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Living Montessori Day - Celebrating 40 years of serving Laguna Beach with open house Nov 5 – 9-11:30 a.m.

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Montessori School of Laguna Beach will host a community outreach program on Wednesday, Nov 5 from 9-11:30 a.m. Every year they invite parents and children ages 0-5 to come, experience a day in the Montessori School. 

This is a great opportunity for children to take part in cooking, dancing, gardening, music, painting, and many other activities that Montessori children experience regularly.

In addition, Parents will get a guided tour by Montessori parents and observe children in action in their classrooms.  If you are a parent considering a program for your child ages 2-6, this would be the perfect opportunity to visit the facility, and find out about their School by talking to parents and the director. 

Please e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to reserve a spot or simply come by to take part in this unique event.

Montessori School of Laguna Beach is at 340 St. Ann’s Drive.

LGOCA hosting Breast Cancer Solutions event Oct 25

Breast cancer survivor Lisa Early and friends will be getting together at the Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art on Saturday, Oct 25 for an evening of fun and fundraising to benefit Breast Cancer Solutions.

“I never thought I’d be the one in eight women that would have breast cancer. After all, I am healthy, eat well, I work out regularly,” said Early. “I hope to get the word out to women like me to ‘get a mammogram’. I’ve met so many women in their 20’s and 30’s with this disease, it seems like an epidemic. In fact, Orange County has one of the highest populations of diagnosed women. 

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Lisa Early says, “Yes! I have hair again, thank God!!”

“This time last year I was going through six months of chemo,” continued Early. “After the chemo, I had a bilateral mastectomy… and this past April I had reconstructive surgery. While going through the treatment, the expenses were astronomical.

“I reached out to Breast Cancer Solutions, a grassroots organization that helps recently diagnosed Orange County women, and they paid part of my rent and provided me with grocery and gas cards. I’m paying it forward by hosting this event to benefit Breast Cancer Solutions.”

The public is invited to help support this worthy cause and enjoy an evening of live music, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and raffle prizes at the LGOCA gallery located at 611 S. Coast Hwy. Festivities begin at 7 p.m.

Laguna Beach PD Citizen’s Academy: Week 7


StuNewsLaguna Staff Writer

Ed. Note: Alli will be providing a “recap” every week through out her Citizen’s Academy class


Okay, this was the most fun I’ve had so far in this class! We went out to the range where Laguna Beach PD does their firearms training and we were able to fire a selection of the arms that they have at their disposal. Lots of loud noises and fun times were had!

First, Cpl Meadows and Sgt Lee gave us the safety talk: always wear eye and ear protection, every gun is a loaded gun (even if it’s not loaded), only point guns in an area where it is safe to shoot, and only put your finger on the trigger when you are ready to shoot. We were then treated to a demonstration of how the officers interact when faced with a possible deadly threat.

And then, it was our turn.

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Photos by Kurt Knepper

Class photographer

Class Vice President Mindy LaTendresse shooting the Taser

First up was the Taser, which fires out electric coiled wire. When the darts make contact with someone, the electricity, just enough to immobilize them, courses from one dart through their body to the other dart.

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Caroline Millson firing the less lethal launcher, with rubber bullets

Next was the 40mm less lethal launcher, which is best described as the Nerf gun you do NOT want to get shot with. Less lethal launchers fire what are commonly known as rubber bullets – for when you need to take someone down without killing them.

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Cpl Meadows with yours truly when I fired the 9mm Glock

We then had the opportunity to shoot the 9mm Glock handguns, with a contest among us to see who was the best shot.Sarah Browning was the winner, successfully hitting ten rounds into the 5-zone (center chest), with several in dead center. She will be formally recognized in December’s graduation!

Finally, those who wanted to were able to shoot the AR-15. The bullets that AR-15s use are .223 caliber, only slightly larger in diameter than a .22, which is known for having little kick. However, the bullets fired from the ARs have much more gunpowder, meaning they kick…a lot. And they are heavy, too! We were given ten rounds to shoot from the ARs, too.

Oh, and since I know you’re all wondering, this was one of two classes where we were asked to eat beforehand or bring our own food…but my mom does make a mean peanut butter and jelly sandwich!

Next week, we learn about traffic accident investigations and DUIs, complete with one class member getting drunk… for science! Until then!

Laguna Beach Books to host an event with children’s author and illustrator James Horvath on Sunday

On Sunday, Oct. 26 at 4 p.m., Laguna Beach Books will welcome James Horvath, author of Work, Dogs, Work,for atalk and signing. 

Set the charges and get out of there fast. Shout, “Fire in the hole!” then Top Dog Duke and his busy crew have a big day of construction fun ahead of them as they race to repair a road. With miles and miles of new road to lay, our favorite doggy construction team gets to work with equipment like bulldozers, steamrollers, graders, and paving trucks. But what happens when a rocky hill blocks the way? Time to bring in the demolition crew!

With his bouncy verse and bold, colorful illustrations, James Horvath brings the excitement of a bustling construction scene to life. Working hard to keep places connected has never been more fun!

James Horvath is the author-illustrator of two more picture books starring Duke and his construction crew: Build, Dogs, Build and Dig, Dogs, Dig, which the New York Times said “hops along with the bouncy effervescence of P. D. Eastman’s Go, Dogs, Go!” He has worked as a designer and illustrator for more than fifteen years. In 2002, he established Jamestoons Studios (with a workforce of one) so he could focus more on his illustration. When not scratching and scribbling at his drawing table, he plays with his two young sons and wife, bangs around on the banjo, surfs, and generally has a lot of fun. A lifelong devoted cartoon fan, James Horvath lives with his family on California’s central coast.

Laguna Beach Books is an independent bookstore striving to create a community-enriching environment with a superb selection of books for adults and children, exciting author events and readings, and friendly, knowledgeable staff. Laguna Beach Books is owned by Jane Hanauer and is located at The Old Pottery Place at 1200 S. Coast Highway. 494-4779.

Abstract of the Day!

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Scott Brashier

13th Annual Laguna Beach Music Festival Feb 13-15 – 

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Los Angeles Guitar Quartet

The 13th annual Laguna Beach Music Festival presents the Los Angeles Guitar Quartet & Friends on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Feb 13-15, 2015, at the Laguna Playhouse. This year’s Festival has a lively medley of classical and contemporary music with concerts and intimate events designed to make for a sweet Valentine’s Weekend celebration.

Choose from romantic Spanish music and Flamenco dancers, an enchanting music and video presentation of Don Quixote with actor Phil Proctor providing the narration or share in the excitement of hearing the premier performance of a new composition from “Ymir.” Better yet, come to all three performances - and the other Festival activities! Learn more and buy tickets at

Part of the ticket price is tax deductible and helps bring renowned musicians to Laguna Beach.  

The Laguna Beach Music Festival is an annual multi-day celebration, presented by Laguna Beach Live! and Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

City Council candidates answer this week’s questions III


We have asked our readers to submit questions to be put before the seven Laguna Beach City Council candidates. This week we continue with the candidate’s responses to three of our submitted questions, including one from our editorial staff.

We will continue in our Friday editions until the election.

All seven candidates responded. (Candidate answers exceeding 100 words may have been edited. The candidate’s answers are in random order this week)


Doug asked: 

 Heritage Committee Members supported funding consultants to conduct a

comprehensive survey of Laguna homes to add more homes to the “Inventory”.  

Note that addition to the inventory would not be subject to homeowner approval.

If elected, would you support spending taxpayer money to expand the historical inventory and place unwilling homeowners under the CEQA law?


Michele Hall-

No, I do not support spending taxpayer’s money to expand the historical inventory. While I completely support the preservations of Laguna’s historical homes and unique history, I think this concept is dangerous. It is a property owner’s right to request their home be placed on the inventory, not the job of the government to tell them to do so.


Rob Zur Schmiede-

The City Council has directed that the City’s existing historic property inventory be reviewed to determine whether structures currently listed on the inventory still meet the criteria for inclusion, whether their current ratings (“E”, “K”, or “C”) should be changed, and even whether structures should be deleted from the inventory.  Regarding CEQA, and additions to the inventory, no decision regarding expenditure of taxpayer money is necessary.  The City doesn’t determine whether demolition or modification of a structure is subject to review under CEQA.  CEQA is a state law, which requires environmental review of projects proposing demolition or modification of any structure 45 years old or older.  


Paul Merritt-

I support preserving the history of Laguna. I assume the inventory is of “homes’’ and structures that have an intrinsic value to citizens of the future. Such a program should be voluntary and the history added with joy to our Laguna inventory.

My interpretation of CEQA [a state law] locally enforced is that persons or property owners cannot be “willing or un-willing” to be put on the historical list.  CEQA is an environmental classification checklist law.  Please share with me any contrary insight to this CEQA regulation.  

   I am one councilperson who loves feedback and will listen. 


Eli Grossman-

No. Even Liberal Democrats believe in property rights. If Laguna Beach does use public monies for these designations, it should also consider using eminent domain to buy beach side property for a Public Project; the city could charge reasonable rents, and encourage businesses that would be beneficial for our city, but are currently priced out of Laguna Beach by greedy landlords.


Kelly Boyd- 

Never. Actually we are waiting for the historian to give us the list of homes that should be taken off the list.


Toni Iseman-

This town’s magic is the mix of the old and new.  We need to have an updated inventory of historic homes.   Being aware of the historic significance of your home is a good thing.  And it could encourage preservation.  But I would not recommend to have an official listing without agreement. 


Jon Madison- 

No – I would not support taxpayer money to expand the Historic Inventory. The original inventory was done in ‘81 – too costly and lengthy to go through that process again.

We need to contact possible historic homes via mail, etc. - and invite the owners to join the inventory and register. I would use money to communicate, not mandate.


Howard asked:

The fact that the office sought is nonpartisan does not make it ethical to be dishonest about party affiliation.  

So my question for each candidate is this:  Will you state publicly if you have any knowledge of any action by your campaign or any other person or organization that would cause you to be listed on any form of candidate slate mailer or other material mailed to voters that would cause voters to believe you represent or are affiliated with any political party inconsistent with your actual lawful voter registration?


Eli Grossman-

Since I am running on my character, and the current City Council’s lack of character, I would never conceive of buying an endorsement from a different Political party than I belong to. No endorsement should ever have to be bought!


Toni Iseman-

I have not paid to be on any slates. They are a cost-effective way to reach many voters, but you signup blind, not knowing who else will be listed.  I wish we had no slates.  Having used them in the past, I found myself listed side by side with someone I didn’t respect.  Voter beware.  Read the small print.  Look for the *.  That will let you know more about who’s paying to have their name listed.


Rob Zur Schmiede

This question, from the head of one of our local political party organizations, perpetuates the kind of partisanship, which I view as highly inappropriate in local elections. I have always been registered without a party affiliation. As an independent, first time candidate, I am seeking the support of Democrat, Republican, and Independent voters and will represent all Laguna residents on issues of shared interest. City Council elections are non-partisan and identification of party affiliation should not play any role. More goes into a voter’s decision than reading candidate slate mailers.  Our well-informed voters research each candidate’s professional accomplishments, educational credentials, and record of community service.


Paul Merritt-

I ran for Laguna council decades ago. I know first hand the deception of “slates”.

I lost by a slim margin and learned first hand that slates deceive voters from knowing each candidate separately.

  I am an independent. Yet, I have won endorsements from polar opposite groups.

My campaign has tried, consistently, to focus on Laguna; safety issues, preserving the Canyon, and stopping CALTRANS from raising PCH speed limits. To this end I have steadfastly tried to avoid partisan endorsement.  I am on a few “partisan” mailers.

However I denied using the same type of mailers that did not comport with my political ideas.


Kelly Boyd- 

Yes, I will state publicly that I am not involved in any slates nor have I asked for endorsement from any party or organization.


Jon Madison-

I will state publicly that I have no knowledge or intention to slate and I would not mail material to voters that would cause voters to believe that I am affiliated with any political party inconsistent with my actual lawful voter registration.


Michele Hall-

I am proud to say that I am running an honest and ethical campaign. I believe that it is not only misleading, but also dishonest for any to candidate to market themselves as anything but who they are and what they represent. The election of 2014 had ended up being about transparency and honesty. As candidates, we are asking for the public to place their trust in our abilities to lead the city, so it is our moral obligation to be honest and truly represent ourselves in regards to what we believe in and stand for.


Stu News Laguna editorial staff question:

At this point we use fire ladder trucks based in South County, El Toro, and Newport Beach for structure responses within our city. Would you advocate for a ladder truck to be added to the Laguna Beach fire department?


Jon Madison-

I have talked to several firemen – they agree that at this time Laguna Beach does not need a ladder truck to be added to the Laguna Beach Fire Department.

I also think we should pose this question to the Fire Department on a regular basis – so if we do need one – we will be prepared monetarily and structurally.


Paul Merritt-

Having been recognized from my past elected south Orange County experience... from the County fire service... I assure you fire safety is at the top of my priorities.

   Specifically, I will rely on the Fire Chief and professionals to indicate the need for immediate access to the ladder trucks.  Thanks for being observant in protecting our fragile and special Laguna.


Rob Zur Schmiede-

One of my top priorities is providing our First Responders (Police, Fire, and Lifeguards) with the resources they need to protect us.

I would advocate for a ladder truck once a thorough cost/benefit analysis comparing the current equipment supply arrangement with alternatives was completed, with the conclusion that acquisition of a ladder unit was operationally warranted. Analysis would need to include acquisition and operational costs of the ladder truck, as well as the cost of modifying one of our existing fire stations to accommodate the unit. [Similarly,] our Police Department completed an extensive analysis of alternative patrol vehicles, which resulted in the purchase of new units.


Kelly Boyd- 

I am not sure we would use a ladder truck enough to justify the expense. We have a joint agreement with the Orange County Fire Authority to respond to Laguna if needed, which I believe is sufficient.


Michele Hall-

Yes, I would advocate a ladder truck be added to the fire department. I believe that the number one job of the government is to provide for public safety. Any addition that will increase the fire department’s ability to protect our town and its citizens, is something I will always fight for.


Eli Grossman-

I don’t have enough knowledge of this subject. How many other cities have these special trucks, what are the unique situations that need these fire trucks. [There are] too many unknowns for me to make a qualified answer. 


Toni Iseman-

When needed, other fire departments assist our city.  Fire ladder trucks are not often needed.  We are better served by an inventory of smaller engines that we use in greater frequency and can navigate our narrow streets.  But if our firefighters believe we need a ladder truck, we should listen to them.

Wheels 4 Life means just that – 190 supporters came to The Ranch to raise money for needed bicycles worldwide 

Special to StuNewsLaguna

On Friday October 3 at The Ranch At Laguna Beach, Wheels 4 Life held the Indian Summer Gala and encore event in order to raise money to fund bicycles for people in great need of transportation in developing countries worldwide.

As with the previous year, the setting could not have been more perfect, starlight and candlelight added to the dazzling atmosphere. Music, wine, an International Tasting menu and dancing were all wonderfully orchestrated by the excellent team at The Ranch. 

Photos copyright Bill Freeman

The volunteers with co-founder Carmen Rey (center): Jane Hammonds (L), Lan Zentil, Staci Holbrook, Andrea Schoembs, Megan Hilliard and Paula Lopes.

The 190 guests included many Laguna Beach residents, professional athletes including Brian Lopes, Cole Sealy, Darren Berreclough and Jenny Fletcher and companies such as Oakley, Shimano and Crankbrothers were representing strongly with their continued support.

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The first screening of the Wheels 4 Life film “Riding Out of Poverty”

Whilst wining and dining Wheels 4 Life held their premier screening of the 2014 movie “Riding Out of Poverty” which was filmed during 2013 in Uganda and Kenya. Local musician Nick Hernandez composed the theme music for this film and now Wheels 4 Life can boast their very own song. As the closing credits rolled, Carmen Rey co-founder of the charity made a plea to the audience and asked if any of them would be willing to “Pledge A Bike”. The response was incredible, far surpassing any hoped for goal. Pledge A Bike raised $9,150, alone which translates into at least 61 bicycles.

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Megan Hilliard auctions a Pedgo electric bike with a little help from co-founder and extreme mountain-bike legend Hans Rey

Strait from the pledges and into the live auction commandeered by Megan Hilliard where people out bid each other for items such as a John Cosby original oil painting, a GT Bicycle, a holiday in Umbria, Italy and a Pedgo electric beach cruiser. 

Then came the music, Common Sense did what they always do so well, played and sang with heart, getting everyone off their seats and dancing whilst many ladies shimmered in their beaded spangle dresses.

You can’t beat a glamorous party, with people laughing and catching up with old friends, it is so much fun that at times it is easy to forget that the event is to raise money. The Gala did raise money, over $54,000, which means over 500 more bicycles changing over 2000 more people’s lives for the better. They will be able to travel four times faster, four times longer and carrying four times the load thanks to a Wheels 4 Life bicycle.

Without a doubt, Wheels 4 Life could not have achieved so much that evening if not for the continued support of Mark Christy and The Ranch At Laguna Beach, their incredible team of volunteers that give so much of their time leading up to and on the evening and the many people and companies that donated to Wheels 4 Life and joined us on that perfect Indian Summer night.

For further information please go to

Check out more of Bill Freeman’s photos in the slideshow below

Click on the lefthand picture to view them all


Nobel Peace Laureate will speak at SOKA U. Oct 29

Nobel Peace Laureate, Leymah Gbowee

2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, Leymah Gbowee, and international law professor, Karima Bennoune, will be speaking at the Soka Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. on the topic “Outrageous Acts of Peace: The role ordinary people must play in transforming violence to peace.” General admission for the public is $8 for adults, and $6 for students and seniors. 

Tickets are available at

Featured in the award-winning documentary, Pray the Devil Back to Hell, Gbowee is best known for organizing a movement of Christian and Muslim women in Liberia, who, in the midst of a decades long and violent civil war, took on the corrupt regime and demanded peace for their shattered county. The demonstrations culminated in the exile of the unscrupulous leader, and the election of the first female head of state in Africa since Cleopatra.

Gbowee will be in conversation with Bennoune, author of Your Fatwa Does Not Apply Here: Untold Stories from the Fight Against Muslim Fundamentalism. Bennoune’s TED talk about these courageous citizens has been seen by over 1 million people. (Link:

The women will share their stories, as well as commentary on critical current events such as the Ebola crisis and violence resulting from global terrorism. In addition to discussion, the audience will learn how we each can be better citizen peacekeepers.

Soka University is offering to reimburse transportation costs and provide free tickets to organized high school groups of 30 or more sophomores and juniors who pre-register. For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Soka University’s Soka Changemakers program is coordinating the lecture. Soka Changemakers connects students and the community to the people, ideas, and organizations that change the world for good. Partners for this program include the Orange County Register, UC Irvine, Center for Living Peace, Center for Citizen Peacebuilding, and Students for Global Peacebuilding.

LBHS Concert Band will play at Carnegie Hall – with a little help from its community friends/supporters 

The Laguna Beach High School Concert Band has been selected from bands throughout the Country, by audition, to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Carnegie Hall is a world-renowned venue and an opportunity of a lifetime to play…for any musician.

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Laguna Beach High School Concert Band

The musicians and their families, along with several fundraisers to help defray the costs, fund this trip. The LBHS Band and Band Boosters would be so appreciative of any donations from the community and/or local businesses towards this memorable NYC – Carnegie trip. 

Please help us send our gifted students to New York this April to perform in the Carnegie National Band & Orchestra Festival.

Donations will receive a place of distinction in our bi-annual Music Program, and two reserved seats to the well-attended Winter Concert this December 2014. Your donation will secure reserved tickets, and a place in the Program: a business card sized ad for a $250 donation; a half-page ad for $500 donation; and a full-page ad for a donation of more than $500.

To contribute towards the New York - Carnegie Hall trip and/or advertise in the Winter and Spring Concert LBHS Music Concert Program, please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions. 

All donations with your advertising information can be mailed to LBHS Band Boosters, 1021 Miramar Street, Laguna Beach, CA 92651.

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