Alexander: Dodgers are favorites, but it’ll be harder than it looks

You want further proof that baseball’s Wild Card round is, well, just too darned wild?

Ask the manager that benefited from it the most. Milwaukee was the last team into MLB’s postseason tournament, and the 29-31 Brewers will be prohibitive underdogs beginning Wednesday night against the 43-17 Dodgers, who led baseball in runs scored (349), run differential (plus-136), home runs (118), team ERA (3.02) … shall we go on?

Asked during an off-day Zoom conference Monday how he felt about this year’s expanded format – let’s call them the Pandemic Playoffs – he didn’t exactly follow the script Commissioner Rob Manfred would have preferred.

“I think the playoff scenario is a good one this year because of the shortened season,” Craig Counsell began, but added: “I would advocate either less teams in a full season or a much bigger reward for having a good regular season. You know, the number of teams, it’s probably on the high end for me. But I’m not going to get a vote there. None of us are, actually. There’s going to be 30 people (owners) who get votes on that. So it’s on the high end for me.

“And I think you have to reward teams that have a great regular season. … One of the best things we do is that we have an incredibly difficult regular season. And to me, if you get through that, you have to be rewarded for it. If you play well, do that whole thing, you absolutely should be rewarded for it. And this format – we didn’t play 162 games, but this format does not reward that.

“I feel like we have the same scenario as the one seed,” he continued. “I don’t know if we’re an underdog; I guess we are. But for any team that hasn’t played as well in the regular season, you have the same chance as the team that played much better than you.”

His Dodgers counterpart, Dave Roberts, is diplomatic enough not to come right out and say it – he’d hint it, maybe – but I’m sure he’d agree. Dodger fans, already stressed out even before the playoffs begin, almost certainly agree and I’m sure won’t be shy about saying so.

As for the rest of the baseball universe? Lots of people are rooting for chaos, for upsets in these best-of-three sets – call it the Edge Of The Cliff round – to drive the point home to Manfred and his minions that even with the uncommon factors of this 60-game season, this is a really rotten format. Brewers over Dodgers? That would be the jackpot for those folks.

This round, which begins Tuesday with four American League games, doesn’t quite carry the Cinderella possibilities of March Madness. But MLB.com does have brackets prominently placed on its front page, shilling for a contest presented by BetMGM. (Kennesaw Mountain Landis just rolled over in his grave, by the way.)

This is scary enough for the Dodgers faithful. It could be even scarier except the Brewers, who have depended on pitching all year, are hurting. Right-hander Corbin Burnes (4-1, 2.11, .174 opponents average) would have been their Game 1 starter, but he’s on the injured list with an oblique strain. One-time Dodger Brett Anderson, who would have been in line to start a Game 3 if necessary, came out of Sunday’s regular-season finale in St. Louis with a blister issue and he’s questionable.

No, Counsell didn’t disclose who his starter would be in Wednesday night’s Game 1 against Walker Buehler. It could be a bullpen game. It could be scheduled Game 2 starter Brandon Woodruff  – who was, you might remember, the bulk pitcher two years ago in Game 5 of the National League Championship Series, when Counsell started lefty Wade Miley and removed him after one batter.

That won’t work this time for two reasons: Now a pitcher has to face at least three hitters. And the Dodgers are far less platoon-oriented than they used to be, especially since two of their better hitters against lefties are lefty swingers, Edwin Rios and Corey Seager.

“I can assure you that Brandon Woodruff will start a game,” Counsell said Monday. He just didn’t say when.

The Dodgers achieved the best record in baseball against the AL and NL West, and played only 13 games against teams that finished over .500 (they were 6-4 against the Padres and 2-1 against the A’s, so there’s that). Milwaukee played in an NL Central in which four teams made the postseason, and they played six playoff teams from the Central divisions in all (and were 19-24 against teams over .500).

“I mean, we’ve got a really tough division,” Brewers outfielder Christian Yelich told Milwaukee media members Sunday after his team secured its postseason berth. ” … All those teams are bunched together, and we had to earn it. And it was tough. We beat each other up, all four teams.”

Milwaukee’s hammer is its bullpen, as it was two years ago. This time Josh Hader (13 saves in 15 opportunities, .123 opponents batting average) is complemented by rookie right-hander Devin Williams (4-1, 0.33 ERA in 22 games, 53 strikeouts in 27 innings and an .090 opponents average), who combines a wicked changeup with big-time velocity. The Dodgers have seen him exactly once, two-thirds of an inning in spring training.

We must keep in mind that this four-season stretch of Dodgers baseball – regular season baseball, anyway – has been awfully fun to watch: 104 victories in 2017, 106 in ’19, and a 60-game stretch in 2020 that, if that pace held, could have tied the major league record of 116 wins. October? Another story.

Roberts was asked Sunday morning if he felt his team might be better prepared to win a World Series this year.

“I thought we were very prepared the last four years,” he said. “I think we have a deeper bullpen. Certainly adding Mookie (Betts) to the mix makes us better. And I think the experience, all that stuff combined, gives us an even better chance this year.”

It’s time to prove it. If they can get past all of these obstacles, there will be no asterisk attached.

jalexander@scng.com

@Jim_Alexander on Twitter

 

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Eight Orange County players on MLB playoff rosters

Major League Baseball active players in this year’s playoffs who played high school baseball in Orange County:

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Cleveland Indians: Shane Bieber, P, Laguna Hills

New York Yankees: Gerrit Cole, P, Orange Lutheran

{NOTE: Oakland A’s 3B Matt Chapman, El Toro, had season-ending hip surgery this month)

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Atlanta Braves: Freddie Freeman, 1B, El Modena; Tyler Matzek, P, Capistrano Valley

Chicago Cubs: Kyle Hendricks, P, Capistrano Valley

Cincinnati Reds: Michael Lorenzen, P, Fullerton; Tyler Mahle, P, Westminster

Miami Marlins: Brad Boxberger, P, Foothill

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Fullerton Union High alumni bid old gym farewell

Dozens of Fullerton Union High alumni mingled –  as best they could in masks and socially distanced – in front of the school’s gymnasium on Friday, Sept. 25.

They came to say goodbye to the old gym, and reminisce about the basketball games and pep rallies and dances they attended.

  • Fullerton Union High School alumni take photographs during a memorial for its 100-year-old gymnasium on Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Diana Folsom-Wintrode, Fullerton Union High School class of 1960, admires a 1942 yearbook during a memorial for its 100-year-old gymnasium on Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Construction of Fullerton Union High School’s new gymnasium on Lemon St. on Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Fullerton Union High School alumni admire yearbooks from the 1960’s and 1940’s during a memorial for its 100-year-old gymnasium on Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Fullerton Union High School alumni pose for a photograph during a memorial for its 100-year-old gymnasium on Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Fullerton Union High School hosts a memorial for its 100-year-old gymnasium on Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Fullerton Union High School hosts a memorial for its 100-year-old gymnasium on Friday, September 25, 2020. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

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The 93-year-old gym, which was declared unsafe for activities in 2019, is scheduled to be torn down in October.

A new gym is already under construction on the east side of the high school campus.

John Quijano, a 1972 FUHS graduate and basketball player, stood outside the gym sharing memories with some his former teammates.

One basketball game in particular stood out.

“We were down by two points with a second to go and they in-bounded the ball (to teammate Sam Perales),” Quijano said. “He hit a half-court shot to put the game into overtime. The crowd went crazy. People were jumping up and down. That was my biggest memory … watching my ‘brother’ hit that half-court shot.”

Because of the coronavirus outbreak and the gym being condemned, attendees weren’t allowed to go inside one last time. Instead, memorabilia and old photos were displayed outside the entrance.

Marty Ybarra Ramos, Class of 1971, still lives on the same Fullerton street where she was born and raised.

She stopped by with her husband, also an alum, to see the gym before it is gone.

“It’s old home week as they say,” Ramos said. “The memories that we have and the kids who are attending now … they’ll have memories and they’ll come back in 20 or 30 years and say, ‘I remember when.’”

Opened in 1893, Fullerton Union High is one of the oldest schools in the county.

Funding for the new gymnasium is coming in part from Measure I, a $175 million, district-wide bond measure approved by voters in 2014.

Principal Laura Rubio, the 20th principal in the school’s history, said construction of gymnasium could be completed in May.

More athletic facilities will likely be constructed on the west side of the campus after the old gym is torn down, she said.

“It’s great to be here, because it has so much history,” Rubio said. “I’m a history teacher by trade so this kind of stuff is amazing to be a part of.”

Leigh Maple, a 1979 graduate, is among three generations of family members who have graduated from FUHS.

Having played basketball and volleyball, Maple spent plenty of time in the gym.

“I didn’t miss much school because I always wanted to be in the gym,” said Maple, who also attends the annual homecoming football game every year. “This is like a historical landmark. It’s home.”

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Lakers-Heat 2020 NBA Finals: The incredible rivalries and subplots


Editor’s note: This is the Monday, Sept. 28 edition of the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter from reporter Kyle Goon, who is among the few reporters with a credential inside the NBA bubble for the Finals. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.


Where to start?

There are  always rich storylines in the Finals after a season full of blood, sweat and tears — we just happened to get 14 months of them. And now, it’s Lakers vs. the Heat, which is as saturated with history, rivalries and subplots as any that could have been dreamed up.

No, we did not get LeBron vs. Giannis, which would’ve been fun if only to hear what LeBron might have said about MVP voting. But there’s no shortage of motivation and well-sharpened edges that will make this series a must-watch and hopefully a must-remember.

Here’s what I’m keeping track of as we gear up for Game 1 on Wednesday:

LEBRON vs. THE HEAT

It’s the place LeBron James grew up, where he vaulted from one of the league’s best talents to one of the league’s best winners. It was the start of a run of eight straight Finals, where he experienced extraordinary failure in 2011, then came back to win back-to-back titles that defined the early part of the decade. We’re now full-circle, and James is trying to win again in the twilight of his prime against the franchise that helped craft his legacy.

There’s a lot of mutual respect between him and coach Erik Spoelstra, who helped elevate his game, especially working out of the post. He’ll face former teammate Udonis Haslem, who besides being one of the oldest old heads left in the game is a partner with LeBron’s More Than A Vote campaign. One wonders what axes might be left to grind between LeBron and Pat Riley, who had a stiff breakup in 2014 that may never have been smoothed over when James went back to Cleveland.

What’s different about LeBron’s career is that it’s one of the first to transcend a single franchise. Michael Jordan is tied to Chicago. Magic and Kobe are tied to the Lakers. There are other winners who have won in multiple places, but James could be the first to truly be a franchise player of three different franchises with titles. The Heat have a chance to keep him chasing history after he elevated them. It took six years for the Heat to get a true title contender back together after LeBron left. What a wild coincidence that they’ll have to go through him to get back on top in their latest reinvention.

PAT RILEY vs. THE LAKERS

There’s not many basketball executives who can command more attention from the box than the players on the floor. Pat Riley is one of the few. At 75, Riley is in position to earn another ring, and one has to ask: How many acts does one of the NBA’s best all-time competitors have?

He commanded the Showtime Lakers, the slick, Hollywood-friendly, fast-paced group that helped establish Los Angeles not just as a contender but a winner over generations. His hard-nosed Knicks of the 90s were a complete culture change. He was the surprise upset coach of a Dwyane Wade-led title in 2006; got LeBron and Chris Bosh to sign for the Big Three; now he has Heat Culture churning to a Finals. We’re talking about five decades of basketball, in wildly different eras with wildly different playing styles.

Competitiveness is timeless, and thus is Riley. Spoelstra talked on Sunday about how there was a “ridiculous” competition between Heat players earlier this season who kept trying to beat each other to the gym to the point where the coaches had to intervene. Riley is an architect of teams with that kind of culture.

Pat Riley has never faced off against the Lakers in a Finals. There’s no doubt he’s relishing the opportunity to show the fruits of his labors some 30 years since he left the California sunshine. And they say Florida is for retirees — please.

LEBRON vs. IGUODALA

The bubble has been a great place to be 34 and older. And maybe no one demonstrates that like these two, who have met in five of the last six Finals.

It’s worth pointing out this match-up because of the history. Iguodala’s very compelling and interesting Hall of Fame candidacy may one day come down to his hardware: He won three championships with the Warriors, and his 2015 Finals MVP came essentially for putting the clamps on James on defense. Iguodala has been just a bit player for Miami, but is still capable of delivering when he needs to — like he did in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals, hitting four 3-pointers.

I believe it matters that the Lakers and Heat both have champions on their roster. The Lakers have several. The Heat have two: Iguodala and Haslem. And while they also have a title-winning coach, it seems relevant that Denver and Boston, both of whom don’t have any former champions on the roster, are now out of the playoffs. The bubble is a little bit unpredictable, but championship experience has made a difference, and so has Iguodala.

JIMMY BUTLER vs. THE HATERS

So the title of this point is tongue-in-cheek, but there’s little doubt that last season, Butler had an extremely mixed reputation. A former JuCo product who made a name at Marquette, Butler’s workman-like approach to training made him a star in Chicago, but his fiery demeanor burnt out his welcome in Minnesota and Philadelphia. To some, he was a competitor who earned everything he got. To others, he represented a locker room cancer.

To hear Spoelstra recount the free agency visit, there was a natural fit between Miami and Butler that was readily apparent.

“To be able to get somebody like Jimmy Butler was one of the most amazing recruiting visits we’ve ever had,” Spoelstra said. “Last June, it was so conversational, and you just felt like after 20 minutes that our — we were so aligned in how we viewed competition and work and culture, everything. We never even got into a pitch with him. We really just had dinner. We were talking shop and he interrupted Pat and I after dinner, probably five minutes into just a conversations, and he said, ‘By the way, I’m in.’ We’re like, ‘What? We haven’t even given you our pitch yet.’”

That impulsiveness is vintage Butler, but so is winning. Every franchise he’s left has immediately seen a drop-off. Jimmy Butler isn’t for everybody, but in the right place, he’s helped elevate the Heat from a gritty potential spoiler to an actual winner, and he’s helped paint himself in a different light a year after most were wondering if he was worth the headache.

On Sunday night after the win, he was wearing black slippers and leaning back in a chair while waiting for Goran Dragic. Jimmy Butler is home.

BAM vs. A.D.

On Sunday night, I asked Bam Adebayo, the 23-year-old Miami phenom who is evolving into the next do-it-all big man, what it was like to follow the legacy of Anthony Davis at Kentucky, where the Brow’s reputation was fanned by John Calipari, who is still coaching UK.

“In Cal’s era, he’s the first to get the Natty,” Adebayo said. “He’s got ultimate respect from guys who go to Kentucky and guys in the league. It’s gonna be a fun series, that’s all I can say about that.”

Indeed. Davis is having one of the best playoff runs for a big man in the modern era. Here’s a list of players who have averaged at least 28 points, 9 rebounds, a block and a steal per game in the playoffs while shooting 57 percent from the field: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (three times), Hakeem Olajuwon (twice), Bob Lanier and Anthony Davis. That’s three Hall of Famers and A.D. When you add that he’s also hitting 3-pointers and guarding every position, Davis’ value to the Lakers is virtually impossible to overstate. The Lakers have outscored opponents by 135 points in the postseason when he’s on the floor.

But of all the big men Davis has faced in these playoffs, Adebayo is the one who is most equipped to defend him. At 6-foot-9, he’s athletic and rangy, and he killed the Celtics for not having a true big man to guard him. He’s averaging 18.5 points, 11.4 rebounds, 4.9 assists and 1.2 steals, and he’s capable of performances like his 32-point effort in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals. He doesn’t swat shots like Davis does, but the overall smaller profile of Miami’s team could force the Lakers to play smaller lineups with Davis and Adebayo matched up at center.

It could be the dawn of a great big man rivalry with Kentucky roots. Sign me up.

QUICK HITTERS

– Jimmy Butler was a free agent last summer, albeit briefly before the Heat executed a sign-and-trade with Philadelphia to both get out of salary cap Hell and sign a star. Which other teams had cap room last summer and were looking to add, say, a third star? I’ll let that one come to you.

– There’s only two men who have won championships with three different franchises: John Salley and Big Shot Bob Horry. LeBron James (Miami and Cleveland) and Danny Green (San Antonio and Toronto) could double that list if the Lakers are able to win.

– Some great stats from the Associated Press that John Ireland pointed out on Sunday night: LeBron and Butler have played head-to-head 34 times, and they are in a dead heat at 17-17. Erik Spoelstra and Frank Vogel have coached head-to-head 50 times, and Spo has a 26-24 lead (a small matter of a Game 7 in 2013 sticks out as a separation there).

– A quick rundown of great Lakers coaching subplots: Assistant Phil Handy is in his sixth straight Finals and looking for his third ring out of it. Mike Penberthy is back in the Finals for the first time in 20 years since he was a player — and won a ring alongside Shaq and Kobe. Jason Kidd is back in the Finals for the first time since he was a player — and beat the Heat (and LeBron) in 2011 with the Mavericks.

Are you excited yet? I’m already there.

— Kyle Goon


Editor’s note: Thanks for reading the Purple & Bold Lakers newsletter from reporter Kyle Goon, who is among the few reporters with a credential inside the NBA bubble. To receive the newsletter in your inbox, sign up here.


Bubble Links

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Update: Taran Nolan awaiting spinal surgery

Taran Nolan, wife of Costa Mesa High football coach Jimmy Nolan, will undergo spinal surgery once swelling subsides, Nolan wrote on his Facebook page.

“Tar isn’t doing well,” Nolan wrote Friday. “Still on ventilator and can’t breathe on her own…it’s been 8 days. After 15 days, still can’t move anything upper/lower body. … spinal cord surgery once swelling goes down. She won’t need any more surgeries on her feet.”

He wrote that his wife would undergo a tracheotomy soon.

Taran and three of the Nolans’ four children were involved in a fatal car crash in South Carolina on Sept. 10. Two people died in the collision, the Nolans’ youngest daughter Micki and Glendora Holmes who was the driver of the other vehicle.

Their son Jimmy had stomach surgery last week. Nolan wrote that his son is being monitored in the hospital. Middle daughter Daisy, who like her brother suffered cuts that required stitches, was released from hospital care several days ago.

The Nolans’ oldest daughter Paisley was in Southern California with her father at the time of the crash.

Nolan indicated that his updates at Facebook might be fewer in coming days: “These updates haven’t improved, and I don’t want to burden nor hijack anyone’s feelings. Thanks again for your genuine compassion. I gotta slow updates a while until I witness small victory.”

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Status Update: Irvine-based Parcel Pending inks deal to supply lockers to Lowe’s

Irvine-based Parcel Pending has joined the big leagues, signing a deal with Lowe’s to supply its storage lockers to the DIY hardware store chain.

The company was founded by Lori A. Torres in 2013 as a package solution for busy apartment complex managers. Torres, then working at Irvine Co., saw package management as a growing issue for proprety managers.

Her company was acquired for $100 million in February 2019 by Paris-based Quadient, formerly Neopost. Since then, Parcel Pending has been on a mission to scale up.

Lowe’s first Parcel Pending storage lockers will debut in Florida, Washingon and Texas. The retailer said it will use the storage lockers for online order pickup with plans to expand to 1,700 stores nationwide. The lockers generate a scannable barcode when an order is ready for pickup.

  • A photo on the wall of his San Juan Capistrano home shows Hal Vincent taking off in a AV-8A Harrier jet when he was a test pilot in 1979.

  • Stage winner Christopher Froome of Britain, wearing the overall leader’s yellow jersey, rides breakaway during the 10th stage of the Tour de France on Tuesday.

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  • A city worker prepares to fence off a lot next to a home in Buena Park where a man suspected of shooting another man was found dead early Wednesday morning.

  • Graphic design major Jessica Van Oyen, a Cal State Fullerton junior, buys honey from a vendor during a small farmers market outside a CSUF student center in celebration of Earth Day on April 22.

  • Ducks defenseman Clayton Stoner was part of a stout effort in a 2-1 over Minnesota. Stoner spent five seasons with the Wild before signing in Anaheim as a free agent last summer.

  • Chief Executive of Apple Inc. Tim Cook steps on stage at the Apple Worldwide Developers Conference at the Moscone Center, where the company is expected to introduce enhancements to OS X, the Mac operating system, and iOS, the mobile operating system.

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“Our No. 1 priority is making sure we are keeping things safe for our associates and customers while continuing to provide additional options to make it even easier to shop with us,” said Joe McFarland, Lowe’s executive vice president of stores, in a statement.

McFarland said more than 60 percent of online orders are picked up in Lowe’s stores. “This is a significant step in our relentless efforts to create a fast and frictionless shopping experience for today’s time-pressed customers,” he said.

“It’s an honor to be named Lowe’s exclusive locker partner,” said Torres, CEO of Parcel Pending. “We’re confident that their customers will enjoy being able to safely and securely retrieve their items at their convenience.”

Lowe’s said it plans to install pickup lockers at all U.S. stores by the end of March 2021.

SBA Person of the Year

Alice Chun Kao, CEO and co-founder of Santa Ana-based Sender One Climbing, is the 2020 California Small Business Person of the Year, the U.S. Small Business Administration, Orange County / Inland Empire district office announced.

Kao was recognized at the National Small Business Week virtual event Sept. 22-24.

Sender One Climbing is an indoor climbing facility that also offers yoga and other fitness activities. The facility also provides activities for children such as after-school programs and birthday parties.

The first location in Orange County opened with 300 members and 21 employees and $1.8 million in salesgenerated during the first 12 months. Just before the pandemic struck, the business had 157 employees and $8.1 million in sales across two locations.

Kao said the company has 3 additional locations under progress but openings have been delayed due to COVID-19.

Sender One was able to maintain some of its staffing with help from the SBA’s Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. Recently, its Orange County location was able to reopen with 10% capacity and has provided relief during the pandemic by converting its gym into a distance learning support facility for children starting their virtual school year.

Healthcare partnership

MemorialCare has partnered with Doctors of Women, an Irvine-based OB/GYN group, to provide expanded access to women’s health services. Doctors of Women will join MemorialCare Medical Group as of Dec. 29, 2020.

The group will maintain its current location – 62 Corporate Park, Suite 100 in Irvine – and will perform surgical cases and deliveries at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center.

The all-women team of board-certified obstetricians and gynecologists at Doctors of Women includes Monica Aszterbaum, Carla Wells, Pantea Mozayeni and Lisa Crane.

Fresh coats in Anaheim

Anthony Vu, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, has launched a professional painting company – Fresh Coat Painters of Anaheim. The company offers residential and commercial painting services including interior and exterior painting, sealing and staining; drywall repair; pressure washing; popcorn ceiling and wallpaper removal. Fresh Coat Painters of Anaheim serves Anaheim and the surrounding cities. For more information, call 707-300-7025, email AVu@FreshCoatPainters.com or go to FreshCoatPainters.com/Anaheim.

On board

Community Action Partnership Orange County has added Lauren Leung and Nimusha Jacob to its board of directors. Leung has over 13 years of investment experience and currently serves as vice president of Pimco’s Strategic Services and Transformation group in Newport Beach. Jacob brings more than 20 years of experience in healthcare management and administration, including work at the UCI’s School of Medicine and a 13-year tenure at the University of Southern California’s Ostrow School of Dentistry’s Community Health Programs. CAPOC is a nonprofit working to end poverty by stabilizing, sustaining and empowering its community.

$1 million grant

OMID Institute and Alzheimer’s Orange County have been awarded a joint grant of $1 million to implement education and supportive services to people with Alzheimer’s disease and related disorders, their families and caregivers.

The grant was awarded by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Administration on Community Living Alzheimer’s Disease Programs Initiative 2020.

The three-year phased program will focus on older adults who live alone, those with intellectual and developmental disabilities, those with mild cognitive impairment or early-stage dementia and underserved multicultural communities.

OMID will receive $800,000 to provide day-to-day services, while AlzOC will receive $200,000 for educational training and case management services. OMID will additionally be providing case management and training.

“We are thankful for this important grant that will help us reach the most vulnerable at-risk people of all cultures who have fallen between the cracks and are essentially invisible to other programs and services,” said OMID founder and executive director Maryam Sayyedi.

Scholarships

Eagle Community Credit Union awarded four $4,000 scholarships to Eagle Community Credit Union members Brenda Godinez of Laguna Niguel, Joelle Lambert of Irvine and Raj Pradhan of Anaheim.

The winners were selected from a pool of more than 80 credit union member applicants for their academic achievements and personal essay on their life journey and ways the credit union can grow and prosper into the future.

Eagle Community Credit Union’s 2021 scholarship program will start accepting applications May 1, 2021. For more information about Eagle Community Credit Union go to www.eaglecu.org.

Status Update is compiled from press releases by contributing writer Karen Levin and edited by Business Editor Samantha Gowen. Submit items and high-resolution photos to sgowen@scng.com. Allow at least one week for publication. Items are edited for length and clarity.

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Film shoot in Fullerton mistaken for break-in

Actors in ski masks were caught appearing to break into a multi-family residential unit in Fullerton, but police later learned it was part of a film shoot, authorities said.

At about 9:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 27, police received multiple calls of a possible home-invasion robbery in the 200 block of East Orangefair Mall, Fullerton Sgt. Ryan O’Neil said.

Officers discovered two males in ski masks and what appeared to be guns. But officers later identified the props and learned from the homeowner that no crime had occurred, O’Neil said.

Witnesses said multiple people were detained during an investigation.

Because the film shoot involved a private home, police were not notified of the production, the sergeant said.

A person associated with the film shoot told a videographer that they were filming a robbery scene for a Hulu production.

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Horse Racing: Harvest Moon wins Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita

Harvest Moon earned an all-expenses paid trip to the Breeders’ Cup on Sunday by upsetting Fighting Mad at Santa Anita for her fourth consecutive victory.

The upset victory came in the $200,000 Grade II Zenyatta Stakes, following victories in the Grade III Torrey Pines Stakes at Del Mar, a $40,000 optional claimer and the 3-year-old filly’s maiden score.

Flavien Prat has been aboard for all four victories, the latest a three-quarter length victory over the late-closing Hard Not to Love as the 7-2 third choice in the wagering. Fighting Mad, the 2-5 favorite who went gate to wire to win the Grade I Clement L. Hirsch Stakes at Del Mar on Aug. 2, faded this time to third in the “Win and You’re In” race for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff.

Final time for the 1 1/16 miles was 1:43.03.

“We thought Fighting Mad would go to the lead and we wanted to keep pressure on her,” said Prat, who stalked the pacesetter from second all the way until the stretch, when she put away Fighting Mad and then had to withstand the late charge from Hard Not to Love.

“My filly had never been a mile and a sixteenth, but Fighting Mad was carrying 126 pounds (Harvest Moon, because she was the lone 3-year-old in the race, carried only 118). You never know with a 3-year-old against older, but we got eight pounds, so that was good. It turned out this was a good distance for my filly, and she ran really well.”

Harvest Moon, a daughter of Uncle Mo, has won four of five lifetime and doubled her career earnings with the $120,000 winner’s check.

“We have been really patient with her early on and that’s a credit to Alice (Bamford, breeder and co-owner) and Michael Tabor (co-owner),” winning trainer Simon Callaghan said. “It was said that this filly has a lot of talent and they were so patient throughout the whole process. She took her time to come to hand, but she’s come a long way in a short period of time.”

Bamford was overjoyed with the victory.

“I’m absolutely thrilled today, completely over the moon for Harvest Moon” she said. “She’s a homebred and she’s just so deep in my heart and in my family’s heart. It was so good to see her so well ridden today, showing off her beautiful stride. We lost her mother this year, Qaraaba, who was a stunning, stunning filly and each time I tell her, ‘Harvest Moon, go and do it for your mama.’ And she has.”

In the day’s second Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” race, the $200,000 Grade II Santa Anita Sprint Champioship, C Z Rocket made it five consecutive victories by rallying on the outside to beat the game Flagstaff by a head as the 7-5 favorite in the 6-furlong event.

Ridden by Luis Saez, the 6-year-old gelded son of City Zip was second all the way around until taking the lead in mid-stretch and out-dueling the runner-up. Collusion Illusion was third, 1 1/4 lengths behind Flagstaff as the winner came home in 1:09.14.

“There were a lot of things involved in this,” winning trainer Peter Miller said. “We recently sold a part of him to Gary Barber and Sol Kumin and I really wanted to win for those two gentlemen. Flavien took off him (in favor of Collusion Illusion) and I wanted to prove that he made the wrong move.”

C Z Rocket earned a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with his victory in the Grade II Pat O’Brien Stakes on Aug. 29 at Del Mar, and Sunday’s victory was worth a berth in the Sprint. Both races are at Keeneland on Nov. 7.

“We’re definitely leaning toward the Sprint,” Miller said. “He’s won the last (five) going one turn. We’re going to keep him one turn.”

Read more about Horse Racing: Harvest Moon wins Zenyatta Stakes at Santa Anita This post was shared via Orange County Register’s RSS Feed. Irvine Shredding Service

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Chargers rally in the final minute comes up short in 21-16 loss to Panthers

  • Charger quarterback Justin Herbert throws up field during the first quarter against the visiting Carolina Panthers Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The Los Angeles Chargers host the Carolina Panthers in a regular season National Football League game Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Carolina Panthers running back Mike Davis (28) runs toward the end zone to score during the second quarter Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 as the Chargers Denzel Perryman (52) leaps over a blocker at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The Los Angeles Chargers host the Carolina Panthers in a regular season National Football League game Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

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  • Chargers running back Austin Ekeler scores on a short touchdown as run as Panthers Juston Burris (left) defends to give the Chargers a 7-6 second quarter lead Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The Los Angeles Chargers host the Carolina Panthers in a regular season National Football League game Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Chargers running back Austin Ekeler leaps towards the end zone as he scores on a short touchdown run as Panthers Juston Burris (left) defends to give the Chargers a 7-6 second quarter lead Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The Los Angeles Chargers host the Carolina Panthers in a regular season National Football League game Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Chargers running back Austin Ekeler scores on a short touchdown as run as Panthers Juston Burris (right) defends to give the Chargers a 7-6 second quarter lead Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The Los Angeles Chargers host the Carolina Panthers in a regular season National Football League game Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • The Charger Austin Ekeler (30) celebrates with teammate Keenan Allen (13) after scoring against the Panthers in the second quarter to give the Chargers a 706 lead Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The Los Angeles Chargers host the Carolina Panthers in a regular season National Football League game Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Chargers running back Austin Ekeler runs over the Panthers Juston Burris during the first half Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The Los Angeles Chargers host the Carolina Panthers in a regular season National Football League game Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

  • Chargers running back Austin Ekeler leaps towards the end zone as he scores on a short touchdown run as Panthers Juston Burris (left) defends to give the Chargers a 7-6 second quarter lead Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. The Los Angeles Chargers host the Carolina Panthers in a regular season National Football League game Sunday Sept. 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. (Photo by Will Lester, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin/SCNG)

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INGLEWOOD — Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams sat on the edge of the medical table with no one attending to him as the minutes ticked away in the fourth quarter Sunday at SoFi Stadium.

Williams knew his day was over with a hamstring injury, but he refused to take a seat on the bench to watch the final quarter against the Carolina Panthers. Williams was likely processing the Chargers’ ugly performance that was about to get worse when rookie quarterback Justin Herbert was down on the field.

The Chargers were already down their starting quarterback, Tyrod Taylor, along with many other key players because of injury. But third-string quarterback Easton Stick never made his career debut.

Herbert stayed to complete the Chargers’ rough 21-16 loss versus a struggling Panthers squad that was without star running back Christian McCaffrey.

Despite the mistake-filled outing, the Chargers had a chance to win the game after starting a drive from their own 1-yard line down five points with 1:43 left in regulation. Herbert led them to the Panthers’ 28-yard line and nearly pulled off the comeback, but Keenan Allen’s pitch back to Austin Ekeler hit the ground for the final play of the game. Ekeler had plenty of space to possibly enter the end zone.

Herbert threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Allen to trim the Panthers’ lead 21-16 with 4:33 left in regulation. The Chargers failed on the 2-point attempt.

Herbert completed 35 of 49 passes for 330 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Allen recorded 13 catches for 132 yards and one touchdown.

Panthers kicker Joey Slye went 5 of 5 on field-goal attempts. The Panthers built a 21-10 lead in the fourth quarter.

Kicker Michael Badgley made a 41-yard field goal to trim the Panthers’ lead 18-10 with 1:12 in the third quarter.

The Panthers entered Sunday with zero sacks and one quarterback pressure in two games. They found their pass rush early versus the Chargers after sacking Herbert on the first drive and forcing him to fumble for the second drive.

Panthers linebacker Brian Burns hit Herbert’s arm before he released the ball. The Panthers capitalized on the turnover after Slye’s second field goal made it 6-0 with 4:28 in the first quarter.

Herbert later had an interception in the first half and rookie running back Joshua Kelley had a fumble in the second quarter. The Panthers scored 12 points on the three takeaways.

The Chargers’ bright spot of the ugly opening half was a 10-play, 75-yard touchdown drive that ended with a 12-yard run from Ekeler. The Chargers trailed 18-7 at halftime.

Allen passed Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow for third all-time in team history for receptions. Winslow had 541 catches with the Chargers.

Check back soon for updates.

 

 

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After 1977 letter arrives in Huntington Beach, detective work uncovers writer

Beefing about slow mail delivery has long been a national past-time – and recently, even more so than usual.

But judging by its Feb. 9, 1977 postmark, this letter lagged behind for nearly half a century.

In August, Josh Adler discovered a crumpled blue envelop – addressed in perfect cursive  – among the usual pile of bills and ads.

Someone named John Simmons, he deduced, once lived in his Huntington Beach home. And someone named Michael Simmons wrote him a letter there.

Adler did what just about anyone would do: He posted a photo of the envelope on a community Facebook page.

“I had this show up in the mail yesterday… it was only sent 42 years ago,” Adler wrote. (Actually, 43 years ago, but who’s counting?)

On the image – not the envelope itself – Adler blacked out all information except the postmark and 13-cent stamp.

His Facebook post drew 393 comments – many of them LOL, in social media speak.

“You’re fortunate it was priority mail – you could have been waiting longer,” one person commented. And, “Now you know why it’s called ‘snail mail.’” And, “Was it a mail-in ballot?” And, “The original ‘forever’ stamp.”

Some speculated that the letter must have languished all these decades behind a file cabinet at a post office.

Gantry Wilson, first and foremost, viewed the vintage letter as a challenge. “I enjoy detective work,” said the Huntington Beach real estate broker. “For my job, I’ve often had to track down past residents.”

So Wilson messaged Adler and asked for the names and addresses involved. What he unraveled was, as the saying goes, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

After a property records search, Adler unearthed the letter’s writer – Michael Simmons, 57, who lives in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia.

As it turns out, the letter’s path to Adler’s mailbox was less protracted than imagined.

  • In 1977, at age 15, Mike Simmons, who then lived in Maryland, sent his father in Huntington Beach a letter that mysteriously was delivered to the house, now owned by Josh Adler, 43 years later. Here, Simmons, right, is pictured with his father John Simmons and brother Brett in his dad’s backyard in Huntington Beach. The boys visited their father in about 1972.

  • Brothers Mike and Brett Simmons sit with father John Simmons at LAX in about 1972 after the boys visited him in Huntington Beach from their home in Maryland. In 1977, at age 15, Mike Simmons sent his father a letter that mysteriously was delivered to the Huntington Beach house, today owned by Josh Adler, 43 years later.

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  • Brothers Brett and Mike Simmons stand in their father’s Huntington Beach front yard during a visit in about 1972. In 1977, at age 15, Mike Simmons, who then lived in Maryland, sent his father a letter that mysteriously was delivered to the Huntington Beach house, now owned by Josh Adler, 43 years later.

  • In 1977, at age 15, Mike Simmons, who then lived in Maryland, sent his father in Huntington Beach at letter that mysteriously was delivered to the house, now owned by Josh Adler, 43 years later. Here, Simmons is pictured with his wife Leslie and his stepmother Linda Simmons, who saved all his letters over the years.

  • A letter postmarked 1977 showed up at Huntington Beach resident Josh Adler’s house in August. With help from an amateur detective, he tracked down the letter’s sender.

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In 1977, Simmons was a 15-year-old boy missing his dad from the opposite side of the country.

“My parents divorced when I was 3, and my brother and I stayed with our mother in Maryland,” said Simmons, who works in marketing.

Their father, John Simmons, relocated from the East Coast to Orange County in the late 1960s for a civilian administrative position with the United States Navy.

His second wife, Linda Simmons, then a nurse at CHOC, carefully filed away mementos from the kids.

“I had a separate box for each boy,” she said. “I kept every piece of artwork, every Thanksgiving hand turkey, every snapshot, every letter.”

John and Linda Simmons moved to Palm Desert 35 years ago. Eventually, grandchildren’s correspondence got added to the collections.

John died in 2013. Seven years later, Linda decided to downsize from their spacious house to a condo. Packing up in July, she decided it was a good time to ship all those relics off to her stepsons.

But one of the keepsake-laden packages never made it to Mike Simmons. When Linda Simmons began receiving old notes and Christmas cards originally sent to or from the Palm Desert address, she suspected something had gone awry.

“They came in dribbles and drabbles,” she said. “I’m up to about to about 20 letters now.”

Numerous calls to the Postal Service produced few answers. Apparently, a box came apart in transit and its contents scattered.

Sadly, loose photographs disappeared into anonymity. And letters addressed to Huntington Beach likewise vanished – except for the one that made its way to Adler.

“I am grateful to Gantry for stepping up and getting that letter to where it belongs,” Adler said, adding that, although it arrived in an unsealed envelope, he resisted perusal.

Wilson hoped the missive would bring back “great memories” for Mike Simmons: “It’s like a letter to his future self.”

Yet childhood has a way of being complicated.

Reading his words so many years later stirred up teenage angst and the divorce’s lingering wounds, Simmons said.

“It was like, ugh, that was a tough year,” he said. “I was clearly putting up a front, trying to sound like everything was OK so my dad wouldn’t worry.”

John and Linda Simmons had wanted the boys to live with them in California, Linda said, but that never worked out.

The couple drove to Maryland in 1972 to pick up Mike and Brett for a long summer visit. Then they turned around and meandered back to California.

“We went to Niagara Falls and some of the national parks on the way home,” Linda Simmons said. “It was a wonderful trip.”

Mike Simmons fondly remembers his vacation in Huntington Beach. “We went to Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland and played in the swimming pool,” he said. “We had a lot of fun.”

In sum, the mystery letter was not long lost, after all, but stashed away in a closet.

The real star of the convoluted story is his stepmother, Simmons said: “Oh my gosh, she has been so persistent in trying to recover all that stuff.”

Mainly, Simmons said, he is touched that she so lovingly preserved what a less sentimental person might have chucked.

“It was additional evidence of how much my dad and Linda thought about us when we were apart,” Simmons said. “It makes me feel cherished.”

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