Bits N Pieces

CSULB Fall 2017 Applicants Reaches All-Time High

Applications by new students for enrollment at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) for the upcoming Fall 2017 term again reached an all-time high as the university received a combined 91,268 applications from first-time freshmen (61,716) and transfers (29,552). The application totals were the most received by any California State University (CSU) campus.

“CSULB has made remarkable strides in graduating students with degrees that transformed their lives, and record numbers of prospective students are hoping to follow that pathway,” said President Jane Close Conoley. “Investing in our state’s systems of public higher education is an investment in the future of California. With additional state support, we would gladly accept more students.”

Efforts to increase graduation rates have resulted in CSULB conferring more than 10,000 degrees in each of the last two years. While efforts to improve graduation rates have resulted in more opportunities for new students to attend CSULB, the university’s ability to meet the demands of the tens of thousands of qualified applicants seeking a high-quality education is constrained by limited state support.

Among efforts to improve access and the college-going rates of students in the region is a partnership in the Long Beach College Promise. Applications submitted by students seeking to transfer from partner institution Long Beach City College have increased by 16 percent over the past three years.

With nationally recognized, award-winning faculty and innovative programs, CSULB continues to garner accolades that build its reputation among prospective students, earning a place among the most popular universities for both incoming freshmen and transfers. The university has earned national rankings from various outlets including U.S. News and World Report and Washington Monthly and was recently selected among the “Best College Values” by Kiplinger.

More people study art and design at CSULB than at any other public university in the nation. The music program boasts the Choir of the World after the Bob Cole Conservatory Choir earned the Pavarotti Trophy by winning the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales. On the fields and courts, CSULB’s student athletes, captured five consecutive Big West Commissioner’s Cups from 2010-11 to 2014-15.

Gift to CSULB Creates an Endowed Deanship

California State University, Long Beach’s (CSULB) College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics received a $2.3 million gift from an anonymous donor that will create an endowed dean position in the college as well as a graduate fellowship, the university announced today.

“In an era of budget cuts and associated reductions in state funding, the philanthropy of the Beach Community is more important than ever,” said President Jane Close Conoley. “Through their generosity, donors become partners in fulfilling our mission of student success. This endowment will help the university recruit and retain a truly visionary individual to be the next dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics. We are incredibly grateful for such a transformational gift.”

CSULB is recruiting a new dean for the college to replace Laura Kingsford, who announced in September she would step down from the position to focus on leading the university’s efforts surrounding Building Infrastructure Leading to Diversity (BUILD), a campus-wide program offering intensive research-training opportunities for undergraduate students interested in pursuing careers in health-related research and funded by the largest National Institutes of Health grant in CSULB history.

By funding an endowed dean position, the gift supports the teaching, scholarly work and service to the community of the dean and is a critical aspect that boosts recruiting and retaining the best possible individual for the position.

This marks the first endowed dean position at CSULB and just the third in the entire California State University system as CSULB joins San Diego State (Business) and San Jose State (Engineering).

Additionally, the gift will also create an endowed fellowship in the college providing funding for students to pursue graduate studies.

The College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics is a leader in undergraduate and graduate student research. The college’s six departments offer 22 degree programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels and enrolls more than 4,400 students.

LBPD Receives Significant Achievement Award

The Long Beach Police Department has been selected to receive the Significant Achievement Award from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) for their work through the ABC Grant Assistance Program (GAP).

The grant resulted in 70 arrests, multiple undercover operations, underage drinking enforcement operations, numerous Informed Merchants Preventing Alcohol Crime Tendencies (IMPACT) inspections, increased visits to ABC licensed businesses, and a stronger bond between citizens in the community and law enforcement.

ABC Acting Director Ramona Prieto said “The Long Beach Police Department did important work increasing protection for youth, addressing concerns brought to them from the community and sending a message to problem locations that they need to do a better job of complying with alcoholic beverage laws”.

The grant was one of nearly 50 awarded in California to local law enforcement agencies through ABC’s Grant Assistance Program (GAP). The program has helped strengthen local law enforcement by combining the efforts of local police officers and ABC agents. ABC agents have expertise in alcoholic beverage laws and help communities try to reduce alcohol-related problems.

The GAP Program was created in 1995 to strengthen partnerships between ABC and local law enforcement agencies. The program is designed to put bad operators out of business, keep alcohol away from minors and bring penalties such as fines, suspensions or revocations against businesses that violate the law. Funds are used to reduce the number of alcoholic beverage sales to minors, obviously intoxicated patrons, illegal solicitations of alcohol, and other criminal activities such as the sale and possession of illegal drugs.

The GAP Program has distributed over $46 million to local law enforcement to help increase compliance with alcoholic beverage laws. ABC is a department of the Business, Consumer Services and Housing Agency.

Help Create Jobs

The holiday season provides the perfect opportunity to give thanks and to give back to people who are facing challenges within our communities. Youth, particularly those at risk for delinquency, need assistance to help them succeed in spite of the unfortunate circumstances they may have encountered. This season, Goodwill, Serving the People of Southern Los Angeles County (SOLAC) encourages you to give them the gift of employment.

In the spirit of holiday giving, Goodwill is urging everyone to make a real difference by giving a financial gift or donating stuff to Goodwill SOLAC. Your gifts and donations are used to help fund industry specific job training, follow along support services and job placement services as well as community-based services, such as career counseling, financial education and industry-recognized credentials. And those services go to help people who need a hand up, not a handout. One such person who benefitted from Goodwill services is Tiarra Barrera-Hammond.

Tiarra faced many challenges in her early 20s when she moved to Southern California in hopes of a fresh start. As a single mother with two young children, Tiarra faced more challenges than expected, including becoming homeless. Months later, she learned about Goodwill SOLAC’s Certified Nurse Assistant (CNA) Training Program. Determined to support herself and her family, Barrera-Hammond soon enrolled in the training program. It was the beginning of her journey to become a registered nurse.

While enrolled in the CNA program, Barrera-Hammond said that she felt called to care for and nurture others in need. She took pre-requisite courses for the registered nurse (RN) program at Long Beach City College. After graduating from the Goodwill’s CNA program, she remained in school full-time to complete her RN pre-requisite courses. She was eventually accepted into the college’s Associate Degree nursing program, and she earned her degree two years later.

Barrera-Hammond ultimately passed the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nursing. Now married with three children, Tiarra is serving a two-year contract to work as an RN at Dignity Health – St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach. Earlier this year, Goodwill Industries International named Tiarra as its Kenneth Shaw Graduate of the Year.

During this holiday season, if you’re having trouble coming up with great gift ideas, Goodwill SOLAC encourages you to give the gift of employment.

Tracy Colunga Named Innovation Team Director

City Manager Patrick H. West named Tracy Colunga the director of the city’s Innovation Team (i-team). Colunga brings more than 10 years of professional experience with the City of Long Beach, including eight years in a management capacity.

Colunga has served as the City’s Neighborhood Relations Officer since 2015. Under her leadership, the city has garnered $3.1 million in federal, state and private grants to work with residents to co-create human-centered solutions that improve safety and livability. She spearheaded the development of Safe Long Beach Violence Prevention Plan, the city’s Language Access Policy implementation and most recently My Brother’s Keeper Long Beach Local Action Plan implementation.

In addition, she oversees the Long Beach Human Relations Commission and the Long Beach Gang Reduction and Intervention Program. She administered the U.S. Department of Justice Weed and Seed Grant for the Long Beach Health and Human Services Department from 2007 to 2012. She started her career with the City of Long Beach as the Early Childhood Education Coordinator in 2006.

She is replacing John Keisler, who was promoted to the position of director of Economic and Property Development.

Colunga holds a Master’s Degree of Social Work from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from St. Mary’s College in Notre Dame, Ind. She was a part-time lecturer in the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs for five years and recently joined the faculty as a lecturer at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) Masters of Social Work Program. She is a longtime resident of Long Beach.

The i-team was made possible by a three year, $3 million grant from the Bloomberg Philanthropies in 2015. Since its inception the Long Beach i-team has attracted approximately $750,000 in outside funding to support economic development initiatives such as the city’s new business portal for entrepreneurs BizPort, the Harvey Milk Park Project, and the Economic Development Blueprint project in partnership with the city’s Economic Development Commission.

Five Coral Trees Must Be Removed

Five coral trees on Ocean Boulevard and Cherry Avenue are dying, with significant trunk and root decay, and are at risk of falling. These trees experienced limb failure over the summer at an increasing rate, and members of the public are often within the fall zone. To ensure public safety at the popular Bixby Annex location, the Department of Parks, Recreation and Marine (PRM) must remove these trees.

“We are always saddened to see any of our beloved trees removed, but as these specific trees die and pose a significant safety risk, our priority is to ensure that our parks are safe and the rest of our trees are as healthy as possible,” said Marie Knight, Director of Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine.

Health and safety risk assessments from two arborists concluded that the risk categorization for the five trees is “probable” failure with “severe” consequences, and recommended removing the trees. These five trees have multiple problems that cannot be mitigated through the pruning process.

Twelve other trees in the area will be structurally pruned, as recommended by arborists, in an effort to prolong their lifespan.

The work will begin in early January 2017, and signage has been posted to inform the community.

Twenty-two coral trees in the area range in height from 20 to 60 feet, and have canopies spreading the same distance. All had increased limb failure over the summer. These soft wood trees are naturally brittle, multi-trunked and prone to decay, causing them to split apart or drop limbs during periods of extreme heat and drought.

The city is dedicated to ensuring that all trees enjoy a long and healthy life, and will continue to monitor their conditions. A replacement plan for the trees, utilizing best practices, will be developed as the ongoing drought conditions continue.

For more information about Long Beach Parks, Recreation and Marine tree trimming activity, please visit

Renovations at LGB Parking Lot A Begin in January

Long Beach Airport (LGB) will begin renovations to one of its two parking lots shortly after the busy holiday travel season. The improvements will be made to Lot A, the parking structure located nearest to the historic terminal.

The renovations will include:

  • Replacing enclosed staircases with outdoor, open air stairways
  • Replacing the existing elevator with two updated elevators
  • Modifying vehicle entry and exit points
  • Improving lighting and interior painting
  • Restriping parking spaces

“We take great pride in maintaining our facilities at the highest levels for our customers,” said Airport Director Jess L. Romo, AAE. “These improvements demonstrate our commitment to excellent service and convenience at Long Beach Airport.”

Parking Lot A will close on January 7 for the renovations. The last day travelers will be permitted to park in the garage will be Thursday, Dec. 29. All vehicles must exit the garage by Friday, Jan. 6 or be subject to towing, so travelers are advised to plan accordingly and park in Lot B if they won’t return from their trips until after that date.

Airport staff will continue outreach using multiple platforms to ensure the word gets out to those affected by Lot A’s closure, including signage posted throughout the garage. The renovations are expected to be completed by fall 2017.

For general parking information, ABM Parking Services at LGB may be reached at (562) 377-

Travel Tips:

  • Go green and take the bus. Long Beach Transit has a convenient stop at the airport on Barbara London Drive.
  • Relax and let someone else do the driving. If you’re able, have a friend or family member drop you off right in front of the terminal.
  • Treat yourself to some luxury. Valet parking is available for $24 per day just north of the terminal, and includes a free car wash.
  • If you’re staying at a local hotel, see if they have a shuttle to the airport.
  • If you must drive yourself, Lot B at the airport is still a convenient and affordable option at just $17 per day. 



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