2012 Bixby Residential Media Scholarship Winner — Film

FIRST PRIZE –Sophia Leveque

*NOTE:  Sophia Leveque won for her short film “The College Application Process.”  We apologize, but her link is no longer available for viewing.  If we can work through some technical difficulties we will post the film ASAP.

Thanks for your understanding,



2012 Bixby Residential Media Scholarship Winner — Still Photography

FIRST PRIZE — Meaghan Kay

This is a photograph of a light house in Maine famous for being a part of the movie “Forrest Gump,” starring Tom Hanks. Forrest visits this light house while on his journey running across the country. I took this photo in July of 2011 with my Nikon D3000 when my family and I visited Maine and the east coast, and this was one of my favorite locations we visited. Not only because “Forrest Gump” was the first movie I ever saw in theatres, but because of the beauty and simplicity this location provided. I especially like the distinct lines each terrain creates, from grass, to rocks, to open ocean. The wooden bridge to the light house leads your eyes through to each different type of land.


2012 Bixby Residential Media Scholarship Winner – Journalism

FIRST PRIZE — Blake Bakkila

December 11, 2011

“Proactive Over Reactive,” By Blake Bakkila

Less than two months after the tragic tree-falling incident that took the life of Haeyoon Miller, yet another Irvine Avenue accident hits much closer to home.  Just steps away from school campus, senior Crystal Morales was struck by an oncoming vehicle, and she is now in medically induced coma with critical injuries.  However, the reason I compare the two events is not because of their proximity but because of their aftermaths.

On September 14, Miller was waiting at a stoplight when a 60-foot tree crushed her Hyundai, causing fatal injuries.  Seven days later, the city had approved and ordered workers to cut down approximately 100 eucalyptus trees.  Despite the speed and efficiency, it was reported that workers who had performed tests on the trees prior to the accident knew that some trees were aged and even infested with bugs.  What if the city had approved the tree cutting before Miller’s life was taken?  What happened to the idea of being proactive?

Every day, I use the crosswalk on Irvine Avenue to go to and from campus.  I try to do all the correct signals, like making eye contact with drivers and putting my hand when crossing.  While it is imperative to do this, I can’t help but wonder, why?  Why is it that there are marked crosswalks surrounding Newport Harbor and not an actual streetlight?  Regrettably, I have complained about the ridiculous speeds of some drivers but have failed to take action on my opinion.  However, I cannot grasp the idea that our school district or city will only make preventative decisions following a tragedy like Miller’s or Morales’.

Down the street from NHHS, Mariners Elementary School has a streetlight to help pedestrians safely cross the street.  Implemented in 2009, the plan included pedestrian and bicycle signal hardware, a new crosswalk and safety lighting, and ADA handicap ramps, and cost $175,065 in federal funds.  While expensive, this has contributed to the safety of many and would undoubtedly protect those at Newport Harbor if the same actions were taken.

Today, I have noticed increased intervention from the NBPD and campus security guards, as they have been helping educate students about properly crossing the street.  I commend these officials for their concern, and hope members of the district can have a similar, even more effective response.  Making the crosswalk safer will mitigate future accidents involving pedestrians, but taking a more proactive response to other issues will contribute to even fewer local crises.

O.C. Home Prices Show Biggest Gain Since 2004

Source: OC Register, March 14th, 2013,


Orange County home prices are up by the biggest margin in eight years, figures released Wednesday by Data-Quick Information Systems show.

The La Jolla-based housing tracker reported that the median home price, or price at the midpoint of all sales, was $477,000 in February. That’s up 22.3 percent from February of last year, which was the biggest annual price gain since November 2004. Orange County’s housing prices also are at their highest level since May 2008.

February’s median price was $7,000 above the previous high reached in December. It’s also up $107,000 from the post-crash price bottom hit in January 2009.

Orange County’s housing market has recouped 39 percent of the losses that have occurred here since home prices hit an all-time high of $645,000 in June 2007. During the crash, prices fell $275,000, or 43 percent, from that June 2007 high to the January 2009 bottom.

Home sales also ticked up 6.7 percent year-over-year in February to 2,252 house, condo and townhome transactions, Data-Quick reported. That’s the highest sales tally for a February since February 2007. But last month’s sales still were 14 percent below the February average of about 2,600 units over the past 26 years.

Low Housing Inventory Driving Price Increases

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 10.12.59 AM
Number of active, new, and sold listings by month in Newport Beach, Newport Coast, and Eastside Costa Mesa.












*My two cents…

The Newport Beach and Costa Mesa real estate market is experiencing tight supply.  That, in combination with years of pent-up buyer demand and historically low interest rates are driving prices higher.  Sellers are recognizing this and I expect for more homes to be listed throughout the spring with owners taking advantage of the strong market.  If enough homes come on the market then the pricing should stabilize.  For February 2013, Costa Mesa homes sold at an average of 99% of list price, while Newport Beach homes sold at an average of 95% of list price.

Record Low Interest Rates

Buyers are jumping at cheap money.  New wave of re-finances continues.

Screen Shot 2013-03-01 at 10.12.28 AM

*My two cents…

Conforming 30-year-fixed rates are hovering around 3.5% while adjustable rate 5, 7, and 10-year loans can be much lower.  The Fed has indicated a desire to use their monetary policy to keep rates low for the foreseeable future.  Rates could be subject to increases if inflation becomes a greater concern.  The affordability of financing may continue to keep buyer demand for housing high.