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 Volume 11, Issue 42  |  May 24, 2019                                     


 

Police Files

Laguna male nanny charged with alleged child molestation and possession of child pornography

A man who served as a male nanny for families across Southern California, including in Laguna Beach, faces four felony child molestation charges for allegedly victimizing two young boys under his care. He is also charged with one felony count of possessing child pornography.

Matthew Antonio Zakrzewski, 30, of Costa Mesa, was arrested on May 17 by Laguna Beach Police Department detectives at a local airport after deplaning an international flight. 

Zakrzewski is charged with three felony counts of alleged lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14, and one felony count of oral copulation of a child under the age of 10. He was also charged with one felony count of possession of child pornography.

If convicted, Zakrzewski could face 90 years to life in prison for victimizing children in his care.

Zakrzewski pled not guilty on Tuesday, May 21. He is currently being held at the Orange County Jail on $1 million bail.

In early May, a Laguna Beach couple reported to LBPD that their babysitter, Zakrzewski, had touched their 8-year-old son inappropriately and they were concerned for the safety of their son and potentially other children. 

The couple hired Zakrzewski to care for their 8-year-old child through one of his several babysitting websites. LBPD’s Major Crimes & Intelligence Unit immediately opened an investigation, which led to the identification of a second 7-year-old victim in Los Angeles.

Police Files Matthew Zakrzewski

Courtesy of LBPD

Matthew Zakrzewski

On one of his professional websites, www.sitterbuddy.org, the suspect says, “I’m Matthew, the original Sitter Buddy! In the 8th grade I discovered what a joy it was to work with children and be a positive impact in their lives through my school’s ‘Buddy Program.’ Now, I am a full-service TrustLine Certified provider of regular & on-demand child care, as well as mentoring services for children.”

Zakrzewski’s www.matthewthemanny.com website is similar. He calls himself “a Professional Manny & Sitter/Buddy” as well as a “babysitter, big brother, role model and mentor.” His services include “regular care, overnights, travel care, mentoring, and occasional.” Dozens of videos and pictures of Zakrzewski interacting with children fill his online galleries.

LBPD is asking for the public’s help in locating any other potential victims. Anyone who has information related to this investigation or any other unreported incidents involving Zakrzewski is urged to call the Investigations Division line at (949) 715-1300.

“This investigation could last several months and that is fine with us. We will continue working with our law enforcement partners to ensure that Mr. Zakrzewski remains in custody for a long time,” Sgt Cota said. “We will continue to pursue every lead we receive till we feel this investigation is exhausted and all children he had contact with are safe.”

Zakrzewski is scheduled to appear at the Harbor Justice Center, Department H1 at 8:30 a.m. on May 31. Senior Deputy District Attorney Heidi Garrel of the Sexual Assault Unit is prosecuting this case.

Guns drawn at Mozambique over stolen Range Rover

On Monday, May 20, at 2:44 p.m., LBPD officers were advised of a stolen vehicle from the city of Escondido. The vehicle, a 2019 black Range Rover, was located parked in the Mozambique parking lot. 

“Officers positioned their police vehicles away from the restaurant and a plain clothes detective walked into the restaurant and contacted the manager so he could review security video to identify who had exited the vehicle,” Sgt Cota said.

 “While inside and without looking at the video, he identified two subjects who may have driven the vehicle. As the two subjects exited the restaurant, an officer watched them approach and then enter the vehicle,” Sgt Cota said. 

Guns were drawn and officers converged on the vehicle to prevent the vehicle from leaving the lot. The driver and passenger were detained. According to Sgt Cota, the driver lied about his name and was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle. The passenger was arrested for an outstanding drug and theft warrant out of San Bernardino. 

“At the station, their fingerprints provided officers with the driver’s true name and revealed he had an outstanding no-bail warrant,” Sgt Cota said.

Guillermo Sandoval, 32, of South Gate, was arrested for possession of a stolen vehicle, false impersonation, and on an outstanding felony warrant. No bail was set.

Celeste Ann Hernandez, 38, of Los Angeles, was arrested on an outstanding drug and theft warrant. Bail was set at $25,000.

Two vehicles stolen off Laguna streets

On Monday, May 20, a local man parked and locked his vehicle, a 2005 black Toyota Prius, in the 300 block of Popular Street. The next day, on Tuesday, he returned and the vehicle was gone. A report was taken.

During the same time period, on Tuesday, May 21, at 11:14 a.m., the owner of a silver Mercedes Benz CLS 500 reported that his vehicle was stolen from the 700 block of Summit Way. The theft occurred between 9 p.m. the previous night and just prior to the time of the call.

According to police records, the RP said the suspect is unknown.

Driver runs red light causing multi-collision accident, luckily, only minor injuries reported

On Tuesday, May 21, at 10:31 a.m., a FedEx van and another vehicle were traveling northbound on the 73 Toll Road off-ramp at El Toro Road. The light was green and they proceeded into the intersection. 

“The driver of a vehicle traveling westbound on El Toro Road failed to see the westbound light was red and entered the intersection. The van struck the westbound vehicle at the driver’s door,” LBPD Spokesperson PIO Sgt Jim Cota said. “The impact spun the westbound vehicle causing it to strike a light pole and come to rest against the curb. The vehicle next to the FedEx van struck the left rear side of the van causing additional minor damage.” 

The driver of the westbound vehicle was transported with minor injuries. The other two drivers were uninjured.

An arrest or indictment contains allegations that a suspect or defendant has committed a crime. Every defendant is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

-By Suzie Harrison

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Where’s Maggi?

Looks like aliens have landed. Are they standing guard over their ship? Is it yard art? More importantly, where did Maggi find it? 

Let us know if you’re onto her whereabouts. Send your answers in to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 5 24 19

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Dead bobcat in backyard story sparks community dialogue about rodenticides, Dicterow says he will push for ban

By SUZIE HARRISON 

What started out as a post on a neighborhood website about a bobcat allegedly poisoned and found dead in a neighbor’s yard has gone viral. The news has been circulating throughout Laguna and has even made its way to City Council. 

The message on Monday said, “My neighbor found a dead bobcat in her backyard. The animal control said it’s probably from rat poison and they have been seeing a lot of that. Also, he said it’s unnecessary because there are other humane ways of keeping rodents off your property. Please don’t use poison or traps.”

Multiple readers contacted Stu News, concerned about the issue. Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow spoke about it at Tuesday night’s council meeting.

As it turns out, the incident occurred in Arizona, where the poster has a second home. Her intentions were to bring light to this important issue, and she never meant to imply that the incident occurred in Laguna, she said.

Regardless of where it happened, the subject has sparked an important conversation.

In a phone interview on Thursday, Dicterow offered a strong response. “It’s absolutely irrelevant, whether this situation occurred [in Laguna Beach] or not, other situations like this have occurred. Rodenticides are terrible, they cause internal bleeding [to animals], and up the food chain. We know that that’s true,” he said.

He also stated that he intends on creating an agenda bill for council.

“I intend to create an agenda bill, within the next month, to prohibit the City from using rodenticides in its daily work. I also want us to support the legislative bill that is before the State Senate right now.”

Harry Huggins, representing Laguna Canyon Conservancy (LCC), is in congruence. He also spoke at Tuesday’s council meeting, and circulated a letter this week stating that LCC “would like to urge the City Council to join other communities around the state, nation and world to stop the use of deadly rodent poisons and to take a stand to get poisons out of the City and municipal parks.”

The bill Dicterow would like the City to support, AB1788, is working its way through the State Assembly, and would ban the use of deadly First and Second Generation Anticoagulant Rodenticides (FGARs and SGARs). According to the bill, upper-level predators that consume poisoned rodents – hawks, owls, bobcats, foxes, mountain lions, and others – are frequently secondarily poisoned. Wildlife are also poisoned when they directly consume the bait, as are children and household pets.

According to a comprehensive study by the Department of Fish & Wildlife, of the 111 deceased mountain lions that were studied in 2016, FGARs were detected in 73 percent of dead animals from 33 counties and SGARs in 92 percent from 35 counties. “This clearly illustrates the widespread disastrous consequences of the continuing use of anticoagulant rodenticides,” states the bill.

Dicterow said this issue is one that can bring the community together. “Both political sides agree on this issue. So maybe we can find issues that start bringing people together, like this.”


Guest Column

Hope from the Homeless

By Michelle Evans

To give names and faces to members of our homeless community, Stu News will periodically feature their stories.

Our previous “Hope from the Homeless” story featured Frank Macias, a young man determined to establish a stable life so he can have a future with his dream girl. 

Here is her story.

I was born in Ventura, California in 1978 to loving parents who took us out in the wilderness to camp and made surfing a routine part of life. My mother, being rooted in spirituality, kept us going to church as regularly as she could, and I had a fairly normal upbringing. I married young and held down two jobs at the Spinnaker Seafood Broiler and Bombay’s Bar and Grill. We owned a condo by the beach. Unfortunately, my marriage failed, and I moved to Ojai, near Santa Barbara, where I continued to work many different jobs. After my mother’s untimely death, I moved to Los Angeles in my late 20s and started bartending at the Garden Terrace in Ojai.

I met my kids’ father when I was 30 years old. Together, we owned Elemental Sound, a sound equipment rental business. We took out a loan and purchased extremely high-quality sound equipment such as a custom-built Carvin sound system, dual 13” subs, dual 15” with a horn, CDJs, which are specialized digital music players for deejaying, and a Pioneer Nexxus mixer. 

We rented out our sound equipment to music promoters for concerts, parties or charity events. At the time, our company had ongoing contracts with two well-known promotional companies for music events. We were doing well until the promoters started defaulting on their bills. Soon they were owing us huge sums of money and we had to cancel our business insurance as we were barely making ends meet. As fate would have it, a few weeks later our van was stolen in Hollywood. We were virtually robbed of everything of value that we owned which was roughly $86,000 worth of equipment.

We struggled for years after that. I worked at a bar and slowly tried buying back key items for our business, but we never managed to make a comeback. As tough as things were then, we got pregnant. After the birth of my daughter, we moved to Lake Forest and lived with my husband’s parents for a year. My marriage failed and left me homeless and unable to be with my daughter; my heart aches to be with her. I now have a second daughter, but she is also not with me. Back then, I did not know where to go, the only shelter I could find that took women in was in Los Angeles, on Skid Row. I stayed on Skid Row until I was attacked by an MS-13 gang; I was beaten, robbed, and assaulted. 

Hope from Michelle and Frank

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Michelle Evans and Frank Macias

I fled from Los Angeles after that. I desperately needed to be close to my daughter in Orange County. I slept in El Toro Park until I met Curtis, a cool surf rat who told me about the Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL) in Laguna Beach. When I first came to Laguna Beach, I was about five months pregnant. When I got to the ASL, I was immediately so well taken care of that I gained 10 lbs. I had been at ASL for about a week before I was invited to attend Net-Works Church. I still had a huge black eye from the attack and was embarrassed to be seen outside of the ASL, but I was assured that the people at Net-Works are not the least bit judgmental.

When I arrived at Net-Works Church, I was very happy to see that everyone else there was like me, unable to be dressed in their Sunday best; this was something else that had held me back from going to most churches. I was warmly greeted by Pastor Don and met his lovely wife, Karen. Don and Karen hugged me and welcomed me into this community…pregnant, out-of-wedlock and everything. I felt so very blessed. I got to enjoy delicious food that was lovingly prepared by church members. In addition, Pastor Don and Karen had laid out an assortment of clothes for those who needed it. I was able to find great clothes to fit my everchanging body shape.

My journey back to the Lord has been a tough one but I felt hope again for the first time in a long time and a connection with the Holy Spirit that I hadn’t felt in years. Pastor Don gave me counsel and hope that things could get better. I was so filled with hope that I dared to dream that I would be able to have a home again.

While I was at the ASL, I met some team members in blue shirts from the Orange County Mental Health Outreach. I learned that these team members go to the beach and shelters to find homeless individuals and try to help them. After speaking with them, they made arrangements for me to get into transitional housing. They picked me up the very next week and drove me to an “intake interview” in Huntington Beach. A few days later, I got a phone call to tell me that I was accepted into the program. Again, some team members came to pick me up and helped me get set up; all I did was answer my phone – literally! 

Now I have a cute apartment that I share with the house mother. It took me a few weeks of working with the outreach team to get housed because I was pregnant. I was recently asked to assume the role of house mother when the current one leaves. My days are busy with parenting classes, drug counseling and testing, as well as group psychotherapy. I also see a psychiatrist as per my Child Protective Services (CPS) case. I am still looking for a job as I am only available to work at night, but I am excited at the opportunity and I am determined to find a job to stay in the program. I would be thrilled to stay where I currently am as it’s a great place for kids.

I am fighting to get back everything that I lost, especially my daughters. I know that I’m on the right track and this is what keeps me coming back to Net-Works Church. Net-Works is my “home” in my heart.

Net-Works Church invites the community to comes to its Sunday Gathering at the Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach at 286 St. Ann’s Drive. Breakfast is served at 9 a.m. All are welcome. Services are at 10 a.m. For more information, go to www.lagunabeachnet-works.org.

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Barbara’s Column

Dance Dance Dance 

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Laguna Dance Festival celebrated 15 years of world-class performances with an evening of “Dance, Dance, Dance” on Saturday night at Seven7Seven. They could have danced all night and the audience would have still wanted more.

From the time the gala began at 6 p.m. until 9ish, when they took to the dance floor, the audience was spellbound by the dance students and professionals who entertained throughout the evening. 

“This is the most fun gala in town,” said Karen Wilson, chair of the festival board. “And we get to watch these exquisite dancers.”

The performance by professionals Oksana and Jonathan Platero was breathtaking, but it was the students of dance who stole hearts. 

Young dancers included students from Mater Dei and Laguna Beach High Schools, St. Margaret’s Episcopal School and USC’s Glorya Kaufman School of Dance, of which Jodie Gates is vice dean and director. Gates’ students Jackie Schiffner, Meagan Yamashita and Juan Miguel Posada were the USC scholarship performers. 

Gates, who has been dancing since she was five years old and performed for 25 years with prestigious ballet companies such as the Joffrey, is the founder of the Laguna Dance Festival. 

Dance Dance Wilson

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Courtesy of Laguna Dance Festival Facebook

Karen Wilson, chair of the festival board, introduces dancers

“The arts, like sports, are critical to our culture and specifically our youth,” said Gates. “Dance requires dedication; it is competitive, engaging, inspirational and enriches a young person’s life. Dance does for us what sports does: it teaches community, collaboration, scholarship and critical thinking.”

Each year the festival awards scholarships to help young dance/athletes achieve their dreams, Gates said. 

Scholarship winners Jessica Ward, who attends the Classical Ballet Academy; Jacob Kurihara, who attends Huntington Beach Academy of Performing Arts; and Sophia Frilot, a student at the Orange County School of the Arts, were among the dancers on Saturday. Ward and Frilot also participate in the Westside Dance project. 

Wilson and William J. Gillespie, whose generosity of time and money help make scholarships possible, were honored at the gala.

Laguna’s Dance Festival began modestly in the home of Stu Byer and Jeff Rehn, both of whom attended the gala, and supported by balletomane Janet Eggers. My how it has grown. An Advisory Board and an all-volunteer Board of Directors handles most of the administrative and fundraising business, and a growing group of dedicated volunteers staff the festivals.

Dance Dance boy

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Courtesy of Laguna Dance Festival Facebook

Dancer wows crowd

Board members include Robert Braun, Mari and Ward Bukofsky, Kathy Conway, Mary Dawe, Susan Giusto, Stacy Hagen, Nancy Meyer, Amanda Paracuellos, Robbie Prepas, Deborah Schlesinger and Edie Tonkon. Guitos and Hagen chaired the gala. 

Executive Director Joy Dittberner is a master of organization – you should see her timetable for the Saturday event. It began Thursday afternoon with the delivery of wine and covered the meals for staff, guest arrivals, a champagne reception, pop-up performances on Seven7Seven’s rooftop, herding the guests downstairs for dinner, and concluded with the audience taking to the dance floor at about 9 p.m. 

Dance enthusiasts at the gala included Betsy and Dr. Gary Jenkins, Nancy and Mike Meyer, which whom Gates lived when she first moved to Laguna Beach, soloist sponsors Chris Quilter and Laura Tarbox, Barbara and Greg MacGillivray, Lauren and Richard Packard, Cindy and Bill Shopoff, Marcus Skenderian, Joe and Jane Hanauer, Jeff Benedick, Leah and Howard Englander, Charlotte Bloom, and Becky Jones.

“I am new to this,” said Jones “And I am mesmerized,”

The evening also included an auction of big ticket items, VIP passes to Porsche’s Experience Center, described as a theme park for grownups, a three-day trip to New York, dinner for 10, catered by Chef Maryann Minck, four tickets to the Dodger-Angels Freeway Series and two tickets to a Rams or Chargers game, and seven nights at one of several lavish resorts located in Acapulco, Cancun – Riviera Maya, Nuevo Vallarta, Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Penasco with concierge service included.

Dance Dance girl

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Courtesy of Laguna Dance Festival Facebook

Student dancer 

The final auction item was a $1 bill. Three bidders offered $5,000 for it. Six bidders offered $2,500. Nine raised their paddles at the $1,000 mark. Eleven bidders promised $500 for the bill. Nine offered $100, but the always generous Al Roberts tossed in a last minute $3,000 bid.

Jim Nye was the auctioneer. 

“We know how to put on a show” said Gates. 

Unfortunately, the show won’t be in Laguna this year. The Playhouse, where the festival has always appeared, could not accommodate dates that were feasible for the Dance Festival. The Irvine Barclay Theatre will host the 2019 festival. 

Coffee with Cottie

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris is inviting Laguna Beach residents to join her for a cup of coffee and conversation about fire safety and legislation. 

Petrie-Norris will be at Fire Station 1 next to the city Council Chambers from 9 to 10:30 a.m., Saturday, June 8.

For more information and to reserve space, call (949) 251-0074 or visit http://asmdc.org/js.

But wait – there’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading StuNewsLaguna.com. Contributions are welcomed.


WAVE’s “Light the Way for Change” event offers solutions to create a kinder world and community

Photos by Kathleen Clark Photography

On Sunday, May 19, WAVE (Women for American Values and Ethics) presented its first annual “Light the Way for Change” event to address the growing problem of intolerance and violence in Orange County and offer a more just and peaceful path forward. The event featured an incredible panel of guest speakers recruited by WAVE, including R. Derek Black (former white nationalist); Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein, parents of Blaze Bernstein and LGBTQ advocates; Dr. Marilyn J. Harran, Director of the Rodgers Center of Holocaust Education at Chapman University; Dr. Pete Simi, Professor at Chapman University and one of the nation’s leading experts on white supremacists; Shelley McMahon, an active member of Everytown for Gun Safety/Moms Demand Action; Anna Mendez, Executive Director of the National Association of People Against Bullying; and Victoria Mendez, Global Director of Cool 2 Be Kind. 

WAVE 1

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R. Derek Black speaks about his experience growing up in the white nationalist movement, as the godson of David Duke, and how he rebuked the group’s ideologies after his experiences in college

Over 400 people attended the sold out event, which was held at the Laguna Beach Artist Theater. The event was also highlighted by a musical performance by 2019 Laguna Beach Parade Artist of the Year Roxanna Ward, who brought the audience to tears with her performance of “Remember Who You Are,” a song she penned in memory of her mother (and which reached #16 on Billboard’s jazz chart), and also by the Jorg Dubin Band.

WAVE 2

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It’s cool to be kind! “Light the Way for Change” encouraged attendees to be the change they want to see in their community

“WAVE Action Fund is so excited about the successful launch of its new 501(c)(4) nonprofit with this signature event, ‘Light the Way for Change.’ The speakers’ call for acts of kindness were heard by a sold out audience of over 400, many of whom were educators. Thank you to lead sponsors Chapman University, South Coast Plaza, Lugano Diamonds, and the editorial support of Stu News,” said event committee co-chair Audrey Prosser, who, along with her fellow co-chair and longtime local Rita Conn, and a fiercely passioante committee, dared to dream of an event that would inspire change in our community.

WAVE 3

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The passionate women behind “Light the Way for Change”

Women for American Values and Ethics (WAVE) PAC formed in December 2016 with 21 members and today is over 1,000 members strong. WAVE hosts monthly meetings that are open to all.

For more information about WAVE, visit https://wave4all.org/


Flying the Rainbow Flag

Flying the flag

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

City Hall has a new flag flying. On Tuesday, the City Council approved a request to fly the Rainbow Flag on the pole in front of City Hall to commemorate the impact the gay community has had on Laguna Beach and on the county. Laguna Beach Pride 365, a year-round organization that promotes cultural diversity in Laguna Beach, requested that the flag be flown until June 30. June has been celebrated by the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community since 1968 in honor of the uprising in Greenwich Village in New York City, a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement, and to commemorate the impact that the gay community has had in the United States. Additionally, Laguna Beach Pride Festival will take place May 31 - June 2.

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Neighbors express continued support to underground Woods Cove neighborhood utilities

At its regular meeting Tuesday, May 21, the City Council voted to appropriate $300,000 to continue facilitating the formation of the Woods Cove Utility Undergrounding District. In 2014, almost 60 percent of the 335 parcels in the District put $99,500 towards the project for the design, assessment engineering, and financial services for the formation of the District. At that time the City also contributed $600,000 to those associated costs.

“Southern California Edison (SCE) based their initial project engineering drawings on the assumption that the assessment districts adjacent to Woods Cove would be constructed by the time the Woods Cove project began,” said Shohreh Dupuis, Assistant City Manager and Director of Public Works. “Because those neighboring districts haven’t been constructed yet, SCE needs to redesign the Woods Cove undergrounding project to accurately reflect a plan using the existing overhead facilities.”

Because the proposed redesign will require changes in the project boundary, additional costs of $300,000 for the engineering of the project will be incurred. 

“We have so much skin in the game,” said Karen Klammer, head of a grassroots effort to underground the Woods Cove neighborhood. “Everyone feels the energy is still as strong as it was five years ago to keep moving forward.”

Residents remain in support of the project and packed City Council Chambers Tuesday to urge the Council to move forward with plans to form a District and place overhead utilities underground in the neighborhood.

“Your neighborhood is the paradigm, and I think you’ve done amazing work,” Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen told those in attendance. 

After the additional assessment engineering and design is complete, the project will be brought back for a public hearing and formal vote.


Charm House Tour celebrates Laguna’s storied cottages

Charm House Tour 1

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Village Laguna celebrated its 47th Annual Charm House last Sunday, highlighting some of the most beautiful historical homes in Laguna Beach. Ticket sales exceeded last year’s by 6 percent, according to event chair Ginger Osborne.

Charm House Tour 2

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Submitted photo

Beautiful home, beautiful garden

Charm House Tour 3

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Submitted photo

The annual event helps support Village Laguna’s mission, “to preserve, enhance, and celebrate the unique village character and cultural heritage of Laguna Beach.” Monies raised are used to help support political candidates that support this vision, and are also used to give scholarships to charitable organizations in town, with over $50,000 donated over the last several years.


Fifteenth Walking for Water fundraiser scheduled at Laguna Beach High School track on June 2

The 15th Annual Walking for Water fundraiser will be held Sunday, June 2 from noon until 3 p.m. at the Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) track. Walking for Water, a project of Wisdom Spring Inc., is run by 24 students from LBHS and raises money to dig wells that can bring water to indigenous villages in West Africa, India, and other parts of the world suffering from the global water crisis. Wisdom Spring, Inc. is a nonprofit that partners with the student club making Walking for Water’s donations possible. 

The students ask that residents join them in making a difference as a community. The walk is more than just a walk, it is an event with booths, music, food, and a silent auction. The majority of their funds are raised through the entrance fee which includes a Walking for Water T-Shirt created in partnership with Hobie Surf Shop for $20 for adults and $15 for LBHS students.

Over the past 16 years, walks have been held in other areas that have raised over $330,000 which has been used to dig 28 wells in Burkina Faso, Ghana and their most recent well in Nyingmapa Monastery in Gondia, India. 

Fifteenth Walking group

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Courtesy of Instagram

Walking on Water group from LBHS

Following this year’s walk, LBHS students hope to have raised $40,000 with the intent to put one well in West Africa, one well in Nepal, and one well in South India’s Tibetan Refugee Camp. 

Additionally, the students are involved in the fight to end female genital mutilation practices in Loita, Kenya and will continue educating youth in Burkina Faso and hope to increase education for elementary students in Gondia, India. 

The students in Walking for Water are more than just club members; they are a family who spend several hours a week working to make a change. They meet every Tuesday during their lunch period, as well as two to three times a week on their own time. 

These students are dedicated to the cause, and as the club member Eric Cortellessa says, “I think it’s important for other people our age to have an example to follow, because a lot of people in our generation underestimate themselves and their ability to make changes in the world.” 

Outside of the high school, more and more students from the middle and elementary schools are becoming involved. Co-President Sophia Costanzo states, “I look forward to younger kids joining the cause and working to inspire those around them.” 

Fifteenth Walking boys

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Courtesy of Instagram

Without wells, children must walk miles for water

Susan Hough, the project coordinator of the walk, said she had no idea in 2004 when the first walk was held that it would continue to grow and be embraced by so many people. “The beauty of it is that so many young people are involved, and the walk speaks to how wonderful our youth are and how they can make a difference when given an opportunity. I am so touched that it has continued to thrive, and that the kids not only motivate the adults, but they also learn as students to become leaders.” 

Sobonfu Somé, the founder of Wisdom Spring, Inc., who we lost in 2017 due to her childhood struggle with Burkina Faso’s unsanitary water, stated, “We know that by providing water and education, we help to preserve the culture of The Dagara people of Burkina Faso, who are very connected to the natural world. We are a people who carry an ancient wisdom and an understanding of the great cycles of the Earth. The wells have revived the people, the animals and the land itself.” 

To donate online, go to www.wisdomspring.org/donate/. 

For more information, contact Susan Hough at (703) 505-5152 or visit https://lbhswalkingforwater.org.

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Forever in the clouds

Forever in driving

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Highway to heaven


Laguna Beach Unified School District names 2018-19 employees of the year

LBUSD has named the 2018-2019 employees of the year. Steve Sogo, a science teacher at Laguna Beach High School, was selected as the Laguna Beach Unified School District’s Teacher of the Year. Additionally, Nikki Romano, library media specialist at Top of the World Elementary (TOW), was selected as the Classified Employee of the Year for the district. Together, they will be recognized at the school board meeting on May 28 at 6 p.m.

Sogo will be recognized at the Orange County Department of Education Teacher of the Year (TOTY) banquet in November at the Disneyland Hotel, which celebrates outstanding teachers in Orange County. 

Laguna Beach Unified tie

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(L-R) Dr. Jason Viloria, Marianne Bynum, Steve Sogo, and Sara Hopper

“Steve has led the Science department for a number of years and is amazingly knowledgeable in the content area,” said Laguna Beach High School Principal Dr. Jason Allemann. He continued, “Steve creates an environment where students are able to apply sound lab practices to their learning experiences that deal with current and real-life issues and challenges.”

Presented by California Casualty, the California Department of Education, and the Classified School Employees Association, the Classified School Employees of the Year Program highlights the contributions of classified school employees who support more than six million public school students from preschool through grade twelve in California. 

Laguna Beach Unified library

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Nikki Romano, library media specialist at TOW was selected as the Classified Employee of the Year 

“Nikki is a ray of light on TOW’s campus,” said Top of the World Elementary School Principal Michael Conlon. “She has built such warm working relationships with staff, parents, and students. Nikki goes above and beyond to help out around campus and I am so thankful to have her as part of the TOW family.”

The school district will also recognize Classified Employee of the Year winners in specific categories including Linda Butler-Stoll, child nutrition; Kelli Merda, office and technical support; and Heidi Winegard, support services and security. 

The winners were selected through a district-wide nomination and voting process that was open to all classified school employees.


Woman’s Club collects donations for Marine Corp Ball and Laguna Food Pantry at Wine and Cheese event

Story and photos by DIANNE RUSSELL

Earlier this year, Woman’s Club President Kitty Malcolm said, We have a strong community and civic involvement, but it hasn’t gotten press. There is a misconception that the Woman’s Club is a social group. We asked why it is people in town don’t understand what we do?”

If the objective is to change the community’s perception of the group as merely a social organization, it’s succeeding like gangbusters. Granted, the Club has signature social events, and fun ones at that, but many times the gatherings involve a community outreach program (or two), as was the case this week. The opportunities for its 161 members to give back to the community are as varied as they are invaluable, and more programs have been added during the past year. 

New outreach project

One of them is the Gowns and Suits for Military Wives/Husbands Project.

At Tuesday evening’s spring Wine and Cheese get together, attendees brought generous donations of evening attire for the military families to wear at Camp Pendleton’s Annual Marine Corps Ball this November. The Marine Corps Ball is a momentous event for Marines and one of the highlights of their year, especially for the spouses. However, it can be challenging for some military spouses to afford the appropriate elegant eveningwear and accessories for the Birthday Ball.

Malcolm announced that some dresses were also being donated by Laguna Beach High School prom attendees and the Giving Group from the Montage will contribute as well. 

In addition to the clothing, members brought food donations for Laguna Food Pantry (the Club supports them year round).

Woman's Club Kitty

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Woman’s Club President Kitty Malcolm

The Woman’s Club year in review tells the story of the extent of their community outreach programs. (August 2018-June 2019)

--August: The Board met to review their Mission Statement and discuss ideas that would complement it. 

--September : Community Outreach Chair Nancy Shurtleff and her volunteers continued their program of providing backpacks to children throughout the District.

--October: Enhanced Club’s Mission Statement of service to the community by ‘adopting’ the Laguna Food Pantry. They collected 175 lbs of food, a donation of $350 and presented a donation of $1,000 to Food Pantry’s Executive Director Anne Belyea.

Introduction of the “Big Give”

 --December: The Tarnished Treasures sale raised $1,500. Introduction of the “Big Give” in which members gave $5,000 towards their mission to help families and children in need. Continuation of Adopt-A-Family through Sande St. John, and received wish lists from 42 children. Members adopted 20 of these children, committing to buying presents for each child. The volunteers worked magic to present each child with a package of the gifts on their wish lists. All funds raised at this event are given back to the community in financial assistance for these families.

--Continued to support Human Options, a program initiated by Club member Vivian Clark many years ago. Provided bedding to women who are transitioning out of the Human Option facility to a residence of their own. Human Options provides safe haven and life-changing programs to help abused women, their children, and families to rebuild their lives.

Woman's Club group

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(L-R) Club members Mary Kay Saunders, Deb Engle, Joan Gladstone, and Lynette Brasfield in front of the rack of evening attire donations

--January: Provided two educational programs, “Unleash the Power of Your Intuition” presented by Club Member Susan Velasquez, and new tax changes for 2018 and how to get ready for tax preparation given by Club Member Anne McGraw and CPA Todd Hammett. 

--March: Party for the Pantry fundraiser. A donation of $5,000 was given to the Pantry (in addition to the $1,000 in October).

--March through June: Intergenerational Literacy Program for second graders. Volunteers assist in after school program to help students with reading skills.

--May: Laguna Beach High School Scholarship Program

Malcolm says, “We are very proud of the Club’s continued collaborations with much of our community through our many programs. We hope our mission to keep growing and providing our members with the type of Club you want to be part of continues to make you proud to say you are a member of the Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach.”

Signature events

Along with the many outreach programs, their signature events during the year include: Member/guest Wine and Cheese Socials, Holiday Luncheon, Outgoing Mayor Luncheon, and Woman of the Year Luncheon. Book Club and Woman’s Club Night at the Playhouse were added in October of 2018.

There’s no doubt that members of Woman’s Club know how to have a good time, but it’s “fun” with a purpose – to be of service, and the community is the grateful recipient.

Woman’s Club is located at 286 St. Ann’s Dr.

For more information on membership, programs and events, go to www.wclb.org.

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Laguna Beach Firefighters flip again for the Annual Pancake Breakfast on Memorial Day at Heisler Park

Last year over 800 people attended the Pancake Breakfast presented by the Laguna Beach Exchange Club in honor of Memorial Day. Again this year, Laguna Beach Firefighters will be on hand to flip hundreds of pancakes from 7 a.m. until 10:30 at Heisler Park. The cost of breakfast is $6.

Laguna Beach chefs

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Firefighters busy at work during last year’s Pancake Breakfast, including Pat Cary (front)

Originally held on May 30, Memorial Day was moved in 1970 to the last Monday in May and declared a national holiday in 1971. It marks the unofficial start of summer while Labor Day marks its end.

The Firefighters want to thank their sponsors – White House Restaurant, Mozambique, and Skyloft – for their support. 

Heisler Park is located at 375 Cliff Dr.

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American Legion and VFW to conduct Memorial Day ceremony

On Monday, May 27, Laguna Beach American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars will conduct the organization’s 92nd Memorial Day ceremony in remembrance of all of their comrades who died in all the wars and conflicts protecting our country. 

The ceremony will take place at Monument Point in Heisler Park at 11 a.m. sharp. The keynote speaker will be Korean War Veteran Arnold Silverman. Music will begin at 10:30. 

American Legion flag

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Laying of a wreath in honor of our veterans

The public is invited to come early, as seating is limited. For more information, contact Richard Moore at (949) 376-6340 or Sandi Werthe (949) 494-6016.

Many organizations place floral offerings on the Heisler Park Memorial Monument during the ceremony. If you send or bring floral arrangements please make sure your organization’s name is attached. It is suggested that those having flowers delivered try to get them in place by 9:30 a.m. If you intend to send or bring floral arrangements, please call Sandi Werthe at (949) 494-6016 or Beth Johnsen at (949) 378-4321.

Heisler Park is located at 375 Cliff Dr.


Where’s Maggi – the rest of the story!

On Tuesday, we wrote about where this little gate, the subject of last Friday’s Where’s Maggi challenge, can be found…at Village Green Park on Monterey Street and Virginia Way, in South Laguna.

Four readers wrote in with the correct answer – Laurie Kirkland, Lucinda Prewitt, Bernadette Murphy, and Penny Marino. 

Wheres Maggi charming gate

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Little gate at the Village Green Park, South Laguna

On Tuesday, former Mayor Ann Christoph wrote to Stu News with more info:

The gates at the South Laguna Village Green were designed by Blair Ballard and built by Ross Frisbee. We had a People for Parks Committee, part of South Laguna Civic Association, led by Jo Ballard that lobbied the County to buy the park property. 

“This was a very complicated and intense effort but eventually the County purchased the three lots that make up the park from the property owners for about $80,000. At the time many said that was an outrageous amount to spend on a park!

“Later we had a design committee consisting of Blair, Todd Stoutenborough, Fred Lang, Ken Wood and me.

“Todd designed the tree house (no longer there). Lang and Wood had the landscape architectural design contract with the County and it was completed in 1977.”

Thank you, Ann, for sharing “the rest of the story” on this charming gate!

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Guest Column

What is compassion?

By Vidya Reddy

Hello and welcome to the compassion corner. 

Compassion literally means “to suffer together.” Among emotion researchers, it is defined as the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.

Compassion is not the same as empathy or altruism, though the concepts are related. While empathy refers more generally to our ability to take the perspective of and feel the emotions of another person, compassion is when those feelings and thoughts include the desire to help. Altruism, in turn, is the kind, selfless behavior often prompted by feelings of compassion, though one can feel compassion without acting on it, and altruism isn’t always motivated by compassion.

While cynics may dismiss compassion as touchy-feely or irrational, scientists have started to map the biological basis of compassion, suggesting its deep evolutionary purpose. This research has shown that when we feel compassion, our heart rate slows down, we secrete the “bonding hormone” oxytocin, and regions of the brain linked to empathy, caregiving and feelings of pleasure light up, which often results in our wanting to approach and care for other people.

How Do I Cultivate It? 

We often talk about some people as being more compassionate than others, but research suggests compassion isn’t something you’re born with or not. Instead, it can be strengthened through targeted exercises and practice. Here are some specific, science-based activities for cultivating compassion: 

Feeling supported: Think about the people you turn to when you’re distressed and recall times when you’ve felt comforted by them, which research says can help us to feel more compassionate toward others.

What is dog

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Dr. Vidya Reddy practices compassion

Compassion meditation: Cultivate compassion toward a loved one, yourself, a neutral person, and even an enemy.

Put a human face on suffering: When reading the news, look for profiles of specific individuals and try to imagine what their lives have been like.

Eliciting altruism: Create reminders of connectedness. 

Compassion training programs

Compassion training programs are revealing how we can boost feelings of compassion in ourselves and others. Here are some of the best tips to emerge out of those programs, as well as other research.

Look for commonalities: Seeing yourself as similar to others increases feelings of compassion. Studies show that something as simple as tapping your fingers to the same rhythm with a stranger increases compassionate behavior.

Calm your inner worrier: When we let our mind run wild with fear in response to someone else’s pain (e.g., What if that happens to me?), we inhibit the biological systems that enable compassion. The practice of mindfulness can help us feel safer in these situations facilitating compassion.

Encourage cooperation

Encourage cooperation, not competition, even through subtle cues: A study showed that describing a game as a “Community Game” led players to cooperate and share a reward evenly; describing the same game as a “Wall Street Game” made the players more cutthroat and less honest. This is a valuable lesson for teachers, who can promote cooperative learning in the classroom.

See people as individuals: When presented with an appeal from an anti-hunger charity, people were more likely to give money after reading about a starving girl than after reading statistics on starvation—even when those statistics were combined with the girl’s story.

What is close up

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Dr. Vidya Reddy

Don’t play the blame game: When we blame others for their misfortune, we feel less tenderness and concern toward them.

Respect your inner hero: When we think we’re capable of making a difference, we’re less likely to curb our compassion.

Notice and savor how good it feels to be compassionate. Studies have shown that practicing compassion and engaging in compassionate action bolsters brain activity in areas that signal reward.

Cultivate compassion

To cultivate compassion in kids, start by modeling kindness: Research suggests compassion is contagious, so if you want to help compassion spread in the next generation of young men and women, lead by example.

Curb inequality: Research suggests that as people feel a greater sense of status over others, they feel less compassion.

Don’t be a sponge: When we completely take on other people’s suffering as our own, we risk feeling personally distressed, threatened, and overwhelmed; in some cases, this can even lead to burnout. Instead, try to be receptive to other people’s feelings without adopting those feelings as your own. 

In Peace, Love and Gratitude. 

‘Til next time. 

Dr.Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC 

www.Naturally-Happy.com


Laguna Beach Live! invites all to an afternoon delight at Bluegrass & BBQ on June 8

Enjoy a delightful afternoon of incredible bluegrass music and delicious BBQ on Saturday, June 8 at Bluegrass & BBQ presented by Laguna Beach Live!. 

Laguna Beach Live! is once again partnering with three very talented local companies to bring an even greater hometown experience. 

Laguna Beach Beer Company, established in 2014 by lifelong Laguna Beach residents, will be serving Tuava Guava (Hefeweizen) and Ruby St. (Grapefruit IPA). Purple Corduroy, a California culture inspired wine company produced by the three Bromigos, Dr. Riptide, SLi Dawg, and “Brandavi,” with a Laguna Beach-to-Lodi connection, will be offering Red Siren (Zinfandel) and Blonde Siren (Sauvignon Blanc). 

Gnarly Q will be there too, offering freshly smoked choices of Pulled Pork, Bacon Wrapped Chicken Thighs, Tri Tip of beef or vegetable skewers (all plates include baked beans, baked corn mash, and Hawaiian style coleslaw).

Laguna Beach outside band

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Enjoy a delightful afternoon with live bluegrass music, beer, and tasty bites at Bluegrass & BBQ on June 8

Entertaining the crowd will be The Miskey Mountain Boys, featuring world-class musicians who have performed all over the worl  and at such events and venues such as the Hollywood Bowl, the Disney Studios, Pops Symphony Orchestras, The Tournament of Roses, and The United Artists Theater In Los Angeles. They have also been featured performers in radio, televisio,  and film, including The Academy Awards, A Prairie Home Companion, and HBO’s Big Love

Bluegrass & BBQ will be held on the pastoral campus of Laguna College of Art & Design, 2222 Laguna Canyon Rd. 

The concert is from 5 - 7 p.m., with doors opening at 4 for BBQ and social hour. Concert-only tickets are $20 in advance for adults, $25 at the door. Children (12 and under) are $10 in advance, $13 at door. VIP tickets, available in advance only, are $100 and include reserved table seating, the concert, and your choice of BBQ served at your table. General admission includes seating on a first-come, first-served basis. Chairs are provided. Barbecue and beverages will be sold separately. Sorry, no outside food or beverages are permitted.

To purchase tickets, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org or call (800) 595-4849. For more information, call (949) 715-9713.


The different moods of Victoria Beach

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The different exposed rocks

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Exposed rocks at the north end of Victoria Beach 

The different waves

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Wild and wooly waves

The different with poem

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“I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide

Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;

And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,

And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.”

from John Masefield’s “Sea Fever”

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Obituary

Duane Lowell Bickel 

November 16, 1929 – May 15, 2019

Duane Bickel close up

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Duane Lowell Bickel, 89, passed away at home in hospice on May 15, 2019, due to Corticobasal Degeneration, a rare Parkinson’s-like disease. His beloved wife, Darrcy Loveland Bickel, and caregiver Grace were by his side. 

A native Californian, Duane was born November 16, 1929, to Willie Alma Cooksey Bickel, a nurse, and Earl John Bickel, a radio patrolman with the LAPD, who died in the line of duty when Duane was seven years old. Duane attended Verdugo Hills High School and received a bachelor’s degree with a double major in Mathematics and Physics from UCLA and an MBA from the University of La Verne.

Duane joined Lockheed Aircraft Company as a Mathematical Analyst upon graduation and was a pioneer in the field of Computer Graphics. He held management positions in computing, including Department Manager of Advanced Technology. He was responsible for computer procurement, notably, purchasing the first Cray supercomputer, the most powerful computer of the time; and participated in the famed “Skunk Works.” We know little else of his career, as he strictly complied with Department of Defense secrecy requirements. When Lockheed merged with Martin Marietta, Duane chose not to accept a move to Georgia, and took early retirement. He was entrusted with the keys to the company’s operations in Burbank, where he turned out the lights and locked the doors for the last time.

Duane and his wife of 49 years, Patricia Mary Covick Bickel, a teacher and docent, deceased in 2002, moved from Glendale to enjoy retirement in Laguna Beach. They were members of St. Catherine Siena Catholic Church and active in the community. 

Duane and Darrcy Loveland, attorney, married in 2004 and celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary this month. Duane was a romantic, asking Darrcy to marry him flying in a hot air balloon over Temecula with a champagne brunch in a vineyard upon landing. Duane and Darrcy enjoyed traveling the world but were always glad to return home to Laguna Beach.

Duane was fun-loving, honorable, a gentleman and a role model for his entire family. He was active in many Laguna Beach organizations and a member of both St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church and Laguna Beach United Methodist Church. He was Secretary and Treasurer of Neighborhood Watch, a presenter at Police Awards events and a member of the Exchange Club, helping to organize Pancake Breakfasts and purchase and wrap Christmas gifts for needy families. For over 30 years, Duane attended Wednesday breakfasts with his gang of men friends that he said met to solve the problems of the world. Duane also organized the annual Woods Cove End of Summer Party. 

Survivors include his wife, Darrcy Loveland Bickel; a daughter, Janice Fenster and her husband Alan, of Tiburon; a son, Glenn Bickel, of Westwood; Georgia Bickel; four grandchildren: John, Henry, Peter, and Madelyn Bickel of Georgia; and brother-in-law Bill Dunagan, of Kansas and husband of Duane’s deceased sister Lorraine.

Friends and relatives are invited to attend Duane’s Celebration of Life on Friday, May 31, at 1 p.m. at the Laguna Beach United Methodist Church, 21632 Wesley Dr, with a reception to follow in the church Fellowship Hall. In lieu of flowers, contributions are requested in Duane Bickel’s memory to any of the following: Laguna Beach Seniors, Laguna Beach United Methodist Church or St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church.


American Legion Auxiliary Unit 222 collects “Poppy” donations for Active Duty Military and Veterans

The members of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 222, Laguna Beach, are asking for donations to their “Poppy Fund” for active duty military and veterans in exchange for a red paper poppy. 

Congress designated today, Friday, May 24 as “National Poppy Day” and the Auxiliary will have a table at Pavilions in North Laguna today from 4 to 6 p.m.

American Legion poppies

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Poppy donations for Active Duty Military and Veterans 

Poppies will also be available on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27 during the 11 a.m. American Legion ceremony at Heisler Park, Monument Point. 

Donations can also be mailed to ALA Unit 222, P.O. Box 517, Laguna Beach, CA 92652 in exchange for a poppy. 

For further information, contact Sandi Werthe, Treasurer and Poppy Chair at (949) 494-6016 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..   

The Unit is a 501(c)(19), Federal ID 95-6050005.


William DeBilzan unveils new summer series of paintings with special artist reception on Saturday

To celebrate William DeBilzan’s new summer series of paintings and to kick off the summer, the DeBilzan Gallery will be unveiling his work at a special artist reception on Saturday, May 25 from 6 to 9 p.m.

“I look forward to being in Laguna Beach to present my new Summer Series and celebrate with the community where I got my start as an artist,” DeBilzan said. 

The DeBilzan Gallery exhibition of the Summer Series consists of 15 paintings created specifically for Laguna Beach. 

DeBilzan 1 Somewhere With You

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Submitted photo

“Somewhere With You,” 24” x 30,” oil mixed media on canvas 

“I paint in a series of work, all the series that I do is about my life story. The Summer Series is based on my love of the ocean,” DeBilzan said. “The Summer Series highlights my signature use of color and texture.”

A self-taught artist, DeBilzan began painting abstracts. His curious nature and intuition led to the integration of objects into his canvases, incorporating any material that inspired him. Often starting with a wash, DeBilzan builds his surfaces in a way that produces a luminous glaze in one area and a thick, highly textured impasto layer in another – a range of textures and effects with light, all on the same canvas.

“I paint very intuitively, not with any preconceived idea of the end result. I just start painting using colors and then I start feeling a balance within my pieces,” DeBilzan said. 

DeBilzan 2 My Pleasure

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Submitted photo

“My Pleasure,” 16” x 20”, oil mixed media on canvas

DeBilzan is famous for creating works that are reflective of his life, love, and travels. The Summer Series exemplifies his life and love of the ocean. His paintings evoke a calmness and serenity. The abstract figures and landscapes allow the viewer to escape to a world created through the expressionist’s eyes.

“I really look forward to sharing my new work with the Laguna Beach community at the reception,” DeBilzan said.

DeBilzan 3 Devotion

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Submitted photo

“Devotion,” 16” x 20,” oil mixed media on canvas

The Artist Reception will be held on Saturday, May 25, from 6 - 9 p.m. at the DeBilzan Gallery, located at 224 Forest Ave. For more information, contact the gallery at (949) 715-0405, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit www.debilzan.com.


Tree trimming time at Heisler Park 

Tree trimming palm

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Photo by Kevin Ware

“Just a little off the top, please.” (May 20)


City Manager’s Updates

Memorial Day Transit Service – The Transit services will be operating on a modified schedule on Monday, May 27. Coastal Service and the Act V shuttle will be offered from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. There will be no Neighborhood Transit service on Monday, May 27. Regular service will resume on Tuesday, May 28.

Holiday Street Sweeping Schedule – On Memorial Day, Monday, May 27, street sweeping and related enforcement will only occur in commercial areas. 

For more information, contact Senior Fleet Maintenance Supervisor Austin Comp at (949) 464-6637.

Residential Waste and Recycling Service Delayed One Day In Observance of Memorial Day – Waste Management of Orange County’s residential trash and recycling pickup schedule will be delayed by one day throughout the week of May 27, in observance of Memorial Day. Customers should place their carts out for pickup one day later than usual, beginning Tuesday, May 28 through Saturday, June 1. Friday collection will receive service on Saturday. 

For further information, contact Waste Management Customer Service at (949) 642-1191.

Community Pool Closed – The Laguna Beach High School and Community Pool will be closed for maintenance and repairs from May 28 to June 9. A list of other pools in the area is posted to the City’s website, and swimmers are encouraged to sign up for schedule update emails using the link on the website as well. 

Visit http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/community/aquatics/poolhours.htm or call (949) 497-0788 for more information.

Annual Laguna Beach City Photo Contest – The City is pleased to announce its annual photo contest, which opened on May 22 and runs through June 5. Photographers are asked to submit their high-resolution photographs for contest consideration reflecting this year’s theme, “Urban Laguna Beach,” life downtown and away from the beach. 

To enter, photographers must submit their high-resolution photos of Laguna Beach online at http://bit.ly/2019LBphotocontest by the contest deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5. Any photo taken within Laguna Beach city limits is eligible and the contest is open to anyone. First-prize photographs receive $500 and winners of additional categories receive $100 each. 

For a complete list of contest rules and information about how to enter, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/photocontest

City Managers sunset

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Photo by Scott Brashier 

A sunset in the city 

Laguna Beach Represented at County Track Meet – Even the rain couldn’t keep seventeen Laguna Beach youth from competing on Sunday, May 19, in the Orange County Track and Field Championships at Mission Viejo High School. The Laguna Beach Track Team is comprised of boys and girls ranging from 5 to 14 years of age. 

The youth competed in various events including the long jump, softball throw, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600-meter races. The Laguna Beach team had participants that placed in the top four in their respective events and are moving on to the Southern California Championships at Warren High School in Downey on Sunday, June 2.

Parents’ Night Out (PNO) – Parents call it a break from the kids; kids call it a break from your parents. The City of Laguna Beach is hosting its quarterly Parents’ Night Out on Friday, May 31, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center, 380 Third St. The children will have a blast enjoying games, movies, arts & crafts, and dinner. Pre-registration is required 48 hours in advance. 

To register, call (949) 464-6645 or visit www.lagunabeachcity.net and click “recreation classes.”

SCE Pole Replacements – Southern California Edison (SCE) will be working in several areas in town next week.  For questions or concerns, contact SCE’s Customer Service number at (800) 655-4555.

Alley behind Through Street – On Thursday, May 30, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., SCE will be replacing a utility pole located in the alley behind 544 Through St. A portion of the alley will be closed between Park Avenue and Legion Street.

760 Alta Vista Way – On Friday, May 31, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., SCE will be replacing a utility pole at 760 Alta Vista Way, located south of Bonita Way. The westbound lane at Alta Vista Way will be blocked in the vicinity of the work and personnel will be directing traffic.

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