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June 8, 2012     The Catalina Islander
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June 8, 2012
 

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Eco-tour From page 1 the first traditional abalone divers from Japan. "Men couldn't handle the cold waters because they didn't have the subcutaneous layer of fat women have," Brannock said. In 1986, they bought Catalina Diver's Supply with a partner, continuing to dive commercially while promoting-sport diving on Catalina. "We could see that commercial diving was going to end because of a fatal epidemic sweeping through the abalone, and we transitioned into sport diving"---with an eco flair," Brannock said. "The two were among the first who ran guided snorkeling, scuba diving, and coastal tours focused on tell- ing the stories of Catalina's boun- tiful natural env, ironment. For these, they used Ama." With Bob and Tina Kenn'edy THIRD ANNUAL LOCKS OF LOVE FUNDRAISER SET Avalon high school students and graduates are getting together for the 3rd annual Locks of Love, Catalina for a Cause event, oh Tuesday, June 12. The event, orga- nized by Kaylie Miller for the third year will be from noon to 6 p.m. by the Wrigley Memorial Stage. There will be a variety of fun activities including face painting, a goldfish toss, goodies, and food as well as free hair cuts. In order to partake in the hair donation, please come with clean and dry hair. The rules are as such: 10 inches minimum, it could be dyed but not bleached, and curly hair is pulled straight, Hair stylists will be: Jazmine Thoricht, Lourdes Thoricht, Monica Rubio, Veronica Iuentes, and Chely Bonilla. All the money and hair donations made will go directly tO the non-profit Locks of Love organization. It was 3 0 years ago that Randy Brannock and Mary Stein launched the Area, seen in the background, which led to the couple becoming two of the Island's eco-tour pio- neers. at Scuba Luv, Jon Hardy with Argo Diving Services and others, Stein and Brannock helped to or- ganize "Catalina Underwater Ad- ventures," a cooperative of dive businesses working together to promote Catalina Island as a dive destination. It was proceeds from selling their commercial abalone permits "for $14,000 each" remembers Stein, that the two invested to start DBOS - Descanso Beach Ocean Sports and Catalina Island Ex- peditions. That launched the next phase of the couple's careers, and at the same time, put Descanso Beach on the map. With expertise from the sport diving business, they developed kayak eco-tours, rentals and coast- al tours, and services using Ama. "Randy and Mary brought a large influx of business to Des- canso Beach," said Island resident Russ Armstrong, who operated the Descanso Beach Club at the time. "Kayaking was relatively new, and you know, it's thrilling. People came for the kayaking, and after- ward, went to the bar to have some lunch and drinks to celebrate-- probably like they do now with the zip line. It's still a thrill" Since its inaugural year, DBOS has attracted upwards of a mil- lion people to Descanso Beach for ocean recreation according to the business' records, and, "practi- cally everyone !n town has worked for DBOS" Brannock said. Brannock and Stein are also Coast Guard Captains, and us- ing Ama, Coastal Rangers for the Island's primitive boat-in camp- sites welcoming hundreds of boat- ers each year. They spend many hours each year as volunteers for the Conservancy. And that meeting Brannock walked out of? He later became the President of the Cali- fornia Abalone Association, and actively pursued conservation leg- islation to save the abalone fishery. "Looking back, they were eco- tour providers and environmental- ists before those terms were even defined" said Mel Dinkel, the Conservancy's Chief Operating Officer. The Avalon Chamber of Com- merce ran a yearly competition wherein customers graded busi- nesses on the quality of their cus- tomer service. In 2000, Descanso Beach Ocean Sports was recog- nized as Business of the Year. Over the years, besides run- ning their businesses, Brannock and Stein became pillars in the Avalon community: Mary was a Girl Scout leader on the mainland, and assisted Randy with Avalon's Cub Scouts. Randy went on to be- come Boy Scout leader of Avalors Troop 400. Randy was President of Avalon School's Booster Club, and-assisted with fundraising for a community pool. He served as a director on the Chamber of Commerce Board for many years, and was on the Ve- hicle Task Force. Randy served on the Avalon Community Hospital Board. He was on the Avalon Vision 2020 Committee, and was instrumen- tal in launching it. He and Mary helped organize one of the town's earliest distance events, the Hospi- tal Benefit Run. "We had a car, and no one else did!" Randy recalled. In 2002, Mary started the Cata- lina Organic Cooperative, which continues today. She is a volunteer music coach for Avalon Middle School's band, and a performer in the local bands Hot Off the Range, Front Street and others, She is the treasurer of the Catalina Island Saddle Club, and on the Board of Directors of Las Caballeras, which each year hold's a charitable ben- efit ride in the Island's interior. But what they're most proud of is "The legacy we've created in our children who touch so many people on Catalina," Randy Bran- nock said: Scan Brannock is director of recreation for the city of Ava- Ion who, 19 years ago, started the theatrical group Kids at Play that teaches self-esteem; Auroura Brannock was class valedictorian and serves as DBOS human re- sources director and office man- ager; Jake Brannock lives in Big Bear and commutes to work at DBOS each week. "We love our family business, and have enjoyed having each one of our four grandchildren work with us," Brannock said. "And my nephews, too," Stein said. When asked about what's next, the two said they are looking for- ward to continuing to be produc- tive and engaged in the community they love for many years to come. Stein quotes musician Robert Earl Keen: "With Randy and me, 'The road goes on forever, and the party never ends.'" Although for this nautical cou- ple, you could change "road," to ocean. AVALON ROTARY COLLECTS BOOKS FOR ROMANIA On Saturday, June 9, the "Friends of the Avalon Library" will hold a book sale as a fundraiser for our local Avalon library branch. All of the unsold books from that event, an anticipated pallet, will be collected by the local Rotary Club and shipped to a selected developing country as part of "Books for the World," a project of Rotary International. The local Rotary Club of Avalon and its youth component, Interact, will collect the unsold books after the Library fundraiser to be added to other books from other Rotary locales and shipped to Romania. In Romania they will be distrib- uted to local libraries, schools, and vocational centers of 30 vil- lages as part of the "Booksfor the World" project. Avalon Rotary meets weekly on Wednesdays at 12:15 p.m. at the M Restaurant, catering by Zest. 6 i Friday, June 8, 2012 THE CATALINA ISLDER