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Our Laguna:

Harman does honors at Chamber event

February 05, 2009|By Barbara Diamond

“And he lives in Laguna Beach,” Harman said. “This was the most difficult thing our office has done in a long time — keeping this [award] a secret.”

Patrascu was recognized by the state Senate and Assembly.

Redeker took the microphone again to announce the nominees for the Small Business of the Awards: K’ya restaurant and Casa del Camino, a la carte and Mozambique. The winner was K’ya/Casa, with Spirit Awards going to the other two nominees.

Chris Keller, owner of K’ya and the Casa del Camino in which it is located, was out of town. Hotel Manager Amy Amaradio accepted the award for Keller.


Nominated for the Premier Business Award: Hearts of Montage, Surf & Sand and Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course. The award went to Hearts of Montage — a group of philanthropic resort employees.

Poochigian accepted the award. The runners-up Spirit Awards were accepted by Nick Bozych, general manager of Surf & Sand, and Ned Snavely, general manager of the Aliso Creek complex.

George Nelson, owner of Fawn Memories, was named Merchant of the Year. Spirit Awards were presented to nominees Ganahl Lumber and South Coast Cinemas.

Harry Lawrence was at the microphone to help present the Spirit of Laguna and the Person of the Year Award named for him.

The winner was a totally surprised Cheryl Kinsman.

“If I had known I would have dressed up more,” Kinsman told tablemates, including Chris Loidolt, Montage Business Center manager and Hearts activist. “Michael kept telling me to get more dressed up, but I said a nice jacket would do.

“I am a politician and I am not usually at a loss for words, but I am speechless,” the former mayor confided in accepting the award from long-time political ally Dicterow.

Kinsman, who owns a business in town with her husband, Michael, was a popular choice for the award.

“Normally when we vote on this, it is split, but for the first time it was unanimous,” Dicterow said.

Kerri Redeker was named Ambassador of the Year.

The Volunteer of the Year Award was presented posthumously to Skip Leavitt for 20 years of service to the chamber. Leavitt’s daughter, Putney Kemp, accepted the award.

“He gave with all his art and had so much fun,” Kemp said.

Hancock said the chamber could not function without its volunteers.

Three final awards of the evening were presented by Clark and Eleanor Henry on behalf of the Beautification Council, which Clark now chairs.

Awards were announced for Bill and Vicki Robertson, Jan and Paul Muñoz and former Mayor Wayne Peterson for his water-conserving garden.

“I am just too cheap to pay the bill,” Peterson said.

Another 29 residential awards and seven commercial awards will be presented at a separate event.

Among the audience: Michelle and Mayor Kelly Boyd and Councilwomen Elizabeth Pearson and Jane Egly, Paul Blank representing Casa Laguna Inn, chamber Government Affairs Council consultant Pat Barry, Casa del Camino catering and sales manager Jessica Bergendahl, artist Lu Campbell, past Laguna Beach Seniors Inc. President Louise Buckley, Leslie Powers, Zahide Lawrence, Arts Commissioner Terry Smith and Nicholas Kinsman.

OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Write to Barbara Diamond, P.O. Box 248, Laguna Beach, 92652; call (949) 380-4321 or e-mail

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