SLUDGE, BY CHANEL: It's not exactly lemon fresh, but indeed, there is just a hint of citrus wafting near the sludge tanks at the Hyperion treatment plant in El Segundo.
That ever-so-slight scent, which is designed to combat the more familiar rotten egg odor at Hyperion, is the result of a new spray being used by plant officials to try to rid the area of the smells usually associated with sewage.
Officials there recently ran across an industrial-strength spray called Ecozorb that apparently is successful in neutralizing the odors that emanate from the sludge treated at the plant. More than 950 tons of the sludge are loaded onto trucks each day and carted to facilities in the San Joaquin Valley and Arizona, where it is used as fertilizer.
"We're always looking for something that will help us, and this appears to be working," Hyperion plant manager John Crosse said. "We just mist the areas where the odors are emitted from and it neutralizes them. The spray has a slight citrus smell."
Plant officials say that Hyperion has not received an odor complaint since they began using the spray in December. Still, it doesn't seem likely that the biodegradable spray will be appearing on your fragrance counters any time soon, even if they come up with a new scent with jasmine.
IT'S A BIRD, IT'S A PLANE, IT'S BRIEFCASEMAN: When he's not fighting huge legal battles for the city of Torrance, mild-mannered attorney George R. Hedges assumes his other identity--as the finder of lost cities.
Somewhere between the city's huge investment scandal and its battle with an oil company, Hedges found time to help discover the fabled lost city of Ubar, which made headlines around the world last week.
This is the kind of secret life that Walter Mitty only dreamed of. Tuesday night, Hedges discussed legal matters with the Torrance City Council until midnight. The next day, after three hours' sleep, he was a star at a Huntington Library news conference where the Ubar discovery was announced.
By Thursday evening, Hedges had been interviewed on ABC's "Good Morning America" and was fielding questions from Newsweek, Time and People.
Hedges, 39, is an amateur archeologist who helped lead the expedition that recently pinpointed the site of the ancient city, which figured in the Koran and was a center of the frankincense trade.
The site is in Oman, where Hedges has traveled three times in recent years.
Hedges, who majored in classical studies as an undergraduate, went on to law school but managed to sandwich archeological work between his cases.
"You get pretty good at time management," said Hedges, who was forced to delay his most recent Mideast trek because of the Steven Wymer investment fraud case. Despite last week's blaze of glory, Hedges says he remains committed to the law, and to finding Torrance's missing millions.
"I certainly hope the Wymer situation turns out as well as this," he said, swiftly adding in lawyer-like fashion, " . . . but it's too early to tell."
Mayor Katy Geissert quipped: "All that digging in the desert should put him in good stead for following the trail of our $6 million."
PAR FOR THE COURSE: Lawndale resident James Moesinger is so fed up by the status quo in city government that last week he decided to file a recall petition against City Councilman Bill Johnson.
There was only one problem: Moesinger's recall petition itself had to be recalled.
It seems Moesinger's petition notice did not include a citation of the California Elections Code as required by state law.
Such technicalities aside, the petition is so garbled that citizens would be hard-pressed to make sense of Moesinger's complaints against the councilman.
Among its more serious charges, such as the one accusing Johnson of refusing citizens protection from the loss of their homes "through the cities use of eminent domain," the petition--which has numerous spelling and grammatical errors--also says Johnson misled voters by promising to "cut golf and travel cost" and instead "raising fees paid by Kids to join City programs."
Johnson, who describes the petition as "a joke," points out that he voted in favor of a measure that would prevent the city from using eminent domain in residential zones. And he says fiscal problems forced the council to raise the fees of some city programs for children.
Although he owns up to indulging in a round of golf occasionally in his spare time, Johnson denies ever promising citizens he would somehow "cut golf."
Certainly not in an election year.
WHOLE LOTTA SHAKING GOIN' ON: Just when you were feeling sorry for the city of Inglewood for being portrayed as a brutal gang haven in the film "Grand Canyon," the town has bounced back big time.
We're talking of course about the city hosting Southern California's 2nd National Belly Dance Competition Feb. 16.