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Around Town: Festival to celebrate St. Patrick’s, ecology

Orange County-based dance academies will perform Irish-style dances as part of the St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and Green Festival on Sunday at the Orange County Market Place in Costa Mesa.
(Courtesy Orange County Market Place)

Festival to celebrate St. Patrick’s, ecology

Green will be the color of the day Sunday as the Orange County Market Place in Costa Mesa combines environmental and Irish themes for the ninth annual St. Patrick’s Day Celebration and Green Festival from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Four Orange County-based dance academies will perform jigs, reels and soft- and hard-shoe styles throughout the day, and Irish musical duo the Manning Brothers will play at 10 a.m.

Abbit O’Blarney, a strolling “trash-talking leprechaun,” will supply magic and comedy, and The Bag Lady, a 9-foot-tall stilt walker dressed in trash and plastic bags, will make an appearance as well.


Gourmet food trucks will offer special menu items such as fried green tomatoes, and other stands will provide green beer, green lemonade and green mint ice cream.

Eco-friendly activities will include a display of fuel-efficient, low-emission cars by members of SoCal Smarties, which bills itself as the largest Smart car club in America, and a section for “green” products and crafts including jewelry, household accessories and decor, refurbished Mexican folk art, fabric purses and quilts, soy products and recycled bottle lamps.

Children can make recycled art courtesy of the Earth Resource Foundation.

Visitors also can donate used clothes, shoes, bedding and linens for the Clothes for the Cause Recycling Drive and receive one free Orange County Market Place admission per bag of donations. Proceeds from the items will benefit the Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation and Barks of Love Animal Rescue.


Free admission also will be offered for a donation of used eyeglasses for the Lions Club, which refurbishes glasses for those in need.

Guests also can donate blood at the Lifestream Bloodmobile in exchange for two tickets to an Improv comedy show.

The Orange County Market Place is the weekly swap meet at the OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive. General admission is $2; children 12 and younger get in free.

For more information, visit or call (949) 723-6660.


Fundraiser aims to fight human trafficking

A benefit reception and dinner for the International Justice Mission will begin at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Balboa Bay Resort in Newport Beach to support the organization’s worldwide efforts to end slavery and human trafficking. Its goal is to raise more than $1 million.

IJM, founded in 1997, is a Washington, D.C. -based nonprofit through which criminal justice professionals partner with local authorities to rescue victims of violence and abuse, imprison criminals and strengthen the local justice systems.


Tickets to the benefit begin at $300. For more information or to buy tickets, email or call (703) 740-9923.


Town hall to discuss District 1 projects

A town hall meeting presented by Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Diane Dixon to provide an update on projects and plans in her City Council District 1 will begin at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the former City Hall, 3300 Newport Blvd.

The district includes West Newport, the Balboa Peninsula, Lido Isle, Bay Island and Newport Island.

Dave Webb, the city’s director of public works, will provide an update on projects such as Marina Park and improvements to 15th Street and Balboa Boulevard. Guests will have a chance to ask questions and make comments.


Irvine ranked low as place to save money


Irvine may have safe streets, nationally renowned public schools, great weather and well-paying jobs for skilled workers, but it’s also such a difficult place to save money that it placed third-worst on a list of 100 U.S. cities ranked by financial website Only Los Angeles and San Francisco ranked lower.

The survey scored cities based on population, sales tax, median income, home value and monthly rent, unemployment rate and gas prices.

In an article posted March 2, the site said Irvine “has a lot going for it. In addition to high-paying jobs and proximity to natural attractions as well as Los Angeles and San Diego, Irvine was ranked by the FBI as the safest big city in the U.S. for the past 10 years straight. … Irvine’s 236,716 residents have an impressive median income of $96,278.

“All of those benefits come at a high price, however. … The median value of a home or condo has reached $630,400. Those who rent are stuck with a median rent of $1,849.”

“Without any savings, losing a job or stumbling financially can trigger major financial problems when you live in pricey Orange County,” the site said. “Even well-established, upper-middle-class professionals making six-figure salaries that are well above the national average can be quickly confronted with financial ruin after a layoff or other unexpected loss of income. People who are relatively wealthy can afford to live in Irvine, but even they cannot seem to save enough money to ride out unexpected financial storms.”

Portland, Ore., ranked as the best place to save money.


Northwood High wins Grammy Foundation award

Northwood High School in Irvine has been selected as a Grammy Signature School by the Grammy Foundation for the third consecutive year and the sixth time since it opened in 1999.

The accolade for music education is being presented this year to 13 schools nationwide. Northwood’s music program will receive $3,500 as part of the award.

Winning applicants for the honor were chosen by a committee of music educators and professionals.


UCI names new dean for School of Medicine

Dr. Howard Federoff, executive vice president for health sciences and executive dean of the School of Medicine at Georgetown University, will join UC Irvine as vice chancellor for health affairs and dean of the School of Medicine on July 1, the university said Wednesday.

Federoff will oversee and guide the development of UC Irvine Health, providing strategic direction for the clinical programs of UC Irvine Medical Center and its affiliated patient care centers and guide UCI’s academic programs in nursing science, public health and pharmaceutical sciences, the university said.

Federoff will replace Dr. Roger Steinert, who has been interim dean of the School of Medicine since Dr. Ralph Clayman retired in July.

“I am quite excited to be joining UCI, which has a highly regarded history of medical care, education and research,” Federoff said in a statement provided by UCI. “I plan to bring a fresh perspective to this new position and guide our medical school and health-care enterprise to new heights.”


Singers wanted for national anthem contest

If you’ve watched celebrities on TV sing the national anthem and think, “I can do that,” you have a chance to prove it.

Southern California residents 13 and older are invited to send a YouTube video link of themselves singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” for a contest in which the winner will sing the anthem for an expected 3,500 people at Fairhaven Memorial Park’s 23rd annual Memorial Day event, “Celebrate Freedom,” on May 25 in Santa Ana.

Entries in the “Oh, Say Can You Sing” contest can be submitted between March 25 and April 30 at Entry is free.

For more information, contact Cynthia Adair at (714) 532-8921, ext. 289, or


Corona del Mar board to talk water, street sweeping

Water conservation tips and proposed changes to the Corona del Mar street sweeping schedule will be discussed at the Corona del Mar Residents Assn. board of directors’ monthly meeting at 7:30 a.m. Thursday.

The meeting will be at the Oasis Senior Center, Room 5, 801 Narcissus Ave. For more information, call (949) 719-9390 or visit

— From staff reports