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Archive for June, 2011

Crime scene tape.

Its Friday morning and usually assignments during this time of the year are graduations, municipal construction projects pushing for completion before summer or previews for summer events like the Ocean Festival in San Clemente or the Summer Concert Series for Dana Point of San Juan.

I had been up until late, or rather early in the a.m. shooting grad nite for the first class of San Juan Hills High School; the event with its super secret location took place at a golf course in San Clemente and went on all night although I left around 3 a.m. after the break dancers made their appearence.

I was up getting the shots cropped and captioned when I got a tip about  a jewelry heist gone wrong at the Costco Plaza in the Capo Beach area where San Juan Capistrano and Dana Point meet.  It seemed that two of the alledged assailants were down and another had escaped.  With great effort I finished my shots and got them into the photo desk and was out the door 15 minutes later for the 6 or 7 mile drive to Monaco Jewelers.

The scene of the crime.

I went back streets pulling into a spot where I knew it was safe to park and yet I would not be too far away.  Several dozen Costco employees milled about in small groups on the safe side of yellow crime scene tape.  A few Orange County Sheriff deputies were here and there, armed with shotguns and AR-15’s, the cousin of the M-16, I knew it was serious enough.  Slipping under the tape, I got through after checking my press pass, the large parking lot normally filled with cars and people, held only a small percentage of what should have been a busy morning before the first real weekend of the summer.

OCSD was thick on scene.

I quickly got some preliminary shots before meeting up with a Channel 9 cameraman that had just got hold of a guy whose wife, according to him, worked at the jewelry store and was still inside the store, getting de-briefed by investigators.  He held up his phone with text messages they had exchanged before the OCSD shut them down; thankfully she was okay but shaken up.  Apparently, several robbers had entered the store and were shot by someone affiliated with the store and they were dead and OSCD had now surrounded the Costco with the belief that a third robber had run in to escape.  Across the parking lot I could see several deputies covering the doors, while others massed a few feet away with what looked like to me, preparation for a push inside.

Most likely not his grocery list.

We didn’t get much further as the OCSD began an organized sweep to get the press out and I could not escape; fortunately I had all my shots.  Another OC Register shooter, Ken Steinhardt, had arrived and so I left to get my shots into the desk.  The OCSD worked on locating the third man for several more hours before determining that he had escaped in the first minutes with a get away driver.  Later in the day, investigators confirmed two dead in the store.  Sam Gangwer stayed into the afternoon to get shots of the medical examiner removing the bodies.  It was interesting to see how many deputies were on scene in the relaxed dress of what must have been their day off but got called in as back up for the man hunt and as has been my experience with sheriff deputies in general they were serious and calm and I was able to get my work done with very little interference.

This appears to be the second incident in a year for Monaco Jewelers as they were robbed over a long weekend last summer when thieves dug in, opened the safe, getting away with almost 6 million dollars in gold.  Ouch.

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The first graduating class of San Juan Hills High School held its first Grad Night celebration at a secret spot in San Clemente…

Gett'n Down...

Okay, they are good to go....

Laser tag...do you have the moves?

A smile to match your new doo....

This break dancer has the moves...

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70 year old legacy.

SAN CLEMENTE -(CA)- Retired Brig. Gen. Fred Flo, 92, and his wife, Lucile, 91, a retired schoolteacher, have definite ideas about marriage, and they should know: They celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary Saturday at San Clemente Villas, the senior assisted-living home where they live.


Retired Army Brig. Gen. Fred Flo, 92, and his wife, Lucile, 91, celebrate their 70th wedding anniversary Saturday at San Clemente Villas, a senior assisted-living community, with friends and family.

Hands made for each other.

Fred, who had plenty of experience giving orders during 40 years of active and reserve duty in the Army from 1939 to 1979, says his best advice for a married couple is to listen. Lucile says patience is vital.

The key to staying together is to work at being together, they say.

“I saw her playing ping pong with a fraternity brother,” Fred recalled of the first time he saw Lucile. “She had great legs, and I knew right then I would ask her to marry me.”

Lucile remembers the day outside the library at UCLA when Fred finally popped the question.

“I knew we would get married, but he sure took long enough to ask,” she said.

Photos of Photos.

Fred saw duty at Guadalcanal in World War II and later in the Korean War, earning the Silver Star and Bronze Star during his service.

He says the hardest part of his military career was being apart from Lucile. No one but her could have put up with him and made it work, he says.

“She did so much to keep the family going; I can’t say enough for her,” Fred said.

They raised two children, Eric and Betty, and have two grandchildren, Eric and Kristin, and several great-grandchildren.

Lucile acknowledges there were a few disagreements along the way, but she says dealing with that likely made her good at getting second- and third-graders to behave during her 25-year teaching career.

During Fred’s Army service, the couple had eight houses, the last one in Mission Viejo, Lucile says. But they had a motto to live by and fall back on, Fred says.

“I’ll build it and she’ll paint it,” he said. “And that’s what we did. “We’re a team.”

SIDE NOTE:  Originally, I had hoped to use the photo below—but the web and the format for the newspaper in tabloid style would not work, so I just kept it cropped for the web, which again, likes the wider shot as opposed as the tall shot.  The Royal wedding of Prince Andrew and Miss Middleton had just taken place and it was my inspiration to use the American flag, the formalness of the room, along with the American Gothic quality of their posing and somehow to mimic our own “Royal Wedding” and so….

The Royal Couple and Family.

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