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Open House tours scheduled for five of Laguna’s Safety Net Nonprofits on Tuesday, Sept 25

The public is invited to take part in a Safety Net Tour next week, and to visit any or all of the nonprofits that provide free or low-cost healthcare, groceries, legal services, emergency shelter beds, and services to aid seniors. Five local nonprofit organizations, working to provide these essentials to our community’s most vulnerable, will simultaneously open their doors to offer tours and answer questions on Tuesday, Sept 25 from 8:30 to 10 a.m. 

Guests are invited to walk in during tour hours for informative 10-minute overviews, ask questions, and learn how each organization supports and sustains an often overlooked segment of our community.

The tour is sponsored by McMurray Marketing Communications and Laguna Graphic Arts.

“This is the third biennial tour, designed to offer a chance to anyone curious about these organizations,” noted Barbara McMurray, a marketing consultant and the tour’s organizer. “It’s a way to bring people inside facilities where important work is being done and to learn how they might contribute. 

“This tour is a myth-busting, eye-opening opportunity to have one-on-one discussions about who these nonprofits serve and hear about their daily challenges, successes, and needs. Who knows, maybe someone will be inspired to offer time or money. Listening, understanding through direct experience, and rolling up one’s sleeves to pitch in locally are excellent personal antidotes to our current countrywide maladies.”

Open House Food Pantry

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Photo by Barbara McMurray

Treasurer Susan Thomas leads a tour of the Laguna Food Pantry at the 2014 Safety Net Tour

The Safety Net Tour will take place as these service providers go about their daily tasks, and aims to draw attention to the hard-working nonprofit organizations that offer resources for people who need assistance. 

Seaside Legal Services provides free legal help in civil cases for those who cannot afford representation – 301 Forest Ave at Glenneyre, upstairs.

Susi Q Senior Center providing a wide array of programs and services for people 55 and older – 380 Third St.

Laguna Beach Community Clinic provides excellent medical care to patients regardless of their ability to pay – 362 Third Ave.

Friendship Shelter operates the 45-bed emergency Alternative Sleeping Location under contract with the City of Laguna Beach – 20652 Laguna Canyon Rd. Park on Laguna Canyon Rd, not in the parking lot. Note: Friendship Shelter’s flagship Self-Sufficiency Program located on Coast Highway is undergoing construction and is not available for tours at this time, but future tours can be scheduled by calling (949) 494-6928.

Laguna Food Pantry provides free, fresh, nutritious groceries to anyone in need –  20652 Laguna Canyon Road, north of the Dog Park. Please park on Laguna Canyon Rd, not in the parking lot.

Rachel Callander announced as Keynote Speaker at

RARE Champion of Hope Awards

More than 800 rare disease patients and advocates from around the globe will gather at Hotel Irvine on October 3 - 4, for Global Genes® 7th Annual RARE Patient Advocacy Summit. TEDx presenter, speaker, trainer, award winning artist, and author, Rachel Callander, has been announced as the 2018 Keynote Speaker for The Summit. 

The Summit is the largest educational event for rare disease patients and advocates worldwide. Offering five specialized learning tracks and led by more than 100 rare disease experts, the event equips and activates those affected by rare disease. 

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TEDx presenter, speaker, trainer and award winning artist and author, Rachel Callander 

When her daughter, Evie, was born with a rare condition, the award-winning photographer, Callander, used her talents and the power of language to focus on Evie’s “super powers”, ultimately resulting in her life-affirming work, The Super Power Baby Project. Today Callander’s photographic art book features stunning photos of children born with rare conditions and offers a fresh perspective and a strong message: rare diseases bring challenges and grief, but also much to be celebrated.

Global Genes® is also honored to announce FOX11 and Good Day LA’s morning reporter, meteorologist, and rare disease ambassador, Maria Quiban, will host the Thursday night RARE Champion of Hope Award celebration. Quiban is a passionate advocate who proudly utilizes her platform to campaign for those affected by rare disease. After losing her husband to an 18-month long battle with Glioblastoma, a rare brain cancer, in December 2015, Quiban became a champion for caregivers, recently briefing senators and policy makers on Capitol Hill with Global Genes and National Alliance for Caregiving.

Rachel Callander announced kids

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The Summit is for patients and advocates connecting and growing together

“The RARE Patient Advocacy Summit is an annual conference for rare disease patients and advocates to connect, learn and create forward movement for the rare disease community,” said Lisa James, Global Genes technology manager and Laguna Beach resident. “It’s so inspiring to see the community come together and celebrate the incredible efforts of these rare disease leaders.” 

Global Genes assists many families both globally and locally here in Orange County by building awareness, educating the global community, and providing connections and resources to families. 

Global Genes is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and they provide hope for more than 350 million people affected by rare disease around the globe.

For more information and to register for the RARE Patient Advocacy Summit, visit

Crystal Cove Conservancy’s 16th Annual Soiree is set for Saturday, Oct 6 in a Fabulous Setting

An evening under the stars, complete with breathtaking sunset views and an elegant dinner catered by title sponsor The Resort at Pelican Hill, awaits guests at the 16th Annual Crystal Cove Soiree Saturday, Oct 6, hosted by the Crystal Cove Conservancy. Enjoy a night filled with delectable dining, dancing, and fundraising in a beautiful setting. Limited sponsorships remain for the bluff-top event at Crystal Cove State Park.

“Our Annual Soiree provides crucial funding for our educational programs. Thanks to our generous supporters and guests our citizen science programs grew by 18 percent last year. Our programs introduce hands-on activities that not only make marine biology and environmental science fun, but we are changing the way students look at their options for career choices” said Alix Dunn, president and chief executive officer, Crystal Cove Conservancy. “Our environment is changing, and Crystal Cove’s outdoor classroom is the perfect place to study and inspire the environmental leaders of the future.” 

The Conservancy uses a social enterprise model to fund preservation, conservation, and education initiatives with the goal of creating a sustainable future for Crystal Cove State Park. The Conservancy has become a statewide model for how funds can be reinvested into the park.

Crystal Cove Conservancy

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Crystal Cove Conservancy’s 16th Annual Soiree is Oct 6 under the stars

The Soiree will begin at 5 p.m. with an al fresco cocktail reception with hors d’oeuvres and a silent auction. The Resort at Pelican Hill is donating the hors d’oeuvres as well as the delectable dinner duo of Braised Short Rib and Maine lobster and The Beachcomber is donating the bar service.   

A live auction, live music and dancing to Beatles vs. Stones – A Musical Showdown, will round out the evening. Guests will have an opportunity to purchase fabulous luxury silent and live auction items in support of The Conservancy’s mission to fund important preservation, education and conservation initiatives. 

Opportunity tickets will be offered to win a three-night stay in the beachfront Crystal Cove Cottage #14, the restored “South Beach Suite” accommodating up to six guests. 

The winning ticket will be pulled the night of the Soiree and winner need not be present to win. What better way to give back to The Conservancy’s mission, and have a chance at three nights in paradise?

For more information, visit

Laura Davick, Founder and Vice President of the Conservancy, noted, “Our community has been so supportive since the earliest days, when we fought hard to keep our Cove from becoming a luxury resort. Instead, Crystal Cove is on the National Registry of Historic Places and is arguably the region’s singular, unchanged place in the sun. 

More than 25,000 overnight guests enjoy our 29 cottages already restored and we believe the community will continue to support our newest preservation initiative, to renovate the final 17 cottages on the North Beach that will bring true sustainability to Crystal Cove for future generations.”

Opportunity tickets are $100 each or seven for $500. For information on sponsorships and the opportunity drawing, visit or call (949) 376-6200 x204.

Election 2018: South Laguna Civic Association forum to focus on neighborhood issues


The South Laguna Civic Assocation recently finalized arrangements for a City Council candidates forum, to be held Monday, Sept 24 from 6 to 8 p.m. at The Ranch. 

South Laguna issues will be the focus of the forum, according to the announcement by John Thomas.

“We are trying for some teaching moments about South Laguna for this forum,” said Thomas in an email, which accompanied a graphic. 

“Who knew that South Laguna added as much oceanfront to Laguna Beach as it did? Nearly three additional miles to what had previously been four miles? We plan to provide the candidates with information like this about South Laguna in preparation for the event.”

Three forums have already been held with seven more scheduled.

“We’re looking at 10 forums and this has to cease,” said Mayor Kelly Boyd, who is not running for re-election. “It is mostly the same questions at every forum and half the same people are running them.” 

Still to come:

Laguna Beach Arts Alliance: Saturday, Sept 29 at 9 a.m. at Laguna Playhouse; moderated by former Mayor Jane Egly

Stu News Laguna and KX 93.5: Tuesday, Oct 2 at 6 p.m. (5 p.m. reception) at Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach; moderated by Stu News Publisher & Editor Shaena Stabler and KX 93.5 Founder & Director Tyler Russell (pre-registration required – tickets available here)

Laguna Beach Seniors and League of Women Voters Orange County: Monday, Oct 8 at 6 p.m. at Susi Q & Community Center; moderated by LWVOC’s Armida Brashears

Bill Fried’s radio show on KX 93.5: Thursday, Oct 11 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Laguna Beach Independent and Laguna Playhouse: Monday, Oct 22 at 6 p.m. at Laguna Playhouse; moderated by Ben Simon and Allison Jarrell

Glennwood House will celebrate five wonderful years on Sept 29 at Seven 7 Seven

Glennwood House in Laguna Beach will be celebrating its 5-year anniversary on Sept 29 from 12 - 4 p.m. This fundraiser/party will be held at Seven 7 Seven (formerly Tivoli Too, next to the Sawdust Festival). All ages and community members are welcome.

The community is invited by Glennwood House to join in for an outdoor festival of fun. Two well-known local bands will be performing at the event, The Stick Shifts and Elu The Dust. There will also be face painting, a photo booth hosted by Desi DJ Productions, which will be set up in a 1970s VW van, a silent auction, food and beverage and local vendors to browse.

Glennwood House Residents

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Glennwood residents are an integral part of the Laguna Beach community

Glennwood House, which opened the summer of 2013, is a 42-room independent living facility serving special needs adults 18 through 59 years of age. With an amazing ocean view and walking distance to beach access, Glenwood is truly a magical place. The campus includes a full service dining hall, gym, organic garden, media room, art studio and game area for residents to enjoy.

Fundraising events at Glennwood support their program services and recreation programs and ensure that independent living is a fulfilling and life giving experience for all who live at there. 

Glennwood House Diana

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Resident Diana Neff enjoys the sun on the Glennwood patio

Tickets are $60 per person and $20 for children. For more information and tickets, visit or call Jill Epple at (949) 715-4863. 

Seven 7 Seven is located at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Laguna sculptor to run as write-in candidate


911 Memorial sculptor Jorg Dubin became this week the first write-in candidate for City Council in recent memory. His candidacy became official when the names on his nominating papers were certified Tuesday by the Orange County Registrar of Voters. 

“I was actually approached about six months ago about running for City Council because I’ve been in the community for 42 years and a full-on working artist the whole time,” said Dubin. “My big concerns are that Laguna needs to really embrace unconventional people and lifestyles and also the fact that the City was founded by a bunch of artists in the early 20th century. But now the artist community is being decimated by [the rising cost of] real estate and the lack of support by the city for the artists that are still here.

“There aren’t enough venues for musicians. There isn’t enough support for it. Every time you turn around it seems the city is regulating in ways that are diametrically opposed to artistry.”

Laguna sculptor Jorg 1

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Laguna artist Jorg Dubin

Louis Longi, sculptor of the Art Star Awards, has been named Dubin’s campaign manager. Dubin’s first appearance as a candidate will be at the upcoming South Laguna Civic Assocation Forum at The Ranch.

“We have been talking about his running for quite a while,” said Longi. “We feel an artist should be on the council.”

Dubin said artists don’t have enough places to live and there is a real lack of functioning art studios. He believes the only place for artists is the canyon, which will require a change in city leadership, he says.

“People have been on the council for up to 20 years and it’s time to pass the torch to people who have fresh ideas and perspectives,” said Dubin.” I don’t know if there’s ever been an artist on the City Council and I think it’s high time that there is one, because we’re really underrepresented up there.”

There also has never been a write-in candidate on the council that anyone can recollect. 

Verna Rolllinger, who served six terms as City Clerk starting in 1976, said she has a vague memory of a write-in candidate in the early 1980s, but not a winner. 

Dubin said he knew about the deadlines for filing as a candidate in July and August. What he was told – for which he blames no one – was that in order to run as a candidate there was a $1,000 fee involved. He didn’t want to spend $1,000 to get his name out.

“At any rate, that is the reason I went with the write-in candidacy,” said Dubin. “I am doing this independently. I don’t have any backers, any PACs, anyone funding me. In some ways, I like that because I’m representing the arts community. I am doing this in an unconventional way. I’ve never really fit into a square box so it’s kind of okay with me that this is how it’s going. And being a write-in sort of sets me apart from the pack to a small degree.”

He is running as Comrade Dubin. 

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Photo by Kay Metis

Dubin looking on at Monday’s Village Laguna forum; he will participate in his first forum, hosted by the South Laguna Civic Association, on Monday at The Ranch

“I am approaching this with a little political satire based on the visuals that I’m doing but there is seriousness behind it too.” said Dubin. “I’m trying to bring attention to what I’m doing. I want to draw some attention to what I have to say but placing satire aside I do have some real and serious things to talk about.”

Dubin and Longi feel that the city just talks about being an artist colony, but the arts are not really primary concern.

“I’m concerned with what this place is going to look like 20 years from now for artists, creatives, when they can’t afford to be here. They’re not getting support from the city…it’s a concern.

“If the community wants to shift then it should stop calling itself an artists’ colony and instead [call it] an expensive coastal community for people with means and also for retirees. 

“It feels like there’s a lack of vision on the City Council. And I also think it’s time for other people to be involved in city government, more than just lawyers and CPAs. I think it will be good for the community to have another perspective that comes from the creative community. When we look at the cultural heritage of Laguna Beach, it feels like we’re trending away from trying to continue artistry forward.

“I hate to say this, but it feels like we’re becoming Mission Viejo by the Sea.”

Mayor Kelly Boyd reminds residents that Historic Preservation Ordinance meeting has been moved to Sept 29 at 1 p.m.

Mayor Kelly Boyd went to City Hall Tuesday to remind residents that the special City Council meeting regarding the Historic Preservation Ordinance, which had been scheduled for Sept 18 but was rescheduled due to conflict with Yom Kippur, was continued to next Saturday, Sept 29 at 1 pm. at City Hall. According to reports, approximately 20 residents showed up.

Mayor Kelly Boyd

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Mayor Kelly Boyd, seen here with his wife Michelle and attorney Larry Nokes, went to City Hall on his day off to help inform residents of the rescheduled date for the City Council’s Historic Preservation Ordinance meeting

“My problem was I was concerned that there had been a major mailer go out and a lot of the people wouldn’t know that got the mailer that the meeting was rescheduled. I just wanted to be there and support and let people know as the mayor that we will be holding the meeting but it will on the 29th at one o’clock.”

Love is in the air at Laguna Beach tennis courts as Girls Tennis starts its season

Girls Tennis has started its season. With Coach Rick at the helm, the team has grown in the number of girls on the team since last year. In a grueling new league, the Sunset Wave League, the girls will have to work hard to get that CIF title. 

With a seasoned Varsity team, a growing JV and Frosh/Soph teams, surely they have the point, match, and set in place for this season. JV is under the guidance of Coach Nic Radisay and Frosh/Soph is in transition for a coach. 

A huge influx of ninth graders assures the team will continue to grow and maintain its excellence. Parental support has been overwhelming. The coach and teams asks everyone to come out and support the girls in all their home matches.

Go Breaker Girls!

Love is Varsity team

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Tennis Schedule

Lorene Laguna announces Dog Beach rally and march, to be held on Oct 6

City Council candidate Lorene Laguna has announced a rally for dogs and their humans, to be held at Main Beach on Saturday, Oct 6 at 10 a.m. The event is intended to raise public awareness and give residents information on Laguna’s “365 Dog Beach” initiative.

“Please bring your dog and let’s unite in a show of support to advance and promote a community interest to decriminalize dogs off leash, early morning, for free play for exercise @ 365 DOG BEACH on all Laguna Beach city beaches from 6 - 9 a.m.

“The early morning, dogs off leash hours, make it an ideal opportunity for residents to bring a resident serving value and benefit to build community with neighbors, in our dog loving city.”

33rd Annual Aquathon, another non-event goes ahead

Story by Dave Csira

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

“Let me make this very clear: The event is cancelled! Gone. Vacated. Void. There is no Aquathon today or any day. Go home!”

So began the 33rd annual kickoff of the Aquathon by event coordinator Gary Cogorno, addressing the roughly 200 water-people assembled for the eight-mile trek down the coast of Laguna Beach. As always, the proclamation that the event was off was immediately followed by raucous cheers from the crowd. 

In spite of the fact that the event has frequently been cancelled, it has not failed to take place for the past 32 years. This year was no exception with the non-event going ahead on Sunday, Sept 16 under sunny skies with balmy 72-degree ocean temperatures and pounding surf.

The Aquathon is a swim-walk (sometimes climb) that extends the entire coastline of Laguna Beach from tip to tip starting in Emerald Bay and ending in Three Arch Bay, or as far as one wishes to go. It has – or has not – taken place every year since it became a tradition in 1986 when four Emerald Bay residents thought it would be a hoot to snorkel the entirety of Laguna’s coastline cove-by-cove. 

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Group (Dave Csira, second from left) of hearty Aquathoners

Legend has it that there might have been some nude bathing beaches in those days, piquing their interest in this undertaking, but that is unproven. Giddy with what they discovered (hmmm), they decided to make it an annual event. In no time at all, the event grew to become a must-do outing for hearty adventure seekers.

It’s all about the experience; it is not a race. Even lifelong Laguna residents and avid beach-goers make astonishing discoveries along the way: secret tide pools, explosive blow holes that seem to be produced by some giant sea creature, hidden caverns and surging arches that chortle at anyone contemplating a short cut through their opening. 

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Aquathoners enjoying the day

Exclusive beaches are accessed, in spite of being protected, moat-like, by huge rock formations that are otherwise only accessible via private staircases. Aquathoners have the privilege of taking in the sights of the stately homes that sit like sentinels over these clandestine slices of paradise.

Sunday’s huge swell added a high degree of excitement, along with an element of danger, to the task. Swimming onto the sand at Victoria Beach, for example, was analogous to being tossed into an immense cement mixer. Fortunately, fellow Aqua People fully embrace the challenges, forming a community of supporters, quick to lend a hand, contribute one of their fins, share hard-won advice and cheer each other on. 

33rd Annual lifeguard

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Lifeguard lends a hand

In fact, many hands were lent on Sunday. At some points along the way, when fording a roiling pool or ascending a barnacle-covered bluff, each person would take a turn to pull or push the person in front or behind them to help them along and keep the procession moving. It is simply understood that everyone is there to assist their fellow trekkers.

The community of do-gooders does not end with the participants in the event. There is an extended group of folks who volunteer to record the event, provide snacks and refreshments along the way, offer first aid – cuts, scrapes and dehydration are par for the course – and cheer the group as they pass by. Beachgoers stop the Aquathoners to ask what they’re up to, typically followed by “That sounds so fun!” and then “You must be insane!” Both points are right on. What is indisputable, though, is there is not a person without a huge grin on their face. 

33rd Annual WRV

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Water Rescue Vehicles

Speaking of helping out, the lifeguards were amazing! They were everywhere adding an extra set of hands, showing the best routes to take, zipping around on jet skis and making sure everyone arrived safely to their final destination for the day.

In this case, that final destination happened to be the newly-minted Lost Pier Café where the “Survivors Party” took place. Truth be known, it was the thought of a cold drink and juicy burger with fries that kept many of the participants moving in a southerly direction. There, over the consumption of much-needed calories, shared travails of the day and years past were exchanged, while people bonded over their mutual experience. Exhausted, wet, sunburned, scraped up and happy as clams.

One of the lesser-known aspects of the Aquathon is that all proceeds go to benefit nonprofit organizations. This year, nearly $5,000 will be presented to the Laguna Beach Ocean Lifeguard Foundation with the remainder going to benefit the Laguna Canyon Foundation, John Wayne Cancer Foundation and the Emerald Bay Community Association. See?  Aqua do-gooders doing even more good. You’ve got to love Laguna.

Click on gallery below for additional photos by Mary Hurlbut

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