Rain in CdM; Forecast Predicts Sprinkles Through 11 P.M.

posted: June 27th, 2015 12:39 pm | 0No Comments

It’s raining in Corona del Mar — a light sprinkle with a chance of more through 11 p.m. tonight.

The National Weather Service website says today should be partly sunny with a chance of sprinkles and a high temperature of 77 degrees.

Sunday morning should see patchy fog until 11 a.m. with a high temperature of 75 degrees. The forecast through Friday is similar, with patchy fog in the morning and high temperatures from 72 to 76 degrees.

SCAPE Gallery Announces Summer Exhibition, Reception

posted: June 27th, 2015 04:34 am | 0No Comments

The SCAPE art gallery at 2859 East Coast Highway will host a summer exhibition called Currents, which will run from July 8 through Aug. 15.

An exhibition reception will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday July 9, an event invitation states.

The exhibition will be a “rotating summer group show presenting a selection of artworks that vary in composition and material but connect by way of their subtle reference to movement, and artistic reverence for water,” the invitation states.

For more information, call (949) 723-3406.

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

posted: June 26th, 2015 02:20 pm | 0No Comments

1. Sherman Library and Gardens will host a free garden tour from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Saturday. John Bishop, Sherman Gardens’ horticulturist, will lead the private tour. Sherman Library & Gardens is located at 2647 East Coast Highway.

2. Roger’s Gardens will host a Rare Plant Show from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. To enter, bring a rare, unusual or bizarre plant between 9 and 11 a.m. Saturday, when staff will be available to help you. Only amateurs may compete, and the show is an amateur show that doesn’t conform to rules of officially judged flower and plant shows; click here to see a complete list of rules. Winners will be awarded ribbons and gift certificates at about noon Saturday, and you don’t need to be present to win. Roger’s Gardens is located at 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road.

3. Crystal Cove State Park will host a free, guided sunset hike that meets at 7:30 p.m. Sunday at the Berns Amphitheater, which is inland at the School-State Park entrance.

4. Recycled Rags will host its monthly parking lot party from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, featuring refreshments throughout the day as well as discounted items on racks in the back lot. The first 25 customers will receive a coupon for $5 off any purchase of $25 or more to be used the day of the sale, and there will be a chance to win a $100 gift certificate. Recycled Rags is located at 2731 East Coast Highway. For more information call (949) 675-5553.

5. The 37th annual A Taste of Greece festival will be held this weekend at St. Paul’s Greek Orthodox Church in Irvine, featuring food, wine, music, a Greek coffeehouse, dancing and lessons and boutique booths reminiscent of Plaka, a historical neighborhood in Athens. The festival is open from 5 to 10 p.m. tonight, from noon to 10 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 9 p.m. Sunday at the church at 4949 Alton Parkway, between Culver Drive and Jeffrey Road. The festival also will feature games and a full-scale carnival. Admission is $3 per person, and children under 10 are admitted free with an adult. Free parking also will be available with free shuttle buses. For more information, click here.

Goldenrod Bridge Historical Plaque Unveiled in Thursday Ceremony

posted: June 26th, 2015 12:27 pm | 0No Comments

IMG_5790A plaque marking the Goldenrod Footbridge as local historic structure was unveiled officially at a short ceremony Thursday afternoon.

Mayor Ed Selich spoke about the bridge, which was approved, planned and built in 1928 in just seven months.

“We couldn’t even get it on an agenda in that time today,” he said. “It’s amazing.”

In 1928, he said, there were 2,000 people living in Corona del Mar when the bridge was proposed to to link 300 and 400 blocks of Goldenrod Avenue over Bayside Drive, which was then called Pacific Gulch.

The historic status of the Footbridge came up last year, when Corona del Mar architect Ron Yeo noticed the bridge had no plaque designating it as an official historic landmark. There’s a sign on the bridge that describes its history (including how it was built for $10,884), but it does not indicate any historical designation. So Yeo began pushing for historic status for the bridge; read our story here.

The City Council asked staff to research historic status for the bridge, and the Parks Commissions in September unanimously approved that status, with the City Council approving it in October.

The 6-foot wide footbridge is 243 feet long and is known for its pink geraniums in planters along the length of the structure.

“I just liked driving under the bridge,” Selich said. “It was such a cool thing to look up and see the flowers hanging down.”

The Newport Beach Historical Society donated the plaque, which cost about $400 and is on the First Avenue side of the bridge. The plaque was unofficially unveiled in time for the Corona del Mar Scenic 5K runners, whose race course took them over the bridge.

CdM Library Plans Now Available Online

posted: June 26th, 2015 05:00 am | 0No Comments

If you didn’t make the last Board of Library Trustees meeting, where new plans were revealed for the Corona del Mar library and fire station project, you can now see all four versions on the library’s website.

At the board’s June 15 meeting, the project architect showed four plans for the project, which would demolish the existing library and fire station, which are next to each other on Marigold Avenue, then rebuild them as one building. The City Council in May approved $6 million for the project, and construction is scheduled to begin in the spring of 2016.

Some residents, however, were dismayed at early plans that showed a detailed fire station and a blank rectangle for the library, with the new library a third smaller than the existing one. A group called Friends of the CdM Library formed, and members asked that the newly built library be bigger, perhaps with a second story; read our story here.

Most of the four new plans revealed this month reduced the library size even more than originally proposed. One plan showed an entrance from the parking lot instead of off Marigold Avenue, and all showed a lobby separate from the fire station, stroller parking, an outdoor reading patio and library spaces for adults that are separate from the children’s area.

Fire Chief Scott Poster and several people attending that meeting said they preferred Plan D, which expanded the second story for the fire station, allowing the library to use more of the first-floor fire station space. The upstairs fire station area would include a six-person dorm and an exercise space and an office that had been located on the first floor. That plan gives the library 3,850 total square feet, with 304 square feet outside for the reading patio. Plan D also includes 31 parking spaces, instead of the other plans’ 22 spaces that currently exist.
The downsize, city staff said, was the price tag. Plan D could add anywhere from $500,000 to $1 million to the project’s cost, and construction costs are on the rise.

The next Board of Library Trustees meeting will be at 5 p.m. July 20 in the Central Library’s Friends Meeting Room.

Read our earlier story here.

City Council to Consider CdM News Racks

posted: June 25th, 2015 03:23 pm | 0No Comments

Newport Beach Mayor Ed Selich told members of the Corona del Mar Business Improvement District today that the City Council will discuss village news racks at a meeting in July or August.

“I spoke to the city attorney about an ordinance for the news racks,” he told the group at the monthly board meeting. “I think I got all the information from everybody I needed for it to be on the agenda in late July or August.”

The B.I.D. board last month discussed frustration with a stalled project that would replace old, out-of-compliance news racks with about six centralized racks throughout Corona del Mar. The B.I.D. group has been working to upgrade news racks in Corona del Mar for several years, and in 2013, city staff tagged several old, broken racks for removal; read our earlier story on news racks here.

Last month, Selich told the board that he would work with city staff to get the project back on track. The changes will require a new city ordinance that must be approved by the City Council.

Investigation Ongoing into Fatal Crash on Jamboree

posted: June 25th, 2015 05:34 am | 0No Comments

Police are continuing to investigate the Tuesday morning collision that killed a Newport Coast teenager at Jamboree Road and Bristol Street.

“I can say that investigators believe that high speed (on the part of the Suburban) was a contributing factor to the collision yesterday,” said police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella. “The young man was ejected from the vehicle, but investigators will be working to determine if he was using his seatbelt.”

Spencer Becker, 17, died at Mission Hospital hours after the 10:20 a.m. crash on Jamboree Road at Bristol Street. Becker was driving a black Chevrolet Suburban that was heading eastbound on Bristol Street when the SUV collided with a gray Toyota Corolla that had been proceeding northbound on Jamboree Road, a police news release said. Emergency crews tried to save Spencer as they transported him, the release said.

The woman driving the Corolla was not injured. A third car, a Porsche, was struck by debris, but the driver also was uninjured.

Although police believe speed was a factor, any other violations remain under investigation, said Lt. Jeff Brouwer. It could be days before more information is available to the public, he said.

“The investigation usually takes some time to work through all of the evidence and testimony,” he said.

He also said that there is no immediate data available that shows that the intersection where the crash occurred is unsafe.

“As far as that intersection goes, it is one of our highest volume intersections in the City but I have not heard anything about it being unsafe,” he said. “Hopefully we will have further information as the investigation continues.”

Meanwhile, friends of the victim, who was a Mater Dei student, gathered at the crash scene today with flowers and balloons. A handful of students wrote chalk messages on the sidewalk as they kept a vigil. A paddle out was planned for Wednesday evening at the Newport Pier, friends said.

Council Approves 10 Civic Center Sculptures — But Not Without Resident Protests

posted: June 24th, 2015 11:25 am | 0No Comments

The Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved 10 new sculptures that will be added this summer at the Civic Center Park, despite protests from a few residents including one claim that many of the works are ugly and possibly could scare or hurt people.

Barry Allen, a Corona del Mar resident who also criticized the original 10 pieces selected last year, said several of the pieces were hideous and one was dangerous.

Overall, he said, the new artwork “will increase the ugliness component of the park by looking at these junk pieces of art that being recommended by these alleged experts.”

Last year, the Council approved the first 10 sculptures, which were installed in August and unveiled in September. Those pieces will be on display until September 2016, so there will be 20 pieces that overlap in a one-year time period, with the current choices being on display through September 2017. The project will cost about $120,000.

The City issued a Call for Artists in March, and by the May 1 deadline, 81 works were submitted. Judges voted online and chose 26 finalists, and a judging panel met on May 21.

The 10 new selections approved Tuesday include “La Cage aux Folles, made of bent steel tubes;” “Loomings,” a 600-pound helicopter-like sculpture made of wood, metal, fabric, sand and solar light; “Re-cycled,” made with bicycle chain rings, pipe and paint; “Prime Commonality,” one of the most colorful selections made of aluminum, steel, plexiglass and LED; “Decline,” 1,000 pounds of Corten steell; “Sunflower,” one of the more literal pieces depicting a 350-pound stainless steel and aluminum flower; “Mama Crusty,” a 650-pound, recycled metal spider-like piece; “Three Saplings,” steel pieces made in Santa Ana that evokes slender tree trunks; and “Double White,” made of painted steel; and “Demoiselle,” which originally had been an alternate, and depicts a 27-foot long native California dragonfly.

“Venus,” made of cherry wood and 62 inches tall, had been in the top ten — but the Arts Commission decided it wasn’t family-friendly, said Library Services Director Tim Hetherton.

“The City Arts Commission withdrew Venus from the exhibition because it depicts a stylized representation of the female anatomy,” Hetherton said in an email. “The Arts Commission desires to create an exhibition that appeals to all ages and sensibilities and feels that Venus, despite its artistic merit, would detract from the ‘family-friendly’ aspect of the exhibition.”

Allen said “Decline” could result in lawsuits because someone could get hurt climbing on it and falling, but he particularly loathed “Mama Crusty.”

“‘Mama Crusty’ — Oh my God,” he said. “How anybody could describe this as being whimsical? It is hideous, it is beastly, it is scary-looking. This is the worst so far in the entire group. Small children and even sensitive adults are going to have nightmares.”

City staff said that they would look at signs and other ways to protect visitors from being hurt on the pieces, and that if they determined any works were too dangerous, they would return to Council to ask for a replacement.

Other residents spoke, praising the selections and the Council for approving the works.

“I really want to commend all of you for being risk takers and for putting before the public art that can be discussed,” one woman said. “Whether you like the art or you hate it, you’re discussing it, and you’re hearing citizens discuss it.”

Corona del Mar resident Joy Brenner, however, said she agreed with Allen.

“My neighbors and friends do refer to it as the Newport Beach junkyard,” she said. “It’s not cohesive.”

Some residents also have complained that the selection process should have been more open to the public.

“I found it profoundly sad the City chose to repeat the unfortunate method of art selection used last year,” resident Jim Mosher said in written comments to the Council. “It seems bent on secrecy and keeping the public out of the process – to the extent of not even knowing what the many selections rejected by the private panel were. It also seems predicated on the notion there are ‘experts’ whose taste is better than that of others – a notion I reject, particularly in the realm of art intended for public enjoyment.”

Mayor Ed Selich said at Tuesday’s meeting that he also hoped that in the future, the public could be more involved in the selection process.

“Art is something that a lot of people react differently too,” he said. “I think that we need to have a little bit more public outreach in the process. I do think we need to get more community exposure to the pieces we are selecting.”

Hetherton defended the process in an email.

“The rationale to hire consultants and using the expertise of a panel of arts professionals is based on a commitment to present the best exhibition possible, not to exclude the public,” he wrote.

However, he said, if the City Council approves a Phase 3, which is currently not under consideration, he would “definitely…like to develop a mechanism for increased public engagement.”

City Councilman Scott Peotter has asked that private funds be used for future arts projects in the city, and he raised the issue again on Tuesday. Mayor Pro Tem Diane Dixon also said she supported private-public partnerships for arts programs.

The City Council also on Tuesday unanimously approved a fire rings plan that had been approved by the California Coastal Commission earlier this month; read that story here. The Council also unanimously supported accepting a donation of a statue of lifeguard Ben Carlson, who died last July while making a rescue.

The Council voted 4-2 on an ordinance to raise parking meter rates in the city by 10 cents to 50 cents per hour, with 98 percent of the spaces increasing by a quarter or less per hour.

Peotter voted against the ordinance, saying he was concerned that in areas like Corona del Mar where on-street parking is free, people will avoid meters and ultimately could take residential street parking.

CdM Library to Host Musical Event on Thursday

posted: June 24th, 2015 10:34 am | 0No Comments

The Corona del Mar Library will host Sandy Lynn’s Musical Barnyard Extravaganza from 3 to 4 p.m. Thursday at the branch at 420 Marigold Ave.

“Join this educational, musical, and interactive show as Sandy and her farmer friends introduce each animal with a sing-along song and educational story,” the library’s website says.

An adult must accompany children, and space is first-come, first served limited by room capacity. This and other summer programs are funded by Friends of the Library.

Studio Cycle to Host Fundraising Event on Saturday

posted: June 24th, 2015 05:35 am | 0No Comments

Studio Cycle, a spinning class business at 3711 East Coast Highway, will host a charity fundraising event from noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, according to an event announcement.

Participants can sign up online for the “Carin for Erin” event, with all proceeds going to the family of a woman fighting cancer. A $30 donation is requested to participate.

The ride will honor of friend of an instructor and mother of three children who was recently diagnosed with bone cancer after surviving breast cancer three years ago, the event announcement said.

To reserve a space, click here.