Wednesday's Headlines & Surprises: A Real Saint in OC

  • While Politicians Yap, Strickland Performs: The current issue of People celebrates Orange County’s Alena Strickland, 49, for taking in 112 foster children. Yes, 112. Even more impressive? According to the article, each child has had special needs such as autism, blindness and deafness. She doesn’t do it alone. Strickland has her retired restaurateur husband Philip Pedone by her side. What motives her? "I was faced with a need, I can [help], so what's my excuse not to?" she told the magazine. "In the grand scheme of things, what's more important: a child's life or me being able to go out to dinner?" Class act.
  • Deputies get 12% raises! Yesterday the board of supervisors approved a new contract with more than 1,800 sheriff’s deputies that gives whopping 12 percent raises, retroactive raises and medical benefit reforms. The one certain public benefit: the deal helps reduce a $140 million unfunded taxpayer mandate a politically weak-kneed, all-Republican board gave the deputies several years ago. Supervisors and union officials hailed the new deal. Board Chairman Chris Norby told the LA TImes that the agreement is “fair and responsible.” But tough negotiations have left union officials bitter with Supervisor John Moorlach. He demanded concessions by deputies who get to retire with incredibly generous benefits about 20 years before the rest of us.
  • Day Four: The Santiago arson fire has consumed more than 19,000 acres in Orange County and, according to the Reg news crews, remains only 30 percent contained as we enter Day 4 of the disaster. Thousands of residents in fire-threatened areas flooded hotels and shelters as 600 firefighters battle the blaze. The air still smells of soot and commuters face nightmares because of numerous road closures. Fire officials say the fire has caused at least $10 million in damage, although that figure is certain to rise. The National Weather Service predicts dry, hot temperatures over 90 degrees today. Forecasters say we’ll feel calmer wind and cooler temperatures by tomorrow. Exhausted fire officials in OC say the lack of manpower and aerial support is disgraceful considering state officials guaranteed they’d corrected the deficencies four years ago. Also, don’t forget: If you know the identity of the arsonist, please call the fire authority tip line at 800-540-8282.
  • Like Punching a Brick Wall? The November 1 issue of Joe Weider’s Muscle & Fitness highlights Orange County’s Trent Sabo, a 5-foot-8, 185-pound sumo wrestler who lived out of his Ford Probe for eight months while he did nothing but train for an international competition in 2004. Sabo, who began the sport just seven years ago, practices every Sunday in a “treeless suburban backyard that’s flanked by chain-link fencing and rusty lawn sheds” at Dohyo of Dreams in Garden Grove, according to the feature. How does he keep his weight up? “Impressive amounts of rice and noodles” and “take naps,” Sabo says. And the biggest misimpression? “Most people think [sumo wrestlers] are fat,” he said. “We’re extremely solid. Just punch one and it's like punching a brick wall.”
  • -- R. Scott Moxley / OC Weekly
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