Around Town: Sgt. Pepperoni’s launches the 6th annual Julian’s LEGO Corner fundraiser

Richard and Andrea Dunn hold a photograph of their late son Julian, who died of medulloblastoma in 2013.
Richard and Andrea Dunn hold a photograph of their late son Julian, who died of medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer, in 2013. The Dunns started a fund at Children’s Hospital of Orange County called Julian’s LEGO Corner, where people can donate money or LEGOS to be distributed to children in the hospital.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Sgt. Pepperoni’s Pizza Store on Wednesday will launch the 6th annual Julian’s LEGO Corner fundraiser. The restaurant raises money every September for Julian’s LEGO Corner, a nonprofit that donates LEGO kits to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County for pediatric patients undergoing medical care there.

The fundraiser was inspired by the late Julian Dunn’s childhood friendship with neighbor Lauren Roberts, the daughter of Sgt. Pepperoni partners Erica and Jeff Roberts. The two were classmates when Julian was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2008. He passed away in 2013 at the age of 9.

The Sgt. Pepperoni locations in Newport Beach, Aliso Viejo and Irvine will be accepting donations of new LEGO sets and cash for Children’s Hospital O.C. patients through the end of September. Additionally, all proceeds from purchasing the Pizza of the Month — the Parma Pie — and desserts will be donated to Julian’s LEGO Corner.

Last year, Sgt. Pepperoni raised $16,000 for the kits.

Change-of-Command ceremony held for USCG’s Cutter Narwhal

The 87-foot Coast Guard Cutter Narwhal, sponsored by the Newport Beach Navy League Council and based in Corona del Mar received a new commanding officer during a change-of-command ceremony earlier this month.

Lt. Caroline Miller, the commanding officer of the Narwhal for over two years relinquished command to LTJG Dustin Smith on Aug. 5. Miller moves to the USCG Cryptologic Command. Capt. Rebecca E. Ore, Commander, USCG Sector Los Angeles-Long Beach presided over the ceremony.

Smith, a 2018 graduate of the USCG Academy, previously served as the navigation officer and 1st lieutenant aboard the Coast Guard Cutter Dependable homeported in Little Creek, Va., and as executive officer of the Cutter Aquidneck in the Arabian Gulf.

How successful was the 2021 O.C. Fair? The final numbers are in

Orange County Fair organizers have crunched numbers on the 2021 celebration since the regional event closed its doors Aug. 15 and have some interesting factoids to report.

With 16 of the fair’s 23 days selling out, due to a limit this year that capped attendance at 45,000 per day, a total of 1,055,770 guests visited the Costa Mesa fairgrounds between July 16 and Aug. 15, officials with the OC Fair & Event Center reported Wednesday.

A total of 3,091 entrants competed for a blue ribbon this year, including 1,588 adult cut flower entries and 134 youth entries. More than 1,000 adults entered fruits and vegetables for consideration, while 300 youth participated in that competition.

More than 2.5 million rides took place throughout the fair with the most sought-out rides being Skyride, La Grande Wheel XL and Euroslide. Game operators prepared 100 semi-truck trailers of stuffed toys to be distributed to winners, who ranked Bottle Up, Big Water Race and Bank a Ball as their top three games.

Fair foodies consumed an astonishing number of treats during the festival. A reported 10 pallets of Oreos were deep fried at RCS food stands, while two swimming pools worth of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were added to food items proffered by Biggy’s, according to organizers.

Deep fried Oreo cookies at the Orange County Fair.
Deep fried Oreo cookies are among the food offerings available to visitors to the Orange County Fair.
(Scott Smeltzer / Staff Photographer)

Ten Pound Bun served up 7,700 pounds of pizza and avocado toast, while Mom’s Bakeshoppe reported using 1 Ton of flour, 2 Tons of brown sugar, more than 100 pounds of margarine, 4,600 eggs and nearly 1.1 million mini chips to bake some 75,900 cookies.

Fairgoers surveyed gave the 2021 O.C. Fair 4.2 stars out of 5 and ranked the new ticketless entry process 4.5 out of 5. Sixteen percent of visitors said this year was their first time visiting the fair.

Alzheimer’s org seeks nominations for Outstanding Dementia Caregivers

Alzheimer’s Orange County is accepting nominations for caregivers, both paid and unpaid, who live in the county and have demonstrated extraordinary compassion caring for someone living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related form of dementia.

Nominations will be accepted through Sept. 20 in five categories:

•Youth or young adult—unpaid caregivers who provide regular care for a loved one with dementia.

•Family—unpaid caregivers past or present who provide compassionate care to a loved one.

•Professional/Direct Service— Paid caregivers on the frontlines of providing care in dementia, including hospice workers, in-home care workers and residential care facilities, etc.

•Administrative—Professionals who work in licensed residential or other care facilities or who work in other service agencies with persons with dementia.

•Medical/Clinical—Professional physicians, researchers, geriatric counselors or nurse practitioners, clinical social workers and case managers, care managers or other clinical workers in the field of dementia.

Nominations can be made online at This year’s award ceremony takes place Nov. 19. For more, visit

Caregivers ratify contracts at area Tenet Healthcare facilities

More than 830 healthcare workers at three area hospitals have ratified multiple three-year contracts with employer Tenet Healthcare that aim to increase pay, improve benefits and create safer working conditions, according to a union release issued Thursday.

Represented by the National Union of Healthcare Workers, employees had authorized a strike at Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center, Los Alamitos Medical Center and Lakewood Medical Center as part of a wider effort to improve staffing, pay and benefits and COVID-19 safeguards.

Protesters march outside Fountain Valley Regional Hospital and Medical Center in Fountain Valley in 2020.
More than 830 healthcare workers at three area hospitals have ratified multiple three-year contracts with employer Tenet Healthcare that aim to increase pay, improve benefits and create safer working conditions, according to a union release issued Thursday.
(Raul Roa / Staff Photographer)

A contract for more than 600 Fountain Valley respiratory therapists, nursing assistants, medical technicians and other caregivers will increase salaries on average of 15% in its initial year, with additional raises in subsequent years. It also includes late-shift differential pay and a health plan with lower premiums.

Another contract for subcontracted housekeepers and service workers at all three facilities sets a minimum hourly salary of $18.20, a move that will result in immediate raises of 17% to 30% for current employees. Workers will receive 3% raises thereafter.

The contracts were ratified with a 97% among employees.

“After a brutal last 18 months, this contract is a huge victory,” Johnenfer Larry, a housekeeper at Lakewood Medical Center, said in the NUHW news release. “We won respect for the work we do and big pay increases that will make a big difference in our lives.”

Steel announces $811K grant for improvements at John Wayne Airport

John Wayne Airport has received a grant for $811,167 from the Federal Aviation Administration’s Airport Improvement Program for the second phase of a plan to replace the facility’s compressed natural gas-powered shuttle buses with electrical ones.

Rep. Michelle Steel (R- Seal Beach) announced the grant award in a release Monday, calling it welcome news for Orange County.

“John Wayne Airport is a leader in environmental best practices,” she said. “The implementation of an entirely electric fleet of shuttle vehicles is another example of their commitment to sustainability and improving air quality for residents.”

Created by Congress in 2012, the Airport Zero Emissions Vehicle and Infrastructure pilot program lets AIP grant recipients to purchase zero emissions vehicles and construct or modify infrastructure to accommodate such fleets.

O.C. Community Foundation giving day seeks to raise $75K to support county’s ecosystems

The Orange County Community Foundation — which connects local donors and philanthropists with groups whose missions and programs aligns with causes they care about — on Wednesday will bring together seven local nonprofits to raise $75,000 in support of Orange County’s open spaces and marine protected areas.

The 24-hour online collaborative giving days “Protect & Preserve” is designed to help raise awareness of the importance of protecting natural ecosystems, including the county’s 44 miles of coastline marine protected areas, or areas seaward of the high tide line that have been designated by law to protect or conserve marine life and habitat.

Participating organizations include Laguna Canyon Foundation, Laguna Ocean Foundation, Newport Bay Conservancy, OC Habitats, Ocean Defenders Alliance, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, and The Ecology Center.

To donate for Protect and Serve on Sept. 1, visit

Fountain Valley Bridge Class for 55 and up offered

A class teaching the card game bridge is being offered for people who are at least 55 years of age at the Center at Founders Village, 17967 Bushard St., Fountain Valley.

The course is $86 to register. Classes will take place from 1:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Mondays from Sept. 13 to Dec. 6. There will also be a book fee of $12 and a printed materials fee of $8.

Barbara Olschwang will teach the course, for which registration is available at the senior center reception desk or at

Laguna Beach surveys city staff for goal-setting purposes

Laguna Beach has begun circulating anonymous surveys to city employees to help guide the city in setting its goals, city officials announced on Thursday.

The surveys are being run through Polco. Surveys have already been completed by the Laguna Beach Police Department.

The results of the surveys, which will incorporate the business community, city staff and residents, will be brought to the Laguna Beach City Council in the fall.

Laguna Beach Community Emergency Response Team Training Course

A Laguna Beach Community Emergency Response Team training course aims to help members of the community be prepared in case disaster strikes.

The classes take place at the Laguna Beach Susi Q and Community Center from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Wednesdays from Sept. 29 to Nov. 17.

There will also be a meeting for a final drill on Saturday, Nov. 20 at the Ranch.

Registration for the course is free. To learn more about this course, contact Emergency Operations Coordinator Brendan Manning at (949) 497-0350 or via email at

South Laguna Fuel Modification Zone Workshop is Tuesday

The Laguna Beach Fire Department will seek public input as it looks to install a fuel modification zone in South Laguna.

The removal of combustible vegetation from slopes near homes will be discussed at the meeting, which will take place on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the Laguna Beach City Council Chambers.

Those who will not be able to attend can submit comments to Patrick Antrim at (949) 464-6683 or by email at

H.B. Academy for Performing Arts presents in-person play

The Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts will present four showings of Rick Abbott’s comedy “Play On!” from Sept. 9 to 12 in the APA Studio Theater.

The comedy will kick off APA’s 2021-22 season, and also serves as a benefit performance for APA Theatre and its students.

Evening performances start at 6 p.m., with a Sunday matinee at 1 p.m. Dinner or lunch is provided.

Tickets are $40 and available at

UFC Gym in Huntington Beach set to mark anniversary Saturday

The UFC Gym in Huntington Beach will celebrate its fourth anniversary Saturday with gym tours, a meet and greet with UFC athletes and special UFC athlete instructors.

The lineup of guest athletes includes UFC Hall of Famers Chuck Liddell, BJ Penn and Urijah Faber, among others.

The gym opens at 6 a.m. Saturday for workouts and group fitness classes. Liddell will host a special kickboxing class at 9 a.m., and Penn will host an open mat Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu session at noon. The UFC athlete meet and greet is scheduled for 2 p.m.

UFC Gym in Huntington Beach is located at 17091 Beach Blvd.

Newport Dunes gearing up for Labor Day weekend

Starting next Friday, the Newport Dunes is celebrating Labor Day weekend with a splash! Literally.

The resort will have an inflatable water park complete with a 17-foot slide and trampoline out daily starting Sept. 3 to Labor Day, Sept. 6, between the hours of 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

There will also be watersports like kayaking, pedal boats, paddleboards and new 21-foot electric Duffy boats for visitors to enjoy. For information about pricing and times, visit

Daily Pilot staff

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