Resume - Clips 3.26
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Written Pieces as of 03-26-12
Laguna skateboarders talk road safetyBy JOSH FRANCIS 2012-03-12 11:36:36
LAGUNA BEACH More than 70 downhill skateboarders and supporters of the sport met Saturday in Bluebird Park to address concerns from the community after a 60-day hiatus on expanding the ban on the sport was agreed upon by the Laguna Beach City Council. The meeting, organized by Chad Gibbs and other parents of the skateboarders, was held in order to educate the new generation of downhill skateboarders, so they too will abide by the rules Gibbs said the veterans of the sport already follow. "The meeting is to influence the next generation," Gibbs said. "They're [the veterans of the sport] all doing what they are supposed to be doing, we're here to give the new guys information for everyone's safety." Nohlan Campbell, 14, a Laguna Beach resident and competitive downhill skateboarder for the last two years, said, "No one was doing it a year ago, it blew up in the last year." Campbell said the problem now is the younger kids who are just getting into the sport are unaware of the rules but that Saturday's meeting addressed that issue. Although a large portion of the city's downhill skateboarders showed up at the meeting on Saturday, Gibbs said he was disappointed by the low turnout of parents. Around 10 parents showed up at the meeting he said. The parents who did show up supported the skaters but said safety was their primary concern.
"Of course I'm concerned," Peter French, a 54-year resident of Laguna Beach and parent of a downhill skateboarder, said. "It's not any more dangerous than any other sport when you have the equipment and stay within the skill level." French who lives on Temple Hills Drive, one of the hills currently restricted to skateboarders, said he disagrees with the council's decision to ban any hill. "It's always up to the parents to regulate, it's our responsibility," French said. Jim Beres, civilian supervisor for the Laguna Beach Police Department, was at the meeting to highlight some of the rules that are included in the ordinance. Some of those rules include wearing helmets, yielding to cars and stopping at stop signs. One of the main points Beres reiterated was that many residents of the city believe that downhill skateboarding is banned when it is not. Gibbs argued that because many residents simply don't like the skateboarders, they complain, which contributes to the total number of complaints the police have to deal with. "Even if we are following the rules, the residents still always bother us," downhill skateboarder Elijah Vinograd, 14, said. Beres said the police department receives many complaints that are deemed baseless, however, a police officer always responds to a complaint to determine if it is valid. Beres said complaints coming from residents citywide has decreased but complaints from residents on Skyline Drive, a street currently being considered for the ban, has increased since the 2011 ban on some of the steepest hills in the city. Kimberly O'Brien-Young, a Laguna Beach resident and parent of two downhill skateboarders, said the other issue some residents have is the disrespect and littering that the skateboarders often contribute to. She told all of the attendees at the meeting that picking up your trash and being respectful is a part of following the rules. Since the meeting on Feb. 28, Beres said police have received numerous complaints but have issued only one citation. Citations can range from $25 for the first offense to $100 for the third. Gibbs and the rest of the parents at the meeting agreed ticketing the "rule breakers" was the best option and banning more hills is not a fair solution. After the meeting, several skateboarders took to the nearby hills including Skyline Drive, which has an 8 percent grade and in some parts has no center divider. Judson Vandertoll and Danny Ronson, both 15, ventured to the top of Skyline Drive and proceeded to skate down the hill. The two, who have been involved in the sport for a year,
said they always follow the rules. Vandertoll, who is starting work on his driving permit, said he understands how nerve racking it is for drivers coming up the hills but said they [the skateboarders] are in complete control and can stop quickly.
Photos: http://www.ocregister.com/articles/skateboar ders-344214-meeting-downhill.html
War memories, family relationships come alive in local mans bookBy JOSH FRANCIS 2012-03-20 09:19:37
It started as a Christmas gift but ended as a lasting memory that brought a grandfather and grandson closer together. Jesse Cozean, 25, an engineering consultant who lives in San Clemente, began writing his newly published book, "My Grandfather's War," in 2008. It's the story of Cozean's grandfather Robert Cozean, a World War II veteran and former prisoner of war who died in January 2010 at age 89 in the home he built in Pasadena and lived in for 65 years. He didn't live to see Jesse's published book. Robert Cozean was 22 when he entered World War II in 1943. He was captured by the Germans during theBattle of the Bulge in 1944, just eight days after he arrived in Europe. He was liberated in April 1945, but the story of his capture and how it affected him would not come out until 63 years later, when his grandson decided to ask him about the experience. Before the two-year interview process began, Robert "was emotionally distant but quietly emotional," Jesse said. He knew his grandfather had served in World War II, but he had never been told any specifics about it. Jesse's father, Kim Cozean, said Robert had kept quiet about his ordeal in a Nazi POW camp. "My dad never told anyone a lot of this. It was good to get this story told," Kim said.
After Robert opened up to Jesse, they became much closer, Kim said. "It became a relationship between two men," he said. Jesse, a history buff, said he not only became closer to his grandfather but also learned more about history and the Nazis' cruel treatment of prisoners during the war. Nicole Vasquez, 31, Jesse's girlfriend of more than three years, helped him through the difficult writing process by reading drafts and encouraging him. She also shot the portrait of Jesse that is in the book. Though writing is not his profession, Jesse was always interested in it. He originally wanted to write his grandfather's memoirs and give it to him as a Christmas gift. But the process turned into Jesse's first published book. "My Grandfather's War" covers Robert's war stories, his last years with his family and Jesse's interview process. The two-year project gave Jesse a chance to learn more about his family. "It gave him a much greater respect for his family," Vasquez said. Jesse's mother, Collete, said she was "touched by the change in the relationship between (Jesse) and his grandfather." Before the book project, their relationship consisted mostly of exchanges such as "How's school?" and "How's work?" she said. Jesse's interviewing and research also uncovered previously unknown documents and mementoes of the war. The Cozeans learned of an archive of Robert's personal letters, journals and other items from the 1940s. A lot of the documents are included in Jesse's book. The book, available on Amazon.com and in Southern California bookstores, has sold fewer than 500 copies, Jesse said. But the time spent and the relationship built with his grandfather made it worthwhile, he said. He would do it again if he could. "My Grandfather's War" was officially published Feb. 1, and since then, Jesse has been selling it door to door. He said the book is being used in some history classrooms and is being considered by St. Margaret's Episcopal School in San Juan Capistrano, where Jesse attended high school. Jesse hopes to write more books, though he said it would be a challenge to fit it in between his job and his volunteer work for the East Africa Partnership, which helps Africans stricken by poverty and disease.
San Clemente woman is trail-running Queen of the HillBy JOSH FRANCIS 2012-03-22 16:05:22
Running through brush on dusty trails littered with rocks might not be appealing to some, but for Mari Russell, it's her passion. The 47-year-old San Clemente resident won the title of "Queen of the Hill" after completing five races in the Winter Trail Run Series that started Jan. 7 and ended March 3. The series, put on for 20 years by race director Baz Hawley, attracts nearly 150 runners to the Blue Jay Campground in Cleveland National Forest, Hawley said. This was Russell's first year in the event, but she is not new to running. She was born in Tokyo and took up cross-country skiing in college before moving to California in 1997, when she took up running. She went on to compete in events such as the Boston Marathon, Ironman Canada and then the WTRS. "I'm a motivated athlete and enjoy the personal challenge of pushing my body to the limit," Russell said. Russell was the only woman to complete the series' 30K (18.6 miles), 21K (13 miles), 18K (11.2 miles), 15K (9.3 miles) and 12K (7.5 miles) races, said her friend Henrietta Spencer. She won one of them, and Hawley said the fact that she finished and placed high in all five
earned her the Queen of the Hill crown. She received a crystal vase engraved with that title, plus a gift card from New Balance, an athletic-products company. Hawley said the sport of trail running is growing and is always attracting athletes like Russell who are looking for a new challenge. Trail running is much different from street running, Hawley said. Runners compete on difficult terrain lined by brush and rocks and have to deal with inclines and elevations that make the races much more challenging, Hawley said. Russell said she plans to compete in more trail races this year, including a 50K (31-mile) race April 14 in San Juan Capistrano presented by Hawley. Her training routine includes weights,