Strike gold with these Orange County St. Patrick’s Day celebrations
Good morning. It’s Wednesday, March 15. We are Carol Cormaci and Vince Nguyen bringing you this week’s TimesOC newsletter. Together we’ve aggregated the latest local news and events for you.
Unless forecasters are misleading us, it looks like we’ll have another day of rain today, then it should dry out somewhat by Friday so we can collectively enjoy St. Patrick’s Day, the one occasion when literally everyone looks great in emerald green.
So, let’s pivot today from our usual newsletter lead-in of a hard news story to a more upbeat topic: Where might our readers like to go to express their inner “Erin go Bragh” sentiments?
Using a favorite internet search engine, we quickly happened upon a few suggestions to help you to mark the holiday, which falls on March 17. Some early bird events took place this past weekend, but there are plenty to still choose from as St. Patrick’s Day arrives.
One such event, Irish Fest, will be held Friday through Sunday at Old World Village in Huntington Beach. Organizers promise live music, corned beef and cabbage, Irish stew and wiener dog races, as well as a free concert featuring Sligo Rags and McNulty School of Irish Dance.
The Fenians will appear Friday night at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano; the Harp Inn Irish bar in Costa Mesa will open its doors to celebrants at 8 a.m. Friday and serve up Irish breakfast until 11 a.m., then continue celebrating the day with food, music and dancing until 11:30 p.m.; another Costa Mesa favorite, Silky Sullivan’s, plans a St. Patrick’s Day Party beginning at 11:30 a.m. Friday that will feature Sleeveens, Echo Love Chamber and Irish bagpipes.
Later this weekend, Tanaka Farms at 5380¾ University Drive in Irvine plans an “all-you-can-eat feast with corned beef, bangers, veggie bangers, fire-grilled chicken, colcannon, cabbage, carrots, potatoes and more” at its St. Patrick’s Day Hilltop Luncheon on Sunday. Also on Sunday, Bowers Museum, 2002 N. Main St., Santa Ana, will welcome visitors to its St. Patrick’s Day Festival from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This, of course, is just the tip of the clover in terms of the county’s many offerings. We couldn’t list ’em all, but we welcome your suggestions for inclusion in next year’s St. Patrick’s Day roundup.
— After witnessing the landslide in Newport Beach we reported about in last week’s newsletter, as well as other costly storm-induced issues, the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday declared a state of emergency with even more rain forecast in the region through Wednesday. On March 1, Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a state of emergency in 13 counties battered by deadly winter weather. That made relief funds available to impacted communities. However, Orange County was not initially included among those eligible for aid. The supervisors’ declaration opens the possibility for the county to tap into those funds for storm-response efforts, reports our Daily Pilot colleague Eric Licas.
— Citing heightened concerns about online security and data collection, the Board of Supervisors declared Tuesday county employees will no longer be able to download, view or use the social media platform TikTok on government-issued devices. The full details on the supervisors’ decision can be found in this Daily Pilot story.
— In case you missed this duel between a local municipality and the state, which was picked up by multiple news outlets, the city of Huntington Beach and the state of California last week officially entered a legal battle over separate but related housing issues. The state says the city is violating state law by banning accessory dwelling units, also known as “granny flats,” while the city is pushing back against California’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment requirements, saying the law violates the city’s rights to zone property. California Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta and the Department of Housing and Community Development filed a lawsuit in Orange County Superior Court against the city last Wednesday, and less than 24 hours later, Huntington Beach City Atty. Michael Gates announced that the city had filed a federal lawsuit against the state, including Gov. Newsom, in U.S. District Court.
— State Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (CA-73) recognized three individuals from Costa Mesa, Irvine and Tustin as the Women of the Year in her district. Jennifer Friend of Costa Mesa, Irvine resident Dr. Shaista Malik and Tustin’s Dr. Samar Aziz were recognized in a ceremony held Thursday. “All of these women, and so many of the women that we’ve been able to honor over the years, they’re tackling some of the toughest challenges facing our cities today and facing the planet today,” Petrie-Norris said.
— The organization Friends of Newport Beach Animal Shelter has launched a GoFundMe campaign in its final push to fund finishing touches on the facility as it nears opening. About $50,000 remains to finish out the shelter, which the organization has financed the entire project. The shelter broke ground in January 2022 after members of the organization raised $2.9 million for the cause. Contributions of over $5,000 will be included on the permanent donor wall at the shelter.
— Vanguard University is ranked the eighth best four-year campus for veterans in the latest Military Friendly Schools Survey. More than 8,800 colleges were considered in the annual, data-driven review.
PUBLIC SAFETY & COURTS
— A 17-member swift water rescue team from the Orange County Fire Authority traveled last Thursday to the foothills of the Sierras to help rescue at least 100 people from floodwaters created by the “atmospheric river” rains that have pounded Northern and Central California. Our Los Angeles Times colleague James Rainey reported on the extensive efforts of the O.C. team, led by battalion chiefs Brett Buffington and Jason Sultzer.
— Much closer to home, O.C.F.A. swift water rescuers were put into action Sunday, after a little boy who got too close to the rain-flooded Santa Ana River in Santa Ana was swept away. Officials got the call around 2:05 p.m. from the area of Fairview Street and the Santa Ana Riverbed, fire officials wrote on Twitter. The boy’s father went into the water to try to rescue him but wasn’t able to, but the trained team of rescuers saved the youngster. Fire officials did not release the boy’s age or other details about why he was near the river, according to the L.A. Times story on the incident by Summer Lin.
— A woman was killed in a traffic collision in Laguna Beach on Friday evening, city officials said in a news release. Eve Amanda Corinne Bartlet, 25, was identified as the deceased, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities say Bartlet was hit by a sedan while crossing South Coast Highway near Mountain Road. Police did not suspect that drugs or alcohol factored into the collision. Authorities are asking anyone with information about the collision to call the city’s police department at (949) 497-0701.
— The California Highway Patrol on Monday asked the public to help locate a 76-year-old woman who went missing in Laguna Woods. Patricia Berry, described as white, 5 feet 5, 140 pounds with gray hair and green eyes, was last seen at about 7:30 p.m. Friday at Calle Aragon and Calle Cadiz, according to a Silver Alert issued by the CHP. She was driving a black 2006 Ford Escape with a California license plate number 5TKW050. Anyone with information was asked to call 911.
— An abandoned newborn baby was found in a trash can in a restroom at a Fullerton gas station, and a woman was arrested Friday on suspicion of attempted murder and child abuse, police told CNS. After finding the baby, officers began lifesaving measures on the infant and called paramedics from the Fullerton Fire Department, who took the baby to a hospital in critical but stable condition, Fullerton Police Department Sgt. Ryan O’Neil said.
— A registered sex offender, Navdeep Singh Jhah of Orange, pleaded not guilty Monday to sexually assaulting two women in Newport Beach on March 4, according to this story by our Daily Pilot colleague Sara Cardine. He was arrested and charged last Thursday with two counts of assault with the intent to commit a sexual offense in a burglary, a count of sexual penetration of an unconscious victim and failing as a sex offender to notify law enforcement within five days of a change of address, all felonies. He is next due in court on March 21.
— The Newport Beach location of Signature Bank was closed over the weekend, following the New York-based bank’s overall closure by the New York State Department of Financial Services on Sunday. The commercial bank had about 40 branches, including the one in Newport Beach, and about $110.4 billion in assets and $88.6 billion in deposits as of December 2022, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.
— Some other banks that do business in O.C. felt repercussions on Monday of the failures, according to this report from the Orange County Business Journal, with First Foundation Inc., a Dallas-based bank with operations in Irvine, seeing a 34% drop in shares that day. Also on Monday, Irvine-based Pacific Premier Bancorp Inc. fell 6.1%, the Business Journal reported, and Santa Ana-based Banc of California Inc. dropped 10%. Garden Grove-based US Metro Bancorp fell 5.6%, according to the Journal’s story. By Tuesday, it appeared their Wall Street performances were improving.
LIFE & LEISURE
— Lagunatics, the roast-of-the-coast musical, is celebrating 30 years of making fun of Laguna Beach history. The performances will represent a selection of the top song-and-dance parodies to hit the stage during the group’s three decades. The nine scheduled shows will have 7:30 p.m. curtains, Friday through Sunday, running until March 26 at the Forum Theater on the grounds of the Festival of Arts. City Council members will partake in the performances, such as Mayor Pro Tem Sue Kempf, who will make her debut as part of the cast. For tickets, go to this site.
— Orange County School of the Arts and other O.C. schools competed for $500,000 in scholarships in California Restaurant Foundation’s 2023 ProStart Cup on March 7, a culinary arts and restaurant entrepreneurship competition held at the Long Beach Convention Center. Other participating O.C. schools included Fountain Valley, Fullerton Union, Newport Harbor, Rancho Alamitos and Valley high schools. OCSA took first place in the culinary competition as well as two other events. The top teams in the Management and Culinary Cups will now go on to represent the state at the National ProStart Student Invitation in Washington, D.C. in May.
— The Disney California Adventure Food & Wine Festival, running through April 25, features sips and snacks from a dozen festival marketplaces as well as culinary entertainment, demonstrations and unique bookable experiences for the home gourmet or the cocktail enthusiast. Tastes and treats are priced at $14.99 and under. Items like the smoked honey-habanero chicken wings, grilled peach toast and cubano slider are among fan favorites this year.
— The return of the cliff swallows to Mission San Juan Capistrano is celebrated each year on March 19, St. Joseph’s Day, with the ringing of the mission bells. The historic site has scheduled a series of events to celebrate the longstanding tradition. Every March, cliff swallows make their annual migration from Argentina to the south Orange County mission. The 6,000-mile journey to California is one of the longest migrations of any species. A virtual presentation, musical performances and weaving demonstrations are slated for the annual celebration. For details and tickets visit missionsjc.com/swallows.
— Ensign Intermediate School alumna Jennifer Bloomfield, a local artist, was commissioned to paint seven murals on campus. She is currently working on a large wave mural on the back of a portable building, and the final mural, in a hallway on the campus interior, will feature a transition from the beach inland, from Newport Beach to Costa Mesa. A former math teacher and swimming coach at Corona del Mar High School, health issues have forced Bloomfield to give up her love of teaching in 2018, and focus on her artwork full time. “I feel lucky, I’ll say that,” she said. “Something terrible happened with my health, and then it turned into something really amazing. I would have never left teaching, I loved it, but this is another chapter that I’m pretty excited about.”
— A herd of Angora goats came to the O.C. fairgrounds in 2020 to revitalize a berm around the site’s Pacific Amphitheater. Since then, their presence has become one more teachable moment at Centennial Farm. The landscaping crew was brought in through a contract with Northern California goat farmer Allen Mesic, who was hired as the farm’s supervisor in January. The goats have replaced an assortment of human landscapers, and now, the herd is not only keeping the berm clear of invasive plants but revitalizing the grounds by aerating the soil with their hooves and fertilizing it with nutrient-rich droppings.
— Newport Harbor churned with professional paddlers from around the globe Saturday morning as the second event in the Va’a California Series took place. According to this story by our Daily Pilot colleague Lilly Nguyen, the series, which had its inaugural race in February, is hosted by the Newport Aquatic Center. It challenges outrigger paddlers of V1 canoes, which are rudderless and lack conventional foot pedals, to navigate waters with their paddles alone. Redondo Beach paddler Danny Ching came in first, followed one second later by Tahitian paddler Hititua Taerea. The final event in the series is set for April 29.
— Two local basketball teams made the trek to Sacramento to compete for state supremacy Saturday in the CIF State championships held at Golden 1 Center. Pacifica Christian boys’ basketball and Marina girls’ basketball came up short in their bid for a state title. In a tight game at the half, the Tritons, which started the program in 2016, struggled to get out of a scoring drought in the second half and fell to Fresno San Joaquin Memorial, 58-47, in the Division II showdown. The Vikings, in their first state final, started slow, and couldn’t overturn the lead, losing to Angels Camp Bret Harte, 62-39, in the Division V game.
— Bernhard Langer, 65, comes into this week’s Hoag Classic tournament tied for the most PGA Tour Champions event wins. Orange County’s only PGA Tour event returns March 17 at Newport Beach Country Club. Top names like Jim Furyk, Ernie Els, John Daly and Newport Beach resident Fred Couples are also expected to participate. World Golf Hall of Fame member Retief Goosen is the defending tournament champion. Langer won the competition in 2008 when it was known as the Toshiba Classic and is the oldest tournament winner in tour history and is currently tied with Hale Irwin for most titles. The German can have the record all to himself if he can win again in Newport. Only three players have won the Hoag Classic twice.
— Orange County Soccer Club is looking to rebound after it finished last in the Western Conference last year. A year after winning the United Soccer League Championship title, the team ended with a 7-13-14 record. Off the pitch, it appeared the club could lose its lease with Championship Soccer Stadium at Orange County Great Park in Irvine, before the Irvine City Council voted in September to approve a one-year extension. With new additions to the team like Norwegian defender Markus Nakkim and returner Milan Iloski, a former UCLA standout who scored a team single-season record 22 goals in 2022, the club hopes to turn things around in its 10th season in Irvine.
— Olympic diving champion Pat McCormick has died, USA Diving announced Friday. The Seal Beach native won gold in the springboard and platform events in both the 1952 and 1956 games, and later served on the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee in 1984. A member of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, McCormick is one of the most decorated divers in the sport’s history. She remains the only female diver to win back-to-back Olympic gold medals in both springboard and platform. McCormick won 26 U.S. national titles, second all-time among U.S. women. Her son, Tim, told ESPN that she died of natural causes at an assisted living facility in Santa Ana. She was 92.
KEEP IN TOUCH
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