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By Adolfo Flores and Ruben Vives and By Adolfo Flores and Ruben Vives | January 30, 2014
A Newport Beach grade school teacher who bred snakes as a hobby was arrested Wednesday on animal cruelty charges after authorities discovered more than 400 ball pythons - some alive, many dead - scattered throughout his cluttered home. Animal control officers said it took much of the day to search the five-bedroom home in a Santa Ana neighborhood where residents for months had complained about a foul smell drifting from the home. Investigators said they discovered 404 non-venomous snakes - 180 alive, 224 dead - inside rows of clear plastic containers with labels reading "pastel reaper," "cinny ghost" and "orange belly.
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NEWS
By Ruben Vives and Adolfo Flores | January 29, 2014
A Santa Ana house where authorities Wednesday discovered as many as 400 snakes is so littered with cages and rats and snakes - some alive, many dead - that animal control officers said they are still making their way through the cluttered house and haven't thoroughly searched all the rooms. A teacher from Mariners Elementary School in Newport Beach who lived in the house was arrested early Wednesday on suspicion of animal cruelty, and authorities obtained a search warrant to scour the home.
NEWS
By Bradley Zint | December 27, 2013
Ralph Whitford, who taught the "beach kids" at Newport Elementary School from the 1963 to 1993, has died. He was 84. The Costa Mesa resident succumbed to natural causes Dec. 10 at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach, a family member said. "He just wanted to teach kids," said son Billy Whitford. "They all found him to be the very, very tough teacher at the time. But when they completed their school, then they all looked back and thought he was one of the best teachers they had. " The elder Whitford spent most of his educational career at Newport Elementary teaching fifth and sixth grades.
NEWS
By Hannah Fry | December 24, 2013
The Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers has issued a letter denying the school district's claims that the union was responsible for the elimination of a science enrichment program at Kaiser Elementary School in Costa Mesa. Kimberly Claytor, federation president, on Friday sent a letter to Newport-Mesa Unified School District officials saying the union supports reinstating last year's science schedule and that the district misinterpreted concerns the union brought up regarding educators' workloads.
NEWS
By Michael Miller | December 14, 2013
Brandon Fischer may not be the king of the world, but considering his dancing experience, he was happy to settle last year for king of Corona del Mar High School's male faculty. The math teacher was crowned co-champion of the school's first Dancing with the Teachers contest, in which faculty members paired with students to hoof it onstage. Fischer's group got the assignment of lyrical dance, and someone - he's not quite sure whom - decided on the "Titanic" anthem "My Heart Will Go On" for the music.
NEWS
By Hannah Fry | December 10, 2013
Drivers in the area of Arlington Drive and Fairview Road in Costa Mesa on Monday afternoon honked in support of the nearly 30 local teachers and community members huddled on the street corner and waving signs to encourage reform in public schools. The gathering was part of a larger national day of action sponsored by the American Federation of Teachers, a nationwide teachers union, to shed light on issues regarding public education in the United States. In recent years, dwindling budgets for education have resulted in increased class sizes, inadequate support staff in the form of counselors and nurses, and curriculum lacking in art, physical education and science, said Joel Flores, co-chairman of the committee on political education for the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers.
NEWS
By Hannah Fry | November 22, 2013
The sixth-grade class at Sonora Elementary School looked on as parents and staff lowered the roots of the crepe myrtle tree into the ground Friday morning. The tree will serve as a reminder of sixth-grader Samantha Nguyen, known by friends and teachers as Sammy, the girl with a bright smile and incredible personality. The crepe myrtle was selected because it sends out flowers of pink or purple, two of Samantha's favorite colors, said Principal Christine Anderson. Samantha, 11, died in September after being thrown from a personal watercraft on the Colorado River near Laughlin, Nev. She had been at the river with her father, Vince Nguyen, and a cousin.
NEWS
By Hannah Fry | November 6, 2013
With an increasing number of teachers spending more days outside their classrooms in preparation for Common Core's sweeping new curriculum standards, Newport-Mesa Unified is facing a shortage of substitute teachers to fill the void. Kimberly Claytor, president of the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers, expressed teachers' frustration when she addressed the school board during a special meeting last week. Teachers, especially at the elementary school level, take a significant amount of time to prepare lessons in multiple subjects for substitute teachers, she said.
NEWS
By Hannah Fry | November 1, 2013
Several students at Costa Mesa High School are pondering a question that could affect the next four years of their education. Does Advanced Placement calculus or marching band look more impressive on a college application? Students at Mesa are forced each year to choose between courses that they feel are necessary for college admission, such as AP calculus, and classes they are passionate about, like marching band, because they are scheduled during the same period, said art teacher Kirby Piazza.
NEWS
By Hannah Fry | October 19, 2013
The words "Common Core" don't hold special meaning to students in Terri Clarke's second-grade class at Newport Elementary. Unbeknownst to them, the lessons Clarke is implementing will have a profound effect on the way they are taught for the rest of their time in public schools. Common Core places an emphasis on big-picture, conceptual understanding and collaborative learning with peers, moving away from rote memorization, proponents say. "We're passionate about this curriculum," Clarke said.
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