Archive for July, 2011

Out for a cruise with Evelyn.

SAN CLEMENTE -(CA)- Brooke Bedard of San Clemente knows firsthand what Relay For Life is all about. She remembers five years ago, when she was 13, arriving home from Shorecliffs Middle School in San Clemente with a numb arm and a bad headache.

She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. A week later, she had a room at CHOC Children’s hospital getting chemotherapy and worrying about losing her hair. Chemo and radiation treatments took down the tumor wrapped around her trachea, and now, at 18, she’ll be studying business marketing at Chico State University in the fall.

In the meantime, she was captain of the “All Night for the Fight” team at this weekend’s San Clemente Relay For Life, an annual fundraising walk/run for the American Cancer Society in which members of teams take turns traveling the track at San Clemente High School’s Thalassa Stadium for 24 hours to raise pledges from donors. It’s one of many such events held around the country each year.

Just hav'n fun out here boss....

From 10 a.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday, 46 teams totaling 480 people participated in San Clemente, raising $29,187, the event’s website said Sunday. Donations can still be made online here.

The teams spent Saturday morning before the event setting up themed “campsites,” illustrating, honoring and remembering those who have cancer, survived it or succumbed to it. There were crafts, live music and games such as “Ta Ta Toss,” a breast-cancer-awareness activity in which participants could make a “basket” by throwing ping-pong balls into decorated bras mounted on a board.

Greg Roberts of San Clemente Presbyterian Church‘s “Stampeding for a Cure” team, honoring 5-year-old cancer patient Taylor Uresti, said the team’s focus is to provide emotional support not only for people with cancer but for their families as well.

It doesn't look like 30 miles, but that's what the odometer says...

“When we get tired (during the relay), we can rest,” Roberts said. “Families with cancer are battling 24/7. We’re out to support each other.”

Shea Weber of Dewey Weber Surfboards in San Clemente remembers how Japanese surfer Shu Oikawa, who died in 2007 at age 40 from stomach cancer, would bow before contests with his hands together and in a very serious tone exclaim, “I will defeat you.” Then he would break into a big smile and laugh.

“Shu loved the ocean and surfing,” Weber said. “Language and culture were no barrier for him in sharing that love.”

That's Shu in the photo...

Jessica Forino, 18, a 2011 graduate of Aliso Niguel High School, helped organize members of Aliso Niguel’s girls cross country team for the Relay For Life. The event’s motto, “Celebrate, remember and fight back,” is a good description of what a cancer patient’s life is like, she said. It’s even comparable to her team’s experience during the 24 hours of the relay, she added.

“Every part of the day is a different emotion,” Forino said. “We are all together walking the track, sharing, living our lives together. At the end of the day, it’s dark, and with the (traditional) candlelight vigil, we remember, we have tears, and tomorrow, when the sun comes up, we go back to the fight.”

There is always something to do.

For Bedard, though she’s won several battles, the war isn’t over yet. She still has the little tattoos used to register the radiation machines, and she goes for check-ups about every four months. Bedard looks forward to when the check-ups will be once a year. To her, hospitals represent a form of imprisonment.

“You have to know you’re going to get through it,” she said. “I appreciate everything now. I remember I came back to school with a wig, but looks don’t matter. It’s what’s inside.”

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Mission San Juan Capistrano is in the middle of their Summer Concert Series, “Music Under The Stars.”

Good dancers.

Nothing like bubbles.

A man and his cooler.

More good dancers.

Good friends and good conversation.

Music and serenity were companions at Mission San Juan.

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‘Murder at the Porcelain Ballet,’ a murder mystery written and directed by former SCHS drama student Brian Ivie and featuring several current and former Tritons, continues its debut run Friday and Saturday nights at the school.

Article Tab: high-conway-production-mu
Collin Conway, as Dr. Logan Hollow, points a pistol at Templeton, played by Kevin Ivie, in “Murder at the Porcelain Ballet,” a production of Flashbulb Entertainment, a company made up of current and former San Clemente High School students.

SAN CLEMENTE -(CA)- A two-act play written and directed by former San Clemente High School drama student Brian Ivie has him and other Triton alumni back at their alma mater this week for a debut run that continues Friday and Saturday nights.

Ivie, now a film student at USC, wrote “Murder at the Porcelain Ballet,” a comedy-drama murder mystery, in about six months and took only 3½ weeks to cast, rehearse, costume, revise and build a stage for the play, using mostly former and current San Clemente High School students to put on the nearly two-hour show, which opened Thursday. He said he relied heavily on the technical direction of San Clemente High graduate and Cal State Long Beach student Colby Nordberg.

The play is a production of Flashbulb Entertainment, a company Ivie co-founded in 2009 with several other Triton alumni and students. The company has produced five short films and a feature-length motion picture, “Farmer’s Tan.”

Ivie describes “Murder at the Porcelain Ballet” as a mystery in the spirit of “The 39 Steps,” “Arsenic and Old Lace” and “Clue.” While it is “deeply comedic and droll, (it) is really about dreams and how they can ‘oxygenate’ us,” Ivie said. “The show carries a vital message and one that I believe to be unique in today’s popular culture.”

Welcoming the audience Thursday night with a quote from Irish poet W.B. Yeats, Ivie encouraged everyone to think about not only their own dreams but also those of others: “I have spread my dreams under your feet. Tread softly, because you tread on my dreams.”

The play, set in a time before television, takes place entirely in a lakeside mansion on a stormy Halloween night soon after a double homicide is reported nearby, with the killer still on the loose.

Friends and family members begin to arrive for a planned costumed get-together, slowly revealing their secrets, hopes and dreams in often comedic exchanges. Amid the suspense of trying to find out about the killings through intermittent and faulty radio reports, the audience learns about Miranda, played by San Clemente High School senior Kayla Stephens, and her hope to marry Westley, played by former Triton Tavis Robertson, while becoming a ballet dancer.

Bert, a young admirer of Westley’s played by A.J. Wolf, restlessly struggles to be accepted by everyone. And Dr. Logan Hollow (played by Collin Conway) and his wife, Mary (Kimberly Wiggle), reveal a sad reality of faded dreams and failing love.

The mansion’s maid, Charlotte, played by Haley Pavlis, sets about the house smoothing over not only the wrinkled and dusty tablecloths but also the interactions among the characters.

Ivie’s brother Kevin, 16, a San Clemente High junior, is in his first stage performance as Templeton, a selfish, arrogant, “good at everything” newspaper stage critic who skewers everyone with endless quips that lay bare each character’s weakness and essential reason for being.

Brian Ivie said he spent $2,000 on the production from an online funding drive and borrowed what he didn’t have. He said he hopes a San Clemente High School alumni production can become an annual event.

“Adults, in general, expect less from young people, and from the beginning, I told everyone I wanted to defy expectation and encouraged everyone to be professional,” Ivie said. “My mandate was to surpass expectation.”

– Staff writer Fred Swegles contributed to this report.

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The City of San Juan Capistrano and their Summer Concert Series with Travis Nelson and The Rough Stock Band….

Sweet Home Alabama or something like that...

Hey, Cowgirl up....

Sache left and Sache right....It's all good in Olde San Juan tonight....

Hey Daddy, you can dance....

There's game face and Dance face and these gals have it down serious....

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"I try to honor God in everything."

DANA POINT – (CA) – Donors and fundraisers who played a big role in helping the Maddie James Foundation raise $1 million in about three months to help fund an upcoming Ocean Institute learning center in honor of the late Capistrano Beach girl were rewarded Sunday night with dinner with pro surfer Bethany Hamilton, who inspired the recent biographical movie “Soul Surfer.”

Hamilton, 21, of Hawaii, who became known worldwide after losing her arm at age 13 in a shark attack in 2003, hosted the dinner at the Ocean Institute. She learned about Maddie during the 5-year-old’s fight with an inoperable brain tumor that led to her death in March.

The James' have waited a long time to have something to smile about.

Professional surfer Bethany Hamilton, 21, of Hawaii, who lost her left arm in a shark attack when she was 13, says a blessing at a dinner she hosted Sunday evening at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. The event honored key donors and fundraisers who helped the Maddie James Foundation meet its $1 million goal toward the institute’s upcoming Maddie James Seaside Learning Center.

“How can your heart not go out to this little girl?” Hamilton said. “We share the same love – the love of the ocean.”

Maddie, who counted the Ocean Institute among her favorite places, often drew pictures of sea creatures she learned about on trips to the institute.

Fourteen donors were honored Sunday, receiving a lei – the traditional Hawaiian symbol of friendship – along with a T-shirt and a big hug from the 6-foot-tall Hamilton.

The foundation in May reached its fundraising goal for the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center. Dan Stetson, director of the Ocean Institute, said construction will begin in the fall.

She could not have had a bigger smile.

Maddie’s father, Collie James, said about $600,000 of the total was raised by individual donors like those honored Sunday, mostly as a result of their work setting up sponsorship teams and raising awareness through events such as the “A Mile for Maddie” walk in May, which the foundation plans to present again next year as a continuing effort to support operation of the learning center and to promote other ways to raise awareness of the ocean among children. The inaugural walk May 14 from Strand Beach to the Ocean Institute attracted about 1,000 people and raised $80,000.

“I just want to really thank Bethany for coming and making it so special for these donors,” James said. “It’s another example of how people from so many diverse backgrounds can come together to support learning about the ocean and this dream of our daughter.”

Zachary Alderson, 6, of San Clemente headed up about 50 people for the “Sea Turtle” team during the “Mile for Maddie” event, raising about $15,000. Zachary shared a desk in kindergarten with Maddie at St. Anne School in Laguna Niguel.

Good eats came from Zov's in Tustin.

Zachary’s father, Justin, said his son stayed up past 11 p.m. the day before the event to hand-color each team member’s sea turtle flag.

“We’d have ‘Change Day,’ where all the change from a purchase went into a bucket,” Alderson said. “He did everything – fliers, grandparents … it was constant.”

Kajsa James, Maddie’s mother, met Hamilton for the first time Sunday evening, sharing a hug and a few tears.

“People lose their children every day and not everyone gets a building named after them or someone like Bethany to help out,” Kajsa James said. “Now we have this place to bring children who can learn about loving the ocean as much as my daughter did.”

Hamilton, who said she sent messages about Maddie’s story to her fans and friends through Twitter and Facebook, said, “As sad as it is, it brings the community together.”

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Hanging out in grandpa's surfer rig on a Saturday afternoon.

Coming in for a win.

Oh, c'mon dad, it's my bucket.

Not Ipanema for sure, but just as fun for these two.

This green critter looks like he has a sweet ride and a cool chick to go with it.

San Clemente's new boat still had wet paint.

His parents could not get him to leave the water.

A little winded but he placed.

This is solid fun for these two.

Its all about timing it just right.

These look like very determined rubber ducks.

Golden glory on the end of a ribbon.

Future champion.

Good luck dashboard Hula girl.

Yes, he won it, but not by much.

A real Hula girl and a future champion.

Watching for dolphins, mermaids and pirates.

There's no stopping this one.

South of the San Clemente Pier.

Big smiles all say long.

Here's the rules guys so listen up...

Rob Rojas, always a winner.

Hey baby, is this great or what...?

Into the final stretch for the big win.

Neptune and Ariel were everybody's friend.

Two cuties.

Sumertime....really not anything else to say here.

Just a good time for everybody.

Powering it out for the last few meters to the line to place.

Right here guys!

A queen surveys her kingdom from a daddy chariot.

Bump, set, spike.

It's a great view from here.

Their clothes will be dry by the time they get home.

Sportsmanship was strong all day.

A good win begins with a good start.

They must have been pretty tired.

A real live mermaid gets her hair done up with a feather.

San Clemente's boat; this shot made the front page.

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Its all good at the Ocean Institute.


DANA POINT -(CA)-  A dozen young hospital patients got a day at the beach Thursday in Dana Point, paddleboarding, helping with a beach cleanup and taking a tour of the Ocean Institute’s tide pools and aquariums.

The event was part of the Surf & Paddle Summer Camp 2011 put on by Miracles for Kids, a Tustin-based nonprofit organization that supports children with cancer and other serious illnesses by helping their families with financial issues during the treatment period. Board member Tom Swanecamp said Thursday’s activities were meant to get the kids out of their normal routine of hospital visits, tests and treatments and get some hands-on knowledge of the beach and ocean while having fun on the water.

Oh, What a feeling....

Wyatt Colby, 5, reaches out to touch a sea slug held by Zoe Hunter, 7, of Fullerton during a visit to the Ocean Institute in Dana Point arranged by Miracles for Kids, a nonprofit organization that supports children with cancer and other serious illnesses.
The 7- to 16-year-olds departed from CHOC Children’s hospital in Orange, where CHOC bus driver Chano Moreno surprised them with balloon creations such as mermaids and monkeys. “These kids go through a lot, and seeing something different makes the kids happy,” he said.

“When we pulled off the freeway, one of the kids asked if we were really going to be paddleboarding,” Swanecamp said. “He thought it was a trick and we were really going back to the hospital.”

Alissa Dolegowski, 16, of San Clemente is blind, but with the help of Miracle for Kids volunteer Christina Kretschmer of Brentwood, she was able to explore several interactive tide pools and see what her hands told her about how sea cucumbers and anemones. They felt sticky while rough and soft at the same time, she said.

Just check'n it out.

Kretschmer found a hermit crab and was describing it, but Dolegowski drew the line.

“I’m not fond of crabs,” Dolegowski said. “The sea anemone was OK; he was trying to suck on my finger.”

Noah Wehner, 10, of San Clemente was diagnosed with leukemia seven years ago after he had what was first thought to be a spider bite on his elbow, said his mother, Amy. Though Noah is fully integrated in public school, having just completed fourth grade, he has endured a continuous series of tests, check-ups and treatments.

“Once we knew he could go (to Surf & Paddle Summer Camp) a couple of weeks ago, he has been counting the days,” Amy Wehner said. “During all this (his leukemia treatment), Noah has never complained. He is a happy boy.”

Noah agreed. “I’m just thankful I’m alive,” he said.

Sophia Colby, 7, of Rancho Santa Margarita said she most enjoyed petting the animals.

“I learned to paddleboard today and my daddy was jealous,” Colby said as she saw Boris, a giant lobster in the Ocean Institute’s “Underwater Forest” exhibit.

Her father, Patrick, said, “This is a good opportunity for the kids; it makes sure everything is clean and safe for the children.

“We wouldn’t be here without an affiliation with Miracles for Kids. We couldn’t do this without them,” he added.

Upon finishing their exploration of the Ocean Institute, each child was presented with a shirt as a souvenir of the journey.

It was all good with Andrew Whitford, 9, of Newport Beach. “My day was perfect,” he said.

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