Five Crowns managers recently cooked and served staff a holiday lunch as part of an annual Thanksgiving tradition that this year featured essays read by Corona del Mar schoolchildren.
"It's just a nice way to say thank you to everyone," said Steve Kim, general manager of the restaurant at 3801 E. Coast Hwy. "The managers serve, and the president and CEO is back there cooking."
About 70 staff members enjoyed roasted suckling pig, apple and celery root gratin, Cinderella pumpkin puree and spaetzle with butternut squash, along with beer and wine and pumpkin pie for dessert.
"It's the holiday kick-off," said Patrick Covert, a server at the restaurant. "Once we do this, we know the holidays have begun."
Richard R. Frank, Lawry's president and chief executive, said the staff party was a tradition that dated back decades.
"We've always done it," he said. "As far back as I can remember."
Emma Jo Edwards, who has been a Five Crowns server for 41 years, said the parties were going on when she started.
"We look forward to it every year," she said. "I love it. It's just a lot of fun."
The theme for this year's party was the simplicity of giving thanks, Kim said.
"We as adults complicate things," he said. "Children are innocent; they know how to say thank you. So I called the school so the students could show how simple it is."
The students shared Thanksgiving artwork from their first-grade reading buddies.
"I give thanks for my family because they love me and they pay for my sports, my field trips and insurance," read Zane Weaver.
Other students said they were thankful for their families, their teachers, cupcakes, soccer and their country.
The Five Crowns staff gave the students a standing ovation. The students then were served ice cream, pie and fruit crumble.
"I'm very proud of them," said Principal Charlene Metoyer. "They did a wonderful job."
*Left-turn signals to be installed at Marguerite, Coast Highway
Drivers turning from Marguerite Avenue onto East Coast Highway soon will have a dedicated green arrow signal, the president of the Corona del Mar Residents Assn. said at the group's November board meeting.
Currently, there are left-turn signals for motorists on East Coast Highway turning onto Marguerite Avenue, but not for motorists on Marguerite, who must yield to Coast Highway traffic.
Newport Beach traffic engineers also plan to add a countdown to the pedestrian signal, said CdMRA President Karen Tringali.
Newport Beach Traffic Engineer Tony Brine said the project will be put out for bids in the spring.
"We are currently completing plans for the signal modification work which will provide for protected left turn arrows on both northbound and southbound Marguerite Avenue," he said in an email. "We will be including the count-down pedestrian heads in the bid contract. The goal for installation is prior to summer next year."
Tringali said the CdMRA group has asked for the turn signal and countdown feature for years.
"It's always on our list," she said. "We were very glad to hear this news."
*Supporters hope to Revive ZeroTrash
Corona del Mar leaders have convinced ZeroTrash to try to save the trash cleanup program in the village, possibly recruiting volunteers at the Dec. 4 Christmas Walk.
"I am working to be at the Christmas event, or have a volunteer hand out materials," founder Chip McDermott confirmed in an email.
Members of the Corona del Mar Residents Assn. and the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce reached out to McDermott after hearing that the ZeroTrash group was leaving Corona del Mar because of a lack of interest.
The group first began Corona del Mar cleanups in June, gathering at El Ranchito on the first Saturday of each month before going into the community to pick up trash. But volunteers never materialized.
Karen Tringali, president of the CdMRA, asked the board at its November meeting if members would approve reaching out to Laguna Beach-based ZeroTrash to ask if they would share a booth at the Christmas Walk to try to recruit volunteers.
"There seems to be some momentum in the community," Tringali said, referring to a recent neighborhood trash pickup effort in the Cameo communities. "I'd like to invite ZeroTrash to pass out information at our table at the Christmas Walk."
The Corona del Mar Christmas Walk is sponsored by the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce. Chamber President Linda Leonhard has said the chamber also supports ZeroTrash's efforts and would promote volunteer opportunities among chamber members.
Other CdMRA board members suggested that high school students be notified that they could earn community service hours for helping with ZeroTrash cleanups.
McDermott said that ZeroTrash in Corona del Mar needs "a passionate CdM resident to want to be chapter captain." Two or three people could serve as co-captains, he said, leading the first Saturday efforts.
ZeroTrash continues to operate on the Balboa Peninsula.