Less than a month after a Corona del Mar man complained about the danger of cars making U-turns at Orchid Avenue, the city has installed a no U-turn sign in the median.
Walt Naidus attended the March meeting of the Corona del Mar Residents Association and asked for help in having U-turns banned for eastbound traffic. He said most cars can’t safely make the turn and then back into westbound traffic; read our earlier story here.
CdMRA President Karen Tringali said at that meeting that most intersections on East Coast Highway had no U-turn signs in the past, but over the years they slowly disappeared. After the meeting, city traffic engineers investigated. They could have removed on street parking next to Rose Bakery Cafe but instead added the no U-turn sign.
Naidus also pushed for flashing lights to be added to the crosswalk at Orchid Avenue and East Coast Highway.
Sherman Gardens and the Newport Beach Central Library will host a gardening event for kids this afternoon as part of National Library Week festivities.
Sring into Gardening will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Central Library Friends Room, according to the library’s website. The program is aimed at kids from kindergarten through fourth grades, and they will learn about plants, do a craft and learn to care for their own plant. Children must be accompanied by an adult, and space is limited by room capacity.
The library is located at 1000 Avocado Ave.
To read about other National Library Week events, click here.
Newport Beach police detectives could submit a case to the Orange County District Attorney’s office the next week in the Corona del Mar High School cheating scandal.
The Orange County Regional Forensics Laboratory, a regional FBI lab located in Orange, received evidence related to the case in January; read our earlier story here.
“OCRCFL processed sophisticated equipment for us, and then detectives had to, in turn, process the findings from OCRCFL,” said police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella in an email. “The documentation and investigative reports should be finished shortly and filed with the DA no later than next week.”
The cheating scheme became public in December, when a CdMHS student told school and police officials that his private tutor taught him to install a keylogging device on teachers’ computers. Keyloggers allow users to capture passwords, and students then were able to change grades and steal tests; read our earlier story here. The Newport-Mesa Unified School District board disciplined 11 students in January, but five of the students later appealed; read our stories here and here.
Police have not arrested the tutor, Timothy Lai, 28, of Irvine. An arrest warrant could be issued after any charges are filed, police have said.
A search warrant, signed on Dec. 18, allowed police to search Lai’s home on Yale Loop in Irvine, as well as his 2001 Toyota. Police served the warrant and seized 24 pieces of evidence, including four USB thumb drives, a cellphone, a legal notepad with student names, a notebook containing “multiple tests,” a pre-alegbra assignment, a math test, a routers, a math problem packet, a pre-calculus test, a micro camera and more.
The District Attorney’s office will decide who to charge, Mazella said.
“The case will be routed appropriately if Juveniles are involved,” she said. “The Department does not decide who will be charged, or what charges will be filed.”
Meanwhile, the district also is conducting an ongoing investigation into grades, checking for anomalies that might indicate illicit grade changes that go beyond the students who have already been disciplined. The audit began with a look at 750,000 grades but was revised to 52,000 and is ongoing, a district spokeswoman said this week.
The district also revised its system so teachers receive alerts when grades are changed to make sure that they, not outsiders, authorized the changes.
Parents trying to submit registration this morning for the morning Junior Guards session crashed city computers — but if they were online today before the crash, their kids will get a coveted morning slot, an official said.
“If they had been in the system any time before 10 a.m., had pre-registered with uniform size and preselected ‘a.m.’ — they are guaranteed a spot,” said Rob Williams, Newport Beach assistant lifeguard chief.
Afternoon guard registration began Monday without problems, but parents trying to sign up this morning were unable to complete the process.
“This morning the City’s computer server crashed due to the large number of people trying to register, therefore no one was able to register,” an email sent to families today said. “After learning that the system was having technical difficulties, the registration website was taken offline to repair.”
The morning registration process now will begin on Thursday, and families will receive instructions on Wednesday about how to proceed, Williams said.
“Individuals that had selected the PM session and have not registered yet will be able to register on Wednesday, April 16th,” the email said. “Non-resident registration will begin on Tuesday, April 22nd as planned.”
The Junior Guard program, which will be celebrating its 30th year this summer, will run from June 23 through August 8. About 1,400 guards passed the swim test earlier this year, Williams said.
Last year, the morning guards sessions filled up in a record-setting 4 minutes.
A crosswalk for pedestrians across Bayside Drive at Fernleaf Avenue will be striped Tuesday, a city spokeswoman confirmed.
The crosswalk was scheduled to be added as part of a Bayside Drive project that repaved the roadway and improved sidewalks, curbs and gutters; read our earlier story here.
“The temporary crosswalk striping should happen tomorrow,” Tara Finnigan, a city spokeswoman, said in an email. “They wait about two weeks before they put in the permanent crosswalk because the materials used for paving need to set for about 14 days.”
Newport Beach parents wanting to sign their kids up for the morning session of Junior Guards will have to wait after the program’s website experienced “technical difficulties” today.
Assistant Lifeguard Chief Rob Williams said the city’s service couldn’t handle the demand.
“It crashed right as everyone hit ’submit,’” he said. On Monday, 416 guards registered for the program’s afternoon session, but the morning session is historically more in demand.
Some parents said they spent nearly 30 minutes trying to sign up guards when registration opened at 10 a.m. sharp. Last year, the morning Junior Guards session filled up in a record-setting 4 minutes; read our story here.
At 10:24 a.m., Junior Guards officials sent an email to parents explaining the problem.
“We are experiencing technical difficulties with our website,” the email said. “We are going to postpone the morning session registration for today. We want to make this process as fair as possible and we are sorry for this incovenience. Your patience is appreciated.”
Once the system is fixed, officials will announce the new registration date, which will likely be later this week, the email said.
The Junior Guard program runs from June 23 through August 8. About 1,400 guards passed the swim test earlier this year, Williams said, and organizers expect that there will be a space for everyone who wishes to participate, and that they will work with families to try to accommodate as many scheduling needs as possible.
Could the Landmark restaurant at 3520 East Coast Highway become the newest El Cholo?
According to online records for the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, El Cholo, CDM, Inc. applied for a license on April 10. The pending license is for sales at a “general eating place,” the records state, and the license was transferred from Scott and Kelly Polston, owners of the Landmark restaurant.
Kelly Polston did not immediately respond to an email seeking information for this story. In January, she said that rumors that Landmark had sold were unfounded.
Carlo Divita, chief financial officer for El Cholo, said the property is in escrow, which could close in early June.
“We’re still in negotiations,” he said. “It’s not a completely done deal.”
If the deal goes through, he said, it could be an El Cholo Mexican restaurant, but “that just hasn’t been decided.” The La Habra-based company also owns The Cannery in Newport Beach.
According to El Cholo’s website, the restaurant began in Los Angeles in 1923 as the Sonora Cafe and changed its name to El Cholo two years later. There currently are six El Cholo restaurants, including one in Irvine.
Landmark opened in 2005 and was sold to its current owners in 2012; read our earlier story here.
A Los Angeles County Fire Department arson investigators used CraigsList to track illegal fireworks to a Newport Beach house over the weekend, according to a news release. Officials also detailed a 15-year-old Newport Beach boy for possession of illegal fireworks on Sunday, the release said.
“After the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LACoFD) Arson Unit arrested an illegal fireworks manufacturer in Glendora, CA, subsequent investigation lead them to a Craigslist ad showing similar illegal fireworks for sale in the Newport Beach/Costa Mesa area,” the release said. “Undercover personnel from LACoFD contacted the seller and arranged a meeting for a ‘buy-and-bust’ operation.”
The Newport Beach Police Department, the Newport Beach Fire Department and the Orange County Sheriff’s Department’s Bomb Squad assisted, the release said.
“Within hours, these public safety agencies seized over 51 pounds of illegal fireworks from a residence on King’s Road,” the release said. Investigators also found other “destructive explosive devices” that they seized from a home on Residencia. The devices included two M-80s, four M-1000s and 20 M-5000s — also known as quarter sticks and half sticks.
The 15-year-old was released to the custody of his parents.
The Corona del Mar High School’s Make-A-Wish Club is halfway to its own personal wish — to raise $5,000 to help a sick child.
On April 26, the club will host a family fair Wish Day to try to raise the last $2,500.
“The club is hosting it, and all the proceeds will go to granting a local child’s wish,” said Sabrina Froehlich, a club member and event organizer. “The whole event is being put on my CdM’s Make a Wish club, so it is entirely student run with some help from our teacher supervisor.”
The fair, which will take place by the track at the school at 2101 Eastbluff Drive, will be based around the four types of wishes — To Meet, To Have, To Be and To Go, Froehlich said.
“To Have will have a spinning wheel with prizes, To Be will have face painting, To Go will have cultural foods, and to meet will have people in costumes,” she said. There also will be a raffle, games, pie throwing and more. Tickets for the games will be sold at the event.
“We want to make the event a huge success, and our goal is the raise enough money to grant a wish,” Froehlich said. “Each wish cost $5,000 to grant, and we already have about half of that, so our hope is around $2.500. We know that will be near impossible, and very difficult though, so our focus is not merely raising money, but providing people with information on what Make A Wish is and why it is so important to support.”
Anyone who wants to help with the event, including volunteering or donating a prize, can email cdmmakeawish at gmail dot com.