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Whale Watching Trips

During December, the mighty gray whale migration will sweep down from the Arctic, past the Northern California coast enroute to the famous whale calving lagoons of Baja California. Whale watchers aboard non-profit Oceanic Society boats have a unique vantage from which to experience this incredible wildlife pageant. Of a total population of over 23,000 gray whales, about 19,000 complete the annual migration of 12,000 miles roundtrip between Arctic feeding grounds and Baja California breeding grounds: one of the longest migrations of any mammal. During each Whale Watch, the Oceanic Society's expert naturalists give informative talks on gray whales and the conservation efforts which brought them back from near extinction.

All trips are aboard safe, Coast Guard inspected and certified vessels which feature indoor cabins and outdoor observation decks. Departures are Saturdays and Sundays and select Fridays and Mondays from December 26 through May 9. Full day, six and one-half hour trips depart from San Francisco aboard the New Superfish. Cost for adults is $50. Shorter trips of three hours leave from Half Moon Bay aboard the Salty Lady. Adults are $33. Special rates for youth, seniors, groups and select weekday departures are available.

Since 1972 the Oceanic Society has sponsored safe, expert-guided, educational natural history tours and wildlife encounters for over 126,000 people. The Oceanic Society is the only environmental group offering a year-round program of whale watching and natural history trips in Northern California, as well as to prime wildlife habitats worldwide.

Reservations are required. Contact Oceanic Society Expeditions at Fort Mason Center, Building E, San Francisco 94123; 415/474-3385 Monday-Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Bolinas Fire Fighters' Higher Rating-Lower Premiums

The Insurance Services Organization (ISO) recently completed its review of the protection capabilities of the Bolinas Fire Protection District, and its evaluation resulted in a significant improvement of the District's Fire Suppression Rating. ISO is an independent statistical rating and advisory organization that serves the property and casualty insurance industry. Insurance companies use ISO's Fire Suppression Rating Schedule to determine premiums for fire insurance. A rating of 1 to 10 is assigned based on responsiveness to fire alarms, capabilities of engine companies, water needs and water supply as evaluation criteria. Class 1 represents the best public protection and Class 10 indicates no protection.

The Bolinas Fire Protection District is proud to report that ISO changed the rating from Class 6 to a Class 4 within the area served by the Bolinas Community Public Utilities District water distribution and hydrant system. Areas outside of the hydranted portion of town, more than 1,000 feet from a hydrant, have a Class 9 rating due to lack of water supply.

The rating is due to modernization and improved maintenance of fire apparatus and equipment, training and record-keeping, increased staffing dispatching and enhanced 911 system capabilities, and the water distribution system provided by BCPUD.

As a result of the lower rating, insurance companies may reduce their premiums for residential and commercial property by as much as 20 percent, depending on structure and occupancy type, hazards, and protection such as extinguishers and sprinkler systems. Insurance policy holders should contact their insurance agents to determine how this change may affect their own policies.

For questions or comments, contact Chief Kevin Hicks, 868-1566/fax 868-2009. Grand Jury Call

Interested applicants are invited to apply for the 1999-2000 Marin County Civil Grand Jury, which is composed of 19 persons who agree to serve for one year, spending a minimum of 15 hours a week on jury work. The term will begin July 1. A civil grand juror must be a U.S. citizen, 18 years of age or older, and a Marin County resident, with good character and English literate.

The grand jury is an independent investigative body which monitors local governments and makes recommendations for their improvement. Jurors receive $10/day and auto mileage reimbursement. Deadline for applications is May 5, 1999. Applications may be obtained from the office of the aide to the Civil Grand Jury, Room 114, Hall of Justice, San Rafael 94903, or by calling Irene Mariani at 499-6072. Bicentennial Scholarships

Applications are now being accepted for the Marin County American Revolution Bicentennial Scholarship. One or more of $500 to $2000 will be awarded in 1999. The money is given to recipients to further their education or training at approved institutions of higher education. The awards are made on the basis of merit and community involvement. Forms are available through Counseling Offices in Marin County High Schools and Marin Community Colleges, on the internet: or by writing or calling Marie Kanarr, Buck Institute for Education, 18 Commercial Boulevard, Novato, CA 94949 (415) 833-0122. Deadline is March 31.