Barbara Diamond

The Assistance League of Laguna Beach celebrated 50 years of community

service Saturday at the newly remodeled Chapter House on Catalina Street.

It was a biggie.


“We even got a telephone call from President Bush’s secretary saying

in response to our invitation that he was very sorry that he and Laura

couldn’t make the celebration,” said Karen Stevens, a past president of

the chapter.


Five other past chapter presidents attended the reception: Betty

Groves, Mary Jane Yohe, Julie Kee, Jean Fitzgerald and founding President

Patsy Tartaglia.

The celebration also marked the 25th year of the chapter’s Early

Intervention Program for developmentally challenged babies and the 10th

year of the Los Ninos support group.

“Last year we chartered our Assisteens program and it will be huge,”

said Karen.


The teenagers help out in the Turnabout Shop, a resale shop of donated

items. The payoff is threefold: the teenage volunteers accumulate

community service hours toward their graduation requirements; those on a

limited income can find clothing, books and household goods at affordable

prices; and the proceeds fund chapter programs, such as the purchase and

training of police dogs for the Laguna Beach Police Department.

Pam Alexander directs the hugely successful Early Intervention

Program, which works with children and their parents. Cayley MacDonald,


Kathie Olliver and Julie Dawson staff the program.

“I have been here since 1978,” Cayley said.

The chapter house recently underwent a face-lift. The office, which is

on an outside wall with lots of windows allows light to flow into the

boardroom through a glass partition.

Marcia Tweedie and Carol Sorensen chaired the renovation committee.

The building, which has a full kitchen, is now available for events,

weddings and meetings.

For more information or to make reservations, call Barbara Scott at


A pictorial history of the chapter was displayed at the chapter house

Saturday. Provisional members Annette Ornburg, Betty Bauer, Camile Drey

and Charlotte Gros, who will be installed May 14, prepared the story

boards. Cheri Bourguinon created the beautiful floral topiaries that

graced the tables in the main room of the chapter house and the bouquet

in the foyer where Lois Stone and Michelle Higgins greeted guests.

Vicki Geisler chaired the reception committee, assisted by Diane

Gelfer, Michelle and Lois.

Police Chief James Spriene and Captain Paul Workman were among the

guests. Orange County Sheriff’s Officer Lt. Linda Spreine, Laguna Niguel

chief with ties to Laguna also attended. Linda was a sergeant in the

Laguna Beach Police Department when she married Jim, then the deputy


The Laguna Beach Fire Department sent six representatives to the

reception. Also on the guest list: Susan Jacob and Ted Hankin, City

Councilwoman Toni Iseman, Community Clinic board President Lee

Winocur-Field, Annette and Emmy-winning television producer and avid

gardener Bob Henry, David and Mary Young, former Mayor Wayne Peterson and

Terry Smith.

Ten years and counting

“The Blade” displayed its biggest issue ever at a 10th anniversary celebration Sunday at Woodies at the Beach.

“We have been celebrating all month,” said Jospeh Amster, editor of

the magazine devoted to gay and lesbian issues.

Despite the difficulty in finding distribution points, the magazine

has thrived, growing from 40 pages in the first issue to 116 pages in the May edition.

“It is a success,” said publisher Bill La Pointe, a Laguna Beach


Ten years ago, gay and lesbian issues were not given much coverage by

the Orange County media, according to Bill.

“We had no Ventura Boulevard, no Castro Street,” he said. The void

became apparent to Bill when he and a couple of friends went to a

demonstration in Garden Grove to protest Governor Wilson’s veto of

AB-101, a bill the gay community believed was in their best interests.

It wasn’t a big stretch to decide that the gay and lesbian community

needed a voice.

But Bill had to ask himself if the gay community would support a

magazine and if enough advertising could be generated to make it pay for

itself. His answer: “I don’t care.”

A social worker for 30 years, Bill found in himself a talent for

business. He sold enough advertising to fund the first edition before it

ever was published.

“We have never been in the red,” he said.

He likens the magazine’s success to being deeply in love.

“I am so happy I get tears in my eyes,” he said. “Respect from people

I respect, that is the ultimate achievement.”

Joseph Amster was running Dorothy’s Thrift Shop on Broadway when he

began writing the occasional article for “The Blade.” “Then I became the

senior writer and when the editor David Ethridge decided to move on to

the Register, I decided to take the risk and asked Bill for the job,”

Joseph said.

He writes more now than ever before, including most of the Orange

County news, a column, national and international news. Joseph, who grew

up in Corona del Mar, began his career in journalism at Spectrum News, a

gay- and lesbian-news show that ran on public television for two years.

He has been a Laguna Beach resident for 22 years with his partner, Vince

Croome. Vince also writes for the magazine under the byline Trivia Queen

as well as a food column with Joseph. Chris Quilter was among the guests

at the celebration Sunday. Chris, who has contributed articles to “The

Blade,” comes by his writing talent honestly. He is the son of the late

Elizabeth Quilter, who wrote for the Laguna Coastline News under the nom

de plume of Suzi Q. The Rev. Lillian Lobb of Christ Chapel of Laguna

Beach also attended the celebration. Also on the guest list: North Laguna

resident George Raab, who hosted the Russian Christmas fund-raiser for

AIDS research, the Rev. Rosalind Russell, who has performed ceremonies in

town for same-sex couples, Lindsay Hart, a Laguna Beach Outreach

volunteer; and Kari Webster, who has worked at the Laguna Beach post

office for nine years and became friendly with “The Blade” through the

post office box it maintains at the La Playa office on Forest Avenue.

*Our Laguna is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot.

Contributions are welcomed. Write to Barbara Diamond, P.O. Box 248,

Laguna Beach, 92652, hand-deliver to 384 Forest Ave., Suite 22; call

494-4321 or fax 494-8979.