A fire had burned 15,687 acres in the Los
Padres National Forest east of Santa Barbara County as of press
time Tuesday. Forest officials said the fire was 25 percent
contained. Investigators suspect the fire was started by a human
visitor. No injuries have been reported.
As part of an escalating effort to prevent
sewage seepage, the Santa Barbara City Council approved an
ambitious sewer lateral inspection program. In response to
agitation by Santa Barbara real estate agents, City Hall backed off
from its initial proposal to require such inspections every time a
property was put up for sale. Instead, such inspections will be
required every time a property owner seeks permission to expand a
home by 400 square feet or more, or to install two or more plumbing
fixtures. Acknowledging the cost of sewer inspections – and
repairs – City Hall also adopted a set of incentives designed to
partially offset the expense involved.
Carpinteria’s septic tanks will no longer
leak into the ocean now that several of its beachside communities
are poised to join the Carpinteria Sanitary District and build
sewage systems. Heal the Ocean’s Hillary Hauser hailed the
districts certification of the final environmental documents
Tuesday night, and their decision to pursue annexation of the
communities, form assessment districts to sponsor the Septic to
Sewer project, and begin construction.
Teva, the Goleta makers of outdoor footwear,
are teaming up with ChannelKeeper’s Robert Kennedy, Jr. and a team
of IMAX documentary filmmakers to produce a movie on the Grand
Canyon. The finished product – which will be narrated by
Kennedy – will include footage of a 15-day rafting journey Teva
executives plan to take down the Grand Canyon.
Paul Lewis – a 45-year-old long-distance,
cold-water swimmer – became the first person to swim the Santa
Barbara Channel in more than 20 years. Setting off from Santa Cruz
Island accompanied by kayaker Rob Almy, Lewis made the 26-mile
crossing in 13 hours and 16 minutes, doing the crawl stroke the
entire time. Under the conditions of his sport, Lewis was not
allowed to wear a wetsuit of any kind. Aside from his swimsuit,
goggles, and swimming cap, the only thing Lewis wore was lanolin,
an ointment spread liberally over areas prone to chafing. About
every 20 minutes, Lewis fortified himself with a mysterious red
liquid supplied by Almy.
Members of Congress joined the Nuclear
Security Coalition last week in calling for the fortification of
U.S. nuclear waste storage systems against terrorist attacks.
According to the group, U.S. nuclear power plants – such as the
Diablo Canyon facility in San Luis Obispo County – are generally
well secured, but their highly volatile nuclear waste-storage
systems are vulnerable. Instead of the underground pools currently
used to store nuclear waste, the group proposed using dry storage
casks hardened against terrorist attack.
A DNA study of Chumash Indians has yielded
tantalizing clues about the origins of early American Indians. John
Johnson of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History found DNA
matches between local Chumash Indians and ancient remains from as
far away as Alaska and Tierra del Fuego. Johnson believes the
discovery suggests early Indians may have traveled down the Pacific
Coast by boat, rather than trekking inland between Asia and North
The oldest woman ever discovered in North America may not be a
woman at all. Thigh bones found on Santa Rosa Island in 1959 were
originally attributed to a woman who lived 13,000 years ago.
However, a recent reexamination of the bones has led John Johnson
of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History – where the bones
are stored – to acknowledge that “Arlington Springs Woman” was more
likely a man.