Catalina Island
64.4 °F
Reported on:
September 19, 2017 - 4:17pm

Articles by Charles M. Kelly

On Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Avalon City Council will discuss whether and how to regulate medical marijuana. Even though the council approved a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries in 2013, recent state legislation has brought the matter back to the council.

According to City Attorney Scott Campbell, the legislature has given California cities until March 1 to enact their own medical marijuana regulations or the state government’s regulations will go into effect.

“It’s basically about local control,” Campbell said.

The Avalon City Council fired City Manager Ben Harvey this week, following a performance evaluation Tuesday that was closed to the public. Harvey said he wasn’t fired for cause and no reason was given. He said that basically, three council members decided they would rather have a different leader.

Council members Joe Sampson, Richard Hernandez and Mayor Anni Marshall voted to terminate Harvey. Council members Oley Olsen and Cinde MacGugan-Cassidy voted against firing Harvey.

Southern California Edison has filed a letter formally asking the Public Utilities Commission for authority to  postpone Stage 3 water rationing on Catalina.

According to Lauren Bartlett, senior project manager for the Media Relations Team at Edison, the letter requesting the rationing delay was filed last Friday.

As previously reported, Edison officials want to defer water rationing because of winter rain forecasts and because the new desalination unit on Pebbly Beach will increase water production.

Southern California Edison will ask state officials for permission to put off Stage 3 water rationing. The utility company is asking for the delay in expectation of winter rains and in anticipation that the Catalina’s new desalination unit will go online in November.

“Southern California Edison will be asking the California Public Utilities Commission for permission not to implement 50 percent water rationing, also known as Stage 3,” according to Ron Hite, Southern California Edison district manager for Catalina.

Editor’s note: This story has been updated since the article first appeared in the print edition of the Catalina Islander.

The president of the American Conservation Experience was injured by a bison while he was working on the Island Wednesday, Aug. 26.

The Vons project is going forward.

The City Council voted 2-1 this week to uphold the Planning Commission’s decision to permit the construction of a new 23,044 square foot Vons grocery store on Sumner Avenue.

The council also approved a coastal development permit.

Councilman Richard Hernandez cast the dissenting vote. For legal reasons, Councilwoman Cinde MacGugan-Cassidy and Mayor Anni Marshall did not participate in the vote.


The overall May 2015 visitor count decreased 3.3 percent when compared with the same period last year, according to figures recently released by the Chamber of Commerce.  In all, 79,468 guests came to the Island last month. Last year, 82,204 guests came.

Avalon High School senior Michelle Rufino, 17, will visit Japan next month as a goodwill ambassador representing the City of Long Beach. She will be one of three individuals selected for the trip. “Long Beach has shared a sister-city program with Yokkaichi, Japan for 50 years,” said Lynda Muenzer, who was Michelle’s computer teacher.
“Every other year Long Beach sends two students and a Long Beach teacher for three to four weeks to embrace Japanese culture and friendship,” Muenzer said.

Plans are in the works to develop a “falconry experience tour” on Catalina Island. The tourist attraction would be a partnership between the Santa Catalina Island Company and On the Wing falconry.
Master falconer Rocky Post hopes the falconry experience will help pay for the local pest bird abatement program.
Post said the planned falconry tour would show people what falconry is, how it works and what is required for both the birds and the people who work with them.
He said the show would last about an hour and would feature a lot of birds.

An Avalon Harbor Patrol officer lost his life defending a boat that was ultimately destroyed by high seas caused by the storm that occured Tuesday, Dec. 30, according to City Manager Ben Harvey.

A civilian life was also lost Tuesday night, Harvey said.

The names of the victims have not been released. Few details were available as City Manager Harvey was on his way to the city’s command center when he confirmed the two fatalities.

Harvey described Tuesday’s storm as a “major” one with extremely high seas and strong winds.