Corona del Mar Today: Holiday weekend swelled beaches

More than 200,000 people visited Newport Beach beaches over the holiday weekend, a lifeguard and fire spokeswoman said.

"Three regular staff commented that it [Monday] was the largest Memorial Day attendance they could remember," Newport Beach Fire Department spokeswoman Jennifer Schulz wrote in an email.

On Saturday, cool and cloudy weather in the morning and afternoon breezes possibly contributed to the smallest crowds of the weekend, with 55,000 people on local beaches. Lifeguards made six rescues, wet prevents — actions where a lifeguard goes into the water — 60 dry prevents, 22 minor First Aid calls, 655 public contacts, took reports of two lost children, issued 75 warnings to surfers, five warnings about dogs and two warnings to boat operators.

On Sunday, the weather was partly cloudy in the morning and sunny and windy in the afternoon, 70,000 people visited the beach. Lifeguards made nine rescues, 665 wet prevents, 150 dry prevents, 26 minor First Aid calls, one medical aid call, 1,190 public contacts, 30 warnings about illegal barbecues, took reports of three lost children, issued warnings to 120 surfers and 11 dog owners, made two warnings to boat operators and made one boat assist with two people on board.

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Tree well project could get funding

The Corona del Mar Business Improvement District board is considering spending as much as $5,000 to add irrigation to 10 tree wells as a final part of a beautification project the group began last summer.

"The biggest issue is irrigation," said BID Chairman Bernie Svalstad.

In July, the group spent about $100 per tree well to clean and plant 150 tree wells along East Coast Highway. Some tree wells are tended by business owners, and those were left alone.

But within a few months, the group voted to spend another $1,887 to replant 18 tree wells that were ravaged by hot weather, dogs and thieves. The group identified tree wells that lined up with parking spaces, adding plants that could handle being stepped on when passengers exited cars.

Svalstad said he recently took a two-hour walk with a landscaper to assess all the tree wells, identifying 10 locations where irrigation lines have been cut because of curb cuts or other work.

The irrigation lines are in place, but there would be construction costs of about $5,000 to reconnect the existing lines, he said.

Tree wells without irrigation systems have been hand-watered weekly, but Svalstad said that wasn't proving adequate to sustain the vegetation.

The group decided to gather a few more bids for the work before proceeding. The bids could be available for review at the group's June meeting.

The BID considered installing artificial turf in Corona del Mar's tree wells and had samples installed in two tree wells in the 2800 block of East Coast Highway in January 2010. Later the group decided that fake grass was "considered inconsistent with the aesthetic that is desired in Corona del Mar."

BID board member Scott Laidlaw said the group worked to find the best mixes of plants for each tree well.

"By and large, the tree wells are doing really well," he said.

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Beach concessions to open

Big Corona's new concessions stand could be open Wednesday, a city official confirmed.

Newport Beach officials hoped the stand would be open in time for the Memorial Day holiday weekend, but delays in equipment deliveries postponed the opening.

The equipment has been delivered and was being installed last week, city spokeswoman Tara Finnigan wrote in an email.

The owners need to test the equipment, schedule health department inspections and conduct staff training, she said.

A Wahoo's Fish Taco truck will be at the beach on Saturday and Sunday, just as it was for the Memorial Day weekend.

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Garden class set for Wednesday

Sherman Library & Gardens will host Gardening With Color at 9 a.m. Wednesday.

The class costs $45, and pre-registration is required. Participants will learn secrets for successful container gardening, including information on soil mixes, watering schedules, light requirements, pest control and more.

For more information, call (949) 673-2261 or click here. Sherman Library & Gardens is at 2647 E. Coast Hwy.

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Mystery noise in CdM

Some Corona del Mar residents heard a strange "loud boom/bang" about 12:20 a.m. Tuesday, and police confirmed they received two calls about the noise.

"We had two reports of a loud 'shot' at approximately 12:20 a.m.," said Kathy Lowe, a Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman.

One of the callers was on Rivera Terrace in the Corona Highlands neighborhood, and the other was near Fourth and Marguerite avenues.

Corona del Mar Today readers in the village also reported hearing the noise. The Rivera Terrace call was reported as shots fired, according to online police logs.

"Officers responded to the area," Lowe said. "However, they were unable to locate the cause of the noise. We did not receive any additional related calls."

One Corona del Mar Today reader said the noise was a "very loud boom/bang." "It definitely woke up us up," the reader wrote in an email. "It was louder than a gun I believe … it scared me wide awake!"

amy@coronadelmartoday.com

Twitter: @coronadelmartdy

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