August 10, 2005
Vol. 1 No. 3

About This Newsletter
We now have a list of over one hundred names. About 10 of these individuals do not have e-mail addresses and will receive this newsletter via the U.S. Postal Service. Because I have added many new names who did not receive the earlier newsletters, I have combined all the newsletters in this one larger newsletter. This will be bring all of you up to date. If you have received the other two newsletters you will not need to read beyond the Albion Retreat to get the latest news.

Current Situation
To date we have the Coastal Commission's permission to start the restroom building project on each of the sleeping cabins. Mendocino County has currently scheduled the required public hearing on September 22, 2005. If there are no significant protests from or following the public hearing we should have our building permits by late October or early November 2005. We will keep you posted on the outcome of the public hearing.

Some of the preparatory work for the building project will entail installing a new 5000 gallon septic tank and associated sewer lines up the valley. In addition the ground needs to be leveled where each restroom will be constructed. This could produce a considerable amount of mud as the rainy season comes on in mid to late November. Because of the disruption and mud we may not want to start the project until early to mid spring of 2006. As those plans develop we will keep you informed.

Plans for the Boat Dock and Boat Barn
The boat dock and barn are the next projects to be undertaken after we have completed the restroom additions. When we purchased the 3.5 acres on the up river side of our property, the boat barn came with the purchase. In the year and a half that we have owned this new property the boat barn has been nearly destroyed by winter storms. After the urgings of several governmental agencies and much discussion the decision has been made to move the boat barn from the freshwater marsh near the river to the flat area adjacent to the lab building. There is plenty of room there for the boat barn as well as a driveway along side the barn and across the creek for access to our new property.

The Coastal Commission mandated a permit for our boat dock because it exists in government-controlled waters. Again, after much discussion and negotiation, the new dock will go on our new property just up-river from where the boat barn is currently located. The new dock will be a permanent structure placed on pilings. The walkway will be made of galvanized steel and attached to the top of the pilings. A ramp will go from the permanent walkway down to the floating portion of the dock. There will be no more unstable "swinging bridge" dock sections to maneuver.

It will be necessary to apply to about a half dozen different State and Federal agencies for permits to build a new dock and a boat barn. The plan is to get these applications in by early September so that they can be working though the system. It will probably take a minimum of a year.

The money for the new boat dock has been donated and is in the bank ready to be used. The money for rebuilding the boat barn is slowly coming in. The new property cost $200,000 of which $100,000 has been donated. We still need to raise another $100,000 to pay off the new property. So do keep your donations coming as they are much appreciated and needed.

Emergency/Temporary Bridge
Within the last two weeks, an emergency application went to the California Coastal Commission to put a temporary bridge over the creek for access to our new property. Without a bridge people are crossing the creek by going through the nearly collapsed boat barn. This is extremely dangerous! We have informed the Coastal Commission of this situation and we think that they will grant a permit for this very soon.

The temporary/emergency bridge is a portable surplus bridge. This will give access to our new property while waiting for a permit to put a culvert in the creek.

If you would like a copy of this application, I will e-mail this to you as a PDF file. This will also be the case for all of the applications to the State and Federal agencies for the dock and boat barn. Send an e-mail to me (gmuth@puc.edu) requesting a copy of the application and it will send it as an attached PDF file. You will be able to read it with your Acrobat reader.

Albion Retreat
If you long for an opportunity to have a really fun weekend, meet a lot of interesting and enthusiastic people, and eat delicious food, you won't want to miss another gathering of the Friends of Albion.

The event started on Friday evening with a group of around 30 people arriving to enjoy the first meal together set up with seashore decorations on the tables, yummy soups in bread bowls, and Wood Ducks and Mandarin Ducks swimming and preening in the pond just outside the window of the cafeteria.

Myron Widmer prepared a spiritual feast for us for vespers by giving us his thoughts on how God views nature. To prepare the group for the whale trip the next morning, Dave and Ruth Wiebe inspired us with a talk and video about whales. A lot of chatter and happy laughter occurred as friends and new acquaintances got together before retiring for the night in various cabins.

Sabbath morning was not good for sleep-ins or slow risers. We hurriedly ate breakfast and then hastened on our way to Fort Bragg to board the Trek II, captained by Rick Thornton, to see if any whales would allow their fins and flippers to be viewed and photographed by a boat load of eager participants. And yes, there were some very good sightings but the water was rather rough and there were a few who had to make it to the back of the boat and lean over the rail.

While waiting for lunch to be served, the group gathered for a walk to the newly purchased property to view the positive potential this property has for enhancing the Field Station’s facilities. They also got to see the major clean-up effort needed to remove all the junk the squatter had left on the property before our purchase.

A delicious lunch was waiting for everyone. But nobody was prepared for the biggest surprise yet. A little fox made his appearance at the bird feeders just outside the dining room window looking for a little lunch himself. Before most of the avid camera buffs could get their wits about them he decided to make his departure.

We were all left breathless with excitement because as far as anyone can remember, a fox had never shown his face at the Field Station before. This certainly set the tone for Myron’s Sabbath talk on how humans view nature. 

After all that good food, both spiritual and physical, some went to their cabins for a quick sleep refresher, some walked to the cliffs to view the ocean and some took their cameras for a walk to catch wildflowers.

The day went all too fast and before we knew it, it was time to eat again. After a short devotional by Floyd Hayes on birds and their parenting habits, the business meeting began. Ideas and suggestions permeated the room to the delight of Gibby Muth who chaired the meeting. One suggestion was to start a newsletter to let those of you who had not been able to attend learn of the progress and deterrents that have accompanied and sometimes delayed the Albion upgrade plans.

Of course the night would not have been complete without a few games being played. Just as the group was breaking up to go to their cabins a flash of lightning along with a very loud clap of thunder was heard and then the rain came. But we slept snug and warm in our cabins and were ready to greet the welcome sunshine the next morning when the breakfast bell rang.

Permit Situation
Albion Field station is under the jurisdiction of the California Coastal Commission and Mendocino County . We currently have a pending application with both jurisdictions for the building of the restrooms on each of the cabins.

The project application is asking for the restroom additions, increased sewage processing for the extra restrooms and the placing of some of the electrical utilities underground. The California Coastal Commission does not have actual jurisdiction over the restroom additions because it is on the “other side of the line.” However, the new 5000-gallon sewage

tank is on their side of the line and until they have given their approval for this, Mendocino County will not issue building permits.

So, where are we with this now? Well, the Coastal Commission wants to be assured that none of our sewage will go into the estuary. To ensure this will not happen they want a backup generator to pump the sewage up the hill incase there is a power outage. We have addressed this issue and they have agreed to our solution (informally). A letter amending the project with the engineering study to back it up has been sent. The California Coastal Commission office in Yreka has indicated this will probably be a simple waiver and approval could come sometime this month.

As for Mendocino County , we have jumped through all their hoops except for the public hearing. The Mendocino County Planning Department is in the process of writing up their report for the public hearing. As with all government agencies this does not go fast, however, it is our hope that we will be on the July or August agenda for the public hearing. If there are no protests within 30 days following the hearing, we will be ready to lift the building permits.

The plans for all the additions are essentially complete. A few changes were identified during our weekend retreat at Albion . These need to be incorporated and then we are ready for plan checks. We can request an early plan check so that we can lift the building permits immediately after receiving our Coastal Development Permit from the County.

Please understand that we are trying to push this along as quickly as possible.

Background Information
When we purchased the 3.5 acre parcel up river about a year and a half ago, a boat barn in disrepair was standing on the property. Since then, several large storms have reduced it to a pile of rubble. We do have the ability to rebuild the barn in that location but the agencies are urging us to relocate it out of the freshwater marsh which is next to the river. If we do that, there is room for it to be adjacent to the lab building. The government agencies seem to like that option better. If we decide to relocate it, we need to get this in the Mendocino County report and on the agenda with the rest of the items we are planning to do.

Gibby Muth met with the engineer and the Mendocino Planning Department representative on Monday, May, 16. As a result of this meeting, a formal request has been submitted to the county for relocating the barn. Plans for the culvert and driveway that will cross the creek are being prepared by the engineer. As soon as these plans are prepared they will be forwarded to the county.

Help! Help! Help!
At present, we need volunteer help at Albion . During the month of April, Jerry Hetzer, Don and Elaine Halenz and Gibby Muth loaded three dumpsters of trash from the new property. In the process we pulled the old boats out of the mud that had been abandoned there from the previous owner and cleaned up the old garbage dump. There are a couple more dumpsters of cleanup left to do. We need help with that in early June.

Furthermore, the Boston Whaler (now 30 years old) needs some fiberglass repair to the bottom. We could use help with that as soon as possible. If you can help with either of these projects, call and tell Dave Wiebe at Albion or e-mail him at albion@puc.edu. Finally, we have quite a wood pile that needs splitting and stacking inside the woodshed. We have a splitter so this isn't splitting by hand and should go faster.

Web Site
Robert and Cathleen Ordóñez are working on the basic design, and the website will be unveiled in mid-June. In the meantime, if you did not receive this first edition of the newsletter via e-mail from newsletter@friendsofalbion.org, please send us your e-mail address so we can stay in touch with you electronically (it is not only much faster, but it helps us save on postage too).

The website will be interactive, providing you with information on the latest progress at Albion , but also allowing you to share your ideas.  You will be able to let us know how you'd like to help Albion , whether your gift is cooking, landscaping, carpentry, or just lending a helping hand wherever it is needed.  There will also be a place for groups such as the avid birdwatchers to share ideas, news, notes and pictures.  And of course, we'll have a calendar of upcoming events, and notify you of work bees and the type of help needed for various projects.

We welcome any and all suggestions for making the website a lively hub of activity and information—just send your ideas to webmaster@friendsofalbion.org!

A Bright Future for Albion … (keep us in your prayers)

Coastal Commission OK
We have just received a letter of approval from the California Coastal Commission for putting in the required 5000 gallon septic tank and new connecting sewer lines as well as taking some of the overhead electrical lines and putting them underground. This is all in preparation for adding the restrooms to the cabins.

The last hurdle is the required public hearing for the restroom addition by Mendocino County. Currently this hearing is scheduled for September 22, 2005. If there are no significant protests at this public hearing, Mendocino County will issue our building permits within a month of the hearing. This coming week, we will be double-checking all the building plans. After Dale Withers, at Plant Services, makes the necessary modifications in the building plans, we will submit them for an "early plan check." By requesting an early plan check we can be already to lift the building permits as soon as the public hearing process is completed.

If everything goes as planned, we will be able to begin work on the underground phase of the project sometime in September or October. As the time gets closer and things develop we will keep you informed via this newsletter.

Thanks to Heidi Lukowicz
Heidi, the new PUC web designer for Public Relations designed this E-mail template for us. She has done a really fine job and I personally want to thank her for her hard work. With her effort, we can send out newsletters that we can be proud of and that represents PUC and Albion. We will also be putting these newletters on our web site so that you may refer back to them or if you are having difficulty receiving them with your E-mail it will be possible to view them online.

Names for Friends of Albion List
We need to know all the Friends of Albion. Please send names of people you know that would like to be included. If they have an E-mail address, include that as well as their home address and telephone number. If you don't have all that information at your fingertips send as much as you can. We have ways of finding people whose names you send to us! Send an E-mail to gmuth@puc.edu or send the information to me by regular mail at Gilbert Muth, 305 Sky Oaks Drive, Angwin, CA 94508.

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