Dennis’ Tidbits


April 18, 2017

My head in the clouds, I’m looking at extreme weather

“Let me tell you how it will be. There’s one for you, nineteen for me. ‘Cause I’m the taxman.” - John Lennon, 1966.

That’s my thought today, but I’d better get my head back in the clouds.

All in all it was a pretty decent weekend here buat it’s a whole different ball game up in the Bay area and surrounding communities as another strong soaker continued to pile up those already swollen seasonal rain totals – and in the Sierras an additional foot of snow fell on Sunday. What drought?

My third documented extreme weather event came on October 8-10, in 1958, when a strong, very hot Santana wind event sent temps all the way up to 101 degrees at water’s edge here in Laguna. Humidity at water’s edge plunged to 8% as northeast winds up to 45 mph blew relentlessly for three whole days. Nighttime temps were an unbelievable 80 degrees. 

Amazingly enough, there were no serious wildfires throughout Southern California at that time, except for a few small brush fires that were quickly extinguished. There was a lot of fuel for fires that fall as the previous winter had been a wet one, with over 24 inches of rain falling in Laguna, allowing for natural wilderness chaparral to grow to very large heights. In the winter that followed, only 5.58 inches fell, which, at the time, was the driest year on record. So a lot of Santana wind events occurred throughout the fall and winter of 1958-59.

My next documented extreme weather event occurred on December 3, 1958 when a new high temp record for December was set as the mercury shot up to 88 degrees (a record that stood until December 12, 1979). A strong Santana wind event hit Laguna that day, with gusts up to 40 mph here in town. December of 1958 was very dry with only a tenth of an inch falling that month compared to a normal of 2.5 inches.

Gotta quit here as my computer is getting ready to do a possibly long update. 

See you on Friday, ALOHA!

Boys & Girl’s Club Community Partner’s Breakfast honored individuals and programs that give their all

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach proudly hosted their 9th annual Community Partner’s Breakfast on Thursday, April 6th, at seven-degrees. Board of Directors President, Phyllis Phillips, expressed the importance of partnership and collaborations and their vital role in helping the Club accomplish the organization’s mission to enable all young people to realize their full potential as healthy, caring and responsible adults. 

Pamela Estes, Chief Executive Officer, delivered a poignant state of the Club where she addressed several Club initiatives the organization will be focusing on in the upcoming year; also, a recount of the Club’s accomplishments over the past year. Community partners heard a first-hand Club experience success story from the Club’s Teen Youth of the Year, Savanah Johnson, who credits the Club for putting her on the right path with a promising future.

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Kristine Evans received the Community Partner Award for her years of 

service to the Club. 

Kristine Evans was an AP English teacher at Dana Point High School and has recently retired. She has been volunteering by working with our grant writer. She is an expert in English grammar and sentence structure, offers an objective eye with a fresh perspective.  Since she has volunteered at the Club, our funders have commented on the difference they see in our grants, which are responsible for a significant portion of our $2.6M annual budget.

Give a Beat received the Program Partner Award. This awardee perfectly complements the work we do. The Club have the kids and they have the expertise, mindset, and passion – and when you put them both together, it’s magic. Give a Beat have been totally supportive of the Club’s mission and always have our teens best interest at heart. They teach our members about the industry technology, but more importantly, their overriding goal is to bring people together through music. The Boys & Girls Club staff and teens think the world of Lauren, Missy, and Trevor.

St. Joseph Health Mission Hospital received the Agency Partner Award. One of the things Pam Estes is most proud of is the relationship the Club has with this awardee. Over the years that the Club have partnered with Mission Hospital, they have been able to hone the focus on making the most positive difference possible in the community, first by aligning the Club around the Search Institutes Developmental assets framework, and then with understanding the power of developmental communities, and building networks of connections of kinship, friendship, ideology, and culture. They share a vision, share goals, and share accountability for youth success. 

DPR Construction Inc. took home the Corporate Partner Award. This awardee has a lot in common with Boys & Girls Club; they both build “Build Brighter Futures” and they’re “Building Great Things.” Over the last six months or so, the Club have developed a close relationship with their team members who have been the catalyst for making a truly (and literally) transformational gift to our Club. Their core values of integrity, enjoyment, uniqueness and ever forward, shine through their team members at every level, in the work they do, the partners they have, and the difference they are making in communities across the country. 

Among recognizing the community’s big supporters, Donnie Crevier approached the podium to present Leif Hanson and Steve Blue this year’s Crevier Legacy Award for their long-term impact on the Club as an outstanding role model for all the Club members – and truly embodies the community spirit the Club hopes all their members will someday achieve.

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Steve Blue and Leif Hanson received this year’s Crevier Legacy Award 

Steve Blue and Leif Hanson started coming to the Boys Club of Laguna Beach when they were around seven years old. Leif remembers coming for the fun! He loved the games room and the sports. He started playing basketball and Ron Lutz was his coach on the All-Star team, which traveled to other Boys Clubs for tournaments. Leif credits the Club for giving him a strong foundation in sports, which helped him reach his goals in volleyball later in life. 

Steve played “Bitty basketball” at the Club and remembers the games room and the candy the most. He attended the Club throughout his elementary school years until he started playing volleyball with the Laguna Beach Volleyball Club. He has fond memories of playing with his friends at the Club. 

These two incredible Club Alumni are giving back to the Club by spearheading an annual “Night at The Ranch” concert event. Their goal is to raise funds for the Club so that all kids can have a positive safe place to go when they are not in school. They also wanted to create a legacy that would sustain itself and continue for generations to come.  

Leif said, “I wanted to give back to the Club that was there for me as a kid and I also wanted to help the community I grew up in.” 

Steve said, “I want today’s kids to have the same Club experience that I had when I was growing up.” 

The Night at The Ranch event has become one of the best events in Laguna Beach today. Leif and Steve are living proof that the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach makes a positive impact on children’s future. The Club wants all their members to learn the joy of giving back to others and Leif and Steve exemplify that very philanthropic spirit. They are making sure all children have an opportunity to benefit from a Club experience. 

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach’s Community Partners Breakfast started nine years ago by Emeritus BOD President Bob Whalen to recognize the partnerships built between the Club and the Community Leaders that help benefit the 2,000 youths the Club serves on an annual basis. 

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach allows their members to learn and play in a variety of activities year-round. Please help the Club continue make these everyday opportunities for their members consistent by donating today

7,000 OC students entertained by Laguna Playhouse’s

TheatreReach: Bringing Books to Life! performances

According to Donna Inglima, Director of Youth Education Programs at The Laguna Playhouse, funding from corporations, foundations, and individuals, enabled Laguna Playhouse’s TheatreReach: Bringing Books to Life! program to tour 41 Orange County elementary schools during the March/ April tour of Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White and the April/May tour of By the Great Horn Spoon. At the end of the tours, 7,000 OC students will have viewed the performances.

TheatreReach: Bringing Books to Life! is Orange County’s longest running, most successful literature and curriculum-based, professional theatre touring program. It provides literacy support for thousands of elementary school children, in their schools, through tours of plays adapted from required books in the California State curriculum. TheatreReach is a unique and valuable resource for teaching California State content standards in history, literature and language. Since its inception in 1999, more than 100,000 students in Southern California have benefited from this award-winning performing arts program.

As the only live performance touring program that presents works of required 4th grade literature, TheatreReach is a unique and valuable resource for teaching California State content standards in history, literature and language. It consistently receives praise from area educators. 

Ms. Inglima explains, “The goal of TheatreReach is to bring core curriculum books to life, enriching student literature comprehension and reading skills as well as provide early exposure to live theatre for children who might not otherwise have access to this enriching experience.” Ms. Inglima, a director, writer, teacher, producer and actress, explains that TheatreReach tours an hour-long one-act play of core-curriculum required literature. 

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Charlotte’s Web brought to life on stage

It uses professional actors, sets, costumes, props and sound equipment. An extensive “Study and Activities Guide” is sent to teachers prior to each performance. It includes lesson plans, activities for students both before and after reading the book, facts about the author, vocabulary support activities, as well as book report ideas and research activities. A supplement focuses on drama and acting activities that may be incorporated into classroom lessons. The performances are often scheduled to tie into completion of the literature units, thereby deepening comprehension and critical thinking skills.

TheatreReach was developed to address a need posed by ongoing federal and state cuts to educational budgets in public schools. Whenever possible, it targets Title I schools to reach low-income children who lack access to the arts. The Laguna Playhouse is one of the only Southern California theatre offering a program that links literature and history in curriculum-centered plays for schools. Live theatre helps a young person develop visualization skills, strengthens language, and stimulates creativity – all essential in the process of learning to read. These skills are especially critical for students with learning disabilities and English learners.

 Philanthropic support is critical to funding these performances and has been provided by: Angels Baseball Foundation, The Allergan Foundation, Lloyd & Lauretta Dyer Family Foundation, O.L. Halsell Foundation, Ueberroth Family Foundation, US Bank, William Gillespie Foundation, Southern California Edison, Capital Group Companies Charitable Foundation, Ebell Club of Laguna Beach, Rotary Club of Laguna Niguel,  Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotary Club, Assistance League of Laguna Beach, Pacific Life Foundation, Jamie Walters El-Erian and Mohammed El-Erian, and Bobbi Cox.

Ray Benedicktus, president of Rotary Club of Irvine, says, “We are delighted to provide funding for an Arts Access for Youth community grant in support of these performances. Community service and improving the quality of life within our community is ‘the heartbeat of Rotary.” Approximately 20 fourth grade classes from Vista Verde, Culverdale, Turtle Rock and Oak Creek Elementary Schools, many who would otherwise not have the opportunity to experience live theatre, will attend these performances.

“By promoting literacy and interest in the arts, TheatreReach advances the creative and learning capacity of children in our community, which – as studies show – lead to greater personal and academic success,” says Inglima. 

To find out what’s going on at LPH, go to

On April 29, Laguna Playhouse Annual Gala celebrates local art heroes, Suzanne and James Mellor

On Saturday, April 29, Laguna Playhouse will host its Annual Gala at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach, honoring longtime supporters of Laguna Playhouse and the arts, Suzanne and James Mellor.

For more than two decades, Suzanne and James have supported Laguna Playhouse. Both served on the Board of Trustees, helped lead the Playhouse’s philanthropic efforts as donors, and served in leadership roles throughout the art community.  As one of the founding members of the Playhouse Women, Suzanne chaired the first gala, and Jim served as chairman of the board for many years.

Along with a lifetime tribute to the Mellors, the evening will feature live musical performance preluding the 2017-18 Laguna Playhouse Season along with live music and dancing. In addition, Winston Crown Jewelers will be showcasing many items whose proceeds will help boost donations for the evening.  

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Suzanne and James Mellor to be honored at Laguna Playhouse Annual Gala

The gala, chaired by Glenn Gray and Kathryn Burton Gray, anticipates more than 350 guests attending with more than $200,000 already pledged in sponsorships, including support from Kathryn Burton Gray and Glenn Gray; Scripsense, Inc. and the Masson Family Foundation; Greg and Barbara MacGillivray; Jane and Joe Hanauer, Laguna Beach Books; Paul Singarella/Latham & Watkins LLP; James and Lisa Hale; Timothy and Tanya Spangler; Suzanne and James Mellor; The Moulton Company; Jamie Walters El-Erian; Deborah and Cody Engle; Gary and Betsy Jenkins; First American Trust; and Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin.

Laguna Playhouse is approaching a century of continuous theatre in the City of Laguna Beach, making it one of the longest-running theatres on the west coast. It is noted for its artistic excellence, wide-ranging performing arts programming, community engagement, and award-winning theatre education for the next generation.

In light of this upcoming anniversary and its importance to the arts, the City of Laguna Beach has made matching funds available to invest in Playhouse renovations. Laguna Playhouse will be raising the paddle during the gala to collect matching funds for this city investment.

Ruben Flores presents “Spring has Sprung,” the art of gardening lecture at LOCA Art Club on April 20

LOCA Arts Education invites artists, patrons, visitors and newcomers to its Art Club lectures and events, presented monthly in Laguna Beach. Horticulturalist Ruben Flores will present “Spring has Sprung” Thurs, April 20, 5 p.m.-7 p.m. at Laguna Nursery.

Flores will focus on the 10 best flowering plants for spring gardens in Laguna Beach. Blooms, leaf shapes, and planting locations will be discussed, as well as how to create colorful artistic looking gardens. Many plants and garden decor will be available for purchase. 

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Ruben Flores discusses the art of gardening at LOCA Art Club on April 20

Seating and hospitality will be provided, along with a sale of hand-painted LOCA art shirts. Admission is $20 for guests, free for LOCA members. To register, visit the calendar pages at or call (949) 363-4700 or click

Laguna Nursery is at 397 N. Coast Highway, metered parking on the street.

Run for the Roses: Ebell Club hosts its 21st Annual Kentucky Derby Party and Fundraiser on May 6

Ebell Club of Laguna Beach Philanthropies celebrates over 80 years of service to the community, and will once again celebrate its own exciting version of the Kentucky Derby. On the first Sat in May, the Ebell Club holds its 21st Annual Kentucky Derby Party, a major fundraiser and spirited event like no other in the sports world. 

Run for the Roses fans will gather at the Aliso Viejo Country Club, 33 Santa Barbara, Aliso Viejo, at 12:30 p.m. on Sat, May 6, for an afternoon of food, fun, and viewing (on a private big-screen television) of the 141st Kentucky Derby, live from Churchill Downs. Run for the Roses isa two-minute, quarter mile race for three-year-old, thoroughbred horses, run under the landmark Twin Spires of the Churchill Downs racetrack in Louisville, Kentucky. 

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Ebell Club of LB Philanthropies Pres Amy Altieri (l) seems surprised it’s Derby time again.  Sylvia Powers (r) is already dressed in silks for the occasion.

Hat worn by Amy is from Duet of LB and will be available for auction.

The Kentucky Derby tradition of giving red roses began when roses were presented by a New York socialite to all the ladies attending an 1883 Derby post party, at which the race founder, who was impressed by the dramatic display, decided to make red roses the official flowers of the race and an award for the winner. The race culminates with the jockey being given a bouquet of sixty, long-stemmed, red roses and a blanket of five hundred sixty-four red roses being placed over the winning horse. The center of the rose blanket is adorned with a rose, fern and ribbon arrangement, which rests on the winner’s withers (shoulders). One single rose, crowning the arrangement, honors the struggle and “heart” of the horse who has earned a place in the Derby Winner’s Circle. This tradition has given rise to the race’s nickname, Run for the Roses.

Aside from watching the race, how does the Ebell Club transform this Derby tradition into their own? With a southern buffet feast, a silent auction and raffle, and a no host bar that undoubtedly will mix Mint Juleps. 

But, for partygoers, who sport their best attire, it is really all about the hats. They take hats very seriously, and there is a hat contest for both women and men to prove it. 

Last year generous donations to Ebell Philanthropies helped support Laguna Beach charitable organizations and projects.  Tax-deductible donations help underwrite this event.  All proceeds will directly benefit the LB community charities. Some of the organizations Ebell Club helps support: Boys and Girls Club of Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach Little League, CSP Youth Shelter, Laguna Beach Playhouse, ACTION (AIDS Care Teams in Neighborhoods), Laguna Beach Seniors, Friendship Shelter, Laguna Beach Community Clinic Friends of the Library, Laguna Outreach Community Arts (LOCA), Girl Scout Council of Orange County, Laguna Relief and Resource Center, Human Options, Laguna Beach Fire Department, Laguna Beach College of Art and Design, Laguna Beach Schools, and Scholarships Sally’s Fund (Seniors) (Arts, Athletics, Tech)

For more information, contact Sandra Renner at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , 949-295-0436, or

RSVP is requested by April 21.


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