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Literary scene enlivened in Laguna with the creation of a website listing readings, workshops and more

Story by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

I met with best-selling author Suzanne Redfearn shortly after she had been announced as one of the two official Laguna Literary Laureates for the next two years (the other is Lojo Simon, highly respected playwright, to whom we’ll talk in future issues).

Immediately it became clear to me that Redfearn not only had ideas she wanted to implement during her term – but she had concrete plans to do so. 

And just a few weeks into her term, through her efforts, significant progress has already been made toward raising awareness of literary resources in our community.

(A gentleman called Michael Josephson – I have no idea who he is except that he has a page on the internet – notes that ideas without actions are like boats without sails. I liked this metaphor until it struck me that not all boats need sails. But I digress. You get the point, I’m sure. Suzanne Redfearn, former architect, knows how to get things done.)

During our meeting, Redfearn was insistent that her goal was to work primarily behind the scenes – she simply wants to encourage readers to read, and writers to write, and the community to appreciate the literary arts and the great talent and resources we have within the town – but given the amount of work she has already done, I refuse to let her toil unacknowledged…sorry, Suzanne, I have to say what a great job you’re doing!

Literary scene books

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Excitingly and usefully, she’s worked with partners to establish a nonprofit group called LitLaguna, aimed at supporting the Laguna Beach literary community. Its website www.litlaguna.comhas a comprehensive calendar of all the literary events in Laguna Beach as well as current literary opportunities such as contests, workshops, and classes.

It also has helpful links to other literary sites and literary resources. LitLaguna social media sites for Facebook (Lit Laguna) and Instagram (LitLagunaLB) have also been established to keep Laguna Beach residents up to date on the literary scene, Redfearn explains.

Take a look at the site. It’s clean and user-friendly – and it is launching with a great contest, which we described in the last issue, but which is definitely worthy of a second mention.

This, an Ekphrastic challenge, (I had no idea what that word meant until a week or so ago!) asks viewers to respond in words to a visual image.

“There is a long tradition of writing responding to visual art, so we thought it would be fun to post a challenge to local poets and authors to respond in verse or prose to a piece of local art,” Redfearn says. 

“The Artists’ Fund, an organization that provides disaster-relief grants and professional-growth grants to local Laguna Beach artists, is currently exhibiting its Red Hot exhibit (www.theartistsfund-foa.org) at City Hall, featuring over two dozen pieces for sale to raise money for the fund. 

“From their show, we chose FOA artist Jeff Rovner’s photograph Yangon Monastery Myanmar [to be the inspiration for the competition],” Redfearn added.

Literary laguna monk

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Jeffrey Rovner’s stunning photo demands a response

There will be two winners – one chosen by the artist and the other by the LB Arts Commission. The winning entries will each receive $250, and their work will be published on the city website and exhibited at City Hall.

The photograph will be on display at City Hall for the duration of the competition. There will also be a book at the City Hall counter featuring art-inspired writing if participants want to see examples. 

The contest is open to all Orange County residents 18 years of age or older. Please submit works via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The deadline for entries is Friday, July 27.  

Entries should be 500 words or less. Work must be original. Work must not have been previously published. Entry establishes an agreement on the part of the artist to all conditions listed in the prospectus. 

There’s so much more on the LitLaguna website. Visit the site and see for yourself. Learn where Laguna’s Little Free Libraries are. Find out about workshops around town. Read all about it…

Visit www.litlaguna.com for more information.


Lovely little Lucy is looking for love

Pet of the Week Lucy is a spayed 6 1/2 month old griddle color mix. She is very sweet and loves to hang out with other dogs. Her favorite thing to do is play at any time. Currently, she is in need of a new owner, and is hoping someone will come visit her and bring her in. Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, hopes to see Lucy adopted as soon as possible. 

lovely little Lucy

Lucy is a lovable dog looking for love in all the right places

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, their return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of fifty percent.

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


Environmental groups express concerns with Caltrans plan for Laguna Canyon Road 

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Caltrans will hold a public meeting on Wednesday, June 27 at Laguna Beach High School to promote its proposal to widen the 133 near the highway’s junction with El Toro Road. The meeting will take place at 5 p.m.

The Caltrans proposal extends a second outbound lane 1,200 feet on the 133 from El Toro Road and a second inbound lane on the 133 from El Toro by 900 feet. It also suggests the installation of a concrete block channel in the riparian area on the inbound side before reaching El Toro Road, undergrounding of utility poles on the north side of the highway between El Toro Road and the toll road, and relocating poles on the south side. 

Local environmental groups have expressed strong concerns about some aspects of the Caltrans proposal, which they say encroaches on the open space alongside the roadway, adversely affecting the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. 

“The 900-foot extension of the southbound lane of the 133 past El Toro Road is the area of most concern,” said Hallie Jones, executive director of the Laguna Canyon Foundation. “The road widening dips into parkland where the Stagecoach South Trail runs along the 133. The existing hillside would be reshaped into a sharp slope extending 40 feet in the park.” 

“We do not believe the proposal could be completed without dramatic impacts on the park. The extension would destroy rock formations and native habitat, including as many as 13 oak trees, which Caltrans reported would be mitigated, but not at the removal site, and the steep degree of the slope would require erosion control and stabilization measures that would make efficient slope restoration difficult,” Jones said. 

Environmental groups Laurel Canyon

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Canyon Road – Laurel Canyon

Another concern is the relocation of the inbound merge lane on the 133 at El Toro Road, to past the entrance to the park’s Willow Parking Lot. 

“Traffic in and out of the Willow Parking Lot would require crossing two lanes of incoming traffic,” said Jones.

Laguna Canyon Conservancy President Gene Felder said his group is concerned that the project makes Laguna Canyon Road less safe, not safer. 

 “They [CALTRANS] say the project is driven by accident data, but the data we were shown was quite old,” said Felder. “Pretty much all of the project on the north of Laguna Canyon Road is a concern. Our position is [that Caltrans] stay out of the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park and keep it forever natural.”

Jones said the foundation has fewer problems with the proposed second outbound lane on the 133, starting at El Toro Road.

“The lane reasonably could be extended 1,200 feet without significant environmental impact, and the proposed addition of an 8-foot-wide bike path and shoulder could be accommodated with minimal environmental impact with careful design,” said Jones. 

However, the foundation faults the proposal to underground utilities past the shoulder and into the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, described by Jones as a “take.”

“We would support this portion of the project only if the utilities are undergrounded within the eight-foot shoulder,” said Jones.

The foundation also objects to the proposed channeling of the riparian area on the inbound side of Laguna Canyon Road before reaching El Toro Road, citing serious impacts on habitat. 

“We understand the desire to make the channel easier to maintain thereby reducing the threat of flooding, but off-site mitigation or the purchase of mitigation is not acceptable in this area,” Jones said. 

The Laguna Greenbelt Board of Directors was to meet Monday night and would discuss its position on the Caltrans proposal according to board President Elisabeth Brown.

“We are in sync with the foundation’s objections,” said Brown. “I haven’t heard any great kudos for the project.”

All three organizations will have members attending the meeting, spokespeople said. The meeting at the high school is open to the public.

Pending public review, Caltrans expects to determine from its initial study on the project that the proposal would have no significant impact on such items as agriculture, recreation, transportation or traffic, and utilities and service systems. Less than significant impacts would occur to cultural resources, air quality and water quality, according to the Caltrans study, which also included the statement that biological resources, geology and soil would be less than significantly impacted after mitigation.

A telephone call to Caltrans was not returned by deadline.

Caltrans’ proposed project can be reviewed at the Laguna Beach Public Library or online at www.dot.ca.gov/d12/DEA/133/0P94U


Harley & Hans Update: Rouda takes a slight lead over Keirstead, less than 1,000 votes are left to be counted

Laguna Beach resident and Congressional hopeful Harley Rouda took a slight lead (40 votes thin) over fellow Laguna Beach resident Hans Keirstead, both Democrats, on Monday. The two have been in a fierce battle for the District’s number two spot behind Republican Congressional Representative Dana Rohrabacher since Election Day, with Keirstead mostly leading the race, albeit by very small numbers, including by 329 votes at last Thursday’s vote count.

The two Democratic hopefuls vie to challenge incumbent Rep Rohrabacher, who has represented the 48th District for 30 years. Rohrabacher garnered 30.4 percent of the overall vote in the primaries, a 25 percent dip from the 2016 and 2014 elections, in which he tallied 56.6 percent and 56.1 percent of overall votes, respectively.

According to election officials, there are still about 34,000 votes to be counted from provisional and late-arriving ballots countywide, but most are outside of the 48th District. Fewer than a thousand ballots are estimated outstanding in the 48th.

According to reports, Orange County election officials expect most of these remaining votes to be counted today (Tuesday), with plans to certify election results early next week.

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) has endorsed Rouda while the California Democratic Party has endorsed Keirstead.

It is unknown at this time whether the candidate with the least amount of votes come next Monday will request a recount or not.


A sky of many colors

A sky Glenneyre sunset

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Photo by Judy Barry

Lovely gold and pink June sunset settles over Glenneyre Street


Academy Award nominated film, The Square, screens at LAM for Film Night this Thursday

Laguna Art Museum (LAM) presents The Square this Thursday, June 21 from 7 - 9 p.m., as part of its Film Night series. The film was written and directed by Ruben Östlund and stars Claes Bang, Elisabeth Moss, Dominic West, and Terry Notary. 

The Square was entered into the 2017 Cannes Film Festival, where it won the Palme d’Or, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards in 2018. 

A prestigious Stockholm museum’s chief art curator finds himself in times of both professional and personal crisis as he attempts to set up a controversial new exhibit. Christian is the respected curator of a contemporary art museum, a divorced but devoted father of two who drives an electric car and supports good causes. His next show is “The Square,” an installation which invites passersby to altruism, reminding them of their role as responsible human beings.

Academy Award The Square

The Square screens this Thursday, June 21 at Film Night at LAM

But sometimes, it is difficult to live up to your own ideals: Christian’s foolish response to the theft of his phone drags him into shameful situations. Meanwhile, the museum’s PR agency has created an unexpected campaign for “The Square”. The response is overblown and sends Christian, as well as the museum, into an existential crisis. 

Film Night is generously sponsored by Compass. 

Films are presented in the Steele Gallery, unless otherwise specified, and seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis. While the museum is preparing for the opening of its next exhibition, they will offer free admission for all during this time, but advance ticketing is recommended. Click here to register or call (949) 494.8971.

LAM is located at 307 Cliff Dr. For more information, visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org.


Political notebook banner

Rob Zur Schmiede will kick off his re-election campaign on June 24

Planning and development professional and first-term Laguna Beach City Council member Robert M. Zur Schmiede will formally launch his re-election campaign at a reception and fundraiser on Sunday, June 24 from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m., at the Laguna Beach home of Sharon and Roger McErlane (483 Linden Street).

Zur Schmiede, current Mayor Pro Tem, will speak about his ideas for addressing the issues and the opportunities facing Laguna Beach, as well as his continued commitment to engaged, responsive and transparent city governance.

Rob Zur Schmiede

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Beach City Council member Rob Zur Schmiede

“Over the next several years, Laguna Beach will make critical decisions that will impact our safety, sustainability, and quality of life for decades to come,” said Zur Schmiede. “I am eager to continue the work I’ve done in my first term with other Council members to define the right processes for making these determinations – including extensive dialogue with Laguna Beach voters, local businesses, City agencies, and regional partners, and ensuring that we always put the interests of Laguna Beach residents and our mosaic of unique neighborhoods first.”

Planning Commissioner and Zur Schmiede campaign advisor Anne Johnson said, “Rob Zur Schmiede has made thoughtful and well-informed contributions to the City Council over the past four years, based on his talents for listening and fact-gathering, detailed analysis, and consensus-building. Laguna Beach needs a Council member with the track record of city planning and economic development that Rob brings to the job and deserves the kind of passionate, sensible, and collaborative leadership that he has demonstrated.”

The kick-off reception is open to the public. A minimum donation of $99 per person is requested, with larger amounts welcome up to the $360 maximum donation per person allowed for City Council campaigns. Supporters who have already donated $360 are invited to attend as guests of the campaign. Laguna Beach voters interested in attending should RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Donations can also be made at the campaign website at www.voteRobZ.com

Other members of the Rob Zur Schmiede for Council 2018 Host Committee include Michelle and Kelly Boyd, Betsy and Gary Jenkins, Peggie and John Thomas, Lisa and John Mansour, Stephany and Morris Skendarian, Kirsten and Bob Whalen, Leticia and Mark Christy, Susan and Dr. John Hamil, Dora Wexell Orgill and Mark Orgill, and Beth and Dana Garlock.


House at Cress takes a beating from high tide and big surf last week, forecast this week proves calmer

Just last week, on June 11, high surf and treacherous rip currents resulted in 109 rescues by our lifeguards. Combined with high tides, some houses along the beach took a thrashing. However, this week the sea gods (or Surfline to be exact) predict knee to waist high waves and lower tides.

Surfline (available on the City’s Marine Safety website) reports Brooks Street will have two to three foot waves all week, with relatively low tide. Rockpile at Heisler Park will have three to four foot waves throughout the week. 

House at surf pounds

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Photo by Laura Lee

High tide and big surf last week plummets house at Cress Street

So as the first official day of summer approaches, beachgoers can anticipate a more tranquil sea than they experienced last week. However, no matter what the conditions, Marine Safety always cautions to swim near a lifeguard: USLA statistics over a ten-year period show that the chance of drowning at a beach without lifeguard protection is almost five times as great as drowning at a beach with lifeguards.

For updated weather and ocean conditions, call (949) 494-6573 or go to www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/marine.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

June 19, 2018

Summer comes in with low air temps and typical gloomy skies

Dennis 5Summer officially begins on Thursday. It’s the longest day of the year, with 14 hours and 24 minutes of possible sun time, a sunrise at 5:44 a.m. and a sunset at 8:08 p.m. The farther north you go, the earlier the sun rises, and the later it sets.

Local ocean temps continue to climb to more comfortable levels, with temps running from 67-69 degrees here in Orange County. That’s a couple of degrees above the normal for this date, thanks to south to SSE winds up to 8-10 mph in the morning and a persistent Catalina eddy. The downside is lots of gloomy skies for a good portion of the day, but that’s pretty standard for June anyway.

The third Eastern Pacific tropical system of the season formed just off Acapulco last Thursday, but Carlotta’s life span was very short. Her winds were 50 mph with a central pressure of 1000 millibars, a weak system. She remained nearly stationary for three days and promptly petered out late Sunday evening. Outside of some heavy showers and gusty winds in Acapulco, there were no casualties or structural damages, as Carlotta was a tiny compact storm, only about 75-100 miles wide.

Santana winds in June are almost nonexistent. I’ve witnessed only two such events in the 60 years I’ve been keeping track of this stuff. One event occurred on June 10, 1979, when gusty NE winds up to 35 mph reached the coast and blew most of that morning as temps soared that day up to 101 degrees with relative humidity as low as 10 percent at water’s edge. 

That was the day that thousands of strands of fluffy silk webs were hanging from virtually everything. The tiny spiders came all the way from the high deserts, their habitat. They ended up in Laguna, having ridden the strong NE winds to the SW with their focal point as Laguna. There were thousands of these tiny black spiders that were spinning some mean webs. These little critters were harmless, but they sure put on a show, a once in a lifetime event!

The second Santana howler came on June 17, 1981, with gusty NE winds up to 35 mph and humidity readings as low as 9 percent. The surprise winds woke me up right at sunrise. I was living on Jasmine Street in North Laguna at the time, and my bedroom window faced to the northeast. My bed was right by the window, and I always sleep next to a wide open window, no matter what time of year or what kind of weather as I love the fresh air. So at 6 a.m. that morning, a hot blast of wind launches me right out of bed. 

Immediately, I go outside and check the outdoor thermometer. 82 friggin’ degrees at 6 a.m.? Whoa! Humidity at 12 percent? Whoa again! The temp would top out at 101 that day at water’s edge down at my hangout at Oak Street Beach. My weather buddy Spyder Wills takes the temp of the dry sand above the high tide line at 1 p.m. and comes up with 141 degrees. Then we take the water temp, and it read 81. By then the winds had slackened and the ocean surface was shear glass all the way to the horizon when a spectacular superior mirage appears, and Catalina is three times its normal size. What a day!

See y’all on Friday, ALOHA!


Neighborhood Congregational Church hosts Beyond Boundaries, A Musical Journey on Saturday, June 23

On Saturday, June 23, Neighborhood Congregational Church invites the community to a magical night of eclectic music with touch points from north to south, east to west, and past to present. This one-night-only concert will be performed by a talented trio: William Sigismondi at the piano, Cheryl Crandall on vocals, and cellist Steve Velez. The doors open at 6 p.m. for wine, cheese, and appetizers. The concert starts promptly at 7 p.m.

The pre-event will benefit “LBHS Walking for Water” and Laguna Food Pantry (non-perishable foods will be accepted at the door).

Sigismondi is a Venezuelan composer, producer and pianist with musical influences that range from ethnic to urban to eclectic. Throughout five decades of professional work and study, beginning at age seven in Caracas, he has continued to explore and expand his musical range and experience. His contributions include hundreds of arrangements and musical productions for Award-Winning Latin American artists of national and international fame, resulting in two nominations and one win for a “Latin Grammy” award given by the Latin Academy of Arts and Recording Sciences.

Neighborhood Congregational group

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Submitted photo

(L-R) William Sigismondi, Steve Velez, and Cheryl Crandall

Crandall is a UCLA Musical Theater graduate, recipient of the Frank Sinatra Pop Vocal Award and the Carol Burnett musical Theater Award. She has performed on Broadway and national tours including lead roles in numerous musicals. Crandall toured with Perry Como for five years, has sung for two US Presidents and performed internationally on cruise lines. She was the solo vocalist for the grand opening of the Disney California Adventure Park, and her inspirational CD “Wings of Light” has received great reviews. Her vocal versatility and wide repertoire of music makes her a sought-after vocalist.

Velez received his musical education at UCI and forged a diverse musical experience from classical to pop, Irish to Klesmer. He performs regularly on cello, guitar, piano, recorder, and saxophone. Velez has made numerous television appearances, his various other works include performances with many well-known musicians, and he performs regularly with The Mozart Classical Orchestra, Opera Pacific, Orange County Symphony, among others. In addition to running his own music business, Velez has released compact discs, “Breathe the Celtic Aire” and “Christmas Fantasia,” with his own Da Capo Players.

General admission is $22 (tickets are $25 at the door). To purchase tickets, go to beyond-boundaries.eventbrite.com.

Neighborhood Congregational Church is located at 340 St. Ann’s Dr.

For more information, call (949) 433-6834.


Unitarian Universalist Fellowship’s Social Action Sunday series; Contaminants in Recycling on June 24

On Sunday, June 24, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Laguna Beach (UUFLB) invites members and friends to attend Social Action Sunday at 10:30 a.m. 

Part Three of the Fellowship’s Social Action Environmental Program series will feature Liz Avila, Laguna Beach City Senior Public Works Analyst/Solid Waste Program Coordinator, and Tatum Oliver, OC Waste Management Recycling, Outreach, and Education Manager, who will present “Don’t Be Part of the Problem – Contaminants in Recycling.” 

Universal Unitarian building

Liz Avila and Tatum Oliver will speak about “Contaminants in Recycling” this Sunday, June 24 at 10:30 a.m. at UUFLB

Even though most people think that recycling is important and will not only try to reduce the waste they generate, but also support managing the earth’s precious resources, they might still be creating horrendous amounts of waste. How? By contaminating their recycling bins, and perhaps sabotaging the recycling efforts of their cities and neighbors without even knowing it. Attendees are welcome to come and learn from the experts about recycling and how best to deal with environmental contaminants. 

UUFLB is located at 429 Cypress Dr. For more information, call (949) 497-4568.


Locals gather at Let Laguna Live! rally on Friday

On Friday afternoon, June 15, local residents gathered together at 410 Broadway Street to enjoy tacos and refreshments at a rally and information session to support voluntary, incentive-based historic preservation. The gathering was sponsored by Let Laguna Live! and proceeds from the event will be used to support the group’s ongoing educational efforts.

Locals gather 1

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Photo by Sparkle Films

(L-R) Jeff Benedick, John Alexander, Erin Sparkuhl, Larry Nokes, Marilyn Alexander

Let Laguna Live! is a nonprofit organization formed by a grassroots group of concerned long-time Laguna Beach property owners who seek a Historic Preservation Ordinance that is voluntary and incentive-based. According to a release from the group, “[Let Laguna Live!] seeks a fair ordinance the puts the interest of property owners on an equal footing with the City.” The group strongly believes any ordinance must require the City to obtain the consent of the owners before placing their homes on a historic preservation list.”

Locals gather 2

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Photo by Sparkle Films

(L-R) Larry Nokes, Diane Riegler, Cynthia Brake, Kris Thalman, Chris Quilter, and Patsy Mars

Formed less than one year ago, Let Laguna Live! has more than 425 members and is continuing to grow. For more information, visit the organization’s website at www.letlagunalive.org.


Dr. Anita Wang will headline Business Club Guest Speaker program this Thursday, June 21 at 7:30 a.m.

Dr. Anita Wang, MD, FACEP, will headline the Laguna Beach Business Club’s meeting this Thursday, June 21 from 7:30 - 9 a.m. at K’ya Bistro.

Dr. Wang, a former Emergency Physician, will speak about preventive medicine, anti-aging, and skin health. Her passion was instilled by her many patients that requested her to continue to care for them after their care in the Emergency Department. She decided to honor the requests of her patients and dedicated herself to ensure wellness and natural healthy beauty is maintained inside and out for her patients.

dr anita wang anita

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Dr. Anita Wang

Her compassion and skills have taken her around the world and allowed her to adapt a unique skill set that merges eastern influence and western technology. She is dedicated to delivering the highest quality holistic wellness, preventive medicine, and medical aesthetics and continues to practice Emergency Medicine as well as running her own practice and providing care to online patients.

An avid cyclist, Dr. Wang has cycled around the world on philanthropic bike tours for Keshet – A rainbow of hope for special needs children – and Bao-ji Xinxing Aid for Street Kids. She believes in helping others with limited resources and has volunteered her services with Doctors Without Borders to provide medical aid to the impoverished regions of China.

In addition to being a Board Certified Emergency Physician, she is also a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, a Fellow of the American Academy of Anti-Aging, and extensively trained in Aesthetics. She graduated from the University Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine and has spent over 20 years as an ER doctor previously at UCLA Medical Center, Eisenhower Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center.

Together with her husband, she remains very active, raising twin boys and continues to practice yoga, running, tennis, and cooking healthy meals for her family. Her practice is located at 255 Thalia Street, Suite B. You may visit her website at www.anitawangmd.com. 

Club meetings begin with a buffet breakfast and brief networking roundtable. This meeting will be hosted at K’ya Bistro in the La Casa del Camino Hotel at 1287 S. Coast Highway. Non-members are welcome. The guest attendance fee is $30. 

For more information about the club or to register to attend a meeting please contact a club member or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The LBBC is a group of local business professionals and entrepreneurs that meets monthly to discuss current events, business opportunities and share insights within the context of our community and our lives. To attend a meeting or for more information, please visit www.LagunaBeachBusinessClub.com.


Take a walk to Bird Rock

Take a walk

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Photo by Lisa Barreth

A rare path leading out to Bird Rock emerged at 8 a.m. on Monday thanks to an extremely low tide. Did you know that a pier used to extend from the present Heisler Point to 500 feet out over Bird Rock? According to Gene Felder, the pier, which was built in 1896, lasted almost 15 years and was rebuilt in 1911 before blowing away. A new pier was built in 1926, and lasted until a great storm in the 1930s destroyed it. It was never rebuilt, but the remains of the supports can still be seen on Bird Rock.

(Source: Belinda Blacketer’s booklet “A Look Thru Time - Laguna Beach” Laguna’s Piers, taken from Gene Felder’s Laguna Beach History blog, http://felderlaguna88.blogspot.com)


Where’s Maggi – the answers!

This sculpture is hiding in plain sight. Maggi challenged our readers to name its location, and she heard from quite a few.

Thanks for checking in, Kristen Purll (first correct answer), Darrylin Girvin, Julie Rundle, Susan Brown-Madorsky, Brian Billow, and Suzanne Mellor.

Maggi promises another photo mystery coming up on Friday. Stay tuned!

Wheres Maggi Coast Hwy Third

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Bronze sculpture in South Laguna – Coast Hwy at Third Ave. 


In appreciation of our beautiful Laguna wildlife

Photos by Scott Trimble

In appreciation of 1

This red-tailed hawk makes her home in Bluebird Canyon, along with her two little ones, according to Scott Trimble

In appreciation of 2

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A beautiful Laguna family, seen here taking flight


Splash into Summer & Celebrate with Glennwood House this Thursday, June 21 at The Cliff

All ages – young, old, and in-between – are welcome to come to Glennwood’s Summer Celebration at The Cliff Restaurant in Laguna Beach this Thursday, June 21 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Missiles of October will play the night away while guests sip signature cocktails sponsored by Nolet’s Silver Gin, wine, champagne and appetizers, enjoying the epic Laguna sunsets on the longest day of the year.

The event planning team has garnered fantastic silent and live auction items that will be available throughout the evening. Lucky bidders will have an opportunity to win exceptional stays at some of Laguna’s fine resorts. 

Also, XIV Karats Limited Beverly Hills has donated a beautiful pair of diamond earrings that will make the lucky winner very happy. In addition to beautiful gift baskets, a few local artists, Robin Hiers and Randy Morgan, have donated some of their work toward the cause.

Splash into residents

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Submitted photo

Glennwood residents gather in front of a Wyland mural

Glennwood Housing Foundation, Inc was founded in 2009 as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit foundation. Several families with children or friends who have physical and developmental disabilities came together to support the project. The purpose of this uniquely formed program was to move beyond the interaction provided by recreational sports and address the social, spiritual and financial needs of this distinctive group of young adults as they matured beyond their teenage years and graduated from high school. 

In August of 2013, the Glennwood Housing Foundation, Inc. (GHF) opened the doors to a 42 room Adult Residential Facility that became home for up to 50 young adults with developmental disabilities. Glennwood House of Laguna Beach provides the residents their first opportunity to live independently in a diverse, dynamic, and loving community offering special programs, social involvement and assisted living. 

Glennwood invites locals to join in the mission to provide independent living for intellectually and/or developmentally disabled young adults and celebrate the first day of summer. For more information, please contact Danielle Wilson at (949) 584-6469 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Artful and useful crosswalks 

Artful and artsy crosswalk

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Photo by Judy Barry

Would artful crosswalks like these found in Solana Beach be a good fit for our community?

CROSSING THE STREET IN LAGUNA BEACH
by John Gardiner

Thank you for not killing me in the metal-grilled cross-hairs
of your monstrous SUV as I crossed the street
cautiously, in full view, in daylight, in the crosswalk
where I thought I had a lawful right to be
and indeed once did in a different, slower world
when I could meander and even take a peek upward
at a trail of pelicans
or outward at a glorious pod of dolphins,
but now I must deal with the likes of you
as you fight for space, wrecking the world
with anger
and the awful weight of your toys.


LPAPA’s 4th Annual Dinner Party & Miniature Auction FUNdraiser at [seven-degrees] is art lover’s favorite

On June 14 at [seven-degrees], Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA) again resurrected a past tradition to further its mission and support its education and invitational programs with its 4th Annual Dinner Party & Miniature Auction FUNdraiser. This special evening has become an annual art lover’s favorite.

LPAPA’s FUNdraiser honors the legacy that established Laguna Beach as an art colony. Now famous early plein air artists – William Wendt, Edgar Payne, Frank Cuprien, Anna Hills and others – founded the first Laguna Beach Art Association, and opened the first Laguna art gallery, in 1918. 

LAPAPAs 4th Obermeyer

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Submitted photo

Miniature by Michael Obermeyer

To raise the money needed to open the gallery, the artists painted miniature paintings and hosted art parties for their patrons. LPAPA’s mission pays homage to 100 years of plein air painting history and tradition in Laguna.

After being greeted upon arrival by LPAPA’s President Toni Kellenberg, guests were treated to an array of delicious tray passed hors d’oeuvres and select wines. After cocktail hour, while guests enjoyed a selection of wines with a sumptuous gourmet buffet specially prepared by the [seven-degrees] culinary experts, Rosemary Swimm, LPAPA’s Executive Director, welcomed everyone and took a few moments to recognize a few people in attendance: Mayor Kelly Boyd and his wife Michelle, along with guest speaker Jean Stern, his wife Linda, and LPAPA’s Board of Directors. 

LAPAPAs 4th reviewing auction

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Art lovers review auction items

LPAPA brought Laguna’s past into the present with 14 miniature masterpieces sold during the silent auction and 20 miniature masterpieces sold during an exciting and competitive live auction. 

The evening ended with Rosemary Swimm thanking everyone for their continued support and for helping LPAPA write another chapter in preserving Laguna’s plein air painting heritage. She invited everyone to celebrate the legacy and be a part of the tradition.

Special guest Mr. Jean Stern, Associate Director of The University of California, Irvine Institute and Museum for California Art, indulged attendees with tidbits of Laguna’s artistic legacy and shared the history of a special miniature masterpiece by Arthur Rozaire from the Stern’s private collection.

LPAPA was founded in 1996 with a mission to preserve Laguna Beach’s rich artistic legacy founded by early plein air artists and promote the tradition of plein air painting in our community, across the nation, and around the world. 

For more information, visit www.lpapa.org or call (949) 376-3635.


It was a feast for the senses at Fête de la Musique

On Saturday, more than 5,000 attendees enjoyed a day of music and celebration of friendship with our sister cities. At 46 different locations around Laguna, musicians strummed, drummed and sang, while dancers performed and kids paraded. It was fun for all ages, locals and visitors alike.

This year, the Fête was extended beyond downtown and the HIP district, to the newly launched The Hive, in the Arts District. The festival hopes to eventually provide every nook and cranny with a unique music experience in Laguna Beach on the day of the Fête.

It was a Party

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Party at Main Beach caps a perfect Fête

Presented by Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association, the annual event promotes global friendship, highlighting Laguna Beach’s sister city affiliation with Menton, France.

It was a 12 year old

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

12-year-old Lauren Kimball sang the US national anthem at the Fête de la Musique. This talented Thurston student is heading to OCSA next year.

The performers ranged in age from 12 - 70, and included The MonTones, The Andersons, April Walsh, Reverie, Laguna Beach Swing Set Band, The Agave Brothers, Yael & Vlady, Charles Fullwood, “Elvis”, JJ and the Habibis, the Corazones Alegres Folkloric Dancers, student performers, plus a few mimes. 

It was a April

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna’s favorite chanteuse April Walsh sang the French national anthem

Originating in France in the 1980s, Fête, also known as International Day of Music, celebrates the beginning of summer in Laguna with free musical and art performances throughout the day.

It was a Singer

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Beach resident Lenelle Hamil performed in front of Moulin

Karyn Philippsen, president of the Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association, said this year’s Fête was a special opportunity for uniting people. “It’s particularly inspiring to see people of all ages – members of the community and visitors – come together to respectfully honor each other through music,” she said. 

“It’s an opportunity to gather and be exposed to a variety of free international music. To experience the joy of all these performers coming to Laguna Beach to play music and know that we share this musical event on a global stage is a peaceful feeling.”

The Sister Cities Association focuses on cultural, educational and social exchanges with partner cities around the world. The Laguna Beach chapter is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization. Laguna Beach’s other sister cities are San Jose del Cabo, Mexico, and St. Ives, England.


The Golden Moment…

The Golden Moment

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Scott captured this stellar sunset as it glowed between the two rocks off Two Rock Point


Dianne’s Creature Feature

The barking is back: Sea lions and the magic of Laguna

Story by DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Alan De Herrera

With the help of kelp, the barking is back, which means the sea lions have returned to Seal Rock, in full force, as reported in our recent article. On Memorial Day weekend, Laguna Beach resident Alan De Herrera, a social documentary photographer, humanitarian, filmmaker, photojournalist, food photographer, and diver, photographed around 30 lounging on the rock: one baby, seven adult females, and the rest were pups between one year and two years of age. 

A week later, on a bright afternoon, several sea lions still sprawl on the rock, as I meet De Herrera to gather more information on these amazing creatures. Soon we see one trying to get up on the rock, but it seems reluctant to claim a spot among the others. It successfully navigates the jump, but soon plops right back into the water. And it’s no wonder, the water looks too good. In the huge kelp beds near the rock, a diver’s head bobs up and down. 

“The kelp has brought the sea lions back,” De Herrera says. 

The rock, the sea lions, the kelp, the diamond shaped glints of sun off the water, all interwoven into the bewitching beauty found only here, in this particular spot. 

The barking drone view

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Drone view of Seal Rock during Memorial Day weekend

Our sea lions and Seal Rock are a unique part of Laguna and closely tied to the magic that is our city. It’s a rare opportunity and (as De Herrera claims) only one of three places south of Monterey, Carmel and Big Sur that one can see California sea lions right off shore and frolic with them, and it’s the only dive site in Orange County that almost guarantees divers an encounter. About 200 yards directly from Seal Rock, there is also a far off reef called Dead Man’s Reef. Rumor has it that the morbid name was coined by dead tired divers after swimming all that way out there and back.

And what is that barking all about? According to De Herrera, the barks of the male and female differ in sound and purpose. 

The male’s bark is more of a roar (like a lion, hence sea lion?) and a warning to other sea lions to stay out of their territory. The female’s bark is higher pitched and milder and used to call her pups, as they find each other by sound. (To my amazement and entertainment, De Herrera gives a surprisingly authentic imitation of both barks.) 

Of the sea lions that De Herrera photographed two weeks ago, most were young ones. 

“The bigger sea lions are out in the Channel Islands,” he says, “where there are significant breeding rookeries.” (June is pupping season.) The pups learn to swim and hunt after about two months, and then leave after the first year.

The Channel Islands consist of eight islands (De Herrera has visited them many times and has access to the naval operated islands, San Nicholas and San Clemente). Five of the islands are part of Channel Islands National Park, and the waters surrounding these islands make up Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary.

The barking one on rock

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Basking in the sun on Seal Rock

Catalina, the most urbanized island, has a small sea lion population east of Avalon. De Herrera has been to San Clemente Island, which is a naval base, three times, and says it is a rookery with around 4,000 sea lions. 

On the one square mile Santa Barbara Island, where he has done the majority of his filming (12 times), there are 40,000 sea lions. Behind Santa Barbara Island, San Nicholas is a US Navy base, where 25,000 pups are born each year. Anacapa has a small population of 1,000.

San Miguel, the island farthest north, has a rookery where 23,000 are born annually. Santa Cruz and Santa Rosa Islands have no rookeries.

Why the sea lions come and go among the pockets along the coast, is mainly to rest and for the fish. According to De Herrera, they eat 200 types, including sardines, anchovies, squid, and mackerel. 

The barking sea lion underwater

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Sea lion frolicking underwater

But just the simple action of eating could be the source of a health risk to sea lions.  Besides killer whales and sharks, what or who poses the most danger to them?  It’s a who, and we humans are the culprits. Urban runoff from fertilizer and other pollutants accelerates the blooms of marine algae and cause domoic acid, a potent neurotoxin, which fish eat, and then the sea lions eat the fish. In April and May before pupping season, this can cause the female sea lions to abort their pups or have premature births, according to De Herrera. 

De Herrera adds, “A high percentage of the sea lion population has been found to have cancer.” From 1998 through 2012, that number increased to 26 percent. This may mean the rate of cancer is increasing in the wild, or simply that researchers are paying better attention. However, as per www.marinemammalcenter.org, high levels of persistent organic pollutants such as DDT and PCBs have been found in the blubber of California sea lions.  

Although sea lions have been protected from full-scale desecration by a 1909 California Law, humans still pose a significant threat. Besides pollution, the risk from commercial fishing is great, as they get caught in the nets, and the incidences of sea lions being shot have increased. 

Our own Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) has experienced the effects of various hazards on its rescued patients. As reported by Krysta Higuchi of PMMC, currently, they have 70 patients: Sea lions – 42, Elephant seals – 26, Harbor seals – 2.

So far, their rescue numbers for 2018 are: Sea lions – 66, Elephant seals – 42, Harbor seals – 1, Guadalupe fur seals – 4, and Cetaceans – 7, for a total of 120.

Laguna is so fortunate to count this wonderful facility as part of this rare and mystical place; a city that includes sea lions, Seal Rock, where one can dive and swim with these playful “dogs of the sea,” or just sit at Crescent Bay Point Park and watch them slip and slide off the rock right next to the giant kelp beds that brought them back, barking and all. 

For more information on Alan De Herrera, go to www.alandeherrera.com.


Ten Boys Who Care rocket past their Scholarship goal 

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Photo by Carrie Reynolds

Ten Caring Boys (well, eight anyway!) Ayrton Garcia (L), Kent Cebreros, Francis Pillsbury, Enzo Sadler, Sam Reynolds, Noah Linder, Gustav Morck, Sam Kluver

Ten Boys Who Care rocketed past their goal of raising $2500 for two Laguna Beach High School Good Sportsmanship Scholarships to be awarded this June. To top off a very successful Yard Sale, through a representative, Sue and Bill Gross (of Laguna Beach) surprised the boys by presenting them with a $1000 check. The boys were told that Mrs. Gross had read about the Ten Boys efforts and wanted to add to their scholarship. She asked that the donation not be presented to the boys until their event was nearing an end in order to keep them on their toes and not deter their hard work. It paid off. 

The Ten Boys Who Care Mega Yard Sale earned almost $2,000 from the Bake Sale and Yard Sale. They added it to the $950 already raised from playing music at events, lemonade stands and helping neighbors with chores. Altogether they have almost $4,000 to award in scholarships.

Laguna Beach supports their efforts in so many ways. “We have a lot of gratitude for Jon Madison, of Madison Square & Garden Café, for his donations and to our partners No Square Theatre for hosting our event at their home in Legion Hall and to a supportive community of shoppers and donors,” explained Mason Lebby, PR/Marketing Coordinator.

“We can’t believe the support we get from everyone for the sale,” added fundraising co-chair Gustav Morck. “The amazing donation from the Gross Family Foundation means we get to decide to either give more money this year or have a jump start on next year.” he explained.

Ten Boys Who Care, a group of LBHS freshmen who came together before their 7th grade year, plan to raise money for an LBHS scholarship every year until they graduate in 2019. Their overall goal is $2500 to split between a graduating senior boy and girl every year. 

For more information, contact Mason Lebby, PR/Marketing Chairman 2015/2016 of Ten Boys Who Care at mailto: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Ten Boys Who Care end summer baking scholarship money 

Sunday afternoon while their friends were catching some of their last waves of summer, Ten Boys Who Care raised $200 selling Lemonade and Baked goods for their annual scholarship fund.

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Submitted photo

Zack Bonnin (l) & Sam Reynolds of Ten Boys and happy customer Jeremy Hayes 

These boys, ages 13-15 are working to raise money for their third annual scholarship fund. The $2500 Good Sportsmanship Scholarship money will go to a graduating senior boy and girl athlete in June 2016.

They started in middle school because these boys have all played sports since they were young and they realize that winning isn’t everything but being a “bad sport” can ruin everything. They want to celebrate a student who can tell them in an essay of their biggest “teaching moment” in sports that made that person a better sportsman all around.

After the lemonade was sold, the members elected their 2015-2016 officers

Noah Linder and Ayrton Garcia - Co-Presidents

Kent Cebreros - Treasurer

Gustav Morck and Sam Kluver - Fundraising Co-Chairs

Enzo Sadler - Social Chairman

Mason Lebby - Public Relations

Zack Bonnin - Marketing and Digital Media

Blake Pivaroff - Historian

Sam Reynolds - Scholarship Coordinator

Also, Mason Pitz - Their High School Senior Advisor Class of 2016


Trader Joe’s recycles $500 for Ten Boys Who Care scholarship

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Photo by Carine Garcia

Back (L-R): Sam Kluver, Gustav Morck, Kent Cebreros, Blake Pivaroff, Sam Reynolds and Ayrton Garcia. Front (L-R):  Zack Bonnin, Noah Linder, Deb Conroy (Sommelier at Crystal Cove Trader Joe’s), Enzo Sadler and Mason Lebby

Ten Boys Who Care, a group of eighth graders, received a surprise this week from their local, Crystal Cove Trader Joe’s.  Deb Conrad, Sommelier and Crew Member notified them by writing on their Facebook page.  

She posted this message, “Since January of 2013, our CRV Recyclables Program has raised over $3,500 targeted specifically for local nonprofits.  As a resident of Laguna Beach with a firm belief in ‘giving back’, I am proud to select and support your inspirational organization through our ongoing ‘one nickel & dime at a time’ fundraising efforts.”

Just last month, the boys received essay applications from 19 LBHS seniors graduating this June. This award of $500 will go towards one of the Laguna Beach High School Good Sportsmanship Scholarships to be presented at Convocation through the LBHS Scholarship Foundation.  

“Now, with this great donation, we will be able to choose a third scholarship recipient just like last year,” explains Sam Reynolds, Fundraising Co-Chair.

“So far we have worked to raise the money ourselves painting curbs, helping neighbors and holding our annual Mega Yard Sale.  This will be our first time getting a big cash donation to help build our scholarship fund. We can’t thank Trader Joe’s enough for thinking of us and our scholarship,” added Sam Kluver, this year’s Co-President.

Trader Joe’s Deb Conrad explained her choice this way. “I feel so strongly that ‘giving back’ in some way should be a priority for all of us.  When I stumbled upon the Ten Boys Who Care I was awestruck that they had developed a mission of giving at such an early stage in their lives.  I am thrilled to support and encourage that spirit and look forward to all of the wonderful ways each of them will continue to contribute to the world around them as they grow!”

Ten Boys Who Care is a group of Thurston eighth graders who came together before their seventh grade year to raise money for an LBHS good sportsman scholarship every year from now until the boys graduate in 2019.  Their original overall goal was $2500 split between a graduating senior boy and girl every year.  Looks like they have passed their goal again this year.

For more information, contact Noah Linder, PR/Marketing Chairman 2014/2015 of Ten Boys Who Care This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Ten Boys Who Care still giving back to Laguna Beach High School graduating seniors

Since 2014, Ten Boys Who Care, a group of Laguna Beach boys, has presented a total of $8500 worth of scholarships to graduating seniors at LBHS.

They did it again this year and will continue the tradition until they graduate. 

Ten Boys Who Care is comprised of Sam Kluver, Sam Reynolds, Blake Pivaroff, Kent Cebreros, Noah Linder, Gustav Morck, Zack Bonnin, Enzo Sadler, Ayrton Garcia and Mason Lebby. The group started as seventh graders and began raising money by painting curbs, washing cars, playing music at events, and holding garage sales. 

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Submitted photo

Left to right: Sam Kluver, Sam Reynolds, Blake Pivaroff, Kent Cebreros, Noah Linder, Gustav Morck, Zack Bonnin, Enzo Sadler, Ayrton Garcia, Mason Lebby

This year, the same ten boys will present their fourth round of scholarship winners, one female and one male athlete, $1,250 each at this year’s LBHS Scholarship Foundation’s Convocation in June.

The group met this week and read 13 essay submissions.  “Each of the essays taught us something about how these graduating seniors learned from their experience in sports to eventually become better sportsman,” explained Co-President, Sam Reynolds.


Dr. Anita Wang will headline Business Club Guest Speaker program on Thursday, June 21 at 7:30 a.m.

Dr. Anita Wang, MD, FACEP, will headline the Laguna Beach Business Club’s next meeting on Thursday, June 21 from 7:30 - 9 a.m. at K’ya Bistro.

Dr. Wang, a former Emergency Physician, will speak about preventive medicine, anti-aging, and skin health. Her passion was instilled by her many patients that requested her to continue to care for them after their care in the Emergency Department. She decided to honor the requests of her patients and dedicated herself to ensure wellness and natural healthy beauty is maintained inside and out for her patients.

dr anita wang anita

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Dr. Anita Wang

Her compassion and skills have taken her around the world and allowed her to adapt a unique skill set that merges eastern influence and western technology. She is dedicated to delivering the highest quality holistic wellness, preventive medicine, and medical aesthetics and continues to practice Emergency Medicine as well as running her own practice and providing care to online patients.

An avid cyclist, Dr. Wang has cycled around the world on philanthropic bike tours for Keshet – A rainbow of hope for special needs children – and Bao-ji Xinxing Aid for Street Kids. She believes in helping others with limited resources and has volunteered her services with Doctors Without Borders to provide medical aid to the impoverished regions of China.

In addition to being a Board Certified Emergency Physician, she is also a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, a Fellow of the American Academy of Anti-Aging, and extensively trained in Aesthetics. She graduated from the University Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine and has spent over 20 years as an ER doctor previously at UCLA Medical Center, Eisenhower Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center.

Together with her husband, she remains very active, raising twin boys and continues to practice yoga, running, tennis, and cooking healthy meals for her family. Her practice is located at 255 Thalia Street, Suite B. You may visit her website at www.anitawangmd.com. 

Club meetings begin with a buffet breakfast and brief networking roundtable. This meeting will be hosted at K’ya Bistro in the La Casa del Camino Hotel at 1287 S. Coast Highway. Non-members are welcome. The guest attendance fee is $30. 

For more information about the club or to register to attend a meeting please contact a club member or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The LBBC is a group of local business professionals and entrepreneurs that meets monthly to discuss current events, business opportunities and share insights within the context of our community and our lives. To attend a meeting or for more information, please visit www.LagunaBeachBusinessClub.com.


Location approved for Water-wise Parklet

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Laguna Beach was recognized in 2017 as a “water-wise city” by the Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for its outstanding efforts to conserve water and for gathering the most pledges from residents, schools and businesses to use water more efficiently.

The prize for Laguna’s top spot in the challenge was a water-wise pocket park/demonstration garden project awarded by the Municipal Water District of Orange County and the Wyland Foundation. 

“It is so exciting that we will have a pocket park to educate visitors and residents on ways to save water,” said Irene Bowie, who serves on the City’s Environmental Sustainability committee.

The design and the recommended location for the demonstration garden were unveiled Tuesday night at the City Council meeting. No action was required of the council.

The design has already won an award, according to Saddleback College Professor Robert Farnsworth, co-chair of Horticulture and Landscape Design. 

Farnsworth’s students created the concept for the parklet, described for the council by Angela Abbott.

The park will include plants, irrigation, lighting, and signage in a design intended to serve as a model for water-efficient landscaping. Benches in the design will invite gatherings.

“People won’t come without seating,” said Saddleback student Angela Abbott, who described the plan and the intent behind it.

Project partners including the county water district, the Wyland Foundation, the college and the Laguna Beach County Water District, spent the last year determining the best place for the proposed parklet that would be both beautiful and educational. 

“The research has been remarkable,” said Renae Hinchey, general manager of the city’s water district. 

The partners selected the most southerly end of Treasure Island Park at Wesley Drive and South Coast Highway. Montage will donate the land and hotel officials have committed to maintaining it.

However, South Laguna Civic Assn. spokesman Scott Sebastian expressed the group’s preference for the Aliso Creek estuary as the site for the park.

The group will get another shot at changing the location.

Public Works Director said the project will require an amendment to the Montage landscape plan, which will go before the city’s planning commission, along with a detailed plan for review and approval.


Grace Rune planned to go to Yulin frontlines to rescue dogs from the dog meat trade: but Americans are in danger there, so she hopes to do triage instead

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Last week, Grace Rune, humanitarian and volunteer for two organizations that rescue dogs in China, brought the subject of the horrific Yulin Dog Meat Festival and slaughterhouses to our attention. She had planned on traveling to Yulin, China next week to rescue dogs on the frontlines with a group of monks and a team of volunteers.

However, on Thursday morning, Rune reports, “They decided they don’t want us on the frontlines because of the danger to Americans, they don’t like us there, so last night, I had to cancel my flight. Now we may go to the monastery and work triage there, I’m working on it.”

All rescued dogs will be going to Garden of Life Monastery as they have built a new quarantine block, and she’s hoping to work with volunteers from the UK, Singapore, and China doing triage. 

Grace Rune monk and dogs

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Monks and volunteers tend to dogs 

“I personally feel defeated as I really wanted to go to the front lines, but helping at the monastery is also the front line, but just different,” Rune continues. “It’s been very difficult to arrange.” 

Rune forwarded us a statement from the monastery on this year’s actions, and this is an excerpt: 

“The annual Yulin Dog Festival begins on June 21 again. At this time, most Chinese people want to ban this so-called festival and believe it has tarnished China’s image. In the past few years, as the opposition to the brutal Yulin Dog Festival began to increase, the local government has clearly responded…In 2011, government officials ordered the Jinhua Dog Festival to be closed [and] closed some markets and slaughterhouses and prohibited officials from eating dog meat in local restaurants.”

Grace Rune single dog

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Dog being transported

“The Yulin Dog Meat Festival is not a cultural tradition. It was only in 2010 that business activities were initiated by dog traders for profit. For the so-called ‘summer solstice to eat dog meat’ custom, tens of thousands of dogs are poached and brutally killed every year, and most of them are pet dogs from dog thieves that steal them from the owner’s home or on the street.”

“The closer the time is, the more we feel the pain of apathy…The local slaughterhouse has begun to stock up now. Dogs have been transported from all parts of the country to Yulin and throughout Guangxi, and most of them were captured by theft. The main pet is dogs…Yulin dog slaughterhouse is concentrated in the remote villages. There is no license and the hygiene is very messy. The slaughterhouse generally begins slaughter in the early morning. After the slaughter, the dogs will be placed in refrigerators or delivered to the Yulin Market.” 

Grace Rune water dogs

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Monk gives water to dogs in transport

“During the summer solstice [last year], more than 2,500 dogs were rescued at the Yulin slaughterhouse. This year we decided to continue random rescue operations around the June 21 solstice…When all sentient beings suffer, the disciples and Buddhist disciples should be rescued with equal compassion.” 

(Note - The rescue volunteers pay with their own money and don’t take a penny for their work.)

To support the GoFundMe campaign Rune has set up – Yulin Aid for Voiceless Dogs and Cats, go to: www.gofundme.com/5nbrrr4?pc=em_sf_co2876_v1&rcid=9203fe2506574c448e0dad376cf648fe.


Laguna Bluebelt Seventh Annual Photo Contest Artist reception and exhibit deemed a huge success

On Friday, June 8 at Forest & Ocean Gallery, winners of the 7th Annual Laguna Bluebelt Photo Contest 2018 were joined by Laguna Bluebelt Coalition members, supporters and friends to celebrate winners and learn more about the many accomplishments of Bluebelt. These accomplishments include a summer partnership with inland communities and OC Coastkeeper to reduce urban runoff routinely contaminating local coastal waters. 

All in attendance enjoyed great food, music, and mingled in rooms full of friends and wonderful art.

Laguna Bluebelt group shot

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Contest winners and Laguna Bluebelt Coalition members, supporters, and friends

This year’s winners include: Alex Cowdell, Henry the Harbor Seal, Professional First Place; Noah Munivez, Blue Glass, Amateur First Place; Michael Fernandez, Oak Street Polar Swim, Professional Second Place; Bryan Greenberg, Rock Bottom, Amateur Second Place; Rich Everson, Victoria’s Glory, Professional Third Place; David Hansen, Birds at Dusk, Amateur Third Place, Scott Brashier, An Ocean Connection Begins, Professional Honorable Mention; Deanne King, Octo on the Run, Amateur Honorable Mention; Tanner McQueen, Palm Tree Points, Professional Honorable Mention; and Julianne E. Steers, Sargo School, Amateur Honorable Mention.

Laguna Bluebelt with sign

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Attendees celebrate accomplishments of Laguna Bluebelt

 “Each year, we discover many more talented photographers capturing the beauty and wonder of Laguna’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – a key nursery for regional fisheries and popular spot to see sea life,” notes Jinger Wallace, co-founder and coordinator of the popular event. 

“MPAs are California and America’s underwater national parks attracting over six million visitors to Laguna Beach and its famous art galleries, restaurants and resorts. The Photo Contest reminds us not only of the beauty of sea life but the importance of a healthy ocean to California’s economy – now the fifth largest economy in the world.”

For more information, go to www.lagunabluebelt.org.


Spring Gala 2018 raises $8.25 million for the I’MAGINE space redesign project at MemorialCare Saddleback 

More than 400 physicians, philanthropists and community supporters stepped into the splendor of Japanese elegance at Saddleback Memorial Foundation’s Spring Gala 2018. The black-tie event, held June 2 at Monarch Beach Resort, netted more than $285,000 for I’MAGINE, the space redesign project for MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center, bringing the grand total raised over three years to $8.25 million, surpassing the $7 million goal for the $16 million project. 

After a hosted cocktail hour, guests were greeted in the ballroom by the enchanting musical artistry of a koto, a Japanese stringed instrument. The program began with a welcome by Marcia Manker, Saddleback Medical Center CEO. 

Spring gala levines

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Laguna residents Dawn Levine and Gary Levine, MD; Dr Levine is the medical director of MemorialCare Breast Center

“For the last three years, we asked the community to ‘imagine’ a new hybrid operating suite for physicians, patients healing in private rooms, and patients using a new rehabilitation gym before going home,” Manker said to guests. “Tonight, because of your amazing support, what we have imagined for so long can finally be finished on behalf of our physicians, nurses and our patients.”

A dynamic auctioneer brought a new level of excitement to the live auction, which featured some new items, including a child’s mini Tesla, a Las Vegas getaway package, and seven-night stay at a Caribbean villa in St. Kitts.

Steve’s Pies, an auction tradition of homemade pies baked every month for a year by Foundation board member and former CEO Steve Geidt, sold three times. The live auction raised more than $43,000. 

Spring gala auctioneer

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Auctioneer Vincent Lopez knows how to fire up a crowd

After the live auction, I’MAGINE campaign chairs Sam and Tammy Tang introduced a video and challenged guests to open their hearts for the Fund-A-Need; the goal for the evening was to raise $100,000 to fund the renovation of the rehabilitation gym. The Tangs reminded the guests that whether the doctors are saving lives with advanced medical equipment, patients are recovering in the peace of a private room or therapists are teaching patients new skills in the rehabilitation gym, the goal is always the same: to get people back to living life.

The video spotlighted Saddleback Medical Center physicians and staff who are benefiting from the renovations that have already been completed: a new main nursing station on the second floor, new surgical staff locker room and lounge, and a reconfiguration of the entire surgical unit, where the pre-op area is now within the unit. Still to be completed are the private rooms, the rehabilitation gym renovation (that will include a new simulated car, stairs and bathtub), and the addition of a new hybrid operating suite. After the video, the Fund-a-Need raised more than $104,000 for the gym.

“The ballroom was filled with devoted supporters, dedicated physicians, loyal friends, and amazing volunteers,” said Cecilia Belew, president of Saddleback Memorial Foundation. “I am always humbled by the magnitude of their generosity in support of Saddleback Medical Center and the patients we care for. Because of our sponsors, all of the money we raised that night will directly benefit this project.” 

Spring Gala 2018 Platinum, Gold, and Silver Sponsors included:

Platinum Sponsors: MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center (2 Tables); MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center Medical Staff

Gold Sponsors: Gary Damsker, MemorialCare Medical Group and Greater Newport Physicians, OC Surgeons, Pediatrix and Obstetrix Medical Groups, Surgical Care Affiliates, Sam and Tammy Tang, Vituity

Silver Sponsors:  California Anesthesia Associates, Farmers and Merchants Trust Company, Steve and Ginger Geidt, Dawn and Gary Levine, MD, Monarch HealthCare, O’Connor Mortuary, Arnold Schwartz, Bebe Shaddock and Russell Smith, Tiller Constructors

Saddleback Memorial Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, raises philanthropic support for MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center, a community-based, nonprofit hospital. The generous support of donors enables Saddleback Memorial Foundation to continue to keep the medical center at the cutting edge of procedures and medical expertise, as well as provide programs and services for the community. To learn more about supporting Saddleback Memorial Medical Center through the Foundation, please call (949) 452-3724 or visit www.memorialcare.org/smf.


Drew Mercury will speak on “The Five Keys to Making Any Change in Life” at UUFLB on June 17

On Sunday, June 17 at 10:30 a.m., the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Laguna Beach will be welcoming Drew Mercury, founder and owner of Drew Mercury Fitness, a personal development fitness company. Drew Mercury will share “The Five Keys to Making Any Change in Life.”

Drew mercury portraitFor the past 13 years, Mercury has been helping people achieve healthy lives through his personal training programs and wellness seminars. In his many years as a health and fitness professional, Mercury has come to realize that the connection between the human mind and body is unquestionable, and that that connection plays a vital role in our health and happiness.

In addition to presenting wellness seminars, Mercury is President of Strategic Alliance Business Network International, an accomplished Toast-master, and a former stand-up comedian. 

For additional information, contact Rachel Daniels at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (310) 714-269.


NAWBO installs Loreen Gilbert as new Chair for the NAWBO National Institute 

Laguna resident Loreen Gilbert, President and Founder of WealthWise Financial Services, has been sworn in as Chair of the NAWBO (National Association of Women Business Owners) National Institute. She will be responsible for advancing women business owners’ education and access to resources to help them manage and scale their business. The Institute provides these resources for all women business owners, domestically and internationally, regardless of membership status. 

Having most recently served as the Governance Chair, Loreen Gilbert has served on the NAWBO National Board for the past four years. She also sits on two of four NAWBO National Councils: the National Tax and Regulations Council and the National Workforce Issues Council. 

“Providing tools and resources in order to help women business owners scale their business will be my focus for the NAWBO Institute. Specifically, the Sharapova/NAWBO Entrepreneur Program, moving the needle for women serving on corporate boards and international microlending programs are some of the focuses for the NAWBO Institute,” said Gilbert. 

NAWBO Loreen Gilbert

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Loreen Gilbert as the new chair for NAWBO 

Gilbert will be in Washington DC for NAWBO Advocacy Days June 19 - 20. At that time the winners of The Maria Sharapova Women’s Entrepreneurship Mentoring program partnering with NAWBO will be announced. 

The program will select six women business owners from a nationwide call for applicants for twelve months of mentoring by Maria Sharapova’s marketing and business development teams as well as the NAWBO Institute. 

“Like most entrepreneurs, I made a few mistakes starting and growing my business. that could have been avoided if I had found the right someone to guide me,” said Gilbert. 

“I want to lead and harness this collective brilliance of women entrepreneurs through the Institute to help women at every aspect of their business – scaling their business, providing business education, increasing their presence on corporate and nonprofit boards and giving back. I believe all of us are smarter than any of us.” 


Presley Jones is named winner of LB Little League’s Stu Saffer Love of the Game award

Fittingly, on the first year anniversary of the late, great Stu Saffer’s memorial service, Presley Jones (11) has been named the winner of LBLL’s Stu Saffer Love of the Game award.

Presley is finishing her fifth grade year at Top of the World Elementary. This is her seventh season playing baseball in Laguna. She says she has loved baseball from the time she was three years old.

She’s a die-hard Angels fan (just like Stu) and still gets on the computer every morning to track the team and players’ individual stats. 

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Presley is pictured with LBLL President Jarren Gonzalez: Girl power!

To be considered for the award, players are nominated by the LBLL Board, and then the Board votes. Only one player from the whole league is chosen – and she (or he) must demonstrate a true “love of the game”, which includes their passion for the game both on and off the field. 

Presley said she was thrilled to win the award because it came from people who have watched her play since T-ball. There’s no place she’d rather be than in the Riddle dugout, eating seeds with her buddies, she says.

In a cool twist, they didn’t have any “girl” trophies that weren’t softball-related. So Board member Sammy Bradshaw drove around until she found some nail polish to complete the award. When Presley received it, the cleats were a beautiful, bright pink. 


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

June 15, 2018

Rockpile sees some great sets earlier this week

Dennis 5Here it is only the middle of June and we already have two major hurricanes under our belt in the Eastern Pacific Tropics. Aletta reached high end Category 3 status with sustained winds of 125 mph with a central pressure of 944 millibars for a brief time before she entered much colder waters off the tip of Baja and rapidly fell apart. Same deal with Bud on the heels of Aletta as he, too, reached high end Category 3 status with sustained winds of 125 mph with a central pressure of 942 millibars for a brief time until hitting that wall; he fell apart as he crossed over Cabo as a low end tropical storm. That’s a good thing as only 24 hours earlier he was a dangerous system as he was setting his sights on the resort town of Cabo and neighboring La Paz. That big pool of much colder water saved their butts from major damage and possible casualties.

Unfortunately we didn’t get any south swell from either system, however a significant long period SSW Southern Hemisphere swell saved the day earlier this week with some great waves at all south facing spots here in Southern California. Finally our first south swell of the season showed up. Laguna’s Rockpile Point saw some sets that were several feet overhead at high tide. It wasn’t quite the right direction for Brooks Street or Newport Point as both spots only shine on shorter period severe angle SSE swells. Malibu up north saw perfect four-six foot peelers all the way from first Point to the pier with up to 120 riders out there as everybody was super hungry to ride the Bu’s long overdue beautiful peelers.

Lower Trestle saw some flawless six-eight foot sets with up to 80-100 players out so things at both spots got a bit tense at times to say the least. There were already 40 guys out as early as the first faint light of dawn. Newport’s Wedge saw sets of 12 foot or even bigger. Here’s hoping we get paid back with interest and get a decent south swell season. It’s been four years since we had one. 

See you in the water, ALOHA!


Democrats hold Unity Barbeque at Heisler Park

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Democrats hold unity event: Harley Rouda and Hans Keirstead – both LB residents – attended the event

Laguna Beach Democrats turned out to celebrate what they had in common at a Unity BBQ this last Wednesday. 

Both would-be challengers to Rep Dana Rohrabacher, Hans Keirstead and Harley Rouda, attended the event. The men are in a statistical tie, with Keirstead leading by 329 votes as of Thursday evening. 

The final result could take a couple more weeks to decide.


Cryptocurrency sale at the office of Engel & Volkers – is it real money?

By MAGGI HENRIKSON

The local real estate office of Engel & Volkers recently added a new type of transaction to their repertoire – the purchase of a Laguna Beach home using cryptocurrency. 

The sale, in excess of $3,000,000, closed without a hitch, with actual money deposited at end of escrow, but of course it provided a learning curve for the realtors involved. Realtor Mitch Frisch coordinated with Engel & Volkers’ Utah office to learn from their more extensive cryptocurrency deals. Now he’s pretty excited about it, and so are his buyers.

My buyers are buying properties with KTC [Kryptonite Trade Coin] cryptocurrency and interested in three White Water Ln as well as several others. The last property they just put into escrow was paid with 9,000,000 KTC, which is equal to $6,750,000. In September they predict this coin will be worth $2 each so the net to seller on $6,750,000 would potentially be $13,500,000 or more.”

Crypto Mitch

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Realtor Mitch Frisch

Is this the wave of the future? If so, I need to get on board. Let’s start with what the heck is cryptocurrency?

The simple answer is that cryptocurrency is a kind of digital, virtual or alternative currency. The more complicated answer includes the way it’s designed (algorithm based or asset based), the way it’s secured (using advanced cryptography), the way it’s distributed (via a blockchain), and its fundamental departure from traditional currencies (decentralizing control). Piece of cake, right?

Cryptocurrencies are decentralized and run by a network of computers instead of a single person or a company. The money you own is stored in a digital wallet you keep in the cloud or offline on a PC and can be sent to someone via a computer or a mobile device like a smartphone.

Jamie Smith, the global chief communications officer for Bitcoin hardware and software firm Bitfury and CEO of the Global Blockchain Business Council says, “What we’re going to have in the years to come is, I believe, global WiFi. I think almost everyone will have access to or own their own phone, so, with those two components, now you have a system that allows people to move money or any asset they want peer-to-peer for almost free.”

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Bitcoin is the biggest and most well known cryptocurrency with millions of users across the globe. It was founded by someone with the nickname Satoshi Nakamoto in 2009. However, it’s not the only one, as there are reportedly around 1,000 of them to choose from. 

The Kryptonite Trade Coin (KTC) advisor, Marata Carroz, shared with the Frisch Group at Engel & Volkers these bits of KTC wisdom, “KTC is not an algorithm based currency. KTC is an asset based, ‘gateway currency’ which emulates the long-proven barter dollar. KTC is simply a barter dollar moved to the blockchain in the form of a coin (KTC). This in turn allows owners of valuable, tangible assets to trade immediately for a globally deployable, highly flexible, digital trade currency which can be used as payment today to acquire assets of nearly every kind around the world without conversion to another currency. In addition, there is the added benefit that the value of the coin can go up in value quite significantly with market demand as these barter transactions are announced to the world.”

KTC is what’s up next on the docket for Engel & Volkers sales, but the first was a different type of (unspecified) cryptocurrency.

Cryptocurrency users tend to be secretive about their holdings, especially those transactions involving the kind of amounts that get you a house in Laguna Beach. 

I understand that the algorithms solved by those who “mine,” creating the currency, are deeply complex and virtually impossible to hack into, so that’s the good side. The dark side is that bad guys could potentially use it as a way to move and hide money. 

Is the future bright for investing in cryptocurrencies? I’m still on the fence about it. Granted, I’m certainly still learning about the whole system, but I have a feeling we’ll be seeing more cryptocurrency in real estate sales and more in Laguna Beach.

For information about Mitch Frisch’s office, visit https://mitchfrisch.evusa.com/en.


Marine Safety Rescue Water Crafts prove valuable assets for Laguna lifeguards and visitors alike

By DIANNE RUSSELL

During rough water conditions, as evidenced by the 10 saves our Laguna Lifeguards carried out on Monday that required the use of their rescue water crafts (RWC), RWCs are invaluable. (One hundred and nine rescues took place overall.)

Wave I, II, and III, as they are aptly named, have been part of the Marine Safety Department since 2013. They’re hardy helpers, each is 12 feet long and weighs 1,100 pounds.

Captain Kai Bond of the Marine Safety Department reports that, “They’re used not only for ocean rescues, but for preventive action as well. We routinely patrol certain areas throughout the day, and use them in the enforcement of fishing regulations offshore. We can have direct contact using the RWCs.” 

However, Laguna isn’t unique in the use of RWCs. California State lifeguards, Newport Beach lifeguards, and Huntington Beach lifeguards utilize them. 

Marine Safety Tom Renner

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Lifeguard Tom Renner at Bluebird Beach

“A few weeks ago, we had a countywide training in Huntington Beach with our counterparts on watercraft operations,” says Capt Bond.

“Although the first day of summer isn’t until June 23, we’ve had summer-like conditions,” he continues, “and we’re excited about the large hiring of new lifeguards this year.”

If the last few weekends have been any indication, summer has already begun, and it’s going to be a busy one, especially for lifeguards. 

An interesting bit of trivia comes from www.carnegiehero.com, “The first paid lifeguards of Laguna Beach, Calif., were hired in the summer of 1929, two years after the sleepy and somewhat isolated little town was incorporated as a city. Before then, Pacific Ocean rescues were made largely by Laguna Hotel and Bath House employees or skilled fishermen.” 

Marine Safety lifeguard

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Lifeguard in action

I, for one, am certainly glad Laguna Beach started hiring lifeguards, and I’m sure residents and visitors agree.

Just as a reminder, here are the basic safety tips listed on the Marine Safety website: Learn to swim; swim near a lifeguard; swim with a buddy; check with the lifeguards on conditions; use sunscreen and drink water; obey posted signs and flags; keep the beach and water clean; learn rip current safety; avoid neck and back injuries; enter the water feet first; and wear a life jacket while boating.

Next week, we will doing a more detailed article on ocean safety.

For more information, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/marine.


Denise Puglisi needs help: the gamma knife worked, but chemo continues

Local Denise Puglisi initially went into the hospital in November 2017 over Thanksgiving. There, after quite some time and many tests, the doctors uncovered serious medical issues. 

Upon returning home, Denise received her lab results and had received a multiple cancer diagnoses – the cancer had spread to her lungs, brain and lymph. 

Her physicians immediately developed a treatment plan, part of which was a gamma knife procedure on the spot on her brain – a treatment that has proved successful! 

Denise has been receiving chemo treatments for the lung and lymph areas and progress is being made. 

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Despite the challenges, Denise remains upbeat

She has also been receiving alternative therapy of Reiki from her “sister” Kerry Walker-Collins, of Mystic Reiki and Wellness, to ensure that the cancer is being worked on from all sides and using all methods. 

“We started the GoFundMe page because Denise had been unable to work her normal amount as we had expected and we’d would like to keep her comfortable in her home for as long as possible,” says Kerry. 

“Denise has been independent and owned her business as a personal assistant/concierge service for many years. Many locals may also know her as the former manager of the Marine Room Tavern. Her upbeat “go get em“ personality has been loved and  appreciated by many through the years and is such a blessing for her through this as she is staying positive. 

“She has helped countless others in her life and in turn many of us have become her family. She has a huge heart and deserves our help; we hope to do everything we possibly can to keep her stress to a minimum.

“Denise is the type of person that always shows up for others in need. It’s our time to help her. 

“We are rallying around for a positive complete healing/remission prognosis and to assist her in her immediate financial needs.”

Donations can be made through Venmo (@denise-puglisi) or at

www.gofundme.com/help-denise-through-2018-cancer.


Barbara’s Column

Laguna on the March

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Laguna Beach High School Scholarship Foundation distributed 139 awards totaling $436,013 Friday night at the annual Honors Convocation.

And that doesn’t include the $27,700 Festival of Arts “renewables” – good for four years if the student meets donor requirements such as grade point average, raising the total to an astounding $525,000.

Outstanding!

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The donors and presenters of the awards were honored prior to the Convocation at a reception in the Upper Patio of the high school. Special kudos went to Lor and Dr. Steven Speach, advocates of community colleges as a sensible and far less expensive way for students to pursue higher education. Starting in 2008, the Speaches have annually donated ten $500 scholarship to LBHS grads and have congratulated winners on what they believe is a wise decision.

“Their generosity has been significant,” said foundation board member Jeannie Harrell. “The Speaches’ scholarship targets a group of students that generally does not get a lot of recognition or financial assistance.”

The money is important but so is the recognition that gives award recipients a boost of confidence that is vitally important to young people stepping into adulthood. And some come full circle. 

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Halley Corbett was the recipient of a $5,000 scholarship when she graduated in in 2003. The scholarship helped pay for Corbett’s undergraduate education at San Diego State University.

“It really was the catalyst to where I am today,” said Corbett, one of the two LBHS graduates who spoke at the reception.

“I believe that life is a full circle and what goes around comes around so in memory of my mother, Margo, who passed in June last year of pancreatic cancer, I have established a scholarship in her name.

“It is my hope for the graduating seniors as they enter the adult stage of their lives they realize how we all impact each other. Sometimes those who feel the least deserving of help need it most.”

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Eva Collette Smith, who graduated in 2015, was also among the new donors this year. 

“I know how difficult it is to break into the art world, especially performance art,” said Smith, who donated a $1,000 scholarship for an aspiring actor.

Other first-time awards included scholarships funded by the Laguna Beach Ocean Lifeguard Foundation, Thurston PTA, Fornaro/Boardroom Magazine, LBHS Dance Boosters, the Class of 2017, Next Wave Finance and as memorials in the names of Margo Cruz and Steve Duncan and fallen Laguna Beach Police Officer Jon Coutchie

2003 graduate David Beach was the second guest speaker. He quoted Coretta Scott King in his opening remarks: “The greatness of a community is most accurately measured by the compassionate actions of its members.”

“I believe Mrs. King’s words best describe the group assembled here tonight – this community,” said Beach. “It is astounding to consider the long-term investments made by the Scholarship Foundation: a lineage of student success, achievement, societal contributions and an overall greater impact for better. 

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“I believe this group’s actions, its generosity that best represents the true measure of a community in full. It is a community that supports its own, of which I am thoroughly a product. From Top of the World, o El Morro, Thurston to Laguna Beach High School, I am the proud product of an education system and greater community.

“It is comforting to know my story is one of many and many more to come.”

The first and only scholarship handed out in 1947 came from the Ebell Club, a prominent women’s community service organization.

Their groundbreaking generosity is recognized in their placement on the presentation list – Number One. This year Penny Stastney handed out four $1,000 club scholarships.

“I say this every year, but it is the generosity and spirit of the people that makes this a special place to live and thrive,” said Ketta Brown, chair of the Scholarship Foundation and a member of the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education.

She puts on her chef’s toque every year to cater dinner for the donors and presenters’ reception. It takes about a week from the time she buys carrots at the Farmers Market to setting up the buffet.

Brown has been preparing the buffet dinners for the reception since 2007.

“The caterer was charging $5,000 and I knew I could do it for less,” said Brown, who has cut the cost of the dinner about in half.

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This year’s feast included the carrots – pickled, as always – Orange Provence Chicken, Lemon Farfalle, roasted asparagus, snap peas, marinated mushrooms, wild rice and cranberry salad and a tossed salad. Dessert was a variety of scrumptious cookies, baked by foundation board member Debra Steel.

Following the reception, donors and presenters moved to the Artist Theatre with explicit directions to ensure a smooth Convocation.

Scholarship Foundation board members Diane Kloke and Eleanor Tiner had organized the seating in the theater to keep the presentations flowing, as well as organizing the donors for whom they are trustees. 

Anyone interested in becoming a donor can contact the foundation for more information at www.LBHSSF.org or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or just talk to a board member, at least one of whom you will mostly likely know.

The list includes Brown, Vice President Kathi Tinkess, Treasurer Robin Hall, Recording Secretary Kristin Fast, Scholarship Coordinator Lynn Gregory, and members-at-large Frank and Marsha Aronoff, Jonathan Cohen, Fletcher Dice, Mary Fegraus, Harrell, Martha Jager, Betsy Jenkins, Kloke, Walt Lawson, Michele Leighton, Barbara MacGillivray, Debbie Naude, Kari Nies, Missy Palino, Jackie Parker, Jill Pillsbury, Mark Powell, Kerry Rubel, Roshaunie Sirianni, Steel, Andrea Stockert, Victoria Strombom, Jennifer Sweet, Tinier and Peggy Wolff.

Hilary Clinton wrote, “It takes a village to raise a child.” She could have sub-titled it Laguna Beach.

But wait – there’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading StuNewsLaguna.com. News contributions are welcomed.


Dog finds bees: did crows chase them away?

Dog finds bees in 2

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Photo by Michael Ross

A dog originally found the bees – Michael Ross thought the dog was chasing a rabbit in his yard. “This has never happened before,” he says.

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Photo by Michael Ross

Ross found the bees two days after the Aliso Fire started. “I was just going to let them stay there because many people still do not fully understand how bees migrate and why we are losing a record number of bees from pesticides. But then I woke up the fourth morning after the fire to many crows yelling, and the crows chased off the bees.”


Local Cub Scout Pack 35 honors American flag in flag-burning ceremony

Several flags, some of which flew at the graves of local servicemen and servicewomen, were retired Tuesday at a flag-burning ceremony hosted by Cub Scout Pack 35 of Laguna Beach.

The annual event took place Tuesday, June 14 at Aliso Beach and was attended by approximately 40 Cub Scouts and their families. Leading the ceremony was Cub Master Robert Garrett, assisted by committee chair Lisa Jensen.

Local Cub Scout Flag

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Local Cub Scout Pack 35 retires American flag in ceremony at Aliso Beach

“It’s important to honor our nation’s flag,” said Jensen, who helps run the Cub Scout program each week. “The American flag is a symbol of liberty and freedom all around the world. This ceremony gives the Scouts and their families an opportunity to remember the sacrifices of men and women in uniform, many of whom gave their lives to ensure our freedoms.”

For more information about Cub Scouts, contact Lisa Jensen at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Last weekend to view the Oskar Fischinger exhibit at LAM

The German-born Oskar Fischinger (1900-1967) was an abstract artist working in both painting and film. Based in Berlin from 1927, he was acclaimed for his technically innovative art films, in which he animated forms and colors and synchronized them with music. The addition of motion and sound brought new dimensions to the abstract art pioneered by Wassily Kandinsky and other avant-garde painters of the early twentieth century.

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From LAM Facebook page

Oskar Fischinger, Untitled, oil on Celotex, c. 1943-44, Gift of the Gregory Schwayder Rosenblum Trust

In 1936, his career in Germany curtailed by the rise of the Nazis, Fischinger moved to Hollywood and began working for the movie studios. He designed animations for Disney’s Fantasia (1940) but soon parted company with Disney over the creative constraints imposed on him. Although he managed to make some of his own films while in Hollywood, the last in 1947, he found no support at any of the studios for his experiments in “visual music.” In the last twenty years of his life he devoted himself to inventions – notably an instrument for creating light shows – and painting.

In his paintings Fischinger sought to match the dynamism of his animated films, with forms suggestive of planets, nebulae, radio waves, and energy moving in space, as well as lively brushwork and a variety of surface textures. Anyone familiar with his films tends to imagine them becoming animated. For all the obvious points of comparison between Fischinger and the great modern artists of Europe, from Kandinsky and the Russian Constructivists to Paul Klee and Joan Miró, his paintings remain very much his own, an original contribution to the history of art in Los Angeles.

The examples in this exhibition are selected from the group of Fischinger’s paintings owned by Laguna Art Museum thanks to gifts from the Gregory Schwayder Rosenblum Trust.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive. For more information, call (949) 494-8971 or visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org.


There’ll be dancing (and music) in the street: Annual Fete de la Musique takes place tomorrow

This Saturday, June 16, there will be dancing in the streets of Laguna Beach with a variety of performances, when the 11th Annual Laguna Beach Fête de la Musique presented by Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association (LBSCA) takes place. The day’s festivities start at 12 p.m. at Main Beach with The Swing Set Band playing their first swing/jazz set. 

From 12 - 12:30 p.m., youngsters can join in the Children’s Parade (with music by the Swing Set). Starting on the Main Street Cobblestones, kids will march up and down the boardwalk, and finish with dancing on the cobblestones. Face painting adds to the fun.

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Children’s Parade is always great fun

Opening ceremonies with local dignitaries take place from 1 - 1:20 p.m. on the cobblestones, with welcoming speeches by Laguna Beach Mayor Kelly Boyd, Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, Karyn Phillippsen, founding president of the LBSCA, and a representative from the French Consulate. The US national anthem will be sung by 12-year-old Lauren Kimball and La Marseillaise, the French national anthem, will be performed by April Walsh, accompanied by the Swing Set.

Additional performances take place at Main Beach throughout the afternoon, including a second set by Swing Set; The Andersons, a five-piece soft rock band; JJ and the Habibis (Laguna Beach belly dancers); Corazones Alegres Folkloric Dancers; and Andrew Bloom (who appeared on American Idol, season 14) with his rock band.

Throughout the streets, artists will perform at approximately 40 locations, with most along Ocean and Forest avenues, and spreading south along Pacific Coast Highway. A few musicians will be located in the HIP District. 

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The Andersons, one of several bands that will perform

This year, among the popular returning performers are The MonTones with their island-inspired melodies at Wells Fargo Bank; The Andersons, a five-member band from LA, performing on Main Beach; April Walsh, chanteuse, on the steps of 2bella Boutique; Reverie at the Water District garden; The Agave Brothers at Skyloft; the bluesy guitar/vocals of Yael & Vlady at the Coffee Pub in the Lumberyard patio; Charles Fullwood inside Hobie Surf Shop; student performances in the Presbyterian Church garden; Elvis; and mimes, to name just a few. Expect lots of new surprises! Look for the red, white and blue balloons delineating where the performers are located.

Closing ceremonies will take place on the cobblestones at 4 p.m. with music by Andrew Bloom. For the first time, a one-night stay at the luxurious Montage Laguna Beach will be available as an opportunity drawing prize. Register online prior to the Fete for $20; tickets will be available for purchase the day of Fete, only. The winner will be announced at the Closing Ceremonies.

Originating in France in the 1980s, Fête, also known as the International Day of Music, celebrates the beginning of summer and the close affiliation Laguna Beach has with its sister city, Menton, France. The day’s events are free, and promote the lively arts through music by a variety of musicians, singers and performers.

Sponsors include OC Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, City of Laguna Beach, Visit Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, The OC, Montage Laguna Beach, Cox Communications, Skyloft, Mozambique, Sparkle Films, Bill Atkins Design & Illustration, OC Register, The Ranch at Laguna Beach, C’est La Vie, KX 93.5 FM, The UPS Store, Royal Hawaiian, Shot Hunters and Saddleback Golf Cars.

For Laguna Beach parking information, visit www.VisitLagunaBeach.com/parking and download the Visit Laguna Beach app for a real-time Trolley Tracker.

To view photos and videos from past Fêtes and to register for a chance to win the one-night stay at Montage Laguna Beach, visit www.lagunabeachsistercities.com/fetedelamusique.

Laguna Beach Sister Cities Association has three sister cities: Menton, France; San Jose del Cabo, Mexico; and St. Ives, England. Since its inception, Laguna Beach Sister Cities, established in 2008, has been focused on cultural, educational and social exchanges. It is a broad-based, Laguna Beach City Council approved, all volunteer, nonprofit organization. Federal Tax ID # 80-0188779. For more information, call (949) 492.0883, visit www.lagunabeachsistercities.com and view the nonprofit’s Facebook page.


Splash into Summer & Celebrate with Glennwood House on June 21 at The Cliff

All ages – young, old, and in-between – are welcome to come to Glennwood’s Summer Celebration at The Cliff Restaurant in Laguna Beach next Thursday, June 21 from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

The Missiles of October will play the night away while guests sip signature cocktails sponsored by Nolet’s Silver Gin, wine, champagne and appetizers, enjoying the epic Laguna sunsets on the longest day of the year.

The event planning team has garnered fantastic silent and live auction items that will be available throughout the evening. Lucky bidders will have an opportunity to win exceptional stays at some of Laguna’s fine resorts. 

Also, XIV Karats Limited Beverly Hills has donated a beautiful pair of diamond earrings that will make the lucky winner very happy. In addition to beautiful gift baskets, a few local artists, Robin Hiers and Randy Morgan, have donated some of their work toward the cause.

Splash into residents

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Glennwood residents gather in front of a Wyland mural

Glennwood Housing Foundation, Inc was founded in 2009 as a 501(c) 3 nonprofit foundation. Several families with children or friends who have physical and developmental disabilities came together to support the project. The purpose of this uniquely formed program was to move beyond the interaction provided by recreational sports and address the social, spiritual and financial needs of this distinctive group of young adults as they matured beyond their teenage years and graduated from high school. 

In August of 2013, the Glennwood Housing Foundation, Inc. (GHF) opened the doors to a 42 room Adult Residential Facility that became home for up to 50 young adults with developmental disabilities. Glennwood House of Laguna Beach provides the residents their first opportunity to live independently in a diverse, dynamic, and loving community offering special programs, social involvement and assisted living. 

Glennwood invites locals to join in the mission to provide independent living for intellectually and/or developmentally disabled young adults and celebrate the first day of summer. For more information, please contact Danielle Wilson at (949) 584-6469 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Summer is flowering in Laguna

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Summer is flowering

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So bloomin’ lovely!


A pagan’s favorite time of year, summer solstice will be celebrated next week in the Northern hemisphere

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

I have seen blue footed boobies and albatrosses, watched the flights of frigate birds, and gazed in awe at ostriches engaged in a mating dance, even glimpsed a kiwi bird – but I’ve never seen a live puffin.

This had to be remedied, so months ago I booked a trip to Alaska. My husband and I are going to glamp on board a small boat and explore Prince William Sound.

Only last week did I realize that we will be there during the summer solstice, when there will be 22 hours of daylight and two hours of semi-darkness.

Which means plenty of sightseeing time (good) and a long wait for sundowners (not so good).

In any event, that revelation got me thinking about summer solstice celebrations around the world.

Most of the Nordic countries – Sweden, Norway, and Finland – apparently mark midsummer with bonfires. Who doesn’t love a bonfire? Laguna doesn’t! 

A pagan bonfire

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Scandinavian countries celebrate the summer solstice with bonfires

Apparently Midsommarstang festivities in Sweden, rooted in paganism, are some of the most important in this Scandinavian country’s calendar, uniting Swedes of all ages. There are maypole and folk dances. People wear flowers in their hair (predating hippies by hundreds of years). Picnic plates are loaded with pickled herring, salmon, and potatoes. Plenty of schnapps and cold beer is consumed.

It’s said that if unmarried girls place seven flowers under their pillow on midsummer night, they’ll dream of their future husbands. With luck most won’t have nightmares. Might be worth slipping in 14 flowers to hedge their bets, because often the second husband is by far the better one.

Stonehenge naturally comes to mind when pondering matters pagan, given the various theories about its origins. Was it an ancient burial ground? A place to observe the stars? A site of sacrifices? 

Every year, close to 40,000 people gather at Stonehenge during the summer solstice to dance and drum as the sun rises directly behind the Heel Stone.

Stoners, I guess you could call them.

A pagan stonehenge

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Photo by Tim Ireland

The sun rises directly behind the Heel Stone

Back here in the USA, I discovered that in New York, there’s a daylong yoga event in Times Square. Who knew that the summer solstice was also International Yoga Day? Last year, an estimated 11,000 yogis took up poses throughout the day, no doubt focusing primarily on sun salutations.

According to the Times Square Alliance, the Mind Over Madness yoga gathering was developed as a counterpoint to New York’s New Year’s Eve ball-dropping event.

“Throughout history, many cultures have associated the summer solstice with a renewal of mind, body and spirit and a celebration of creative expression – of art, music, and the sense of joyfulness and fun that the sunshine evokes in all of us. 

“And what better place to celebrate than in Times Square?” ask founders Tim Tompkins and Douglass Stewart.

Well, I can think of a few, after my research. Like Alaska. With puffins.


Memories of the Patriots Day Parade, sparked by Flag Day yesterday, June 14

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Memories of

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Flagging Shaena with this photo from the Patriots’ Day Parade


Plan ahead: Paddle-out in honor of the late Bruce Hopping takes place on Thursday, June 14 at 4 p.m.

Plan ahead: A paddle-out in honor of the late Bruce Hopping, long-time Laguna resident, takes place on Thursday, June 14 at 4 p.m. at Thalia St Beach.

The paddle-out will recognize Bruce’s incredible life and achievements. There will be old photos and publications related to Bruce and his life experiences, including his time in World War II and the Korean War, and as head of the New Jersey and later Kalos Kagathos Foundations. 

Plan ahead Bruce

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Bruce Hopping walks on the beach he loved so dearly

After a few speakers reminisce about key events in Bruce’s life, the group will paddle out and swim out to scatter Bruce’s ashes into the Pacific Ocean he loved so dearly and worked so hard to protect for our community. Dress is casual. 

“Hope to see you there. Keep the Faith!” say organizers.

An excerpt from Bruce’s obituary is re-published below. To read the entire obituary, click on http://stunewslaguna.com/index.php/archives/letters-obituaries-archive/4534-obit-hopping-052518.

Bruce Stewart Hopping

August 5, 1921 – May 17, 2018

Plan ahead Bruce Hopping

Bruce Hopping (a.k.a. “Brucey”, “Mr. B”, et al) passed away peacefully just after midnight on Thursday, May 17. He is survived by his nephew and niece, Rick and Melissa Hopping of New Jersey. 

Bruce was a local legend. He could be seen every day walking down Thalia Street to the beach where he was a regular for the last six decades. 

In 1966, he met Dr. Ted Brunner, another Laguna Beach resident, and founder of the Classics Department at UC Irvine. Dr. Brunner introduced Bruce to the ancient Greek educational concept of Kalos Kagathos, which emphasizes physical distinction and nobility of mind. Inspired by the concept, Bruce renamed his foundation the Kalos Kagathos Foundation in 1968. 

For fifty years, Bruce and his foundation have been recognized internationally, nationally, at the state, county, and city levels for numerous contributions to water sports, arts, and the environment. His cultural exchanges for swim, surf, and water polo teams have included multiple events on every continent except Antarctica. He was an Emeritus patron of the ISHOF, patron of the AAU, FINA, ISA, CIF, OCC Rowing, and a two-time Olympic swimming judge. He has been formally acknowledged by various officials, governors, ambassadors, diplomats, provincial administrators, tribal chiefs, warrior clans, and others. Since 1968, Bruce also worked tirelessly through the Kalos Kagathos foundation to ensure that Laguna Beach retains its historical legacy as an international destination promoting water sports, arts, and the environment. 

His local contributions are too numerous to mention, but include multiple proclamations by the city council and schoolboard. Very few Laguna Beach residents have left such a lasting indelible impression on this city, and nobody as much on Thalia Street Beach as Bruce Hopping. 

To learn more about the Kalos Kagathos Foundation or to help out with future projects, contact: Kalos Kagathos Foundation, PO Box 416, Laguna Beach, CA 92652 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Garden(er) of the Month

An early California Mission style homestead and expansive garden combine for spectacular beauty 

Written by SUZIE HARRISON

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Recently I enjoyed the authentic look and feel of a captivating early California Mission style home with a natural aesthetic, a warm inviting setting, lots of windows beaming with sunlight, spectacular views, and expansive gardens and grounds – so much so that it feels like its own world – truly a petite private paradise tucked away in Bluebird Canyon.

It’s the lifestyle Pam Hagen and her husband Dave have created over 57 years: so beautiful, it’s beyond imagination.

“We started with the back of the house first,” Pam Hagen said of their 1936 adobe-style abode. Originally 800 square feet, it’s been expanded to 2,100 over seven phases.

an early st francis

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Growing up in San Juan Capistrano and attending the Mission School were important influences in Hagen’s life

At the same moment I was about to ask Pam if she’s an artist, she said, “I paint. I do it for my own pleasure, to give as gifts for friends, and I have sold a few. But I do it because I love it.” 

Hagen said that she’s inspired by Joseph Kleitsch, one of Laguna’s founding artists.

“This painting is by Joseph Kleitsch, called ‘Evening Shadows,’” Hagen said, pointing it out. During the Bluebird Canyon landslide, her husband helped the neighbors and was also able to rescue the million-dollar painting. 

“It was meant to be because I was steeped in Mission School. And Father O’Sullivan, who was born on my birthday, which is Swallows Day, built Mission School,” Hagen explained. 

“Joseph Kleitsch was a friend of Father O’Sullivan and the portrait he painted of him is at the Mission. At some point you realize that your life does have a thread.” 

Having grown up in small towns, the couple likes the old, natural, feeling of early California, which reflected in every nuance of their home and gardens.

We tried to recreate that here because the house to me looks like an adobe [dwelling]. The tile roof is from Guadalajara,” Hagen said. 

an early massive

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It’s exciting to take in the myriad attractions of the 6,500-ft grounds

“When you look across the canyon it’s pretty and open. On clear days, you have a view of Catalina, a hiking trail, and the farm in the middle, so it’s a balanced view which I enjoy,” Hagen added.

She pointed out the different areas on the grounds.

“Our property boundary goes over to that tin roof,” Hagen said. “It’s 6,500 square feet, the lot, and I pretty much use every square inch. 

“There’s a little fountain over here that’s from Mexico that my husband and I put together. We drove across the border to Rosarito 20 years ago. It had the look of the house.”

She showed me a piece she created as part of the Garden Club. “It was a project mosaic of the Virgin of Guadalupe, wood face, wood hands, and a little angel underneath. See the angel?” she asked with a big smile. “I am always creating something or another either with plants or with my house.”

As we rounded the corner, Hagen noted, “This is our sunny patio where we eat out in the summer time,” she said, wind chimes pleasantly singing in the background.

an early another garden

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With such unparalleled views galore, it’s so exciting to explore, explore, explore

Her interest in gardening bloomed when she was young, a shared passion with her mother, who herself was a gardener. “I think it’s part of your artistic expression,” she explained.

I like philodendrons – one of my mother’s favorite plants. Here’s one in bloom right now. I think that is an offshoot of my mother’s old plant that I’ve saved all these years,” Hagen said. “Every time I see it blossom I see her, and she’s been gone a long time. That’s a palm that she gave me, and now it’s at least 50 feet tall.”

Boasting myriad outdoor levels, spaces, and places, there’s so much to experience in this garden.

“This is my little painting place, my little gardening place. It’s a place to paint or garden or whatever, I try to keep my tools handy in here,” Hagen said, continuing our lovely tour. “We call that the stable, and I call this my studio, the shed.”

The rich gorgeous proliferation of plant life and fruit trees delight the senses, as do the sculptures, wind chimes, and fountains. 

Leading me down another path, she showed me a small bungalow, where houseguests stay. Wherever you go, you are accompanied by the soothing sounds of the three fountains, so tranquil.

an early garden

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Punctuated by a perfection of plant life, delightful pathways take you on an exciting experience of the senses

 “If you stand right here, you can hear all the fountains,” Hagen said. “You feel like you have water completely surrounding you.”

People ask Hagen why she enjoys sharing her private sanctuary with so many others. 

“I say well, because it is private and it is a sanctuary, so I want to share,” Hagen said. 

Indeed – a sanctuary for mind, body, and soul, right here in Laguna.


Monday was a swell day at the beach… 

Pictures of the Day

Photos by Scott Brashier

Monday was a swell day one

Monday was a swell day two

Monday was a swell day three

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Parents’ Night Out (PNO) – or is it Parent-Free Night for Kids (PFNK)?

Parents call it a break from the kids; kids call it a break from their parents. The City of Laguna Beach is hosting its quarterly Parents’ Night Out on Friday, June 15 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. 

For this evening, the Community Services Department is offering a new special with the Laguna Playhouse for a 2-for-1 deal on tickets to see Clybourne Park. 

Parents night out nightlife

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Parents: Go downtown, everything’s fine when you’re downtown

Tickets at this price can only be purchased through the City of Laguna Beach as a PNO package for $60 which includes the two tickets and one PNO child registration. 

Children will have a blast enjoying games, movies, arts & crafts and dinner. Pre-registration is required 72 hours in advance. To register, call (949) 464-6645 or visit www.lagunabeachcity.net –click “recreation classes.”


SCE pole replacement by helicopter on Panorama Drive on Wednesday, June 13: Spur Trail closed

On Wednesday, June 13 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Southern California Edison (SCE) will be replacing a pole located in the backyard of the property at 495 Panorama Drive. A helicopter will be used between the hours of 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. to remove and replace the pole. The landing zone and staging area for the helicopter will occur within the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, which will require the closure of portions of Spur Ridge Trail. 

Also, portions of Eleanor Lane, Fayette Place, and Panorama Drive will be closed to non-residents during the hours of the helicopter operations. Affected residents have been noticed in advance by SCE. 

For questions or concerns, please contact SCE representative, Alex Arteaga, at (909) 974-4620.


Village Entrance Project specs will be available online on June 15, City says

The construction plans and specifications for the Village Entrance project are being finalized for public bidding on June 15. The award of the construction contract is anticipated to be presented at the August 27 City Council meeting. 

Village Entrance digester

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Digester building is one of the most iconic structures at Laguna’s entrance

The plans and specifications will be available for public viewing on June 15 at the following link: www.lagunabeachcity.net/villageentrance.


Well Done: Support for proposed drinking water tax dries up in Sacramento

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Laguna Beach County Water District officials were gratified to learn on Friday that support for a proposed statewide tax on drinking water had evaporated. 

The tax was officially abandoned by Gov Jerry Brown and state legislative leaders as part of a compromise on the state budget. Lawmakers and Brown’s office scrapped the “Safe and Affordable Drinking Water Tax” and proposed in its stead a $28.5 million fund for testing and emergency relief for contaminated wells and septic tanks, according to district officials.

“Although we completely support getting safe and reliable water to the users, proposing a tax on drinking water was the wrong solution to solve a key social problem,” said Renae Hinchey, general manager of the district. “A tax on drinking water works against keeping water affordable in California and opens the door to additional state taxes on future water bills.”

well done water

The intent of the tax was to clean up contaminated water in disadvantaged communities, mostly in the Central Valley where water is not safe to drink, Hinchey said. She said the problem was caused by decades of neglecting basic water infrastructure, contamination of water supplies from pesticides and fertilizer nitrates, and the failure to prioritize getting the water to users.

Laguna’s district was among more than 400 urban water suppliers that opposed the proposed tax. A recent survey, conducted by the Assn of California Water Agencies, showed that 73 percent of 1,000 likely voters also opposed a statewide tax on drinking water.

“Taxing drinking water, an essential, life-sustaining force, is just not sound policy,” said Hinchey. “The old adage about the camel’s nose under the tent is appropriate. The tax was the camel’s nose. We didn’t want the rest of the camel in the tent.”


Staff recommends denial of appeal of The Ranch project

By BARBARA DIAMOND

City staff has rejected the bases of an appeal filed by Laguna Beach Mark Fudge to overturn the Planning Commission’s decision to approve a restoration plan proposed for The Ranch.

The appeal is scheduled to be heard at tonight’s City Council meeting. Fudge declined on Monday to comment on the appeal, which he filed two weeks after the commission’s April 4 approval. The commission’s hearing was stipulated by the California Coastal Commission amendment to a previously issued Coastal Development Permit and requires approval of a restoration plan. 

A lengthy staff report refutes the grounds on which Fudge based his appeal:

Insufficient notice of the Planning Commission meeting 

Categorical exemption from California Environmental Quality Act requirements

Non-compliance with the city’s General Plan, including six specific policies

No consultation with other agencies interested in the project

Failure to consider a recent court decision which defined the scope of the project and required further work to be subject to CEQA.

Staff claims in its report that the grounds for the appeal are speculative and unfounded. The report further states that Fudge provided no proof that the Planning Commission erred or abused its discretion in approving the plan.

A commission decision is presumed to be reasonably valid and not an abuse. The council does not conduct a de novo hearing – Latin for starting from scratch – and does not weigh evidence or independently judge the evidence.

Appellants must demonstrate that the lower body did not conduct itself in the manner required by law and/or that decision is not supported by substantial evidence on record. 

The council will not overturn the decision unless it determines that an error or abuse of discretion would probably have resulted in a different outcome.

Council options include denying the appeal and sustaining the Planning Commission’s approval of the proposed restoration plan, granting the appeal and denying approval of the restoration plan or granting the appeal and sending the plan back to the commission with directions on its determination.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

June 12, 2018

Rough wildfire season looms

Dennis 5The way things are going, it’s appears that it is going to be a very rough wildfire season here in California, especially down here in Southern Cal. First off, the scary Wood Canyon blaze behind Laguna last week. Thankfully there were no casualties and no structural damage thanks to favorable wind conditions, blowing from the SW and west thus preventing any flames from spreading up the steep terrain behind Top of the World. Had the inferno occurred during strong NE Santanas it would have been game over. I still to this day have flashbacks from 25 years ago when 435 homes, including McWeather’s, went up in smoke on October 27, 1993. The conditions that day were beyond horrible with temps in the high 90s with NE Santanas up to 45 mph with humidity as low as four percent.

Now we have another wildfire up by Santa Barbara that’s burning out of control as all chaparral was already bone dry from only five inches of rain. The 1993 fire occurred after a very wet season so there was much more brush to burn but it really doesn’t matter how tall the sage and scrub oak are, they’re still gonna burn!

The average date for the first Eastern Pacific tropical system to be given a name is June 10. Well, here it is June 10 and we already have had two hurricanes in the record books. First off, we had tropical storm Aletta who was born on June 4 in hot waters up to 90 degrees way down there SW of El Salvador. She began to track slowly at 8-9 mph to the WNW for two days, still as a low end tropical storm with sustained winds of 40-45 mph. Then on June 7 she suddenly blew up into a high end Category 3 hurricane as she entered our swell window. Then she hit a wall and promptly fell apart and today she’s a mere remnant low. That wall was a huge pocket of much colder water, as much as 25 degrees colder than her birthplace. Cold water like that kills a hurricane in just a matter of 24 hours or less. 

Now we have Category 2 hurricane Bud who also quickly beefed up as he moved in a more northwesterly track. He’s not in our surf window as of yet but trouble is, he’s also gonna hit that huge pocket of cold water and his demise will also happen quickly as he approaches the tip of the Baja peninsula so we’re already 0 for 2. Here we go again. Dating back to the 2016 season we’re now 0 for 25 for Baja swell and counting. Pathetic.

Local surface ocean temps have climbed up to the 65-67 degree range here in OC and that’s about a degree or two above normal for the second week of June. 

ALOHA!


Girl Scout Troop 3315 earns Bronze Award with huge donation to The Pet Rescue Center

Girl Scout Juniors Troop 3315, of Aliso Viejo, recently completed their Bronze Award, which is the highest award a Junior Girl Scout can earn. The Girl Scout Bronze Award teaches girls leadership and planning skills by taking action in a community service project. 

The girls are fourth graders and will earn their Bronze Award during their first year as Girl Scout Juniors. Troop 3315 showed its dedication to helping others and helping the community by donating 1,600 pounds of pet food and supplies to The Pet Rescue Center, a nonprofit that serves Southern California. The girls have dedicated over 100 hours of community service to helping pets.

Girl Scout 3

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Submitted photo

Emily Maxton (left) and Bella Coveyouu of Girl Scout Troop 3315 with some of the pet food ready for donation to The Pet Rescue Center

The Pet Rescue Center runs a program called Pet Pantry, which provides hundreds of pounds of food and litter each month to over 175 cats and dogs owned by seniors and/or low-income pet owners throughout Orange County. The members of Troop 3315 collected the 1,600 pounds by partnering with local Pet Plus store locations in Laguna Niguel, San Clemente, Mission Viejo and San Juan Capistrano. The girls from Troop 3315 also reached out to family, friends and neighbors to help collect pet food donations.

Lynne Ehrlich, the Educational Outreach Coordinator from The Pet Rescue Center said, “All of us at The Pet Rescue Center are simply blown away by your over the top effort to raise money and donations for our Pet Pantry program, 1,600 pounds of pet food for families who desperately need our help so they can keep their pets in homes and not have to give them up to a shelter. Together you have had a huge positive impact on our community and you have set an amazing example of how each of us can make a huge difference when we all come together for a goal – there are no limits!

Congratulations on earning your Bronze Award! You are all amazing and very special!”

Girl Scout 4

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Submitted photo

The scout troop met with Miles, a dog rescued by The Pet Rescue Center

Brooke Plummer, Junior Girl Scout, said, “We choose to help The Pet Rescue Center because we love dogs and cats and wanted to learn how to be more responsible in taking care of pets.”

Bella Coveyou, Junior Girl Scout, said, “We put the Girl Scout Promise and Law into action. We also put our artistic, communication, and leadership skills into action.”

Rosanna Coveyou, Troop Leader, said, “These girls are remarkable young leaders and have made a huge difference in our community helping over 175 dogs and cats.”

Financial donations are always in need, as grant opportunities are limited. “These funds allow The Pet Rescue Center the opportunity to reach out and help pet owners in crisis, in our community, by providing pet food, cat litter, and other items (beds, shampoo, leashes, etc.), enabling families to keep their pets and thereby lowering the intake at shelters,” stated Blythe Wheaton Co-Founder of The Pet Rescue Center. 

For information or donations to The Pet Rescue Center’s Pet Pantry, you can contribute online at www.thepetrescuecenter.org/give or via Paypal at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Pancakes, playtime and face-painting at Annual Harry Bithell Breakfast 

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Much fun was had at the Annual Harry Bithell Pancake Breakfast last Saturday at Bluebird Park, an event celebrating 13 years of community support for the Boys & Girls Club.

pancakes and beanbags

pancakes and balloons

pancakes and facepaint

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Pancakes, playtime and face-painting

Kids delighted in arts & crafts and park games. Oscar Parra, Branch Director, hosted the Saturday morning event. 

“Our annual Harry Bithell Pancake Breakfast is more than just an anniversary occasion; it’s about celebrating how effectively our programs help children build character, creativity and academic success,” said Oscar Parra, branch director. 

“We would like to thank Harry Bithell, who has been a huge supporter over the years, plus our community partners, donors, and anyone else who has helped sustain Bluebird since the beginning. A special thank you to Las Brisas restaurant, who catered this year’s event again.”


Dianne’s Creature Feature

The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad fathers

By DIANNE RUSSELL

In the animal kingdom, much like the human kingdom, not all fathers resemble Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird. As Father’s Day approaches, we must call attention to the worst animal fathers just as we did the worst animal mothers. Rather, these animal daddies need to be “called out” and not just singled out. A few of them rival Jack Torrance from The Shining

Evidently, there are those in the animal species who feel their offspring deserve “a correction.” (Hopefully, everyone has seen The Shining.) As per www.mentalfloss.com, it’s not common for any animal kingdom father to eat his own young when he isn’t desperate for food, but the male grizzly bear is guilty of this abhorrent practice.

The terrible grizzly

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Warning to grizzly cubs, don’t wander into your dad’s territory

Male grizzlies are extremely protective of their territories, which can range all the way up to 1,500 miles, and are opportunistic hunters, willing to kill and eat anything that happens to enter their home turf – even their own cubs. As a result, the mothers have to be extra vigilant in ensuring their youngsters never stray into their dad’s territory.

The next “no father of the year” culprit is as cruel as a grizzly, in both a dad and stepdad way. What makes lions bad dads is a combination of laziness and greed. Apparently, papa lions haven’t heard the term “hunting and gathering,” because they spend most of their day lying in the shade, waiting for one of their wives to bring home dinner. Somewhat like curb service.

The terrible lion

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Photo by Animalsake

Advice for lion cubs - watch out for your new step dad

The females should be highly commended, because they do the hunting and pretty much all of the parenting. Once the mama brings home her kill, the male lion is always the first one to eat, and he often leaves only scraps for the rest of the pride, including any of his recently weaned children. If it’s a rough hunting season, an alpha lion will let his wives and children starve first. Evidently, not all lions are like Mufasa in The Lion King.

It gets worse. When the lion becomes the head of a pride, it will sometimes kill all the cubs of the former head, making it a bad stepfather, as well. However, on a positive side, when its pride is in danger, the lion will leave no stone unturned to ensure complete protection of its family, cubs, and the pride as well, making it a not-so-bad father.

The polar bear is another animal with no accountability as a parent. The job of male polar bears, according to www.animalsake.com, is to procreate. Mission accomplished, job done. They take no part in the upbringing of the young ones, or the responsibility of feeding them. But that’s not the worst of it; they too would have no qualms about feeding on their young ones if they are hungry and fall short of food.

The terrible sea bass

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Photo by Animalsake

Caution to newborn sea bass, don’t be a straggler

Just as on land, there are a lot of bad fathers under the sea. Male bass are prone to eating their own children, which occurs after most of the newborns have swum away, and a few are left behind. Suddenly, daddy stops protecting his kids from predators and becomes a predator himself, swallowing up all of the stragglers.

There are bad fathers in the insect kingdom too. Iffy dads with ominous names. To say the least, the male assassin bug doesn’t take his job seriously. He’s responsible for safeguarding the large number of eggs laid by its partner, but he’s not to be trusted as a reliable babysitter.

The terrible assassin bug

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Photo by Animalsake

Assassin bug progeny, for heaven’s sake, don’t show your weakness

Yet what does the male assassin bug do? Certainly not protect his progeny (well some of them); he assassinates the vulnerable ones. The male bug eats the weaker eggs of the brood, since they tend to be the easiest victims for wasps and other larger predators. I’m not sure of the bug’s rationale, maybe he figures that they’re going to be eaten anyway, so why not?

Obviously, when it comes to paternal instincts in the animal kingdom, there are more than a couple of lousy dads. There’ll be no kudos for these deadbeat dads on Sunday, but to all the great dads out there, Happy Father’s Day!


Wow what a Walkathon in wonderful weather as Glennwood residents strut their stuff

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Glennwood House’s Walkathon, an annual fundraiser and also a way to celebrate healthy living and to show appreciation to the community of Laguna Beach for being supportive of this independent home for young people with disabilities, took place on a sunny Saturday morning last weekend.

The annual walkathon raises money for the nonprofit center’s health and fitness programs. 

wow loving our smile

wow what a guys

wow what a force

wow what a view

wow what a sunglasses

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Lovin’ their life in Laguna! Glennwood residents were out in force

Sporting distinctive T-shirts reading “G-Force – Glennwood for Good,” the residents took a walk around town to show their love for their home and hometown and the work they do to help out at community events.

Glennwood House provides supportive living for persons with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Thanks to the support of our community, residents are actively involved and participating in service projects throughout the local area and say that this gives them the opportunity to be active and to give back.

It’s so important to their goal of gaining self confidence and living a fulfilling and inclusive life, not only at Glennwood, but in their school and work environments as well. 

For more information about Glennwood Housing Foundation, visit www.glennwoodhousing.org.


Aliso Fire is a reminder to Lagunans to Be Prepared for Emergencies

LBPD has prepared a public service announcement to remind people of the importance of being prepared for emergencies by signing up for AlertOC (among other things).

Watch the PSA here:


Laguna Bluebelt celebrates Photo Contest winners and the nonprofit’s achievements

More than 100 guests from throughout Orange County and as far away as Minnesota and Maui joined the winners to celebrate the Seventh Annual Laguna Bluebelt photo contest and Bluebelt achievements. 

Hosted by Forest & Ocean Gallery owner Ludo Leideritz, Laguna Bluebelt Coalition guests enjoyed appetizers, refreshments and a chance to meet photographers and learn more about their unique skills and techniques to capture winning photos of Laguna’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).

“The large, wonderful crowd of supporters here tonight shows how much we love the ocean and Laguna Beach’s sea life,” Jinger Wallace announced as she presented Award Certificates to Winners in Professional Category. 

An online public vote also picked first and second place winners from among over 6,000 visits to the Coalition’s Facebook page to choose the “Best of the Rest.” 

Dropping by the reception were Laguna Beach City Councilmember Toni Iseman, City Council Candidate Cheryl Kinsman, Laguna Beach County Water District General Manager Renae Hinchey, and water quality managers Joe Ames from Mission Viejo and Drew Atwater from Moulton Niguel Water District.

Laguna Bluebelt winner

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Submitted photo

A Family Affair:  First Prize Winner in the Amateur category, Noah Munivez, pictured here with his family including mom, dad, brother and good friend; also attending were Noah’s grandparents, cousins, aunt and uncle

“The Bluebelt Photo Contest reminds us all of the marine creatures that live in our MPA’s and the beautiful beaches we share with them. Laguna Beach has close to seven miles of protected coastline, what a photographer’s paradise!” said Charlotte Masarik, who also coordinates the ever-popular event. 

A recent tide pool survey showing an increase in the number of five keystone species indicates marine life is recovering after years of overfishing and other human impacts. 

“Reducing urban runoff and overcoming regional challenges in managing sewage water that impact the ocean is a high priority of the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition. It can be achieved when we all work together with a sense of common purpose to support and restore the Laguna Bluebelt,” argues Mike Beanan, who received the Cox Communications & Trust for Public Lands Hero Award for developing and implementing the $2.3 million Aliso Creek Urban Runoff Recovery, Reuse and Conservation Project.

Beanan, co-founder of the Coalition and advocate for up-cycling wasted wastewater discharged into what he calls Laguna’s “PooBelt” next to State MPAs, notes “The winning photos serve as a baseline to evaluate the progress in restoring Laguna’s ‘Grow Fish Zone.” 


Pearls: Classically elegant and timelessly beautiful, this June birthstone is classified as a gem

By Lorraine Hornby

Classically elegant and timelessly beautiful, pearls (a June birthstone) are one of the very few organic materials classified as gems. They are most commonly produced by oysters or mussels, although other types of creatures produce pearls, too (such as abalone or conch). A pearl forms when an irritant enters the mollusk, which will then coat the irritant with layers of nacre (pronounced NAY-ker). 

A few pearl facts

Pearls are the oldest known gems. Unlike gems formed in the earth, which must be cut and polished to reveal their beauty, pearls are used just as nature gives them to us.

Pearls are formed in both freshwater and saltwater. The saltwater varieties include the pearls formed by Akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea oysters.

Prior to the discovery of oil, the most valuable export from the Persian Gulf was pearls. Once a rare source of natural pearls, the oyster beds there have been destroyed by pollution from the oil industry.

In ancient times, pearls were so valuable that a Roman general, Vitellius, paid for an entire military campaign by selling one of his mother’s pearl earrings.

pearls the largest

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Credit: Aileen Cynthia Amurao

Largest pearl in the world?

In 2016, a Philippino fisherman revealed that he had what might be the world’s largest natural pearl. He discovered it when his boat’s anchor snagged on the giant clam, which produced the pearl. Currently on display at Puerto Princesa on Palawan Island, the pearl is 2.2 feet long and one foot wide, and weighs 75 pounds.

Cultured versus Natural Pearls

A natural pearl is one that has had no human intervention. These are quite rare, and therefore quite valuable. The majority of pearls on the market are cultured, meaning that they are grown on pearl farms where the bead nucleus is implanted in the oyster.

The earliest cultured pearls date back to the 13th century, when Chinese pearl farmers would implant tiny carvings of the Buddha into freshwater mussels, which the mollusk would coat with nacre, thus creating Buddha-shaped pearls.

The existence of today’s cultured pearl industry can be credited to three Japanese men: Dr. Tokichi Nishikawa, a marine biologist; Tatsuhei Mise, a carpenter; and Kokichi Mikimoto, a vegetable vendor-turned-pearl-farmer. It was Tatsuhei Mise who received the first Japanese patent for culturing pearls, in 1907. 

The other two, Dr. Nishikawa and Mikimoto, had been experimenting around the same time, but it was Mikimoto, using the methods developed by the other two, who turned pearl farming into a successful commercial venture.

Last year I visited a pearl farm in Halong Bay, Vietnam and was able to see a pearl-culturing operation first-hand.

pearls the farm

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Photo by Lorraine Hornby

Pearl farm in Halong Bay

First, a piece of tissue (specifically, the mantle) is taken from a donor oyster and treated with antibiotic. 

Then, a tiny section of the treated tissue is wrapped around the bead nucleus for the soon-to-be cultured pearl and inserted into the host oyster. 

pearls culturing

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Photo by Lorraine Hornby

Pearl culturing

The implanted oysters are placed in net racks and returned to the water. At the pearl farm I visited, they cultivate three types of oysters: Akoya, Tahitian, and South Sea. At this particular farm, they let the Akoya pearls grow for two years, the Tahitian pearls for four years, and the South Sea pearls for four to six years. 

pearls oyster nets

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Photo by Lorraine Hornby

Oyster nets

Lorraine Hornby is a local jewelry artist and Certified Gemologist, SCC. Her work can be viewed at www.studio44jewelry.com (and soon at booth #229 at the Sawdust Art Festival), and you can read more about gemstones and jewelry fabrication on her blog, studio44jewelry.wordpress.com.


Swimmer at Woods Cove – a photo by Michael Tanaka

Swimmer by Michael

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Sydney Freeman is captured floating in this half and half photo taken at Woods Cove by talented teen Michael Tanaka


Summer Trolley service starts June 18

Start your summer fun early by riding the Laguna Beach Trolley! Trolley service will start daily on Monday, June 18 with Canyon service running from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Coastal service running from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. 

For more information, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net or call (949) 497-0766. 

summer trolley trolley

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Catch the trolley this summer!


Cop a prize – if you’re willing to breathalyze…

Reader Marshall Aren tells us he was out with his wife at the White House Friday evening when a group of seven or eight Laguna Beach Police officers came in.

cop a prize cops

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Photo by Marshall Aren

Cop a prize from the cops if you breathalyze

“At first, it was somewhat intimidating, but turns out they were there to offer $20 Uber gift cards for anyone who would take a breathalyzer test. Everyone had fun and laughs, learned a little about our alcohol levels and walked away with Uber cards...”


Get ready for the Library’s summer reading program

It’s time once again for the Laguna Beach Library Summer Reading Program to begin. The annual reading event will take place on Monday, June 18 through Sunday, July 29. Get ready for reading to take you anywhere.

Get ready beach

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When you go in to the Library, you can start your very own SRP reading passport or you can go online for summer reading fun. The first event of the summer will be The Wonders of Wildlife Animal Show on June 20 from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. Everyone is invited, so bring the entire family for this entertaining and exciting event. 

For more information, call the library at (949) 497-1733 or visit www.ocpl.org.

Laguna Beach Library is located on 363 Glenneyre St.


Ten Boys Who Care Founders take the stage together for the last time 

Friday night at LBHS’s convocation, the original Ten Boys took the stage together to present their scholarship award for the fifth and final time. Next year, the newly recruited Ten Boys will be on the stage to award their scholarship to next year’s class. 

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Ten Boys Who Care pass the baton to the next generation

They filled the stage together to present $1,250 to Alex Peros for her hard work in girls water polo and to Max Blanchard for his story of friendship and team commitment in cross country.

Ten Boys Who back

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Ten Boys Who Care 2.0 are heading out to do their volunteer work

After five years, the boys have awarded $13,500 in scholarships, including $1,000 to athletes at a high school in Santa Ana to take away barriers to playing sports. Now they will learn the skills of mentoring as each original member will mentor their eighth grade counterpart through next year as they work together to raise money for the Ten Boys Who Care Good Sportsmanship scholarship for 2019’s graduates.


Where’s Maggi – the answers!

It’s the newest sculpture at this spot that often displays works of art – and replaced the iron horse that resided there previously. Turns out that quite a few of our readers knew that it was the work of James, also known as Shamus, who is an exhibitor at the Sawdust.

First responder bragging rights go to Cathy Bosko, followed by Kathy Bienvenu, William Kail, Bundy Kinder, Don Sheridan, Kristen Purll, Robyn Sherain, John Walker, Barb Bowler, Judy Barry, Meg Monahan, and Gene Felder.

Maggi promises another photo mystery coming up on Friday. Stay tuned!

Wheres Maggi Catalina St

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Newest sculpture by Shamus, on Catalina (between Oak and Anita) 


Road Safety Expo proves to be excellent fun & educational for all

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Literally hundreds upon hundreds of pedestrians, bikers, and drivers (not to mention a helicopter pilot, police officers, Ranger the K-9, and several firefighters) descended upon the parking lot across from the Lumberyard Restaurant this last Saturday to share in the fun at the LBPD’s annual Road Safety Expo. 

Fun with a serious purpose, though: to emphasize how much of our safety when we’re in transit depends on everyone who sets foot – or wheel – on our streets.

The Expo, formerly known as the Bike Safety Rodeo, was rebranded this year, Captain Jeff Calvert says, to make this precise point. The event is not just about bikes. And so twenty-eight booths were set up, several offering a range of interactive experiences that provided new insights about safety issues.

road safety sign

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LBPD’s Road Safety Expo has become so popular, it’s outgrowing its venue

“AT&T offered virtual reality goggles so that people could experience the results of distracted driving, and driving under the influence,” Capt Calvert explained. 

That experience proved quite a wake-up call for many, and this new understanding, through simulations, of the impact of impaired drivers on our roads may very well save lives the more broadly it is shared.

“We like to change up the experience every year,” Capt Calvert added. “This is the first time we’ve had skateboarders participating – we wanted this to be a fully inclusive event. We were thrilled at the number of city departments and staff who participated in this highly interactive situation, not to mention really happy with the tremendous support from the community.”

Another first was a drone demonstration, intended to show how drones (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) – and technology in general – can have a positive multiplier effect on law enforcement. 

road safety twosome

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BMX riders performed some electrifying tricks

So successful was the event that Capt Calvert and LBPD staff are wondering if they’ve outgrown the venue.

Why so successful this year (other than the variety of fun activities available)?

“We really made a concerted effort to reach out to schools and the community to let them know the range of activities we had planned,” Capt Calvert says. “A semi-truck was set up to show exactly where the driver’s blind spots would be. The helicopter is always a hit, particularly when landing and taking off, which happened just as the crowd was at its largest.”

Plus, I suspect, the event just sounded like a whole lot of fun for parents and kids alike.

“I think the community has become much more aware of the importance of safety on our roads and how interdependent we all are,” Capt Calvert added.

road safety pink

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There was something for the young, the old, and the in-between at the Expo

Participants had their bikes, skateboards, and helmets inspected and learned safe riding techniques. Firefighters demonstrated how they cut up a car to extricate a driver after a serious accident – always a crowd favorite. Impossibly, it would seem in such a confined area, displays included a DUI crash car, traffic safety games, a bicycle obstacle course, a bounce house, face-painting station and more. 

Supporting organizations included the Laguna Beach Fire Department, Laguna Cyclery, MADD, Doctors Ambulance, Good Year, AAA of Southern California, OCTA, the DMV, and SafetyBeltSafe USA. 

“I can’t thank all our supporters enough,” Capt Calvert said.

Through the Expo and other means, the Laguna Beach Police Department will continue to promote “Vision Zero,” which aims to reach zero fatalities on our streets.

The LBPD accomplished this goal in 2016 and 2017.

The Expo event was partially funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety.

For more of Mary’s photos of this terrific event, click on the gallery below:


Montage International announces exclusive automotive partnership with Cadillac

Montage International has announced Cadillac and parent company General Motors as its exclusive automotive partner for Montage Hotels & Resorts and Pendry Hotels. The partnership will offer guests complimentary, chauffeured transportation within each hotel’s immediate locale, and a Ride & Drive Program, putting guests in the driver’s seat with the opportunity to experience the luxury automaker’s newest cars on the open road during their stay.

“We are proud to partner with one of America’s finest automobile producers,” said Montage International Founder, Chairman and CEO, Alan J. Fuerstman. “This partnership will offer Montage and Pendry guests an elevated experience with access to the newest luxury vehicles from the Cadillac fleet, while allowing guests the opportunity to explore each of our spectacular destinations.”

montage partners Cadillac

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Cadillac parked outside Montage Laguna Beach

The Cadillac partnership and Ride & Drive Program will feature a range of new, 2018 all-wheel-drive Cadillac vehicles in shades of dark granite and satin steel, including the ESV Escalade Premium Luxury SUV, XT5 Platinum Edition Crossover SUV and CT6 Premium Luxury Sedan. 

Guests can reserve chauffeured Cadillac transportation and Ride & Drive experiences through each hotel’s Concierge who will provide detailed road maps and personalized driving itineraries for guests to explore the local destination during their visit.

“Through our strategic partnership with Montage International, we look forward to enhancing the guest experience in a way that only Cadillac can,” said Cadillac Global Chief Marketing Officer, Deborah Wahl. 

Participating Montage Hotels & Resorts properties include Montage Laguna Beach, Montage Beverly Hills, Montage Deer Valley, Montage Palmetto Bluff and Montage Kapalua Bay. 

For more information on Montage Hotels & Resorts, please visit www.montagehotels.com.


Lovely little Lucy is looking for love

Pet of the Week Lucy is a spayed 6 1/2 month old griddle color mix. She is very sweet and loves to hang out with other dogs. Her favorite thing to do is play at any time. Currently, she is in need of a new owner, and is hoping someone will come visit her and bring her in. Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, hopes to see Lucy adopted as soon as possible. 

lovely little Lucy

Lucy is a lovable dog looking for love in all the right places

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, their return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of fifty percent.

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


Mary Hurlbut launches newsletter with insider information for local photographers

Mary Hurlbut, freelance photographer extraordinaire and Stu News stalwart, is currently prepping for her 37th year exhibiting in the Sawdust Art Festival. 

mary then

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Photo by Doug Miller

Mary then: I was waiting to choose my first booth space at the Sawdust Art Festival. I had just finished a two-year apprenticeship in stained glass, after graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, and had opened my own studio (mom and dad’s garage).

“My booth is painted and ready, but I’m having a very hard time choosing the photographs I need to print and frame taken over the past year. Why? Because I have too many favorites,” Mary says. (This is a dilemma her editor faces every time she sends in a batch of photos to go with Stu News stories. It’s agony to decide on only three when more than a dozen are crying out for publication each time.)

Her solution: “Next year I’ll be asking clients, students and friends to help me choose!” she says.

Which is one of the reasons Mary is launching a newsletter – to keep in touch with her numerous contacts and to provide inside information on Laguna Beach events, workshops, and photography. 

Her newsletter will include photo tips for cell phones or DSLRs, notes about her favorite apps and camera gear, contests and opportunity drawings, free screensavers of Laguna Beach, as well as discounts for and information about photography classes and workshops.

mary now

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Mary now: In 2008, I closed my glass studio (that my husband Spence built for me in our home) and pursued my passion for photography full time. With experience I’ve narrowed my focus to portraits and events, using all of Laguna Beach, from the hilltops to the sea, as my studio!

To sign up and improve your photography skills, visit 

https://mailchi.mp/f9ab0965d84f/here-comes-summer-photography-and-sawdust-32489


Neighborhood Congregational Church celebrates a successful first-ever World Peace & Justice Weekend

Participants came from as near as across the street and as far as Oakland to experience World Peace & Justice Weekend on June 9 and 10 at Neighborhood Church. About 100 participants showed up for an array of talks, experiences, music; and $5,000 was raised to support humanitarian, educational, social justice causes. 

The ambitious two-day series of events combined expert panel talks on a wide range of topics including parenting, technology, ecology, recovery, peaceful resistance, and healthy aging, mixed with music, dance, a children’s workshop, chanting, meditation, an all-night sound bath and a showcase concert with three bands enlivening the acoustically-friendly church sanctuary. 

The event was part of the church’s 75th anniversary celebration and the brainchild of its pastor of one year, Rev Rodrick Echols, the youthful, tech-savvy, Brown University-educated church leader who has injected new verve into the flock he helms. 

With an energetic team of volunteers from the church, the event quickly took shape. 

Neighborhood Congregational second panel

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Sue Cross, associate director of UC Irvine Writing Center, Aditi Mayer, UCI student and founder/editor-in-chief of UCI’s InSight Magazine, Shakeel Syed, executive director of OCCORD, and LA Kids director Chris Boucher

 “It began with witnessing the astonishing events in Charlottesville, Virgnia last August and the planned subsequent rally here at Main Beach – our church felt the need to respond,” explained Echols. “We held a nonviolence training and walked down to the beach to stand as peaceful protesters. With so much interest in answering anger with equanimity, I wanted to sustain that momentum. I think it’s important right now to keep bringing people together with a positive message, to renew their hope and help them advance their ideals rooted in peace and justice. That’s a more inclusive, spiritual message, to be sure, but it is valid and badly needed in these acrimonious times.”

 “Our goal for World Peace & Justice Weekend was to offer a venue where folks could step away from the negative, take a breath, and seek to restore their natural compassion,” he added. “We did so by offering eight different seminars and panels where guests could gather new information and share ideas, or simply be touched by listening to uplifting music. The lyrics from a song by one of our bands, Emma’s Revolution, sums it up: hope changes everything.”

The $5,000 raised during World Peace & Justice Weekend will support humanitarian aid, education, and social justice programs locally and worldwide: Friendship Shelter, Laguna Food Pantry, Walking for Water, fire and disaster victims, LA Kids program, school supplies and tuition for children in Malawi and Nicaragua, refugees from Tibet and Syria, and Venezuelan citizens.

Neighborhood Congregational panel

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Submitted photo

Saturday panel discussion “Faces of Active Wisdom” included Laura Kanter, director of policy, advocacy and youth programs for LGBT Center OC, moderator Rev. Rodrick Echols, Brooke Werleman, LBHS student leader of Walking for Water, and Pej Alaghamandan, business development director for Beginnings Treatment

Panel speakers included: Pejman “Pej” Alaghamandan of Beginnings Treatment, Laura Kanter of LGBT Center OC, Jackie Menter of the Jewish Collaborative OC/Multi-faith Alliance, John Fay of Laguna Beach Seniors, Inc., psychologist Dr. Michele McCormick, meditation and mindfulness teacher Rabbi Jill Zimmerman, Baha’i faith community member Suzy K. Elghanayan, Sue Cross of the UC Irvine Writing Center, Aditi Mayer, UC Irvine student and editor-in-chief of the university’s InSight Magazine, Shakeel Syed of immigration and economic justice organization OCCORD, Laguna Beach High School student Brooke Werleman, Susan Hough, director of Walking for Water, which builds wells in developing nations, Miguel Hernandez and Robert Cerince of social justice group Orange County Congregational Community Organization (OCCCO), parenting expert Rev. Dr. Terry LePage, Karen Lagrew, Instructional Technology Specialist at Orange Unified School District, and Barbara English, co-founder of OC Climate Action.

A lavish Tibetan lunch was served by Chef Lhakpa Tsering as guests moved from song, chanting, and movement workshops to meditative labyrinth walking to devotional kirtan singing. Others participated in an all-night sound bath of healing sounds of crystal bowls, gongs, and sacred instruments that started at 10 p.m. and ended at sunup on Sunday.

Neighborhood Congregational Moon Police

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Popular local band The Moon Police rocked the church sanctuary

“It was both exhilarating and calming,” said one sound bath participant. “Like nothing I have ever done. I would definitely do it again.”

Sunday’s concert was a crowd-pleaser as three bands performed to draw the event to a close: Sparky & The Ancient Mariner, The Moon Police, and Oakland-based Emma’s Revolution, called “fervent and heartfelt” by the New York Times.

Rev. Echols noted, “Plans are already under way for next year’s event. We have tapped into a thirst for religion-neutral, personally heartening activities like this one and our committee has many ideas to make it even better.”

Neighborhood Church is part of the United Church of Christ (UCC) denomination. Its open and affirming congregation celebrates the uniqueness of each individual. At 10 a.m. each Sunday, it presents an eclectic service of worship and music designed to appeal to people from all walks of life. In addition to its commitment to the Christian faith, Neighborhood Church is open to learning and drawing from the richness of other faith traditions. 

NCC is located at 340 St. Ann’s Dr.

For more information, go to www.ncclaguna.org or call (949) 494-8061.


Summer is here, surf’s up, and Scott is on the scene!

Photos by Scott Brashier

summer is perfect curve

summer is hat

summer is spray

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Scott captures sensational surfers in action in his Pictures of the Day


Poignant, amusing and powerful, Beach Reads delivers the goods with Lost and Found anthology

Review by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

With this second edition of Beach Reads, subtitled Lost and Found – the second such publication from Laguna’s Third Street Writers – the anthology reaches its stride as a literary journal. 

A compilation of 46 photographs, poems and short fiction, the book is true to its name – easy to read, but compelling enough so that the beach reader is likely to forget about pesky sand grains potentially dotting its pages.

Standouts for me were Barbara DeMarco Barrett’s amusing yet poignant depiction of her relationship with her mother in Images of my Mother (and the photograph that accompanies the piece); I was impressed also with the depth of another mother-daughter memory, Front of the Line, by Jean Hastings Ardell.

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It took me a while to turn the page after reading the stunning poem, What Was Lost in the Desert Heat, by Joseph S. Pete. I needed time to deal with the emotion called forth by this spare, simple, powerful evocation of the damage that war causes. Only then could I move on.

Other favorites included FOA exhibitor Jennifer Griffiths’ photographs, particularly After the Theatre, Hello, and The Last Old Gas Station, all strikingly strong images. Ellen Girardeau Kempler’s After the Wedding is beautifully composed and thoroughly on theme.

Christine Fugate’s short fiction Broken Fences, set in Australia, reminds us of the randomness of life and how easily decisions can be derailed by events beyond our control. 

And yet, in the moment of loss, often a new discovery is made, as Rina Palumbo, one of the editors and a contributor, reminds us in her introduction: “Liminality, the tipping point, occupies two spaces at once. It is both the beginning and the completion of a transition into something new…” she writes.

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Photo by Jody Tiongco

Third Street Writers bond over words

Amy Francis Dechary’s wit, voice and panache with prose are evident in the first sentence of her short story Plenty of Storms, set in Florida. The story begins: I always thought that some hot young thing would come between me and Earl, but I’d of put money on that redhead over at Circle K, not this bitch of a hurricane.

In his two photos, Dennis Piszkiewicz also succeeds in reflecting the universal theme of loss, one of which, Selfie in a Silver Sphere, depicts the 911 memorial whose mirrored design intentionally draws the viewer into the tragedy’s scope. The other photograph, Circles in the Sand, presents an image reminiscent of orbiting planets, eternal spheres here drawn on the ephemeral canvas that is the beach.

The variety of voices present in the anthology is refreshing, and the locations, from Iraq to New York City to our own shores, are pleasingly varied. 

I wish I had space to mention more contributions, but these were the ones that most affected me. I do have to mention Sande Roberts’ sweet photo of a young boy on the beach, entitled Look What I Found – a photo that will make all parents smile (as well as aunts and uncles – and especially grandparents).

The brevity of the contributions is proof that fun, profundity and fundamental truths happily co-exist in anthology of this kind – and that spending a day at the beach with a book can be extremely satisfying, sand be damned.


Clybourne Park, the final show of Laguna Playhouse’s 2017-2018 season, opens on Sunday, June 10

Laguna Playhouse finishes up its 97th season with the critically acclaimed, Pulitzer and Tony award winner for Best Play, Clybourne Park, written by Bruce Norris and directed by Matt August. Clybourne Park begins previews on Wednesday, June 6. The show will open on Sunday, June 10 at 5:30 p.m., with performances through Sunday, June 24. 

Executive Director, Ellen Richard, comments, “What a privilege to close this extraordinary season with one of the most important plays of the past decade.” 

Adds Artistic Director, Ann E. Wareham. “Under the direction of Matt August and with our exceptional cast, our subscribers and audiences are in for an unforgettable evening of thrilling and thought provoking theatre.” 

Clybourne Park poster

Clybourne Park previews on June 6 and opens on June 10

A spin-off of Lorraine Hansberry’s groundbreaking drama A Raisin in the Sun, this razor-sharp satire examines race and real estate in a fictional Chicago neighborhood. Smart and funny, this Tony and Pulitzer Prize winning play featured the evolution of a house, acting as the focus of reactions to the shifting racial landscape of a community.

Matt August (Director) directs regularly at regional theatres, for national tours, at Madison Square Garden and twice on Broadway. His shows have been highlighted at “The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade,” “Good Morning America,” “The Today Show,” “The Wendy Williams Show” and have even been performed at the White House. He has been recognized with nominations and awards including the LA Ovation, Helen Hayes, Mac, Bay Area Critics, Broadway World, and Australia’s Helpmann Awards. 

Bruce Norris (Playwright) is the author of the plays Domesticated, The Low Road, A Parallelogram, Clybourne Park, The Unmentionables, The Pain And The Itch, Purple Heart, We All Went Down To Amsterdam, and The Infidel, among others. He is a recipient of the 2009 Steinberg Playwright Award, The 2006 Whiting Foundation Prize for Drama, and two Joseph Jefferson Awards for Best New Work. As an actor he can be seen in the recent film “Sea of Trees.” He lives in New York City.

Clybourne Park Bruce Norris

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Bruce Norris, Playwright, Clybourne Park

The cast of Clybourne Park will feature (in alphabetical order): Heather Ayers, Jennifer Cannon, Jay Donnell, JD Cullum, Christian Pedersen, Bryan Porter, and Jennifer Shelton.

The Scenic Design is by D. Martyn Bookwalter, Lighting Design is by Chris Rynne, Costume Design is by Ann Closs Farley, and Sound Design is by Mike Ritchey. The Production Stage Manager is Susie Walsh. 

This season is generously underwritten by The Hale Family. Additional Season Sponsors are South Coast Plaza, Haskell White, Surterre Properties, Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders, Gelson’s, and Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin.

The show will run on Sunday, June 10 through Sunday, June 24, with performances on Tuesdays through Saturdays at 7:30 p.m.; Thursdays and Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays at 1 p.m. There will no performance on Tuesday, June 19 at 7:30 p.m. or Thursday, June 14, at 2 p.m. There will be an additional Sunday performance on Sunday, June 17 at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $45 - $75 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling (949) 497-2787 ext. 229. Prices are subject to change. 

The box office is open Monday – Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until showtime on performance days); and on Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Getting to know you/Getting to know all about you…Susi Q…

Did you know that the Susi Q operates as a nonprofit senior center? And that Susi Q is the only senior center that...? 

Getting susi q

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The place where seniors meet, chat, have fun, and more

Come pull up a chair, grab some coffee and a bagel, and find out what makes our town’s nonprofit senior center, Susi Q, so exceptional. Ask questions, share concerns, or stop by just to chat with staff members Judy, John, Nadia, Martha and Christine. Coffee is free and the conversation informal. 

The conversation happens on Thursday, June 14 from 10 p 11 a.m. and it’s free. Susi Q is located at 380 Third Street. Visit the website at www.thesusiq.org or call (949) 464-6645 for more information.


Peace & Justice Weekend at NCC is this Saturday and Sunday

As part of its 75th anniversary celebration, the Neighborhood Congregational Church (NCC) will present World Peace & Justice Weekend, a two-day series of events this weekend combining expert panel talks on a wide range of topics including parenting, technology, ecology, recovery, peaceful resistance, and healthy aging, mixed with music, dance, a children’s workshop, chanting, meditation, an all-night sound bath and a benefit concert featuring three bands. 

All events will be held this Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10 at NCC, located at 340 St. Ann’s Drive.

“This is a chance to step away from acrimony and debate, to cut through unpleasantness and noise, and to reconnect with your inner compassion and thoughtfulness,” said Rev. Rodrick Echols, NCC pastor. 

Neighborhood rod echols

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Pastor Rod Echols

“We’ll take a collective deep breath and immerse ourselves in relaxation and kindness. Our stated theme is ‘renew hope, reconcile lives, and restore compassion.’ We’ll do that by encouraging participants to escape their habituated thinking, set aside worry, and enjoy themselves while learning new ideas. 

“Our wide-ranging variety of intellectually and spiritually stimulating events offer participants the opportunity to discover something new about themselves.”

All-day Saturday passes (events take place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.) are $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 6 - 17; ages five and under are free. The Sunday concert (from 2 - 4 p.m.), which includes hors d’oeuvres and a no-host bar, is $20 for adults 21 & older and $10 for ages 12 - 20; ages five and under free.

Proceeds from the weekend will support humanitarian aid, education, and social justice programs locally and worldwide: Friendship Shelter, Laguna Food Pantry, Walking for Water, fire and disaster victims, LA Kids program, school supplies and tuition for children in Malawi and Nicaragua, refugees from Tibet and Syria, and Venezuelan citizens. 

Registration covers all panels and activities during the day. (Lunch not included.)

Saturday’s program features eight different panels including “Faces of Active Wisdom” during the welcome program, plus “Transcendent Themes in the Wisdom Traditions,” “Dialogue on Proactive Aging,” “Justice for an Interconnected World,” “Nonviolence and Your Role In It,” “Parenting Techniques: A Door to Compassion,” “Healthy Tech: Strategies and Ideas for Parents,” “Earth Care in Focus.” In addition, there will be two sessions each of “Spiritual Practice and Meditation” and “Dances of Universal Peace.”

Sunday’s joyful benefit concert includes three popular California musical acts: Sparky & The Ancient Mariner, The Moon Police, and Emma’s Revolution. Come out for sincere, toe-tapping, gorgeously wrought music that’s family-friendly and supportive of justice causes here and abroad.

For the full schedule and ticket details, visit www.ncclaguna.org.


Political notebook banner

PACs sign up

Two Laguna Beach Political Action Committees have filed 410 forms – statements of organization, whether for a candidate or a group. 

Underground Laguna Now filed on May 1. Matt Lawson is listed as the treasurer. Tom Gibbs is the principal officer. 

Liberate Laguna filed its 410 on May 14. Michael Ray filed the statement. The treasurer is Stacy Owens of Oakland. Assistant Treasurer Peter Sullivan is also listed as an Oakland resident.

As of Thursday, six individuals have submitted their 410s: Judie Mancuso, June 2, 2017; Sue Kempf, March 26; Cheryl Kinsman, April 23; incumbent Rob Zur Schmiede, May 1; Michele Hall, May 14; and Peter Blake, May 29.

City Clerk Lisette Chel Walker, who serves as the city’s election official, is currently organizing binders loaded with examples of forms candidates must file with her office, the dates by which the forms must be filed and pertinent information. The binders will be distributed on July 16 to candidates who have made an appointment to pull nomination papers. July 16 is the earliest date the papers can be pulled.

A minimum of 20 signatures by Laguna Beach registered voters is required for the nomination papers to be valid. Chel Walker recommends collecting an additional 10 to 20 signatures to ensure validation by the Orange County Registrar of Voters.

Submitted nomination papers must be accompanied by a $1,000 deposit for candidates’ statements. Any portion of the deposit that is unused will be returned.

--By Barbara Diamond


Walkathon for Glennwood House is tomorrow – grab your sneakers and join in

Glennwood residents are gearing up for their annual walkathon tomorrow, Saturday, June 9. It’s a fundraiser and also a way to celebrate healthy living and to show appreciation to the community of Laguna Beach for being supportive of this independent home for young people with disabilities.

The annual walkathon raises money for the nonprofit center’s health and fitness programs. Donations are welcomed and fully tax deductible. To donate or sponsor a resident, please visit https://glennwoodhousingfoundation.ticketspice.com/glennwood-walkathon

Walkathon Glennwood

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Submitted photo

Last year, Glennwood House of Laguna Beach residents were seen walking through Heisler Park, the village, and the farmers’ market enthusiastically greeting Laguna residents, local shop owners, and market vendors on their annual walkathon

Glennwood loves doing this walk, and hopes there will be a good turnout of people joining them. Participants are welcome to join in at 9 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, June 9, leaving from Heisler Park and progressing through the village shops, and on to the finish at the Farmers’ Market. 

Glennwood House provides supportive living for persons with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. Thanks to the support of our community, residents are actively involved and participating in service projects throughout the local area and say that this gives them the opportunity to be active and to give back. It’s so important to their goal of gaining self confidence and living a fulfilling and inclusive life, not only at Glennwood, but in their school and work environments as well. 

Look for Glennwood residents sporting their “G-Force - Glennwood For Good” blue T-Shirts around town as they support charitable causes and help out at community events.

For more information about Glennwood Housing Foundation, visit www.glennwoodhousing.org


At the Laguna Open: a great volleyball tournament – and I got to be the DJ

By LAURA BUCKLE

Photos by Scott Brashier

This weekend marked the 63rd Annual Men’s Laguna Open Volleyball Tournament at Main Beach. Described by Volleyball Magazine as every professional player’s favorite non-AVP tournament of the year, this tournament has generated crowds of thousands.

At the crowd

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Crowds flocked to the beach to watch the Volleyball tournament

In the past couple of years, as Kirk Morgan took charge of the organization of the event, the sponsorship has increased as have the crowds, the prize money, and…the music. This tournament is possibly one of the only events where I am legally allowed to blast my tunes on the beach, without anyone telling me off (thank you City of Laguna Beach). And I did. Thank you Kirk Morgan for bringing me into the Laguna Open family, playing music for this crowd is something I will never tire of.

At the crowd ball skills one

At the crowd ball skills two

At the crowd ball skills three

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Sensational ball skills were on display throughout the day

The volleyball tournament has stood the test of time despite various laws changing. Prior to the laws against alcohol on the beaches in Laguna, there was once a well-known tequila brand that sponsored the event. Not surprisingly, this was when the audience levels were at their highest, with people camping out the night before to make sure they had the perfect spot.

At the crowd wide shot of play

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The action was mesmerizing

What is so wonderful about this tournament is the level of professional players it attracts. More than half of the field has made an AVP or FIVB main draw in the past year, including Chase Budinger, Reid Priddy, Billy Kolinske, Avery Drost and Chase Frishman, as well as Olympic gold medalist David Lee (all without the VIP “don’t look me in the eyes, I’m a celebrity” type attitude). It is by far one of the most relaxed, fun loving volleyball family events – until the nail-biting semi finals and final. Even if you don’t play or are not a fan of this sport, you can be sure to be fully entertained.

As Volleyball magazine described the event, “Laguna is a barbeque, a family reunion, a reception where generations of players and fans both past and present congregate for world-class volleyball.” I couldn’t have put it better myself.

At the crowd another shot of play

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The Laguna Open was like “a barbecue, a family reunion”

This year, the City of Laguna Beach awarded the Laguna Open with a $5,000 community assistance grant. This money went straight into the prize pot, along with other sponsorship generated by Kirk and team. The overall prize money was $8,000.

It was a huge success this year with the event attracting twice as many crowds as last year over the Saturday and Sunday, and despite the fires that were raging in the hills above us.

Local talents arrived with an army of followers (shout out to the Victoria Beach massive, who were in full voice), and of course the Olympians and champions who graced our sands were a huge crowd pleaser.

For me, this event is another of the many reasons I love this town, like the Brooks Street surf contest, Spring Fever Surf About, Grapes for Grads, and the chili cook offs to name but a few. Laguna Beach is rich in its grandfathered tournaments and events that really emphasize the love we all have for our community and the support we give to our local superstars.

At the crowd results one

At the crowd results two

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2018 Laguna Open Results:

Chase Budinger / Taylor Crabb 1 AAA

Chase Frishman / Avery Drost 2 AAA

Bill Kolinske / Reid Priddy 3 AAA

Myles Muagututia / Kyle Friend 3 AAA

Cole Fiers / Bobby Jacobs 5 AA

Eric Beranek / Riley McKibbin 5 AA

David Vander Meer / Travis Mewhirter 7 A

Jake Rosener / Travis Schoonover 7 A

Rob McLean / Nathan Yang 9 NR

Shane Cervantes / Matt Jones 9 NR

Benjamin Vaught / Jeffery Samuels 9 NR

Lucas Yoder / Hagen Smith 9 NR


2017 was a very good year For Visit Laguna Beach: 2018 expected to be better

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Visit Laguna Beach has a story to tell. 

The story began some 32 years ago, when hoteliers in town formed the Hospitality Association to promote Laguna Beach as the perfect place to spend a night, a weekend or even a month. The success of the promotion and plans to improve it under the stewardship of Visit Laguna were reviewed Wednesday morning at the 2017 annual marketing report and breakfast held at [seven-degrees]. 

“Our mission is straightforward: to develop and market Laguna Beach as a leading travel destination,” said Ashley Johnson, president and chief operating officer. “Tourism is crucial to the success of our community – the key to economic development. 

“Visitor spending totaled $557 million in 2016 and equally important is the $18 million in visitor-generated local taxes for our local government. And we can’t forget to mention the 5,000-plus jobs that are supported by tourism.”

Social media continues to be the key component to Visit Laguna’s marketing efforts. In 2017, Instagram become the number one social media platform to tell Visit Laguna’s story and inspire travelers to enjoy Laguna’s 30 beaches and coves, more than 100 eateries and specialty shops. 

2017 was no surprise

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

No surprise that Laguna’s beaches attract international tourists

In 2017, Visit Laguna generated $397,000 in revenue for hotels with over 30,000 booking referrals. 

Almost 200 folks attended the breakfast to hear the annual report, including many of Visit Laguna’s collaborators. 

“We could not operate like we do without the support of city representatives, many of whom are here today,” said Mark Orgill, chair of the Visit Laguna Board of Directors, who welcomed attendees.     

Collaborations have been formed with the City through participation on the Economic Task Force, the Wayfinding Sign Program and the Trolley Tracker enhancements.

Assistant City Manager and Director of Public Works Shohreh Dupuis provided examples of city projects and programs that impact resident and visitors’ experiences and opinions of the city.

Projects range from proposed utility undergrounding; to clearing beaches of glass, cigarette butts and dogs off leashes; daily cleaning of public restrooms; and managing parking demand in the summer by increasing fees downtown from $3.75 to $4.50. 

“Public transportation will start earlier this year – June 18 instead of July 4,” Dupuis said. 

Other City projects that impact visitors are the beach access improvements – starting with Thalia Street. Agate Street will open July 4, with Pearl and Anita streets to come.

2017 was thalia

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Thalia Street beach access has been improved

Visitors to our beaches are welcomed, but Visit Laguna’s biggest success has been attracting overnight guests and those successes have been funded by the Business Improvement District – often called the BID.

Karyn Philippsen, a founding board member of Visit Laguna, recounted BID’s history for the audience, which included Heisler Building owner Sam Goldstein.

Goldstein was instrumental in forming the district, voluntarily introduced by the lodging establishments and approved by the city in 2001. The BID consists of a two percent fee tacked on to the 10 percent taxes paid by overnight guests in local hotels.

“Of that two percent, one-half goes to the arts of Laguna, including the Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Playhouse, Laguna College of Art & Design, cultural arts grants and Arts Commission special projects,” said Philippsen. “The other half goes to Visit Laguna Beach for marketing the town as a leading travel destination. 

“In fiscal year, 2001-02, BID revenues totaled $529,000. Today, they total $2.4 million.”

It all goes to the city. In 2017, overnight visitors generated more than $14 million in bed taxes. 

“Overnight guests are our bread and butter,” said Philippsen. ”They are the ones we target in our marketing efforts.”

Determining ways to hit those targets was undertaken by Schiefer Chop Shop Company President Jeff Roach and Vice President John Zegowitz, part of the year-long process of creating a new Visit Laguna Beach brand. 

They presented the early morning audience with a sneak preview of how the new branding campaign was developed. It included interviews that helped determine how to “attract the right people at the right time” to Laguna and to celebrate Laguna’s unique qualities. 

Roach and Zegowitz, both residents of Laguna, determined that “different strokes for different folks” is the best plan. What appeals to a young upwardly mobile couple won’t be a draw for the parents of a couple of kids or the grandparents.

A new Visit Laguna website, based on their research, will be launched internationally in July.

“We will tell awe-inspiring stories of why Laguna Bach is a top destination to visit while preserving and providing a sense of community and pride for visitors and residents,” said Johnson.


LB residents Keirstead & Rouda are in statistical tie to challenge Rep Dana Rohrabacher: Unity BBQ planned

Since Tuesday’s primary vote, supporters of Hans Keirstead and Harley Rouda, Democratic contenders to challenge Republican Congressional representative Dana Rohrabacher, have experienced highs and lows that have left them anxious for their chosen candidate to win, but also relieved that it seems (almost) certain that a Democrat will challenge the Republican in November.

With a third of ballots remaining to be counted after Tuesday’s voting, it’s unclear whether Keirstead or Rouda will prevail. On Tuesday, Rouda was ahead by 73 votes; by Wednesday evening, Keirstead was winning by 45 votes; by Thursday, June 7, Keirstead was 129 votes ahead.

But apparently the trend was moving toward Rouda as the voting period drew to a close, so it is not possible to know who might be the ultimate winner. Only time (and counting) will tell.

Essentially, they’re in a statistical dead heat, each with 17 percent of the vote in the 48th district. It may take weeks for a winner to be declared.

Unity Barbecue planned for June 13: “A good time to picnic on the same blanket”

Laura Oatman, a former candidate who chose to support Harley Rouda after dropping out of the race, is looking forward to a Unity Sunset Barbecue at Heisler Park on June 13 at 6 p.m., organized by the Laguna Beach Democratic Club.

lb residents hans

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From Hans Keirstead’s Twitter page

Hans with his wife & son

“I’m looking forward to Democrats coming together to support either Hans or Harley in November. In a way this is a gift, that they’re in a statistical dead heat – it’s a perfect opportunity to unite and agree that each has his own strengths and that beating Rohrabacher in the general election is a shared goal,” Oatman said. “Now, while there’s no clear victor, it’s a good time to picnic on the same blanket.”

Keirstead posted the following on his website: “The numbers will continue to fluctuate day by day…It’s extremely important we respect and allow the process to continue.

“We look forward to celebrating a win, but what is needed now is patience and kindness. There will be a Democrat on the ballot to challenge Rohrabacher and whoever prevails will need the support of a united party behind them.”

lb residents harley

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Courtesy of Kaira Rouda

Harley’s family

Rouda’s campaign issued the following statement on Election Day: 

“Today 70 percent of voters in the 48th District rejected Dana Rohrabacher. They sent a truly resounding statement that they’re ready to say goodbye to the divisive and hateful politics of our failed incumbent Congressman and Donald Trump. 

“We have truly built a movement for change here in the 48th Congressional District…I want to express my deep gratitude to all of our supporters, volunteers, the grassroots activists, working people and local leaders who have joined our campaign to move Orange County forward. 

“I know that all of us who are dedicated to defeating Dana Rohrabacher in the fall will unite together to beat him in November,” Rouda added.


Democratic candidate & LB local Cottie Petrie-Norris wins in primary, will challenge Matthew Harper

Laguna’s Cottie Petrie-Norris advanced to challenge Matthew Harper, Republican, Huntington Beach, for his seat in the 74th Assembly District Seat. Democrat Petrie-Norris won 28 percent of the vote to Harper’s 41 percent. 

Democratic candidate Cottie

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Photo from Facebook page

Cottie and friends celebrate

“I am so grateful to everyone who voted for me today in the California primary,” says Cottie Petrie-Norris. My team is phenomenal – and we’re super fired up to take this fight to November.”


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

June 8, 2018

Aletta arrives at the tip of Baja but it won’t be sending us anything of note, surf-wise

Dennis 5On this date in 1993 over an inch of rain splashed down on Laguna from a way out of season Gulf of Alaska storm that found its way down into Southern Cal. Snow in Big Bear in June? Yep, as much as eight inches of the white stuff down as low as 6,000 feet. It was the most rain that June has seen. Normal June rainfall in Laguna is less than a tenth of an inch. The sparse precipitation we do get usually comes from a 5,000 feet thick gloom layer.

Tucson, Arizona had a pretty healthy thunderstorm yesterday and that’s over three weeks early as the summer monsoon season normally fires up around the beginning of July and runs through mid September. Tucson averages around twelve inches of rain a year with over 60 percent of their annual rainfall occurring during that ten week period in the summer and that’s pretty much the case over most of the desert Southwest. Humidity levels during the monsoon season can double to triple their normal readings found from mid-September through June. 

As of 11 p.m. on Wednesday, June 6, we have tropical storm Aletta with sustained winds of 50 mph and she’s located about 675 miles SSW of the tip of Baja while just entering the Southern California swell window. Don’t expect any surf from her as yep, you guessed it, she’s moving straight west, which isn’t helping us at all. Unless she takes a sharp turn to the NW or NNW, forget it. Same ol’ tune. 

Meanwhile in the Gulf of Mexico it looks like another tropical system is trying to get its act together. Right now it’s just a big cluster of thunderstorms SW of Cuba but as of this evening there’s beginning to be a bit of rotation. June is the time of year when most tropical systems are born either in the Gulf or western Carribean. There’s at least a 60 percent chance of development at this time. That’s all the Gulf Coast and the Southeast needs is more feet, not inches of rain. Stay tuned on that one. 

ALOHA!


Laguna Beach Library presents a movie event: the screening of 12 Angry Men

On Wednesday, June 13, the Laguna Beach Library will screen the movie, “12 Angry Men” at 3 p.m. Before the show begins, there will be a discussion with Theo Siegel on how the film was made. 

Laguna 12 Angry poster

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This is a free program for all interested adults. The event is set to take place at the Library, located at 363 Glenneyre Street. For more information or for questions, call (949) 497-1733.


Laguna Beach Historical Society looks for docents, one afternoon a month at the LBHS bungalow

Hang out in a piece of history one afternoon a month by volunteering as a docent for the Laguna Beach Historical Society. Interested volunteers should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information. Potential docents will be contacted by the volunteer coordinator to match up volunteer with an available time slot and arrange for training.

Laguna Beach bungalow

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The Murphy Smith Bungalow

Docents will staff the bungalow at 278 Ocean Ave on the assigned day from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m. and show visitors around the place. There is free parking next door at Wells Fargo Bank. 

The Murphy Smith Bungalow is a piece of LB history, a kind of time capsule. Visitors experience a downtown bungalow from the Good Old Days of Laguna. There are photos and memorabilia that show visitors a glimpse of the town’s unique history.

The Murphy Smith Bungalow is open Friday, Saturday, and Sun from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.

For more information, go to www.lagunabeachhistory.org.


Whether you use wheels or feet to travel the streets, you’ll love LBPD’s Road Safety Expo this Sunday, June 10

Laguna Beach Police Department requests locals’ presence at the Fourth Annual Road Safety Expo downtown this Sunday, June 10 starting at 11 a.m. Whether you drive a vehicle, ride a bike, skateboard or walk, your safety depends on sharing the road safely with other vehicles and users. The Laguna Beach Police Department continues to promote “Vision Zero,” which aims to reach zero fatalities on our streets. (LBPD accomplished this goal in 2016 and 2017!)

The Road Safety Expo is intended to promote the safe and legal operation of bicycles and skateboards within our community, especially for young children and teens, and will include tips for parents. 

Whether you temple hills

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

One of the trickier streets to navigate in Laguna – Temple Hills Drive

Participants will have their bikes, skateboards, and helmets inspected and will also put into practice safe riding techniques. The expo will include interactive displays such as a mobile skatepark featuring quarter pipes, rails, boxes, and launch ramps, a bicycle obstacle course, traffic safety games, police vehicles, K-9 Ranger, a Merci Air helicopter, an 18-Wheeler, car seat and seat belt safety demonstrations, child ID making, a bounce house, face painting, a balloon artist, a DUI crash car and much more. 

The Habit and Kona Ice food trucks will be available, and there will be a bike raffle for a toddler, child, and teen sized bike. Additionally, there will be a raffle for an autographed Tony Hawk skateboard. There will also be a vehicle extrication demonstration, and a BMX stunt show performed by Robert Castillo’s BMX Freestyle Team. Supporting organizations include the Laguna Beach Fire Department, Laguna Cyclery, MADD, Doctors Ambulance, Good Year, AAA of Southern California, OCTA, the DMV, and SafetyBeltSafe USA. 

The Laguna Beach Police Department Road Safety Expo is this Sunday, June 10 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m. in parking lot #11, located at 551 Forest Avenue (in front of the Pageant). Attendees are encouraged to bring their bicycles, skateboards, and helmets, as they will be given the opportunity to practice their safety skills on a bicycle obstacle course, and at the mobile skatepark. All participants are required to complete a waiver before participating. 

Funding for this event is partially provided by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety 

For more information, please contact Captain Jeff Calvert at (949) 497-0375 or email him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Aliso Fire: Damage, recovery, and how you can help

The Aliso Fire ignited June 2 and burned approximately 178 acres of sensitive habitat in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park. As of this writing, the park remains closed. OC Parks anticipates re-opening the park in the next few days.

The Laguna Canyon Foundation and OC Parks supporters are encouraged to lend a hand by becoming certified volunteers. The next Volunteer Orientation is this Sunday, June 10. To learn more about this opportunity, visit www.laguna-canyon-foundationoc-parks-volunteer-orientation-tickets.

Aliso Fire

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Laguna Canyon Foundation photo

Volunteer Orientation is this Sunday, June 10. Best efforts will be made to fast track the training of new volunteers so they can assist at the Burn Area Posts.

The public is asked to stay out of the burned areas, respecting the closure notices. Some areas are still unsafe for visitors. Additionally, premature access could increase erosion, damage recovering plants, and further traumatize displaced animals.

Land managers are working to reopen the parks and trails for public access as soon as it is safe and feasible for visitors and habitat.


Annual Harry Bithell Pancake Breakfast will take place this Saturday, June 9 at Bluebird Park

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is hosting the Annual Harry Bithell Pancake Breakfast this Saturday, June 9 at Bluebird Park from 8 a.m. - 10 a.m. This breakfast celebrates 13 years of community support for the Boys & Girls Club.

Annual harry bluebird

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Enjoy all that Bluebird Park – and pancakes – have to offer

Kids will also delight in arts & crafts and park games. Oscar Parra, Branch Director, will host the Saturday morning event. 

“We are thrilled to be serving the community here at Bluebird Park! Our annual Harry Bithell Pancake Breakfast is more than just an anniversary occasion; it’s about celebrating how effectively our programs help children build character, creativity and academic success.” 

Oscar adds, “We would like to thank Harry Bithell, who has been a huge supporter over the years, plus our community partners, donors, and anyone else who has helped sustain Bluebird since the beginning. A special thank you to Las Brisas restaurant, who will be catering this year’s event again.”

Come join this event for some family fun. Everyone is invited, including friends and neighbors. 

Bluebird Park is located at 1470 Temple Terrace. For more information or questions, contact (949) 494-7630.


Don’t miss Motown with the LagunaTunes Chorus this Sunday, June 10 at 4 p.m. 

This Sunday, June 10 at 4 p.m. at the Artists’ Theatre at the high school, LagunaTunes Chorus (Laguna’s own all-community, no-audition vocal group) celebrates Motown songs from the ‘60s and ‘70s with a free concert. Get ready for a high-energy flashback to the days when radio DJs brought us the top hits on radio countdown shows! The list includes classics made famous by Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, and groups like The Temptations, The Four Tops, The Supremes, and Gladys Knight and the Pips. 

Founded in 2003, LagunaTunes Chorus celebrates fifteen years with the return of one of its founding directors, Roxanna Ward, in a special guest appearance. Ward, a popular local musician, teacher, and entertainer, is also well known for her sellout cabaret and comedy appearances. 

Countdown to group

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Here they are: the LagunaTunes Chorus members

LagunaTunes Director Bob Gunn also directs the St. Mary’s choir and MenAlive (the Orange County’s Gay Men’s Chorus). His MenAlive concerts have brought audiences to their feet all over southern California, across the USA, and in Europe. 

New members are encouraged to join LagunaTunes…without fearing an audition. It’s a friendly and inclusive group, and singers of all training and experience levels are welcome. Some members read music, some do not; age levels cover a broad range, and all are united by a love of music. Emphasis is on fun, learning, improving performance skills, and the joy of group singing. After a few weeks of rehearsal, new members are typically surprised at how well they can sing! 

The LagunaTunes Chorus also presents another concert in December, with rehearsals starting in September. Rehearsals are weekly, Monday nights (7 - 9 p.m.) at Thurston Middle School, 2100 Park Ave. Two or three Saturday practices are also held in preparation for the concert. 

LagunaTunes is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides choral singing to everyone and presents two concerts per year. Funding is provided by the Festival of Arts Foundation and The Lodging Establishments and City of Laguna Beach. 

For more information, visit www.lagunatuneschorus.org or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Barbara’s Column

Local heroes honored

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Laguna doesn’t have to look very far to find heroes. They live next door, teach our children, tend to our illnesses, care for our environment, protect us from harm and create beauty. 

A batch of local heroes was honored at the 11th Annual HERO FEST, held June 2 at the Festival Forum Theatre. Wendy Milette, director of film festivals and media arts for the MY HERO project, emceed the presentation of awards.

Laguna Beach clinical psychologist Judith Anderson was presented with the Community Hero Award for her many contributions to families in the community. 

barbara judy anderson

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Photo by Annabelle Vo, My HERO

Judy Anderson received the Community Hero Award

Jeanne Meyer, co-founder and director of MY HERO, was not feeling up to par Saturday night, but had previously expressed her admiration for Anderson. 

“I am grateful for her leadership with the PTA in Laguna Beach, bringing together parents and leaders in the field of education and parenting to help guide and nurture our community with the launch of Coffee Break for parent education and communication,” said Meyer.

Anderson, a founding board member of MY HERO, specializes in couples and family therapy. She is recognized as an expert in the areas of blended families, divorce, and remarriage. She teaches at the UC Irvine College of Medicine and is the founder of the nonprofit Foundation for the Contemporary Family. 

Anderson supports MY HERO Project’s use of heroism as a teaching tool and helped launch the group’s Teacher’s Room, which is now used in classrooms throughout the world. 

“People don’t realize that MY HERO is a home-grown program, which has evolved into a global program,” said Anderson.

Home Grown Heroes honored

The Ocean Segment of the awards was introduced by 14-year-old Whitney Winefordner singing her own composition, “My Blue Heart.” Additional writers Janet Bartucciotto and Emily Morris were also credited. 

Winefordner was accompanied by pianist Larsen McCarroll, Laguna Beach High School water polo star. Mom Lisa McCarroll was in the audience. 

barbara whitney

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Photo by Annabelle Vo, My HERO

Whitney Winefordner (14) sings “My Blue Heart”

On behalf of MacGillivray Films’ One World One Ocean Foundation, Michaela Wolman and Shauna Badheka presented the Sylvia Earle Ocean Conservation Award to the filmmakers of “Gwala Rising in the Bwanabwana Islands,” which depicts the renaissance of traditional conservation practices in the islands of New Guinea. 

Earle is a renowned biologist, explorer, author and lecturer, who reportedly has been called “Her Deepness” by the New Yorker magazine and the New York Times. She makes her land home in Laguna Beach and wears a “Reserve Laguna” button in support of the Laguna Bluebelt – which also was honored at the HERO FEST. 

Professional photographers Alex Cowdell, Michael Fernandez and Rich Everson, and amateur photographers Noah Munivez, Bryan Greenberg and David Hansen, were the award winners of the 2018 Laguna Bluebelt Photography contest.

Mike Beanen, Jinger Wallace, Charlotte Mazarik and Ray Hiemstra represented Laguna Bluebelt at the presentation. Councilwoman Toni Iseman was on hand to applaud. 

Student Art honorees included Laguna Beach High School students under the instruction of Bridget Beaudry Porter and Boys and Girls Club members Madeline Chu, Angeline Elyazal, Mia Juarez, Sophie Schaefer and Mariam Tehari, taught by Caitlin Reller.

Laguna Poet John Gardiner was remembered for his “Crazy Wisdom.” 

barbara jorge rubal

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Photo by Annabelle Vo, My HERO

Adriana Nieto-Sayegh and Dr. Jorge Rubal were featured in a documentary about the community clinic

The audience at the HERO FEST got a short introduction into Laugher Yoga, led by Jeffrey Briar every day at Main Beach. He had folks in the Forum Theatre up on their feet, waving their hands and, yes, laughing.

Laguna Beach Community Clinic Chief Operating Officer and Medical Director Dr. Jorge Rubal and Clinical Director Adriana Nieto-Sayegh were featured in Cory Sparkhul’s award-winning film “Laguna Beach Community Clinic/Then and Now.” Both attended the awards presentation.

An anti-bullying film, featuring Laguna Beach Police Captain Jeff Calvert and skateboarding legend Tony Hawk won kudos for the department’s media team: Sgt. Jim Cota, Cpls. Darrel Short and Ryan Hotchkiss, Emergency Coordinator Jordon Villwock, Community Services Officer Natasha Hernandez, Administration Specialist Jenna Moore and Officers Mike Short, Kyle Milot Mike Lee and Bandon Drake

barbara all honorees

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Photo by Annabelle Vo, My HERO

(L-R) Jeanne Meyers, Jun Kelly, Wendy Milette, Whitney Winefordner, Niquole Esters, Larsen McCarroll, Adriana Nieto-Sayegh, Jessica Baron, Mike Beanan, Judith Anderson, Jeffrey Briar, Trey Carlisle, Madeline Gillum, Dr. Jorge Rubal

Awards also recognized art from Poland, Tennessee, Newark Memorial High School, the Sultana Elementary School in the Ontario-Montclair School District and the Peace Pals 2017 International Competition winners.

Trey Carlisle, a SOKA intern and community activist, Joanne Tawfils of the Art Miles Mural Project, and Guitars in the Classroom’s Jessica Baron were recognized as educational partners at the HERO FEST. 

The awards program concluded with “It’s a Wonderful World,” sung by Winefordner and McCarroll.

HERO FEST is made possible in part by the Laguna Beach lodging establishments and the city. Laguna Beach radio station KX 93.5 and Stu News Laguna were media sponsors.

Dance Dance Dance

The Kyne Dance Academy will showcase 125 of its students – more than 100 of them children in two shows, set for 2 p.m., June 23 and June 24 at Laguna Beach High School’s Artists Theater.

“There will be a variety of dances; tap, jazz, ballet and lyrical – somewhere between ballet and jazz,” said Pauline Kyne, who has taught dance classes in Laguna with her daughter, Lisa, for more than 40 years. 

“Hits: Dancin’ Through the Ages,” will feature music from the 1960s to today including Elvis Presley’s “Blue Suede Shoes, Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation,” “Dancing Queen” from Mamma Mia, and Gwen Stefani’s “Conga.” Eight Kyne teachers choreographed the show, which will be directed by the Kynes. 

Tickets are $15 and on sale now at www.kda.booktix.com. Tickets will also be sold at the box office if still available. All seats are reserved. 

But wait – there’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading StuNewsLaguna.com. Contributions of news items are welcomed.


LBPD is honored with MY HERO Award Certificates

At last weekend’s MY HERO event, an anti-bullying film featuring Laguna Beach Police Captain Jeff Calvert and skateboarding legend Tony Hawk, won kudos for the department’s media team: Sgt. Jim Cota, Cpls. Darrel Short and Ryan Hotchkiss, Emergency Coordinator Jordon Villwock, Community Services Officer Natasha Hernandez, Administration Specialist Jenna Moore and Officers Mike Short, Kyle Milot Mike Lee and Bandon Drake.

LBPD is honored

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Photo courtesy of LBPD

Back row (L-R): Sergeant Jim Cota, CSO Natasha Hernandez, Captain Jeff Calvert, Detective Brandon Drake, Emergency Manager Jordan Villwock, Administrative Assistant Jenna Moore, Detective Hotchkiss

Front row (L-R): Officer Kyle Milot, Officer Mike Short, Officer Mike Lee, Corporal Darrel Short


Be Prepared for emergencies: Sign up for AlertOC and Nixle – it’s easy and keeps you in the loop

If your neighborhood had needed to be evacuated last weekend due to the Aliso Fire, would you have received the AlertOC emergency call? City Officials communicate through AlertOC, a geo-targeted emergency mass notification system so specific it can send targeted messages right to your neighborhood during emergency events and evacuations. 

Should disaster strike, you’ll receive key information on where to go and what to do to keep you and your family safe. 

Be prepared homes

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Be prepared for the next fire to strike, sign up for AlertOC and Nixle

Go to www.AlertOC.com to register or update your cell phone numbers, text numbers, and email addresses into the emergency mass notification system. It is recommended that you register your work and home addresses separately to ensure you receive proper notifications for each location. 

AlertOC is a critical link for residents and businesses to immediately learn of any required actions. It is important to register your additional contact numbers because you may not be home when emergencies happen in your neighborhood. 

You should also register for Laguna Beach’s Nixle community alert system. This system is different than AlertOC because it is used to communicate local traffic related information, community events, as well as urgent safety messages in the City. You can customize the types of alerts you would like to receive, all delivered at no cost, by text message, email and web. 

To sign up simply text 92651 to 888-777. 

The City of Laguna Beach encourages residents to be prepared for all emergencies by making an emergency plan and creating an emergency kit. Templates are available at www.lagunabeachcity.net/getprepared.

The process is simple: 

--Make an emergency plan

--Create an emergency kit 

--Sign the pledge online to help make Laguna Beach the Most Prepared City in Orange County 

To access materials, checklists, and to sign the pledge, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/getprepared. Residents are encouraged to get their neighbors, friends, co-workers and fellow members in local organizations to join in the effort. 

For more information, please contact Jordan Villwock, Emergency Operations Coordinator at (949) 497- 0389 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Bunnies go bowling: hopefully there’s no bias against them – could they be jack rabbits?

Photo by Jean Brotherton

Bunnies go bowling

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Rainbow Reflections…

A column about LGBTQ life in Laguna

By Craig Cooley

rainbow flags

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Submitted photo

WOW…Rainbows were EVERYWHERE!

It was two years ago that Chris Tebbutt and I met for the first time at Montage Resort, where our conversation quickly turned to a question we had been asking ourselves individually for quite some time: What happened to Gay Laguna, the gay Laguna we knew from years past?

We both expressed our heartfelt interest in exploring the “why” and talking about whether there was an opportunity to “bring the Gay back to Laguna.” Well, we discovered that it never really left, but might need some revitalization. 

rainbow happy

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Photo by Kathleen Clark

Happy times are here again… actually, Gay times are here again as locals celebrate Pride Weekend

We created the LGBTQ Heritage and Culture group of interested locals to explore and maybe facilitate a greater level of “Gayness”. As an organization we explored the history of Laguna Beach and the many contributions from the LGBTQ residents, as well as those from a new generation of locals who are part of the ongoing culture. 

We discovered a rich gay heritage, with many firsts in the nation that happened in Laguna Beach – from the first openly gay mayor in the US, the founding of national AIDS support programs such as Shanti and ASF, to a City that actually has a department focused on LGBTQ issues, and outreach program with the LBPD. 

We discovered that we are indeed part of the DNA, continue to be and that there is a profound new culture of acceptance. But most exciting was the discovery that bubbling just under the surface there lies a groundswell of support and interest in “Gay Laguna”, like never before! 

rainbow mayor

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Photo by Kathleen Clark

Toni Iseman, former mayor and councilmember, surrounded by gay partiers

That brings us to this last weekend as rainbows were everywhere and will continue to be for the entire month of June as it is LGBTQ Heritage and Culture Month, as proclaimed last year by the City of Laguna Beach. Indeed, a prideful month is off to a great start with Pride festivities for only the second time in more than 20 years. 

Starting on Friday, June 1, Main Street Bar & Cabaret was packed as they launched the weekend with a Pride Costume Contest and kick-off party. 

On Saturday, June 2, the festivities started off at the Royal Hawaiian with a sold-out Bingo Brunch, with Endora calling the numbers and awarding fabulous unique and fun prizes. After brunch it was off to the “Pride Pavilion” for an afternoon of crazy entertainment and even a few words from former Mayor, Toni Iseman. 

rainbow royal hawaiian

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Submitted photo

The Royal Hawaiian was packed with happy bingo players

The Boom Boom Room was open once again, with a VIP Room and a bevy of GoGo dancers until the wee small hours of the morning. Attendance was grand: the Boom Boom Room was at capacity.

Sunday, June 3 – it was the beach, of course, as the party started at West Street Beach with a dance pavilion, DJs the Perry Twins, and Ongina entertaining as only she can – and there was even an official Sand Castle contest hosted by Frankie Ciccone. 

rainbow at the beach

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Photo by Kathleen Clark

Soaking up the sun and fun – and there was even a sandcastle contest

At 4 p.m. the Boom Boom Room opened once again for an afternoon Tea Dance that lasted, again, to the wee small hours of the morning. We were worried that three days of festivities might be too much but we were soundly proven wrong! 

But the weekend didn’t just include the official Pride program, there was a “flash over” of participation from many Laguna establishments. The Seahorse Bar, (established in 1946 as one of Laguna Beach’s first gay bars) was festooned with rainbows and hosted a “Pride” party all three days. Not to be outdone, Main Street Bar & Cabaret had events each day. 

rainbow boom boom

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Photo by Kathleen Clark

The Boom Boom Room was buzzing all weekend

And it didn’t stop there, even Mozambique had a Saturday noon Drag entertainment show, it seems the “gay” is having a resurgence! 

Another testament to the support and success of the event comes from the sponsors. We were so blessed with the generosity of many businesses as you can see, and the personal support of Jeff Brummett and Marc LaFont, who are also strong supporters of HRC (Human Rights Campaign). 

I wish to personally thank the Dornins, the owners of the Boom Boom Room and Coast Inn, for the use of their space and the large parking lot that became our Pride Pavilion. But most importantly, their strong and heartfelt support in so many important ways, thank you! 

I feel it is fair to say that the event was spectacular, and a huge part of the spectacular recognition goes to Jonathan Colliflower and Splendid Events – recognition that is warranted due to Jonathan’s talent for orchestrating an entertaining event on a very large scale, which has never been done at such a level for Laguna Beach Pride! 

Thank you, Jonathan, from the entire LGBTQ Community, you deserve it! 

rainbow empowered

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Photo by Kathleen Clark

Pride isn’t just about parties – it’s about empowerment

And special thanks go out to Meredith Dowling, Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce. If you are not a member you should join – the new Director is spectacular, and getting more things done for City commerce than ever before. 

Also, a special thanks to Ashley Johnson, Director of Visit Laguna Beach for all her marketing expertise and support in making Laguna Beach a world class LGBTQ travel destination. Thanks too to Bill Atkins for his artistic expertise in developing our Pride Poster and Pride banner proudly waving in the wind on Main Beach.

And not to be minimized in any manner, is the strong support of all the volunteers who made the event possible. Without the support of these people and the many hours they graciously contributed we could not have had an event. 

rainbow pink

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Photo by Kathleen Clark

Everyone was in the pink and having fun

We are already looking to next year’s Pride event…thinking we could do it on an even on a grander scale! And, there is also July Fourth to celebrate…maybe? Stay tuned to Rainbow Reflections! 

And the last word…

We all should know that diversity makes for a rich tapestry, and we must understand that all the threads of the tapestry are equal in value no matter what their color. -- Maya Angelou

Please tune in on KX 93.5 FM or go to www.Rainbow-Radio.com to keep up to date on all the LGBTQ activities and special guests. 

If you would like to submit suggestions, please contact me at cThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as we love to keep everything interesting and relevant, and well, yes, fun and entertaining! 

With love to all, from Craig at Rainbow Reflections and Stu News Laguna…


Community flips over LBHS Athletics Second Annual Community & Pancake Breakfast Day: $7,500 raised

Photos by Scott Brashier

Last Saturday under sunny skies, LBHS athletics and boosters sold over 150 pancake breakfasts and volunteer doctors performed over 125 physicals. In addition to master pancake flippers Athletic Director Lance Neal with Baseball Coach Jeff Sears, also hosting were 12 LBHS coaches (along with other community tables). The second annual event was deemed a big success. The event raised almost $7,500. 

Community flips pancake chefs

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Pancake flippers

“This is Athletic General Boosters’ biggest fundraiser of the year. The money supports LBHS athletics. Last year, general boosters were able to purchase two colorful new athletic vans for the school, and we also award a few athletic scholarships every year,” explained Booster Board Member Carrie Reynolds. “It does take a village, and we have a great one.” 

After a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner by Savannah Johnson, the high school quad was pumping tunes thanks to Boys and Girls Tennis Coach, Rick Conkey. The LBHS dance team performed for the crowd as they walked among display tables filled with coaches available to talk to fans and future players. 

At tables to greet guests were: Football Coach Shanahan, Boys and Girls Surf Coach Finn, Girls Cross Country Coach Lalim, Boys and Girls Volleyball Coach Patchell and Coach Cuevas, Girls Water Polo Coach Damato, Boys and Girls Golf Coach Quigley, Girls Soccer Coach Pask, Cheer Coach Johnson, and Boys Lacrosse Coach Nunziata. 

Community flips quad view

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Activities galore in the quad

Girls Basketball Coach Tietz was running a tournament in the gym and attracting hungry pancake eaters. Laguna Beach Fire, Police Department, and Boys and Girls Club were also at tables to talk to families and other community members. Booster reps for different sports were selling T-shirts, offering raffle prizes, and more. 

“If you are an incoming freshman who is planning on playing sports at LBHS, this event is a great way to meet all of us and learn a little more about athletics while enjoying the community vibe on the quad,” explained Tennis Coach Rick Conkey.

Thanks to nine generous doctors, Dr. Anita Wong, Dr. Dawn Atwal, Dr. Marcela Domínguez, Dr. Jill Panitoh, Dr. Janet Staples Edwards, Dr. Mae Kinaly, and helpers Liz Monaco, and Dyan Russell, 150 young athletes got physicals for athletic clearance to play sports this year.


Local teen William (Paul) Wittkop wins to climb to fourth in the nation in Youth MMA

William (Paul) Wittkop, son of LBHS teacher Scott Wittkop, won his Youth Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) bouts in the Coast To Coast Pankration Tournament in Orlando, Florida in May.

Local teen William

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Photo by Scott Wittkop

USFL President Jon Frank (left) with William Paul Wittkop, with his Contenders Belt win at the MMA Pankration Tournament

Fresh off his IBJJF and World League Jiu Jitsu Gold Medals, William faced Eduardo Perez (Rodriguez MMA) from Georgia, with the winner continuing on to the main event. William made quick work of Perez, finishing the fight with an arm bar submission at 1:43 into the first round. Up next was Elijah Penton (Americas Top Team) from Florida. Once again, William finished the fight in the first round by an arm bar submission to win the Contender’s Belt in less than a minute and a half. 

William is now ranked fourth in the nation and hopes to have a title fight by the end of the year. He trains at Grapplers Studio under Laercio Frenandez, Anthony Frank and Jon Frank. The United States Fight League (USFL) Youth Pankration tournament was hosted by the Elite Preparatory Academy, the only school in the nation to have an MMA curriculum.   

The following day, William attended the 16th Annual Make ‘m Smile Festival, the biggest party celebrating special needs kids. Along with other athletes, he got to directly work with the kids and teach them different MMA skills. William is a teen champion giving back! 


Soka gives back to firefighters in gratitude, offering free tickets for new show

The Wonderful Wizard of Song is coming to Soka Performing Arts Center on Sunday, July 1 at 3 p.m., and Soka University is offering two free tickets to any active firefighter who shows their valid Fire Department ID as a thank you for their efforts in controlling the Aliso Fire.

Soka singer“They are our ‘Wonderful Wizards’ of firefighting,” noted Soka Performing Arts Center’s General Manager David Palmer, “and we wanted to invite them to a special afternoon of music to show our deep appreciation for the long hours they devoted to the safety of Soka University and our neighbors.”

The Wonderful Wizard of Song is a rousing musical revue of the works and life of The Wizard of Oz composer Harold Arlen. Arlen’s son, Sam Arlen, hosts the show along with co-creator, acclaimed singer/pianist George Bugatti, as they guide the audience through Arlen’s nostalgic and evocative melodies with the help of vocalist Grande Dame Karon Blackwell. 

The show travels from the Cotton Club with Arlen’s breakout hits “Get Happy,” “I’ve Got the World on a String,” and “Stormy Weather,” to the silver screen melodies “Let’s Fall In Love,” “That Old Black Magic,” and “The Man that Got Away,” to the Broadway stage compositions “Come Rain or Come Shine” and “Paper Moon,” to the Land of Oz with “Over the Rainbow,” “If I Only Had a Brain,” and “Ding Dong the Witch is Dead.” 

Firefighters may get two free tickets by showing their ID at the Soka Performing Arts Center box office. Regular general admission tickets are $15 for adults, and $10 for youth aged 18 and below. Tickets are on sale now and be purchased online at www.soka.edu/pac or by calling 949-480-4ART (4278).   

Soka building

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Submitted photo

Soka Performing Arts

Soka Performing Arts Center is located at 1 University Drive, Aliso Viejo on the campus of Soka University of America. The 1,000-seat concert hall features world-class acoustics designed by Yasuhisa Toyota, acoustic designer of noted performance venues like Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles and Suntory Hall in Tokyo. 

The campus is rated in the Top 50 National Liberal Arts Colleges in US News and World Report’s “Best Colleges 2018.” The university is open to top students of all nationalities and beliefs and was founded upon the Buddhist principles of peace, human rights, and the sanctity of life. For more information, visit www.soka.edu.


California Nonprofit Day Honors Orange County’s Illumination Foundation as “Nonprofit of the Year” 

On Wednesday, June 6 during California Nonprofit Day, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Orange County) and the California State Assembly honored the Illumination Foundation and CEO and President Paul Leon as California’s “Nonprofit of the Year.”

Since July 2008, Illumination Foundation has worked tirelessly to break the cycle of homelessness for Southern California’s most vulnerable populations. 

“Due to the efforts of the Illumination Foundation, thousands of families, and children in need, have been helped. Their record of a 78 percent job placement success rate shows that their dedication and devoted work for our Orange County community has been a potent force of change,” said Quirk-Silva. 

Homelessness in Southern California is staggering. More than 73,432 people are homeless in Southern California each year. More than 32,000 children in Orange County (1 in 22) are homeless or unstably housed. Many people don’t realize that 54 percent of households in OC with full-time employment live below the poverty line. 

California Non profit red sweater

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Submitted photo

Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk presents the “Nonprofit of the Year” award to Illumination Foundation President & CEO Paul Leon during California Nonprofit Day. Quirk-Silva represents the 65th Assembly District, which includes Orange County communities of Anaheim, Buena Park, Cypress, Fullerton, Garden Grove, La Palma and Stanton.

“We are honored to be selected as Nonprofit of the Year by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva for California Nonprofits Day,” said Paul Leon, Illumination Foundation CEO and President. “We appreciate Assembly member Quirk-Silva’s support of our solution-minded programs, which provide housing and healthcare for Orange County’s homeless population through comprehensive, whole-person care,” he concluded. 

Illumination Foundation provides the best care possible for the homeless with services that transition clients into stable housing and long-term livelihoods. This includes housing priorities for individuals and families, education and support for children in the homeless cycle, career resources and counseling for adults, and recuperative care where medically vulnerable homeless individuals can receive integrated medical oversight after their discharge from hospitals. 

“There is no one solution to combating the pervasive homelessness problem, but the Illumination Foundation is utilizing a comprehensive approach to take the issue head-on,” said Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva. “State and local government must continue to work with private organizations like theirs in a multifaceted approach to the persistent issues of homelessness.” 

Since July 2008, Illumination Foundation has worked tirelessly to break the cycle of homelessness for Southern California’s most vulnerable populations. They assess clients to identify needs and provide immediate relief when necessary, followed by care that combines housing, case management, medical care, mental health and workforce services to decrease community dependency. They offer a low-entry threshold to access health and housing stability for the most susceptible members of our community, with a focus on families and those with chronic health conditions. 

To date, Illumination Foundation’s housing programs have served 2,316 families and have provided medical and social services to more than 20,000 individuals. 

For more information, visit www.ifhomeless.org.


Grace Rune of Laguna raises awareness of torturing and slaughter at the Yulin China Dog Meat Festival

Story by DIANNE RUSSELL

Imagine an annual “festival” in which 10,000 dogs are tortured in unspeakable ways and then slaughtered for food, simply because the festival goers believe adrenaline from the pain makes the dogs’ meat more tender and beneficial to health and good luck.

No, it’s not the pagan days, it’s the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, a 10-day event which began in 2009, and takes place annually during the summer solstice. The dogs are tortured in inconceivable ways; boiling, blow torches, skinning, and crucifixion. And it’s about to happen again on June 21 in Yulin, Guangxi, China. 

You don’t have to be an animal lover for the extent of this cruelty to bring you to your knees, you just have to be human.

There’s no way to candy coat this. The only way to do justice to these innocent animals and bring a stop to these horrific practices is through awareness. 

No one believes that more than Laguna resident Grace Rune, a humanitarian (a documentary she worked on, Still a Slave, was screened at Susi Q recently) and animal lover. In 2016, she saw a video on Facebook about the Yulin Dog Meat Festival. It affected her so profoundly that two months later she was on a plane to China, and she’s been back two more times (in 2017 and 2018). If she decides to go to the festival this year, it will be her fourth trip.

Grace Rune and Sophia

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Photo by Grace Rune

Grace Rune and Sophia at Yulin shelter

As per www.vanderpumpdogs.org/stop-the-torture, to make the event even more gruesome, transporting the dogs to the festival is an intrinsically brutal operation. Dogs for Yulin come from as far as central and north China’s Henan and Shandong, more than 1,000 miles away. They are crammed into wire cages, unable to extend their limbs, denied food and water for days during the exhausting trip. 

The dogs arrive at their destination malnourished and underweight, dehydrated, often dying from injuries or from being poisoned during capture. Others are already dead. No one checks to see where these dogs come from – many are heartlessly ripped from their loving homes, or darted with poison on the streets and dragged away to the slaughterhouse. Therefore, disease is rampant due to the squalid conditions and lack of medical care. 

Unbelievably, the festival is only a part of the inhumane practices that go on in that part of the world. Due to the Asia meat industry, The Humane Society estimates 30 million dogs are killed across Asia every year, with an estimated 10 million killed in China alone. 

Rune, a second time cancer survivor, discovered her passion for this cause after going through treatment for Stage Four terminal cervical cancer that left her in remission for four years. But then last year, she was diagnosed with Stage Three sacral sarcoma from the radiation treatment she went through for her first cancer. She’s going through treatment now. 

After spending years as a corporate accountant, putting in long hours, now that she’s found her calling, she feels, “I wasted my life. All because of cancer, it changed my life for the better.” She stopped working in 2014.

Just two weeks ago, she returned from her last trip, which lasted a month. She split her time between the two organizations for which she volunteers; the first week, she was at Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation shelter in China, then she went to Thailand (spent one week down time) and two weeks at Soi Dog in Phuket. 

Leading animal activist Marc Ching is the founder of The Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation (AHWF), a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that is focused solely on rescuing abused and neglected animals. Ching expanded the foundation’s reach globally, in 2015, to include rescuing dogs from the Asian Dog Meat Trade (which is one of the biggest animal welfare concerns in the world).

Grace Rune black dog

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Photo by Grace Rune

Tortured dog rescued from the Yulin Festival

Once Ching learned about the brutal practice of torturing dogs before slaughtering them for meat during the Yulin Dog Meat Festival, he knew that his life would never be the same; but fortunately, neither would the lives of thousands of dogs he has and continues to rescue with each mission he takes to the battlegrounds in Asia. 

Ching goes undercover to slaughterhouses and secretly videotapes the torture of innocent dogs. They are tortured, dismembered, burned alive, electrocuted, and in some regions even crucified and nail-gunned into walls. 

Secretly videotaping has long-term effects on those working undercover, as they have to silently watch as dogs are tortured and killed. Recently, Rune had dinner with Ching and Suki Su, who runs the China shelter, and relates that when Suki went undercover, “It broke her.” 

By raising awareness, Ching and the AHWF aim to expose the world to the unimaginable anguish and suffering that these dogs endure, hoping to enact change and force the government to create laws to protect these precious animals from this unfounded, barbaric and cruel tradition. 

Rune spent her time in China triaging rescued animals that would go to Ching’s shelter. They are separated by the seriousness of the injury, treated, quarantined, then transported to Ching’s shelter in Sherman Oaks to be put up for adoption. 

I ask her how she’s able to handle this emotionally, and she says, “I have to think of the ones we save.”

In 2017, on Rune’s second visit to Ching’s shelter, she spotted Sophia in the trauma kennel. It was the long six-inch scar on Sophia’s back from being hung on a meat hook at a slaughterhouse that got Rune’s attention. Once Sophia was transported to the AHWF facility in Sherman Oaks, Rune was able to adopt her. “It took me about a year to get her to trust others, but she is still a work in process but loved tonz!!”

Grace Rune Sophia alone

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Photo by Grace Rune

Sophia was rescued off a meat hook in a Yulin slaughterhouse 

The last two weeks of Rune’s trip were spent at Soi Dog Foundation (Soi means shelter), which was established in 2003 in Phuket, Thailand, to help the street dogs and cats who had no one else to care for them. Over 50,000 strays roamed the island, with the numbers growing alarmingly due to a lack of sterilization (spay/neuter) programs to control the population. Soi Dog was created to provide a humane and sustainable solution to managing the stray population and to address their medical needs. 

Soi Dog (founded by John and Gill Dalley) is fighting the Asian dog meat trade, and as a result, the trade has been almost completely wiped out in Thailand. They continue to campaign for an end to the trade in South Korea, Vietnam, and other Southeast Asia countries where it is prevalent. Thailand introduced its first animal welfare law in late 2014. Among other things, the Prevention of Animal Cruelty and Provision of Animal Welfare Act makes it illegal to eat dog and cat meat. Soi Dog Foundation sat on the committee that drafted full details of the law. 

Rune describes Soi Dog as “leap years away” from Asia. 

When asked what the average person can do to help, Rune replies, “Spread awareness, foster the dogs that have been saved, make donations, and write your congressman.”

Grace Rune at Soi Dog

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Photo by Grace Rune

Grace spent two weeks at Soi Dog in Thailand taking care of the dogs

Write your congressman? We, as residents of the US, should be ashamed. Unbelievably, the consumption of dog meat is still legal in 44 states. Rune recently went to Washington DC to present bills to Congress: The Dog and Cat Meat Trade Prohibition Act of 2017, and before the House panel is an amendment added to a farm bill that was approved by the House Agriculture Committee barring the consumption or transporting of dog and cat meat. Hopefully, they will pass.

But what will stop Asian dog meat trade and the Yulin Festival?

Rune says, “The only way it’s going to be gone is through the Chinese people, and there are so many great Chinese activists. The younger generation is more compassionate and educated, and are not having any of this, but I hope it doesn’t take a generation to happen.”

But there’s much we can do as well. Grace Rune is proof of that.

As Marc Ching says, “This is how movements are born. This is how cultures are created. One man and a single effort, it becomes a nation.”

To support the GoFundMe campaign Rune has set up – Yulin Aid for Voiceless Dogs and Cats, go to:
www.gofundme.com/5nbrrr4?pc=em_sf_co2876_v1&rcid=9203fe2506574c448e0dad376cf648fe.

For more information on the bills, go to www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/1406 and

www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-04-18/ban-on-killing-dogs-and-cats-for-meals-considered-by-house-panel.

For more information on Animal Hope and Wellness Foundation, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

For more information on SoiDog Foundation, go to www.soidog.org.


Helicopters (and water) bring relief during Aliso Fire

Photo by Gary Barnes

Helicopters and water

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This photo, taken from Laguna Niguel Regional Park, where helicopters were coming to and fro to fill up on water to help put out the Aliso Fire, could very well be a painting in an art gallery


Be Prepared for emergencies: Sign up for AlertOC and Nixle – it’s easy and keeps you in the loop

If your neighborhood had needed to be evacuated this weekend due to the Aliso Fire, would you have received the AlertOC emergency call? City Officials communicate through AlertOC, a geo-targeted emergency mass notification system so specific it can send targeted messages right to your neighborhood during emergency events and evacuations. 

Should disaster strike, you’ll receive key information on where to go and what to do to keep you and your family safe. 

Be prepared homes

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Homes look to be in the line of fire

Go to www.AlertOC.com to register or update your cell phone numbers, text numbers, and email addresses into the emergency mass notification system. It is recommended that you register your work and home addresses separately to ensure you receive proper notifications for each location. 

AlertOC is a critical link for residents and businesses to immediately learn of any required actions. It is important to register your additional contact numbers because you may not be home when emergencies happen in your neighborhood. 

You should also register for Laguna Beach’s Nixle community alert system. This system is different than AlertOC because it is used to communicate local traffic related information, community events, as well as urgent safety messages in the City. You can customize the types of alerts you would like to receive, all delivered at no cost, by text message, email and web. 

To sign up simply text 92651 to 888-777. 

The City of Laguna Beach encourages residents to be prepared for all emergencies by making an emergency plan and creating an emergency kit. Templates are available at www.lagunabeachcity.net/getprepared.

The process is simple: 

--Make an emergency plan

--Create an emergency kit 

--Sign the pledge online to help make Laguna Beach the Most Prepared City in Orange County 

To access materials, checklists, and to sign the pledge, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/getprepared. Residents are encouraged to get their neighbors, friends, co-workers and fellow members in local organizations to join in the effort. 

For more information, please contact Jordan Villwock, Emergency Operations Coordinator at (949) 497- 0389 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Laguna Beach takes third place in the Wyland Mayor’s Challenge for water conservation 

The annual month-long public awareness campaign to promote drought resiliency and water quality ended on April 30 with mayors from 35 states vying to see whose city could be the nation’s most “water-wise.” 

Despite a valiant effort, Laguna Beach took third place in its population category. The cities with the highest percentage of residents making pledges during the campaign were Gallup, New Mexico; Westminster, California; Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Tucson, Arizona; and Dallas, Texas. 

Overall, residents around the nation, from Anchorage to the Florida Keys, made 618,444 pledges to change behaviors ranging from fixing home leaks to reducing harmful runoff into local rivers and streams. 

Laguna Beach water

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

We may not have won the water challenge, but here’s betting we have the most attractive water district building in the country…

The campaign is presented nationally by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the Toro Company, US EPA, National League of Cities, ECOS, and Conserva Irrigation.

Throughout the month of April, residents were encouraged to log onto www.mywaterpledge.com and complete the online Clean Water Pledge, promising to follow a series of efficiency measures for their home, yard, and automobile. 

Some examples include washing only full loads of laundry, fixing leaky faucets, watering lawns before 8 a.m., keeping cars tuned, walking or biking short distances, and the more fanciful tip “sing shorter songs in the shower.” 

The Mayor’s Challenge is sponsored by the Wyland Foundation, a nonprofit environmental education organization founded by the artist known only as Wyland. The challenge raises awareness about water conservation and – by extension – the positive implications these reductions have on our local and global environment from the energy we use to products we make to the food we grow, package, eat, and sell.

In the state of California alone, nearly 20 percent of all energy consumption goes towards moving, cleaning, and heating water. As it has become increasingly clear, the value of water use efficiency has enormous benefits to local economies, the environment, and even our global climate. In heavily populated drought plagued states the benefits of conservation are incalculable; in water abundant states the energy savings and the environmental benefits are enormous. 

The bottom line is, water conservation not only benefits every state in the nation, it benefits the entire planet.


Neighborhood Congregational Church presents Peace & Justice Weekend full of stimulating events 

As part of its 75th anniversary celebration, the Neighborhood Congregational Church (NCC) will present World Peace & Justice Weekend, a two-day series of events this weekend combining expert panel talks on a wide range of topics including parenting, technology, ecology, recovery, peaceful resistance, and healthy aging, mixed with music, dance, a children’s workshop, chanting, meditation, an all-night sound bath and a benefit concert featuring three bands. 

All events will be held on Saturday, June 9 and Sunday, June 10 at NCC, located at 340 St. Ann’s Drive.

“This is a chance to step away from acrimony and debate, to cut through unpleasantness and noise, and to reconnect with your inner compassion and thoughtfulness,” said Rev. Rodrick Echols, NCC pastor. 

Neighborhood rod echols

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Pastor Rod Echols

“We’ll take a collective deep breath and immerse ourselves in relaxation and kindness. Our stated theme is ‘renew hope, reconcile lives, and restore compassion.’ We’ll do that by encouraging participants to escape their habituated thinking, set aside worry, and enjoy themselves while learning new ideas. 

“Our wide-ranging variety of intellectually and spiritually stimulating events offer participants the opportunity to discover something new about themselves.”

All-day Saturday passes (events take place between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.) are $20 for adults and $10 for children ages 6 - 17; ages five and under are free. The Sunday concert (from 2 - 4 p.m.), which includes hors d’oeuvres and a no-host bar, is $20 for adults 21 & older and $10 for ages 12 - 20; ages five and under free.

Proceeds from the weekend will support humanitarian aid, education, and social justice programs locally and worldwide: Friendship Shelter, Laguna Food Pantry, Walking for Water, fire and disaster victims, LA Kids program, school supplies and tuition for children in Malawi and Nicaragua, refugees from Tibet and Syria, and Venezuelan citizens. 

Registration covers all panels and activities during the day. (Lunch not included.)

Saturday’s program features eight different panels including “Faces of Active Wisdom” during the welcome program, plus “Transcendent Themes in the Wisdom Traditions,” “Dialogue on Proactive Aging,” “Justice for an Interconnected World,” “Nonviolence and Your Role In It,” “Parenting Techniques: A Door to Compassion,” “Healthy Tech: Strategies and Ideas for Parents,” “Earth Care in Focus.” In addition, there will be two sessions each of “Spiritual Practice and Meditation” and “Dances of Universal Peace.”

Sunday’s joyful benefit concert includes three popular California musical acts: Sparky & The Ancient Mariner, The Moon Police, and Emma’s Revolution. Come out for sincere, toe-tapping, gorgeously wrought music that’s family-friendly and supportive of justice causes here and abroad.

For the full schedule and ticket details, visit www.ncclaguna.org.


Last year’s prize for winning the Wyland Challenge – a pocket park – is in the design phase

Last year, Laguna Beach won its fourth consecutive Wyland Challenge and was awarded a pocket park. 

The Pocket Park will be located at the Treasure Island Park site. 

Last years treasure

Courtesy Visit Laguna Beach

Treasure Island beach

The item is on the June 12 City Council agenda, a first step toward getting approval for the concept and design. 

The Saddleback College students who came up with the design will be presenting their ideas to the council with the hope of getting an okay to proceed to Design Review. 


Wellness, longevity and aesthetics – all topics to be discussed at wellness event this Thursday, June 7

Women who are interested in keeping healthy and fit, and making the most of their attractiveness, are invited to an exclusive wellness event this Thursday, June 7 at the Woman’s Club, 286 St Ann’s Drive, from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.

Wellness Anita2From national health issues to the most intimate of women’s health challenges that may occur as part of the aging process, the range of subjects to be discussed ensures that women of every age will learn something of value.

Wellness escape fire2The event is presented by Dr. Anita Wang of Wellness, Longevity and Aesthetics, and will also feature the film Escape Fire: The fight to rescue the American health system, which will be screened at 6 p.m.

A light meal will be served to those who RSVP. Please call (949) 734-0580 to RSVP. Visit www.bodybywang.com for more information.

Dr Wang, MD, FACEP, is a Board Certified Emergency Physician, a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, a Fellow of the American Academy of Anti-Aging, and extensively trained in Aesthetics. 

She graduated from the University Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine and has spent the last 20 years as an ER doctor previously at UCLA Medical Center, Eisenhower Medical Center and St. Mary’s Medical Center.


Seventh Annual Laguna Bluebelt Photo Contest honors winners at celebration this Friday, June 8

Chosen from over 80 entries, winners of the 7th Annual Laguna Bluebelt Photo Contest 2018 will be celebrated this Friday, June 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Forest & Ocean Gallery downtown.

“Each year, we discover many more talented photographers capturing the beauty and wonder of Laguna’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) – a key nursery for regional fisheries and popular spot to see sea life,” notes Jinger Wallace, co-founder and coordinator of the popular event. ”MPAs are California and America’s underwater national parks attracting over six million visitors to Laguna Beach and its famous art galleries, restaurants and resorts. The Photo Contest reminds us not only of the beauty of sea life but the importance of a healthy ocean to California’s economy – now the fifth largest economy in the world.”

The contest reveals the many ways we enjoy the ocean since Laguna Beach become a sanctuary in 2012. Many avid watermen and women have retired their spear guns to pick up cameras and use their skills to photograph sea life in challenging underwater conditions. Other entries showcase the interaction of people with the sea above the water, underwater and along the shore.

Seventh Annual Cowdell

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Henry the Harbor Seal by Alex Cowdell, First Place Professional

 Decades of over-fishing decimated fisheries throughout California compelled State officials to design a network of MPAs to restore fish nurseries along coastlines with rocky coves such as those found throughout Laguna Beach. Spaced at 40-mile intervals to promote larval dispersal and healthy generations of sea life, Laguna Beach is the crucial link between MPAs in Palos Verdes and La Jolla. MPAs have now spread worldwide as communities realize the need to replenish sea life.

 “If you like to eat fish, we need to set aside ‘Grow Fish Zones’ to provide present and future generations with seafood – a reminder of the importance of MPAs to commercial and recreational fishing interests,” argues Mike Beanan, co-founder of the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition which sponsors the popular Annual Bluebelt Photo Contest.

Seventh Annual Munivez

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Blue Glass by Noah Munivez, First Place Amateur

As sea life recovers within MPAs, fish migrate outside of the reserve as a “spill-over effect” to supply lobster fisheries and others with sustainable supplies of seafood. “Big, Old, Fat, Female Fish or BOFFF are exponentially more productive in re-supplying fish stocks than younger fish. It can take as many as 20 years for fish to grow to the size of BOFFF such as Giant Sea Bass maturing to over 400 pounds,” observes Beanan.

 Winners of the 7th Annual Laguna Bluebelt Photo Contest 2018 will be joined by Laguna Bluebelt Coalition members, supporters and friends to celebrate winners and learn more about the many accomplishments of the Bluebelt which will include a summer partnership with inland communities and OC Coastkeeper to reduce urban runoff routinely contaminating local coastal waters.

 “The Photo Contest Reception is a great way to end the week with amazing photos, great food, refreshments and friends in downtown Laguna Beach,” adds Charlotte Masarik, another local mermaid and co-founder.

Forest & Ocean Gallery is located at 480 Ocean Ave. The gallery’s phone number is (949) 371-3313.

For more information on Laguna Bluebelt Foundation, go to www.lagunabluebelt.org


David August founder, David Heil of Laguna Beach, unveils new collection for Miracles for Kids charity

Laguna Beach resident David Heil, founder of David August, announces the launch of the David August Miracles for Kids collection for charity. Proceeds from this new collection will benefit Miracles for Kids, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with the mission of improving the lives of critically ill children and their families in need through financial assistance and other resources.

Heil said that he was drawn to the work of Miracles for Kids after he attended the organization’s annual Night of Miracles Gala and was impressed with the level of care provided to children and their families. He was so moved that he joined the organization’s board of directors in 2008. 

David August Heil

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Submitted photo

David Heil, founder of David August

“The reputation and influence of the David August brand will bring increased awareness to the work of Miracles for Kids,” said Autumn Strier, co-founder and CEO of Miracles for Kids. “We are sincerely humbled by this partnership which will provide additional support to families who are facing insurmountable obstacles on a daily basis and who need our help so much. David has been deeply involved with our organization for many years and has helped us to build and grow.” 

David August ties

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Submitted photo

New classic silk jacquard tie collection from David August

“The mission of Miracles for Kids speaks to me directly because I have seen the struggles and challenges faced by close friends and clients whose family members were battling life-threatening illnesses,” said Heil. “I know that with proper funding, research and treatment, many of these situations could have had a more positive outcome, and I want to be a part of the transformative change that Miracles for Kids is driving.” 

Made at David August’s workshop in Italy, the products are available exclusively at https://davidaugustinc.com/collections/miracles-for-kids-exclusive-collection or through a private appointment with a David August clothier.

For more information, visit www.davidaugustinc.com.

For information about Miracles for Kids, go to www.miraclesforkids.org.


Where’s Maggi – the answers!

Superman lives on Brangwyn. Who knew?

Cathy Bosko did. She got in her answer first thing. Other sharp eyes include Kathy Bienvenu, Elizabeth Koobie, Bonnie Drury, Bundy Kinder, Diane Chesley, Don Sheridan, Kristen Purll, Vicki Borthwick, Joanne Artman (who had the insider advantage of living there!), Mary Kate Saunders, and Suzanne Redfearn.

Maggi will have another photo mystery coming up on Friday. 

Wheres Maggi Brangwyn

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Looks like Superman’s staying – on Brangwyn


“Indonesian meets interplanetary” – Sunset Serenades performance mesmerizes the audience

Story by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

I believe that one of my favorite Laguna events, Sunset Serenades, which takes place at the Heisler Park Amphitheater near the Breaching Whale on Friday evenings in the spring and fall, has reached a new level of excellence with the recent World Music Series of concerts. 

You just can’t beat an experience that offers gorgeous views of the Pacific and the town, along with fabulous music and the opportunity to picnic with friends and fellow locals, hug a dog or two, and watch delighted children chase each other around the green lawn. 

Indonesian band

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Photo by Tom Berndt

Not just a concert – a performance

Last Friday was exceptional. (I can’t help the superlatives – they are absolutely necessary!) Featuring Gamelan X with Mayang Sunda – billed as Indonesian music – this wasn’t just a concert, it was a blow-your-mind performance of song and dance and passion. 

“Indonesian meets interplanetary. Never saw anything like it,” commented local Tom Berndt, a regular attendee at these Friday evening events. “A combination of college band brass, multiple gongs, and unique brass pots. No one had a lead on melody. Each person played only two or three notes. So a melody was created by several musicians [resulting in something] complex and beautiful. The audience was mesmerized.”

Indonesian sian

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Cultural arts manager Sian Poeschl enjoys the concert with a canine companion

That audience included Sian Poeschl, the City’s cultural arts manager, who explains the inspiration behind the World Music series. 

“During the process of developing the City’s Cultural Arts Plan the community indicated they wanted to experience unique and high quality art that gave a sense of discovery,” she says. 

“Sunset Serenades seemed like an ideal opportunity to expand into original and fusion music from around the world. We were extremely fortunate to secure the band from Oakland and the addition of dance is just such an added bonus. We hope to keep on curating these experiences that help enhance the unique art city that we are.” 

Indonesian artist

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Artist Sansanee Boonyad enjoys her first Sunset Serenade concert

Spectators were as varied, and as friendly, as Laguna Beach itself. I chatted to artist and LCAD graduate Sansanee Boonyad, who insisted on giving me one of her stunning sketches. 

“This is the first performance I’ve attended,” she said. “It’s wonderful – reminds me of Thai dancing, which I love.” Google her art sometime – you’ll see how awesome it is, and where else, but at this intimate-seeming though outdoor Laguna concert, would you bump into and easily converse with such a range of people from every profession? 

Councilmember and former mayor Steve Dicterow was there too. “The performance was wonderful and magnificent. It was a blend of Javanese and Brazilian music with colorful dancing,” he commented. 

“Each week the Sunset Serenades present a different and often unique performance which provide a perfect way to transition into the weekend along with spending time with 150 or so of your friends and neighbors and having a spectacular view of the town and ocean.”

Indonesian crowd

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Photo by Tom Berndt

You can’t beat the view at this fun concert series

As for us, we took my sister- and brother-in-law, Carol and Ray – and their senior dog Rory – to the concert. We spread out on the green lawn and sipped Prosecco, ate our salads and burritos from La Sirena Grill and chatted about this and that…one of those times when you realize just how lucky you are as a human being to live here, now, and be able to experience events like these.

Carol texted us the next day, when they were back on the road: “Thank you for sharing the concert with us. We understand now why you and Bill love Laguna so much.”

Exactly.

So next week, pick up something tasty to go, pack a libation or two, and prepare for bliss as the sun slips toward the sea.

Next Friday’s concert, which starts at 6:30 p.m., features L’Esprit D’Afrique.

This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.


Cat evac won’t be a catastrophe at Blue Bell: they have a fine plan if its 50 felines need to flee a fire

Story by LYNETTE BRASFIELD

My black cat Boris hates his carrier. He becomes endowed with superhuman (superfeline?) strength when I try to insert him through its door. He enlarges to the size of a large lynx. He practically turns himself inside out in his effort to escape incarceration. He attacks.

And what Boris hates even more is being in his carrier in a car. He cries pitifully, heart-wrenchingly, and brings tears to my eyes. 

So how do you evacuate 50 (mostly senior) cats?

Like most pet owners, I imagine, and especially cat lovers, I dreaded the possibility that we might have to evacuate our home this last weekend in large part because of the trauma that I feared Boris might suffer. (Fortunately, we didn’t have to.)

Now imagine being faced with the prospect of evacuating 50 cats of various shapes, sizes and temperaments in a short period of time – a situation which Blue Bell Foundation for Cats thought might need to happen this last Saturday.

cat evac carriers

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Photo by Joyce Buettner

Cats are ready to be transported after a fire a mile away from their home in the Canyon in 2015 – fortunately, the fire was contained

I asked Susan Hamil, executive director of Blue Bell Cat Sanctuary in the Canyon – which provides lifelong homes for mostly senior cats whose owners can no longer care for them – what the process is when and if it does become necessary to, well, herd 50 cats into 50 carriers and get them out of harm’s way.

Turns out she’s done this before – with 125 cats! Here’s what Susan told me:

“Anytime there is a fire reported near Laguna, we anticipate that evacuating our 50 resident cats might be necessary at a moment’s notice.”

During the 1993 fires, 125 cats were evacuated!

“In the fire of 1993, we evacuated over 125 cats from Blue Bell and we relocated them to Laguna Hills Animal Hospital for almost a week.   

“In 1998, during the mudslides in Laguna Canyon, we evacuated almost the same number of cats and we were out of our Canyon home for over a year.”

cat evac pagoda

Submitted photo

Pagoda stays comfy while keeping an eye on the fire engines outside the cottage

Susan continues: “Needless to say, we have had some experience ‘herding’ cats, but a good evacuation plan is necessary to ensure that all goes as efficiently as possible and that all cats are accounted for in the event we have to move them off premise.

“Last Saturday, while an army of fire trucks sped through Laguna Canyon, we activated Stage One of our evacuation plan for our 50 resident cats. We keep individual cat carriers made up and ready, we also keep a cat census up to date, so we know exactly how many cats reside in each building.”

Carriers are assembled with great care

“We place a towel or small blanket in each carrier. We also use Feliway pheromone calming spray for each carrier and begin separating the cats in to rooms within each house. Fortunately, this is as far as we had to go last Saturday, but in the last fire, from a downed power pole in the Canyon in 2016, we had to put the cats in their carriers and assemble transportation vehicles.

cat evac buffy

Submitted photo

Buffy pays attention to instructions

“We gathered the cat’s medical records and medications, but did not have to transport any cats off premises.”

“We are signed up for the city Nixle alerts, and we work closely with Laguna Beach Animal Control and we have a very active group of 40 volunteers who are ready to assist when necessary.

Susan concludes: “Last Saturday was pretty scary and we are very fearful of the now lengthy fire season in our community. Hopefully we will get through this season without having to activate our evacuation plan again.”

Preparing your pet for possible evacuation

Here’s some advice and information for all pet owners faced by similar challenges. Susan advises: “Make your own evacuation plan and make sure they include their own pets. After Katrina, Congress passed the PETS Act, Pet Emergency Transportation Statute, requiring all emergency shelters to provide housing for pets belonging to evacuated persons and families,” she says. 

cat evac tiger

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Photo by Joyce Buettner

Tiger rests easy, knowing all is taken care of by Blue Bell

“Make sure your pets are microchipped and licensed so that the City can identify pets and get them back to their owners in the event that the pets escape during evacuation.”

For more information about Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, or to volunteer, visit www.bluebellcats.org.


Nicolai Elgahanayan has his foot on the pedal of a fast-paced racing career

By MAGGI HENRIKSON

Laguna local Nicolai Elgahanayan is actually studying architecture at USC, but he’s managed to pull off a fine sideline passion for racing. And he’s winning.

He’s just off the biggest win of his life at the Lime Rock GTS SprintX Race No. 1 on May 28. 

Nicolai Multiple

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Submitted photo

2017 Lotus Cup USA Champion Nicolai Elgahanayan

According to Frontstretch, the insider racing magazine, it was a stunning surprise, “literally no one expected Laguna Beach, Calif’s Nicolai Elgahanayan to claim the overall pole in his Am-class KTM X-Bow GT4.” 

That includes Elgahanayan. When he was asked if he expected to be as fast as he was, he replied “No, not really. This is my first time here. I’ve driven [the track] a few times on the sim, but never had a good understanding of it. I’m really happy that I got some practice in the car.” 

Mother Suzy Elgahanayan shared with Stu News some of the highlights of her son Nicolai’s trajectory recently. “He manages to race between his long [architecture] studio hours with results that only fulltime drivers seem to reach,” she said. “He is just flying off the racing grid and now catapulted into the professional league amongst the Pirelli World Challenge racers. He now has a more high-powered car he’s racing with as well because of the transition and is already climbing high in this more competitive field.”

The last three seasons Nicolai has successfully completed in the Lotus Cup USA series, rising from the 2015 series most improved driver to dominating the 2016 and 2017 series championships. 2017 also saw SCCA race experience gained with five victories and his PWC touring class debut at the season finale at Laguna Seca.

Nicolai In car

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Submitted photo

Nicolai takes on the Pirelli World Challenge GTS season

According to Pirelli World Challenge, “[It is a] new year for Marco Polo Motorsports and newcomer Nicolai Elghanayan launch[ing] their racing campaign for the Pirelli World Challenge Championship with a pair of KTM Xbow GT4s prepared by third generation champion racer John Mueller, and the Muellerized team. Nicolai has been testing throughout the winter months to acclimate himself to the new cars and the Pirelli tires to ready himself for the challenges that await him in PWC.”

Nicolai said, “I am excited to step up in class from Lotus Cup USA and into PWC, I know exactly what I am getting into. It is the chance of a lifetime, and a commitment from my parents has certainly been a motivating factor. I have done more testing this year with the new KTM Xbow GT4 car’s development.”

Team leader John Mueller is really excited and inspired by the opportunity of working with Nicolai, “My family has been winning races for the past 54 years and getting the chance to mentor the sublime talent of such a fine young man as Nicoai Elghanayan, as he takes the next step in his racing career is such a special privilege to me. Bringing the Mueller brand back to one of the top racing series in North America has been a lifelong goal for me personally, to do so with my Muellerized teammates and Marco Polo Motorsports is such the icing on this Pirelli World Challenge cake!”


Visitors see RED at City Hall, reception this Thursday, June 7

Those who like red will love the RED HOT exhibit showing now through June 28 at City Hall. A free reception takes place on First Thursdays Art Walk, June 7, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Visitors see red Vinita

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Photo by The Artists Fund

Vinita Voogd’s “Collected Stories”

The show is a preview of the Art-To-Go collection, presented by The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts. The organization provides both disaster-relief grants for Festival artists in need, and professional-growth grants.

 More than 45 originals are displayed, evoking red or hot. Standouts include vibrant silk scarves by Corinne Schaff, Cardinals by Carolyn Johnson, and portraits by Lani Emmanuel, Sandra Jones Campbell, Sue Thompson, and Pil Ho Lee. A red velvet cupcake by Laura Seeley, pepperoni pizza by Anthony Salvo, sunbursts, firemen, and Ferraris round out the collection. 

Visitors see red Firefighter

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Photo by The Artists Fund

“Always Hot (Laguna Firefighter)” by Maaria Kader

 “The artists have such great ideas, and I love seeing all the red!” exclaimed City Arts Commissioner and Festival Board member Pat Kollenda.

 Those visiting City Hall are encouraged to cast votes for their favorite piece. All voters will qualify for a drawing to win a $75 gift certificate to the Festival of Arts gift shop. Find ballots at the display.

 View the collection and learn more at The Artists Fund on Facebook, at www.TheArtistsFund-foa.org or call (949) 612-1949. City Hall is located at 505 Forest Avenue and is open 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on alternating Fridays.


A special letter from Diane & Dave Connell – 

Top of the World residents since 1965

My husband and I were living in the “Top of the World” during the 1993 Laguna Fires. With both access roads of Park Avenue and Temple Hills being blocked off we had to evacuate using the fire road which took two hours to get to PCH and another two hours to get to our son’s home in Tustin. I went first with our three big dogs breathing down my neck while my husband stayed to water down our roof and clean out the gutters that were filled with leaves. I said to myself once I got to our son’s house, “I HOPE I NEVER HAVE TO GO THROUGH THIS AGAIN!” I had little time to pack but what I did pack was our tax papers, bills, check books and photos. Can you believe that is what I thought was the most important items. I forgot clothes!

This time with the “Aliso Wood Canyon” fire we had more time to pack items to take not knowing how long we would be evacuated. I packed the same items, but this time we had no dogs but I had a handicapped husband. This meant I needed to pack all his medications and the supplies he needed. Also our son moved out of state so when we got our first phone call from the police department about the evacuations they told us we could go to the Susi Q Community Center that was set up for the evacuated residents. 

This was a new experience for us and we really didn’t know what to expect. Once we got there we were so surprised at how organized they were! The City of Laguna Beach CERT volunteers, City staff and Red Cross were there waiting to assist us. We joined the rest of the evacuated people and were so relieved and felt we were in a safe place. I had concerns that they would be able to accommodate my husband because he is in a wheelchair and has health problems. As I drove into the Community Center’s garage I told the volunteers that I had a handicapped person with me. I didn’t even have to ask for assistance as there were two people that came at once to help and carried in the items we brought. 

Once I realized we were going to have to spend the night I had another concern about how my husband would be able to sleep on the cots that are narrow and so low to the floor. The first thing my husband said when he saw them was that it reminded him of the cots he slept on when he was serving in WWII on an LST ship. What made it nice was that a separate room was provided for people with medical issues which made it easier for us. The City of Laguna Beach and their emergency personal thought of everything to try and make this ordeal as comfortable as they could. Our two out of state sons called us and said they were going to get us a hotel room if we had to stay longer and I told them definitely NOT, we have anything we need right here in our own town with people to help us.

As we were checking in we were told that food had been ordered, were given toiletries, had a cookie and joined the others in the community room waiting for updates. There was even a room with crates to keep the pets safe.

In closing, I want to thank our Fire Department and Police Department for their quick actions and for all the volunteers who made our time away from our home a very positive experience. 

The only thing I would do different the next time sometime like this happens (and I’ll be doing it right after I print and send this letter) is to type up a check-off list of what to pack and to make sure all my doors are locked (just in case looters might sneak in to take advantage of the situation).

Sincerely,

Diane and Dave Connell

Two very grateful residents of Laguna Beach


[seven-degrees] presents Summer of Color First Thursday Art Walk event

 [seven-degrees] presents a special art event in conjunction with First Thursday Art Walk and with the assistance of Laguna Creative Ventures this Thursday, June 7 from 6 - 9 p.m. A one-night only event featuring artwork from participating Summer of Color artists, this event will be an opportunity to see more work from the amazing muralists that have added fantastic public works of art to the community of Laguna Beach.

The event will feature the work of artists Beau Stanton, Chad Hasegawa, James Thistlethwaite and Ben Eine, as well as small items for sale by vendors Aaron Brown, Trace Mendoza, Demonic Pinfestation, Hey Mama, Case McQuillian, Mame Pins, Jon Mann, Punch It Chewie Press, Jennified Art, The Hundredth Acre and more. There will be snacks and refreshments, music, and live drawing.

seven degrees exterior

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Submitted photo

[seven degrees] will be full of color and life this Thursday for special First Thursday Art Walk event

Additionally, Laguna Beach Beer Company, located next door to [seven-degrees], will host its official grand opening the same night, offering $1 off all growlers and $2 off growler refills all night, so you can taste what you like in-house, and take what you love home with you.

[seven-degrees] has been a First Thursday Art Walk member since 2001 and is very excited to feature artists in conjunction with Summer of Color. “The addition of the murals to this area is so exciting and inspiring,” Dora Wexell Orgill, Vice President/General Manager of [seven-degrees] and President of First Thursday Art Walk said. “To get an opportunity to show and sell smaller scale works by these incredible artists as a part of art walk is really special.”

seven degrees Chad Hasegawa

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Photo by WhosTaylor

Summer of Color Muralist Chad Hasegawa will be featured at this week’s First Thursday Art Walk event at [seven degrees]

The First Thursday Art Walk in Laguna Beach is an educational monthly art event, held on the first Thursday of every month, which celebrates the diverse cultural art scene of Laguna Beach. The First Thursday Art Walk offers free trolley rides that go along to all the galleries throughout the night, and brochures with a gallery list and maps are easy to find at any business in downtown Laguna. Trolleys begin at the Laguna Art Museum (north) and Bluebird Canyon Road (south). The trolley route runs as far north as Viejo Street, up Laguna Canyon Road as far as Canyon Acres, and south to Bluebird Canyon Road. 

The public is welcome to come to this event between the hours of 6 and 9 p.m. at [seven-degrees], located at 891 Laguna Canyon Road.

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