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Free day at LAM sponsored by Jim Burba and Bob Hayes

As a special holiday gift to the community, Jim Burba and Bob Hayes are hosting a free day for the public at Laguna Art Museum this coming Sunday, Dec. 28 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

Enjoy all of the museum’s current exhibitions completely free of charge, including: Elizabeth Turk: Sentient Forms; Lita Albuquerque: Particle Horizon; Rural California, 1930s and 40s: From the Collection of Diane and E. Gene Crain; and selections from the permanent collection.

Don’t miss this opportunity to visit the museum for free!

If you are interested in hosting a free day at Laguna Art Museum, please contact Deputy Director Ed Fosmire at 949.494.8971 x211.

Bad knees or not – the LBHS Alumni Baseball game is Jan 3


It’s never too chilly to play baseball in Laguna and the LBHS Alumni baseball game will be played at Skipper Carrillo Field at 10 a.m. on Saturday, January 3.

All baseball alumni are invited to play – just dig out your glove and spikes and that old trustworthy jock strap, stop by a batting cage someplace and plan to play ball!

Contact Suzy McInerny of the Baseball Boosters at 949-939-0361 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. - either way, get on out there!

Albertsons in SoLag will become a Haggen this spring

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Staff photo by Scott Brashier

As a condition of the approval of the purchase by Albertsons of Safeway last March, the FTC is requiring that the new entity divest itself of some 183 stores including 11 in OC.

One of those 11 is the Albertsons store in South Laguna. Pavilions is owned by Safeway and will continue to operate as a Pavilions Market.

Haggen Food & Pharmacy, a Pacific Northwest retailer, is purchasing 146 of the stores including the 11 in OC. Haggen has been doing business since 1933 and currently has just 18 stores with 16 pharmacies.

Albertsons-Safeway believes the FTC will approve the sale of the 146 stores to Haggen allowing the close of the merger in January 2015 according to Supermarket News accounts.

The FTC required the divestiture of the stores, including the one here, as a condition of its approval of the sale. In 1998, Albertsons purchased Lucky stores including the current location in South Laguna. The FTC required a similar divestiture in all locations where the competitive balance of supermarkets could be in question.

Ralphs Markets purchased the store at 700 S. Coast Hwy, which had been an Albertsons Market here in town, clearing the way for the Albertsons to relocate to the former Lucky Market. Before it was a Lucky, that store was an Alpha Beta.

There will be a test sometime soon!

Supermarket News says that the Albertsons employees will be allowed to stay at the current location after the banner is changed if they so desire.

You sure know where in Laguna- you got ‘er!

Our readers got her good - and early this week.

Maggi said the first correct answers rolled in in the wee hours Tuesday morning. 

Of course she says they must have been too easy!

These are the where’s its and what’s its from Tuesday’s photo challenge.

Thanks for having fun. Tune in again next week, and keep beating Maggi!

Click on photo for larger image


Sculptural busts at Laguna College of Art + Design 


Left – Pedestrian bridge over South Coast Hwy, to Aliso beach 

Center – Art memorial to fallen officers, at the Police Department

Right – Top of the Verizon building, from Beach St.

Thanks for playing!

Remember, the correct answers and the slideshow are also on our Facebook page.


“Out With The Old, In With The Rita” – New Year’s Eve

The Laguna Playhouse is thrilled to present the beginning of 2015 in a most spectacular fashion with the return of superstar comedienne Rita Rudner who will be performing, “Rita Rudner: Out With The Old, In With The Rita,” to start the New Year right with joy and laughter. “Out With The Old, In With The Rita,” will perform on Wednesday, Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. at the Laguna Playhouse.

Ring in the New Year with award-winning comedian Rita Rudner

Rudner’s sharp timing and soft-spoke voice have become her trademarks while delivering hilarious and witty observations on everyday life. Opening for Rudner will be her singer-songwriter daughter Molly Bergman to make the evening this New Year’s celebration a family affair to remember.

She recently performed as an actress in the world premiere of her play “Tickled Pink” at the Laguna Playhouse. Rudner has performed over 3,000 solo shows in Las Vegas since the MGM Corporation built a theatre for her twelve years ago. She also regularly performs concerts and at corporate and charity events across the country. 

Bergman is a 12-year-old budding singer-songwriter. During 2014, she has performed at the Indian Wells Tennis Center, the Laguna Playhouse, The Hamilton Oaks Winery in San Juan Capistrano, Red Rock High School in Sedona, Arizona, and The Point and Stillwater restaurants in Dana Point. She also recorded her first video for her original song “Get Your Orange On.”

She will be opening for her mother, comedian Rita Rudner, on Dec. 27 at Harrah’s Casino in Las Vegas and then on New Year’s Eve at the Laguna Playhouse. She also plays the piano, guitar and ukulele.

“Out With The Old, In With The Rita,” will perform on Wednesday, Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. at the Laguna Playhouse. Tickets are $90 and can be purchased online at or by calling 497-ARTS (2787). For more information on all shows and programming, visit The Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road.

Seventh day before Christmas: the swans a-swimming edition

Story and photos by MAGGI HENRIKSON

I haven’t seen seven swans a-swimming in the ocean, but it is the seventh day before Christmas. And there are no six geese a-laying on the beach, but there seem to be a lot of gold rings in the shops. Now that song is stuck in my head!

I love running into friends wherever I go these days. People are out! Plus we all get to wear our nice winter clothes for a couple of chilly days. It’s very festive, and I’m happily humming my favorite carols as I enjoy our little town.

Here are some of the highlights of my favorite shops:


Laguna Beach Books – Ah, the choices! I went in for one book and found several I couldn’t live without, thanks to friends there with great recommendations. Their best seller so far this month is the huge tome on The Rolling Stones – The Definitive, Authorized, Illustrated History. It is 522 pages of awesome ($150). 


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Laguna Beach Books, 1200 S. Coast Hwy.

(There is an even bigger edition, which Laguna Beach Books doesn’t have, but they told me about it. It’s $5,000 and each of The Rolling Stones signed it!). 

The Lawrence in Arabia book sounds really interesting, and comes highly recommended ($17.95). It’s about everything that went on in that period of history – in the making of the modern Middle East. Perfect for my husband, Stu and/or Shaena, who are all history and politics junkies. 

I am buying it for Richard but please don’t tell him that’s what I got for him. 

Odyssey Imports – This store makes me feel like I’ve gone on an exotic travel adventure. With beautiful things from all over the world, this time I was struck by the Turkish artisanship. The hanging lamps are gorgeous, and all hand electrified by the owner, with good ole U.S. standards (this one $229). The meticulously hand-painted, colorful ceramics are exquisite ($35 - $179). 


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Odyssey Imports, 490 S. Coast Hwy

Pearl St. General – Fun, eclectic shop. You never know what will catch your eye, from vintage collectibles, to cool reading glasses, to food items. And they have wine 20% discounted for the rest of the month. What caught my eye are these nautical themed dishes. I love the seaside colors and bold graphics, and the mug with a cleat for the handle ($8.50 - $18).

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Pearl St. General, S. Coast Hwy at Pearl St.

Yoga class brought a holiday surprise and then some!

For Bikram Yoga’s holiday party this year, they planned a candlelight Bikram Yoga class at 5 p.m. on Dec 6 followed by a potluck. The studio was decorated with wreaths and lights, and there was a tree in the yoga room, which was lit only by candles and the lights from the tree. It also happened to be one of the instructor’s birthdays, so it was already going to be a really fun celebration.

One of their students, Mazen Aoun and his fiancé Alina Curtean were planning to come to class. When they first started dating back in April, one of the first things Alina did was bring Mazen to a Bikram class at the studio. You can tell a lot about a person when they come to yoga - it was challenging but he did great and they have been coming back together ever since.

Mazen told Marna Bright, director of Bikram Yoga Laguna Beach, he wanted to ask Alina to marry him and he wanted to do it in class because it’s something special that they’ve been doing together since the beginning of their relationship. He wasn’t sure when he would be able to get the ring but everyone who was in on it was hoping it would be in time for the Christmas party - and he did. 

He got Alina’s best friend, her brother and her sister-in-law all to come for class. She later told Marna she was wondering how he got them to come.

He was planning to wait until the end of class. Marna was going to give him the microphone. At the beginning she could tell how excited and nervous he was and she really wasn’t sure he would be able to wait that long. 

He made it a little over an hour into the 90-minute class then he raised his hand and said, “I have something to say.” Then he told Alina how much he loves her and asked her to be his wife. 

It took everyone including Alina some time to figure out what was going on. She was completely surprised. 

She said yes. 

Submitted photo

The happy couple!

Marna said, “It was so beautiful and they are such a great couple. We wish them the best of luck!”

We do too!

LB Presbyterian announces Christmas Eve Candlelight times 

Laguna Presbyterian Church will have both Christmas Eve Candlelight Services and New Year’s Eve Worship & Communion. The Christmas Eve Candlelight Services will be held on Wednesday Dec. 24, at 2 and 4 p.m. with Children’s Story in Worship Bethlehem Village, Nursery & Toddles Care 2 p.m., Chancel Bells and 4 p.m., Chancel Bells & Chancel Choir at Tankersley Hall. And evening services at 7 and 9 p.m. 

The 7 p.m. service will feature the Chancel Choir and the 9 p.m. service will feature the Ensemble, with no nursery or child care. New Year’s Eve Worship & Communion will on Wednesday, Dec. 31, 5 p.m. Laguna Presbyterian Church is at 415 Forest Ave. For information, call 494-7555 or visit

Dennis’ Tidbits



December 19, 2014

Pecking Away at State’s Serious Drought Status

So I ask my buddy where I can get the best sun block ever made. He gives me a piece of paper with directions to Portland!

A mere three weeks ago on Thanksgiving Day, the state of California was still mired in serious drought mode with 68% of the state in extreme status. Thanks to a train of strong Pacific storms, that number has been cut in half with only 34% showing extreme status and that number was still at 55% only a week ago. That number will continue to shrink as more large plumes of moisture are riding the North Pacific jet stream, which continues to run in a fairly straight west to east line across our great Pond with very few wiggles and wobbles. The lows are much stronger this time around and are being enhanced by rivers of subtropical moisture from the southwest.

Lately I’ve been touching quite a bit on the phenomenon we call atmospheric rivers and wouldn’t you know it; one such event is poised to drop up to a foot of rain in the Pacific Northwest over the next several days. Because of this event’s tropical origin, temps will be 10 or more degrees above normal seasonal levels meaning snow levels up there will be high, around 7,000-8,000 feet. 

The main rain will focus at latitude 40-46 degrees North; roughly from Point Arena, California to Vancouver, British Columbia. Some rain will fall here in Southern Cal, but amounts will be more like a half inch to an inch but that’s O.K., ‘cause the ground is pretty much saturated at this writing.

I want to share with y’all a rundown of my top five surf spots I’ve ridden on Planet Earth since I first stood up on a surfboard in 1960…

Number One for me has to be Pipeline, Hawaii. To quote Kelly Slater, there’s no debate: Pipeline is the best wave in the world. It’s the wave against which all others are judged. Some people might argue that it’s wrong to pick a spot that only a small percentage of surfers actually have the skill to ride but I was well above average and very young back in 1968 when I first rode it. Pipeline scared the piss out of me at least the first dozen or so times I attempted it. First it intimidates you. Then you find the stones to give it a try. Eventually you figure it out, and you grow from the pride that comes with that. Then you get hungry for it. 

I never surfed giant Pipe, maybe 8-10 foot Hawaiian, but even at that size, I got the greatest barrels of my life! Obviously, it’s nowhere near the longest tube, but many legendary surfers have had the best tubes of their lives out there. The place wasn’t on the map until pioneers like Phil Edwards, John Peck, and Butch van Artsdalen first rode it in the very early 1960’s. And they pulled it off on ten foot, 40lb longboards with no leashes! That took real balls!

When boards got shorter by 1968, young guys like legendary Gerry Lopez began showing us how to look smooth in the pit. He still goes by the nickname Mr. Pipeline.

More on my top 5 next time. 

Have a great weekend, ALOHA!

Chefs lined up for Ocean Institute Jazz Festival Gala

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Submitted photo

The gourmet culinary team: L to R: Executive Chef Pierre Albaladejo, Park Hyatt Aviara; Executive Chef Pedro Contreras, Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel; Executive Chef Rob Wilson, Montage Laguna Beach; Executive Chef Frederic Castan, St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa; Sous Chef Greg Heneghan, Laguna Cliffs Marriott Resort & Spa; Executive Chef Vincent Lesage, Balboa Bay Resort

The gourmet culinary team for the 13th Annual Jazz Festival Gala has been announced. The event is being held in Dana Point on Saturday evening, Jan. 24. Event attendees will be treated to a three course gastronomic delight plus canapés and dessert, with each course being prepared by one of the area’s top Executive Chefs.

Executive Chef Rob Wilson of the five-star Montage Laguna Beach is our only local culinary master, raised in Laguna Niguel, then attending Dana Hills High School in Dana Point. That’s not to say, however, that he has not put in his time in other positions and other places around the country. Chef Wilson came to the Montage after an impressive 20-year career with the Ritz-Carlton chain. While his earliest food memory is that of his mom teaching him how to flip an egg, his favorite kitchen appliance now is a vitamix blender. His culinary watchwords are creative, seasonal, and spontaneous, and he strives to include the essence of each in all of his creations.

Executive Chef Frederic Castan of the five-star St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort was educated at the highly regarded Conservatoire National des Artes et Metieres, and the Universite d’Avignon et des Pays des Vaucluse. The French native’s decades of culinary experience include positions with Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, and Sofitel Luxury Hotels & Resorts.

Executive Chef Albaladejo of the four-star Park Hyatt Aviara  has more than a decade of experience in working in some of the most highly regarded kitchens in Europe and the USA. He has perfected his contemplative and respectful style of cooking. Creating new dishes using the abundance of freshest, highest quality ingredients locally available challenges and inspires him to new culinary heights. Chef Albaladejo is a native of Dax, France, and graduated from the Culinary Institute Lycee d’ Enseignement Professionel de Capbreton in Landes, France. His culinary career in France included posts at the three-star Lucas Carton in Paris, two-star Café de Paris in Biarritz and Palais de L’Elysee in Paris in the private kitchen of President Francois Mitterand.

Executive Chef Contreras joins us from the five-star Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel in Dana Point. His more than 10 years of experience and his passion for the cuisines of the Americas led him from his native Venezuela in a family with roots in Spain and Mexico to study at the University of Los Andes in Merida, Venezuela and eventually to Scottsdale, Arizona. He migrated to the west coast where he became intrigued by the possibilities offered from his ocean “backyard” and access to fresh produce year round. 

Classically trained French Executive Chef Vincent Lesage of the four-star Balboa Bay Resort uses only the freshest, highest quality ingredients in his specialty dishes. A native Parisian, Chef Lesage developed his love of cooking from his talented mother and grandmother. His inspiration to create works of art with food came from his childhood visits to museums with his family. Chef Lesage attended the Institut Paul Bocus in Escully, France, studying under some of the most respected chefs in Europe. 

Award winning Executive Chef Thomas Trevethan of the four-star Marriott Laguna Cliffs Resort & Spa is a culinary veteran with more than 20 years of experience, much of it in top European hotels and restaurants. He has served British Royalty at Harrods in London, and worked in the restaurants of the Ritz-Carlton, Paris Hotel & Casino, and in the Cosmopolitan Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Originally from Australia, he has honed his culinary talents at five-star hotels and resorts and with Crystal Cruise Lines. Among his professional achievements are 20 culinary competition medals from the American Culinary Institute, as well as being named USA Chef of the Year finalist in New York. He currently serves as National Culinary Chairperson for the National Committee United States ACF and was recently invited to lunch at the White House by First Lady Michelle Obama to launch his “Moves to Schools” program.  

 Using the ocean as the classroom, the Ocean Institute inspires children to learn. The Ocean Institute has become nationally known for its hands-on marine science, environmental education, and maritime history programs. More than 115,000 K-12 students and 6,000 teachers annually participate in the Institute’s 61 award-winning, immersion style programs. Tickets for the Saturday evening Gala and Gourmet dinner are on sale at the Ocean Institute now. To attend, visit

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