APRIL 2018 ENTERTAINMENT
Looking forward to the first full season at FivePoint Amphitheatre
Smile, Irvine! This is one of the top 10 happiest places to live in the U.S. page 9
It’s a grand view at Hive & Honey, Irvine’s first rooftop hot spot
WHAT REALLY MATTERS irvinecitynews.com
Just say, “Yes, Yes, Yes” on June 5
THE MISSING LINK FOR NATIVE SPECIES CONNECTS OC OPEN SPACE
NATURE CORRIDOR UNVEILED
by Irvine City News staff
he June 5 statewide election will be here before we know it. In addition to statewide primary campaigns, there will be three measures on the ballot for Irvine voters to decide. Irvine City News urges a yes vote on all three. Here’s why.
by Irvine City News staff
YES on Measure B to give veterans the cemetery they want and deserve.
open space between Irvine and the ocean, known as the Laguna Greenbelt. Irvine Mayor Donald Wagner spoke at the ceremony, calling the new corridor “a symbol that
Official measure language: “Shall Ordinance No. 17-08, approving a zone text amendment so as to facilitate the development of the Southern California Veterans Cemetery by reflecting an exchange of City-owned property for the State-approved site at the intersection of Bake Parkway
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NATIVE SPECIES, SOME ENDANGERED, WILL HAVE ACCESS TO THE NATURE CORRIDOR TO MOVE BETWEEN THE MOUNTAINS AND COASTAL OPEN SPACE
rvine civic leaders, government officials and dedicated ecologists gathered recently at a remote side of the Orange County Great Park to celebrate an environmental victory decades
in the making. The ceremony offered a first look at a longawaited nature corridor already underway on the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro that will connect open space and wilderness in Orange County.
When complete, the nearly 6-mile corridor planted with native vegetation will create a “missing link” between the Cleveland National Forest in the Santa Ana Mountains and more than 20,000 acres of coastal
APRIL 2018 2
ur rainy season is coming to a close, alas. Despite some welcome recent storms, it’s been a much drier year than last, when our open space and wilderness parks were as lush and green as we’ve seen in years. For those who got out of the water conservation habit, it’s time to get back in the groove. Luckily, Irvine and Orange County residents are leaders in using water efficiently. We reduced usage by more than 20% during the drought. We use the same amount as we did in 1983, believe it or not, despite a few more people moving here and planting lawns since then. About half the water used in the region is for outdoor irrigation. To save some of it, OC property owners removed enough turf to cover Disneyland five times over. Still, we often turn on the tap without really thinking about where the H2O that flows out of it comes from. Luckily, we have Irvine Ranch Water District, one of the most
innovative water districts around, taking care of our hydration needs. We benefit from one of the most extensive water recycling systems in the country, something IRWD has been perfecting for 50 years. We enjoy 300-plus acres of nature at the San Joaquin Marsh and Wildlife Sanctuary, thanks to IRWD. It’s a bird-lovers paradise that also serves to naturally clean urban runoff from San Diego Creek before it flows into the Back Bay and the ocean. A few other innovative things the folks at IRWD have done is buy land far from Irvine to help ensure we have water. IRWD owns some $50 million worth of farmland near Blythe that carries Colorado River water rights with it, as well as an 800-acre ranch in Kings County. The district saves excess water from the ranch and other areas during wet years and “banks” it for us to use during droughts and other emergencies. Smart, right? So thank-you to all those who keep the clean water flowing here in Irvine. After all, we can’t live without it. n
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firstname.lastname@example.org • 949.296.8338 Irvine City News is a monthly publication serving the city of Irvine, CA. Irvine City News distributes 100,000 copies monthly via direct delivery and at 45 news racks in select locations throughout Irvine.
IRVINE CITY COUNCILMEMBER MELISSA FOX, IRVINE MAYOR PRO TEM CHRISTINA SHEA, LAGUNA GREEN BELT, INC., PRESIDENT ELISABETH BROWN, CARRIE O’MALLEY, DISTRICT DIRECTOR FOR ASSEMBLYMAN STEVEN CHOI, AND IRVINE MAYOR DONALD WAGNER. “CORRIDOR” FROM PAGE 1
the Orange County Great Park isn’t just for the people of Orange County. It’s also going to be home to so many creatures that were here before us.” Mayor Pro Tem Christina Shea and Councilmember Melissa Fox also attended. The corridor winds its way through land that’s part of the city of Irvine Open Space Preserve and the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park beyond, in the coastal foothills. The 2.5 miles of the corridor in the Great Park is approximately 175 acres and nearly a quarter-mile across at its widest point. The land was previously used for agriculture and a portion of the former golf course at MCAS El Toro. The Irvine Corridor is being developed on city land in the Orange County Great Park by FivePoint, in collaboration with Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., and is important to preserve the long-term biodiversity of native species and protect the natural heritage of coastal California. “Finally, we can share with other people what we’ve been talking about all these years,” says Elisabeth Brown, president of Laguna Greenbelt, who has championed development of the corridor since the late 1980s and collaborated with FivePoint over the past five years to see it realized. “What’s exciting and unique about this project is that FivePoint is designing and building a true, natural corridor to promote the migration of wildlife increasingly isolated by urban development,” says Tony Bomkamp, the lead biologist overseeing the construction of the corridor. The project also creates a new channel on what was CONTINUED ON PAGE 3 >>
NORTHERN RESERVE ll Road
d 133 Toll Roa
ORANGE COUNTY GREAT PARK
IRVINE WILDLIFE CORRIDOR Locations on graphic are approximate and for illustration only.
“CORRIDOR” FROM PAGE 2
once flat ground to support seasonal water flows that nurture native habitat. A stretch of the corridor will also travel through the future Southern California Veterans Cemetery before crossing under the freeways and connecting to the open space beyond. In addition to FivePoint, the city of Irvine and Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., the Corridor plan was developed in consultation with the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Endangered Habitats League and the Friends of Rivers, Harbors and Parks, with the benefit of peer review by nature corridor experts. After the ceremony unveiling the Nature Corridor under construction at the Orange County Great Park, a panel was convened and engaged in a wide-ranging discussion about environmental issues facing the city, the state, and the globe. The panel included Terry Watt, a statewide environmental leader; Jonathan Parfrey, executive director of Los Angeles-based Climate Resolve; Elisabeth Brown, president of the Laguna Greenbelt, Inc.; Emile Haddad, chairman and CEO of FivePoint Holdings; and Joel Levin, executive director of Pasadena-based Plug In America, an advocacy group for low-carbon technology and electric vehicles. During the discussion, Parfrey commented on progress at the Orange Great Park and its communities, including the Nature Corridor: “I lived in Orange County from 1987 to ‘93. I saw the way the development took place in that era. The degree of environmental responsibility that is being exhibited with the transformation of the Marine Corps Air Station is quite remarkable. This environmentalist wants to thank you for that great work.” n
THE NATURE CORRIDOR TAKES SHAPE ON THE EDGE OF THE ORANGE COUNTY GREAT PARK
APRIL 2018 4
YES on Measure B to give veterans the cemetery they want and deserve.
YES on Measure C to require a two-thirds vote of the city council for any new or expanded taxes to be put on the ballot, as required by the majority of cities in California. YES on Measure D to ensure that new develop-
ment in Irvine provides a financial benefit to the taxpayers of at least 15 percent over the city’s costs. “YES” FROM PAGE 1
and Interstate 5, commonly known as the Strawberry Fields, be adopted?” Argument: A “yes” vote gives Orange County veterans the dignified cemetery they have sought and deserved for years. It gives them the cemetery sooner, cheaper, and on the historic Marine Corps Air Station El Toro base, which means so much to them. That is why veterans’ organizations like the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, and Orange County Memorial Veterans Cemetery Committee ask for your yes vote. A “yes” vote allows the Southern California Veterans Cemetery to be built on a clean, state-approved site, that will be a highly visible, honored, and will serve as an honorable resting place. That is why state and city leaders, taxpayer organizations, and both the Orange County Republican and Democratic Parties ask for your “yes” vote. A “yes” vote costs Irvine taxpayers nothing extra, but means a $10 million payment from FivePoint to promptly begin cemetery construction. That $10 million payment does not permit the developer to put a single new car on Irvine’s roads. A “no” vote means the veterans cemetery will likely never be built because there is currently no approved alternate site. If the process were to start over—and
it would take years just to get the project back on the table—the city would have to spend as much as $40 million taxpayer dollars. A “no” vote stubbornly sticks to outdated and failed “planning” like that which has plagued the Great Park in past years. Irvine citizens—and Orange County veterans—deserve better.
YES on Measure C to require a two-thirds vote of the city council for any new or expanded taxes to be put on the ballot, as required by the majority of cities in California.
Ballot language: “Shall the measure amending the Irvine City Charter to require at least a two-thirds vote of the total City Council membership in order to place City Council-sponsored general or special tax proposals on a ballot for voter consideration, be adopted?” Argument: Measure C closes a loophole for charter cities such as Irvine that allows a simple majority of the city council to propose new taxes. With the passage of the measure, the council will need four out of five votes, or a two-thirds majority, to put new taxes on the ballot.
YES on Measure D to ensure that new development in Irvine provide a financial benefit to the taxpayers of at least 15 percent over the city’s costs.
Official Ballot Language: “Shall Section 1099 be added to the Irvine City Charter which benefits Irvine’s general fund and local taxpayers by requiring that no City procedures or requirements delay important revenue streams from development projects which provide a fiscal benefit to Irvine citizens, be adopted?” Argument: A “yes” vote on Measure D provides a safeguard against runaway development by requiring full disclosure of the public cost of private development. As a result, developers will be accountable for the fiscal impacts of their projects, just as the City Council will be accountable to the residents and voters of Irvine. A “yes” vote will result in developers having to prove a fiscal benefit to the city and citizens of Irvine of at least 15 percent about the city’s costs related to the proposed project. Developers will have to publicly disclose the financial benefit of their projects prior to city council approval. Developers paying their fair share is the hallmark of the measure, which ensures that developers disclose the cost burdens of the projects and guarantee that they are investing in the community and not being a burden on taxpayers or the public treasury. On June 5, vote “yes” for the veterans. Vote “yes” to close the higher tax loophole. And vote “yes” to insure fiscally responsible growth and development. n
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ART AND CULTURE
WHAT REALLY CALIFORNIA’S GOLDEN PARKS ON DISPLAY AT GREAT PARK GALERY
Huell Howser exhibit is “Amazing!” Who doesn’t love Huell Howser? The folksy host of numerous public television shows focused on the people and places of California passed away in 2013. During his exuberant life, Howser “went everywhere in California and embraced every quirk of local circumstance, all the while delivering warm gusts of wonderment,” author D.J. Waldie once wrote. Best known for California’s Gold and Visiting with Huell Howser, he produced and hosted many other shows, including California’s Golden Parks. That’s the theme of an exhibit focused on Howser on display through May 13 at the Great Park Gallery. It includes images from many of the state, national and other parks he visited for that program, and includes a video of a 2004 episode about his visit to the open space of the Irvine Ranch Land Reserve. Thanks to Chapman University’s Huell Howser Archives, that episode and all of his many shows can be searched and viewed online, or viewed at Leatherby Libraries on campus, a co-sponsor of the exhibit. The Great Park exhibit isn’t focused entirely on Howser, but also includes other elements inspired by his passion for the state’s parks. OC-based illustrator Robert Olson’s silkscreen posters depicting California parks are displayed on one wall of the gallery. On another are examples from the USGS Historical Topographic
Map Collection, including the El Toro base area circa 1949. And there are also large color photographs by Josh McNair of National Parks in California, complete with a large map of the state showing where the parks are located as well as a “wish list” hand out to inspire visitors to explore California, as Huell might have wanted us to. n n cityofirvine.org/orange-county-great-park/ palm-court-arts-complex
APRIL 2018 6
by ICN Editorial Board
rvine residents and city officials came together, perhaps like never before, to oppose a proposal by the County of Orange to move hundreds of homeless humans to a tent city adjacent to the Great Park. Due to quick action and organized protest both online and up close and personal, the proposal was pulled off the table. Irvine should be congratulated for the victory, but let’s not go so far as to be self-congratulatory. Irvine’s reputation took a pretty big hit in the process. Many now view us as lacking compassion, as elitists and NIMBYs. Of course public safety, the protection of our children, families, schools, parks and playgrounds, takes precedence over public opinion. There’s no shame in being a NIMBY when your “back yard” is one of the finest cities in the nation, a place so many have worked so hard to make what it is today. But when moms, dads and teachers in Santa Ana, Orange and Anaheim said they wanted us to all know that they love their children, too, it struck a nerve. Those families have been dealing with issues of homelessness for decades. Let’s show them they are not alone. As regular readers know, we at ICN are avowed Irvine exceptionalists. We know how much Irvine already does for the disadvantaged in the city and the region. Still, we believe Irvine can and should do more. We can be a leader among the other 34 cities in the county, to take on the issue
Irvine says “Yes” to helping those who are indeed in need of homelessness, and provide solutions, not just protestations. Irvine can also say “yes.” If we’re going to volunteer, be asked, or court-ordered to do more than our share to help the homeless, we should do it the Irvine way. With a masterplan, intelligently executed, and by calling on the resources of excellence we have in the city: the business community, non-profits, educational institutions, civic leaders, and citizens. So what can and should we do? First, let’s make clear what’s off the table… forever. No tent cities in Irvine. No transients spending their days at the Orange County Great Park, near our schools, playgrounds or retail centers. No drug dealers with face tattoos riding stolen bikes to deliver contraband to the addicted. No predators. Not in Irvine. Fear mongering? Not so fast. We visited the Santa Ana River camps often, and that’s what we observed first-hand. But we also saw veterans who served their country, we saw families, and we saw folks who simply down on their luck. So one of the things we’d like is some education on the nature of compassion—do unto others, and all that. We’ll work on that here; we hope you will in your areas of influence, also. But enough preaching—let’s get problem solving. Here are a few blue-sky ideas, some practical and some probably nonstarters, on how we in Irvine can help solve the immediate emergency crisis, and how to address the issues that contributed to it
long-term. First, any solution that involves the land adjacent to the Great Park should be predicated on the Board of Supervisors abandoning their ill-conceived plan to build a large and dense retail and condominium complex on the county-owned 108 acres that includes nearly 2,000 housing units and 1 million square feet of office space. That plan is currently subject to litigation; the Board of Supervisors should withdraw it, and
ONE WAY IS TO USE 20 ACRES OR SO OF THE GREAT PARK LAND TO BUILD A VETERANS HOME. THERE ARE ONLY EIGHT IN THE STATE, AND MOST ARE IN NORTHERN CALIFORNIA. WE’VE SEEN THE LARGE ONE IN YOUNTVILLE AND A SMALLER, NEWER ONE IN REDDING, WHICH SHOULD BE THE MODEL IN IRVINE. the city should buy or otherwise obtain control over that land, perhaps by the county agreeing that city planning applies to projects on it. While the city should identify a location for both emergency
temporary shelter and more permanent facilities in the city, if available, it should not be adjacent to the Great Park. We’re certain city staff, experts and others are already exploring suitable locations, perhaps in a vacant industrial tilt-up building in the less dense industrial sectors of the city, such as near the Tustin Air Base/ Santa Ana border-adjacent areas of the IBC, or in the Irvine Industrial Complex East. These areas are relatively distant from parks, playgrounds and schools. With the right facilities, an indoor shelter seems much more humane than a tent city. What should be done with that land? We’d support using it as a housing solutions incubtor. California is in a housing crisis, and not just for the homeless. Let’s streamline regulation and red tape on the county land, and let the city’s best and brightest architects, develpers and housing advocates innovate. Meanwhile, Irvine should redouble its support of nonprofits that serve the needy, both in the city and elsewhere. Our city is wealthy in talent and resources. Let’s start spreading that wealth around a bit more. Do the homes and shelters Mercy House runs in Santa Ana and Anaheim need support? Let’s offer it, be it financial or in kind. Does Teen Project have its eye on another potential College House in Lake Forest? The house is for five or six young women, 18-24 years old, who have “aged out” of the foster care system and are homeless or disadvantaged. They stay for about two years each, paying $200 a month in rent that goes in to a savings account returned to them when they leave. They have a live-in house mom for support and supervision, receive room and board, college support, paid job internships, an automobile obtainment program, and
independent living education. We’d be YIMBYs (yes in my back yard) for services like these where we live. Would you? Having fought back the tent city proposal, let’s check some of our natural NIMBYism as more amenable, but possibly still uncomfortable, solutions arise. Here’s one: let’s help veterans. According to online CalVet statistics, Orange County is home to 112,449 veterans, including some 398 who are homeless. CalVet says 129 of those have shelter, while 269 do not. Let’s fix that first. One way is to use 20 acres or so of the Great Park land to build a Veterans Home. There are only eight in the state, and most are in Northern California. We’ve seen the large one in Yountville and a smaller, newer one in Redding, which should be the model in Irvine. It’s home to 154 residents, and sits on 11 acres of donated land. It took 18 years from the initial legislation to completion of the Redding home—let’s see how much better Irvine can do, especially with the CalVet approved Veterans Cemetery going in at the Strawberry Fields a mile or two away. Veterans age 55 and above and discharged from active military service under honorable conditions, are eligible to apply for admission. Residents engage in a wide range of activities, and “live in an atmosphere of dignity and respect—a true home for each resident veteran.” They enjoy comprehensive medical, dental, pharmacy, rehabilitation services and social activities within a homelike, small community environment. CalVet says the Veterans Homes “acknowledge the tremendous sacrifice California veterans have made, and recognizes them for their noble service to our nation.” Let’s do the same, right here in Irvine. n
THE BUZZ AT HIVE & HONEY
CITY LIGHTS AND SUNSET VIEWS SET THE SCENE AT IRVINE’S FIRST ROOFTOP BAR
It’s easy to trigger arguments about the best restaurants in Irvine, especially by culinary category. Is Ootoro Sushi the best restaurant in town, or simply the best sushi? Is the city’s most outstanding steak served at Del Frisco’s Grille, or do you prefer Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse? Who has the best breakfast, S’Wich, Snooze or Stacks? Would you vote for Cha Cha’s Latin Kitchen or Puesto as your go-to modern Mexican restaurant? Is North Italia or Meizhou Dongpo the best overall dining experience in town? Food editors and writers love such debates, and the lists that they inspire. But one of Irvine’s “top” choices is settled, perhaps forever: The best view in Irvine is found at Hive & Honey Rooftop Bar, on the 16th floor of the new Marriott Irvine Spectrum. And it’s not even close. We might go so far as to say Hive & Honey has claimed the title of “Best view of any OC bar or restaurant not on the beach.” And yes, we’re including Orange Hill, which some lists inexplicably conclude has the best view and is also the county’s most romantic restaurant in OC. The Marriott Irvine Spectrum debuted last year, but the
THE ROOFTOP VIEW AT THE NEW HIVE & HONEY ATOP THE MARRIOTT IRVINE SPECTRUM
owners and management held of on opening of the rooftop a few months. The wait was worth it. Unless you’ve spent time in the Great Park Balloon, it’s easy to lack appreciation of Irvine’s beauty. With open-air seating on three sides of the hotel tower, one can walk to the edge and admire the gleaming urban core that is the Spectrum, especially dramatic at night. In other directions one can gaze at the open space and communities of Quail Hill and Shady Canyon, with the Laguna Greenbelt and Newport Coast beyond, the grand expanse of the Orange County Great Park and the peaks of Saddleback. On a clear day, Catalina, Palos Verdes and even downtown Los Angeles are visible in the distance. The view can be almost as good looking inward around the lounge area. The design is contemporary and on-point for an outdoor lounge, with comfortable seating,
fire features and (for once) attractive heat lamps. And the crowd isn’t bad, either. Historically, Irvine hasn’t been known for having great bar scenes (though that is improving in recent years). But it’s clear that the fashionable, young and cool OC crowd will be making the rooftop their afterwork headquarters. Especially once the weather warms up: it can be a tad chilly up top. All the better for cuddling, one imagines. Hive & Honey’s cocktail culture
comes sweet, and with a sting: the signature drinks all play on the name of the locale, and most have house-made syrups in the mix. Bee’s Knees is the simplest, just Nolet’s gin, honey syrup and lemon juice. Wasp’s Nest is made with El Silencio mezcal, aperol and chipotle-honey syrup, while the Pollination is Hive & Honey’s take on a Pisco, with pamplemousse, lime wildflower honey and egg white. Orange County loves it’s Veuve
Clicquot Champagne, but at $22 per glass it’s a pricey solo option. Perhaps there should be a California sparkling wine added to the list, or a Prosecco, even. The craft beer selection is limited, though reasonably well curated with SoCal selections that include Smog City, Barley Forge, Ritual, Karl Strauss and Belching Beaver breweries. A few more unexpected Orange County choices would be welcome, however. The 10-item food menu on the rooftop is limited intentionally (go to Heirloom Farmhouse Kitchen on the first floor for a fabulous full-menu experience), but the chef goes well beyond mere bar bites in concept and execution. There’s a great grass-fed burger with bits of jalapeno worked into the patty, avocado spread on the potato roll and a big hunk of honey-cured bacon speared into the top of the bun. The menu says only 25 of the $17 burgers are made a day, but so far we’ve had no problem procuring one. The hand-cut fries are a separate order, but well worth it. Guacamole comes two ways, either North of Tecate, which includes bits of pork belly in the mix, or South of Tecate, which comes with shrimp. The turkey meatballs in buffalo sauce with blue cheese crumbles can be addictive, as are the cornbread puffs served with Fresno peppers and honey sour cream. If all the honeys and syrups haven’t satisfied your sweet tooth, don’t miss the chef’s soon to be famous brick oven cinnamon bun, topped with butterscotch. It’s a delicious end to a night on the town: and with this new room with a view, that cliché is meant literally. n
APRIL 2018 8
SUMMER IN THE CITY LOOKING FORWARD TO THE FIRST FULL SEASON AT FIVEPOINT AMPHITHEATRE
It was a year ago this month that the Irvine City Council voted 5-0 to approve the construction of an interim amphitheater to replace Irvine Meadows, thanks in large part to the influence of some 35,000 fans who joined the Save Live Music Irvine grassroots
campaign. The 12,000-seat facility and surrounding infrastructure was completed in record time. The venue near the Irvine Transportation Center, just outside the Orange County Great Park boundaries, hosted three successful shows in October, including the opening event featuring Irvine’s own Young the Giant. Those first shows were highly symbolic, proving that promises made to Southern California music fans by Live Nation, FivePoint and city of Irvine officials could
and would be kept. “We are here tonight in an interim facility and we are planning a much bigger, much greater facility,” Mayor Don Wagner said on opening night. “Live music is going to stay in Irvine.” Now, a year after the excitement of the initial approval, anticipation is building for the first full season at the FivePoint Amphitheatre, as well as for a permanent venue as part of the ongoing plans for the Great Park. Several summer shows have been announced, with more on
FOREIGNER WILL PERFORM AT FIVEPOINT AMPHITHEATRE ON AUG. 1. COURTESY FOREIGNER
the way. It looks to be a great season for classic rock fans, with performances from well-known bands from different eras and a variety of genres. Headbangers will be out in force for the farewell tour of heavy metal band Slayer (May 11) in a multi-band lineup. Good times are promised as Cheap Trick joins Poison on May 18; we love rock and roll with Styx and Joan Jett on May 30; it will be a Saturday in the park with Chicago and REO Speedwagon on June 16; fans will go crazy
on shooting stars Ann Wilson (Heart), Jeff Beck (The Yardbirds) and Paul Rogers (Bad Company) on July 20; and jukebox heroes Foreigner, Whitesnake and Jason Bonham’s Zeppelin Experience rock and roll on Aug. 1. Comedy and country music fans will have their nights also: movie star and comedian Kevin Hart takes the stage on June 23, while the Country Megaticket tour includes Irvine dates for Lady Antebellum andDarius Rucker (Aug. 24), Rascal Flatts (Sept. 15) and Jason Aldean (Sept 29). Shows designed to draw a younger demographic include progressive rockers Coheed and Cambria (Aug.11); pop and social media stars Nial Horan (Aug. 5) and a double bill of Charlie Puth and Hailee Steinfeld (Aug. 15); and California singer/songwriters Jason Mraz and Brett Dennen (Sept. 15). Concerts we wish well but will have to miss include Slightly Stoopid (June 15), Counting Crows (July 8), Five Finger Death Punch (July 27) Godsmack (Aug. 4), and Rob Zombie/ Marilyn Manson (Aug. 29). More acts will be announced, no doubt. Fans can speculate about other possible appearances by checking LiveNation shows at nearby SoCal venues, including everything from a Jethro Tull 50th anniversary tour led by Ian Anderson and a concert by Tom Jones. We can keep fingers crossed for Irvine Meadows favorite Jimmy Buffet. He is touring large arenas and stadiums with The Eagles this summer, but his August looks pretty open. And as for the rumors of incredibly cool players making special acoustic appearances, ICN will let you know just as soon as we do. n
Our city 8th happiest in the United States COMMUNITY
by Irvine City News staff
hile Irvine may not be the Happiest Place on Earth (a theme park a few miles up the 5 Freeway claims that title, with Finland also staking a claim), we are one of the happiest cities in the United States, according to financial services company WalletHub. Irvine ranked 8th happiest out of 180 largest cities in the country, based on a look at data analyzing 28 key indicators of happiness, including quality of sleep, depression rates, income-growth rates, and daily leisure time. The five happiest cities according to the study are Fremont, California; Bismarck, North Dakota; San Jose, California; Pearl City, Hawaii; and Plano, Texas. The least happy city is Detroit, Michigan. Irvine ranked 1st in the nation with the lowest unemployment rate and third in share of households earning above $75,000. Irvine was 2nd in sports participation rate, behind Seattle and ahead of Portland. The city also ranked 2nd in having the lowest rate of separation and divorce in the country, and ranked 4th highest in life expectancy. Lower rankings in income growth rate (125th) and job security (120th) kept the city from ranking higher overall. The data crunched in the study was obtained from the U.S. Census Bureau, the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and many other sources, as well as studies
BECAUSE WE’RE HAPPY....
correlating specific data to happiness. Researchers have long studied the science of happiness and found that its key ingredients include a positive mental state, healthy body, strong social connections, job satisfaction and financial well-being. The study then determined each city’s weighted average across all metrics to calculate its total score and used the resulting scores to rank-order the cities. California had the highest number of happy cities on the list, including Fremont and San Jose ahead of Irvine, and Huntington Beach just behind. Last
year, a similar ranking of states by WalletHub had only Minnesota, Utah and Hawaii as happier than California. Nebraska came in after California, rounding out the top five happiest states, according to the study. As far as happy countries go, the United States didn’t fare quite as well, according to a separate study called the World Happiness Report. Finland ranked No. 1 in the global survey that analyzes the state of happiness. The U.S. was 18th out of 156 countries. The study is based on data from Gallup World Poll surveys
that ask citizens to weigh in on happiness factors such as income, life expectancy, freedom, trust, social support and generosity. The rest of the top 10 include Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and Australia. Interestingly, the study also ranked countries by the happiness of its immigrant population, and those rankings closely matched the happiness of the nation over all. We’d love to see “if California were a country” comparisons, ranking the state on the global
scale against the countries. We’re certain the Golden State would break into the top 10, especially if weather is taken into account. Finland, Norway, Denmark and Iceland? Brrr! Still, we do like a quote we saw from Finish diplomat Päivi Luostarinen about her country: “The most important building blocks for a happy society are democracy, equality, good education, and high-quality child care, as well as taking care of each other. These values are very important for Finns.” Important for Irvine-ites as well, we might add. n
APRIL 2018 10
IUSD’s Teachers of the Year EDUCATION
by Irvine City News staff
ne teacher can impact a person’s life…forever. Irvine families are fortunate to have teachers dedicated to serving the community and its children, from the first day of transitional kindergarten to the final lesson of high school. Now in its 32nd year, IUSD’s Teacher of the Year program recognizes exceptional instructors at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
Elementary School Teacher of the Year
Emily Bucago, Transitional Kindergarten Teacher Westpark Elementary Emily Bucago has been with IUSD for nearly 14 years. She received the Elementary Teacher of the Year designation for her never-ending enthusiasm and energy. Each day, Westpark Elementary’s youngest students begin their day of wonder as Bucago, who wears a different themed outfit, reminiscent of Mrs. Frizzle of the Magic School Bus series, greets them.
ELEMENTARY SCHOOL TEACHER OF THE YEAR EMILY BUCAGO (CENTER), TRANSITIONAL KINDERGARTEN TEACHER AT WESTPARK ELEMENTARY. COURTESY IUSD
According to Westpark Principal Deanna Rutter, “Mrs. Bucago has created a classroom environment that fosters learning and development through fun and play. Her students never know how intentional every activity is, but Mrs. Bucago does. Her infectious love for teaching and her students inspires us all!” Her passion for students and education extends beyond her classroom. She champions athletics, coaching the girls’ after-school soccer team and the school running club for any student who wishes to participate. She also serves as a district mentor to other transitional kindergarten teachers, working to align best practices.
Middle School Teacher of the Year
Nelly Tsai, Science Teacher Lakeside Middle School Nelly Tsai has worked for IUSD at Lakeside Middle School since 2012 as a science teacher. She has taught 7th and 8th grade science and served as department chair, Green Team advisor, Professional Learning Community facilitator coach, and science mentor. Tsai has written and reviewed items for the California Science Test, she has reviewed instructional materials for national standards and has been selected to review exemplary science lessons twice a year in various parts of the country. “Everything Nelly does is for her students, from building a
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garden to having them investigate the water of Woodbridge Lake,” says Lakeside Principal Gina Cuneo. “Every grant she writes, every state and national committee in which she is involved in is for one reason—to benefit her students. She strives to make them better and more enthusiastic science students. She is a gem!”
High School Teacher of the Year
Archana Jain, Math Teacher Irvine High School Archana Jain has been an IUSD teacher for more than 12 years. Prior to joining IUSD, she was an aerospace engineer for a decade. Jain not only uses her experience and impressive background in the classroom but she also has used it to create an engineering pathway for Irvine High School and formed the Irvine Technology and Engineering Center to give students access to rapid prototyping tools and industry software. Jain has encouraged and inspired young women to get involved in STEM. She is a mentor for the Robotics Club, the Society of Women Engineers, the Engineering Club, Astronomy Club and OC Maker Challenge. She is also working as a mentor for the propulsion team for the Irvine CubeSat program, which is an
after school work-based learning program in which students from six Irvine schools have successfully built a Nano-satellite. The first and second year teams for the CubeSat program have been more than 50 percent female from Irvine High School. Irvine High School Principal Monica Collunga said, “Archana has embraced a growth mindset and intellectual risking taking— utilizing her real-world experience to foster a love of learning and resiliency for her students. She is an inspiration both inside the classroom and out, introducing and engaging students in STEM.” IUSD also named four Teachers of Promise, first- or secondyear instructors who go above and beyond, while demonstrating professional curiosity and an unbridled enthusiasm for teaching.
The 2017-18 Teachers of Promise are:
Jane Huson, social science teacher, University High School Caroline Moghaddam, 2nd grade teacher, Bonita Canyon Elementary Lianne Linck, social science teacher, Sierra Vista Middle School Jeff Holton, 5th grade teacher, Northwood Elementary Nominations are submitted by IUSD employees, and candidates are then interviewed by a committee that includes teachers, principals and administrators. That panel selects the three teachers of the year based on evidence of a wide range of instructional strategies used effectively; commitment to the teaching profession; and demonstration of Irvine teachers’ values of integrity, empowerment, learning, collaboration and trust. The honorees will be formally recognized on April 27 at the Excellence in Teaching Awards dinner, which is organized each year by the Exchange Club of Irvine and the Irvine Teachers Association. n
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IrvineCityNews Wagner on water
Irvine Mayor Donald Wagner is joining other mayors across the country in asking residents to make a commitment to conserve water by taking part in the 7th annual Wyland Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. Last year, residents from some 4,100 cities across the U.S. took part in the event, pledging to reduce their annual consumption of fresh water by 1.9 billion gallons. Laguna Beach was one of the five winners with the most pledges. “This annual challenge to conserve water, sponsored by the Wyland Foundation here in Irvine, reminds us of our precious resource,” Wagner said in a city release. “I am hopeful that what is a short-term challenge for our residents becomes a long-term practice of conservation.” The national Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation was created to reward residents for positive conservation behavior, provide immediate feedback with real-time city-by-city results that can be measured against neighboring cities, set goals to promote positive changes in consumer behavior and put a spotlight on public role models to encourage behavioral change. Residents from the winning cities who take the online pledge will be entered to win hundreds of environmentally friendly prizes. To agree to make a difference in conserving water on behalf of Irvine, go to mywaterpledge.com.
The Irvine-based Pacific Symphony raised more than $1.5 million for music and education programs at its annual gala, held last month at Hotel Irvine. The gathering drew 400 guests, many dressed to fit the 1940s New York City theme of the event, dubbed “On the Town,” to celebrate the Symphony’s first-ever performance at Carnegie Hall on April 21. Those familiar with Hotel Irvine might not have recognized the place, as the entire ballroom side of the lobby was set aside for the gala and decorated with exquisite period details that included figure
skater performing on a sheet of ice set outside what would normally be a business-centric conference room. The transformation continued inside the ballroom, where the site of many conferences had magically become a music hall, with American Idol’s Katharine McPhee singing Judy Garland favorites, among other performances. Among the many in attendance with Irvine ties were Charlie and Ling Zhang, founders of Irvine-based OC Music & Dance, Lucy Dunn, president and CEO of the Orange County Business Council, and Shady Canyon philanthropists David and Michelle Horowitz, who graced the stage with her performance of Rachmaninoff’s Prelude in C Sharp Minor. The evening’s honorees were Sheila and Jim Peterson, CEO and chairman of Microsemi, who received the “Corporate and Community Leadership” award, and Mary and Phil Lyons, who were named “Philanthropists of the Year.”
With the release of U.S. News & World Report’s graduate school rankings, UCI continues to prove it’s one of the best universities in the country. UCI’s Ph.D. program in Criminology, Law and Society placed third among all schools in the U.S., while UCI Law ranks seventh among public universities and 21st overall, up seven spots from last year. Overall, seven fields of advanced study ranked in the top 10 among public universities, including three in chemistry, with 16 more in the top 25. “UCI has established itself as a world-class public research university in a wide range of fields,” said Frances Leslie, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the Graduate Division. “These rankings confirm that our campus offers challenging and intellectually rich opportunities for students of all backgrounds to achieve academic and professional excellence.” Other top 25 UCI schools and programs include: Ayala School of Biology, 12th among publics, 33rd overall; Education, 14th among publics, 24th overall; Computer science, 15th among publics, 30th overall; Physics, 16th among publics, 28th overall; Samueli School of Engineering, 21st among publics, 35th overall; Merage School of Business, 21st among publics, 42nd overall; Mathematics, 21st among publics, 39th overall; School of Medicine research, 22nd among publics, 46th overall. U.S. News did not include arts, social sciences or humanities programs in this year’s rankings. n
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WHAT REALLY MATTERS
APRIL 2018 12
Top Through 4.14 Irvine High School Arts Exhibition
Juried by gallery owner Torrey Cook, who brought the exterior wall mural to the Tilly’s building a few years back, the exhibit at Irvine Fine Arts Center features original artwork produced by students from Irvine high schools, including for the first time Portola High School. cityofirvine.org/irvine-fine-artscenter
Through 5.13 Huell Howser’s Golden Parks Witness the beauty of California’s parks and open spaces at the Great Park Gallery exhibit “Golden Parks: Huell Howser.” This exhibition highlights the California State Parks that the late public television legend visited through his career. cityofirvine.org/orange-countygreat-park/palm-court-artscomplex
Things To Do in April Through 5.26 “It Passes Like a Thought” at UCI
4.14 30th Anniversary of Irvine Open Space
Flight, song, and navigation have made birds powerful symbols for many cultures. Beall Center for Art + Technology will explore flight, birdsong, and the aesthetic variation of avian species through the work of artists. arts.uci.edu/event/it-passesthought
Celebrate the landmark 1988 vote approving more than 5,500 acres of open space in the city, with an 8 a.m. pancake breakfast followed by a 1.8-mile hike at Quail Hill trailhead. cityofirvine.org/news-media/ calendar-of-events/event/openspace-anniversary-celebrationapril-14
Through 6.21 “Harmony of Light” at Irvine Museum
4.18 Woodbridge High School fundraiser at Irvine Improv
A selection of paintings depicting spring in California a century ago by impressionists working throughout the state. irvinemuseumcollection.uci.edu
Comedians Daniel Eachus, Ace Guillen and Justin Rivera entertain at the Improv in a benefit for the students of Woodbridge High School. Irvine.improv.com
WITNESS THE BEAUTY OF CALIFORNIA’S PARKS AND OPEN SPACES AT THE GREAT PARK GALLERY EXHIBIT “GOLDEN PARKS: HUELL HOWSER.
4.18 Dance Theatre of Harlem at the Barclay
Founded in the basement of a church in 1969, Dance Theatre of Harlem has been making a difference in the world for half a century. Experience the racially diverse company’s inventive repertoire of groundbreaking and nuanced choreography at the Irvine Barclay Theatre. thebarclay.org
4.27-5.26 Past Tense at Irvine Fine Arts
The exhibition presents a selection of works by 21 current graduate students at the UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts. cityofirvine.org/irvine-fine-artscenter/
4.28 From Classical to Rock benefit at Irvine Barclay
Hosted by Randy Jackson and headlined by Johnny Rzeznik of the Goo Goo Dolls, the concert features original music scored by Hollywood composer Nathan Wang and more than 20 high profile musicians from classical and rock music. The event is sponsored by OC Music and Dance, and benefits music education. thebarclay.org
4.28-5.6 “A Bright Room Called Day” at UCI
Written by Pulitzer Prize-winner Tony Kushner, the play juxtaposes Hitler’s rise to power in 1930s Berlin with an American activist fighting authoritarianism in the 1980s. arts.uci.edu/event/bright-roomcalled-day
FROM CLASSICAL TO ROCK BENEFIT AT IRVINE BARCLAY, HOSTED BY RANDY JACKSON AND HEADLINED BY JOHNNY RZEZNIK OF THE GOO GOO DOLLS. COURTESY BARCLAY
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