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La Cucina Leggera means the fresh, light Italian way of cooking. Master Italian Chef Stefano Colaiacomo at Capretto Trattoria goes to the market every day to find fresh fruit, vegetables and meats for delicious and healthy Italian cuisine. He has been a presence for many years in some of Long Beach’s best upscale restaurants, and now, Capretto Trattoria, formally known as IL Poggio, before encountering some trademark issues. Capretto makes everything from scratch to ensure an authentic Italian meal experience. On Wednesday, April 13, Hal Ratliff (former keyboard player for The Righteous Brothers) and Gretchen Almond will entertain diners from 7pm to 9pm. To guarantee seating, call for reservations at (562) 424-6800. Restaurant hours are Tuesday through Friday 11:30am to 2:30pm for lunch, and 5pm to 9:30pm for dinner.

The Signal Hill Chamber of Commerce’s 2nd Thursdays Mixer will be hosted by Coastline Environmental Solutions, Inc., in celebration of the company’s 25th anniversary, at their expanded offices located at 2480 Brayton Ave., in Signal Hill, on Thursday, April 14, from 5pm to 8pm. Members of the Signal Hill, Long Beach and Seal Beach chambers of commerce, and Signal Hill and Long Beach Rotaries, are invited attend the event for a fun evening of gourmet food prepared by Thank Goodness It’s Sophia, spirits, music by John Merola Entertainment, and networking. RSVP by calling (562) 981-2636 or e-mailing 

The Long Beach Playhouse sponsored a “Search for the Greatest Storyteller in the 562” on Sunday, April 3. With Managing Director Lauren Morris scurrying around for the last folding chair, as late-comers perched on table tops in the back of the Playhouse Gallery, they began at 7pm. The stories were as varied as the people that told them. Mariana Williams, the producer/hostess of the event, pre-selected five stories that were submitted on the website then allowed three more “on the fly” from the audience. It was one of those stories that won the $100 prize. Joey Lowe told the story “My Hero,” which was a tear-jerking saga of a special Marine that he defended in a court of law and the surprising outcome. Then, when accepting his cash he surprised the whole audience with a gesture befitting an officer and a gentleman.  Lowe said, “My wife told me if I win, I didn’t deserve it because I went over the allotted time of five minutes. So, I’m giving this money to the person I voted for, Autum Brown, the second-place winner.” The audience roared their approval and local poet, Autum Brown, beamed with surprise and delight. For more information go to

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