Newport Beach City Manager Update: Longtime City Employees Retire, Big Canyon Home Fire

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Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

By Grace Leung, Newport Beach City Manager

Two of the City’s longtime department directors will be retiring in the next few weeks. Recreation and Senior Services Director Laura Detweiler is retiring after 20 years of service (14 years in her current position) and Library Services Director Tim Hetherton will retire after 24 years with the City (8 years in his current position).

Laura first joined the City of Newport Beach in 1991 as a community services program coordinator at OASIS, and served in that role for six years. She left to gain experience with other Orange County cities and returned to Newport Beach in 2008 as department director.

Recreation and Senior Services Director Laura Detweiler

Tim came to the City in 1998 and served as a reference librarian, adult services coordinator and library services manager on his way to being named director in 2014.

While we are sorry to see Laura and Tim depart, the loss of their talent is offset by the strength of the teams they are leaving behind. Both have done an excellent job of building outstanding teams that excel in their roles and deliver a consistently high level of service to our community.

Library Services Director Tim Hetherton

The recruitment for a new library services director is now underway, and Tim will stay in his role until his successor is named sometime in May. The search for a new Recreation and Senior Services director has begun, with deputy director Sean Levin serving as interim director during the recruitment.

I’d like to take this opportunity to wish Tim and Laura all the best in their well-deserved retirements. You have both contributed greatly to the success of your departments over the years, and you will be missed!

Firefighters Extinguish Big Canyon Home Fire

The Newport Beach Fire Department responded to a residential home fire in the Big Canyon area that broke out just before 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 20. Among other firefighting efforts, crews used an aerial water ladder to douse flames from above the roof (see photo below). The fire was extinguished at about 6 p.m.

Fortunately, there were no injuries reported as a result of the fire. The damage was contained to a single home, which was red-tagged as uninhabitable.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Jamboree Road Construction Kicks Off

A project began this week to repave Jamboree Road and install a reclaimed water irrigation system for median landscaping, among other improvements.

This project is on Jamboree Road between East Coast Highway and Ford Road. Construction work will include the installation of a new reclaimed water line and irrigation system for the medians, landscape improvements, replacing a collapsed storm drain pipeline, removing and reconstructing deteriorated concrete sidewalks and curb access ramps, reconstructing concrete median curbs, asphalt repaving, and installing new traffic signing and striping.

Construction activity will take place Mondays through Fridays, 7 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. through mid-August. Intermittent lane closures will be required.

Building at the end of Newport Pier

Demolition Set for Vacant Newport Pier Building

The former restaurant building that has sat vacant at the end of Newport Pier for about a decade will be demolished next month.

The demolition work will begin April 27 and will be completed before Memorial Day weekend. Construction crews will remove the structure and restore the wooden pier deck underneath the building.

The end of the pier will be fenced and closed to the public during construction.

Attempts to find a new tenant or a replacement restaurant have been unsuccessful and the building has fallen into disrepair. In October the City Council voted to demolish the building and study options to enhance the McFadden Square area at the base of the pier, adjacent parking lots and the pier itself.

Has Your Council District Changed? Find Out!

A new map for Newport Beach’s seven City Council districts went into effect on Friday, April 21.

The City Council adopted the new map in March following several public hearings to consider community input on district boundary options. By law, local council districts must be re-evaluated every 10 years, following the federal census, to ensure an even population distribution among districts.

To find out if your council district has changed, please view the new map:

Or search by address at

Public Safety Telecommunicators, Volunteers, Animal Care Honored

Over the past week, the Newport Beach Police Department has had the honor of recognizing multiple divisions during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Appreciation Week, National Volunteer Appreciation Week, and National Animal Care and Control Appreciation Week.

Each of these divisions is dedicated to serving the City of Newport Beach, building on our tradition of excellence, while working as a team to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Scholarships Available for College-bound Seniors and Transfer Students

The City is accepting scholarship applications from college-bound seniors and transfer students by Monday, May 2 at 5 p.m. to earn up to $700 for educational expenses.

The City of Newport Beach Ackerman Scholarship Program was established to assist qualified students in obtaining a higher education. Funds for the program are provided through an endowment from the Ackerman Trust. Scholarships may be used for tuition, books, laboratory and/or academic fees.

For eligibility information and to apply:

Help Newport Beach Get to No. 1: Take “My Water Pledge” Today!

As of Friday, April 22, Newport Beach is in 7th place among all cities in the U.S. in the Wyland Foundation’s 2022 National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation. Help us get to No. 1 by taking My Water Pledge today at

My Water Pledge is a friendly competition between cities across the U.S. to see who can be the most “water wise.” Mayors nationwide are challenging their residents to conserve water, energy and other natural resources on behalf of their cities through informative, easy-to-use online pledges.

The pledge takes less than a minute and you will be automatically entered to win one of many prizes. Last year, the challenge awarded more than $50,000 in prizes to nearly 300 residents in U.S. cities. Cities with the highest percentage of residents who take the challenge will win the “water wise” designation (in several categories based on population size).

The 2022 Challenge runs through April 30.

Be Well Mobile Crisis Response Update

The Be Well mobile crisis response team is now operating 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 EMTs, and works closely with the City’s police and fire departments.

This week the Be Well team:

  • Transported two people to the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter.
  • Helped an elderly person experiencing a mental health crisis.
  • Provided First Aid to two people experiencing homelessness.
  • Conducted 33 outreach interactions with residents and people experiencing homelessness.

Homelessness Update

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.

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

  • Secured permanent housing for an elderly woman who experienced homelessness in Newport Beach for 7 years.
  • Referred several unsheltered people to the Costa Mesa Bridge Shelter for temporary housing and services. As of this week, 19 people who had been experiencing homelessness in Newport Beach are now sheltered in the facility.
  • Enrolled one person into services and completed a housing assessment.
  • Enrolled two people into Orange County Healthcare Agency services.

Serve Your Community! Apply Now for Vacant Seats on Boards, Commissions

The City of Newport Beach is currently accepting applications to fill the following upcoming vacancies (all terms are for four-years, expiring June 30, 2026):

  • Board of Library Trustees (one seat)
  • Building and Fire Board of Appeals (two seats)
  • City Arts Commission (one seat)
  • Civil Service Board (one seat)
  • Harbor Commission (three seats)
  • Parks, Beaches & Recreation Commission (two seats)
  • Planning Commission (one seat)

All seats will become vacant when the existing terms expire on June 30, 2022.

All applicants must be qualified electors of the City, none of whom shall hold any paid office or employment in City government (Section 702 of the City Charter).

The deadline for filing applications is noon on Wednesday, May 11, 2022. The application and additional information about the Boards and Commissions can be found at or by calling (949) 644-3005. The application and information about the Boards and Commissions can also be accessed through the City’s website at

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