Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Winding Down 2014: A Retrospective on Quite a Year In South Orange County

  It has been a wonderful year in the South Orange County Community.    It was a year as we were witness to successes in School and as we were privy to the Orange County 100 being named by the Orange County Register.     The 100 who made a difference were quite a group which has made all Orange County the wonderful place it is and continues to be.

We here @ Outsiders were also privileged to be witness to this vibrancy that we commented on.   We continue to be amazed as to the commitment by our community to our Schools.   One example of it was when we joined the latest competition sponsored by the +Orange County Debate League : 

As we were witness to this, we were also witness to such support for Aliso Viejo Middle School as the Aliso Viejo Falcons ASB  spearheaded fundraiser at Blaze PIzza and Sub Zero.  How the  Falcon Community came out in droves was a privilege to be witness to.    

For us, a fitting end to the year was when we joined a contingent of volunteers as preparations for the 2015 Rose Parade was in full force:

This is one of those traditions that has persisted for over 100 years staffed by volunteers and donated by volunteers.    How it all comes together that somehow brings into to life.   One of the most recent entrants was from the Sikh American Community.   It was quite a sight to be witness to.   

It was also of note how our Schools continue to improve and be a haven for learning.  We here @ #outsiders decided to publish excepts of the final edition of Capo Talk which is published by the Capistrano Unified School District that underscores the level of   achievement and continued success being enjoyed by the students at Capistrano Unified. This is also as the New School Board Took office earlier in the Month--and as transitions occurred throughout the Cities of South Orange County.

We wish all a wonderful New Year as we continue to comments on the ever changing and vibrant South Orange County Community.

Onward & Upward!!! 

Family Wins New Ford Vehicle in Drawing 
School Success Provides Reward for
Newhart Middle School Student 

(L-R) Lisa Grossman, Orange County deputy district attorney; Roberto and Margarita Vasquez, parents; Roberto Vasquez; Rosalia Koba, Newhart Middle School counselor; and Hector Catalan, school resource officer.
Staying on track for school success paid off with a big prize for Roberto Vasquez and his parents. The seventh-grader at Newhart Middle School won the drawing for an all-new Ford Transit Connect vehicle held at Ford Motor Co.'s regional headquarters in Irvine earlier this month.

Roberto was among 25 Orange County students and their families eligible for the grand prize for significant improvement in overall school attendance, behavior, and grades through the Orange County Gang Reduction and Intervention Partnership (OC GRIP) program. OC GRIP is a program of the Orange County District Attorney's Office in conjunction with the county Sheriff's Department aimed at guiding identified students to positive life choices and rejecting criminal activity or gang-related behavior.  

Participating OC GRIP parents are held accountable for their children and are provided with a host of resources for keeping a son or daughter on the right path including tutoring, counseling, and parenting education classes.

"The OC GRIP program has been a great motivation for Roberto in turning around his academic outlook and school performance," said Jeff Jones, principal of Newhart Middle School. "I am looking forward to seeing him achieving more success in the future."

The raffle for the new vehicle was the highlight of a day-long visit by more than 150 local elementary, middle, and high school students to Ford's Orange County headquarters. The students, all successful participants in the OC GRIP program, were rewarded for their good behavior with an exclusive tour of the company's regional offices, including a behind-the-scenes look into the design process for concept cars. 

Lynn Hatton-Hodson Chosen as President
CUSD Board of Trustees Elects New Officers
The CUSD Board of Trustees elected new officers at the Board meeting of Wednesday, December 10. Lynn Hatton-Hodson was elected Board President, Amy Hanacek is the new Vice President, and Martha McNicholas is the new Clerk of the Board. 
President Hatton-Hodson succeeds John Alpay, who served two consecutive terms as Board President. Trustee Alpay was presented with an engraved plaque by Board colleagues in appreciation of his service as President.  

Lynn Hatton-Hodson
New President Hatton-Hodson, who was re-elected last month to a second term on the Board, was sworn in and seated before the Board meeting with newly elected Trustees Gila Jones and Martha McNicholas.
Trustee Hatton-Hodson represents Area 7, which covers Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo, and Coto de Caza. She was first elected in 2010.
Trustee McNicholas was sworn in to represent Area 4, which includes parts of Laguna Niguel and Dana Point.
Trustee Jones was sworn in to represent Area 6, which covers portions of Mission Viejo, Laguna Niguel, and San Juan Capistrano.  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Happy Holidays From the #Outsiders


We here @ Outsiders wish all the very best on this joyous Season as we bid farewell to 2014 and embrace the advent of 2015....
Happy Holidays!!!!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Winding Down 2014: A Bit of a "Musical Treat" : ♪♪ SMOOTH JAZZ COMPILATION (4 hours NON-STOP) ♪♪

As we wind down 2014 here in #Outsiders, we wanted to do something a bit "different" for this channel as a "virtual token" of appreciation as we ran across this on YouTube that we hope all enjoy.


Saturday, December 20, 2014

Around Town in South County: Hanging out in Mission Viejo

The festive holiday season is all around us.   Kaleidoscope in Mission Viejo is an epitome of it as this beautiful Christmas light that lit up the evening showed.    As all the visitors were dining at the restaurants on their way to the movies and as the young played on at Howie's, they were treated to Holidays Songs by a trio of singers:

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

On Our Community & Remembering "Not": Brief Thoughts 4 the Week

Being witness to a vibrant & engaging community in South Orange County this year was quite enlightening.  This was especially so as we have been witness to the compassion and humanity of our Faith Communities and as we saw selfless souls who stepped up to serve and have now taken up the mantle of service.    

As we count our blessings in this oasis of prosperity and engagement, we need to remember who we are.  This young Australian Poet said it ever so eloquently:

“You are not your age,
Nor the size of clothes you wear,
You are not a weight,
Or the colour of your hair.
You are not your name,
Or the dimples in your cheeks,
You are all the books you read,
And all the words you speak,
You are your croaky morning voice,
And the smiles you try to hide,
You’re the sweetness in your laughter,
And every tear you’ve cried,
You’re the songs you sing so loudly,
When you know you’re all alone,
You’re the places that you’ve been to,
And the one that you call home,
You’re the things that you believe in,
And the people that you love,
You’re the photos in your bedroom,
And the future you dream of,
You’re made of so much beauty,
But it seems that you forgot,
When you decided that you were defined,
By all the things you’re not.”
~ Erin Hanson (E.H)

Erin Hanson is a young poet living in Austrailia. Visit her blog The Poetic Underground
Erin Hanson


Thursday, December 11, 2014

On the Impending Storm in South Orange County: Guidance From Laguna Niguel's CERT Team Leader

There is a major storm coming at Orange County starting later on today.    The Laguna Niguel CERT team leader has shared the following guidance with the CERT Team which we wanted to report on here:

Good Morning Team Members!
There is a big storm heading our way, so please make sure to bring in (or secure) anything outside that could fly away and do damage.  That includes those holiday decorations, like the inflatable Santa on your lawn.
If you have a storm drain near your property, make sure there isn't anything blocking it (leaves, debris, trash), so the water can flow without any obstructions. 

The roads will be bad late tonight, and tomorrow.  Take your time, slow down, give that car a little extra space, and make sure your windshield wipers are good to go.  And don't drive (or walk) through standing water, you don't know how deep it is!

Finally, if you need sandbags (or have neighbors/friends/family who need them):
(Laguna Niguel residents: Station 49  31461 Golden Lantern)

Be safe out there, team members!

Please be safe out there over the ensuing days.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

View of the Week: Being Positive about the future

Tonight is an evening whereby Capistrano Unified School District welcomes two new trustees to the School Board as a new era arrives.   We have also seen employment continues to improve and the Economy's prospects be ever so bright based on  As all in South Orange County and beyond gear up for 2015, it was of interest as we here at #outsiders saw this cross our daily updates which we wanted to share with our community as a "View for the Week":

Positive about the future

You have a future, and what you do right now makes a difference in how that future will be. You have a future and it is as bright as you choose in the present to make it.
It’s all too easy and all too common to get discouraged about the future. Yet it is just as realistic, and it feels a whole lot better, to be positive about the future.
The way you see your future has a lot to do with the way it unfolds. What you expect plays a key role in what you get.
No, things are never going to work out exactly the way you anticipated. However, you’re much more likely to get to a positive place when you’re moving yourself in a positive direction.
The fact is, right now you can envision any future you choose. So you might as well envision the most joyous, enriching and fulfilling future you can imagine.
Go ahead, let yourself be positive about the future, and act accordingly. It will lift your life higher, both in the present and in the future days to come.
— Ralph Marston

& Reminding all of this:


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Community in Action: A Visit w/HomeAid OC On this Holiday Season

HomeAid OC Homeless Action month
HomeAid OC Homeless Action month

This Saturday saw the Community of Orange County come together at +HomeAid Orange County offices  in Irvine.  +HomeAid Orange County   is the philatorphnic arm of the Building Industry Associaton whose sole aim is to combat and end homelessness in Orange County.   It spreaheads a number of crucial initaitives that we here @ #Outsiders have endeavored to support over the last number of years.   This month was the culminiation of their latest initiative--Homeless Awareness Month.

Throughout the Month, organizations & individuals collected donations which were then counted, sorted and readied for care packages to be prepared.   284 Care Packages along with other individualized care packages were prepared consisting of basic hygiene along with a snack bar so that the "love in a bag" could be conveyed to those who are less fortunate during this joyous holiday season.  

Friday, December 5, 2014

Laguna Niguel Turns 25

Laguna Niguel turned 25 this past week.    It was a pleasure to have been a part of this celebration as two new members of the City Council took their oath of office and a new era arrived.    During his farewell address, Council Member Ming noted this very telling comment:   
"Remember, that wisdom isn't just saying the right thing at the right time, but leaving unsaid the wrong thing at the temping moment."

We here @ Outsiders join all in thanking both Mayor Lindholm and Councilmember Ming for their selfless service to the citizens of Laguna Niguel:

City of Laguna Niguel turns 25
City of Laguna Niguel turns 25

Thursday, December 4, 2014

On the Latest in South County: Brief Thoughts & A "View of the Week"

Rain came to South Orange County.  Although the rain did not make a profound difference, it was still welcome.  Unfortunately it was also a detriment to the residents of Silverado Canyon and other areas who had suffered burns over the past year.   Based on reports received, it appears that Riverside County was hit the worst.

This past Tuesday saw the  +City of Laguna Niguel achieve a milestone:  25 years as a City.   We will be releasing a column on this milestone soon.   It was also of note as we reviewed reports of challenges at Orange County's Flagship Paper, +Orange County Register.  It  announced job cuts.   The +Orange County Register has been struggling as the strategy it envisioned seemed not to have worked.     We here @ Outsiders wish the Register all the best as it continues its' efforts to stabilize its' business.    

We are reminded of this admonition as our work at #Outsiders continues:

Friday, November 28, 2014

View of the Week: On the advent of #GivingTuesday & Making a Difference

On the advent of a new month in #Outsiders", we begin with the latest from the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America.     The latest edition of the "parents Scout scoop" from the Orange County Council showcases how Scouts continue to make a difference throughout Orange County as exemplified by Scouting For Food 2014 and other on-going active Community Outreach Efforts.

As #BlackFriday has come and gone, #CyberMonday is before us, it is ever so critical to remember #GivingTuesday.   It is gratifying to see how organizations throughout the World have come together in this spirit.    We here @ #outsiders are pleased to be ardent supporters of Scouting and have been ardent supporters of  #GivingTuesday.   As we see it, every day should be a #GivingTuesday simply because making a difference is ever more important for the betterment of all as we joined the Trailmasters of Troop 772 as they served Marines at Camp Pendleton during the Annual Thanksgiving Dinner Giveaway earlier this week.

We here @ #Outsiders salute all who strive to make a difference.

Scouts Success
Boy Scouts Plant Sensory Garden at OC Braille Institute

A sensory garden is being planted at the Braille Institute of America's Orange County Center as part of a project developed by two brothers who want to earn their Eagle Scout Rank. Jesse and Matthew Sun, both 15 years old, are planting fragrant herbs such as rosemary with the help of their Boy Scout troop that will be used in the kitchen at the center.

"We have cooking classes for people to relearn how to cook in the kitchen again. They can relearn those skills to be safe," said Gloria Coulston, executive director of the OC center.

Jesse and Matthew Sun raised about $1,400 to pay for the plants and materials to create a space for about 500 people with no or low vision who visit the center each week.

"I can't imagine being without my sight, without the colors of this world, without any of this," Matthew Sun said.

The brothers also learned what it is like to be visually impaired while volunteering at the center, which runs on donations.

"I learned to be more appreciative of what I have and what I can do with all these skills that I have and what I'm born with," Matthew Sun said.

-Story as reported by ABC 7
Scouting in Action
A Scout is Clean

Beginning with "HalloClean" on November 1st, Cub Scout Pack 333 in Newport Beach launched a month of activities to demonstrate good citizenship and active participation in their community. In lieu of its normal monthly Pack meeting, the Scouts and their families participated in four weekend activities. 

First, the Cub Scouts met for "HalloClean," which entailed walking the community greenbelt, end to end, and picking up the remnants from Halloween. Second, they joined the greater Scouting community on Saturday, November 8th by collecting and donating food as part of the annual Scouting for Food 'Good Turn' campaign.

The third activity, held on November 15th, included Pack 333 joining the American Legion Newport Harbor Post 291 to deliver donated items and pack shipments to our troops serving overseas. Lastly, with a focus on family community, Cub Scouts were asked to take a moment on Thanksgiving to share what they are thankful for or to partake in an activity of thanks. 

Read more about the HalloClean event in this Daily Pilot article

On September 5, 2014, the hardworking Scouts from Troop 724, of San Juan Capistrano, gathered at the beach in Monarch Bay in Dana Point to participate in "operation beach clean-up." A number of different patrol groups from Troop 724 came together to serve one of their local beaches in need of a clean-up.

The Troop scoured the beach, collecting trash from Monarch Bay to neighboring beach, Salt Creek, with huge smiles on their faces. The Scouts worked together to make sure that by the end of the day the beach was pristine and all the trash was discarded. The management staff at Monarch Bay praised the boys' hard work and efforts. The Scouts ended the evening with a cook-off competition and a renewed appreciation for the beach environment. They had so much fun that the Troop looks forward to making this an annual event. 
Scouting Spotlight
Scouting for Food - You Fed Thousands in Orange County 

A huge thank you to all the Scouts, Scouters, families and volunteers who helped collect food for the hungry of Orange County on Saturday, November 8th by participating in Scouting for Food. Thousands of Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts and their volunteer leaders in Orange County participated in this Good Turn initiative. 

Over 65,000 pounds of food has been received by Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County, with more food coming in daily. That's approximately 53,660 meals and counting! 

& Shared this while "On the Grid":


Sunday, November 23, 2014

On Being Thankful....

It is the eve of Thanksgiving Week in the United States.    It is a time for us all to step back and remember ever more all that we're thankful for.   This was ever so evident as this week-end was the advent of the Thanksgiving Project @ St. Timothy's Catholic Parish. 150 Families will be able to have a thanksgiving meal thanks to the wonderful generosity of the Parish Community.

As we go "dark" for this Thanksgiving Week on all #Outsider Channels, we wanted to simply say thanks to all who have supported this "labor of love".  We also remain ever so hopeful about our World as we look forward to reflect upon a World that although challenging, it is one to embrace and believe in.

Wishing all the happiest of Thanksgivings....

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Around Town in South County: Change is in the Air :-)

Holidays are upon us.   All around South County, decorations are going up as the Community gets into the festive mood.   This is as there are profound changes coming up in South Orange County Cities.    

 Aliso Viejo, Laguna Niguel and Dana Point have new members of the City Council that would see some definite direction on the future of communities.   One example is Aliso Viejo not going forward with the Community Center.   What will be the focus is a "refurbishment" of the remnants of the old Moulton Ranch which will bode well for the surrounding communities.  Beyond the immediate focus of South Orange County, change is also in the air as three out of the five seats on the Orange County Board of Supervisors is changing.  The conservative direction will not change--but the personalities and their priorities will. 

Faith communities throughout South County will also be involved in supporting the less fortunate during this holiday season.   . Laguna Niguel's  St Timothy  Catholic Parish Community will be having its' annual Thanksgiving Giveaway this coming Saturday.      HomeAid OC will be having its' HomeAid Action Month whereby it will be hosting volunteers to build out CareKits for the less Fortunate.  We here @ "Outsiders" are pleased to be supporting this initiative as we wish all



Thursday, November 13, 2014

View of the Week: Honoring a Hero

This was featured on the front page of the Orange County Register.   We here @ Outsiders pray that his soul RIP and may the almighty grant his loved ones the solace to overcome this loss.  Our World is a better place for such selfless souls:

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Around South County On Veterans Day 2014: Remembering, Reflecting & Honoring All Who Have Served

Throughout the #Outsiders" network, we reflected upon this day of remembrance and honor for all who have served and the fallen who have paid the ultimate price: blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en">

The Daily Outsider ™: On This Veterans Day in the United States & #ArmisticeDay around the World:

— Mike Pouraryan (@mikepouraryan) November 11, 2014

The City of Laguna Niguel was amongst communities throughout the United States and the World honoring all who had served. This remembrance was spreaheaded by American Legion Post 281 in conjuction with the Laguna Niguel Women's Club and the Laguna Niguel Military Support Committee. Members of Troop 772 along with various Girl Scouts Troop throughout South Orange County joined this day of service to remember and honor all who had served:

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Witness to Democracy in Action In Orange County: Reflections :-)

Tuesday November 4 was election day in the United States.    It was also ever so in Orange County as well as noted by this "tweet" released earlier on Election Day: 
Embedded image permalink

Being witness to in action as the people of ca vote.

A "clip" of that day is available by clicking on the "image" from the tweet for  that day to be witness to Democracy in Action.   It was ever so gratifying to see the enthusiasm by all the volunteer election workers and the patience shown by the Voters as they patiently awaited the opportunity to express their views over the next two years.   A number of key City Council Races throughout Orange County saw a number of new faces and change will be forthcoming on the Orange County Board of Supervisors.

As we here @ #outsiders were witness to this, we were reminded of all those who are in prison and continue to be faced with prosecution such as these two Egyptian Activists:

It was quite gratifying to see that the percentage of voters who voted increased as noted by the Orange County Registrar of Voters:

Registration and Turnout
Completed Precincts: 1863 of 1863
Total Registered Voters1,424,216
Precinct Registration1,424,216
Precinct Ballots Cast212,14214.9%
Early Ballots Cast00.0%
Absentee Ballots Cast363,40625.5%
Total Ballots Cast575,54840.4%
It was quite interesting that although the State of California went "Blue", Orange County stayed firmly as a "Red Bastion" as epitomized by the results reported by the Orange County Registrar of Voters for the races for Governor and Lt. Governor:

Completed Precincts: 1863 of 1863
Vote CountPercentage
NEEL KASHKARI314,19256.1%
* EDMUND G. "JERRY" BROWN245,54043.9%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any
Lieutenant Governor
Completed Precincts: 1863 of 1863
Vote CountPercentage
RON NEHRING325,92159.2%
* GAVIN NEWSOM225,03140.8%
* Indicates Incumbent Candidate, if any

It will be ever so interesting to continue to be witness to this vibrant community.