Catalina Island
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Reported on:
April 24, 2017 - 6:15pm

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We’re inching towards $25,000 ... We’re led this time by a pair of longtime Chamber supporters.

The first are the boys and girls at Hollywood Divers who again come through at the Gold level.

They are also sponsoring a Chamber Evening table as well as a boat (the Westerly).

They’re a great example of how this event thrives through the active participation of stores and clubs.

At the Silver ($500) level, we’ve got two examples of corporate matching grants being put to good use.

First of all, we’re two week away from Chamber Day 2017 and this is when the pace really quickens. Which is why what we have to say here is so critically important.

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The Catalina Chimes Tower Foundation held its ‘Bells & Whistles’ event at the Catalina Island Museum on Wednesday, April 5 to share progress on the Chimes Tower restoration project. More than 75 Avalon community members and island visitors gathered to hear remarks from Foundation Chair Alison Wrigley Rusack and Vice Chair Blanny Avalon Hagenah. Attendees also had the opportunity to view original architectural drawings, historic photos and chimes mechanisms, as well as architectural renderings depicting the Chimes Tower as it will look upon completion.

A desalination expert presented a $19-million plan to improve Avalon’s desalination system to the City Council this week. The $19 million (rounded) price tag would be for construction costs. Maintenance and operations would add almost $1 million a year to the cost. The project would include adding almost 2 million gallons of water storage capacity to the system. (Last year, Avalon staff proposed adding a 2-million gallon tank.)

Southern California Edison is scheduled give a presentation on water supply options to the City Council on April 18, according to both City Manager David Jinkens and Edison Sr. Project Manager Robert Laffoon Villegas.

The presentation is expected to be based largely on the long-awaited report by a desalination expert hired by Edison. The report was originally expected in December 2016. City Manager Jinkens and City Attorney Scott Campbell both confirmed that the report was delivered electronically to Avalon officials on Monday, April 10.

The Avalon Lions Club took time out last Saturday to do some landscaping maintenance at the Haypress Reservoir day use area.

The group is also rebuilding a storage shed at the site which was destroyed in the 2007 fire. The children’s playground and picnic area at Haypress is managed by the local Lions Club under an agreement with the Catalina Island Conservancy.

On Monday April 3 the Avalon High  School Varsity Boys Golf Team traveled to Candlewood Country Club in Whittier to play in Whittier Christian’s Herold Invitational Golf Tournament.  There were 16 teams made up of four man teams.  It was the first 18 hole match of the year for the Lancers.  Typical golf matches are nine holes.  

We’ve got just a shade over three weeks to go and we’ve got some work to do. We’re not in horrible shape, but we’re not in great shape. And there are a lot of factors - the economy, the weather, how much people talk up the event - that are out of our control that shape how well we do.

The Prime-Timers were on the move again and for the month of March it was an afternoon of painting a picture of the Catalina Casino, lunch and wine followed by desserts.  With the best turnout to date, 37 Avalon community seniors (and guests) were led by Porschia Denning  from Rain Dance Arts as she coached the group through the painting process.  There were many reservations prior to the event on how well some of the individuals thought they could do but with some great guidance from Porschia and her staff, the group was able to take a nice piece of art work home with them.

Catalina’s hyperbaric chamber saves lives but is costly. Every year people on the island come together to raise money, culminating in “Chamber Day.”

We made it past $10,000. WAAAY past and are at $12,010!!! This is thanks to a single donation.

For the Islander

Widely known and beloved Bay Area activist Leslie Gordon died March 11th at the age of 55.

A native of Los Angeles, Gordon was born with cerebral palsy. She broke barriers for people with disabilities from a young age, with the constant support of a large and loving family.

A lifelong wheelchair-user, with speech and consequential motor challenges, Gordon’s search for knowledge, and what defined a life of meaning, was a constant in her life.

For the Islander

The Catalina Island Conservancy and more than 500 guests celebrated “Taking Flight” at the 22nd Annual Conservancy Ball on Saturday, April 1, in the historic Avalon Casino Ballroom.

Chamber website wins gold award for best business site

It’s been just short of a year since the Catalina Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau launched a brand-new website, but all the hard work has paid off.

Last month, the American Advertising Federation’s Coastal California chapter hosted the 2017 ADDY awards luncheon.

Searle Creative, the company hired by Chamber Secretary/President and CEO: Jim Luttjohann,  received gold awards for Consumer Website and Business-to-Business Website.

Questioning SCE’s water calculations

I appreciate the Islander’s review of the recent City Council meeting of Southern California Edison’s “preview” of its long-awaited water plan.  I questioned SCE’s assurance that we will not be facing Stage 2 again until April 2019 (not April 2018 as reported by the Islander), 25 months from now, even with no additional rain during that time frame, based on the following facts:

After nearly 33 years of service, it is truly bittersweet for me to announce my retirement.
The sweet part is that I will be able to spend a lot of quality time with my wife, three children and five grandchildren. The bitter part is that I will miss the many honorable men and women who comprise the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as well as the friends I made while assigned to Catalina Island.

Visitors to Catalina Island often notice the melodic sounds of chimes wafting over Avalon every quarter hour. The Chimes of Avalon were a gift to the community from William Wrigley Jr.’s wife Ada. Next week an exhibition about the history of the chimes will be added to the Catalina Island Museum’s history galleries.
In 1925 Mr. and Mrs. Wrigley purchased the chimes directly from inventor and manufacturer J.C. Deagan of Chicago. Mr. Deagan and his wife traveled to the island to be present the first time the chimes rang out over Avalon in March of 1926.

We opened for business on March 1 and we’re making good progress but we’ve got a long way to go and a little over a month to get there. We can only do it with your help. We have received $7,000 in donations so far, with lots of places reserved on boats and evening tables reserved as well. But there is much to accomplish still.
Although the event opened for business earlier this month, your Chamber is open for business 24/7/365.

Editor's note: This article has been updated to correct the date on which Southern California Edison expects it might be necessary to return to Stage 2 water restioning. The article now correctly puts the projected date at April 2019, assuming there is no more rainfall.

Chihuly at the Catalina Island Museum is the first major exhibition presented by the Catalina Island Museum since opening its new building this past summer. It is also the first time the museum has presented the work of a major living artist. The artist, Dale Chihuly, will make a personal appearance during the museum’s Member Preview of Chihuly at the Catalina Island Museum on Saturday, March 25.

Get rid of standing water

In my nearly 20 years of living in Avalon, I’ve only been bitten by a mosquito on a single occasion.  One of the great attractions of our little piece of paradise, in addition to the best climate in the world, is that we have virtually no biting insects.