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O.C. veterans propose cemetery on former Marine base

When American Legion Chaplain Bill Cook peered through the chain-link fence at the windswept landscape — a broken runway, scrubby fields and green foothills in the distance — he remembered the Phantoms.

The fighter jets were once a regular sight, slicing through the air over what was for decades a bustling military base.

"The jets would just roar," he said on a recent afternoon at the old U.S. Marine Corps Air Station El Toro.

Now the Vietnam veteran is leading the charge to transform a small piece of that land into a final resting place for Orange County's veterans.

Cook and others have been pushing for a veterans cemetery here since El Toro closed in 1999, but the idea is finally gathering steam as the old base is transformed into a sprawling park and neighborhoods of new homes.

The proposal has gained the support of legislators, county supervisors, city officials and veterans groups, though some have worried about a sustainable funding source.

But the most daunting hurdle may well be placing a cemetery next to planned tracts of homes that are being marketed to Asians.

The developer who is building the thousands of homes on the rim of the Orange County Great Park has consulted a feng shui master to review the names of streets, the bends in the roadways and the design of the homes to ensure a proper flow of energy.

In a city that is already 40% Asian, it is expected that the new homes — many which will hit the market with listing prices over $1 million — will be sold to buyers arriving from Asia.

And a cemetery is simply bad feng shui.

In the early 1940s, when the base was teeming with soldiers training for war, the airfield was isolated among vast orange and avocado groves.

But as the high-end suburbs of South County fanned out, the base became hemmed in by tract homes, schools and shopping centers. The Marines finally left in 1999.

What they left behind was an enormous stretch of land, about 4,600 acres dotted with abandoned barracks and hangars and crisscrossed with runways. The transformation into parkland, sports fields and homes follows years of legal disputes and political wrangling.

Bill Sandlin, a member of the Orange County Veterans Memorial Park Committee, believes there's still room here for those who served their country.

"I want to do all I can to make sure this place maintains some of its Marine identity," said Sandlin, who transported Marines headed for the brig between the base and Camp Pendleton in the early 1960s.

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Ar 15 Rifles For Sale: Buy Online

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Cornhole: A Competitive Sport On The Rise

Many people do not consider cornhole to be a legitimate sport. Tossing bean bags onto a slanted board seems more like a fun backyard game than anything else. However, in recent years, the game has accrued a massive following, drawing in serious competitors all across the country. This fun post is all about the fascinating sport of cornhole.

Cornhole tournaments can now be found in many locations across the country. Competitors range from novice to expert, oftentimes there is even a category for children. While many still enjoy the sport for its social aspect, there are those who take the game very seriously. Many of the tournaments are comprised largely of local residents looking to make some extra cash. Some events even draw in people and teams from long distances.

Competitors, in either individual or team format, spend a significant amount of time practicing and ensuring that their games are up to par. Despite the preparation required for tournament play, the game maintains an exceedingly fun atmosphere that is sure to entertain everyone involved. Even spectators get excited when observing some of these games.

Cornhole originally became popular as a backyard game because of its basic rules and straightforward scorekeeping. As the game progresses, points become increasingly important, keeping the players and audience captivated. Another contributor to its rise in popularity is the fact that it is not a physically demanding activity. It is simple to play and can be fun for people of all ages. Even children and the elderly can have a good time playing.

If you are looking to join a tournament in your area, it is important to first research the tournament rules to ensure that you have the proper equipment. You need to make sure that you have corn hole boards that meet regulation tournament dimensions. You will also want to practice your toss from the official distance, to ensure that your aim is perfect. When registering for an event, it is important to choose the appropriate competitive class. Tournaments are often divided into multiple categories including youth, adult male and adult female. This will make sure that you are playing against people with the same skill level as you.

Entry fees are typically affordable and the prizes often include cash, item giveaways, or trophies. Oftentimes, non-profit tournaments are arranged to help raise money for charities and other great causes. Sometimes, people even host events simply for the entertainment and camaraderie. Either way, the organizers usually offer some sort of incentive(s) to the winners.

Many fans hope to see the sport showing up on television networks in the future, alongside similar activities like golf and bowling. While cornhole does not currently have a sponsorship base that would support a professional athlete, there are high hopes that the sport may eventually warrant a professional standing. Who knows, maybe one day it will be on ESPN.

The number of cornhole participants and fans has grown significantly over recent years. As the game progresses from simple party entertainment to a full-fledged spectator sport, one thing is certain: cornhole is a game that has, and always will guarantee fun for the entire family. If you are new to the game and want to try it out, get out there and start playing!

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Barbecues And Fun Party Games

People in the South are no strangers to roasting pigs openly on a fire. This style of cooking has become a staple of the barbecue scene all across America. If you have ever hosted or been to a barbecue party, you know how fantastic the food can be. Whether it is a small or large function, here are some neat tips to make the average barbecue stand out from the rest.

One fun thing you can do to spice up any occasion is to use some cookie cutters. You can use a variety of cutters to slice bread and fruits into different shapes and designs. This will entertain all of the kids and make your food presentation look phenomenal. There are so many different themes you can introduce here, making the possibilities endless.

Another cool idea is to use your imagination when it comes to spices. Barbecues are all about being creative and trying to make great dishes that everyone will enjoy. You can mix fish, chicken and veggies with different spices and sauces. Wrap them in foil and place them on the grill for some new, delicious recipes. To make it more interesting, pick sauce names out of a hat to randomly match spices and sauces with meats and veggies.

If you are not a fan of sauces or spices on your food, you can try something completely different. Instead of normal burgers, dogs and sausages, try a grilled pizza or a salmon stead. There are thousands of unique recipes out there that you can try to change things up a little bit. Most people expect the typical burger and dog barbecue, so they might be extra surprised if you try something new.

One of the most important parts of any barbecue is how you will entertain your guests. Since most barbecues are held outside, a variety of different lawn, party and backyard games are great ways to keep everyone involved. If you have played games like ladder golf, horseshoes, tailgate toss or beer pong, you know how much fun they can be.

Depending on the venue, you can bring one, two or many different games for people to play. Quite possibly the most popular backyard game to play is bean bag toss on custom corn hole boards, followed by ladder golf, horseshoes and then beer pong. Whats cool about all of these games is that people of all ages can enjoy them as they do not require alcohol to be played. However, if you have an adult only barbecue, you can have a blast playing these as drinking games.

One important thing to note is that a barbecue party should never be quick and your guests should never feel rushed. Enjoy the time by relaxing, unwinding and socializing with good company and great food and drinks. If you do it right, everyone will enjoy spending time at your barbecue party. These are just a few of the many tips to spruce up any barbecue or backyard party. With summer quickly approaching, it is now time to start thinking about entertaining.

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Arsenal Tickets

Arsenal are one of England's biggest and most successful clubs, and have won the FA Cup for the last two seasons. Founded in 1886, Arsenal were known as Royal Arsenal then Woolwich Arsenal in their early days. They moved from South London to their home at Highbury in North London in 1913, and moved again to the Emirates Stadium in 2006.

The turning point for the Gunners came in 1925 with the appointment of Herbert Chapman as manager. Under Chapman, Arsenal won their first FA Cup in 1930 and their first League title the following year. In all, Arsenal were League champions five times in the 1930s, including three seasons in a row from 1933 to 1935. Arsenal also won the FA Cup again in 1936.

In 1947-48 and 1952-53 the Gunners were League champions again, and were FA Cup winners in 1950. But Arsenal would not win a major trophy again until they won the Fairs Cup in 1970 - Arsenal's first European trophy.

In 1970-71, Arsenal, captained by Frank McLintock, completed their first Double in their history. With Charlie George's memorable strike against Liverpool winning the FA Cup for the Gunners. Later in the 1970s Arsenal won one of the great FA Cup finals to beat Manchester United 3-2 in 1979, thanks to an Alan Sunderland goal. Arsenal's next trophy came in 1987, with their first League Cup.

Two years later Arsenal won the League in remarkable fashion. They needed to win 2-0 at Liverpool to do so - and thus deny the Reds the title. A Michael Thomas goal in injury time ensured the title ended up in the hands of impressive Gunners captain Tony Adams.

The next two decades would be highly successful for Arsenal, vastly increasing their fan base and making Arsenal Tickets a highly sought after prize, and they were League champions again in 1991 - and lost only one game all season in the process. In 1992-93 Arsenal won both the FA Cup and League Cup, and then the Cup Winners' Cup the following season. During this time Ian Wright was becoming one of the best strikers in the club's history.

In 1996 Arsene Wenger became manager, and his appointment saw a period of notable achievements, including going a whole League season unbeaten in 2003-04. It was to prove to be Wenger's third League title win with the Gunners, as they had won the Premier League also in 1997-98 and 2001-02. In both those two seasons the Gunners achieved the Double too. Arsenal also reached the Champions League final in 2006. Key players of this era included Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Patrick Vieira.

Arsenal have won the FA Cup a record 12 times. While their 13 League titles is only bettered by Manchester United and Liverpool.

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Fun Outdoor Activities for Kids

Design a nature-friendly backyard

Involve your tween in building a birdhouse, say, or planting a butterfly garden. Motivate him to keep an eye on his creation by setting up an observation station nearby, with binoculars, a camera and a journal.

Take a hike

Get your kid to help plan a trek to an enticing destination (like a waterfall). Then—and this is key—let him invite a friend. He'll be way more into a day trip if he's got a pal along.

Make a splash

Challenge him to a water fight. Use the old standards, like water balloons and squirt guns, or think outside the box with thick sponges, plastic cups and squirt bottles.

Tap into his techie side

Send your budding director outdoors with a digital video camera to film a movie with his friends. Or if you're feeling Spielberg-esque yourself, make up a video scavenger hunt: Give your kid a list of silly things to hunt down, and film as he finds them. He can upload the footage and relive the fun with you when the sun goes down.

Rebecca Cohen, author of 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect With Your Kids, has three more ideas:

Speed racer

Design an obstacle course in your backyard or at a local park. Climb over a log, touch a rock, race to the third tree and run back!


Have everyone collect sticks and spell out letters, words and special messages. Want to make the task tougher? Have them build a tunnel of branches to crawl through.

100-yard splash

The fun doesn't have to stop when it rains. Suit everyone up in rain gear, and head outside for a good ol' puddle-splashing jamboree. The one with the largest splash wins!

With warm weather try these water games.

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