Bits 'n' Pieces

$25,000 Reward Offered

The City of Long Beach, with support from the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, has issued a $25,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension and/or conviction of Octavio Montano Islas, the driver responsible for the early March double fatal hit-and-run collision that tragically killed two Long Beach residents, 42-year-old Jose Palacios Gonzales and 3-year-old Samantha Palacios. The city is contributing $15,000 and the Board of Supervisors is contributing $10,000, for a total reward of $25,000.

The item regarding the reward was brought to the Long Beach City Council on March 22 and approved. On April 5, the Board of Supervisors approved the county’s support toward a reward.

On March 1, at approximately 10 p.m., Long Beach Police Department (LBPD) officers were dispatched to the area of Artesia Boulevard and Rose Avenue regarding a collision of a vehicle into a building. Upon arrival, officers discovered a 2014 Dodge Ram pickup truck collided with an apartment building in the 6600 block of Rose Avenue which resulted in the death of two victims. The driver fled the scene and remains outstanding.

On March 9, LBPD announced the suspect had been identified as 24-year-old Octavio Montano Islas and that detectives presented a case against Islas to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, who issued an arrest warrant.

Medical Center Performs More Than 50 Procedures

The MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Medical Center has successfully performed over 50 procedures to date using MitraClip to treat mitral regurgitation. Mitral regurgitation occurs when a person has a loose mitral valve in their heart, causing the blood to flow backward, putting an extra strain on the heart. If left untreated, it can cause serious complications such as heart failure.

MitraClip is a non-surgical minimally invasive treatment option for mitral regurgitation. During this procedure, a doctor attaches a clip to the mitral valve closing it entirely, restoring normal blood flow throughout the heart. Most patients who undergo this procedure are considered too high-risk or unable to undergo traditional heart surgery. Long Beach Medical Center is one of the few hospitals in Southern California that offer MitraClip.

Before a patient can get this procedure done, they must first be evaluated by a multi-disciplinary team at the Valve Clinic at the MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Medical Center. Patients that are deemed appropriate to undergo the MitraClip procedure have been vetted by a heart team and have been determined to be unfit to undergo mitral valve surgery.

David Shavelle, MD, medical director, Adult Cardiology & Interventional Lab, MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, Long Beach Medical Center and Marc Sakwa, MD, chief, Cardiology Surgery, MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute, Long Beach Medical Center oversee the team involved in the procedures.

The MemorialCare Heart & Vascular Institute at Long Beach Medical Center diagnoses cardiovascular disease using the most advanced and minimally invasive approaches. The Institute’s nationally recognized physicians and treatments aim to provide complete comprehensive cardiovascular care. Learn more at memorialcare.org/ComplexHeart.

Celebration of the Young Child at Library

The City of Long Beach will host its fourth annual “Celebration of the Young Child” event on Saturday, April 30, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Billie Jean King Main Library, located at 200 W. Broadway and on the grounds of the new Lincoln Park in downtown. The celebration is a free annual event to showcase vendors who provide services and resources for young children and their families and caregivers. All families are welcome to attend to learn about various available resources and engage in fun, family friendly entertainment.

The celebration will include information booths from local and regional education centers, agencies and vendors who provide services to families and children up to age 6. Booths will be set up outside on the BJK Library terrace with educational handouts that promote healthy child development, resources for parents, and fun and educational hands-on activities like no-mess painting and hula hoop games.

Other event activities include story times, songs and movement for toddlers and preschool-aged children, hosted by Library staff, and performances by local children’s performing groups that will take place in the adjacent Lincoln Park, among other entertainment offerings. Families are encouraged to come for the information but stay for the fun! Free parking will be available in the Civic Center parking garage located at the corner of Broadway and Chestnut Avenue.

This year, the Celebration will be held jointly at the Billie Jean King Main Library and the newly opened Lincoln Park. Public spaces like libraries and city parks play vital roles in the healthy development of children, and the organizing committee is thrilled to host this year’s event in the revitalized downtown area.

The Celebration of the Young Child event is a citywide event made possible by a collaboration between the Health Department’s Early Childhood Education Program, the Long Beach Public Library, and the Mayor’s Fund for Education.

New Kinesiology Labs

Long Beach City College (LBCC) celebrated the completion of its newest facility – the state-of-the-art Kinesiology Labs and Aquatic Center (KLAC) – with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the Liberal Arts Campus site on April 1.

Highlights of the new 18-acre athletic complex include:

  • New artificial turf soccer and softball fields
  • New tennis courts
  • New beach sand volleyball courts
  • New 50 x 25 meter Olympic-size swimming pool and 12,000 square feet of support facilities in the Aquatic Center

The new athletic facilities will meet the long-term needs of the Intercollegiate Athletics Department, providing premiere space where students can learn, train, practice and compete. Softball, Swimming & Diving, Water Polo, Men’s and Women’s Soccer, Tennis and Beach Volleyball programs will all take advantage of the new KLAC complex.

Construction began in Spring 2020 and the project was primarily funded through Measure E and Measure LB bond funds approved by the voters for renovation and modernization at both LBCC’s Pacific Coast and Liberal Arts Campuses.

Rocket Lab Senior Vice President Appointed.

Rocket Lab USA, based in Long Beach, announced that Arjun Kampani joined the company as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. Kampani will lead Rocket Lab’s legal and regulatory affairs, guiding the company on all legal, governance, ethics and compliance matters.

Kampani brings to Rocket Lab over two decades of experience advising and leading public and private businesses, including more than 18 years of experience in the aerospace industry. Kampani joins Rocket Lab from his most recent role at Aerojet Rocketdyne, where he served as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary managing and advising on a broad range of issues including all aspects of corporate law, corporate governance, securities law, litigation, mergers and acquisitions, international transactions and legal, ethics and compliance issues.

Prior to Aerojet Rocketdyne, Kampani spent 10 years at General Dynamics Corporation where he was its top mergers and acquisitions lawyer, completing 30+ acquisitions and divestitures, before going on to serve as vice president, general counsel & secretary for General Dynamics Land Systems, a $4 billion international business.

Kampani began his career in New York at an AM Law 100 firm and his educational background includes a Juris Doctor from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Michigan. He is also a member of the New York State Bar and California Bar.

Kampani’s appointment comes as Rocket Lab expands as an end-to-end space company across launch and space systems, delivering innovative technology and services across the entire space economy for satellite operators. Rocket Lab’s recent series of strategic acquisitions strengthens the Company’s position as a leading mission partner across launch, satellite design and volume manufacture and on-orbit operations, with Kampani to play a key role in executive management across all legal functions of the expanded business.

City Seeks Proposals

The City of Long Beach is seeking proposals from highly experienced contractors interested in serving as the administrator for the cleanup and restoration of sites affected by encampments in parks and open spaces. The city recently launched a Request for Proposals (RFP) for park and beach cleaning, litter abatement and special collections services within city parks, open spaces and beaches. Now through April 28 at 11 a.m., eligible companies are encouraged to submit proposals through the city’s RFP Vendor Portal, PlanetBids, for consideration.

Conducting high-quality maintenance and litter abatement across the more than 160 city parks are critical components to providing vibrant, healthy and safe parks for the Long Beach community. These efforts include the safe and respectful clean up and collection of special waste items and encampment belongings of those experiencing homelessness.

The RFP seeks to identify qualified contractors with expertise in clean up and litter abatement in parks and open spaces, including the removal of large items, bio-hazardous and waste material, and illegally dumped items. The services will assist the city in providing safe and clean parks and open spaces. To be eligible, contractors must meet the following criteria:

  • Experience with large clean-ups
  • Ability to respond to work assignments at 48 hours’ notice
  • Have proper operational equipment and staffing model to complete necessary work
  • Ability to discern and sort personal items from waste material
  • Ability to require participation in trauma-informed training to all staff
  • Ability to treat park patrons, people experiencing homelessness and service animals with respect.

Details related to scope areas, eligibility requirements and submission instructions are available at PlanetBids. The city also has developed an instructional video on the registration process.

This opportunity is made possible by Long Beach Recovery Act, a plan to fund economic and public health initiatives for Long Beach residents, workers and businesses critically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. A total of $4 million has been allocated support clean city efforts throughout the city like park and public right of way cleanups, litter abatement and partnering with neighborhood associations for Economic Recovery. Additional information about the Long Beach Recovery Act is available at longbeach.gov/recovery.

Time to Apply for Civil Grand Jury

The California Grand Jurors’ Association (CGJA) issues its annual call for citizens who want to make a difference as a local government watchdog to apply for service on their respective county’s 2022-2023 civil grand jury.

The annual selection process often starts with an informational session to learn about the requirements and responsibilities of being a civil grand juror. Interested volunteers fill out applications with their Superior Court that confirm they are a U.S. citizen, at least 18 years old, reside in the county where they’re applying, and are fluent in English.

If selected as a civil grand juror, applicants must have sufficient time to work throughout their year of service. Those impaneled by the court as grand jurors will serve a one-year term, beginning July 1, 2022, in most counties.

For more information, go to www.cgja.org.

LBPD Promotions

The Long Beach Police Department announced the promotion of 38 employees who were recognized during a recent promotion ceremony. This event was the first in-person promotion ceremony since 2020.

Command level promotions include Deputy Chief Gerardo Prieto appointed on Dec. 4, 2021, Deputy Chief Patrick O’Dowd appointed on Jan. 29, 2022, Bureau Chief Ruby Marin-Jordan appointed on May 22, 2021, Administrator Luis Frausto appointed on Sept. 11, 2021, and Administrator Reid Branche-Wilson appointed on Feb. 14, 2022.

Employees recognized during the virtual ceremony include:

Deputy Chief: Gerardo Prieto and Patrick O’Dowd

Bureau Chief: Ruby Marin-Jordan

Administrator: Luis Frausto and Reid Branche-Wilson

Commander: Ty Burford, Ryan LeBaron, Gregory Schirmer, Megan Zabel, Darren Lance, Lee DeBrabander, Byron Blair and Michael Richens.

Lieutenant: Curtis Yee, Stephanie Hall, Timothy Long, Jose Flores, Paul Gallo, Jason Garrido and Michael DePrete.

Sergeant: Juan Mendoza, Patrick Lyon, Bernardo Barajas, Juan Gomez, Carlos Grimaldo, Matthew Heady, James Mondragon, Daisy Paul, Carlos Sandoval, David Weise, Matthew Hernandez, Lisa McCourt, Gary Lawson and Jose Orantes.

Police Property Supply Clerk II: Elena Barnett

Special Services Officer IV: Yudy Gomez, Rogelio Martinez and Robert Ware.

Admiral Kidd Playground Equipment Ordered

Partners of Parks Long Beach (POP) announced today they placed the order for the playground equipment to begin the process of rebuilding Admiral Kidd Park playground, which was mysteriously burned due to a suspicious fire last July.

POP negotiated a discount savings of $24,000 on the equipment purchase from Landscape Structures, Inc. (LSI) and was able to place the order before equipment prices were scheduled to increase on April 15th, 2022.

Partners of Parks kicked off the capital campaign October 7th, 2021, with a $10,000 funding match, and was soon joined by the Earl B. and Loraine H. Miller Foundation with their pledge. Marathon Petroleum Foundation led with a naming gift of $250,000, followed by Amazon, with a $150,000 gift. The New L Family Fund and Junior League of Long Beach have also made significant contributions. The rebuild campaign has raised more than $450,000 to date, with a number of foundation requests still pending. Additional funds raised will go towards surfacing, foundation, storage, build and permit costs.

“I am grateful we were able to realize the discount and get the order placed before equipment prices went up. As a nonprofit, it’s important to us that the dollars go as far as possible,” shared Executive Director, Trinka Rowsell. “The Amazon gift brought us to a funding milestone where we were able to order the equipment. That has always been our immediate goal.”

Community members can still purchase a personalized brick to be placed at the playground site with their family name or message for $300 or $600 at www.tinyurl.com/helpkidd. The City of Long Beach also recently announced they’ve identified surplus budget funds from Fiscal Year 2021 Measure A to fulfill the remainder of the estimated $1 million project after all Partners of Parks funding requests have been completed.

“We appreciate the tremendous work Partners of Parks has done to contribute to the rebuilding effort so we can restore this safe space for children to play,” said Parks, Recreation and Marine Director Brent Dennis.

“Partners of Parks has done an outstanding job raising funds to restore the playground. I’m also pleased that the Council was able to approve Fiscal Year 2021 Measure A surplus budget funds as we are all eager to rebuild,” shared Seventh District Councilmember Roberto Uranga.

Partners of Parks is the Long Beach non-profit that helps subsidize park programming and activities, and supports neighborhood groups who fund and host events in Long Beach parks. The organization supports the Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine Department by working with donors to fund new tree plantings, new amenities and new programming benefitting teens, seniors and families-in-need.

Since 2014, the Partners of Parks Youth Scholarship Program has awarded more than $50,000 to enable qualified LBUSD students to attend fee-based recreation classes and camps at no charge. For more information, visit partnersofparks.org.

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