PUBLIC SAFETY Local police officers injured in...

PUBLIC SAFETY

Local police officers

injured in collision with car

Two off-duty Newport Beach Police motorcycle officers were injured

-- one seriously -- on Jamboree Road in Irvine Sunday night when

their bikes collided with a car.

Officers Dave Kresge, 37, and Matthew Chmura, 34, were heading

home when a car being driven by 55-year-old Huntington Beach resident

Jon Lyon turned in front of them, according to police. Kresge

suffered a broken wrist and Chmura suffered a serious leg injury. He

underwent surgery and is expected to remain hospitalized until later

this week.

* Firefighters from throughout Orange County gathered this week to

demonstrate the dangers of careless holiday decorating.

Costa Mesa Police Chief Jim Ellis advised people to water and

"shake hands" with their live Christmas tree every day to watch for

signs it's drying out, such as dropping lots of needles. Dry trees

can quickly ignite and spread fire to the rest of a home, he said.

* Costa Mesa Police arrested 10 people this week in what they

believe was a large identification-fraud ring.

Those arrested were allegedly operating the ring out of rooms in a

motel on Newport Boulevard. The arrestees, from throughout Southern

California, were arrested on drug- and fraud-related charges.

* A fire caused extensive damage to the First United Methodist

Church of Costa Mesa on Wednesday.

The fire started in the electrical room of a building at the

church, according to fire investigators. It appears the fire was

started by a homeless person, who knocked over a lighted can of

burner fuel. No charges have been brought in the case.

EDUCATION

Newport-Mesa students outpacing state in fitness

Students in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District are more

physically fit than the state average, according to results of the

2003-2004 Physical Fitness Test released last week.

Nearly 30% of the district's students met all six state fitness

standards of aerobic capacity, body composition, flexibility,

abdominal strength, trunk-extension strength and upper-body strength,

compared with 27% of students statewide.

BUSINESS

Space at a premium in

John Wayne Airport area

Office and industrial properties in Newport-Mesa already command

some of the highest rents in Orange County, and they're expected to

inch slowly upward in 2005. A study released Thursday by the USC Lusk

Center for Real Estate predicts office and industrial vacancies in

the John Wayne Airport area will continue to drop next year because

little new space will be added.

COSTA MESA

Roman Catholic diocese settles abuse cases

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange on Thursday settled with all

87 plaintiffs who filed civil lawsuits against the diocese alleging

sexual abuse by clergy, teachers or employees.

Terms, which included a monetary settlement and other agreements,

were not revealed pursuant to a court-issued gag order. The amount of

the settlement and other terms will likely be released late next

week.

Costa Mesa-based attorney John Manly handled 27 of these cases,

including eight victims from the Newport-Mesa area. Manly's cases

includes victims who say they were abused by Daniel Murray of Our

Lady of Mount Carmel on the Balboa Peninsula; Michael Harris, former

principal of Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, who used to conduct

Sunday masses at St. John the Baptist; and the now-deceased Donald

Stevens, a custodian at St. Joachim Catholic Church in Costa Mesa.

* Planning Commissioner Bruce Garlich conceded defeat Thursday for

the last of three City Council seats, opting not to request a recount

of the 44-vote margin between him and fellow Planning Commissioner

Eric Bever. Bever, fellow commissioner Katrina Foley and former Mayor

Linda Dixon will be sworn in as council members Monday.

* Residents Doug and Jennifer Hansen are offering to pay for

equipment for a playground for disabled kids at TeWinkle Park. The

playground would be in honor of their three-year-old daughter, Angel.

They are soliciting funds through a charity they set up in honor of

their daughter, Angels Charity. The Costa Mesa Community Foundation

is helping the charity raise money.

City officials were receptive to the idea and thought TeWinkle

Park would be the perfect place because of its central location and

amenities. Because the project is eligible for a state grant of up to

$1 million, the city is using the grant opportunity to add

improvements to nearby facilities, such as restrooms and picnic

shelters.

To donate, go to http://www.angelscharity.com or

http://www.cm-fund.org.

NEWPORT BEACH

Cost concerns, parking not stopping center's momentum

A community center designed with the help of Newport Coast

residents is nearing the end of its design stage, despite concerns

about parking congestion and high costs.

The City Council in February approved the $7-million center, which

will include a full-sized gymnasium, library, meeting rooms and other

amenities for public use. The center will occupy about 22,000 square

feet at the corner of Newport Coast Drive and San Joaquin Hills Road.

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