Women’s Leadership Forum: lectures and workshops to help advance career women April 28 at Saddleback

A Women’s Leadership Forum will take place on Friday, April 28, on the campus of Saddleback College. The event is geared to all females to inspire and educate them with the skills and confidence needed to assume leadership roles in every field.  

The Women’s Leadership Forum is hosted jointly by two local branches of The American Association of University Women: San Clemente-Capistrano Beach Branch, and Mission Viejo-Saddleback Valley Branch, in partnership with the PIMCO Foundation, San Diego Gas and Electric, Saddleback College and the University of Phoenix.

The Forum will include a keynote address from Beth MacLean, Executive Vice President of PIMCO, the global investment management firm, a panel discussion with successful women in the fields of business, science and the community, including two from Laguna Beach – Laura Farinella, Laguna Beach Chief of Police, and Lee Winocur Field, Laguna Beach AAUW, Community Clinic and Woman’s Club past president.  Workshoptopicswill include training on overcoming barriers and bias, creating supportive networks, navigating gatekeepers, and negotiating a higher salary.

The Women’s Leadership Forum is open to local college students and to the general public. There is no cost for registration, and the first 100 people to register will receive a free lunch.  Check-in at Saddleback College starts at 8:30 a.m. on April 28, in Room SSC 212. Saddleback College is located at 28000 Marguerite Parkway, Mission Viejo, CA 92692.  To register go to www.AAUW-womens-leadership-for um.eventbrite.com.

World premiere of Nathan Gunn, Flying Solo

by Hershey Felder finishes Playhouse Season

Laguna Playhouse announces the final production of its 2017-2018 season of shows. Nathan Gunn, Flying Solo, written and directed by Hershey Felder, will be presented April 4 – April 22, 2018 (with a press opening on Sun, April 9).  Executive Director Ellen Richard comments, “Flying Solo is an incredible piece filled with some of the most gorgeous songs ever written. It is the perfect play to fill out our season.”   

Nathan Gunn, America’s leading baritone (Carousel, Camelot, Showboat with the New York Philharmonic, and many more international operas), is known throughout the world as the first Hunkitone. He is a Grammy winner, Metropolitan Opera star, musical theatre star and was named by People Magazine as a “Sexiest Man Alive,” and “Naked Opera” started with him. But there’s a whole lot more to this story about a boy who wants nothing more than to please his Scottish Dad as he becomes an elder of his heritage, the Scottish Clan Gunn, and who ends up realizing what life is about. 

Written and directed in his signature style by Hershey Felder (Our Great Tchaikovsky, Gershwin, Bernstein, Berlin, Beethoven) Nathan Gunn, Flying Solo features the true story of one of America’s greatest baritone voices singing selections from classic American musicals, contemporary songs and a little bit of opera fun.   

“There is not a more glorious American baritone than Nathan Gunn. Bringing this voice to our stage while collaborating with the incomparable Hershey Felder will be just heaven for our subscribers and audiences!” adds Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham. 

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Photo by Joshua Spencer

Nathan Gunn, Flying Solo wraps up 2017-2018 season at the Laguna Playhouse

Nathan Gunn has made a reputation as one of the most exciting and in-demand baritones of the day.   He has appeared in internationally renowned opera houses such as the Metropolitan Opera, San Francisco Opera, Lyric Opera of Chicago, Royal Opera House, Paris Opera, Bayerische Staatsoper, Glyndebourne Opera Festival, Theater an der Wien, Teatro Real in Madrid, and the Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie.  

 A noted supporter of new works, Mr. Gunn most recently created the role of Inman in Jennifer Higdon›s Cold Mountain at the Santa Fe Opera.  He also created the roles of Sid Taylor in Jake Heggie’sGreat Scott, James Dalton in Iain Bell’s The Harlot’s Progress at the Theater an der Wien, Yeshua in Mark Adamo’sThe Gospel of Mary Magdalene at the San Francisco Opera; Paul in Daron Hagen’s Amelia at the Seattle Opera, Alec Harvey in André Previn’s Brief Encounter at the Houston Grand Opera, Father Delura in Peter Eötvös’ Love and Other Demons at the Glyndebourne Opera Festival, and Clyde Griffiths in Tobias Picker’s An American Tragedy at the Metropolitan Opera. 

Because of this dedication to new works, Mr. Gunn held the title of Director of the American Repertoire Council at the Opera Company of Philadelphia, a steering council that focused on advancing the company’s American Repertoire Program which was committed to produce a new American work in 10 consecutive seasons.  Mr. Gunn is working on several creative projects that will premiere over the next three seasons, in which he is a collaborating artist with the creative teams.  

Nathan Gunn, Flying Solo will perform April 4 – April 22, 2018 (with a press opening on April 9) as the sixth show in the 2017-2018 season. Subscriptions to the Laguna Playhouse 2017-2018 – 97thseason are available by calling the box office at 949-497-2787 (ARTS) or online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

7-Play Season Tickets range from $254 - $394. Opening Night Subscriptions (including receptions) are available for $954. Single tickets will range from $45 - $75 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229.

The box office is open Mon – Sat: 12 to 5 p.m. (open until show time on performance days); Sun: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information on all shows and programming visit website above.Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Local Rich German organizes Kelp Clean Up Day during Annual KelpFest and on Earth Day, April 22

To coincide with Laguna’s Annual KelpFest and Earth Day on Sat, April 22, local paddle boarder and dolphin photographer Rich German is heading up a kelp cleanup day. Participants will take action by cleaning up the kelp at 1 p.m. that afternoon. Hop on a board or kayak, snorkel, swim or scuba and collect as much plastic and garbage as possible. Rich says all mermaids and mermen are welcome.

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Photos by Rich German

Gray whale calf swims near kelp bed at Shaw’s Cove

To help protect the ocean and sea creatures, Rich has also started a petition to ban balloons. He has 1,357 signatures and the next step is to take it to city council.

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Dolphin at Main Beach

TT 8 More than 800 species rely on kelp forests, and we are one of them. For more than 20 years, Laguna Beach’s kelp forests had declined by as much as 80 percent. But over the past nine years, thousands of people have worked to restore these critical habitats.

Along with lots of fun activities, The KelpFest, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Main Beach will present information about how kelp is used in our everyday life and celebrate its return to Southern California.

Property owner wants home off the Historical Register

The owners of a K-rated home will request tonight that the City Council remove their home from the city’s Historical Register and the city’s Heritage Committee agrees it should be. 

Built in 1922, the house was rated K, a very good example of historical architecture, when it was placed on the register in 2002. The Heritage Committee has determined that alterations to the home, though approved, have reduced its historical value and recommended that the council approve the removal. 

The committee and Design Review Board recommended approval of the alterations and approved by the City Council on appeal, due to the owner being a member of the board. 

Alterations included enlarging a dining by 165 square feet in 2003 and a 196-square foot addition in 2004, both set-back encroachments. 

Staff is of the opinion that if the removal from the register is approved by the council, the property owners would have to apply for a variance for the setbacks or remove them. 

However, staff reported that the owners indicated they plan to file an application to demolish the home. Demolition would remedy the historical preservation issues, according to the report.     

Incentives provided property owners for putting their property on the register also include reduced or waived building permit fees. Staff has suggested that the fees be paid back, although the present owners were not the applicants for historical status.

Staff and the Heritage Committee further recommended that the plaque presented to homeowners whose property is on the register should be returned to the city.

The hearing is one of three scheduled for tonight’s council meeting. The council is also scheduled to proclaim April 22 as Earth Day in Laguna Beach.

By Barbara Diamond 

Rococo will have a special sales event to support mental health programs at Mission Hospital, April 28

A chic lifestyle boutique, Rococo, will host a special sales event on April 28 to benefit Mission Hospital. Ten percent of each purchase made at the event will support Mental Health and Wellness programs at Mission Hospital Laguna Beach.

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A Chan Luu wrap bracelet

Located at 24040 Camino del Avion, in Dana Point, Rococo is one of the largest retailers in California for Chan Luu, offering a great selection of Chan Luu jewelry and scarves. The boutique also carries high quality and timeless L.A. based brands including Bella Luxx, Feel the Piece, Natalie B. Raga, Mother, Blue Life, Goddis, Nightcap, Riller & Fount, 9 Seed, Cotton Citizen, Stillwater, Parker, Saint Grace, Townsen, Tysa, Flynn Skye, Jen’s Pirate Booty, Stance, Xirena, Quinn and Minnie Rose. 

The benefit sales event will be from 5 to 8 p.m. on Friday, April 28. Shoppers will enjoy cocktails, appetizers and a raffle for a Chan Luu item.

For further information, call Rococo at (949) 488-0366.

Sea glass and driftwood: Are they trash or treasures?


People often question whether it is legal to remove sea glass and driftwood from the city’s beaches. After the recent Friday night “great storm” that washed up lots of driftwood, I decided to go right to the main beach lifeguard office to get the answer.

According to Jeremy Frimond, our marine protection officer, “Sea glass is considered pretty trash and can be removed from our beaches.” As for driftwood, in accordance with the guidelines of the Department of Field and Wildlife, it is non-native to the ocean and removing it is not enforced within our city’s limits.

However, even though it is fine to take sea glass and driftwood, it is not legal to remove shells from the beach. They are treasures that must remain where they are found. Jeremy further cautions beach goers hunting for sea glass to be safe while doing so, check water conditions and don’t stand with your back to waves when searching. 

One might be surprised to know that a smooth piece of sea glass you pick up on our beaches may have originated from a bottle of smuggled liquor during Prohibition.  Smugglers were said to have guzzled it down while unloading their bounty and then smashed their bottles on the rocks of Laguna’s coastline.  

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Submitted photo

Sea glass (in its original form) and driftwood discovered at Divers Cove

Around the world, sea glass has both a practical and romantic history. The simple explanation is that it is discarded glass, slowly dissolved by salt water, which produces the satin-like patina. But in the olden days, it was known as “Mermaids’ Tears.”  

Many believed that every time a sailor died, the mermaids would cry, and the tears, as sea glass, would wash ashore.

Driftwood also has an interesting history. In Norse mythology, humans were said to have been created from two pieces of driftwood, an ash and an elm, a sort of driftwood Adam and Eve. 

Whether or not you consider sea glass and driftwood trash or treasure, each piece contains a bit of mystery – they are pieces of the world infused with history, brought to our beaches by the ocean currents that swirl between continents.


Shaena Stabler and Stu Saffer are the co-owners. Shaena is the Publisher and Stu is the Editor-in-Chief.

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