Article from the 1/22/2016 Catalina Islander

Since I became "Catalina's Official Greeter", March 10, 2014, when the Chamber Of Commerce assigned me to greet the cruise ships and cross channel boats, I have answered, 41,937 questions.
These are some of the more interesting/unusual questions/comments I have received:
"Do some of your local firemen strip in your clubs?"
"Is Catalina sinking?"
Complaining to the Catalina Express ticket agents, "I want a bigger, faster boat!"
"Where do people 'cliff dive'?"
"The 'Green Pier' is "teal" NOT 'green'!"

I have decided to write my Catalina book once I reach the 50,000 mark.  It will contain approximately 25 chapter and each chapter will have five interesting/unusual questions/comments that I have had to deal with, a story of what life was like on Catalina, seen from my perspective, and a bit of remarkable trivia about the Island.
I would like to conduct a little contest to see who can come the closest to predicting when I will receive my 50,000 question/comment.  If you would like to guess, I will need a date and a time of the day.  To help you out, you can see how many questions I have already answered and the length of time it took to answer them.
I am presently only  working cruise ship days, which are "normally" on Monday and Tuesday, and I only work from 7:30-11:30 a.m.  I will be working Friday-Tuesday during Easter Weekend and Memorial Weekend.   I will be working this full-time schedule on a weekly basis throughout the summer, starting June 14 and ending Labor Day Weekend.
Simply send me an email, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your guess.  EVERYONE who submits a guess will receive a free copy and the winner will receive 10 copies.  The ending date for submissions will be January 31, 2016.


I am becoming quite accustomed to being asked "Why do you live on Catalina?"  I return their question with my own, "Why do you visit Catalina?"  They usually say something along the lines that this is their "favorite" vacation spot or they just love to "get away" from all of the craziness on the Mainland.  I then ask "When was it decided that you have to live where you don't want to be and ONLY go to places you like for vacations?  Is it crazy to imagine living where you LOVE to be?"  On my tours, I often ask the visitors to conduct a little experiment.  "When you go home to wherever in the world you live.  Turn on your evening or late news broadcast and pretend that you are watching this from a hotel/motel room in a location you have never been before.  After watching all of the horrible and disturbing news, ask yourself 'Would I like to live here?'  I think you will experience a different perspective of what life is like in your home town.  We get very limited local news, but are bombarded with news from all over the world.  After waking up to 'hit and run' killings, shootings, arson, rioting, political corruption, etc., we Islanders are VERY CONTENT to live our lives on this rock!"
I started a list of what makes life on Catalina so special and here are just some of the ones I came up with (now, I realize that I work for the Chamber Of Commerce and so might be expected to see life through "rose colored glasses", but what I have come up with are things that I have noticed LONG before I became the "Official Catalina Greeter".).  Our temperature rarely goes below 60 degrees in the winter or over 80 degrees in the summer.  Our only crimes being committed have to do with stealing golf carts, being drunk and disorderly, and our kids, unfortunately, turning to drugs. No stabbings, drive by shootings, bank robberies, kidnapping, murder, etc.  Elderly people are free and safe to walk our streets 24/7 without the worry of being mugged or violated. We live in a very healthy atmosphere.  The stress level is much less here (I often tell people standing in line to get on the cross channel boats on the mainland to start "chilling out" now, as they will find a MUCH SLOWER PACED life style when they get off the boat).  We have little or no air or light pollution (you can actually see stars and constellations at night).  We can walk EVERYWHERE and benefit from the exercise we get here that would be prohibitive on the mainland. If we HAVE to drive, golf carts can take the place of cars, in most cases. Kids often play in the streets (I don't recommend this), without worry of being hit by cars.  We don't normally have much wave action in our harbor, so the benefits of swimming most of the year are possible.I have personally known people who have told me that they had recently moved to the Island as their doctors said that because of their heart/lung conditions, they didn't have long to live and so they should decide where they wanted to die.  They chose Catalina.  25 years later, they are healthier and more active and in most cases, outlived their doctors!  We know most of the people living here.  This really came in handy during the May 10, 2007 fire when we had to evacuate 4000 people overnight!  Knowing who was on the mainland, who were unable to flee their homes quickly due to age or physical issues, those who had animals, and those who needed medications, made our quick decisions that much easier.  We are able to wave and say "hi" to people as we walk or drive by them, whether they be Islanders or visitors, and we don't get that blank or disturbed look that we get when we try it on the mainland.  People look out for each other.  Where else would you get calls from neighbors telling you that you forgot to move your car or golf cart on street sweeping days.  I have actually seen people pushing golf carts to the other side of the road just so they wouldn't get a ticket. Often they don't even know who the owners are.   We offer to pick up walkers, known or not, before they even have to indicate they need a right or use their "thumb".  The Conservancy is protecting 88% of the Island so that it can be preserved and enjoyed for posterity.  Protected marine sanctuaries add to this protective mood. We boast endemic animals, birds, plants, trees, and insects that are found ONLY on our Island.  We are blessed with an underground aquifer that maintains most of our trees and plants so that we don't have to utilize our precious fresh water to keep them alive. There is no begging or "panhandling" in Avalon.  Although there are those who have needs, they are often "taken in" or provided with money and food.  Those that have physical or mental issues can live here independently and safely with community caring and assistants.  Because we are one of the few communities on the Pacific Coast that faces East, while most everyone else faces West, we get the most magnificent sunrises.  Even though the sunsets are only seen on the "back side" of the Island, we get the beautiful reflections of the sunset on the glass of the buildings on the mainland and depending on the clouds, we often see FANTASTIC "secondary" sunsets. Our Los Angeles Co. sheriff department here is made up of officers who call us by name and, although they are on duty, meld into our life styles and only respond when needed. Some of the special touches:   Janie Eisenhut plays the chimes for holidays and special occasions.  It is beautiful!  I sometimes forget where I have parked my VW Van and would often go to our "meter maid", Tammie Ripple-Scott, and tell her that I KNEW she must have given me a ticket ($38 then, $42 now) so could she please at least tell me where I am parked so I don't have to go all over town trying to find it.  SHE ALWAYS KNEW EXACTLY WHERE MY VAN WAS!  I know I haven't mentioned EVERY benefit of living on Catalina Island and would appreciate any additional suggestions which I will mention next week.  Send them,This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  O. K. SO I HAVE PRESENTLY A VERY ONE-SIDED CASE FOR HOW WONDER LIFE IS ON CATALINA.  We are hardly a Shangri-La, and so in next week's issue, I will show the "under belly" of the Island so that those thinking of moving here will get a balanced Island report card. If you have any of Catalina's shortcoming that you would like me to share, please send them to me.  I started my "Avalon Historical Walking Tour", through "Tour Catalina" a few days ago and so am getting ready to share my beautiful town with visitors and Islanders alike.  If you would like to join me, click on to: and, if your are an Islander, click on Promo Code "F1F".  If you have any questions, call 310-502-6131 <tel:310-502-6131> .