Today’s news: Openly gay athlete debuts with Galaxy; Ceremonies to honor Southern California’s war dead

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Football forward. The L.A. Galaxy’s newest player made sports history during last night’s win over the Seattle Sounders at the Home Depot Center in Carson. And all Robbie Rogers had to do was step on the field.

When Rogers entered the match in the 77th minute, he became the first openly gay male athlete to play in a major American team sport. Rogers, who’s 26, received a warm welcome from the crowd and his new teammates.

Rogers took a hiatus from professional soccer after coming out as gay in February. But he recently expressed a desire to resume his career and he was traded to the Galaxy last week by the Chicago Fire.

“I guess this is a historic thing,” Rogers told reporters after the game. “But for me it was just a soccer game.” Yahoo Sports

Memorial Day. Among the numerous events planned around the Southland today for Memorial Day: The battleship USS. Iowa will hold its first Memorial Day celebration since arriving at the L.A. waterfront last year….Mayor-elect Eric Garcetti is schedule to take part in a Memorial Day ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Cinco Puntos intersection in Boyle Heights to honor Mexican-American war dead….In Rancho Palos Verdes at 10 a.m., an estimated 5,000 people are expected to attend a Memorial Day observance at Green Memorial Park featuring Navy Seals and flyover by vintage aircraft. And in Lake Forest at 11 a.m., there’s a service at El Toro Memorial Park.

River return. Fans of the Los Angeles River have something to celebrate: the city is opening a small stretch of the river to the public today. The 2.5 mile Glendale Narrows section of the L.A. River in Elysian Valley near downtown will now be open from sunrise to sunset to walk, watch birds, kayak, canoe, and fish. It’s the first time that stretch of the river will be open since it was channelized in the 1930’s. Anyone can go – reservations or permits are only required for organized groups. But no inner tubes or inflatable rafts are allowed. L.A. Times

Mayor on the go. He doesn’t have much time left as mayor, but that’s not stopping Antonio Villaraigosa from squeezing in a trip to China this week. Villaraigosa is being joined by harbor, airport and tourism officials. The mayor and his delegation will be in the capitol of Beijing to promote Los Angeles as a trade hub and tourist destination, and attempt to attract Chinese investment. Officials say the Port of Los Angeles and Los Angeles World Airports will foot the bill for the $80,000 trip, using non-taxpayer funds. L.A. Daily News

Yosemite precautions.
Yosemite officials have been taking steps to avoid a repeat of a deadly outbreak of a rodent-borne illness known as Hantavirus. Three people died and seven others became sick last year after contracting Hantavirus in the national park. Park officials have spent millions of dollars in the past year to mouse-proof visitor cabins and other facilities. They’ve been plugging holes as small as the width of a pencil to keep the rodents out, as well as hanging screens and reinforcing bear boxes. L.A. Times

West Nile.
West Nile virus is back. Positive samples were obtained at the Machado Lake area between Wilmington and Harbor City. It’s the first confirmed report of West Nile in L.A. County this year. Officials say signs will be posted around Harbor Regional Park to alert people that the virus had been found there. West Nile is passed through the bite of an infected mosquito. The bugs become infected by feeding on infected birds. Daily Breeze