Corona del Mar Today: Buck Gully project underway

Crews have begun preparing for a Buck Gully erosion project, setting up fences near the Little Corona restrooms in advance of heavy construction that will begin next week, city staff said.

The project involves placing wire-mesh baskets filled with river rock in the lower part of Buck Gully and installing rock structures in the upper bend of the creek. The effort will divert run-off and could prevent homes from sliding down the hillside if a major storm caused serious erosion.

The project also will restore the area's natural habitat, which has undergone major changes since the 1990s when construction in Newport Coast changed the gully from mostly dry to mostly wet.

Construction will take about four months, plus another six months to replant vegetation. The work includes building a temporary road from the restroom area down to the gully, then replanting the road when work is complete. The restrooms will be closed during construction with temporary facilities planned.

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CdM Home Tour To Feature Boutique, Sea King Ornaments

This year's Corona del Mar Home Tour — a high school PTA fundraiser — will feature its first-ever boutique with a limited edition Sea King holiday ornament, organizers told parents at the year's first PTA meeting held Thursday.

The ornaments were designed and donated by Roger's Gardens and will cost $34 each, said Michele Caston, co-chairwoman of the 38th annual Home Tour.

Only 300 ornaments will be sold, she said.

The boutique will be part of the tour's luncheon and will feature 10 vendors selling jewelry, household accessories and gift items, including Corona del Mar High School merchandise. All vendors will contribute 20% of their sales to the PTA.

The tour will take place Oct. 25, and tickets are now on sale for $65 on the tour's website. In the next few days, tickets also will be sold at local merchants including at Roger's Gardens, which is a major contributor to the tour.

Six homes will be featured on this year's tour, including homes in the Port Streets, Shore Cliffs, Irvine Terrace and Harbor View Hills South.

More than 75 parents attended the PTA meeting, which included principals' reports. Principal Tim Bryan said the first day of school went well, noting that there appeared to be plenty of parking and lockers for students.

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386,500 visitors flock beach for surf, holiday

Newport Beach lifeguards said 386,500 visitors hit local beaches between Aug. 31 and Monday. The weather, crowds and big waves led to plenty of rescues over the Labor Day holiday period.

On Aug. 31, 55,000 people visited beaches, and lifeguards made 38 rescues, 1,802 preventative actions, 48 first aid calls and four medical aids.

On Sept. 1, 32,500 people visited, and lifeguards made 34 rescues, 1,786 preventive actions, 28 first aid calls and one medical aid.

On Sept. 2, 50,000 people visited beaches, and lifeguards made 20 rescues, 1,710 preventive actions, 37 first aid calls and one medical aid.

On Sept. 3, 90,000 people visited beaches, and lifeguards made 16 rescues, 918 preventive actions, 48 first ad calls and three medical aids.

Crowds peaked at 95,000 on Sept. 4, when surf conditions eased to 4 to 6 feet with moderate winds and water temperatures at about 60 degrees, said Lifeguard Battalion Chief Rob Williams.

Guards made 15 rescues Sept. 4, with 1,175 preventive actions, 90 first aid calls and seven medical aids.

On Monday, cloudy weather led to smaller crowds of 64,000 people. Guards made four rescues, 668 preventive actions, 48 first aid calls and five medical aids.

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Government affairs meeting canceled

The Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce has canceled the September meeting of the Government Affairs Committee.

The next meeting will take place at 7:30 a.m. Oct. 11. The meetings occur on the second Thursday of each month in the Chamber of Commerce office at 2855 E. Coast Hwy. For more information, call (949) 673-4050.

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Construction to begin on home near Begonia Park

Construction is set to begin next month of a home that some say will block views from Begonia Park — 11 years after the homeowner purchased the lot.

"It's finally going to happen!" Kim Megonigal said in an email, adding that all permits are in place and construction is set to begin after Labor Day.

Kim and Carolyne Megonigal spent more than three years planning and obtaining permission to build a single-family home on a vacant lot at Begonia Avenue and Pacific Drive.

The city's Planning Department twice approved their plans, but concerns over whether their proposed garage would block views from the nearby Begonia Park created a huge wave of public outcry.

A group called Friends of Begonia Park collected about 1,200 signatures on a petition against the project, and the some of the group's signs remain in place in front of a few nearby homes.

The Newport Beach City Council voted 5 to 2 in January 2010 to let the home be built after an boisterous public hearing.

Megonigal said he expected construction to take about 24 months.

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