CdM Coastline Classic Car Show Canceled

posted: March 26th, 2015 11:25 am | 0No Comments

After 11 years, the Corona del Mar Coastline Car Classic has been canceled for 2015, organizers said today.

The annual event took place in the Big Corona State Beach parking lot every year in early September, but planning the show had become a burden, said Chamber of Commerce President Linda Leonhard.

“It was the amount of time and effort,” she said. “We want to focus on events that benefit the business district.”

Leonhard said the Chamber of Commerce was working to expand its other two yearly events, the Christmas Walk and the Scenic 5K race; read our story here. Last month, Leonhard said she was working with police and city staff on possibly expanding the beer garden at the annual Christmas Walk, perhaps be closing Bayside Drive, as well as adding a V.I.P. lounge for Champagne toasts at the Scenic 5K finish line. City staff has requested the chamber conduct an updated traffic survey for the race, she said, and the chamber may also study the effects of closing a section of Bayside Drive during the Christmas Walk.

The car show could be incorporated into this year’s Christmas Walk, she said, with a parking lot reserved for classic cars.

Bernie Svalstad, chairman of the Corona del Mar Business Improvement District, said at a meeting today that the group could form a subcommittee to explore adding a new third event for Corona del Mar, perhaps a Summer Stroll or an Oktoberfest event.

“To me, it would start with something simple and easy,” he said.

“There’s a lot of ideas to explore,” Leonhard said.

Read about last year’s car show here.


NBPD Announce Distracted Driving Campaign

posted: March 26th, 2015 05:24 am | 0No Comments

April is Distracted Driving Awareness Month, and Newport Beach police is planning to increase education and enforcement of distracted driving laws.

The campaign will involve more than 200 local law enforcement agencies and the California Highway Patrol, according to a news release.

“Driving takes one’s full attention and any distraction can have deadly, dangerous consequences,” said Chief Jay R. Johnson in the news release. “Imagine driving for four or five seconds while blindfolded… that can be the effect of looking down to send a text message. In the average time it takes to check a text message – less than 5 seconds – a car travelling at 60 mph will travel more than the length of a football field.”

The monthlong campaign includes two “high-visibility enforcement days” on April 1 and 15, the release said.

In California, the current minimum ticket cost for distracted driving is $161, the release said.

Police offered the following tips to avoid a distracted driving ticket or crash:

• Turn off your phone and/or put it out of reach while driving.

• In your outgoing message, note that you cannot answer the phone while you are driving.

• Do not call or text anyone at a time when you think they may be driving.


Shore Cliffs Burglary Results in Chase, Crash, Three Arrests

posted: March 25th, 2015 06:58 pm | 0No Comments

A Shore Cliff resident reported a burglary in progress today in the 200 block of Evening Canyon Road, resulting in a police chase involving helicopters and the Laguna Beach Police Department and eventually three arrests.

The incident began at 2:17 p.m., when the resident called the Newport Beach police dispatch center to report a burglary in progress, a news release said. The resident had just returned home, the release said, and found two unknown men inside his home.

“The men exited the home, entered a white Kia sedan, and fled the scene along with a subject who had been waiting in the car,” the news release said. “The vehicle was last seen travelling northbound on Evening Canyon Road.”

Newport Beach police notified Newport Beach and Laguna Beach officers with descriptions of the suspects and the car, the release said. The Huntington Beach Police Department helicopter, HB1, also responded.

“At 2:28 p.m., a Laguna Beach Police Officer observed a vehicle matching the Kia’s description travelling northbound on Laguna Canyon Road, approaching Forest Avenue,” the release said. “As the Officer began to follow the vehicle, the Kia sped through a red light at the Forest Avenue intersection and proceeded northbound on Laguna Canyon Road. The Officer attempted to initiate a vehicle stop, but the driver of the Kia failed to yield.”

The pursuit approached El Toro Road, where a collision occurred between the Kia and a white Toyota Prius, the release said. The Prius driver, who was alone in the car, was not injured, but the Kia was disabled, the release said.

“One subject exited the vehicle and fled the scene of the collision on foot,” the release said. “With the assistance of air support, Laguna Beach Police Officers were able to locate the suspect in the bushes nearby. Laguna Beach Police also detained the two subjects who remained in the Kia.”

Newport Beach detectives arrived and arrested three suspects, the release said.

Inside the Kia, police found property belonging to additional victims, the release said. Detectives believe that the men may have committed more than 15 residential burglaries throughout Orange County, the release said.

The department urges any potential victims or anyone with information to call Det. Bob Bennet or Dett. Jon Jarema at (949) 644-3790. Anonymous tips may be left on a hotline at (800) 550-NBPD.

The suspects are Hugo Fernando Gonzalez, 21, Evelyn Yvette Gudino, 26, and Anthony Vargas, 21, all of Los Angeles.


Council Approves CdM Fire Station/Library Architect, Pocket Park

posted: March 25th, 2015 11:30 am | 0No Comments

The Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved a contract with an architect to design a combined library and fire station for Corona del Mar.

WLC Architects of Rancho Cucamonga, a firm that has designed more than 100 fire stations throughout the state, was awarded a $457,750 contract to design a facility that will replace the outdated fire station at 410 Marigold Avenue and combine it with a new library building at 420 Marigold Avenue. The City Council has already budgeted slightly more than $6 million and could vote to add another $751,000 when the 2015-2016 budget is adopted in June.

The project would demolish the existing buildings, then rebuild them as one building with shared common spaces. The current preliminary plan calls for a one-story library with 2,500 feet, compared to its current 3,750, and a two-story fire station with living quarters on the top floor.

At Tuesday’s Council meeting, Mayor Ed Selich said there would be community meetings during the library’s planning phase.

“I don’t think we’re locked into 2,500 square feet,” he said. “It’s not out of the question.”

Longtime library patron and Corona del Mar resident Elizabeth Stahr told the Council that already the branch was crowded, with children and nannies enjoying story hour and seniors reading newspapers.

“Sometimes we have every seat occupied,” she said. “It’s a lot of people in a small space.”

Resident Carl Cassidy said, “Quite frankly, I’d like to see the library tripled in size.”

Councilman Keith Curry said he hoped the library plans would include cutting edge technology, and Mayor Pro Tem Diane Dixon agreed, adding that she hoped that the architects’ specialization in fire stations wouldn’t cause them to overlook the needs of a library.

“There needs to be some expertise,” she said.

Selich noted that many residents had reached out to the Council with concerns, partly because of the preliminary plan showing a detailed fire station and a blank rectangle for the library space.

“It might have helped if there was some detail in the box,” he said.

Read our earlier stories here, here and here.

The City Council also unanimously approved a contract for a Corona del Mar pocket park to be built on the sloping lawn by the Hobie Surf Shop mural.

The final item on the Tuesday agenda asked if Council members wanted to have a discussion placed on a future agenda about a “debt management fund.”

Corona del Mar City Councilman Scott Peotter made the request, and Councilman Keith Curry was sharply critical, citing a memo that said to redeem Civic Center bonds early with City cash reserve “would therefore cost the City $151.8 million to redeem all $106 million of bonds outstanding, or a cost of $1.43 for each $1.00 of bonds redeemed…In today’s dollars, this would have a net cost to the City of $21.6 million.”

“He’s simply trying to sabotage the budget,” Curry said. “All this proposal would do is put money in a hole, take it out of our budget. Let us dispose of this idea today. It’s one thing for penny-ante political stuff, but now we’re having incompetence. We can not tolerate it, and we should not tolerate it.”

The item failed with a 3-3 vote.

Earlier in the meeting, Curry also was critical of Peotter during a discussion of changes to the city’s municipal code regarding business licenses.

Peotter suggested getting rid of the business license fees altogether, or creating a flat $50 fee for all businesses, no matter how many employees they have. The city collects $4.1 million in business license fees each year, Peotter said.

Curry said that taking that much money out of the city’s budget was “financially irresponsible,” and that licensing businesses also helped the city and residents keep track of those with whom they do business.

“That is a 4 million assault on the city’s budget,” Curry said. In the end, the Council vote was 5-1 in favor of making the changes proposed in the staff report, and another 5-1 vote will send the item to the city’s Finance Committee for review.


City to Host Easter Egg Roll at Civic Center

posted: March 25th, 2015 04:46 am | 0No Comments

The City of Newport Beach will host its inaugural Civic Center Easter Egg Roll from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday, with games, crafts and a chance to meet the Easter Bunny.

Mayor Ed Selich said he came up with the idea when he was at the podium during the Civic Center dedication ceremony, looking up the lawn toward the park.

“I noticed the slope of this big lawn (and the bunnies) and thought it would be perfect to do have an event similar to the annual White House Easter Egg Roll,” he said. “After becoming Mayor I approached our Recreation and Senior Services staff and the idea took off.”

The free event also will feature a magic show, train rides and face painting, the city’s website says.

Selich said the city has hosted egg rolls in the past, but this will be the first one at the Civic Center.

“I hope this will become an annual event just like the one at the White House,” he said.


Citibank Closing CdM Branch

posted: March 24th, 2015 03:17 pm | 1Comment

The Citibank branch at 3021 East Coast Highway will close at 3 p.m. June 19, according to a letter sent to customers.

The letter, dated March 13, says that clients’ accounts will be transferred to the Newport Center branch, located one mile away at 1100 Newport Center Drive.

A Citibank media representative did not immediately return a call seeking information about why the branch was closing.

For years, Corona del Mar residents have complained that the village had too many banks, including a Chase Bank branch that opened in the former Coco’s location. The Corona del Mar village also has branches of Citibank, Wells Fargo, First Republic, OneWest, Opus Bank, Farmers & Merchants Bank and Union Bank.


From the Police Log: Vandalism, Grand Theft, Burglary from Motor Vehicle

posted: March 24th, 2015 01:11 pm | 0No Comments

Newport Beach police took a report of a grand theft in the 800 block of Avocado Avenue on Monday, according to a report. The theft occurred between 10:30 and 11:13 a.m. Monday, and the loss was $1,490.

Officers also took a report of a burglary from a motor vehicle in the 23000 block of Newport Coast Drive on Monday. The burglary, with a loss of $6,850, occurred between 4:30 p.m. Sunday and 9 a.m. Monday.

Police also took a report of vandalism/defacing property in the 200 block of Jasmine Avenue on Monday. The vandalism, with no damage amount listed on the report, occurred between 10 p.m. Sunday and 10 p.m. Monday.


Sherman Library & Gardens to Host Spring Soiree on Wednesday

posted: March 24th, 2015 12:27 pm | 0No Comments

Sherman Library & Gardens will host a springtime celebration with a Spring Soiree scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, according to a news release.

Horticultural Steve Hampson will host the event, offering tips on growing spring vegetables and how to start a successful veggie garden, and Chef Pascal Olhats has created a special menu and will give a live table side cooking demonstration, the release said.

The event is $66 or $55 for friends of Sherman Library & Gardens. A special drink, created for the event, is included during the hors d’oeuvres hour. Additional beverages, tip and tax are not included.

Reservations are required; call (949) 673-0033.


Fliers Warn of “Dognapper” in Begonia Park Area

posted: March 24th, 2015 09:08 am | 1Comment

A “crazy/drunk lady” tried to steal a dog in the Begonia Park area, according to a flier that has been posted along First Avenue near Carnation and Dahlia avenues.

The woman drove a blue or gray Volvo, the flier said, then pulled over, leaving her car running with the door open in the middle of the street. She then tried to “sweet talk” the victim, asking a lot of questions “while she loosens the collar on your dog and then tries to steal your dog,” the flier states.

“We avoided a horrible tragedy, so BEWARE!!!!!!” the flier states.

A Newport Beach police Animal Control officer and a department spokeswoman said it appears that the incident was not reported to police.

The fliers do not indicate when the incident occurred.

This is not the first unusual pet-related flier in the Begonia Park neighborhood.

In 2013, a neighbor’s pet pigeon frighted park visitors when it tried to land on their heads. Vector Control was called, and a neighbor posted fliers, warning the bird’s owner to keep it inside; read our story here.


Beach Blanket Bungalow Fundraiser to be Held Sunday for Special Olympics

posted: March 24th, 2015 05:25 am | 0No Comments

The Bungalow Restaurant will host a fundraiser for the Special Olympics 2015 World Games from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday, according to the Newport Beach city website.

Tickets cost $75 and include a selection of craft beer, wine from Sonoma County and appetizers, along with classic rock by the Hey! That’s My Bike band..

“In the spirit of Special Olympics, we will be featuring the Big Kahuna Charity Challenge,” an event website states. “It will pit Dream Team Newport Beach with Team members, Newport Beach Mayor Ed Selich, former Mayor and current NB Chamber President Steve Rosansky, Councilmen Kevin Muldoon and Duffy Duffield against Team Inspire with team members, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, 48th district, NB Mayor Pro-tem Diane Dixon, Supervisor Michelle Steel, Sarah Lowrey and Melissa Snow.”

The teams will compete to see which can raise the most money through donations, tips and ticket sales, the webpage states, and local Special Olympians will present medals to the winning team.

In December, Newport Beach was named as a host town for the World Games Special Olympics, which will begin July 25 in Los Angeles; read our earlier story here. Athletes from Mexico and Fiji will spend three days in Newport Beach, the webpage states.

Tickets are tax-deductable and may be purchased online and picked up at the event with a receipt.

The Bungalow Restaurant is located at 2441 East Coast Highway.

The Bungalow is a Corona del Mar Today advertiser.