The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the DP Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

To my mother’s horror, my dad would sit me on his surfboard as a toddler and paddle along the coast of Strands Beach and Salt Creek in Dana Point. Like many novice surfers, I stood up for my first wave at Doheny with my dad helping to launch the surfboard. I remember counting each step up the stairway at Strands Beach at the end of my junior lifeguard days, wishing someone would build an elevator and never even fathoming that would someday come to fruition. I remember using two gentle fingers to feel the rigid surface of a sea star at the Ocean Institute day camps. I remember getting seasick aboard Ocean Adventures but feeling magically cured after a whale sighting.

I didn’t know it as a child, but learning the wonders of the ocean would eventually point me to marvel at the beauty, complexities, successes, failures, projects, traditions, setbacks and growth that together distinguish the community of Dana Point.

Having left South Orange County for the beginning of my career in journalism, I was given a unique perspective upon my return to Dana Point this year, as an outsider. So much has changed since my junior lifeguarding days at Strands. I want to thank the readers of Dana Point Times and the community as a whole for making me feel welcome, and for making me feel anything but an outsider. Your kindness, resourcefulness, constructive criticism and passion is what helps drive this newspaper, and I will not take that for granted.

Looking back on Dana Point’s 2018 in just the three months I’ve been with Picket Fence Media, I am in wonder of the strength and perseverance of this community. It’s my promise to you that I will do my best to continue telling important stories, establish accountability to our leaders and hold a mirror to the makeup of this city for what’s to be celebrated and what’s to be examined, as you will determine. Here’s to a new year for Dana Point.

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comments (2)


    Even as a little boy in polio leg braces, Kurt Sipolski was taught to save and save hard for old age. Life would not get any easier.

    The Illinois boy did that throughout his life, until finally after years of travelling and living overseas he settled in Palm Desert in a small home with a pool he could use for exercising his legs.

    Then he invested the remains of his real estate investments with Dan Harkey. Bad mistake.

    Sipolski thought since Dana Point’s Harkey was a multi-millionaire and married to politician Diane, his real estate investments were safe. Big mistake.

    Six years ago next month, Harkey was found guilty of running a Ponzi scheme and Elder Financial Abuse.

    Harkey was not jailed, but ordered to pay the plaintiffs $14,000,000.

    To this day he has refused.

    Recently, when Sipolski complained in The Peninsula Times, Diane said he was a liar. She said the trial was very hard on her.

    Letter: ‘Shameful’ Letter | San Clemente Times

    Oct 4, 2018 – Diane Harkey, Dana Point It’s shameful that Mr. Sipolski can still not tell the truth after a grueling “civil” jury trial in 2013 where numerous hurtful …

    I said she was a politician!

    I am on crutches, my SS is $540, and I just mortgaged my house. Did the Harkeys mortgage their ocean front house to pay their bills?

    There is a human interest story here.

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