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The Catalina Islander
Avalon, California
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December 30, 2011     The Catalina Islander
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December 30, 2011
 

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YIR From page 5 played a strong role in increasing the visitor count. There were many factors in- volved in creating the successful summer of 2011 on Catalina Is- land. The Catalina Express started offering a free round trip boat ride to passengers who traveled on their birthdays. The new Aero Club at the Airport in the Sky through the Catalina Island Conservancy also increased visitors. Crime is down Convictions in two unrelated theft cases highlight good news in the Catalina crime scene: crime is down, according to a detective with the Avalon Sheriff's Station. Violent crime, for example, has dropped 60 percent for the year to date, according to Detective Kfis Cleveland of the Los Ange- les Sheriff's Department. He said crime was down even with an in- crease in visitors to the Island. Cleveland said that burglar- ies decreased by 52.9 percent and grand theft auto decreased by 53.8 percent. Cleveland said he believes the decrease came about because members of the community call the sheriff when they see crimes occurring. Cleveland also credited Avalon Sheriff's Station staff with bring ing down the crime rate. "We're proud of the work that our sworn and civilian employees are doing," Cleveland said. Groupon Impacts Catalina Having started in 2008, the discount Web site Groupon has finally made its way to Catalina. Groupon features discounted gift certificates usable at local or na- tional companies. "I was aware of Groupon and our numbers were down over the winter so we decided to put to- gether a package and see what Groupon could do," said Hermosa "I believe we ended up with around 400 people utilizing this special," said Island Company Di- rector of Marketing Brad Wilson. Camp Fox Completes Major Renovation Camp Fox at Buttonshell Beach completed a major renovation to the facilities this summer. The big- gest project was the installation of a new waste treatment plant that will increase the capacity of the camp. The first of eight barges arrived on Oct. 28, 2010 with the equipment materials for the proj- ect and the camp was operational on Feb. 28, 2011. The total cost of Hotel owner Mark Malan, the waste treatment plant project Malan's package included dis' was $1,800,000. counted round trip boat tickets, two nights at the Hermosa and an option for either the Segway tour, or an activities package which in- cludes movie, mini golf and visit to the Wrigley Memorial and Bo- tanical Gardens. Apparently 1,250 customers took advantage of the purchase the deal and were able to use their purchase. The Island Company utilized Groupon's services as well, offer- ing 50 percent off a round of 18 holes at our Golf Course. Island Company Director of Marketing, Brad Wilson, said Groupon was a good way to draw people who have never been to the Island. Besides the waste treatment plant, many other improvements and additions were added. A series of paved walkways were installed around the new grass lawns. A competitive sand volleyball court was constructed with an adjacent Gaga Pit (a form of dodgeball). The ropes course was upgraded with two super swings, a "power pole," a giants ladder and all new lower rope initiatives. The archery range was redesigned around a pirate theme. Two portable rock climbing walls were installed but are slated for replacement with permanent towers in the future. One of the biggest hurdles was money. While Guided Discoveries is a non-profit organization, do- nations are difficult to raise. The organization decided to secure a low-interest bond, issued by the California Infrastructure Bank, which is available to non-profits and other public agencies. KCET to air Watson's film "Wings Across the Channel," Jim Watson's feature-length docu- mentary on the Golden Age of sea- plane service to Catalina Island, was broadcast on KCET-TV at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13. KCET aired the program as part of an on-air fundraising event. The film features music by Catalina blues artist Roger Con- nelly, who performs a rendition of Gordon Lightfoot's hit from the 1970s, "Sundown," representing the final days of the seaplane era on Catalina. Filled with footage of seaplanes from post-war Cata- lina, "Wings Across the Channel: Catalina Island's Aviation His- tory, 1946-Present," features the "Knights of Avalon" who tirelessly flew their Grumman Goose G-21s and the mighty Sikorsky VS-44 Mother Goose to the island. How- ever, due to the rising airfares, and the increasing number of accidents, the seaplanes were grounded in the 1980s, ending a'unique era in America's aviation history. Yellow Submarine Dives off of Catalina "This was a big new toy," said Gerry Smith, dive safety officer for the USC Wrigley Marine Sci- ence Center at Big Fisherman's Cove on the isthmus. An Echo Ranger, an 18-foot, bright yellow submarine drone built by Boeing Co., was put through it paces in September earlier this month, plumbing the depths offthe Catalina coast. Boeing built the unmanned Echo Ranger in 2001 when it oper- ated in the Gulf of Mexico, scour- ing the ocean floor on behalf of oil and gas companies. A small onboard compres- sor can create negative buoyancy and the sub dives. Wings on the sub make it glide forward while it is sinking. Once the sub gets to a desired depth, the compressor expands the gas in the buoyancy chamber and the sub begins to rise in a forward motion. The Echo Ranger can dive down 10,000 feet and carry a pay- load of 10,000 pounds. Church Mouse nets $60K for Island charities Bob and Carol Butte, organizers of the 21st annual Church Mouse Marlin Fishing Tournament, said the event netted $60,000 in reve- nue for many charities on Catalina Island. There were 60 boats of contes- tants that fished their hearts out over Monday and Tuesday, Aug. 29 and 30. The event concluded with a gala event held in the Ca- sino Ballroom Tuesday evening. There were two marlin caught and released that took first and second prize. Third and fourth places went to teams that caught the largest halibut. The first place prize was taken by team "Oz." Second place was taken by team "Chaser." Third place was taken by team "One Sea Dog" for their 30.6-pound halibut. Fourth place was taken by team "Ho Hum" for their 15.4-pound halibut. Outrigger race on South Beach Although 45,foot long outrig- ger canoes were born in Hawaii and other parts of Polynesia, it was Sept. 20, 1959, in Avalon on Catalina, when the first outrigger canoe races were held in the Unit- ed States. That year two canoes paddled across the channel from Avalon to Newport Dunes on the mainland. The tradition continued this September in Avalon when about 580 paddlers competed in the Catalina Channel Crossing, US Outrigger Championships on Sept. 10 and 11, taking off on Sunday from the city's South Beach. In addition to the paddlers - there are six to a canoe - the event draws a host of other people from support staffto family members. "Despite the fact that the infra- structure and economics of Cata- lina make it tough for our group, our desire is to keep racing to the Island for years to come. We've had over 1,500 people that come here for this race weekend since 1980," Hohl said. Council denies Trialthon permit The Avalon City Council on Tuesday, Sept. 6 voted 4-1 to deny Pacific Sports a permit to hold a triathlon a week prior to the Cham- ber of Commerce's triathlon. This comes after the Chamber appealed the Planning Commission's recent decision to grant the permit. Coun- cilman Ralph Morrow, a supporter of Pacific Sports, cast the dissent- ing vote. In related news, the council held a closed session to discuss the pos- sibility of a lawsuit by Pacific Sports if the council upheld the Chamber's appeal. Wayne Griffin, president of the Chamber, said the business group would defend the city if it be- came necessary. Griffin said holding triathlons on two successive week- ends would not be successful. Kytee Bellflower, a vice presi- dent with Pacific Sports, said that having two triathlons a week apart should not be a problem, but an opportunity. She said Pacific Sports has always produced the triathlon event the first weekend in November, even though up until this year they were running it per a management agreement with the Chamber. Councilman Tim Winslow said he was offended by the e-mails that Pacific Sports sent out to tri- athletes, and that it was difficult enough getting people over to the Island for an event. He also said he didn't like being threatened, and would vote to uphold the Cham- ber's appeal. Mosaic heart captures Catalina When it comes to Catalina, Ful- lerton artist Carol Towler not only wears her heart on her sleeve, she has fashioned it into a 5-foot tall, 4-foot wide, mosaic work of art. The sturdy, yet delicate-looking piece was on display in the window of the U.S. Bank building through the run of the 53rd Annual Festi- val of Art, Sept. 16-18. Although she didn't create the piece with the Festival in mind, the colorful heart serves as a wonderful tribute to YIR, Page 7 6 i Friday, December 30, 2011 THE CATALINA ISLANDER