Corona del Mar High has a new school resource officer


Gary Clemente will be Corona del Mar High’s new school resource officer in September.

The Newport Beach police officer is no stranger to the campus.

“I wanted to really experience what an SRO does,” he said. “So I’ve been shadowing on and off for the last six months.”

In May, the school’s former resource officer, Vlad Anderson, announced he was relocating to Newport Harbor High School after four years at Corona del Mar.

Clemente applied to replace him and was selected in July.

Clemente grew up in Virginia and attended George Mason University in Fairfax, later earning a master’s in public administration from National University.

He worked as a police officer in Virginia until 10 years ago, when he decided to move to California.

“I spent 26 years of my life on the East Coast,” he said. “I was ready for a change.”

As a Newport Beach police officer, Clemente has worked in crisis negotiating and gang suppression and served as a mentor for the volunteer policing group. This will be his first time working as a school resource officer.

“I started working with Officer Anderson in June,” while still a candidate for the job, he said.

Clemente had been covering Area 3, which includes Fashion Island and the Eastbluff area, where Corona del Mar’s campus is located. He met the school’s administrators and some teachers, he said, and he talked with Anderson about the school dynamic, from the student body to parking and traffic issues.

“He (Anderson) knew every single kid’s name,” Clemente said, adding that he planned to do the same.

“They take awhile to warm up to you,” he said. “Kids have the ability to tell if people are genuine and if they care. In my opinion, this is one of the most critical assignments we have. Our most important mission statement is to protect children. And in this day and age, with the realities that kids have to face — online predators, bullying, Internet — they face a lot of pressure.”

Clemente said that like Anderson, he would have an open-door policy at his office on campus. He plans to attend PTA meetings, provide a cellphone number for parents and students to use and help with traffic control.

Clemente is married with one child. He as been a department runner for events including the Baker to Vegas desert run, and he recently was a Special Olympics Torch Run participant.


Alcohol license issued to Fashion Island Starbucks

The Starbucks at Fashion Island, newly relocated near Macy’s, has been granted a state license to sell beer and wine.

But the Starbucks Evenings menu is not yet available.

The Starbucks currently sells the usual coffee drinks, pastries, teas and sodas. When the Starbucks Evenings menu is launched, the store also will sell wine by the glass and bottle, along with beer and dinner items.


Shooting stars still a wish

Plans to add five shooting stars to Corona del Mar’s holiday decorations have once again failed to garner city permission, according to the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce president.

“There were just too many requirements … it wasn’t going to happen,” Linda Leonhard told members of the Corona del Mar Business Improvement District board this week.

The improvement district board voted last month in support of having the shooting-star decorations mounted to palm trees, facing different directions, at the median at Marguerite Avenue and East Coast Highway. The board voted to add the same decorations in 2012, but a city arborist said the decorations could harm the trees.

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