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Corona del Mar Today: Port Theater seeks to serve alcohol at all-age screenings

The Port Theater has been serving alcohol for two years, limiting sales to an upper balcony unless the screenings are 21 and older and sales end by 11 p.m.

Now, the Planning Commission could expand alcohol service at the historic theater to include elements that its owner sought back in December 2012.

The Planning Commission will consider a conditional-use permit that would supersede the theater's minor use permit, according to a notice for the meeting scheduled for Monday.

"The request is to allow alcohol service to be served throughout the theater (both the first and second level) during screenings with no age restrictions," the notice states. "Alcohol service during screenings is currently limited to the second-floor mezzanine or in conjunction with screenings for patrons 21 years of age and older."

The theater also wishes to extend alcohol service from 11 p.m. until 1 a.m. daily, the notice states. The theater's hours are 8 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily. If approved, the police department would need to approve an amendment to the theater's operator's license.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Council Chambers at the Civic Center, 100 Civic Center Drive.


Police investigate massage business

Police continue to investigate the Secret Garden massage business, located near homes on Fernleaf Avenue entrance, following a sting operation last week that led to the arrest of an employee.

The District Attorney's office is reviewing the case against the woman, 30, of Westminster, who was arrested July 30 at the business at 2721 East Coast Highway. She was booked on suspicion of "disorderly conduct: prostitution," according to an arrest report. Her bail was $500.

Residents had complained to police about the business, which was open at night and drew crowds of men who were "coming and going all day," one woman said.

Police conducted a sting operation that resulted in one arrest, and detectives continue to investigate the business along with city code enforcement officers.

The business opened in April, according to city business records, which list the company as "Touch of Orient" and the owner as "Lotus Spa."

An online ad indicates that a one-hour massage costs $70 for two hands and $120 for four hands, and that the staff is "all Asian."

"Had a hard day?" another ad states. "Poor baby! Don't worry, we know how to make you feel better!"

An email seeking comment from a company official was not immediately answered.


Parks Commission agrees to remove trees

The Newport Beach Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission voted to remove four eucalyptus trees at a meeting Tuesday night.

The trees, located in the 700 and 500 blocks of Poppy Avenue and the 500 block of Hazel Drive, were inspected in April as part of an effort to determine potential liability in 53 trees in the area, according to a staff report. The trees all were determined to have weak root systems and other problems. Another six trees also need to be removed in the area, but those trees don't need parks commissioner approval.


Not too late for summer camp sign-ups

Back-to-school supplies may be filling store shelves, but many Corona del Mar kids have a few weeks left to enjoy summer, and the city of Newport Beach still has openings in camp programs at the Community Youth Center, city recreation officials said.

Activities include printmaking, painting, figure drawing and other art classes; "fairly tale princess ballet" and "Hipity Hop for Tots," as well as football, tennis and more. Morning and afternoon classes are available for the weeks of Aug. 11, 18 and 25.

The CYC is located in Grant Howald Park near Fifth and Iris avenues.



Sculptures to be installed in Civic Center Park

Sculptures that some Corona del Mar residents decried as ugly eyesores will soon be installed in the Civic Center Park, with a celebration planned for Sept. 13, according to a city flier.

The 10 sculptures will be displayed for two years, then replaced with 10 different pieces that will be installed for another two years.

In May, the Newport Beach City Council approved the sculptures, which include pieces such as "Big Wet Dog," an 11-foot-tall, multicolored "Pretty Boy" and a 9-foot sphere created from stainless-steel rods. A panel of experts chose the 10 pieces from 260 submissions, and the city's arts commissioners voted on the plan that was then forwarded to the City Council for final approval.

At that meeting, four residents spoke against the sculptures, including residents whose homes overlook the park.

According to the Newport Beach Facebook page, the sculpture installations will begin soon, and the grand opening celebration will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Sept. 13.

Corona del Mar Today appears Sunday in the Daily Pilot. Read daily updates at

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