Permalink 10/30/14 16:00, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, Charitable

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Mission Viejo / Saddleback Valley Elks Lodge initiated a record number of new members in October. Exalted Ruler (“ER”) Derek Randles said, “This group of twenty-three (23) new Elk members brings our total membership to just shy of one thousand men and women.

The significant aspect of this milestone is that we will have more members to help carry out our charitable works.” Randles went on to say, “For the most part, these good folks come to us from all over the Saddleback Valley. They all share a common desire to give back to the community and they know that joining the Elks is one of the best ways to do that. We always have a full agenda of giving throughout the year, but the holidays are an even more special time so it’s a wonderful time to become an Elk.”

The new Elk members from Mission Viejo are David Tucker, Brian Sheehan, David O’Sullivan, and Richard Lambert. James and Diane Carter and Pamela Erickson are from Silverado, Luke Brady from Ladera Ranch, Steven Coffey from Rancho Santa Margarita, Joe Gonsalves, and Michael Howard from Trabuco Canyon, Janet Griffin, Joseph Jordan, and Russ Loftin from Laguna Niguel, Paul Halel from Laguna Hills, David Hart from Irvine, Julie Holmes and Jeffrey Connelly from Aliso Viejo, Stephen Merrill, and Tod Lepper from San Juan Capistrano, Lenee Miller from Costa Mesa, Mark Shelton from Laguna Beach and Russell Smith from Dana Point.

Mission Viejo/Saddleback Valley Elks Lodge #2444 is celebrating 44 years of service to Saddleback Valley Communities. It is one of 10 lodges in the Orange Coast District of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks (BPOE) whose headquarters is in Chicago, Illinois. The BPOE is a charitable organization with a 146 history of giving. "Elks Care Elks Share"


Seated L to R: Brian Sheehan, Julie Holmes, Janet Griffin, Diane Carter, ER Derek Randles, Pam Erickson, Lenee Miller, Steve Coffey.

Standing L to R: Jeff Connelly, Tod Lepper, Joseph Jordan, Richard Lambert, James Carter, Joe Gonsalves, Stephen Merrill, David O’Sullivan, Mark Shelton, Russell Smith, Paul Halel, Luke Brady, David Tucker, Russ Loftin, David Hart, and Michael Howard.


Andy Costello
2014-15 CHEA Public Relations Chairman
Mission Viejo, Saddleback Valley Lodge #2444

If you are a high school student with a penchant for art, then sign up for this year’s “Art Beat” Student Art Competition

Permalink 10/30/14 15:51, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Schools, The Arts

Art Beat 3 cropped

This is the third year the City of Mission Viejo is hosting the competition in an effort to tap the creativity of local youth. The competition is open to all high school students, including those who are home schooled.

Students can submit up to five photos of their fabulous artwork by Friday, November 14 for a chance to receive City recognition by having it on display for a month at the Mission Viejo Library. All mediums are welcome, and the subject matter must be appropriate for all age groups.

The students’ photos will be evaluated by a volunteer panel of local professional artists. An application and photos can be mailed or dropped off at the Norman P. Murray Center, 24932 Veterans Way.

The City will bestow awards in the categories of Artistic Excellence, Teen Choice Award, Most Creative Use of Materials and more. Art work that is selected will be exhibited at the Mission Viejo Library Gallery from December 4 to January 14.

Award recipients will receive special recognition by the Mayor of Mission Viejo during the City Council’s January 5 meeting.

For more information and an application, visit www.cityofmissionviejo.org/artbeat. For more information, call 949-470-3075.

Kelly Tokarski

The City of Mission Viejo

Public Information Specialist

Give Mission Viejo Animal Services Center ‘2 Paws Up!’

Permalink 10/30/14 15:49, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings

2 paws up

The Mission Viejo Animal Services Center is hosting the “2 Paws Up”! video contest – giving folks a chance to celebrate the animals they have adopted and the dedicated volunteers who have fueled the facility for the last two decades.

To participate in the contest, which now runs through December 5, you must submit a video that begins with the phrase: “I give Mission Viejo Animal Services Center 2 Paws Up because …”  Videos must be at least 30 seconds and no longer than 90 seconds. A first, second and third place winner will be selected by the volunteers at the shelter.

The first place winner will receive an iPad Air; second place will go home with a mini iPad; and the third-place winner will enjoy a GoPro Hero 3+ Silver Camera.  The prizes were donated by Merchants Landscape Services, Inc. and Spectrum Care Landscape and Irrigation Management.

To submit your YouTube video, visit www.cmvas.org.  Winners will be notified via email on December 19.

For more information, call 949-470-3045 or visit www.cmvas.org.


Kelly Tokarski

The City of Mission Viejo

Public Information Specialist

American wheelchair tennis great to compete in Mission Viejo Nov. 5-9

Permalink 10/30/14 15:47, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, Sports

Nick Taylor croppedNick Taylor doesn’t let anything get in his way of perfection. He has perfected his drive, stamina and tennis serve – all from his power wheelchair.

Nick is one of the top 36 wheelchair tennis athletes on the planet who will compete at the UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters November 5-9 at Mission Viejo’s Marguerite Tennis Pavilion. This is the second straight year the City of Mission Viejo will host the event. It is the only U.S. venue for the year-end championships.

Taylor, a Wichita, Kansas native, is one of the top American wheelchair tennis players in the world. He holds the #2 spot in doubles ranking and is ranked #6 in quads singles.

He has collected three gold medals with partner David Wagner in the 2004, 2008 and 2012 Paralympic Games along with a bronze medal in the 2012 men’s singles.

He and Wagner won the US Open USTA Wheelchair Tennis Championships and together clinched the Men’s Doubles in the Atlanta Open.

Taylor took home the men’s singles title in the Daegu Open in Korea and doubles with partner Mika Ishikawa.   He was the 1999 USTA Wheelchair Tennis Player of the Year, 2012 US Olympic Team of the year with Wagner and the 2013 US Open Doubles Champion. Since 2000, he has won more than 30 championships and shows no signs of slowing down.

Born with arthrogryposis, a congenital disease that contracts and restricts muscular development, Taylor is one of the few that play with a power wheelchair.  By kicking the ball into the air with his foot, Taylor – by far – has the most unique serve of anyone in wheelchair tennis. When he began playing at 14 with the goal of making his high school team, Taylor would practice hitting the tennis ball against his grandmother’s garage while family members tossed it to him. He soon realized that in order to be competitive, he needed to practice much longer and figure out a way to do it himself.  Today, he has a mean 70-mph forehand serve.

Don’t miss this inspirational and talented athlete compete November 5-9 in Mission Viejo.

For more information, visit http://www.itfwheelchairmasters.com.

Kelly Tokarski

The City of Mission Viejo

Public Information Specialist

Trombonist Ryan Dragon Joins the Saddleback Jazz Lab Ensemble in Concert

Permalink 10/30/14 15:36, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Schools, The Arts



On Monday, November 24th at 7:30 p.m. in the McKinney Theatre, Director of Jazz Studies Joey Sellers is thrilled to present trombonist Ryan Dragon with the Saddleback Jazz Lab Ensemble in concert.

Born in Orange County, California in 1987, Dragon began studying trombone at the age of 10 under the leadership of Bill Tole, Ira Nepus, and Joey Sellers.

Dragon attended the Berklee School of Music where he studied Jazz Composition. He spent a short stint in New York freelancing before finally moving to Los Angeles where he currently lives.

He performs with Big Phat Band, Kim Richmond Concert Jazz Orchestra, and he recently appeared in a United Airlines commercial.


Tickets are $10 general and $7 students/seniors. Tickets may be purchased by calling 949-582-4656 (Tuesday through Friday, noon-4:00 p.m.) or online at www.saddleback.edu/arts.


Jazz Studies at Saddleback College emphasizes creativity through improvisation and ensemble performance. Focusing on the historical, theoretical, and intuitive aspects of this American music, Director of Jazz Studies Joey Sellers and an outstanding cadre of nationally-recognized musicians comprise the jazz faculty.

Curricula include Improvisation, Jazz Composition and Arranging, Jazz History Syllabus, Jazz History Audio, Jazz History Podcast, Jazz Piano, Saddleback Big Band, Jazz Lab Ensemble, and Combos.  Students in Jazz Studies at Saddleback College have transferred to prestigious institutions including University of Southern California, Eastman School of Music, Berkeley School of Music, Cal State Northridge, UCLA, Cal State Fullerton, University of California at San Diego, and other regional institutions.

Some of our alumni have gone on to play professionally with Frank Zappa, Diana Ross, and other high-profile artists and organizations.

Saddleback College is located at 28000 Marguerite Pkwy in Mission Viejo, just east of Interstate 5 at the Avery Parkway exit.  Take Avery Parkway to Marguerite Parkway and turn left.  Turn right into the campus at the third traffic light, which is Saddleback’s Marguerite entrance. Take the second left to Theatre Circle and turn right into Parking Lot 12. Parking is free in Lot 12 for these performances.

Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides quality higher education and training to the greater south Orange County community.  Having served more than 500,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers more than 300 degree and certificate programs to help students reach their personal, career, and educational goals.  For more information, please visit www.saddleback.edu.  For Fine Arts events, visit www.saddleback.edu/arts.



Nina Welch

Fine Arts Public Information Officer

Saddleback College

28000 Marguerite Parkway

Mission Viejo, CA 92692


Segerstrom Center for the Arts Partners with Second Harvest Food Bank in Holding a Food Drive During the Presentation of Visible Fictions: The Adventures of Robin Hood

Permalink 10/30/14 14:32, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Charitable, The Arts


WHAT: In the spirit of giving inspired by the legendary hero Robin Hood, patrons attending upcoming performances of Visible Fictions: The Adventures of Robin Hood at Segerstrom Center are encouraged to donate items for Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. There will be collection bins and each performance. Those who donate will receive a special thank-you gift.

WHEN: Saturday, November 8 at 1 p.m. and Sunday, November 9 at 1 and 3:30 p.m.

WHERE: Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Samueli Theater – 615 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA 92626

SHOW INFO: Bringing in a new and surprising take on the legend of Robin Hood, Visible Fictions makes a stop at Segerstrom Center for the Arts with a production The Scotsman newspaper calls, “A timely contemporary twist on the story.” Created by the company that brought the hit show Jason and the Argonauts to stages all over the world, The Adventures of Robin Hoodbreathes life into the outlaw we all know so well.



Segerstrom Center for the Arts

Frenzied Farce Lend Me a Tenor at Saddleback College

Permalink 10/29/14 14:58, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: The Arts



The Department of Theatre Arts is thrilled to present Lend Me a Tenor by Ken Ludwig on November 6th-9th in the McKinney Theatre at Saddleback College.

Directed by Robert Prior, this non-stop, door-slamming comedy set in a 1930s Cleveland hotel room, follows the antics of a world-famous opera singer preparing to perform his greatest role at the gala season opener.

The play was produced on both the West End (1986) andBroadway (1989).

It received nine Tony Award nominations and won for Best Actor (Philip Bosco) and Best Director (Jerry Zaks). A Broadway revival opened in 2010. Lend Me a Tenor has been translated into sixteen languages and produced in twenty-five countries.

Dates: November 6, 7, 8 at 7:30 p.m.; November 8, 9 at 2:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased by calling (949) 582-4656 (noon-4 Tuesday-Friday) and online at www.saddleback.edu/arts.  Prices are $15 general; $10 students/seniors.


The Department of Theatre Arts program at Saddleback College produces several fully-staged shows each year.  All students are given the opportunity to audition for every production yet Theatre Arts students are given priority in the casting process.  In addition there are numerous opportunities for students to contribute in backstage activities through the Entertainment and Theater Technology program.

Saddleback College is located at 28000 Marguerite Pkwy in Mission Viejo, just east of Interstate 5 at the Avery Parkway exit.  Free parking is available in Lot 12.  Take Avery Parkway to Marguerite Parkway turn left to the third traffic light, which is Saddleback’s Marguerite entrance. Turn right into the campus and take the third left to Theatre Circle, turning right into Lot 12.

Located in Mission Viejo, Saddleback College provides quality higher education and training to the greater south Orange County community.  Having served more than 500,000 students since 1968, Saddleback College offers over 300 degree and certificate programs to help students reach their personal, career, and educational goals.  For more information, please visit www.saddleback.edu and for Fine Arts information, please visit www.saddleback.edu/arts.



Jordan Kay (standing), Andrew Paul (left), Felisha Marie (right)

Photographer: Ken Kinder


Nina Welch

Fine Arts Public Information Officer

Saddleback College

28000 Marguerite Parkway

Mission Viejo, CA 92692


Free concert includes stimulating wind ensemble repertoire by Alfred Reed, Johan Halvorsen and Eric Whitacre

Permalink 10/29/14 13:32, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Pacific Symphony



pac sym logo





Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble (PSYWE) opens its 2014-15 season with a new music director, Gregory X. Whitmore, who leads the ensemble in a lively display of youthful musicality and captivating wind repertoire.

Titled “Exclamations!” the fall concert features two works by one of the 20th century’s most prolific composers of music for concert band, Alfred Reed. His majestic “Alleluia! Laudamus Te!” opens the program, while the authentic folk melodies of “Armenian Dances” serve as the finale.

In between, Scandinavian composer Johan Halvorsen’s “Entry March of the Boyars”—a stately yet lively piece, tinged with exoticism and full of rhythmic excitement—is followed by Eric Whitacre’s beautiful poem-based composition “Lux Aurumque,” originally written for a virtual choir.

PSYWE’s concert takes place on Sunday, Nov. 16, at 1 p.m., in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.


Thanks to a generous sponsorship by Barbara Roberts, tickets to this concert are free with general admission seating. To reserve a ticket, call the box office at (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org. Tickets may also be picked up at the door.


“I have known and had immense artistic and musical respect for Carl St.Clair and Pacific Symphony for quite some time,” says Maestro Whitmore. “It was an honor to receive a personal call from Maestro St.Clair this past spring to invite me to audition for the position of music director of Pacific Symphony Youth Wind Ensemble.

The ensemble is terrific, and I am greatly looking forward to collaborating with these talented young artists throughout the season.”

Also director of bands at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Whitmore’s new directorship follows a 13-year career as director of bands at Cathedral City High School and conductor of the College of the Desert Symphony Band in Palm Desert. He has also conducted ensembles in notable venues in England, France and Germany, as well as in Carnegie Hall, The Kennedy Center and Walt Disney Concert Hall.


“In my inaugural season as music director of PSYWE, I want to do some big things,” says Whitmore. “PSYWE is the only wind ensemble that will perform at the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall this season; this places us in the unique position of carrying the banner for wind literature and wind ensembles through what and how we play. This is an awesome responsibility.”

Reed’s “Alleluia! Laudamus Te!” marks the occasion with a brass fanfare that boils with rich contrapuntal interaction. A lyrical melody follows, and the piece gradually builds to a rich warmth before reaching a sweeping majestic climax representative of the divine.

Halvorson began his musical career as a violinist, and worked in Scandinavia as a professor before he started composing music as an adult. He was close friends with Edvard Grieg, and while his music continues the Norwegian Romantic School of composition, it is also inspired by the French Romantics.

Halvorson’s “Entry March of the Boyars” developed out of a fascination with the city of Bucharest. The music is majestic but jovial and includes a dance-like figure in the orchestral accompaniment that provides rhythmic excitement.

“My programming for the first concert, and all of the concerts set before the PSYWE is about offering the ensemble the opportunity to perform works from across the wind repertory that will inspire, challenge and offer them the opportunity to develop as artists throughout the music-making process,” says Whitmore.

Whitacre’s “Lux Aurumque” is based on the poem “Light and Gold” by Edward Esch, and was first recorded by a virtual choir of 185 singers from 12 countries. The music is deceivingly simple but has rich melodies and lush counterpoint underlain by complex harmonic structures. Smooth rhythms, quiet dynamics and enriched harmonies create a glowing, shimmering halo of sound.

To conclude his first concert as music director, Whitmore finishes with Reed’s “Armenian Dances,” five movements that reflect the Armenian folk songs collected by Komitas Verdapet. The music is full of bouncy rhythms, a jubilant and stirring climax, and a lively, folk-like atmosphere.

“The students are hard-working, talented, dedicated and a pleasure to collaborate with,” says Whitmore. “They understand the artistic responsibility it takes to be in an ensemble such as this, and I am excited to see them each week in rehearsal. I see them as ‘colleagues in creativity,’ and we work in that way each rehearsal.”

Whitmore received his bachelor’s degree in instrumental music education from The University of Michigan School of Music, Theater and Dance in Ann Arbor. There, he actively performed in the concert and symphony bands and led the University of Michigan Marching Band as “Michigan’s Man Up Front.” He received his master’s degree in music with an emphasis in wind conducting from California State University, Fullerton. Whitmore is currently a doctoral candidate at Columbia University in New York.

Whitmore was included in the 2005-06 edition of the National Honor Roll’s “Outstanding American Teachers,” is a Cathedral City Chamber of Commerce Golden Apple Educator Award Recipient and Orion Award Recipient for Excellence in Education, and he was also selected to represent the State of California by School Band and Orchestra Magazine in the 2008 edition of “50 Band Directors Who Make a Difference.”


Established in 2007, PSYWE started under the direction of well-known music educator and recipient of the “Band Educator of the Year” award from the California Music Educators Association, Michael J. Corrigan, with support from Larry Woody and the Woody Youth Fund.

PYSWE offers performance opportunities to instrumentalists in grades 8-12, provides members with a high-quality and innovative artistic experience, and strives to encourage musical and personal growth through the art of performance. Each season students enjoy interaction with Maestro St.Clair, as well as with guest artists and the Symphony’s professional musicians.

Each season, PSYWE presents a three-concert series in the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall and other high-quality community venues in Orange County. Members are selected through annual auditions which take place every year in June.

Mitzi Ortiz has been named Aliso Viejo's new city clerk. She fills the role of retiring City Clerk Susan Ramos beginning Nov. 4

Permalink 10/29/14 13:12, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings

Ortiz comes to the city of Aliso Viejo with a wealth of experience, having worked more than 14 years in city clerk departments.  Most recently, she spent five years in the post at the city of Lathrop, a city of nearly 18,000 in the San Joaquin Valley.

Before that, Ortiz worked in the city clerk departments in Murrieta and San Juan Capistrano.

Along with her city clerk experience, Mitzi has extensive experience with public information and website administration -- skills that will be valuable assets to the city of Aliso Viejo.

Ortiz graduated from Ashford University with a bachelor of arts degree in organizational management.  She is actively involved in the City Clerks Association of California. 

"Mitzi will be a welcomed addition to our staff and a key member of the management team," said City Manager Dave Doyle.


Kelly Tokarski
KT Community Relations

Warsaw’s Award-Winning Szymanowski Quartet Returns to Segerstrom Center Celebrating Composers and Music of Poland

Permalink 10/29/14 13:01, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, The Arts


Pianist Joseph Kalichstein Makes His Center Debut 
Performing Dvořák’s Masterpiece Piano Quintet No. 2

Segerstrom Center’s Chamber Music Series continues on

Saturday,January 31, 2015 with the acclaimed

Szymanowski Quartet.

For its third appearance, the Warsaw-based ensemble

will perform traditional, popular and rare works by

Polish composers Marcin Leopolita, Wacław of

Szamotuły, Krzysztof Penderecki and

Grażyna Bacewicz.

Pianist Joseph Kalichsteinmakes his Center debut

performing Chopin’s Ballade No. 4 in F minor, Op. 52

and Dvořák’s Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 8.

There will be a free Preview

Talk by musicologist and author Herbert Glass at

7:15 p.m. in the  Samueli Theater.


Segerstrom Center for the Arts


Permalink 10/28/14 10:23, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Pacific Symphony

pac sym logo



WHO: Pacific Symphony Santiago Strings (PSSS), now in its 24th season and made up of instrumentalists in grades 6-9, led by Music Director Irene Kroesen under the artistic advisement of Music Director Carl St.Clair. Also, guest artists Prelude Chamber Strings (PCS), an advanced group of elementary and junior high school students, led by Music Director Helen Weed.

WHAT: Groovin’ rhythms and beats in the hands of brilliant young string players. PSSS performs the jazzy “Vanishing Pointe” by Richard Meyer, which was inspired by the concept in art of receding parallel lines. “Tango Noir” by Reynard Burns precedes another Meyer piece, “Q&A,” which breaks the “fourth wall” with a creative selection of clap, stomp and snap call-and-response with the audience. The program concludes with “Red Rhythmico” by Kirt Mosier, an infusion of jazz and rock melodies. For the first half, PCS performs Vivaldi’s “Inverno,” arranged by Todd Parrish, “Labyrinth” by Vance Zuehlsdorff, “Sua Gȃn,” a traditional Welsh Folk Song, and “The Skyliners” by Jeffrey S. Bishop, inspired by the Oregon mountains.

Admission to the concert is free. No reservation required. For more information, call (714) 755-5799 or visit www.PacificSymphony.org.

WHEN: Saturday, Nov. 22, 3 p.m.

WHERE: Irvine Barclay Theater, 4242 Campus Dr., Irvine, CA 92612

WHY: Come hear the inspiring talent of the youngest members of Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles. PSSS represents 30 schools in and beyond Orange County, and provides an experience that nurtures the confidence, poise and musical sensitivity of young musicians through the study and performance of outstanding string orchestra literature.


Jayce Keane

Director of Public Relations

Pacific Symphony

3631 S. Harbor Blvd. Suite 100

Santa Ana, CA 92704

Direct: 714/ 876-2383 │Tickets: 714/ 755-5799



Recycle those pumpkins after Halloween

Permalink 10/28/14 10:18, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, Life in South O.C.


Halloween celebrations have long included decorative pumpkins that are often tossed into the trash after the holiday. This year, the City’s waste hauler, Waste Management of Orange County, is encouraging residents to give their jack-o-lantern a second life by disposing of it in their green waste cart so it can be converted into compost and put back in the pumpkin patch.

“Organic waste, like this season’s decorative pumpkins, can be composted and reused as fertilizer to help produce healthier lawns, plants and flowers,” said Eloisa Orozco, a spokesperson for Waste Management of Southern California.

To properly dispose of pumpkins, residents should remove any materials like candles, glow sticks and non-vegetative decorations and place the pumpkin in their green waste cart.

Residents can also drop off their pumpkin from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. November 3-7 at the Irvine Buy Back Center at 16122 Construction Circle East.

The following tips can also help you reduce, reuse and recycle this Halloween:

• Cook the pumpkin seeds: Pumpkin seeds make a delicious treat. When carving jack-o-lanterns this year, save the seeds and roast them afterward. This is an easy, fun and tasty way to use up every little bit of the pumpkin and create a healthy snack, too.

• DIY decorations: Use repurposed materials from the recycling bin to make unique Halloween decor.

• Hold a costume exchange party. Halloween costumes are often worn only once. By trading costumes with a friend, last year’s outfit can get another wear and you can get something new.

•Trick or treat with recyclable bags. Canvas, cloth or other reusable bags are an earth-friendly and affordable alternative to plastic jack-o-lantern buckets. Decorate recyclable bags or old pillowcases with spooky scenes to create a one-of-a-kind carryall to take home sweet treats.

• Candy wrappers are a big source of litter on the streets this season. Dispose of your own wrappers and carry an extra bag to pick up garbage along the way.


Kelly Tokarski

The City of Mission Viejo

Public Information Specialist

Poll workers sought for upcoming election

Permalink 10/28/14 10:15, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings

Elections VoteThe Orange County Registrar of Voters is seeking poll workers throughout the county for Election Day November 4.

Hundreds of poll workers are sought as inspectors and clerks. Individuals who are registered to vote in California are eligible to volunteer in Orange County.

The polling place inspector is responsible for overseeing Election Day operations at an assigned polling place. This includes managing and working with poll workers assigned to the polling place, coordination of site access, picking up supplies, setting up equipment, assisting and processing voters, completing the closing procedures, and transporting the results and supplies to a collection center on election night. The stipend for serving as a polling place inspector is $130. A training course is required and offered throughout Orange County.

The polling place clerk helps the inspector in the polling place operations. This includes setting up equipment and supplies, assisting and processing voters, and helping with closing procedures. Folks who are bilingual in Chinese, Korean, Spanish or Vietnamese are sought. The stipend for serving as a polling place clerk is $95. A training course is required and offered throughout the county.

Interested individuals can volunteer by calling 714-954-1901 or visiting http://www.ocvote.com/volunteer.


Kelly Tokarski

The City of Mission Viejo

Public Information Specialist

Wheelchair tennis exhibition Nov. 3 sets the stage for year-end championship in Mission Viejo

Permalink 10/28/14 10:09, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Sports

Shingo KuniedaLeading up to the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Masters in Mission Viejo November 5-9, an exhibition game of professional wheelchair tennis will take place inside the Beverly Center mall in Beverly Hills on Monday, November 3.

The 12:30 p.m. exhibition will feature world no. 1-ranked professional wheelchair tennis champion Shingo Kunieda playing a 30-minute match against Michael Jeremiasz of France, a multiple Paralympic medal winner. Fans will have the chance to meet and take photos with Kunieda inside the UNIQLO store immediately after the exhibition match. UNIQLO is a global clothing retailer.

Kunieda has dominated the sport of wheelchair tennis for the past 8 years. In addition to being the top-seeded International Tennis Federation (ITF) player, he has won three gold Paralympics medals and has won multiple singles and doubles Grand Slam tournaments including the U.S. Open, Wimbledon and the French Open. From 2007 to 2010, Kunieda held a three year, 106-match consecutive win streak and has a career record of 318-49.

“The City of Mission Viejo thanks the Beverly Center and UNIQLO for hosting an onsite tennis exhibition for this year’s UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters,” said Jason Harnett, co-director of the Mission Viejo event. “It will be the first time that the legendary Beverly Center has ever held a sporting exhibition in the mall.  This exhibition including Shingo Kunieda and Michael Jeremiasz will be a wonderful promotional event leading into the Masters at Mission Viejo’s Marguerite Tennis Pavilion.”

Hosted by the City of Mission Viejo, the UNIQLO Wheelchair Doubles Masters is one of two prestigious year-end Masters series events on the UNIQLO Wheelchair Tennis Tour.

The public is invited to see the matches November 5-9 in Mission Viejo.

For more information, visit www.itfwheelchairmasters.com.  Information about the November 3 exhibition is available by contacting Steve Bell at sbell@cityofmissionviejo.org or Jason Harnett at jharnett72@yahoo.com.



Kelly Tokarski

The City of Mission Viejo

Public Information Specialist

TV host, entertainment and dog fashion show highlight Mission Viejo Animal Services Center celebration Saturday

Permalink 10/28/14 10:06, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, Charitable

Jackson GalaxyThe Mission Viejo Animal Services Center is gearing up for its 20th anniversary celebration on Saturday, Nov. 1.

The fun-filled event, which marks the center’s two decades of pro-humane animal care, is from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 28095 Hillcrest.

The celebration includes a special appearance by Jackson Galaxy, host and executive producer of Animal Planet’s hit show “My Cat from Hell,” educational booths, children’s activities, wildlife education, safety demonstrations and more.

A cat behaviorist with more than 15 years of experience, Galaxy specializes in helping individuals whose “out-of-control” cats are turning their lives and homes upside down.

The charismatic TV host will be part of a celebration that includes a dedication ceremony of new donor walls that pay homage to the people who have supported the Mission Viejo Animal Services Center.

Families will enjoy free and fun activities including crafts for kids, live entertainment, a dog fashion show featuring 15 dogs and pet-related demonstrations. There will be educational booths and food for purchase from Beach Bus Bistro, Flip Truck and Dos Chinos food trucks. Guests will also receive tours of the facility – including the newly expanded cattery.

For more information, visit www.cmvas.org or call 949-470-3045.


Kelly Tokarski

The City of Mission Viejo

Public Information Specialist

LEGO in Latin means "I put together" or "I assemble" - Don't miss great times at LEGOLAND this holiday season!!!

Permalink 10/28/14 10:02, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Life in South O.C.

Ole Kirk Christiansen started making wooden toys in his small workshop in Billund, Denmark in 1932. Two years later, Ole Kirk decided upon a name for his toys and his workshop - LEGO®, a contraction of the Danish words 'leg godt,' meaning 'play well.' Coincidentally, it was later learned that LEGO in Latin means "I put together" or "I assemble."


In 1947, the company bought its first plastics injection-molding machine and in 1949 the forerunner to the LEGO brick was introduced, under the name "Automatic Binding Bricks".

Inner tubes on the bricks were introduced in 1958, which significantly increased the number of possible building combinations. In 1967, the larger DUPLO®bricks for pre-school children were introduced, and LEGO TECHNIC for older children debuted in 1977. LEGO DACTA®, now know as The Educational Division, was set up in 1980.

It was the increasing interest in the fantastic LEGO masterpieces displayed at the factories that triggered Godtfred Kirk Christiansen's idea of exhibiting the models outside. He originally envisioned just a little garden, where various LEGO models and figures could be displayed, but when work began on the project, it developed and became much larger.


In June 1968, LEGOLAND® Billund opened for the first time on a 9 acre site. All buildings, landscapes and vehicles were built using standard LEGO bricks, and the park's success exceeded everyone's expectations - in the first year alone, 625,000 happy visitors were guests at the park!

LEGOLAND California is a 128-acre park geared specifically towards youngsters ages 2 - 12. With over 60 family rides, "hands-on" attractions and shows, LEGOLAND California provides education, adventure and fun in this first park of its kind in the United States.

MERLIN ENTERTAINMENTS plc is the leading name in location-based, family entertainment. Europe’s Number 1 and the world’s second-largest visitor attraction operator, Merlin now operates 99 attractions, 9 hotels/3 holiday villages in 22 countries and across 4 continents. The company aims to deliver memorable and rewarding experiences to its 54 million visitors worldwide, through its iconic global and local brands, and the commitment and passion of its managers and more than 22,000 employees.

Among Merlin’s attractions are - SEA LIFE, Madame Tussauds, LEGOLAND, The EDF Energy London Eye, Dungeons, Gardaland, LEGOLAND Discovery Centres, Alton Towers Resort, Warwick Castle, THORPE PARK Resort, Blackpool Tower, Heide Park Resort, WILD LIFE Sydney Zoo, Sydney Tower Eye and SKYWALK, Siam Ocean World and Busan Aquarium.  All brands which are distinctive, challenging and innovative – and which have great potential for growth in the future. Visit www.merlinentertainments.biz for more information.

Read more about The LEGO Company

Read more about Merlin Entertainments Group

LDS Charities partners to help women in Iraq

Permalink 10/28/14 09:42, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Religions, Charitable

LDS Charities - the humanitarian arm of the Church - is partnering with other organization s to help those impacted by the crisis in the Middle East. Recipients of the aid include Yezidi women in the Bajed Kandala 1 and 2 camps in norther Iraq. In addition to food and supplies, the women are receiving white dresses that are an important part of their religious identity.


Women line up outside the medical clinic at the Bajed Kandala 2 camp in northern Iraq. Their faces are marked by the elements; their long white dresses darkened by the dust of their journey.

One speaks of the road that brought her here, just miles from the borders of Syria and Turkey, and wonders out loud if she would be better off dead.

Nemam Ghafouri, a Muslim surgeon who runs the medical clinic at the camp, talks to the women about their health. She reports that they are eating bread twice a day with the rest of the 16,000 internally displaced people — almost all Yezidi — here and in the Bajed Kandala 1 camp across the road. And, she says, they are staying dry in one of the thousands of tents that dot this landscape.

Winter is coming to the Kurdish region of Iraq, but staying warm isn’t all the women worry about. Instead, one points to her soiled dress — the dress she was wearing when the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria drove her from her village. The dress is a symbol of her faith, part of her religious identity.

Then she weeps as Dr. Ghafouri gives her a new white dress. The dress was made in the traditional method on sewing machines and with fabric provided by LDS Charities.

War and internal tensions and divisions continue to polarize Iraq, where more than 1 million people like these Yezidi women have fled their homes. Sectarian tensions continue to feed instability in the region. And refugees from the Syrian conflict continue to cross the border, according to the United Nations refugee agency.

LDS Charities — the humanitarian arm of the Church — is partnering with other organizations to help those impacted by the crisis. One of these organizations is the British-based AMAR. Their partnership with LDS Charities includes a computer training center at the Erbil School for the Deaf and a sewing center at the Erbil Psychiatric Hospital.

At the sewing center, patients and staff make the white dresses worn by Yezidi women and many other items for underserved people in northern Iraq. “Fundamental to looking after someone is finding where they came from and what they need,” said Baroness Emma Nicholson, founder of AMAR.

The Yezidis are a Kurdish ethno-religious community that live, for the most part, in Northern Iraq. In August 2014 the Yezidis were targeted by ISIS.

Bahar Ali, the project manager for AMAR in the capital city of Erbil, said the white dresses are an important part of the Yezidi identity. “This group of people had nothing to wear,” she said, noting that they fled their homes with just the clothes on their backs. “When they came their identity was at risk.”

The dresses, because of their traditional design and religious significance, couldn’t be purchased. They are not sold in a store or manufactured by a company. The dresses had to be made.

Representatives of LDS Charities — who identified and understood the importance of religious clothing — immediately set to work on the cause, arranging to have the “special and unique dresses made.”

Dr. Ghafouri said she can see joy in the faces of the women when they receive their white dresses.

“They feel we are respecting them because we have brought something very special, very specific to them,” she said. “It is a simple gift but for them it means a lot.”

Besides the unique dresses, Dr. Ghafouri said LDS Charities has provided medical supplies and equipment and food for the camps.

Dr. Ghafouri said LDS Charities takes the time to know those they serve. “They understand the culture and they give what people need,” she said.

Salman Ahmad, who works in the sewing center in Erbil and has been sewing the dresses for the last month and a half, said the dresses are “designed specifically” for Yezidi women.

“We are tailoring specific clothing,” said Gulnaz Sabir. “We are doing this with happiness … because there are people that need help and we can help them.”

Sarah Jane Weaver


With the holiday season just around the corner, the city of Mission Viejo is now accepting applications for holiday or seasonal displays at the southwest and northwest corners of the intersection at La Paz Road and Chrisanta Drive

Permalink 10/27/14 14:07, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: News, Happenings

Four Corners holiday display applications now available

Mission Viejo’s “Four Corners Holiday Display” has long been a cherished ritual in the City and captures the essence of the holidays and spirit of the community.

Certain criteria apply to participate in the program, and an informational packet detailing the process is available by calling 949-470-8493 online at http://www.cityofmissionviejo.org/viewdocument.aspx?id=26273. Applications are due to Community Services Supervisor Stephanie Hanes in the city of Mission Viejo Recreational and Community Services Department at 200 Civic Center by 4 p.m. on Nov. 6.

For more information, call 949-470-8493.


Kelly Tokarski

The City of Mission Viejo


Public Information Specialist

San Clemente Artists “Small Works Show” and Sale - Lovely small original painting gems light up holiday gift giving

Permalink 10/27/14 14:03, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, Charitable, The Arts

Small Works Art.jpg

The San Clemente Art Association ”Small Works Show” opens  Sunday, November 2nd at the San Clemente Art Gallery, 100 N. Seville in San Clemente.  It continues until December 31, 2014. Artists are exhibiting their beautiful small works of art on canvases no larger than 8”x10”. All artwork is priced below $300.00.

This is a favorite show because collectors have the opportunity to purchase a small work of art for their homes or as a holiday gift at an affordable price. These paintings are our special gift to our community and we invite you all to come and support your talented artists. SCAA supports the public schools with Art supplies and  Scholarships.

Hours are weekdays Noon –4pm, Weekends 10am-4pm.

This event is sponsored by the San Clemente Art Association.Visit their website at www.scartassociation.com for more information.

Donia Moore

iwrite words

San Clemente Resident Don Glasgow Wins Rotary Non- Rotarian Citizen of the Year Award

Permalink 10/27/14 14:00, by Susan Espenschied, Categories: Happenings, Charitable

Don at Rotary lunch with Award.png


The annual award is  presented to a non-Rotarian who

exemplifies Rotary’s principals.


Don Glasgow may be retired, but he isn’t finished serving his community of San Clemente yet. This Chamber of Commerce “Citizen of the Year 2013” is still going strong, opening his heart and his resources to need where he sees it.

Recently he was  awarded the Rotary Club’s District Non-Rotarian of the Year and his tireless work is an example for us all. The award is issued to the best qualified citizen in the Rotary District area, which encompasses most of  Orange County.

San Clemente Sunrise Rotary Club members first met Don in 2012 when he was, single handedly, on a crusade to help wounded soldiers at Camp Pendleton acquire golf equipment, He has collected, cleaned, washed and distributed over 600 complete sets of golf clubs and over 35,000 golf balls. In recognition of his efforts, the Camp Pendleton Fifth Marine Battalion presented him with an American flag that had flown over the US base in Afghanistan in 2012.

But he wanted to do more. In 2010 Don started, by himself, collecting shoes for people in Mexico. His original goal of 200 – 300 pairs was surpassed. To date Don has collected and distributed over 10,000 pairs of shoes. Other projects for our Southern neighbors have included collecting gently-used musical instruments for the school children of Mexico.

He amassed and delivered over 200 used bicycles for the residents and children of El Nino, Mexico for those who had no mode of transportation. He co-founded the Kingdom Builders Ministries, a ministry in Mexico that builds houses and  churches and feeds 1,000 children daily before they go to school.

And that still wasn’t enough for Don. He understood the need for a sensory park built specifically for disabled people, and became a cofounder of Courtney's SandCastle Charitable Foundation. Serving as its President, he helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for the unique playground, located in Vista Hermosa Park in San Clemente.  Don has served as a board member for the “Fish for Life” campaign, a non-profit organization that gives special needs children a chance to go out in the ocean for a fishing experience they’ll never forget. They won’t forget Don, either.


Donia Moore

iwrite words




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