Mailbag: LagunaTunes grateful for grant

I'd like to take a moment to thank the Festival of Arts Foundation for its generous grant of $2,500 to LagunaTunes.

We are so fortunate to live in a town where there is such strong support for the arts. We in LagunaTunes feel a special bond to the town since we are comprised of mainly Laguna Beach residents.

We rehearse in preparation for two concerts each year, one in June and another in December. We also stand proudly on the steps of Sundried Tomato every Hospitality Night in December and serenade the town with our holiday songs.

You can't imagine the joy we feel when we are singing for our town and its visitors. It is a rare group that comes together, no auditions necessary, and give their all to produce a few melodies that we may not only feel happiness, but give a little, too.

On behalf of LagunaTunes I'd like to express our gratitude for our town and for The Festival of Arts Foundation for supporting us.

Patti Jo Kiraly

Laguna Beach

Editor's note: The author is president of LagunaTunes.


The 'old spirit' of Laguna is still alive

Just when you think the "old spirit" of Laguna is gone — think again. I had the refreshing experience of the old Laguna coming together a few Sunday nights ago and felt compelled to share it with all Lagunaians.

Part of the last remaining large grove of Eucalyptus trees in North Laguna was entrusted to me by my mother, Helen "B" through inheritance. Her philosophy was "Like the beach, these trees are part of Laguna." I inherited that way of life from her.

My Father, Bill Blurock, a prominent worldwide architect from USC designed and built the house in the 1950s. He incorporated the house into the landscape, including in the design a tree going through the roof of the house.

Last Sunday around 8:30 p.m. while enjoying the beauty of a warm Laguna evening, there was a knock on the door. "Your tree fell into the street," exclaimed a neighbor. Sure enough, there it was, but not a tree, a branch. It straddled the two lanes briefly, the combined effort of my neighbors moved it to a single lane. It was a large branch.

Laguna's finest even drove by to make sure someone was on top of it.

As neighbors drove by they inquired and offered help. Little did I know that the "blessed Coconut wire" was starting to buzz. Text and photos flew around the net.

As I brought out the flashlights, my old high school friend from up the street arrived with another high school friend. It was Chris Henderson. "This is the old Laguna! I've got a chainsaw!" he exclaimed and as he was cutting branches, my arborist, Craig de Pfyffer, arrived to help as well.

Here is the "old spirit": Four graduates of Laguna Beach High remembering how neighbors help each other out in these situations. It reminded me how my mother relied on her neighbors and how everyone loved her and her trees. My hero! Chris, the un-sung hero with a chainsaw, said this was tribute and saluting the fond memory of Helen. He told me how she helped him in junior high at Thurston.

It was now 10 in the evening. All the pieces were deposited at the lower driveway, off the street. The cleanup was so thorough that when Jim of Modern Tree arrived promptly at 8:30 a.m., he had a hard time finding where the problem was.

Thanks to the efforts of spirited and soulful Lagunans.

It was my wish to pay tribute to the "local hero" and share my experience with all.

Dona Blurock

Laguna Beach


Coyotes a big community problem

On July 5 at 7:30 a.m., my life at 1391 Dunning Drive was altered forever.

I found that Tally, my adorable 11-year-old, 16-pound Lhasa Apso was missing from my deck, which overlooks Rim Rock Canyon.

My first thought was that someone must have stolen her; however my other two dogs were still there on the deck. When I realized that it was not a person, but rather a coyote that had taken her, I was stunned, horrified and unbelieving. I have lived in my home here for 13 years, and although I have seen coyotes in the canyon and on our street, I was never aware of the growing threat of their presence.

In the days that have passed since this vicious attack, I have passed through the many stages of sadness, grief, denial, and anger at myself for being so unaware and uneducated about the increasing problem we have here in Laguna Beach (particularly those of us who live on or near Rim Rock and Blue Bird canyons).

Since this tragic event, I have had the opportunity to speak with the three Laguna Beach Police Animal Service officers: Joy Falk, John Thompson and Dave Pietarila. These very caring and knowledgeable individuals have given me so much valuable information about the ever-increasing problem we have in our city.

Here is some of the information shared:

1. Coyotes are the only predatory animal which are not on the endangered species list.

2 Any food left outside attracts coyotes (garbage, pet food, bird seed).

3. Many studies have been done about the coyote problem (would you believe in Chicago, Denver and Central Park in New York?).

4. Killing doesn't work, but hazing does.

We in Laguna Beach are a community which I think comes together when we are in need. We live in a rural rustic community. We live with coyotes. We need to educate ourselves about how to better live together.

I invite all of you to join me at my home at 1391 Dunning Drive on Sunday at 2 p.m. where one of our Animal Service Officers will be present to discuss what we can and must do about this critical problem.

Even if you have been around wildlife all of your life, you may not be aware of some of the widespread changes within the past five years of predators that live in the urban-open space perimeter areas.

Bring a lawn chair or blanket for seating and if possible please carpool as parking is limited.

Mona Roberts

Laguna Beach


Gurian's ideas not necessarily 'categorically incorrect'

I was in attendance at the Coffee Break meeting at which Mr. Michael Gurian spoke, and I am not unfamiliar with the tendencies and issues in research communities or with the rigors of science.

With a history in psychology, applied neurology, and clinical sciences, I found his presentation both compelling and informative.

Supt. Smith emailed out a position paper by the American Psychological Assn., holding that there are no significant gender-based differences in cognition, learning or behavior. I looked up the abstracts for each item in the APA citations, and not one of them directly tested Mr. Gurian's suggestions. I then searched his references, and found a rich source of material from well-regarded, peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Neuroscience, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, and Developmental Neuropsychology.

It is inaccurate to say Mr. Gurian's ideas lack credible evidence, and outside the spirit of the scientific community to disregard them without further exploration. His ideas may not be politically correct or socially favorable, but that does not mean they are categorically incorrect.

Intolerance to new ideas is as detrimental to the advancement of science as dogmatically embracing positions not relevant to the discussion at hand.

David W. Crouch

Laguna Beach


Buses key to reducing downtown traffic and parking issues

I was unable to attend the July 18 parking workshop , but I have a suggestion. The little blue buses that circulate throughout different sections and downtown hourly are the key to significantly reducing downtown congestion and parking issues.

If the buses ran until 11 p.m. or later, and included Sunday service, it would mean townies could leave their vehicles in Top of the World, or South Laguna etc., and spend an evening in the village. They could do dinner, a beach stroll, a movie, the Pageant or galleries and then hop on the next jitney back to within easy walking distance of home.

Currently you can use the bus up till 6 p.m. every day except Sunday. Therefore we hop into our gas guzzlers, drive into town and compete with the tourists and visitors for parking spots. Or, in frustration head to Dana Point or Aliso Viejo where parking is much easier.

An ancillary benefit would be fewer tipsy drivers being taken away in handcuffs, and there is the obvious "green" component to this idea.

No infrastructure expense, we already have an underutilized fleet. Any cost can be recaptured by appropriate fare structure. My wife and I would be thrilled to jitney into town in the evening and be able to get home from the restaurant at around 10 p.m. or so. I think evening fares of $5 each way would be a bargain, and my 25-foot SUV can sit idle.

Matt Smith

Laguna Beach

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