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Naturopathic Doctor Vidya Reddy launches happiness website today

Dr. Vidya Reddy, a Happiness expert, has launched her Naturally Happy website today, Sept 21. The website is dedicated to making the world a happier place one person at a time. The site is also dedicated to helping people reach their highest potential by focusing on tools to make people happy. 

“I’m so excited to share the launch of my website, [today] Sept 21st. This site encompasses everything I’ve been fortunate to learn and teach in 15+ years in the health care field and my training with the greatest enlightened masters of the East,” Dr. Reddy said. 

Naturopathic Doctor Vidya red

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Dr. Reddy is committed to making the world a happier place through her new website

Dr. Reddy’s ‘five pillars to happiness’ is based on healing through concentration on food, breath, emotional freedom, meditation, and service. This model helps people manage their day-to-day lives by increasing energy and awareness. Readers will also find access to Dr. Reddy’s guided meditations, spiritual cleansing processes and healing techniques. 

Dr. Reddy says: “Naturally Happy will help people understand the value of living a life that is joyous, dynamic, interesting, and fulfilling, while providing tools to help people become happier, naturally.” 

Jenna Hillier, Transformational lifestyle coach said, “Dr. Reddy has been such a blessing to my life. She has a unique magic to her: a deep wisdom for conscious truth and a heart for service coupled with incredible knowledge of the word. She is of the most generous, thoughtful and spirited people I know, her work is transformative. Truly, one can’t help but find clarity and peace in her presence.” 

Through use of this website, users will be able to naturally increase their happiness and develop concrete skills to battle their demons, develop better habits, and help make the world a better place. 

“Profits from the website with enable me to continue the charity work I’ve done in India since the age of 16. We’re educated over 700 girls and now it’s my dream to help build orphanages and I hope to do that with the profits from the website,” Dr. Reddy explains. 

In the heart of every child is a hunger for home. Not just for food and a place to sleep, but for safety and community. Through the profits from, Dr. Reddy’s goal is to expand her already established charity work to achieve the biggest dream of all: to build orphanages for the children without a future, the discarded, in India. This will not only provide a safe space for the children to live, but also the finest education to change their destiny. 

Dr. Reddy is a naturopathic doctor that is building on thousands of years of spiritual practice developed in the country of her ancestors, India. She is trained in naturopathic medicine and has 15+ years of experience coaching, healing, and inspiring people around the world.

Proposed Changes Threaten the Kenyan Safari Experience

By Tina Pirazzi

As August heat melts into September, and as family holidays morph into scrapbooks, autumn is clearly upon us, which translates into the ideal time for more serious travel. With theme parks checked off the to-visit list, immersion into foreign cultures, exploration of ancient worlds, or the experience of witnessing Mother Nature’s magic beckons more seasoned voyagers at this time of year. And topping the list of once-in-a-lifetime travel adventures, it’s hard to beat the African safari, which for many means a trip to Kenya, although pending regulation changes that are certain to affect Kenya’s wildlife populations prompt a second look.

Characterized as quintessential Africa, for decades Kenya has enjoyed and benefited from its standing as the iconic safari destination, including herds of thriving wildlife populations stretching across its vast ecosystems, the water ways and lakes of its Great Rift Valley showcasing incalculable numbers of exotic bird life, set against stunning vistas that include both savannahs and mountain peaks, topped off by a sky so grandiose and blue that it goes from here to there and back again. Truly Kenya has offered it all. While historically this has proven accurate, recent proposals to legalize game hunting and to reinstate consumptive utilization of wildlife threatens to undermine Kenya’s reputation, as well as its recent attempts at more effective wildlife management.

Proposed changes elephant family

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Elephant family

Across the entire African continent, and due to rampant poaching, many of the most iconic species are threatened with extinction. Catching even a glimpse of the classic “big five” – those animals determined most desirable to see while on safari – is increasingly difficult to accomplish, as elephant, rhino, lion, and leopard populations are all critically endangered. Only the Cape buffalo is “not vulnerable”.

While Kenya is making efforts to get serious about wildlife crime, illustrated by a recent proposal to recommend a death penalty plan for poachers, a second proposal issued by Cabinet Secretary (CS) Najib Balala threatens to restore big game hunting in Kenya. Likewise, a newly formed task force is addressing the consumptive utilization of wildlife through increased cropping and culling. Cropping is the harvesting of wildlife for a variety of products that can be sold for commercial gain, while culling refers to the selective removal of large numbers of wildlife based on scientific principles for management purposes. In 1990, the Kenya Wildlife Service initiated a pilot cropping program, which led to such severe population declines that the government was forced to place a ban on hunting to help wildlife recover. 

Suspecting economics to be the driver behind CS Balala’s proposal and task force, both sides of the equation should be considered. 

Proposed changes snare traps

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Rangers in Kenya removing snare wire traps

Certainly, there is no denying that hunters pay a hefty price tag for the alleged thrill of bringing home a “trophy”, which typically consists of the head of the deceased.  The bigger the animal, the bigger the fee: an average elephant hunt can bring in upwards of $20,000. (Click here for sensitive photo) In defense of hunting, enthusiasts claim that these costs are reallocated to support surrounding communities, providing a one-time financial boost to local economies per each animal killed. Extending this practice to the finish line, one is prompted to wonder about the continuation of these economic benefits once the animals are gone. 

Viewing wildlife through the lens of tourism, and using the same example, one single elephant can contribute nearly $23,000 per year to a local economy, which has the very real potential to grow to $1.15 million over a conservatively estimated 50-year lifetime. Further increased by multiple elephants, clearly the greatest long-term financial gain is on the side of promoting tourism, which relies on abundant wildlife populations, elephants and others. 

Kenya faces a landmark decision: whether to reinstate consumptive utilization of wildlife to include cropping, culling and hunting, or to support flourishing wildlife populations, and benefit from the economic advantages which are a direct result of a thriving safari industry. With the money-making advantages for this type of policy change debunked, it does beg for an explanation behind the new proposal, which has yet to be clearly identified. 

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Wildlife populations are threatened questions in Kenya

Meantime, travelers are a savvy group and, hoping to see ample varieties of wildlife, know well before booking that safari where the odds will be best for seeing the “big five”. Indeed, tourists will throng to Kenya as the iconic safari destination it has historically been only if its healthy wildlife populations are maintained and allowed to thrive. 

Before booking your safari, get a first-hand update on the latest status of the proposed policy change from Ranger Raabia Hawa from “Walk With Rangers” in Kenya, who will be speaking in Laguna Beach on Saturday, Sept 29 at 4:30 p.m. 

In addition to providing updates to Kenya policy, Raabia will be introducing a new line of fair trade products made from recovered snare wire and offered locally through The Peace Exchange. Snare wire is an indiscriminate and under-reported method of wildlife poaching, and when removed by rangers before animals are captured, the wire is being repurposed into stylish jewelry for a cause. 

Details can be found at

(Sources: The Star, 20 Sept 2018

Daily Nation, 22 August 2018)

Dennis’ Tidbits


September 18, 2018

Just in the nick of time, waves pumping for Brooks St. Surfing Classic 

Dennis 5The sun was out, the winds were generally favorable, water temps were in the high ‘60s, and the waves were pumping as the 55th Annual Brooks Street Classic finally became a reality last weekend. The swell direction wasn’t all that great, but the size was there, especially on Saturday, and the action was there too. 

The window for waves on a weekend was closing, and we were wondering if we’d ever pull it off, but King Neptune finally came through after a long generally flat summer was coming to a close. 

Contest results can be found on Front Page I in today’s Stu News Laguna.

A few spots in North Carolina collected as much rain in four days as we get in two and a half years! As of Sunday evening at 9:45 P.D.T., Florence is a tropical depression about to become a remnant low, as she speeds up to 12 mph to the NNW with only 30 mph winds with a central pressure up to 1,007 millibars. Her accompanying Biblical rains are still very much a factor as she takes aim at the Atlantic Seaboard and New England.

Dennis Tidbits Brooks St

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LB Lifeguard Porter Hogan competes at Brooks St. Surfing Classic

We’re approaching the anniversary of the tropical system that hit our area way back on September 25, 1939. Actually, the week of September 19 - 25, 1939 was probably one of the wildest weeks ever seen around these parts. More on that and a rundown on a tropical system that found its way all the way from West Africa to Southern California in Friday’s edition of Stu News.

Pretty soon it will be the beginning of the 2018-19 rainy season. I have no idea what to predict for the upcoming season, so I won’t even go there, especially when the last El Nino broke all the rules. 

See y’all on Friday, Aloha!

In the Green Room

In the inside a wave

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Photo by Scott Trimble

The wondrous view from inside a wave

Kempf’s track record combines business and public service


This is the fifth in a series of one-on-one interviews with City Council candidates, speaking for and about themselves.

Sue Kempf brings a wealth of business experience and community service to her campaign for a seat on the City Council.

Kempf, who moved to Laguna in 1999, became active in local affairs on top of two careers, separated by a period of consulting, that included a stint as Executive Director for Verizon’s four primary data center locations in the western United States. Skills honed during her business career at the highest levels in software development and systems infrastructures have served her well in her three terms on the city’s Planning Commission.

“There is a nexus of skill sets that I bring that will be beneficial to the council,” said Kempf, who holds a master’s degree in business administration from Redlands University.

“My skills are transferable between the private and public sectors. The ability to listen to others, to craft good solutions and temperament are attributes of particular importance.

“I am thoughtful – not impulsive – and I work well with diverse people. I understand

budgets and finance and I am able to make decisions in the best interests of Laguna Beach.”

Kempf’s volunteer activities also include serving on the View Preservation Task Force, where emotions ran hot and high. She co-chaired the Disaster/Emergency Preparedness Committee after graduating from the first Community Emergency Response Team training class. CERT graduates are trained to conduct tasks that free up first responders for more grave efforts.

“Safety is important,” said Kempf, who supports the proposed one-cent sales tax increase to fund undergrounding utility poles along Laguna Canyon Road. 

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Sue Kempf

Kempf says not getting rattled is valuable quality for a council member.

She is a listener, soft-spoken and calm even when confronted by rude behavior on issues such as the proposed Historic Preservation Ordinance, among the most rancorous hearings ever to come before the Planning Commission. Insults, boos and hoots by the audience ricocheted as factions presented their cases on whether the city should, by law, deem a structure a “historical resource” without the owner’s consent.

“I haven’t talked to one person in favor of mandatory inclusion on the inventory,” said Kempf.

The revised ordinance is due to be heard by the City Council on Sept 29 in a special, single-item agenda to give direction to the Historic Preservation Task Force. 

 However Kempf’s top priority is the revitalization of the downtown, which also has consumed hours of debate before and by the Planning Commission, some of it highly critical of recommendations by consultants.

“I like the idea of a downtown neighborhood as a way to bring economic vitality, community, culture and a pedestrian lifestyle,” said Kempf. “This includes housing for seniors, students and anyone who would like to live downtown.

“We can be strategic about housing in our land use policies to revitalize the downtown, while keeping the charm we all love.”

Kempf is concerned about what she terms the “retail apocalypse.” 

“The Orange County Business Council just released a study on the future of e-commerce and retail,” said Kempf. “No new retail centers are planned in Orange County. Instead, properties are being either repurposed as mixed use with retail on the ground floor and housing on upper floors or on building new centers designed as mixed use.

“In Laguna, we can move in this direction in our land use policies. We are in a period of economic expansion – yet we have too many [storefront] vacancies. Many of

our retailers report that business was down this summer. We need to get going on this.”

Also of concern: Complaints about Laguna’s homeless.

“People tell me they don’t feel comfortable going to Main Beach,” said Kempf.  “The issue of homelessness and how to address it is getting a lot of traction, particularly at the state and county levels. 

“I believe regional solutions are now possible. For example: Senate Bill 448, if signed by Governor Brown, will create a funding mechanism to plan and build permanent supportive housing with wrap-around services in Orange County.” 

Responding to the question of how she would handle the homeless issue posed at the candidate forum hosted by the Laguna Board of Realtors and the Chamber of Commerce, Kempf said she would favor creating a housing trust to build permanent housing on county land. 

“There are 100-acre sites in the county that could be repurposed for housing,” she said.

Asked at the forum what she would do about parking in Laguna, Kempf recommended more peripheral parking and increasing parking rates downtown until people won’t pay the price.

She also opined that the Design Review Board is perceived to be an arbitrary process and is felt by many to be far too expensive even before calendared for a hearing. The city should look at what people are most upset about and fix it, Kempf said.

With three seats open and only one incumbent running now that Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede has announced he is suspending his candidacy due to a family emergency, the complexion of the council could be drastically changed. 

“This is a consequential election and voters need to think carefully when they cast their vote,” said Kempf.

Laguna Beach Cub Scouts Pack 35’s kick-off meeting will feature a reptile show on Sept 25

Interested in learning more about Cub Scouts? Then check out Laguna Beach Pack 35’s kick-off event, next Tuesday, Sept 25 at 6:30 p.m. at Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Ave, inside Tankersley Hall. Children and their parents will have a chance to learn about all the fun things Laguna Beach Cub Scouts do including camping, swimming, making s’mores and so much more.

Laguna Beach Cub Scouts fire

Laguna Beach Cub Scouts enjoy a delightful visit to the Laguna Beach Fire Station

Cub Scout Pack 35 is chartered by the Laguna Presbyterian Church and is part of the Orange County Council, Boy Scouts of America. A highly active and progressive group, Pack 35 draws members from both Laguna Beach and surrounding cities. Its leaders have a combined experience of nearly 50 years as Scouting volunteers and have been trained and recognized for volunteer service at Scouting’s highest levels.

What do Cub Scouts in Pack 35 do? Just about everything from A to Z – that is archery to zip line! And in between the group does BB gun shooting, biking, boating and sailing, climbing, exploring nature, fishing, map and compass, photography, tomahawk throwing, sports, and video games, just to name a few. 

Tuesday’s meeting will also feature an incredible reptile show performed by the Lizard Wizard and friends. The Lizard Wizard offers children of all ages and abilities a hands-on journey into the fascinating world of reptiles, amphibians and arthropods. It’s a great event you won’t want to miss, so be sure to stop by.

Zur Schmiede suspends candidacy, family comes first


Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede announced his candidacy for a second term on the City Council at a well-attended kick-off on a sunny June 24. 

But dark clouds were hovering. 

Zur Schmiede’s younger brother, Tom, had been severely injured in a near fatal traffic accident just 10 days earlier in Louisville KY. He was in intensive care for a month and is still hospitalized. 

Zur Schmiede announced on Monday he is terminating his election campaign to allow him to deal with the complications related to the younger Zur Schmiede’s struggle with medical, legal and financial issues resulting from the accident.

“This is the hardest thing I have ever done,” said Zur Schmiede. “He is getting better. His mind and his personality are there – he is a wickedly funny guy – but it’s baby steps.”

After crisscrossing the country several times since announcing his candidacy, it became evident to the elder brother that it would be impossible for him to provide the necessary support for his sibling while trying to run a successful re-election campaign and still serving on the council.

Zur Schmiede’s brother’s needs took precedence 

“I slept in the same room with him for 17 years,” said Zur Schmiede. “I said to myself, ‘I know what I have to do’ and I am completely at peace with my decision. 

All I ask is for people to understand why I have to do this. Everyone has been so supportive.”

Zur Schmiede closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Zur Schmiede suspends candidacy

Zur Schmiede said he would be contacting supporters within the next few days. He will not be advising them to switch support to another candidate.

“I do not want to take advantage of an emotional situation,” Zur Schmiede said. 

He plans to finish his term as Mayor Pro Tem and will continue to support the one-cent tax increase to fund undergrounding utilities along Laguna Canyon Rd.

Zur Schmiede was also active in the passage of Measure LL, on which nearly 80 percent of Laguna Beach voters approved an increase in bed taxes from 10 percent to 12 percent. The increase funds fire and police department protection and utility undergrounding. 

Among his accomplishments in his service to Laguna, Zur Schmiede is especially proud of the Leadership Laguna program created by him and Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson.

Before being elected to the council, Zur Schmiede served on the Planning Commission and on the Design Review Board, to which he brought a treasure trove of professional experience in planning.

That experience included employment as the Long Beach Deputy Director of Development, from which he retired in 2013. He subsequently held three interim appointments: Deputy Director of Community Development for San Clemente in 2015, followed by Deputy Director of Long Beach, and another position in Santa Ana which he just finished.

Colleagues and supporters have rallied around Zur Schmiede since he went public with his decision to withdraw from the council election, in order to cope with the complications that have arisen in the aftermath of his brother’s accident. 

Doing both was doing neither justice, said Zur Schmiede; his brother Tom comes first.

Rowan Reports: Stu News’ youngest columnist talks with Sylvia Fishman, a Holocaust survivor


What if your life was turning? If you felt like you had to hide yourself for the way you think and feel? Like in order to survive you had to put a barrier over your heart, and lose control of what is right. That is what I wonder about the word “surviving.” What if “surviving” means losing your soul in the process? By learning more and more about a survivor, I think maybe it’s the opposite; that maybe “surviving” is holding on to your soul and letting your body free. My survivor is Sylvia Fishman and she lived through the Holocaust. 

Sylvia’s eyes had sorrow in them, but were also full of hope. She looked like she was holding onto something bigger than her, something bigger than all of us. Sylvia is my great-cousin. We were at a wedding for my cousin when I met her. She told me how happy she was to see me, and I stood next to her for a while. 

Then my mom came up to us and pointed to a series of numbers tattooed on her arm. “Those are from the Holocaust,” she said. As soon as Mama said those words, tears welled up in Sylvia’s eyes. She looked at me and asked me to never forget her story. That moment I knew that she was going to be my next topic. 

Sylvia lived through something that most people couldn’t. She was stripped of her religion, family, and friends. But they never took away her passion to live. Sylvia lived a happy, carefree life before the Holocaust, but as soon as it started, they were forced to leave their home. They tried everything but couldn’t find a way to escape the Nazis. They were desperate for food, so Sylvia went to a farm when it was still legal to send food to the ghetto. 

Rowan Reports Sylvia

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Rowan’s great-cousin Sylvia Fishman

Soon after they banned it. Sylvia got a letter from her father that said to not come back to the ghetto and to find safety. So she cared for the cows at a farm. She pretended that the was just a Polish girl and had to watch the Jewish people getting sent to camps every day. She knew she had to go back and see her family. But when she got there, her family was gone. She got caught in the ghetto and sent to a camp. Life was hard in this camp. Every day was a struggle but she made it through. She survived. 

After the wedding, I started studying the Holocaust more closely. I wondered if anything that I can read online was true. I knew telling Sylvia’s story was going to be difficult, but this was more than expected. I have always written from my heart, and since Sylvia’s son had already written down what had happened, I thought it best to write about what I feel and give you, the readers, something that will make you see Sylvia’s life through different eyes. And maybe it will give me some courage to write my life through the eyes of my heart. 

What if you could change history? If you could go back in time and change one thing in anybody’s mind. What would I do? To me, that’s a hard question.

After learning so much about different people’s life stories over the years, I think, this was such a horrible and inhumane thing to happen, but we can’t deny that it did, so we must remember it, even if it’s very painful.

What if that’s the only way to make sure it never happens again?

Statement from Mayor pro tem Rob Zur Schmiede

It is with disappointment and great reluctance that I must announce that I am no longer able to seek re-election to the City Council seat that I have proudly held these past four years and am immediately suspending my re-election campaign.

My younger brother Tom was involved in a near fatal vehicle collision in Louisville, KY on June 16th. He was rear-ended at high speed, is still hospitalized, and struggling with the medical, legal and financial after-effects of that life-changing incident.

As his legal representative and the only immediate family member with the skills needed to assist him with many of his needs, I have had to wrestle with the demands of ensuring that Tom has the care and resources he’ll need for the remainder of his life and have come to recognize that it is impossible for me to commit to another four years of service on the City Council at this time.

Just a short while ago, when I submitted my re-election signature petition, I thought I would be able to manage assisting my brother, while also running a successful re-election campaign and continuing to serve our community on the City Council.  Over the last few weeks, however, my brother’s situation has become more complicated than I ever could have anticipated, to the extent that I can no longer sustain all of these commitments with the level of engagement I believe they deserve. My attention now must be focused on doing everything I can to support Tom and ensure that his recovery is the best possible – both medically and financially. As I hope everyone will understand, I have to be able to sustain the work of caregiver and advocate for as long as my brother needs me.

I am profoundly grateful for the efforts of my campaign team, for the encouragement and collaboration I have enjoyed from my colleagues on the Council, and from the enthusiastic support of residents throughout Laguna. It has been my honor to serve Laguna Beach as Mayor pro tem, as a Council Member, as a Planning Commissioner, and as a Design Review Board member. I remain as passionate as ever about the unique City we all love and will serve out the balance of my term on the Council to the best of my ability.

Surf was up at Brooks Street Classic

Surf was up 1

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

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Surf was up 2

Photo by Scott Brashier

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Surf was up 3

Photo by Scott Brashier

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Surf was up 4

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

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See results and more photos from the 55th Annual Brooks St Surfing Classic on our Front Page I

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