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2020 was a year unlike any other in recent history. With the pandemic, millions were thrust into a new work from home lifestyle, along with odd trends and bizarre grocery shopping habits. 

Aside from the pandemic, here’s what you were watching the most on NBCLA.com.

1. Large Bear Raids Cooler at California Campsite

Is that you, Yogi?

Surprisingly enough, viewers couldn’t get enough of this very, hungry bear scrounging up a snack — feet away from campers trapped in their tent. 

An Orange County family went camping in the Mammoth Lakes area high in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. They happened to bring along steaks and Longganisa, a homemade Filipino dish.

The family had just arrived at Twin Lakes Campground and started to unload when they heard the blare of car alarms.

See the interaction below with the gentle giant.

Read the full story here. 

2. The View From the Silverado Fire’s North Side

This was certainly an amazing moment caught on camera by an NBCLA photographer.

Alex Vasquez was covering the closure of a section of the 241 Freeway in the Irvine area. 

He shows how the flames are being driven in real-time by the wind, eating up the hillside and pushing toward homes. 

In another unbelievable moment caught on camera, Vasquez captured flames rushing up the sides of the 71 Freeway where the Blue Ridge Fire was burning in the Chino Hills area. He was caught under a water drop, live on TV.

3. OC Restaurant Open Doors, Fills to Capacity Despite State Orders

In May, some business owners in South Orange County said “enough is enough” and reopened despite California’s Stay-at-Home order.

The owner of Nomads Canteen in San Clemente said he reached out to city and county officials to let them know he was going to reopen and that no one stopped him.

Nomads was full to capacity not long after the doors opened.

Read more here.

4. “Paul? It’s Bob Wilson,” he said. “You’ve won the Nobel.” Doorbell Camera Captures Moment Paul Milgrom Learns of Nobel Prize Win

This story not only had a lot of brains, it had a lot of heart as well. 

The Nobel Committee in Sweden wasn’t exactly aligned with California time when a big announcement came for two Californians won the Nobel. 

It was the middle of the night, and when the committee couldn’t notify Stanford professor Paul Milgrom, fellow winner, Robert Wilson, felt like it just couldn’t wait til morning. 

Luckily the exchange was caught on a Ring Doorbell camera. 

See the 2:15 a.m. exchange below.

And read the full story here. 

5. Lake Elsinore Man Died of Coronavirus After Going to Party

It’s a heartbreaking cautionary tale in the era of coronavirus. 

Lake Elsinore man Tommy Macias took to social media to complain of feeling sick, and to express regret after attending a party with friends weeks before. He got a call from someone who had attended the party saying they were positive for COVID-19, and he should get tested. 

Just days later, Macias died in the hospital. An official from the Riverside County Office of Vital Records told NBC News on Wednesday that Macias died from COVID-19.

“This is no joke,” Macias wrote on Facebook the day before he died. “If you have to go out wear a mask and practice social distancing.”

“Because of my stupidity I put my mom and sisters and my family’s health in jeopardy,” he wrote. “This has been a very painful experience.”

“Hopefully with God’s help,” he added, “I’ll be able to survive this.”

Read the full story here.

6. Glowing Dolphins Put on a Mesmerizing Show Off Newport Beach

Blue bioluminescent streaks snaked through the waters off the coast of Newport Beach one night in April, and the mesmerizing magic was caught on camera. 

Add glowing dolphins to the mix, and you have an unforgettable video. 

Read more here.

7. Intense Burbank Explosion Starts Fire at Burbank Power Station

It’s like something out of a movie, but it’s just Burbank, California. 

An explosion rocked Burbank April 10, sending a fireball into the sky over the neighborhood near the 5 Freeway. No one appeared to be injured, but power was knocked out in the surrounding neighborhood. 

Read more here. 

It wasn’t clear what caused the explosion. 

8. LAPD Releases Body Cam Footage of Violent Boyle Heights Arrest

The shocking April 27 arrest of Richard Castillo was caught on body-worn cameras and released to the public in an edited YouTube video a month later, drawing criticism. 

Castillo was arrested outside a church in Boyle Heights, and during the arrest, one of the officers repeatedly punched the man in the head. In the video Castillo can be heard saying, “Ain’t nobody fighting,” as he stands facing the church fence with his hands behind his back. “You keep on manhandling me I’m gonna f*** you up!”

Read more about the case here.

9. Fire Burns Large Warehouse in Redlands

Up in flames, like a lot of things in 2020.

A 600,000-square-foot warehouse in Redlands burned to the ground near a freeway in Redlands June 5. 

Video showed at least two Amazon shipping trailers on fire at one of the sprawling building’s loading docks.

Read more here.

10. More Victims Come Forward Saying Woman in Torrance Targeted Them in Racists Rants

A couple more people had come forward with videos in June after they recognized a woman seen in a viral video berating a young woman working out on the stairs at Wilson Park in Torrance, California, telling the woman to “go back to whatever … Asian country she belongs in.”

A 42-year-old Torrance father, who identifies as Asian-American and wished to remain anonymous for fear of his family’s safety, shared a video with NBCLA showing who he says is the same woman seen in the other viral video. She is seen yelling at him, while the father’s 11-year-old son sat inside their car, and could hear everything.

Torrance police later held a news conference and identified the woman in all videos as Lena Hernandez, 54, a Long Beach resident. A case was presented to the city attorney to determine if she could be charged with a crime. 

While she was not charged in connection with the racist rant videos, she was eventually sentenced in connection with an assault at Del Amo Mall. 

Read more here. 

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By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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