Corona del Mar Today: Toy Boat store to stay open, owner says

A cash mob may have saved Toy Boat Toy Boat Toy Boat, which was scheduled to close this week but instead remains open with brisk business, its owner said.

"We thought we would be packing up right now," Lori Curtin said in an interview, squeezed between customers and gift wraps. "This has been such a blessing. I don't even know what to say."

Lori and her husband, Mike Curtin, announced last week that financial troubles had forced them to close three of the four Toy Boat branches, and that the Corona del Mar location at 3331 E. Coast Highway might close at the end of business on July 31.

As word spread of the couple's plight, longtime customers of the iconic toy store began stopping by to shop and show support. One fan called radio host Bill Handel of KFI AM 640, who decided to sponsor a cash mob this week, bringing hundreds of customers from as far away as Long Beach and other cities to shop and infuse the business with much-needed cash.

More than 600 toys were sold in just a few hours, Curtin said, and other supporters made cash donations.

The next day, she and her husband met with their landlord and worked out an arrangement. They gave him a large portion of money owed for back rent and promised to pay back the remainder over time. The rest of their cash mob money will go to pay taxes, vendors and to replenish inventory.

The Curtins hope to hang on until Christmastime, the biggest season for a toy business.

"That's our goal," Lori Curtin said. "We're doing better. This has been huge."


National Night Out

The Newport Beach Police Department will participate in the 29th annual National Night Out event scheduled for Tuesday — the first time the city has participated since 2008 because of budget cuts.

The nationwide event will include a safety fair and a community barbecue from 4 to 7 p.m. in the Bonita Canyon Sports Park.

"Bring your friends, family and neighbors and join as we give crime 'A Going Away Party,'" the police website states.

The event will include information on crime and drug-abuse prevention, home security, child safety, the Citizens Police Academy and police volunteers.

The Newport Beach Fire Department will cook and serve hamburgers and hot dogs, and there will be games, crafts, face painting for kids and an appearance by McGruff the Crime Dog.

Free child I.D. safety kits also will be provided, and parents can take photos of kids next to police vehicles.

Hoag Hospital also will have a representative who will take sign-ups for an upcoming police blood drive, said Andi Querry, a crime-prevention specialist for the Newport Beach Police Department.

Representatives from the Community Alliance Network and Project Path will attend, providing information and statistics about underage drinking and drug abuse in Orange County.

The last time the NBPD participated in the National Night Out event was in 2008. Budget constraints caused the program to be dropped, although the city held a similar Public Safety Day in October 2009 that drew nearly 1,000 visitors.

Querri said about 500 people were expected to attend this year's Night Out.

"I'm excited that Chief [Jay] Johnson brought it back because it's a great event," she said in an email.

The park is east of MacArthur Boulevard between Bonita Canyon Drive and Ford Road.


Children's Room to reopen

The Central Library will reopen its Children's Room on Wednesday, a week and a day after a water sprinkler caused damage, according to the library's website.

"We appreciate your patience!" the website states.

Construction at the library resulted in a water sprinkler that closed the entire library briefly July 24. The children's area remained closed while carpets were cleaned and sanitized.

Damage to library materials was minimal.


Elevators stuck

Two elevator entrapments were reported in the Fashion Island area Wednesday after a power outage occurred about 9:30 a.m., fire officials said.

"The incident involved a malfunction in an electrical vault along with a small, localized power outage in the 200 block of Newport Center," Jennifer Schulz, a Newport Beach Fire Department spokeswoman, said in an email. "The incident caused two elevator entrapments in the area, in which firefighters assisted in extricating the trapped people."

The first rescue was in the 200 block of Newport Center Drive, and the other was in the 5000 block of Colony Plaza, Schulz said.

No injuries were reported during the incident, she said.


Sharrows open in fall

The Newport Beach City Council voted earlier this month to have staff add sharrows to East Coast Highway through Corona del Mar, but those share-the-road markings won't be added before summer ends, a city official has confirmed.

"Everything is up in the air at this point," said Brad Sommers, senior civil engineer for the city's Public Works Department. "We're kind of in a holding pattern."

The council voted 5 to 1 to add the sharrows symbols at a July 10 meeting. The idea first surfaced in December 2009 at a meeting of the Newport Beach Task Force on Cycling Safety, a group that led to the creation of the city Citizens Bicycle Safety Committee. That committee disagreed about sharrows in 2011 but voted to recommend them to the council this summer.

Crews added the markings along a Corona del Mar stretch of Bayside Drive in October 2010.

Public outreach and an awareness campaign will occur before the symbols are painted, Sommers said.

The Bicycle Safety Committee members will discuss outreach plans at the group's Aug. 6 meeting.

Final design plans are not complete, Sommers said, and a striping contractor has not been selected.

"We'll be out of summer for sure," he said.


Ivivva to open

A boutique that sells a line of Lululemon athletic wear for girls will open Aug. 9 at 3617 E. Coast Hwy., according to the shop's Facebook page.

The shop, called Ivivva, will replace B.Candy, which closed Monday and will reopen later this summer in a new, bigger space at 3100 E. Coast Highway.

Ivivva athletica opened its first shop in Vancouver in November 2009, according to a company webpage.

"If you haven't guessed by now, Ivivva is made for seriously active girls," a company webpage states. "All of our clothes are designed with input from dancers, gymnasts, ice skaters, movers and shakers. And, we even have dance classes right in our stores every week."

The shop will sell clothes in girls sizes 4 to 14 and host design parties and private shopping nights.

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