Fallbrook, CA Tidbits: Q-Z

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Complete Table of Contents For Tidbits


Rabies In Dogs In San Diego County

There have been no cases of dog rabies in San Diego County in the last 30 years, according to the San Diego County Department of Public Health. Source: phone call by Judy Gonsett to the department, 9/13/99. In addition, there were no cases of dog rabies in the Southwest U.S. in 1996. However, rabies does exist in San Diego County, and just hasn't been often seen in dogs due to the relatively high vaccination rate of our dogs.

Only four humans were infected by rabies in the entire U.S. in 1997, and the incidence of animal rabies is quite low, but not zero, in San Diego County.

See also:


Roof Rules for San Diego County

Effective June 5, 1997, the county will require more fire-resistant roofing materials to be used in new construction and roof replacements. Roofs can be made of clay or concrete tiles, asphalt/fiberglass shingles or metal materials. Treated wood shake shingles are still allowed, but only if they are placed on top of a layer of fire-resistant sheetrock, which will be so expensive that few homeowners are likely to pick them.

Source: SDUT 5/7/97, B10.


Salaries in San Diego County are lower than elsewhere

A 1997 study by the San Diego Employers Association, The National Benefits and Policy Survey, shows that it is indeed true that San Diego County employers pay 5-10% less for the same jobs, with lower benefits. The supports the old adage that San Diego County employers don't have to pay workers as much as they would elsewhere because the quality of life here makes up the difference (which doesn't prove the adage!).

Example: the average wage for a bookkeeper nationally is $25,195, but in San Diego it is $24,672, 2.1% lower, according to the 1997 Geographic Reference Report by the Economic Research Institute in Redmond, Wash.

Only a few industries - telemarketing, biotech and software manufacturing - pay more here than nationally because they're growing so fast they have to attract workers from outside San Diego.

Also, only 57% of San Diego companies offer incentive programs to salaried workers based on individual contributions, compared to 78% nationally. 49% of San Diego companies give two-week vacations to workers after one year of service, compared to 58% nationally.

For $200, you, too, can peruse that survey by calling 619 576 7332.

Source: NCT 5/18/97, D1.


San Diego Aqueduct

Two of the pipelines for the San Diego Aqueduct traverse the Fallbrook area, and are shown on the Fallbrook map and the Thomas Brothers map. They are responsible for the concrete towers that look like smokestacks along its route, which are pressure relief vents. One can be seen just east of the Border Patrol on 395. The two pipes follow the same route from Temecula to just north of where Rainbow Valley Blvd. and 395 meet at their northern intersection. The San Diego Aqueduct continues just east of Rice Canyon through Couser Canyon. The Second San Diego Aqueduct continues along 395 and then continues along the lower part of Ranger Road, Wilt Road, Sumac Road, Sage Road, and Aqueduct Road in Bonsall. You can see the massive pipes of the Aqueduct at Reche Road and Tecolate Drive.

Another concrete tower just east of Red Mountain is probably related to Red Mountain Reservoir. There are also considerable numbers of access pipes at the corner of Mission and Live Oak Road which may also be connected to the Reservoir.

Fallbrook doesn't actually use the Aqueduct to get our water from MWD, but has another direct connection to MWD.

Those vents are of course meant to be used when needed. On 7/9/99, roughly 9,000 gallons of water per minute gushed out of a vent in Rancho Penasquitos for 40 minutes, causing 19" of mud in the back yard of the home of Dan Gonzalez and 4" of mud inside that house, and mud damage to another house. (NCT 7/10/99, B2)


Santa's Toy Project

Santa's Toy Project was started by Opal Langburg in 1987 to distribute toys to needy children who live in Fallbrook. In 1998, its 12th year, 2,500 toys and other gifts were given to ~2,000 children in 550 families, not counting the "extra" presents given to children who see Santa delivering the gifts to others. Every student at all of Fallbrook's elementary schools are asked to write letters to Santa requesting a gift, and their teachers select the most needy children to receive the gifts.

The project is currently directed by Mary Fay Pendleton Elementary School Principal Lynne Gilstrap, who has been coordinating the program for ten years. She and her family shop for the gifts and wrapping paper with donated funds, and donate their home for a full week of toy-wrapping. "We take all the furniture out of the living room, and every day from 9-4, people are here wrapping thousands of presents," Gilstrap said.

"We have about a hundred volunteers who help wrap gifts ... the Key Club Girls, the Rainbow Girls, a Boy Scout troop, Coldwell Banker employees, members of the Kiwanis and Rotary Clubs, and schoolteachers. Last year we had 35 bikes in boxes, and my son and two high school boys spent three days putting them together."

All toys and donations collected in Fallbrook by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots go directly to Fallbrook's Toy Project. There were 8 truck loads of toys from Camp Pendleton. After they were all wrapped, they filled a 90 passenger school bus to the roof!

On 24 December, all of the toys are sorted by address at Fallbrook Street School, and about 15 Santas in red suits deliver the gifts. Mike Hill from the North County Fire Department usually delivers gifts in a big, antique firetruck. Extra presents are given to kids who spot Santa making his deliveries. In 1998, the first vehicle left Fallbrook Street School at 9 a.m., and the last Santa returned by 4:30 p.m.

$6,000 was collected in 1997 and the goal for 1998 was $7,000, to accommodate an increase in the number of children at the elementary schools. Although the goal was not quite met, the money was enough to afford 44 bikes and one jeep, which filled a large cargo van.

Tax-deductible donations can be sent to Santa's Toy Project c/o Lynne Gilstrap, 1595 Sycamore Drive, Fallbrook, 92028, or call 760-723-3972. New, unwrapped toys can be dropped in specially marked bins at over 20 locations in Fallbrook.

Source: NCT, 11/26/98, B1, B3; Lynne Gilstrap 12/26/98; VN 12/31/98, 1.


Tar Balls on San Diego County Beaches

Tar balls are droplets of crude oil that are very gooey, and are a seasonal feature of San Diego County Beaches (and probably L.A. beaches as well). They come from natural offshore seeps in the Santa Barbara Channel, and appear during May and June when the ocean currents are just right to bring them here and the water is warm enough so that the tar balls float. You usually have to look pretty hard in order to find them even when they are at their most numerous. However, on 21 May 1997, "light to moderate" concentrations were found along one mile of beach in Pacific Beach between Diamond Street and Santa Clara Place.

Source: Coast Guard in SDUT 5/24/97, B2.


Tourmaline Gems near Fallbrook

Tourmaline is a semi-precious mineral gemstone mined near Fallbrook. San Diego County has more tourmaline deposits than anyplace in the world after Brazil and East Africa.

The foothills of Palomar Mountain have a number of mines, including the famous Tourmaline Queen mine near Pala. In the 1880s, emissaries of the Empress of China came here to purchase her only pink tourmaline, which was highly prized. The Himalaya mine in Mesa Grande, south of Palomar, opened in 1898, has produced more gem tourmaline than any other mine in North America. The LA Museum of Natural History has one of the finest large crystal groups known from this mine.

The Collector sells tourmaline from their own mine, and has books with further information about local mines. Further information can also be obtained from the Fallbrook Gem and Mineral Society.


Tsunamis in North County

No tsunami is known to have hit coastal North County, and local scientists say such an event is possible, but unlikely. According to Bill Van Dorn, a professor emeritus at Scripps Institute of Oceanography, North County is protected from most tsunamis by our 100-mile wide continental shelf, the submarine plain bordering the continent.

The biggest sudden rise in sea level recorded in the San Diego area was 3.5' at the Scripps pier in 1960, caused by one of the largest earthquakes every recorded - a magnitude 9 quake in Chile.

"The only damage was caused by very strong, very unusual currents into and out of San Diego Bay," Van Dorn said. "They carried the San Diego - Coronado ferry up and down the bay and kept it out of service for six hours."

Van Dorn also said that a tsunami due to the Rose Canyon fault off the San Diego Coast is unlikely since the fault is inactive.

The Channel Islands near Santa Barbara help to protect Southern California from tsunamis generated in the northwest, along with the southeast trend of the Southern California coastline. However, it is possible that an earthquake at the Channel Islands could generate a significant tsunami, and we would have only 10 minutes warning.

However, geologist Gerry Kuhn has found a sand fountain in Batiquitos Lagoon, dated as less than 10,000 years old, that may be a tsunami deposit.

Robert Kamphaus, a tsunami expert at NOAO in Seattle, is preparing flood maps based on worst-case scenarios. Maps for San Diego and surrounding counties will be complete by 1999. Also, in late 1998 the state Office of Emergency Services and NOAA will rank what they consider the most likely scenarios for nearshore tsunami generation in Southern California. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is funding Costas Synolakis, a coastal engineer at USC, to make estimates of wave heights, water velocities and inundation patterns along the coast for California.

In northern California, geological evidence shows that large tsunamis occur about every 300 years. "But there is no idea about what happens in Southern California. We just don't have the data", said Rich Eisner, the coastal region administrator for the state Office of Emergency Services.

The lack of data is probably because the events in Southern California are less frequent and less intense, and because extensive development has destroyed evidence of past tsunamis. Of the 15 locally generated tsunamis in California since 1812, only two have occurred in Southern California, and only one in San Diego. The San Diego event occurred in 1862, and "strange waves" were seen in San Diego Bay, which may have been due to a large landslide on Point Loma.

A 1986 5.4 magnitude quake 32 miles to the west-southwest of Oceanside generated no measurable water disturbance.

Sources: NCT 7/21/98, A1, A5; NCT 8/23/98, A1, A7.


Vessels Stallion Farm

Vessels Stallion Farm began in 1985 on 2000 acres in Bonsall along the San Luis Rey River. Owned by Scoop and Bonnie Vessels, the Farm is noted for the horses it breeds for Quarter Horse racing. In 3/00, it received the Breeder of the Year award from the American Quarter Horse Association, after 19 of the 36 horses it bred won 45 of 201 races in 1999. The horses won a combined $919,286, and 16 were nominated for the 1999 AQHA awards.

100 Vessels-owned broodmares live at the farm, among about 400 year-round residents. 200 horses are born at the Farm annually.

In addition, the farm has one of the oldest avocado groves in the country, a citrus orchard and a commercial flower and vegetable garden, including tomatoes, zucchinis and strawberries.

Frank "Scoop" Vessels III established the original Vessels Stallion Farm in Orange County, and built the Los Alamitos Race Course, with Frank Jr. taking over the business when his father died. He sold the properties in 1984 to buy 2800 acres in Bonsall.

Source: VN 4/13/00, A20, A16.


Water quality of Fallbrook and most of San Diego County

Over 90% of the water of Fallbrook comes from the Metropolitan Water District (MWD). All of the water supplied to San Diego County comes from Lake Skinner in Riverside County. 83% of the Lake Skinner MWD water comes from the Colorado River, which is very high in salts and dissolved chemicals, as is expected for water coming from the end of a river in an arid climate. The other 17% comes from the State Water Project, which means northern California.

A detailed water quality report is provided by the MWD every year. Probably the most important parameter is the hardness of the water, the amount of dissolved salts, which is 17-18 grains per gallon (equals 272 mg/l of CaCO3), which is 50% above the point at which water is classified as extremely hard! For example, our Maytag dishwasher manual recommends the use of one teaspoon of detergent for each grain of water hardness, and gives the rating of "hard" to 9-12 grains per gallon! It also says: "If water is 15 grains or harder, it will be virtually impossible to get good results with any dishwasher. The only solution is a mechanical water softener to improve water quality." However, we seem to get pretty good results using the maximum amount of detergent that the dishwasher cup will hold, but do need to rinse the dishwasher with vinegar once a month to remove the hard water deposits. (Put a half cup of vinegar in the dishwasher by pouring some over the lower arm and splashing the rest about, then run the rinse and hold cycle with the dishwasher empty.)

See also tips on doing laundry in hard water (but ignore the typos caused by a lack of proof-reading a scanned document!).

The other quality of interest is the fluoride level, since fluoride concentrations are directly related to how much tooth-decay there is in a community. Unfortunately, our fluoride level is only 0.21 mg/l = 0.21 ppm, compared to the recommended level of 0.7-1.2 mg/l = 0.7-1.2 ppm. Thus parents should supplement their children's diet with fluoride at these rates to grow strong teeth. Perhaps someday FPUD will fluoridate our water to prevent cavities in the most painless way possible, since the number of people who believe that fluoridation is a "communist plot" is probably small.

Rainbow Water District has published the complete Water Quality Report.


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Copyright © 1997-2001 by Tom Chester.
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Comments and feedback: Tom Chester
Last update: 10 February 2001.