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Laguna Beach

Beatriz Williams discusses new book as part of the inaugural FOA event “Salute to the Arts” on July 9

In homage to the original Festival of the Arts, which featured a variety of artistic endeavors in theater, literature, dance, and more, the 2017 Festival introduces a new event on Sunday afternoons, “A Salute to the Arts.” In a discussion of her new novel, Cocoa Beach, Beatriz Williams begins the series on July 9 from 2-4 p.m. Each week will spotlight a different art form.

Cocoa Beach by Beatriz Williams, first in the series of “A Salute to the Arts”

Beatriz Williams is the New York Times Bestselling author of A Certain Age. In her new novel, Cocoa Beach, she transports the reader to the lush and lawless prohibition-era in FL. This rich historical novel, an intricate blend of suspense, betrayal, and redemption, is set among rum-runners and scoundrels of a paradise far from home. 

The $30 cost includes FOA admission, the hardcover book, author reading, discussion, Q & A, and a book signing. 

For tickets, go online to or call 800-487-3378.

Coast Inn, twice an icon: The storied history behind the hotel and the TOW trail dedicated to Dick Smith


Recently, with the proclamation of June as LGBT Heritage & Culture Month, much attention has been paid to Coast Inn and the now-shuttered Boom Boom Room, which during the late seventies and beyond became the go-to place for the gay community – a celebrated (one could say necessary) place where people felt free to be exactly who they were without judgment of any kind, an icon in its own right.

Photo courtesy Carolyn Burris Smith

Coast Inn circa 1929

Yet few Lagunans realize that the Coast Inn, the second hotel after the Hotel Laguna to be built here, was an iconic building and destination for locals long before the advent of the Boom Boom Room. 

From the thirties onward, the hotel quickly became a place where residents gathered and celebrated the shared joy of living in such a beautiful part of the world. 

That early history of Coast Inn’s first 50 or so years and memories of its famous South Seas Bar  is now re-emerging as a result of the reconstruction of the Top of the World Trail, which is dedicated to Richard “Dick” Smith.

Who was Richard “Dick” Smith?

Dick Smith was the son of Pappy Smith, who built Coast Inn in 1927, the same year the city was incorporated, and the family owned the building for many years until the Abel family bought it. So it was that the hotel, along with the liquor store across the road, would remain family-owned in one form or another until the beginning of the eighties. 

In the early years, the four Smith sons and one daughter lived on the top floor of the hotel, although once in a while in summer, when there was an overflow of guests, they had to move out and sleep on the rooftop.

According to Pappy Smith’s granddaughter, Carolyn Burris Smith, “When they were young, the Smith kids worked at the hotel in the mornings but loved to go swimming in the afternoon. It was a blissful life.”

The South Seas Bar erupts on the scene

One day Pappy Smith visited a bar in Long Beach with a Polynesian theme. Inspired, Smith decided this was a perfect theme for his Laguna Beach location, so he decorated the hotel’s entertainment areas with fish carvings and murals of Hawaiian dancers created by Mogens Abel, brother of architect Chris Abel. 

Photo courtesy Carolyn Burris Smith

Coast Inn became a mecca for locals’ lively parties

The décor included an enormous fish tank, and the bar, now known as the South Seas Bar, became a favorite destination for military personnel and families – a place where, as Burris Smith notes, the crowds “caught the fever of my grandfather’s community spirit, felt it was their home away from home, and made many memories – so much so that many are still brought to tears over their love for the times they spent at Coast Inn and the South Seas Bar.” 

Coast Inn also became a mecca for beach parties of the liveliest kind. 

Coast Inn: Twice an icon

In the mid-seventies, the gay community found an accepting community at the Coast Inn, and over 10 years or so, and after a change of ownership, the South Seas Bar evolved into the Boom Boom Room, now an icon to the gay community here and known along with West St. Beach among LGBT folk around the world.

Indeed, Laguna Beach is rich in icons – people as well as places whose history is inextricably linked with the town’s history, heritage and culture. People like HG Heisler, James Dilley, William Wendt, and more recently Hobie Alter; places like the Laguna Playhouse, the Lifeguard Tower, and the Forest Ave Presbyterian Church.

But it is rare for a building to be twice an icon, as Coast Inn indisputably has been.

And the legacy of the South Seas Bar and the memory-making 24-room Coast Inn hasn’t been the Smith family’s only contribution to the character and history of Laguna.

Top of the World to you

Richard Smith was also one of Laguna’s first four police officers and its first motorcycle cop, protecting a town with a population then of about 2000. In 2003 he was honored as the oldest living Laguna police officer.

Below is a photograph of Dick Smith and Burris Smith’s grandmother,Caroline Smith, taken somewhere between 1931 and 1939. “Grandma and I were very close as I was growing,” Carolyn Burris Smith says. “She still inspires me with her German ethics and strength.”

Dick Smith built a “wonderful Chris Abel home” on a property at Top of the World when Burris Smith was just four years old.

“He proceeded to acquire the land around him. Always he was generous, allowing new neighbors to buy, cut trees we were used to seeing, and letting them use a piece of his land because it enhanced their yards,” Burris Smith says. 

“He owned the large parcel across from his house and never blinked as a couple of people decided to cross through to get to the fire road. These hikers rather liked the challenge. I can’t remember when some bikers were up for the challenge – I just remember my dad didn’t mind but hopes they’d stay safe and enjoy the trail.  

“In 2004, Dad and I talked to the city planner, Scott Drapkin, about sub-dividing (Chris Abel drew up a plan) in exchange a easement for this trail to the city. Fortunately, a neighbor, equally community-spirit-minded, stepped up to the plate and became the new owner, following through on Dad’s wishes,” Burris Smith adds.

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Photo courtesy Carolyn Smith Burris

“This is the deepest part of the trail, as it was: this is what I will miss most”

And now the TOW trail has been refurbished and made safer for hikers, though Burris Smith admits to sadness at seeing some of its raw beauty perhaps compromised by development.

“But my dad’s wish for Laguna residents to have access to the trail has been granted, so that makes me happy,” she says.

Dick Smith passed away at nearly age 93 last 2006.

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Photo by Keith Greer

The trail, much safer now

Who knows what’s next for the Coast Inn, as design plans are reviewed under the new ownership? 

“I just want my grandfather and my father’s sense of community spirit to be celebrated as part of the remodeling, that’s what matters to me,” Burris Smith says. “The Coast Inn, just like the city is celebrating its 90th year, it’s really part of our early history too, and I don’t know how many people know that.” 

Perhaps Coast Inn will become thrice an icon, for locals and visitors alike, an attractive amalgam of its storied past iterations. Only history (and decisions of the design review board) will tell.

Cricket just needs a lap to sit on: Pet of the week

Who could resist this little cricket of a dog?  Cricket still looks like a puppy, even though she’s six years old. She’s a small Yorkshire Terrier. There are no downsides to this little girl, she is current on her vaccinations and is spayed. She’s very sweet and doesn’t take up much room, just the right size to fit in a lap.

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Cricket just needs a lap to sit on

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, their return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of fifty percent.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd, (949) 497-3552, or go to the website for information on adoption procedures:

Decision on Design Review Board denial among other items on City Council’s Tuesday agenda


Tuesday’s city council agenda will include an appeal of a Design Review Board denial of proposed demolition of an Ocean View Drive home and replacement with a new single-family dwelling.

Denial was based on the board’s determination at the second hearing on the project that the property owner failed to follow its direction on changes in the project.

The board also stated that the project’s mass and scale were excessive, as was the glazing on western elevation, and the proposal was not compatible with its neighbors.  

A third hearing, as requested by the applicant, was denied. The vote was 4-0, with board member Caren Liuzzi absent. The decision is supported by board staff. 

The property owner claims that the board’s decision was contradictory, invalid, unreasonable and inconsistent with directions at a previous meeting and has asked to council to return the project to the board with directions on the issues cited by the board for denial and on square footage. 

Originally, the property owner proposed a plan for a 5,517 square-foot home, including a garage and decks, but it was tabled. At the first board hearing on the project in March, the plan was reduced from the original proposal to 4,755 square feet and further was reduced by about 1,000 square feet at the second meeting.

The council has three options: deny the appeal; grant the appeal and send the project back to the board; or approve the project as submitted or as amended by the council. 

However, council members are often reluctant to approve a project that differs significantly from the project reviewed by the board.  

Appeals to the council are posted on line two weeks prior the scheduled hearing.

Items tentatively scheduled for Tuesday’s meeting include maintenance of city-owned trees and the city’s Essential Employee Housing Assistance Program, which helps fund the purchase of a home in town for employees deemed essential to public safety.

Laguna Beach Republicans announce monthly meeting on July 19 to call for city council candidates

The Laguna Beach Republicans (LBGOP) will host their monthly meeting on Wed, July 19, at Mozambique, 1740 S Coast Hwy. Social hour begins at 5 p.m., and the meeting starts at 6 p.m.

Emil Monda, president of the LBGOP, invites all Republicans, Independents, and Libertarians to attend the meeting. “We will be calling for candidates for the City Council race in 2018, updating the Legislative Change Initiative, and discussing City Council actions.”

As space is limited, those interested should RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Laguna surfer Kayla Coscino has been selected to the 2018 USA Surfing National team

Laguna Beach surfer Kayla Coscino has been selected to the 2018 USA Surfing National team as one of four U18 girls. Kayla, who will be a junior this fall at Laguna Beach High School, surfed in the West Coast Prime Series and earned an invite to the USA Championships which took place June 19-22 at Lower Trestles. 

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Photo by Mark Golter

Kayla in action

Kayla’s results throughout the year and at Championships earned her the selection to the national team. She will participate in USA Surfing’s National training program, coached by Joey Buran.

Also at the event, the announcement was made that USA Surfing would be the National Governing Body for surfing in the US, granting leadership by the United States Olympic Committee. That status cements USA Surfing’s authority as the organization responsible for developing and fielding the first US team when surfing makes its debut in the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

May the Fourth be with you…

…a little longer, with these great photos by Scott Brashier

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The high tide wants to join the fun, gets pushy with the crowd

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Veteran with flags passes toy store: patriotism and fun, the Fourth in a nutshell

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Scott captures the fireworks mirroring the image of the palms

New Fire Marshal is appointed

The Fire Department has announced the appointment of new Fire Marshal Jim Brown. Jim previously worked for the City of Huntington Beach for the past twelve years where he worked in the Fire Department as a Fire Protection Analyst and Fire Inspector and in the Building Department as a Building Inspector.

This is a new position in the Fire Department that is funded through Measure LL.

Veytia Group of Laguna Beach empowers youth for a global future with $2,000 gift to German School campus

 On Sat, July 1, the annual award ceremony of the German School campus took an unexpected turn when Veytia Group Laguna Beach awarded $2,000 to the school. What started as a ceremony to honor the outstanding achievements of students in their German language studies blossomed into an unanticipated celebration of educational success. 

Engel & Völkers, a global real estate company and life style brand, was originally founded in Germany and operates in 32 countries on four continents. Veytia Group works as an advisor under the Engel & Völkers Real Estate Group. It is committed to helping the community, including the support of youth in their educational goals.

Before the presentation of the check took center stage, students of the school received awards for their hard work, but most importantly for their impressive results on the German National Exam, the official test by the American Association of Teachers of German (AATG). Students of German School campus brought home 10 Gold, 4 Silver and 1 Bronze medal.

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Submitted photo

l-r:  Ursula Schoeneich (school founder & principal), John Veytia (Engel&Völkers VEYTIA GROUP), Linda Carter (Engel&Völkers VEYTIA GROUP), Alwin Morgenstern (Engel&Völkers VEYTIA GROUP).

German School campus has served the Orange County community since 2015. The school offers German language classes and high school German language tutoring as well as preparation classes for the high school AP German exam and the German National Exam.

Principal Ursula Schoeneich says, “We are absolutely thrilled to receive this check of $2000 for our school. This amount will sponsor one student for a whole year of German language studies at our school.” 

“After witnessing the great success German School campus has had in only its second year, we decided that we wanted to invest in the youth of the future with this school,” said Rotarian John Veytia of Engel & Völkers VEYTIA GROUP. “As a real estate agent I thoroughly appreciate what it means to be able to speak another language. It literally opens many doors in my profession.”

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Submitted photo

Several students medaled (10 gold, four silver, one in bronze) in German National exam

During her address to the audience, Principal Schoeneich said that since May 2017, her school is also an accredited chapter for the Delta Epsilon PhiNational Honor Society for High School Students of German. She inducted two of her students into the local chapter. “Learning German pays off, not only in high school credits and qualifying for AP classes, but most importantly by helping students to stand out with their college application.”  

German School campus is a 501(c) (3) non-profit Public Benefit Corporation. Donations are 100 percent tax deductible, and the school accepts donations at

For more information, contact VEYTIA GROUP, 32351 Coast Highway, 949-415-0111, or

Ticks: they’re tiny vampire parasites that bug your dog – but there’s a twist to this story


Ticks suck blood and don’t like sunlight. In my book, that should qualify them as vampires, but they’re not. They’re in the arachnid class, like spiders and mites. Yet like vampires, they do avoid the sun, it dries up larvae (seed ticks), and that’s why they seek out dark places. And they are bloodsuckers, that’s a fact, and if not discovered on your dog and removed, can grow to the size of a kidney bean. 

I talked to my go-to animal expert, Dr. G of Canyon Animal Hospital, who debunked some tick myths, provided valuable information about prevention and removal, and even threw in a humorous (kind of, except for the dog) tick story.

He also said that because of the rains, there will be more ticks this year. Not what a dog owner wants to hear. A month ago, my Australian shepherd Charley got one from the dog park. Panic ensued. But evidently there’s no need to panic, not all ticks carry disease. And as part of testing, all dogs have a tick panel done. 

Dr. G cautions dog owners to keep their animals away from areas with shrubbery and shade, a wide-open sunny space is best. And use a tick preventative medicine or collar. NexGard, Previctis, Cervantis, and Bravecto are oral meds (with different dosing schedules) that cause the ticks to die when they bite. The Preventic Tick Collar is available through a vet and can be used on an as needed basis if traveling to a known tick area.

Tick myths debunked

First myth debunked: All ticks carry disease. Not true. Most dogs who are bitten do not get Lyme disease or other tick-borne illnesses. But, once the tick is removed, the dog may have a localized allergic reaction that could require treatment. Normally, the results are just swelling and a lump, which are not life threatening. And if the head or hooks, yes, hooks (see below, second myth debunked) don’t come out, it’s not the end of the world. The body will treat it like a splinter or thorn.

However, as comforting as that knowledge is, Dr. G has treated Orange County dogs for tick-borne diseases; the dog of one client who lives bi-coastally contracted Lyme disease at 5-6 months old (from one tick), and both dogs of an owner who summers in Wisconsin got Lyme. But Dr. G has also had cases of OC animals (one in Back Bay) who haven’t traveled, but have gotten Rocky Mountain Fever, Lyme disease, and anaplasmosis.

Second myth debunked: It’s not the heads that are embedded in the skin, it’s the tick’s mouth parts, harpoon-like barbs that attach for feeding. Removal should not be done with tweezers or Vaseline or most definitely, not with a match. And here’s where the story comes in.

Dr. G shares tick horror story

When Dr. G was a senior in vet school and working emergency, a dog came in with lesions all over its belly. Turns out the owner, who said, “Male dogs have nipples?” thought the nipples were ticks and tried to use the match technique to remove them. 

The best method of removal, Dr. G says, is the dizzy approach. Twist the tick with your thumb, making it dizzy or use a tick twister removal tool, which can be purchased online.

And don’t even get Dr. G started on fleas. He says that it’s going to be a bad year for them too, and one or two small female fleas can lay 100,000 eggs in your carpet (a large percentage of his patients come in for allergies to flea saliva).  So predictably, my next article will be about fleas. And I hope, although a humorous flea story seems impossible, Dr. G will have one. 

Postscript: In a strange twist of fate, as I was finishing the article, I found a tick climbing on the bedroom door. It must have hopped on Charley at the dog park and then hopped off. It’s now in tick hell.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Lynette Brasfield, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

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