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The Crowd: Balboa Island Museum supporters take ferry cruise around Newport Harbor

Karen Johnston, Janet Ray, Walkie Ray and Keith Curry ferry ride around Newport Harbor.
Karen Johnston, from left, Janet Ray, Walkie Ray and Keith Curry enjoy the ferry ride around the Newport Harbor celebrating the Balboa Island Museum in May.
(Courtesy of Balboa Island Museum)

“America’s Got Talent” (AGT), the long-running summer talent show on NBC returns this season launching O.C. singer Matt Mauser, lead vocalist from the popular beach band Tijuana Dogs, into the national spotlight.

Mauser lost his wife, Christina, in the downing of the helicopter last year transporting Kobe Bryant, his daughter, Gianna, and seven others to the Camarillo Airport, from where they would have traveled to Bryant’s sports complex in Thousand Oaks.

Both Matt and Christina were much loved friends of Kobe, brought together through mutual association via Newport’s Harbor Day School where Matt once taught. Christina was the glue. She adored the Bryant girls, coached them along with her own children while managing all of the administration supporting Matt’s dream pursuing a career in entertainment.

Christina booked the band, planned their gigs, paid the bills, supported the publicity while also doing many of the same tasks for Kobe relating to his basketball program for girls. Now Matt is parent to their young kids, and he is moving forward with his music in full gear, teaching the children that Christina would want them to all live and move forward.

In the news recently, also moving life forward making a difference are the two top guys at Newport Beach based PIMCO. Chief executive Emmanuel Roman and chief investment officer Dan Ivascyn each donated $5 million of personal funds in conjunction with the PIMCO Foundation earmarked for the Global Food Bank and additional charities.

The donation will be deployed over five years with the goal of distributing some 17.9 million kilograms of food globally.

“Food security is essential for societies and economics to thrive,” Roman said. “We believe we can have a real impact supporting organizations like [Global Food Bank] to help supply a reliable source of food to communities in need.”

Expanded opportunity for education joins the issue of food insecurity in opening a path to a better life for those marginalized in the U.S. and globally. David Benavides, executive director of KidWorks reports encouraging statistics at this graduation season.

“For the seventh consecutive year we are thrilled to announce that 100% of our high school seniors are graduating this spring and that all 100% will continue with their education in the fall,” Benavides shared with pride.

KidWorks, located in Santa Ana, serves the diverse Latino population of Orange County and is supported largely through seriously generous donors including the Donahue family and the Pickup-Martin family of Newport Beach. Students graduating the KidWorks programs will receive additional support post high school as they pursue their goals, Benavides added.

“College comes with cost,” Benavides said. “We stand by our students and continue to support them.”

In the realm of shouting out kudos to outstanding young local citizens, Stephanie Fox from the Naval Office of Community Outreach shares news about Newport Beach daughter Ensign Christina Bryant at sea aboard the destroyer USS Paul Ignatius practicing in a joint live-fire integrated air and missile (IAMD) defense exercise.

Ensign Christina Bryant communicates with  bridge aboard USS Paul Ignatius May 13, 2021.
Ensign Christina Bryant, from Newport Beach, communicates with the bridge aboard Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Ignatius (DDG 117) on May 13.
(Courtesy of Stephanie Fox )

Fox also reports the Costa Mesa son Petty Officer Second Class Colby Duchesne is working closer to home serving with the vaccination team at the Dome America’s Center in St. Louis helping to vaccinate the public. From a $10-million donation given by powerful business leaders, to the hands-on work of individuals pursing goals, it all matters. All of it makes America unique.

The coastal Pacific Rim of the O.C. is surely one of this nation’s most unique locales. Central to the culture on the coast is the iconic isle of Balboa. Recently, Seymour Beek and David Beek hosted “Party on the Ferry,” taking place on their family owned landmark water transport at the heart of the island to peninsula lifestyle.

Some 60 donors and members of the Balboa Island Museum board gathered on board the ferry for a tour of Newport Harbor. Surely onlookers ashore watching the ferry go by were totally upended by its direction. The tour was narrated by island resident Tim Mang pointing out historic spots and homes of the many movie stars from a different time who made life on the harbor home away from Hollywood.

Seymour Beek and Noel Pepys on Balboa Island Ferry touring Newport Harbor.
Seymour Beek and Noel Pepys onboard the Balboa Island Ferry for a tour of Newport Harbor benefiting the Balboa Island Museum, May 2021.
(Courtesy of Balboa Island Museum)

On board were community activist Shirley Pepys, Walter Sebring, Renee Pepys Lowe, Cynthia Shafer, Matt Leonetti, Karen Johnston, Janet Ray, Walkie Ray and Keith Curry.

Also enjoying the cruise were Mitzi Barrett, Phil Barrett, Paula Castanon, Jim Moloney and Erin Walsh. Fab food and libation was provided by Giuseppe Acardi, also known as “Mr. G”, much loved restaurateur/owner of Mr. G’s Bistro.

Donna Sebring, Shirley Pepys, Walter Sebring and Renee Pepys Lowe tour  Newport Harbor, May 2021.
Donna Sebring, Shirley Pepys, Walter Sebring and Renee Pepys Lowe on the ferry for a tour of Newport Harbor in May.
(Courtesy of Balboa Island Museum)

Newport Beach is not only home to world-class boating (yes, the ferry is world-class); it is arguably the car capital of SoCal. Coming up this month, two incredible car shows are set to debut, both open to the public. First up, the 14th annual Balboa Bay Club Car Show on Father’s Day, June 20, to be held on the top level of the Balboa Bay Resort parking structure on the Coast Highway. Championed by Balboa Bay Club Chairman of the Board of Governors John Wortmann, the event will feature some of the most exotic, costly and one-of-a-kind cars on the coast.

The following weekend the Packard Car Show takes place June 26 in the parking lot of the Hyatt Regency Newport Beach on the Back Bay. Some 40 unique Packards are expected for judging led by Tom Scheil, Aaron Weiss, Robert Escalante and Chip Foose.

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