Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Around Town In South County: The Latest From our Hometown of @LagunaNiguelCty (Laguna Niguel, CA)

Our hometown, Laguna Niguel, was deemed the 11th Safest City in California out of the 485 Cities in California.    This milestone was achieved in large measure due to an engaging outreach effort by Laguna Niguel Police Services spearheaded by the Neighborhood Watch Program.     Laguna Niguel Police Services hosted an informational session for the Neighborhood Watch Captains on Tuesday March 29.

During this training session, Deputy Perez of the Orange County Sheriff's Department spoke on the need to be ready, to hide and yes necessary to fight.     The most important admonition was also underscored :  If you see something, say something!!!   The presentation featured a number of scenarios and thoughts for all to be aware.   

As the end of the Quarter looms, we wanted to end with two cool events coming up in our Hometown.   The "I AM SECOND RUN' is on April 30 at the Laguna Niguel Regional Park.    Registration is still available at http:/ click on the Icon Below: 

There is also the Run4Water run also at Laguna Niguel Regional Park on May 15, 2016.  Registration is available by visiting
Please enjoy a clip of the possiblities this represents:

 This was also as the Laguna Niguel Traffic Commission spreaheaded an Education and Outreach Campaign on Pedestrian Safety that our team featured as part of our commitment to support @donateaphoto to empower our Community to be aware and to be safe: 

Onward to the New Quarter.....

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Around Town In South County: Developoments Around the State

We received the following two very interesting insights on what has been going on in our State courtesy of the team at Public CEO which is quite interesting in light of the changes in California and the opportunities it represents for Communities:

California Tool to Fund Badly Needed Infrastructure Growing in PopularityAfter years of the vacuum left by the end of California’s redevelopment agencies, the California Economic Summit two years ago helped craft a robust new financing tool for local governments looking to pay for local infrastructure and economic development. Now there are an estimated 60 projects under consideration across California using the “Enhanced Infrastructure Financing District” as a way of funding projects. And that number is expected to increase.
Read More.
“Toilet to Tap”: A Potential High Quality Water Source for California
Reusing water is not a new concept to many Californians. Many municipalities across California have facilities that treat wastewater to high standards, which allows it to be reused for agricultural irrigation, landscape irrigation, and industrial use. Other municipalities, such as the Orange County Water District, treat wastewater even further using advanced technologies, and use the treated wastewater to supplement drinking water supplies by injecting it into underground aquifers. In this manner, they practice indirect potable reuse, or IPR. However, there is a third method of reusing wastewater that is not currently practiced in California: direct potable reuse, or DPR.
Read More.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Around Town In South County (Week-End Edition): Some Updates As We Bid Farewell To March & Look to the 2nd Quarter of 2016......

Earth Day 2016 - Trees for the Earth poster    

We wanted to report on a number of key commnity Initiative  coming up in our hometown of Laguna Niguel for our Community Members:

  • Earth Day is celebrated in Laguna Niguel on April 23.    The Community will come together to "go green, volunteer to plant, weed and clean up" the Niguel Botanical Preserve from 8:30 AM through 11:30 AM.     Please call (949) 425-5100 to RSVP by Monday April 18
  • The City of Laguna Niguel Police Services will be hosting a Quartelry Identity Theft Event starting at 7:00 AM on June 11, 2016 until scheduled trucks reach capacities.    As noted in the City guidance, there is a daily limit of 10 banker boxes, plastic bags or paper bags per car load.
  • The City of Laguna Niguel has a Safe Prescription Medication Dropoff Box Program that is available to City residents  The service is free, safe and anonymus.    What is not acceptable are sharps, liquids, vitamins, over the counter medication, illicit drugs and Medical and Hazardous waste.   The times are Monday thru Friday from 8 AM-5 PM.

We look forward to showcasing such initiatives in our communities as we look to the second quarter. 

Saturday, March 26, 2016

As We Bid Farewell To The First Quarter......

It was a vibrant Quarter throughout South County.  Aliso Niguel High School was the scene of the annual open house for incoming Freshman.   There was not a single space of cars as incoming Freshman and their anxious parents met with teachers and attended a briefing by the leadership of the High School.    It was so gratifying to see the support of the parents as they staffed the Wolverine Grill--our founder noted how the chilli was just great!!!!

This quarter also saw the Orange County Register sold to the Digital First Media that Owns the LA Daily News.     We understand from reports that Employees will be sacrificing quite a bit as the new owners take control.     We were also privy to reports that Memorial Care's San Clemente Facility will be closing which will result in layoffs and challenges with Emergency Coverage in the Southern Area of the County.    We will be assessing these as we look to the new Quarter.

As it is the dawn of Easter, we wanted to share this thought as we wish all a wonderful Easter:

“If we could look into each other’s hearts
and understand the unique challenges each of us face,
I think we would treat each other
much more gently, with more love,
patience, tolerance, and care.”

~ Marvin J Ashton

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Friday Musical Interlude; Tor Miller's "Baby Blue"

Welcome to another edition of the Friday Musical Interlude here in #outsiders as we are pleased again to present a selection from our artist of the week , Tor Miller with his song Baby Blue.

Happy Easter Weekend to all!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Around Town in South County: An #Outsider Newsflash re: Capistrano Unified School District

We wanted to report on this very pivotal development for our Community that we just received from the Capistrano Unified School District:

Capistrano Unified School District:
An Unwavering Commitment to Student Success
March 23, 2016
Special Edition
Dear Capistrano Unified School District Families and Community Members:

Yesterday, the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) reached a tentative agreement with the Capistrano Unified Educators Association (CUEA) that will provide our students and employees stability over the next two to three years as California faces economic uncertainty.

When the economic recovery planning began in 2013, the Capistrano Unified School District created a plan to reinvest in our classrooms, campuses and facilities. Currently, we are replenishing reserves to provide safeguards against future downturns. We are rebuilding our deferred maintenance reserve, which was exhausted during the downturn, adding much needed Elementary and High School Assistant Principals, and have hired and placed 30 new counselors in our schools to support student social-emotional health. Additional maintenance staff has been hired, including locker room supervisors and cleaning staff, and a comprehensive work-order system to build efficiency in district operations has been put into place. We have increased safety in our transportation services by purchasing new school buses and adding GPS to our bus fleet. We have invested heavily into our technology plan and Chromebooks for students, and we are working to implement a district-wide business system that will further increase efficiency in our work-flows by moving us from paper to an electronic process.

We are also investing more than $90 million dollars into our facilities around the District for upgrades, refurbishments and expansion. This work, which our teachers are strongly committed to, is critical to our mission to prepare our students to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world. We are also investing in the recruitment and retention of the teachers and faculty who are in our school classrooms and on our campuses each and every day.

Under this agreement with CUEA, our students and families will benefit from greater accountability through teacher evaluations tied to student performance and progress, greater transparency and communication with parents in the education of their children and greater support to ensure students have an implementable plan for college or career after High School graduation.

Under this new agreement, and through great collaborative work of the District and CUEA Teacher Evaluation Joint Task Force, teacher evaluation and performance will be directly tied to student performance and progress through clear assessments that will include performance goals, pre- and post-observation of classrooms and teachers, and a formal evaluation process that will also include a self-assessment. Teachers will demonstrate increased performance and progress of students and connect student performance and progress to evidence that was determined prior to instruction.

Additionally, under this new agreement, teachers will utilize our Learning Management System (currently School Loop) to communicate with students, parents or guardians regarding grades, academic matters and other educationally relevant issues. This universal adoption of our Learning Management System will create consistency of engagement and increase communication and transparency across the district for every student, family and guardian of the District.

Finally, the District will have the opportunity to add College and Career Counselors with differentiated hours to support students after the regular school day has ended - as late as 9 p.m. The addition of this position supports one of our highest priorities: to ensure that every student has an implementable plan for college, military and professional careers when they graduate.

The College and Career Counselors will maintain and operate a High School College & Career Center, providing counseling on a wide variety of college and career information and materials. Counselors will work with students, faculty, parents and community representatives concerning career planning and college entrance. Counselors will provide guidance concerning scholastic aptitude and achievement tests as well as counseling and support concerning specialized scholarships and assistance completing application forms. Counselors will plan, organize, develop and implement career events and schedule and arrange guest speakers from local businesses, community colleges, universities and armed forces to provide choices and opportunities to high school students and families. Work hours of these counselors will be non-traditional workday/evening hours at a satellite location to ensure access and availability to students.

The tentative agreement increases salary schedules by four percent effective July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017. The tentative agreement also provides a four percent off schedule (one-time) payment to be paid during the 2015-16 school year. In total, this agreement is for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years.

A final but significant objective of this new contract was to put CUSD in the position to recruit and retain teachers in light of the eminent teacher shortage we are facing in California.

Kirsten M. Vital, Superintendent                   Sally White, President of CUEA

Monday, March 21, 2016

Around Town in South County: An #Outsider Newsflash on the #AWMA Bridge

We reported here in #Outsiders on the pending closure of the #AWMA bridge.    The South Orange County Water Authority has decided to keep the Bridge open for another 45 Days as negotiations continue with Orange County on a permanent solution to it.    

We will be monitoring this here in #Outsiders over the ensuing weeks.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Notations From the Grid (weekend edition): On Community & Human Empowerment

As our team has been on the "prowl",  we thought something a bit "out of the ordinary" should be done for this weekend edition of "Notations" here in our Community Property. The whole mission of the Community Channel was to enhance, strengthen and educate about what goes on in our home community.   We hope to expand it further to get ideas out there on what is going on and of course ideas on safety.    These two talks we caught on +TED especially caught our eye--Please enjoy:

Joe Gebbia, the co-founder of Airbnb, bet his company on the belief that people can trust each other enough to stay in one another's homes. How did he overcome the stranger-danger bias? Through good design. Now, 123 million hosted nights later, Gebbia shares his dream for a culture of sharing -- in which design helps foster community and connection instead of isolation and separation.Watch »

We don't have to live in a world where 99 percent of rapists get away with it, says TED Fellow Jessica Ladd. With Callisto, a new platform for college students to confidentially report sexual assault, Ladd is helping survivors get the support and justice they deserve while respecting their privacy concerns. "We can create a world where there's a real deterrent to violating the rights of another human being," she says. Watch »

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Friday Musical Interlude: Remembering Frank Sinatra Jr.

Welcome to Friday here in #Outsiders. 

For this week, our team decided to pay tribute to Frank Sinatra Jr. who passed away earlier this week due to cardiac arrest.    As someone once said, he was the "keeper of the flame" as he served as his Father's Musical Director and continued his legacy.   Please enjoy this selection from the grid as we wish all a great weekend on the eve of this first weekend of Spring 2016:

On the "Prowl" In South County: On the Pending Sale of Freedom (Owner of the Orange County Register

We have been on the prowl as the Orange County Register's Parent, Freedom Communications, was on the auction block as three investor groups were in competition to buy the assets.    Tribune Publishing, the owner of the LA Times and the San Diego Union Tribune,  has won the auction.

Today's edition of the Orange County Register had extensive reporting on it.     We here @ #Outsiders wish to extend our congratulations to the Freedom CEO who has been able to stabilize the Paper that has been a staple of Orange County for over 100 years.     As we went to press, the US Justice Department has filed an anti-trust lawsuit to block the move. 

We will be assessing this over the ensuing weeks.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

View of the Week (Special Edition): On this St. Patricks' Day 2016.....

We here @  #outsiders wanted to extend our best wishes on this St. Patricks' Day as we feature this from one of our must reads, +Jonathan Huie:

May God grant you always...
A sunbeam to warm you,
a moonbeam to charm you,
a sheltering Angel so nothing can harm you.
Laughter to you.
Faithful friends near you.
And whenever you pray,
Heaven to hear you.
- Irish Blessing

May love and laughter light your days, and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours, wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons bring the best to you and yours.
- Irish Blessing

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

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

On the Prowl in South County: A Brief #Outsider newsflash On the Bridge @ Aliso Wood Canyon Park

AWMA Road Bridge: Source OC Register 

Earlier this afternoon, a public hearing was held at the Laguna Niguel Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ Later Day Saints to discuss the status of the Aliso Wood Canyon Bridge that is the subject of a dispute between a number of local agencies.    The agency responsible for the bridge (South Orange County Waste Water Authority) has decided to close the bridge as of March 18 after negotiations with the County broke down as the bridge has been deemed unsafe.      Members of the Board discussed the Authority's' view as officials from the Cities of Laguna Niguel and Aliso Viejo attended a closed-door meeting on it as access to the Church along with Aliso Wood Canyon will be severely impacted

This is a developing story and we will assess it over the ensuing weeks.

Notations From the Grid (Special Edition): A Thought To Share From #Einstein

It was quite a perceptive thought we picked up recently as we checked on the feed in our Facebook Page that we hope all embrace from the great Einstein  

I'm thankful to all those who said 'No' - because of them, I did it myself. —Albert Einstein #MondayMotivation
Posted by Goodshop on Monday, March 7, 2016

Monday, March 14, 2016

Around Town in South County: Happenings @ UCI

The Jordan Center For Persian Studies just announced this which we wanted to report on:

I am happy to announce that my Phd student, Soodabeh Malekzad (Su Persis) will teach a course on the Post-Achaemenid...

Posted by Touraj Daryaee on Monday, March 14, 2016

Sunday, March 13, 2016

On the "Prowl' In South County: Some Updates From Around the Community...

It has been an interesting week here in South County.     We were on the prowl as the Edwards Aliso Viejo Matter continued before the Aliso Viejo City Council.     We had been tracking this and provided guidance on it.     Aliso Viejo and Edwards have apparently settled a lawsuit that resulted in savings of $ 100,000 for the City of Aliso Viejo and a potentially additional liability of $ 500,000 if the City would have lost.    The City will have formal comments after a review of the particulars are made at an upcoming closed meeting of the Council

It is also of note that our hometown, Laguna Niguel, was listed as the 11th-Safest City in California based on reporting by Safewise.     Two more South County Cities were also listed:  Rancho Santa Margarita (at No. 2) and Aliso Viejo (at No. 4).    Crime in Laguna Niguel, though, increased by 18 percent in the City consistent with increase in crime throughout the State.   We were also quite surprised by an upcoming decision by the Laguna Woods City Council to create a Civic Support Fund supporting public art and cultural affairs.   We look forward to sharing developments on it further over the ensuing weeks and months.    It was also quite a week as we saw reports that Orange County saw 3 Pedestrian Fatalities in 2016--the same pace as all of 2015.   The initiative by the Laguna Niguel Traffic Commission to help with education and outreach is to ensure that such death is avoided.

We look forward to another vibrant week here in South County especially as we gear up for Spring here in South County as we extend an early Happy Nouroz to the Persian and Afghan Communities here in South Orange County as we are pleased to feature this from RadioJavan that helps to celebrate Spring and all the possibilities: 

On this upcoming Norooz, celebrate the Persian New Year 1395 on Radio Javan with our live Saal Tahvil show and special programs.


Saturday, March 12, 2016

Notations On Our World: On Our Community & Dayllight Savings Time

It was quite a weekend in South County as the Aliso Niguel High School Orchestra performed at the +Soka University of America Performing Arts Center.    It was also a weekend that the Orange County Chapter of +NIAC -Action participated in the 6th Annual Day of Service as Nowruz (the Persian New Year Arrives).   We look forward to sharing updates on it in an upcoming community edition of "Notations" here in #Outsiders.

It is also of note as Daylight Savings Time arrives.  We leave you all with this call to action from +Pandora as we also note:  Spring Forward!!!

Daylight Saving
Did you know there is an alarm clock on Pandora? Wake up with your favorite artists.
On your mobile phone, click here to set your alarm.
Morning Motown
Morning Motown
Morning Comedy
Morning Comedy
Morning Ragas
Morning Ragas

Friday, March 11, 2016

The Friday Musical Interlude: Kygo w/ "Here For You"

Welcome to Friday here in #outsiders as we are pleased to present a selection from our artist of the week, Kygo:

Monday, March 7, 2016

Notations From the Grid: On a Rainy Day Here in Southern California......

It has been a rainy and windy morning here in our HQ in Laguna Niguel as our team has been on the prowl working away   We wanted to begin by sharing a "thought" from the Grid to help further "break the ice" as our ongoing days of service continues: 

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Notations From the Grid (weekend edition): On an interesting program by the State of California

Our team is excited to be able to join this program that has been launched by the State of California as it will have a direct bearing on local Transportation funding.   We wanted to feature the first edition of the newsletter published by the State of California as we look forward to sharing comments on it over the ensuing weeks and months of the program:

Here's the latest and greatest in California Road Charge news:

New Website

On January 5, 2016, we launched the new website ( dedicated to the California Road Charge Pilot Program. Since the launch, more than 2,500 Californians have signed up as potential volunteers, in addition to the 1,370 who had previously signed on.

Next Steps: Volunteer Selection Process

In order to have the necessary information to start the selection of pilot volunteers, we will be sending you an email requesting additional general and demographic information. So keep an eye out for it.

Pilot Program Update Now Available

We are pleased to announce the release of the Road Charge Pilot Design Recommendations report describing the pilot slated to launch in the summer of 2016. At that time more than 5,000 volunteers will be part of the effort to test road charging. At the conclusion of the pilot, California State Transportation Agency (CalSTA) will submit a report to the Legislature, the California Transportation Commission (CTC) and the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) with our recommendations.

Important Dates to Remember

As we move forward with recruitment and selection of volunteers, key dates are:
  • March 2016: Start of regular newsletter and emails to potential volunteers
  • May 2016: Potential volunteers notified if they are selected, and will be asked to select their preferred reporting method
  • July 2016: Road Charge Pilot Program starts
  • March 2017: Road Charge Pilot Program ends
  • July 2017: CalSTA submits Road Charge Pilot Program results report

Recruitment Goals & Progress

A major goal of the Road Charge Pilot Program is to represent the diverse geographic, demographic and socio-economic aspect of California, encouraging a wide range of individuals, households, businesses and at least one government agency. This will include a cross-section of more than 5,000 vehicles reflective of the fleet currently using California’s road network.

We are striving to ensure this cross-section by enlisting the interest of Californians from across the state.

We currently have more than 3,800 potential volunteers and are confident that we will meet the goal of more than 5,000 vehicles in the pilot.

What is Going on Elsewhere?

We are not alone in exploring a road charge model as an alternative to the existing gas tax. Congress recently passed the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act, which created a five-year, $95 million grant program for a state or group of states to test the design, acceptance, and implementation of a future road charge alternative revenue mechanism.

Volunteer Spotlight

Mike Dwyer
San Diego Country

Mike is an IT specialist who drives from his home in northern San Diego to his work place near downtown San Diego. Mike signed up to participate as a potential volunteer because he is “increasingly concerned about the number of people who are opting out of paying for driving on the roads by switching to all electric vehicles.”  He says, “I understand that road maintenance requires each user of the roadway to pay his or her share. I look forward to learning more about the need to replace the gas tax while hopefully being selected to participate in the pilot.”

(If you would like to be featured in the volunteer spotlight, please write to us on our form: Contact Form)

Friday, March 4, 2016

The Friday Musical Interlude: Shakatak with City Rhythm.......

It is time for the Friday Musical interliude on this #Outsider Friday.   We hope that all enjoy this selection from our artist of the week: Shaktak with City Rhythm: 

Around Town in Our Community: Oso Creek Trail lis now open!!

Our hometown of Laguna Niguel once again achieved another milesstone as The Oso Creek Trail in our hometown is now a reality.     The ribbon cutting ceremony was presideded over by our Mayor and City Council as the trail was opened up.    It showcased Government at its' best as collaboration between State, Federal and Local governments brought the vision to bear.   The 3.4 Million Dollars cost was underwritten with majority grants from the State of California and the County of Orange.

We look forward to periodically visiting and sharing updates as elements of the City's Gateway continues to take shape in our community.