Corona del Mar Today: Halloween arrives early at Roger's Gardens

Halloween arrives early at Roger's Gardens

Hundreds of Halloween aficionados waited in line this week for an invitation-only chance to shop the grand opening of the 2010 Roger's Gardens Halloween shop.

"It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye — then it's hilarious," screeched "Mischievous Mort," the ventriloquist's dummy host of this year's "Funn & Gaems" Halloween shop who greeted all the customers.

Every year Roger's Halloween shop has a theme, and this year Mort is the star after he took over and twisted his bosses' factory to reflect his own peculiar ideas. Mort is seen blowing things up, jamming an assembly line — and of course, Mort dolls are on sale.

"We wanted to be more whimsical this year and less scary," said Eric Cortina, Roger's Gardens' creative director, who develops the themes each year.

Shoppers quickly grabbed items including "screaming mirrors" that moan when picked up, revealing a skeleton's face, fake spiders and rats, robots, candies, upscale black-lace table linens, skeleton-and-spider-themed vases, decanters and cake plates.

Wills Johnson, 13, of Newport Beach, immediately fell upon a silver chair shaped like a hand.

"I love the chair and need it for my room," he told his mother, Lisa Johnson. "There's like 100 things here I want, but I want this chair most of all."

His mother asked the price — $250 — and raised her eyebrows. Then she admitted that she, too, saw a ton of things she wanted.

Donna Buckley of Fullerton had grabbed four black resin witches' boots.

"I shop, and then I get inspired," she said. "At first I thought I'd fill the boots with black roses. But now, I'm going to make an invisible lady with them, using white gauze hanging down over them. I'll hang it in my picture window."

Kathy McSorley of Santa Ana clung to a wall hanging of a crescent moon with a sparkling black cat inside.

"Would you spend $80 on this?" she asked, unsure whether to take the plunge.

"I found it over there, and already three people have asked if I'm buying it because they wanted it," she said. She shook her head, then wandered back through the crowd.

"Things were selling out," said Rochelle Cunard of Downey, showing off a black twig basket that looked like an evil's bird's nest. "These were totally gone. They went really fast."

Roger's Gardens is located at 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road. Call (949) 640-5800 for more information.

See 'Shoreline Vision' at library

Newport Beach Central Library's newest art exhibit is "Shoreline Vision" by Marian Jones, an artist and photographer who has lived in Corona del Mar for 26 years.

The exhibit, sponsored by the Newport Beach City Arts Commission, shows a series of photographs that focus "on forms and designs found in nature, often revealed in close-up," according to the city's website.

Jones had a 22-year career as a writer and journalist in Hollywood and was married to Chuck Jones, the animation director of "Looney Tunes" fame, when they moved to Corona del Mar in 1981. Chuck Jones died in 2002.

In recent years, Marian Jones pursued her love of photography, working in color and black and white. "Shoreline Vision" focuses on the seashore, which she says is her "greatest fascination."

"It changes with every tide," she said in a statement, "and yet is the most ancient and abiding source of life."

The exhibit will be on display through October at the Central Library at 1000 Avocado Ave. For more information, call (949) 717-3870.

Parent volunteers sent scrambling for TB Tests

Parents stopping by Harbor View Elementary School last week, turning in registration forms before the Sept. 7 start of classes, received memos reminding them of district policies regarding parent volunteers.

"We have been out of compliance," the memo said, adding a frowning emoticon.

This year, school officials said, the rules will be strictly enforced, including the requirement that volunteers show proof that they passed a tuberculosis test if they plan to work in the classroom or as field trip chaperones.

Officials with the Newport-Mesa Unified School District are not making a special effort this year, said spokeswoman Laura Boss; rather, she said, officials try every year to encourage schools to make sure their volunteers are following the rules outlined in a September 2008 letter.

That letter states, in part, "The Tuberculosis skin testing for all school classroom volunteers. All volunteers in schools shall be required to have on file with the school, a certificate showing that within the last four years such person has been examined and has been found to be free of communicable tuberculosis."

A volunteer is anyone who works in a classroom once a month or more. Test results will be kept in confidential files in school offices, the letter states.

The TB skin test involves a jab in the forearm that medical staff will re-check for symptoms after 48 to 72 hours, which means if parents plan to volunteer next week on school campuses, they need to get to a doctor's office or clinic soon.

Harbor View Principal Charlene Metoyer said she's been working with teachers and staff to ensure that parents without proper badges are sent to the office this school year, and if they have not complied with the volunteer requirements, they will not be permitted to stay.

"We want to keep our kids safe," she said.

Some volunteers who work with children unsupervised, or who will go on overnight field trips, will be more intensely screened, including having a fingerprint check and screening by the Department of Justice.

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