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Beyond Zionism: Hope for Peace in Palestine-Israel

Are American’s factually informed about the occupation of Palestine and the realities of our relationship with Israel on a national and international scale? 

The Neighborhood Congregational Church and Unitarian Universalists of Laguna Beach are pleased to present Miko Peled speaking on this impactful topic on Sunday, Sept 21 at 2 p.m., at 340 St. Ann’s Dr. Parking is free, but a $10 donation is gratefully requested.

Peled was raised in Israel and served in the Israeli Military. His grandfather was an original signer of the Israeli Declaration of Independence and his father was a famous Israeli General who helped to plan the 1967 war. In 1997, his 13 year old niece was killed by a suicide bomber in Jerusalem. 

Waking up from decades of fear based myths and indoctrination, Miko is now a peace activist, author, and lecturer whose mission is to set the record straight. He currently resides in the San Diego area. 

“In my book, The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine I show how it is that the son of an Israeli General and a staunch Zionist came to these realizations: Realizing that your side of the story is not the only side to the story, and then accepting rather than fighting this realization and in the end finding that the story upon which I was raised, was a lie – now that is an interesting journey,” said Peled.

33rd Annual Vic 4-Man 

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Scott Brashier

The 33rd Annual Victoria Beach 4-man volleyball tournament had a big turnout

Surfing Heritage & Cultural Center will have a pre-release film screening of Greg MacGillivray’s “Hollywood Don’t Surf” 9-13

There will be an exclusive screening of Hollywood Don’t Surf, the yet-to-be released documentary film from director Sam George and executive producer Greg MacGillivray on Saturday, Sept 13 at Surfing Heritage + Cultural Center (SHACC).

Chronicling 50 years of Hollywood’s attempts to make surf movies, Hollywood Don’t Surf premiered at the 2010 Cannes Film Festival and features an all-star cast, including John Milius, Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, Frankie Avalon, Nia Peeples, Gary Busey, William Katt and Jan Michael Vincent. 

This screening is a SHACC exclusive: with the exception of the Cannes festival, Hollywood Don’t Surf has never been screened for the public. Don’t miss this opportunity on Sept 13 from 7-10 p.m. at 110 Calle Iglesia in San Clemente.

Director Sam George with actress Nia Peeples at Cannes Film Festival

A number of the film’s stars plan to attend and director Sam George will personally host the screening and what is bound to be a lively Q&A afterward. So far they have confirmations from Sam George, Denny Aaberg, Stacy Peralta, Rick Dano, Nia Peeples and William Katt.

Due to limited indoor seating, this is expected to sell out quickly; don’t wait to make your reservations. This is a fundraiser with a $20 donation for SHACC members, $25 for non-members. (949) 388-0313


Darrin John Reed


Our special friend Darrin John Reed, long-time Laguna Beach resident, endlessly good neighbor, good friend, and all-around good person has lost his battle with leukemia.  Darrin passed away peacefully on Tuesday, September 2, his husband and partner of 25 years, Ray Kawecki, by his side. He also leaves behind his daughter, Jessica, and four grandchildren, Kyra Ann, Andrew Stewart, Margaret Rhae and Asher Wayne.

Darrin was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in September 2012. He received a bone marrow transplant at City of Hope in April 2013. Since then, he has been battling a series of setbacks and complications.

Darrin had courageously endured endless rounds of chemotherapy treatments, several emergency surgeries, many painful procedures, and nearly one hundred days in the hospital, many in intensive care. He passed away at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach after more than two weeks in intensive care fighting sepsis and multiple organ failure.

Darrin was born and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. His father, David Joseph Reed, tragically died at age 29 in a fall from a tree 46 years ago when Darrin was just two years old. Ironically, his father died on a Monday, September 1. Darrin, an only child, was raised by his mother, Judith. Later, when Darrin was 15 years old, his mother developed brain cancer and Darrin was forced to grow up quickly and care for his ailing mother. His mother did recover and remarry. She passed away several years ago.

A job transfer with Little Caesars brought Darrin to California in 1990 where he assisted franchisees to open new store locations in Long Beach and Huntington Beach. It was in 1990 when Darrin met and fell for his partner and future husband, Ray Kawecki.

Darrin later worked as office manager for Grubb and Ellis Residential Real Estate in Laguna Beach. Then for nearly thirteen years, and prior to his leukemia diagnosis and subsequent medical retirement, Darrin served as the Executive Assistant to the Superintendent and Board of Education for Laguna Beach Unified School District.

Darrin and Ray have been residents of Laguna Beach since 1993. They lived at Treasure Island where they raised their daughter, Jessica. As the years flew by, they were blessed with four grandchildren, also all residents of Laguna Beach. Their eldest granddaughter, Kyra, just graduated in 2014 from Laguna Beach High School and is now attending Saddleback College. Darrin was so proud and happy that he was feeling well enough to attend the graduation ceremony in June. Andrew and Margaret also attend LBHS, and Asher just started first grade at El Morro.

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Darrin and Ray were married on June 30, 2008 after California legalized same-sex marriage. The ceremony was performed under the rotunda of San Francisco City Hall.

Darrin, the consummate host, had always dreamed of opening his own small bed and breakfast where he could welcome and serve his special guests. A most friendly and giving soul, his favorite spot at any gathering was behind the bar, serving drinks and food to guests. He was known for his homemade soups that he would cook at home and bring to his co-workers at the school district.

As he lay in the hospital bed in the ICU, and after the ventilator was removed, he suddenly opened his eyes to see a group of a dozen friends and family surrounding him. Through his jaundiced eyes, he seemed puzzled and confused at first as his eyes moved around the bed.

Somebody said to Darrin, “Hi, Darrin! We’ve come here to share a drink, and toast to you!”

With his throat sore and raspy from the ventilator, Darrin exclaimed, “Let’s party!”

He closed his eyes and fell back asleep. He quietly passed away 24 hours later with Ray sitting on the bed by his side.

For a close look at Darrin’s journey and leukemia battle, please view 

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 13, 2014 at 10 a.m. at the Laguna Beach United Methodist Church, 21632 Wesley Drive.

Police Files

DA will not prosecute driver of pickup in fatal crash with LBPD motor officer Jon Coutchie last September

Laguna Beach motor officer Jon Coutchie was killed instantly when his motorcycle collided with a GMC pickup at S. Coast Hwy and Cleo Street last Sept 21.

Police said Thursday that the CHP Major Accident Investigation Team completed its investigation recently and concluded that the 20-year-old Irvine man driving the pickup “…was primarily at-fault in the accident for failing to yield the right-of-way while turning left into the oncoming path of Officer Coutchie.  An associated factor in the cause of this collision was Officer Coutchie’s speed.”

After a review by LBPD, Chief Paul Workman, “…requested that the Orange County District Attorney (OCDA) independently review the California Highway Patrol’s investigation report to determine whether it is appropriate to file any charges against the driver of the other vehicle.”

LBPD received word from Senior Deputy District Attorney Jennifer Walker in a letter last week, according to Captain Jason Kravetz. Walker wrote: “Based upon a thorough review of all of the evidence provided to and obtained by the OCDA and pursuant to legal principles, it is our legal opinion that the evidence does not support the filing of criminal charges.”  

Captain Kravetz said in a press release Thursday:

“This has been a very difficult and emotional year for the Coutchie family, Officer Coutchie’s coworkers, all of the City staff and the community as well as the other driver and his family.  The California Highway Patrol’s completion of the investigation and the District Attorney’s final review and opinion mark an end to the City’s official review of the collision.

“On September 21, 2014 at 5 p.m., the City will dedicate the sculpture ‘Eternal Legacy,’ created by artists Gerard Stripling and Michele Taylor, at the entrance to the Police Department on Loma Terrace.  The sculpture will be dedicated to the memory of Laguna Beach Officers Jon Coutchie and Gordon French, who lost their lives in the line of duty.” 


Private investigator leaves car unlocked – his Glock gets stolen

A private investigator told police late Sunday afternoon that at some point between 10:30 Saturday night and 12:15 a.m. Sunday, someone had entered his 2002 Porsche and swiped a loaded Glock handgun, which had been under the driver’s seat.

“It happened while he was parked in the 300 block of Ocean Avenue,” Captain Jason Kravetz said. “The gun and two magazines are valued at $550.”

As a private investigator, the victim is licensed to carry a concealed weapon.

Join MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) weekly programs

The Laguna Presbyterian Church MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group is a special place where you meet other mothers also passing through this this unique stage of life. The weekly program offers a morning of food, fun, creative activities, and guest speakers on relevant topics. MOPPETS program is for babies and toddlers. 

MOPS meets from 9:15 – 11:30 a.m. in the Parlor of Laguna Presbyterian Church on Thursdays starting Sept 25 and going through April. Preregistration is required.

Contact Michelle Foley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 293-3988 or register at

Holy Moly – What a Sunset!

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Scott Brashier

Labor Day

Bluegrass: The Barefoot Movement hits Laguna Beach

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It has now been five years since The Barefoot Movement took off their shoes and took to the stage. Hard work and talent have taken them from east coast to west, from north to south, and even across the Atlantic Ocean. They have been selected as showcase artists at both the International Bluegrass Music Association and the Americana Festival conferences and were first runners up at the 2013 Telluride Bluegrass Festival’s New Band Competition.  On Sunday, Sept 21, they will be in Laguna.

The “movement” can be traced back to the teen years of singer-songwriter and fiddler Noah Wall, of Oxford, NC. Just as she had begun penning her first compositions, she met mandolinist Tommy Norris their senior year of high school. Convinced of their musical chemistry and driven by mutual ambition, they continued to build the band from the ground up throughout their college careers. While Tommy studied classical music and recording engineering at Western Carolina University, Noah chose East Tennessee State, particularly for their Bluegrass, Old-time and Country Music Program. Here she began to shape her musical identity, under the tutelage of ETSU’s renowned staff, and found an instrumental home in old time fiddling. 

Just before graduation, she met fellow student and lively upright bassist Hasee Ciaccio. Hailing from Myrtle Beach, SC, Hasee brought another female vocal and a solid foundation of rhythm to the group. With the addition of versatile guitarist and singer Alex Conerly of Hattiesburg, MS in 2013, the lineup was complete with all the elements that make up the Barefoot sound: lush harmonies, thoughtful instrumentation, and memorable melodies.

With crowds teeming with enthusiasm at every performance, and new fans joining the fold across the nation, word is surely spreading and the message is clear: barefoot is better. You can join the movement on Sept 21 when Laguna Beach Live! brings them to The Ranch for a fun family concert, 5 – 7 p.m. The Ranch warms up the BBQ at 4 p.m. when entertainment is provided by Evan J. Marshall, the solo virtuoso mandolinist who has won numerous fans in past appearances at Laguna Beach Live!’s concerts at Laguna Art Museum.

The concert is generously sponsored by Bobbi Cox Realty, Laguna Beach Live! members, the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. Tickets are just $15 online and $20 at the door. The BBQ is sold separately by The Ranch and is $20 online and $22 at the door. Sorry, due to licensing requirements, no outside food or beverages are permitted. And, leave your chairs behind (with your worries) as chairs will be set up on the patio and are first come, first served. 

A limited number of VIP tickets for $80 are available that include reserved table seating, concert, BBQ and a donation for education programs. 

Visit or call 800-595-4849 for tickets or call 949-715-9713 for information.

Girls Night Out benefits the Boys & Girls Club: “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” features Lugano Diamonds Oct 2

The 6th Annual Girls Night Out event held exclusively for women will take place at the spectacular Wilson family home in Laguna Beach on Thursday, Oct 2 from 6 - 10 p.m. Tickets are $125 for a limited time only and can be purchased on the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach website:

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Submitted photo

The Wilson’s deck after dark during Girls Night Out 2013

Generously supported by Wilson Automotive Group, Newport Lexus, Starfish and new this year Lugano Diamonds, Girls Night Out 2014 offers a “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” theme. They will feature several thousands of dollars in world-class jewels just for Girls Night Out guests to enjoy! Models will be dripping in jewels and rumor has it that Girls Night Out guests may “try-on” these exquisite pieces. Going above and beyond, Lugano Diamonds will also offer an “opportunity drawing” where several lucky ticket holders will win fabulous Lugano Diamond pieces and other prizes. 

“Opportunity Prize” tickets are selling for $100 and can be purchased from any Girls Night Out committee member or by calling 494-2535 x 103. 

Only 200 tickets will be sold!

This fundraiser, held every fall for the past six years, would not be possible without the generous support of the Wilson family and event host Holly Wilson, who graciously opens her home to 250 women in support of the Boys & Girls Club. Holly and Dave Wilson champion the extraordinary programs and staff at the club for the great work that they do. 

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Submitted photo

Pam Estes (Left), Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach Paula Hornbuckle, VP Events & Board Member and Holly Wilson, Event Host

Every day, over 300 children participate in the nationally recognized, award winning and character enhancing programs that are offered at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach from athletics, to academic enhancement, its own Teen center and the most progressive art program in Orange County. The Club provides childhood experiences designed to keep children healthy, active, and “thinking” while having fun. 

Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club, Pam Estes, adds, “The number of kids who need us has grown so fast that we’re just trying to keep up. Now we need more support than ever so we can be there for all of the kids who need the Club. Every dollar of support counts!”

With fantastic food and drink provided by Girls Night Out partner Starfish coupled with a breathtaking setting, this amazing event will sell out. Reserve your ticket now by going on-line to If you love Girls Night Out or The Boys & Girls Club and would like to get more involved by becoming an event sponsor or joining a fun Events Committee, contact Michelle Ray at 494-2535 x 103, by email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

City Manager passes along OC’s West Nile warning – Vector Control DM: “2014 is on pace to be the worst year of West Nile Virus on record for Orange County” 

Orange County Vector Control’s District Manager Mike Hurst told the LB City Council this Tuesday night that, “We are approaching an epidemic of West Nile Virus in the OC. 2014 is on pace to be the worst year of the virus on record…” 

The Orange County Vector Control District needs your help. West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. Infection can cause severe illness and permanent disabilities, and in rare cases, can result in death.

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Due to drought conditions and enhanced mosquito control efforts, the number of mosquitoes in the environment is very low right now. But those few mosquitoes that remain are much more likely to be carrying West Nile virus. In fact, about 80% of all mosquitoes recently tested in Orange County are infected with the virus. 

Right now, just one mosquito bite may infect you with the virus. That’s all it takes to change a life forever, as the impacts of this disease can be lifelong and debilitating. 

Juvenile mosquitoes live only in stagnant water; without it, they die before they can become blood-sucking adults. Remember: anything that can hold just a teaspoon of water for more than a few days will allow mosquitoes to complete their life cycle to adulthood.

You can help reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and community by dumping and draining all stagnant water. Call the Vector Control District for help with stagnant water sources that cannot be emptied, such as large fountains, decorative ponds, and unused swimming pools. 

Avoid runoff from overwatering lawns and washing vehicles. Not only is overwatering a waste of a precious natural resource, it also keeps street gutters and underground storm drain systems artificially wet year round, creating the perfect habitat for mosquitoes to breed in very large numbers.

Make sure all windows and door screens on your home are in good shape, fit tightly, and have no holes that may allow mosquitoes to enter.

Try to stay indoors at dawn and dusk when biting mosquitoes are most active. Wear mosquito repellent when outdoors.

Birds often die from infection with West Nile virus. Birds that have died within the past 24 hours should be reported to Vector Control, so they can test for the virus.

To report biting mosquitoes, stagnant waters, or recently-deceased birds, contact Orange County Vector Control District, at (714) 971-2421 or visit

Share this news with your citizens, friends, family, and neighbors. Place it on your website and include a link to ours ( Attached are two notification signs. The larger one has space at top and bottom to be punched and attached to a post. Please consider posting notices at your parks and other public areas, as a reminder to take precautions while enjoying this weekend’s Labor Day holiday.

Together we can protect the health of all Orange County residents and visitors.

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