Jury Trial set for Brian Cleveland Dunn case
What Happened: Brian Cleveland Dunn, a county contractor accused of mishandling funds, is finally scheduled to have his day in court. Dunn appeared in Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana for an arraignment hearing on July 7. The judge and attorney agreed to put a jury trial date on the calendar for late September, almost 11 months after his first court appearance late last year. Dunn waived his preliminary hearing on June 26 and returned to court almost two weeks later to set his trial date. He is accused of falsifying about $130,000 in county invoices and embezzling more than $400,000 from a company credit card. Dunn is facing a maximum sentence of 11 years, four months in state prison.
What’s On Tap: Dunn’s jury trial is scheduled for Sept. 22 and will be held in Department C5 of Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana. A pre-trial hearing is set for July 28.
County to allow recreational boating at Puddingstone Reservoir through 2020
What Happened: An annual lease extension between Frank G. Bonelli Regional Park and Los Angeles County was approved by the Board of Supervisors on July 7, meaning recreational activities will be allowed to continue at the open space in San Dimas for another five years. The county will receive $4.9 million from the Los Angeles County Flood Control District to maintain and preserve Bonelli Park’s recreational features, including boating, for the current fiscal year. Bonelli Park is home to Puddingstone Reservoir.
What’s On Tap: Recreational boaters can continue using Puddingstone Reservoir through June 30, 2020.
Coastal Commission reviews Refugio oil spill status
What Happened: Alison Dettmer, a deputy director with the California Coastal Commission, provided commissioners with a status update of the Refugio oil spill on July 8 — 51 days after a pipeline burst near Goleta, California. The Unified Command reported all visible pipeline oil has been removed from the water, allowing ocean cleanup work to be suspended, Dettmer reported.
She added maximum potential release of oil emanating from a ruptured pipeline off the Santa Barbara coast was estimated at 101,000 gallons of oil; about 20 percent (21,000 gallons) of the estimated maximum release was found underwater.
About 14,267 gallons of oily water mixture was collected using skimming boats, Dettmer said.
The state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife allowed fishing to resume late last month across 138 square miles previously closed off Santa Barbara coast, only after it was determined fish caught in the area was safe for consumption.
About 96 percent of the area affected by the pipeline rupture is considered cleaned, according to Dettmer. She added workers are still working in the area closest to the pipeline rupture.
Oil is still not yet flowing in two pipelines (901 and 903) associated with the rupture. Dettmer said Pipeline 901, the ruptured line, could remain shut down for at least four months or as long as two years, depending upon whether it needs to be repaired or replaced. Seven platforms in the area are also offline.
Samples of tar balls found off the South Bay coast near Los Angeles are being analyzed. A sample of tar balls found in Manhattan Beach was determined to be oil from the spill.
What’s On Tap: Federal officials continue to conduct a National Resource Damage Assessment (NRDA) through the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA). The first phase, which focuses on data collection, is already underway. The NRDA process would determine whether compensatory action is required for any damage to natural resources or loss of local recreational uses caused by the oil spill.
NOAA still seeking public input on illegal fishing and seafood fraud action plan
What Happened: The National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA), along with the Department of Commerce and National Ocean Council (NOC), is still seeking public input this month for a presidential task force on combating illegal fishing and seafood fraud. The public input will be factored into the task force’s action plan.
The agencies are “seeking public input on the minimum types of information necessary for an effective seafood traceability program to combat IUU [illegal, unreported and unregulated] fishing and seafood fraud, as well as the operational standards related to collecting, verifying and securing that data,” according to a Federal Register report published July 1.
An action plan was published by the Presidential Task Force on Combating IUU Fishing and Seafood Fraud on March 15.
Visit nmfs.noaa.gov/ia/iuu/taskforce.html to view the entire action plan.
What’s On Tap: The public comment period closes July 31. Visit the Federal Register (1.usa.gov/1CsaE97) for the complete notice.