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O.I. Jazz Festival success – Thank you, Southern California!

Thanks to a little help from their jazz-friend fans, the Ocean Institute’s 2015 Jazz Festival was one of the most successful Ocean Institute events in recent years! The Festival, held Jan. 23-25, 2015, featured popular jazz greats Rick Braun and Friends Elliott Yamin and Norman Brown, as well as Latin-salsa jazz musicians DW3, who performed for an enthusiastic audience on Friday and Saturday evenings and Sunday afternoon. Our Saturday night Gala, with gourmet culinary dishes prepared by top chefs in the area, was an unconditional success. The weekend event brought in $170,000 net profit. All proceeds from the Jazz Festival benefit the Ocean Institute (, Dana Point to help fund their hands-on educational programs and workshops for children age K-12. 

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Rick Braun

“The Ocean Institute Jazz Festival provides critical funding every year to support the Institute’s mission of using the ocean as our classroom to inspire children to learn,” says Kajsa James, Vice President of Development for the Ocean Institute. “Life-changing moments happen at the Ocean Institute every day thanks to the generosity of our Jazz Festival participants.”

Tickets went on sale for the three-day event in time for the holidays and many were purchased as holiday gifts. 

The Friday night program included a wine reception and Hors d’oeuvres by a selection of Dana Point area restaurants. 

Saturday’s concert and gala included an unforgettable three-plus course gourmet culinary experience by executive chefs from the top hotels in the area. An auction added to the excitement.

Sunday’s Encore Concert included wine, beer and cheese tasting and a delicious box lunch from Bristol Farms.

Using the ocean as the classroom, the Ocean Institute inspires children to learn. The Ocean Institute has become nationally known for its hands-on marine science, environmental education and maritime history programs. 

More than 115,000 K-12 students and 6,000 teachers annually participate in the Institute’s 61 award-winning, immersion style programs.

New biz in town: Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa

Thomas Heatley, originally from Boston, MA, moved to Laguna Beach 15 years ago where he pursued an active career in speech pathology at Saddleback Memorial Medical Center.

David Taborelli, originally from Bergen County, New Jersey, moved to Newport Beach 30 years ago and is currently an Executive Vice-President with Wells Fargo in Irvine.

Their paths crossed at a fundraising event for the Friendship Shelter 10 years ago. Since that time they have been constant companions. They share common interests in sports, traveling and spiritual growth through prayer, meditation, massage and exercise. As their relationship matured, they decided to create a joint venture where reputable health practitioners could come together and offer their services to local residents in a safe and beautiful environment. 

Heatley and Taborelli decided upon Hand and Stone Massage and Facial Spa because of their mission to bring quality massage therapy and expert facial services to the local community at an affordable cost.

Heatley and Taborelli strongly believe that massage and facials can contribute to your everyday health and well-being. They believe in the healing power of touch.

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Submitted photo

Thomas Heatley, David Taborelli and Kim Taborelli

Kim Taborelli, Taborelli and Heatley’s niece and Manager of Hand and Stone, moved to the area from Tampa only recently. While on vacation this past summer, she immediately fell in love with Laguna Beach and decided to pack up and move cross country to help make Taborelli and Heatley’s dream come true.

Heatley and Taborelli are supporters of the Friendship Shelter, the Human Rights Campaign, the Oasis Senior Center and the Working Wardrobe. They are members of the Canyon Club, the Newport Beach Athletic Club, the Newport Beach Yacht Club and the Pacific Club. 

Heatley and Taborelli are avid Angel fans and love spending time on their Duffy with their Tibetan Terrier, Ollie.

Laguna Beach Library’s February events

Laguna Beach Library will host a host of fun events throughout February. All programs are free, graciously funded by Friends of The Laguna Beach Library. Laguna Beach Library’s February Events:

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 3:15 p.m., Kid’s Art and Book Group. A hands-on workshop taught by professional artists from Laguna Outreach for Community Arts (LOCA). Books and art go together. Readers in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade choose a book from our monthly themed selections to read. We’ll meet at the library to create a masterpiece based on the books for the month. February’s theme is “Trees.” Advanced signup will be required. Class is limited to 18 participants in 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade LB schools or homeschooled. Children attend on their own without an adult. Gather at the library at 3 pm. Class starts promptly at 3:15 pm.

Tuesday, Feb. 10, 10:30 a.m., Laguna Beach Library Book Group. We will be meeting to discuss the book, “Olive Kitterage.” Winner of the 2009 Pulitzer Prize, Elizabeth’s Strout’s novel, “Olive Kitterage” is filled with grand human drama to desire, despair, jealousy, hope, and love. “We’re always alone. Born alone. Die alone,” says “Olive Kitteridge,” redoubtable seventh to grade math teacher in Crosby, Maine (Library Journal). For details, please inquire at the Information Desk.

Wednesdays, Feb. 11, and 25, 10:30 to 11:15 a.m., Early Literacy Children’s Storytime. This program is designed for toddlers and preschoolers with adult participation. Our Early Literacy Storytime models the five skills that are crucial for every child to become ready to read when they enter Kindergarten: Talking, Singing, Reading, Writing, and Playing. We include s to ries, fingerplays, songs, movement, and playful activities. Free. No preregistration required.  

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 6 p.m., World of Wolves. Wolves! Not what the movies and folklore want you to believe. Presented by Skie Bender of Wolf Haven International. Enjoy a fun family friendly presentation about wolf behavior, communication, family structure, the differences and similarities of wolves and dogs, and the importance of wolves in an ecosystem. See video footage of both wild wolves and Wolf Haven’s wolves, plus hands to on displays of wild animal skulls, antlers, and tracks. This is a family friendly program for children 5 to 12 years old with adult participation. No preregistration required.

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 6 p.m., Men and Women Lecture and Discussion. Meet to discuss and learn about how men and women communicate differently. Jean to Pierre Ruiz moderates this event. Meets in the community room.

Saturdays, Feb. 14, 21 and 28, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Children’s Craft Open House. Get creative. Let your imagination run wild. Children 12 to years and under are encouraged to come to the library Saturdays, during the hours of 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to make fun and creative seasonal projects. Adult supervision is recommended. 

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 6:30 to 7:30 p.m., Transcendental Meditation Group. Practice and learn meditation with the local TM group. Reduce stress and anxiety, learn how to relax and enjoy a more balanced life. Meets in the community room. For additional information, contact Louise Allison at 375-5770.

Thursdays, Feb. 19, and 26, 10:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., Peapod Academy Children’s Storytime. The Peapod Academy has space for a few new cadets. Join some of the cutest babies in town and the adults of their choice at the Library. Little peas will enjoy songs, finger plays, board books, and other cadets. Get to know others and help your baby learn pre to reading skills. Free. No registration required.  

Thursdays, Feb. 19 and 26, 4:30 to 5:45 p.m., Persian Language Tutoring. Free Persian language tutoring for youth ages 5 to 8. Meets in the Community Room. For more information contact the library or inquire at the Information Desk.  

Saturdays Feb. 21, 2 to 4 p.m., Poetry Workshop. Participants should bring 10 copies of a poem they wish to have read and work to shopped. Each poem will be read by the poet and perhaps by another reader. Participants then respond with emphasis on positive comments and constructive suggestions. Recommended for advanced poets to this is not a workshop for beginners. Meets in the Community Room. Contact John Gardiner at 715-7507 for more information.

Monday, Feb. 23, 6 to 7:30 p.m., Toastmasters Open House Meeting. Come learn about the benefits of being a member of toastmasters and how you can enhance your public speaking and leadership skills. Meets in the Community Room. For more information contact the library or inquire at the Information Desk.

Tuesday, Feb. 24, 3:30 p.m., B.A.R.K. Read to a Dog Program. Do your kids love to read aloud, or just need to practice their reading skills? Come meet Venus and her owner, Theresa, from Beach Animals Read to Kids (B.A.R.K.). Children can read to a certified therapy dog, eager to listen and love. Aaarf. Sign up at the Children’s Desk. Drop to ins welcome too.

Saturday, Feb. 28, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Time Management Workshop “Making Time.” Join Thilde Peterson from Whole Self Living for a free workshop. Learn about time and productivity management. Preregister by phone or at the Adult Information Desk. Meets in the Community Room.

Laguna Beach Library regular hours are Monday to Wednesday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and closed on Sundays and holidays, Thursday, Feb. 12 Lincoln’s Birthday and Monday, Feb. 16, Presidents Day. 

Laguna Beach Library is at 363 Glenneyre St. For information, call 497-1733. 

Guest speaker from West Virginia at LBUMC Saturday

“Sharing God’s Wonder: Current True Stories of People Who Listened to God, Acted on What They Heard, and Shared It With Others” is the subject ofCaron Barnard’s talk at Laguna Beach United Methodist Church (LBUMC), 10:30 a.m., Sat, Feb. 14. Barnard, a resident of West Virginia, will address the church’s United Methodist Women group and all women are welcome to attend. The church is located at 21632 Wesley Drive, across and up the hill from the Montage.

Barnard and her husband, Richard, winter in Dana Point and attend LBUMC during that time. At home, they belong to Pennsboro (WV) United Methodist Church. 

Barnard will include in her talk, how she joined a mission team of three West Virginia Methodist churches that provide love, encouragement and financial support for the Moravian congregation in Sandino, Nicaragua, during the Christmas season. She has participated in it for 10 years, but she was reluctant at first. However, Barnard says, “God spoke to me about joining this mission trip when I was vacuuming one day.” 

Free belly dancing class preview Thursday, Feb 12 at Susi Q

Jheri St. James, award-winning local dancer and instructor, will host a free preview belly dancing class from 7:30 – 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 12, in Studio 2 at the Susi Q. Community Center, 380 Third Street, Laguna Beach CA 92651

JJ & the Habibis Laguna Beach Belly Dancers

The evening will include live performances, refreshments, and class time activities in the beautiful art of belly dancing, the oldest dance on planet earth, dating back to 20,000 B.C. in cave paintings depicting ancient goddess worship ceremonies.  

Treat yourself and all your family members to this opportunity to study this sparkling, fun dance form.  Learn about finger cymbals, veil dancing, ethnic cane dance, sword dancing, and as your skills increase, become part of the very active performance group: JJ & the Habibis Laguna Beach Belly Dancers!  

More information is available at, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or (949) 494-5031. Free parking is available in the downstairs garage at the Susi Q.

Foggy Morning in Arch Beach Heights

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Christina Shook

It sure does make the greenery a whole lot greener!

Dennis’ Tidbits



February 10, 2015

June 17, 1859 - 133º in Santa Barbara – really!

Weekends go by too fast, don’t they? It’s already Monday and 44 years ago on this date at 6 a.m., a magnitude 6.6 quake struck Sylmar, California. A fault that runs along the base of the San Gabriel Mountains suddenly ruptured and violently shook the ground for more than a minute, which seems like an eternity. Of course it occurred between midnight and 8 a.m. and on the warmest Feb 9 on record with 86 in LA during a Santana wind event. 

Down here in Laguna, we’re about 80 miles from the epicenter but things shook pretty hard here, too. The quake was very shallow, only about six miles down so more real estate was affected.

Tornadoes in California? Yup, there were several sightings over the weekend near Sacramento. Two of them were ranked EF-1 with winds between 74-110 mph. Several clusters of severe thunderstorms were the culprits. 

California actually averages between four and seven twisters a year. A majority of them are only EF-0 (winds of 40-72 mph) but once in a while we’ll see an EF-1 and in 1992 there was actually an EF-2 near Fresno. Of course, California twisters are nowhere near the frequency or the intensity of the monsters that occur in many places east of the Rockies. The peak season for California funnel clouds is January-April with February and March offering the best chances for such an event. Most of our tornadoes are 50-100 yards wide and usually travel only a couple of miles, unlike the behemoths in places like Oklahoma where a wedge tornado in May a couple of years ago reached a width of 2.6 miles. That’s like Main Beach to Victoria Beach wide! 

Most of our local waterspouts are ranked EF-0 and are only 25-50 yards wide but one waterspout on Thanksgiving Day of 1981 reached EF-1 status and made landfall near Aliso Beach. California and the West Coast in general don’t possess the atmospheric dynamics needed to pop out a big fat one.

Last week I listed the top five highest temps of all time, worldwide. I didn’t include the 133 degree temp, which would make it the third highest in the world, but thanks to an E-Mail sent to StuNews last weekend by a sharp reader by the name of Art Spaulding we now have that event on our all time list (See today’s letters). This crazy number happened in of all places, Santa Barbara, California way back on June 17, 1859, compliments of an atmospheric event called a “sundowner”. In a matter of just moments, at sundown, hence the moniker, sundowner, the temp abruptly shot up from the mid 70’s to a whopping 133!

Here’s the dynamics…a strong high pressure settles over the Central Valley, roughly over Fresno. Strong, extremely hot, dry winds begin blowing from north to south and funnel through the canyons and passes of the Santa Ynez Mountains and empty out along the southern coast of Santa Barbara County, sometimes reaching hurricane force, replacing the normal moist marine air with extremely hot dry air much like our Santanas down here. 

The high has to be sitting in just the right place for this to happen, making it a most rare event. These sundowners normally occur in late spring and early summer and usually strike during the late afternoon or early nighttime hours. 

Take notes, there’ll be a quiz in the morning! 

See y’all on Friday, ALOHA!

“Slightly Raucous” Friendship Shelter dinner set for Feb. 25 at Okura

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Submitted photo

Barbara McMurray with Okura’s top sushi chefs Woomi Kim, left and Jin Heo

The spacious, contemporary restaurant Okura Robata Grill & Sushi Bar is the setting for a come-one-come-all “slightly raucous” benefit dinner for Friendship Shelter, hosted by Ken and Barbara McMurray. A delicious array of sushi, non-sushi food items, and wine will be served at the dinner, set for Wednesday, Feb. 25 at 6 p.m.

“In Japan, an ‘okura’ is the vault where a family stores the valuables for safekeeping - the prized sake and other treasures. The restaurant’s name and the invaluable services Friendship Shelter provides coincide nicely. Friendship Shelter quietly does far more than most folks know in providing a social safety net in our county, and they do it exceedingly well,” said Barbara, who has been a shelter volunteer for 10 years, and a board member for four. 

Friendship Shelter, established in 1988, is a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping homeless adults rebuild their lives. 

All are welcome to attend the fundraiser; suggested donation is $125 per person. You can request an invitation by emailing Barbara at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Reservations and donations can be made online at For more information about Friendship Shelter, visit

Okura Robata Grill & Sushi Bar is located at 858 S. Coast Highway. It is Laguna Beach’s only sushi restaurant with a full bar and lively nightly happy hour, 4:30–6 p.m., with special pricing all evening every Monday and Tuesday. Its contemporary 4,600-square-foot building has a dining room, lounge area with seating, and a 70-seat patio for regular nightly dining or private parties. 

The extensive menu is a fusion of classic and original Japanese foods, with Italian and American influences. Items include classic and original Okura sushi rolls, steak, ribs, chicken, robata grilled meats and vegetables, tempura, salads, desserts and more. Specialty craft drinks include the popular Ginger Beer Cooler, Okura Coconut, Geisha Girl, and the Burning Mandarin. 

An all-you-can-eat special is available nightly for $32.95 per person in a party ($9.95 for children 10 and under) and includes 23 different á la carte menu items – salads, carpaccios, and robata – as well as a long list of cut rolls and nigiri sushi. 

Romantic Boutique hosts Valentine’s Day party with local partners tomorrow, Feb 11, from 6 – 8 p.m.

This Wednesday, February 11, Laguna Beach local lingerie designer and shop owner Shereen Loth will host regular and new clientele at her storefront, Romantic Boutique, 1857 S. Coast Highway (across from Sweetwater Carwash) from 6 until 8 p.m. for a Valentine’s Day party. 

All residents and visitors are invited for wine tastings and nibbles from the Wine Gallery, demonstrations from OC Pole Fitness, and giveaways and shopping discounts from the boutique and neighboring businesses. 

Additional local contributors include KX93.5, Rich Low Hair, Gerri Lea Landrigan of Mary Kay Cosmetics, RWorld Jewelry, and See Jayne Events. 

An after party will take place immediately following at the Laguna Beach Wine Gallery down the street.

SOCDC will explore extent of participation of racial and ethnic minority groups in their local political area

What are the decisive factors that determine whether and how members of various racial/ethnic groups participate in their local political environment? What are the unique opportunities and constraints facing those who seek to increase the political activity of members of racial/ethnic minority groups in Orange County? 

South Orange County Democratic Club is pleased to present Davin Phoenix, Assistant Professor of Political Science at UCI, and his presentation “Race and Participation in the OC and beyond: Questions of Access, Opportunity & Engagement.”

Applying these insights to the particular political and demographic context of Orange County, Dr. Phoenix will illuminate how those seeking to mobilize minority communities here can effectively provide relevant opportunities to act, expand communities’ access to the domain of political action, and foster greater engagement between these communities and the key local issues of the day. 

Phoenix earned his Ph.D. in political science and public policy from the University of Michigan in 2015. He specializes and teaches courses in African American politics, political participation, public opinion, and city politics. His research broadly focuses on how race interacts with various spheres of U.S. politics to shape the attitudes, emotions and behavior of both everyday people and elites. 

He has authored and co-authored papers and manuscripts examining issues such as: how race influences individuals’ emotional responses to cues of policy threat and opportunity; how minority mayors build coalition strategies, and their impact on minority participation; and the intersection of race and religious views on individuals’ social welfare policy preferences. 

Phoenix enjoys pursuing different avenues to apply what he’s learned from his research to empower others to be more knowledgeable and better equipped political participants, through conversations both inside and outside of the classroom. 

South Orange County Democratic Club will meet at 7 p.m. on Feb 18 at the Dana Point Community House, 24642 San Juan Ave. Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.

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