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Village Matters: Colony Collapse?

Beekeeper Charlotte Bell “Shared the Buzz on Bees” at the South Laguna Community Garden Park on Saturday. As our local bees buzzed happily on the intense yellow pollen amid the white crepe paper-like flowers of the Matilija poppy (Romneya coulteri), we learned of the importance...

Village Matters #218: Treasuring a Hometown Feeling

Walk into a room crowded with partiers chatting animatedly. Glasses are raised. Hors d’oeuvres on tiny plates are being balanced. There are conversations that are hard to break into. But there are those faces I recognize and I know that with them there will always be a warm...

Village Matters: Don’t Ask How Much

My first remembrance of Arnold Hano is of standing in the kitchen of the Lamont Langworthy-designed house he and Bonnie had built in Bluebird Canyon.  It was the mid-1970s and Fred Lang was advising on the Hanos’ landscaping. I was tagging along, taking notes. I knew from...

Village Matters: They’re Disposable

Ours is a town of causes and we’re often asked to contribute, sometimes by buying a chance on a raffle.  This time my friend won a three-day stay in a cabin in Big Bear Lake and invited me and two other women to enjoy this mountain get-away. Quiet in this off-season after the...

Village Matters: Match.com for Houses

Who was Nina Koshetz?  This world-famous Russian opera singer performed leading operatic roles in Russia and throughout Europe, and gave concerts accompanied by Rachmaninoff, her lover for a time.  Her dramatic escape from Russia included hiding jewels in her daughter’s diapers....

Village Matters: The kids are not all right

Growing up in a Victorian farmhouse was not as romantic as one might think.  For one thing there was only one bathroom and it was near the back door in the former “wash room.” In the days when the outhouse was the standard for toiletry this room accommodated the basin and pitcher...

Village Matters: Window Racket

There was some racket at last week’s Heritage Committee meeting in the council chambers.  Historical consultant Jan Ostashay spoke to a roomful of residents concerned about the status of their properties that have been on the city’s heritage structures inventory since a...

Village Matters: Old Times, New Generation

“It’s all part of the trainee program.”  That was the phrase that has lingered as I think of that summer day on our farm in Wisconsin, the day the powers-that-be decided to butcher my whole flock of chickens.  There were 30 birds, not that many compared to Foster Farms, but still...

Village Matters: Cultivating Community

Barbra Streisand’s lilting nostalgic song at the Oscars Sunday night brought back not only the first time I saw that movie “The Way We Were,” but memories of how I was then in 1973. An aspiring landscape architect working for Fred Lang, with who knows which boyfriend, engrossed...

Village Matters: Nix the Negative Trailer

My dad was a member of the Optimists Club because he really needed it.  Sometimes he just couldn’t resist putting a negative spin on things, “Those are really nice new shoes you have, much better than the ones you usually wear,” is a “compliment” that sticks in my mind. But my...

Village Matters: Reaching Out With Maestro

We were desperate for new cats. In November of 2002 our two cats died of cancer within weeks of each other.  For a while we were just in shock and in our grief couldn’t think of any other cats. Then there was the holiday season. Finally we went on a search.  At the end we found...

Village Matters: Not Always a Downward Slide

Last week I had to hunt in the depths of my drawers and closet looking for my ballet outfit and shoes. There they were under piles of department store bags and exercise clothes from yoga and water aerobics. Although quite stiff, the slippers still fit. I could even get into the...

The essence of days of yore

The holidays are associated with that Norman Rockwellian image of our country, where families are warm, loving and together; and where everyone lives in one of those villages with the clustered cottages, quaint stores, and lights in the windows; a community with that small-town...

Village Matters: Savoring a Mother’s Kitchen

It was a “Leave it to Beaver” kitchen, Mexican style. Simple stained and varnished plywood cabinets, well-loved and clean. They had the original 1960s slim copper handles with the tapered ends. These and the matching hinges were polished bright. Aqua tiles and the aqua walls and...

Village Matters: The Gift of Surprises

I had just washed my hair and was at the beginning stages of getting ready to go to work when the phone rang, “Channel 9 is down at the garden. They’re going to do a news story on saving it!” After a quick blow-dry, off I went to check it out.  Yes, indeed there was a reporter...