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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

“Big Blue House” goes bye-bye, while City of Hope says hello

Fair Game Tom NewThe “Big Blue House” bites the dust in Newport Beach. Yesterday the historical home, once owned by Kathryn Irvine Wheeler until her death in 2003, was on the receiving end of a “wrecking ball” so to speak.

Wheeler was the eldest grandchild of Irvine Co. founder James Irvine II.

The home, located above the bay in Irvine Terrace, was razed to make room for a new residential property.

Although an application has been submitted to redevelop the property, nothing has yet been finalized. However, rumors say that the new home may exceed 20,000 sq. ft. That compares to the 4,200 sq. ft. of the former “Big Blue House.”

The redevelopment does not include the pool house formerly aligned with the property that sits bayfront. That property sold separately in 2012.

• • •

City of Hope hosted a grand opening event for their new facility in the Fashion Island area with a community ribbon cutting last Tuesday morning.

There were speeches from City of Hope executives, well wishes from elected officials and comments of expertise from doctors.

The line of the morning came when Ravi Salgia, M.D., Ph.D., who specializes in lung and thoracic cancers, closed his comments by touting the many breakthroughs and advancements that the City of Hope is most proud of by saying, “We’ve come a lung way.”

Okay, maybe you had to be there, but in the moment, it was funny. 

Another stat that was thrown out was that, “It is estimated that more than 100 million people across the globe have benefitted from discoveries made at City of Hope.”

That is impressive!

• • •

All Newport Heights residents are urged to attend a study session to be held by Mayor Pro Tem Brad Avery on Tuesday, January 28 at 4 p.m. in the City Council Chambers to discuss traffic safety in Newport Heights. 

The session will focus on four elements: 1) adding “significant links” for pedestrians to the neighborhood street plan; 2) considering a long-term effort to add sidewalks in the area as properties redevelop; 3) adding new sidewalks to enhance safety in the school drop off zone; and 4) adding a wide sidewalk on the north side of Cliff Drive from Riverside to Irvine Ave. 

The goal of the meeting is to gather community input and residents are reminded up front that no formal action will be taken.

• • •

City councilwoman Diane Dixon is going to tackle the always interesting Snowy Plovers issue in her next District 1 Town Hall, scheduled for Monday, February 3 at Marina Park, from 6:30-8 p.m.

The former mayor will give an update on the plover and its nesting grounds in Peninsula Point. She’ll also discuss the boardwalk and the proposed changes under construction, the Newport Beach Police and the Lido fire station, along with other public works projects.

She’ll end it with an open forum.

• • •

Remember Newport Beach attorney Michael Avenatti, he of Stormy Daniels/Donald Trump fame and also accused of allegedly attempting to extort millions from Nike?

Well. Now he’s spending time in jail. LA Magazine has a story in their latest issue saying Avenatti is confined to solitary confinement in a cell previously occupied by El Chapo, the drug kingpin, in a New York prison.

Quite a fall for a guy that at one time appeared to be living high off the hog. 

He’s behind bars for allegedly committing 36 counts of fraud, perjury, failure to pay taxes, embezzlement and more.

I heard he was always fashion conscious, so one has to hope he looks good in orange.