Around Town: MLK Day of Service planned for Saturday at Upper Newport Bay

Chris Griego carries a trash can overflowing with clippings inside a state park during a clean-up effort.
Inside the Outdoors Foundation, in partnership with the city of Newport Beach, will host an MLK Cleanup Day in the Upper Newport Bay, set for 10 a.m. to noon Saturday. Volunteers will assemble at the Muth Interpretive Center, 2301 University Drive, Newport Beach.
(Howard Lipin / The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Area residents will have an opportunity to serve their community on Saturday from 10 a.m. to noon when the Inside the Outdoors Foundation and the city of Newport Beach host an MLK Day of Service in Upper Newport Bay.

Organizers say this trash clean-up event in the wetlands is one way to honor the life and legacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose birthday will be commemorated Monday with a federal holiday.

Families with children of all ages are welcome. Volunteers, who are asked to wear close-toed shoes and bring water, can register online for the event here or by visiting the foundation’s Facebook page, Meet at the Muth Interpretive Center, 2301 University Drive, Newport Beach.

To learn more about Inside the Outdoors email

O.C. Model Engineers cancel free public train rides this weekend at Fairview Park

Due to a recent surge in coronavirus infections countywide, the nonprofit Orange County Model Engineers has canceled its free mini train rides this weekend at Fairview Park in Costa Mesa.

Members announced Friday they had been asked by the city of Costa Mesa to suspend the free rides, typically offered the third weekend of each month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

City officials have also limited visits to Costa Mesa City Hall to only those with appointments and have suspended in-person meetings. On Wednesday, the city reported 15,023 cumulative cases of the coronavirus identified in Costa Mesa since the beginning of the pandemic.

O.C. Model Engineers Friday apologized for any inconvenience and said members were looking forward to welcoming visitors back to Goathill Junction soon.

Board of Supervisors approves COVID-19 paid sick leave for county employees

The Orange County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday authorized up to 40 hours of paid sick leave through April 7 for members of the Orange County Employees Assn. for COVID-19 related absences.

Under the new plan, employees can qualify for the program if they test positive for the coronavirus, are caring for a family member who is required to quarantine or isolate or have gotten vaccinated or boosted and cannot work or telework due to vaccine-related symptoms.

“It is important that our county employees stay home safely when they are sick, which in turn protects the public and their coworkers” District 2 Supervisor Katrina Foley said in a statement Wednesday. “By offering our employees paid sick leave, they can take the time they need to recover or get tested, vaccinated or boosted to help prevent severe illness and slow the community spread of COVID-19.”

Project Independence of Costa Mesa names new chief operations officer

The nonprofit Project Independence of Costa Mesa, which helps adults with disabilities find jobs and live on their own, this week announced the selection of Dorothy Blubaugh as chief operations officer and director of community day services.

Blubaugh previously served as director of operations for Institute of Applied Behavior Analysis, a California-based organization that provides positive behavior practices for children and adults with autism. She began her career as an associate director at Vantage Foundation, which merged with Project Independence in 2007.

“I am delighted to welcome Dorothy back to our Project Independence Family,” Chief Executive Robert Watson said in a statement Monday. “[I] know her commitment to providing quality, reasoned and steady leadership to our executive team and employees will help ensure our organizational goals are exceeded.”

Costa Mesa Police placing ‘bait cars’ throughout city to catch catalytic converter thieves

To combat an observed increase in catalytic converter thefts throughout the city, the Costa Mesa Police Department on Friday announced the formation of a new bait program designed to catch the culprits in the act.

The department has parked bait cars in various Costa Mesa neighborhoods, and officers are working in an undercover capacity to catch thieves in real time. Traffic signs announcing: “Catalytic Converter Thefts” and “Bait Cars in the Area” have been placed throughout Costa Mesa to deter and provide fair warning to would-be thieves.

“Which cars? Where? We won’t tell. Just know that we are in the area monitoring,” CMPD reported Friday on Facebook.

Police encourage vehicle owners to install shields that will protect catalytic converters from being removed or to seek out an auto shop that will etch the vehicle’s license plate onto the part to aid in recovery should it be stolen.

Virtual Huntington Beach Public Library event features author Kaira Rouda

The Literary Volunteers of the Huntington Beach Public Library are preparing for their first Wine & Words virtual event, featuring international bestselling suspense author Kaira Rouda.

Rouda will be reading from her new novel, “Somebody’s Home,” at the event Jan. 22 at 5 p.m. Tickets are $25, and can be purchased through registration at

The event will also feature an online auction of items such as a Gulfstream simulator flight, hotel getaways and boutique gift baskets.

The Literacy Volunteers seek to improve literacy in Surf City. Those who can’t attend the virtual event are invited to donate at

Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts readies for FUSION 2022

The Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts will present three showings of FUSION 2022 in the Huntington Beach High auditorium Jan. 28 and 29 at 7 p.m. both dates. Also, a Saturday matinee will be staged at 2 p.m. on the 29th.

The show, APA’s winter dance concert, will feature hip-hop, jazz, ballet, tap and modern dance styles. Pieces will be choreographed by APA’s dance faculty.

Tickets are $25 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors at

Fountain Valley Mayor’s Breakfast rescheduled

The Mayor’s Breakfast has been rescheduled to Feb. 24 from 8 to 9 a.m. at the Fountain Valley Recreation Center, 16400 Brookhurst Street. City officials cited the recent rise in COVID-19 cases as the reason for the change.

Fountain Valley Mayor Patrick Harper will welcome guests, and there will also be an update given by the Orange County Transportation Authority on the 405 Freeway improvement project.

Coffee and doughnuts will be served at the event, which is open to the public.

‘Shakespeare’s Fool’ at Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center Jan. 29

“Shakespeare’s Fool: Songs and Speeches from the Plays” comes to the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center, 235 Forest Ave., on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 7:30 p.m.

Singer and songwriter Jason Feddy, the Laguna Beach Arts Alliance Artist of the Year in 2019, has written songs performed via acoustic guitar that bring the work of Shakespeare to life.

The show will also feature performances by Ava Burton and more local actors. Tickets for Shakespeare’s Fool are $30 and can be purchased by calling (949) 652-2787.

40th annual California Cool Art Auction coming up

Laguna Art Museum will put on its 40th annual California Cool Art Auction between Feb. 5 and March 5, providing both online and in-person options to bid.

Registration for the online auction, which begins Feb. 5, opened Wednesday and is available via Artsy, The auction at the museum will take place on March 5 from 6 to 9 p.m.

“This is Laguna Art Museum’s most anticipated and lively event of the year,” Laguna Art Museum executive director Julie Perlin Lee said in a prepared statement. “From contemporary artworks to plein air painting, the 40th Annual California Cool Art Auction will showcase emerging, as well as seasoned California-based artists. Through the past four decades of curating the Art Auction, the museum has cultivated artists like Kim Abeles and Scot Heywood who have made their way to the forefront of the California art scene, and we are pleased to offer such an array of impactful work to the community.”

The auction will feature the work of more than 100 California artists. Admission for the in-person auction on March 5 is $160. Those tickets can be purchased through the museum’s website at

Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce board to hold installation meeting

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce will lock in its board of directors for 2022 with the annual installation of the board on Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 5:30 p.m. at Sueños Laguna Beach.

J.J. Ballesteros will remain the chamber’s chairman of the board.

“I’m honored to serve as chairman of the board for a very important year for Laguna Beach,” Ballesteros said in a statement. “We look forward to continuing to work with our membership, local businesses, city staff and our community as a whole.”

Julie Laughton will be the chairman elect, Jenna Cassidy the vice chairman, Doug Vogel the treasurer and Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold the secretary. Hornbuckle-Arnold is also the interim chief executive of the chamber.

Carmelit Green, Hasty Honarkar, Mark Meisberger, Reinhard Neubert, Larry Nokes, Craig Strong and Jeff Redeker will also be on the board of directors. Nokes rejoins the board in place of Dave Rubel.

Survey of Laguna Beach residents extended

The deadline to participate in the Laguna Beach residents survey has been pushed back to Jan. 19 at 5 p.m.

Residents can expect to see questions regarding community characteristics, city services, and their quality of life and priorities going forward.

The survey is available in English and Spanish and can be accessed at

Daily Pilot Staff

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