Archive for the ‘SouthWest SC’ Category

Nuclear plant’s website may automate notifications of onsite alerts like the one that occurred with an ammonia leak Tuesday. Emergency procedures don’t require public announcements of low-level, nonradioactive alerts, but some south San Clemente residents who heard the plant’s onsite sirens were left wondering what was going on.


SAN CLEMENTE -(CA)- Southern California Edison is considering enhancing its public communication procedure so that information about onsite alerts at the utility’s San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station, like the one that occurred Tuesday, would be made available automatically on the plant’s website.

On Tuesday, information about an ammonia leak did not appear on SONGS’ site until two hours after the alert was declared about 3 p.m. and workers near the leak began being evacuated.

Article Tab: San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station containment domes can be seen looking south from near the entrance to San Onofre Surf Beach on Tuesday afternoon while a low-level alert was going on at the plant.
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station containment domes can be seen looking south from near the entrance to San Onofre Surf Beach on Tuesday afternoon while a low-level alert was going on at the plant.
Under existing procedures, Tuesday’s event did not require a public announcement, according to Edison spokesman Gil Alexander, which is why community-alert sirens did not sound in nearby cities and no announcement was made onKWVE/107.9 FM – Orange County’s primary Emergency Alert System station – or KOGO/600 AM in San Diego County.

Alexander said that soon after the leak was discovered he made several calls to media outlets, including The Orange County Register, to say the ammonia leak was nonradioactive and that the alert was confined to the plant.

SONGS personnel noted the leak in a non-nuclear area of the plant’s Unit 3 reactor and declared an “unusual event,” the lowest of four emergency classifications. At that level, there is no leak of radioactive materials, though plant safety is considered reduced.

As required by the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, SONGS notified the NRC and the regional Interjurisdictional Planning Committee– consisting of several city, county, state and private agencies – via a special “yellow” phone line within 15 minutes.

But south San Clemente residents Skip and Traci Streets wish more information had been readily available to the public. They heard sirens sounding at the plant some two miles away in their Cypress Cove neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, unsure whether it was a test or an actual emergency. They said they searched the SONGS website but saw no advisory except for a general notice to tune to KWVE for information in case of an emergency. With no announcements on the radio as the sirens persisted, the pair eventually called Southern California Edison and the city of San Clemente.

“The sirens kept going … we called around but no one knew anything,” Traci Streets said. “My mom lives down here, too, but was in Newport for dinner, so we just decided to go up there and eat with her and hope nothing was going on.”

Jen Tucker, San Clemente’s emergency-planning officer, said that when San Clemente is notified of an event via the yellow phone, she follows guidelines that begin with notifying the city manager and initiating the city’s Emergency Planning Center. About 50 municipal employees are activated to emergency-response positions within about 35 minutes, she said. That applies not only to events at SONGS but also to earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural emergencies. The EPC then stands by to implement emergency services according to guidelines set by the IPC. Tucker said the city of San Clemente is responsible for activating the 19 sirens within city limits.

In Tuesday’s case, the response was based on information communicated by SONGS.

At the two highest alert levels, involving radioactive releases, all sirens across Orange County would be activated simultaneously and public announcements would be made on KWVE and KOGO, Tucker said.

On Tuesday, KWVE was notified by the county Emergency Operations Center of the situation at SONGS, but due to the low level of the alert, the station was not required nor asked to make an announcement, according to station engineer Marcos O’Rourke. At 4:27 p.m., the station did broadcast news of the event, he said.

San Clemente closed its EPC about 45 minutes after SONGS ended the alert at 6:07 p.m., Tucker said. She said she was happy with her team’s performance.

“This is reassurance for the residents of San Clemente,” she said.

Tucker said she expected as many as 50 phone calls from local residents about the incident but instead had received six by late Wednesday afternoon, including one from San Juan Capistrano.

Alexander said SONGS community relations received about a dozen calls and Edison customer service received a few.

Alexander said that before Tuesday, the most recent alert declared at SONGS was May 9, 2010, after earth movement was detected at the plant following an earthquake in Baja California.

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CORONA DEL MAR, (CA)- Kalani and Oleema Miller believe a great bikini should have a good fit, be comfortable, come in a load of colors and give a girl confidence on the beach. The editors of the 2011 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Editionapparently agree, giving the Orange County sisters’ 1-year-old swimsuit company, Mikoh Swimwear, three pages in the issue, which hit newsstands Feb. 15.

Last year’s Swimsuit Edition featured one suit from the fledgling company, making a big enough impression on the editors and models that the Millers were invited back.

“Our suits are sold as separates, they are seamless and they don’t have any hardware. We’ve worked hard to have flattering cuts with custom prints,” Kalani Miller said. “The suits really sell themselves.”

Kalani, 23, Oleema, 22, older brother Jason, 25, and younger sister Hana, 19, all were raised in San Clemente, surfing and enjoying the outdoors. All appeared with their dad, Jim, in thesurf documentary “Step Into Liquid” by director Dana Brown. Kalani still lives in San Clemente; Oleema lives in Corona del Mar.


Kalani and Oleema, former Roxy girls clothing models, said it was a natural progression last year when they opened Mikoh Swimwear and began selling their swimsuits. They often finish each other’s sentences when explaining the inspirations for their bikini designs, describing the overall theme as “slim and flirty.”

“The theme for this year’s line is ‘Tepre Pacificum’ which essentially means ‘calm seas,'” Kalani said.

Oleema added: “We find inspiration for our designs in all the things we come across in our daily, regular lives. It’s really a consensus of everything and doesn’t come from any one thing.”

Though both are involved in all aspects of the company, Kalani handles most of the business side, with Oleema working on designs and colors. “We’re best friends,” they said at the same time, with big smiles.


Mikoh Swimwear’s website says the Millers “were raised in a household where creativity and self-expression was always encouraged.”

Oleema has long had a love for fashion. She learned to sew from their mother, Charlene, and created her own wardrobe.

Kalani liked to paint and write and graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a communications degree.

Oleema says she has a perfectionist streak that will flare up and she relies on Kalani to say when enough is enough.

“I really get into how the suits are made,” Oleema said. “The head seamstress says I am by far the most picky of all their clients she does work for, but I want the suits to be perfect. It’s really like they are going to be mine and they have to be good – better than good.”

The company name, Mikoh, translates from Japanese as “female shaman” or “medicine woman.” It is a mix of the last name Miller and the first initials of Kalani and Oleema and the first initial of Hana.

Kalani said it has been amazing to see how a company can grow in a year. Oleema said that while she might be a little in awe of their success, it makes sense – their mother said that if you want something badly enough, you can get there through hard work.

Mikoh has 10 suits in its 2011 line, all hand-sewn in Bali. They are available online at mikohswimwear.com,barneys.com, shopbop.com and revolveclothing.com, retailing for about $200 for a complete top and bottom. According to the Millers, the price is in the middle high end. Celebrities including Cameron Diaz, LeAnn Rimes and Kourtney Kardashian have appeared in their suits on the pages of magazines such as Us and People.

Kalani and Oleema say a big part of their purpose is living a life their parents can be proud of, and that includes helping others. When rains brought devastating floods to Queensland, Australia, in early January, leaving thousands stranded and homeless, Mikoh donated all its profits over 10 days to the cleanup effort.

The Millers will soon travel to Bali, a trip they make several times a year, to finalize their 2012 line that will include not only bikinis but also more wraps and cover-ups. The company is looking ahead to the Miami SwimShow in mid-July.

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Boyscout puts up a flag pole in San Juan Capistrano.

Triton makes a shot on goal

Walking back from Trestles Surf Beach.

Turkey bowling like the Indians used to do.

Every 1st Marine Division Band show, ends with a bang and streamers.

SCAT kids have a lot of energy.

He probably didn't buy Bush's book.

He’s thinking about the hole in his lung tuberculosis gave him.

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San Clemente Beaches experienced a 6.37 high tide at 9:11 am on Sunday morning. Two Beachgoers enjoy the drama of an unusually high tide in San Clemente as waves reached public bathrooms at "T" street and the adjoining beach trail.


Since the first of the year the southland has had several high tides that seem to be related to two full moons in a normal cycle when we would only have one.  I got a tip to check out the high tide on Sunday morning around 10 am so I gathered up the cameras and headed out to see if I could find anything.  At first it didn’t seem to be anything unusual as I found that ocean water had filled up the Riviera Tunnel beach underpass.  In the winter its not an un-common occurrence and is usually a combination of rain runoff and a high berm where the  ocean that comes in, can’t get out.

I continued on the San Clemente Beach Trail towards the pier and saw that the open dirt area on either side of the railroad tracks was muddy and in some spots had standing water.  It has been a week since our big storm and it seemed that it should be dry by now.

I continued onward to Lost Winds Beach and noticed several spots where the normal bush covered  tundra looking solid berm at the edge of the tracks, the area between the tracks and the sand of the beach, was smooth and had a “washed over” look.  There was ocean flotsam up on the tracks and all around them on both sides.  High tide had occurred at 9:11 and it was now 10 am or so and I could see that a more than a few waves came close to breeching the berm and getting to the tracks.  It appeared that maintenince crews had been working filling in areas with dirt and sand bags where needed as well.  

Beachgoers were witness to the drama of an unusually high tide in San Clemente as waves reached public bathrooms at "T" street and the adjoining beach trail.


Further down the trail at “T” street, the public bathrooms had been solidly invaded by waves and sand, although several years ago the city had constructed a sea wall of sorts to prevent it.  Just behind the bathrooms, the beach trail crosses over the tracks and continues on the sandy side between the tracks and the ocean until reaching the pier about a quarter of a mile away.  

An Early morning runner on the San Clemente Beach trail passes by the under railroad drainage lines, between Lausen Beach and "T" street as waves from an unusually high tide pass thru on the inland side of the tracks.


Although the tide had receded somewhat from its highest point an hour earlier, several trail users had more of a hustle than expected to escape the surge and keep their feet dry.

Lost Winds looking across Riviera Beach to Cotton's Point.


The San Clemente Beach Trail at "T" Street looking north.

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Its not even June yet, and the gloom is already here.  Its really been here for more than a week but, like every year, we hope it won’t last if we ignore it.  I shot this looking south from the San Luis Rey  I-5 freeway overpass on Friday evening and an hour later it was raining.  I hope the tourists don’t see this or maybe I do.

Meanwhile, ten minutes inland, in San Juan Capistrano, the sun shines bright and no one is in doubt that summer is just 3 weeks away.

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Its been a year since Cuchessi passed and although the initial shock is gone, you still wonder about what happened.  This would be where anyone thinking about how it is that loved ones are taken so young, say whatever it is that means something to them, but to me its just that they are gone.

I have been working on a small narrative about Cuchessi for the last year now and I don’t want to give it away until its done but I want to refer to it in some small way.  How many times we had a week in the shop with some event that had passed the week before and we dissected every possible point of view on what took place.  

Like a Supreme Court Justice, Cuchessi would hear the case with the entrance and testimony of witnesses and those willing to detail their opinion.  Afterwards he would evaluate each fact and filter out the exaggeration and truth for what it meant to our small town.  The theorems and co-theorems would stack up until it was obvious that all the info was in and after it all the final decree would come.

Sometimes it might be a single sentence of fact or a paragraph of Cuchessi truths with some mix of Italian wisdom that only his DNA could deliver.  He would apply  and  cross apply other “cases”, comparing them in some way to the web of small town occurrences that archeologically fell on top of one another and never ended; we had a constant presentation of new facts and information.

Cuchessi was not always right but like most small town characters, he was never confused.  The inevitable news would arrive, providing more details of what might have occurred, and Cuchessi would weigh each morsel; usually, wordlessly, he would glance up from the sales counter to the mechanics bay and smile wisely at the confirmation of his intuition and sometimes commenting with “Too Funny…”,  “…what’d I tell you?” or  simply stating, the predictable nickname of whomever just left that, with his inflection, indicating disbeleif, astonishment or confirmation.

This was mostly done in the late afternoon, with the Sun Post News spread across the glassed case that held the steel, durex plastic and aluminum jewels from which he made his living.  Cuchessi had memorized the sayings of the cycling greats that stared down at all of us from the posters on the walls; he would sagely quote them in a way that would in some way apply to the case at hand.

“…I accept the challenge!!!(French accent/Jaques Anquetil)…When I am in question I…ATTACK!!!(Belgian accent/Mercyx)…Haa!!!…I scoff at you!!!(italian accent/Felice Gimondi)” or “…alo, baby…(Flemish accent/Freddy Maertens)”

I can imagine that anyone in the shop the last few weeks and talking to Sue, Andrew and the mechanics about what the last year has been like and what it all means, that if you really carefully listened hard you might hear John’s voice above it all.

“…Don’ worrr’ ’bout it!!!(San Clemente accent/John Cuchessi)”


I wrote this for the OC Register:










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