Dubious Distinctions

December 29, 2001


Newport Beach police were handed an unusual assignment when they were

asked to get rid of a swarm of killer Africanized honeybees that probably

hoped to set up shop atop a trash can on Newport Pier. The killers soon

after became the victims after officers summoned exterminators.

Those were hard times for Higgens, a lost, yellow Labrador who was

spotted by Costa Mesa Animal Control officials roaming the streets after


unknown vile hands had spray-painted his coat a bright neon pink.

Higgens' fur had to be shaved because his paint could not be removed. The

sad story, however, did have a happy ending. Higgens was adopted after a

nervous few days of waiting at a Huntington Beach animal shelter.

It was a one-of-a-kind bank robbery at Fidelity Federal Bank on

Westcliff Drive in Newport Beach. The robber strolled into the branch, no

weapon and -- as people later found out -- no escape vehicle, either. He

demanded cash from the teller, got what he asked for and walked out of

the building. And that was the last anybody saw of the man.


It was a landmark period for West Newport's notorious party host,

Dennis Rodman, who decided to fork over an undisclosed amount of money to

Kevin Finegold, owner of Josh Slocums restaurant on West Coast Highway.

It was also the start of Rodman's involvement with the restaurant, as he

gave it a touch of his own flamboyant personality. In came red velvet

curtains, leopard-skin couches and disco balls. A different ambience for


Olive and Tino had their special day as their wedding helped raise

$300 for the Little Angels Pug Rescue and helped 12 of their kind to get

adopted. It was a fun affair on Balboa Island. Dog lovers watched

affectionately as Yoda the ring bearer and Pepper the flower girl,

dressed in pink satin, were wheeled down the aisle in a wagon.

"Do you, Olive, take Tino to be your stud puppy and Dog Chow dog?"

read Rudy Horwitz, the minister. "Do you promise to love and cherish his

smashed-in mug, wet nose and squatty legs?" How could a girl not say "I

do" to a guy like that?

Traffic can be crazy, especially near schools. But PTA mom Carla

Hummel made sure she would do her part to ensure a smooth opening day for

Newport Coast Elementary School. She put on a cow suit as she directed

traffic. And that did quite a bit to keep tempers down and the mood light

-- not to mention that it made opening day an "udder" success.


Costa Mesa good Samaritan Jan McCandless rescued at least 15 cats and

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