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Holiday Enchantment

Sawdust Winter Fantasy

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Holiday Enchantment marionettes

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Puppets are taking a hot cocoa break

Holiday Enchantment stripes

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Theme – peppermint candy canes

Holiday Enchantment snow

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Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow

Remaining days of Winter Fantasy: Dec 8, 9, 15 and 16 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Santa’s hours: Available for photo ops in Santa’s cottage 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., 2 to 5 p.m. all days of the show


Holiday Sing-Along at The Garden Park takes place this Sunday

Holiday Sing Band

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The community sing-along is perfect for the entire family to enjoy

The community is invited to the annual Holiday Sing-Along at The Garden Park this Sunday, Dec 9 from 2 - 4 p.m. Bring your instruments, singing voices and treats to share for this festive day in the park.

Holiday Sing Elft

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Even the Garden Elf is dressed for the holidays

Music direction will be by the Garden Band; songbooks, funny hats and beverages are provided. 

The Garden Park is located at Coast Highway and Eagle Rock Way.


Where’s Maggi – the answers!

Quite a few of our readers have heard the lion’s roar – just like Maggi who asked, where does this lion sleep tonight?

The lion’s head fountain sleeps tonight and every night in the Peppertree Lane right in downtown Laguna! You know, that place where the smell of waffle ice cream cones always draws you in.

Kathy Bienvenue knew where to find it – she worked at the former Partner’s Bistro for many years, walking beside it. So did Charles Barr, who owned the Saloon for 23 years. Heather Knotts was familiar with it, and so were Robert Elster, Laurie Kirkland, Julie Rundle, Stacey Craven, Kristen Purll, Lisa Staight, Cathy Bosko, Sue Salomon, and John Walker. Bernadette Murphy and Melinda Gullen had good guesses, but they happened to be different fountains.

Thanks for spotting Maggi’s whereabouts, and for sending in your guesses. 

There will be another photo mystery coming up on Friday. Stay tuned!

Wheres Maggi 11 4 18

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Lion’s head fountain, found on Peppertree Lane passageway 

(also known as Rue du Chocolat) 


Hospitality Night will take place this Friday

Hospitality Night will be held this Friday, Dec 7 from approximately 5 - 10 p.m. The festivities will take place in the Peppertree Lot (Lot 2 between Ocean and Forest Avenues), where Santa Claus will arrive to greet holiday revelers before the tree lighting at 6:10 p.m. 

Hospitality Night santa

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Mr. and Mrs. Claus delight children and locals at last year’s Hospitality Night

After the tree is lit, the City has arranged activities including live music, cookie decorating, arts and crafts, and letter writing to the troops. Santa will be in his hut on lower Forest Avenue to meet families for photos. Downtown merchants, nonprofit organizations, and the Chamber of Commerce will also provide open houses and other entertainment. 

The public should expect heavy traffic on December 7 during the afternoon and evening commute, and motorists are encouraged to take alternate routes or carpool. 

Street closures in the downtown area will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Portions of Forest Avenue, Beach Street, and the Pepper Tree Parking Lot will be closed to vehicular traffic prior to and during the event. 

To sign up for text message traffic alerts, text 92651 to 888-777.

The free neighborhood trolleys will run from 4 - 11 p.m. and free public parking will be available at the City’s Forest/Laguna Canyon (Lot 11), Lumberyard (Lot 12), and Community and Susi Q Center (Lot 13) parking lots. 

To view the complete schedule for the evening, click here. 

Hospitality Night is co-sponsored by the City of Laguna Beach and the Chamber of Commerce to celebrate the start of the holiday season.

For questions or more information, contact Adam Gufarotti, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0304.


Locals are invited to Live it Up at The Susi Q this December with exciting new events 

The December event schedule at The Susi Q Community Center has been announced. Gallery Q will debut 2019 with a “New Beginnings” art exhibition and reception for Laguna residents, which includes a Call For Artists for the upcoming gallery. Artists are asked to celebrate the new year with works of art that are new adventures to them. This could be a new form, a new medium, a new technique or any artistic interpretation that communicates “New Beginnings”.

To download an application, click here. 

For more information, call (949) 715-8106.

Susi Q will be accepting art submissions through January 10. The exhibit dates are from January 14 - February 22, and the Artist Reception is on Friday, Jan 18 from 5 - 6:30 p.m.

Locals are building

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The Susi Q Center is a wonderful place for the community to come together 

Club Q Laguna will screen “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again” on Friday, Dec 7 from 3 - 5:00 p.m. Club Q Laguna is a social club for the LGBTQ community and friends. The club meets the 1st and 3rd Fridays monthly. 

Bring a treat to share if you’d like, and some friends to come and enjoy the December movie at Club Q. 

The Susi Q Community Center is located at 380 Third St.


Make beautiful holiday wreaths at Sapphire Laguna this Sunday

Sapphire Laguna is inviting the community to get creative and in the holiday spirit while making beautiful holiday wreaths this Sunday, Dec 9. Join Nisie’s Enchanted Florist, a renowned floral artist, in creating your own stunning wreath during a wreath-making class from 4 - 5:30 p.m. 

Make beautiful holiday pinecones

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Festive and fun wreath-making for the holidays 

The cost is $150 per guest, which includes all materials, instruction and guidance, along with small bites and bubblies to ensure a fun experience. 

Space for this class is limited. To reserve a spot, register at www.sapphirelaguna.com/wreath-making-class/

Sapphire Laguna is located at 1200 South Coast Hwy, #101.


Rudolph the Reindeer’s red nose: not just a pigment of our imagination

Story by DIANNE RUSSELL

Who knew that reindeer truly have red noses? It’s not just a fairy tale. 

We all know why W.C. Fields had a red nose, but that’s another story. 

In 1899, Clement C. Moore’s poem “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” first introduced the world to Santa’s reindeer by featuring a sleigh pulled by eight reindeer: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. 

But there was no mention of Rudolph, the most popular reindeer in present-day Christmas tradition.

The addition of Rudolph came much later, in 1939, when the Montgomery Ward Group of department stores in the US commissioned advertising executive Robert May to write a promotional story for the Christmas season. Thus Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer, was born. 

Rudolph the book cover

Robert May wrote Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer in 1939

The booklet became an instant success with 2.5 million copies sold during the first year. The story, written as a poem, is about a young reindeer who was very different from the other reindeer in the herd to which he belonged, and who was teased by his peers because he had a shiny red nose. 

Apparently, bullying existed even in make-believe animal kingdoms.

But he prevailed, and Rudolph now has such a strong connection with Christmas that we can hardly picture Santa and presents without thinking of Rudolph guiding the sleigh, his nose blazing the way.

And here comes the interesting part. 

The secret to Rudolph’s rose-colored schnozzle exists as a dense network of blood vessels in the noses of actual reindeer, scientists explained in a 2012 Live Science article. Reindeer live in harsh conditions during the winter. On the fells and mountains of mainland Norway, temperatures sometimes drop to 30-40 degrees Celsius below zero. 

To survive, reindeer, it seems, have 25 percent more capillaries carrying red, oxygen-rich blood in their nasal architecture than humans, said medical researchers in the Netherlands and the University of Rochester in New York. 

Rudolph the real reindeer

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Reindeer hanging out at The Hive Tree Lighting on Friday, Nov 30

“In colder climates…the increase in blood flow in the nose will help keep the [nose’s] surface warm,” Dr. John Cullen of the University of Rochester said. “The dense network of blood vessels in reindeer noses is also essential for regulating the animal’s internal body temperature – like many mammals, reindeer don’t sweat.”

And reindeer noses do so much more: They are specially adapted to warm the air before it enters the lungs and to condense water in the air, which they then use to keep the mucous membranes moist. 

That’s some ingenious nasal engineering.

So often reality is stranger than fiction, or at least equal to it, and in this case, reindeer noses are as magic and brilliant as Rudolph’s nose, in more ways than one.

A nose is a nose is a nose. And a rosy one at that. 

Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms. –George Eliot


Meet our Pet of the Week, Baby 

Baby is currently taking the title of Pet of the Week. She is a seven-year-old spayed Chihuahua mix. She is very sweet and well behaved. She comes from a previous hoarder who did not treat her well. Due to the harsh circumstances she once faced, she is looking for someone who will show her extra love and care, and welcome her with open arms into their home. Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, hopes to see Baby adopted as soon as possible. 

Pet of the Week Baby

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Baby is looking for a new family to embrace her

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, the shelter’s return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of 50 percent.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd. For information on adoption procedures, call (949) 497-3552 or go to www.puplagunabeach.org/our-pets.php.


Op-Ed

Mayor Kelly Boyd

City of Laguna Beach doing its part to address homelessness

Op Ed Kelly Boyd 

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Mayor Kelly Boyd

On November 5, 2018, federal district judge Andrew Guilford granted final approval of a settlement agreement between a class of disabled homeless individuals and the City of Laguna Beach, bringing closure to a three-year-old lawsuit that in my and many others’ view was misguided and resulted in the needless consumption of substantial resources and funds that could have been better devoted to legitimate public purposes.

At the same time, this unjust litigation has served to highlight the historic and unique commitment and efforts of the City of Laguna Beach over the last decade to address homelessness in its community. Since 2009, the City has funded a year-round emergency overnight shelter program, known as the Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL), which is operated by the Friendship Shelter under a service provider contract.  The Laguna Beach ASL provides a place for 45 people to sleep each night, offering showers, hot meals, clean laundry facilities, sleeping mats, warm blankets, computer access, and a case worker to connect homeless individuals with important services and resources.

The Laguna Beach ASL is the only such program of its kind in southern Orange County. It’s not a cheap program to operate. It currently costs the City $400,000 to operate the facility each year with a small portion of the operating costs covered by a Community Development Block Grant. To date, the City has provided over 139,230 bed nights to homeless in need. In addition, the City has been successful in reuniting homeless individuals with their families and, with the assistance of the Friendship Shelter, has facilitated the placement of more than 85 formerly homeless men and women in transitional and permanent supportive housing.

The City of Laguna Beach has been, and continues to be, a leader among municipalities within Orange County to address homelessness. Still, others must step up and do their part. Some have begun to do so, and they are to be commended. We believe that a comprehensive approach implemented by the County of Orange and all cities within the county offers the best prospect for addressing homelessness in a meaningful way. Such an approach must recognize that the provision of sufficient emergency shelters, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, and affordable housing are important components of an effective plan. And, more than a plan is needed. A plan will require full funding and the commitment of all responsible government agencies to be implemented. To that end, I encourage other municipalities within Orange County to work with the County of Orange to address issues relating to homelessness and to take responsibility for their fair share of solutions.

Kelly Boyd

Mayor, City of Laguna Beach


The Hive’s holiday party Friday was a huge hit

Photos by Scott Brashier 

The Hives tree

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Many gathered merrily for the Tree Lighting Ceremony at the Hive

The Hives sled 1

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Families enjoyed the sledding hill in Laguna Beach

The Hives Honarkars

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The Honarkar sisters, baby Truth, and a gleeful Grinch

The Hives Santa

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Jolly Old Saint Nicholas on his sleigh 

The Hives choir

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The Laguna Big Band with Ginger Hatfield

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