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West End Beauty

“We never imagined running a nonprofit, we were just planting petunia’s!” – Mary Ellen Pollina, Founder of the West End Beautification Association (WEBA) I was raised to appreciate gardens and all the beauty they provide. Nearly all my childhood memories of my grandfather are intertwined with his magnificent yard, where he would take my little hand Read More

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Bump-Set-Smiley!

When I first moved to Long Beach, I made the mistake of volunteering to plan my block party—those who have done it will know what I mean—and of all the available dates, I picked the first Saturday in September. When I went door to door collecting signatures, I learned my second mistake. Never schedule anything Read More

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Flour Power

“I could stand here all day,” one man happily comments to his girlfriend before popping a piece of rustic bread into his mouth. He’s among the crowd I find gathered in front of Blacksmith’s Bread’s at the Long Beach Farmer’s Market one early Saturday morning. Ray Smith—the “Smith” in Blacksmith’s—is serving up samples of his Read More

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Coastal Companions

When West End resident Dawn Cozine’s dog passed away several years ago, she was reluctant to adopt another one right away. Rather, she said to her daughter, “We’re going to go work at the animal shelter instead.” She knew that eventually the right dog would come walking through the door. And by Labor Day weekend it Read More

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Damhsa Céim Irish

Jean Hagen Duffy was away at college when she got a call from her mother. She smiles, recalling the conversation. “My mother said, ‘you should come home, we’re gonna have this thing in October called Irish Day.’” Little did Jean know, it would be her Irish Step Dancers who would become one of the highlights of Read More

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A Polar Vortex of Wishes

People wear their sweatshirts like a badge of honor after going in the water. You gotta EARN the sweatshirt!  – Kevin McCarthy & Pete Meyers. Kevin McCarthy was turning 40 and there was an item he wanted to check off his bucket list: A plunge with the Polar Bears. Since family birthdays and holiday obligations Read More

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Happy Feet!

“Dance brings out the healthiest part of people.”   Lisa Wisel It was one of those frigid but brilliantly sunny, winter afternoons as I made my way to the large, second-floor space at the Magnolia Senior Center.  I was there to meet Lisa Wisel and experience something completely new to me – a community class in Dance Read More

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