Up the ladder he rose to battalion chief

BARBARA DIAMOND

Kris Head will be pinned at 9 a.m., Monday in City Hall.

Fire Chief Ken MacLeod will conduct the Badge Pinning Ceremony

celebrating Head's promotion from fire captain to battalion chief.

Head, 43, joined the Laguna Beach Fire Department in 1984 as a

firefighter. He was one of the city's first paramedics. The city

promoted him to permanent acting paramedic captain on June 2, 1988

and to full captain in March of 1989.

"He has been a paramedic all that time," department administrative

assistant department administrative assistant Carrie Joyce said. "I

love getting his reports: they are so literate and so neat, but then

he is so neat."

While serving the city, Head earned his bachelor's degree from the

University of Redlands in business and management. He has numerous

letters of commendation in his file.

Deputy City Clerk Martha Anderson will swear in Head. The "pinner"

has not been named.

"Generally, they like to surprise us," Joyce said.

She suspects it will be Head's wife, Kimberly.

The couple has three children: daughter Corrin, 12, and twins,

Kyle and Katie, 7.

GARDEN GATE

City Manager Ken Frank reported an increase in visitors to the

Hortense Miller Gardens this summer. He attributes the 20% increase

in July and the 80% spike to an article in the AAA of Southern

California "Westways" magazine.

Reservations to the gardens have already exceeded 125 for August.

The Community Service Department schedules reservations. Docents

conduct the tours.

Marsha Bode is the garden manager. Chloe Echternacht is the

president of the Friends of the Hortense Miller Gardens.

"We could use more docents," Echternacht said. "Anyone who is

interested can call docent chair Dorothea Lyellot at (949) 494-6627.

For reservations, call (949) 497-0716.

DEBUT

Melissa Verdugo made her No Square Theatre debut with "Babes in

Arms," performed Aug. 6 to 8 at the Artists Theater.

But you never saw her on stage.

Verdugo, who joined the staff of No Square Theater in July as the

artistic director, served as stage manager for "Babes In Arms."

In her short time with No Square, Verdugo already has plans for

the future.

"First, I really want to go back to the theater's roots -- as a

venue to produce musical shows that are more abstract," Verdugo said.

She also is working on a summer theater camp for children.

"It would be like any day camp, except it would focus on

performing," Verdugo said. "Classes would be held in the morning,

with three counselors in music, dance and acting. Then everyone would

have lunch together.

"In the afternoon, they would put what they had learned into

action. The counselors would turn into director, choreographer and

musical director."

Verdugo had committed to stage manage "Babes in Arms" before she

was encouraged by No Square board members to apply for the staff

position.

"Stage managing gave me the opportunity to meet people involved in

No Square and see how a show is put together," Verdugo said.

Verdugo's first contact with Laguna was through friend Karen

Rymer, a No Square performer who introduced her last year to Bree

Burgess Rosen, founder of "Lagunatics" and founding artistic director

of No Square..

Verdugo stage-managed the 2003 "Lagunatics."

She had previously met No Square founder Adam Hemming when he

worked with a vocal group at the Orange County High School of the

Arts, where Verdugo is on the staff of the Music and Theatre and

Production and Production and Design departments.

"OCHSA moved me down to Southern California from Sacramento,"

Verdugo said.

Before moving south, she spent four years with Sacramento Music

Circus.

Pretty impressive resume for someone who turned 23 a week ago.

GROVES OF ACADEME

Roxanne E. Duka was awarded a diploma at the 223rd commencement at

Phillips Exeter Academy, a co-educational, independent secondary

school in New Hampshire, founded in 1781.

She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Lonnie Duka of Laguna Beach.

* 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 (949) 494-4321 or fax (949) 494-8979.

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