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Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Good news: The City now owns the beaches from the County

Finally, our Marine Safety Department will guard the beaches in South Laguna and Public Works will take care of assessing needed improvements and day-to-day maintenance of trails and stairways from Coast Highway because now the city owns the beaches and access ways. 

I like Aliso Beach & Canyon because it has the only café on the sand, the Lost Pier Cafe. Fourteen hundred feet east, beyond Aliso Beach’s handy parking lot is The Ranch, complete with its deck seating and inside restaurant and bar, with an exceptional view, the nine-hole golf course and hotel which has a great pool and jacuzzi. The Ranch even has a store.   

If you are at Aliso Beach and look southeast, up on top of the hill, 400 feet high, sits the Richard Halliburton house built in the late 1930s of concrete. The three-bedroom house was designed and built by William Alexander; a friend and his lover, secretary and ghostwriter Paul Mooney, reportedly shared the house with Halliburton, who traveled the earth in the 1920s and 1930s writing books, articles for newspapers and magazines and giving lectures about his world travels. 

I like West Street, the international LGBTQ-friendly beach which is actually adjacent to the Camel Point Drive public access way. It has a lifeguard tower in the summer, volleyball courts and restrooms and is one of Laguna’s largest expanses of sand. 

The surf along these beaches is considered a shore break which crashes down and caused me to get a dislocated arm years ago. Be careful.

Thousand Steps is my third favorite beach. Its isolation is what I think people like, but the lack of parking and popularity is a nightmare for nearby residents. It is sometimes called Ninth Street Beach and the next beach south…is famous for summer sunbathing.                   

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach

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Armand Daniel Begay

October 3, 1990 – November 27, 2022

Obituary Armand Daniel Begay portrait

Photos courtesy of Matthew Karam

Armand Daniel Begay

Angels in heaven, blow your horns!

It is with great sadness that the family of Armand Daniel Begay announces his sudden passing on Sunday, Nov. 27, 2022 at the age of 32.

Armand was born on October 3, 1990 to David and Veronica Begay. He was raised in Laguna Beach, Calif. and was an alumnus of Laguna Beach High School. He played football, volleyball and track, and was nominated as the pep commissioner by his senior class, leading the school in pep rallies with his boundless celebratory energy.

He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Finance at Long Beach State University. With his education and experience, he helped individuals with financial services such as reverse mortgage, credit repair and mortgage lending.

He was a huge sports fan. His favorite teams included the Philadelphia Eagles, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Los Angeles Lakers. He knew the names of players, stats and anything related to sports. He even coached a boys basketball team at the local Boys & Girls Club.

Armand was a LOUD person. Whether at work, home, recreation, or with passersby, he was always able to engage in stimulating conversation, leaving a lasting impression on each person, with his big laugh and beaming smile. Cleverly and humorously guiding the conversation, he would inspire happiness, laughter, hope, help and words of encouragement to all he encountered. He was the best friend, the coolest brother and the most loving son. He always did things Armand’s way and succeeded in all of his seemingly impossible ventures. He dedicated his life to family and friends, making sure we were all supported in whatever we did, and that we never felt anything other than love.

Armand sacrificed more than we will ever know, always putting others first, taking the time to listen and offer support to his family and friends. His name means “Soldier,” and he truly was a protector and provided strength and support to all of his loved ones.

Obituary Armand Daniel Begay outdoors

Click on photo for a larger image

Armand enjoying the great outdoors

The warmth, happiness and humor that Armand brought into our lives cannot be overstated. He was funny, outgoing, creative and adventurous. Always getting into nature, going on hikes, jumping into any body of water he could find – lakes, rivers, the ocean. He loved dancing like no one was watching, either at home with a few friends or at the many concerts and festivals he attended. His comedic humor and high energy were contagious. He was the life of the party, and celebrated every day, never letting anything get him down or hinder his spirit.

He will be lovingly remembered by his older brother, Jonathan, his younger sister, Angelique, his extended family in Arizona and Mexico, and the endless list of friends he made across the country.

The world is a little less bright without Armand here with us, but we know heaven has gained an angel, and he will be with us always in our memories and the endless stories we will continue to share forever.

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Letters to the Editor

Gelson’s exemplifies the true meaning of Thanksgiving!

I was recently approached by John, the manager of Vista Aliso Senior Housing here in Laguna Beach, to help serve Thanksgiving dinner to the seniors who would otherwise be alone that day. Gelson’s provided their already prepared turkey and ham. The residents of the community each brought a side dish to accompany the meal. The tables and decorations were beautifully set up by Margaret. The residents and friends all commented on how they were so thankful for such a lovely time!

Sharon Ashauer 

Laguna Beach

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Guest Letter

Guisou Mahmoud, M.D., FACEP

Providence Mission Hospital

Tips for avoiding injuries and staying healthy this holiday season

Guest Letter Guisou Mahmoud

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Courtesy of Providence Mission Hospital

Guisou Mahmoud, M.D., FACEP

The holidays are already in full swing – and many of us are starting to decorate and plan holiday celebrations. We want our community to experience the joys of the season safely with less fear and more holiday cheer! 

Take extra caution this holiday season when decorating and cooking to avoid injury. And, if you’re feeling sick, make sure to wash your hands and stay away from large holiday gatherings. Here are some tips to stay safe and healthy this holiday season: 

Use a Sturdy Ladder: Make sure that your ladder is sturdy before stepping on it to put up holiday lights or decorations. Check that all of the screws, bolts and hinges are tight and look for any loose or damaged rungs, steps, side rails and supports. The base of the ladder should also be secure. Remove any grease, paint or dirt that can cause you to slip and fall. Lastly, avoid using furniture as a ladder – this can increase the chance of an injury. 

Stay Safe in the Kitchen: Keep flammable items such as potholders, dish towels and oven mitts away from the top of the stove. Be sure to handle knives with caution so that you don’t get cut. Lastly, keep pets out of the kitchen so that you don’t accidentally trip and fall. 

Practice Healthy Habits: Help your family stay healthy this season by regularly washing your hands – kids, too! This is especially important when older family members with weaker immune systems come over for meals and other events. Consider using a HEPA filter in your home to help remove dust, pet dander mold, and other airborne particles that can affect allergies or asthma. It might also help to filter out and remove respiratory droplets that contain live viruses. Open a window for five minutes every day to allow for fresh air.

Get the flu shot and the COVID-19 booster to protect you and your loved ones. The flu vaccine has been shown to reduce your chances of getting sick with the flu. Check with your primary care doctor to make sure you are up to date with recommended vaccines.

Remember: If you fall and hit your head, break a bone, are sick and can’t seem to catch your breath, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention.

Stay safe and healthy this holiday season!

Guisou Mahmoud, MD, FACEP is medical director for the Sue and Bill Gross Emergency Department at Providence Mission Hospital Laguna Beach.

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Letters to the Editor

Donate to Secret Santa to fill your heart and to offer others a Merry Christmas

Hello Laguna Beach friends, community and out-of-state donors,

Secret Santa is still going strong after 20+ years. The donation link is live, secure and completely transparent. It’s the same, secure online platform used by the Thurston & LBHS PTAs. You can click on the link daily to see how much has been donated.

If you prefer to donate gift cards, you can contact me and I will pick them up at your house and enter them into the live spreadsheet. Gift cards for grocery stores, gas and Laguna Beach restaurants would be amazing! Thank you.

This year, we will be doing a Secret Santa for 16 Laguna Beach individuals, plus one cat.

These are the 16 Laguna individuals we are helping this year: 

–Laguna Beach goat herder Agotilio Moreno. He’s in Riverside now.

–Michael our Laguna Beach greeter

–Single dad and son 

–Single mom with son at Thurston

–Single mom with daughter at LBHS

–Senior female (no family)

–Senior male 

–Single mom with 2 boys at El Morro & Thurston

–Single college female at LCAD

–Single female with a cat who needs help with our vet Laguna Beach Veterinary Medical Center (who gives Secret Santa the rescue discount).

–(New) A Laguna Beach teen who was made fun of because of her clothes.

We have two money counters/in-kind donation counters this year, as we have a lot of people and one cat on our list.

As always, for full transparency, community “watchdog” Sheri Morgan will count the money with me and all donations given. Amy Graboske will be the 2nd money counter. 

Pictures, receipts and total amount given to each family will be provided to all donors for full transparency.

The live spreadsheet is up and is updated daily for all the donations and in-kind donations for full transparency. I will email it to all donors.

A big thank you to everyone who has already donated and to this year’s business sponsors: Dr. Jeffery Briney D.D.S., gorjana, The T-Shirt Company at Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach Veterinary Medical Center, Laguna Surf & Sport, Sunless Love Spray Tanning, Clipa and The Stand Natural Foods.

Link to donate:

Celine Macmillan

Laguna Beach

Remembering back to some fun times in the ‘60s

In the late 1960s, teen street dances were held right where our new promenade is planned. They were sponsored by a youth committee made up of members from different churches. The group was an idea from Bob Cornelison, the priest at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

A stage in front of Klass Electric shop had a live band with power from the shop. The Laguna Beach Lumber Co. provided 4’ x 8’ plywood “walls” that were tied together in a zig-zag way at each end of the block which allowed the committee to have entry ways and be self-financed from admission dollars.

The dances were so popular the city council requested that the committee limit their promotion. One foggy night, Mayor Glenn Vedder got lots of phone calls because the fog seemed to trap the music and bother residents nearby and, on the hills, but the mayor had worked with the young people and the dances went on – closing at midnight. 

I believe the Laguna Beach Police Department parked a car at one end of the block, and there never was a problem, in spite of the crowd.

At that time there was also an award-winning teen page in one of the local newspapers which was completely produced with teen writers and photographers.

Two wonderful memories of teens from the 1960s.

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach

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Kian Thomas Saunders

January 26, 1994 – November 23, 2022

Obituary father and son SNL 11.29

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Courtesy of the Saunders family

Kian with his dad, Kirk

It is with great sadness that Kirk and Mary Kate Saunders must share the news of the loss of their son, Kian Thomas Saunders. Kian suffered his entire life from a genetic disorder, an inverse duplication of chromosome 15, and finally succumbed to complications from his disability last Wednesday morning. 

His parents, brother Rory Saunders, his extended family and many friends will miss his smiling face and loving demeanor but are at peace with the knowledge that his suffering is over and he is in Heaven with his beloved Virgin Mary.

In lieu of flowers, the family has requested that Kian be remembered with a donation to Hope in Motion International (

A funeral Mass will be held at St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church on December 3 at 2 p.m.

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Letters to the Editor

Thanks LagunaTunes

Kudos to LagunaTunes for another terrific performance on Sunday. Your renditions of ‘80s hits, like “Wake Me Up” and “Beat It,” set the mood, while your versions of ABBA hits, like “Mamma Mia” and “Dancing Queen,” struck all the right notes. Thanks for kicking off the holidays in such a fun and spirited way.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach 

Why no mention of Toni Iseman by Tom Johnson?

I’m wondering why Friday’s edition of Stu News Laguna didn’t have one word about Councilwoman Toni Iseman’s recognition by the city for her 24 years of service on the Laguna Beach city council and serving six four-year terms. I know the publisher Tom Johnson does not live in Laguna Beach, but he’s been publisher of Stu News Laguna for a while now and one would think being a news guy he might have heard of Toni; her choice not to run for a 7th term, how revered she is in community and that the city was recognizing her for contributions to the town. 

On Tuesday night, November 15, there was standing room only in the City Hall chambers as residents came up to the podium to honor Toni for her service.   I’m sorry Tom missed this opportunity to feature Toni and to recognize her and her many accomplishments.

Johanna Felder 

Laguna Beach

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In Memoriam

Phil Lawes, 73

In Memoriam Phil Lawes

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Courtesy of the Lawes Family

Philip Nelson Lawes III, proud Marine, Vietnam War veteran, Laguna Beach resident for nearly 50 years, and a pioneer in the design and installation of solar power in Southern California, died October 23, 2022. He was 73.

Phil passed away at Providence Mission Hospital Mission Viejo from acute respiratory failure. His son, Christopher N. Bosley, a Laguna Beach High School graduate, was at his side.

Phil made the rank of Sergeant in the Marines and moved to Laguna Beach in 1973 after being stationed at the former El Toro Marine Base at the end of his military service. He took his first local job at the 76 Station across from Main Beach at the corner of Broadway and Pacific Coast Highway, then launched a career as a residential/commercial painting contractor and worked on many homes in Three Arch Bay and throughout the community and South Orange County.

In 1978, he founded Insoltech Solar, one of the first residential and commercial solar design and installation businesses in Southern California. His solar expertise literally took him all over Orange County and to far-flung parts of the world, including custom projects in the Coachella Valley and Palm Springs, Central California and Oregon as well as Florida, Baja California, Costa Rica, the Bahamas and Fiji. He was still very active in his career and working on a variety of solar projects until the day he died.

Along with motorcycles and fast, vintage cars like his Shelby Mustang and Porsche 911, Phil enjoyed the nightlife in Laguna Beach, and loved playing pool at such places as Ben Brown’s (now The Ranch), the old Mother’s bar on Pacific Coast Highway and the Marine Room Tavern. He was known to enjoy a martini and many laughs with friends and bartenders at various local establishments, including The Saloon, the old White House, Reunion, the Marine Room and The Wharf. 

Phil also regularly played tennis at local courts including Laguna Beach High School, Blue Lagoon and the Laguna Niguel Racquet Club. He was noted by his opponents for his powerful backhand.

Phil was born on Feb. 1, 1949, in Montclair, N.J., one of six children of Philip N. Lawes Jr. and Ann Williams Lawes. He graduated from Montclair High School in 1967, where he played soccer and tennis, and was a pitcher on the school baseball team. His pitching earned him the nickname “Candle” for his flame-throwing abilities. He attended the University of Vermont and came west after joining the Marines in 1969.

Along with his son Chris and daughter-in-law Kristine K. Bosley, both Newport Beach residents and Laguna Beach High School graduates, Phil is survived by two brothers: Gordon Lawes of Portland, Ore. and Geoffrey Lawes of Vermont, Miami, Fla. and the Bahamas; two sisters: Holly Lawes Cosgrove of Cedar Grove, N.J. and Debby Lawes Pearce of Charlotte, N.C.; three grandchildren: Gavin James Bosley, Bellamy Ellene Bosley and Emerson Lawes Bosley, all of Newport Beach and former partner Connie Bosley, of Newport Beach.

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Letters to the Editor

When the ballot box tells us enough is enough

I think it’s amazing how we along with our towns folk made it clear that we don’t need Peter Blake in city government. Historically we are an open society but we do expect respect as we respect others. He didn’t make it, but a young gentleman and two others did. It just shows that we as a town can use the ballot box as one way of saying enough is enough.         

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach 

Pickleball, smickleball…what about us tennis players?

I have nothing against pickleball, but I am told there is now an attempt to convert two more courts into pickleball courts at TOW. It has only been a few months since the last courts were converted. Pickleball is currently popular as were handball, squash and racquetball back in the day and perhaps it will remain so but why destroy tennis courts which cost $120,000 per court when you can build pickleball courts far cheaper elsewhere. For instance, the area which has the basketball court at TOW is rarely, if ever, used.

Evidently, the Lang Park court is being converted to pickleball and there is talk that the middle school is under consideration for courts also, and it’s clear the intention is to convert all the courts at TOW, which would leave us with the high school and the canyon, which is also under threat. During the summer and fall, one or two of the TOW courts are tied up for lessons, which leaves one court open for open play.

Additionally, how many of the pickleball players are actually from Laguna? I’ve met many who are coming in from Aliso and as far away as Riverside. Not sure how we get true numbers on this, but worth asking. Having my tax dollars used to build a destination pickleball center for Orange County doesn’t help with traffic and parking, which is already difficult and getting worse at TOW.

Taking a resource from one group to benefit another doesn’t seem fair. If numbers are the only criteria, then build pickleball courts on the lawn bowling area at Heisler or the baseball field at TOW, both of which get used intermittently by a relatively small number of people. You can imagine how the lawn bowlers and baseball fans would like that plan.

The notion that one of dual-use courts would be for both tennis and pickleball hasn’t played out. The middle court is now used exclusively for pickleball as would certainly be the case in the event that this idea proceeds and the middle and last court in the row of courts are converted.

Thank you for your consideration of this matter.

Glenn Rogers

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

No regrets!

I want to offer my respect and congratulations to the Tuesday night winners of the Laguna Beach City Council race. To Mark Orgill, Mayor Sue Kempf and Alex Rounaghi, I know you will each do good things for our community.

When I was woken up Wednesday morning at 5:45 a.m. by my two boys, I was reminded of my high school soccer coach and his pre-game pep talks. Prior to each game, he would huddle with the team for his rah-rah speech. He would start with strategy, move on to tactics, add some grit and close with his signature of “NO REGRETS.” Meaning, you only regret the element of the game that you choose not to do. At the time, it was about setting your mind right to play the game. 

Yet this lesson was more than just about playing a soccer game. It was a moral message, about a mindset that when in life you make a choice to do something, you do it to your fullest, and about understanding the distinct difference between those two choices. Because when you do something to your fullest, whether you’re successful or not, you will leave the field with “NO REGRETS.”

To my family, friends and the Laguna Beach community, I thank you. I want you to know I am proud of my efforts and experiences throughout this campaign season. I am appreciative of those who supported my campaign, from the start to the finish, or anywhere in between. I am grateful to have met so many wonderful residents and to have shared in positive discourse about our town’s future. 

I have been encouraged that I conducted my campaign independently without attachments to political parties or PACs. I had a message for focusing on families and for bettering our community. I am satisfied, through my campaign, to have brought family-focused concepts back into our small-town political arena.

So, with that I can say, I have “NO REGRETS” for putting my all into this campaign! 


Louis Weil 

Laguna Beach

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