Rape Outrages, Binds Community

LAKE FOREST — Some crimes are so heinous, they’re destined to change the dynamics of a community.

By Marc S. Posner
Saddleback Valley Voice
This was a difficult story to report and a difficult story to write. It happened walking distance from my home, which made it even-more important to check my emotions. Still, the story needed emotion — which means it had to come from others.

The rape of a 9-year-old girl who was walking home from a short trip to buy school supplies when she was yanked into the thick bushes at Serrano Creek Community Park on Saturday night is that type of crime. Continue reading “Rape Outrages, Binds Community”

Three Escape Apartment Fire with Only Their Lives

WEST NEWPORT — Three people jumped out a burning upstairs apartment leaving behind everything except their lives — something officials say they’re lucky to have.

By Marc S. Posner
Daily Pilot
This story is designated as a favorite in large part because of the lede. The claim, though, is a reaction to the first responders assessment of the situation and is backed up in the account.

Continue reading “Three Escape Apartment Fire with Only Their Lives”

Doctor by Day, DUI Cop by Night

If you’ve had too much to drink, Barry Schleider has one goal: To get you off the road.

By Marc S. Posner
Daily Pilot
Twenty-plus years later, I still remember details of the night I spent on patrol with Dr. Schleider. The stories he recounted come to mind frequently, and his cautions are never far, either. This is still one of my favorite reads.

Schleider, a doctor by day and a Costa Mesa reserve police officer by night, is one of the county’s top drunken driving enforcers and has dedicated his moonlighting police career to getting so-called deuces off the road.

In the last reporting year — from July, 1993 through July, 1994 — they numbered 124. Continue reading “Doctor by Day, DUI Cop by Night”

Riding Along with the Bike Patrol

WEST SIDE – The first thing you’re likely to notice about Officer Ed Sutton’s black-and-white is that it’s got only two wheels and runs on pedal power.

By Marc S. Posner
Daily Pilot
It’s quite likely I’ve never worked harder for a story (though there was that unplanned trip to Arizona after a full day at work) than this one. It certainly was the most-unique ride along I ever had.

The second comes in the form of hellos and smiles from those he passes as he propels the 21-speed Raleigh bicycle along his patrol route.

That positive reaction is in stark contrast to the way many police officers feel they’re perceived by members of the community – especially in areas such as Costa Mesa’s West Side because members of immigrant communities often are reluctant to interact with police. Continue reading “Riding Along with the Bike Patrol”

Lost Gem Returned to Rightful Owners

NEWPORT-MESA — Spotted on Thursday: Sun.

By Marc S. Posner
Daily Pilot
This was an El Niño year and it rained and rained and rained every single day. And rain, my friends, isn’t why you seek a reporting position at a beach-town paper. Worse than the rain, were the daily requests from the editors for a weather story. This one really broke the final straw for me when I was asked for another weather reax. “Um, it didn’t rain yesterday.” “Good — write about that.”

Albeit though fleeting glances masked by often-dark cloud cover, Southern California’s top attraction marked its return to the sky after nearly a week’s hiatus. Continue reading “Lost Gem Returned to Rightful Owners”

OC Supervisor Tom Riley’s Final Days Tarnished by Bankruptcy

These were supposed to be Supervisor Tom Riley’s glory days.

By Marc S. Posner
Daily Pilot
Serendipity kept my feature about Tom Riley’s pending retirement from elected office from running as scheduled. And then, boom, the entire county went bankrupt. I called the chairman of the Board of Supervisors, added a couple of quotes, and had an award-winning story (second place, non-breaking news, Orange County Fair, July 1995).

Instead, the retired Marine Corps brigadier general is back in the thick of battle as his 20-year tenure on the county Board of Supervisors comes to a close. Continue reading “OC Supervisor Tom Riley’s Final Days Tarnished by Bankruptcy”

Moon Walker Pete Conrad Still Pushing the Envelope

HUNTINGTON BEACH — As one of 12 men to walk on the moon, you’d think that Pete Conrad would recall the event like a giddy teen remembers his first kiss.

By Marc S. Posner
Huntington Beach Independent
The thrill I found in meeting Pete Conrad can’t be overstated. He was a Right Stuff-era aviator and astronaut I had been familiar with since childhood. Meeting a human who set foot on another heavenly body was out-of-this-world (sorry for the pun; no I’m not).

Instead, the retired Navy captain routinely answers the question with the smooth, calm demeanor of a Right Stuff-era test pilot.

It was just a job, something he spent several years training for, he said. Continue reading “Moon Walker Pete Conrad Still Pushing the Envelope”

School worker teaches teens self-worth PEOPLE: Barbara Leon of Fullerton works to keep students in school by telling them to believe in themselve

North County News.

Orange County Register
19 Aug 1993: b02.

Barbara Leon is the kind of person who immediately makes you feel at ease.

Perhaps that’s why she has countless friends – some of whom don’t know her name, or even of her.

Take, for example, neurologically disabled students who attend specialized classes because Leon fought for them in the early 1970s.

Then there are the high school dropouts she charms into returning to independent-study programs, where many earn their diplomas and go on to college.

Tonight, for her volunteer efforts, Leon will receive The Register Angel Award before the game between the California Angels and Milwaukee Brewers. The award is a monthly joint effort of The Orange County Register and the Angels to honor people who make an extraordinary effort to help others. Continue reading “School worker teaches teens self-worth PEOPLE: Barbara Leon of Fullerton works to keep students in school by telling them to believe in themselve”

Samaritan helps family adjust to loss

North County News

Orange County Register
05 Aug 1993: 04.

Life goes on for Stewart Nickless.

Nearly three months after his wife was killed when another motorist struck the family’s station wagon head-on, the U.S. Marines second lieutenant is learning to be both father and mother to three young girls.

“I’m kind of overwhelmed working full time and being a single father,” Nickless said. “The house is pretty empty without my wife.” Continue reading “Samaritan helps family adjust to loss”