CdMHS Grad Working on Ebola Testing Breakthrough

posted: October 22nd, 2014 05:09 am | 0No Comments

A year ago, 18-year-old Brian Goldstone was a senior at Corona del Mar High School. Today, he’s a history major on the premed track at Emory University in Atlanta, working with a partner on a new, faster way to test for the Ebola virus.

“The first day of biology class, the first Ebola patient (in the United States) was transferred here and was driven right past campus,” Goldstone said. “It all felt very close.”

The next day, his biology professor offered extra credit on her first quiz of the semester to any student who came up with an idea for a better Ebola test.

Goldstone and his friend, freshman Rostam Zafari, worked together and ultimately came up with the concept of REDS — Rapid Ebola Detection Strips. The strips, analogous to those commonly used in urine tests, would allow for testing outside of hospitals and in theory could lead to quicker diagnoses.

“Anyone could use them,” Goldstone said. “You could test them on someone on board a plane and know before it landed if the person was positive.”

The two students talked to other professors and went to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, located in Atlanta near the Emory campus. There, they connected with immunologist Justine Liepkalns, who is working on the project, although not in an official CDC capacity.

To take their idea further, they launched an online fundraiser that ran from Sept. 12 to Oct. 12, raising $14,605, $105 over their goal.

“This kit is intended to be portable and user-friendly, allowing African families to receive EVD (Ebola virus disease) detection screening in the village setting,” their fundraising page states. “Additionally, REDS is designed to test for EVD before symptoms even occur, which would allow for the identification, separation, and treatment of the infected, thereby containing the virus.”

Current testing procedures, the page states, “include Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) which can run (repeated) assays for small cost.”

However, initial PCR quipment costs range from $10,000 to $100,000, the page states, and since “Ebola is most concentrated in areas of the lowest socio-economic climate, these costs are significant obstacles for detection of the virus.”

“Furthermore, these machines cement the process of detection to the hospital, as they are expensive and require electricity,” the page states. “Many people infected with Ebola die before reaching these hospitals. Some even refuse to go since hospitals are often associated with death in Western Africa.”

Having raised more than $15,000, Goldstone said, the team is ready to create a strip prototype. The team will obtain deactivated viral proteins, Goldstone said, and perform their own work in a lab to look for “certain key characteristics.”

The next step would be to send the prototype to agencies that work with Ebola, Goldstone said.

“We plan on licensing it to a biochemical company, so it can be used most effectively and efficiently,” Goldstone said.

They hope ultimately to make a profit from the project, he said.

“But we’re mainly doing this to help people,” Goldstone said, adding that he and zafari are social entrepreneurs and live in a dorm focused on social entrepreneurship.

Goldstone said he plans to be a doctor, like his father, and that he’s had medical internships. Currently, however, he’s a history major.

“I like to mix it up a little,” he said. “I also believe if you know history, you can avoid making the same mistakes as those in the past.”

Goldstone said Advanced Placement U.S. History, taught by Laura Mayberry, was his favorite class at CdMHS, and Mayberry said she was thrilled when he told her he would major in history.

“Brian has always dreamed of being a doctor and serving others,” Mayberry said. “Despite his love for medicine, he has always been interested in and had a talent for history. He’s never been the type of young person to wait for things to happen but rather to jump in, roll up his sleeves and make the changes happen.”

CdMHS Principal Kathy Scott said she too was proud of Goldstone’s accomplishments.

“His willingness to do this intensive research during such a critical time in our world and at such a young age is a testament to his maturity and intellect,” she said in an email.

As for the extra credit on that first biology quiz?

“Yes,” Goldstone said. “We got extra credit for it. And then we took it further.”

Photo courtesy of Goldstone and Zafari.


Driver Charged With Murder in Cyclist’s Death

posted: October 21st, 2014 05:25 pm | 0No Comments

The Orange County District Attorney today charged a 23-year-old Huntington Beach man with murder after a hit-and-run crash on Sunday night killed a bicyclist near Crystal Cove State Park.

Neil Storm Stephany also was charged with hit and run with permanent injury or death, a felony, and possession pf a controlled substance, also a felony. The controlled substance was identified as SUBOXONE sublingual films, which are “a discreet and effective treatment for opioid dependence,” according to the company website.

The D.A.’s office recommended $1 million bail.

Police say Stephany killed cyclist Shaun Eagleson, 30, of Fountain Valley about 5:03 p.m. Sunday on East Coast Highway just east of Los Trancos. Eagles died at 9:44 p.m. Sunday at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo, according to a coroner’s office webpage

“The bicyclist and white Toyota Tacoma were both travelling on East Coast Highway when the collision occurred,” a police news release said. “The driver of the truck fled the scene without stopping to render aid and continued westbound on East Coast Highway.”

A report indicated he was arrested at East Coast Highway and Newport Center Drive at 5:51 p.m. Sunday.

Police also said he had a prior DUI conviction.


From the Police Log: Brass Knuckles Arrest, Theft Reports

posted: October 21st, 2014 12:05 pm | 0No Comments

Newport Beach police arrested a 19-year-old Garden Grove man at 4:40 a.m. Monday on suspicion of possession or manufacturing of brass knuckles at Morning Canyon Road and East Coast Highway, according to a report. The man’s bail was $20,000.

Police also arrested a 41-year-old Santa Ana man at 6:35 p.m. Monday in the 600 block of Newport Center Drive on suspicion of commercial burglary, and his bail also was $20,000.

Police arrested a 31-year-old Aliso Viejo man at 12:32 p.m. Monday at Crystal Cove on suspicion of disorderly conduct while intoxicated; bail was $500. Officers arrested a 44-year-old Anaheim man at 2:01 a.m. Saturday on suspicion of DUI at MacArthur Boulevard and East Coast Highway; his bail was $2,500. And police arrested a 55-year-old Costa Mesa man at 11:14 p.m. Friday in the 22700 block of Pelican Hill Road South on suspicion of possession of unlawful paraphernalia; bail was $500.

Police took a report of a grand theft in the 1000 block of Avocado Avenue at 12:53 p.m. Friday. The loss was $1,000. Officers took a report of theft by use access card on Friday in the 100 block of Newport Center Drive. The incident occurred between 8 a.m. Aug. 13 and 8 a.m. Sept. 30, and no loss was listed on a report.

Police took a report of petty theft of bicycles, with a $200 loss, on Friday.


Two Weeks Before Halloween, and There’s a Vampire at CdMHS

posted: October 21st, 2014 04:56 am | 0No Comments

Sabrina Froehlich was in eighth grade when she realized that her family’s three-trunk supply of Halloween gear probably would yield enough costumes for every single day in October.

“I was really, really excited because October was coming around,” she said. “And we have so many costumes, and I thought I could do one every day. I tried to get my friends to do it with me, and they said I was insane.”

Sabrina, 17, a Corona del Mar High School senior, spent October of her eighth and ninth grade years in assorted costumes — Sally from Nightmare Before Christmas, cowgirl, vampire, flapper, ninja.

The only problem she ever had, she said, was a dress code violation when she wore pajamas and a robe to school.

“Pajamas aren’t allowed unless it’s Pajama Day,” she said. “I had no idea.”

She explained her 31-day approach to Halloween, however, and smoothed things over.

Her sophomore and junior years, she said, were too busy, so she took a break from costumes.

“It’s just a lot of work, coming up with costumes for the month,” she said. “I tried to focus on homework.”

Senior year, she said, was her last shot at bringing back the tradition.

“On the first day of October, I came down in my costume, and my brother said, ‘Wait, you’re doing the 31 days thing? I’m doing it with you,’” Sabrina said. “He ran to his room and put together a costume. He’s going to carry on the tradition.”

Ari Froehlich, 14, an eighth grader at Corona del Mar Middle School, said other students always ask what he’s planning to wear the next day.

“I tell them they have to wait and find out,” he said. “I like to build suspense.”

At first, Sabrina said, students thought she was strange to dress up for the entire month. Nobody was mean or made fun of her, she said, but they definitely didn’t understand.

But now, she said, everyone is excited to see what she’s going to wear next. A campus security guard always stops to talk about her costumes, she said, and her teachers are fine with it as long as she follows their rules for things like wearing hats in class.

“I warned most of my teachers beforehand this year,” she said. One teacher remembered her costumes from her freshman year, she said, and was excited Sabrina was doing it again.

Sabrina said she loves dressing up and is a fan of cosplay, a type of performance art or social gathering where participants dress as fictional characters.

“I’m in love with costumes,” she said. Cosplay participants attend conventions and use social media, she said, to come up with themes and creative outfits.

Ari said his costumes have drawn a lot of attention.

“It’s not something people usually do,” Ari said. “But everyone knows I’m crazy. Everyone is a little crazy.”

Top two photos courtesy of Katharine Caston. Bottom image courtesy of Sabrina Froehlich.


CdM Sunset, 10/20/2014

posted: October 20th, 2014 06:27 pm | 0No Comments


Police: Repeat DUI Offender Kills Cyclist in Hit-And-Run Crash

posted: October 20th, 2014 11:25 am | 1Comment

A Huntington Beach man with a prior DUI conviction was arrested Sunday night after police say he struck and killed a bicyclist near Crystal Cove State Park, then fled the scene.

Neil Storm Stephany is accused of hitting Shaun Eagleson, 30, of Fountain Valley about 5:03 p.m. on East Coast Highway just east of Los Trancos, according to a news release.

“The bicyclist and white Toyota Tacoma were both travelling on East Coast Highway when the collision occurred,” the release said. “The driver of the truck fled the scene without stopping to render aid and continued westbound on East Coast Highway.”

The collision critically injured Eagleson. Five Newport Beach Fire Department personnel transported him to a trauma center, where he died at about 9:45 p.m. Sunday, the release said.

Police located the driver at Newport Center Drive and East Coast Highway, where he was arrested and booked on suspicion of felony DUI causing great bodily injury, hit and run, narcotics possession and possession of drug paraphernalia. After the cyclist died, he was booked on murder, the release said, and bail that was initially set at $100,000 was changed to no bail.

“Further investigation revealed that Mr. Stephany has a prior conviction for Driving Under the Influence,” the release said. “In California, a previous DUI conviction, and the subsequent required alcohol education, is considered an adequate indicator to suggest ‘implied malice’ in subsequent DUI arrests involving the death of another party.”

Police continue to investigate the collision, and anyone with information should call Investigator Eric Little at (949) 644-3746.


Drum Circle A Hit At OASIS

posted: October 20th, 2014 07:46 am | 1Comment


By Susan Hoffman, special to Corona del Mar Today

On a recent Wednesday morning, the walls of the OASIS Senior Center were vibrating from the beating of the drums. The Drum Circle event was brought back by popular demand, and this was the second gathering.

A drum circle is made up of a group people who want to participate in playing hand drums and percussion for the fun of it rather than in preparation for a performance. The circle has no beginning or end, creating equality. It can include any number of people and of all ages, although organizers say it’s especially beneficial to seniors. The purpose is to form a collective voice and share rhythm and unconscious synchronization.

Lee Kix, who has a background as a professional musician, is the drum master. Kix worked as a percussionist and drummer before an injury (along with putting three kids through college) changed his career.

He retired about four years ago, which is when he discovered trainings for drum circles. He had observed that participants were having a great deal of fun. Kix has come full circle himself by returning to his passion for playing drums, only now he is called a “Trained Health RHYTHMS Facilitator.”

“There’s more to it than just making noise,” Kix said. “Group drumming reduces stress, increases creativity, boosts the immune system and improves overall mood. The increased white blood cells means the body is rocking out.”

He encourages participants to keep an open mind, without expectations. The “magical part,” according to Kix, is to see where it takes you. He believes there is no such thing as a silly noise; it’s about having fun and feeling invigorated. He calls it “your own little creative moment.”

On this drum circle Wednesday, after Kix finished handing out a variety of drums to the 30 or so participants, he shouted “Let’s rock.” With his enthusiastic style, he then set the pace and everyone else joined in.

”I love drumming,” said participant Patti Johnsen. “I always wanted to play a musical instrument, and the rhythm thudding leads your body and just takes you somewhere.”

Kix, who is also big on using found objects, had placed two large plastic bags filled with discarded, used water bottles that now contained either rice or beans. He passed two bottles to each person and then led everyone in a bottle shake rhythm of alternating sounds before directing a finale consisting of a group toss into the center of the circle. The lesson was symbolic.

“One of the hardest things to do in life is letting go,” Kix said. “It’s important to let go of stuff in life.”

Birgitta Schaeffer was back for a second time because she had so much fun the first time.

“Beating a drum is very primal,” she said. The beans and rice water bottle instrument idea was a hit at her son’s birthday party, as well, she said. Just make sure to let the sun absorb all the moisture from the bottles before filling them.

Drum Circles will take place at OASIS at 1 p.m. on Oct. 22, Nov. 13 and Dec. 10.


CdM Today Poll of the Week

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


Crash Closes Coast Highway Near Crystal Cove

posted: October 19th, 2014 06:42 pm | 2Comments

A traffic accident near East Coast Highway and Los Trancos has closed two westbound traffic lanes, according to a Newport Beach Police Department alert.

One westbound lane remains open, the alert said, but the accident “will require a detour of of traffic” for the next three to four hours.

Details about the crash were not immediately available, and police and fire department representatives did not immediately respond to a request for information.

The Orange County Register is reporting that a man was seriously injured and transported to Mission Hospital after being struck while riding his bicycle, and that a 23-year-old was arrested on suspicion of DUI in connection with the 5:02 p.m. crash.


Sherman Library & Gardens to Host Garden Fusions Dinner on Oct. 30

posted: October 19th, 2014 05:51 am | 0No Comments

Sherman Library & Gardens will host the last in a series of Garden Fusions dinners on Thursday Oct. 30, according to a news release.

This event’s dinner will feature California native plants, part of a celebration of native flora in the gardens coinciding with fall as the best season to plant natives, the release said.

“Combining elements is a hallmark of a great chef and a great designer,” the release said. “This Garden Fusions evening will combine the Native plant knowledge of Antonio Sanchez, Nursery Manager for Rancho Santa Ana Botanic Garden and the culinary art of Chef Pascal Olhats, Executive Chef of Café Jardin.”

The dinner will begin with hors d’ oeuvres in the central garden’s newly planted native beds, along with tips on growing and caring for the plans. Dinner will be California-inspired and served on the central patio with a special table side cooking demonstration. The evening will end in the tea garden.

Tickets are $60 per person, or $50 for Sherman Library & Gardens members, and include a signature drink during the hors d’oeuvres our. Beverages, tip and tax are not included. To purchase a ticket call (949) 673-0033.

Garden Fusions events will return in 2015, with the kickoff dinner scheduled for Saturday Feb. 14 for a Valentine’s event with a them of the “secret (sex) lives of plants,” the release said.

Sherman Library & Gardens is located at 2647 East Coast Highway.