Catalina Island
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November 25, 2017 - 8:51am

Articles by Jim Watson

On May 4, 1965, L.A. County Superior Court Judge Thomas C. Yager and his new bride Eileen Yager (née Jeffers) powered across the San Pedro Channel from Newport Beach to Catalina Island for a “pre-honeymoon.”  

After their sojourn to the Isle of Romance, they were set to return to Newport Beach and then fly to Honolulu to continue their escapade.

The name “Catalina Island” pops up in the strangest places sometimes.

Normally, those places are fun, clean and full of light:  good times, summer times, friends and family; happy memories of diving and dining, walking the beach, exchanging vows or hoisting a highball.

Then there are times that, through no fault of the Island itself, the name Catalina pops up in those nefarious recesses of the darker side of humanity; that realm of unsolved mysteries, missing persons  and long-forgotten sorrows.

In an official ceremony Wednesday, a check representing a donation of $5,000 was handed over to CHOICES Director Rhonda Kalish by Southern California Edison’s Local Public Affairs Officer Ron Garcia Wednesday at the at SCE’s Pebbly Beach facility.

According to the group’s Treasurer Kristy Throndson, Edison first notified CHOICES (Citizens Helping Our Island Children End Substance Abuse) in December, but Wednesday’s action made it official.

CHOICES (Citizens Helping Our Island Children End Substance-Abuse) recently officially kicked off the new year’s Peer Mediation Super Sibling Mentoring program with a ceremony at Avalon Schools.  
The event
was held Sunday night, Jan. 25, at Avalon School.
According to Rhonda Kalish, continuing care specialist for CHOICES, the program is based on the idea that “kindness is vital” and involves older students mentoring younger ones in a variety of life skills.  “It’s not just about drugs,” she said.  

Readers may recall that in one of the columns I submitted during my recent trip to China I discussed a peculiar mystery surrounding my cell phone battery.

Specifically, ever since I’ve had this particular lemon of a “smart” phone, the battery drains within hours whenever I am on Catalina, even when the phone is in airplane mode or even when the phone is off.  It’s just something I have gotten used to.

The annual Avalon 50-Mile Run was held last weekend under cloudy and sometimes rainy skies.  

The winner in the men’s column and overall winner of the race was once again Fabrice Hardel, who has chalked up several consecutive wins over the past few races.  Hardel’s time was 6:31:15.

Hardel was followed up a few minutes later by Fernando Blanco, who turned in a time of 6:39:30.

Slots 3, 4 and 5 in the men’s column were filled by Paul Sinclair, Ruperto Romero and Robert Vorhees.

In the world of UFO research, it appears that Hell hath frozen over.

Just recently, the National Archives released all, or most, of the documents related to the U.S. Air Force’s infamous “Project Blue Book,” amounting to the Holy Grail for UFO researchers.  

And, yes, there are a number of Catalina sightings located within.

For those of you who don’t watch the History Channel, Project Blue Book was the U.S. Air Force’s secret UFO investigation unit and was in existence from 1952 to 1969.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Due to last week’s early holiday deadline, the Catalina Islander was unable to provide extensive coverage of last week’s nor’easter storm.

Over the dozen or so decades that have passed since the town of Avalon first hung out its shingle as a tourist resort, many valiant efforts have been made by those charged with attracting visitors to the Island’s shores to make the town a year-round destination.
No greater effort was expended to achieve those ends than those instituted by William Wrigley Jr., in the years following his purchase of the Santa Catalina Island Company, and therefore 99 percent of the Island, in 1919.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  This is the final installment of a four-part series on the author’s trip to China.  Jim Watson is the author of “Mysterious Island: Catalina,” available on Amazon, Kindle and in stores in Avalon

Ah, the joys of returning home after a lengthy trip away from home:  the cats don’t remember you, the bill collectors do, and the inside of your fridge smells like Salinas in August.
I’m back on the Island now with the final part in this four-part series along with some final thoughts.