Southern California breaking news and trends

Amen for architecture: Crystal Cathedral changes holy hands

crystal cathedral

Photo by Ben Kraal via Flickr Creative Commons

At the holy intersection of business, commerce, art and religion lies the landmark Crystal Cathedral, Garden Grove's nationally-known Protestant church now owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.

In a case of dollars over doctrine, escrow closed on the $57.5 million court-ordered sale Friday, following Crystal Cathedral Ministry’s filing for Chapter 11 in 2010 in light of a $60 million debt.

The formal title transfer is complete, but a Catholic congregation will not be relocating to their new real estate right away. Under the terms of the purchase agreement the Crystal Cathedral Ministries -- named for the building that is neither made of crystal nor technically a cathedral -- is allowed to worship for three more years.

The ministry will be "leasing it back from the Diocese for $100,000 per month for the first year, and $150,000 per month for the next two years," explains OC Metro, at which point a few architectural changes are expected to make the property "appropriate for the Catholic liturgy."


Accused OC homeless killer given 15 seconds with lawyer, does not enter plea

Homeless Homicides


Anaheim Police Department photo of Itzcoatl Ocampo. The former Marine is accused of killing four homeless men in Orange County.

Itzcoatl Ocampo, the 23-year-old former Marine accused in the brutal serial killing of four homeless men in Orange County, appeared in a cell on Tuesday at a Santa Ana arraignment that lasted less than five minutes before being postponed.

Ocampo's lawyer asked for a continuance, saying he was given only 15 seconds to speak with his client through a food slot, and did not have enough information to enter a plea. Jail officials also had not conducted a psychological evaluation on Ocampo, reports KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez.

"He was curled up in a ball under a blanket in underwear, no shirt, no pants," Longwith said. "He looked like a wet cat — a scared, wet cat. It wasn't much conversation," said Ocampo's lawyer of his brief visit on Tuesday, reports the L.A. Times.

Orange County District Attorney Tony Ruckauckas called Ocampo a "thrill kill" case — a person who kills "to see what it’s like to make those kills and he gets a thrill out of it." He expects Ocampo to plead insanity.


Shhh! OC is one of the quietest counties in the U.S.

train whistle

Kevin Galens via Flickr Creative Commons

When you can't hear the train, that's when the train is coming. And that's exactly how Orange County wants it.

On Jan. 18, the Orange County Transportation Authority will be celebrating its victory over railroad noise pollution with the establishment of "quiet zones" throughout the county. In your face, horns!

Additionally, OCTA has just completed a comprehensive rail safety program with $85 million of enhanced safety measures implemented at more than 50 crossings. The upgrades allowed OC cities to apply for "quiet zone" status, said the Orange County Transportation Authority in a statement.

Currently, more than 72 commuter and freight trains travel through the OC every day. By 2030 that number is expected to grow to 108. Multiply that by the law requiring engineers to sound the horn up to four times per crossing, and the answer is: loud.