The competition-winning Aloha Plate food truck at Seaview Little League. (Chris Epting, HB Independent / April 5, 2014)

I recently went to the LeBard Park fields, where Seaview plays its Little League baseball games, and I had a chance to see the new marker that was placed this season for Greg Willard.

He was the beloved Seaview Little League board member — and former NBA referee — who died last year. I wrote about Willard in this column last year, and the tribute to him at the fields was touching.

While there, I also learned an interesting story about a food truck that was parked at the fields. You may remember a reality show last year on the Food Network called "The Great Food Truck Race." The winner was from Aloha Plate, run by Hawaiian chef Adam Tabura.

The Long Beach-based food truck spends a lot of time in Orange County and has been through Huntington Beach several times. Just before I enjoyed one of the delicious teriyaki cheeseburgers, Tabura explained to me how his career got off the ground.

Years ago, at home on the island of Lanai, Tabura rescued a drowning tourist from the ocean. To pay Tabura back, the man funded his culinary school tuition — and the rest is food truck history. Since then, Tabura has cooked privately for rocker Steven Tyler, inventor Steve Jobs and many other notables. And when you see the bright yellow truck, you'll still find Tabura inside overseeing everything.

The day I spoke to him he could barely take a few minutes to chat, given how busy he was over the grill. He is a hands-on guy. You can follow the Aloha Plate truck on Twitter @AlohaPlateTruck to find out when it will next be in Huntington Beach.

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Some Seal Beach history

Since this newspaper recently began circulation in Seal Beach, I wanted to welcome those readers with a bit of local history. This comes from a new book that my son, Charles, has coming out on the New Deal in Orange County.

"There is another Seal Beach landmark from this era that has all but been forgotten in recent years; indeed, many people probably drive past the small retail center located at Pacific Coast Highway and 12th Street without realizing that it is the remains of an elementary school constructed in the wake of the 1933 Long Beach earthquake.

"The original Seal Beach Elementary School, built of brick, was severely damaged by the earthquake, and RFC [Reconstruction Finance Corp.] workers quickly got to work dismantling the ruins."

Charles goes on to explain that within the first few weeks following the disaster, the architectural firm of Marsh, Smith and Powell was hired to design a replacement — this time constructed of reinforced concrete. The new complex would contain administrative offices, a library, an auditorium and classrooms for 350 students.

Seal Beach schools Supt. J.H. McGaugh traveled to Sacramento to secure governmental aid, and a vote to raise bond money was held in June 1933. Construction was begun in late 1934 at a cost of $53,440, and the school was completed the following year.

Seal Beach Elementary School, which was renamed Mary E. Zoeter School, served the community for many years until it was closed in the 1990s because of declining admissions.

Asbestos concerns led to most of the classrooms being demolished, but remnants of the school can still be found — the administration building has been converted into retail space at 1190 Pacific Coast Hwy., and a small segment of the classrooms' building is now a preschool at 12th Street and Landing Avenue.

Perhaps the most significant part of the property, however, is the brick wall that runs around the perimeter — it was constructed from bricks salvaged from the original school destroyed in the earthquake. Check it out next time you walk or drive past, and if there is something interesting you'd like to share with me from your community regarding history, someone you think is notable perhaps, please reach out.

 

CHRIS EPTING is the author of 19 books, including the new "Baseball in Orange County," from Arcadia Publishing. You can chat with him on Twitter @chrisepting or follow his column at http://www.facebook.com/hbindependent.