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Mailbag: Food Pantry will take your unwanted produce

January 18, 2012

Last week, a Ms. Harrison called us at the Laguna Food Pantry. It seems she had more oranges and lemons from her trees than she could possibly use. She asked if we would we like the rest.

It occurred to me that others of you might also have Harrison's happy dilemma. If so, we'd be glad to distribute your extra fruits and vegetables to the hundreds of families who come to our pantry for free groceries. We normally provide them with meats, frozen foods, rice, beans, cereals, bread, and sometimes even dairy products, but fresh produce is often hard to come by.

The Laguna Food Pantry is on Laguna Canyon Road between the dog park and the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Our volunteers will gladly unload your car and even give you a VIP tour. We're open from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Monday through Friday, but if you can't come by until evenings or weekends, we'll leave the light on for you. Thanks.

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Andy Siegenfeld

Laguna Beach

The writer is the chairman of the Laguna Resource Center.

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Laguna's city staff deserves praise

Editor's Note: The following was addressed to City Manager John Pietig and was printed with permission.

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I need to take a moment to tell you about Ann Marie McKay. I was involved in a project that required research into the formation of a subdivision in 1994 and 1995 — not exactly ancient history (at least to some of us), but well before the reach of the available "ordinary" online records.

McKay, along with Lisette Chel in Martha Anderson's office, was unreservedly helpful, not only finding documents I needed and forwarding them to me, but coming up with suggestions as to where concepts and issues relevant to my topic may be lurking, and pointing me in their direction. She did it all cheerfully, cooperatively and without the slightest hint of resentment at the other work from which I was taking her away, even though I could tell how busy she was. She was exemplary not only as a civil servant, but as a member of Laguna Beach's staff, which should be, and is, exemplary.

I know there is a tendency to dump on staff, especially when they don't give us the answers we want. I mean, think about it objectively: If they come up with an answer that differs from mine, how possibly could they be right?

And while I do single out McKay for excellence and high credit because of this particular exercise that was so time-sensitive for me, the truth to be told, her conduct and discharge of her duties is not all that different from that of most of Laguna Beach's staff, who work long and hard to see to it that the needs of our community are met. In my profession, I have needed to call upon their assistance frequently, with complex and often time-consuming problems, and I cannot think of an instance in which they have let me down — or, in fact, my friends or associates in the design community.

Now ... if you would just listen to me more, you could achieve perfection.

Gene Gratz

Laguna Beach

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