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June 23
1946, 11:20pm: William S. Hart, 81, dies at L.A.'s California Lutheran Hospital, leaving his Newhall estate and his (now West) Hollywood home to the public [story]
Hart dies


When more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil slopped into the ocean, three Santa Clarita Valley high school students stepped up, took matters into their own hands and worked to help emergency officials clean the Santa Barbara beaches.

Canyon High seniors Kayla Yonkers, 18, Dana Bowers, 17, and junior Skyler Grossman, 16, were motivated to lend a hand after a 24-inch diameter pipeline owned by Plains All American Pipeline ruptured near Goleta on May 19, according to the federal Transportation Department’s Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration.

When more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil slopped into the ocean, three Santa Clarita Valley high school students stepped up, took matters into their own hands and worked to help emergency officials clean the Santa Barbara beaches.

Yonkers and Bowers are enrolled in an Advanced Placement Environmental Science course, which covers topics including biology, chemistry, mathematics, ecology, earth science, geology, economics and law, according to their teacher, Dennis Yong’s course syllabus.

“The goal of this course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies to understand the interrelationship of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, and to evaluate the risks associated with these problems and examine alternative solutions and/or preventing them,” Yong said, in his syllabus.

“I had taken APES and knew the negative effect (of the oil spill), decided to go up there and volunteer. We drove up to Santa Barbara, to Refugio State Beach and El Capitan State Beach,  and were turned down by the police,” Yonkers said. “We drove for an hour, getting off and onto freeways, and finally decided to go to a private beach where we could help.”

The three teens ended up at Haskell’s Beach, near the Bacara Resort & Spa and more than 90 miles from the Santa Clarita Valley, where they took their two shovels, big plastic bags, masks, Home Depot buckets and gloves and went to work scooping up 70 gallons of oil off of the beach over the course of two days, Bowers said.

The teens also found a dead, young sea lion covered in oil, floating in the waves.

“Kayla and Skyler pulled the sea lion out of water. It was about 2-and-a-half feet long,” Bowers said. “Kayla reported the sea lion to the (U.S. Coast Guard). They said they would come within the hour, but never came. When we came back the next day to clean up more oil, the sea lion was still there.”

Santa Clarita Valley High School Students Join Oil Spill CleanupBut the teens reported being approached by U.S. Health Department officials.

“The were telling us about the harmful effects that oil can have on us, telling us we can get eye irritation and skin irritation,” Bowers said. “We had oil all over us  — on our clothes and skin — but we took that risk to save the ocean and marine life.”

The teens said health officials approached them several times but did not approach the families who were swimming in the water, Bowers said.

“We think they approached us because they were looking bad because there wasn’t a professional clean up crew, there were three teenagers from three hours away,” she said. “But because we brought attention to that section of the beach, after a couple hours, a cleanup crew came to the beach.”

Bowers added that the cleanup crews inspected every bag of oil the teens had collected and rebagged it all.

During the weekend, the teens also participated in a protest with several environmental protection groups.

“There was an inflatable pipeline that read ‘Clean Energy for Kids,’ chanting and marching up to Coast Guard representatives,” Yonkers said. “They were also protesting use of chemical dispersants. All that marching did pay off because the city agreed to not use chemical dispersants to clean up the oil.”

The students came back to Canyon High School with a newfound knowledge which they shared with their classmates.

When more than 100,000 gallons of crude oil slopped into the ocean, three Santa Clarita Valley high school students stepped up, took matters into their own hands and worked to help emergency officials clean the Santa Barbara beaches.

“Half of the people (we spoke to) didn’t even know there was an oil spill,” Grossman said. “They didn’t even know it was happening.”

Their science teacher, Yong, who has been sharing articles with his class about the oil spill, said he was proud of the students.

“I was very impressed and proud that they were investing their time in this. I always tell my students to think globally but act locally,” Yong said. “They’re implementing what they learned in class, out in the field. They set a great example for other students, too. If everybody were to pitch in, what a beautiful world we would have.”

The cleanup could last months, officials said, in an interview with CNN. For now, currents, tides and winds make the oil plume “a moving target” as it drifts offshore, said U.S. Coast Guard Capt. Jennifer Williams. Currently, there is a state-issued emergency in Santa Barbara County and the two state beaches in the area are closed until June 4.

“We learned that the most important thing is awareness,” Yonkers said. “We’re responsible for the damaging effects of the oil.”

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