Up Front and Around Town

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LBM_40_Yoga_Carl Brown_By Jody Tiongco-74Down Dog for a Cause

For more than six years, registered yoga instructor Carl Brown has been hosting Yoga in the Park, a free class at Treasure Island Park that remains open to anyone who wishes to join. While Carl has never expected or required payment for his teaching, he does accept donations from those willing to give. The profits always have gone to support two worthy causes: Thrangu Tara Abbey, a nunnery located on the outskirts of Kathmandu in Nepal, and the Himalayan Children’s Fund. “The Himalayan Children’s Fund is a way for people around the world, and the West in particular, to connect with the lives of people in the Himalayan region of Nepal, India and Tibet,” Carl says. “It is through this fund that I have used Yoga in the Park to fund the specific education of girls in Nepal.” Over the course of 2013, Yoga in the Park raised an impressive $12,000, enough to fund the education of 12 girls in Nepal as well as cover some necessary improvements to their school. “With Yoga in the Park, I get to meet several personal goals of my own,” Carl says. “The class helps me give back, and it helps me make a difference in people’s lives both here and in Nepal.” (yogainthepark.blogspot.com) —B.B.

An Architect and Artist Unite in Dream

live work project

Sculptor Louis Longi and architect Horst Noppenberger’s proposed live-work project has been met with both praise and controversy—more controversy as of late, even after the Laguna Beach Planning Commission approved the project in a vote Jan. 8. Yet since then, the project has been appealed to the City Council and will be on the March 18 meeting’s agenda. Project opponents argue that it could worsen the already congested traffic in the canyon, be visually unappealing and constitute too large of a development for the area. The plan’s advocates, however, see it as an opportunity to strengthen Laguna’s artistic presence and provide work space for valued members of the creative community. The planned 30-unit compound would offer apartments and studios to approved artists, and several units would be allocated to low-income artists who otherwise couldn’t afford a home or studio in Laguna. While Louis and Horst have made adjustments to the project to earn its approval, residents anxiously await a final decision. —B.B.

Sea Lion Sanctuary Gets an Update

Laguna’s most adorable pinnipeds are receiving some upgrades to their rehabilitation center. A significant establishment in town, the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) provides care to injured and malnourished sea lions and seals that come ashore. During the first half of 2013, more than 320 sea lions were reported stranded on Orange County beaches—a record-breaking number—and, at one point, the PMMC was filled to the brim with 167 of the mammals. With such heavy traffic coming through the facility, updates were undeniably necessary. These upgrades will aid not only the residents of the center but also its volunteers and visitors. Additions include a revamped intensive care unit, public restrooms, a multipurpose room, observation deck and gift shop. A new program, Citizens for Science, also will begin at the center this year. The program aims to educate those who frequently use the ocean (such as surfers and paddleboarders) on proper ways to observe wildlife. Additionally, the program will discuss ways to sponsor researchers who visit the area four times a year to observe California’s seal and sea lion populations in the hopes of detecting and remedying issues causing harm to the marine ecosystem. (pacificmmc.org) —B.B.

City Helps Fund Memorial for Fallen Officers

1.1 coutchie ridder_casket_salute_9-24-13_2136

The Laguna Beach City Council unanimously has agreed to match up to $10,000 in donations to support a planned memorial in honor of two fallen Laguna police officers. Motor officer Jon Coutchie, who was killed in a traffic accident this past September, and officer Gordon French, who died after a shooting in 1953, will be honored by the memorial and are the only two Laguna officers to suffer fatalities in the line of duty. The Laguna Beach Police Employees’ Association, leading the fundraising campaign, has collected $60,000—exceeding its initial $40,000 goal—for a permanent memorial to be constructed outside of the police station, where it will be visible to officers as they come and go from work as well as civilians who visit the station. Other donors have followed suit in the wake of the city’s monetary contribution, including Hearts of Montage, employees of Montage Laguna Beach and Firebrand Media Chairman Allan Simon. —B.B.

Fine Art With the Family

Families have a new monthly tradition to look forward to thanks to the Laguna Art Museum. Kids’ Art Studio, a program organized by the museum, allows children and parents to work together to create beautiful pieces of art from start to finish. Taking place the third Sunday of every month from 2-4 p.m., the brand-new classes allow families to collaborate and craft entire works of art inspired by various collections in the museum. Designed for all ages, the projects are engaging and produce pieces that kids will be proud to show off. Best of all, the fun-filled program is free to nonmembers of the museum with the purchase of admission and always free to museum members and children under 12. (lagunaartmuseum.org) —B.B.


Food for Thought

As a father of four as well as chef and owner of Sapphire Laguna, Azmin Ghahreman is passionate about kids and food. Putting these two passions together, Azmin has partnered with the MaxLove Project, a grassroots nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive despite cancer and other life-threatening conditions. Inspired by Max “SuperMax” Wilford, a Tustin resident who has battled brain cancer for the past 2.5 years and celebrated turning 7 on March 1, the project aims to make every cancer-fighting tool available, from nutritional and medicinal resources to alternative healing therapies. Through the sponsorship, Azmin donated healthy snacks to cater Max’s birthday party and fundraiser for the MaxLove Project. The donation supports MaxLove’s mission of empowering children and their families in the fight against childhood cancers and life-threatening illnesses through knowledge of whole-body nutrition and wellness. Azmin, a longtime proponent of healthy eating for kids, is also founder of the Sapphire at School program, an initiative developed in conjunction with nine Orange County schools that provides fresh and healthy alternatives to the standard institutional fare served in cafeterias. (maxloveproject.org) (sapphireatschool.com) —A.T.

Connecting Science To Conservation

If anyone can make science not only fun but also interactive, it’s Crystal Cove State Park and Crystal Cove Alliance. On Jan. 31, approximately 150 people attended the grand opening of the Michael and Tricia Berns Environmental Study Loop, an innovative new facility that invites visitors to discover the many facets of Moro Canyon through eight science field stations. Concluding a project more than a year in the making as well as commemorating California State Parks’ 150th anniversary, the event began outside the newly built outdoor amphitheater with hors d’oeuvres and sparkling juice provided by The Beachcomber while guests took tours of the study loop. Later, guests gathered outside the auditorium for the ribbon cutting, where Crystal Cove Alliance President and CEO Harry Helling and Director of Public Affairs Laura Davick, among other board members, joined Michael and Tricia Berns. Afterward, attendees were led inside the amphitheater for speeches by Crystal Cove’s greatest advocates, including Maj. Gen. Anthony Jackson, director of California State Parks; Travis Huxman, director of the Center for Environmental Biology at the University of California, Irvine; and Michael and Tricia Berns. As a finale to the event, which truly showcased Crystal Cove’s majestic beauty, guests were treated to a performance by the Laguna Concert Band and fresh s’mores amid the stunning backdrop of Moro Canyon and the Pacific Ocean. (crystalcovebeachcottages.org) —A.T.

Michelle Clark and John Campbell

That’s the Spirit

Hosted by the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, the annual Spirit Awards were held at seven-degrees on Jan. 31 to honor locals and Laguna-based organizations. In true Laguna fashion, the quirky and comical evening wasn’t a time to be solemn or serious. Waste Management’s Michelle Clark, who served as mistress of ceremonies and host along with Larry Campbell, kicked off the awards presentation—and set the jovial mood—with a lip sync and dance up to the stage to Katy Perry’s “Roar.” While Michelle’s stand-up comedy certainly entertained the approximately 280 attendees at the event that night, the hard work and dedication of the award winners and nominees were hardly forgotten. In addition to the awards presentation, guests witnessed Mayor Elizabeth Pearson swear in the chamber’s 2014 board members. Below, see the list of who took home a coveted Spirit Award. (lagunabeachchamber.org) —A.T.

Business owners between Bluebird Canyon Drive and Diamond Street have joined forces to promote themselves and their neighbors with the formation of a new unofficial business district, the Pearl Street District.

Laguna Art Museum’s Art Auction 2014: The Art of the Heist

Charlie Adamski.Jeanie Denholm.Karen Morally.Sara Heeschen.Michele Monda.Jennifer Karam.Vanessa Helim.Sarah Strozza

Taking inspiration from the popular 1968 caper film “The Thomas Crown Affair,” in which self-made billionaire Thomas Crown maintains an unusual hobby of stealing priceless masterpieces, the Laguna Art Museum’s annual art auction, The Art of the Heist, took place Feb. 8 at the museum. While no artwork was embezzled in a briefcase or under a trench coat that evening, approximately 400 guests did have a chance to “heist” original works of art by more than 100 of California’s most sought-after artists including Elizabeth Turk, Adam Silverman, Victor Hugo Zayas, Timothy Clark, Jimi Gleason, Jeff Peters and James Verbicky. In fact, the auction fundraiser grossed approximately $200,000 for the museum’s education and exhibition programs, and it’s expected to net $120,000. The top four sales at the event occurred during the fast-paced live auction and included “Light Trap” by Laddie John Dill, which sold for $15,000; “Bridges in Winter Morning” by Theodore Svenningsen, which sold for $8,000; “Italian Shuffle” by Tony DeLap, which sold for $7,500; and “Station to Station 4” by Shepard Fairey, which sold for $7,000. In addition to both silent and live auctions, guests enjoyed cuisine from local restaurants including The Wine Gallery and Sapphire Laguna, sipped on vintage-inspired cocktails by Tito’s Handmade Vodka and beer from Noble Ale Works, and watched a live painting by Jeff Peters. (lagunaartmuseum.org) —A.T.



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