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The year in review

The Orange County business community has seen its share of highs and lows in 2010. Here’s a look back at some of the most notable news headlines.

By Caitlin AdamsPublished: December 01, 2010


Tiger Woods steps up and takes responsibility, issuing a public apology to all of those hurt by his “irresponsible and selfish behavior.” His sponsors forgive him; his wife does not.

Captain EO returns to Disneyland for the first time since it closed in 1997.

The sale of Knott’s Berry Farm falls through, due to shareholder opposition. Ohio-based Cedar Fair Entertainment drops its bid to take over the remaining publicly held shares of the park. The Knott family retains partial ownership.

For the sixth year in a row, Irvine holds the lowest per capita rate of violent offenses in the nation, making it the safest large city in the country.

The Disneyland Resort’s World of Color attraction debuts at California Adventure.

Irvine-based Blizzard Entertainment releases Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty. The computer game sells more than 1 million units in 24 hours and more than 3 million in the first month of its release, making it the fastest-selling game of all time.

The daylong OC Foodie Fest draws 8,500 gourmands-on-the-go to Honda Center to sample a variety of cuisines available from the dozens of food trucks that roam Southern California. The coveted Best in Fest prize is awarded to O.C.-based The Lime Truck.

UC Irvine bounces into the “Guinness Book of World Records” with the biggest game of dodge ball. More than 1,740 students, along with school mascot Peter the Anteater, turn out as a part of the Welcome Week activities.

Thirty-three miners trapped deep underground for almost two months see daylight again – and they’re wearing high-end sunglasses donated by Lake Forest-based Oakley to protect their eyes.

The inaugural Anaheim International Film Festival is a smashing success, with more than 1,000 submissions. The five-day festival features screenings, master classes, workshops, panels and a black-tie awards-night gala at Disneyland Resort’s Grand Californian Hotel & Spa.


On Feb. 8, Michael Oren, Israel’s ambassador to the U.S., presents a lecture at UC Irvine, during which he is repeatedly interrupted by an apparently coordinated series of protests by Muslims that lead to arrests.

The Orange County Leadership Symposium gives the region’s public infrastructure system a C+ grade. The symposium analyzes different facilities and services, such as flood control (C-), power supply (C+), solid waste (B+), school facilities (C+) and ground transportation (B-).

Orange County bankruptcies reach the highest point in 11 years, with 1,654 filings by consumers and businesses during the month. That’s 19.3 percent higher than the number for August of 2009, but 3.5 percent fewer than the number for July of 2010. In the entire Central District of California, filings rose even more sharply – up 32.6 percent since August of last year.

Disneyland raises park admission. It now costs $76 for a single pass.

Donald Bren, chairman of the Irvine Co. and one of the wealthiest men in the world, falls victim to identity theft when his tax return check – valued at $1.4 million – is stolen and deposited by an unidentified man who set up several bank accounts in Bren’s name.

In-N-Out Burger loses Zagat’s Best Burger title to Five Guys.

Newport Beach becomes the most expensive housing market in the nation. The average listing price of a four-bedroom, two-bathroom property is $1.8 million. While that’s good news for Newport Beach homeowners, it’s not so good for first-time buyers longing to realize a seaside American dream.

The National Bureau of Economic Research releases a report that dates the duration of the recent economic recession as Dec. 2007 to June 2009. That means that we’ve been out of the recession for almost 15 months. But the struggle continues. In his recent Economic Outlook and Forecasts, Cal State Fullerton’s Mihaylo College Dean Anil Puri (right) describes the current environment as a “recovery of two halves.”

The Crystal Cathedral files for chapter 11, citing creditors’ refusal to defer payments. Over the past year, the church lays off 140 people, cuts its broadcast time by half, lets go of its orchestra and professional choir, and cancels its “Glory of Easter” and “Glory of Christmas” pageants. The church’s debt is estimated at $44 million.

With its $100 million bid, Facilities Management West is named the highest bidder on the sale of the Orange County Fairgrounds, dashing the city of Costa Mesa’s hopes of becoming the new owner. The venue is being sold “as is” and will not include the O.C. Fair & Event Center.

Here are OC METRO Publisher Steve Churm's
BEST and WORST news of 2010.