Mailbag: Sweat lodge helped connection to nature

I was heartened to read your story on Andrew Soliz and his Native American sweat lodges ("A spiritual place to sweat," Feb. 10):

I was a lucky participant at one of his sweats, and they are run with integrity, safety and the utmost respect for the neighborhood. Everyone was clothed and quiet. Andrew did open the flaps to allow air circulation, and we were treated to a Lakota ceremony that was a deep spiritual experience.

Soliz goes to tremendous effort to secure the right lava rocks, preps everyone on what to expect, and then sings, chants, drums and guides participants through an amazing, transformational journey tied to the four directions, plus birth and rebirth.

We emerged from the sweat feeling an amazing sense of renewal and connection to nature and the people around us. We are lucky to have such an indigenous tradition in our community, one that sprang from the very land we live upon.

Since we pride ourselves on tolerance and religious pluralism, I hope the neighbors and the city can support this man's awesome contribution to our local culture and community.

Billy Fried

Laguna Beach


How to think and live in Laguna

I disagree with the public policy of the City Council of Laguna Beach. I've seen their "holier than thou" phoniness inflict silliness on us including banning plastic bags, overruling the votes of the Constitution (fighting to overrule Proposition 8), banning fishing in an ocean, etc., so please let me offer people the 16 axioms (which I can't take credit for originating) for living la vida Laguna:

1. Do not argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with experience.

2. Light travels faster than sound. This is why some people appear bright until you hear them speak.

3. If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.

4. We never really grow up, we only learn how to act in public.

5. War does not determine who is right — only who is left.

6. To steal ideas from one person is plagiarism. To steal from many is research.

7. I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.

8. Women will never be equal to men until they can walk down the street with a bald head and a beer gut, and still think they are sexy.

9. A clear conscience is the sign of a fuzzy memory.

10. You do not need a parachute to skydive. You only need a parachute to skydive twice.

11. Money can't buy happiness, but it sure makes misery easier to live with.

12. There's a fine line between cuddling and holding someone down so they can't get away.

13. You're never too old to learn something stupid.

14. To be sure of hitting the target, shoot first and call whatever you hit the target.

15. Nostalgia isn't what it used to be.

16. Change is inevitable, except from a vending machine.

Lou Volpano

Laguna Beach


St. Francis of the Sea is a special spot

Re "Church elects replacement bishop," via on Feb.10:

Thank you for writing the article about the tiny church in Laguna Beach. We were married there in 1991 and remember how warm and welcomed Bishop Simon Talarczyk made us feel. Job transfers moved us in 1992 and still keeps us on our toes. We pray that the cathedral continues to be blessed by the sea just as she blessed us all those years ago.

Gigi Peters

Irving, Texas


Our freedoms are slowly eroding away

President Obama ruling America by mandate must be catching. Now we even have some states and cities starting to rule by mandate.

A current example is that some coastal cities are mandating that stores cannot put the customers' purchases in plastic bags. Seems too many politicians are caught up in becoming rulers in our nanny state.

This trend is eroding and destroying our freedoms, a step at a time. They are destroying our freedoms using the "how to boil a frog" system. That is, bring the water to a boil slowly and by the time the frog realizes he is being cooked, it will be too late to jump out.

Dave Connell

Laguna Beach


Grateful for chamber's award

I am very honored for the Citizen of the Year Award that was presented to me Jan. 27 at the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce's annual installation dinner.

I am proud to be a resident and active member of the special and unique community that we call Laguna Beach.

Thank you.

June Neptune

Laguna Beach

The writer is the owner and president of Tivoli Terrace and Tivoli Too!


Mother thankful for Food Pantry services

We received a lovely thank you note at the Food Pantry last week that I hope you might publish. The Food Pantry would like to encourage other Laguna Beach residents who are experiencing financial difficulties to use our free service.

The note reads:

I am a single mother who lost my job in telecommunications last year, and I have only been able to find a part-time waitress job since then. If it weren't for the free weekly groceries I am able to select at the Laguna Food Pantry, it would be very difficult to afford healthy food for my 4-year-old daughter and me. Initially, it was embarrassing to seek help, but on my first visit to the pantry I was greeted warmly and respectfully. I will always be thankful to the pantry for the support it has given me during this economically distressing time in my life.


A very grateful client of your pantry

Thank you for publishing our client's note.

Marianna Hof

Laguna Beach

The writer is the manager of the Laguna Food Pantry

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