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Holiday parties aid those in need

In a continuation of the year-round effort by residents to help

those in need, a dinner was held last night at Legion Hall for

low-income families. The event included a visit from Santa and gifts

for children.


This morning, the Laguna Resource Center will host a breakfast and

party from 9 to 11:30 a.m. at the Laguna Presbyterian Church at 415

Forest Ave. Debi Cortez, the center’s outreach director, said that

there will be food, caroling, gifts and more.


Tonight at 5 p.m., the Woman’s Club will have its annual holiday

party -- a free party where kids can see Santa and get toys, and

their parents can enjoy a “Shopping Spree” and obtain clothing and

household items.

The coordinators stressed that items are still needed for families

and anyone can donate all day until 4 p.m. at the Woman’s Club at 286

St. Ann’s Drive.

“It’s not too late to bring stuff,” volunteer Sande St. John said.


” We really, really need gloves, scarfs, hats, thermal anything,

especially warm clothing.”

Families are in need of used clothing for women, men and children,

housewares, used toys and books in good shape.

“It’s really gratifying, not just to the families -- more so to us

to see the people in town coming and bringing such love,” St. John

said. “Laguna is so caring, and the families are so appreciative.”

The event started more than 10 years ago and has grown to where it


is now serving about 250 people and families. Anyone can come and

take what they want or need.

For information, call the Woman’s Club at 497-1200.

-- Suzie Harrison

Several ways to give this season

There are plenty of ways Lagunans can contribute to needy children

and animals this season.

Laguna Beach firefighters are holding the annual Spark of

Love/Toys for Tots Holiday Toy Drive. Together with firefighters

throughout Southern California, they will collect unwrapped toys and

sports equipment for toddlers as well as teens who are less fortunate

this holiday season. Lagunans can bring a new unwrapped item to any

of the city’s four stations.

“This is definitely one of those charities that firefighters

enjoy,” Capt. Dan Stefano said. “It’s such a special event as far as

who is benefiting from it.”

The campaign will run through Christmas day. For more information

on the Spark of Love Toy Drive or holiday safety, contact the Laguna

Beach Fire Department at (949) 497-0700. The stations are at Forest

Avenue, Agate and Glenneyre Streets, Alta Laguna and Tree Top Lane,

and 2nd Avenue in South Laguna. Another drop box is in the lobby of

the Laguna Beach Police Department.

“Operation Santa Paws” is spearheading a canine/feline toy and

treat drive to benefit less-fortunate animals at shelters and pet

rescues this season, said Justin Rudd, organizer of the holiday


“It’s a joy to help out these underprivileged animals, some who

are abused, neglected or abandoned,” Rudd said. “Giving these shelter

dogs and cats toys and treats at Christmas puts smiles on their faces

and hope in their hearts.”

Items needed include durable puppy and dog toys such as the

Indestructible Ball, Nylabone, Kong, Booda, Gumabones, Velva or Best

Ball brands; dog and cat shampoo; dry food and soft dog treats; food

and water bowls of all sizes; kitten and cat toys; cardboard serving

trays to use as litter boxes; cleaning supplies and heating pads for

infant animals.

The donations will be collected from shelters and participating

business and then distributed on Dec. 23. Donations will be accepted

until Dec. 22 at the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, 20612 Laguna Canyon Road. Information: (949) 497-3552.

The Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach is set to benefit from “A

Time For Smiles” holiday toy drive sponsored by Toys R’ Us, Inc., The

Toys R’ Us Children’s Fund, Inc. and ABC News’ Good Morning America.

A donation of $1, $5 or $10 can be made to The Toys R’ Us

Children’s Fund at any Toys R’ Us, Kids R’ Us or Babies R’ Us store

through Dec. 24. The children’s fund will donate the money to the

Boys and Girls Clubs of America, which will use the donations to

purchase toys for club members across the country and on military

bases in the United States and in Europe and Asia.

-- Mary A. Castillo

SchoolPower presents funds to district

Newly elected board member Betsy Jenkins was sworn in with

re-elected members Robert Whalen and Kay Turner at the school board

meeting Tuesday.

One of the first orders of business was hearing a special

presentation from SchoolPower, which included a check for $44,760

made out to the teachers and a check for $150,000 for the district.

“I want to put my hands on it,” Turner said as she posed with

SchoolPower President Bill Moore and Campaign Chair Bill Steel.

The allotment to the teachers set a record. The sum gives

approximately $400 to every teacher in the district, Steel said.

“This gives them another pocket for them to reach into for the

benefit of the children,” he said.

This year’s campaign has so far raised more than $225,157 for the

district. Steel thanked the board members, administrators and

teachers for making the job of appealing to the community for funds


“It makes our job a lot easier when everything is going well,” he


“This is the first time we’ve presented so much money,” Moore

said. The foundation’s contribution met this year’s amount budgeted

by the district.

“The rest,” Moore said, “will be gravy.”

SchoolPower is still accepting contributions to meet its goal of

$260,000. For more information, call (949) 494-6811.

-- Mary A. Castillo

New board for Boys, Girls Club

The Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach announced the incoming

board of directors and new board members.

Longtime supporter Keith Swayne will serve as president of the

Board of Directors for the Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach for

2003. The executive committee also includes Bill Fischer as vice

president of operations, Don Crevier as vice president of

development, Bob Wright as treasurer and Ruth Dugue as secretary.

“Role models are important in helping kids understand how to make

right choices,” Swayne said.

He has been personally involved with the clubs since his youth and

his children were members of the Laguna Beach club. He has also acted

as co-chair of the capital campaign for the renovation and expansion

of the club facility and is a national trustee for the Boys and Girls

Clubs of America.

“For over 50 years, the Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach has

provided a safe and positive place that enhances the lives and

futures of our youth,” said Kim Maxwell, executive director of the

club, in a written statement.

New board members Mike Hefty, Ginny Blossom and Milt Naylor will

serve starting next year.

Maxwell also thanked the outgoing members of the 2002 board of

directors, Rick Giangeruso, Walt Lindberg, Susie Kubesh, Gary Kubesh

and Sandy Toruno.

“Our club members are fortunate to benefit from the heartfelt

commitment and endless efforts of these very special and caring

people,” she said. “We are extremely grateful to these wonderful

members of our community and we feel privileged to have their

participation on our Board of Directors.”

-- Mary A. Castillo

Laguna Coast Wilderness signs awarded

On Nov. 14 the Orientation Signs at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park

gained national recognition and received second place in the Wayside

Exhibit category at the Interpretive Media Awards presented by the

National Assn. for Interpretation.

The Acorn Group, a design firm selected by Laguna Canyon

Foundation to help create the signs, submitted the project titled

“Laguna Coast Wilderness Park: A Mosaic of Landscape.”

The Orientation Signs are easel-supported images of original

Laguna plein air paintings of current park access trails with text

about the site and an appropriate verse.

Visitors can view these signs within the Laguna Coast Wilderness

Park at Laurel Canyon, Dilley Preserve, Barbara’s Lake, Little

Sycamore Canyon and Big Bend, as well as an access point at Bommer

Ridge between Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and Crystal Cove State


With funding from the Donald Bren Foundation, the team selected

Jennifer Rigby of The Acorn Group and Laura Stahlberg of SoLa

Creative to lead the sign development.

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn. was asked to help with the

paintings of the six sites. Artists Saim Caglayan, Ken Auster, John

Cosby, Jacob Baas, Jeff Horn and Cynthia Britian each selected a site

and created a new artwork.

With a grant from the Joan Irvine Smith & Athalie R. Clarke

Foundation, Laguna Canyon Foundation was able to purchase the

original paintings for the future James and Rosemary Nix Nature

Center at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.