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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 28, 2000 | SEEMA MEHTA and SCOTT MARTELLE, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
A surge in Orange County beach closures caused by high bacteria levels in the surf has intensified worries among civic, business and environmentalist leaders who fear that diminishing water quality threatens not only the county's reputation, but also its way of life. "We are a coastal county," said Wayne Baglin, chairman of the San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board and a former Laguna Beach city councilman.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 18, 2002 | SEEMA MEHTA and JEAN O. PASCO, TIMES STAFF WRITERS
By one vote, the Orange County Sanitation District late Wednesday opted to abandon a federal waiver that allows it to release into the ocean dirtier sewage than nearly all of the nation's 16,000 other sewer agencies. In doing so, the district agreed to comply with the requirements of the federal Clean Water Act.
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CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 4, 1999 | DEBORAH SCHOCH, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Three months after Gov. Gray Davis took office, planners at the California Department of Parks and Recreation are still moving ahead with a controversial Wilson-era effort to place a private luxury resort on public land inside Crystal Cove State Park. Many environmentalists hope Davis will swiftly put the brakes on the project to transform the park's colony of beachfront cottages into an upscale tourist enclave with overnight rates of up to $400.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 19, 2002 | SEEMA MEHTA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
State officials Friday unanimously approved tough new regulations on storm-water runoff in northern and central Orange County, a plan that local leaders say will cost $14 million a year. "It's going to cost all of us more money," said Vicki Wilson, director of the county's Public Facilities and Resources Department. "We want to make sure we're spending it wisely and getting improvements."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 22, 1995 | RUSS LOAR
Joan Murphy did not hesitate when she saw a coyote with her neighbor's cat in its jaws. She chased the coyote down the street during pre-dawn hours last Friday, forcing it to abandon its prey. "I just started to scream at him. I figured I could scare him," said Murphy, the empathetic owner of two cats she keeps indoors at night in her University Park neighborhood.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 14, 1996 | DEBORAH SCHOCH, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Day after day, Leeona Klippstein has been counting gnatcatchers. She pores through weighty documents and confronts government experts, suspicious that a cover-up is under way--and that developers in Southern California may have bulldozed more of the rare songbirds than the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is letting on.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 30, 2000 | DEBORAH SCHOCH, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A massive $100-million project that would return ocean tides to the Bolsa Chica wetlands for the first time in a century is threatening to pit naturalists against beach advocates. The plan would be the largest and most expensive wetlands restoration project in Southern California history. It would carve a 360-foot-wide inlet through the popular Bolsa Chica State Beach, allowing tides to rush into the wetlands.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
May 15, 1998 | DAVID HALDANE, TIMES STAFF WRITER
A standing-room-only crowd missed the last episode of "Seinfeld" on Thursday night to attend the first in a series of public discussions on the future of the county's last large chunk of privately owned, undeveloped land. "What we have here is extremely precious and rare," said Kathleen Stockwell, who described herself as a nature photographer from Mission Viejo. "We need to preserve it scientifically."
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 11, 2001 | MEG JAMES, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Orange County's top water quality official said Wednesday that if scientists prove that sewage released four miles offshore is migrating back to the beach, health officials would have little choice but to close stretches of Huntington Beach until the problem is fixed. Orange County sanitation district officials, while saying the connection has not been established, are exploring alternatives to treating and disposing of the sewage.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 18, 1998 | JACK LEONARD, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
For years, the Powerine oil refinery in Santa Fe Springs drew heavy fines from air pollution agencies and a litany of complaints from neighbors. Residents said fumes from the 62-year-old plant burned their eyes and caused painful rashes. But since financial problems forced owners to wind down operations three years ago, neighbors say they have enjoyed a respite. That is about to change, some residents and environmentalists warn.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 27, 2001 | SEEMA MEHTA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Sewer spills have fouled Orange County's beaches and harbors a record 51 times this year, an increase of more than 25% over last year. Officials attribute the jump to crumbling pipes, better reporting of spills, increased scrutiny of problem spots and natural fluctuations. "We've obviously had way too many," said county Supervisor Tom Wilson, who created the Orange County Coastal Coalition.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 22, 2001 | CHRISTINE HANLEY, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Trekking through Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Shalene George keeps her eyes trained on the beaten path before her, pointing out blurry treads of mountain bike tires, spotty traces of hiking boots and running sneakers, and endless patterns of dog paws. Evidence of man and man's best friend might be obvious to even the casual observer along these dusty trails. But this sleuthing biologist is also hunting for other signs of life, and it isn't long before she spots a welcome set of footprints.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 11, 2001 | JEAN O. PASCO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Building a park at the former El Toro Marine base would expose people to cancer-causing chemicals in the soil and other unknown pollution, the chairman of the El Toro environmental review board said Monday. The Navy hasn't done a comprehensive study of contamination at the 4,700-acre base, which is listed as one of the most polluted sites in the country, said Greg Hurley, an environmental attorney who has chaired El Toro's Restoration Advisory Board for the last five years.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
November 19, 2001 | KIMI YOSHINO, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Eileen Murphy navigates the dirt trails through the Bolsa Chica mesas and wetlands with a bounce in her step and a smile on her face. She says hello to everyone she passes, extols the evils of development to those who will listen and marvels over the great blue herons and egrets as if she's seeing them for the first time. But Murphy has been traversing these wetlands for years. It's just that these days, she has a lot to smile about.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 13, 2001
The developer of the Treasure Island resort is reconsidering a controversial plan to moor a 50-foot boat 550 feet offshore of south Laguna Beach. The Athens Group of Phoenix has approval from the U.S. Coast Guard, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the California Department of Fish and Game, the State Lands Commission and the State Water Resources Control Board.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 7, 2001 | SEEMA MEHTA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Three state and federal agencies approved a resort developer's plan to moor a pleasure craft off Laguna Beach's shore, all while the proposal was unknown to city officials, who say it would violate local laws. The Athens Group is looking to add panache to its five-star resort under construction at Treasure Island by offering hotel guests sunset cruises and fishing expeditions on the 50-foot boat.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
August 4, 1999 | JAMES MEIER, SPECIAL TO THE TIMES
County officials said Tuesday that a strain of the dangerous hantavirus has been discovered in a roof rat, the type of rodent that has invaded thousands of homes and apartments across Southern California. No illnesses related to the so-called Seoul virus have been reported, but the virus can cause kidney failure in extreme cases. The strain is rarely fatal, said Dr. James Webb of the Orange County Vector Control District.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 16, 1995 | LEN HALL, TIMES STAFF WRITER
Peter Paul Ott's always-stocked 1967 Land Rover rests at the back of his Laguna Canyon compound, near the grab-bag collection of cages holding tortoises, iguanas, rattlesnakes, birds, Mexican lizards and one lone rooster, fattening itself unwittingly for a python's meal. It's a menagerie that is continually replenished. When Laguna Beach police find a snake or exotic animal they cannot handle, officers call Ott. When the Santa Ana Zoo receives an unwanted iguana, Ott gets the call.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 6, 2001 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
Parts of Newport Bay and Huntington Beach were closed Friday after a sewage spill contaminated seawater, authorities said. Swimmers and divers are barred from the Orange Coast College crew docks, Docks B through H and the Balboa Bay Club's beach. Orange County Environmental Health Division officials also closed the area within 500 feet both ways from Brookhurst Street in Huntington Beach after water testing found a high level of bacteria.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 2, 2001 | SEEMA MEHTA, TIMES STAFF WRITER
An environmental group has sued Orange County for approving a golf course on environmentally sensitive land, some of which is part of a preserve for imperiled species such as the coastal California gnatcatcher. Friends of the Arroyo alleges that the county illegally gave a subsidiary of Rancho Mission Viejo Co. permission to build a 230-acre golf course without adequately evaluating and minimizing environmental harm.
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