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10th Annual Girls Night Out event benefiting the Boys & Girls Club is a gem

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The 10th Annual Girls Night Out event benefiting the Boys & Girls Club, themed “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend” and held at the beautiful Wilson family home, was a spectacular event. 

Girls Night ladies

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Just a sampling of the beautiful ladies who attended

With a breathtaking view and a fun night filled with endless surprises, the sold out event attendees couldn’t have had more fun. Taking good advice, the ladies grabbed their BFF’s and dressed up royally to have a blast.

Girls Night auction

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So many auction items to bid on

This is the 10th consecutive year the event has been held at the Wilson home. Last year, 300 ladies attended, and the soiree raised $160,000.

Girls Night backyard

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The stunning Wilson home pool area

This year, the ladies enjoyed all the Girly Essentials: Fabulous food, signature cocktails, wine, pampering, spending an evening in a gorgeous oceanfront home, swag bags, and shopping. What more could you ask for? Jewelry.

Girls Night Gail

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Gail Landau, owner of Catmosphere, celebrates the night

There were countless auction items, filling the yard of the Wilson home. There were opportunities for amazing prizes: 3rd place, freshwater Mabe Pearl earrings; 2nd place, a strand of freshwater Cultured Pearls; and 1st place, a Diamond Pendant on diamond chain ($10,000 value). 

Girls Night Starfish

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Delectable food from Starfish

Generous donors who helped support this event include Montage Resort, Newport Lexus dealership, Wilson Automotive, Starfish, and Winston’s Crown Jewelers.

Give a Pair campaign kicks off at El Morro, to benefit Friendship Shelter

During the months of October and November, North Menswear is hosting “Give A Pair” in partnership with the PALS program at El Morro Elementary, a clothing drive gathering gently used jeans, pants and jackets, that will be donated to the Friendship Shelter. The drive kicked off on October 1 and will conclude on November 16. 

Residents are encouraged to drop off gently used items at the El Morro Elementary School Front Office (8681 N Coast Hwy), the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach Canyon Branch (1085 Laguna Canyon Rd), Another Kind Café (793 Laguna Canyon Rd), Church by the Sea (468 Legion St), and North Menswear (380 Glenneyre St). 

Give a Pair Bryce Blanton

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Bryce Blanton speaks to El Morro parents on Monday about Give a Pair campaign for Friendship Shelter which is now underway

The campaign was announced at “Coffee with the counselor” on Monday morning at El Morro as another initiative with Marianne Lawson’s PALS Program at school to help resource some of the Friendship Shelter’s needs.

The Peer Assistance and Leadership (PAL) program at El Morro provides students with chances to practice philanthropy in action to help individuals, families, foundations, and companies to increase empathy within themselves and increase their awareness of need within their local community.

Former FOA Board Member and Foundation Director John Rayment dies at 85

Former Festival of Arts Board Member and FOA Foundation Director John Rayment passed away on September 15. Rayment was born in Bow, London, England, on August 4, 1933. 

He served in the Royal Air Force from 1952-1954 where he met his wife to-be Pam Booth, who worked as a hairdresser on the Royal Air Force base. They married in 1954 and had one child, Steve, who was born in 1956. From 1954 through 1958, Rayment was a police officer for the Royal Hertfordshire Constabulary. 

Former FOA John Rayment

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John Rayment

Rayment emigrated to the US with his family in 1958 to work in the financial industry at Bank of America. They first moved to Hollywood, California and lived in various homes throughout the Los Angeles area until 1974 when they relocated to Laguna Niguel.

In 1973, Rayment was appointed vice president and manager of a Bank of America branch in Laguna Beach. He was then promoted to vice president and area manager of all Laguna Beach area branches in 1981. In 1985, he became vice president associated with the bank’s private banking offices in the South Coast Financial Center and Newport Beach. He retired from Bank of America in 1992 at age 59, so he could travel in his motorhome and go on tours and cruises with his family. 

Passionate about the arts and the artist community, Rayment was appointed to the Festival of Arts Board of Directors in 1982. He served on the Festival of Arts board through 1992. During that time period, he served as treasurer, three years as vice president and two terms as president. In 1987, Rayment was awarded a Festival of Arts Life Membership for outstanding service to the organization. 

In 1989, Rayment co-founded the Festival of Arts Foundation (now the FOA Foundation) with David Young with a $1.5 million endowment from the Festival of Arts. The purpose of the foundation is to provide funding for the arts in Laguna Beach in perpetuity. He was elected as the first Festival of Arts Foundation board president and remained on the Foundation board until his recent death.

Rayment was well-known and respected in Laguna Beach. He also served on the boards of the South Coast Water District, South Coast (now Mission Laguna) Hospital, the Laguna Beach College of Art (now Laguna College of Art & Design) and in the late 1970s, he was president of the Laguna Beach Rotary Club.

“John Rayment served the Laguna Beach community through the FOA Foundation for 30 years. His knowledge of finance and his generous gifts of understanding and leadership provided the FOA Foundation with the tools to make an impact on the future of all aspects of art in Laguna Beach. We on the board of directors will miss his infectious smile and his selfless dedication to both the Festival of Arts and the FOA Foundation,” said current FOA Foundation president and friend Scott Moore. 

Rayment is survived by his wife Pam and son Steve. He will be deeply missed.

Laguna Presbyterian Church to host Red Cross Blood Drive Sunday, Oct 21

Laguna Presbyterian Church sign

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One blood donation has the potential to save up to three lives

On Sunday, Oct 21 from 7 a.m. - 1 p.m., Laguna Presbyterian Church is hosting a blood drive for American Red Cross. The blood drive is open to the public.

Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood from a donation. Blood donations save lives and are essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, and chronic illnesses.

The blood donation process starts with registration and a few health history questions. The donation itself only takes about 10 minutes, followed by a 15-minute snack and recovery period.

For more information on blood drives and the donation process, visit

Laguna Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Forest Ave.

Countywide AlertOC & Nationwide Wireless Emergency Alert tests on Wednesday

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a nationwide test of the Wireless Emergency Alert (WEA) System tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct 3, at 11:18 a.m. This is the first ever nationwide WEA test which will assess the operational readiness of the infrastructure for distribution of a national message. The message will read “This is a test of the National Wireless Emergency Notification System. No action is needed.”

While this message will be sent by FEMA, earlier this year Laguna Beach became the first City in Orange County to have the independent authority to send a WEA message. This allows City officials to efficiently send WEA messages to our residents and visitors and deliver important emergency information such as evacuation orders. 

National Wireless Emergency Alert

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Be prepared for Emergency Alert tests tomorrow, October 3

Also tomorrow, at 10 a.m., the County of Orange is conducting their annual AlertOC test. AlertOC is a geo-targeted emergency notification system which sends emergency notifications to impacted areas. Residents are encouraged to register cell phone, text numbers, and email addresses with AlertOC at to be part of this test.

Peace Exchange event honors the work of Raabia Hawa and her commitment to Walk with Rangers


On Saturday evening, Katie Ford, founder of The Peace Exchange, hosted a gathering of people who came to meet Raabia Hawa. Raabia runs the nonprofit Walk with Rangers, working to end animal poaching. She also oversees Peace Exchange’s new snare wire jewelry line. 

Ford started the nonprofit The Peace Exchange four years ago. She has a background in fair trade and experience with Ten Thousand Villages (she used to manage the store). This is the first year that they have partnered with Raabia, who has a cooperative of women in Kenya who make the jewelry, which continues to create awareness regarding poaching. 

Snare wire is as cruel as it is indiscriminate. Primarily a tool for poachers, snare wire is used to immobilize any animal that is lured into its deadly trap. Wildlife has no way of escape, and once trapped, all animals are reduced to a statistic when poachers return to collect their victims. 

Peace Exchange jewelry

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Photo by Dianne Russell

Line of jewelry made from snare wire by women artisans in Kenya

On the lookout for poachers, a park ranger’s job also includes the removal of snare wire traps. Surrounding villagers have found a way to re-purpose this deadly wire into a variety of artistic shapes, which are as useful as they are attractive. Re-purposed snare wire art generates desperately needed income for local artisans. Support of this effort helps bring awareness to the horrors of snare poaching and has a direct affect in helping to save wildlife.

The Peace Exchange has partnered with Walk for Rangers offering a unique snare wire collection. 

Statistics, though necessary, are difficult and disturbing to digest. An elephant is killed every 15 minutes. 

In response to the question, “Was there a particular incident or event that turned you into an activist against poaching?” 

Raabia says, “Over 10 years ago while preparing to interview a conservation organization in the Maasai Mara on my radio show, I came across a freshly poached young elephant, and I thought to myself that I need to do something about conservation. I had a friend who knew someone at the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS), so I turned up at the Headquarters and told them I wanted to be part of KWS, and I would do anything that was needed, so I started out by volunteering my time and cleaning animal dung at the orphanage, in the same boots that I am wearing today. 

Peace Exchange Board

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Photo by Dianne Russell

Front: Raaiba Hawa and Mike Veale, CEO/President of Global Conservation Force, Back: The Peace Exchange Board members: in center, Founder Katie Ford

“I began patrolling in Tsavo shortly afterwards with rangers and it was a terrifying beginning to be sleeping out in the bush and being the only young girl with eleven male rangers. The rangers had such support for me, encouraged me and looked after me that I knew these were good people and I was safe with them, they would put their lives in front of mine as I would for them.

“It is very heartbreaking when you come across all the poached elephants. It really rips your soul to shreds. But that one animal you save, that one elephant that you are able to protect, that one animal that you take out of a wild snare or give water to – just that one animal, there is such a huge and profound reward in just that one tiny little act of goodness that you have done. And I think that as humans we all need that, we need to feel good about ourselves and you can only feel good about yourself if you do good to other living creatures and other people.”

Peace Exchange ivory

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Raabia with ivory confiscated from poachers

Raabia would like readers to know, “Protecting elephants means protecting people. Ensuring we mitigate poaching (usually done using poison arrows or AK-47’s), we keep surrounding communities safe from poachers who often threaten them and forcefully use their homesteads for shelter and as hideouts. Wildlife crime and ivory trafficking is linked to and now ranks among trafficking in arms, and humans. We are on the frontlines of securing wildlife, habitats and communities and need continued support to keep going. 

“We currently need urgent funding to deploy a team of six rangers in Kenya on an anti-poaching unit, please contact us directly should you be interested in learning more: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..”

Raabia will be speaking at the following: 

October 6: Global March for Elephants and Rhinos; La Brea Tar Pits from 11 a.m. 

October 9: Rahel’s Vegan Cuisine, 1047 S Fairfax Ave, Los Angeles, at 6 p.m.

For further questions, contact Raabia Hawa at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or +254788835348 (direct line).

For information on The Peace Exchange, go to



TOW Back-to-School Bonanza kicks off school year with a bang for students and families

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Held on Friday, the Top of the World Elementary Back-to-School Bonanza is a giant celebration to kick off the school year.

TOW Back sign

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This isn’t your ordinary back-to-school night. This is a blowout gathering of families, students and friends, packed with fun and festivities.

TOW Back hamster ball

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Fun in a hamster ball

TOW uses this event to build school spirit and pride, promote the importance of community and as an opportunity to raise fund to further enhance the exceptional education offered to their students.

TOW Back circus girl

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Circus girl

It was an afternoon of unlimited fun, including inflatables, a live band, cotton candy, yummy food, circus performers, a photo booth, nail painting, hair branding, and face painting.

TOW Back Coverups

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Coverups entertain the crowd

The money raised goes to the many PTA supported programs at TOW, including classroom supplies, grade-level field trips and speakers, art masters, garden and outdoor classroom, and reading programs.


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PTA uses fundraiser for student programs and supplies

A great day for dogs and delicious chili: 24th Annual Pet Parade and Chili Cookoff raises $25,000

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Pets strutted their stuff and chefs cooked up their best chili, all for the attention and awards of judges, on Sunday at the 24th annual Pet Parade and Chili Cookoff, at Seven 7 Seven, formally known as Tivoli Too. 

A great day for dogs and

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(L-R) Chili judges Angie MIller, Barbara Hughston, Shaena Stabler, Josh Meador, and Diane Armitage had a tough job

And obviously, it was worth it! The event raised $25,000 for the Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, the Laguna Board of REALTORS® Charitable Assistance Fund, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, and PUP (Protecting Unwanted Pets).

A great Sothebys

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Winner of Best Chili – Pacific Sotheby’s

In the Chili Category, the winners were: 1st place - Pacific Sotheby’s International Realty, 2nd place - Coldwell Banker, 3rd Place - Partners Bank

The Best Booth Winners were: 1st Place - First American Title, 2nd Place - Affiliates of the Laguna board of Realtors, 3rd Place - Compass

A great best booth

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Winners of Best Decorated Booth

People’s Choice (chili) - Compass

In the furry category, the winners were:

Most Gorgeous Senior: 1st place Carrie Sherwood (owner) Beau (husky),

2nd place Yvonne Nyugen (owner) Lucy (Yorkshire Terrior), 3rd place Debbie Neev (owner) Willie (Silky Terrier)

A great costume contestant

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Contestant for Best Costume, red sequins always work 

Best Costume: 1st place Laura Gilbert (owner) Kiea (Terrier Mix), 2nd Place Melissa Williams (owner) Lila (Great Dame), 3rd place Cindy Nielsen (owner) Bailey (Lhasa Apsos) and Bosco (Lhasa Apso)

Prettiest female: 1st place Adolfo (owner)  Lucy (Toy Shih Tzu), 2nd place Yvonne Nguyen (owner)  Ms Bianchi, 3rd place Amanda (owner) Peanut (Pomeranian)

A great cutest baby

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Contestant for Cutest Baby Category, this is a baby?

Cutest Baby Pet: 1st Melissa Williams (owner) Jack (English Mastiff), 2nd Aaron Kosinos (owner) Charlie, 3rd Ryan + Sharmon Raphael (owner) Parker Scout (Labradoodle) 

Most handsome male: 1st Jennifer Zeiter (owner)  Kobe Jake, 2nd  Lisa Avery (owner) Griffie (Canecorso), 3rd  Michelle Rappaport (owner) Louise (Chinese Crested)

A great Tiamo

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Tiamo, a Mi-Ki, four pounds; too bad there was no “smallest dog” category

Happiest Rescue: 1st Catherine Shrivastava (owner) Maya (Labradoodle), 2nd Natalie Alvarez (owner) Peanut (minpin chihuahua mix), 3rd Leah Christofferson (owner) Julia (Bichon Frise)

From Paw readings to face painting to doggy and me yoga, there was fun for all.

On the 40th anniversary of the Bluebird Canyon landslide: residents remember October 2, 1978


Photos by Barbara and Dick Harley

Imagine the sound of thousands of nails being yanked from wood as houses splinter and rip apart. Exactly 40 years ago today, at 5:55 a.m. on the morning of Monday, October 2, 1978, that’s the noise residents of Bluebird Knolls heard echoing throughout the canyon. 

Shortly after, the police department started receiving reports of unusual happenings. And as it turned out, something very unusual was happening; a massive landslide hit a four-acre area, resulting in the loss of 24 homes (and leaving another 30 without roads, utilities or fire protection). Although the initial landslide lasted only 40 minutes, it resulted in an estimated $10 million in damage to private and public property. Four subsequent landslides raised the total damages to over $15 million.

At the time, Bluebird Knolls was a neighborhood of two to three bedroom homes built in the 1950s as one of the first Federal Housing Administration (FHA) financed tracts. An original owner said he paid $7,900 for his home. 

The Gheres and Harleys

Good friends, the Gheres and Harleys lived (and still do) across the street from each other on Meadowlark Lane.

In the darkness of that October morning, Dale Ghere thought the noise was rain or hail and went out to cover his patio furniture, but just as he discovered it wasn’t a downpour, he heard the crackling of electric lines. “I told my wife Marilyn to get the kids and drive out.” Unfortunately, she couldn’t, because Oriole Drive had buckled. 

On the Mrs Pitts crashed house

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The Pitt house across from the Harley’s broke in half

Residents remember flashes from broken transformers as power poles popped and snapped, gas lines broke, and in some places, there were 25 foot drops where driveways were pushed away from houses. 

As dirt oozed into the valley, the Ghere’s house, which they had lived in for eight years, moved 60 feet in four hours.

Dick Harley (whose wife Barbara purchased the home in 1972) says, “A noise woke me up. It sounded like rocks falling on the roof. I went out the back door wearing only Levi’s, no shirt or shoes, thinking it might be hail, then I heard noise all over the neighborhood and thought it was a fire. As Dale was running across to my house, he tripped at the end of the driveway, in the dark, he couldn’t see that it had risen a foot. Then I heard sirens, and 15 to 20 people gathered in the middle of the street.”

On the demolished

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Harley driveway

The house across from the Harley’s split in half, yet the house next to them remained intact.

Lynda Sharp says, “Our home was not directly affected except that our yard was where the construction center was located. We had lived through a 7.5 earthquake while growing up and the sound of breaking glass and ripping wood made us feel like it was an earthquake, but we were moving. Went outside and saw everything from refrigerators to cars rolling down the hill. Parts of houses ripping apart. We had a good view because we were immediately across the canyon.”

On the Brokaw Mercedes

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Mercedes fell into crack, Brokaw’s house and deck in background

It was nothing short of miraculous that there was only one injury, a female resident tripped and broke her clavicle.

The community steps in

Police and fireman were immediately onsite, and more help, in every conceivable form, came quickly from the community and other sources.

“Even the City Council members helped with evacuation,” says Ghere.

“The community brought food, clothing and support without hesitation,” says Sharp.  

“They created a road to get trucks in to evacuate our homes. They let us come back and evacuate belongings,” says Harley.  “Accords Market provided a conveyor belt, so we could get our things down the hill.”

On the Ghere house

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The Ghere house surrounded by belongings ready to go to storage

“They provided storage for our belongings at Ziggurat,” says Ghere. “And Marilyn’s brother gave us housing for a few months, after that we switched houses every week on Saturday. Someone loaned us a car. People brought food.”

At the time, Ghere was a biology teacher at Corona del Mar High School, and the teachers and students held fundraisers. Artists and craftsmen held a benefit fair at The Festival of Arts grounds in December.

Harley adds, “The Red Cross gave us vouchers right away, so I went to Penney’s and got some clothes. The Salvation Army arrived immediately. They put everyone in a hotel overnight. There was a lot of television coverage the first couple of months. They put out the information that we needed help getting furniture out, and less than an hour later, people from Fullerton, Anaheim, Long Beach came, so many that we had to ask them to stop.”

Relocate or stay?

Neither the Harley or Ghere family considered relocating, they loved Laguna and wanted to stay and rebuild.

Ghere says, “We decided to tear the house down and sell the parts.”

On November 16, residents held a huge salvage sale at the Act IV parking lot that brought in $9,000. A landscaper took out large trees and plants from the properties and sold them as well. 

Both Ghere and Harley highly commend Fred Solomon, city manager at the time, and Police Chief Jon Sparks, who both tirelessly fought for the residents.

Ghere and Harley were fixtures at weekly City Council meetings, and Ghere remembers going to one meeting and saying, “This is different, we need to find new tricks to solve this problem.”

And it appears as if they did just that.

Landslide becomes a Federal Disaster

Three days after the slide, it was declared a state disaster by Governor Edmund Brown, which paved the way for the president to declare it a federal disaster.

Chief Sparks contacted the Washington Post, and they published the story on the front page. On October 9, President Jimmy Carter saw it and declared the area a federal disaster. This entitled some homeowners to rent subsidies up to one year from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), to low-interest Small Business Administration (SBA) loans up to $55,000 for repairing and replacing homes, and to a grant of up to $5,000 for replacement of lost or damaged possessions. 

Ghere says, “How many times has damage to 24 homes been declared a federal disaster?”

“FEMA didn’t exist then, so we had to deal individually with HUD and SBA,” says Harley.

But there was a bump in the road; the problem was that the federal government doesn’t rebuild private property. They provide for emergency stabilization, not permanent restoration. However, the streets are public, so the restoration began.

According to the LA Times, “Ten months after the ‘78 slide, geologist F. Beach Leighton submitted a final report on the restoration of the damaged hill, declaring that it was safe to rebuild the 24 homes. Leighton and Associates, his soil engineering firm in Irvine, was in charge of grading some 340,000 cubic yards in the 3.6-acre area. The remedial measures included a new storm drain, a horseshoe-shaped buttress of compacted fill for support and 66 steel “soldier piles” driven into the ground around the perimeter of the buttress and tied together with welded beams. An earthen dam of compacted soil also was created in front of the slide area and a subterranean drainage system of perforated pipes was sunk in underground trenches to drain groundwater from the slide area.” 

Leighton also attributed the cause of the landslide to two reasons: Water from the unusually heavy rains of December 1977 to April 1978 penetrated the hillside(aided at the top by broken soil from an ancient landslide), lubricating a thin, underlying layer of clay-like siltstone inclined in the direction of Bluebird Canyon. During this period, the supporting toe of the slope was being eroded by a meander in the canyon stream. As restraint was removed, a large horseshoe-shaped section earth, 70 to 80 feet deep, slowly moved on the inclined plane, dropping 30 feet and moving 50 to 60 feet laterally. 

The ancient landslide was bigger and deeper than the 1978 slide. The broken stratification layers at the top of the ancient slide helped with the percolation (penetration) of the rainwater to the 1978 slide plane, that was about 70 feet below the surface.

On the reconfiguring

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April 8, 1979, acreage reconfigured and compacted, digging out slide plane strata

Lower right, Sharp home on the corner of Oriole Dr and Bluebird Canyon Rd

“Stabilizing a landslide area requires more than just putting the slope back. You try to lock the layers in place like building a dam in the earth,” said Randall Jibson, a geologist and landslide expert for the US Geological Survey. 

Rebuilding and the houses that Chris Abel designed

What strikes one most about the recollections of both Ghere and Harley is the sense of community among the Bluebird Knoll residents, and how they worked as a whole with the City of Laguna to rebuild their homes and their lives. 

Very much woven into this story is Chris Abel, a prolific architect in Laguna for 55 years. He designed over 300 residences, including eight of the 24 homes involved in the landslide. He comes from a legendary multi-generational Laguna family, which includes his son Gregg, also an architect and builder, daughter Julia, a local realtor who specializes in selling Abel homes (and who helped introduce Stu News to the residents of this story), and several artists. 

Ghere says, “We formed a coalition of eight residents. It was a six-month process of interviewing architects in town. Abel had designed a house across the street. He came up with three plans that could be customized for each of us, nothing over 2,000 square feet. From day one, the goal was getting a house back for everyone. We’ll put it back together, we decided. Chris was a good leader, and it was a pleasure working with him and his team.” 

On the curbs

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Curbs are put in Oct 19, 1979

With the help of his son and others, Ghere built his house in three years, and they moved back in 1982. He says, “I would get up at 4 a.m., work at my teaching job, then build the house. I worked 20 hour days for three years.” 

Because they wanted a larger floorplan, the Harleys decided not to go with one of Abel’s designs, and built their home themselves. “We had done a lot of remodeling and I’m an engineer, so we got an architect friend we knew to draw up the plans. We used the same cabinets, kitchen sink, appliances, and carpeting from the old house in the new place.” 

They started building in December 1979 and were the first residents to start construction. Although the house wasn’t finished, they moved in during the month of October 1980. 

Sharp says, “24/7 there were flood lights and heavy duty construction earth movers in our yard. We finally put black construction paper on our windows so we could sleep. In the beginning, police, security (Marines) and delivery of materials was 24/7, so we were awake at deliveries, and the police were under our window talking all night.” 

Harley adds, “It needs to be said that it was a group effort by a bunch of people who put the neighborhood ahead of themselves. We were determined that everyone who wanted a house, would have one. Of the 24 houses destroyed, within two years, 22 were rebuilt.” 

Help rebuilding comes in an unexpected form

Sometimes help comes from out of the blue. The Mennonites showed up to build homes for two single women, Adele Pitts and Elizabeth Webster. They provide volunteer disaster assistance as part of their religious beliefs.

Sadly, Bluebird Canyon suffered another landslide 13 years ago. The latest slide struck just before 7 a.m. on June 1, 2005, forcing the evacuation of 350 homes, and more than 1,000 people. Twenty-two homes were destroyed, and 11 were damaged. Only half of the homes have been rebuilt. 

On the Brokaw ribbon cutting

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Mayor Charlie Brokaw and residents at ribbon cutting

In response to the question, “Are you afraid this will happen again?” Lynda Sharp said, “It never crossed my mind that it would happen again, but it did in 2005, and this time the houses on the other side of the canyon fell, and it pushed the houses out onto the street from the earth falling from above. Will there be another time?  Might be just our luck.”

Although Marilyn Ghere admits a bit of trepidation, it doesn’t appear that either of the Gheres think too much about it. 

Due to the stabilizing in 1979, Harley is not afraid of another landslide, but when the 2005 landslide occurred, he feared there would be no access to his house. 

After the 1978 slide, he adds, “It took at least 15 years before certain noises didn’t set me off. I never felt my life was in danger. It was messed up though.” 

Messed up, to say the least, however, most residents managed to overcome seemingly impossible obstacles and stay in their neighborhood. 

What happened on that morning, 40 years ago, eventually created a bond among the residents that is apparent even after all this time. This group of people share a comradery that few can imagine, and with the help of countless members of the community of Laguna Beach and others, from the rubble, they were able to restore and rebuild their homes and lives.

Anders Lasater Architects wins prestigious award at 2018 Design Awards Gala

Anders Lasater Architects, Inc. (ALA) received the receipt of the highest honor given for Custom Residential projects from the American Institute of Architects, Orange County Chapter (AIAOC) at this year’s 2018 Design Awards Event. The gala and ceremony was held on September 13 at the Newport Beach Civic Center.

The AIAOC Design Awards honors the exceptional commitment of its member architects who continually serve, shape, discover, and imagine contemporary solutions to the evolving needs of our living and working environments.

The event celebrates thoughtful architecture and recognizes architects who envision a place of purpose for the local, regional, and national communities. From the largest urban planning resolution to the smallest home on a constrained lot, each project receiving an award stands on its own merit as an example of exceptional work by exceptional architects.

“Anders Lasater Architects are very deserving of this coveted award” said AIAOC president and AIA, Tim Smallwood. “As a dedicated association member, Lasater has been recognized for his unwavering commitment to the profession and to the thoughtful development of properties that support positive social and economic change in our communities.”

Anders Lasater Architects wins OC award

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Local architect Anders Lasater Architects wins prestigious 2018 award

Lasater received a Merit Award for the firm’s project, House by the Woods, a new custom home in Glenview, Illinois.

The property was recognized for the care in which Lasater sited this house among the existing trees of the wooded Chicago suburb site. The jury panel of three distinguished architects from Southern California said, “This is the best custom residential project submitted this year.”

The jury also noted that “this is a fitting nod to the modern traditionalist trend in Chicago. The floor plan is mindfully developed in clear response to the influence of the site and the bold architectural language is reminiscent of early works by Ray Kappe.” 

“It’s my belief that well-designed buildings leave a fundamentally powerful and lasting impression on their users, said Anders Lasater, founder and CEO of Anders Lasater Architects. “Our creative use of space, proportion, light, and materials is what drives our designs and I’m honored to be recognized and celebrated by the AIA with this coveted award.” 

Anders Lasater Architects was recently added to the BOND Custom Top 100 List, 41st among a definitive list that honors luxury home architectural design firms. The work of these firms exemplifies their innovation, creativity, unsurpassed quality, and commitment to their craft. 

For more information about Anders Lasater Architects, visit

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