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Laguna Beach Business Club presents Peter Blake on Feb 21 

The Laguna Beach Business Club is proud to announce gallery owner Peter Blake as speaker at the February 21 meeting held at Seven 7 Seven. Blake will speak to the Laguna Beach Business Club about the art world, his business, and staying true to what he believes is important for Laguna Beach. 

Peter Blake is a renowned dealer of California Light and Space who opened his eponymous Laguna Beach gallery in 1993. The Peter Blake Gallery is recognized today as the longest standing and leading exhibitor of West Coast Minimalism and is known for its rigorously curated solo and group exhibitions.

Laguna Beach Blake

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Submitted photo

City Council member and gallery owner Peter Blake

The Gallery’s program has an ongoing history of exhibiting artists long due for reappraisal such as Peter Alexander, Lita Albuquerque, Larry Bell, Mary Corse, Tony Delap, Fred Eversley, Joe Goode, James Hayward, Scot Heywood, John M. Miller, Helen Pashgian, and DeWain Valentine. 

Over the last decade the gallery has also participated in a number of prestigious art fairs including The Armory Show, Art Los Angeles Contemporary, Design Miami, EXPO Chicago, and Seattle Art Fair.

In 2018 Peter was elected onto the Laguna Beach City Council, which marks a new chapter in his career and continues his ongoing commitment to his local community.

The Laguna Beach Business Club (LBBC) holds a breakfast meeting the third Thursday each month at 7:30 a.m. and hosts speakers that discuss topics valuable to achieving success in your personal and professional lives. Club meetings begin with a buffet breakfast and brief networking roundtable. Non-members are welcome. 

For more information about the club or to register to attend a meeting, contact Bart Zandbergen at (949) 363-8686 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. The group’s goal is to build and maintain relationships with local professionals and businesses that its members are proud to recommend to clients and friends. 

For more information, visit   

Seven7Seven is located at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd.

South Coast Water District announces PSA Video Scholarship Contest

Every year, South Coast Water District awards scholarships to high school students who live in the District’s service area. For 2019, the scholarship will be a PSA Video Contest. The contest challenges students to create a video that educates people about water.

The winning videos will be shown on social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Next Door, YouTube), and could be shown on various websites or Public Access TV.

South Coast logo

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The last scene must feature the South Coast Water District logo

The contest is open to junior and senior high school students who live in South Coast Water District’s (SCWD) service area. Entries can be a group or individual effort. There is a limit to one entry per group and person.

Applicants must produce a PSA (public service announcement) – a video between 60 seconds to two minutes explaining the importance of water reliability or where our water comes from.

Before applying, call or email Customer Service at (949) 499-4555 ext. 1, to verify that you live in SCWD’s service area and are eligible to apply. Applications from students who do not live in the District’s service area cannot be accepted. SCWD’s service area includes South Laguna, Dana Point, Capistrano Beach, parts of San Juan Capistrano, and San Clemente.

A 2019 South Coast Water District Scholarship Entry & Release Form must accompany each video submitted.

All entries must be student-created. The entry may not contain any copyrighted material of any medium (music, images, etc.) and no professional assistance is allowed. Such use will result in an automatic disqualification.

The last scene must feature the South Coast Water District Logo (please do not modify the logo from its original form) and the text.

A committee using the following criteria will judge entries:

--Incorporation of theme message

--Production quality

--Entertainment value


Scholarship Awards include:

--1st Place: $2,500

--2nd Place: $1,000

--3rd Place: $750

--1st Place Winner’s School Bonus: $500

--School with the Most Entries: $250

The deadline is May 13; winners will be notified in June.

For more information, visit

TOW Neighborhood Association hosts “Meet the Mayor” Reception on Sunday

The Top of the World Neighborhood Association (TOWNA) will hold its annual “Meet the Mayor” reception on Sunday, Feb 10 from 3 to 5 p.m. 

The reception, where neighbors will be able to meet and provide input to Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen, will be held at the home of Johanna and Gene Felder at 2680 Park Ave. Light refreshments will be served.

TOW Neighborhood Bob

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Councilman Bob Whalen will serve as Mayor of Laguna Beach through 2019

The TOWNA Board has continued its efforts to remind everyone to be careful driving in the neighborhood particularly when children are starting or leaving school. The Board encourages those who witness speeding or dangerous driving to call the Laguna Beach Police Department at their non-emergency number (949) 497-0701 to make them aware of the problem.

Chabad of Laguna presents New York Times bestselling author Max Wallace on Sunday

On Sunday, Feb 10 at 7 p.m., Chabad of Laguna will feature New York Times bestselling author and Holocaust historian Max Wallace, for a powerful lecture. 

In the 1990s, Toronto writer, journalist, and documentary filmmaker Max Wallace spent several years working with Steven Spielberg’s Shoah Foundation, recording video testimonies from Holocaust survivors. 

Chabad of book

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Max Wallace’s bestselling book

His New York Times bestselling book, In the Name of Humanity: The Secret Deal to End the Holocaust, presents startling new evidence he has uncovered revealing that a trio of unlikely rescuers, led by a Swiss woman, deceived the Nazis into destroying the Auschwitz killing apparatus and ending the Final Solution in November 1944, which may have saved as many as 300,000 Jews including the remaining Jews of Hungary.

The Canadian Jewish News described Wallace’s book, which won the 2018 Canadian Jewish Literary Award, as “an impressive piece of historical scholarship”. Kirkus Reviews called the book “a riveting tale of the previously unknown and fascinating story of the unsung angels who strove to foil the Final Solution.” Wallace has appeared on NBC’s “Today” show, NBC’s “Dateline”, “CBS This Morning”, “Good Morning America,” and CNN’s ”Anderson Cooper 360.”

Tickets are $15 in advance or $20 at the door. The evening sponsor cost is $180 with a book signing following the lecture. 

To RSVP, visit or call (949) 499 0770. 

Chabad of Laguna is located at 30804 S. Coast Hwy.

Barbara’s Column

Getting to know your city


Signups are being accepted now for the 2019 Leadership Laguna workshops, one of the best ways to get to know who’s who in city government and what they do. 

Speakers at the five weekly workshops, which begin March 1, will include city department heads and up the chain of command to City Manager John Pietig, unless they become unavailable for reasons now unknown. The weekly workshops will begin March 1 and end April 4. Participation is limited and quickly reached.

“Our goal is to help participants expand their understanding of how the city is run and to encourage their involvement in civic affairs,” said Anne Johnson, who founded Leadership Laguna four years ago with former City Councilman Rob Zur Schmiede. “We envisioned bringing together citizens who will unite to make a positive impact on the community.” 

Graduates of Leadership Laguna include Cottie Petrie-Norris, elected to the State Senate in November; Dee Perry, in her second term on the Laguna Beach Board of Education; Louis Weil and Judie Mancuso, both appointed Tuesday night to city committees; and Anne McGraw, Chair of the Measure LL Oversight Committee. 

Participants at the first meeting will be welcomed and given an overview of city government by Pietig and Finance Department Director Gavin Curran.

Pietig is one of the most popular speakers, according to the participants.

The two speakers will discuss the role and responsibilities of the City Council, intergovernmental relationship – how to get along with nearby cities and the state – not to mention the California Coastal Commission, with which the city is often at odds.

Pietig has been city manager since 2010. He had served the 10 previous years as the Assistant City Manager to Ken Frank

He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s in public administration.

Curran has been employed by the city since 2004. He rose through the ranks to be named Director of Finance in 2008. He oversees the management, control and administration of all city finances, and assists Pietig in preparing the city’s two fiscal year budgets. 

Public Safety will be discussed at the second workshop by Police Chief Laura Farinella, Fire Chief Mike Garcia and Marine Safety Chief Kevin Snow

The trio was given high marks in the 2018 evaluations, notably for their knowledge and communication skills. 

City Attorney Philip Kohn and Director of Water Quality Dave Shissler will lead the next workshop.

Kohn’s topics will include the role of the city attorney, the California Coastal Commission’s review of city decisions, and the Brown Act, which governs city officials’ –

elected or appointed – conflicts of interest.

Kohn attends City Council meetings and the closed sessions that precede the meeting to keep the city out of legal jams and represents it at court. He has been the city attorney since 1979.

Shissler will speak about water quality, which includes the city’s sewer system and membership in the South Orange County Wastewater Authority, which controls the Regional Treatment Plant. 

He has worked for the city since 2003 and is credited with nearly $33 million in improvements, of which $11 million came from grants secured by Shissler. 

He will present a PowerPoint program describing expenditures, project and property owners’ responsibilities – of which many are ignorant.

Evaluations of the presentations by Kohn and Shissler were all “5s,” the highest mark. 

Assistant City Managers Shohreh Dupuis and Christa Johnson will be the speakers at the fourth meeting.

Dupuis was named director of the Public Works department in 2016, which was the year Leadership Laguna was unveiled.

She was employed by the city of Irvine before taking the job with Laguna and moving here. 

Dupuis is credited by many with making more popular digestible PowerPoint presentations for the council and the public, and she has received several awards for her dedication to teamwork, customer service and outstanding performance.

Johnson went to work for the city in 2011. She oversees the Community Services and Cultural Arts departments and special projects. She is known for her cookie diplomacy.

The session also received 5s on the evaluations of the workshop.

Cultural Arts and Community Development are subjects of the fifth workshop.

Greg Pfost (ignore the f when pronouncing his name), director of the Community Development Department, will explain city planning, building and code enforcement – a lot more interesting than it sounds.

Pfost has been employed by the city since 2014, and was soon tasked with updating the Downtown Specific Plan and the revision of the Historic Preservation Ordinance. His job has been described as herding cats, although he rarely, if ever, appears to be discombobulated 

Cutural Arts Manager Sian Poeschl, a transplanted Brit, earned her master of fine arts degree from UC Irvine. She is responsible for the city’s Cultural Arts Plan and its implementation, serving as staff for the Art Commission, which provides expertise to the council on temporary and permanent art installations, the BID, free concerts, film and art events. 

Last year’s presentations by Pfost and Poeschl got high marks from the participants, some of whom admitted they did not know the city had an arts official. 

“We take the evaluations to heart and many of the suggestions find their way into the next year’s presentations.” said Johnson

This year Johnson will have a new partner to organize and conduct the workshops. 

Founder Zur Schmiede pulled out of the race for City Council due to a family crisis. 

“I was sorry to lose Rob (Zur Schmiede), but Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow has stepped up to the plate,” said Johnson, who is looking forward to the 2019 group of participants. 

Participants must be 18 or older and live in the city, according to Johnson. 

Seating is limited to 35. A missed meeting can be made up. Certificates of Completion are awarded. 

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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 Contributions are welcomed.

Health in Balance hosts Community Appreciation Day today

Health in Balance is offering free treatments all afternoon today, Friday, Feb 8 from 12 - 6 p.m., expressing gratitude for its patients and the community. The annual Community Appreciation Day will also raise money for local charities.

Health in Balance will offer complimentary chiropractic adjustments, therapy massage treatments, B-12 shots, and consultations for new guests, plus 50 percent off Wellness Myer’s IVs and detox foot baths. Guests will receive goodie bags and healthy food, provided from local sources.

Health in doctor

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Chiropractor Dr. Gary Arthur works on a patient

Health in Balance will have health stations with information on mind-body health, stem cell therapy, weight loss, nutrition and immunity, allergy testing, flexibility, home care, and more. 

Community Appreciation Day will raise money for SchoolPower to support our local school district and the Dominguez Roth Integrative Medical Foundation, which seeks to prevent and treat cancer through integrative therapeutic approaches.

Spread the healing to your loved ones. Anyone new to Health in Balance’s facility will receive a complimentary consultation with one of the doctors along with their treatment. 

Schedule your treatment time at or call (949) 497-2553. Walk-ins are also welcome, but an RSVP is recommended.

Health in Balance is located at 330 Park Ave, Suite #3.

Laguna Canyon Conservancy hosts Fabulous Fifth District Supervisor


Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett was the guest speaker at Monday’s Laguna Canyon Conservancy (LLC) Dinner.

Bartlett’s comments were well received at the well-attended dinner. Highlights of her talk included homelessness, transportation, and Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, all subjects dear to the hearts of conservancy members.

“I had to scold the audience during the Q and A,’” said LCC President Gene Felder. “They were supposed to be asking questions, not complimenting the supervisor.”

Bartlett, the chair of the Board of Supervisors, began her talk with homelessness, about which she has taken a hands-on interest.

Laguna Canyon crowd

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Courtesy of OC Board of Supervisors

Crowd listens intently to Supervisor Bartlett

Last month, Bartlett and her staff participated in the biennial Point-in-Time (PIT) count of the homeless, with over 1,000 volunteers across the County surveying persons experiencing homelessness. 

Data from the PIT count is still being compiled but we should have final numbers available by April. 

The County will use this data to better understand our homeless population, what services are needed, and where to apply those services.

Bartlett also outlined the steps the County is taking to ensure Orange County’s homeless population is entering into a system of care that includes shelter, access to resources, and mental health care. 

Laguna Canyon three men

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Courtesy of OC Board of Supervisors

(L-R) Sergio Prince, community relations advisor for Supervisor Bartlett, LLC President Gene Felder, and LLC Vice-President Harry Huggins

Under her leadership, the Board recently approved funding for a new state-of-the-art mental health facility, known as Be Well OC.

This is a public/private partnership with CalOptima, local hospitals, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations to create a first-of-its-kind full-service mental health facility that will treat any OC resident, regardless of payer status.

Transportation, particularly as it pertains to El Toro Road, was also a topic of interest to the LCC members.

Bartlett discussed the changes in transportation in Orange County. Changes include adding more lanes to the I-5 to reduce congestion, the El Toro Road-I-5 Interchange Improvement Project, and Caltrans’ Laguna Canyon Road Improvement Project. 

Laguna Canyon two women

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Courtesy of OC Board of Supervisors

Supervisor Bartlett (on left) and Laura Parisi, Laguna Beach City Treasurer

Some, if not all, of the LCC members might question the word improvement.

“The conservancy is not opposed to the part of the project heading out of town but does not support the proposal to extend the merging lane heading into town from El Toro Road,” said Felder, who was appointed by Bartlett as a non-voting member of the Coastal Greenbelt Authority.

“Why spend money on making the road less safe?” Felder asked rhetorically.

Bartlett acknowledged local concerns with the Laguna Canyon Road Improvement Project and is working to ensure these concerns are heard by Caltrans.

“She didn’t lower the boom on Caltrans, but we are heard,” said Felder.

Changes to Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park were also discussed.

The new visitor center at the main entrance off Alicia Parkway will open early this summer.  The facility will include interpretive exhibits, a conference room, staff offices, and public restrooms.

Bartlett also reported that OC Parks recently completed installation of post-fire measures throughout the recent burn area in the Park. And the County has been implementing numerous strategies to deter runoff and erosion issues on roads and trails.

Native plants are already rebounding from the June 2018 fire, according to Bartlett. 

Coastal live oaks, sycamores, mule fat, coyote bush, willows, and golden bush are coming back. Many native wildflowers are also sprouting up and should put on a dramatic bloom this spring.

Snowy and green day – Part I

Photos by Scott Brashier

Snowy and green 1

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Snow-capped mountains – looking east from Alta Laguna Park

Snowy and green 2

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Emerald green hillsides, the result of record-setting rain totals

Snowy and green 3

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Looking through a window of palms out towards Catalina

The Wisdom of Uncertainty

By Vidya Reddy

Welcome to the Happiness corner. 

Contrary to popular opinion, we, as human beings, don’t really know much at all.

I’m aware that might cause your mind to bristle a little, or perhaps bring out a little righteous indignation, but it’s impossible to deny when you look a little deeper. In uncertain times, it is only natural for us to search for certainty. It provides a feeling of comfort, of safety, perhaps even a sense of belonging. In a world where everything is constantly changing, where people, places, politics, situations, and even our own mind is in a constant state of flux, the illusion of certainty can be highly appealing and reassuring.

It’s important to differentiate between what we know and what we believe we know. It’s the difference between what we suspect, what we know, and what we’ve been told.

So what we know is only what we experience, no more and no less. If we let go of everything we’ve ever read, ever heard, or ever been told, then we are left with nothing but our experience. And even this is constantly changing as each moment and each experience gives way to the next. And when all is said and done, we are left with nothing but the experience of the present moment, which is the certainty of now.

The wisdom close up

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Dr. Vidya Reddy

For some, this type of reflection is a revelation, an opportunity to let go of old baggage, and a vehicle to a renewed sense of wonder and curiosity in life. They can almost hear collective consciousness breathe an enormous sigh of relief as each and every one of us realizes that we no longer need to pretend to have all the answers. Phew, what a relief!

For others, this thought of not knowing much can be the cause of heart palpitations, rising blood pressure, and sweaty palms; in short, it is too much to consider and they prefer to cling to well-rehearsed opinions and the remnants of certain beliefs. Clinging onto the illusion of certainty. Because it’s more comfortable than peering into the chasm of uncertainty.

But there is no shame in not knowing, there is only freedom. An uncertain mind is an open mind. It is a mind which is curious, interested, reflective, and malleable. When we meet life with a genuine sense of uncertainty, we cease projecting what we think we know, and we begin to see life for what it truly is. The same goes for the people around us. It is only in letting go of our preconceptions and opinions of others that we allow them to be who they truly are, to change and evolve from one moment to the next.

The wisdom on bench

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

An uncertain mind is an open mind

This is the wisdom of uncertainty.

It is not a rejection of the human intellect, nor does it disrespect the opinion of others. It doesn’t negate or devalue the experience of others. If anything, it fosters the search for greater intellectual understanding, whilst embracing the ideas of others. It offers the opportunity for a considered response to the events of life, finding resolution where there is conflict and peace where there is war.

The wisdom of uncertainty highlights the importance of experiential understanding nonetheless. But to think about being content with it is one thing, to actually be content is something else. It is not enough to simply believe, you need to discover and find out for yourself. It is not enough to suspect it, you need to feel and know it intimately.

Just to be clear, this is not about thinking about uncertainty, because that would be no more than doubt and confusion. No, this is the direct experience of uncertainty itself, from moment to moment, free from thought, judgment, opinion, or analysis. It is naked awareness. It is life itself, unfolding before your eyes. So think about this thought, it may give you newfound inspiration. 

In Peace, Love and Gratitude. 

‘Til next time.

Dr.Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC

What’s for breakfast? Creative and eclectic morning cuisine now served at Mediterrania Gardens

Whats for building

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Photo by Dianne Russell

Mediterrania Gardens is now open for breakfast from 7 a.m. - 11:30 a.m. every day. Check out their unique breakfast items such as the Shakshuka Platter, Tomb Raider pancakes, and the Barcelona omelet. Stay tuned for the date of their Grand Opening! Mediterrania Gardens is located at 320 N Coast Hwy. For more information including the full menu, go to, or call (949) 494-0137.

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