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Teens help out homeowners  Treehouses in El Granada  Easy updates to home interiors  Tools for Fall fix-ups

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Half Moon Bay 









on the cover

Half Moon Bay Sunset, Ellen Joseph 48x60, Acrylic on canvas, 2012

From the artist: You can see this painting hanging in the Navio restaurant in The Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay as part of my current exhibit there. The painting is a view from Surfer’s Beach along Hwy. 1, with Miramar to the left and Pillar Point Harbor to the right. To see more of Ellen’s paintings or to watch her paint in her adjoining studio, visit her gallery at 840 Main Street, Half Moon Bay. 650-728-7518.

Publisher Bill Murray Editor Clay Lambert Writers Sara Hayden, Mark Noack, Stacy Trevenon, Saman Ghani Khan COPY EDITOR Julie Gerth Photographer Charles Russo design Bill Murray, Mark Restani Business Office Barbara Anderson Circulation Sonia Myers Advertising Sales Linda Pettengill, Louise Strutner, Susan Verlander, Barbara Dinnsen Find us 714 Kelly Avenue, Half Moon Bay, CA, 94019, (650) 726-4424, HALF MOON BAY is published the first week of every month and inserted in the Half Moon Bay Review. The entire contents of the magazine are also available online at ©2012, Half Moon Bay Review


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publisher’s note

Four words you should rethink: “I can fix that.”

or the past few summers my wife, a school teacher, travels with our two kids for a week or two and I stay behind. During this time, I usually try to take on a project around the house that would be harder to do when everyone is home — painting a room, reorganizing a closet, building some furniture, turning a small, nagging plumbing leak into Yosemite Falls. It’s satisfying for me and I like to think earns me brownie points with the wife. This summer’s project, which I still haven’t finished, was to replace rotting insulation under my house. I think I have found a new, least favorite chore. ¶ After donning a respirator, goggles and a head lamp, I set out to drag the bundle of bats into the crawl space. They don’t fit, which means I have to open the package and drag each length separately. I’ve just increased my groveling time eight fold. Now embedded under the house, I realize I left my utility knife that I need in the garage, and left my set of keys and phone, which I don’t need, in my front pocket. Ever try to slide on your belly on hard packed dirt with a set of keys in your pocket? Right. ¶ I have to remove both my goggles and respirator already because I can neither see (too fogged up) or breathe (too claustrophobic) with them on. After negotiating the sewer line, a myriad of electrical conduits and spider webs to rival a haunted house — and installing just two of the five packages I need, my eyes and nose are so itchy that the only relief is jumping in the water at Montara State Beach. This is where I should have spent the entire day. ¶ The point of the story is this: fix it if you can, but leave the hard stuff to the professionals. Wisely, I took my own advice and palmed off the job of fixing the locks on my back door to a local door company. The doors work perfectly, I still have all my fingernails and I got the brownie points. “Look!” I say, “The doors are working again.” “Terrific!” says my wife. “How’d you do it?” “It was easy,” I say. That much is true. — Bill Murray, Publisher S E P T E M B E R

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FIx up your backyard













Taming of the Shrew. Capture the essence of the land at Coastside Land Trust show. Docents from the de Young come to the library to talk fashion. Page 5 fall home

when building homes is building lives

Coastside teens return to Sierra Service Project. Page 6

Houses in the trees

Neighborhoods branch out with above ground playgrounds. Page 12

Seven inexpensive ways to update a home now Use the Right Tools for Autumn To-Do Lists

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The right tool for the right job. Page 32

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Late bloomers

Figone Nursery among those making trek to SF Flower Mart in the dark. Page 24


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Learn to Skype

September 6 Adults are invited to learn to navigate the mysteries of Skype and online video conferencing at 10 a.m. today at the Half Moon Bay Library at 620 Correas St. in Half Moon Bay. It’s free. 726-2316.

Capture the essence of the land

September 9 Starting with an opening reception from 2 to 5 p.m. today, the Coastside Land Trust presents paintings, photography, collage or mixed media of about 25 artists in its “Fall Festival Show” through Oct. 26 at the gallery at 788 Main St. in Half Moon Bay. Artists were encouraged to use pumpkin themes since the show overlaps the Pumpkin Festival. The art “exhibits the spirit of the San Mateo Coast,” said trust Office Manager Lindsay Peterson. 726-5056.

Taking a few steps

September 11 The first Peninsula Athletic League cross-country meet takes place at 3 p.m. today at Half Moon Bay High School. Five races will be held in the afternoon, starting with varsity boys, followed by varsity girls. There is no admission charge.

Have no doubts

Petruchio from “Taming of the Shrew.” The HMB Shakespeare Company will do a more modern take on the play.

Tame that shrew

September 7 You don’t often find Shakespearean plays performed on the Coastside. Enter local residents and seasoned theater professionals Robert Pickett and Mollie Stickney, who resolved that dilemma by co-founding the Half Moon Bay Shakespeare Company to produce provocative, enlightening and publicly accessible, classical theater productions locally each autumn, including Shakespearean plays. The group will make its Half Moon Bay debut Sept. 7 with “The Taming of the Shrew,” the Bard’s well-loved comedic romp of the sexes, structured in a black-cocktail-dress, Felliniesque style and set in the late 1950s/early ‘60s. A cast of roughly 20 actors from around the Bay Area, with a handful of Coastsiders, will perform the production at 7 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, Sept. 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 and 16, at Cameron’s Restaurant and Inn Outback. Seating will be on the lawn; guests are encouraged to bring only low lawn and beach chairs and to dress warmly. Admission is $20 per person. For information, visit

September 14 Coastal Repertory Theatre probes the role that doubt plays in human affairs with “Doubt, a Parable.” In a Catholic school in the Bronx in 1964, the principal is sure that a priest is abusing a student, but her rigid opinions clash with more relaxed standards around her, which leads to examination of moral dilemmas. The show runs at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 6 at the theater at 1167 Main St., Half Moon Bay, with admission $15-$30. (650) 569-3266.

A new career

September 14 Coastside octogenarian Kathryn “Katie” Murdock was a dancer, teacher, occasional actor and now playwright who will see two original one-act plays — “Time Was” about surprises in life and “Partitions” about letting go of preconceived ideas of others — come alive in free performances on the stage of Pacifica Spindrift Players, Sept. 14– 16. (650) 738-1788.

What’s up in fashion

September 16 Don your best duds and come to the Half Moon Bay Library at 2 p.m. when the library presents a docent from the deYoung Museum in San Francisco. The docent will talk about the current show presented at the deYoung, “A Taste for Mode,” which has to do with the world of fashion. Free. 726-2316.

The best tastes of the coast

September 16 Again this year Senior Coastsiders will present the benefit “A Taste of the Coast,” from 5 to 8 p.m. at Sea Crest School at 901 Arnold Way in Half Moon Bay. At least a score of Coastside restaurants and food vendors will showcase their choicest dishes for sampling, and there will also be a raffle and silent auction of goodies from local merchants. Tickets are $60 in advance until Sept. 13, $50 for seniors 65 and above; $75 at the door. 726-9056.

A salute to Cal Tjader

September 23 New York pianist Michael Wolff directs a jazzy musical tribute to the late Cal Tjader in concert at 4:30 p.m. at the Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society. As a young man, Wolff played with Tjader, and in this concert his arrangements of some of Tjader’s favorite Latin and jazz numbers will be performed by some of the few remaining Bay Area players who share those roots. “He’s a giant as far as I’m concerned,” said Bach owner Pete Douglas. Tickets are $40. 726-4143. S E P T E M B E R

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 helping out


building homes ... Coastside teens return to Sierra Service Project By Stacy Trevenon

Youth from the Community United Methodist Church in Half Moon Bay join other young people in Sierra Service Projects in Los Angeles. The local teens say they get great satisfaction out of improving the living environment for people who need the help. Photos courtesy John Campbell


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here’s something about Sierra Service Project trips that certain Coastside teens can’t resist. What keeps them coming back, year after year, probably isn’t the hard physical work in sweltering summer heat. There is something else at work in Sierra Service Project tasks, designed to make homes more livable and life more bearable for disadvantaged residents of inner cities or Native American reservations. Perhaps it’s the inner glow the teens say they find when they leave their own cozy, comfortable homes for a different city — and a sometimes vastly different culture — to paint a church, build a wheelchair ramp, reinforce a building where donations are sorted or help bring that experience of having a home to those who don’t. Sierra Service Project, an interdenominational nonprofit affiliated with the United Methodist Church, seeks to build homes, build communities and build bridges between people and cultures, all while building a relationship of faith. The Community United Methodist Church in Half Moon Bay sends three groups each year to destinations primarily in the United States but also to other locales. Groups traveled to Honduras in 2009, said CUMC Youth Pastor John Campbell. Typically, it sends two groups of high school students and one group of middle school kids. Projects typically take up to six weeks to complete, involving the youth for one of those weeks. Accompanied by adults who are often members of the congregation,

the youth pitch in with building or reinforcing projects. This summer, a total of 60 volunteers went on the road. The high school youth went to inner-city, disadvantaged areas of South Central Los Angeles, and the younger group went to Coarsegold in the Yosemite area. For Caroline Hines, 13, of El Granada and an incoming freshman at Half Moon Bay High School, this year’s trip to South Central Los Angeles was her third Sierra Service project.

... is

building lives S E P T E M B E R

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Sierra Service Project participants say they learn about the people they help. One participant, Sam Winters of El Granada said, “A lot of them weren’t born with the opportunities I was born with.”

She initially got involved upon encouragement by friends from the church who told her she would have fun, meet new friends and feel good about what she was doing. “I realized it was all true,” she said. “It feels satisfying to know you’re helping,” she said. “People thank you for it … and you feel better because you know people appreciate what you’re doing and don’t take it for granted.” Her first SSP trip was to a reservation in a town called McDermott on the NevadaOregon border “in the middle of nowhere.” There she helped with a roofing project. Her second trip was to Coarsegold, where she helped drywall the inside of a house. This time she was in Los Angeles with a large group of teens and some adult and college-age counselors, who went to public buildings where they repainted some storefronts, removed graffiti and installed wheelchair ramps. That graffiti “was pretty thick,” she said. The work “made the area look nicer and more inviting to people.” While she was in the inner city, she said, she learned about the surroundings, the culture, the stereotypes — and the reality. You hear about drugs and gangs, she said, “and that is there, but mostly it’s an everyday community trying to live out their daily lives and doing their best.”

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Sharing a similar, but perhaps more stark, experience was Hines’ El Granada neighbor Sam Winters. At 17, going into his senior year at Junipero Serra High School, Winters is nearing the end of his Sierra Service career after his fourth trip. Next year he will enter college to study business. But he says he’ll continue with Sierra Service until then. On this trip, from July 28 to Aug. 4, he was with a group that went into Los Angeles’ Watts neighborhood. They painted a fence around a church there and reinforced the stucco walls on a storage closet that held donations. Winters said he learned something about the area and about the renowned, hand-built Watts towers that went up in the 1950s. He also learned about Homeboy Industries, an organization founded by a pastor, which helps incarcerated gang members into jobs. Winters did more than just hear about those teens. He talked with some of the Homeboy staff and some of the youth who were in rehabilitation and who were having tattoos removed. “It’s important for them,” he said. “A lot of (gang) members face the fact that the tattoos prevent them from getting jobs.” The experience left a different kind of mark on Winters. “It opened my eyes to people trying to make their lives better, what they have to go through,” he said. “A lot of them weren’t born with the opportunities I was born with.” His group numbered around 60 teens, including what he estimates as 15 to 20 from the Coastside. This larger group was split into smaller subgroups for the tasks of painting the fence and building wheelchair ramps. Winters’ previous Sierra Service trips had taken him to reservations near Coarsegold or in Madera County. One memorable moment, he said, was on a trip to Coarsegold, when he did some repairs on a house with a hole in the roof. “From the roof, you could look into the house,” he said. “I couldn’t imagine living with a hole in the roof. “I’ve always had shelter,” he continued. “Seeing how they live makes you realize how well off you are.” 

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 home away from home

Coastal ENVIRONS make FOR treehouse paradise It took some practice, but 10-yearold Klara mastered climbing up a tree to perform “suicide.” That was her own name for hollering like Tarzan and leaping off the tippy-top branches of a fallen eucalyptus in front of her house and swinging on a rope back to the same place.

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Neighborhoods BRANCH OUT WITH ABOVE GROUND playgrounds By Mark Noack

Her best friend, Ruby, followed by performing her signature trick “King Tut.” A similar feat of derring-do, Ruby launched off on a rope with her legs in motion like she was walking in air. The girls were expert climbers — regular tree trapeze artists — springing up the adjacent eucalyptus in seconds to sit atop their crow’s nest of wooden planks nailed in the upper branches. From that height they could see their entire neighborhood on the south side of Half Moon Bay, along with an owl’s nest in the branches and their dog watching them anxiously below. Mastery of these tricks was not for the faint of heart, namely their younger brothers. They hadn’t proven themselves as climbers so they couldn’t come up — for their own safety, of course. Their homes and beds were across the street, but this was the girls’ castle. Better than any playground in town, their local tree fort was their own hangout for exercise, thinking up games, or just the joy of hammering nails. “I’ve been climbing trees since I was a kid,” said Klara, barely in her double-digits. “This is a place where I can collect my thoughts.” Was the fort safe? Not exactly. The floorboards would wobble when they stepped on them, and it was only a matter of time before the elements made the wood rot to pieces. Keeping those boards in place required a lot of nails being pounded into all of planks, and that meant some sharp metal edges jutting out. The height was also a danger. Ruby’s younger brother now wore a helmet whenever he played on the tree after a fall gave him a nasty bump on his head. The girls knew the risks, and they had their own safety protocol. “We try to use our best judgment,” Ruby said. “And when you hear too much creaking, get down as fast as you can,” Klara said. Ruby’s mother, Jen, thought about the dangers every day

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Bill Murray

when she watched her daughter at the fort, but she concluded the exercise and freedom were worth the scrapes and bruises. Plus, she pointed to studies showing that outdoor free play is instrumental to child development. “They’re going to get hurt in some way … so you keep your fingers crossed and hope for the best,” she said. “For my kids, when they go outside, they’re happy.” Peer into any grove of trees bordering homes in El Granada, Half Moon Bay, Moss Beach or Montara, and you won’t have to search long before you find ramshackle forts, a tire swing or a few ladder planks. A byproduct of the Coastside’s vast open space, the area has become an adolescent boomtown of tree forts that would make the Swiss Family Robinson green with envy. Whereas Half Moon Bay and the surrounding communities have struggled to provide ample recreation space for adolescents, enterprising crews of local kids have moved into the area’s vast open space and transformed them into


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Thank You Half Moon Bay, For Keeping It Green&Easy T

he community’s participation in Allied Waste’s curbside single-stream recycling program has been tremendous. On behalf of the Allied Waste team, thank you for working with us to increase diversion and reduce the volume of waste going to landfill. By recycling more, you’re helping improve the environment and the health of our coastside community. If you need information on what can and cannot be recycled, or have questions about your curbside collection services, please visit or call Allied’s Customer Service Department at 650-592-2411.

Allied Waste Services 1680 Edgeworth Avenue, Daly City, CA 94105

homesteader playgrounds. Is this legal? Certainly not. Any code enforcement officer would find your average tree structure to be a nightmare of safety hazards and building violations. San Mateo County officials investigate tree forts only if a complaint is filed. One county official pointed out the larger problem was many of these tree forts were being built on land under the control of a private open-space trust or a public parks department. Perhaps nowhere on the Coastside can more treehouses be found than in El Granada, a community enveloped in eucalyptus. Many homes border swaths of forestland, including the undeveloped coastal hills by Quarry Park and the southern edge of Rancho Corral de Tierra park. Playing in the trees and building hideouts was part of the experience growing up in El Granada, said Nina Morales, now 23. Standing on the porch of her house on Avenue Cabrillo, she surveyed the two tires swings and a two-story tree fort she used to play on as an adolescent. The tree structure today consisted of a hodgepodge of oblong boards strewn together like a kindergartner’s macaroni art. It looked ready to collapse, but kids still came by and started climbing, she said. “It’s been up for so long, it’s got to be rotting,” Morales said, adding that she was never entirely sure who first built it. Looking at the old structure brought back a flood of memories of the fun she used to have there. Her younger sister, Jessica, recalled playing in the trees, pretending to be an owl and practicing her hooting. The sisters’ dogs were endlessly puzzled by the tire swing, as it would swing away and then boomerang back at them. The tree fort was her refuge when she ran away and tried to live off peanut butter and jelly sandwiches smuggled from home. About a quarter mile back in the woods bordering Quarry Park was a much more elaborate treehouse camouflaged with black paint that had become a hideout for local teenagers. Trying to find the way back to the fort, Morales bushwhacked a course through the thick plant life. But she couldn’t find the way after searching for about a half-hour. Brushing cobwebs and leaves off her clothes, she decided that the path must’ve become overgrown with vegetation. Perhaps nature had also swallowed up the fort. “I know it’s back there somewhere; I used to go there all the time,” she said. “That sucks. It was a hella cool tree fort.” On the northwestern end of El Granada, the neighborhood boys took it one step fur-

Ruby and Klara play at a fallen Eucalyptus near their homes that they’ve helped build into a neighborhood tree fort. The ramshackle playground is one of dozens built by children in open areas of the Coastside.

ther, building a series of tree forts in a grassy field at the end of Madrid Avenue. The open area was always like a sandbox for the neighborhood kids to try their hand at building forts, said Dan Johnston, a 20-year-old who grew up in the area. He counted about six forts still standing, but his favorite, an ambitious structure spanning two trees, had apparently been sacrificed for the wood. Other kids borrowing their tree-house planks and boards to build their own forts was a frequent problem, he said, but no one held a grudge because that was the nature of the game. About 10 years ago, the neighborhood kids began using the forts as a battlefield of sorts. At first kids played a game with no real rules that involved throwing clots of dirt at each

other. It wasn’t the smartest game, Johnson admitted. “Every day would end with someone going home with tears in his eyes because he got hit in the side of the head,” he said. Later they upgraded the game to playing with Airsoft pistols in large pitched battles between teams of four to seven local teens. The teams would hunker down in their respective forts and take turns trying to assault the other’s side. To this day, local kids still organize weekend shoot-em-ups, he said. Circling back to his house, he spotted a familiar wooden board painted yellow that was nailed up as a makeshift tree fortification. “That’s my board for sure! That was my old desk!” he said excitedly.  S E P T E M B E R

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 legendary

A treehouse fit for a king

he king of all treehouses is tucked in the back hills around Kings Mountain. This is not your childhood hideout — this is more of a tree penthouse. Hidden down a dirt road on a private ranch, this towering tree fort is elevated 50 feet off the forest floor, nested entirely on a single massive branch of a Sequioa. This treehouse is five stories high and features seven rooms, including a bedroom, kitchen and even a rooftop tub for moonlight baths. The structure is the masterpiece of Kendall Whiting, 64, a former Skyline resident and caretaker of the ranchland who spent years planning and crafting the world’s perfect treehouse. He spent his childhood building “dozens” of treehouses on the Peninsula, a passion that eventually led him to study architecture. Living on his friend’s Skyline-area ranch in the late ’60s, Whiting found himself with the perfect setting to test his creative passion. He had access to all the tools he needed, some of the tallest trees on earth, and best of all, a working lumber mill that could churn out wood to his specifications. He also had the perfect tree to build—an giant Sequioa with an abnormally large 14-inch diameter branch jutting out at a wide angle. “When I saw this tree, I feel in love … I thought, man, this would made a wonderful tree house,” he said. “I had grandiose plans.” Seeing those plans come to reality took just short of five years. Naturally, he wanted to make his house sturdy, but he had a cardinal rule to not use any nails hammered into the tree. Instead, he crisscrossed two huge supporting beams between the trunk of the tree and the branch and he laid out crosspieces with turnbuckles. Once the base was engineering and stable, the project took a life of its own, with many friends and strangers lodging there and lending a hand with the building. The ranch owner opened his property to artists, hippies or anyone who wanted to come by, and Whiting’s tree fort soon became a magnet for visitors. That began causing problems. “I became famous, and then a flood of people

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came up there – it was absolutely overwhelming,” he said. Originally, Whiting welcomed visitors but he began getting sick of freeloaders invading his privacy. He initially had a pulley system and a one-person gondola that could carry anyone up to the tree house. But he decided to take out the easy way, leaving a climbing rope as the only way to get up to the top. The newfound attention also drew San Mateo County authorities. Officials tried to condemn his home, contending it wasn’t safe and had no permits. Whiting was able to stave off inspectors thanks to friends who worked at San Francisco architecture firms who vouched for the structural integrity of the treehouse. The house was eventually designated a sculpture. Not long after that, Whiting suffered the foremost danger of playing in the trees — he fell. Getting ready to descend to the ground one day, he leapt off the house balcony like an acrobat to catch the climbing rope. He grabbed it like normal, but the rope wasn’t secured to anything, and he fell 50 feet to the surface. “It was a well deserved wreck,” he described. The impact broke his jaw, sternum, ankle and multiple toes and collapsed a lung. He was taken to the hospital and slowly recuperated, but his feelings toward his tree house changed following the accident. It was too much to be up there anymore. “I went back up there many times, but I was almost bursting in tears because it was so overwhelming,” he said. “It scares the hell out of me. How the hell did I do that?” Whiting eventually left the ranch, taking a horse and donkey and living for a period in the open space near Boulder Creek. He gave up his dream of living in an elevated house, but later tried the opposite, designing an underground residence for himself in Calavaras County. He now lives in Hawaii. Today it’s not clear what’s happened to Whiting’s treehouse. In a voice mail, the current ranch owner said the treehouse had fallen apart due to the weather. Family members and friend doubt that is true, saying the house was sturdy enough to last a lifetime. 

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At low tide, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve draws a wide array of visitors interested in inspecting the many critters that inhabit the tidepools along the beach.

“Before 1969, people would be hauling things out of here in cardboard boxes.” — Bob Breen, Fitzgerald Marine Reserve naturalist

preserving an

ocean home B

ob Breen navigates the slippery green rock of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve with the practiced ease of a man who has walked the talk of tidepool protection for 40 years. He points to an abun-

By Saman Ghani Khan Photos by Charles Russo

dance of anemones that seem to change colors with the light. Overhead, a Caspian tern dives into the water and scoops up a fish before disappearing into the fog. Nearby, a harbor seal bobs in and out of the water.

It wasn’t always this way. Breen remembers a different time. Based on thousands of interviews with shore-based fishermen from 1973 to 2003, Breen was able to quantify the significant decline in the number of fish caught in the second half of the last century. Cabezon and monkeyface eels, he noted, showed a sharp decline of 88 percent and 83 percent, respectively. Other species affected included rockfish and lingcod, he said. A naturalist at the reserve from 1969 to 2004, Breen remembers that residents and tourists alike would use putty knives to pry away creatures in the tidepools and take home whatever spoils they could get their hands on. “Before 1969, people would be hauling things out of here in cardboard boxes,” he said. Today, that would be a federal offense. The Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, established in 1969 and now visited by more than 130,000 people annually, is a success story for environmentalists and anyone interested in preserving the marine life native to the California coast. And it is just the most obvious of a ring of overlapping protected areas designed to save marine habitat and myriad life, both close to the shore and for miles around. Now there is evidence that such protections are showing signs of success. “We wanted to observe the long-term effects of reserves and the ability of populations to bounce back from major environmental events in generations to come,” said Professor Fiorenza “Fio” Micheli, of Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove. Micheli published the results of her study in the journal PLOS One. While the study focuses on pink abalone in Baja California, environmental action groups believe that Micheli’s work is good news for other regions, such as that surrounding Fitzgerald. The Stanford study found that there was a significant increase in abalone found outside the protected region, thus proving a positive spillover effect for fishing outside the reserve. “It shows that Fitzgerald would be able to withstand the effects of environmental disasters now that it is fully protected,” said Karen Garrison of the Natural Resources Defense Council. She


Evidence points to positive effects of marine protected areas

had worked closely with Breen during the 2010 expansion of marine protected areas. Garrison recalled a recent trip to the reserve, when she was lucky enough to spot a great blue heron devouring an eel. “The extra protection holds great promise for helping restore these eels and the extraordinarily diverse ecosystem they support,” she said. Pete Raimondi is also studying the marine life in the area. A professor of marine biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, he has been conducting research on the intertidal region of Montara State Marine Reserve for several years. While his team has yet to

do an analysis of the numbers, Raimondi believes that the reserve has the potential to benefit the entire region. “We may not be able to examine the fish within the reserve, but we will be able to tell by the size and number of fish being caught outside the reserve what effect the reserve has had,” Raimondi said. When an area is fished heavily, people take the bigger catch, but if fishing is prohibited they are allowed to mature further, he said. Fish that are older and larger produce more offspring, according to a recent study by Ocean Conservancy, a conservation group. A 15-inch female bocaccio rockfish produces an average of just

A sea anemone inhabits the rocks of a tidepool at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve.

The longtime supervising ranger at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve Bob Breen, now retired is pictured along the tidepools on a foggy but busy morning in August.

more than 200,000 eggs per year, whereas a fish twice as long produces nearly 2 million eggs — 10 times as many. The fishing community has generally supported marine protections off the California coast. Everyone benefits from an abundance of sea life. But some in the community question specifics of those protections. Commercial fisherman Pietro Parravano believes that in order to truly enhance the habitat, water quality should also be monitored and maintained. “Reserves do not do anything about water quality,” he said. “It will be a learning lesson to see how effective these MPAs will be in enhancing fisheries.” Parravano has been in the salmon business since 1982 and, over the years, has been active in promoting sustainable fisheries and marine conservation in general. He says the location of the MPA plays a significant role in its impact, as some areas are better suited for a reserve, especially where fish are known to lay their eggs. Commercial fishing was never permitted at Fitzgerald, and some say the area is too rocky to promote a viable business, but recreational fishermen have felt the pinch from both the deterioration of the marine habitat as well as the reserves themselves. Harbor seals are a popular sight at Fitzgerald Marine Reserve, where they often cluster to lounge on the beaches. 2 0

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“I have watched the number of fishermen around Fitzgerald dwindle over the decades even though recreational fishing was allowed beyond the tidepools till 2010,” Breen said. “We are being pushed into smaller boxes to fish,” said Tom Mattusch, owner and captain of the Huli Cat, a 53-foot charter boat operating out of Pillar Point Harbor. Mattusch has been fishing on the West Coast since 1967. Despite his reservations about the expansion of reserves, Mattusch said that recreational fishermen try to work with environmentalists in finding appropriate solutions to conservation. Last month a group of scientists working with the California Collaborative Fisheries Research Program (CCFRP) chartered Mattusch’s boat for the purpose of studying the habitat inside and outside the Año Nuevo state marine conservation area, located 30 miles south of Half Moon Bay. The SMCA is one of 29 marine protected areas established in 2007 as part of the collaborative public process of creating a statewide network of MPAs. Regulators plan a five-year review in 2015 that will look at the resilience of all marine protected areas along California’s North Central Coast. At that time the efficacy of protections expanded in 2010 should take focus. In the meantime, Breen will keep an eye on life that seems to be flourishing in and around Fitzgerald.  A view of the Fitzgerald Marine Reserve from the cliffs overlooking the ocean.

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 good ideas

Try a new coat of paint.

Seven inexpensive ways to update a home now


ftentimes, buying a home opens up a bottomless pit of opportunities for projects and improvements.

While some homeowners engage in different repairs and fix-ups out of necessity, many others like to freshen-up their spaces out of personal preference instead of need. But even the most well-intentioned projects can be waylaid if budgets are tight. What many homeowners may not realize is that there are many ways to make updates and changes to a home that do not require a major overhaul or a large price tag. The following are seven projects that won’t break the bank

Use plants. Empty corners or spots you’re

not certain how to fill may benefit from a plant. Plants are inexpensive ways to add instant color and visual appeal to a room. Plus, having live plants can help improve indoor air by filtering out contaminants. A home with plants also feels more cozy. 2 2

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After you’ve exhausted other avenues, choosing a new paint color may be the new look you desire. Painting is one of the least expensive yet most dramatic methods of changing a home’s interior. With dozens of hues to choose from, and new apps that enable you to take snapshots of things in nature or in your life and match them up to a paint color, you will have scores of opportunities to explore fresh new colors for your home.

Add lighting.

Lighting at different levels in the room can create a vibrant impact. Many homeowners mistakenly put in a couple of table lamps and think that will be adequate. However, properly illuminating a room means varying the lighting to create different moods at different times. Plus, more light can make a room feel more welcoming.

Hang new wall art.

It may be time to look at your photos and artwork and make a few adjustments. Finding new prints to hang could instantly change a room’s ambience. And you needn’t spend a lot of money on professional photography, either. Grab your camera and take a few close-up shots of flowers or take in a landscape scenery. Many of today’s home printers can produce professional-quality prints in minutes.

Change knobs or small accents.

Give a room a new look by focusing on the small details. Switch out cabinet knobs for something updated and modern. Take inventory of wall outlets and light switches and think about selecting new ones that coordinate with your home decor.

Move around furniture. You may

Add new pillows or drapes. Changing

a few aspects of a room can give it an entirely new look. If you want to add a splash of color but don’t know what to do, think about incorporating some new throw pillows or change the curtains. An accessory here and there in a bright color also can incorporate a new hue without it being overwhelming.

be able to change the look of a room without spending any money. Interior designers know how to arrange furniture for maximum appeal, but the average homeowner can do it, too. Find a focal point in the room and angle the furniture toward it. Don’t make the focal point the television, however. Try changing the placement of chairs and sofas. Simply moving a curio cabinet from one corner to another may also make a difference.


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Late bloomers oo

Workers at Figone Nursery harvest sunflowers at the business’s flower farm in Half Moon Bay.

Figone Nursery among those on coast making trek to SF Flower Mart in the dark By Sara Hayden Photos by Charles Russo 2 4

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t’s only 7 on a Wednesday morning, but it’s already well past midday for flower-grower Louie Figone at the San Francisco Flower Mart on Brannan Street in the city. Business is blooming as he helps customers find fresh, cut flowers with a good shelf life.

“You know what’s neat about this? We’re all like family.” Louie Figone

To Figone, fresh means they were cut just the day before. A good shelf life means they’ll last six days. Blooms that fail to pass muster get composted. “Nobody wants the last bunch,” Figone said. Even if people don’t make it to a garden to pick their own flowers, they still want to have their pick. Figone makes sure they do. The night before, while most people slumbered, Figone loaded up a truck after midnight with nearly 1,000 bunches of blooms. He and four workers collected them earlier that day from Figone Nursery’s idyllic, 320-acre farm in Miramar. The microclimate is conducive to growing premium flowers there because the fog burns off, he said. His flowers get a healthy dose of sun most days for the June through December dahlia season. It was dark when he arrived at the market. But as full light spread across white buckets packed with flowers, there was a visual riot of pale hydrangeas and the lion-like heads of dahlias blooming in sunny orange, royal purple and swan white. Figone Nursery is one of more

Shoppers peruse fresh-cut bouquets at the San Francisco Wholesale Flower Mart.

Workers at Figone Farms in Half Moon Bay load freshly harvested dahlias into a truck for transport to the San Francisco Wholesale Flower Market.


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A buyer of sunflowers peruses the wares outside of the flower market on a recent morning. The San Francisco Wholesale Flower Mart has been in its current location at Sixth and Brannan for over a half century.

than 60 vendors displaying the country’s largest array of floral products at the century-old market. What would eventually become the San Francisco Flower Mart originally offered floor space for Japanese, Chinese and Italian immigrants to sell their products. Today it continues to be open to flower-growers of diverse backgrounds. Crowding parking lots and buildings there that seem to get lost in forests of orchids and clouds of roses, people gather to buy and sell blooming plants, cut flowers, cut greens, silk products, foliage and more. Branches and wreaths of lichen, which look like a mermaid’s hair, are fixed to Figone’s walls. Anemones, ranunculus and heather are Figone’s wares at other times of the year.

But Figone’s 21 dahlia varieties are his claim to fame. With names like Corona Pink, Bon Bini and Sangria from the Karma dahlia series, buyers might assume Figone sells ritzy cocktails. Some customers have admitted to wanting to eat the dahlias once they see them, said Figone. Indeed, a deep-hued Choc — almost black — and the creamier Cafe au Lait look like dessert. More often, however, these decadent dahlias end up as floral centerpieces for events, bouquets for weddings or arrangements for florists, often by that afternoon. Between 1 a.m. and 10 a.m., the market bustles.

Regular customers hustle between bouts of chitchat with Figone before they whisk his flowers away to their stores or clients. Miramar may be home to Figone and his plants, but the city event planners and flower shopkeepers visiting stall 74B have established close ties with him. “You know what’s neat about this? We’re all like family,” said Figone. The man is nearly nocturnal. He sometimes crashes on the couch after a combined bookkeeping-lunch session. Still, he manages a hearty social life. On the job, Figone and friends alternate sharing stories about home improvement, a job promotion and family gossip, with gathering 30 bunches of this, 20 bunches of that, a

EJGallerySeptMag.pdf 1 8/24/2012 12:04:00 PM

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“I have a heart for the people who grow beautiful flowers.” Crispy Luppino, flower retailer

Louie Figone, owner of Figone Nursery, started his flower farm on the Coastside in 1967.

When you want a water conserving garden makeover Ken Coverdell


handful of sunflower stalks. Figone and crew might give Sally and Chester, the resident dogs, a pat on the head as they go about their work. Figone and his helper, Mercedes Colbert, then deftly wrap the flowers for customers in pages of the Sing Tao Daily newspaper, brought over by a man from San Francisco’s Chinatown and sold to the flower mart vendors for this very purpose. Crispy Luppino of Natalini Flowers has been coming to Figone since she first started designing floral arrangements for Northern California special occasions nearly two decades ago, after she moved from the Philippines. She likes that both she and Figone are grandparents (Figone just welcomed twin grandbabies to the brood) and that his products are local. “I have a heart for the people who grow beautiful flowers,” said Luppino. “(At Figone Nursery) they have integrity in their work, in their flowers.” Quantity of flowers sold doesn’t concern Figone, but quality most certainly does. “My goal here is to offer a No. 1 product with a No. 1 price,” said Figone. Given that Figone has been in the business since he was a youngster working on his father’s flower farm in Millbrae, this comes as no surprise. Figone went independent at the age of 24, in 1967, on the Coastside. When he laid the first pipes on the property he eventually bought out in

1969, he had just started to date his wife, Judy. Marguerite daisies were the flower du jour back then, but Figone keeps up with the Joneses. “You don’t grow what you like, you grow what the market wants. They tell you, ‘Look to Europe, look to France,’” Figone said, of identifying trends. “But dahlias have always been special.” And Figone’s favorite? “Any one that sells,” he joked. He went on to clarify that he doesn’t dislike any flower, that they’re all nice. “They grow on you,” he said. By December, the dahlia season will have wrapped up. “That’s the time of year I’m getting lazy,” Figone said. “I want to start slowing down.” If he sticks around, he always finds work to do. Figone and his wife have made a habit of leaving for vacations when possible. Kauai is their destination of choice. Figone ships his mountain bike to the Hawaiian island and rides every day there. Meanwhile, back on the farm, things are quiet, but not asleep. Figone’s workers and their families, some of whom have worked with him since he started the farm, have their houses there. His daughter may jog over from her El Granada home. Friends may camp along one of the trails Figone added to the grounds. All the while, flowers and foliage continue to flourish across the farm’s sloped, green fields in the background, quietly growing for the next season. 

é an o f a C istr p a C

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Moving out, downsizing, or simplifying? Bring us your excess. If we accept it, we’ll find it a new home. And we’re fanatic about recycling. Moving in or expanding? Shop for durable goods at low prices. Nondurable things don’t make it here. Old things have character that comes from people living with them. We sell doors, windows, sinks, tubs, toilets, fencing, cabinets, hardware, lighting, furniture, books, housewares, art, jewelry, collectibles, clothes, old electronics, lots of et cetera.

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9 0 0 M u r r ay S t . n e a r A s h by x 7t h , B e r ke l ey 9 4710 O p e n 3 6 0 d ay s / y r, M o n - S a t 8:3 0 A M -7: 0 0 P M , S u n 10 : 0 0 -7: 0 0 R e c e i v i n g c l o s e s 5: 0 0 h t t p: //u r b a n o r e.c o m 510 - 8 41- S AV E


Serving the Coastside since 1988

650-712-0100 323 Princeton Ave. • Half Moon Bay Senior Discounts • Licence#923106


Termite and Pest control


Steve Iacopi

Peter Iacopi


Must present coupon. Expires 12/31/2012

• Weddings & Special Events • Outdoor & Indoor Plants • Unique Flowers and Gifts

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Steve Bowerman


P.0. Box 457 Half Moon Bay California 94019

650.726.4544 Contractor Lic. No. 611287 Insured

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Commercial & Residential • Move-out cleaning • Windows • Specialized Floor Care • 100% Reliability

Ceramic Tile Contractor Calif. State Contr. Lic. No. 266971

Entries, Kitchens, Bathrooms and more...

James S. Turner

(650) 738-2388


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Do you have a question for the pros? Contact Jennifer Segale, Wildflower Farms, 726-5883 and Carla Lazzarini, Earth’s Laughter, (650) 996-5168.

down to earth 



My salvias are mostly all bloomed out and looking raggedy. I know it’s too soon to prune down, but what can I do to make them look better?

— Leah P. Moss Beach


ou’re right! It’s too early to prune down salvias and other woody perennials for the season. Instead, simply cut back the spent flowers all over the plant (this may be a chore since there are so many, but it’s worth it) and cut away any dead wood. From there you can fertilize a bit with a compost. I suggest using Double Doody from Point Reyes Compost Co. It’s an aged steer and horse manure that is perfect for high-flowering perennials like salvias. Your salvias are still going to look sparse, but at least they will be ready to go for more blooms this fall. If you can’t stand the bareness, try planting a few annuals around the salvias — like California poppies, cerinthe and/or sweet peas. You can plant each from seed or buy in small 4-inch containers at Half Moon Bay Nursery or Ace Hardware. Water well and watch them grow! To buy Double Doody Organic Compost, please email Jenn at —JLS

An indoor tip

� Some favorite garden links

Seeking more garden-y stuff online? Check out the following links: — for a garden-related shopping spree! — my garden blog, for more tips, stories and rants about our flowering friends! — the event section of the news site will show all the upcoming home and garden events. www.b& — when it’s time to stock up on fall flowers.

o your indoor plants seem leggy and tired looking? The stress of having a (most likely tropical) plant living indoors will make the plant look less robust than it’s supposed to. Indoor plants need as much filtered sun and air circulation as possible, and depending on the type of plant, some amount of warmth and humidity. Try taking all your indoor plants outside on a warm, breezy day and watering them well. Leave them out on your back deck or south-facing balcony for the day to drain. Feel free to spray them with the hose, allowing the leaves to breathe and the dust to wash away. After a few hours or the day, make sure to bring them inside before the sun goes down. Doing this once a month will greatly improve the health and look of your indoor plants.


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Use the Right Tools for Autumn To-Do Lists

 useful information

sk any homeowner and he or she is bound to have a to-do list of little chores around the house that need to get done. These tasks are made much easier with the right tools.

Depending on individual skill level, many homeowners already have basic tools on hand, such as hammers and screwdrivers. Others may have a more extensive collection of tools available for projects, such as saws, sanders and electric drills. For homeowners who don’t have certain tools, there may be no need to purchase new ones for specific projects. Many tools can be rented, such as floor sanders, carpet cleaners, saws and others. Find out if items can be borrowed from friends or family members -- and whether they might want to help with certain tasks. Before any project is started, homeowners should take inventory of what they have and what they will need to complete a project. Taking shortcuts can lead to frustration and more money spent fixing mistakes. Make a list and have all of the gear available and ready for use. Here are some common projects and the tools that will be needed.

t Gutter cleaning: Cooler weather means leaves and debris will collect in gutters and downspouts. A sturdy ladder, gloves, garden hose, small shovel, and bucket will be needed to clear out the debris. Be sure the ladder is placed so that it is on level ground. t Cleaning siding: A rented power washer can make quick work of cleaning grimy siding and hard-to-reach windows. t Landscape clean-up: Now may be the time to pull out whithered plants and put away lawn furniture. Many homeowners like to prune shrubs and trees before the cold weather sets in. A hedge trimmer can quickly shape shrubbery. An auger can help dig up dead annuals and clean out planting beds. Rent a wood chipper to make mulch out of felled tree branches. t Painting: When cooler weather arrives, homeowners tend to look inside for projects. Painting is a popular way to spruce up rooms with little financial investment. Rollers, brushes, paint trays, masking tape, edgers, and drop cloths will be needed for the task. t Flooring: Perhaps installing a new floor is on the to-do list. Many laminate and vinyl products make it easy for homeowners to do the work themselves. A more extensive project, such as installation of tile or hardwood, can be done by a contractor. Flooring needs may require a power saw or razor for cutting the flooring -- depending on the material. Other tools include adhesive, spacers, measuring tape, knee pads, eye protection, and clean-up materials. 3 2

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Set Your Set Your

Sprinklers Sprinklers TO TO Save! Save!

Do you ever see a neighbor’s sprinkler system on when it’s raining? Sometimes people neglect to reset their automatic sprinkler timers according Do youweather ever seeand a neighbor’s sprinkler system on to the seasons. During summertime, when it’stimer raining? Sometimes neglect or to set your to water only inpeople early morning reset their automatic sprinkler timers according early evening and in winter reset your timer when to the weather andsteps seasons. summertime, it rains. These easy can During save a lot of water set your timer to water only in early morning or and that will be a “Nice Save!” Water is a limited early evening andallinneed winter your when resource and we to reset do our parttimer to reduce it rains. These easy steps can save a lot of water water use by 20 percent by 2020! For more easy and thathow willto besave a “Nice Save!” Water is avisit: limited tips on water in California, resource and we all need to do our part to reduce water use by 20 percent by 2020! For more easy tips on how to save water in California, visit:

Brought to you by Brought to you by

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Half Moon Bay Review September 2012  

Fall Home Issue

Half Moon Bay Review September 2012  

Fall Home Issue