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INSIDE: This Month’s South County Real Estate Guide OUR COMMUNITY, OUR VOICE



AUGUST 14–27, 2015 • VOLUME 13, ISSUE 15

Farmland Feud San Juan family, developer file lawsuit against City Council over right to develop property E Y E O N S J C / PAG E 1 2

An Armstrong Garden Center currently sits on the Vermeulen Ranch property—land that is at the center of a legal battle against the city. Photo: Allison Jarrell

Del Obispo Elementary Eyed for Charter School Site EYE ON SJC/PAGE 3

Chamber’s Rodeo Week Kicks Off Friday SJC LIVING/PAGE 20

Nonprofit Donates Vests to OCSD K-9 Unit SJC LIVING/PAGE 27




What’s Up With...

now being recirculated for public comment, which began Aug. 10 and ends Sept. 24. In the revised report, an additional option—Alternative J—is identified as “the new environmentally superior alternative” to the proposed substation expansion in San Juan. The alternative involves the expansion of SDG&E’s existing Trabuco substation in Laguna Niguel. The recirculated DEIR also identifies additional significant impacts on biological resources, cultural resources, land use and planning from construction and operation of the proposed project.

Five things San Juan should know this week Del Obispo Elementary Considered for Charter School Site THE LATEST: At the July 22 meeting of the Capistrano Unified School District Board of Trustees, board members discussed eliminating Wood Canyon Elementary School as an option for the expansion of an Aliso Viejo charter school, Community Roots Academy. The district is now focusing on potential charter sites at elementary schools in San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Niguel. Community Roots Academy, a kindergarten through eighth-grade charter school, currently sits on the same campus as Wood Canyon Elementary in Aliso Viejo. In the spring, Community Roots appealed to the district to find more space for its students, and the board initially considered closing Wood Canyon to allow for the expansion. That option was met with much resistance from parents in the community, and, due to concerns including the area’s growing population of young students, the trustees agreed unanimously on July 22 to take Wood Canyon off the table. Other charter site options discussed at the meeting included R.H. Dana Elementary School in Dana Point, Del Obispo Elementary School in San Juan Capistrano and Crown Valley Elementary in Laguna Niguel. District staff said part of the analysis in choosing a charter school site includes looking at surrounding school enrollment numbers. If Del Obispo Elementary was selected for closure, staff said it would be important to give students the option to move to a nearby school with enough capacity to handle the influx, citing R.H. Dana as an example. WHAT’S NEXT: During the Aug. 12 CUSD meeting, 16 people spoke out during public comment against moving the school from Aliso Viejo. Community Roots parents, as well as the school’s executive director, said moving the school to Del Obispo Elementary would create challenges for families, such as longer drive times. At the July 22 meeting, the board directed staff to further examine the options of closing Del Obispo Elementary or Crown Valley Elementary. The discussion has been The Capistrano Dispatch August 14–27, 2015

Residents and officials attend a March hearing for the SOCRE project DEIR in San Juan Capistrano. Photo: Allison Jarrell

put on the CUSD agenda for the Sept. 9 meeting. —Allison Jarrell and Eric Heinz

City Increases Water Refunds THE LATEST: On Aug. 4, the San Juan Capistrano City Council approved adding another $320,000 to water ratepayers’ refunds in order to account for 10 percent interest during the Aug. 28, 2013 to July 1, 2014 refund period. The addition comes after the council approved a refund/credit process on June 16 for tier 2, 3, and 4 water customers who paid the city’s previous tiered water rates, which have since been ruled illegal by the 4th District Court of Appeals. City Chief Financial Officer Cindy Russell said during the Aug. 4 council meeting that thus far, 3,000 residents have filed for a refund. Councilman Sam Allevato dissented in the 4-1 vote. He said later in an interview that he voted no because he doesn’t agree with the initial refund plan. Both Allevato and Councilwoman Pam Patterson voted against the refund proposal on June 16. WHAT’S NEXT: Oct. 1 is the deadline for residents to apply for a refund.—AJ

SJHHS Improvements Approved THE LATEST: In order to accommodate a growing student population, the Capistrano Unified School District is investing about $45 million in improvements for the three high schools most affected by the growth— San Juan Hills High School, San Clemente High School and Tesoro High School. Avenida La Pata, a much-anticipated connection between San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano, is slated to be completed in the fall of 2016 and is expected to impact San Juan Hills High School and San Clemente High School with an influx

of students. In addition, new Rancho Mission Viejo development is expected to add students to both San Juan Hills and Tesoro. In an effort to increase capacity at the high schools, CUSD will be constructing one two-story building at each of the three campuses in order to add permanent classrooms. Additionally, San Juan Hills will receive 87 new parking spaces, and Tesoro will get new portable classrooms and five basketball courts. These improvements will cost approximately $15 million per campus and will be paid for by a mix of developer fees, land sale proceeds, redevelopment agency funds, community facility district funds, school facility improvement district funds and deferred maintenance funds. WHAT’S NEXT: The CUSD Board of Trustees approved the proposals for the three projects on July 22 and is currently advertising for bids.—AJ

Substation Project DEIR Recirculated with New Alternative THE LATEST: Sections of the Draft Environmental Impact Report for San Diego Gas & Electric’s proposed electrical substation expansion in San Juan Capistrano are now being recirculated by the California Public Utilities Commission. The revised DEIR includes a new “environmentally superior” project alternative and additional “significant impacts” of the proposed project the CPUC says were not disclosed in the first draft. The recirculation of the report is part of the ongoing environmental review process for SDG&E’s South Orange County Reliability Enhancement (SOCRE) project, which aims to create a redundant electrical system that would rely on two substations rather than just the current facility in Talega. Following CEQA guidelines, portions of the DEIR were revised and are

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WHAT’S NEXT: “The project, as proposed, is really important for San Diego Gas & Electric and its customers to continue to provide reliable service to all of South Orange County,” said Duane Cave, director of external affairs for SDG&E. “We’re in the process of reviewing the supplemental Draft EIR and will have our comments ready shortly.” To view the recirculated DEIR for the SOCRE project and send comments to the CPUC, visit —AJ

Mosquitoes Test Positive for West Nile in San Juan THE LATEST: Orange County Vector Control has posted public health advisory flyers in the Camino La Ronda and Calle San Remo areas—on the east side of San Juan Capistrano—after two samples of mosquitoes from those areas tested positive for West Nile virus on July 31. The infected southern house mosquitoes—which prefer to feed indoors—were collected on July 23 and 24. San Juan had one confirmed human case of West Nile virus last year, with only one batch of mosquitoes testing positive. Jared Dever, director of communications for the Orange County Vector Control, said the flyers aren’t meant to scare or incite the public, but rather remind them that mosquitoes and birds in the area are transmitting the virus. Dever said the elevated risk of infection is not just in the specified area, but citywide. WHAT’S NEXT: In order to avoid West Nile transmission, Vector Control recommends dumping or draining any standing water, repairing window and door screens, applying repellent when outdoors and avoiding spending time outdoors at dawn or dusk. For more information, visit www.ocvcd. org or call 714.971.2421.—AJ Have a story idea or topic you would like to read about? Send your suggestions to


Ortega Construction Nearing End

A view of the Ortega bridge construction back in April before concrete was poured. Photo: Courtesy of the Orange County Transportation Authority


he reconfiguration of the Ortega Highway bridge and Interstate 5 interchanges is finally nearing completion. According to the Orange County Transportation Authority, improvements to the highway are set to open in late August or early September of this year. Work began in early 2013 to reconfigure and widen the roadways, an $86.2 million effort to alleviate traffic in the area. The project is funded in part by local and county funding, including Measure M, as well as by the State Transportation Improvement Program and Corridor Mobility Improvement Act. Upcoming work on Ortega Highway

includes: construction of concrete barriers on the on- and off-ramps to the I-5 freeway, installation of guard rail, paving the slopes beneath the bridge, paving work near the Shell gas station, installation of traffic signals, and lastly, striping the ramps and bridge for traffic. “The public’s patience during the final weeks of construction is appreciated,” OCTA Media Relations Specialist Eric Carpenter wrote in an email. “We look forward to opening the traffic lanes to improve traffic flow and enhance traffic safety at that busy interchange.” For more updates, visit —Allison Jarrell

Mobile Home Rent Hearings Scheduled Next Week After filing a petition to the city opposing a rent increase, a group of residents living in El Nido Mobile Estates in San Juan will take the issue up with their landlord during a city hearing on Aug. 17 and 18. Attorney Michael Roush was appointed as the hearing officer by the City Council in July. In May, El Nido residents turned to the city for answers following a notification from their property owner of a $641 rent increase—which would double rent for some residents—beginning Sept. 1. Located off of Ortega Highway, El Nido consists of 156 units for seniors, with rent ranging from $550 to $1,150. Attorney Robert Coldren, representing El Nido owner Richard Worley, told The Dispatch in May that the notice of rent increase is not in conflict with city code. Coldren said residents are not going to be evicted if they can’t pay the rent, so long as the city and residents do not sue, harass or otherwise treat Worley unfairly. The hearings, which are open to the public, will be held in the City Council chambers at City Hall, located at 32400 Paseo Adelanto. Monday’s hearing begins at 9 a.m.—Allison Jarrell

Marriott International to Operate Mission Inn Rivendell Land Company made a muchanticipated announcement last week—the Mission Inn San Juan Capistrano, a 124room hotel and spa, will be operated by hotelier Marriott International. The long-awaited hotel is set to break ground this winter on the site where the original Mission Inn once stood—at the intersection of El Camino Real and Ortega Highway. The company is using hotel plans that were previously approved on the site in 2010. Rivendell owner Bill Griffith said some minor adjustments to the hotel’s décor may be made, but it’s too early to tell if the changes are large enough that the project would need to go through the city’s Design Review Committee. Griffith said Rivendell chose the Marriott International brand to operate the Mission Inn so that the hotel can maintain a high-end boutique feel and attract a large swatch of international travelers. Griffith said he’s also looking forward to working closely with the Mission to incorporate historic photographs, relics and other elements into the design of the hotel For updates and information about Mission Inn San Juan Capistrano, visit the project’s website at —Allison Jarrell


CUSD Approves Refinancing, Adjustments to School Bonds Most special tax areas received lower levees, savings rates BY ERIC HEINZ, THE CAPISTRANO DISPATCH


apistrano Unified School District approved each of the Mello-Roos Community Fund District refinancing and rate changes proposed at Wednesday night’s regular meeting. Regarding the CFD changes, which are special taxes to fund improvements to schools and construct new buildings, the San Juan Hills High School obligations were established. Because of the savings made from refinancing on all bonds, the board of trustees lowered or maintained the levee rate for all taxable property within the CF Pacifica San Juan, the real estate lot that has been partially developed for years, was reduced to 1 a percent assessment of the allowable taxation—a total of a 57 percent reduction. A point of contention with residents of the Talega CFD in San Clemente was a 2 percent increase approved by the board to the levee on taxable home assessments. The trustees said this increase was for the escalated rate that was established at the

beginning of the special tax. CUSD’s target bond coverage rate is 110 percent. Other residents of Talega claim the district still owes taxpayers $6.2 million based on surplus collections. The Ladrea Ranch CFD was given a savings of 3.1 percent on the taxable levee, which trustees said was the result bonds sold and refinanced the district and passed the interest rate reductions back to the tax payers. An Orange County Grand Jury report in June recommended more transparency measures should be established for CFD taxpayers within CUSD. The Rancho Madrina was given an 8.55 percent decrease due in part to the refinance reduction of interest rates that would be attached to bonds sold through Baird, the bank that had the lowest bid during refinancing. The Rancho Mission Viejo CFD, once it is established, will also pay into SJHHS facility improvements. A slideshow of the bond refinancing can

Mike Mannick and his five-year-old rescue dog, Bixby, made their way Wednesday through San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point and { IN SAN JUAN } San Clemente on the tail end of a 6,000-mile, two-year-long bike journey across the country to raise awareness for local animal shelters. To follow their journey, visit their website or follow them


on Twitter (@WheresBixby), Instagram: WheresBixby and Facebook. be found at com. The last date to change the rate method for the levees for this fiscal year is Jan. 1, 2016. A community committee, comprised of the public, will meet once a week to discuss improvements and enhancements to school facilities, from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

beginning Oct. 15 to Nov. 5 at the district office at 33122, Valle Road in San Juan. Anyone interested in participating can sign up at com or email the district at or by mail to the district office. The latest people can sign up is 5 p.m. Sept. 30. CD

Oliva by The New Home Company Introducing Oliva by The New Home Company, a limited collection of estate-style residences perched above the hills of San Juan Capistrano. Oliva is situated on a beautiful hillside and designed to embrace San Juan Capistrano’s signature Mission-style architecture, with single-story residences ranging from approximately 3,900 to more than 5,800 square feet of living space. The innovative architectural designs offer optional second floors and detached casitas. Oliva’s streets exude a classic European ambiance, highlighted by a discreet sense of privacy and exclusivity. The luxury community includes panoramic views of rural hillsides, foothills, and working ranches, as well as distant Pacific Ocean vistas. Classic yet sophisticated, Oliva provides an inspiring, secluded haven for just forty families in Southern California’s most historic and oldest city. Residences begin from $1.65 Million. The Sales Gallery and three model homes are open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Wednesday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please visit or call 949.481.1218.


A Fight over Farmland

Local family, developer face-off against City Council over right to develop property BY ALLISON JARRELL, THE CAPISTRANO DISPATCH


his case involves the last piece of developable land in the city of San Juan Capistrano that was formerly devoted to agriculture.” That’s the backdrop, and consequently, the first sentence of the lawsuit filed against the San Juan Capistrano City Council on July 16 by the Vermeulens, a longtime farming family with property off of Del Obispo Street, and Spieker Senior Development, LLC, a company that had hoped to place a residential community on the 34-acre parcel. The plaintiffs claim that the city has left them optionless—if city officials won’t move to purchase the land themselves, and the family can’t choose to develop it as had been allowed with surrounding properties, they say the Vermeulens’ property rights have been denied. Members of the current City Council majority—who focused throughout the November election season on opposing the Spieker senior residential development due to concerns over water and traffic—argue that the family and developer haven’t taken the time to explore the different business models and options available under the agri-business zoning

An empty Armstrong Garden Center currently sits next to the Vermeulen’s property. Photo: Allison Jarrell

designation. But the Vermeulens say they’ve exhausted their options—their land is no longer economically viable. “It saddens us that for the first time in our family’s history, we are required to take legal action against the town we love,” Virginia Vermeulen Germann wrote in a recent letter to The Dispatch. “It is not our objective to damage the city’s finances but simply to require the city to keep its commitment to either allow us to use our property, as they have our neighbors, or compensate us for the rights they have taken.”

LAST FARMLAND STANDING The Vermeulens own approximately 33.8 acres known as the Vermeulen Ranch between Del Obispo Street and Alipaz Street, in the southwestern part of the city. Today, the property is surrounded by a variety of public and private uses. The lawsuit clearly lists these uses, all on land that had once been farmed—“to the north of the property are a mobile home park, a church, a religious preschool and school, and a senior residential facility. To the east of the property, across Alipaz Street, are two- and three-story residential apartments. To the west, across

Del Obispo Street, is hillside property on which the city has approved single-family residences which are currently under construction. To the south is publiclyowned property on which is located public schools, a community center including a gymnasium, senior center, and meeting rooms, a parking lot, and an agricultural preserve that is part of a former 56-acre property Kinoshita Farms that the City purchased in 1991.” Charles Vermeulen and his wife Irene originally acquired the property in 1959 when Capistrano Valley was almost solely farmland. The Vermeulens utilized the

Before and after aerial photos show agricultural lands from the 1950s compared to present-day San Juan Capistrano. Photo: Courtesy of William Jager A view of the Vermeulen Ranch property can be seen at the bottom of the frame. Photo: Allison Jarrell

The Capistrano Dispatch August 14–27, 2015

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EYE ON SJC land with row crops, but in 1975, “row crop farming on Vermeulen Ranch was discontinued because it was not economical.” According to the suit, in addition to not being economical, “farming conflicted with the developing adjacent residential and institutional land uses: the use of pesticides and fertilizers did not harmonize with the urban development, and the urban development brought with it problems such as trespass, vandalism, theft, and other damage to agricultural uses.” The property transitioned from row crop farming to plant and material warehousing, including a growing and distribution center. In 2014, Armstrong Gardens, operator of the wholesale nursery facility, announced its intent to relocate and expand to a larger agricultural site in Venture and San Diego Counties. SPIEKER DEVELOPMENT OVERTURNED The property and project in question sparked fierce debate during the November election, quickly polarizing candidates and becoming the main topic of discussion throughout the fall. City officials who ran on a platform opposing Spieker Development’s Laguna Glen project development used rhetoric such as the project doubling traffic on Del Obispo street, even though the city’s independent EIR analysis, which former Planning Director Charlie View said accounted for peak traffic hours on Del Obispo showed “less than significant impacts” on the street’s traffic.

The new San Juan Capistrano City Council voted 4-1 at its Dec. 16 meeting to overturn rezoning for the Spieker Senior Development, which had been approved by the previous council in November. The retirement center would have provided 418 independent living units, as well as an assisted living facility and a skilled nursing facility. The proposed project required several discretionary permits from the city, including a General Plan zoning amendment from Agri-Business to Specific Plan/Precise Plan and a zone change from Agri-Business District to Specific Plan/ Precise Plan District. After a petition to upend the development’s zoning approval was verified by the Registrar of Voters last fall, the council had two choices: repeal the project’s zoning or allow voters to make that decision with a special election referendum. With former mayor Sam Allevato dissenting, the council majority voted to repeal the approval. Allevato said this is the first time in San Juan council history that the council voted a project down instead of approving an election. The group of residents that petitioned against Laguna Glen filed 3,458 signatures in November—almost twice as many as needed. The petition came after the council approved rezoning for the development on Nov. 4. At that meeting, Allevato and then-councilmen Larry Kramer and John Taylor voted in favor of rezoning the 35-acre plot of land off Del Obispo Street from agricultural to business use.

Many of the residents who spoke at the Dec. 16 meeting claimed that petition signers were told their signatures would go exclusively toward putting the issue out to a public vote. They asked the council to honor those signatures by letting resident voices be heard in a special election. Mayor Derek Reeve, Mayor Pro-Tem Pam Patterson, Councilman Roy Byrnes and Councilwoman Kerry Ferguson cited concerns including traffic impacts and the cost of a special election as reasons for overturning the prior approval themselves. Troy Bourne, principal at Spieker, said San Juan Capistrano is the first city to turn down one of Spieker’s projects. In a later interview, Ferguson said while she and Mayor Reeve worked with Speiker on a real property subcommittee on alternative options for the space, including a school or housing, she felt when Spieker returned to the council with a housing option it didn’t include enough open space or amenities. The council rejected Spieker’s second attempt at housing on the Vermeulen property, and Laguna Glen moved to Reata Glen in Rancho Mission Viejo, outside of city limits. LAWSUIT LEAVES CITY WITHOUT REPRESENTATION Interim City Manager Keith Till said, “The city is reviewing the claim, and we will be providing a timely response.” The lawsuit was on the council’s closed session

agenda in August. San Juan’s legal representation, Best, Best & Krieger, has to recuse itself from the defending the city in this case due to a conflict of interest. “California’s ethics rules for lawyers… preclude my firm from representing the city in this lawsuit,” Ballinger wrote in an email. “This is because one of the attorneys in my firm assisted the developer last year when the developer was seeking its land use entitlements for the project.” Till said he anticipates a firm will be chosen to represent the city at the next City Council meeting. Longtime San Juan residents likely remember a similar suit brought by the Scalzo Family Trust in 2006 against the city for limitations on developing their Del Obispo Property. In 2003, the Scalzo Trust attempted to develop 31 homes on their land, the Belladonna Estates. It wasn’t until December 2005 that the city approved the project, but with a catch—121 development conditions. Scalzo sued the city and settled at $6.35 million in 2010. If the case goes to court, it will be left to a judge to decide what the Vermeulens’ property is worth and whether their rights have been quashed. William Jager, a real estate broker who represents family’s the property, said based on the surrounding Del Obispo land sales from the Scalzo lawsuit, the worth of the property’s 240 lots is at least eight figures—$75 million he said, is a safe estimate. CD



West Coast Film Festival Postponed The 5th Annual West Coast Film Festival—initially scheduled for Sept. 4 through Sept. 10—has been postponed due to the serious health conditions of film festival president Stephanie Heredia’s family. As soon as the new dates are established, festival organizers will make an announcement. Stephanie Heredia and Robert Kline greatly appreciate and thank the San Juan Capistrano community and West Coast Film Festival enthusiasts for their involvement.

Congressman Darrell Issa Coming to Dana Point U.S. Congressman Darrell Issa is slated to speak at the South Orange County Chamber of Commerce special Legislative Luncheon on Tuesday, Aug. 18. The event will be hosted jointly by the Dana Point, Ladera Ranch, San Clemente and San Juan Capistrano chambers of commerce. Luncheon guests will have the opportunity to hear Issa speak about his service to the four sponsoring cities in the House of Representatives. Attendees will also have the opportunity to ask questions. The luncheon will be held at the Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa, at 25135 Park Lantern in Dana Point, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tickets to the luncheon are $55 per person and include lunch and dessert. To purchase tickets, visit, visit the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce office or call 949.496.1555. RSVPs are requested by Aug. 14 and no tickets will be available at the door.—Andrea Swayne

Romance of the Mission Gala Set for Sept. 18

(L to R) Mission Preservation Foundation president George O’Connell, Wylie Aitken, Monsignor Michael McKiernan and Bette Aitken at last year’s Romance of the Mission benefit gala. Photo: Carla Rhea

Mission San Juan Capistrano’s 2015 Romance of the Mission benefit gala will be held on Friday, Sept. 18 on the Mission grounds. Longtime supporters Wylie and The Capistrano Dispatch August 14-27, 2015

Bette Aitken are the 2015 honorees, and the live concert performance in the ruins of the Great Stone Church is titled “That’s Life!,” a tribute to Frank Sinatra on his 100th birthday. The upcoming canonization of the Mission’s founder, Fr. Junipero Serra, will be acknowledged and celebrated during the evening. Proceeds from the 2015 benefit gala will be directed toward the third and final phase of the Sala Preservation Project, an ongoing renewal effort of the Mission’s 18th century building to include the museum room build-out. For tickets, underwriting opportunities or more information about the gala, contact Barb Beier at 949.234.1323 or visit

of war. The United States Marine Corps Band from the 3rd Marine Corps Aircraft Wing, MCAS Miramar, played at the beginning of the ceremony, and the Color Guard was from the 1st Battalion, 11th Marines from Camp Pendleton. Entertainment was provided by the Side Street Strutters Jazz Band, sponsored by Segerstrom Center for the Arts.

Los Rios Rock School Helps Grant Girl’s Wish

Girl Scouts Receive Silver Award

Community Meetings SUNDAY, AUGUST 16

Local Author Lecture Series

2:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. The San Juan Capistrano Friends of the Library hosts author Anita Hughes for this month’s local author lecture series. Admission is free, but RSVP is required. The Bookstore, 31495-A El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.2688. TUESDAY, AUG. 18

Cate Peterson, an incoming freshman at San Juan Hills High School, and Katie Flores, an incoming freshman at Santa Margarita High School, received a silver award and a letter from Gov. Jerry Brown on June 15 for recycling and reusing coffee grounds while educating the community about returning nutrients back to the earth. The girls encouraged coffee shops to start recycling their grounds and asked customers to take those grounds home with them. The two girls reused and recycled 600 pounds of coffee grounds that otherwise would have been dumped in a landfill. They gave the grounds to an office complex in Mission Viejo and spread them in their neighborhood. They also taught guests about recycling their own coffee grounds. The girls thank Hidden House Coffee in San Juan Capistrano for letting them host a coffee chat, as well as Pink Ribbon Donuts in Mission Viejo for donating coffee grounds.

Heroes Nite Out Honors Veterans, Military Families The fifth annual Heroes Nite Out tribute, hosted by local nonprofit Homefront America, took place Saturday, Aug. 1 at the Serra Plaza in San Juan Capistrano. Each year, the evening honors those who don United States military uniforms for their commitment and dedication to protecting our freedoms, while also paying tribute to their supporting spouses. Net proceeds go to fund Homefront America’s year-round programs for military families. The event was free to all active duty military. About 200 military personnel were at this year’s event from all five branches of the military, ranging from the most junior enlisted to commanding officers from 17 different commands. The night’s special guest speaker was Lt. Col. Jerry A. Singleton, USAF (Ret), Silver Star and Distinguished Flying Cross recipient and former Vietnam prisoner

City Council, Housing Authority and Successor Agency Meeting Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire granted 15-year-old Victoria Venegas’ wish to be a singer with the help of the Los Rios Rock School. Photo: Gemina Gowdy

On Aug. 8, Make-A-Wish Orange County and the Inland Empire granted 15-year-old Victoria Venegas’ wish to be a singer with the help of the Los Rios Rock School of San Juan Capistrano. Venegas’ dream to become a singer came true as she sang at the Anaheim House of Blues alongside 85 other students ages 6 to 18 from the music school. Venegas is an Apple Valley native and was diagnosed with lupus in May 2013. After she was diagnosed, singing served as a positive outlet for her. “We are extremely impressed and inspired by Vicky,” Tyler Marolf, CEO and Founder of Los Rios Rock School, said in a press release. “She has brought all of us together and has energized the entire school. Being able to help grant her wish was a magical experience.”

Tickets on Sale for The Vintage Food & Wine Festival The Vintage—San Juan Chamber of Commerce’s annual food and wine festival—is slated to take place at 6 p.m. on Oct. 3 at Mission San Juan Capistrano. The event, in its 19th year, commemorates the migration of the swallows while raising funds for the chamber. Last year’s event featured 30 area restaurants and bars serving up culinary treats and beverages for about 1,000 festival-goers. In addition to food and wine tasting, the evening includes live music, dancing and a silent auction. Tickets are $85 per person, or two tickets for $150 if purchased by Sept. 4. Tickets should be reserved early as the event will sell out. To purchase tickets, or for more information, contact the chamber at 949.493.4700 or info@sanjuanchamber. com, or visit

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5 p.m. The city’s governing body meets at City Hall, 32400 Paseo Adelanto. To see the night’s agenda, visit, www. WEDNESDAY, AUG. 19

San Juan Summer Nites Concert Series

6 p.m.-8 p.m. The popular summer concert series continues with a performance by Pickleback Shine. Free to attend. Historic Town Center Park, 31852 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.5911, FRIDAY, AUG. 31

Coffee Chat

8 a.m. A spirited town hall forum on community issues. Occurs every Friday at Mission Grill, 31721 Camino Capistrano. All are welcome. Follow Coffee Chat SJC on Facebook for more. TUESDAY, AUG. 25

Planning Commission Meeting

6:30 p.m. The San Juan Capistrano Planning Commission discusses area development at City Hall, 32400 Paseo Adelanto. Log on to to see the body’s agenda. WEDNESDAY, AUG. 26

Downtown Farmers Market

3 p.m.–7 p.m. Fresh flowers, produce and specialty foods from around 40 vendors in downtown San Juan Capistrano, on the corner of Camino Capistrano and Yorba Street. Occurs every Wednesday. Visit to find out more. FRIDAY, AUG. 28

Next issue of The Dispatch publishes



All information below is obtained from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department website. The calls represent what was told to the deputy in the field by the radio dispatcher. The true nature of an incident often differs from what is initially reported. No assumption of criminal guilt or affiliation should be drawn from the content of the information provided. An arrest doesn’t represent guilt. The items below are just a sampling of the entries listed on the OCSD website.

Saturday, August 8 DISTURBANCE Paseo Santa Clara, 26500 Block (12:31 a.m.) A man said he heard a group of five men in an alley say they were “going to kill someone.” Another caller heard them say they were going to use a weapon, possibly a handgun.

Thursday, August 6 SUSPICIOUS PERSON/CIRCUMSTANCES Via de Anza/Camino Capistrano (1:10 a.m.) A man called police and whispered three people were trying to get into his RV.

Wednesday, August 5 SUSPICIOUS PERSON/CIRCUMSTANCES Paseo Carolina, 32100 Block (9:41 p.m.) A man ran up to the caller’s door and told her three other men were coming after him. DISTURBANCE Via La Pluma, 33100 Block (8:39 p.m.) A caller said a man punched him and chased him with a rock. An unemployed, 29-year-old man was later arrested in connection with the incident. He was released two days later when the District Attorney refused to prosecute. INVESTIGATE PERSON DOWN Camino Capistrano/La Zanja Street (3:02 p.m.) A woman who had lain down near the restrooms at a park for an hour was believed to have been experiencing a psychiatric episode. She complained of pain and was transported to a nearby hospital. SUSPICIOUS PERSON/CIRCUMSTANCES Paseo Carolina, 32100 Block (11:43 a.m.) A caller reported seeing six men passing drugs in front of the location followed by juveniles on bikes picking up the drugs for delivery.

Tuesday, August 4 SUSPICIOUS PERSON/CIRCUMSTANCES La Novia Avenue/Valle Road (9:16 p.m.) Three to five vehicles stopped on the dirt road and pointed bright flashlights at something on the ground.

Monday, August 3 CITIZEN ASSIST Camino Del Vista, 26500 Block (4:50 p.m.) After a woman complained to the leasing office about her neighbor’s loud music, the neighbor’s son The Capistrano Dispatch August 14–27, 2015

went out to the balcony and screamed obscenities at her. GRAND THEFT REPORT Ortega Highway, 27400 Block (2:53 p.m.) A man’s daughter threw a party over the weekend without his knowledge and several valuables were stolen.

Sunday, August 2 PATROL CHECK Blue Fin Drive/Del Obispo Street (5:17 p.m.) A caller said there were three subjects dealing drugs in the bathroom at a swimming pool. DISTURBANCE Del Obispo Street/Camino Capistrano (3:28 a.m.) A 32-year-old man was seen hitting and dragging a 22-year-old woman near the intersection. SUSPICIOUS PERSON/CIRCUMSTANCES Camino Capistrano, 31500 Block (2:31 p.m.) A man locked himself in the men’s room in the back of a church because he heard “street people” and feared he would robbed. SUSPICIOUS PERSON IN VEHICLE Alipaz Street, 32700 Block (2:01 a.m.) The male driver of an SUV passed out on the steering wheel while in the drive thru at Del Taco. SUSPICIOUS PERSON/CIRCUMSTANCES Ortega Highway/Del Obispo Street (12:35 a.m.) A 23-year-old man with Down ’s syndrome went into the restroom at Del Taco and hadn’t come out 30 minutes later, at the restaurant’s closing time. The man’s mother feared that he was taken as he was unfamiliar with the city and she didn’t know where he would want to go. Bloodhounds were called in to help search. The man was found about an hour later at a Best Western hotel on Ortega Highway and returned to his parents.

Saturday, August 1 ROBBERY IN PROGRESS Alipaz Street, 32700 Block (8:44 p.m.) An 18- or 19-year-old man hit the caller’s car with a crowbar, took $290 that was stuck in the door of the car and then threatened the caller with the crowbar. The man was known to carry a knife for protection. PEDESTRIAN CHECK Calle Santa Barbara/Los Rios Street (8:15 p.m.) Deputies stopped a pedestrian who is a known gang member and conducted a consent search. The subject wasn’t carrying anything illegal. PATROL CHECK Verdugo Street, 26700 Block (6:21 p.m.) A caller reported motorists were blocking off valet parking spaces for a private party and wanted to make sure they were allowed to do so. BURGLARY REPORT Camino Capistrano, 28600 Block (2:15 p.m.) A man called to report his vehicle had been rifled through near A’s Burgers. Page 15




The Court of Public Opinion


wning and operating a community media business isn’t for the meek; every word, comma, photo, quote and story is laid bare for all to scrutinize or praise (hopefully more of the latter than the former). But we believe in the importance of free speech and communication, and more importantly, feel a responsibility to this community to provide a platform through which news, information and debate can take place, ideally for the greater good of our community. We accomplish this through our website (which is the community’s 24/7 news platform), breaking news email blasts, social media posts and a twice-monthly newspaper (aimed at keeping the community informed about all relevant events, meetings, news items, sports scores, etc.), all of which lives under our “Local News You Can Use” mantra. One important (and often misunderstood) editorial platform we provide is our Letters to the Editor section in the paper and website. This is where the community can discuss and debate topics of importance to them, which sometimes is just one person’s thoughts and feelings about a topic rather than a neatly balanced dialogue. This can lead to hurt feelings and claims that The Dispatch is somehow biased or slanted in one way or the other about a topic or person, which

Letters to the Editor WEST NILE VIRUS—TOO CLOSE TO HOME —Jill McAlester, San Juan Capistrano I have been meaning to write this for over a year, but now that mosquitos have tested positive for West Nile virus in my neighborhood again, I have decided procrastinating isn’t a good idea. Last year I had the dubious “honor” of being the only confirmed case of West Nile virus in San Juan Capistrano. I was in the hospital 17 days last year— six days in and out of consciousness in the ICU with two seizures, two brain bleeds, paralysis of my arms and legs and many other issues. I had to walk with a walker for two months after being released and was unable to sit up or lay down unaided, because of core paralysis, until recently. My gallbladder was also paralyzed, so I had to be readmitted for gallbladder removal. This was truly the darkest time of my life. For the first time in my life, I felt The Capistrano Dispatch August 14-27, 2015

is of course not true. We don’t take political or personal positions on topics in town—our ambition is to provide the community with unbiased, fair and quality reportNorb Garrett ing so that individuals can make determinations on their own. We don’t select letters to run based on a scorecard—among other criteria, we run the letters first and foremost based on the relevance to the community (i.e. if someone from Riverside wrote a letter about a problem in Riverside, we aren’t running the letter for obvious reasons), if we have room, and in cases where we have a large volume of letters on the same subject, we prioritize based on variables such as whether the letter offers a fresh point of view or whether the writer has recently had a letter published. Sometimes we won’t run a letter if it contains profanity or language we deem to be potentially libelous or malicious. We love it when the community balances out the commentary naturally, but there are times when just one side of an issue has a voice or that voice is hypercritical of a public person or public topic. In those cases, we’ll reach out to those who were called out and offer them a chance to provide a rebuttal. This works pretty

old and hated being dependent on others for everything—and I mean everything. Although the risk is low (I was the only person confirmed and hospitalized in San Juan Capistrano last year) if you are over 50 the risk of complications is higher. At one point last year, the mosquitos tested in Orange County had an 80 percent infection rate. Vector Control has visited me twice—once last year and once this year—to discuss my experience with West Nile virus. It is on the rise. Eight people died in Orange County last year, and I was very nearly the ninth fatality. Please continue to raise people’s awareness.

IN RESPONSE TO VIRGINIA VERMEULEN GERMANN’S LETTER —D.S. Fowler, San Juan Capistrano After reading Virginia Vermeulen Germann’s letter regarding the history of her family in San Juan Capistrano (The Dispatch, July 24, 2015), it is very sad to think how poorly her family has been treated by the current City Council. To have completed all of the myriad of requirements to be able to build anything in this city is quite an accomplishment in itself, much less the enormous expenses involved, plus the Page 16

well, but sometimes not. Last November, a member of the community sent in a letter that was highly critical of a proposed project in town and went so far as to make reference to that project lead’s religious beliefs, which ultimately has nothing to do with the viability of the project. Because we don’t edit Letters to the Editor for editorial content, we typically reach back out to the letter writer to inform them we considered their message overly personal and offer them an opportunity to revise it and resubmit minus the offending section(s). In this case, involving the Laguna Glen project, we failed to reach out to offer a revised version, and for this oversight, we apologize. We also failed to reach out directly to the project owners to offer them an opportunity to rebut the letter, which we usually do. Again, we apologize for that. Subsequent to the letter being published, the project owners let us know they felt the letter was inappropriate and included numerous factual errors, and at that time we offered them an opportunity to write a rebuttal. They’ve chosen not to do so. That is their prerogative. The Letters to the Editor section isn’t perfect, and neither are we. But we do know that The Dispatch makes a difference, and for that, we thank all of you. CD

extended time to process everything and then finally reaching an approval, only to have it overturned by a newly-elected City Council, most of whom are inexperienced with city government. This is inexcusable. Not to research the history of this family’s dealings with the city and arbitrarily “pulling the plug” on this project is unconscionable and, mostly likely, illegal. I cannot blame this family for seeking legal recourse and I hope they are successful in their efforts. The unfortunate part is that we residents will pay for the inanity of this current City Council. I can only hope that someone will begin a recall effort in order to save us from further foolishness by our city’s leaders.

CORRECTION TO A LETTER PRINTED JULY 24 —Jodey Dugan, San Juan Capistrano My letter, “Please Consider another Substation Location,” which was published in the last edition of The Dispatch, was edited with a sentence removed about my neighbor dying of pancreatic cancer. He passed away on July 16, and his wife is currently fighting high grade B Lymphoma.

34932 Calle del Sol, Suite B, Capistrano Beach, CA 92624 phone 949.388.7700 fax 949.388.9977



Tricia Zines, 949.388.7700, x107 BUSINESS OPERATIONS MANAGER Alyssa Garrett, 949.388.7700, x100


> Susie Lantz (San Clemente)


> Debra Wells (San Juan Capistrano)

Group Senior Editor, City Editor, DP Times > Andrea Swayne City Editor, SC Times > Jim Shilander City Editor, The Capistrano Dispatch > Allison Jarrell Sports Editor > Steve Breazeale Special Projects Editor > Andrea Papagianis

Real Estate Sales Manager > Michele Reddick OPERATIONS Finance Director > Mike Reed Business Operations Manager > Alyssa Garrett Accounting & Distribution Manager > Tricia Zines

ART/DESIGN SPECIAL THANKS Robert Miller, Jonathan Volzke

Senior Designer > Jasmine Smith ADVERTISING/MULTIMEDIA MARKETING Associate Publisher > Lauralyn Loynes (Dana Point)

CONTRIBUTORS Megan Bianco, Evan Da Silva, Jacob Onofrio, Dana Schnell, Alison Shea, Tim Trent,

The Capistrano Dispatch, Vol. 13, Issue 15. The Dispatch (www.thecapistranodispatch ) is published twice monthly by Picket Fence Media, publishers of the DP Times ( and the SC Times (www. Copyright: No articles, illustrations, photographs, or other editorial matter or advertisements herein may be reproduced without written permission of the publisher. The publisher assumes no responsibility for return of unsolicited manuscripts, art, photos or negatives. Copyright 2015. All rights reserved. Printed in the USA.



Delivering on a Promise Riding Park preserves open space and equestrian heritage while hosting variety of events


he City Council was asked by a local opinion paper to respond to a question relating to supporting access to “Open Space” properties in the town for youth sports and Western equestrian events. Because the editor only allowed a 100-word answer, I chose to answer in The Dispatch instead. But first, a little background. The property in question is the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano, located at Ortega Highway and La Pata. It is comprised of 132 acres of open space, natural riparian preserve, fields for equestrian and various field sports use, and the Reata Park and Event Center, improved for our residents by the Open Space Foundation at no cost to the city. This property was previously owned by RMV Community Development, LLC and was planned for several hundred homes similar to what you see in the new Sendero community. The property was purchased in 2009 after it was annexed into the city limits. Appraised at $33 million by public appraisal, it was purchased with 2008 Open Space Bonds (Measure Y approved by over 70 percent of the electorate) for $27.5 million. As published at the time, Measure Y would protect our property values, preserve open space forever, prevent overdevelopment and traffic, retain the historic, rural and equestrian character of our city, and protect creeks that flow into the ocean. By any measure, the purchase of the 132 acres delivered on the promises of Measure Y. The riding park is a multiuse, worldclass sports facility, managed by Blenheim Facility Management, LLC. It hosts equestrian, various field sports and community events on approximately 50 acres. Blenheim Facility Management is solely responsible for all maintenance and staffing expenses. In addition, the city receives approximately $250,000 per year

in revenue from the operation. There are 26 parks in our city and this is the only one that generates that kind of income. An economic study has been commissioned through Chapman University to help quantify the revenue the current use of this park brings to our city merchants. The Riding Park was purchased to preserve open space and the equestrian heritage of our town. I feel that many are unaware of the multitude of activities that go on at the park such as soccer, lacrosse, inter-scholastic equestrian competitions (which include Western and English disciplines for kids from kindergarten to 12th grade), the Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo, show jumping events and many free community events. Olympic Trials for both jumping and dressage were held at the park in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Suggestions for uses for the park are always welcome, as Sam Allevato long as they come with a sustainable economic plan. There has been discussion about limited access to this property. The 30-plus acre Reata Park and Event Center (part of the original 132-acre parcel) is open to the public daily for picnics, barbecues, dog walking, hiking and bike/equestrian riding—all in a beautiful California nativeplanted park that was donated to the citizens of San Juan Capistrano. Isn’t our town with the proud title of “The Equestrian Capital of the West Coast” worthy of maintaining a riding park dedicated to preserving our equestrian heritage before every horse disappears from Orange County? Shouldn’t we be proud that, due to engineering fields for horses, we have some of the country’s safest soccer fields? Just as the much

GUEST OPINION: Straight Talk by Al Jacobs

Understanding the Constitution Is same-sex marriage a constitutional right? It depends on the justices you ask


n the matter of same-sex marriage, the U.S. Supreme Court has spoken. In a 5-4 decision, the justices affirmed the constitutional right that couples of the same gender can be legally wed. Supporting that position is Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy who said: “No union is more profound than marriage … They ask for equal dignity in the eyes of the law. The Constitution grants them that right.” In opposition is Chief Justice John Roberts, who declared: “If you are among the many Americans—of whatever sexual orientation—who favor expanding same-sex marriage, by all means celebrate today’s decision. But do not celebrate the Constitution. It had nothing to do with it.” Long before any arguments were presented, eight of the nine court members, in keeping with their political inclinations, had developed unshakable opinions on this matter. Ruth Ginsberg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagin fervently supported same-sex marriage; Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and John Roberts were unalterably opposed. It was clear that the one ambivalent member, Anthony Kennedy, would decide its fate. There’s nothing new here. This is the way the court rules—and has always

larger South Coast Farms preserves our agrarian heritage and is maintained by a private lessee, the riding park provides for equestrian activities and youth activities and may accommodate other activities in the future, provided we are all willing to work together. CD

ruled. Each of us harbors our preferences and prejudices. When appointed to the bench and donning the black robe, our biases go along as part of the package. As for Constitutional STRAIGHT TALK rationale, it’s cusBy Al Jacobs tomarily made up along the way. Whether, for example, you may share the blessings of holy matrimony with only a member of the opposite gender, a member of the same gender, or your Irish setter, will depend upon the collective opinion of those anointed to so rule. In an earlier century, then-Chief Justice Charles Evans Hughes summed up the matter reasonably well when he declared, “We are under a Constitution, but the Constitution is what the judges say it is.” With a bit more accuracy, he might have said: “The Constitution is, at any point in time, what a majority of the judges say it is, until a new majority chooses to say something differently.” Al Jacobs of Dana Point is a professional investor for nearly a half-century. He issues a monthly newsletter in which he shares his financial knowledge and experience. You may view it at www. CD

PLEASE NOTE: In an effort to provide our readers with a wide variety of opinions from our community, The Capistrano Dispatch provides Guest Opinion opportunities in which selected columnists’ opinions are shared. The opinions expressed in these columns are entirely those of the columnist alone and do not reflect those of the The Capistrano Dispatch or Picket Fence Media. If you would like to respond to this column, please email us at editorial@the


The List What’s going on in and around town

Thursday | 20


READ TO A DOG 3 p.m.-4 p.m. Kids can read to licensed therapy dogs every other Thursday at the San Juan Capistrano Library. Studies have shown that reading to therapy dogs can improve children’s reading skills and self-confidence. 31495 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.1752,


Friday | 14 RODEO WEEK KICK-OFF BARBECUE 5 p.m.-9 p.m. The evening kicks off Rodeo Week in San Juan Capistrano, leading up to the 15th Annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo Aug. 23-23. Live music performed by Swingshift and food from Mission Grill. Admission is $20 per person with beer and wine available for purchase. Kids eat and play in the petting zoo for free. Zoomars Petting Zoo, 31791 Los Rios Street, San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.4700, RODEO REVIVAL 8:30 p.m. Live music at The Swallow’s Inn. 31786 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.3188,

Saturday | 15 DANA POINT LOBSTER BEACH FEST 4 p.m. The Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotar y Club will host its 16th annual Lobster Fest with gourmet appetizers, a no-host bar, fresh East Coast lobster, smoked tri-tip steak, desserts, live music, dancing and a silent auction. Advance tickets may be purchased online for $85 or $100 at the door. Proceeds go to charities including Make-A-Wish, Boys & Girls Clubs and the Dana Point 5th Marine Regiment Support Group. Doheny State Beach, 25300 Dana Point Harbor Drive, Dana Point, MULTICULTURAL ARTS SERIES 6:30 p.m. & 8:30 p.m. Carlos Velasco showcases jazz, flamenco, tango, Brazilian and Peruvian music in the San Juan

A cowboy takes his turn in the ring at last year’s Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo. Photo: Andrea Swayne

SATURDAY AND SUNDAY, AUGUST 22 AND 23: 15TH ANNUAL RANCHO MISSION VIEJO RODEO 1 p.m. Enjoy a weekend full of old-time family entertainment at the richest two-day rodeo in the nation, where the top 30 contestants in saddle bronc, bareback riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, bull riding and team roping come to the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park for the chance of a lifetime. Gates open at 1 p.m. on Saturday with the rodeo starting at 4 p.m. On Sunday, gates open at 11:30 a.m. with a 4 p.m. rodeo. Saturday evening ends with a concert and dance. $30 per day for adults, $10 for children ages 4-12 and free for kids 3 and under. 30753 La Pata Road, San Juan Capistrano, 949.842.3782, Capistrano Library courtyard. Two concerts will be performed at 6:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. $20 for adults, $5 for kids 12 and under. Tickets available at the door. 31495A El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.2688.

writings of renowned cowboy poet Rusty Richards, his son Jason Richards and a surprise guest at the Camino Real Playhouse. 31776 El Camino Real, San Juan Capistrano, 949.489.8082,

Sunday | 16

Wednesday | 19

RECKLESS KELLY WITH MICKEY & THE MOTORCARS 7 p.m. Reckless Kelly performs live at the Coach House with Mickey & The Motorcars and Derek Thomas. Tickets are $20. Doors open at 5 p.m. 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.496.8930,

THE ART OF MISSION SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO 10 a.m.-11 a.m. Reverend Monsignor Arthur A. Holquin, pastoremeritus of Mission Basilica San Juan Capistrano, has been a member of the Mission Art Guild of Mission San Juan Capistrano since 2003. He will give insights as to the religious meaning and importance of several artworks in the collection. Free with paid admission into the Mission.. To RSVP, call 949.234.1322 or email 26801 Ortega Highway, San Juan Capistrano, 949.234.1300,

Tuesday | 18 RUSTY RICHARDS CAMPFIRE CONCERT 8 p.m.-10 p.m. Enjoy the lively music and

RODEO WEEK TEQUILA TASTING 5:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Sample a variety of tequilas and appetizers at El Adobe de Capistrano and celebrate Rodeo Week San Juan-style. Admission is $25 and includes tequila tasting, appetizers and live music. 31891 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.4700, sjcrodeoweek.

Friday | 21 LUNCH WITH THE LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS Noon. Guest speaker Craig Preston, Southern California regional coordinator of the Citizens Climate Lobby, discusses “Surviving Climate Change” during a luncheon hosted by the League of Women Voters of Orange Coast. The event is open to league members and the public. Lunch costs $20. RSVP to Becky Newman at 949.786.1669 or Marie Callender’s Restaurant, 15363 Culver Drive, Irvine.

Saturday | 22 BOYS & GIRLS CLUBS OF CAPISTRANO VALLEY RUMMAGE SALE 8 a.m.-2 p.m. South Orange County Women’s Network Group will host the third annual Rummage Sale at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Capistrano Valley. One hundred percent of the proceeds go directly to the club’s Christmas giveaway. 1 Via Positiva, San Juan Capistrano, 949.433.3663,

At the Movies: This Thriller is a ‘Gift’ BY MEGAN BIANCO, THE CAPISTRANO DISPATCH


uffering from a misleading trailer, a lazy poster and a redundant title, The Gift is actually one of the most pleasant surprises of the last few weeks of the summer movie season. Not only is it an original and fresh suspense/thriller, but it’s written and directed by Australian character actor Joel Edgerton, recognizable in movies like Warrior (2011) and The Great Gatsby (2013). The actor must have been interested in working behind The Capistrano Dispatch August 14-27, 2015

the camera for a while, as he knows exactly how to set up silent, tight tension and how to work with a cast of established actors. Simon (Jason Bateman) and Robyn Callen (Rebecca Hall) are a married couple who decide to move back to Simon’s home state, California, for a better job opportunity. Within the first week in their new home, Simon runs into an old high school classmate, Gordon Mosley (Edgerton). After a decent dinner at the Callens’ house, it quickly becomes apparent Gordon wants

to create a friendship with the couple when he begins sending them strange gifts and arranging bizarre meet-ups. Allison Tolman co-stars. The Gift’s trailer plays off the movie as a typical murdermystery when in reality it’s more of a slow build on paranoia and suspicion. Bateman makes a successful return to dramatic acting since 2012’s Disconnect, and Hall shows she’s still one of the most impressive, yet unfortunately overlooked, actresses of her generation. For a different, fascinating

Page 18

Photo: © 2015 STX Productions, LLC.

psychological thriller with a few jumpscares, The Gift is the one to watch this weekend. CD


Chamber’s Annual Rodeo Week Rides Again A week of old-time Western festivities leads up to the 15th annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo BY ALLISON JARRELL, THE CAPISTRANO DISPATCH


elebrating its fourth year of Rodeo Week activities, the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce invites residents and visitors to participate in a week of Western festivities leading up to the 15th annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo. Mark Bodenhamer, executive director of the chamber, said the week-long celebration is meant to get the community excited about celebrating its equestrian heritage. The annual rodeo, he said, is a natural fit for San Juan Capistrano. “It’s unlike anything else that happens in town,” Bodenhamer said. “We want to expose people to that.” The chamber kicks off the week with a barbecue on Friday, Aug. 14 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Zoomars Petting Zoo, located at 31791 Los Rios Street in San Juan. The evening features live music performed by Swing Shift, food from Mission Grill, dancing and more. Admission is $20 per person with beer and wine available for purchase. Kids 10 and under eat and play in the petting zoo for free. Space is limited and reservations are required by contacting the chamber at 949.493.4700 or emailing On Tuesday, Aug.18, folks are invited to relive the cowboy life around the campfire

A scene from last year’s 14th annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park in San Juan Capistrano. Photo: Alan Gibby/Zone57 Media

during an evening of cowboy songs, stories and poetry performed by Rusty Richards, an inductee of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and former member of the Western singing group Sons of the Pioneers. Richards, along with his son Jason and a special guest, will be singing duets and storytelling beginning at 8 p.m. at the Camino Real Playhouse, located at 31776 El Camino Real in San Juan. Tickets are $20 or $30 for a Cabaret table and can be purchased by calling the box office at 949.489.8082. Bodenhamer said this year, the city of San Juan Capistrano coordinated its free San Juan Summer Nites Concert Series to have the country band Pickleback Shine perform during Rodeo Week. The concert— which takes place at the Historic Town Center Park located at 31852 El Camino Real—runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and includes dancing, food, beer and wine, a local business expo and free activities for kids. For more information, call 949.493.5911 or visit Rodeo Week comes to a close at El Adobe de Capistrano on Thursday, Aug. 20 with the chamber’s annual tequila tasting event from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. The festive evening includes tastings of a dozen or so tequilas, appetizers and live music. Tickets are $25 per person and can be purchased at El Adobe or the chamber office, located at 31421 La Matanza Street. For more information on this year’s Rodeo Week schedule and other happenings, visit

15th Annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo

Photo: Alan Gibby/Zone57 Media

The Capistrano Dispatch August 14–27, 2015

The 15th annual Rancho Mission Viejo Rodeo takes place Saturday, August 22 and Sunday, August 23. Known as “America’s richest two-day rodeo,” the annual event has been hosted by Rancho Mission Viejo’s O’Neill-Avery-MoiPage 20

so family for the past 15 years to celebrate the golden age of early California rodeo tradition and the heritage of the land. This year’s all-star Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association line-up features the world’s best cowboys competing in saddle bronc riding, bareback riding, bull riding,

steer wrestling, tie-down roping and team roping. Having donated more than $1.5 million so far, proceeds from the rodeo benefit a number of South Orange County charities, including The Shea Center for Therapeutic Riding in San Juan Capistrano and CHOC at Mission Hospital. On Saturday, gates open at 1 p.m. with opening ceremonies at 3:45 p.m. and the rodeo at 4 p.m. The competition will be followed by a concert and dance featuring Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band at 6 p.m. Gates open at 10:30 a.m. on Sunday with the rodeo beginning at 1:30 p.m. Tickets are $30 for adults, $10 for kids 4 to 12 years old and free for kids 3 and under. Parking is $5 cash only with limited availability. Tickets are on sale at seven locations in south Orange County (cash only): The Swallow’s Inn and Ortega Tack and Feed in San Juan Capistrano, Hennessy’s Tavern in Dana Point, Boot Barn in Lake Forest, Jerry’s Dogs in Ladera Ranch, Arroyo Trabuco Golf Club in Mission Viejo and the Sendero Guest House in Rancho Mission Viejo. Cash, debit and credit cards are accepted at the gates. For more information about the rodeo, visit or CD


Modjeska Canyon Cowboy Rusty Richards—renowned cowboy, poet and musician—first gained experience training horses in San Juan Capistrano BY ALLISON JARRELL, THE CAPISTRANO DISPATCH


or any old-time Western music or film buff worth their salt, Rusty Richards is a household name. Beyond performing for 20 years with Western singing legends Sons of the Pioneers and filming shows such as Rawhide, Wagon Train, Gunsmoke, Bonanza and Have Gun-Will Travel, Richards has made a name for himself as a solo artist—from composing hundreds of Western songs to receiving accolades from the National Western Film Festival, the California Country Music Association and the National Festival of the West, to name a few. Richards was inducted into the Western Music Hall of Fame and will be honored in April with the prestigious Chester A. Reynolds award from the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City. For the fourth year in a row now, the 81-year-old cowboy will be sharing some of those same talents with folks at the Camino Real Playhouse during Rodeo Week in San Juan Capistrano. However, in true cowboy fashion, Richards’ abilities reach far beyond singing and acting. The Modjeska Canyon native was once a skilled bareback rider in the rodeo circuit, and he’s also renowned for his work in breaking in and training horses—work that began in San Juan Capistrano. Richards remembers spending time in San Juan as a boy. His father took him and his siblings to Mass every Sunday at the Mission, and he has clear memories of being hoisted in the air in the Mission courtyard to see the koi swimming around. But Richards said San Juan feels like a hometown to him because of the 13 months he spent in his late 20’s breaking horses at Rancho Capistrano. That work followed a childhood and early adulthood

The Capistrano Dispatch August 14–27, 2015

of riding the rodeo circuit, having his own TV show in Los Angeles and joining the Marines. Richards can still recall his very first fascination with horses as a young boy. “About two miles from where my folks lived in Modjeska, I heard they were building a horse ranch, and I peddled to their driveway on my tricycle and asked them for a job,” Richards said. “It was the middle of summer and they said my head was as red as a pumpkin from peddlin’ that trike all the way down there. But when I got a little older, they got a hold of me and said, ‘Do you still want to work?’ And I said yes.” So Richards went to work for Jackson’s Arabian Horse Nursery, which was home to 65 purebred Arabian horses—only 1,800 existed in the United States at that time. “It was sort of a young cowboy’s dream,” Richards said. “I was on salary, and they gave me a string of colts and they had 200 head of cattle up in the hills. And they said, ‘Break one or break them all. Ride one or ride them all—whatever you want to do.’ I had nobody to answer to.” Richards kept at it until he earned a reputation for his training and went on to break and train horses for 65 years while also pursuing a career in music and film. Today, he still does the occasional horse clinic or demonstration in Orange County. Richards continues to live in Modjeska Canyon with his wife, Amy, of 57 years, whom he said has supported him throughout his career as a professional cowboy. His son, Jason Richards, will join him on the stage next week at the Camino Real Playhouse—picking the bass and harmonizing like his father used to do with the Sons of the Pioneers. For Rusty Richards’ extended interview with The Dispatch, visit To see an extended biography and photo gallery, check out CD

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Photos: Courtesy of Amy Richards


Business Beat News from San Juan Capistrano’s business community COMPILED BY STAFF

NOW OPEN HENNESSEY’S TAVERN 31761 Camino Capistrano 949.441.4777 Hennessey’s Tavern has opened its newest Southern California location in San Juan Capistrano, nestled downtown within walking distance of the Mission. Paul Hennessey, owner of the Irish-themed bar chain, said he’s excited to open his 10th location and diversify Camino Capistrano’s restaurant and bar scene. “I think we’re going to help the other businesses and restaurants in town,” Hennessey said. “We’re going to give people another avenue to bounce around since we’re in walking distance of four or five other restaurants. We aren’t going to compete with the other restaurants; instead, I think we’ll be a complement to everybody else.” The tavern features outside seating in front, a full bar, booths and tables inside, and a back patio also equipped with a full bar, fireplaces and seating. Hennessey hopes his newest location will become a hangout for locals and travelers in the same manner his other bars have. “It’s going to be very casual,” he said. “You can come here with two people and by the end of the night end up at table with seven or eight.” Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner— with favorites from their other locations such as Cap’n Crunch French Toast, Irish nachos and chicken wings—Hennessey’s will keep its kitchen open through midnight each night. A wide variety of beers and wines will complement menu items throughout the day. Hennessey said he feels these qualities make his location unique to the area. “Most of the other restaurants around here stop serving at 10 or 11 at night, even earlier than that,” he said. “Where people would have to leave town [for late dining] now they can come to us.” Hennessey’s is open from 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily, serving breakfast until noon.— Evan Da Silva

NOW OPEN CRIVELLO’S ITALIAN BISTRO 31882 Del Obispo Street 949.443.0423 It was only a couple of months ago that Sebastian Crivello opened the doors of Crivello’s Italian Bistro and began serving customers at his new location San Juan Capistrano, which has taken the place of Aldo’s Sidewalk Cafe. The Capistrano Dispatch August 14-27, 2015

(Clockwise from the top) Hennessey’s new San Juan location features indoor and outdoor seating, fireplaces and two full bars. Photo: Alex Paris. Public74’s official ribbon cutting with the San Juan Chamber of Commerce took place on June 11. Photo: Courtesy of Public74. Owner Sebastian Crivello aims to provide great food, friendly service and a friendly atmosphere at the new Crivello’s Italian Bistro in San Juan. Photo: Alison Shea

Crivello, owner and head chef, hails from Italy and currently lives in Temecula. When he heard the San Juan location was available, he immediately jumped at the opportunity, seeing that it had great potential. Crivello said his parents are the ones who got him involved in the restaurant industry, and after being introduced into the dining scene, he soon realized how much he loved it. His first business, Crivello, was located in the Temecula area, and it’s the profits from that business venture that allowed him to open up in San Juan. As the sole owner of the restaurant, Crivello said he’s thoroughly invested in the management and success of his newest Italian eatery. The prices of Crivello’s dinner dishes range from about $11 to $22, and some of his most popular plates include linguine and penne dishes, along with the classic chicken and veal favorites Italian cuisine is known for. The menu ranges from sandwiches and salads to antipasti and casseroles.

Crivello said his overall mission is to treat people well and provide great food, friendly service and a friendly atmosphere. “The most rewarding part of running this business is meeting new people every day,” he said. Crivello’s is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.—Alison Shea

RIBBON CUTTING PUBLIC74 27211 Ortega Highway 949.481.2723 Ten months after opening their doors to San Juan Capistrano, Public74, sister venue to Temecula’s Public House, has found growing success, courtesy of its seasonal menu and fine-dining experience. Co-owners Gerr y Kent and Chad Dickey celebrated their official ribbon cutting with the San Juan Chamber of

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Commerce on June 11. Both Kent and Dickey believe their restaurant fills a fine dining void in San Juan and the surrounding areas. “I’ve found personally that customers who come to us haven’t really experienced fine dining that much,” said Kent, “ especially if you aren’t willing to travel past San Juan, Mission Viejo or San Clemente. There’s this 25- to 30-minute zone of not much crafty food or drink.” Looking to address this, Public74 features a rotating menu of fresh, locallygrown ingredients and items specifically designed to fit the current season, while encouraging patrons to explore new tastes and dishes. Summer menus feature light, spicy ingredients accompanied by olive oils and vinaigrettes, with winter lineups using bay leaves and sage for a more of a home-cooking feel. Kent and Dickey want customers to be able to treat their palates to items they normally wouldn’t try, and offer the option of returning food free of charge if they aren’t completely satisfied. “If you hand the customer a burger and they don’t like onions or chilies or whatever, we say, ‘Just try it. If you don’t like it, don’t pay for it,’” said Kent. The Blued and Qued Burger has proven to be their bestseller regardless of season, featuring a grass-fed 10-ounce Kobe beef patty topped with melted bleu cheese, house barbecue sauce, caramelized onions and Anaheim peppers, served with fries on the side. Alongside their meal, guests can enjoy live entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays, and a new, soon-to-be completed outdoor patio. Public74 is open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. —Evan Da Silva CD

SJC LIVING GUEST OPINION: Moments in Time by Jan Siegel

Decades of Work Went into Highway Improvements Ortega construction will soon draw to a close


fter almost two years of enduring traffic hardship on the Ortega Highway, the much-anticipated interchange improvement project is scheduled to be open by the end of the month, or at the very least, early September…of this year! Public improvements were the main reason for forming the San Juan Capistrano Chamber of Commerce when it was first organized in 1923. One of the most important projects was the construction of Ortega Highway. The chamber organized an effort to get the Board of Supervisors to commit funds to the construction of the new Highway. Not only was there opposition within the Board of Supervisors, but many in the city did not want the project to proceed. George Jeffrey, who represented this area on the board, was opposed to the project. But the chamber would not give up. Carl Hankey was named chairman of the chamber, and for five years he tried to garner support for the project from the Orange County supervisors and Riverside County officials. Hankey was not successful and eventually turned the committee over to Fred Stoffel. One of the main difficulties in acquiring the funds for the project was a disagreement over what to name the highway. Riverside County insisted it be called the Elsinore-Capistrano Road, and Orange County was just as insistent that it be called the Capistrano-Elsinore Road. Neither side would give in to a common name change. Fortunately, Fr. St. John O’Sullivan, pastor of the Mission and a chamber board member, came up with a name that eventually everyone could agree upon. O’Sullivan suggested naming the highway Ortega, after José Francisco Ortega, a scout with the Portola Expedition who, along with Fr. Junípero Serra, was one of the first Spaniards to enter this valley. Supervisor Jeffery agreed to support the project with the

name change—his wife was a direct descendant of Ortega. Funds for the project totaled $750,000. The 32.5-mile project was constructed between 1930 and 1932 for $581,952—six months ahead of time and MOMENTS IN TIME $168,048 under budget. In By Jan Siegel mid-May of 1932, Ortega Highway was opened to limited traffic. Today, that project would have cost about $5 million. It was still a bargain by any standard. In 2007, work on the 3.3-mile stretch of Ortega Highway from the San Juan Creek Bridge to the Riverside County line became a $40 million dollar project. Funding for the interchange project came from the State Transportation Improvement Program, Corridor Mobility Improvement Act and county and local funds. The total cost for the project today is $86,214,000. As you enjoy the new Ortega off-ramp and the ease of traffic moving through our town, take a “Moment in Time” and reflect upon the history that brought us to this point, including all of the people who have been instrumental in securing this roadway. Author’s Note: The chamber of commerce was forced to discontinue during the depression, because so many businesses were failing, but returned to San Juan Capistrano in the 1950s. Jan Siegel is a 27-year resident of San Juan Capistrano. She was named Woman of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce in 2005, Volunteer of the Year in 2011 and was inducted into the city’s Wall of Recognition in 2007. CD PLEASE NOTE: In an effort to provide our readers with a wide variety of opinions from our community, The Capistrano Dispatch provides Guest Opinion opportunities in which selected columnists’ opinions are shared. The opinions expressed in these columns are entirely those of the columnist alone and do not reflect those of the The Capistrano Dispatch or Picket Fence Media. If you would like to respond to this column, please email us at

A local effort is underway to install a series of painted mustang horse sculptures throughout San Juan Capistrano. Advocates of the art installation say the mustang statues would celebrate San Juan’s equestrian heritage, while also raising awareness of a nationwide effort to preserve the freedom, diversity and habitat of wild horses.

Sudoku BY MYLES MELLOR Solution:

Each Sudoku puzzle consists of a 9x9 grid that has been subdivided into nine smaller grids of 3x3 squares. To solve the puzzle, each row, column and box must contain each of the numbers 1 to 9. Puzzles come in three grades: easy, medium and difficult. Level: Medium


Nonprofit Donates Tactical Vests to OCSD K-9 Unit the release stated. The dogs are an integral part of OCSD n Aug. 5, the Capistrano Animal and, according to the release, they have Rescue Effort (CARE)—a nonprofsignificantly reduced the number of manit group based in San Juan Capisthours searching for subjects, evidence rano—presented Orange County Sheriff’s and narcotics, as well as Department K-9 Unit reducing property loss deputies with a donation The dogs are seen and injuries to depuof 10 Kevlar tactical vests for their four-legged by their handlers as a ties. Currently, eight deputies and their partners. The vests were partner, not just a tool. canine partners provide provided through the service to OCSD’s 13 Orange County Sheriff’s It’s important they contract cities. Advisory Council. CARE board mem“The dogs are seen by have a level of safety bers in attendance on their handlers as a partAug. 5 said the vests ner, not just a tool,” Sgt. and protection equal were donated in an Dean Weckerle of the to the officers. effort to save the lives OCSD K-9 Services Unit of people and animals said in a press release. —Sgt. Dean Weckerle countywide. CARE’s “It’s important they have mission is to help proa level of safety and mote the health of animals in surroundprotection equal to the officers.” ing communities. The vests will allow the dogs to be easily To view OCSD footage from the lifted, giving the handler more control and ceremony and K-9 demonstrations, visit providing ballistic and stab protections. For more inforThey will be used during high-risk SWAT mation about CARE, visit www.capoanimoperations and field operations where an or call 949.240.1322. CD armed and dangerous suspect is involved, COMPILED BY ALISON SHEA


Photos: Courtesy of the Orange County Sheriff’s Department

SJC LIVING GUEST OPINION: On Life and Love After 50 by Tom P. Blake

Blind Dates Can Be a Challenge for Older Singles Dating sites can improve chances of finding a match


admire single women age 50-plus who make the effort to get out and meet men instead of complaining about the lack of available men. While there are lots of things to do and places to go in South Orange County where meeting a potential mate might happen, using the Internet to meet men improves a woman’s chances of finding a compatible match. The Internet is one of the tools that Jacquie, not her true name, uses to meet men. She’s 58 and lives in the tri-cities area. In March of this year, she emailed that she had met a man online in Oregon. She visited him and said, “He was polite, ON LIFE AND sweet, kind and very, LOVE AFTER 50 very much a gentleman, By Tom Blake no ‘octopus arms.’ But, he has not come to see me and I refuse to spend any more money to go see him.” Jacquie uses Match, eharmony and Our Time to meet men. “I have been dating about every day for the last month or so,” she said. “It’s been very much an eye-opener. I get lots of flirts, etc. Some dates have been pleasant, and I thought that I had perceived some sort of connection—then nothing. Online dating doesn’t work until it does. So I slog onward.” Jacquie described a first date she had July 31. “It was at Starbucks” Jacquie said. “He was late, so I got into the coffee line, as it was very long. He arrived and looked his photo. We got our coffee and seated ourselves. He proceeded to interrogate me about everything from why I divorced my husband, what my kids do for a living, what work I do, how much I make and what my activities are.” “I felt like it was a job interview,” Jacquie continued. “I answered politely and tried to be charming and fun because I happen to like a fun time rather than a boring time. I tried to ask him questions as well, which, in my opinion, he answered with a bit too much detail for a first meeting, but everybody’s different. We wrapped it up and headed out the door. He said that he had had a nice time and asked to meet me again. I agreed. So far, so good.” Thinking that you may have met a potential match is a positive feeling after a first date; how quickly things can change. As soon as Jacquie got to her car, a text message arrived on her cell phone from him. Jacquie said, “It read: ‘Hi! It was good to meet you. You are different. I like that. But

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you did not ask me anything about myself. You did all the talking. You seem manic today. Are you bipolar?’” Jacquie thought, “honest to God. Really?” She added, “He followed with another text: ‘You are a little grandiose as well. This is also a symptom of bipolar. And you mentioned that after your divorce you were depressed. This is also a symptom of being manic-depressive.’” Jacquie thought, “Normally. I have to pay for analysis!” She replied to his texts: “This is offensive. I am a very accomplished person having created two successful careers in my 58 years. If I am too animated and/or proud of my life and my accomplishments for you, then it is a good thing you found out about it now. Thank you for the nice coffee date, best wishes.”

While there are lots of “things to do and places to

go in South Orange County where meeting a potential mate might happen, using the Internet to meet men improves a woman’s chances of finding a compatible match.

She emailed me: “Tom. What the heck was that all about? He kept grilling me... and I talk too much? Next.” Blind dates can be a big challenge. The good news for Jacquie is she saw his true colors without investing any more time. His loss. Tom Blake is a Dana Point resident and a former Dana Point businessman who has authored several books on middle-aged dating. See his website at (Time marches on.) To comment: The next Singles age 50+ Meet and Greet is Thursday, Aug. 27 from 5 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at Tutor and Spunky’s Deli, located at 34085 Pacific Coast Highway, Dana Point. For more information, call 949.248.9008. To join Tom’s Finding Love After 50 Facebook group, visit groups/48063349638. CD PLEASE NOTE: In an effort to provide our readers with a wide variety of opinions from our community, The Capistrano Dispatch provides Guest Opinion opportunities in which selected columnists’ opinions are shared. The opinions expressed in these columns are entirely those of the columnist alone and do not reflect those of the The Capistrano Dispatch or Picket Fence Media. If you would like to respond to this column, please email us at

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Oasis Air Conditioning & Heating 27126 Paseo Espada, Suite 1604, 949.420.1321,


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Ca Lic #697355 714.396.2188, 949.573.8386, The Capistrano Dispatch August 14–27, 2015


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Gridiron Game-Changer Mikki St. Germain becomes head coach of youth tackle football team BY STEVE BREAZEALE, THE CAPISTRANO DISPATCH


ikki St. Germain’s passion in life is the thrill and satisfaction she gets from inspiring people. There’s that, and football, too. The San Clemente resident, who has spent the last 21 years as a martial arts instructor, inspirational speaker and author, now has the chance to combine her two passions this year as the head coach of the South Orange County Patriots midgetlevel football team. St. Germain, who spent last season as an offensive coordinator with the South Coast Tritons in San Clemente, is the first female head coach in the SOC Patriots organization’s history. The program draws players from San Juan Capistrano, Dana Point and surrounding cities. When St. Germain first met with her team of 14-year-olds, many of whom tower over her in size, it was unclear how they would react to her being the coach. She had built a comfort level with several players who transitioned from the Tritons to the Patriots over the offseason, but there were still plenty of unfamiliar faces in the crowd. Turns out the players weren’t fazed by who was holding the whistle. “They didn’t even flinch. None of them (did). They just really kind of accepted it and that was it,” St. Germain said. St. Germain is a native New Yorker and developed her passion for football by watching the New York Giants with her father on Sundays. Football immediately struck a chord with St. Germain and she became a student of the game, dissecting

Mikki St. Germain will be the head coach of the South Orange County Patriots this season. Photo: Steve Breazeale

its intricacies. The camaraderie on display amongst a football team was also a big draw for St. Germain. She began to see links between her life’s work—public speaking and writing—and the game she loves. “I truly believe that a coach’s responsibility is to help that person get past their comfort zone and believe in something they don’t think they’re capable of doing,” St. Germain said. “Our jobs are more involved than just teaching X’s and O’s. It’s making them believe and having them come together as a team.” St. Germain has received almost entirely positive feedback since she stepped

on the sidelines. As volunteer coaches, St. Germain and her husband, Gerard, have seen how supportive parents and players can be. But there have been minor slights along the way. Gerard St. Germain recalled how last year, some coaches would not shake Mikki’s hand after games. One family almost withdrew their son from the team after learning that St. Germain would be an assistant, but eventually came around. “It’s a tough world for a female coach … it’s a male sport,” Gerard St. Germain, the team’s offensive coordinator, said. “Her head coaching for a midget team is a really unique thing. It’s pretty exciting.

We’re pumped and motivated.” In the professional sports world, female coaches in mostly male-dominated sports have been garnering attention. Last year, Becky Hammon made NBA history when she was hired as an assistant coach for the San Antonio Spurs. On July 27, the Arizona Cardinals hired Jen Welter to be a training camp/preseason intern coaching inside linebackers, making her the first woman to hold a coaching position in the NFL. “I’d like to think that it doesn’t matter whether you’re male or female. I think anybody that steps up to do their passion … I have to commend that person,” Mikki St. Germain said. “In this day and age, there’s so much to offer all the way around that if you have a chance to inspire or offer something new or you have a gift to put out there … do it.” Owen Carlton, 14, who lives with his family on Camp Pendleton, is one of the former Triton players St. Germain coached last season. Carlton, the team’s quarterback, saw last year’s group of players accept St. Germain and thrive under her guidance. On Aug. 4 Carlton and his teammates were out on the field in pads for just the second time this preseason, full of confidence, and gearing up for their eight-game season in September. “I feel a lot more comfortable at quarterback knowing that (St. Germain) trusts me to lead the team,” Carlton said. “I was so happy (this year) because I knew they were great coaches and it was going to be good this year. I think we’re going to win the championship.” CD

Local Volleyball Standout Heads to World Championship Noah Dyer and Team USA set to compete in Argentina BY CONNOR SCHMITT, THE CAPISTRANO DISPATCH


oah Dyer has had a hectic summer vacation to say the least. The incoming senior and standout outside hitter/setter for the Saddleback Valley Christian boys volleyball team began his journey with the USA Volleyball Boys’ Youth National Team in early July after being added to the team’s highly selective 25man roster. After a month of rigorous training in Iowa, the coaching staff announced an updated 12-man roster that would be sent to represent the United States at the 2015 FIVB Boys’ U19 World Championship starting Aug. 14 in South America. The Capistrano Dispatch August 14-27, 2015

Dyer made the cut. He began packing for Argentina. Dyer joins 11 of the nation’s top prep volleyball players, including seven returning players from last year’s squad—a team that won a gold medal at the 2014 NORCECA Youth Continental Championship. Dyer and Huntington Beach’s TJ DeFalco will represent Orange County on the roster. “My favorite part about this experience has just been hanging out with the guys and playing volleyball with the best players in America,” Dyer said via email. Dyer will bring a championship pedigree to the USA team’s ranks. During last

year’s high school season, Dyer captained Saddleback Valley Christian to its third straight CIF-SS Division 5 Championship, earning 25 kills in a three-set sweep against crosstown rival St. Margaret’s Episcopal in the championship match. The Warriors also advanced to the finals of the CIF SoCal Regional Division III Championships in 2014. The Boy’s Youth National Team will begin their title run on Aug. 14 in an afternoon match against Turkey. They will continue with matches against Belgium and France on Aug. 16 and Aug. 17, respectively, and will face tournament host Argentina on Aug. 19. CD Page 30

Noah Dyer will play for the USA Volleyball U19 boys youth national team. Photo: Courtesy

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