Crime lab director speaks at Networking Breakfast

On Tuesday, Sept. 11, Joe Hourigan, director of the Scientific Investigation Division for the Los Angeles Crime Lab, was the guest speaker at this month’s Cypress Chamber of Commerce Networking Breakfast, which unfolded at the Residence Inn by Marriott. Pictured are Cypress Police Captain Ed Bish, Tim Keenan of Creative Media Recording, Hourigan, Steve Blount of the Cypress School Board of Trustees, and Linda Keenan of Creative Media Recording. The Chamber hosts monthly Networking Breakfasts the second Tuesday of each month.

Flashdance comes to Segerstrom Center May 7 – 19

Full casting has been announced for the Orange County engagement of Flashdance – The Musical, the stage adaptation of the 1983 hit film that defined a generation.Joining Jillian Mueller as Alex and Matthew Hydzik as Nick are Katie Webber as Tess, Kelly Felthous as Gloria, DeQuina Moore as Kiki, Jo Ann Cunningham as Hannah, David R. Gordon as Jimmy, Matthew Henerson as Harry and Christian Whelan in the role of C.C.Also joining the company are Holly Ann Butler, Claire Camp, Derek Carley, Ryan Carlson, Natalie Caruncho, Lynorris Evans, Thursday Farrar, Charlene Hoffman, Holly Laurent, Jakob Karr, Dan Kohler, Brandt Martinez, Nicholas McGough, Ariela Morgenstern, Rebecca Riker, Andrea Spiridonakos and Lawrence E. Street. Flashdance launched on Tuesday, Jan 1, at Pittsburgh’s Heinz Hall with an official opening on Thursday, January 3 and continues on to more than 25 cities with additional bookings to be announced.In addition to the US national touring company, a second company of Flashdance will be assembled on Broadway with performances beginning August 2013 for an open-ended engagement.With electrifying dance at its core, the musical tells the inspiring and unforgettable story of Alex Owens, a Pittsburgh steel mill welder by day and a bar dancer by night with dreams of one day becoming a professional performer. When romance with her steel mill boss threatens to complicate her ambitions, Alex learns the meaning of love and its power to fuel the pursuit of her dream.The original Paramount Pictures film was a worldwide smash hit that became a pop culture phenomenon, grossing more than $150 million and featuring a Grammy® Award-winning soundtrack. Flashdance –The Musical features a score including the hit songs from the movie, all of which became top ten hits on the radio around the world including the Academy Award-winning title song “Flashdance – What a Feeling,” “Maniac,” “Gloria,” “Manhunt,” and “I Love Rock & Roll.” In addition to these hits, 16 brand new songs have been written for the stage.Directed and choreographed by Sergio Trujillo (Jersey Boys, Memphis, The Addams Family), Flashdance features a book by Robert Cary and Tom Hedley (co-writer of the original screenplay with Joe Eszterhas). The production features scenic design by Klara Zieglerova, costume design by Paul Tazewell, lighting design by Howell Binkley, projection design by Peter Nigrini and sound design by John Shivers and David Patridge.Hair and wig designs are by Charles LaPointe and make-up design is by Cookie Jordan.The production also features music supervision and vocal and incidental arrangements by Jason Howland, orchestrations by Doug Besterman and dance arrangements by Jim Abbott.Segerstrom Center for the Arts is unique as both an acclaimed arts institution and as a multi-disciplinary cultural campus. It is committed to supporting artistic excellence on all of its stages, offering unsurpassed experiences, and engaging the entire community in new and exciting ways through the unique power of live performance and a diverse array of inspiring programs.The center presents a broad range of programming for audiences of all ages, including international ballet and dance, national tours of top Broadway shows, intimate performances of jazz and cabaret, contemporary artists, classical music performed by renowned chamber orchestras and ensembles.Single tickets, which start at $20, are available online at, at the box office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket savings for 10 or more, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236. The TTY number is (714) 556-2746. The 2 p.m. performance on Saturday, May 18 will include audio description, open captioning and sign-language interpretation.

Cypress mom helps son raise $7,000 to build a home in Mexico

When Robert Sittman told his mom that he was going to raise $10,000 to build a house in Mexico, she thought he was out of his mind. Considering the current economic situation, she was hesitant to join him in an attempt to complete a project of this magnitude.“I’m going to do this with or without you,” Sittman said to her.His mom, Delight, did not agree to support the project at first, but after telling her co-workers at Keller Williams Reality in Los Alamitos about the project, they started giving her $25 donations and her heart was softened to the idea.The Mother/Son combination worked from January until May to plan, organize, and fundraise money for this humanitarian effort. Within these four months, there was not a day that went by that mother and son did not do something to propel this project forward.“It wasn’t always easy, but in the end, it was worth it for the Velasquez-Torres family,” Sittman said.The Velasquez-Torres family were the recipients of the new house that was built in Puerto Peñasco, Sonora, Mexico.Throughout the whole project, Sittman was also completing his final semester at Arizona State University. The construction of the house began on May 4, exactly one day after he walked across the stage in his cap and gown.Sittman organized 18 volunteers to assist in the construction of the house. The volunteers worked diligently throughout the weekend of May 4. They were comprised of members from Seacoast Grace Church in Cypress, The Catholic Church, and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints.“This was not a church sponsored event, but rather an act of kindness that was inspired by our faith,” Sittman said.The mother and son duo plans on completing future projects in Puerto Peñasco. Sittman has big plans to begin a two-year ministry in the state of Washington for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.He is scheduled to begin his mission on Aug. 29 at a Missionary Training Center in Provo, Utah. Lucky for him, he will be learning Spanish, which will assist him in future missionary efforts in Mexico, Southern California, and wherever else the Spanish language is spoken.“It will be a long time before I go back to Mexico, but the people in Mexico will always be in my heart,” Robert said.As for Delight, she will continue her work in Puerto Peñasco by collecting food, clothing, and children’s toys for the many organizations that she visits during the year. Among the many groups that she helps in Mexico are the following: Esperanza Children’s Home, Two Fish feeding ministry, Casa Hogar rehabilitation center, and Amor Ministries.The ministries that she supports in Mexico cater to the elderly, the homeless, the hungry, and the parentless. She is even known to visit the local dog shelter and purchase food for the shelter when they are running low.Delight does not only help people in Mexico, but she also helps out locally.She partners with a local church in Long Beach to provide hot coffee for people living on the street.“The coffee isn’t much, but if it will brighten their day a little bit, it is worth the effort,” Delight said.She began her effort by raising enough money to purchase a coffee maker and three month supply of coffee, creamer, and sugar.Since then, she has continually found a way to supply that community with coffee since she started about five years ago. Delight also donates her time by being a highly active member of the Cypress Women’s Club and KW Cares.Despite being a mother of two and a full time sales agent, Delight still finds time to make service to other’s a priority.Delight’s husband, Robert, also donated his time in helping with the construction of the house in Mexico. Nicole Sittman, Delight’s oldest daughter would have joined the family too if she had not been finishing up a Master’s program at the University of Pennsylvania.After her graduation in May, Nicole began a volunteer internship down in Chile for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.Delight and her family have lived in the city of Cypress since 1989.


On Saturday, Sept. 8, the Veteran’s Appreciation Picnic, hosted by the Cypress Woman’s Club, was a huge success as many veterans and local officials attended the event at Veteran’s Park in Cypress.Woman’s Club members Terri Seymore, Linda Keenan and Roni Gregory coordinated the event, with a crew of volunteers keeping themselves busy by setting up tables, chairs, and site decorations. The volunteers also monitored food preparations and stations, served meals to disabled veterans, washed the kitchen utensils, and took care of the trash disposal and general clean-up.Cypress Mayor Doug Bailey and Woman’s Club President Judy Wagner welcomed everyone to the fifth annual picnic. Other noted officials in attendance included Cypress Mayor Pro Tem Dr. Prakash Narain, Cypress Councilmen Leroy Mills and Todd Seymore, and former Cypress Councilmen/Mayors Lydia Sondhi and Tim Keenan.The highlight of the event was the introduction of World War II United States Army veteran Bob Keller, who briefly spoke about his service in Europe under General George C. Patton. The afternoon fun continued with a water balloon toss game to the music provided by the Dr. Will Rogers’ band.The appreciation picnic is just a small gesture of gratitude to the many veterans who fought on behalf of the United States over the years. Each year the Cypress Woman’s Club makes every effort to plan and arrange this particular event, along with contributions from sponsors. This year’s sponsors included: Long Beach Veterans Hospital, Knights of the Holy Grill from the Cypress Church, Mills and Mary Ann Mills, Seymore, Naval Sea Cadets Seal Beach Battalion, Lisa Brandon, Mariellen Yarc, Stacy Berry, Ralphs Grocery Company, Crystal Geyser, and Hubert’s Lemonade.For more information on membership, events and programs of the Cypress Woman’s Club, visit its website at

Cypress celebrates women at 3rd Annual Women’s Conference

The 3rd Annual Cypress Women’s Conference was held on Thursday, Sept. 18 at the Cypress Community Center. The event was well attended by state and local political leaders, members of our community, businesses, and students from Cypress College, Cypress High School, Oxford Academy, and Kennedy High School.Mayor Pro Tem Mariellen Yarc acted as the mistress of ceremonies for the event. Featured speakers Amanda Freed and Angela Madsen shared their inspiring and motivational stories with a captivated audience. The various breakout session speakers provided educational information and further motivation to get involved with the community.The Women’s Conference honored Shelley Henderson as the 2015 Woman Civic Leader of the Year and Lisa Lane of Residence Inn as the Executive Woman of the Year.Mayor Pro Tem Mariellen Yarc stated, “Our 3rd Annual Women’s Conference was a huge success! Amanda Freed was especially motivating to the students in attendance; she is a great role model for the young women of Cypress. Angela Madsen’s remarkable accomplishments, despite facing such adversity, were simply awe-inspiring!Next year, I hope to expand our women’s conference to include the surrounding communities so we can all join together to celebrate women.”For more information about city events, like us on Facebook at follow us on Twitter at

Moorlach talks about pension reform at State of the County

In his State of the County address, Orange County Supervisor John Moorlach highlighted a local real estate market that is on the upswing, but noted that there are still several “torpedoes” that the county must avoid in getting the economy back on track.Moorlach spoke to a filled banquet room at the Old Ranch Country Club on Feb. 7, noting that after a three year drop in sales tax revenue in the county, figures show that in 2010-11 there was a 6.5 percent increase in tax revenue for the county.One of the biggest torpedoes that the county faces is the potential loss of vehicle license fees, that the state is attempting to take from counties to stabilize the state budget. The vehicle license fees from Orange County were supposed to pay the bankruptcy bonds from the county’s bankruptcy.However the state passed a bill to take the license fees and the county is now fighting the state in court to retain the money. Losing that money would be a $49.5 million hit to the county.“Should we no prevail, to take that money from the county would be a serious torpedo,” Moorlach said.For 2012-13, there have been some unprecedented procedures to try and balance the state budget. The state is carrying over a $4.1 billion deficit and anticipating a shortfall of $5.1 billion in 2012-13. It is also assuming an expenditure reduction of $4.2 billion this fiscal year and an increase of income and sales tax revenue.The passage of proposition 30 does give the county a revenue stream from the state.Moorlach also noted that pension reform for county employees is a major torpedo that the county must avoid. According to Moorlach, the cost of funding pensions for county employees is anticipated to be $326 million in 2012-13. That figure is estimated to increase to $464 million by 2017-18.Moorlach said that the county is working with employee groups to fix the problem. The county also continues to see fallout from the termination of redevelopment agencies, and were hit by some unanticipated torpedoes during the past year. The county had to deal with the arrest of former public works administrative director Carlos Bustamante for sexual battery, as well as the retirement of several top administrators.So what are the solutions? According to Moorlach, the county must begin with pension reforms. He said the county should adopt a more manageable contribution of 2 percent similar to the private sector’s 401(k) plan. There also needs to be changes in the percentage of contributions at age 65, according to Moorlach.But there are some signs of an agreement and Moorlach noted that he anticipates seeing those in the coming year.Moorlach noted in his report that he anticipates a “successful collaboration with the three largest bargaining units to provide for realistic compensation, while preserving the financial viability of the County and maintaining our current level of services.” He is also hopeful that the county can become pension reform model for the rest of the state.But the rebound of the housing market seems to be a strong indicator that things are improving for Orange County. The median house price in the county rose from about $410,000 in February of 2012 to $470,000 by December of 2012.The Cypress Chamber of Commerce hosted the event, with Ed Munson introducing Moorlach.Some city officials were encouraged by the report. Cypress City Councilman Rob Johnson said he was pleased to hear about the rebounding housing market and liked the idea of pension reform and having everybody more responsible for contributing more to their retirement fund. He saw much of the report as a sign that things are improving.“I think it’s turning itself around,” Johnson said of the address.

KW Idol returns on Sept. 25

Agents at Keller Williams Realty Los Alamitos will be hosting the fifth annual KW Idol at Mr. B's Sports Lounge on Tuesday, Sept. 25. The talent show will begin at 6:30 p.m.KW Idol is a fundraiser for KW Cares, the company's non-profit charity. With support from the local and business community, the fundraiser has been a standing room only event in the past.KW Long Beach won the last competition, ending KW Los Alamitos' three year winning streak.This year’s members of KW Los Alamitos will include Drake Cruz and Robin Auwerda. Kim Gaberry will represent RPM Mortgage and Sarah Handley will compete for Coastal Coordination. Both of these companies are located in Los Alamitos.Mr. B’s Sports Lounge is at 11272 Los Alamitos Blvd. in Los Alamitos and can be contacted by calling 714- 430-0213.

Cypress Mayor Yarc delivers 2016 State of the City address

Cypress Mayor Mariellen Yarc delivered her State of the City Address and presented Business of the Year awards at the Cypress Community Center on Jan. 20. Mayor Yarc’s speech recounted many of the City’s accomplishments in 2015: City Council adoption of a strategic plan and a balanced budget; improvements in transparency and communication with the community; a new farmers market; new business and retail centers under construction; and the ongoing success of community recreation programs. Mayor Yarc also highlighted the accomplishments of Cypress’ school community. Mayor Yarc’s address focused on the theme “Balance is the Key to Life.” She highlighted the efforts that contribute to ensuring that Cypress is a thriving, balanced community in which to live, work and play. Additionally, the Mayor recognized Oxford Academy student and Cypress resident Dan Ta, for his many accomplishments including recently being selected and one of Orange County’s 100 Most Influential. Three businesses were also honored during the event with the Annual BRACE, AGENT, and SPIRIT Business of the Year Awards. The recipient of the BRACE Business of the Year Award was Christie Digital Systems. In attendance to receive the award was Anna Escudero, Senior Director of Human Resources. Christie has called Cypress home since 1994. They are an industry leader in providing state of the art visual and audio equipment and display solutions for companies like AMC Theatres, Boeing, Fox TV Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, and Starbucks. In addition to being a global leader in its field, Christie is also a generous corporate citizen, providing sponsorships and donations for innovations in the arts, culture, education and the environment. The AGENT Business of the Year Award was awarded to Kaeser Compressors. Mr. Keith Baker, Branch Manager, was in attendance to receive the award. Kaeser Compressors is an industry leader in providing compressed air systems and services. They are the preffered choice of many top automotive restorers and fabricators featured on television shows, including Stacey David’s Gearz on Velocity TV and West Coast Customs featured on Fox Sports. The recipient of the SPIRIT Business of the Year Award was Hansen Auto Body & Paint. Mr. Chuck Hansen was in attendance to accept the award. Hansen Auto Body & Paint is a family-owned business that has been providing Cypress with the highest quality auto body repair services for more than 55 years. Mayor Yarc concluded the event with a quote, “As Albert Einstein said, ‘Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving.’ And my colleagues and I will do everything possible to keep Cypress moving in the right direction.” For more information regarding the City of Cypress, the BRACE, AGENT, and SPIRIT programs, other City services for the business community, or for information on how to relocate your business to the City of Cypress, please contact Redevelopment Project Manager Steve Clarke at 714-229-6728. A video of the Mayor’s State of the City Address can be found on the City of Cypress website at

Youth Center names chairman for community support campaign

The Youth Center in Los Alamitos announces Scott Newton as chairman for their 18th Annual Community Support Campaign which kicks off on March 31.“I am honored to be selected as this year’s Campaign chairman,” said Newton. “I have been involved with The Youth Center in one way or another for more than 17 years, and this year I get to share many of my great experiences with the community.”Newton has served on the Youth Center Board of Directors in the past. He was and still is on our Every 15 Minutes committee, a teen drunk driving determent program, since it began in 1997.“Scott is an invaluable part of our community. We are really looking forward to his leadership in this year’s Community Support Campaign”, said Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme.“The Youth Center has been a positive influence on our community and our kids for more than 60 years,” he said. “As a community and as individuals, we need to support those who help raise our kids.”Newton has been involved with Youth Leadership since 1997, with the formation of the Seal Beach Leo Club, and has served as senior advisor of this program since its inception. More than 125 local youth each year participate in various community projects and fundraisers to help the community through the Leo Club.His job as campaign chairman this year will be to inspire and motivate more than 100 volunteer campaigners to get the word out about the Youth Center. He said last year that Los Alamitos Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Sherry Kropp did an amazing job as chair, which inspired him to take the lead in 2015.“I am honored to take on the chairmanship, and look forward to helping The Youth Center fulfill their mission to transform children’s lives one family at a time,” he said. Newton explained that supporting the Youth Center is more than just a donation. It’s helping to build a great community for children. A vital part of that support comes from their on-going donors and supporters. “They are the backbone of the Annual Community Support Campaign,” he said. “Your support is vital to the success of the Youth Center. Thank you for your continuing support.”As a Seal Beach Lion for more than 27 years, Newton has been heavily involved in their Vision Programs. He goes on vision missions in California and Mexico twice a month, where the organization provides free sight screenings and eyeglasses to the needy. He and his wife Cathy serve together.Newton’s educational background includes an MBA from Chaminade University in Honolulu, Hawaii. He earned his Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Hawaii, and Advanced Executive Studies from USC.He is on the Board of the Seal Beach Police Foundation, Save-Our-Beach, Orphanages of Thailand, Cypress College Seal Beach Citizen of the Year Committee, and Vice President of the Seal Beach Lion’s Foundation. Newton was named a “Man of the Year” by the City of Seal Beach, and received the President’s (USA) Lifetime Volunteer Achievement Award.“Scott is a very busy man is involved in many philanthropic organizations. With this in mind, he never takes a project half seriously. He commits to the work he does and truly makes the difference in the lives of many. I wish there were more people like Scott. Our world would be a better place to live in,” said Lumme.For more information about the 18th Annual Community Support Campaign, please call Youth Center Executive Director Lina Lumme or Office Manager Julie Rubin at 562-493-4043.

BRACE/AGENT workshop examines cybersecurity for businesses

On Wednesday, Sept. 10, the city of Cypress held a joint BRACE and AGENT Program workshop at the Cypress Community Center. The event featured an in depth discussion of cybersecurity and how to protect business accounts and assets from cybercriminals. The keynote speakers were Jim Vaughn from iDiscovery Solutions and Gordon Calhoun, a partner with the law firm of Lewis, Brisbois, Bisgaard and Smith. The Small Business Administration (SBA) partnered with the city of Cypress to sponsor the workshop and Sylvia Gutierrez with the SBA acted as the moderator for the discussion.The city’s BRACE Program promotes the principals of Business Retention, Attraction, Creation and Expansion for Cypress’ larger businesses. The AGENT Program, which stands for Assist, Grow, Educate, Network and Thrive, provides support for the City’s medium sized companies and businesses. The workshop provided both business groups with valuable information concerning the tools and methods available to effectively safeguard sensitive digital information and to respond to data breaches.For additional information regarding the BRACE and AGENT Programs and other City services for the business community, or for information on how to relocate your business to the City of Cypress, please contact Cypress Redevelopment Project Manager Steve Clarke at 714-229-6728.