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January 30-February 5, 2015





Coming Next Week: The Best of Dana Point People’s Choice Lantern Awards VOLUME 8, ISSUE 5

Please Don’t Stop the Music, Just Stop it Earlier StillWater Spirits & Sounds owner, ABC, Neighboring residents at odds over noise, hours of operation E Y E O N D P/ PAG E 5 StillWater Spirits & Sounds is fighting for later hours of operation and measurable noise guidelines, and neighboring residents want silence by 10 p.m. Photo: Allison Jarrell

Shared Parking Plan in Lantern District Moves Forward EYE ON DP/PAGE 3

Applicants Sought for City Commission Positions EYE ON DP/PAGE 3

Capistrano Beach Resident Saves Young Surfer at San O SURF/PAGE 14


DP EYE ON DP Dana Point


Unused parking spaces in the Meridian building parking garage will likely become part of a shared parking plan for the Town Center-Lantern District. Photo: Allison Jarrell

What’s Up With... Five things Dana Point should know this week Lantern District Shared Parking Plan Moves Forward THE LATEST: On Monday, the Planning Commission approved a permit for the mixed-use Meridian building in the Town Center-Lantern District to enter a shared parking arrangement with the city to convert currently under-used commercial parking spaces to public spaces. The move will accommodate an increased need for parking due to the addition of Sun Salute Yoga Studio to the building’s mix of ground-level commercial spaces and 30 upper-level residences. It will also play an important role in the city’s “park once” strategy in the works as new development moves forward in the district, city staff said. The building, located at 24582 Del Prado Avenue, is anchored by Luxe Restaurant and Martini Bar, and currently 75 of the building’s 141 parking spaces are designated for commercial use. Many of these spaces are underutilized—even at peak times, according to a commissioned parking study. The study showed a total demand for the location’s commercial operations to be 60 spaces but that no more than 39 spots are regularly in use at peak times, due largely to the convenience of parking on the street and the inconspicuous garage entrances on Amber Lantern and the back alley, said John Tilton, city planning manager. The commission voted 4-0—with Commissioner Liz Claus recusing due to Dana Point Times January 30-Fabruary 5, 2015

the close proximity of her residence—to approve a conditional use permit. Conditions of the permit include a requirement by the property owner, Bill Huff, to add more signage, better lighting and to paint the interior walls of the garages—preferably white. Building employees will be required to park in the lower level garage, while the upper level will be reserved for public three-hour parking. Residents and commissioners voiced concerns that a Town Center parking plan for the entire district has yet to be designed. Commissioners also discussed concerns regarding the future of parking in the district but agreed that despite the need for more planning, the city-contracted October 2013 Nelson Nygaard Consulting Associates parking study showed a current surplus of parking and a future shortage would be a “good problem.” “To have a parking problem will be part of the Lantern District’s signal that is has been a success,” Commissioner Norm Denton said. Commissioner Gary Newkirk agreed, adding that approval of this item is an easy choice, but it does bring up the need for future planning. “Things aren’t a problem until they are,” Newkirk said. “And unless you plan for it, there may not be an out. We need to look to the future and stay one or two steps in front of developers.” WHAT’S NEXT: Entering into a lease agreement between the city and the property owner requires City Council approval, a matter that will be before the council at their Tuesday, Feb. 3 regular meeting. —Andrea Swayne

Proposal for Medical Offices Comes into Focus THE LATEST: Area residents on both sides of the debate over the future of San Clem-

ente’s hospital got a closer look at some of the proposed design of an advanced urgent care facility at Saddleback Memorial San Clemente campus Thursday at an open house at Bella Collina Towne & Golf Club. The presentations included potential looks for the proposed four-level facility created by NexCore, a health care real estate developer. The basement level would include an outpatient surgery center, with urgent care, labs, imaging and a women’s health center on the first floor. The top floors would be reserved for primary and specialty care offices. Critics of the proposal maintain that the tri-city area would be left bereft of emergency care as a result, since, under current law, a medical facility cannot have an emergency room without an in-patient hospital. MemorialCare officials have indicated a willingness to pursue legislation to change the rules to allow for a freestanding emergency room. WHAT’S NEXT: A second open house will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 2, at the Ocean Institute, 24200 Dana Point Harbor Dr. in Dana Point, to discuss its current plans for the hospital property.—Jim Shilander

Panel Notes SONGS Waste Removal Obstacles THE LATEST: A panel of experts on the state of storage of nuclear waste in the United States admitted Tuesday at a San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station Community Engagement Panel at the San Juan Capistrano Community Center, that on a national level, there is a significant lack of urgency about the issue of spent nuclear fuel and how best to dispose of it. The CEP and panelists from the Bipartisan Policy Commission’s nuclear waste program were brought together to get an assessment of just what could be done about spent nuclear fuel, such as that stored at SONGS. Geoff Fettus, an attorney for the National Resources Defense Council said the solution, moving beyond Yucca Mountain, is providing a legal framework for states to have meaningful regulatory authority over waste, to go along with giving states consent over whether a repository could be placed within it. David Wright, a former member of the South Carolina Public Service Commission, said any interim storage solution would likely require a “bottom-up” approach, where communities agitated for the right to store fuel as a potential economic boost. San Clemente City Councilman Tim Brown said he worries that an interim solution, such as storing fuel on the site of plants, could become permanent. Other potential suggested solutions were efforts at a second, or additional

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repositories, or for casks to be taken from decommissioned sites to operating plants. WHAT’S NEXT: Panelists noted it is important for localities looking to get rid of waste to consider not just the effect on the final destination but the “corridor” communities it would pass through. Marni Magda, an activist who participated in the panel, said the effort should be made statewide to take waste from plants to the desert, ideally to a military base, where it could be protected. –JS

I-5 Closures Congest South OC Traffic THE LATEST: Beginning Monday, Jan. 26, crews closed two of the five lanes on the southbound Interstate 5 freeway from just south of the Camino Capistrano exit to just north of the CA-1/Camino Las Ramblas exit, according to the Orange County Transportation Authority. Lane closures will take place from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., and will continue Monday through Friday for three weeks, OCTA officials said. Drivers should expect significant delays on southbound I-5 during the closures and allow extra time to reach their destinations. WHAT’S NEXT: The closures are necessary for crews to perform pile driving for a retaining wall that will accommodate the future widening of the freeway, which is part of the I-5 South County Improvement Project.—Allison Jarrell

Applications Being Taken for City Commissions THE LATEST: Dana Point residents are invited to apply to serve on city committees and commissions, now through Feb. 27 The Planning Commission and Traffic Improvement Subcommittee will both have three open seats as current members term out, however all current Planning Commissioners have been asked to reapply in order for the three newly-elected city councilmen to get to know the full five-member body. WHAT’S NEXT: Applicants must be Dana Point residents, registered voters and at least 18 years old. Applications are available online at or may be picked up at City Hall, 33282 Golden Lantern. Completed forms must be returned to the City Clerk, via mail or in person, by 4:30 p.m., Friday, Feb. 27. Interviews will be in March and April.—AS

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All information below is obtained from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department website. The calls represent what was told to the deputy in the field by the radio dispatcher. The true nature of an incident often differs from what is initially reported. No assumption of criminal guilt or affiliation should be drawn from the content of the information provided. An arrest doesn’t represent guilt. The items below are just a sampling of the entries listed on the OCSD website.


Dana Point Police Services

Tuesday, January 27 SUSPICIOUS PERSON/CIRCUMSTANCE Pacific Coast Highway/Doheny Park Plaza (8:22 p.m.) A man was hitting the wall with a large pipe underneath the railroad overpass on southbound PCH. DISTURBANCE Pacific Coast Highway, 34200 Block (5:58 p.m.) A patrol check was requested by a caller from Subway when four people who appeared to be homeless were setting up camp and refusing to leave. CITIZEN ASSIST Pacific Coast Highway, 34800 Block (4:47 p.m.) A woman at the Capistrano Seaside Inn said her husband left her in Los Angeles for 10 days and she would like to speak to a deputy about it. SUSPICIOUS PERSON/CIRCUMSTANCE Calle Fortuna/Camino Capistrano (4:37 p.m.) A man, a possible “mental case” who had been in prison, was walking around talking about killing his dad and rambling about space. The subject was described as being in his 50s, shirtless, shoeless and wearing red pajama bottoms. DISTURBANCE Domingo Avenue, 25900 Block (2:58 p.m.) A man playing a guitar on school property said he would hurt the kids after being asked to leave the premises. The man was described as having slicked-back hair and three large scabs on his forehead. The man was escorted off the property by parents. SUSPICIOUS PERSON/CIRCUMSTANCE Camino Las Ramblas/Interstate 5 (2:34 p.m.) A woman called police to report someone flying drones over her property. INDECENT EXPOSURE Calle Real, 26900 Block (11:06 a.m.) A naked man carrying a poster was seen in the area. SUSPICIOUS PERSON/CIRCUMSTANCE Del Prado Avenue, 24400 Block (9:48 a.m.) A man was sleeping in the laundry room. SUSPICIOUS PERSON/CIRCUMSTANCE Terra Vista, 0 Block (6:23 a.m.) A man was going through the neighborhood asking for food and clothes. The caller said it is a gated community and the man shouldn’t be there. Dana Point Times January 30-February 5, 2015

Monday, January 26 ASSIST OUTSIDE AGENCY Palm Beach Court, 0 Block (10:46 p.m.) OCFA was called when a garage with two vehicles inside became engulfed in flames. The homeowner said she had just filled a car up with gasoline and was concerned it would explode. CITIZEN ASSIST Pacific Coast Highway/Del Obispo Street (10:43 p.m.) A woman in a 32-foot RV behind the ampm store reported having problems with a man living in a black BMW in the parking lot. Woody Hut owner Christa Scholottman and husband Boots Balson received Dana Point Business of the Month honors at the Jan. 20 City Council meeting. Photo: Courtesy

SHOTS HEARD-NO SUSPECT INFORMATION Calle Naranja, 34300 Block (9:19 p.m.) A loud shotgun blast was heard, possibly coming from Carmelita. DISTURBANCE Pacific Coast Highway, 34100 Block (8:33 p.m.) Police responded a second time to reports of a man in a purple beanie and a purple poncho who was told earlier to leave Starbucks. The man was now riding past the premises on his bike and lifting his shirt up. The subject was last seen riding shirtless, southbound on PCH. DISTURBANCE Pacific Coast Highway, 34100 Block (7:45 p.m.) A man who appeared to be a transient refused to leave Starbucks when asked to. He was described as wearing a purple beanie, a purple poncho and playing a guitar. SUSPICIOUS PERSON/CIRCUMSTANCE Cove Island Place/White Sands Street (6:24 p.m.) A man wearing a garbage bag was seen loitering next to a white Ford pickup truck and acting suspicious. SUSPICIOUS PERSON/CIRCUMSTANCE Via Gomez, 34400 Block (8:50 a.m.) A woman said someone put nails behind her tires twice, causing two flat tires.


fter managing Hallmark stores for over 15 years Christa Scholottmann purchased Woody Hut on September 30, 2008. Christa always wanted to own her own store and when she found out a little shop was up for sale in Dana Point she knew she couldn’t pass it up. Upon purchasing it she realized it didn’t have that fun-loving beach atmosphere she envisioned, so Christa and her husband, Boots Balson, completely renovated the store’s looks and its merchandise. They added more color and liveliness to the store and also brought in items from local artists. With help from her husband, Christa


brought in quality woodie car and nostalgic surf inspired gifts, apparel, décor and jewelry. The store currently carries a wide array of beach-themed gifts with a Dana Point twist, including T-shirts, signs, sunglasses, jewelry, sandals and more. With all the great items for sale, Christa says the jewelry really stands out because it is all sterling silver, brought over from Hawaii, very hard to find on the mainland, and best of all, reasonably priced. The great items that Woody Hut carries, along with the personal customer service they offer, has made it a go-to place in the Dana Point Harbor for gifts and memorabilia. Woody Hut, 34493 Golden Lantern, 949.443.1072,


ethically recycled both in the United States and abroad, based on best use. To find out more about Clothes for the Cause, visit For more information about the event or the tennis team, call Caroline Swift at 949.573.5373.


Dana Hills Tennis Team to Host Textile Drive Fundraiser

Sunday, January 25 TRESPASSING Scenic Drive/Street of the Golden Lantern (5:09 p.m.) A man riding a unicycle on the Nature Interpretive Center trail refused to walk the unicycle and then refused to leave.

Thursday, January 22 DISTURBANCE Casitas Place, 34500 Block (3:02 p.m.) A bearded man was seen shadowboxing behind parked cars. ILLEGAL PARKED VEHICLE Corniche Drive, 0 Block (1 p.m.) A white Mercedes was parked illegally in the handicapped space near the clubhouse.

Wednesday, January 21 PATROL CHECK Street of the Golden Lantern/ Pacific Coast Highway (9:22 p.m.) A man on a skateboard was carrying a full-size mattress in the road. The caller was worried he might get hit by a car.

The Dana Hills High School tennis team, under the leadership of Coach Justin Green, is hosting a fundraiser through Clothes for the Cause, a clothing and textile drive, on Jan. 31 at Laguna Niguel Racquet Club off of Clubhouse Dr. in Laguna Niguel. Donations can be made between 10:30 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. In addition to garments, Clothes for the Cause accepts shoes, hats, gloves, towels, sheets, blankets, quilts, drapery, purses, belts, rugs and stuffed animals. Items in any condition will be accepted. Funds raised will be measured in dollars per pound of items collected. Clothes for the Cause is a fundraising company with offices in California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington and owned by Gemtext, a Northwest-based sustainabilityfocused company serving the textile recycling industry. Instead of decaying in landfills, donated items are re-worn, reused or

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SOCSA Foundation Opera Night Fundraising Dinner Set for Feb. 8 The SOCSA Foundation, a parent-run support organization for the South Orange County School of the Arts at Dana Hills High School, is hosting an underwriting dinner and fundraiser on Sunday, Feb. 8 to benefit the school’s “A Magical Journey Opera Night 2015.” The event will take place at Savannah Chop House, 32441 Golden Lantern in Laguna Niguel from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are $40 in advance or $50 at the door and include a three-course meal and entertainment. For tickets or more information, call 949.240.1994 or visit Have something interesting for the community? Send your information to editorial@


Please Don’t Stop the Music, Just Stop it Earlier Neighboring residents and StillWater Spirits & Sounds owner at odds over noise BY ANDREA SWAYNE, DANA POINT TIMES


he “day the music died.” That’s what StillWater Spirits & Sounds owner Damian Collins has been calling Friday, Jan. 23, the day he received notice from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control that his request to return to the later hours of operation he had previously, was denied. The denial also included conditions, one of which, Collins said, effectively banned live entertainment and outdoor dining at his establishment. ABC public information officer John Carr clarified, saying that none of the existing conditions of the license actually prohibit Collins from having music at his location. However, one of the conditions of StillWater’s permit states that “Entertainment provided shall not be audible beyond the area under the control of the licensee,” a requirement Collins deems utterly impossible, unreasonable, and due to the “subjective and unmeasurable” nature of the rule, an outright assault on his business. “Licensees must adhere to the conditions on their license,” Carr wrote in an email. “If they do not, then ABC will take steps to help ensure compliance with the conditions.” In 2013, after neighbors complained about noise, Collins’ hours of operation were cut back by the ABC from 8 a.m. to midnight Sunday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday—hours he inherited, along with the existing conditional use permit of the former establishment, Renaissance when he purchased it—to requiring that alcoholic beverage sales on the outdoor patio be limited to 8 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. “The ABC said we could come back and reapply to have our old hours reinstated in a year, if we had no complaints,” Collins said. “When we reapplied in June, we asked that our patio hours go back to 1 a.m. and 2 p.m. indoors, seven days a week.” His application also asked that the noise Dana Point Times January 30-February 5, 2015

Residents, most residing across the street in Lantern Bay Estates, are at odds with the StillWater owner over noise and hours of operation at the establishment. Photo: Allison Jarrell

condition be revised to read: “Entertainment provided shall not be audible beyond 100 feet from the area under the control of the licensee.” A change, he said, would at least provide a small buffer compared to the current rule disallowing any audible sound beyond the property. Collins said he felt the request was fair, since after having had hours cut at Hennessey’s Tavern a few blocks away, that bar was granted a reinstatement of their 2 a.m. license and according to the city and Dana Point Police Services, StillWater had no noise ordinance violations during the year. Collins also said his application aligned with the hours of operation set forth in the Town Center Plan, the guiding document for the downtown Lantern District in which StillWater operates. “Honestly, upon the advice of our attorney, we asked for 2 a.m. expecting to be granted 1 a.m. as the ABC rarely gives you everything you ask for,” Collins said. Upon his application to revise StillWater’s hours, the ABC sent notification letters to neighboring residents. Residents, many living in the Lantern Bay Estates neighborhood directly across Del Prado, responded, sending in 35 written objections to Collins’ request, Carr said. A social media campaign was launched by Collins, in search of public support for petitioning the ABC to change noise rules to a measurable decibel level and/or abide by city granted noise and other related ordinances. As rumors swirled, Collins became convinced that the move was an orchestrated effort by a group of Estates residents. He said it was led by developer Bob Theel, who lives nearby but outside of the Estates, and a woman who lives inside the Estates gated community, in an effort to use the ABC’s “rather arbitrary, catch-all” rule to not only put him out of business, but also to thwart outdoor dining and musical entertainment in the entire Lantern District as development moves ahead.

The woman—called out by name, along with Theel, in Collins’ social media campaign—contacted the Dana Point Times asking to contribute information to this story, participated in an hour-long interview and then asked that her name not appear in the paper. The decision, she said, was made Wednesday following the delivery of a letter by Collins to her and her neighbors, accusing her and Theel of deceiving residents “for their own personal benefit.” “It’s just not true,” she said. “I just want to be able to go to sleep at night at a reasonable hour.” The social media campaign, in less than a week, netted more than 50 pages worth of comments in support of StillWater. Theel said he is just one of many who sent letters opposing Collins’ permit after receiving notice of it from the ABC and that he does not represent any group, nor is he leading any charge against outdoor dining and music in the district. “When I heard he wanted to extend the hours to 1 a.m. seven days a week, I objected to that,” Theel said. “I am not a part of that HOA; they asked me to meet with them, which I did one day. But my motivations are different than theirs. Mine are business motivations. I want to see Town Center developed in a respectable way. They are motivated by the desire to have peace and quiet in their neighborhood. “The issue is the sports bar outside. It seems to me that’s a new intensity of use that warrants having to get an amendment to the conditional use permit. I am very supportive of StillWater or any other business that makes an application to the city for a CUP. I just can’t get behind them on this because they were allowed to bypass amending their CUP.” According to city staff, a new CUP was not necessary, as StillWater took over an existing business and kept existing hours and long-time functions of the building. Collins said, upon purchase of the property, he made changes to help mitigate noise by removing the existing outdoor stage, adding double pane acoustic win-

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dows, acoustic baffling to inside walls and sound buffering doors. The discussion became a he said/she said argument as both sides allege the other of being unwilling to sit down together to work out a compromise, slinging lies and conspiring against the other . Chief of Police Lt. Russ Chilton was able to provide a bit of a pathway for communication between the two sides, when he met with Collins on Jan. 12, followed by residents on Jan. 13 to discuss StillWater’s impact on the community, including calls for service at the establishment. “When the ABC reached out to me asking whether StillWater was impacting police services and I said ‘no,’ the residents became concerned,” Chilton said. “I don’t think they really understood that my findings were purely from a police perspective. After calls for service were vetted for relevance, I couldn’t attribute an increase in problems to StillWater. I know what a nuisance bar is because I’ve dealt with them in the past and that’s not what we have at StillWater.” Opponents argue emphatically that noise and nuisance from the outdoor bar was never as intense as it has been in the last couple of years, with the addition of televisions and a rowdier, larger crowd. “If Damian (Collins) is projecting my comments on every other property in town, existing or future, that’s untrue,” Theel said. “I’m not doing battle with Town Center, nor are the other folks who wrote letters. I like Town Center and I think it can have bars and restaurants open late, but it has to be developed so that there’s a compatible mix of businesses and residences.” City Manager Doug Chotkevys agrees, and said he wholeheartedly believes that this feud can be worked out through a compromise that will satisfy all parties. His primary concern with the issue is with the power of the ABC and its ability to override local ordinances. “StillWater has broken no city ordinances, yet the ABC can override city control,” Chotkevys said. “We give careful consideration to ordinances and CUPs, and this, along with a previous action taken at Luxe (Restaurant & Martini Bar) down the street, shows a tendency for them to disregard and disrespect city governance.” “In the past we’ve always been able to strike a balance and return peace to the community in times like these,” Chilton said. “I empathize with the residents and can understand their point of view and their frustration. This won’t be solved overnight but I am convinced all parties can come together somewhere in the middle.” Chotkevys had arranged for a meeting in Sacramento between Assistant City Manager Mike Killebrew, state ABC officials, Chilton and other locally elected officials on Wednesday. The results of this meeting were unavailable at press time, but encouraging words of a developing plan for compromise was hinted at by Chotkevys. DP



GUEST OPINION: Straight Talk by Al Jacobs

The Quest for Equality


California law enacted in 2010, titled the Open Enrollment Act, allows students to transfer out of poorly performing public schools and into those with higher rankings. The legislation provides that “poor-performing schools” are those bottom 1,000 statewide, based upon annual Academic Performance index test scores. The fact that, since its enactment, few students have requested transfers is attributed by the law’s supporters to unawareness by parents as well as bureaucratic footdragging by the effected schools. This resistance is understandable, for schools receive funding on an average daily attendance basis; a transferring student means loss of money to the school district. I suppose, under some pretext, a student moving to a school with a higher


Dear Decision Makers, I’m writing to stress the importance of making Dana Point a town that offers a wide variety of options for mass transportation—inter-city trolley’s, bike rentals, bike lanes and pedestrian friendly walkways. With all the changes taking place in our city, transportation options other than vehicles has to be planned out, discussed and implemented. Add bike rental stations throughout the city, where people can rent a bike at one location, and then drop it off at another location. I’ve used bike stations in Chicago and they worked fabulously. The bike lane on Pacific Coast Highway is so much more dangerous to ride on now—which is disappointing. Please add more bike lanes on streets parallel with PCH. Our neighbor city Laguna Beach has a trolley every summer that is packed with locals and visitors taking advantage of mass transportation for free. In addition, this local trolley operates throughout the year for a minimum cost to ride. Make a Dana Point trolley happen. Connect with other cities close by to extend a “local” Dana Point Times January 30-February 5, 2015

grade point average can expect things will be better. However, I question the presumption a student’s performance will improve in a school with more proficient classmates. Actually, the reverse seems more likely. It’s tougher when you’re outclassed by brighter peers. Unfortunately, in the professional education business, the last statement I just made is blasphemy. The one concept which dare not be suggested is that any student might be brighter than another. The theory is we’re all equal, so any academic accomplishment less than that stipulated must STRAIGHT TALK be caused by factors over By Al Jacobs which the student has no control. Performance differences must then be the result of societal factors or budget shortages—or perhaps discrimination. The proof of our inherent equality is now codified into federal law. It was decreed under the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, that by 2014, every student would perform at grade level on state math and reading tests. As this status of perfection

trolley system. I know more and more people will use it, especially locals. Regarding mass transportation (public trains and buses), I know I would use mass transportation more if it took less time using these then driving in a vehicle. Have you noticed how infrequent train rides are from San Juan Capistrano to downtown Los Angeles? Implement more bus service on PCH past 10 p.m.—especially on Friday and Saturday nights. What makes any city unique is people experiencing the look and feel outside of their cars. Implementing other modes of transportation other than vehicles in Dana Point will make our city stand out. INTERSTATE 5 CONSTRUCTION CAUSING EMERGENCY SITUATION FOR HOMEOWNERS MICHELLE HUTCHINSON, Capistrano Beach

Attention neighbors in Capistrano Beach, in the Palisades, or nearby areas that might be affected by the construction on the freeway. We are experiencing extreme and rapid damage to our properties from the construction of the freeway. Thirteen years ago my husband and I remodeled our existing home into a duplex at 26571 Via Sacramento. Apart from the existing framing and foundation, it is all new construction. Since the construction on the freeway began two years ago, there has been a deep vibration that is shaking the building apart. The stucco is cracking at the corner of every door and window and is now spider-webbing out onto the

never came to pass, its advocates are still dreaming up reasons. Simply stated, more attention is paid to the institution a person attends than is deserved. Unless the site is actually hostile to learning, it doesn’t matter much. For a diligent student, any old school will do; which reminds me of the father who spends a fortune sending his son to an expensive and prestigious Ivy League university. Upon graduation, the kid proudly proclaims to his dad that he graduated at the top of his class. His father is aghast and blurts out: “Oy, vhat a vaste … to spend all dat money sending you to such a lousy school vher a bum like you could be foist in da class!” Al Jacobs, a longtime Dana Point resident and a professional investor for nearly a half-century, distributes a monthly newsletter in which he shares financial knowledge and experience. It is available at www. DP PLEASE NOTE: In an effort to provide our readers with a wide variety of opinions from our community, the DP Times provides Guest Opinion opportunities in which selected columnists’ opinions are shared. The opinions expressed in these columns are entirely those of the columnist alone and do not reflect those of the DP Times or Picket Fence Media. If you would like to respond to this column, please email us at

exterior walls, tiles are popping off the floor and cracking around the edges of the counters, two shower pans have pulled away from the walls, the walls are pulling apart, built-in cabinets are pulling off the wall, concrete walkways and driveway are cracking and sinking and a constant creaking noise has been occurring. Adjacent neighbors are experiencing similar and more extensive damage such as: cracking foundations, plumbing ruptures, visible sinking of foundation, doors and windows that will not open or close, interior plaster cracking, cracking and sinking driveways, and even a backyard sinkhole. Because of my husband’s 20-plus years as a contractor in this area, we understand that there is a natural underground water situation that flows towards the beach through the entire Palisades bluff area. The concern is, while the bridges are being retrofitted, there is an intense vibration that could be causing a liquefaction event, that even if not located directly near the freeway your property, could still be experiencing movement and settling. Most insurance companies will not cover geological events and settling. The city is telling neighbors to contact Caltrans. To litigate with Caltrans is an expensive process for a single household property owner. This has the potential makings for a class-action lawsuit. The law firm Nossaman LLP in Irvine has agreed to investigate our claim. Partners Bradford Khun and Rick Rayl have successfully handled some of the largest,

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34932 Calle del Sol, Suite B, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624 phone 949.388.7700 fax 949.388.9977



Tricia Zines, 949.388.7700, x107 BUSINESS OPERATIONS MANAGER Alyssa Garrett, 949.388.7700, x100


> Susie Lantz (San Clemente)


> Debra Wells (San Juan Capistrano)

Picket Fence Media Group Senior Editor, City Editor, DP Times > Andrea Swayne

Real Estate Sales Manager > Michele Reddick

City Editor, SC Times > Jim Shilander City Editor, The Capistrano Dispatch > Allison Jarrell Sports Editor > Steve Breazeale Special Projects Editor, > Andrea Papagianis ART/DESIGN Senior Designer > Jasmine Smith ADVERTISING/MULTIMEDIA MARKETING PICKET FENCE MEDIA Associate Publisher > Lauralyn Loynes (Dana Point)

OPERATIONS Finance Director > Mike Reed Business Operations Manager > Alyssa Garrett Accounting & Distribution Manager > Tricia Zines SPECIAL THANKS Robert Miller, Jonathan Volzke CONTRIBUTORS Megan Bianco, Kevin Dahlgren, Catherine Manso, Dana Schnell, Tim Trent

Dana Point Times, Vol. 8, Issue 5. The DP Times (www. is published weekly by Picket Fence Media, publishers of the SC Times (www.sanclementetimes. com) and The Capistrano Dispatch ( Copyright: No articles, illustrations, photographs or other editorial matter or advertisements herein may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts, art, photos or negatives. Copyright 2014. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA.


SOAPBOX multi-million-dollar eminent domain and valuation cases in California, including many out-of-court settlements with Caltrans. Caltrans has money in their budget for this exact purpose. Brad and Rick have agreed to meet with property owners to discuss our options. The first step is information collection to assess the damage and what properties are involved. If your property has experienced similar damage please photo document with a time/date stamp (the cracks on my stucco have opened from a hairline to up to a quarter-inch in two weeks) and save all receipts for repairs. Send your name, address and contact info to me, Michelle Hutchinson at caposlide2015@ I am compiling a list and contacting the lawyers so we can create a time and place to have a meeting. This is very time sensitive. Please send your info as soon as possible and please talk to your neighbors! Thank you for your immediate attention to this matter.


In response to Jim Kempton’s column in last week’s issue, titled “Cuba Libre,” only a knuckleheaded liberal with all the tired “progressive” indoctrination talking points would be boasting about “free” medical care provided to the mass of communist prisoners (not citizens) in Cuba as though it is some model to be exalted. It’s a veiled argument in support of Obamacare. The Cubans are not citizens. That would describe people with rights. They are prisoners totally subservient to a brutal regime. They have an average income of $40-$50 per month. So let’s open up trade so they can buy a Tesla or 4K HDTV? What nonsense! Cuba has had open trade with the rest of the world since the day America kicked out the Russians and their atomic arsenal in the 1960’s. The austerity in Cuba is about communism not our embargo. The embargo was not intended to elevate the Cuban people. It was designed to suppress the regime that was loading in nuclear missiles pointed at the USA. It’s been working to protect America for over 50 years. Kempton boasts about the quality of life for the average Cuban, citing the “free” health care and bragging that their illiteracy rate is “as good as ours.” I think he meant “as bad as ours.” Kempton would have you think that America’s infant mortality rate is something other than outstanding internationally, especially with a population over 330 million as compared to the 11 million Cubans, but as usual, facts don’t matter. Obamacare health insurance is not health care, especially if you pay a $5,000 to $10,000 deductible that is transferred to others as a “premium supplement.” It’s just more Obama doublespeak to lift the stigma of one more government redistribution/dependency scam that we used to Dana Point Times January 30-February 5, 2015

call welfare. Obama’s Cuba plan is to open another border to import more poverty and undereducated liberal voters. The Cubans are a perfect target to enhance the liberal ranks. They are accustomed to a poverty lifestyle and are totally dependent on government. That’s the government model Obama depends on today. It’s what he refers to as “transforming America.” He is bypassing our Constitution and writing Executive Orders like a dictator; so it’s understandable why he might admire the Castro regime and identify with their absolute power to control the masses. When the opposition is eliminated through our ballot process, we will be left with a totalitarian government. It takes millions of useful idiots to be misdirected from freedom to “freedumb” like Jim Kempton to make that happen. Cuba has failed miserably in her communist experiment. Thank goodness “Super Obamaman” has stepped in to rescue and support his fellow dictator brothers, the Castros. How would strengthening the regime possibly help the Cuban prisoners?


Dear Carol, What a surprise to find your thoughtful letter to the editor, in last week’s issue (“Celebrate with Random Acts of Kindness”). When I decided I wanted to do this to celebrate my birthday, all we had hoped was that we would make some people smile and create awareness. To find out that our small token of kindness sparked an amazing and incredible act on your end is so inspirational! We will be having our second annual act of kindness day next month. We also plan to expand and pass out blankets, socks and restaurant or grocery store gift cards to the homeless. Hopefully the kindness and compassion will keep spreading. Thank you for your benevolence and generosity. Minnesota is lucky to have you. Hugs from California and happy birthday next month! —Hydee

WE WANT TO HEAR FROM YOU To submit a letter to the editor for possible inclusion in the paper, e-mail us at letters@ or send it to 34932 Calle del Sol, Suite B, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624. Dana Point Times reserves the right to edit reader-submitted letters for length and is not responsible for the claims made or the information written by the writers. Page 7



The List

What’s going on in and around town this week


Friday | 30 DJ AND DANCING 9:30 p.m. Dance the night away as the DJ spins the tunes every Friday and Saturday night. The Point Restaurant, 34085 Pacific Coast Hwy, Dana Point, 949.464.5700,

Saturday | 31 DANA POINT FARMERS MARKET 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Seasonal produce, flowers and much more at La Plaza Park each Saturday. 949.248.3500, BOYZ AND THE BEEZ 8 p.m.-11:30 p.m. Live music at Mahé, 24961 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, 949.240.6243,

Sunday | 01 SERRA CHAPEL TOUR 11:15 a.m. In honor of Father Serra’s 300th birthday celebration, tour the Serra Cha-

pel, the oldest operating church in California. Admission $2-$3. Price is in addition to museum admission for non-members. 26801 Ortega Highway, 949.234.1320,

Monday | 02 COUNTRY DANCIN’ WITH PATRICK AND FRIENDS 6:30 p.m. Every Monday at The Swallow’s Inn with steak night and happy hour prices. 31786 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.3188.

At the Movies: In ‘Song One,’ Music is Star BY MEGAN BIANCO, DANA POINT TIMES


year ago at the Sundance Film Festival, the indie romance drama, Song One premiered. What originally began as a music-centered project between friends Kate Barker-Froyland, Anne Hathaway and Jenny Lewis now finally sees the light of day for general audiences. However the finished product is unlikely to satisfy their fans’ expectations. Franny Ellis’ (Hathaway) trip to Morocco is cut short when she discovers her brother Henry (Ben Rosenfield) has been hit by a car and rushed to the hospital in a coma. After years of distance from him and their mother (Mary Steenburgen), Franny now has to come face to face with the family’s issues. At the same time, she

Tuesday | 03 TODDLER AND PRESCHOOL STORYTIMES 10 a.m-10:30 a.m. Stories for children 18-35 months and 11 a.m.-11:30 a.m. for ages 3-5, at the Dana Point Library, 33841 Niguel Road, Dana Point, 949.496.5517,

Wednesday | 04 WATERLOGGED WEDNESDAYS MOVIE NIGHT Sundown. Hobie Surf Shop presents one Bruce Brown film per month through June 2015. Tonight’s movie is Barefoot Adventure (1960). Free. 34174 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point, 949.496.2366.


Melissa Christensen works on her wildlife drawing skills at one of last year’s Wyland’s Art Lessons in the Wild art and whale watching events aboard the Dana Wharf Whale Watching vessel Dana Pride. Photo: Courtesy

SATURDAY, JANUARY 31: WYLAND’S ART LESSONS IN THE WILD 9 a.m.-noon, Saturdays through April 25. Kids ages 3-12 are invited to an art lesson, for a $5 donation, presented by Wyland via video feed and followed by a free two-hour whale watching trip. Free trip must be taken the same day and child must be accompanied by an adult who has pre-purchased a whale watching ticket. All art submissions will be judged by Wyland for a chance to win great prizes. Dana Wharf Whale Watching, 34675 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, 949.496.5794, Dana Point Times January 30-February 5, 2015

Anne Hathaway as Franny and Johnny Flynn as James in Song One. Photo: Courtesy of The Film Arcade

attempts to wake her brother by playing him his own songs, as well as the bringing in his favorite musician, James Forester (Johnny Flynn) to perform bedside. After bonding over her brother, Franny and James fall for each other. Song One is Barker-Froyland’s directorial debut, and had potential to be a cute, indie romance, but instead plays out more like an indie soap opera. Hathaway and Flynn have the skills to play music, but the story is bloated with too many subplots and ridiculous concepts. The clunky dialogue and exchanges don’t help either. On a positive note, the footage of live music shown throughout the film are the most intriguing parts, and the music composed by Lewis and Johnathan Rice is quite good and worth a listen.

CAPT. DAVE’S WHALE WATCHING Times vary. Trips available every day of the week. Get up close to marine life aboard a Captain Dave’s Dolphin & Whale Watching Safari trip. Prices vary depending on the vessel. Call for more information. 24440 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, 949.488.2828,

34555 Golden Lantern St, Dana Point, 949.493.2933,

Thursday | 05


CITIZEN COPE 8 p.m. An intimate solo, acoustic performance at The Coach House. Tickets $36. Doors open at 6 p.m. 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.496.8930,

FALCONRY DEMONSTRATION AND GUIDED WALK 7 a.m.-10 a.m. Enjoy a morning walk and a falconry demonstration at The Reserve in Rancho Mission Viejo. Licensed falconer Adam Chavez will educate patrons about the partnership between humans and raptors and discuss the traditional practice of falconry. The event includes an opportunity to take a photo with one of the birds. Ages 8 and up. Adults $35, children 12 and under $30. Participants must be registered by 4 p.m. on Feb. 6. Future San Juan Creek Trail, call for directions, 949.923.2210,

PROGRESSIVE WINE TASTING NETWORKING MIXER 5 p.m.-8 p.m. Join the San Juan Capistrano Chamber for networking and wine tasting at different wine bars in historic downtown San Juan. Chamber members $20, potential members $30. RSVP to Raffle Prizes welcome (value $25+). 949.493.4700,

Friday | 06 SCOTT ROBINSON OC ELVIS 7:30-11:30. Live music at Harpoon Henry’s. Page 8

MIKE SCARPIELLO 8 p.m. Live music at Wind & Sea Restaurant. 34699 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, 949.496.6500,

For our full calendar, visit the “Event Calendar” at Have an event? Send your listing to



Local Actor, Author Has Stories to Tell Fahim Fazli of Dana Point appears in ‘American Sniper,’ is finishing second book and looking forward to life story becoming a movie BY TOM BLAKE, DANA POINT TIMES


here are lots of interesting people who live in the tri-city area. As a columnist, I am fortunate to meet many of them. In early January, I was having coffee with friends at J.C. Beans Coffee House on Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point. They introduced me to their neighbor, Fahim, a regular customer there. Even though Fahim has lived in Dana Point for 28 years, I had never met him. When I asked Fahim what type of work he was in, he modestly said, “I am an author and an actor.” As writers, we had much in common. He signed a copy of his 2012, memoir, Fahim Speaks, and handed it to me. I said, “It will be fun to learn about you.” He smiled. We promised to stay in touch. While reading each page of Fahim Speaks, I became more and more fascinated with this man’s life. As a young boy growing up in Kabul, Afghanistan, Fahim sometimes skipped school and went to the movies. His dream was to become an actor in Hollywood. In September 1983, Fahim’s father came home one day and said to him and his brother, “Pack your bag, we are leaving immediately.” The communist secret police, who occupied Afghanistan, were about to arrest his father. If that happened, Fahim and his brother would have been sent to an “indoctrination” camp in Russia. Fahim’s mother, two younger sisters and older brother had escaped four years earlier. Fahim guessed they had made it to America, but his family had not heard from them. The goal was to make it to Pakistan, and then, somehow, some day, get to the United

States. Fahim’s book takes readers on that perilous and dangerous journey. The three family members made it safely to Pakistan, crossing the border by horseback over a freezing mountain pass. They applied with the American Embassy to go to America. After a four-year wait, one day they were summoned to the embassy. His mother and siblings had been located in Virginia. The family was reunited by telephone. Fahim said to his mother, “We are on our way to join you in America.” He was 18. After living in Virginia, the family moved to California. The book explains how Fahim eventually moved to Orange County and took acting classes, hoping to fulfill his childhood dream. He became a U.S. citizen. In 1996, Fahim met Amy, his future wife, at Las Brisas in Laguna Beach. A year later, they moved to an apartment in Dana Point. He was working for Nordstrom’s and at a mortgage company. And he was getting movie work as an extra. While on vacation, he proposed to Amy on a ferry boat crossing the Straits of Gibraltar from Tangier to Spain. They married in Orange County. Three years later, they were blessed with a daughter Sophia, who now attends Dana Hills High School. Fahim and I got together last week. What struck me the most about him is his love of this country and his positive attitude. He said, “In this beautiful country, everything is possible. If you love what you do, it will happen.” He told me he has appeared in 60 movies and television shows, including Rambo III, Charlie Wilson’s War, Iron Man, and now, American Sniper. He said, “I have been interviewed by the

PET OF THE WEEK: Martin Martin is a sweet little cat who loves people watching. Sometimes on the shy side, Martin quickly opens up once he gets to know you. He is a big fan of playing with his toys and can often be seen sprinting after a mousie. Give him a chance and he is sure to show you just how fun he can be. Martin has been sponsored by his favorite volunteers and has an adoption fee of only $10 and a goodie basket to go home with him! If you would like to know more about Martin, please call the San Clemente-Dana Point Animal Shelter at 949.492.1617, or visit him at the shelter, 221 Avenida Fabricante in San Clemente. Dana Point Times January 30-February 5, 2015

Fahim Fazli of Dana Point is looking forward to his book “Fahim Speaks” being made into a movie. Also an actor, Fazli has appeared in dozens of television shows and movies, most recently appearing in the movie “American Sniper.” Photo: Tom Blake

New York Times, Washington Post, network television, magazines and have been on numerous talk shows. Your newspaper is the first media outlet in Orange County to interview me.” Fahim was so grateful for the opportunity to live in America, he wanted to give back to his adopted country and at the same time help his native country. He signed up to be an interpreter for the Marines and returned to Afghanistan in 2009 and 2010. He returned again in 2014. But when his agent called to say that he had a role in the Clint Eastwood movie, American Sniper, he resigned his position and returned to Dana Point.

There is much to learn about Fahim’s life by reading his book and visiting his website. He said, “Fahim Speaks is now a screenplay, a mandatory step to becoming a movie. We are just waiting for financing.” He has also completed his second book, which will be published soon. “I’ve learned from my experiences to be optimistic and forward-looking,” Fahim said. “I told myself, ‘What’s done is done. Things happen for reasons which will make sense later, if we have faith and hope. Don’t dwell on the past. Think about possibilities.’” When the movie about Fahim’s life is made, we will have a movie star living in Dana Point. DP

Sudoku BY MYLES MELLOR Last week’s solution:

Each Sudoku puzzle consists of a 9x9 grid that has been subdivided into nine smaller grids of 3x3 squares. To solve the puzzle, each row, column and box must contain each of the numbers 1 to 9. Puzzles come in three grades: easy, medium and difficult. Level: Medium Page 10

See today’s solution in next week’s issue.



Dolphin Report

League games out of the gate, the Dana Hills girls soccer team suffered back to back losses against rival San Clemente and first-place Aliso Niguel on Jan. 20 and Jan. 22, respectively. Dana Hills (7-7-2, 2-2) had an early grasp on first place in the league standings after defeating Capistrano Valley and Mission Viejo to start their league run. But the offense could not find a rhythm against San Clemente and Aliso Niguel in what turned out to be shutout losses. Dana Hills was set to host Capistrano Valley on Jan. 29. Results were not available at press time. A rematch with Mission Viejo is set for Feb. 3.


For in-game updates, scores, news and more for all of the Dana Hills High School winter sports programs, follow us on Twitter @SouthOCsports.

Crankshaw, Darnold Double up Dolphins San Clemente seniors Nick Crankshaw and Sam Darnold both recorded doubledouble efforts on Jan. 23 in a wire to wire 58-43 win over the Dana Hills boys basketball team in front of the Tritons home crowd. Crankshaw filled up the stat sheet, notching 11 points, 13 rebounds, seven assists, four steals and one block. It was his third double-double of the season. Darnold recorded his fourth straight double-double, and sixth of the year, by scoring 14 points and pulling in 10 rebounds. The Tritons built an early lead and took a 27-13 advantage into halftime. The Dolphins (5-16, 0-4) played just about even with the Tritons (13-7, 4-0) in the second half but could not catch up. Cole Goudge led the Dolphins with 13 points and Parker Romo tallied 10 in the loss. Dana Hills has now lost five of their last six games. They will travel to play Mission Viejo on Jan. 30.

Girls Basketball Losing Skid Hits Three Games

Dana Hills’ Nathan Hernandez, right, scans the floor against San Clemente on Jan. 23. Photo: KDahlgren Photography

into league play on Jan. 9. They were coming off a signature 3-2 victory over Paramount and followed up by drawing with Aliso Niguel in their league opener. But consecutive 2-1 losses to Tesoro and Trabuco Hills, respectively, derailed their progress. The loss to the Hawks was their third defeat in a row. Dana Hills will embark on their second go-around through league play on Jan. 30, when they travel to play Aliso Niguel.

Hawks Power Their Way to Win Over Dolphins Soccer The Dana Hills boys soccer team could not stop Laguna Hills on the road in a Sea View League matchup on Jan. 23, as the Hawks torched the Dolphins for five goals in a 5-2 victory. Laguna Hills was led by Nick Delgado, who scored twice, and Joseph Barry, who assisted on three goals. Dana Hills was able to score in each half but could not dig themselves out of a 3-1 first-half deficit. The Dolphins (3-11-1, 0-3-1 league) seemed to have momentum as they headed

Girls Soccer Set for Another Run Through League After winning their first two South Coast

The Dana Hills girls basketball team lost their third game in a row on Jan. 22 in a narrow 42-41 loss to El Toro. The loss dropped the Dolphins to 1-3 in Sea View League play. The team was set to host Capistrano Valley on Jan. 29. Results were not available at press time. The Dolphins (8-13) will travel to play Trabuco Hills on Feb. 5.

Water Polo Competes in La Jolla Tournament The Dana Hills girls water polo team went 2-3 overall at the La Jolla High School Tournament from Jan. 23-24. The Dolphins (13-10, 2-2) picked up wins over Vista and Irvine at the event. The team was set to play Aliso Niguel in a South Coast League match on Jan. 29. Results were not available at press time.

Capistrano Coyotes Remain Perfect on the Season, Eye Playoff Berth BY STEVE BREAZEALE, DANA POINT TIMES


ith three games remaining on their schedule, the Capistrano Coyotes ice hockey team has a firm grasp on first place in the Anaheim Ducks High School Hockey League Division 2 standings. The Coyotes, made up of high school ice hockey players throughout the Capistrano Unified School District, are a perfect 12-0 on the season and are nine points clear of second-place Conejo Valley. The Coyotes have followed up on their impressive 2013 debut throughout their sophomore season, scoring 78 goals while conceding only 32. Their 78 goals scored is second-best in the league and their 32 goals allowed ranks second behind Villa Park, who has only played nine games Dana Point Times January 30-February 5, 2015

compared to the Coyotes’ 12. The Coyotes most recent win came in the form of an 8-5 victory over ninth-place La Jolla on Jan. 4. The Coyotes erased a 4-1 second-period deficit with a flurry of goals from Cameron McCartin, Greg Lee and Mike Boutoussov. McCartin capped off a whirlwind offensive performance in the second period with his second goal of the game, which was the third Coyotes goal in one minute and 21 seconds. On offense, the Coyotes have four players that have scored eight or more goals, led by Max Kamper’s nine. Austin Erickson, the team’s leader in points, has 11 assists and eight goals on the season. Boutoussov is tied for second on the team in points with 14. In goal, the Coyotes have been using

the goalie tandem of Curran Allison (.896 save percentage) and Braydon Doppert (.831). Allison is fi fth in the league in saves (129) and goals against average (2.57), and third in save percentage. The Coyotes defense has held opponents to two goals or less in five contests, including one shutout, which came against Newport-Mesa on Dec. 20. Allison and Erickson will represent the Coyotes at the league’s All-Star game at Honda Center in Anaheim on Jan. 29. Jett Hunter will represent the junior varsity team. The Coyotes next game will be a road match against San Diego Union on Jan. 31. The Coyotes defeated San Diego Union 6-2 in their previous matchup on Oct. 11. DP

Page 11

Max Kamper leads the Capistrano Coyotes with nine goals on the season. Photo: Leslie Bird


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Page 12


Chick’s Plumbing



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Dana Point Times January 30-February 5, 2015

Page 13

DP DP SURF Dana Point



SURF FORECAST Water Temperature: 60-62 degrees F Water Visibility and Conditions: 8-12’+ FairFriday: Old WNW swell eases into Friday morning, before a modest new WNW swellmix builds in the afternoon. Better breaks offer knee-waist high sets through Friday morning, before size bumps up a bit for winter focal points in the afternoon. Morning winds are light+ offshore for most areas, followed by a light+ to moderate NW’erly sea-breeze each afternoon.



Longer Range Outlook: Modest dose of WNW swell-mix tops out over the weekend, setting up modest surf across the region. Winter standouts go knee-waist-chest high on sets around the proper tides. Conditions remain favorable each morning. Check out Surfline for more details and the longer range outlook! Josh Iwai was struck by a board nearly two weeks ago and saved from drowning by Capistrano Beach surfer Jeff Russell. Photo: Courtesy of Craig Iwai

The Rescued and the Rescuer Capo Beach man saves a life at San O January 18 BY JIM SHILANDER, DANA POINT TIMES


eff Russell says he hasn’t quite been able to shake the image that confronted him on Jan. 18 at San Onofre, a day he wasn’t sure he was going to surf. That morning, Russell came upon the seemingly lifeless body of Josh Iwai, a 14-year-old surfer from Monrovia, who was out with others from the Monrovia Surf Club. Iwai, who described it as a “normal surf day,” was paddling back out after a wave when he saw another surfer coming up fast. The surfer did not see him. “I saw his board coming at me and after that I don’t remember anything,” Iwai said. He was struck by the surfboard, and temporarily lost consciousness. But what was scarier, he said, was what happened when he came back. “I remember being in the water and trying to breathe for air but couldn’t because I was paralyzed,” he said. “I lost consciousness again.” Russell said he too was paddling out when he saw a loose surfboard. “I can’t stand people who surf without a leash,” Russell said. “I saw a board floating around. It kind of annoyed me, but I went to grab the board. I was looking for somebody swimming back, looking for their board and there was no one. Then I saw a bump, it was a wetsuit.” Dana Point Times January 30-February 5, 2015

Bella Kenworthy. Photo: Jack McDaniel

It was Iwai. Russell said it was the last thing he would see. “Your stomach just drops,” Russell said. “You think maybe it’s a kid just being an idiot, and you’re hoping that’s it. But I jumped off my board and went to grab his ankle.” Just then, a wave came and knocked Iwai’s ankle away about 10 feet, but it was enough to convince Russell this was something different. “He didn’t jerk at all, he just got washed out of my hands. If someone’s playing they’d jerk, and he didn’t,” he said. Russell immediately went after Iwai again and flipped him over. “You think you’re going to flip him over and find some dude dead,” Russell said. “I flipped him over, and here was a kid. He was bleeding from the Jeff Russell. Photo: Courtesy forehead but he was alive. And he screamed when I flipped him over.” Iwai took a big gasp of air. He said when Russell began walking him back to shore, all he could do was look at his arms uselessly and yell out that he’d been paralyzed. “He just told me, “You’ll be OK,” Iwai said. Russell said he’d heard from friends who’d made rescues before and thought it would be “pretty awesome.” His own experience was different, however. “I had no idea how traumatic it was,” Russell said. “When he screamed… I’m still trying to deal with that moment, when you realized he’s alive and it’s someone’s kid. Immediately he becomes your boy.”

Russell said the walk in was not a pleasant one, with both he and Iwai having to deal with their boards dragging behind them and trying to keep Iwai’s head above water. He took off his own leash to keep his board from impeding his way back. He also began signaling to people onshore to help. “No one was coming, there was one guy in jeans who just ignored me. I think he just didn’t want to get wet,” Russell said. “I just kept huffin’ it. Finally a dad came out to me with a baby in his arms.” Russell had the man unleash Iwai’s board when others began coming and Josh was put down on the beach. At that point, lifeguards showed up, as did a woman who helped stabilize Iwai. Iwai said he was told he was awake during the beach rescue efforts, though he has no memory of it. Josh’s father, Craig Iwai, said his son began to get the feeling back in his arms on the beach and by the time he was taken to a hospital, he’d regained all feeling in his limbs. He also sustained a concussion, as well as the gash to the head. “Without him there, he would have drowned,” Craig Iwai said of Russell. “There were a lot of surfers in the water, but nobody saw him.” Russell and the Iwais have talked regularly since the incident. “It’s been awesome,” Russell said. “(Craig) He’s been very cool. The one image that keeps coming back to you is the one where he flipped over. Craig sent me a picture of Josh doing fine, sitting on the couch in the living room. In my stressful moments, I just look at it. It helps calm my nerves.” Russell has been invited to an Iwai family event to meet Josh under less traumatic circumstances next month. “That’s gonna be pretty cathartic,” Russell said. DP

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ella Kenworthy, 8, of Dana Point, had a big weekend Jan. 17 and 18 bringing home trophies in two different sports. On Saturday, Jan. 17 she took fifth in girls 14U competition at the Vans Girls Combi Pool Classic skate contest at Vans Skatepark in Orange. She then followed that up Jan. 18 with a win in the Micro Grom Girls U10 division at the Western Surfing Association Championship Tour, Event No. 6 at Oceanside Harbor’s South Jetty. Competing against older girls at Vans was a “fun, nice experience and a challenge,” she said. “I practiced like every day to get ready for it.” When asked what secret weapons she deployed in the pool, Bella said she really felt like her laybacks, frontside grinds and backside airs are what did it. “My backside airs were high, my ollie was out of the coping and I had a quick fast layback,” she said. She then took her board riding skills to the water at the WSA for her third win of the season, further cementing her No. 1 ranking. “I tried to do lots of hits off the top, a couple hit the lips, a couple turns and a lot of snaps,” Bella said of her winning surf final, adding that she thinks that back-toback skating and surfing helps her to excel in both. “There are a lot of tricks you can do on your skateboard and surfboard and surfing helps with your skateboarding style and skating helps with your surfing style,” Bella said. “I like both because it’s fun to fly in the air and go fast.” When asked what her goals and wishes for her two favorite sports are, she said she would just like to continue to do well in both. “In surfing I want to win a season title at the WSA West Coast Championships,” she said. “And in skating I am really hoping that we get a skatepark in my home town soon.”—Andrea Swayne

January 30, 2015  

Dana Point Times

January 30, 2015  

Dana Point Times