Bits 'n' Pieces

New Airline Maintenance Base at LGB

Hawaiian Airlines is further investing in its operations at Long Beach Airport (LGB) with the establishment of a new maintenance base that opened March 15.

The roughly 3,000-square-foot facility, which was previously occupied by another tenant, is the fourth Hawaiian Airlines maintenance and supply base in North America. It will include one of the airline’s largest supply stocking warehouses, all located within hangar and office space northeast of LGB’s historic terminal on Donald Douglas Drive.  

The opening of the facility creates 17 new positions and mechanics will perform scheduled and non-scheduled maintenance on the airline’s Airbus A321 passenger jet fleet. Operational duties will include inspections, brake service, fluid checks and tire service, among others.

Hawaiian Airlines became the first carrier to connect Long Beach to the Hawaiian Islands when it started Honolulu service in the summer of 2018. Last year, the airline increased its LGB service with daily nonstop flights to Maui.  

LGB encompasses 1,166 acres and has three runways. It is unique among municipal airports for its diverse portfolio of Class A office buildings, retail, industrial facilities, a hotel and a municipal golf course.

VA Hospital Expands Neurosurgery Services

VA Long Beach Healthcare System (VALBHS) will soon begin performing neurosurgery – elective, urgent and emergent – in-house, in lieu of referring veterans to another VA facility and/or community partner.

Veterans diagnosed with spinal disease, multiple sclerosis, Huntington’s disease, epilepsy, brain tumors, lymphomas and aneurysms are some of the many who need and/or can benefit from neurosurgery.

In 2019, VALBHS neurosurgeons identified 275 veterans in need of neurosurgery but referred them to community partners as they could not offer the intervention.

VALBHS is investing $1.5 million in specialized top-notch equipment and additional physicians, residents, nurse practitioners, nurses and radiologists in support of the additional services.

VALBHS expects to expedite and improve the quality of care offered to Veterans with neurosurgical conditions by avoiding transfer delays, consolidating care and meeting individual patient needs.

Neurosurgery will be deployed progressively in a stepwise approach. The first phase will include vagal nerve stimulator implantation and/or battery change, as well as outpatient peripheral neurosurgery, such as spinal cord stimulator implantation, baclofen pump implantation, carpal tunnel release and ulnar nerve decompression.

The second phase will include simple spine surgery and cerebrospinal fluid diversion. The third phase will include complex spine surgery, including thoracic and lumbar fusions. Eventually, phase 4 will include craniotomy and brain tumor operative therapies.

“We look forward to adding this specialty to our already broad array of highly complex and high-quality care,” said Dr. Brian Smith, chief of surgical services at VALBHS.

Chamber PAC Endorses Price for Mayor

The Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce PAC, the political action committee of the chamber, announced the endorsement of Councilwoman Suzie Price for mayor of Long Beach in the 2022 Primary Election on June 7.

“After a long process conducting interviews of multiple mayoral candidates for Long Beach mayor and a robust discussion that followed, the Chamber PAC is confident that Councilwoman Suzie Price is the right individual to lead the city as mayor,” said Jeremy Harris, chamber president & CEO. “Today, we officially begin our support of a pragmatic, pro-business candidate for mayor.”

Currently, Councilwoman Price represents Long Beach’s 3rd Council District. Her priorities as mayor are public safety and providing essential city services.

Elected in 2014 and re-elected in 2018, she believes that in order for Long Beach to fulfill its promise of being a truly great city, it must have a functional and competent city government. As a councilwoman, she has worked across divisions to focus on homelessness, public safety, street repair, infrastructure investment, improving and expanding green spaces, and ensuring Long Beach remains a place where everyone can afford to buy a home and start a business.

Research Links Heart Health to Brain Disease

New research shows that heart disease directly impacts brain function, which can lead to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. All of which are leading causes of death in the United States. Dignity Health cardiac experts urge people to keep their heart and brain health top-of-mind.

Findings from the American Heart Association’s (AHA) 2022 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Update show that coronary heart disease was associated with a 40% increased risk of poor cognitive outcomes, including dementia, cognitive impairment or cognitive decline.

The AHA data, collected over an extended period, indicates that people with midlife hypertension were five times more likely to experience impairment on global cognition and about twice as likely to experience reduced executive function, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

“New research shows us that nearly half of all adults in the U.S. have elevated blood pressure,” explains Watson Desa, MD, cardiologist at Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center. “Knowing what we know about the effects of hypertension on our heart and brain, it is important that we take charge of our health by adopting positive incremental lifestyle changes.”

The latest research by the AHA also demonstrates that heart disease causes a breakdown of critical brain function. In a meta-analysis of four longitudinal studies, the risk for dementia associated with heart failure was nearly two-fold.

“Alzheimer’s and dementia are commonly associated with people over 50. However, lifestyle patterns gradually affect the heart and brain from childhood to young adulthood,” explains Dr. Desa. “It’s never too early to begin eating healthier foods, increasing physical activity or scheduling a routine health check-up.”

The study also found that people with high blood pressure at midlife are 55% more likely to develop impaired cognitive behaviors, including attention, orientation, memory, language and fluency. Additionally, obesity at midlife is associated with a 33% higher risk of developing dementia than people with a normal body mass index.

New Acting Director of Economic Development

Long Beach City Manager Tom Modica announced the appointment of Johnny Vallejo to acting director of the Economic Development Department, effective immediately.

Vallejo has served the city since 2003 and has led several key projects and initiatives in support of the city’s advancements in business development, real estate, workforce development and business operations.

As a director, he will oversee the department’s 85-plus employees with focuses on increasing economic opportunities for residents, investors and entrepreneurs throughout the city and managing the city’s extensive real estate interests.

Aquarium Announces New Board Members

Mark Bertrand, Dan Hopper, Stephanie Leshney, Chanwantha “Sam” Limon and Dr. Stephanie Wear have officially joined the Aquarium of the Pacific’s Board of Directors.

“These new board directors represent advancement in our efforts to add new expertise and experience to the board,” Aquarium Board Chair Ed Feo said. “Each of these new members comes with knowledge and perspectives that will help the Aquarium continue to evolve and better serve our diverse audiences.”

Bertrand is vice president of space and defense for Boeing Capital Corporation. Prior to joining Boeing, he served as director of customer finance for Lockheed Martin Finance Corporation.

Hopper is the director of Resource and Environmental Planning and Strategy for Southern California Edison. He leads efforts at SCE on electrical grid decarbonization, efficient electrification and climate adaptation and resilience, with expertise in economic and electric system analysis, decarbonization strategy and policy development and customer clean energy program planning and development.

Leshney is the founder and president of Dabble & Dollop, which makes bath products for children with natural ingredients that are meant to be mixed with the aim of turning bath time into a science experiment. Prior to launching Dabble & Dollop, Leshney was president and CEO of Ross Organic and a two-time finalist for Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award.

Limon, the first Cambodian American to serve on the Aquarium’s board, is a human resources branch manager for the Los Angeles County Department of Public Social Services. Long Beach is home to the largest population of Cambodians outside of Southeast Asia. 

Wear, the first scientist to join the board, is a member of the Ocean Sewage Alliance’s (OSA) steering committee and facilitated the aquarium’s partnership in the OSA’s global campaign to raise awareness about the problem of ocean pollution from untreated wastewater. Dr. Wear is a marine ecologist, conservation strategy advisor and global spokesperson at The Nature Conservancy.

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