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Colleagues praise Zur Schmiede


Mayor Pro Tem announced on Monday that he could not devote the appropriate time to his brother’s recovery in Kentucky from a severe injury and to his re-election campaign and was canceling his bid for a second term on the City Council.

The announcement drew praise from colleagues for his contributions to the city and devotion to his brother. 

Comments are listed in order of seniority on the council and city appointments:

Mayor Kelly Boyd: “I told Rob that family is the most important thing. I’ve lost two brothers since 2011 and I know how important family is. 

“I think he is doing the right thing. The most important thing for Rob is his brother, his family and the [great] distance between Laguna and Kentucky.

“I told him sometimes you just lay everything aside and family comes first. Rob was

very concerned that he couldn’t do a lot of the forums in his situation. 

“I didn’t always agree with Rob, but I respect him.”

Councilwoman Toni Iseman: “His professional background gave us someone we [council] could always count on. He was always meticulously prepared. I regret his decision – family comes first – but this is a loss for the community.”

Colleagues praise Dicterow and Zur

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Steve Dicterow and Rob Zur Schmiede share good times

Councilman Steve Dicterow: “This is a leave of absence. I believe at some point things will square with his brother and I would hope he would run in two or four years. A guy like Rob should have two or three terms.

“To me, this is not retirement, he’s way too young and he had only one term.

The most important thing for me when deciding who to vote for isn’t their ideology or their philosophy. It’s about their ability to make good judgments and decisions. 

“One of the most noteworthy things about Rob is he sits back and listens, listens to staff and listens to colleagues before making a decision. I love him as a councilmember.

“I will miss serving with Rob and when I spoke to him, I encouraged him that when his family matters are less pressing and he’s able to commit to being here full time, I would like him to consider running again.”

Councilman Bob Whalen: “Rob’s withdrawal from the Council race is a real loss for the City but the right decision for Rob and his family. He will be greatly missed. 

I served four years with Rob on Planning Commission and now four years on Council.  I have the utmost respect for Rob and the integrity with which he approached his role. He was always prepared on the issues and open to listening to all viewpoints before making a decision. He also would work hard to balance competing interests and make the best decision possible for the City. 

“We all owe Rob a heartfelt thank you for his years of hard work and dedication to the City. Rob can exit proudly knowing that he made significant contributions in his years of service and made this city a better place for all of us to live in.” 

Colleagues praise ribbon cutting

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Ribbon Cutting at Agate Street

City Manager John Pietig: “I have appreciated Councilmember Zur Schmiede’s dedication to the community for many years, not only as a Councilmember, but as a Planning Commissioner and former Design Review Board member. I wish Rob and his family the best during this difficult time.” 

Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson: “The breadth and depth of Rob’s knowledge and his strong commitment to service will be a huge loss to our city, especially at a time when we face so many critical issues.

“On a more personal note: My husband Marv and I have known him as a neighbor, a friend and a colleague. In all of his dealings, I have never known Rob to do anything halfway.

“I know he feels strongly that he could not do the job as councilmember the way he wanted at this time.”

Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Committee Chair Matt Lawson: “I served with Rob for more than five years on the Design Review Task Force and for the past four years on the EDPC, to which he has been council liaison. 

“Rob proudly served Laguna Beach for the past two decades as Mayor Pro Tem, council member, planning commissioner and Design Review Board member.

“He always brought to his public service a keen intellect, a civil disposition and a great willingness to listen impartially to all sides of an issue before rendering an informed, independent judgment in what he believed to be the in the best interest of our community.

“All of us who serve the city, in whatever capacity, or just aspire to, would do well to learn from and follow Rob’s example.”

Aragon the cat named “Kindness Cat” for the City in honor of World Kindness Day USA

Last Tuesday at the Council meeting, the City announced that it is officially participating in World Kindness Day USA and named Aragon the cat “Kindness Cat” for Laguna Beach.

City Council Aragon

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(L-R) Bill Levin, Michael Lloyd White, Assistant City Manager Christa Johnson, Shadi Pourkashef, Sandy Thornton, Sande St. John, Ernest Hackmon, Ce Ce Card and Aragon the cat

The Golden Hour

Photo by Scott Brashier

The Golden girl dancing

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Dancer from Utah celebrates a Laguna sunset

YMCA of OC encourages Laguna Beach residents to live healthy during Childhood Obesity Month

The YMCA of Orange County is a leading community-based organization dedicated to improving healthy living countywide. Its Laguna Niguel branch, which serves 224 Laguna Beach residents as members, encourages local families to understand the dangers of childhood obesity and ways to reverse course through improved eating habits and increased physical activity. 

YMCA of OC run

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YMCA youth programs help reverse the course of childhood obesity through improved eating habits and increased physical activity

September is Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and while the dangers of childhood obesity are well chronicled, many families need support changing their families’ habits with the goal of overweight and obese children obtaining and maintaining a healthy weight. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the prevalence of obesity has remained stable at about 17 percent and affects about 12.7 million children and adolescents. Today, obesity affects one in six children and one in three are overweight, which poses greater risks for many health problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and some cancers. Here in Orange County, one in five fifth grade students are obese and more likely to develop health related issues like diabetes.

YMCA of OC group

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YMCA of OC offers youth swim, volleyball, basketball, dance, track, soccer and even more programs for kids to stay active

“The YMCA values helping all youth reach their full potential in life and amid the dangers of childhood obesity, real progress can be made by helping families make the necessary lifestyle changes,” said Jeff McBride, president and CEO at YMCA of Orange County. “Together we can learn healthy behaviors, and encourage youth to foster an excitement and passion for healthy activities to help them gain new skills, develop a sense of community and connect with positive role models.”

In just one year, 14,205 kids participated in active YMCA outdoor programs like: sports, swim, day camps, and resident camps. YMCA of Orange County is helping families improve their health and potentially reduce the impact of childhood obesity through youth sports and fitness programs, including basketball, dance, gymnastics, martial arts, soccer, track and field, volleyball, water polo, yoga and swim programming.

For more information about the YMCA of Orange County, visit

LOCA Brunch & Annual Meeting and mural project with keynote speaker Mike Tauber on Sept 23

LOCA Arts Education invites everyone to its Annual Meeting on Sunday, Sept 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Healy House on the Sawdust Festival grounds. Bobbi Cox will be honored as attendees enjoy champagne brunch, meet LOCA’s board of directors, and learn how LOCA is expanding services to children in schools, parks, and the library. LOCA’s exciting line up of new workshops for residents and visitors will also be introduced.

Keynote speaker Mike Tauber will share how his mural projects evolve from the studio to the street. Everyone will be invited to decorate a tile as part of the city-wide Festival of Mosaics program. Silhouettes of local wildlife will be glazed, fired, and forwarded to Tauber’s community-installed public mural in November. 

To round out the fun there will be a sale of hand decorated art shirts, table treasures, and a prize drawing for a dining and stay package at La Casa del Camino Hotel and K’ya Restaurant.

Tauber FoM TitlePhoto GenericJul25

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Photo courtesy of Mike Tauber

Learn how to be a part of the city-wide Festival of Mosaics at LOCA’s annual meeting on Sept 23 with keynote speaker Mike Tauber

LOCA Arts Education is a nonprofit organization and all proceeds will support LOCA programs. Admission is free to new and renewing members, $20 for guests. Advance registration is required. 

Visit the calendar at or call (949) 363-4700 for more information. The Sawdust Art festival is at 935 Laguna Canyon Rd.

This week’s safety tip from the City: sign up for CERT classes

September marks National Preparedness Month and the City of Laguna Beach encourages its residents to stay informed, make a plan, get involved, and build an emergency kit in order to be prepared for emergencies. The City has broken down the month of September into weekly tasks that will help residents be more prepared in the event of an emergency.

This week, the City urges residents to get involved by registering for a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class, to learn more information about emergency preparedness, disaster medical operations, fire suppression, and more. The next class starts this Thursday, Sept 20. Residents can register online through the City’s recreation class sign-up at

This week CERT

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 The City encourages residents to sign up for CERT classes; the next session starts this Thursday, Sept 20

Next week, during with the week of September 24th, make an emergency kit so that you have supplies on hand to keep everyone warm, safe, fed and hydrated until help arrives. Create or purchase a 72-hour survival and first aid kit and locate a place to store your food and water.

Aquathon 2018, it officially happened

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

“There are no winners, except making it through without injury,” writes local realtor Dave Csira of the annual 33rd Laguna Beach Aquathon event this past weekend. 

We look forward to Dave’s first-hand account of the event on Friday with photos by Mary Hurlbut; in the meantime, we hope you enjoy this first round of wonderful captures!

Aquathon 2018 Dave and daughter

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Dave Csira and his daughter Lang

Aquathon 2018 wave splashing

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The huge surf made hiking along the coast very difficult. Many people just swam or walked along the street.

Aquathon 2018 halfway

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Halfway point, water, bananas and M&M’s were waiting

Aquathon 2018 saving woman

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This LB Lifeguard spent 45 minutes helping people through this narrow passage into Woods Cove

Ask the Doctor event this Thursday with ER and Wellness Doctor, Anita Wang

What is integrative medicine? What are the four simple steps to optimal health? Why should you find the root of an illness and how is that done? These are all important questions that Laguna Wellness Doctor Anita Wang will answer at her Ask the Doctor event this Thursday, Sept 20. Dr. Wang invites the community to stop by her office from 4 - 6 p.m. for this complimentary event, and to enjoy a glass of wine with some friends. 

Ask the Doctor reception

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Dr. Wang in her lovely Laguna Beach office ready to answer your questions

Dr. Wang’s compassion and skills have taken her around the world and allowed her to adapt a unique skill set that merges eastern influence and western technology. She is dedicated to delivering the highest quality holistic wellness, preventive medicine, and medical aesthetics and continues to practice Emergency Medicine as well as running her own practice and providing care to online patients. 

In addition to being a Board Certified Emergency Physician, she is also a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, a Fellow of the American Academy of Anti-Aging, and extensively trained in Aesthetics. She graduated from the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine and has spent over 20 years as an ER doctor previously at UCLA Medical Center, Eisenhower Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center.

Anita Wang MD is located at 255 Thalia Street, Suite B. For more information, visit or call (949) 734-0580.

Catmosphere Café ribbon cutting ceremony includes police with kitty ears

Catmosphere 1

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Members of Police Force don kitty ears to get into the spirit

Catmosphere 2

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Pam Knudsen of Blue Bell Foundation for Cats with Catmosphere Owner Gail Landau

Community invited to “History of the HIP District” by Susan Elliott, Joe Hanauer, and Chris Keller

The Laguna Beach Historical Society will present “The History of the HIP District” on Tuesday, Sept 25 at the Susi Q, by Susan Elliott, Joe Hanauer, and Chris Keller. 

Susan Elliott, who owns the gift shop Twig, will present a before and after account of the historic buildings in the section of town that runs from Thalia Street to Bluebird Canyon Drive, now dubbed the HIP District (which stands for Historic and Interesting Places). Joe Hanauer, owner of The Old Pottery Place, will describe the history and restoration of that property, while Chris Keller will present the history of La Casa del Camino. The program will take place at 7:30 p.m. and is open to the public at no cost.

Community invited to pottery

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Courtesy of LB Historical Society

“HIP” stands for Historic and Interesting Places

“Formerly known as “Laguna Heights,” “Arch Beach,” and “The Village,” the stretch of South Coast Highway from Thalia Street to Bluebird Canyon Drive has had a re-birth as the “HIP District,” a name conceived by businesses in the area,” writes Elliott.

 “The area has enjoyed a renaissance in recent years as owners have renovated and re-imagined the historic properties, which had experienced ups and downs in the decades since they were built. The area is known for the Art Center, the Pottery Shack (now known as The Old Pottery Place), the Casa del Camino Hotel, and many bars, restaurants, and shops. 

Community invited to car

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The Pottery Shack has become a set of shops and restaurants that still retain much of the original style and decor

“The Art Center has had many businesses and re-incarnations over the years, including a pottery studio, various restaurants, a gay bar, several boutiques, and a beloved bakery/coffee shop. Likewise, The Pottery Shack, formerly a favorite destination for folks looking for cool, handmade California pottery, has become a set of shops and restaurants that still retain much of the original style and decor in its new incarnation, The Old Pottery Place.”

For more information, including how to become a member of the Laguna Beach Historical Society, visit Membership packages start at just $25 per year.

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