NewLeftHeaderSNN

scattered clouds

64.4°F

Newport Beach


Council approves grants to deserving local arts organizations

The Newport Beach City Council approved six local organizations with Cultural Arts Grants ranging from $2,000 to $5,000 at their meeting on Tuesday, March 9. Cultural Arts Grants are awarded each year to qualified organizations with strong projects that enhance arts education and community programs for the citizens of Newport Beach.

The 2020-2021 Cultural Arts Grants, recommended by the City Arts Commission and approved by the Newport Beach City Council, are scheduled to be presented at the City Arts Commission meeting on Thursday, May 13.

Following are the six recipients:

–Arts & Learning Conservatory

–Backhausdance

–Baroque Music Festival

–Laguna Playhouse

–Pacific Symphony

–South Coast Repertory

In order to qualify for a grant, each organization proposed specific arts education/enrichment programs to implement during the 2021-2022 season. For more details on the programs, recipients and grant amounts, visit the Cultural Arts website at www.newportbeachca.gov/culturalarts.

The City Arts Commission is comprised of seven members, appointed by the Newport Beach City Council, to act in an advisory capacity on matters pertaining to artistic, aesthetic, cultural and historical aspects of Newport Beach. The City Arts Commission provides various arts programs and events for the cultural enrichment of our community, including visual, educational and performing arts.


COVID-19: 172 new cases and 29 new deaths reported in OC, 9 new cases in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,408 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 29 new deaths reported today (March 12). There have been 70 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The county reported 172 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 248,389 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 33.4 percent. 68 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 245 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-7 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 74 are in ICU (-7 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,654 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including nine new cases reported today and 34 new cases reported since last Friday’s report.

The county estimates 238,688 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 3 12 21 1

COVID 19 County 3 12 21 2

COVID 19 County 3 12 21 3

COVID 19 County 3 12 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 12, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Schools seriously looking at a return to in-person instruction for all elementary

Fair Game Tom Johnson newLRWith an improving COVID-19 environment taking place daily, the Newport-Mesa Unified School District is strongly considering a return to in-person classroom instruction for all elementary students following the return from spring recess on April 19.

A recent statement issued by the district says, “While the hybrid model for our students has been delivered with skill and dedication by our staff we have always strived to move to normalcy. Having our students back in the classrooms with all of their classmates and enjoying the full benefits of school continues to be our goal.”

Spring recess is scheduled for Monday, April 12 through Friday, April 16.

COVID changes, including the reduction of new cases, the strong possibility of transitioning from the Purple Tier to the Red Tier and the fact that teachers are now having access to vaccinations, are the reasons behind the hoped-for change.

Teachers and staff became eligible for the vaccine earlier in March, and although supplies have been limited, more availability is expected soon.

No formal change has been confirmed yet but is expected in the next several weeks. The district is reportedly working closely with school principals, teachers, employee associations/unions and all departments to accomplish this goal.

• • •

There’s a disturbing video that has gone viral on social media sites that occurred last Saturday night, shortly after 10 p.m. at E. Balboa Blvd. and Main St., just blocks from the Balboa Pier. Judging by the comments on social media, the community is outraged, and for good reason.

The video shows an elderly male crossing Main St. on the south side of E. Balboa Blvd. when he’s confronted and then surrounded by several juveniles. Calls can be heard off-screen on the video encouraging one of the suspects to engage him. Shortly thereafter a serious skirmish occurs where one youth is seen kicking the man upside the head, who then crumples to the ground while appearing to hit his head on the pavement, apparently knocking him out. Another adult can be seen immediately coming to his aid and attempting to revive him by patting his chest.

Some of the incident is obscured by passing autos.

Newport Beach Police were called, but the juveniles reportedly left the scene prior to their arrival.

Police investigated and have reported that all of the suspects have been identified.

Fortunately, reports say the victim recovered and was released from the hospital after spending several days there. 

Reports suggest that the juveniles involved were students at a local intermediate school. 

• • •

A couple of changes on committees and commissions at City Hall have been announced. 

First off, the City Council appointed Larry Tucker to the Finance Committee for a term ending June 30, 2021; next, at their February 23rd Council meeting they voted to eliminate the Inter City Liaison Committee and to repel Resolution No. 89-132; the Council also approved amending the Water Quality Coastal Tidelands Committee Membership to stagger the terms and confirm appointments that expire June 2023 and June 2025; and, due to the passing of Richard Luehrs, a vacancy has opened on the Building and Fire Board of Appeals.

• • •

Several issues ago, Stu News told you about Corona del Mar High School student Makenna Stefano who was leading a school team to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Her continuing efforts include a paddle out this Sunday, March 14 at 11 a.m. on Big Corona Beach. Participants can join in for a $20 donation which includes a tribute flower and one raffle ticket.

The raffle includes a brand new VESL Stand Up Paddleboard & Pelagic Ocean equipment bag.

Makenna and her team of Ashley Riba, Abby Grace, Ella Bennett, Kate Kittleson, Zach Kittleson, Caroline Carvelli and Aven Walz encourage you to bring a paddle board, bathing suit, mask, money to donate and a BIG smile to join in.

The team is looking to raise $50,000 and could really use your help.


School Notes

District to host virtual parents meeting on digital dangers

A virtual parent education meeting will take place on Tuesday, March 16 from 6-7 p.m. The topic for the meeting is “Practical Ways to Protect your Children from Digital Dangers.”

District experts will share strategies to support students in making safe online decisions and in life. They’ll also cover digital citizenship skills including current social media trends, internet filters, online video game guides and age-based device usage guides.

The link for the meeting is https://nmusd.zoom.us/j/91317410541

Questions from parents should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 714.424.5050.


Details in the sea

Details in water

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Stan Sievers (Instagram @stansievers/stansieversphoto.com)

“Water is the driving force in nature” –Leonardo da Vinci


Newport wonder

Wedge wonder

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Stan Sievers (Instagram @stansievers/stansieversphoto.com)

The Jetty at sunset: one of the many wonders of Newport Beach


Newport Beach Women’s Democratic Club to hold monthly virtual meeting

The Newport Beach Women’s Democratic Club (NBWDC) will hold its monthly virtual meeting on Tuesday, March 16 via Zoom.

In honor of Women’s History Month, Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris will be sharing her story about being a woman and a mother in politics. Ada Briceno, chair of the Democratic Party of Orange County, will be updating the club on the status of the Gavin Newsom Recall Campaign.

Their Zoom Room opens on Tuesday, March 16 at 5:30 p.m. for networking and socializing. The official Program runs from 6-7 p.m.

Registration is required for this event. Visit www.NBWDC.org to register and for additional meeting information, or call the administrative office at 949.423.6468.


With metrics improving, Red Tier appears to be on the horizon

On Tuesday, March 9, the State of California announced that Orange County has achieved one week of improved metrics according to the California Department of Public Health’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, which takes a county’s seven-day adjusted case rate, the seven-day testing positivity rate and the health equity metric into consideration.

“Before Orange County can move to the Red Tier, we must meet certain benchmarks set by the state regarding daily case rate, positivity rate and health equity rate for two consecutive weeks, which we’re on track to meet,” said Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors Andrew Do, who represents the First District. “Thanks to the diligence of our residents and business operators, we’re on the cusp of moving to the Red Tier, but we must remember to not let our guard down and continue adhering to local health guidance.”

If local metrics hold steady or improve for another week, many local industries and activities will either be allowed to expand capacity or resume operations. The soonest OC could officially move from the Purple to the Red Tier is Wednesday, March 17.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidance for those who have been vaccinated against COVID-19, which can be accessed at www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/vaccines/fully-vaccinated.html.

“While the CDC’s guidance is promising and provides clarity for those who have been fully vaccinated, we must continue our efforts to vaccinate anyone who wants a vaccine, with the goal of achieving herd immunity as soon as possible,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District. “In the meantime, I encourage residents and visitors alike to continue wearing masks, practice social distancing, wash hands frequently and learn more about available opportunities to receive a vaccine at https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-vaccine-distribution-channels.”


Take Five: Meet Graham Harvey, chair of the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Foundation

By AMY SENK

Good news for Junior Guards of the future – the Newport Beach City Council moved forward this week with plans for a new Junior Lifeguard building, to be constructed south of Balboa Pier. According to city documents, the $4.9 million building would be funded with $2.05 million from the city’s General Fund, $1.75 million from the foundation and $1.1 million captured over the next several years by eliminating the participant fee subsidy, which will increase fees for participants starting in 2022. I caught up with Graham Harvey, chairman of the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Foundation, to find out more about the project. 

Take Five Graham

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo and rendering courtesy of Graham Harvey

Graham Harvey

Q: How did the Junior Guards Foundation begin, and what has it accomplished so far?

A: The Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Foundation was incorporated in 2012 to support, preserve and enhance the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Program. The foundation has purchased special equipment, volunteered for events and championed the design of a new Junior Lifeguard headquarters building. Our goal is to raise $1,750,000 towards the Junior Lifeguard headquarters building project by Jan. 1, 2022. We have cash and commitments of $1,100,000 so far. We need to raise an additional $650,000 to reach our goal. The City Council meeting went well. The approval of the project and MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) was a huge step forward for the Junior Lifeguard program. One item to note: The MOU that was approved by the City Council will help the foundation raise funds because it now answers the three main questions we hear from our donors: How much do you need? What does the building look like? Where is it going to be located? It will be located at the base of Balboa Pier very close to where the temporary trailers are located now. 

Take Five Rendering

Click on photo for a larger image

A rendering of the new Junior Lifeguard building

Q: Why does the program need a permanent building?

A: The Junior Lifeguard headquarters building has always been a temporary structure with no running water and no restroom facilities for the more than 1,300 junior lifeguards and 60 city employees who utilize it every year. The Junior Lifeguard program has simply outgrown the temporary building.

Q: What are your personal connections to the JG program, and why do you think it is important to our community? 

A: I was a Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard in the 80s, then became a Newport Beach Lifeguard and Junior Lifeguard Instructor in the 90s and early 2000s. Now, I am the parent of one Junior Lifeguard with one more on the way next year. I have personally experienced the Junior Lifeguard program from all angles. I understand the importance of teaching our children to identify and respond to hazards at the beach and in the ocean. It is our responsibility to give back to the Junior Lifeguards by providing them with a safe and functional learning center.   

Q: When will the building be finished?

A: The Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Foundation is entering into a Memorandum of Understanding with the City of Newport Beach. When the MOU is executed, we expect the building to be complete in 24 to 36 months.

Q: How can donors help?

A: Donors can make donations and learn more about the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Foundation on our website at www.nbjgfoundation.org.

~~~~~~~~

Amy Senk is a longtime resident of Corona del Mar and a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.


Audi Fletcher Jones…differentiating itself from the competition

By LANA JOHNSON

I experienced the new Audi Fletcher Jones dealership firsthand this week and surprise, surprise, came home with my beautiful new Audi A3 Sport 40 TFSI!

The multi-story, 42,000-square-foot sales and showroom facility, located at 1275 Bristol St. (near Red Hill in Costa Mesa), showcases a pristine service center with accessible rooftop parking. Guests enjoy amenities such as a premier second floor indoor and outdoor lounge along with an on-site café exuding a wonderful open-air feeling, with a view of the snow-capped mountains off in the distance on a clear day. 

Audi Lana in car

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Tom Johnson

Getting ready for a test drive in my new Audi A3

Audi Fletcher Jones originally opened on March 30, 2018, out of a temporary facility at 375 Bristol St., which it occupied for approximately two and one-half years. The new dealership then opened its doors to the public on November 17, 2020, employing a staff of 85.

According to Audi USA: “From sales through service to the presentation of used cars, Audi Corporate Design combines all these departments into a harmonious overall concept – for an Audi world that clearly differentiates us from the competition. The Audi dealership is a self-confident statement by the brand and by the dealer: From the architecture to the showroom, it reflects the unique prestige and the premium claim of our brand.”

It certainly didn’t disappoint.

The corporate Audi vision is exemplified at the Costa Mesa location, whose goal to become the No. 1 ranked Audi dealership in the U.S. It finished 2nd place in the country in February 2021.

Audi showroom

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Audi Fletcher Jones

The spacious and comfortable Audi Fletcher Jones showroom

State-of-the-art combines with stylish comfort whereby new Audis, luxury used cars and auto service and car parts are all available under one roof which proudly continues the Fletcher Jones legacy with Fletcher “Ted” Jones at the company’s helm. He “has been credited with pioneering a revolutionary approach in which ‘guests’ not ‘customers’ are treated with the same level of service you would expect from a five-star hotel.” 

And being treated as a guest was the best part of my car-buying experience. I felt as if I was the only customer there, being welcomed by the entire staff – from the concierge to the general manager – making me feel undeniably special.    

My faves about my A3, which blends safety with sporty:

–The color! I love the Quantum gray exterior, because it sets my ride apart from others on the road.

–Black leather interior with contrast stitching on the sport seats (did I say real leather, versus some of the faux leather other manufacturers try to fool you with?).

–Panoramic moon roof.

–Heated front seats and four-way power lumbar.

–Pop-up display on the dashboard.

–Accessing the menu either on the center console or on the steering wheel.

–Ample room for my golf cart bag in the trunk (which my last car couldn’t accommodate and is truly important for my lifestyle).

–And last but not least – when I open the doors, the iconic four rings appear lit-up on the ground…giving some bragging rights in the valet lines.

And now that I am a guest of Audi Fletcher Jones, I will receive these complimentary amenities that sets this visionary company apart:

–Audi Fletcher Jones service amenities.

–Complimentary Audi courtesy vehicles with a scheduled reservation.

–Complimentary car washes.

–Genuine Audi OEM parts, among others.

When I contacted the dealership looking for help, General Manager Brandon Hale said, “I have the perfect person in mind for you – Robert Randall, one of our Sales Team Leaders.”

Audi Lana and Robert

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Tom Johnson

Audi Fletcher Jones Sales Team Leader Robert Randall explaining my car features on the rooftop garage

All the “bells and whistles” and customized features are great…and it will take me awhile to learn how to confidently take advantage of them, but what is most memorable for me is the personalized care I received from Robert, who took more than four hours with me, explaining all the features, amenities and finance options the first time I visited the dealership. And most importantly, I didn’t feel rushed or pressured.

When I returned on Tuesday of this week to pick up the car, time again was spent with me in the showroom and in my car, as Robert went over each and every feature, patiently explaining the nuances. He even checked back with me yesterday, encouraging me to seek him out as many times as needed with questions that might come up.

Audi Robert and Brandon

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

(L-R) Robert Randle with Audi Fletcher Jones General Manager Brandon Hale 

A very special thank you to Asia Jones (Ted’s wife) who connected me with the general manager. My A3, delivering the smoothest ride I have ever experienced, is true bliss.

If you’re in the market for a new car, and you want to be treated right, tell them Stu News sent you.

Audi nighttime

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Audi Fletcher Jones

The Audi Fletcher Jones facility lights up the night, with its service bay on the ground level and the showroom on the second story


Foley wins 2nd District Supervisor seat in Special Election

Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley won the Special Election Tuesday, March 9 to win the Orange County Board of Supervisors 2nd District seat vacated in January by Michelle Steel.

Foley handily defeated four other challengers that included former State Senator John Moorlach, Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon, Fountain Valley Mayor Michael Vo and Corona del Mar attorney Janet Rappaport.

“The race has been called, and I am beyond humbled by the confidence voters have placed in me to serve as their Orange County Supervisor in District 2,” said Foley.

Foley wins 2nd Foley

Courtesy of Foley for Supervisor

Newly elected Supervisor Katrina Foley

“I am forever grateful for all of you who answered my calls and pitched in time, talent and treasure to power our campaign,” said Foley. “Together, we broke fundraising records with thousands of small-dollar donations and engaged voters in what will be the highest special election turnout for an OC Supervisor’s Special Election.”

Race tallies show Foley with 45,693 votes, or 43.72 percent; Moorlach had 32,856 or 31.44 percent; Muldoon ended with 11,998 or 11.48 percent; Vo had 9,433 or 9.03 percent, with Rappaport getting 4,538 or 4.34 percent.

Speculation that three Republicans in the race would hurt their party’s overall chances proved correct, as Moorlach, Muldoon and Vo combined for almost 52 percent of the overall vote but ended with no seat to show for it.

Voter turnout showed 26.5 percent, with 104,820 ballots cast.

Steel, meanwhile, left her Supervisor’s role after winning a November election against incumbent Harley Rouda to take the U.S. House of Representatives 48th District seat.


Dine Newport presents restaurateur profiles in “Local Tastemakers”

Dine Newport Beach is sharing a collection of intimate interviews called “Local Tastemakers” which explores Newport Beach’s flavor and flair through the eyes of the city’s most captivating chefs and restaurateurs during a time that has heavily impacted the restaurant and hospitality communities.

Get to know these familiar chefs and the secrets to the dishes that make them local favorites.

“Local Tastemakers” is part of Dine Newport Beach’s Anchor Newport Beach social campaign that promotes Newport Beach’s dining community through free creative content marketing programming including promotions on social media, weekly consumer newsletters, blogs, the Visit Newport Beach website and more. Go here to access the Instagram link.

Dine Newport Murphy

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Visit Newport Beach

Muldoon Irish Pub’s General Manager Mary Murphy

This week, Meet Mary Murphy, general manager of Muldoon’s Irish Pub through a Q&A.

Muldoon’s Irish Pub has been a Newport Beach staple since the establishment opened in 1974, and Mary Murphy is a familiar face to many locals who call this place their local watering hole. Originally born and raised in Cork, Ireland, Murphy pursued her interests in hospitality early on and landed in the United States. After answering an advertisement in the Orange County Register, she started at Muldoon’s as a hostess and has worked hard over the years to earn the title of general manager.

Murphy is happy to call many patrons her friends and loves watching generations of guests come visit throughout the years. Many miles away from Ireland, Newport Beach has become a home away from home to her and the members of Muldoon’s a second family. On her days off, she enjoys walking her dog around the scenic Back Bay and along the Newport Beach boardwalk. When asked about the best thing about Newport Beach, spoken like a true local, she answered: “The weather.”

Q: What is the best part of your job?

A: We love to see generations of families come visit. I enjoy seeing familiar faces come in from when they were toddlers and now, they are all grown up and ordering pints!

Q: What is the most popular thing on the menu, and what is your favorite?

A: My favorite thing on the menu is the Grilled Atlantic Salmon, served with homemade mashed potatoes or roasties and seasonal fresh veggies. Our Corned Beef and Cabbage, Irish Stew, Shepherd’s Pie, Fish and Chips are all fan favorites.

Dine Newport corned beef

Click on photo for a larger image

Corned beef and cabbage, a customer favorite, is served with peas, carrots, mash and warm Dijon sauce

Q: Taking you back to March 2020, tell us what the first month of the pandemic was like for your restaurant?

A: All of us at Muldoon’s were so disappointed we didn’t get to throw our Annual St. Patrick’s Day festivities last year. Due to the pandemic, we had to close our doors temporarily on March 16, 2020. We’re hoping to make up for it this year in a safe and smaller way on our outdoor patio. I haven’t missed a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at the restaurant since I became part of the Muldoon’s family. Our outdoor patio becomes a sea of green every year and it’s wonderful to see people commemorate their Irish Heritage with us.

Q: What is your ultimate hope for 2021?

A: I hope this year people are able to socialize joyously again. When you step into Muldoon’s, you really feel like you are taken away on a faraway journey to Ireland. The pub is an important part of Irish culture – we get together to tell a story, sing a song and drink a pint or two. Also, I’m hoping to go back to Ireland this year to see family. It’ll be the perfect opportunity to tune up my accent! Sláinte!*

*Sláinte translates to “health” in Irish and Scottish Gaelic. It is commonly used as a drinking toast in Ireland, Scotland and the Isle of Man.


It’s great that Disneyland is now opening, but governor, there’s still more work to do

By GARY SHERWIN

With the last week’s long overdue news that Disneyland will finally be opening up later this month after a year of closure (‘bout time Governor Newsom!), it’s another positive sign that visitors and their all-important dollars will be packing their bags to hit the road again.

It’s particularly heartening for the City of Anaheim which has been ground zero for tourism devastation in the United States. Between the park closure and the comatose Anaheim Convention Center, their hotels, with nearly 60,000 rooms, were largely empty over the last year. 

Hotel health is often measured in RevPar, or revenue per available room. Recently, the city hit a shockingly low RevPar of $19.57. Normally that number would be in somewhere in the hundreds of dollars. That also means a huge budget deficit for the city which depends on Disney to pay nearly half their bills.

Be thankful you’re not a councilperson in that city. They are already having some very unpleasant conversations in council chambers.

Gary Sherwin

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Visit Newport Beach

Gary Sherwin

Disneyland will initially be limited to 15 percent capacity but that’s just fine with the park since they need to ramp up operations and rehire the 10,000 cast members that were laid off or furloughed. This gives them a nice glidepath to a fuller reopening later this summer.

While Anaheim is a posterchild for pandemic economic collapse, it is also representative of the recovery that is starting to take place nationally.

Thankfully, Newport Beach has largely avoided this mess since the city receives a large share of its revenue from a more stable source, property taxes. And with a surprisingly hot real estate market, that revenue source will continue to grow and offset losses in other areas like hotel transient occupancy taxes.

So, while COVID-19 case numbers are down dramatically and vaccine distribution is up, tourism recovery nationally still has a very long way to go.

In January, travel spending was $55.4 billion which is down 40 percent compared to January 2020, just before the pandemic hit, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Air travel is still 62 percent down over this same period from last year and has shown no improvement since October.

U.S. Travel also said that hotel bookings are down 60 percent through April 2021 and hospitality-related employment is down 39 percent, the largest industry segment to be affected by the pandemic.

And while the governor gave the green light to Disneyland, we are still awaiting guidelines on how to reopen convention centers, and hold small meetings and conferences that are a critical source of revenue to Newport Beach hotels. Newsom’s stubborn refusal to address this issue is costing businesses more than $4 billion a month (yes, a month!). It’s truly irresponsible decision-making.

That’s the bad news. On the positive side, there is true sustained optimism going forward. Americans are reporting record high excitement to travel in the near term with 56 percent ready to visit now and 54 percent of them when they perceive traveling as safe again.

More than half of Americans have already started planning a future vacation this summer as they regain confidence in visiting new places.

The other hugely important statistic comes from the Global Business Travel Association that said that 79 percent of their members and stakeholders report being comfortable traveling again for business travel after their vaccinations. And get this: 25 percent of companies plan to resume trips in the next three months which is up from 16 percent in January.

Economists have been on overdrive trying to predict what kind of recovery we have in store this year. With the $1.9 trillion COVID relief package now approved, a large infusion of cash is being injected into the system which will give the recovery flight. Couple that with record high personal savings among Americans and the economy is juiced for a huge rebound this summer.

Recall that It was one year ago this week that the country went into lockdown and Newport Beach saw its hotels witness a horrifying erosion of group meetings that occurred within a matter of days. The city saw a historic drop of occupancy in less than a month that has persisted all year.

Disneyland’s reopening is symbolic and tangible evidence that we are nearing the end of this economic nightmare. But to really get back to normal, we need the governor to greenlight the meetings industry again. California is now the only state in the nation without such guidelines and that has allowed places like Texas and Florida to capture business that should be ours.

So, thanks governor for allowing Disneyland to reopen. But you’ve got more work to do.

Gary Sherwin is President & CEO of Visit Newport Beach and Newport Beach & Company.


NB Chamber of Commerce to host “Business Connections: Virtual Networking” via Zoom

Although most people are working remotely, that doesn’t mean they still can’t get together. Join the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce’s virtual networking event via Zoom meeting on Wednesday, March 17. This free event is your chance to stay in touch with one another while still practicing social distancing.

NB Chamber faces

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce

There will also be plenty of time in breakout rooms to network.

Make your reservation, which is required, and you will receive an email with information on how to join the meeting. Go here to register.


NBPLF to feature Medicine in Our Backyard

The Newport Beach Public Library Foundation (NBPLF) in collaboration with UCI Health, will feature “Medicine in Our Backyard” with Rami Khayat, M.D., Sleep Medicine, Pulmonary Disease Specialist, on Monday, March 22 at 4 pm.

This webinar series presents an extraordinary group of renowned doctors and researchers on a wide range of topics from COVID-19 updates to integrative therapies for joint pains to weight management. The UCI doctors present the latest studies and newest technologies in an engaging public forum. 

NBPLF Khayat

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBPLF

Dr. Rami Khayat, UCI Health

Dr. Khayat will address, “Sleep in the Time of COVID.” COVID-19 has affected our sleep patterns – and the sleep problems and disorders that may develop can impact our ability to fight off infection. Disturbed sleep also affects our ability to develop immunity to vaccinations. What can we do to offset the effects from lack of sleep? Dr. Khayat will explain the signs and symptoms of sleep disorders and discuss recommended treatments.

Register for the free Zoom webinar here.


On the Harbor: Looking for some calm like our harbor waters

By LEN BOSE

Nine days before the start of this year’s Newport Harbor Yacht Club’s Cabo San Lucas Race…and my phone is blowing up. Of course, I just went into contract on my premier listing which is how it always works out when one has scheduled an offshore race.

My skipper on the Santa Cruz 50 Horizon has severe ADD and he is best known for winning most, if not all, of the Mexico races for the last 30 years. By 7 a.m., all the boat’s electronics had crashed, the running lights needed replacing and he was looking for a person with a hookah that could replace our zincs and wet sand our new bottom paint. At 7:30 a.m., we had to have all the sails off the boat and have them inspected and he was asking if he should take the online safety at sea course. At 7:45 a.m., I received a text with a recommendation to use Voltaren for my arthritis in my back. At 8 a.m., I was informed we needed to purchase a PPL test to look at the salinity of the water from our water maker, otherwise I could be slowly killing everyone. At 8:07 a.m., our emergency Man Overboard Module needs to be serviced; my skipper picked it up for me from service six weeks ago. At 8:10 a.m., I blocked his incoming messages and calls.

It’s 8:15 a.m. and the buyer of the big boat wants to move as quickly as possible and would like to close the deal before the end of next week. This is a good problem. I immediately contacted Reliable Documentation, and ordered the abstract of title, and arranged the trial run with the buyer and seller. Both agree that this Saturday works. At 8:30 a.m., the seller calls back and was reminded of a prior commitment and can we change the trial run to Sunday. All good, so I placed this on my desk until Sunday.

On the Harbor Jennifer and Len

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Larry Parker

Jennifer and Len Bose racing their Harbor 20

By 8:45 a.m., I have a deal closing and I am trying to arrange a meeting time with the seller’s brother, as the seller is skiing in Tahoe. Now I am waiting for a time to exchange proceeds for the title. My 21-year-old son calls who lent his friend his car and now it has been towed. He wants to sell the car to his friend and needs the pink slip. Do I know where the pink slip is? He will be over within the hour. My wife was leaving to start her workday and asked what I needed from my car because she needs the truck today. Also, is there anything I needed from the grocery store and what sounded good for dinner tonight? My response was two bourbon snow cones and watching the America’s Cup, which was not the answer she was looking for. Not sure what she was mumbling when she walked out the door.

It’s 9 a.m. and I am still trying to put a story together for my Stu News column and just received my second friendly reminder that my column is due. Deep breath and I ask myself: What’s new around the harbor? There is the Cabo race, but I have already written about that. Last night’s Harbor Commission meeting was uneventful, yet I assume you all picked up that our Harbormaster Kurt Borsting has decided to retire after three years and the city is looking for a replacement. Towards the end of the meeting, after the Harbormaster’s report, I raised my hand at the Zoom meeting and was quickly recognized. My observation was about the amount of discarded fishing line that was showing up wrapped around props of all the boats I have been hauling out for inspection. For some reason, this has grabbed my attention and there is much more than usual in the harbor. If you think about it, fishing is an activity you can do by yourself during these COVID times. The state of California does have a recycling program and there are a couple of stations around the harbor. Most are on the Balboa Pier that probably does not help the problem with our harbor water. I have given myself the task to hunt out these recycling stations and report back to you. I did go to the state website and noticed that the fishing lines recycling stations only number three within our harbor. One is at the Balboa Bay Club docks and the other at Bayshores Marina. My gut would tell me that these are not the fishermen we should target.

During the Harbor Commission meeting, the question was brought up on the progress of our harbor having its own Marine Recycling Center. A Marine Recycling Center is for items that are difficult to dispose of such as expired marine flares, spilled transmission fluid, engine coolant, engine oil and old batteries. These items typically end up in the blue dumpster because you have to drive to your nearest dump and pay to dispose of them. It appears this task has been tabled again and our harbor continues not to have a Marine Recycling Center. 

My kid just broke down the front door and needs his pink slip now. It’s interesting how I am much more tolerant with him now that he has moved from the house and I feel lucky to see him.

Please wish me luck on my boat deal and the Cabo race. Just unblocked my skipper: My phone tells me he is stuck at the top of the mast.

Sea ya.

~~~~~~~~

Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for Stu News Newport.


Remembering NBPD officer Bob Henry, 26 years after being killed in the line of duty

Remembering Bob Henry

Courtesy of NBPD

NBPD Officer Bob Henry

On March 12, 1995 at 4:08 a.m., Bob Henry, a Newport Beach Police officer was shot in the line of duty while checking on a drunk and despondent suspect at 16th Street and Dover Drive, near the area that is now known as Bob Henry Park.

Officer Henry came across the suspect who identified himself with a military ID card. The suspect, Carlos Caicedo, 24, of Garden Grove, then opened fire with a handgun he apparently had concealed underneath his shirt, striking Henry.

When Newport Beach Police arrived following a call for “shots fired,” they found Officer Henry underneath the body of Caicedo. Caicedo, who suffered from four gunshot wounds from both his and Henry’s guns, died shortly thereafter.

The suspect had a blood-alcohol level of 0.16, and left a note asking for forgiveness and expressing sadness for the breakup of his marriage and the loss of contact with his son.

Officer Henry remained in a coma before succumbing to his wounds one month later on April 13, 1995 at the age of 30.

More than 2,000 people attended a funeral for Henry that took place at Arrowhead Pond.

He had proudly served the NBPD agency for five years and was survived by his wife, son and two daughters.


Split council approves wine tasting rooms in West Newport Mesa neighborhood

By SARA HALL

With a few members on the fence during the discussion, a split Newport Beach City Council ultimately approved wine tasting rooms in an industrial zoning district in the West Newport Mesa neighborhood.

On Tuesday, March 9, Council voted 4-3, with Mayor Brad Avery, and members Diane Dixon and Marshall “Duffy” Duffield dissenting.

Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon was the strongest voice of support on the dais.

“That area is going to be changing,” he said, “and I don’t understand why that change necessarily has to happen in a certain way. I think change can happen in different ways.”

The zoning code amendment will allow wine tasting rooms, subject to the approval of a conditional use permit, in the industrial zone district. The district is in the southwest portion of the city, near Placentia Avenue and 16th Street, along the Costa Mesa border.

When the item was on the agenda in August, some council members were concerned regarding the potential proliferation of wine tasting rooms in the area and directed staff to add in an additional 500-foot separation between wine tasting rooms and develop public benefit findings to address concerns related to potential “spot zoning.” They also asked staff to conduct more public outreach. The ordinance also includes requirements for parking and a 500-foot separation from schools.

This is not the first time NB City Council has considered an alcohol tasting room ordinance for the area.

It’s déjà vu, said Councilmember Diane Dixon.

In May 2018, a slightly different council lineup unanimously denied a similar amendment to the zoning code. At the time, several members thought the amendment could set an inappropriate precedent and open the door to allowing more bars in the area. There was also concern that the hours of operation were too extensive and it was too close to schools. Some of the same concerns were raised Tuesday with the recent amendment.

While the item was about wine tasting rooms in general, one specific business was at the center of the discussion: Orange Coast Winery (OCW), owned by husband and wife, Peter and Sheri Swanson. 

Split Council Winery

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Orange Coast Winery at 869 W. 16th Street

About a dozen people spoke on Tuesday during public comment, most in favor of the ordinance and supporters of Orange Coast Winery. Several were local business owners or residents in the neighborhood. They noted that OCW is a fun, safe and quiet business. It’s not a bar or bar-like at all, they emphasized. They liked the idea of having this type of facility in their own backyard.

Representing Orange Coast Winery, local attorney Phil Greer responded to some of the key concerns. It’s not a bar and no food or entertainment are allowed, Greer emphasized. The Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control Type 2 license allows them to offer only one brand of wine from one vineyard.

“(Findings indicate that) there are public benefits to having a facility like this over there,” Greer said.

Although not everyone was a fan of the idea.

Rezoning the entire district to accommodate one business that is currently out of compliance does not make sense, said Ian Elliot of Elliott/Pattison Sailmakers, a neighboring business on Production Place.

“Why would the city spend so much time and effort for the benefit of this one business?” Elliot questioned. “You don’t need to rezone our area to fix their problem.”

There was a lot of talk about changing the zoning of the district through the General Plan update currently underway. This is the appropriate process, several agreed. Although city staff noted that the land use element would take at least a year or two to get through.

This area of the city is ready to welcome change in the general plan designation, but it should be integrated holistically into the land use element update, Dixon said.

“I support that. Let’s bring in a whole new concept of mixed-use, industrial, quasi-residential,” if that’s what people want after the public vetting process, she said. But “why are we doing this? Picking this apart for one business?”

“I agree with what everyone said, it’s a lovely place, it’s a nice place, but it is not permitted,” Dixon said.

In 2011, OCW entered the property as a manufacturer of wine on-site, which the zoning allowed. They no longer manufacture the wine on-site, which is in conflict with the city’s zoning code (the fact that the state’s ABC Type 2 license allows production off-site is irrelevant to the city code).

The previous owner expanded to the second adjoining bay in 2015.

“I think you have to be very clear about who did what,” Greer said.

In 2018, OCW approached city staff because they wanted to expand into a third bay. While reviewing the plans, staff identified the use and recognized that it was in conflict with the zoning.

Peter Swanson started as general manager in 2017 and purchased the building in 2019. After buying the business, Swanson started talking to the city, and planning and fire departments about how to comply with current ordinances, Greer said.

In 2019, city staff started code enforcement, which included noticing and citations. Since then, because council initiated the prospective zoning change and considering the impact of COVID-19, staff suspended any citations.

Staff could issue a limited, short-term, temporary permit to allow the business to continue, but Orange Coast Winery is also not in compliance with fire safety code since expanding to the second bay. In order to bring it up to code for fire safety, they need to add fire sprinklers. But without commitment from the city that the zoning would be changed to allow the business (considering that without it the company may have to move), OCW doesn’t want to invest the money into new fire sprinklers. And the limited permit would not last long enough for the general plan land use element to complete its update.

If they didn’t expand, which would reduce the occupant capacity, they could possibly be compliant with the fire code without adding any fire sprinklers, Community Development Director Seimone Jurjis said. They would still need to submit plans and apply for a conditional use permit, but they could possibly operate in that smaller space.

Muldoon said one of the best things that government can do is help a business survive. He’s gotten to know the owners and has been to the establishment, which he called “incredibly tame.” He’d much rather go through this process to save a business, than have the process cause a business to no longer exist, Muldoon added.

“I don’t believe the rigid thinking that if it doesn’t fit in this box it can’t be done,” Muldoon said.

Other councilmembers were on the fence on the issue.

“I think all of us up here would like to find a way where we could do both simultaneously but there’s just no way to do that,” Avery said. “Where do we draw a line here?”


Upcoming events at Seaside Gallery & Goods

Seaside Gallery & Goods is offering a variety of classes and workshops throughout March and April. Here’s some happenings to spur on your creative talents and energy.

Upcoming ukulele

Photos courtesy of Seaside Gallery & Goods

Whether you are a novice or advanced ukulele player, come make some music and new friends

Learn to Play, Ukulele!: Saturday, March 13 from 10-11 a.m. Cost: $20 per class (First class is free with the purchase of a ukulele). Bring a friend or make a friend through music. Take advantage of one-on-one coaching and learn one new song each month. For those who are more advanced, they will cover music theory, note reading and scales. Taught by husband and wife team Kim and Pat O’Brien; Kim is a classically trained musician and Pat is a campfire musician. Pat will cover the basics and Kim will be there to answer questions and discuss theory. Reservations must be made 48 hours in advance. Cancellation is 48 hours prior and may be changed or canceled due to weather. Social distancing and mask wearing is required, and temperature will be taken at time of check-in.

Upcoming candles

Create two soy wax candles and learn how to make an embedded shamrock or butterfly motif

Spring/Shamrock Embedded Candle Workshop: Sunday, March 14 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Cost: $55. Join this fun and interactive soy wax candle making workshop with Michelle Bendetti of Bramble & Co Candles with a special Spring/Shamrock theme. Price includes everything you need to make two soy wax candles in your choice of her popular Nordic white vessels or tumbler containers. And for this class only – learn to do an embedded shamrock or butterfly candle. Bendetti will introduce you to special fragrances created just for this class. Instruction takes place in the Pelican Courtyard. You will learn all about different waxes, wick sizes, pouring temperature and candle curing. COVID restrictions will be followed. Cancellation is 48 hours prior. 

Upcoming teatime floral

Design a unique teatime floral arrangement, complete with teapot, teacup and saucer with a botanical tea sampler

Teatime Floral Arranging: Friday, March 19 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Cost: $65. Join instructor Dawn Mones of Sunrise Blooms as she teaches you how to arrange pastel Spring blooms for your next tea party. Every participant receives a bucket of flowers, a fully functional teapot and teacup with saucer, and a sampler of botanical teas to take home. This class will give you tips on how to design your color palette, choose the right types of flowers, and how to arrange flowers in a naturalistic, organic way. Maximum 12 people. Reservations must be made 48 hours in advance. Cancellation is 48 hours prior and may be changed or canceled due to weather. Social distancing and mask wearing is required, and 

temperature will be taken at time of check-in.

Upcoming charcuterie

Click on photo for a larger image

Create an artistic and appetizing cheese and charcuterie board

The Art of Charcuterie: Friday, March 19 from 3-4:30 p.m. Cost: $65. Learn to create a dazzling cheese and charcuterie board for your friends and family with the help of instructor Emmy Rener. During this workshop, you will learn the technique of laying out your provisions in an artistic form, the necessary items every cheeseboard must have and how to incorporate little details making your masterpiece come alive. Rener will lead a demo first, showing you how to create this and then you will get to craft your very own board and take it home with you. They provide all the materials (including creative juices: wine) and all they ask is that you bring your artistic taste and curating hands. Minimum 5; maximum 15 people. Reservations must be made 48 hours in advance. Cancellation is 48 hours prior and may be changed or canceled due to weather. Social distancing and mask wearing is required, and temperature will be taken at time of check-in.

Upcoming block printing

Click on photo for a larger image

Explore the art of hand block printing using traditional techniques (photo from a previous workshop)

Spring Block Printing: Saturday, March 27 from 1:45-4 p.m. Cost: $65. Join this fun and immersive block-printing workshop with Elizabeth James of Pacific & Rose Textiles. Explore the art of hand block printing using traditional techniques. She’ll show you step by step her Jaipur printing unit and India travels. You’ll be working with a Spring color palette of freshly mixed inks printing two large flour sack tea towels or scarves. Don’t worry, no prior experience is needed. Nibbles & beverages will be served. Vintage woodblocks are available for purchased. Instruction takes place in the Pelican Courtyard. Minimum 6; maximum 16 people. Reservations must be made 48 hours in advance. Cancellation is 48 hours prior and may be changed or canceled due to weather. Social distancing and mask wearing is required, and temperature will be taken at time of check-in.

Upcoming spring floral

Click on photo for a larger image

Design an attractive Easter brunch floral centerpiece with luxury blooms

Spring Floral Centerpiece: Friday, April 2 or Saturday, April 3 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. Cost: $65. Join instructor Dawn Mones of Sunrise Blooms who will teach you how to make a lovely centerpiece with fresh Spring flowers that would be perfect for an Easter brunch. Each participant receives a bucket of blooms, a compote vase and a worksheet to take home. You will be arranging with luxury blooms like garden roses, Dutch tulips and sweet peas. Maximum 12 people. Reservations must be made 48 hours in advance. Cancellation is 48 hours prior and may be changed or canceled due to weather. Social distancing and mask wearing is required, and temperature will be taken at time of check-in.

Register for these classes and workshops at the website at www.seasidegalleryandgoods.com.

Seaside Gallery & Goods is located at 124 Tustin Ave., #100, Newport Beach.


Local author releases new companion guided journal for parents, children to share

SoCal-based author and attorney M.C. Sungaila, a Newport Beach resident, has announced the release of an all-new companion journal that will accompany her successful book series, Mother’s Thoughts for Day: Twenty-Five Years of Wisdom®️. The series, which compiles decades of her own mother’s wisdom delivered daily by handwritten letter and later by text message, was written to strengthen family bonds and inspire readers – particularly women and girls – to achieve their dreams. The newest addition to the inspirational book series gives readers an opportunity to share their own advice with their children in a keepsake volume. 

The author’s newest guided journal, Mothers Thoughts for the Day: Create Your Own Collection of Loving Wisdom® is now available for presale.

Local author Sungaila

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photos

Social writer M.C. Sungaila

The first book in the series, Mother’s Thoughts for the Day®, an IPPY Silver Medal winner in the gift book category, shares more than 25 years of inspiring and motivating quotes and motherly advice sent by her mother every day from the outset of Sungaila’s legal career. “The letters came to my office by ‘snail mail’ for many years. Alongside business mail, each day, there would be a letter on stationery with ‘Mother’s Thoughts for the Day’ emblazoned across the top and a positive quote or inspiring observation,” said Sungaila.

Those letters made a difference for her in remaining resilient on tough days and succeeding in her career, and she thought others would benefit from the advice too. 

“My mother has a very strong instinct about the exact words each person needs to hear at any particular moment in their life to help elevate and inspire them,” said Sungaila, a Chambers-ranked Orange County-based appellate lawyer and firmwide chair of Buchalter’s appellate practice group who has been named one of California’s Top 100 Women Lawyers by the Daily Journal for more than a decade. “I recognized the impact her words had on my life and thought perhaps someone else may need to hear the exact words that inspired me, which is where the idea for creating this series came from,” Sungaila shared.

In 2020, the second book of the series, More Mother’s Thoughts for the Day®, was released, which expands on the beautiful demonstration of a mother-daughter relationship and provides more support and motivation for others to achieve their dreams. Merchandise featuring fan-favorite quotes from the books – mugs, totes, posters, pillows, and T-shirts – launched earlier this year. 

Local author Mother's Thoughts book cover

Click on photo for a larger image

M.C. Sungaila’s newest book in the series

Each book has benefitted a local charity. A portion of the sales of the first book supported the Pacific Symphony’s arts education program, which provides people of all ages and circumstances with lifelong musical experiences and opportunities. Sungaila serves on the Pacific Symphony board of directors’ executive committee. Both books have benefitted Sir Bruno Serato’s Caterina’s Club, a nonprofit organization that provides warm meals, affordable housing assistance and job training to homeless and low-income families throughout Southern California. 

For more information, visit www.mothersthoughtsfortheday.com.


Chamber’s Government Affairs committee to feature City Manager Grace Leung on March 18

Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung will be the featured guest at the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce’s March Government Affairs Committee meeting, scheduled virtually for Thursday, March 18 from 8-9:15 a.m.

The Government Affairs Committee highlights local political and legislative issues impacting business and the community as a whole. It regularly features a guest speaker with an interactive format allowing for a Q&A.

To register for the meeting go here.

Leung will offer updates on upcoming plans and budget items for the city, discuss homelessness issues and more.

Chamber s Grace Leung

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Grace Leung

Leung became city manager of Newport Beach in September 2018 and is responsible for the city’s day-to-day operations, directing a staff of some 730 full-time and 450 part-time employees, while overseeing 11 departments and managing an annual operating budget of nearly $210 million.

She began her career in Long Beach, before moving on and spending 18 years in Sunnyvale specializing in municipal finance, budgeting and administration. While there, she developed their city’s performance-based budget and its 20-year financial plan and served as finance director for six years.

Following Sunnyvale, she moved onto Irvine serving as its administrative services director, but was soon promoted to assistant city manager and finally to acting city manager. She oversaw the city’s operations and led its Administrative Services, Community Services, Community Development, Transportation and Public Works departments.

Leung holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in Urban Studies and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is a member of the International City Managers’ Association.

She and her husband, Jim, have two children, Skylar and Miles. Her hobbies include supporting her children in their activities, volunteering with Skylar through National Charity League, and outrigger canoeing in Newport Harbor.


COVID-19: 139 new cases and 33 new deaths reported in OC, 7 new cases and 1 new death in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,379 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 33 new deaths reported today (March 11). There have been 70 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date, including one new death reported today.

The county reported 139 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 248,217 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 33.1 percent. 68 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 252 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-25 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 67 are in ICU (-6 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,645 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including seven new cases reported today and 28 new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 238,305 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 3 11 21 1

COVID 19 County 3 11 21 2

COVID 19 County 3 11 21 3

COVID 19 County 3 11 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 11, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 56 new cases and 33 new deaths reported in OC, 2 new cases in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,346 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 33 new deaths reported today (March 10). There have been 69 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The county reported 56 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 248,078 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 32.8 percent. 68 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 277 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-6 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 73 are in ICU (-4 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,638 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including two new cases reported today and 24 new cases reported since last Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates 237,859 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 3 10 21 1

COVID 19 County 3 10 21 2

COVID 19 County 3 10 21 3

COVID 19 County 3 10 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 10, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


Foley appears to win Supervisor seat in Special Election

With the polls closed and 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Democrat Katrina Foley, currently the Mayor of Costa Mesa, appears headed for the win in the Special Election race for the Orange County 2nd Supervisorial District seat. Foley has 42,347 votes or 44.28 percent, easily out-distancing former State Senator John Moorlach, a Republican, who trails with 29,628 votes or 30.98 percent.

Other candidates include Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon, also a Republican, with just 10,745 votes or 11.24 percent and Fountain Valley Mayor Michael Vo with 8,639 votes or 9.03 percent. Trailing the pack is Corona del Mar attorney Janet Rappaport who has 4,266 or 4.46 percent.

Speculation that three Republicans in the race would hurt their party’s overall chances are proving correct, as Moorlach, Muldoon and Vo have combined for over 51 percent of the overall vote.

The results point to a Foley win.

Reports show a low turnout of just 23.4 percent of registered voters.

The Special Election resulted when Michelle Steel won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in November and then vacated her Supervisor seat in early January.


BREAKING NEWS:

Battery suspects identified

On Saturday, March 6 at 10:11 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD) dispatch center received a call for a physical fight in the area of Balboa Blvd. East and Main Street. Officers responded to the area and subsequently found one male adult with serious injuries. He was transported to the hospital in stable condition. The juvenile male suspects fled the area prior to officers arriving on scene. 

Through the involvement of media, local citizens and detective follow-up, all parties involved in this incident have been identified. The NBPD would like to thank everyone that provided information to detectives about this incident. The investigation is still open and ongoing. Due to this incident involving juveniles, the NBPD is unable to provide further details regarding this investigation. 

Anyone who has additional information on this case is encouraged to contact Detective Gamble at 949.644.3771 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Foley appears to win Supervisor seat in Special Election

With the polls closed and 100 percent of the precincts reporting, Democrat Katrina Foley, currently the Mayor of Costa Mesa, appears headed for the win in the Special Election race for the Orange County 2nd Supervisorial District seat. Foley has 41,582 votes or 45.12 percent, easily out-distancing former State Senator John Moorlach, a Republican, who trails with 27,971 votes or 30.35 percent.

Other candidates include Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon, also a Republican, with just 10,139 votes or 11 percent and Fountain Valley Mayor Michael Vo with 8,255 votes or 8.96 percent. Trailing the pack is Corona del Mar attorney Janet Rappaport who has 4,210 or 4.57 percent.

Speculation that three Republicans in the race would hurt their party’s overall chances are proving correct, as Moorlach, Muldoon and Vo have combined for more than 50 percent of the overall vote.

The results point to a Foley win.

Reports show a low turnout of just 23.4 percent of registered voters.

The Special Election resulted when Michelle Steel won a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in November and then vacated her Supervisor seat in early January.


COVID-19: 108 new cases and 61 new deaths reported in OC, 3 new cases in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,313 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 61 new deaths reported today (March 9). There have been 69 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The county reported 108 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 248,022 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 34.7 percent. 68 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 283 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-5 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 77 are in ICU (-7 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,636 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including three new cases reported today and 27 new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

The county estimates 237,416 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 3 9 21 1

COVID 19 County 3 9 21 2

COVID 19 County 3 9 21 3

COVID 19 County 3 9 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 9, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


“Newport Beach in the Rearview Mirror” on the Buffalo Ranch by podcaster Bill Lobdell

Bill Lobdell, former Daily Pilot editor and Los Angeles Times journalist, has launched a podcast called “Newport Beach in the Rearview Mirror,” which looks at historical events and people – famous and forgotten – that shaped Newport Beach. You can listen and subscribe to the podcast at http://newportbeach-podcast.com. You can also follow “Newport Beach in the Rearview Mirror” on Instagram (@newport_in_the_rearview_mirror) and Facebook (@NewportInTheRearviewMirror). 

In his most recent podcast, Lobdell revisits Newport Beach’s quirky, beloved, doomed-from-the-start and (by today’s standards) wildly politically incorrect Newport Harbor Buffalo Ranch.

Newport Beach Bill with park sign

Courtesy of Bill Lobdell

Bill Lobdell with the Buffalo Hills Park sign located in the Port Streets

The “Where the Buffalo Roamed in Newport Beach” episode reveals, among other things:

–Why the short-lived tourist attraction never had a chance.

–The little-known fact that the Buffalo Ranch’s biggest draw (besides the bison) turned out to be a fraud.

–The political incorrectness that simply made the Buffalo Ranch an operation of its time.

–The cost of a buffalo burger and where the meat came from.

–The places in Newport-Mesa you can find remnants of, or tributes to, the Buffalo Ranch.

Newport Beach Buffalo roam

Historical photos, courtesy of OC Archives

When the buffalo used to roam Newport Beach

The episode’s highlight may be the interview with author and local historian Duncan Forgey, who fondly recounts attending a birthday party at the Buffalo Ranch as a 9-year-old boy. 

Newport Beach Buffalo Ranch

The Buffalo Ranch 

Newport Beach Buffalo Ranch menu

The Buffalo Ranch menu…look what $1 would buy you

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for connecting to Bill Lobdell’s future podcasts in Stu News.


COVID-19: 163 new cases and 26 new deaths reported in OC, 3 new cases and 1 new death in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,252 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 26 new deaths reported yesterday (March 8). There have been 69 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date, including one new death reported yesterday.

The county reported 163 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 247,914 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 33.9 percent. 68 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 288 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-8 since Sunday’s report – includes ICU); 84 are in ICU (-5 since Sunday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,633 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including three new cases reported yesterday and 26 new cases reported since last Monday’s report.

The county estimates 236,960 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 3 8 21 1

COVID 19 County 3 8 21 2

COVID 19 County 3 8 21 3

COVID 19 County 3 8 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 8, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Republicans running against Republicans seems to clear the path for Foley in today’s supervisor race

Fair Game Tom Johnson newLRThe campaign for Orange County’s 2nd Supervisorial District race comes to a conclusion after two short months with today’s Special Election. Residents who have yet to vote can still go to the polls to have their voices heard for who they want to replace the departed Michelle Steel.

The choice is between five candidates that include former State Senator John Moorlach, Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon, Fountain Valley Mayor Michael Vo, Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley and Corona del Mar attorney Janet Rappaport.

Here are statements or comments each taken from one of the candidate’s own personal campaign webpages:

–“These are turbulent times, and Orange County must take steps to prepare for what could be a very difficult financial picture in 2021.”

–“Champion fiscal responsibility, aid and support our small businesses and local economy, and support and increase robust public safety efforts.”

–“Opposes tax hikes, strong supporter of Prop. 13, pro law enforcement and public safety, and dedicated to working with businesses to safely reopen.”

–“Committed to bringing back civility, transparent decision-making, conservative use of tax dollars and restoring our community.”

–“Addressing the homelessness crisis and housing, equality and justice, transparency and accountability for taxpayers, and protecting our environment.”

Do any of them strike a chord for you without knowing their connection to a candidate? 

Well, the first referring to “turbulent times” is from Moorlach; the second one championing “fiscal responsibility” is from Vo; Muldoon “opposes tax hikes and Prop. 13;” while Rappaport promotes “civility and transparent decision-making;” leaving “homelessness, equality and the environment” to Foley.

Would it change your mind if you hadn’t filed your ballot? Doubtful.   

As I said, it’s been a quick campaign. Former Supervisor Steel, who won a seat as the U.S. House Representative for California’s 48th District, vacated her supervisor’s seat in the initial days of January. 

Here’s what followed, the Republican Party of Orange County did their best to jump out early and quickly endorsed Moorlach in an attempt to ward off other party challengers. The plan didn’t work. Muldoon, who has all along positioned himself for a 2022 Supervisorial run, also jumped in, as did Vo. The decisions of both ended a united front for the party.

It also split campaign fundraising paths. Recent records show that Moorlach led the three with $320,000 raised, while Muldoon gathered almost $290,000. Vo wasn’t really a factor with only $65,000 that went along with two personal loans to himself for $150,000.

Still, no matter who wins today they can’t get too comfortable in their new office because they’re going to have to run all over again for re-election in 2022.

Personal opinion is that that is why Muldoon decided to run and muck things up, virtually ruining his party’s chances to gain the office this time around. He always has pointed to 2022, so his feeling might be that this effort potentially removes Moorlach and Vo from another run, leaving in his mind the ability to focus one-on-one against Foley in 2022.

Because, when I think about it, Muldoon obviously wants to stay in politics. With his city council slot expiring in two years, where else but supervisor can he really turn to? Think about it, Dave Min is set at state senate for six years; Muldoon’s not going to replace Steel; Diane Dixon has already announced for another run against Cottie Petrie-Norris in two years for Assembly, leaving nowhere else for him to go.

Unfortunately, a clear run next time against Foley certainly isn’t guaranteed, when there’s bound to be others also waiting in the wings for their shot then.

And it’s hard to argue that Foley isn’t the hardest-working campaigner and fundraiser of the bunch, and, if she wins this time, she will certainly seem to be the favorite running for re-election.

• • •

Like many people, I’ve now had both of my COVID-19 vaccination shots. So, what does that really mean? How safe am I? What can I or can’t I do?

Well, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has just released new information and guidelines for people in a similar position.

First off, people are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after the second dose in a two-dose series, like Pfizer or Moderna, and also two weeks after single-dose vaccines, such as Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen vaccine. If it hasn’t been two weeks, or if you’ve just had one of two shots in a series, you are NOT considered fully protected.

In all cases, it doesn’t hurt to get it, and people are still encouraged to continue taking all precautions in public places such as wearing marks, staying six feet apart, washing hands regularly, and avoiding crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.

But what you can do now, if fully vaccinated, is to gather indoors with other fully vaccinated people without wearing a mask or gather indoors with a small group of unvaccinated people from one other household (an example of this is visiting relatives who all live together) also without wearing a mask. 

Can you imagine actually enjoying other people’s smiles and expressions again?

Also, if you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested, unless you have symptoms.

Vaccinated or not, though, if you start feeling the symptoms of COVID-19, get tested and get under a doctor’s care.


CDPH offers guidelines for youth and recreational adult sports practices to begin

On Thursday, March 4, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released an update to its outdoor and indoor youth and recreational adult sports guidance which specifies the conditions under which youth and adult recreational sports may resume practice with contact and competition under the Blueprint for a Safer Economy.

The guidance has been updated to authorize any youth or adult recreational sports team, including indoor sports, to begin practice with contact and competition at any time if they adhere to the specific requirements applicable to college sports under the COVID-19 Industry Guidance for Institutions of Higher Education.

“Our top priority is supporting youth sports to safely return to play, guided by science,” said Dr. Tomás J. Aragón, CDPH director and State Public Health officer. “Our previous guidance accomplished this by allowing competition in sports with lower risk of transmission to begin sooner if conducted outdoors, which is lower risk than indoors.”

Thursday’s update specifies that teams can return to competition earlier than otherwise authorized under the previous guidance, which was issued on February 19, but only if they adhere to the stricter requirements in place for college teams. The previous guidance, which incorporated mitigation steps that can reasonably be implemented by youth and amateur teams that do not have the same resources available to them as professional and college teams, has no additional substantive changes.

As the updated guidance reflects, college teams are subject to rigorous testing requirements around each competition for contact sports, teams in all sports must have contact tracing protocols in place and coordinate with local health authorities, and all teams must develop site-specific plans for each facility the team uses, among other requirements not applicable to youth and recreational teams.

This update resolves uncertainty created by a court order issued in a lawsuit recently filed in San Diego, which created significant confusion for youth and their families and led to rushed returns to competition that put young people’s health at risk. This update also helps to ensure no one is unnecessarily distracted from the important work of supporting youth sports to safely return to play.

This update does not generally authorize indoor youth sports to resume. Rather, teams can return to competition only if they implement and adhere to the rigorous requirements in place for college teams.


Chamber’s Government Affairs committee to feature City Manager Grace Leung

Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung will be the featured guest at the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce’s March Government Affairs Committee meeting, scheduled virtually for Thursday, March 18 from 8-9:15 a.m.

The Government Affairs Committee highlights local political and legislative issues impacting business and the community as a whole. It regularly features a guest speaker with an interactive format allowing for a Q&A.

To register for the meeting go here.

Leung will offer updates on upcoming plans and budget items for the city, discuss homelessness issues and more.

Chamber s Grace Leung

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Grace Leung

Leung became city manager of Newport Beach in September 2018 and is responsible for the city’s day-to-day operations, directing a staff of some 730 full-time and 450 part-time employees, while overseeing 11 departments and managing an annual operating budget of nearly $210 million.

She began her career in Long Beach, before moving on and spending 18 years in Sunnyvale specializing in municipal finance, budgeting and administration. While there, she developed their city’s performance-based budget and its 20-year financial plan and served as finance director for six years.

Following Sunnyvale, she moved onto Irvine serving as its administrative services director, but was soon promoted to assistant city manager and finally to acting city manager. She oversaw the city’s operations and led its Administrative Services, Community Services, Community Development, Transportation and Public Works departments.

Leung holds a bachelor’s degree from Columbia University in Urban Studies and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She is a member of the International City Managers’ Association.

She and her husband, Jim, have two children, Skylar and Miles. Her hobbies include supporting her children in their activities, volunteering with Skylar through National Charity League, and outrigger canoeing in Newport Harbor.


Local author releases new companion guided journal for parents, children to share

SoCal-based author and attorney M.C. Sungaila, a Newport Beach resident, has announced the release of an all-new companion journal that will accompany her successful book series, Mother’s Thoughts for Day: Twenty-Five Years of Wisdom®️. The series, which compiles decades of her own mother’s wisdom delivered daily by handwritten letter and later by text message, was written to strengthen family bonds and inspire readers – particularly women and girls – to achieve their dreams. The newest addition to the inspirational book series gives readers an opportunity to share their own advice with their children in a keepsake volume. 

The author’s newest guided journal, Mothers Thoughts for the Day: Create Your Own Collection of Loving Wisdom® will be available for presale starting March 10. 

Local author Sungaila

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photos

Social writer M.C. Sungaila

The first book in the series, Mother’s Thoughts for the Day®, an IPPY Silver Medal winner in the gift book category, shares more than 25 years of inspiring and motivating quotes and motherly advice sent by her mother every day from the outset of Sungaila’s legal career. “The letters came to my office by ‘snail mail’ for many years. Alongside business mail, each day, there would be a letter on stationery with ‘Mother’s Thoughts for the Day’ emblazoned across the top and a positive quote or inspiring observation,” said Sungaila.

Those letters made a difference for her in remaining resilient on tough days and succeeding in her career, and she thought others would benefit from the advice too. 

“My mother has a very strong instinct about the exact words each person needs to hear at any particular moment in their life to help elevate and inspire them,” said Sungaila, a Chambers-ranked Orange County-based appellate lawyer and firmwide chair of Buchalter’s appellate practice group who has been named one of California’s Top 100 Women Lawyers by the Daily Journal for more than a decade. “I recognized the impact her words had on my life and thought perhaps someone else may need to hear the exact words that inspired me, which is where the idea for creating this series came from,” Sungaila shared.

In 2020, the second book of the series, More Mother’s Thoughts for the Day®, was released, which expands on the beautiful demonstration of a mother-daughter relationship and provides more support and motivation for others to achieve their dreams. Merchandise featuring fan-favorite quotes from the books – mugs, totes, posters, pillows, and T-shirts – launched earlier this year. 

Local author Mother's Thoughts book cover

Click on photo for a larger image

M.C. Sungaila’s newest book in the series

Each book has benefitted a local charity. A portion of the sales of the first book supported the Pacific Symphony’s arts education program, which provides people of all ages and circumstances with lifelong musical experiences and opportunities. Sungaila serves on the Pacific Symphony board of directors’ executive committee. Both books have benefitted Sir Bruno Serato’s Caterina’s Club, a nonprofit organization that provides warm meals, affordable housing assistance and job training to homeless and low-income families throughout Southern California. 

For more information, visit www.mothersthoughtsfortheday.com.


Newport Beach – A Look Back

Photo series courtesy of Balboa Island Museum Newport Beach

Newport Beach A Look Back 3.9.21

Click on photo for a larger image

Prior to the construction of the Balboa Island Methodist Church on Agate Avenue, this house at 1104 South Bay Front functioned as a Methodist Church, circa 1922

Balboa Island Museum Newport Beach and the Museum Store are located at 210 B Marine Ave., Balboa Island. They are open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free general admission on all days. Two-hour parking is available on Marine Avenue. For more information, call 949.675.3952, visit www.balboaislandmuseum.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


School Notes

Overview of tonight’s Board of Education agenda

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District’s Board of Education will meet virtually this evening (March 9) for their bi-monthly board meeting.

Some of the items on the agenda that may be of general interest are:

–A report on summer program planning that includes an overview of the elementary summer program model to support student learning in English Language Arts, English Language Development and Mathematics. This is designed to promote readiness for the 2021-2022 school year, as well as programming that provides a complete school experience that addresses the social, emotional and academic needs of students.

–The board receives the California School Employees Association initial proposal for contract reopeners for negotiations commencing 2021.

–Approval of the district’s initial proposal for contract reopeners to the California School Employees Association for negotiations commencing 2021. 

–Receive Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers’ initial proposal for successor agreement for negotiations commencing 2021.

–Approve the initial proposal for successor agreement to the Newport-Mesa Federation of Teachers for negotiations commencing 2021. 

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. and is preceded by a 2:30 p.m. Closed session.

Those wishing to attend can connect at https://nmusd.zoom.us/j/97066641484.


Magic in the making

Magic in the sunset

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Stan Sievers (Instagram @stansievers/stansieversphoto.com)

More sunsets and more special moments in Newport Beach


NBPL unveils Animal Kingdom+ mixed media: wood and watercolor by Michael Crook

The Newport Beach City Arts Commission presents Animal Kingdom+, an exhibition of mixed media wood and watercolor works by artist Michael Crook, on display now at the Newport Beach Central Library gallery through May 7, during the library’s modified operating hours.

NBPL A Little Nip for Mom Michael Crook

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBPL

“A Little Nip for Mom” by artist Michael Crook

Crook creates hand-carved wildlife art pieces from various types of hardwoods and hand-paints them using opaque watercolors. Born in Lincoln, Neb., and raised in Sierra Madre, Calif., Crook has worked in various media, including painting and drawing, photography, silversmithing, stained glass, ceramics, printmaking and woodworking.

While serving in the Army in the late 1960s, he was a combat artist in Vietnam. His works from that time are now the property of the Military History Department of the U.S. Army and were, at one time, displayed at the Pentagon. Since 1994, he has participated in many art shows around Southern California, including 18 years at the Art-A-Fair in Laguna Beach.

Crook lives in Newport Beach with his wife Pamela and their cat, Coal.

Central Library is located at 1000 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach. For more information, visit www.newportbeachlibrary.org.


Just two days left to purchase tickets for the 47th Annual CdM Home Tour, so don’t miss out

There are just two days left to purchase your tickets for the 47th Annual Home Tour, “Wake Me Up in Newport,” which is being viewed virtually this year. Featuring six stunning homes located throughout Newport Beach and Corona del Mar neighborhoods, it has received great reviews. This year’s Presenting Sponsors are Barclay Butera Interiors and VALIA Properties.

Each residence shares its own unique story and design, with attention to detail throughout. There’s a cliffside family home with interior funicular railway in Big Corona Beach, a subterranean spa exuding subtle sophistication in Cameo Shores, a Buck Gully hideaway with access to private beaches in Corona Highlands, a Santa Barbara-inspired family home with a cozy outdoor patio on Balboa Island, a timeless Hamptons-style “farmhouse” in Shore Cliffs and a new remodel with harbor views in Irvine Terrace. 

Just two days Cooper Strelow artwork

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of CdM Home Tour

Student artist Cooper Strelow, a junior at CdMHS, created this colored pencil sketch of the newly remodeled Irvine Terrace home, one of the six residences on this year’s virtual Home Tour

Highlights of the Virtual Home Tour: Drive the streets of Corona del Mar with CdM PTA President Julie Means as she travels to each of the homes on the Home Tour. Renowned designer Barclay Butera offers a rare glimpse into his home and shares his design expertise for adding interesting touches to any room, while prominent designers Wendy Blackband and Brooke Wagner share their custom designs and professional secrets for making any home a personal sanctuary.

Several tutorials from local experts are featured including personal chef Jimmy Stafford of Stafford Prime, beverage consultant Mike West and from Sherman Library & Gardens, Horticulture Director Erin Aguiar.

Chef Jimmy takes us through the steps to make Green Chile Chicken Tacos complemented deliciously by West’s refreshing Verde Fresca made beachside with pineapple, coconut and cucumber, while Aguiar provides the history of Sherman Library & Gardens and designs a door hanging with herbs from the garden. 

Tickets: General Price - $60, which unlocks viewing access to the Home Tour program on one device (laptop, tablet, or PC). You can upgrade to the VIP Bundle for $100, which includes one Home Tour ticket, one VIP gift box (exclusive event souvenirs from local merchants), one neighborhood ad listing on the Home Tour’s website and a keepsake hard copy of the Home Tour Resource Guide featuring photos and descriptions of each of the homes as well as student artists’ renderings of the homes, designers, the many generous and dedicated sponsors, recipes from Chef Jimmy and Mike West and so much more. Some of the most important members of the CdM family are featured in the Pet Pages proudly sponsored by The Bone Adventure specializing in dog daycare, boarding, grooming and a swim club.

In addition, VIPs receive a cookbook of teacher-contributed recipes, whereby each home “visit” shows a small handful of different recipes from the collection. VIPs also receive an eye shade sporting this year’s theme.

{youtube}-5peslFm91k{/youtube}

Courtesy of CdM Home Tour

Check out the Home Tour’s highlight reel for a “sneak peek” of the homes

Take a pleasant break from home viewing and order lunch from Le Pain Quotidien in Fashion Island or Café Jardin at Sherman Library & Gardens. A percentage of the sales goes to the CdM schools. Enjoy entertainment from the CdM Drum Line and CdMMS Triton Cheer Team, and the sounds of student composer Lena Pham (junior) playing “Sunrise,” her original composition on the piano, and student vocalist Isabella Walsh (senior) singing “Home” by Phillip Phillips. 

During the tour, check out CdM students Piper and Cooper Blackband featured at their Balboa Island home, as well as Jackson Jaha, Savannah Harper and Lucas Phillips who are featured at the Cameo Shores home representing the CdM Theatre Program.

The Virtual Boutique offers a variety of specialty shops donating a percentage of their sales to the Corona del Mar PTA, so check it out online. 

Tickets for the virtual Home Tour can be purchased on the website at www.CDMHomeTour.org.

“Thank you for the commitment and dedication of the CdM PTA and Home Tour committee,” said Gina Jaha, Home Tour co-chair. “And a special thanks to Andria Strelow, Kelly Brennan, Julie Means and Brigid Cianfrani who have gone above and beyond, making it an experience to remember. It’s a true labor of love for me! The CdM Home Tour has been my favorite event for years and a way for me to give back to the community and our students. Thanks also to the Stu News community for their support.”

All ticket purchases support crucial CdM PTA programs such as teacher grants, student services and technology upgrades. The Home Tour is the only PTA fundraiser of the year.


Orange County Restaurant Week continues 

Orange County Restaurant Week, one the region’s most celebrated culinary events for more than a decade, continues through Saturday, March 13. More than 100 restaurants are participating in OC Restaurant Week, offering diners a wide variety of options, from casual and family-friendly establishments, to upscale and fine dining. In addition to thoughtfully crafted prix-fixe menus, OC Restaurant Week 2021 is designed to appeal to a wide range of diners, with something for everyone, including Date Night, Family Meals and Global Dining options. This year, the Cocktails of Restaurant Week showcase unique creations featuring Maker’s Mark, Hornitos Tequila and Licor 43. Diners have the opportunity to search the list of participating restaurants by name, location, price point and distinct offerings at www.ocrestaurantweek.com

Orange County Billy's

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Billy’s at the Beach

Enjoy a world-famous Mai Tai paired with Billy’s Beach Burger, a half-pound seasoned Angus beef patty on a sesame bun served with a choice of cheese, lettuce, tomato, onion, French fries and a pickle spear during OC Restaurant Week. Available for patio dining only.

Among the participating restaurants are these in Newport Beach and Corona del Mar: Billy’s at the Beach, Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, Canaletto, Cappy’s Café, Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens, Fleming’s Steakhouse, Great Maple, Lighthouse Café, Mayur Cuisine of India, Rockin Baja Lobster, Sushi Roku, Tackle Box, Ten Asian Bistro, The Beachcomber Café, The Bungalow Restaurant, The Quiet Woman, Woody’s Wharf and Zinqué.

“OC Restaurant Week is the ultimate celebration of our local restaurants and communities – two things that go hand-in-hand,” said Pamela Waitt, president of the OC Restaurant Association. “With restaurants in Southern California limited in their on-site dining capabilities, this year’s OC Restaurant Week focuses on our chefs’ and restaurateurs’ talent and creativity as the industry continues to navigate one of the most tumultuous times the culinary industry has experienced.” 

Following OC Restaurant Week, the Orange County Restaurant Association’s, “The Taste, Explore & Experience Tour 2021,” continues with additional culinary events designed to encourage diners to support their local restaurants. Confirmed events to date include Margarita Crawl (March 21-27), Brunch Week (May 16-22) and Burer Week (July 11-17).

For general information, participation information, sponsorship opportunities, or membership in the Orange County Restaurant Association, visit www.OCRestaurantAssociation.org.


The “mean” streets of Old Newport

By DUNCAN FORGEY

“Delinquents” have been portrayed by Peter Fonda, Sal Mineo and Marlon Brando telling stories of disjointed adolescents. The movies West Side Story and The Warriors dramatize angry and defiant teenagers in big cities, while in Newport “adorable little beach kids” go from making sandcastles on the beach to risky and dangerous behavior in the blink of an eye. Even with all the perks of living in one of California’s wealthiest cities many fall through the cracks.    

Most youth seek out cliques, groups, sports and activities that make them feel a part of something. Musicians, jocks, surfers, those habitually high and social butterflies may seem different, but in reality, they are all simply teenagers being teenagers. 

Through their childhood, Baby Boomers watched Newport Beach transition rapidly from a small fishing resort to a well-to-do urban city. The gangs of Newport were unique to the city. 

In the 1950s, “gangs” were comprised of little kids representing each neighborhood. Pride ran deep but fun and mischief was king. With safe streets and endless freedom, youth developed friendships that exist to this day. 

The mean streets Peninsula

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Duncan Forgey

The Peninsula Point Gang

Like an Our Gang comedy, the O’Toole brothers, the Allen sisters, Ron Bouck, Rob Lovell and Bill White ran the streets of Balboa Peninsula Point. A mid-peninsula gang ruled 9th Street. These were ocean-oriented youngsters whose love of the Pacific was undeniable. Watermen like the Monteperte brothers, Jim Miller, Eddie Farwell, Larry Powell, Ralph Meyer and Tom Jewell were in the water almost as much as out. They grew up with unlimited diving and fishing, plus surfed some of the wickedest waves resulting in an independent and rough crowd.   

Lido Isle was built for resort-style living and grew rapidly after World War II.  Vacant lots were sold to white-collar families coming from out of area, bringing a ton of kids. “The Lido Gangs” roamed the streets and stradas every day until the streetlights came on. The youth thought they owned the island. Fortunate enough to have a “clubhouse” with a pool table, ping pong, swimming and summer dances, there was always a friendly place to hang out together. Lido’s east enders – the Warmington twins, Marshall clan, Fox brothers, Greg Person, Bobbie Rosso, Buster Olsen and The Dueys ganged up and competed with the west enders – Edlers, Vandervorts, Reeds, Haskells, Peter Sellas, Mike Ober, Tom Gaglia, Scott Chasin and others. Highly competitive sandlot football and baseball plus tennis, basketball and, of course, sailing unified the island creating an untold number of rivalries. Two longstanding traditions were water balloon fights over Christmas tree forts and the great Halloween Wars which pitted dozens of youngsters in grand battles. 

The mean streets Mixed

Click on photo for a larger image

A mixed party could produce some “wild” nights

West Newport possessed some of California’s best surfing beaches in the days before the groins. At Newport Point from Blackie’s all the way to the River Jetty, young Newporters honed surf skills on fast waves. This was the birthplace of street gangs who practiced pecking orders and localism. The Haworths, the Yates, Mike Marshall, Herb Torrens, Terry Smith, Pete Nickertz, Chris Marseilles, Walter Viszolay, Pete Antista, Illima Kalama and dozens of budding locals helped put Newport Beach surfing on the map. 

Balboa Island’s “gang” was small, due to the presence of many vacation homes on the Island. Future basketball star John Vallely and his cronies waged war with eggs on each other or spent time harassing out of towners. 

Newport Heights represented a blue-collar crowd of kids growing up away from the beach. They were more traditional athletes and dominated local sports for years. Known for their toughness and skills on land, the Hein brothers, the Gallants, Dennis Smith, Leonard Bond and Craig Ritter were tough competitors.   

Everywhere the “gangs” went, they found adventure and excitement. Sand dunes became a war zone, the Back Bay was a hunting ground for Indian relics, and from a very young age the Pacific Ocean was a life-altering babysitter. 

The mean streets CdM Gang

Click on photo for a larger image

The CdM Gang

For years, Horace Ensign was the only junior high school. This brought the entire town into one place until Corona del Mar High School was completed in 1962. During this time, Ensign was the epicenter for Newport’s young people as deep friendships with other kids from across town were established. 

Parents, the Scouts, churches, schools and yacht clubs pushed longstanding traditions. Baby Boomers, however, were intoxicated with a craving for independence which drove a stake through the heart of many mainstream activities. The growing car craze erupted about the same time the California surf culture shattered old lifestyles. All through the 1960s, War Babies experimented and tested limits and by the 1970s, the “Age of Aquarius” was in full swing. 

Parents, police and school authorities worked hard to contain an increasingly rebellious teenage population. Ditching school, rude language, fist fights, cigarettes, promiscuity and lots of alcohol became more common. NHHS’s Vice Principal “Bring em back Jack” and Newport Beach Police Officer Briscoll tried to stem the tide with old fashion discipline, but divorcing, absent or addicted parents were often unsuccessful in mainstreaming their boys and teaching their girls to be ladies. Despite efforts, unruly teenagers congregated in garages, around fire rings at local beaches and in parking lots of late-night coffee shops.  By high school graduation, many stayed out late, socializing, smoking and drinking.    

The meam streets The Gargoyles

Click on photo for a larger image

The Gargoyles, a well-known old car club

The first actual sign of an organized gang with criminal intent was the “Vompers” in 1962. By then, many local toughies were shipped off to Carlsbad Military Academy, private schools or relatives out of state, in an effort to keep them out of jail. As surfing and the car obsession grew, reputable service clubs sponsored youth clubs to instill good values into young people. However, the worship of longboards, woodies, hot rods and 57 Chevies turned well-meaning clubs into party central in less than a decade. The Gargoyles, Rebels, Coachmen and Nobles were the longest standing and best-known of the old car clubs. It was not long before the girls followed suit. Zeta, K.T.N., Taffy and Laura Kai were sister clubs to the boys. Combined parties and social mixing were common, often getting out of hand. The most infamous being the burning down of a Big Bear cabin after a night of revelry. Ironically, by 1972 with the heavy use of marijuana these clubs ended due to a lack in leadership.

The mean streets K.T.N

Click on photo for a larger image

K.T.N. was a sister club to the boys, 1966

During these explosive years, millions of Baby Boomers were trained in the art of self-gratification. As they have aged, this trait seems not to have been lost.  Now, their grandchildren seem to be equally as determined to change society in their favor as the 60s Kids were to change it in their favor many years ago. 

I wonder where these former “street gangsters” are now?

~~~~~~~~

Duncan Forgey, a lifelong resident of Newport Beach, now makes his home in Hawaii. He is a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.


The world according to COVID begins to show signs of reopening

Friday, March 6, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) released updates to the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy reopening framework focused on activities that can be conducted outdoors with consistent masking, two factors that are scientifically shown to reduce the risk of COVID-19 spread. The updates allow outdoor ballparks, stadiums and theme parks to open with significantly reduced capacity, mandatory masking and other public health precautions. These changes take effect April 1.

Following on the announcement of how vaccine equity will be linked to future Blueprint case rate tier changes, the CDPH announced how, guided by science, other sector changes can be introduced into the Blueprint.

“With case rates and hospitalizations significantly lower, the arrival of three highly effective vaccines and targeted efforts aimed at vaccinating the most vulnerable communities, California can begin gradually and safely bringing back more activities, especially those that occur outdoors and where consistent masking is possible,” said Dr. Mark Ghaly, secretary of the California Health and Human Services Agency. “Even with these changes, California retains some of the most robust public health protocols in the country.”

“Throughout the pandemic, California’s business community has been committed to protecting the health and safety of workers and customers – and that won’t change now,” said Dee Dee Myers, senior adviser to Governor Newsom and director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz). “We will continue to work together with our partners across all sectors of the economy, as we reopen safely, sustainably and equitably.”

Changes to the Blueprint include: 

–Outdoor sports and live performances (with fans/attendees) are eligible to begin April 1. In the Purple tier, capacity will be limited to 100 people or fewer and attendance will be limited to regional visitors. Advanced reservations will be required, and no concession or concourse sales will be allowed. In the Red tier, capacity will be limited to 20 percent. Concession sales will be primarily in-seat (no concourse sales). In the Orange tier, capacity will be limited to 33 percent and in the Yellow tier, capacity will increase to 67 percent. Attendance will be limited to in-state visitors in the Red, Orange and Yellow tiers.

–Amusement parks are eligible to reopen in the Red tier beginning April 1. Capacity will be limited to 15 percent in the Red tier. In the Orange tier, that limitation will increase to 25 percent, and then 35 percent in the Yellow tier. Attendance will be limited to in-state visitors.

California will continue to update the Blueprint periodically based on science and vaccination progress. View the updated sector chart to see which activities and businesses are allowed in each tier.


Today is the final day to cast ballots for 2nd Supervisorial seat

Today is the final day of voting for the 2nd Supervisorial District vacancy for the seat previously held by Michelle Steel. Voters can choose from Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon, Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley, Fountain Valley Mayor Michael Vo, former State Senator John Moorlach and Corona del Mar attorney Janet Rappaport.

The top vote-getter will assume office to finish the vacated term through 2022, when they will then have to run for re-election.

Residents can drop off ballots in their possession at locations in Bob Henry Park (900 Dover Drive), Newport Beach Public Library (1000 Avocado Ave.), the City parking lot near OASIS Senior Center, but not at the Senior Center (corner of 5th Ave. & Marguerite Ave.), and at a ballot box on the sidewalk on the corner of Avon St. and Riverside Ave. These locations will be available until 9 p.m. and then removed.

The only Vote Center location in the city is in the Civic Center Community Room at 100 Civic Center Drive. It will be open today from 7 a.m.-8 p.m.

More information can be found on the Orange County Registrar of Voters website.


Where the sea meets the sand

Where the wave

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Todd Walker (Instagram @twalkerphotograph/twalkerphoto.com)

Splashing into a new week in March in Newport Beach


City Manager’s Updates

From the desk of Grace Leung

Grace Leung

Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung

Community members, 

Orange County barely missed the Red Tier COVID-19 metrics this week, but the news was still very good. If the trends continue, we could expect to see fewer restrictions – and resume activities such as indoor dining with reduced capacity – as soon as this month. 

This week, Orange County’s seven-day average daily case number decreased to 7.6, an encouraging drop from last week’s 11.9 (and remember, it was in the high 60s in mid-January). The average case number needs to be 7.0 or less to enter the Red Tier, so we are very close. The other two key metrics also showed impressive improvements; in fact, those numbers are within the even less restrictive Orange Tier threshold. The county’s positivity rate (the percentage of positive tests among those tested) dropped to 3.9 percent, down from 5.4 percent last week. The health equity metric decreased to 5 percent. Under the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, Orange County must maintain Red Tier-level metrics for two weeks in order to be placed in the Red Tier. 

Here is updated vaccine information and resources as of March 5: 

–The Disneyland Super POD (point of dispensing) vaccination site was temporarily closed (last week) to be reconfigured for Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) lanes and in-car vaccinations. The reconfigured Disneyland site is expected to reopen on Monday, March 8. The site will have less capacity than the county’s other POD sites and is intended to serve people who require an ADA-accessible option. The county’s three other PODs – Anaheim Convention Center, Soka University and Santa Ana College – remain open. 

–The county is now accepting vaccination registrations by phone for those who lack access to technology. The Orange County Health Care Agency hotline at 714.834.2000 can provide assistance with Othena registration and support. Those with computer and smartphone access are still encouraged to register through the Othena.com platform. 

–The county has added a feature to the Othena platform that allows patients to manage vaccination schedules and records for multiple family members. Look for the “Family Feature” at Othena.com. 

–Vaccine eligibility in Orange County remains in Phase 1B, under state guidelines, a group that includes educators, food service, grocery and agriculture workers, child care providers and emergency services workers. The county will reevaluate expanding eligibility to more populations weekly as more vaccine doses become available. 

–Following approval by the Food and Drug Administration last weekend, Johnson & Johnson has begun shipping four million doses of its COVID-19 vaccine across the nation. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine requires only one shot and does not need ultra-cold storage. It is expected to help speed up vaccination efforts in Orange County and throughout California. 

–The county’s Othena system is not the only vaccination option, as distribution to hospitals, clinics and pharmacies increases. Even if you are registered with Othena, you can also register with the state’s “My Turn” system, administered by Blue Shield, and find other resources at this link. Orange County has developed a similar vaccine resource web page at this link: COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution Channels | Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) (ochealthinfo.com)

–You can subscribe to Orange County’s weekly OC COVID-19 Vaccine Facts newsletter at this link. Scroll down until you see the subscribe button and enter your email. 

COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach 

As of March 4, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 3,617 and the total cases in Orange County was 247,140. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of March 4 was 234,853. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health. 

New Ambassadors to Increase Boardwalk Safety 

The city’s newest ambassadors are on patrol at the Oceanfront Boardwalk. The city has contracted with CSC, a private company, to provide staffing for a new Boardwalk Ambassador program in Newport Beach. The focus of the Ambassador Program is to improve the quality of life for residents and enhance visitors’ experience on the Peninsula by ensuring compliance with city municipal codes and Oceanfront Boardwalk safety rules. The ambassadors will also provide friendly advice, guidance and directions to visitors in need of assistance. The ambassadors will be highly visible, approachable and professionally uniformed. They are unarmed, but work closely with the Newport Beach Police Department. They will generally operate in two teams of two ambassadors, and patrol the boardwalk and pier areas on foot, mostly on Saturdays and Sundays between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., but more often during holidays and the summertime. The city is introducing this as a pilot program, and if successful, the city may pursue a longer-term contract. 

Short-Term Rental Complaint Hotline 

The city is reminding residents that they can resolve complaints and non-emergency issues related to short-term rental housing with a live service available 24 hours a day, every day. The service can be reached at 949.718.3443. Answering service operators will communicate complaints to the property owner or a designee as soon as they are received. The service will also help the city track the volume and types of short-term rental issues that impact neighborhoods. Residents are encouraged to call the answering service for any non-emergency issue that occurs on a short-term rental property, such as loud parties, noise, parking, trash concerns and occupancy limit violations. All emergency calls should still be placed to 911. For more information, visit the city’s short-term rental web page

Initial Draft of Housing Element Available March 10, 2021 

City staff and its consultant team have been working with the Housing Element Update Advisory Committee (HEUAC) and the community over the past eight months to prepare an initial draft of the updated General Plan Housing Element. As a reminder, this effort is required by the California Department of Housing and Community Development (HCD) in response to the 6th Cycle Regional Housing Needs Assessment (RHNA) allocation of 4,845 new housing units for Newport Beach. 

The initial draft will be made available online on March 10. The HEUAC will also be discussing this draft at its Wednesday, March 17 meeting and again at a special meeting on March 31. Please provide your comments on the initial draft no later than April 30. A revised version is anticipated to be available for review late Spring 2021. 

A virtual public workshop will be held on Monday, March 22. The Planning Commission and City Council will review the draft document in a study session at their April meetings. In May 2021, the city will transmit a progress draft to HCD for a preliminary 60-day review. 

This is the very first draft of the document. There will be many more opportunities to help shape the draft General Plan Housing Element before its state-mandated adoption date in October 2021. The entire community is encouraged to participate and review it. For more information, visit www.NewportTogether.com and register to receive notifications by email and sign up for the March 22 workshop. 

If you have any questions or to submit comments, please reach out to city staff by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Initial Draft of Circulation Element Available March 12, 2021 

Much like the Housing Element update, city staff and its consultant team have been working with the Planning Commission and the community over the past eight months to prepare an initial draft of the updated General Plan Circulation Element. The Element is being updated simultaneously with the Housing Element to comply with new mandates, such as “complete streets.” It is also being refreshed to reflect the community’s vision on trending transportation matters, including electric vehicles (EV), rideshare services (e.g. Uber and Lyft), public transportation, telecommuting, as well as parking and parking lot management. 

The initial draft will be made available online on March 12. The Planning Commission will also be discussing this draft at its Thursday, March 18 meeting. A virtual public workshop will be held on Monday, April 5. Please provide your comments on the initial draft no later than April 30. A revised version is anticipated to be available for review late Spring 2021.

Along with the Circulation Element update, city staff and its consultant team will be working on the Environmental Impact Report (EIR), which will provide for additional public input opportunities. 

This is the very first draft of the document. There will be plenty of opportunities to help shape it before its adoption by City Council later this year. The entire community is encouraged to participate and review it. For more information, visit www.NewportTogether.com and register to receive notifications by email. 

If you have any questions, please reach out to city staff by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The city greatly appreciates the community’s continued participation and engagement in this challenging and unprecedented update process. 

CDBG Economic Development Grant Program 

The city will issue the first set of checks to recipients of the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Economic Development Grant Program this week. Funds received under the Federal CARES Act stimulus program through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) were allocated to a new economic development program in mid-2020, to assist small businesses located in Newport Beach who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications continue to be reviewed for compliance with HUD’s stringent income and documentation requirements and more grant checks will be issued in the coming weeks and months. The application period is closed, but more information about the program can be found on the city’s website at www.newportbeachca.gov/CDBGEDGrant

Treasury Report 

The December 2020 Treasury Report is available on the city’s website at www.newportbeachca.gov/treasury

As of December, the city’s portfolio totaled about $317.2 million. Approximately $91.1 million of the portfolio was invested in very liquid investments available for day-to-day operations and major construction expenditures. 

The short-term portfolio ($210.9 million) had a weighted average effective maturity of 1.79 years. The trailing 12 months’ total return was 3.37 percent. Our benchmark for the same period, the ICE BofA 1-3 Year Treasury index, returned 3.10 percent. The income return on the portfolio, a better measure of income earned from the portfolio, was 2.12 percent. 

City Recycling Programs Update 

Public Works is continuing to expand the city’s recycling programs. The city has completed improvements on commercial recycling and is now focusing on expanding the residential recycling program. The next steps include improving efficiency and increasing the quality of recyclable materials through the distribution of blue-top cans to residents who do not yet have this container. Source separation at the curb through the use of blue-top cans provides recyclable material that has less contamination, and therefore a higher quality material for recycling. The city’s service provider, CR&R, has blue-top carts available to all residents upon request. If you do not have a blue-top cart, contact CR&R at 949.625.6735, or on the web at this link. We encourage residents to utilize the bluetop cans to increase environmental sustainability and reduce the amount of material sent to landfills. 

Annual Concrete Reconstruction Program 

The City of Newport Beach Public Works Department is currently completing the annual concrete reconstruction program. This program addresses damaged concrete curbs, gutters, sidewalks and driveway approaches in preparation of the asphalt slurry seal program. The city will also be reconstructing failed asphalt pavement at various locations prior to slurry sealing the streets. This year’s program covers Balboa Peninsula, Lido Isle, Newport Shores and Superior Heights. The Slurry Seal Program is scheduled to begin in April. Thank you for your patience as we complete these essential street improvement projects.

Homelessness Update 

Addressing homelessness continues to be a priority in the city’s ongoing COVID-19 response, and city staff works closely with our contractor City Net, and our regional partners throughout the county and state. The City Net hotline number is 714.451.6198. Those who call the hotline may leave a detailed voicemail message for themselves or others in need and City Net staff will respond within 48 hours. For immediate assistance, call the county’s Crisis Prevention Hotline at 877.7.CRISIS or 877.727.4747. 

City staff presented an update on homeless strategies at a City Council Study Session on February 23. The presentation highlighted the city’s team approach toward addressing homelessness and the city’s success in helping formerly homeless individuals find jobs and permanent housing. You can view the presentation at this link

The city discourages panhandling in favor of targeted assistance through the Good Giving Program. Donations received through the program enable staff to purchase items such as bicycles, work boots and small household items for newly housed people. All donations are tax deductible. If you would like more information, or to donate, visit our Good Giving Program web page

Success Stories 

–The city’s Homeless Liaison Officer placed 10 people, several of whom had been staying by the Newport Pier, into the new Yale Transitional Center in Santa Ana. The County of Orange opened the center last month. The facility provides shelter for as many as 425 people experiencing homelessness and provides case managers who locate appropriate housing, assist with job searches and provide other on-site services. 

–City Net staff placed three people into the county’s Yale Transitional Center. One person was living in her car by the Balboa Pier, one was staying by the Balboa Pier and a third was staying by the Newport Transportation Center. 

–City Net staff facilitated an early retirement interview with the Social Security Administration for a man staying by the Balboa Pier. He is now receiving monthly income and is seeking permanent housing. 

–The Homeless Liaison Officer placed an honorably discharged veteran into a motel as he awaits a housing voucher. The veteran qualifies for a Housing and Urban Development Veteran’s Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) voucher. The HUD-VASH voucher provides rental assistance for homeless veterans, with supportive case management. 

Insider’s Guide for the Newport Beach City Council Meeting on March 9, 2021 

Our next City Council meeting is Tuesday, March 9. Items that may be of interest are highlighted below. The entire agenda, and all reports, can be viewed here

There will be a Study Session at 4 p.m.: 

–City staff will present an overview of the city’s code enforcement program. The presentation will include code enforcement data, procedures, the top complaints received and enforcement of short-term lodging regulations. 

–Preliminary Capital Improvement Projects will be reviewed and discussed by the council. This will be an “early look” at potential new projects and proposed funding for the 2021-22 fiscal year. 

The Regular Meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. The following are items of note:

Public Hearings include: 

–In a public hearing continued from the February 23 council meeting, council will review a proposed zoning code amendment that would allow wine tasting rooms within an industrial zone. The industrial zone is located in the southwest area of the city, near 16th Street and Placentia Avenue. The current zoning limits eating and drinking establishments to tak-out service and caps indoor seating at six people. The amendment would allow businesses to sell and serve wine, and allow expanded seating capacity based on parking availability and building and fire codes. 

–Council review and potential approval of a conceptual design and funding plan for a new Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard building, to be constructed south of the Balboa Pier. The review will include an updated conceptual plan and exterior architectural style, environmental document, cost estimate and funding agreement with the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard Foundation. Staff is also requesting Council approval to prepare a Coastal Development Permit application and seek bids for construction. Under the proposal before the council, the $4.9 million building would be funded with $2.05 million from the city’s General Fund, $1.75 million from the foundation, and $1.1 million captured over the next several years by eliminating the participant fee subsidy. If approved, the building will replace a temporary Junior Lifeguard facility and provide space for city recreational programs and facility rentals in the Junior Lifeguard offseason. 

Editor’s Note: We received City Manager’s Updates on Friday, March 5.


COVID-19: 110 new cases and 53 new deaths reported in OC, 4 new cases in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,226 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 53 new deaths reported today (March 7). There have been 68 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The county reported 110 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 247,751 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 34 percent. 68 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 296 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-25 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 89 are in ICU (+2 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,630 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including four new cases reported today and 27 new cases reported since last Sunday’s report.

The county estimates 236,312 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 3 7 21 1

COVID 19 County 3 7 21 2

COVID 19 County 3 7 21 3

COVID 19 County 3 7 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 7, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 269 new cases and 98 new deaths reported in OC, 6 new cases and 1 new death in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,173 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 98 new deaths reported today (March 6). There have been 68 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date, including one new death reported today.

The county reported 269 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 247,641 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 32.2 percent. 66 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 321 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-18 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 87 are in ICU (-4 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,626 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including six new cases reported today and 22 new cases reported since last Saturday’s report.

The county estimates 236,047 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 3 6 21 1

COVID 19 County 3 6 21 2

COVID 19 County 3 6 21 3

COVID 19 County 3 6 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 6, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 232 new cases and 62 new deaths reported in OC, 3 new cases in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,075 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 62 new deaths reported today (March 5). There have been 67 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The county reported 232 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 247,372 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 35.2 percent. 66 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 339 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-40 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 91 are in ICU (-6 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,620 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including three new cases reported today and 24 new cases reported since last Friday’s report.

The county estimates 235,574 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 3 5 21 1

COVID 19 County 3 5 21 2

COVID 19 County 3 5 21 3

COVID 19 County 3 5 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 5, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


Pet of the Week Dog and Cat print

Stu News Newport is delighted to be working with the Newport Beach Animal Shelter to help get the word out in search of loving homes for pets that deserve a warm, nurturing environment and a place to call “home.”

The shelter has one of the nicest cats available. His name is Jinx and he’s solid at 5 years of age. He’s friendly, curious and, as you can see, looking out into the big, bright world for his wonderful future. As an easy-going guy, Jinx has let us know that he’s happy to be patient while his purrfect adopter finds him. A big boy that is beautiful both inside and out, if you’ve been waiting for a happy house cat, then schedule an appointment for a meet and greet. 

Pet of the Week Jinx

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Newport Beach Animal Shelter

Meet Jinx

 Please feel free to contact shelter staff on their landline at 949.718.3454 and/or by completing an adoption application, which can be found at the website at www.FONBAS.org and, after completed, please email it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. A staff member will review your application and get back to you shortly to schedule an appointment to meet Jinx. The shelter staff, volunteers and Jinx all look forward to meeting you. 

Newport Beach Animal Shelter adoption fees:

–Adult Dogs - $150

–Puppies - $225

–Adult Cats - $90

–Kittens - $110 

Also, consider becoming a member of an incredible nonprofit that supports the city’s efforts with providing wonderful opportunities to stray, injured, ill and owner-surrendered domestic pets.


IN THE GARDEN MARCH

Flowers under fire

By Erin Aguiar, Horticulture Director
Sherman Library & Gardens

The exuberant colors and wild shapes of the pincushion flower, Leucospermum species, are a wonderful way to celebrate sunshine and warmer weather. These exotic plants are native to South Africa where some regions closely resemble Southern California and other Mediterranean climates. Both areas experience cool wet winters and hot dry summers. These dry summer regions are quite susceptible to wildfires and some seeds of native plants have adapted to require fire to germinate and survive, but Leucospermum species rely on a complicated symbiotic relationship with an insect community.

In the garden Erin Aguiar

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Sherman Library & Gardens

Erin Aguiar, horticulture director at Sherman Library & Gardens

The name of the genus Leucospermum comes from the Greek words (leukos) meaning white, and (sperma) meaning seed. The name “white seed” is really where the saga for survival begins. The Leucospermum seed is covered with a layer of lipids and proteins that give the seed its pale color: called elaiosome or “breadseed.” After the plants bloom in spring, the seed pods drop to the ground where, if they remained exposed, would burn up and perish during the seasonal fires. However, a sophisticated community working together intervenes.

In the Garden High Gold

Click on photo for a larger image

The large bright flower of Leucospermum “High Gold”

Attracted by the pheromones, ant colonies find the seeds and carry them off to their underground nests. In the colony the ants feed the rich food storage “seed bread” to their larvae but cannot eat the seed itself. Underground, the seeds and ants are sheltered from the ravaging seasonal fires that spread throughout the landscape above thus damaging many of the mature plants. The remaining seeds are disposed of in nutrient-rich ant frass. Here the seeds germinate and seedlings emerge to once again see the light of day. This natural cycle is called myrmecochory from ancient Greek (myrmex) ant and (khoreia) circular dance.

In the Garden New flower

Click on photo for a larger image

A new flower bud preparing to open

Leucospermum, also known as pincushion flower, is a great addition to a California garden. It thrives in our hot dry summers and cool wet winters and is a great companion to many California native plants. Now is a great time to plant a new Leucospermum in your garden while it is still moist and cool. Many different colors of pincushion flowers are starting to bloom at Sherman Library & Gardens. This is your chance to enjoy a weird and wonderful flower in full bloom.

In the Garden RedJPG

Click on photo for a larger image

A red flowering hybrid of Leucospermum

Erin Aguiar is Horticulture Director at Sherman Library & Gardens. She enjoys discovering the intersection of plants, places and people.


Time to vote, registrar making it easy

The 2nd Supervisorial District Vacancy Election will be held on Tuesday, March 9. Voters will select between five candidates, former State Senator John Moorlach, Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley, Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon, Fountain Valley Mayor Michael Vo and Corona del Mar attorney Janet Rappaport.

Those wishing to cast votes early can go to the Vote Center in Newport Beach located at the Civic Center Community Room, 100 Civic Center Drive. Hours for the Vote Center are 8 a.m.-5 p.m. through March 5, 8 a.m.-8 p.m. March 6 through 8, and then 7 a.m.-8 p.m. on Election Day, March 9.

Ballots can also be dropped off at drop locations in Bob Henry Park (900 Dover Drive), the Newport Beach Public Library (1000 Avocado Ave.), the City Parking Lot in Corona del Mar (corner of 5th Ave. and Marguerite Ave., not at Oasis Senior Center) and on the sidewalk in Mariner’s Mile (corner of Avon St. and Riverside Ave.). Drop boxes are available 24/7 through Election Day.

More information can be found on the Orange County Registrar of Voters website here.


Upcoming Coastal Commission meeting features several Newport Beach items on the agenda

The California Coastal Commission has a virtual meeting scheduled for March 10-12. The entire agenda can be found at www.coastal.ca.gov/mtgcurr.html.

Several Newport Beach items are scheduled to be addressed on the first day of meetings, Wednesday, March 10. The first is an application by Orange County Parks for an after-the-fact approval changing the use of a visitor dock to emergency dock, the reconfiguration of public surface parking spaces, a canoe storage area, change to the hours of dinghy dock tie-up from 72 hours to 6 a.m.-10 p.m., increasing hours of public parking availability from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. to 6 a.m.-10 p.m., the installation of new wayfinding signage, two safety gates and fencing within the facility, canoe storage lockers, a new ADA compliant roll-out mat on the sandy beach and a kayak storage rack on Bayside Beach.

Bayside Beach is located just south of the Balboa Yacht Club at 1901 Bayside Drive.

The commission’s enforcement division has opened an investigation into potential Coastal Act violations associated with this item and site.

The second item is an application of Mark L. Conzelman to replace an existing 1,270-sq.-ft. boat dock, gangway and pier with a new 1,279-sq.-ft. boat dock, gangway and pier. Changes would include the removal of five existing concrete piles and then the installation of seven new concrete piles, at 939 Via Lido Soud, on the eastern tip of Lido Isle. 

The final item is an application by the City of Newport Beach for follow-up work that would remove portions of a public walkway on the waterside of property at 2804 and 2806 Lafayette Avenue near Avila’s El Ranchito on the Balboa Peninsula. The walkway has been deemed structurally unstable and the replacement would be a like-for-like walkway, handrail and two piles. The job entails removing and replacing, like for like, approximately 50 ft. of public walkway; existing piles will be re-used, and new handrails will be installed at the top of the proposed replacement walkway. 

To view the meeting virtually go here.


COVID-19: 160 new cases and 47 new deaths reported in OC, 3 new cases in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 4,013 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 47 new deaths reported yesterday (March 4). There have been 67 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The county reported 160 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 247,140 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 30.8 percent. 66 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 379 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-24 since Wednesday’s report – includes ICU); 97 are in ICU (-10 since Wednesday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,617 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including three new cases reported yesterday and 32 new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 234,853 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 3 4 21 1

COVID 19 County 3 4 21 2

COVID 19 County 3 4 21 3

COVID 19 County 3 4 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 4, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


Tickets are still available for the 47th Annual CdM Home Tour, so don’t miss out

Tickets are still available for the 47th Annual Home Tour, “Wake Me Up in Newport,” which can be viewed virtually this year. Featuring six unique and stunning homes located throughout Newport Beach and Corona del Mar neighborhoods, it has received great reviews! This year’s Presenting Sponsors are Barclay Butera Interiors and VALIA Properties.

Each of the six residences has its own story and design, and they’re each representative of the neighborhoods they’re situated in. There’s the rooftop deck at Big Corona Beach, the subterranean spa in Cameo Shores, the hillside basketball court in Corona Highlands, the cozy family patio on Balboa Island, the spacious kitchen island in Shore Cliffs, or the vintage skylights in Irvine Terrace. With truly something for everyone, it’s impossible to choose a favorite.

Tickets 313 watercolor

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of CdM Home Tour

Student artist Kaia Mikulka, a junior at CdMHS, created this watercolor of the charmer on Balboa Island, one of the six residences on this year’s virtual Home Tour

Highlights of the Virtual Home Tour: Drive the streets of Corona del Mar with CdM PTA President Julie Means as she travels to each of the homes on the Home Tour. Renowned designer Barclay Butera offers a rare glimpse into his home and shares his design expertise for adding interesting touches to any room, while prominent designers Wendy Blackband and Brooke Wagner share their custom designs and professional secrets for making any home a personal sanctuary.

Several tutorials from local experts are featured including personal chef Jimmy Stafford of Stafford Prime, beverage consultant Mike West and from Sherman Library & Gardens, Horticulture Director Erin Aguiar.

Chef Jimmy takes us through the steps to make Green Chile Chicken Tacos complemented deliciously by West’s refreshing Verde Fresca made beachside with pineapple, coconut and cucumber, while Aguiar provides the history of Sherman Library & Gardens and designs a door hanging with herbs from the garden. 

Tickets: General Price - $60, which unlocks viewing access to the Home Tour program on one device (laptop, tablet, or PC). You can upgrade to the VIP Bundle for $100, which includes one Home Tour ticket, one VIP gift box (exclusive event souvenirs from local merchants), one neighborhood ad listing on the Home Tour’s website and a keepsake hard copy of the Home Tour Resource Guide featuring photos and descriptions of each of the homes as well as student artists’ renderings of the homes, designers, the many generous and dedicated sponsors, recipes from Chef Jimmy and Mike West and so much more. Some of the most important members of the CdM family are featured in the Pet Pages proudly sponsored by The Bone Adventure specializing in dog daycare, boarding, grooming and a swim club.

In addition, VIPs receive a cookbook of teacher-contributed recipes, whereby each home “visit” shows a small handful of different recipes from the collection. VIPs also receive an eye shade sporting this year’s theme.

Take a pleasant break from home viewing and order a pick-up or eat lunch at Le Pain Quotidien in Fashion Island or Café Jardin at Sherman Library & Gardens. A percentage of the sales goes to the CdM schools. Enjoy entertainment from the CdM Drum Line and CdMMS Triton Cheer Team, and the sounds of student composer Lena Pham (junior) playing “Sunrise,” her original composition on the piano, and student vocalist Isabella Walsh (senior) singing “Home” by Phillip Phillips. 

During the tour, check out CdM students Piper and Cooper Blackband featured at their Balboa Island home, as well as Jackson Jaha, Savannah Harper and Lucas Phillips who are featured at the Cameo Shores home representing the CdM Theatre Program.

The Virtual Boutique offers a variety of specialty shops donating a percentage of their sales to the Corona del Mar PTA. Check it out on the Home Tour website.

Congratulations to following opportunity drawing winners: Sarah Tobin who won a $500 gift card to South Coast Plaza, Brooke Hutchison who won a Fashion Island merchandise gift basket valued at $500, Becky Gogel who won two Michael Aram candle holders from Neiman Marcus, Carey Herlihy who won a $500 gift card to Tiffany Hunter Home & Design in Fashion Island, Arlene Butler who won a weekend rental from Exotic Car Collection, Jen Yoshida who won the two-hour Lido Electric Boat rental, Kim Sentovich who won the Risa Groux Nutritionist consult and products valued at $500, Sharon Siegel who won a $100 gift card from Newport Rib Co. and Jennifer Cooper who won a Doggie Walk Bags basket.

Courtesy of CdM Home Tour

For a sneak peek, check out the Home Tour’s highlight reel

Tickets for the virtual Home Tour can be purchased at www.CDMHomeTour.org.

All ticket purchases support crucial CdM PTA programs such as teacher grants, student services and technology upgrades. The Home Tour is the only PTA fundraiser of the year, and they thank the Stu News community so much for its support.


Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

C’mon Mom and Dad, let’s buy the Fun Zone

Fair Game Tom Johnson newLRMaybe you’re looking for a second income, or, better yet, a place to get your kids gainfully employed this summer. Well, here’s an idea to consider. Cushman & Wakefield, as of February 16th, has officially listed the Balboa Fun Zone on the market for sale.

What’s the sales price? It’s not listed, meaning bidders offer up what they think it’s worth. Because of the location, though, it won’t be cheap.

Here’s what the sale includes: an “extremely rare” site of 34,412 sq. ft. on the waterfront; 212 ft. of waterfront edged on Newport Harbor, including 21,400+ sq. ft. of water area; 16,666 sq. ft. of mixed-use improvements; a garage that includes 58 stalls of subterranean parking; and a boardwalk area (Edgewater Place) that features the Balboa Ferris Wheel and other Fun Zone attractions.

Still interested? You should know, if you don’t, that the Balboa Village neighborhood is the No. 1 tourist/visitor location in the harbor and draws approximately three million visitors annually. Nearby, you’ll also find world-class beaches, sports fishing, whale watching excursions and, of course, the Balboa Island Ferry.

The current owner of the property is the Discovery Science Center of Orange County. They’re selling it “as is/where is,” and are asking for time to relocate their area of the property elsewhere.

The Fun Zone’s property dates back to 1913, and some six years later it was joined by the Ferry in 1919.

The sales hook, according to Cushman & Wakefield’s sales collateral, is that “the current below-market performance of the property relative to the surrounding strength of the location presents a textbook upside opportunity for the investment and development community.” 

So, any takers?

Cushman & Wakefield is represented by Senior Managing Director Lars Platt (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.), Managing Director Joseph Lising (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and Associate Matthew Godman (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.).

Elsewhere in today’s issue, Visit Newport Beach President & CEO Gary Sherwin looks at the importance of the Fun Zone to this community and why we need to keep an eye on its next steps.

• • •

Whether you agree or disagree with the Planning Commission’s decision to approve (5-1) the 2510 W. Coast Highway project in Mariner’s Mile, hats off to Mayor Brad Avery for the nice move he made Wednesday. 

Mayor Avery, who represents Mariner’s Mile in District 2, understands that many of his constituents there oppose the project. So, on his own initiative he’s bringing the item up to City Council for appeal on April 13. 

Why is that big? Well, the decision was obviously going to be appealed either way. However, Avery’s move saves his constituents the $1,715 fee that they would have incurred if the appeal was left to them.

The 2510 PCH project calls for a boutique auto showroom, 35 apartments and a parking garage.

It will also set the tenor for development along the Mariner’s Mile corridor, so at the end of the day it seems that it belongs before our City Council.

Residents’ major concerns mostly evolve around the “loss of views” from John Wayne and Cliff Drive parks and neighborhood traffic increases.

• • •

Next up on the Speak Up Newport docket is a program titled “Quality of Life in Newport Beach – Trending Down?”

A panel will discuss concerns created by the pandemic, traffic issues, homelessness, short-term rentals, beach and boardwalk issues. Included will be Natalie Basmacyian, the Homeless Coordinator from the City Manager’s office; John Murray, from Community Development’s Code Enforcement office; Lt. Pete Carpentieri, from the Newport Beach Police Department; and Kristin Thompson, EMS Division Chief from the Newport Beach Fire Department.

The Zoom program is scheduled for next Wednesday, March 10, from 4-5 p.m. If you want to attend, you’ll need to register here.

Speak Up Newport is a non-profit, non-partisan group, founded in 1979, organized to promote the common good and general welfare on the community.

• • •

A funeral mass celebrating the life of Richard Luehrs will be held tomorrow, March 6, at 12:30 p.m. Richard passed away on February 25th of COVID-19. The funeral will be held at Our Lady Queen of Angels Catholic Church, 2046 Mar Vista Drive, across the street from Corona del Mar High School.

For those unable to attend, a link to a video of the service will be available on Sunday, March 7, at www.olqa.org/luehrs.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that donations be made to the Speak Up Newport’s Scholarship Fund, an organization that Richard proudly served on the board of.

• • •

The CHOC Follies, now in its 25th year, hits the stage, virtually, March 13 at 4 p.m. This year’s performance is titled “Looking Back & Moving Forward.” It also includes a silent auction.

So, why do they do it? This year’s show will help provide needed mental health services to patients and families. History has been kind to the CHOC Follies as $10 million netted over the years certainly attests to.

Stu News reader and friend Carol Strauss, who has performed in 11 of the Follies over the years, reached out to us. So if you feel like donating, help her out and go to www.chocfollies.org/carolstrauss

Every little bit helps: $25 provides patients with therapeutic crafts; $50 provides treatment journals; $75 educates families on how to support their child; $100 assists families with transportation to attend therapeutic sessions; $500 allows CHOC to purchase therapeutic games and other needed supplies; $1,000 provides mental health advocacy; and $2,500 gives patients the opportunity to be correctly diagnosed and given appropriate treatment.


City of Hope Orange County unveils countywide street art initiative

After a year of global crisis and loss, City of Hope Orange County is leading a countywide street art installation to share messages of hope at venues across the region, including COVID-19 vaccine Super Point of Dispensing (POD) sites. The top-ranked cancer research and treatment center is partnering with the Orange County Health Care Agency, community organizations and businesses, and local artists in a visual expression of a shared vision for a more hopeful and healthier community.

The “Hope Lives in OC” initiative comes after sustained waves of uncertainty and intense difficulty that include loss of loved ones, sickness, economic instability, racial injustice and social isolation all of which have taken a toll. Yet, despite all the challenges, there are reasons to be optimistic: The dedication of frontline workers, medical breakthroughs and the resilience of the community.

City of Hope Lois

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of City of Hope Orange County

Artist Lois Antoinette chalks a striking image at John Wayne Airport

In commissioning chalk artists and others, City of Hope is literally taking this message to the street. On March 2, more than 70 artists, including students from Orange County School of the Arts, offered their own interpretations of hope at numerous prominent locations across the county including Marina Park in Newport Beach, John Wayne Airport and City of Hope Newport Beach clinic. The street art also appeared at OC Fair & Event Center beginning March 4 and can be viewed in additional locations in the coming weeks and months. 

The artists bring people together, and inspire and uplift their communities through their art by creating detailed street art at least eight feet by eight feet. All the artists have been affected by cancer, making the City of Hope-led effort particularly meaningful to them. It is a stark reminder of the impact of the disease. According to statistics, one in three Americans will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, and cancer also affects their family and friends.

City of Hope Mejia

Click on photo for a larger image

The Mejia family paints inspirational art at Marina Park

“City of Hope was founded on hope and we want to share this powerful sentiment with our community,” said Annette M. Walker, president, City of Hope Orange County. “We came to Orange County to offer hope through lifesaving cancer treatments and pioneering research. Our optimism is sourced by scientific breakthroughs and we are eager to share our certainty of brighter days ahead. As a national cancer care leader, City of Hope has a responsibility to fulfill our promise of improving Orange County lives by applying our advanced capabilities and teams of world-renowned experts to preventing and treating cancer.”

“It’s been a difficult year, but Orange County is resilient and strong. Our community members have stepped up and been there for one another,” said Orange County Board of Supervisors Vice Chairman Doug Chaffee, Fourth District. “Hope is evident and all around right now – in the continued commitment of our frontline heroes, researchers delivering vaccines, and our residents who remain vigilant about wearing masks and practicing social distancing. My hope is that this public art initiative serves as an appreciation for all we have accomplished.”

City of Hope – a birthplace of medical breakthroughs, biotech discoveries leading to four of the world’s top cancer medicines and itself the developer of a COVID-19 vaccine – is building a cancer campus in Irvine and network of cancer care throughout Orange County. Its Newport Beach location, which opened in 2020, is the first phase of City of Hope’s Orange County expansion, delivering many first-in-the-region therapies and highly specialized cancer care in a safe environment.

Follow City of Hope Orange County @cityofhopeOC on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter and share messages of hope using #HopeLivesinOC. Visit www.HopeLivesinOC.org to learn more, including how to join the effort.


Gray whale sightseeing is active, and some are coming up close to shore

One thing that residents and visitors alike can regularly enjoy in Newport Beach is a whale watching excursion. Chances are that you’ll see at least one behemoth. 

This week has been no exception as Education Manager Jessica Roame, of Newport Landing & Davey’s Locker Whale Watching, points out with the video below.

Courtesy of NewportWhales.com

As Roame points out, gray whales were almost hunted to near extinction in the early 1900s. The good news is that they’ve now bounced back and are one of the very first whales to be removed from the endangered species list due to their protection and conservation.

Gray whales have one of the longest migrations of any mammal, traveling a 12,000-mile round trip from their feeding grounds in the Arctic to their calving grounds in Baja Mexico. Migrating gray whales are typically on local sighting logs between December-May. 

According to Roame, “We’ve already encountered almost 200 gray whales in 2021 alone.” But she reminds us that there are so many more to be seen with as many as 22,000 now making the annual migration down to the warm lagoons in Baja Mexico for breeding and calving purposes.

Newport Landing & Davey’s Locker offer multiple whale watching boat styles including larger passenger vessels, catamarans and smaller 6-15 passenger zodiac tours. Throughout the year, guests can also see humpback whales, blue whales, fin whales, minke whales, Bryde’s whales, common and bottlenose dolphins, Risso’s dolphins and more.

To schedule or find more information, go to www.newportwhales.com.


Hoag becomes first West Coast hospital to offer advanced robotic-assisted spine surgery option

Hoag’s Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute (PFNI) announced it is the first on the West Coast to utilize the Mazor X StealthEdition Robotic Guidance Platform, the most advanced robotic-assisted, minimally invasive spine surgery option.

The Mazor combines 3D pre-operative planning tools and analytics with intra-operative trajectory precision to provide surgeons with comprehensive information of the best approach and visualization of the target before the surgery starts. This new technology allows surgeons to operate with precision and efficiency, reducing need for X-rays, and minimizes pain and recovery time after surgery.

Hoag becomes robotic

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Hoag Hospital

Hoag now offers the most advanced robotic-assisted, minimally invasive spine surgery option

“This revolutionary technology provides our patients and clinical team with the most advanced minimally invasive tool available,” said Burak Ozgur, M.D., chief of service for the Neurosurgery Spine Program at the Pickup Family Neurosciences Institute. “This robotic instrument allows the surgeon to be in complete control, but gives them the superior benefit of 3D-guided navigation in one easy-to-use tool.”

Hoag has received numerous national, state and local accolades for its success with robotic-assisted, minimally invasive surgery and has been designated a Center of Excellence in Robotic Surgery (COERS) from the Surgical Review Corporation. Hoag has shown repeatedly how such surgery can result in less blood loss, reduced muscle damage and faster recovery times. This new platform is representative of Hoag’s dedication to innovation in increasing safety and accuracy within the operating room. 

Robotic platforms are important tools throughout Hoag’s institutes. In fact, advanced computer-assisted technology is becoming the standard of care in cancer, women’s health, cardiovascular conditions and general surgery at Hoag. By introducing this new 3D-guided technology to spine neurosurgery, Hoag is upholding its commitment to improving outcomes for patients through continued innovation.


Hornblower Cruises and Events to restart Newport Beach cruising operations this weekend

Hornblower Cruises and Events will restart its Newport Beach cruising operations this weekend. Beginning on Saturday, March 6, guests will be able to enjoy specialized world-class brunch and dinner cruises. Come aboard Hornblower’s luxurious yachts and enjoy specialty curated cocktails and cuisines, all while taking in the unparalleled views of Newport Harbor. 

The health and safety of both the guests and crew remains Hornblower’s top priority. While guests can expect the same high standards and welcoming service, experiences have been adapted to ensure heightened cleanliness and to maintain social distance onboard. And with expansive decks both inside and out, there is plentiful fresh air and more than enough room on board for everyone to stay safely apart. 

Hornblower Cruises yacht

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Hornblower Cruises and Events

Hornblower’s Endless Dreams cruising the waters of Newport Beach

To provide reassurance in the current pandemic environment, Hornblower has expanded its industry defining SafeCruise by Hornblower program, building on already stringent sanitation processes, to incorporate further health-driven measures to guard against the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses. These include, but are not limited to: 

–Mandatory daily crew member health screening and wearing of appropriate PPE.

–Revised boarding and ticketing procedures to allow for social distancing and touchless entry.

–Requiring guests to wear face masks while cruising, except while eating and drinking.

–Reducing the number of guests on board, and adapting all seating and table spacing to allow for a minimum six-foot distance between guests.

Implementing enhanced sanitation and disinfection procedures, with hand sanitizing stations available throughout. 

Starting March 6, Hornblower will be offering plated brunch and dinner cruises featuring delicious cuisine alongside a sophisticated selection of award-winning wines, craft beers and specialty cocktails. Cruise prices start from $82 for brunch or $109.90 for dinner (prices per person, excluding fees & taxes). 

For private groups, Hornblower Cruises and Events also operates a choice of luxurious private charter experiences. All cruises depart at 2431 W. Coast Highway, Newport Beach.

For more information or to book a cruise experience, visit www.hornblower.com/newport-beach, or call 800.656.7752.


Outdoor vintage and antique market comes to the OC Fair & Event Center

Flying Miz Daisy Outdoor Vintage Market comes to the OC Fair & Events Center on Saturday, March 13 from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. The premier shopping venue will feature more than 150 vendors offering vintage, antique, repurposed, European, farmhouse, industrial and hand-crafted artisan goods.

This event takes place entirely outdoors.

There is no admission charged to attend, however, parking is $10 and only credit cards will be accepted. The market will take place in Lot I and attendees should enter via Gate 8 off Arlington Drive.

The OC Fair and Events Center is located at 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa.

For more information, visit www.flyingmizdaisy.com.


Sunset sessions

Sunset sessions

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Todd Walker (Instagram @twalkerphotograph/twalkerphoto.com)

The glowing Wedge wave is a surfers’ paradise


Iridescent morning glow

Iridescent morning wave

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Todd Walker (Instagram @twalkerphotograph/twalkerphoto.com)

The early bird gets the best waves and views


Dine Newport presents restaurateur profiles in “Local Tastemakers”

Dine Newport Beach is sharing a collection of intimate interviews called “Local Tastemakers” which explores Newport Beach’s flavor and flair through the eyes of the city’s most captivating chefs and restaurateurs during a time that has heavily impacted the restaurant and hospitality communities.

Get to know these familiar chefs and the secrets to the dishes that make them local favorites.

“Local Tastemakers” is part of Dine Newport Beach’s Anchor Newport Beach social campaign that promotes Newport Beach’s dining community through free creative content marketing programming including promotions on social media, weekly consumer newsletters, blogs, the Visit Newport Beach website and more. Go here to access the Instagram link.

Dine Newport Chef Campbell

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Visit Newport Beach

Chef Tim Campbell of Cappy’s Cafe

This week, Meet Chef Tim Campbell of Cappy’s Cafe through a Q&A.

After growing up in LA’s San Fernando Valley, restaurateur Tim Campbell made an adventurous move that landed him in the tropical state of Hawaii. After three years of helping run his family’s seafood wholesaler business and two restaurant locations, Campbell developed an affection for fresh food and hospitality. This prompted his move back to Orange County, where he and his wife Sheryl now own and operate Cappy’s Café – an iconic Newport Beach dining landmark.

For more than 38 years, Cappy’s has been a place where customers are well fed and treated like family. Specializing in all-day breakfast and lunch, Cappy’s remains a spot where Newport Beach locals and visitors enjoy service with a smile and large portions that can satisfy any appetite.

Q: What made you want to become a restaurateur, and what is the best part of your job?

A: We got into the restaurant business years ago when we moved to Hawaii to help our uncle run a fresh fish distribution business and two seafood restaurant locations called Uncle’s Fish Market and Grill. Learning how to treat our customers as “Ohana” was a key element we wanted to incorporate into our own business. We also integrated the fresh fish concept with our tasty Fish Tacos and Fish of the Day entrees.

Q: What is the most popular thing on the menu, and what is your favorite?

A: The most popular items vary from a traditional breakfast of eggs, bacon, hash browns and toast to specialty dishes. People love our breakfast burrito, breakfast sandwich and made-to-order omelets. My favorite is our pancake combo with our signature fluffy pancakes, bacon, hash browns and toast. You can dress it up with fresh blueberries, strawberries or chocolate chips. Don’t forget the whipped cream!

Dine Newport skillet

Click on photo for a larger image

Known for their breakfast offerings, Cappy’s Café features this vegetarian skillet made with scrambled eggs, avocado, broccoli, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms and cheddar cheese served on top of their seasoned potatoes with your choice of toast – a menu favorite

Q: Talk to us about all the ways you pivoted your operation in 2020/21.

A: Pivoting was not an option; it was a necessity. We jumped on the technology wave to make things extra safe at Cappy’s for our customers and team. We started using touchless thermometer equipment and installed plexiglass dividers and hand sanitizer dispensers on each table to ensure distance and cleanliness. This goes hand in hand with masks, gloves and the sanitation of surfaces. Upon the approval of outdoor dining, we installed two outdoor canopies and barricades with tables and chairs appropriately spaced. This gave customers an option to enjoy the fresh air and scenic beauty behind our restaurant. 

Q: What does it mean to be a part of the Newport Beach community?

A: It means the world to us. At Cappy’s, we take pride in seeing multi-generations come in for family celebrations. There’s such a rich history behind our restaurant. We have a blend of locals and tourists who become part of the fabric of the community during the summer months.

Q: From a restauranteur’s perspective, what’s one thing you want locals/the public to know about your industry or restaurant?

A: We believe the community is vital to the survival of all small businesses, not only restaurants. By placing an order online for pickup, it keeps our team working hard to enhance the experience. Gift cards and Cappy’s merchandise, such as T-shirts, jackets, hats and visors, are all available for purchase. People can support our restaurant by being patient, as we all are doing our best to get through this tough time together.

Q: What is your ultimate hope for 2021?

A: Our hope for 2021 is to provide a place for the Newport Beach community to feel safe, enjoy fabulous food and be part of the Cappy’s family. We want to be a place where you can let your worries go and connect with others. We strive every day to provide the best customer service so you can come back time and time again. We wish everyone a safe and healthy New Year in our little corner of the world.


School Notes

Outdoor moderate/high contact sports given the green light to proceed with their seasons

Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) has announced the reinstatement of several sports activities at local high schools. With a recent change of the CDPH guidelines and the new COVID case rate for Orange County dropping under 14 this past week, NMUSD has authorized the return to outdoor moderate/high contact sports to compete when their season of sports officially begins.

Low contact outdoor sports such as cross country, swimming, track and field, golf and tennis were already cleared to begin during their season, but now sports such as basketball, football, water polo, volleyball (outdoor), baseball, softball, lacrosse, soccer and competitive cheer may begin competitions when their season starts. 

At this time, indoor sports are still not permitted to compete until the county COVID case rate drops further.

NMUSD will follow the state guidelines and requirements to ensure the safety of student athletes and the coaching staff. One state requirement is that practices and inter-team competitions are not open to the public and spectators are restricted except for the team’s immediate household members.

Site principals, athletic directors and coaches will be responsible for communicating with student athletes and parents on specific preparations, processes and expectations to resume athletics at each of their campuses.

It’s been the collective efforts of all involved to reduce the spread of the virus that has made a difference allowing another step towards normalcy. 

Planning seminar available to college-bound freshmen and sophomores through the Newport Beach Public Library

The Newport Beach Public Library is inviting those desiring information on things from college planning to the secrets of college admission, and more, to join Collegewise for a series of free virtual informational sessions.

An upcoming virtual program is College Planning for Freshmen and Sophomores, set for Tuesday, April 13 from 5-6 p.m.

To many freshmen and sophomores, things like the SAT, college essays and applications seem like a lifetime away. But there are other aspects of college planning that are important today. This seminar is designed to help freshmen and sophomores understand how what they are doing today, like participating in their classes, getting involved in activities and developing good habits, will help them to be more successful when they eventually apply to college.

The seminar is open to high school freshmen and sophomores, and their parents. To register, go here.


Orange County Restaurant Week returns on Sunday

Orange County Restaurant Week, one the region’s most celebrated culinary events for more than a decade, returns this Sunday, March 7 through Saturday, March 13. More than 100 restaurants will participate in OC Restaurant Week, offering diners a wide variety of options, from casual and family friendly establishments, to upscale and fine dining. In addition to thoughtfully crafted prix-fixe menus, OC Restaurant Week 2021 is designed to appeal to a wide range of diners, with something for everyone, including Date Night, Family Meals and Global Dining options. This year, the Cocktails of Restaurant Week showcase unique creations featuring Maker’s Mark, Hornitos Tequila and Licor 43. 

Diners have the opportunity to search the list of participating restaurants by name, location, price point and distinct offerings at www.ocrestaurantweek.com

Orange County Farmhouse

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of OC Restaurant Association

Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens is featuring these dishes on its dinner menu during OC Restaurant Week: (L-R, top to bottom clockwise) Meyer lemon bread pudding with strawberry thyme sauce; panko, Dijon and herb-crusted swordfish; seasonal soup shooter; warm crispy prosciutto and wilted spinach salad; and red wine braised lamb shanks (not pictured)

Among the participating restaurants are these in Newport Beach and Corona del Mar: Billy’s at the Beach, Bosscat Kitchen & Libations, Canaletto, Cappy’s Café, Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens, Fleming’s Steakhouse, Great Maple, Lighthouse Café, Mayur Cuisine of India, Rockin Baja Lobster, Sushi Roku, Tackle Box, Ten Asian Bistro, The Beachcomber Café, The Bungalow Restaurant, The Quiet Woman, Woody’s Wharf and Zinqué.

“OC Restaurant Week is the ultimate celebration of our local restaurants and communities – two things that go hand-in-hand,” said Pamela Waitt, president of the OC Restaurant Association. “With restaurants in Southern California limited in their on-site dining capabilities, this year’s OC Restaurant Week focuses on our chefs’ and restaurateurs’ talent and creativity as the industry continues to navigate one of the most tumultuous times the culinary industry has experienced.” 

Following OC Restaurant Week, the Orange County Restaurant Association’s “The Taste, Explore & Experience Tour 2021” continues with additional culinary events designed to encourage diners to support their local restaurants. Confirmed events to date include Margarita Crawl (March 21-27), Brunch Week (May 16-22) and Burger Week (July 11-17).

For general information, participation information, sponsorship opportunities, or membership in the Orange County Restaurant Association, visit www.OCRestaurantAssociation.org.


NBPL unveils Animal Kingdom+ mixed media: wood and watercolor by Michael Crook

The Newport Beach City Arts Commission presents Animal Kingdom+, an exhibition of mixed media wood and watercolor works by artist Michael Crook, on display at the Newport Beach Central Library gallery from March 8 through May 7, during the library’s modified operating hours.

NBPL A Little Nip for Mom Michael Crook

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBPL

“A Little Nip for Mom” by artist Michael Crook

Crook creates hand-carved wildlife art pieces from various types of hardwoods and hand-paints them using opaque watercolors. Born in Lincoln, Neb., and raised in Sierra Madre, Calif., Crook has worked in various media, including painting and drawing, photography, silversmithing, stained glass, ceramics, printmaking and woodworking.

While serving in the Army in the late 1960s, he was a combat artist in Vietnam. His works from that time are now the property of the Military History Department of the U.S. Army and were, at one time, displayed at the Pentagon. Since 1994, he has participated in many art shows around Southern California, including 18 years at the Art-A-Fair in Laguna Beach.

Crook lives in Newport Beach with his wife Pamela and their cat, Coal.

Central Library is located at 1000 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach. For more information, visit www.newportbeachlibrary.org.


State’s “no net loss” law creates challenges for city housing element update

By SARA HALL

A discussion on affordable housing requirements yielded no ideal solution and debate over whether or not what the state is requiring will ever actually be built.

The Housing Element Update Advisory Committee received an overview of the state’s “no net loss” requirement during a meeting Wednesday (March 3). Members and city staff discussed why it is important to consider and the implications or ramifications if it is not considered during the earlier stages of the Housing Element update process.

“This is really…the game changer in terms of how the housing element allocations are handled,” said Committee Chair Larry Tucker.

According to the California Department of Housing and Community Development, the purpose of the law is to ensure development opportunities remain available throughout the planning period to accommodate a jurisdiction’s Regional Housing Needs Allocation, especially for lower and moderate-income households.

“No net loss” has been brought up often and emphasized as important, said Senior Planner Ben Zdeba.

“My goal is to put it in very simple terms so that people can understand it,” he said.

In a nutshell, if the city plans for a certain number of affordable units and the private market forces or under-develops those specific sites, then the city needs to demonstrate to the state that it has affordable alternative sites that will make up for the loss, he explained.

“In essence, we are demonstrating there is ‘no net loss’ in the remaining inventory capacity to meet our RHNA requirement,” Zdeba said.

If there is no “buffer” already in place to accommodate that loss of units then the city must identify new alternative sites and have to complete the zoning use changes within 180 days.

There are Greenlight implications as well, Zdeba explained. That will require a vote of the electorate to increase the density each time they have to go through the rezoning process. 

State's aerial

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Kevin Pellon (Instagram @socalsnapz) 

An aerial view of our city and harbor

With the 180-day timeframe, it’s nearly impossible to hold a vote during that period, he said. Even a special election would be a stretch, since they are costly and time and labor intensive. On top of that, the outcome of the special election would be uncertain.

“Just because we know this is going to happen, it does not mean that we can deny the project,” Zdeba said.

California law states that the city cannot deny the project based on the need to identify additional sites for those affordable units, he added.

“We just want to stress that ‘no net loss’ should be considered during this initial sites identification process,” which will create a buffer to prevent future shortfall scenarios, Zdeba said.

Violating the “no net loss” rule is violating the housing element law, he explained.

“We no longer have adequate sites to accommodate the various income levels that are stipulated by the RHNA allocation from the state and from (Southern California Association of Governments),” he said.

Consequences for violations could be substantial. HCD can de-certify the housing element and refer the case to the attorney general’s office. That could lead to significant fines, possibly up to $10,000 per day, for the city. It could also cause the state to withhold funding or court-ordered prevention on building permits, which would be a big hit to the city’s revenue, Zdeba said. The AG could also mandate that the city roll over the unmet need into the seventh RHNA cycle, which would present a significant challenge. 

“We’re already having a lot of challenges planning for the 4,845 units we have now, we don’t want any of that to roll over into the next cycle,” Zdeba said.

There was some debate between committee members about how big a buffer is needed and what could realistically get approved with an electorate vote (triggered by the Greenlight initiative).

They have to consider what’s worse, Tucker said, zoning for thousands of units and hopefully not building most of them or the immediate possible penalizations for not complying.

“It comes down to pick your poison. There’s no good answer,” Tucker said. “This is going to be a major effort to thread the needle.”

The process is to identify the housing opportunity sites and then go to the electorate to change the general plan or zoning where required. Staff is recommending a buffer sufficient enough for the city to review projects over the years without having to come back and rezone a site within that 180-day timeframe, Deputy Community Development Director Jim Campbell said. They don’t want to fall out of compliance; the idea is to keep pace with what the actual market demand for projects might be, he explained.

Committee member Paul Fruchbom suggested creating as large a buffer “as humanly possible.”

But creating too big of a buffer creates its own challenges, Campbell explained.

The danger comes in when they change the land use element to create the housing opportunities, Campbell said. During a Greenlight vote to approve that, the electorate probably wouldn’t be excited about a huge buffer of 10,000 units or more.

Will O’Neill, current city councilmember and ex-officio member of the Housing Element Update Advisory Committee, said the reality is that it will be hard enough to convince people to vote for the bare minimum number of units.

“It’s going to be one of the most unpopular votes in the history of our city,” O’Neill said. 

Adding anything above that will likely not pass, he added. Most voters will likely prefer the tightest possible solution.

Some committee members considered the big buffer as a way to appease the state before officials eventually realize that the mechanics of what they’re asking are too challenging.

The committee has to really think about how big of a buffer they are going plan for, or go without that “cushion” and expect the state to eventually realize that this plan “isn’t going to work for anybody,” Tucker said.

“The cushion isn’t a very good solution,” it just happens to be the solution the state protocols created, he said.

There was some agreement that the state’s effort is a “charade,” and that much development with affordable housing won’t actually happen in the long run. 

Other committee members believed many of the units will be built and that the risk of over-concentration needs to be avoided. Don’t give the state too much up front, Debbie Stevens said.

The discussion boiled down to what they need to plan for and submit to the state versus what will actually get developed.

The actual form submitted to the state requires the site be broken down by “affordability factors” explaining which part of RHNA that particular site will help satisfy, Tucker said. There is a concern if a property gets developed differently than how it was identified, or what the expectation was as listed on the form.

They expect developers to come in with a density bonus project with a lower inclusion of affordable housing, likely about 20 percent or so, Campbell said.  Anything with more than that will be difficult to finance, he added. They can plan for very high percentages in the housing element, but they need to ensure that as the projects come forward, and if they don’t meet that planning expectation, there are alternative sites.

“That’s the difference between our planning assumption and what they actually build,” Campbell said. “We just have to make sure we have other sites adequate to meet the RHNA.”

The concern is that they will need to constantly plan for more units so they always have that buffer, Tucker said, because there will rarely be a development that actually meets the affordability factor.

“You’re chasing your tail on this thing and you’re never going to catch it no matter how fast you spin in a circle,” Tucker said. “We’re constantly going to be trying to come up with more zoning so that we get some portion of the affordable factor done, but at what expense? It’s going to be an awful lot of potential housing units.”


Recognizing three local female hotel GMs in honor of International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day is Monday, March 8, a day when women worldwide are recognized for their social, cultural, economic and political achievements. The hospitality industry is commonly male-dominated, but Newport Beach is honored to have three incredible female general managers at the helm of some of its hotel properties. We sat down with Marina Dutton (Balboa Bay Resort), Debbie Snavely (Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa) and Erin Henry (Hyatt Regency Newport Beach) to highlight the hard work they do, what they love about their jobs and their advice for aspiring young women.


Recognizing Marina Dutton

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Visit Newport Beach

Marina Dutton

Marina Dutton, General Manager of Balboa Bay Resort

Q: How did you get started in hospitality? Give a little background about yourself.

A: I was born into hospitality, literally. Starting as a server and front desk agent, I worked my way up through operations while attending school and ultimately graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Hospitality Management. I love hospitality because it is the perfect blend between business and people. My goal has always been to surpass my guests’ expectations and make their visit extraordinary and memorable. I have worked for iconic hospitality companies, including Marriott International, Starwood and HEI. I was honored to have earned the “Hotel of the Year” award from my first GM position, which would not have been possible without a talented, dedicated and committed team. I have been very privileged to have learned from the best of the best.

Q: What is a day in the life of a General Manager at Balboa Bay Resort?

A: I like to say I am a very hands-on GM – always walking the property, greeting my team and getting involved in everything. I enjoy fostering a team that loves what they do and embodies the true meaning of hospitality. The best way for me to encourage excellence and creativity is to listen to my team’s ideas, so I try to visit every department on a daily basis. Meetings are a part of daily activities; they are a way to share updates on the property, advise the team on groups and VIPs arriving and any other nuances of the daily business.

Q: What advice do you have for up-and-coming women growing their careers in hospitality? 

A: While I was with HEI, I was part of the “Women in Leadership” initiative, where we helped groom female leaders to become GMs. My message would be to persevere, work hard and don’t worry about how others view you as long as you are doing what you love. Find a mentor that you admire, and create a community of hospitality professionals you can learn from. Remember to pay it back when you become a seasoned professional, and help the young professionals find their way in this amazing industry.

Q: What are your top three favorite places in Newport Beach?

A: Balboa Island, Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens and Balboa Bay Resort (of course!).

Recognizing Debbie Snavely

Click on photo for a larger image

Debbie Snavely

Debbie Snavely, General Manager of Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa

Q: How did you get started in hospitality? Give a little background about yourself.

A: My distinguished career with Marriott International began 36 years ago as a front desk intern at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel. Over the next 15 years, I remained in Anaheim, gaining invaluable leadership experience as Front Office Manager, Director of Convention Services, Director of Event Management and ultimately Resident Manager. For the past 21 years, I’ve served as General Manager at various Southern California hotels and was a part of the opening team for several properties, domestically and internationally, including Surfer’s Paradise Marriott Resort & Spa in Queensland, Australia.

Q: What is a day in the life of a General Manager at Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa? 

A: Every day is different, but they all start the same. First stop: Starbucks for a cold brew with nonfat cold foam. It’s the only constant I can count on as each day unfolds.

Q: What advice do you have for up-and-coming women growing their careers in hospitality?

A: –Be confident and never satisfied.

–Strive for excellence.

–Understand all aspects of the business.

–Make yourself invaluable.

–Have the courage to grow and seek opportunities.

–Never underestimate the power of TEAMWORK

–Approach everything you do with the highest level of ethics and integrity.

Q: What are your top three favorite places in Newport Beach?

A: Inspiration Point, Fashion Island and Newport Beach Marriott Hotel & Spa (I spend the majority of my time here!).

Recognizing Erin Henry

Click on photo for a larger image

Erin Henry

Erin Henry, General Manager of Hyatt Regency Newport Beach

Q: How did you get started in hospitality? Give a little background about yourself.

A: I started my hospitality career back in 1997, where I joined Hyatt as a rollerblading cocktail server. At that time, I was young and looking for a job, not a career. That job quickly turned into a career that I fell in love with. Before joining Hyatt, I knew I wanted to do something where I could help people and show care and compassion. I found all of that with Hyatt, which continues to drive that culture daily for me.

Q: What is a day in the life of a General Manager at Hyatt Regency Newport Beach?

A: My day as a General Manager is forever changing. It starts at 4:30 a.m., which allows me to take time for myself before the day begins for others. I arrive at work to support the hotel and my colleagues in whatever may come their way. I genuinely have the best team, and it shows with their daily passion and dedication. I typically end my day with a workout before heading home to my husband and children. Of course, it ends with a nice glass of cabernet before heading to bed.

Q: What advice do you have for up-and-coming women growing their careers in hospitality?

A: Like other female leaders, I was scared to jump into a time-consuming career as I had always planned on having a family. A wise woman once shared something with me a day before my first child was born: “Don’t let time interfere with time.” That resonated as I had to learn how to balance work and life. No one could write the playbook for me. Jump in, get your feet wet, and this will be the most rewarding career you will ever have.

Q: What are your top three favorite places in Newport Beach?

A: Back Bay Nature Trail, Balboa Island and Corona del Mar State Beach.


You Must Remember This: Newport has a history of disagreements

By NANCY GARDNER

It’s no surprise that over the course of Newport’s history there have been disagreements between the residents and their elected representatives. It would be surprising if there hadn’t been, given a population with such strong opinions.   Most disagreements are over one particular item. The Museum House and City Hall in the Park are recent examples, but there have also been a couple of reproofs to the council in general, beginning with the city charter.

From the early days, the city was run by a group out of Balboa. My father had first-hand knowledge of the group because his brother-in-law Dick Whitson was part of the ruling class. The Balboa group ran a tight ship. They got out the vote and kept themselves in power, and if they can be criticized for playing a little loosey-goosey with some of the finer points of representative government, they can also be commended for a number of their undertakings: the jetties were built, the harbor dredged. Wherever the Balboa group looked, there was something to congratulate themselves on. As time went on, though, some clouds gathered on the horizon. The end of Prohibition meant a less prosperous Balboa. Overfishing was gradually sapping that industry, but whether they didn’t see this or had just become too complacent, the Balboa group didn’t react with the agility it once did, and this became particularly noticeable post WWII. Here was a new generation, home from the war, eager, ambitious and seeing a new economic engine for the city: real estate. Finding the city leadership unresponsive at best, obstructionist at worst, the new guys rebelled against the power structure that had been there for so long. They got the charter passed, and in doing so, broke the grip of the Balboa group, beginning a new chapter in the city’s history. In a touch of irony, they also laid the seeds for a second council rebuke down the road.

With the shift to real estate as the city’s economic engine, the city itself was transformed. Single lot construction gave way to planned developments. Open space disappeared beneath houses. Traffic issues grew. And grew. Until one day people looked around and said, “Enough!” Unfortunately, the message didn’t seem to be heard by those empowered to make the decision. The council continued to approve new developments, and there came a growing sense that appearing at Planning Commission or council meetings was fruitless: developers had the council’s ear. What to do? With Jean Watt and Phil Arst leading the charge, Greenlight was drafted. It didn’t eliminate development but required that any development generating certain impacts would have to go to the voters.  Blasphemy! thundered the Council. Salvation! cried supporters. My most prominent memory of that campaign (in which I was not involved) is of Alan Beek. I didn’t really know Alan. I had seen him at some council meetings, and I thought of him as a rather dour individual. I couldn’t have been more wrong.  There he was in the Albertson’s parking lot wearing a tall hat that looked like it had been created by Dr. Seuss, charming everyone with his dry sense of humor.  They were practically fighting to sign his petition. There may be a message there – something about Mary Poppins and that spoonful of sugar? Anyway, the group got the signatures to put Greenlight on the ballot and won the popular vote.

With both the charter and Greenlight, there was the sense that the council wasn’t hearing its constituency which seems odd. After all, nobody runs on a platform of “I’m not going to listen to you,” and I don’t think anyone ever makes a conscious decision to ignore residents. I think what does happen at times is that that there’s an imperceptible shift, a blurring of the line between weighing various arguments and then doing what one thinks best as opposed to deciding that one knows best, period. The one is representative government, the other a recipe for people standing in parking lots and gathering signatures. Since we all have better ways to spend our weekends, hopefully, we’ll all stay on the right side of the line.

~~~~~~~~

Nancy Gardner, former Mayor of Newport Beach, longtime resident and daughter of Judge Robert Gardner, is a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.


Town Hall Zoom planned March 18 for District 1

City Councilwoman and former Mayor Diane Dixon has scheduled a District 1 Town Hall Zoom meeting for Thursday, March 18 from 5-6:30 p.m.

Topics planned for the agenda include public safety and the oceanfront boardwalk, community development and short-term rental housing regulations, a COVID-19 vaccination update and a public works projects update.

Town Hall Dixon

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy City of Newport Beach

Newport Beach Councilmember Diane Dixon

Attendees are asked to register for the meeting in advance at https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_e2IIjcpiQIW5xa1azyOKcQ. Once registered, a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar will be sent.


The Fun Zone hits the market, what’s next for the property?

By GARY SHERWIN

What will happen to our beloved Fun Zone?

With the recent news that Discovery Cube will be selling this valuable parcel, there has been considerable concern around town about this iconic part of the city.

The Fun Zone is perhaps one of the most defining lifestyle elements of life in OC and Newport Beach. It’s often referred to as the “heart and soul” of the city.

With its boardwalk, Ferris wheel, corn dogs and frozen bananas, it is a visual shorthand for life in the OC. In fact, some of the opening credits of The O.C. TV show were filmed there.

But first a little background. Several years ago, a group of local boaters created the Newport Harbor Nautical Heritage Museum, which was designed to help educate young people about the history of sailing and yacht racing. It had a small museum in the Fun Zone that mostly featured boat models of years gone by.

Gary Sherwin

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Visit Newport Beach

Gary Sherwin

After a reorganization, the group renamed the museum ExplorOcean and decided to develop an ambitious interactive museum reportedly at a cost of $40 million. Gone were the ship models and, instead, a large facility was proposed that would create a modern-day cultural institution designed for young people to learn about the ocean as well as the sailing industry.

The fundraising program to support the concept never took off and it languished until the museum decided to merge with Discovery Cube, the large children’s museum located next to the 5 Freeway in Santa Ana.

It was thought that the Cube had the leadership, skillset and fundraising ability to ultimately make a new museum a reality as well as protect the elements of the Fun Zone which had grown tired and was losing tenants.

Joe Adams, the president of Discovery Cube, took the challenge head on. He and his team developed a bold new concept for the museum, now called Ocean Quest, as well as the Fun Zone. The history of the area would be protected and a new museum that would engage a new generation was proposed.

The renderings were impressive, and Adams and his team began a series of dialogue with community leaders and started the hunt for money. It began to gather momentum.

And then came the pandemic.

After having their own facilities closed for months and with the downturn in the economy, especially tourism, a viable path for the future of the museum proved too much.

After much discussion, the board opted to sell the entire parcel which is probably one of the most prominent locations in town. While there are plans to maintain some kind of ongoing presence in Newport Beach, perhaps with youth-oriented educational boat tours, the grand vision behind Ocean Quest is dead.

Now the big question is what lies ahead? Could the Fun Zone be redeveloped into some kind of bland condo-retail project?

Whoever buys the Fun Zone area will be ponying up some mega bucks since bids are expected to be high and that person or entity will understandably want a return on investment. With the area already in need of some repair and updating, considerable cash will be needed to even continue along its current path.

But worries that the Fun Zone would be demolished and replaced with high-end housing, that would generate a quick buck, are probably unfounded.

Councilwoman Diane Dixon, who represents the area, said that any concept that would essentially destroy the Fun Zone would be met with resistance from the Coastal Commission, which would mandate a visitor servicing project, along with the City Council.

“I think we would have enough votes on council to protect the Fun Zone given its iconic status on the harbor and in the community if we were presented with a plan to change that,” Dixon said. 

Bravo to that.

While a new developer would understandably want some changes that would enable the area to generate more revenue, it seems that anything moving forward would have to keep the Fun Zone, well, fun.

My suggestion is that whoever buys the parcel would be wise to take a look at the plans Discovery Cube developed that blended a reverence for the history of the area along with a new, engaging features aimed at a new generation. That even included special event space on top of the proposed museum itself which could bring in more cash and allow for some awesome views of the harbor.

The Cube had also proposed expanding attractions along the waterfront and creating more pedestrian access. It cross-pollinated old school fun with education.

I would have loved to see some version of Discovery Cube’s project come together. Now let’s hope for a responsible caretaker who appreciates the Zone as much as the rest of us. 

And, just saying, if they want to bring back the wonderfully campy Scary Dark Ride too, that would be a plus. 

Gary Sherwin is President & CEO of Visit Newport Beach and Newport Beach & Company.


Take Five: Meet Dan Herman, landscape architect with Ocean Blvd. vision plans

By AMY SENK

The most recent Corona del Mar Residents Association board meeting included a presentation from landscape architect and CdM resident Dan Herman, who described how the public, open areas above Big Corona beach could be improved and enhanced. Herman, of the Rabben/Herman design office, has worked professionally on projects from the OASIS Senior Center and Marina Park to a beach improvement project on the Mediterranean Sea in Egypt and theme park plans for Universal Studios in Beijing. I caught up with him to learn more about his vision for one of CdM’s most beautiful spots.

Take Five Dan Herman

Click on photo for larger image

Courtesy of Dan Herman

Dan Herman

Q: How did you come to get involved in creating a plan to improve the Ocean Boulevard public spaces, the plan that you presented recently to the CdMRA?

A: I walk every morning along Ocean Boulevard and the beach. The natural setting is extraordinary, but the public realm is clearly old and in need of help. Many of the walks are too narrow for two people to walk together, old railroad tie retaining walls are rotting away, benches with views to the ocean that have views blocked by shrubs left to grow too high. Just a lot of little things that could make the parks areas so much better. I wondered about the best way to spark interest in improving the public realm and talked with my friend and professional colleague, Ron Yeo, about the best way to begin. Ron has a much longer history in the village than I do, and I know he is very involved in improving our community. Ron and I shared our thinking about goals for the public realm, and then I prepared some very preliminary thoughts, visualizing what could be achieved. As I did research on bluff top parks in California and around the world, I came to feel quite strongly that Ocean Boulevard could be even more beautiful and provide much greater benefit to the residents of the village and the city as a whole.

Q: How would you describe the plan, and what are your favorite parts?

A: I would prefer not to call what I did a plan. That will come later, after much public input and discussion. What I prepared represents Ron’s and my thoughts on the possibilities. Our vision focuses on improving the appearance and quality of the physical improvements while putting the emphasis on the pedestrian rather than the car. Sometimes I feel like I am in a large parking lot at Fashion Island – not on the edge of one of the most dramatic coastline spaces in Southern California. Included in the vision are possible improvements in four broad areas: One, upgrade the existing overlooks and create a new overlook at the end of Dahlia Avenue; two, improve those existing areas between the overlooks that are now wider passive green spaces; three, widen the narrowest sidewalks to allow people to walk comfortably two abreast in each direction; and four, capture and filter the street storm drainage before it drains to the ocean.

Q: What are the next steps to move forward with plans like these, and what do you think the community reaction will be?

A: These kinds of projects are very complex and require input and development from a wide range of stakeholders. As you can imagine, each group will likely have different thoughts and want different things for the public spaces, so we need to follow a process that allows everyone to provide inputs and be heard. When I worked on developing plans for the Upper Newport Bay Regional Park and Marina Park on the Peninsula, we used a public participation process that first established broad goals for the parks. These goals were refined and tested over numerous public meetings. One of the hardest parts about public participation is to get the widest level of participation possible, so community outreach is really important. Fortunately for us, the City of Newport Beach does a really good job at this. Once established and agreed to, the goals were used to develop master plans. During further public meetings, the plans were presented, and the specific proposals tested against the goals. For the Marina Park project, we went through this process over a six-month period with Protect Our Parks as the project lead. Once the city decided to go forward with the park, we repeated the process in a more official way with the city leading the effort. The city established a steering committee that included leaders within the local community, three City Council members, Parks and Public Works staff and representatives from the Harbor Commission, Newport Aquatics Center, UCI and Protect Our Parks. We held public meetings every six weeks for about 12 months to develop and refine the Master Plan. That project was different and far more complex since it was a brand-new park that included a visiting vessel marina and sailing center. The composition of the stakeholder or steering committee group for improving Ocean Boulevard would be much different. Of course, community reaction will be mixed. In general people are not anxious for change. Other people don’t want the city to spend any more money than necessary. Other people realize the investments that the city makes in its public infrastructure increases community values and makes the city more desirable. When we worked on Marina Park, the people that most objected to the project lived directly across Balboa Boulevard from the park. They now have unimpeded views to the bay, and their home values have increased tremendously. Most of the houses have been renovated, and the neighborhood is much more vital. Different people will have different concerns. Those living along Ocean Boulevard will see things differently than those living a block or two away. All of those concerns are valid and must be heard. I don’t think many people would not prefer more green space and less street paving. It would also be hard to argue that many of the improvements are not tired and in need of upgrading. The questions become at what pace, and to what extent.

Q: What are your biggest pet peeves about the public spaces as they currently are along Ocean Boulevard?

A: The public spaces fall short in a number of different ways, which makes it difficult to answer briefly. I guess I most dislike that so much space is given over to the automobile – two moving lanes and parking on each side of the street for most of Ocean Boulevard. There is a very strong movement in the United States to push back against the car and give public spaces back to the pedestrian and the cyclists. You may be familiar with the current plans along Hollywood Boulevard, where the City of Los Angeles intends to remove two lanes of street in order to widen the sidewalks and add street trees. Another example is in Laguna Beach, where the city has proposed closing Forest Avenue from PCH to Glenneyre to vehicular traffic in order to create a safe and vibrant downtown area. Lastly, the City of Costa Mesa turned Broadway, between Irvine Avenue and Newport Boulevard into a “safe street” to make it a safer and more attractive environment for pedestrians and cyclists. I am not suggesting closing Ocean Boulevard to traffic, but just imagine if a portion of the street, the parking lane, was removed and converted to park wherever there is a red painted curb. We could expand the park space tremendously. Then think about widening the sidewalks and adding marked pedestrian crossings along the entire length of Ocean Boulevard. Pedestrians would have an easier time crossing the street, and cars would drive more slowly. While this change would make a very dramatic difference to the look of Ocean Boulevard, it would not address the fact the public improvements are just old and tired and need to be upgraded. The city does a really commendable job of maintaining the public realm but sometimes you need to take a step back and do more.

Q: Do you live in CdM, and if so, what is your favorite thing about living here?

A: My wife and I live on Poinsettia Avenue. What possibly could be better than walking along the bluff or along the beach every day? Walking to Inspiration Point to see a different sunset every night? Tracking the movement of the sunset from south of Catalina in the summer north to setting over Palos Verdes Peninsula in the winter. Looking to see if there is a high or low tide at Little Corona. Those extremely low tides that expose the tidepools almost demand that you walk down to them to explore. Or that single eucalyptus tree on the point that makes its way into every photograph of Little Corona. These are things that you notice when you can be here every day – now how great is that?

~~~~~~~~

Amy Senk is a longtime resident of Corona del Mar and a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.


COVID-19: 160 new cases and 14 new deaths reported in OC, 5 new cases in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,966 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 14 new deaths reported today (March 3). There have been 67 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The county reported 160 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 246,980 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 30.8 percent. 65 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 403 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-22 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 107 are in ICU (-9 since yesterday’s report report).

The county reports that there have been 3,614 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including five new cases reported today and 26 new cases reported since last Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates 234,002 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 3 3 21 1

COVID 19 County 3 3 21 2

COVID 19 County 3 3 21 3

COVID 19 County 3 3 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 3, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 186 new cases and 31 new deaths reported in OC, 2 new cases in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,952 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 31 new deaths reported today (March 2). There have been 67 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The county reported 186 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 246,820 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 31.2 percent. 64 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 425 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (+6 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 116 are in ICU (-3 since yesterday’s report report).

The county reports that there have been 3,609 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including two new cases reported today and 33 new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

The county estimates 233,106 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 3 2 21 1

COVID 19 County 3 2 21 2

COVID 19 County 3 2 21 3

COVID 19 County 3 2 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 2, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


On the Harbor: An early riser’s perspective

By LEN BOSE

I had been struggling to come up with a story this week and then I realized it had been a long time since I woke up with the harbor. I grabbed my camera and headed out the door at 5:45 a.m. toward my slip at the Newport Marina – for you old-timers that’s the Swales Marina. While driving, I thought that the best angle to observe is not toward the east. Fortunately, I had my bike in the truck and parked at the Newport Marina, then rode my bike past the grumpy guard at Bayshores to the volleyball beach.

I chuckled to myself while looking over both my shoulders when reading the sign “private dock” then realizing who is going to be concerned at six in the morning. Sitting on the bench, at the end of the dock, I looked over the harbor for the first activity of a large bait boil of small fish disturbing the sheet glass water and awakening the harbor to a warm winter day with a light Santa Ana breeze starting to stir. Just before the sun rises, three double-handed rowing shells approached from under the PCH bridge who must have started their day from the Newport Aquatic Center. While glancing toward the Pavilion, the first car ferry was crossing the harbor from Balboa Island toward the peninsula. Just then, I noticed 15 kayakers rounding the west end of Harbor Island and heading back toward the Aquatic Center. This group must have been one of the first on the harbor this morning. Twenty minutes had passed, and the sun was breaking the plain of the Saddleback mountain range when I took this photo.

On the Harbor sunrise

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Len Bose

Capturing the harbor at sunrise

While walking back to my truck, I thought I would head over toward the car ferry crossing on Balboa Island for some photos and a look around. As I was placing my bike in the back of my truck, I noticed the Newport Marina dockmaster Barbi (sorry I have forgotten her last name) already at work, and then heard in a clear voice, “Hey, thank you for the kind words in your last article, I appreciate that.” It was Bunker Hill who I assume wakes up before the fish. The time was about 6:45 a.m. when I approached the Island Marine fuel dock looking for an angle to get a good shot of the car ferry crossing the harbor. There must have been six ferry crew members and mechanics starting their day already and I introduced myself to the fuel attendant Danny Knowles at Island Marine Fuel and asked if I can take a few photos from the porch of the station. Just then another loud voice, inflicted with laughter said, “You owe me lunch; I told you, you owe me lunch now.” The proprietor of Island Marine, David Beek was joking with Knowles. Beek told me they had a bet from the night before on who would be the first to arrive at the fuel dock this morning. 

Beek and I have been good friends for more than 25 years now and we quickly caught up on all the gossip around the harbor. The fuel dock reminds me of days gone by when a bunch of “Old Walters” would be shooting the poop and drinking free coffee at the barbershop for all the local news. I need to visit Beek more often other than yelling across the harbor when I sail by. Beek updated me that the Orange Coast Crew has been back on the water for a couple of months now. “The guys row in the morning and the ladies in the afternoon,” Beek shared. Of course, we caught up on our families and all the harbor issues.

I was surprised to hear that City Harbor Master Kurt Borsting has retired and will be handing over the helm on April 2nd. Returning to my desk, I called Assistant City Manager Carol Jacobs to confirm this. “Yes, Kurt will be retiring and I will be doing my best to keep the ship righted. We have started the process for looking for a new Harbor Master and if you know of anyone that might be interested, have them look up available jobs on the city website,” Jacobs said. The needed qualifications for the Harbor Master position is rather lengthy with seven years’ experience, increasingly responsible harbor management or administration experience, including commercial harbor leases experience and at least three years of responsible management and supervisory-level experience.” Good work if you can get it!

I finished my harbor wake-up call driving by Basin Marine who by 7 a.m. had everyone hard at work while the Galley Café outdoor sitting was starting to show signs of life. Harbor activity is returning to “the way it was” and I look forward to writing a story about this toward the end of the year. Where are the best places to go for breakfast around the harbor? I will share them with you.

Sea ya.

~~~~~~~~

Len Bose is a yachting enthusiast, yacht broker and harbor columnist for Stu News Newport.


Oceanfront boardwalk update: study results, solution still needs enforcement

By SARA HALL

During the latest discussion about safety on the oceanfront boardwalk on the Balboa Peninsula, a familiar issue was once again at the crux of the conversation: enforcement.

City staff shared an update presentation during the Newport Beach City Council meeting on Tuesday (February 23). While it was meant to be a follow-up from the September 22 council meeting, focused on staff’s study findings, program feedback and test project results, the major takeaway was that more needs to be done about enforcement. Both public speakers and city council members noted the problem.

This has been an issue for as long as Councilmember Diane Dixon has been on council, six years, and they’ve had many discussions over the years to work on it.

“Residents who express their frustration are entitled to that frustration, I am too,” Dixon said.

She commended the “Ambassador Pilot Program” team; it’s great for education, she said, but that’s only one part of the bigger solution.

“Enforcement, at the end of the day, is key,” Dixon said. “I don’t know why we’re kidding ourselves.”

Fines were stiffened at the September meeting, Dixon said, and citations need to be carried out. Codes are respected because there are consequences.

Enforcement has been a “difficult conversation,” Principal Civil Engineer Brad Sommers said. During staff’s review of neighboring cities, the engineers he spoke to didn’t have much knowledge about the issue. Dixon asked if staff could follow up more on the topic.

Maureen Cotton, president of Central Newport Beach Community Association, noted that the enforcement aspect was missing from staff’s presentation.

“It’s a very big component of this,” Cotton said, and it hasn’t been properly addressed.

This has been an issue in the community for a long time, she noted, and it’s good that the city is looking into new ideas.

Oceanfront boardwalk bicycles

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Corrine Corr

Bicycles near Newport Pier and the Oceanfront boardwalk

Others agreed that there should be more or better signage. Dixon noted that they’ve talked about signage improvements and/or updates.

“We clearly need to update our signs,” Dixon said.

Newport Island resident Bud Reveley said he’s been walking the boardwalk for 30 years but recently switched to the alleys.

“The alleys are peaceful, there’s not much happening, you don’t have to worry about what’s coming up behind you and whizzing by you,” he said. “The only solution to this, and it’s pretty clear from other cities, you’ve got to separate these two paths.”

It would make it more enjoyable for all users, he added.

“The place is getting really dangerous and you’re going to have a problem,” Reveley said.

Other public speakers generally agreed with him, although there was some disagreement on widening versus separating uses.

Sommers also provided an update on the Castaways rumble bump test project.

In September, Public Works staff designed and installed three sets of rumble bumps on the Castaways Trail as a test project to evaluate and determine their effectiveness as a possible bicycle speed calming device for use on pedestrian and cycling trails.

They haven’t received any complaints or observed any challenges for other users. While staff did note that the community appreciates the city’s effort to improve the trail, they didn’t really work to slow things down.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t observe a consistent reduction of speed for cyclists,” Sommers said.

Staff also noted that smaller hard-wheeled devices like skateboards or rollerblades created “noticeable noise.” If placed on the boardwalk, the noise may impact adjacent houses and for that reason staff didn’t recommend its use near residences. It may be worth considering in the commercial retail areas or near the piers, Sommers added.

Staff also recently conducted an extensive review of bike, community and oceanfront trails in neighboring counties.

The oceanfront boardwalk in Newport Beach is narrow, about 12 feet, and is joint-use. Staff compared joint-use lanes in Huntington Beach at 20 feet or Hermosa Beach (which also has homes directly on one edge of the pathway) also at 20 feet.

Many of the locations reviewed have taken steps to separate the uses, some putting the pedestrian traffic adjacent to the homes, Sommers noted. Most preferred separate pedestrian and wheeled paths, if possible.

Most agencies are also receiving similar complaints. They share the concern that there are no standard devices, nothing meant for this specific type of situation. 

No other agency that Sommers reviewed had tried to put in a physical device on the trail, like the rumble bumps, which is something that Newport Beach was looking at adapting for the boardwalk.

“Unfortunately, we didn’t find exactly what we were looking for,” Sommers said.

The next step is to move forward with the Oceanfront Boardwalk Improvement Project, Sommers said.

Oceanfront boardwalk NB Pier

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Larry Tenney

Newport Pier at sunset

The project was developed through many years of conversations and requests from the community. Improvements to the Oceanfront boardwalk including addressing congestion, user conflicts, speed, resident/boardwalk interface and other related boardwalk issues have been the main topics of these discussions and requests. 

The goal of the project would be to develop larger-scale solutions through public outreach and by utilizing specialized consulting services for three areas: Oceanfront boardwalk between 15th and 36th streets, Oceanfront parking lot and McFadden Plaza.

Initially, staff was also going to report back on the idea of restricting the boardwalk to pedestrians only during peak periods on summer weekends, but there was a lack of community support, Sommers said, so staff is no longer considering this item.

“Almost immediately we heard from the community (and) there was opposition to this item,” Sommers said.

Newport Beach Police Department Deputy Chief Steve Rasmussen also provided an update on the Oceanfront Boardwalk Ambassador Pilot Program.

This is the second weekend since the roll out and so far, so good.

“We’ve gotten some good reports,” Rasmussen said.

The teams and supervisory staff reported generally positive feedback from their interactions with the public with this new program. NBPD staff will be providing direct operational support and oversight for the ambassadors’ team and will update the council periodically.

~~~~~~~~

Sara Hall covers City Hall and is a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.


Sports are back in session

Based on updated guidance for youth and recreational adult sports issued February 19 by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), outdoor sports competitions may resume in Orange County (OC) with modifications starting March 3.

“Orange County has lowered its COVID-19 case rate of less than 14 per 100,000 thanks to our communities’ diligence in helping slow the spread and the county’s vaccination efforts,” said Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors Andrew Do. “Per the state’s guidance, this means certain outdoor sport competitions can resume once again. Something that many families have been looking forward to for months now.” 

The state’s guidance applies to all organized youth and adult sports, including school and community-sponsored programs, and privately organized clubs and leagues. Outdoor sport competitions may resume in Purple Tier counties including OC with modifications that include testing requirements for certain outdoor high-contact sports. Outdoor moderate-contact sports, such as baseball, cheerleading and softball, can be played in OC without the testing requirement.

Youth and adult sports include varied activities that have different levels of risk for transmission of COVID-19 depending on the physical contact between players. Outdoor activities that allow for consistent wearing of face coverings and physical distancing are lower risk than indoor activities that involve close contact between participants and high exertion that increases the spread of exhaled particles.

“I am very excited that our youth, who have been anxiously waiting for months to get back to competitive sports, now have the opportunity to compete,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District. “I have always been a strong supporter of exploring all options that would allow our youth to safely resume outdoor sporting activities.”

For more information on examples of sports with different levels of contact and risk by tier, go here.


Take Five: Sara Verschueren, NBPD Crime Prevention Specialist

By AMY SENK

Crime news tends to grab our attention, from major cases in the headlines to smaller cases and trends you hear about – typically from police alerts or from a Neighborhood Watch leader in the community. I caught up with Sara Verschueren, Newport Beach Police Department’s Crime Prevention Specialist, to learn more about how her efforts make residents safer – and more aware through programs like Neighborhood Watch and more. 

Take Five Sara Verschueren

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Sara Verschueren

Sara Verschueren

Q: When I was involved in Neighborhood Watch, we met every month in the police department’s auditorium and there were snacks. How have things changed, particularly over the past year, in how the program works, and how can people get involved?

A: Neighborhood Watch still has the same purpose. Neighbors work together to secure their homes, keep an eye out for each other and report suspicious activity. However, the program here in Newport Beach has changed up a little bit in the last couple of years. Right now, we have three meetings a year with all the Neighborhood Watch leaders and Area Lieutenants. During 2020, these have been moved to virtual meetings. Each month, I send out information highlighting crime trends and crime prevention information to all my Neighborhood Watch leaders. From there, they share the info with community members who have expressed interest in staying in the loop on these matters. We also do meetings when a new group starts or if there is a specific issue or crime trend occurring in a community. 

We ask Neighborhood Watch leaders to participate in the program by attending meetings, keeping up with crime info and making an effort to get to know their neighbors. Those interested in getting involved can contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 949.644.3699. 

Q: I think some residents are pretty comfortable calling the police, but others aren’t as comfortable (they don’t want to “bother” the police or seem like they’re overreacting to a situation). How do you know when it is appropriate to call the police for something?

A: I always encourage people to call us when they see something suspicious. When it comes to keeping our city safe, the community can be a huge help by letting us know when and where something suspicious is happening. We can’t have an officer on every corner, so we ask our residents to be our eyes and ears and alert us to a crime, or a potential crime. We have two lines that reach our dispatch center – 911 for emergencies and 949.644.3717 for non-emergencies. The 911 number should be used in these instances: fire, medical emergency, crime in progress, serious car accident or any situation when someone is in immediate danger. The non-emergency number is more appropriate for these types of situations: getting a police report after a crime occurred, parking or animal control issues, or suspicious activity – for example, the sound of glass breaking at your neighbor’s house when you know they’re on vacation or you see someone leisurely walking around and looking into parked cars. Also, please call us immediately when you see something that requires police attention. Many times, there is much more we can do to prevent or address a situation in the moment than if you tell us about it a couple days, or even hours, later. One more thing I want to mention. It’s good to remember that the same dispatchers who answer 911 calls are answering the non-emergency line. So just know that if you call the non-emergency line, you might be put on hold for a bit depending on what else is going on. Our dispatchers also might be rapidly asking you a bunch of questions, which might feel abrupt or overwhelming at times, just keep in mind that they may be juggling numerous calls and there might be something serious happening in another part of the city.

Q: What’s a typical day like for a crime prevention specialist?

A: Well, like many people, my schedule can look pretty different from day to day. Usually, I start my day by going through reports and emails to see if anything is happening that the community should be alerted to, like residential burglaries, crime trends, etc. Then I prepare any Nixle alerts that need to go out. After that, my day can go in a lot of different directions. Some days I’m meeting with other crime prevention specialists for trainings, other days I’m doing home security inspections, which are happening virtually right now. Then I might work on prepping for a Neighborhood Watch meeting or presentation. This involves studying any crime trends, talking with the area lieutenants and gathering helpful materials. A good amount of my time is spent looking at crime trends, researching crime prevention methods and then determining the best ways to reach our residents with that information. I enjoy finding creative ways to let people know about a specific issue and how they can avoid being a victim of a crime. Some of my normal methods have not been as feasible with COVID restrictions, so this year I’ve been leaning more on Nixle, social media and my Neighborhood Watch folks to get the word out. Also, in “non-COVID” times, I plan many of the police department’s events – National Night Out, Open House, etc. – to help connect residents and police department employees in positive, fun environments. I’m looking forward to doing more of that when we can start having events again.

Q: Are there any crime trends that have changed because of COVID?

A: We did see a drop in residential burglaries when COVID started. This was not a surprise because burglars are usually targeting empty houses. With folks not traveling or going out as much, the opportunities for home burglars went down dramatically. I would say that the more comfortable people get with spending more time away from home, the more we will see this increase. With that said, now is a good time to start getting some home security measures in place.

Q: What are the top five crime-prevention tips you wish residents would all use?

A: One, do not leave anything in your car. Sunglasses, purses, wallets, keys…Burglars are normally looking for unlocked cars, but they won’t hesitate to smash a window or tamper with a lock if they see something in your car that they want. Two, invest in a good quality lock for your bike and learn how to use it properly. Also, never leave your bike outside overnight – even with a good lock on it. Three, when you are away from home, use timers on indoor lights to create the appearance of someone being in the house; burglars usually target houses when they know the resident isn’t home. Four, if you get an unsolicited phone call requesting personal information or money, get the contact info of the person you’re talking to. Then hang up and do a little research before you give out any information. Remember: not everyone is who they say they are. And Five, call NBPD immediately when you observe suspicious activity. NBPD’s non-emergency dispatch number is 949.644.3717.

~~~~~~~~

Amy Senk is a longtime resident of Corona del Mar and a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.


We could all be standing in a TSA line soon and that’s a good thing

By GARY SHERWIN

Could John Wayne Airport be showing us hopeful signs of the pandemic’s end?

With traffic down more than 70 percent in the last year, the airport, considered one of the finest regional facilities in the country, has been a virtual ghost town. That’s allowed the Newport Beach residents under the flight path to have a relatively quiet 2020. But for those in the airline industry, it has been an epic financial disaster.

The four largest airlines which include American, Delta, United and Southwest, lost a jaw dropping $31 billion last year. Even more sobering, the entire airline industry is still shedding more than $150 million each day according to airline interest groups.

What is stunning about those losses is that those numbers are on top of the $40 billion in federal grants they received to pay employees and tens of billions more in low-cost government loans.

Gary Sherwin

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Visit Newport Beach

Gary Sherwin

With international businesses kaput as well as most business travel and a large share of the leisure market, few people have wanted to venture out on planes aside from the brief holiday surges.

But if the news out of John Wayne is any indicator, things may be finally turning around.

The biggest news came last week with American’s announcement of a daily flight starting June 1 with direct service to New York’s Kennedy Airport. And perhaps most surprising, they will be flying the larger A321 equipment, not the smaller B737. This aircraft traditionally flies between L.A. or San Francisco to New York.

For years, the OC tourism community has urged the airlines to start service to NYC given that it is the heart of the nation’s business community and could be a profitable source of business travel as well as financial industry meetings and conventions.

For a brief period in 2018, Delta had direct service to JFK Airport, and it lasted about three months. At the time, they blamed the route’s demise on the airport’s slot allocation, in which officials permit airlines to serve a particular number of routes.

Although Delta flies to Atlanta, the airport has had a tough time getting sufficient East Coast direct service which means that for the most part, travelers have to change planes at least once to get here.

It’s telling that the June 1 start date means that American is feeling more bullish about travel this summer and that’s a good thing.

The New York news is also coming off the recent news that United is starting new direct service to Honolulu on May 6. Restarting service to Hawaii has been on the top of the list for many residents for years now. And after a year like this, I bet a lot of people are really craving a Mai Tai while enjoying some tropical breezes.

This comes on the heels of other new service into the airport from Allegiant Air, Sun Country, Spirit and much-welcomed international service from Air Canada.

During an industry conference last week, representatives from American and United were feeling almost giddy about the summer travel season and these new routes reflect that. 

Right now they are getting aircraft positioned for the busier season in the months ahead as they have tried to grapple with the pandemic. With vaccines on the rise and case numbers declining, they forecast a huge demand for air travel. Recent studies have said that 70 percent of Americans are already making plans to go somewhere later this year.

Ed Bastian, chief executive of Delta said this week, “The pent-up need and urge and desire to travel is like never before. Our product is missed.”

Visit California also announced a new $26 million in state promotion last week to get Californians to visit other destinations in the state. Normally, the state’s tourism marketing agency spends its funds trying to capture out-of-state or international visitors to spend their dollars here. Shifting its resources to get our own residents to travel within the state is a huge departure for them but is sound strategy in a post-COVID-19 economy.

The biggest challenge for the airlines will be the continued decline in business travel which is not expected to significantly recover until next year. The all-important meetings market, which Newport Beach has a huge reliance on, is not anticipated to resume to a large degree until this fall. Since these fliers are the ones who pay the biggest ticket prices, not having them onboard still badly hurts their bottom lines.

Instead, it will be families, couples and friends eager for a sense of normalcy once again who will be hitting the skies this summer that will keep airlines aloft and, right now, they are OK with that.

So, dust off your cobwebs John Wayne Airport. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m actually looking forward to standing in a TSA line again soon.

Gary Sherwin is President & CEO of Visit Newport Beach and Newport Beach & Company.


Shoreline love

Shoreline love

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Stan Sievers (Instagram @stansievers/stansieversphoto.com)

“Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” – Sarah Kay


Shades of spring

Shades of spring

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Kevin Pellon (Instagram @socalsnapz)

Spring is on the horizon, with water, tennis and boats in sight


School Notes

Preschool tuition-based programs begin registration

Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) will begin enrolling 3 and 4-year-old children into tuition-based preschool programs on Monday, March 8.

The full day programs vary at five days a week (M-F), three days a week (M,W,F) and two days a week (T,TH) and will be offered at Newport Elementary, Newport Coast, Harbor View and Davis Magnet elementary schools.

The highlights of the program are:

–Preschoolers are immersed in age-appropriate, research-based literacy instruction in science, math and technology.

–Curriculum is aligned with California State Standards.

–Structured and independent play activities to promote social-emotional, physical and cognitive development.

–School nurses, counselors and speech pathologists will be on site.

To schedule a virtual tour or for more information contact Yazmin Diaz, the Preschool Office Assistant, at 949.515.6622 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Construction Leadership Series program to be offered via Zoom to students

NMUSD will offer a Construction Leadership Series kicking off Wednesday, March 3. Students will have the opportunity to network with industry professionals while learning about careers in construction, gain leadership skills and explore construction pre-apprenticeship programs. 

The program will meet from 3:30-4:30 p.m. via Zoom on the following Wednesdays: March 3, 17 and 31, April 21 and May 5 and 19.

There will also be prize drawings at every meeting. 

To register, go to https://forms.gle/E92ZAzQVUUnAFMD68.

NMUSD COVID-19 Dashboard

School Notes 2.26.21

Click for a larger image


Speak Up Newport to hold seminar on our community’s quality of life

Speak Up Newport is hosting its 12th special Zoom webinar. Due to the pandemic, it isn’t possible to hold live programs, so Speak Up Newport continues its tradition of sponsoring programs of civic interest for residents.

This month’s program is on a subject that is of concern to many Newport Beach residents – code enforcement by the various city departments charged with seeing that the city’s municipal code is adhered to. It focuses on code enforcement and how it affects residents’ quality of life. It will be held via Zoom on Wednesday, March 10 from 4-5 p.m.

The featured speakers are Natalie Basmacyian, Homeless Coordinator, City Manager’s office; John Murray, Code Enforcement, Community Development; Pete Carpentieri, Lieutenant, NBPD; and Kristin Thompson, EMS Division Chief, NBFD.

Whether you have concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic, homelessness, short-term rentals, the beach and boardwalk, or any other quality of life issue, hear from representatives of the City Manager’s office, Community Development, the Police Department and the Fire Department on some of the new and innovative ways the city is working to address the challenges of today and tomorrow.

In order to attend, click here to register. If you would like to send questions to the panelists, email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information, visit www.speakupnewport.com/quality-of-life/.


Petrie-Norris hires new District Director as liaison for local cities

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris has hired Alexander Kim as her new District Director. In this role, Kim will serve as a community liaison based out of the assemblywoman’s Irvine office for the cities of Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Irvine, Huntington Beach, Laguna Woods and Laguna Beach.

“I am thrilled to welcome Alexander Kim to our team. His breadth of knowledge and experience, in addition to his extensive network throughout Orange County will serve our office and our entire community immensely,” said Assemblywoman Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). 

With more than 20 years of experience, Kim has represented local and state elected officials, worked in the private sector, and serves on several business and community organizations in Orange County. He is a graduate of UC Irvine, served a Fellowship in Social Work at the University of Southern California and earned an MBA from Pepperdine University.

Petrie Norris Kim

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of the Office of Cottie Petrie-Norris

Alexander Kim

In 2001, Kim’s public service commenced in the Office of the City of Los Angeles Mayor James Hahn as central area director & economic development representative for Hollywood/Downtown and he was later appointed by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2004 as deputy director and community liaison for the counties of Ventura, Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and Orange where he served in this role until 2011. 

Kim entered into the private sector at SoCalGas in 2011-2015 as public affairs manager for West Orange County and later as community affairs manager covering Central California to the San Diego County line. 

For the last decade, he has been dedicated to healthcare policy and was appointed by both Governor Schwarzenegger and Governor Brown on three state commissions including the board of optometry, naturopathic medicine committee and the board of behavioral science. 

His most recent public service role was as senior advisor of the City of Los Angeles to Councilmember David Ryu, 4th District. In this role, he served more than 300,000 residents before returning back to the City of Newport Beach as a private consultant with the mission of connecting government, business and nonprofits in the Orange County region. 

Kim remains dedicated as an advocate for small business, diversity, arts/education, and social services on several government and nonprofits, such as the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), Diversity Community Leaders Group, Asian Business Association of Orange County, Vietnamese American Chamber of Commerce, Anti-Defamation League Asian-Jewish-Latino Roundtable, JVS SoCal, PBS SoCal Community Advisory Board, Orange County Asian Pacific Islander Community Alliance, New Way California and as co-founder of the UC Irvine Korean American Alumni Chapter.


Former longtime Chamber President & CEO Richard Luehrs loses battle to COVID-19

Former Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce President & CEO Richard Luehrs passed away last evening following a multi-week battle with COVID-19. Luehrs, 73, is survived by his wife Susan and children Samantha and Ricky.

Before retiring in early 2013, Luehrs held the chamber’s top spot for more than 30 years.

Former longtime Richard Luehrs

Richard Luehrs

“Richard lived a life of service to this community,” said current Chamber President & CEO Steve Rosansky. “He loved the city’s small businesses, and he created the robust business community that exists today.”

One of Luehr’s crowning achievements at the chamber was the creation of the Taste of Newport that comfortably funded the organization during its long run, before running on hard times during its last few years.

In retirement, he remained active with the organization Speak Up Newport, a non-profit, non-partisan citizens group organized to promote the common good and general welfare of the Newport Beach community; with Our Lady Queen of Angels Church; and served on the city’s building and fire board of appeals.

Luehrs entered the VA (hospital) Long Beach several weeks ago with coronavirus and progressively deteriorated, eventually requiring a ventilator, before finally succumbing last evening.

Former Newport Beach Mayor Rush Hill, who served as the chamber’s chairman of the board, issued the following statement, “Richard was a strong fighter who survived many challenges in his productive and giving life. He gave us both public service and life examples that have left a positive mark on our community. We will never think of professional organizations like the Newport Beach Chamber or social events like the Taste of Newport without positive memories of Richard. May he once again run freely and Rest In Peace. May all of our prayers be with his wife and their two adult children. May they know we grieve with them at this sad moment.”


Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Newport Beach company is finding a way to keep students even safer on college campuses

Fair Game Tom Johnson newLRTitan HST is a Newport Beach-based provider of next-gen emergency response systems. They’ve found many successes in helping safeguard students and faculty from potential on-campus emergencies and also with assisting communities in need of natural disaster emergency communications.

Now, they’ve even found another area of use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Vanguard University in Costa Mesa recently contracted with Titan for their emergency communication needs. What they realized was that Titan could also assist in providing a turnkey solution for communicating to and screening on-campus students and employees with COVID outbreak mitigation.

Titan now allows Vanguard University to pre-screen all students currently living on campus for symptoms, instantly identifying and notifying anyone exposed to an infected individual, and then implement density monitoring to set maximum occupancy levels by area. 

Titan also generates reporting to verify that all areas have been properly sanitized. Plus, if there is a confirmed case on campus, Titan allows the university to track the precise location of the infected individual and then quickly implement quarantines and risk mitigation procedures. 

Vanguard University has also been leveraging Titan as a texting app to deliver food to students in quarantine on campus, making two-way communication with students easier than ever.

“Titan HST has been a critical app for our campus that allows us to streamline important and urgent information to students and staff in the event of an emergency,” said Kent Ferrin, director of Campus Safety, Vanguard University. 

• • •

Speaking of coronavirus, several months into the pandemic, on a visit to my cardiologist Rick Haskell, M.D., he asked me if I knew why they called it COVID-19? After replying “no,” he told me that while everyone is confined to home they’re putting on an extra 19 pounds, as he pinched the front of his stomach.

We laughed.

But I’m not laughing now. I’m thinking they need to change it now to COVID-25, or maybe even 30. Who’s with me? 

Let me know what you’re doing to keep the pounds off because I need help.

• • •

NOSA, the organizer of the Newport to Ensenada International Yacht Race, has announced that this year it will join the Mexican Navy in celebrating their 200th anniversary. Those actual naval forces are called the Armada de Mexico.

Who knew? I had to check my history books because I didn’t remember the Armada de Mexico being a factor in any major wars or confrontations over the last couple of centuries.

What I did find out, however, is that the Mexican Navy is big in fighting against the war on drugs, protecting PEMEX’s oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico, and assisting the country in hurricane and natural disaster relief.

Recent counts show their Navy consists of 68,200 men and women, nearly 200 ships and about 130 aircraft. 

Then again, with Mexico’s nearly 7,000 miles of coastline, one might imagine how important they are.

So bring on the celebration. Newport to Ensenada sets sail on April 23 off the Balboa Pier.

• • •

According to the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, for the next week or so, the Small Business Association is giving priority to businesses with 20 or fewer employees while approving PPP applications.

Chamber President & CEO Steve Rosansky has provided the following video update that offers details. 

• • •

While on the subject of the Chamber, they have three upcoming events next week that you should know about. First is on Tuesday, March 2 with Avoiding COVID-Related Lawsuits, as part of their Education Series, for small businesses. Register for the 9-10 a.m. event at Avoiding COVID lawsuits; next up on Wednesday, March 3, UPDATE Orange County presents O.C. Executive Officer Frank Kim, who will give an update on everything County at 9 a.m. Register at Kim Update; and finally, Newport Beach Mayor Brad Avery presents his State of the City Update on Thursday, March 4 at WAKE UP! Newport from 8-9 a.m. Register at WAKE UP!

• • •

Kudos to the Newport-Mesa Unified School District for their offering of an upcoming Student Construction Leadership Series. Beginning Wednesday, March 3, the district will be offering Construction 101: Building Your Future. The series runs for six various Wednesdays from March into May, from 3:30- 4:30 p.m. on Zoom.

Students will have the opportunity to network with industry professionals while learning about careers in construction, gain leadership skills and explore a construction pre-apprenticeship program.

This should be of particular interest to any youth interested in a possible future in construction.

The series is a partnership of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America, Coastline ROP, the Building Industry Technology Academy and NMUSD. 

To register, go here.

I applaud this type of programming and encourage other industries to reach out to partner with NMUSD, or vice versa. We have to remember, not everyone is cut out for a desk job, and that’s a good thing.

• • •

If you like tomatoes, Roger’s Gardens presents Tomato Mania and has something for you at their “world’s largest plant sale” beginning today through Saturday, March 6.

Scott Daigre, and his staff of Tomatomaniacs, offer an astonishing selection of more than 200 varieties of heirloom and hybrid tomato plants, including new varieties for 2021, as well as large selection of peppers.”

Find out about the different tomatoes, tools and accessories you’ll need for your next crop, soils and fertilizers, planters/pottery and containers, plus other tips.


City to begin state-mandated organic waste recycling in 2022 that could mean fee increases

The city is updating its trash and recycling service contracts to meet new state mandates for organics recycling because new California state law requires that every household, business and multi-family property recycle their organic waste by Jan. 1, 2022. Organic waste includes food waste, landscape trimmings such as leaves, grass and branches, and compostable paper products. These requirements are mandated for all California cities.

The state law requiring organics recycling was signed into law in 2016 by then-Gov. Jerry Brown with SB 1383, which established a series of targets to divert organic waste from landfills. SB 1383 set a goal of 50 percent reduction in statewide organics disposal by 2020 and a 75 percent reduction by 2025. The bill also set goals aimed at reducing the amount of edible food disposed into trash and landfills. SB 1383 regulations go into effect in 2022.

This change helps the environment because organic waste can be recycled into compost and mulch and used to produce renewable natural gas. Diverting green waste also reduces greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to climate change. 

According to state studies, organic waste in landfills emits 20 percent of California’s methane gas, a climate super pollutant 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide, and air pollutants like PM 2.5, which contributes to health conditions like asthma. 

Diverting organic waste significantly reduces the volume of waste being transported to landfills.

Moving forward, Newport Beach residents will have to separate their trash, recycling and organic waste. So, in order to meet the state requirements, Newport Beach’s contractor, CR&R, will need to utilize separate trash, recycling and organic waste collection containers. Residents will be asked to separate trash, recycling and organic waste into three different carts.

This could pose challenges for some neighborhoods because of constrained street and curb space which may pose difficulties for the three-can system. The city and CR&R will be developing specialized solutions for these neighborhoods, such as smaller cart sizes where applicable, and specialized collection trucks to better accommodate the organics program. 

The city will strive to make the program as convenient for residents as possible, but it will require some behavioral changes to be successful.

Concerning increases in costs for recycling services, residents currently do not pay directly for trash pickup. However, residents do pay a recycling fee to partially offset costs for state-mandated recycling programs. On March 23, the city will host a public hearing to give residents an opportunity to comment on a proposed fee increase to partially offset the additional costs of organic recycling. 

Under the proposal, most recycling fees per household would increase from $3 a month to $6.28 a month. Households in the Newport Coast area, which do not currently pay a recycling fee, would pay $5.86 per month.

Newport Coast residents currently do not pay a recycling service fee because when the area was annexed to the City of Newport Beach in 2002 a recycling service fee was not included in the agreement. 

Since the 2002 annexation, the city has been absorbing the added state recycling cost for the Newport Coast area. As recycling requirements from the state became more stringent, recycling costs to the city increased significantly. As a result, the City Council is now considering a recycling fee of $5.86 a month for Newport Coast households to partially offset these increased costs to the city’s general fund.

The proposed difference in pricing between Newport Coast and the rest of Newport Beach is because with the annexation the residential refuse contract was negotiated separately, thus establishing two different contracts. 

The city is now looking to combine these two collection contracts so as to have one contract (and contractor) responsible for all the residential refuse collection. 

It is likely that in the future, the recycling fee will be revised to be consistent throughout Newport Beach.

An analysis of the proposed recycling fee increase has been conducted by MGT Financial Services, a city consultant. A copy of the report can be found on the city’s website or by clicking here. 

The City Council will hear public input on the proposal on March 23 in the council chambers. Residents will have the opportunity to speak on the proposal, however, an official protest must be made in writing and must state specifically that the protest is in opposition to the increased recycling service fee rate. It must also provide the location of the residence (by address or assessor’s parcel number) and include the name and signature of the property owner.

All protests must be submitted in writing to the City Clerk prior to the close of the Public Hearing at 6:30 p.m. on March 23 at City Hall.

Some question why now are residents being asked to separate recycling materials with that market declining in recent years? The reason is that separation of recyclable materials provides cleaner material and is a preferred method to achieve compliance with state regulations. This type of program directly diverts the material from landfills, and the cleaner material has a better chance of being sold as a commodity with a stronger market value. 

Although the price of some materials has declined slightly in recent years, the recycling market has been on an upswing at the start of 2021. Domestic mills have made greater investments into paper and cardboard recycling, due to changes in China’s environmental policies, and are purchasing more cardboard and paper material. 

Also, as the commercial waste stream has been reduced because of COVID-19 restrictions, the residential waste stream has increased in importance. There has been a renewed interest in #5 polypropylene (plastic) material, as higher oil prices have increased the cost of virgin plastic material used to produce new plastic bottles. 

While the market for recyclables fluctuates, the separation of recyclable materials helps ensure that the materials are clean, resold for the highest possible price in the current market and diverted from landfills.

Please click here for more information on residential recycling.


Enroll now for Segerstrom Center’s dance and musical theater program

Segerstrom Center for the Arts’ popular Musical Theater Training Program for aspiring young performers ages 9-18 continues and is accepting new applicants. The next series will be on March 18, 23, 26, 30 and April 1, followed by an April/May series. The classes are live but virtual, and students of all experience levels are welcome. Training is provided by some of the industry’s leading live stage professional artists and educators. Classes include acting, voice and dance. Students in the 15 to 18-year-old age group will have acting and dance audition preparation classes. Entrance is not audition-based, so registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and capacity is limited. Tuition for all five classes is $150, and registration can be completed online at www.scfta.org/virtualclasses

Enroll now performer

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Joesan Diche

An aspiring young performer in the musical theater training program

Because the classes are live virtual, there is immediate interaction between students and faculty while everyone remains completely safe. The Musical Theater Training Program has three tracks, one for students ages 9-13 with classes at 3:30 p.m., a second for students ages 12-4 at 5 p.m. and a third for students ages 15-18 at 6:30 p.m.

Upcoming Classes:

–March 18

3:30 p.m. – Musical Theater for ages 9-11

5 p.m. – Musical Theater for ages 12-14

6:30 p.m. – Audition Preparation - Musical Theater for ages 15-18

–March 23

3:30 p.m. – Acting for ages 9-11

5 p.m. – Acting for ages 12-14

6:30 p.m. – Audition Preparation - Acting for ages 15-18

–March 25 

3:30 p.m. – Dance for ages 9-11

5 p.m. – Dance for ages 12-14

6:30 p.m. – Audition Preparation - Dance for ages 15-18

–March 30 

3:30 p.m. – Dance for ages 9-11

5 p.m. – Dance for ages 12-14

6:30 p.m. – Audition Preparation - Dance for ages 15-18

–April 1

3:30 p.m. – Musical Theater for ages 9-11

5 p.m. – Musical Theater for ages 12-14

6:30 p.m. – Audition Preparation - Musical Theater for ages 15-18

Classes will be 60-75 minutes in length. Classes for students 9-13 years of age will be at 4 p.m. and classes for students 14-18 years of age will be at 6 p.m. Tuition is $150 for the five-class series. The faculty includes Kirsten Chandler, Cheryl Baxter, Hector Guerrero and Ben McFadden.

To register, visit www.scfta.org/virtualclasses.


Newport Beach Public Library Foundation continues 2021 Witte Lecture Series

Newport Beach Public Library Foundation (NBPLF) continues its 2021 Witte Lecture Series for Winter/Spring. In its 24th season, featured next in the series via Zoom is author Sam Quinones on Friday, March 12 at 6:19 p.m.

According to Janet Hadley, Witte committee chair and NBPLF board member, “Even in the face of a pandemic, the Witte Lecture series remains steadfast in providing timely, relevant and vibrant contemporary speakers. Be inspired by the societal price of addiction with Sam Quinones.” 

Newport Beach Public Quinones

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of NBPLF

Author Sam Quinones

Quinones’ book Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic (2015) won a National Book Critics Circle Award and was on a dozen Best Book of the Year lists. Why? The book struck a common chord. Quinones is a masterful storyteller and sought-after speaker who shares how the silent tragedy has impacted communities and families coast to coast. He recounts how a pharmaceutical corporation promoted its legal opiate prescription painkiller as non-addictive and the rise of international drug trafficking. The collision of these two forces has led America into the deadliest drug scourge in modern times. Dreamland has also been adapted for a young adult audience, grades 8-12. Tickets purchases last spring for this event will be honored.

Lecture details: Friday, “doors” to the virtual auditorium open at 6:19 p.m. The virtual presentation is followed by a Q&A on Zoom. Tickets are now on sale at www.nbplf.foundation. General admission is $35 per household, and NBPLF members receive a 25 percent discount. There will be an opportunity to purchase a signed copy of the presenter’s book, made possible by Laguna Beach Books. 

For any questions, contact Kunga Wangmo-Upshaw, NBPLF director of programs, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 949.717.3818.


Top-ranked sailors commit to BYC’s 54th Governor’s Cup youth match race

The No. 2 ranked match racing sailor in the world, Nick Egnot-Johnson, of New Zealand, and his countryman Jordan Stevenson, have accepted early invitations to the 54th Governor’s Cup International Youth Match Racing Championship hosted by the Balboa Yacht Club (BYC).

“Egnot-Johnson is the defending champion, having won in 2019, and as a past winner, he received an automatic invitation,” explained Brian Bissell, chair of the “GovCup” selection committee. “Stevenson’s record is unmatched in Australian and New Zealand Youth MR events, having won both the Harken and Musto regattas, among other great results.” 

The Governor’s Cup was the first age-limited youth regatta to be granted Grade 1 status by World Sailing for the 2018 Cup, a status usually reserved for events with mostly professional competitors. Provided that a number of basic requirements are met, such as an international jury and umpires, quality of boats provided and other factors key to running a world-class event, the grading is mainly based on the world rankings of the skippers. The rankings are not age-limited and events like the Governor’s Cup, the Harken and Musto series, and other youth events have allowed skippers like Egnot-Johnson and Stevenson to rise to the top of the rankings at a young age. 

Top ranked Egnot Johnson

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Longpre

Nick Egnot-Johnson battles fellow Kiwi Leonard Takahashi in a previous GovCup

In addition to his many championships, Egnot-Johnson was granted his “tour card” this year making him eligible for this year’s World Match Racing Tour Championship, a series of worldwide events culminating in the naming of a World Champion. 

“Nick may find the competition at GovCup as fierce as he will face on the tour as he tries to become the 13th skipper to win two Governor’s Cups,” said Andy Rose, Governor’s Cup steering committee chair, himself a two-time winner.   

The Governor’s Cup committee also posted the first in a series of “Safe GovCup” bulletins on the Regatta website at www.govcupracing.com/govcup-health. BYC is fortunate to have Dr. Robert Bray Jr. as “Fleet Surgeon.” He has been working with the club on COVID safety protocols throughout the last year. Dr. Bray’s practice, Disc Sports and Spine Center, is also the presenting sponsor of the Governor’s Cup. 

With Dr. Bray’s help, the club was able to host the U.S. Sailing Championship of Champions last fall and he and the GovCup committee are optimistic that travel, quarantine and other COVID restrictions in place in various nations will be eased and will not prevent a successful and safe regatta in late July. 

The final protocols will remain in place for the week after the Governor’s Cup, when BYC will host the World Sailing Youth Match Racing World Championship on August 9-14. It is anticipated that some skippers invited to the Governor’s Cup will also have been named by their national authorities to represent their countries in the Worlds. 

However, selection for the GovCup is not related to World Sailing’s selection process. For example, it is common for the Governor’s Cup to invite more than one entrant from a single country, which is not the case for the Worlds. 

The committee has to date received RFIs (requesting an invitation) from skippers from five countries, which is more RFIs than have ever been received by this time in past years. Generally, there are approximately three times the number of RFIs filed by the deadline as there are places in the 12-boat fleet, after taking into account the automatic invitations to past winners and the winners of the U.S. Intercollegiate and Youth Match Racing Championships. 

The deadline for filing an RFI is April 9. However, as in the case of Egnot-Johnson and Stevenson, the selection criteria allows the committee to issue invitations at any time to skippers filing RFIs “whose World Sailing Open Match Race Ranking or racing record is of a level which would warrant selection.” The selection criteria, RFI submittal link and other items are at www.govcupracing.com/race-documents.


COVID-19: 179 new cases and 4 new deaths reported in OC, 4 new cases in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,921 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including four new deaths reported yesterday (March 1). There have been 67 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The county reported 179 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 246,634 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 31.1 percent. 63 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 419 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-2 since Sunday’s report – includes ICU); 119 are in ICU (-13 since Sunday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,607 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including four new cases reported yesterday and 32 new cases reported since last Monday’s report.

The county estimates 232,083 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 3 1 21 1

COVID 19 County 3 1 21 2

COVID 19 County 3 1 21 3

COVID 19 County 3 1 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on March 1, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


Richard Luehrs is remembered

(March 21, 1947 – February 25, 2021)

Richard Luehrs

Last Thursday, Feb. 25, Newport Beach lost former Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce President Richard Luehrs to COVID-19. His death resonated throughout the community. Here are some thoughts of those who knew him:

He brought passion and kindness

“Newport Beach is a better place because of Richard. He led by example and is much of the reason why I got involved. He was proud to represent the business community and advocate for what he believed. He gave everything to Newport, mentoring those around him, his church and his family. I have so many incredible memories that I will always cherish. We will all miss his passion, kindness and positive attitude. His legacy will live on.” 

Joe Stapleton 

(2020 Newport Beach Citizen of the Year)

President, Spinnaker Investment Group

Newport Beach

Built chamber into a powerful force

“Richard was such a fierce advocate for the Newport Beach business community. He always let you know where you stood in his eyes. He built the NB Chamber of Commerce into a powerful force for good in the community on so many levels. He was a good guy and a great family man.”   

Homer Bludau

(2017 Newport Beach Citizen of the Year)

Former Newport Beach City Manager

Newport Beach

Indelible legacy

It’s difficult to find the right words to express the sadness and deep feeling of loss most of us who knew Richard Luehrs feel right now. Richard’s passing is not just a loss for some of us personally, but also a loss for our entire community and then far beyond Newport Beach. He was a stalwart here in our community, serving and shaping so many organizations – especially for the decades of service at the Chamber. 

His legacy is indelible and will be with us forever. To see his always smiling face at so many events was a treat and made us all feel that if Richard was there, it was a good place for us to be, too. 

Marie Case

Chairwoman, Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce, 2016/17

Had a gift of leadership

“I was part of the interview team when Richard was hired out of North Hollywood. He was certainly a perfect fit for Newport Beach. 

Our first event together was a fundraiser for the chamber called ‘The Last Rendezvous at the Balboa Fun Zone,’ before it was remodeled. He taught me all about the original Fun Zone Ferris Wheel being an Eli Hy-5 because his parents were in the amusement business. 

When I was chairman of the board of the Chamber in 1984, Richard and I would have regular late-night dinners at the Villa Nova, enjoying a bottle of Tignanello together and discussing all his ideas that were not just for the betterment of the business community, but for the whole community. 

I always appreciated his support as Tom Wilck, Jackie Heather, Beverly Nestande, Ellen Wilcox and I developed the original ‘Leadership Newport’ program which later grew into what is now ‘Leadership Tomorrow.’ 

He had a magnetic gift of leadership and a tireless love of Newport. But an even greater love for his wife, Susan, and his children. He was so proud of them. He lived a wonderful life, and a man and friend I will always remember.”

James (Jim) McL. Dale 

(1991/92 Newport Beach Citizen of the Year)

Vice President of Development

Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center

He knew everyone

“Richard was my mentor for two decades including during my year as Chamber Chair (2009-2010). Many memories, all of them fond. 

Richard knew everyone from Bill Lusk to Bob Robins to Bill Hamilton to Mike Stevens to Denny O’Neil to the Beeks to Marian to Evelyn, and to every other past and current leader and luminary of this great City.

I will greatly miss my friend Richard and the life he so well lived.” 

Paul K. Watkins

Chair, Newport Beach Board of Library Trustees

Newport Beach

Forever grateful

“Richard Luehrs was a titan among CEOs of Orange County Chambers of Commerce. He was a dedicated community leader with enormous influence. If you had an initiative and needed political support, Richard Luehrs was at the top of your list of people to call. I was one who directly benefited from the respect he had from elected officials. Richard Luehrs opened a number of doors for me when I was seeking civic leadership opportunities. I will be forever grateful for the confidence he had in my leadership skills.” 

Tim C. Brown Ed.D

(2013 Chairman, Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce)

Newport Beach

Former mayor and current Chamber exec. remembers

“Yesterday afternoon (Thursday, Feb. 25) we found out that my predecessor, Richard Luehrs, who was President and CEO of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce for over 30 years, passed away due to complications from coronavirus. Richard lived a life of service to this community, loved the city’s small businesses and created the robust business community that exists today.

Much of the success that we enjoy today as the pre-eminent business organization here in Newport Beach can be traced back to programs that were initiated under the vigorous leadership of the Chamber that Richard provided. Richard inaugurated the Chamber’s Taste of Newport event that successfully ran for 24 years and raised millions of dollars for the Chamber as well as Newport Beach restaurants. The elevation of the Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade and Ring of Lights to the regional status it currently occupies can also be traced to his leadership.

Richard was well known in the halls of City government, advocating for the small business community. Richard worked with four different City Managers (Wynn, Murphy, Bludau and Kiff), five Police Chiefs, four Fire Chiefs, 27 Mayors and dozens of City Council members. He was one of the founding members of the City’s Economic Development Committee and he served on the City’s Building Code Board of Appeals the last few years of his retirement. He also served a stint as Chair of the City’s Environmental Quality Affairs Committee. Richard was always very supportive of the Newport Beach City Council and staff, but he also didn’t have a problem in expressing his dissatisfaction when he thought they were not acting in the best interest of the City.

Richard oversaw the creation of the Chamber’s Leadership Tomorrow program that has educated hundreds of Newport Beach residents about how services are delivered in Orange County in all major sectors. Many of these participants went on to leadership roles as a result of this training.

Richard began his Chamber career as Executive Vice President of the North Hollywood Chamber of Commerce in 1977 and came to the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce in 1982. As part of his professional career, he served as President and Board Member of the Western Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives, President of the Southern California Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives and President of the Federated Chambers of Commerce of Orange County. In 1986, Luehrs completed a six-year program at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce “Institute for Organizational Management” and attended two years of post-graduate studies. In 1995, Richard was recognized as the “Executive of the Year” by the 750-member Western Association of Chamber Executives.

Luehrs has served as Vice Chairman of the Parish Council for Our Lady Queen of Angels Church, served on the Board of Directors for the Newport Beach Conference and Visitors Bureau and is a Past Chairman of the Orange County Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. In 2008, Richard was appointed to the State of California Commission on Disability Access by former Governor Schwarzenegger. He served a three-year term as Chairman of the Baden-Powell district for disabled Boy Scouts of Orange County and has served as a member of the Board of Directors for the 552 Club for Hoag Hospital.

A native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Richard received his B.S. degree in business administration from California State University at Northridge specializing in accounting and marketing. Prior to that, Richard served a six-year tour of duty in the United States Navy from 1965 to 1971. Richard met his wife, Susan, at a Chamber of Commerce event which led to a two-year courtship and then marriage in 1989. Together they have two children, Samantha and Ricky.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family as we all reflect on the contributions that Richard made to the greater good of our community.

I can honestly say he left it better than he found it.”

Steve Rosansky

President & CEO

Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce


Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Richard Luehrs death brings sadness and food for thought on the subject of COVID

Fair Game Tom Johnson newLROne of my responsibilities here at Stu News is to follow the COVID numbers as they’re released daily from the county. First, I go city-by-city, updating each day’s new counts of actual cases. Next, I move to that particular day’s death count.

When I list those counts I always pause at Newport Beach, wondering if perhaps I knew that person the number represents. 

Unfortunately, it does happen. 

Last Thursday evening, for example, my phone rang, and Joe Stapleton greeted me with a very somber tone of voice to let me know that former Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce President Richard Luehrs had passed. 

I can’t say the news was surprising. First, I knew that Richard had been in the Long Beach Veteran’s hospital for several weeks battling for his life. Like me, Richard wasn’t necessarily the picture of great health. Several times in recent years I remember he was admitted to the hospital with different, challenging issues, but he always managed to recover.

He also, as most of you know, spent much of his life confined to a wheelchair. When I heard he had COVID, I immediately became concerned about the strength of his lungs. Unfortunately, as most people know with COVID, that’s often what ultimately gets you and in Richard’s case, it finally did.

Richard was a Newport Beach institution. He didn’t just guide the local business community, he led the local business community, and he shouted their successes from the rooftops. He worked the political scene and wasn’t afraid to voice his opinions and concerns, all in the name of small business. 

He reigned at the top of the chamber for some 30 years, building such efforts as the Taste of Newport and Leadership Tomorrow. He proudly strengthened programs such as the Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee and the monthly breakfast outreach program called WAKE UP! Newport, that regularly featured the people making the local headlines.

He also served on a number of boards and committees, including Speak Up Newport.

Like him or not, and there were certainly some that didn’t, Richard consistently worked to make Newport Beach better.

He leaves behind his wife, Susan, and two children he regularly and rightfully bragged about, Samantha and Ricky.

He will certainly be missed.

But what, if anything, do we learn from things such as Richard’s death? There will still be people who won’t wear masks and there will still be people who won’t get vaccinated.

That’s all good when it comes to themselves, but it’s not necessarily a good thing when those around them don’t have the level of health they’ve been blessed with.

When people don’t wear masks in situations where they should, they don’t just risk themselves, but they potentially injure those around them.

On the vaccine scene, if people don’t vaccinate, they, too, potentially allow the virus to propagate into new and more dangerous forms.

Think about where this world would be without ANY vaccines. Think polio, or smallpox, tetanus, influenza, Hepatitis A & B, rubella, Hib, measles, whooping cough, and pneumococcal.

We don’t think about those illnesses today because of vaccines. Most are taken in the first 1-2 years of life, or certainly by 4-6.

I feel fortunate that Saturday I ventured out to the Anaheim Convention Center and received my second Moderna shot. It was truly liberating, as most people I see in social media share a feeling of relief and that our life can, finally, once again begin moving forward.

For me, life just got better.

Finally, before we leave the subject, should we worry about COVID levels in Newport Beach? So far, we’ve only experienced 67 deaths. I say “only,” yet if you’re one of those families it’s 67 too many.

When Newport Beach (87,180) compares to other similar size communities from a population base standpoint we find that we’re better off than Buena Park (83,384) who has had 94 deaths, Westminster (92,610) with 154 deaths, but worse than Lake Forest (86,346) who has only had 40 and Tustin (81,369) with 61.

But I also look at Irvine who has a population of 280,202, more than 3x the size of Newport Beach, yet they, too, have the same 67 number of deaths that Newport has. What are they doing that we’re not, if anything?

I don’t have an answer.

The best news, though, is that the numbers, both case counts and deaths, are dramatically improving each day across the board, youth sports are returning and many businesses are getting back to some normalcy.

I’m excited about the coming months. Hope to see you soon, with my mask on, of course.

• • •

The City of Newport Beach is considering a recycling fee adjustment because of upcoming changes at the state level and mandates that will increase the city’s costs. It’s not a huge amount by any means, but still, some people could potentially want to oppose the decision.

The city has done a good job in spreading the word attempting to get the community engaged so that no one is surprised. However, they previously announced that they would “accept email protests” related to the increase. Unfortunately, the City Attorney’s office says they cannot accept them in email form.

So, if you desire to protest you either have to mail in the written protest or deliver it to the City Clerk’s office at the Civic Center (100 Civic Center Drive). All protests must be submitted in writing prior to the close of the Public Hearing at 6:30 p.m. on March 23 at City Hall.

For more information on the residential recycling program go here.


Electric Bike Company donates bikes to surf teams for their upcoming fundraiser

Electric Bike group

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

On Friday, Feb. 26, the Electric Bike Company on Newport Boulevard donated two bicycles valued at $5,000 to Newport Harbor High School’s boys and girls surf teams. They will be raffled off at the 21st Newport Surf Classic fundraiser scheduled for May 20. Pictured are on the left Blake Garcia, sales manager, Electric Bike Company with the NHHS boys and girls surf teams representatives.


MOMS Orange County announces three new board members, two from Newport Beach

MOMS Orange County, the county’s largest nonprofit dedicated solely to newborn and pregnancy health, announced the appointment of three new board members including Betha Schnelle, chief operating officer, Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino counties, who is a resident of Newport Beach; Brian Gomez, president and CEO, GreenFruit Avocados, based in Newport Beach; and Sasha Yamaguchi, Regional Vice President, Cigna Healthcare.

MOMS Betha Schnelle MOMS Brian Gomez MOMS Sasha Yamaguchi

Submitted photos

(L-R) Betha Schnelle, Brian Gomez and Sasha Yamaguchi

“We are honored to welcome these outstanding new board members who are committed to our mission to help families have healthy babies by providing health coordination, education and access to community services,” said Dave Lugo, MOMS Orange County CEO.

MOMS Orange County programs are aimed at disrupting the combined dynamics of poverty, lack of health insurance and barriers to care. Serving 5,000 mothers, babies and fathers annually, their core programs include home visitation and group health education at no cost to low-income participants. From the start of the pandemic, the nonprofit successfully pivoted all of their programs and services to virtual formats.

To learn more about MOMS Orange County, visit www.momsorangecounty.org.


So long February

So long sunset

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Stan Sievers (Instagram @stansievers/stansieversphoto.com)

Saying goodbye to another glorious month of surf and sand in Newport Beach


Speak Up Newport to hold seminar on our community’s quality of life

Speak Up Newport is hosting its 12th special Zoom webinar on Wednesday, March 10 from 4-5 p.m. Due to the pandemic, it isn’t possible to hold live programs, so Speak Up Newport continues its tradition of sponsoring programs of civic interest for residents.

This month’s program is on a subject that is of concern to many Newport Beach residents – code enforcement by the various city departments charged with seeing that the city’s municipal code is adhered to. It focuses on code enforcement and how it affects residents’ quality of life.

The featured speakers are Natalie Basmacyian, Homeless Coordinator, City Manager’s office; John Murray, Code Enforcement, Community Development; Pete Carpentieri, Lieutenant, NBPD; and Kristin Thompson, EMS Division Chief, NBFD.

Whether you have concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic, traffic, homelessness, short-term rentals, the beach and boardwalk, or any other quality of life issue, hear from representatives of the City Manager’s office, Community Development, the Police Department and the Fire Department on some of the new and innovative ways the city is working to address the challenges of today and tomorrow.

In order to attend, click here to register. If you would like to send questions to the panelists, email them to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. For more information, visit www.speakupnewport.com/quality-of-life/.


No surprise, JWA traffic continues to show year-over-year decreases

Airline passenger traffic at John Wayne Airport decreased in January 2021 as compared with January 2020. In January 2021, the Airport served 195,290 passengers, a decrease of 75.8 percent when compared with the January 2020 passenger traffic count of 806,386. 

Commercial aircraft operations decreased 38.8 percent and commuter aircraft operations decreased 51.7 percent when compared with January 2020 levels.

No surprise airplane

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of JWA

Total aircraft operations decreased in January 2021 as compared with the same month in 2020. In January 2021, there were 18,267 total aircraft operations (take-offs and landings), a 19.5 percent decrease compared to 22,685 total aircraft operations in January 2020.

General aviation activity, which accounted for 75.1 percent of the total aircraft operations during January 2021, decreased 9.4 percent when compared with January 2020.

The top three airlines in January 2021 based on passenger count were Southwest Airlines (72,290), American Airlines (37,599) and United Airlines (24,173).


Our paradise

Our paradise

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Kevin Pellon (Instagram @socalsnapz)

Welcoming in March with more beautiful beach days and lovely local views ahead


Sports are back in session

Based on updated guidance for youth and recreational adult sports issued February 19 by the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), outdoor sports competitions may resume in Orange County (OC) with modifications starting tomorrow, March 3.

“Orange County has lowered its COVID-19 case rate of less than 14 per 100,000 thanks to our communities’ diligence in helping slow the spread and the county’s vaccination efforts,” said Chairman of the Orange County Board of Supervisors Andrew Do. “Per the state’s guidance, this means certain outdoor sport competitions can resume once again. Something that many families have been looking forward to for months now.” 

The state’s guidance applies to all organized youth and adult sports, including school and community-sponsored programs, and privately organized clubs and leagues. Outdoor sport competitions may resume in Purple Tier counties including OC with modifications that include testing requirements for certain outdoor high-contact sports. Outdoor moderate-contact sports, such as baseball, cheerleading and softball, can be played in OC without the testing requirement.

Youth and adult sports include varied activities that have different levels of risk for transmission of COVID-19 depending on the physical contact between players. Outdoor activities that allow for consistent wearing of face coverings and physical distancing are lower risk than indoor activities that involve close contact between participants and high exertion that increases the spread of exhaled particles.

“I am very excited that our youth, who have been anxiously waiting for months to get back to competitive sports, now have the opportunity to compete,” said Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District. “I have always been a strong supporter of exploring all options that would allow our youth to safely resume outdoor sporting activities.”

For more information on examples of sports with different levels of contact and risk by tier, go here.


The end seems near for the CdM Business Improvement District

By AMY SENK

Tempers flared a bit at last week’s Zoom meeting of the Corona del Mar Business Improvement District (BID), at one point creating an arc of tension that I could just about feel popping through my laptop screen. But in the end, almost everyone present seemed to agree that the BID’s days are coming to a close.

The meeting had a relatively short agenda, but this was different. Instead of the group discussing plans for future beautification projects, deciding on holiday décor or Christmas Walk promotions, members had to consider some existential options – draft a letter to dissolve along with a plan to dispose of assets, or wait until later this spring to let the City Council decide whether to renew the group or not.

The BID formed in the late 1990s and every year collects taxes from business owners for improvements and marketing. The Newport Beach City Council renews the BID each year, and for many years, there was very little discussion before a unanimous vote. But two years ago, some councilmen raised the question of whether business owners should have to pay the extra tax, or whether the group’s structure should be changed to make sure there was business-level support.

Last year, with COVID crushing local businesses, the City Council delayed action. But this year, it seems that the BID might not survive a council vote, and several board members on last week’s Zoom said they were fine with that, that the group had accomplished all its goals.

One board member was especially vocal during the call, opposing the renewal of the BID and interrupting others, even when they agreed with her. Eventually, members told her she was out of line and rude, and she apologized.

City Councilmember Joy Brenner weighed in, expressing doubt that the council would renew the BID and suggesting that they look into whether funds can be dispersed to the Christmas Walk. Another board member said he enjoyed his BID work when it focused on trying to change city policies on things like parking requirements, but a group dedicated to marketing wasn’t for him.

We should know more by the next BID meeting in March, but it does seem foretold that its days are numbered.

Moving along. When I’m not covering meetings with my laptop at my kitchen table, I’ve been spending hours walking, exploring my “new” Flower Streets neighborhood. And like I noticed in my last new neighborhood, Balboa Island, I’ve become very aware that public sidewalks aren’t as wide as they probably should be in these days of COVID, when you want to let passersby have a wide berth.

The end seems sidewalk

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos by Amy Senk

Plantings along a sidewalk in CdM

Actually, the sidewalks are probably wide enough, or they would be if trees and hedges and other plantings didn’t encroach onto the space. There was a rose bush on South Bay Front that used to snag my arm regularly – I can see the faint scar – and there are hedges on Goldenrod that eat up half the sidewalk space.

I emailed Kevin Pekar, Newport Beach Parks and Trees Superintendent, to ask if it was his or a code enforcement problem, and if I was the only one in town to complain.

“I typically receive requests about private property encroachments, we investigate them (take a photo), and send to the Code Enforcement Section to issue a warning/notice,” Pekar said. “I’m sure other city departments follow the same procedure. However, as landscape manager, I’m sure I initially receive the lion’s share. I probably get at least one request like this a week.”

The end seems foliage

An example of foliage overhanging a sidewalk in CdM

I sent him a few photos to describe what I was seeing, and one was of a Torrey Pine on Seaview Avenue that turned out to be a city tree. Within a day, he’d arranged to have it trimmed, and he said that his tree maintenance contractor should be taking care of low encroaching limbs as part of regular pruning.

The end seems mural

Click on photo for a larger image

A new mural in the works outside the Oppenheim building

Also, an update to my last column about murals in Corona del Mar. Painters spent last week working on a new painting on the wall by the former Hobie Surf Shop/current Oppenheim Group building. CdM residents were dismayed when the building’s makeover included painting over the old Hobie mural to make a plain, gray-brown wall. Jason Oppenheim promised a new mural, and now we have it.

One final word – if you like to participate in City Council meetings by phoning in comments, please do us all a favor and spend some time before the next meeting to familiarize yourself with the “mute” buttons on your devices.

I don’t know how much time we’ve all spent listening to garbled, dead air while the mayor says, over and over, “Please mute your device and go ahead.”

It’s been a year people. Please mute your devices!

~~~~~~~~

Amy Senk has lived in Corona del Mar for 20+ years and was publisher of Corona del Mar Today, an online newspaper that ran daily for seven years. Senk, a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism, is involved in the Corona del Mar Residents Association. She and her husband have two children attending college at the University of Missouri and Duke University. She is a regular contributor to Stu News Newport.


City Manager’s Updates

From the desk of Grace Leung

Grace Leung

Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung

Community members,

Orange County continued to show dramatic improvements in its COVID-19 metrics this week. In fact, the numbers are good enough to allow competitive outdoor youth sports to resume as early as February 26. Under updated guidelines from the California Department of Public Health, organized and recreational outdoor sports such as baseball, soccer and football, swimming, golf and other qualifying outdoor activities can now be played competitively, with protective measures. The city’s Recreation & Senior Services Department is working with local youth sports organizations to return to competitive outdoor play at city parks and recreation fields as quickly as possible. 

While Orange County remains in the Purple Tier of the state’s Blueprint for a Safer Economy, the numbers are moving closer to the less restrictive Red Tier status. 

The county’s positivity rate (the percentage of positive tests among those tested) dropped to 5.4 percent, which is well within the Red Tier threshold. The health equity metric decreased to 7.0 percent, which is also within the Red Tier. The seven-day average case number is keeping us in the Purple Tier for now, but it is down significantly, at 11.9. When the case number decreases to 7.0 or below, and if the others hold steady or improve, we can begin moving toward Red Tier guidelines. The county must maintain Red Tier-level metrics for two weeks in order to be placed in the Red Tier. 

Here is updated vaccine information and resources as of February 25: 

–Orange County’s third vaccine supersite opened on February 23 at the Anaheim Convention Center. This site will be focused on delivering second Moderna vaccine doses to those who received their first dose at the Disneyland site. The vaccinations at this site are by appointment only through Othena. 

–The county has expanded vaccine eligibility to Phase 1B, under state guidelines, a group that includes educators, food service, grocery and agriculture workers, child care providers and emergency services workers. The county will reevaluate expanding eligibility to more populations weekly as more vaccine doses become available. 

–A Food and Drug Administration review has cleared the new Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for Emergency Use Authorization (possibly as soon as this past weekend). The Johnson & Johnson vaccine could help speed vaccination efforts in Orange County. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine only requires a single shot, unlike the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines. 

–The county’s Othena system is not the only vaccination option, as distribution to hospitals, clinics and pharmacies increases. Even if you are registered with Othena, you can also register with the state’s “My Turn” system, administered by Blue Shield, and find other resources at this link. Orange County has developed a similar vaccine resource web page at this link: https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/covid-19-vaccine-distribution-channels.

–If you haven’t done so, consider subscribing to Orange County’s weekly e-newsletter dedicated to vaccine information. You can sign up to receive the OC COVID19 Vaccine Facts newsletter at this link. Scroll down until you see the subscribe button and enter your email. 

COVID-19 Cases in Newport Beach 

As of February 25, the total number of COVID-19 cases in Newport Beach was 3,585 and the total cases in Orange County was 245,634. The number of recovered COVID-19 patients countywide as of February 25 was 228,838. These figures are provided to Orange County by the California Department of Public Health. 

Upcoming Schedule for Updating the Circulation and Housing Elements 

The next few weeks are going to be busy and exciting for our efforts to update the Housing and Circulation Elements with plenty of opportunities for the community to participate. Here is a quick rundown: 

Wednesday, March 3, at 6 p.m., we have a Housing Element Update Advisory Committee (HEUAC) meeting via Zoom. The HEUAC will hear updates from the active subcommittees, discuss the recent virtual public workshop and learn about the state’s housing accountability legislation, including the very important topic of No-Net-Loss. The agenda for this meeting will be posted online here. The public is welcome and encouraged to participate remotely.

Wednesday, March 17, at 6 p.m., we will have another HEUAC meeting at 6 p.m. via Zoom. The HEUAC will be reviewing the first draft of the Housing Element update. 

Thursday, March 18, at 6:30 p.m. the Planning Commission will review a first draft of the Circulation Element update. The community is invited and encouraged to attend and provide comment. A virtual public workshop will be held regarding this document in early April. 

Monday, March 22, at 6 p.m., we will be hosting a virtual public workshop to present and discuss the draft Housing Element update. 

We need your participation and valuable input! As a reminder, you can always check out www.newporttogether.com to stay informed and to participate in the update process through interactive activities and engagement opportunities. 

Homelessness Update 

Addressing homelessness continues to be a priority in the city’s ongoing COVID-19 response, and city staff works closely with our contractor City Net, and our regional partners throughout the county and state. The City Net hotline number is 714.451.6198. Those who call the hotline can leave a detailed voicemail message for themselves or others in need and City Net staff will respond within 48 hours. For immediate assistance, call the county’s Crisis Prevention Hotline at 877.7.CRISIS or 877.727.4747. 

During the February 23, 2021 City Council Study Session, staff presented an Update on Homeless Strategies and highlighted the city’s team approach toward addressing homelessness and some of the success stories in the community. For a link to the presentation, go here

Residents who would like to assist people may donate to the city’s Good Giving program. Donations received through the program enable staff to purchase items such as bicycles, work boots and small household essentials for newly housed people. All donations are tax deductible. Here is the link to donate.

Success Stories 

–A young couple who was housed in late November 2020 both accepted full-time employment in recent weeks. They commute by bus up to an hour each way and are saving money to purchase bicycles to shorten their commute and save on bus fare. 

–A couple who had been living in their car for several months moved into a new apartment in Irvine. City Net, in collaboration with American Family Housing, located the unit and assisted them with the move. City Net continues to provide case management to ensure a successful housing outcome. American Family Housing, founded in Santa Ana in 1985, provides housing assistance and an array of services for those in need. 

–City Net is actively working with two clients who are temporarily sheltered at the Extended Stay motel with their housing vouchers. Case managers collected the required paperwork and documents and are working with the Orange County Housing Authority to expedite the process to get the clients permanently housed. 

–City Net helped a man staying by the Newport Pier complete a housing assessment to locate appropriate living arrangements and temporary shelter options. 

Making it Convenient to Recycle Oil 

As part of the city’s commitment to maintain harbor and ocean water quality, Public Works and the Utilities Department teamed up this month to upgrade the Balboa Yacht Basin’s used-oil drop location. Staff installed a new tank specifically made for easy disposal of used motor oil and oil filters. The city continues its partnership with Orange County’s, CalRecycle® used oil recycling grant program which provides funding for projects that reduce the amount of illegally disposed used oil and used oil filters. 

The city has been an active participant in the CalRecycle® program since 2001. Public Works staff are actively developing plans for other sites around the harbor to provide convenient oil disposal locations for residents and the boating community. 

Below is a listing of used oil and filter drop-off sites around the harbor and in the city. 

–Hill’s Boat Service 

814 E. Bay Ave. 

Newport Beach

–Island Marine Fuel 

406 S. Bay Front

Balboa Island

–Balboa Yacht Basin 

829 Harbor Island Drive

Newport Beach 

–Corona del Mar 76 

2201 E. Coast Highway

Corona del Mar   

–Corona del Mar Chevron 

2545 E. Coast Highway

Corona del Mar 

–Harbor View Mobil 

2500 San Joaquin Hills Road 

Corona del Mar 

Editor’s Note: City Manager’s Updates was received on Friday, Feb. 26.


COVID-19: 191 new cases and 13 new deaths reported in OC

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,917 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 13 new deaths reported today (February 28). There have been 67 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The county reported 191 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 246,455 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 29.8 percent. 62 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 421 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-23 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 132 are in ICU (+4 since yesterday’s report report).

The county reports that there have been 3,603 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including 39 new cases reported since last Sunday’s report.

The county estimates 230,971 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 2 28 21 1

COVID 19 County 2 28 21 2

COVID 19 County 2 28 21 3

COVID 19 County 2 28 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 28, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 281 new cases and 12 new deaths reported in OC, 8 new cases in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,904 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 12 new deaths reported today (February 27). There have been 67 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The county reported 281 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 246,264 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 31.5 percent. 61 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 444 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-9 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 128 are in ICU (-9 since yesterday’s report report).

The county reports that there have been 3,604 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including eight new cases reported today and 44 new cases reported since last Saturday’s report.

The county estimates 230,569 recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 2 27 21 1

COVID 19 County 2 27 21 2

COVID 19 County 2 27 21 3

COVID 19 County 2 27 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 27, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 349 new cases and 3 new deaths reported in OC, 11 new cases in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,892 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including three new deaths reported today (February 26). There have been 67 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The county reported 349 new cases of COVID-19 in OC today. There have been 245,983 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 29.7 percent. 60 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 453 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-62 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 137 are in ICU (-23 since yesterday’s report report).

The county reports that there have been 3,596 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including 11 new cases reported today and 38 new cases reported since last Friday’s report.

The county estimates 229,785 recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 2 26 21 1

COVID 19 County 2 26 21 2

COVID 19 County 2 26 21 3

COVID 19 County 2 26 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 26, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 174 new cases and 41 new deaths reported in OC

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,889 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 41 new deaths reported yesterday (February 25). There have been 67 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The county reported 174 new cases of COVID-19 in OC yesterday. There have been 245,634 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 27 percent. 61 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 515 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (+0 since Wednesday’s report – includes ICU); 160 are in ICU (+9 since Wednesday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,585 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including 41 new cases reported since last Thursday’s report.

The county estimates 228,838 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 2 25 21 1

COVID 19 County 2 25 21 2

COVID 19 County 2 25 21 3

COVID 19 County 2 25 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 25, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 325 new cases reported in OC, 12 new cases in Newport Beach

OC Health Care Agency reported 325 new cases of COVID-19 in Orange County today (February 24). There have been 245,460 cumulative cases to date.

Sadly, the county reports that 3,848 people have died due to COVID-19 in OC. There have been 67 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 16.9 percent. 61 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 515 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-24 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 151 are in ICU (-1 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,588 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including 12 new cases reported today and 53 new cases reported since last Wednesday’s report.

The county estimates 227,622 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 2 24 21 1

COVID 19 County 2 24 21 2

COVID 19 County 2 24 21 3

COVID 19 County 2 24 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 24, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


COVID-19: 250 new cases reported in OC, 1 new case reported Newport Beach

OC Health Care Agency reported 250 new cases of COVID-19 in Orange County today (February 23). There have been 245,135 cumulative cases to date.

Sadly, the county reports that 3,848 people have died due to COVID-19 in OC. There have been 67 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 18.9 percent. 61 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 539 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-17 since yesterday’s report – includes ICU); 152 are in ICU (-27 since yesterday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,576 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including one new case reported today and 48 new cases reported since last Tuesday’s report.

The county estimates 226,386 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 2 23 21 1

COVID 19 County 2 23 21 2

COVID 19 County 2 23 21 3

COVID 19 County 2 23 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 23, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


Newport Beach – A Look Back

Photo series courtesy of Balboa Island Museum Newport Beach

Newport Beach A Look Back 2.23.21

Click on photo for a larger image

Bird’s-eye view of the bayfront, looking west from Balboa Pavilion, 1910

Balboa Island Museum Newport Beach and the Museum Store are located at 210 B Marine Ave., Balboa Island. They are open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free general admission on all days. Two-hour parking is available on Marine Avenue. For more information, call 949.675.3952, visit www.balboaislandmuseum.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Cox shares tech trends that will continue to shape how we live, work and learn in 2021

This time last year, most of us had heard rumblings about COVID-19, but at the time, it seemed so far away. Little did we know it would become a global pandemic that would bring about broad-sweeping change in so many facets of life – technology included. 

The pandemic has been a technology accelerator for businesses, municipalities, schools, healthcare and in homes. As such, Cox Communications, provider of voice, data and video services for 355,000-plus small and regional businesses nationwide, shares its perspective on five technology trends that will continue throughout 2021.

Smart Communities Keep Getting Smarter

From waste management and water meters to street lighting, parking and public safety, communities are getting smarter by the day. 

Smart communities are increasingly becoming a priority nationwide – and worldwide. In fact, the pandemic has accelerated smart city tech, and citizens are more open to smart community tech than ever – which is unlocking doors to rapid growth that will continue. Going smart enables municipalities to make more effective data-driven decisions, decreases inefficiencies and streamlines and automates processes. It also enhances citizen and government engagement, improves infrastructure and provides new economic development opportunities.

And the trend toward just-about-everything-smart is taking place inside the home as well. According to Statista, North America in 2023 is expected to have 40 percent of the worldwide market of consumer spending on smart home systems like smart assistants, smart speakers and smart door locks and light switches.

Cox shares 5 tech trends

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Cox Communications

School and Work Will Continue to Stay Home…Somewhat

Remote work and school are not going away anytime soon, making broadband connectivity essential. In fact, many employees who were forced to work from home last year may continue to do so permanently. Gartner found that 74 percent of CFOs expect at least 5 percent of their workforce who previously worked in company offices will become permanent work-from-home employees after the pandemic ends.

Although working from home might have had a rocky start, employees have mastered using real-time chat and video conferencing to stay connected. In fact, interactive video conferencing and chat have enabled teams to maintain cohesion and stay connected while working out of the office.

On the education front, Rand Corporation researchers found approximately 20 percent of public school district superintendents and charter school leaders said they plan to continue online schooling as an option once the pandemic subsides – or are considering the online option for families and students who want the choice. 

Whether teaching or learning from home or in the classroom, data-driven insights improve the classroom experience. Apps empower teachers to digitally administer homework, quizzes, tests and have one-on-one face time with students and parents.

And through artificial intelligence and machine learning, automated technology allows teachers to monitor and evaluate the progress students are making and better understand their strengths and weaknesses. For students, apps enable learning through gamification, which creates a fun and positive learning environment and can make the most reticent student excited about his or her studies.

More Content Means More Bandwidth and Navigation Help 

Due to stay-in-place restrictions, the entire world has been streaming more than ever. Internet service providers, such as Cox, have experienced the equivalent of two years of traffic growth in the first few months of the pandemic and it has remained constant at those new levels. 

And high intensity applications aka “bandwidth hogs” like video streaming platforms that make online work and school possible are essential yet difficult to attain without the appropriate bandwidth. Therefore, ISPs have answered this increasingly streaming boom by offering affordable internet packages that take care of all streaming needs – voice, video, or otherwise. 

Speaking of voice, whether folks are binge-watching Jeopardy! on Netflix or jamming to music from Spotify using their Alexa, the use of streaming services and voice assistants is on the rise. With so many great TV shows to watch, it’s challenging to remember what’s on Peacock, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and so on. But voice remotes allow users to pull up a series, app, or movie with just a few words, such as “Find the Discovery channel” or “What should I watch?”

Provider Adoption and Investment in Telehealth Grows

Finding ways to connect virtually with your healthcare provider is getting easier, too. According to a Cox Business survey, only 28 percent of respondents said that their healthcare service provider offered telehealth prior to COVID-19. Now, 68 percent can access telehealth services through their healthcare providers.

McKinsey reports that more than three-quarters (76 percent) of patients said they are either likely or very likely to continue relying on telehealth. Providers, too, gave telehealth a thumbs up, with 57 percent viewing it more favorably than before the pandemic and 64 percent feeling more comfortable using the technology.

Further, the same report shows up to $250 billion of current U.S. healthcare spend could go virtual – up from $3 billion pre-COVID-19. 

The Cloud Moves Closer to the Edge

Greater demands on bandwidth and latency issues have placed a greater spotlight on edge computing – or as Gartner defines it, when information processing is located close to the edge, where things and people produce or consume that information.

Analysts last year forecasted that edge computing would experience significant growth, especially since cloud vendors deployed more edge servers in local markets while telecom providers moved forward with 5G deployments.

Before COVID-19, Forrester predicted that the edge cloud service market would increase by a minimum of 50 percent. IDC’s worldwide IT predictions for this year include that the pandemic’s impact on workforce and operational practices will be the driving force behind most edge-driven investments and business model changes – well beyond 2021.

“There’s no doubt that the pandemic will subside at some point, but the technology trends that have come to the forefront will continue in 2021 – and long after as well,” said Jodi Duva, vice president for Cox Business in Orange County, Palos Verdes and Santa Barbara. “Because Cox is committed to making digital life easier, we’ll continue investing in ways to better connect people and bring these critical technologies to life.” 

This is paid content by Cox Communications. Cox provides residents in the Newport Beach area with digital cable television, telecommunications and home automation services. Cox also provides scholarships to local high school students in its service area through its Cox Cares Foundation. For more information, visit www.cox.com.


Celebrate Lunar New Year at Fashion Island

Fashion Island is ushering in the Year of the Ox with special promotions from Orange County’s top retailers and restaurants, and one-of-a-kind photo moments throughout the center, continuing through February 28.

Celebrate Lunar photo opp

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Fashion Island

Take a photo at Fashion Island celebrating a Happy Lunar New Year and the Year of the Ox

Several merchants are offering special promotions to mark the Lunar New Year. From Neiman Marcus to Hyde Park Jewelers and Sushi Roku, there’s something for everyone.

Celebrate Lunar fountain

Click on photo for a larger image

Visitors to this bubbling fountain near Neiman Marcus are scanning the poster for a special Lunar New Year surprise

Directions for free augmented reality experiences will be displayed in three premier areas of the center, offering guests a chance to celebrate with Lunar New Year characters including a cartoon ox, lanterns, or a cherry blossom tree.

For more information, visit www.FashionIsland.com.


“Newport Beach in the Rearview Mirror” quiz by podcaster Bill Lobdell

Bill Lobdell, former Daily Pilot editor and Los Angeles Times journalist, has a podcast called “Newport Beach in the Rearview Mirror,” which looks at historical events and people – famous and forgotten – that shaped Newport Beach. You can listen and subscribe to all episodes of his podcast at http://newportbeach-podcast.com. You can also follow “Newport Beach in the Rearview Mirror” on Instagram (@newport_in_the_rearview_mirror) and Facebook (@NewportInTheRearviewMirror). 

In his most recent podcast, “How well do you really know Newport? Pop quiz No. 1,” Lobdell tests your knowledge with a multiple-choice quiz to see how smart you really are about our town. To whet your scholarly appetite, here are the five questions that may determine if you have a Ph.D. in Newportology (no Googling allowed!).

Questions:

–What eyesore did the City Council nearly approve in 1956 that would have been just off the coast of Newport?

–What year were Corona del Mar’s parking issues first brought to City Hall?

–Who was Bob Henry, the namesake of the park on the Castaways bluff?

–What amazing find did workers uncover on the banks of the Back Bay during the construction of the Newporter Inn (now the Hyatt Regency)?

–What was Newport Center/Fashion Island’s working name during its planning?

To find out the answers, go here and click on 3: Pop quiz on Newport history (No.1).

Editor’s Note: Stay tuned for connecting to Bill Lobdell’s future podcasts in Stu News.


Floral abstract oils on display at JWA

Professional oil painter Andrea Tarman brings an uplifting exhibit of realistic and abstract florals full of depth, color and texture to John Wayne Airport (JWA). Her work is on display in the Thomas F. Riley Terminal as part of the JWA Community Focus Space now through March 16.

Tarman uses an impasto painting technique, which builds thickly layered paint with loose and controlled knife-like brush strokes to add a varying mix of textures to her art. When dried, the paint presents a 3D effect making it appear to come out of the canvas. Used by renowned artists like Vincent Van Gogh and Rembrandt Van Rijn, this method showcases Tarman’s talent in combining artistic and realistic design to give her work a fresh and energetic quality.

Floral abstract Rapunzel

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of JWA

Andrea Tarman’s “Rapunzel’s Dream,” oil on canvas

“I want to capture the imagination of the viewer and give them a new way to look at nature and life, with the hope that they leave a bit more inspired and happier than before they came to view my paintings,” said Tarman.

Tarman exhibits her work in Los Angeles and throughout Orange County in private/corporate collections and galleries, including the Art Center Gallery, Bistango Restaurant, the law firm of Rutan & Tucker and Signature Gallery. 

Floral abstract Sunny Day

Click on photo for a larger image

Andrea Tarman’s “Sunny Day,” oil on birch panel

She studied art and design in college, worked as an illustrator and designer for several Southern California advertising agencies and operated her own design firm. Tarman also studied with several master painters to elevate her art and is now a full-time painter. To learn more about Andrea Tarman and view additional pieces of her artwork, visit www.tarmanart.com.

Tarman’s exhibition may be viewed (pre-security) on the Departure (upper) Level near security screening areas in Terminals A, B and C and on the Arrival (lower) Level adjacent to Baggage Carousels 1 and 4.

For more information about the John Wayne Airport Arts Program, visit www.ocair.com/terminal/artexhibits.


COVID-19: 253 new cases and 38 new deaths reported in OC, 11 new cases and 1 new death in Newport Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 3,848 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including 38 new deaths reported yesterday (February 22). There have been 67 deaths of Newport Beach residents to date, including one new death reported yesterday.

The county reported 253 new cases yesterday. There have been 244,885 cumulative cases to date.

The percentage of adult ICU beds currently available in OC is 15.9 percent. 59 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 556 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (-21 since Sunday’s report – includes ICU); 179 are in ICU (-11 since Sunday’s report).

The county reports that there have been 3,575 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Newport Beach to date, including 11 new cases reported yesterday and 58 new cases reported since last Sunday’s report.

The county estimates 224,933 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

COVID-19 numbers are updated daily by Stu News Newport and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsNewport.

COVID 19 County 2 22 21 1

COVID 19 County 2 22 21 2

COVID 19 County 2 22 21 3

COVID 19 County 2 22 21 4

Click on photos for larger images

Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data posted on February 22, as reported by the county; click here to visit page that is updated daily


Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Local students organizing a fundraiser with a record goal in mind…they need your help

Fair Game Tom Johnson newLRI found out about a local fundraiser last week involving a group of students from Newport Harbor High School. The fundraiser and awareness builder is for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) of Orange County and the Inland Empire.

Murphy Malouf, 15, Luca Curci, 15 and Julian Knott, 16, are the NHHS student leaders of Team Cancer Crushers who have set out with a target of trying to break the overall fundraising record for this annual LLS Student of the Year campaign. 

The current record is $122,000 and the team is well on their way I’m told. That being said, the boys tell me there’s still a long ways to go and they need the community’s support to help get them there.

This is where you come in. There are several ways to get involved. First, you can simply click here and make a donation in whatever amount you’re comfortable with. 

The second way to participate is in a cycling fundraising event planned by the Crushers at MOXI3 on Sunday, March 7 at 12 noon. MOXI3 is a cycling fitness center located at 125 Rochester in Costa Mesa, right behind El Matador restaurant. You can check them out here at https://moxi3.com/cycle/.

So, other than feeling good about helping others, the winning team will also earn 2021 Student of the Year recognition (wouldn’t that look good on a college application) and have the opportunity to win scholarships.

This annual fundraiser has become a legacy event for NHHS, going on I’m told some 6+ years. Last year, a team led by NHHS student Aiden Brutman was the inspiration for this year’s participants. In fact, Knott said, “My friends did it last year and had a good time, and besides it’s doing something good for others.”

Curci says he was inspired because an immediate family member experienced cancer, while Malouf watched his sister successfully participate last year.

The boys reminded me that the research by LLS benefits all cancer studies, so really everyone benefits, and the fact that LLS is one of the largest nonprofit organizations in the world doesn’t hurt either.

Fair Game 3 boys

(L-R) Team Cancer Crushers student leaders Murphy Malouf, Luca Curci and Julian Knott

Here’s what I really want you to know: these are good kids from good families. So let’s help make this happen. Fundraising officially closes March 20th.

B-t-w, you should also know that the Cancer Crushers’ other teammates include Brady Hatfield, Race Barton, McKenzie Greer, Kate Bashore, Juliane Kwong, Max Berkenfield, Dylan Li, Noah Foigelman, Noah Wickett, Jillian Schlom, Oliver Ayala and Lucy Shannon.

You can follow Team Cancer Crushers’ fundraising progress on Instagram at @cancercrusherlls.

If you’re not familiar with LLS, their work is changing the lives of 1.2 million Americans living with blood cancer and supports many facets from investing in groundbreaking research, providing education and support to patients, and advocating at the state and federal level for legislation to help those living with cancer.

• • •

My dad and I use to go to the race track often. In fact, at one point we owned three thoroughbreds together and actually took two to the track.

He was always working on betting systems and would say, “You’ve gotta watch who the late money is coming in on.”

Yesterday, I took a look at the latest 497 Disclosure Forms filed by the candidates for the upcoming Special Election in the race for the Orange County Board of Supervisor seat for the Second District. Former State Senator John Moorlach, Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley, Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Kevin Muldoon, Fountain Valley Mayor Michael Vo and Corona del Mar attorney Janet Rappaport are the candidates vying for Michelle Steel’s vacated seat.

So, as my dad would say, “Who’s the late money coming in on?”

Checking the totals for each candidate’s forms filed between February 1 and February 22, here’s what I found. Foley brought in the most money with $100,400; Moorlach received $65,300; Muldoon banked $32,600; Vo received $30,200, discounting the $140,000 he “bet” on himself out of his own pockets; and Rappaport received $5,200.

Now, having all of this information, what does that tell us? Well, I never remember my dad winning often at the track, so probably nothing. But it does seem to be a two-horse race (trying to keep to the theme) between Foley and Moorlach, with Muldoon running for the show.

Oh, and one other thing I should probably toss in, with Vo betting a huge chunk on himself, it reminds me that my dad did the same thing on our horses and I don’t ever remember him winning a dime. 

The Special Election is underway through Election Day on March 9.

• • •

I’m excited today to announce that Sara Hall is joining the Stu News team. Those of you around Newport Beach City Hall know Sara. She worked for the Newport Beach Independent and covered the local political scene.

Fair Game Sara Hall

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Charles Weinberg

Sara Hall

Sara comes to us with 14 years as a reporter and editor at several daily and weekly community newspapers, including The Record Searchlight in Redding, Calif., and the The Daily Advocate in Greenville, Ohio. Her work has included photography, design and layout, in addition to her writing. 

My business partners and I have been eyeing Sara for several years just waiting for the right time to bring her aboard. Well, that time is now!

If you have a story idea or want to reach Sara, find her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Birthday surprise on Balboa Island

Birthday suprise bottle

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Chris Crosson (Instagram @sandcastlekit) 

According to local sandcastle artist Chris Crosson, who created this piece, “Sue surprised her good friend Kim for her 60th birthday with a bottle of champagne, vintage 1961. The back label of the bottle included a personal message.”


CdM Village welcomes new headquarters for top community supporter