Today’s News: Wet and wild; Christams Eve events; ‘Phonehenge’ finale

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Holy night. There are a number of holiday events set around Southern California for this Christmas Eve, some religious, others more festive. More than 20 performing groups are set to participate in the three-hour Los Angeles County Holiday Celebration event beginning at 3 p.m. at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion. Performers include the Los Angeles Ballet, the Gay Men’s Chorus of LA and the Salvation Army Tabernacle Children’s Chorus. There are also myriad religious ceremonies: among them, a special Christmas Eve mass at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The English version starts at 4 p.m. and the Spanish mass is at 9. City News Service

Wetaway. It has been a wet and wild morning, with heavy rain causing flooding and a lot of accidents on the freeways as people try to get out of town and finish last-minute shopping. A man who was stranded on an island in the L.A. River near Glendale was rescued by the L.A. Fire Department. There have been no less than half-a-dozen SIG Alerts on local freeways, several caused by jackknifed big rigs. The rain should lighten to showers this afternoon. Christmas Day will be dry, then a couple of more storms later in the week. KNBC
White Christmas
. Good news if skiing or snowboarding are in your plans over the holiday. A string of powerful storms has dumped a bunch of new snow in the Sierra Nevada just ahead of what’s typically one of the busiest weeks of the skiing season. Squaw Valley says two skiers were treated for non-life threatening injuries when they were caught in an avalanche yesterday. The resort has received more than three feet of snow in the past few days. Meanwhile, Northern Californians slogged through two days of wet and windy weather this weekend as a pair of storms moved through the region. The storms led to the cancellation of dozens of flights. AP

Medi-Cal discontent. A coalition of legal aid organizations says California violated the rights of disabled and elderly patients when it forced them into managed care. A lawsuit filed on behalf of five Medi-Cal patients accuses the state of cutting off access to their doctors and putting their lives at risk. California began moving more than 330,000 thousand senior citizens and disabled people into Medi-Cal managed care about a year and a half ago. The state says the transformation was designed to trim costs while helping to oversee patients’ treatment and guide them through the healthcare system. L.A. Times

Vet housing. After nearly a decade of planning, work will begin next month to transform a building at the V.A.’s West L.A. campus into housing for homeless veterans. The facility will have room for 65 chronically homeless vets, with one wing being set aside for women. In addition to a bed, vets will have access to rehabilitation services and counseling. The L.A. Times reports that L.A. County has as many as eight-thousand veterans sleeping on the streets each night. L.A. Times

Down and out. In the end, Acton resident Alan Fahey not only lost the huge structure he called “Phonehenge,” he also lost his freedom. Fahey, who spent 30 years building the sprawling structure out of telephone poles, has been sentenced to nearly 18 months in jail for failing to repay the county for the cost of tearing it down. The sentencing ends a long-running legal battle between the county and the retired phone technician. Supporters called “Phonehenge” art, but the county said it was an earthquake and fire hazard. Demolition crews tore it down last year. Fahey has paid back only a little more than $1,000 of the $83,000 demolition cost. LAist