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Community Remembers Fallen Firefighter Tory Carlon Killed In Agua Dulce Shooting

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Firefighter Tory Carlon Agua Dulce Shooting (1)
Photo Courtesy of the L.A. County Fire Department

The community celebrated the life of fallen firefighter Tory Carlon, who was killed while at his station in an Agua Dulce shooting, with a service at The Forum on Thursday. 

Carlon was remembered as a loving father, husband and dedicated public servant who “was truly loved by our department,” said Los Angeles County Fire Chief Daryl Osby.

“This loss is extremely heartbreaking and tough, but also what remains in the hearts of many of us is Tory and how fondly we remember him for the man that he was,” Osby said.

Bagpipers and a drumline opened the ceremony at the iconic Inglewood stadium, filled with friends, family and fellow firefighters. 

John Denton, a chaplain for the Los Angeles Fire Department, led the prayer and added he was able to really get to know Carlon through his family. 

Carlon was a member of the department for over 20 years, who started as an explorer, then moved onto the United States Forest Service before joining L.A. County. 

Osby spoke about the “fire family,” noting the support shown at Joslyn Carlon’s graduation where hundreds of firefighters showed support for the young woman who just lost her father.

“Words cannot express how I miss seeing his smile,” Joslyn said at the memorial. “I looked up to him in so many ways, we had such a special daddy, daughter relationship.”

Captain David Gillotte, president of L.A. County Fire Fighters Local 1014, said to the hundreds of department members in the crowd there was “strength in our solidarity.” 

Carlon was a “jokester,” who made everyone smile at the station and made the world a better place, Gillotte said. 

“My only with is I said this in person, but I think you know, I love you,” said Firefighter-Paramedic Gary Reichman, a longtime friend.

On Tuesday, the department honored Carlon with a flag ceremony at Fire Station No. 131 in Palmdale to dedicate the Stars and Stripes which were raised during his “last assignment.”

After the ceremony, the flag was presented to his family, remembering the firefighter taken too soon. 

Firefighter Tory Carlon Agua Dulce Shooting (2)
Photo Courtesy of the L.A. County Fire Department

Just before 11 a.m. on June 1, an off-duty firefighter opened fire at Station 81 in Agua Dulce. 

Two firefighters were struck by gunfire, with Carlon sustaining fatal injuries. 

The second victim, Captain Arnie Sandoval, was in “critical, but stable” condition after the shooting.

“We all recognize that the work that our firefighters and firefighter-paramedics do is a very dangerous and arduous profession, and in many times, they put their lives in danger to protect them and serve others when they receive 911 calls for service, but yet as a fire chief, I never thought that when our firefighters face danger that they would face that danger in one of our community fire stations,” Osby said on the day of the incident.

The off-duty firefighter was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his residence after setting the building ablaze, according to the fire chief. 

Carlon leaves behind his wife, Heidi, and three young daughters.

“Everyone who knew Tory, loved him. He was an extremely dedicated father and husband who brought a sense of calm to everyone,” Deborah Stilson wrote in a GoFundMe. “He absolutely loved being a firefighter and to serving others. His family and friends are devastated by this loss.”

To support the Carlon family, visit here.

Note: This story has been updated with additional quotes from the memorial service.

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L.A. Homeless Shelter Capacity Up 57% In Three Years, Still Less Than Demand

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Tiny-Home-Village-Homeless-Shelter-North-Hollywood-Los-Angeles-1-1
Devon Miller / The Valley Post

The number of homeless shelter beds in Los Angeles has increased by over 50% in the past three years, however, demand still outpaces the capacity. 

The 2021 Housing Inventory Count and Shelter Count, released by the Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority (LAHSA) Wednesday, shows the nightly shelter capacity in the L.A. area has grown despite challenges faced by the pandemic. 

LAHSA found that the L.A. region’s shelter capacity on any given night was 24,616 beds, a 57% increase over the last three years. The agency also reported 33,592 permanent housing options, an increase of 16% over the same period.

Through “unprecedented coordination” and a critical influx of state and federal emergency funding, the L.A. region’s rehousing system’s response to COVID-19 saved lives, according to  Heidi Marston, executive director of LAHSA.

“We must build off of that momentum as we emerge from the pandemic to build the infrastructure necessary to address our homelessness crisis and collectively confront the conditions that continue to push people into homelessness,” Marston said in a statement. 

The Los Angeles region needs to build a more balanced system with more housing options. A balanced rehousing system has five permanent housing exits for each shelter bed; the Los Angeles system is closer to one-to-one, according to the executive director. 

The Housing Inventory Count is a census of all interim and permanent housing options in the homeless rehousing system at a given point-in-time. This year, the Housing Inventory Count occurred on Jan. 27.

LAHSA reported these results despite the global pandemic causing a considerable strain on its shelter supply. 

In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, all of Los Angeles County’s congregate shelters had to decrease their bed count through a process called decompression. 

However, strategic investments by the federal, state, and local governments through Project Roomkey and Project Homekey helped make up for the loss of capacity, according to the agency.

The Shelter Count revealed that there were 17,225 people in a shelter on the night of the count, which is virtually unchanged from the previous year. 

LAHSA cited that without the addition of 2,357 Project Roomkey beds and 497 Project Homekey beds, there could have been a more significant drop in the shelter count due to decompression.

Following the advice of public health officials, LAHSA did not conduct an Unsheltered Count in 2021 to protect the 8,000 volunteers needed to complete the Count each year from COVID-19. The agency is planning to resume the Unsheltered Count in 2022.

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Home Prices In San Fernando Valley Reach New High, Median Nearing $1 Million

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Los Angeles Homes

The median price of San Fernando Valley homes sold during June reached a record high while sales soared 56.9% and the number of properties listed for sale lingered at low levels.

The median price was $955,000, up 28.9% from June 2020, according to the Southland Regional Association of Realtors (SRAR).

June was the fourth consecutive month with the median above the $900,000 benchmark.

“Not long ago it would have been inconceivable that the San Fernando Valley would see the median home price inching toward $1 million,” said Diane Sydell, president of the association in a statement. “Now it seems inevitable, especially with today’s wealth of buyers, dearth of inventory, and heated competition over virtually every listing.”

The condominium median price for June was $519,000, up 12.8% from June 2020, but 3.9% below the record high $540,000 set this April.

A total of 554 single-family homes closed escrow during June, up 56.9% from a year ago and 11.5% ahead of May’s tally. It was the first month this year above 500 sales and the highest monthly total since June 2018.

The statistics for condominium sales were not as dramatic, in part because of the extremely limited supply of condominiums listed for sale, according to SRAR.

There were 725 active home and condominium listings at the end of June, the first month above 700 listings this year.

“The market has been overheated and buyer fatigue may be a factor going forward,” said Tim Johnson, the association’s chief executive officer. “Too many buyers are weary of competing with unseen competitors and losing to a higher bidder even when they come to the market fully prepared to buy. ”

That may translate in buyers being a bit more cautious, which when combined with the
reopening of the economy may yield a slowdown in sales and a few more listings.

Yet Johnson stressed that a “few more listings” doesn’t go far, even if some buyers are starting to take a bit longer to jump into the market.

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Supervisors Delay Vote For Plan To Transfer ‘Serious’ Juvenile Offenders To Santa Clarita

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Santa Clarita Camp Scott Camp Scudder (1)
Photo Courtesy of the City of Santa Clarita

A vote to approve the transfer of “serious” juvenile offenders to detention facilities in Santa Clarita on Bouquet Canyon Road was delayed by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday. 

The motion, made by Supervisors Sheila Kuehl and Holly Mitchell, instructs Camps Joseph Scott and Kenyon Scudder to be renovated within 90 days so that the facilities can be used by this juvenile offender population.

The juvenile detention camps are located within the limits of the City of Santa Clarita, on county-owned property that reaches within 600 feet of existing homes, according to the City. 

On Tuesday, the board delayed a vote on the motion to the next meeting on July 20 after many Santa Clarita residents spoke out about the plan.

Last month, the Los Angeles County Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) subcommittee submitted a report recommending the use of Camps Scott and Scudder as long-term holding facilities for all male offenders countywide.

If approved the camps would house offenders, between the ages of 12 and 25 years old, convicted of crimes including murder, rape, arson and robbery.

The move was brought forth after the signing of Senate Bill 823, which transferred the responsibility for the custody, treatment and supervision of youth to counties, effective July 1, 2021.

SB 823 requires counties to create a subcommittee, known as the Division of Juvenile Justice, to develop a plan describing the facilities, programs, placement and strategies needed to provide appropriate rehabilitative and supervision services for the juvenile population.

In a report requested by the County and issued in December 2020 – Camps Scott and Scudder were not even mentioned as options for the relocation, according to the City. 

However, the Youth Justice Reimagined Report does dedicate significant analysis and consideration to other existing juvenile facilities in the County and ultimately, recommends Camps Kilpatrick and Gonzales. 

“This motion was added to the agenda without any communication with the City of Santa Clarita or our residents,” said City officials. “This motion was made without any consultation with the City, and the Santa Clarita City Attorney’s Office is currently evaluating all legal options.”

The report cites security, remoteness from nearby communities, capacity for vocational and educational training, and a therapeutic environment as factors that attributed to their ultimate recommendation.

On June 23, the Santa Clarita City Council unanimously voted to oppose the plan, adding there were “no efforts made” by the County DJJ Subcommittee in engaging with members of the community.

Supervisor Kathryn Barger, who represents Santa Clarita, said she is going to look into alternative sites to house the offenders, including three other camps in Los Angeles County.

Note: This story has been updated at 12:25 p.m. Tuesday, July 13 with information on the delayed vote for the motion.

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