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: www.PinkyPledge.com

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. http://www.cultivatingnancy.blogspot.com

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

Greg Bartz, retired LBPD Sgt., dies at age 61

Greg Bartz, who retired as a sergeant from the Laguna Beach Police Dept on July 4, 2004, died at his home in Madison, CT Sunday. He was 61.

According to the police department, Bartz had been in hospital with an undisclosed illness. His death at home Sunday after being discharged was unexpected.

Bartz served the community for 31 years. After being with the department for a year, he volunteered to be the security officer for LBHS football games played at Guyer Field – a position that made him a familiar face to families, students and friends of LBHS football for three decades.

Bartz Family Photo

Greg and Dawn Mirone Bartz with their children in 2004

It was in that assignment in 1993 that he met and worked with a popular LBHS teacher, Dawn Mirone, the school’s Activities Director. They married and had three children, daughters Katie, now 13 and Payton, 11 and son Sammy, 9. Greg had two sons by a previous marriage, Shaun (now 27) and PJ, 25. They all survive him.

Greg and his family moved to Connecticut shortly after his retirement to Dawn Mirone Bartz’s hometown. When he paid a visit to Laguna Beach in August 2009, he was proud to announce that Dawn was the assistant principal at the local high school.

This writer interviewed Bartz just before his 2004 retirement for a story that appeared in Laguna Life & People magazine.

Greg Bartz the police sergeant:

“Police officers are peace makers. We’re the only profession that is paid to intervene in a fight. Our objective is to restore order. We’re schooled and trained to approach a situation to redirect a person either through enforcement or compliance.”

Compliance is, in Bartz’s words, “The essence of police work. The primary duty of an officer is to use the discretion of whether compliance or enforcement is the best tool to change behavior. Having people respond to your advice and complying is almost always the best for all concerned.

“You have to do a certain amount of enforcing. After all, enforcement is also a safety issue especially when it comes to drunk drivers and traffic laws. We just can never lose sight of the fact that law enforcement is a way to help people,” Greg said.

He can speak of his first felony arrest as if it were yesterday. “It was June 3, 1973. There had been a string of vehicle burglaries in North Laguna and Chief Neil Purcell decided to send the rookie out there undercover. I was in the department’s old Chevy II parked at Marine and Cliff when I saw a guy pry open a wind wing on a parked car.

“I pulled up next to the guy and held my badge and gun out of the window and told him he was under arrest. Then, believe it or not, the driver’s side door wouldn’t open. I ended up sliding across and out the other side. The man had this look on his face – like I was nuts or something – and looking back, I don’t know why he just didn’t laugh and take off. The guy is still around town.”

In his years here, Bartz found himself on duty during four of Laguna’s most memorable catastrophes – the flooding in Laguna Canyon during two El Niño events (’74-’75 and 1977-78), the 1978 Bluebird Canyon Landslide and the 1993 Firestorm.

“Before the flood channel was completed in the early 80s, every heavy rain meant certain flooding in Laguna Canyon. The worst I recall was at Big Bend in ’74 or ’75. We had to wade through waist-high water to get people trapped in their cars to safety. It was nearly as bad in 1978.”

The 1978 spring rains undermined an ancient landslide that victimized more than 100 homes in upper Bluebird Canyon that fall. Bartz was a “two-striper” or Police Officer II on October 2, 1978.

“At 2 a.m. I was on patrol in the area of Coast Highway and Bluebird Canyon Drive when I saw a bright flash in the sky off to the east. When that happens, it usually signals that someone has run into a power pole or a transformer has blown. But we didn’t get any calls. We checked through Bluebird Canyon and Temple Hills but found nothing,” explained Bartz.

He had relieved the dispatcher temporarily when the first call came in at 6:02 a.m.

“A woman was screaming into the phone: ‘My house is falling down!’ I think she was on Meadowlark Lane. I sent two units to the address and I was the third on scene.

“It was pitch dark, no moon at all. I stopped at the Oriole Drive dip on Bluebird Canyon and all I could hear was running water. Suddenly, the road underneath me began lifting and a power pole began swaying.”

Bartz was at the “toe” of the slide when the whole hillside on the back of Bluebird along Meadowlark Lane and Meadowlark Drive as well as across on Morningside Drive let loose taking homes down the slope. He abandoned the patrol car, which became isolated and immoveable as the roadway and shoulders disappeared. It became a national icon of the landslide both because of the photo opportunity and the unit number – 54. The whole country was reminded of a popular TV show of a decade before, “Car 54, Where are You?”

“It was an ancient landslide that no one looked for back in 1946 when that area was developed. Ever since then, geological surveys include that data before any hillside is developed. We were very fortunate despite the tremendous property loss.”

Car 54 Photo

Photo courtesy LBPD

This photo was as viral as possible by 1978 standards

Bartz was the Traffic Sergeant on October 27, 1993.

“I was on duty in uniform that day. Once we realized that the fires were out of control, I took a unit and went out in the field to do what I could,” Bartz explained.

Late in the afternoon, he was on Skyline Drive.

“No one realized how fast the fire had gone up the southern slope of Laguna Canyon once it had crossed over at Big Bend. I had just reached the edge to look over when a house next to me literally exploded in flame. I called it in and began trying to evacuate the residents as fast as I could.” All but two homes in the upper Skyline Drive area were burned to the ground but there were no major injuries from the flames.

“I went down the hill into the Mystic Hills area and I will always have an indelible vision of a girl about ten years old standing alone in her driveway holding some clothing and a doll crying her heart out as the smoke shrouded her. Just as I stopped, her parents came out of the house and they all left just before their home was engulfed.

“We were helpless. One thought kept running through my mind – ‘When will it stop?’ I made my way a bit further down the hill and saw the fire jump the high school. Embers from homes burning on Manzanita Drive blew over the school and started a fire in the trees behind home plate. I thought the whole town would burn,” he remarked.

His radio broadcast when the fire jumped the high school is an indelible memory of many. Paraphrasing, it was essentially. “The fire has jumped the high school and there’s fire at St. Ann’s and Wilson. It will be at Coast Highway in an hour.”

It was almost at that exact moment when the Santana winds stopped - allowing firefighters to get the upper hand.

“Had the winds continued, others have said, the town would have burned to the ground all the way to Aliso Beach.

“I can tell you that it was the most horrible feeling to have been so helpless.”

Sgt Bartz Photo

Sergeant Greg Bartz and our town were good friends

Attention drivers who harass bike riders and skateboarders
I travel all the streets in Laguna Beach by bicycle, to a great extent I’m car-free in Laguna. Commuting by bicycle has huge advantages for Laguna residents, it is quiet, great for fitness, allows one to meet the neighbors, contributes nothing to traffic congestion, requires no parking space, and helps restore the sense of community and charm of our village.

Last week Kimberly O’Brien-Young reminded us (22 April 2011) about harassed skateboarders, bike riders are also harassed by automobile drivers for no apparent reason but legally occupying a small piece of the road we share. Drivers who cowardly threaten the safety of skateboarders and cyclists know who you are, but skateboarders and cyclists also know who you are.

Skateboarders and cyclists have a good description of the vehicle, location, time of day and tags of drivers who harass us. I’ll guarantee renegade drivers a repeat offense from you will be reported to LBPD so study the California Vehicle Code and recognize cyclists and pedestrians have a right to the same road you do. Remember driving your car is a state privilege not an entitlement, so slow down and share the road.

Les Miklosy

Laguna Beach


Eva Bloom Weitzman Schweitzer

Eva Bloom Weitzman Schweitzer passed away on April 21, 2011. She was 91.

Born in Madison, Wisconsin, Eva spent most of her life in Los Angeles and Laguna Beach. She was beautiful, gracious and accepting of all.

She enjoyed books, Scrabble, music, her strong Jewish heritage and especially her family. Predeceased by her beloved husbands Hyman Weitzman and Sam Schweitzer, Eva is survived by daughters Barbara Ravitz (Louis) and Elaine Diamond (Michael); grandchildren David Ravitz (Lauren), Jessica Sturm (Aaron), and Jacob Diamond; great grandchildren Nathan and Sierra; sister Lillian Berg; and many nieces and nephews. She is also survived by her cherished Schweitzer/Anderson family.

Contributions in Eva’s memory may be made to: American Friends of Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam (NSWAS), 12925 Riverside Dr. #322, Sherman Oaks, CA 91423; Friends of Laguna Beach Library, 363 Glenneyre St., Laguna Beach, CA 92651; Temple Isaiah Women, 10345 Pico Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90064.

Services were held Sunday, April 24, 2011 at TaNaCh Chapel, Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries, Hollywood Hills.

$120 tax a burden to some

Dear Citizens for the Preservation of Open Space:  I am writing on behalf of my 100-year-old mother, a homeowner, regarding your proposed $10/month parcel “Flat Tax” to purchase open space within our city.

As caregiver to my bedbound mother, I am given to understand from today’s articles regarding your proposal, that she, who lives on low income assistance and Social Security, will be forced, if your proposal is voted in, to pay $120 in additional taxes each year on her home with no ocean view.  That is the same amount due from a multimillion-dollar oceanfront home in our city owned by a more wealthy citizen, or a landlord of an apartment building.

Are you aware that there has been no increase in Social Security payments for two years, while the price of food, gas, and healthcare has gone up multiple times?

Just when the Laguna Laurel bond has matured, you have decided that we seniors should have to pay for something new, something my 100-year-old bedbound mother will never get to enjoy?

Sandi Werthe
Laguna Beach


Sugar High

Hamm PhotoNancy Hamm

I’m going to blame it all on Easter. Not the Easter of Jesus but of that candy totting bunny and, the endless rainbow of Jellybeans, Skittles and Gummy Bears.  The true culprit of this misadventure was, me. After all I am the one who supplied the candy. I am the one who didn’t say no when enough was clearly enough.

It all started with my husband’s harmless comment “Why not? I used to eat myself sick!” That was all it took for the candy consumption to begin. It was at 7 a.m. Candy for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with barely a bite of regular food in between, it was nonstop and he loved it. At no point did our son appear sick, nor did he ever seem to become full. I waited and waited but he was a bottomless pit. At some point I should have laid down the law but what was I going to do? Lay down my chocolate bunny with one hand and the Jellybeans from the other to tell my child that he’d had enough? Yes, that would have been the right thing to do but I was too far gone myself.

By the time we were finishing up our second egg hunt of the day the tide was beginning to turn. No longer was my son vying for every egg in site. No, he gathered about four and said it was enough. It was me who with his basket in my hand began to collect any candy stuffed eggs in site as young children swirled around me.  That’s when I knew I needed to stop.

Today I fully understand the value of self-control since we’re both paying the price. It’s bad enough that I’m seeing my son come off his first sugar high. I’ve got to say that it isn’t pretty. So far today, he’s had two massive tantrums unlike any I’ve ever seen. I don’t even want to speculate on what else the day will bring because I’m truly afraid. As for myself, let’s just say that my mind is gone. I’ve spent the better part of the day correcting mindless mistakes and forgetting some very important appointments. Not to mention that we are both exhausted.

Never again will we there be an endless supply of sugar available to my son, or myself. Lesson learned, the hard way.


Nancy Hamm is a wife and mother to a 4 year old with cerebral palsy. She is currently working on her first novel. http://www.cultivatingnancy.blogspot.com

West St is OC’s “gay beach heaven”

West St. beach, South Laguna, entered into a Google search will produce 11 pages of references for this internationally known gay and lesbian beach, which is actually about 1000 yards north of the picturesque West St. stairway.

Reviews include comments like “I was pleasantly surprised at how nice people were.” West St. beach is “Orange County’s gay beach heaven” and “Years ago there was a radio station that broadcast from the beach.”

West St. beach got established when gays were blocked from Main Beach during its construction. Before that, there was a popular gay-lesbian beach south of the main guard tower where it wasn’t unusual to see a silver service luncheon being served by a gay man or woman on a big tablecloth on the sand and nearby one of California’s first gay bars, which actually had a heterosexual bar on its south side - across from the Hotel Laguna.

If the weather is warm on Memorial Day weekend, hundreds of gays and lesbians will start another summer season at West. St. just minutes from the beautiful Village Green park at Catalina and Virginia Way - with its cozy picnic tables - BBQ braziers and expanse of grass. A short walk will take you to numerous cafes, beautiful Treasure Island Park and the picturesque and reasonably priced Aliso Creek Inn and golf course in Aliso Canyon, which has Laguna’s largest hotel swimming pool.

West St is OC’s “gay beach heaven” and symbolic of Laguna being a different place. Enjoy the Summer - take a free trolley or OCTA’S route one bus, but go!

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach


Amy Kramer

Going for the “Gotcha”

When it comes to mainstream media there is always the “gotcha” moment. It’s a tactic used all too often to point a finger, name call, blame the person or entity for something, and all the while try to make oneself look all-powerful and dare I say, noble. Three Cups of Tea author, Greg Mortenson, just experienced his gotcha moment on CBS’s 60 Minutes when his book was called into question and he was put under suspicion of mismanaging his charitable organization, the Central Asia Institute, which builds schools in rural Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Three Cups’ adoring readers have been labeled “gullible” by journalists for believing Mortenson’s story. Not only has his credibility been targeted, but his reputation has been dragged through the mud over accusations from former CAI supporter, author and fellow adventurer, John Krakauer, as well as various people interviewed by 60 Minutes reporter Steve Kroft. Those pointing fingers at Mortenson claim that he fabricated part of his story, specifically the beginning where he is rescued by villagers when his climb on K2 went awry. His critics also question the money he has spent on his book promotion and have cast doubt on how much money is spent actually building new schools.

Mortenson has defended himself by explaining that the story itself, specifically the part about being saved by the villagers of Korphe, is a “compressed version of events that took place in the fall of 1993.” Makes sense considering he is writing a story and must engage the reader as well as explain his impassioned, emotional rationale for promising to return and help the people. As for the accusations made about the financial handling of CAI, Mortenson explains that he has created a savings fund for the organization as well as spent money to build more schools.

Somewhere between Mortenson’s exaggeration of his travels and experiences in the village of Korphe and the realities of managing a fledgling charity, while still trying to promote it and sustain enthusiasm for future donors, lies the truth. For those who have been inspired by Mortenson’s books, who have donated, or attended his lectures, the truth may lie in the lessons he has transferred through his experiences and story.

With freedom of speech also comes the freedom to lie, cheat, name call and bring down those who are trying to build something. It is more difficult to produce and create than it is to tear apart or destroy. I am sure that Greg Mortenson is not perfect, but he has done something to generate greater good in the world. His detractors may feel good about themselves for bringing Mortenson’s faults to light, but whom have they inspired? Other than taking advantage of a “gotcha” moment, their words are more mean-spirited than illuminating.


On a side note: normally I would not respond to comments made about one of my editorials, however, the published letter regarding the Spring Spheregate, from TC Borelli, was something I could not pass up. Mr. Borelli’s comparison of me to rats, fleas and poison ivy was a little much for a satirical commentary about the overdone political correctness of the left. No matter, mean spiritedness and condescension is typical of those who lack a sense of humor. I would suggest that before Mr. Borelli decides to throw rotten eggs he might think about the meaning behind Easter, religious or not: the joy kids get out of Easter Eggs and Easter celebrations with family and friends. Perhaps he would even go so far as to consider donning an Easter Bunny suit for next year’s Laguna Beach Easter Egg hunt. I am sure he would look dashing in it.


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.


Bo Boyd PhotoBarton K. “Bo” Boyd

Barton K. “Bo” Boyd, a member of a founding Laguna Beach family, and brother of City Councilmember Kelly Boyd, died of heart failure at his home in Nevada on April 13.

He was 68.

Boyd was instrumental in accomplishing the building of the Boys & Girls Club on Laguna Canyon Rd and actively volunteered and sponsored Laguna Beach Little League, which started play here when he was 10-years-old.

He was born Dec. 6, 1942 in Laguna Beach to Robert and Doris Boyd. Boyd attended local schools, including Thurston Middle School – named after his grandmother, Marie Harding Thurston. While in school, he worked part time at the Pottery Shack on Coast Highway.

Boyd began working at Disneyland in 1968 after graduating from UC Irvine. It became a lifelong career with Disney Corporation starting in Anaheim and rising to become President of Disney Consumer Products in Burbank.

He rose through the merchandising ranks in Anaheim and was moved to Florida when Walt Disney World opened to be in charge of the new park’s product merchandising and presided over the rapid growth of Disney retailing eventually overseeing 700 Disney Stores. He retired in 2000 and moved to Mesquite, Nevada with his wife Vickie.

His wife Vickie and former wife Teri; brothers Robert (Happy), Kelly and Randy, sister

Cindy Boyd-Chudley and children Kristin Scmidt, Kelly Kiesselbach, Rob Boyd, Cam Boyd, Carrie Boyd and Chad Freeborn and seven grandchildren survive him.

A celebration of Bo Boyd’s life will be held from noon - 3 p.m. on April 30 at Tivoli Too, 777 Laguna Canyon Road.

In lieu of flowers, the family is requesting donations in Boyd’s name to the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach.

Rotten spring spheres?

Like fleas, rats, and poison ivy, the gullible will always be with us. And it is the gullible who are the first to fall for the most outlandish hoaxes particularly when the date is April first.

On April 1, 1996 Taco Bell Corporation announced it had bought the Liberty Bell and was going to rename it “The Taco Liberty Bell.”

On April 1, 1998 Burger King announced it was going to market the world’s first left-handed hamburger.

On April 1, 1962 Swedish television directed their viewers to place a nylon stocking over their black and white TV thereby allowing the TV to broadcast in color.

Sports Illustrated On April 1, 1985 profiled a pitcher who could throw a ball 165 mph.

Perhaps one of the most hilarious hoaxes ever perpetrated occurred on April 1, 1957 when the BBC televised footage of a tree, which grew spaghetti. BBC viewers inundated the station wanting to know where they could buy a spaghetti tree!

So here we go again.

On April 7, 2011 professional wind bag and right wing zealot Dori Monson broadcasting on Seattle radio station KIRO broke a story about “...a 16-year-old student named ‘Jessica,’ from an unnamed local private high school, who said she wanted to do a community service project for an unnamed third-grade Seattle Public Schools class...Jessica said she offered to fill plastic eggs with treats and jelly beans for the third graders (three weeks before Easter?), which the (unnamed) teacher said was O.K. if the girl called them ‘spring spheres.’” Before breaking the story on KIRO Jessica’s father had earlier contacted Monson. That conversation was not publically released. The following day the Seattle Public School System went on the record stating it had not been able to confirm the story.

Immediately the gullible took to the streets picketing the Seattle School District demanding respect for their Christian beliefs. The right wing blog-a-sphere (of which there are literately hundreds) and Rupert Murdoch owned media went bat-crap screaming about secular liberals and being PC and on and on and on.

Without batting an eye our own easily deceived Amy Kramer writing last week in StuNews Laguna repeats the silly “spring sphere” story as if it came from the mouth of god. Well Amy, here’s egg on your face or should I say a spring sphere!

T.C. Borelli

Laguna Beach

Police Association asks us to help Crime Survivors, Inc

Part of my mission as President of the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association is to serve the community that we represent and work for.  This is where my goal of partnership with Crime Survivors, Inc. is so important.  Our association has not yet been able to take the next step below but hopefully with your help and our fundraiser effort we can make this happen.

On Friday evening I accompanied Debbie Ambrose and Barbara Nicholson, sister and mother of Damon Nicholson who was murdered in October 2009, to the 2010 Crime Survivors Award Banquet.  At the dinner several people were honored for making an effort to go above and beyond the call of duty for survivors of crime.

When I heard of the dinner event and difficulty that the survivors of Damon Nicholson had recently experienced with the “slow wheels of justice” I requested that the Board of Directors pay to have Debbie and Barbara come out to attend the dinner on behalf of Damon.  The sudden loss of Damon even struck home with the LBPEA as Damon had been the banquet coordinator for some of our LBPEA Holiday parties in the past. Our Board jumped at the opportunity to help and we paid for Debbie and Barbara to attend the Crime Survivors Award banquet and put them up for a night at the Hotel Laguna, where Damon had worked.

Crime Survivors reached out after Damon was murdered and paid for some of his funeral expenses, without ever having known him or his family.

The experience was helpful for both Debbie and Barbara, as well as helped me take away a much stronger appreciation for what Crime Survivors stands for and reinforced my mission.

Thank you for reading so far, I am almost done!  Here is my new goal:

Crime Survivors distributes thousands of resource guides and victim emergency bags to make the first 24 hours more hopeful and comfortable for children and adult crime victims.

I would like to be able to have on hand enough on hand to give out to every child and adult victim of violent crime (Murder, Aggravated assault, rape and domestic violence).  To do this lofty goal we need financial support from the community.  Below are examples of the child and adult victim bag:

Victim Emergency Bags

Each Victim Emergency Bag is filled by those who know how it is to be victimized and what items will be most helpful within the first 48 – 72 hours towards survival.

Victim Emergency Bags are provided to victims/survivors of crimes and will be distributed through Police Departments, Fire Departments, Ambulance and medical, in addition to nonprofit organizations assisting victims/survivors of crimes. Interested in sponsoring or donating towards the emergency bags please use your credit card or mail a check to Crime Survivors, Inc. Contact them at (949) 872.7895. All donations are tax deductible and greatly appreciated.

I am hoping that with your help and awareness of this organization, we will be able to donate toward Crime Survivors and be able to pass out these to our community.

On behalf of the LBPEA Board, Debbie, Barbara and Damon’s survivors and all crime victim survivors in Laguna, thank you for your support!

Larry Bammer

President, Laguna Beach Police Employees Association

Those noisy motorcycles are still noisy

I have nothing against motorcyclists, and some of their machines are beautiful, chromed and shinny, high revving, and high powered.  Why is it that there are some who are insistent upon making their ‘bikes” extremely noisy? It must be a “Hey Marcel, watch this” factor at work.

The loud noise emanating from illegal motorcycle exhaust pipes is unnerving to most people. It travels for blocks from P.C.H. and our main roadways and resonates into our normally quiet residential neighborhoods.

A few inconsiderate motorcycle riders roar up and down my neighborhood’s residential streets at all hours of day and night with their excessive exhaust noise disturbing our animals, our neighborhood tranquility, even our sleep.  Their speed and their “get out of my way” attitude is endangering the safety of the young children of our neighborhood and those who walk for their health.

Toni Iseman once promoted an aggressive and successful crack down on these few riders via an anti excessive vehicle noise campaign.  She should revive it as a new beginning toward “zero tolerance” when it comes to vehicle noise violators and speeders.

Safer and quieter streets in our neighborhood would sure be nice again.

Don Knapp

Laguna Beach

The Laguna Flood Relief Concert was a huge Success!

To everyone who came out and supported this wonderful event… Thank You!…Amazing is the word! This was a case of the music community, the artist community and many businesses and individuals pulling together to turn a fundraising dream into a reality in just a little over two weeks…raising close to $20,000 for the Laguna Beach Relief & Resource Center flood victims effort.

BlueWater-GreenEarth, the concert organizer, wishes to give a special thanks to the following…Aliso Creek Golf, Aliso Creek Inn, Brian Allen, Marte Amato, Art For The Soul, Dr. Gary Arthur, Banconit Specialty Construction, Becky & John Barber, Bardot, Olivia Batchelder, Big Fish, Black Iris, Brussels Bistro, Bubbles, Bushards Pharmacy, Candy Baron, Georgette Cerruti, Elaine Cohen, Todd Cohen, Crystal Image, Dabi, Rick Delanty, Dizz’s As Is, Duets, Fawn Memories, Festival of Arts, Dennis Forsyth, French Basketeers, Rob Gage, Rod Gates, Gregory Stevens Salon, Brad Moorison, Amy Rose Hammond, Russell Hart, Joseph Hawa, Health In Balance, Gavin Heath, Lance Heck Jewelry, Debborrah Henry, Julio Hernandez, Sharbie Higuchi, Hobie, Mark Christy, Hotel Laguna, Hurley Laguna Beach, International Hair Salon, Jack’s Dana Point, Joshi Baca, David Klyver, Joe Krach, Lynn Kubasek, Kush Fine Art, La Casa del Camino, Laguna Beach Art Museum, Laguna Beach High School, Laguna Books, Laguna Canyon Winery, Laguna College of Art & Design, Laguna Culinary Arts, Lang Photography, Gregory Goyo Lincoln, Barbara Loews, Lumberyard, Tim McCaig, Heidi Miller, Jesse Miller, Linda Molina, Scott Moore, Kirk Morgan, Marni Spencer-Devlin, Muffin Spencer-Devlin, Mark Nolan, Nadine & Tim Nordstrom, Oggi’s Pizza, Orange Inn Café, Peter Paul Ott, Pacific Gallery, Michael Panetta, Party Lite, Marti Castro, Karen Petty, Sue Pons, Pure Light, Rockin Fish, Skip Roma, Mario Romero, Rubys Auto Diner, Sadie Devaney, Satisfy My Soul, Jeanne Saulanger, Shoe Cellar, South Swell Café, Cindy Stalnaker, Katharine Story, Strands and Stitches, Studio One, Sundried Tomato Café, Surf & Sand, The Tides Motel, Marcus Thesing, Tight Assets, Tommy Bahama, Tootsies, Shane Townley, Tuvalu, Jennifer Tye, Diane Valentino, Village Gallery, White House, Whole Foods, Dale Winson.

Here Comes The Sun Concert Bands: Half of The Band “Honk”: Beth & Steve Wood, Richard Stekeol, Allen Dermo; The Jason Feddy Band: Jason Feddy and John Gardiner; Bob Hawkins; Niki Smart; Nick “I” Hernandez; Bob Hawkins; Eric Morton (AKA Redz); Sasha Evans Band: Sasha Evans, Douglas Miller, Jesse Miller; Master of Ceremonies John Gardiner

Volunteers: Ann Quilter, Rick Conkey, Sue Pons (Silent Auction), Ann Woleslagle, Michael Hazzard, Tim Castro, Andrea Adelson, Scott Reckard, Cassandra Cassels-Burini, Steve Arzate, Susan Brown, Laura, Michael Pannetta, Wendy Potter, Mary Talivara, Joanne Flowers, Joe Volpe, Elana Rowe, Kathleen Jual, Jennifer Watts, Angela (The LBHS ticket window Angel!), Connie Burlin, Chris Quilter, Tom Anderson, Jimmer (Security), Peter Roche (LBHS Supervisor)

Production: Rick Conkey, Stephen Jonas (Sound Guru), Mike Soto (Production Manager from Pro Sound), Michael Spencer Taylor (Video), Peter Roche (Director of the Artists’ Theatre) and his wonderful staff of LBHS students, Don Austin Principal of Laguna Beach High School, Poster created by Jeff Mayland

Photos: Buck Baker, Larry Bammer (LBPD), Charlie Quilter, Laguna Beach Independent, StuNewsLaguna.

Printing services by Ali Rounaghi of Laguna Graphic Arts...thank you! Ticket Sale Locations: No Square Theatre, The Mail Stop (Thanks Harry & Mirna!), and The student body of Laguna Beach High School for their incredibly generous donation of $2,000 for the flood victims.

OC’s new sex offender ordinance won’t stop “smart” molesters

First of all, how are you going to tell; it is not like they have tattoos on their foreheads.  Second of all, the vast majority of sex offenders have absolutely nothing to do with children and include such hardened and dangerous criminals as men caught pissing on the street.

This is nothing more than a bit of feel-good grandstanding on the part of some minor county official who knows perfectly well that its contribution to the safety of children is exactly zero.

Second, what about malls, shopping centers, parking lots, streets, parks and beaches not under the County’s jurisdiction.  Does Rackauckas mean to tell me that all a smart molester has to do is move up or down the coast a few miles to find a beach not covered by the ordinance – something he will no doubt do immediately upon reading this article?

I have no sympathy for those who hurt others, especially sexually, and especially children, but this ordinance does nothing to prevent such injury – and raises some serious constitutional issues about a classification so broad that is sweeps within it people who, when barely children, were guilty of some peccadillo that almost all of us would agree was effectively harmless, but who are nonetheless stigmatized for the rest of their lives, largely because of the hysteria evoked by the self-aggrandizing nonsense (or, as I more accurately phrased it, “bullshit”) of civil servants who, as lawyers, certainly know better.

If a sexual offender truly cannot be rehabilitated, then he or she has to be incarcerated on the basis of a mental disease that makes him or her dangerous to others; otherwise, absent a strong showing that a particular individual has an unreasonable propensity for doing injury – i.e., committing a sexual crime – regulating the group of which he or she is a member is unconstitutional – just as, not that long ago, were literacy tests for black voters on the grounds that black people were stupider than whites.

We’ve come a long way, but only in fits and starts.

Gene Gratz

Laguna Beach

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.

Email: Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com for questions about advertising


Email: Lynette@StuNewsLaguna.com with news releases, letters, etc.