EDUCATION A little more time for KOCE...

EDUCATION

A little more time for KOCE foundation's payment

Coast Community College District officials on Thursday agreed to

give the KOCE-TV Foundation another chance to come up with an

$8-million down payment to buy the station.

The fundraising arm of Orange County's only public broadcasting

channel missed a June 30 deadline to come up with the money. District

trustees voted to extend that deadline to Thursday because the

license transfer was still awaiting approval by the Federal

Communications Commission.

-- Marisa O'Neil

NEWPORT BEACH

A Rose Queen honored, revered and remembered

Holly Halsted Balthis, hailed as the "Queen Mum" of Rose Queens,

died of natural causes in her Laguna Beach home. She was 95. Balthis

was the oldest surviving Rose Queen and won the honor in 1930 at a

time when she was given $10 to make her own gown. For 73 years, Rose

Queens looked up to Balthis as their glorious predecessor.

She was proud of the title she held. Balthis had a special

fondness for the Tournament of Roses and drove herself to all related

events. She had television interviews scheduled as recently as two

weeks before her death.

* As it turns out, people with official titles aren't the only

ones who take themselves seriously. Ski Meinschein is the

self-proclaimed "Birdman of Newport Beach." The West Newport man

lives for birds. For the last three years, he claims that he has been

visited by cliff swallows, denizens of Argentina that take a summer

vacation in Orange County.

Meinschein waits in his backyard for a pair of swallows to fly by

twice every day. He believes the swallows stop and do a loop when he

claps his hand softly for them. Meinschein used to entertain Newport

Beach Pier visitors with his collection of exotic birds, but he

retired from his labor of love for health reasons three years ago.

-- Deepa Bharath

COURTS

D.A. files new complaints in Haidl gang-rape case

The Orange County district attorney on Friday filed a revised

version of the initial complaint in the trial of a high-profile

gang-rape case, hoping it would fetch a conviction the second time

around, officials said.

Prosecutors have filed nine felony complaints against Greg Haidl,

son of Orange County Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl, Kyle Nachreiner and

Keith Spann, including rape and oral copulation by intoxication,

sexual penetration by intoxication and assault with a deadly weapon

-- in this case a pool cue.

Prosecutors say the three defendants, all now 19, raped an

unconscious 16-year-old girl and sexually assaulted her as she lay on

a pool table in the garage of the assistant sheriff's Corona del Mar

home in July 2002. The teenagers also made a video of the incident,

which jurors watched several times during the previous trial.

If convicted on all nine counts, the defendants could face a

minimum of probation and a maximum of 23 years in state prison. The

previous jury deadlocked on all 24 counts, forcing Judge Francisco

Briseno to declare a mistrial. Jurors voted 11-1 for acquittal on

some of the counts, which the district attorney's office has not

charged this time.

A bail hearing for Greg Haidl has been scheduled for Tuesday at 10

a.m. A new trial date has been set for Oct. 18. A preliminary hearing

is scheduled for Sept. 10 when the judge is expected to rule on the

defense's motion to dismiss all charges, arguing that the retrial is

a waste of taxpayer money.

-- Deepa Bharath

POLITICS

League of Women Voters says, 'No debate for you'

Orange County Superior Court Judge Jim Gray, a Newport Beach

resident and Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate, was denied

Tuesday in his attempt to block a high-profile debate between his

opponents, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer and Republican candidate

Bill Jones. Gray filed a temporary restraining order to stop the

League of Women Voters' Tuesday debate, from which he said he was

unfairly excluded.

The league said Gray didn't meet its standard of at least 10% of

likely votes in an independent poll. Gray contended the league

changed the rules when he submitted a poll he commissioned that

showed him with 8% of the vote and 68% of those polled agreeing that

he should be allowed to debate. A Los Angeles Superior Court judge

turned down Gray's claim, but Gray said he and his supporters will

appear outside the debate venue at the Museum of Tolerance in Los

Angeles.

* Although 70th District Assemblyman John Campbell in April

proposed raising money for the state by selling the Orange County

fairgrounds in Costa Mesa, he was surprised last week at the idea's

inclusion in a massive report on government reorganization that was

commissioned by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The fairgrounds sale was

mentioned as an example of why the state needs to streamline the

review process for "underutilized or surplus property."

Costa Mesa officials remained firm in their opposition to selling

the state-owned fairgrounds, saying that moving the fair would have

negative impacts on the community and on city revenues.

-- Alicia Robinson

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