First Annual Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival Announced For Sept. 19-21

posted: April 19th, 2014 06:35 am | 0No Comments

Newport Beach may have lost its annual Taste of Newport event last fall, but a new food and wine festival has been announced that will take place at the Civic Center in September.

The First Annual Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival will feature Bravo’s “Top Chef All-Stars winner Richard Blais, Bravo’s “Top Chef Masters” contestant Sue Zemanick, Food Network’s “Cutthroat Kitchen winner” Jamie Gwen and Food Network’s “Chopped” Chef Joe Youkhan, according to a news release.

The Civic Center’s lawn area will be transformed into stages for live cooking demonstrations, and there will be cocktails and live music from international jazz bands.

“The Grand Tasting Pavilion area will be filled with aromas and succulent tastings served by executive chefs from 16 local restaurants each day, while a beautifully constructed bar will attract guests to the center of the pavilion to enjoy a selection of fine wines,” the release said. “Guests can also sip tastings from world-class wineries that will line the breathtaking architecture of City Hall, while decadent desserts, gourmet coffee and after dinner wine and drinks will be served throughout the grounds.”

Organizers anticipate 4,000 people to attend and participate in the event. Tickets will be available online in June.

All event proceeds will benefit Project Hope, an Orange County organization that fights children’s homelessness, and the Hoag Hospital Foundation.

The event will begin with a kickoff party at Red O Restaurant, which opened in Fashion Island in November. Chef Rick Bayless will host the party, which will include a luxury and exotic automobile showcase, cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a three-course meal as well as a chance to mingle with Bayless and attend a personal book signing.

The event, created by NewBe Productions LLC, has no connection to Taste of Newport, said Lindsey Henn, public relations director for the Newport Beach Wine and Food Festival.

“The NB Wine and Food Festival is completely new and going to be a very different type of event,” she said in an email.

Taste of Newport had been an annual September event in its 24th year when the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce announced it had outgrown the chamber and would be canceled; read our story here.


City Councilwoman Reads, Dances and Does Yoga With Preschoolers

posted: April 18th, 2014 02:33 pm | 1Comment

About three dozen preschoolers crowded into the Corona del Mar library branch this morning for a music and story time event led by City Councilwoman Nancy Gardner, part of National Library Week festivities that have been taking place all week long.

Gardner read a book called “Do the Monkey Monkey,” then danced the Hokey Pokey with the children. The group also sang songs, played with maracas and did a few yoga poses.

Library Week events will conclude on Sunday when the Central Library will host a Sunday Musicale at 3 p.m. featuring Mary Palchak and Adam Petitt, playing “ Masterworks for Flute and Guitar.”

Gardner has participated in the branch’s Library Week events every year she’s been in office. She said she will miss it when she terms out in November.

“It’s the little things,” she said.


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

posted: April 18th, 2014 01:52 pm | 0No Comments

1. Happy (weekend before) Earth Day! Earth Day will be marked globally on Tuesday, but this weekend you can participate in activities including a beautification effort at Crystal Cove State Park from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. Meet at the Berns Amphitheater, which is inland at the School-State Park entrance. Volunteers will work on projects including removing olds posts, mulching and cleaning the beach. Bring work gloves, sunscreen, water and a hat. For more information, call (949) 497-7647.

2. Crystal Cove State Park also will host Science Saturdays events from noon the 3 p.m. in the Berns Amphitheater, where you can explore the new Environmental Study Loop, talk to a park interpreter and visit the the eight science field stations. To read more about the Study Loop, click here.

3. Roger’s Gardens will host its first-ever Sweet Pea show from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday. Customers can enter by brining their own cut stems before 11 a.m. Saturday, and prizes will be awarded for the top three entries. For complete rules and other information, click here. Roger’s Gardens is located at 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road.

4. The Central Library will conclude a weeklong celebration of National Library Week with a concert for children from 11 a.m. to noon Saturday in the Central Library’s Friends Room. The Pacific Symphony Youth Ensembles will perform pieces with the theme “Art Inspired by Music,” including “Pictures at an Exhibition,” a composition inspired by an exhibit in an art museum. The library is located at 1000 Avocado Ave.

5. It’s Easter weekend, and the Easter Bunny will be on hand at Fashion Island for photos with kids until 8:30 p.m. tonight and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday. For more information, including a link to make an online reservation, click here.


Fashion Island Shooter Pleads Guilty, Sentenced to 12 Years

posted: April 18th, 2014 11:35 am | 0No Comments

A man who caused a holiday shopping panic at Fashion Island after firing a Glock in the Macy’s parking lot in December 2012 pleaded guilty today and was sentenced to 12 years in state prison, according to a news release from the Orange County District Attorney’s office.

Mark Sariana Gurrola, 42, of Garden Grove pleaded guilty to a court offer to 54 felony counts of shooting at an occupied building and two felony counts of aggravated assault with sentencing enhancements for the use of a firearm, the release said. “The People objected to the sentence, advocating for a lengthier state prison term,” the release said.

The shooting occurred about 4:30 p.m. Dec. 15, 2012, when Gurrola drove his white Honda Civic to the Macy’s parking lot.

“He exited his vehicle armed with a Glock .40 caliber semi-automatic handgun and six magazines,” the news release said. “He raised his firearm and discharged 54 rounds of ammunition in the direction of the Macy’s building. As a result of the shooting, Gurrola caused a mother and her 4-year-old daughter to suffer injuries from being pushed by panicked shoppers, who were running for cover. None of the bullets struck the building.”

Two Newport Beach police bicycle officers and two motorcycle officers arrived minutes after the shooting was reported just after 4:30 p,.m. Gurrola had set down the gun and was arrested without incident, police said. Police then recovered ammunition for weapons including .44 caliber, .380 caliber, and .38 caliber weapons.

Read our earlier stories here, here and here.


Crystal Cove Alliance to Host Free Artist Lecture on May 3

posted: April 18th, 2014 05:32 am | 0No Comments

Nationally acclaimed plein air artist John Burton will be featured in a free lecture and demonstration event Saturday May 3 in Crystal Cove State Park, according to a news release.

“A Testimony to Beauty” will run from 1 to 2 p.m. in the Education Commons in the park’s Historic District. The Crystal Cove Alliance is organizing the event.

“Come witness John’s high-energy approach, an exciting experience for anyone with an appreciation for art,” the release said. “Having recently won The Irvine Museum’s Gold Medal award for Best California Landscape Painting at the California Art Club’s 103rd Annual Gold Medal Juried Exhibition, John is always pleased to share his ideas.”

Parking will be available in the Los Trancos lot for $15.


CdM Library Services Would Be Shuffled, Not Shuttered, If Construction Plans Go Forward

posted: April 17th, 2014 12:20 pm | 0No Comments

City staff is considering a plan to rebuild and consolidate Corona del Mar’s fire station and library branch on Marigold Avenue. And while construction is at least a year away, City Councilwoman Nancy Gardner said today that the library’s children’s programs would not be interrupted.

“Children’s services would be shuffled, probably to the community center (in Grant Howald Park) during construction,” Gardner told members of the Corona del Mar Residents Association at their monthly board meeting. “We want the children’s hours to remain — the library will remain.”

Last year, the City Council approved funding for a new fire station that would update the current station house on Marigold Avenue. That fire station was built in 1948 and has been remodeled four times since then, most recently in 1984. The Corona del Mar library branch also is due for remodeling, and city staff decided it made sense to combine the two projects.

The City Council could approve funding for the projects in June, and community outreach meetings would take place in the fall. Read our earlier story here.


NBPD to Conduct DUI Checkpoint Friday Night

posted: April 17th, 2014 05:05 am | 0No Comments

The Newport Beach Police Department will conduct a sobriety checkpoint beginning about 8 p.m. Friday at an undisclosed location within Newport Beach, according to a department news release.

The checkpoint will last until about 3 a.m. Saturday, the release said.

The checkpoint will be funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the release said.

“Over the course of the past three years, DUI collisions have claimed one life and resulted in 186 injury crashes harming 245 of our friends and neighbors,” Sgt. Michael Schiavi said in the release.

According to the release, officers “will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment with officers checking drivers for proper licensing delaying motorists only momentarily.”


U-Turns Banned at Orchid Intersection

posted: April 16th, 2014 12:01 pm | 1Comment

Less than a month after a Corona del Mar man complained about the danger of cars making U-turns at Orchid Avenue, the city has installed a no U-turn sign in the median.

Walt Naidus attended the March meeting of the Corona del Mar Residents Association and asked for help in having U-turns banned for eastbound traffic. He said most cars can’t safely make the turn and then back into westbound traffic; read our earlier story here.

CdMRA President Karen Tringali said at that meeting that most intersections on East Coast Highway had no U-turn signs in the past, but over the years they slowly disappeared. After the meeting, city traffic engineers investigated. They could have removed on street parking next to Rose Bakery Cafe but instead added the no U-turn sign.

Naidus also pushed for flashing lights to be added to the crosswalk at Orchid Avenue and East Coast Highway.


Sherman Gardens, NB Library to Host Spring into Gardening Event Today

posted: April 16th, 2014 09:34 am | 0No Comments

Sherman Gardens and the Newport Beach Central Library will host a gardening event for kids this afternoon as part of National Library Week festivities.

Sring into Gardening will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. in the Central Library Friends Room, according to the library’s website. The program is aimed at kids from kindergarten through fourth grades, and they will learn about plants, do a craft and learn to care for their own plant. Children must be accompanied by an adult, and space is limited by room capacity.

The library is located at 1000 Avocado Ave.

To read about other National Library Week events, click here.


CdMHS Cheating Case Could Go to D.A. Next Week

posted: April 16th, 2014 05:25 am | 0No Comments

Newport Beach police detectives could submit a case to the Orange County District Attorney’s office the next week in the Corona del Mar High School cheating scandal.

The Orange County Regional Forensics Laboratory, a regional FBI lab located in Orange, received evidence related to the case in January; read our earlier story here.

“OCRCFL processed sophisticated equipment for us, and then detectives had to, in turn, process the findings from OCRCFL,” said police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella in an email. “The documentation and investigative reports should be finished shortly and filed with the DA no later than next week.”

The cheating scheme became public in December, when a CdMHS student told school and police officials that his private tutor taught him to install a keylogging device on teachers’ computers. Keyloggers allow users to capture passwords, and students then were able to change grades and steal tests; read our earlier story here. The Newport-Mesa Unified School District board disciplined 11 students in January, but five of the students later appealed; read our stories here and here.

Police have not arrested the tutor, Timothy Lai, 28, of Irvine. An arrest warrant could be issued after any charges are filed, police have said.

A search warrant, signed on Dec. 18, allowed police to search Lai’s home on Yale Loop in Irvine, as well as his 2001 Toyota. Police served the warrant and seized 24 pieces of evidence, including four USB thumb drives, a cellphone, a legal notepad with student names, a notebook containing “multiple tests,” a pre-alegbra assignment, a math test, a routers, a math problem packet, a pre-calculus test, a micro camera and more.

The District Attorney’s office will decide who to charge, Mazella said.

“The case will be routed appropriately if Juveniles are involved,” she said. “The Department does not decide who will be charged, or what charges will be filed.”

Meanwhile, the district also is conducting an ongoing investigation into grades, checking for anomalies that might indicate illicit grade changes that go beyond the students who have already been disciplined. The audit began with a look at 750,000 grades but was revised to 52,000 and is ongoing, a district spokeswoman said this week.

The district also revised its system so teachers receive alerts when grades are changed to make sure that they, not outsiders, authorized the changes.