With bamboo in the background, strains of Japanese music in the air and a guest in a kimono bowing to those wearing jeans, the Central Library this morning set a perfect stage for an East-meets-West celebration of 30 years of Sister City partnership between Newport Beach and Okazaki, Japan.
“We are grateful you are here with us,” Mayor Rush Hill told 32 delegates visiting from Okazaki as a translator repeated his words in Japanese.
Okazaki Mayor Yashuhiro Uchida also spoke.
“I hope we can continue to cultivate this wonderful friendship,” he said.
To mark the Sister City 30-year anniversary, the Japanese delegates had given a statue to Newport Beach depicting Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, who was born in Okazaki and is considered to be the founder of the Edo Period and the first shogun to establish a peaceful Japan. The sculpture is made of granite from Okazaki.
“To us, he’s a superhero,” Uchido said. “Any Japanese person would know about him.”
Then he and Mayor Hill lifted a black cloth to unveil the Friendship Statue, and Yasuko and Seth Siegel of the Sister Cities Newport Beach group blessed the statue.
“This statue will be here, hopefully, eternally, as a symbols of peace,” Siegel said.
The Japanese delegates also received gifts — pens and lapel pins — from Newport Beach. At tonight’s City Council meeting, they also will receive a proclamation and keys to the city.
The Japanese delegates arrived Sunday and Monday and have toured City Hall and the Civic Center Park, where they enjoyed the bunny sculptures, said Liddy Paulsen, President of Sister Cities Newport Beach. The group will spend the afternoon at Fashion Island, enjoy a harbor cruise and leave Wednesday or Thursday, said Connie Skibba, a Sister Cities board member.
The ceremony included photo opportunities, a performance of “Amazing Grace” and a traditional Japanese dance, “Crane and Turtle,” performed by Kyoko Kamio, who wore a pale pink kimono with a gold obi and danced with a gold fan. Before she began, she insisted the guests of honor move from the front of the audience because dancing with her back to them would be impolite, her translator said.
Robyn Grant, a Newport Beach Board of Library trustee, said her favorite part of the event was noting the similarities in the two cities and their organizational systems.
“They have a mayor and a city council, we have a mayor and a city council,” she said. “The symmetry between our cities is amazing.”
About 75 people attended the event, including former Mayor Don Webb, City Council members Keith Curry and Nancy Gardner and City Manager Dave Kiff. The ceremony concluded with refreshments that included cups of tea and trays of sushi.
The statue, however, already has been removed from the Central Library’s Bamboo Courtyard, said Tim Hetherton, library services director.
Eventually, he said, it will be installed at Irvine Terrace Park, where other gifts from Okazaki are placed, along with benches that commemorate two men who helped forge the Sister City friendship.
City staff said the statue was unveiled at the library because the setting was more suited for the event.
The Corona del Mar Residents Association’s monthly board meeting will take place from 7:30 to 9 a.m. Thursday, with Newport Beach code enforcement officers scheduled as guest speakers, according to the meeting’s agenda.
The meeting will take place in room 5 of the OASIS Senior Center at Fifth and Marguerite avenues. The meeting will include City Council reports from three council members, along with code enforcement information. There also will be updates from a Planning Commission member and a Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission member, as well as updates from a reforestation committee and a safe streets committee, and a recap of a political forum that will be held by the group on Wednesday at the OASIS center.
A four-vehicle collision occurred at 5:25 p.m. Sunday at San Joaquin Hills Road and San Miguel Drive, police said.
“The initial collision involved a Mercedes SUV headed northbound on San Miguel and another car that was headed eastbound on San Joaquin Hills Road,” said police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella. “The Mercedes then went over the center median and collided with two cars that were waiting to turn left onto southbound San Miguel.”
A man driven the second vehicle, which was headed eastbound on San Joaquin Hills Road, sustained minor injuries but was transported to a hospital for medical attention, she said.
Newport Beach police arrested a 49-year-old San Clemente man Friday afternoon in the 2300 block of East Coast Highway on suspicion of defrauding an innkeeper of less than $950, police reports said.
The man was arrested at 2:16 p.m., and bail was set at $500.
Police arrested a 34-year-old Los Angeles man at 9:20 p.m. Thursday on suspicion of DUI at Irvine Terrace and East Coast Highway, reports state. His bail was $10,000. Officers took a report at 8:44 p.m. that night of a DUI with a prior arrest, records state.
Officers took a report of a grand theft from a motor vehicle with a $40,633 loss on Wednesday. The theft occurred between 9 a.m. Oct. 7 and 8 a.m. the next day, a report said.
Police also arrested a 57-year-old Costa Mesa man at 5:10 p.m. Thursday in the 100 block of Newport Center Drive on suspicion of disorderly conduct while intoxicated. His bail was $500.
Officers took a report of identity theft in the 900 block of Newport Center Drive on Thursday. The incident, with no listed loss, occurred between 10 a.m. Sept. 28 and 12:46 p.m. Sept. 29. Police took a report of a petty theft/purse snatch on Thursday in the 7900 block of East Coast Highway. The incident, which occurred at 5:23 p.m., resulted in a loss of $180.
Police also took a report of taking an automobile without the owner’s consent in the 7900 block of East Coast Highway on Wednesday. The incident occurred between 10 a.m. Oct. 5 and 11:15 a.m. Wednesday. Police took a report of a petty theft of $50 in the 2900 block of Fourth Avenue on Wednesday; the theft had occurred between 7:15 and 9:15 a.m.
Officers arrested a 23-year-old Costa Mesa man on suspicion of obstructing an officer at 7:37 a.m. Sunday in the 600 block of Newport Center Drive. His bail was $20,000. Officers also arrested a 69-year-old Laguna Beach man at 10:28 a.m. Sunday at East Coast Highway and Heliotrope Avenue on a warrant for drinking in public; his bail was $1,500.
The Newport Beach City Council will hold a public hearing at its Tuesday meeting about whether to permit A-frame signs in front of Corona del Mar businesses.
The city’s municipal code specifically bans A-frame signs, but in January, the Corona del Mar Business Improvement District board sent a letter asking that the signs be allowed.
“The A Frame sign is one ofthe most cost effective ways for businesses to advertise specials or services,” the letter said. “The sign in front of the business, outside the public right of way, allows a business to send a message to customers (prospective and current) for the initial investment of the A Frame and the minimal effort to update it. Costs involved in this are much less than print, radio, or other conventional types of messaging. In addition, as opposed to internet advertising that relies upon consumers seeking services, A Frame advertising creates impulse demand.”
In August, the Newport Beach Planning Commission voted 4-2 last month to allow the signs in Corona del Mar only; read our earlier here. The commissioners said they had concerns that the signs would not be suitable in other business districts in the city, and that they could become a nuisance.
“The Commission was also concerned that the lack of a clear demarcation between private and public property would present code enforcement challenges and result in illegal A-frame signs on already congested public sidewalks,” a city staff report states.
One Planning Commission member said the sidewalks could end up overrun with signs in a “sign war.”
The Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce has sent an email to members, asking them to attend the meeting to show support.
The City Council meeting begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday in Council Chambers at the Civic Center at 100 Civic Center Drive. The public may attend and make comments.
Construction is underway for storage buildings at the Big Canyon Reservoir auxiliary yard, according to a city memo.
In June, the City Council approved a $1,159,000 contract for the project, a satellite supply and storage facility for field crews working in the easterly portion of the City, a city staff report said.
“Construction of the masonry storage garages are well underway with the concrete floors poured and the walls and dry/wet utilities installed,” a city memo states. “Once the building is substantially complete, a new loop road will replace the existing deteriorated service drive and will encircle the Parks and Trees Division storage area. New vinyl coated fencing adjacent to our residential neighbors is being installed to replace the old ￼deteriorated chain link fencing; and new irrigation and landscaping will be installed to help screen the new improvements from adjacent property views.”
Construction is expected to continue through mid-January, with landscaping to be installed and complete by spring.
The Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce will host a networking luncheon on Oct. 21, featuring yoga guru and motivational speaker Anthony Chavez.
The luncheon costs $25 for members and $30 for guests and includes lunch, networking opportunities and the program, called “Anatomy of Results.”
The event will begin with check-in and networking from 11:30 a.m. to noon, followed by the program and lunch until 1:15 p.m.
The event will take place at Five Crowns Restaurant at 3801 East Coast Highway.
Participants also can donate a prize for an opportunity drawing. For more information or to reserve a spot, call (949) 673-4050.
1. Police arrested Tim Lai, the tutor at the center of a cheating scandal at Corona del Mar High School, upon his arrival at Los Angeles International Airport this week; read our stories here and here.
2. City and school district officials gathered this week to celebrate the completion of the final stage of improvements to the Corona del Mar High School pool; read our story here.
3. No charges will be filed against the owner of a party bus from which a CdMHS girl fell on her way to prom; read our story here.
4. The Harper’s boutique closed its Corona del Mar shop and will be online only; read our story here.
5. The CdMHS Home Tour will take place Tuesday; read our story here.
The Corona del Mar Residents Association will host a political forum featuring City Council candidates and a Measure Y discussion at the OASIS Senior Center on Wednesday night.
The 2014 political forum, called “The More We Know,” will begin with registration and an informal networking reception from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., according to the group’s website. Light refreshments will be served, and candidates and proponents and opponents of Measure Y will be available.
From 6:35 to 7:05, there will be a candidate forum featuring statements from the City Council candidates and a question and answer session, moderated by Corona del Mar resident Debra Allen.
From 7:05 to 7:25 p.m., there will be a Measure Y forum on the proposed changes to the City’s land-use portion of the general plan. Proponents and opponents will each make a statement followed by a question and answer session.
The event concludes at 7:30, and speakers and guests may mingle but leave by 8 p.m.
The OASIS Senior Center is located at Fifth and Marguerite avenues. The forum will be held in the Evelyn Hart Event Hall.