Newport Beach City Manager Update: Holiday Hours, New Mayor, Balboa Christmas Tree

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Grace Leung

By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

On behalf of City of Newport Beach staff, I wish you and your families a very happy holidays and New Year! It has been our pleasure to serve you and the Newport Beach community in 2023.

Here is important information for residents to know about City services during the next few weeks:

Facility Closures: Newport Beach Civic Center and City recreation and community centers will be closed from Monday, December 25 through Monday, January 1. All facilities will reopen on Tuesday, January 2. Police, Fire and other select City departments will remain open. For more details on the hours of operation for select departments, please click here: https://newportbeachca.gov/home/showpublisheddocument/72387/638362589415070000.

City libraries will be closed on December 25, December 26, December 31 and January 1. Library facilities will have limited operating hours (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.) on Wednesday, December 27 through Saturday, December 30.

Residential Trash and Recycling Collection: The Christmas and New Year’s Day holidays fall on Mondays, therefore, collection for the remainder of each week will be postponed by one day. For example: If your trash is normally collected on Thursdays, it will be picked up Friday.

Street Sweeping: There will be no street sweeping service on Friday, December 22, Monday, December 25, Friday, December 29 and Monday, January 1.

Christmas Tree Recycling Collection: Christmas trees can be placed next to your waste carts for recycling pickup on any scheduled collection days between December 26 and January 15 at no additional cost. Please remove lights and ornaments. Trees should be no more than 6-ft. tall, which may require you to cut your tree. The City’s contractor, CR&R, will be using a separate truck to collect trees from December 26 until January 15. Residents may also cut down their trees into smaller pieces to place into the green organic recycling cart. Please note, flocked trees (fake snow) must be placed in the black-top trash cart or treated as a bulky-item pickup. These trees cannot be recycled because of chemicals used in flocking.

Operation Christmas: As a reminder, the City will be collecting gift donations for the families of military service members through December 20 at 5:30 p.m. If you would like to donate please bring unwrapped toys, sporting equipment, gift cards or DVDs to City of Newport Beach facilities during regular business hours. Drop boxes are available at the Civic Center, Police Department, OASIS Senior Center, community centers, fire stations and all library branches.

Once again, best wishes to you and your families this holiday season!

O’Neill Selected Mayor for 2024 Term; Stapleton to Serve as Pro Tem

In the City Council’s annual reorganization on Tuesday, December 12, council members selected Will O’Neill to serve as Newport Beach’s mayor for 2024, and Joe Stapleton to serve as mayor pro tem. Outgoing 2023 Mayor Noah Blom was recognized for his year of service.

O’Neill, who was elected to the Council in 2016 and re-elected in 2020 to represent District 7, served as mayor in 2020 and mayor pro tem in 2018, 2019 and 2023. Stapleton, who represents District 1, was first elected to the council in 2022.

In his initial remarks on December 12, O’Neill said he plans to recognize and celebrate residents and stakeholders who contribute to the Newport Beach community throughout the coming year. He began by presenting a ceremonial “key to the city” plaque to restauranteur Mario Marovic in recognition of his community service.

City, Balboa Island Continue Christmas Tree Tradition

City and contract crews recently assisted the Balboa Island Improvement Association (BIIA) with trimming and installation of the traditional Balboa Island Christmas Tree at Fire Station #4.

The placing of a Christmas tree has been a fixture on the corner of Park and Marine avenues since the 1940s. The tradition began with business owners Tony and Mina Hershey, who began placing a Christmas tree at the corner of their gas station during the holiday season.

This tradition continued through the 1960s and was sporadically observed until the site was converted into Fire Station #4 in the 1990s. The annual tree lighting ceremony has been a staple every year since then.

Check It Out: Public Library’s Top Titles of 2023

Newport Beach Public Library patrons checked out a whopping 1,161,231 items so far in 2023!  Here are the top book titles checked out during the year:

Nonfiction:

  1. “Spare, by Prince Harry” Duke of Sussex
  2. “I’m Glad My Mom Died” by Jennette McCurdy
  3. “Friends, Lovers, and the Big Terrible Thing: A Memoir” by Matthew Perry
  4. “Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI” by David Grann
  5. “The Light We Carry: Overcoming in Uncertain Times” by Michelle Obama
  6. “Atomic Habits: Tiny Changes, Remarkable Results” by James Clear
  7. “Crying in H Mart: A Memoir” by Michelle Zauner
  8. “An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us” by Ed Yong
  9. “Outlive: The Science and Art of Longevity, by Peter Attia
  10. “The Wager: A Tale of Shipwreck, Mutiny and Murder” by David Grann

Fiction:

  1. “Lessons in Chemistry” by Bonnie Garmus
  2. “Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow” by Gabrielle Zevin
  3. “Demon Copperhead” by Barbara Kingsolver
  4. “Mad Honey” by Jodi Picoult
  5. “Someone Else’s Shoes” by Jojo Moyes
  6. “Pineapple Street” by Jenny Jackson
  7. “Desert Star” by Michael Connelly
  8. “Happy Place” by Emily Henry
  9. “The Boys from Biloxi” by John Grisham
  10. “Our Missing Hearts” by Celeste Ng

Children’s:

  1. “Dog Man” by Dav Pilkey
  2. “The Baby-Sitters Club” by Ann M. Martin
  3. “Wings of Fire” by Tui Sutherland
  4. “Plants Vs. Zombies” by Paul Tobin
  5. “Baby-Sitters Little Sister” by Katy Farina
  6. “Cat Kid Comic Club” by Dav Pilkey
  7. “Amulet” by Kazu Kibuishi
  8. “Narwhal and Jelly” by Ben Clanton
  9. “Geronimo Stilton Reporter” by Geronimo Stilton
  10. “Babymouse” by Jennifer Holm

Local Children “Shop with a Cop” during Holiday Event

Newport Beach Police Department officers teamed up with local Newport-Mesa Unified School District students this week to shop for gifts during the annual “Shop with a Cop” holiday event. The City thanks ExperTec Automotive for sponsoring the event, and Target Costa Mesa and IHOP Costa Mesa for their partnership.

About 25 children along with 25 police officers, cadets, NBPD professional staff and donors participated.

The day began with a breakfast at IHOP for the children and officers, including a visit from Santa, followed by shopping at Target. After shopping, NBPD staff helped wrap presents for the children to take home.

OASIS Celebrates the Holiday Season with Acts of Kindness

The holiday spirit is alive and well this month at the OASIS Senior Center.

The Webelos of Troop 350 brought two live trees to adorn the center’s courtyard for the “Jingles and Mingles” event December 6. The air was filled with holiday tunes, creating a joyful atmosphere as our staff served coffee, hot cocoa and hot cider.

Also this holiday season, OASIS joined forces with the Council on Aging Southern California, and their “Smilemakers” program to bring joy to local older adults residing in skilled nursing facilities. OASIS participants went above and beyond, purchasing 75 gifts that will be personally delivered to each recipient before Christmas, spreading much-needed cheer to those in our community.

In another collaboration, the Center worked with Natalie Basmaciyan, Newport Beach’s Homeless Manager, to assist six seniors experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach to find stable housing. OASIS participants generously donated Target and grocery store gift cards of more than $1,200 in total. These gift cards will enable the purchase of essential household items and food.

OASIS also purchased 10 plush throw blankets, funded by donations from our OASIS Ukulele group. These blankets will be delivered to older Newport Beach residents facing challenges during this holiday season. Through these collective efforts, the Center and its members hope to make a positive impact and bring comfort to those in need.

New Fishing Guides Installed on Balboa, Newport Piers

City staff replaced outdated fish identification posters on the Balboa and Newport piers with a more comprehensive guide for Southern California beach fishing.

The signage includes pictures of commonly caught species, fishing tips, equipment checklist and other important information from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife related to surf and pier fishing.

OASIS Fitness Center Holiday Schedule

The OASIS Fitness Center holiday schedule is:

  • December 22: 7 a.m. – 3 p.m.
  • December 23: 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • December 24 – 26: Closed
  • December 27 – 29: 7 a.m. – 4 p.m.
  • December 30: 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • December 31 – January 1: Closed

The OASIS Senior Center (offices, classrooms and transportation) will be closed from Saturday, December 23 through Monday, January 2. OASIS will resume regular hours on Tuesday, January 2.

City Hotline Provides Updates on Sports Fields, Trail Conditions

With the rainy season upon us, City staff regularly monitors weather forecasts and tracks the impact of rain on the condition of City fields and hiking trails.

Staff evaluates the safety and playability to determine if temporary field closures are necessary. Updates are available by phone through the “mudline” or by text and email.

Gift Donations for Military Families Now Being Accepted at City Facilities

The City is teaming up with Operation Christmas once again this holiday season to collect gift donations for the families of military service members.

If you would like to donate, please bring unwrapped toys, sporting equipment, gift cards or DVDs to City of Newport Beach facilities during regular business hours through Wednesday, December 20 at 5:30 p.m.

Drop boxes are available at the Civic Center, Police Department, OASIS Senior Center, community centers, fire stations and all library branches.

The City has partnered with Operation Christmas to support the families of local service members since 2005. Last year more than 2,000 gifts were donated by the members of the public at Newport Beach drop boxes. Operation Christmas, organized by Yellow Ribbon America, supports more than 300,000 service members and their families.

Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Update

The Be Well mobile crisis response team operates in Newport Beach 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to respond to mental and behavioral health crises. The mobile unit is staffed with mental health specialists and works closely with the City’s police and fire departments.

This week, the Be Well team:

  • Transported four people to the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.
  • Transported two people to a crisis stabilization unit for treatment.
  • Collaborated with the Newport Beach Fire Department for a hospital transport.

To reach Be Well: The mobile crisis team is dispatched through the Newport Beach Police Department. To request service, dial 911 or call the Police Department’s non-emergency line at (949) 644-3717.

Homelessness Update

This week, the City’s homeless outreach and response teams:

  • Transferred a person’s insurance to the County of Orange, transported the person to two vital appointments, and placed him on an involuntary medical hold with the County’s Crisis Assessment Team for treatment.
  • Collaborated with the City of Costa Mesa’s outreach team for housing options for a mutual client.
  • Continued to shelter people. Twenty-five people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are sheltered in the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.
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