Newspaper Archive of
The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
October 14, 2005     The Catalina Islander
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October 14, 2005

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Page 6 The CATAUNA ISLANDER Friday, October 14, 2005 continued from page 1 Catalina for the Banning family. "My family has had the house on Sumner Avenue since the units were first leased by Santa Catalina Island ComlYany," said Phelps, Looking hack, the 65-year-old Phelps said that some of his fond- est memories are of being around the atmosphere of the Catalina speed boats with the Bombard famil' operates 'They boatin and mechanical work and taking care of stuff," said Phelps. Phelps said that because of his long association with the Bom- bards that he feels as though he is part of the xtended family. er there for three years. Then I went to work for the City of Aval- on and took over maintenance of the sewers. I did that with Odie Hemandez and we were the only two people doing that job for a few years." Phelps joined the staff of Santa Catalina Island Company in 1964 and worked as a mechanic, bus driver and heavy equipment oper- ator until he became the harbor master. Phelps recalled some of the highlights of his days in the har- bor master office in Avalon. "I remember getting a call one day and was told by the state authori- ties that the harbor was closed because of sewage," said Phelps. "That is what led to the dye pro- gram for boats in the harbor." Phelps said the harbor was completely closed down for about two hours, and that it could have "They a great influ- been for a lot longer. In that case ence on Phelps. the businesses, and residents 'In 195 ep s m-ade Catalina would have been ut off from the rest of the world for an indefi- his permanen "When I ovd !here, I worked the g ra hrd shift for the bo ent," said Phelps. hired as the har- mastef held that job for Phelps a in other enterprises over the years. "In 1959 with Bob Hanley I started Catalina Channel Airlines out of Pebbly:Beach," said Phelps. "I was the station manag- nite length of time. "The state authorities wanted to know what we were going to do about the problem," said John Phelps on the beach earlier this weak, st Two Harbor. Photo Phelps. "I had heard about the by Becky Mucha dye program and I think I had the Harbor Patrol drop dye tablets leakage from the tank. idea to implement it here. Any- into the head of every vessel that Phelps said that before the dye way, the City Council had anis issued a mooring in Avalon program there was a serious emergency meeting and it was Bay. The tablets release a strong problem of human feces in the decided that we would do the dye dye that does not hurt the head's bay. program." holding tanks, but will show up "We called it 'The Logjam' The program entails having the around the boat if there is any because of all the stuff that would float by," said Phelps. "Since we've had the dye program things have gotten much better. I think that before, people really just didn't realize what they were doing." Phelps said he remembers when a great white shark was brought onto the pier, "We wouldn't allow itto be brought up on the pier to be weighed in because it was not caught here, but out at sea. In fact, we didn't let any sharks get weighed in here because it would frighten every- one who swims in the harbor." Another incident that sticks in Phelps' mind is when a slight earthquake shook the pier while he was in the harbor master's office. "That was one of the strangest things,' said Phelps. "I was used to it shaking sideways because of the ocean but this time it started shaking the other direction. That gave me an uneasy feeling." Phelps said that he retired from the City of Avalon in 1997 and then went to work for Santa Catalina Island Company. "I had a day off between jobs," said Phelps, "but I love my job in Two Harbors and I enjoy working for Santa Catalina Island Compa- ny. And I love Catalina, the whole Island, not just Two Harbors or Avalon. I love everything about this special place." DONATIONS FOR THE FAMILY OF * ' qLLIE GRISSOM " An account has been established at U.S. Bank in memory" of~ql|ie, and to help the family with the expenses. Donations may be deposited direcdy a(the bahk. MI tellers have account information. meets One--Clay Lacy Avi- moments and others to create iation d ai2Y e use of hisnew memories. superbly" maintained and After arriving at the Air- restored DC-3 to Avalon Rotary port, the Van Nuys group disem- as a fund raiser for Catalina barked, which allowed the other Island Medical Center. There two groups of twelve their were 36 lucky people who pur- chance at the Island Tour. chased a chance to fly around All 36 passengers and the Catalina Island aboard his clas- crew enjoyed a lunch at the Buf- sic DC-3 plane, falo Springs Caft. Selections A group of 12 flew fromincluded buffalo burgers, chick- Van Nuys Airport to the Airport en chipotle sandwich, garden in the Sky. The other lucky pas- burger or Mexican Chicken sengers had an opportunity to Cesar Salad and were accompa- travel from Avalon to the Air- nied by an incredible cookie. port in the Sky aboard a classic Avalon Rotary wishes to 1953 Flxible, donated for this thank the following for their event by the Santa Catalina support of our fund raising Island Company. to congratulate the Jani Eisenhut who L their unique donated her sic vehicle and provided an : entertaining tour of the Island on the trip to the Airport. The sight of the DC-3 and Santa Catalina Island Co. the Flxible together allowed Jani Eisenhut many to relive treasured e Remembered Fondly: New Services Times Announced By Christopher Blehm While Avalon continues to mourn the loss of Willie Grissom in a tragic skateboarding accident on October 6th, family, friends, and teachers recall a kind-hearted young man taken far too soon. Educator and friend Judy Q. says, 'TI1 never forget him. I remember one women's softball season twenty years ago. I brought drinks in my golf cart, and I guess I left the key in the cart while I carried the drinks. The next thing we know, three- year-old Willie is proudly at the wheel - actually driving down Tremont and over a curb. We were terrified at the time, but we laughed about it for years after. Now I'm crying again I loved him like a son." Math Teacher Mike Smith describes Willie as, "quiet, yet happy hardworking and responsible." Science Teacher Robert Rockwell laments, "I always enjoyed seeing him. He was always a gentleman, always wore a smile, and had that unique 'Willie' twinkle in his eye like no one else." Art Teacher Anita Rockwell calls Willie, "Sensitive, focused, and dedicated to making every- thing he did in Art count. Willie wasn't satisfied with medi- ocrity his most beautiful pro- ject was a huge clay ves- sel done with red coils and adorned with white roses. In his description of the process, the roses were symbolic of the special place he had in his heart" for his Mom." Willie participated in Avalon's storied Little League under the tute- lage of (among others) the late Frank Saldana. He also started for the Avalon Lancer High School Football Team. This year's team held a remembrance vigil at the Willie site of Willie's death, near the top of Wrigley Canyon Road. An impromptu memorial stands there now. Coach Earl Schrader also posted a fond farewell online. Willie graduates from Aval- on High in 2003. He is survived by mother, Rose Ann Hernandez, step dad, Bobby Hernandez, sister Maureen Grissom, three stepsib- lings, and scores of extended rela- tives with whom Willie was quite close. Rosary is scheduled for 7:00pm Monday, October 17th. Viewing will take place from 10am-12pm on Tuesday, October 18th, with services at noon, all at St. Catherine's Church. : Avalon Schools will observe an early release schedule. Sec- ondary students vill follow a reverse schedule, with Tutorial ending at 12:35. Students whose parents would like them to attend church services will be issued off grounds permits, and are encour- aged to bring notes to that effect on Monday. and prom date, Class of 2003. We extend our condoleances to the Grissom family on the loss of their son, Willie. !