Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Velella velella invade our beaches, bring in the Mola Mola, and so goes the circle of life

If you’ve been down to the beach or out in the ocean waters in recent days, you may be asking yourself, “what are the floating blobs seemingly everywhere?” Glad you asked.

According to Jessica Rodriguez, the education & communications manager for Newport Landing & Davey’s Locker Whale Watching, those “blobs” are “known as Velella velella (by-the-wind sailors).

According to Jessica, “these bizarre-looking sea creatures are not always around, but often show up following powerful spring storms that will push these offshore sailors into our coastal waters and even onto our beaches.

“Velella velella have a delicate sail protruding from them, which is why they are called ‘by-the-wind sailors.’ Although they look very much like a jellyfish on their underside, they are actually a colonial organism related to the Portuguese man o’ war. Winds gently push velella across the ocean surface in the open ocean where they live as they catch their planktonic prey using tentacles lined with stinging nematocysts.”

You know who really loves the Velella velella is the Mola Mola fish for which they produce a seemingly all-you-can eat buffet.

Fortunately, velella stings are mostly benign to human beings.

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Photo by Delaney Trowbridge/Courtesy of Davey’s Locker

Velella velella have been crowding our ocean waters and drifting up upon our beaches

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Photo by Delaney Trowbridge/Courtesy of Davey’s Locker

Mola Mola rises to the surface to feast on the Velella velella

• • •

The Friends of the Library is having a giant and some would call amazing cookbook sale this Saturday, May 4 (10 a.m.-2 p.m.) in the Friends Room of the Central Library.

Here’s the deal – they have thousands of cookbooks for sale, starting at just three for a $1. What you need to know is that long-time CdM resident Margie Schubert, who recently passed away, donated more than 5,500 cooking titles to the library.

A little about Margie: She lived in CdM for 38 years with husband Jerry; she loved to shop at previous Friends of the Library sales and many of her books were probably purchased there; the cookbook collection dates back 65 years, and she loved everything about food, the history, preparation and celebrity chefs.

Maybe that will whet your appetite to attend and see what’s there.

• • •

Alabama safety Jaylen Key has become Mr. Irrelevant XLIX after the New York Jets selected him with the 257th and final pick of the NFL Draft.

Key spent the 2023 season in Tuscaloosa after transferring in from the University of Alabama-Birmingham. His stats included 60 tackles and one pass interception.

He’s expected to come to Newport Beach in June for the annual Mr. Irrelevant celebration made famous over the years by Paul Salata.

Paul’s daughter, Melanie, the CEO of Irrelevant Week, was on hand in Detroit to announce the final pick on ABC/ESPN TV.

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Submitted photo

Melanie Salata-Fitch is joined on stage by family to announce Alabama safety Jaylen Key as the New York Jets selection, making him Mr. Irrelevant 2024

• • •

Speak Up Newport will discuss Proposition 1 and what is means for Newport Beach at its Wednesday, May 8 meeting. City Councilmember Lauren Kleiman will be the featured speaker.

The proposition, which barely passed in the last election, will now “require California counties to focus more on housing and personalized support services when addressing some of their mental health care and drug/alcohol treatment services. In addition to the $6.38 billion in bond funding, there’s about $3 to $4 billion in redirected tax revenue.”

Lauren will explain how this will affect Newport Beach, including its potential to further legitimize group homes in the city without adding needed local control, how the city will be involved in its implementation and the various pending bills to ameliorate its impact.

It’s important to your neighborhoods.

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Submitted photo

Newport Beach City Councilmember Lauren Kleiman will lead Speak Up Newport presentation on the effects of Proposition 1

Speak Up is free to attend and requires no RSVP. It’s held in the Civic Center Community Room, beginning with a reception at 5:15 p.m. (courtesy of The Bungalow), followed by the program from 6-7 p.m.

• • •

The City of Newport Beach and CR&R will host a free paper shredding, e-waste disposal and compost giveaway event this Saturday (May 4) from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Corporation Yard, 592 Superior Ave. (The entrance will be from Superior Avenue via right turn.)

The event is for Newport Beach residents. Please bring ID as residency will be verified.

The event includes free on-site paper shredding, electronic waste disposal and four free 30-pound bags of compost (while supplies last).

Here’s what will NOT be accepted: household hazardous waste such as paint and cleaning products; universal waste including batteries, light bulbs and thermostats, sharps, marine flares and microwaves.

For additional information, contact CR&R’s Sustainability Team at 949.667.4158, or by email.

• • •

Bluewater Grill co-founder Jim Ulcickas will be feted with the “Good Sea Scout” Award on Friday, May 17 from 5-8 p.m. at the Newport Sea Base at 1931 West Coast Highway.

The casual cocktail attire evening promises to offer fun, fellowship and martinis – all supporting 87 years of maritime adventure and education for our community youth.

For more event information and underwriting opportunities, contact Scott Murphy at 651.307.2503 or by email at scott.murphy@scouting.org.

• • •

The OC Marathon takes place this Sunday, May 5, beginning early morning in front of the VEA Newport Beach. Road closures and delays could impact local streets into the late morning.

Runners begin the marathon at 5:30 a.m., followed by the start of the half-marathon at 6:30 a.m.

The course will impact roads primarily in the Dover Shores/Irvine Avenue area.

Residents that live east of Santiago Drive and need to leave between 5 a.m.-9:45 a.m. are advised to park west of Santiago Drive. Highland, Francisco, Baycrest and Mariners will be open to exit and return to the area.

Here are the expected impacts: Dover Drive northbound from Coast Highway to Castaways Lane/16th St. closed from 4-8:50 a.m.; Westcliff Drive will be closed in both directions from Dover Drive to Santiago Drive from 4-9:30 a.m.; Santiago Drive will be closed in both directions from Westcliff Drive to Galaxy Drive from 4-9:30 a.m.; Galaxy Drive in both directions will be closed from Santiago Drive (South) to Santiago Drive (North) from 4-9:45 a.m.; Santiago Drive will be closed in both directions from Galaxy Drive (North) to Irvine Avenue from 4-9:45 a.m.; and Irvine Avenue will be closed northbound from Santiago Drive to University Drive from 4-10:30 a.m.

Additionally, there will be roads closed in Costa Mesa as the runners eventually return to the OC Fairgrounds where the finish line will be located.

Hoag is the 2024 OC Marathon presenting sponsor.

• • •

Finally, Richard “Dick” Pickup passed last Wednesday (April 24) at 90. He was a wonderful man who did so much for all of those around him, including the community at large of Newport Beach.

Gary Sherwin writes a tribute to Dick elsewhere in today’s Stu News Newport. I invite you to read it to fully understand the accomplishments of a life well lived.


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