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Volume 9, Issue 18  |  March 1, 2024

TOP HEADLINES THIS ISSUE

TOP STORIES THIS MONTH

Alleged road rage in Peninsula parking lot leads to shooting, one injured

Shortly after midnight Wednesday (Feb. 28) morning, there was a reported road rage incident that erupted between two cars in the West Ocean Front parking lot across from the Dory Deli, sending a male driver of a Tesla to the hospital…

Council weighs Cal Cities membership, considers exit due to opposing stances on key issues

Councilmembers expressed concerns about Cal Cities’ stance on some key issues, primarily Proposition 1 (which would allow by-right approval of sober living group homes), which are opposite of the position the city has taken…

TOP STORIES THIS MONTH

FBI conducts early morning raids at homes in both Newport and Laguna

Unconfirmed reports pointed to allegations of a potential Ponzi scheme that was thought to have defrauded investors out of funds…no arrests or charges have been reported as of yet…

Older NB resident seemingly sucker-punched on Coast Highway while out on a walk, suspect arrested

Steven Soliz, a 28-year-old Santa Ana resident, was arrested on suspicion of felony battery with serious bodily injury, elder abuse, for being under the influence of a narcotic and for obstructing a police officer…




Alleged road rage in Peninsula parking lot leads to shooting, one injured

Shortly after midnight Wednesday (Feb. 28) morning, there was a reported road rage incident that erupted between two cars in the West Ocean Front parking lot across from the Dory Deli.

At approximately 12:15 a.m., a verbal altercation reportedly ensued between occupants of a Tesla and another dark colored sedan. One of four males standing near what was the suspect’s dark-colored vehicle reportedly suddenly pulled a handgun from his waistband and subsequently fired five rounds into the Tesla.

The male driver of the Tesla was struck by a round in the left shoulder. He managed to drive away and eventually ended up in the area of San Joaquin Hills and Jamboree roads, where he flagged down a patrol officer and informed him of the incident.

Medical aid was rendered, and he was transported to a local hospital. He has since been treated and released.

No suspect information has as yet been released. Detectives are actively investigating the incident.

Anyone with information concerning the event that took place is urged to call the Newport Beach Police Department at 949.644.3681.

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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

FBI conducts early morning raids at homes in both Newport and Laguna…no arrests or charges reported as of yet

The FBI office in Los Angeles confirmed to Stu News that raids were conducted at homes in both Newport Beach and Laguna Beach early Tuesday morning, Feb. 27.

Unconfirmed reports pointed to allegations of a potential Ponzi scheme that was thought to have defrauded investors out of funds.

FBI agents were witnessed removing a number of boxes and bags from one of the residences in question.

The FBI referred Stu News to the U.S. Attorney’s Office in San Diego for additional specifics on any arrests and charges. Those inquiries have not been responded to as of yet.

• • •

So, yesterday was the Leap Day of Leap Year. Of course, it’s the 29th day of February every four years. Do you have any reason as to why we do this?

Well, here are some multiple choice answers to choose from: 1) it’s so we can make fun of people born on that day that they’re only 10 years old after 40 years of life; 2) because calendars were incorrectly printed a number of years ago and they’re still trying to get rid of them all; 3) it’s done to keep the months in sync with annual events, including equinoxes and solstices; it’s a correction to counter the fact that the Earth’s orbit isn’t precisely 365 days a year.

Okay, if you answered either 1 or 2, shame on you! Never ever question your children again as to whether or not they’ve done their homework!

Yes, it’s the correction, number 3, of what I mentioned above.

It was probably best said by one Younas Khan, a physics instructor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, in a recent U.S. News & World Report article on the subject of Leap Year.

“Without the leap years, after a few hundred years we will have summer in November. Christmas will be in summer. There will be no snow. There will be no feeling of Christmas.”

This isn’t just something we recently figured out, mind you. No, it was discovered way back in ancient times when the Julian calendar hung on the ruin walls.

The extra day has been accounted for in one fashion or another since way back then.

According to one Nick Eakes, an astronomy educator at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, the solar year is precisely 365.242 days.

So there’s truly no perfect solution by just adding a quarter of a day every year to equal the full day after four years. It’s still slightly short.

But, don’t ask questions, just go with it. And still laugh at those people mentioned above that are only 10 after 40 years.

• • •

Great news…if you ventured down by Marina Park last spring and witnessed our local high school water polo teams partaking in a match in the water of the bay…it will happen again this year.

Newport Harbor High School Water Polo Coach Ross Sinclair has announced that the Sailors will take on Corona del Mar in both boys AND girls Battle in the Bay action on Wednesday, May 22.

Times and details to come.

• • •

The state mandate requires 4,845 new housing units to be placed in the City of Newport Beach by the end of the decade. Where do they go? What kind of houses are they? Will there be affordable units? How will the city maintain neighborhood character? What about traffic impacts?

The city is currently amending the City’s Land Use Element, adding a housing overlay zoning district citywide, and adopting new design standards to provide for these new housing units. What does all of this mean?

Speak Up Newport will feature Assistant City Manager & Community Development Director Seimone Jurjis to speak on what is proposed, and how the city plans to get there at their Tuesday, March 19 meeting in the Civic Center Community Room.

The program will be preceded by a reception at 5:15 pm., followed by the program from 6-7 p.m.

Residents may also view the program via Zoom.

The meeting and reception are free to attend. To view on Zoom, register here.

• • •

Guess who was seen hopping into Fashion Island today? If you said a gimpy Santa Claus, wrong time of the year. However, if you said the Easter Bunny, you deserve a chocolate covered Cadbury Crème Egg.

The Easter Bunny will be holding court on the Atrium Lawn from today through March 30. Photo opps are available.

Normal hours, dependent on weather, are 3-7 p.m. today; then 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 12-6 p.m. on Sundays.

• • •

If you’ve ever spent even a night at Hoag Hospital this should be important to you. A save the date for the Choose Nursing Choose Hoag Luncheon has been announced for Thursday, May 16 at the Balboa Bay Resort. The event is planned for 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

Since its inception in 2004, Choose Nursing, Choose Hoag has played an important role in providing philanthropic support to nursing through education initiatives and academic scholarships.

For more information, contact hhfevents@hoag.org, or call 949.764.7513.

• • •

One can only imagine that you’ve been waiting all of this time for tickets to this summer’s OC Fair to go on sale. Well, today is that day.

The 2024 OC Fair will run July 19-August 18, open Wednesday through Sunday with controlled capacity. This year’s theme is “Always a Good Time!”

General admission ticket prices are $13 weekdays (Wednesday, Thursday) and $15 on weekends (Friday, Saturday, Sunday). Admission for seniors (60+) and youth (ages 6-12) is $9 every day and children 5 and younger are free. The OC Fair will cover the online admission ticket fees. General parking is $15. Daily admission is restricted; this is the fourth year the Fair will use a limited-capacity model and days are again expected to sell out.

There’s also the Every Day Passport which offers fairgoers access every day – and any day – of the Fair with no reservations or restrictions for the one price of $60, with sales being limited to 10,000 passports.

The reason for the controlled capacity is to give fairgoers more elbow room, shorter lines and easier parking accessibility, while reducing the impact on neighboring communities.

The Fair will open each day at 11 a.m. and close at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday and midnight on Friday and Saturday. For tickets, go to https://ocfair.com.

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Council weighs Cal Cities membership, considers exit due to opposing stances on key issues

By SARA HALL

City Council unanimously decided this week to consider at an upcoming meeting whether or not Newport Beach should continue its membership in the League of California Cities.

Councilmembers expressed concerns about Cal Cities’ stance on some key issues, primarily Proposition 1 (which would allow by-right approval of sober living group homes), which are opposite of the position the city has taken. They voted 7-0 on Tuesday (Feb. 27) for the issue to return on a regular council meeting agenda so they can decide how to move forward.

The association has 476 members, including Newport Beach for many years.

Annual dues are based on population and are currently $24,800 for the city. City Manager Grace Leung confirmed that Newport Beach recently received its invoice from Cal Cities, which would need approval (if they want to continue) from the council at a future meeting. At that time, councilmembers agreed, they can have a full discussion (as an action item during regular business and not on the consent calendar) and weigh the benefits and drawbacks of being a member of Cal Cities. Councilmembers also asked the Cal Cities’ representatives in attendance to convey their concerns and return with a response.

“I’d like to have some kind of good, compelling reason to stay in response to the concerns we’ve raised, so that we can have that discussion at the dais when it comes back to us,” said Mayor Will O’Neill said. “Maybe we stay in, maybe we don’t; but I’d like to at least have expressed these concerns – and you’ve heard them – so that there could be a good response back to us to make the decision: Do we want to move forward or not?”

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Photo by Sara Hall

City Council is weighing whether or not to continue membership in the League of California Cities

Explaining why he asked for a study session on the item, O’Neill explained that he has a number of concerns, but is unsure of what he would like to see happen.

“I don’t know what I want to do with this, but I’m just beyond frustrated with the number of times this City Council has taken a position that we are very strong on and only to find that the body that’s supposed to be advocating for us has done the opposite,” he said.

The key issue for councilmembers was the organization’s stance on certain propositions.

“Proposition positions being taken by the League of Cities have been grossly opposed to the positions that have been taken from the dais and this year, in particular, we’re seeing two positions that have, I think, frankly, offended me, in terms of the way that they’ve taken it,” O’Neill said.

The most discussed point was Cal Cities’ supportive position for Prop 1.

“This body unanimously took an opposition position to Proposition 1 for many different reasons, one of the primary reasons though being the way that it’s going to be undercutting local control and the way that we anticipate the money being used to come in and allow for state funding, additional state funding, into our neighborhoods in ways that we’ve been strenuously opposed to and been begging for support and help on legislation addressing these needs,” O’Neill said. “It just strikes me as stunning, frankly, that the League of Cities would have taken a position supporting Proposition 1 given its effects on localities and neighborhoods.”

O’Neill also mentioned Cal Cities’ opposition to the Taxpayer Protection Act and their support of ACA 13, both of which are differing from the entire council or several members.

“These are tough to stomach,” O’Neill said. “My concern is that the League of Cities has been taking political positions that are (the) exact opposite of the ones that this body repeatedly takes on behalf of our residents and so it bothers me to no end to see our money being spent on an organization that is doing things like that.”

O’Neill is “raising a significant concern that is shared by many, if not all of us here at the dais,” said Councilmember Robyn Grant, who serves as the council’s representative to Cal Cities, but she’s also seen the good work that Cal Cities has done.

It’s unfortunate that something so important to the council (Prop 1) is what brought this to a head, Grant said. Newport Beach City Council and Cal Cities are “180 degrees apart” on the issue, she added.

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City of Newport Beach, Library Foundation hosted Lecture Hall groundbreaking ceremony

Officials from the City of Newport Beach and the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation hosted a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, Feb. 27, to kick off construction of a new library lecture hall adjacent to the Central Library at 1000 Avocado Ave.

The $23.4 million lecture hall, to be known as Witte Hall, is being financed through a cost-sharing agreement between the city and the foundation.

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Photos by Lana Johnson

Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill addresses the gathering

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Newport Beach Public Works Director Dave Webb shares a few words

Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill noted that the project took shape from a “push and pull of ideas” and “the hall itself will host views expressing nuance and wisdom.”

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Jill Johnson-Tucker, chair of the lecture hall design committee and chair of the “Beyond Books” fundraising campaign for the Lecture Hall

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Kevin Barlow, chair of the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation, speaks to attendees

Jill Johnson-Tucker, chair of the lecture hall design committee and chair of the “Beyond Books” fundraising campaign for the Lecture Hall, said the new facility will “reflect the pride that this community holds for the library and Civic Center complex…fulfilling the library’s mission as the cultural, educational and informational heart of our city.”

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Elizabeth Stahr, along with her late husband John, were the driving force behind the construction of the Central Library, which opened in 1994

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(L-R) Newport Beach Mayor Pro Tem Joe Stapleton and City Councilmembers Brad Avery, Robyn Grant, Noah Blom, Lauren Kleiman and Erik Weigand dig in with their golden shovels at the groundbreaking ceremony

In early January, the city updated its cost-sharing agreement with the Newport Beach Public Library Foundation and approved a $19-million construction contract with AMG & Associates Inc., of Santa Clarita. The 9,814-square-foot building is designed to complement the existing Central Library and City Hall architecture. It will include tiered, stadium seating for 299 people.

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(L-R) Newport Beach Library Board of Trustees – Lauren Kramer (secretary), Chase Rief, Dorothy Larson (vice chair) and Paul Watkins (chair). Not pictured: Antonella Castro.

The Library Foundation has committed $7 million from community donations and has pledged an additional $4.7 million toward the total project cost of $23.4 million. Construction of the Lecture Hall is expected to take about 21 months and be completed by early 2026. The new auditorium will host a variety of authors, speakers, lecturers and other events as scheduled by the city and the foundation. The building will be named Witte Hall in recognition of a donation from Bill Witte and Keiko Sakamoto. Construction was to begin after the groundbreaking.

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(L-R) Elizabeth Stahr, Walter Stahr, Keiko Sakamoto and Bill Witte

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Newport Beach Public Library Foundation board members and Library Board of Trustees join City Councilmembers at the groundbreaking

The city is advising Central Library patrons that parking will be significantly reduced for the duration of construction. If parking is not available, patrons are encouraged to utilize the Civic Center parking structure at 100 Civic Center Drive, with convenient access to the library’s north-facing entrance near City Hall.

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A Q&A with an NBPD Parking Control Officer

In 2023, NBPD’s Parking Control Officers (PCOs) issued 1,547 citations. While street sweeping, red curbs and blocked driveways are part of the day-to-day life of a PCO, most residents are not as familiar with the ins and outs of these common parking issues. To help share a little bit of this knowledge, Parking Control Supervisor Matthew Kerman answers some of the most frequently asked questions received by NBPD’s PCOs.

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Photos courtesy of NBPD

A Newport Beach Police Parking Control Officer

Q: How far into the red curb can I park before I get a ticket?

A: Contrary to common belief, the law states that no part of a vehicle can be parked within a red zone. There have been multiple cases where a vehicle that is legally parked against a curb has been blocked in by a vehicle that is merely inches into the red and the vehicle that is partially in the red must be towed.

Q: There is a car on our street that has been parked there for quite a few days/weeks and it does not appear to have moved. Is this a Parking Control issue?

A: The City of Newport Beach has a 72-hour municipal code which states all vehicles must move 100 ft. or have a difference of 1/10 of a mile showing on the odometer every 72 hours. The process in Newport Beach is initiated via a call to the non-emergency dispatch number at 949.644.3717. The officer will go out and run the vehicle to verify it is not stolen and then will issue a warning and mark the vehicle’s tire. We will follow up in 72 hours. If the vehicle remains at the location with no change after seven days, it will then be towed.

Q: I live in a private community. Should I call Parking Control if there is a parking issue?

A: Private property is enforced by the community’s HOA. However, some violations, such as fire lanes and disabled parking spots, can still be enforced. If the private community has signage at all entrances stating it is California Vehicle Code enforced, the Police Department can then enforce all violations, such as driveway blocks, red zones and abandoned.

Q: If the street sweeper already passed, can I park behind it or do I have to wait until after the posted time?

A: In Newport Beach, the street sweeper only passes one time and the enforcement officers are always in front of the actual street sweeper. We allow homeowners to park after the sweeper goes by. If you ever receive a citation when you believe the sweeper has gone by and swept, you can contest the citation at www.pticket.com/nb, and the hearing officer can request the GPS location from the actual street sweeping truck and see if they did go by before the citation was issued. Generally, this is not the case, but mistakes can be made.

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A street sweeper sign prominently displayed

Q: Are parking laws enforced on holidays?

A: All parking violations are enforced on holidays; the exception would be street sweeping. The best place to look to see if the street sweepers are running is on the City of Newport Beach’s calendar from their website. It will specifically say “no street sweeping due to holiday.”

Q: If someone’s car is blocking my driveway, can I call Parking Control?

A: If a vehicle is blocking the entrance or exit to your driveway, you can have a parking control officer respond by contacting the non-emergency dispatch line at 949.644.3717. The officer will respond and assess the situation and decide if a citation/warning/or tow is necessary and legal.

Q: If it’s raining, do you still enforce the street sweeping signs?

A: When it is raining outside, the outsourced company notifies us whether or not the street sweepers will be operating in the city. The street sweepers are very inefficient when heavy water is present on the ground. The morning when the street sweeper is canceled, an email is sent to both NBPD’s dispatch and the front desk. The best number would be to contact the front desk at 949.644.3681 and ask if street sweeping will be enforced. Their hours are 8 a.m.- 6 p.m. seven days a week.

For general parking questions, you can contact the PCO office at 949.644.3741. If you need to request a PCO to respond to a parking issue, you can do so by calling NBPD’s non-emergency dispatch number at 949.644.3717.

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SNN-CLASS-UPDATE-0102


Orange County Restaurant Week kicks off this weekend

Orange County Restaurant Week, the region’s most anticipated and celebrated culinary event, returns Sunday, March 3 through Saturday, March 9. For more than 15 years, the weeklong event has been dedicated to celebrating local restaurants, with more than 175 restaurants participating with uniquely creative menus and cocktails.

Orange County’s diverse dining options will be highlighted in a variety of Prix-Fixe Menus ranging from $15-$25 for lunch, and $25-$45 for dinner; couple-worthy Date Night and thoughtfully curated Luxe Menus from $60-$120 for indulgent experiences.

Restaurant goers will be able to create their own Wine Lovers Week itinerary guided by the Copper Cane portfolio of wineries, and explore The Cocktails of OC Restaurant Week featuring Licor 43 and Herradura Tequila.

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Courtesy of Orange County Restaurant Week

Great Maple is among the more than 175 restaurants participating in OC Restaurant Week

This year’s event highlights inclusivity as the OC Restaurant Week website showcases varied options, including Family Friendly and Vegetarian Dining. Diners will be able to find participating restaurants and search menus by price online at www.ocrestaurantweek.com.

Participating Newport Beach and Corona del Mar restaurants include: Billy’s at the Beach; Blaze Pizza; Cappy’s Café; City Cruises Anchored by Hornblower; CUCINA enoteca; Farmhouse at Roger’s Gardens; Five Crowns; Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar; Fly N Fish Oyster Bar and Grill; Gracias Madre; Great Maple; Harborside Restaurant; Lido Bottle Works; Lighthouse Café; Mayor’s Table at Lido House; Muldoon’s Irish Pub; Newport Landing; Olea, Cellar. Craft. Cook; Pressed; Red O Restaurant; Rockin Baja Lobster; Scratch Bakery Café; SideDoor; Starfish; Taco Rosa; The Bungalow Restaurant; Woody’s Wharf; Zabb Thai Cuisine and ZOOD.

“This year, we see many new additions to our ever-growing list of participating restaurants, so I invite diners from near and far to come see what makes Orange County’s culinary scene so exciting,” said Pamela Waitt, founder of OC Restaurant Week and president of OC Restaurant Association, Inc. for more than 15 years.

“Our ocrestaurant.com website includes guides to help diners plan that perfect Date Night, partake in Wine Lover Menus, explore Cocktail Specials, indulge in Luxe Restaurant Week Menus and so much more to experience OC Restaurant Week in a new way!”

No tickets or passes are required. Simply visit a participating restaurant and enjoy the menus posted on the website at www.ocrestaurantweek.com.

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The Sacramento Chronicles

By ASSEMBLYMEMBER DIANE DIXON

March 1, 2024

Hello Newport Beach!

February went by very quickly! The deadline to introduce bills for the 2024 Legislative Session was on February 16. I introduced 13 substantive bills this year. I am working hard to connect with Committee Chairs, Committee Members and other stakeholders to ensure a smooth process. Some of my bills have been referred to policy committees – the next step in the legislative process. Several are still waiting to be referred. Policy Committee Hearings are set to begin in March.

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Courtesy of Diane Dixon

Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach)

I am the Vice Chair of the Assembly Judiciary Committee and I am a sitting Member of the Assembly Committee on Appropriations, Assembly Committee on Governmental Organization, the Assembly Committee on Business & Professions and the Assembly Committee on Banking & Finance. In March and April, scheduling becomes significantly more difficult as I will be attending committee hearings as a voting member and presenting bills in front of committees as an author. Two of my committees meet on the same day and at the same time, so it’s a juggling act to race between both committees – one meets in the Capitol building and the other in our legislative office building. We certainly get our exercise.

Below are several of my bills that I would like to highlight for you this month:

AB 2274 – Back-to-School Tax Holiday: Will exempt the purchase of school supplies from California State sales tax for the first weekend in August each year. Californians are facing an affordability crisis right now. This bill provides a reprieve for families.

AB 2393 – Newport Dunes Lease Extension: Will extend the lease for public trust lands at Newport Bay, so the county can have more flexibility to enhance public access and recreation opportunities.

AB 2504 – State Seashell: Will recognize the Black Abalone as the state seashell for the State of California – my “fun bill.”

AB 2766 – Early Release Transparency Act: Will make records at the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation pertaining to an inmate’s early release subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act.

AB 2912 – GAS PRICES Act: Will promote transparency and accountability for the price drivers pay at the pump by requiring the California Energy Commission to provide monthly online updates on the change in the cost of gasoline.

AB 3153 – Ferry EV Extension: Let’s Save the Balboa Ferry! My bill will serve as a back-up in the event the Balboa Island Ferry (BIF) is not successful working through the regulatory process which is requiring the Ferry to fully electrify before December 31, 2025. Specifically, my bill would allow the BIF to continue current operations for another 15 years while new EV technology is being developed and becomes affordable. Currently, the BIF is applying to various grant programs to obtain funding for electrification of their three-ferry fleet.

In addition to Committee Hearings in March and April, I will be monitoring the outcome of the Governor’s proposed state budget. The Legislative Analyst’s Office released a report predicting that the state budget deficit will be $73 billion for 2024/25. I will be keeping an eye on how the governor plans to address this in his May revision of the budget, or May Revise. I will keep you updated.

Mark your Calendars for several upcoming events in the District:

CHP Age Well, Drive Smart: Learn from the California Highway Patrol with valuable training on being a safe driver and earn a certificate that may result in a reduced auto insurance rate. Takes place on Tuesday, March 5 at 10 a.m. at the Huntington Beach Senior Center.

Senior Scam Stoppers Event: Learn more about protecting yourselves from identity thieves and scammers in a hands-on presentation by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation on Friday, March 15 at 10 a.m. at the Laguna Woods City Council Chambers.

Women’s Business Conference 2024: Hear from women leaders in public service, the non-profit industry and in business and finance on setting goals and achieving results. Resources available include rebuilding careers, accessing capital, career training and managing future plans. Takes place on Friday, March 22 at 8:45 a.m. at the Laguna Hills Community Center.

Don’t forget to get out the vote for the Primary Election on Tuesday, March 5.

Not receiving invitations to my events? Send an email to assemblymember.dixon@assembly.ca.gov to be added to our distribution list or visit my website at https://ad72.asmrc.org. Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and X.

Thank you Stu News for keeping our local residents informed. I am honored to reach Stu News readers with highlights about my life and times serving you in Sacramento. Until next month – be well.

Diane Dixon is a two-term Newport Beach City Councilmember and two-time mayor. She is currently serving her first term in Sacramento.

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Nostalgia in Newport

Photo series courtesy of Newport Beach Historical Society

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Courtesy of Orange County Archives

Marion Knott (left) hosts a party for her mother, Cordelia Knott (second from left), at their home in Newport Harbor, circa 1960s

Newport Beach Historical Society is located at the Balboa Branch Library, 100 E. Balboa Ave., Newport Beach, Calif. 92661. Hours are Monday – Saturday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Both the library and museum are closed on Sundays. Free admission. For more information, visit www.newportbeachhistorical.org, or email info@newportbeachhistorical.org.

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Letters to the Editor

Reader believes candidate endorsements by City Council are questionable

As a Newport Beach resident, I am puzzled that six out of seven City Councilmembers have publicly endorsed support for Congressional District 47 candidate Scott Baugh. The endorsement page banner on Baugh’s campaign website reads, “Mayors and City Council majorities in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach endorse Scott Baugh for Congress” – blending both NB and HB Councilmember names followed by supportive commentary.

As we know, our councilmembers are elected to represent Newport Beach residents and local interests. Endorsing their own political preferences or personal interests in Congressional races prompted an email from me to councilmembers and our City Attorney Aaron Harp.

Our City Attorney responded that “political endorsements are made in an individual’s personal capacity, which is the individual’s right under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.”

But does he know that “the Newport Beach City Councilmembers are very aware of the Council Policy and are careful to make endorsements that comply with the policy?”

Mayor Will O’Neill responded to me directly, “Clearly our individual City Councilmembers have every ability to endorse candidates as we see fit, which has happened in every election cycle.”

In fact, there is Council policy clearly stated in the NB Council manual – “Any City Councilmember who wishes to make a statement or opinion regarding a matter the City Council has not taken an official position on shall ensure that said statement or opinion cannot be construed by the public as being an official position or policy of the City of Newport Beach. The City Council finds this policy furthers an important public purpose by ensuring the public does not confuse personal opinions expressed by City Councilmembers with official expressions of City policy.”

Thank you Brad Avery for choosing not to endorse a candidate for the 47th District. In agreement with our City Attorney, I am a believer in free speech. But collective or individual endorsement of a Congressional candidate by NB Council should not be interpreted to represent the official position of the City of Newport Beach or its constituents. I am assuming that this was the original intent of the above stated Council member policy.

Kathe Morgan

Newport Beach

(Stu News believes that the policy of endorsement would only matter if in fact the “endorsed,” in this case Scott Baugh, had business before the City Council. Seeing none at this time, we don’t see an issue.)

No excuse to Dave Min’s driving under the influence

I lost my brother and sister-in-law to a drunk driver. David Min has the audacity to ask for forgiveness and wants us to vote for him. I say NO!

Know your facts before you vote!

Elaine Merz

Newport Beach

Disagreed with Min’s opportunity to share regret

I am a local Stu News reader. I think giving Dave Min a forum a few days before an election is out of bounds. It constitutes more than a full page of free political ad space. I am profoundly disappointed in your decision.

Louise Wade

Newport Beach

Dave Min has my vote

Dave Min has my vote. No other candidate, from either party, running for the 47th CD seat can match his mastery and handling of the key issues: Saving democracy, addressing climate change, preserving women’s reproductive rights and advocating for gun regulations. He has the character and guts to publicly own his mistake and move beyond it. I trust that.

Tom Osbourne

Love what Scott Brashier’s camera and eye bring to the pages of Stu News

I have subscribed to both Stu News Laguna and Newport.
Scott Brashier’s photos are wonderful! He’s so creative and
photographs amazing things because he has the gift to really SEE what’s in the world.

My thanks to Scott for so much pleasure.

Judy Walker

Newport Beach

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Beyond Blindness Sensory Easter Egg Hunt returns to Newport Dunes

Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort in collaboration with Beyond Blindness and the OC Sheriff’s Department, announced the return of the Beyond Blindness Beeper Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday, March 23, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For more than 15 years, the Orange County-based nonprofit, dedicated to empowering children with visual impairments and other disabilities, has teamed up with Newport Dunes to host the special Easter egg hunt. This year, 250 students – ages one to 22 – and their family members will gather at the Grand Gazebo and soft grassy lawn area for a sensory egg hunt, featuring beeping eggs donated by the OC Sheriff’s Department.

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Photos courtesy of Beyond Blindness and Newport Dunes

A youngster enjoying the Beeper Egg Hunt

“The Beeper Egg Hunt is an annual favorite for our families and embodies everything that we strive for as an organization,” Beyond Blindness President and CEO Angie Rowe said. “We want to thank Newport Dunes and the OC Sheriff’s Department for partnering with us for so many years to create this joyful and inclusive day for children with visual impairments and other disabilities. Together, we are creating a world where all children, no matter their abilities, can live full and rewarding lives.”

Seventy-five plastic beeping eggs, used as training devices for the OC Sheriff’s Department Hazardous Devices Station, will be carefully placed in a safe, grassy section of Newport Dunes’ tranquil waterfront property. These beeping Easter eggs provide an innovative solution to help visually impaired students take part in a favorite Easter tradition. Additionally, a traditional egg hunt will feature 2,500-filled plastic eggs prepared by corporate sponsor New World Medical. Among these eggs, 1,200 are tactile, featuring textured items such as rhinestones, ribbons or plastic googly eyes, to aid children with visual impairments in distinguishing them by touch. Local student service clubs like National Charity League and Key Club have assisted in preparing these eggs.

“The Beyond Blindness Beeper Easter Egg Hunt is a cherished tradition that brings joy to our community year after year,” said Phil Ravenna, general manager of Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort. “We’re honored to partner with Beyond Blindness and the OC Sheriff’s Department to host an unforgettable Easter celebration for these kids and their families.”

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The OC Sheriff’s Bomb Squad and their dogs join a previous Easter egg hunt

OC Sheriff’s Department will be onsite along with their OCSD Bomb Squad dogs to interact with the students, giving them a valuable sensory experience. Beyond Blindness staff as well as community and corporate volunteers will assist and give support to the children during the Easter egg hunt. Following the hunt, a beachfront picnic lunch for the children and their families, staff and volunteers will be catered by Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, and the families will have the opportunity to visit and take photos with the Easter Bunny.

Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort is located at 1131 Back Bay Drive, Newport Beach. For more information on events and amenities at Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort, call 949.729.3863, or visit www.newportdunes.com.

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OCMA among SoCal Museums Free-for-All on March 23

SoCal Museums announced that this year’s Museums Free-for-All, an initiative started almost 20 years ago to invite new audiences and encourage cultural participation across Southern California, will take place on Saturday, March 23. This year more than 30 museums and cultural institutions are participating in the annual event, which has become a celebration of the region’s vibrant cultural landscape. Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) is among the museums.

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Photos by Yubo Dong

Installation view: Joan Brown, 2024. Orange County Museum of Art

“We are thrilled, once again, to invite visitors from across Southern California to see the remarkable range of art, cultural heritage, natural history, film, and science that our museums and cultural organizations have to offer. The Museums Free-for-All has always been an opportunity for people to see something new or to revisit a treasured spot,” said Alexa Nishimoto, SoCal Museums president and marketing associate, Japanese American National Museum. “The Free-for-All also serves as a reminder that many museums here in Southern California are always free and others offer these types of opportunities year-round.”

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Joan Brown Exhibition, 2024 at OCMA

A calendar of free days can be found at http://socalmuseums.org/free.

This offer is for general museum admission only and does not apply to specially ticketed exhibitions. Regular parking fees apply at each museum. Consult individual museum websites for hours, directions and other visitor information.

For more information and a list of participating museums, go to http://socalmuseums.org/.

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You Must Remember This: the make out session

By NANCY GARDNER

This is a scholarly paper on a social phenomenon which in the normal course of things would appear in the American Journal of Sociology, but as it was a phenomenon unique to Newport Beach it seems only fitting that it should first appear here. The phenomenon involved eighth graders at Ensign in the ‘50s, and rather than confuse the lay reader with bothersome scientific terms I will simply refer to it by its common nomenclature: the make out party. Minutes and minutes have been spent researching the subject as can be seen in the detailed footnotes accompanying the text.

As to how it functioned, the make out party was an event of rigorous parameters:

*The party was held in a private home.

*The parents of the young person hosting were at home but did not make an appearance. (1. The author never held a make out party because her parents had the misguided notion that they had a responsibility to wander through the party room once or twice during the evening which would have been horribly embarrassing for the author.)

*There was a musical trigger that sparked the activity on which this paper is focused. (2. This was the 45 record “Dream,” not to be confused with the Everly Brothers’ “Dream, Dream, Dream.” The “Dream” here referred to (“Dream, when You’re Feeling Blue”) was written by Johnny Mercer, a prominent songwriter of such classics as “Jeepers Creepers,” “Come Rain or Come Shine,” “Something’s Gotta Give” and many others. Mercer’s daughter, Amanda Mercer, attended Harbor High, but the author has not been able to establish if she also attended Ensign and was perhaps responsible for introducing her father’s song as the trigger. In that same vein, it is not known if Amanda ever participated in the phenomenon.)

*Like Pavlov’s conditioned dogs, at the trigger (“Dream, see note 2) the partygoers reacted in a consistent fashion, breaking into couples and sitting on the various couches and chairs where they began necking. The necking was quite chaste – no open lips, no groping. (3. Author’s personal experience.)

*After extensive delving (4. Question to author’s husband generating blank stare) it is presumed the phenomenon was not part of the East Coast middle school experience, reinforcing the theory that it was strictly local.

*The phenomenon appears to have disappeared sometime after the ‘50s. (5. Joint text sent to author’s daughter and three grandchildren generating the following: From granddaughter, “I indeed did not do that, but I love that I now know you did.” From grandson, “That would be no from me.” From other grandson, “Would have liked to, but no.” Emoji with quizzical raised eyebrow from daughter.)

*While enthusiastically embraced by those attending, the phenomenon caused some consternation among adults. (6. Misunderstanding by author’s father who interpreted making out as going all the way – as close as anyone got to specific terminology in those days – subsequently clarified as to the difference between his generation’s definition of making out and author’s.)

The author does not know if neighboring cities had a similar phenomenon, because the Santa Ana River might as well have been the Mississippi in terms of separating Newport from its northern neighbor, the exception being the occasional football game where the city to the north invariably kicked Newport’s butt. As to the city to the south, it was understood that the inhabitants were all artists and thus either crazy wild or crazy tame, and in either case not the sort to be invited to a party.

Understanding that considerable interest will be stirred by this study, the author looks forward to explorations on the demise of the phenomenon. Meanwhile, she wishes to make clear that as of this printing, film rights are available.

~~~~~~~~

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

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Mix and mingle at the CdM Chamber’s networking and speaker luncheon at Five Crowns

Get ready to mix and mingle at the Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce’s networking and speaker luncheon on Wednesday, March 13 at Five Crowns restaurant. Check in and networking takes place from 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. with the program and lunch beginning at 12 p.m.

The luncheon features Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill delivering his State of the City Address.

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Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill is the featured speaker

The event will include a meet and mingle, and an opportunity to introduce your business and display your company literature. Enjoy a three-course lunch prepared by Five Crowns, Q&A with Mayor O’Neill and bring a drawing gift for additional exposure (optional).

Cost: Corona del Mar Chamber members are $45 and Community Guests are $55. To reserve your place, RSVP here. Advanced reservations only.

Five Crowns is located at 3801 E. Coast Highway, Corona del Mar. Valet parking is available in the lot for $8, with street parking where available.

For more information, visit www.cdmchamber.com, or call 949.673.4050.

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Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical makes world premiere at SCR from April 5-May 4

It is a musical eight years and countless hours in the making, returning one of the country’s most accomplished playwrights, Craig Lucas, back to one of his theatrical homes. And with Lucas’ return, South Coast Repertory (SCR), in conjunction with Artistic Director David Ivers and Managing Director Paula Tomei, presents the world premiere of Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical, lyrics by Sean Hartley and Daniel Messé, music by Messé, book by Lucas. Directed by Ivers, it runs April 5-May 4, on the Segerstrom Stage as the centerpiece to SCR’s 60th season.

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Photo by Bronwen Sharp

Playwright Craig Lucas

Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical is produced in association with the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, where it will appear in the 2024-25 season.

The original Prelude to a Kiss was a 1988 SCR world premiere play. It went to Broadway, where it received a Tony Award nomination and a Pulitzer Prize nomination, before moving to Hollywood and becoming a feature film starring Alec Baldwin and Meg Ryan. It returns to SCR as a musical that explores what happens when a mysterious guest requests a kiss at Peter and Rita’s wedding – and their lives are forever changed. Refreshed, reimagined and elevated by a breathtaking score, this modern fable soars through the peaks and valleys of love – the perfect salve for our disconnected times.

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Courtesy of SCR

Jon Daley plays the role of Julius

“I think audiences can expect a book and source material that is tried and true, really gorgeous, inspired writing,” said Ivers, who will direct. “I know it’s must-see theater because the source material is so strong and because Craig, Sean and the brilliant Dan Messé have worked together to deliver a score that, to me, is one of the most inspiring, beautiful, heart-lifting, affirming scores that doesn’t shy away from some of the challenges of the world.”

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Courtesy of SCR

Hannah Corneau plays the role of Rita in “Prelude for a Kiss, The Musical”

“I think we have a really, really beautiful piece of theater on the page,” continued Ivers.

SCR commissioned Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical in 2016. Three years later, Ivers directed it as a featured reading at the theater’s Pacific Playwrights Festival. When Ivers became SCR’s artistic director in 2018, he watched a video of one of the songs during the play’s early development phase. Afterward, he called his artistic team together and told them, “I’d like to bring this here.”

Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical brings Lucas’ work back to SCR for the first time in a decade.

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Courtesy of SCR

Conor Ryan takes the role of Peter

“I’m overjoyed to be returning with the musical of Prelude to a Kiss to South Coast Repertory where the play first opened its eyes and looked around,” Lucas said.

Hartley’s musical theaterworks include Cupid and Psyche, written with composer Jihwan Kim, produced off-Broadway in 2003.

Messé and Lucas have made theater magic together before. Along with co-lyricist Nathan Tysen, they collaborated on the musical adaptation of the French film Amélie, which debuted on Broadway in 2017.

For Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical, SCR assembled a stellar cast of the best and brightest actors from Broadway and regional theater – award winners and rising stars. The cast features Hannah Corneau (Rita), Jonathan Gillard Daly (Julius), Julie Garnyé (Leah), Bella Hicks (Ensemble), Jimmie “J.J.” Jeter (Taylor), Robert Knight (Ensemble), James Moye (Rita’s Dad), Caroline Pernick (Ensemble), Conor Ryan (Peter), Tristan J. Shuler (Ensemble), DeAnne Stewart (Angie) and Tony Award-winning actress Karen Ziemba (Rita’s Mom). Rachel Lykins and Robert Zelaya are the understudies.

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Courtesy of SCR

Karen Ziemba plays Rita’s mother

The Creative Team: The design and creative team includes Wiley DeWeese, music director; Nick Kassoy, assistant music director; Julia Rhoads (founding artistic director, Lucky Plush Productions), choreographer; Scott Davis, set design; Marcus Doshi, lighting design; Linda Cho and Herin Kaputkin, costume design; Andrea Allmond, sound design; Yee Eun Nam, projection design and Greg Pliska, orchestrator. JZ Casting, Geoff Josselson, CSA and Katja Zarolinski, CSA handled casting with additional casting by Joanne DeNaut, CSA. Maisie Chan is the production manager, Talia Krispel is the production stage manager, and Kathryn Davies is the assistant stage manager.

Courtesy of SCR

James Moye plays Rita’s father

Accompanying the actors is an eight-piece band led by DeWeese and Kassoy and featuring Greg Huckins, Jay Mason, Sorah Myung, Martha Lippi, Justin Smith, Tim Christensen and Louis Allee.

Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical received generous support from Honorary Producers Apriem Advisors, Sophie and Larry Cripe and John and Laura Drachman, Laurie and Steve Duncan, Michael Ray, and Samuel and Tammy Tang.

Tickets range in price from $34-$112, with additional discounts available for educators, seniors and theatergoers ages 25 and under.

For more information or tickets, go to www.scr.org, or contact SCR by phone at 714. 708.5555.

South Coast Repertory is located at 655 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa.

2023-24 Upcoming SCR Productions: Prelude to a Kiss, The Musical, April 5-May 4; Galilee, 34, April 21-May 12. Outside SCR’s: The Old Man and The Old Moon at Mission San Juan Capistrano, July 20-Aug. 11. The annual showcase of new works, the Pacific Playwrights Festival, runs May 3-5.

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On Campus: this week in high school athletics

Corona del Mar High School

Friday, March 1

4 p.m. – Girls Lacrosse vs. Beckman

5:45 p.m. – Boys Volleyball vs. Beckman

Saturday, March 2

11 a.m. – Baseball vs. Newbury Park

12 p.m. – Boys Lacrosse vs. Sierra Canyon

Monday, March 4

3 p.m. – Boys Golf vs. Beckman at Tustin Ranch Golf Club

Tuesday, March 5

3 p.m. – Boys Tennis vs. Palos Verdes

3 p.m. – Girls Beach Volleyball at Huntington Beach

3 p.m. – Baseball vs. Capistrano Valley Christian

3:15 p.m. – Softball vs. Huntington Beach

5 p.m. – Girls Lacrosse vs. San Juan Hills

6 p.m. – Boys Volleyball at Loyola

Wednesday, March 6

3 p.m. – Boys Tennis at Peninsula

4 p.m. – Boys Lacrosse vs. Mira Costa

4 p.m. – Boys Golf vs. Marina at Costa Mesa Country Club

5:45 p.m. – Boys Volleyball vs. Fountain Valley

Thursday, March 7

3 p.m. – Boys Golf vs. St. Margaret’s Episcopal at Shorecliffs Golf Club

3 p.m. – Softball at Los Alamitos

3 p.m. – Baseball vs. Capistrano Valley Christian

3:30 p.m. – Girls Beach Volleyball vs. Marina on Big Corona Volleyball Courts

5 p.m. – Girls Lacrosse vs. Trabuco Hills

Friday, March 8

2 p.m. – Boys Volleyball vs. TBD in Best of the West Tournament at Alliant University in San Diego

3 p.m. – Baseball vs. Edison

5 p.m. – Boys Lacrosse vs. San Clemente

Saturday, March 9

TBA – Girls Track & Field in Sunset Conference Preview Meet at Los Alamitos

TBA – Boys Track & Field in Sunset Conference Preview Meet at Los Alamitos

8 a.m. – Boys Volleyball vs. TBD in Best of the West Tournament at Alliant University in San Diego

6 p.m. – Boys Lacrosse vs. St. John Bosco

Results

Saturday, Feb. 24

Boys Soccer beat Foothill, 4-3, to win the CIF-SS Boys Soccer Division 2 Championship

Boys Volleyball beat Canyon/Anaheim, 2-0, in the Tesoro Tournament

Boys Volleyball beat St. Margaret’s Episcopal, 2-0, in the Tesoro Tournament

Monday, Feb. 26

Boys Volleyball beat Edison, 2-1, in the Tesoro Tournament

Tuesday, Feb. 27

Boys Golf lost to Tesoro, 196-198, at Costa Mesa Country Club

Boys Basketball lost to Mission Bay, 57-55, in the CIF State Division II Playoffs

Newport Harbor High School

Friday, March 1

3 p.m. – Baseball at San Juan Hills

5:45 p.m. – Boys Volleyball vs. Los Alamitos

6 p.m. – Boys Lacrosse at Yorba Linda

Saturday, March 2

9 a.m. – Girls Lacrosse vs. Chaminade

11 a.m. – Baseball at Aliso Niguel

Tuesday, March 5

3 p.m. – Softball vs. Los Alamitos

6 p.m. – Boys Lacrosse vs. Crean Lutheran

Wednesday, March 6

6 p.m. – Boys Volleyball at Mira Costa

Thursday, March 7

3 p.m. – Girls Swimming & Diving at San Clemente

3 p.m. – Boys Swimming & Diving at San Clemente

3 p.m. – Boys Tennis vs. Capistrano Valley

5 p.m. – Boys Lacrosse vs. Capistrano Valley

5:30 p.m. – Girls Lacrosse at Yorba Linda

6 p.m. – Softball at Huntington Beach

Friday, March 8

3 p.m. – Baseball vs. Fountain Valley

Saturday, March 9

9 a.m. – Softball at Ocean View

9 a.m. – Girls Track & Field in Sunset Conference Preview Meet at Los Alamitos

9 a.m. – Boys Track & Field in Sunset Conference Preview Meet at Los Alamitos

11 a.m. – Softball at Quartz Hill

12 p.m. – Boys Lacrosse at Temecula Valley

Results

Tuesday, Feb. 27

Boys Volleyball won at Tesoro, 3-0

Boys Soccer beat Steele Canyon, 1-0, in the CIF SoCal Boys Soccer Division III Championships

Pacifica Christian High School

Friday, March 1

3:15 p.m. – Boys Baseball vs. Southlands at OCC Baseball Field

5 p.m. – Girls Track & Field in Condor Invitational at California HS in Whittier

5 p.m. – Boys Track & Field in Condor Invitational at California HS in Whittier

Saturday, March 2

8 a.m. – Boys & Girls Track & Field in Condor Invitational at California High School in Whittier

1 p.m. – Baseball at Loara

Monday, March 4

3 p.m. – Boys Golf vs. Samueli Academy at Costa Mesa Golf Course

3:15 p.m. – Girls Beach Volleyball vs. Sage Hill on Newland Sand Courts

Tuesday, March 5

3 p.m. – Boys Golf vs. Western Christian at Costa Mesa Golf Course

Thursday, March 7

TBA – Girls Beach Volleyball vs. Capistrano Valley Christian on Newland Sand Courts

5:30 p.m. – Boys Volleyball at Calvary Chapel Santa Ana

Friday, March 8

3 p.m. – Boys Golf vs. Avalon at Catalina Golf Course

12 p.m. – Baseball vs. Avalon at OCC Baseball Field (2)

Saturday, March 9

10 a.m. – Boys Golf vs. Avalon at Catalina Golf Course

Results

Saturday, Feb. 24

Baseball won at Webb, 12-3

Monday, Feb. 26

Boys Golf lost to Calvary Chapel, 196-248, at Willowick Golf Course

Girls Beach Volleyball lost to JSerra Catholic, 5-0, on the Newland Sand Courts

Tuesday, Feb. 27

Boys Baseball won at Southlands, 16-0 (six innings)

Boys Golf lost to Western Christian, 207-216, at Mountain Meadows Golf Course

Girls Beach Volleyball beat Tarbut V’Torah, 3-0, at OC Great Park

Sage Hill School

Friday, March 1

3 p.m. – Baseball at Beckman

Tuesday, March 5

3 p.m. – Baseball vs. University

Wednesday, March 6

3 p.m. – Baseball at University

Friday, March 7

3 p.m. – Baseball vs. University

Results

Tuesday, Feb. 27

Baseball lost at Beckman, 16-1

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Sherman Library & Gardens presents “Murder is the Order of the Day” on March 19

Sherman Gardens & Library invites the public to attend “Murder is the Order of the Day,” a lively lecture about the Flores-Daniel Gang and the Barton Massacre of 1857 on Tuesday, March 19 at 7 p.m. This gang of bandits committed robberies and a murder at San Juan Capistrano before ambushing Los Angeles County Sheriff James R. Barton and his posse in January 1857. The events took place near where the 405 and 133 interchange is located in Irvine.

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Courtesy of Homestead Museum

Speaker Paul Spitzzeri, museum director, Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum

Paul Spitzzeri, museum director of the Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum is the speaker for this special evening.

Cost is $10 for members and $20 for non-members. Seating is limited. Registration is required by going to www.thesherman.org, or by calling 949.673.2261.

Sherman Library & Gardens is located at 2647 E. Coast Highway, Corona del Mar.

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Heading towards Newport

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Photo by Luke Kucharski

This surfer enjoys a nice wave during a break between storms out on the water

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It’s a kids’ world kicks off March with fun events at Newport Beach Public Library

Hey kids! From a scavenger hunt, tracking your reading and an author event to a delightful King Fu Panda party, St. Patrick’s Day crafts and building a cardboard city, check out what’s happening in March at the Library.

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Photos courtesy of NBPL

Search the Corona del Mar Branch for hidden photos and items – find them all and win a prize

Library Spy

From Friday, March 1 through Saturday, March 16, what can you spy with your little eye? Search the library for hidden photos and items. Find them all and you’ll get a prize! Takes place at the Corona del Mar Branch.

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Track your reading through Beanstack and be entered for the opportunity to win a prize

Beanstalk Spring Challenge

On Saturday, March 2 through Tuesday, April 30, join the Spring Reading Challenge! Read every day during the months of March and April, track your reading through Beanstack and be entered for the opportunity to win a prize!

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Author Rachel Ignotofsky shares her new book, “What’s Inside a Bird’s Nest?” on March 9

Author Event

On Saturday, March 9 from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. at Central Library, children’s author, Rachel Ignotofsky, shares her new book, What’s Inside a Bird’s Nest? Ignotofsky crafts a stunningly illustrated read-out-loud with a touch of humor and compassion book, where readers learn about the birds that chirp outside their window, making it the perfect STEM book for children ages 6-11. Ignotosfky is the New York Times best-selling author and illustrator of such notable books as What’s Inside a Flower?, What’s Inside a Caterpillar Cocoon?, Women in Science, The Wondrous Workings of Planet Earth and more. Takes place in the Children’s Room.

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Join a Kung Fu Panda Party on March 13

Kung Fu Panda Party

On Wednesday, March 13 from 3-4 p.m., celebrate the return of Po and friends with crafts and fun at the Balboa Branch.

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Share a bit of the Emerald Isle during an afternoon of St. Patrick’s Day crafts on March 14

St. Patrick’s Day Crafts

On Thursday, March 14 from 4-5 p.m., join the fun at Mariners Branch for St. Patrick’s Day crafts. Geared for ages 3+.

Cardboard City

On Tuesday, March 26 from 4-5 p.m., stretch your imagination by helping build a cardboard city. They’ll provide supplies, you bring your ideas + building skills! Geared for ages 5+.

Library branches:

–Central Library, 1000 Avocado Ave., Newport Beach

–Balboa Branch, 100 E. Balboa Blvd., Balboa

–Corona del Mar Branch, 410 Marigold Ave., Corona del Mar

–Crean Mariners Branch, 1300 Irvine Ave., Newport Beach

For more information and a complete listing of events, visit the NBPL calendar here.

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School Notes

Virtual Parent Education, March 13

Newport-Mesa Unified School District (NMUSD) is presenting a session on Virtual Parent Education. Join the Educational Technology Department and guest speaker Joe Marquez for an engaging session on “Raising Responsible Digital Citizens: Focus on AI,” via Zoom on Wednesday, March 13 from 6-7 p.m.

You will explore how students and parents alike can use artificial intelligence responsibly and effectively. This session will provide valuable insights and answer your questions about navigating the ever-evolving world of AI in education and daily life. To submit questions ahead of time, visit the Google form here.

Register to attend here. After completing the registration process, they will send you a Zoom link via email. Spanish interpretation is available.

For more information, visit www.nmusd.us/parenteducation.

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Look what’s happening at Upper Newport Bay in March

March events at Upper Newport Bay feature Toddler Treks, Nature Journaling of Shorebirds, Second Sunday Restoration, a Guided Mindful Nature Walk, Biking the Bay and Critter Investigation of Turkey Vultures…something for everyone.

March 1, 8, 15, 22 and 29 from 10-10:45 a.m.: Toddler Treks

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Photos courtesy of OC Parks

Toddler Treks includes a storytime, age-appropriate hike and themed craft, geared for ages 2-5

Spending time outside is one of the best ways to nurture curiosity and instill a love of the natural world. Bring your young ones and join OC Parks staff to learn all about Upper Newport Bay. Toddler Treks is offered every Friday and includes a storytime, age-appropriate hike and themed craft. Each week will focus on a different topic that encourages young ones to learn about the outdoors. The program begins at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center. Program content is tailored for ages 2-5, but all are welcome to attend. Please wear comfortable attire and closed-toe shoes. Advance registration is required. Register here for Toddler Treks.

March 9 from 9-11 a.m.: Nature Journaling: Shorebirds

Nature journaling is a wonderful tool to make observations, create lasting memories and foster a deeper connection with nature. Each session will cover the basics of nature journaling, including basic art principles and journal anatomy. Monthly prompts will help guide your eyes and ears to the wonders in nature. Bring a nature journal and your own art materials such as pencils, pens, or watercolors. A portable chair is recommended along with sun protection, water and snacks. This program is geared for ages 12 and older. Advance registration is required. Register here for Nature Journaling.

   March 10 from 9-11:30 a.m.: Second Sunday Restoration

Join the Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve staff and volunteers in enhancing the bay’s habitat for local wildlife. Activities may include non-native plant removal, planting natives, watering, trash cleanup and butterfly garden maintenance. No experience is necessary. Please bring a hat, sunscreen, snacks and a refillable water bottle. Water and tools will be provided. Minors age 16 and younger must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian. Adverse weather will cancel the program. The program and parking are free. Space is limited and registration is highly encouraged. Walk-ins are welcome but may be limited due to availability. Register here.

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During a guided nature walk, explore in the present moment and deepen your connection with nature

March 15 from 8-10 a.m.: Guided Mindful Nature Walk

Join the OC Parks staff and volunteers to observe the sights, sounds and smells of nature during an intimate nature walk led by a certified nature and forest therapy guide. Through a series of invitations, you will be encouraged to explore in the present moment and deepen your connection with nature. Experience the benefits of spending time outdoors in a mindful way during a lovely morning at Upper Newport Bay Nature Preserve. This is a slow-paced program designed for ages 16 and older. Please wear comfortable attire and closed-toe shoes. The program and parking are free. You will begin on the patio outside of the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center. Adverse weather may cancel the program. Advance registration is required. Register here.

March 16 at 9:30 a.m.: Biking the Bay

Join OC Parks for an interpretive bike ride around Upper Newport Bay. Participants will have the opportunity to get their heart rate up and pedal around the bay, all while learning about local ecology and history. This moderately paced ride will cover a 10-mile section of the Back Bay Loop Trail over the course of 2.5 hours. You will remain on the paved portion of the trail and will have interpretive stops along the way. The program will begin and end at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center and participants must provide their own bike and helmet. Advance registration is required. Register here.

March 20 from 10-11 a.m.: Critter Investigation: Tidy Turkey Vultures

Come learn about a special member of nature’s clean-up crew: the turkey vulture. Join this fun program to learn more about these tidy creatures and how they obtained their nickname. This program includes storytime, an age-appropriate hike and themed craft. Activities will begin at the Peter and Mary Muth Interpretive Center. Program content is tailored for the preschool and kindergarten level (ages 2-6), but all are welcome to attend. Please wear comfortable attire and closed-toe shoes. Advance registration is required. Register here.

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A glimpse at Crystal Cove in March

Crystal Cove State Park is offering a variety of events in February. During the winter, the beaches and park are less crowded, providing the perfect opportunity to hike, explore and discover the flora and fauna, and take in picturesque ocean vistas.

Here is a glimpse at a few of the offerings.

Speaker event with Rich German, founder of Project O: March 2 from 1-3 p.m.

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Photos courtesy of Crystal Cove State Park

Rich German, founder of Project O

Join Crystal Cove Conservancy as they fall even more in love with the ocean during a special speaker event featuring marine conservation advocate and founder of Project O, Rich German.

Guests will enjoy a special presentation and Q&A conversation with German, as he highlights the ocean’s beauty and its marine life as seen through his eyes, while also sharing about the perils our planet faces that impact humans. A post-event reception will be held for guests to mingle, as they enjoy complimentary lights bites and drinks on the Cottage Check-in Deck #35.

The event is free to attend, but RSVP is required, so register here.

Saturday, March 2: Sunset Treasure and Photo Op Walk from 3:30-5:30 p.m.

Join a docent for a slow-paced walk along the beach at low tide stopping to admire sea treasures, birds and interesting rocks. Let the sounds of the sea and sights soothe you as you walk to an ideal spot to watch the sun sink behind Catalina Island. You’ll walk on flat, firm sand except for the steepish paved ramp from the parking lot to the beach. Meet at the restroom building at Reef Point (PCH coastward at the stoplight Reef Point, around the kiosk to the southernmost end of the lot). $15 day use fee.

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Taking a scenic hike

Friday, March 8: Perimeter of the Park from 7:15-11:30 a.m.

Ready for a challenging hike to tour the Crystal Cove backcountry? Join a park docent as you go from the “gills to the hills” on this strenuous but very scenic loop hike. The distance is around nine miles; elevation/gain loss, around 1,500 ft. The hike is done at a moderate pace with one or two short breaks. Be sure to bring plenty of water and a snack. Arrive by 7:15 as the hike will start promptly at 7:30 a.m. Meet at the Ranger Station (PCH inland at the stoplight School-State Park, follow the signs towards the Ranger Station). $15 day use fee.

Saturday, March 9: Caves and Arches from 1-3 p.m.

Join a park naturalist as they attempt to explain the origin of our coastline’s Caves and Arches – an adventurous and photogenic hike along a seldom visited shoreline. Expect some moderate rock scrambling on uneven possibly slippery and sharp surfaces as you head to Little Treasure Cove to explore this rocky area. Wear sturdy walking shoes and bring hiking poles if you have them. Meet at Pelican Point lot #2 (PCH coastward at Newport Coast, right at the kiosk to the first lot). $15 day-use fee.

Friday, March 15: Little Rangers Walk from 10-11 a.m.

Want to give your little one an appreciation for nature? It’s never too early to begin exploring. Join a park naturalist on a Little Rangers Walk at Crystal Cove State Park and take a slow-paced walk to explore, listen and look at nature through the eyes of young children. The terrain is unpredictable for strollers, so be prepared to walk on a short, uneven trail. Wear sturdy shoes, bring water, snacks and anything to make your little one comfy and happy. This program is geared for ages 3-5. Meet at the Berns Amphitheatre (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park, follow signs towards the campground). $15 day use fee. To register, email laurel.gifford@parks.ca.gov.

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Join a park naturalist for a Whale & Wildlife “Twalk” on March 16

Saturday, March 16: Whale & Wildlife “Twalk” from 9-11 a.m.

Crystal Cove State Park is a great spot to look for resident dolphins, migrating gray whales and birds just passing by the coastline. Join a park naturalist for a Whale & Wildlife “Twalk” and learn some fun facts about the coastal creatures as you walk the bluff trail and scan the ocean at each overlook. Bring binoculars for better viewing. Meet at Pelican Point lot #4 (PCH coastward at Newport Coast left the at kiosk to the last lot). $15 day use fee.

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Explore tidepools on March 22

Friday, March 22: Tidepool Exploration Walk from 2-3:30 p.m.

Barnacles and sea stars and crabs, oh my! Join a park naturalist for a guided Tidepool Exploration Walk and learn about the exciting animals that live in this ever-changing habitat nestled in the watery pools of Crystal Cove State Park’s Marine Protected Area. You will walk less than half a mile down to the rocky shoreline to explore the intertidal zone and learn about how tidepool organisms use a variety of adaptations to survive in a challenging environment. The path down to the tidepools is paved, but then you will be walking on uneven and unpredictable surfaces of sand and rock so wear closed-toe footwear with grip. The tidepools may be slippery. Sunscreen and/or a hat are advised depending on the weather. Meet at the Los Trancos Parking Lot at the trailer with the ramp (PCH turn inland at the stoplight). $15 day use fee.

Saturday, March 23: Guided Beach Wrack and Exploration Walk at 2 p.m.

Winter days on the beach at Crystal Cove are quieter – empty beach, resting birds, super clear water. The tides are lowest during the day and the receding tide leaves a potluck of animals and seaweed to explore so come join this guided Beach Wrack and Tidepool Walk. You’ll walk from Reef Point toward the Historic District. When you are finished exploring, continue to the Historic District, take some refreshment and enjoy the spectacular view at the Shake Shack, then return at your leisure along the blufftop trail. Wear sturdy walking shoes, or closed-toed sandals for tidepooling, rocks can be slippery and sharp, and your feet will likely get wet and bring a hiking pole if you are unsteady on rocks. Meet at the Reef Point Lot (PCH coastward at the stoplight Reef Point, around the kiosk, then left to the first restroom building, which is on the right). $15 day use fee.

For a complete calendar of events, go to www.crystalcovestatepark.org/park-calendars/.

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Newport Beach Master Community Calendar

The following are calendar links for regularly scheduled meetings and events in Newport Beach:

City of Newport Beach meetings & events calendar

www.newportbeachca.gov/government/data-hub/city-calendar

Newport Beach Public Library – everything at the library calendar

www.newportbeachlibrary.org/calendar

Newport-Mesa Unified School District news & events calendar

https://web.nmusd.us

Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce community events calendar

www.newportbeach.com/events

Corona del Mar Chamber of Commerce community events calendar

www.cdmchamber.com/chamber-events

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CDM Home Tour celebrates 50 years; funds raised benefit exceptional school programs

The CDM Home Tour is scheduled for March 14. Due to the hard work and generous donations from the Home Tour, the CDM PTA can fund exceptional school programs. Since the first CDM Home Tour 50 years ago, the mission – to generate additional funds to keep pace with the modern world – has not changed.

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Courtesy of CDM Home Tour

The CDM PTA can fund exceptional school programs with the proceeds for the Home Tour

Recent projects have included:

–Academic Program Support – 3D printers, classroom supplies, technology, classroom special programs, supplemental field trips, Academy of Global Studies (AGS), Engineering and Design Pathway and Performing & Multimedia Arts (PAMA) supplies.

–Student Support – Student rest areas for mental decompression and snacks, and emotional support dogs during finals.

–Sports & Arts Support – Sound systems for programs and events, awnings for sports areas, TVs in the gym, art supplies, cameras for Yearbook and ASB, and computers and video equipment for ASB, the CDM Marching Band (coming in fall).

–Campus Enhancements – Customized campus windscreens, banners and signage, murals on the gym exterior and furniture cleaning in student spaces.

–Student Incentives – End-of-year student awards, senior scholarships, on campus spirit and quarterly campus-wide snacks for students.

–Parent Programs – Speakers, Parent Book Club and a PTA Holiday Party.

–Administration Support – Specialized training and staff appreciation lunch.

This is only possible due to the support from their many sponsors, underwriters, advertisers, volunteers, donors and vendors. Thank you and here’s to another 50 years!

The CDM Home Tour is presented by VALIA Properties and Barclay Butera Interiors.

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This is as close as we can come to actually singing to our readers on their birthdays!

We’d love to include yours – and/or your children’s birthdays here.

Just email to: editor@stunewsnewport.com

Celebrate and enjoy your birthday!

February 27: Bill Gunderson, Danika Pictor, Lily Labash, Mary Bacon, Shelly Darling, Taylor Browman, Terry L. Dolensek

February 28: Gary Sherwin, Kelly Hacker

February 29: Happy Leap Year!

March 1: Beth Johns Holder, Chris Price, Herbie Zadeh, Phil Greer

March 2: Brad Rawlins, Brandice Leger Strotman, Dennis Ashendorf, Jim Thor, Kirsten Ranger, Mark Okoorian, Rae Cohen, Randy W. Hill, Ray Lewis, Steve Herrington

March 3: David Ellis, Fritz Westerhout, Lisa Gorbaty, Matt Szabo, Steve Churm

March 4: Amanda Stevens, Sadie Murray, Teri Buckley Escudero

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Pacific Symphony announces 2024-25 Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series, honoring Music Director Carl St.Clair’s 35 years of visionary leadership

Pacific Symphony has announced its 2024-25 season, the 35th anniversary season of Carl St.Clair’s tenure as the orchestra’s music director, the longest of any American-born conductor with a major American orchestra. Pacific Symphony’s 46th season and opening of the Hal and Jeanette Segerstrom Family Foundation Classical Series begins on Thursday, Sept. 26. Comprising 36 concerts as part of a 12-program subscription series, four Sunday Matinees, and four specials, the 2024-25 Classical Season presents wide-ranging selections of masterworks, treasured classics and exciting new discoveries. Over the course of the season, St.Clair leads works by composers he has championed at Pacific Symphony, and celebrates his relationship with the Symphony’s musicians by collaborating with gifted guest artists as soloists.

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®HansvanderWoerd/Courtesy of Pacific Symphony

Pacific Symphony Music Director Carl St.Clair

According to Pacific Symphony’s President and CEO John Forsyte, “Carl St.Clair’s 35th anniversary as the music director of Pacific Symphony will feature numerous exhilarating moments under his exceptional leadership. This is undoubtedly one of his most ambitious seasons and one that will generate great community excitement. Throughout his tenure, he has appointed the vast majority of musicians that occupy the tenured roster of this highly distinguished group of orchestral musicians. With the emotion of this season, they will undoubtedly add an extra dimension of energy to Carl’s musical choices that both reflect his artistic values and have animated his thrilling tenure.

“Throughout his remarkable 35-year journey, Carl’s musical passion has been a source of inspiration for both the artistic community and audiences. His inspiring commitment to Orange County is evident in the innovative programs he has curated, often featuring thematic designs, cultural context, choral-orchestral music and a focal point on American composers. This season is a feast of many highlights, and I hope patrons will join us for this extraordinary musical odyssey.”

“As we herald the 2024-25 season, it’s not just a celebration of the music we’ve cherished over the years, but a heartfelt homage to the enduring relationship I’ve shared with Pacific Symphony,” said Carl St.Clair. “This landmark 35th anniversary season is a testament to our collective journey – a tapestry of our shared experiences, our growth and our unyielding commitment to excellence. The musicians of Pacific Symphony are not just performers; they are the very heartbeat of our institution. This season is an expression of our gratitude to them and to our audience, as we continue to forge a legacy of artistic brilliance. I am immensely proud to serve as your music directorm and as we embark on this momentous season, I am eager to celebrate our past and present as we look to the exciting new vistas that lie ahead.”

2024-25 Season highlights at a glance

Opening Night Celebration

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Photo by Mateusz Zahora/Courtesy of Pacific Symphony

Pianist Claire Huangci graces the stage on Opening Night

Pacific Symphony’s 2024-25 season begins in style with a celebratory opening performance (Sept. 26). The program presents an eclectic mix of musical genius, beginning with the dynamic compositions of Frank Ticheli followed by Maurice Ravel’s “Alborada del gracioso,” a piece infused with the warmth and vitality of Spain. Celebrated pianist Claire Huangci graces the stage with her interpretation of Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini,” bringing to life the famous 18th variation known for its appearance in the movie Somewhere in Time. The concert culminates in a performance of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony, which the composer considered “one of his best works.”

World Premieres and Commissions

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Photo by Jerry LoFaro/Courtesy of Pacific Symphony

Pianist Jeffrey Biegel

In keeping with his tradition of commissioning new works to expand the repertoire, St.Clair has programmed two world premieres for the Feb. 6-8, 2025 concerts. The dazzling razzmatazz of Bernstein’s high-spirited musical prelude “Slava!” sets the stage for two world premieres commissioned by St.Clair and Pacific Symphony: A new piano concerto by esteemed African American composer Adolphus Hailstork to be performed by Jeffrey Biegel and a new orchestral by Pacific Symphony’s Vietnamese American Composer-in-Residence Viet Cuong. Respighi’s tone poem Pines of Rome paints in music the grandeur and history of the Eternal City, including a recording of an actual Italian nightingale singing a serene nocturne.

Opera In Concert: Wagner’s Das Rheingold

St.Clair was the first non-European to hold the position of general music director and chief conductor of the German National Theatre and Staatskapelle Weimar (2005-08). During that tenure, he conducted the entire 15-hour Ring Cycle with the Staatskapelle Weimar to great critical acclaim. Now, Pacific Symphony audiences will have the opportunity to experience St.Clair’s interpretation of the first part of this monumental work (April 10, 12 and 15, 2025). The raw power and gripping narrative of this mythic prologue, where the stakes are as high as the heavens and as deep as the Rhine itself, promises a performance not-to-be-missed. The opera will be presented semi-staged in concert with Pacific Symphony sharing the stage with the vocal forces (cast to be announced).

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SCFTA announces award-winning Cabaret, Jazz and Chamber musical artists for the 2024-2025 season

Segerstrom Center for the Arts brings an exceptional array of Cabaret, Jazz and Chamber music performances for the 2024-2025 season. Artists of each genre have been thoughtfully curated to bring enriching and diverse musical experiences to patrons of Orange County. This season promises a blend of returning favorites and exciting newcomers, ensuring a year full of spectacular music. The Samueli Theater is well-regarded for debuting Grammy® Award-winning artists and is thrilled to welcome world-class talents on stage for intimate evenings of beautiful music.

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Photos courtesy of SCFTA

Eric McCormack – October 17-19

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Laura Bell Bundy – October 17-19

The Cabaret Series will provide the intimate ambience of a traditional cabaret club with a diverse collection of theater, music and comedy artists in the Samueli Theater. The series will open with a performance from Tony® Award-winning actress and singer Joaquina Kalukango best known for her role as Nelly O’ Brien in Paradise Square and continues with special performances from Broadway stars Eric McCormack and Laura Bell Bundy, Kerry Butler, Claybourne Elder and Cheyenne Jackson. The series will conclude with the hilarious Hamilton satire: Spamilton: An American Parody.

2024-2025 Cabaret Series Line-up

Joaquina Kalukango | September 19-21

Eric McCormack and Laura Bell Bundy | October 17-19

Jason Robert Brown with Anika Noni Rose | November 7-9

Kerry Butler | January 23-25, 2025

Claybourne Elder | February 20-22, 2025

Cheyenne Jackson | April 10-12, 2025

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“Spamilton: An American Parody” – May 15-17, 2025

Spamilton: An American Parody | May 15-17, 2025

Audiences will be ecstatic with the Jazz Series, as it returns with Grammy® Award-winning jazz vocalist Samara Joy to bring warm grooves to the Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall with her smooth yet powerful vocals. In a fabulous coincidence, the jazz series will provide two 80th birthday celebrations, one of Monty Alexander, and one of Ivan Lins with Pacific Jazz Orchestra. Grammy® Award-winning all-male acapella group Take 6 will provide a festive performance at Take 6 Christmas, and other well acclaimed jazz artists will include Sean Mason Quintet and the Emmet Cohen Trio.

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Samara Joy – September 20

2024 – 2025 Jazz Series Line-up

An Evening with Samara Joy | September 20

Sean Mason Quintet | October 5

Monty Alexander, 80th Birthday Celebration | November 16

Take 6 Christmas | December 15

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Emmet Cohen Trio – April 5, 2025

Pacific Jazz Orchestra – Ivan Lins 80th Birthday Celebration | January 17, 2025

Emmet Cohen Trio | April 5, 2025

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Matthew Aucoin – November 14, 2025

The Chamber Series will bring back several Center favorites to perform a wide array of uniquely diverse and enriching repertoires. Returning artists for the 2024-2025 Chamber Series include Esmé Quartet, Fauré Quartett, Takács Quartet and David Requiro, Calidore String Quartet performing a world premiere piece commissioned for the series, Théotime Langlois de Swarte and Les Arts Florissants, and Jordi Savall with Hespèrion XXI to perform Music of Fire and Love. Matthew Aucoin and Connor Hanick will make their Chamber Series debut as a piano duo featuring a world-premiere piece.

2024 – 2025 Chamber Series Line-up

Esmé Quartet | October 24

Fauré Quartett | November 6

Matthew Aucoin and Conor Hanick | November 14

Takács Quartet and David Requiro, Cello | February 14, 2025

Calidore String Quartet | March 6, 2025

Théotime Langlois de Swarte and Les Arts Florissants | March 23, 2025

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Hesperion XXI – April 16, 2025

Jordi Savall with Hespèrion XXI – Music of Fire and Love | April 16, 2025

Subscriptions for the Cabaret, Jazz and Chamber Series are available now. Tickets for individual performances will go on sale later. Visit the Center’s website at www.scfta.org for more information. For Group sales, call 714.755.0236. Regular Cabaret and Chamber Series enthusiasts should be advised that for the 2024-2025 season, most Cabaret and Chamber concerts will have an earlier starting time of 7 p.m.

For a complete description of performers, go to www.scfta.org.

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Pet of the Week

Stu News Newport is thrilled is thrilled to share that Tommy is still eagerly seeking his forever home. Tommy, with a larger-than-life personality, has been with the shelter since July 2023. At just 1 year and 5 months old, Tommy has captured the hearts of shelter staff and volunteers.

Described as a very large cat with an insatiable curiosity, Tommy is always eager to explore his surroundings and engage with those around him. Whether it’s peeking out the window to catch a glimpse of the outside world, or shadowing your every move, Tommy promises to bring endless joy and adventure to his future adopter.

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Courtesy of the Newport Beach Animal Shelter

Meet Tommy

To schedule an appointment to meet Tommy, contact the Newport Beach Animal Shelter at 949.718.3454, or email aco@nbpd.org.

The shelter does require completed application forms for their animals, so simply print one up from their non-profit’s webpage at www.fonbas.org. After it is completed, you can email it to aco@nbpd.org, and upon review, they’ll call you to schedule an appointment. If you have any questions, call 949.718.3454.

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. Visit www.fonbas.org.

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Get out and explore Buck Gully with three stunning hikes, assist with habitat restoration, learn about plant life

Taking a trek in the Buck Gully Reserve, which connects Corona del Mar and Newport Coast, is the perfect opportunity to enjoy the cooler autumn weather. Explore this 300-acre natural habitat on foot, with three hikes led by the Irvine Ranch Conservancy staff and an opportunity to assist in habitat restoration.

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Photos by Emily Spain

Enjoy panoramic views as you take in the canyon’s natural beauty

Bridges of Buck Gully Hike: Buck Gully is a natural, coastal canyon which opened up to the public in 2012 with the installation of four bridges to allow for safe public access. Discover the bridges on Tuesday, March 5, April 16 and June 4 from 8-11:30 a.m., which facilitate exploration of the Buck Gully Reserve, and also provide viewing platforms from which to pause and observe the abundant life in and around the stream. The guided program starts with a short walk from the OASIS Senior Center to the beginning of the Buck Gully trail, offering a visually dramatic entrance into this special canyon. Open to those 16+ years and older. Conducted at a walking pace at approximately 3 miles per hour. Distance is 5 miles; duration is 3.5 hours with moderate difficulty. This hike is free, but registration is required. Meet at the OASIS Senior Center auxiliary lot at 5th and Marguerite in Corona del Mar. Register at www.letsgooutside.org.

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Several bridges provide vantage points for taking in reserve vistas

Buck Gully Loop Hike: Come and explore the entire Buck Gully Reserve trail system on Tuesday, May 7 and June 18 from 8-11:30 a.m. Beginning from the OASIS Senior Center, you’ll hike up through the almost three-mile length of the canyon, then along San Joaquin Hills Road for about a mile, stopping at Canyon Watch Park, where you will take in the panoramic view of the reserve and the Pacific coastline before descending back into the canyon along the Bobcat Trail. This hike is 6 miles; duration, 3.5 hours with high-moderate difficulty and conducted at a walking pace, approximately three miles per hour. It is geared to those 16+ years of age. This hike is free, but registration is required. Meet at the OASIS Senior Center auxiliary lot at 5th and Marguerite in Corona del Mar. Register at www.letsgooutside.org.

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Photos by Emily Spain

The stream is running, making for a memorable late afternoon/early evening hike

–Buck Gully Upper Loop Evening Hike: Explore the richness of Buck Gully Reserve as you hike during the beautiful early evening hours on Tuesdays, April 2 and May 21 from 4-6:30 p.m. The stream is running, and the rich plant and animal life are enjoying the cool, shady canyon making for an evening hike in a natural oasis amid the suburban surroundings. Walk along San Joaquin Hills Road, which overlooks Buck Gully for the first mile, then drop down into the canyon on the Bobcat Trail, looping back through the upper end of the gully along the Buck Gully Trail. This activity is conducted at a walking pace, approximately 3 miles per hour. The distance is 4 miles; duration, 2.5 hours with moderate difficulty. This hike is open to those 12+ years and older. This hike is free, but registration is required. Staging area is the Newport Coast Community Center at 6401 San Joaquin Hills Road. Register at www.letsgooutside.org.

Fourth Friday Habitat Restoration in Buck Gully on Fridays, March 22, April 26, May 24 and June 28 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. Birds and other wildlife need healthy habitat to thrive. Simple things like planting native plants or removing non-native plants can greatly improve habitat for wildlife. You can be part of that positive impact while enjoying the beauty of Buck Gully. Come help with a variety of activities ranging from seed collection to weeding invasive plants. This activity takes place on sloped terrain and sturdy hiking boots are highly recommended. All training, tools and gloves will be provided to ensure your safety and comfort. Rattlesnakes are occasionally seen here and generally avoid people, but protective gear will be provided. Walking pace is approximately 3 mph with a distance of one to five miles and a duration of three hours. The difficulty is moderate. This is geared to 18 years+. Meet at the OASIS Senior Center auxiliary lot at 5th and Marguerite in Corona del Mar. Register at www.letsgooutside.org.

–Plants Among Us: Learning About Plants at Buck Gully on Wednesday, April 10 from 9-11:30 a.m. Curious to learn about the plants among us? Join this hike at Buck Gully Reserve where you’ll look at local flora, talk about native and non-native species and learn how different plants impact our ecosystems. Learning to identify plants, both native and non-native, is a great way to cultivate knowledge about local flora and fauna. This activity is geared toward participants who re curious about our local plants and ecosystem. Bring water, a light trail snack, sturdy closed-toe shoes, sunscreen, hat and supplies to keep you safe during the journey. The distance is 6 miles; duration, 2.5 hours with moderate difficulty. This hike is open to those 8+ years and older. This hike is free, but registration is required. Staging area is the OASIS Senior Center auxiliary lot at 5th and Marguerite in Corona del Mar. Register at www.letsgooutside.org.

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Tomatomania at Roger’s Gardens takes place March 1-10

The world’s largest (and most fun) tomato plant sale is coming to Roger’s Gardens for the 13th year. Scott Daigre and his staff of Tomatomaniacs are offering an astonishing selection of more than 250 varieties of heirloom and hybrid tomato plant, including new varieties for 2024. Also, they will be introducing the highly anticipated Tomato of the Year – Harvard Square.

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Courtesy of CDM Home Tour

Harvard Square was crowned 2024 Tomato of the Year. A true performer year after year, it is great for salads, sandwiches, burgers and anything else you can dream up.

Harvard Square has beautiful stripes, solid production and great feedback from tomato lovers in different locales, and super taste above all else. This unique tomato is well deserving of their focus and celebration this season. They first grew this star in their trial gardens on or about 2019. It truly surprised and delighted them then, and has continued to do that in subsequent seasons.

This year’s Tomatomania event features an extraordinary array of tomato varieties, from cherished heirlooms like Brandywine and San Marzano to exciting new hybrids like the blue splashed Two Tasty or an orange grape standout called Vivacious.

For convenience in navigating the huge selection, tomatoes will be organized alphabetically with special sections just for their Miniatures, Tomatoes-of-the-Year and Roger’s Recommends. And be sure to brag and share about your own favorite tomato variety on their Tomato Wall of Fame.

Whether you’re a seasoned gardener or just starting out, their tomato experts will be on hand to offer advice on choosing the right varieties for your garden, care tips and techniques for maximizing your yield and flavor.

Roger’s Gardens is located at 2301 San Joaquin Hills Road, Corona del Mar. It is open daily from 9 a.m.-6 p.m. For more information, visit www.rogersgardens.com.

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Compiled by Tom Johnson 

Police Beat derives from information in the log maintained at the front counter by the Newport Beach Police Department and required under CA Government Code Section 6254 (f). The press does not have access to written police reports.

Information in the police department log is deemed reliable and StuNewsNewport is not responsible for mistakes made available as public record by the Newport Beach Police Department.

Any person arrested is innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

Abbreviations sometimes used in Police Beat:

647f – Public Intoxication; DUI – Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; NFA – No fixed address; RP – Reporting/Responsible Party; UTL – Unable to locate