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Three men, including third striker, charged with special circumstances murder of woman during Fashion Island robbery

A third striker and two other Los Angeles County men have been charged with special circumstances murder for throwing a 68-year-old New Zealand woman into the street after robbing her at Fashion Island. The suspects were then accused of running her over with their getaway car, dragging the woman nearly 65 feet under their vehicle before leading police on a high-speed pursuit.

The woman’s husband tried to stop the driver from running over his wife after he was thrown to the ground and had a gun pointed at him, as two of the men tried to steal his watch.

Leroy Ernest Joseph McCrary, 26, of Los Angeles; Malachi Eddward Darnell, 18, of Los Angeles, and Jaden Cunningham, 18, of Lancaster, are eligible for the death penalty if they are convicted of the special circumstances murder of 68-year-old Patricia McKay in the commission of a robbery with a felony enhancement of causing the death of an elder over the age of 65.

Courtesy of Orange County District Attorney

(L-R) Jaden Cunningham, Malachi Darnell and Leroy McCrary

In addition to the special circumstances murder charge, McCrary has been charged with one felony count of attempted second-degree robbery, and one felony count of evading while driving recklessly. McCrary has prior felony convictions for residential burglary in 2018, criminal threats in 2020, and robbery in 2023, all in Los Angeles County.

Darnell has also been charged with one felony count of second-degree attempted robbery, one felony count of attempted murder and one felony enhancement of personal use of a firearm, along with one felony enhancement of personal discharge of a firearm.

Cunningham has also been charged with one felony count of attempted second-degree robbery.

“Our entire community extends its deepest sympathies to the loved ones of Patricia McKay and to the entire country of New Zealand as we mourn her senseless death in the commission of a crime that should have never happened. Lawlessness and violence will not be tolerated in our society,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “Our shopping centers and malls have become hunting grounds for criminals who are stalking innocent shoppers to rob them blind because our Governor and our Legislature refuse to hold anyone accountable for their actions. Actions have consequences and it shouldn’t have to result in the death of an elderly woman just enjoying a day of shopping with her husband for our elected leaders in Sacramento to realize that this is the product of their soft-on-crime policies which encourage criminality while sacrificing public safety. This is Orange County and we refuse to accept this is the new normal. Criminals will be held accountable and violence will never be acceptable,” added D.A. Spitzer.

On Tuesday, July 2, New Zealand tourist Patricia McKay and her husband were waiting for a ride after they had finished shopping at Fashion Island when a white Toyota Camry pulled up next to the couple and two men in masks jumped out and attacked McKay’s 69-year-old husband, putting a gun to his head and demanding his watch as they forced him to the ground as bystanders ran away. When the suspects, later identified as Darnell and Cunningham, were unable to get his property, Cunningham is accused of attacking McKay, who was holding several shopping bags.

Cunningham is accused of throwing McKay to the ground and dragging her into the street in front of the getaway car being driven by McCrary as he stole her shopping bags.

With McKay lying in front of the Camry, McKay’s husband jumped in front of the vehicle trying to stop his wife from being run over, but McCrary is accused of accelerating forward with Darnell in the vehicle, pushing McKay’s husband out of the way and running over McKay and dragging her body 65 feet.

While McCrary was dragging the woman under the car, Cunningham, who was running to try to catch up to the getaway car, was pursued by a Good Samaritan who attempted to stop him from getting back in the vehicle. Darnell is accused of shooting out of the getaway vehicle at that Good Samaritan.

McCrary is accused of slowing down to allow Cunningham to jump back into the vehicle as they all drove away.

Cunningham was later arrested after bailing out of the vehicle in Cypress, while McCray and Darnell were arrested in South Gate after a police pursuit. All three defendants are currently being held without bail.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Mark Birney of the Homicide Unit is prosecuting this case.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Firefighters and lifeguards have extremely busy long 4th of July weekend

You ever wonder what it must be like to live in a war-torn country with battle going on daily? Gunshots and bombs lighting the sky, etc.

Well, I think I lived through that scenario last Thursday, July 4th. As soon as dusk approached, the sounds of fireworks filled our skies. The only thing not present, fortunately, was the threat of harm, in the sense of getting shot.

But literally, every moment, one after another, the sound could be heard with another detonation. And it carried on until late into the night. And when I say many, they were the kind that light up the sky, and M80s, firecrackers and such.

No sparklers and snakes for those of us wussies.

Fortunately, it only happens one night a year…or two or three when you add in the days leading up to it, and a couple of days afterwards, while clearing the garage of that extra arsenal.

It’s crazy.

And what about those repeated calls from our city officials, “Fireworks of any kind are illegal” in such and such city; “violators will be prosecuted?”

If that truly was the case, by Friday morning our jails would be overflowing with violators. Now, I get it. There are simply too many people taking part. Police could literally pick a street and find those breaking the law.

So what was the result of such antics? According to a report compiled by Newport Beach Fire’s Raymund Reyes and Chief Jeff Boyles, our NBFD “responded to hundreds of calls throughout the busy weekend, including multiple MCIs (multi casualty incidents).

“There were also five fire-related incidents on the 4th. While four were minor in nature, a small brush fire broke out behind Mesa Drive in Upper Back Bay sometime after 9 p.m., with fireworks being the apparent culprit. Fortunately, crews were able to extinguish it almost immediately.”

Chief Boyles added, “Hot weather throughout the State of California, along with multiple wildfires posed many challenges for our firefighters. On Tuesday, July 2nd a crew of four NBFD firefighters were launched to Butte County as part of an Orange County strike team to fight the Thompson Fire. They returned home to Orange County over the weekend and another group of four NBFD firefighters were sent to the Lake Fire in Santa Barbara on the morning of July 8.

“NBFD is a proud contributor to the California Master Mutual Aid System with our Orange County partners,” said Chief Boyles.

And, if it wasn’t firefighters keeping their eyes on our lands and structures, add in this, our lifeguards were busy too, in what might be the understatement of the year.

According to Chief Boyles, “Newport Beach Lifeguards performed 76 rescues on the 4th of July, but the true test came in the days following the holiday as the swell picked up and challenged beachgoers with rip tides and large surf. Of the 807 rescues over the weekend, five were non-fatal drownings (exhaustion/aspiration) that required advanced medical care.”

“This may have been the busiest 4th of July weekend, along with the biggest swell we’ve seen since Ben (Carlson’s) last rescue (in 2014),” said Lifeguard Battalion Chief Adam Yacenda. “2020 had a massive swell, but the beach was closed over the holiday weekend because of COVID. (Last weekend) was truly the Super Bowl of Lifeguarding, and our guards were in it to win it.”

A different angle to look at the long weekend for our lifeguards: 2,732 Public Contacts, 215 Code Enforcements, 187 Blackball Warnings, 66 renderings of First Aid, 30 Medical Aids, Seven Stingray Victims, Four Reunited with Families, 13 Boat Assists…and NO LOSS OF LIFE.

That, my friends, is the best news!

• • •

 So, if people weren’t out enjoying the beach, chances are that some of them may have been playing pickleball up at The Tennis and Pickleball Club at Newport Beach.

Club President and Founder Sean Bollettieri-Abdali told me that their tournament action on Saturday (July 6) alone featured more than 1,000 matches. That’s a lot of pickleball!

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Alexandra Taylor

(L-R) U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and Tennis and Pickleball Club President and Founder Sean Bollettieri-Abdali

In fact, over the weekend there were other visitors taking part in the action, too, including U.S. Senator Ted Cruz and family, who joined Sean, Mayor Will O’Neill and others in competition.

How good of an athlete is our Mayor, you might ask? He competed in jeans and a pair of boots…and didn’t miss a step as they often say.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Alexandra Taylor

Mayor Will O’Neill (right) shows his prowess on the courts despite the lack of “official pickleball wear”

Reports were that Senator Cruz and his daughter, who joined him on the trip, both more than held their own on the courts.

• • •

Cue the John Williams’ Olympic Theme song…former newspaper industry counterpart Eric Spitz (formerly president of the Orange County Register) informed me that his daughter, Ayla Spitz, has qualified for the U.S. Olympic Team in swimming later this summer.

Ayla, who competed at Newport Harbor High School and then for the California Golden Bears, will swim two freestyle relays in Paris.

During her high school years, Ayla was quite accomplished:

–A three-time Scholastic All-American who was the Orange County Female Swimmer of the Year as a senior.

–Set high school records in the 50 free (23.00), 100 free (48.88), 200 free (1:45.44), 100 back (54.16) and 100 breast (1:04.61).

–Swam for Irvine Novaquatics and helped the club team to a first place finish at 2017 Winter Junior Nationals and 2018 Summer Junior Nationals.

–Set Novaquatics age-group records in eight events.

–She was the Newport Harbor High School valedictorian and served as president of the Math Club.

Must take after her mother! Good luck in Paris, Ayla.

• • •

The California Coastal Commission meets this week in San Rafael. Their Thursday (July 11) agenda includes multiple Newport Beach issues.

First is a public hearing and action regarding the city’s request to amend the Implementation Plan and Land Use Plan of the city’s certified Local Coastal Program. Discussed will be a revision of the development standards for accessory dwelling units to ensure consistency with state law; and action to modify development standards for Bay Island.

There will also be an appeal by Bayside Village Marina of the city’s decision to grant a permit with conditions to Orange County Sanitation District for the demolition of their existing approximately 4,800-sq.-ft. pump station and construction of a new approximately 7,500-sq.-ft. pump station that includes a new underground pump room, electrical room, odor control facility and generator room, within an approximately 14,500-sq.-ft. site area, as well as the installation of two approximately 1,300-ft.-long, 24-in. diameter force mains at 250 E. Coast Highway.

Finally, Newport-Mesa Unified School District has an application before the Commission requesting replacement of the existing beach playground at Newport El – including new playground equipment, sand recompaction, new recycled synthetic rubber playground surfacing and masonry site walls (1327 West Ocean Front).

For all items related to Newport Beach, consult the CCC agenda and details within.

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Council to consider mooring rental rates, overriding airport commission finding, study session on housing element, Greenlight

By SARA HALL

The Newport Beach City Council will hear a variety of items at their meeting tonight.

At tonight’s meeting (July 9), councilmembers will consider: Recommendations for rental rates for moorings; intent to override the airport commission’s designation of inconsistency for a residential project in the Airport Area and several contracts on the consent calendar. A study session about the implementation of the housing element and charter section 423 (the Greenlight initiative) is also scheduled.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Sara Hall

Council will consider recommendations related to rental rates for moorings in Newport Harbor

During current business, councilmembers will hear the Harbor Commission and alternative recommendations for rental rates for moorings.

Council is being asked to either: Adopt a resolution setting fair market value of rent for moorings located on tidelands in Newport Harbor, or adopt a similar resolution while also introducing an ordinance amending city code related to mooring permits and licenses.

According to the staff report, earlier this year, after multiple meetings and extensive public input and discussion, the Harbor Commission recommended that the City Council increase the mooring permit rental rates to current fair market value. Numerous mooring permit holders contacted the city and/or spoke during non-agenda public comment at previous council meetings, alleging conflicts of interest and discrimination in rental rates between different users of the tidelands. Due to the number of concerns regarding the increase in rates, city staff reviewed the recommendations and provided alternative options for council consideration.

At the April 10 meeting, the commission recommended:

–Establish the fair market rental rates for onshore and offshore moorings as equal to 24% of the city adopted Newport Harbor Marina Index.

–After the January 2025 adjustment, all future mooring rental rate adjustments will coincide with annual city slip rate adjustments effective at the start of each new city fiscal year beginning July 1, 2025.

–The total mooring rate adjustments will be phased in, beginning Jan. 1, 2025, through a final adjustment on July 1, 2029, as per the schedule set forth in the presentation material provided during the April 10 meeting.

–The 24% phased-in rate adjustment amounts per linear foot per mooring size, will be adjusted each year based on future annual adjustments per the city-adopted Newport Harbor Marina Index. These subsequent adjustments will be applied to the initial recommended rate adjustment and equally distributed and phased in over the same period of time.

–At the end of the phase-in period (July 1, 2029), the mooring rental rates for onshore and offshore moorings in Newport Harbor will be equal to 24% of the then average slip rates as determined by the city-adopted Newport Harbor Marina Index.

Following the concerns raised from mooring permit holders, staff worked on alternative recommendations and considered: Grandfather existing mooring permittees at current rates, with no changes to rates except for CPI adjustments; phase out all private transfers of moorings, and ensure future moorings are owned, managed and maintained through the city license program, referenced as the short-term mooring license regulations of city code.

With these considerations in mind, staff provided some substitute suggestions:

–Grandfather existing permit rates. Existing mooring permittees will continue to be subject to the mooring rates established in the previously adopted resolution. This allows the current permit holders to continue to pay the same rates, with CPI adjustments or 2% maximum, until the permit is transferred (subject to the transfer conditions suggested) or the permit is relinquished.

–Existing mooring permittees may privately transfer their permit to a new permit holder one time within four years, but no later than Aug. 21, 2028. After that date or after the one-time private transfer (whichever occurs first), no further transfers are allowed.

–If a death of a permittee occurs, the executor or administrator may hold the mooring permit for only one year. During that one-year period, the executor or administrator must secure a city-licensed mooring or find a new location for the vessel.

–Mooring permittees who obtained their permit through a private transfer during the initial four years after adoption of the recommended ordinance will continue to pay the existing rates for four additional years from the date of transfer. After four years, the mooring permits will be converted to a city license and will be subject to the short-term mooring license rates established by resolution. There is no city fee for converting the permit to a license.

–The mooring rates approved under the resolution adjusts annually on July 1 (the table showing the rates starts at $9 per foot for an 18-foot vessel and go up to $22 per foot for a 95-foot vessel).

–Existing mooring permittees or those who acquire permits through a private transfer during the four years after adoption of the resolution, and are subject to the existing mooring rates, are responsible for providing and maintaining the mooring and tackle.

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Angry that a tourist visiting our wonderful city has her life ended with such little regard from outsiders

By GARY SHERWIN

I like to consider myself a tolerant guy who can appreciate the differences and struggles others are experiencing. You try and believe in the best of your fellow humans. But right now, I am furious, thanks to some L.A.-based thugs, and my anger has no productive outlet.

I am referring to the senseless killing of one of our visitors, 68-year-old Patricia McKay from New Zealand during the July 4th holiday period last week. A three-person group of dopey idiots thought it would be cool to come and score some easy jewelry and luxury goods and maybe some cash at Fashion Island.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Visit Newport Beach

Gary Sherwin

McKay came to Orange County from a faraway place to experience some of our destination magic, only to have her husband make preparations to have her remains flown home.

As someone whose professional mission is to promote our city around the world, there is no worse situation you can face. A visitor coming to your city expecting to enjoy themselves only to experience a horrific outcome is a true nightmare.

Now, the legal system says that the suspects are innocent until proven guilty. But based on the ridiculous freeway chase that followed the attempted robbery that was captured on video, it is clearly evident we have the killers. A big thank you to the Newport Beach Police and other law enforcement agencies for following these suspects and beginning the march to justice. They’ve made the pain a little bit easier to endure knowing these criminals are behind bars.

It goes without saying that Newport Beach is a very safe place to live, visit and work. Fashion Island has a solid security system, too, and I have never worried about going there. And none of that changes with this isolated horrific incident.

But still, the random nature of this crime is disturbing. And the fact that these killers, whose botched robbery ended up taking the life of an innocent woman by running her over, cause me and I’m sure all of you, tremendous heartache.

It was also a story that has run all over the world. Even a friend who lives on the island of Cyprus saw it lead the news there. While it is a black eye to our reputation, that’s nothing compared to losing your loved one during what is supposed to be a happy, carefree vacation.

In situations like this, you think what could we have done to prevent this? Unfortunately, I don’t think we could have done much, a statement that in itself is also troubling. These thugs thought it would be an easy score to come down here, target supposedly wealthy shoppers, and take their stuff. If it didn’t work out, then use a gun, which they tried to do on a Good Samaritan, Beau Bayless, who tried to intervene.

You could argue about gun laws or keeping criminals like this off the street in the first place. But stupid people who are prone to criminal activity are hard to control although tougher laws can sometimes, but not always, work.

You could also increase security presence, but do any of us really want to see more officers on every street corner? No one wants to live in a police state, and what does that say to our visitors who wonder why we need so much security everywhere they look? Can it be comforting? Perhaps. Will it raise unpleasant questions? Definitely.

I suspect people will want to see more security in the short term, and that is to be expected. But I still don’t see a viable and politically feasible long-term solution to outright prevent bad people from hurting others here and around the country in the future.

Some have suggested that we stop marketing in L.A., where these hoodlums live. But that assumes only bad people live in L.A. when, in fact, most of our visitors from that area are good people from affluent neighborhoods and the base for most of our hotel business. We had tens of thousands of them last weekend, and the vast majority were well-behaved. It also feeds into a destructive narrative that we should cut and run because three criminals came to town. I don’t subscribe to the theory that we should hide and let the bad guys win while hurting our local economy.

Look at what happened in Chicago over the holiday weekend where 11 people were killed due to gunfire. The situation was different from ours since it appeared to be locals killing other locals, but lives were lost, nonetheless. Just up the road, two people were killed during a stabbing on July 4th in Huntington Beach. We are not alone, nor immune when it comes to horrible crimes.

National figures indicate that overall crime is declining in the U.S. over previous years. But all that doesn’t matter if a deadly incident happens in your city, especially in an area that is usually safe and secure.

The unfortunate reality of living in America in 2024 is that stories like this have become all too common and people have short attention spans. We can’t keep up with all the shootings and when and where they all happen. People tend to forget.

But let’s do a service to Patricia McKay, and her husband who tried valiantly to save her, and not forget. Let’s remember her when our elected leaders try to address criminal behavior with sensible laws that disincentivize would-be criminals from pulling this inhuman act in the first place.

I’m furious right now, and there is nowhere to channel this. But my pain is nothing compared to the family of a well-meaning visitor who trusted us to have a safe and secure respite only to find criminals ready to kill her for an expensive watch.

I wish we could easily solve this problem through legislation, but idiots are idiots, and we can’t completely escape them. But we can display empathy for the victims and work where we might to prevent this in the future.

Newport Beach is a safe place to visit, and this incident can’t change that. But right now, it seems appropriate to marinate in the pain for the life of a person who came here looking for fun before it went tragically wrong.

Let’s be clear, I’m not a hater. I’d like to think of the better angels on my shoulder. But something like this makes that toxic feeling all too real and very inviting.

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

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The Week in Review

A weekly newsletter from City Manager Grace L. Leung

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of Newport Beach

Newport Beach City Manager Grace Leung

(The following is a condensed, edited version of “This Week in Review” due to the July 4th holiday weekend.)

Community Members:

Suspects Arrested Following Fashion Island Robbery, Killing

The Newport Beach Police Department (NBPD), in coordination with several other public safety agencies, pursued and arrested three suspects fleeing a robbery at Fashion Island that resulted in the death of a 68-year-old woman.

At about 3:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2, the NBPD’s dispatch center received several 911 calls reporting a robbery at Fashion Island near the Barnes & Noble store. Witnesses reported two male suspects, one armed with a handgun, attempting to rob two victims. One of the suspects fired a handgun three times. No one was hit by the gunfire.

During the course of the robbery, a white sedan driven by a third suspect struck one of the victims, who tragically died at the scene.

The three suspects fled the area in the sedan. NBPD officers located the vehicle and attempted a traffic stop. After the suspects refused to stop, officers pursued the vehicle onto the northbound 405 freeway. NBPD officers were assisted in the pursuit by several agencies including the California Highway Patrol, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the following local police departments: Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Cypress, Westminster, Garden Grove and South Gate.

The suspects stopped the vehicle in Cypress and one suspect fled on foot. He was soon located and arrested. The vehicle then continued into Los Angeles County, where the two remaining suspects abandoned the vehicle and ran from officers. They were quickly arrested.

The victim was later identified as Patricia McKay, 68, a tourist visiting from New Zealand.

Join Us July 13 at Bristol Farms for Next NBPD Mobile Café

The Newport Beach Police Department will host the next NBPD Mobile Café on Saturday, July 13 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at Bristol Farms, 810 Avocado Ave.

The NBPD’s Mobile Café events give community members and police department staff an opportunity to come together in an informal space to discuss community issues and build relationships in a comfortable setting. Please bring questions or concerns, or simply get to know our officers and help build a stronger community partnership.

Please join us for coffee and conversation. We hope to see you there!

For more information, please contact Sgt. Steve Oberon at soberon@nbpd.org.

Kung Fu Panda 4 at Marina Park July 12

Bring your family and friends to Marina Park and enjoy a screening of the animated movie Kung Fu Panda 4 on Friday, July 12. The event begins at 7 p.m.; showtime is at sunset.

There will be fun activities, free popcorn and food available for purchase. Remember to bring a chair and blanket for comfortable seating during the movie.

There’s Still Time to Join the Library Summer Reading Program

There’s still time to join the Newport Beach Public Library’s Summer Reading Program for free family activities, entertaining performances, an interactive reading challenge, family crafts, prizes, books and much more.

Stop by any library location or check out our website to learn how you can join the fun.

The program runs through July 27.

Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Update

The Be Well Mobile Crisis Response team operates in Newport Beach 12 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to mental and behavioral health crises. The mobile unit is staffed with mental health specialists and works closely with the city’s police and fire departments.

(Last) week, the Be Well team:

–Transported a person to a crisis stabilization unit for treatment.

–Transported a person to a detox facility.

–Transported a person to the Be Well sobering station.

–Transported six people to homeless service providers.

–Transported a person to a bus stop to return home.

–Collaborated with the Newport Beach Fire Department to transport a person to the hospital.

The mobile crisis team is dispatched through the Newport Beach Police Department. To request service, dial 911 or call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at 949.644.3717.

Homelessness Update

(Last) week, the city’s homeless outreach and response teams:

–Placed a person into permanent housing after experiencing street-level homelessness for 34 years. Trellis International and the City of Costa Mesa staff collaborated to furnish his new home.

–Reunified a person with family in Michigan after a brief stay at the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.

–Sheltered a person at the Yale Navigation Center. The person secured an apartment and is waiting for the move-in date.

–Sheltered an older adult in a motel to facilitate an assisted living placement.

–Continued to shelter people: Twenty-four people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are sheltered in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.

Click here to view the latest homeless dashboard, which includes key monthly and yearly data on the city’s homeless response.

Click here for information on the city’s Good Giving program.

City Council Meeting Agenda Available

The next meeting of the Newport Beach City Council will be Tuesday, July 9.

The agendas are generally available to the public on Thursday afternoons for meetings on the following Tuesday.

(Last) week, however, due to the July 4 holiday, the full agenda was published on Friday, July 5. The agenda and staff reports are available at this link.

This Week’s Events

Tuesday, July 9

City Council Meeting

City Council Chambers

100 Civic Center Drive – 4 p.m.

Wednesday, July 10

Harbor Commission Meeting

City Council Chambers

100 Civic Center Drive – 5 p.m.

Thursday, July 11

City Arts Commission Meeting

Newport Beach Central Library, Small Conference Room

1000 Avocado Ave. – 5 p.m.

See Full Schedule

Editor’s Note: City Manager’s Updates was received Friday, July 5 and is subject to editing so the information is current.

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Guest Column

Charles Klobe

President

Still Protecting Our Newport (SPON)

Important item on tonight’s Council agenda – should Council decide or should it go to a vote of the people

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Courtesy of SPON

Charles Klobe

On the agenda for the City Council Study Session for today, July 9 at 4 p.m., is the question of whether or not to put the Land Use Element (which supports the Certified Housing Element) on the November ballot. This discussion will only be about whether or not the Land Use Element needs to go to a vote of the residents per Greenlight, our City Charter Section 423.

Here is the text from the Agenda:

“SS3. Implementation of the Housing Element and Charter Section 423 Discuss requirements for a vote of the electorate pursuant to Charter Section 423 associated with the required adoption of a General Plan Land Use Element amendment needed to support the housing production in the focus areas identified in the adopted and certified 6th Cycle Housing Element (2021-2029).”

Charter 423 (Greenlight) mandates that voter approval is required for any major amendment to the Newport Beach General Plan. The actual language can be viewed here:

Greenlight – Charter 423

There has been noise about keeping the Land Use Element off the ballot and letting the City Council decide to approve, or not approve, the Land Use Element.

The larger discussion regarding what the Land Use Element means to Newport Beach as a community, and the 4,845 residential units (plus bonus density units and the above market units needed to make a project pencil out for a developer), will not be had if this measure doesn’t even make it to a vote.

I, for one, would like to have my opinions be taken into account by a vote, rather than have that decision be made by, as few as, four of seven City Councilmembers. This kind of sidestepping of the voices of the community is reminiscent of the recent decision by the California Supreme Court who ruled that the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act could not be included in the November ballot. I don’t think the majority of Newport Beach residents want to forego their right to weigh in on this matter.

If you have anything to say on this matter, please plan to attend today’s (Tuesday) Study Session and let the Council know how you feel.

We need to pack the Council Chambers in order to get the councilmembers’ attention.

Today (Tuesday), July 9 at 4 p.m., in the City Council Chambers.

Thank you for participating in planning the future of our extraordinary city.

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Letters to the Editor

From long-time Newport Beach family, mooring issue should be put aside

Newport City Council:

I know the harbor. This mooring fee issue can destroy a valuable and unique quality of my home.

My grandparents bought their first home on the Island in 1960. We still have it. I’ve lived in Newport since 1974, graduated CdM in 1977, sailed the harbor for 45 years, my business has been in Newport Beach since 1993, my kids graduated CdM and our family is in its 5th generation here.

This mooring fee increase is among the worst ideas I’ve seen. If something is passed, in any form, without the concurrence of existing mooring permittees, it will change the nature of the harbor for the worse.

We don’t need Sacramento-style politics here. The best option here is to put aside the vote and work together.

Please do not vote to damage the harbor.

Matt Clabaugh

Newport Beach

A grandfather’s memory

Wes is 18 months. Walking, outrunning parents/grandparents.  “Hi,” “Bye” and a few more words.

Wes and his extended family just returned from a weeklong stay in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho.

Coeur D’Alene has a lake that is 24 miles long. Near the fancy hotel and a stone’s throw from the movable floating 14th island green is the Coeur D’Alene City Park complete with the Playland Pier Carousel – $2.50 gets you a turn; $5 gets you two turns.

The carousel steeds are black, pinto, white, dapple gray and palomino. Rider’s choice of Starfire, Suzy, War Pony, Firefly, Magic Pony, Hope, Jubilee, etc.

Wes picked War Pony. Gramma Ronnie chaperoned the young horseman for support and reassuring touches. Grandpa watched from the wooden bench and cheered each rotation. At the end, there was a huckleberry ice cream cone which is apparently a special northern Idaho flavor.

Nothing quite compares to the laughter, the joyful squeals, the wide eyes and the utter jubilation of a child’s first ride on a carousel witnessed by doting PaPa and RaRa. Sweet memory. Wes won’t forget it and neither will his grandparents.

Paul Watkins

Newport Beach

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It’s a kids’ world at Newport Beach Public Library this summer

Hey kids! Newport Beach Public Library (NBPL) announces a summer of free family activities, entertaining performances and an interactive reading challenge. From high-energy dance to interactive science programs, family crafts, prizes, books and much more. Stop by any location or check out their website to learn how you can join the fun!

Summer Reading Program events are generously funded by the Friends of the Library. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Space is first-come, first-seated and limited by room capacity. Registration is not required.

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Photos courtesy of NBPL

Engage in the NBPL Summer Reading Program taking place through July 27

Summer Reading

There’s still time to join Summer Reading, a summer of free family activities, entertaining performances an interactive reading challenge, family crafts, prizes, books and much more. Stop by any location or check out their website to learn how you can join the fun. The program runs through July 27.

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Central Library

Central Library is Turning 30

Central Library opened its doors in July 1994, which means this month, they’re celebrating a milestone birthday. Join the Open House Celebration on Saturday, July 13 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. for tours, light refreshments and a chance to win prizes in a scavenger hunt.

Let’s Go Crazy for Chemistry

Central Library: Tuesday, July 9 at 11 a.m.

Balboa Branch: Wednesday, July 10 at 3 p.m.

Corona del Mar Branch: Thursday, July 11 at 3 p.m.

Mariners Branch: Saturday, July 13 at 11 a.m.

Explore the gooey, slippery, slimy world of chemistry with a zany professor of fun! Kids will be guided through experiments that change everyday household items using the principles of chemistry.

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Let’s get crafty making forest animals

Forest Animal Crafts

Central Library: Tuesday, July 16 at 11 a.m.

Balboa Branch: Wednesday, July 17 at 3 p.m.

Corona del Mar Branch: Thursday, July 18 at 3 p.m.

Mariners Branch: Saturday, July 20 at 11 a.m.

Who lives in the forest? Make crafts that explore this diverse habitat and its many adorable creatures!

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Discover tricks and illusions with the Magic of Tony Daniels at all library branches

Magic Show: Reading is Magic!

Experience exciting displays of tricks and illusions with the Magic of Tony Daniels. Join this fun-filled show of magic and comedy.

Central Library: Tuesday, July 23 at 11 a.m.

Balboa Branch: Wednesday, July 24 at 3 p.m.

Corona del Mar Branch: Thursday, July 25 at 3 p.m.

Mariners Branch: Saturday, July 27 at 11 a.m.

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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Newport Beach – A Look Back

Photo series courtesy of Balboa Island Museum Newport Beach

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 314 Coral in the 1950s

Balboa Island Museum Newport Beach and the Museum Store are located at 210 B Marine Ave., Balboa Island. They are open Monday through Thursday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Free general admission on all days. Two-hour parking is available on Marine Avenue. For more information, call 949.675.3952, visit www.balboaislandmuseum.org or email info@balboaislandmuseum.org.

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POPP “Protect Our Planned Parenthood” event draws large crowd of supporters

A recent fundraiser at Sherman Library & Gardens in Corona del Mar drew more than 200 supporters on Sunday, June 23, and raised more than $300,000 for the Community Action Fund of Planned Parenthood of Orange & San Bernardino Counties (CAF), the political arm of the local Planned Parenthood.

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Photos by Jasmin Ortiz

(L-R) Barbara MacGillivray and Keiko Sakamoto

The event, which was organized by co-chairs Teddie Ray, Cyd Swerdlow and Analisa Albert, began at golden hour, when attendees enjoyed abundant bubbly, rosé and refreshments side-by-side with fellow Planned Parenthood supporters. Wolffer Estate generously sponsored the evening’s refreshment, providing bottles of their signature Summer in a Bottle Côtes de Provence. Throughout the evening, guests were treated to culinary delights created by Chef Jessica Roy, known for her fresh, California flavors and highlighting healthy seasonal ingredients. The evening’s menu was curated by Michelin Star Chef Tony Esnault and Restaurateur Yassmin Sarmadi of Knife Pleat at South Coast Plaza.

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(L-R) Teddie Ray, Michele Goodwin, Cyd Swerdlow and Analisa Albert

Attendees heard remarks from Michele Goodwin, a former Chancellor’s Professor at UCI Law School, and now full-time faculty at Georgetown University Law School. She was previously a member of the PPOSBC board, and is an award-winning author and podcast host of “On the Issues with Michele Goodwin: Reporting, Rebelling, & Telling It Like It Is.”

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Crowd mingles

It’s been two years since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, ending the nationwide right to an abortion. Since then, more than 20 states have banned or severely restricted access to abortion, and PPOSBC has treated and assisted hundreds of patients forced to travel for abortion care. Meanwhile, the fight for abortion access does not end outside of California’s borders – PPOSBC made history this year by filing one of the first legal challenges under California’s Proposition 1, enshrined into law after the 2022 midterm elections.

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(L-R) Victor Penan, Dr. Rick Bruck, Steve Velkei, Jon Dunn, Chris Duncan and Rodney Weeks

Attendees of the event were invited to “POPP” into the fight to protect Planned Parenthood services with donations to help get local elected officials into office who will support reproductive and family planning access and defeat dangerous anti-abortion initiatives.

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A glimpse at Crystal Cove in Summer

“Summertime at Crystal Cove is magical – and our programs team has been working all year to create new opportunities for folks to explore the park and to reimagine old favorites,” said Crystal Cove Conservancy President & CEO Kate Wheeler. “Our team has been testing new ideas like science hikes and rethinking and expanding classics like the Historic District Walking Tours and movies on the beach to create a menu of programs to help parkgoers deepen their connection with the park and become part of protecting it.”

From hands-on explorations of history and nature to art classes and conservation stewardship, there is something for everyone to explore during the summer at Crystal Cove.

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Sign up to spend a relaxing day capturing the beauty of the Cove on canvas with Crystal Cove plein air artist, Debbie Morines

The Great Plein Air Art Experience every Monday and Wednesday through October, except September 2 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Registration is required. Celebrate more than 100 years of plein air art at Crystal Cove State Park and spend a relaxing day capturing the beauty of the Cove on canvas with Crystal Cove plein air artist, Debbie Morines. During these four-hour classes, you’ll take part in living history while learning the step-by-step process of creating your very own plein air painting from beginning to end. Each class will have a break for lunch, but lunch is not provided. Classes are for ages 18 and up. Register here for July 10. Register here for July 15. Register here for July 17. For additional dates, visit https://crystalcove.org/art-class/.

Tuesdays in the Commons: Hands-on Educational Activities from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. (July 9, 16, 23 and 30).

Stop by the Education Commons in the Crystal Cove State Park Historic District each week on Tuesday for new hands-on educational activities that will help participants learn about ongoing conservation work at the park, the critical habitats at Crystal Cove, and how it all connects with landscape scale efforts to protect and preserve the natural world. Park at the Los Trancos lot near the trailer then walk through the tunnel to the Education Commons (PCH inland at stoplight Los Trancos). $15 day use fee.

Junior Ranger Programs, Tuesday and Thursday mornings continuing through July 30 from 10-11 a.m. Join a Park Ranger for a fun introduction to the animals and plants of Crystal Cove State Park in their weekly Junior Ranger programs. This children’s nature program is a favorite in State Parks and allows kids to earn a badge, stamps, a poster, or a patch. Each Tuesday they will focus on tidepools and on Thursdays they will learn about sharks. Meet at the Berns Amphitheater (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park, follow signs towards the Campground.) $15 day use fee. No program on July 4.

Shark Shack, Thursday, July 11 from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Enjoy learning about sharks at Crystal Cove State Park when students from the Shark Lab at California State University Long Beach staff their Shark Shack information and activity booth and help beachgoers build an appreciation for and eliminate fear about sharks and other marine life. Check out some cool shark stuff, play a game and learn some fun facts about these amazing creatures and about the technology the lab is using to study them. The Shark Shack will be popped up near the Beachcomber Cafe. Park in the Los Trancos lot (PCH inland at stoplight Los Trancos then walk across the street or take the shuttle.) $15 day use fee.

Sunset Bluff Walk, Thursday, July 11 from 7-8:30 p.m. Join a park naturalist for a three-mile guided Sunset Bluff Walk and enjoy the day’s end along the coastal terrace. Bring a camera and binoculars as you scan the ocean for dolphins, look for birds and watch the sunset. Your walk will take you along the paved path from one end of Pelican Point to the Treasure Cove overlook. Dress in layers and bring water and a red flashlight (if you have one.) Meet at Pelican Point parking lot #4, (PCH coastward at Newport Coast, left at kiosk to the last lot.) $15 day use fee.

Perimeter of the Park, Monday, July 15 from 6:45-11 a.m. Ready for a challenging hike to tour the Crystal Cove State Park backcountry? Join a park docent as you go from the “gills to the hills” on this strenuous but very scenic loop hike known as the “Perimeter of the Park.” Distance is around nine miles; elevation/gain loss, around 1,850 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 6:45 a.m. as the hike will start promptly at 7 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.

Walk on the Wild Side, Friday, July 19 at 10 a.m. At Crystal Cove, you walk upon some of the rarest land in Southern California: coastal sage scrub. Join a park docent for a Walk on the Wild Side and enjoy a one-hour stroll learning about this amazing native habitat as you walk along a boardwalk to the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Meet at Pelican Point parking lot #2, at the top of the boardwalk near the parking lot (PCH coastward at Newport Coast, right at kiosk to first lot.) $15 day use fee.

Whale, Dolphin & Wildlife “Twalk,” Saturday, July 20 from 9-11 a.m. Crystal Cove State Park is a great spot to look for resident dolphins, migrating whales and birds just passing by the coastline. Join a park naturalist for a Whale, Dolphin & 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 at kiosk to the last lot.) $20 day use fee.

Full Moon Hike on Saturday, July 20 from 7:45-10 p.m. Explore the park after dark, on a guided interpretive two-hour, four-mile Full Moon Hike at Crystal Cove State Park. A park naturalist will lead hikers on this moderate to difficult loop trail with uneven terrain and a steep uphill climb, elevation gain of 600 ft. This hike is suitable for ages 10 and up. Hikers must wear sturdy shoes, bring water and a snack. Bug repellant is recommended. Please bring a red flashlight, but if you don’t have one, they will have plenty to share. Meet at the Ranger Station (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park, follow the signs to the Ranger Station.) Registration is required, so sign up at https://letsgooutside.org.

Explore the Cove Science Hikes, Fourth Saturday each month: July 27, August 24 and September 28 from 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Registration is required for this event. Take a hike with a Conservancy educator to explore Crystal Cove State Park’s geological and ecological systems. Explore the impacts and challenges of climate change including fire ecology, ecological restoration, coastal engineering and marine conservation, as well as native versus non-native species and their impact on natural communities and ecosystem functions. Registration is required for these events.

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Historic District Walking Tours take place the fourth Saturday of every month

Historic District Walking Tours, Fourth Saturday each month: July 27, August 24 and September 28 from 2-3 p.m. Historic District Walking Tours return to Crystal Cove State Park. During this 60-minute tour led by Conservancy educators and former cottage residents, participants will step back in time to explore the history of Crystal Cove and the Historic District’s rescue and restoration.

Movies on the Beach, monthly from July through September. Click here for upcoming events.

Cove Talks, Ongoing. Click here for upcoming events. Registration is required for these events.

Grunion Run, One night only. Click here for details. Registration is required for this event.

For more information about summer programming at Crystl Cove and to register for upcoming programs, go here.

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

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Get your courage up and make the jump to benefit the Junior Guards

Get ready to make a splash in the sun with friends and family in support of the Newport Beach Junior Lifeguard program. The 2nd Annual Make A Splash Adult Pier Jump, hosted by the Ben Carlson Foundation in support of the NBJG kids, takes place Saturday, July 20 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Balboa Pier.

You can have the opportunity to experience the thrill that the NBJG kids have each summer when they make the courageous leap off the pier.

Don’t miss out on the chance to create unforgettable memories and support a great cause at the same time. Just grab your swimsuit, sunscreen, sunglasses and get ready to MAKE A SPLASH!

All proceeds benefit the NBJG program, by way of the Ben Carlson Foundation, a tax exempt 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

On the day of the event each participant must sign-in with the host and sign a waiver in-person. Donations are non-refundable.

Register here.

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Balboa Island Museum gears up for summer art classes

Balboa Island Museum Newport Beach is offering summer art classes on Wednesdays through the month of July at 11 a.m., and all levels and ages are welcome. Classes taught by local teacher Janae Juhala.

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Courtesy of Balboa Island Museum Newport Beach

Classes for all ages and ability levels are offered on Wednesdays through the month of July

Schedule of Art Classes:

–July 10: Homer – Charcoal Pencil

–July 17: O’Keefe – Watercolor Pencils

–July 24: Matisse – Paper Collage

–July 31: Audubon – Watercolor Pencils

A $20 donation is requested and supplies are provided for each project.

Click here to register for art classes, or purchase tickets online at www.balboaislandmuseum.org.

Balboa Island Museum Newport Beach is located at 210 B Marine Ave., Balboa Island.

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Movie Mondays returns to the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza with favorite films under the stars

Segerstrom Center for the Arts has announced the return of Movie Mondays this summer on the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza, providing free Movie Mondays 2024 opportunities for families to get together on Monday nights and enjoy a fabulous line-up of cinematic classics.

This year’s line-up will include The Muppet Movie on July 8, Pitch Perfect on July 15, Jurassic Park on July 22, 13 Going on 30 on July 29 and Back to the Future on August 5. So, grab your friends, family and popcorn, and enjoy a reel good time!

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Photo by Joesan Diche

Movie Monday, 2018

For more than 16 years, one of Segerstrom Center’s standout summer attractions has been the beloved Movie Mondays series. Taking place outdoors on Monday evenings throughout the summer season, these complimentary screenings under the starry sky have been delighting audiences since 2007. Whether you’re a devoted movie aficionado or simply seeking a lively evening out, Movie Mondays guarantees a diverse line-up of films that cater to patrons of all ages.

Movie showings begin at dusk (approx. 8 p.m.) on the Julianne and George Argyros Plaza.

Guests are welcome to arrive at 5:30 p.m., with the movie starting at dusk (approximately 8 p.m.). Pre-show activities are available from 6-7:30 p.m. Seating will be first-come, first-served. Attendees are welcome to bring their own snacks, chairs, blankets or picnics. However, tables, BBQs, or large food set-ups are not permitted. Food trucks will be on site for meal purchases and George’’ Café will be open for beverage service. Outside alcohol is prohibited, but alcoholic beverages will be available for purchase at George’s Café for those ages 21 and above.

Closed captioning will be included at all showings.

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Courtesy of SCFTA

“The Muppet Movie”

July 8 – The Muppet Movie

Movie: The Muppet Movie (1979) Rating: G

Runtime: 97 minutes

Kermit and his newfound friends trek across America to find success in Hollywood, but a frog legs merchant is after Kermit.

Starring Jim Henson and Frank Oz

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Courtesy of SCFTA

“Pitch Perfect”

July 15 – Pitch Perfect

Movie: Pitch Perfect (2012) Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 112 minutes

Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining the a cappella group, The Bellas, as they take on their male rivals in a campus competition.

Starring Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson and Britney Snow

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Courtesy of SCFTA

“Jurassic Park”

July 22 – Jurassic Park

Movie: Jurassic Park (1993) Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 127 minutes

A paleontologist touring an almost complete theme park is tasked with protecting a couple of kids after a power failure causes the park’s cloned dinosaurs to run loose.

Starring Sam Neill, Laura Dern and Jeff Goldblum

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Courtesy of SCFTA

“13 Going on 30”

July 29 – 13 Going on 30

Movie: 13 Going on 30 (2004) Rating: PG-13

Runtime: 98 minutes

Unpopular schoolgirl Jenna Rink makes an unusual wish on her birthday. Miraculously, her wish comes true, and the 13-year-old Jenna wakes up the next day as a 30-year-old woman.

Starring Jennifer Garner and Mark Ruffalo

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Courtesy of SCFTA

“Back to the Future”

August 5 – Back to the Future

Movie: Back to the Future (1985) Rating: PG

Runtime: 116 minutes

Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, Doc Brown.

Starring Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd and Lea Thompson

Free Event – No RSVP; No reservation is required.

 Julianne and George Argyros Plaza is located at Segerstrom Center for the Arts, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa. For more information, visit www.scfta.org.

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Summer Nature Camps at ENC

The Environmental Nature Center (ENC) and the ENC Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary have engaging opportunities in June – something for everyone. If you’re not looking for a structured activity, come join a quiet walk on the trails or bring a sustainably packed picnic. They’re open for everyone on Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Visit https://events.encenter.org to register for a scheduled program.

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Summer Nature Camps are being held June 17 through August 9

June 17-August 9: Summer Nature Camps

Summer Nature Camps are being offered at the ENC in Newport Beach and at the ENC Tucker Wildlife Sanctuary in Modjeska Canyon from June 17 through August 9 in one-week sessions. The ENC has offered Nature Camps since 1977. Nature Camp provides nature play and quality science education in an outdoor, hands-on setting. ENC Nature Camp emphasizes experiential learning. Campers spend their time outside, having a great time observing nature up close using tools like binoculars, magnifying lenses and microscopes. For more information and to register, go here.

Environmental Nature Center is located at 1601 E. 16th St., Newport Beach.

For more information, visit http://encenter.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

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, July 9 and Aug. 20 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.

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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 Tuesdays, July 23 and Sept. 10 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 Tuesdays, Aug. 6 and Sept. 24 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.

Fourth Friday Habitat Restoration in Buck Gully on Fridays, July 26, Aug. 23 and Sept. 17 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.

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Twins?

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Photo by Lana Johnson

Look closely at these hanging porch bells and you’ll see a hummingbird nest built-in with two baby bird beaks rising out of it, waiting for the next food serving from mom or dad

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Typically nice Fashion Island shopping day turns ugly as out-of-town “thugs” attempt robbery, leading to killing of woman

On Tuesday, July 2 at 3:38 p.m., the Newport Beach Police Department dispatch center received several 911 calls regarding an attempted robbery that had just occurred in the Fashion Island area, near Barnes & Noble.

Upon arrival, witnesses reported to police that two male suspects, one armed with a handgun, attempted to rob two victims as they walked in the area. During the course of the robbery, one victim was struck by a white sedan that was driven by a third suspect.

The victim, later identified as Patricia McKay, a 68-year-old female visiting from New Zealand, tragically died at the scene.

During the robbery, one of the suspects fired a handgun three times. Fortunately, no one was struck by the gunfire.

The three suspects then fled the area in the white sedan.

NBPD officers located the suspect’s vehicle as it fled the scene and attempted a traffic stop. However, the suspects refused to stop and a pursuit ensued onto the northbound 405 freeway.

NBPD officers were assisted by several agencies including Huntington Beach Police airship HB1, California Highway Patrol, Los Alamitos PD, Cypress PD, Westminster PD, Garden Grove PD, Orange County Sheriff’s Department, Southgate PD, ATF (Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives) and Orange County Sheriff’s Communications (Control 1).

During the course of the pursuit, the suspect vehicle stopped at a location in Cypress, where one suspect fled on foot, but was soon located and arrested by responding officers.

Meanwhile, the suspect vehicle continued into Los Angeles County where the two remaining suspects abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot. Responding officers located and arrested them also.

All three male suspects were transported to the NBPD Jail, where they were booked for 187(A) PC – Homicide, 211PC – Robbery with Firearm, and 182 PC – Conspiracy.

The suspects were identified as Leroyernest Joseph McCrary, 26, a resident of Compton; Jaden Cunningham,18, Lancaster and Malachi Eddward Darnell, 18, Los Angeles.

Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill lashed out at the suspects during a news conference, calling them “creeps” and decrying the “stunning, staggering” attack.

“Newport Beach is a safe community and we’re mourning the loss of someone,” he said. “Frankly, to hell with these guys…These are thugs. Every community is now dealing with this. We have to do better as a society. We cannot tolerate this.”

O’Neill praised law enforcement officers for collaring the three suspects, but he said, “None of that brings her back.”

The incident is still being actively investigated. If anyone has any information who was not contacted by officers or detectives, please contact Detective K. Markwald at kmarkwald@nbpd.org.

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Samuel Woodward found guilty of first-degree murder with hate crime enhancement in Blaze Bernstein murder

An Orange County courtroom broke out in applause earlier this week after a jury foreman announced that Samuel Woodward, a 26-year-old from Newport Beach, had been found guilty in the first degree in the murder of 19-year-old college student Blaze Bernstein in 2018. The guilty determination included a hate crime enhancement.

Bernstein, a gay, Jewish student attending the University of Pennsylvania, was home visiting family in Lake Forest for the holidays, when Woodward, a former Orange County School of the Arts classmate, stabbed him 28 times during an evening out.

The murder took place near a park in Lake Forest on January 2, 2018. Woodward was accused of attempting to cover the murder up by burying Bernstein in a shallow grave in the nearby park.

Woodward, who appeared for the court proceedings with long, somewhat matted hair and a beard, somewhat resembled a Charles Manson look. Woodward acknowledged in court that on the night of the murder, he went into a fit of rage after accusing Bernstein of inappropriately touching him sexually.

Prosecuting attorneys attempted to point out to jurors throughout the trial that Woodward had a hatred of gay people and, in fact, had a previous affiliation with Atomwaffen Division, a far-right neo-Nazi group.

Following the guilty verdict the family of Bernstein offered the following statement: “No verdict can bring back Blaze. He was an amazing human and humanitarian and a person we were greatly looking forward to having in our lives, seeing wondrous things from him as his young life unfolded. From this funny, articulate, kind, intelligent, caring and brilliant scientist, artist, writer, chef and son, there will never be anyone quite like him. His gifts will never be realized or shared now.”

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley added, “On the heels of Pride Month, (today’s) jury verdict delivers long-awaited justice for Blaze Bernstein’s family after six years of uncertainty. Rightfully, the jury saw overwhelming evidence to prove that hate motivated the killer, resulting in a murder verdict carrying the harshest penalties for this heinous crime. We send our love to the family in an effort to uplift them during this emotional time.”

Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer said, “I am eternally grateful for the unwavering commitment and perseverance of Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker for her pursuit of justice not only for 19-year-old Blaze Bernstein, but for every victim of hate. This was not a crime committed in the heat of passion; it was planned, it was carried out, and it was attempted to be covered up and Walker painstaking walked the jury through every piece of evidence that proved it.”

Woodward will return to court for sentencing on October 25, when he’ll face a potential sentence of life without the possibility of parole.

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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Kudos once again to the police department we all know and love…this time dealing with an ugly incident that unfortunately invaded our community

Kudos to the Newport Beach Police for their rapid response to the extremely unfortunate incident that took place in Fashion Island earlier this week resulting in the death of a New Zealand tourist.

If you haven’t heard, the attempted robbery took place in the area outside of Barnes & Noble, and according to the New Zealand Herald account, two suspects attacked the elderly couple as they exited the stores, attempting to wrestle away their armful of shopping bags.

Patricia McKay, 68, was subsequently run over by the third suspect attempting to assist with the getaway car, after one of the other suspects threatened her husband by lodging a gun against his temple.

NBPD quickly located the vehicle and proceeded to give chase, being joined by multiple other agencies, before finally arresting one of the suspects in Cypress and later apprehending the other two in L.A.

They were all brought to the NBPD jail for processing on multiple charges including homicide and robbery.

It’s not what any of us expect to happen here in Newport Beach, and our hearts go out to Patricia’s family as they process this tragedy, on what I’m sure was to be a wonderful trip to the U.S.

Now, as everyone takes a deep breath, the NBPD has a Mobile Café planned for Saturday, July 13 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m., at Bristol Farms in CdM.

Although these cafés are held intending to allow community members to come together in an informal space to discuss community issues and build relationships, this one might just be a little bit different, and a great time to stop by and just say thank you.

Our police department responds any time, any place to anything, often times putting their lives on the line in order to guarantee our safety and to bring justice. We should all be extremely thankful for them!

• • •

A little change of pace and perhaps something fun. The Commodores Club of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce has announced that the 116th Annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade will take place this year from December 18-22.

We all know the parade, five spectacular nights, nearly 100 beautifully decorated yachts and boats of all sizes setting sail along our 14-mile parade route.

But one thing is still needed, a THEME. Organizers invite the community to join the festivities and submit a theme idea for this year’s Boat Parade!

Submissions are open until July 22. Then, the Boat Parade Committee will select the top submissions and the winning theme will be whittled down and announced.

The person who submits it will enjoy:

–Admission for two (2) at the Christmas Boat Parade opening night VIP party.

–Two (2) guests on the official Lead Boat for the parade.

Submit your top three themes to
www.christmasboatparade.com/theme-2024/.

Submissions should be brief and allow boaters to potentially decorate around the theme.

For questions, call the Chamber at 949.729.4400.

• • •

Get tickets now to the Tide to Table: Summer Seafood Boil at the Balboa Bay Resort taking place Friday, Aug. 9 on the waterfront lawn.

Tickets include unlimited access to a delectable array of oceanic delights, including Maine lobsters, jumbo prawns, mussels and clams. Add to that some live music and delectables, it promises to be a fun evening that “will transport your taste buds to the coast.”

Tickets start at $75 for children and $156 for adults, available here.

While we’re talking about the BBR, you should know that their signature waterfront restaurant, A+O Restaurant | Bar, just debuted a new summer menu. Some of the exciting new items include blackened salmon sliders, handmade fettuccini, salads, steaks, burgers, lobster rolls and more…and, we can’t forget the quenching new summer cocktails.

Might be the perfect time to check it out.

• • •

You’ve probably heard of disc golf. Well, the Lido House is doing their own take on something they’re calling sort of a Disco Golf.

It’s actually a new take on mini-golf where, for a limited time, they’re pairing the opportunity to play a nine-hole Mini-Golf LED Neon Course while listening to music through wireless headphones instead of speakers.

Add in drinks and a little food from The Mayor’s Table and you have an interesting new take on a fun night out.

The golf and music take place on the Lido Lawn on the Friday and Saturday evenings of July 12 and 13 and July 26 and 27.

For tickets, check it out at here.

• • •

So much to do and so little time…next week bring your family and friends to Marina Park to enjoy a screening of the animated movie Kung Fu Panda 4 on Friday, July 12. The event begins at 7 p.m.; showtime is at sunset.

There will be fun activities, free popcorn and food available for purchase. Remember to bring a chair and blanket for comfortable seating during the movie.

• • •

Speak Up Newport will present their July program on “How will sea level rise affect Newport Beach?” Don Schmitz of Smart Coast California will offer insight on what that organization is attempting to implement to protect property from sea level rise.

The program is Wednesday, July 10, beginning with a reception at 5:15 p.m., followed by the program from 6-7 p.m. As always, Speak Up Newport programs are held in the Civic Center Community Room, just opposite the City Council Chambers.

No RSVP is needed.

• • •

Former County Treasurer, OC Supervisor, Assemblymember and State Senator John Moorlach will present at the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce’s WAKE UP! Newport Beach meeting on Thursday morning, July 11 also in the Community Room. John will speak on the subject, “Is there life after serving in public office?

Something he would obviously know!

The program takes place from 7-8:30 a.m. A continental breakfast is served beginning at 7, followed by the program. Admission is free.

Just a reminder for regular Wake Up! Newport Beach attendees…this is a NEW location.

• • •

Finally, two unscheduled vacancies have presented themselves on the General Plan Advisory Committee.

That committee meets as necessary on weeknights or weekdays (M-Th).

All applicants must be qualified electors of the city, none of whom shall hold any paid office or employment in city government (Section 702 of the City Charter).

The application and committee information can be accessed through the city’s website at www.newportbeachca.gov/vacancy, or picked up from the City Clerk’s Office at 100 Civic Center Drive, Bay E, 2nd Floor.

The deadline for filing applications is noon on Monday, July 15, or until filled.

If you feel a calling to get engaged in your city, maybe this is the one.

• • •

And if anyone ever says, “there’s nothing to do in Newport Beach,” tell them to go jump in the ocean!

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