• Breaking News

    Pacific Grove facing more restructuring

    By Marge Ann Jameson

    The City of Pacific Grove is facing another round of restructuring, and this time it involves two major areas: the Golf Links and public works, with possible “trickle down” to other departments.

    Public Works Director Mike Zimmer and others met with various employee groups over the business day, Oct. 17 to advise  employees of the changes that may be coming. Read more…»

    ‘Central Coast Bandit’ Arrested

     

    Cristina Fenandez Padilla

    A woman identified as Cristina Fernandez Padilla, 50, of Watsonville has been arrested for a series of bank robberies along the Central Coast and in Modesto. Dubbed “The Central Coast Bandit,” Padilla is believed to have been involved in six robberies and one attempted robbery. Read more…»

    Dam plan approved; get ready to pay

    By Marge Ann Jameson

    The end of a process which began in 2010 was completed today with the approval by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) of California American Water’s plans to permanently remove the aging and defunct San Clemente Dam from the Carmel River. But there’s a price tag. Read more…»

    Water Management District says no rationing — for now

    Pacific Grove residents can still take showers for the foreseeable future, but they might want to think twice about watering the daisies. The Monterey Peninsula Water Management District presented its annual Water Supply Forecast for the upcoming water year on May 21. Based on current physical availability of water, no additional mandatory water demand reductions are necessary at this time. Read more…»

    No surprises as Cal-Am files three-legged approach with CPUC

    Water purveyor requesting a ramp-up of rates approaching 2016 deadline

    Following the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Monterey Peninsula Water Management District and the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control Agency last Friday, April 20, the water purveyor for the Peninsula filed a project overview with the California Public Utilities Commission today, April 23, to build a small seawater desalination facility in North Marina and to purchase Groundwater Replenishment water from public agencies. That, along with aquifer storage of any excess water, will replace water curretnly being pumped in excess of state restrictions from the Carmel River. The desalination plant would have a capacity of about 5,500 acre-feet per year, while 3,500 acre feet per year is expected from the recycling facility.
    The proposed site is slightly north of the earlier approved site, plans for which have fallen through, and near the MRWPCA facility, which will make powering the desal plant easier.
    Slant wells are the preferred intake method, and Cal Am seeks to drill a test well soon.
    In the event that ground water replenishment is found to be either not timely or cost-effective, Cal Am seeks approval to build a 9,000 acre-feet per year desalination facility. That decision, said California American Water president Rob McLean in a presentation to Monterey Peninsula mayors, will be made in early 2015.
    Cal-Am is planning to make revisions to an existing Environmental Impact Report, trusting that a new “ground-up” report will not be necessary. A new EIR would seriously delay the project, and delay of any sort could result in rationing and skyrocketing bills to force cutbacks in usage.
    The project is not going to be cheap, but it was never going to be inexpensive. “We will be proposing a rate base offset of $100 million through a surcharge on customers’ bills,” McLean said in his presentation before the Mayors’ Joint Powers Authority meeting; sort of a pay-as-you-go during construction, intended to avoid sticker shock when the project is completed.
    If the PUC approves, customers will begin seeing the ramp-up beginning in the second half of the year 2013 when rates will rise, for the average bill, about 30 percent. Six months later, another 15 percent will be tacked on, and another 15 percent will show up on bills by the second half of 2014, after which rates should stabilize through 2016.
    Some 8800 low water usage customers who currently pay about $21.12 per month will eventually see their bills go to a range of $40 to $56 by year 2017. $17 to $24 of that is related to the water supply project.
    People in the 50th percentile, the median, currently pay about $28.90 and will see their bills go to $54 to $79 per month of which $22 to $33 is related to the water project. The average bill of $34.00 will go to $64 to $93 per month. There are also about 1300 customers who currently use 16 cubic feet of water per month and will see their bills go from $146.58 to as much as $198 or more.
    There are other capital costs which Cal-Am is passing on to ratepayers, such as the San Clement Dam project and the Sand City Desal plant, which is already online.

    Kampe declares for mayor of Pacific Grove

    Mayor Pro Tempore Bill Kampe announced March 14 that he intends to run for mayor of Pacific Grove in the November, 2012 election. Kampe won his City Council seat in 2008 with 4098 votes, more than 1300 more than the next highest vote-getter. His pledge then was to stand behind and renew Pacific Grove.
    Today, Kampe says, “Despite troubled times, we are making progress on many issues.” He seeks to continue that progress, he says, and to provide “clear and positive leadership.”
    He said, “I’m committed to maintaining our environment and the simple charm and essential character of our town. We need and deserve a vibrant community, both in the activities for our residents, and in the economic activities that support our quality of life.”
    As of March 14, Kampe is the only person who has taken out papers with the city declaring his intention to run. Two other city council members have hinted that they would be interested in running but have not made public the announcement. The deadline, at this juncture, is a long way off.
    As well as serving as Mayor Pro Tempore, Kampe is city council liaison to the Planning commission and the Architectural Review Board. He is Pacific Grove’s representative on the Fort Ord Reuse Authority board as well. Read more…»

    2012 Peninsula Hot Shot Results!

    Hotel reopens after chlorine-like gas leak

    The Portola Hotel and Spa has re-opened following the clean-up of a hazardous material spill that forced the evacuation of hotel guests and employees early this morning. A gas similar to chlorine gas was released when an employee accidentally mixed bleach and acid in the laundry room of the hotel.

    30 people were transported to area hospitals for treatment of respiratory symptoms: 11 to Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula, 14 to Salinas Valley Memorial and 5 to Natividad Hospital. All of the injured were employees of the hotel. One guest did ask to be checked because of concerns about his health prior to traveling but was not hospitalized. Read more…»

    Cal Am discusses plans in closed-door meeting

    At a closed-door meeting today, Jan. 27, California American Water Company outlined for the select attendees what may be its ultimate plan for solving the Peninsula’s water woes before the looming 2016 deadline imposed by the State to replace water being overdrafted from the Carmel River. Read more…»

    Supreme Court rules new CA Senate districts legal – for now

    The California Supreme Court has ruled this morning that California state Senate boundaries set by a 14-member citizens’ commission are legal for the June, 2012 primary and the November, 2012 general election.
    The High Court ruled on the matter as a result of a Republican Party-backed signature drive seeking to overturn the Senate maps, which they contend are unfairly weighted and would give Democrats a chance at two extra seats in the State Senate – and the chance at holding a supermajority required to raise taxes or fees. Read more…»

    Cal Am withdraws support for the Regional Desalination Project

    Unable to reach agreement with the Marina Coast Water District and Monterey County Water Resources Agency on how to address multiple challenges which have arisen, California American Water today announced this morning that it is withdrawing support for the Regional Water Project, the three-party agreement behind the Regional Water Project. Read more…»

    Traffic to be rerouted on Ocean View Wed. 1/11/12

    Wed., Jan. 11, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., traffic will be rerouted on Ocean View where the contractor for Pump Station #12 will install the new waste water line from the existing pump station and connect it to the new pump station. This will require closing Ocean View between 7th St and Monterey Ave. Westbound Ocean View traffic will be detoured south on 7th St to Central and west on Central to Monterey and then north on Monterey to Ocean View Blvd. East bound traffic will be detoured south on Monterey to Central and east on Central to 1st St then north on 1st street to Ocean View Blvd.

    Pacific Grove Monarch Numbers Still Healthy

    Supporters of the Pacific Grove Monarch Grove Sanctuary addressed a curious occurrence this week. More than 300 dead monarchs have been observed in the Pacific Grove Monarch Grove Sanctuary over the past several weeks, many with their abdomens missing. “This is consistent with wasp predation, but it is difficult to determine if wasps are solely responsible.” asserted Francis Villablanca, Ph.D., the science advisor for Cal Poly State University’s Monarch Alert Program. “This predation on the monarchs should not be too alarming.” Read more…»

    Judge in “golf hours” case denies TRO

    At Dec. 1 hearing

    By Marge Ann Jameson

    Judge Kingsley, after hearing an hour and a half plea by the plaintiff’s attorney, denied the petitioner’s request for a preliminary injunction in the case John Troth brought against the City of Pacific Grove to keep the Pt. Pinos Grill at the golf course from extending hours past nautical twilight. hearing began at 1:30 Fri., Dec. 2 and lasted until about 4:00. Thus, the Pt. Pinos Grill may operate with extended hours for the near future. Read more…»

    Mayor Carmelita Garcia announces run for Assembly

    In a brief announcement on Facebook, Pacific Grove Mayor Carmelita Garcia announced on Thanksgiving that she is running for the Assembly seat soon to be vacated by Bill Monning. Monning is running for State Senate, a decision he made a number of months ago.

    The Assembly seat will go to the voters in June, 2012 while Mayor Garcia’s term is up in November, 2012. There have been no other announcements from potential candidates for her office as mayor.

    Santa Cruz County Supervisor Mark Stone has also declared that he is running for Monning’s seat. Santa Cruz City Councilwoman Lynn Robinson also declared her candidacy in August, 2011 but dropped out of the race barely a month later.

    Mayor Garcia has promised an interview on Monday, Nov. 28. Both Monning and Garcia have Facebook pages for their respective campaigns.

    Pacific Grove City Council approves temporary extension of hours at Pt. Pinos Grill

    Five of the seven people on the dais agreed with the City Manager and the City Attorney that an “urgency ordinance” allowing the temporary extension of hours at Pt. Pinos Grill immediately and for 120 days was the most solid way the City could gather empirical data as to whether or not extended hours would work out. There would still be no hard liquor, no amplified music and no permanent lighting outside – matters that will doubtless be taken up by the Planning Department in February, 2012. But leaseholder Aqua Terra will now be allowed to test the waters for special events during the Holiday season. More tomorrow in the print version of Cedar St. Times.

    Stephen Collins to be arraigned on multiple felony counts

    By Marge Ann Jameson

    Monterey County District Attorney Dean Flippo announced Nov. 15 that Stephen Phillip Collins, former director on the Board of Directors of the Monterey County Water Resources Agency, is charged with two felony counts of conflict of interest because he allegedly profited financially from his involvement in making contracts pertaining to the Regional Water Project. The acts of conflict of interest allegedly took place between Jan. 8, 2010 and Dec. 30, 2010.

    Collins will be arraigned on Nov. 16. Read more…»

    Pollacci sentenced in second rape case

    Thomas Pollacci, age 52 and a resident of Pebble Beach, was sentenced to 6 years in state prison on one count of forcible rape by Judge Adrienne Grover on Nov. 15. This 6-year sentence is to be served consecutively to an 8-year state prison sentence that had been previously imposed by Judge Russell Scott for a total state prison term of 14 years. Pollacci also agreed to waive any appellate rights in the current case as well the previous case in which he had been convicted by a jury of rape. Read more…»

    Turbidity in your tap water may occur

    Monterey Fire Department and California American Water Co. will conduct fire hydrant flow tests in various areas of Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel and Sand City starting Tues., Nov. 15 through Fri., Dec. 2 between 10:00 a.m. and 5:oo p.m. There may be some discoloration and turbidity of your tap water as a result. Officials assure Cedar Street Times that the condition is only temporary and is not dangerous to your health.

    The tests are conducted to ensure that there is adequate water pressure to meed demand should there be an emergency.

    If you have questions about your tap water quality, contact Cal-Am at 831-373-3051.

    Armed robbery at Chase Bank in Pacific Grove

    On Wed. morning, Nov. 9 at approximately 9:17 a.m. three adult males wearing masks and gloves entered the Chase Bank at the Pacific Grove Country Club Gate Center. Two of the males were armed with handguns and one male was armed with what appeared to be an assault rifle. The assailants ordered everyone in the bank to get on the floor. The suspects then took an undisclosed amount of cash and fled out a back door of the bank toward the parking lot.
    A total of six people, employees and customers, were in the bank at the time. None was hurt.
    Witnesses said that the three males fled in a newer silver Volkswagen beetle, Read more…»

    Election 11/8/11 final results

    11:00 update for Pacific Grove votes turned into midnight, then 12:15! Figures pretty much the same: It’s BYRNE, 58.13%. MEASURE U, 71.97% But Measure V, though it got 61.44%, will not pass. It needed 66% to extend and increase the schools parcel tax. So the one we have now, which came with Measure X, will continue for another year. More in Friday’s Cedar Street Times. Thank you for voting!

    Election returns 10:40 election night

    Early returns: Byrne, 61.12%, Doyle 38.88%; Measure U 71.4% for, 28.6% against; Measure V 59.65% for, 40.35% against. Looking for another update soon, perhaps at 11:00. Not very many voters. These figures may not change appreciably, which means that Measure V probably goes down as it needed 66%. Pacific Grove is counted among the last — what we’re seeing is mostly absentee ballots which are normally fairly conservative.

    UPDATE: Olive Ridley Sea Turtle

    The stranded Olive Ridley Sea Turtle that was captured at Hopkins Marine Station several weeks ago is at the Monterey Bay Aquarium and is responding well to treatment. The Olive Ridley’s vital signs are all within the normal range of health for Olive Ridleys. The turtle is scheduled to be transferred to a Sea World in San Diego to finish out its rehabilitation before being released back into the wild. A transfer date has not yet been chosen.

    Occupy Wall Street comes to Alvarado St. and So. Main St.

    By Cameron Douglas

    Hundreds of citizens in the Monterey-Salinas area took part in Occupy Wall Street rallies on Sat., Oct. 15. Demonstrations were held in many parts of the world that day, more than 1,500 protests in 82 countries, according to the website, occupywallst.org/. The Oct. 15 event served as an opportunity for others to stand in solidarity with those in New York, who have protested for four weeks straight.

    At 10 a.m. in Salinas, a small group of 30 or so set up in front of the Bank of America branch at 405 South Main. A bank manager and a security guard promptly came out and talked with organizer Dan Eyde, explaining that only the outer part of the sidewalk was public property and for the protestors to stay off the part leading to the entrance and clear of the driveway. The bank manager’s wishes were respected and the protest continued without incident.

    “Bank of America is responsible for 15 percent of the foreclosures in Salinas,” said Eyde. “That’s about 750 homes.” He added that the foreclosures are a result “of their [Bank of America’s] predatory lending practices.” Read more…»

    Monarchs in the Sanctuary

    Local residents and tourists alike often ask “how do the monarchs arrive? Is it one at a time? Do they sneak in under cover of darkness? Are there big flocks that block out the sun?” Well, here’s a video that might give you an idea. Taken October 12, 2011 by Bob Pacelli.

    UPDATE ON OLIVE RIDLEY SEA TURTLE

    Update on the Olive Ridley Sea Turtle which crawled out at Hopkins Marine in Pacific Grove and is now in the “infirmary” at the Aquarium: Condition, STABLE. Thank you Peter Mounteer. As of 10/11/11.

    Consultant study: Regional Water Project still most cost-effective; Scheduling and permitting analyses to follow

    By Marge Ann Jameson
    California American Water (Cal Am) ordered a study on the cost analysis of 11 water supply alternatives for the Monterey Peninsula, including Pacific Grove. The company plans to hold a public forum on the subject, set for Oct. 26, 2011.
    Cedar Street Times has obtained a copy of the report, dated October 5, 2011.
    In the cost analysis, RBF Consulting, authors of the report, outline the various alternatives which include some combinations of alternatives as well as stand-alone projects. Most have been suggested in some form or another, from various desalination plants (Marina, Moss Landing, Sand City, Monterey near the Naval Postgraduate School) to filtration plants and groundwater recharge.

    The Regional Water Project, a desalination plant at Marina with delivery to the rest of the Peninsula, is the project which has won State approval.
    Cal Am faces a Cease and Desist Order to cease pumping water for its customers from the Carmel River. By 2014, the company — and  those customers — must reduce use by 40 percent of what is currently used and by 2016 the reduction will increase to 60 percent of current use.
    It is important to note that the current report only includes cost analysis and does not include permitting and schedule impacts for the various alternatives.
    RBF advises that the permitting and schedule impacts report will follow.
    The analysis uses the current favored project, the Regional Water Supply Project – also known as the Marina desalination plant – as a basis for cost estimating, stating “It is clear that the estimate is based on an assumption that all of the supply wells . . . are slant wells and that the costs are in October 2012 dollars.”
    Demand for all alternatives except the last one, #11 in the list, is estimated at 15,200 acre-feet per year.
    The Regional Water Project, Alternative #1, with costs for construction, start-up, contingency and other allowances including cost of indebtedness comes in at $297,470,000 in RBF’s estimate. It adds an estimate for California American Water’s regional project facilities at $132,000,000 “most probable capital cost with contingency,” a high-end estimate of $156,000,000 and a low-end of $118,000,000.
    The cost cap for Cal Am had originally been set at $106,875,000 in the recent Settlement Agreement. That $107,000,000 includes conveyance facilities (pipes and pumps), a terminal reservoir, and an ASR system (Aquifer Storage Recovery).
    Adding the California American Water facilities costs of $107,000 to the capital cost of $297,000,000 for the Regional Water Project results in a total capital cost of $404,000,000 for the Regional Water Project. The result is a cost per acre foot per year (AFY) of $2680.
    Alternative #2 includes a lower-capacity desalination plant at Marina and groundwater recharge of advanced water treatment effluent from the Monterey Regional Water Pollution Control authority’s regional treatment facility. The effluent would be used to recharge the Seaside aquifer. Cost/AFY: $2,980 Read more…»

    Endangered sea turtle beaches at Hopkins Marine

    By Peter Mounteer

    Last Wednesday, October 5th, Pacific Grove received an unlikely visit from an unlikely visitor, an adult Olive Ridley sea turtle that typically inhabits warm coastal waters. Although sea turtles occasionally visit Monterey Bay (most typically leatherback sea turtles that can withstand cold California waters) an Olive Ridley has “never been sighted ashore” on the central coast, according to Scott Kathey of NOAA.

    Sea turtles spend the majority of their lives in the water, only coming ashore to lay eggs. The Olive Ridley that came ashore on Wednesday—its gender has yet to be confirmed—is not here to nest, as its typical nesting grounds are only as far north as Mexico. According to Kathey, the turtle most likely was lured North in an unusual eddy of warm water that brushed California’s central coast.

    The 72 pound Olive Ridley arrived ashore—conveniently—at Stanford University’s Hopkins Marine Station in Pacific Grove, just around the corner from the Monterey Bay Aquarium, where it is currently being cared for.

    Dr. Mike Murray, a veterinarian with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, is in charge of rehabilitating the sea turtle. “The animal is underweight and dehydrated,” he said, “potentially due to illness.” The Olive Ridley is being cared for in a heated 78-degree holding tank out of the view of the public eye. Dr. Murray confirmed that the animal will not be used for aquarium display at any point in time. Murray also said that the turtle is being given antibiotics and supportive therapy in order to restore its health and will likely remain at the aquarium under his care for an unknown number of weeks depending upon its response to rehabilitative treatment. A potential release site has not yet been chosen.

    Last Wednesday’s rescue marks the fourth turtle rescue in the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s 27 year history and the first since 2005.

    The Olive Ridley sea turtle is classified “endangered” by the International Union of Conservation of Nature (IUCN), a categorization most likely the result of a high frequency of egg collecting on nesting beaches and turtle hunting by humans throughout the world.

    Dr, Mike Murray, a veterinarian with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, lifts the stranded Ridley sea turtle. The turtle is under Dr. Murray's care now at the Aquarium. Photo by Bob Yerena of NOAA

     

    Council tables speaker cards

    A few “protest signs” were visible,  but it seems they were not needed. The City Council decided – unanimously, and without even calling for a vote – to look for other alternatives for making City Council meetings shorter, alternatives which do not call for methods that are construed as limiting the rights of the public to be heard. Read more…»

    Theft of newspapers to suppress story?

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  • Beach Report Card

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    This is the Heal the Bay Beach Report Card for Monterey Peninsula beaches, which reports water quality grades, or when relevant, weather advisories. An A to F grade is assigned based on the health risks of swimming or surfing at that location. Look at the "dry" grade for all days except those "wet" days during and within 3 days after a rainstorm. Click here for more information on the Beach Report Card. Click the name of the beach when it pops up for more details, or choose a beach below.

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