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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
December 9, 2011     The Catalina Islander
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December 9, 2011

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SCICo From page 1 well with the proper advertising." Another change was in the Semi-Submersible Tour. One of the vessels was renovated, painted red and renamed The Seawolf. Ex- tensive electronic graphics were added to the interior and seating converted from white to black, all adding to the new "cutting edge" look and the feel of an "expedi= tion" rather than a tour. Herrel said the improvements made a very positive impact. Herrel said there are many oth- er projects underway for the Island Company. "We have a lot of plans in the works, but there are many gov- ernmental agencies that we have to deal with, so the process often takes longer than expected," he said. Herrel discussed Pebbly Beach Road. • "We were fortunate to have worked out a deal between our organization and the city of Ava- lon to re-open the road," he said. "However, we are waiting on the California Coastal Commission to review our proposal. Without a Coastal Commission decision, we are unable to move forward." Herrel said there are plans to re- store the golf course to an 18:hole course. "Yes, we are in the process of "exploring the expansion back to an 18-hole course. Plans have not been finalized yet, but it is defi- nitely in the works," he said. With the Atwater Hotel no lon- ger providing employee housing, and the Westbrook about to close, Herrel addressed employee hous- ing. "We have remodeled over 35% of year round housing this year to accommodate our employ- ees," he said. Since Marketing Director Brad Wilson resigned and moved off the Island at the end of October, we inquired about his vacant po- sition. "We are in the process of interviewing candidates, but know it will not be settled before enter- ing 2012." Fencing has been installed around the Hiawatha lot on Maril- la Avenue. "The city of Avalon requested using this location to store the equipment being used to work on the sewer system and we decided to lease it to the city for $1 per month to encourage their efforts,". Herrel said. Herrel was asked if it were true that the Island Company actually purchased the Island Express He- licopter Service at Pebbly Beach. He said it was, not the ease. Al- though the Island Company owns the property it is located on, they have no interest in owning heli- copter transportation to and from the mainland. The company will continue to lease the property out to owners of this service. While looking forward to the Motorcycle Grand Prix set to take place in.2012, Herrel said, "It's not a simple event to pull off. It requires county permits and the city of Avalon is required to obtain them." The Busy Bee and Armstrong's Seafood Restaurant lease the prop- erties from the Island Company. "Armstrong's owner has been offered various partnership options in this deal, but he has not made a decision to my knowledge," Her- rel said. "Due to licensing acquisi- tions, it will still be a new restau- rant off in the future." There has been speculation that the Island Company would be changing the E1 Encanto Court- yard and talk about the company purchasing the Zane Grey. "We have been exploring devel- oping a full spa resort facility for visitors," Herrel said. "We looked at the Zane Grey as a location but determined it was not suitable. We also have had some discussions re- gard'mg locating it at the El Encan- to Courtyard, but nothing has been determined at this point." Herrel confirmed that as of the first of the year all companies owned by the Island Company would be combined into one. "We have had to file three dif- ferent governmental reports so combining them all into one will eliminate the hardship on account- ing for all three separate entities: The Island Company, Two Harbors Enterprises, and Catalina Island Resort Services," he said. "All en- tities will now operate under: San- ta Catalina Island Company Resort Services, (sCICRS) streamlining the organization into a more effec- tive and lean machine." Herrel said the Island Company is looking toward bringing back the Town Hall meetings it used to have with locals. "We gain valuable insight and we prefer to have the community aware of our plans and intentions verses speculating," he said. Herrel discussed the Island Company's success in 2011. "It is common with such suc- cesses to relax, but our ultimate goal is to continue the momen- tum of creating an environment that draws visitors to the island and provides a great experience for them," he said. "It takes a vil- lage to move a needle and we are moving the needle. Our neighbors across the street are doing things. People down the street are doing things. "The whole community is working together. This is one of the only companies that I have been in where the visitor and the town have been impacted so quickly. Cross channel visitation had declined six years in a row. Then we all start working together to provide a better visitor experi- ence and it changes dramatically. In an economy that is struggling, that is one of the most incredible things this town has ever done." From page 1 soldiers and citizens alike was the Empire of Japan and, specifically, the Imperial Japanese Navy. In the opening months of the war, that potent naval force had successfully attacked a strategic chain of sovereigrl nations and ter- ritories across the Pacific from Ha- waii to I-long Kong and Darwin t0 ojaK a On the West Coast, including the waters around Catalina, the Jap- anese Navy manifested itself for the most part in tile form of three I-elils8 submarines that lid the tiger's share of the dam- age: 1-17, 1-19 and 1-21. And while there are no recorded accounts of enemy submarine action directly involv- ing Catalina, the activities of these submarines had a direct effect on the people of Catalina and no doubt kept regular surveillance on the activities here in Avalon_ One can only imagine how many nights these submarines surfaced outside of the harbor trying to catch a glimpse of any military or com- mercial activity that might present a target. The local action began on Christmas Eve 1941 in the San Pedro Channel between Catalina and the mainland when submarine 1-19 under the command of Cap- tain Nahara Shogo fired a torpedo at the merchant ship S.S. Barbara 01s0n on its way to San Diego. Luckily, the torpedo missed, but Shogo and his crew had mote suc- Jim Watson Columnist cess later in the day with a lumber- carrying ship called the S.S. Ab- saroka only about a mile'off Point Fermin. As with the S.S. Barbara Olson, the submarine's first torpe- do missed. But a second one was .fired that hit the Absaroka just aft of her starboard beam, spinn'mg her off course and knocking three deckhands into the sea. A fourth seaman Joseph the beach below the cliffs at Fort MacArthur and although the Navy attempted to find and depth charge the perpetrator, the Japanese sub- marine slipped away tmdamaged. Despite the attack on the S.S. Absaroka occurring with'm sight of Point Fermin, the entire event-- along with other similar events I'll • touch on in coming columns--was successfully kept secret through- Ryan--was trying to out the entire war. To this day. in PUll Ills [1E smlgmatc i from the water when a lashing broke loose holding a staok of lum- ber on deck. The lum- ber tumbled overboard "'like a man throwing matchsticks into the air" taking Ryan overboard with it. Ryan was killed instantlyz--the only fa- tality in the attack. Thanks- to compartmentaliza- tion of the ship's holds, the Absa- roka did not sink and was towed to lilCt, many 1]c01Ol+ Wll0 lq+[+ llf- ing in Los Angeles at the tune are unaware of the attack on the Ab- saroka. However, two Catalina Island- ers--Jeanne Hill and the late Wil: liarn S. VChite-~had their own "Absaroka tales" to tell. Next Column: The Imperial Japanese Christmas, Part 2 Got a weird Story about Catali- na? E-mail it to us at dan@einews. us or mail it to Mysterious Island, c/o Catalina Islander, PO Box 428, Avalon, CA 90704. PLANNING COMMISSION Cl"Ir'~ OF AVALON MITIGATED NEGATIVE DECLARATION Wednesday, January 18, 2011, at 7:00 p.m. • PROJECT DESCRIPTION: Phase 1 A consists of: • Constructing a new building for take-out food and ice cream store. Demolish an existing retail space and construct a new twc~ story retail/office space. * Demolish three existing hexagonal restr00ms and one changing room. Construct two new public restrooms and six free standing changing rooms. • Add three cabanas and 20 chaise lounges to the beach area. • Install a deck for a new seatin9 area for approximately 20 chairs' w/tables Phase 1 B consists of: • Enlarge the existing k tchen by adding to the rear and s de of the building, and adding a second flgor that will include a banquet din- ning room and an outdoor deck. PROJECT LOCATION: 1 St. Catherine Way (Descanso Beach) PROJECT PROPONENT: Owner: Santa Catalina Island Company Applicant: Same Location: 1 St. Catherine Way APN: 7480-001-001 PC#2472 Zone: Resort Recreational Pursuant to the authority and criteria contained in the California Envi- ronmental Quality Act and the Environmental Impact Report Guide- lines of the City of Avalon, the Lead Agency has analyzed the project and determined that the project will ~not have a significant impact on the environment• The Agency also determined that no toxic sites are included in the project• A period of twenty one (21) days from the date of publication of the notice of this Intent to Adopt will be provided to enable public review of the project specifications, the Initial gtudy and these documents prior to the final'adoption of the Mitigated Negative Declaration by the Lead Agency. A copy of the Mitigated Negative Declaration is on file in the Planning Department, Avalon City Hall, 410 Avalon Canyon Road, Avalon, CA 90704. By: Amanda Cook, Director of Planning , Published: Catalina Islander, Friday, December 16, 2011 Posted: City Hall Friday, December 16, 2011 THE CATAUNA ISLANDER Friday, December lg, 201119