CdM This Weekend: Five Great Things For Your To-Do List

posted: November 21st, 2014 02:19 pm | 0No Comments

1. Thanksgiving is next week, so head to the Corona del Mar Farmers Market to pick up produce for your feast and flowers for your table. The market is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Bayside Drive and Marguerite Avenue.

2. Roger’s Gardens will host a Christopher Radko event with a personal appearance and signing by Joe Walden, Radko’s design director, from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. Walden will be meeting collectors and signing his 2014 Ambassador Event Piece, “Enchanted Nick,” in the Collectibles room. On Sunday, there will be a person appearance and signing by Gunther Ulbricht of Ulbricht Nutcracker from noon to 4 p.m. Ulbricht is a third-generation German nutcracker designer and maker from the 80-year-old company, and he’ll be signing and personalizing nutcrackers and smokers. This year’s “Tour Bird” is a peacock, a limited edition nutcracker available in select retailers in the United States only. Roger’s Gardens is located at 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road.

3. Crystal Cove State Park is hosting several events this weekend, including a guided, moderate to strenuous 3 to 5 mile backcountry hike at 9 a.m. Saturday that meets at the Berns Amphitheater, which is inland at the School-State Park entrance. At 2 p.m., when the tide falls to -0.7 low tide, a volunteer will lead a tidepool walk to Pelican Point. Meet at Pelican Point parking lot No. 2 at the top of the boardwalk near the parking lot, coastward at Newport Coast Drive. At 4 p.m. Saturday, you can join Acjachemen storyteller Jacque Tahuka-Nunez, who will bring to life “the lifestyle and culture of the local Native American,” starting with basket weaving at 4 followed by an interactive campfire program at 5 p.m. Meet at the Berns Amphitheater. On Sunday, there will be a guided tidepool walk to Little Treasure Cove at 2 p.m., when the tide will fall to -0.8. Organizers warn to be prepared to “skirt rocks and maybe get wet.” The walk will meet at Pelican Point parking lot #1, which is coastward at Newport Coast Drive. And from 3 p.m. to sunset Sunday, there will be a docent-led Photography Walk that will teach how to take photos of seascapes, the park’s cottages and the sunset. Meet at the Los Trances lot at the trailer, which is inland at the Los Trances stoplight. All camera types are welcome. All events are free, but there is a $15 day-use parking fee to park in state park lots.

4. Newport Beach city staff will lead a hike over Marine Protected Areas from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday. Wear appropriate shoes and sunscreen, be prepared to get wet and meet at the Little Corona Beach lifeguard tower. The hike is free, but it’s not appropriate for small children.

5. The Back Bay Science Center will host a free Community Day event from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, where you can tour the facility, tour the loop trail and check out the marine life, learn about education programs and public involvement opportunities, and kids can participate in hands-on activities. The center is located off Back Bay Drive on Shellmaker Island. No reservations are required.


Crown Ace Hardware Accepting Letters to Santa

posted: November 21st, 2014 05:07 am | 0No Comments

It’s never too early to write a letter to Santa, and at Crown Ace Hardware in Corona del Mar, there’s a North Pole Express Mailbox waiting for your notes.

Kids who drop off a letter to Santa by Dec. 1, including a stamped, self-addressed envelope, will receive a reply from Santa himself, according to a company email.

The store has a desk, along with envelopes and papers, so kids can write their letters while at the store, and stamps are available at the register.

This is the third year the store has hosted the North Pole Express service. In previous years, more than 1,000 letters were sent, with hundreds of responses from the North Pole.

Crown Ace is located at 3107 East Coast Highway.


CdM Sunset, 11/20/2014

posted: November 20th, 2014 05:08 pm | 2Comments


Residents Weigh in On Ocean Blvd. Improvement Plans

posted: November 20th, 2014 12:00 pm | 1Comment

The concrete roadway along Ocean Boulevard near China Cove is 80 years old and cracked, but when city staff began to make plans to replace it, they noticed other oddities and opportunities.

Mark Vukojevic, a city engineer and deputy public works director, spoke to the Corona del Mar Residents Association meeting today at the group’s monthly board meeting, describing upcoming projects to repave and upgrade Ocean Boulevard.

The first phase of the project is funded and approved and could begin in January and will remove and reconstruct the concrete pavement along Ocean Boulevard from Goldenrod to Marguerite avenues, and on Marguerite Avenue from Ocean Boulevard to East Coast Highway. The budget for this phase is $1,223,700.

The second phase, however, is being developed, and today Vukojevic revealed three “hot off the presses” renderings of work to be done on Ocean between Carnation and Fernleaf avenues.

One improvement, he said, would be to add a sidewalk between Dahlia and Fernleaf, where currently and inexplicably there is none.

Three options for the area would each involve narrowing the street and adding landscaping as well as creating a lookout area at the end of Dahlia, overlooking the ocean. One of the options included creating a landscaped median in the middle of Ocean, with traffic going a single direction on either side. The other two options were similar and involve adding landscaping and sidewalks on the ocean side of the street, leaving room for parking and a two-lane roadway.

Linda Rasner, who lives in the area, said she was concerned that the narrower roadway would make it difficult for motorists to turn around when they reached the dead-end of Carnation Avenue, and others said they were concerned that trucks be able to make a turn to go down the ramp to the China Cove neighborhood. Other CdMRA members said they preferred parallel street parking to diagonal or rows of parking, as depicted in the drawings. Vukojevic said those suggestions would be incorporated into the plans as the project evolved.

The group also suggested that the landscaping include native plants, and CdMRA President Karen Tringali suggested that the city staff work with the AERIE project, so that the AERIE viewpoint has a similar feel to the city viewpoint on Dahlia, a few blocks away. The AERIE project broke ground this fall and will replace an old apartment building at Carnation and Ocean with seven luxury condos.

“So at the end of the day, it looks like it’s been given some thought, even though it’s two separate projects,” she said.

The second phase of the project would be funded in next year’s budget, at a cost of $2.2 million, and work would likely not begin until fall 2015.

“We have the next six months to design it,” Vukojevic said.

The CdMRA will discuss amended plans at a future meeting, and likely also at the group’s annual Town Meeting in April.

The meeting also was City Councilwoman Nancy Gardner’s last meeting as an elected official before she leaves office in December. The group gave her a round of applause. Councilman elect Scott Peotter also attended and promised to continue to work closely with the group.

The group also reelected Tringali as president.

Image courtesy of the City of Newport Beach presentation.


Dancing Teachers, Principal Raise Money for CdMHS Orchesis

posted: November 20th, 2014 11:23 am | 0No Comments

By Susan Hoffman, special to Corona del Mar Today

Corona del Mar High School teachers rock! A combination of 18 faculty members and 19 students brought down the house on Wednesday night during the annual “Dancing With The Teachers competition presented by Orchesis dance company.

Students, parents and faculty filled the gym for a fun-filled evening of entertainment. The audience stomped their feet, laughed and cheered performances of the 37 contestants. Among them was first time competitor Principal Kathy Scott, who claimed to be both nervous and excited.

“The girls worked hard to train me and were patient with my limited dance skills,” she said.

Teacher Dave Sizer, who was part of Scott’s jazz group dancing to “Shake It Off and “Boom Clap,” had been a runner up the first year.

“The competition has gotten tougher,” he said. “There’s a lot of talented teachers.”

Student dancers Sophie Axelson and Janelle Kaneda were both a little intimidated at first to be paired with their principal.

“It was nice to get close to her and see how fun and funny she was,” Axelson said.

Both girls, being dancers, felt rewarded seeing how hard the principal worked and said that they were glad that they got to share the experience with her.

Dancing With The Teachers held close to the real life television show, Dancing With The Stars, formula. There was a brief video of the practice, prior to each performance and a panel of four judges, who generously handed out scores of 10s. There was also an opportunity for attendees to vote for their favorite teacher, which cost $1 each to support the Orchesis program.

The highlight of the evening belonged to Team Seven, due mostly to the hammed up antics of Dennis Wilbanks, shaking his booty to “All About The Bass.”

Team Eight, led by Orchesis president Kelly Hesp, performed a rendition of “It’s Brittany.” Hesp wore leather and tights as Stronger Brittany, Madalyn Risser was School Girl Brittany and Justine Kaneda was Fierce Brittany. Teacher Natalie Ramirez was Gimme More Brittany, and teacher Kristen Rivas, in snake-inspired garb, was Slave For You.

The popular vote went to Team Nine. Kendall Kurzweil, Kenzie Veal, teacher Laura Mayberry and teacher Tina Polychronopoulos performed with great showmanship and live drummers, a hiphop “Turn Down For What” and “Bend Ova.”

The Judges’ Choice mirror ball trophy went to Team Two, Alexa Neiger, Grace Axelson, teacher Jessica Abulencia and Brandon Fischer, who performed a hiphop “Bring em’ Out,” “Soulja Boy,” “Gas Pedal,” “Outta Your Mind” and “Get Low.”

Principal Scott said the experience was exhilarating.

“It was great,” she said. “Faster than I thought, and I was kind of sad when it was over.”


City to Host Second Annual Breakfast With Santa Event

posted: November 20th, 2014 05:10 am | 0No Comments

For the second year, Newport Beach will host a Breakfast With Santa event from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Friday Dec. 5.

The breakfast costs $15 per person, and children under 2 years old are free, according to the Newport Navigator. The event will take place at the Newport Coast Community Center at 6401 San Joaquin Hills Road. The breakfast will include crafts and photos.

For more information on the event, call (949) 270-8100, or you can register online here.

Newport Beach used to hold annual Winter Wonderland events, which cost about $32,000 and brought artificial snow to a city park, but those events were suspended in 2011 due to budget cuts. The same year, the city cut its annual Easter egg hunt event as well.


From the Police Log: Alcohol-Related Arrest, Theft From Vehicle

posted: November 19th, 2014 01:34 pm | 0No Comments

Newport Beach police arrested a 24-year-old Santa Ana man Monday afternoon on suspicion of disorderly conduct while intoxicated and drinking in public at East Coast Highway and Marguerite Avenue, a report said. His bail was $500.

Police also took a report of a lost access card on Monday in the 600 block of Newport Center Drive. The loss occurred between 5:20 and 5:30 p.m. Nov. 12. Officers also took a report of a petty theft from a motor vehicle on Monday in the 300 block of San Miguel Drive. The theft occurred between 7:30 and 7:45 a.m., and no loss was listed on a report.


CdMHS Sports Complex Project Takes A Tiny Step Forward

posted: November 19th, 2014 10:48 am | 3Comments

The Newport-Mesa Unified School boardroom was standing room only Tuesday night, with dozens of parents and neighbors of Corona del Mar High School ready to share their thoughts on a proposed new sports complex on the school’s Eastbluff campus.

After listening to about an hour of public comments, the board agreed to have staff develop a concrete proposal for the project, including any privately funded additions, and bring that back to them at a Dec. 9 meeting for a vote.

The board already approved $7.4 million in funding from a one-time windfall to replace the outdated facility with an all-weather, artificial track field and 1,000 new seats. The also approved field improvements for Newport Harbor High School and Costa Mesa High School, and those projects are underway.

But residents’ complaints about the CdMHS project caused it to be tabled earlier this year.

On Tuesday, 15 people spoke in support of the project and eight spoke against. The audience applauded each speaker, and the mood was civil.

Several speakers said they were concerned about poor field conditions that have contributed to injuries, including rolled ankles and broken legs.

Varsity lacrosse player Emily Schwartz, who wore a leg brace and used crutches to approach the podium, said the fields were crammed, and that injuries were a serious concern.

“We have more than we would like,” she said.

“Our student athletes are playing in conditions that are beyond sub-par,” said Bryan Middleton, the school’s girls soccer coach. “I’ve had girls with scholarship opportunities who are rolling their ankles on our fields.

But Denise Lambe, who lives on Aralia Street near the school, said the project would decrease the already bad quality of life that residents have because of the school.

“I can’t get out of my area,” she said. “I hear the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag at 9 a.m., and the water polo kids in the afternoon. There’s trash and speeding and disrespect. Why are so many houses for sale in the Bluffs? People are running away.”

Arnie Blakely, another resident, said the school was 52 years old and was already excellent.

“What is the real need for a stadium?” he asked. “Will it make students smarter?”

A few residents, however, said they weren’t bothered by the noise and traffic associated with living near a high school.

Cory Alder, a CdMHS graduate whose three children also graduated from the school, said he lives every day with the traffic.

“It’s not that bad,” he said. “I can make some accommodations for the kids in our community. Close your window, turn on some music, go to dinner. Better yet, get out to the game and experience it. It’s invigorating.”

The board’s decision on Tuesday night did not require a vote because they were only directing staff to come back with a specific plan on Dec. 9, when they will decide how to proceed.

Deputy Superintendent Paul Reed said staff would work with cross country and track coach Bill Sumner and others who wish to expand on the project, perhaps by including lighting, a snack bar and restrooms.

“It’s their dollars,” he said. “They get to decide what they want to propose.”

The group would have to agree to have funds raised by specific timeframes for three stages — initial planning, construction documents and construction. Then, he said, the board could decide whether to accept the amended project or keep it as originally budgeted and proposed.

Board president Karen Yelsey said she’d received about 50 emails from parents in support of the project. She also praised Principal Kathy Scott for working with students and residents to alleviate concerns about students parking off campus and littering.

Read our earlier stories here, here and here.


CdMHS Reflections Art Contest Winners Announced

posted: November 19th, 2014 05:05 am | 0No Comments

The Corona del Mar High School PTA has announced winners of the 2014-2015 Reflections art contest.

In the Dance/Choreography category, junior Kendall Kurzweil placed first with a piece called “Hope,” according to a PTA email. Last year, she reached the state level in the contest; read our story here.

In the Film Production category, sophomore Hannah Schoenbaum placed first with “Unmasked.”

In the Literature category, freshman Joaquin Andrade placed first with “The Power of Humanity,” sophomore Justin Lloyd placed second with “The World Would Be a Better Place If…” and sophomore Fritz Miller placed third with “Changing the World.”

Freshman Brandon Getter placed first in the Music Composition category with “Imagination,” the email said. And in the Photography category, sophomore Alex Hachigian placed first with “Tower of Knowledge,” and freshmen Austin Paskerian and Grace Hachigian tied for second place with “Cloudy With a Chance of Water” and “Beautiful Fortress in the Forest,” junior Dean Ames placed third with “Surf and Turf,” and sophomore John “J.T.” Russell received an honorable mention for “Remembering Our Traditions.”

In the Visual Arts category, sophomore Katherine Gerlt placed first with “What if Someone Cared Enough to Reach Another,” sophomore Yein Lee placed second with “Finding the Real Me,” freshman Tiare Kofsky placed third with “Soul Dancer,” and sophomore Alexander Munro received an honorable mention for “PEACE.”

The middle school winners include Allyson Lobel, eighth grade, who won first place in the dance/choreography category with a piece called “A Smile on the Inside,” according to the email.

Celine Niu, eighth grade, won first place in the Film Production category with “The Power of Cooperation,” the email said. In the Literature category, Miranda Chang, eighth grade, placed first with a piece called “Everyone in the World Could Help Each Other Out.” Celine Niu placed second with “The Three Resketeers” and third with “Converting Fractious.”

John Dick III, seventh grade, placed first in the Music Composition category with “Redemption,” the email said.

In the Photography category, Brooklyn Hollander, seventh grade, placed first with “People Like Dogs,” Abbas Akmal, eighth grade, placed second with “The Journey of a Dark Night to a Bright Day,” and Brooklyn Hollander placed third with “The Big Picture.”

In the Visual Arts category, Leyla Rakshani, eighth grade, placed first with “Opportunity.”

All first-place winners now advance to the Harbor Council Level, the email said.

This year’s contest theme was “The world would be a better place if…”


CdM Sunset, 11/18/2014

posted: November 18th, 2014 05:04 pm | 0No Comments