Corona del Mar Today: Fans give donations for Reagan statue

Donations for a statue of Ronald Reagan have poured in, with about $42,000 of the $50,000 goal pledged or in hand, City Councilman Keith Curry said.

Much of the money was collected and pledged at a Jan. 27 screening of a film about Reagan, he said.

About 300 people attended the event "that brought back many fond memories by people in the audience," he said.

"The artist was there, and the design was very well received," he said.

The statue will be placed in a public area that has yet to be determined, but possible suggestions have included the new Civic Center park or the Central Library.

Curry first suggested the City Council name a local park after Reagan, but many residents expressed concerns that parks should be named after local dignitaries. The City Council ultimately voted against two motions that would have moved the park-naming plan forward.

In January, Curry proposed creating a bank account to accept private donations for a statue.

Curry said he was aware of some residents who have said they are opposed to the statue being placed on the Civic Center grounds.

Reagan, the 40th president, would have turned 100 on Sunday. He died in June 2004 at age 93.

Choosing a site to place the statue is likely to be a topic at the next City Arts Commission meeting scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday in the Central Library Conference Room.

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Junior Lifeguard tryouts this weekend

Tryouts for the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguards program will begin Sunday at the Corona del Mar High School pool.

The dates for the 2011 swim tests will be from 9 a.m. to noon Sunday; from 9 a.m. to noon on Feb. 13; from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Feb. 15; from 9 a.m. to noon Feb. 20; and from 6:30 to 8 p.m. on Feb. 22 and March 1.

The tryouts will be held rain or shine.

Returning and first time Junior Lifeguards must pass the Junior Lifeguard Swim Test at one of the scheduled tryouts, and they must present a birth certificate copy before taking the test.

Seasonal ocean lifeguard tryouts and cadet lifeguard tryouts will be held at a later date and not during the Junior Lifeguard Tryouts, lifeguard officials said.

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Hit-and-run suspect flees — right past chief

Newport Beach Police Chief Jay Johnson was on his way to work Thursday morning, listening to the police radio, when he heard a report of a hit-and-run accident.

"I just so happened to be in the right place at the right time," he said in an e-mail.

The crash occurred at 8:22 a.m. when a gray pickup rear-ended another car on Jamboree Road. The victim said the car was speeding northbound on Jamboree at San Joaquin Hills Road.

"I was near Jamboree and Bison, and simply watched for him to come my way," Johnson said. "He ended up pulling up next to me at Jamboree near University. I was not in a marked police car, so he never saw me or knew who I was."

Johnson said the driver was focused on a black-and-white police car on Jamboree north of University Drive.

"He saw that police car and immediately turned east on University and accelerated through several red light to get away," Johnson said. "I simply followed him and put the information out over the radio."

A traffic officer quickly located him and pursued, and the suspect was eventually apprehended without incident.

The victim was in a car with an 8-year-old child. Emergency medical crews were called, but they were uninjured in the crash, said police and fire department officials.

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Principal: School registration fixes planned

Logistical problems during registration at Corona del Mar High School last year — which created hours-long waits for students and their parents — have been addressed, Principal Tim Bryan told members of the PTA during a meeting Thursday.

"We have now run a bunch of trials with online purchases and found problems each time — and fixed them," he said.

During registration this August, he said, families will be able to make advance purchases of things like P.E. clothes, locks and certain books. Last year, a big hold up was at the cashier because there were limited registers and only district officials, not parent volunteers, had to run those stations.

Bryan also said that instead of having open registration hours for each grade on a different day, students would be assigned to two-hour time slots, which should manage the flow.

"It should be a much smoother registration process," he said. "I'm actually kind of looking forward to registration next year."

The PTA members then heard a presentation about the dangers of over-the-counter medication and prescription drug abuse, and they discussed plans for the school's 50th anniversary festivities, which will begin next fall and last for two years.

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Harbor View Class Act Program Underway

Class Act, a program that brings professional musicians to local elementary schools, has launched another season at Harbor View Elementary School.

Harbor View's students are among 17,000 children in Orange County who were selected to be part of the program, which is the flagship youth program for the Pacific Symphony.

Each year, the program focuses on a different musician, and this year students will learn about Ludwig van Beethoven.

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CeFiore Shuts Corona del Mar Shop

Customers gathered last week outside the dark and locked CeFiore shop at 2801 E. Coast Hwy., which closed permanently after the end of the weekend.

"I'm crushed," said barista Desiree Engle. "I feel like I let the whole town down. My heart hurts. I feel like I lost half my family."

Engle brought attention to the shop in June when she appealed to her regular customers to help send her to Boston for the NBA Finals. The self-proclaimed No. 1 Lakers fan in Corona del Mar managed to collect more than $1,000 for the trip.

"It's the end of an era for real," she said, adding that she's worked for 12 years at coffee shops and cafes in the area.

The owner could not be reached for comment, but apparently he closed the frozen yogurt/coffee shop because of an increase in rent.

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