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Top Ten Stories of the 1990s

December 30, 1999

Newport Center had outgrown the city's requirements by the time it was

built.

But there was so much to do. Find a location. Raise the millions

needed for the construction. Come up with plans and designs that could be

agreed upon by everyone involved.

The dream was realized in the spring of 1994, when the sparkling new,

54,000-square-foot facility opened its doors. It came after two decades

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of tireless work by people in a variety of segments of the community,

including businesses and civic leaders.

Now, it is the jewel of the city and a gathering place for the

community. In addition to offering a wide selection of books, videos and

CD-ROMs, the library also puts on a Distinguished Lecture series and the

Manuscripts series, as well as hosts art shows throughout the year. These

events have profiled best-selling authors, Pulitzer Prize-winning

writers, TV news personalities and artists, and have added culture to the

community.

A key figure in the construction of the library was Elizabeth Stahr,

who chaired the first foundation that raised $2 million for the

public-private partnership. This foundation was eventually dissolved and

a new one was created to raise money for books and events.

However, in the last year, the united community effort it took to

build the library has descended into a bitter feud between the trustees

and foundation. The fight is primarily about control over finances and

seems to be fraying the fabric holding the institution together. Both

Foundation Chair Dave Carmichael and Trustee Chair Jim Wood, though, say

they are optimistic that this will all be resolved by January.9. DENISE

HUBER MURDER. The only clue was a car deserted on the Corona del Mar

Freeway.

It was a mystery that captured newspaper headlines for most of the

decade. It was a murder that was inconceivable in Orange County.

The grisly death of 23-year-old Denise Huber of Newport Beach was as

horrific as it was challenging for investigators. When Huber vanished in

June 1991, police had only the victim's car as evidence.

Years passed and the frustration grew. There were hundreds of tips

given to police, but none really amounted to anything. In July 1994, the

break came. Arizona authorities called Costa Mesa police and informed

them they had found Huber's body.

Her killer, John Famalaro, had kept her frozen corpse in a freezer.

The freezer was kept in a truck parked at his Dewey, Ariz. home. A

neighbor had noticed a power cord coming out of the back and found it

suspicious.

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