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Don’t miss No Square Theatre’s amazing production of “Annie,” starting tonight

No Square Theatre presents “Annie” starting tonight, Friday, Nov 30. Performances will run Friday through Sunday, through December 22, and will include both matinee and evening showings.

This wildly popular, Tony Award-winning musical “Annie”, with music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin, is directed by Joe Lauderdale and choreographed by Ellen Prince. Vocal Music is directed by Roxanna Ward and the band is directed by Christopher W. Smith at the piano. David Cowan is the Stage Manager, and costumes are done by the brilliant Brigitte Harper. Costumes for this production are underwritten by a generous grant from FOA Foundation.

Little Orphan Annie, played but Tessa Espinola, embodies human optimism at its best, as she rises from humble beginnings in 1930s New York City. The show treats audiences to one of the best musical scores ever composed including favorites like “It’s a Hard Knock Life,” “Easy Street,” “I Don’t Need Anything But You,” and the ultimate anthem of optimism, “Tomorrow.”  With a heartfelt and positive message, the show is the perfect entertainment choice for the holiday season.

The show stars Tessa Espinola as Annie, Rob Harryman as Warbucks, Rebecca Butkivich as Grace, Karen Rymar as Miss Hannigan, Tyler Below as Rooster, Laura Buckle as Lily St Regis, and Kipling as Sandy the dog. The orphans are played by Lula Buckle, Grace Gilchrist, Ava Madison Gray, Raegan Larson, Alexandra Nottage, and Libby Rue, while all the other roles are played by a talented ensemble including Lulu Arundale, Chase Benson, Lori Freeman, Rick Gold, Jonah Goldstein, Gary Greene, Jay Kramer, Ari Paltin, and Bridget Rago.

Shows are for adults and children 6 and older with evening performances at 7 p.m. on November 30, December 1, 8, 14, and 21, and 2 p.m. matinees on December 2, 8, 9, 15, 16, and 22. Tickets are available at and are $12.50 for children 6-11 and $25-$35 for adults. Seating is extremely limited and the theatre has enjoyed a long run of sold-out events, so tickets must be purchased in advance. There will be no late seating, so come early.

No Square Theatre is located in Historic Legion Hall at 384 Legion St.

Surterre announces Holiday Toy Drive for homeless children, deadline on Monday, Dec 3 


Each year, the brokers and agents of Surterre Properties choose a nonprofit entity for their annual holiday toy drive. I was delighted to hear the news this week that they chose an entity close to my heart, the Illumination Foundation. 

While more than 400 Surterre personnel will be quickly gathering new unwrapped toys and gift card donations for Illumination Foundation’s fast-approaching Holiday Carnival for children, they encourage everyone in the community to pitch in, too. 

One unwrapped new toy will make a child’s day

Donation “stations” are already in place at each of the Surterre offices (North Laguna Beach, Monarch Beach, Newport Beach at Fashion Island, San Clemente and Tustin). 

While you’re out shopping for the upcoming holiday, please keep this toy drive in mind. The Holiday Carnival deadline for toys is Monday, Dec 3, and, of course, any toys or gift cards dropped by next Monday will be most appreciated. Surterre, though, will continue to accept toys for Illumination Foundation through the season. 

More than 32,000 homeless kids in the O.C.

Since July 2008, Illumination Foundation has worked tirelessly to break the cycle of homelessness for Southern California’s most vulnerable populations. In Orange County, over 32,000 children are either homeless or unstably housed, meaning that they’re living in cars and hotel rooms with their parents or guardians. 

Surterre announces child closeup

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Photo by Bridget Marie Photography for IF

Toy Drive deadline is Monday, Dec 3

The two founders of Illumination Foundation, Paul Cho and Paul Leon, had no intention of beginning a nonprofit organization when they first met in their master’s program at UCI. But, once they saw firsthand how many families with small children were actually homeless, they decided to do something about it. 

Permanent housing, support and recuperative care

Illumination Foundation focuses on providing permanent housing along with a full-circle provision of support and services, from rehabilitation and mental health support to work services, career counseling, year-round tutoring and safe harbor after-school programs for children and more. 

Illumination Foundation (IF) is also the country’s leader in establishing recuperative care centers for homeless individuals who have been discharged from emergency rooms and hospital beds and have nowhere to heal and recover. And, now IF is in partnership with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) to create the country’s first recuperative care center for children. 

Illumination Foundation is also the creator behind the immensely popular OC Chef’s Table (, which recruits OC’s most highly acclaimed chefs who prepare their favorite recipes tableside for lucky patrons. Last year’s gala raised $1 million for the CHOC/IF recuperative care plan!

Let’s give these children something to smile about and help Surterre Properties with its goal to collect 250 new toys!. To learn more about Illumination Foundation, go to

Ring in 2019 with comedienne Rita Rudner at the Laguna Playhouse

Laguna Playhouse is excited to announce its fifth annual New Year’s Eve celebration performance of superstar comedienne Rita Rudner in “Rita Rudner: Her Absolutely Positively Last Show of 2018.” Rudner will perform on Monday, Dec 31 at 7 p.m. for a toast to the end of 2018 with complimentary champagne and dessert.

Rita Rudner is not only one of America’s top comedians; she’s also a New York Times bestselling author, as well as an award-winning television personality, screenwriter, playwright, Broadway dancer and actress. 

Ring in sparkles

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Photo courtesy of Facebook

Rita Ruder is best known for her witty one-liners

A house-filling favorite in Vegas, Rudner is beloved for her witty one-liners, which have helped make hers the longest-running solo show in Vegas history. In addition, she’s sold more than a million tickets during her time there. 

Rudner has performed over 2,000 solo shows in Las Vegas since the MGM Corporation built a theatre for her in 2002. She was named Las Vegas “Comedian Of The Year” nine years in a row, in 2006 received The Nevada Ballet’s Woman Of The Year Award, and in 2017 received a Casino Entertainment Legend Award.

Rita’s first solo HBO special, Rita Rudner’s One Night Stand, was nominated for several awards, as was her eponymous English BBC television show that later appeared in the USA on A&E. Rudner’s two one-hour specials for HBO, Born to Be Mild and Married Without Children, were ratings standouts and in 2008 she starred in PBS’s first ever stand-up comedy special, Rita Rudner: Live From Las Vegas. Rita’s most recent special, A Tale Of Two Dresses, is currently available On Demand.

Tickets range from $107 - $133 and can be purchased online at or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). 

Group discounts are available by calling (949) 497-2787 ext. 229. Prices are subject to change.     

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Hallie Jones to present project updates at Laguna Canyon Conservancy dinner meeting on Dec 3

The Laguna Canyon Conservancy’s monthly dinner meeting will be held on Monday, Dec 3, with doors opening at 6 p.m., at Seven 7 Seven. The program will be an update on Laguna Canyon Road Caltrans projects by Laguna Canyon Foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones. 

Hallie will focus on the Laguna Canyon Road Caltrans projects, and provide attendees with an update on the progress of the Massen-Greene House at the Laguna Canyon Foundation Wilderness Center.

Hallie Jones to present

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Submitted photo

LCF Executive Director Hallie Jones will give project updates at LCC’s monthly meeting on Monday

Proposed Caltrans projects impact both sides of Laguna Canyon Road, taking property from the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. The Laguna Canyon Foundation thinks that the result of these projects could very well make traffic less safe, particularly cars entering and exiting the Willow parking lot crossing two lanes of inbound traffic. 

While Caltrans has considered eliminating their proposed retaining wall along the road and the wilderness park, the alternative contoured grading would go 40 feet into the wilderness park. According to LCC, the benefits do not warrant this intrusion. Concerns include the loss of riparian habitat, fourteen oak trees to be removed, and treasured rock formations to be graded away.

The no-host bar starts at 6 p.m. with dinner starting at 6:30 p.m. and the program at 7:30 p.m.

Dinner tickets are $15 for members or $20 for non-members, and may be paid at the door with prior reservations. 

Parking is disrupted by the Village Entrance Project, and the “Christmas Tree” lot is not available, however, after 5 p.m. free parking is available in the parking spaces marked Fuse, the building inland of Seven 7 Seven.

To RSVP, visit and click “Upcoming Events” and “Register Now”. The event is open to the public; reservations are required and space is limited.

Sunset SUP to remember

Sunset SUP to remember

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Photo by Dave Dalrymple

Tuesday’s sunset set the stage for the perfect SUP session

Barbara’s Column

Outgoing Mayor to be honored, and newly elected Council members to be installed


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

 “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign or domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; that I take this obligation freely, without mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties upon which I am about to enter.”

That is the oath that the newly elected council members Peter Blake, Toni Iseman and Sue Kempf will swear to before they take their seats on the dais, administered by City Clerk Lisette Chel-Walker

It is the oath sworn four times by Kelly Boyd in Council chambers and perhaps unspoken but acted upon while serving in the United State Army in what is euphemistically called the Korean Conflict.

Boyd was first elected to the Council in 1978. Twenty-eight years passed before he gave into public pressure and ran again. In between, he was one of the best-known barkeeps in Laguna, running the Marine Room like a clubhouse for locals.

He has survived three consecutive terms on the Council starting in 2006 and bone cancer. 

Boyd’s roots run deep in Laguna. He is the fourth generation of the Thurston family, a name familiar to anyone in Laguna, but not necessarily known why.

The Thurstons came to California in 1871. Boyd’s great grandfather George Thurston homesteaded acreage in South Laguna now known as The Ranch.

George ruled his family with an iron hand, which eventually led to his departure from his wife and children, never to be heard of again. The family, except for the eldest son Joe, moved to Santa Ana.

Outgoing Mayor blue shirt

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Kelly Boyd

Joe continued to farm the family acreage, which was especially known for its melons, but he built a home in Laguna when he married Marie Harding, a teacher in Laguna Beach and the single mother of two girls, Virginia and Doris

Doris married restaurateur Robert Keene Boyd. The couple had five children –Kelly was born between Robert, known as Happy, and Bo, who died in 2011. Daughter Cindy was their fourth child, followed by Randy

Just this year, Boyd and his wife, Michelle republished Laguna Beach of Early Days, written by Joe Thurston in 1947.

“It took us 2 1/2 years,” said Michelle, when the book was launched this year at Laguna Beach Books. 

The Thurston name resounds in Laguna: Thurston Middle School and Thurston Mobile Home Park, named for Marie, and Thurston Avenue. Although it doesn’t bear his name, Joe developed Temple Hills. 

Among other reasons Joe Thurston is remembered was his gift in 1925 of acreage at the top of Temple Hills for a park. The City Council later was inspired to establish a three-person board to be in charge of street trees and vegetation in parks.

No wonder his grandson considers the View Ordinance one of his major accomplishments.

“That was important to me,” said Boyd on Wednesday. 

So was the creation of the Alternative Sleeping Location in Laguna Canyon. 

“I was involved with Toni (Councilwoman Iseman) in all of those hearings,” said Boyd.

His biggest disappointment: The tiresome, never-ending problems with parking. 

“I am sorry that we didn’t get some type of parking structures built,” said Boyd. “It is one of the biggest complaints by locals, but when we proposed to build one, they go crazy.”

Boyd is, and has been for three terms, frustrated by the time it takes to complete new or revised policies or projects. 

Outgoing mayor and wife

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Kelly and his wife Michelle

“We go to our retreat every year and discuss our goals,” said Boyd. “I kept suggesting that we choose three or four things to concentrate on and not bring up anything else.”

“Then something comes up and we bury our staff with work and they get blamed. I blame the Council.”

Boyd will be presented with a resolution of commendation on Tuesday. 

A resolution will also be prepared for outgoing Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede, for presentation at a later date. He is unable to attend the meeting due to pressing family matters.

Chel-Walker is scheduled to read Orange County Registrar Neal Kelley’s certification of the 2018 election results. 

By law, Kelley had until December 6 to certify the local elections, and thought he would need the time due to the expected heavy turnout.

“It didn’t disappoint,” Kelley informed all of the County’s City Clerks. “It was the highest turnout in a midterm election at least since 1978.” 

However, aware of the number of Orange County cities that hold council meetings on the first Tuesday of the month, he amended the original date from December 6 to on-or-before December 3, in order to swear in the newly elected officials at the regularly scheduled meetings. 

“The election must be certified before the swearing in ceremony,” said Chel-Walker.

Assuming the election will be certified as promised, the new mayor and mayor pro tem of Laguna Beach will then be selected and take their seats on the dais. 

The only item on the regular order of business at the meeting will be Council Committee assignments.

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.

Election 2018: Latest vote count, results still not certified


The Orange County Registrar of Voters has not completed counting the votes cast in the Laguna Beach City Council race, so the totals change from day to day.

As of 5 p.m. Thursday, first-time City Council candidate Peter Blake had racked up 4,836 votes to lead incumbent Toni Iseman by 72 votes, in her bid for a sixth consecutive term. 

Sue Kempf is in third ahead of former Mayor Ann Christoph, 4,451 to 4,200, and is expected to be sworn in on Tuesday, Dec 3 along with Blake and Iseman.

Laguna Beach County Water District Commissioner and former Mayor Cheryl Kinsman trails Christoph by 186 votes.

Judie Mancuso has drawn 2,805 votes in her second bid for a seat on the council, followed by Rob Zur Schmiede, who officially withdrew from the election due to a family crisis, but did indicate if elected he would serve. His total to date is 2,193. 

Paul Merritt remains in eighth place with 2,049 votes. 

Lorene Laguna placed ninth in the voting with 1,409 votes to date, followed by Sue Marie Connolly, Liz Bates, Allison Mathews and Jorg Dubin, a write-in candidate.

School Board

More than 1,000 more votes were cast for the top-vote getter in the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board election than for the top vote-getter in the council race.

In fact, four of the six candidates for the three open seats on the Laguna Beach Unified School District Governing Board racked up more votes than Blake, as of Thursday. 

However, the district includes voters who live outside the city limits, including Emerald Bay. 

Incumbent Carol Normandin is in first place with 5,883 votes. She is 220 votes ahead of Dee Namba Perry, also an incumbent, who leads James Kelly by 152 votes. 

Twenty votes separate Kelly and Christine de Bretteville. 

Mark Nelson had 3,588 votes by Monday; write-in candidate Howard Hills had 753.

According to the Orange County Registrar of voters, there are just 2,725 ballots left to be counted countywide.

City Finance Officer takes new job in Palm Springs


Laguna Beach is losing a key employee.   

Finance Officer Nancy Pauley has been appointed the Finance Director of Palm Springs. The appointment was announced this week by Palm Springs City Manager David H. Ready. Pauley’s new job will begin December 17.

“Palm Springs is undergoing a tremendous economic renaissance as one of the premier resort destinations in Southern California and beyond,” said Pauley in the announcement. “I am honored to be chosen to lead the City’s Finance Department during this incredible era for the City of Palm Springs. I look forward to meeting my new team and the exciting challenges ahead.”

Pauley was employed in the Laguna Beach Finance Department for more than 10 years. She has worked annually on the City budget and played a key role in the City’s Excellence in Financial Reporting Award for its Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), according to Gavin Curran, Director of Administrative Services, which includes the Finance Department. 

To receive the Certificate of Achievement, a governmental unit must publish an easily readable and efficiently organized comprehensive Annual Financial Report, whose contents conform to program standards, said Curran on Thursday. This is the third consecutive year the City has received the award. 

“Nancy has been the driving force behind the recognition of our financial reporting awards, and she has been an instrumental part of the City’s Finance Division for the last decade,” said Curran. “She leaves big shoes to fill, and we wish her continued success in her new role as Director of Finance for the City of Palm Springs.”

Pauley’s other duties in Laguna included working on budget forecasting, collection of the bed taxes, accounts payable and receivable, payroll, business licenses, parking permits, and purchasing. 

In addition, Pauley initiated successful services for residents and visitors who preferred to obtain permits and business licenses online. 

“Nancy Pauley has a wealth of experience when it comes to financial planning, forecasting, pension reform and producing complex budgets,” Ready was quoted as saying in the Palm Springs announcement of Pauley’s appointment. “We are thrilled she will be bringing her expertise to the City of Palm Springs, and I am excited to welcome her to the executive management team at City Hall.” 

Prior to her position in Laguna Beach, Pauley served as Assistant Finance Director for Skokie, Ill. and as an accountant for Oakbrook, Ill., according to the Palm Springs announcement. She also was reported to have served as Deputy Director of Skokie’s Police and Fire Pension Fund and as a member of the Illinois Department of Insurance Pension Task Force Committee. 

Pauley graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from Lewis University and is a member of the California Society of Municipal Finance Officers and the Government Finance Officers Association. 

Her last day on the job in Laguna is today.

Dennis’ Tidbits


November 30, 2018

Storms, surf, and Solstice 

Dennis 5The Eastern Pacific is taking on a whole new look with El Nino symptoms. A parade of moisture laden lows is marching toward California, and there’s no high pressure in the way to stop them. These lows have cold properties and subtropical ingredients working together and riding a hyper jet stream that’s running pretty much in a straight line for several thousands of miles. 

This chain of storms is setting its sights on California specifically, not so much about the Northwest for a change. This is good news and bad news as amounts statewide could reach five to seven inches in burn areas in Northern California and Southern California as well. 

It’s a classic case of way too much and way too fast, so there will be mudslides and severe debris flows. This pattern could last as long as 10 days to two weeks. The huge ridge has been laid to rest and the door is wide open. We’ll get WNW to NW ground swells, and we’re getting a nice WNW and NW push here on Wednesday with three to four foot sets here in town with a great NW direction at 306 degrees. Because these lows have maintained their strength for days now, plus they’ve got plenty of winds, so several real pulses of swell will be happening. Stay tuned as it could get interesting.

Dennis Mary rain

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Thursday’s rain was just the beginning – expect more to come

Well, here comes December and the days are getting really short. We’re only a few weeks away from the Solstice on the 21st when we’ll get only 9 hours and 54 minutes of possible sun time.

December cools down with the average hi-lo of 67-45. Our hottest December day was 86 on December 3, 1958 and again on December 12, 1979. December’s coldest temp was 28 in town and 22 out in the Canyon on the morning of the 8th.

Here in town, we average around two and a half inches of rain for the month. Our wettest Decembers have been 11.65 inches in 2010, 10.77 in 1955, and 9.89 in 1997.

Average December ocean temps are 57-60 degrees. It’s been as cold as 52, for example  in 1948 and 1978, and as warm as 67 in 1997 and 66 in 1972. 

Normally December is a busy month for North Pacific swells in all of California. 

Have a nice weekend, Aloha!

On National Giving Tuesday, entire TOW school donates to benefit PMMC

On Tuesday, the entire population of TOW students participated in a friendly Giving Tuesday class fundraising competition to earn a chance to help name a sea lion that TOW will adopt in the spring and help provide care, food and medicine for through the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

Lisa Roberson-Beery, TOW PTA Community Service Chair, says, “I partnered with Jennifer Grzeskowiak, PTA president, and Karly Simpson, TOW School Site Council Member, on this effort. This is TOW’s second year participating in Giving Tuesday! Last year the school supported With My Own Two Hands!” 

On National man and child

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Submitted photo

Layla Roberson-Beery and Johnathan Roberson-Beery (Lisa’s husband and daughter) rallying students and families at school drop-off on Giving Tuesday

She continues, “We are super proud to share that the entire TOW school – every class and grade level – participated in donating spare change (and bills) as part of National Giving Tuesday sponsored by the TOW PTA to help benefit the Pacific Marine Mammal Center.” 

The PTA sponsored the event, but it was a true all hands on deck event with the principal, faculty, teachers, students and PTA volunteers working together to make it so special, Roberson-Beery reports. 

“The goal was that each student bring in a little spare change and benefit a local nonprofit with a goal of getting to $1,000 to help adopt a sea lion and help our local sea life. And the message – each student giving a little will make a big impact on our local sea life!” she says. 

On National donations

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Submitted photo

Donations collected – $5,284.72

TOW students together raised $4284.72 and the PTA matched $1,000 for a total of $5,284.72. Roberson-Beery adds, “We are truly inspired by the spirit of giving that the students demonstrated on Tuesday! As a result, TOW in the end will be able to adopt not one, but two sea lions and help provide food, medicine and care for them. We were also able to help sponsor a group of OC foster youth as part of PMMC’s Saving Seals program to get a chance to visit the center in April for an educational tour.

“Mrs. Bammer’s fourth grade class was our top earning class and Mrs. Hosokawa’s first grade class came in second place. Both classes will get to help rename a sea lion that the Top of the World school community will adopt this spring!” 

On National poster

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Submitted photo

Poster designed by Rose and Lyla Simpson

Roberson-Beery says, “I am so proud of our TOW students. On Giving Tuesday they broke out their piggy banks, pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and a few bills and together raised over $5,000 to support the Pacific Marine Mammal Center! An incredible generosity displayed by Laguna’s littlest donors who wanted to help seal and sea lion friends in need.”

Pacific Marine Mammal Center has donation capabilities through their Facebook page, if anyone feels inspired to take a stand with TOW students to support this beloved nonprofit right here in our backyard. To donate, go to

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