A drug abuse prevention program could be the latest victim of city budget cuts, according to letters sent to local elementary school principals.

"The recent economic downturn has resulted in budget reductions for the Newport Beach Police Department," the letter states. "To address these challenges, there is a possibility that a number of police officers in specialty positions…will be reassigned…"

The D.A.R.E. officer is included, states the letter, which was signed by Chief Jay R. Johnson.

D.A.R.E., which stands for Drug Abuse Resistance Education, was created in 1983 and educates about 700 Newport Beach sixth-grade students each year, according to the police website.

"We truly value the D.A.R.E. program, but unfortunately it was a budget issue," said Sgt. Steve Burdette. "We are always open to other ideas, regarding outside funding."

Harbor View Principal Charlene Metoyer said the loss of the program would be disappointing.

"The goodwill that D.A.R.E. creates between students and the police department is priceless," she said.

Several students and teachers at Harbor View said they didn't think the program would be missed. But others disagreed, including Suzanne Schoen, a parent who has worked on the anti-drug Red Ribbon Week program at Harbor View for three years.

"D.A.R.E. is a really important program before they go to middle school," she said, adding that she hoped the school's Parent Faculty Organization could come up with funds to continue the program.

The letter to school principals asked for students and parents to offer solutions for alternate funding.

"While the possibility exists that the program may change or end here in Newport Beach, the partnership between the Police Department and your school will remain intact," the letter states.

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Gummy gourmet grand opening

Corona del Mar is buzzing about the grand opening of B.Candy.

The shop, at 3617 E. Coast Hwy., sells candy, gourmet sodas and sweets-themed accessories like pillows and gummy bear lights. A grand opening was scheduled for Saturday.

Owner Brandy Valdez of Corona del Mar has spent more than a year finding a location for her dream candy shop.

"I'm very excited," Valdez said.

B.Candy also has a candy shop in the OC Mart MIX, and there is a small display of B.Candy goodies at Beach Candy at 2824 E. Coast Hwy. Over the holidays, B.Candy also had a shop in a kiosk at Fashion Island.

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New business turns on lights