LitFest takes place tomorrow: Be there

Laguna’s first LitFest takes place tomorrow, Saturday, at the Laguna Beach Library between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. The Library is located at 363 Glenneyre.

The event is free and the public is welcome to drop in for all the sessions or just a few. 

“This promises to be a fascinating day with some of California’s finest authors and poets,” Buckley said. “There will be readings as well as sessions focusing on ways to get published along with insights into the writing process.”

Presenting poets and writers include Francesca Bell, Noah Blaustein, Kate Buckley, Elena Karina Byrne, Grant Hier, Eric Morago, Victoria Patterson, Mary Jane White, and Tom Zoellner, as well as Laguna Poets and Third Street Writers.
The event is free and open to the public and graciously hosted by the Laguna Beach Public Library.

 The Poet Laureate program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. 

More information, along with the full schedule, is available at

Kate Buckley shares her memories of libraries

“Libraries were the enchanted havens of my youth. My mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother all took me to the library weekly if not more often, and I’ve fond memories of curling up in the deep window seat of the old downtown Lexington, Kentucky library (now the Carnegie Center for Literacy) and getting lost in a book or three. 

“Libraries were portals to other worlds – I read widely and extravagantly – biographies, novels, poetry, history, enabling me to envision possibilities and see life through many different lenses. And librarians were trusted and generous navigators, steering me toward just the right book at the right time. 

“I entered (and won) every reading contest the library had (no wonder I had to get coke-bottle glasses at age eight!), and developed an enduring love of reading and learning for which I am profoundly grateful. 

“Libraries are just as relevant today – they are community centers, places for literacy and learning, venues for literary events and more! I love our Laguna Beach Library and am thrilled to partner with them to host Laguna Beach’s first ever official Literary Festival.”

Mental Health Advocacy Group will hold rally on Main Beach tomorrow, April 14 at 10 a.m.

Mental Health Systems, Practice, and Advocacy Course graduate students in association with Pepperdine University Graduate School of Education and Psychology will hold a rally “Illuminating the Way from Mental Illness to Mental Health” at Main Beach on Saturday, April 14 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. 

Illuminating the Way will host a fundraising and educational rally bringing together mental health professionals and students to advocate for community mental health. In its inaugural year, Illuminating the Way has chosen to fundraise for Bring Change to Mind, a California organization that empowers high schoolers to raise awareness around mental health and advocate for a culture of peer support. 

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Submitted photo

Pepperdine graduate students organize rally at Main Beach

Handouts and representatives from the Pepperdine Centers and the following Orange County mental health organizations will be available as part of the rally to provide resources: PRYDE, California Family Institute, Western Youth Services, Child Guidance Center, Outreach Concern, CalWorks, and North County Lifeline will be providing information about their mental health services. Organizations have been chosen to help increase community mental health resources in light of the media stigmatization of violent acts and mental illness. 

The Mental Health Advocacy class prepares students to address the intersections of career, values and life roles in the context of career counseling and responding to career/work-related issues for majority and marginalized groups. This rally has been inspired by future therapists who feel it is their responsibility to increase awareness around mental health. One Marriage and family therapist trainee says, 

“Now is the time for mental health professional to utilize their voices in shifting the narrative from mental illness to mental health.” 

For further suppor, a GoFundMe page has been established. All proceeds will support Bring Change to Mind. 

Pepperdine University is a private, not-for-profit, co-educational research university. The Master’s in Clinical Psychology-Marriage and Family Therapy program is designed to prepare students to work in community counseling, governmental entities, educational settings, or to launch their own private practices.

Morrie Granger, a man who was a life-changer in so many ways, dies suddenly this last Monday

South Laguna Community Garden Park let friends and supporters know this week that “our most important garden founder is gone. Morrie Granger died suddenly on Monday.”

Ann Christoph noted in her email, “Everywhere you look at the garden there is something that Morrie did, but the most important of all was that he found the garden property and convinced Paul Tran to allow us to build the garden there.  

“The parties, the potlucks: Morrie loved the community and helped to bring us all together. Let’s stay together.”

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Photo courtesy SoLag Community Park

Morrie with his wife Barbara

Tom Joliet recalls, “I remember using railroad ties for the garden stairs. Morrie would shave the earth with a shovel and the board he placed there by eye, always measured to be perfectly level.”

Services have yet to be planned. 

However, members of the community are urged to attend the So Lag Community Garden Park’s upcoming Potluck on Sunday April 29 between 3 and 6 p.m. The park is located on Eagle Rock Way and Coast Highway. There’ll be live music, kids games and neighborly fun. 

“I am sure there will be an acknowledgement of all of Morrie’s contributions,” Ann Christoph noted in an email.

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Photo courtesy SoLag Community Park

Morrie at a fundraiser for the Garden

Gale “Morrie” Granger, PhD, pioneer in arthritis research, was a board member and early grant recipient of the Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF). In 2014 he was honored at ANRF’s annual Meet the Scientists reception and a research grant was named in his honor. 

The Gale Granger Fellowship of the Arthritis National Research Foundation is awarded to the scientist funded by ANRF whose work most closely follows Dr. Granger’s life work in Immunology and inflammation.

Dr. Granger was a Professor of Immunology at UCI for 40 years.

His life-changing research, and his contribution in enhancing the lives of locals through his support of the South Laguna Community Garden Park, cannot be underestimated.

A tribute from Sally Coffey

“Morrie...What an extraordinary human being!  I thought of him as “The Godfather of South Laguna.” Generous, kind, charitable, helpful and hilarious. When he heard of a maintenance problem I was experiencing I would come home to find that my fence was repaired or my Community Garden plot was rebuilt.

“His dedication to eradicating arthritis through his work with the National Arthritis Research Foundation was his passion.

“He was a founder of the South Laguna Garden Park. It was he who secured the use of the property on which we now farm and which has created a unique and close-knit community.

Photo by Nelson Coates

Morrie with Sally Coffey

“Perhaps one of his biggest claims to fame was the infamous Halloween parties that he and his wife, Barb, put on for 36 years until it became too big for our small neighborhood! What fun times we had!

“Morrie’s passing leaves a huge void that, in my mind, can never be filled with the same energy, style, and fun that he shared with us all. I›m so grateful to have known that sweet man. My heart goes out to his doting wife, Barb, his children, grandchildren and all those of us who loved him. RIP Morrie.”

Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. releases documentary: 50 Years of Preservation; A time capsule of the Laguna Greenbelt

The documentary, 50 Years of Preservation, which chronicles the history of how the Laguna Greenbelt was established, will premiere at the Susi Q Community Center on Tuesday, April 24 at 6:30 p.m. in the large multi-purpose room. 

This film is a community effort. Over 65 people contributed to its creation, and 16 eyewitnesses, who were involved in the Greenbelt’s unique establishment, were interviewed, making it an important repository of historical information for future historians. 

The main star of the presentation is, of course, Jim Dilley, bookstore owner (“Dilley’s”) and founder of the Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. (LGB) in 1968. Dilley’s determined planning has motivated thousands of people to support the creation of what has evolved into a 22,000-acre wilderness preserve surrounding Laguna Beach.

In the film, Elisabeth Brown, President of LGB, describes her first meeting with Jim Dilley, and how she quickly became a dedicated participant in the vision of an open space buffer around the city. She, like Norm Grossman and Ron Chilcote, who are now vice presidents at Laguna Greenbelt, Inc, became invested in this effort for the long haul.  

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Submitted photo

James Dilley, founder of Laguna Greenbelt, Inc.

Scott Ferguson, an accomplished real estate acquisition specialist, vividly recalls the demeanor and expressions that allowed Jim Dilley to be an influential negotiator, who won the support of City Council and the Board of Supervisors. Scott describes the clever tactics, the flowers given to secretaries, and his humorous slams against development proponents.

Shaena Stabler, editor/owner/publisher of Stu News has a connection as well. Included in the documentary are two of her songs, Run Away and Stay, off her 2014 EP, and portions of her music video for Run Away too, which was shot in Laguna Beach.

 “I am honored to be included in the project in this way,” she says. “I co-wrote both songs with Eric Berdon – they were produced by Grammy-winning producer Ken Caillat, who was Fleetwood Mac’s long-time producer.” The video was done by Dark Brothers Entertainment. 

Toni Iseman, now a council member in the City of Laguna Beach, describes how local resident Betty Heckel enticed her to join the Board, and later how she became chained to a bulldozer with a ‘kryptonite’ bike lock, and hauled away in a white bus by Sheriffs.

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Laguna Canyon Road

There are many activist milestones in the resistance to development, buttwo are particularly demonstrative: The Tell project built by Mark Chamberlain and Jerry Burchfield, and The WALK. This documentary allows the audience to relive the building of the Tell and the power of a united effort of The WALK (organized by Harry Huggins & Charles Michael Murray), which was held November 11, 1989. Audiences hear the voices of Lida Lenny, Bob Gentry, Little Crow and thousands of others protesting in the streets and calling for the creation of what would eventually become tens of thousands of acres of protected habitat.

Retired Congressman Jerry Patterson discusses some of the back-room politics with Larry Ulvestad (LGB Emeritus) that were significant in the state Capitol and in Washington approvals of the Orange Coast National Park. Although it failed to pass on a technical issue, those efforts rolled on to even greater success for the Greenbelt.

Other showings of the documentary are planned over the coming months. To view the trailer, visit

Susi Q Community Center is located at 380 Third St, (949) 464-6645.

DUI enforcement operations are planned next weekend, starting at 4:20 p.m. on 4/20

Officers from the Laguna Beach Police Department’s DUI Enforcement Team will be deploying next weekend to stop and arrest alcohol and drug-impaired drivers in the Department’s ongoing traffic safety campaign. 

DUI Saturation Patrols will deploy Friday, April 20, between the hours of 4:20 p.m. and 3 a.m., in areas with high frequencies of DUI collisions and/or arrests. 

This date, 4/20, is associated by many as, “national holiday for cannabis culture.” Researchers examined a quarter-century of national data and found a 12 percent increase in the relative risk of a fatal traffic crash after 4:20 p.m. on April 20 compared with identical time intervals on control days. 

Additionally, the risk to teenage drivers is even higher on that day and the risk of crash involving drivers under 21 years of age was 38 percent higher. 


DUI charges aren’t only about alcohol

Officers will be looking for signs of alcohol and/or drug impairment. When possible, specially trained officers will be available to evaluate those suspected of drug-impaired driving, which now accounts for a growing number of impaired driving crashes.  

Studies of California drivers have shown that 30 percent of drivers in fatal crashes had one or more drugs in their systems. A study of active drivers showed more tested positive for drugs that may impair driving (14 percent) than did for alcohol (7.3 percent). Of the drugs, marijuana was most prevalent, at 7.4 percent, slightly more than alcohol. Everyone should be mindful that if you’re taking medication, whether prescription or over-the-counter, drinking even small amounts of alcohol can greatly intensify the impairment affects.  

Hand over your keys if you are impaired in any way

Law Enforcement emphasizes the preventable nature of drunk driving, reminding everyone that all it takes is a little planning ahead. Designate a sober driver or call a cab. But whatever you do, don’t drink or use drugs, and drive. The cost of a ride home is cheap. 

Drivers caught driving impaired can expect the impact of a DUI arrest to include jail time, fines, fees, DUI classes, license suspensions and other expenses that can exceed $10,000, not to mention the embarrassment when friends and family find out.

Funding for this DUI operation is provided to the Laguna Beach Police Department by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, reminding everyone to ‘Report Drunk Driving – Call 9-1-1’.

For further information, contact Lieutenant Tim Kleiser at (949) 464-6655 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

An open letter to the community regarding the countywide homelessness challenge


Executive Director, Friendship Shelter

As many of you know, I began my career in the Midwest, and had the fortune of counting Warren Buffett among those who supported one of the organizations I served. Buffett once said, “Someone’s sitting in the shade today because someone planted a tree a long time ago.” I find myself reflecting on that quote quite a bit these days. First, because Friendship Shelter is celebrating its 30th Anniversary – and we certainly are reaping the fruits of seeds planted in those early days. But equally, I’m thinking about this quote because of the political and social turmoil we find ourselves in as Orange County wrestles with a crisis related to homelessness.

Many of you have contacted me to share your thoughts or to ask my opinion. Like you, I’m dismayed at the scope of the problem that occurred in the Santa Ana riverbed earlier this year. Like you, I worry that the homeless men and women we are pledged to serve are being further marginalized and stereotyped in what has sometimes become a political and legal shouting match. And like you, I wonder and worry about the best way for Friendship Shelter to respond.

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Dawn Price, Executive Director, Friendship Shelter

That’s when Buffett’s quote resonates for me – because Friendship Shelter is prepared for this. Thanks to strong board and organizational leadership, we’ve set a clear strategic path that centers on a singular goal: ending homelessness through housing. That means sourcing more permanent supportive housing for our most vulnerable homeless friends, and it means focusing our shelter programs like never before on helping each person who comes through our doors to swiftly and permanently find a housing solution.

We’ve committed ourselves to learning and adapting. And so, in 2014 we began providing permanent housing with supportive services. Today, 85 formerly homeless people live in that housing, with ongoing services that ensure housing stability – and last year 97 percent remained housed. This year, we are re-vamping our shelter programs to follow a national best-practice “housing focused” approach. And our program and administrative leadership play key roles county-wide in shaping and building a system of care that can address current needs and ensure that in the future, no one in our county need remain homeless for more than a short time.

Wrestling with a problem like homelessness is never simple, and it’s often messy. We’re seeing that today. But at Friendship Shelter, we’re confident. We see positive, collaborative change emerging from a difficult situation. We see light shining on issues that have needed attention. And we feel ready to remain a strong, capable leader for southern Orange County. 

We’re sitting under the shade of trees planted five, 10 and even 30 years ago, and we’re planting the trees that will shade future Friendship Shelter clients, staff and supporters. We do this with your help. Your support has built the organization we are today, and it fuels our present and our future.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Lynette Brasfield is our Features Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Maggi Henrikson is our Contributing Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster.

Katie Ford is our Ad Designer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Cameron Gillespie, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers and/or columnists.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are the staff photographers.

Stacia Stabler is our Account & Instagram Manager.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

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