OUR LAGUNA:Fundraiser showcases innovative home

It is said that attorneys who represent themselves have fools for clients — on the other hand, architects who design their own homes have satisfied property owners.

Mary Kate and architect husband Kirk Saunders were delighted to show off their innovative home to supporters of the Laguna Beach Community Clinic who attended a fundraiser May 5, hosted by the Saunders and greeted by Roo, the family dog.

“There were people there who have never been to a clinic event before,” said Shirley Lorenz, clinic director of development.

The house was a draw.


Among the elements that distinguish the Saunders home: hardwood stairs recycled from bowling alley lanes; doors from a 1920s bank; a rammed-earth wall using dirt dug out for the foundations and compacted; rusted corrugated steel used for the roof; a shutter that opens to act as a chimney to draw up hot air; and a shower wall. Colorful slate tiles contrast with the rusty tones.

The linear design provides views from virtually every room and the view is breathtaking, from Rimrock Canyon to the ocean.

A second unit was built next door for Kirk Saunders’ parents, a home his father will never occupy.

“The only heartbreak in the whole process was when my dad died,” Saunders said. “He was involved the whole way.”


A covered, heated deck was the first area in the main house to be set in stone, at the request of Mary Kate. It serves as a transition from inside of the house to the outdoor deck.

The folks at the fundraiser gathered on the outdoor deck, the covered deck, the open area on the opposite side of the home — which features a bathtub from one of Bette Davis’ homes — and in the rooms between, sipping wine donated by Melinda Arnold and sampling the buffet.

More than 75 people attended the event which raised $10,250.

Refreshments reflected the date of the “Sunset Fiesta.” Laguna Feast catered the taquitos and burritos, underwritten by Pam and Fred Talarico; Peter and Jackie McDougall provided the golden margaritas.

One of the highlights of the day was the auction of a $100 bottle of tequila — bought for $500 by Greg Abel and Greg Tonkovich, who promptly offered to sell shots for $5 each, all proceeds to the clinic.

Jakki Tonkovich, daughter of the Talaricos, chaired the event. Committee members included clinic board members Debbie Mulligan, Bill DeLand, Larry Gorum and Elaine Lawson; Sally Ojala, Karen Kredel and Catherine Talarico, Tonkovich’s sister-in-law; and Carolyn and Dr. Tom Bent, the clinic medical director and chief operating officer.

Bent spoke about the clinic’s role not only as a health care provider, but as a training facility for medical residents, registered nurses and nurse practitioners.

The clinic has served the community for more than 37 years, first for free and then on a sliding scale for anyone in need.


More than 16,000 patient visits were logged by the clinic in 2006.

Bent, who has been recognized as one of the county’s best family physicians, according to Lorenz, has been affiliated with the clinic for 25 years, starting as a volunteer. Dr. Korey Jorgesen, named state Family Physician of the Year in 2004, has been with the clinic since 1972.

Clinic volunteer physicians have a combined 250 years of specialty experience in such areas as diabetes, hypertension, HIV and pre-natal care, Lorenz said.

“I am so thrilled to be part of this special place,” Lorenz said. “The clinic is pivotal in supplying health care in Laguna. “We couldn’t do it without the partnership with those in the community who support our vision of health care for all.”

Among the supporters at the Sunset Fiesta: Mayor Toni Iseman and Steve Miller, Councilwoman Jane Egly, artist Mark Fleming, Vicente and former School Board member Susan Mas, Claes Molander, Johanna and Gene Felder, Pat Jamieson, Bonnie and Arnold Hano, Jan Scherer and husband, Bruce, Laguna Beach County Water Board member Water Board member.


May is Heritage Month in Laguna. It is also Poppy Month.

The American Legion Auxiliary of Laguna’s Post 222 encourages everyone to wear the paper replica of the blood red Flanders poppy this month, but especially on Memorial Day to honor the nation’s veterans, living and dead.


Financial contributions to the auxiliary are used to fund parties in veterans’ hospitals, game nights and lunches for disabled veterans.

“Your response to our annual poppy letter has always been tremendous and we thank you for helping us add much-needed dollars to the hundreds of hours we give in volunteer service to our veterans,” said Poppy Chair Jean Law.

Donations may be sent to American Legion Auxiliary, P.O. Box 517, Laguna Beach, 92652, payable to the Auxiliary Unit 222.

Laguna’s Memorial Day ceremonies will be conducted May 28 at Monument Point in Heisler Park. Assemblyman Chuck DeVore will be the keynote speaker. A musical prelude at 10:30 a.m. will precede the ceremonies, set to begin at 11 a.m. Local organizations will present floral arrangements.


South Coast Medical Center is recruiting women to help reactivate the Women’s Advisory Council.

The recruitment will kick off with a State of the Hospital reception at 5:30 p.m., June 20 or a breakfast at 8:30 a.m., June 21 in the medical center’s auditorium. Hospital President Bruce Christian and the foundation’s executive director, Councilwoman Elizabeth Schneider will attend. Tours of the facility will be available on both dates.

Invitations to either event are open to anyone interested in joining the council.

“But you don’t have to wait to join,” Schneider said.

The council will play an integral role in the South Coast Medical Center Foundation’s fundraising for new equipment and facility renovations.

Advisory Council fundraising events planned for this year include hosting the annual fashion show and a gala.

New members will be asked to participate in the committees for the gala, fashion show and/or council-sponsored events. Membership benefits include networking opportunities with other South County business women and community leaders; participation in the development of meaningful products, services and information. For more information, call Kate Mullins at (949) 499-7229.

  • 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 Suite 22 in the Lumberyard, 384 Forest Ave.; call (949) 494-4321 or fax (949) 494-8979.

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