Morgan Family Reunion, August 2016


Dear Family Members,

I am currently managing the Cartoon Cafe at the Yogi Bear Jellystone Park Camp-Resort in Natural Bridge, Virginia.

For the record, after 4 years on the road in my little Winnebago, this is the most beautiful and luxurious resort I’ve ever stayed in. I’ve pretty much decided to make this resort my permanent summer destination. It’s friendly, compatible, has tons of amenities and they seem to like my approach to managing their cafe. (I’m a pure capitalist and am starting to make them a PROFIT!)

I’d like to suggest that all family members start to think about coming to Natural Bridge, Virginia next August (2016) for a Morgan Family Reunion. Here’s why:

The last time all Morgan kids were together was 21 years ago. It’s time. The new generation of Morgans, (and Chapmans, Cordes’ Krulls, Tabenckis, Dombrowas, Lamoureuxs and Riess’) need to get to know each other. This resort is the ideal location for that. It has over a hundred acres, which include RV spots, tent camping spots, and even fully equipped cabins interspersed throughout.

This resort is family oriented. During the summer season, they have a full time activities director for kids. Jacob and his crew organize full day activities for kids, including finger painting, arts, crafts, dancing, hay wagon rides with Yogi etc. Kids LOVE IT! Especially meeting Yogi Bear. Jellystone caters to kids 2 and up and they really do a good job. This is kid heaven. (Jellystone’s website doesn’t do this place justice)

For adults, think about plopping your butt in a giant inner tube and floating down the James River for 4 hours. (Jellystone will drive you and pick you up) Think about catching a fish and cooking it on your own firepit. In other words, adults can also enjoy themselves. We’ve got a basketball court, video arcade, water park, pool, miniature golf, cafe, and a beach on the James River. Golf carts are available for transport. And park offers several private tent camping spots that can accomodate up to 8 tent campers in their own private area. Very cool.

For family members that don’t get along, no worry. This place is so huge that you can reserve a spot far away from them 🙂

Brian: We are just now constructing a bandstand in the upper level which would be perfect for you (and/or Dan Crow) to perform. (paid) Bandstand is located in a large sunny valley, right next to the forest, which contains cabins and RV spots. A Beautiful setting.

Olaf: Cartoon Cafe needs renovation. Paid work or free vacation possible.

Yogi Bear comes into the cafe every day at 9:30 and 12:30 and is available for personal visits. Kids love it! All Morgan, Chapman, Krull and Lamoureux kids can also rely on me mistakenly giving them a larger scoop of ice cream than normal during our bi-weekly ice cream socials.

Every Saturday, there is a dance band down by the lake. (attn: Brian) And there are tons of BBQs, cook-outs etc organized by yours truly.

I know this proposition might not be affordable for west coast families. Rest assured that financial assistance and reduced fees for camping and/or cabin sites are available. Management has given me leeway… so financial considerations for many family members can be addressed by me (or other family members.) My rig will be available for anyone who needs it. It sleeps 4 (5 in a crunch) comfortably and is available to any west coast family that needs it. (No charge)

So guys – no excuses. Start planning now. For any questions, please contact Bonnie Morgan or myself ( for more specifics. This could be a memorable life event. Think on it and then call Bonnie at 310 455-3908 and confirm. Any financial problems you have can be worked out. Details to follow.

Let me know. Please. Check out the website.


PS. In other news: Although I am the only Morgan kid without a college degree, I just got a request from McMaster University in Ontario, wanting permission to use my article on the sale of body parts from executed prisoners in China to teach in one of their college courses. How cool is that?!

A little vanity piece

This year I started a program with the Topanga Messenger, our local paper, meant to beef up their online edition and give them material for their Business section. It’s a “Business of the Month” where Chamber members vote on a randomized list of businesses (200 or so) and then I write up a feature article for the newspaper.

Well, as luck would have it, my business was voted in for November, and the editor of our newspaper interviewed me and wrote up the feature article. Feels pretty personal but she did a nice writeup.

Spotlight: Bonnie Morgan is Doing Business Better
November 20, 2014 – By Flavia Potenza

Bonnie Morgan is the founder of Design Like it Matters, which is a boutique marketing and web design firm that aims to improve the community through socially responsible design and successful marketing techniques. When longtime Topanga resident and avid technophile Bonnie Morgan, brought her website design company, Design Like It Matters (DLIM), to the Canyon, she also volunteered her business acumen and a variety of transferable skills and experience to benefit community organizations.

DLIM is a boutique marketing and web design firm that aims to improve the community through socially responsible design and successful marketing techniques. Morgan’s approach is “whole business strategic analysis” that is hands-on and personal for small businesses. She harnesses the power of technology in the belief that the internet is one of those gifts we frequently take for granted.

Business coaching is not unusual in Morgan’s client relationships and often reveals new horizons. Her first work with a client is to uncover what they aspire to be and reveal what they believe they are now. Frequently, a new client might feel they need something like a Twitter account when what they really need is a business plan to sharpen their message or to polish their website.

“DLIM will inventory what you have, review your market, your clients, analyze your competition and work up a plan of action that will have you focused on what is best for your business,” Bonnie explains. “If you feel that you already have a handle on all that, DLIM will come up with a way to do it better.”

Powerful tools are available in the small business-marketing arsenal—social media, e-mail marketing, search engine optimization, analytics, etc. Every successful small business and community organization needs a website, at times a Facebook page, e-mail marketing, perhaps an Instagram or Pinterest account.

Bonnie has been a lifelong student of technology and its applications. Everyone has a story of their first introduction to computers but, for Bonnie, it was life-changing She had three nearly teenage girls and was working as a “terrorism” researcher at the Rand Corporation building searchable databases of worldwide events on a Unix system (anyone remember green codes on a black background?) when she went back to school. She earned two BAs in History and Political Science. In 1986 her father gave her a MacPlus for getting into UCLA graduate school. Writing a paper in Word required saving the document to a diskette every few pages.

She used Hypercard to organize notes for her exams and dissertation, probably more fascinated by the program itself than by the content of the notes on Rousseau, Smith and Weber.

She discovered herself unexpectedly pregnant with her fourth child just as she attempted to take her exams. She left the program with a Masters earned, a new one-year-old and, as a single mother raising four children, her marriage a casualty of the changing times.

Subsequently, her five-year foray into a corporate and very foreign environment of high-end real estate, found her promoting the benefits of going beyond email to investing in an internet presence and a company intranet to maintain consistency in their brand and messaging. In charge of “professional education” she became the first in the company to have a “portable” computer, a 25-pound behemoth that she carted all over the country for educational seminars. She was also the first one in the company to open up the computer, explore its insides, and integrate a sound card to create multimedia presentations.

When she and husband and architect Janek Dombrowa moved to the Canyon nearly 20 years ago with their mutual children–Misia, Stefan and Robin–they lived as many families with young children do today: commuting and driving miles to coordinate school, work and children’s activities.

As a Topangan, Bonnie works with several of Topanga’s non-profit organizations, managing their social media, re-building their websites and streamlining their membership processes.

Her service to the community began in February 2013, when she was looking for ways to broaden her expertise and get out from behind the computer.

She spent nearly a year “interning” with Topanga Catering Company to get some background in the catering and event planning business. Michael O’Rourke subsequently invited her to develop a business around his property (the Institute of Courage) that she re-branded as Rosewood.

The intense experience and success of event planning reflected her management skills and love for throwing a party, so she scratched that off her goals list and added it to her résumé. That’s where Dorothy Reik discovered her. Reik invited Morgan to apply for the position of Rental Coordinator for the Topanga Community Club where the unassuming Morgan now works her magic behind the scenes.

While no one was looking, she designed and built a comprehensive WordPress website that covers all aspects of memberships, events and rentals. It is updated daily, and is the source of information for the Club and includes a live, up-to–the-minute calendar packed with classes, community events and private rentals.

As a result of extensive marketing and promotion to film location crews and other special event venue companies, rental income for the TCC has tripled and rivals the income brought in by other main fundraising events.

A weekly newsletter called “Happenings” is issued to all members and other subscribers every Monday morning that has enhanced the TCC’s reputation for responsiveness and accountability. The Club also communicates weekly and sometimes daily through social media to its members and other interested parties.

Membership is purchased online as are all other events requiring ticketing or purchases. The rolls are up-to-the-minute correct and membership has increased to nearly 600.

Morgan, along with waste management expert Victoria Charles, instituted a program of “Zero Waste Topanga” with TCC as a pilot project, which the TCC Board has enthusiastically embraced. The Zero Waste facility will soon be enhanced by their upcoming solar roof installation.

Launched in April 2014 at Earth Action Day, the Club now avidly recycles, collects and provides compost for its on-site gardens and works to educate membership about zero waste practices. Zero Waste will be incorporated into all the TCC events, moving from purchasing disposable products to using and reusing non-disposable ones. The Sages Social Supper no longer uses paper plates or plasticware, but relies instead on real flatware, glasses and plates.

“What really makes it happen is everyone’s efforts,” says Morgan.

In January 2014, Morgan introduced a strategic planning effort. As part of the Community House Improvement Committee (CHIC), TCC instituted a community-wide survey of Topanga residents to understand what the community wanted of TCC and incorporated the responses into the longer-term planning of the Club.

Finally, when TCC took over management of the Sages programs, an anonymous donor approached Morgan to build a similarly functioning website for the Canyon Sages. They, too, now have a live calendar, weekly newsletter and a new Facebook page.

Because of her social media expertise, she was asked to become Media Chair on the Topanga Chamber of Commerce Board in early 2014, and took on management of the Chamber’s website. She built a separate blog called “Chamber Talk” so the Chamber could communicate with their members and others. She also developed a new, organizational Facebook page.

Earlier this year, she worked with the Messenger to develop a win-win advertising program with the Chamber. By taking on the sponsorship of the Messenger’s online Business section, the Chamber developed another platform to present its activities and a better advertising opportunity for its members.

Bonnie started her business, Design Like It Matters, because of her strengths in communication, management and technology; but she is also a tireless advocate for trying to better her community through socially responsible design using technology. When used correctly it has democratizing processes that can have wonderful and far-reaching impacts on communities.

She sees the Messenger as the cornerstone of community information and communication. She applauds the Topanga Canyon Town Council’s (TCTC) as the community website and HUB of Topanga, the wonderful idea of Bruce Royer, owner of Tuscali Inn, and Stacy Sledge, president of TCTC, that brings together all the non-profit and special interest organizations of Topanga together.

Design Like It Matters is a full-service marketing service that ranges from logo design, branding, print collaterals, website design and social media integration. Specializing in working with small business entrepreneurs, community and membership organizations.

For more information:, (310) 425-3624; or

Ann Sturgis, July 29, 1925 – October 5, 2014

I’m hoping that most people know of Cousin Ann’s passing but I did think it was appropriate that it be chronicled on our family blog. First cousin to Poppy (Fred Morgan), I discovered her existence while working on the family genealogy. I found her address and met with her in San Diego after which Chris and Beth brought her up to Topanga for a memorable Thanksgiving family reunion.

Here are some other photos I grabbed off of Facebook. Joanna and Ryan Mickle are her children.

UPDATE FROM NANCY; God Bless Our Family

This is my first posting on our family forum. Just wanted to give a ‘Shout out’ 🙂 to members of my family that rallied to my support when I was in a position of desperate need.
‘Immediate family members’ may remember when my very empathetic sister, Mickey Morgan, sent out a e-mail to them asking for help in addressing my pressing financial needs. Thanks to Mickey’s e-mail, my faith in family has been restored and strenghtened.
Thank-you, Bonnie, for depositing money in my paypal account – Your extreme generosity allayed many of my financial fears at a time when they were threatening to overwhelm me.
Thank-you, Mickey, for sending me your gold ring and cash. Thanks to your generosity (and your e-mail), I had no fear of being destitute.
Thank you, Mom, for your financial efforts and response.
Thank-you, brother Ike, for your generous offer of continued financial support. And mostly, thank-you for your offer to co-sign a home equity loan for me. I know how much you hate debt and will never forget your offer to help bail me out.
And thank-you, Sara and Jef, for agreeing to co-sign a loan for me. I’m so glad it won’t be necessary…
I thank God that the majority of my family members are so empathetic and supportive.
This story has a happy ending.
My nephew, Lee Morgan, (Ike’s son) and his (as yet unmet bride) Erin, have decided to buy my home in South Carolina. Thus solving all of my financial problems.
Lee and Erin will be relocating to South Carolina on August 1, 2014. Lee, after his 2 tours in Afghanistan, will be enrolling in Coastal Carolina University. His wife, Erin, I expect, will obtain a nursing job at one of the many hospitals in Murrells Inlet that are desperate for nurses.
As for myself, I now have the ability to pursue options that were unavailable to me when I was financially destitute. And I have family support to thank for it. Color me happy:)
Nancy Morgan

Janek in the news

Janek spent his spring and summer doing what he loves best: building. And still, few would know much about it except for some of the events surrounding his client, and art dealer, Leslie Sacks. His client died just one week before it was completed and the building instead became the place of memorial for the man who had commissioned it.

This was what was written about it by an observer. If you don’t want to read the whole thing, at least scroll down to see all the great photos of the building.