Monthly Archives: November 2013

This one’s for you, Pops

When I was a typical angst-ridden teenager, my father, over an ordinary breakfast and out of nowhere, told me: “The secret to happiness is gratitude.”

Being young, irritable and, yeah, idiotic, I didn’t really hear him, let alone process what he’d said.

Which reminds of that Mark Twain quote, and I paraphrase: When I was 14, I thought my father knew nothing. When I was 21, I was surprised at how much he’d learned.

You’re reading this just days before Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday.

It’s about food, family, counting your blessings. To me, it’s Christmas without obligation, stress, too much marketing.

Garden Grove residents have a lot to be thankful for: an ever-improving and thriving downtown; new developments in the works on Harbor Boulevard, which means more money for city coffers; the annual Strawberry Festival (maybe the best weekend event in Orange County); a sound City Council (or at least some of them); great restaurants; proximity to Disneyland and Angel Stadium; a rich history.

But it’s tough to get my mind off my father, who will spend his Thanksgiving Day in a hospital bed, hooked up to about 37 devices, teetering between life and what’s beyond, yet grateful each time I visit (“How you doin’, kid!”), and without complaint.

Every time I say goodbye, I take a good long look at the man who taught me how to swim, how to ride a bike, how to throw a football, how to drive a stick-shift, how to tie a tie.

The man who, when I was in college, broke and in debt, drove nearly two hours in the rain while I slept, and slipped an unsigned card with $200 in it under my door.

How to measure a man? In my father’s case, I can say this: he’s lived a grateful, giving life. I think of him whenever I’m swimming at Seal Beach, or parallel parking my truck, or standing before the mirror and tying some modest tie, and I find that I don’t wallow, though he’s suffering, because he taught me better.

All told, I’m thankful.

–Brady Rhoades

Play ball? Let’s hope so…

The last couple of years, Little Leagues in Garden Grove have been having a heck of a time securing fields so kids can play.

Last year, West Garden Grove Little League, with its season in peril, got some help from Westminster, which offered one of its fields.

Well, as Yogi Berra, once said, “It’s deja vu all over again.”

A big part of the reason for the shortage of fields in Garden Grove is that there’s a lot of school construction going on. City leaders don’t want to endanger children.

But Little League officials are worried about what’s going to happen in 2014, and they’re trying to fight the fight early to avoid any last minute drama. The latest problem: some Little League teams were set to play at Mark Twain Elementary School in spring.

Guess what? Mark Twain will be undergoing a facelift.

So City Councilman Kris Beard wrote this letter to the editor (it will appear in Wednesday’s OCN) regarding the matter:

City staff has been in communication with the Garden Grove Unified School District regarding potential construction at Mark Twain Elementary School in June 2014 and the possible loss of baseball fields for sports teams’ use during the construction period.

We have been told that renovations at this small school will be initiated sometime between June 2014 and 2015, but the schedule is not firm at this time. One private travel ball team, Southern California Athletics, currently uses the school fields on weekends. They are the only team using the fields; neither Garden Grove Little League nor Garden Grove Bobby Sox teams use the fields.

The GGUSD will coordinate with Southern California Athletics regarding the school’s renovation schedule, use of the sports fields, and potential alternate field options. We are hopeful the school district will be able to provide an alternate field that can be used by the travel ball team when construction begins.

However, if this is not feasible, a request can be submitted to the city for use of its baseball fields and the request would then be considered at that time.

– Brady Rhoades

Proud to be in ‘Purple Heart County’

Today is Veterans Day. Thank you to all of our veterans who’ve served in the past and who presently serve.

Garden Grove and Orange County at large has served this country with honor and incredible bravery.

I won’t attempt to tally all the numbers, but I’ll give you one to digest: Orange County, one of six counties in California designated as a “Purple Heart County,” is home to more than 400 living recipients of the Purple Heart award.

– Brady Rhoades

‘We’d all be recalled’

I’ve been covering Westminster City Councilwoman Margie Rice for nearly two decades, and one thing I’ve learned: she’s never boring.

Want to spice up an article? Call Margie. She’ll say exactly what’s on her mind in that no-nonsense, homespun, grandmotherly way of hers.

So it’s not surprising that she gets my call for the quote of the week.

First, a bit of context.

After negotiations with organizers broke down, Garden Grove cancelled the annual Tet Festival, one of the biggest events of the year in Orange County and the biggest such festival outside of Vietnam. The weekend event celebrating the lunar new year every January draws hundreds of thousands to Garden Grove Park.

So organizers are looking elsewhere to hold the festival. Westminster, with one of the biggest populations of Vietnamese-Americans in the country, seems like a logical place. After all, the city hosts a Tet parade every year on the same weekend as the festival.

But it’s complicated. Where would the city hold the festival? And how could it afford the more than $100,000 and 30-plus police officers — the Westminster Police Department has only 87 sworn officers — it takes to play host?

Here’s where Margie comes in. After assessing the logistics and cost, she said this at a study session on the matter last week:

“No way in God’s green acres is the city going to sponsor something that cost that much. We’d all be recalled.”

–Brady Rhoades