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Rare Whale Birth Caught on Camera Off San Clemente Coast

Whale watchers aboard a vessel off the coast of Dana Point obviously hoped to see whales or dolphins, but instead they caught the show of a lifetime when a rare false killer whale gave birth.

Passengers on Captain Dave's Dolphin and Whale Safari were awe-struck when right beside their vessel, a false killer whale gave birth to a newborn calf.

Captain Dave Anderson said the Pseudorca bumped against their boat before a burst of blood gave way to the baby whale by pushing it to the surface multiple times, Anderson said.

The false killer whale is the largest member of the dolphin family, according to National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

False killer whales were discovered from fossils, and researchers didn't know they still existed until 15 years after the fossils were found, according to NOAA.

Esperanza’s Osborn set O.C. records

SAN CLEMENTE – Personal records are set nearly every time a track and field competition is held. Orange County records? Not so much, but two fell at the Triton Invitational on Saturday at San Clemente High.

Canyon’s Rachel Baxter defeated Santa Margarita’s Kaitlyn Merritt (now at Stanford) in the the girls pole vault for the first time at last year's Orange County Championships. On Saturday, she eclipsed Merritt for good.

Baxter jumped 13 feet, 10 inches, surpassing Merritt’s county record of 13-9. Baxter also set a national age-group record for 16-year-olds.

“It’s unbelievable,” Baxter said. “It really hasn’t sunk in yet because it felt like such an easy bar. It just doesn’t seem true.”

Esperanza’s Bronson Osborn extended his county record for the shot put to 70 feet, 4½ inches. He first broke the county mark, which had been held for 31 years by Capistrano Valley’s Brian Blutreich (69-6½), with a 70-foot heave in the Corona Relays on Feb. 27.

Baxter and Osborn both lead the nation in their events.

Osborn said breaking the O.C. record the first time was more of a shock for him.

“When I did that, it was like breaking a mental barrier,” Osborn said of breaking 70 feet. “It was a good feeling when I first did that. Now, it’s just the same feeling as getting a (personal record).”

After clearing 13-10, Baxter took aim at the state record. She made three attempts at 14-2, which would have bested the state record of 14-1, set by Tori Anthony (Castilleja of Palo Alto) in 2007.

Baxter nearly had the state record, but she barely grazed the bar on her second try.

“I didn’t realize how close I was until watching the video,” Baxter said of her attempt at 14-2. “It felt pretty close. Just knowing that it didn’t seem super high when I was jumping it, it does seem possible. It feels like I can do it within this year and then go for the national record.”

Osborn credited Esperanza throws coach Bill Pendleton for putting him and his teammates on a path for success.

The Aztecs have produced one of the most accomplished  throws squads, with six athletes topping 150 feet in the discus. The others to reach the mark are Clint MeyerJordan AmmannSteve MacielPatrick Campos and JP Ross-Tupper.

“Coach Pendleton is definitely the reason why we have so many good throwers,” Osborn said. “He runs a good program. It’s very disciplined, and he’s got his system down. I’ve learned from him how to be successful.”




The talented son of a former BYU star has committed to the Cougars.

Isaac Rex, 6-foot-4, 225-pound tight end prospect out of San Clemente High School in San Clemente, CA has committed to play for BYU. Rex received his offer from BYU back on February 19th and let BYU's coaches know he intends to be a Cougar a month later.

Rex's father, Byron, played for BYU in the early 90s and is a part of the Cougars rich tradition at the tight end position. No doubt BYU offensive coordinator Ty Detmer is hoping the younger Rex can help the Cougars as he seeks to revitalize that tradition. The elder Rex caught 38 passes from Detmer in 1991 for 547 yards and two TDs.

BYU is the only offer to this point, but he has received interest from a number of Mountain West and Pac-12 schools including Oregon State, UCLA, Utah, and Utah State. The Cougars' old coaching staff in Virginia also shown interest in Rex.

Rex has not received a 247sports composite rating, but has been rated a three-star prospect by Scout. He plays both tight end and linebacker for San Clemente. His size and good hands should make him a threat in the passing game. He moves well for his size and has the frame to add additional bulk if needed. If he holds true to his commitment and ends up at BYU, Rex should be an important part of Detmer's offense in the future.

The International Feel of San Clemente

Those driving south on Interstate 5 to San Diego will know exactly what we mean when we say there just is no more spectacular ocean view than the one you encounter while making your way through San Clemente. On a clear, sunny day, and most of them are, it's hard to keep your eyes on the road as you take in a landscape that includes San Clemente's neatly terraced, palm tree-studded hills and the vast blue ocean with its distant horizon.

These very same views no doubt influenced Richard Nixon in his decision to buy an estate in San Clemente that would become the Western White House during the early 1970s. The president would have Air Force One land at El Toro and then take a Marine helicopter to a San Clemente beach area where he would ride a golf cart the final few yards to his prized estate, La Casa Pacifica.

Today the estate still is there on a bluff overlooking one of California's most pristine beaches, but it's really only possible to get a glimpse of parts of it from the beach below. Just to get in position to view La Casa Pacifica, it's a mile-and-a-half walk from the nearest beach access point at San Clemente State Beach. But what a great mile and a half it is.

The beach, to us, is one of the main attractions of San Clemente — it's possible to walk five miles altogether on a beach that is wide, scenic and, best of all, hardly used. There is no stumbling over other beach-goers as you search for some solitude among the masses. At this beach, there is nothing but solitude along great stretches of sparkling sand where you can plop down anywhere you like, set up your blanket, chairs and cooler and pretend that you're Robinson Crusoe for at least the afternoon.

There of course is a good representation of surfers on any given day along this beach; this is prime territory for those in search of consistent waves. Boogie-boarders too are drawn to the beach to ride a curling surf that, in some places, offers a thrill a minute. But most of the people you see here are simply beach-walkers, enjoying a gentle stroll on wide sand that seems to go on forever.

Seeks funds for San Clemente summer trolley

• Last year, San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point launched free summer trolleys funded by OCTA grants.

• Dana Point's trolley connects with Laguna Beach's longstanding free trolley.

• San Juan Capistrano is seeking an OCTA grant for a new route this summer that would connect to Dana Point's trolley and, thereby, to Laguna's.

• San Clemente council members, who agreed Tuesday to seek OCTA funds for a core trolley route in San Clemente, did not give any indication if or when they might support extending it north to connect with Dana Point's.

• Such a connection would bring visitors into San Clemente and let San Clemente residents ride free to Dana Point, San Juan and Laguna Beach.

City Councilwoman Lori Donchak, who serves on the OCTA board, said 18 cities are competing for trolley grants as OCTA is rearranging bus routes to boost ridership and is planning service cuts in some low-ridership areas. A proposal to eliminate resident-serving San Clemente Routes 191 and 193 will be up for an OCTA board vote Monday at 9 a.m. at OCTA headquarters in Orange.

Brenda Miller, a San Clemente mobility advocate, told the council it doesn’t matter what mix of riders boards the trolleys. “This kind of trolley, I think, benefits residents even if residents don’t use it,” Miller said. She said the last thing residents want is for all the people using San Clemente’s outlet mall to get in their cars and drive to North Beach, downtown or the pier.

“They’re going to want to come to the ocean,” Miller said. “With a trolley like this, they don’t have to get in their car, clog up our parking lots, clog up our roadways, and the people who arrive by Metrolink have an opportunity to take a trolley and see the rest of San Clemente instead of being trapped there at the pier or in North Beach.”

Hamm said the Outlets, which opened in November, is “taking a dive,” not meeting projections, and the trolley should serve residents, not focus on business destinations. He suggested a route inland to Talega and Forster Ranch. City Councilwoman Kathy Ward wanted a route to the south end of town via El Camino Real so residents there can access the trolley.

Artwork brightens 5 street corners in San Clemente

Five San Clemente street corners have a fresh splash of color, thanks to the city’s 2013 public-art program.

On Sunday, artists selected by a jury from the city and the San Clemente Art Association put finishing touches on traffic-signal controller boxes. The public artworks are in addition to five boxes dressed up a year ago in the city’s inaugural effort to brighten up the otherwise drab utilities.

We asked this year’s artists (by location of the boxes) about what inspired their artwork:

• Camino de los Mares (entrance to San Clemente Villas): “In Flight,” by Regina Hurley. “I watch the birds a lot. And then we went on a whale-watching trip and saw a lot of dolphins and we did see a whale. I began sketching with the birds … then went into the idea of them transitioning from dolphins into birds. They are abstract forms, so it leads to the imagination, as well as the spirit of it.”

• Calle del Cerro (lower intersection with Avenida Vista Montana): “Sunset at Trestles,” by Ashley Keene. “I’ve lived around here my whole life and I go down to walks at the pier and the beach. I just love painting at the beach. It just seemed like the perfect sketch to do … it’s just that peacefulness. It’s Trestles, or the Cotton’s Point area.”

• Avenida Pico (at Calle del Cerro): “Sunset Dinner,” by Mike Ravetti. “The city wanted to have something that is unique about San Clemente. When I thought about the sunset and the pier and bright color and just kind of that relaxed feel, the pelican that I thought would be a great idea with the sunset and the pier in the background.

• Avenida Palizada (at Avenida de la Estrella): “SC Classic View,” by Meghann Nelsen. “The Classic Car Show is one of my favorite events in San Clemente. The pier and the sunset is another classic scene from San Clemente. So I just combined some of my favorite scenes.”

• El Camino Real (at Avenida Mariposa): “Buried in Nature,” by Josh Barnes. “I’ve just grown up in San Clemente. Growing up as a kid, I remember seeing VW bugs with the surfboards on top and I just loved it.”


It will be up to the City Council to decide whether to fund another round of the street-art program next year. This year’s was budgeted at $5,500.

“I sure hope we do more next year,” Councilwoman Lori Donchak said. “It’s gotten a really great reaction. I cannot see why we would not do another round.”

Donchak was out interviewing the artists Sunday for an episode of “Around Town,” the city’s TV show. It could begin showing in three to four weeks on Cox cable Channel 3 and the city’s website

Train Service Stopped, Pedestrian Beach Access Limited This Weekend

Train Service Stopped, Pedestrian Beach Access Limited This Weekend
Find out where walking to the beach may be difficult.

Getting across the tracks to the beaches in San Clemente may be harder this weekend. Patch file photo.
Getting across the tracks to the beaches in San Clemente may be harder this weekend. Patch file photo.
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Train service is cancelled this weekend in San Clemente and beach trail access will be limited so that workers can continue to make safety enhancements at the pedestrian railroad crossings along the Coastal Trail.

To meet state and federal safety standards and ensure residents and visitors are safe while crossing the railroad tracks , the city is teaming up with the Orange County Transportation Authority to improve the crossings to include wider paved areas, new fencing, additional crossing gate arms, improved signs and installation of electrical conduit, according to a city press release.

Again this weekend, because of the construction, there will be limited trail access and no train service in San Clemente.

Specific locations for construction work this Saturday are as follows:

El Portal – civil work (concrete, etc.) – crossing will be closed as needed
T Street – civil work (concrete, etc.) – crossing will be closed as needed
Corto – full track work – crossing will be closed 1 a.m. Saturday morning to 7 a.m. Sunday morning. The Linda Lane tunnel will be used as a detour and there will be detour signs for both directions along the trail.
Calafia – full track work – crossing will be closed 1 a.m. Saturday morning to 7 a.m. Sunday morning. The Montalvo undercrossing will be used as a detour and there will be detour signs for both directions along the trail.
Work will occur during the daytime and at night during the week at various locations over varying time frames from now until Dec. 31, 2013 with no full closures of the crossings unless coordinated prior to start dates, according to the release.