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River Bottom

With her curly red hair and big blue eyes, 6-year-old Andy Wallace could be a poster child for efforts to pluck the homeless out of the wilderness and plop them back into civilization. For the first three years of her life she lived with her parents in a three-room shanty staked deep on the dusty bottom of the Ventura River. But when flood waters ripped out the encampment four years ago, the family's river bottom days ended.
February 18, 2014 | By David Zucchino
DURHAM, N.C. -- State regulators in North Carolina have ordered Duke  Energy to contain a newly discovered leak of coal ash from a second storm-water pipe at a storage basin on the Dan River, where an earlier ruptured pipe released a massive coal ash spill on Feb. 2. The action came as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported finding up to 70 miles of the river bottom coated with coal ash 5 feet thick in some places. The state Department of Environment and Natural Resources, under fire from environmental groups who have accused the agency of trying to protect Duke, said Tuesday that it had discovered elevated levels of arsenic from the second pipe.
December 17, 1994 | PAUL ELIAS
A 38-year-old woman transient whose body was found in the Ventura River bottom Friday died of meningitis, authorities said. Paramedics declared Debbie Cayton dead about 11:45 a.m. after she was discovered by another transient about a quarter-mile north of the Main Street overpass, Ventura County Deputy Coroner Craig Stevens said. Meningitis is an inflammation of membranes near the brain, brought on by bacterial infection. Symptoms include severe headaches and fever.
November 18, 2013 | By Matt Pearce
Living in the Midwest can be a bit of a devil's lottery when it comes to tornadoes, and on Sunday, several Midwestern communities drew a losing card. The death toll rose to eight Monday in Illinois and Michigan as officials sifted through damage and assessed losses. In the central Illinois town of Washington, neighborhoods were flattened and dozens of residents were injured by a possible EF-4 tornado. Residents and volunteers flooded churches and a local hotel, as people grappled with their losses.
December 2, 1992 | JAMES MAIELLA JR.
Two Ventura County men landed in a Santa Paula river bottom Tuesday when their 46-year-old airplane stalled in midair and would not restart. The accident caused moderate damage to the aircraft but resulted in no injuries, officials said. Myron Claude Coelho, 34, of Camarillo was piloting the 1946 Aeronca and Mike Gray, 18, of Santa Paula was his passenger at the time of the 2:50 p.m. crash, according to a report by the Ventura County Sheriff's Department.
September 5, 1997 | CHRIS CHI
Stepping up efforts to clear out a homeless encampment on the Santa Clara River bottom before winter storms arrive, a local social service agency is warning squatters about the severe weather predictions. The Commission on Human Concerns, a nonprofit group with offices throughout Ventura County, has assigned a worker to urge homeless people to leave the river bottom and seek shelter with local charities.
October 6, 1987 | LOUIS SAHAGUN, Times Staff Writer
They sleep on mattresses and in pup tents erected inside cubbyholes chopped out of dense brush. They bathe in a muddy creek and warm themselves over fires built in a crude camp on the banks of the Santa Ana River a mile from downtown Riverside. At dawn, they leave to look for work, sell plasma or to eat free meals offered at local churches and social service agencies. At night, they return to sleep, protected by dogs and the camouflage of cottonwood trees and undergrowth.
November 12, 1994 | J.E. MITCHELL
After living the better part of the last 30 years in a camp beneath the Main Street bridge in Ventura, Pack-Rat, the self-proclaimed "Chief of the River Bottom," will soon try life in a comfortable midtown Ventura home. On Friday, the 55-year-old Pack-Rat became the guest of Mark Conroy, who turned over a bedroom of his home to help ease the growing problem of people living along the Ventura River. "My wife and I are doing this from our hearts," said Conroy, 37, a local oil-field worker.
Despite efforts to prevent squatters from returning to the Ventura River, some homeless campers have been sneaking into the area at night after spending their days on the streets, homeless people and community members say. What's more, the higher number of transients shuffling around Ventura Avenue have some residents complaining that city officials are forcing them to bear the brunt of a communitywide homelessness problem.
The damp morning dew still clung to the tent as Kelly Iozia readied herself for the big move. With hers and her boyfriend's possessions all packed onto a little, red wagon, Iozia made one last check of the Santa Clara River bottom encampment the couple have made their home for the last seven months. She was ready to live in a place with clean sheets and a warm bed. "They'll have laundry facilities, a full kitchen, a place for families to stay," said Iozia, who is three months pregnant.
October 27, 2013 | By Lewis MacAdams
In the late 1930s, in response to a pair of deadly floods, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors called in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to control the unruly Los Angeles River, which had, over millenniums, shifted its course innumerable times on its way to the sea. Taming L.A.'s river was the Army Corps' first major flood control project, and its mission was to get the water to the ocean as fast as possible. The idea that it might make sense, in a city that gets less than 15 inches of rain a year on average, to conserve some of those hundreds of millions of gallons of freshwater seems to have never occurred to the corps.
September 14, 2013 | By Tony Barboza
After seven years of study, federal officials have recommended a $453-million plan that would restore an 11-mile stretch of the Los Angeles River but leave much of its banks steep and hard to reach, disappointing advocates who hoped for a more ambitious alternative that would allow more public access. The tentative plan selected by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, known as Alternative 13, is the second-cheapest of four options detailed in a much-anticipated feasibility study released Friday.
March 1, 2013 | Phil Willon and Robert J. Lopez
A fire scorched about 150 acres of heavy brush in Riverside County on Thursday amid unseasonably warm weather, pushing residents to evacuate their neighborhoods as flames singed the backyards of homes. The blaze quickly spread after breaking out Thursday afternoon along the Santa Ana River bottom between Riverside and an unincorporated part of the county, fire officials said. Flames up to 30 feet high consumed palm trees and thick patches of brush along a jagged half-mile front as firefighters sprayed water on rooftops and residents with garden hoses doused embers in their yards.
April 5, 2012
There's still gold in them thar rivers, and adventurers still cherish dreams of wealth. These days, though, sifting for gold is more a form of recreation than a business, and the tin pans have mostly been replaced by motorized machines called suction dredges. And the competing claims aren't over who has prospecting rights, but whether this form of mechanized gold hunting is causing irreparable harm to rivers in Northern California and the fish that swim in them. In 2011, Gov. Jerry Brown signed legislation that imposed a moratorium on the practice until 2016, by which time the state Department of Fish and Game was to adopt regulations that eliminated the potential for significant environmental damage and that set permit fees high enough to cover the state's costs.
July 5, 2011 | Times Staff and Wire Reports
— Oil from a Yellowstone River pipeline has spread at least 15 miles beyond the initial leak, Exxon Mobil acknowledged Monday — five miles farther than the company estimated a day earlier. Exxon Mobil Pipeline Co. President Gary Pruessing pledged to do "whatever is necessary" to find and mop up spilled crude from the 12-inch pipeline that broke at the bottom of the river near Billings over the weekend. As cleanup of up to 42,000 of gallons of oil intensified, Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer said authorities would review the safety of all oil and gas pipelines that cross state waterways and close those that do not meet standards.
August 1, 2010 | By Louis Sahagun, Los Angeles Times
Environmental activist George Wolfe has always believed the best way to know a river is to kayak it. So when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently designated the entire Los Angeles River a "traditional navigable waterway," he organized an expedition. Toting a waterproof first-aid kit and a sack of binoculars, Wolfe led seven people clad in T-shirts, shorts, sun hats and life vests to a lush, eight-mile stretch of river bottom near Griffith Park known as the Glendale Narrows.
Sheltered in a handmade cabin of plywood and tarp, Alan Rice spends his days collecting cans, smoking cigarettes and listening to talk radio. In the afternoons, he hikes to a recycling center and trades in the cans for cash, returning home with his mixed-breed dog, Freeway. "It's 80 cents a pound, but they usually give me 90," he said. "I'm a good customer."
Ventura officials unveiled plans Wednesday to relocate 30 displaced residents of the Ventura River bottom to Camarillo State Hospital, a major step in a recently launched effort to help the former riverbed dwellers back on their feet. The city this week signed an agreement to lease a 13,000-square-foot complex on the hospital grounds, a sprawling campus at the foot of the mountains just south of Camarillo.
April 16, 2008
I didn't even know that rhubarb existed in the New World. I live in the Old World -- Sweden. From time to time, I log on to To my surprise, I found your interesting article on rhubarb ["King of Tart" by Russ Parsons, April 9]. My roots are in the family's 400-year-old farm, where rhubarb planted generations ago is still very much enjoyed. For a couple of weeks every spring, we enjoy it as dessert just about every day. I hope your article will give rhubarb the comeback it deserves.
March 4, 2008 | Janet Wilson, Times Staff Writer
The Grand Canyon is about to take a bath, and National Park Service officials who oversee the natural wonder are worried. Federal flood control managers, led by Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, this week plan to unleash millions of cubic feet of water from behind Glen Canyon Dam to "flush" the huge canyon bottom with a simulated springtime flood. Bureau of Reclamation and U.S.
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