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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Sadness comes as death casts a pall over the country, as well as Laguna Beach

TOM MARCHIt’s been a very sad week. First, we hear the news of the mass shooting in Uvalde, TX. It was almost unimaginable. 

I went to bed that night crying inside for all the grandparents, in a similar situation to me, that would never again enjoy the life, sounds and joy of their little ones. I honestly don’t know if I could ever go on.

My prayers!

Next, we woke up Wednesday morning to the very sad news that Principal Chris Duddy had passed away in his sleep at just 57. Chris was, obviously, the beloved principal of El Morro

I never had the chance to cross paths with Chris, but the calls and sadness expressed following his passing speak volumes for his character. He absolutely will be missed by so many.

From LBUSD Board Chair Carol Normandin, “The Board, LBUSD employees, the students past and present, and their families are all in grief. The improv vigil for Mr. Duddy (Wednesday) night to replace what would have been his last Open House (at El Morro) illustrates the immense love he had for his family. Chris’s ‘family’ was so much larger than the kids who shared his DNA and his incredible wife but all the students, families and community members he influenced, taught and mentored over the last 24 years. 

“There wasn’t a kinder man with a bigger heart than Chris. His sudden passing has left a painful void in our community. Our heartfelt wishes are extended to his beautiful family.” 

Chris had previously announced his retirement from the District effective June 30.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t all; come Thursday morning news came that Verna Rollinger, former city clerk and Laguna Beach City Councilmember, died from renal failure.

Verna lived in Laguna Beach for more than 50 years, and according to current Laguna Beach City Clerk Ann Marie McKay, Verna spent 28 (1976-2004) of those years as city clerk and then four more as a councilperson beginning in 2008.

Verna was recognized as one of the original founders of Village Laguna, and “was a true treasure,” according to Anne Caenn.

“Verna was the epitome of a dedicated public servant, serving the City of Laguna Beach for decades as City Clerk and also as a City Councilmember,” said Mayor Sue Kempf. “As we mourn her passing, we recognize that her love for this City and commitment to serving the people of Laguna Beach will live on through all who knew her.”

• • •

Monday is Memorial Day. It’s a federal holiday to mourn U.S. military personnel who have died during their service in the armed forces for the United States.

Yet, as happens every year, many people truly don’t understand what Memorial Day stands for and, as such, on Monday will post pictures of parents or loved ones, in uniform, who proudly served, or serve, our country but have been lucky enough to return home…alive.

I take this holiday a little more seriously, simply because my father’s brother, Nathaniel Clifford Wolf, was killed in the South Pacific three days from the conclusion of World War II.

Memorial Day is a holiday for him, and unfortunately, the thousands and thousands of others like him. 

Although I never had a chance to meet him myself, over the years I’ve heard wonderful Uncle Cliff stories. It’s a void that can never be filled…it robbed him of his life, and me of cousins and relatives that I would’ve shared a lifetime.

That’s why I recognize Memorial Day.

For those of you wanting to thank those for their past service, remember Veterans Day that will come up Friday, November 11; and for those wanting to honor those currently serving, think Armed Forces Day, that just passed on  Saturday, May 21.

But come Monday, let’s properly honor those that gave the highest sacrifice for our country. Thanks Uncle Clifford.

• • •

Looking for a Memorial Day Ceremony to perhaps enjoy? Monday, May 30, at Monument Point in Heisler Park begins at 10:30 a.m. with music, followed by the program at 11 a.m.

The same day, there will also be a presentation by the Laguna Community Concert Band to honor our troops with a free concert at Main Beach from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

• • •

Still, Monday is the third day of a holiday weekend. It’s one of the freedoms that were fought for. As such, we should also party and have fun.

One person who certainly gets that is our friend Ed Steinfeld with The Mornings with Ed Show on KX FM, our local radio station. Come Monday, Ed is presenting his Memorial Day 100 Countdown

Ed has polled his listening audience and selected the 100 greatest rock & roll songs of all time. Beginning at 7 a.m., Ed will kick things off with #100 and spend the day “igniting the rock & roll fire that lives in all of us, until we enjoy #1 together.”

After celebrating his 4th anniversary with the station on May 1, Ed says, “I’m honored to live in a community and work for a company that truly understands and respects freedom of the press. On The Mornings With Ed Show, we cover all the serious issues affecting our daily lives, but I never forget how VERY important music is to those lives. So, our gift to the community for May, is the countdown...(I have another awesome gift planned for June!)”

Enjoy.

• • •

Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) will present the Kathleen Dunphy Solo Show, “Outside Insights,” at the LPAPA Gallery, 414 North Coast Highway, from June 2 through July 4. “Outside Insights,” part of the Artist in Residence program, will also include major studio paintings and the field work that inspired them.

Fair Game Kathleen Dunphy goose

Courtesy of LPAPA

A piece by LPAPA Signature Artist Kathleen Dunphy

To kick off the exhibition, Outside Insights Plein Talk with Kathleen Dunphy, hosted by the LPAPA Gallery, will take place Saturday, June 4 from 6-8 p.m. Tickets are $20 for members, $30 for nonmembers. For more info, go to https://lpapa.org/dunphy/.

• • •

The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts invites the public to a free reception at City Hall, Thursday June 2 from 6-7 p.m. to kick-off First Thursdays Art Walk. Visitors may view Art-To-Go originals by Festival of Arts exhibitors under the theme “What the World Needs Now.” The exhibit runs through June 27. https://theartistsfund-foa.org/2413-2/.

• • •

Now, there are three days ahead of us. Get out there and enjoy the town. Shop, beach and barbecue. After all, isn’t that why we live here?

A couple of things to get you rolling, tonight is the final Heisler Park Sunset Serenade at 6:30 p.m. featuring Acoustic Asylum, and Beth Wood will also be performing at the Promenade on Forest beginning at 5:30 p.m.

Also at the Promenade will be Felisha Dunne on Saturday at 5:30 p.m. and Molly Bergman on Sunday at 5 p.m.