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Convent life in Laguna Beach in the early 1940s

By Patty Truman

 My family fled the cold harsh winters of New York in search of warm sunshine, as doctors suggested we should move to a climate more conducive to help my father’s tuberculosis. First they tried Florida, but the humidity was not helpful to him. So we headed to California. Arriving in Hollywood where my parents had good friends, we settled for the winter. Come summer, my mother heard about a charming beach village in Orange County and rented a cottage in South Laguna for a two-week stay. Lovely Laguna won our hearts and the rest is our history.

In the early ‘40s, my parents purchased an original artist bungalow on Anita Street and we became part of the small population. Because of my father’s possible contagion, I was enrolled in Sacred Heart Convent at 450 Glenneyre St., now housing units. The convent was run as a school and a few boarders like me were in the care of a small group of Dominican nuns from Cuba.

The Mother Superior also needed California’s glorious sunshine (no smog in those days) as she, too, had contracted tuberculosis in her home country. She and my father connected over this mutual challenge. Mother had remained a Catholic all her life and Daddy, with no affiliation, used to sneak up to St. Catherine’s Church during quiet times and light a candle as a petition for what was on his heart. This was his way of spiritual connection.

Convent life nuns in front of convent

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Photos courtesy of Patty Truman 

Nuns standing in front of Sacred Heart Convent

Being just 5 or 6 years old, and one of a few young girls who were at the convent 24/7/365, except when parents took us home for weekends, on an outing or just on sweet visits, I was happy there, as the nuns were kind and wise – both our teachers and caregivers. Sister Mary Rose was the fireball who really handled this well-run convent/school. The Mother House housed the nuns, and in a separate building our small group of girl boarders slept in a large room with Sister Francis given charge of us. She slept in the same room with drapes all around her as an enclosure, needing privacy from prying eyes of children.

We all ate in a dining room three meals a day, dessert being our favorite item. The grounds were seemingly large to a small child with lovely old growth eucalyptus trees, swings and a place to roller skate by the Mother House. The school room was a small separate building, similar to the one-room schoolhouse of early America.

A few day students came, which gave us a wider assortment of friends. Sister Rose and one of the other nuns would walk us to town sometimes to spend a few cents at Carpenters, the everything store located next to the still-with-us theater on Coast Highway (then known as Highway 1). Of course, we had classes and Sunday service at St. Catherine’s and received our Holy Communion in that charming old (now re-built) church on Temple Terrace.

Convent life nuns at beach

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Convent students and nuns, who were guests of my parents Wesley and
Elizabeth Peper, having a picnic at Emerald Bay

During the early years of World War II, if Mother and I were Downtown and a convoy rolled by, we and many others went to the edge of the sidewalk, standing and waving to our young America soldiers going off to war via San Diego to be loaded on large ships for a journey across the sea to face battle. Many of us had tears streaming down our faces at the prospect of these very young male faces wistfully looking back and often waving as the long caravan of men, equipment and implements of war slowly drove by.

As my father improved, I was eventually moved to our sweet home on Anita Street and attended elementary school part of the year. During the other months, we lived in a small desert home in Palm Springs as Laguna in those winter years had thick fog. Cars had yellow lights and drivers crawled slowly at night to remain safe – but that is another story for another time.

Convent life Sister Rose

Sister Rose smiling, barefoot and wearing her straw hat at Emerald Bay

I hold those kind nuns dear to my heart even now as I write this. I fondly recall Mother occasionally inviting them to Emerald Bay, where my parents first lived, for a day at the beach and picnic. It is a treasured memory of the nuns in their habits with straw hats on top of their veils, bare feet wading into the beautiful clear Pacific. I remember seeing their pure white feet and tiny bit of leg and being intrigued, as their faces and hands were the only flesh we ever saw.

Patty Truman is a businesswoman, REALTOR®, published author and longtime resident of Laguna Beach.

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Fair Game


Local doctor stabbed and ultimately killed following a vehicle/cyclist PCH collision…one must ask, why?

TJ headshot AugWe’ll leave it to the Orange County Sheriff’s Homicide Detail to figure out what happened Wednesday afternoon (Feb.1), just south of town, when a vehicle reportedly hit a cyclist traveling in the bike lane northbound on PCH near Crown Valley Parkway. The driver then suddenly exited the vehicle, a white Lexus, and stabbed the downed cyclist while he was lying injured in the street. He would later die after being taken to the hospital.

The cyclist, identified as Michael John Mammone, 58, was an emergency medicine physician with Providence Mission Hospital Laguna Beach.

The driver was Vanroy Evan Smith, 39, of Long Beach. He was detained by bystanders until OCSD deputies arrived and soon thereafter arrested.

Everyone near the issue was asking one question, why?

• • •

How eerie and ironic is the thought that the critically wounded Mammone likely was taken to the hospital that he had spent years of his professional life in saving other people’s lives. 

HIPAA laws preclude them from sharing those details.

• • •

A statement from Providence at which Mammone was employed called him “an incredible physician and friend…with a dedication to our community and passion for medicine.”

• • •

Traffic was closed in both directions for an extended period of time related to the incident as authorities investigated. Stu News was alerted to the fact that one business along the route, who we’ll refrain from identifying by name, attempted to capitalize on the chaos by posting an outdoor sidewalk sign saying, “Shooting ahead…why sit in traffic? It’s happy hour! Road closed.” 

Let’s review…first of all, it wasn’t a shooting, it was a stabbing, and to connect it in either case to a “happy” hour has to be considered in the worst possible taste. 

And if that wasn’t enough, as we all know, it ultimately resulted in death. Certainly nothing close to a “happy” time for Michael’s friends, associates and loved ones…or the entire community.

• • •

I’m excited to let readers know that recently sworn-in California State Assemblymember Diane Dixon begins today gracing the pages of Stu News with her first of what will be regular column updates from Sacramento. Diane’s column will be appropriately called “The Sacramento Chronicles.”

Diane will let us know what’s happening in the state’s capitol, what she’s doing and what’s affecting Laguna Beach. She’ll also let us know where she’ll be for town halls, etc. when she’s back working in the marketplace.

For example, tomorrow she’ll be in Lake Forest at the Community Center at 10 a.m. If you’re in the area, she invites you to come by.

We’re figuring we’ll start this as a monthly contribution and take it from there. 

One of the exciting things is that Diane comes from a newspaper family. Her parents owned and published a group of newspapers as she was growing up. We welcome Diane back in the fold.

• • •

Here’s what is on tap for this coming Tuesday’s Laguna Beach City Council meeting. 

–Authorize the City Manager to execute an agreement to conduct a comprehensive organization-wide classification and compensation study. (Should be used to both retain and attract employees.)

–Recommend extensions for arts and planning commissioners to get to the end of June. 

Next though, are other committee interview and appointments…and there are a lot of people stepping up. That’s great news. The committees on the agenda for interviews and appointments include the Audit Review & Investment Advisory Committee, the View Restoration Committee, the Heritage Committee, Parking, Traffic & Circulation Committee, Design Review Board, Recreation Committee, Environmental Sustainability Committee, and the Housing and Human Services Committee.

You might be surprised at some of the interested parties. 

It begins at 5 p.m. and is a hybrid virtual/in-person meeting.

• • •

Upcoming Laguna Live! early February events include Beth’s Tuesdays on February 7, when Beth and Steve welcome Joel Rafael plus The Furious Seasons to their monthly singer songwriter event. It takes place at the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center, 235 Forest Ave. at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance; $20 at the door.

Next up, is Jazz Wednesdays on February 8. Bijon Watson’s Tribute to soul legends featuring vocalist Maiya Sykes. The event will be held at [seven degrees], 891 Laguna Canyon Road from 6-8 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. for social hour and bar. Tickets are $37.50.

Then Thursday, Feb. 9 is a concert featuring saxophonist Douglas Masek and keyboardist Bryan Pezone at Laguna Art Museum beginning at 7 p.m.

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OC Supervisor highlights coastal protection, undergrounding Laguna Canyon as top priorities


A local leader noted several key issues for the district at a business-focused community meeting this week, and highlighted protecting the coast and undergrounding utilities along Laguna Canyon Road as top priorities. 

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee held their regular meeting via Zoom on Thursday (Feb. 2) with Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley (D-Costa Mesa) as the featured speaker. 

Foley initially won a March 2021 special election for District 2 after former supervisor Michelle Steel was elected to California’s 48th Congressional District. After the supervisorial district map was redrawn, she was re-elected as a supervisor, but this time representing District 5, which includes Laguna Beach. She was sworn in on January 15.

More than two dozen people attended the virtual meeting, which included a Q&A portion with Foley. City Manager Shohreh Dupuis commented that they are excited to work with Laguna’s new county representative on the city’s priorities, which were discussed by council and city staff at a special planning session on Saturday (Jan. 28).

Providing an update on one of the city’s previously identified priorities, Foley said she and the other OC supervisors (along with executive county staff members) were in Sacramento on Wednesday (Feb. 1) to meet with the OC delegation for a bipartisan luncheon. 

It has been 32 years since the Orange County supervisors met with the delegation, she pointed out.

“I think that’s 32 years too long,” Foley said

During the lunch event, supervisors shared some of the issues that they’re currently working on in the county, including regarding the CARE Act (Community Assistance, Recovery & Empowerment Act) and related funding challenges, the scope of the act and eligibility challenges. They also talked about Be Well, a nonprofit that focuses on mental health and substance abuse, how the state could help support local jurisdictions, transportation issues and other top county concerns.

Foley also had several “one-off” meetings with individual officials, including Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton) who sits on the transportation committee and staff from the office of Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (D-Laguna Beach). They discussed undergrounding along Laguna Canyon Road, a longtime priority for the city.

“I’m going to be really leaning in on that issue for you and Laguna Beach,” Foley said on Thursday. “That’s going to be my target issue as it relates to Sacramento.”

It’s a fire hazard and would improve public transportation along the corridor, she noted. She wants to sit down with city officials to discuss the project and how they can go about getting it funded, which might include bifurcating it. 

“We’re going to have to get creative,” Foley said. “We have some hurdles that I didn’t expect.”

OC Supervisor highlights coastal protection Katrina Foley

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Courtesy of Katrina Foley

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley 

She’s spent January getting used to the new district and getting the team organized, Foley said. This year, her office will focus on priorities centered around three main topics: Coastal protection, homelessness and airport-related issues. 

She wants to address coastal erosion not only because of the environmental concerns, but it also impacts tourism, the local economy and quality of life. It’s a big issue for South County beaches, she noted. 

Regarding homelessness, Foley has worked on the issue for about a decade in her previous role on city council in Costa Mesa. As mayor, she spearheaded the first homeless shelter in the city in 2021 in collaboration with Newport Beach officials.

“That’s an issue that we will be working on,” and continuing their long-term efforts, she said. 

At the county level, they are trying to partner with cities and create a regional system with experts and officials, like case managers and social workers, so that a person who gets moved into a shelter isn’t just dropped off without a follow-up plan. They’ve created a system of care to keep talking to that person, Foley explained, contacting them to ensure they’ve stay sheltered and/or connected to treatment.

“So that we can try to stabilize (them) before we just hand them off,” Foley said. “That is actually going to help us to reduce homelessness a lot better.” 

The Be Well Center will be opening soon in Irvine. There is already a 202-acre center in Orange, but the new facility will be much larger and offer more services. The 22-acre campus in Irvine will serve adolescents, include a “sobering station,” residential treatment, drug and alcohol treatment, mental health services and crisis response. It will be a high-quality facility that people would be comfortable having their own family members treated there, Foley explained.

In regards to John Wayne Airport, the county is working on airport concession program.

“This is a major, major project,” Foley said. “We are revamping all of the concessions at the Orange County airport.”

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Walking on water

Walking on water SNL 2.31

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Sometimes just an afternoon walk on water does the soul good

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The Sacramento Chronicles


February 3, 2023

In addition to committing my time to the constituents of the 72nd Assembly District, I made an equally important commitment to Stu News: that I would send monthly reports about my time spent working at the Capitol that can be shared with you! 

I will start at the beginning. I was sworn into the State Assembly on December 5 and represent the cities of Seal Beach, Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Laguna Hills, Laguna Woods and Lake Forest. I have been kept busy learning the legislative process and meeting as many people as possible. 

The Sacramento Chronicles Diane Dixon

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Courtesy of Diane Dixon

Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach)

As many know, the State Assembly is one of two houses that make up California’s legislative body. There are 80 of us, and we each represent approximately half a million people. Two weeks ago, we were assigned committee memberships. These memberships are vital to helping determine how and if bills move through the legislative process. I sit on the following committees:

–Accountability and Administrative Review (Vice Chair)

–Local Government (Vice Chair) 


–Banking and Finance

–Business and Professions


–Joint Fairs Allocation and Classification 

–Rules (Alternate)

One key committee is the Assembly Rules Committee, which is in charge of referring bills to committees. Once referred, bills will be set for a public hearing (hopefully), and the committee membership will vote on the proposed legislative policies. A bill has many hurtles to go through during its journey to becoming a law. February through the beginning of June, I will be voting on Assembly bills. June through September, I will be voting on Senate bills that make it to the “second house.” The Legislative Session ends in mid-September, by which point any bills that survived the grueling process of committee hearings and floor votes will land on the governor’s desk for a signature. Or, in some cases a veto. 

Currently, we are in the early stages of finalizing our legislative packages. There is much to do across the board and I am authoring a number of proposals in my first year. Thus far I have introduced several key bills:

–AB (Assembly Bill) 15: Adds transparency to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation by amending the Public Records Act to provide that the calculation of a prison inmate’s release date, and a summary of how the inmate earned any release credits, is not confidential and is a public record subject to disclosure.

–AB 16: Allows the governor to issue a proclamation that suspends the annual gas tax increase when higher gas taxes impose an undue burden on low-income and middle-class families.

–AB 256: Creates a 30-day grace period to pay annual vehicle registrations before late fees and penalties start accruing.

–AB 276: Extends the current law prohibition on cell phone use while driving to those up to 21 years of age. It is intended to be an “eyes free” bill that ensures younger drivers will not be distracted while driving. Data shows that drivers between the ages of 15-20 are the largest ratio of people distracted at the time of fatal crashes. The bill is simple. If the phone is on, teen drivers need to put it away so the screen is out of sight. 

–AB 330: Centralizes much needed information for domestic violence victims by creating a website about vital resources to help victims easily access readily available local and statewide services for immediate assistance.

The deadline to introduce new bills is February 17, so please stay tuned for related updates in my March column.

Last but not least, I will be hosting my first Town Hall in Lake Forest this Saturday, Feb. 4. If you are in the area, please join me as I provide my first legislative update at the Lake Forest Community Center at 10 a.m. Please stay tuned for more information on future Town Halls that I plan to host in the other seven cities in my district. 

I look forward to keeping you in the loop during my time spent in Sacramento every month. While many of you know me, some of you don’t, in either case, feel free to email me with any outreach: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Thank you, Stu News, for allowing me this space to keep the readers informed about my adventures in Sacramento. 

Diane Dixon is a two-term Newport Beach City councilmember and two-time mayor. She is currently serving her first term in Sacramento.

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Contemplation SNL 2.3

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

An onlooker captivated by the breaking waves

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Laguna Beach doctor is identified as cyclist struck by vehicle, then stabbed by driver, before succumbing to injuries 

An odd and deadly incident occurred on the southern border of Laguna Beach on Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 1. At 3:02 p.m., Orange County Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched to the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Crown Valley Parkway in response to a traffic collision and an assault. 

Upon arrival, deputies found Michael John Mammone, 58, a cyclist, lying in the intersection suffering from severe injuries. Mammone was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced deceased.

Mammone was riding a bicycle facing northbound on PCH when he was struck from behind by the suspect vehicle. The driver of the vehicle, Vanroy Evan Smith, 39, from Long Beach, exited his vehicle and assaulted Mammone with a knife. 

The decedent, Mammone, was a doctor with Providence Mission Hospital Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach doctor Mammone headshot

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Courtesy of Providence Mission Hospital

Dr. Michael Mammone

When deputies arrived, Smith was being detained by bystanders and was taken into custody. He was later booked into the Orange County Jail on suspicion of murder. A knife believed to be used in the assault was recovered at the scene.

As of yesterday afternoon, there is no known connection between the suspect and the victim. Investigators from OCSD Homicide Detail are working to determine what led to the incident. 

A hospital spokesperson released the following statement, saying “We are stunned by this devastating tragedy. The entire Mission Hospital family is grieving over the loss of an incredible physician and friend. We will honor Dr. Mammone’s dedication to our community and passion for medicine by continuing to provide exceptional care.”

Laguna Beach Police Chief Jeff Calvert added, “The Laguna Beach community is heartbroken by (Wednesday’s) incident in our neighboring city, Dana Point. We stand in solidarity with those affected and pray for healing during this difficult time.”

Traffic on PCH was closed in both directions while OCSD investigated, causing major traffic issues in the South Laguna area. An advisory message just prior to 6 a.m. yesterday (Thursday) morning from the City of Laguna Beach announced the roadways re-opening.

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The Plant Man: Answering your February gardening questions

By Steve Kawaratani

“I could not help it: The restlessness was in my nature.” –Charlotte Brontë

The Plant Man Steve Kawaratani

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Photos courtesy of Steve Kawaratani

Steve Kawaratani

It is early February and I am restless. I am anxious to garden and plant, but January was historically wet and cold, even in Laguna. However, I am grateful that the days are getting longer (60 minutes longer by my count since New Year’s Day) and soon gardeners will be able to prepare their garden beds for spring flowers. 

Meanwhile, let’s get back to the garden with your questions for the Plant Man.

Q. Is it too late for bulbs?

A. Spring bulbs, like callas, gladiolus, lilies and Lily of the Valley are available at your favorite garden center. If you can find them, there is still time to plant daffodils, ranunculus and narcissus.

Q. Is February a good month to be in the garden?

A. When it isn’t raining, February is one of the best months for having fun in your garden. The soil is naturally moist and not too cold; such conditions are ideal for root growth, ensuring a good start for trees, shrubs and lawns. Also, prune out dead and damaged branches of your trees and shrubs, and complete your rose pruning if you hadn’t done so last month.

The Plant Man winter garden

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Pansy, cyclamen, snapdragon, narcissus and poinsettia grace my winter garden

Q. Plant Man! What flowers look good now?

A. Cyclamen, viola, English primrose, foxglove, Iceland poppy, snapdragon, stock and pansy top my garden color list for February.

Q. Do I have to use a special mix when I plant my azaleas?

A. Azaleas prefer an acidic soil, whether growing in the ground or in pots. I recommend that you plant azaleas in nine (9) parts shade mix to one (1) part garden soil or potting soil. Mulch plants frequently during the year with shade mix or peat moss.

The Plant Man iceberg rose

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Iceberg rose is unmindful that six more weeks of winter may remain

Q. Is it safe to prune my rose bush if it is still leafy and producing flowers?

A. I would wait until the “flush” of flowers ends and then prune. Remember, you have until the end of February to prune your roses in Laguna.

If you are like me, the allure of early season tomatoes already beckons. Please don’t plant starters yet; the disappointment of weak, spindly plants is not worth it. Instead, planting lettuce and spinach will satiate your garden restlessness until next month. You will be glad you waited. See you next time. 

Steve Kawaratani has been a local guy for seven decades and likes to garden and drive the Baja Peninsula. He can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 949.494.5141.

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In Loving Memory

Joanne Suess Thomas

February 9, 1939 – January 7, 2023

In Loving Memory Joanne Suess Thomas

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Submitted photo

Joanne Suess Thomas with Riley

Joanne passed away shortly after the new year surrounded by loving family. She leaves behind a legacy of life lived to the fullest, and immeasurable love for her family and friends. Joanne was born in Los Angeles, Calif. and moved to Balboa Island where she and her sister Doran (Kough) spent most of their childhood in the home built by their parents, Gayle and Jackie Suess. Being the daughter of a dentist, Joanne always had impeccable teeth and an infectious smile. Just her smile alone would brighten your day.

Joanne married Don Thomas, and raised three children: Stacey, Karly and Brad. All three were raised in Laguna Beach, and have gone on to have families of their own, providing Joanne with nine incredible grandchildren. She never missed an opportunity, and threw herself into staying active and living every day to the fullest.

She loved the arts both in participating and supporting. She painted and did ceramics and bronze work in her younger years, and was a regular patron and supporter of the Laguna Sawdust Art Festival. She had a passion for traveling and took many trips with her family to Mexico, Hawaii and Europe. She could often be found in a bikini with a book on the beach, which was her happy place. She was an avid caregiver and dog lover, and most people on Balboa Island knew her and Riley from their many walks around the island.

While she had many careers in her life, Joanne found a passion for gardening and working with plants. For the last 35 years she has been known as the Foliage Keeper, tending to indoor plants and installations for private and corporate customers, as well as working with designers to bring green life into new homes.

While she will be missed by all of those who knew and loved her, her spirit will live on and will forever be in our hearts. No one will be able to drink a margarita again without a thought of Joanne.

A celebration of life service will be held Thursday, Feb. 9 from 2-5 p.m. at Newport Beach Yacht Club, 1099 Bayside Drive, Newport Beach.

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Fair Game


John Stanaland joins Douglas Elliman which is sure to change Orange County’s high-end residential real estate landscape

TJ headshot AugBig news in the local real estate market…John Stanaland, formerly of Villa Real Estate, has moved across town to Douglas Elliman. John is arguably one of the biggest names, bar none, in the local real estate world. The proof is that in the last year his team represented in excess of $300 million in real estate transactions. 

I don’t care how you count, that’s a ton!

So, why Douglas Elliman? Try these facts on for size: Douglas Elliman represents the world’s biggest markets, including, for example, New York, Florida and Beverly Hills and, of course, now Orange County

According to John, it perfectly fits the direction where he wants to move his team in the years ahead.

Last year, Douglas Elliman was ranked No. 1 in New York…and, overall, the company represented nearly 60,000 sales and rental transactions resulting in a total of $51.2 billion, as in “B”. Sure, that’s coast-to-coast, but now you add in John and his influence in this great marketplace and who knows where it goes.

Yesterday, we visited John and his team at their new digs in 12 Corporate Plaza where he is getting comfortable with the new home. He introduced me to Deborah Robinson, formerly a key player in The McMonigle Group, who he’s just added to his team. 

How did Deborah and John connect? How about this, they combined together to sell 4700 Surrey that became the highest priced off-water sale in Corona del Mar history.

She joins holdovers Logan Montgomery and Trevor Stanaland who both also came over with John, with more growth still anticipated.

For those of you who may not be in the know on local real estate trends, this would be like football’s Patrick Mahomes or Joe Burrows leaving their NFL teams and coming over to join your favorite team…or maybe even bigger than that…perhaps Michael Jordan or Babe Ruth suddenly packing up their bags and heading across town.

John and his team may be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or at 949.270.0440.

• • •

This photo came in over the weekend. Now, I’ll be honest, I don’t remember anyone at the City’s Planning Workshop over the weekend discussing parking on the beach as a potential solution to our parking woes.

Fair Game Lamborghini on beach SNL 1.31

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Lamborghini perhaps seeking a little beach time

Truth be told, it appeared that this Lamborghini didn’t quite make the turn at Broadway and Main. Police were seen questioning two women, but no other info has been forthcoming.

We’re still chasing it.

• • •

Here’s a good event truly worth attending. Coffee with a Cop is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 7 at Black Dot Coffee, 656 N. Coast Highway from 10:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.

It’s your chance to meet the men and women in the Laguna Beach Police Department, who work tirelessly to protect our streets. You’re invited to come by, ask questions, share your ideas or just say hello.

• • •

Cristina Calderone let me know that Laguna Beach had its first taste of diverse ethnic artworks during the month of January, called Unveiling Multiethnic Artworks

The events took center stage, as headliners featured artworks representing the Hispanic community, Afghanistan, Haiti, Rwanda, Africa, Vietnam, India and China.   

Fair Game art piece photo 1 SNL 1.31

Courtesy of Cristina Calderone

A body of work from “Unveiling Multiethnic Artworks”

Presenters included UCI professor Dr. Felix Jean-Louis, who captivated the audience as he highlighted Haiti’s rich history, failures and current challenges and how the United States factored into all of that. 

Fair Game man in black speaking photo 2 SNL 1.31

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Courtesy of Cristina Calderone

UCI professor Dr. Felix Jean-Louis talks about Haiti

Great musical performers created an ambience for mingling and doing a gallery art walk that included a Mariachi Band: the Marching Saints Booster Club from Santa Ana High School. Calderone said they rocked the audience with various renditions of Mexican music.

Fair Game mariachi band photo 3 SNL 1.31

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Courtesy of Cristina Calderone

What’s a celebration without a Mariachi Band? The Marching Saints Booster Club from Santa Ana High School.

Also joining the mix were students’ artworks from the Laguna Beach Boys & Girls Club. Some of their themes were love, community and togetherness. 

The overall goal of the Unveiling Multiethnic Artworks was intended to identify ways for building bridges rather than walls, increasing the knowledge of other cultures, understanding ethnic and cultural foundations and ultimately building a better community.

Calderone said it a success.

Next up, February is African American/Black History Events. The February 3 theme is Oppression.

Michael Lapsley will be the virtual keynote speaker. Guests will hear his personal story detailing the “sacrifice he made amid a horrific, monstrous encounter against oppression, Apartheid.” I’m told you’ll cringe after seeing how it affected him.   

And, Lester Mackenzie, Pastor of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, will elaborate on the theme Oppression, giving a presentation that is being designed to get the audience involved, including listening to him play the percussions. 

All events will be held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church at 428 Park Ave. from 6-8 p.m., including two other events, Resistance on February 10 and Expression through Celebration on February 24.

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