Fallbrook, CA Tidbits: A-G

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Angel Society

The Angel Society began in 1978 to raise funds for local causes. As of 5/25/00, $1,289,917 has been donated. From March, 1999 through April, 2000, $133,475 was donated, in amounts of $200 to $13,500 to 43 different organizations. The largest grants were as follows:

OrganizationAmount ($)
Fallbrook Land Conservancy13,500
Fallbrook Boys/Girls Club10,000
Parents as Teachers10,000
AAUW Scholarships9,000
Canine Companions5,000
Fallbrook Community Project5,000
No. County Council on Aging5,000
Art & Cultural Center4,500
Fallbrook Music Society4,000
People to People4,000
Santa's Toy Project4,000

Most of the smaller grants went to various school organizations.

The organization raises the money for donations from:

Source: VN 6/1/00, A1, A18.


Avocados are a $350 million crop in California, which grows most of the nation's avocados (there are a few groves in Florida). There are about 58,000 groves south of Monterey, down from an estimated 80,000 groves 65 years ago.

San Diego County grows half of all California's crop, accounting for $122 million of San Diego County's $1 billion agricultural industry in 1997.

Fallbrook has 1,000 growers with an average of 12 acres apiece, ranging from 2-3 acres to very large groves. Del Rey Avocado Co. at 1260 S. Main St. and McDaniels Packing Plant in Fallbrook each process about $20 million worth of avocados each year, which presumably is the price that the packing companies get for the avocados, which must be somewhat more than the growers get.

Valencia Citrus groves gross at maximum $2,800 an acre before water, labor and interest costs (NCT 4/26/98, with correction on 4/28/98, D2). Hence if the gross is about the same for avocados, an average Fallbrook farmer with 12 acres would gross $34,000, which probably nets less than $10,000 after expenses. This number would imply a gross of $34 million for Fallbrook's 1,000 growers, comfortably under the $40 million wholesale value processed by the packing companies.

Sources: NCT 4/15/98, B2; SDUT 4/16/98, B2.

Beech Street Park

The Fallbrook Village Association purchased the land and built Beech Street park, at the corner of Mission Road and Beech Street, in 1994 through local contributions and a federal Housing and Urban Development grant. The Fallbrook Public Utility District agreed to provide free water, and East Brothers Landscaping Co. agreed to donate labor to keep the site trimmed and watered.

Source: NCT 7/11/99, B1.

Dirt Berms on West Side of Winterhaven Road At Havencrest Lane, and the Accident Rate at Sharp Curves on Roads

If you drive west on Winterhaven Road from Green Canyon Road, you notice several 3-4' high dirt berms at 1325 Winterhaven that appear in front of you as Winterhaven makes the turn north to join Brooke. In 1997, fresh dirt was dumped there to increase the size of the berms and make new ones. If you're like me, you wonder "why?".

I stopped and asked that question of Dale Miller, a sprightly elderly gentleman with a wide-brimmed hat who was out in the dead heat of summer shoveling the dirt. He told me that in early 1997, for the fifth time in 12 years he has lived there, a driver failed to negotiate the Winterhaven curve at night, went over two of his major berms, crashed through his dog fence, and ended up feet away from his bedroom. He was determined to make sure, once again, that this feat was not repeated, and hence was raising the berms.

Alta Vista Drive has a similar hazard for drivers headed north down the hill from Acacia Lane. Alta Vista makes a dead-90° right turn at the bottom of that hill, and Bob and Boots Walrath live in the house at 2893 Alta Vista Drive where the errant drivers end up. They have witnessed 10 drivers in 17 years who failed to make that turn and ended up on their property or knocking down the power pole at that corner. It's interesting to note that only 5 of those 10 accidents were reported to the police, implying that reported rates for such accident are a factor of two too low.

Boots and Bob have tried to protect their property by placing metal barriers on their property next to the Alta Vista right-of-way. However, they weren't really protected until the county installed a serious railing in 1997. I've been told that the property owner on the southeast corner of that intersection has offered to donate part of his property to the county so that they could remove this road hazard, but nothing has come of it.

The statistics from both properties are consistent, and lead to the best estimate of one accident every two years for similar hazards.

Black Flies (Buffalo Gnats)

Cable TV

Daniel's Cablevision serves a 59,000 home area, including Fallbrook. Cox is the biggest San Diego cable company, with 482,086 homes. Southwestern is next with 205,000 homes.

Camp Pendleton Booms

North San Diego County doesn't have many earthquakes, so for similar entertainment depends on the explosions at Camp Pendleton. For a period of several days every month or so, Camp Pendleton sets off some really big fireworks that can be heard as far as 50 miles away normally, and even farther in the humid conditions caused by low coastal clouds.

Camp Pendleton is a large place, and different parts of the base are the source of the booms at different times. For example, amphibious exercises (storming the beach) occur at the coast, and hence those booms are felt most at Oceanside and San Onofre. In the following, I have simply assumed the booms to come from the center of Camp Pendleton.

A 50 mile radius from Camp Pendleton covers a lot of ground, to Long Beach, Whittier, Pomona, Ontario, Riverside, Redlands, Santee and downtown San Diego, but presumably the booms are only faint remnants at that distance.

At a 30 mile radius, to Newport Beach, Irvine, Corona, Escondido and Solana Beach, the booms ought to be noticeable.

At a 20 mile radius, to Carlsbad, Vista, Rainbow, Temecula, Murrieta, Lake Elsinore, El Toro and Laguna Beach, residents probably know whenever the Pendleton folks are having fun.

Finally, at a 10-15 mile radius, residents of Fallbrook, Bonsall, Oceanside and San Clemente get special enjoyment out of the booms. Sometimes the booms are like the very first part of an earthquake, but unfortunately that's all there is, so there's none of the excitement of a good earthquake. Occasionally a boom is large enough to rattle windows, and one wonders just what the explosion was like at the source.

However, note that the location, type of explosive and atmospheric conditions are crucial as to whether a given location hears any booms at all. Many times booms are reported to have been heard from locations other than Fallbrook and I have not heard any booms at all. See Temperature Inversions & Sound Propagation for an explanation of why places farther from Camp Pendleton than Fallbrook could occasionally hear booms not heard in Fallbrook.

Here are examples of what the sources of booms can be and at what times of day they can be heard:

Camp Pendleton Buildings

It amazed me the first time I went into Camp Pendleton that many of the buildings are old and extremely run-down. The Defense Department purchased Rancho Santa Margarita in 1942, and built many of the currently-used buildings in the 1940s. Due to a clear lack of money to maintain the buildings, most of these buildings not only look their age, but have very aged paint jobs that are far beyond the "peeling-paint" stage.

Brian Janey, president of the local Federal Fire Fighters Association, said that "many of Camp Pendleton's 10 fire stations are old, unstable and inadequate to serve the 125,000 Marine Corps base". Col. Wayne Spencer, assistant chief of staff of facilities, said "The fire stations are like about half of our 4,000 buildings".

Source: personal observation in early 1999; NCT 5/29/99, B1, B6.

Center for Natural Lands Management

Christmas in Fallbrook

Curfews for minors in local area

Deer in Fallbrook

We don't have any. Despite being rural, and having deer at the neighboring Camp Pendleton and the Santa Rosa Plateau, none have been sighted for the last decade or so.

Deer used to be present in Fallbrook and at the Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, but it is thought that increasing human presence along the Santa Margarita River and in De Luz cut off the local area from the neighboring areas with large deer populations.

Source: Robert Fisher, USGS / SDSU (expert on wildlife habitat), talk at Santa Margarita Ecological Reserve, 7/30/00.

Update October 2001: a few deer have been sighted in Rainbow recently. Stay tuned to see if they are just passing through or will stay a while.

Definition of North San Diego County

Dog Laws

Rabies Vaccination and Dog License Requirements. See Rabies Vaccination and Dog License Requirements.

Leash Law. Dogs are not allowed to roam freely anyplace in San Diego County except for a few designated leash-free areas. Owners must keep their dogs "restrained within an enclosure or by a leash". See San Diego County Restraint and Leash Law: "Dogs must be controlled by a leash whenever they are taken to public property or any private property open to the public."

Riverside County has a similar policy, as do most counties in Southern California.

To have a loose dog picked up, call the North County Animal Control Shelter, 2481 Palomar Airport Rd, Carlsbad, CA 92009-1531, at 760.438.2312 or 760.746.7307.

Annoying Dog Barking. If you think that a dog is barking due to "pain or suffering or other distress", call San Diego County Animal Control's 24-hour emergency number at (760) 438-1460. All other barking problems are covered by noise codes, enforced by the County's Planning and Land Use Noise Control at (858) 694-3741.

Fenton Pala Sand Mine

Gasoline pumps at new ARCO station

The pumps at the new ARCO station at Main and Ammunition are indeed vapor-recovery pumps. The owners spent extra on them to get a much better system that has two small tubes inside the nozzle which recover the gasoline vapor. (By the way, the vapor recovery program has been immensely successful at removing large amounts of hydrocarbons from the air, thus reducing smog, which is a problem throughout Southern California, not just in L.A.)

Main Street Gas has now also obtained the same pumps.


(Wild) Grape Named For Gird; Type Specimen From Fallbrook

The wild grape species that grows in riparian areas throughout Southern California was named for Henry Harrison Gird, also the namesake of Gird Road in Fallbrook. The Latin Name is Vitus girdiana.

When a plant is named, a pressed plant is designated as the Type Specimen for that name, and stored in a plant mausoleum called a herbarium. The type specimen for Vitus girdiana is possibly from the Fallbrook home of Gird, Rancho Monserate (Abrams gives San Diego County as the location). Unfortunately, I don't know for sure where that specimen is stored, but it is possibly in Texas, since the person who named the species lived there.

See Michael Charter's California Plant Names: Latin Name Meanings and Derivations: girdiana.

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Copyright © 1997-2005 by Tom Chester.
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Last update: 11 January 2005.