Town Crier: Week of March 24

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Some of the Laguna Beach High School Students behind the Walking for Water fundraising event, which will be held this Sunday at noon. Photo/Susan Hough

Laguna high school students walk for water this Sunday

Laguna Beach has a history of being a waterwise community, so it’s not surprising 25 of Laguna’s high school students have taken that motto to heart by “Walking for Water.” Last year, the $100,000 they raised helped underwrite the costs of building six freshwater wells in West Africa and India. This year, organizers of the next walking event, which will be held on March 26 at the Laguna Beach High School track, hope to raise even more money.

“The “Walking for Water” project is a nonprofit organization with local roots here and in Virginia,” founder Susan Hough said. “I’m so proud of what so many high school students have been able to accomplish. 

None of the work in West Africa or India could have been possible without the proceeds from previous annual walks. Through this project, we engage youth to care for the world around them.”

Charitable donations to the March 26 walk, which begins at noon and ends at 3 p.m., will help pay for new wells in Togo, Africa.  

Supporters can register for the 5 or 10K walk and encourage friends and families to donate in their name or pledge support to those already signed up to walk.

Families with young children are encouraged to attend the walk. Face painting and games will be available, along with opportunities to meet with the high school students who are behind the event. 

“If you can’t attend the walk, the students and I encourage you to help by donating to www.wisdomspring.org,” Hough said.

Orange County author Randy Kraft to launch Off Season, her new novel set in Laguna Beach, with April 2 reading and discussion

Former journalist Randy Kraft will launch her third novel, Off Season, at a reading and book talk on Sunday, April 2, at 4 p.m. at the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center, 235 Forest Avenue. Admission is $20 and includes a copy of the book. Net proceeds will go to the Center to support literary events. 

Set in Laguna Beach in the winter months leading up to the pandemic, the story follows three couples at different stages of their relationships – steadfast, dependent, and divorced. 

Kraft has been writing fiction for nearly 20 years. She also writes book reviews and coaches aspiring writers. She holds a master’s degree in writing and an MBA. As a journalist, she wrote for regional and national magazines and local newsweeklies, including the Laguna Beach Independent. As a communications and fundraising strategist, she has worked with several local nonprofit organizations, including Friendship Shelter, the Laguna Food Pantry, and Laguna Beach Seniors, Inc. 

The painting on the book cover is by Laguna Beach artist Tracey Moscaritolo. 

Doors open at 3:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased in advance at lbculturalartscenter.org.   

LOCA presents big thirtieth birthday bash this Sunday

LOCA Arts Education invites all art lovers to a birthday bash fundraising event to celebrate 30 years of LOCA’s service in Laguna Beach. Festivities will take place on this Sunday, March 26 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Bridge Hall at Neighborhood Congregational Church.

Partygoers will enjoy gourmet foods, wine, and festive games for grownups, including a bash-the-pinata and a “Laguna Gothic” photo booth inspired by Grant Wood’s American Gothic painting. The photo booth, created by artists Cindy Fletcher and Lisa Mansour, will be a life-size mural to step into and pose in. 

“We’ll have fun costume pieces to wear, including a Frida Khalo headpiece and eyebrows,” Fletcher said. “It’s a place to play and have a laugh during the party.”

Mike Tauber and Joy Vansell will run the musical cakewalk contest and Sharbie Higuchi will call the winners. 

“Everyone walks on numbered squares, the music stops, and a number is called. The person standing on the winning square gets to run to the cake display and claim their favorite to take home,” said Tauber. “However, we require that the winner scream out loud, really loud, to qualify!” he said. “We’ll give away at least 10 cakes, both homemade and from bakeries,” said Joy Vansell. “A favorite is a citrus cheesecake topped with mandarin oranges made by Vinita Voogd,” she said. “It’s usually the first to go.”

Everyone will receive a handcrafted ceramic gift, and those who take part in the wine pull will pick numbered corks and win bottled wine to take home. Auction items include a stay at The Montage Healdsburg, an Angels Jersey autographed by Mike Trout, earrings by local goldsmith Karin Worden, and a set of fantastic dog sculptures by Betty Haight and Kathy Jones, made just for this event. A live jazz trio will round out the fun.

Fundraiser proceeds support LOCA’s award-winning programs throughout Laguna Beach, serving people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities. Tickets are available at LOCAarts.org. 

Tickets are selling out fast for Susi Q’s “Evening with an Author” featuring Susan Straight

Tickets are selling out fast for “An Evening with an Author,” featuring renowned novelist Susan Straight at the nonprofit Susi Q Center. The event takes place on March 29 from 5 to 7 p.m., with doors opening at 4:30 p.m. for attendees who want to network while sipping wine and enjoying light hors d’oeuvres before the program.

Esteemed arts columnist, published short-story writer and podcaster Marrie Stone will be in conversation with Straight, who is renowned for her entertaining and insightful novels portraying the life and times of Southern California’s ethnically mixed communities.

The event is the first in a series of “Evenings with an Author” planned for the Susi Q. Author Janelle Brown is slated for June 6 and novelist Lisa See will be featured on Sept. 13.

Straight’s most recent best-seller, Mecca, is included in the $25 cost of the program.

“We like to think of the Susi Q as the place where the generations meet,” said Nadia Babayi, executive director, “and this event is a good example of programming that attracts every age group. We’re thrilled at the response.”

Laguna Beach Seniors operates the Susi Q, which was partly established to enable older adults to “age in place.”

“In Laguna Beach, ‘aging in place’ means you’re supported in your lifestyle and your own home as the years tick by, instead of feeling the need to move to a senior community,” Babayi said. “In that same vein, we encourage all age groups to attend our programs so that older adults don’t feel isolated from the community at large.”

Register online for “An Evening with an Author” at www.thesusiq.org and click on Classes. Participants can RSVP by phone by calling (949) 715-8105 or emailing [email protected].

The Susi Q offers various educational and fun programs, classes and clubs for older adults – though all ages are welcome. The Susi Q’s Care Management Department provides free consultation, education and practical resources for vulnerable seniors, enabling them to stay safe, informed, and independent. More information on The Susi Q can be found by visiting www.thesusiq.org.

Rotary Club Now Accepting Grant Applications 

The Rotary Club of Laguna Beach is now accepting applications for community grants from non-profit organizations that offer programs and projects within the city, in the areas of health and human services, education, arts and culture, civic and community services. The club will accept applications through March 31 through its website at www.lagunabeachrotary.com. The grants will be awarded in late May.

The club’s community grant program is funded by Rotary Club events held throughout the year, including the Laguna Beach Car Show. Grant applications are evaluated on financial need and the impact to the community. 

To learn more about the Rotary Club of Laguna Beach or become a member, visit the club’s website lagunabeachrotary.org. 

Mimi & Rae to Celebrate One-Year Anniversary with Ribbon Cutting 

Tomorrow, March 24, at 5:30 p.m., the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce welcomes the public to attend a one-year anniversary celebration with a ribbon cutting at Mimi & Rae apparel store.

“Upon the completion of our first year serving Laguna Beach and surrounding cities and visitors, we are pleased to become a member of an organization that supports the community, small businesses, entrepreneurs, and arts,” owner Mimi Lawhon said. 

Mimi & Rae will be offering attendees 25% off their entire purchase. There will be a drawing to win a $150 gift card. Mimi & Rae is located at 664 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Beach. Mimi & Rae will also be providing wine, snacks and sweets. RSVPs can be made to the [email protected].

Laguna Art Museum March Events 

March 26 at 10 a.m. – Feminist Art & Craftivism

In celebration of Women’s History Month, join the Laguna Art Museum for a lecture on feminist art presented by Katie Ruiz of The Women’s Museum of California. From the suffrage sashes and banners of the early 1900s to the pink knitted hats of the modern Women’s March movement, textiles and craft have played an important role as a messenger for women’s activism. By celebrating craftwork as a tool of artistic and political expression, and not only as private acts of women’s labor, we see how impactful women have been in our society.

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