The Pacific Marine Mammal Center has hired its first executive director in its 42-year history. The board of directors of the center on Laguna Canyon Road has hired marine biologist Keith Matassa for the job.
Matassa has more than 27 years of marine animal and leadership experience. He last worked at the University of New England's Marine Animal Rehabilitation Center. His specialties include marine mammal anatomy and diseases. Since age 5 he has had a passion for marine life, according to a center press release.
"The animals tell us what's going on in the oceans, and it's important that we pay attention to their message," Matassa said in the release.
The center has seen an influx of malnourished and dehydrated sea lion pups. As of Monday, the center had 38 sea lions on hand, compared to six for January 2012.
Matassa began work Feb. 4. His primary focus will be to provide supportive and directional leadership to the agency, located in a red barn at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road.
Carole Zavala served as interim executive director for the past year, said Melissa Sciacca, the center's director of development.
The facility and gift shop are open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Donations still needed for Boutique Benefit
Residents are encouraged to donate clothes and accessories to help benefit several charities during a drop-off Feb. 23.
The drop-off is part of Boutique Benefit's goal to collect items to place on sale in May, with proceeds going to help charities such as the Laguna Resource Center, Impact Giving and Women for Women International. The organizations help battle homelessness and provide assistance to terminally ill children, destitute seniors and women survivors of war.
Items can be dropped off from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Feb. 23 at Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Ave. More than $85,000 has been raised since the event's inception seven years ago.
Items needed include clean designer and name-brand clothing for women, men and children; and shoes, handbags, hats, belts and scarves. Additional drop-offs will occur on the last Saturday of each month heading up to the one-day sale, from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 18 at the Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann's Drive.
City accepting applications for Heritage Committee
The city's Heritage Committee is seeking members for one- and two-year terms.
The City Council is accepting applications for four two-year terms and one one-year term for a committee that serves as an advisory role on matters relating to historic preservation, such as placement of a structure on the Historic Register or removal of a structure from the register. The committee usually meets once a month.
Applicants must be Laguna Beach residents. Applications can be picked up at the city clerk's office and turned in by 5 p.m. March 12. Council members will interview applicants at 6 p.m. March 19 during the regular City Council meeting in Council Chambers at 505 Forest Ave.
For questions, call the city clerk's office at (949) 497-0705.
Chamber creates calendar for nonprofits' events
Nonprofits wishing to advertise their signature events can do so with an online calendar available on the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce website.
The chamber is seeking nonprofits who wish to advertise their public events — not board, committee or organizational meetings. The calendar is viewable on the chamber's website, lagunabeachchamber.org under the "Events" tab called "Community Calendar."
Organizations can submit the email address of the person who organizes or publishes their events to the chamber at email@example.com.
The goal of the calendar is to help nonprofits schedule and plan events that do not compete with each other, according to a chamber press release.
For more information, contact the chamber at (949) 494-1018.
— Bryce Alderton