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Helping the environment

Two Laguna Beach men, a hotel and an environmental nonprofit foundation were honored by the Laguna Beach City Council on March 24 for their contributions to the environment.

The honorees — Arnold Hano, Tom Osborne, Casa Laguna Inn and Endangered Planet Gallery — were selected from a “strong” list of nominees by the Environmental Committee, said Max Isles, a committee member.

Hano has arguably the longest tenure of activism, Isles said.

“He has decades of service, from preventing the dynamiting of wilderness caves to stopping high-rise hotels, at a time when Laguna Beach was the only city with an anti-high-rise ordinance,” Isles said.


Hano received a thunderous applause as he accepted the award, a star-shaped glass sculpture by John Barber, from Mayor Kelly Boyd. The sculptures were mounted on wood.

Casa Laguna Inn, 2510 S. Coast Hwy., was the one of the first to join the “Green Hotel” movement, Isles said. The many “green” components include measures to increase conservation, and reduce waste and energy use.

“And they did it while maintaining the charm of the old Laguna building,” Isles said.

Paul Blank, one of the owners of Casa Laguna Inn, accepted the award.


Endangered Planet Foundation was honored for promoting awareness of global climate issues and also for its four-day environmental festival and symposium, held last year. Founder Charles Michael Murray accepted the award, accompanied to the podium by his son, Oliver, and foundation members.

Tom Osborne, a former member of the Environmental Committee, was lauded for championing the U.S. Mayor’s Climate Protection Act several years ago, among other activities.

“Tom puts us all to shame,” Isles said. After lobbying the council to sign on to the national environmental effort, “he kept at it like a bulldog to get the Climate Protection Action Plan,” Isles said. Osborne is also active with the South Laguna Civic Assn. and focuses especially on efforts to monitor ocean-water quality.

The awards were designed to recognize environmental activism within the last three years.

CINDY FRAZIER is city editor of the Coastline Pilot. She can be contacted at (949) 380-4321 or