Bits 'n' Pieces

Free Summer Food Service

For the 43rd year in a row, the City of Long Beach Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine (PRM) will offer the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Summer Food Service Program to provide free, nutritious meals to Long Beach children and youth throughout the summer months.

Beginning June 21 through August 26, PRM will provide free meals for children and youth Monday through Friday, with times varying at each site between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. (excluding July 4). Meals will be available to all attending children and youth between 1 and 18 years old. Infant meals will not be provided. Meals will consist of well-balanced, nutritious options and will include cold components such as milk, juice, fruits and vegetables.

The Summer Food Service Program began in Long Beach in 1979 and has since provided more than two million meals to children and teens, ages 1 to 18 years. The program was established to ensure that during the school summer break, children would be able to receive the same well-balanced meals they receive during the school year.

This year, the program will operate at 24 locations throughout Long Beach and Signal Hill. The full list of locations where meals will be provided is available by calling the Summer Food Office at (562) 570-3524.

LGB Welcomes Breeze

Long Beach Airport (LGB) announced the addition of Breeze Airways, a new airline set to start service from LGB this fall.

Breeze is a new Utah-based airline that offers nonstop service between underserved routes across the United States. The company, with a fleet of Airbus 220-300, Embraer 190 and Embraer 195 aircraft, first launched in May 2021 with a flight from Tampa International Airport to Charleston International Airport. The destination for Breeze Airways’ service to and from Long Beach has not yet been announced.

“It’s no secret – airlines and travelers know that Long Beach is the coolest and most convenient gateway to Southern California,” said Long Beach Airport Director Cynthia Guidry. “Our airport is in a strong position to retain and attract airlines such as Breeze Airways that connect our great city to visitors and new, exciting destinations.”

The new carrier will be joining American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines and Southwest Airlines already offering passenger service at LGB. Breeze was awarded one of two available permanent flight slots at LGB this month after those slots were relinquished by Delta on April 19. Southwest was awarded the other remaining slot to enhance its service at Long Beach Airport.

As one of the strictest noise-controlled airports in the nation, LGB offers a total of 53 flight slots. There are 41 permanent and 12 supplemental slots, the latter of which are subject to review under the annual noise budget.

Long Beach Airport currently offers nonstop service to 15 destinations across the nation, including Hawaii. Learn more at

Record $194,000 Raised at Awards Luncheon

On Thursday, May 26, nearly 400 community and business leaders, politicians, educators and residents mingled and enjoyed a ranch-style barbecue and music by the California Cowboy Band on the grounds of Rancho Los Alamitos at its Cottonwood Awards Luncheon. This one-of-a-kind experience hosted by the rancho celebrates individuals who have shown significant leadership in enhancing the cultural communities of the Southern California region and raises funds for the historic site.

Presenting sponsors were the Don Temple Family Charitable Foundation, Port of Long Beach and Signal Hill Petroleum. Master of Ceremonies, Steve Goodling, introduced speakers including Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia and Councilmembers Daryl Supernaw and Suzie Price. Randy Gordon, with his booming auctioneer’s voice, challenged the crowd to “Pony Up!” for the rancho, which they did in record numbers.

Cyrus Parker-Jeannette and Dr. Jeff Klaus of CSULB introduced Rue Cepeda-Partida and Julie Haltom as the 2022 Cottonwood Scholars.

This year’s recipients of the 2022 Cottonwood Award for Leadership were Marlene Temple and the Don Temple Family Charitable Foundation. The award was presented by Bonnie Lowenthal, a member of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners, who praised Temple for her enthusiasm, generosity and energy in promoting Long Beach and its cultural institutions.

Marlene Temple and her husband, Don Temple, founded the Don Temple Family Charitable Foundation in 2006. She is a member of the Board of Directors of Rancho Los Alamitos Foundation and the Board of Trustees of Musical Theater West and Memorial Medical Center. She actively supports International City Theatre, Long Beach Playhouse, the Dramatic Allied Arts Guild, Steel Magnolias, Ronald McDonald House and Aquarium of the Pacific, among others.

The 2022 Cottonwood Award for Service and Commitment was presented to TABC/Toyota – Jim Zehmer, president for their significant impact on the cultural development of the City of Long Beach. This year marks TABC’s 50th anniversary in Long Beach. It opened in 1972 as Toyota’s first manufacturing plant in North America. Since then, TABC has established deep roots in Long Beach and is a respected community partner and employer, with more than 300 employees. Its community involvement includes grantmaking, nonprofit board leadership for several organizations, employee volunteerism, Long Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and more.

Funds raised by the sold-out event support the extraordinary educational programs the Rancho provides to children, families and visitors to the site. Rancho Los Alamitos, the “Ranch of the Little Cottonwoods,” is a Long Beach City Landmark and is twice listed on the National Register of Historic Places and has been home to diverse cultures for over 7,000 years. It includes a ranch house (ca. 1790-1933), 4 acres of lush historic gardens, an interpretive center, a gift shop stocked with books and unique items and a restored barnyard with livestock including horses, sheep, goats, chickens and ducks.  

My Hood, My City

The City of Long Beach Department has launched the program My Hood, My City to engage youth through civics education and leadership development. The program, led by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Youth Development in partnership with the Youth Leadership Institute, provides youth-led storytelling through neighborhood tours that raise awareness, pride and knowledge regarding the cultural and structural makeup of neighborhoods in north, west and central Long Beach.

My Hood, My City supports Long Beach young people ages 14 to 24 and communities of color living in historically divested neighborhoods that have experienced disproportionate volumes of violence and poverty, as well as areas disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. Approximately 10 young people will be engaged in each neighborhood by the Youth Leadership Institute to develop the neighborhood storytelling tours, which will take place both digitally and in person.

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Entrepreneurs Share $20,000 Start-Up Award

A “Shark Tank”-style business pitch competition organized by the Downtown Long Beach Alliance (DLBA) has netted big catches for seven local entrepreneurs selected to receive portions of a grant totaling $20,000 to fuel their small businesses.

In its fifth year, the Pitchfest Incubator Awards were presented to business owners who pitched their own unique plans to a judging panel of Long Beach’s economic and community leaders. To qualify for Pitchfest, those business owners first completed the DLBA’s five-week Entrepreneur & Small Business Education Series, a program coordinated in partnership with Long Beach State University’s Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Farmers & Merchants Bank.

The Pitchfest Incubator Award 2022 winners – who also receive one-on-one legal and business strategy support from Stone Law & Consulting, among other prizes – include:

  • Andrew Boven & Shadia Auguste ($3,000) to support the development of Cheri’s Caribbean Kitchen, a planned restaurant to bring Caribbean taste and culture to Downtown.
  • Mary Warner ($2,000) for the start-up Kelpie to create a swimsuit bottom that would be comfortable for trans children to wear.
  • Daniel Sherman ($2000), a financial advisor and coach, for MindWallet, his investment advisory business that provides “peace of mind for your wallet” and specializes in high yield bonds.
  • Komal Gada, a Ph.D. candidate ($6,500) to improve the efficiency and longevity of a wind turbine blade through a company called PAVANAS, which has created a vortex generator add-on tape that is patent pending
  • Marta Wrobel & Christian Gruenert ($2,500) for plus3mm, a creative design studio that is launching operations in the United States and Germany.
  • Vanessa Hernandez ($2,000) for her Mobile Wine Bar SoCal business concept, a pop-up mobile wine bar experience for any private event.
  • Tonya Spurling ($2,000), an entrepreneur who developed SistaGals Baked Goods. Her concept involves selling authentic Southern desserts “made from scratch with love and butter.”

Komal Gada, who won the largest prize, will use the funding to continue his nature-inspired aerodynamically efficient work on wind turbine technology. Pursuing his doctorate in a joint program at CSULB and Claremont Graduate University, he believes solutions to fight global warming can be found in nature and said PAVANAS will one day help reduce CO2 emissions.

New Deputy City Manager

City Manager Tom Modica announced the appointment of Katy Nomura to deputy city manager. Nomura will work alongside the city manager and assistant city manager as part of the city’s executive management team to implement city policies and programs.

Nomura brings to Long Beach an extensive portfolio in city government, serving nearly 10 years in the City of Cupertino’s city manager’s office, most recently as deputy city manager. Nomura will begin her new role on June 20.

As deputy city manager, Nomura will work collaboratively with all department directors to ensure policies and programs enacted by the Long Beach City Council are successfully implemented and that city departments are strategically working together to align city-wide goals and projects that will meet the diverse needs of the Long Beach community.

Nomura is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Public Administration from San Jose State University, holds a master’s degree in business administration from Quantic School of Business and Technology and holds two bachelor’s degrees from the University of California, Berkley, one in industrial engineering and operations research and another in conservation and resource studies.

Long Beach Buys

The City of Long Beach has launched Long Beach Buys, a new purchasing platform and marketplace that is free for all businesses and organizations seeking to do business with the city. The new procurement software positions the city to more effectively engage with local, diverse and disadvantaged businesses and facilitates the lowering of barriers for prospective businesses to contract with the city with easy-to-use technology, a landing page and instructions available in multiple languages and an expeditious vendor onboarding process. Long Beach Buys is part of the city’s extreme procurement makeover initiative, which aims to enhance the city’s procurement process to be more efficient, results-driven, equitable and sustainable.

New contracting opportunities with the city will be posted on Long Beach Buys webpage. Registering allows potential vendors to submit proposals to the many various opportunities with the city.

Long Beach Buys is part of a comprehensive evaluation and reform of the city’s procurement processes and includes recommendations related to the city’s language access policy, the “Everyone In” Initiative and the Framework for Racial Equity and Reconciliation. The platform’s data and reporting module provides dashboards and reporting on vendor demographics and other statistics, supporting the tracking of progress on equity goals and providing potential for greater transparency to the public on the city’s procurement activities.

The contract milestone tracking and management feature also makes it easier for city staff to effectively manage contracts, which means fewer city resources spent on administrative functions and more value out of contract performance. 

To ensure local businesses were aware of the development and launch of Long Beach Buys, city staff provided targeted direct outreach to more than 5,000 small businesses within the city’s business licensing database, in addition to email notifications to over 25,000 current vendors.


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