Local Philanthropist Receives ‘Rare’ Nomination

Laguna Beach resident Holly Morrell was nominated for Eagle Rare Single Barrel Bourbon’s “Rare Life” award. The founder and executive director of Heartfelt Cardiac Projects was entered by a friend because of her passion for raising awareness about sudden cardiac arrest.

The Rare Life award is presented to one person who best exemplifies a commitment to excellence and making a difference in a unique way. To date, 115 people from 25 states have been nominated. The 10 submissions receiving the most votes will be reviewed, and a winner will be selected in February.

The $10,000 prize will be donated by Eagle Rare Bourbon to a charity of the winner’s choice, and a reception honoring the winner will be held in the recipient’s hometown next year.

Morrell has selected her own charity, Heartfelt Cardiac Projects, as beneficiary should she win the award.

Irvine Woman Represents Laguna in Contest

Melinda Baker, whose hometown is Irvine, recently represented Laguna Beach in the Miss California USA Pageant in Palm Springs. Baker was one of 210 girls from throughout California who competed for the California crown and a chance to compete in Miss USA pageant.

This was the first pageant for the 20-year-old, who went to Irvine’s University High, where she was on the student council, as well as the water polo and cross-country teams. Currently a music major in her sophomore year at Cal Poly in Pomona, Baker plays guitar and has preformed at the Laguna Beach Woman’s Club on open mic nights, at the Irvine Spectrum and at the Orange County Fair. Her pageant platform was about cancer awareness, because of her mother’s long battle with breast cancer, which ended last January.

According to Baker’s father, Bill, Miss California USA pageant doesn’t require participants to reside in the city they represent. Since Irvine was taken, Baker was chosen to represent Laguna.

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