A prototype for The Interceptor, designed to scoop up plastic bottles and other floating garbage before it reaches the ocean

‘The Interceptor’ Will Scoop Debris Out of Ballona Creek: A floating trash collector called The Interceptor will be deployed next fall to tackle the grotesque avalanche of plastic bottles and other trash that winter rainstorms push down Ballona Creek into Santa Monica Bay.

Last week Los Angeles County Supervisor Janice Hahn announced a partnership with Dutch inventors The Ocean Cleanup to design and launch a site-specific version of The Interceptor — a catamaran equipped with a solar-powered conveyer belt to scoop up debris corralled by floating barriers — near the UCLA Aquatic Center.

The two-year pilot project for proof of concept will be the first of its kind in North America and free-of-charge to L.A. County taxpayers. L.A. County Public Works will head up operations, including trash collection and recycling.

The announcement comes after a push by Playa del Rey community organizer Lucy Han for L.A. County to consider a similar device, dubbed Mr. Trash Wheel, that’s currently employed in Baltimore’s inner harbor to keep debris out of Chesapeake Bay. “I’m so excited,” she said of The Interceptor. “I think it’ll be the solution to our trash problem.”

Hahn said The Interceptor will both protect Santa Monica Bay and “will be part of a global project to prevent the flow of plastic pollution into our world’s oceans.”

Needles Wash Up on Marina Peninsula: Los Angeles County lifeguards shut down an eight-block stretch of Venice Beach along the Marina Peninsula last Sunday after hundreds of syringes, needles and other medical supplies washed up along the shoreline. Lifeguard Capt. Julio Rodriguez said a surfer reported the dangerous debris to lifeguards at around 11:30 a.m., prompting a 90-minute beach closure between Driftwood and Ketch streets while Hazmat, Public Health and the Department of Beaches and Harbors cleaned up the area.

Lifeguards on foot patrol found another needle and four lancets on Monday, but “We don’t think it’s from a new arrival of material that might have drifted in,” Rodriguez said. “We think it was just missed on Sunday.”

The source of the medical debris remains under investigation. Beachgoers who find needles are asked not to touch or dispose of them, but to immediately report them to lifeguards.

Scooter Injury Lawsuit Moves Forward: Attorneys representing Lyft and the city of Santa Monica lost a tentative court ruling on Nov. 8, allowing an elderly woman who tripped over a scooter last year near Santa Monica Emeritus College to proceed with a civil lawsuit.

Dorothy Green, 87, suffered five fractures to her pelvis and an injury to her elbow last September after stumbling over Lyft-operated electric scooter that had been left in the adult school’s passenger loading zone, where city officials had specifically prohibited electric scooters.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Christopher K. Lui ruled that the case could go forward because the “city affirmatively designated and operated a specified area as a passenger drop-off and established a no deployment zone without any enforcement, despite knowing that scooters are regularly parked in that area and that elderly people would use that area as a loading zone.”

Green is represented by the Santa Monica law firm, McGee, Lerer & Associates, with trial expected to begin no sooner than mid-2020.

Police Nab Boardwalk Burglary Suspect: Reports that an LAPD officer was knocked unconscious Saturday in pursuit of a burglary suspect along the Venice Boardwalk are false, according to police. While there was a foot pursuit that started around 4:30 p.m. near Washington Boulevard and Pacific Avenue, the fleeing suspect, described as a male transient, did not strike an officer, LAPD Officer Jeff Lee said Monday. “This was actually misreported,” Lee said. “The officer suffered from exhaustion after the pursuit. He wasn’t attacked.”

Felon Busted with Assault Rifle: Marina del Rey Sheriff’s Station deputies arrested a 38-year-old convicted felon in possession of an assault rifle, automatic handgun, several rounds of ammunition and an undisclosed amount of illegal narcotics during a late-night traffic stop on Nov. 6, Sgt. Carlos Alva said. The suspect, identified as Brian Taylor, posted a $35,000 bond the next day and was released from custody.

Development Planned for Vacant Courthouse: The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted last week to take charge of the long-vacant West Los Angeles Courthouse on Purdue Avenue below Santa Monica Boulevard, entering into a two-year lease with an option to buy the property outright for $35.7 million. Office staff for supervisor Sheila Kuehl, whose district includes the three-acre prop-
erty, say the county has its eye on converting the site into a mix of affordable and market-rate housing, with the possibility of including retail and community spaces.

Skating Rink Back in Business: ICE Santa Monica will offer free skating from 2 to 10 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 18, after unspecified mechanical issues delayed the launch of Santa Monica’s seasonal outdoor ice rink at Arizona Avenue and Fifth Street. The 8,000-square-foot ice rink opened on Nov. 10 after a three-day delay and will continue operating through Jan. 22.

Santa Monica Wellbeing Summit: Santa Monica College Center for Media and Design (1660 Stewart St.) is hosting the city’s inaugural Wellbeing Summit from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 16. Building on Santa Monica’s 2015 launch of its Wellbeing Index, the interactive all-ages gathering includes residents in solution-oriented discussions about local issues such as student social anxiety and seniors struggling to make ends meet. RSVP at wellbeing.smgov.net.