Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Long Beach Annual Christmas Parade in Belmont Shores

The Long Beach community of Belmont Shore was transformed into a winter wonderland this weekend, as marching bands, floats and Santa Claus himself proceeded down 2nd street for the 29th Annual Christmas Parade. While the parade was the main attraction, there was a lot of buzz surrounding the larger-than-life santa hat atop the Farmers and Merchants Bank booth. The booth served as a real-life embodiment of the bank’s Merry Christmas billboard at the entrance of Belmont Shore, which features a Buick-sized Santa Hat that is 5-feet tall and 10-feet long.

In addition to donning the largest Santa Hat on 2nd Street, the F&M booth passed out a fair share of standard sized hats to adults, children, and even pets.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Plastic Bag Changes Coming to Long Beach

LONG BEACH: Big businesses will switch to reusable sacks Aug. 1, smaller stores Jan. 1.

By Kristopher Hanson Staff Writer

LONG BEACH — Businesses across the city are gearing up for a plastic bag ban that begins Aug. 1, but its long-term impact on customers and retailers remains unknown.

The ban, enacted by the City Council in May, makes Long Beach the 12th city or county in California to enact restrictions on plastic bags since San Francisco launched the first ordinance in 2007.

The measure takes effect in two phases. About 66 larger retailers, such as super­markets, drug-store chains and stores including Target and Walmart, are banned from distributing the bags begin­ning Aug. 1, with an estimated 2,000 smaller corner markets, liquor stores and others impacted Jan. 1.

Businesses not offering perishable foods, such as clothiers and sporting goods outlets, are exempt.

The city enacted the law to reduce litter and lessen environmental harm to wild­life, beaches and waterways.

“We’ve estimated there are roughly 1,600 (lightweight) plastic bags used per household every year in Long Beach, and maybe 5 percent are recycled,” said Jim Kuhl, manager of Long Beach’s Environ­mental Services Bureau. “These bags end up on our streets, on our beaches, storm drains. We expect this (ordinance) to help tremendously with our ongoing efforts to reduce litter throughout Long Beach and further the community’s environmental sustainability programs.”

The new Long Beach law is crafted largely from a similar ban recently enacted in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

“We’ve seen estimates that about 19 bil­lion single-use plastic bags are distributed in California each year,” Kuhl said. “It creates a huge waste problem, with these bags blowing through the streets and fill­ing up landfills.”

The ban also imposes a 10-cent fee on paper shopping bags, which will be avail­able at some stores. Single-use plastic bags that consumers have stored away can con­tinue to be used without penalty.

However, the goal is to encourage shop­pers to use the reusable bags already sold or given away at most supermarkets and other retailers.

The city has distributed about 62,000 reusable bags to residents in the past 15 years and plans to continue distributing the totes in coming years.

Retailers have also announced a number of free or low-cost giveaways of reusable bags in recent months in anticipation of the ban.

Target stores in Long Beach, for example, will offer free reusable bags to all consumers on Aug. 1 and will sell them for 50 cents each through Aug. 31, the chain has announced.

The city’s five Vons supermarkets, meanwhile, will be offering 15,000 reusable bags to shoppers who spend at least $25 at their stores beginning July 29, store officials said.

A study by the United Nations Environment Program estimates reusable bags can be used more than 150 times, though life-span varies by the material used to make the bag. Bags are most frequently manufactured from canvas, cotton or woven synthetic fibers, though some are crafted from hemp, which carries anti-mildew properties, the UN agency noted.

Naveen Choda, owner of Eddie’s Jr. Market in the 2300 block of Pacific Coast Highway, one of those affected by the Jan. 1 deadline, said he welcomed the initiative.

“We pay quite a bit for these plastic bags, and they’re terrible for the environment,” Choda said. “We’re way behind the curve on this. Other countries have had restrictions like this for years, but at least (city officials are) finally putting something in effect. I’m sick of seeing (plastic bags) blowing around the parking lot, in the street, on the beach. We need to take better care of our planet.”

Choda plans to offer customers paper bags or sell reusable bags for a small fee.

“We’ll start letting people know about the program in the next few months, and I’m encouraging them to bring in their own bags,” Choda said. “Some will complain, but they’ll adapt.”

Vivian Rodriguez, who was shopping at an Albertson’s store in downtown Long Beach on a recent afternoon, had mixed feelings, saying it would be inconvenient, though should help reduce trash.

“I guess I’m for it, but we’ll have to keep those reusable bags stashed in the car so we don’t end up paying for new ones every time we go shopping,” Rodriguez said. “I’m already stockpiling (single-use) bags because I like to use them for trash can linings and when we take the dog out.”

Public health officials are encouraging shoppers to wash their bags after every few uses and avoid leaving meat exposed inside the bags for long.

The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services is working with the city’s Environmental Services Bureau to ensure residents and businesses understand the new rules and promote free giveaways.

“We’ve already completed all the outreach to the major retailers, and they’re ready to go Aug. 1, but we’ve identified about 2,000 smaller businesses who will be impacted with the second phase on Jan. 1,” Kuhl said. “The health department and our department will divide up areas, visit shopkeepers and explain the ordinance, and we’ll be doing outreach through mail and phone. We want this to go as smooth as possible, so the plan is to try and talk with as many businesses as possible and see what we can do to help them with the transition.”

If Long Beach’s bag ban mirrors similar plans enacted in parts of the United States, Mexico, China, Taiwan, Ireland, United Kingdom, South Africa, Singapore, Germany and elsewhere, the unsightly scene of lightweight plastic bags stuck in trees and bushes, flowing down the Los Angeles River, and blowing across the street may soon be a relic.

A study by environmental groups in Ireland, where a tax on plastic bags was imposed in 2002, showed use of them dropped 94 percent within weeks of the law.

In Washington, D.C., where a 5-cent tax on plastic bags was enacted, the number of bags distributed by food retailers fell from 22.5 million per month to 3.3 million per month, according to Worldwatch Institute, an environmental advocacy group.

Closer to home, in the year after San Francisco banned plastic bags at pharmacies and supermarkets in 2007, the city’s Environmental Department reported businesses distributed 127 million fewer plastic bags and cut overall bag waste reaching the city landfill by up to 10 percent.

The city’s rivers, canals and beaches should also benefit.

Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations Environment Program, says plastic bags are the second most-common form of litter, behind cigarette butts, and are the most common form of litter in the planet’s oceans.

The UN says plastic bags cause the deaths of 100,000 sea turtles and other marine animals that mistake them for food each year.

To learn more about the program, free bag giveaways, affected stores and other litter- reduction programs in Long Beach, visit

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Halloween in Long Beach!!

Around town there are plenty of things you can do for Halloween, a couple of highlights:

Starting off Friday night, it is not too late to get in on the fun at the Annual Halloween BOO! thrown by yours truly. It is held down at Berth 55 - the old Queens Wharf Restaurant. It is 250+ people. 21+ please, and of course everyone will be in costume. Live band & DJ, food, tarot cards, etc. If your name is on the list at the door, it will still be $20 (otherwise $25 at door). If you'd like to come, email me your name. If you'd like to pay in advance, the link for that plus the address of the event and all other details can be found at: See some of you there.

On Saturday night is the 4th Sstreet Zombie Walk III. Get bloodied up and join the undead for a fun walk presented by and sponsored by GLOBAL Long Beach Arts Month and 4th Street Long Beach! 4th Street will be alive and kicking with zombie festivities all day - businesses from Junipero to Cherry are giving their monthly Last Saturdays event the Undead treatment with live performances, zombie-themed food and drinks, zombie make-up stations, and more. Then meet up with your fellow undead at 8pm at Portfolio Coffee House, 2300 E. 4th Street. At 8:30pm, head down 4th Street! Slow zombies, fast zombies - all are welcome! Finally, watch Edgar Wright's 2004 classic SHAUN OF THE DEAD on a great 35mm print at the historic Art Theatre of Long Beach! Screening is at 9:30pm, giving zombies plenty of time to march down 4th and sneak a few glasses of wine at Art du Vin, or some shots at The Pike!

Finally on Sunday night at Pine & Broadway is Halloween on Pine. A Frightening FREE Halloween Festival from 8 to midnight. Fabulous food and drink specials from your favorite local eateries. Visit participating businesses and dig up ghostly $5 food, drink and merchandise specials all night long. Haunting sights and sounds by DJ Groovy Lu. Diabolical dancing by moonlight. Hair-raising comedy showcase by the Laugh Factory. COSTUME CONTEST! Over $1,000 in prizes: Best Superhero - Best Villain - Best Female Overall - Best Male Overall - Most Outrageous.

Hope everyone has a scary good Halloween weekend.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Halloween Party in Long Beach

Do you like throwing on that costume and having a frightful good time? On Friday the 29th of this month, yours truly will hold my Annual Halloween BOO in Long Beach, so if you feel like coming to a great party, all the info can be found at . it runs 8pm -2am. It is $20 and that includes food and all the fun you can handle (no host bar). There will be both a DJ in one area and live band in another for dancing. Tarot card reading and more. About 300 folks show up for this shin-dig. It is my 22nd year throwing this party so why not venture out and join the fun!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bixby Knolls Strollers in Long Beach

Have you ever heard about the Bixby Knolls Strollers? The Bixby Knolls Business Improvement Association has been doing a lot to get the word out about their section of Long Beach and just how cool they are. The Strollers are one way they are doing that. The Bixby Knolls Strollers is a neighborhood walking club that meets every Saturday morning at 7:30am at It's A Grind Coffeehouse (4245 Atlantic Ave). It's a great way to get fit, check out the businesses, explore the neighborhoods, and meet your neighbors. (Friendly) dogs are welcome, too. LaunderPet will provide bags to dog owners. The walks last for about an hour. Route changes each week.

Ever look for a unique way to get your name out there? You've seen the lighted banner on those blimps at night? What about the same concept on a helicopter? Well, Skylight California offers a new and unique way to control and position your advertising over the exact target market that you need to reach with the use of the lighted banner mounted on their helicopter. Imagine the advertising impact when an 8 foot by 36 foot lighted bill board flies overhead and then hovers for up to 5 minutes over crowds of on lookers reading your compelling message in the night sky. See the banner in action at or call Tom at 714-225-6476 (or email to ask him questions. It's a pretty cool concept!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Update on the Construction of the 7th Street Bridge

(thanks to the LB Post for the info)
Construction on local freeways that will lead to the closure of the heavily-used 7th Street Bridge in Long Beach will likely begin around October, say representatives from the Orange County Transportation Authority.

When construction on that bridge—to ease congestion by creating a new lane—begins, the closure will take northbound 405 Freeway drivers on a detour to exit either at Seal Beach Boulevard (before the bridge) or at Palo Verde (after the bridge). An article earlier this week incorrectly stated that the main detours would be Seal Beach Boulevard and Woodruff Ave. That article has been corrected.

The bridge construction is part of the larger West County Connectors project that will ease congestion and improve road conditions on the 22, 405 and 605 Freeways and provide more than 5,000 jobs over the next four years, according to the project web site.

Construction on the east segment of the project is expected to begin in late July or August. The west segment—including the 7th Street bridge—will be bid out to contractors in Juy and awarded in August, with construction beginning sometime this fall around October. Dates for bridge closure have not yet been announced, but parts of the 7th Street Bridge will be closed for one year during construction.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

(From LB Post)
This past month Gameworks; one of the primary anchors of downtown Long Beach’s Pike entertainment center, closed. According to the Gazette article, the forty-thousand square foot arcade and bowling alley vacated at the end of March as part of corporate strategy; closing half their locations. The closure of this entertainment venue leaves a large gap in the activities provided by the waterfront district. This comes at the same time as the closure of the Long Beach Clothing Company; one of the few retail establishments within the Pike. The unfortunate news comes on the heel of a series of positive developments over the past year; the opening of the swanky Avia Hotel, with a second hotel on the way, the addition of multiple restaurants including Kavika and Hooters and the long awaited opening of the Laugh Factory comedy club in 2008. Read rest of article HERE.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Long Beach Scavenger Hunt - it is happening now!

Did you know Long Beach has a business scavenger hunt going on in the Naples/Belmont Shore area?? Yes, it's true. It just started yesterday. I've participated in these before and they are so fun. All the info and the forms to participate can be found at . You will see the huge link for Scavenger Hunt right on the home page. You visit participating businesses, figure out the clue that matches the business, get a stamp from that business on their corresponding "spot" on the form... visit as many as you can and by the end of the month you turn it in and have a chance to win some wonderful prizes! You get to discover businesses you might never have know were there and local businesses get some new faces in their doors. it is a win win for all. Help support your local businesses and give it a go.

Have you ever wanted whiter teeth but want it done simple and easy? I know a business you need to check out: Smile Brighter is a mobile teeth whitening business - yes they can come to you. But if you wish, you can visit them on Sundays in Naples (9am-5pm). They are located at 5346 E. 2nd St. You can get great and safe results leaving your teeth brighter and whiter in only 15 minutes!! Who doesn't have 15 minutes to get a better smile. And the price is so reasonable. Learn more about them at or call them at 562-506-7671

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Halloween fun in Long Beach

yep, it's that time of year again, Halloween is right around the corner. The 21st Annual Halloween BOO will once again be held at Berth 55 Queens Wharf (555 Pico Ave, Long Beach), Friday, October 30, 8pm to 2am.
About 300 attending. Live band & DJ (two areas for dancing), food, tarot cards, professional photographer, tons of decorations. It is only $20 in advance ($25 a the door). Get all the details at: .
And if you still need a costume, I totally recommend Bianca's Costumes : . Most are historical, but there are so many looks she can create - she is so creative and you'll be the best dressed at your Halloween gig. Check it out!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Green Jobs for Youths in Long Beach

Earlier this week, Governor Schwarzenegger's office announced that nearly $11 million in stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act would be awarded to ten California workforce organizations, and the City of Long Beach was awarded with $935,797.

“Using Recovery funds and public-private partnerships, the California Green Jobs Corps will help 1,500 at-risk young adults realize a brighter future while stimulating our economy and working toward a greener California," Schwarzenegger said in the press release.
Read the rest of the story HERE.