The City of Mission Viejo is gearing up to host its spectacular weekend Arts Alive Festival.

Don't miss Arts Alive Festival this weekend  

The City of Mission Viejo is gearing up to host its spectacular weekend Arts Alive Festival.

Celebrating the art and culture of the 1990s, this year's festival is fromnoon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1 at the Oso Viejo Community Park on the Village Green at 24932 Veterans Way.


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U2 tribute band, delectable fare during May 7 special event  

One of the world's greatest tribute bands will perform in Mission Viejo onSaturday, May 7 during a special Open House and Concert on the Courts at the Marguerite Recreation Center.

Community members of all ages are invited to the event that runs fromnoon to 2:30 p.m. with the concert by the "U2Xperience" starting at 3 p.m.


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SDG&E's planned power outage Saturday 'not expected' to impact Mission Viejo  

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) is planning a power outage this Saturday at a substation that serves south Orange County.

The outage is planned from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 30 at SDG&E's Talega Substation. The Talega Substation is the single feed for the utility's seven substations that serve south Orange County.


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Save the date for DAWG Walk and Pet Faire  

If you and your pet want to have fun for a great cause, make plans to attend the annual DAWG Walk and Pet Faire on Saturday, June 18 along the Village Green at Oso Viejo Community Park.

The Mission Viejo Animal Services Center and Dedicated Animal Welfare Group (DAWG) host the fun family event that includes an impressive display of K9 Athletes in Action, pet contests and pet and wildlife exhibits.


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Construction begins this week on new restroom building at Pavion Park  

Construction begins this week on a new restroom facility at the City's popular Pavion Park.

Developed in 1986 as the first universally accessible playground in Orange County, the award-winning park is nestled at the corner of Jeronimo and Pavion.

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Jenna-Fur is a sweet pit bull  

Jenna-Fur is a young and vibrant pit bull who is full of love and is eager to please. A true sweetheart through and through, Jenna easily puts to rest any negative stereotypes about her breed.

She would thrive with an owner who can match her boundless energy and who will provide her with plenty of exercise and structure. Since she is young and muscular, Jenna would be a great running or hiking companion. Though bold and energetic, Jenna responds well to commands and will also go home with a training package to ensure good behavior in her new home.


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Edwin Moses makes it to Wheaties box

Mission Viejo – Over the years he made his mother proud as he won Olympic gold medals and set world records, was enshrined in the National Track and Field Hall of Fame, appeared on the covers of magazine’s like Sports Illustrated, Jet and Newsweek, earned various college diplomas, was awarded the Congressional Medal Honor, became a globe-trotting Good Samaritan involved in myriad social issues and had a city street named after him in his hometown of Dayton.

But two months ago — just a couple of weeks before her death — Edwin Moses was able to make his mom beam one last time thanks to a special and elusive honor.

Eighty-seven-year-old Gladys Moses found out the image of her son — holding his spikes aloft after what he thinks was a victory in Helsinki, Finland — was finally going to be featured on the front of the Wheaties box.

Two other Olympic greats from a generation past — swimmer Janet Evans and diver Greg Louganis — also will be featured on the “The Breakfast of Champions” boxes to be released next month.

The honor, akin to making the cover of Rolling Stone or SI, is a metaphor for sports greatness.

“I’m really pleased,” Moses said by phone from his home in Atlanta. “I went on line and looked at all the fantastic athletes who have been on the Wheaties box. It’s literally a who’s who of great athletes.

“When they informed me I’d made it, I wasn’t allowed to tell anyone until they announced it, but I did let my mom see it just before she passed.

“What also impressed her was that Greg Louganis was being honored, too. She met him years ago. It was at one of the Olympic Games — probably 1984 — and she really liked him.

Greg and I go back to the ‘76 Olympics. That was his first one. He was just 16 and I was young too. We both lived down in Mission Viejo in Orange County, Calif. — there weren’t a lot of Olympians down there then — and we became very close.

“We were on the ‘84 and ‘88 teams, too. I was one of the people he saw as a mentor.”

Moses said after his mother died at her home in Trotwood, he was going through her things and found something especially touching:

“In my mother’s top drawer she had two photos, one of myself and one of Greg. Obviously we were two of her favorite athletes and I had tears coming out of my eyes when I called Greg and told him. And I think he did, too.”

When he was interviewed by the New York Times earlier this month, Louganis spoke just as glowingly of Moses.:

“He was my hero. God, he was my inspiration…”

Accidental success

Wheaties was created in 1921 by a clumsy Minnesota health clinician at the Washburn Crosby Company — which later became General Mills — who accidentally spilled a wheat bran mixture onto a hot stove.

The mixture turned into flakes that he tasted and liked. The head miller of the company then went through a series of trials to refine the product into a novel breakfast offering since the prominent cereals of the day were all the consistency of oatmeal.

First calling its new product Washburn Gold Meal Whole Wheat Flakes (a name that still stuck to the tongue like mush), the company held a contest to pick a new name and the winner was Wheaties.

By the late 1920s, Wheaties was sponsoring various minor league baseball radio broadcasts and in 1933 another spur-of-the-moment occurrence gave the cereal its calling card slogan.

General Mills was sponsoring broadcasts of the Minneapolis Millers games on WCCO and to promote the venture a large billboard was being erected on the outfield wall.

As company lore goes, Knox Reeves, a local ad man, was asked what else could be printed on the billboard besides the cereal name. He pulled out a pad and pencil, thought a moment and scribbled “The Breakfast of Champions.”

Finally in 1934 Lou Gehrig became the first athlete featured on the cereal box — albeit on the back. It would take a quarter century before athletes finally were pictured on the front.

A year after Gehrig’s debut, Babe Zaharias became the first woman athlete on a Wheaties box and in 1936 Olympic hero Jesse Owens, the pride of Ohio State, became the first black athlete.

The phenomenon started to grow, especially in baseball, and at the 1939 All-Star Game, 46 of the 51 players endorsed Wheaties on the radio.

By then the cereal was being associated with extraordinary — if not downright herculean — performances.

As the Washington Post reported, a Trenton, N.J., man was said to have lifted a 2,700-pound elephant — I’m presuming with some kind of fulcrum though the article didn’t say — as 3,000 people watched. Afterward he told the assembled masses:

“I guess there’s only one thing I eat every day — Wheaties.”

Years later basketball great Michael Jordan — who appeared on the Wheaties box a record 18 times — lifted up the same thought when he said, “You better eat your Wheaties.”

In 1958 Olympic pole vaulter Bob Richards not only became the first athlete to grace the front of the orange Wheaties box, but he became a spokesman for the cereal and for the next dozen years he promoted an active, healthy lifestyle.

By 1976 Olympic decathlete Bruce Jenner took over as the spokesperson and after the ‘84 Olympics gymnast Mary Lou Retton took on the role, followed by Walter Payton, Chris Evert, Jordan and finally Tiger Woods, who appeared 14 times on the box.

If Wheaties is known for honoring success, it’s also had a hand in creating it.

Back in 1937 Ronald “Dutch” Reagan did Wheaties baseball broadcasts for a radio station in Des Moines, Iowa. He would recreate games using teletype reports and became so good at it that he was named the Wheaties broadcaster of the year.

His prize was a trip to the Chicago Cubs spring training camp in California, where he would broadcast a game live. While there, he took a Warner Brothers screen test, ended up becoming a popular film star and parlayed that into becoming the 40th president of the United States.

A Republican whose name is still much celebrated in the party a dozen years after his death, Reagan could say he too lifted an elephant.

‘I finally made it’

Over the years, there have been around 500 athletes featured on the Wheaties boxes, many individually, but some with teams, the first being the Minnesota Twins in 1987.

Three Miami Valley athletes have gotten on the box: Pro Football Hall of Famer Cris Carter from Middletown, Alter High’s John Paxson with the NBA champion Chicago Bulls, and St Henry’s Jim Lachey with the Super Bowl champ Washington Redskins.

Moses said his being recognized now, some 28 years after he quit competing, is just a case of there being so many great athletes in the U.S. and many sometimes get overlooked. That’s the same with Evans.

For others, from Muhammad Ali to Jim Thorpe, recognition was delayed for years because Wheaties perceived certain social issues.

Louganis thought his recognition was stalled because he was known by many to be gay when he was competing, although he didn’t come out publicly until later.

Last year an HBO documentary presented him in a clearer and much more compassionate light and soon after a woman who was an IT professional in Chicago launched an online petition on his behalf. That quickly garnered 41,000 signed petitions, which she hand-delivered to the Minneapolis office of General Mills.

“Greg has gone through a lot in life, so this is very special to him,” Moses said.

As for himself, Moses said: “I’m just pleased after all my accomplishments that I finally made it. I feel the same for Janet and Greg.”

At his mother’s memorial service, Moses said he heard one common refrain from her friends:

“In talking to them, I heard that the greatest gift I gave her was her ability to travel and see the world thanks to all my track and field. I had six different women tell me how important that was to her to be able to go all these different places.”

And before she died, Gladys envisioned her son going to another place few imagined.

While so many of those other trophies and plaques ended up on hanging on their walls or setting on their mantles, being on a Wheaties box would bring him into the homes — right onto the kitchen tables — of millions worldwide.

“She was very impressed by all that,” Moses said. “That made her quite happy.”

Arts Alive Festival workshop combines art with wine, cheese

During this year’s two-day Arts Alive Festival, patrons will have the chance to tap their creative sides through a host of fun activities and workshops.

Celebrating the art and culture of the 1990s, the festival is from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday, April 30 and Sunday, May 1 at the Oso Viejo Community Park on the Village Green at 24932 Veterans Way.

Workshops galore for all ages are planned for this special weekend including one specifically enticing for adults. Professional artist and art educator Renee Keady will lead a fun class that combines art with wine and cheese.  She will show folks how to make their own “mandala.”  The word mandala loosely translates to mean “circle” and can be created by using a series of concentric circles and patterns to produce a balance of visual elements symbolizing unity and harmony.

Along with great workshops, festival-goers will enjoy watching street painters transform the blacktop into magnificent works; arts and crafts; musical and dance performances as well as tasty fare, a beer-and-wine garden and first-time regional student art show.

Volunteers are also sought to help with workshops and in other roles during Arts Alive. To join our volunteer team, complete the online volunteer application here or email with your name, contact information and availability.

Project that will fill Lake Mission Viejo, irrigate City parks with purified recycled water

The Mission Viejo City Council on Tuesday approved an agreement with the Santa Margarita Water District that will help Lake Mission Viejo switch to advanced purified water for lake refill and end nearly 40 years of using potable (drinking) water to maintain water levels in the 124-acre lake. The agreement will also provide the City of Mission Viejo with enough reclaimed water to irrigate about 80 percent of its parks, medians and slopes for the next 25 years.

Mission Viejo, CA – The project will eliminate up to 350 acre-feet of potable demand – more than 114 million gallons of drinking water – currently used to fill the lake and make that water available to Mission Viejo residents served by the district.

As part of the agreement, the City will provide a $1 million grant to help the water district build the Advanced Purified Water Treatment Facility that will use reclaimed water to maintain the lake level.  Advanced purified water has received additional levels of treatment to polish the water to the Mission Viejo Lake Association’s water quality specifications.

“We are securing water for our residents and reducing the overall potable water demand during California’s historic drought while at the same time maintaining the lake’s ability to fulfill its recreational, fishing and fire suppression purposes,” said Mayor Frank Ury, who served on an ad-hoc committee with Councilman Ed Sachs to formulate the details of the partnership between the City, water district and Lake Mission Viejo Association.

In return for the grant funding, the water district will provide the City of Mission Viejo 300 acre-feet per year produced by the facility at a lower rate for 25 years.  At no cost to the City, the district will also advance a needed reclaimed water retrofit project (estimated at $50,000-$60,000) along the northern sections of Marguerite Parkway.  The City has been proactive in converting landscape irrigation to reclaimed water since it incorporated in 1988.  This plan not only gives the City a reliable source of reclaimed water for irrigation needs, but it eliminates significant potable water demand.  Through the agreement, the City of Mission Viejo will save about $850,000 over 25 years.

To get the Advanced Purified Water Treatment Facility online in time to meet summer demands (late July/early August), the City of Mission Viejo will provide the district with a $3 million loan that would be paid off over 20 years at a higher interest rate than normal, netting City coffers about $150,000. Since the interest rate exceeds the City’s current long-term interest rate but is below the rate of interest for the water district, the plan benefits both agencies.

“Santa Margarita Water District is grateful for this partnership with the City,” said Board President Charley Wilson. “This cooperative venture will benefit both the City and the district now and for years to come. We are pleased to be able to make this innovative approach to water recycling a reality for our customers in Mission Viejo and the district at-large.”

Mayor Ury said this pioneering financing solution and strong partnership between the City, Santa Margarita Water District and Lake Mission Viejo Association is a “win-win” for the entire community.

“It saves residents money and takes Lake Mission Viejo off the regional water consumption grid, making it the most sustainable manmade lake in the region,” he said.

Mark Sanchez, the pride of Mission Viejo High School – Mark Sanchez, the pride of Mission Viejo High School who took his mad quarterbacking skills to USC, the New York Jets, the Philadelphia Eagles and now the world-champion Denver Broncos, talks about his Mexican heritage in a new video produced by an undocumented immigrant.

Jose Antonio Vargas is also a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and founder of #EmergingUS, which is described as "a new media platform with the goal of inspiring a new dialogue on race, immigration and identity in America.

Mission Viejo Girls Defeat El Toro – 

Mission Viejo held off El Toro in a close Sea View League contest at Mission Viejo High School on Thursday. The Diablos used a well-balanced offense to win by a margin of 10-4.  SophomoreMakena Gordon led Mission Viejo with four goals. senior Shelley Cummings, sophomoreAshley Rende and junior Kylie McRoberts all chipped in two goals each.

The Chargers were led by Lillia Duran and Melanie Fazio, with two goals apiece.

Laguna Hills approves major mall overhaul – Luxury apartments, a movie theater, a park, and indoor and outdoor shops are part of the official plan to revitalize the tired Laguna Hills Mall.

Merlone Geier Partners bought the property from Simon Property Group in 2013 and has been eyeing ways to update it.The city on March 22 approved the mall’s plan to bring new life and entertainment to the 68-acre retail center.

“When you go through redevelopment, it takes time to understand the market and really plan,” said Stephen Logan, project director of development at Merlone Geier.

David Chantarangsu, community development director of the city of Laguna Hills, said the city has been planning for the redevelopment of the mall since 2000.

“The city’s goal is to build a village core, and part of that is live, play, stay, create an environment where a resident could walk to work and stay within this community,” he said. “We want to create a real downtown that a lot of newer cities like Laguna Hills don’t have.”

With redevelopment approved, construction on Five Lagunas, the mall’s new name, will start this summer. The first phase is expected to be complete in 2018.

Food, entertainment

Laguna Hills Mall was built in 1973. With the exception of minor updates in 1994, changes have not been made to the center, which has long been marked by high vacancy rates.

The mall, which has a B-minus grade, is sandwiched between two A-plus malls, The Shops at Mission Viejo and Irvine Spectrum Center. Mall grades, which are determined by a variety of factors including sales per square foot, were provided by Green Street Advisors, a Newport Beach-based real estate research firm.

Green Street mall analyst DJ Busch said that to be successful, the Laguna Hills site must add food and entertainment.

“It helps position the mall to compete against e-commerce, and it is an important source of demand to back-fill for underperforming retailers,” Busch said.

Merlone Geier will gut the mall between the former Sears and JCPenney. The resulting area will be open, airy and trendier than what was there before.

Developers will add a luxury movie theater with 14 screens, upscale dining and VIP levels for guests older than 21. A 1-acre green space called Sycamore Park will host live music and events, and a farmer’s market and chef-driven restaurants will be added.

Merlone Geier declined to say how much the overhaul would cost.

Luxury housing

Perhaps the biggest change will be the addition of luxury apartments. In the first phase of the project, 350 units will open, with more than 900 apartments at the final tally.

The apartments will have luxury amenities such as pools and yoga studios.

Mall anchors JCPenney, Macy’s and Nordstrom Rack will remain, as will a handful of restaurants. The facades of JCPenney and Macy’s will be redone.

A small portion of the mall will remain indoors, but most of it will be converted to outdoor spaces.

Around 60 retailers will be at Five Lagunas, Logan said. The mall is hoping to have a mix of local and national, luxury and fast-fashion brands.


A six-story parking garage will accommodate shoppers.

McPherson and Logan agreed that once completed, the project will be the community gathering Chantarangsu wants for Laguna Hills.

“My favorite part of this project is that we’re recycling a property. We’re taking something broken and fixing it,” McPherson said.

Laguna Hills accepts Mission Viejo’s proposal for animal care – The City Council has decided to part ways with OC Animal Care in favor of a proposal from Mission Viejo Animal Services.

Laguna Hills Mayor Barbara Kogerman said the quality of service and proximity of Mission Viejo’s facility, along with dismay with the county’s weathered shelter and high euthanasia rates were among the reasons for the transition.

“This is a city of animal lovers and this is a city that deserves to have the kind of service that the Mission Viejo facility offers,” she said at Tuesday’s council meeting.

The plan is to make Mission Viejo the provider for animal control and sheltering for the city, but the decision is contingent on whether Rancho Santa Margarita accepts Mission Viejo’s proposal.

Mission Viejo’s City Council sent Rancho Santa Margarita and Laguna Hills cost proposals on March 8 that if both approve, would mean lower costs for Laguna Hills.

Rancho Santa Margarita’s council votes on the proposal Wednesday night.

“It is a benefit to all three cities,” Kogerman said. “I am assuming Rancho will approve it.”

If they don’t, she said Laguna Hills would either have to stay with the county or find another alternative by the April deadline cities have to respond to the county’s 10-year contract with OC Animal Care.

Assuming Rancho Santa Margarita accepts Mission Viejo’s proposal, the transition would cost Laguna Hills $580,855 in the first year, $198,851 more than if they contract with the county.

The cost is broken down into $170,155 for first-year operating costs, $345,700 for a one-time capital contribution in building modifications and $65,000 for a new animal service vehicle.

The second year would cost the city $188,558; $173,558 in operating costs and $15,000 in yearly capital costs.

Laguna Hills Assistant City Manager Don White said they expect going with Mission Viejo will pay off in the long run.

“After the first year’s capital contribution, the cost differential is a modest increase at 14-15 percent,” White said. “It is staff’s opinion that Mission Viejo is in a better position to control costs over the long run.”

Laguna Hills began looking for an alternative to OC Animal Care after a Grand Jury report in May criticized county officials for neglecting the condition of the animal shelter in Orange.

Even though the county plans to start building a new shelter in Tustin in June, Laguna Hills residents, including Jean Bland, were happy with the decision.

“It is such a relief,” Bland said.

Bland has advocated leaving OC Animal Care for 15 years, and criticizes the county for its euthanasia rates.

“With all that is going on in the world today, one of the biggest fears of residents should not be that their animal gets out and winds up in the county shelter,” she said.

According to Laguna Hills’ staff report, the euthanasia rate at the county shelter is 6 percent for dogs from Laguna Hills and 48 percent for cats. The overall rate for all animals was 33 percent in 2014. By comparison, Mission Viejo reports a 7 percent overall euthanasia rate.

If Ranch Santa Margarita agrees to contract with Mission Viejo, Laguna Hills’ City Council will come back on April 12 to vote on the contract. If the contract is approved, the transition to Mission Viejo could begin in Janunary 2017.

500 attend South Orange County Senior Day in Mission Viejo – About 500 people attended South Orange County Senior Day on Friday morning at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center to learn about issues facing local seniors, an organizer said.

The free event kicked off with a keynote presentation by UC Irvine neurology professor Claudia Kawas, who spoke about brain disorders, including dementia. She also shared some findings from her study of people 90 and older, which was featured on “60 Minutes” in 2014.

Participants then chose between two sessions: Driving and car problems seniors face, and how to prevent being a fraud victim.

There were also free meals and vendor booths, as well as medical screenings by UC Irvine nurse practitioner students, said Erik Weigand, district director for Sen. Pat Bates, who co-sponsored the event along with Assemblyman Bill Brough.

Mission Viejo hopes renovated aquatic center will revive Nadadores club – MISSION VIEJO – The city is on track to start a $7.8 million renovation of the Marguerite Aquatics Center after the Summer Olympics, a move that could help bring the home of the world-renown Mission Viejo Nadadores swimming and diving club back to its glory days.

The improvements to the aging complex will include replacement of the only dive tower in Orange County. The new tower will feature 12-foot-wide platforms, which will make it the only facility in the West Coast capable of hosting synchronized diving competitions, city officials said.

“We will have the best outdoor diving platforms in the United States,” said Jim Montrella, a Nadadores board member who was an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic Team in 1976. “I expect that we will host more swimming and diving competitions not only of the beginning and the medium level but of the national and international level.”

Construction is scheduled to begin in September and is expected to take 1 1/2 years to complete, Assistant City Manager Keith Rattay said. That gives Nadadore swimmers and divers time to train at the complex for the upcoming Olympic trials in June and July.

More than a half century ago, Mission Viejo Co. designed its master-planned community around sports and recreation to attract young families to the end of the road in Saddleback Valley.

The epitome of the developer’s endeavor was the Marguerite Aquatics Center and its tenant, the Nadadores.

Featuring an eight-lane 50-meter pool, a 25-meter pool with a 10-meter dive tower and a shallow training pool for children, the complex was one of the premier aquatic facilities in the country when it opened in 1972, Montrella said.

The elite Nadadores club has produced Olympic champions, including Greg Louganis and Brian Goodell, and hosted world-class meets, putting Mission Viejo on the map. The club’s success was inspirational for other sports and help turned Orange County into a hotbed for Olympians.

However, the 44-year-old complex has deteriorated, showing visible wear and tear.

Although the complex still meets the minimum standards for national and international competitions, it lacks additional features that newer facilities have and sanctioning bodies are looking for, Montrella said.

The City Council in June approved a proposal to improve nearly everything at the center, including all the pools, the decking and the dive tower. The Nadadores, the primary user of the center, pledged to contribute $1.36 million toward the project.

The council is scheduled to discuss the city’s funding agreement with the Nadadores at its Feb. 23 meeting, City Manager Dennis Wilberg said.

The city has hired Aquatic Design Group to develop the design and working drawings of the new facilities. The proposed dive tower will be 46 feet tall and have a lockable access gate from either the rear or side of the tower base, according to the latest design presented to the council.

The tower will have 10-meter, 7-meter, 3-meter and 1-meter platforms.

The pools will have larger deck and spectator space, as well as more teaching stations for lessons.

“Now we’ll be able to do more,” Montrella said. “The upgrade is going to improve the opportunity.”