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A wedding to behold

OUR LAGUNA

Victor Rollinger and Mary Stemmle exchanged wedding vows at

Crescent Bay Park. His sister, Jeanette Rollinger, officiated.

The Rollingers are the son and daughter of M. Victor Rollinger and

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Verna Rollinger, who is serving her seventh term as city clerk.

Former Laguna Beach resident and long-time member of Village Laguna

Dorothy “Betty” Swenson is their grandmother.

The groom graduated from Laguna Beach High School in 1978, his

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sister in 1982. He works for Flextronics in San Diego. His sister is

a biology professor at College of the Sequoias in Visalia and an

ordained minister in the Universal Life Church.

The bride, who has a master’s degree in counseling, works at

Phoenix University. She wore a white silk gown, with embroidery on

the bodice, sleeves, scooped neckline and skirt and a short veil for

the wedding.

Harpist Kathy Kavanaugh played music.

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Wedding guests and the bridal party were taken to the park in

North Laguna by a city trolley. After the ceremony, everyone piled

back onto the trolley for the ride to Verna Rollinger’s home, where

the reception was held.

The couple met about three years ago at the Tennis Exchange Club

in San Diego.

They honeymooned in Kauai and will make their home in San Diego.

A JOB WELL DONE

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Laguna Beach Fire Capt. Eugene D’Isabella will complete his last

shift on Dec. 23. The Patriot’s Day Parade won’t seem the same

without “D’iz” at the wheel of the Seagrave engine.

D’Isabella has been with the fire department for more than 44

years, a full-time firefighter since July 12, 1964. He was promoted

to captain on Aug. 11, 1968, and served as acting battalion chief

from Dec. 16, 1985, to June 30, 1986.

He is the senior member of the department and saw it through the

darkest days of discontent when the Firefighters Assn. was at odds

with city officials. He initiated the department’s liaison with the

Assistance League of Laguna Beach, which provides teddy bears for

children to cuddle during stressful times.

D’Isabella’s commitment to the job was recognized in 2001 by the

Orange County Fire Service, which presented him with the Monsignor

John Sammon Award, named for the county fire service chaplain, an

award for overachievers.

“That is a really big deal in the fire service,” said department

administrative assistant Carrie Joyce, an award winner the previous

year.

Before joining the fire department, D’Isabella served in the U.S.

Marine Corps and then worked for the Laguna Beach Unified School

District in the bus maintenance department. He and his wife, Anna,

live in North Laguna. They were married in 1955 and have two children

and one grandchild, who visits them every summer.

A shift party for department members only will be held Dec. 23. A

public reception will be held in January. The date is to be

announced.

Also, Fire Capt. Dan Stefano has earned his master’s in public

administration from Cal State Long Beach.

SPEED QUEEN

Cathy Butler topped off an eight-race campaign Sunday by breaking

the land-speed record for 50-cubic-centimeter motorcycles on the dry

lakebed at El Mirage.

“The great thing about land-speed racing is that it doesn’t have

anything to do with gender or age,” Butler said.

Butler, whose husband, Van, is her pit crew, clipped more than a

minute off of the old record in the final race of the year.

Six races are held at El Mirage and two at the Bonneville Salt

Flats -- for a variety of classes, determined by engine size and body

design of the vehicle.

Butler races a “bike” with a 50-cubic-centimeter production

engine.

“It’s really a moped,” said Butler, who weighs a slight 100 pounds

on her slim 5-foot, 5-inch frame,

This was her rookie year.

“I told Van I wanted to do some kind of racing,” Butler said. “Our

friend, Wink Eler, is a Harley-Davidson customizer-racer with

numerous records. He introduced us to land-speed racing.”

She looks forward to next racing season.

The Butlers live in Laguna Beach and own a wholesale custom

upholstery shop in Laguna Canyon.

HELPING HANDS

The Laguna Beach Woman’s Club, which was founded in 1920 to

support women here who sought to enrich their lives, is extending its

help to the women of Afghanistan.

“We want to establish a girl’s school, perhaps with an adjacent

clinic,” said Anne Johnson, the club’s International Relations chair.

“We hope other women’s groups in town will join our effort as

information on how to proceed becomes available.”

The club is presently working with Rotary and Crossroads, a group

founded in the late 1970s by Vern Spitaleri and Laguna Beach

businessman Sawdiq Tawfiq, the Afghanistan-born owner of the store

Khyber Pass, which sells Persian rugs.

Crossroads wanted even then to establish Herat as a sister city to

Laguna Beach.

“They saw many similarities between Laguna and Herat,” Johnson

said. “Both were centers of art and culture.”

The communist invasion of Afghanistan stymied the effort. The

Taliban takeover completely halted it. Arts and crafts were no longer

encouraged.

But it is the Taliban’s outrageous treatment of women that has

raised the hackles of local women, particularly women who vigorously

support equal opportunity for women.

Local artists and members of the club and of the American Assn. of

University Women attended a meeting Nov. 14 at the club. A speaker

had been scheduled, but at the last moment the woman’s husband

persuaded his wife not to appear because he feared reprisals.

“That says a lot,” Johnson said.

Teacher Jaclyn Shaw substituted for the speaker. She wore a

Katawazi regional dress over bloomers to present a videotape of the

Afghanistan she learned to love as a member of the Peace Corps in the

early 1970s.

Shaw taught for two years at the American University in Kabul.

Tawfiq was one of her students.

Tawfiq later came to the United States to study at UC Irvine and

was stranded by the Soviet invasion. He didn’t visit his homeland

again for almost 30 years.

Tawfiq spent those years building up a business and striving to

preserve the traditional crafts of his native people.

“I think he wants to start an Afghan Center here,” Shaw said. “I’d

like to establish an International University with sites in

Afghanistan and California.”

Johnson would be satisfied to harness the woman-power of Laguna.

Anyone interested in participating may call Johnson for more

information at 497-5334.

* 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.


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