Best of Orange County 2020: Best sushi

1. Yama Sushi

27782 Vista Del Lago C-22, Mission Viejo; 949-716-9262;

Yama Sushi uses the freshest and highest-quality ingredients available. Yama Sushi also will not settle for anything but the best and most highly trained Japanese chefs that create the finest sushi rolls on a nightly basis. Diners not only come to Yama Sushi for the terrific sushi and entrees, but also for the environment and swanky ambiance. In fact, Yama Sushi is known for its picturesque views as it sits right on the Lake Mission Viejo.

Yama Sushi also has great prices considering the prime ingredients being used. However, if customers want an even better price on their sushi, Yama Sushi hosts Sushi Tuesday with sushi rolls  40 to 50 percent off the regular price. This Tuesday tradition became a customer favorite in 2008 when the promotion was started, and has been a staple to the business ever since.

Customers also have the ability to choose a variety of ways to eat their food as well. Omakase style is where chefs prepare items of their choosing in front of customers where they can see it being made. There is also a five-course meal that includes a delicious dessert.

Along with sushi, there are also entrees available such as udon or rice bowls. There is also a kids menu available, which has chicken, salmon, and beef teriyaki, chicken nuggets, and kids’ sushi.

2. Full Moon Sushi

Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Tustin

Full Moon Sushi opened its doors to its first location in Fountain Valley in 2001 and ever since then it has become an extremely popular spot for diners to enjoy their favorite Japanese delicacies. From there, the restaurant opened another location in Costa Mesa in 2007 as well as in Tustin in 2009. Full Moon Sushi is known for its great service, delicious food, and wonderful selection.

The staff at Full Moon Sushi says every hour is happy hour because the prices are some of the best for sushi in Orange County. Not to mention it is family friendly, which brings guests with kids back to Full Moon Sushi time and time again. Customers can even buy fashionable hats and t-shirts to support their favorite sushi joint too.

Make sure to try the popular Healthy Full Moon Roll, Hawaiian Roll, or a fresh poke bowl. There are also delicious dishes outside of sushi such as vegetable tempura, sesame chicken, gyoza (pork dumplings), and fried tofu.

3. Shunka Sushi

369 E. 17th St., Costa Mesa; 949-631-9854;

Shunka Sushi is a Japanese spot specializing in some of the freshest sushi in Orange County. The restaurant only offers classically trained chefs who are known for carefully crafting authentic items using fish bought directly from Japan every day at the sushi bar.

Shunka Sushi also prides itself on using fish so flavorful that no wasabi or other additions are necessary in boosting the flavors of the fish, vegetables, and rice. The fish purchased at Shunka Sushi is not as widely available as your typical sushi joint has to offer, and the sushi the restaurant has available is prepared with the freshest and most authentic ingredients available.

Guests must also try the wide variety of sake the restaurant has available to pair perfectly with their sushi. Choose between everything from a California cut roll, to a salmon avocado roll, or a spice tuna hand roll. Shunka also serves fresh salads and sashimi including big eye tuna, fresh water eel, and albacore. No menu option will disappoint.

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Best of Orange County 2020: Best apartment community

1. Newport Bluffs Apartment Homes

100 Vilaggio, Newport Beach; 844-277-3455;

The gated community of Newport Bluffs is a richly landscaped development of three distinct villages inspired by Old World Italian towns. The surrounding scenic coastal foothills of Bonita Canyon make for nice views from many of the apartments.

With townhome and single-level options, Newport Bluffs includes 30 separate floor plans; each has fully equipped chef kitchens, a private patio or balcony, in-home washer and dryer and central air conditioning. Some come with private, one or two-car garages and gas fireplaces.

The smallest floor plan is the only studio on offer at Newport Bluffs — a 549-square-foot unit in the Residencia village starting at $1,925 a month. One-bedroom units in the Residencia and Loggia villages range from 683 square feet starting at $2,255 a month to 1,152 square feet over two levels starting at $3,150 a month. There are 15 two-bedroom floor plans in the Residencia, Loggia and Rivoli villages, starting at 945 square feet and going up to 1,395 square feet over two levels; pricing details are unavailable. Lastly, there is one three-bedroom floor plan in Residencia and five three-bedroom townhome plans available in Rivoli; square footage starts at 1,317 square feet and prices at $3,425 a month.

The three resort-style pools with spas include plenty of lounge seating and private cabanas. Adding to the resort feeling are several outdoor fireplaces and seating areas, two lighted tennis courts, a fitness center and aerobics studio, and a clubhouse with a catering kitchen for group events. A unique offering is a private wine room.

2. Broadstone Arden

1951 E. Dyer Road, Santa Ana; 844-379-1841;

Broadstone Arden welcomed its first tenants in November 2019, becoming the first residential community to open in Allied Residential’s Park and Paseo district.

With 335 units of studio, one-, two- and three-bedroom floor plans, sizes range from 594 square feet to 1,956 square feet, starting at $1,905 a month. All come with washers and dryers, private patios or balconies, walk-in closets, stainless steel appliances, Nest thermostats and keyless entry.

A lot of attention was paid to design elements in the common areas. “The Instagrammable spaces allow residents and guests to easily tap into the aesthetically pleasing dynamics of luxury living,” said Lauren Blum, Alliance Residential’s marketing director for Southern California.

Community features of note include a rooftop pool with a glass-edge spa, a two-story gym and spa retreat with a Himalayan salt room. A game lounge features an interactive golf simulator.

In the next few months, the green spaces and parks within the community will be opening, Blum said, along with two new residential communities, Broadstone Archive and Atlas.

3. Gateway Apartment Homes

299 N. State College Blvd., Orange; 844-848-2383;

The Gateway apartment homes, operated by Irvine Co. Apartment Communities, has many of the amenities you would find in a high-end resort community: Multiple pool areas, lush tropical landscaping and attractive, stylishly decorated common areas.

Located in the Platinum Triangle area and straddling the Orange/Anaheim border, Gateway offers studio, one-, and two-bedroom apartment homes, some featuring lofts; furnished units are available. The units have a private patio or balcony, many with a view of landscaped courtyards. Monthly rents start at $2,780 for a 618-square-foot studio, $1,925 for a 729-square-foot one bedroom and $2,380 for a 1,077-square-foot two bedroom.

Apartments also have you covered on the work-at-home front, with built-in shelves and computer desks already in place.

Community features include four pools and spas with waterfalls, along with poolside cabanas with private TVs and stereos.

Shared amenities also include fire pits, Viking barbecue grills, sports lounge, two fitness centers, two dog parks, a parcel locker system and a club room with a full kitchen.

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Magnolia High selects Thavis Miller as new football coach

Thavis Miller credits the lessons he learned playing football for helping him succeed as a father, husband and coach.

Now, he’s ready to pass on those teachings to Magnolia High.

The father of six and former collegiate assistant has been has hired as the Sentinels’ football coach, he said on Thursday, Sept. 24. It’s Miller’s first head coaching position.

“It’s about giving back,” he said.

Miller, a walk-on who also works as a job coach in Los Alamitos High’s adult transition program, replaces three-year coach Desmond Hernandez, now an assistant and full-time physical education teacher at Portola.

Hernandez was not a full-time teacher at Magnolia — he served as substitute teacher.

Miller was a defensive line coach the University La Verne from 2017-18. Before that, he served as an assistant at Cerritos College.

He has been an assistant high school coach in Iowa and North Dakota, rising to defensive coordinator at Boone (Iowa) and North (North Dakota), respectively.

Miller was an all-state high school football player at Wilcox in Georgia and became an all-conference defensive lineman at Iowa Wesleyan.

He also played two years for Milwaukee in the Arena Football League.

Miller is married to former Pacifica star softball player Brittany Weil, now an assistant at Loyola Marymount.

The couple has six children, including standout high school athletes Zatyvion (Los Alamitos/Cerritos College football), Lataviah (Buena Park basketball) and Tajavis (Servite basketball).

Tajavis, a junior point guard, holds offers from Washington State, LMU, San Diego and Pepperdine.

Zatyvion was the Sunset League’s defensive lineman of the year last season. Lataviah, a senior, averaged about 17 points and 11 rebounds last season.

In 2019, Magnolia won seven games on the field (one victory was forfeited for an ineligible player) after winning a combined three games its first two seasons under Hernandez.

Miller said he will focus on the character development of his players. He also aims to build off the success Hernandez experienced last season and take “the next step.”

“The challenge is something I felt I’m up for,” he said.

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Protester struck by SUV at Breonna Taylor demonstration In Hollywood

A protester in Hollywood was struck Thursday night by an SUV speeding by a crowd of marchers on the second night of protests related to the killing of Breonna Taylor by Louisville Metropolitan Police Department officers.

Shortly before 9 p.m., a black SUV sped by the crowd, striking a protester before speeding away again. The Los Angeles Fire Department responded and took one person to a hospital, according to the LAFD’s Nicholas Prange.

The protest began at 7 p.m. and by 7:30 p.m., at least 200 people were sitting and standing in the grass outside the entrance to the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, located at 6000 Santa Monica Blvd., in Hollywood.

Vehicles could be heard driving by the protest honking in support, and a series of speakers addressed the crowd.

Demonstrators chanted “Black lives they matter here” and vehicles could be heard driving by the protest honking in support, as a series of speakers addressed the crowd.

After the rally, demonstrators marched through Hollywood accompanied by multiple vehicles, some with signs that said “Defund. Abolish.” and “Defund police, invest in community.”

The first night of protests began around 6 p.m. Wednesday near Union Station with a march along downtown streets before returning to Union Station around 11 p.m.

Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical worker, was fatally shot in her apartment early on March 13 by officers executing a search warrant, according to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron.

Sgt. Jonathan Mattingly and Detectives Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove were advised by superiors to knock and announce their presence in serving this specific search warrant, Cameron said.

Evidence from the Special Prosecution Unit’s investigation shows that officers both knocked and announced their presence at the apartment. The officers’ statements about their announcement are corroborated by an independent witness who was near in proximity to Taylor’s apartment, Cameron said.

When officers were unable to get anyone to answer or open the door to the apartment, the decision was made to breach the door. After breaching the door, Mattingly was the first, and only officer, to enter the residence, Cameron said.

Mattingly identified two individuals standing beside one another at the end of the hall, a male and female. In his statement, Mattingly said the male was holding a gun, arms extended, in a shooting stance, Cameron said.

Mattingly saw the man’s gun fire, heard a “boom,” and immediately knew he was shot as a result of feeling heat in his upper thigh, Cameron said.

Kenneth Walker, Taylor’s boyfriend, fired the shot that hit Mattingly, Cameron said.

Walker admitted firing one shot and was the first to shoot, Cameron said.

Mattingly returned fire down the hallway, firing six shots. Almost simultaneously, Cosgrove, also in the doorway area, shot 16 times, all in a matter of seconds, Cameron said.

Hankison fired his weapon 10 times, including from outside a sliding glass door and through a bedroom window, Cameron said.

Some bullets traveled through apartment four and into apartment three, before some exited that apartment. At the time, three residents of apartment three were at home, including a man, a pregnant woman and a child, Cameron said.

The investigation found that Mattingly and Cosgrove were justified in their use of force, after having been fired upon by Walker, Cameron said.

Kentucky State Police and FBI ballistics analysis reached different conclusions, creating a reasonable doubt in the evidence about who fired the fatal shot.

Hankison was indicted by a Jefferson County grand jury on three counts of wanton endangerment, a Class D felony. Mattingly and Cosgrove were not charged.

Hankison was fired by the LMPD on June 23, 2020

The warrant used to search Taylor’s apartment was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.

“Breonna Taylor was sleeping when police raided her apartment and killed her,” Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Burbank, tweeted Thursday. “She deserves justice.

“Breonna — and all Black Americans — deserve a system of policing that prioritizes justice and dignity over fear and bigotry, so a tragedy like this never happens again.”

Taylor’s family received a $12 million settlement payment from Louisville.

“I am completely mortified that our criminal justice system has failed Breonna Taylor, her family and friends, and frankly, it has failed our country,” said Black Lives Matter founder and Executive Director Patrisse Cullors, who is based in Los Angeles.

“We are going to continue the work that we have started in the name of Breonna Taylor and countless Black lives cut short at the hands of police brutality, systemic racism and white supremacy.

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Dana Hills hires ex-Mater Dei, Corona del Mar player Trevor Gladych as boys water polo coach

Dana Hills High’s new boys water polo coach will be drawing from an array of experience in and outside of the pool.

The South Coast League contender has hired former Mater Dei and Corona del Mar player Trevor Gladych as its coach, replacing veteran Matt Rosa.

Gladych, 31, played collegiate club water polo and earned a law degree from Georgetown and a screenwriting degree from Loyola Marymount.

He played club water polo at Villanova for coach Dan Sharadin, his top coaching mentor and a key figure in the rise of the College Water Polo Association in the eastern U.S.

Gladych red-shirted for Loyola Marymount’s men’s water polo team.

He has coached and taught the past five years at Saint Francis in Mountain View.

Gladych inherits a team that has been chasing San Clemente the past few seasons in the South Coast League but remained among the top programs in Orange County.

Rosa resigned after 17 seasons in November to spend more time with his family. The Dolphins qualified for the playoffs the past 13 seasons under Rosa, highlighted by a CIF-SS Division 2 runner-up finish to Foothill in 2015.

Gladych praised Rosa for his coaching and the character he instilled in players. He views water polo as the vehicle to achieve character goals.

“The boys at Dana Hills are phenomenal,” Gladych said. “I could not be more excited.”

Gladych will serve as a walk-on coach and be assisted by Kenny Yamamoto.

Gladych also works as a paralegal and a counselor with “Admissions Buddy”, a service for college-bound students. He said he aspires to start a club water polo program.

His brother, Ryan, was a standout center at Mater Dei and played at Brown.

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Suspected Southern California drug traffickers charged, arrested in operations targeting ‘darknet’ sales

LOS ANGELES — Federal officials announced a crackdown Tuesday on an alleged Los Angeles-based drug trafficking ring that they said distributed methamphetamine and other narcotics to thousands of customers in at least 35 states and numerous countries around the world via hidden darknet websites.

Prosecutors said the organization used online names such as “Stealthgod” to sell meth and MDMA — known as ecstasy or molly — on multiple darknet marketplaces. Investigators alleged the crew has been linked to more than 18,000 illicit drug sales to buyers throughout the globe.

An alleged meth trafficker who was a key supplier to the organization is being sought after being charged last week in Los Angeles federal court. Earlier this year, five other alleged members of the narcotics ring were arrested on federal charges, and authorities made substantial seizures of narcotics and cryptocurrency during the probe, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

“These online black market websites use a variety of technologies, including the Tor network and other encryption technologies, to ensure that communications and transactions are shielded from interception and monitoring,” according to court documents filed last week in Los Angeles. “A famous dark web marketplace, Wall Street Market, operated similar to legitimate commercial websites such as Amazon and eBay, but offered illicit goods and services in exchange for virtual currencies, such as bitcoin.”

During an operation earlier this year, members of Los Angeles Joint Criminal Opioid and Darknet Enforcement — JCODE — executed search warrants that led to the seizure of more than 60 parcels containing narcotics that were ready to be shipped across the country, prosecutors said.

Andres Bermudez of Palmdale, 37, who allegedly was the key supplier of meth to the crew, is currently a fugitive being sought by federal authorities, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

During takedowns in Los Angeles in February, members of JCODE arrested five defendants allegedly at the center of the “Stealthgod” organization and seized about 120 pounds of meth, seven kilograms of ecstasy, and five firearms.

The five defendants arrested on federal charges are:

–Teresa McGrath, 34, of Sunland-Tujunga, who allegedly delivered dozens of narcotics-laden packages to a post office in Sunland;–Rane Melkom, 35, of Sunland-Tujunga, who shared a residence with McGrath where authorities allegedly seized more than 50 pounds of meth, nearly 15 pounds of ecstasy, about 30,000 Adderall pills, cash, and three loaded handguns;–Mark Chavez, 41, of downtown Los Angeles, whose bedroom allegedly yielded nearly 40 pounds of methamphetamine and two handguns during a search in February;–Matthew Ick, 51, of downtown Los Angeles, who is linked in court papers to a narcotics shipment to the organization; and–Thomas Olayvar, 43, of downtown Los Angeles, who allegedly was involved in the shipment of narcotics through the United States Postal Service.

McGrath has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to distribute methamphetamine and MDMA, possession of a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking, and cryptocurrency money laundering, admitting that over the course of about six months she received $161,916 in bitcoin and helped disburse this money to her co-conspirators, prosecutors said.

Chavez has pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute meth and ecstasy, as well as possessing a firearm in furtherance of drug trafficking.

McGrath and Chavez are scheduled to be sentenced next year, when each will face up to 15 years in federal prison.

Melkom, Ick, and Olayvar face various narcotics charges and are scheduled to go on trial next year in downtown Los Angeles.

In addition to the Stealthgod cases, federal prosecutors in Los Angeles have filed cases against other alleged darknet narcotics traffickers and those who help them convert bitcoin into gold or similar currencies. For example:

Kais Mohammad, 36, of Yorba Linda, was scheduled to plead guilty Thursday to federal charges stemming from the operation of 17 bitcoin kiosks across Southern California. In his plea agreement, Mohammad admitted that he knew that at least one of his clients was engaged in illicit activity on the dark web.

Earlier this year, three people linked to the online moniker “Aeirla” were sentenced to federal prison for conspiring to distribute meth and cocaine to customers who negotiated transactions on the darkweb. Those defendants are:

–Anh Pham, 49, of Hawaiian Gardens, who was sentenced to 80 months in federal prison;–Joseph Michael Gifford, 43, of La Crescenta, who was sentenced to three years’ imprisonment; and–Carlos Miguel Gallardo, 60, of Hawaiian Gardens, who was sentenced to serve 18 months in federal prison.

Pham sold pound quantities of meth on the darknet, while Gifford and Gallardo packaged them in toys — a beach ball, and boxes of Christmas cards and chocolates — and shipped them to customers nationwide.

Five defendants are scheduled to be tried in October 2021 in Los Angeles on various narcotics trafficking charges that allege they used the monikers “Drugpharmacist” and “RickandMortyShop” to sell cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and crack cocaine on Wall Street Market and another darknet marketplace called Dream.

Members of the conspiracy allegedly shipped narcotics in small vials concealed inside stuffed animals. The defendants scheduled to go on trial are: Jerrell Eugene Anderson, 30, of Inglewood; Christopher Canion Van Holton, 33, of Valencia; Adan Sepulveda, 28, of Lancaster; Kenneth Lashawn Hadley, 33, of Lancaster; and Jackie Walter Burns, 22, of Lancaster.

Anderson and Sepulveda face a charge of distribution of heroin resulting in death in relation to a shipment of heroin to a customer in Knoxville, Tennessee, who suffered a fatal overdose.

Kunal Kalra, 26, of Westwood, was sentenced in March to 18 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal narcotics and anti-money laundering charges related to his unlicensed money transmitting business that he used to exchange virtual currency for cash for darknet vendors. Prosecutors said this was the first federal case in the nation charging an unlicensed money remitting business that used a bitcoin kiosk.

A father and his son who distributed meth on the darknet using monikers such “Quartersandup” and “Colsandersdream” were sentenced to federal prison last year. William Glarner III, 65, of Huntington Beach, was convicted at trial and sentenced to 15 years. His son, William Glarner IV, 35, of Irvine, pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 years.

Tyler Reeves, a 30-year-old Irvine man who sold narcotics on the now-defunct Wall Street Market darknet site, was sentenced last year to 10 years in federal prison.

“Through the outstanding efforts of the JCODE Task Force, we have been able to unmask those hiding on the darknet, bringing to justice a wide array of criminals, including those operating online marketplaces, laundering cryptocurrency, and spreading drugs around the world,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said. “My prosecutors and their JCODE partners will continue to rein in illegal dark web activities by disrupting other traffickers and those who help them access their illicit cryptocurrency.”

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