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March 4, 2011     The Catalina Islander
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March 4, 2011
 

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MYSTERIOUS ISLAND Catalina's facts, folklore and Fibs THIS WEEK: It was a bird, a plane or a UFO BY JIM WATSON Just by the very nature of Cata- lina Island, with its resort atmo- spffere and proximity to Los Ange, les and Orange Counties, the Island finds itself from time to time in the national spotlight. Normally, the press coverage is good and beneficialto the local economy. Other times it's, well, not so good. Still, there are other times when the media ink is either good or bad depending on who you are talk- ing to. In other words, the pres s coverage at times is downright ... mysterious. Such an event was the sighting last Novemberofwhat appeared to many experts to be some sort of sur- face-to-air missile being launched, apparently, from the Pacific Ocean only about 10 miles north of the Island as the Tomahawk flies. The crew aboard a Los Angeles-based traffic helicopter caught stunning images of the "projectile" cork- screwing its way to the heavens. This "UFO" sighting and oth- er similar sightings have been brought to the national forefront with help from a recent and very popular episode of"UFO Hunters" that has been playing 'regularly on the History Channel. All of these sightings, from UFOs to the mys- tery missile, will be juicy fodder for upcoming columns, but for today we're going to feature the sighting that started it all: the in- famous "Blackjack UFO" footage taken in 1966. On a lovely spring day in April 0f 1966, a Mr. Leland Hansen was performing some aerial photogra- phy work for the U.S. Navy near White's Landing when he spot- ted what appeared to be a shiny, cylindrical object speeding along the ridge near Blackjack Peak. He filmed the object for several min- utes, but since he was only using 8ram film as opposed to much higher quality 16mm, the resolu- tion leaves quite a bit to be de- sired. The film was later released with narration and has since been seen in numerous television programs and UFO documentaries over the years, from the aforementioned "UFO Hunters" episode to Leon- ard Nimoy's old "In Search Of ... " series from the 19?0s. (Ah, the good old days.) By the way, it is readily available at YouTube by simply searching for "Catalina UFO 1966." As the film begins, the voice- over claims that "You are seeing an Unidentified Flying Object. It is real. It is not a hoax." It then goes on to state that the film "has been examined by photographic experts. Photographic analysis reveals this circular UFO was about 30 feet m diameter and was traveling between "130 and 170 miles per hour." As we see the object drifting by Blackjack, the narratiofi concludes with "Mr. Hansen also observed this object hovering stationery in the air before it began to move." I don't know what kind of "photographic analysis" the foot- age was subjected to, however at least one prominent scientist and author, no less than Arthur C. Clarke of "2001: A Space Odys- sey" fame, put the film to his own test and concluded that the object was nothing more than a single en- gine piper cub. This was revealed by Clarke in an episode of his own series television series "Mysteri- ous World." Apparently (and to be fair I have yet to see Clarke's blown-up version) the wings and tail section of the plane can plainly be seen. Unfortunately, the original footage has, perhaps predictably, survived a lot longer than the "debunking" footage and I was not able to find even a single frame of the "piper cub" footage. Nevertheless, the infamous Blackjack UFO film pops up from time to time and, while dozens of other LIFO sightings have been reported on the Island over the decades (future columns). The Blackjack footage lives on in Cata- lina folklore. 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Available at'the followino Stores: * Buoys & Gulls * Catalina By-The-Sea * Catalina Island Conservancy * Catalina Island Museum * Catalina Souvenir Shop * DC-3 Gifts & Gdll . * Latitude 33 * Steamer Trunk * Sugadoaf Books A Channel Catalina production www.channelcatalina.coln @ PLANNING COMMISSION CITY OF AVALON NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARINGS Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 7:00 p.m. NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Avalon Planning Com- mission will hold PUBLIC HEARINGS to consider the following items at the March meeting to be held on Wednesday, March 16, 2011, at 7:00 p.m., in the COUNCIL CHAMBERS AT 410 AVALON CANYON ROAD, AVALON CALIFORNIA. 1) A Resolution to adopt findings for modification to the existing conditions for a Conditional Use Permit for Transient Rental at 333 Catalina Ave. Owner: Deborah Stewart, John Stewart Trust Applicant Same Location: 333 Catalina Avenue APN: 7480-034-016 PC#2432 Zone: High Density 2) A Public Hearing for an Application for a New Condi- tional Use Permit and resolution to allow the renting or leasing of a room or rooms with or without table board in a dwelling unit for periods of fewer than thirty (30) consecutive days duration (Transient Rental Sec. 9-6.603 AMC) at 121 Clarissa Avenue. Owner: Marty Helm Applicant Hamilton Cove Vacation Rentals Location: 121 Clarissa APN: 7480-015-009 PC#2449 Zone: C6mmercial 3) tion to enue. A Public Hearing for a Conditional Use Permit aloplica- add a Restaurant/ Bar/Car6 use at 225 Crescent Av- Owner: Catalina Entertainment Inc. Applicant Three Palms Avalon Arcade Location: 225 Crescent Avenue APN: 7480-018-001 PC#2448 Zone: Commercial 4) A Public Hearing for a Sign Permit Variance application at 225 Crescent Avenue. Owner: Catalina Entertainment Inc. Applicant Three Palms Avalon Arcade Location: 225 Crescent Avenue APN: 7480-018-001 PC#2450 Zone: Commercial S) A Public Hearing for a change of condition to increase the maximum occupancy from eight people to a maximum of ten people on an already approved Conditional Use Permit for Transient Rental at 357 Clarissa. Owner: Jim McConica Applicant Catalina IslandVacation Rentals Location: 357 Clarissa Avenue APN: 7480-036-022 PC#2451 Zone: High Density 6). A Public Hearing for a change of condition to increase the maximum occupancy from four people to a maximum of six people on an already approved Conditional Use Permit for Transient Rentarat 360 Clemente A-06. Owner: Barbara J. Calandri Applicant Catalina Island Vacation Rentals Location: 360 Clemente A-06 APN: 7480-038-016 PC#2452 Zone: High Density Members from the Public who would like to address the Plan- ning Commission may appear at the public hearing during the consideration of this item and state their opinion. Written com- ments may also be submitted to the Planning Department, at- tention Planning Director Cook, PO Box 707, Avalon, CA 90704 prior to the Plan- ning Commission's consideration of the item. If you challenge the actions of the Planning Commission in court, you may be limited to raising only those issues you or someone else raised at the public hearing described in this notice, or in written correspondence delivered to the Planning Commission at, or prior to, the public hearing. By: Amanda Cook, Director of Planning Published: Catalina Islander Friday, March 4, 2011 Posted: City Hall, Friday, March 4, 2011 The CATALINA ISLANDER Friday, March 4, 2011 i 5