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Family Art Day at Festival of the Arts, the bewitching magic of Le PeTiT CiRqUe never fades

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Jeff Rovner

On any given day or night during the summer, the Festival of Arts (FOA) is a rarified place filled with splendid and imaginative art, and the genius creativity of the Pageant of the Masters.

But this past Sunday during Family Art Day, to add to its already rich allure, the

FOA grounds were alive with the sights and sounds of merriment, music, and the mesmerizing artistry of Le PeTiT CiRqUe (LPC). 

Family Art girl jumping

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Girl jumps for joy at Family Art Day at Festival of the Arts

During the day’s festivities, visiting families with kids of all ages donned elaborate balloon hats, sported temporary tattoos, participated in crafts and treasure hunts, and mingled with the technicolor-costumed sprites that make up LPC. And for the second year, a capacity audience was completely captivated by the performance of this all children cirque company.

Does magic fade with familiarity? In this case, seeing the performance by Le PeTiT CiRqUe for the second time, the answer is a resounding, “No.” The bewitching nature of the troupe is still in full force as evidenced by the “oohs” and “aahs” coming from the spellbound crowd. 

The audience drew a collective breath when the acrobats (one with a tiny nymph of a girl wrapped around her waist) shot arrows with their feet while doing handstands. We were dazzled by the aerialists hypnotic twirls high above the ground, seeming to turn into crimson flower petals before our eyes. And the little karate master with his enthusiastic utterances always elicits a reaction from the crowd, especially when he wields his sword around the stage. 

Every moment continues to be awe-inspiring. 

Family Art girl on stilts

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Girl on stilts towers over artist in his booth

What this company has accomplished is also awe-inspiring. LPC is the only all-kid humanitarian professional cirque company in the world. The troupe consists of kids from 5 -16 years of age, who perform as cirque artists, acrobats, karate masters, musicians, singers, hula hoop masters, and dancers. 

They have performed all over the US, Canada and Dubai, and for world leaders including the Dalai Lama, and the Sultan of Brunei. LPC has raised an incredible five million dollars since its launch six years ago.

As readers might remember, LPC’s connection to the Festival is through Haley Rovner, the troupe’s hula hoop master, whose father just happens to be Jeff Rovner, a fine art photographer exhibiting at the FOA for the second year in a row. His Cirque Noir portfolio is currently on exhibition (last year it featured his LPC photographs). 

Family Art handstand at booth

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Anne Arellano doing a handstand at Rovner’s booth as Haley looks on

Le PeTiT CirRqUe started with a vision that Nathalie Gaulthier, the founder and creator of LPC, had as a seven-year-old girl. “I grew up in Iqualuit, Nunavut, right below Greenland, with Inuits, Eskimos. I was a minority. I grew up with igloos around me and knew there was a bigger world out there. I wrote my first play at age seven, directed it, and it was presented at my school in half English and half Inuit.”

But, it’s one thing to have a vision, it’s another to make it happen.

And that’s just what Gaulthier did. “I launched my full company at age 14 in Montreal, Canada and it grew! We added the circus in 2007 and Le PeTiT CiRqUe was born in 2012.”

Just last October, they were invited to appear at the Nobel Peace Prize Concert in Oslo, Norway. 

Gaulthier says of this experience, “The biggest takeaway for our team was to dream big and believe in their potential to make a difference in the world.”

Family Art Bob Whalen

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Haley chats with Councilman Bob Whalen as Audrey Brown sips her soda

Although the show is magic, it’s not magically conjured up, and ultimately appears on stage only after a tremendous amount of hard work, perseverance, and creativity by everyone concerned. All the elements, the performers, costumes, music, choreography, and staging, come together to generate the mystique. 

This year there was an addition to LPC’s stage presence, one that has a unique connection to the Pageant of the Masters. The mural behind the LPC performers was painted by 11-year-old artist Elisabeth Anisimow, who has participated in several shows with LPC.

Elisabeth’s specialty is producing paintings very much like the ones in the Pageant – she was inspired by the European tradition “tableaux vivant,” which translates from French to “living pictures.” Especially popular in the 19th century, it involved actors transforming themselves to represent scenes from art, literature or history. 

Family Art LPC Troupe

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LPC troupe poses in front of Elisabeth’s mural

She and her mother, Ekaterina Anisimova, live in St. Petersburg, Russia, but also spend time in Los Angeles. She painted the mural in Russia and brought it over to the US for this show. She also brought the materials for three frames, which she and her mom assembled at the Rovner residence on Saturday. They then mounted the three canvases over the frames on Sunday morning in preparation for the performance.

The “proper” way to present her mural at the Festival last weekend would have been for the human figures to remain immobile in front of the canvas. But for this particular performance, it was decided the figures – who were acrobats – should move. And the audience was certainly glad they did.

During the intermission between LPC’s two performances, the audience was treated to the music of Undecided Future, a pop/funk/R&B band featuring former students of Orange County School of the Arts. They have performed at numerous venues including the 2016 NAMM Show, Honda Center, House of Blues, Disneyland, Angel Stadium and opened up for the legendary band The English Beat at the Coach House. A perfect choice for this particular afternoon of fun and fantasy.

Watching a performance by LPC is like being part of fairytale that one never wants to end. If Laguna is fortunate enough to have them back next year, don’t miss it, and prepare to be wowed, again and again!

For more information on LPC, go to www.lestudiola.com/le-petit-cirque.


Terra Laguna Beach welcomes FOA/POM ticket holders and Passport to the Arts holders

Terra Laguna Beach welcomes Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters ticket holders and Laguna Beach Passport to the Arts holders throughout the festival season for drinks, lunch, and/or dinner.

Officially opening July 7, guests at the Festival or Pageant may also stop by Terra Laguna Beach for a variety of California fresh cuisine and refreshments or they can visit Terra’s Neptune Lounge for custom drinks and tapas. 

Executive Chef Jenny Messing has prepared an elegant and delectable menu for Terra diners, and has included a few favorites from the previous on-site restaurant, Tivoli Terrace.

Terra Laguna lights

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Submitted photo

Terra Laguna Beach is on the Festival of Arts grounds

Chef Messing’s menu includes tantalizing dishes like the Maple Brined Pork Chop topped with a chunky summer peach-pancetta bourbon sauce served with sautéed kale and cauliflower mashed potatoes, the Char-Grilled Flank Steak sprinkled with a savory chutney of fig, smoked bleu cheese, toasted walnuts and fresh thyme served over a bed of cauliflower mashed potatoes, and the Pan Seared Chicken Breast with a fresh fennel and tart green apple slaw and earthy roasted beets served over a bed of herbed basmati rice. 

There are also vegetarian options available including a beautiful Tuscan Primavera Pasta slow cooked with fresh summer vegetables, herbs and freshly cooked pappardelle pasta, fresh parmesan cheese and basil. 

For dessert, the Rosemary-Lemon Olive Oil Cake Berry Trifle is innovative and refreshing, and the Dark Chocolate and Salted Caramel Tart with a hazelnut crust and fresh blackberries will make your mouth water for more. With delicious cuisine and artfully crafted cocktails, Terra’s serene and luxurious atmosphere only heightens the sumptuous experience under the historic canopy from 1957 at Terra.

To access the unique experience of Terra, you must be a ticket holder for the Festival of Arts or Pageant of the Masters. Festival of Arts tickets are sold either per day or per season. One ticket to the Pageant of the Masters can get you into the Festival of Arts for the whole season on top of the access to the Pageant, which will allow you to come and enjoy the tantalizing taste of Terra again and again, all season long.

You may also purchase a Laguna Beach Passport to the Arts, which allows you access to dine at Terra, and get you into the three art festivals in the area: Festival of Arts, Laguna Art-A-Fair, and Sawdust Art Festival.

Of course, Laguna Beach residents, those in the military and children under 5 are all admitted to the Festival of Arts for free.

For more information, visit www.terralagunabeach.com.


Dueling selfies: It’s all about the background, really

Photo by Tom Berndt

Dueling selfies by tom berndt

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Look, I’m here, in Laguna!


Grammy nominated Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers shake up stage at Festival of the Arts tomorrow

Two-time Grammy nominated singer/saxophonist Mindi Abair will perform live tomorrow, Saturday, July 14 at the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts as part of the 2018 Concerts on the Green music series, sponsored by Cambria Estates Vineyard and Winery. This popular series highlights living legends in a casual outdoor gallery setting that offers a memorable and unique concert experience. Abair and her acclaimed band, The Boneshakers, will take the stage from 1 - 2:30 p.m.

One of the most recognized and sought-after saxophonists, two-time Grammy nominee Abair has been electrifying audiences with her dynamic live performances and sax prowess since her debut album in 2000. No one since Junior Walker has brought saxophone and vocals in one package to the forefront of modern music, with a raucous tone and abandon. 

“There’s no mistaking the sound of Mindi Abair on her saxophone,” said Susan Davis, director of special events for the Festival of Arts. “Backed by the dynamic and talented musicians of the Boneshakers, this concert is one you won’t want to miss!” 

Grammy nominated Boneshakers

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Submitted photo

(L-R) Rodney Lee, Randy Jacobs, Mindi Adair, Derek Frank, Sweet Pea Atkinson, Third Richardson

She has garnered 10 number one radio hits, six top five solo records and two number one spots on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz album chart. In 2014, Abair received her first Grammy nomination in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category, followed by a 2015 Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for her solo LP Wild Heart featuring the late Gregg Allman, Joe Perry, Trombone Shorty, Booker T. Jones, Keb’ Mo’, and Max Weinberg.

To help translate this sound to her live shows, Abair enlisted longtime friend and The Boneshakers founder Randy Jacobs (Bonnie Raitt, Was Not Was, Willie Nelson) to inject his brand of Detroit Rock/Funk. The collaboration was undeniable, and it led to an almost immediate decision to join forces creatively. 

Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers features Abair (Saxophone, Vocals), Randy Jacobs (Guitar, Vocals), Sweet Pea Atkinson (Vocals), Rodney Lee (Keys), Derek Frank (Bass, Vocals), and Third Richardson (Drums, Vocals). Their first record together, Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers LIVE in Seattle, was released in September 2015, and recorded at their first official show together in Seattle in February 2015.

Grammy nominated FOA

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers perform at Concerts on the Green tomorrow, Saturday, July 14

General Admission tickets are $10 on weekdays and $15 on weekends. Tickets for students and seniors are $7 on weekdays and $11 on weekends. Tickets for children 6-12 are $5 daily. Admission is free for children 5 and under, military, and Laguna Beach residents. 

Passport to the Art, a special promotion funded in part by Bank of America, is $29 and includes unlimited admission all summer long to FOA, the Sawdust Art Festival and Laguna Art-A-Fair.

The Festival is open now through September 1 from noon - 11:30 p.m. on weekdays, and from 10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. on weekends. There is an early closing on Tuesday, August 25 at 1:30 p.m.

Concerts on the Green are free with FOA admission. Limited seating is available in a reserved section for $40 per person per concert (includes Festival admission). Call (800) 487-3378 or order online at www.foapom.com/events/concerts-on-the-green.

FOA is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd.

For more information, go to www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org.


Laguna Board of REALTORS - Charitable Assistance Fund comes through for Laguna Food Pantry

The Laguna Food Pantry was a beneficiary of the Laguna Board of REALTORS & Affiliates’ Charitable Assistance Fund’s 23rd Annual A Taste for Charity & Silent Art Auction, which raised more than $106,000.

“We are overwhelmed at the Realtors’ ongoing support,” said Pantry executive director Anne Belyea. “It gives us a big boost that will allow us to purchase quality food at a substantial discount. Our volunteer operations team has become quite savvy at finding bargains on fresh, nutritious food items for our shoppers to choose from.” 

Laguna Board group

Submitted photo

Laguna Board of REALTORS treasurer Patrick Zellar presented a check to the Laguna Food Pantry’s treasurer Susan Thomas (left), executive director Anne Belyea and board vice chair Suriya Khan Mastroberti

The Laguna Board of REALTORS & Affiliates’ Charitable Assistance Fund is a stand-alone nonprofit organization with its own board of directors. It was created in 2004 by the Laguna Board of REALTORS to help its own members and affiliate members who find themselves struggling economically, as well as others in the community. 

LBR-CAF committee chair Natalie Alvarez noted, “Everyone who serves on the board of directors for the Charitable Assistance Fund is concerned with the needs within our community. Laguna’s ‘A Taste for Charity’ event aims to address these needs with disbursements to organizations that help people in need.” 

Every weekday, Laguna Food Pantry collects and distributes 4,000 lbs. of free, fresh groceries to approximately 80 families, half of whom have children. Located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Road north of the Dog Park, the Pantry is open from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. It is run almost entirely by volunteers, and new recruits are welcome. For more information, call (949) 497-7121 or visit www.lagunafoodpantry.org.


Tax ballot measure hearing rescheduled

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The scheduled hearing on alternative ballot measures to fund utility undergrounding along key evacuation routes was postponed on Tuesday for a week.

Mayor Kelly Boyd requested the postponement because he was ailing and could not attend Tuesday’s meeting at which the council was to discuss the ballot measures prepared by staff. The staff report set forth the choice between special purpose and general purpose measures and the steps that must be taken to put one of them on the November ballot. The item will be heard July 17.

Tax undergrounding

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Two ballot measures to fund undergrounding will be considered for the November ballot

Councilman Steve Dicterow said he welcomed the postponement because it permits more time for the public to be informed about the differences between general and special purpose tax increase measures.

“I think it is very important for people to understand the difference,” said Dicterow.

Special purpose taxes require a two-third supermajority vote for approval and the revenue is limited to the specified use approved by the voters. A general purpose tax increase requires a 50 percent plus one vote and revenue goes into the general fund, to be spent at the council’s discretion, not as incorrectly reported last week.

If the general purpose tax is selected, the council must adopt a resolution expressing support for the Utility Undergrounding, Fire Safety and Other Essential City Services Measure, its intents to prioritize spending options for future ballot measure revenue, and its intent to create an oversight committee. The special purpose measure is titled Laguna Beach Undergrounding and Fire Safety Measure.

Both measures to be considered recommend a one percent increase in sales tax.

Council actions must be taken regardless of selected option

Wording of both measures was developed by Boyd and the council’s Utility Undergrounding Subcommittee of Councilmen Rob Zur Schmiede and Bob Whalen. 

Regardless of which option is selected, certain actions must be taken by the council:

--Direct the City Attorney to prepare an impartial analysis measure

--Authorize City Manager John Pietig to prepare a fiscal analysis

--Authorize Boyd, Whalen and Zur Schmiede, any other council members so inclined and the chiefs of the Police and Fire Departments to prepare direct and rebuttal arguments in favor of the selected measure

Staff has also recommended that the council appoint Whalen and Zur Schmiede to prepare a ballot argument in favor of the selected ballot measure and a rebuttal.

All of the documents must be filed with the City Clerk’s Office by 5:30 p.m., August 10.

The first reading of an ordinance for the selected measure is scheduled to be introduced at Tuesday’s meeting. A second reading will be required for adoption.

Staff had prepared a lengthy report on steps for placing measures for a general purpose sales tax increase or a special purpose sales tax increase on the ballot. 

Also delayed until the July 17 meeting: The request by the city to the Orange County Board Supervisors to consolidate the municipal election with the statewide general election on November 6, because all five council members are required to participate in the request.


Stop by the “Pastels!” exhibit at City Hall, enjoy the vibrant colors & vote for Peoples’ Choice Award

“Pastels!,” CAP’s current exhibit on the walls of City Hall (505 Forest Ave) is not only giving viewers the enjoyment of seeing the variety of subjects and painting styles, but offering viewers an opportunity to vote for their favorite work and be a voice in choosing the Peoples’ Choice piece. 

The winner will be announced at the close of the exhibit. Original works by Mary Aslin, Gianne de Genevraye, Mike Ishikawa, Margaret Lindsey, Sally Strand, Marie Tippets, Elizabeth Wallace, and David Wolfram are the contenders.

Mary Aslin’s floral still lifes of roses in full bloom, backlit with natural sunlight and defined with sharp and subtle edges, give a depth and dimension to these calming, peaceful works.

Gianne de Genevraye’s “Grand Cardón Cactus,” created with rough strokes, brings to mind the aridity and heat of its home in Cabo San Lucas.

Stop by Heisler

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Submitted photo

Mike Ishikawa, Heisler Park, 12” x 18”

Mike Ishikawa’s scenes of Laguna’s coastline are done with strong strokes and bold colors. His “Heisler Park” was voted the Arts Commission’s Choice Award.

“Playa Vista,” by Margaret Lindsey, is a scene of rich green space tucked in an unexpected place: a scene reminiscent of old California hidden in the current urban Los Angeles area.

Stop by Strand

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Submitted photo

Sally Strand, Man With Yellow Towel, 36” x 24” 

Sally Strand’s portraits of Laguna’s lawn bowlers and beach goers glow with warmth from the summer sun in current scenes of today.

In the style of Realism, Marie Tippets salutes the world of baseball, pro and collegiate. Her composition in “Retired” includes ball, bat, baseball cards and other baseball paraphernalia that tie to local and national teams.

Stop by wallace

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Submitted photo

Elizabeth Wallace, Lift Off, 9” x 12”

Elizabeth Wallace works in loose, short strokes and rich color. A small work, “Lift Off”, gives an up close and personal view of a bee taking flight off a flower on a hot, sunny day.

David Wolfram’s work has the feel of plein air oil. Done in Laguna, his subjects are beach related. The delight of a small child, splashing their way into the surf on a bright sunny day, brings smiles to the viewer.

CAP’s mission is to increase the visibility and appreciation of Art and serve as a catalyst for Art Education. CAP provides ongoing exhibition in The CAP Gallery, in the Rotunda Gallery space located on the second floor of the Wells Fargo Building, 260 Ocean Avenue. 

The CAP Gallery is a unique space for juried, solo and retrospective exhibitions. Visit www.caplaguna.org for information about ongoing or upcoming exhibits, to be added to CAP’s email list or to become a member and supporter of the nonprofit. CAP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit funded by the member supporters, the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

“Pastels!” is now on exhibit through August 7 at Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. Hours are Monday – Thursday and alternate Fridays, 7:30 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.; closed on alternate Fridays; closed July 20 and August 3. Admission is free.


Ruby, July birthstone, is The King of Gems

By Lorraine Hornby

The ruby’s sanskrit name, “ratnaraj”, means “king of gems” and its English name comes from the Latin word for red, “ruber”. Ruby, the July birthstone, is prized for its rarity and fiery red color. Ruby is also the symbolic gem for a 40th wedding anniversary.

Rubies are part of the corundum gem species, which includes sapphires (the September birthstone). They rate a nine on the Mohs hardness scale – the only gemstone which is harder is a diamond. 

The highest quality gems have historically come from deposits in Myanmar, which was formerly known as Burma so gems sourced from that region are still commonly referred to as Burmese rubies. Thailand, Madagascar, and Mozambique are also regions where ruby is mined.

How valuable are rubies? And what is “pigeon’s blood”?

Top quality rubies are more valuable per carat than any other gemstone, with the exception of certain colored diamonds. Color and clarity are key factors in determining price, with the classic “pigeon’s blood” red considered the most desirable. For those of us unfamiliar with the actual color of a pigeon’s blood, think of “American flag” red – a vivid, bright color.

Many rubies are heat-treated to enhance the color, so those which have not been enhanced are rarer and more valuable. 

ruby among diamonds

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Photo from Christie’s website

Crimson flame

In December 2015, Christie’s sold the Crimson Flame, a 15.04 carat Burmese ruby, for $18.3 million. At over $1.2 million per carat, this was the highest prices per carat ever paid for a ruby. The gem was analyzed by the Swiss Gemological Institute and it was described as a Burmese ruby with no indication of heat treating and having a vivid and saturated red color. 

The report concluded that “a natural ruby from Burma of this size and quality is very rare and thus can be considered an exceptional treasure.”

The star ruby phenomenon

Rubies can have inclusions of the mineral rutile. Sometimes the rutile aligns in such a way that when the ruby is cut in a cabochon shape (meaning a flat bottom and a rounded top) and a single point of light shines on the ruby, a “star” effect is seen. 

ruby raw

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Photo from Wikimedia

Star ruby

Synthetics and look-alikes

Rubies and star rubies can be lab-grown to create gemstone-quality synthetics. Two well-known manufacturers are Chatham (transparent faceted stones) and Linde (cabochon cut star rubies). 

Although the man-made versions are beautiful, they are significantly less valuable, so it is important to know whether the gem you are buying is natural or man-made. Always ask, and be sure the receipt documents what the seller has told you!

Natural gemstones which can be confused with ruby include red garnets and red spinel.

Industrial uses for rubies, including laser beams

Because of its hardness and chemical stability, poor quality ruby and lab-grown ruby have been used in industrial applications. The first laser was created in 1960 using red fluorescent light emitted by a ruby. And crushed corundum was once commonly used as an abrasive.

In the mid-1800s, Swiss watchmakers discovered that corundum was an excellent material to use in making the tiny bearings necessary for the moving parts of a watch. Their precision watches with “jewel movements” became famous for longevity and reliability.

Lorraine Hornby is a local jewelry artist and Certified Gemologist, SCC. Her work can be viewed at www.studio44jewelry.com and at the Sawdust Art Festival, and you can read more about gemstones and jewelry fabrication on her blog at www.studio44jewelry.wordpress.com.


Road trip or Read trip? As part of the Smart Girls program, kids from BGC visit LB Books

Road trip kids

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Photo courtesy Kaira Rouda

Best-selling local author Kaira Rouda recently had fun with young visitors to Laguna Beach Books, where the kids learned about bookstores and authors and shared their love of reading.

Road trip cover

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“I love the Laguna Beach Boys & Girls Club,” Kaira says. “My favorite thing to do is volunteer in the art room. That’s when I learned about the SMART Girls program and I was so happy to host the girls on a field trip at and with Laguna Beach Books. 

“The Paper Bag Princess was my favorite book to read my daughter when she was these girls’ age. The princess outsmarts the dragon, (spoiler alert) saves the prince, and realizes she’s way better off without him!”


Yoga Sapien celebrates its six-month anniversary with evolving event experiences for all

Last January, upstairs at The Pavilions Center off Boat Canyon, new studio Yoga Sapien drew aside its unique barn doors – surrounded by a “living” green moss wall, and opening into a vast, airy, high-ceilinged space – to yogis of all shapes, sizes, and physical conditions. 

The yoga studio’s goal, founders Liz Campbell and David Taylor said, was to “offer this incredibly yoga-hungry community the encouragement to discover a deeper internal practice, and to hold space for all bodies no matter the physical or even financial limitations.”

yoga sapien dave and liz

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Photo from website

Co-founders David and Liz are livin’ the dream – and so are the members

And Yoga Sapien has evolved very nicely during the past half-year, offering up to six classes daily, ranging from restorative yoga, to varying levels of Vinyasa and even Yamuna Body Rolling. 

The innovative yet down-to-earth studio, in addition to yoga and meditation sessions, also holds unusual, illuminating events that calm body and soul.

“Our friends from The Conscious Groove are coming back Saturday, July 21 from 5 - 8 p.m. to bring us Live Kirtan, Aromatherapy, Pranayama (Breathwork) and lots of love!” co-founder Liz says. “These talented musicians and healers know how to put on a good show while guiding you through some powerful energy work.”

yoga sapien liz

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Photo from website

Talk about body art: Liz is both a canvas and a sculpture in this pic

Then, on Sunday, July 29, from 2 - 4 p.m., the idea is to soak in state of Savasana, while being guided through a practice of conscious awareness of the body’s subtle landmarks, one by one.

“Add a hint of burning sage, a beautifully spacious room, and the calming voice of Lynette Kozuma…and that might just be the most perfect Sunday afternoon…ever,” Liz suggests.

This Yoga Nidra meditation practice is said to induce a state of deep, but conscious relaxation designed to help you release what is no longer in service of your true nature. 

For more information about Yoga Sapien classes and these workshops, call (949) 416-3996, drop into the studio at 610 N Coast Hwy (off Boat Canyon, upstairs above Pavilions) or download the very friendly Yoga Sapien mobile app. Visit the website at www.yogasapienlb.com; they’re on Facebook too.

New members who live in Laguna Beach and most contiguous cities receive two free weeks of yoga upon proof of residency.


Joshua Rose discusses “The Current State of the Art Market” at FOA on Wednesday, July 18

On Wednesday, July 18, Joshua Rose, editor of American Art Collector magazine, will return to the Festival of Arts as part of the weekly series Art Talks and Tea. These fascinating and informative discussions are held every Wednesday at 1 p.m. during the Festival season and highlight a different art topic each week. Rose will focus on the contemporary art world with the topic “The Current State of the Art Market.”

At the Festival of Arts Artist Preview on July 2, event sponsor American Art Collector magazine selected two exhibiting Festival artists to be featured in an upcoming issue of the publication. Originally, Rose was to award only one artist the “Editor’s Choice Award,” but he was so impressed with the level of talent that he honored two artists instead. 

Joshua Rose group

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Submitted by FOA

Elizabeth McGhee, Joshua Rose, and Ray Brown

Rose brought charcoal artist Ray Brown to the stage, commenting on his lifelike wildlife drawings and oil painter Elizabeth McGhee, calling her work “expressive, poignant and beautifully set up and rendered.”

According to Rose, the contemporary art world is in a continual state of flux. Auctions, art fairs and online resources all compete for the attention of the collectors while galleries continue to redefine their role in this ever-changing art market. Where do collectors go these days to find works for their collection? What defines quality and value within all these spaces? Rose will address all of these issues in an open accessible way that will help collectors navigate these often confusing worlds.

Rose is the Editor of American Art Collector, Western Art Collector and American Fine Art magazines. As such, he travels to many events around the country visiting galleries and museums, speaking to collectors and attending art fairs. He has spoken at such places as the San Francisco Fine Art Fair, the Boston International Fine Art Show, and many others. Rose has also juried art shows and exhibitions across the country. 

Joshua Rose building

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Art Talks and Tea Series at Festival of Arts, Joshua Rose to speak on July 18

Rose has a Bachelor’s Degree in English and Philosophy from the University of Minnesota and a Master’s Degree in Literature and Art from the University College of North Wales in Bangor, UK. He was hired in 2005 to serve as the founding Editor of American Art Collector and has been with the magazine ever since.

Prior to this work, Rose taught English, Art History and Humanities at the Art Institute of Phoenix from 1996 to 2005. He has spent the last 15 years writing for both local and national art magazines and launched his own art magazine, shade, in Phoenix from 2002-2005. In AZ, he has been a frequent speaker at museums. 

General Admission tickets are $10 on weekdays and $15 on weekends. Tickets for students and seniors are $7 on weekdays and $11 on weekends. Tickets for children 6-12 are $5 daily. Admission is free for children 5 and under, military, and Laguna Beach residents. 

Passport to the Art, a special promotion funded in part by Bank of America, is $29 and includes unlimited admission all summer long to FOA, the Sawdust Art Festival and Laguna Art-A-Fair.

The Festival is open now through September 1 from noon - 11:30 p.m. on weekdays, and from 10 a.m. - 11:30 p.m. on weekends. There is an early closing on Tuesday, August 25 at 1:30 p.m.

Concerts on the Green are free with FOA admission. Limited seating is available in a reserved section for $40 per person per concert (includes Festival admission). Call (800) 487-3378 or order online at www.foapom.com/events/concerts-on-the-green.

FOA is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd.

For more information, go to www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org.


Notice and Call of Special Meeting of the City Council

Notice is hereby given that a Special Meeting of the City Council has been called by Mayor Kelly Boyd, to be held Tuesday, July 17 at 5 p.m. in Conference Room A at City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. The Special Meeting has been called pursuant to Government Code section 54956 for the purpose of conducting a Closed Session concerning the following items:

Conference with legal counsel regarding existing litigation (pursuant to Government Code section 54596.9(D) (1) Fudge v City of Laguna Beach (Laguna Beach Golf and Bungalow Village, LLC) (Orange County Superior Court Case No. 30-2016-00884488); (2) Glover, et al v City of Laguna Beach (US District Court Case No. 8:15-cv-01332); and (3) City of Santa Ana v City of Laguna Beach, et al (US District Court Case No 8:18-cv-00155).

No other items shall be considered.


Five babies will graduate from the Assistance League Laguna Beach’s Early Intervention Program on August 1

To date in 2018, Assistance League Laguna Beach’s Early Intervention Program (EIP) has graduated 13 babies. And on August 1, Stu News will cover the graduation of five more babies. 

The Early Intervention Program (EIP) is designed to provide group-based therapy for developmentally delayed infants from birth to one year. EIP educates parents on how to exercise, stimulate, guide, play and care for their babies. It is the only program available for these youngest developmentally delayed and special needs babies, and parents come from all over Orange County, Riverside County, Los Angeles County and as far as Indio to attend EIP. 

On March 28, six babies graduated from the program, and seven more babies graduated on June 13, including three sets of twins. In the 42 years that the program has been serving infants with developmental delays, this is the first time three sets of twins have been in the program at the same time. 

Five babies with hat

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Submitted by EIP

Another happy grad from the Early Intervention Program

During this year’s two graduation events, the 13 grads, each decked out in traditional caps and gowns, seemed quite happy to grasp their diplomas to the tune of “Pomp and Circumstance.” Proud parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents looked on, all very pleased with the observable developmental progress their little ones had made through the efforts of the EIP therapists from the Intervention Center for Early Childhood.

Assistance League of Laguna Beach provides the facility and all the funding for EIP so parents of developmentally delayed infants are able to attend the program free of charge. In existence since 1976, the Early Intervention Program of Laguna Beach is a collaborative program with Assistance League of Laguna Beach and the Intervention Center for Early Childhood. 

Five babies volunteers

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Volunteer assists mothers during session of Early Intervention Program

There is no fee or cost to the families participating in EIP. Assistance League of Laguna Beach funds the program through proceeds from the Assistance League of Laguna Beach Thrift Shop and from grants and cash donations.

They believe that parent participation is the key to success in providing early intervention services. Therefore, they provide parents with the “hands-on” experience to guide them as occupational and physical therapists, developmental teachers and behavioral specialists make specific recommendations for each child to ensure his or her optimal development.

For more information on EIP, go to www.allagunabeach.org.


Howling for Coyote Almost at an End

By DIANE ARMITAGE

If you’re a SoLag resident, your restaurant options are few and far between. So, when Coyote Grill closed down for a purported six weeks of renovation, we residents here had to face some tough questions: 

--Do we move?

--If we don’t move, how do we survive the 6-week torture?

Coyote is our own little watering hole. The food is decent (particularly the seasonal Baja grilled lobster and their daily unforgettable calamari tacos and wet chicken burrito smothered in their own melty cheese and green sauce). The happy hours are seven days a week. Steve and Mark stir up a serious margarita. It’s an awesome option for quiet weekday breakfast meetings. And, watching tourists from the four-seater window is better than any TV show.

In a nutshell, Coyote rocks. 

Money Pit’s “Six Weeks”

If you saw the Tom Hanks movie, “Money Pit,” you’ll remember that every contractor coming in to rescue parts of Tom’s dilapidated mansion assured him that their part in the restoration would only take six weeks. Here’s my photo of Mark, the bartender, on April 7, just 48 hours prior to the restaurant closing. 

LB Best 0713

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Photo by Diane Armitage

Only six weeks!

Since then, 14 weeks have passed. That’s two six-week periods PLUS two weeks for good measure.

Rumor is that Coyote Grill will be doing a soft opening sometime this weekend to welcome back their most valiant supporters. This is akin to handing a pail of fresh, cool water to a poor soul who’s just crossed the Mojave Dessert. We’ve been absolutely miserable these 14 weeks.

When I dropped in yesterday (Thursday), though, we don’t look like we’re quite to that point. 

LB Best bar

lb best mess

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Photo by Diane Armitage

Getting there…

You never know, though. Once the permitted pieces are approved, it’s really just a matter of interior finish and dusting off a few tables, right? (I ask hopefully.)

Why All the Dust?

Aside from the need to replace an aging bar and kitchen, Coyote Grill needed to update its accommodations for ADA compliance. In so doing, the bathrooms and the hallway to said bathrooms have been beautifully revamped, and the bar has been completely reconfigured for ADA compliance as well.

Because the compliance requires understandable and necessary space, the Coyote bar portion is now significantly smaller. Gone is the palapa and the great white shark (if you’re a regular, you know what I’m talking about), and the bar is certainly more vertical and open in nature. Granted, the vertical stature isn’t going to seat more bar patrons, but I’m not sure that’s even going to be a contingency factor. Coyote Grill patrons who prefer the bar will maintain that state of mind to the end of times.

The dining areas in the small restaurant remain the same, though now boasting lovely new tile floors and the removal of a divider wall that divided the former space into tiny little squares. 

Enough About the Details 

Right. We just want to know when it’s going to open.

Well…it will hopefully happen sometime in the week ahead. Watch their Facebook page – www.facebook.com/CoyoteGrillLagunaBeach – or my own blog at TheBestofLagunaBeach.comfor celebratory details. 

Diane Armitage is the best-selling author of the book, The Best of Laguna Beach, and offers a cornucopia of Laguna based reviews, finds and upcoming events at her blog, TheBestofLagunaBeach.com. 


Barbara’s Column

A love letter to Laguna

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Last Thursday and Friday nights were the final run-throughs of the 2018 Pageant of the Masters before opening night. Audiences both nights included a large contingent of locals – I was lucky enough to be among them.

Let me be clear – I am not qualified to be an art critic or a theater critic, but “I know what I like” and I would urge locals to get tickets. This show is for us.

“It is a love letter to Laguna,” said Sharbie Higuchi, marketing and publicity director of the Festival of Arts.

Friday night was VIP night. The audience included members of the festival’s board members Pat Kollenda, Anita Mangels, Scott Moore (also an exhibitor), Wayne Baglin, Tom Lamb, Fred Sattler and Kathy Jones; and staff members Higuchi and Events Director Susan Davis.

Barbara pageant setting

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The Pageant of the Masters is beautifully set among oaks and sycamores

 “I was very proud of the presentation about Laguna’s art history and the details about the festival,” said former Mayor Elizabeth Pearson, who attended Friday’s show. “It is important for residents to know about our art heritage.”

Laguna Beach Sister Cities Assn founder Karyn Philippsen couldn’t agree more.

“I truly enjoyed the historical component about California and the city,” said Philippsen. “And I enjoyed the music particularly in the second half. We forget how professional the musicians are.”

This year the Festival Orchestra was augmented by “Dapper Dans of Disneyland,” paying homage to Laguna’s surfing history, in the first half finale.

Thursday night was Laguna Appreciation Night. Members of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce were in the audience, following dinner at the Laguna Beach Brewery and Grille, organized by Tight Assets owner Heidi Miller.

Barbara red and green

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One of the many “living pictures” featuring early Laguna: this one depicts Red and Green by Joseph Kleitsch

Sergio Prince, community relations advisor to Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, hotfooted to the dinner after attending the two-hour forum on the Laguna Canyon Road project, hosted at the Susi Q by the Laguna Canyon Foundation, CANDO and Barbara and Greg MacGillivray.

The Chamber is among the nonprofits that sell Pageant tickets as a fundraiser, all 500 selling this year, according to Chamber president David Rubel, one of the ticket holders.

“I thought the Pageant did a great job,” said Rubel. “I like how they told the story of Laguna Beach.”

Michael Kinsman, Chamber past-president, said it was the best Pageant in years. He especially appreciated the scaling back of live action.

“The piece I liked best was the portion of a painting Monet never finished,” said Chamber board member Norm Grossman. “I enjoyed the history of it in the narration.”

The 2018 Pageant honors the artists who set up their canvases out of doors – in plein air – and captured its beauty, among them the members of the Laguna Beach Art Assn founded in 1918, with Edgar Payne as founding president.

Barbara Endless Summer

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The iconic movie Endless Summer inspired a more recent tableau reflecting the Pageant’s Under the Sun theme

Under the direction of Diane Challis Davy, “Under the Sun” captures the essence of Laguna’s early artistic pioneers (and others around the world) who left their studios for the great outdoors. 

2018 is Challis Davy’s 23rd year at the helm. She succeeded 16-year veteran director Glen Eytchinson in 1995. No one could have been better prepared for the job.

Challis Davy has been a part of Laguna’s art history since childhood. She met many artists hanging out at the art gallery owned by her late father, Richard Challis, who also served as judge for festival entries. A recipient of Festival of Arts scholarships, Challis Davy served as a cast member and got her first job in the Pageant’s costume department. 

“I will never get tired of working and creating in this beautiful amphitheater, on the edge of the greenbelt of oaks and sycamores, with its owls, hawks, jays and an elusive roadrunner,” said Challis Davy.

The theme of the 2018 Pageant was inspired by her view one spring evening last year of Saddleback Mountain bathed in sun. It was an aha! moment.

“I thought “Under the Sun,” Challis Davy said in a press release. “The phrase is from Ecclesiastes and I think it serves very well. I wanted the theme to express an awareness and appreciation of the beauty of nature, to focus on artists who choose to paint in the open air.” 

Barbara pageant Diane Challis

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Director of the Pageant, Diane Challis Davy, would not be sitting alone for long: sellout crowds have been pouring into the amphitheater

The show features works by early Laguna artists Anna Hills, William Griffith, Rex Brand (one of the artists her father represented), Julia Bracken Wendt and Joseph Kleitsch.

Challis Davy also paid tribute to the late Roger Kuntz.

Dan Duling’s script, performed nightly by Richard Doyle, meshes perfectly with the “insider” vibe of the show.

The show opens with “From the Beginning,” works by current Festival of Arts exhibitor Jorge Fernandez, depicting the earliest Laguna inhabitants.

Two local milestones are celebrated – the 85th anniversary of the Pageant, and the 100th anniversary of the Laguna Art Museum, which began as a sales and exhibition gallery for local artists.

It takes 500 volunteers to produce the show: two complete casts of 150 on stage including art patron Mark Porterfield, a sponsor of the Festival of Arts Junior Exhibit, and another 200 people backstage.

When the show closes on September 1, the cast and crew will have amassed 60,000 volunteer hours. I recommend you spend two hours at the show.     

Terra Laguna Beach

Some early arrivals to grounds for the 8:30 p.m. show on Friday dined at the former Tivoli Terrace, renamed Terra Laguna Beach.

“The food was excellent, beautifully presented, the wait staff was charming and the ambience made for a great dining experience,” said Kollenda, whose party included family members as well as Philippsen and Pearson.

Pearson was especially impressed by the stylish remodel. 

“I am thrilled with it,” said Pearson. “The original architecture fits perfectly with the upgraded exhibition grounds.”

The only remnant left of the Tivoli Terrace restaurant and event venue, leased for about 50 years by June Neptune, is the swooping paraboloid roof.

“I will always have fond memories of the old Tivoli Terrace, but this is our future and wow!” said Philippsen.

But wait – there’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading StuNewsLaguna.com. Contributions are welcomed.


Pastels on show at City Hall are great: and so are these pastel tableaux on the beach – found art?

Photos by Susan Nazaroff Smallwood Cooper

Pastels on the beach

Pastels seaweed

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Sometimes the best art is to be found on the beach


Crystal Cove Conservancy seeks help to meet challenge

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Crystal Cove Conservancy has California Coastal Commission approval to restore the remaining 17 cottages on the North Beach of the Historic District. All that is needed now is the financing.

The Packard Foundation has agreed to a $10 million low interest construction loan, if the conservancy can raise $5 million in pledges, payable by 2023.

“We are at an important milestone for the park and this project – we need your help,” Crystal Cove Conservancy Vice President Laura Davick told the City Council on Tuesday. “As of today, $1.1 million has been raised. Another $3.9 million in pledges is needed by September 8.”

Pledges have to be paid by 2023.

Crystal cove cottages

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Courtesy of CCC

Seventeen cottages still need to be restored

“The construction loan will fund the final phase of restoration at the historic district, allowing full public access to that area of the park and creating a range of the most affordable overnight accommodations on the California Coast,” Davick said. “Upon completion of the restoration of the last cottages, the Historic District will be self-sustaining, requiring no additional revenue from the general fund for their maintenance.”

Bills are paid through rentals of the cottages, operated by the conservancy’s for-profit Crystal Cove Management Co. Food service is run by The Beachcomber, a sub- concession that includes the Shake Shack/Bootlegger Bar and all catering rights.

Proceeds are re-invested into Crystal Cove State Park, a private/public partnership between California State Parks and the conservancy.

Davick invited the council and members of the public to take advantage of the many programs at the park, including a Founder’s Tour, from noon to 2 p.m., on the third Sunday of every month except December – including this weekend.

“We meet on the deck at check-in and go inside several cottages and give tips on how to rent a cottage,” Davick said. 

She also suggested checking the conservancy’s online calendar for free events and programs this summer – art events, educational programs and movies on the beach. 

Information about park programs and the Packard Challenge is available on the park website at www.CrystalCove.org, with instructions to click on North Beach – also known as a Heritage Legacy Project for California.


Sultry summer sunset

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Sultry sunset

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Laguna’s sunset has many moods: this one is particularly seductive


The Loft at Montage Laguna Beach announces appointment of Chef De Cuisine, Victor Casanova

Montage Laguna Beach has appointed Victor Casanova as the new chef de cuisine of The Loft restaurant. With over 20 years of fine dining and hospitality industry experience at award-winning restaurants, resorts and hotels, Casanova will oversee all operations of The Loft, developing new menus and leading the team of chefs, sommeliers, servers and fromagiers at this all-day resort restaurant overlooking the Pacific Ocean.

“We are delighted to welcome Victor Casanova to helm the kitchen at The Loft,” said Anne-Marie Houston, general manager of Montage Laguna Beach. “With his refined approach to setting the stage for a customized dining experience, creative menu development expertise and leadership acumen, we know Chef Vic will take The Loft to new heights.”

The Loft new chef

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Submitted photo

Victor Casanova takes helm as new chef de cuisine of The Loft restaurant

 For the last six years, Casanova, known for his innovative international cuisine prowess, was chef/owner of highly acclaimed Gusto in LA. Prior to that, he was the executive chef of Culina Modern Italian at Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills and also served as the executive chef of Il Terrazzo, The Praying Monk and The Thirsty Camel at The Phoenician in Scottsdale, AZ.

New York native Casanova competed on TV’s “Iron Chef” in 2011. He attended Peter Kump’s The Institute of Culinary Education in NYC and graduated with a degree in culinary arts, management and hospitality.

Montage, set on a coastal bluff overlooking the Pacific, offers 30 acres of oceanfront luxury. The 250-room craftsman-style resort features beachfront accommodations; a 20,000-square-foot spa; destination dining at Studio; a wealth of outdoor recreation, including three pools, beach and water sports; a fine art collection; and more than 20,000 square feet of indoor and outdoor meeting space. 

For more information, call (888) 715-6700 or visit www.montagehotels.com/lagunabeach.


On-site group therapy sessions offered for club members at Boys & Girls Club LB starting July 19

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach (BGCLB) announces a partnership with Living Success Center, a nonprofit community oriented therapy center in operation since 1977. The Center’s goal is to promote emotional health and wholesome relationships through therapy and psycho-education.

To this end, BGCLB is offering a series of group sessions for its members, beginning on Thursday, July 19, from 9:30 - 11 a.m. at the Club’s Canyon location. Sessions will continue for six weeks at a cost of $60 for the entire series.

On site group Hall

Submitted photo

Michele Hall of Laguna Beach will conduct support group beginning on July 19

“When people want and need assistance to deal with their problems, concerns and aspirations, they should be able to get it without the sacrifice of dignity, privacy or financial well-being,” states Michele Hall, who will be conducting a support group for members at the Club whose families may be experiencing change of any kind – such as divorce, remarriage, illness, move or other issues. 

Hall, a Marriage Family Therapist Trainee, has lived in Laguna Beach since she was six years old. She attended Aliso Elementary School, Thurston Middle School and graduated from LBHS. A graduate of UC Berkeley, with a degree in Conservation and Resource Studies, Hall worked as a political consultant for several years in Los Angeles until she was offered the position of Executive Director of United Laguna, a 501(c)(3).

On site group building

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Group sessions to be held at Boys & Girls Club on Laguna Canyon Rd

After raising two children, Hall’s passion for people and their emotional and psychological well-being led her to pursue her passion as a Marriage and Family Therapist. She is currently attending the graduate program of psychology at Pepperdine University, Irvine Campus. She is looking forward to counseling the children of her hometown. 

Anyone interested in having their child attend should contact Cherie Andrade, BGCLB Social & Emotional Wellness Director, at (949) 494-2535 ext. 7786 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to complete the required paperwork.

Boys & Girls Club is located at 1085 Laguna Canyon, Rd.

For more information, go to www.bgclagunabeach.org or call (949) 715-7942.


Offshore News: Grom of the Week

By Team Laguna Beach Coach CHRIS WILLIAMS

The surf world in Laguna Beach is deep with talent. This week I caught up with Thurston student Jax Hutcheon. Jax is another multi-sport athlete who is turning heads up and down the coast with his explosive surfing. My favorite thing about Jax is his joyful disposition out in the surf – he’s one of those kids you want to surf with!

Offshore News Team

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Courtesy of Soul Surf

Team Laguna Beach (L-R): Coach Chris Williams, Landon Hutcheon, Felix Hayes, Jax Hutcheon, Hudson Saunders, Morgan Saunders, and team dad 

Don Saunders

CW: Talk about when you started surfing.

JH: I started surfing when I was four years old. I used to go to Blackies in Newport and Doheny with my dad. We also went with the Saunders family. It was super fun.

CW: When did you know you were hooked? Was there a session or a wave that blew your mind? Also who are your best surf buddies?

JH: I remember my first surf contest in Huntington Beach with Soul Surf. I was six years old. I made the Final and got a trophy. It was super exciting! My best surf buddies are Hudson Saunders, Zach Van Meter, Hunter Harrington, Parker Smialowicz and my little brother Landon.

CW: You play elite level soccer, how do you manage to compete at high level in surfing and soccer? Does surfing help prepare you for other sports?

JH: I play academy soccer with the OC SURF. We train three days a week plus games on the weekends. When I am not on a soccer field I am in the ocean. I feel like I am always rubbing sand and salt off me to put on soccer socks. Honestly it was an exhausting year.

I love playing soccer. I think surfing has helped me with my overall fitness and upper body strength, also my balance.

CW: What surf competitions do you do? And talk about some of this year’s highlights.

JH: This year I participated in WSA and Scholastic Surf Series, Soul Surf and also local contests. 

The highlights of my year have been winning the Surf n Sport Spring Fever Surf About, middle school division, getting a perfect 10, and winning the Soul Series Team Event with Hunter Harrington. Also any contest with good waves was a highlight. I placed eighth of 160 middle schoolers in the State Scholastic Surf Series in Oceanside

Offshore News Jax

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Photo by Jenn Hutcheon

Grom of the Week Jax Hutcheon with his latest surf award, “Champion Thurstonite”

CW: Your house is full of athletes, who’s the most competitive?

JH: I would say I am the most competitive, but my brother Auston is best at Fortnite. And my brother Landon is really good at soccer and super competitive with me.

CW: Talk about mom and dad’s support, and what that’s meant to your surfing.

JH: My parents have been great about getting me boards and wetsuits, and always taking me to comps and just being supportive.

CW: Where do you want to take your surfing next year and beyond – any goals you’ve made for yourself?

JH: I would not mind winning the Brooks Street, but mostly I just want to enjoy surfing good waves in warm water with my friends and family.

CW: Shout outs to supporters, friends, sponsors?

JH: I would like to thank my mom and dad, also you and Karen at Soul, Dave Post and Mo Van de Wall, for teaching me so many things about surfing. Also Elevate industries and Jenson surfboards for all of their support.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

July 13, 2018

Blobs in the Eastern Pacific and haboobs in Arizona create a stir

Dennis 5After a busy June during which a total of six named tropical systems formed in the Eastern Pacific tropics, it has been a quiet July so far with no new named storms. Now it’s the Atlantic Basin’s turn as Category 2 Hurricane Chris, which formed just off north Carolina a few days ago, is now well offshore and speeding to the northeast. Chris will pass to the west of Bermuda while setting its sights on the eastern shores of Newfoundland by the weekend, still a tropical system thanks to the Gulf Stream where warm waters can extend as far north as latitude 50 north. Then Chris will become extratropical and move to the east setting its sights on Southern Iceland with all kinds of intense weather, and then onward where it hooks up with a strong low in the Northeast Atlantic and then onward to Europe where high surf, strong winds, and heavy rain will pound England, Ireland, and Scotland. Sometimes that happens when a storm will form way down in the tropics and will hold it together long enough to put in a couple of thousand miles more.

Chris never made landfall on the East Coast as a low-pressure trough in the northeast steered the system to the northeast and out to sea, otherwise the hurricane probably would have made landfall somewhere in the Mid-Atlantic states as a dangerous Category 2 or 3 storm, so they dodged a bullet this time around. At this time of year earlier in the season, most tropical systems form in the Caribbean or the Gulf of Mexico. Then in August tropical systems are born near the Cape Verde Islands just off the coast of West Africa at 15-20 degrees north latitude.

The reason it was so busy in June in the Eastern Pacific is because there’s a huge blob of super unstable air that pops out giant clusters of thunderstorms down there in the tropical Convergence Zone. After a while that blob shifts to the east continuing its voyage around the globe and wherever that blob happens to be at that time, there’s a better chance of increased tropical system development. By next month that blob will reappear in the tropical Pacific so it could get really busy again in August.

Multiple haboobs have been occurring in Arizona as of late. Sounds a bit naughty but a haboob is a Middle Eastern term for giant dust storms, an integral part of desert thunderstorms that erupt during the summer monsoon season. A haboob, or dust storm, is a heavy downdraft of a heavy thunderstorm that blows a strong blast of colder air downward, known as a gust front, ahead of the storm and spreads out along the surface. These dust storms are several thousand feet high and can move up to 50-60 mph and when they hit the Phoenix area you better get inside where you can breathe as dust and particulates can really do a number on the lungs. Visibility can be reduced to ten feet or less and day turns into night.

Finally, Laguna’s ocean temps on Tuesday and Wednesday were a very balmy 75 degrees! That’s the warmest it’s been since August of 2015. 

Have a great weekend, ALOHA!


Bluebird Music in the Park 2018: the party starts on Sunday, July 15 at 5 p.m.

Alert for locals: this Sunday the Bluebird Music in the Park kicks off with a tribute to the King of Rock and Roll. Concerts take place on Sundays from July 15 - August 26.

Keep an eye out for Stu News photographer Scott Brashier – he’ll be there every Sunday taking photos of the festive scene.

Bluebird music springsteen

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Last year Springsteen was celebrated

Free live performances are scheduled as follows: 

7/15: Scott Bruce – A tribute to the King of Rock and Roll

7/22: The Devastators – Reggae and Dub

7/29: Lost Beach – Indie Rock n Roll

8/5:  ABBA Gold – A tribute to ABBA

8/12: Room at The Top – A tribute to Tom Petty

8/19: Woody and the Longboards – A tribute to the Beach Boys

8/26: Santanaways – A tribute to Santana

This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Bluebird Park is located at 798 Bluebird Canyon Drive.


Pets of the Week Duke and Duchess are both looking for a new home

Duke and Duchess are currently taking the title of Pets of the Week. They are five years old and the brother and sister are a Chihuahua Peke mix. They’re full of love and find the outdoors to be the best place. They’re looking for a sweet home to take them in, and are excited for the new adventure that awaits them. 

Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, hopes to see both Duke and Duchess adopted as soon as possible. 

Pet of the week Duke and Duchess

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Duke and Duchess are ready to be adopted 

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, their return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of 50 percent.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd. Call (949) 497-3552 or go to the website for information on adoption procedures: www.puplagunabeach.org/our-pets.php.


Cho’s Academy is expanding its yoga options: And nonprofits will benefit hugely also – who knew?

Cho’s Academy is expanding and including more options for yoga, offering Ayurveda workshops, and adding three tremendously talented new teachers to its roster. 

Yoga classes are now available five days per week, Monday through Friday at 9:15 a.m. There are two Ayurveda workshops currently scheduled, one free and one paid.  Full moon, solstice and equinox gong meditations continue to attract participants from all over Orange County. 

A full list of dates and events can be found on the Academy website at www.chosacademy.com

chos academy pose

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Cho’s Academy is dedicated to giving back and donates a third of all gross proceeds raised by its yoga program to local and global charitable causes. 

Most recently, funds were donated to Chhahari, an organization based in Kathmandu dedicated to rescuing children from poverty, malnutrition, drug addiction, sex trade and murder for organs; and, a member of our local community struggling to pay cancer related medical expenses not covered by insurance. 

A full list of charitable organizations is posted on the academy website.

Yoga Schedule

(All classes are from 9:15 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.)

Mondays – Vinyasa with Kylan

Tuesdays – Kundalini with Cher

Wednesdays – Meditative Vinyasa with Sandhiya

Thursdays – Kundalini with Cher

Fridays – Vinyasa with Emily

Upcoming Ayurveda Workshops

Saturday August 11, 2 – 3 p.m.: What is Ayurveda: A Free Introductory Discussion

Saturday September 15, 2 – 5 p.m.:  An Afternoon of Ayurveda: Ancient Wisdom for Living our Best Life – Mind, Body, and Spirit

In addition, Cho’s Academy has three new yoga teachers to announce: Sandhiya Ramaswamy, Emily Dygert, and Kylan Walker.

Originally from India, Sandhiya is a Yoga and Ayurveda practitioner with nearly 20 years of experience (Ayurveda is the ancient science of life and health). Her classes balance a challenging physical practice with meditation and focusing the practitioner’s mind.

A California native, Emily says that yoga has helped her recover from severe health issues including a brain tumor and a major spinal injury. Drawing from diverse and eclectic practices, her classes are energetic and warm with a focus on students as individuals.

With over a decade of experience, Kylan credits yoga with saving her from anxiety and depression and for giving her a sense of purpose during intense and stressful life events. Her classes are rooted in Ashtanga principles and seek to inspire students.

Teacher Cher is a true healer in multiple disciplines, and teaches Kundalini on Tuesdays and Thursdays. A registered nurse by profession, Cher is also a KRI Certified Instructor of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan, and a Reiki Master Teacher. Her classes elevate students’ consciousness in an effort to access the Divinity that exists within.

For more information visit www.chosacademy.com/donation-yoga

Cho’s Academy was established in Laguna Beach in 2009 and offers Yoga, Kickboxing, Jiujitsu, Taekwondo, Fitness Bootcamps and Fitness classes for both kids and adults.


Live! at the Museum presents City of Angels Saxophone Quartet on Thursday, July 12

Live! at the Museum proudly presents City of Angeles Saxophone Quartet on Thursday, July 12.

With a wide and varied repertoire developed and seasoned over time, City of Angels Saxophone Quartet constantly seeks new ways to connect with audiences through succinct commentary focusing on the human stories behind the music that they perform. 

While trained and steeped in the classical tradition, the unique and often overlooked heritage of the saxophone has bequeathed the group with a keen interest in the endless possibilities for varied programs that can mix and match from transcriptions of classical works to historical presentations from the saxophone craze to the swing era as well as the emerging contemporary repertoire.

Live at the saxophone

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Submitted Photo

City of Angels Saxophone Quartet plays at LAM next Thursday evening

Live! at the Museum, a special collaboration of Laguna Beach Live! and Laguna Art Museum, takes place the second Thursday of each month from 7 - 8 p.m. The concert is free to museum members and to non-members with museum admission. 

Pre-reservations are available online through the Museum’s website, or at (949) 494-8971 x203. These seats are held until 6:50 p.m. 

Additional seats are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. For more information about the series and other concerts, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org.


Call for artist entries at Gallery Q this Thursday

Gallery Q is pleased to partner with LOCA Arts Education for its fourth exhibit of the 2018 season. LOCA members, students and teachers are encouraged to submit artwork – all media will be accepted.

Art will be accepted on Thursday, July 12 from 10 a.m. - noon and from 5 - 7 p.m., at Gallery Q at the Susi Q, 380 Third Street.

The exhibition dates are July 16 - September 7, with the Artists Reception on July 27.

Call for artist

Annual LOCA Art Exhibit open for submissions

LOCA Arts Education is a nonprofit coalition of arts educators, professional artists and advocates interested in art education for people of all ages. LOCA programs touch lives in the community by providing opportunities to explore and develop individual creativity and to interact with and learn from local artists. Visit www.locaarts.org for membership information.


Contest for Art Cart, a custom-painted golf cart, will benefit Laguna Art Museum 

Enter Laguna Art Museum’s contest for a chance to win the “Art Cart,” a custom painted design by renowned LA artist Kenny Scharf.

The 2018 Polaris GEM e4 (delivered by Cart Mart) offers premium comfort with seating for four; is street legal up to 35 mph; features 14” polished aluminum high profile wheels and rims, a locking trunk back with 100 lb capacity and more.

Raffle tickets are $100 each.

Contest for art

Photo from website

Artist Kenny Scharf is offering up a painted golf cart for LAM’s raffle; seen here is one of his previously painted car designs

To puchase raffle tickets or for rules and regulations, visit https://lagunaartmuseum.org.


Volleyball tournament on Main Beach was a hot success for Junior Girls

By Kirk Morgan

Juniors Girls ruled Main Beach volleyball as the city-sponsored Girls 16 Years and Under Tournament was contested Thursday, and the Girls 14 Years and Under was held on Friday. 

The conditions were tough with hot temperatures and 14-16 knot winds, but the competition was heated and fun to watch.

Volleyball tournament Girls 16

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The Girls 16 & Under team

On Thursday, Jessica Smith of Laguna Niguel and Camdyn Doucet of New Braunfels outlasted Ava Chew of Encinitas and Natalie Myszkowski of Manhattan Beach to earn the first place medals in a field of 16 teams in the Girls 16 and Under Tournament. Natalia Hagopian of Laguna Beach and her partner Kamdyn Tenorio of Irvine finished fifth. Jacquelyn Strawn of Laguna Beach and her partner Lavender Billingsley of Los Angeles also finished fifth. Additional competitors from Laguna Beach were Isabella Mullin and Alessandra Nitoglia.

Volleyball tournament Winners

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(L-R) Team Catherine Maffei and Saylor Little with the 14’s champions Kelly McCloskey and Natalia Hagopian 

On Friday, the Girls 14 and Under held the court. Natalia Hagopian of Laguna Beach and Kelly McCloskey of Costa Mesa came home the champions over Catherine Maffei of Hermosa Beach and Saylor Little of Long Beach. Brooklyn Yelland of Laguna Beach and her partner Chloe Karn of Mission Viejo also competed. 

The tournaments are made possible by the support of the City of Laguna Beach and the California Beach Volleyball Association – which holds tournaments at every California beach that has volleyball courts (www.cbva.com). The support of Skyloft, The Inn at Laguna Beach, Hobie Sports,  he Ama Olukai Foundation, The Marine Room, Casa del Camino and K’ya and several others is also key. 


Tree replacement workshop held at the Susi Q

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City’s Public Works Department hosted a public workshop on June 29 at the Susi Q for the public to review the trees the city is proposing to plant in the downtown area and along South and North Coast Highway to replace trees either already or to be removed.

Proposed trees to be planted include the New Zealand Christmas Tree, Silver Dollar Gums, Hymenosporum Flavum – commonly called Sweet Shade – Queen Palms, Little Gem Magnolias, Fraser Photinias, a different eucalyptus to replace a white ironbark eucalyptus not commercially available, and in one case a Metrosideroes Spring Fire Shrub, if available.

Trees would be purchased in 15-gallon, 24- or 36-inch boxes, depending on the proposed location. Wells would be covered with decorative grates or rubber surfacing. Wells of rejected locations would be filled in with cement.

About 12 people attended the presentation.

“I was not surprised about the number of people who attended, but we would like to see what the downtown businesses feel about the trees,” said Shohreh Dupuis, Director of Public Works. “We invited business and property owners, tenants and people whose names are on a list of people interested in trees.”

The workshop included a PowerPoint presentation illustrating the 40 sites assessed for replacement trees or elimination – elimination being a major concern for members of the Laguna Beach Beautification Council. 

“Of the 40 [sites] presented, seven won’t be replanted,” said George Weiss, president of the Laguna Beach Beautification Council. “Three are already slated to be removed without replacement and another tree will be replaced by a bush.”

Weiss opined that the criteria used to eliminate trees from city streets were factually incorrect and superficial.

Tree replacement ocean

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Laguna’s streetscapes have long been marked by iconic trees

 “A tree on Coast Highway was taken out by Caltrans at Cress Street and South Coast Highway; a store owner or property owner doesn’t want a tree replaced; a tree isn’t doing well, but a tree 20 feet away is doing fine and the replacement tree would do as well and provide shade,” Weiss said.

“In addition to non-replacement and removal of trees, there is the question of replacement with trees of like character with other trees on the street.” 

The choice of some of the trees on the proposed list were previously criticized by Ruben Flores, past Beautification Council president, seconded by landscape architect Bob Borthwick and reinforced by landscape architect Ann Christoph at the council meeting on May 8. They made recommendations for replacements that Dupuis then said were too large and not suitable for the locations selected for the trees.

All three attended the workshop.

“They have strong opinions,” said Dupuis. “They are still working among themselves on another set of recommendations. We have our recommendations, which will be presented to the Planning Commission.” 

The City must consider maintenance costs as well as liability – branches breaking off, roots buckling sidewalks and tripping pedestrians, Dupuis said. 

Weiss said the Beautification Council had not emerged from the workshop with any specific strategy.

“We would just like the City to have a policy,” he said. “And if it really cannot replace a tree, it should be planted at the closest proximity to the location of the removed tree.

“We think the City has done a service by protecting trees in the right of way, but they should plant low maintenance trees to reduce Public Work’s workload. Our next goal is to increase the budget.”

Following the public workshop, the plan was to be refined and presented to the Planning Commission on July 18 and to the City Council on August 7, Dupuis said. 

For more information or to provide feedback, please contact Senior Administrative Analyst, Robert Sedita at (949) 497-0740 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Fifth Annual Night at The Ranch
benefits the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach

Save the date for the Fifth Annual Night at the Ranch to be held on Friday, Sept 7 at The Ranch in Laguna Beach. The night promises to be an unforgettable evening of celebration featuring the band Side Deal, a collaboration of four artists from Newport Beach drawn together by a passion for great music. 

After years of independent, successful careers and admiration for one another, Charlie Colin (Train), Stan Frazier (Sugar Ray), and Joel & Scott Owen (PawnShop kings) decided to form a band and create original music together.

Fifth annual pic

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Submitted Photo

Save the date for the 5th Annual Night at the Ranch filled with endless fun 

All proceeds from this event go directly to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach. Guests will be treated to a farm-to-table dinner, open bar, exciting live and silent auction items, and lots of live music. Club Alumnus Leif Hanson had the idea of the Night of The Ranch event six years ago and the event is now one of the best in Laguna. 

Leif, a resident of Laguna Beach, attended what was the Laguna Beach Boys Club during his formative years as a young boy and was looking for a way to give back to his Club. He enlisted his good friend and fellow Club Alumnus Steve Blue and together with their amazing committee has made this event a success. 

“The number of kids who need us has grown so fast that we’re just trying to keep up. Now we need more support than ever so we can be there for all of the kids who need the Club,” says CEO Pam Estes. “Leif, Steve and every supporter of last year’s event came to help at a critical time, and we’re happy to have their generous support again this year.” 

For more information, visit www.bcglagunabeach.org.


High temps and big surf during post Fourth of July weekend bring record-breaking crowds and rescues

By DIANNE RUSSELL

“Since Fourth of July was mid-week this year, which weekend do we call Fourth of July weekend?” asks Kai Bond, Captain of Marine Safety when I contact him for specifics about last Saturday and Sunday on the beach.

This is a question I hadn’t considered, but evidently many, and I mean many, extended the holiday into this past weekend. With the record-breaking high temperatures, combined with the big surf as a result of Hurricane Fabio, Capt Bond reports that an estimated 67,800 visitors flocked to Laguna beaches on July 7 and 8.

High temps beach crowd

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Crowds aren’t likely to subside during summer months

He says, “The high surf advisory, though it subsided on Sunday, combined with the high temps, brought a lot of people to the beach.”

And, of course, with more beachgoers comes increased rescues and incidents. According to Capt Bond, there were 456 rescues (20 of which involved water rescue crafts), 135 medical aids, 2,909 ordinance enforcements, 12,096 public contacts, and 7,120 preventative actions. 

And with more bodies on the beach, there are more reports of children wandering off. Over the weekend, there were 12 situations in which children were reported missing.

High temps WRC

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Photo by Mark Porterfield

Lifeguard Tom Renner during rescue earlier this summer

Capt Bond says, “With the large crowds, lifeguards are very vigilant, and those children were reunited with their parents in short order. We retain a policy that all personnel in the area are brought in to assist. In all 12 cases this weekend, we were successful.”

And it doesn’t look like the crowds are going to diminish any time soon, or maybe ever. 

“In Laguna, we have large crowds all year long,” Capt Bond says. “We can have 80 degree weather in December.”

All the more reason for beachgoers to know what ocean conditions they’re facing, and as Capt Bond says, “Know your limitations and swim near a manned lifeguard stand.”

For more information on marine safety, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net/marine.


Million Dollar Quartet at the Playhouse is manic, magnificent and a must-see – oh what a night!

Written by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

When you can’t decide which of the actors on stage thrilled you most – and here I’m talking not just about the four men who portray famous singers in this performance, but the star turns also by Tiffan Borelli as Elvis’s girlfriend, Hugh Hysell in the grounding role of recording studio owner Sam Phillips, and acrobatic upright bass player (well, the bass is upright, but not always the musician), Bill Morey – then you know the performance has been one for the ages.

Each of the four stars is terrific in his own way in Million Dollar Quartet, which makes for a spellbinding, not to mention hip- and inhibition-loosening experience at the Playhouse. 

million dollar bass

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Photo by Ed Krieger

The upright bass (and sometimes upside-down) player played by Bill Morey steals the show at certain moments

The smash-hit musical tells the story of legendary music icons Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins when they came together on December 4, 1956 at the famous Sun Studios. 

Daniel Durston as Elvis (now there’s a challenge, given the iconography associated with the King of Rock ‘n Roll); Austin Honke as the sometimes forgotten Carl Perkins, who was the first to top the charts with Blue Suede Shoes; Billy Rude as the frenetic and talented Jerry Lee Lewis; and Peter Oyloe as smooth, black-clad growler Johnny Cash are similar in height and physiques. Yet from the moment the performance begins, you know exactly which musician each is portraying. 

million dollar elvis

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Photo by Ed Krieger

Elvis (Daniel Durston) swizzles and sizzles

Some may quibble with my belief that each performer was equally powerful, given the terrific performance by the flexible and funny Billy Rude as Jerry Lee Lewis – and my husband loved Peter Oyloe as Johnny Cash in particular – but as always, opinions on creative work are subjective. 

That’s one of the beauties of this show: most of us of a certain age bring a mental hold-all of memories along with us when we hear the names of these million-dollar musicians – and we all have individual reasons to feel our hearts beating and our bodies moving as we vicariously bear witness to this once-in-a-lifetime evening: one that actually happened.

million dollar jerry

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Photo by Ed Krieger

High-flying Jerry Lee Lewis (Billy Rude)

The opening night audience rocked & rolled with the performers, cheering, whistling and applauding all the way through – it was a loud, fun, cathartic evening, one we all desperately need in these gloomy times. 

So – what are you waiting for? See and hear for yourself! Visit www.lagunaplayhouse.org right now to get your tickets or call the box office at (949) 497-2787.

Million Dollar Quartet opened on Sunday, July 8 at 6 p.m. The show will run through Sunday, July 29. Performances will be Tuesday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. There will no performance on Thursday, July 12 at 2 p.m. or Sunday, July 29 at 5:30 p.m. Tickets range from $75 - $105.

The season is generously underwritten by The Hale Family. 


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

July 10, 2018

Saturday was a two-time record-breaker 

Dennis 5Saturday saw high temp records for both the maximum and minimum with a high of 96 shattering the old record of 95 set in 1985 and 2006 and a warmest low temp that day with 75 degrees breaking the previous warm low record of 74 set on July 20, 1960.

Right on schedule, strong thunderstorms are pelting parts of Arizona, all part of the summer monsoon season which will be around until mid-September. During these events, humidities climb into the mid to high 30 percent range which doesn’t sound like much but when temps are abnormally high, like they have been the past few days, 35 percent humidity as opposed to the normal afternoon humidity of less than 10 percent is downright oppressive. If the temp is 110 with 35 percent humidity you’re talking about dew points in the high 70s and even low 80s, which is really uncomfortable beyond belief. Those kinds of dew points are found more in the Southern States.

Anything below a 60 degree dew point is fairly comfortable. From 60-65 degree dew points there is some degree of discomfort. Dew points from 65-70 will cause at least moderate discomfort. When dew points are in the 70-75 degree range, it’s definitely squirm time. Anything above 75 is almost unbearable. The highest dew point I’ve recorded was 76 degrees in July of 2015 when the temp was 84 with 75 percent humidity.

Our Southern California mountains and deserts haven’t seen any thunderstorms yet but it’s only a matter of time when a high pressure settles around the Four Corners area. Not a summer goes by without some kind of thunderstorm activity hits those areas – although not as frequent as Arizona, when some places like Flagstaff and Tucson can see as much as 40-50 thunderstorm days in an average monsoon season. In an average season locally we’ll see around 10-12 thunderstorm days in the mountains and deserts but that number varies quite a bit from year to year. There have been a few summers locally with as many as 30 days with thunderstorm events, particularly in the more southern regions. 

Normally we’ll see a thunderstorm or two even here at the beach about every other year on the average. The summers of 1958, 1972, and 1983 saw at least a half dozen such storms here in Laguna. No coincidence that those three years were during El Nino events. 

See y’all on Friday, ALOHA!


Acclaimed composer and pianist Vince di Mura will perform at NCC on Thursday, July 19 from 7:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Neighborhood Congregational Church invites you to come and enjoy the music of acclaimed composer and pianist Vince di Mura. Vince will be programming a wide variety of music, including the West Coast Premier of “Ybor City Preludes,” a set of six pieces derived from music he recently composed for Princeton University’s production of “FNU LNU.” 

Acclaimed vince di mura

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Stu News file photo

Vince de Mura

Musical works by Michael Brecker, Wayne Shorter, and John Coltrane will be included. In addition, attendees can expect inventive arrangements of songs recorded by pop icon Britney Spears and a large set of pieces arranged from the musical inventions of the progressive rock band Muse. There will most likely be a few surprises along the way.

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. For more information including to purchase tickets, visit www.ncclaguna.org

Neighborhood Congregational Church is located at 340 St. Ann’s Drive.


Another look at that awesome flyover on July Fourth

Photos by Marshall Aren

another look close up

another look curve

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Reader Marshall Aren captured a closer look at the vintage WWII planes flown over Laguna on the Fourth. One of the fleet’s main activities is performing memorial flights in restored North American Aviation AT-6/SNJ trainers. 

For more information, visit www.condorsquadron.org.


Art Museum Film Night will feature Mulholland Drive on Thursday, July 19

Laguna Art Museum will be featuring the classic film Mulholland Drive for their Film Night series on Thursday, July 19 at 7 p.m.

Art Museum Film

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This 2001 American neo-noir mystery film written and directed by David Lynch tells the story of an aspiring actress, newly arrived in Los Angeles, who meets and befriends an amnesiac woman recovering from a car accident. The film follows several other vignettes and characters, including a Hollywood film director.

David Lynch was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Director for the film. It received four Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture (Drama), Best Director, and Best Screenplay.

Ticket price is included with museum admission. Advance tickets are recommended. To reserve online, click here or call (949) 494-08971 x203.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive.


Public comment period closes today for Laguna Canyon Road project

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Today is the deadline to submit comments on the Laguna Canyon Road project proposed by Caltrans, in partnership with the County and the City of Laguna Beach. 

Laguna Canyon Foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones and CANDO President Penny Milne conducted a public forum on Thursday at the Susi Q to discuss the proposal, specifically on components of the project they believe would adversely affect the canyon and the safety of the road.

They were speaking to the choir.

Voices were raised in protest to the proposed project and to the process used to inform the public of the elements of the declaration [that potentially have] negative impacts on the environment or [need to be mitigated].

Without the financial resources to try to legally block the project, project opponents must rely on public comments to make Caltrans aware of environmental and safety concerns. 

“Caltrans will review the comments and respond to some of them,” said Jones.

comment El Toro

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Courtesy of LCF

The junction between El Toro Rd and Laguna Canyon Rd

Comment forms were made available at the forum, but no form letters. Jones opined that individual comments were preferable. However, City Council candidate Judie Mancuso, who spends much of her time dealing with bureaucrats in Sacramento, said form letters are more effective, because they reiterate the major concerns.

A Caltrans representative attended the forum, but was not introduced nor even acknowledged. 

What is proposed

The proposals that most concern Jones include the extension of the inbound merging lane by 900 feet past El Toro Road; and the undergrounding of utility poles in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park land on the north side of the highway, under the concrete shoulders to be constructed along the 1,200 foot extension of the outbound merge lane beginning at El Toro Road. A steep slope on the right side of the inbound lane will be contoured, rather than contained by a wall, as requested by environmentalists, but is to be mitigated offsite.

There is no question that Laguna Canyon Road does not meet Caltrans standards. The improvement project has been in the work for 10 years and it is tightly written, making it virtually impervious to legal challenges, as well as extremely expensive, according to Jones. 

What is opposed

“You have to pick your battles,” said Jones.

She doesn’t much like any of the project, but the top concerns of the Foundation are the 900-foot extension of the inbound merge lane and the plan to underground utilities past the proposed concrete shoulder and into parkland, describing it as a “take.” 

Extension of the inbound merge lane would require some drivers to cross two lanes of traffic to get in or out of the park’s Willow parking lot and does not enhance safety, Jones said. 

“The traffic study for the project does not look at that, nor did it consider the impacts of Anneliese School,” said Jones. “Someone asked me why we have that inbound merge lane at all and I thought, ‘brilliant’.”

Channeling the riparian area on the inbound side of Laguna Canyon Road before reaching El Toro Road is not viewed favorably due to its effect on habitat.

Milne said the plan, which includes damming Laguna Canyon Creek, is designed to keep water off the road, not to protect private property in the canyon.

“Drainage improvements favor the road – that’s Caltrans business,” said Milne. “They do not increase safety for homes or businesses. It is a loss of riparian habitat without corresponding benefits. 

“For those of us who live there (in the canyon) and love it or for those who drive through it and love it, our opinions do not equate with Caltrans.” 

Comments on the project may be emailed by 5 p.m. today to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or submitted in writing to Edward Dolan, Associate Environmental Planner, California Department of Transportation, District 12, Division of Environmental Analysis, 1750 East 4th Street, Santa Ana, CA 92705. 

For more information, contact Laguna Canyon Foundation at (949) 497-8324.


Sales tax measure hearing delayed until July 17

City Council Agenda items 11 and 12 on today’s meeting agenda, related to placing a potential sales tax measure on the November 2018 General Election ballot, will be continued to a special meeting of the Laguna Beach City Council to be held on July 17.

The items are being continued as Mayor Kelly Boyd is not feeling well and will miss the July 10 meeting, and he desires to be a part of the discussion and decision on the matter.

The July 17 special meeting is open to the public and will take place at 6 p.m. in Laguna Beach City Council Chambers.


Street life: Laguna’s humming this summer

Photos by Scott Brashier

street life one direction

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One Direction isn’t only the name of a band – it’s where people were headed, to the beach, this hot last weekend

street life never too hot

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Somehow, it’s never too hot for pizza

street life surfboards

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We stop for surfboards

These images from Scott show that there’s a whole lot of fun-in-motion in town – not just downtown, but in the HIP District too


Southland dancers brought together for Laguna Dance Festival Summer Intensive Workshop

Last week was a big one for several dozen dancers from the southland who participated in Laguna Dance Festival’s Summer Intensive Workshop. The Laguna Dance Festival uniquely offers sensational world-class dance on a theatre stage, art galleries and site-specific outdoor venues. 

Southland dancers Desmond line

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Photo by Terra Deal

Desmond Richardson leads intense dance workshop

Laguna Dance Festival’s summer intensive workshop last week brought together internationally renowned dance artists Desmond Richardson, co-founder and co-artistic director of Complexions Contemporary Ballet and Festival founder, and Vice Dean of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance Jodie Gates. 

Southland dancers younger

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Photo by Terra Deal

Leilani Smith, 12, of San Marcos

A total of 43 students were immersed in five full days of dance technique classes, composition, repertory and professional networking tips in the dance studio at Laguna Beach High School. Joining Gates and Richardson to teach were dance professionals Gillian Finley and Will Johnston. 

Southland dancers leaning

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Photo by Terra Deal

Dancers learn technique from Richardson

The Laguna Dance Festival transforms the distant world of stage dance into the proximity of a living room setting because of its capacity to bring the best dancers in today’s world onto the varied and unique stage venues of Laguna Beach.

Attracting both dancers and dance lovers to this idyllic resort setting, Laguna Dance Festival is dedicated to audience awareness and appreciation through major annual performances, as well as education and small group opportunities.

Southland dancers entire group

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Photo by Terra Deal

Dancers with Richardson and Jodie Gates (far right)

Since its inception, Laguna Dance Festival has presented companies such as Complexions Contemporary Ballet, The Parsons Dance Company, Hubbard Street 2, Trey McIntyre Project, Alonzo King LINES Ballet, BalletX, Aspen Santa Fe Ballet, MALPASO and Ballet BC, among others. Additionally, it has showcased the world’s most exciting talents from the Broadway stage, TV and screen and including principal dancers from The Joffrey Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, New York City Ballet, and The San Francisco Ballet.

For more information, go to www.lagunadancefestival.org.


Sun salutations: A sensational silhouette by Scott

Photo by Scott Brashier

Sun salutations

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Saying sayonara to the sun with salutations last Sunday


Join the “I Heart OC” Boys & Girls Club Giving Day coming up on August 15

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is participating in a collaboration with all of the Boys & Girls Clubs in Orange County to raise over $150,000 for the youth. The Clubs have designated August 15 to be a giving day for donors, friends, and family to show their support for their Club by making a donation on that very special day. 

Join the building

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

LB Boys and Girls Club

This OC Clubs collaboration brings together 15 Boys & Girls Clubs which combined have a total of 110 sites and serve over 95,922 youth annually. 

According to the Institute for Social Research and School of Public Health at the University of Michigan study, for every $1 invested in a Boys & Girls Club, the community receives $10 in return. That is an amazing ROI.

Join this exciting event and help children have a brighter future.

For more information, contact Michelle Fortezzo at (949) 715-7584.


Grammy nominated Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers shake up stage at Festival of the Arts this Saturday

Two-time Grammy nominated singer/saxophonist Mindi Abair will perform live this Saturday, July 14 at the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts as part of the 2018 Concerts on the Green music series, sponsored by Cambria Estates Vineyard and Winery. This popular series highlights living legends in a casual outdoor gallery setting that offers a memorable and unique concert experience. Abair and her acclaimed band, The Boneshakers, will take the stage from 1 - 2:30 p.m.

One of the most recognized and sought-after saxophonists, two-time Grammy nominee Abair has been electrifying audiences with her dynamic live performances and sax prowess since her debut album in 2000. No one since Junior Walker has brought saxophone and vocals in one package to the forefront of modern music, with a raucous tone and abandon. 

“There’s no mistaking the sound of Mindi Abair on her saxophone,” said Susan Davis, director of special events for the Festival of Arts. “Backed by the dynamic and talented musicians of the Boneshakers, this concert is one you won’t want to miss!” 

Grammy nominated Boneshakers

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Submitted photo

(L-R) Rodney Lee, Randy Jacobs, Mindi Adair, Derek Frank, Sweet Pea Atkinson, Third Richardson

She has garnered 10 number one radio hits, six top five solo records and two number one spots on the Billboard Contemporary Jazz album chart. In 2014, Abair received her first Grammy nomination in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category, followed by a 2015 Grammy nomination for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for her solo LP Wild Heart featuring the late Gregg Allman, Joe Perry, Trombone Shorty, Booker T. Jones, Keb’ Mo’, and Max Weinberg.

To help translate this sound to her live shows, Abair enlisted longtime friend and The Boneshakers founder Randy Jacobs (Bonnie Raitt, Was Not Was, Willie Nelson) to inject his brand of Detroit Rock/Funk. The collaboration was undeniable, and it led to an almost immediate decision to join forces creatively. 

Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers features Abair (Saxophone, Vocals), Randy Jacobs (Guitar, Vocals), Sweet Pea Atkinson (Vocals), Rodney Lee (Keys), Derek Frank (Bass, Vocals), and Third Richardson (Drums, Vocals). Their first record together, Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers LIVE in Seattle, was released in September 2015, and recorded at their first official show together in Seattle in February 2015.

Grammy nominated FOA

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Mindi Abair and The Boneshakers perform at Concerts on the Green this Saturday, July 14

General Admission tickets are $10 on weekdays and $15 on weekends. Tickets for students and seniors are $7 on weekdays and $11 on weekends. Tickets for children 6-12 are $5 daily. Admission is free for children 5 and under, military, and Laguna Beach residents. 

Passport to the Art, a special promotion funded in part by Bank of America, is $29 and includes unlimited admission all summer long to FOA, the Sawdust Art Festival and Laguna Art-A-Fair.

The Festival is open now through September 1 from noon - 11:30 p.m. on weekdays, and from 10 a.m. – 11:30 p.m. on weekends. There is an early closing on Tuesday, August 25 at 1:30 p.m.

Concerts on the Green are free with FOA admission. Limited seating is available in a reserved section for $40 per person per concert (includes Festival admission). Call (800) 487-3378 or order online at www.foapom.com/events/concerts-on-the-green.

FOA is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Rd.

For more information, go to www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org.


A Note from Shaena

At Stu News, we receive a number of Letters to the Editor that are passionate about readers’ concerns and quite forthright in their expressed opinions. 

Though we are very clear that these letters represent only the writers’ opinions, not ours, we love to publish them because they present a wide range of views and offer a variety of insights for the public to consider.

We invite you to keep a regular eye on our Letters section, including five new letters this issue, by clicking here.

A reminder of our Letters to the Editor policy: 

It is our firm intention to run any letter that any Laguna Beach resident writes to us with few exceptions.

If the subject of a letter is not a newsworthy individual, we will not publish a letter with any inkling of a personal attack.

We will not accept letters written about a business either positive or negative. It is much too easy for competitors to “create” letters about another business or to find a person willing to write something nice about their business.

If a business is newsworthy, it is probable that we will accept such a letter.

Generally, we will only change objectionable language in letters.

The best rule of thumb is that the decision of the editor is final.

Please send Letters to the Editor to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for publication.


Festival of Arts exhibitor Jorge Fernandez brings his art to the Pageant on July 7 through Sepember 1

Life has been a passionate journey of discovery for sculptor Jorge Fernandez. First juried into the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show in 2008, Fernandez originally left his home in Santiago, Chile to travel through South and Central America, then Mexico, and finally to the United States, before ultimately settling in South Laguna Beach. 

Initially developing a facility working in clay, Fernandez has since added bronze and resin castings to his repertoire. But what remains immediately apparent about his work is his fascination with culture and mythology, as he continues to explore the ways in which humanity and history converge.

A perfect case in point is his public artwork “From the Beginning,” which was installed in South Laguna near the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Seacove Drive. Inspired by stories about the discovery of “Laguna Woman” – fragments of fossilized human bones uncovered in 1933 at a construction site in Laguna Beach and carbon dated back to 12,000-17,000 years ago – Fernandez submitted a proposal to Laguna’s Arts Commission for a public sculpture. 

His figures, suggesting the first man and woman to venture into this area so many millennia ago, provided the artist with an opportunity to make an artistic statement about a sense of place and its effect on the human spirit. The artwork was installed at its present location in 2010. 

Since then, Fernandez, who lives nearby, still delights in his public sculpture. 

“I see it almost every day,” he said. To him, the sculpture has become part of the community and affirms his belief that, like his original couple, people have always been drawn to this area’s scenic and supportive setting.

Festival of Arts Jorge

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Submitted Photo

Explore Laguna’s first inhabitants “From the Beginning” with Jorge Fernandez

As she was conceiving this summer’s Pageant of the Masters, “Under the Sun,” director Diane Challis Davy was also contemplating this area’s local history, how its artistic community developed, and how the area’s environmental diversity inspired generations of artists. 

Equally important, she hoped this summer’s Pageant – the 85-year-old theatrical celebration of art in tableaux vivants, “living pictures” – might encourage her audiences to share her reverence for nature’s many wondrous gifts and simple pleasures. It’s a connection Challis Davy believes must never be taken for granted. 

When her research led her to Fernandez’s eloquent public sculpture, she realized she’d found the opening artwork for this summer’s Pageant, which is itself a love letter to Laguna life, “From the Beginning.”

Since his first inclusion in the Festival of Arts in 2008, the annual summer showcase has allowed Fernandez, as one of the 140 artists working in a wide variety of mediums, to introduce his work to future patrons. He considers his involvement with the Festival to be invaluable to his continued growth as an artist. While preparing a series of new works created primarily in bronze to exhibit in this summer’s Festival, Fernandez was delighted when Challis Davy asked if she might include his public sculpture in this year’s Pageant. In addition to transforming it into a “living picture” as part of the opening of the show, she also saw it as a wonderful addition to the production’s meditation on nature, finding a place in the world, and the power of art to inspire us all. 

For Fernandez, having his deeply personal art included in “Under the Sun” is an honor he’s happy to share with everyone visiting Laguna Beach and the Pageant this summer.


Dianne’s Creature Feature

Don’t mess with a fierce female Tarantula Hawk

By DIANNE RUSSELL

“Just lie down and start screaming,” that’s the advice Justin Schmidt, entomologist and author of The Sting of the Wild, gives to anyone unfortunate enough to have been stung by a tarantula hawk. Although it lasts for only three to five minutes, Schmidt says, “The pain is instantaneous, electrifying, excruciating, and totally debilitating.” 

Tarantula hawks are a tribe of spider wasps (Pompilidae) belonging to the genera Pepsis and Hemipepsis. Each species of this tribe is specialized in hunting a different spider species. They are widely known as tarantula hawks because of their capability to overpower tarantulas. 

Tarantula hawk’s sting is not lethal, but you may want to die

 According to www.nhm.ac.uk.com, its sting ranks second on Schmidt’s pain index, beaten only by the South American bullet ant. (Yes, Schmidt has his own pain index; he’s been stung by over 150 species of insects.)

And the screaming doesn’t stop there. The method by which the female tarantula hawk provides an “all you can eat” spider buffet for her maturing kids is even more shriek-worthy. Read on for the great reveal later in this article…You can’t make this stuff up (well someone has, Mother Nature, and she doesn’t pull any punches). 

Thanks to Lenny Vincent, the Spider-Man, the more I learn about insects, the more I respect the female gender. In almost every insect species, the female is the heavy lifter, and only female wasps (and bees) sting. For the female tarantula hawk, that makes perfect sense, since she brings home the bacon, or in this case, the tarantula. However, the method by which she does it isn’t for the faint of heart. And are the kids grateful? I doubt it.

Dont mess TH stinger

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Photo submitted by Lenny Vincent

Formidable stinger of female tarantula hawk 

Interestingly, she’s able to choose the sex of her offspring. Female babies come from fertilized eggs, the males from unfertilized eggs, and the mom can select the sex by allowing stored sperm to fertilize an egg of her choice. Pretty nifty.

But she has a lot of responsibility. What mother guarantees three meals a day until their child’s maturation? Granted, she doesn’t have to cook any of them, but she’s still a fierce provider in every way. 

Males are frat boys

The males, on the other hand, spend their days sipping nectar from flowers, chasing other males, and mating with females. Sounds suspiciously like college boys, sipping beer, rabble rousing with their buds, and coupling at frat parties. 

Okay, let the wailing begin! Exactly how does the female tarantula hawk hunt and gather this take-out, or in her case, this take-in menu? Since only one spider provides the “growing years” meal, it makes sense that the bigger the tarantula, the bigger the meal, and the larger the hawk that it feeds. (The males are smaller, and for mating purposes, it doesn’t matter, so she feeds the big ones to the females, who obviously need the nourishment more than the lazy males.)

Dont mess tarantula

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Photo submitted by Lenny Vincent

Don’t be frightened by their appearance, tarantulas are harmless to humans

Surprisingly, the female hawk provides each babe with only one spider. How does this “unwitting caretaker,” as Schmidt calls the poor tarantula, end up as a feast? 

According to www.wired.com, the tarantula hawk is an extremely effective hunter. Only one in 400 battles ends in a hawk’s death. Although tarantulas are harmless to humans, they do have massive fangs that can harm a hawk.

In a David and Goliath battle, the tarantula hawk wins

The female tarantula hawk is a master strategist. Once she zeroes in on a tarantula, she advances and retreats repeatedly (trying to find a weak spot) until she gets in underneath, flips it over and then stings, which instantly paralyzes the spider. She then drags it to her burrow or back to the tarantula’s own den (adding insult to injury, a home invasion of the worst kind). A tarantula hawk is able to drag a spider weighing as much as eight times her own weight.

Once safe in the burrow, she lays a single egg on the spider, then seals the entrance to the burrow. If that’s not bad enough, here comes the gross part. In three or four days, when the egg hatches into a larva, it digs into the spider’s abdomen and starts eating the still paralyzed spider, focusing on its non-essential tissues to keep it alive for as long as possible (sometimes weeks). Yikes. Per www.thoughtco.com, they save the heart for last. Eventually, the offspring emerges from the spider as an adult and will survive on nectar. 

Dont mess attack

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Photo from About Animals

Tarantula Hawk dragging live, paralyzed tarantula back to burrow

Not surprisingly, tarantula hawks don’t need to be fearful of predators. They have few natural predators, and there are no reports of animals being dumb enough to go after them. 

Considering all that female goes through for the survival of her offspring, they have a relatively short life span. Males live up to two months, females a little longer. However, they do seem to make the most of it. Because they feed on nectar, they consume fermented fruits when available, and often get to the point where they can hardly fly. (www.aboutanimals.com)

Tarantula hawks know how to party

That’s just what we need, a bunch of drunk tarantula hawks, cruising around looking for a fight, though we only need to be wary of the females. So, how do you tell the difference? Males have straight antennae and those on the females are curved. Also, the males have seven articulating exoskeleton segments, and the females have only six. 

The only problem is that you have to get up close and personal to tell the difference. Probably, not a good idea, unless you want to end up on the ground screaming for your life, or your death.


LBPD drone program launches, takes off in a big way (starting with finding a lost dog, in true Laguna style)

By SUZIE HARRISON

Laguna Beach Police Department has some new recruits that are creating quite a buzz in law enforcement. Manned by licensed pilots who don’t ride in the cockpit, remote-controlled drones Air 1, Air 2 and Air 3 are the newest crime and safety agents deployed at LBPD.

“As far as we know, we’re the first police department in OC to use drones,” said LBPD Sgt George Ramos, watch commander, who pilots the program. Corporal Thom Spratt and Officer Mike Short are the other pilots on the three-man team. 

He [Ramos] was the right person to lead the program,” Capt Jeff Calvert explained. “I tapped him because he was already a pilot and had the FAA certifications, and that was something we needed to get our Certificate of Authorization.”

“All three of us are trained to fly. We practice and practice, so we all have a lot of fly time,” Sgt Ramos said.

LBPD started researching the drone program in October and launched it in January with months of intensive training in order to obtain a federal Certificate of Authorization (COA) from the FAA. Most of December and January were spent on hours of training.

“Initially they sent me to a drone expo in San Jose to talk with agencies that already had programs. I learned that it really is the future for law enforcement,” Sgt Ramos said. “It’s an excellent tool to save man hours and to protect officers and the public.”

Ramos said he came back from the expo really excited about the seemingly endless possibilities.

LBPD flying matrice

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Courtesy of LBPD

LBPD is the first police department in Orange County to launch an Unmanned Aerial System (UAS). Using its three drones, LBPD can search miles of hillside and wilderness area quietly and efficiently in just minutes to help locate lost persons and protect our community from dangerous fire hazards. 

 “A drone as far as the FAA is considered is an aircraft, just like any other manned aircraft,” Sgt Ramos said. “We are allowed to fly in what’s considered class G airspace, which is uncontrolled, and we have authorization to fly in some controlled air spaces.”

Their first mission was very fitting for Laguna Beach.

“We had not used the drones on a mission until March. I think it was to look for a lost dog. Yes, it was for a lost dog,” Sgt Ramos said (the dog was found).

 Since then LBPD has used drones on search warrants, as well as to look for unlawful campsites in the canyons, fire areas, and traffic accidents to mention a few applications. 

To do the same surveillance using a helicopter is cost prohibitive. 

“When we call the County to send over a helicopter it costs $600 to $800 an hour. The actual operational costs for these drones are less than a dollar an hour,” Sgt Ramos said.

“As an organization we are always looking for enforcement multipliers to help us enforce the law and provide a better quality of life for our citizens,” Capt Jeff Calvert said. “And using the drones has really expanded our resources exponentially. We essentially have a helicopter program now without the exorbitant costs.”

LBPD has three different drones each with its own purpose, utility, and mission. Air 1 is a Matrice 210. It’s the largest drone with the most capabilities and a workhorse when it comes to any major operations. Air 2 is a Phantom 4 Pro and has been used most in the field thus far. The smallest is a bright red DJI Mavic Air used for inside surveillance. Small but mighty, it can basically fit in the palm of a hand.

The largest of the drones has a hand-tilt zoom camera and it’s also got a thermal imaging and FLIR system.

“The thermal camera, what it will help us do is locate heat sources, even in the dark,” Sgt Ramos said. “Outside, it allows us to find somebody hiding under a car and definitely trees and bushes, but mostly it’s used for missing hikers. If we’re looking for a mountain lion or coyotes, those will show up fairly clear with the thermal.”

LBPD drone dog

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Courtesy of LBPD

LBPD’s drone program’s first mission was finding a missing dog

Capt Calvert elaborated on the capabilities of Air 1.

“We’re going to use that on red flag days. They’ll go set up in the canyon and do scans for any heat signatures,” Capt Calvert explained. “We used to have civilian personnel driving up and down the canyon looking for the same thing, but they don’t have the same view as the drone. One person using the drone can achieve what normally takes four or five people to do during the course of a shift.”

In other words, the drone can help fight fires before they start.

Air 3 is used to search interior spaces, buildings, and houses, and to clear the area. 

“We can use the drone to go in ahead of us and clear the rooms as we go in. So when we get a burglary alarm and there’s an open door or open window, we can send the drone in first and search the house, or at least do a rough search, and then follow up with officers,” Sgt Ramos said. “If the criminal sees it, one of two things will happen; it will distract the criminal or he/she will see it, and knock it out of the air. Now we know there is a criminal in the room, so the risk is less. It can help protect the officers, and give us intelligence.”

Flying inside [a building] is part of what the pilots were trained to do during their intensive training program.

“In the past, if you had a barricaded suspect in a car or in a home you would send in the SWAT team, and you’re basically putting people’s lives at risk because you don’t know who is behind that door,” Capt Calvert said. “Now we can open a door and we can actually send a small drone in and get situational awareness on where the suspect may be, and determine whether the suspect is armed.”

Capt Calvert thinks LBPD will be ultimately using the Matrice/Air 1 the most because of its thermal imaging and payload capacity among other things.

 “We used the Matrice to scan the area where the suspects took off and fled from the boat [that landed in Crystal Cove recently]. Four people had already been captured, but we sent the drone up to look for other people.”

It’s a fraction of the cost compared to older methods.

“We’re working with all our public safety partners in the City, assessing the programs, deciding how they can best be used,” Capt Calvert said. 

 “We want to be mindful of the community and the public [and reassure them] that this is not a tool that we’re using to look into people’s windows. It’s a tool to help us, and our job is to make to keep the officers safe and keep the community safe as well,” Capt Calvert said.

Most of the field personnel have been trained to be visual observers of the drones, while the pilot does the flight.

Right now, the mid-size or Air 2 is the one they’ve used the most, and mostly for accident scenes. 

lbpd drone sunset

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Courtesy of LBPD

Air 2 (a DJI Phantom 4), takes off at sunset for a low light training mission

“We’ve taken it out to accident scenes. We can download all the photos and with the software you’ve got a 3-D photogrammetry, a measurement system that can precisely measure, so we don’t have to necessarily close the highway down,” Sgt Ramos noted. “Instead of taking hours, this way in five minutes we have 200 to 300 photos, we can download from the computer and do all our measurements right here, so we’re able to open the road up right away.” 

And that actually was one of the big selling points, to be able to use it for major accident scenes and fatal accidents scenes.

“We can use it for accident reconstruction, search and rescue,” Capt Calvert added. “If we have an active shooter we could use it for an active shooter response.

“The biggest advantage is that it gives us the ability to go where officers can’t go. Whether it’s a natural disaster or a bomb threat – it’s fundamentally changing how we are responding to calls now.”

He says that the middle drone takes only a couple minutes to be ready, so it can be quickly on scene. The larger one, once it is on scene, probably takes about five minutes and then it is in the air, and the small one takes almost no time to be operational.

“We used ours in the last fire that we had in the canyon, when it was over, to survey the area, but we don’t [deploy] manned and unmanned aircraft at same time, we stay on the ground,” Sgt Ramos said.

The drones land on their own helipad, size appropriate for each one.

“Say you’re flying and you lose sight of it for whatever reason – here’s a great feature, all of them have a “return to home button”…so the GPS will bring it back to your location and the camera will fine tune it to land right where it took off,” Sgt Ramos said.

After summer the LBPD plans on training more pilots. To date, the drones have been on 23 missions and counting.

“We’re on the cutting-edge of technology. We’ve taken a leadership role and a lot of other agencies are looking to us to see how we’re developing our program. So far it has been very successful,” Capt Calvert said.

“We are set with the three drones that we have now. We have a fully operational program and three pilots,” Sgt Ramos said.

LBPD drone heisler

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Courtesy of LBPD

The view from Air 1 (a DJI Matrice 210), as it descends for a landing near the Lifeguard Headquarters at Main Beach

As for needing additional drones, Sgt Ramos said, “We shouldn’t need any more. As far as functionality, I think we have what we need. LBPD wants to have more pilots, probably around seven to 10 is my best guess.”

Capt Calvert said they wanted to introduce the drone program and roll it out to the public once everything was in place. He feels confident that now’s a perfect time.

“We wanted to make sure the community is comfortable with the program and to ensure the public that we have strict policies in place,” Capt Calvert said.


West Nile Virus detected in Orange County

Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District (OCMVCD) has confirmed the first mosquito sample to test positive for West Nile virus (WNV) in 2018. The mosquitoes were collected from the city of Garden Grove, near Garden Grove Blvd and Newhope Street on July 3.

“Although we are hoping that this is going to be a mild season for West Nile virus, it is still critical that residents take the necessary precautions to avoid mosquitoes and mosquito bites,” said Robert Cummings, OCMVCD’s Director of Scientific Technical Services.

District staff will post signs and distribute flyers alerting residents to the detection of the virus, and preventative measures they can take to reduce becoming infected. Additional inspectors have been deployed to canvass the area to look for mosquito breeding sources, expand public education, and work with city officials to fix infrastructure issues.

West Nile Virus

West Nile virus is transmitted to humans via the bite of infected mosquitoes, which become infected when feeding on birds carrying the virus. Most individuals infected with WNV will not experience any illness. Others will have flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache and body aches. In severe cases, people will need to be hospitalized, and in rare cases the disease can be fatal. Young children, the elderly or individuals with lowered immune systems are at greater risk to experience severe symptoms when infected.

There are no reported birds with West Nile virus or confirmed cases of human infections at this time in Orange County.

Since its introduction in 2003, WNV has infected more than 6,500 people and has caused 292 fatalities statewide, according to the California Department of Public Health. West Nile virus is endemic in California and in Orange County, and presents a risk to public health every year.

Around the home, eliminate breeding sources for mosquitoes:

--Dump and drain containers filled with water at least once a week

--Clean and scrub birdbaths and pet water bowls weekly

--Dump water from potted plant saucers 

Orange County residents are urged to report unusual numbers of mosquitoes, or day-biting mosquitoes, to OCMVCD. For more information, please contact the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District at (714) 971-2421 or (949) 654-2421, or visit www.ocvector.org.


With My Own Two Hands Foundation holds fifth annual Red Carpet Documentary screening on July 15

The Fifth Annual Red Carpet Documentary Screening for With My Own Two Hands Foundation will take place on July 15 from 5 - 8 p.m. Tickets are $125 - $150. 

With My Own Two Hands is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Laguna Beach that is dedicated to providing sustainable solutions for projects in Africa that benefit children in need. 

With my own two children

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With My Own Two Hands supports water and agricultural projects that fund education and create self-reliant projects and communities to more than 3,000 people in Kenya. Host of the event is Stan Verrett, ESPN host/anchor of SportsCenter. The event features Red Carpet photos, special guests, hors d’oeuvres, silent and live auction items, guest speakers and live performers.

For more information and tickets, visit www.withmyown2hands.org

The Red Carpet Documentary takes place at The Port Theater, 2905 E Coast Highway, Corona del Mar.


Where’s Maggi – the answers!

Lovely lemons dressing up an otherwise boring mechanical unit..now that’s making lemonade! 

Maggi asked where, and first on it was John Walker. Other observant readers included Kristen Purll, Christine Shields, Robyn Sherain, Wendy Pearce, Ina Inouye Wu, and Lindsay Smith-Rosales. 

Did you know where to find this in Laguna? 

Maggi promises another photo mystery coming up on Friday. Stay tuned!

Wheres Maggi Wendt Terrace

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Life gave us lemons – on Wendt Terrace, near Thalia 


Tip-A-Cop fundraiser will help raise money for Special Olympics on Saturday, July 28 at Ruby’s

Laguna Beach Police Department employees will be volunteering their time in conjunction with Special Olympics athletes to work alongside Ruby’s Diner restaurant staff to help raise money for the Special Olympics Orange County Region at a Tip-A-Cop® fundraiser. The fundraiser will take place on Saturday, July 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Ruby’s Diner located at 30622 E. Pacific Coast Highway.

The Laguna Beach Police Department, along with the international law enforcement community, has a longstanding relationship with the Special Olympics. Police officers partner with area restaurants to hold Special Olympics Fundraisers on specific dates, hosted by one or more restaurants. Officers and Special Olympics athletes meet and greet customers, help take orders and deliver drinks and food orders, while interacting with restaurant guests. 

tip a cop fundraiser

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Photo from archives

Sgt Jim Cota is great at serving the community in every possible way

Customers are encouraged to “tip the cop” for their service in the form of a tax deductible donation, 100 percent of which will go to the Special Olympics program. This is in addition to the customary tip left for the restaurant’s server for their service. 

There will be an exotic car display which will include Lamborghinis, Peganis, McLarens and Porsches. The Police Department will also have a police car, police motorcycle, police K-9 unit, drone demonstration, face painting station and a balloon artist on site for this event. The community can enjoy great food, interact with some of Laguna Beach’s ‘Finest’ and Special Olympics athletes while supporting a great cause. 

Special Olympics relies on fundraisers for the many services it provides to our Special Olympics Athletes. 

Events are held annually in more than 170 countries for people with intellectual disabilities. More than 3.1 million athletes of all ages are involved in these Special Olympics programs. The Laguna Beach Police Department is very proud to be able to play a small part in promoting Special Olympics and providing opportunities for the athletes to train, compete, have fun, and become productive and respected members of society. 

For more information, contact Lieutenant Joe Torres at (949) 497-0330 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Fireworks or sea creatures?

Photos by Chef (and artist) Miki Izumisawa of 242 Café Fusion

fireworks star

fireworks two stars

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Seems like Chef Izumisawa knows a thing or too about explosions – not just fireworks pics, also how to make flavors explode in your mouth at Café Fusion….


Coastal Eddy a gallery presents “Another Happening Show” by Richard White, opening on Sunday, July 15

Coastal Eddy a gallery is thrilled to present the art of Richard White in “Another Happening Show.” Although Richie left too soon in February of 2015, what still remains is his body of work that ranges from large scale public art, fired in place performances, figurative works, as well as drawings. 

The show runs from July 15 - August 15. The opening, “Celebrating everything Richie,” will be held on Sunday, July 15 from 2 until 5 p.m. 

Coast Eddy White

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Submitted photo

Richard White

His legacy is fixed among his many hundreds of students he shared his vast knowledge with from 1998-2015 at Saddleback College. His last focus was on his body of work, “Lenses”, large-scale plates. This work was directly inspired by his participation in several multidisciplinary (jazz, spoken word, painting, sculpting) performances, titled Happening/Unhappening, the premise being that jazz and art share a nonverbal “commonality of being in the moment.” 

Coastal Eddy discs

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Submitted photo

“Lenses” – large scale plates

Reccurring themes and symbolism are also part of this work, and the show will emphasize the meaning and origins a la Richard. It will be a happening, so RSVP to (949) 715-4113. 

Coastal eddy a gallery, the only ceramic art gallery in Laguna Beach, is located at 1417 S Coast Hwy.

For more information, go to 

www.coastaleddyagallery.com.


Laguna Beach Vibe seeks nominations for 2nd Annual Best of Laguna Beach Contest, deadline July 20

Laguna Beach Vibe – a hyper-local arts and entertainment publisher and media services provider in Laguna Beach – announces the opening of nominations for the organization’s 2018 citywide Best of contest. 

Laguna Beach Sawdust

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Submitted photo

2017 Winner Best Local Festival – Sawdust Festival

The nominations are now in progress and will continue until 5 p.m. on Friday, July 20. Residents of Laguna Beach, along with readers of Laguna Beach Vibe, can visit www.LagunaBeachVibe.com to nominate local businesses, restaurants, retailers, entertainers and others in eight different topic areas that roll up to nearly 140 individual categories. The regular voting period for those that have been nominated is Wednesday, Aug 1 through Tuesday, Sept 4. 

“This year’s program builds on the success we had in 2017 when launching Laguna Beach’s first-ever citywide and citizen-driven-and-voted-on Best of contest,” said Lisa Farber, Founder & Publisher of Laguna Beach Vibe

“The Best of Laguna Beach Contest gives our citizens and visitors alike the opportunity to reward local businesses, entertainers and others in our community for the good work they do throughout the year, and for business owners who win, it provides them with an important endorsement and point of differentiation in a highly competitive retail/business environment,” she added. 

Laguna Beach Devon Mena

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Submitted photo

2017 Winner Best Tattoo Artist – Devon Mena

Key dates for this year’s Best of: Friday, July 20, nomination period ends at 5 p.m.; Wednesday, Aug 1, voting period opens at 12 p.m.; Tuesday, Sept 4, voting period ends at 5 p.m.; Thursday, Nov 1, winners announced in Laguna Beach Vibe and on its website.

This year’s “Best of” categories include Arts, Eat & Drinks, Entertainment, Health & Beauty, Living Local, Professional Services, Shopping, and Stay & Play. Included among the nearly 140 “Best of” sub-categories are: Art Gallery, Plein Air Artist, Bar, Bartender, Pizza, Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurant, Band, Club DJ, Solo Performer, Barbershop, Doctor, Massage, Personal Trainer, City Council Members, Mountain Bike Trail, Surf Spot, REALTOR, Tattoo/Piercing Shop, Grocery Store, Home Décor/Furnishings Store, Jewelry Store, Hotel/Resort and more. 

Laguna Beach The Stand

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Submitted photo

2017 Winner Best Local Place for Juice – The Stand Natural Foods

For more information, visit www.LagunaBeachVibe.com.


Laguna Beach Library presents The Beatles, from Liverpool to Abbey Road with Vincent Bruno

On Monday, July 9, Laguna Beach Library is presenting The Beatles from Liverpool to Abbey Road with Vincent Bruno from 4 - 6 p.m. Join this event for a night filled with rocking fun. 

Laguna Beach Library Beatles

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The Beatles are up for discussion at Laguna Beach Library on Monday, July 9

Rock historian Vincent Bruno will present a lecture that follows in the footsteps of The Beatles. This will be an informative talk, and is free to the public. 

Laguna Beach Library is located at 363 Glenneyre Street. For more information, call (949) 497-1733.


Dianne’s Creature Feature

Gopher snake or rattlesnake? Know your snakes!

Don’t let the slither get you in a dither

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Doing the laundry doesn’t usually involve a snake, but in Laguna Beach resident Tom Joliet’s case, recently it did. Who knew laundry was dangerous? Well, it’s not really, because his snake was a gopher snake (a Pacific version of the bull snake). And although they closely (and frighteningly) resemble rattlesnakes, gopher snakes are harmless.

Joliet says, “I stepped on this gopher snake on the sidewalk while carrying laundry today. This is a reminder about snakes to all residents. There are more than one of these useful, harmless snakes by our condos. Be aware that rattlesnakes are also around.” 

Gopher snake Joliet 1

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Photo by Tom Joliet

Gopher snake spotted at Tom Joliet’s condo 

Joliet reminds us: Watch, while walking, for sticks on the sidewalk that move; shut laundry room doors at all times; snakes like to stay under the heat of the hot water tanks; keep pets on leash.

Perhaps most importantly, he advises, “Know how to identify dangerous and common snakes.”

And that’s where we come in. Or rather the point where Outreach and Restoration Manager Cameron Davis from Laguna Canyon Foundation (LCF) offers her expertise, “Gopher snakes are the largest local snake - sometimes reaching almost six ft in length! They are fairly common in our wilderness park. They are often found coming in or out of holes dug by the native pocket gopher – one of the snakes’ favorite food sources, which also earned them their name. They eat a variety of small rodents.” 

gopher snake Davis

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Photo by Cameron Davis, LCF

A baby gopher snake is very curious about Cameron Davis

Gopher snakes are constrictors, which means they suffocate their prey. Rattlesnakes use venom to overcome their prey and use their rattles to warn away enemies.

According to www.animals.mom.me.com, rattlesnakes and gopher snakes can look eerily similar to the untrained eye. With similar square- or diamond-shaped markings and no-nonsense temperaments, these two species are often mistaken for each other. So, obviously, it’s important to recognize the differences between non-venomous gopher snakes (members of the Pituophis genus) and venomous rattlesnakes (members of the Crotalus genus and viper family).

Resemblance only skin deep

Gopher snakes and rattlesnakes resemble each other only superficially. They have the same sort of markings and colors, and both snakes can be a bit short-tempered. But they differ in length. The longest rattlesnake is about nine feet long, and the fangs of a big rattlesnake can grow up to an inch long. But most rattlesnakes only grow to five feet long. The gopher snake grows from six to nine feet long. Both snakes eat rabbits, squirrels, mice and other rodents. But there are other differences as well, per www.sciencing.com.

Venomous versus nonvenomous

Rattlesnakes are pit vipers, which means they’re venomous and have facial pits between their eyes and their nostrils. These pits sense the temperature of what’s in front of them. The rattlesnake’s pits can detect temperature differences of as little as one third of a degree Fahrenheit, which helps the snake when hunting at night. The gopher snake doesn’t have pit organs and is non-venomous.

Head shape and pupils give away identity

Gopher snake rattlesnakeEven though their body types differ – the gopher snake is longer, its body is slender and whip-like compared to the rattlesnake’s heavy-bodied, broad appearance – the big give-a-way is the shape of the head and pupils. Rattlesnakes have a flat, triangular head in comparison to a gopher snake’s narrow, rounded one. And gopher snakes have a dark stripe that extends from the top of their heads to either side of their eyes.

Gopher snake gopherWhile rattlesnakes and gopher snakes both have round eyes on both sides of their heads, it’s their pupils that signal their identity. Rattlesnakes have vertical, cat-like pupils, while gopher snakes have rounded pupils. (However, this method of identification requires that you get a bit too close for my liking.)

Gopher snakes mimic rattle, but don’t have the goods

To keep predators away, in an extremely smart method of impersonation, a gopher snake tries to imitate the rattling of a rattlesnake’s tail. A gopher snake will often hiss and vibrate its tail when agitated. This aggressive behavior and tail “rattling” mimics the rattlesnake. Although the buzzing sound of a gopher snake’s tail vibrating against the ground sounds nearly identical to the vibration of a rattlesnake’s actual rattle, gopher snakes lack the rattle found on the end of a rattlesnake’s tail. 

Gopher snake Joliet 2

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Photo by Tom Joliet

Rather artistic pose of gopher snake by Tom Juliet’s condo

Look for tail position and shape 

Whether rattling or hissing, the position of the tail differs as well. Rattlers raise their tail when threatened, but bull snakes keep their tail low to the ground. Additionally, a rattlesnake’s tail is wide and blunt, while a gopher snake’s tail is slender and pointed. 

Although not important for identification purposes, another of the obvious differences between a gopher snake and a rattlesnake is their reproductive process. Rattlesnakes give live birth to young, whereas gopher snakes lay eggs. The eastern diamondback rattlesnake (Crotalus adamanteus) gives birth to a brood of six to 21 live young. Gopher snakes, on average, lay two clutches of two to 24 eggs each year.

I don’t know any herpetologists or even anyone who has a pet snake, but it is said that gopher snakes make excellent pets after they’re captured. So here’s another difference between the two: very few people would capture and make a pet out of a rattlesnake…

Whether you are out on the trails or just doing your laundry, watch your step! And know your snakes.


Flyover on the Fourth: the Condor Squadron

Photos by Stephanie Young

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On July Fourth at around 5:45 p.m., Laguna was treated to a flyover by the Condor Squadron. By flying in vintage WWII planes, these aviation enthusiasts honor the memory of those who have served our country.

One of the fleet’s main activities is performing memorial flights in restored North American Aviation AT-6/SNJ trainers originally flown during World War II. 

This year the group flew south from Huntington Beach to San Clemente.

For more information, visit www.condorsquadron.org.


Fireworks forever? Talk about a bang for your buck!

Laguna Beach Fire Chief Mike Garcia tells Stu News that the sheer volume (in numbers and sound!) of fireworks on July 4 was the result of a trio of shows: the City show at 9 p.m., launched off Monument Point at Heisler Park, along with two displays organized by Emerald Bay, launched from a couple of barges.

fireworks Shanna Cuevas

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Photo by Shanna Cuevas (from Facebook)

Spectacular – though the haziness didn’t allow for many great photos this year

The City spends about $32,000 for the show. The show is a long-standing city tradition to provide an alternative to private firework shows. 

The fireworks display is not presently covered by any donations, although some time ago, for a couple of years, the show was covered or subsidized by donations from the Board of Realtors.


Do high heat and high surf for the next few days equal high anxiety? Not if you know your limitations

By DIANNE RUSSELL

As reported by Kai Bond, Captain of Marine Safety, 52 ocean rescues were made over the Fourth of July holiday. And the holiday could just be the start of a hectic and precarious time for both beachgoers and lifeguards. Over the next few days, not only is high heat predicted, but due to Hurricane Fabio, big surf is heading our way. 

As reported by www.weather.com, the latest eastern Pacific hurricane, Fabio, is beginning to weaken, but will generate some swells that will reach Southern California.

Do high Divers Cove

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Diver’s Cove

Capt. Bond says, “There will be five to eight foot waves with larger sets of swells until Friday night at 9 p.m. Along with the increased air and water temperature, it will be a busy time for everyone. It will be yellow flag with strong rip tides.”

At least at this point, he says, they will be at Level I staffing (which is staffing for summer), although they could employ extra lifeguards. However, they will be putting an extra rescue watercraft in the water in addition to the one they normally utilize.

As for precautions, Capt. Bond strongly advises beachgoers to check in with lifeguards and swim in front of an open lifeguard station. Most importantly, he says, “Know your limitations, and understand the ocean conditions.”

For further safety information, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net.


Brooks Street is in the news, and it’s not even Halloween…

As told to Mary Hurlbut by Steve Cohn

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Most Lagunans know that Brooks Street is famous for the amazing decorations that residents display during Halloween (and the candy they give out). But not nearly as many people realize that the street is also becoming famous for its Fourth of July Parade.

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The sun smiled on happy faces at the Brooks Street parade on the Fourth

Here’s the history: the Brooks Street Fourth of July Parade came about when Howard Hills lived there back in 2007. Hills had heard about the one held down in South Laguna and felt one was needed for all the kids on his street – including games and pie-eating contests, along with decorating scooters, wagons and bikes. 

Then in 2008, Mark Metherell, who grew up in Laguna and lived on Brooks, died in Iraq. It was decided to combine the paddle-out for Mark with the parade.

Over the years, the parade has grown and evolved with a flag raising ceremony at the Jensens’ home – Eric Jensen is a retired Navy pilot and has large flagpole in his front yard.

And so on Wednesday, decorated cars and golf carts and people (and animals) paraded down the street, followed by the paddle out to Second Reef and a huge potluck with neighbors afterwards.

You don’t get much more American than that!


International Hair Salon crosses the street from Hotel Laguna, where it has resided for 33 years 

By MAGGI HENRIKSON

After 33 years, the International Hair Salon is crossing the street. Owner Noreen Goodman has proudly operated the business in the Hotel Laguna for all those years, and she would have liked to continue on there, but there is “so much uncertainty,” as she describes it, with the closing of the hotel and papering up of the adjacent businesses. Not exactly ideal for attracting summer clientele.

Goodman has found new footing for the salon at the Gregory Stevens location just across the street. “Gregory Stevens has been there 27 years, and has a good reputation in town,” Goodman said. “I was looking for a while – and he had one station available.”

In the nick of time for summer business, International Salon’s Noreen Goodman will launch at the new location – 540 S Coast Hwy – on Tuesday.

International Hair Noreen

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International Hair Salon’s Noreen Goodman

Goodman originally trained with the Sassoon brand artistic director 39 years ago. She’s a cutting and colorist specialist, always keeping up to date with the latest coloring techniques. Additionally, she’s a make-up and up-do specialist who always includes brow tinting with hair styling at no extra cost. She looks out for her client’s best features. “I try to make them feel special and beautiful,” she says.

The products she uses are the finest from Italy and Germany: Alfaparf, and Keune.

“I also do a lot of coloring for men,” she says. “Staying young, youthful.”

She adds, “It’s been nice to meet people from all over the world. I love learning about other cultures.”

Goodman is excited about the move to the new location. One nice feature is that there is underground parking available for free, for customers. 

In celebration of the change, International Hair Salon is offering a sweet deal for new clients. Goodman will be giving a free conditioning treatment and gloss for hair – it smoothes and shines the hair beautifully (and is normally a $40 service).

Call (949) 212-8076 to book appointments.


Where’s Maggi?

Sometimes life gives you lemons. Maggi likes the lemons that showed up here. Where? 

If you know where this is, drop Maggi a note and let her know you’re onto her whereabouts. 

Submit your answer to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This photo mystery spot will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 7 6 18

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Photo by Meg Monahan


Laguna Beach Seniors announces two new members to its Board of Directors

Laguna Beach Seniors is pleased to announce the addition of two new members to its Board of Directors. Joining the 12-member board are Renae Hinchey and Stephany Skenderian. Each has a strong desire to serve the needs of Laguna’s senior community and a passion and dedication to Laguna Beach Seniors’ ambitious “aging in place” initiative – Lifelong Laguna.

Renae Hinchey has served as the General Manager of Laguna Beach County Water District for eighteen years. Prior to this, she worked for the City of Anaheim and also Western Municipal Water for more than ten years. She has experience working for both public and private organizations throughout her career, including seven years with TRW and eight years with Southern California Gas Company. She holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and a Lifetime Teaching Credential.

Stephany Skenderian grew up in Corning, NY and in 1976 received an Associate in Applied Sciences Degree in Dental Hygiene at Broome Community College in Binghamton, NY. Shortly after graduation, Stephany relocated to Southern California and practiced dental hygiene for over 40 years. Throughout her career, Stephany participated in various volunteer programs for underserved communities and mentored students who were interested in the field of dentistry.

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Pictured left to right, Renae Hinchey and Stephany Skenderian

“We welcome both Renae and Stephany to a dedicated and talented board,” said Nadia Babayi, Laguna Beach Seniors executive director. “Our highest priority is to work with our local partner organizations to promote the ‘aging in place’ concept, and prepare for a growing population of older adults in Laguna.” 

Located at 380 Third Street in downtown Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach Seniors at the Susi Q Senior Center operates independently as a 501c(3) nonprofit in collaboration with the City of Laguna Beach. Laguna Beach Seniors has been enhancing the lives of seniors for over 40 years. Mental health support, care management, recreational and educational classes, programs, activities and events are available and designed for seniors 55+ that promote independence, wellness and community. For more information, visit www.thesusiq.org.


Travel insurance policies and the English language: Not sure which is more confounding to me

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

So I was planning a trip to New Zealand next January and decided to take out trip insurance. The older I get, the more aware I become of the fragility of life, and though so far I haven’t done too badly for my age (62), I have witnessed friends and family suffering every known medical condition (except perhaps housemaid’s knee: hat-tip here to Jerome K Jerome’s Three Men in a Boat, best book ever) – from hip surgery to strokes to serious cancer diagnoses. 

So trip insurance seemed to make sense.

The small group tour company recommended World Nomads, and I paid for a policy within a week or so of booking the trip, as advised – nothing outrageous in terms of cost – and not one that covered cancellation for any reason, because those are wildly expensive. 

But I felt good about taking that precaution, given that I’m normally one to throw caution to the winds (where it sometimes churns up a hurricane of unforeseen circumstances).

For once I was being sensible. 

travel insurance chile

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Photo courtesy Lynette Brasfield

Neither Bill nor I took out travel insurance when we traveled to Chilean Patagonia – lucky we didn’t wrench our ankles on this hike!

Well, long story short, as they say, though most people who say that really mean, “This is a very, very long story but I’ll make it just a tiny bit shorter for you, so be grateful, be quiet, and prepare to sacrifice the next twenty minutes of your life,” – I decided to cancel my trip for several reasons, the tipping point being the very recent cancer diagnosis of a close family member. 

I realized that despite the possible basis for a claim – “the illness of a close family member” – that my claim might not be viable, because I have no idea, and neither does this person, how he will feel in January – we are indeed optimistic that all will be well. 

By then it might indeed not be a valid reason to cancel the trip from an insurance company’s point of view, so yes indeed, why would World Nomads pay out?

But, whatever, this was my first experience with travel insurance, so I posed the question to the agent – did I have a claim?

I find myself in Bizarro world

This was the response, which confounded me. I was In Bizarro world!

If you would like to provide documentation, such as a cancelled air itinerary, showing your trip has been cancelled and documentation that you received a full refund for all of your travel arrangements, we will further review your request.

What? If I had received a full refund (which I hadn’t), why would I ask the insurance company to pay for my financial loss, when there hadn’t been one?

I thought perhaps the representative meant to say “documentation that you didn’t receive a full refund” so I sent off that information.

Only to receive this response:

When we are looking at making an exception to the 10 day free look period (Here I had no clue what the rep was talking about) there is certain documentation we must have. First, we have to confirm that you cancelled your travel arrangements. You have provided this documentation. 

Secondly, we have to confirm that you no longer have any insurable risk (that you have been refunded in full – made whole again if you will for the amount of money you originally spent.) (I WASN’T refunded in full – hence my claim, or question regarding the validity of my claim.)

Based on the information you have provided, you have not received a full refund of your travel arrangements. If we do not receive documentation of that we are obligated to keep the policy in effect and therefore allow you the opportunity to file a claim against the plan – whether you choose to or not. (?????)

And then she repeated:

That being said, if you are able to provide documentation that you received a full refund from Active Adventures, Vayama.com and United in the future (I can’t, because I didn’t), we will be happy to review it.

And again, review to what end??

travel insurance bear

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Foolishly, I didn’t take out travel insurance in Alaska either – and I could quite easily have been eaten by a bear!

Well, I mentioned in my email response to the rep that I would like to write a story in Stu News about the pros and cons of travel insurance, especially given this interesting little quirk, and I received a lovely, thoughtful email from one of World Nomad’s top guys, headquartered in Sydney, Australia, Phil Sylvester.

I won’t bore you with the correspondence, but he agreed that the wording was “confusing” and suggested I contact claims again. I might have a possible case, he said.

But as I said to Phil, I had already gathered that my reason for cancelling might be too flimsy for me to be reimbursed, based on the small print in the policy, and I was okay with that. I wasn’t trying to squeeze them for a refund. 

It would have been fine, I told Phil, if the rep had said, “Thank you, but unfortunately this particular situation isn’t covered – see clauses x, y and z.”

It’s all about the words for me

I simply couldn’t let the obfuscating language – intentional or otherwise – go without comment. 

And so I commented. And now I’ve written about it.

I don’t ascribe nefarious reasons to World Nomads either – they are highly respected and seem to do a great job for most of their customers. Nor, as I told Phil, do I want that particular representative to get into any trouble.

Just – why on earth would I have to prove that I’d been fully refunded for my travel plans in order for the company to pay out…what?

Oh well. Post-Christmas staycation it is, and I’m a little poorer than I’d hoped to be. Not the end of the world. Happy travels, everyone!


Theatre Camp at No Square: What are you doing this summer?

How to be cool this summer? Sing, dance, act, perform with friends! A two-week summer musical theatre camp for young performers (ages 5-18) begins July 23 at No Square Theatre. The camp, open to beginning, intermediate, and advanced skill levels, will culminate in the performance of a fully staged Broadway-style showcase on August 4 and 5.

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A fun-filled experience for kids who love to perform, presented in a positive and nurturing environment, Square Roots is directed by Ella Wyatt. With a BA in theatre (specializing in acting and directing), Ella also holds a teaching credential and brings years of experience in dozens of youth productions.

Music director for Square Roots is David Jayden Anthony, also a credentialed veteran of musical theatre for youngsters.

The program is limited to 60 participants, and sessions are grouped by age:

--Ages 5-8 meets from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. (3 hours) – $270

--Ages 9-13 meets from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. (4 hours plus lunch) – $350

--Ages 14-18 meets 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (5 hours plus lunch) – $400

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Participants must commit to the entire schedule unless the director has granted permission in advance. Less than full participation may limit opportunities for leading or featured roles.

Performances will take place on August 4 and 5 at 2:30 p.m.

Classes take place at No Square Theatre is in Historic Legion Hall, 384 Legion Street, two blocks south of the High School. The registration form is available online at www.nosquare.org.

No Square Theatre is dedicated to providing a safe, positive environment for its students and creative staff. Part of that is requiring all participants in all programs be properly immunized. Please read No Square’s policy on the matter on its website, and refer to your health care provider or the Centers for Disease Control for additional information.

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No Square Theatre is generously sponsored by The Lodging Establishments & City of Laguna Beach, Patrick Quilter, Dorene & Lee Butler Family Foundation, Yvonne & John Browning, Stella Charton in Memory of Lloyd Charton, Ann & Charlie Quilter in Honor of Joe Lauderdale, Carolyn & Tom Bent, Patrick Quilter/Quilter Labs, Festival of Arts Foundation, Laguna Board of Realtors Charitable Assistance Fund, Hall Family Foundation, and Vicki & Steve McIntosh

For additional information on events, auditions, classes, and to purchase tickets, visit www.nosquare.org.


The Creative Ecosystem: What it means to Laguna Beach

Brought to you by Visit Laguna Beach

“One’s destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things…” – Henry Miller

Our current culture is no longer defined by industry and production, but instead, by creativity and technological innovation. The desired population to contribute to our society and help keep it moving forward is that of creatives and creative-supporters – often collectively termed a creative ecosystem.

This ecosystem helps to cultivate innovative thought and people, and incubate distinctively original places and experiences. Its existence encourages similarly-minded people to visit and participate in those destinations and the activities offered at those locations. 

the creative anna hills

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Laguna has a long history of creativity: Anna Hills was a pioneering artist

For any creative destination, it is essential to acknowledge and care for all components in the creative ecosystem, in order for such an atmosphere to grow and thrive.

The term creative ecosystem has been in circulation since 2000 when it first appeared in BusinessWeek. Defining a form of infrastructure, the system includes a few core components: Not just the creative person, the creative project and the creative environment, but also the functional relationships that connect them.

In this specific day and age, to stay healthy, economies must be aware of how creativity, innovation and culture are important factors for the competitiveness of not only companies, but also for nations, cities and regions, particularly as we move from goods and service economies to “experience” economies.

Since the early 2000s, many nations, cities and regions have been paying close attention to the emergence of these concepts and their importance within the global culture. Without proper care and thoughtfulness toward maintaining a healthy creative ecosystem, many destinations, currently thought of as centers of innovation and art, will die out, and force residents and visitors to look elsewhere for jobs, homes, culture, and experiences.

the creative cart

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Creativity comes in many forms: Laura Marquez

As Henry Miller said, the destination is predominantly a new way of seeing things, and that is even more true in today’s society. Note: The creative class includes the upcoming generations that will carry our culture into the future, and this particular group of people is concerned with experience, adventure, and authenticity.

Decades ago, interestingly, Jane Jacobs had already been a leader in developing the human capital theory, which posits that creative people are the driving force in regional economic growth. 

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Matthew Payne: Laguna already attracts artistic types

The human capital idea can be thought of as a stock or endowment; but it does evoke the question: Why do creative people cluster in certain places?

Richard Florida researched the topic and discovered that people were no longer making the career decisions or geographic moves that the previous standard theories stated, but instead, educated and creative individuals were drawn to places that were inclusive and diverse, where high-quality experiences awaited, where there was an openness to diversity of all kinds, and the opportunity to validate their identities as creative individuals.

In other words, these creatives were not necessarily attracted for traditional economic reasons such as natural resources or efficient transportation. Quite simply, creativity, rather than specifics of location and other factors, attracts creative people to certain regions. 

the creative bill steel

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Photo by Bill Steel

“Word on the Street” public art sponsored by the City helps draw creative people to our community

So who comprises the “creative class”? These are people whose function is primarily to create meaningful new ideas and forms, including scientists, engineers, university professors, poets and novelists, artists, entertainers, actors, designers, architects, as well as innovative thinkers and communicators like journalists, editors, cultural figures, think-tank researchers, analysts, and influencers, according to Florida. 

Professionals who engage in problem solving, in health, science, tech, legal and financial industries support this echelon of society, which cuts across classes. 

“Creative centers provide the integrated ecosystem or habitat where all forms of creativity – artistic and cultural, technological and economic – can take root and flourish.”

Laguna Beach is one of those places that people are inclined to flock toward, but the town is on the cusp of losing this “creative place” attraction. It is vital that as a community, Laguna maintains and helps to make sure that it continues to offer ample diversity of experiences, people, economics, technology and places. 

To put it in plainly: diversity spurs economic development and homogeneity slows it down. This means that in a community, it is important to attract and keep diversity of industry, diversity of culture and diversity of people as the key foundation for success and growth.

Laguna Beach has had an extensive history in supporting and perpetuating diversity of people and experiences. Other cities in Orange County are catching up to the success of the creative center of Laguna Beach, long known for its history as an arts colony and an artistic epicenter in OC, by offering more affordable housing options, more diverse cultural offerings, encouraging bilingual and cultural businesses and centers, and creating unique and distinctive spaces and experiences that become signature offerings to those cities. 

the creative mural

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The Hive on Laguna Canyon Rd is buzzing with creativity and fun murals – this one by artist Brett Crawford

Laguna needs to step up – and that’s just what is happening. Just take a look at recent activity in the Canyon!

Stay tuned for our next column on July 20, as we dive into the unique and fascinating history of the Sawdust Art Festival in Laguna Beach.


Suzanne Redfearn’s Photo-Letter Art and Haiku Poetry workshop melds art and literature at the Sawdust

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Lisa Hughes Anderson

What are the criteria for judging whether a workshop has achieved its goal? In the case of Suzanne Redfearn’s workshop Photo-Letter Art and Haiku Poetry this past Monday at the Sawdust grounds, I’d say that if 70 people join in the fun, and supplies run out, that’s a colossal success!

Redfearn, who (along with Lojo Simon) is one of Laguna Beach’s two 2018/19 Poet Laureates, came up with the idea of a workshop that blended both art and literature in a unique way – and she created the prototype for Sawdust.

“I wanted to have some sort of literary element at the festivals, so we are hosting four Photo-Letter Art and Haiku Poetry workshops at the Sawdust,” Redfearn says. “The idea is for people to ‘Leave with a little literary love from Laguna.’”

Suzanne Redfearn favorite

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Redfearn’s favorite photo from the workshop, Cameron 

Once the workshop opened, there was a steady stream of people asking questions about what was going on, and seldom did they pass up the opportunity to “create.”

For the photo-letter art, the idea was for a participant to pick a background – an 8 x 10 inch photograph, then pick a saying or sayings (or something of one’s own choosing) from a template, then pick the alphabetical letters (which were small Laguna photos, again awesome) to glue onto the background. The combination of elements resulted in inspiring pieces.

I, for one, welcomed the opportunity to use a glue stick (the last time I used glue, it was a thick, white paste housed in a jar and one could snack on it). But that was just part of the fun. Having access to miniature photos of the beautiful places in Laguna turned into an amazing collage of my favorite spots.

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(L-R) Suzanne’s son & daughter, Joe and Halle, Suzanne, Lisa Hughes Anderson

Local photographer and poet Lisa Hughes Anderson joined Redfearn (and her daughter Halle) to assist the participants (and take these wonderful photos).

Anderson says, “It was so much fun to help the community and visitors alike embrace their creative sides and walk away with a piece of art representing our amazing Laguna Beach. What I enjoyed the most was the way the project brought people together as they worked side by side; families with young children, 40 something siblings, friends all in their twenties, everyone catching up as they created personal messages or captured their names in found art photos.”

Anderson continues, “Several of the many highlights for me were when the adult brother of LBHS College and Career Counselor Lynn Gregory exclaimed, ‘I haven’t had this much fun since fingerprinting in Kindergarten!’ Several international visitors were excited to bring their personalized Laguna Beach art gifts back to places like Puerto Rico and Japan! We also heard from teachers who were excited to take this concept back to their classrooms and pass on the passion.”

Post event, Redfearn commented on the evening, “Our idea was to bring a literary element to the Sawdust and for it to tie in with art and Laguna Beach. I asked four local artists (April Brian, Iris Bourne, Lisa Hughes Anderson, and Helen Polins-Jones) to contribute their talent to create backgrounds and photo-letters of our beautiful city, and the results were amazing.” 

Suzanne Redfearn Yo

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Yo, a visiting student from Japan, is here for eight months, learning English at UC Irvine. His sign YES YOU CAN was for his girlfriend back in Japan.

She continues, “But more spectacular was seeing the creative and unique ways the participants used those elements to create their keepsakes. A friend once told me every piece of art is a capsule of individual creative energy, and that is exactly how it felt. 

“Trust Your Wings, Blessed, Feel Alive, Dare to Defy, Be the Change, Yes You Can, Enjoy and Relax, What if you Dare to Aspire, Be Kind...A few of the words people chose to write. I went home with my heart full.”

If Redfearn’s intention was for everyone to leave with a little literary love from Laguna Beach, she surpassed her goal, because everyone left with a lot of literary love! 


Laguna’s super band, 133, will rock ‘n’ roll at Mozambique on Monday night

Laguna Beach’s “super band”, the 133 Band, will perform at Mozambique as part of its monthly residency at the popular venue on Monday, July 9. The show will kick off at 7 p.m. and will be free to attend, says band manager Clay Berryhill.

133 was formed a few years ago by local tech entrepreneur and musician Clay Berryhill to write and record original music together for his “docuality film” project, “133: The Road to Laguna.” Since then, the band has performed one hundred plus live shows together, including at the Stu News-sponsored “Rock For The Cause” to benefit Friendship Shelter the last two years.

Lagunas 133 band

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Laguna’s 133 Band hanging out in the Canyon, which has served as creative inspiration for the group

If it’s anything like previous 133 shows, Monday night’s concert will feel a lot like a Laguna reunion with friends, with lots of smiles and dancing to some of the best bluesy rock in all of Orange County.

Monday night’s show will feature “the full band,” according to Berryhill, including Jason Feddy, Nick Hernandez, Poul Pedersen, Steve & Beth Fitchet Wood, Alan Deremo, Frank Cotinola, Bob Hawkins and Berryhill.

Fore more information on the band, visit www.facebook.com/the133band

Mozambique is located at 1740 S Coast Hwy.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

July 6, 2018

Fabio not as strong as he looked in the beginning – so no decent surf, but record high temps likely this weekend

Dennis 5The sixth tropical system of the Eastern Pacific named Fabio was born on June 29, making it the first time that six tropical systems formed before July 1 and the first time that six such systems formed in the month of June. Fabio rapidly intensified and by July 1 he was a Category 3 hurricane with sustained winds of 120 mph and a central pressure of 959 millibars while moving quickly to the WNW.

Earlier this week, Fabio was beginning to weaken as he approached colder water and as of Wednesday evening (July 4) there was still no hint of any surf from him even though he’s been in our swell window for four days now. If we don’t see anything by this morning, which I doubt we will, then we’re skunked again for the 30th straight time. Six systems already and nada!

It’s goodbye gloom and hello big time heat as a huge dome of strong high pressure at the surface is flexing its muscles and expanding westward and settling over Southern Nevada. We could see record breaking temps in all areas of not only the Desert Southwest but here in Southern California including the beaches. Laguna could reach the mid- to upper 90s on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The hottest July day on record was 95 on July 1, 1985 and July 19, 2006. Even places like Big Bear could top 90 degrees, which hardly ever happens, especially at their elevation of 6,800 ft.

July has never seen a Santana wind event as temps are too warm over the Great Basin for air to heat by compression but the extreme heat and low humidity will be there. July and August are the only two months out of the year where we didn’t have a true Santana wind event. It’s only happened twice in June, in 1979 and 1981, and three times in May, in 1967 and twice in May of 2013.

ALOHA!


Suzie’s ARTiculation

 “A Wonderland of Art” comes to life at the FOA’s Artist Preview Night, celebrating 86 years

By SUZIE HARRISON

The Festival of Arts was buzzing with action, absolutely packed for opening night on Monday, with throngs of art enthusiasts eager to check out the new art and exhibits. Celebrating its 86th anniversary with a distinctive theme, “A Wonderland of Art,” many art patrons dressed the part looking as if they had come off the pages of the beloved children’s book about Alice. The evening was a page-turner in terms of excitement and thrills, with a lively band to match. 

I talked with a diverse group of exceptional artists who shared their new works and excitement about the summer show with me. Together, I want to give a high-five to Kathy Jones, Baldemar Fierro, Carolyn Machado, Casey Parlette, and Scott Moore, who have a collective 109 years of experience exhibiting at the time-honored FOA.

Kathy Jones, Oils, Booth #44

“The festival opening this year was the best ever. I loved the theme and the music, and everyone I talked to had a great time. I heard lots of compliments about the art and about how great the grounds looked. I think we are off to a terrific summer.

“I always work within a theme. My work this year is focused on capturing the feelings I have day to day. Whether that is the sense of a child growing up and moving on, ‘Slipping Away,’ or the anticipation we feel before a day out, ‘Sunday Best,’ I have tried to capture the multitude of moods that mark my daily life.

Suzie Jones Sunday best

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Photo provided by the artist

Jones uses color to underscore the mood in each work, like in “Sunday Best”

“I love color, and this year I am using color to underscore the moods that I am trying to convey in the work.

“In addition to enjoying the festival evenings, I am hoping to work on some additional large pieces. I hope to complete a landscape or two as well as my figurative work. And I am collaborating with my friend Betty Haight on some abstract sculptures. 

Suzie Jones Mary

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Jones (left), a long-time Laguna Beach resident, is celebrating her 19th year in the FOA

 “I have been in the festival 19 years. I just want to add how fortunate I am as an artist to live in such a supportive art-centric and beautiful community. I am grateful every day.”

Baldemar Fierro, Photography, Booth #61

“I showed some new photographs this year. The response was great, I’m happy there was interest and conversation around these photographs. 

“These are my first steps into conceptual work. A departure from traditional landscapes that I’ve focused on in the past

“One of these images was from a dream that was turned into an illustration. Inspired to create, I headed to the Great Salt Lake to create a photograph based on the illustration.

Suzie Baldemar

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Photo provided by the artist

“The Last Night,” was inspired by a dream Fierro recreated in Salt Lake illustrating negative space, repetition, and composition 

“This led to other images being made in the process. The illustration was about negative space, repetition, composition. I feel inspired by humanity at this time. My hope for our collective future.

“My first year was in 2005 and I’ve exhibited most years since then. I’d say to connect with a gallery and show this work in that type of space.”

Carolyn Machado, Mixed Media, Booth #22

“So much fun, always enjoy seeing the expected and unexpected patrons coming to view my work. Comments are always appreciated, no lack of those for sure, mostly positive but always enjoy the challenge of explaining my art form to those who may not be familiar with the art of ‘assemblage’ (and then let’s further confuse them with the art of ‘mosaic assemblage).’

“My work mostly consists of using recycled/repurposed objects that I have been collecting for the last 30 plus years. My new work seems to be really focusing on the idea just being in the ‘moment‘ whether it be quiet time in the garden or reflecting on a life well-lived.

“Inspiration abounds everywhere for me, I see it in my daily walks at the harbor, find it everywhere in my studio space and can easily be inspired by browsing on the Internet. I usually start with finding a great focal piece, a figure or design element that speaks to me and then begin building around that. 

“Working from the inside out definitely has its challenges but I do believe I thrive on that. It is an interesting process, a lot of back and forth, trying this scenario trying that scenario and then just making a decision about which one best pleases my eye or tell the best story.”

Suzie Carolyn

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Photo provided by the artist

“The Waiting,” Machado uses mostly recycled/repurposed objects in her work

“I usually have several pieces going at once as I cannot always make a clear decision immediately, so best to walk away and come back later with new eyes. Once all the decisions have been made now comes the really hard part, actually attaching everything to its base be it a canvas, a tile, a box or some other surface. 

“This will be year number 28 for me, started in 1990. This summer I am hoping to expand my viewing audience by way of educating them in the ‘art of mosaic assemblage’ and also by encouraging them to sign on and experience for themselves this art form. I will be teaching two adult and three children’s workshops on our grounds this summer and am excited to share the experience with them.

“I’m so excited about a collaboration I have done with my dear friend and fellow artist Mia Moore. This will be the second year we have created a beautiful collage calendar for now 2019. The images and quotes are exciting, full of life, colorful and thought provoking.”

Casey Parlette, Sculpture, Booth #102

“Opening night is always a fun event. It kinda feels like a reunion with friends in the community.

“I have been playing with some new concepts. In ‘Taking Flight,’ I carved out the surface of the water with three flying fish soaring over it. The design elements for the water helped to create a sense of movement in the piece. I like the mix of stylized water with realistic fish.

Suzie Casey

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Parlette’s work is inspired by the natural world, as seen in this new piece, 

“The Chase”

“All of my work is inspired by the natural world. I like to use a variety of different materials and techniques to get the look that I want. Often the direction of a sculpture is determined by the patterns in wood grain.

“In ‘The Chase’ the body of the white seabass is made out of a type of wood that has a pattern reminiscent of the fish’s scales.

My first year was 2008. This is my 10th year. I’m looking forward to catching up with other artists and meeting with visitors at the show.

Suzie Casey smiles

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Parlette, in his 10th consecutive year as a FOA exhibitor, was all smiles on Monday

“Over the last 10 years the sculpture work has grown to the point where it now requires my full-time attention. A few months ago, I left my day job as a full-time lifeguard to put all of my energy into my sculpture work. It has been great to be able to continue to grow the business and explore new creative directions.” 

Scott Moore, Oils, Booth #89

“The Artist Party is always hectic and fun. I invite clients and friends, and this year invited my golfing buddies, who were the three models in each of my paintings. Andrew, the surfer in ‘The Ironman’ gave a cowabunga pose in front of the painting for partygoers. John, an engineer with station 60 in San Clemente stood in front of his painting, ‘Canned Heat’ for photos also. My buddy Toby was the baker model for ‘Milk And Cookies.’ 

suzie scott

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Photo provided by the artist

In “The Ironman,” a skilled surfer rides a 1960s toy iron on a perfect wave

“In ‘The Ironman,’ a skilled surfer rides a 1960s toy iron on a perfect wave, while our grandson, Parker, looks on in awe as he stands on a stack of freshly laundered clothes with his beach pail and shovel in hand. Appropriately, a box of Tide and Surf accompany the clothes and Pyrex measuring cup, sitting on the laundry table...or are they sitting on the sand at the beach...you decide!

“This summer will be my 39th continuous year at the Festival of Arts. It’s been instrumental in attracting clientele to my paintings.

“My goal during the summer months is to continue to paint in my studio so that I will have paintings to sell the following summer, as my oils take from two to four months to complete. I usually spend four nights a week in my booth, hoping to sell my work and trying to secure at least one commission to complete before the next summer show.

Suzie Scott Mary

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

This summer marks the 39th consecutive year at the FOA for Scott Moore (right)

“I have fashioned my life around the Festival of Arts for more than half my life. When our children were in school, we had to squeak a small vacation in either before the Festival or right after it closed. Summers have always been dictated by my participation in the Festival of Arts Exhibition. It was a chance for our kids to see my work ethic. All the long hours I put into my paintings at home in my studio paid off when I would sell my work at the Festival of Arts.” 

The FOA juried exhibit features 140 of the top artists in Orange County. Besides the fantastic art, there is always something fun and creative to do, from art workshops, tours, live music daily, to special events, music series, classes and more, more, more.

Festival of Arts is located at 650 Laguna Canyon Road, open weekdays from noon to 11:30 p.m. and weekends from 10 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Laguna Beach residents get in free, no restrictions, with proper ID. For info, visit www.foapom.com or call 494-1145.

Until next time…so much exciting FOA art, so little time!


Laguna Beach Live! presents Jazz Wednesdays featuring guitarist Frank Potenza Organ Group

Join Laguna Beach Live!’s Jazz Wednesdays Summer program with Frank Potenza, who is an active educator, composer, arranger, and performer with nine solo albums to his credit. Potenza has also performed with jazz luminaries such as Dizzy Gillespie. 

From 1996 through 1999, Frank toured as a member of the Gene Harris Quartet and is a featured soloist on Alley Cats, Harris’ final recording for Concord Records. 

The protégé of the legendary jazz guitarist Joe Pass, Frank currently plays solo concerts and also leads his own groups, touring in support of his latest Capri Records Ltd. release entitled For Joe, a tribute to his mentor and main influence. 

Laguna Beach Live Frank

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Submitted Photo

Frank Potenza will be joining the summer session of Jazz Wednesdays 

Frank will be accompanied by Carey Frank on a Hammond B3 organ and Aaron Serfaty on drums, a classic organ trio configuration.

Jazz Wednesdays Summer program is located in the distinctive [seven-degrees] event facility, 891 Laguna Canyon Rd. Concerts are from 6 - 8 p.m. Doors open at 5 p.m. for dinner and social hour. Dinner will be served through to 7 p.m. Dinner menu varies by concert. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Seating is assigned according to date of purchase, season ticket holders and Laguna Beach Live! membership. 

Visit www.lagunabeachlive.org for more information.


NCC launches summer series this Sunday at 10 a.m. with The Gospel According to the Lord of the Rings

Neighborhood Congregational Church will begin its Sunday Summer Series this Sunday, July 8 at 10 a.m., titled “The Gospel According to The Lord of the Rings”.

The series will conclude on Sunday, August 12. 

Since its publishing in 1954, and the release of the movies in 2001, JRR Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy has become one of the best-selling books of all time and has been cemented as a cornerstone of the fantasy genre. Courage, Hospitality, Friendship, Resilience, Humility, and Hope are all given time in this epic tale. 

NCC launches Rod

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Pastor Rod Echols will speak eloquently about the values espoused in The Lord of the Rings

Come hear unique, reflective sermons by Pastor Rod Echols, exploring what the popular work means for the world today, and specifically what it means for progressive faith and living. Join the congregation for an engaging, thoughtful series that is sure to impact children, youth, and families of all ages.

All are invited. Thematic music will be included.

Neighborhood Congregational Church is an Open and Affirming congregation of the United Church of Christ, and welcomes all people to worship and participate. 

For more information visit www.ncclaguna.org, or contact the church office at (949) 494-8061.


MJSA announces winners of the 2018 Vision Awards Design Competition: Adam Neeley wins two awards

MJSA, the US trade association dedicated to professional excellence in jewelry making and design, honored 10 outstanding designs in its 2018 MJSA Vision Awards competition. Celebrating creativity, craftsmanship, and technological prowess, the awards recognized both professional and student achievements in seven categories.

The 2018 winners included local jeweler Adam Neeley of Adam Neeley Fine Art Jewelry in Laguna Beach, who won two of the prestigious awards. 

Neeley was the winner in the Four + Years in Business category for his Ombré Pendant featuring a rare 25.39 carat blue-green tourmaline cut by Stephen Avery. Hand-fabricated in yellow and white color-gradient Spectra Gold, it’s adorned with complementary pavé-set canary diamonds that fade into white diamonds.

MJSA Ombre

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Submitted Photo

The winning pendant, called “Ombré” showcases a 25.39 ct bi-color tourmaline. The photograph is by Sara Rey Photography.

Neeley was also recognized in the Laser Distinction category for his Ombré Pendant. The joints of the piece were laser welded with the same color tone of Spectra Gold at each junction, ensuring the perfect color match and preserving the color gradient without any visible seams.

In addition to cash awards, gift certificates for tools and supplies, and (for the students) scholarship funds, the winners will be profiled in the August issue of MJSA Journal and promoted through ads in both Instore, Metalsmith, and The Retail Jeweler (the competition’s media sponsors).

All of the winning entries will be on display at the 2019 MJSA Expo at the Javits Center in New York City. This year’s Vision Awards judges were Alan Revere; Klaus Kutter, A Jour Jewelry; Michelle Graff, National Jeweler; Jim Grahl, J. Grahl Design; and Michael Coan, Fashion Institute of Technology..

For more information and to view the winning pieces, as well as the six honorable mentions, go to www.mjsa.org/eventsprograms/mjsa_vision_awards.


Junior lifeguards on the shore path to fitness

Photo by Tom Berndt

Junior lifeguards on

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Junior lifeguards stretch in Heisler Park


With Willy Wonka as inspiration, KX 93.5 FM launches Golden Ticket promotion: spot it and win

The KX 93.5 Golden Ticket promotion has just launched: somewhere in Laguna Beach, this Golden Ticket (see photo) is in plain view. The first person to spot it, and notify the radio station of its location, wins a great prize. 

with willy gold ticket

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Submitted photo

KX 93.5’s golden ticket

This week’s prize is a VIP dinner with drinks at the Laguna Beach Brewery & Grille on Ocean Ave. 

The KX 93.5 Golden Ticket will continue through summer…spot it, and win.

Each time the Golden Ticket is spotted (and there is a winner), KX 93.5 will put it in a new location and start again.

Anyone who spots the Golden Ticket should either call or text the station right away at (949) 715-5936. All phone calls and text messages will be time-stamped for accuracy. 

The Golden ticket was designed by KX staffer and guitarist extraordinaire Tommy Benson and is 10” x 20” in size. 

For more information, call (949) 715-5936 or visit www.kx935.com.


It’s going to be a hot one: Advice on coping with the record heat expected this weekend

The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory for the Coastal Orange County area effective 10 a.m. Friday, July 6 through 9 p.m. on Saturday, July 7. Temperatures at the beach will range from 92-102 degrees.

its going to be

Drink plenty of fluids, stay in an air-conditioned room, stay out of the sun, and check up on relatives and neighbors, Emergency Operations Coordinator Jordan Villwock reminds everyone. 

“Children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances, especially, during hot weather when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes,” he warns.

Get ready to sweat!


How lucky we are to live in Laguna

Photo by Scott Brashier

How lucky are

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This panoramic view shows the beauty and charm of Laguna Beach – Gulf Coast colors without the humidity!


Political notebook banner

2018 Election: Hall pulls out of the council race

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Michele Hall has withdrawn her name from the list of City Council candidates seeking election in November.

“Now is not the right time for me,” said Hall. 

Hall will be completing her post-graduate studies in December, earning her master’s degree in psychology. She already has 16 clients working with Living Sources Center. She will become an associate in January. Her focus is on family transitions, such as divorce.

“I am also partnering with Pam Estes at the Boys and Girls Club to start a mental health group,” said Hall.   

Hall’s only regret in pulling out of the council race is disappointing supporter Sam Goldstein. She has not excluded a run in 2020. 

The 2018 election would not have been her first rodeo. 

Hall previously ran for council in 2014, but she already had experience in local politics. She served as executive director of United Laguna from 1993 to 1995, an organization founded primarily to offer more conservative candidates and policies to voters.

The group supported the development of the Treasure Island Mobile Home Park, eventually approved after a contentious election.

Hall also served as president of the Laguna Beach Republicans, and spent two years as a political consultant in Burbank after graduating from UC Berkeley in 1991.

She has lived in Laguna since she was four and graduated from Laguna Beach High School in 1988.


Eric Stoner exhibit at Irvine Fine Arts Center showcases works in collage – opening July 14

By MAGGI HENRIKSON

Long-time Laguna artist Eric Stoner is presenting a body of work titled Moving at a Snail’s Pace in Geologic Time at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, with an Artist’s Reception and Artist Talk on July 14.

Stoner is a graduate of LCAD and is an LCAD teacher as well, specializing in photography for fine artists. He has been a contributing photographer with local magazines, galleries and the Laguna Art Museum. His work has evolved into several mediums, incorporated into layered collage pieces. 

The Irvine Fine Arts Center states that the collage works combine “found imagery, original drawings and photographs, journals, woodworking elements, vintage album covers and other media. These autobiographical works pay homage to masters Pieter Brueghel and Hieronymus Bosch, and highlight the interconnectedness of events, people, places and influences in the artist’s life.”

“It’s a body of work that has taken me 11 plus years to accomplish…mostly in private,” Stoner said. “They are biographical pieces comprised of a lifetime of personal memorabilia, original artwork, friend’s artwork, photographs, vintage vinyl, and so on. It’s the first time that the nine pieces have ever been exhibited together.”

Eric Stoner Island

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Submitted photo

The Island of Misfit Muses, by Eric Stoner

In his Artist’s Statement, Stoner describes his work in this way, “I quickly found that collaging channeled my kaleidoscopic imagination in ways drawing and painting never could. The potential to create complex worlds by layering images in a tactile, almost sculptural way was highly engaging and enjoyable. It opened creative pathways previously unimagined and has become the medium by which I express myself most effectively.”

Eric Stoner Tower

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Submitted photo

“The Ivory Tower of Babel”

“What I hope to convey through my art is the dramatic, often comedic interplay between a spirit of romanticism, and the triumphs and calamities that ensue when navigating the reality of an uncertain future,” says Stoner. The combined body of work is a true representation of my unique cosmological outlook, facilitating the means to examine the origin, evolution, and eventual fate of the universe as I observe and relate to it.

While it has taken me more than a decade to present this collection of nine collages, the process of creating them has been beyond fulfilling. I hope they communicate my appreciation for the highs, lows, and everything in between that comes from pursuing a creative life.”   

The Artist Talk will take place at 3 p.m. on July 14, followed by the Artist’s Reception, in Gallery 1 at Irvine Fine Arts Center, located inside Heritage Community Park at 14321 Yale Ave. 

Gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Exhibitions, artists’ talks, artists’ receptions and parking are free. For more information, visit www.irvinefinearts.org or call (949) 724-6880.


Colorful and crowded Fourth of July – the word is out, nowhere better to watch fireworks than Laguna

colorful fourth at 9 am

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Photo by Tom Berndt

Tom Berndt captured this image of the early crowd at 9 a.m.

colorful laguna later that day

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Photo by Dianne Russell

And by 4 p.m., nearly every inch of Laguna was covered in people


Free and reduced cost parking in Laguna Beach

Did you know? The four lots listed below include reduced cost parking and/or free rides on the city trolleys and buses, which will take residents and visitors to the festivals, downtown, and along Coast Hwy to beaches and restaurants.

Lot 15 – Mission Hospital, free after 5 p.m. weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday.

Lot 16 – Act V (Laguna Canyon Rd), $7 all day weekdays and $10 on weekends and holidays.

Free and trolley

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Free trolley rides

Lot 17 – LCAD (Laguna Canyon Rd), $5 all day Saturday and Sunday.

Lot 19 – Summer Breeze Parking Lot (corner of I-405 and SR-133), free on Saturday and Sunday only.

For maps and directions, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/parking.


Barbara’s Column

Laguna hearts are touched by plight of immigrant children

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Photos by Angela Dawson

June 30 began like any other sunny summer Saturday in Laguna Beach.

Throngs crossed South Coast Highway to claim a spot on the sand at Main Beach, to swim, perhaps to play some volleyball or just stroll along the boardwalk.

That changed along about 11 a.m. as folks began to gather in the grassy area adjacent to the highway, demarked by police tape. Eventually an estimated crowd of 450 to 500 united to protest the government policy of separating children from their parents who had illegally crossed the Mexican-U.S. border. 

“This is Laguna at its best,” said Councilwoman Toni Iseman, on her way from the demonstration to attend a luncheon celebrating Arnold and Bonnie Hano’s 65th wedding anniversary.

The crowd ranged from long-time residents to infants like one-year-old Yara. “She skipped her nap to be here,” said mom Lili Zandpour.

Hand-painted and lettered signs were raised aloft – some of those signs created on the spot and handed out by Sarah Reese and her husband Ted Reckas.

barbara column one

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City Council candidate Ann Christoph carried a sign reading Las Familias Merecen Estar Deserve Unidas.

“Someone just handed it to me, but I am happy with it,” said Christoph.

Ann and Peter Weisbrod toted posters of a sad-eyed child, inscribed, “End Family Detention.” Linda Leahy’s sign kept it simple: RESIST. 

Laguna Beach School Board member Ketta Brown’s sign read Melt Your ICE – 

ICE being the Emigration and Customs Enforcement agency that takes custody of immigrants entering the United States unlawfully, among other duties. 

Brown, who has suffered the tragedy of losing a child, said she might become violent if anyone tried to separate her from her kid, but with a caveat. 

“I would have lost my mind, but if I felt my kid would be safer, I might have swallowed it,” said Brown.

Many of the parents who have been separated from their children along the border are seeking political asylum – that is, asking the United States to accept them legally because of persecution in their homeland.

“They know they are taking a chance, but you have to have hope,” Darrilyn Girvin, who deplores equating illegal immigrants with criminals and degenerates. “Instilling hate in our democracy is wrong,” she said.

Clusters of folks in the block-long crowd chanted different slogans, responding with cheers to the honks and thumbs-up from passing vehicles. 

barbara column two

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“Silence is not an option,” said Katie Loss, of Laguna Beach. 

But Meredith McMahon struggled to find the words that would adequately describe how she feels about the government policy.

“It makes me sick,” she said.

Carol Olson with her son, Neil, said snatching children was not acceptable.

Other Lagunans making their presence felt: Anne and Ryen Caenn, Karen Schwager, Bob and Vicki Borthwick, Peggy Wolff and Bree Burgess Rosen.

Not present and not happy about it was Eleanor Henry, who has spent her Saturday mornings since the 1970s as a member of the Peace Vigil at Main Beach – God willing and the creek don’t run dry. Henry said her Peace Vigil sign, “Make America think again,” would have fit in perfectly Saturday. 

“It was the first Saturday of the Sawdust,” said Henry, a long time exhibitor. “But I got the low down from Lee Case Grillo.”

Lee and Chris Case Grillo have been regulars at the Saturday Peace Vigil since 2002. They felt Saturday’s demonstration was in line with their cause.

“The things that are happening [at the border] make me want to vomit,” she said. 

Her husband said one of the things that stood out for him on Saturday was the percentage of women demonstrating. 

“I would guess there were between 60 and 70 percent more women than men,” said Chris. “Women are playing a much bigger role.”

And in the three or four instances of rude gestures from passing vehicles, it was almost exclusively men, he said.

barbara column three

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At no time did the Case Grillos fear violence, although they did sometimes feel squished by the press of the crowd, about 10 deep, behind them along the sidewalk.  The crowd was raucous, but with a common cause, they said.

Police officers and Beach Patrol were on the scene, but the Case Grillos saw them asked to intervene just once, when a woman took vigorous exception to a photographer with some elaborate equipment.

“No incidents were reported,” said Sgt Jim Cota, Public Information Officer for the Laguna Beach Police Department. “It wasn’t like the demonstration last year.”

He was referring to the America First rally on August 20, 2017, in support of the government’s immigration policies and the claims of Americans being victimized by illegal aliens, challenged by a larger crowd of vociferous opponents. 

“It got hostile, but the police had it under control, assisted by Orange County law enforcement agencies,” said Sgt Cota.

Many on both sides were from out-of-town.

There was no organized, or disorganized for that matter, opposition Saturday. And Abram Horner of Laguna Beach stayed well outside the taped area set aside for the demonstrations and was not seen to confront anyone. 

He used a portable microphone to make his point Saturday: that the demonstration was designed to create unrest that would lead to a police state.

“This is polarizing America,” said Horner.

Not everyone in the crowd on Saturday was from Laguna.

Mary Dunnicliff came to Main Beach because she was unable to find a location of a demonstration in Laguna Niguel. Rallies were expected in almost 100 California cities.

The demonstrations were among the hundreds nationwide urging the Trump administration to reunite families separated at the US-Mexico border.

It was not just another sunny summer Saturday day in Laguna. 

But wait – there’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading StuNewsLaguna.com. Contributions are welcomed.


City of Laguna Beach Fourth of July Activities

The City of Laguna Beach is anticipating large crowds for the July 4th holiday and is requesting the public’s cooperation to ensure a safe and enjoyable environment for residents and visitors.

The City fireworks show will originate from Monument Point at Heisler Park. For this reason, the Monument Point area will be closed all day on Wednesday, July 4th. Additionally, at approximately 5 p.m., the area of Heisler Park from Myrtle Street to the Rockpile Beach stairs at Jasmine Street will be closed to the public to allow for fireworks preparation. The City fireworks show will begin at approximately 9 p.m.

City of Laguna Fourth

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Photo by Scott Brashier

City trolleys will operate under a modified schedule, the Coastal Route will run from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and the Canyon Route from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will be neighborhood services. The normal trolley schedule will resume on Thursday, July 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. The City encourages visitors to utilize the exterior parking lots (Lot 15, 16, 17, and 19) and take the trolley into town. Click the following link for more parking information and an interactive map: http://Lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/parking/parkinglotsntrolleyroutes.htm

The public is expected to observe all City park and beach ordinances, including:

--No alcohol on the beaches

--No smoking in public places

--No drone use over City beaches, Heisler Park, Main Beach Park, Treasure Island Park or Crescent Bay Park without a valid Remote Pilot Certificate issued by the FAA

--No tents, canopies or barbecues are allowed in City beaches or parks

--No fireworks of any kind are allowed in Laguna Beach

--No dogs are allowed on City beaches from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the summer season, which extends from June 15 through September 10

--All OC Park Trails will be closed at sunset

The Laguna Beach Police, Fire, and Marine Safety Departments will be strictly enforcing all of the ordinances

After the fireworks show, expect heavy traffic as many visitors will be leaving the city via Laguna Canyon Road and Coast Highway. Members of the Police Department will be conducting increased traffic control to facilitate the flow of vehicles out of town. As part of this effort, the center lane of Laguna Canyon Road, between Canyon Acres and El Toro Road, will be reversed to add an additional northbound traffic lane. 

Remember to connect with the City of Laguna Beach on Nixle for traffic and emergency updates by texting our zip code (92651) to 888-777 as well as following the City of Laguna on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

The cooperation of all residents and visitors is greatly appreciated. The City of Laguna Beach wants to wish everyone a safe and happy Independence Day.


Keep your pet safe this upcoming Fourth of July: LBPD provides tips

The Laguna Beach Police Department wants to ensure the safety of pets on the upcoming holiday, July Fourth. Fireworks aren’t fun for pets, they point out, so here are a few simple tips to keep your animals safe and secure. 

Don’t take your pet along to fireworks displays, they’ll be safer and happier in the security of their home. Prepare a safe “den” for your pet. If they choose to hide under the bed or somewhere else in the house, allow them to. 

Feed your pet before displays begin and keep a special chew or treat on hand as a distraction from flashes and noise. 

keep your pet boris

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Boris implores you to take heed of these tips and keep your pets safe

Be sure your dog is tagged or micro chipped in case he or she gets loose or runs away. Turn on the TV or play music to help drown out outside noises. Employ products that help to alleviate anxiety – ask your vet about options if your pets’ anxiety is severe. 

Additionally, try not to reward anxiety with extra attention. It may be hard not to cuddle or fawn over pet when he or she is scared, but do your best to ignore anxious behavior or practice distraction techniques to turn their focus away from commotion. 

If your pet is lost, remember to call the Animal Shelter in case your pet has been found or turned in.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd. For more information, call (949) 497-3552 or go to www.puplagunabeach.org/our-pets.php.

For more information on safety, contact the Laguna Beach Police Department at  (949) 497-0701.


Catmosphere Laguna, Orange County’s First Cat Café, to open in Laguna Beach this summer

Catmosphere Laguna, Orange County’s first Cat Café, will open this summer in Laguna Beach. Founded by Gail Allyn Landau, Catmosphere Laguna will serve as both a community café and a foster home for adoptable cats and kittens. Originating in Taiwan in 1998, cat cafés have since become a global phenomenon, inspiring similar business models to open across Japan, London, and most recently, the US. 

As the county’s first cat café, Landau believes Catmosphere Laguna will bring an increase in feline adoptions and provide improved lives and futures for kitties awaiting their “furr-ever” homes. 

Catmosphere Laguna has partnered with the Laguna Woods Cat Club, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, and local feline rescues to serve as a foster home for healthy cats and kittens with the goal of placing them in their forever homes. 

While awaiting adoption, Catmosphere Laguna provides a sanctuary for felines, giving them the freedom to roam, play, and interact with cat lovers in an environment that feels like home. 

“Catmosphere is more than just a novelty café; we are changing the way rescue facilities find homes for their felines by offering adoptable cats and kittens in a living-room-like environment,” says proprietor Landau, a Laguna Beach local and self-proclaimed lifelong cat lady. “Our efforts embrace and promote the ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’ ethos of the feline rescue community.” 

Catmosphere Laguna Gail

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Submitted photo

Gail Landau, owner of Catmosphere

After paying the admission fee ($22 for adults and $12 for children ages 6-17), guests may enter the Kitty Lounge. The café and lounge are separated by a floor-to-ceiling glass wall. In the lounge, adoptable felines can enjoy the Laguna Beach lifestyle with a 6’4” palm tree scratching post, a wave mural with surfboard resting nooks, and kitty relaxation hammocks. 

A 24-hour live “Kitty Kam” will broadcast the activity on Catmosphere Laguna’s website listed below, as well as onto a monitor inside the café. 

The café at Catmosphere Laguna offers a menu of sweet and savory toasts, salads, and snacks designed by restaurant consultant Caroline Smile, who brings over 20 years of culinary and hospitality experience to Catmosphere Laguna. The café will also feature coffee and tea, as well as beer, wine, and champagne by the glass.   

Toasts: 

Main Beach – Nutella with strawberries & bananas 

Laguna Breeze – avocado, mango, lime, chili & mint 

Sunset – beet hummus, avocado, arugula, cumin 

Sunrise – almond butter, apple, almond & cinnamon 

French – butter & jam   

Salads & Sides:  

Tuxedo – mesclun, toasted almonds, dates, cheddar, balsamic dressing 

Tabby – spinach, mango, avocado, red onion, lime vinaigrette 

Calico – arugula, sliced grapes, shaved Parmesan, walnuts, lemon & EVOO 

Trio of Cheeses – select cheese, honey, fruit 

Bread & EVOO 

Catmosphere Laguna

Patrons who fall in love and want to adopt can easily fill out adoption paperwork inside the café. A minimum of two visits are required before adoption completion, and pre-adoption home checks will be required in most circumstances. One hundred percent of the adoption proceeds benefit the medical care, treatment, and well-being of Catmosphere Laguna’s cats and kittens. 

“We have been overwhelmed with support and excitement from our Laguna Beach community as well as eager visitors from all over the world,” adds Landau. “Catmosphere Laguna will provide an experience that supports and enhances the Laguna Beach reputation as an outstanding coastal destination.”

Catmosphere Laguna is available for walk-in appointments, as space permits, and private parties. The Kitty Lounge can accommodate up to 12 guests and 12 felines at a time. Landau will partner with local businesses to bring Yoga with Kitties, Feline Reiki, book clubs and more, with special offers for seniors and students. Reservations are available by the hour with a two-hour maximum and can be made in advance online.   

        Catmosphere Laguna is Orange County’s first cat café and lounge. Located in the heart of Laguna Beach, Catmosphere Laguna is both a community café and a foster home for adoptable cats and kittens. Founder Gail Allyn Landau envisions Catmosphere Laguna as serving a mission to save cats and kittens from euthanasia, increase feline adoptions, and provide improved lives and futures for homeless cats. 

        Catmosphere Laguna is located at 381 Forest Ave., and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the last bookable appointment at 5 p.m. 

For more information, visit www.catmospherelaguna.com or connect with Catmosphere Laguna on Facebook or Instagram at @catmosphere_laguna.


Dianne’s Creature Feature

Mosquitoes, the deadliest animal on earth

By DIANNE RUSSELL

If you’re thinking something very large with big teeth is the most dangerous predator to man, you’re wrong. It’s not the shark in Jaws, it’s something much smaller, faster, and more lethal. The mosquito. More deaths are associated with mosquitoes than any other animal on the planet. Mosquitoes may carry any number of deadly diseases, including malaria, dengue fever, yellow fever, encephalitis, Zika, and West Nile virus. Mosquitoes also carry heartworm, which can be lethal to dogs. And to top it off, there are 3,500 mosquito species!

According to the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention, California leads the nation in mosquito-borne disease cases since 2004 with more than 9,000 mosquito-transmitted disease cases reported. 

There are currently no confirmed cases of West Nile virus or activity in Orange County (this year). There are, however, confirmed cases of West Nile virus in neighboring Los Angeles and Riverside counties. There is also confirmed West Nile virus activity in San Bernardino County, however, no human cases have been reported. 

Watch out for that buzzing around your head

No one wants to wake up in the middle of the night to the sound of buzzing, like a dive-bomber scouting out its prey. A mosquito’s wings beat 300-400 times per second, which explains that irritating humming sound one hears just before a mosquito lands and bites (www.thoughtco.com). Too late to call the swat team. 

To prevent OC residents from becoming victims, and to kick off National 

Mosquito Control Awareness Week (which starts next week) and the summer season, OCMVCD has partnered with local cities to post 36 bus shelters and billboards throughout the county this summer with the #MosquitoFreeOC message.

Thirty-eight OCTA buses will be displaying the message on their routes throughout the county. The District is releasing a Public Service Announcement video in English, Spanish, and Vietnamese, with tips and recommendations for a mosquito-free home. The message will also be broadcast on Spanish and Vietnamese radio.

mosquitoes, the closeup

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Looks are deceiving - the most deadly animal on the planet

As with many insect species, it’s the female who is the frightening one, and mosquitoes are no exception. Only female mosquitoes bite. According to www.mega-catch.com, female mosquitoes mean nothing personal when they take your blood. Due to their motherly instincts, they need protein for their eggs, and must take a blood meal in order to reproduce.

Since males don’t bear the burden of producing young, they’ll avoid humans completely and head for the flowers instead. And when not trying to produce, females are happy to stick to nectar, too. Better a nectar meal than a blood meal, especially when it’s your blood.

Keen sensitivity to CO2

Female mosquitos know a potential meal is near because they can detect carbon dioxide from 75 feet away. Carbon dioxide, which humans and animals produce, is the key signal that dinner is served. They’ve developed a keen sensitivity to it, and once a female senses CO2 in the vicinity, she flies back and forth through the CO2 plume until she locates her victim. Then the feasting begins.

Females lay a lot of eggs, so they need a lot of blood meals. They can lay a set of up to 100 eggs about every third night after mating only once. The females lay their eggs, and then move on to the next blood meal to feed the next batch of eggs. They typically lay as many as three sets before dying (at five or six months). If there was ever a situation that cried out for birth control, this is it.

Birth control is good, but isn’t completely doing the job

And thankfully, someone has already thought of that. As per www.manoa.hawaii.edu, scientists are taking the first steps to adapt a safe, targeted and efficient mosquito control method known as Incompatible Insect Technique to reduce the population of the disease-carrying mosquitoes that harm native birds in Hawaii. 

Incompatible Insect Technique acts like a birth control method for mosquitoes, and it has already been adopted and proven successful around the country and the world to protect human health and quality of life.

Not all mosquito species feed on people. Some mosquitoes specialize in feeding on other animals and are not a bother to us at all. Culiseta melanura, for example, bites birds almost exclusively and rarely bites humans. Another mosquito species,

Uranotaenia sapphirina, is known to feed on reptiles and amphibians. 

However, mosquitoes are still a huge threat to humans and animals alike, and citywide control is crucial. These are dangerous little buggers, but there are many things residents can do to protect themselves. 

Mosquitoes the water in tire

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Shallow water breeding ground for mosquitoes

 “The District is closely monitoring the public health landscape throughout the county, and at this time, community-wide control is critical. Not only do we urge residents to make their homes mosquito-free, we ask that they also encourage their neighbors to eliminate breeding sources – this is a community effort,” said Rick Howard, OCMVCD District Manager. 

OCMVCD is asking that residents follow the tips below to prevent mosquito bites: Apply mosquito repellents to exposed skin before going outdoors; reapply as recommended; wear repellent containing DEET®, Picaridin, IR353, or oil of lemon eucalyptus; close all unscreened doors and windows to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home or space, and repair broken or damaged screens; wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants, and opt for lighter colored clothing around the home. 

Eliminating breeding sources for mosquitoes is critical: Dump and drain containers filled with water at least once a week. Clean and scrub birdbaths and pet water bowls weekly and empty water from potted plant saucers.

Mosquitoes need little water to breed

All mosquitoes require water to breed – but not much water. Just a few inches of water is all it takes for a female to deposit her eggs. Tiny mosquito larva develop quickly in bird baths, roof gutters, and old tires dumped in vacant lots. Some species can breed in puddles left after a rainstorm. To keep mosquitoes under control around the home, you need to be vigilant about dumping any standing water every few days.

Orange County residents are urged to report unusual numbers of mosquitoes, or day-biting mosquitoes, to OCMVCD. For more information, contact the Orange County Mosquito and Vector Control District at (714) 971-2421 or (949) 654-2421 or www.ocvector.org/MosquitoFreeOC.html.


Jurassic Laguna

Photo by Tom Berndt

Jurassic Laguna

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Will we see Steven Spielberg’s location scouts around town this season, perhaps?


Laguna loves the outdoors: our random survey of summer plans suggests that very few head to cities

Compiled by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

In this Part Two of our unscientific survey of summer vacation plans, one thing becomes clear: Lagunans love nature. This love of the ocean and wilderness goes beyond our shoreline and our hills. Maybe it’s part of what draws us to this town and keeps many of us here in the summer – and drives others to explore further when the tourist crowds arrive.

Laguna loves mount Shasta

Submitted photo

Mount Shasta

I just can’t get enough of California and love to bond with its beautiful nature. I will be visiting Mount Shasta for the first time in July and plan to do some serious hiking and enjoy the wildflowers, clear mountain rivers and streams and the red fir forests. Will also visit Eureka and the Redwood forests nearby for the first time. I should have been a park ranger!

--Nadia Babayi, executive director, Susi Q
 

We often travel to distant Marine Protected Areas to explore clear ocean waters teeming with sea life. Diving with protected sharks in Palau brings us very close to these amazing fish with sleek, beautiful bodies that have evolved over seven million years. 

Laguna loves mike beanan

Submitted photo

Mike Beanan at Thousand Steps Beach

In Laguna, when the Santa Ana Winds pick up, cold deep ocean upwelling eventually clears out “nutrient rich” algae blooms and brings us crystal clear waters for swims to our legendary kelp forests and friendly sea lions.

--Mike Beanan, co-founder of Laguna Bluebelt Coalition

As we all know, life happens and I found myself attending all sorts of events and milestones for family and friends over the last few years. As 2017 came to a close, I made it a point to (finally) plan our honeymoon…three years later. My husband and I have decided to treat ourselves and escape to Montage Kapalua Bay for one week later this year. We chose Maui so we can unplug and relax in paradise. 

We also have a trip planned in August to visit five cities in Alaska. Not at the top of my list, but I happened to win an all-expenses paid trip, so I’m taking advantage of all that the Alaska has to offer from dog sledding to salmon fishing. Should be a fun adventure!

Laguna loves ashley

Submitted photo

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Ashley Johnson and her husband will go on honeymoon to Hawaii – three years after their wedding…

There’s nothing better than summer weather accompanied by a great book. I absolutely love to read (when time permits!) and find myself reading novels for the most part, some historical fiction, and books with themes that pertain to my job. 

I just finished What She Knew by Gilly Macmillan last night and have been simultaneously reading Walkable City: How Downtown Can Save America, One Step at a Time by Jeff Speck. Next up is The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, which has been on my must-read list for months.

--Ashley Johnson, executive director, Visit Laguna Beach

The summer will be spent at our booths at the Sawdust Art Festival where my husband and I are exhibitors. In September, we will be heading to north Wales, just outside the Snowdonia National Park. I grew up in these mountains and conquered many of the peaks with my father, who recently passed away. 

Laguna loves sian

Submitted photo

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Stunning Wales: Cleryr looking towards Yr Wyddfa (Snowdon)

The mountains are full of history, culture and tales of noble Celtic warriors and Roman armies, of slate quarries and the industrial revolution. Today they are home to rock climbers, walkers, cyclists and canoeists enjoying the natural beauty and tranquility of the area, as will I.

--Sian Poeschl, Cultural Arts Manager, City of Laguna Beach


Does Life Imitate Art or Art Imitate Life? In the case of public art “The Word on the Street,” it’s a little of both

Story and photos by DIANNE RUSSELL

On Sunday afternoon at Heisler Park, 30 or so people gathered as artist Scott Froschauer unveiled one of the five pieces of his installation “The Word on the Street,” that, as he said, “Toys with the viewer’s understanding of street signs and perception of public space and the role of art in it.”

Just that morning, in a strange twist, the installation unexpectedly achieved its purpose – toying, at least, with Public Works staff’s idea of art. 

After the five pieces were installed along the pathways at Heisler on Sunday morning in preparation for the dedication, Public Works staff, thinking they were acts of vandalism, removed them. 

Thankfully, the pieces were retrieved and reinstalled in time for the dedication.

Does Life People Yield

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On a crowded Sunday near the gazebo at Heisler Park

Chair of the Arts Commission Mike Ervin welcomed the crowd (which included several members of the arts commission). “We put a cultural arts plan for public art in progress last year. At the beginning of the year, we had a temporary art piece at City Hall. This is the second venture, and the installation will be up for 12 months.”

Steve Dicterow, City Council Member, introduced his talk with, “Public Works removed them, it’s embarrassing. I apologize to the artist.” 

However, Froschauer, gracious and unruffled, just smiled.

Does Life Artist

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Artist Froschauer talks about his work

Dicterow continued, “In both art and culture, there is a crisis in kindness and a lack of civility. There are no longer free-flowing debates, but more a feeling that the end justifies the means…we can do better than that. We need more empathy, love, and respect for other people…ultimately, what difference can we make?

“We see art that inspires the people of the City of Laguna Beach, and we embrace it.”

Before unveiling his piece “Breathe,” Froschauer said, “In our culture, street signs and advertising are designed to trigger a lack in the viewer, to tell us that there’s a problem, that we’re not whole as we are. 

“Self-care and being immediately present in each moment is the key to empathy. There’s an evolution in art as a way to participate. These materials are intended to be subversive. And the way that it was [seen as vandalism] reinforces this.”

Does Life Breathe

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Breathe sign unveiled at dedication

Certainly, this installation evokes a great deal of conversation, including the question of what is and isn’t art.

Froschauer is an experimental artist and art fabricator in Los Angeles. His fine artwork covers a broad range of subjects and materials from ephemeral street art and experiential narrative events to gunpowder illustration and alternative technique photography to practical sculpture and many large-scale pieces for the Burning Man Festival. 

Aiming to give viewers a positive yet momentary emotional lift, messaging in “The Words on the Street” are simple yet thought provoking, with self-love and compassion at the core of their statements. Froschauer hopes that people who view his signs start to see and spread positivity for everyone.

Does Life Infinite

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Don’t we all hope for clearance for infinity?

Coincidently, on his website, Froschauer says, “I ran into a city worker who was maintaining the landscaping around one of my street signs. He asked what the sign was supposed to mean. Of course, I asked him what he thought it meant. After several minutes of explaining his search for the official meaning of this, very unofficial, sign, he finally said that he was really sure what it was supposed to mean but it made him feel something, something he wasn’t quite sure of…Something that felt like hope.”

In 1891, Oscar Wilde wrote, “life imitates art far more than art imitates life”

in his essay The Decay of Lying.  As Wilde says, and as this installation aims to demonstrate, “Things are because we see them, and what we see, and how we see it, depends on the arts that have influenced us.” 

Right now, Froschauer’s words on the street are what we all need.

For more information on Scott Froschauer, go to www.scottfroschauer.com.


Fourth of July feasting fit for a king-denier

By MAGGI HENRIKSON

Do you suppose that our patriotic forefathers were happy to shed the taste of British foods at their independence party? We know they dumped the tea, and started a trajectory toward a future with Starbucks on every corner. But I would imagine they said to themselves something like, ‘No more bloody bangers and mash!’ Then they went and invented hot dogs and potato salad instead. Which, as we all know, is way better. 

In honor of this Independence Day, I wanted to think of a nice feast that reflects the best of America the beautiful: something from our shining seas, our fruited plains, and our amber waves of grain. 

Here’s what I came up with – Surf and turf (Grilled Sardines with chiles, garlic and lemon, and Balsamic Glazed Grilled Steak Rolls), Classic Potato Salad, and a “Flag Salad” for a fruity dessert.

If I was any kind of baker, I’d shoot for the great American Apple Pie, but I subscribe to the theory that one is either a cook or a baker. I am of the former camp, in every case.

These dishes are delicious and colorfully beautiful too with loads of red, white and blue. Oh, and easy to make, because that’s the American way too.

All recipes serve about 8.

Fourth of July Sardines

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Grilled Sardines with chiles, garlic and lemon – seasoned simply with chili and lemon and sizzled on the barbecue, these succulent sardines are the ideal flavor of summer. Recipe from www.tesco.com

Ingredients: 

1 lemon, zested and juiced, plus extra 2 lemons, halved

1 red chili pepper, deseeded and finely chopped

1 garlic clove, crushed

2 tbsp olive oil

3 half-ounce size fresh sardines

A few drops Tabasco

--In a small bowl, mix together the lemon zest and 2 tsp lemon juice with the chilli, garlic and oil. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

--Cut small slits on one side of each sardine. Rub the lemon and oil mixture all over the sardines, rubbing well into the slits and body cavity.

--Cook the sardines on a preheated barbecue (or over a medium-high heat in a griddle pan) for 3 minutes on each side, until cooked through and the flesh flakes away easily from the bone. Put the lemon halves, cut-side-down, next to the fish for the final 3 minutes of the cooking time.

--Serve the sardines with a few drops of Tabasco, and the grilled lemon halves.

Balsamic Glazed Steak Rolls – A lovely low carb recipe from www.tablespoon.com

Fourth of July Steak

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Ingredients:

8 thin slices sirloin or flank steak (length and width according to personal preference)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Fresh rosemary, chopped

1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

1 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips

1 medium zucchini, sliced into thin strips

1 medium yellow onion, halved and then thinly sliced

A few white button or cremini mushrooms, cut into thin strips

For the Rosemary Balsamic Glaze:

1 tsp extra-virgin olive oil

1 large clove garlic, minced

1/4 Cup dark balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp dry red wine

2 tsp brown sugar

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

1/4 Cup beef-flavored broth

--Rub each side of the steak slices with a little extra virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with salt, freshly ground black pepper and some chopped fresh rosemary.

--Heat one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat and cook the vegetables until crisp-tender, seasoning with salt and pepper.

--Place a few of the vegetable strips vertically on one end of each steak cutlet so that once rolled up the end of the vegetables are sticking out of each end of the steak roll.

--Roll it up, and secure it with a toothpick. Repeat for each steak roll.

--For the rosemary balsamic glaze: Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook for one minute, until fragrant. Add the balsamic vinegar, red wine, brown sugar and the rosemary sprigs and bring to a rapid boil. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered for five minutes. Add the broth, return to a boil, reduce the heat to low and simmer for another 15 minutes. Discard the rosemary sprigs.

--Prepare the grill and grill on each side for about two minutes or according to desired doneness. Do the same if cooking them in a skillet, frying over medium-high heat until done.

--Serve immediately drizzled with the rosemary balsamic glaze.

Fourth of July Potato

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Classic Potato Salad – Baby potatoes have a naturally sweet flavor and creamy texture that’s delicious in this classic recipe. Use red, white and blue potatoes for the USA effect. Recipe from Food & Wine.

Ingredients:

2 3/4 lbs. baby Yukon Gold or baby red or blue potatoes (about 2 inches each), scrubbed

Kosher salt

1/2 cup mayonnaise

2 tbsp distilled white vinegar

2 tsp Dijon mustard

Freshly ground pepper

2 scallions, thinly sliced

2 tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley

1 celery rib, cut into 1/4-inch dice

--In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with cold water and season the water with salt. Bring to a boil over high heat and cook the potatoes until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and let stand until cool enough to handle, about 10 minutes.

--Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the vinegar and mustard and season with salt and pepper. Stir in the scallions, parsley and celery. Halve the potatoes crosswise and fold them into the dressing. Serve warm or at room temperature.

The potato salad can be refrigerated up to 1 day. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Fruit Flag Salad Load up on the red white and blues, but let a little sunny pineapple and melon in too. Maggi recipe.

Fourth of July Fruit

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Ingredients:

1/2 fresh pineapple cut in small bits, save juice

2 medium bananas, sliced

2 pints fresh strawberries

4 cups cubed cantaloupe

3 cups fresh blueberries

3 containers (6 oz.) lemon Greek yogurt

1 cup fresh or frozen/thawed whipped topping

2 tbsp agave nectar sweetener

--Toss banana slices with pineapple and a little of the juice. Reserve 18 to 20 strawberries for flag stripes; cut remaining strawberries into quarters.

--Mix yogurt, whipped topping, and agave nectar together in a bowl until blended and smooth.

--In ungreased 13 x 9-inch (3-quart) glass baking dish, layer cantaloupe and quartered strawberries. Reserve 50 blueberries for flag stars. Layer remaining blueberries over strawberries. Top with bananas and pineapple. 

--With pancake turner, press fruit lightly to even out top. Spread yogurt mixture evenly over fruit. If desired, at this point, salad can be covered and refrigerated up to 4 hours. If serving salad immediately, add topping; if salad is refrigerated, add topping up to 1 hour before serving. Sprinkle reserved blueberries in corner to resemble stars of flag. Cut reserved strawberries into quarters. Arrange strawberries in rows to resemble stripes of flag.

Enjoy the Fourth and all the best of American cooking!


Holiday Trash and Street Sweeping Schedules

Holiday Schedule for Residential Trash collection – Residential trash and recycling collection will be delayed by one day beginning on Wednesday, July 4, and throughout the remainder of the week. For questions, please contact Waste Management Customer Service at (949) 642-1191.

Holiday Street Sweeping Schedule – On Wednesday, July 4, only non-residential areas will be swept. Residential street sweeping will not occur, and parking restrictions will not be enforced.


The Pet Rescue Center announces resignation of LB’s Blythe Wheaton and appointment of Lynne Ehrlich

The Pet Rescue Center Co-Founder and Executive Director Blythe Wheaton of Laguna Beach has announced her resignation as director to spend more time with her family. Wheaton founded The Pet Rescue Center with her husband, Dr. Matthew Wheaton, in 2007. The mission was simple, “To save the lives of dogs and cats at risk of euthanasia.” 

Wheaton has filled the role of Founder, Development Director and then Executive Director over the past 11 years. She has announced that she will be leaving The Pet Rescue Center at the end of June. 

“I am proud of the difference The Pet Rescue Center has made in the community. We have saved so many lives and been an integral part of creating positive change within the support systems offered to domestic animals in our community. I am confident that the programs I have created will propel the reduction of the need for euthanasia as a solution to shelter overcrowding, provide community resources to at risk pet owners and to help pet owners make informed decisions by educating the public,” she says.

The Pet Wheaton

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Submitted photo

Blythe Wheaton and pup

Wheaton will remain involved in the training of a new Executive Director and cultivation of the future of The Pet Rescue Center through her co-founder role. She has laid the groundwork for her replacement and a strategic plan for 2018. 

“I am certain that The Pet Rescue Center will continue to make a difference in our community. There is so much need, so much to be done, and so much change on the horizon to benefit domestic pets. I’m confident with our board leadership, our advisors, volunteer staff and our supporters that our model will only improve. The Pet Rescue Center has been a large part of my life and I am sad to say goodbye,” stated Wheaton. 

The Pet Rescue Center has chosen Lynne Ehrlich as its new Interim Executive Director, effective July 1. Ehrlich has over 29 years combined IT and HR business systems experience and expertise in assessing and recommending “Best Practice” strategic design and process improvements, as well as a Master’s Degree in Counseling Psychology. 

The Pet Ehrlich

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Submitted photo

Lynne Ehrlich and friends

Over the past five years, Ehrlich has volunteered for many of The Pet Rescue Center’s programs: from lending a hand at adoption events and bagging food for the Pet Pantry, to socializing rescues by providing lots of playtime, lap time and love. Having led humane education tours at the Irvine Animal Care Center, she seamlessly took on the role of Education Outreach Coordinator for The Pet Rescue Center in 2014. 

The Pet Rescue Center was impressed by Ehrlich’s passion, her tenacity and her ability to focus her goals into a rewarding commitment to volunteerism while maintaining a balance with her professional and personal commitments. These are all qualities the organization feels will help achieve its 2018 Strategic Vision and move the group into the future. 

“I am very excited to welcome Lynne to The Pet Rescue Center team. She has always been one to stand out in my mind as a great asset to our cause. I am thrilled she will help us move into the second decade of impact The Pet Rescue Center makes on our community,” says Wheaton. 

The Pet Rescue Center is a 501c3 nonprofit organization with the goal of saving the lives of dogs and cats at risk of euthanasia. The group provides assistance to at risk dogs and cats through programs that serve the community: Rescue Rehab Re-home, Education and Pet Pantry. 

For more information or to donate, visit www.thepetrescuecenter.org.


The Zany Side of Fourth of July

By DIANNE RUSSELL

If it isn’t crazy enough that Americans consume 150 million hot dogs and 70 million pounds of chicken on the Fourth of July, there are other wacky facts about our Independence Day celebrations that outshine even the most outrageous scenarios. 

According to www.smithsonianmag.com, Americans have been setting off fireworks to celebrate their independence since 1777. Even some of the very first Independence Day celebrations involved fireworks. On July 4, 1777, Philadelphia put together an elaborate day of festivities. The celebration included a 13-cannon display, a parade, a fancy dinner, toasts, music, musket salutes, “loud huzzas,” and of course fireworks. 

Here in Laguna, we celebrate the holiday with a magnificent fireworks display. However, other cities have more unique ways of honoring our nation.

The Zany dragonfly

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Dragonfly fireworks during display over Laguna Beach last year

If you’re an animal lover, you’ll probably love Bend, Oregon’s Fourth of July Pet Parade. Since the 1930s, kids and their pets have participated in this parade, which has included everything from horses, dogs, and goats to badgers, chickens, and baby coyotes. More than 8,000 people watch and participate in the annual Pet Parade. Given the sheer number and variety of these animals, this seems like the perfect situation to play road apple roulette (if you’re not familiar with this gambling game, see below).

Somewhat reluctant lobster races 

Not satisfied with a mere pet parade, the City of Bar Harbor, Maine brings out its pedigree lobsters to race against time and each other. People even place bets and egg the lobsters on, though the animals don’t quite know what’s going on. (And why would they?) Some go forward, some stay put, and some leave the track entirely (these probably are afraid the race might be followed by a Lobster Fest).

Marshmallow fights turn violent

No animals involved here. Just fights for wimps. The people of Ocean Beach, California celebrate by chucking marshmallows at each other. Though in previous years the fight has gotten out of control and become violent (according to www.dailyca.org), it has recently calmed down and is once again a place for fun. This brings to mind two questions: how do you get violent with marshmallows, and do they make s’mores with them afterward? 

Boom Box Parade

For the past 30 years, Willimantic, Connecticut has hosted an annual Boom Box Parade on July 4. Why boom boxes? Well, it was a matter of necessity: In 1986, no marching bands were available to perform in a Memorial Day parade, so the town had to get creative. Since the town’s first boom box parade – which happened on the Fourth of July rather than Memorial Day – thousands of people have celebrated Independence Day by wearing red, white, and blue and carrying a radio tuned to WILI. I knew there was a reason to save my old boom box.

The Zany boombox

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Strange pairing of red storm trooper and boom box

Computer Trap Shooting

Only in Kentucky can you find the great Fourth of July tradition of shooting obsolete electronic devices. Participants donate their old computers and Kentuckians with guns go to town blowing up every piece of circuit board and screen they see. What a great way to let out all your technology-related anger, but this sounds more dangerous than even shooting off fireworks. 

Tug of war - heavy weight feud extraordinaire 

This is not your run of the mill tug of war. Anything but regular in the towns of Bolinas and Stinson Beach. Every Fourth of July, the two towns reignite a feud, pulling a rope back and forth across the Bolinas Channel that separates them with both men’s and women’s competitions. But this a no small skirmish. Bolinas apparently has a 200-pound weight minimum and has fed its participants whale blubber meat in the past to heighten (and widen) their advantage. Evidently, no holds are barred. On separate occasions, Stinson has previously utilized 500-pound Samoans, the UC Berkeley rowing team, the San Francisco Golden Gate rugby team and a Jeep to pull them to victory. 

Road Apple Roulette

No need to describe this one, although it’s better than road kill roulette. Residents of Hailey, Idaho gather each year to play this game in which participants buy squares (from the 10,000 squares) of the annual Fourth of July parade’s path, complete with horses that drop “road apples” along the way. If these “apples” land in the square you bought, your name goes in a drum, and you can win big in prizes. 

Just a normal Fourth of July, not really

So, I guess the moral of this story is that here in Laguna, we’re not as madcap as we think. Apparently, we’re pretty tame (except for our holiday crowd and traffic) and traditional in our Fourth of July fireworks celebration, but it’s never normal, it’s always nothing short of spectacular. Happy Fourth of July!


Where’s Maggi – the answers!

Maggi likes this crazy head. She noticed it, and so did several of our readers.

Janene Freita was on it, first thing. Kudos also go out to Kristen Purll, Dustin Bainbridge, Karen Feuer Schwager, Claudia Redfern, Pamela Cooper (who had the inside scoop as it’s at her in-law’s home!).

Did you know where to find this in Laguna? 

Maggi promises another photo mystery coming up on Friday. Stay tuned!

Wheres Maggi Manzanita

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This expressive head sculpture can be found on Manzanita Street 


The Staycationers: Why leave Laguna at this most beautiful time of the year?

Compiled by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Yes, there are reasons to leave Laguna during the summer months: thousands upon thousands of them, in fact, in the shape of the day-trippers and tourists who take over our town – but then, why not vacate our parking spaces and restaurant reservations so that visitors can enjoy the experiences that we are fortunate to enjoy year-long as residents? 

Or, on the other hand, why not stick around and enjoy, along with visitors (hey, revel in their envy!) all that summer has to offer in town at our festivals…especially now that we have Uber, Lyft and the trolleys to solve some of the traffic issues?

the staycationers town

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Our beautiful town and beach – pre-summer, admittedly…

Aptly, Meredith Dowling, executive director of the Chamber of Commerce, which promotes local businesses, plans to do just that – and as a relative newcomer to Laguna, her excitement at sharing with her visiting mom all the experiences that so many of us take for granted in this town is positively infectious!

Learning about her staycation plans makes me appreciate our town so very much and reminds me why I love it so. Any of you out there feeling jaded? Read this… 

Staycation in Laguna Beach: Enjoying its incredible beauty

 “When I moved to Laguna Beach, I told my parents about all the incredible beauty I saw, the experiences I had, the friends I made, the places I went, the peace I felt. My mother and father showed me so much of the world over the years, I hoped one day that I could share this all with them firsthand instead of sending brochures, photos, and emails.”

the staycationers Meredith and mom

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Courtesy of Meredith Dowling

Meredith and her mom having a marvelous time in Laguna

 “My mom’s visit this summer is an especially big deal, since my dad recently passed away and she couldn’t visit and I was working 24/7. 

“Now we are embracing every minute and I am finally able to show her so many things that she’s never experienced, just like she has done for me my whole life.

“Since joining the Chamber in September 2017, I’ve been working to transform the organization with limited resources, funding, and staff and I am passionate about implementing this revitalization. It’s exciting but all-consuming – as the only full-time staff person right now, it is impossible to take a traditional vacation, or regular vacation time. 

“So this summer is the perfect time for me to exploring and experience many things still on my “Laguna Beach bucket list” – things I haven’t had a chance to take advantage of yet.

“My mother (a world traveler) offered to fly out from the East coast and stay for the summer so she could experience the cool, unique, and amazing places, events, and sites I have been raving about, as well as spend as much quality time together as my busy work schedule will permit.”

the staycationers toes

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

So Laguna: Patches Toe Rings and this year’s theme: Vincent Van Toe

“We have already attended the premier night of the Sawdust Festival, visited with local artists like Bill Atkins, and taken photos with the VW bus. 

“We went to the Art-A-Fair Gala featuring great music, food from Maro Grill, Laguna Beach Brewery and Grill, beer from Laguna Beach Beer Company, and other local sponsors. My mom loved the energy, the food, and all the “impromptu dancing,” as she called it. I haven’t seen my mom that happy in a long time. 

“My mom took her first trolley ride in Laguna Beach and met the Greeter who I’d told her so much about.”

We attended the opening night of the new exhibit at the Laguna Art Museum (Art Colony: The Laguna Beach Art Association, 1918-1935), which was very exciting, as my mother loves history and art. I love Laguna Beach, and was thrilled to see the Chamber of Commerce was highlighted for the important role we played during the formation of this special place most of us call home. My mother was very proud. 

the staycationers the greeter

Courtesy of Meredith Dowling

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“Welcome to Laguna Beach!” Mom finally meets The Greeter

We’ve shopped at the local boutiques, eaten wonderful cuisine at local restaurants (charcuterie plates, mussels, sushi, pasta, pizza from Slice…and more to come)! We’ve meandered through Heisler Park to Main Beach, looking at all the special sculptures, stopping at the gazebo and various lookout points. 

We walked to Las Brisas, sat and ate by the fire pit, watched the sunset, laughed, and felt incredibly fortunate.

My mother and I still have many exciting plans ahead. We are going to tour the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (definitely on my bucket list)! We will watch the Fourth of July fireworks from Main Beach together, then have just a short walk home. I have tickets for us to attend Festival of Arts & Chamber Night at the Pageant (Mom has never been!). 

I’m so excited for her to experience this amazing one-of-a-kind performance….plus pre-dinner special at Laguna Beach Brewery & Grill, now with up to 65 plus people attending. We have opening night tickets to the Laguna Playhouse to see the Broadway Musical, Million Dollar Quartet. 

Oh, and Gelato Paradiso (448 S Coast Hwy) is a must have…then wander the cobblestone streets under the sunny skies. I am definitely taking my mom to the Top of the World to show her the breathtaking views, and if I can find where our local goats are, I really want to watch those goats munch away on brush and dried grass. Mom will be here for First Thursday Art Walk in August! Our galleries really are something! We have amazing artists, paintings, sculptures, furniture, glassware, jewelry, and other rare and exquisite forms of art…other people come from all around the world to see and buy so I am excited to have my mom in town.

We will be attending several ribbon-cutting celebrations for new businesses in town. My mom thinks some of these new businesses are so interesting and loves to hear about all the new things happening in town. 

the staycationers las brisas

Courtesy of Meredith Dowling

Las Brisas (and the view) isn’t just for tourists 

We are going to catch low tide, hang out, and watch the strange creatures in the tide pools, very different from what you’d find in the Atlantic Ocean. I hope to take her to see live music at Mozambique. 

“Other ‘must do’s’’ include eating oysters at Pearl St. Market (The Seahorse), more trolley rides, more local shopping and more local meals (hard to believe there are still so many places I haven’t tried). 

“Even though I am fitting this all in between work responsibilities, it is turning out to be one of the best summer vacations ever! And it is only July!

--Meredith Dowling, executive director, LB Chamber of Commerce

My vacations this summer are going to be more local...staying in California. With July, August and September being the busiest months for me at Tight Assets and The World Newsstand, I like hanging around Laguna seeing friends. But I will be going home to San Francisco to visit my 91-year-old dad and 88-year-old mom. I can’t imagine any vacation better than a visit to our family home of 55 years. 

the staycationers beach

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Why leave Laguna when others pay thousands to experience our town’s many great delights?

A few trips to Catalina Island and La Jolla are in the works too. It’s funny, every year without fail, friends from all over the world call me up saying they really want to come to Laguna for a week during the summer to attend all of our fabulous festivals, dine and shop. They ask for hotels suggestions and I give them several. They call back, surprised that for a nicer hotel, it’s $500 - $1,000 a night. Welcome to Laguna Beach in the summer! 

I then surprise them with inviting them to stay with me. But that’s Laguna beach right? Open doors. I love to share my Laguna.

--Heidi Miller, owner of Tight Assets and queen of kidney donation awareness

Other staycationers include Councilmember Steve Dicterow and Mayor Kelly Boyd, who says that he and his family will likely spend a few days at their home in Palm Springs also. 

And Sandi Werthe, Patriots Day Parade organizer, says, “I usually go downtown early in the morning to run errands and then come back to Top of the World to “hide out.’ No other plans for the summer.”

Whatever your plans, Stu News wishes you an awesome summer 2018!


Tip-A-Cop fundraiser will help raise money for Special Olympics on Saturday, July 28 at Ruby’s

Laguna Beach Police Department employees will be volunteering their time in conjunction with Special Olympics athletes to work alongside Ruby’s Diner restaurant staff to help raise money for the Special Olympics Orange County Region at a Tip-A-Cop® fundraiser. The fundraiser will take place on Saturday, July 28 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at Ruby’s Diner located at 30622 E. Pacific Coast Highway.

The Laguna Beach Police Department, along with the international law enforcement community, has a longstanding relationship with the Special Olympics. Police officers partner with area restaurants to hold Special Olympics Fundraisers on specific dates, hosted by one or more restaurants. Officers and Special Olympics athletes meet and greet customers, help take orders and deliver drinks and food orders, while interacting with restaurant guests. 

tip a cop fundraiser

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Photo from archives

Sgt Jim Cota is great at serving the community in every possible way

Customers are encouraged to “tip the cop” for their service in the form of a tax deductible donation, 100 percent of which will go to the Special Olympics program. This is in addition to the customary tip left for the restaurant’s server for their service. 

There will be an exotic car display which will include Lamborghinis, Peganis, McLarens and Porsches. The Police Department will also have a police car, police motorcycle, police K-9 unit, drone demonstration, face painting station and a balloon artist on site for this event. The community can enjoy great food, interact with some of Laguna Beach’s ‘Finest’ and Special Olympics athletes while supporting a great cause. 

Special Olympics relies on fundraisers for the many services it provides to our Special Olympics Athletes. 

Events are held annually in more than 170 countries for people with intellectual disabilities. More than 3.1 million athletes of all ages are involved in these Special Olympics programs. The Laguna Beach Police Department is very proud to be able to play a small part in promoting Special Olympics and providing opportunities for the athletes to train, compete, have fun, and become productive and respected members of society. 

For more information, contact Lieutenant Joe Torres at (949) 497-0330 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Time Defiance Fitness announces transition to an at-home training approach

After fourteen years of providing personalized training to the Laguna Beach community at its Broadway Street location, Time Defiance Fitness has announced that it will soon transition to an at-home training approach.

While training sessions will now take place from the comfort of clients’ homes, Dr. Jack Lynn will continue to personalize exercise regimens based on the medical conditions of each client, focusing on increasing flexibility, improved balance, and maximal muscle toning. Dr. Lynn bases his personal training approach on over 24 years of practicing surgery, orthopedics, and pain and rehabilitation medicine, and over 21 years of personal training experience.

Time Defiance Jack

Submitted photo

Dr. Jack Lynn, of Time Defiance Fitness

Time Defiance Fitness elevates personal training to the next level by focusing on each client as an individual. Deeply attuned to the needs of the mature population, Dr. Jack Lynn draws upon decades of orthopedics and rehabilitation medicine experience to develop personalized, medically-backed fitness regimens.

Time Defiance Fitness is committed to offering unrivaled personal training and believes this new approach will enable wider outreach to the Laguna Beach community.

Time Defiance Fitness will also be changing its phone number to (949) 510-0863. The Time Defiance Fitness website will remain www.tdfit.com.


City seeks input from residents on Cliff Drive to High Drive Stairway replacement

On Wednesday, July 11 at 5 p.m., the City of Laguna Beach is hosting an onsite public workshop to gather public input on the proposed design of a stairway replacement. The stairway is located near Diver’s Cove and extends from Cliff Drive to High Drive. 

If you are unable to attend the meeting and would like to provide comments, please contact Alpha Santos at (949) 497-0729 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Clarification regarding summer parking program for residents with permits

Summer is here, bringing with it the summer parking program, which began on Friday, June 29, and runs through Labor Day. This means the free parking in Lot 11 (Forest/Laguna Canyon Lot) ends, and everyone has to pay to park in that lot.

Shopper/resident parking permits will not be valid in Lot 11 or Lot 10 (Christmas Tree lot) until after Labor Day. Shopper/resident parking permits will also not be valid in the on-street metered spaces on Laguna Canyon Road and the Frontage Road, except for the metered spaces adjacent to the dog park where the permits will continue to be valid. 

clarification parking permits

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Parking meters

Business parking permits will not be valid in the Glenneyre parking structure until after Labor Day. 

The parking meters and parking lot pay stations in the greater downtown area, Laguna Canyon Road and Frontage Road, and the Glenneyre parking structure will require payment until 9 p.m. through Labor Day.

The parking meters in the rest of the city outside of the greater downtown area will continue to require payment only until 7 p.m.

The Aliso Beach county parking lots will continue to require payment until 10 p.m.

The Canyon Acres resident permit parking program also went into effect on Friday, June 29 and runs through Labor Day.


Let’s send eight-year-old ‘RJ’ to Summer Camp

Tony’s Treehouse charity is working to raise $525 for RJ’s Summer Day Camp. RJ is an eight year old boy who is the oldest of his siblings and is full of adventure. He is known to be the “helper” of his family, even when times get tough. 

Losing his younger brother to SIDS, he had to grow up faster than planned. Although, with the love of his family, they pulled through these tough times together and focused on what really matters, family. 

lets send rj group

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Photo from website

Becky with some of the happy kids who benefit from Tony’s Treehouse

Tony’s Treehouse would love to help RJ have a fun-filled summer and send him to camp because he has never been. The Boys & Girls Club atmosphere is where he will be able to play outdoors, make friends, and connect with caring mentors. 

If Tony’s Treehouse receives $400 for the tickets, plus donations to cover the remaining $125, RJ will get to enjoy the entire summer at the Club.

Being offered are packages of eight donated tickets to the Pageant of the Masters show on July 30 at 8:30 p.m. Seats are together in the upper Directors Tier, Side BB 64 – 78 at the Irvine Bowl in Laguna Beach. A generous individual, corporation, or organization is asked to buy all eight tickets for $400. 100 percent of this purchase will go toward funding RJ’s Summer Day Camp fees. He will be able to attend as many weeks as can be pay for, so any additional donations are welcome at www.TonysTreehouse.org


Hundreds gather at Main Beach to show support for families separated at the border in recent months

Last Saturday, a peaceful gathering – the Families Belong Together March and Rally – attracted hundreds in a show of support for families that have been separated during the ‘No Tolerance’ immigration policy enforced by the Trump Administration.

Hundreds gather main beach

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Photo by Angela Dawson

Rally at Main Beach draws hundreds

The event, organizers say, was also to draw attention to the executive order that was recently written “that offered no solution to the thousands of families currently detained and separated.” 

“[President] Trump has signed an Executive Order ending the family separation policy he implemented. But please know that his Executive Order did not offer any solutions or give relief to the separated families,” one of the organizers, Jahn Levitt, stated.

More on this in Barbara’s Column on Friday.


July Fourth Laguna Beach Transit Hours

On July 4, the trolleys will be operating special service hours. The Coastal routes will run from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the Canyon route will run from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

There will be no transit service in the North and South Laguna neighborhoods, along with the Top of the World, Bluebird Canyon and Arch Beach Heights neighborhoods. 

For more information, please contact the City’s Transit office at (949) 497-0766.


Laguna Hackers 18th Annual Bob Margolis Golf Tournament raises $25,000 for the Boys & Girls Club 

The Laguna Hackers held the 18th Annual Bob Margolis Memorial “18 For The Kids” Golf Tournament to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach on Monday, June 25 at the Aliso Viejo Country Club. Generating over 150 golfers, the tournament raised $25,000 net for the Bluebird Branch of the Boys & Girls Club. 

The event featured a “scramble format” golf tournament, silent auction, helicopter ball-drop raffle, and dinner. Long-time Laguna Hacker Harry Bithell, of Surterre Properties, chaired the event. He leads an incredible committee of fellow realtors residing in Laguna Beach who meet to play golf every Thursday on golf courses all over OC.

Laguna Hackers helicopter

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Submitted photo

Helicopter ball-drop raffle

Harry Bithell, who chaired the founding committee for The Girls Club in 1971, moved a donated building to the Bluebird Park site. He keeps the now deemed Bluebird Branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach close to his heart with this special event. 

Bithell adds, “This great team effort was coordinated by the Laguna Hackers, Boys & Girls Club, and the Margolis Family. We keep this tradition going because we believe in the Boys & Girls Club and the legacy our dear friend Bob Margolis left behind which was to always give back.”

This annual tournament is in memory of Bob Margolis, whose generosity and outstanding character is honored by raising much-needed funds for local charities. Over the past 18 years, this event has raised over $250,000 for the Bluebird Branch of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach to ensure hundreds of children each year have a life enriching experience and brighter futures. 

Laguna Hackers Paula and Tracey

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Submitted photo

Paula Hornbuckle (L) and Tracey Thompson enjoy a cool drink by the golf course

The Hackers are an eclectic group loosely centered on the real estate industry that plays a different course every Thursday. They are always looking for new Hackers and their old lost balls. About 16-20 players are currently hitting nearby golf courses.

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach occupies three sites in LB: Canyon Branch, Bluebird Branch and its newest addition, Lang Branch, located in South Laguna. Together, The Club offers a nationally recognized and award-winning year-round enrichment program that focuses on the whole family. From preschool to parenting classes, The Club offers an array of services that focus on academic success, good character and citizenship, healthy lifestyles and creative expression. Being an indispensable asset to the families of our community is a time-honored tradition. For over 65 years, The Club strives to support this goal through out-of-school recreation that celebrates the whole child.

For more information about The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, visit www.bgclagunabeach.org or call (949) 494-2535.


Summer Breeze makes [you] feel fine/Blowing through the canyon past the lines

Visitors can now blow freely in and out of Laguna Beach on a sweet Summer Breeze – and be returned safely to their vehicle when they’re done, without the driving and parking hassles. They just park at the lot near SR-133/I-405 freeway and catch the Laguna Beach Summer Breeze bus. 

summer breeze trolley

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Visitors can blow past traffic with the Summer Breeze bus and then catch the trolley around town

The Summer Breeze bus service runs every weekend (starting June 30) through September 2. The bus runs each Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. - midnight, and travels from the SR-133/I-405 parking lot along Laguna Canyon Road with stops at Sawdust Art Festival, Laguna Art-A-Fair, Festival of the Arts, Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Playhouse, and the Laguna Beach Bus Station.

Then, from the Laguna Beach Bus Station, tourists can see all of Laguna Beach by hopping on the free Laguna Beach Trolley. The Trolley connects shopping, local restaurants and destinations all over Laguna Beach. 

“And when your beach day is done, just hop back on the Summer Breeze bus at any of the stops and ride back to the parking lot,” the City explains. This service is provided for free by the City of Laguna Beach all summer long.

For more information – including the Summer Breeze bus schedule, route map, and directions – go to www.lagunabeachcity.net

Summer Breeze is mostly funded by OCTA Measure M Project V grant funds.


Public meeting hosted by Laguna Canyon Foundation, CANDO, and Greg & Barbara MacGillivray on July 5 will discuss controversial Caltrans 133 Project

Have you heard about Caltrans’ proposal for Laguna Canyon Road and do you know how it will affect Laguna? 

Laguna Canyon Foundation, Greg and Barbara MacGillivray, and Laguna Beach CANDO invite the public to a presentation that will explain the overall project and its impacts on our community and canyon.

The meeting will take place on Thursday, July 5 from 5 - 7 p.m. at the Susi Q Senior Center, 380 Third Street. 

Information about the proposed changes and a statement on the potential impacts on Laguna’s open space from Laguna Canyon Foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones can be read at https://lagunacanyon.org/2018/06/whats-going-on-with-the-133.

All public comments to Caltrans are due by July 10.

Public meeting hosted

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Submitted photo

Intersection of Laguna Canyon Road and El Toro Road

Laguna Canyon Foundation is dedicated to preserving, protecting, enhancing and promoting the South Coast Wilderness – a network of open space that includes Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and Aliso and Wood Canyon Wilderness Park.

CANDO’s mission is to preserve the rural, low-density and small-scale character of Laguna Canyon; to protect the integrity of our unique neighborhoods; and to ensure the safety of the Laguna Canyon corridor. The group advocates judicious, long-term planning for this biologically diverse gateway into our community.


Rowan Reports on Roux

Rowan Van Dender (11) loves to write and issues a monthly newsletter about Brooks Street, where she lives. Now she’s also a columnist for Stu News! Readers can read and subscribe to her newsletter at www.beautifulbrooksstreet.com.

I am so glad we came to this restaurant (Roux). We were looking for a good restaurant to do the review on and Roux kept coming up in my mom’s mind. She had gone there once for frog legs and thought it was a location that looked like it had a lot of history. So we went and it was amazing. Along with learning all about the Creole food we got to taste it too! 

Rowan reports outside

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Courtesy of Rowan

Rowan and her mom outside historic location of Roux restaurant

We met with the owner Michael Byrne for a talk about food. He had bought Roux from the previous owner, whose picture is still up on the chimney, and “changed everything but the soul!” He told me how this building was previously an art studio for an artist named Leonard Kaplan then changed to a juice bar!

I asked him how he had gotten the idea for a Creole based menu and he said that he just really loved Creole food because it had a lot of soul. He told me how it was predominantly French and it has a lot of culture. To end our interview he told me how Laguna is evolving into a foodie town and he respects that. 

“This town’s going to be around for a long time!” he said.

Rowan reports creole food

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Courtesy of Rowan

Creole food has a lot of soul

While waiting for my food, I interviewed another important part of the Roux team. I talked to the lead chef, Chef Robert. He is a native to California but is a Filipino by blood. He told me how he learned cooking from his grandmother and fell in love with it. When I asked him what his favorite menu item was he said how he loves seafood but “Don’t get me wrong I love a good steak!” 

Finally it was food time. First on the menu was the Organic Kale Salad. It was sweet with a rural type of pop and I loved it! Next was the Creamy Roasted Cauliflower Dish. Along with the dip it had crunchy bread and those two mixed so well! It melted in your mouth like ice cream. 

The catfish dish had a nice spicy kick to the sauce and I loved the flavors coming together while I ate the fish with the rice. Last but not least I had the Buttermilk Pie. The texture was amazing and the way it melted in your mouth was incredible. And I thought that the orange whipped cream was brilliant. Overall Roux was amazing and has an incredible backstory. I definitely recommend going there one day! 

Roux is located at 860 Glenneyre. www.rouxlaguna.com


Salt Chrch announces the appointment of Mike Kenyon as Senior Pastor

In May of 2017, Gene Molway, founding pastor of Salt Chrch [sic], suddenly passed away. Salt Chrch admits that it’s been a hard year as a church family, but says that they have learned so much about grace and truth and have remained faithful to their founding principles and main mission.

One of those who reached out to help was Mike Kenyon. Kenyon had a relationship with Molway for over 20 years, and wanted to help fill the pulpit of the man who’d mentored him for so long. Kenyon preached and ministered to the church body, and it wasn’t long afterwards that he threw his hat in the ring for consideration for the vacant position. The vote was unanimous, and he was offered the position. 

Kenyon, age 47, has a rich ministry background. He earned his B.A. in the D.C.E (Director of Christian Education) program with an emphasis in Youth and Family Counseling from Concordia University, Irvine in 1992, followed by his Master of Divinity from Rockbridge Theological Seminary in 2014.

Salt Chrch family

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Submitted photo

The Kenyon Family – Austin, Allison, Mike and Kylie

He served on staff at Mariners Church, Irvine from 1990 - 1997 where, among other roles, he filled the position of Associate High School Pastor. He went on to be the Director of Youth and Missions at Irvine Presbyterian Church for six years. In 2003, he moved to Rock Harbor where, for six years, he served as Pastor of Outreach. 

In 2012, Kenyon moved into the nonprofit arena and for five years served as the Pastor of Church Development for Free Wheelchair Mission, building an infrastructure of support and a network of churches around the United States. After five years with FWM, Mike moved back into church ministry and worked as the Pastor of Community Life at Mariners Church, Mission Viejo for three years. In 2015, he was hired as the Lead Pastor for Voyagers Bible Church in Irvine. 

Kenyon says, “My ministry objective is for the Lord Jesus to be glorified. My passion is to teach the Word of God and help disciples of Jesus integrate the truth of God’s Word into their everyday lives. Discipling people of various ethnic and cultural backgrounds to live out their faith is a primary emphasis of my vocational work. Having grown up in poverty, I have a heart for teaching people to understand the spiritual and physical needs of the poor; and thereby respond in Christian love and service. My ultimate goal is that men and women will experience a vibrant relationship with Jesus (grounded in prayer) and actively share the good news of the gospel in whatever setting God calls them.” 

Salt Chrch El Morro

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Courtesy Salt Chrch Facebook

Salt Chrch meets on Sundays at 10 a.m. at El Morro Elementary School

Kenyon loves to write, play tennis and basketball, produce films that focus on justice issues, and attend college sporting events, but his biggest delight is his family. He met his wife Allison over 20 years ago when they did ministry together at Mariners Church as volunteers. They’ve been married for 19 years and have two teenage kids. 

Allison is a Kindergarten teacher in the Santa Ana school district. Son Austin, age 16, plays water polo and swims, and daughter Kylie, age 15, is going to run cross country in the fall. Both attend Northwood High School. As a family, the Kenyons love just being together to share delicious meals, travel, go to the beach, and take their dog on fun walks.

Salt Chrch holds services on Sundays at 10 a.m. at El Morro Elementary School, 8681 N Coast Hwy. 

For more information about Salt Chrch, go to www.salchrch.com.
Kenyon can be found online at – Twitter: @kenyonlistens, Facebook: Michael Kenyon, Instagram: @michaelkenyon247.


Second Annual Golf Classic benefiting The Canyon Club of LB at Tijeras Creek Golf Club on Saturday, Aug 11

The Canyon Club will host its Second Annual Golf Classic on Saturday, Aug 11 at Tijeras Creek Golf Club in Rancho Santa Margarita. This year’s event will include golf, dinner, silent auction, and a helicopter golf ball drop that is sure to attract many supporters. 

Proceeds will benefit The Canyon Club, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation providing support for the recovery and rehabilitation of alcoholics and their families. 

Second Annual club building

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The Canyon Club hosts Second Annual Golf Classic

“We are super excited to be hosting our second annual Golf Classic at Tijeras Creek this year,” said Event Chair Bill McGowan, “and there are countless ways to get involved. Whether you want to play golf, join us for dinner, volunteer to help, or just show up and have fun, this is an event you should not miss!”

McGowan went on to say that “none of this would be possible if it weren’t for the generous support of donors and corporate sponsors.” The mission of The Canyon Club is “to promote the recovery and rehabilitation and prevention of alcoholism.” The Canyon Club provides a facility for Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon meetings, as well as a variety of educational, recreational, social and other activities and events that support the Club’s mission. 

Second Annual Tijeras course

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Tijeras Creek Golf Club in Rancho Santa Margarita

According to club manager Barry Baker, “The Canyon Club doors are open to anyone who needs help or knows someone who does. When an alcoholic or a family member reaches out for help, The Canyon Club is there.” 

Established in 1961, and located at 20456 Laguna Canyon Rd, The Canyon Club attracts people from all walks of life, each with the common purpose of seeking recovery from alcoholism. With over 55 weekly AA and Al-Anon meetings, over 2,000 individuals pass through the doors each week on their paths of recovery. 

For more information about the Golf Classic, or to find out how you can make a difference by supporting The Canyon Club, contact Bill McGowan at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For information about The Canyon Club, go to www.canyonclub.org.


Taverna closes, Montage’s Chef Strong steps in & South of Nick’s opens

Story and photos by DIANE ARMITAGE

As the Laguna culinary world turns in Laguna Beach, I can say one thing for sure: July has debuted with a rockin’ and rollin’ kind of attitude. 

Taverna closes

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Taverna closes

For starters, Taverna on Ocean Avenue closed Sunday night after its final service. The Dallas-based Lombardi family set up shop in Laguna in early 2016 with a string of restaurant hits to their name. For various reasons, Taverna didn’t seem to get an early foothold, even with a rare outdoor patio, very decent food and a commitment to making it work in this sometimes-fickle town. 

New concept is on its way

Never fear, though. Lombardi Family Concepts still owns the building with no intent to sell, and the new chef taking over the space is definitely one of the most well-loved and admired chefs of Laguna Beach – Chef Craig Strong of Montage’s famed Studio

Taverna craig strong

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Chef Craig Strong

Chef Craig moved into the posh oceanfront restaurant in 2009 as Chef de Cuisine. In that timeframe, Studio became the only restaurant between San Diego and LA to be awarded the rare Forbes Five Star Rating. Under Strong’s leadership, Studio also received Gayot’s Top 40 Restaurants in the US award in 2017. Its vast wine program has also received the Wine Spectator Grand Award from 2014 through 2017. 

“We thank Craig for an incredible nine years leading the culinary team at Studio and wish him all the best in his next chapter with his own restaurant in Laguna Beach. We look forward to carrying on the tradition of excellence at Studio,” says Montage Laguna Beach General Manager Anne-Marie Houston.

This week, Chef Craig is taking some well-deserved time off. He plans to be back in the culinary game shortly, though. Stay tuned to my social platforms and blog – www.TheBestofLagunaBeach.com – for more specific details from Chef Craig. 

South of Nicks opens

It’s said that nature abhors a vacuum, which definitely proves the case this week. Taverna closed just hours before the South of Nick’s official opening last night (Monday). This concept is one we locals have been looking forward to seeing for a long, long time. 

Nick’s and South of Nick’s Owner Nick Nickoloff (that’s a lot of Nicks in one sentence) has been trying to get his popular San Clemente “Mexican Kitchen + Bar” concept into Laguna Beach for years. When The House of Big Fish & Ice Cold Beer closed its doors in late 2015, we all wondered who would be willing to take over that enormous space. 

Taverna south of nicks sign

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South of Nick’s opens

Nickoloff quietly began working on the logistics and, many moons later, South of Nick’s now exists above GG’s Bistro and a stone’s throw from fellow Mexican restaurant Tortilla Republic (which still surprises me to this day, but that’s another column). Even better, South of Nick’s is less than a block from its older brother, original concept restaurant, Nick’s.

I can only imagine that the innovative restaurateur has already developed a back-and-forth reservation system that sends clientele up or down the street – that would be true leveraging of a very popular brand.

And! The Great David Fune resurfaces

It seems we might have a movement here of great chefs moving from uber-exclusive locations to restaurants that are move amenable to a larger public audience.

Watch for my Friday column on the new digs for one of my most treasured Laguna chefs ever – David Fune. He’s finally back into public life where we can all regularly enjoy his stellar cuisine.

Diane Armitage is the best-selling author of the book, The Best of Laguna Beach, and offers a cornucopia of Laguna based reviews, finds and upcoming events at her blog, www.TheBestofLagunaBeach.com.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

July 3, 2018

Time for Brooks Street to change from being a weekend-only event?

Dennis 5Local ocean temps are a comfortable level at 68-71 degrees in Orange County. There’s a small inconsistent Southern Hemisphere pulse at 2-3 feet here in town, too small for Rockpile Point, and there’s a few waves at Brooks Street but the direction isn’t that good. Your best bet today is Lower Trestle where it’s 3-4 feet on inconsistent sets.

Speaking of Brooks Street, it’s that time of year for the waiting period for decent waves that have to happen on any given weekend as the annual Classic event can only happen on a weekend and in my opinion that kind of sucks as on many occasions our best waves have come during the weekday period only to fizzle out by Saturday or come up suddenly on a Monday. That’s why I gave the event the moniker The Annual shoulda, woulda, coulda surf classic. We barely pulled it off last year having waited until the second weekend in October having endured one of the flattest summers on record.

From the event’s inception in 1954 until the turn of the century I think we had a no-go maybe once or twice but since 2000 there have been several no shows. A lot of those times the good waves were during the week. It’s a real toss of the dice when it comes to scoring good Brooks Street that coincides with a weekend. The spot only shines when it’s a short period (10-11 seconds) severe angle SSE at 160-180 degrees from Baja. Waves from a Southern Hemisphere long period (16-20 seconds) at 190-220 degrees SSW to SW don’t hit the reef correctly, so after a quick takeoff the wave walls up and closes out unless it’s a big southern hemi and it foams off Second and Third Reef.

The last big swell for Brooks Street during a contest was in late July of 2009 when bombs up to 10-12 feet lit up the spot both Saturday and Sunday. There have been some events pulled off early in the season like July 1 and 2, 1985 when Hurricane Dolores sent consistent 8-10 bombs to go along with a 96-degree heat wave and day- long glass, or the 1981 event that went off in late June, the second weekend of the waiting period during a huge Southern Hemi. Big John Parlette and Corky Smith were dominating Second Reef that weekend and neither guy was in the contest but who’s gonna tell them to get out of the water when they’ve got bigger stones than anybody!?

Here’s hoping for good waves this time around. 

Stay tuned, ALOHA!


Laguna Beach United Methodist Church hosts Vacation Bible School in August

Laguna Beach United Methodist Church welcomes youngsters to its annual Vacation Bible School (VBS) in August. Programs are available for youngsters between one-year-old and those who’ve completed fifth grade. Older children are needed as volunteer helpers. VBS will be held between 9 a.m. and 12 p.m., Monday, Aug 6 to Friday, Aug 10 at the church. 

Vacation Bible group

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Children and volunteers attending Vacation Bible School recently at Laguna Beach United Methodist Church pose for the camera

“We have a terrific program planned,” says Jen Kucera Rothman, director of Children and Youth Ministries at LBUMC. The theme this year is “Rolling River Rampage.”

Children will be grouped by age or grade, and early registration offers cost savings.  Prior to July 15, the cost for the first child in a family is $50 (and $40 for each sibling). After July 15, the cost is $70. A T-shirt is included for each child who attends.

Laguna Beach United Methodist Church is located at 21632 Wesley Dr, up the hill from Gelson’s Shopping Center.

To sign up, go to www.lbumc.org or contact the church at (949) 499-3088.


A sensational preview night at the Sawdust: exhibitors and attendees alike sing its praises

Compiled by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Preview night at the Sawdust drew the usual ebullient crowd and the electricity in the air was palpable. Here’s how some of the exhibitors express how it felt to be part of this amazing festival.

a sensational kyle

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First-time exhibitor Kyle Caris

“Preview night was incredible, I was elated with the amazing support I received from all of my family, friends and the guests attending the show. I couldn’t help but have a smile on my face all night knowing my work was being well received. The Sawdust Art Festival is truly a magical place. I fell in love with the atmosphere and the art at a very early age and even worked my first jobs there. 

“Having a booth for the first time has been a lifelong dream, it was a lot of work but I have never been happier. I grew up in Laguna Beach and started ceramics at the age of sixteen studying under Bill Darnall. After high school I went on to study at Orange Coast College where I really began to understand my material and the balance between form and glaze. I have been drawn to natural earthy colors giving my work a rustic feel. In the spring I will be attending the Kansas Coty Art Institute.”

--Kyle Caris, Ceramics

Veteran fifteen-year-exhibitor Monica Prado – who is also the Board of Directors’ Secretary and President of the Artists Benevolence Fund Board of Trustees – told Stu News, “Preview Night brings a huge boost of enthusiasm and energy, and also a wonderful sense of accomplishment for our tribe of artists and staff. 

“Typically, it’s not a night for big sales, it’s about celebrating with your community, so you can imagine my surprise when I experienced both!”

a sensational monica

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Striking art by Monica: See “Moroccan Moon” – sold on Preview night!

Indeed, Monica’s “Moroccan Moon”, five foot two inches tall, made entirely from ceramic shapes and tiles delicately crafted by the artist herself, was snapped up that evening, along with other of her pieces…which suggests a great summer ahead!

Another first-time exhibitor (who has in past years exhibited at the Festival of Arts), Brenda Bredvik, had this to say: “My first Opening Night at the Sawdust festival was awesome! All the artists must arrive early which is actually a fun little pre-party. The band started warming up so we had a chance to enjoy them before heading to our booths. Everyone greets or introduces themselves and wishes each other a successful summer. It was such an inclusive family atmosphere – even though there are many artists I don’t know they have all been so warm and friendly!

“And of course when the gates open the whole town comes by to say hi! It’s such a Laguna thing.”

a sensational brenda

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Since she’s showing some photos with a vintage look, Brenda thought (correctly) that a retro ‘60s outfit would be fun for Preview Night

And then, of course, there were the attendees, who had a raucously good time…

a sensational laura

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Laura Westland and friends are ready to party as they wait for the gates to open!

a sensational group

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Party time at the Preview! 


Political notebook banner

Christoph announces candidacy: It’s time to get a move on, she says

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Ann Christoph announced this week her candidacy for the Laguna Beach City Council, a position she previously held in the early 1990s.

Her goal is to reduce what she feels is the redundancy that stifles progress on important civic projects.

“We spend too much time on all the studies that are disappointing,” said Christoph in a telephone interview Sunday. “We are paying enormous costs and we should be getting enormous results and we are not.”

The drawn-out revisions to the Downtown Specific Plan are an example. She also cites a proposal to hire another consultant to prepare an urban design plan, which she said is already covered by the Landscape and Scenic Highways resource document she has worked on for decades.

Christoph head shot

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Ann Christoph

Christoph questions the wisdom of hiring another consultant who has to be brought up speed, particularly when recommendations are “not Laguna” in Christoph’s estimation. 

“They show us something they say is outside the box,” Christoph said. “We could see that at the Irvine Spectrum. But it’s not us. 

“There is a better approach. We know our town best. Collaborating with our local, thoughtful and qualified citizens, the city can become an ally to help us accomplish our goals. 

“We should turn to our neighborhoods, often overlooked while the City focuses its resources on visitor-serving areas.”

Christoph said if elected she would involve residents in determining what improvements they want in their own neighborhoods and then work with them to make those projects happen.

Laguna Beach is different,” said Christoph. ”It’s not just the tiny streets, quaint buildings, and scenic coves. It’s the network of neighbors, organizations, and innovators working together to improve every aspect of the community. 

“Our art festivals, schools, greenbelt, marine sanctuary, social assistance, and parks are here because we joined together. Protecting the greenbelt and bluebelt, fostering the arts, preserving the small-scale village character of the community, strengthening our safety and preparation for emergencies, addressing traffic congestion and parking, insuring fiscal responsibility, and addressing housing challenges –these demand our attention.”

Christoph is a landscape architect often hired to work on city projects, such as Alta Laguna Park, Bluebird Park and the Village Green. She also was instrumental in the creation of the Community Garden in South Laguna, the city’s purchase of which she supports with tenacity.

“Persistence is part of my nature,” said Christoph. “I see something that needs to be done and can be done and I do it.”

Christoph said if she wins a seat on the council her first priority would be to establish a good working relationship with the other members on the dais. 

“I have worked with Steve (Councilman Dicterow) and Rob (Mayor Pro Tem Zur Schmiede) on the Community Garden and Toni (Councilwoman Iseman) is a ‘fellow traveler’,” said Christoph. “She has been active a long time in environmental issues, one of my focuses.”

However, urban development is also high on her list of priorities.

She believes key decisions will need to be made as three important areas of town are proposed for redevelopment: the South Coast Highway properties between the Hotel Laguna and Legion Street; properties north of Laguna Art Museum; and the Civic Arts District properties that include [seven-degrees] and Art-A-Fair.

Christoph seven degrees

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

[seven-degrees] on Laguna Canyon Road

“It is critical to lead our community toward a shared vision, making improvements and enhancements that embellish our village character,” said Christoph. “Now is the time to prepare ourselves for these decisions. I am running because I want to help to unite us. I want to build on what we have in common: We live different. We love Laguna.”

As for the big issue of undergrounding to prevent fires from incinerating the city and to assist safe evacuation if needed, Christoph said the risk justifies spending significant funds to protect the community, but has qualms about the proposed financing mechanism. 

“Many of us are not convinced that the current undergrounding proposal provides enough benefit to justify the high cost and long-term debt,” she said.    

Christoph advocates a comprehensive fire prevention program that includes consideration of a separate emergency water system ringing the city, establishing camera and in-person monitoring, limiting access to open space during critical periods, increasing fire and police enforcement, as well as phased undergrounding. 

Christoph has lived in Laguna for 47 years. Prior to her first election to the council in 1990, she served on the Planning Commission. And before that she served on the South Laguna Specific Plan Board of Review, prior to the 1987 annexation. She was part of the community planning team that wrote the South Laguna General Plan, which was given an Award of Merit from the American Institute of Planners, California Chapter. She also received a Civic Service Award from the South Laguna Civic Assn, and a commendation from the Orange County Board of Supervisors for her work on the follow-up, the South Laguna Specific Plan.

She was in 2015 and again this year honored by the Laguna Beach Beautification Council. 

Other honors include Christoph’s selection as the Laguna Beach Woman’s Club 2005 Woman of the year. The plaque reads “We honor Ann Christoph for her leadership, integrity and visionary dedication to the City of Laguna Beach, and we thank her for her efforts to protect our city and its environment.”


Lang Photography and Fine Art is closing after 60 years in business

Lang Photography and Fine Art will be closing up shop, gallery and services on Sunday, July 15, after 60 years in business (48 years located in the Art Center). 

Lang art andrens

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Photo from website

Painting by Sherry Andrens

“Laguna has been our home, business and love. We are retiring to Cheryl’s family home in West Virginia,” Rick Lang said in a statement. “We have served our local art community over the years and have accumulated a large collection of Regional artwork including paintings, mono-prints, sculpture, etchings, photographs and more. Many pieces are one of a kind. Unfortunately, we cannot take it all with us.”

A number of the gallery pieces are currently exhibited at the gallery space. Lang advises that they would be happy to meet potential buyers there at any time for viewing and purchase. 

“We encourage you to shop online or come by and see us by appointment,” Lang notes.

Lang Photography is offering 25 percent off all collections as well as some deeper discounts through July 15.

For more information, visit www.LangArtCollections.com.


Autism as a “gift not a curse” – personal stories Thursday and an opportunity to meet an exceptional, giving, young sculptor

Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art – the humanitarian gallery – and its director Christiana Lewis will host a special event Thursday, Feb 27 from 6 -10 p.m. 

Arts and Services for Disabled is holding the event designed to show that autism is a gift, not a curse. The event will feature several prominent speakers to provide personal stories and information, along with food, music and wine.

Also on hand will be a talented sculptor, Max Carraher, who will be sculpting live at the event all evening.

Lewis and others have dubbed Carraher, 24, as a modern day Rodin.

He will be donating 30% of any and all sales of his works Thursday to the buyer’s choice of autism group or school. All participating artists will donate a percentage of their sales to help fund research for autism.

Carraher wrote in an email: “I have been volunteering my time for various philanthropic organizations since I was 17.

“Most recently I contributed half of my annual income for the year 2013 to various humanitarian causes including drug rehabilitation programs, human rights, illiteracy programs, criminal reform programs and disaster relief projects.” 

Please take the time to read the following essay about Max Carraher and his extraordinary talent.

The gallery is at 611 S. Coast Hwy. For more information about the event, call (949) 424-4077 or visit www.christianafineart.com or www.lgoca.com.

Max2BWS

Carraher

Maxwell Carraher’s Reaching Man, and other bronzes

Robert C. Morgan, Ph.D.

Sculpture has gone through many transitions over the past century, both in terms of its form and content. Some of these transitions suggest an advance, while others a regression. Most of these attributions depend largely on what is considered modern.  For example, in 1909, the famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin believed his cast bronze figure Striding Man would open the door to the new century of modernity.  Four years later the Italian Futurist Umberto Boccioni introduced his abstract bronze figure, Unique Forms on Continuity in Space (1913), believing that Rodin’s work represented not the future but a culmination of the past. Boccioni further declared that his sculpture was the true symbol of the twentieth century because it revealed the human figure as a powerful machine-like force. 

Like many sculptors who have worked with the figure over the past century, the search for symbolic meaning has played a significant role in their work.  Whether Rodin, Boccioni or the later works of Henry Moore, the goal of these artists was to encompass an original style that reflected upon their time. In observing the work of the young California sculptor Maxwell Carraher, I detect a similar aspiration focused more on an expressionist point of view. Now in his mid-twenties, Carraher credits his father as being the source of his involvement with sculpture. While growing up, he fondly recalls watching him cast monster masks in latex from various clay models during Halloween. With leftover bits of clay, Carraher began experimenting with developing figurative forms. In that there was no course offering in sculpture at his boarding school, he took ceramics instead.  Here– much to the instructor’s dismay – he developed his understanding of clay as a medium not to build pots, but to construct and carve the human figure. Later, through the help of his father, Carraher learned the various steps in making molds for his clay prototypes. As he began building molds sturdy enough to support the intense heat of molten bronze, the artist soon realized the technical aspects involved in making figurative sculpture are complex. To learn these techniques is not something one acquires over night. One must think through each step along the way from clay to plaster to wax and to bronze. Finally, one must see the form not only with one’s eyes, but also with one’s hands. The process requires considerable diligence, focus, energy, and a clear sense of intuition. In essence, it is hard work.

I have titled this essay after the most recent bronze sculpture by the artist, titled The Reaching Man (2014). Just as Rodin and Boccioni strove to attain a particular impression of modernity based on their symbolic views of the male figure, Carraher suggests a similar idea in his modestly scaled work. The dimensions are 29”high and 7” across at its widest point. The work represents a male nude projecting diagonally outward from a fluted column where the body has been harnessed with rope. The figure’s two arms are waving, perhaps reaching out toward the viewer. The design of the piece has the look of antiquity from Hellenic times more than modernity. Is the artist making a comment on life in ancient Greece in comparison with the present? 

The narrative content of the work transmits a certain ambivalence, a kitsch masquerade, as if the figure were performing a dramatic role on stage. The expression on the face of the figure suggests earnestness, but again, the motivation behind this expression is not easily deciphered. One may sense in Carraher’s sculpture a powerful dramatic moment, an impulse towards transformation. Intuitively, the artist clearly knows how to incite emotion through his overall attention to the positioning of the figure. This implies that the artist understands that any true work of art holds more than a single response. The expressive narrative may be personal, social, historic, or mythological, or all of the above. Whatever it is, the viewer’s subjectivity enters into the work as a means toward interpretation.

The Reaching Man is one of six works completed over the past three years.  Other works by Carraher begin with a straightforward work, titled Single Face, and two others, Man in Stone and Two Hands, all cast in bronze and dated from 2012. Two additional works, Three Faces and Man and Woman, also in cast bronze, follow in 2013.  Each of these sculptures has a unique quality of expression. Of the six works, The Reaching Man (2014) is the most complex and mature work by Carraher. Yet each of these works reveals the artist’s immense capability in his search to establish a vocabulary of formal ideas that coincide with the expressionist values in his art. 

The isolated visage in Single Face is particularly moving as it focuses on a distilled, yet complex expression. In our confrontation with the face, an ambiguity of meaning emerges, which could be read as a quality necessary to art. The eyes are squinted, yet the face emerges as remarkably human in its connectedness to the world, suggesting that the artist found the proper distance by which to bring life into this form and give it legitimacy. For this reason, the sculpture reads as something not just ordinary, but in some way elevated beyond the ordinary as a fully conscious expression, an experience holding a reality of its own.

Expressionist sculpture is very much a part of the historical present. In some ways it suggests a reaction to the reductive geometric modules from forty years ago. Carraher’s approach to the figure goes back to expressionist sculpture in the early twentieth century that includes the work of Wilhelm Lehmbruck, Ernst Barlach, Kathe Kollwitz, and Gerhard Marks. These sculptors were interested – as Carraher is – in how to invoke feeling in the figure, how to express the human condition, as the existential philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre made clear in his writings on another Swiss sculptor, Alberto Giacometti.  In the work of the each of these artists, a modernist approach to the figure is shown through their subtle transformations of representation. I regard Carraher’s Two Hands as offering such a statement.  This simple and direct expression of two hands intertwined with one another is beautiful in its evocation. Even as the figure is not fully present one feels a connection that is ineluctable human, and very much within the space of sculpture. Arms and hands reach out to one another as they do in The Reaching Man. This offers a necessary counterpoint to the recent loss of tactile sensibility in the current “virtual” age, and also a promising statement on the sculpture of Maxwell Carraher at its best.


Eagle Scout candidate Calem Lindsey has created two collection boxes for retirement of American flags

Recent LBHS graduate Calem Lindsey is an Eagle Scout candidate. As part of his Scouting accomplishment, he’s taken initiative to see that old and used American flags are ceremoniously and appropriately retired.

Eagle Scout Legion

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Calem Lindsey, right, with Richard Moore, Commander of Post 222, at the Legion Hall showing the new flag collection box stationed there

“I had found that people in town did not have a place to drop off flags for proper retirement. It’s also dangerous to try and hold a proper ceremony yourself due to the process of slow burning the flag over a proper flame,” Calem said. “The Legion Hall veterans also often receive flag drop offs unofficially in various containers, and so I decided to provide a place to drop off flags that could be known throughout the community and make it easier on the veterans at the Legion Hall.”

Calem was a Cub Scout and then a Boy Scout for eight years. He made the collection boxes himself and they are now open for collection at the American Legion Hall and at the Laguna Presbyterian Church. Scout Troop 35 will maintain and see that the flags are given a respectful retirement.

Eagle Scout Pres

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The two boxes are now open for flag collection – pictured here is Calem with the box at Laguna Presbyterian


Environmentalists fault Caltrans presentation on proposed Laguna Canyon Road project

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Local environmentalist groups, riled about the format of the Caltrans presentation on proposed changes to Laguna Canyon Road, are organizing a public forum to voice their concerns that they claim were stifled during Wednesday’s presentation.

The presentation included charts on the project and its impact on the environment, handouts describing the project and how it was presented, videos, and a cadre of Caltrans staff stationed to answer questions one-on-one. But there was more buzz about the hearing process than the project itself. The “open house” did not offer an opportunity for public discourse that would have enabled the crowd and Caltrans officials to participate in the hearing of all of the participants.

“There is virtually no benefit in this format,” said Barbara MacGillivray, founder with her husband, filmmaker Greg MacGillivray, of the One World, One Ocean Foundation. “We couldn’t hear their views and benefits of the project and we couldn’t express our views. It was just a cacophony of voices.”

Local forum planned to address environmental concerns

MacGillivray said she was collaborating with Laguna Canyon Foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones and others on a forum in a local facility, the date to be announced. 

The public comment period on the environmental document that was the raison d’etre of the Caltrans presentation ends July 10.

“It seems this format was a way to avoid dealing with a unified public voice,” said Betsy Jenkins.

Lindsey Hart, Caltrans’ chief of public affairs for Orange County, said that was the opposite intention of the open house.

“We want to make sure we respond to questions and comments on the final environmental document,” Hart said.” Comments can be made to the court reporter here, on comment cards, by mail or email till July 10.”

Comments for inclusion in the environmental report can be sent to court reporter: Norm Grossman gets the ball rolling

Many of the estimated 110 people at the open house were unaware of the court reporter. However, former Planning Commissioner Norm Grossman took advantage of the service. 

“I made my comment short,” said Grossman. “The project violates zoning and the general plan and I provided documentation.”

environmentalists smita deshpande norm grossman

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Photo by Cheryl Kinsman

Smita Deshpande and Norm Grossman

The purpose of the estimated $39.3 million project, according to one chart displayed at the open house, is to bring Laguna Canyon Road up to design standards, improve safety on the stretch of road that has a high incidence of accidents and reduce flooding.

“We should not make the same mistake the city made in in 2004 by turning down $8 million for a flood control channel on Broadway,” said Cheryl Kinsman, who was on the City Council at that time. “I am willing to listen to anyone who wants to give us $39 million.”

Founder of STOP supports CalTrans plan

Jennifer Zeiter, founder of Stop Taxing Our Property, said she supports the Caltrans project 110 percent.

“It won’t cost the taxpayers a dime,” Zeiter said.

The proposal includes the extension of the outbound merging lane 1,200 feet on the 133 from El Toro Road; extends the inbound merging lane by 900 feet; includes the installation of a concrete block channel in the riparian area on the inbound side before reaching El Toro Road; creates shoulders; undergrounds utility poles in Laguna Coast Wilderness Park land on the north side of the highway between El Toro Road and the toll road; and relocates poles on the south side. 

A steep slope on the right side of the inbound lane will be contoured, rather than contained by a wall, as requested by environmentalists. 

Adverse impacts on the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park identified by Laguna Beach environmental groups include the extension of the inbound merge lane that would require vehicles to cross two lanes of traffic to get in or out of the park’s Willow parking lot.

LCF objects to channeling of riparian area and proposed location of undergrounding, citing impacts on habitat

The Laguna Canyon Foundation objects to the proposed channeling of the riparian area on the inbound side of Laguna Canyon Road before reaching El Toro Road, citing serious impacts on habitat.

Foundation director Jones said the Foundation also opposes the project’s plan to underground utilities past the proposed shoulder and into parkland, describing it as a “take.” 

environmentalists harry huggins lindsey hart

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Photo by Cheryl Kinsman

Harry Huggins and Lindsey Hart

“Caltrans should underground the utility poles within the roadbed,” said Harry Huggins, a member of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy and former asset manager in the Orange County Parks and Beaches department.

“The Park Abandonment Act of 1959 requires the Board of Supervisors to approve giving away parkland. Two hundred signatures can stop it and put it on the ballot in November or on the next statewide ballot.”

Laguna Beach Public Works Director Shohreh Dupuis said the City has similar concerns as the environmental groups

The Foundation and Laguna Greenbelt were identified by Caltrans as Interested Parties. The Laguna Canyon Conservancy and the Canyon Alliance of Neighborhood Defense Organization were not listed. The City came under the heading of partners. 

Caltrans’ proposed project can be reviewed at the Laguna Beach Public Library or on line at www.dot.ca.gove/d12/DEA/133/ONO60.


Scott Froschauer’s “Word on the Street” installation dedicated in Heisler Park this Sunday, July 1

A new public installation will be dedicated this Sunday, July 1 at 5 p.m. in Heisler Park at Jasmine and Cliff Dr. “Word on the Street” by Scott Froschauer, a Los Angeles-based artist, has repurposed the visual language of street signs and their authoritative voice into street art that toys with the viewer’s understanding and perception of public space and the role of art in it. 

Froschauer says, “I like to imagine that people might walk past a sign and assume that it is just a typical mundane warning until that moment they recognize it as out of the ordinary. Hopefully that moment might lead viewers to wonder if other pieces might be “hidden” anywhere in their daily lives. In this way the work aims to change how the viewer interacts with the world at large.”

Scott Froschauer sample

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Example of Scott Froschauer’s work - “Word on the Street”

Froschauer is an experimental artist and art fabricator in Los Angeles. His fine artwork covers a broad range of subjects and materials from ephemeral street art and experiential narrative events to gunpowder illustration and alternative technique photography to practical sculpture and many large scale pieces for the Burning Man Festival, including the fabrication of The Church Trap, a large scale sculpture which was featured in numerous publications. He also fabricated RuckusRoots’ 2015 Wild Art sculpture, for the LA Zoo. 

Aiming to give viewers a positive yet momentary emotional lift, messaging in “The Words on The Street” are simple yet thought provoking, with self-love and compassion at the core of their statements. Froschauer hopes that people who see his signs start to see and spread positivity for everyone.

By using the materials and visual language of street signs, but replacing the traditional negative wording (Stop, Do Not Enter, Wrong Way…) with positive affirmations, “The Word on the Street” seeks to provide something that is missing from our daily visual diet.

For more information on Scott Froschauer, go to www.scottfroschauer.com.


Join the Laguna Beach Library for a wacky Ben Band & Ice Cream Social time 

Come and treat yourself to some ice cream at the Laguna Beach Library on Monday, July 2 at 5:30 p.m. While you enjoy your tasty treat, listen to the hilarious music of the Ben Band, a family-friendly musical act. 

join the ben

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Ben offers a wacky, dynamic, family-friendly show

Ben sings and plays guitar and keyboard resulting in a wacky, dynamic performance featuring original songs about some extremely important subjects, including characters such as: 

Ben’s alarm clock, who wakes up everyone in Ben’s apartment building whenever Ben goes out of town; 

Ben’s fridge, Fred, who is very shy and only ever says the word “Ummm...” (now that’s funny!) 

Ben’s guitar, who interrupts during every performance to complain that audiences only pay attention to Ben, not to the guitar; and many other characters.

The Ben Band brings animals, objects, food, transportation, and just about anything else you can imagine to life. You may not know it, but the items around you have very strong opinions about the world, and if you want to hear what they think, you’ll need to attend the show.

This event is free and open to the public. If you have any questions, contact the library at (949) 497-1733. The Laguna Beach Library is located at 363 Glenneyre Street.

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