R S V P / ORANGE COUNTY : Drifting Back to Some Magic Moments : Oldies Provide an 'Evening to Remember' for Those Who Are Fighting Gangs, Drugs

It was Golden Oldie heaven at Saturday's "An Evening to Remember" gala at the Hyatt Regency Irvine on behalf of the organization Drug Use Is Life Abuse/Project: No Gangs.

The Drifters crooned "Stand by Me," "This Magic Moment" and "Under the Boardwalk." The Platters sang "Only You," "My Prayer" and (with apologies to the American Cancer Society) "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes."

The Coasters belted out "Poison Ivy" and "Charlie Brown," and emcee Donnie Brooks sang his one and only hit, "Mission Bell."

"Thank goodness for the chance to dance to these super oldies," one guest said as she headed for the parquet. "Those gang numbers were a downer."

Indeed. During a dinner of filet mignon and chicken, Orange County Sheriff Brad Gates stood before the crowd and rattled off statistics about gang activity in Orange County. "With 18,000 gang members and 309 gangs identified in Orange County, their presence is felt everywhere," he said.

"Gang violence has accounted for 42 homicides in Orange County since the beginning of the year. Fifty-eight percent of 515 Orange County residents who were killed, injured or adversely affected by gang activity were innocent victims. They had no association with gangs or their criminal activity."

Drug Use Is Life Abuse continues to be recognized as a leader in the area of local drug education and awareness. "We continue to make headway in the war on drugs," Gates said. "Our drug education booklets have reached nearly 75,000 children in the county.

"This fall, students in the fourth through sixth grades in every school in Orange County, both public and private, will have access to our new booklet, Positively kNOw Violence (a comic book)."

Among guests were Michael Hayde (who founded Drug Use Is Life Abuse with Gates); Marilyn MacDougall, executive director, and Maurice Gallarda, board member.

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CHOC backs out of culinary event: Children's Hospital of Orange County has backed out of the Culinary Event of the Century on Oct. 18 at the Four Seasons Hotel in Newport Beach, citing conflict with another benefit.

"We have our CHOC Walk event only two days before," explained Helen Wardner, director of support group services at CHOC. "Our guilds groups are awfully busy with that."

The gala five-course dinner is being sponsored by the Four Seasons Hotel and the House of Mumm Champagne.

Jose Barragon, food and beverage director for the Four Seasons Hotel, says he was told that CHOC dropped out of the event because alcohol was being promoted.

"They don't think it is appropriate for a CHOC event," he said. "I wanted CHOC to benefit because I have children and I know how wonderful the hospital is," he said. "But we understand."

Said Wardner: "We don't want to sound hypocritical about this because we have events where alcohol is served," she said. "Our primary concern was scheduling."

The show will go on. Because it is no longer a charity benefit, the ticket price for the dinner has been reduced from $250 per person to $150, Barragon said.

Even at that, there will be proceeds. "We're not sure yet where the proceeds will go," Barragon said. "We'll think of something."

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