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Corona del Mar Today: Toffee-making Harbor Day Student Gets Surprise Visitor at assembly

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Freddy Cameron, left, the retail expert on TV show “Hatched,” with Jack McKenna, in blue shirt, and Jack’s younger sister Courtney and brother Colin.
(CdM Today)

A Harbor Day School student’s story — inventing a special toffee that his younger brother could safely eat — was celebrated during a school assembly on Wednesday afternoon.

Students watched an episode of “Hatched,” which featured 14-year-old Jack McKenna and his Jack’s Rockin’ Toffee, and then watched as his television mentor surprised him on the school’s stage.

“That was crazy,” Jack said later. “I didn’t expect that at all!”

Jack and his Rockin’ Toffee story began four years ago, when he was trying to create a snack for his younger brother, Colin, who was born with Williams syndrome, a genetic condition that causes medical and developmental issues. Colin’s diet is restricted, and he must avoid dyes and preservatives, so Jack decided to cook up something that his brother could enjoy.

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Jack’s mother, Marcy McKenna, said that Jack had always been an excellent cook and nearly was cast on the Food Network show, “Rachael vs. Guy: Kids Cook-Off.” At home, she said, they’ll play a version of the show “Chopped,” where contestants have to make meals from random ingredients. And he often will whip up dinner, with his specialties including her grandmother’s Armenian pilaf.

“He makes a mean filet with roasted red pepper sauce too,” she said.

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Avocado Avenue re-striping

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About five blocks of Avocado Avenue south of East Coast Highway has been resealed and re-striped, creating a one-lane street in each direction.

“The improved Avocado Avenue striping reduces the travel way to one lane in each direction while adding a buffered bike lane and maintaining parking,” said Tara Finnigan, a city spokeswoman. “This redesign repositions moving vehicles further away from the shoulder creating better visibility and easier access to parked vehicles.”

The current lane markings are a “rough layout” of the final striping plan, she said, which city staff will use to review for proper placement and lane width. The final striping will be installed shortly, she said, and will include markings for bike lanes, signs and curbs.

“The new bike lane will include a buffer adjacent to the parked vehicles to reduce the possibility of cyclists being ‘doored,’ an incident in which a car door is opened in front of a moving cyclists causing a collision,” she said.

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Poppy Avenue meeting

A community meeting will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Monday Nov. 9 to discuss plans for street improvements and tree replacement for Poppy Avenue between Ocean Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway, according to an email announcement.

City officials had promised residents that they would be included in discussions about plans to replace 33 eucalyptus trees that were removed last month after arborists said they were diseased and dangerous. Earlier this month, crews removed sections of sidewalk pavement that had been raised by tree roots.

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In the email, Newport Beach Director of Public Works David Webb said that staff has been working with a civil engineering consultant to develop options for the street, curb, sidewalk and parkway areas, including installation of new trees, and that draft concept options are ready to share with the public for their review, discussion and comments.

Residents, the mayor and City Councilman Scott Peotter, along with representatives of the Corona del Mar Residents Association and Business Improvement District, and nearby business representatives have been invited.

The meeting will take place in the Evelyn Hart Event Center at the OASIS Senior Center at Fifth and Marguerite avenues.

Corona del Mar Today appears Sundays in the Daily Pilot. Read daily updates at coronadelmartoday.com.


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