Hello Long Beach! Here are the news highlights we’ve gathered to start the week of April 3, 2023.
Queen Mary reopens its doors to the public for tours
For the first time since the start of the pandemic, the Queen Mary officially reopened to the public on April 1st for three different themed tours. The historic ship is hosting a Haunted Encounters Tour, a Glory Days Historical Tour, and a Steam & Steel Tour. All tours are about an hour long and take place daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The Queen Mary had initially closed in 2020 because of COVID-19, but an audit conducted in 2021 found that its previous operators, Urban Commons, had not made $23 million dollars worth of repairs that the city had paid for. A new contract was made with Evolution Hospitality, and it was agreed upon with the City Council that the ship should not open until the necessary repairs were made. Those repairs included the ship’s boilers, elevators, restrooms, plumbing, and parking. The Queen Mary will be opening other parts of the ship soon, like restaurants and bars, but there is no official date yet. It is, however, currently accepting reservations for room stays beginning in May. Read more here (subscription to the Press-Telegram required to read full article).
City offering incentive opportunities for dog adoptions
The Long Beach Animal Shelter is currently over capacity with pets, so the city will be offering two tickets to the Aquarium of the Pacific for those who adopt large dogs at one of the adoption events occurring in April. The city will be offering a limited amount of tickets, and are available on a first-come-first-serve basis. There is also an incentive to be entered to win two one-day tickets to the Acura Grand Prix Long Beach for those who adopt Staffordshire Terriers (pit bulls). The winner will be announced the week of April 10, so anyone who adopts a Staffordshire Terrier before April 9 is eligible to enter the drawing. These incentives have been initiated so that the shelter will not have to resort to euthanizing pets to make room at the facility, which has been overcrowded since March. To check which dates the city will be hosting adoption events, click here.
Long Beach’s Virgin Orbit to lay off 85% of employees
Last week, Virgin Orbit Holdings Inc., the Long Beach satellite launch company, said in a filing that it will cut 85% of its employees due to their inability to secure funding. The remaining 15% of the workforce will work on concluding the business, according to one of the company’s spokespeople. Virgin Orbit’s downfall follows a failed launch that occurred in January after an issue with a vehicle’s fuel filter caused it to never reach orbit, and lead to the loss of nine small satellites. The company’s stock price plummeted, which forced Virgin Orbit to suspend operations while it sought capital. Since the announcement of the massive layoff, the City of Long Beach has stated that it will utilize its Pacific Gateway workforce development Rapid Response Team to connect those who are being laid off with benefits, career opportunities, and other space industry companies. The city will be holding an emergency meeting this week to explore more ways they can help with the matter. Learn more here. To read the City’s response, click here.
Long Beach Transit to transition to zero-emission battery-electric buses in the upcoming years
Long Beach Transit just celebrated its 60th anniversary on March 31 and announced their plans to work toward a more sustainable future with zero-emission, battery-electric buses that will be powered by solar energy. Currently, the Long Beach Transit has 24 battery-electric buses that are capable of traveling to San Bernardino and back with a single charge and plans to add 20 more of these buses by the end of this year. LBT officials say that they aim to have an entirely zero-emissions bus fleet by 2030, and have already begun working toward installing the technology needed to sustain the vehicles. The project is expected to cost over $100 million; although the agency has secured some state and federal funding, they are still scouting for additional money for the plan’s final stages. Read more here.
City opens sanitation and water-filling site for people living in Recreational Vehicles (RVs)
Starting today, Long Beach will open sanitation and water-filling stations for people living in their RVs to have a place to properly dispose of trash and a place to have access to clean water. The site will be open on Cherry Ave and 32nd street from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and those utilizing the services will need to get a referral from the Multi-Service Center. Participants will not be allowed to park at the site overnight or in the surrounding streets after operating hours have concluded, and those who break this rule more than once will no longer be allowed to use the service. The location will have on-site attendants to assist visitors with services and a security guard to ensure operations run smoothly. This is yet another measure in the city’s efforts to address homelessness, which is in a state of emergency in the City of Long Beach. Learn more here.