By Martin Henderson
A look at what's going down and coming up for Rancho Santa Margarita and residents of the surrounding area.
• Tuesday, New Year's Eve, will feature a free event at Central Park, "Celebrating Family and Friends, from 5-9 p.m. The alcohol-free event offers up entertainment for the kids, including magician Mark Gibson at 5 p.m. Games, food, bounce houses and music, along with booths from local vendors, provide a safe alternative for families.
• The Blind Pig will have free champagne at midnight, along with a special menu and entertainment. Click here for details.
• Want to celebrate the new year but not wait up until midnight? Celebrate locally with new year's revelers on EST with a catered dinner and entertainer Jason Chase. Get details here. Proceeds go to the Salvation Army. Other parties around OC include: Newport Beach, the Irvine Marriott, and the Airport Hilton for singles.
• The Orange County Transportation Authority is offering free bus rides from 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve until 2:30 a.m. on New Year’s Day. This is the 12th year OCTA has offered free rides to promote holiday safety.
• Need help making and keeping your new year’s resolutions for 2014? Here’s a link to a government website that lists popular resolutions and the government agencies that can help. Not surprisingly losing weight is first on the list, and the National Institutes of Health have a plan for you.
• Distracted driving is dangerous, especially if you’re a new driver. Starting Wednesday, California drivers under the age of 18 are prohibited from using a wireless device while driving, even if it is equipped with a hands-free option.
• Big fan of Alabama football? An Orange County Sugar Bowl party begins Thursday, 5:30 p.m., at Players Sports Grill in Laguna Hills near the DMV. Click here for details. The Tide will be facing Oklahoma.
• Need to get rid of electronic items around the house. An e-waste recycling event is Saturday at Trabuco Hills Presbyterian Church. Proceeds go to the high school mission trip.
• Lose a wallet? Check this out because it could be yours.
• Musical entertainment options this week at the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano include The Aggrolites ($20) on Monday, Donavon Frankenreiter ($45) on Tuesday, Hummel's Blues Harmonica Blowout ($30) on Friday, Hollywood U2 ($15) on Saturday and Tower of Power ($42.50) on Sunday.