Here is the latest Southern California news from The Associated Press

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The beloved lotus plants of Echo Park Lake in Los Angeles may look dead but the man who sold them to the city says they're just resting. The bright green plants of summer are now droopy and brown. Randy McDonald tells the LA Times that they'll be back — and experts say they should bloom again next summer. Lotus plants were a landmark of the urban lake but about seven years ago they began to die and by 2008 they had vanished.

BANNING, Calif. (AP) — Authorities say an inmate was declared dead after being found with a serious cut Christmas morning in his cell at a Riverside County jail. But sheriff's deputies now say the 52-year-old man had suffered a medical problem and cut himself as he collapsed in his call at the Larry D. Smith Correctional Facility in Banning yesterday.

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. (AP) — More than 2,000 gallons of raw sewage spilled onto the ground and into a storm water drain in Thousand Oaks. Ventura County's Environmental Health Division said main line blockage caused the spill yesterday. Warning signs were posted for areas within a half-mile downstream of the spill.

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Voting begins today for 2014's Academy Awards nominees. Members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences are invited to cast secret ballots for their favorite film work from the past year until Jan. 8. Ellen DeGeneres will host the ceremony when the Oscars are presented on March 2.