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The holidays are here…so much to be thankful for and people to recognize

TJ headshot AugPerhaps you’re planning to utilize John Wayne Airport in the coming days or weeks over the holidays. Well, if that’s the case, I have some good news for you.

Sure, many around town complain about JWA because the flight noise disrupts their everyday life. But, a recent passenger survey, following the pandemic, said that JWA has a “consistently high approval rating for travelers, both visitors and residents alike.”

Here’s what was found: Most passengers rated JWA a 4 or 5 out of 5 on their experience. Those polled had an average age of 44 years of age and an annual income of $135,000. Of those surveyed, 68% were visitors, with many of the passengers noting that they used the airport four or more times during the past year.

Here’s what the respondents liked: Convenient location, “with 76% of residents and 65% of passengers indicating its proximity as their primary motivation.” Another plus to users was that JWA was chosen because it was “less busy.”

While historically, business travelers made up the majority of JWA passengers, that switched in the latest survey that indicated 55% of the folks were using it for pleasure or leisure.

Other pluses for JWA besides convenience were cleanliness and security at JWA. 

“Our 2022 passenger survey highlights the airport’s commitment to deliver safe and convenient air travel and a superior guest experience travelers can rely on,” said Charlene Reynolds, JWA airport director. “We are grateful that Orange County residents and visitors have evaluated us so highly and look forward to maintaining our reputation for excellence.”

The survey is JWA’s own biannual assessment that was performed by Phoenix, a MarketCast Company. You can read more here.

• • •

Listen, we have a lot to be thankful for locally. Great location in the world, our weather, schools, safety, etc. We even have great, exciting sports teams at our local schools. However, that being said, in all honesty, there have been better weeks for our local teams. 

Oh, where to start. Let’s go to Boys Water Polo at Newport Harbor…perhaps the foremost program in the county.

The Sailors, fresh off their Open Division CIF-SS Championship win over JSerra, met the Lions again in the CIF SoCal Boys Water Polo Championships, last Saturday, Nov. 19 and lost 11-8. It was the fourth meeting of the year between the county’s top two teams, with each winning twice.

Still, all-in-all, NHHS set out to win CIF and did so. The Sailors finished the year 29-2. 

Local football had a similar outcome. Teams from Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar were moving through the CIF playoffs, when their luck finally ran out.

Newport Harbor lost at Cypress, 17-14, in the CIF-SS Division 4 Playoffs semifinals on a last second field goal.

Across town, CdM lost to Yorba Linda, 51-20, in their semifinal Division 3 game.

And so, it’s on to winter sports at our local high schools. That means basketball, girls water polo and soccer.

• • •

The election season is over…not that the counting of ballots is. Here locally, our line-up moving forward on City Council adds Joe Stapleton (District 1), Erik Weigand (District 3), Robyn Grant (District 4) and Lauren Kleiman (District 6).

They’ll join Will O’Neill, Brad Avery and Noah Blom.

As a reminder, on Tuesday, Dec. 13, as is customary, the Newport Beach City Council will have a limited agenda, say goodbye and thank you to departing councilmembers (Diane Dixon, Joy Brenner, “Duffy” Duffield and Mayor Kevin Muldoon), welcome the newly elected members, swear them in, select new seat positions on the dais and elect a new mayor and mayor pro tem. It’s really a night of celebration.

Then, everyone is encouraged to join in at the 2022 Mayor’s Reception and Chamber Volunteer Awards Ceremony at the Back Bay Bistro at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort. The start time is listed as 6 p.m...but it’s actually dependent on the timing of the festivities over at city hall.

To join in, RSVP by 5 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8. The cost is $50 and you’ll enjoy hors d’oeuvres, steak and turkey carving stations, salmon, pasta, desserts and a no-host bar.

It’s a chance to congratulate the victors. Also, the host Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce will present their Silver Anchor Awards, Ambassador of the Year and their Navigate Young Professional of the Year.

• • •

And, before we totally put the election behind us, congrats to Katie Porter (D) for her 47th District House victory, new 72nd Assemblymember Diane Dixon (R), 36th State Senate member Janet Nguyen (R), OC Supervisor Katrina Foley in the 5th District, Michelle Barto in Newport-Mesa Unified School Districts Area 5 and Lisa Pearson, also NMUSD, in Area 4.

• • •

As we break for Thanksgiving Day, your Stu News team wishes you all a Happy Thanksgiving Day. We’re thankful for you, our readers…and those who support us with their advertising. Obviously, we’re also extremely thankful to our contributors, Nancy Gardner, Amy Senk, Gary Sherwin, Len Bose, Duncan Forgey and Sara Hall whose contributions make us better.

We also thank our community leaders, our public safety team members, non-profit groups and so many others who join us in what we do. You make our town special.

Happy Thanksgiving…and I know our retail friends are waiting for you Friday to kick off the Christmas season. 

And while South Coast Plaza and Fashion Island jump to the top of the shopping lists, don’t forget, as my friend Angela Cortright of Spa Gregorie’s reminded me, Saturday, Nov. 26 is Small Business Saturday. It’s a day we’re urged to shop those retailers who day-in and day-out prove to be the important backbone of our community. Make sure you remember and support them.

• • •

We mentioned Gary Sherwin above…he of Visit Newport Beach and Newport Beach & Co. fame and also one of our prized Stu News columnists. Congrats to Gary as he has been recognized by the Orange County Business Journal in their directory of 500 of the OC’s influential business leaders. Well deserved.

In a quick perusal of the list, and remember there are 500 names, I recognized many and pulled a few for mention. (I remind myself that this is a dangerous exercise because someone will accidentally be missed and I will be held accountable. Sorry in advance.)

Robert Braithwaite and Flynn Andrizzi from Hoag; David Bahnsen; Don Bren; Scott Burnham; Rick Caruso (remember him?); Don DiCostanzo; Debra Gunn Downing; John Forsyte; Gavin Herbert (Sr. & Jr.); Gary Jabara; Kory Kramer; Kevin Martin; Vic Merjanian; Tony Moiso; Joe Moody; Mark Moshayedi; Bob Olson; Todd Pickup; Henry & Susan Samueli; the Segerstrom Family; Debbie Snavely; Lynsi Snyder; Annette Walker; Rick Weiner; and Heidi Zuckerman, to name just a few.

Congrats to ALL!

• • •

Your newly elected Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley for the Fifth District is once again holding her Annual New Coat Drive for Kids, the 14th Annual. 

Drop off a new children’s coat at various locations in Orange County during normal business hours: the office of Supervisor Katrina Foley at the Hall of Administration (400 W. Civic Center Drive, Santa Ana), Costa Mesa City Hall or Costa Mesa Police Department (77 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa) and The Foley Group, PLC (2755 Bristol St., Suite 110, Costa Mesa). 

Donations support local organizations like The Boys & Girls Club-Central Coast, Marshallese Youth OC, SOY (Save Our Youth), and families identified in need by local schools. NEW coats or jackets only please. 

Join Supervisor Foley’s office in spreading holiday cheer and keeping kids in our community warm during winter. 

• • •

Mark your calendar for Sunday, Dec. 4 for the Balboa Island Christmas tree event at the fire station. They have a great program and fun for the kids, too. We heard there will also be a golf cart parade starting a 2 p.m., so get your carts decorated for the holidays and enjoy a fun cruise through the Island. The tree lighting takes place at 4 p.m.

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