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Announcing The EMBYs - Manhattan Beach Year-End Awards

Dec 29, 2023 07:38AM ● By Jeanne Fratello

Some of the biggest waves of the year at the Manhattan Beach Pier on December 28. Photo via Evelyn Schmitt.

This was definitely a year of superlatives in Manhattan Beach. Instead of a traditional year-end review, the MB News team has decided to award its first-annual "EMBYs" - Manhattan Beach Year-End Awards.

Who is worthy of an EMBY? In no particular order, here are this year's winners. Read on... 

(Manhattan Beach resident Brian Withers holds his dog Luke, with whom he was reunited after five years. Photo via Brian Withers.)

Best Lost-and-Found Story of the Year: Brian Withers' little white dog Luke (right) was found and returned home after having been missing for five years.

Best New Fire Station in California: No contest - it's Fire Station #2 in East Manhattan Beach.

Neighborhood Most Likely to Get Caught In: If you are a robber or burglar, don't think you can escape by running between 5th and 6th Streets and Sepulveda and Johnson, because MBPD and the LAPD helicopter will find you time and again.

Most Applied-For City Task Force: A whopping 118 people applied for just eight open seats on Manhattan Beach's Long-Term Outdoor Dining Ad Hoc Task Force in April. City officials said it was the largest number of people who had applied for any task force in memory.

Stop Sign Most Likely to Be Run Through: 6th and Valley. Below you can see a recent screenshot of a car blasting through the stop sign as it nearly mows down a pedestrian. The city tried to slow down drivers with a tongue-in-cheek "Stop" campaign earlier this year, but the cars just kept going. You can view more videos taken by resident Tom Williams herehere, here, and here.


Traffic Signal Most Frequently Ignored: Traveling Northbound on Redondo Ave. toward Adventureplex. (We don't have a story to link to for this; it's just a fact.) The signs say you can only turn right or left but drivers just blissfully ignore it and go straight into Adventureplex. (We just observed a municipal vehicle doing it too. Not pointing fingers; just sayin'...)

City Council Member Most Likely to Lend a Car for Your Wedding Photos: We're sure they'd all be willing to help out, but Mayor Pro Tem Joe Franklin is most likely to be on hand with his robins-egg-blue 1955 T-Bird convertible. (Shout-out also to Shade Hotel, Growing Wild, MBWineCo, and Tin Roof Bistro for pitching in to help with this couple's canceled Maui wedding in August.) (Also note that City Council members have been known to help in numerous ways, including officiating at weddings!)

(Paco, a 20-year-old fish from the Manhattan Beach Hometown Fair, is thought to be the oldest Hometown Fair goldfish in town. Photo courtesy of the Waddell family. )

Oldest Hometown Fair Fish: We were pretty sure this 20-year-old Hometown Fair fish named Paco was the oldest, but we put out a call to see if anyone had one that was older, and... crickets. So, Abby Waddell, yours is the official winner.

Most Expensive Home Sold in Manhattan Beach: The most expensive home sold on market was 3100 The Strand, at $14.5 million (and it was only a partially finished remodel). The most expensive off-market sale was 1408 The Strand, which closed for $16.75 million in March. Next year's EMBY awards might look entirely different, though, if that $150 million triple-lot Strand house is sold...

Biggest Land Sale: We can't talk about expensive home sales without talking about this whopper of a land sale: The Bruce family exercised their option to sell the two Bruce's Beach lots on the Strand (totaling 7,000 square feet) back to Los Angeles County for $20 million. These lots are currently being used by the L.A. County Fire Department as a lifeguard training facility. There's a whole big back story too, in case you're just joining in. You can start by reading the latest Bruce's Beach story (the City Council's apology vote) and working backwards from there.

Most Successful Soap Product: Mira Costa student Lila Mokhtari won first place - and earned the title of America's Next Top Young Entrepreneur - at the at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy's national competition for her "motivational" soap business Maji. (Maji's soaps for kids and adults contain surprise gifts inside, including toys, crystals, friendship bracelets, and more.)

Most Expensive Lesson Given to a Kid: As Manhattan Beach police officially started cracking down harder on ebike violations, e-motorcycles became a hot topic in town as well. This 13-year-old's impounded e-motorcycle racked up charges estimated to be upwards of $1,000.

Largest Photographic Mural: Bo Bridges' 2200-square-foot photo of the Manhattan Beach Pier at dawn was installed on the south-facing wall of the City Hall building. The mural began with a massive photo file (20 gigabytes at half size) and is the largest of its kind that Bridges has done to date ("Even bigger than the one in Hermosa," declared Mayor Richard Montgomery proudly).

Fiercest Competitors: It's a three-way tie between the much-decorated Mira Costa girls' volleyball and beach volleyball teams and the Mira Costa football team. The MCHS girls' beach volleyball team ended their season ranked first in the nation and girls' volleyball ranked second in California, while the Mira Costa football team came from a 0-7 start to rally with a series of victories that brought them all the way up to the CIF Southern Section Division 6 final. Definitely earning a mention: Last season's Mira Costa boys basketball team, which earned a home playoff win in March (and this year's team is one to watch as well).

Most Gigantic Waves of the Year: Well, we haven't seen every single wave, but the massive surf on December 28 really captured our attention. This photo from the Manhattan Beach Pier (and the headline photo above) was taken by local photographer Evelyn Schmitt.

Biggest Fountain - Speaking of large and powerful plumes of water, a truck hit a fire hydrant at 8th and Sepulveda just outside Gelsons in April... resulting in a 30-foot tower of water that stalled traffic and confounded maintenance workers as they rushed to get it under control. 

Gone But Not Forgotten: Last  but not least, in 2023, we said sad farewells to those who made a profound impact on our community: Manhattan Beach Police Officer Chad Swanson; Dietz Brothers co-founder Pat Dietz; Manhattan Beach Holiday Fireworks founder Pete MoffattBettelu Beverly, the "matriarch" of Manhattan Beach; and longtime Mira Costa teacher Mike McAvin.

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