As the sea casts its spell on young career-seekers, OCC helps them prepare

Students in OCC's Professional Maritime Program near the school's Waterfront Campus.
Students in Orange Coast College’s Professional Maritime Program pose with a patrol boat near the school’s Waterfront Campus.
(Courtesy of Greg Wisener)

Good morning. It’s Wednesday, June 5. I’m Carol Cormaci bringing you this week’s TimesOC newsletter with a look at some of the latest local news and events.

It’s been many years since I stumbled onto my career path, which I’ve found to be satisfying despite the dance with the grim reaper newspapers have been doing since the advance of the internet. There’s also today’s atmosphere aspiring journalists might consider before jumping in, with people so often critical of “the news media,” as uttered with disgust by some and called the “enemy of the people” by one person who’s regularly in the headlines.

Anyway, it’s not unusual for me to muse about other roads I might have taken in life, and this week my imagination was captured by a story written by my colleague Sara Cardine and published in the Daily Pilot.


In her article Sara describes Orange Coast College’s recent partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard that will allow eligible graduates of OCC’s Waterfront Campus to spring ahead of basic recruits, potentially entering the Coast Guard at a higher rank and earning more money and enhanced benefits. The new programming to achieve associates degrees in that field gets underway this fall.

“Approved by college trustees earlier this month, a Direct Enlistment Lateral Entry Program allows certain graduates — such as those from the college’s professional mariner program, for example, as well as aviation science and culinary arts — to be eligible to enlist as a petty officer third-class,” she explains.

Sara called me while she was assembling the article from her notes to talk it over and get some editorial direction. She was so enthused about the program that she completely sold me on it. “Oh, man,” I told her, “I wish I’d known about an opportunity like that when I was in my 20s. Think of how cool it would be to have a job at sea.”

Pondering aloud the unlikelihood that an oldster would be accepted into such a program, I learned she had heard the same siren call while interviewing sources for the story and was a few nautical miles ahead of me. She had asked about age requirements, only to find out both of us are too old to qualify.

So we are deep-sixing that fleeting fantasy and are on to the next. Suggestions are welcome.


Glori Smiley embraces loved ones mourning the death of her daughter, Rosenda Elizabeth Smiley.
Glori Smiley embraces loved ones mourning the death of her daughter, Rosenda Elizabeth Smiley, at a vigil on Balboa Boulevard and Palm Street Saturday, June 1. The 14-year-old died there May 25 after an alleged drunk driver struck her while she was crossing the street.
(Eric Licas)

• The father of Rosenda “Rose” Smiley, who was killed by an alleged drunk driver while she was on foot along Balboa Boulevard the night of May 25 said during a vigil this past Saturday night at the same location that DUI laws need to be overhauled. “Two DUIs and you’re an alcoholic; it’s as simple as that,” Fillmore Smiley said. “And alcoholics need help. Second DUI should be mandatory drug courts … third DUI, you’re an alcoholic who didn’t take an opportunity, and you should have a minimum mandatory prison sentence.” Rose’s mother, Glori, joined him, other family members and friends at the vigil, where they remembered the teen as “thoughtful,” “loving,” “brave,” “funny,” “strong” and “kind.”

• A rolling strike by unionized academic workers who object to the response of the University of California to pro-Palestinian protests is expected to reach UC Irvine today. According to the union, United Auto Workers UAW Local 4811, it represents 5,000 workers at UCI.

• Former president Donald Trump is expected to be in Newport Beach Saturday for a fundraiser, with donors being asked to contribute up to $100,000. Multimillionaire tech entrepreneur Palmer Luckey is among the hosts, according to this L.A Times story

• Eyebrows continue to be raised over the lack of transparency involved with DisneylandForward, the nearly $2-billion expansion that recently received the blessing of the Anaheim City Council, according to this look at the issue by my colleague Gabriel San Román. Disney commissioned the economic impact report prepared by the Woods Center for Economic Analysis and Forecasting at Cal State Fullerton, which maintains Disney owns the end product and therefore the school does not have to divulge all the details to anyone. “It’s ironic that Cal State Fullerton is citing the ‘strong public interest served by protecting the integrity of academic research’ while hiding the report from the public and even redacting the fee paid for the report,” Karl Olson, an attorney who specialized in public records law before retiring, told TimesOC. “Cal State Fullerton’s attempt to hide the report from the public itself casts doubt on it.”

• Some former motels along Beach Boulevard in Stanton have been converted through Project Homekey to affordable housing for people who are homeless or at-risk of becoming so. Their recent openings were marked with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Clara Vista apartments, once known as the Tahiti Motel. “No one ever wanted to do this in California,” said Stanton Mayor David Shawver. “Everybody thought, ‘Oh, this is going to be bad for my community, it’s going to be bad for my neighborhood.’ But today, we proved them wrong.” You can find San Román’s story for TimesOC about the tranformations here.

• Here’s a report on an Orange County education first: A ceremony at Warner Middle School in Westminster saw the first-ever cohort of Vietnamese dual-language immersion students promoted to high school, San Román writes in this news feature. The program first started in 2015 near Little Saigon with a kindergarten class at DeMille Elementary School in the Westminster School District.


The ride-share driver had just dropped off a passenger in the 7100 block of Custer Way before the shooting.
A ride-share driver shot and wounded a naked man attacking a young woman outside of an apartment complex in Stanton, on Sunday night after the driver had just dropped off a passenger in the 7100 block of Custer Way.

• A ride-share driver shot and wounded a naked 20-year-old man who was allegedly attacking a young woman outside an apartment complex in Stanton, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The incident took place Sunday, shortly before 8 p.m.

• A young woman was found dead of an apparent murder in a Huntington Beach home Friday afternoon, with police stating that although they were hunting for the person responsible for her death they did not believe the public was in any danger. More information was released by police to the Daily Pilot yesterday but embargoed until 7 a.m. today. Please watch for an update on our website.

• A 51-year-old Costa Mesa man, Luis Mendez Jr., was sentenced Tuesday to more than 36 years in prison for firing on officers attempting to execute a search warrant at a business in 2022. He was convicted April 24 of attempted voluntary manslaughter, assault with a gun on peace officers, resisting arrest, possession of a gun with a misdemeanor conviction and possessing ammunition when not legally allowed to and possession of a short barreled shotgun or rifle, all felonies.

• Here’s a pair of City News Service public safety briefs from O.C.:
— A 19-year-old man was shot to death Monday night on South Popar Street in Santa Ana, according to authorities. He was identified as Angel Junior Vuelvas. The crime is under investigation.
— An 11th-grade student at El Dorado High School was killed Tuesday in a two-vehicle crash in Placentia that also injured four other people, authorities said. The student was driving one of the vehicles. His passenger, another male, sustained non-life-threatening injuries and was treated at a hospital.


Orange Lutheran High starter Alex Chavez delivers a pitch against La Mirada in a regional baseball final Saturday.
Starter Alex Chavez allowed three hits in four innings in Orange Lutheran’s 7-6 victory over La Mirada on Saturday at Hart Park.
(Steve Galluzzo / For The Times)

• Orange Lutheran beat La Mirada 7-6 on Saturday for the Division I regional baseball title. Alex Chavez, Orange Lutheran’s 6-foot-3 senior right-hander “made the most of his opportunity,” according to this Times coverage of the game by Steve Galluzo. Chavez, a Loyola Marymount commit, gave up three hits with no walks and three strikeouts. “This banner will always be there when I come back and visit,” Chavez said. “You couldn’t ask for a better ending.”

• Newport Beach natives Kaleigh Gilchrist, 32 and Maddie Musselman 25, will both be seeking their third Olympic gold after having been named once again Thursday to the 13-member United States women’s water polo team.

• Johnny Rodriguez, a 35-year-old former professional lacrosse goalkeeper turned Mater Dei High School coach diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), threw the honorary first pitch before Sunday’s Dodger game as part of Major League Baseball’s annual commemoration of Lou Gehrig Day.

• Shohei Ohtani’s longtime interpreter, 39-year-old Ippei Mizuhara, pleaded guilty yesterday in Santa Ana to stealing nearly $17 million from the former Angel standout to pay off sports betting debts. Within an hour of Mizuhara’s plea, Major League Baseball issued a statement absolving Ohtani, now a Dodger, of any involvement in gambling. “Based on the thoroughness of the federal investigation that was made public, the information MLB collected, and the criminal proceeding being resolved without being contested, MLB considers Shohei Ohtani a victim of fraud,” the statement read, “and this matter has been closed.”


Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens, right, presents a proclamation to resident Sarah Sullivan on her 106th birthday.
Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens, right, presents a proclamation to resident Sarah Sullivan on her 106th birthday as Sullivan’s daughter, Paula, and son David Jr. look on.
(Courtesy of the city of Costa Mesa)

• Happy Birthday! Pacifica Senior Living Newport Mesa resident Sarah Sullivan celebrated reaching the venerable age of 106 with family and friends last week. Costa Mesa Mayor John Stephens also attended to present her with a special proclamation.


“Gospel Voices of OC" returns to Chapman University Musco Center for the Arts.
“Gospel Voices of OC” returns to Chapman University Musco Center for the Arts.
(Karen Tapia / Greg Andersen)

• “Gospel Voices of OC” returns for its third season to Musco Center for the Arts at Chapman University at 7 p.m. this Saturday. The concert will benefit the Arts & Learning Conservatory, a nonprofit that works with Orange County school districts to provide student scholarships and no-cost musical theater, band and string classes. Tickets can be purchased at

• Heritage Museum of Orange County is holding its family-friendly event, From Dinosaurs to People, on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Featured: Jurassic Park jeeps, fossils, paleontologists, archaeology, crafts, blacksmith shop demos, food/dessert trucks and booths, gold panning, tortoise racing and more. Ticket donation is $5 for people ages 14 and up, free for children under 14. The museum is located at 3101 W. Harvard St., Santa Ana. Buy tickets or make a donation here.

• Paul Burnett, co-author of “Surfing Newport Beach: The Glory Days of Corona del Mar” will be the featured speaker at an upcoming Sherman Library & Gardens lecture. The event is set for 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 11. Admission is $10 for Sherman members; $20 for nonmembers. Seating is limited. Register at or call (949) 673-2261.

Victory at the Fair Horse Show: Hunter and jumper competition will be held at the OC Fair & Event Center on the weekend of June 15 and 16, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. The public is invited to watch the competition at no charge. Enter the grounds at Gate 8. Parking is $12.

Crystal Cove Conservancy this summer is offering activities for all ages that span from the beach to the trails. For more information and to register, visit

Until next Wednesday,


I appreciate your help in making this the best newsletter it can be. Please send news tips, your memory of life in O.C. (photos welcome!) or comments to