Bits 'n' Pieces

Muñoz Named LBCC Superintendent-President

The Long Beach Community College District (LBCCD) Board of Trustees unanimously selected Dr. Mike Muñoz as new superintendent-president. Muñoz will start his new leadership position at LBCC on Jan. 1, 2022.

“After conducting a comprehensive nationwide search, we are confident that the best person to lead Long Beach City College is one of our own,” said LBCCD Board of Trustees President Uduak-Joe Ntuk. “Dr. Muñoz has been a truly transformative leader who will lead our College as we continue to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, modernize our student services, close racial equity gaps, and collaborate with our employees to ensure all students have an opportunity to reach their academic goals.”

Muñoz has served as the interim superintendent-president since March 2021. He first joined LBCC in 2018 as the vice president of student services. Prior to LBCC, he spent more than a decade at Rio Hondo College serving in several key leadership positions.

Muñoz is a nationally recognized leader in higher education. He is an expert in closing racial equity gaps for students of color, creating inclusive campus cultures for LGBTQIA+ students, and effectively leading for transformational change.

A product of the California Community College system, Muñoz attended East Los Angeles College and Fullerton College before transferring to the University of California, Irvine, where he received his bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Social Behavior. He received his master’s degree in Counseling and his doctor of education with a specialization in Community College Leadership, from California State University, Long Beach.

He is a first-generation college student. While attending college, he experienced both food and housing insecurities — all while caring for his daughter as a single father.

Patton In District 5 Race

Ian Patton, a Bixby Knolls/Cal Heights born and raised resident, has declared his candidacy for the Long Beach City Council 5th District.

As co-founder and volunteer executive director of the Long Beach Reform Coalition he, along with his network of community organizations, he has a track record for holding City Hall accountable to residents, whether they be taxpayers, ratepayers, homeowners and/or small business owners.

“I will never sell out residents for the sake of special interests and powerful relationships,” he said.

Patton is a small business owner who understands that city government can either be a friend or an obstacle to the private sector. As a reform movement leader, he states that transparency and communication with the people is key. And as the grandson of a Holocaust survivor, he understands that equal treatment by government of all colors, creeds and orientations is the most fundamental value.

“Those who know me know that when I say I will defend neighborhoods against developers, fight for quality-of-life issues like our air, parks and public safety, and that I will always protect taxpayers from abuse, these are not simply pledges. These are reflections of proven and demonstrated values.

“From my days growing up in Bixby Knolls, attending Longfellow Elementary, Hughes Middle School, and Poly High to college at UC Berkeley and work for the late, beloved elected officials Sen. Betty Karnette and Congresswoman Juanita Millender-McDonald, among others, I developed a strong sense of moral clarity when it comes to public policy and a strong sense of duty when it comes to public service.

“Such moral clarity and sense of service are what I feel is currently lacking in some of the halls today of city government. They are what I intend to make the hallmarks of my time in office, should the voters grant me the honor of serving them,” he stated.

Christmas Treecycling

The Long Beach Department of Public Works will once again offer its Holiday Tree Recycling Program, known as Treecycling. This annual program provides Long Beach residents with the opportunity to dispose of their live holiday trees free of charge at 12 convenient drop-off locations throughout the city, Dec. 26, 2021, to Jan. 8, 2022, as well as a citywide curbside pick-up day for city serviced refuse customers on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022.

The Treecycling program collects the trees and sends them to either a chipping facility where they are turned into landscaping mulch or to a biomass conversion facility for energy generation. The city collects approximately 200 tons of holiday trees annually, which equates to approximately 10,000 to 15,000 trees. Proper disposal of holiday trees through the Treecycling program prevents fire hazards and blight by reducing illegally dumped trees in alleys and public right-of-ways.

Residents can drop off their holiday trees Dec. 26 through Jan. 8 at any of the locations listed below. All locations will operate weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and weekends from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.:

  • Houghton Park, Myrtle Avenue at Harding Street
  • Long Beach Police Department North Patrol Division, 4891 N. Atlantic Ave. at Del Amo Boulevard (enter on 46th Street)
  • Veterans Park, 28th Street at Pine Avenue
  • Wardlow Park, Monlaco Road at Rutgers Avenue
  • El Dorado Park West, 2760 N. Studebaker Rd., south parking lot behind Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine Administration Office
  • Hudson Park, Hill Street at Webster Avenue
  • Long Beach Environmental Services Bureau Offices, 2929 E. Willow St.
  • Stearns Champions Park, 23rd Street at Roycroft Avenue
  • Orizaba Park, Orizaba Avenue at 14th Street
  • Cesar E. Chavez Park, Golden Shore Street at 4th Street
  • Bixby Park, 1st Street at Cherry Avenue
  • Long Beach Fire Department Station 14, 5200 E. Eliot St.

All tree decorations and stands must be removed, and trees over 12 feet tall should be cut in half. Artificial trees or trees from businesses will not be accepted at Treecycling drop-off locations.

Residents with city serviced refuse collection who are unable to drop off their holiday tree may utilize the citywide Treecycling pick-up day on Jan. 8. To participate, city refuse customers must place their tree where recycling is normally collected by 7 a.m. on the collection day.

Highest Pet Adoption Rate

Long Beach Animal Care Services (ACS) has reached its highest adoption rate ever, increasing by 60% in the first three quarters of the calendar year over the last three years, from 471 adoptions in 2018 to 783 in 2021.

The increase in adoptions is largely due to ACS transitioning from walk-in adoptions to an appointment-based system, which allows those serious about adopting a pet the opportunity to schedule a convenient time to visit the facility and assigns a staff member or volunteer to exclusively assist them to ensure an informed adoption decision is made.

The one-on-one experience has improved the quality of service patrons receive, reduces daily stress on the animals and nearly always results in adoption. ACS moved to the appointment system in 2020 due to public health restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic and worked with other animal adoption organizations to learn best practices prior to implementation. Appointments account for over 90 percent of the adoption rate increase.

ACS remains vigilant in navigating the regional and national conversations and direction of shelter operations both pre- and post-pandemic to ensure the most efficient and life-saving operations are being implemented. While walk-ins have historically resulted in lower adoption rates due to their competitive, first-come, first-served nature, ACS understands the value of allowing patrons to visit without an appointment. Three open house adoption events have been held in recent months, yielding 65 pet adoptions. ACS is working to establish regularly scheduled open house hours where no appointment is needed.

Adoption appointments can be made Wednesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays, 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. To schedule an appointment to adopt or foster a pet, people can email PetAdopt@longbeach.gov or call (562) 570-7387.

Rocket Lab to Acquire SolAero Holdings

Rocket Lab USA, Inc., a global leader in launch services and space systems based in Long Beach, announced it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire SolAero Holdings, Inc. a premier supplier of space solar power products and precision aerospace structures for the global aerospace market, for $80 million in cash. The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.

The acquisition aligns with Rocket Lab’s growth strategy of vertical integration to deliver a comprehensive space solution that spans spacecraft manufacture, satellite subsystems, flight software, ground operations, and launch.

As one of only two companies producing high-efficiency, space-grade solar cells in the United States, SolAero’s space solar cells are among the highest performing in the world and support civil space exploration, science, defense and intelligence, and commercial markets. In combining with Rocket Lab, SolAero will tap into the company’s resources and manufacturing capability to boost high-volume production, making high-performing space power technologies available at scale.

Founded in 1998 and headquartered in Albuquerque, New Mexico, SolAero’s solar cells, solar panels, and composite structural products have supported more than 1,000 successful space missions with 100% reliability and mission success to date. Over the past two decades, SolAero’s products have played key roles in some of the industry’s most ambitious space missions, including supplying power to NASA’s Parker Solar Probe and Mars Insight Lander, the largest solar array ever deployed on the surface of Mars, and several Cygnus Cargo Resupply Missions to the International Space Station.

The addition of SolAero’s 425-strong team brings Rocket Lab’s total headcount to more than 1,100 employees across its space manufacturing complexes, test facilities, and launch sites in California, Virginia, Colorado, Maryland, Toronto, New Zealand and now Albuquerque, New Mexico. The SolAero team will continue to be led by President and CEO Brad Clevenger at SolAero’s production facilities in Albuquerque.

Celebrate the Holiday Season Responsibly

This holiday season, the Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) reminds the public to celebrate the holiday season responsibly by not driving under the influence.

LBPD is committed to keeping our community safe and encourages everyone to stay in for the night or use a designated sober driver if you have alcohol, marijuana, prescription, or over-the-counter drugs that may impair.

From Dec. 15 through New Year’s Day, LBPD will have additional officers on patrol looking for drivers suspected of being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs. The extra enforcement effort is part of a national campaign, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, with the goal of stopping suspected impaired drivers who put others on the road at risk.

“When it comes to consuming drugs and/or alcohol and driving, there is a right and wrong choice,” Lieutenant Stephanie Hall said. “Make the right choice by not driving impaired so everyone is able to enjoy the holidays.”

Impaired driving is not just from alcohol. Do your research and understand how certain drugs may affect your driving ability.

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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