Working together to better prepare California for the threat of wildfires

Governor Newsom last month declared a wildfire state of emergency in California. The governor’s action’s followed a Cal Fire report that more than half of the state’s wildlands – 25 million acres – face a very high or extreme fire threat, placing hundreds of nearby communities at risk.

At the same time, the United States Senate is considering a disaster relief package that will send federal dollars to states that have suffered from hurricanes, wildfires, flooding and other natural disasters. California will claim a big chunk of this money following the most disastrous and deadly wildfire season ever. And the underlying cause is climate change.

It’s because of climate change that wildfires are growing worse and worse. But make no mistake: we can’t wait for the world to reduce emissions to address our wildfire problem. We must rethink our approach to fighting these blazes now – lives depend on it.

Throughout my career in public service, I’ve seen firsthand the devastating effects wildfires have on communities. But the fires we’re seeing now are different. They’re moving faster, burning hotter and leaving less behind than anything we’ve experienced before.

The recent Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history. It killed 85 people, destroyed nearly 14,000 homes and burned more than 150,000 acres. That fire spread as fast as 80 acres per minute, according to some estimates.

Nine of the state’s 20 most destructive wildfires have occurred in the last five years. Last year, a record 1.8 million acres burned in California, displacing hundreds of thousands of people and leading to billions in damage. This isn’t normal.

Increasingly deadly wildfires are the result of decades of inaction on climate change. In fact, the latest National Climate Assessment found the number of acres burned in the western United States over the past 30 years is double what would have burned if the climate wasn’t changing.

As temperatures continue to rise and precipitation patterns grow more unpredictable, the problem will only grow worse. Dealing with this challenge demands an all-of-the-above approach, even if some solutions aren’t universally popular. It’s also going to require more cooperation between federal, state and local governments and the private sector.

This doesn’t mean clearcutting our forests. Or that we should abandon landmark environmental laws like the Endangered Species Act. But it does mean we need to move more aggressively to rid our forests of dead trees and thick undergrowth before they fuel the next deadly wildfire. We need to follow the best scientific guidance there is to make our forests more resilient for the coming years.

There are 130 million dead trees in California’s forests, the result of both the historic drought and bark beetle populations that are thriving as temperatures warm. A single spark in the middle of those dead trees can lead to an inferno.

The federal government must step up its efforts to remove those trees. Nearly 60% of California’s forests are on federal land, compared to just 3% on state land. However, 71% of the acres burned in California over the last 10 years have been on federal land.

Congress has provided the Forest Service with new tools and additional flexibility to tackle the problem, but fires don’t stop at state and federal boundaries. That is why I recently met with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to discuss how we can improve coordination across land jurisdictions. We both agreed that joint federal and state action is necessary.

Together we need to expand the use and increase the size of firebreaks, gaps in vegetation between forests and homes that prevent wildfires from spreading into our communities.

We need to expand markets for timber and wood products from California’s forests, including innovative solutions such as cross-laminated timber. Biomass energy generation also must be expanded, which would not only help remove overgrowth from the forests but could also provide a sustainable energy source for California’s homes and businesses.

One area that other states have had success is reintroducing prescribed fires into the ecosystem. California already does this, but we could combine mechanical thinning, the installation of fuel breaks, hardening of infrastructure and creating defensible spaces, with prescribed fires to create more fire-resilient communities.

We also need to make sure California has the necessary assets to respond to fires. Last year, I secured seven C-130 air tankers from the Air Force for Cal Fire, giving California the largest aerial firefighting fleet in the world. These planes will help Cal Fire aggressively contain wildfires before they threaten communities.

We should also invest in safer power transmission lines and other methods to harden infrastructure and in advanced detection systems to identify wildfires sooner.

While California has requirements for defensible space around at-risk homes, incentives could be provided for homeowners to use fire-safe building materials.

The federal government could also increase support for outreach efforts, so that risks and mitigation strategies are communicated to vulnerable individuals and communities.

Ultimately, we must face the reality that rising temperatures will increase the risk of wildfires. None of these actions will completely protect us from fire. But we can and should prepare for this future now. As recent tragedies have demonstrated, lives depend on it.

Dianne Feinstein represents California in the United States Senate

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Stagecoach 2019: How to see the festival on Instagram and Instagram Stories

The 2019 Stagecoach Country Music Festival is back this weekend and we’re ready to put on our cowboy boots on and listen to Sam Hunt at the Empire Polo Club.

Sign up for our Festival Pass newsletter. Whether you are a Coachella lifer or prefer to watch from afar, get weekly dispatches during the Southern California music festival season. Subscribe here.

From the gate opening on Friday to Diplo’s first-ever Stagecoach after-party Sunday night, we’ll be covering it on Instagram and Instagram stories.

We’ll get all the vintage fashion, Guy Fieri’s Stagecoach Smoke House and boomerangs of line dancing, plus a little behind-the-scenes action now and then.

We’ll be covering Stagecoach with great photos and articles all weekend on our website, but following us on Instagram is the best way to feel like you’re at the festival without the dust and the heat exhaustion.

Follow orangecountyregister on Instagram here.

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Dodgers in a dilemma as Joe Kelly continues to struggle

CHICAGO — The Dodgers broke from their established practice by signing a setup reliever to a big free-agent contract last offseason, expecting Joe Kelly to pitch in high-leverage situations for them.

That hasn’t worked out well so far.

Kelly has allowed runs in seven of his first 10 appearances with the Dodgers for an ERA of 9.82. Opposing batters are hitting .367 (18 for 49) with a .633 slugging percentage against him, thanks to four doubles and three home runs.

Asked if he might need to use Kelly in less critical situations until his performance improves, Dodgers manager Dave Roberts didn’t give a direct answer.

“I think there’s some value in giving guys opportunities to have success and gain some confidence,” he said. “But I really don’t think Joe’s confidence has wavered. I think he’s very frustrated and upset with himself – which I like in a player. I don’t think he doubts his own ability.

“But, to your question, I’m going to put him in positions that I feel give him the best chance to have success.”

Roberts also said he does not think there is a physical issue – like poor mechanics – at the root of Kelly’s problems. And he has repeatedly said “the stuff is good” when asked about Kelly’s struggles. Kelly’s fastball has averaged 97 mph this season, down slightly from last year’s 98.5 mph with the Boston Red Sox.

“For me, and I’ve talked to Joe about this, it’s misexecution and I just don’t think the sequencing piece is where it should be,” Roberts said. “I don’t want to go too deep into that. But there’s a predictability piece of things that when you have weapons like Joe has, to not be as dynamic in a sequence in an at-bat, I think you’re doing yourself a disservice. You’re minimizing your margin for error. I think that’s what’s happening to him in these 10, 11 appearances.

“I just think a lot of it comes down to misexecution and sequencing.”

Roberts would not blame Dodgers catchers for their pitch selection causing the sequencing issues.

“That’s on all of us,” Roberts said. “He has the ball. The catcher has the fingers. But I manage this club. We have a pitching coach. So it’s on all of us to take the responsibility to put him in the best position to have success. These are conversations that we’re continuing to have. I expect it to get significantly better, I really do.”

Closer Kenley Jansen has his own amateur psychologist’s explanation for Kelly’s early-season slump.

“To me – (World Series) hangover,” Jansen said.

As Jansen found out the past two seasons, it’s difficult to come off the intensity of a World Series run and then manufacture the same intensity for games the following April and May.

“I see myself last year,” Jansen said.

FOR OPENERS

The Dodgers have vowed to limit Julio Urias’ workload, control the situations in which he is used and then give him multiple days off following multi-inning appearances.

Sounds like a perfect candidate to be an ‘opener.’

“It’s a thought,” Roberts said before admitting the Dodgers’ decision-makers have not discussed it. “I don’t know what effect that has. If he does open, how long is he going to pitch, when is he going to be able to pitch the next time? Obviously that’s contingent on how long he goes. Is he going to go an inning, is it two innings?

“I don’t think we’ve really considered that. But it’s a good thought.”

Those same questions apply if the Dodgers continue to use him the way they did Tuesday in his first appearance out of the bullpen this season. Roberts brought Urias in to replace starter Kenta Maeda with the Dodgers trailing 6-1 Tuesday night. But by using him as an opener – with another starter like Maeda following him in “piggy-back” fashion – the Dodgers could assure Urias pitches in, at worst, a 0-0 game.

Using him with the team down as it was Tuesday “is not going to be the norm,” Roberts said.

Roberts said Urias’ demeanor and warmup routine – despite major shoulder surgery in 2017 – do not require any special handling.

“He is just so confident in his ability, No. 1, and the way he feels. There’s no anxiety,” Roberts said. “Him knowing he’s available to pitch that day, now he’s a regular reliever.”

Using Urias as an opener with Maeda following him would create another problem. Maeda’s contract is heavily weighted with bonuses, including a potential $6.5 million for games started.

ALSO

Left-hander Rich Hill threw a bullpen session Thursday and is on track to make his season debut Sunday against the Pittsburgh Pirates. …

Shortstop Corey Seager was not in the starting lineup for the day game Thursday after a night game Wednesday. In his first month since returning from hip and elbow surgeries last year, the Dodgers had a plan to manage Seager’s workload.

“To kind of have a plan of how you want to manage him and whether he’s swinging the bat well or not, we’ve managed to stay the course with that,” Roberts said. …

UP NEXT

Pirates (RHP Chris Archer, 1-1, 2.74 ERA) at Dodgers (LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu, 2-1, 3.10 ERA), 7:10 p.m. Friday, SportsNet LA (where available), AM 570

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Drummond: Field for Orange County congressional seat includes a Yorba Linda leader

Several of Yorba Linda’s elected leaders are backing Councilwoman Peggy Huang’s bid to run against a Democratic incumbent and win back an Orange County congressional seat for the GOP next year.

City Council colleagues Tara Campbell, Beth Haney, Gene Hernandez and Carlos Rodriguez – all Republicans – have endorsed Huang’s candidacy in the March 2020 primary election.

Also in Huang’s corner are Yorba Linda residents Ryan Bent, elected in 2016 to represent most of the city on the North Orange County Community College District board of trustees, and Brett Barbre, elected in 2018 to a sixth term on the county Municipal Water District board.

Bent also is president of the city’s Library Commission, and Barbre is president of the water board, an appointed member of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California board and assistant general manager of the Yorba Linda Water District.

However, Huang’s Yorba Linda supporters won’t be able to vote for her, since Yorba Linda is in the 39th Congressional District, and Huang is running in the 45th Congressional District. (Members of Congress aren’t required to live in the district they represent.)

The 39th District, represented by Yorba Linda resident Gil Cisneros, a Democrat who defeated Republican Young Kim for the seat vacated by Ed Royce last year, includes Brea, Buena Park, Fullerton, La Habra, Placentia, Yorba Linda and cities in Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties.

The 45th District is all in Orange County and includes Irvine, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Tustin, Villa Park and parts of Anaheim and Orange.

Other announced GOP candidates in the 45th District primary are second-term council members Don Sedgwick of Laguna Hills and Greg Raths of Mission Viejo.

Democrat Katie Porter, a UC Irvine law professor, defeated two-term GOP incumbent Mimi Walters for the seat last year, winning 52.1 percent to 47.9 percent. The district’s current registration percentages: 35.7% Republican, 30.7% Democratic and 29.5% no party preference.

The 39th District registration percentages: 33.8% Democratic, 32.7% Republican and 29.4% no party preference. Cisneros beat Kim 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent last year, with Kim edging Cisneros in Orange and San Bernardino counties and Cisneros winning in Los Angeles County.

In 2016, Hillary Clinton won the 39th by 8.6 percent and the 45th by 5.4 percent. GOP governor candidate John Cox won the 39th by 0.8 percent and the 45th by 1.2 percent in 2018.

Huang won a Yorba Linda council seat in 2014 and was re-elected in 2018, placing first each time. Her 2018 vote – 18,764 – is a historic high for the city’s council elections.

A state deputy attorney general, Huang was elected to the county Republican Central Committee representing Brea, La Habra, Placentia and Yorba Linda in 2012 and re-elected in 2016. She’s first vice chair of the 61-member official party organization.

 

Jim Drummond is a longtime Yorba Linda resident. He gives his opinion on local issues weekly. Send e-mail to jimdrummond@hotmail.com.

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40,000 acres of nearly unknown Orange County wilderness are managed by nearly 600 volunteers

  • A mountain biking group takes a break at The Sinks in Limestone Canyon. The three people on the right are Irvine Ranch Conservancy docents. From far right to left: Sharon Aspinwall, Jeff Bleck and Christian Lutkemeyer.

  • Bob Aleman of Fullerton rockets up a hill in Limestone Canyon during an Irvine Ranch Conservancy outing.

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  • Lynn Bixen of Palm Desert checks out The Sinks during an Irvine Conservancy led ride.

  • Christian Lutkemeyer, 52, of Irvine, left, makes sure everyone in his group is doing well after a tough uphill climb.

  • Lynn Bixen of Palm Springs gets up close to the aptly named DrippingSprings near Limestone Canyon in South Orange County.

  • Lindsay Whiting makes it to the top of Dripping Cave Trail during a recent Irvine Conservancy ride.

  • Emerging from Dripping Springs requires careful walking with recent explosions of poison oak.

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Psst, there’s a pristine paradise in Southern California nearly the size of Bryce Canyon National Park and even more spectacular, yet it’s a good bet you’ve never been there.

I, too, skipped much of the area until recently and I’m a fan of the outdoors.

Still, a crowd-free backcountry isn’t the most amazing thing about this little-known land that covers more than 40,000 acres. The truly impressive thing is that most of the operation is run by nearly 600 regular volunteers.

That’s right. An army of mini-philanthropists makes possible the lean — and often misunderstood — nonprofit known as the Irvine Ranch Conservancy.

The conservancy doesn’t own land, but it definitely manages it and the conservancy’s mission is to create partnerships of opportunity to enjoy and nurture the natural world.

With a superbloom of flora in full swing, now is the perfect time to get outdoors and hike, ride or run such wonders as Buck Gully in Newport Beach, Bommer Canyon in Irvine, The Sinks in Limestone Canyon.

All you have to do is jump on LetsGoOutside.org and sign up for any of the hundreds of activities and outings. There’s even a native species seed farm for people who like to garden.

Oh, yes, you’ll be interested in at least one more thing. Everything is free.

Wildland stewardship

It’s a cool Sunday morning in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains and mustard flowers light up the hills in a blaze of yellow.

With a dozen mountain bikers and five mountain biking docents, we chug up Hicks Haul Road just north of the 241 Toll Road.

We huff and puff to the top of a ridge and gaze at the cerulean sea, Catalina Island and everything in between. Just below, the big orange balloon at the Great Park glows in sunlight. To the west, the Santa Monica Mountains break the horizon.

Lead docent Christian Lutkemeyer counts heads. We are sweaty, but intact. Next, we fly down a fire road and swoop through a forest of old sycamores and ancient oaks.

Lutkemeyer shares that being a docent has grown to become an integral part of his life. He teaches the organization’s mountain bike skills class, leads several rides a month and reports there is both mutual respect and appreciation between paid staff and volunteers.

But more than anything, Lutkemeyer likes being a part of wilderness stewardship.

“You couldn’t see this in any national park,” he points out. “There would be too many visitors. This is like a private national park experience.”

But don’t think that Lutkemeyer doesn’t juggle a host of other important things — like career and family. At Inphi in Irvine, he is senior technical director and with his wife helps raise two children, ages 13 and 15.

Still, being a docent is special. “It’s a stable, friendly community. There are so many different things you can do and it keeps people in shape by staying active.”

Lutkemeyer also is quick to point out he came late to mountain biking and suggests it’s never too late for others. For awhile, he rode a simple bicycle to work on Irvine’s paved paths. Finally, he bought a proper mountain bike.

Then one day he signed up for a ride and it appeared there wasn’t a docent. Almost immediately, Lutkemeyer decided that he could help ensure rides happen as planned. Fortunately, the conservancy teaches how to lead rides.

You might want to be wary, however, of at least one of Lutkemeyer’s tips: “Mountain biking is a low-impact sport.”

With a wink, he adds, “Unless you fall.”

Shooting down myths

I’ll confess that I used to dislike everything I knew about the Irvine Ranch Conservancy. But that was before I knew anything about the Irvine Ranch Conservancy.

I heard rumors that it’s impossible to sign up for anything because those in the know get first dibs. Wrong.

I heard LetsGoOutside.org mountain bike rides are really only for super-tough, super-fast docents. That’s nuts.

I heard docents are controlling. Untrue.

Riding with Lutkemeyer and company was like riding on your own — but with a wingman.

Michael O’Connell has served as executive director of the Irvine Ranch Conservancy since its inception in 2005 and isn’t shy about describing what’s become his life’s work.

“This landscape is national park quality,” he points out, echoing Lutkemeyer. And O’Connell has the bona fides to back up his claim.

Much of the land is protected in perpetuity, publicly owned and a state and national landmark, O’Connell points out. Yet he happily acknowledges that’s not what makes the 40,000 acres so amazing.

What’s amazing is standing on a bluff in Fremont Canyon and watching five deer graze. It’s kicking it with amateur astronomers and seeing the rings of Saturn. It’s watching wee ones learn about land stewardship from an expert who cares.

With a master’s degree in conservation biology from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, as well as a background working with the international Nature Conservancy and the World Wildlife Fund, O’Connell explains the key to his philosophy is connectivity.

Rather than having wilderness managed by individual entities — and, remember, there are more than 35 separate governmental jurisdictions in Orange County — O’Connell offers wildlands are better off with a cohesive vision.

To that end, the Irvine Ranch Conservancy isn’t only about Irvine. It’s a partnership that includes managing parts of Irvine, Newport Beach and the county.

“Cities know how to manage groomed parks,” O’Connell explains, “but natural wildland open space requires a level of expertise that most governments don’t have.”

Still, O’Connell isn’t satisfied with the conservancy’s current success. He understands just looking at open space when you drive soothes the soul. And he wants to take the next step.

“We have pristine land that’s within a half-hour drive for more than 3.5 million people,” the CEO points out. “The future is figuring out ways to bring nature to those people as well.”

In the meantime, let’s ride.

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Pop-Up Disney: You can take selfies in Mickey Mouse themed rooms at Downtown Disney, but it will cost you

A new social media-centric exhibit dedicated to selfie-obsessed millennials puts visitors at the center of every work of art and lets them take photos of themselves in front of colorful Disney backdrops crying out to be snapped, grammed and tweeted.

The Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibit debuts Friday, April 26, inside the former ESPN Zone at the Downtown Disney outdoor shopping mall just outside the gates of Disneyland, the most Instagrammed place on earth.

The limited-time pop-up experience features Mickey and Minnie themed rooms filled with selfie-worthy photo ops. The admission fee ranges from $30 to $38 depending on the day and time of your visit.

During a press preview on Wednesday, each room of the Pop-Up Disney exhibit in Anaheim was filled with social media influencers snapping selfies in every direction. With every step, you had to be careful not to walk in front of someone’s personal photo shoot.

“It’s very Instagram worthy,” said Tisha Kay, a lifestyle influencer from Los Angeles who grams at @teamsparkle. “I go to a lot of pop-ups and this one is overwhelmingly beautiful. I wish I could stay in each room all day and change my outfit 10 times.”

Disney will pulse groups of about 20 visitors through the reservation-only exhibit every 10 to 15 minutes. Tickets must be purchased online in advance. Friday’s grand opening is sold out.

  • Sean Oliu, left, of Anaheim and Will Simmons of Fullerton take a selfie with Mickey in one of the themed rooms at the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Rylie Gin, 5, of Tustin spends a little quiet time at the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Celeste Wright, 4, of Pasadena enjoys an over-sized lollipop as she strolls through the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration store at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Rachel Porter of Culver City takes a selfie as she enters the first room at the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Sean Oliu, 17, of Anaheim checks out the balloons at the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Karen Hickman of Torrance takes a selfie in front of a painting of Mickey Mouse at the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Selina Kaye, right, does a little dance as her friend Todd Pickering of mousePlanet take a video at the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Visitors walk through the preview the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. The exhibition features themed rooms and photo-op locations commemorating 90 years of Mickey Mouse. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Jess Gochman of Los Angeles blows Mickey Mouse a kiss as she enjoys the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Miriam Gin of Tustin sits next to a painting of Mickey Mouse of Fantasia at the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Influencers get together for a photo at the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • A sculpture of Mickey Mouse is on display in one of the themed rooms at the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Lili Cruz of New York poses for a photo with help of a friend in one of the themed rooms at the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. Cruz had flown in especially for the preview. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Todd Pickering, left, of mousePlanet and Selina Kaye have some fun getting their photo taken at the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Tisha Kay reacts as she listens to audio of Mickey Mouse as she waits to enter the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

  • Jess Gochman of Los Angeles gets into the Steamboat Willie scene at the Pop-Up Disney! A Mickey Celebration exhibition at Downtown Disney in Anaheim on Wednesday, April 24, 2019. The exhibition features themed rooms and photo op location commemorating 90 years of Mickey Mouse. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

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Dominique Astorino called the Pop-Up Disney exhibit an “Instagrammers paradise.”

“All of this is basically geared toward and built for social media,” Astorino said. “It’s very viral, very shareable, very millennial.”

The Mickey Mouse exhibit reinterprets the 90-year-old icon for a modern audience.

“We wanted to bring a really contemporary point of view that would resonate with the young audiences,” Disneyland creative director Susana Tubert said.

The goal: Create an immersive and interactive experience that’s playful and creative.

“This is about taking pictures, this is about creating art,” Disneyland show director Jordan Peterson said. “You’re going to get a lot of time to spend in each of these rooms to kind of interpret the room how you want to. Show off the art and how you see it and how you see yourself reflected in Mickey.”

The exhibit is designed to appeal to Instagrammers and influencers looking for the perfect “art selfie” as well as families who want a fun photo aboard the “Plane Crazy” airplane or on Minnie’s bow-shaped couch.

“The experience will change based on who you are.” Peterson said. “When you come in here, we’re giving you the opportunity to play, to explore and to take one of our most beloved icons and really deconstruct it into your own version of art.”

Pop-Up Disney: Selfie Gallery of Social Media Influencers

  • Social media influencer Rachel Porter (@rachelhporter) at the Pop-Up Disney exhibit in Downtown Disney.

  • Social media influencer Cindy Bautista (@cindyrelly._) at the Pop-Up Disney exhibit in Downtown Disney.

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  • Social media influencer Tisha Kay (@teamsparkle) at the Pop-Up Disney exhibit in Downtown Disney.

  • Social media influencer Jess Gochman (@shophouseofmouse) at the Pop-Up Disney exhibit in Downtown Disney.

  • Social media influencer Andi Sakowski (@andisakowski) at the Pop-Up Disney exhibit in Downtown Disney.

  • Social media influencer Selina Kaye (@selinakaye) and Todd Pickering at the Pop-Up Disney exhibit in Downtown Disney.

  • Social media influencer Emily Gudino (@emillyelizabeth) at the Pop-Up Disney exhibit in Downtown Disney.

  • Social media influencers Will Simmons (@bigwillsimmons) and Sean Oliu (@sean_oliu) at the Pop-Up Disney exhibit in Downtown Disney.

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The art exhibit-meets-photo op is part of a year-long celebration of Mickey and Minnie’s 90th “birthday.” The world-famous animated mice, who share a “last” name but have never married, were “born” on Nov. 18, 1928, the release date of the “Steamboat Willie” animated short film.

“It’s an ode to the love of Mickey,” Tubert said. “It’s a tribute to different aspects of the character.”

Mickey shows up in many styles, forms and mediums throughout the selfie museum.

“Every room, as you go through, has been influenced not only by the mouse himself, but by the way that art would interpret that mouse,” Peterson said.

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The visually and whimsically immersive pop-up experience will feature selfie-worthy Mickey and Minnie themed rooms with vivid displays.

A black-and-white backdrop of the “Plane Crazy” cartoon short puts you in the passenger seat of a prop plane flown by Mickey Mouse as Minnie parachutes to Earth with the help of her ballooned pantaloons.

Hundreds of black-and-white Steamboat Willie plush dolls cover a wall of the “It All Started With a Mouse” room — along with one Hidden Minnie.

“I can guarantee you some of our biggest social media players are going to come and dress purely black and white and then head into that black-and-white room,” Peterson said. “They’re going to pop in crazy, intense, fantastic ways.”

The “Mickey’s Friendships” room features artistic interpretations of the famous mouse by his equally famous friends. Minnie’s painting renders Mickey in pastel pinks and blues. Chip and Dale created a Mickey sculpture out of acorns. Goofy did a Jackson Pollock-like splatter painting of his best bud.

“We allowed different art styles to influence each room,” Peterson said.

The Mirror Mickey in the neon-lit and mirror-lined “Forever Mickey” room drew the longest lines of selfie-obsessed fans looking to snap a shot with the platinum mouse.

The darkened “Sorcerer Mickey” room offered a brief respite from the photo-crazy rooms in the rest of the exhibit. The Chernabog demon from “Night on Bald Mountain” lurked on one wall. Spaceman Mickey floated through the stars on another.

The Disney design team built in several lower-key transition rooms to serve as “palette cleansers” in between the higher-energy showrooms with theatrical lighting and booming soundtracks. One dimly lit transition hallway featured an undulating ceiling of Mickey ear hats, mirrored walls and streaks of white lights.

One of the final rooms lets visitors step inside an 8-foot-tall Mickey ear-shaped red balloon to get their picture taken amid a colorful bouquet of balloons floating above the clouds. A nearby wall lined with Disneyland snack foods like Mickey ear pretzels and ice cream bars was a popular place for selfies.

“We wanted to make sure that every everywhere you turned feels uniquely Disney,” Peterson said.

The Disney design team looked for locations inside Disneyland and Disney California Adventure but eventually decided the Downtown Disney spot was the best location for the Pop-Up Disney exhibit. Being outside the gates allowed the Disney artists to interpret Mickey in a more irreverent tone than the strict design rules allow inside the theme parks.

“We got to play with style and art and form really for the first time ever,” Peterson said.

The new art exhibition celebrating the 90th birthdays of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse hops on the latest trend of Instagram museums. Selfie-obsessed millennials have flocked to photo-centric pop-up museums focusing on topics like ice cream, pizza, candy and eggs and themes like happiness, dreams and colors.

The Downtown Disney pop-up show follows a much larger Mickey Mouse art exhibit in New York City. The 16,000-square-foot Mickey: The True Original exhibition featured historic and contemporary art work inspired by the famous mouse.

Mickey and Minnie will be everywhere this year at the Disneyland Resort as part of the World’s Biggest Mouse Party. The push is part of a year-long birthday celebration that includes shows, parades, seasonal events, food and merchandise at Disneyland, Disney California Adventure and Downtown Disney.

Admission to the Downtown Disney event includes 5 hours of parking at Downtown Disney. An attached gift shop will sell Pop-Up Disney clothing, tumblers, popcorn buckets and other themed merchandise. Your Pop-Up Disney ticket entitles you to buy specialty Mickey-shaped treats at Marceline’s Confectionery in the mall.

Note: You can find more Pop-Up Disney photos from the social media influencers in our “Selfie Gallery” above at Rachel Porter (@rachelhporter), Cindy Bautista (@cindyrelly._), Tisha Kay (@teamsparkle), Jess Gochman (@shophouseofmouse), Andi Sakowski (@andisakowski), Selina Kaye (@selinakaye), Emily Gudino (@emillyelizabeth), Will Simmons (@bigwillsimmons) and Sean Oliu (@sean_oliu).

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Police chase suspect through Los Angeles and Orange counties

A suspect led police in a pursuit that started in South Gate and wound through parts of Los Angeles and Orange counties and other cities on Wednesday evening, April 24.

Officers were in pursuit of a light-colored sedan driven by a suspected domestic violence suspect. NBC4 reported that the suspect was seen assaulting a woman riding in the passenger seat.

From South Gate, he drove through Huntington Park, then took the eastbound 91 Freeway to the Long Beach-Norwalk area. He exited the freeway and traveled along side streets in Buena Park, Garden Grove and Anaheim, where police continued to chase the sedan as of 6:24 p.m.

Broadcast coverage of the chase showed the sedan ignoring red lights as he drove through crowded intersections.

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

City News Service contributed to this report.

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Abel Sanchez rips Gennady Golovkin after bitter split

Former middleweight champion Gennady Golovkin on Wednesday announced he had severed ties with longtime trainer Abel Sanchez, who was not happy and took verbal shots at Golovkin during a subsequent telephone conversation, indicating it was all about money.

Golovkin, 37, released a statement.

“I would like to announce that I have made a major decision for myself and for my career,” it began. “I want to build on what I have already achieved and continue to better myself. Therefore, I will not be training with Abel Sanchez. This was not an easy decision for me and it is not a reflection on Abel’s professional abilities. He is a great trainer, a loyal trainer, and a Hall of Fame trainer. I will be announcing my new trainer at a later date. But today, I want to thank Abel for the lessons he taught me in boxing.”

Sanchez began training Golovkin in 2010 in Big Bear. Sanchez, of West Covina, led Golovkin to the middleweight championship that year and a reign that lasted until September, when Golovkin lost his two belts to Canelo Alvarez via majority decision in Las Vegas.

Wednesday’s stunning move by Golovkin comes about six weeks after he signed a six-fight deal with DAZN, a sports streaming service heavily into boxing.

Sanchez, speaking by telephone Wednesday afternoon, was very unhappy.

“Unfortunately, it seems that things do not change in this business – greedy and ungrateful people and no honor,” Sanchez said. “He signs a $100 million contract and insults me with a number that my dignity and pride just won’t allow me to just take it or leave it on a crazy new number for a trainer pay-wise.”

Sanchez would not get into specific numbers on what Golovkin offered to pay him moving forward, other than to say it was a “substantial cut in pay.”

Sanchez said he had been getting the standard 10 percent from Golovkin, and that Golovkin was indeed offering far less than that.

Sanchez said he met with Golovkin more than once recently to discuss the situation.

“And I guess I didn’t come to terms, and he put out that piece today,” Sanchez said.

Golovkin’s promoter, Tom Loeffler, said he did not want to say on the record what he thinks about the situation. He did say, “It’s between them,” and praised Sanchez’s work with Golovkin.

“Abel led Gennady to one of the most dominant careers that we’ve seen in recent history in boxing,” said Loeffler, who said Golovkin respected the work Sanchez did with him.

Golovkin (38-1-1, 34 KOs), of Kazakhstan, will make his debut for DAZN when he takes on Steve Rolls (19-0, 10 KOs) of Canada on June 8 at Madison Square Garden.

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JamFest in Aliso Viejo will showcase live music and aerial arts performances

The public is invited to celebrate JamFest & Summer Camp Expo, on Friday, April 26, at Aliso Viejo Middle School. Free admission includes a concert by the Tricia Freeman Band, performances by the Aliso Viejo Middle School Jazz Band, rock wall climbing, face painting and aerial silk performances by Avanti Aerial Arts.

Attendees can indulge in gourmet eats from food trucks and learn about the city’s expanded summer camps. Make sure to bring blankets and lawn chairs to enjoy the performances. For more information, email recreation@avcity.org or call 949-425-2550.

IF YOU GO

When: 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday

Where: Aliso Viejo Middle School, 111 Park Avenue, Aliso Viejo

Information: 949-425-2550

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Titan Voice: Rock on, Titans — new students inspired, inspiring

By Fram Virjee

Cal State Fullerton president

Most, if not all of us have, at some point in our lives, secretly (or even openly) dreamed of seeing our name emblazoned on a stadium marquee; taking center stage in a packed arena; or hearing our voice echo off stadium walls. We dreamed of being, if for one fleeting moment, a rock star.

That dream and the attributes associated with its realization — God-given talent, never-ending tenacity, and groundbreaking vision — are so universally known, the term itself has become synonymous with excellence in any field.

While I personally have yet to achieve “rock star” status in any facet of my life (unless Great Dane wrestling can be considered worthy of that moniker), I did recently get to live out my boyhood dream of stepping to the mic in an arena packed with 10,000 plus people. Admittedly, a Fender wasn’t strapped to my chest and song did not burst forth from my lips (for good reason — I can’t play a lick or carry a tune), but it was everything I dreamed it would be and so much more.

It was the beginning of a transformative day made possible by the love, support, and dedication of the faculty, staff, and students of Cal State Fullerton.

It was the genesis of what will undoubtedly become a life-changing adventure for the students and families in attendance and an event that is fast-becoming one of my favorites of the year, second only to commencement, and even then by just a hair.

It was Welcome to Cal State University, Fullerton Day, on April 13. The annual program for newly admitted students and their families is a one-day showcase of our campus and provides an inclusive embrace to all prospective Titans by all current Titans.

As I stepped to the mic to kick off the festivities, any lingering boyhood dreams of rock stardom had long been replaced by my love and appreciation for the faculty, staff, and students whose work and dedication led me and so many others to the magic of that moment and day. So that is how I introduced the packed arena of prospective students and their loved ones to CSUF; through the lens of what those Titans are to me, each other, and anyone who looks to us as a beacon of opportunity and excellence: Titan family.

“That is not just something we say,” I shared into the mic, reveling in the kinetic energy of the crowd. “It is who we are, and by joining us today, you become an integral part of it.”

Given the guarded approach many prospective students and their families rightfully take during campus visits, I have no doubt that my “Titan family” assertion was greeted with some skepticism at that early morning hour. But after joining our all-hands-on-deck team of Titan faculty, staff, and students in facilitating every minute of this incredible day — from Financial Aid workshops and activity fairs to campus tours and future classmate connections — I know that by day’s end, any and all skepticism had given way to complete love for CSUF and a strong belief in the power of our Titan family. The data alone tells us that, with students accepting admission throughout the event, but based on the feedback I received from the students and their loved ones, what happened on this Welcome to CSUF Day transcends numbers and taps into the heart of what I was trying to say in my opening remarks.

“We are a family of faculty members who see you for your promise and dedicate their lives to empowering you to fulfill it,” I exclaimed to the prospective students, my lack of microphone prowess highlighted by a short squeal of feedback. “We are a family of staff members committed to providing you with equitable pathways to success. We are a family of student clubs and organizations devoted to welcoming you for who you are and inspiring you to reach higher. We are a family of alumni who will forever support you when we see those four letters — CSUF — next to your name, whether it be on your transcript, resume, job application, or T-shirt. Above all, we are a family that is not complete without you, our next generation of Titans.”

I paused after that last statement, allowing the breadth and power of our Titan family to sink in as the echo of my amplified words slowly faded into the cloudless Fullerton sky. Truth be told, that’s all they would have been — words — were it not for the faculty, staff, and students who breathe life into them not just on Welcome to CSUF Day, but every day.

And so I want to pause here too; to take a moment to thank everyone who volunteered, worked on, or simply attended Welcome to CSUF Day. You are the Titans who reach higher, showing up on a Saturday morning to proudly and impeccably present our campus to our communities. You are the manifestation of our strategic plan, instilling in our students an affinity for the university start to finish; from Welcome to CSUF Day to commencement day and beyond. You are the next generation of Titan students who will soon lead Cal State Fullerton and, in turn, lead Orange County, the state and nation.

You are the true “rock stars” of Cal State Fullerton, possessing all the referenced attributes synonymous with the moniker: God-given talent, never-ending tenacity, and groundbreaking vision. Sure, that may not put your name on any stadium marquees, but it will put nearly 13,000 names on college degrees when we fill Titan Stadium again next month.

That, Titan family, is music to my ears.

Rock on and Reach Higher.

Cal State Fullerton President Fram Virjee formerly served as the executive vice chancellor and general counsel of the California State University, as well as secretary to the CSU Board of Trustees. In March, he became the university’s sixth president, taking the permanent seat after a 14-month interim role. He and his wife, Julie, run Yambi Rwanda, a nonprofit organization in Rwanda that seeks to help overcome poverty and the trauma of genocide through education and opportunity.  

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