Thursday, May 29, 2014

Open Government in Action: A Day in the Life in South County :-)

One of the many beautiful aspects of Community Engagement is to be on the frontlines and be witness to an ever vibrant and engaging Community.    One fantastic example of it was the Monthly Meeting of the City of Laguna Niguel Traffic & Transportation Commission that was held on Wednesday, May 29 2014.   As a sitting Commissioner who has the privilege to sit on the Commission,  I was witness to this beautiful example of an engaged Community.

On the agenda, there were a number of community concerns that was at hand.  It included a discussion on the traffic on Monte Verde and thereafter discussions on the challenges with the Laguna Crest Community.      The active, engaged citizens who came to speak were prepared, were eloquent in expressing the profound concerns they had about safety.   There was thereafter some rather engaging discussions with the annual School Traffic plan for all school in City limits.   It was quite an enlightening moment when it was noted that the Crossing Guards are private contractors with little or no formal training that staff the Schools during the School Year.

Democracy will only work with an enlightened and engaged citizenry.   This was ever so evident at work....and it was a privilege to be witness to.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Around Town in South County: On Memorial Day in Laguna Niguel

Scenes From Memorial Day @ Laguna Niguel's Sea Country Community Center--Click on Image for a Clip of this Momentous Day

The City of Laguna Niguel held its' first annual Memorial Day Ceremony at the Sea Country Community Center.   This solemn ceremony was organized by American Legion Post 281 which saw a number of leading Community Leaders attend the ceremony.     Community Leaders included Mayor Lindholm, Mayor Pro Tem McCloskey and Council members Ming and Davies.

The ceremony began with the Flag Ceremony led by Scouts from Laguna Niguel's Troop 772--The Trailmasters.      A reflection upon the history and the sacrifice that America has paid was shared with an audience of Veterans and their Families.    A Veteran of the Second World War and a Vietnam Prisoner of War spoke about their experiences.    The audience also received a treat as Congressman Rohrbacher  was able to join the remembrance and shared a rendition of "God Bless America" as he shared his perspective on the day of remembrance and all who have paid the ultimate price.

The ceremony concluded with a laying of the wreath at the remembrance plaque to honor all the fallen on this solemn day.

The Dawn of a New Week in South County: On Youth Development, Service & Other Thoughts....

It has been an interesting day around the World as well as around South County.    Just like many cities around the United States, the City of Laguna Niguel will be holding a Memorial Day Event to honor all who have fallen which is being spearheaded by American Legion Post 281.   

 What has also been quite amazing is some of the activity on the "Social Grid" about a call to action to help with some of the Public Places which we hope to further reflect upon including the Aliso and Wood Canyon Park and the trail that seems to be in need of repair.   Hopefully one o the Eagle Scout Candidates will be able to take that on.

Summer time is also at hand and with it a lot of opportunities for the youth to get involved. One key programs in South County is Aliso Aquatics at Aliso Niguel High School which has the following key programs for Youth Water Polo Players and Swimmers: 

·         Swim Lessons:  All ages and abilities, private and semi-private lessons available. 
o   Registration days 5/31, 6/2, 6/21

·         Swim Clinic: Advanced swimmers only.  Focus on Stroke development.  Expected for all boy/girl incoming freshmen who wish to be playing at Aliso Niguel High School.
o   Registration days 5/31, 6/2, 6/21 or  
o    Polo players can contact Coach Lynch $100 discount for registered water polo players:  MAX 30 spots.  First to sign up hold the spots.

·         Water Polo Summer Camp:  Any/all first time water polo players ages 7-13.  Younger/newer returning players.

·         Advanced Water Polo Summer Season:  Older/more experienced returning players

·         High School Girls Water Polo:  9th-12th grade girls.  Incoming 9th graders do not have to have experience!!!!

All information is on the website

As this day is before us, this perceptive thought 4 the day is ever so crucial: 

Moving forward

Live this day based on the way you can be, not on the way you have been. Live this day focused on your best possibilities, not on your worst fears.
One big thing that makes life so amazing is the constant opportunity to move forward. As you live this day, choose to make the most of that opportunity.
Whatever the situation may be, whoever may be to blame, your best option is to move forward. No matter how the past has been, or what you have or do not have, your best choice is to move forward.
There is something you can do right now that will make a positive difference and move things forward.
Find it and do it.
If you’re dismayed and don’t really feel like doing anything, what will quickly help you feel much better is doing something to move forward. If you’re not sure what to do, move forward just a little and you’ll soon see ways to move forward even more powerfully.
There may be plenty of good reasons to give up, and yet there’s one even better reason to keep moving forward. It will inject new substance and energy into your life, and with that, there’s no limit to what you can achieve.
— Ralph Marston.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

On the Eve of Memorial Day Week-End: Around South County (Updated)

It is eve of Memorial Day in the United States.    Troop 772's "Trailmasters" will be @ El Toro Memorial Park to honor that day with a solemn ceremony to lay out crosses and decorate the gravesites of Veterans.     The "Trailmasters" will also be joining a remembrance ceremony sponsored by the American Legions Post 281 on Memorial Day at the Sea Country Senior Center in Laguna Niguel.  

I was gratified to see that the Orange County District Attorney, Tony Racklaus, has moved aggressively to combat the epidemic of painkillers.    It is great to see that a community outreach effort has been scheduled for June 4 led by Sheriff Hutchens and other Community Leaders.    It is slated to be held at Nolet Spirits Headquarters at 
30 Journey in Aliso Viejo & leave you all with this:

Sunday, May 18, 2014

A "thought 4 the week" to get the new going :-)

As the new week is at hand,  once again reminded by the wonderful Jonathan Lockwood Huie of the following thoughts:

Being defeated is often a temporary condition.
Giving up is what makes it permanent.
- Marilyn vos Savant

When you find your path, you must not be afraid.
You need to have sufficient courage to make mistakes.
Disappointment, defeat, and despair are
the tools God uses to show us the way.
- Paulo Coelho

Circumstances don't defeat you -
you defeat yourself when you give up.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie

The greatest test of courage on earth
is to bear defeat without losing heart.
- Robert Ingersoll


Onward :-)

On the "Prowl" in South County: Dash For Hope 2014

The two leading faith communities of Mission Lutheran Church and St. Timothy's Parish In Laguna Niguel  came together in "Dash For Hope" to support some key local charities including the St. Vincent De Pauls' St. Timothy's Conference.   Over 400 Runners participated in this "Dash For Hope" which thereafter culminated in a "Block Party" hosted at Mission Lutheran's Campus including Rock Climbing, Mini Golf, Ping Pong and Basketball for the Young.   The Volunteers who made it all possible included members of both Faith Communities along with Scouts and Scouters from Troop 772 who were able to support the charter organization that extends such wonderful support to the youth of Troop 772.  

Around South County: A Day of Service for the Homeless w/HomeAid OC

HomeAid Orange County's 7th Annual Essentials for Young Lives was held during the week before Mother's Day that saw hundreds of thousands of diapers and other supplies donated by organizations throughout Orange County.     The staging and delivery was thereafter held at a Warehouse on Saturday May 16 at off Pusan Road at the Old El Toro Marine Base by Lennar Corporation that now owns the land.

Volunteers from throughout Orange County joined the staging process that was designed to support some 17 homeless shelters throughout Orange County.  Volunteers from Concordia University's School of Nursing, Pacific Life, Bank of America, US Bancorp and Scouts from Troop 772 in Laguna Niguel joined the day of service as hundreds of thousands of diapers, wipes and other supplies were staged for pick up by the shelters over the ensuing weeks.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

"Fish For Life" Call to Action: Read On.....

Fish for life was a charity that was started by one of our local heroes, Jim Holden.    Having been on two of the cruises, it is just a life-changing experience.      His 4th Annual Fish for Life Texas Holdem Fundraiser with some of the leading lights of the NFL is at hand.     It is a chance to make a difference and support one of our own here in South Orange County. 

His Call to Action is noted below: 

We will have one NFL or MLB “Bounty Player” at each table meaning when (if) they get knocked out, they will sign a hat for the team they played for which New Era provides and have a photo taken with whoever eliminated them!  

Additional “Bounty Players” include:
Vince Ferragamo – Rams
John Allred – Steelers
Jim Weatherly – Raiders / Falcons
Craig McEwen – Redskins / Chargers
Arron Taylor – Packers / Chargers
Lance Zeno – Packers
Kirk Dodge - Broncos

This year we will have some additional entertainment:

  • Malibu the Mermaid” will help great you as you arrive!

  • Three Comedians will compete for a prize!
            (We’ll use a decibel meter to see who is the funniest by volume of applause)

  • Megan Theodorou who performed on Broadway in the Phantom of the Opera will sing a song.

  • A putting contest, blackjack & roulette to earn raffle tickets towards a chance at prizes and even one raffle drawing for a seat at the final table!

  • Steve Denault will play “Let’s Make a Deal” and gift away some cool gifts!

To reserve your seat NOW, go online at:

150 players max, Sign up soon if you can make it…..this will be a sell out.  

Spread the word!

Proceeds will help Fish for Life take more special needs kids out fishing this summer!!!

Here’s a video Inside Sportfishing put together about Fish for Life!

We just had our first trip ever in San Diego last Saturday, May 10th!
This was a joint effort between Fish for Life, Friends of Rollo & SAC (Sportfishing Assoc. of California)
We arranged for 30 children and 30 chaperons to be bused over the border from Mexico to enjoy their first experience fishing.
Here are a few pictures compliments of the Department of Fish & Game:  

The next trip is Saturday, June 21st in Dana Point sponsored by AFTCO!
Come have coffee and see the opening red carpet ceremonies at the Dana Wharf by 9:00am.
This is the first trip we are involving surfers to surf our wake after leaving the harbor to entertain our guests!!
The first surfer scheduled is Greg Long!

Cool Huh!

On the Fires in San Diego: Briefly on the Impact in South Orange County

The fires in San Diego County rage on.   As I write this, I received note that my Son's Water Polo Coach cancelled practice for the day and he decided to cancel an outdoor meeting he had planned out.   The smoke is clearly impacting the area today.  I only hope that the Dash For Hope scheduled for tomorrow and for which so much work has been done by two of the leading Faith Communities in South County will not be cancelled.  This is as The City of Laguna Niguel's Emergency Services Coordinator sent out this guidance to the CERT Team on May 16:

As I’m sure most of you know there are multiple fires burning in San Diego County with the most recent one presenting somewhat closer to the O.C. line.

Per the Orange County Operational Area there is not a current danger to OC.

There have been no requests for CERT mutual aid at this time.

As such, we remain in our non-activated status (relaxed and cool but always prepared to respond if requested).

As a training note: No matter how much we want to help, part of our discipline is to not self-activate. We respond as a team only when requested by an authorized agency.

Even though the Red Flag Warning has been cancelled and the temperature is expected to drop please remain vigilant in our community.

Finally, please pay attention to the notice that our Team Leader (Lisa) sent out earlier this week with regards to dealing with the heat and staying hydrated.

Thank you for your commitment to your City.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Around South County: On the Heatwave and Fires.....

Southern California continues to suffer from 100+ degree heat which seems to not want to end.   For instance, today's one mile run @ Aliso Viejo Middle School was cancelled and the School Principal, Mrs. Smalley, had to break the bad news to Students about not being allowed to play Basketball due to the terrible heat.

It was quite gratiying to see how the "Social Grid" was utilized to help elevate awareness as epitomized by this from Congressman Issa:

Fires are raging on in Northern San Diego County.  The smoke is clearly visible about 50 miles away in South Orange County--and it shows no visible sign of "slowing down".     The City of Laguna Niguel's Emergency Services Coordinator sent out a general guidance to the Team Laguna Niguel CERT (Citizen Emergency Response Team) on this matter earlier in the week:

As most of you are already probably aware the National Weather Service (NWS) has put a Red Flag Warning into effect for portions of Southern California including the Orange County Coastal Areas.

Please maintain a heightened sense of awareness to your surroundings and the potential fire dangers while you are conducting your day’s activities.

Also, if you live near a fire prone area this would be an excellent time to check your “grab-and-go” bag, review your emergency plans, and spend a few minutes prioritizing what you might take if you have to evacuate quickly.

Currently Fire Watch Patrols are not activated for the team.

We are monitoring the situation with Orange County Fire Authority, OC Parks, and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

If the situation warrants I, your team leader, or one of your section chiefs will notify you of an activation.

The weather has changed and all need to be prepared to deal with it.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

On the Road w/the "Trailmasters" of Laguna Niguel

Troop 772 continued a tradition of hosting a javelin "field" @ Scout-O-Rama 2014 that was led by one of the Troop's Leaders.    Scouts, Scouters and Families were regular visitors trying to win the Golden Javelin designed by one of the Scouts.
  Here  is a "Grid" of the Day for all to enjoy...Working to continue to make a difference:
photoGridImage (1)

Around Town in South County: Brief Observations

While driving up to the Aliso Viejo Middle School Campus this past Friday,  I saw boxes of books with a number of older gentleman out and about.   I went up to one of them to ask about what was the deal.  They advised me that they were out there to distribute Bibles to Children:

In checking with the School Adminstration folks, it appears that they were informed of this.   It was quite interesting that this crew had positioned itself right outside School Grounds and as folks were exiting the grounds to avoid being "On Campus".   However, it was still a bit disconcerting that a Public Park was used in this manner.   

 The need for separation of Church and State is ever more.

Monday, May 5, 2014

A "Thought 4 the Week" As the New Week Begins :-)

We tend to forget that happiness doesn't
come as a result of getting something we don't have,
but rather of recognizing and appreciating what we do have.
- Frederick Koenig 

May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.
And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.
- Irish Blessing

When you focus on being a blessing, God makes sure
that you are always blessed in abundance.
- Joel Osteen

With gratitude, all life appears as a blessing -
without gratitude, all of life
is perceived as a burden.
- Jonathan Lockwood Huie


Saturday, May 3, 2014

On the Road Around South County: Brief Thoughts

It was a very beautiful day today in South County as the City of Laguna Niguel Celebrated Scout Earth Day.   Quite a number of Units joined this day of service as all worked on the Trail to Eagle Project and were able to make a difference for their community.  Across town,  over 200 Scouts attended an Educational Event sponsored by Troop 772.   Over 200 Scouts from 79 different troops around Southern California attended the event.    It was a day of service that made a profound difference for the lives of the Scouts.

Thanks to the beauty of the internet, I was able to listen to Nick Vujicic at Saddleback Church on Sunday.   His Story is a story of love and faith .    His sense of faith was ever so evident as he spoke.    He reminded us all of how it is simply possible to overcome--as he has.

As a new week dawns In South Orange County,  Leaving you w/this "Thought" for all:

Essential to life

You are not too old or too tired or too broke or too disadvantaged. You are uniquely qualified to add substance to life.
Don’t get caught up in making judgments about what is fair or unfair or easy or difficult. Just get on with the satisfying and fulfilling business of making a real positive difference in the world.
You’ve done it many times before and you know you can do it many more times again. You know how great it makes you feel to know you truly matter.
So get busy, get some good stuff done, and feel that great feeling again and again. Forget about the silly excuses and focus on the significant difference you can make.
There are lots of great people in this world. Yet there is no one who can do a better job of being you than you.
Life is great, and you are essential to that greatness. Do your part, in your own special way, and feel how truly great it is.
— Ralph Marston