TimesOC: While many take joy in state’s economy reopening, others say it’s not enough

"Sign up for our TimesOC newsletter" and the L.A. Times logo over the Huntington Beach Pier at sunset.
TimesOC, a newsletter about Orange County, is published Wednesdays and Fridays.
(Los Angeles Times)

Good morning, it’s Wednesday, June 16, the day after California officially reopened its economy following 15 months of pandemic-forced restrictions. I’m Carol Cormaci, bringing you today’s TimesOC newsletter with the latest roundup of Orange County news and events.

From shops in malls large and small to restaurants, grocers, service businesses and public facilities that had been hard hit by the coronavirus pandemic, a widespread sense of freedom and even elation was felt Tuesday throughout the region as we collectively eased into a life in Orange County no longer fettered by color-tiered limitations on our activities.

“Today is the day to celebrate the incredible journey we’ve been on over the course of the last 15 months,” Gov. Gavin Newsom said Tuesday, slightly tempering his upbeat words with some sobering thoughts: “It is also a humbling moment ... because it’s been a tough journey for tens of thousands of people that have lost their lives. And we’re mindful this disease is not taking today off; it’s not going to take the summer months off.”

In case you are unclear on all the details of what the reopening of the economy will look like, the “rules, the risks, the freedoms” can be found here, in the reporting of Rong-Gong Lin II and Luke Money.

Even as masks for fully vaccinated people are cast aside in most but not all situations, there are still some protesting the mandates remaining in place for the non-vaccinated. On Monday night, hundreds of anti-maskers and supporters of former President Donald Trump gathered at the Huntington Beach pier for a “freedom march.”

"[Gov. Gavin] Newsom ... will still mandate muzzles,” a flier announcing the protest read. “We open when we want to.”

Trump supporters gather for an anti-mask "freedom march" in Huntington Beach on Monday, June 14.
Trump supporters gather for an anti-mask “freedom march” in Huntington Beach on Monday, June 14.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)


— Orange County officials announced plans Monday for a plaque and dedication at the county zoo in memory of Aiden Leos, the youngster who died in an apparent road-rage incident last month, inside Irvine Regional Park in the city of Orange.

With 6-year-old Aiden Leos' family members behind him, O.C. supervisor Donald P. Wagner speaks at a press conference.
With 6-year-old Aiden Leos’ family members behind him, Orange County supervisor Donald P. Wagner speaks about plans to dedicate a plaque in memory of Aiden at a new $9.5-million, 2-acre complex with four habitat enclosures for large cats at the Orange County Zoo. Behind Wagner, from left, are family spokesperson Carla Lacy, Aiden’s mother, Joanna Cloonan, and his sister, Alexis Cloonan.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

— Staffers at the Orange County Register joined their counterparts at 10 other newspapers under the umbrella of the Southern California News Group in voting Friday to unionize.

— To support the more than 107,000 veterans living in the region, the Orange County Community Foundation on Thursday will host “Stand & Salute,” an online day of giving for nonprofits who serve vets and their families. The goal is to raise more than $125,000.

— Dana Rohrabacher, who in 2018 lost his congressional seat representing Orange County after 30 years, acknowledged Monday to a newspaper in Maine that he participated in the march to the Capitol on Jan. 6, reports Richard Winton.

— Two cooks, both residents of Long Beach, were charged Friday with allegedly kidnapping and sexually assaulting a 27-year-old woman in Huntington Beach.


— Now that we’re one day into our reopening phase, our colleague Steve Henson provides Southland sports enthusiasts with the many sports venue options available to them this summer. An excerpt especially for Angels fans: The Angels return from the road to begin a series with the Detroit Tigers on June 17 at Angel Stadium, and they are pushing for a sellout. The first 5,000 youths under age 14 get a Mike Trout jersey, and the next night is a Mike Trout bobblehead giveaway. Trout in the flesh, though, is not expected to return from the injured list in time for these games.”

— Looking ahead to July 4, it looks like the Halos, now almost 20 years into being known as the Los Angeles Angels, might be donning an on-field cap for Independence Day on which the MLB’s cap supplier has slapped “ANA,” signifying Anaheim, on the side. It’s reported team officials, who were not consulted on the special holiday caps, are considering their options.

— The Sage Hill girls’ basketball team on Friday night made a second-half comeback to beat top-seeded Ontario Christian 62-55 in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA final at home. It was the team’s first CIF championship. Four players on the Sage Hill roster were teammates on the Mamba travel ball team that endured tragedy when a helicopter crash took the lives of Kobe Bryant and eight others.

Sage Hill girls' basketball team celebrates a 62-55 win over Ontario Christian.
Sage Hill girls’ basketball team celebrates a 62-55 win over Ontario Christian in the CIF Southern Section Division 3AA girls’ basketball final on Friday, June 11.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)


— The $93-million Orange County Museum of Art at Segerstrom Center for the Arts in Costa Mesa is nearly three-quarters complete, reports our colleague Deborah Vankin. Scheduled to open in October 2022, the 53,000-square-foot facility will boast indoor and outdoor space, and its new director, Heidi Zuckerman, says she intends to display artworks, including paintings, outdoors.

New director Heidi Zuckerman stands in the construction site of the Orange County Museum of Art.
New director Heidi Zuckerman stands in what will be a classroom area at the construction site of the Orange County Museum of Art on May 13 in Costa Mesa. The museum is expected to open in early October 2022.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

— Juan Pablo Garces Ramirez, a Costa Mesa High graduate and Orange Coast College alum who transferred to UCLA and will soon start graduate school at Harvard completed Saturday a solo 1,100-mile bicycle ride from Seattle to Santa Monica in hopes of raising funds not only for his grad school tuition, but to assist community colleges that run programs to help students transfer to four-year universities. As of this week he’d raised just over $1,300 toward his $100,000 goal, but he’s not discouraged, he told my colleague Sara Cardine. “I could and I can do more. The sky’s not the limit. You can go so much further than that,” he said.

— This week’s warm weather reminds us summer will arrive within a few short days. O.C.'s coastal sands beckon, which means it’s time to consider your summer reading list. Bethanne Patrick provides readers with 10 great titles to consider tucking into your beach tote.