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Village Matters: Urban Messiah

At last week’s hearing about the village entrance there were repeated calls for hiring an urban designer.  Someone who can lead us out of the morass of our own lack of consensus.  Someone from somewhere else who has designed award-winning complexes all over the world.  An urban...

Village Matters: Thoughtful slow down

  Feb. 13, 1953 a Laguna Beach police officer, Gordon G. French, was shot in the line of duty and died en route to the Santa Ana Hospital. This tragic, presumably preventable, death was the catalyst for building South Coast Community Hospital.  The community formed a...

Village Matters: A Resource as Precious as Yosemite

Ever feel like an anachronism?  Out of place, out of step with those around you?  As we see the community around us bit by bit losing the charming features that mark the best of our town, we may feel out of sync and ask, “Do we still belong here?” This weekend on Ken Bur...

Village Matters: Let Nature Sing

Ever wonder why Laguna Beach became an art colony?  Yes, it’s beautiful but there’s more to it than that. The artists who sought out Laguna around the turn of the last century came not just to paint pretty pictures, but to experience and express their beliefs about the...

Village Matters: Why aren’t we the happiest place?

  We’re not even in the top 14 happiest places nationwide, according to a University of Vermont study that correlated cities across the country with the numbers of positive and negative words in millions of tweets. San Clemente is among California’s seven happiest cities, but not...

Village Matters: Is There Magic?

I dreaded the prospect of getting married, walking down that aisle. What if that man waiting for me at the altar was the wrong one?  “How will I know when I’ve met ‘the one,’ the person I’m destined to spend a lifetime with?” “You’ll know, you will feel the magic…” came the...

Village Matters: Exercising Freedom

Were the famous founding fathers who wrote and voted for the Declaration of Independence that we celebrate this week just like some of the leaders of our home-created organizations? It’s hard to imagine but in the 1770s there were only 2.5 million people in the whole country—then...

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...