Brea Old and New: Tick-Tock, History Isn't So Boring After All™ ~ Charlie the Clock


  • Brea’s former mayors set the pace for our future

    3 years ago by

    Did you know Brea has 14 living former mayors, all appointed by their peers, 10 who still live in Brea?

      They have presided over Brea during different eras and often under challenging conditions, but I am only highlighting former mayors not currently on council.

        Mayor Lynn Daucher is seen in this 1998 photo at the helm of a bulldozer for the groundbreaking of Brea Downtown. (Courtesy of Lynn Daucher)

          Our living former mayors date back to 1964, when then 28-year-old Thomas Speers was appointed mayor for a two-year term. Speers now lives in Colorado, and recalled how he and his council were successful in changing the position of city administrator to a full-time city manager and other professional staffing needed for a growing city.

            During Rex Gaede’s turn as mayor in 1977, he was instrumental in changing the mayoral term from two years to one year so more council members could serve in the center seat. Gaede’s most memorable mayor moment was presiding over the opening of the Brea Mall, a very big deal for the community.

              Ron Isles, who now lives in Arkansas, served on the council two times, and as mayor in 1982 and again in 1992. He said he worked with the city manager and finance manager to set minimum budget constraints to assure that Brea would always have money and be able to pay its bills. That seems to still be the case today.

                A big change came in 1984 when Norma Arias Hicks Buckeye, now of Fallbrook, was appointed mayor. She was the first woman and first Hispanic to be elected to Brea’s City Council. She was instrumental in getting Sacramento bigwigs to create Chino Hills State Park, and also fought the landfill expansion.

                  Carrey Nelson, our oldest living mayor at age 90, served as mayor in 1984 and 1990. He served 14 years on council, and the downtown’s huge transformation came under his watch.

                    Mayor in 1990, Wayne Wedin said working with a strong team of staff, council and the community was successful as was developing a strong relationship with the school district. He was also instrumental in starting Brea’s Art in Public Places.

                      Burnie Dunlap became mayor in 1992, 1993 and 1996. A highlight of being mayor was the completion of the Brea Community Center. He now lives in Anaheim Hills, but says he still loves Brea!

                        Bev Perry, mayor in 1995, 2000 and 2003, became mayor in 1995 and the next day Orange County declared bankruptcy. She spent much of that year in meetings with other O.C. cities who also had money invested with the county. In the end, she said, they were able to craft a deal that returned nearly all of Brea’s money back to the city.

                          Lynn Daucher, mayor 1997-98, said her most memorable mayor moment was at the downtown groundbreaking in October 1998. She said it was culmination of years of hard work by several city councils, but the best part was Daucher at the controls of the bulldozer. Something I doubt she has repeated.

                            John Beauman, mayor in 2004 and 2009, especially enjoyed commemorating the Brea Sports Park opening in 2008, and also serving as president of the Orange County Division of the League of California Cities.

                              Former police chief Bill Lentini was mayor in 2004. His goal on council was to help bring civility back to our local government and finally make the sports park a reality. During his mayoral year, he saw the revitalization of South Brea Boulevard and safeguards set for the hillsides.

                                Don Schweitzer was mayor in 2008 and 2012, following in the mayoral footsteps from the past of his father and grandfather. His favorite accomplishment as mayor was presenting the idea of a Brea war memorial, getting it funded and finally built.

                                  Ron Garcia served as Brea’s mayor in 2006. Unfortunately he did not respond to my requests.

                                    Brett Murdock served as Brea’s mayor in 2014 and worked hard on the Lagos de Moreno Park rehabilitation project at Laurel School. “It will be an incredible addition to our great city and school district,” he said.

                                      Murdock is the only former mayor who stated he is seriously considering running again for office. Which one? He didn’t say.

                                        Terri Daxon is a freelance writer and the owner of Daxon Marketing Communications. She gives her perspective on Brea issues twice a month. Contact her at

  • Country Hills Elementary 2nd Annual Color Run Fundraiser

    3 years ago by

    Country Hills Elementary School PTA's 1st Annual Color Run Fundraiser. Principal Trish Walsh poses as "The Face of Brea" with many of her students!! Charlie the Clock cutout is invited to the 2nd Annual Color Run Fundraiser!

    Country Hills Elementary
    School PTA's 1st Annual Color Run Fundraiser. Principal Trish Walsh poses as "The Face of Brea" with many of her students!! Charlie the Clock caricature cutout is invited to the 2nd Annual Color Run Fundraiser!

      Country Hills Elementary School PTA's 2nd Annual Color Run Fundraiser will be roaring fun on Friday, October 28, 2016. 100% of the proceeds will be used for the enrichment of every student in our school. The event is the school's biggest fundraiser of the year, supporting the PTA operating budget that includes, but is not limited to, art programs, music programs, assemblies, field trips, etc. Our school goal this year is to raise $25,000.

        The Color Run is not a race; it is a fun, fitness-oriented event at which all students may participate. TK through 2nd grade have a 15 minute heat beginning at 9:30am. 3rd through 6th grade have a 20 minute heat beginning at 10am. Aside from helping our school, there are many incredible prizes to be won! Go Cougars!

          Country Hills Elementary School -- Principal Trish Walsh

  • Full STEAM ahead: Brea district’s first magnet school nearly ready to open

    3 years ago by

    By Principal Heather Bojorquez of Laurel Elementary Magnet School of Innovation and Career Exploration

      Laurel Elementary gets a little TLC over the summer.

      Laurel Elementary gets a little TLC over the summer. Photo via Laurel Leopards Instagram account.

        Big things continue to happen in Brea and I couldn’t be happier to write about the opening of Brea Olinda Unified School District’s very first magnet school this fall. For nearly 95 years, Laurel School has been providing elementary education to students in Brea and this summer it is currently undergoing a an exciting transformation! This August, Laurel will reopen its doors as The Laurel Elementary Magnet School of Innovation and Career Exploration (I.C.E.).

          A magnet school is a public school with specialized courses or curricula. "Magnet" schools draw students from across the school boundaries, meaning the school is open to enrollment (pending space availability) to all families who reside in Brea and surrounding communities. Opening a magnet school has been an ongoing discussion amongst the school board and District for the past few years and we are thrilled to see the vision come to life!

            Just as its new name implies, Laurel Elementary Magnet School will emphasize innovation and career exploration. Brea schools are one of the strongest community assets the city of Brea has to offer our businesses, and we invite our community to have a part in the education and programming we provide to Laurel students. That being said, a main focus of the Laurel Elementary Magnet school will be partnerships with local businesses. Brea business leaders will sponsor classrooms and provide students the opportunity to solve real world problems that affect their industries and employees. Equally exciting, additional areas of focus for the school will include 1:1 technology for all students and project-based S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) lessons. Curriculum will be centered around a “hands-on, minds-on” learning approach to help give students the tools they need to address real world issues affecting them in the 21st century and beyond.

              Laurel teachers at work creating lessons for new Magnet school's intercommunication.

              Laurel teachers hard at work creating lessons for new magnet school. Photo via Laurel Leopards Instagram account.

                So far this summer, our dedicated teaching staff have put in hours of professional development working together as a collaborative team to build and develop student centered lessons. Additionally, the process to improve the overall appearance of campus has begun. Students will return to a freshly painted building, new asphalt on the upper playground, and we are most excited about the new flexible furniture that will allow for easy grouping and changing of the traditional classroom to mirror a collaborative work environment.

                  I am elated to be part of the Laurel Elementary Magnet School of I.C.E. community and am humbled and honored to hold the position of principal. My vision is to see students leave our school with an understanding of who they are, what they bring, and the limitless potential they have to impact the world. At Laurel, or students will explore, innovate, and create!

                    We have an amazing school community, knowledgeable and invested teachers, hard-working and caring support staff, dedicated and supportive families. On behalf of the entire Laurel Elementary Magnet School of I.C.E. family, we look forward to making this a successful inaugural year!

                      To learn more about Laurel Elementary Magnet School, please visit BOUSD website.

  • 25th Annual Brea 8K Classic

    4 years ago by


      Brea 8K is celebrating its 25th year! It's hard to imagine that just 68 people took to the streets in the first Brea 8K Classic. Since that small start in 1992, this race has grown into a favorite community event, one which is expected to draw over 2000 runners/walkers, 600 volunteers, and almost 100 paid and in-kind sponsors.

        This will also be our third year hosting two races, the other being the USA Track and field Masters Championships 8K which brings about 200 participants from across the nation. I have been involved since 2011 and enjoy working with this wonderful, all-volunteer board of dedicated parents and advocates.

          Many of our volunteers no longer have children benefiting directly from the proceeds of this race, but continue year after year because they feel a strong sense of satisfaction that comes from the rewards it brings to the Brea Olinda High School students. It's a wonderful group of people working together for one goal. Our support from the community is phenomenal.

            Our hosting sponsor, the Brea Mall, is fantastic and without their sponsorship, we simply would not have the same event it is today. It definitely is a heartfelt, hometown fun event focused on fitness that raises funds for enriched academic and music programs at BOHS. The focus of these groups are academic achievements, scholarships and the music arts.

              We want to thank the whole community, the Brea Olinda Unified School District and board members, the City of Brea and Brea Police Department, the many fabulous restaurants that provide food in our food court, businesses and non-profits, such as the Scouts, that support and sponsor the race every year.

                Lastly, we appreciate all the participants that come out on the last Sunday in February year after year to challenge themselves to run/walk the Brea 8K Classic through the beautiful hills of Brea. Truly, the Brea 8K is a gem in our city and something to be proud of. On behalf of the Brea 8K Board , GITA (Global IT Academy), Academic Booster Club, Instrumental Music & Color Guard Boosters and Vocal Music Boosters we thank you for your continued support.

                  Jimini Ohler

                    Brea 8K Classic

                      Where: Begins on East Birch Street and Brea Mall Road and winds through the surrounding streets.

                        When: 8 a.m. Feb. 28; 1K Fun run begins at 9:15 a.m.

                          Fees: $40 for adults 19 and older and $30 for students 18 and under; $12 for the 1K Fun Run for children 10 and under.
  • Centennial Celebration Honoring the People of Brea – Rex D. Gaede

    4 years ago by


      By Rex D. Gaede
      Rex D. Gaede, former school board and former mayor.

      Rex D. Gaede, former school board president and former mayor.

            In 1969, nearly fifty years ago, I entered the public service in Brea as an elected and later re-elected school board member of the then newly established Brea Olinda Unified School District, which had recently replaced the former separate high school, elementary schools, and Olinda school boards. Over the next six years we organized and developed a contemporary and united education program for the children of Brea including the addition of Fanning Elementary School to the system, providing separate temporary district offices on the high school property, participating with the city in their sister city program with Lagos De Moreno, Mexico and improving the positive outcomes of the business and educational functions of a growing school district. As president of the district board on behalf of the common interests of the district, I advanced a close relationship with the city as they began planning for a futuristic civic center designed to accommodate both city and district offices and other related activities within a single complex.

          In 1975, I was appointed and later elected to the Brea City Council. I joined the city team in their final financial requirements, plans and eventual construction of a shared site featuring a large retail complex, the Brea Mall, and additional space for housing local governments and related community services at the Brea Civic Center. On September 28, 1977, as mayor of Brea, I had the honor of representing the city and the people of Brea at the opening ceremony of the mall.

            In 1978, upon being appointed to the Orange County Planning Commission, I was required to resign from the Brea City Council after serving the community for ten years and taking part in the history of the first major growth of the schools and the city in the modern era.

  • All-District Elementary Band Winter Concert To Be Held

    4 years ago by

    Full bands are performing [Image Credit:Choha Kim]

    Full bands are performing [Image Credit:Choha Kim]

      As an opportunity for Brea elementary school students to showcase and show off their instrumental skills, All-District Elementary Band Winter Concert was held on Dec. 9 at Brea Olinda High School Gym. The concert featured beginning, advanced bands, and student soloists from Arovista, Country Hills, Fanning, Laurel, Mariposa, and Olinda elementary schools in BOUSD.

        The programs included the combination of performances of student soloists, beginning, and advanced bands. The concert started off with Enzo La’s flute performance of ‘The Star Spangled banner.’ It continued with Laurel, Mariposa, and Olinda elementary schools’ advanced bands. Right after, beginning bands performed with courage despite their lack of skill. Even though beginning bands had frequent mistakes throughout the performance, audiences cheered them with heart.

          Donghoon Kim, 5th grader at Brea Country Hills elementary school, shared, “This concert scared me a lot; however, it also helped me with courage to blow saxophone in front of crowds. Since I am a beginner, I didn’t expect that I would be able to perform at concert. However, I felt proud of myself and learned more things through this concert.”

            Brea Country Hills beginning bands are performing [Image Credit:Choha Kim]

            Brea Country Hills beginning bands are performing [Image Credit:Choha Kim]

              After beginning bands’ courageous performances, Arovista, Country Hills, and Fanning Advanced Bands started with the performance of ‘Procession of the Kings’ by full bands. Among all the outstanding performances, Glenda Bartell, director, specifically mentioned about Emma McCanne’s ‘Dance of the Mirlitons(from the Nutcracker Suite).

                “Emma McCanne is really impressive because she practiced a lot by herself to play advanced-level of song with flute,” Bartell stated.

                  After McCanne’s impressive performance, concert was finalized with ‘Hanukkah Celebration.’ “I want to improve more so that I can be a soloist for the next year’s concert,” Kim said.

                    Choha Kim/junior at Brea Olinda High School,

  • Come see Seussical the Musical starring Brea elementary students

    4 years ago by


      By CC Giang, community publicity volunteer for Seussical production.

        Seussical tickets are up for grabs starting this Sunday, November 8 to the public. Don't miss out, it is a sold out event each year. Come see your fellow classmates and friends perform in this fun and silly production. Fanning coordinates an all inclusive production for all six elementary schools every year to promote Arts and Music for our kids. Come and support us and see if this is something your child might be interested in joining next year. Registration is always FREE!

          What an exciting and great opportunity for our Brea kids!!! To see the show, tickets will go on sale this Sunday at the Brea High School starting at 12:00-6:30. Only $10.00 per ticket with the following show times to choose from:

            November 12, Thursday @6:30

              November 13, Friday @7:00

                November 14, Saturday @2:00

                  November 14, Saturday @7:00

                    November 15, Sunday @2:00

                      November 15, Sunday @6:30

                        Hope to see you there!

  • BOUSD dedicate and rename Wildcat Stadium as Leonard MacKain Field

    4 years ago by

    BOUSD renamed Wildcat Stadium as Leonard MacKain Field on September 4, 2015.

    The Brea Olinda Unified School District dedicated the football/track field to Leonard MacKain on September 4, 2015.(courtesy of Susan Gaede)


        September 4 was a warm and fuzzy evening high in the hills of Brea as the Brea Olinda Unified School District christened its football field at BOHS Wildcat Stadium as the Leonard MacKain Field. Mac’s wife, Helen, and daughters Kristine and Karen, were there - proud as peacocks, but also with a touch of sadness.

          Shown at the celebration are MacKain’s daughters’ Karen MacKain, (left), wife Helen center. (courtesy of Susan Gaede)

          Shown at the celebration are MacKain’s daughters’ Karen (left) and Kristine, wife Helen center. (courtesy of Susan Gaede)

            The stands were filled with people and groups Mac worked with over the years. New Brea Olinda USD Superintendent Brad Mason asked each group to stand, until the entire stadium rose to offer an enthusiastic standing ovation.

              Gayle Chiotti, who lives on Poplar Avenue (the same street as the MacKains) said the night could have been a "Poplar Avenue event." Current or former Poplar Avenue neighbors in attendance included former BOUSD Superintendent of Schools “Skip” Roland, BOHS football coach Robb Perrance, Sonora High football coach Paul Chiotti, former BOHS All-CIF football quarterback Gary Holman and Brea Historical Society president John Bickel.

                MacKain (always called "Mac") served the BOUSD for nearly four decades as a principal and assistant superintendent, supervising the design and construction of Mariposa, Fanning and Country Hills elementary schools, playing a key role in the development of the new BOHS, and acting in retirement as a school board member.

                  Hats off to the Brea Olinda School board for honoring him in this way.

                    Any news? Give Susan Gaede a jingle at 714-529-8561 or e-mail her at

  • BOUSD Superintendent Skip Roland rides off to a new adventure

    5 years ago by


      Retiring BOUSD Superintendent Dr. Skip Roland and his wife Sharon were presented with beach cruisers to mark his 39 years as an educator.  (courtesy Katelyn Roland)

      Retiring BOUSD Superintendent Dr. Skip Roland and his wife Sharon were presented with beach cruisers to mark his 39 years as an educator.
      (courtesy Katelyn Roland)

        The 39-year education career of retiring Brea Olinda Unified School District Superintendent Skip Roland was celebrated recently at a dinner at Embassy Suites. Speakers included Tim Harvey, a lifelong friend and former Brea-Olinda Unified superintendent; Carol Chrisman, Brea Canyon High School principal; Denis Bilodeau from the office of Orange County Supervisor Shawn Nelson; Joe Bartell, Brea-Olinda Teachers Association president; Lisa Santos, Brea-Olinda Unified California School Employees Association president; Joe Rollino, school board member; Jerry Halpin, Brea Olinda High School principal; Ralph Jameson, lifelong friend and professional colleague.

          Anne Flesher, assistant superintendent of personnel and educational services, wrote and read a clever poem “Ode to Arthur Jerome, aka “Skip,” noting Skip was a kindergartener at Laurel School.

            What does Skip plan to do after leaving the district? He said he is going to continue teaching at Brandman University, continue his partnership with EdLeader 21, a national network of school and district leaders, and will study school systems in Sweden and Finland, golf and travel. He’ll be riding his gift of a new cruise beach bike with his wife, Sharon.

              Skip is truly tops and will be missed. He was a very popular superintendent.

                New superintendent Brad Mason begins July 1. We hear he is fabulous.

                  Any news give Susan Gaede a jingle at (714) 529-8561 or e-mail her at

  • Laurel PTA needs community’s help with Lagos De Moreno Park revitalization project

    5 years ago by

    What has to happen before any real attention is given to this playground-park? Nothing new since 1994. Photo and statement as seen on Lagos De Moreno Park-Laurel Elementary Facebook

      Laurel Elementary PTA is asking those community members, Fanning Elementary, and Laurel Elementary families to attend the BOUSD Board Meeting this Monday, October 27 at 6:00 p.m. sharp at Brea City Hall Council Chambers regarding Lagos De Moreno Park. The District owns this park-playground, but has not made improvements to it in over 20 years.

        Revitalize the Heart of Brea:Lagos De Moreno Park-Laurel Elementary is not on the agenda but during the discussion period, they would like as many supporters as possible to show up in force to help answer these questions: “What’s the reason for this lack of attention? Our families and community want answers. Why hasn’t the BOUSD School Board, our elected District leadership, given priority to this project? When will a project plan be completed so work can begin to find funding for our playground-park?”

          Note: Children are welcome to attend all school board meetings.