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Laguna Beach

Letters to the Editor

Oil on Bluebird Beach

Last week (March 10, to be exact) my sister and I picked up a lot of oil on Bluebird Beach between Mountain Street and Pearl. (That photo is about 2/3 of what we harvested.) I reported it to the police and got a call back from some water quality department (I don’t remember the name of the dept. or person but 949.497.0391 is the number of whomever called me).

Letters to the Editor oil

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Nancy Englund

We stopped because it got too dark and our bags were too heavy, but feel we made a small difference. We went back the next day at low tide (wearing gloves) and picked up some more and could smell that the seaweed on the beach was loaded with it. It is a lot harder and more disgusting to pick up when it is warm than when it is cold. The city collected it and I hope can track it to its source. 

Nancy Englund

Laguna Beach

Letters to the Editor

Time to give thanks to the DRB team

After 3 years on the Design Review Board, I want to thank the Laguna Beach community, city staff and our city councilmembers for appointing me and trusting in my abilities to serve on the Board. I believe that teamwork and collaboration are at the heart of our achievements.

Being on the DRB is no easy task and making balanced decisions is challenging. At its core, the Board’s responsibility is to assess what changes are reasonable for our community’s most personally valued resources – our homes, our views, our neighborhoods.

This is a responsibility I have not taken lightly. For years, the DRB process has been feared amongst property owners and neighbors alike. During my service, the last two years as chairperson, I am proud to say we have taken actions to make this a better process for all.

These actions include:

–two rounds of streamlining processes

–rewriting the bylaws to make the process and responsibilities more consistent 

–adding a term limit clause

–encouraging more transparency, with documents available online

–successfully adapting and conducting public hearings through the pandemic 

–continuing support for ongoing online/Zoom participation for applicants and neighbors

–hosting 10+ workshops and community discussions on related topics and education

–reducing the project appeal rate 

As I conclude my service as chairperson of the Board, I wholeheartedly thank the community and those who have served alongside me. Through this process, I have personally grown, learned and valued your perspectives from project to project. 

We do not always agree on the details, but you have shared in my vision to make this a more consistent and healthier conversation for our community, showing respect for each other, listening to all the issues, being civil, and finding balance within the guidelines to meet concerns. I thank you all for your time and dedication.

Going forward, I will continue with my appointed DRB term and I look forward to continuing to serve my Laguna Beach community!

Louis Weil 

Laguna Beach


Barbara Morrison

September 10, 1949 – March 16, 2022

Obituary Barbara Morrison

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Live!

Barbara Morrison

It is with great sadness that Laguna Beach Live! announces the passing of jazz and blues legend Barbara Morrison. Barbara last performed for Laguna Live! Jazz Wednesdays in March 2020, just before the pandemic lock down. She was scheduled to be part of the opening jazz series, appearing with acclaimed saxophonist Rickey Woodard on April 6.

“Along with her monumental talent and consummate professionalism Barbara Morrison was an incredible pleasure to work with. Ever gracious and sharp witted, she had the ability to awe while making you feel special in her presence. We at Laguna Live! will sorely miss her and the twinkle in her eye.”

Originally from Detroit, Barbara Morrison’s lifelong career as a performer and recording artist included appearances worldwide with some of the greatest names in jazz: Ray Brown, Kenny Burrell, Ron Carter, Ray Charles, Dizzy Gillespie, Buddy Collette, Joe Williams, Gerald Wiggins, Jimmy Witherspoon, Hank Crawford, Eddie Harris, Nancy Wilson, David T. Walker and Jimmy Smith.

She performed in such highly regarded venues as Carnegie Hall, the North Sea Jazz Festival, the Bern Jazz Festival and the Playboy Jazz Festival. Morrison also toured Europe with Ray Charles.

In addition to teaching at UCLA, Morrison was a teacher, founder and director of her own school of music in Inglewood, teaching beginning to advanced music, jazz/blues interpretation and history, acting and concert performing techniques.

Bio courtesy of UCLA Herb Albert School of Music.

Letters to the Editor

Disagree on the concerns for SB9

With your permission, I’d like to suggest an edit to the editor. If I may, I have a correction to (Tuesday’s) publisher’s note (Fair Game): 

Instead of: “One of the items on the regular meeting portion is a proposed urgency ordinance to regulate potential Senate Bill 9 issues (where residential lots can be split). SB 9 could have major impacts on residential neighborhoods, traffic and more, if left unchecked.” 

Here, I’ll fix it for you: 

“SB9 will help alleviate California’s severe housing crunch by allowing homeowners to split their lots and build needed additional housing for new neighbors who will be Stu News Laguna readers and, no doubt, contributing members of our community. SB9 means that people of less-lofty income levels, such as teachers, retail workers, and first responders just might be able to live in the community where they work — and send their children to our well-resourced schools. Added housing stock means that kids who grew up in Laguna might even have a shot at getting an apartment here that doesn’t cost their entire first-job salaries. And, there will be new faces at Laguna block parties.”

You’re welcome! 

Barbara McMurray 

Laguna Beach

Remembering Arnold Hano

Last Saturday, the community came together to both celebrate the life of, and say goodbye to, a much beloved Arnold Hano. All the accolades aside, I believe Arnold (and his wife Bonnie) rank among Laguna’s finest, like early artists Anna Hills and William Wendt, Eiler Larsen (a.k.a. The Greeter) and Skipper (“Have a home run day”) Carrillo. Each, in his or her own way, appealed to people’s better angels. The same is true for both Arnold and Bonnie. As a lasting tribute to their commitment to Laguna, I hope a statue will be erected in their honor someday.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach


Marcia French

March 14, 1940 – February 23, 2022

Obituary Marcia French and Nancy Lee

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Curtis Lee

(L-R) Marcia French and Nancy Lee

Marcia French was born Marcia Yoko Iwasaki on March 14, 1940 in Los Angeles, California. Her early life was somewhat that of a vagabond. From her first home in Boyle Heights to a barracks in the Arizona desert as a result of Executive Order 9066 in 1942, Poston became “home” for 2-year-old Marcy, her parents Tetsuo and Michi, and thousands of other Japanese Americans. 

Marcy’s father, a Cal Tech graduate, picked sugar beets in Utah to get past the barbed wire perimeter, and ultimately to Denver and a possible job. Tets was able to get Michi and Marcy to Denver not long afterward. 

From a dry cleaning shop to production operations at Atlantic Refining Co., the Iwasakis moved to 59th Street in Philadelphia before moving to a wonderful row house in Ridley Park, Pennsylvania. Marcy started school there and began building lifelong friendships, notably one with Barbara Ann Boyer, who spoke to Marcy just a week before she passed away. 

From there, Marcy and family moved to Palmyra, NJ, where her high school years were filled with choir practice, baton twirling, cheerleading, and her dear friend Judy “Mac” McAlister. 

Marcy graduated high school in 1957 and moved west to Montebello, California. Driving her prized ’55 Chevy to Whittier College didn’t last long, because marriage brought her to Laguna Beach. Marcy learned to be a dental assistant and eventually became the dental office manager. 

Daughter Dawn was born in 1960 and son Jeffrey was born in 1963. They lived above Bluebird Park next door to Herb and Nancy Lee, and their three sons Rusty, Curtis and Robin, until 1975 when Marcy married the love of her life, Dr. Robert French. Bob and Marcy enjoyed an all-too-brief 38 years of marriage before Bob passed in 2013. 

Marcy lost Dawn to cancer in 2016, and Marcy’s dear friend Judy Mac passed shortly thereafter. Marcy found comfort and companionship among her many friends in Laguna and Blue Lagoon, spending her time playing Mahjongg and becoming a serial remodeler. The remodel projects satisfied the artist, architect, and engineer in her. Laguna and Blue Lagoon enriched her with her many close friends, Bob’s kids and grandkids, and the best of memories. 

Marcy made annual trips to visit Jeff, Stacey and Ellie in New Zealand in 2017, 2018, and 2019, but her plans to visit in 2020, 2021 and 2022 were stymied by the pandemic.

Marcia, Marcy, Mom, Gramma, Yoey, Spoild1. You left us so suddenly on February 23rd, just days before we could put 82 candles on your cupcake. So many hands of Mahjongg left unplayed with your Blue Lagoon Babes. So many of us grieving our loss, remembering the best of times shared with us. And the love that we’ve cherished and shall forever miss. 

There will a service at Laguna Beach Presbyterian Church, at the corner of Forest Avenue and 2nd Street, at 11 a.m. on Saturday, March 19, 2022. 

In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that donations be made to a local charity of your choice.

Letters to the Editor

What to do about the high cost of gas

Letters to the editor Gas sign prices 3.11

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Denny Freidenrich

During his State of the State address on Tuesday, Gov. Newsom announced he is working on a plan to put money back in the pockets of Californians to address rising gas prices. Most people I have talked to in town assume this means reducing or eliminating the gas tax. 

Another way to take the sting out of the high price at the pump is for the state to immediately issue $250 checks to all 27 million licensed drivers in California. Given the Golden State’s $31 billion surplus, Sacramento easily could afford the $6.75 billion price tag. Closer to home, the cost would be $575 million for Orange County’s 2.3 million drivers. 

The impact of the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and subsequent banning of Russian oil imports into the U.S. is clear: War never is cheap. I hope to see my $250 check soon.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Guest Letter

A message from Providence Mission Hospital Chief Executive, Seth R. Teigen

I have great news to share…Newsweek has once again recognized Providence Mission Hospital as the No. 1 hospital in all of Orange County.  This is the second consecutive time we’ve been honored with this esteemed No. 1 recognition. 

Across the state of California, we are ranked as the No. 14 hospital and included in the top 100 distinguished hospitals across the United States. Side note…there are approximately 340 hospitals in California and nearly 6,200 hospitals in the United States. 

Everyone likes receiving awards, but what does this mean to our patients? 

It means that Mission Hospital provides the safest, most exceptional high-quality care in the region and that our patients report their hospital experiences are outstanding. 

Newsweek uses three very important criteria to evaluate hospitals: patient satisfaction surveys, patient safety data and quality treatment measures. We believe that these standards – quality, safety and patient experience, along with engagement of our caregivers and physicians – are so important, that they serve as our guiding principles for everything we do.   

This prestigious recognition is a testament to the dedication of our caregivers, physicians and volunteers, and their commitment to provide the highest level of excellence and compassion to our community. It’s also a reflection of the unparalleled support we receive from our community.

Thank you for trusting Mission Hospital to be your No. 1 partner in health. 

Seth R. Teigen, FACHE, Chief Executive, Providence Mission Hospital

Letters to the Editor

Laguna Beach’s own army of Fairy Godparents could be looking for a garden near you

I wondered what our town would be like if we spent more time sharing our talents and grace with one another for the good of our community? It dawned on me, that’s precisely what the quiet, gentle and gracious members of the Laguna Beach Garden Club do each and every day! 

From building educational school gardens for the children of Laguna Beach from elementary school through middle school, to providing scholarships to many Laguna Beach High School students and Saddleback horticultural students to funding the new educational gardens at the Boys and Girls Club and funding trail maintenance at the Hortense Miller Garden and so much more. 

These busy folks also have an ongoing commitment to care for the downtown Pocket Park on Forest Street, the Sister Cities Garden in Laguna’s Heisler Park and a garden at Main Beach. Their environmental efforts include partnering with the Laguna Beach County Water District to fund a water filling station downtown to help us all fill our refillable containers while enjoying our time outdoors as well as funding and working on the city’s own pollinator garden.

The 160 plus member Club goes about all these acts of grace with quiet dignity, warmth and sheer joy. They have members from ages 30-95, from every socioeconomic level, with careers as diverse as neurologist to chief financial officer, teachers, nurses, aerospace executives and everything in between. 

They fund all these projects through their major fundraiser, the annual Gate & Garden Tour, which is a walking tour of several of the loveliest gardens that Laguna Beach residents have to offer. The tour has become an annual source of excitement for the town for the last 17 years. This tour makes all their Fairy Godparent work possible. They tirelessly canvas neighborhoods each year to find a grouping of homes that will make for a wonderful experience for tour guests. 

Susan South, one of last year’s homeowners stated, “Allowing my garden to be used was a sheer delight as we saw the joy and excitement of the guests that visited on tour day, I’m so happy that so many of my neighbors joined in and opened their homes as well. Our neighborhood buzzed with goodwill and esprit de corps. Knowing how much good they do for the community with the funds earned by this tour was just fantastic.”

This year the club is looking for homes in the North Laguna area specifically around the Crescent Bay area. If you find a letter in your mailbox requesting that your home be on the tour or happen to meet them on their scouting walks in your neighborhood, please take a moment to consider allowing your garden to be part of this great Laguna Beach tradition. 

In the words of Luther Burbank, “Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food, and medicine for the soul.” 

Please join the club in bringing more joy, happiness and grace to our beautiful city.

Karen Nelson

Laguna Beach Garden Club

Laguna Beach

Group of locals gather as a sign of support for Ukraine

War brings out the best and worst in people. Thankfully, many of Laguna’s best turned out last Thursday for a community photo to honor and support the freedom-loving people of Ukraine. 

Letters to the editor group photo SNL 3.8 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Zoe Marie

Following a moment of silence, I had the opportunity to talk about the horrors of war, and what exactly Ukrainian families are facing now that Russian forces have invaded their country. 

“Women and children have been forced out of their homes and are living in underground shelters. They are waiting for trains and buses to take them to safety. Despite freezing weather, some have resorted to walking to the Polish border,” I reminded the crowd. 

“Imagine bombs being dropped on North Laguna, downtown, TOW, Woods Cove, Arch Beach Heights or South Laguna, and then tanks rolling up Forest Avenue. What would you do? The terror and panic would be overwhelming.”

As the saying goes, “One picture’s worth a thousand words.” I’m pleased Thursday’s community photo focused on these four words: “Laguna Stands With Ukraine.”

Among those pictured are City Clerk Ann Marie McKay, Diane and Cort Kloke, Lisa Mansour, Kirsten Whalen, Tom Davis, Patricia Twitty, Tom and Vickie Lamb, Faye Baglin, Kristin Thomas, Dr. William Anderson, Jessica deStefano, Pat Sparkuhl, Mary Dawe, Maggie Owens, Bob Mister, Gayle Waite, Kathleen Quinlivan, Barbara and Greg MacGillivray and many others.

For those wishing to donate to Ukrainian relief organizations, contact UNICEF or the European Food Banks Federation.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Looking back on this year’s parade recognizing those who make it special

Yes, it was quite a parade. Cancelled last year because of the pandemic, it was exciting if not nostalgic to view again this local icon of American pride and patriotism. 

Having been Patriot of the Year a few years ago, I can attest to the pride one feels being so honored. This year’s honored patriot, Bill Sandlin, was an outstanding choice. 

As I viewed the parade from the stands in front of City Hall, my thoughts turned to the reality of our times. There I was, along with my aged comrades-in-arms from the VFW and the American Legion, representing along with the Marines and other veterans groups participating in the military side of patriotism. 

But, in the cheering crowd and the marchers parading were others – health givers, police, fire fighters, charitable organizations, youth support groups, environmental protagonists, better schools proponents and just patriotic Americans – all contributing equally, if not heroically, to our community. 

My thoughts dwelled on the realization that we veterans are but proud relics of prior hostilities while the youth of our great nation could again face adversity against belligerent foes, i.e., today the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians or that nut case in North Korea; tomorrow who knows what?   

The unwarranted invasion of the Ukraine by all of those Russian troops and the seemingly insatiable obsession of Putin to control and manipulate former Russian satellites could result in another worldwide conflagration.            

And at this late stage of our respective lives, outside of encouraging and supporting active personnel and veterans in need as we do now, what could we elderly veterans really do; how could we contribute if worldwide hostilities broke out? The urge to serve still burns brightly but I sure as hell don’t want old guys like me carrying a rifle and we don’t want to see our younger people in combat again (been there and done that). 

Let us hope, then, that cooler heads will prevail and that peaceful, worldwide solutions will evolve even with bullies like Vladimir Putin and XI Jinping and that somehow in some way the various factions of our divided nation unite to practice the neglected arts of mutual respect, compromise and negotiation. 

Be assured, however, that if our great nation becomes imperiled by foreign or internal forces intent on destroying our democracy, Americans will unite as always. 

And, finally, let’s hope that next year’s parade will be as inspiring, joyful, peaceful and successful as this year’s was. Take care. Be vigilant. Protect our democracy.

Arnie Silverman

LB VFW Post 5868

Laguna Beach


Jeannie Joan Mallarian

July 6, 1947 – January 23, 2022

Obituary Jeannie Joan Mallarian

Photo by Doug Miller

Jeannie Joan Mallarian

Jeannie Joan Mallarian was born July 6, 1947, in Fargo, N.D. She passed away on Jan. 23, 2022, at home with her dear friend Betty Bowman at her side.

Jeannie is preceded in death by her parents, three brothers, her husbands Junior Hellarood and Mike Mallarian and her son-in-law Glenn Davis. She is survived by her daughter Maggie Mallarian Davis; granddaughter Georgia Davis and grandsons Dylan and Spencer Davis; sister Linda (Ralph); and brother Danny (Vonnie); special nieces, nephews and many cherished friends.

She was a long-time resident in Laguna Beach who could be easily spotted working at The Jolly Roger for 25 years and then at The White House for another eight years. You also could see her frequently walking along her favorite, Main Beach, chatting with perfect strangers as if they were family or at Patch Cunningham’s toe ring booth at the Sawdust Festival. Jeannie will be missed beyond words. She truly was a Laguna Beach icon.

Stop by Dizz’s patio on Saturday, March 19 at noon to mingle with old friends and remember Jeannie, Laguna’s favorite waitress.

Light snacks and soft drinks will be provided and there will be a no host bar.

To all of you who have loved and supported Jeannie throughout the years and during her cancer battle THANK YOU!

If you are planning to attend, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., so we can plan accordingly.


John Keels Pettit Jr.

December 15, 1942 – February 9, 2022

Obituary John K. Pettit Jr

Courtesy of the Pettit family

John Keels Pettit Jr.

John Keels Pettit Jr. passed away fearlessly yet peacefully on February 9, 2022 with his family by his side, in the Laguna Beach home he built. He was 80 years young.

John was born and raised in La Jolla, Calif. Often referred to as “Felix” or “Big J” by friends and family, he developed an affinity for adventuring and the outdoors at a young age. One of the original members of the renowned Wind N Sea Surf Club, John was an avid surfer & diver through his teens, but would soon after transition into a well-rounded waterman, heading commercial fishing charters from San Diego to South America. After honing his skills in the Pacific Ocean, John took a hiatus from Southern California and ventured to the mountains landing in Sun Valley, Idaho. There he built his first home in the form of a log cabin and began pursing what would become his new passions – white water kayaking and skiing. John’s amiable character and eager nature resonated with the resident “crew” who immediately took him under their wing. He absorbed everything the local outdoorsmen threw his way and became a staple in the community; guiding rafting and kayak tours during summer, and doing avalanche control for the Sun Valley Ski Patrol in the winter.

Just when John thought he had found his forever home, he met a young brunette artist from Laguna Beach by the name of Holly Ann Nichols; the love of his life whom he would spend the next 44 years with.

Upon starting a family, John packed up his mountain life and headed back to Southern California, residing in Laguna Beach with Holly. As an experienced carpenter, John would build Holly’s booths at the Sawdust Festival each summer, where she would showcase her ceramic talents. During this time John would also refocus his attention back to the ocean and master celestial navigation, earning his captain’s license in the process. From there he proceeded to conduct local charters on a famous wooden schooner in Dana Point called the Kelpie and led long-distance charters from Hawaii to California chasing the Transpac Race. Captain John was a worthy seaman.

John and Holly’s family quickly grew from one to four, which led John to pursue a safer form of employment…endeavoring to take up building full time. With a knack for geometry and an eye for style, he created a niche role for himself doing custom stair design. As an independent contractor for developers at the time, John, with a small crew, had a hand in building many homes in what is now the greater Aliso Viejo and Laguna Hills area.

John retired from building at the ripe age of 65, in-turn focusing his energy on both the Single-Handed Sailing Race Circuit and Theology. As John’s study and knowledge of Christianity grew, so did his faith, which he carried with great pride to the end.

John was a devoted husband, loving father and a truly selfless individual. He will be remembered as a man whose goodness, honesty and strength of character always led him to defend what he believed in with certainty and one who stood up for others wholeheartedly. He is survived by his wife Holly, children Chelsea, Blake and Dustin, son in-law Brian, daughter in-laws Eva and Alex, grandchildren Mason, Harper, Blakely, Breck, Briar and Wallace, Brother Ralph and his dog, Caleb.

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