Bankruptcy Court Approves Smart & Final Deal; No Date Announced for CdM Store Opening

posted: November 30th, 2015 08:37 am | 0No Comments

Smart & Final announced today that the United States Bankruptcy Court has approved a deal for the company to purchase 32 store leases, including one at the former Haggen store at 3049 East Coast Highway, according to a news release. The total cash purchase price was about $68, the release said.

“The transaction is expected to close during Smart & Final’s fiscal fourth quarter in 2015, subject to customary closing conditions,” the release said.

The Corona del Mar Haggen store, which took over from Albertsons in May, closed Nov. 13; read our story here.

All the new Smart & Final stores will be in the Extra! format, the release said, which includes “expanded frozen, deli and meat selections; warehouse club sizes as well as smaller, more convenient sizes; specialty products such as oven-roasted chicken and dry bulk goods by the pound; fresh seafood; fresh produce; and an expanded natural and organic product line.”

“We’re excited about the opportunity to build upon our footprint in the important California market,” said Smart & Final Chief Executive Officer David Hirz in the news release. “This strategic acquisition puts us ahead in ‘Project 100,’ our plan to open 100 new stores, add 100 new teams and invest in 100 new neighborhood projects in the next four years.”

Smart & Final was founded by J.S. Smart and H.D. Final more than 140 years ago and is headquartered in Commerce, the release said. As of Oct. 4, the release said, the company operated 270 groceries and foodservice stores in California, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Idaho, and through a joint venture, in northern Mexico.

“As part of Project 100, Smart & Final plans to hire at least 5,000 new employees to staff new stores over the next four years,” the release said. “Additionally, with every store Smart & Final opens, the Company will continue to give back to the communities it serves via philanthropic donations and partnerships.”

CdM Today Poll of the Week

posted: November 30th, 2015 05:11 am | 0No Comments

City Announces Operation Christmas, Spark of Love Drives

posted: November 29th, 2015 06:07 am | 0No Comments

By Claire Robertson, special to Corona del Mar Today

In the spirit of giving, the City of Newport Beach is supporting Operation Christmas and the Spark of Love donation drives, according to the city’s website.

Spark of Love drop-off locations include all city fire stations, including the Corona del Mar station at 410 Marigold Ave. The Central Library at 1000 Avocado Ave. and the Newport Beach City Hall Permit Center, at 100 Civic Center Drive, Bay 1C also will collect donations. Donations should be new, unwrapped toys and sports equipment or gift cards, the website states.

“In Orange County, the Spark of Love combines efforts with the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program, the Social Services Agency’s Operation Santa Claus, and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Holiday Charities program,” the city website states. “Working together as the Orange County Toy Collaborative, these agencies collect and distribute approximately 200,000 toys annually to Orange County children who may otherwise go without during the holiday season.”

The City Clerk’s office is supporting Operation Christmas, a program organized by Yellow Ribbon America, which seeks new, unwrapped toys, new or used DVDs for the troops and gift cards that will “bring holiday cheer to California’s military personnel and their families,” the website states.

Items may be dropped off at City Hall on the second floor of Bay E or at the OASIS Senior Center until noon on Tuesday Dec. 22.

CdM Today’s Top Stories This Week

posted: November 28th, 2015 02:54 pm | 0No Comments

1. The City Council approved plans for a new, combined fire station and library for Corona del Mar; read our story here.

2. Jan Brett, a popular children’s author and illustrator, will appear at the Central Library on Dec. 13; read our story here.

3. The Newport Beach Police Department issued tips to avoid becoming a victim of package and mail thefts during the holiday season; read our story here.

4. Police took reports of burglaries and made an alcohol-related arrest; read our story here.

5. Corona del Mar Today’s annual Thanksgiving column also was a farewell; read more here.

Library to Host Art Lecture on Wednesday

posted: November 28th, 2015 05:58 am | 0No Comments

The Newport Beach Central Library will host a Beyond the Canvas art lecture on Henri de Toulouse-Latrec from 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Professor Jacqueline Hahn will deliver the lecture, according to the city’s website.

The free event will take place in the library’s Friends Room at 1000 Avocado Ave.

CdM This Weekend: Five Great Things For Your To-Do List

posted: November 27th, 2015 12:47 pm | 0No Comments

1. Recycled Rags’ monthly parking lot party will take place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, featuring refreshments throughout the day as well as discounted items on racks in the back lot. The first 25 customers will receive a coupon for $5 off any purchase of $25 or more to be used the day of the sale, and customers who arrive before the 9 a.m. opening will have a chance to win a $100 gift certificate. Recycled Rags is located at 2731 East Coast Highway. For more information call (949) 675-5553.

2. Santa is now at Roger’s Gardens, where he’ll be taking photos with kids (prints start at $9.99 and downloads are $29.99 or take your own for free) and listening to holiday wishes. Santa will be available from noon to 6 p.m. all weekends through Dec. 20. And on Saturday, the All-American Boys Chorus will serenade shoppers with performances from 1:30 to 3 p.m., 2:30 to 3 p.m. and 3:30 to 4 p.m. Roger’s Gardens is located at 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road.

3. Santa also is at Fashion Island in the Atrium Lawn. For more information, call (949) 721-2000.

4. Walk off some Thanksgiving calories at Crystal Cove State Park with an Evening Hike that meets at 6:30 p.m. in the Berns Amphitheater, inland at the School-State Park entrance. At 9 a.m. Sunday, there will be a Family Hike that also meets at the Berns Amphitheater, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. there’s a Beachside Chat in the Education Commons of the Historic District.

5. The Corona del Mar Farmers Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at Bayside Drive and Marguerite Avenue.

Little Corona Water Unsafe

posted: November 27th, 2015 09:35 am | 0No Comments

The Orange County Health Care Agency’s Ocean Water Protection Program has issued a warning that bacteria levels exceed health standards at Little Corona Beach.

The warning was issued Wednesday and affects 300 feet of the beach.

Ocean and bay waters are posted with warning signs when bacterial levels exceed health standards, according to the agency’s website.

“Hedgie,” “Gingerbread Baby” Author-Illustrator to Make Central Library Appearance

posted: November 27th, 2015 05:40 am | 0No Comments

Bestselling children’s author and illustrator Jan Brett will visit the Central Library at 5 p.m. Sunday Dec. 13, according to a library news release.

Doors will open at 4 p.m. for the free event, and no reserved seating is available. Seating will be limited to room capacity and will be first-come, first-served, and the first 100 families will receive a free, signed Jan Brett poster, the release said.

Brett, who has written more than 36 children’s books including “Gingerbread Baby” and the Hedgie the hedgehog series, will discuss her new book “The Turnip,” which tells the story of eight animals struggling to pull a giant turnip from a garden.

“Clearly an animal lover, Brett is known for creating colorful, detailed depictions of a wide variety of animals,” the release said. “As part of the presentation, the author/artist will give a short drawing demonstration and talk about how she develops her story and characters.”

Guests also will have the chance to see her colorful tour bus and have their photo taken by the bus, or with the Hedgie character, the release said.

Books will be available for purchase and signing, courtesy of Whale of a Tale Children’s Bookshoppe. Signings will be limited to books purchased at the event due to time constraints, but the signing will be open to all after the presentation.

The event will take place in the Friends Room of the Central Library at 1000 Avocado Ave.

Giving Thanks, and Saying Farewell

posted: November 26th, 2015 05:21 am | 21Comments

After six years of covering local news on a daily basis, the time has come to take on new challenges. Corona del Mar Today’s last day of regular publication here will be Dec. 31.

Our traditional Thanksgiving column has been to give thanks, A to Z, for people and things that, over the past year, have made Corona del Mar a great and interesting place to live and work. This year, the list will be broader and reflect six years’ of gratitude.

Thank you for reading our stuff, loyal Corona del Mar Today supporters.

A…Advertisers. Corona del Mar Today would not exist without them. Thank you to Bob Garrett of State Farm, B. Candy, Saritasa, Your Car, Our Driver, the Bungalow Restaurant, Peter M. Rivas of Edward Jones, Stowell and Associates, Jabulani Yoga, Green LLP, West of Camden, the Newport Beach Police Department and Mark Patterson Jewelry.

B…Vanis Buckholz, a Corona del Mar Middle School student who founded his Re “Cycle” er business at age 7 and continues to collect recyclables from businesses throughout Corona del Mar and to support the Project Hope Alliance. Corona del Mar Today first noticed him one summer morning, biking to the OASIS center to collect bottles and cans, and we’ve followed him proudly as he has been honored with a Daily Point of Light award from former President George H. Bush, appeared at City Council meetings and was featured on national television.

C…Corona del Mar, from its schools to its residents, from its businesses to its beaches. We feel lucky to live here, and while we worry about empty businesses (and some possible new ones — Smart and Final???), we also have confidence that it will remain interesting and beautiful.

D…Daily Pilot 103. When I first made the list, I couldn’t believe it. I was honored and proud to be included on the list of movers and shakers in the community, and it was fun in the years after that to see if we fell or climbed on the list. It was an unexpected perk and affirmation that we were always proud of.

E…Editors, including Paul Danison and Susan Vardon at the Orange County Register and John Canalis at the Daily Pilot. Early on, they valued Corona del Mar Today for its news and community benefits, and they showed support financially and editorially. I’ve been so lucky to have the chance to work with such wonderful professionals during this stage of my journalism career. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

F…Nik Froehlich. Corona del Mar Today had been live for only a few weeks, with only a few readers, when we received an email from a parent at school telling me he was “totally hooked.” Nik Froehlich reached out, using his expertise in the web design and support industry, to shape CdM Today into what it is today. He’s been a tipster, he’s sold ads, he’s helped with glitches and offered sound advice. He has promised to continue to work with us to preserve our archives, so Corona del Mar Today can continue to be an online reference for readers. Endless gratitude, Nik. You made this happen.

G…Guards. The Newport Beach Junior Guards program is one of the best parts of living here. We love it. (Oh — and Jilly says hi to Mr. Leith’s group!)

H…Harbor View Elementary School, and its principal, staff and teachers. And Harbor Day School, as well. Our children have been well educated at these schools, and Corona del Mar Today covered many of the amazing students and campus events.

I…Independent news publishers’ groups. From the earliest days, I found professional support from peers and colleagues throughout the country with groups like LION, the Local Independent Online News group, of which I was a founding member, and others. Much of what Corona del Mar Today did right was because of the input and advice I received from these organizations and the journalists who are part of them.

J…Jennifer Schulz, a city employee now with the recreation department but formerly the spokeswoman for the fire department. In our earliest days, when Corona del Mar Today struggled to earn credibility, particularly from law enforcement sources, Jenn would respond to questions, set up interviews and help develop features.

K…Dave Kiff, Newport Beach city manager. We are lucky to have a city manager in Newport Beach who cares so much about our city and who works so hard to get things right. Personally, I consider him a friend — and wonder if he hadn’t been so great to work with over the years, if Corona del Mar Today would have lasted as long as it did. Thank you Dave, for everything you do.

L…Linda Leonhard, president of the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce. We didn’t start out as friends, but Linda taught me a lot about how business leaders work together in this small community.

M…Marcus at Beach City Performance. Is it us, or does construction in town just murder tires? It seems like we’re popping in to see Marcus every week or two or three, and he quickly gets us back on the road. What would we do without a tire place in the middle of town?

N…Former City Councilwoman and Mayor Nancy Gardner of Corona del Mar. Six years ago, when I was new at covering news locally, Nancy met with me at Zinc for a coffee and schooled me on how to do this job. Attend Corona del Mar Residents Association meetings, attend Corona del Mar Business Improvement District meetings. I had never heard of these organizations, but quickly they became the bread and butter of Corona del Mar Today’s regular news coverage. Nancy Gardner was a great City Council representative for CdM, and her patience and advice early on shaped this site.

O…OASIS Senior Center. From its construction to its members, its activities and clubs, its meeting rooms where we’ve spent hours and hours covering candidate forums and other events, it’s been a hub for Corona del Mar Today.

P…Police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella, and previously, Kathy Lowe. Crime news has been a regular feature in Corona del Mar Today, and when the stories were interesting, it was thanks to their information and efforts.

Q…Quiet Woman, our first advertiser. Lynne Campbell really got things rolling by making me believe that I could make a business with a local news blog.

R…Readers. Some of my earliest readers, like Jamie and Dan, have moved away and are often in my thoughts. Others like John Manly and Jim Mosher actively assist my work and have for years, and others kindly point out typos and offer story ideas and suggestions. But every single one of you matters, and your loyalty has pushed me to work harder than I ever dreamed.

S…Stories. So many stories in little Corona del Mar! From a shooting at Fashion Island one December evening to a mysterious rash of diaper dumpings on Coast Highway, to a girl falling from a prom bus onto the toll road to a neighbor who actually turned out to have consulted on the movie “E.T.,” I was never at a loss for interesting stories. And just when I would think I’d written everything there was to write, a new library-fire station plan would pop up, or an artist would make beautiful sand art at Big Corona, or someone like Cynthia Saito would tell me about a product like Wrapadoo that she invented.

T…Tara Finnigan, a Newport Beach city spokeswoman. What’s being filmed at Little Corona? Why did the Port Theater have a palm tree removed from their section of sidewalk? What’s going on with beach fire rings? Will lifeguards be outsourced in Corona del Mar? Why isn’t the City Council video working? Where’s the library board agenda? Is it legal to have a bed on your roof? Tell me, tell me now, please email me A.S.A.P. The patience of a saint. Thank you.

U…Ukulele player Bill Tapia. Corona del Mar Today was only a few months old when I saw an OASIS flier about a ukulele club and decided it would make an interesting feature. I expected a few seniors playing Hawaiian tunes, but instead I had the chance to watch Bill perform with the group. He was 101 years old that day, and he told me he’d played with Elvis Presley and just returned from a tour of Japan. When he died a few years later, the Ukulele Strummers hosted a memorial attended by hundreds.

V…John Valeriano, accordion player, and his partner, Tommy Naughton, who plays gutbucket or washtub base. Thank you for including Corona del Mar Today in your regular parties, first at Pizza Royale and ultimately at Gina’s Pizza, and for inviting me to private parties, too. You guys are the greatest!

W…Window painting at Mark Patterson Jewelry. Josette Patterson wanted to unite children and businesses for an annual Halloween window painting event, and while she provided the paints and windows, I provides the kids. The community is closer and more involved because of events like these. Thank you! And also a special thanks to the kids who have helped: Jilly, Matthew, Aleah, Maggie, Nato, Lexie, Maddie, Chloe, Austin and Jackson.

X…Xmas Walk. The first year I walked the Christmas Walk as a Corona del Mar Today publisher, I really felt the love when people finally had a chance to meet me and tell what they liked and didn’t like about the site.

Y…Ron Yeo, a Corona del Mar architect who not only has led reforestation efforts in town, but whose early morning walks and photography skills have tipped me off to excellent stories over the years and helped fill these pages with gorgeous shots of the beaches.

Z…Zoning Administrator Brenda Wisneski. We joke that she gets this recognition because Z is a tough alphabet letter to fill, but that’s not the whole story. The Zoning Administrator hearings are often the first time I’d hear about newsworthy developments, from Roger’s Gardens’ new restaurant to whether Starbucks in Fashion Island can serve wine. Brenda has been a huge help for years, behind the scenes, helping us navigate the city’s website to find out about permits and the status of projects. From fire rings information to whether Coco’s was really turning into a bank, Brenda could help figure out what we all needed to know. Thank you!

Council Approves Extra Funds For CdM Library/Fire Station Project

posted: November 25th, 2015 12:34 pm | 1Comment

The Newport Beach City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved plans, along with an additional $1.25 million in funds, for new, combined fire station and library on Marigold Avenue in Corona del Mar.

“This is going to be a tremendous community resource, as it has been for generations,” City Councilman Keith Curry after the vote. “This is a great project.”

In spring 2014, city staff confirmed that plans were in the works to demolish the existing fire station and library and rebuild them as one building. This March, the City Council approved a contract with an architect, but residents opposed early plans that reduced the new library to 2,500 feet compared to its current 3,750 feet.

A group called Friends of the CdM Library formed, and they met and discussed the need for a bigger — not smaller — library space. In June, the architect revealed new plans that increased the second story space for the fire station and added to the library’s first-floor space.

City staff held several community meetings, and the Board of Library Trustees also discussed the plans. In the end, staff proposed a facility that would be 10,000 square feet, about 2,000 square feet larger than originally envisioned. The price tag also grew from $6.75 to $8 million.

Joy Brenner, Friends of the CdM Library founder, praised the Council’s decision.

“The unanimous approval of the Library was especially heartwarming, because in addition to the spirit of collaboration we felt with community, Board of Library Trustees and City Staff, we also have the unanimous support of the City Council,” she said.

Councilman Scott Peotter, who represents Corona del Mar, had suggested in May that the project be delayed a year, and he also had suggested that private funds be raised to cover the additional costs. He supported the plan, however, participating in the meeting by telephone from Portland.

Curry said it was “refreshing” to have Peotter’s support on the project.

“I’m glad to be on the same side as he is on this project,” Curry said.

Construction could begin next summer and take 12 to 14 months, during which time the fire station would be relocated.