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Corona del Mar Today: Congressman on hand for flag pole dedication

Harbor View Elementary School students celebrated a new flag pole on the school’s lower playground with a ceremony Friday morning.

“I’m very proud of this school, with a new flag pole to make sure our flag always flies very high and very proud,” said U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa), who led the ceremonial dedication.

The school’s old flag pole was in bad shape, said Principal Todd Schmidt.

“Parts of it were falling,” he said, adding that no students were nearby when the pieces fell.


Harbor View Dads decided to purchase and pay to install a new pole, said Jon Spotts, president of the booster group. The total cost was about $5,000. The group also plans to fund a new electronic message board for the school, and in past years the group purchased iPads for students to use in the classroom.

Before the ceremony began, teachers and students, wearing red, white and blue, handed out small flags and waved signs. There were balloons, and the Corona del Mar High School and Middle School bands performed. Sixth-grader Catherine Johnston sang “The Star Spangled Banner.”

Rohrabacher told the students that his job was to “vote to make things better for when you’re older.” He did an impression of Ronald Reagan and mentioned a recent flap at UC Irvine involving a student group’s vote to ban flags, including Old Glory, from an area of the campus.

He then presented to the principal, as a gift to the school, a flag that had flown over the U.S. Capitol. The official dedication of the flag pole involved hitting the pole three times with a gold hammer.


“I think it’s interesting that a congressman is coming to school,” said Allison Flood, 12, a sixth-grader. “I think it’s really special.”


BID asks for entryway funding

The Corona del Mar Business Improvement District board Thursday discussed an entryway project that has been in the works for more then a decade.

Board members agreed to send a letter to Newport Beach City Council members, asking that they include the $400,000 project in the 2015-16 budget.

The plan would remove and relocate eight parking spaces along East Coast Highway near MacArthur Boulevard and replace the roadway with expanded sidewalks and landscaping. It also calls for making Carnation Avenue a one-way street between Fourth Avenue and East Coast Highway. This would allow several of the parking spaces to be relocated there on a stretch that is currently painted red.

In 2011, a citizens committee created a plan that would have moved the squeeze lane, where three lanes of East Coast Highway merge to two, from Carnation to Acacia Avenue. The $1.2-million plan then would have converted the former roadway to expanded sidewalks with landscaping and other features. In 2013, however, the City Council rejected that plan and later considered the scaled-down version.

BID members expressed frustration over the fact that the City Council ultimately could fail to fund the project after the district paid about $100,000 toward it, including part of a traffic study.


City Councilman Scott Peotter urged the BID board to send a letter to the council, explaining how much the group has invested in the project to date.


Is there a Flower Streets dognapper?

A “crazy/drunk lady” tried to steal a dog in the Begonia Park area, according to a flier posted along First Avenue near Carnation and Dahlia avenues.

The woman was driving a blue or gray Volvo, the flier said, when she pulled over, leaving her car running with the door open in the middle of the street, and tried to “sweet talk” the victim. The flier says she asks a lot of questions “while she loosens the collar on your dog and then tries to steal your dog.”

“We avoided a horrible tragedy, so BEWARE!!!!!!” the flier states.

A Newport Beach animal control officer and a Police Department spokeswoman said it appears that the incident was not reported to authorities.

The flier does not indicate when the incident occurred.



Classic car show canceled

It was held for 11 years, but the Corona del Mar Coastline Car Classic has been canceled for 2015, organizers said.

The annual event took place in the Corona del Mar State Beach, also known as Big Corona, every September, but planning the show had become a burden, said Chamber of Commerce President Linda Leonhard.

“It was the amount of time and effort,” she said. “We want to focus on events that benefit the business district.”

Leonhard said the chamber was working to expand its other two yearly events, the Christmas Walk and the Scenic 5K race.

Last month, Leonhard said, she was working with police and city staff on possibly expanding the beer garden at the annual Christmas Walk, perhaps by closing Bayside Drive, as well as adding a VIP lounge for Champagne toasts at the Scenic 5K finish line.

City staff has asked that the chamber conduct an updated traffic survey for the race, she said, and the organization may also study the effects of closing a section of Bayside Drive during the Christmas Walk.

The car show could be incorporated into this year’s Christmas Walk, she said, with a parking lot reserved for classic cars.

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