Across the Area

Our Towns: Have a “Cocktail”

NICOLE CASSESSO and Damien Lorton on the set of their “Cocktail Hour” at the Gem Theater in Garden Grove (You Tube).

Sometimes necessity really is the mother of invention. The COVID-19 pandemic shut down live and movie theaters and that applied to the Gem Theater on Main Street in Garden Grove. As a way of keeping interest in the theater alive during the pandemic, Artistic Director Damien Lorton and Executive Director Nicole Cassesso launched a weekly You Tube program “The Cocktail Hour.”

The pair are socially distanced on the Gem stage, sip cocktails, swap chat and perform musical numbers. There are also guest performers from the various shows that their troupe has put on over the years.

“We thought no one would watch,” said Lorton, “but we have over 1,000 viewers.” He also reports there are clusters of viewers all over the world including Australia, Idaho and Hawaii, some of which send in contributions to keep One More Productions financially healthy.

More good news on the higher education front about local people.

  • Alison Michalak of Huntington Beach has received a bachelor of fine arts in creative writing from Emerson College in Boston.

Who knew how many students from Huntington Beach attended the University of Alabama? Here’s a list of HB locals


named to the deans’ and president’s listss there for the spring 2020 semester. The president’s list is for those with a perfect record of all A’s.

  • Lindsey Bautzer (dean’s).
  • Amy Berbglia (dean’s).
  • Riley Burke (dean’s).
  • Emily Gray (dean’s).
  • Bailey Hansen (dean’s).
  • Katie Jones (dean’s).
  • Danielle Phillips (dean’s).
  • Violet Rowden (dean’s),
  • Tani Song (president’s).
  • Ella Thomas (president’s list).
  • Justin Welch (dean’s).
  • Anysa Wilson (dean’s).

On Wednesday, the Westminster City Council heard a report on its homelessness task force. One of the recommendations is to create or partner with another city to start a “navigation center,” which is a sort of limited-time shelter for the homeless, providing not just a bed but also referrals on finding and job, health issues, etc. No location has been identified, and Westminster will be meeting with representatives of Garden Grove and Buena Park to consider possible joint efforts.

We don’t know how likely this is, but we’ve seen a Facebook post “announcing” another protest rally for the Village Green park in Garden Grove later this month. We’re checking with the GGPD for any updates on this possibility. Got plywood?

 As you may have heard or read elsewhere, Brethren Christian High School in Huntington Beach is closing its doors after 73 years. Declining enrollment and ensuing financial problems are blamed for the private school that originated in Seal Beach in 1947, then moved to Long Beach, Paramount, Cypress and its current location in Surf City. According to one published report, the school faced a $650,000 deficit if it continued to the 2020-21 school year.

If you’re a fan of high school sports, a reckoning is coming soon. According to the CIF-SS office, an announcement will be made on Monday, July 20 about whether there will be prep athletics in the fall, or even the winter and spring, considering rising concerns about COVID-19 infections. Decisions have not yet been made about whether or how schools will open in the fall, and if schools don’t open – except for online instruction – it could be unlikely that we will see football, basketball and other games at our local high schools soon.

Our Towns is posted on Thursdays. It’s a place for news bites, honors, slices of life, etc. for the people of Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Stanton and Westminster. Send your items to .




















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