Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New Year's Eve celebrations begin, 12/31/13

CNN/World/Holly Yan, "New Year's Eve celebrations", 12/31/13.

Fireworks light up the sky in Manila, Philippines.
Manila, Philippines
People perform on stage during a countdown party in Yangon, Myanmar.
Yangon, Myanmar
"Yes, it's New Year's Eve again, time to bust out the champagne and make resolutions you probably won't keep.  

But this year's different. Cities around the world will host some of the most amazing celebrations ever. Edible confetti raining over London? Check. How about 400,000 pyrotechnics exploding over Dubai? Got that, too.

And let's not forget that the new year also means bizarre new laws."  (Referring to selective US federal and states laws).

Read article, includes New Year's Eve city celebrations from earlier time zones.  Note:  the photographs are from the article slide show.  

Related Live - New York Times Square, countdown to 2014 -  Times Square Official Site, and New York Times/City Room.  Music, talking to guests and the crowd (also commercials).

Posted by Kathy Meeh

New Year's Resolutions 2014, how to make them work

Time Magazine Ideas/Life and Style/Dan Ariely and Kristen Berman, 12/30/13.  "5 New Year's Resolutions that might actually work.  For example:  don't make a resolution to walk once a day-- get a dog and commit yourself to daily walks for the next decade."  

Being more awesome in 2014 is easy,
I will post civil, intelligent comments
under my own name on Fix Pacifica
 ....  "On Jan. 1 many of us make all kinds of promises that “starting tomorrow, things are going to be different.” There is the old (2013 self) and the new (2014 self), and Jan. 1 is an opportunity to welcome the new, improved self in. As the New Year starts, we say to ourselves that the new, 2014 self will be different. We’re confident that from now on we won’t hit snooze, we’ll stop procrastinating and for sure we won’t mindlessly eat unhealthy snacks.

This kind of self-resolve is the kind of magic that keeps mankind moving. Unfortunately, come mid-January, the shiny “new self” doesn’t feel as new. After a few weeks of crashing against reality and old habit, the new self is bruised and sainted.   Read article.

....  Dan Ariely is the James B. Duke Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics at Duke University and the author of Predictably Irrational and, most recently, The (Honest) Truth About Dishonesty: How We Lie to Everyone — Especially Ourselves. Kristen Berman is the founder of Irrational Labs, a not-for-profit that attempts to get people to behave irrationally, but in better ways."

Note:  graphic from True Funny, "New Year funny resolution 2014 wallpaper." 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, December 30, 2013

King (extremely high) tides along the coast may provide future data

The Daily Journal/Samantha Weigel, 12/30/13.  The Daily Journal, "Public photos assist coastal policies:  King tides illustrate future sea level rise effects."

"King tides are caused by the lining up of the sun, moon and earth
while the moon and earth are relatively close." (Global Forecast Center)
....  "Starting today, the shoreline will experience some of the year’s highest tides, said Hilary Papendick, program analyst for the California Coastal Commission which created the California King Tides Initiative to involve the public in future studies of sea level rise. “King tides are extreme high tides that occur a couple times a year when the sun and moon are in alignment,” Papendick said.

....  The effects of king tides can be seen in the San Francisco Bay, at Surfer’s Beach in Half Moon Bay, at Rockaway Beach and the pier in Pacifica and along the entire California coastline. Parts of Highway 1 are also known to flood during king tides, Papendick said.   King tides typically arrive in June during the evenings and during the day in winter. The California coast will experience the winter king tides Dec. 30 to Jan 2 and Jan. 29 to Jan. 31, Papendick said.

....  Although king tides are not directly linked to sea level rise, the effects are indicative of what can be expected in 2050 when the sea level is projected to have raised by one foot, Papendick said."   Read article.

Reference The Weather Channel/Jon Erdman, 1/11/13, "King tides loom for California, US Coast." See "King Tides:  The year's largest." Note:  The Global Forecast Center graphic and caption are from this article. 

Related news reference-  Southern California Public Radio, 89.3 KPCC,/Sanden Totten, Science Reporter, 12/30/13. "King tides" are coming to California." "Starting around December 30th and lasting until roughly January 2nd, the ocean will experience a twice yearly phenomenon known as the "king tides."  This occurs when the sun and moon sync up in a way that creates maximum pull on the Earth's waters. Usually tides are highest when the moon is either full or new. The sun also affects tides and it exerts the most influence when it is either closest or furthest from the Earth. On January 1st, the new moon will occur during the period known as the perihelion, the point in the Earth's year long orbit when it swings closest to the sun. Both of these factors combined create the winter king tides. 

Ryan Kittell with the National Weather Service says tides are expected to peak January 1st at 7.1 feet above the average low tide. That's about a foot and a half more than the average high tide in Los Angeles Harbor. Kittell added that Wednesday's swell is expected to be the highest high tide for all of 2014."  

Related Bay Area news article -  ABC News/Sausalito, 12/30/13, includes a 2:24 minute video.  "King tides on San Francisco coast to last through Thursday." 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Coastside Highway 1 traffic almost as much fun as driving through Pacifica

Half Moon Bay Review/Katarina Stein (Special), 12/26/13.  "Let's do something about that morning traffic."

Morning traffic about 50 minutes,
El Granada to Half Moon Bay
"School doesn’t begin at Half Moon Bay High until 7:55 a.m., but I have to leave my home in El Granada at precisely 7, and not a minute later. It may seem strange to leave an hour early, considering that Half Moon Bay and El Granada are only about a 10-minute drive from each other. However, the amount of traffic between the two towns is grueling. 

Even after getting past the traffic of the commuters, getting up the hill to the high school is a whole different ordeal. Public transportation on the coast is incredibly lacking, and something needs to be done unless our community enjoys wasting mornings sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.

The roads are gridlocked in El Granada all the way around the intersection of the four feeder streets. Many people take Obispo Road, hoping to squeeze in ahead, even though there’s a stop sign. The people who have been waiting in line for ages to get on the highway are forced to let them in, and it’s extremely rude and irritating.

....  The problem is clear. Traffic affects all Coastsiders who have places to be in the morning. We live in a community that is especially aware of the negative effects of cars on our marine ecosystem. Shouldn’t it be an easy sell to get the entire community interested in creating alternative modes of transportation? I am sick and tired of wasting my mornings in traffic, and I’m sure everyone else on the coast is too. Let’s do something! 

Katarina Stein is a Half Moon Bay High School junior. She wrote this originally to fulfill an assignment in Bryce Hadley’s English class and agreed to let the Review publish it."   Read article.

Note:  photograph from  Places, Earth. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Mussel Rock landfill work soon completed, first week in January, 2014

Pacifica Tribune/Jane Northrop, "Daly City approves contract for Mussel Rock landfill maintenance." 

Daly City City Council approved a $567,000 contract with Half Moon Bay based Stoloski and Gonzalez Construction Company to perform essential maintenance work on the Mussel Rock landfill.

Truck and land fill testing equipment
Mussel Rock recreation area
Comments from John Fuller, Daly City's public work director.   "You have to rearmour the face of it," he said. "Without the seawall the ocean would eventually start to erode the soil at the water's edge of the landfill, which would expose the trash buried there. Without the seawall, the landfill would not exist."  This project involves a lot of armouring, with huge boulders in use -- 5,000 tons of rock in four-ton boulders brought in to bolster the seawall.

The landfill holds one million cubic yards of garbage.  "We have to do a lot of realigning to some of the drainage ditches to keep the garbage buried," Fuller said. "I don't think it's in the public's best interest to relocate that material ever unless something happens, such as an earthquake ."  Read article.

Related -  San Francisco Examiner/Brendan P. Bartholomew, 12/3/13. "Daly City approves contract for Mussel Rock Landfill improvements." "Adjacent to Allied Waste’s Mussel Rock Transfer Station, the site sits on the coast near the Pacifica-Daly City border. According to a staff report, the site’s upkeep is crucial, because it sits within a landslide-prone area. Maintenance is necessary, staff said, because ground movement and erosion could cause buried waste to be released into the ocean. .... The location is popular with dog walkers and paragliders, he said, and Daly City is proposing various improvements designed to make the site more parklike. Fuller said likely improvements would include benches, picnic tables, new signage and changes to the parking lot to accommodate people with disabilities."   

Terra Engineers, Mussel Rock Landfill, "... professional services, environmental monitoring."  "Mussel Rock Landfill is located along the Pacific Coast and, because of an unfavorable geologic setting, has been the site of significant landslides and erosion in the past.  ....  The monthly observations and the results of the groundwater levels and water quality measurements are provided in annual and semi-annual reports to the Regional Water Quality Control Board."

Note:  paraglider photograph by June Morrall from Half Moon Bay Memories and El Granada Observer/Muscle Rock.  Truck and testing equipment photograph by Brendan P. Bartholomew from The San Francisco Examiner article above.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Andy enjoyed his Christmas, hope you did

So clear you could see Farallon Islands
Pacifica Tribune letters to the editor, 12/24/13.  "Christmas Cheer" by Andy Papas, "The Crab King"

"Editor: May the Pacifica Christmas be good to you and all your beloved ones. The December child will be on your nose and ears and fingertips, too. Soon, you'll be enjoying that cup of hot apple cider.

Soon the joy of Christmas will cover all of Pacifica and all will be gathering around the Christmas tree. The sky is so blue that you could see all the way to the Farallon Islands. The night is so clear that you can clearly see the stars ,and if you are brave enough to rise really early you can see the many meteorites flashing over the sky.

I am taking this time to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. May you get all that you desire. Me, I want a new crab snare.  P.S. Don't forget to give your pet a hug." 

Note:  "Sunset at the Pacifica Pier" photograph by "Janet" from Art-Janet blog.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Forever benefits for part-time and termed politicians, very Santa like

San Jose Mercury News Salary Survey/Thomas Peele (with acknowledgement to Daniel J. Willis, Staff writer), 12/26/13.  "Former part-time pols in Bay Area 
Poinsettia Stamps (Booklet of 20)
We value your termed service forever

....  "An investigation by this newspaper found Bay Area taxpayers spent more than $1.5 million last year on health benefits for former part-time elected officials -- and, in many cases, their dependents. In fact, the newspaper discovered, in 19 instances, taxpayers still paying for dependents' health care for politicians who not only are no longer serving the public -- they are no longer alive.

....  Just how lucrative the lifetime benefit can be depends on how long an elected official served, when they left office, and the nitty-gritty of each agency's rules.  In some cases, governments pay the entire cost of coverage, while others pay a share of it through the California Public Employees Retirement System. .... The head of a national government watchdog questioned why former part-time elected officials would receive such benefits in the first place."   Read article.  Charts included.   Fortunately Pacifica is not in the top 10 on this one. 

Related - Poinsettia forever stamp from the United States Postal Service,  USPS.com.  "The U.S. Postal Service® continues its tradition of issuing classic holiday stamps with this bright and cheerful rendering of America's favorite holiday flower, the poinsettia.

The stamp art depicts the rich red and vibrant green leaves surrounding the flower—the cluster of small, rather modest cup-shaped structures in the center. The red “petals” that we think of as the flower are actually modified leaves called bracts. A potted poinsettia was used as art reference.  

While considered by the ancient Aztecs to be a symbol of purity, the poinsettia today symbolizes good cheer. The gift of a poinsettia is said to bring with it wishes of laughter and celebration.Note:  stamp graphic from this book of 20.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

E-commerce is making our Christmas even merrier today

San Francisco Chronicle/Carolyn Said, 12/24/13.  "Delivery services thrive as online Christmas sales surge."  

Enjoying our Christmas holiday
....  "I tell people Santa Claus isn't a big Caucasian man. He's Filipino," he said with the same cheerfulness as his fictional counterpart.   Surging e-commerce sales have been good to FedEx, as well as UPS and the  U.S. Postal Service, the nation's three major delivery systems. FedEx delivered a record-breaking 22 million packages on Dec. 2, its busiest day ever.

....  Google, UPS, FedEx, DHL and others are all reportedly looking into drone deliveries. 

....  "It's not like these things can fly for hundreds of miles. They can only go for 5 or 10 miles," she said. "That means you have to have a distribution center within 5 miles." Because those huge warehouses are located where land and labor are cheap, they simply won't show up in urban areas.

....  FedEx founder and CEO Fred Smith, who has long discussed using unmanned aircraft, is even less of a fan.  FedEx's drone expert, technology chief  Rob Carter, "actually owns a drone," Smith said. "He reported that it operates (for) about eight minutes and can carry four Budweiser beers at his farm."    Read article.

Note photograph:  Yule log from  Primal meded.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Pacifica Five-0 DUI/Driver License Checkpoint Planned on Dec 27, 2013


Daniel Steidle
Administrative/Investigative Services Division
2075  Coast Highway
Pacifica, CA 94044
650-738-7320 (Desk)
650-355-1172 (Fax)

Goodbye Candlestick, 49ers win their game

San Francisco Chronicle/Editorial, 12/22/13.  "Candlestick:  Goodbye, with regrets."

Candlestick Park Memories
Goodbye Candlestick
"It's easy to get warm and sentimental about Candlestick Park. Even if you weren't there, you wish you were when Willie Mays roamed the outfield, the Beatles held their last concert in 1966 or Joe Montana pinpointed that pass to Dwight Clark in what forever will be known simply as The Catch. Everyone has their list of favorite Candlestick moments, and they grow richer with age, from the classic Giants-Dodgers showdowns to the 49ers' era of excellence.

If you were there, especially on a summer night for a Giants game, you know that the old stadium looked and felt a little less cozy in person. The concourses were narrow, the wind chill could seem Lambeau-like, and the access issues that were difficult in the best of times became epic when rains flooded the parking lots.

....  The spontaneous roars of the last 49ers game will soon be followed by the type of staged stadium demolition that is a spectacle to watch and cheer in most places. In the case of Candlestick, the coming implosion will be accompanied by more than a few tears and pangs of regret."  Read article.

Related - NBC Bay Area,12/23/13, "49ers urge carpooling, public transit for last game at Candlestick." From the article, "Candlestick Park Memories":  the above photograph is #15 of 32 slides.

Bleacher Report/Tyson Langland (NFC West lead writer), 12/24/13.  "49ers clinch playoff berth, close out Candlestick Park in filling fashion."   "Even though the San Francisco 49ers come from behind win against the Atlanta Falcons on Monday Night Football wasn’t pretty, head coach Jim Harbaugh and Co. closed out Candlestick Park in fitting fashion.The article includes an embedded, 6:40 minute Candlestick historical video. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Reindeer, small and magical, its the season

Description of . Eve Grayson, a Reindeer herder of the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, feeds the deer on December 23, 2013 in Aviemore, Scotland.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, Aviemore, Scotland
Mercury News/Media Center, 12/23/13.  Photos:  Britain's reindeer herd.

"Eve Grayson, a reindeer herder of the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, feeds the reindeer on December 23, 2013 in Aviemore, Scotland. Reindeer were introduced to Scotland in 1952 by Swedish Sami reindeer herder, Mikel Utsi. 

Starting with just a few reindeer, the herd has now grown in numbers over the years and is currently at about 130 by controlling the breeding. The herd rages on 2,500 hectares of hill ground between 450 and 1,309 meters and stay above the tree line all year round regardless of the weather conditions."  Article, and reindeer slides.

Note:  The Eve Grayson and reindeer photograph from the media article above is #5 of 20 slides, all by Jeff J. Mitchell/Getty.  

Reference -  Metric conversion distance,  2500 hectares is 9.6526 square miles.  Metric conversion height,  1309 meters is 4,294 feet. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Monday, December 23, 2013

No city council tonight, December 23, 2013

Gone skiing
Just to avoid any confusion from the City calendar, as announced at city council and noted in the public meeting article of the Pacifica Tribune last week (12/18/13)--  there will be no city council meeting tonight.  The meeting was cancelled.

Note:  photograph from Sunday River.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

San Francisco holiday dog survival story, thanks to Recology and animal control

That's me in the blue cart
"SAN FRANCISCO — A lucky puppy named "Gem" was recovering at San Francisco Animal Care and Control Sunday, two days after the injured dog was plucked from certain death at a landfill from a trash sorting conveyor belt by recycling center workers. 

injured pup found at SF recycling facility photo
Want to adopt me? Take a number.
I've got a name, I'm a survivor and I'm really cute
"We could tell the puppy was still moving and it was trying to crawl out of the bag itself," said Recology material handler Gregory Foster. "Luckily we stopped the line in time before it actually fell off the belt into the pit." The pit is the final stop before the landfill."   The Atlanta Journal-Constitution/KTVU Bay Area, 12/23/13, "Christmas miracle saves injured puppy rescued at recycling facility." Article includes a 2:04 minute video. 

"San Francisco animal control officials are trying to figure out how a 10-week-old apricot poodle puppy ended up on a recycling conveyor belt at the city dump - severely injured but expected to survive.  ...."Injured puppy found on conveyor belt at San Francisco dump." Officials believe the dog traveled to the San Francisco Recology transfer station at 501 Tunnel Rd. in a collection truck, and was unloaded along with mounds of trash. Gem then took a trip down a conveyer belt carrying cans, bottles and other recyclables. She was conscious when discovered by Recology staff.  San Francisco Chronicle/Peter Harlaub, 12/23/13, "Injured puppy found on conveyor belt at San Francisco dump." Article includes a 2:05 minute video. 

"Veterinarians believe the puppy suffered most of her injuries before being thrown away. Animal control officers released photos of Gem on Sunday and are asking for the public's help in finding out who owned her and how she ended up in a recycling truck. Anyone with information is asked to contact San Francisco Animal Care and Control at (415) 554-9400."  San Francisco Examiner/Bay City News, "Injured puppy discovered alive in trash at Recology recycling facility." 

Related - article and several photographs from CBS San Francisco and Animal Care and Control San Francisco,  Daily Mail, UK, 12/23/13.

Note photographs:  Recology truck from Dixon Patch.  Cute dog from the Alanta Journal-Constitution article by J.C. Lockhart (above).  

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Harbor Board sails sensitive credit card information to local TV activist

Half Moon Bay Review/Mark Noack, 12/19/13.  "Harbor officials explain suspicious credit card bills."

Harbor District's far out financial paperwork
"The San Mateo County Harbor District is canceling its employee credit cards after accidentally releasing sensitive information on all the accounts while fulfilling a public records request.  The credit card accounts were compromised earlier this week when the district began complying with a records request for information on district expenditures. Local activist and Citizen Access TV founder John Ullom made the request in November, asking for information on the district’s credit transactions dating back to 2010.

....  The district delivered the first installment of the request earlier this week, sending Ullom more than 60 pages of statements for the first six months of 2010. A district employee apparently tried to redact the credit card numbers, but the scanned pages still clearly show the 16-digit numbers on dozens of occasions.  ....  “You just provided me with 14 credit card numbers and all the data I need to go on a shopping spree,” he (John Ullom) wrote to Harbor District General Manager Peter Grenell. “If I was inclined to use the data in an unauthorized manner, I could have.”
....   The billing release comes at a time when the harbor district’s financials are being put under the magnifying glass. Earlier this month, the district’s bookkeeping received a clean bill of health in an independent auditor’s report. However, Ullom and other critics say the district has not been forthcoming when asked about its monthly revenues and expenses. Ullom said he filed his records requests after being disappointed with how the district handled a pile of missing checks and errors in its autobilling system uncovered earlier this year."   Read article.

Note:  photograph from Practical Boat Owner, UK.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Season's Greetings from SF Public Golf Alliance

2013  Was A  Very Good Year 
  1. Sharp Park’s 81st Anniversary Tournament in May was a big success:  http://www.sfpublicgolf.com/sharp-park-essay
  2. Sharp Park head greenskeeper Wayne Kappelman was honored by the Golfdom Magazine as the 2012 Golf Businessman of the Year, for his pesticide-free, environmentally-sensitive golf course maintenance methods.
But we lost a great friend with the passing in May of San Francisco native son, 1964 U.S. Open Champion, and San Francisco Public Golf Alliance Honorary Chairman Ken Venturi.  We will miss Ken. http://www.sfpublicgolf.com/announcements/ken-venturi-died-may-17-2013
2014  will bring new challenges in fending-off the anti-golf crowd’s repeated attacks at Sharp Park; and we will continue to work with public agencies and officials in San Francisco, San Mateo County, and Pacifica towards the goal of renovating Alister MacKenzie’s historic links, while recovering compatible habitat for frogs and snakes.  
Hang in there with us. 
If, in this Season of Sharing, you can find a way to help the San Francisco Public Golf Alliance in our common fight to Save Sharp Park, we appreciate donations of any kind or amount.  We are a 501.c.3 non-profit, public benefit organization.  
Here's to 2014 ! 

Submitted by Richard Harris

Next two holiday weeks, Wednesday trash pickup changed to Saturday

Recology of the Coast Recycling Cart
Now close the lid completely and you're good
Mailed letter from Recology of the Coast, 12/18/13 to affected customers.  "Christmas and New Year's Day Service", Wednesday pick-up.

"Happy Holidays to our Recology Customers!

So that our employees may enjoy the upcoming holidays with their families, we are reminding you that if your service day is on Wednesday, December 25 and Wednesday, January 1, your service will be moved to Saturday, December 28 and Saturday, January 4.

We will allow you one extra bag of trash at no charge on each of those Saturdays to compensate for the delayed service.

Best wishes for 2014!
Recology of the Coast"

ReferenceRecology of the Coast website.  The Recology holiday schedule for office, collection and recycling facility is listed on a link at the top.   Note:  photograph from the Recology website.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Introducing new phone numbers and 10 digit dialing in San Francisco, Marin, and Santa Clara counties

Yes, 10 digits in your own area code, now you've got it.
Its just a matter of time we'll be doing that in area code 650.
Marin Independent Journal/Richard Halstead, 12/20/13.  "Say hello to 628:  New 3 area code to be introduced in San Francisco and Marin."   

.... "Beginning as early as March 2015, anyone getting a new phone number in Marin or San Francisco will be issued a new area code: 628.  ....  Residents and businesses who have 415 area codes won't be forced to change. But beginning Feb. 21, 2015, they will be required to dial a 10-digit number that includes the area code even when calling another 415 number."

....  Christopher Chow, a California Public Utilities Commission spokesman "said a similar fate befell Santa Clara Valley's 408 area code this year; a new 669 area code is being issued to new customers there."    Read article.

Note:  photograph from Christian Science Monitor, by Melanie Stetson Freeman.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Friday, December 20, 2013

Still waiting for your presents from Santa Claus/St Nicholas?

The History of Santa Claus (Photos Included)
The origins of Santa Claus/St Nicholas are from Turkey,
and yes he was brown-- not white, black or yellow.
"Synopsis.  St. Nicholas was born sometime circa 280 in Patara, Lycia, an area that is part of present-day Turkey. He lost both of his parents as a young man and reportedly used his inheritance to help the poor and sick. A devout Christian, he later served as bishop of Myra, a city that is now called Demre."  Biography.com/St Nicholas.

 "Canonized after his death, St. Nicholas was named as the patron saint of children, sailors and all of Greece, among others. He remained a popular figure of worship through the Middle Ages, with elaborate feasts held each year on the date of his death, Dec. 6, 343."  Live Science.com.

"Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle or simply “Santa” is a legendary figure who, in many Western cultures, brings gifts to the homes of the good children on Christmas.   ....  It all started with a man who lived 1,700 years ago in what we now know as Turkey." Babble.com.   Note:  Fresco graphic of St. Nicholas from this site, reference to Wikipedia.

Related -   Wikipedia/Saint Nicholas.  

Posted by Kathy Meeh



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Fire Department staffing and retirement budget concerns in Palo Alto

Daily News/Jason Green, Staff writer, 12/18/13.  "Palo Alto Fire Department braces for retirement tsunami."

Palo Fire firefighters hired prior to 2011
are eligible to retire at age 50
....  "The last time the city saw a double-digit exodus was in 2011. A new contract inked at the time eliminated minimum staffing requirements and required firefighters to pick up more of their pension costs.  This time around, Nickel said, the coming wave is simply due to employees reaching retirement age.

Altogether, 49 of the department's 115 employees will become eligible for retirement  within the next five years, said Ian Hagerman, a senior analyst with the city. The average age of an employee is 42. Firefighters who were hired before 2011 can retire at the age of 50."  Read article.

Related article Palo Alto online/Palo Alto Weekly/Gennady Sheyner, 12/18/13.  "Fire Department braces for retirement wave."  "More than a dozen Palo Alto firefighters, including many in leadership positions, are expected to retire in the next year or two, prompting the department to ramp up its succession planning, Fire Chief Eric Nickel told a City Council committee Tuesday night. ....  The trend helped fuel the department's higher overtime expenditures this fiscal year, in part due to increased training. Last week, the department reported that it had spent $718,000 on overtime in the first quarter, which started July 1 -- 50 percent of its annual budget and $133,000 more than it had expended last year during the same period. .... While this year's overtime figures represent an increase over last year, members of the council's Finance Committee were generally satisfied with Nickel's explanations. Their biggest concern was over the rise of worker-compensation cases, which Nickel characterized as a "spike" but not a "trend."

Reference City of Palo Alto Fire Department.  And  Flickriver, Palo Alto Fire Department pdf photographs.  Note:  photograph is from a Los Altos Patch photo archive.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Warmest November somewhere since 1880 record-keeping

Ah, warm Pacifica
San Francisco Chronicle/Associated Press/Marcia Dunn (Aerospace writer), 12/19/13. "Warm November set month's heat record for the planet."

....   "Government scientists reported Tuesday that last month set a heat record. They say it was the warmest November on record, across Earth, since record-keeping began in 1880.

....   Among the November hot spots: much of Eurasia, Central America and the Indian Ocean. In Russia, it was the warmest November on record. But parts of North America were cooler than average."  Read article.

Note:  photograph of Mori Point from Ivory Pumpkin blog.

Posted by Kathy Meeh

Recology worker tragically lost both legs

Pacifica Tribune  Letters to the Editor 12/17/13.  "Slow down for safety" by Lola Carrington on behalf of "Recycling Yard Dan"

Blinding morning sun north of town
may have caused this tragic accident
"Editor: I am writing in regards to the recent story about the major accident in Pacifica that injured a garbage truck worker that occurred Friday, Nov. 8, on Catalina Avenue. What was not mentioned in news accounts was that his injuries were extensive he had to have both of his legs amputated. This is a hard-working man who has worked for what is now Recology of the Coast for more than 24 years despite being only 43 years old.

....  My friend and neighbor is a co-worker of the man who was injured in that accident. He asked me to send this letter to remind us all to please slow down and pay attention when you are driving around town. Garbage and recycling collectors are on the streets doing their job. Please be respectful of of their safety and reduce your speed when you see a stopped Recology truck or a bright yellow vest. Just like you and me, these folks are trying to make a living."   Read more.

Related San Mateo Times/Erin Ivie, 11/13/13,  "Pacifica:  Recology employee pinned against recycling truck."  "The Recology employee double parked with lights flashing about 7:50 a.m. and was emptying a can into his truck when he was hit by a car headed south in the 200 block of Catalina Avenue, Steidle said. The 1997 Infinity smashed the man against the refuse truck, pinning his legs and trapping him between the two vehicles.  The driver, a 25-year-old San Francisco woman who said she was blinded by the morning sun, was uninjured in the crash, Steidle said. The driver was described as being "extremely cooperative" with investigators, and drugs and alcohol are not thought to be a factor."   Same article, Fix Pacifica reprint, 11/13/13.

Note:  photo from Flickr.com, however the web location and author credit were not available the time of this posting.  Enlarged image available at flickr. 

Posted by Kathy Meeh