Welcome, Catherine!

Well, summer break has finally drawn to a close and I get my life back (a little). With the school year brings new classes, new clothes–and a new principal at Farallone View. Catherine Werdel is the new principal, replacing Suzanne Michelony (who in turn, replaced Mike Bachicha the year before).

Want to get a head start on getting to know Catherine? Click on one of our video formats buttons (below) for a three-minute introduction.

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Video by Darin Boville

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Road Closed: Some Sunny Day

It was only a year ago–it seems like it was ages ago…

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Video by Darin Boville

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Road Closed: Caltrans at Work

Barry Parr (of Coastsider) and I went up on the Slide (again!) in 2006 to investigate what Caltrans was doing up there. (There had been rumors about Caltrans only pretending to work–more of the “punish the coast” theory–and some citizens were strongly urging Caltrans to open one lane during the work with the idea that they could move their gear to one side during rush hour commute times and only close the Slide during the slower hours.)

What we found was a beehive of activity and a large crane that clearly couldn’t be moved out of the way.

That aside, we found it an interesting look a major construction site–something we don’t get to do every day–hosted by Caltrans geologist Grant Wilcox. And did I mention the views?

Road Closed, a series of videos looking back at the Devil’s Slide closure of 2006, will appear every Monday and Thursday from today until Thursday, August 2nd. This, the fifth installment of the series, appeared last year in Coastsider.

Choose your video format (see key, at left):

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Video by Darin Boville

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Road Closed: And Local Businesses?

I guess I assumed that I was making a video about how hard it was to be in business on the coast during the Devil’s Slide closure. And, to be sure, I found a lot of that among business owners–everything from stoic resignation to bitter frustration.

But I also found, to my surprise, that some businesses were doing well. Some very well, though they were careful to avoid gloating. It seems residents who used to shop over the hill were now shopping locally. And some locals were changing their lifestyles and needed new gear and support.

Road Closed, a series of videos looking back at the Devil’s Slide closure of 2006, will appear every Monday and Thursday from today until August 2nd. This, the fourth installment of the series, first appeared in Coastsider.

Choose your video format (see key, at left):

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Video by Darin Boville

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Road Closed: Caltrans’ Plan

So what is the plan? That’s what all of us on the coast wanted to know last Spring. Given the facts that Grant Wilcox laid out in his presentation the idea of a bridge was out. A “quick fix” was out. What, then?

How about pinning the fast moving landslide at the surface to the slower moving landslide underneath? Uh, OK!

In this third installment of Road Closed Caltrans representatives lay out their plan for a temporary fix of the slide with all fingers crossed that it will last until the Tunnel opens.

Road Closed, a series of videos looking back at the Devil’s Slide closure of 2006, will appear every Monday and Thursday from today until August 2nd.

Choose your video format (see key, at left):

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Video by Darin Boville

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Road Closed: Geologist Explains the Slide

When I first moved here three years ago I heard all of the stories abut the closure of Devil’s Slide in 1995. But I didn’t really understand what was happening in terms of what was causing the Slide to move. As far as I know there had never been a proper explanation made to the public about the geologic issues.

That changed shortly after the 2006 closure when Grant Wilcox, the geologist with Caltrans assigned to lead a geologic team at the Slide, came to the coast. His unexpected presentation at a Midcoast Community Council meeting offered an outstanding layman’s education on the technical issues involved in getting the Slide open.

Before this video was published on Coastsider there were all sorts of demands by frustrated coastsiders, wondering why a bridge could not be built, wondering why a permanent solution could not be found, wondering out loud that maybe Caltrans wanted the Slide to stay out to teach us a lesson in return for frustrating their plans to build a highway behind Montara into Moss Beach.

After this video was published all of that talk evaporated. People now had the information they needed. The questions didn’t stop–but the questions got a lot better.

So here, once again, is Grant Wilcox explaining the geology of Devil’s Slide.

This is the second installment of the Road Closed, a series of videos looking back at the Devil’s Slide closure of 2006. “Road Closed” will appear every Monday and Thursday from today until August 2nd.

Choose your video format (see key, at left):

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Video by Darin Boville

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Neil Merrilees: Here in the middle

The politics of the coast are polarized around the issue of development and tend to get even more polarized as we near election time.

Are you for or against? Is the League for Coastside Protection a star chamber for the Montara Mafia or the only and last true hope to prevent the Malibuization of our neighborhoods? Is Coastside Community First a front for greedy developers intent on destroying all that is good and noble or a magnet for people and ideas concerned about creating a better future for ourselves and for our children?

There’s not a lot of middle ground here, folks.

And then there is Neil. In February of this year Neil filmed this first installment of his video column, Right Here In the Middle. In it he tries to make the case for a bit of new thinking–watch and let us know what you think.

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Video by Darin Boville.

First published on Coastsider

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Road Closed: Devil’s Slide (on April 2, 2006)

Almost sixteen months ago Devil’s Slide, one of only two practical routes in and out of the coastside, was blocked by a collapsing road brought on by unusually heavy rains.

Thus began four months of high-pitched tension and frustration, the echoes of which still reverberate today.

Over the next three weeks, as we lead up to the one-year anniversary of the opening of the Slide on August 2nd, Montara Fog will bring you Road Closed, a series of videos from last year (some re-edited and all re-processed to new quality standards) to both mark the occasion and to remind ourselves that it was not so very long ago…

Today we present Road Closed, Turn Around, footage of the damage at Devil’s Slide filmed the day after it closed with additional footage from later that same week (showing the surprising rapidity with which the road was disintegrating).

Footnote: In the footage from Wednesday of that week (three days after closure) you’ll see a large boulder sitting on the road. The rock actually tumbled down the cliff the previous Monday–just two hours after Barry Parr (of Coastsider) and myself were standing and filming at that exact spot.

“Road Closed” will appear every Monday and Thursday from today until August 2nd.

An earlier form of this video was published in Coastsider.

Choose your video format (see key, at left):

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Video by Darin Boville

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HMB City Council goes to the Coastal Commission

On Thursday, Half Moon Bay Mayor Naomi Patridge and Vice-Mayor Bonnie McClung went before the California Coastal Commission to argue the case for a house project on Terrace Avenue. Judging by the posts on the various online forums this project has become something of a sore point for those on the Coastside who favor development.

Montara Fog presents the relevant portion of the Coastal Commission’s hearing so that coastsiders can judge for themselves what transpired.

Click on the links below to view the videos. A full length version is available at the end.

Introduction and Commission’s summary:

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Lawyer Consultant for the Applicant makes his case:

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Mayor Patridge defers to McClung; Vice-Mayor McClung speaks for Half Moon Bay: Quicktime

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George Muteff wears a suit! (Like I should talk…)

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HMB Planning Commissioner Tom Roman gives it a shot:
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Additional citizen voices: Quicktime

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The lawyer consultant rebuts: Quicktime

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The Commission ponders and votes and the application is withdrawn: Quicktime

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The video in its entirety for die-hard fans of local politics: Quicktime
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Videos by the California Coastal Commission

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Photo-Illustration by Darin Boville

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Kid’s View: Surf Camp


The week I went to surf camp with Dave Alexander was magical. On the second day I really stood up! Dave Alexander and all of the instructors were being very patient with me. Then, once, an instructor pushed me into a wave and I decided that I was going
to stand up on my board no matter what. Finding my balance, I crawled into a standing position, and rode the wave as long as I could before jumping off. It was the best feeling. That feeling kept making me paddle out to an instructor and trying my best to
stand up every time.

Annika, age 10, Moss Beach

Surf Camp
Hi, my name is Ally and I’m taking Surf Camp. As soon as I got to Surfer’s Beach on my second day there I realized I would be getting photographed. So when it was my turn to go surfing I got a surfboard then I got in the water. Once I was up to a staff member I got on my board, then I was turned around he pushed me toward the beach and told me STAND UP! STAND UP! After that I did it again. But on my third time he told me to take the band off my ankle then he took me out again and told me to stand up. But this time I did stand up and rode the wave in. After that I had lunch. When I was surfing my last wave it was fun… but scary.

Alexandra, age 8, Montara

I really enjoyed surf camp because I was able to express myself on the surf board. On my first time standing up, Alex (the surf instructor) pushed me into a great wave and I actually stood up! I was so proud of myself. I didn’t feel that the water was
cold anymore! I have learned to enjoy surfing.

Petra, age 10, Montara

Surfing is really hard–but now I love to surf! My favorite moment was on Wednesday when I stood up and rode the wave all the way to the beach and voluntarily jumped off the board for the first time.

After one week of being out in the ocean I was amazed by how different the water could be. On Monday the waves were small and the water cold but on Friday the waves were large and the water several degrees warmer (at least that’s what it felt like). Also, I noticed how the water varied between blues and greens, sometimes mixing them together.

My favorite thing about surf camp is that every wave is a new experience and with every fall you learn a little more about staying on your board.

Elizabeth, 10, Montara

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Photographs by Darin Boville

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