Rape retrial begins dramatically
The retrial of a high-profile gang-rape case started this week
with a juror excusing himself, a defense lawyer getting cut off and
chastised by the judge during his opening statements, and tearful
testimony by the alleged victim.
Kyle Nachreiner and Keith Spann, both 20, and Greg Haidl, the
19-year-old son of former county assistant sheriff Don Haidl, are
accused of gang-raping an allegedly unconscious 16-year-old girl at
the elder Haidl's Corona del Mar home and sexually assaulting her
with various objects. The first trial ended with a deadlocked jury.
Cross-examination by defense attorneys of the now 19-year-old Jane Doe, who they say was a promiscuous, wild teen and a willing
participant, is scheduled to resume Feb. 22.
* Newport Beach police are seeking other children who may have
been victims of a private music teacher accused of molesting a local
Police arrested Aaron William Hallas, 54, of Garden Grove last
week on suspicion that he committed lewd acts on a girl under the age
of 8, Sgt. Steve Shulman said. Police in another, unnamed city also
investigated Hallas but did not press charges, Shulman said.
* A 167-foot dredge boat shoved off back to sea Tuesday morning
after running aground on a West Newport beach days earlier.
The Eland, which is taking part in a dredging project in the
waters off West Newport, ran aground Feb. 6, landing on the beach
near 68th Street. It took the highest tide of the month and the help
of two tugboats, but the ship made it back to the ocean and didn't
spill any fuel, a California Department of Fish and Game spokesman
New appointments made to city commissions
The City Council on Monday selected a slate of five commissioners
each for the Planning Commission and Parks and Recreation Commission.
The council voted in December to pick commissioners by a vote of the
full council rather than direct appointment by council members, and
they received 31 applications from current and prospective commission
The new Planning Commission includes Bruce Garlich, Bill Perkins,
Eleanor Egan, James Fisler and Donn Hall. On the new Parks and
Recreation Commission roster are Byron de Arakal, Mark Harris, Wendy
Leece, Robert Graham and David Stiller.
The bigger, the better in Corona del Mar
A new home will with cantilevered decks will rise from the bluffs
along Ocean Boulevard in Corona del Mar, jutting farther out than the
existing homes, but it's only one part of a general thrust toward
building over the water.
After a complicated debate over whether the city can limit how far
out houses project from the bluff, the City Council on Tuesday agreed
to allow Doug Circle to build a home that exceeds the height limit
and has a deck a neighbor complains will block public and private
City officials and some residents said rising property values and
the likelihood of state Coastal Commission approval will lead to more
homes along the bluff being remodeled so they jut out farther than
the homes there now.
A possible reprieve for El Morro residents
Residents would not be evicted from the El Morro Village mobile
home park and instead could stay up to 30 more years, if either of
two bills introduced Thursday by Newport Beach Assemblyman Chuck
DeVore is successful.
DeVore said he proposed the bills as a way to save the state the
money it would spend on razing El Morro Village and creating state
park facilities there, and the bills would bring in as much as $50
million for the state by raising El Morro rents to market rate.
The state Department of Parks and Recreation plans to spend $12
million to convert the mobile-home park to a public park, with 200
parking spaces, a 60-unit campground, restrooms and a lifeguard tower
on the beach. The department has not taken an official stance on the
bill, but it has been firm in its intention to proceed with the park
plan. Eviction proceedings for residents already are underway, and
some residents are expected to leave by April 1.