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Volume 8, Issue 11  |  February 7, 2023Subscribe

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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

You won’t believe what’s happening in our schools and trust me, it’s pretty phenomenal!

TJ headshot AugTwo great stories in today’s Stu on young people making a huge difference in the world from the confines of their classrooms here in Newport Beach.

And this isn’t just about a nice essay, or a beautiful piece of art, these both have life-changing importance.

Ryan Honary was attending a tennis camp some four years ago in Arizona when the Camp fire broke out. As a fifth grader…yes, that’s right, FIFTH GRADER…Ryan developed an early detection wildlife fire system. Fast forward, he’s now a freshman at Newport Harbor and he’s been invited to host a panel discussion and global showcase on “The Future of Artificial Intelligence-Driven Environmental Solutions” at this month’s Learning Planet Festival, an event created by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and Learning Planet Institute in Paris, France.

He will present his innovative system and represent HIS company. Not bad for a kid his age. 

I think at that age I was still learning to tie my shoes and the highlight of my day was not taking a bagged lunch but being responsible enough to buy my own food in the cafeteria. And, he’s traveling halfway around the world!

Remarkable.

The other story is about a group of Sage Hill School students in a 3D Design, Modeling and Fabrication class. They’ve created a prosthetic arm, fully functional, then presented and fit it to a 10-year-old young man in need. This absolutely will change the young man’s life moving forward.

Again, extraordinary.

If you’re like me, it’s easy to complain about some young students racing around parking lots or down streets and alleys almost hitting us at every turn and hoping they’ll “get a life” before one of them gets seriously injured or hurts someone else. 

These two stories remind us that they are doing something worthwhile and sometimes they just need to blow off steam.

Please take time to read the stories. The young people behind them deserve it.

• • •

I’m excited that this Friday I’ll be joining my Stu News cohorts Shaena Stabler and Lana Johnson as we do some brainstorming on potential new ideas and modifications for the betterment of Stu News.

To maximize our inspiration, we’ve chosen and booked a spot in the Beach Club at the Hotel Laguna, in the home area of our other product, Stu News Laguna. There we’ll have a great view of the ocean that should provide plenty of inspiration.

Here’s the plan, we’re going to look at the past year of what we’ve done in Stu News from an editorial and business standpoint. What have we done best? What can we do better? What areas we are lacking coverage in? And, opposite of that, is there anything we’re allocating too much or not enough attention to?

What new ideas can we come up with? Is there a columnist out there that we should attempt to lure in to present perhaps a new voice or a new opinion? 

It’s also where you, our readers, come in. Your voices are always important to us. How would you answer some of the things I’ve noted above? What ideas might you have? Let me know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

We’re open to anything and everything!

Please reach out to any of us. And, if it’s good, constructive criticism you want to offer, do it…nobody’s feelings are going to get hurt. 

Our goal is to not be afraid of building on what Stu Saffer so wonderfully helped create back in the early days of Stu News, before leaving us all too soon.

Let us know what you’re thinking.

• • •

I received a note from friend Beverly White, a member of the Corona del Mar Residents Association Board. It’s a group that supports the city and others in “such endeavors as the Christmas Walk, the Christmas Lighting Contest, the CdM 5K, the Corona del Mar Meet and Greet at Sherman Gardens, the annual Town Hall gathering at Sherman Library & Gardens, and as a liaison with the Historic Committee in naming 100 historic homes in CdM, along with developing Ocean Boulevard improvements and an iPhone map guide.”

Beverly asked that I remind CdM residents who have not supported the Association yet to please consider contributing $25 for membership to support the effort. You may go to their website at https://CdMRA.org. 

The CdMRA Board meets the third Thursday of each month at 7:30 a.m. in Room 2 at the OASIS Senior Center. All CdM residents are invited.

• • •

The Newport Beach Public Library Foundation salutes filmmaker Greg MacGillivray and his new memoir Five Hundred Summer Stories: A Life in IMAX, this Saturday, Jan. 28 at 7 p.m.

Expect an evening of storytelling and celebration. Greg and his team have produced more than 60 adventure films over the past five decades from surf movies to pioneering IMAX documentaries.

The fundraiser is designed to bring audiences the best audio/visual experience in sight and sound for the new Witte Hall and will go to the Technology Fund.

A light supper and other festivities follow Greg’s program in the Friends Room. There, Steve Wood and Beth Fitchet Wood, founding members of HONK, will perform

Tickets are $200 and available at https://nbplf.foundation/500-summer-stories/ ($135 is a tax-deductible contribution).

• • •

Thursday afternoon, at 2:30 p.m., the Newport Beach City calendar shows an item titled Hearing Officer, that I had not previously noticed, which takes place in the Corona del Mar Conference Room, in Bay 1E at City Hall. So, what exactly is this? To find out more, I contacted Mayor Pro Tem Will O’Neill.

He told me, “In most building code cases (and some code enforcement cases), it makes a lot more sense from an efficiency standpoint to have one person adjudicate with appeal rights to the planning commission and ultimately city council.”

The way Will explained it to me made it seem like the hearing officer is sort of a judge, the planning commission is then like a court of appeals, with city council then as the high court arbiter. 

The city has an agreement with the firm Cole Huber LLP to serve as the hearing officer. Under that three-year agreement, the hearing officer “shall approve, conditionally approve or deny applications for Conditional Use Permits, requests for extensions of abatement periods for nonconforming uses and requests for reasonable accommodations.”

And, although it doesn’t appear to be a robust agenda, it can be found here.

• • •

The Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce will host a blood drive next Tuesday, Jan. 31 from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Chamber’s parking lot at 4343 Von Karman Ave. 

My first thought when I read this was, you must pull up in the parking lot, a car runs you over and they take the blood they need…but I found out that’s not the case. 

They’ll have a nice, comfortable setting for you to donate and then relax at. Most importantly, they need your help to save other people’s lives.

Contact the chamber for more information at www.newportbeach.com.

• • •

Sad news for everyone, especially from my generation. David Crosby died last week at 81. He was a legendary member of the Byrds, and then along with Graham Nash and Stephen Stills formed Crosby, Stills & Nash…later to be joined also by Neil Young to make CSN&Y.

Some of Crosby’s songs included “Long Time Gone,” “Wooden Ships,” “Guinnevere” and “Almost Cut My Hair.”

So, you might be asking yourself at this point, how is this a local story? Glad you asked. Rewind to 1971 when Crosby’s noted legal difficulties with drugs began…he was arrested for allegedly jettisoning pot from the bilge pumps of his yacht during a police encounter in, you guessed it, Newport Beach.

Rest in peace David…and thanks for the memories. 

(And thanks to my friend Phil Bettencourt for this little tip.)

Who we are:

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Lana Johnson, Editor - Lana@StuNewsNewport.com

Tom Johnson, Publisher - Tom@StuNewsNewport.com

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