The Geezer Bandit is Out of Control!!!

I still cannot believe how long this crazy and dangerous man has been at large! Come on cops… you can do it! I believe in you! Catch this man and put him behind bars NOW.

geezer-bandit Via ABC News:

The FBI and police in California are searching for the "geezer bandit," an apparently grey-haired elderly man who has committed armed robberies at 12 banks, the latest on Friday in Bakersfield.

The elderly persona — whether real or donned for the robberies — may be one reason why the bandit has been so successful. "People may think that because of his overall appearance he may not be as threatening," said FBI special agent Darrell Foxworth in San Diego. "But you have to keep in mind that he’s an armed bank robber. And he has threatened tellers with the use of that gun — we have photos where he is actually pointing a gun at a teller."

Foxworth said "witnesses described him as wearing a Halloween-like old man mask. Whether he’s actually an elderly man or someone wearing some type of disguise is something we’re considering as part of the investigation. We have not limited ourselves in any way."

The first 11 robberies in San Diego and Riverside counties share characteristics with Friday’s heist in the town of Bakersfield, according to the FBI. In the first 11 episodes, which took place from August 2009 through June 2010, the robber showed a demand note, asked for cash, pointed a revolver at tellers, and threatened them with a gun if they did not comply.

Old Whale Fossil Found at the San Diego Zoo

whale-in-the-san-diego-zoo There are lots of animals at the San Diego Zoo, but now there is one more: a three million year old whale. Pretty crazy. Check this out:

Via The Christian Science Monitor:

A 3-million-year-old whale has been discovered at the San Diego Zoo.

And this whale wasn’t found by a whaling ship but by some guys wearing hard hats.

A construction crew had been working on a storm water tank at the zoo, and while using an excavator to dig through the fine grain sand they struck something hard.

While whale fossils have been found in this area before, this 24-foot long baleen whale seemed to be remarkably intact and well perserved.

In a San Diego News article, Sarah Siren, a paleontological field manager with the San Diego Natural History Museum said, "It’s rare to have a skeleton this complete."

Other ancient sea fossils have been unearthed in the region, including a 75-million-year-old femur from a duck-billed dinosaur and portions of a 3.5-million-year- old sea cow found in Chula Vista, according to the Los Angeles Times.

After the whale fossil is completely excavated, the remains will be taken to the Balboa Park museum, in San Diego, for further examination and possibly be put on public display.

San Diego Wildfire Now Contained

house-fire-san-diego Kudos to the firefighters for containing the Cowboy Blaze and stopping it from destroying more than it already has.

Via Mercury News:

Firefighters have surrounded an 827 acre wildfire in a remote area east of San Diego.

The California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection says the so-called Cowboy blaze, which started Thursday in dense thickets of brush, was contained at dusk Monday. The burn area between Campo and Potrero is about 50 miles east of San Diego.

No structures burned and there were no injuries.

The cause is still under investigation.

San Diego Educational System Changing

san-diego-education From what I’ve read already, this is going to be a good change and will hopefully increase the quality of education our young San Diegans get.

Via EMILY ALPERT at Voice of San Diego:

Education Week takes a big picture look at how the new reform plans in San Diego Unified differ from the controversial changes under former Superintendent Alan Bersin — and how those reforms fared in a recent study.

The weekly takes San Diego as an example to be learned from for reformers across the country. Here’s a quote from one expert it used in the story:

"One way to read the San Diego experience is, reforms that don’t have a local constituency and are not supported by local advocates and efforts are not likely to stick," said Frederick M. Hess, the director of education policy studies for the American Enterprise Institute think tank. "In many ways, Bersin was a test case for how much you can force a school district to change. That’s just an enormous cautionary note when we hear [U.S. Secretary of Education Arne] Duncan talk about how we’re going to drive reform and what these superintendents are going to be able to accomplish."

Want more? Here’s our latest piece on the new reforms and what they could mean for schools. And don’t forget our blog post on a new study of the Bersin reforms.

Museum Trying to Obtain Space Shuttle

space-ship I’m not a huge fan of the museum, but this would definitely entice me enough to actually go check it out again.

Via Sign on San Diego:

The San Diego Air & Space Museum wants to snag one of the space shuttles that NASA is parting with.

As the saying goes, though, “Houston, we have a problem.” Actually, the museum faces several problems: The shuttle’s price tag is $29 million, and just a few years ago, the Balboa Park-based museum was operating in the red. The facility also isn’t big enough to house the shuttle, so the signature showpiece would have to be displayed somewhere else.

And competition for the orbiters is steep. About 20 other museums across the country, including ones in New York City and Los Angeles, are gunning for the three available shuttles.

Still …

“You have to throw your hat into the ring,” said Jim Kidrick, president and CEO of the San Diego Air & Space Museum. “It would be the cornerstone for something truly great. In my opinion, it’s better than the football stadium.”

Funding would have to come from people willing to bring something this special to San Diego, he said. A shuttle represents the best of humanity’s technology, he noted, and there are local residents who have amassed great fortunes thanks to their technological innovation. There also are aerospace companies with ties to San Diego that may be interested in helping.

Kidrick is forming a team that will work to spur interest and investment in the project. “We’re in the explorative stage,” he said.

Read the rest of the article about the space ship here.

San Diego Making Health a Priority

health This sounds like it’s going to be a great use of the money from the recovery act. Increasing the health of our citizens will help out with all kinds of things and being healthy is always a good thing.

Via California Healthline:

Bolstered by one of the largest American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants in the country, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors in July approved a 10-year plan to improve the health of San Diegans.

Taking aim at childhood obesity and preventable deaths resulting from heart and respiratory conditions, diabetes and cancer, the county Health and Human Services Agency will implement policies to help communities improve nutrition, increase physical activity and reduce tobacco use. The $16.1 million dollar federal grant will support this effort.

Although the county’s public health overhaul is in line with the goals of the federal health reform law, plans were well under way here before it was clear that legislation would pass, according to HHSA Director Nick Macchione. Beginning in 2008, HHSA embarked on a two-year evaluation of public, physical and behavioral health to determine how "these three big areas tie together in terms of the total health of people we serve and the community," Macchione said. 

HHSA currently serves approximately 500,000 people annually through the combination of health and social services programs, making it one of the largest such agencies in the country.

Apple Moths are Attacking San Diego!

Exposure: 000 : 00 : 00 . 004 : 532

Gain: 1.000000

%Accumulated%=0 Well… they are attacking the agriculture business in San Diego. Not very exciting, but interesting. These things are apparently pretty nasty and are probably gonna cause millions of dollars in damage. Yikes.

Via Greenhouse Magazine:

Four adult light brown apple moths (Epiphyas postvittana Walker) have been discovered in a trap set 1 mile east of San Diego’s Balboa Park. The discovery will trigger a state “interior” quarantine of 1.5 miles around the site and a subsequent federal quarantine that could cover the rest of the county.

Calif. Dept. of Food and Agriculture and USDA have placed an additional 300 traps in the 9 square miles surrounding, the find site. San Diego County Agricultural Commission Robert Atkins said the public could help by not moving any plants or produce and by allowing traps to be placed on their property. The county has had 1,000 traps in urban areas of San Diego County since April 2007.

Native to Australia, the moth, which does not have any natural enemies and is considered invasive, has been found in other parts of the state. The larvae feed on the leaves and fruit of more than 2,000 plants including ornamental plants such as rose, chrysanthemum, dahlia, and trees including oak, willow, poplar and walnut.

The county is conducting a survey of growers to determine the impact the quarantine will have on San Diego agricultural producers. An informational meeting for San Diego growers and farmers will be held on Aug. 10 in Fallbrook, Calif.