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Men Escape OC Jail, Authorities Search, Offer Reward

Orange County authorities are still searching for the three men that escaped from the Central Men’s Jail in Santa Ana last week, including Hossein Nayeri of Newport Beach.

Nayeri, 37, escaped on Jan. 22 with Jonathan Tieu, 20, of Fountain Valley and Bac Tien Duong, 43, of Santa Ana.

The three men apparently cut through steel bars and crawled through plumbing tunnels to escaped.

They are to be considered dangerous and possibly armed. Authorities still believe they are in the Southern California area.

Hossein_Nayeri_courtesy_OCSDAuthorities are offering a reward of $200,000 for information leading to the capture of fugitives.

Nayeri is accused of attacking the owner of a local marijuana dispensary business. He is charged with two felony counts of kidnapping for ransom and one felony count each of aggravated mayhem, torture, and first degree residential burglary, with a sentencing enhancement for inflicting great bodily injury. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of life in state prison without the possibility of parole. Prior to the escape, Nayeri was scheduled for pre-trial on Feb. 2.

Authorities are asking anyone who sees any of the men to call 9-1-1. Anyone with information as to the whereabouts of these inmates, is asked to call the Orange County Sheriff’s Department hotline at (714) 628-7085 or investigations at (714) 647-7014. Anonymous tips may be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS or (855) 847-6227 or at ocsd.org.

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Sewer Rates Increase

Sewer rates for Newport Beach residents are going up, following a decision by City Council this week.

Council approved the increase in a 4-3 vote, with Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon, and councilmen Marshall “Duffy” Duffield and Scott Peotter dissenting.

They also approved a one-time rebate of about $55 to $60 per home, as proposed by Mayor Diane Dixon.  

The rebate vote was 5-2, with councilmen Keith Curry and Ed Selich dissenting.

Bills are split up between the variable use charge and the fixed service charge.

The current rates are $0.35 per HCF (Hundred Cubic Foot) of water used plus a $4.50 sewer service charge for homes using a 5/8, 3/4 or 1-inch meter or $14.50 for homes with a 2-inch meter or bigger.

The total cost varies depending on the user, but about 94 percent of customers have one of the smaller meter sizes and the average monthly water use for a single family home is 15 HCF.

So the average customer currently pays approximately $9.75 total for sewer service and use.

Both the variable use charge and the fixed service charge will increase over the next five years. The average monthly bill will slowly grow by approximately $2.14 in 2016, another $1.27 in 2017, $1.48 more in 2018, $1.57 will be added on in 2019, and the final increase will be about $1.81.

So the new total for the average customer in 2020 will be about $18.02.

In 2020, the rates will be $0.59 per HCF of water used plus a $9.17 sewer service charge for meters smaller than one inch (customers with meters one and a half inches or bigger will be charged more, between $10.09 and $29.35, depending on the size).

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St. James the Great Congregation Calls for Bishop’s Audit

The congregation of St. James the Great Episcopal Church this week is calling on Bishop Jon Bruno of the Los Angeles Diocese to release the annual audit of his sole corporation, as he promised at the Diocesan Convention last Dec. 5

“After nearly two months, the Diocesan community is still waiting for the Bishop to act on his promise to the convention,” said Sue Rawlings of the congregation’s transition committee. “To be honest, this is reaching a point where some might question the Bishop’s good faith. It could very well dissipate whatever good will delegates may have felt toward the Bishop right after the convention.”

The bishop’s promise to release the annual audit came as the convention was considering a measure to require a public third-­‐party audit of the corporation, called the “Corp Sole,” which has the bishop as its sole officer.

Corp Sole holds upwards of 60 real properties plus other assets. An annual audit of Corp Sole is required by state law, but that audit goes to the bishop as sole officer and has never been shared with the governing bodies of the Diocese or the public.

As a result of the bishop’s promise to release his audit to anyone who wants to see it, backers of the independent audit in good faith withdrew their proposed resolution. Both moves drew appreciative applause from the nearly 600 delegates.

Since the convention, members of St. James the Great have requested a copy of the audit on several occasions, but have yet to receive either the audit or a date when they can expect to get it.

Last May without advance notice or discussion, Bishop Bruno told the St. James congregation he had signed an agreement to sell the church building and property to developers Legacy Partners for $15 million, who intend to tear down the church and build luxury townhouses.

The Griffith Company, the original owners of the land, donated the four lots upon which St. James the Great was built. The deed for the property included a use restriction that the property would always be a church. That deed and legal actions have delayed the sale.

A “slander of title” lawsuit filed by the bishop against the Griffith Company is still tied up in court. The congregation, which has been locked out of the church, has been holding services in a park near the church, and at a business on 17th street in Costa Mesa.

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City Settles Lawsuit Over Bicyclist’s Death

AgnewBrusavich, a Torrance-based serious personal injury law firm, obtained a settlement against the city of Newport Beach and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) for a bicycle-vehicle accident that resulted in the death of 58-year-old Debra Deem at the intersection of Coast Highway and Newport Coast Drive in August 2013.

The driver who fatally struck Deem was criminally prosecuted as the cause of the accident, but Caltrans agreed to a settlement of $450,000 and the city of Newport Beach agreed to pay an additional $225,000, with both government entities agreeing to work with experts to implement improvements to the intersection.

On August 27, 2013, Deem was riding her bicycle on Pacific Coast Highway across Newport Coast Drive. While attempting to proceed northbound on Pacific Coast Highway, Deem was struck from behind by 84-year-old Robert Anderson, who was proceeding right onto Newport Coast Drive. Deem was wearing a helmet, but died of severe brain injuries the following day.

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