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Dennis’ Tidbits


January 15, 2019

On this date, Mars slowly fades as our rain continues 

Dennis 5On this date in 1967, Tidbits officially became property of the U.S. Air Force for the next four years, thus avoiding getting drafted by the U.S. Army where I might have ended up in a trench somewhere in SE Asia. Instead I ended up at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii where I had a cushy job as an Air Force meteorologist. Being a lifelong surfer, it was like going to Heaven but still serving my country. It paid great dividends as once I was discharged, Uncle Sam paid for my college education plus a life of free medical help from the VA as my primary care.

Also on this date in 1971, Laguna recorded its warmest January temp of all time with a high of 88 degrees. Downtown LA set a record as well with a blistering 95. Most reporting stations across Southern CA also set record high temps that still stand to this day.

The once very bright planet Mars is slowly fading in the night sky. Now it’s only as bright as the average star, around the same magnitude as one of the three stars that make up the belt of the constellation Orion. Last July when it reached peak brightness, Mars was the third brightest object in the sky behind only our sun and moon, even brighter at one time than Venus or Jupiter.

Local ocean surface temps today are at 60-61 degrees, almost five degrees above normal for this time of year. It was as low as 57 for a couple of days last month but has rebounded since then.

January has produced about two inches of rain so far, bringing our season’s total to almost 7 inches, above our normal to date of 5.1 inches. More is on the way as the main storm track is still aiming at California instead of the Pacific Northwest. Some places in the Sierra Nevada have collected up to six feet of new snow just since New Year’s. Here in town, we’re on pace to surpass the annual norm of 13.95 inches, so let’s keep it going!

We are officially in the midst of a mild to moderate El Nino and unlike the much hyped event of 2015-16, the current event is behaving like your classic El Nino with ample precipitation statewide, consistent surf, and above normal surface ocean temps and I like that! El Nino is our friend and La Nina is the enemy. 

See y’all on Friday, Aloha!

Downtown Action Plan goes out for bid; New city landscape architect selected by Council


City Council voted unanimously at the December 11 meeting to get proposals for a plan to coordinate Laguna’s streetscape and other improvements in the downtown.

Approval of a Downtown Action Plan will put the city in a position to seek entitlements when revisions to the Downtown Specific Plan are approved by the council and the California Coastal Commission. Choice of tree species and who decides continues to be a matter of debate.

“Don’t turn over the decisions to a consultant,” urged former Planning Commissioner Barbara Metzger.

Both Metzger and the current Planning Commission said the Landscape element in the city code and the Landscape and Scenic Highways Resource Document provide sufficient information.

“All I am hearing is stall the process,” said Councilman Peter Blake. 

 The staff was authorized to distribute the request for proposals, hold interviews and return to the council in March with recommendations for the selection of a firm to prepare the plan.

An appropriation of $90,000 was previously approved for the creation of the action plan.

Downtown Action Forest Ave

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Downtown Action Plan goes out for bid 

Approval of the distribution of the request for proposals was preceded on the Consent Calendar by the resignation of landscape architect James Dockstader, landscape plan checker for the city since 1996.

According to the staff report, “After 22 years serving in this role, Mr. Dockstader decided to resign so he can focus on his private practice.”

Council unanimously approved the staff recommendation to hire Richard Ramsey, after reviewing his and other applications for the position of landscape plan checker. 

Ramsey’s credentials include a master’s degree in landscape architecture from the Harvard Graduate School of Design and a commitment to personally review plans. 

The other applicants proposed a team approach with a less experienced staff. 

According to the staff, Ramsey is also a Laguna Beach resident familiar with city standards and processes and understands the city’s landscape goals.

Ramsey will conclude current projects in Laguna and agreed not to take on any new work in Laguna while under contact in order to avoid any potential conflicts of interest.

Morning Rainbow

Morning rainbow Montage

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Taken on Saturday morning at the Montage by Roger Kempler while walking with his mother-in-law Sue, daughter Alex, and dog Arlo, as wife Ellen recuperated at home from full knee replacement surgery - she missed a rare one!

Let there be rain

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Let there be Lifeguard Tower

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Monday’s rainstorm brings big waves, empties Main Beach

Let there be Vintage Laguna

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Vintage Laguna in the rain

Let there be LBPD

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Rain or shine, LBPD is always on duty

Let there be birds

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My feathers are getting ruffled!

Last week’s stunning sunset set the tone for a romantic evening

Last weeks couple

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

This couple couldn’t help but stop and stare at the wondrous Laguna night sky

Low tide reflections in the sand at Brooks Street

Low tide beach

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

A perfectly peaceful beach

Chabad hosts inspiring calendar of events in January

Chabad Jewish Center is offering an inspiring calendar of events in January to start off the near year.

Tu B’Shevat, New Year for Nature, will take place on Sunday, Jan 20 at 7 p.m., at Chabad Jewish Center. The cost is $15.

“Enjoy an evening of Kabbalistic insights, songs and inspiration with guest speaker Rabbi Zalmy Berkowitz. Savor exotic fruits and wines of the Holy Land and reflect on our relationship with the environment,” Perel Goorevitch said.

Tu B’shevat, a YZ Youth Zone Event, will be held on Tuesday, Jan 22 at 4:30 p.m. Participants will take part in herb planting, painting rocks for the Sari Ort Children’s Sculpture Garden at Bubbe & Zaide’s Senior Home, sample special fruits of Israel, enjoy PJ Library reading with Ashley, and take away some fabulous lessons from the trees. The cost is $7 per child.

Chabad hosts

Submitted photo

Chabad offers inspiring events this month including Tu B’Shevat, which marks the beginning of a ‘New Year for Trees’

“Tu B’Shevat, the 15th of Shevat on the Jewish calendar is the day that marks the beginning of a ‘New Year for Trees.’ This is the season in which the earliest-blooming trees in the Land of Israel emerge from their winter sleep and begin a new fruit-bearing cycle,” Goorevitch said.

“We mark the day of Tu B’Shevat by eating fruit, particularly from the kinds that are singled out by the Torah in its praise of the bounty of the Holy Land: grapes, figs, pomegranates, olives and dates. On this day we remember that ‘man is a tree of the field’ (Deuteronomy 20:19) and reflect on the lessons we can derive from our botanical analogue,” Goorevitch said.

RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (949) 499 0770 for more information.

Chabad is located at 30804 S. Coast Hwy across from the Montage Laguna Beach.

Mother Nature’s stunning show

Mother Natures stopped cars

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Ringside seat for another spectacular sunset

Waymakers Youth Shelter loves LOCA Arts Education Program and the twice monthly art workshops

LOCA conducts art workshops twice monthly at Waymakers Youth Shelter in Laguna Beach. The shelter serves runaway, homeless, and at-risk youth. Residents have chores, study periods, supervised outings, and intensive counseling for personal growth. The teens typically stay two to four weeks as they make positive change in their lives. LOCA’s monthly art workshops are a highly valued part of shelter programming.

LOCA Arts Education is a nonprofit coalition of arts educators, professional artists and advocates interested in arts education for people of all ages. LOCA hsas been serving the community for over 25 years. In addition to Waymakers, LOCA currently provides workshops to Laguna schools, Glennwood, LB Library, TLC, Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, and the Susi Q Senior Center.

Waymakers Youth painting

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Courtesy of LOCA

LOCA offers twice monthly art workshops at Waymakers

From its inception in 1972, Waymaker’s mission continues, “We are committed to supporting individuals on their journeys and fostering lasting change and positive impact throughout Orange County. Our vision is a community where individuals reach their highest potential and have support finding their way past conflict and crisis.”

Waymakers offers individuals, families, and communities the steadiest, surest, safest pathways to promising outcomes. To clients, Waymakers is the stable home they never had. Their voice when they’re too fragile to speak. Their alternative to the juvenile justice system. Their path away from gang life, substance abuse and other destructive behavior. And their counseling support at a time of greatest need. Waymakers is their advocate, ally, voice of reason and mentor – the one who walks with them on the razor’s edge. 

Waymakers Youth Kandinsky

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Courtesy of LOCA

Circles by Kandinsky is an inspiration for teens

Among the LOCA teachers is Colleen Corbett. “A popular project we do is abstract painting, using tons of colors, stencils, and combs,” she said. “Our line drawing class is another favorite – we use pens, rulers, and French curves. I also introduce the teens to noted artists such as Josef Albers, and Wassily Kandinsky. We love copying Kandinsky’s circle paintings,” she continued. “I’m always surprised at how engaged and focused the students get, and how great they are at sharing supplies and tools among each other. Best of all, their art work is amazing – really, really, good!”

Additional LOCA instructors have included Lylah Jarvis, Allison Keefe, Noel Lashley, Elizabeth McGhee, and more.

For more information on LOCA, go to

For information on Waymakers Youth Shelter, go to

Join ECO-Warrior for first beach cleanup of 2019 this Saturday

ECO-Warrior Foundation invites the community to join in for the first bean cleanup of 2019 this Saturday, Jan 19, from 9 a.m. to noon at Aliso Beach Park. 

ECO-Warrior Foundation will have everything you need to “Do Your Part,” including gloves, bags, waivers, and Chronic Tacos serving up free tacos for all participating ECO-Warriors.

Join Eco Warrior group

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Courtesy of James Pribram

Celebrate the new year by cleaning up our beaches and oceans, keeping them litter free

According to ECO-Warrior, one million seabirds die every year from plastic pollution, and 46,000 pieces of plastic are present in each square mile of the ocean.

The prediction is that by 2050, the amount of plastic in the world’s oceans could weigh more than the ocean’s fish population.

“It’s going to be a great day of giving back to our beaches, oceans and community,” said James Pribram, ECO-Warrior Foundation founder.Thank you for doing your part!” 

Free parking passes will be available for all the volunteers courtesy of Orange County Parks.

The ECO-Warrior Foundation is a CA and Federal no-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving our oceans and beaches through education, activation, and motivation. 

For more information, go to

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