Bits 'n' Pieces

2 Days of Watering Per Week Starts June 1

As California continues to face dry conditions, the Board of Water Commissioners voted to implement Stage 2 of the department’s Water Conservation and Water Shortage Supply Plan in which Long Beach residents and businesses must limit outdoor watering to two days per week starting June 1.

Watering under the new guidelines will be permitted only on Tuesdays and Saturdays before 9 a.m. or after 4 p.m. Watering time is limited to 10 minutes per station, or 20 minutes for rotating nozzles. 

Long Beach Water, working together with our community partners, has long been a leader in conservation efforts. Long Beach’s water demand is at about the same level now as it was in the 1950s despite a 40 percent increase in population.

But as we face three of the driest years on record, everyone is being asked to find new ways to save water. Limiting outdoor watering, upgrading with water saving appliances, implementing simple indoor water-saving hacks and even converting turf to water-wise gardens are all ways to conserve. 

And Long Beach Water offers many helpful programs and rebates to make saving water even easier. Residents and business can find more information at LiveH2OLB.com.

Prior to Thursday’s action, Long Beach had been in Stage 1 of the Water Conservation and Water Shortage Supply Plan, which allowed for three days of outdoor watering per week during the summer months and two during the winter months. 

Communities across the state are facing increased water rules, such as the recent action by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, or MWD, limiting several areas to one day per week outdoor watering. MWD supplies imported water to much of Southern California, including Long Beach; however, Long Beach is not directly impacted by the current one-day-a-week restrictions. 

Long Beach Water, with strong support from our community, is committed to continued conservation measures in the face of California’s ongoing drought.

St. Anthony High School Announces New President

Christine Tucker has been appointed the next president of St. Anthony High School by the Regional superintendent of schools in the San Pedro Region, Thom Gaspar Ed.D. In this role as president, Mrs. Tucker will serve as the chief executive of the school and, as such, will hold full responsibility for the implementation of the school mission and all other aspects of the school’s business operations.

She will be directly responsible for the external affairs of the school, for setting a clear vision and developing a strategic plan, and for ensuring sufficient resources, sound fiscal management and financial stability of the school through direct oversight of the business operations, development, alumni, community relations and enrollment management activities. She will partner with principal Marcelo Eureste who will continue to lead St. Anthony’s curricular and co-curricular programs. 

On behalf of Paul Escala, superintendent of schools and the team at the Department of Catholic Schools, Thom Gaspar wished to express his gratitude to the St. Anthony Community for offering their candid input during the process, as well as to the students and members of the search committee who thoughtfully engaged in this search process.  

St. Anthony High School is Long Beach’s only Catholic high school, celebrating its 100th Anniversary this school year. SAHS offers a top-quality, co-educational Catholic college preparatory education with a competitive curriculum and a wealth of athletic, extracurricular and leadership opportunities.

More information is available by visiting the school’s website: www.LongBeachSaints.org.

Partnership to Diversify, Grow Nursing Workforce

Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science (CDU), one of the nation’s four historically Black medical schools, and CommonSpirit Health, one of the nation’s largest nonprofit health systems, parent company of Dignity Health St. Mary Medical Center are responding to the national nursing shortage through a new partnership that will grow and diversify the nursing workforce. 

“Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we predicted a nursing shortage due to the retiring nursing workforce and the care needs of our aging population,” said Kathy Sanford, D.B.A., R.N., chief nursing officer at CommonSpirit. “Nursing schools simply don’t have the capacity to train nurses fast enough to replace those leaving the profession. As one of the nation’s largest employers of nurses, we knew we needed to be part of the solution.”

A 2021 American Association of Colleges of Nursing study found that, although interest in nursing programs is strong, 80,521 qualified applications were not accepted at schools of nursing due primarily to a shortage of clinical sites, faculty and resource constraints. The partnership will expand access to quality education and training by adding faculty and resources that help CDU, one of the nation’s leading educators of Black and other underrepresented minority nurses, grow its enrollment. 

“In addition to clinical excellence, our students are focused on social justice and health equity for underserved populations in our surrounding communities in South Los Angeles and around the world who are affected by health disparities,” said David M. Carlisle, M.D., Ph.D., president and chief executive officer at CDU. “Expanding our program helps increase their impact and the likelihood that diverse patients have access to a provider who looks like them.”

Studies show that having access to a provider with shared lived experience helps improve trust and outcomes, yet only 22.2% of Black adults reported being of the same race as their health care provider compared to 73.8% of White adults.

“In our Southern California Division alone, we employ 10,000 nurses that care for over a million people every year,” said Julie J. Sprengel, president and CEO of CommonSpirit’s Southern California Division. “Together with Charles R. Drew, we’re helping to remove systemic barriers and create a more diverse and dynamic workforce that reflects the communities we serve.”

In addition to expanding capacity at CDU, the partnership seeks to drive early interest in nursing careers among students from under-resourced or underrepresented groups.  CommonSpirit and CDU will establish mentorship programs for diverse high school students and build relationships with pre-college educators and guidance counselors to help ensure that students know their options and the prerequisite coursework necessary for a career in nursing.

“As one of the nation’s leading providers of Medicaid services, this partnership is an extension of CommonSpirit’s larger commitment to increasing culturally competent health care providers,” said Sprengel.

Studentcam Winners

C-SPAN visited Long Beach Polytechnic High School and Millikan High School on Tuesday to honor students for their winning entries in C-SPAN’s annual student video documentary competition, StudentCam. C-SPAN and Charter representatives joined the community in recognizing them at an assembly of classmates, teachers, family and elected officials.

The winning students from Long Beach Polytechnic are:

  • Caden Kawamura and Emerson LaPorta won Second Prize and $1,500 for their video, No Silver Bullet, about homelessness;
  • Alivia Seard, Anya Murrell and Ivy Bragg-Guzman won Third Prize and $750 for their video, An Imperfect Union: Hate Crime Legislation in America;
  • Sebastian Fonseca and Sarah Madden won Third Prize and $750 for their video, A Helping Hand in Times of Crisis, about FEMA;
  • Tika Jonnum and Shakinat Oladepo won Honorable Mention and $250 for their video, The Farm Bill, Who’s Heard of That?;
  • Avery Shirbroun, Mikayla Shekell and Dylan Aulenta won Honorable Mention and $250 for their video, The Reality of LA, about poverty and homelessness;
  • Ruthie Heis, Tejus Deo Dixit and Dia Rubio won Honorable Mention and $250 for their video, The Great American Healthcare Puzzle;
  • Lily Danks, Harper Hogan and Sate You won Honorable Mention and $250 for their video, Are Student Loans Worth It?

The winning students from Milliken High school were:

  • Jake Ritter, Exly Lundahl and Hendrix Crouther won Honorable Mention and $250 for their video, Something in the Water about the impact of federal policy on the supply chain.

The competition, now in its 18th year, invited all middle and high school students to enter by producing a short documentary. C-SPAN, in cooperation with its cable television partners, asked students to explore a federal policy or program and address the theme: “How does the federal government impact your life?”

C-SPAN is funded by America’s cable television companies, who also support StudentCam. In Long Beach, C-SPAN is available locally through Spectrum.

In response, more than 3,000 students across the country participated in the contest. C-SPAN received over 1,400 entries from 41 states, Washington, D.C., Morocco and South Korea. The most popular topics addressed were:

  • Environment & Pollution (10%)
  • Health Care & Mental Health (9%)
  • COVID-19 & Recovery (7%)
  • Immigration (5%)
  • 2nd Amendment & Firearm Legislation (4%)

Fresh Start Campaign Helps Unhoused Neighbors

The Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) has launched its 2022 Fresh Start campaign in partnership with three non-profit service providers who make a significant impact on the local unhoused population offering a pathway to rehabilitation, job training and housing services.

The giving program, which runs through June 24, enables the community to easily donate much-needed supplies such as bath towels and personal hygiene products through Amazon and Costco.

DLBA has also secured commitments from about 25 local businesses – double last year – to host a Fresh Start Donation Box where the general public can drop off much-needed items. All donated products will be delivered by DLBA to three program partners that serve unhoused individuals in Downtown: Long Beach Rescue Mission, Mental Health of America Los Angeles and U.S.VETS - Long Beach.

Fresh Start was launched last year in collaboration with DLBA’s Public Safety and Events & Sponsorships Programming Committees. The program aligns with the recently updated DLBA strategic plan to further address the needs of the unhoused population in Downtown. This includes plans to create a new Homeless Outreach component in its PBID renewal by adding an experienced caseworker who can provide more robust assistance to unhoused individuals in the district, collaborating with social service agencies, non-profits and City of Long Beach departments.

Long Beach, Lakewood Starbucks Unionize

One Starbucks store in Long Beach and another one in Lakewood became the first to unionize in Southern California. The two local stores joined two Santa Cruz locations that had also decided to unionize on May 11. The four stores are amongst the first in California to join the union.

The petition for the Long Beach and Lakewood locations was first filed on March 7, leading to a vote on Friday that officially declared their addition to Workers United, which is part of the Service Employees International Union. About 66 Starbucks locations across the United States have already decided to unionize and over 250 locations have filed petitions to hold a vote on whether to unionize.

The decision to unionize in the Long Beach location came after employees complained of being overworked and underpaid. Both local locations were also driven by the anti-union ideas that were repeatedly brought forward by Starbucks. 

Water Department Rebates

Residents and businesses will see a credit on their water bill in the coming months following a vote by the Board of Water Commissioners to return $21 million in Measure M funds back to ratepayers.

Each customer’s credit amount will be based on the size of their water meter. This means that the credit would be proportional to a customer’s water use and the amount they pay on their monthly bill.

The credit is expected to be about $160 for the average residential customer and from $2,500 to $10,000 for most larger commercial customers. The credit is set to appear on customer bills as soon as possible, likely by July.

The board action follows a court ruling nullifying Measure M, a voter approved measure that facilitated the transfer of money from Long Beach Water’s budget to the City of Long Beach’s General Fund. 

Courts ruled in favor of the plaintiff in a lawsuit challenging the measure’s legality, ordering Long Beach Water to cease collecting revenues under Measure M and directing the city of Long Beach return $30.8 million to the department.

The board action marks the final of several steps to comply with the court decision and resolve all pending issues related to Measure M. 

On March 31, the board voted to return the initial city payment of $9 million to ratepayers in the form of a $100 one-time bill credit. On May 4, the board voted to reduce water rates by 2.54 percent to reflect no longer collecting rate revenue for the purpose of a Measure M transfer to the city’s general fund. That rate change was approved by the Long Beach City Council on May 10.

The Board of Water Commissioners is set to continue discussing the Fiscal Year 2023 budget and rates at upcoming public workshops on May 26, June 9 and June 23. All meetings begin at 9 a.m. at Long Beach Water’s Administration Building, 1800 E. Wardlow Road.

For more information on Long Beach Water, visit LBWater.org.

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