Marine Lecture Scheduled for March 4

posted: February 26th, 2015 05:21 am | 0No Comments

An Orange County Natural History Lecture Series event will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday March 4 at the Back Bay Science Center.

Jere H. Lipps, director of the John D. Cooper Archaeological and Paleontological Center, will present a lecture called “Dinosaurs to People: The History of Life in Orange County,” according to an event invitation.

“Join us as we cover 180 million years of biological and geological history in Orange County,” the invitation states. “Dr. Lipps takes us from the ancient tropical past through the appearance and extinction of dinosaurs and marine mammals to the arrival of humans and the development of modern-day Orange County.”

Lipps, a paleontologist, geologist, archaeologist and biologist, has a strong interest in climate change and sea level rise and the effects on the people of Southern California, as well as “the processes of evolution and extinction of marine animals ranging from single-celled foraminifera through reefs to marine mammals and the origin of animals more than 500 million years ago,” the invitation states.
He combines field, lab and molecular biology techniques in his studies and has worked in more than 100 countries and all continents.

The John D. Cooper Archaeological and Paleontological Center is a partnership between Orange County and Cal State Fullerton “to manage and utilize the County’s collection of artifacts and fossils for the benefit of the people of the County,” the invitation states.

The Back Bay Science Center is located at 600 Shellmaker Road in Newport Beach.

The parking and lecture are free, but advance reservations are requested by emailing marine education @ newportbeachca dot gov.

The gate opens at 6:30 p.m. and closes at 7:15 p.m.


Thursday Declared a No-Burn Day

posted: February 25th, 2015 11:51 am | 0No Comments

The South Coast Air Quality Management District has declared a no-burn day for Thursday, which means that all indoor and outdoor wood burning fires will be banned until midnight.

“Residents in your area are prohibited from burning wood or manufactured fire logs in indoor and outdoor residential wood burning fireplaces and stoves due to elevated fine particulate levels forecast by the SCAQMD,” according to an email from the SCAQMD. The alert also applies to manufactured logs, including those made from paper or wax.

The SCAQMD’s Check Before You Burn program is in effect each winter from November through February. In November and December, there were about five no-burn alerts issued. This will be the 12th no-burn day of the month. In January, there were seven no-burn days.


Little Corona Runoff Project Work to Take Place Thursday

posted: February 25th, 2015 09:50 am | 0No Comments

A project that will improve beach conditions at Little Corona will take a small step forward on Thursday, when surveyors will be on the beach with small equipment, a city official said.

The Little Corona Runoff Infiltration Project will improve beach conditions by diverting low-flow creek water that currently flows across the beach into an infiltration gallery for subsurface percolation into the sand, according to a City Council meeting staff report. The Council approved the $360,000 project in January.

The project will need California Coastal Commission approval, which will take as long as a year, before construction begins, said John Kappeler, the city’s water quality manager.

On Thursday, surveyors will have a pickup truck and some small equipment on the beach for three to four hours, he said.

Ultimately, the project will install an infiltration galley that “will act as a very large sand filter allowing the water to gradually work its way down through the sand rather than flow across the surface of the beach,” a staff report said.

“Historically, surface water flows in and out of Buck Creek occurred only during and after storm events,” the staff report said. “As development, irrigated gardens and landscapes increased upstream around Buck Gully, the groundwater table has also raised in areas. The creek now runs perennially with approximately 20 million gallons a month flowing over the beach at Little Corona and into the offshore sensitive marine life area designated as an Area of Special Biological Significance by the State.”


Online Tickets Available For Orchesis Dancers’ Spring Show

posted: February 25th, 2015 05:19 am | 0No Comments

Tickets are now for sale online for the biggest dance event of the year for the Corona del Mar High School’s Orchesis Dance Company.

This year’s spring show, Dancing Over the Rainbow, will take place March 5, 6 and 7 at Newport Harbor High School’s Loats Theater. Online tickets cost $17 and can be purchased here.

Pre-sale tickets cost $15 at the school’s quad during lunch and at break, and at the ASB window, beginning Friday through March 6. Tickets also will be available at the door for $20, although organizers say the shows typically sell out, and they encourage buying tickets in advance. All seats are general admission, and organizers suggest arriving early. The doors will open at 6:30 p.m. with the show beginning at 7 p.m.

The Orchesis Dance company has been active at the school for decades, a news release said. The varsity dance team has 20 dancers, freshmen through seniors, and focuses on artistic storytelling, the release said. The students choreograph most of the show’s dances and learn about stage lighting, costumes and show production.

The annual spring show this year will have a Wizard of Oz theme. The show is the biggest event of the year for the dancers, who also perform at school rallies, football and basketball games and other events including the HALO Dance for Autism Show.

The theater is located at the school at 600 Irvine Ave.

Photo courtesy of the Orchesis Dance Company.


CdM Meeting Helps B.I.D. Fine-Tune Beautification Project Ideas

posted: February 24th, 2015 12:03 pm | 1Comment

About 15 people attended a Corona del Mar Business Improvement District meeting Monday night, offering their opinions on a project that would add floral touches to the village to emphasize a Flower Streets motif.

The latest plan would cost about $60,000 and would add blue, oval-shaped street signs along East Coast Highway with images of flowers that match the name of the street, along with four flower medallions that would be installed on the sidewalks at Marguerite Avenue. Eight decorative pots with built-in irrigation and plants also would be placed at Marguerite Avenue.

The sidewalk medallions and pots could be added to other intersections in the future, said Bernie Svalstad, chairman of the CdM B.I.D.

Several people at the meeting said they did not want a colorful flower placed in the middle of the intersection at Marguerite Avenue and East Coast Highway, which was part of an original plan discussed in July 2013; read that story here.

Svalstad said city staff had already said that plan would not work, and it was no longer being considered.

The B.I.D. will work to refine the plans, Svalstad said, with new drawings. He said after the meeting that he didn’t know when the project might begin.

The meeting, held in the Civic Center Community Room, lasted about an hour and a half. Corona del Mar’s City Councilman Scott Peotter attended the meeting for an hour but didn’t make comments.


Councilman Will Raise Concerns About Illegal Beach Fires at Tuesday Meeting

posted: February 24th, 2015 05:11 am | 5Comments

These days, you can burn charcoal or wood in the fire rings at Big Corona State Beach. But some visitors have been making fires directly on the sand, creating a mess and potentially a dangerous situation, residents and city officials say.

On Valentine’s Day, five fires were burning directly on the sand at Big Corona, according to Frank Peters, a neighbor and vocal opponent of wood-burning fires. The fires, he said, extended as far as 200 yards east of the fire rings.

The next day, he said, he walked the beach with city park patrol officers.

“They found two buried fires that were still burning,” he said. Wood was smoldering under the sand at 10 a.m., when families with children were already on the sand nearby.

City staff said that fires built outside of rings are unusual.

“They’re not unheard of, but they’re not common,” said Tara Finnigan, a city spokeswoman. No citations were issued for the fires earlier this month, she said.

Newport Beach City Councilman Keith Curry said he plans to mention the issue at tonight’s City Council meeting. Curry also raised the issue at the Corona del Mar Residents Association’s board meeting on Thursday.

The city has received many complaints and reports of burning violations since the charcoal-only rules were changed to allow wood earlier this year, he said in an email. The complaints include one from a Peninsula resident who said on Presidents Day, he found a table, possibly stolen from a nearby homeowner, partly burned in a fire ring, as well as trash and debris scattered near rings.

Presidents Day was not crowded on the beach, the resident’s email said, but the mess was terrible.

“What will this mess look like on a summer day?” he asked.

At the CdMRA meeting, Curry also raised concerns about the cost of enforcing rules that permit charcoal only in some fire rings, while allowing wood burning in other rings nearby. At the meeting, some members commented about the lack of enforcement, and liability concerns associated with visitors burning themselves on embers in open sand.

The City currently is seeking public input on several possible configurations of beach fire rings. The online survey, which will be open through March 6, originally proposed seven configurations but has been expanded now to include nine.

A group of residents on the Balboa Peninsula suggested the two additional plans, stating they preferred those options, the online survey states.

City staff will submit a plan to the California Coastal Commission for approval, possibly at the agency’s June meeting that is scheduled to take place in the Council Chambers at the Newport Beach Civic Center.

Read our earlier stories here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Top two photos courtesy of Frank Peters. Bottom photo, of a Peninsula fire ring, courtesy of Councilman Keith Curry.


Tuesday City Council Meeting to Address West Coast Highway Sanitation Project, Jet Packs

posted: February 23rd, 2015 01:34 pm | 0No Comments

The Newport Beach City Council will meet Tuesday, beginning with a 4 p.m. Study Session that will include a presentation by the Orange County Sanitation District about an ongoing project that has snarled traffic on West Coast Highway.

The project, which began in September, will replace a large sewer line that takes wastewater to a treatment plant in Huntington Beach. The pipe runs along Coast Highway, and crews have shut down lanes and removed on-street parking during construction. In January, crews twice ruptured gas lines, creating even worse traffic problems, and earlier this month, crews accidentally damaged a power line that caused a traffic signal outage.

The Study Session meeting also will discuss whether to follow a Harbor Commission recommendation to allow “water propelled vessels,” or jet packs, only offshore, as well as whether to limit the number of operators, according to an email blast from City Manager Dave Kiff.

The Council’s regular meeting will begin at 7 p.m. The consent calendar includes a review of a proposed new ordinance for massage businesses, along with approval of a notice of completion for a project that installed storm drain trash and debris interceptors at locations including Begonia Park and in Cameo Shores; read our earlier story here.

The meeting will take place in Council Chambers at the Civic Center at 100 Civic Center Drive. The public may attend and make comments.

To see the complete agenda, click here.


From the Police Log: Man Arrested Twice for Sleeping at Civic Center after Hours

posted: February 23rd, 2015 12:10 pm | 0No Comments

Newport Beach police arrested a man twice in a week after they found hm sleeping in a vehicle in the Civic Center parking structure, according to reports.

The man was arrested at 3:34 a.m. Feb. 13 and booked on suspicion of sleeping in a vehicle, drinking alcohol in public and use of a city park after hours, a report said. The man, who said he was 58 years old and from San Clemente, had bail set at $25.

The man was arrested again on Feb. 18 at the same location on suspicion of the same three charges, a report said. That time, he said he was 60 years old and from Tustin, and his bail was $500. Each time, the man gave no response when officers asked his occupation. One of the arrests came after police made a routine patrol check, online logs state. The Civic Center is located at 100 Civic Center Drive.

Police also took several vandalism reports in the past two weeks. On Feb 13, officers took a report of misdemeanor vandalism with property damage in the 400 block of Seward Road. The vandalism had occurred between midnight July 1 and midnight Feb. 6. Officers took a report of felony vandalism at Third and Jasmine avenues at 12:46 p.m. Feb. 16, and they took another report of misdemeanor vandalism with property damage on Feb. 17. That incident occurred between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Feb. 16. Another misdemeanor vandalism report was taken Saturday in the 23000 block of Newport Coast Drive. That incident involved defacing property and occurred between 10 p.m. Friday and 6 a.m. the next day, and another misdemeanor vandalism incident, involving defacing property, occurred between 5 p.m. Saturday and 8:16 a.m. Sunday in the 3000 block of Ocean Boulevard. No loss was listed on any of the vandalism reports.

In other police news, officers took reports of several thefts and made several alcohol-related arrests in the past two weeks.

On Feb. 13, officers took a report of a petty theft pickpocketing incident in the 100 block of Newport Center Drive. The theft, with a $750 loss, occurred between 12:30 and 2:46 p.m. that day. Officers took a report of a petty theft from buildings, with no loss amount listed, in the 22700 block of Pelican Hill Road South on Feb. 13. The theft occurred at 10:38 a.m., a report said. Officers took a report of petty theft of motor vehicle parts worth $25 in the 300 block of Marguerite Avenue on Feb. 14. The theft had occurred between midnight Dec. 1 and 5:09 p.m. Feb. 14.

A grand theft from buildings with a $500 loss was reported on Feb. 15. That incident occurred between 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 in the 900 block of Newport Center Drive, a report said.

Another petty theft of motor vehicle parts was reported Feb. 15 in the 1600 block of Marguerite Avenue. That theft, with a $360 loss, occurred between 11 p.m. Dec. 12 and 9 a.m. the next day. A petty theft with a $500 loss was reported on Feb. 15 in the 900 block of Newport Center Drive. That theft occurred between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 13. A petty theft from buildings in the 20400 block of Newport Coast Drive was reported on Feb. 16. That theft, with a $150 loss, occurred between 3:50 p.m. Feb. 10 and 3:30 p.m. Feb. 13, a report said.

Officers took a report of a grand theft with a $4,000 loss on Feb. 17 in the 100 block of Newport Center Drive. The theft occurred between 10 a.m. and noon on June 11, a report said. Another grand theft involving fraud was reported on Wednesday in the 1600 block of Newport Center Drive. That theft occurred between 12:46 and 1 p.m. on Aug. 26, and the loss was $1,630. Police took a report of petty theft from a motor vehicle in the 600 block of Acacia Avenue on Wednesday. The theft occurred between 5 p.m. Tuesday and 7 a.m. Wednesday, and no loss was listed. A grand theft from buildings was reported Wednesday in the 900 block of Newport Center Drive. The theft, with a loss of $1,100, occurred between 4 and 7 p.m. on Feb. 15. A petty theft from buildings was reported in the 500 block of Dahlia Avenue on Thursday. The theft, with a loss of $325, occurred between 11 a.m. Jan 23 and 5 p.m. Feb. 3.

Police took a report of grand theft from a motor vehicle on Saturday in the 100 block of Newport Center Drive. The theft, with a $2,800 loss, occurred between 5 and 7 p.m. Jan. 1. Officers also took a report of a petty theft from a motor vehicle on Saturday in the 400 block of Newport Center Drive. The theft, with a $225 loss, occurred between 5 and 7 p.m. on Friday.

Police arrested a 47-year-old Whittier man at 5:01 p.m. Feb. 13 in the 600 block of Newport Center Drive on a warrant for driving with a suspended license; bail was $10,000, a report said.

A 45-year-old Newport Beach woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI at 10:24 p.m. Feb. 13 on Corporate Plaza Drive; her bail was $2,500. Another woman, 53, of Newport Beach, was arrested at the same location at 10:28 p.m. Feb. 13 on suspicion of disorderly conduct while intoxicated, and her bail was $500. A man, 18, of San Rafael, was arrested at 4:25 a.m. Feb. 15 at Second and Marguerite avenues on suspicion of disorderly conduct while intoxicate; his bail was $500. A 31-year-old Newport Beach woman was arrested at 8:45 p.m. Friday at MacArthur Boulevard and East Coast Highway on suspicion of DUI; bail was $2,500. Officers also arrested a 57-year-old Irvine man at 1:41 a.m. Saturday at Marguerite Avenue and San Joaquin Hills Road on suspicion of DUI with a prior; bail was $15,000. Officers also arrested a 23-year-old Santa Ana man at 7:28 p.m. Sunday at Bayside Drive and Fernleaf Avenue on suspicion of driving with a suspended license, having an illegally modified exhaust system, failing to signal before turning and falling to stop at a sign; bail was $2,500.

Police took a report of a battery at 3:30 a.m. Saturday in the 22700 block of Pelican Hill Road South, and they took another report of a battery at 12:45 p.m. Sunday in the 100 block of Newport Center Drive, reports said.


Crabs Wash Onto Shore in Corona del Mar

posted: February 23rd, 2015 11:31 am | 0No Comments

Beach visitors this weekend noticed thousands of red crabs that had washed onto Big Corona State Beach, Balboa Island beaches and other areas.

Michelle Clemente, a Newport Beach marine education supervisor, said the creatures were pelagic red crabs, or Pleuroncodes planipes.

“They are up from the south now,” she said in an email. “They came with the warm water (although it is really not that warm now). They show up every few years.”

The crabs were off Balboa Island on Saturday and at Big Corona on Sunday.

In September, glow-in-the-dark pyrosomes washed onto the beach at Big Corona, which Clemente said had not been seen before in Corona del Mar; read our earlier story here.

The Orange County Register is reporting that the crabs are the “latest in a year of odd sightings along the coast caused by unusual warm water experts say are signs of El Nino;” read that story here.

Top photo by Corona del Mar Today reader Julie Kelly at Balboa Island; bottom photo at Big Corona by reader Ron Yeo.


Reminder: Back Bay Drive Closed Through Friday

posted: February 23rd, 2015 10:24 am | 0No Comments

Back Bay Drive will be closed today through Friday, the city’s website states.

Workers have been resurfacing, striping and installing new signs on the roadway from Shellmaker Road to Eastbluff Drive.

The road was closed to vehicles over the weekend but open for pedestrians and bicyclists, but it is again closed to all users today through Friday.

Back Bay Drive will be closed again in early March for additional maintenance in order to complete the project, the city website states.