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Accident Temporarily Shuts Down Crown Valley Bridge
Written by Bo Kelleher   
Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Accident Temporarily Shuts Down Crown Valley BridgeJust before 9PM Sheena Medina had to make a U-Turn to get back to the bank in Ladera Ranch.  She lives right across the bridge, off Jarines in Mission Viejo so was very close to home when the accident occurred, resulting in a complete shutdown of the Crown Valley Bridge.

According to witnesses in a BMW stopped in the middle lane of Eastbound Crown Valley Parkway, a vehicle driven by a man only identified this evening as "Hector", a Lake Forest man, ran a red light and impacted the side of Medina's car, not far from where her 9 month old baby was strapped into her infant car seat. 

Airbags deployed in both vehicles and Hector's Mercedes continued down Crown Valley where he managed to stop it a short distance later.   

"It felt like a ton of bricks," said Medina, describing the force of both the impact and the simultaneous deployment of the airbag.  Hector's airbag and seatbelt startled him and caused him discomfort in his chest.  No one at the scene requested medical service, though ambulances were right at hand and Sheriff Deputies offered assistance.  

Hector insisted when speaking with a uniformed civilian traffic accident investigator that he had a green light, though this was contradicted by the occupants of the BMW.  

Shortly after the crash, Medina telephoned her husband Pablo who was working at the In-N-Out in San Juan.  He rushed home to be with his wife and baby, seemingly unconcerned about his badly damaged 2009 Hyundai Genesis.  

OCSD investigators and deputies re-opened all Westbound and two of four eastbound lanes to traffic as they cleared debris and vehicles.  

Last Updated ( Tuesday, 30 July 2013 )
Girl Scouts Dedicate Tree at Ladera Ranch Elementary
Written by LaderaPortal NEWS   
Tuesday, 23 July 2013
Girl Scouts Dedicate Tree at Ladera Ranch Elementary
TROOP 2503 Front Row left to right: (third graders at Ladera Ranch elementary) Lauren Messier, Hailey Servin, Hayden Houts, Shirin Dunker, Jocelyn Serlin, Maci MacDonald, Sarah Hernandez, Hannah Durgin, Chloe Selmane Back Row: Principal Dr. Bryant & Troop Leader Pam Messier
In celebration of the end of a successful school year and transitioning to the next level of Girl Scouts, Troop 2503 marked the event by donating a beautiful Evergreen Elm to Ladera Ranch Elementary School.  Parents, friends and Principal Bryant gathered in front of the school as the girls made their presentation to the school and named the tree “The Friendship Tree.” 

Each girl shared what the tree symbolized to them and their community. After the presentation, the girls placed the tree in the ground, carefully covered it with soil and then watered it. The tree is planted in front of the library for all to enjoy.  
After the tree planting was complete the girls walked to a nearby bridge and with each individual crossing transitioned from Brownies to Juniors.
"Congratulations to the girls of Troop 2503 and their commitment to making the world a better place." said Troop Leader Pam Messier.

Friendship Tree Dedication Ceremony - 

  • This tree is dedicated to our all Girl Scout sisters and friends especially those in Newtown Ct. 
  • This tree symbolizes hope for the future as it is evergreen and will not lose its leaves 
  • This tree symbolizes how much we care about our environment
  • This tree symbolizes all of us, as we grow so will this tree
  • This tree symbolizes friendship because we will plant it all together
  • This tree has many branches going in many directions which is just like us
  • But this tree has roots and will always need them to stay strong
  • This tree symbolizes how we as Girl Scouts can make the world a better place
Last Updated ( Tuesday, 23 July 2013 )
Remembering Jeff Blugrind
Written by Bo Kelleher, Editor   
Sunday, 04 November 2012

Remembering Jeff Blugrind[As Originally Published in the November 2012 Ladera Times] 

On October 18, Jeff Blugrind took his own life.  It's an incomprehensible act for anyone to consider, but especially difficult to comprehend given the love and respect that Jeff garnered from so many people, in so many areas of his life.

The "why?" behind any suicide is always complicated.  It's made more difficult to those who saw Jeff’s positive and upbeat personality.  People will make suppositions and guesses as to what caused Jeff to think that suicide was the only option… and to a person, they will all be wrong.  In truth, only Jeff knew the answer, so to speculate or to judge is folly.  

A normal obituary would list a person's accomplishments, but there aren't enough pages in the paper to list all of Jeff's.  He made every type-A overachiever in Ladera Ranch (you know who you are) jealous.  He's landed the cover of Ladera Times and the OC Register's Ladera Post on numerous occasions and he’s been covered in dozens and dozens of articles that chronicle his incredible impact on our community.  

As I drove my son to school the day after Jeff's death, I was emotionally struck.  I see Jeff everywhere I go in Ladera Ranch.  I see him when I pass the Town Green, where he emceed numerous events and helped put on the annual menorah lighting at Hanukkah.  I see the light poles down the main streets, where holiday banners will soon hang that Jeff designed.  I see the electric carts that LARMAC uses around the community that Jeff advocated for during his 7-plus years on the HOA board.  I see him when I drive past the drop-off area at Chaparral Elementary, where he volunteered tirelessly to help calm traffic (and parents) and keep kids safe.  I see him when I pass the lighted crosswalk on Sienna, knowing that he pushed the County for safer streets for us all.  I see him when I pass the many locations in Ladera Ranch where I helped Jeff film his Telly-award winning production, "Focus On: Ladera Ranch".  I see him at Founders' Park where he was such a success factor in the many 4th of July celebrations and the Taste of Ladera.  I see him when Fire Engine 58 goes by and I think about his contributions to CEPA, the Community Emergency Preparedness Academy.  

Jeff was a friend of mine, so writing this is a difficult task, but I hope it honors him and helps others know my friend a little better.  Jeff and I met in 2004 through LaderaLife, and when I found it to be underwhelming, I joined with a few other residents to create what would later become LaderaPortal.com.  Jeff was one of the first people to register on the site and an advocate for improvements to our online community.  He was a non-voting director of LARMAC at the time, appointed by the board who hoped to groom him for a future leadership position.  They had no idea at the time how big an impact he would have.  In those early days of our friendship, I had the pleasure of designing Jeff's LARMAC campaign website and LaderaPortal endorsed his election to the board.  

Jeff had previously been a director on the board of the Aliso Viejo Community Association (AVCA) before moving to Ladera Ranch.  He always had an insatiable desire to be involved, and to be at the center of things.  Jeff's father put it best when he joked during the eulogy at his son's funeral, "Jeff suffered from Center-of-Attention Deficit Disorder".   

He grew up in the San Fernando Valley with his brother Scott.  Both of them were showmen from an early age.  Scott tells of how the bedrooms in their childhood home shared a wall, and how Scott would be in his room, jumping around with a tennis racket for a guitar and rocking out while in the next room, Jeff was imagining himself as a great DJ, with songs blaring competitively.  Scott would go on to become an actor, earning Emmy honors for a role on the NBC show Friends, and Jeff would go on to fulfill his dream of being a DJ, starting his business in March of 1981 and working Emcee, DJ, Audio, Video and Technical Producer gigs all around the country. 

DJ-ing was Jeff's way of always being at the party. He worked gigs all over the valley, from the roller rink to bar mitzvahs and weddings.  He met his wife Danielle while spinning at a hotel bar.  The two would later be married in that same hotel.  They were married for 20 years.

He also met his best friend, Clark Chuka, while DJ-ing back in 1988.  The two of them worked nightclubs from Malibu to Magic Mountain and had quite the booming business with USC frat parties. They continued working together throughout the years and were actively working on a show at Disneyland called, "Dancin' with Disney".  If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth a visit to see Jeff's genius in action.  He co-wrote the script and if you know Jeff's sense of humor and timing, you already know how great it is.

Jeff worked extensively in the TV industry, warming up audiences for various TV shows.  When a live audience was needed and a laugh track wouldn't do, Jeff was there; making audiences roll and keeping them entertained for the many hours that it took to film a sit-com.  Most recently, Jeff was working on the set of "Shake It Up!" for Disney.  He also worked on Ant Farm and Jessie.  Jeff absolutely loved Disney and had been working with the company off and on since 1995.

Jeff was a work-at-home father who adored his daughter Rachel.  He put in countless hours at her school, using his talent and connections to arrange visits from the USC marching band, actors from High School Musical and much more.  He was never satisfied with a small production.  It always had to be a cut above.  

Jeff was also a serious (notorious?) off-road enthusiast.  If you saw him driving around in his Hummer H2, you may have noticed the winch and off-road tires, but you may not have noticed the extensive repairs that had to be done after Jeff (with Danielle and Rachel inside) rolled the truck several times down a sand hill at Pismo Beach.   

I had the pleasure of accompanying Jeff on a good number of off-road adventures.  We crossed the Mojave Desert twice and took a trip to the Grand Canyon with kids.  Jeff was always eager to help out others.  I recall one cold morning when Ladera Portal co-founder Brett Buchanan and I joined Jeff on a trip to the top of Saddleback Mountain.   We discovered a couple of guys who managed to get their two-wheel drive pickup stuck in a place they never should have been.  Jeff hooked up his winch and rescued their less capable vehicle.  That was kind of iconic for how things went with Jeff.  People in need + Jeff + Cool Technology = everything he did.

We have lost someone immensely special.  There will never be another "Jeff Blugrind" in Ladera Ranch.  He set the bar way too high.  We are without a husband, a father, a son, a brother, a friend, a neighbor, and a civic leader.  We are missing the talents of a beloved emcee, TV host, video editor, and a dozen or more other incredible attributes and talents that I probably never knew about.  

There are so many stories I could tell you, and that we could all tell each other about Jeff.  Please do. Please tell them and honor and celebrate the life of Jeff Blugrind.  He will be so dearly missed.  

Last Updated ( Sunday, 04 November 2012 )
Jeff Blugrind, Community Leader, Has Died
Written by Ladera Times   
Friday, 19 October 2012
LARMAC Board member Jeff Blugrind, a pillar of Ladera Ranch since its inception, passed away Thursday, October 18.

His passing will be a devastating loss to the entire community by the man they called the "Voice of Ladera", arranging and choreographing many events and serving as Master of Ceremonies at most. Jeff had a brilliant career in the video and entertainment industry. The Disney Company was one of his major clients.

He is shown on the left with a few of the myriad Telly Awards he won over the years (a Telly is comparable to an Oscar in the video industry). Jeff is survived by immediate family members, wife Danielle, and teenage daughter Rachael, and other family members.  

Details of his services will be posted when they are announced by the family.
Last Updated ( Friday, 19 October 2012 )
Summer Concert Series
Written by LaderaPortal NEWS   
Friday, 20 July 2012

Summer Concert Series
Hollywood U2 - July 27
FRIDAYS, JULY 13 - AUGUST 17 TIME: 6:30PM - 8:30PM

LOCATION: Town Green / Founder's Park  

Enjoy warm nights with family and friends at the Town Green celebrating summer! Bring your low back chairs, blankets, and picnics. Ladera Ranch Community Services asks that you do not bring umbrellas/shade covers and no pets are allowed during the concerts. Be sure to bring some cash to enjoy a treat from one of the concession stands.

July 13 - Classic/Hard Rock
World Tour Legends of Rock

July 20 - Reggae
Common Sense 

July 27 - U2 Tribute 
Hollywood U2

August 3 - Dave Matthews Tribute
Stepping Feet

August 10 - No Doubt Tribute
No Duh 

August 17 - 80’s Music 80’z All-Stars

Last Updated ( Friday, 20 July 2012 )
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