EDITOR’S NOTE: Indy reporter Sara Hall compiled this look back at what made headlines in the Newport Beach Independent during 2018. This week, January through June. Next week will cover the top news stories of the second half of the year.
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The FAA agreed that flight paths will stay between the existing noise monitors and that a “precision-based” departure procedure that follows the curves of the Upper Newport Bay will be studied and designed for JWA.
The city sued the FAA in October 2016 regarding the FAA’s environmental document associated with the nationwide Next Generation Air Transportation System program’s implementation in Southern California. Newport Beach filed the lawsuit after it did not see “adequate protections” for the community’s quality of life.
According to the Orange County District Attorney, Woodward communicated with Bernstein through the social media site Snapchat on Jan. 2. He then picked Bernstein up at home around 11 p.m. and drove to the parking lot of a shopping center on Portola Parkway in Foothill Ranch, and then to the park later that night.
The road to recovery came to a positive conclusion at the San Joaquin Wildlife Sanctuary in Irvine. The freshwater pelican took about four minutes to waddle out of his crate, shake his feathers, give a few warning snaps from his newly healthy beak and fly away.
His journey started when several people noticed the pelican with a severely fractured mandible and a foot entangled in a fishing lure. After he was spotted at the Sanctuary, several rescue attempts were made; but all were unsuccessful.
• Three people died as the result of a helicopter crashing into a Newport Beach home on Shearwater Place near the Egret Court intersection, in the area of Bristol Street and Bayview Place, on Jan. 30.
Joseph Anthony Tena, 60, of Newport Beach, Kimberly Lynne Watzman, 45, of Santa Monica, and Brian R. Reichelt, 56, of Hollywood, Fla., were identified Jan. 31 by the Orange County Sheriff’s Department as the three deceased victims. Another person on board the helicopter and one bystander on the ground were also injured.
City staff presented three options for the update process, with both Council members and residents favoring the “listen, talk, and learn” concept, which includes several community meetings, gathering feedback, and hiring a consultant.
Since the housing element of the plan must be updated by late 2021, but the required data to do so won’t be available until 2020, the Feb. 13 Council vote delayed starting any community meetings until 2019.
A majority of the Council agreed, voting 5 to 1, with Councilwoman Diane Dixon dissenting and Mayor Marshall “Duffy” Duffield recusing himself (because of the planning session items related to the harbor).
Orange-based TELACU Construction Management, Inc., was selected as the contractor.Construction (contract plus an 8 percent contingency), plus relocation, consultants, utilities and miscellaneous, as well as the previous expenditures, equal to an “all-in” cost of about $8.82 million.
• Following a closed session on Feb. 27, Newport Beach City Council unanimously approved a settlement agreement that included the Orange County Museum of Art lawsuit and the local Line in the Sand political action committee’s appeal, as well as a related case from local activist.
The settlement was contingent on Nexus Development Corporation purchasing the property. Nexus previous projects include hotels, retail center, senior housing, residential communities, office complexes, industrial space, and mixed-use.
• Vijay Singh tallied five back-nine birdies to shoot a final-round 66 on his way to an 11-under total and a one-shot victory in the Toshiba Classic golf tournament, held March 9 through 11 at the Newport Beach Country Club.
It was his first individual win on the PGA TOUR Champions and his first individual victory since 2008, and it broke a streak of 237 starts without an individual win. Singh’s share of the purse was $270,000.
Nearly two dozen residents attended the March 27 City Council meeting to show their support for Kiff and, at the same time, question the suspected reasons behind the surprise announcement of an early retirement.
• City Council voted unanimously April 10 to oppose state Senate Bill 54, the so-called “sanctuary state” law, taking a stance similar to that of other Orange County cities in choosing to support a federal lawsuit seeking to overturn the measure.
Dozens of people spoke during public comment, nearly equally divided on the issue. Residents on either side engaged in heated conversations and disrespectful comments at times. A police presence minimized confrontations, though two people involved in a scuffle were removed.
About 100 people attended the ceremony at the hotel near Lido Marina Village. Council members and others in attendance noted that the hotel is good for the local economy and revitalization efforts for the area.
Council voted 4-1, with Councilman Scott Peotter dissenting. Mayor Marshall “Duffy” Duffield recused himself because of a business-related conflict and Councilman Jeff Herdman had to leave the meeting early.
The issue has been raised several times over the last several months, according to President of the Newport Mesa Federation of Teachers Britt Dowdy. Some steps have been taken, but it has not been enough, several people said.
In a statement from Newport-Mesa Unified School District, officials noted that the health and safety of students and staff is a top priority. There is a pest management plan in place to address the issue, according to NMUSD.
During that seven-day period, nearly 350 films were screened, from full length narrative movies to documentaries, shorts and music videos.Some four dozen countries will be represented at this year’s festival, which features nightly special events, red carpet galas, seminars with filmmakers and other industry professionals, and a handful of surprises.
Ronald Cedric Touchard, 59, and his wife Misty Denise, 43, of Newport Beach were charged May 23 with numerous counts of money laundering and grand theft. Ronald Touchard was also charged with recording false or forged instrument.
• New renderings and models for the future Orange County Museum of Art complex at Segerstrom Center for the Arts were unveiled May 31 during a press conference in an office building overlooking Segerstrom Center and the new OCMA site.
Director & CEO of OCMA Todd Smith announced that the museum’s current site in Newport Center would close permanently on June 17, they will break ground on the new facility in 2019, and that it should open to the public in 2021.
Smith noted that the new museum will have 25,000 feet of exhibition space – about 50 percent more than the current location – which will provide more room for the 3,500 objects in the museum’s permanent collection.
Haller allegedly sent messages on social media that were “sexually motivated and inappropriate” to two female high school cheerleaders, Orange County District Attorney and the Newport Beach Police Department authorities explained.
According to the OCDA and NBPD, Haller volunteered with the University of California, Irvine, Spirit Squad cheerleading team, as well as a medical doctor at several athletic events at Newport Harbor High School between October and December 2017.
• Newport Beach City Council approved a budget on June 12 for the upcoming fiscal year that includes a new school safety officer, fire marshal, and an “aggressive” approach to the city’s biggest financial issue, unfunded pension liability.