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Lisa Bartlett - Supervisor, Fifth District
March 18, 2022 Volume 9 Issue 11
OC Awarded $6+ Million for Homekey Program
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Village at Laguna Hills Approved by City Council

Merlone Geier Partners recently announced that it has received approval to move forward with it's Village at Laguna Hills project, a redevelopment of the former Laguna Hills Mall. The measure was passed in a 3-2 vote by the Laguna Hills City Council on March 8.

Adjacent to the I-5 freeway at El Toro, the project will encircle a 2.6-acre multi-purpose central park and include: 

  • Up to 250,000 square feet of retail space
  • Up to 465,000 square feet of creative office area
  • 1,500 residential units (including 200 affordable units)
  • 100- to 150-room hotel
  • Shopping and Dining options
  • A New Theater

For more information, click here or on the image below.

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Aliso Viejo Homicide, Public Assistance Sought
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Opposing Sexually Violent Predators in The OC!

At this week's OC Board of Supervisors meeting, we adopted an item I authored in partnership with Vice Chair Wagner to oppose the placement of Sexually Violent Predators (SVP) in Orange County.

Currently, there are no Sexually Violent Predator placements in Orange County, as the item our Board adopted will support our residents’ right to live in safe communities.

A “Sexually Violent Predator” or SVP is an individual who “has been convicted of a sexually violent offense against one or more victims and who also has a diagnosed mental disorder that makes the person a danger to the health and safety of others and who will likely engage in sexually violent criminal behavior.”

The State of California operates an SVP program, where the State has sole power to house an SVP in local communities. This places the burden back onto counties to help in processing and locating secure housing for a person who has been convicted of a Sexually Violent Crime. While law enforcement agencies are provided notice, there is no provision for counties to participate in the Sexually Violent Predator placement process or object to the State’s plans for placement of SVPs in local communities.

Recently, five sexually violent predators were housed in neighboring San Diego County, without San Diego County having any say in their placement process. Until the law changes to allow counties' full participation in the placement process of SVPs, Orange County is at risk of having Sexually Violent Predators housed in our local neighborhoods.

Though the item our Board adopted won’t change State law, it will do two things:

1) Send a clear message to the State that Orange County opposes placements of SVPs in Orange County neighborhoods; and

2) Advocates for legislative changes to ensure Orange County has a full opportunity to participate in the placement process.

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The County of Orange Stands With Ukraine!

Last week, I was proud to join my colleagues on the Board of Supervisors in adopting a resolution condemning the unprovoked and unjust actions by Russia against Ukraine, and calling for a full divestment of Orange County’s investments from Russia.

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Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Project Update
L-R: With Joe Ueberroth and Bryon Ward of Dana Point Harbor Partners and host Lisa Hart on Village TV in Laguna Woods.

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of appearing with Joe Uberroth and Bryon Ward of Dana Point Harbor Partners on Village TV in Laguna Woods to discuss the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Project with talk show host Lisa Hart. To view the program and for more information, please click here or on the image below.

Click the image above to watch the program.
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Highlighting Programs at John Wayne Airport

I had the pleasure of joining Board Chairman Doug Chaffee for a press conference at John Wayne Airport this week to highlight some of the programs offered through the Airport, including AirPAWS (one of my favorites), Arts Program, Helping Hands, and OC AirPASS.

Enjoying the AirPAWS program at JWA.

There's so much more to do at the Airport than just catch a plane! To check out the video, click here and fast-forward to the 12:00 mark.

L-R: With Airport Arts Commission Chairwoman Karin Schnell, Interim Airport Director Rick Francis, and Board of Supervisors Chairman Doug Chaffee.
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I-5 South County Improvements Keep Coming!

In addition to the Orange County Board of Supervisors, I'm also honored to serve you on the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) Board of Directors. As such, I'm pleased to report that all three segments of the I-5 South County Improvements Project are under construction from SR-73 to El Toro Road, where transportation planners expect volumes to grow 25 percent by 2045.

To address this travel demand, OCTA and Caltrans are working together in the cities of Mission Viejo, Lake Forest, Laguna Hills and Laguna Niguel on this $580 million freeway improvement project funded by OC Go, also known as Measure M, Orange County’s half-cent sales tax for transportation improvements.

The following are some major milestones and a look at plans for 2022...

Segment 1: SR-73 to Oso Pkwy

The reconstruction of the Avery Parkway Interchange is nearly 60 percent complete. Work on the middle section of the bridge will continue through 2022. To watch a video for a look at last year’s milestones, click here or on the image below.

Click the image above to watch the video.

Segment 2: Oso Pkwy to Alicia Pkwy

Just past 50 percent completion, segment 2 includes the Oso Parkway and La Paz Road interchanges, where last year multiple retaining walls were constructed and new lane paving began for northbound and southbound I-5.

Later this spring, crews anticipate the completion of the La Paz Road bridge. Traffic will then be shifted onto the new section of the bridge and work will begin in the middle. The new northbound off-ramp and loop on-ramp will open this year. To see a video of 2021 highlights, click here or on the image below.

Click the image above to watch the video.

Segment 3: Alicia Pkwy to El Toro Road

Crews are on track to complete the first stage of widening the Los Alisos Boulevard bridge by this fall and the bridge is on track to open to traffic in late 2023.

At the Alicia Parkway interchange, eight new retaining walls are on their way up and later this year construction will begin on new lanes for the on- and off-ramps.

At the El Toro Road bridge, the redesigned northbound loop on-ramp and off-ramp are nearing completion and motorists will begin to use the new lanes this year.

Following the completion of the Alicia Creek bridge, the Alicia Creek Bikeway and Riding and Hiking Trail is due to open this summer for pedestrians and cyclists.

For more information about the project and to sign up for the construction newsletter, click here.

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South County Multimodal Transportation Study

The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) is entering the third and final phase of the South Orange County Multimodal Transportation Study (SOCMTS). The SOCMTS will identify improvements in south Orange County for all modes of transportation, including streets, transit, freeways and bikeways beyond the year 2045.

OCTA is seeking public feedback on alternative travel options that could help improve transportation in south county, and OCTA is promoting an online survey and public webinar to gather the feedback.

The survey will be available through Friday, April 15, 2022. For more information, click here

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Resolutions Presented by Board of Supervisors

At last week's Board of Supervisors meeting, my colleagues and I presented retirement resolutions to two esteemed members of our County of Orange family - Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley and Chief Probation Officer Steve Sentman.

OC Registrar of Voters Neal Kelley makes his parting comments at the Board of Supervisors meeting.

We very much appreciate their outstanding public service to the citizens of Orange County, as well as wish them both a very happy retirement and all the best in their respective future endeavors!

Chief Probation Officer Steve Sentman makes parting comments.

In addition, I brought forward a Board Resolution in recognition of March as National Women's History Month. The resolution was accepted by Barbara Johannes, Chairwoman of the Orange County Historical Commission and President of the Dana Point Historical Society.

OC Historical Commission Chairwoman Barbara Johannes accepts the Board Resolution recognizing Women's History Month.
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Young’s Beach Shack Coming to Salt Creek!
Artist rendering of Young’s Beach Shack

I’m pleased to share that our March 8 Board of Supervisors meeting, my colleagues and I approved an item for a new concessionaire at Salt Creek Beach

Following a competitive process, ‘Young’s Beach Shack’ was selected and will offer creative and locally inspired food and beverage options, including beer and wine.  Young’s Beach shack will also provide for snack options, event planning and production services, and public rentals of beach related items.

Artist rendering of Young’s Beach Shack

The proposal for Young’s Beach Shack will remodel the interior and exterior, mimicking the color scheme of the original ‘Young’s Beach Camp’ that existed in the same general area between 1930 and 1950. 

Stay tuned for this great amenity, as the target opening date is June 2022!

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Piloting Additional Ballot Tracking Technology

As recently reported, the Orange County Registrar of Voters will pilot a new ballot tracking feature that will be available at select ballot drop boxes throughout Orange County beginning with the June 7, 2022 Primary Election. The ballot drop boxes used for this trial program will be equipped with a secure barcode scanner, allowing voters to scan their mail ballot envelope as they drop it off.

A voter dropping off their ballot at participating drop box locations will access a barcode scanner installed on the box to scan the printed barcode located on the outside of their ballot envelope. As they deposit their ballot the voter will receive an SMS text message confirming that their ballot was dropped off at the specified ballot drop box. Their ballot will then be tracked from pick-up through the tally process (using existing technology).

The Orange County Registrar of Voters is the first, within its industry, to deploy this type of ballot drop box technology, which is typically used in the medical industry to track tissue samples.  Nine ballot drop boxes will be included in this pilot program – data gathered will be used to inform whether this technology can be expanded across other ballot drop boxes throughout the County.

During the upcoming 2022 Statewide Direct Primary, voters will see the image below on their mail ballot envelope with information about how and where to use this newly available service. For more information, click here.

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College Tuition Fee Waiver Online Workshop 3/31
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Find the Right Medicare Plan Through March 31
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Return of the Swallows Day Parade & Mercado!

Last Saturday, I had the great pleasure of participating in the 62nd annual Swallows Day Parade and Mercado Street Fair, where I was joined by many friends and supporters on the Bartlett Trolley.

On the Bartlett Trolley with friends and supporters enjoying the Swallows Day Parade.

Afterward, we all gathered at the Fiesta Association tent along the parade route for a wonderful lunch and delightful camaraderie. 

With San Juan Capistrano City Manager Ben Siegel in the Fiesta Association tent.

My staff and I also worked in my booth and met with constituents during Mercado Street Faire.

With my staff in the Bartlett Booth at Mercado Street Faire.

Scott & Diana Schmitt served as the Grand Marshall's of the 2022 Swallows Day Parade.

Grand Marshalls Scott & Diana Schmitt with their family riding in the Swallows Day Parade. 

A wonderful time was had by all, and the Fiesta Association is to be applauded for organizing such a great event! For more photos and information of the 62nd annual Swallows Day Parade, please visit The Capistrano Dispatch.

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San Juan Capistrano State of the City Dinner

I was proud to serve as the Title Sponsor for the San Juan Capistrano State of the City Dinner last week, held at El Adobe Restaurant, where I was honored to preside over the Color Guard and lead attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance.

With San Juan Capistrano Mayor Derek Reeves at the State of the City Dinner.
(Photos courtesy of Diana Schmitt / Accent Portraits by Diana)

With Councilman John Taylor at the State of the City.

L-R: With Paul & Nancy St. Pierre (San Juan Hills Golf Club), Elizabeth Andrade & Mary Perdue (Family Assistance Ministries) and friends at the State of the City.

Mayor Derek Reeves also presented a most entertaining video with a Back to the Future theme during his State of the City Address. To view the video, click here. To view a live-stream recording of the San Juan Capistrano State of the City program in its entirety, click here. For more information about the 2022 State of the City, visit The Capistrano Dispatch.

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San Juan Capistrano: El Presidenté Ball Returns!

I was also delighted to attend the El Presidenté Ball earlier this month, hosted by the San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association at El Adobe Restaurant. The El Presidenté Ball celebrates the origins of the old west, when San Juan Capistrano was in its early days.

L-R: With Marianne and Councilman John Taylor, Swallows Day Parade Coordinator and hero Karen Stine, Fiesta Association President Jim Taylor, and Assemblywoman Laurie Davies at the El Presidenté Ball.

During the evening's festivities, I was pleased to present commendations to two of the most stalwart members of the Fiesta Association and fellow Swallows Day Parade heroes, Parade Coordinator Karen Stine and President Jim Taylor, who's outstanding efforts are truly indispensable!

With Fiesta Association President Jim Taylor and his wife, Laurie, at the El Presidenté Ball.
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Dana Point Festival of Whales 51st Anniversary

Earlier this month, I had the great pleasure of participating in the 51st Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales, which was held in Dana Point Harbor and dedicated in memory of the Festival's Founder, Don Hansen. 

This year's Festival of Whales wad dedicated in memory Founder Don Hansen. 

This year's Festival offered numerous activities and events, including the Magical Migration Parade, all celebrating the yearly migration of gray whales.

Riding in the 2022 Dana Point Festival of Whales.

Festival attendees lined the sidewalk along Island Way, as marching bands, classic cars, military units, floats and giant balloons paraded by.

With Grand Marshal Jean Pierre “The Fly” Van Swae.

As this year’s Grand Marshal, Jean Pierre “The Fly” Van Swae led the procession in Dana Point Harbor. For more Festival of Whales photos and information, please visit the Dana Point Times.

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Wyland Foundation: "Streams of Hope" Project

Following the Festival of Whales Parade, I was also pleased to participate in a press conference with Wyland Foundation, where I presented a commendation in recognition of Streams of Hope, their upcoming public arts and community cleanup project for Earth Month, and which emphasizes the importance of a clean, reliable supply of water and pollution free waterways.

Presenting a commendation to Wyland Foundation President Steve Creech at the Streams of Hope press conference.

In addition, a sprawling exhibition of 40 brightly decorated baby gray whale statuettes is making its way to Orange County for the Streams of Hope campaign, as I also helped unveil the first statuette in the project at the Wyland Foundation press conference.

Unveiling Stella, the first of 40 statuettes making their way to Orange County as part of Streams of Hope.

The eight-foot-long whales, affectionately known as “Stella,” are being painted by artists across Orange County to be exhibited in shopping centers, city halls, schools, and along Orange County storm channels to remind people about the impacts of land-based pollution on marine ecosystems. For more information, click here.

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GameChanger Chief Executive Officer Jim Carol

Last week, I was honored to present a proclamation to Jim Carol, CEO of GameChanger, in recognition of his retirement and legacy of accomplishment, including 30+ years of distinguished community service, beginning with creating local small businesses in his early 20s and, by his late 30s, co-founding the award-winning global tech firm PacketVideo, voted most likely to change the world.

Presenting a retirement proclamation to Jim Carol, CEO of GameChanger.

Joining Jim Carol as I presented him with his retirement proclamation were CEOs and leaders of some of the world's top tech firms, leading pediatric hospitals, National Institutes of Health (NIH), and pediatric health providers in gratitude for his generous donation of technology and innovations he invented to help all children with their health.

With GameChanger CEO Jim Carol and associates.

Jim Carol spent 5 years building a private, safe, secure network that democratized access for all hospitalized children battling loneliness, providing thousands of children everyday access to games, as well as virtual reality, pain reduction tools, and educational materials.

The technology Jim Carol invented pre-pandemic for isolated children is now being used to change the game for all children in the nation, including those that are hospitalized.

Jim Carol's technology is changing the game for all children, including those that are hospitalized.

Jim Carol’s selfless efforts have impacted hospitals, children, families, and caregivers, both locally and worldwide, as one of the nation's top pediatric health care firms has announced its use of his inventions to provide tools and services for improving mental health and isolation issues.

Locally, CHOC, Rady's Children's, Millers Children's, UCLA Mattels, and CHLA have all received gifts from Jim Carol’s foundation, as over 225 pediatric hospitals globally have been served by GameChanger, the charity he founded in 2007. I applaud Jim Carol for outstanding lifetime achievement in community service and global impact!

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Fifth District Adjournments in Memoriam
The Honorable Robert Ming - Rest in Peace

I was saddened to adjourn our Board of Supervisors meeting last week in memory of former Laguna Niguel Mayor Robert Ming, who passed away February 13 as a result of a small plane crash in Kansas City, Kansas. He was 52 years old. First elected to the Laguna Niguel City Council in 2006, Robert was re-elected in 2010 and served as Mayor in 2009 and again in 2013.

Robert was the founding President of the Laguna Niguel Military Support Foundation, and for six years served as Co-Chair of the Laguna Niguel Military Support Committee. He was also a member of the City’s Planning Commission. Robert was also the Founding President of the Association of California Cities-Orange County (ACC-OC), President of the Orange County Division of the League of California Cities, Director of the Orange County Vector Control District, and the Laguna Niguel representative on the Board for the Toll Roads.

Robert served on the Board of South County Outreach, as Chairman of the Board of Stoneybrooke Christian Schools, as a member of the Board of Managers of the South Coast YMCA, the Saddleback Community College Foundation, as well as on the Board of Directors of The Bonner Institute for the Advancement of Choral Music, a California non-profit organization he helped form.

With Robert Ming in Dana Point Harbor.

Robert was also Chairman of the Government Affairs Committee of the Laguna Niguel Chamber of Commerce, served on its Board of Directors, and received its Volunteer of the Year Award in 2006. In addition, Robert was a past President of the Laguna Niguel Lion’s Club, and recipient of the Lion of the Year Award in 2005-06. He was also a past President of the Laguna Niguel Rotary Club and served on its Board of Directors.

The late Robert Ming with his loving wife, Katie.

Robert is survived by his loving wife, Susie, and their four children, Jonathan, Katie, Wesley and Grant. I adjourned our Board meeting in memory of The Honorable Robert Ming and asked that we extend our deepest sympathies to his family, friends and loved ones for their loss.

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In Memory of Arnold Hano of Laguna Beach
Arnold Hano 1922 - 2021 | Rest in Peace

I also adjourned our Board meeting last week in loving memory of Arnold Hano of Laguna Beach, a prolific baseball journalist and 2013 Laguna Beach Citizen of the Year, who passed away at the age of 99.

Arnold's granddaughter, Chelsea, holds his Adjournment in Memoriam at the home of Bonnie Hano.

The Adjournment in Memoriam my office prepared was presented to Arnold's wife, Bonnie, at his Celebration of Life service last Saturday. To view Arnold's wonderful Celebration of Life video, click here. For more information, click here or on the images below.


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COVID-19 Orange County Case Counts by Cities

The OC Health Care Agency continues to release daily COVID-19 case counts in Orange County. As of today, HCA is reporting 544,844 positive cumulative cases and 6,828 deaths to date, as well as 129 currently hospitalized with 25 in ICU.

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HCA: Why Is It Important to Get Vaccinated?

Dr. Regina Chinsio-Kwong, County Health Officer at the OC Health Care Agency (HCA), has a video message to help explain why it's important to get vaccinated. To view the video, click here or on the image below.

Click the image above to view the video.

For informational town hall events and more educational videos related to COVID-19 vaccination, visit the OC COVID-19 homepage.

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COVID-19 Health News from Health Care Agency
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HCA Update on Boosters and Additional Doses

The CDC has updated its guidance on COVID-19 booster shots and additional doses for people who are moderately to severely immunocompromised, including recommendations for people who received the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) vaccine as well as updated time intervals between doses.

The OC Health Care Agency (HCA) has an updated infographic to help you understand all of the information about boosters and additional doses. Click here or on the image below to download the information.

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COVID-19 Vaccine Equity Engagement Program!

My Board colleagues and I approved the launch of the OC Health Care Agency’s (HCA) Vaccine Equity Engagement Program in an effort to accelerate the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines, with a continued focus on the most vulnerable high-risk populations in Orange County.

The program provides an opportunity for community members to nominate collaboratives, volunteers and other organizations (especially smaller groups in hard-to-reach communities) for an opportunity to earn a coordination fee of $20 for every individual who receives either their first or second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine (with a preferred minimum of 50 individuals registered per event). The program’s $4.5 million in funding is made available from the State of California’s Government Operations Agency.

Through the Vaccine Equity Engagement Program, HCA will oversee the criteria for organizations to host clinics, provide them with public health messaging resources to help them promote their events and communicate the importance of the vaccine to their community members, and collaborate with them on innovative ideas to increase engagement with residents such as donation and gift matching opportunities.

Interested organizations will be able to sign up to participate in this program and host vaccine clinics in partnership with HCA through the Mobile Vaccine Service feature on the Othena platform. Additionally, the Othena platform now offers a new feature for any eligible individual who has scheduled a vaccination appointment to request free roundtrip rides to their appointment. They can now log in to or the smartphone app to request a ride to their appointment (residents are encouraged to request rides 3 to 5 days in advance and rides are subject to availability).

To sign up for the Vaccine Engagement Program and host a community clinic, interested organizations can click here.

Individuals looking to schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment or complete their second dose can do so by visiting or calling the OC COVID-19 Hotline at (714) 834-2000. For additional information on free or discounted rides to vaccination appointments, please visit the Lyft or Uber websites. For more information and resources on the COVID-19 vaccine in Orange County, click here.

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County Offering Othena Mobile Vaccine Service

The Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) launched a feature on the Othena platform, which streamlines the process for any interested individuals, groups, employers and businesses to request an onsite, mobile COVID-19 vaccination service.

To begin the application process, individuals can visit the Mobile Vaccine Service section of the Othena website or smartphone app and provide the following intake details:

  • Name of the organization or group 
  • Primary point of contact 
  • Estimated number of patients at event (at least 50 preferred)
  • Ability to register patients ahead of time
  • Ability to supply a climate-controlled location 
  • Preferred day(s) of the week

Once the application has been submitted, HCA will assign a dedicated Community Liaison to work directly with the primary point of contact to engage in a collaborative planning process. 

Additionally, the Mobile Vaccine Service feature enables community members who are homebound and meet specific criteria (or their caretakers) to schedule at-home vaccinations. To learn more, please visit, call the OC COVID-19 Hotline at (714) 834-2000, or see the flyer below.

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Do You Need a Ride to Get Your Vaccination?
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State Issues Updated Child Care Guidance...
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Vaccination of Children Ages 5 to 11
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Pfizer Vaccine Eligibility Includes Ages 12-15

Orange County parents and legal guardians of minors ages 12 to 15 can now schedule a COVID-19 vaccination appointment or walk-in to County of Orange Point-of-Dispensing (POD) sites offering Pfizer. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration amended the Pfizer vaccine’s Emergency Use Authorization to allow administration for 12 to 15-year-olds, following clinical trials that proved it safe for this age group with only non-serious side effects like fatigue and headache.

Subsequently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s vaccine safety review panel and the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup recommended that the vaccine is safe and highly effective in protecting this age group against COVID-19. 

Individuals who would like to receive the Pfizer vaccine for themselves or their children ages 12 and older can do so through:

  • A Primary Care provider or Pediatrician with whom your children or family is already familiar
  • Pharmacies
  • Visiting
  • Visiting - If further assistance is needed with selecting a site, scheduling, or arranging for transportation to and from the site, community members can call HCA’s OC COVID-19 Hotline at (714) 834-2000
  • Walking-in to a County POD site that is administering the Pfizer vaccine

For more information, click here.

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COVID-19 Vaccinations Available for Ages 16+

As previously reported, everyone ages 16 and over in Orange County is eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. Parental consent is required for youth under 18; however, they must be accompanied by a parent or guardian to receive the vaccine. If you have not already done so, be sure to get register with Othena ahead of time to ensure your place in the virtual waiting queue.  

People within the eligible groups are strongly encouraged to register now with Othena to receive a vaccination from the County. Once registered, they will be placed in the virtual waiting room with other individuals who are already eligible within the State’s guidelines. Appointments are dependent on vaccine supply. As the County receives more vaccines, more appointments will open in Othena

For more information on COVID-19 vaccine resources in Orange County, including this weekend's POD schedule, click here

Please be aware that there are more channels of distribution other than the County where people can get a vaccine. For more information on where you can find appointments through other medical providers and local pharmacies, visit   

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FREE COVID Testing Opportunities in The OC!

Testing continues to be a main priority of our COVID-19 efforts. If you are experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, or if your employer is requiring testing as a part of their business reopening plan, the County offers FREE testing to all of our residents. 

There are many options for testing, including our County Super Sites, testing kiosks located at various locations throughout the County (including Laguna Woods, Laguna Niguel, and Mission Viejo in the 5th District), and even at home tests that can be delivered to you and mailed to the lab for processing.

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Get Your FREE At-Home COVID-19 Testing Now!
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While You're Home, Beware of COVID-19 Scams!

While many of you are at home working or self-isolating and spending more time on the internet, thieves are taking advantage of this situation and coming up with new and innovative ways to separate you from your money. Now is a good time to educate yourself on the various ploys used by scammers for COVID-19.

If you lost a loved one to COVID-19, you may be eligible for a government program that pays for funeral expenses. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will pay up to $9,000 for funeral expenses for loved ones who died of COVID-19. Survivors can apply for benefits by contacting FEMA, toll-free, at 844-684-6333. To find out if you qualify, read FEMA’s Funeral Assistance FAQs.

Unfortunately, FEMA reports that scammers are contacting people and pretending to offer to register them for assistance. To avoid those scams, here are some tips:

  • FEMA will not contact you until you call or apply for assistance.
  • The government won’t ask you to pay anything to get this benefit. 
  • Don’t give your own or your deceased loved one’s personal or financial information to anyone who contacts you out of the blue.

If you think you got a scam call, hang up and report it to the FEMA Helpline at 800-621-3362 or the Federal Trade Commission at

A recorded webinar on financial protection of older adults during the COVID pandemic was recently held and is available for on-demand viewing. The webinar included a panel discussion of experts from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and Health and Human Services (HHS).

If you are behind on your mortgage, beware of mortgage relief scams. There is free foreclosure help. If anyone tries to charge you in advance for help or guarantees they can stop your foreclosure, they’re not legitimate. The CFPB has information on how you can avoid foreclosure and tips for working with your mortgage servicer. For more information on COVID housing protections and important deadlines, click here.

Challenges COVID-19 has brought include a higher risk of identity theft. In 2020, the FTC received about 1.4 million reports of identity theft, double the number from 2019. Repeatedly, identity thieves targeted government funds earmarked to help people hard hit financially by the pandemic. 

During the pandemic, we’re doing more online – working, connecting with family and friends, shopping, and banking. If something goes wrong with your device, you want to fix it right away. Scammers are preying on this, offering phony tech support services. Here’s what you should know about tech support scams.

Be on the lookout for fake calls, texts, and emails, as scammers are pretending to be Social Security Agency employees. They may threaten you and demand immediate payment to avoid arrest or other legal action. Do not be fooled!

Additionally, a large-scale coronavirus scam has erupted, as impostors are filing claims for unemployment benefits using names of people who have not filed claims. Victims learn about the fraud when they get a notice from their state unemployment benefits office or employer about their supposed application for benefits.

Sadly, people exploiting older adults are often family members or other trusted people who are handling the financial affairs of an incapacitated parent, relative or friend. As such, caregivers and assisted living and nursing facilities can also work together to help protect elderly residents from financial exploitation, both during the pandemic and after life returns to a new normal.

Lastly, if you’re having trouble paying your rent during the coronavirus pandemic, there are relief options and protections available for many renters. Additionally, through the California COVID-19 Rent Relief Program, both income-eligible renters who experienced pandemic related financial hardships, or landlords who experienced income loss due to unpaid rent, are eligible for financial assistance.

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County of Orange Mental Resiliency Resources

As the spread and far reaching impacts of COVID-19 continue to dominate the world news, we have all witnessed and experienced the parallel spread of worry, anxiety, and uncertainty. The way to overcome this natural tendency is to build our mental resilience, the ability to refocus, clear our minds, and discard negative thoughts.

Here's what you can do...

1) Remember that knowledge is power. Understanding the factors that affect a person’s immune response to COVID-19 will matter as much as, or more than, understanding the virus. There is great information available on the Orange County Health Care Agency's What You Feel is Real webpage.

2) Don’t accept everything you read or hear. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides information and frequent updates on the COVID-19’s spread, severity, risk assessment, etc., on the CDC's website.

3) Get your emotional support system in place:

  • Maintain familiar routines in daily life as much as possible; take care of your basic needs and employ helpful coping strategies; rest during work or between shifts, eat healthy food and engage in physical activity.
  • Stay connected with friends and family, even virtually connected, and maintain your social networks.
  • Have the emails and phone numbers of close friends and family handy.

4) Take control, incorporate preventative measures:

  • See the CDC’s list of preventative measures.
  • The constant stream of news reports can cause anyone to feel anxious or distressed. Instead, seek updates and practical guidelines at intervals during the day.
  • Be supportive to others. Assisting others in their time of need can benefit the person receiving support as well as the helper.

If you or a loved one are feeling anxiety, worry or fear related to the social disruption caused by COVID-19, you can also reach out to these resources for support:

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OC Animal Care is NOW OPEN for Appointments!
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OC Animal Care Pet of the Week: Meet Brixton!
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Lost and Found Community Pet Information
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The Importance of Microchipping Your Pet

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Did You Find Kittens? Let's Paws

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Drive-Thru Pet Food Pantry at OC Animal Care
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St. Joseph's Day & Return of the Swallows - 3/19
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Heroes Hall: "Fighting for the Right to Fight"

The 'Fighting for the Right to Fight' Speaker Series at Heroes Hall continues with its second presentation on Saturday, March 19, from 11 AM to 12:30 PM at Heroes Hall Museum at the OC Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. Admission and parking are free. Space is limited. To RSVP or for more information, click here.

Lt. Col. Patricia Jackson-Kelley

Lt. Col. Patricia Jackson-Kelley will share the documentary film, "The Six Triple Eight," about an all-Black, all-female U.S. Army battalion that was deployed overseas during World War II to process a massive backlog of mail piling up in warehouses in Europe.

Living in inhospitable conditions with few resources and little support, the women managed to complete their mission in record time. Their efforts ensured that the men fighting on the front lines received those letters from home that they so desperately needed.

The women of the U.S. Army's 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion.

Earlier this month, the U.S. House passed a bill to award a Congressional Gold Medal to the women of the U.S. Army's 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion in recognition of their pioneering military service.

The Fighting for the Right to Fight Speaker Series focuses on the tremendous achievements and challenges that Black service members and other groups have faced during times of war.

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Surfrider SOC 2022 Beach Cleanup Series - 3/19
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and scroll down for more information.
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Newport Beach: Earth Day at the Bay

OC Parks and the Newport Bay Conservancy invite you to attend our annual celebration - Earth Day at the Bay -  April 23 from 10 AM to 3 PM, Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve, 2301 University Drive, Newport Beach.

This free, family-friendly event features environmental-themed exhibits from community partners and local artists. Booths will feature activities, which include arts & crafts, science, discovery, and educational information. There will be live music throughout the day, as well as a scavenger hunt complete with prizes. Food trucks will be onsite with tasty treats available for purchase. For more information, click here or on the image below.

Click the image above for more information.
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Wild Tales in Upper Newport Bay is Back!
Upper Newport Bay

Upper Newport Bay’s long-running and popular storytime is back! Wild Tales will be offered every Friday and include an outdoor storytime in our newly renovated amphitheater, as well as an age-appropriate hike and a craft project in our classroom. Each session will have a new story, hike theme, and craft project. For more information, click here.

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Newport Police Appreciation Breakfast - 3/31/22
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Irvine: Mason Regional Park - Awakening Snakes

Join OC Parks now for Awakening Snakes, when snakes are becoming active in our parks after tucking themselves away for the winter months. Enjoy crafts and other snake-themed activities as well as live snake demonstrations from Southwestern Field Herping Association on April 9 from 1 PM to 4 PM at Mason Regional Park in Irvine. Online reservations are required prior to the event. For more information and to register, click here or on the image below.

Click the image above for more information.
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Super Hero 5K Run/Walk & Safety Expo - April 30
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Ladera Ranch Farmers Market Every Sunday!
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Farmers Market on The Ranch - First Saturdays!
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South OC Cars and Coffee in San Clemente

South OC Cars and Coffee is the world’s largest weekly car show, held every Saturday from 9 AM to 11 AM at Outlets at San Clemente, 101 W Avenida Vista Hermosa, attracting a mix of 1500-3500 plus hyper-cars, supercars, exotics, vintage, classic, muscle and sports cars, hot rods, rat rods, pickups, 4x4s and motorcycles. No registration is required. Spectators are welcome and meet every Saturday, rain or shine! For more information, click here or on the image below.

Click the image above for more information.
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Battle of the Mariachis at the Mission - May 14
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Laguna Hills Memorial Day Half Marathon
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OC Public Libraries: Services, Events & Activities
Click the image above for this week's Author Connection!
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Click the image above for information on their
Meals on Wheels and Congregate Lunches for Seniors.


Click the image above for information on their
Drive-Thru Food Distribution, weekdays in San Clemente.



Click the image above for information on their
 Drive Through Food Bank, Monday - Friday in Irvine.


Click the image above for information on their
 Food Pantry, Monday - Friday in Laguna Beach.



Click the image above for info on their Food Pantry
held on the first & third Wednesday of every month.



Click the image above for information on their
PEACE Community Resource Center Food Pantries.



Click the image above for information on their
Food Pantry Services weekdays in Irvine.
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Nutrition Gap Program Relaunched with 211 OC

As previously reported, I'm pleased to have relaunched the Nutrition Gap Program. Food insecurity continues to be a major challenge for many residents, as people struggle to get back on their feet and keep food on the table. The goal is to satisfy the continued demand for nutritious food and bridge the gap between hunger and the next meal.

The $2 million dollar program is being funded by the America Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) and is available to residents living in my district. Priority will be given to those experiencing food insecurity due to age/disability, economic status, lack of familial or community support, lack of access to available resources, and those who have military service.

Enrollment is now open and, to make it as easy as possible for people to enroll in the program, we have three options by which they can enroll.

Program Details:

  • Coordinated through the Office on Aging in partnership with 2-1-1 Orange County.
  • Provides twice-weekly deliveries, via DoorDash, of restaurant-quality meals directly to participant’s homes.
  • Each Monday, participants receive three fresh lunches and three fresh dinners.
  • Each Thursday, they receive three fresh lunches, three fresh dinners, one frozen lunch, and one frozen dinner.

Restaurants participating in the program include:

  • Ruby’s Diner
  • Bella Collina
  • Villa Roma
  • Bamboo Bistro
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Check Out The Fifth District Dispatch Archives!

For those of you who may have missed any of my previous Fifth District Dispatch newsletters, featuring up-to-date COVID-19 facts and other information pertinent to South County, click here

Thank you so much for your outstanding and continuing efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in Orange County, as we're all in this together!

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For questions or comments regarding my E-Newsletter, please contact my office staff at (714) 834-3550 or email my Community Relations Advisor, Sergio Prince, at .
In This Issue
orange arrow 5th DISTRICT SPOTLIGHT
James Dinwiddie
Chief of Staff

Yasie Goebel
Deputy Chief of Staff

Sergio Prince
Community Relations Advisor

Pauline Colvin
Communications Director

Nicole Garcia
Policy Advisor

Christian Abueg
Policy Advisor

Rosemary Conteras
Office Manager

Stay Updated!
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