Corona del Mar Today: Whole Foods opens at Fashion Island

A Whole Foods Market grocery opened its doors Wednesday morning at Fashion Island, drawing hundreds of customers who lined up for a chance to be among the first to explore the 32,000-square-foot shop.

"I'm just really excited about having [it] close by," said Pattie Scott, who was the first in line.

Scott was shopping with her cooking instructor, Susan Miller. The two planned to browse and explore with no set shopping list.

Linda Rigas of Newport Beach said she planned to look for groceries to suit her vegan diet, as well as to explore the Whole Body section of the store.

"They have natural brands, brands you can't find elsewhere," Rigas said. "What I love is they have testers out. You can test what the products feel like on your skin, and the staff usually [is] very knowledgeable."

Customers waiting in line received small baguettes. Then, the store's team leader, George Khoury, and Patrick Bradley, a regional president, gave short speeches to welcome everyone.

They and other Whole Foods representatives then broke an enormous loaf of bread — a tradition for each Whole Foods grand opening — and the doors opened to shoppers.


NBPD blood drive

A Newport Beach Police Department Hoag Blood Drive is underway, police said in an email.

"Your blood or platelet donation goes directly to Hoag patients, and help[s] up to three people," the email blast said.

The drive will run through Friday. The hours are 8 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays and 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. The drive will take place at 510 Superior Ave. Suite 130 in Newport Beach.

Organizers suggest making an appointment by calling (949) 764-5621.


Flyover notice

The United States Navy has responded to a Newport Beach letter requesting advance notice for military flyover tributes, stating that no notice will be given unless the city code is changed to require it.

Mayor Nancy Gardner said she would suggest such a change at the next City Council meeting.

The issue arose after a memorial was held for a World War II hero John Francis "Jack" Callahan, who died Feb. 19 at age 94. Callahan was a decorated World War II flyer, and his son wanted to incorporate a military tribute as part of his service, which was at the Balboa Yacht Club on March 24.

No advance notice was given to city officials, and the unexpected appearance of four F-18s followed by two World War II T-6s startled many local residents, who flooded the police station with calls. Gardner said at the time that she thought the planes were going to crash into her house.

In April, City Manager Dave Kiff sent a letter to Rep. John Campbell (R-Irvine), asking for the congressman's assistance in working with the military to secure advance notification for future flyovers.

Campbell received a reply dated Sept. 11 from J.M. Phillips, a congressional liaison in the Pentagon.

"Your concern in this matter is appreciated, and I regret the delay in responding to your correspondence," the letter said, adding that they investigated with Marine officials in Camp Pendleton and in San Diego.

"We were informed that by standing directive, the 3d MAW [3rd Marine Aircraft Wing] does not assume responsibility for advance coordination with, or notification of, city officials for the municipalities under the air space where aerial support and other air operations are conducted," the letter said. "However, city governments may enact ordinances to regulate or restrict requests from the community for military aerial support for events located within their city limits."

Gardner wrote in an email that she planned to suggest that the city of Newport Beach require advance notification for flyovers, which the military would then have to honor, as the Navy's letter states.

"I think it's good for the city to have notice," Gardner wrote. "In today's world, it doesn't take much to alarm us, and for us to be able to provide notice will allay concerns. I also think that some people, on learning of a flyover to commemorate someone, might go out and watch and add their respects."

The next council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday in Council Chambers at City Hall at 3300 Newport Blvd.


Left-turn lane

A dedicated left-turn signal at Marguerite Avenue and East Coast Highway should be installed early in 2013, city officials confirmed.

City traffic engineers announced the new signal light in November and hoped to install it in spring, but delays and concerns about construction during heavy summer traffic resulted in the project's postponement.

"The project plans are now complete, and we plan to bid and award the project prior to the end of the year," said Public Works Director Dave Webb. "Construction is schedule to start in early 2013, after the Christmas holidays."

There are left-turn signals for motorists on East Coast Highway turning onto Marguerite but not for motorists on Marguerite, who must yield to Coast Highway traffic.

"It takes about 10 to 12 weeks to get a signal pole once it's been ordered, and that means the equipment would have arrived here in November [or] December," Tara Finnigan, a city spokeswoman, wrote in an email. "Public Works doesn't want to start the project and impact Corona del Mar during the holiday season."

Twitter: @coronadelmartdy

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