By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager
All of our City departments went above and beyond in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, and that was especially true for the Newport Beach Fire Department.
The volume of calls and demand for services for our firefighters, emergency medical personnel and lifeguards were higher than ever, and the type of response dictated by the pandemic was different than any of our staff had experienced in their careers. Department employees met these challenges at every turn, transporting patients for emergency medical care through each new wave of cases, setting up COVID testing sites and, as the first vaccines were distributed, getting quickly trained to administer vaccines, host local clinics and assist with the setup and administration of the County’s supersites.
In addition to providing emergency medical services throughout COVID, Newport Beach firefighters were deployed in a mutual aid capacity throughout the state in response to the devastating, record-breaking wildfire season that began in late 2020. The Fire Department was also closely involved in responding to the oil spill that occurred off the coast of Orange County in October 2021.
This unique period is captured in an excellent publication developed by the Fire Department and recently released to the public, the 2020-21 Annual Report.
The report captures significant events from the pandemic years, key data points and statistics, along with an overview of the many important services provided by the department beyond emergency response, such as community outreach, public education, and enforcement/inspection.
I encourage you to take a look at the report for an impressive overview of how the Newport Beach Fire Department served the Newport Beach community in 2020 and 2021. And I offer my thanks and congratulations to all of our Fire Department employees for their excellent work and dedicated service to our community, especially during such extremely challenging time.
Read the report at https://newportbeachca.gov/Home/Components/News/News/40523.
Permit Center Launches Text-Based Queuing
The City’s Community Development Department has introduced a new queueing system at the Permit Center.
Customers visiting the Permit Center can now choose to receive text message notifications via mobile device, guiding them throughout the visit. Customers will be notified as they are checked in, called for service at the counter, or transferred to a different department staff member. A final text message will notify that service has been completed, including a link to our customer satisfaction survey
This new feature enables visitors to step away from the lobby while waiting for service. Future enhancements will allow the option to check-in with a mobile device or from our new stationary kiosk.
Our goal is to provide a better overall experience when doing business at the Permit Center. The system also tracks the applicants’ wait times, which will help the City better serve visitors and continue to improve the Permit Center experience.
Newport Coast Elementary Awarded 2022 Youth Track & Field Spirit Award
Each year following the Newport Beach Youth Track & Field Meet of Champions, the Recreation & Senior Services Department gives the Spirit Award to a Newport Beach school for overall participation and achievement during the meet.
This year’s winner, for the first time in school history, was Newport Coast Elementary, led by Coach Rita Lee.
All schools with athletes who compete in the City’s meet are eligible to win the Spirit Award. The winner is determined by tallying scores for each athlete who places 1st through 6th place. This perpetual trophy has been awarded since 2006 and is held on display at the victor’s school until the following year’s event.
Congratulations to the Newport Coast Coyotes Track Club!
Spring Campers Visit Knott’s, Hold Animals
Over spring break, City camp participants visited Knott’s Berry Farm for roller coasters and the boysenberry festival. Meanwhile, Newport Coast Community Center was filled with excitement and eagerness from Preschool Campers waiting to touch and hold a variety of animals, including a tarantula and a python. The fun will continue this summer with over 400 camps to choose from. Register today at www.Campnewport.com.
Public Works Springs Into Summer Beach Mode – Part II
The City’s beach maintenance crews are attending to the shoreline and grooming our beaches in preparation for the summer tourist season. Wind fencing installed in the fall to reduce windblown sand along the Oceanfront Boardwalk and many of street ends is being removed to increase accessibility.
The protective sand berms at the Balboa Pier are getting a touch-up as well, since regular foot traffic and winds continually lower their height. Berms need to be monitored and maintained to keep high surf from flooding parking lots, homes and businesses.
In the Back Bay, the log trash boom installed before every winter season is being removed in preparation for summer recreational activities at the Aquatic Center and Back Bay. The log boom is placed at the San Diego Creek and is used to catch debris that flows down the river during the rainy season. On average, the log boom collects around 250 cubic yards of debris a year, and amount that would fill 22 large dump trucks.
City trash cans and fire rings removed during the winter to be cleaned, repaired, and repainted were recently re-installed or replaced as needed.
You’re Invited to ‘Touch a Truck’ at May 14 Event
Please join us for a “Touch a Truck” event on Saturday, May 14 from 9 a.m. to noon at the Balboa Pier parking lot in celebration of National Public Works Week.
It will be a hands-on opportunity to get up close to heavy trucks and equipment — and learn how they are used to keep Newport Beach maintained.
Movie Night at Marina Park: “Luca,” May 13
Bring your family and friends out to Marina Park to enjoy a screening of “Luca” on Friday, May 13. The event will begin at 6:45 p.m. with showtime at 7:45 p.m. Fun activities, free popcorn and food will be available for purchase. Bring a chair and blanket to enjoy the evening at Marina Park!
Reduce Water Use Through These Simple Tips
In response to continued drought conditions, we are continuing to ask residents and businesses to reduce water wherever possible.
Future mandated drought water restrictions are very likely and we are awaiting further information from the state.
In the meantime, the City suggests that you review your outdoor water use for landscaping.
- Do you see water running down the gutter after your sprinklers go on?
- Are your sprinklers over-spraying onto your driveway and sidewalk?
- Do you hear a “squish” sound when you walk on your grass after watering?
- Have you talked to your gardener about reducing your water use?
- Did you know if you reduce your outdoor watering time by 1min on a 5min watering cycle, you’ll use 20 percent less water?
For water saving programs and rebates visit www.ocwatersmart.com. If you would like a free inspection or review from our Utilities Department staff regarding your water use, please feel free to contact us at (949) 644-3011.
Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Update
The Be Well mobile crisis response team is now operating in Newport Beach 12 hours a day, seven days a week to respond to mental and behavioral health crises. The mobile unit is staffed with mental health specialists and EMTs, and works closely with the City’s police and fire departments.
Last week the Be Well team:
- Transported a man experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach to a psychiatric facility. He is now housed through a conservatorship.
- Transported a man experiencing homelessness to the hospital for treatment. He is now housed through a recuperative care program.
- Provided First Aid to one person experiencing homelessness.
- Conducted 19 outreach interactions with residents and people experiencing homelessness.
The City of Newport Beach provides a comprehensive response to address homelessness through a coordinated effort by City staff, contractors, partner agencies and nonprofit groups.
Last week the City’s homeless outreach and response teams:
- Secured permanent housing for two women who experienced homelessness in Newport Beach. One had been homeless for 7 years; the other for 5 years.
- Referred two unsheltered people to the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter for temporary housing and services. As of this week, 17 people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are now sheltered in the facility.
- Provided support services for two newly housed clients.