HBport0426 (ran 4-26-01)

Navy to return to HB in August

by Robb Fulcher

The Navy frigates USS McClusky and USS Sides will steam into the waters off Hermosa Beach on Friday, Aug. 10 for a weekend visit ,marking the town’s third naval port-of-call in a year. The recent spate of visits by the Navy comes after a 72-year absence.

The three-day visit in August is planned to coincide with the fifth annual Aloha Days Longboard Surf Contest and Hawaiian Festival, city officials said. The city council on Tuesday agreed to expand the music and dancing portion of the festival to a second day on the Pier Plaza promenade.

Some council members questioned whether the event should occupy the restaurant-lined Pier Plaza for two days, especially in future years when a naval visit does not dovetail with the festival. Mayor John Bowler declared himself unequivocally in favor of the expansion, and chided fellow council members.

"I would say this is exactly the kind of event we want," he said. "It’s just on [the Plaza] and down at the water for the surf competition. It doesn’t affect anyone. We’re getting to be such a bunch of knee-jerks up here. We’re terrified of everything…This is Hermosa Beach for goodness sake."

In January two other frigates, the 445-foot long USS Wadsworth and the 453-foot long USS Curts, rolled at anchor off the city pier for a weekend while nearly 400 Navy enlistees enjoyed liberty on shore.

Civilians gazed at the frigates from the Hermosa Beach Pier and the shore, but any hope of touring the vessels was washed away by high seas that prevented boats from ferrying people to and from the big ships.

Before that visit, the 563-foot destroyer USS Elliot steamed into Hermosa last October, marking the first Navy ship to visit the city in seven decades.

About 1,800 people used an officially sanctioned shuttle boat to tour Elliot, while others went aboard as guests of the sailors, and uncounted numbers used everything from kayaks to paddleboards to swimming strokes to get to the ship.

City’s growing history

In other matters, the council approved an expansion of the Hermosa Beach Historical Society Museum, located in the city-owned community center on the southwest corner of Pier Avenue and Pacific Coast Highway.

The council also agreed to use $500,000 in state funding to set up public recycling bins for beverage containers and to publicize efforts to recycle. ER