New mayor greets residents

For newly selected Newport Beach Mayor Rush Hill, the upcoming year will be marked by an emphasis on celebrating the city and the services it provides.

So, he thought, what better way to begin spreading this message than through the wine-and-cheese social planned at the OASIS Senior Center?

"What a great place, huh? The Four Seasons of Newport Beach," Hill said, laughing, before a crowd of nearly 100 who gathered Wednesday afternoon for the $5 ticketed event.

Hill lauded the seniors' facility as an example of the high-quality services provided to residents, and noted that such a vibrant place wouldn't be possible without an active senior community.

Among myriad offerings, such as art classes and meals programs, OASIS hosts a special event like this once a month, said Travis Benson, who helps plan and promote them.

On Wednesday, a violinist and pianist played on a stage while attendees enjoyed selections of cabernet, merlot, zinfandel and other types of wines.

February will bring swing-dancing and a live band.

Be it the senior center, the well-maintained streets or city landscaping, municipal services deserve recognition, according to Hill, who voted against the recent decision to outsource trash services.

"Let's identify them, and let's celebrate them," he said in an interview following the speech.

Next up for the mayor: involvement in restaurant week.

Hill and other City Council members plan to release information about where they will be dining to help encourage participation in the event.

"My wife and I are going to try and put on 3 or 4 pounds," he told the crowd.

Corona del Mar residents Frank and Barbara Peters, who are involved in community issues, specifically those related to biking and beach fire rings, had walked to the center from their nearby home.

"We like to come to these kind of events and connect with our city government," Barbara began.

Then Frank chimed in: "We're seniors, for pete's sake!"

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