Bits 'n' Pieces

City Council News Update

 The Long Beach City Clerk will end the public’s ability to speak by telephone on City Council items starting July 6 (a procedure begun during the COVID-19 pandemic) unless (a) a council majority directs the city clerk to continue the telephonic practice or (b) a Sacramento bill, AB 339 (previously reported by the Beachcomber) passes that would require cities and counties of more 250,000 residents to continue to allow the telephonic practice.

Long Beach Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price has communicated her support for AB 339 to a state Senate Committee in advance of the committee’s scheduled July 1 hearing on the bill.

On June 2, Long Beach area Assemblyman Patrick O’Donnell voted “no” on AB 339 which cleared the Assembly on a 54-9-16 vote.

Delta Variant Virus Found Locally

On June 28 the Long Beach Health Department discovered that the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is present in our city. Statewide, the Delta variant has increased from 4.5% of sampled cases on May 21 to 14.5% on June 21. This variant, which is believed to be more transmissible and more likely to cause severe disease, is of grave concern, especially to unvaccinated people.

Elsewhere in the country and across the world, case rates and hospitalizations are rapidly increasing among unvaccinated populations. The Delta variant is quickly spreading and is expected to become the dominant variant in the U.S. within weeks.

The Health Department urges everyone to become vaccinated. The available COVID-19 vaccines provide protection against this new variant and the more people who are vaccinated, the lower the chance that any variant, including Delta, can get a foothold in our community.

Vaccines are safe and effective in preventing COVID-19 cases, as well as preventing serious illness or death among breakthrough cases of the virus. In the past six months, 99.8% of COVID-19-related deaths across Los Angeles County have occurred among unvaccinated people.

The city offers vaccine clinics six days a week: the schedule can be found at longbeach.gov/vaxlb. No appointment is necessary at city-run vaccine clinics. People also may contact their healthcare provider or area pharmacies or visit myturn.ca.gov to make a vaccine appointment. Vaccines are available to everyone 12 years and older, regardless of immigration status, and are always free of charge.

Anyone experiencing COVID-19-like symptoms, including fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, new loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, or diarrhea should be tested for COVID-19. Free testing is available at city-run sites daily; people also may contact their healthcare provider or area pharmacies to receive a test.

Six More Library Branches Reopen to Public

Long Beach Public Library (LBPL) will resume in-person services at six more library locations by July 6. The libraries, which first closed in March 2020 due to the pandemic, have been reopening in phases beginning last month with Billie Jean King Main Library and Bay Shore, Mark Twain and Michelle Obama Neighborhood Libraries. Bret Harte and Los Altos Neighborhood Libraries reopened Tuesday, June 29, and Ruth Bach, Brewitt, Burnett and Dana Neighborhood Libraries will reopen on Tuesday, July 6.

Currently, the libraries that offer in-person services have restrictions on computer use and the amount of time spent inside the library. Those restrictions were lifted on June 30; seating and study space also will be available at that time. Select services such as the Family Learning Centers, the Studio at Billie Jean King Main Library and the Learning Lab at Michelle Obama Library will offer limited services beginning late summer. Scheduled virtual programs such as the Summer Reading Program will remain online with in-person programs for youth and teens being planned for late summer.

El Dorado Neighborhood Library will continue to offer LBPL To-Go (contactless pick-up) service due to pending heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) maintenance; and Alamitos Neighborhood Library, which is also undergoing HVAC maintenance, will remain temporarily closed.

“It’s been a long time coming and we are so happy to be able to welcome patrons back inside our buildings,” said Library Services Director Glenda Williams. “We are extremely grateful for the support we’ve received from all our residents who continued to borrow books even while we were closed. Now it’s time to get back to what we do best, which is serve the public and do our part to help the city get back on its feet.”

Facial coverings will be required at the libraries for unvaccinated individuals ages two years and older, per California Department of Public Health (CDPH) guidance.

Further details on library reopenings will be available via the LBPL website.

LB Playhouse Reopens September 10

After 18 challenging months without a show or an audience, the Long Beach Playhouse announced it is reopening on Sept. 10 with Michael Frayn’s play Noises Off.

“The pandemic was one of the most profoundly difficult events imaginable,” said Playhouse Executive Director, Madison Mooney. “We feel immensely fortunate to be inching back to normal both as human beings and as a community theater.

“Our production of Noises Off was about halfway through its run in March 2020, when the statewide shutdown went into effect. It seemed right to pick up where we left off and put the show back up for a full run.”

“Coming back after such an unsettling period I felt it was important to curate a set of shows that are right for this moment in time and that offered options for our patrons,” said Sean Gray, Playhouse Artistic Director.

During the month of July, the Playhouse box office will work with ticket holders from 2020 to set up new reservations. On August 1st, the remainder of the 2021 season will be open to the public to buy tickets.

New BizCare Outreach Team in Long Beach

The City of Long Beach Department of Economic Development has expanded its BizCare Program to include a new BizCare Outreach Team. The team, comprised of city staff, will be focused on helping small businesses located in low-to-moderate income areas of the city learn about and benefit from small business grants, loans, technical assistance and other resources.

The Long Beach BizCare Program was launched in November 2020 to support small businesses citywide that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program began with the creation of the BizCare Hotline (562) 570-4BIZ (4249), which provides information to small businesses about various programs and resources, health order guidelines and relevant city policies.

The program later added BizCare pop-ups that are available to all Long Beach small businesses and are focused on supporting businesses in communities that have been most impacted by the pandemic. The pop-ups provide business owners with free one-on-one, in-person support to complete grant applications and learn about other business and community resources, such as loans and free technical assistance. Multilingual translation services are available on-site at each of the pop-ups.

The BizCare pop-ups are located in various areas throughout the city as follows:

  • Mondays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Admiral Kidd Park, 2125 Santa Fe Ave.
  • Tuesdays, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Admiral Kidd Park; and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library, 5870 Atlantic Ave.
  • Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Michelle Obama Neighborhood Library and Mark Twain Neighborhood Library, 1401 E. Anaheim St.
  • Thursdays, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Mark Twain Neighborhood Library

In March 2021, the Long Beach City Council approved the Long Beach Recovery Act, which includes several small business and non-profit grant programs. The BizCare Outreach Team will help people learn about and apply for all of the various programs to maximize the equitable distribution of resources.

The BizCare Program has served more than 570 customers at pop-ups, addressed over 5,200 calls, replied to more than 660 email inquiries and completed direct outreach to over 84 businesses to date.

To learn more about Long Beach BizCare and for more information about businesses assistance and resources, go to Business Support webpage, contact the city’s business Hotline at (562) 570-4BIZ, or email 4biz@longbeach.gov.

Caveness Transitions to Collegiate Coaching

St. Anthony High School announced that Head Boys Basketball Coach Allen Caveness is stepping down after seven years as head coach for the Saints. Coach Caveness has accepted a position as the Assistant Basketball Coach at Cal State Long Beach, under Head Coach Dan Munson.

SAHS Athletic Director Chris Morrison commented on Allen’s success, “During his seven years at St. Anthony High School Coach Caveness has provided young student-athletes in our community with an opportunity to grow, not only as basketball players but as young men of character, teaching them valuable life lessons and that basketball is more than wins and losses. As St. Anthony experienced significant growth in our basketball program in recent years, I am confident that Mr. Caveness has built a great foundation for the Saints’ program for years to come.”

At St. Anthony, Coach Caveness achieved a record of 133-53 game wins, four league titles, and six playoff appearances, with one CIF Open Division appearance. The St. Anthony High School community is grateful to “Coach Cav” for his many contributions, and wishes him great success in the next chapter of his career. The search for the next St. Anthony Boys Basketball Head Coach is underway.

Food Scraps Collection Program Launched

As part of the City of Long Beach’s ongoing efforts to reduce waste and improve recycling across the city, the Department of Public Works Environmental Services Bureau (ESB) has launched the city’s first Commercial Food Scraps Collection Program. The pilot program, developed as a collaborative effort with local businesses, will divert food scraps from the waste stream and create renewable energy, reduce food waste and prevent potent greenhouse gas emissions.

The ESB is partnering with 115 select local businesses, identified by the city as high generators of organic materials, to institute a food scraps collection process at their establishment. Businesses will each initially receive a 95-gallon green cart to dispose of and collect food scraps. Acceptable items for collection include leftover food-based materials such as all meat, dairy, bread, vegetables, fruits, eggs and shells, coffee grounds, cheese, pasta and any food scrap. All non-food-based materials such as trash, recyclables and hazardous waste must be disposed of separately.

The Department of Public Works will pick up the green cart and deliver it weekly to the Puente Hills Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) for processing. Once at the MRF, a milkshake-like substance or slurry will be treated, pumped into tanks and shipped to a wastewater treatment plant managed by the Los Angeles County Sanitation District.

There, the slurry will be converted into renewable energy through anaerobic digestion, the process by which organic material-like food waste is broken down in a sealed oxygen-free tank to produce biogas or biofertilizer. More details about the Los Angeles County food waste recycling process can be found at http://bit.ly/lacsdfoodwasteprocess.

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Comments

LB council evicted themselves for old city hall substantial renovation

but don't want property owners to upgrade their investment properties and remove tenants during the process.

wonder if the queen will achieve her needed substantial renovation?

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