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November 2012

Free Weekend Shuttle: Oceana-Linda Mar

Detailed Map and Schedule


A free shuttle runs weekends between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., with eight departures in each direction, from Linda Mar Park & Ride in the south, and from Oceana Terrace Senior Housing in the north. Major stops along the way include the Community Center/Senior Center, Fassler/Rockaway, Highway 1/Vallemar/Mori Point, Sharp Park Golf Course, Beach Boulevard, the fishing pier, City Hall, and Oceana High School/Brink Pool.

This new service operates under the name "Devil's Slide Ride" because eventually (i.e., whenever Caltrans runs out of deadlines and cost overruns for actually opening the Devil's Slide Tunnels) the shuttle will go up the hill to the Shamrock Ranch Bridge turnaround, where pedestrians and bicyclists will dismount and head up the soon-to-be-silent Old Highway 1 to the scenic overlook at Devil's Slide.

The shuttle is funded by a grant from the San Mateo County Transportation Authority (SMCTA) Measure A program and the City/County Association of Governments of San Mateo County (C/CAG). Info: Dave Rogers, City of Pacifica Engineering Division, 650-738-3767.

Flu Shots Help Prevent Heart Attacks and Strokes

By Lisa Collier Cool
November 26, 2012

If you’re tempted to skip your flu shot, consider this: Getting vaccinated cuts risk for a heart attack or stroke by up to 50 percent, according to two studies presented at the Canadian Cardiovascular Congress.

Scientists from TIMU Study Group and Network for Innovation in Clinical Research analyzed published clinical trials involving a total of 3,227 patients, half of whom had been diagnosed with heart disease. Participants, whose average age was 60, were randomly assigned to either receive flu vaccine or a placebo shot, then their health was tracked for 12 months.

Those who got the flu shot were 50 percent less likely to suffer major cardiac events (such as heart attacks or strokes) and 40 percent less likely to die of cardiac causes. Similar trends were found in patients with and without previous heart disease. The findings suggest “that flu vaccine is a heart vaccine,” lead study author Jacob Udell told Fox News.

Why do flu shots help prevent heart attacks? To learn more, I talked to Bradley Bale, MD, medical director of the Heart Health Program for Grace Clinic in Lubbock, Texas.

A number of studies have shown a link between heart attacks and a prior respiratory infection. A 2010 study of about 78,000 patients age 40 or older found that those who had gotten a flu shot in the previous year were 20 percent less likely to suffer a first heart attack, even when such cardiovascular risks as smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes were taken in account.

Scarier still, researchers report that up to 91,000 Americans a year die from heart attacks and strokes triggered by flu. This grim statistic prompted the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology to issue guidelines recommending vaccination for patients with cardiovascular disease (CVD). The CDC advises flu shots for everyone over six months of age, but cautions that certain people should check with a medical provider before being immunized.

Sadly, fewer than half of Americans with high-risk conditions like heart disease get the shot, leaving themselves dangerously unprotected against both flu complications and cardiovascular events. In fact, the CDC actually uses heart attack rates to track seasonal flu outbreaks, says Dr. Bale. “They look for areas with a sudden surge in heart attacks and send a team to investigate, because the cause is almost always a spike in flu cases.”

To picture how flu could ignite a heart attack or stroke in someone with CVD, think of cholesterol plaque as kindling, says Dr. Bale. “Inflammation, which has recently been shown to actually cause heart attacks, is what lights the match, causing plaque to explosively rupture through the arterial wall.”

When a plaque rupture tears the blood vessel lining, the body tries to heal the injury by forming a blood clot. If the clot obstructs a coronary artery, it can trigger a heart attack, while a clot that travels to the brain could ignite an ischemic stroke. It’s a myth that plaque buildup alone sparks heart attacks, since numerous studies have shown that what chokes off flow to the heart is a clot.

“Inflammation is a key player in destabilizing plaque, explaining why some people with relatively little build up in their arteries have heart attacks or stroke, while others with substantial plaque deposits never suffer these events,” says Dr. Bale, who advises all of his patients to get flu shots to guard against inflammation, the body’s response to viral and bacterial infections.

Another surprising benefit of getting a flu shot is reduced risk for pulmonary embolism (a blood clot in the lungs) and deep vein thrombosis (a clot in the legs). A 2008 study found that the threat of developing these problems dropped by 26 percent overall in participants who had been vaccinated in the previous year, with a 48 percent risk reduction in patients younger than 52.

Along with a flu shot, Dr. Bale recommends two other vaccinations to reduce heart attack and stroke risk. If you’re 50 or older and have CVD. If you don’t have plaque in your arteries, you should still get these shots, but at an older age, as discussed below:

The herpes zoster vaccination against shingles. This shot protects against reactivation of the chickenpox virus almost everyone was exposed to during childhood. The virus, which lies dormant in nerve cells, can flare up, typically in older people, and cause a blistering skin rash that can lead to chronic nerve pain. Two large studies report that people who develop shingles are at up to four times higher risk for stroke, highlighting the value of vaccination. While shingles usually targets people who are 60 or older, about 20 percent of cases occur in people ages 50 to 59, which is why Dr. Bale advises being vaccinated at 50 if you have CVD. The CDC recommends the shot for everyone who is 65 or older, and people who are 19 or older and smoke or have asthma.

Vaccination against pneumococcal pneumonia. If you’re 65 or older—or younger with risk factors for pneumonia—such as heart failure, chronic pulmonary disease, or diabetes—the CDC advises being immunized against pneumococcal pneumonia. A study of more than 84,000 people found that those who had been vaccinated were at lower risk for both heart attack and stroke. Given these benefits, Dr. Bale advises heart patients to be immunized at 50.

Ocean Spaces: New Website Tracks Health of California Marine Life

The MPA Monitoring Enterprise has launched, the new web-based hub of scientific monitoring data, analyses, and results from California’s network of marine protected areas (MPAs).

From ecological assessments to socioeconomic analyses of human uses, OceanSpaces provides free, easy access to impartial scientific information on conditions in and around the state’s MPAs. The site provides data on size, abundance, and location of key fish species, where people are fishing, and how fishing patterns have changed since the MPAs were implemented. This information is critical to helping understand current ocean conditions and evaluate the performance of the MPAs. Site visitors also can track the status of state-funded MPA monitoring efforts in each region of the state. 

“OceanSpaces is an online community that fosters new knowledge of ocean health,” says Liz Whiteman, program director for MPA Monitoring Enterprise. “A shared body of scientific knowledge enables us to make informed decisions and becomes the basis for participation in ocean resource management and stewardship.”

The process of planning the MPAs was sometimes contentious, but it created a community that wants to stay engaged and informed about MPA monitoring and management: scientists, fishers, environmentalists, policymakers, and citizens.

“Hundreds of individuals, groups, and organizations have already joined OceanSpaces and contributed research data, videos, and other content,” Whiteman says. “It is great to see the site becoming a place for everyone interested in California ocean science to share information and ideas.”

Early in 2013, baseline monitoring results from the Central Coast—the first region to implement MPAs under the Marine Life Protection Act—will be shared on OceanSpaces, using interactive graphics, videos, and more. A public symposium on the first five years of MPA monitoring and management in the Central Coast is in Monterey in late February 2013.

OceanSpaces is managed by the MPA Monitoring Enterprise, a program of California Ocean Science Trust, which works at the boundary of science and management to provide impartial, cost-effective information about California’s ocean health and performance of the statewide network of MPAs.

La Mordida Taqueria: Manor's Mexican Food Newcomer

The old Manor Taco Bell has morphed into a true Mexican taqueria called La Mordida, which translates as "the bite" but also has some darker connotations. (You could look it up.) But no matter: La Mordida Taqueria has tasty bites. On the menu for dining in or takeout: tacos, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, tortas, mariscos (seafood), fajitas, combination plates, salads, handmade tortillas, homemade flan, beer, wine, beverages, and weekend specials like menudo and birria (goat stew). They also have a kids menu, catering, and a breakfast burrito plus coffee for five bucks.

La Mordida Taqueria

Another Good Guy Gone: OK Liquor Store

Jim Wagner reports the sad news that the gentleman known to us only as Steve, the owner of OK Liquors in Park Mall, Linda Mar, died of a heart attack on November 18. When Steve was stricken at his store, paramedics came and rushed him to the hospital, but it was too late. He was gone.

I had bought lottery tickets from Steve over the years and always had pleasant conversations with him. We usually talked about things at Park Mall, particularly the bad actors who vandalized and shoplifted from his store. I mentioned these incidents in my Pacifica Tribune column, and Steve always thanked me for trying to help him. He always mentioned my column whenever I saw him.

Jeff Bagshaw, who had known Steve since the store opened in 1984, says that Steve's wife returned to Korea about five years ago. Steve's sister has been helping run the store since then. Still no news about whether the business will remain open.

Farewell, Steve, rest in peace. Your customers and friends miss you.

John Maybury, Editor & Publisher

Destination Pacifica: Devil's Slide Coast Recreation Area

By Dan Underhill, Riptide Correspondent

Pacifica City Council member Mary Ann Nihart spoke at the Pacifica-Daly City Democrats breakfast meeting November 17 about collaboration among the U.S. National Park Service, California State Parks Service, San Mateo County Parks, The Coastal Conservancy, Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy, Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District, and the Peninsula Open Space Trust. This collaboration is to be called the Devil's Slide Coast Recreation Area, and I believe, as all of these organizations obviously believe, that this has the makings of a very popular tourist destination.

There has been a great deal of talk over the years about bringing some kind of industry into Pacifica. It has long been obvious to me that tourism is our best bet. We live in a truly gorgeous place. It is of serious geological interest, what with all the tectonic action that is visible on the surface from part of Highway 1 that will become a walking/biking path. We have many wild birds and animals that live here or pass through here on their migrations. We have history, and clean air, and the very famous Pacific Ocean. I encourage everyone to visit:

Devil's Slide Coast Recreation Area

Nihart also spoke of things the City of Pacifica is doing to make good use of the new Devil's Slide Coast Recreation Area. The one that stood out for me is the Devils Slide Ride, afree weekend shuttle. It is already funded with grant monies (if I had paid better attention, I could say from whom), and is scheduled to start when the tunnels open. Seattle, Washington has enjoyed great success with its free bus service throughout downtown. It has provided a real and lasting boost to Seattle's downtown economy.

For those who have expressed concerns about Pacifica's economic future, I would say that these are real hopeful signs and are in keeping with what our unique little venue has to offer. Thank you, Mary Ann.