Corona del Mar Today: Overgrown dolphins need topiary expert

The dolphin topiaries that have become Corona del Mar's center-of-town mascots are overgrown and shaggy and need professional help, the Corona del Mar Business Improvement District's board members decided Thursday morning.

"Are they anchors? Are they bombs? Are they manatees?" said C. Scott Palmer. "They just don't look like dolphins. I would like the B.I.D. to hire an expert to take them back to a dolphin-ary shape."

The dolphin topiaries, which are placed in the median of East Coast Highway and Marguerite Avenue, were planted in 1993. A group of volunteers decorate the dolphins for most holidays, and flags representing the branches of the military are added on patriotic holidays.

Over the years, landscaping crews regularly have trimmed the 12 dolphin-shaped bushes. But the landscapers aren't topiary experts and may be too cautious, not wanting to shape the dolphins for fear of harming them.

As a result, Palmer said, "they just swell and swell and swell."

"You know what they look like," one board member said.

The board members agreed to research topiary experts, perhaps by contacting Roger's Gardens or the Disneyland Resort, which has several animal-shaped topiaries in front of the "It's a Small World" attraction.

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Activists plan to protest puppy store

A San Diego-based animal rights group expects more than 100 people to show up at the first rally against the I Heart Puppies store.

The protest will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday, said Brenda Calvillo of the Animal Protection and Rescue League.

"We have signs and literature. We just need your presence to advocate for the animals," according to an event webpage. "We are asking them to change their business practices and to do adoptions instead of selling puppies. We need a strong showing at this rally so please join us and make a difference."

Protesters plan to target I Heart Puppies because they believe the shop's owners sell dogs that may come from puppy mills. They have asked the shop's owners to convert to a business model that sells puppies from local shelters instead of puppies from breeders, but the shop's owners maintain that they do not buy from puppy mills.

The owners of the shop at 2801 E. Coast Hwy. did not respond to an email seeking comment.

However, the owners have asked that the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce pass along a two-page message describing their philosophy to anyone calling with concerns. That document states, in part, that the store has an "excellent relationship with the local Animal Control" and that "any time we hear of a verified complaint against a breeder we will eliminate their services."

"We believe there is no crime in providing people with unconditional love from puppies," the statement says. "Let's work together to prosecute and close puppy mills, not work against each other."

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Police to rigorously enforce scavenger ban

Police will step up their enforcement of the city's ban on scavengers throughout the month of August, according to a statement.

The Newport Beach City Council in January voted to ban people from scavenging recyclables and other items of value from trash containers.

"With the enactment of the new Collection of Garbage and Recyclables Ordinance, the Newport Beach Police Department hopes to significantly reduce the number of intentional scavengers on private and public property," according to the police statement. "Enforcement efforts will include citations and/or arrests, and the seizure of all recyclable property determined to have been collected within the city limits. Recent arrests have confirmed that many of the scavengers that come Newport Beach are responsible for many other crimes."

Anyone who sees scavengers should call police at (949) 644-3681.

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Lifeguards warn against digging in sand

Newport Beach Fire Department officials have warned beach visitors not to dig large holes in the sand following Wednesday's rescue of a 17-year-old Virginia teenager near 54th Street.

The boy and friends had spent an hour digging a hole in the sand along the berm near the waterline, fire officials said in a statement. The boy was inside the hole about 5 to 7 feet below grade when it collapsed.

"Suddenly, the sides of the hole caved in and collapsed on the boy, completely burying him under the sand," the statement said. "Due to the precarious and unstable nature of the sand, responders carefully but quickly extricated the victim from the hole."

The statement said that just before the collapse, the victim and his friend dug two holes and were tunneling toward each other when the collapse occurred.

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Bear Flag location coming to Crystal Cove

The Bear Flag Fish Co. will open a Crystal Cove location in the fall, according to a sign in the window of a shop near the Juxtaposition home store.

Bear Flag Fish Co. was founded in 2007 and offers "the freshest seafood in town," according to the company website.

Bear Flag did not immediately respond to an email seeking information about whether the location would be a second store, or if it would be replacing the current location at 407 31st St.

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