Are some of the bike trails in the greenbelt illegal?

Has anybody else noticed the proliferation of mountain bike trails in the greenbelt surrounding Laguna Beach? It is my understanding that “bootleg” biking trails are not allowed. This is clearly not the reality.

On a recent walk from Alta Laguna it was easy to see multiple paths crisscrossing and eating up our hard earned wilderness parks. There is hardly a side ridge dropping into Laguna Canyon from the main ridge that does not have a trail carved down it.

There are multiple problems with this, among them: degradation of habitat, erosion, trespassing of private property in the canyon and safety. Many riders do not give the right of way to hikers. I am vigilantly alert for my own safety whenever hiking and am unable to include my young daughter on walks in many areas. In spite of my attempts to get out of the way I have occasionally been yelled at for being in the way.

I found a large deer lay down area by chance when looking at a new trail branching off of a section of a named trail in the Aliso Woods Canyon Park. I doubt it will remain a daytime area for deer to rest in if the trail becomes more established. Back over near the Alta Laguna water tank someone brought in a shovel to “improve the trail”, cutting out bushes and creating a jumping ramp. This in a small island of plants in an area already denuded of vegetation to a width of over 30 feet.

At a time when many, including myself, are hoping to preserve some of the un-built “inner greenbelt”, it behooves us to take a look at what is happening to the lands many fought so hard to preserve and discuss what if anything needs to be done. These lands have been saved primarily to be a wilderness area, which we enter to enjoy for its own sake. To see what the whole region was like before development and to hold up as an example and say “we bought this because it is rare and vanishing and we want to pass it along to the future”.

It was preserved for all, especially for wildlife, and not preserved solely for mountain bikes.

Clearly, the openness of these parks and the divided nature of their management are being taken advantage of. It appears we need to safeguard what many believe we have already saved.

John S. Walker

Laguna Beach

Sign the open space initiative

Isn’t great to live in Laguna Beach surrounded by 22,000 acres of natural open space! Elsewhere in Orange County the boundaries between two cities are just lines with no buffer at all to urban sprawl.

How did this happen? Was it just an accident? No. It is thanks to the great leadership of lots of people.

The Laguna Greenbelt was founded in 1968; its founder bookstore owner Jim Dilley providing the vision. I live in the Top of the World neighborhood and we benefited significantly from a California State environmental bond, which was passed in 1988. Proposition 70 included $10 million for the City of Laguna Beach to expand the Laguna Greenbelt. At that time, a Canadian company Carma-Sandling that obtained approvals from the County of Orange to build a 100+ house development, which was to be a gated community, owned the 471 acres north of the end of Alta Laguna Boulevard. Somehow, the City was able to purchase the 471 acres for $4 million most of it coming from Prop 70.

The Irvine Company had a 3,500 house Laguna Laurel development planned in Laguna Canyon. On November 11, 1989 the Laguna Canyon Conservancy, the Laguna Greenbelt, Village Laguna, the City, and the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce co-sponsored the Walk in the Canyon to bring the Irvine Company to its negotiating knees after 7,500 citizens walked in the canyon that day.

The next year 1990, the voters of Laguna Beach voted to raise their property taxes about 6% to raise $20 million to go towards the Laguna Laurel property purchase. Measure H passed by almost an 80% yes vote.

Undeveloped property often appears to be protected open space. However, many parcels are privately owned and could be developed. Over the years, the City Manager has been able to purchase properties as the property owner and City’s interests coincide making a deal agreeable to both parties. The City requires a source of funds to make these open space purchases, which over the years has included Federal and State government grants, and State environmental bonds. We even used to save up parking meter quarters. That is prior to the 1994 Orange County bankruptcy; the policy of the City Council was to allocate half of the Parking Authority Fund revenues for open space.

None of these sources are likely to be available in the future. What are we to do? Where are the leaders today? Well, they have drafted an Open Space Initiative and are trying to secure signatures from Laguna Beach registered voters to place the initiative on the ballot to be voted upon by the voters.

I have signed the initiative. I think it is a no-brainer to provide the City a revenue stream to purchase and maintain open space, about $1 million a year limited to twenty years. In the early years, I paid about $300 per year additional property tax towards purchasing the Laguna Laurel open space in Laguna Canyon. The amount declined over the years and the bond is now completely paid off. The new Open Space Initiative would be a parcel tax having each parcel owner pay $10 a month or $120 per year for twenty years. Please support this effort as it will require a 2/3 positive vote.

Gene Felder

Laguna Beach


Amy Kramer

Palin-Gate, the Emails

The mainstream media never ceases to amaze the American public with what they capitalize upon as important and newsworthy. Forget covering the continuous aftermath of tsunami-stricken Japan or follow-up to the killing of OSB. The news has moved on to more important matters: Sarah Palin’s much anticipated email-gate.

The New York Times is certainly excited about it. Perhaps the thrill of a scandalous sentence or paragraph taken directly (or most likely out of context) from her emails while on the job as Governor of Alaska will prove to be so titillating that all the canceled subscribers will come clambering back. The New York Times is frothing and has even enlisted their own readers to help dig through thousands of emails to find something, anything, one small shred of scandal that will finally bring the Alaskan mother and politician to her knees. Oh please, oh please!

What is this disturbed obsession with Palin and trying to get the mud to stick? Most likely there will not be any photos of her in her underwear sent out to various young interns or Facebook followers.

So far the emails have revealed that Palin was frustrated with the media attacks on her and her family after her VP nomination. She also lamented the death threats she received. The emails prove that Palin was serious about her job, had help from her husband when it came to decisions about the overpopulation of wolves and her concerns about the same mundanities that we all experience. In fact, she must have suspected that someone would eventually go through her emails because there has not been much excitement to uncover. But isn’t that what most newspapers and political antagonists do to all politicians - sift through their emails? Turns out, no. This is an irregular query imposed by people who must be plenty worried about Sarah Palin and her power in the conservative movement.

Where was all this email reading activity during the colossal financial crisis brought on by Dodd and Frank who, along with their congressional cohorts, pushed national banks to provide loans to all Americans, whether they could pay for it or not. Why did no one look into the emails and communications regarding Obama’s previous relationship with the venom-tongued Reverend Wright or Mr. No-Regrets Bill Ayers? Why were there not stacks and stacks of paper brought forth from the emails at the Climactic Research Group that basically proved the hockey stick data about global warming was a hoax? Why didn’t The New York Times hire a bunch of readers to delve deeper into that little goldmine? I bet there is some good stuff in all of the above emails - an unexplored treasure trove of information. Surely Anthony Wiener’s emails could provide The New York Times with more salacious content than anyone could imagine.

So why Sarah Palin? Perhaps it’s a small group of mean spirited whiners (or wieners) who don’t like her brand of conservatism. Certainly someone is running scared right now with the thought that if Palin is not stopped Americans will flock to the right of socialism. It’s interesting that an entity like The New York Times would suffer the humiliation of sifting through emails to find some shimmer of silver lining in the otherwise poor selection and endorsement of the current national leader. Good one NYT - you truly are a first class news source.


Amy Kramer is a wife, mom, president of Laguna Beach Republicans, and facilitates a conservative women’s group. Send comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

In Memoriam

Mark Detrick PhotoMark Detrick, DDS, MS


Mark Detrick was born in Hollywood, California on August 15, 1939.  He passed away, peacefully, at home on May 8, 2011, his beloved wife and friends at his side. He was 71.

Mark graduated from the College of Physicians and surgeons (now the University of the Pacific), where he received his D.D.S. in 1965.

He entered the U.S. Navy after graduation. As a Naval dentist, he served two tours in Vietnam stationed aboard the hospital ship, Repose. He was assigned to Ship’s Dentist on the USS Paul Revere, where he served for four years and also served aboard the USS Mobile.  He Received the Navy Commendation Medal in 1980.

In 1968, he entered the post-graduate orthodontic program at the University of Illinois, receiving his M.S. degree in 1970. Mark practiced orthodontics in Lake Forest from 1970 to 2009. He also practiced in Newport Beach with Dr. Steve Asahino.

Mark loved the Navy and remained in the Naval Reserve until his retirement with the rank of Captain. He was active in the Reserve Officers Association of Military Surgeons.

He was a long-standing member of the Orange County Orthodontic Study Club.  Mark traveled extensively with the American International Medical Society (AIMS). He served on the Board of Directors of the Met YMCA and was president of the Exchange Club in 1978 and was a member of the Republican Club.

Mark was the quintessential outdoorsman – hiking and camping, fishing the High Sierras, ocean waters and streams of many countries.

Mark was a fine orthodontist, gourmet cook/host and great friend.

His lovely wife Laurentina Anna Vliegen and two children, Kimberly Marka Detrick and Gregory Caenen, survive him.

No services are planned.  Donations may be made in the name of Mark Detrick, DDS, MS, to the Susi Q Senior Center or Mission Hospital Laguna Beach.


Frank Francone PhotoFrank Francone

Frank Francone was born on December 25, 1944 in Los Angeles, Ca, and passed away suddenly on June 4, 2011 in Laguna Beach. He was 66.

He was raised in Alhambra, Ca where he attended All Souls Catholic School, and Alhambra High School.  Frank was employed by Rykoff Foods/US Foods for over 30 years.  He was preceded in death by his parents Vito and Barbara Francone.

Frank is survived by his children Vito Francone (Wendy), of Buena Park, and Valerie Ross (Tommy) of Oxford, PA, and four grandchildren, Francesca, Jake, Michael and Nathan, his sister Martha Montgomery (Jerry) and brother Nick, and many nieces and nephews.

As a long time resident of Laguna Beach, Frank was well known and loved by his many friends. He will be greatly missed by all.

A viewing and rosary will be held at Saddleback Chapel and Mortuary, in Tustin starting at 4 p.m. Thursday June 9, 2011.  Funeral services will be held at St. Catherine Catholic Church in Laguna Beach on Friday, June 10, 2011 at 10 a.m.


Nancy Hamm PhotoDealing with Loss

Nancy Hamm


In the midst of everything, life still manages to keep its pace.  Last week my father-in-law passed away and while we’ve been working overtime keeping life as normal for our son as possible the fun level in our house has been hovering dangerously low. Amidst repeated conversations on heaven, in which I feel like a broken record, and my husband spending more time with his mother we are rapidly approaching the end of the school year. In all honesty, it’s great to have the happy energy from a child, and his social life, to keep me distracted.

Currently, I am facing my first end-of-year experience and I am admittedly, I’m a bit overwhelmed. Last weekend produced not one or two but three preschool birthday parties.  After one I usually walk back into my home completely frazzled, straight to the bedroom where I will typically spend the remainder of the day in the fetal position. Three, well, I might have been feeling a little sadistic when gleefully replying “yes” to each one but thankfully I was able to hold it all together. Today is the end of year pizza party, which is bound to end in tears for my child who is, naturally, allergic to pizza and ice cream. Then there are the slew of end-of-year playdates that are beginning to snowball into the next school year. And it wasn’t until about an hour ago that I heard the mention of end-of-year gifts.

Yes, I am thankful for the bounty of distractions that have come my way but seriously, at what point did preschool get like this? As a child I barely remember playdates or pizza parties. Sure, every once in a while you’d get the occasional cupcake but after a very short conversation with my mother that went a little like this, “Hey, Mom. Did you ever have to do all of this for me?” “Nope, times have changed.” I realized that times definitely have changed. My memories are that of playing with neighborhood kids, grabbing otter pops out of the freezer and mainly entertaining myself while my mother was doing something or other around the house.

Maybe the summer will provide more of the latter but knowing my seeming inability to say “no” probably not. It’s already promising more of the same - summer camp, swim lessons and those playdates that will take us into the next year. In all honesty, I’m looking forward to it.


Nancy Hamm is a wife and mother to a 4 year old with cerebral palsy. She is currently working on her first novel.

Why would a city planning department emphasize parking spaces instead of people spaces?

I’ve been canvassing retail businesses around Laguna Beach to get an idea how managers plan for walk-in traffic into their establishments and whether they recorded this plan into their business plan. I was surprised to find some managers don’t have a walk-in plan at all, and if they do, they rely on 3 to 6 parking spaces outside their establishments to define the volume of their walk-in traffic.

Providing parking spaces is a very big deal and consumes the agenda of every meeting by the Parking Traffic and Circulation Committee, a city appointed committee in Laguna Beach. Providing these spaces on PCH is further confined by Caltrans and the California Coastal Commission.

It should be glaringly obvious that walk-in traffic determines retail business success, not car traffic. I talked to a mom-and-pop shop in Laguna Canyon recently where the owners confessed that 41,000 commuters drive by their store, but none stop to do business. Businesses on Pacific Coast Highway experience the same thing. So why would a business want to model their retail success around the number of parking spaces in front of their business?

Why would a city planning department emphasize parking spaces instead of people spaces? Ka-Ching! That’s right, meter money and parking tickets, both contribute to city revenues whether or not the car driver buys anything.

We have a value judgment to call here; do we rather grow city revenues with meter money and parking tickets or through retail sales and business taxes? People carry wallets and spend money, not their cars. In a world of increasing political, environmental, financial and combative consequences for foreign oil, why plan a business model around accommodating more cars, traffic and parking?

Adopting a balanced mobility model where walking, biking, busing and private cars coexist safely and utilized equally is Complete Streets Policy (CSP) now mandated by state and federal law (even Caltrans-PCH is mandated). The success of CSP is measured by re-vitalization of the retail businesses district where the policy is adopted and the infrastructure is built.  CSP is context sensitive and applied where it makes sense to do so.

For every person enabled to walk, bike or bus in Laguna Beach we eliminate one car from the streets and free one parking space. In a world of increasing gasoline prices and consequences, this shift to balanced mobility is inevitable.  Meanwhile providing incentives for walk-in traffic to patronize retail businesses is another topic, but spending money locally will be desirable for local businesses and patrons.

Think of all the stuff you could buy locally with the money you saved on Gas.

Les Miklosy (Chair)
Complete Streets Task Force LB

Jonas Bevacqua passes away at 33

His fiancé and his father found Jonas Gregory Bevacqua, 33, dead in bed at his home at about eight o’clock Monday evening. His fiancé had spoken with him earlier while she was out of town for the Memorial Day weekend.

Two generations of Laguna Beach families know and marvel at the caring nature of Joe and Helen Bevacqua who adopted seven kids with diverse ethnic backgrounds that might otherwise have had a tough time finding permanent parents. The seven along with their biological son became friends with the other kids they grew up with attending Laguna’s schools and participating in sports programs. Other parents and teachers all knew or know them as nice kids.

Their first son was Jonas adopted while Jo and Helen lived in Long Beach before moving to Laguna. Jonas attended LBHS and quickly realized that college wasn’t his future after graduation. He lived elsewhere for a few years before returning home in 1999 after realizing that he wanted to design and make clothes for the lifestyle he loved – skateboarding – surfing and hip hop.

His father was impressed with the design drawings he saw and approached two of his friends in Laguna, Charlie Moothart and Ron Ghenender. They provided funding and, in Ghenender’s case, garment industry knowledge and LRG was launched.

In our small community, kids in the LBHS Class of 2002 began wearing LRG clothes and from that popularity, the brand was marketed very, very successfully.

Entrepreneur Magazine named LRG its 5th fastest growing company in 2006. LRG had sales of $5 million in 2002 and reached $150,000,000 in 2005.

LRG’s product line, referred to in some garment industry circles as “street clothing”, is for women and men with frequent thematic messages integrated within the designs, which are often environmental and consciousness-lifting. The L in LRG stands for Lifting with the full name Lifting Research Group.

This video, made two years ago by LRG and narrated by Jonas, tells the LRG story better than any words can capture:



Jonas Obit

This was posted on the LRG website

No announcement has been made about services.

Laguna Beach police said they responded to the call from Jonas’ home on Bern Dr in the Top of the World neighborhood at 8 p.m. Monday and that there was no indication of suspicious activity. An autopsy performed Wednesday was ruled inconclusive by the OC Coroner’s office. Toxicology results may take up to eight weeks, they said.

His son, fiancé, seven siblings, and parents survive him.

Friends assisted with this story

Cody Day, 15, loses his brave, long battle with cancer

Cody Photo

Cody Dallas Day, age 15, while surrounded by family and friends, went home to be his Lord on Wednesday, May 25, 2011, after fighting a brave battle with cancer.

We rejoice in the promise of 2 Tim. 4:7-8 – “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge will award me on that day, and not to me only but also to all that have longed for his appearing.”

His memory is cherished by his parents, David Fredrick and Sheryl Dallas Day Laguna Beach, his grandparents, Dick Sr and Charlotte Day of Zomba, Malawi and LeeRoy and Gwen Lienemann of Oxnard Beach.

And also remembered and loved by his many aunts, uncles and cousins:  Dick Jr. and Betty Day, (Springfield, VA) and their children James and Leslie Day, Jonathan and Ryan Day (Layton, UT) Sarah Day (Washington, DC), Jeff and Stephanie Day (Charlotte, NC), Andrew Day (Springfield, VA); Kim Day (Laguna Beach, CA) and her children: Jennifer Park (Costa Mesa, CA), Taylor Park (Hawaii); Jeff and Margaret Day, (Laguna Beach, CA) and their children: Aubrie Day, Kelsey Day, Jessica Day; Jonathan Day (Huntington Beach, CA) and his child: Memphis Day; Tim and Vila Day, (Holonga,Tonga) and their children: Noelani Day, Saia Day; Mike and Jennifer Lienemann (Myrtle Point, OR.) and their child: Mikala Lienemann; Loren and Kathy Lienemann (Nipomo, CA) and their children: David Lieneman, Nicole Lienemann, Mathew Lienemann, Mitchell Lienemann; Gordon and Maureen Lienemann Las Vegas NV) and their children: Amanda Lienemann (Thousand Oaks, CA) Nicholas Lienemann (Las Vegas, NV); Rhonda and Mark Hagedorn (Jamul CA)  and their child: Danielle Hagedorn and her child Dylan; Robin and Ron Powers and their children Jeremiah Powers (Goldsboro, NC) Teena Powers (Anthem, AZ); Josh and Jessica Powers (Lumberton, TX) and their 3 children: Colton, Carter and Cade (Pensacola, FLA); Rebecca and Frank Riccomini (Bakersfield, CA);Alan and Sylvia LienemannPort Hueneme, CA) and their children (; Jessica Lienemann (L.A., CA); Wesley Lienemann (Port Hueneme, CA)

Susan Trager - Celebration of Life – Thursday at 5:30

Susan Trager PhotoThe “Celebration of Life” for 10-year Laguna Beach Water Commissioner Susan Trager will be held Thursday, June 9 at 5:30 p.m. at Tivoli Terrace on The Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters grounds.

The memorial is open to family, friends and colleagues of Ms. Trager.  Her family will be in attendance.

Guests may park at no charge across from the festival grounds in the City Lot in space numbers 300 and above.

Drew Brislen, 40, died in a diving accident May 26

Drew Brislen PhotoAndrew J. “Drew” Brislen, a lifelong resident of the South Coast, drowned Thursday May 26, while free diving off Diver’s Cove in Laguna Beach.  Drew was the son of popular Laguna Beach High School teacher Dee Brislen who died last October. He was 40.

Drew was born in Laguna Beach and lived in Laguna Niguel through high school.  He attended Dana Hills High School (Class of 89) and attended Architectural School at Tulane University where he earned his Master’s degree. He moved to San Clemente in the late 1990’s.

Drew worked in architectural design and contracting in Laguna Beach.  First for Architect Chris Abel, and later for Chris’ son Gregg Abel for over 15 years.  He always felt that he was a part of the loving and dedicated Abel family.

He played Volleyball and Waterpolo for Dana Hills High School and was an excellent Skier, Skeet Shooter, Surfer, Swimmer, and Scuba Diver.  Drew also loved to kayak, climb trees, just do anything that was fun and interesting.  He truly loved and lived life.

He had traveled all around the world and enjoyed learning about people and their cultures.  He loved his friends and his family, especially his two little girls, Sage and Addie.  Drew never stopped showing his love and dedication to his mother as she suffered for almost eight years from cancer.

Drew is survived by his wife, Michelle, daughters Sage and Addie, father Andrew, and grandmother Bess Barker.  He will be missed by many.

Over 200 attended a paddle out in San Clemente Thursday morning and a memorial service was held later in the afternoon.

A Memorial Day Remembrance

Throughout my life I had had the honor of knowing some of the people we honor on Memorial Day, including my own uncle, Robert Hills, who enlisted in the Navy in 1942, as soon as he could after graduating from Laguna Beach High School.  He served in the Pacific and remained in the Navy for 35 years.  I will never forget visiting him just before he passed away at a retirement home in Virginia Beach in 2004.  It was a day of colorful story telling about the war and the good old days growing up on the beach in Southern California, an experience I never will forget.

I was befriended and mentored by some real life heroes while I served on active duty as a U.S. Navy officer for eight years, and later as an international relations lawyer in Washington DC.   As a military lawyer in the Navy JAG, assigned to the White House, National Security Council and the State Department, the only battles I fought were with words, not bullets.  But there were some true warrior legends I had the honor to know.   Every Memorial Day, and on other occasions throughout the year, my family stops to remember two special heroes who were a big part of our lives.

Col. James P. Hagerstrom was an Iowa farm boy, 19 years of age when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor.   By the age of 23 he had flown 170 combat missions with Army Air Corps 8th Fighter Squadron in the New Guinea Theater of the Pacific, credited with 6 victories in air-to-air combat and ranked as an “Ace.”   He then became an early jet aircraft test pilot and was one of the first Army Air Corps pilots to join the U.S. Air Force.  In Korea, he was a fighter squadron commander and flew over 100 missions, had 8 victories over enemy MIG-15 pilots in air-to-air combat, and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flyers Cross with 5 Oak Leaf Clusters, Air Medal with 10 Oak Leaf Clusters and 18 other awards and decorations for valor.  In Vietnam, Col. Hagerstrom was Director of Combat Operations for the 7th Air Force and flew 68 missions before retiring, in part because he did not want to be associated any longer with what he saw as strategic and tactical mismanagement of the war by Washington, at the expense of the men and women for whom he felt responsible.

My wife and I met Jim and his wife of over 50 years, Lee, who herself was a WASP pilot in WWII, when we were out in the Pacific Islands during my assignment there as a lawyer for the U.S. government.   Later, when I was in Washington they came and lived with us in our military quarters on Bolling Air Force Base.   They had eight kids and grandkids of their own, but treated us like family and were like grandparents to our kids.   What I remember about Jim most was how lively his mind was, and how his natural curiosity about everything in God’s creation was contagious.  Going out on the Potomac River for a late summer night cruise, or to watch our kids play soccer on a Saturday morning, was somehow like seeing world in a new way when Jim was there.  He was just so alive to the possibilities of life a quality that came in part from surviving combat in which he had good reason to expect to be killed, on several occasions.

Another real life hero we knew and loved was Mark Metherell, who lived next door to us in Laguna Beach.  He went to Wheaton, was a scholarly classicist, but dreamed only of being a Navy Seal.   Instead of taking the easy path by accepting a commission as an officer, he chose the enlisted ranks so he could meet the enemy up close and personal on the field of honor.   He could have lived a very privileged life, but he chose service.   After a distinguished career as a Navy Seal who saw combat in several hotspots, he rejoined civilian life, got married to the girl of his dreams, Sarah, and they adopted a beautiful little girl, Cora, in 2006.   Mark and Sarah also were committed to philanthropy and supported charitable projects all over the world.

Still, he saw the need to help train Iraqi troops defend their own nation, so U.S. troops could come home, and he answered that new call to duty.   Always putting his boots where his leadership principles were to set an example to his trainees, Mark was in the lead vehicle patrolling in Sadr City during the intense conflict there in April 2008 when he was killed in action.   Mark knew he could be killed, but he was committed in his faith and by his patriotism to go above and beyond, and he left that noble legacy to his wife, daughter and all of us.   He also had been a mentor to me, even though I was older, a good friend to my wife, always making her feel special, and he had been like an older brother to my daughters, who loved him so well.

These are the names and stories of just two of the people who are what Memorial Day is all about.   That is why we need to stop on Memorial Day, even though we may not have been called ourselves to the path of the warrior, and say a prayer of remembrance to those who knew they could be killed, but went anyway.   They did it for a lot of reasons, but the reason that counts most is that they did it to defend freedom to seek our own fates that we enjoy because of the sacrifice they made for us.

Howard Hills

Laguna Beach

Color is where the art is

Color is where it’s at!!! The Summer Street banners make our town a more colorful place. Our gardens are colorful too and strike a note of individuality and interesting diversity for the growing number of Lagunatics who walk.

I thought black clothes were for evening wear, but look around and you will see people wearing black everyday and this is supposed to be a beach town. It makes you wonder if ten years of two wars has not only bankrupted our country and darkened people’s spirits.  Harry Willats, the original owner of the Riviera Hotel - many years ago would go to Rotary Club every week in a colorful shirt and ask Rotary’s members why they didn’t wear shirts reflecting our beach way of life.

Years ago the Hotel Laguna was pink and in many paintings it was pink. Actually you can see a depiction of its pink color - although it is a little red on the city seal on city vehicles. Could the hotel be pink again? Good question.

For the ultimate color trip, take a free trolley or bus this summer to the Festival of Arts, Sawdust and Art-A-Fair.

Roger Carter

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Dealing with Loss

Nancy Hamm PhotoNancy Hamm

I would love nothing more than to write an article on a light topic, like prepping myself for summer vacation, but I’ll be honest I’m just too exhausted. I’ve spent the last few days running between hospitals for my grandmother and father-in-law not certain which one looks worse. Sadly, both are on their last leg of life and it’s just a matter of time. How long is anyone’s guess? Unfortunately, no one is guessing in months anymore. We’re down to weeks, maybe even days. It’s challenging dealing with a loved one dying I just never could have imagined difficult it would be to deal with two at the same time.  I can honestly say that this is rough.

Rougher still is relating this to our 4-year old. He’s lucky enough to have close relationships with both of them but that just makes this all the more difficult. He knows they are sick and when asked if he feels sad he just says that he is worried.  Personally I’d feel better if he said he was sad, but worried at 4 years old worries me.

Over the past few weeks I’ve struggled to know how to help him understand and deal with what lies ahead. What’s the best approach? Buy children’s books on grief? Dive into the idea of heaven? Address each situation in child terms as they arise? Or ignore it and deal with it when the end comes?

I’ve chosen to address each situation as it comes. After all, my grandmother lives next door and when she’s not home for a week shouldn’t I answer his question about her whereabouts truthfully? And when my husband and I make rush arrangements for a babysitter in the middle of our Sunday shouldn’t he know that his Pop Pop is sick? I think so.

We’ve broken everything down but now I’m worried that he is beginning to take on our stress. Yesterday, after a long day at the hospital keeping watch we picked up our son to take him out to dinner. Looking back, we should have gotten take out but what’s done is done. He started out happy but by the end had taken on our less than enthusiastic demeanor. We were worried and exhausted. Our conversation bounced from Pop Pop to Grandma and by the time we got back to our home he was in full tantrum mode.

After a rough night for all of us I realized that he too was dealing with this. I’m ashamed to say that I was naïve to not consider how this was all playing out on him. After all, children can see your stressed faces; they get the tone of the conversation.

As exhausted as I feel today I am making some allowances and being just a bit softer.  Perhaps we’ll even have that talk about heaven.


Strayer, Forrest Keith

Strayer PhotoForrest Keith Strayer, born on January 10, 1923 in Lincoln, Nebraska, died May 18, 2011 from cancer at his home in Laguna Woods. He was 88.

Forrest’s family drove to California in 1930 in a Ford Model A where they took residence in Los Angeles. Except for a spell working in Alaska Forrest spent most of the remainder of his life in Laguna Beach.

He served in the U.S Air Force during World War II, flying as a tail gunner in a B17.
Upon discharge he enrolled at the University of Southern California, graduating with a
doctorate in psychology. He went into private practice in Corona del Mar and Laguna
Beach as a clinical psychologist. Even after his retirement he kept in touch with many
patients whom he had helped over the years.

In 1953 he married Marjorie Jacobsen and adopted her three children, Robert, Alice, and Mary. William James Strayer was born in 1957. They were divorced in 1969.
In 1970 Forrest married Pamelia D. Payson. They traveled in Europe hiking and biking
many times.

His brother Al, daughter Alice and son William predeceased him. He leaves his widow and her two children, Philip of Freeport, Maine and Sarah Pollock of Lancaster, California, as well as his daughter Mary of Santa Rosa and son Robert of Irvine, along with three grandchildren, three great grandchildren, plus many nieces and nephews.

Forrest enjoyed tennis, golf, running and cycling. In his retirement years he was an avid paddle tennis player in Laguna Woods.

Always available to listen and counsel, Forrest will be missed by so many.
If you wish to make a donation in his memory, please give to: Friends of the Laguna Beach Library, P.O. Box 36, Laguna Beach, Ca 92652. Forrest volunteered there for many years.

Guest OpEd


Pertussis: know the vaccine, the epidemic and your rights

Shari Cheves


Like most parents who received the vaccine alert this spring, I thought my child would be ousted from school without the whooping cough (pertussis) vaccine or “Tdap” booster.

The letter, like many others across California, did not explain that parents have a choice in this matter. California is one of 20 states that allow vaccine exemptions for personal beliefs as well as medical and religious beliefs. For this particular exemption, California requires a signed, blue exemption form available only at the school office. There is intense pressure from parents, schools, and the medical community to dutifully follow immunization recommendations without question. This is a tragically missed opportunity to help people make educated choices based on individual concerns, conditions, and risks.

There are many unanswered questions about pertussis and the vaccine that deserve attention before inoculation. The incidence of pertussis is cyclical, with summer or fall peaks occurring every 3-5 years in the United States. Vaccinations for pertussis have been widespread since the 1960s, with children getting repeat doses between two months and six years of age. Vaccination rates remain high in California, yet the number of pertussis cases last year rivals numbers from 1947. This begs the first question - why are the current vaccines not protecting us?

The pertussis problem escalated into an epidemic after infant deaths mounted last year. Nine of the ten deaths were infants less than 2 months of age. According to an LA Times investigative report, many of these infants were not diagnosed or treated with pertussis, which contributed to their deaths. Even after diagnosis, a couple of the hospitals did not react fast enough. While it is easy to point the finger at adolescents who aren’t recently vaccinated, the hospitals appear to lack sufficient diagnostics and treatment to prevent mortalities.

A survey of San Diego County adults found that 42% of healthcare workers were not covered by Tdap. Both adolescents and adults can be infected with pertussis without any symptoms.

Even if we vaccinated entire adult and adolescent populations to wage war on pertussis, there is growing evidence that our vaccine may not be effective. The pertussis vaccination is approved based on inferences between different age groups with short-term testing periods rather than direct experience over decades. A nonprofit company in San Diego that analyzed 2010 CDC data found that 53% of California children 8 to 10 years old who were diagnosed with pertussis were up to date with vaccinations.

Research in the Netherlands points to new, different strains of the bacteria that appear to have adapted to vaccination through gene regulation. Another suspect is the Tdap itself, with a safer, lowered concentration of the toxoid introduced in 2005 for adults and adolescents. In the mid-1990s, the acellular vaccine DTaP had replaced the original potent DTP after it was associated with possibility of brain damage.

It is not clear how these changes in the vaccine have affected the prevalence of disease or long-term health effects.

It is unfortunate that one of the major supporters of Assembly Bill 354 (2010) was GlaxoSmithKline, one of the Tdap manufacturers. Was this commercial thrust necessary? Major studies that influence our immunizations are also driven by institutions and researchers who receive grants from vaccine manufacturers. These corporate ties are an obscured conflict of interest that creates an unsettling foundation for the future of public health.

Unlike food nutrition labels, we are not well informed about vaccine ingredients. The Tdap vaccine contains chemically inactivated pertussis toxin, but other components differ between the two manufacturers. GlaxoSmithKline makes Boostrix, which includes formaldehyde and polysorbate 80. Sanofi Pasteur makes Adacel, which includes formaldehyde, aluminum phosphate, glutaraldehyde, and 2-phenoxyethanol. The toxin in the Boostrix vaccine was grown in a medium containing bovine (cow) extract or casein. Parts of the syringes contain latex rubber.

Scientists do not know how these components interact with our immune systems to affect our long-term health. Contrary to some media reports, we do not have any conclusive evidence that proves or disproves a link between vaccines, autism, and other autoimmune diseases.

We all know that vaccines have saved countless lives. They are the weapons of choice at this point in modern medicine. But we cannot assume that every vaccine is equally effective for prevention or equally safe for long-term health.

Before we take a shot in the dark, let us consider the pertussis epidemic as a call to action for new methods and solutions that promote our individual health, safety, and freedom.


Shari Cheves reports on medical research and develops software tools for health awareness. She has a certificate in Clinical Nutrition and is completing a license program in Holistic Health from Natural Healing Institute in Encinitas.

Info Expo provided an informative platform for non-profits

Thank you and your staff for your contribution to the success of our Info Expo event, which was held last Saturday at the parking lot next to the Farmer’s Market.

One of the many benefits of being a part of this community is the consistent support from your Stu News Laguna.

Through your generosity, our residents, myself included, were given the opportunity to learn about the supportive contributions and services that are offered by our varied non-profits and community groups.

As one of the Info Expo participants, I was provided the opportunity to exchange ideas and information in a most receptive and enjoyable environment.

Thank you, you are appreciated,
Elsa Brizzi
Special Projects Director
Education 21 West


Faster, more comfortable mammograms give women another reason to take control of their breast health

Stephen Simon, M.D.

One out of eight women will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.  Yet when detected early, survival rates can be as high as 98 percent.  So why is it that more women aren’t getting annual screening mammograms?  In the past eight years, national studies have shown a decrease in annual screening mammograms among women age 40 and up.  Some women say they don’t get screened because they’ve heard that mammograms are painful or they take too long.  However, because of recent technological advances, these characterizations are no longer true.

The same technologies that have evolved mammograms into more accurate screening examinations have also resulted in more convenience and speed.  What used to be a twenty- minute procedure now takes four to five minutes.  Flexible mammography paddles also make the process more comfortable than in years past.  What many women may not realize is that advanced digital technologies have become the gold standard at many of the country’s best hospitals, including Mission Hospital.

Mammography centers are also becoming more and more accommodating to the working woman’s schedule.  Women who have trouble finding time to get their mammograms scheduled should check with their local imaging centers for extended appointment hours.  Many care centers are also beginning to offer comprehensive services all under one roof.  For example, Mission Hospital offers breast health clinical teams and certified breast cancer and imaging “Nurse Navigators” – designated nurses who guide patients through every step of the treatment process.

Of course, even with increased convenience and comfort, there are women who still hesitate to get a screening mammogram.  Many think they aren’t at risk because they have no family history.  However, 85 percent of all breast cancers occur in women with no family history.  Some women think they don’t need a mammogram because they feel healthy.  But the right time to come in for their mammograms is when they’re feeling healthy, because we now have the technology to catch the smallest cancers in their earliest stages.  With survival rates at their highest during the earliest stages of breast cancer, it is vitally important for women ages 40 and older to get their mammograms every year. Missing one mammogram can make a significant difference in how early a breast cancer is found.

As a women’s imaging radiologist who has been in practice for 27 years, I am an ongoing advocate for annual screening mammograms.  I feel compelled to share this message because mammograms have been proven to save lives, and there is no better defense against breast cancer than getting your annual mammogram.  There are now about 2.5 million breast cancer survivors in the United States, the majority of whom would not be cancer-free today were it not for getting their mammograms.

In the month of May, Mission Hospital will challenge 1,000 women to take a “Pinky Pledge” and schedule their annual screening mammograms.  Whether it’s at Mission Hospital or another location, if you are a woman 40 years old or older, I encourage you to make that pledge.  Make that commitment to take control of your breast health.  It could save your life.


Dr. Stephen Simon is the Lead Interpreting Physician at Mission Hospital’s Women’s Wellness Center.  He is a Board certified radiologist who specializes in women’s imaging and has been practicing in the field of radiology for 27 years. During May Mission Hospital makes it easy to schedule a mammogram by calling 866-253-0445 or visiting:

Open Space Initiative

Among Lagunans there seems to be unanimity that we are most fortunate to live in such a physically beautiful place.  Indeed, we moved here for that reason.  As much as the ocean views, open space defines the character of Laguna Beach and differentiates us from surrounding cities.  Recognizing this, in 1990 nearly 80% of us voted to tax ourselves to keep development out of Laguna Canyon and to preserve in perpetuity the natural landscape of the canyon.

The 1990 bond is being retired this year and now we have the opportunity to save the interior hillsides and canyons of our city with the Open Space Initiative. As technology for building on hillsides improves, we are at risk that the green hillsides that we view from our homes or around town will be filled in with homes.

With a parcel tax of $120 a year proposed by the Initiative we can keep our “inner greenbelt” green forever.  Keep in mind that this initiative prohibits eminent domain and requires that a fair price be paid for properties offered by willing sellers.

I urge you to sign the petition to get this initiative on the ballot. Should this measure pass, the views preserved will contribute to the quality of our lives and may also add to the value of our homes.

Ginger Osborne

Laguna Beach


Feed it to the Goats

Dennis Myers


In last week’s City Council meeting a Business Assistance Task Force Progress Report was introduced as an agenda item. Interest was tepid to say the least, resident discussion was absent except for my three minutes of fame. My observation was the recommendations and action steps were equally tepid. Development of a healthy business climate in Laguna is important to all residents, but seems to be only passing fancy for City Hall. The report could have just as well been fed to the goats.

During my fleeting moments in front of the Council of Elders I pointed out that in the “Actions Completed” section, customer service was mentioned seven times. My question was, “Did anyone with real customer service experience review and suggest solutions?” There was a rush to point out that several City officials had made visits to other cities and many of the recommendations came from those visits. In other words, nobody with private sector experience with hands-on customer service was included in the interviews or the completed recommendations. No managers from successful retail stores, not a General Manager from one of our fine hotels, no restaurant Mater de. Bureaucrats helping bureaucrats is a real oxymoron.

Check out some of these softballs. “Improve customer service, especially at the counter.” And another beauty, “Accommodate customers from 8-5 while still encouraging service during the morning hours.”  Can you imagine having a policy like that in a restaurant? “We will serve you later in the evening, but we would really like you to be here by six,” now that’s the way to improve your image with customers! And the list went on with an iteration of reports and studies that will be conducted. Hardly urgent and definitely not aggressive in the pursuit of being a real customer service organization.

Then the report goes to the “In the Works” section, which is another bureaucratic word fest of delay and avoidance of real action. Everyone should know that in the works is a goal “Make customer service a priority at City Hall in all departments.” To me this implies that it has not been the case, they recognize it, and will get to it sometime in the future. Oh, but I forgot, they are also working on improving signage in City Hall. Now that will really help make prospective business people eager to invest in Laguna Beach!

Finally, the “Scheduled for future action” is a category that should have been already addressed, but has not for mysterious reasons. Sometime they hope to “Review and update the Downtown Specific Plan”, and “Review and consider revising Planning Commission’s discretion to modify some parking requirements for new and expanding businesses…” and “Review other uses in the canyon”. Had this already been done, the rest of the report would have been unnecessary.

All in all, the bureaucratic word-speak that fills three pages means no action on substantial issues is forthcoming. If this report had been presented in a private sector business, the author would have lost their job on the spot.

This report speaks of good intentions, but in the real world it would speak to tangible results. That’s the difference, and that’s the reason why this town will continue to fail in attracting quality businesses. Really a disappointment for all the citizens that were expecting some aggressive action was going to be taken to move our image of not being business friendly to one completely reversed.


Small Steps

Hamm PhotoNancy Hamm

When you are living with a small child it is easy to forget how much they can grow in relatively short period of time. Sure it’s easiest to tell if they are physically growing as their pants that once dragged are now passing their ankles but it’s the developmental growth that I find more difficult to measure. It is especially easy to forget the great strides when your nerves are being tested and that sweet that little voice is going nonstop.

Take for instance a recent outing to the grocery store with my 4-yr old. Like any mom with a child that finds the lure of brightly colored packages on the shelves hard to resist I had him corralled in the belly of the grocery cart. On this particular outing he became fixated on something he wanted and, in his case, can’t have. Before having my son I hadn’t spent much time with any child but I have never known a person who can find, what feels like, 200 different ways to phrase the same question. Can you imagine how relieved I was to find out that this is perfectly normal? Anyway, I think I do what most parents do in these situations, say no, repeat myself until I begin to ignore his pleas for something frosted.

At about the 10 minute mark I tend to break down and eventually ask in a nearly pleading voice, “Can you please just stop talking?!” And the miracle of it all is that he does, for a moment, then thoughtfully looks up at me and replies “But I just like to talk.” I breathe deeply, mostly relieved again, because this I can deal with. Ok, I say, let’s change the subject. Again, another miracle, he does! No tantrum, no more asking for food he can’t have, just a change in conversation. It’s amazing.

I feel as though we have finally gotten to the phase of reason and I am loving it. Each day I am falling more and more in love with this little person who on most occasions is wonderful. I marvel at what he has been able to accomplish. Even though the nonstop talking, singing, joke telling and all out silliness can be a bit much I have to remember that at one time back in the NICU speech wasn’t even a guarantee.

Just this morning he told me, “Momma, I love you when I am sleeping.”

Hearing those sweet words come out of my most favorite person makes every moment worth it.


Nancy Hamm is a wife and mother to a 4 year old with cerebral palsy. She is currently working on her first novel.

Thank you Mark Porterfield, supporter of the Arts

Laguna Beach is lucky to have Mark Porterfield.

Mark has supported the arts in Laguna for over 10 years. He funded the Nautilus Bench on Forest Avenue as well as the restoration of Ruth Peabody’s “Boy and Dog”. Peabody’s piece is Laguna’s oldest public artwork.

Now, Mark is funding the shipment of the World Trade Center beams to our city.  We’ll soon have a public artwork honoring the heroes of 9/11.

Thanks, Mark.

Linda Dietrich

Laguna Beach

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