“From Many —One”

Grand Marshal

the 2009 Laguna Beach Parade

Frank Mickadeit, O.C. Register Columnist

The Grand Marshal for our 43rd Patriots Day Parade is the Orange County Register’s well-known columnist, Frank Mickadeit.  A native Californian born in Palo Alto and the oldest of seven children, Frank was raised on the Central Coast in Lompoc.  Printer’s ink seemed to run in his veins early on, and at just the age of sixteen he was working as a part-time sports writer for the local paper.  Frank attended San Diego State University and for the past twenty-two years, has been a reporter, and then editor, for the Register.  However, in recent years it has been his columns that have won him a large and devoted reading audience.  Here in Laguna Beach, he has become widely esteemed for his fearless venturing into our own coastal bit of wildness and weirdness. 

As Frank relates to Martin J. Smith, one of his inspirations to become a columnist was the legendary Pulitzer winner, Herb Caen (1916-1997) of the San Francisco Chronicle, whose pungent and witty columns --fed by a huge cadre of informants-- were arguably the best newspaper writing of its type in the region.   Like Herb Caen, whose writing served to bind the Bay Area’s diverse lot of inhabitants into a kind of readership collective, Frank Mickadeit has been an indefatigable investigator of the personages and culture of Orange County, such as “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”  However, Caen would have been envious of Frank’s uses of digital media that instantly connect him to his vast array of aides and abettors with on-line names like “Commie Girl” and our own “reallagunagirl” who keep him up to date on the latest foibles and fads of our county’s rich cast of characters. 

In a more serious vein, Frank is usually in the field following leads of outrageous behavior like the group of some 80 Newport beachfront owners who decided to quietly and illicitly expand their acreage by landscaping personal gardens and structures out onto the public beach.  His reporting from court is exceptional, with vivid description and cogent commentary on the rendering of justice, particularly (and deliciously so) if they involve sex, scandal, and malfeasance--preferably all three.  As Jean O. Pasco, former reporter and now Orange County Archivist, describes him, “Frank just brings it. He lays out what’s really a very artful mix of casual acceptance, wry commentary with just the right dose of titillation, and he gets properly outraged on occasion about what goes on here. He not only opines about what happens—he makes things happen, and he doesn’t lose one minute of sleep over butting in.”  

That said, it is his narration of, and indeed, participation in some of Laguna Beach’s quirkier rites and rituals such as Lagunatics and Splash that have endeared him to our community.  Jean Pasco has called this trait of Frank’s “a backstage pass with color commentary.”  And after all, very few journalists would be willing to appear in public performance singing and dancing in drag and high heels, let alone write engagingly of the experience.  This by itself would merit any honor that we give him today. 

The 2009 Laguna Beach Parade
Honored Patriot of the Year

Lieutenant Colonel Donald R. Segner USMC(Ret)

The Honored Patriot of the Year is awarded to persons who have served the nation gallantly or meritoriously in time of war or national emergency.  This year’s honored patriot, Don Segner, is recognized both for his gallantry in combat as a Marine aviator and for his service as a pioneer test pilot. 
A native southern Californian, Don was born in Tujunga in 1925 and raised in Burbank where his father was a gaffer for Warner Brothers. The area was then a beehive of airplane manufacturing and flying, and Don was soon bitten by the flying bug.  Don was a junior at Burbank High School when Pearl Harbor was attacked.  He enlisted into the Navy’s V-5 Aviation Cadet Program during his senior year in February 1943 and was allowed to graduate from school early.  While awaiting orders, he worked as an apprentice line mechanic at the nearby Lockheed aircraft factory.  Ordered to active duty in mid-1943, he underwent a year of intensive academics at College of the Pacific and then began flight training with 169 fellow student pilots to become a Marine carrier-based pilot.  The program was rigorous, and he was one of only sixteen who would receive aviator wings shortly after the war ended in 1945.

Thus at the age of only 20, Don found himself flying the Marines’ famed Vought F4U Corsair at El Toro and living the life of a bachelor in nearby Laguna Beach, where he often had enjoyed “hanging out at Shaw’s Cove” in the pre-war years.   Like many other wartime El Toro Marines, he eventually would make Laguna his permanent home.  This postwar idyll was not to last.  In the late 1940s, 1stLt Segner underwent training as an infantry officer and subsequently became a rifle platoon commander and company executive officer with the 6th Marines at Camp Lejuene NC.  In 1950, he served afloat in the Mediterranean with a battalion landing team thus becoming one of the relatively small number of Marines who could claim to have served “in the air, on land, and sea.”  

That same year, communist forces invaded South Korea.  The small peacetime Marine Corps mobilized rapidly.  Don trained on jets and in February of 1951 joined Marine Fighter Squadron 311 in Korea where he flew 78 combat missions in the Grumman F9F Pantherjet.  On one memorable occasion, he was called in to provide emergency close air support of an Army unit that had gotten surrounded.  In repeated attacks, he helped drive off the enemy, thereby collecting some fifteen holes in his plane.  As a result, no soldiers were lost, and Captain Segner was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his selfless actions.  During his combat service, he received a further four Air Medals and the Presidential Unit Citation.

Returning home to El Toro, he became an aerial gunnery instructor.  It was while cross-training with the Air Force in 1952 that he married his high school classmate, Alice Stansfield.  After an overseas tour flying assault helicopters, the Corps recognized his broad experience, and in 1957 he was ordered to the Navy’s prestigious Test Pilot School at Patuxent River MD.  As a test pilot, he evaluated many aircraft types, specializing in the rapidly evolving field of vertical takeoff and landing.  He was one of the first to fly an experimental aircraft that resulted in the Marines’ Harrier close support attack jet that requires no runway.  He was also selected to be the first military pilot to fly a radical concept “tilt-wing” rotorcraft that has evolved into today’s V-22 Osprey. 

Don’s pioneering test flying drew the attention of Lockheed, whose management persuaded him to come to work there on its rigid-rotor design.  He and Alice built a house in Laguna, which would become their permanent home. The couple have three children; Angela, Margo, and Winston.  Don’s developmental test flying of the Cheyenne helicopter at Lockheed won him the Society of Experimental Test Pilots’ Kincheloe Award in 1972.  His high speed testing of helicopters also garnered him the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics venerable Chanute Flight Award.  Don remained in the Marine Corps Reserve and became commander of Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 764 at Los Alamitos.  Don would eventually fly an astonishing total of 176 different aircraft types. 

In 1981, the federal government needed someone with his technical expertise, and so the president nominated Don to be Associate Federal Aviation Administrator.  Operating from Washington, Don tackled a wide variety of policy issues including environmental noise, technical treaties, and accident investigations.  In 1986, Don and Alice “retired” for the last time to their home in Laguna Beach, where Don consulted on advanced aviation projects from manufacturing standards to noise compliance.  Both have also been active in a number of community organizations. Don and Alice Segner will celebrate their 57th
anniversary this year.

(click on images for closeups)

The 2009 Laguna Beach Parade
Honored Citizens of the Year

Lisa and Ed Sauls, Chairman of the Board of Laguna Relief and Resource Center

The Citizen of the Year honor is given to persons from Laguna Beach who have contributed significantly to our community.   Ed and Lisa Sauls are among the co-founders of the Laguna Relief and Resource Coalition that sprang up immediately following Laguna’s greatest disaster, the October 27, 1993 arson-set firestorm, which destroyed 366 homes and shattered the lives of many of our citizens.  Together with many other volunteers, Ed and Lisa built upon this foundation, which focuses today not only on relief from natural disasters but helps people who are experiencing their own personal catastrophes.  Many outsiders find it hard to accept the idea that disadvantaged and homeless people exist in a seemingly affluent place like Laguna Beach, but every volunteer in this city knows that the reality is different.  Ed and Lisa’s story is one of selfless dedication to helping the people of our community.

Edwin G. Sauls was born in Lynwood in 1954 and grew up in Anaheim.  Lisa Miller was born in Arkansas, also in 1954, and came with her family to Yorba Linda.  The couple met as classmates at Valencia High School and later attended California State University Fullerton, where both graduated in 1976, Ed with a degree in business administration and Lisa in accounting.  The couple married in 1977, and following a long-held dream, moved to Laguna three years later.  They soon became deeply involved in volunteer activities at Laguna Presbyterian Church, in SchoolPower, as Performing Arts Boosters, and at the Friendship Shelter, rising to leadership positions in each.  After the Laguna fire of 1993, Ed as chair of the LRRC worked with the Laguna Interfaith Council to open the first Resource Center in lower Laguna Canyon.  Over the years at several locations, the Center has continuously provided relief to low-income households and to the homeless.  The LRRC was the lead local group that assisted people affected by the devastating El Niño Floods of 1998 and the Bluebird Canyon Slide of 2005. 

Seeing a need to coordinate disaster relief, Ed helped to lead the organizing of the Community Disaster Preparedness Committee that formed a joint effort with Neighborhood Watch, city police, the fire department, churches and community leaders to increase the readiness of Laguna Beach households for future natural disasters. In 2007, Ed co-chaired the Homeless Task Force with now-Mayor Kelly Boyd.  This resulted in the City Council’s adoption of a 14-point recommendation plan to address homeless issues in Laguna Beach.

Professionally, Ed has pursued a career in real estate development and currently is president of Development and Conservation Management, Inc., a company the couple formed in 1990 that consults to landowners and development companies to reconcile conflict between development and conservation.  Their efforts together with Ed’s father’s company have resulted in the conservation of more than 15,800 acres for endangered species preservation in Southern California.  Ed also co-founded the Sierra Trails Conservation Foundation with fellow Lagunan, El Hathaway.  Ed co-founded the California Land Conservancy and now serves as its president.  Lisa has continued in her career as a certified public accountant with the firm of Letwak and Bennett of Mission Viejo.  Over the years, she has quietly brought her expertise to many of these same volunteer organizations.  At the same time, Lisa and Ed have raised their three sons here in Laguna.  James is a naval officer, Patrick works in the family company, and Garret is a college student. 

Ed and Lisa Sauls both personify and exemplify the spirit of caring that has made Laguna Beach the special community that it is.  As one of our association members remarked about the Sauls’ many unheralded deeds, “Some people plant trees that they will never sit in the shade of.”  The fact is, thanks to Ed and Lisa, many of our citizens are now able to do just that.

The 2009 Laguna Beach Parade
Junior Citizens of the Year

Laguna Beach High School seniors
Rachel Busic and Ryan Lawler

The Junior Citizens of the Year are members of the Laguna Beach High School Class of 2009. They are selected by the faculty and staff on the basis of their achievements in leadership, scholarship, athletics, and community service.

 Rachel Busic was born on March 8th 1991, in Mission Viejo and grew up in Laguna Beach.  Her life revolves around the high school with particular passions for the performing arts and all forms of dance.  She has been in all of the LBHS dance performances since 2005 and most recently appeared at UCI.  She also was seen in Mark Dressler’s productions of “Oklahoma!” and “West Side Story” in the Artists Theater.  An academic all-star with a 4.4 grade point average, she is an officer of the Central Asia Institute and current President of the Dance Council. Rachel enjoys playing the piano, family camping, baking with her mom, and hopes to study mathematics and dance at the University of California Berkeley or UCLA.
Ryan Lawler was born in San Antonio, Texas in 1990 and moved with his family to Laguna Beach at age eight.  As any local sports fan will tell you, Ryan is the star of the best basketball team that LBHS has fielded in well over a decade.  He is also the school’s current Athletic Commissioner as well as a Scholar-Athlete with a grade point average of 3.5.  During the summer break, Ryan coaches the school district’s elementary and middle school students at Basketball Camp.  In January, he traveled to Washington, DC to witness the presidential inauguration.  Ryan has been offered a scholarship to Chapman University and is also considering Loyola Marymount University and the University of San Diego.

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Last updated March 1, 2009