Newsletter Update and Call for Volunteers

This year, we’re changing the newsletter frequency to be bi-monthly, so you will receive 6 issues that cover January/February, March/April, May/June, July/August, September/October, and November/December. The BHNA Board will occasionally send emails with the heading “Community News” for timely neighborhood updates and events. 

Help Wanted: Do you like helping people stay connected? We’re looking for someone to help with BHNA’s communication efforts. This person would help compile and send the newsletters and other emails, create and manage social media posts, and help keep the neighborhood informed. Ideally, this person will have some marketing or communications experience, but that's not necessary. If this sounds like you or someone you know, please email us at info@bluffheights.org.

Welcome to Our New BHNA President, Stephen Sutton

Many of you may recognize our new BHNA president from around the neighborhood. Stephen has been an active and engaged resident of Bluff Heights for more than two decades, and is often seen walking his dog Winter or gardening in his yard. Stephen has been influential in coordinating our recent grants for the beautification of Corto Place and tree plantings. He’s also been leading our new Garden Club efforts. During our recent MLK Day of Service, Stephen led the efforts with families to fill the Mann Elementary planters with assorted herbs and vegetables.

“I’m excited to be taking a more active role in helping to further engage our Bluff Heights community and to collaborate with our other local associations. Winter and I have so enjoyed the 4th of July dog parade and block party as well as other events over the years. I’m hopeful we can use our new Garden Club as a catalyst for even more collaboration, education, and communication,” Stephen says.

Stephen is a realtor on the local Ocean Boulevard Team (a BHNA sponsor) and resides with his husband Neil on Obispo Avenue. You may have recently had some of his delicious Backyard Bounty of key limes or other fruits and veggies) from his prolific garden. Welcome, Stephen!

MLK Day of Service

By Donna Sievers

January 13, 2024 was a day of tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. as the Bluff Heights Neighborhood Association (BHNA), the Rose Park Neighborhood Association (RPNA), and Horace Mann Elementary School collaborated to beautify the school and the neighborhood. The MLK Day of Service was an inspiring event filled with activities for families, planting vegetables in the school’s planters, clean-up projects throughout the neighborhood (including our alleys), and weeding and watering our newly planted Corto Place trees.

RPNA provided a fabulous breakfast of pastries, coffee, and fruit and worked with Horace Mann’s PTA and student council to organize activities on campus for students and families. Students painted banners with quotes such as “Be Kind,” which were placed around the school.

BHNA received a $9,887 grant from the City of Long Beach, and the MLK Day of Service event was our culminating activity. Thirty trees were planted by BHNA with these grant funds, which also provided 40 children’s books that were distributed to volunteers on January 13. BHNA also gifted the books Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots; Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt; Trees, Leaves, Flowers & Seeds; and Kid’s First Gardening to the school’s library. Principal Donna Robertson accepted the books on behalf of the school and shared the many upcoming activities at Horace Mann.

BHNA grant funds also paid for 18 Insect Lore Butterfly Kits, complete with baby caterpillars. Families were able to take the kits home and will watch the caterpillars cycle into butterflies. BHNA gardening hats were also distributed to volunteers.

Additionally, RPNA provided $300 of vegetables and herbs and the students turned the soil, planted the seedlings, and watered them. The students and staff will enjoy watching them grow into healthy plants.

Get Your Taxes Done in Bluff Heights

By Jill Ferguson

You’ve likely seen cars around the neighborhood bearing the logo of Ajax Tax Solutions. These cars are often spotted on Orizaba Avenue, as that’s where the owner of Ajax Tax Solutions lives. Mitchell McCollum started his company in the fall of 2020 after years of working in theater production and touring. 

He wanted to make the most of his downtime during the pandemic, so he began studying taxes—he’s always been interested in personal finance—and discovered he loved it. He earned the federal credential Enrolled Agent (EA), which is specifically for taxes (as opposed to CPAs, who also do accounting and auditing). 

Enrolled Agents can prepare your taxes and (along with or independent of tax attorneys) represent taxpayers before the IRS and state entities.

“Ajax provides a variety of tax services, including preparation, representation, and resolution work, but our main focus is yearly tax preparation for individuals and small businesses,” McCollum says. They also work to resolve unfiled returns or back taxes, amended returns, and innocent or injured spouse relief. 

Ajax Tax Solutions also represents clients during tax audits and during the appeals process, and they can provide official correspondence with tax-related agencies. The resolution work the company does includes compliance checks, penalty abatements, lien or levy releases, installment agreements, non-collectibles, offers-in-compromise, and partial-pay installment agreements.  

While McCollum is local to Bluff Heights, he explains that about 90 percent of his clients complete their taxes remotely or drop off their paperwork and then pick up the finished documents when they have time . “The tax season is stressful for a lot of people, so we want to make it as simple and easy to get your taxes done each year with someone you trust,” McCollum says.

McCollum and his partner have lived in Bluff Heights for a little over a year, and they love being so close to the beach. They are enjoying becoming more involved with the community, too.

If you need a hand with your taxes this year and would prefer to work with a local business, feel free to reach out to Ajax Tax Solutions at info@ajaxtaxsolutions.com or visit their website at http://www.ajaxtaxsolutions.com. Their business hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays are available by appointment. 

Sparks Can Fly in 2024

It really only comes around once a year: The feeling that something new in one’s life is possible. Perhaps that’s why we celebrate and call this a “new year.” Sure, many of us in Bluff Heights make the requisite resolutions to lose weight, go outside more, or tidy our homes, but there are some who want more! They want to grab a hold of life, unchain themselves, and realize all that is possible. It just takes a spark to ignite that flame, so enjoy the following ways “sparks” can enhance our lives in our little historic district of Long Beach.

5 Ways to Spark Your Motivation (When You’re Feeling Stuck)

By Angel Chernoff

It’s one of life’s greatest frustrations. You know, deep down, that you’re capable of so much more. You feel this wellspring of potential inside of you, burning to get out, yet you can’t figure out how to tap into it.

You’d love to step away from a place of feeling stuck to moving through each day feeling like you’re contributing on the highest possible level. Like you’re tapping into every molecule of capability and you’re progressing through life completely and utterly lit up.

I call this state being “sparked,” and I’ve spent years researching what it takes to live in this place. What I’ve discovered may surprise you too. For example, it’s not about finding that “one thing” you’re completely head-over-heels passionate about, because for many of us there is no singular thing. And, if there is for you, you’re typically unable to identify it until you’ve accumulated enough life experience through trial and error to know what it is.

You don’t have to wait decades, years, or even months to feel like you’re lit up, awash in the fullest expression of your potential. All you need to do is find and tap into your sparks.

Here are the 5 human sparks:

1. The Curiosity Spark.

This spark is about the pursuit of a burning question. Is there something you need to know, an answer you feel deeply called to figure out, or a solution to a problem that just won’t let you go? Examples of people often fueled by a fierce curiosity spark might include scientists, entrepreneurs, and media producers and authors.

As Albert Einstein profoundly said, “The important thing is to not stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.”


2. The Fascination Spark.

This spark is about a deep fascination or interest in a particular topic, field, or idea. It’s not about a specific problem or question; it’s more about some intrinsic connection with something. It often begins in childhood and stays with us for life, but fascination sparks can emerge upon exposure to new experiences or ideas in the blink of an eye. Examples might include art historians, hobbyists, and really anyone who loves to read and research on a topic for no other reason beyond the deep gratification that comes from deepening an interest.

Truly, some of the unhappiest, unmotivated people I’ve ever met are those who don’t care deeply about anything at all. Deep fascination and satisfaction go hand in hand, and without them, any bit of happiness or motivation is only fleeting because there’s nothing substantial to make it last.

3. The Immersion Spark.

This spark is about the feeling of absorption or becoming lost in a task or entire process. It’s what athletes often describe as being “in the zone” and social scientists call “flow.” It’s about being utterly lit up and consumed by the process of an activity, without regard to the end. Even though the pursuit of this all-immersive experience also often leads to an astonishing accomplishment, that pursuit is not the core driver. A couple great examples would be crafters and artists. Sure, they end up creating beautiful things, but for many, that’s just an added bonus. The real thing that lights them up is the ability to get lost in a process.

On your average day, immersion sparks are those flashes of intense living when you’re engrossed in a meaningful task that makes you feel more alive. These optimal experiences can happen when you’re engaged in work, paid or unpaid, that moves you. Work like this is something you could be pursuing on a daily basis.

4. The Mastery Spark.

This spark is all about the devoted pursuit of improvement. You may not be obsessed with having to become the best in the world at something, but the feeling of progress – the ability to check growth markers off along a journey – is what keeps you committed to the experience. It often doesn’t really even matter what the subject matter is, as long as there is a well-defined path to excellence and an ability to measure progress along the way. Martial arts is a great example, with its clearly demarcated “belt” system, where you can progress down a path to mastery and always know what it takes to get to the next level.

Perhaps Winston Churchill said it best: “Every day you may make progress. Every step may be fruitful. Yet there will stretch out before you an ever-lengthening, ever-ascending, ever-improving path. You know you will never get to the end of the journey. But this, so far from discouraging, only adds to the joy and glory of the climb.”

5. The Service Spark

This final spark is all about helping others. For many, knowing that in some way you’ve made a difference in the lives of others is the single biggest driver. It’s the thing that makes you feel most lit up and motivated. Interestingly, a service spark may be connected to a particular person or group, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, that “other” doesn’t even have to be human. It could be animals, plants, or even the bigger concept of the environment or planet.

Members of clergy and volunteers are often fueled by profound service sparks.

What kind of service motivates you? Think about it. In the long run, real love only intensifies by sharing. You can only have more of what motivates you by giving it away to others.

Your Sparks of Motivation (and Happiness)

So, now you know the 5 human sparks. Ask yourself which ones most resonate with you. Are you most lit up when you’re immersed in the pursuit of an answer to a question or the solution to a vexing problem? Do you just love to vanish into the deep exploration of an idea or topic?

At any given time, one spark usually stands out from the pack, but it’s not unusual for you to have a blend of sparks. In fact, if you want to turn the pursuit of any of the first 4 sparks into your career, you’ll also need to find a way to tap the fifth spark and make it of service.

The great thing about this approach is you can often find a myriad of small activities, experiences, and relationships that will leave you sparked, feeling amazing, like you don’t want to stop and you’re doing what you’re here to do. You don’t have to wait months, years, or even decades to find a big, singular purpose or passion that may or may not ever come. Just start living your sparks. Build your days around the ability to spend as much of your energy pursuing your sparks as possible.

November 10, 2016: 5 Ways to Spark Your Motivation (When You’re Feeling Stuck) article by Angel Chernoff based on Author Jonathan Fields: How to Live a Good Life: Soulful Stories, Surprising Science and Practical Wisdom. © 2006-2024 Marc and Angel Hack Life

Each month we will publish a photograph from our neighborhood. This hibiscus flower was taken by George Kyle after one of the refreshing rain storms.

If you have photos that highlight the beauty and uniqueness of our neighborhood, please send them to info@bluffheights.org

Backyard Bounty

The second Sunday of the month is Backyard Bounty day in Bluff Heights. Share the bounty from your backyard by placing it in front of your house. Take a walk through the neighborhood, get a little exercise, and enjoy the bounty. Find the label HERE.

Sunday, February 11 and March 10, starting at 9:00 AM

Fresh Produce at Local Farmers Markets

Farmers Markets and farm stands are great places to browse, sample, and buy fresh produce and handmade products. Visit the market at Bixby Park (130 Cherry Avenue) every Tuesday starting at 3:00 PM and every Saturday starting at 9:00 AM 

Find more details HERE.

Saving Water Is the Long Beach Way 

As we face unprecedented drought across California, we all need to do our part to conserve water. HERE is a flyer from the Long Beach Water Department outlining the new rules. Find more information on water conservation HERE.

Is it Time to Trim your Waste-Line? 

It's really simple to trim your "Waste-Line!" All you need to do is collect your e-waste, hazardous waste, and/or old tire waste and bring it to one of three local collection centers under the conditions set by the City of Long Beach on this flyer.

You will feel much lighter now that you took care of those extra notches on your Waste-Line! Doesn't being a loser feel good?


District 2 - Councilwoman Cindy Allen
(562) 570-2222
Cindy.Allen@longbeach.gov or district2@longbeach.gov
Connor Lock, Chief of Staff

LBPD Blotter
On March 17 2022, the Long Beach Police Department debuted a new tool for the Long Beach community to access information about police activity and investigations.
To view this new community resource, and other Police Department information, please visit the LBPD Homepage and LBPD News.

Jeff Anderson
Anderson Real Estate Group
Keller Williams Pacific Estates
2883 E Spring Street STE #100, Long Beach, CA 90806
Toll Free: 800 784 2616
Mikle W. Norton
Kohr Group Realty
5222 E Los Altos Plaza, Long Beach, Ca 90815
Email: Mike@mikenorton.com
Cell 562-577-5021

Ms. Theresa Marino
Theresa on 3rd
Neighborhood Advocate & A Neighbor Who Cares

Office of the Vice Mayor

Phone: (562) 570-2222 | district2@longbeach.gov

Coastal Real Estate Experts

Stephen W. Sutton | stephensuttonrealtor@gmail.com

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The Bicycle Stand
Cats & Dogs Animal Hospital
Dr. James Dohn
Flamin Curry
Gallagher's Pub and Grill
Granny's Donuts
Hot Java
Hug Life Ice Cream
La Parolaccia Osteria
Nice Alterations and Tailoring
Park Pantry
TC Raw Eats
Tru Nature Juice Bar
Syndicate Barber Shop
The Wine Crush
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THANK YOU to all the neighbors who have already donated!
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