Corona del Mar Today: D.A.R.E. program faces budgetary truth

A drug abuse prevention program could be the latest victim of city budget cuts, according to letters sent to local elementary school principals.

"The recent economic downturn has resulted in budget reductions for the Newport Beach Police Department," the letter states. "To address these challenges, there is a possibility that a number of police officers in specialty positions…will be reassigned…"

The D.A.R.E. officer is included, states the letter, which was signed by Chief Jay R. Johnson.

D.A.R.E., which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, was created in 1983 and educates about 700 Newport Beach sixth-grade students each year, according to the police website.

"We truly value the D.A.R.E. program, but unfortunately it was a budget issue," said Sgt. Steve Burdette. "We are always open to other ideas, regarding outside funding."

Harbor View Principal Charlene Metoyer said the loss of the program would be disappointing.

"The goodwill that D.A.R.E. creates between students and the police department is priceless," she said.

Several students and teachers at Harbor View said they didn't think the program would be missed. But others disagreed, including Suzanne Schoen, a parent who has worked on the anti-drug Red Ribbon Week program at Harbor View for three years.

"D.A.R.E. is a really important program before they go to middle school," she said, adding that she hoped the school's Parent Faculty Organization could come up with funds to continue the program.

The letter to school principals asked for students and parents to offer solutions for alternate funding.

"While the possibility exists that the program may change or end here in Newport Beach, the partnership between the Police Department and your school will remain intact," the letter states.


Gummy gourmet grand opening

Corona del Mar is buzzing about the grand opening of B.Candy.

The shop, at 3617 E. Coast Hwy., sells candy, gourmet sodas and sweets-themed accessories like pillows and gummy bear lights. A grand opening was scheduled for Saturday.

Owner Brandy Valdez of Corona del Mar has spent more than a year finding a location for her dream candy shop.

"I'm very excited," Valdez said.

B.Candy also has a candy shop in the OC Mart MIX, and there is a small display of B.Candy goodies at Beach Candy at 2824 E. Coast Hwy. Over the holidays, B.Candy also had a shop in a kiosk at Fashion Island.


New business turns on lights

A new business appears to be getting ready to open in Corona del Mar, and by the looks of what's inside, it apparently will be a lighting shop.

The storefront at 3565 E. Coast Hwy. was empty for a few months after CDM Golf Carts closed. But last week, painters were inside working, and this weekend the shop was filled with light fixtures and boxes labeled "lamp shades" and "architectural lamps."


Woman accosted at pump

A woman preparing to pump gas at the Corona del Mar 76 station was accosted by a woman who tried to take her credit card, police said.

The incident occurred Monday after the victim pulled into the station at 2201 E. Coast Hwy.

"As she was getting ready to put her credit card into the machine for gas, the defendant approached the victim and asked if she wanted her windows cleaned," Sgt. Steve Burdette said in an e-mail.

The victim said no and continued to try to pay for gasoline.

"When the victim was attempting to place the card in the slot, the (suspect) tackled her and attempted to take the card," Burdette said. "The victim got away and called the police."

The woman was arrested at East Coast Highway and Avocado Avenue at 9:30 p.m. She was booked on suspicion of attempted robbery, and she remains in the county jail with bail set at $50,000.

The victim was not injured in the attack, Burdette said.


Cross-country tour stops in CdM

A Florida family of six spent some time last weekend in Corona del Mar as part of a one-year, 50-state road trip.

The Belchers have spent more than 250 days on the road, driving more than 21,000 miles and visiting 42 states and six Canadian providences, according to the 50 State Challenge website.

John Belcher said he and his wife and four kids, ages 4 to 10, arrived in the area last weekend and set up camp at the Newport Dunes.

"We pretty much do our shopping at farmers markets," he said in a telephone interview.

So they found the Corona del Mar market in an online listing and headed over to stock up on veggies, fruit and bread.

The family headed to the area because they wanted to eat at True Food Kitchen at Fashion Island, he said.

"My wife has been dying to go to it," he said, adding that they all loved it.

While in town, the family also hung out at Crystal Cove State Park.

The family is from Fort Lauderdale and decided life was "just zipping by too fast," according to their website. So they decided to take a year off and travel as a family, sightseeing and home-schooling along the way.

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