Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Norton Wisdom: Shark Hunter

All we can say here at "County Recurrent" is:


Here it is, photographic evidence of LACo OLS Norton Wisdom, Ret., on duty a few years back at Zuma with his fresh kill, namely, one nasty lookin' Shark !

"Norton with Shark"

Photo by & Copyright Nick Steers. Courtesy of Nick Steers and Norton
Wisdom. Please Do Not Reproduce.

"Donnie and Norton"

Don Olson, OLS and Norton Wisdom, OLS
in the shallows corralling the Shark.
Photo by & Copyright Nick Steers. Courtesy of Nick Steers and Norton
Wisdom. Please Do Not Reproduce.


Until next time,

County Recurrent News
email: will.maguire@verizon.net

Service • Training • Commitment

*** Keeping the County Recurrent "in the loop"...whether he/she likes it or NOT ! ***

DISCLAIMER: County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hail To The Chief !

Aloha Fellow "County Recurrents" !

President-Elect Barack Obama: Body Surfin' USA !

(Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/08/14/obama-bodysurfs-in-hawaii_n_119070.html)

OB goin' left at Sandy Beach on the south shore of Oahu, August 2008

OB goin' right !

The Aloha Spirit will soon be alive in the White House ! "County Recurrent" continues its pledge to spread the aloha spirit of service as our President-Elect has challenged each and every American to undertake.

God Bless America !

County Recurrent News

Sunday, January 18, 2009

County Recurrent Wants You ! And your Content !

("Commitment" by Norton Wisdom. Copyright Norton Wisdom 1994. Used here with permission. Reproduction without consent is strictly prohibited).

*** County Recurrent respectfully requests your stories, your rescues, your photos.

Credit and Attribution will, of course, be given. For example, take a look at the recent article by County Recurrent, Jim Graham, as an example of the respect and accord we gratefully extend to our contributors.


For those of you familiar with our format, you realize that this is an "Inclusive" publication, as it were.

No Recurrent Left Behind ! All for one and one for all !

So after the sun sets and you've left the beach and wiped off the sand between your toes, please take a few minutes to locate your lifeguard knick-knacks, memorabilia, photos, etc.

We want to hear about your most memorable rescues ! The lessons learned. The friendships forged. Rookie school. Your First Rescue... if you can remember.

If you've enjoyed what we've been able to gather and present thus far, please help us continue our mission of dissemination of information and inclusiveness.

Thank you for your consideration.

Kind regards,

"County Recurrent" News

Service • Training • Commitment

"Lifeguard Rescue: The Next Generation" ( Rookie Swim, Sept. 2008, Santa Monica South. Photo by Will Maguire. Copyright 2008. Will Maguire. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission. Reproduction without consent is prohibited).

DISCLAIMER: County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

PLF Announces its 2009 Scholarship Rules; A Parody

January 2009

"PLF Recipient Etiquette 101, Local 'Central Section' Rules"

(aka, The Seven Rules of PLF Success or Failure)

1. Two words that will likely lead to a follow up scholarship the next year:
Thank you.

2. Four words that will damn near make it certain that you will receive a follow up scholarship the following year:
Thank you very much.

3. Use these Six words and you will automatically be short-listed for consideration for the next TOP $$ PLF Annual Scholarship:
Thank you all for your generosity.

4. You really want to piss us off and put in jeopardy a follow up year scholarship: Use some esoteric rhetorical syntax driven statement other than those words in 1 - 3 above.

5. Don't write a thank you/gratitude letter: Kiss your sorry ass goodbye. You'll be working Dockweiler next summer, will experience hearing loss because of nearby LAX and won't hear us badmouthing you.

6. Mention that you are pre-Med, or in nursing or some other medical related field: Automatic Honorable Mention No Restrictions Scholarship. If you are female and good looking, you will probably also be added to the aforementioned short list.

7. Mention that you are Pre-Law, or a History major or some other Liberal Arts: Don't bother applying for a scholarship. If you are offered overtime at the beach, Take it ! We suggest you also ride the bus or a bike to school cuz you won't be gettin' any PLF Cash !


DISCLAIMER: County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD or the PLF.

*** PLEASE forward to other Recurrents, past and present, so that we can add them to our mailing list. ***

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Friday, January 16, 2009

Conservancy Fills in Pali Y Pool !

(Photo by: Rich Schmitt / Staff Photographer, Palisadian-Post).

Dateline: Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy suddenly made good on its recent and surprise promise to fill in our beloved Pali Y Pool in Temescal Canyon, above Sunset Blvd and Palisades High School.

If you dare, here is the link to the Front Page Article and Photo in the January 15th Edition of the Palisadian-Post:


It is a sad day, indeed, in the Palisades as this death of our beloved community pool is where numerous LACo Recurrents learned to swim and polished their aquatic skills. Think Bob Janis, Eric Shargo, Greg Bonann, Greg Andruk, Tom Schnable, Abby Schneider, Sam Bertolet, Mark Thompson, Mark Newman, Dave Anawalt, Larry Blivas, Kim Martin, Corey Birnberg, Scott Birnberg, Bradd Schwichtenberg, Mike Newman, Mitch Flyer, Will Douglass, David Sitzer, Tim Gair, Tim Arnold, Kim Gair, Kim Montanaro, Michelle Saxer, Les (Wulk) Barkley, Dave Dolotta, Will Maguire, Eric Moore, JT Mehuron, David Carr, Tim McNulty, Luigi DeMari, Blair Simmons and many, many others. Multiply those names by the number of lives saved by each of these lifeguards and you have hundreds, if not thousands of lives saved from drowning on our local beaches. Famed Pali High Swim Team Coaches Pete Nelson and Dave Anderson both walked that deck and taught and coached and extolled us to greater effort.

Add in the LACo Recurrents and Permanents who started training there as adults on the Y Masters Swim Team that was started in the early 1980's by Coach Rick Goeden and you are talking about an even greater impact that this beloved pool of ours has had on Local Lifesaving ! Think: Chuck Locko, Paul Donahue, Paul Silka, Paul Henne, Phil Topar, John Fletcher, Russ Walker, Gene Rink, and many others. Even Prof. Arthur Verge, Ph.d showed up to swim and have breakfast with us on occasion.

Needless to say, the negative impact of the loss of our beloved community pool will be felt for many years to come.

Thank you, Joe Edmiston and the Conservancy, for burying an Aquatic Treasure and a Community Resource that was life sustaining, life enhancing and Life saving !


DISCLAIMER: County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD. The opinions expressed in the above Op-Ed are solely those of the undersigned.

*** PLEASE forward to other Recurrents, past and present, so that we can add them to our mailing list. ***

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They can bury our pool but they can't bury our spirit.

Go Dolphins !

Until next time,

Will Maguire

"County Recurrent" News

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

"The Offshores", by Bill Powers

This past Fall, 2008, County Recurrent published an original article by Bill Powers, OLS, Ret, entitled, "The Offshores", as well as a second original article.


Several weeks later, this same article appeared in the Malibu Surfside News, both in print and online in its digital pdf companion publication, thanks to Chief Randy DeGregori, Ret.

With the recent Santa Ana wind conditions, this Off Shore Phenomenon has taken on even more current relevance. Just this past Sunday, Jan. 11, 2009, just past sunset, County Recurrent's staff photographer captured two photos from the Via de la Paz Bluffs in Pacific Palisades and just above Will Rogers Tower #8 at Temescal Canyon and PCH.

Therefore, in an exclusive to County Recurrent, which carries the digital reprint rights on this Blog to "The Offshores" by Bill Powers, we are pairing this exceptional article *** just recently updated and revised *** with the two photographs taken this past Sunday which so clearly show the effect of the Offshores (or Santa Ana conditions) on the ocean's surface.

Looking southeast towards Santa Monica, with WRHQ in the foreground, below):

Looking Due West Toward Malibu and Pt. Dume, below:

Off Shore Winds – Santa Ana’s

Off shore winds normally blow October through March, however, they can happen almost any time of year. October and November are known for the very strong “Santa Ana” conditions when high pressure winds are forced through the canyons from the mountains and eastern deserts. Santa Ana conditions are severe with wind gusts of 60-70 mph and sustained winds in excess of 40 mph. A popular misconception is that the winds are hot owing to their desert origin. Actually, the Santa Ana’s develop when the desert is cold, and are thus most common during the cool season stretching from October through March. High pressure builds over the Great Basin (e.g., Nevada) and the cold air there begins to sink. However, this air is forced down slope which compresses and warms it at a rate of about 10C per kilometer (29F per mile) of descent. As its temperature rises, the relative humidity drops; the air starts out dry and winds up at sea level much drier still. The air picks up speed as it is channeled through passes and canyons.

For residents of Malibu, this weather pattern is known as “fire season” and rightly so. Unless you are new resident to this area, you have seen the devastation of a fire storm. Fire storms can rage down through our canyons, from the 101 freeway to the beach, in a matter of hours. Rough terrain, thick brush, limited street accessibility, and houses throughout the area are all challenges facing our firefighters and residents that need to quickly evacuate their homes.

Santa Ana winds give us hot weather in the middle of winter, sometimes over 80 degrees. These winds also create other conditions such as water clarity and dramatic water temperature changes. After two days of consistent off shore winds, it can blow average surf flat, but generally, the winds create perfect surfing breaks. It will also clear the water and give the local divers the best water visibility of the year. It normally blows the top water out, which causes an upwelling effect, dropping the water temperature. One year, I saw the water temperature drop 11 degrees overnight.

I would like to highlight some of the dangers that come with off shore wind conditions. When you look at the ocean during these winds, it can look very inviting. Usually the ocean is smooth or slightly rippled close to shore due to homes and land formations block the wind. However, 200 or 300 yards off shore, the wind can be two or three times stronger. During strong off shore winds, it can be very difficult to sail or paddle. It can fluctuate wind direction, complicating navigating any craft out at sea. If you are wind surfing and get knocked down a few times, more than likely, you will be getting pushed further offshore.

For lifeguards, we know there are compounding factors – the person is getting panicky, tired, and is being pushed into areas of stronger winds farther off shore. If it is late in the day and losing daylight, the situation can get deteriorate very quickly. If you are in a kayak, the kayak will want to point down wind. Due to sitting aft of the center of the craft, there is more kayak in front of you than behind (creating a sail). If you see someone paddling backwards toward the beach in these winds, they are most likely having trouble. If you get blown away from shore, stay with anything that floats; you will last longer on the outside and you will be easier to spot. If you see someone you think might be in trouble, call 911 and ask for the lifeguards or the call will be routed to another agency. Law enforcement and fire agencies are great organizations, but they will not get in the water to make off shore ocean rescues. The people of Malibu have the privilege of having the finest lifeguard service in the world - Do not hesitate to use them. In choosing, remember it’s better to be on the beach wishing you were in the water than in the water wishing you were on the beach.


Bill Powers
L.A. County Lifeguard - 30 yrs.

("Off Shore Winds – Santa Ana’s" is Copyright 2008 Bill Powers. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission. Do not reproduce without prior permission). Transcription Services provided pro bono by "County Recurrent" News.

Many Thanks to Chief Mike Frazer for giving County Recurrent the head's up with respect to the updated and revised version of this article.

(Photo Credit and Copyright Will Maguire 2009. All Rights Reserved. Used here with permission. Reproduction without consent is prohibited.)


Thanks Again, Bill ! Keep the articles comin' cuz we want to publish other lessons to pass along to the collective that is "County Recurrent".

That's it for now.

Inclusively yours,

Will Maguire, on behalf of COUNTY RECURRENT News
email: will.maguire@verizon.net

Disclaimer: "COUNTY RECURRENT" is neither affiliated with or sponsored by the County of Los Angeles Lifeguard Operations or LACOLA.

*** PLEASE forward to other Recurrents, past and present, so that we can add them to our mailing list. ***

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Saturday, January 10, 2009

Calling All Lifeguards !

(Photo: Pete Peterson Rescue Tube at SMS T-22, Summer '08. Photo by Will Maguire. Used here with permission.)

January 10, 2008

Calling All Lifeguards !

This just in from Harold Dunnigan and the LACOLA Alumni:

"From: hfrogman@verizon.net
Subject: New Historical Museum on SM Pier to feature Pete Peterson dory and other artifacts and mementos.

"The City of SM will be creating a Historical museum on the end of the SM Pier... one of the individuals they will honor is Pete Peterson, and thanks to the efforts of Tom Snyder, Randy Steigley and Scott Hubbell, an original Peterson Dory has been restored and will be the center piece of the exhibit... to enhance this honor to Pete, we are in pursuit of artifacts that he created... tubes, paddleboads etc... they would be on loan, only... do you think that you could get the "word" out???


Image below is a current version of the Famed Pete Peterson Rescue Tube

(Source: Google images and faculty.deanza.edu)

Editor's note:

10-4, Harold, "County Recurrent" is on the case !

"1935 Santa Monica, California, lifeguard Pete Peterson builds an inflatable yellow rescue tube with a snap hook at one end and a 14 inch strap, line and harness at the other end. He also created paddle boards for lifeguards and was the first person to paddle from Catalina to the mainland. He won the Pacific Coast Surfing Championship 4 times out of ten."
(Source: Excerpted from: http://faculty.deanza.edu/donahuemary/Historyoflifesaving)

(Source: http://www.legendarysurfers.com/surf/legends/ls08_pete.html

Pete Peterson at a Santa Monica paddleboard race with Thomas Rogers Blake board. Courtesy of Gary Lynch and the Tom Blake Collection).

Preston "Pete" Peterson (1913-1983)
Preston "Pete" Peterson positively ruled Mainland surfing during the 1930s. Recognized amongst his fellow surfers as the country's best surfer, Peterson won the Pacific Coast Surfing Championships four times out of ten (1932, 1936, 1938 and 1941)...
(Source: http://www.legendarysurfers.com/surf/legends/ls09.shtml#pete1

Until Next Time,

"County Recurrent" News

*** Keeping the County Recurrent "in the loop". ***

DISCLAIMER: County Recurrent is not affiliated with nor sponsored by LACOLA or LACoFD.

*** PLEASE forward to other Recurrents, past and present, so that we can add them to our mailing list. ***


Thursday, January 8, 2009

"A Rogue's Gallery", by Jim Graham

This past October 2008, "County Recurrent" heard from one of Santa Monica City's and LACo's Finest from years gone by...not that many years, but definitely "Back in the Day!" This soldier of good fortune recalls a Virtual Who's Who or rogue's gallery, e.g., "an exclusive circle of people with a common purpose", of his contemporaries who fought the wild Pacific surf in search of swimmers in distress, as well as, of course, waves for surfing, along the beaches both inside and outside Santa Monica Bay.

So without further adieu, I present to you, Jim Graham, in his own words:

"I was 17, and a junior at Santa Monica High School, when I took the Santa Monica exam finishing second behind Larry Schnable. A bunch of really good guys working for Santa Monica then. They included Ricky Grigg, Tom Volk, Chuck McClellen, Gene Poole, Tom Zahn, Bill Bowen, Adrian Eznard, Dick Kaiser, Bill North, Herb Suskin, Tom Johnson, Mike Donavan, Don Greb, Chico Ortiz, Dick Saunders, Gregg Arnett, Art Verge, Mark Gates, Fred Bleeker, Ray Hutchenson and Jerry Pillar. We took second in the Taplin that year behind the L.A. County guys at the Hermosa Beach Pier which was my home town. It was really a thrill to participate in an event that I had been watching for most of my young life.

*** "Santa Monica South" (photos below), circa 1960's

(Photo source: http://pacificoceanpark.tripod.com)

After three seasons of working "South Beach" in S.M., Mike Doyle (also working at S.M. then and who had taken the test in '59 with me) and I, who were going to El Camino College and swimming for Rudy Kroon (also a S.M. recurrent lifeguard) at the time, took the County test because they were making .45 cents an hour more than we were and we felt that the surf would be better in either the South Bay or at Zuma (including all the Malibu breaks), whichever area we chose to work at. STRICTLY FOR THE MONEY !

I finished 4th in the County exam behind Cappy Sheeley, Tom Viren and Ron Crawford and just in front of Dick Douglas, Larry Loganbill and Doyle. Good crew and most all of us went to work at Zuma and joined up with the likes of Bob Burnside, Howard Lee, Bob Hughes, Tom Landis, Garr Steiner, Kemp Aaberg, Sheridan Byerly, etc. (We won the Taplin that year and few intercrews before I moved down to the South Bay after the '66 season to finish out my 25 year career).

Great times, great friends, great adventures and great memories."

Jim Graham
Oct. 24, 2008

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Editor's note: Many Thanks to Jim for his remarkable recounting of his active duty years on the beach, as well as the names of so many Famed LACo and Santa Monica Ocean Lifeguards from "back in the day". "County Recurrent" promises to stay on the case and hopefully to acquire photographs of some of the above-referenced "rogue's gallery" of ocean warriors during these years.

Until next time...

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

PLF Announces its 2008 Scholarship Recipients !

Dateline: January 2009

Per the PLF Press Release: "This year's overall scholarship winner is presented to Kari Lyman, an ocean lifeguard in northern section since 1999. She will receive the Professional Lifeguard Foundation 2008 Scholarship Award Top Honor, an unrestricted award of $5000. She is currently pursuing a Bachelor's in Nursing at Cal State University - Channel Islands. Kari had previously received a BA from UCSD in Communications.

Runner-up for 2008 is Paloma Slezak, a central section guard since 2006. She is a graduate student at Cal State Long Beach where she is pursuing a Master's Degree in Sports Psychology. Her future goals include pursuit of a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. She will receive an unrestricted award of $2500.

PLF 2008 Honorable Mention honors go to Clara Lee, Ronnie Pezeshk, and Zahra Shahalayi. Clara is a senior at UC Berkeley studying Environmental Biology. Ronnie is a second year medical student at St. George's School of Medicine. Zahra has completed undergraduate studies at UC Davis and is currently at El Camino College enrolled in the Registered Nurse Program. Each lifeguard attaining Honorable Mention this year will receive an award of $1000.

PLF Scholarship Awards are made possible by your donations. Donations are tax deductible thanks in part to the accounting services of Carlin, Holthouse and Van Trigt (http://www.hcvt.com). Every donation this year has been provided by active Los Angeles County Ocean Lifeguards.

Congratulations to all of our 2008 PLF Scholarship Award winners!"

*** For more information on the Professional Lifeguard Foundation, please click here on this Link to its website at: http://ProLifeguard.org ***

This Announcement has been brought to you by:

County Recurrent News

"Bringing you whatever news we can dig up regarding County Recurrents"


Monday, January 5, 2009

Pearls of Wisdom from Harold Dunnigan, OLS, Ret.

(Photo: Hal Dunnigan, left, with recent "Bronze Savage" Recipient, Bruce Morgan. Photo by Will Maguire. Used here with permission).

January 5, 2009

In a continuing series, with words of wisdom offered by various County Recurrents, Harold Dunnigan has shared the following remarks with us:

"Keep your Focus!"

"Life is a Test of wills...yours against yourself and with others."

"Always try to 'Trade-up',
but have something to offer in the trade,
because you'll have to give up something."



Thank you, Harold ! Words to live by !

Happy New Year to All County Recurrents (past, present and future) !

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