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Latest News in Big Creek, CA
California gas station's 'insane' prices will make your jaw drop
It is no surprise that California has the highest gasoline prices in the U.S. given that it has the highest gas taxes, but even natives of The Golden State are being blown away by the eye-popping sticker prices they are finding at the pump.Matt Shupe of Walnut Creek, California, the principal at Praetorian Public Relations, was on a road trip...
It is no surprise that California has the highest gasoline prices in the U.S. given that it has the highest gas taxes, but even natives of The Golden State are being blown away by the eye-popping sticker prices they are finding at the pump.
Matt Shupe of Walnut Creek, California, the principal at Praetorian Public Relations, was on a road trip through the state this week when he stumbled across gas prices that made his jaw drop.
During a stop at a remote station in Big Sur on Sunday, Shupe decided to glance at the pump before going inside to buy snacks and was relieved that he didn't need a fill-up. The price for premium gas, which his car requires, was $9.799. He wrote on Instagram that he is "still blown away by these nearly $10 [per] gallon insane gas prices."
"I've been going out of my way to find Costco gas stations along the route because the gas prices have been so insane," Shupe told FOX Business. He said braving the lines at Costco has saved him $10 or $20 a tank.
The average price of gas in California is currently $6.17 per gallon for premium and $5.82 for regular, according to AAA. The national average for regular is $4.16.
Shupe has been documenting the gas prices in California on social media, flagging staggering prices and long lines.
Last month, he posted a picture on Facebook showing the price of premium gas at $6.99 per gallon in downtown Los Angeles, and a line at a Costco gas station in the city the next day that was so long employees were out coordinating traffic, when he says a gallon of premium was $5.69 at the retailer.
"I'm overlooking Brentwood in Beverly Hills right now," Shupe told FOX Business on Wednesday, while still on his road trip. "You know, these people in $10-$15 million dollar mansions as their third home aren't worried about a 50-60% increase in gas prices, but for the 38 million Californians that don't live like that – this absolutely affects them on an everyday basis. They have to cut corners and clip coupons."
Shupe said that someone who was on the trip with him is in their 60s told him, "This is like the Carter era and it's just out of control."
Fox News' Jordan Early contributed to this report.
How to Get Free Entry to California State Parks With Your Library Card
This week is National Library Week — and if you have a library card, you can now check out a free pass to over 200 state parks around California.The California State Library Parks Pass program, which launches this week, means that each of the state's 1,184 public libraries are offering their card-holders a limited number of passes...
This week is National Library Week — and if you have a library card, you can now check out a free pass to over 200 state parks around California.
The California State Library Parks Pass program, which launches this week, means that each of the state's 1,184 public libraries are offering their card-holders a limited number of passes to most state parks. Each pass gives a library card holder free day entry to state parks for one passenger vehicle (with up to nine people) — or one highway-licensed motorcycle. And depending on how your local library is handling the program, you'll be able to keep and use that pass for a certain amount of time before having to return it.
Getting into nature has documented health benefits — and the state says this program is about helping more Californians explore the outdoors, and reducing financial barriers to entry.
Keep reading to find out how to get your pass, and what you need to know about securing free entry to California's state parks this spring and summer.
Which state parks will accept the California State Library Parks Pass?
The pass is valid for use any day of the week, including holidays (but only if space in the park is available.) But it's important to note that not every state park in California will accept the California State Library Parks Pass.
The California Department of Parks and Recreation say the pass won't be accepted "at units operated by federal and local government, private agencies or concessionaires." In the Bay Area, for example, Angel Island, Pacifica State Beach and San Bruno Mountain State Park won't accept a California State Library Parks Pass for free entry.
Still, there are a lot of state parks in the Bay Area that you can use the pass at. These include Mount Tamalpais State Park, Half Moon Bay State Beach, Mount Diablo State Park, Castle Rock State Park and Pigeon Point Light Station State Historic Park. Big Basin Redwoods State Park — the oldest state park in California, founded in 1902 — is also included, but is only partially open right now due to wildfire.
Take a look at:
How can I check out a California State Library Parks Pass from my local library?
Each library may have different preferences for how you check out a pass, but your best bet is almost certainly by visiting in person.
Different public libraries have received different numbers of passes, with the minimum being three passes per library — but San Francisco and Oakland say their public libraries are expecting to increase the amount of passes they can offer in late April.
This may mean that if you're not able to snag a pass easily now at the start of the program, don't worry: you may have more luck in a few weeks time as the program progresses.
If you have a library card with a city's public library system that has multiple locations — like the San Francisco Public Library or Oakland Public Library, for example — the California State Library Parks Passes will most likely be spread out between these locations. Contact your local branch ahead of time to confirm the location of the pass.
Your library gets to decide how many days you can keep a pass for, so make sure you know that return date when you check out a pass.
Your library may also allow you to place a hold on a pass, just like you would a book — this is, for example, what San Francisco Public Library allows for library card holders. You may be able to place a hold on a pass in person at your local library, or online by logging into your library card account. Placing a hold on a pass could be a good way to plan in advance for an upcoming trip in which you want to use the free pass.
How much money will I be saving by using a California State Library Parks Pass?
Entry fees usually vary between state parks, and often go up around peak visit weekends or holidays.
The California Explorer Annual Day Use Pass typically costs $195, but doesn't cover all state parks in California.
How long can I keep the pass?
That'll really depend on your local library — because each library gets to decide how long a pass can be checked out for. Both the Oakland and San Francisco Public Library systems, for example, will be offering their passes as one-week physical items.
Contact your local library to find out how long they're loaning their passes for, and to make sure you return your pass in a timely manner so the next person can enjoy it.
Can I use the pass to enter multiple state parks that accept it?
Yes, you can use it to enter as many eligible state parks as you like during the loan period. This is another reason that placing a hold on a pass may be a helpful way to plan ahead for a few days of travel (or a road trip), to enable you to visit multiple state parks.
What's the catch?
Remember that not all state parks are participating in this program, and the passes don’t cover camping fees. The Department of Parks and Recreation also says that the pass won't cover "per-person entry or tour fees (such as museums), boat use, camping, group use or sites, special events, additional/extra vehicle fees, sanitation disposal use or for supplemental fees."
Also, libraries can decide on the number of days that a pass can be checked out for, and each library will get a minimum of just three passes to give out. So if your local library doesn't have many passes on offer, and they allow card-holders to keep a pass for several days, you may have to wait for a period of time for your turn.
In addition, it may be taking your local public library a little time to ramp up with the program. So if the passes aren't immediately available, you might have to be patient about that too.
What if I don't have a library card?
Getting a library card is fairly simple, and will allow you to access not only a California State Library Parks Pass, but also the full range of your local library's books, media, records and library services like laptop and internet access.
To apply for a library card, you must be
Find your local library near you. You may be able to apply for a library card in person or online — but be sure to check if the pandemic has changed your local library's opening times if you go in person.
Which California state parks offer free entry with a Library Parks Pass?
Take a look at the California Department of Parks and Recreation's map to find the state parks nearest you, or find the state park you're looking for in this full list.
Here are the state parks around the Bay Area that are currently offering free entry with a California State Library Parks Pass:
In addition, here are the state parks across the rest of the state currently offering free entry with a California State Library Parks Pass, in alphabetical order:
Discover the Ecological Reserve at annual Watershed Tour
It’s a chilly morning of March 5, and I was in a cramped car driving on Highway 32 toward the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve with three girls I had just met a few days prior at the Watershed Tour orientation. The Watershed Tour is a one-unit course, called GEOS 499, where students spend a full weekend at the reserve filled with education...
It’s a chilly morning of March 5, and I was in a cramped car driving on Highway 32 toward the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve with three girls I had just met a few days prior at the Watershed Tour orientation. The Watershed Tour is a one-unit course, called GEOS 499, where students spend a full weekend at the reserve filled with educational activities and adventure.
“The Center for Water and the Environment thought it would be a really neat idea to bring students outside and also learn about the creek that runs through campus,” Co-director Sandrine Matiasek said.
The Watershed Tour was started in 2017 by Dr. Todd Greene, the previous director of the program. He got members and faculty from the Center for Water and the Environment to create learning activities following a drop of water from the headwaters in Colby Mountain to the Sacramento River.
“The Watershed Tour was organized by activity, it is not a lecture, it isn’t even a lab,” Greene said. “It is to get out there in the field, and do stuff, collect data, interpret the data and record observations like researchers do.”
I am in no way a science person. However, I somehow found myself enrolled in the class and ready for whatever the weekend would bring. Our car was packed with bags, pillows and sleeping bags that stacked to the brim of the trunk. About a half hour drive from downtown, we made a sharp left turn to the entrance of BCCER that could have easily been missed if there hadn’t been a sign placed. I held tightly to the bag on my lap.
The descent to our destination was steep and bumpy, and halfway there a man greeted us, guiding us in the right direction. Eventually, we made it to the campground, however it was not a traditional campground. In fact, camping is not permitted in BCCER, the only exception is for the Watershed Tour. Next to the campground was a barn, which was used as a storage space for food and supplies, and opened up to an area with tables and a cornhole.
We got out of the car and followed the crowd of students. Clouds gathered up above us, bringing the threat of rain, as cold air tickled my cheeks. Cars were still trickling into the parking lot.
At 9 a.m., co-directors Sandrine Matiasek and Jackson Webster brought everyone into a circle and divided us into two groups. I was placed in the first group.
From there, we were told that we’d be taking a hike, but if needed, we could drive. Everyone agreed to embark on the hike on foot, following faculty and the only dog at the BCCER, Jesse.
We soon realized hiking was a mistake. The drive down to the watershed was steep, and so was the hike up. It wasn’t too bad at first. The serenity of the environment was beautiful — lots of lush greenery, patches of moss grew on the trees we passed and we could hear the chirping of birds.
Then, it became more difficult to breathe with cold, piercing air stabbing my throat. With each step, I kept thinking about how out-of-shape I was. Though, after looking around at the rest of my group, the steep incline seemed to be getting to everyone, with some even stopping to catch their breath.
We finally made it to the top, where we had a great view of the ecological reserve. Greene guided us through an activity where we examined the Tuscan Formation, which are layers of sedimentary rock. He explained that it’s important to study outcrops of rocks above water to understand what the formation of rock will be like when drilling for groundwater.
As part of the activity, we were tasked with taking measurements of the rocks and determining the flow of the Tuscan.
Afterward, we made our way back to the campsite. This time we took a much flatter route. We took a break and ate sandwiches.
Next, we walked downward toward the creek. Although still a hike, it wasn’t nearly as difficult as the first. The greatest challenge was dodging poison oak, which crept along the sides of the trail.
After about 45 minutes, we reached the Big Chico Creek, the same creek that runs through campus. There, we measured the streamflow using an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler and tested water quality using a portable spectrometer. I wasn’t too familiar with the instruments, but environmental science students were there to help.
Closeby, we walked over toward a field where our group was encouraged to “herp.” Herping consists of getting your hands dirty by flipping logs and rocks to examine any wildlife that may be inhabiting underneath. It’s important to stand on the opposite side of where you’re flipping fin case something springs out, such as a snake. It’s also essential to replace the log or rock exactly where it initially was, because each object has its own, unique ecosystem underneath.
During this activity, we mostly found Sierra newts, which appeared to populate the ecological reserve like rats in a big city. The adorable amphibians were a great attraction to the group and quickly became the stars of the activity. Students picked them up and let them crawl around on their hands.
According to student assistant David Terry, newts are poisonous. They contain a dangerous toxin called tetrodotoxin, which is only poisonous when consumed.
As the day grew closer to the end, the groups began making their ways back to the campsite. The first group returned first, giving us time to set up our tents, eat and relax.
Toward nighttime, when temperatures plummeted, students huddled around a campfire to keep warm. No amount of layers could have prepared me for the cold night ahead. I wore nearly every single shirt and sweater I had brought on the trip, yet still found myself shivering the entire night.
The next morning, it appeared the other campers had a similar experience. Half-awake, we grabbed some coffee and bagels, fueling ourselves for day two.
Professor Don Miller, joined the Watershed Tour and explained galls, an abnormal growth that appears on manzanitas. Although galls might seem like a parasite to the trees, Miller insisted that it does not harm them.
In small groups, we spread out to conduct measurements and analyze the galls on each manzanita. While doing the activity, we also noticed berries growing on the trees. Curious, we tried them. They tasted like tiny apples, only extremely sour. According to Miller, indegenous people would use the manzanita berries to make teas.
Next, we met up with professor Don Hankins, who demonstrated a prescribed fire by burning deer grass. Hankins described the importance of prescribed fires like cleaning a room. It helps prevent potential disasters like last year’s Dixie Fire, the first fire in California history to burn clear across the Sierra Nevada. With the weather already so dry, another destructive wildfire seems inevitable.
“There’s a lot more tree mortality that’s happening in the foothills and elsewhere within the state,” Hankins said. “The vegetation itself across the state from all vegetation community types is really at risk.”
He hopes policy makers will do the right thing, but barriers get in the way of California being able to prescribe controlled burns at necessary scale.
Last spring, Hankins co-wrote a report called Good Fire, where he identified California’s strict regulation on intentional fires, as well as a severe lack of understanding on the importance of cultural burning among the indigenous communities.
To end the day our group looked at samples of bugs from the creek collected at last year’s Watershed Tour. We analyzed the biodiversity of the samples to determine the water quality.
By the later afternoon, we packed up our tents and said our goodbyes. Before that weekend, we were mostly strangers, but came out bonded by tough hikes, poison newts and campfire stories. I left the ecological reserve grateful and with a new understanding of Chico State’s backyard.
The Watershed Tour will have two more day trips, on April 9 and April 23.
Gabriela Rudolph can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Heat Wave To Hit Walnut Creek, Bay Area
Temperatures will hover around the 90s in Walnut Creek later this week as the Bay Area sees some of the hottest April weather since 1989. WALNUT CREEK, CA — Summer has come early to the Bay Area: from Wednesday through Friday, a sweltering heat wave could bring temperatures over 90 degrees inland, and in the 80s along the coast. In Walnut Creek, the National Weather Service expects temperatures to clim...
Temperatures will hover around the 90s in Walnut Creek later this week as the Bay Area sees some of the hottest April weather since 1989.
WALNUT CREEK, CA — Summer has come early to the Bay Area: from Wednesday through Friday, a sweltering heat wave could bring temperatures over 90 degrees inland, and in the 80s along the coast. In Walnut Creek, the National Weather Service expects temperatures to climb to 90 degrees on Thursday.
A strong high pressure system of westerly will bring temperatures 5-10 degrees above normal along the coast, and 15-25 degrees above normal inland, according to the National Weather Service Bay Area. Some records may break: NWS meteorologist Rick Canepa told the San Francisco Chronicle that the last time the Bay Area saw such high temperatures in April was in 1989, when Livermore recorded a high of 89 degrees.
The heat wave is affecting the entire state: in Los Angeles, temperatures are expected to reach the mid-90s in the valleys and downtown, and the mid-80s along the coast: also 15 to 20 degrees above normal, NWS meteorologist David Sweet told the Los Angeles Times.
Meteorologists say Thursday is the biggest day of concern. Temperatures could soar to as high as 92 degrees in the East and South bays. The North Bay is expected to reach the mid-80s, and San Francisco is expected to reach the high 70s, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures are expected to cool down slightly on Friday, and return to normal just in time for the weekend.
In Walnut Creek, highs are expected to reach 87 on Wednesday, 90 on Thursday, 87 on Friday, 79 on Saturday, and 70 on Sunday.
The National Weather Service advises everyone to drink plenty of water, never leave kids or pets unattended in vehicles, and check in on those most vulnerable.
Heat isn't the only concern: high winds could bring rip currents and sneaker waves 8-12 feet high along the coast. The National Weather Service issued a Beach Hazards statement to coastal cities in San Francisco; the Coastal North Bay, including Point Reyes National Seashore, the Peninsula coast, northern Monterey Bay, southern Monterey Bay, and the Big Sur Coast. The advisory is in effect from 3 a.m. Tuesday until 9 p.m. Wednesday.
Anyone at the beach is advised to stay far away from the surf, and never turn their back on the ocean.
Highland Park Village co-owner Ray Washburne buys Allen’s Watters Creek
Ray Washburne, co-owner of Highland Park Village, has purchased Allen’s Watters Creek shopping center, saying he wants to make it the “Knox Street of the North.”Washburne’s Charter Holdings is buying the property with DuWest Realty of Dallas. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed....
Ray Washburne, co-owner of Highland Park Village, has purchased Allen’s Watters Creek shopping center, saying he wants to make it the “Knox Street of the North.”
Washburne’s Charter Holdings is buying the property with DuWest Realty of Dallas. The purchase price wasn’t disclosed.
Watters Creek, a 52-acre landscaped mixed-use property with a running creek, was a $200 million project when it was built in 2008. The property was sold by PCCP, a California real estate investors group.
The purchase includes 357,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 97,000 square feet of office space. The center’s 342 apartments, some located above the street-level retail, are not included in the sale. DuWest will take over leasing and management from Fort Worth-based Trademark Property Co, which also developed the property and had a partnership stake with PCCP.
Immediate changes will include new landscaping, and discussions are already underway with potential stores and restaurants, Washburne said.
“I have a bias towards locally owned restaurants, and I want to reorient the shopping center’s fashion retail with more brands like its Anthropologie and Sephora,” Washburne said. “The Kendra Scott store does very well there.”
Warby Parker is planning a store there, according to planning documents filed with the state.
“I’m going to try to turn it into the Knox Street of the North,” Washburne said.
“People don’t necessarily want to drive all the way down here to Dallas,” he said, but they do want more of “a local touch, with local one-off restaurants that create more of an atmosphere.”
Knox Street has been become more of a shopping and eating destination in recent years, attracting new retail concepts while longtime property owners, including the family that owns Weir’s Furniture and RH Gallery, have built new stores and restaurants.
Washburne is buying Watters Creek separately from his family’s Highland Park Village Partners. The owners of about 70% of the Knox Street real estate hired Highland Park Village Partners in 2020 to help lease, market and manage their properties.
More than 20 miles north, Watters Creek is well-entrenched as the “dominant lifestyle shopping and dining center in the North Central trade area,” said Terry Montesi, Trademark’s CEO. “When we opened in 2008, we had a lot of competition from the Village at Fairview, and over time Watters Creek has emerged as the winner. With the momentum it has and the care it will be getting, it will only be strengthened.”
Sales and traffic this year have increased significantly versus 2019 and 2021 and with leases that are in the pipeline, it’s a good time to buy Watters Creek, Montesi said. Timing is also good for sellers because the value of strong retail properties has only gone up in the past year, he said.
Watters Creek is on the west side of U.S. 75 at Bethany Lane in Allen and has an upscale ambiance in an area that’s become a shopping destination for the fast-growing northern suburbs in Collin and Denton counties. The shopping center is at the southern end of a 3.5-mile stretch up to the intersection of U.S. 75 and Stacy Road. That intersection has Allen Premium Outlets on the west side and the big box-anchored Village of Fairview and Village at Allen straddling Stacy to the east.
Daniel Bowman, executive director of Allen Economic Development Corp., said Washburne understands the importance of the center to the city.
“He’s someone who lives in the area and isn’t just owning an asset,” Bowman said. “Watters Creek is our premier mixed-use development ... serves like a downtown where our community gathers.”
The city has invested in the area. Development north of the shopping center includes Allen’s $91 million, 90,000-square-foot convention center and a 300-room Marriott Hotel that opened in 2019.
In the past three years, 600,000 square feet of office and 2,000 apartments have been built in the Watters Creek district, Washburn said. He knows firsthand how population growth, particularly daytime population from the office tenants, has strengthened Watters Creek.
Another Washburne company, M Crowd Restaurant Group’s Mi Cocina, is one of the original four restaurants at Watters Creek with Brio Tuscan Grille, P.F. Chang’s and Cheesecake Factory.
The shopping center is anchored by a Market Street grocery store facing Bethany Lane. It has only one other big box store, a Michaels Arts & Crafts store. The rest of the property is smaller shops on a street that meanders around a park and connects to the city’s trail system. Watters Creek has strong night and weekend traffic and a growing daytime population, Bowman said.
Watters Creek has about a dozen vacant retail spaces ranging from 700 to 8,500 square feet. According to Trademark’s leasing documents, the property gets 3.2 million visitors a year.
“Watters Creek is far enough to attract a lot of cool retailers that are at Legacy West in Plano and NorthPark Center in Dallas,” he said. “Online retailers have realized that brick-and-mortar is important to them.”
The market has not been building new centers in recent years. Last year, Dallas-Fort Worth added only 640,000 square feet of new retail construction, marking the first time that number fell below 1 million square feet since 1990, according to Weitzman’s annual retail real estate report.
As retailers expanding their online businesses settle on a smaller number of stores in each market, Washburne believes that Watters Creek is one of a handful of properties that will be “the final mile for a lot of retailers.” He used Gap as an example: At one time it had more than 20 stores in Dallas-Fort Worth, and it now has half that.
Washburne and family members purchased Highland Park Village for $170 million during the depths of the Great Recession in 2009. That center’s mix of tenants makes it one of the top luxury centers in the U.S.
Landscaping, walkways and parking were one of the first changes he made there, too.
“Come visit and walk Watters Creek in six months, and you’ll understand what I’m talking about,” he said.