Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

Welcome to Hoag Classic Week and check out the new Celebrity Challenge planned for Saturday

If you’ve watched the occasional evening TV golf specials featuring celebrity athletes like Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Aaron Rodgers playing golf for charities, the Hoag Classic is putting their own spin on something similar that they’re planning for Saturday (March 23) as part of Military Appreciation Day.

Late yesterday afternoon (March 18), Hoag Classic officials announced plans for the inaugural Celebrity Challenge featuring pro football Hall of Famer Marshall Faulk, college football Hall of Famer and USC Trojan great Reggie Bush and Mater Dei alum & USC Trojan QB Matt Barkley.

The three will be joined by a yet-to-be-announced surprise fourth player.

The four will then divide into two, 2-man best ball teams, with each team representing one of two Military Day-announced charities and playing for yet-to-be-announced prize money on each hole.

It’s a great addition.

• • •

And don’t forget, we also have the main event…the Hoag Classic all week out at Newport Beach Country Club. If you like golf, or just a good party with the who’s who of Newport Beach, this will be the place.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lana Johnson

Former world #1 player David Duval spoke this morning at the Community Breakfast to kick off Hoag Classic Week and will play in this week’s $2M event

Things kicked off this morning with a Community Breakfast at the VEA Newport Beach with a large crowd enjoying guest speaker David Duval.

Tomorrow (Wednesday) and Thursday brings the Aston Martin Legends Pro-Am with morning and afternoon sessions both days. These provide great opportunities to get up close to many of your favorites.

Friday is the opening round, followed by an Opening Night Party that evening, again at the VEA Newport Beach. A surprise guest is expected to appear from the world of country music.

Then it’s a return to the course for Saturday’s and Sunday’s final rounds.

At stake is some $2,000,000 in prize money.

As I’ve reminded you before, the biggest names in the PGA TOUR Champions are in town: Ernie Els, John Daly, Retief Goosen, Fred Couples, Jim Furyk, Davis Love III, Padraig Harrington, Steve Stricker, Scott McCarron, Rocco Mediate, Vijay Singh and many more.

It’s arguably the best tournament on the senior circuit.

Monies raised benefit Hoag.

• • •

A year or so ago at this time, Newport Beach was in a tizzy. News came down from the state level, specifically the California Air Resources Board (CARB), placing requirements on the Balboa Island Ferry to implement zero-emission engines by the end of 2025.

Now, let me remind you, the Balboa Island Ferry is old. A somewhat quick fix by what the state was mandating was nearly impossible, and even if it wasn’t, the costs to do so would be exorbitant.

When the Beek family, long-time operators of the Ferry, looked at the type of investment needed, compared to any potential return, it seemed to make no sense.

Would that mean the demise of the Ferry? Many worried.

However, people became first enraged, then engaged. Gary Sherwin of Visit Newport Beach, Assemblymember Diane Dixon and Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley were just a few. Sherwin traveled to Japan on a California travel trip with key Sacramento leaders, including some specifically with CARB, while Assemblymember Dixon and Supervisor Foley decided to use the power of their offices.

Well, now a year later, good news from the hard work and concern has appeared to begin paying off. Assemblymember Dixon’s office last week announced that the “historic Balboa Island Ferry has been offered a $7.9 million grant to aid in the required electrification of the fleet.”

“This is a positive step forward,” added Assemblymember Dixon. “This funding will provide significant financial support to a small business struggling to keep up with state regulations.”

According to Dixon’s office, “The CARB passed regulations that required the Ferry to renovate all three of its vessels with electric motors by 2026. For the past year, the Ferry has applied for multiple sources of funding offered by grant programs through CARB, including the Advanced Technology Demonstration and Pilot Project Program (ATDPP), in order to accomplish electrification goals.”

“When Seymour Beek called me in January 2023 I promised to assist however I could,” said Assemblymember Dixon, “These grant dollars are one important piece to saving the Ferry. It is an iconic fixture for Assembly District 72 and Southern California. I can’t imagine the negative impact it would have on the region if it were to disappear.”

Supervisor Foley said, “After meeting with the Beek Family my office coordinated a bipartisan working group to Save the Balboa Island Ferry. Our working group pooled together resources and identified grant opportunities for the Ferry to ensure this critical infrastructure remained functional after 2025.

“In October 2023, I wrote a letter to CARB requesting funding and an extension to comply with the December 31, 2025 deadline,” said Supervisor Foley. “The Ferry reduces vehicle miles traveled by 4.2 million annually, and this grant funding will allow the Ferry to continue providing necessary, and greener, services for our residents and tourists for many years into the future.”

At the same time, the Ferry worked through the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) to submit an application. This funding is subject to resolution of some final items and the SCAQMD board approval. The plan is to work with Aurora Marine Design and Green Yachts to convert their operations to zero-emission. The total estimated cost to convert the three ferry boats is now $13 million.

Joe Beek, the namesake of the family’s patriarch and an attorney working on the resolution, said, “There is still more work to be done.

“This will be the first-time similar vessels have been converted to all-electric propulsion. Balboa Island Ferry is evaluating the operational systems necessary to convert the historic vessels.

“In addition to CARB’s $7.9 million project funds from ATDPP, the Balboa Island Ferry has committed to contribute $2.3 million and South Coast AQMD will contribute up to $2 million, through the Carl Moyer program and Clean Fuel program. BIF has pending applications with CARB’s CORE program and VW Mitigation Trust program for the remaining balance to cover the total project cost.”

Assemblywoman Dixon has also introduced a bill, AB 3153, to grant the Ferry and similar operations a 15-year extension to meet this compliance.

Joe Beek added, “This will be essential if conversion is deemed too risky, or replacement cannot be funded.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of the Balboa Island Ferry

Balboa Island Ferry

The bottom line is the saving of the Ferry seems to be heading in the right direction. And that my friends is good news for all of us!

Thank you to those that have joined in to make it their personal fight, particularly Assemblymember Dixon and Supervisor Foley for lending their clout.

• • •

Today is the third Tuesday of the month, and that means Tackling Sports will meet from 3-5 p.m. at OASIS Senior Center today. Our guest speaker will be NHL legend Bob Murray, currently the senior advisor to the Philadelphia Flyers general manager.

Bob was formerly GM for the Anaheim Ducks for more than 10 years and an all-star defenceman for the Chicago Blackhawks from 1975-1990.

For those arguing about the spelling above as “defenceman,” my co-organizer, Laird Hayes, reminded me that it’s spelled that way by the Canadians…and he continued, “in the spirit of keeping good relations with our neighbors to the north, we’re also spelling it their way!”

So there.

Tackling Sports is free to attend and we just talk sports, with three simple rules: No Religion, No Politics and No Dues!

• • •

The Newport Beach Animal Shelter is holding a special “No Appointments Needed” adoption event this Saturday, March 23. From 11 a.m.-2 p.m., animal lovers are invited to swing by the shelter located at 20282 Riverside Drive, Newport Beach to meet and potentially adopt their wonderful cats and dogs.

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Courtesy of Newport Beach Animal Shelter

Simba, a 5-year-old male lab, is looking for a forever loving home and will be among the animals up for adoption this Saturday


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