Wildfire – SLO Co – Bitterroot & 46

Final acreage, 167 acres.

4:00 pm – 50 acres.

3:00 pm – 15 acres, one structure threatened.

AA requesting two air additional tankers. Potential for 100 acres unless it jumps Bitterwater Road, then potential for 500 – 600 acres. 2 dozers, 2 airtankers, 6 Type 3 Engines, 4 crewsalready on scene.

This is all according to Wildland fire. This is a a SLO Cal Fire show, but USFS is sending a helicopter to assist.

Vegetation fire, Pfeiffer State Park, Big Sur

At 5:30 am, WildCAD, LPNF reported a vegetation fire at our Big Sur State Park. Reported at only a 10th of an acre. Must be Labor Day weekend! Apparently, somehow, someone set a tree on fire.

Okay, people, let’s be super vigilant, this last weekend of Summer. Apparently we have to.

Viaduct Meeting tomorrow

Hello Big Sur Folks,

Please join me at the Big Sur Station Multi-Agency Facility conference room at 10:00 AM Thursday August 30 to review traffic management issues during construction and discuss any questions, concerns, or recommendations you might have. Joining me to help answer your questions will be Tyler Lavering, the Resident Engineer assigned to the project, and Colin Jones, the District 5 Public Information Officer. I hope we can be of service to you.


Ken Dostalek
Caltrans District 5 (San Luis Obispo)
Project Management Division

Email: ken_dostalek@dot.ca.gov
Office Phone: (805) 549-3133

Meeting Agenda
Welcome and Introductions
Provide Up-to-date Construction Schedule
Review Traffic Management Plan and Lane Closure Charts
Discuss Impacts to:
Emergency Services
School Buses
Discuss possible ways to minimize impacts
Follow up meeting with the BSMAAC in October

New Photo Toy

OMG, I think I am in love! Another blogger recommended this new app (snapseed) that works on either my iPad or my iPhone, and it is such a delight. It is not free. It runs $5.99, but so worth it, and I haven’t even tapped all that it can do. And easy? My word is it easy. It is all done with swipes and or taps.

Remember this photo from a few days ago?


Here is one thing I did with it:

All I basically did here was adjust the white balance and the saturation, and then crop it. Easy peasy.

In the one below, it was like being back in the dark room during my film days. I converted to black and white, adjusted the contrast, played with the grain, cropped and framed it, and here you have it:


One chooses the effect one wants to use (in this case black and white), then chooses the filter by swiping up and down, then chooses the degree of filtering (in this case how much contrast and then grain one wants) by swiping left and right.

Either one of these photos is better than the original, according to the photographer. Now my iPad or iPhone will not replace my Nikon, and snapseed is not photoshop, but it is a heck of a lot cheaper, and so much easier to use.

Here are a few more snapseed processed photos. There are so many possible combinations of processes, and the degree of each …




One of the majorly significant tools is the ability to increase or decrease exposure in different parts of your photos, like we could do in the darkroom. No other digital software has seemed to mimic my old-fashion darkroom to the extent this one does, and now I realize how much I missed that.

Oh, and did you notice I finally figured out how to change the alignment of my photos to make them visually more appealing, when I am writing from my iPad? Just had to change a little code, is all. 😉

Rocky Creek Viaduct, Emergency Services

It is confirmed, the meeting regarding the effect of the Rocky Creek Viaduct on Emergency Services, if any, will take place this Thursday at MAF at 10:00 am, with a follow-up question and answer period at the BSMAAC in Oct.

A little of this, a little of that


To me, our hills are very sensuous, particularly in the spring, as when this one was shot.

Just a word of update for all those curious about what has been happening on the case involving the 5 Cal Trans workers. The last court date was 8/23, and it was continued again until October, which is not unusual, apparently due to voluminous amounts of paper. There has not been a preliminary hearing, yet.


The same contractor who has been doing this project will be starting the Rocky Creek Viaduct after labor day. There will be a community meeting about the impact of the project, if any, on Emergency Services this week. It is looking like Thursday at MAF at 10:00, but that has not yet been firmed up. Cal Trans is also looking to make a presentation at the next MAF meeting in October.

Okay, this doesn’t have to do with anything. I just like it!

Seismic testing off Central Coast

This is a guest commentary about this very important issue. And the photos of the whales in Avila Beach, by Maryanne Avila, are used with express permission of the photographer. The commentary is used with permission of the author.

Radiation Nation

by joey racano

In a long ago, far away world, three judges -all of whom would later become infamous for other reasons- sat together on a Washington DC appeals court. That court ignored science, evidence and safety, and made the fateful decision to allow the construction of Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant right on top of known, live, active earthquake faults.

For the record, those judges were Antonin Scalia, now a member of the United States Supreme Court and well known right wing ideologue who never met an oil refinery or nuclear power plant he didn’t like; Kenneth Starr, who overlooked nukes on faults but as special prosecutor found enough fault with then President Bill Clinton to prosecute him for the Monica Lewinsky affair, and Judge Robert Bork. Bork rose to infamy when Ronald Reagan appointed him to the Supreme Court. That appointment failed because Bork had protected Nixon by firing the special prosecutor, which the Attorney General resigned rather than do.

Suffice it to say that the Nuclear Power Plant built in Devil’s Canyon started out bad, grew worse, and is now quickly becoming a melodrama.

“What’s all this got to do with whales,” you ask? The answer is, plenty. As the years went by, not only did the hidden and ignored earthquake faults become public knowledge, but new faults were being found on an almost regular basis! The Diablo Cove fault apparently runs directly beneath Unit 1 reactor, the Shoreline Fault runs right out in front of the plant, and the San Simeon, Hosgri and San Gorgonio faults all line up together to form one enormous 250 mile fault line capable of generating an earthquake bigger than Diablo Nuclear Plant can ever be retrofitted to withstand.

Perfect Storm

When the new head of Chernobyl was asked recently his estimate on when people could again populate the area, he was quoted as saying, “About twenty thousand years.” Then, there is the black spectre of Fukushima, whose molten reactor cores now drench the coast of California with radiation. Tuna caught off San Diego have tested positive 14 out of 14 times. Radioactivity from Fukushima has been found concentrated in the kelp of Santa Cruz. In San Onofre, the Nuclear Plant there has been shut indefinitely because of worn out pipes! With this perfect storm, it is no wonder people are backing away from nukes.

But don’t expect Nukes to go gently into that good night, no sir.

Rather than do the obvious, which is shut all nuclear plants forever and start figuring out what to do with waste (accumulating at 500 pounds a day at Diablo alone) and stays deadly for a million years, instead the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is out playing Public Relations Man for Pacific Gas & Electric (see photo of them at Farmers Market booth in San Luis Obispo).

In a misguided attempt to make inroads against Diablo Nuclear Power Plant, environmental groups sought to have seismic testing done offshore, to get a better look at the faults and the threat they pose to public safety. Then Assemblyman now State Senator Sam Blakeslee, a rare republican with an environmental ethic, wrote the bill (AB1730) in 2006 that moved the California Legislature to order seismic tests.

Unfortunately, the extreme destructive nature of such tests are only now becoming clearly understood, and it appears that much sea life -including Great Blue Whales- will be destroyed in the process. These tests involve carpet bombing the sea floor with 260db soundblasts every 13 seconds around the clock for about a month, and may have to be repeated again next year. The tests are scheduled from Nov – December, 2012, just a few short weeks away. This is further problematic because Humpback whales are in Avila and Port San Luis in numbers never before seen. The whales are here feeding on Krill, who are feeding themselves on nutrient-rich upwellings from cold waters below. Some say the whales, who are more intelligent than humans, somehow know of their impending doom.

When a member of the NRC public relations staff asked me if I thought it was really possible, I retorted with, “Well, my dog knows 15 minutes before I get home.”

Tainted Process

Thus far, the seismic project has passed the State Lands Commission, and must still clear the California Coastal Commission, and the Fish and Game Commission. But when the State Lands Commission voted, it was a vote not by the Commissioners themselves that moved the project ahead, but rather, the vote was taken only after they were all replaced temporarily with alternates, making for a shady decision that may not stand. Indeed, the press is now carrying the story of a man who drove from Redding to Sacramento to speak, only to be shut down when he questioned the validity of such a switcheroo. The Commission was forced to publicly apologize for muzzling the man, who was invited back up to finish his speech, which he did- but the damage was done.

Protected Areas

Finally, when this gets to the Fish and Game Commission, the question before them will be, how to put a price on a whale? An entire species of Harbor Porpoise? Otters? Fish? Lost economy? And how to put a dollar value on the loss of 9 years of hard work and science, having created the new series of Marine Protected Areas designated off our coast, including the Point Buchon State Marine Reserve, which is expected to be cleansed of all living things -including whales- by the sonic blasting?

Better to just remove the Power Plant.

Remember- seismic testing puts us all in danger, by allowing Pacific Gas and Electric to delay removal of the Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant which sits atop an earthquake fault.

Joey Racano

Joey Racano: ‘Weapon of mass discussion’




Rocky Creek Viaduct Emergency Services meeting.

This from the Cal-Trans Engineer. I sent him contact info for Maia Carroll, Monterey County Communications, Martha Karstens, and Frank Pinney. Also, as Martha points out, CHP and MCSO should be in the loop. I will post all information about this project, including the final date and time of next week’s meeting, as soon as my Internet allows.

Hello Big Sur Locals,

I’d like to give you the opportunity to meet with the Caltrans Resident
Engineer to go over any questions or concerns you might have before
construction gets underway. We just had the “pre-construction” meeting
with the Contractor yesterday so now is a good time for this meeting. I
was thinking Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday of next week (August 28, 29,
or 30) at the Monterey Resident Engineers Office at 1529 Highway 68,
Monterey, CA 93940. Please let me know if you’d like to attend and which
day is best for you.

I was wondering if anyone knows who, emergency services wise, should be
invited to this meeting in case I’ve missed anybody. Emergency services
impacts during construction will be one of the topics discussed. Thanks.

I, Kate, will be doing my best to attend, and will report on the meeting. I also need to schedule a meeting with the new Supervisor for the Willow Springs Maintenance Yard, the Big Sur Maintenance Yard, as well as the Foreman for the Rain Rocks/Pitkins Curve project. I will be really busy next week, if I can set all this up. I do have personal and work matters next week, also, so it may be the following week before I can follow through on it all.

Barbara Sweet Memorial

RSVPs not necessary. For those coming from the south, Sand Dollar is 13.59 miles from the SLO/Monterey Co. Line. For those coming from the north, it is *about* 62 miles from Carmel and 7 miles south of Lucia. Meat is being provided, but appetizers and dishes to share encouraged.