Around Town: Kansas governor appears at racial-reconciliation discussion at Vanguard

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback speaks during a luncheon Friday at Costa Mesa’s Vanguard University with campus administrators and local Christian leaders to discuss racial reconciliation.
Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback speaks during a luncheon Friday at Costa Mesa’s Vanguard University with campus administrators and local Christian leaders to discuss racial reconciliation.
(Courtesy of Vanguard University )

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback met with Vanguard University administrators and local Christian leaders last week to discuss racial reconciliation.

The meeting, during a two-hour luncheon March 24 at the Christian university in Costa Mesa, followed Brownback’s keynote presentation at the local Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast.

Leaders were invited to share their perspectives on how they are seeing racial reconciliation play out in their communities.

Brownback, while serving as a U.S. senator in 2001, was part of a bipartisan coalition that led to the establishment of the National Museum of African American History & Culture, which debuted last September at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

Volunteers to build new playground for Boys & Girls Club branch in F.V.

More than 200 volunteers plan to join forces Saturday to build a new playground at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Huntington Valley’s Kingston Branch in Fountain Valley.

The event is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 16582 Brookhurst St. and will include participants from Foresters Financial, the Boys & Girls Club, KaBoom and the Fountain Valley community, organizers said.

The playground design is based on children’s drawings created in January.

The Kingston Branch’s existing playground is about 20 years old and has gotten worn out, officials said. The new playground is expected to last 15 years and eventually serve more than 1,000 children and their families.

Art Stars Awards ceremony Sunday in Laguna Beach

The Laguna Beach Arts Alliance will present the 11th annual Art Stars Awards beginning at 6 p.m. Sunday to honor Laguna’s artistic community.

The awards, in seven categories, will be presented to organizations, businesses and individuals who contributed to local arts and culture in the past year.

Actress Joely Fisher will be guest speaker.

The event will be at Seven-degrees, 891 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. It will include the awards ceremony, dinner and a red carpet reception with champagne and hors d’oeuvres.

Individual tickets are $100. For more information, email or visit

Newport Beach seeks feedback on park expansion

Newport Beach invites the public to offer feedback on a proposed extension of Lower Sunset View Park.

The proposed extension is at the northeast corner of Superior Avenue and Coast Highway, where a parking lot now sits, primarily to serve beach and Sunset Ridge Park visitors. The extension would expand the parking and create a new recreational area in the undeveloped space between the lot and Sunset View Park.

Previous ideas for the spot have included a dog park, a playground, an exercise circuit, restrooms and open space.

Commenters can submit their feedback in writing to or during the next meeting of the Newport Beach Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission at 6 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall, 100 Civic Center Drive.

JDRF Orange County chapter honorees Tracey McCarter, left, and Corona del Mar resident Ellen Darling attend the Dream Gala fundraiser for diabetes research on March 18 at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point.
JDRF Orange County chapter honorees Tracey McCarter, left, and Corona del Mar resident Ellen Darling attend the Dream Gala fundraiser for diabetes research on March 18 at the Ritz-Carlton in Dana Point.
(Courtesy of Carla Rhea)

Corona del Mar resident honored at diabetes benefit

Corona del Mar resident Ellen Darling was one of two honorees at the JDRF Orange County chapter’s Dream Gala on March 18 at the Ritz-Carlton resort in Dana Point.

The event drew nearly 500 people to help raise $1 million for research into Type 1 diabetes.

Darling and Tracey McCarter were honored for their contributions to Orange County’s T1D community.

Darling’s family buys a table at the Dream Gala every year to support the cause. She is a partner at the law firm K&L Gates and was named one of the Top Women Lawyers of 2011 through 2013 by The Daily Journal, according to a news release.

Free Spanish-language classes offered for new and expecting parents

MOMS Orange County is offering free Spanish-language childbirth preparation classes and classes for new parents in partnership with the Costa Mesa Family Resource Center.

The courses will be held at the Family Resource Center in the Melinda Hoag Smith Center for Healthy Living at 307 Placentia Ave. in Newport Beach.

The childbirth preparation course is a four-class series for parents-to-be covering pregnancy anatomy and physiology, prenatal care, preparation for labor and delivery, postpartum care, newborn care and breastfeeding.

“Mommy & Me” is an eight-class series in which mothers and their children ages 12-17 months learn activities intended to stimulate the children’s mental and physical development.

MOMS Orange County, a Santa Ana-based nonprofit, is taking registration for the courses at (714) 972-2610, (800) 787-5858 or Once a registration list is compiled, the organization will announce class dates and times, according to spokeswoman Amanda Irving.

Girls Scouts center at Marina Park gets $2.5-million gift from Argyroses

Girl Scouts of Orange County announced it has received a $2.5-million gift from Newport Beach real estate mogul and philanthropist George Argyros and his wife, Julia, for the Girl Scouts’ 6,000-square-foot Leadership Center under construction at Newport Beach’s Marina Park. The center will be named after Julia Argyros, according to a news release.

The center is scheduled to open later this year as Orange County’s hub for Girl Scouts STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) programs and a place for girls to explore careers.

“We are profoundly grateful to Julia and George Argyros for this truly transformational gift,” Nancy Nygren, chief executive of Girl Scouts of Orange County, said in a statement. “The Argyros Girl Scout Leadership Center will give girls early exposure to STEM, helping them understand how STEM is part of everything they do and inspiring them to embrace their STEM education.”

Marina Park also features a community and sailing center, marina, playground and restaurant.

Fundraiser for Special Olympics planned in Costa Mesa

The Costa Mesa Police Department, Claim Jumper restaurant and South Coast Plaza are collaborating to put on a fundraiser next week benefiting the Special Olympics.

The annual Tip-a-Cop event will be held from 5 to 9 p.m. April 6 at the Claim Jumper at South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa.

During the event, Special Olympics athletes and Police Department staff will fill various roles in the restaurant, with tips they receive going to benefit the Special Olympics. A fundraising raffle also will be held.

Costa Mesa councilmen to hold homelessness forum

Costa Mesa City Council members Allan Mansoor and John Stephens will present a forum April 6 to discuss homeless issues in the city.

The two will moderate the discussion along with a panel of experts who will discuss what the city and local organizations are doing to address homelessness in Costa Mesa and how residents can get involved.

The forum will start at 6:30 p.m. at Newport Mesa Church, 2599 Newport Blvd.

Former explorer to speak at Newport library

Wade Davis, an anthropology professor at the University of British Columbia, will speak at the Newport Beach Central Library on April 7 and 8.

Davis, who was featured in the IMAX movie “Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk,” was an explorer-in-residence for the National Geographic Society from 1999 to 2013.

The April 7 event is sold out, but $35 tickets are available for April 8 at The lecture starts at 2 p.m.

Walk Run Read to aid H.B. Library’s Literacy Volunteers

The Huntington Beach Public Library will present its fifth annual Walk Run Read 5K and Kids Fun Run beginning at 8 a.m. April 8.

The event at Huntington Beach’s Central Park will help raise money to support the library’s Literacy Volunteers programs.

Registration is $40 for the 5K (3.1 miles) and $5 for the 1-mile kids’ run for ages 12 and under. To register and for more information, visit

Learn relaxation techniques in Laguna

The American Assn. of University Women of Laguna Beach will present a symposium on the mind-and-body connection April 8 at the Laguna Beach Library.

A panel of five speakers, including Lori Kahn, owner and founder of OM Laguna Beach, and Pam Wicks, music director of Laguna’s Neighborhood Congregational Church, will share insights and answer audience questions while guests can learn breathing exercises to reduce stress.

The event, from 2 to 4 p.m., is free and open to the public, though space is limited. To reserve a spot, call (949) 497-1733 or sign up at the library at 363 Glenneyre St.

Tickets on sale for H.B. Library comedy show

Tickets available for $4 for the Huntington Beach Public Library’s Buster Balloon Show, featuring comedy, magic and balloon creations.

The event will begin at 2 p.m. April 18 in the Tabby Theater at the library, 7111 Talbert Ave.

For more information, call (714) 375-5107 or visit

Pacific City to host art night

Pacific City will host a Paint Nite on April 12 in which people can drink and create art while guided by a professional.

The event will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. at Pacific City’s Lot 579, an artisanal market at 21010 Pacific Coast Hwy.

Tickets can be purchased for $45 at

Tree forum on tap in Laguna

The Laguna Beach Beautification Council will present a free public seminar titled “Branching Out: A Public Forum on Trees” from 10 a.m. to noon April 22 at the Laguna Beach City Council chamber, 505 Forest Ave.

Topics will include tips on maintenance, fire safety and selecting trees suited for Laguna Beach. There also will be door prizes.

For more information or to reserve a seat, email Sandy Desmond at

Events advancing Newport to Ensenada race coming in April

Members of the Newport Ocean Sailing Assn. are preparing events leading to the 70th Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race on April 28.

“We look forward to everyone; renewing old acquaintance’s while making new memories together,” said Commodore Tom Kennedy.

The public Race Week Kick-Off Party is scheduled for noon to 4 p.m. April 23 at Marina Park, 1600 W. Balboa Blvd.

The annual Skippers Luncheon will be held at at 11:30 a.m. April 26 at the Bahia Corinthian Yacht Club, 1601 Bayside Drive, Corona del Mar. Topics will include the latest in weather forecasting, winning strategies, safety, teamwork and recognition for skippers who have sailed in the Newport to Ensenada race more than 20 times. The cost is $15 per person.

The VIP reception for boat owners, city officials, visiting dignitaries and sponsors is set for 6 to 9 p.m. April 26 at Sterling BMW in Newport Beach.

And skippers, crew members and invited guests can attend the annual Sail Away Party from 6 to 10 p.m. April 27 at the American Legion Yacht Club in Newport Beach.

For more information about the events, call (949) 644-1023 or email

H.B. Central Library to host ‘Sleeping Beauty’ ballet

Tickets go on sale Saturday for Ballet Etudes’ production of “Sleeping Beauty” at the Huntington Beach Central Library, 7111 Talbert Ave.

Performances will be at 4 and 7 p.m. May 23 and 24.

Tickets are available for $5 at the library’s children’s desk. For more information, call (714) 375-5107.