch, and that’s where they still are.

It does no good to have overflowing talent at tight end when you rarely use one. Jude Wolfe and Michael Trigg made one catch each for a total of 16 yards. But you also can’t change systems in a week or three or six. That’s why Saturday night felt like the end of something.

“It’s early in the season,” Clay Helton kept saying, and no one argued. It’s also late in the program.

Read more about Whicker: The benefit of the doubt is now exhausted at USC, as are its fans This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

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OCVarsity football wrap-up: All of Thursday’s Week 3 game stories, scores, photos


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This is the place to find all of OCVarsity’s coverage of the Week 3 high school football games on Thursday.

THURSDAY SCORES

High school football: Scores from all of Thursday’s games

GAME STORIES

Servite football dominates as Bishop Amat suffers one of its worst losses

Orange football finishes strong, beats La Habra in another close one

Cowens, Ramos help Pacifica defeat Canyon in football thriller

Westminster football stays undefeated with win over Anaheim

Penrod, defense lead Northwood to shutout win over Loara

DID YOU SEE THIS?

Fryer on Football: Previews and predictions for Week 3’s top high school games

OCVarsity Gridiron: Fryer and Albano clash on picks for three big games in Week 3

Deep Pass: Delgado’s top 3 high school football targets for Week 3

Huntley’s Week 3 list of football hits, misses and helmet stickers

Trinity League Football Podcast: Analyzing the impact of Domani Jackson’s injury for Mater Dei, Week 3 preview

Fryer’s First and 10 for high school football’s Week 3

Football notes: El Dorado grinds to 3-0 start behind strong senior leadership

Updated Orange County high school football schedule for Week 3, Sept. 9-11

Read more about OCVarsity football wrap-up: All of Thursday’s Week 3 game stories, scores, photos This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. Orange County Shredding Service

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Fullerton man arrested in deadly pedestrian bridge stabbing

A 29-year-old Fullerton man was arrested Sunday, Sept. 5, in connection with a deadly stabbing of another man on a pedestrian bridge crossing over Harbor Boulevard in Fullerton, police said.

Abigail Jorge Gonzalez-Castillo was arrested on suspicion of murder with special circumstances in the Aug. 30 fatal stabbing of a man in his late 20s, the Fullerton Police Department said. The special circumstance allegation accuses Gonzalez-Castillo of lying in wait, according to Sgt. Brandon Clyde, spokesman for the Police Department.

Gonzalez-Castillo was being held without bail, police said.

On Aug. 30, police received a call from a person who found a man who had been fatally stabbed in his abdomen at 4:40 a.m. The man was dead when officers arrived, police said.

Information on a potential motive for the stabbing has not been released.

No additional identifying information was immediately available for the victim.

Read more about Fullerton man arrested in deadly pedestrian bridge stabbing This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed

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Birth centers grow in popularity, but owners say it’s difficult to qualify for state license

When Racha Tahani Lawler opened the Community Birth Center in South Los Angeles 10 years ago, she wanted her clients to see that she was there to stay.


Midwife Racha Tahani Lawler sits in the space in her garden on Tuesday, July 6, 2021 where she meets with women. She once owned a community birth center but without insurance covering midwifery found it to be difficult to sustain and now does home births. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Lawler, then a single mother of three children, transformed an old building she found on Craigslist into a welcoming space with two birth rooms, a kitchen and garden. Her 80-year-old grandmother, who lived a few blocks away, could walk to the center to support women in labor.

Lawler offered generous discounts to families who couldn’t afford to pay thousands of dollars out of pocket for an out-of-hospital birth. Some clients, she said, “were putting all their little pennies together to have a birth” at her center.

Many of Lawler’s clients were eligible for MediCal coverage, but since her center was unlicensed, the state would not reimburse her services. Lawyer tried for months to obtain a license for the center, but eventually gave up because she couldn’t afford the $5,000 cost.


A building on W. Florence Avenue was midwife Racha Tahani Lawler’s first birth center down the street from her grandmother’s home. Her grandmother, a nurse, also assisted women at the center. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

“I was using my food stamps to provide snacks in the birth center and growing a garden to make sure my clients were eating,” she said.

Running the center without insurance reimbursements proved to be unsustainable and burdensome. Stressed and burned out, Lawler closed the birth center in 2016.

THIRD IN A SERIES: Pregnant during the Pandemic

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Programs, midwives step up to support Black mothers

Black midwives in demand; are there enough to handle influx of clients?

Licenses difficult to obtain

As a licensed midwife, it is not is not against the law to operate an unlicensed birth center. But to bill MediCal for its services, midwives are required to license their facilities. Experts, however, say stringent state laws are hurting birth center operators and the low-income families they serve.

“There are a lot of regulations and licensing for birth centers, which make it very difficult to become licensed,” said Kathleen Belzer, president of the California Nurse-Midwives Foundation.

The process is so convoluted, Belzer added, that it might take up to three years for some midwives to license their facilities. One example of the bureaucratic nightmare they face involves the Comprehensive Prenatal Service Providers program, or CPSP, designed to increase services available to women and boost reimbursement available to birth centers. To get a license, birth centers are required to be part of the program. But to become a CPSP provider, birth centers have to have a license.

A spokesperson for the California Department of Public Health wrote in an email that “alternative birthing centers must meet a set of requirements in order to receive a license. These requirements are designed per state legislation to ensure every mother and child receive safe, high-quality care while in the facility.”

Why birth centers?

Women opt for giving birth at birth centers because they offer a home-like setting where patients are allowed to move around during labor and bring family members and children. Giving birth at the birth centers typically saves up to $2,000 per family, although the amount depends on insurance coverage.

While operating independently, birth centers that meet the standards of the American Association of Birth Centers, or AABC, are integrated within the health care system so they can transfer clients to a hospital in case of emergency. Midwives who have hospital privileges can continue caring for their clients in such instances.

Nationwide, about 0.3% of births take place in birth centers, according to AABC. Only healthy and low-risk women are eligible for delivery at birth centers.

A 2013 study of about 22,400 women who planned to give birth in a birth center accredited by the Commission for the Accreditation of Birth Centers found that 94% of women who entered labor achieved a vaginal birth and only 6% were transferred to a hospital for a C-section.

In contrast, about 26% of healthy, low-risk pregnancies in hospitals end up with C-sections, according to a 2017 Consumer Report study.

Another study conducted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services from 2013 to 2017 discovered that birth centers, coupled with a midwifery model of care, resulted in lower rates of preterm birth, lower rates of low birth weight and lower rates of C-sections.

Neither the California Department of Public Health nor the Medical Board of California tracks the number of birth centers in Southern California. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health also doesn’t collect that data.

Exasperation at state regulations

Across the state, midwives say they have grown weary of the roadblocks they face in California to license their birth centers.

When Bethany Sasaki opened her Midtown Nurse Midwives birth center in Sacramento, she tried to do everything by the book. She received national accreditation, but her California licensing application was still rejected by the state because the building that housed her center was too old.

“There are systems in place in California that make it almost impossible to have a birth center,” Sasaki said. “It’s like a never-ending cycle.”

The California Department of Public Health, which handles the licensure process, recently changed the building code criteria for birth centers, she added, requiring the same rigid standards for them as hospitals.

“No one is going to get a license until we change it,” she said. “It’s just a nightmare.”

When Sasaki was launching the California chapter of AABC, she reached out to birth centers to join the organization and discovered that out of 45 centers across the state, only nine had a license.

Sasaki, who is now president of the California chapter, said the difficult licensing process is hurting MediCal recipients.

“We have a big problem in the state of California with birth center licenses,” she said. “We need to be able to license birth centers so they can be medical providers, so they can serve underserved communities.”

Accreditation ensures safety

Still, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said accredited birth centers and hospitals are the safest places to give birth.


Obstetrics Service Chief Dr. Mya Zapata says the birth center at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Westwood supports all births from hypnotic to high-risk births. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Dr. Mya Zapata, an obstetrician and gynecologist and the chief of the obstetrics service at Ronald Reagan Medical Center at UCLA, said she wouldn’t recommend attending an unlicensed birth center.

“Licenses mean oversight,” she said, “And that the individuals that are running that center are going to follow standards to keep that family safe. … And in the event of an emergency, they have the means to get that patient to a higher level of care in an expedited manner.”

She recommended asking birth center owners how they handle emergencies.

“In the case that there was something unexpected, an emergency such as bleeding or something happening with the baby,” she said, “how would you handle it? What are your tools and what is your plan when you need assistance to help with a complex situation?”

‘Sacrificing everything’

Lawler felt proud that she was able to open a birth center that predominantly served Black women, who are about four times more likely to die during pregnancy or childbirth than White women.

As she talks about the center closure, Lawler tries not to be bitter.

“The whole entire time it was open, it was there to serve the community,” she said. “It was to fill in where there wasn’t a place for so many people that were wanting out-of-hospital birth. It made out-of-hospital birth accessible for a lot of people, but I literally was sacrificing everything in order for it to exist.”


A painted yard sign sits outside a building on La Cienega Boulevard in Los Angeles which was once Midwife Racha Tahani Lawler’s dream, a birth center for the black community. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz, Los Angeles Daily News/SCNG)

Belzer, of the California Nurse-Midwives Foundation, said she was putting together a group of midwives to push for easing the licensing process for birth centers.

The hurdles to obtain a license impact not just low-income women who want to give birth, she said, but also midwives who are willing to help them. Belzer’s foundation also advocates for sustainable MediCal reimbursement rates for birth centers.

“They lose money or break even on most MediCal patients so they do it because they know it’s the right thing to do,” she said. “But it often will put birth centers in jeopardy and often birth centers were closing because of that.

“We need to create quality within the birth center community without creating barriers that are unattainable. Traditionally, people think they are creating safety for people by making it impossible to even open your doors or stay open. These things have to change.”

Olga Grigoryants’ reporting on pregnancy during the pandemic was undertaken as a project for the USC Center for Health Journalism’s 2021 California Fellowship.   

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