Barbara’s Column

Monday’s Double Header at Tivoli Too


The Laguna Beach Seniors held their annual holiday luncheon on Monday and the Laguna Canyon Conservancy hosted their monthly dinner that night. City Manager John Pietig spoke at the dinner. Lots of cheer.

Marilyn Ditty, long-time chief executive officer of Age Well, which provides Meals on Wheels to housebound seniors, and revered adviser to Laguna’s seniors, was honored at the luncheon. 

“Marilyn is the mother of senior services in South Orange County,” said outgoing seniors’ President Chris Quilter, announcing her retirement.

The annual luncheon began with Bree Burgess’ soaring rendition of “O Holy Night.” 

Quilter served as emcee for the luncheon. His duties included introducing distinguished guests. Could have been everyone there, but he limited it to folks sitting at the city’s table, the seniors current and Emeritus board members, and  Kristine Thalman, incoming president.

“I’ve got some big shoes to fill,” said Thalman. 

The luncheon included entertainment by Tom Joliet, Patrick Quilter, (one of Chris’s three brothers) Tony Bisson and Dr. David Law.

Guests were greeted by volunteers, including Tineke Van Der Vliet, Beverly Holt and Carol Cadora. Jheri St. James sold opportunity prize tickets. Among the staff members on hand: Volunteer Coordinator Christine Brewer, Judy Baker, Jo Ann Ekblad, Martha Hernandez, John Fay and Executive Director Nadia Babayi. Also there: yet another Quilter, Patty (Matt’s wife and city Program Director stationed at the Susi Q, (nom de plume of the late Liz Quilter).

Big surprise: Ann and Charlie Quilter were among the guests at the luncheon.

The guest list also included Thalman’s mother, Lurene King, former City Manager Ken Frank, major Susi Q donor Bobbi Cox, Cody and Deborah Engle, Joe Hanauer, Ara and Sandy Hovanesian and Susan Velasquez

Seated at the city’s table: Mayor Toni Iseman, Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Boyd, Councilmen Rob Zur Schmiede, Steve Dicterow and Bob Whalen. Titles and seats on the dais changed at Tuesday’s meeting. 

“We are a lucky town to be led by this council,” said (Chris) Quilter. “We may disagree, but never about seniors.” 

Also at the city’s table; City Clerk Lisette Chel Walker, City Treasurer Laura Parisi, Director of Public Works Shohreh Dupuis and Pietig, who sandwiched in a few hours of city work between the luncheon and the Conservancy dinner.

Pietig powered though city accomplishments

Pietig’s Power Point presentation began with a subject dear to the hearts of conservancy members: environmental projects. He led off with the DeWitt property restoration. 

The $630,000 project was practically a gift, costing the city only $130,000. The rest of the funding came from a grant. 

Restoration of the De Witt house is in the hands of the Laguna Canyon Foundation and is expected to be completed in 2018. He gave a shout out to foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones, who attended the dinner.

Landscape architect Bob Borthwick also got a mention for his proposed project along Laguna Canyon Frontage Road. 

Long term environmental projects include the Laguna Ocean Foundation’s grant to clean up the Aliso Creek Estuary and the restoration of the Aliso Creek Main Stem Ecosystem.

Public Safety projects are at the top of the city’s To Do List, Pietig said. 

“Our primary goal is to expedite undergrounding,” he said. “We tried working with the utilities and it didn’t work. 

“The council said ‘Enough’. We have to do something ourselves.’”

The something is two ballot measures: a general obligation bond for undergrounding essential evacuation routes, funded by all property owners; and secondly, formation of a separate district to underground residential neighborhoods still served by overhead poles, funded only by residents of the neighborhoods.  

Both must be approved by the voters.

Work continues on the Downtown Specific Plan

Work continues on amendments to the Downtown Specific Plan, with assistance to consultants by a volunteer group composed of Village Laguna and Chamber of Commerce representatives. 

Volunteers Billy Fried and Ruben Flores also masterminded Park Plaza. 

“I encourage people to be willing to try new things,” said Pietig. 

There isn’t anything new about the notion of beautifying the area known as the Village Entrance. 

“This is in its 37th year, and we gotta make a decision,” said Pietig. 

Transportation is another thorn in Pietig’s side. 

“Usage is a fiscal concern,” said Pietig. “If ridership doesn’t improve, we may have to discontinue services.” 

He is banking on the Trolley Tracker app to boost ridership. The tracker gives real time information on where the trolley is on its route. 

A Q and A followed Pietig’s presentation: Ginger Osborne wanted to know how many hybrids are in the city’s fleet; Lorene Auger asked about Community Choice Aggregators, an alternate energy supply to customers in a defined city or area. She suggested Pietig should contact Tesla Motors founder Eon Musk whom she opined would be happy to help out Laguna with a CCA.

Johanna Felder asked about the format for the 18th meeting on the proposed amendments to the Historic Preservation Ordinance. It will be a workshop – no action will be taken. 

But wait – there’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading

Reflecting on school days – and the lure of the beach

Photo by Scott Brashier

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As a former LBHS student noted upon seeing this shot of Scott’s: “How did they ever trust us to come back from open campus lunch?” (See the moon between the palms in the side mirror…)

Dianne’s Creature Feature

Rudolph the Reindeer’s red nose: not just a pigment of our imagination


Who knew that reindeer truly have red noses? It’s not just a fairy tale. 

We all know why W.C. Fields had a red nose, but that’s another story. 

In 1899, Clement C. Moore’s poem, “A Visit from Saint Nicholas,” first introduced the world to Santa’s reindeer by featuring a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. 

But there was no mention of Rudolph, the most popular reindeer in present-day Christmas tradition.

The addition of Rudolph came much later, in 1939, when the Montgomery Ward Group of department stores in the US commissioned Advertising Executive Robert May to write a promotional story for the Christmas season, thus Rudolph, the Red-Nose Reindeer, was born. 

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Robert May wrote Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in 1939

The booklet became an instant success with 2.5 million copies sold during the first year. The story, written as a poem, is about a young reindeer who was very different from the other reindeer in the herd to which he belonged, and who was teased by his peers because he had a shiny red nose.  

Apparently, bullying existed even in make-believe animal kingdoms.

But he prevailed, and Rudolph now has such a strong connection with Christmas, that we can hardly picture Santa and presents without thinking of Rudolph guiding the sleigh, his nose blazing the way.

And here comes the interesting part. 

The secret to Rudolph’s rose-colored schnozzle exists as a dense network of blood vessels in the noses of actual reindeer, scientists explained in a 2012 Live Science article. Reindeer live in harsh conditions during the winter. On the fells and mountains of mainland Norway, temperatures sometimes drop to 30-40 degrees Celsius below zero. 

To survive, reindeer, it seems, have 25 percent more capillaries carrying red, oxygen-rich blood in their nasal architecture than humans, said medical researchers in the Netherlands and the University of Rochester in New York. 

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Photo by Kia Krarup Hansen

Reddish color is from densely packed blood vessels near the nose’s surface

“In colder climates … the increase in blood flow in the nose will help keep the [nose’s] surface warm,” Dr. John Cullen of the University of Rochester said. “The dense network of blood vessels in reindeer noses is also essential for regulating the animal’s internal body temperature — like many mammals, reindeer don’t sweat.”

And reindeer noses do so much more: They are specially adapted to warm the air before it enters the lungs and to condense water in the air, which they then use to keep the mucous membranes moist. 

That’s some ingenious nasal engineering.

So often reality is stranger than fiction, or at least equal to it, and in this case, reindeer noses are as magic and brilliant as Rudolph’s nose, in more ways than one.

A nose is a nose is a nose. And a rosy one at that. 

Animals are such agreeable friends ― they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. ― George Eliot

The Fullest hosts its First Annual Holiday Market at [seven-degrees] on Sun, Dec 17 at 11 a.m.

This holiday season, look no further than just up the road, Laguna Canyon Road, that is, for that special gift, say Nikki Bostwick, founder of The Fullest. On Sun, Dec 17, from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., The Fullest, a contemporary culture publication, will hold its First Annual Holiday Market at [seven-degrees]. This is a free event, however, RSVPs are requested.

Curated by Founder & Editor-In-Chief, Nikki Bostwick, The Fullest Holiday Market is a one-stop-shop for any last-minute shoppers who want to find quality and unique items such as organic skincare, clothing, accessories, jewelry, essential oils, ceramics, crystals, pantry items, coffee and much more.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

(l-r) Hasty Honaker and Nikki Bostwick

A few of the participating vendors, both local and international, at the Holiday Market will be: 

SAKARA, the organic meal delivery service selling sought-after pantry items like grain free granolas, CBD chocolates, non-GMO popcorn in traditional tin containers for the holidays, nori chips and more. Living Libations- organic, wild-crafted for skin and head to toe body care. Ceramics and Homewares from O-M Ceramics, Ren Vois, and glassybaby.

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Hawkfetti, candle holder, votive from glassbaby

The Fullest is a contemporary culture publication that fiercely believes in the intelligence of its readers and rises to the challenge of surprising them. In a nutshell, their mission is to provide information and inspiration that may help one live the most authentic and Fullest life. 

[seven-degrees] is located at 891 Laguna Canyon Rd. 

The Fullest is a digital and print publication bridging wellness and contemporary culture. The Pop-Up Shop is located at 353 N. Coast Hwy, and is open every day from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. 

For additional information:

RSVP at:

Palettes, proclamation and police investigation all addressed by council on Tuesday


Arts Commission Chair Michael Ervin introduced 12 winners of the 2017 Children’s Palette Contest at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Mayor Toni Iseman presented certificates to Taylor Brook Jones, Emma Chi-Sing, Mia Gwin, Ace Halperin, Audrey Calef, Paige Laws, Reagan Hannus, Allie Borgerding, Tessa Anderson, Lauren Trautenberg, Lexi Breault and Addyson Mackay. 

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Photo by Jennifer Hannus

Winners of the 2017 Children’s Palette Contest: L-R: Taylor Brook Jones, Emma Chi-Sing, Mia Gwin, Audrey Calef, Paige Laws, Reagan Hannus, Allie Borgerdring, Tessa Anderson, Lexi Breault and Addyson MacKay

Winning entries from the 188 submitted this year will be exhibited in City Hall throughout December. 

The Arts Commission began in 2004 inviting local youngsters to submit palette designs that mimic the city’s collection of iconic holiday decorations. The aim is to encourage future artists to participate in city programs. There were 188 entries this year.

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Photo by Jennifer Hannus

Five of the winners were from St. Catherine of Siena Parish School: L-R, Paige Laws, Emma Chi-Sing, Addyson MacKay, Reagan Hannus and Tessa Anderson

Art Museum recognized

The mayor read a lot of “whereases” in a proclamation that couldn’t possibly cover on one page everything the Laguna Art Museum and its forebears have contributed to the city. 

Begun as the Laguna Beach Art Association in 1918, the members put Laguna on the map as an art colony and established a community identity still precious to the residents.

LAM Executive Director Malcom Warner and museum board and staff members accepted the proclamation from the mayor. 

Police seek identities of tree vandal(s)

The Laguna Beach Police Department is investigating the vandalism that was perpetrated on a eucalyptus tree in August. The tree died and now has to be removed. 

There are no current suspects, according to City Manager John Pietig. 

“Just look up the hill,” suggested one outraged resident.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Damaged tree has died

Landscape architect and former Mayor Ann Christoph said records show the tree was planted in the 1930s. She was among the six residents who urged the city to treat the tree’s death as a crime.

“We cannot tolerate vandalism to our trees,” said Village Laguna President Johanna Felder. “We need to pursue this as a crime.”

Longtime Beautification Council President Ruben Flores voiced bewilderment about vandalizing a tree.

“I can’t understand killing a magnificent tree,” he said. 

Gasoline has been poured around the trunks of trees and nails hammered into the trunks and roots in past incidents, most often without consequences. 

If this incident is not treated as a crime, the vandalism will continue, opined South Laguna resident Ginger Osborne.

Swing with Santa as LagunaTunes presents a free holiday concert at LBHS’s Artists’ Theatre Dec 17

Get in the holiday spirit when LagunaTunes Community Chorus performs at a free holiday program, “Swingin with Santa,” on Dec 17 at 4 p.m. in the Artists’ Theatre at Laguna Beach High School. The program features a light-hearted treatment of Christmas favorites in an upbeat swing style, as well as some beautiful and inspiring choral selections. 

It’s a family show, suitable for all ages. LagunaTunes, a no-audition chorus, welcomes singers of all training and experience levels. Some members read music, some do not, age levels cover a broad range, and all are united by a love of music. The emphasis is on fun, learning, improving performance skills, and the joy of group singing. 

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Submitted photo

LagunaTunes Community Chorus

They perform two concerts a year, one in Dec and another in June. New members are welcome to join when rehearsals for the June concert begin in Feb. The 50-member chorus is led by Bob Gunn, popular director of Orange County’s Men Alive chorus and Laguna’s St. Mary’s choir. Gunn’s entertaining choral productions are well known throughout southern CA. 

LagunaTunes is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides choral singing to everyone. Funding is provided by the Festival of Arts Foundation and The Lodging Establishments and City of Laguna Beach. 

LBHS is located at 625 Park Ave.

For more information: or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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