Across the nation, elections, shootings and storms made headlines this year. Here in Corona del Mar, we had our own issues with candidates and gunfire — but we also had our share of good news and some downright strange stories. Here’s our Top Ten Stories for 2012 from Corona del Mar Today. Please leave a comment if you have one to add.
1. Fire Rings. The Newport Beach City Council in March voted to remove all 60 beach fire rings, and a Coastal Commission hearing could be scheduled for March. Could this be the end of an era? Read our stories here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
2. Gunfire. On Saturday Dec. 15, a man is accused of firing 54 shots in a Fashion Island parking lot. No one was hurt, but dozens of shoppers said they hid in dressing rooms and bathrooms behind locked store doors until police arrested the suspect. Later, police said the man admitted to shooting his gun several times previously — including three other times in Newport Beach — because it made him feel better. Read our stories here, here, here, here and here.
3. Diapers. Early this year, Corona del Mar Today began reporting the appearance of dirty adult diapers that were being dumped periodically on East Coast Highway near Cameo Highlands. By May, the diapers were showing up in Laguna Beach as well, and in September, police in that city identified a suspect, a Newport Coast man who later was charged with a single misdemeanor count of prohibited waste disposal. Read our stories here, here, here and here.
4. In July, the Newport Beach City Council voted to add sharrows along East Coast Highway through Corona del Mar; read our story here. The sharrows were painted on Oct. 31, earlier than planned, partly in reaction to two cycling fatalities within 24 hours in September; read our stories here, here, here and here.
5. President Obama visited Shore Cliffs in Corona del Mar for a fundraising breakfast in February, drawing crowds of protesters and supporters and leaving the city with an unpaid police overtime invoice of more than $35,000. Read our stories here, here and here.
6. Two Corona del Mar neighbors’ fight about noisy hens ended up in a City Council hearing this year, but ultimately the Council voted not to allow chickens to be kept as pets, and the owner of the so-called Goldenrod Six packed up and moved from the area. Read our stories here, here, here, here and here.
7. The Port Theater. After being closed for 14 years and under renovation for ten, the New Port Theater opened in July after a sneak preview for the Newport Beach Film Festival in April; read our stories here and here. Earlier this month, the city’s Planning Commission voted to allow the theater to serve alcohol; read that story here.
8. Traffic Study. Plans to improve the entryway to Corona del Mar at MacArthur Boulevard and East Coast Highway hinged on a traffic study to see how traffic was affected when the squeeze lane was moved. The study was installed this summer and removed Oct. 31 — and city staff said it was not a success. The issue will be on a January City Council agenda. Read our stories here, here, here, click here. To read more about the beautification project, click here or here.
9. Upper Buck Gully Trail. In May, city officials cut the ribbon and opened the newely restored nature trail, the Upper Buck Gully trail in Corona del Mar. The trail runs for about three miles from trailhead off Poppy as well as on San Joaquin Hills Road and includes four metal bridges; read our story here.
10. Marguerite Fire. A Corona del Mar man was killed in a two-alarm house fire in September in the 600 block of Marguerite Avenue. Officials never determined what started the blaze. Read our stories here, here, here, here and here.