Corona del Mar Today: Coda for OASIS center ukulele player

Ukulele player Bill Tapia, who was a regular participant in the OASIS Senior Center's ukulele club, died Friday in his Westminster home. He was 103 and died peacefully in his sleep, his website states.

"With a career that spanned over 90 years, he was the last living link to the earliest days of both jazz and the ukulele as a popular instrument," his website states.

Tapia was born on Jan. 1, 1908, in Honolulu. He received his first ukulele at age 7 and began his career three years later, entertaining World War I troops at USO shows, his website states. He once gave ukulele lessons to Clark Cable and Shirley Temple and played with Elvis Presley, as well as playing backup for musicians including Bing Crosby, Billie Holiday, Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong. He was inducted into the Ukulele Hall of Fame in 2004.

For about five years, Tapia was a regular participant in the OASIS Senior Center's strummers group, which meets Mondays at the center at Marguerite and Fifth avenues.

He last played with the group about five weeks ago, said member Tony Cappa, 90, of San Clemente.

"Him being with us was always a plus," Cappa said. "'Young At Heart' was one of his favorites. He'd end the song with 'Young at Heart… like me.' It always gave us a chuckle."

Funeral arrangements are pending, his website states.


Harbor View students collect school supplies

In a change from the usual donation of Thanksgiving dinner fixings, Harbor View Elementary School students this year collected items for a new "Growing Literacy" outreach program for their sister school.

Students collected $1,000, which will be used to support a Lexia reading program at Pomona Elementary School in Costa Mesa, as well as provide teachers with electric pencil sharpeners and reams of paper. They also collected school supplies, which Pomona teachers and Principal Megan Brown said they desperately needed.

"Everyone in our Harbor View community did a part," said Sandi Marino, a parent volunteer who organized the event. "Everyone did a little bit, and it created this large sum."

On Monday, Harbor View parent volunteers brought the check and 20 boxes of collected items to Pomona. The boxes were sorted by supplies, and teachers were able to select what they needed, from composition books to glue sticks and more.

"Harbor View and Pomona have enjoyed a partnership for many years," said Harbor View Principal Charlene Metoyer. "They have a terrific staff and wonderful students."

*Veterans' holiday gifts

Corona del Mar Middle School students are getting ready to make their annual trip to the VA Long Beach hospital, but donations are needed to make sure every veteran receives a holiday gift, organizers said.

The trip is scheduled for Wednesday, when seventh- and eighth-grade students will honor more than 100 hospitalized war veterans with a USO-style show and a holiday brunch.

"Our students will sing and dance, serve a delicious meal and distribute gifts at this special annual event that honors the men and women who have served our country," Principal Guy Olguin said in an email to families. "This is an event that the veterans look forward to the entire year."

About 30 students participate in the show, but dozens more help behind the scenes, collecting and wrapping gifts, said organizer Janice Arrigo.

Many gifts have been donated already, but students need more donations to make sure everyone gets a gift, she said.

Some gift ideas include sweatshirts, sweatpants, T-shirts, casual shirts, warm jackets, sweaters and pajamas (sizes large through XXL without tobacco or alcohol logos); slippers, best-selling books (large print is suggested); socks and other items. Toiletries are not needed. Gifts should be new, wrapped and include a note or tag that describes the gift, size and gender for the intended recipient.

"Let's give back to those who served for us," Arrigo said.

The school is at 2101 Eastbluff Drive. A collection box is provided in the front office.

*Spark of Love, Operation Christmas

The Newport Beach Fire Department is collecting items for the annual Spark of Love toy drive campaign, and the Newport Beach city clerk's office is collecting items for military families with Operation Christmas.

Spark of Love combines efforts with the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, as well as Social Services Agency's Operation Santa Claus and the St. Vincent de Paul Holiday Charities program. All local fire stations and lifeguard headquarters are drop-off sites for you to bring new, unwrapped toys or sports equipment. Items will be accepted through Dec. 24.

"Working together as the Orange County Toy Collaborative, these agencies collect and distribute approximately 300,000 toys annually to Orange County children who may otherwise go without during the holiday season," according to a NBFD release.

The city clerk's office also is collecting new and unwrapped toys for children of our military, new or used DVDs for the troops, and gift cards and cash donations for the families through Operation Christmas. Donations will be accepted until noon Dec. 23.

Operation Christmas is a program organized by Yellow Ribbon America that supports more than 300,000 members of the armed services and their families, according to the city's website. The city clerk's office is in City Hall at 3300 Newport Blvd.

*Police: DUI driver crashes into car

A 20-year-old Trabuco Canyon man was arrested Monday night for allegedly crashing into a parked car in the Corona Highlands neighborhood.

The man was driving a Lexus about 8 p.m. when it hit a parked vehicle in the 400 block of De Sola Terrace, said Kathy Lowe, a Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman.

The force of the crash sent the parked vehicle into a home, causing structural damage. No one inside the home was injured, and two people inside the Lexus declined treatment or transport to a hospital, said Jennifer Schulz, a spokeswoman for the Newport Beach Fire Department.

The crash caused about $5,000 to $6,000 in damage to the home, Schulz said. The home is on the end of a quiet cul-de-sac, and a wooden beam was in place to prop the garage door, and broken stones were piled up, the day after the accident.

"I believe the firefighters determined there was minor structural damage to the home, so they assisted in shoring up the home and released the property to the owner," Schulz said. "If there was more moderate damage, our fire inspector or a building inspector would be called, but wasn't determined to be needed on this incident."

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