POSTAL POSSE: Neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night will stay a couple of Redondo Beach mail carriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds.
But a run-down battery in a cellular phone might temporarily keep them from dropping a dime on crime.
In a 45-day experimental program sponsored by the Redondo Beach Police Department and the Redondo Beach-Hermosa Beach district of the U.S. Postal Service, two mail carriers have started toting cellular phones to report crimes, suspicious activities, hazardous waste problems or any other threats to public safety.
If they see a problem, such as a crime in progress, or notice that an elderly person hasn't picked up his or her mail in several days, the letter carriers can press a button on the phones, and they'll immediately be in contact with the cops. The phones also may help stem the increase in robberies of mail carriers in recent years, said Redondo Beach Postmaster John Puskas.
"They're going to be our eyes and ears out there," said police crime prevention supervisor Wayne Windman. If the trial program--which the police call the "postal posse"--is deemed successful, it may be expanded to mail carriers on all 96 routes within the postal district.
WELL, MAYBE NOT: Chevron officials say that the news that its refinery would change its name from "Chevron El Segundo" to "Chevron South Bay" was a false alarm.
The announcement raised eyebrows since the city was named in honor of the refinery. El Segundo means "The Second," referring to the oil company's second refinery in the U.S.
So the company, in a press release this week, clarified the name change: "The term 'Chevron South Bay' applies only to their community information campaign and was not intended to replace the name of the refinery."
The "Chevron South Bay" name appears in ads promoting the refinery's new reformulated fuels program. Refinery officials acknowledged that at a refinery tour two weeks ago, it did not make clear that the refinery officially remains "Chevron El Segundo."
"We consider the community 'second to none' and have no plans to change the name," the press release stated.
PLAY BALL: The hit movie "A League of Their Own" chronicled the true-life story of a women's professional baseball league that was launched during World War II.
Now, amateur baseball enthusiasts, including original members of the league and cast members from the movie, are trying to recapture some of that past glory by launching a nationwide women's league, albeit amateur. The first tryouts for six teams on the Westside and South Bay, open to women 18 to 65, attracted 20 people at Westchester High School on Sunday, said Tom Duarte, president of the National Adult Baseball Assn.'s Los Angeles-South Bay Chapter.
The hope is that the league--which includes 42 cities nationwide--will spawn a professional women's league.
"I'd like to see it go back to where it used to be," said Pepper Paire Davis, a catcher in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League from 1944 to 1953 (It was disbanded a year later). "We can get back that same enthusiasm."
Megan Cavanaugh, who played a plain-Jane character in the movie, will be among the cast members who have a team called Pepper's Peaches, Davis said.
More tryouts will be held in Westchester this Sunday.
KILLING FIELDS: For a goat, it seems like a great gig: A grassy, eight-acre field in El Segundo with all the weeds you can eat and all the water you can drink.
But the goats, whose job is to crop weeds and grass in a storm-drain basin near the airport, have had a rough time.
As many as eight have been found dead in the last two years, the victims of savage dog attacks. Last month, Big Daddy, an older goat, leaped 30 feet off a ledge to his death after he was cornered by two dogs, officials said, and Nana, a feisty 5-year-old, was injured in her second attack.
For years, animal control officers have been unable to trap the dogs, which they believe dug under a 6-foot chain-link fence to get to the goats.
Finally, they say, peace might return to the grassy El Segundo field.
Last month, animal control officers caught two stray shepherds in a trap on the field. The wild dogs were given lethal injections a short time later.
Meanwhile, the city has repaired the fence, and officials plan to buy more goats. At $50 to $100 each, they save the city an estimated $15,000 a year in maintenance costs, said city Sanitation Supervisor Hank Schoenmeier.
And Nana is recovering nicely in a Hawthorne shelter, where she sometimes naps with a friendly duck. Officials say she'll soon be sent to an animal sanctuary in San Bernardino.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
"And to think it all started when I inherited two horses, a wagon, and a shovel . . . "
--Linden H. Chandler, on the preservation of 28 1/2 acres of his land atop the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The land was appraised at $5 million and donated to the local land conservancy in exchange for $1.4 million and tax breaks.