Glennwood Gala marks seventh anniversary of escrow closing and raises more than $200,000

Photos by Scott Brashier

Last Saturday night’s fourth annual Glennwood Gala at The Ranch at Laguna Beach took place on a very special anniversary: exactly seven years to the day that escrow closed on the property, which would ultimately become the beloved home of approximately 50 developmentally disabled adults. 

More than 280 people attended the event held under the stars.

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Good friends Grace and Claire had a wonderful time at the gala

 “Dreams, visions, great ideas…none of that happens without true commitment,” said Master of Ceremonies Richard Henrikson. “And after that moment of commitment, we worked on design, construction, staffing, licensing, finding residents – after all that, four years ago we opened the door to Glennwood, moving all of them in over two back-to-back weekends.

“Remember that, what thrilling chaos that was?”

The sold-out crowd nodded and applauded at their tables under the stars at the beautiful setting. They’d enjoyed champagne and amazing hors d’oeuvres including spinach pastries, “the best ever deviled eggs” and Caprese. They’d wandered alongside tables containing incredible Silent Auction items ranging from original art by the residents of Glennwood to spectacular vacations to a painting created live by Tom Swimm – to a wheelbarrow of wine, and more.

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What’s a Laguna event without a Greeter (or two?) – Dave Desantis and David Blaine take on the role as guests arrive

And now, during dinner, a delicious salad followed by roasted lemon chicken breast accompanied by spiced lentils, rainbow chard and chimmichurri sauce, they enjoyed hearing of the great strides that have been accomplished at Glennwood over the past few years. 

“Glennwood is at full occupancy with a waiting list, and we are fully staffed. Residents are out and about in the greater Laguna community, living their slogan ‘Lovin’ our life in Laguna,’” Henrikson told the audience “must be A-listers,” he said. 

He cautioned, however, that there are still financial needs to be addressed, including renovations to the dining room to make it more versatile as a multipurpose room; renovations to the activities room including the art space; and the need to a private conference room for training and private meetings. 

Later in the week, Janet Parsons of Glennwood noted that everyone at Glennwood was particularly grateful to Matt Clayman, brother of Resident Bradley Clayman, and Debbie Neev, Board Member and family friend of Resident Jesse Blasberg, for the inspiring words that they shared during our celebration.  

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L-R: Grace Fina (resident), Chris Reyes, Terri Kennedy and Clare Reyes

Henrikson also gave his thanks to sponsors Todd Hansen of the OC Foundation, Comerica Bank, Stu News Laguna, the Glennwood Board and “invaluable staff, Faith Manners, COO, who is our rock; Rachel Landers, associate director, and our indispensable senior staff, who keep Glennwood running smoothly.”

“Glennwood is all about family and community, and these two speakers definitely shared their perspectives on Glennwood and its impact to both family and the community,” Parsons said. 

“This year’s Fund-A-Need was greatly enhanced by an incredible gift from Michael & Linda Mussallem in the amount of $75,000!  This impactful gift will certainly give us every opportunity to make our activities areas places for art, for training, for entertainment and many other functions,” Parsons added. “That gift was then matched by another very generous gift of $75,000 by The Thompson Family Foundation.  

“We are so grateful to everyone who supports Glennwood House,”

For more information about Glennwood House, visit

Dennis’ Tidbits


July 1, 2016


Devil winds ravage our state: I remember the nightmare of ‘93

What a nightmare! It seems like every time we blink our eyes there’s a new catastrophic event, the latest being half our state is on fire. As of 9 p.m. on Wednesday Oct 11, 3500 structures have been ravaged by 22 separate wildfires with 22 deaths. 

Up north the offshore winds are known as Diablos, Spanish for Devil and down here those same dry offshores are called Santanas, better known as Vientos Diablos or Devil Winds, only the winds down here are much hotter, especially in October. Normally the dry offshores are limited to Southern California but when there’s another strong high pressure north of the Great Basin High, then those dry winds also blow from the east and northeast with extremely low humidities just like down here. Down here we’re dealing with the Canyon 2 in Anaheim Hills fire, which at this writing is about 45 percent contained.

I know what it’s like to lose everything but the clothes you’re wearing due to fire.

On October 27, 1993 I was renting a four-bedroom house with local artist Ryan Gourley and his family. Nobody was home when our place went up in flames in a matter of minutes around 4:30 that afternoon. The Santanas were howling at 45 mph, the air temp was 95 degrees with the relative humidity at 7 percent with dew points at four degrees. The fire jumped Laguna Canyon Road about 3:30 out by Big Bend and an hour later it was marching up the hill adjacent to Canyon Acres Drive. Our house was at the end of a cul de sac at the end of 1294 Coronado Street. Our place was about 450 feet directly above the Sawdust Festival Grounds. It was terrifying as I watched this 50 foot tall fire dragon bearing down on our neighborhood. At that time I was on top of a shingle roof at the top of Aster Street hosing the roof of this 90 year old lady that lived there with her two golden retrievers to help save her house as the fire was only a hundred yards away. I looked up just in time to see my house across Canyon Road go up in flames. 

The thing that hurt the most was the loss of family memorabilia over three generations of the McTighe Family including literally thousands of photos taken over the course of 75 years. Pictures my Mom and Pop took all over Laguna when they first arrived here in 1939. That stung the hardest. 

That was a tough period in Tidbits’ life. On September 10, 1993 I lost my Mom to cancer, then the fire six weeks later, then my first and only wife lost her battle with uterus cancer on Nov 10, just two weeks after the fire. Sure threw me for a loop as I had a nervous breakdown but eventually I realized, Hey, S_ _ _ happens, I’m still above ground! 


Brother and sister duo of local scouts commended for service project aiding Orran Youth Shelter

On Oct 1 at the Annual Gala for the Orran Youth Center, a pair of local scouts, Joseph and Ani Hovanesian from Laguna Beach, received thunderous applause from a crowd of 300 when they presented their project report for the Youth Center. The brother-sister duo teamed up to start a sewing program for a youth shelter as part of their Eagle Scout and Girl Scout Silver Award service projects this past summer.  

Orran, which means “haven” in Armenian, is a nonprofit dedicated to serving Armenian children who were found begging on the streets of Yerevan. The shelter, founded in 2000, now serves over 300 children in Armenia, providing healthy meals, school work assistance, health care, and vocational skill training to give the children a path to rise above poverty.

As an Eagle Scout candidate, Joseph, a member of LB Troop 35 and freshman at LBHS, first had the idea to do a service project in Armenia when his family planned a trip there this past summer. His parents, John and Tanya, are both Armenian. His dad, an eye surgeon, had become familiar with Orran on his volunteer surgical trips to Armenia, and he connected Joseph with the founder and director of the center.

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Photo by Tanya Hovanesian

Joe and Ani receive a thank you gift at the Orran Benefit on Oct 1

Before starting his project, Joseph obtained approval from his troop, the local Scout district, and the Orran center in Armenia, to embark on an effort to raise money to purchase two sewing machines, supplies, and collect fabric for Orran. With the help of Ms. Tejchman, Home Economics teacher at Thurston Middle School, he arranged several lessons, and then planned to bring the supplies to Armenia during his trip and teach the first two machine sewing classes to the local children, launching what would become a regular vocational education program. 

Joseph started his fundraising campaign first at his church, St. Mary Armenian Apostolic Church in Costa Mesa and later at his school and in the local Laguna community. He promoted the fundraiser and project through LB KX radio, where his family friend, Caroline Rustigian, hosts a radio program that highlights local nonprofits. 

In total, Joseph raised over $2,500 for his project, almost double his goal, and this allowed him to purchase four sewing machines instead of two. He also collected over 350 pounds of fabric, partly due to large gifts from Pacific Coast Drapery Manufacturer, a drapery manufacturer owned by his fellow Scout’s dad, Sam Eidt. and owner of Janet Designs custom design and alternation in LB. 

“It was amazing to see how supportive the community was when they heard a kid like me wanted to help other kids,” Joseph said.

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Photo by Tanya Hovanesian

Children at Orran show off projects

Ani, an 11-year-old seventh grader at Thurston Middle School and Girl Scout Silver Award candidate, took on her own version of the project. She collected fabric and supplies to teach the Orran kids hand sewing of puppets and other crafts to be offered for the younger participants. 

With their family, Joseph and Ani carried seven large duffels full of fabric and supplies to Armenia, and the sewing classes for the Orran kids came off “more or less according to my plan,” said Joseph.

Armineh Hovannisian, the director and founder of Orran, asked the two to present their project at the nonprofit’s Glendale Gala of Orran.  “It was so inspiring to everyone to see these kids make a difference by picking a needed project, making all the arrangements, and seeing it through to completion. We are really excited to offer this program to our participating kids on an ongoing basis.” 

Both Joseph and Ani have a few more requirements before they earn their Eagle and Silver Awards, respectively.  “But I’m really glad our project went so well, and I’m thinking about what we can do on our next trip to Armenia,” said Joseph.

More information about Orran can be found at  

Laguna Beach Boy Scout Troop 35 can be reached at

Dr. Lori Aleknavicius breaks silence about youth mental health struggles at PTA Coffee Talk on Oct 18

On Wed, Oct 18 from 8:30 - 10:15 a.m., the Laguna Beach PTA Coffee Talk, a parent education lecture series, will host clinical psychologist, Dr. Lori Aleknavicius of Inner Fokus. She will discuss breaking the silence regarding mental health struggles for our children/teenagers and offer ways parents can talk to their children/teens to help overcome negative stigmas of mental health, and normalize proactive mental health care. 

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Dr. Lori Aleknavicius of Inner Fokus

Dr. Aleknavicius’ presentation will identify specific community resources, as well as ways parents can use their connections with their children/teenagers to help them with mental health concerns. Parents will leave with tips and strategies for joining with their children/teenagers in their time of need, and how to empower them to successfully manage stress, social challenges, and mental health symptoms. 

The event is free to PTA members (or a $10 donation) and will take place at Tivoli Too!, located at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd. Participants may reserve seats at

Santi Galera, former LBHS student, signs professional soccer contract with famous Brazilian club

Santiago Galera, 18, former LBHS student, has signed a professional contract with Santos F.C. in São Paulo, Brazil. The midfielder left in March to try out with Santos Football Club, one of the most important soccer clubs in the world, the same club where Pelé and Neymar had their start. 

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Santi Galera in action

He was picked him to stay out of 158 players and this week signed his first professional contract. 

One week before Santiago left, he found out his father, Rigel Galera, who lives in Santa Monica, had stage four cancer, so his success makes it even more meaningful after such tragedy. 

“Santi is a very proud Laguna local,” his mother Marcela Cortes tells us.

“He began playing when he was four years old. He grew up playing club soccer in the OC for Costa Mesa based Pateadores, under Coach Mario Gonzalez.” 

The team won a national championship in 2014, and was consistently a regional champion winning every tournament at one time or another.  

“Since before he could walk, Santi was always with a soccer ball,” Marcela says.  He used to sleep with a ball and refer to it as ‘bonita.’ He graduated with a 3.5 GPA from Thurston.  

The 18-year-old’s contract with Alvinegro Praiano runs until December 31, 2019. In the past, Santiago served on Santos FC’s Under-20 team. 

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The midfielder signs the contract

The midfielder said he was excited to sign his first professional contract on a team as great as Vila Belmiro’s Alvinegro.

“I’m very happy with this new moment in my career. Santos FC is a famous team all over the world. I hope to show all my potential, will and strength in this team. I only have reasons to celebrate,” Santi said.

Until his departure last March 2017, Santi – also a fan of body surfing at Bluebird Beach – resided in Laguna with his mother, stepdad, and little brother, Maximilian, and attended LBHS.

Sharks in your classroom? Scientists in underwater cages will live-stream interactions with Great Whites

A team of Laguna Beach and Irvine based broadcasters from The Ocean Lab headed off this week to Isla Guadalupe, Mexico.  The expedition includes research scientists Dr. Taylor Chapple of Stanford and Dr. Mauricio Hoyos Padilla of Pelagios Kakunja, who will broadcast live science from shark cages. 

Isla Guadalupe is a remote island, 150 miles off the Baja, Mexico coast and is world famous as a gathering site for great white sharks.

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Scientists observing shark behavior – and shark observing scientists’ behavior

On October 16, Hoyos and Chapple will be transmitting three live broadcasts from shark cages – 30 feet underwater – up to a satellite and into classrooms all over the world.  Students will be able to interact in real time with these scientists as they conduct research and discuss the behaviors of these top predators. 

There will be three broadcasts: 8:10 – 8:30 a.m. PST in English; 9:10 – 9:30 a.m. PST in English; and 10:10 – 10:30 a.m. PST (En Espanol) 

The goal of this expedition is to connect students with top scientists doing cutting edge research, and to inspire the current and future generations to become leaders in ocean stewardship. 

“This is an outstanding opportunity for kids with limited access to the ocean to get up close and personal with the biggest predatory sharks alive,” say Laguna local Andrea “Drey” Stockert and Dan Stetson, co-founders of the project.

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Scientist in action

The program is free and open to anyone interested in participating.

Master scuba diver trainer and television producer Stockert, who lives in south Laguna with her wife Jennifer and daughter Sailor Rose, is also the Founder & Executive Producer of One Giant Leap Media, which specializes in fusing documentary film with groundbreaking video technologies.  

Dan Stetson is the former President & CEO of The Ocean Institute in Dana Point. As an avid diver and sailor, Dan’s vision is to create an educational resource that will inspire the next generation of Ocean Stewards. He lives in Irvine with his wife, Roxanne.

Additional information is available at: Ocean Lab Video: 234218564 English sign up at: Spanish sign up is at:

Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

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