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Celebrate #GivingTuesday movement today by giving back on this National Day of Giving 2018

Today, honor #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. On the Tuesday after Thanksgiving, charities, families, businesses, community centers, and students around the world come together for one common purpose: to celebrate generosity and to give.

In 2012, National Day of Giving was created to bring focus to the charitable season in the wake of the commercialized Black Friday and Cyber Monday. More commonly referred to as #GivingTuesday, National Day of Giving harnesses the power of social media to give back around the world and throughout the year.

Celebrate GivingTuesday logo

Quite simply, take advantage of all the holiday deals to add to your charitable giving. Combined with your family, friends, local and national organizations and through the power of social media, National Day of Giving can become a tradition worth passing on. Use #GivingTuesday to post on social media.

#GivingTuesday was created by the team at the Belfer Center for Innovation & Social Impact at the 92nd Street Y – a cultural center in New York City that, since 1874, has been bringing people together around the values of service and giving back. 

#GivingTuesday connects diverse groups of individuals, communities and organizations around the world for one common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving. A team of influencers and founding partners joined forces, collaborating across sectors, offering expertise and working tirelessly, to launch #GivingTuesday and have continued to shape, grow and strengthen the movement.

For more ideas on how to give back, go to

Election 2018: Blake takes lead in votes as counting continues


First-time City Council candidate Peter Blake added another 60 votes on Monday to the 4,716 reported on Saturday, maintaining his lead ahead of incumbent Toni Iseman, elected for her sixth consecutive term. 

Sue Kempf continues to lead former Mayor Ann Christoph, 4,401 to 4,155, securing the third open Council spot.

Laguna Beach County Water District Commissioner and former Mayor Cheryl Kinsman trails Christoph by 181 votes.

Judie Mancuso drew 2,754 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. 

Paul Merritt sits in eighth place with 2,030 votes tabulated. 

Lorene Laguna placed ninth in the voting with 1,385 votes thus far, ahead of Sue Marie Connolly, Liz Bates, Allison Mathews and Jorg Dubin, a write-in candidate.

All 16 precincts have been completed. 

School Board

Four of the six candidates for the three open seats on the Laguna Beach Unified School District Governing Board racked up more votes than the top four vote-getters for the Council, as of Monday.

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

Incumbent Carol Normandin is in first place with 5,799 votes. She is 190 votes ahead of Dee Namba Perry, also an incumbent, who leads James Kelly by 163 votes. 

Just 38 votes separate Kelly and Christine de Bretteville. 

Mark Nelson had 3,516 votes by Monday, Write-in candidate Howard Hills had 746.

All 31 precincts have been completed. 

According to the Orange County Registrar of Voters, 21,800 ballots countywide are left to be counted; it is unknown how many of these are Laguna Beach voters. Results will be updated daily at at 5 p.m. (except on Sundays and holidays) until all votes have been counted.

Hallie Jones to be guest speaker at Canyon Conservancy dinner on Monday, Dec 3


Laguna Canyon Foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones will be speaking to the choir on Monday, Dec 3, when she addresses the Caltrans Laguna Canyon Road project at the Laguna Canyon Conservancy dinner at Seven 7 Seven.

The project is a source of angst for the Foundation and the Conservancy. The proposed plan extends a merging lane for inbound traffic that creates a second traffic lane for vehicles to cross entering or exiting from the Willow Parking Lot. Of further concern is the proposed contoured grading that digs 40 feet into the wilderness park, loss of riparian habitat and removal of 14 oak trees.

“I think it is really important to the community that we all understand the project – the details and the reasoning behind it,” said Jones. “I will be updating the Conservancy on recent developments and on the path forward.”

Hallie Jones closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Hallie Jones will speak at the Canyon Conservancy dinner on Dec 3

Mary Fegraus, founding executive director of the foundation, credits Jones with taking the lead in organizing the facts about the project.

Jones will also discuss the progress on the Massen Greene House, the Foundation’s Wilderness Center.

The Conservancy dinner meeting is open to the public. Tickets are $15 for members or $20 for non-members and may be paid at the door with prior reservations.

Reservations are required and may be made online at, by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phoning (949) 235-8277.

Leave your name, phone number and number of reservations you want. Spell the names for the reservations requested so name tags are accurate.

The Conservancy must pay for all no shows, so those who have reservations but cannot attend are asked to call and cancel. 

Reservations must be made by December 1, no exceptions.

A no-host bar opens at 6 p.m. Dinner is served at about 6:35 p.m., with the program to follow.

Lobster dinner

Lobster dinner boat

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Photo by John Thomas

It’s local lobster season and there’s an “iron curtain” of lobster traps at the south end of the MLPA, just south of Table Rock Beach, where commercial lobster fishermen have spread out hundreds of traps

Dianne’s Creature Feature(s)

Not Jolly Old St. Nick: Here comes Krampus 


‘Twas the night before Christmas…and the children were nestled all snug in their beds, waiting for the sound of hooves on the roof and jingle bells that announce the arrival of Santa’s sleigh. But hold on to your reindeer reins, the stomp of hooves and tinkle of bells can also signal the appearance of Krampus. And just because his name rhymes with rumpus, don’t be fooled, he’s more daunting than a wild thing, especially if you’re a kid. 

Krampus doesn’t bring presents

As if the holidays aren’t frightening enough with shopping, stress, self-inflicted guilt, and absurd expectations, there’s Krampus, who is the polar opposite of Santa Claus. As described in German lore, St. Nick brings the gifts, and Krampus brings the pain. 

However, Krampus’ roots have nothing to do with Christmas. Instead, they date back to pre-Germanic paganism in the region. His name originates with the German krampen, which means “claw,” and tradition has it that he is the son of the Norse god of the underworld, Hel. But he somehow evolved into Christian tradition as a sidekick of St. Nicholas. 

Even though the two are supposedly companions, Krampus is the Christmas Demon, a devilish figure with long horns and a goat-like beard, bipedal, and covered in shaggy brownish-black hair with wicked curving horns on either side of its man-goat face. And he’s not bringing a bag full of presents to leave by the tree, instead, he brings bundles of birch sticks to beat naughty children.

Not Jolly horns

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His face won’t be on any holiday card

He even has his own designated night. December 5 is known as Krampusnacht and is the monster’s official night, when he prowls the world looking for bad little boys and girls to steal and take to the underworld. 

December 6 is Nikolastaug, St. Nicholas’ Day – the same St. Nicholas whose Dutch name, Sinterklass, evolved into “Santa Claus.” In other words, it’s time for presents for all the little girls and boys, if they survived Krampus’ visit. 

According to a series of very popular 1800s postcards in Germany, Krampus enjoyed a variety of punishments: ripping pigtails out, leading children off a cliff, sadistic ear-pulling, putting pre-teens in shackles, forcing children to beg for mercy, and throwing youngsters on an Express Train to The Lake of Fire. These scenes were drawn by imaginative Old World craftsmen, printed on penny postcards and disseminated throughout Europe.

In the real world, people might attend Krampus balls, or young men from the local town might don carved wooden masks, cowbells, chains, and elaborate costumes to run through town in a Krampuslauf (Krampus run), frightening and sometimes beating bystanders. This sounds even worse than the bull running in Spain. 

According to legend, Krampus will spend the night visiting each house, where he might leave bundles of sticks for bad children, or he just might hit them with the sticks instead.

Not Jolly movie

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From the 2016 movie Krampus

Although Krampus is a crucial character in Austria and German-speaking regions, he has become increasingly popular in the US – he’s shown up on Venture Brothers, Grimm, Supernatural, The Colbert Report, and American Dad, and there’s a 2016 Krampus-inspired horror movie. And in an increasing number of American cities, you can go to a Krampus party, Krampus costume contest, or even a traditional Krampuslauf. Surprisingly or not surprisingly, Los Angeles in particular has a burgeoning Krampus scene.

It’s said that some parents in Austria use Krampus as a threat to keep their kids in line, and this method seems more effective than taking away electronic devices. Families hang birch twigs on the wall all year as decoration – and to remind kids to behave. 

Krampus banned in Austria during Fascism

Historically, Krampus was so widely detested that even between 1934 and 1938, when Austria was under Fascist rule, Krampus was seen as a symbol of sin, anti-Christian ideals, and Social Democrats. The newspaper of the Austrian Catholic Union called for a Krampus boycott. 

Although, here in Laguna, we’re not likely to get a visit from Krampus or hold a Krampus run, who wouldn’t want the holidays to have a little bit of humorous horror (other than family generated) mixed in with the candy canes and cheer. 


Dennis’ Tidbits


November 27, 2018

Atmospheric Rivers in the sky 

Dennis 5We’re in the last few days of the 2018 Eastern Pacific Hurricane Season, yet two more systems are trying to pull their act together way down there around Latitude 14 degrees North. One system is located about 250 miles off the coast of Central America, while about 300 miles to its west another system is trying to develop. Both systems have about a 40 percent chance of further development as of noon on Sunday. 

If they indeed do become tropical storms, they would be assigned the names Yolanda and then Zeke, thus running the entire alphabet for only the second time since names were first assigned to tropical systems back in 1950 by the National Hurricane Center. The hurricane season officially ends on November 30th in both the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic Basin. 2018 was a rough season for the Gulf Coast and parts of the East Coast.

Now it’s time to turn our attention to the weather phenomenon known as an atmospheric river, also known by the more familiar term “The Pineapple Express.” Atmospheric rivers are fairly new terms in the meteorological vocabulary, having been introduced to that vocabulary some 20-25 years or so ago.

These rivers in the sky will sometimes be longer than the biggest rivers on Earth including the Nile, Amazon or the Mississippi. Some rivers have been as long as 6,000 miles, and they can drop a foot of rain in just two days! Their width is usually no more than three or four hundred miles at the most but can be as narrow as two hundred miles on occasions. 

They’re tropical to subtropical by nature, and their starting point in their long journey can sometimes be in the Southern Hemisphere, but they already set their sights somewhere on the Pacific West Coast, say somewhere between Southern Alaska and the Mexifornia Border or any place in between. 

Since 1950, Laguna has been the target four times, in December 1955, January 1969, October 2004, and December 2010. Our most recent one dropped 11.65 inches during the week leading up to Christmas, setting a new record for the wettest December. 

The January 1969 event went on steroids, unloading 18.81 inches here in just eleven days! It became the wettest January on record and the wettest month of all time. In December of 1955, that same river, after attacking Southern California, refueled and shifted its operations to Central and Northern California and imposed its will in a similar manner on San Francisco, Sacramento, and Eureka. It resulted in Biblical rain totals, shattering all-time records for any month, just like us.

The Pacific Northwest got absolutely hammered by a mega river in December of 1996 and again in December of 2006. This river was a mere 200-225 miles wide when it made landfall on the area from Portland to about Seattle as the main target. Just up the road in Vancouver, B.C., nary a drop fell. Same deal with Salem, Oregon, only 45 miles south of the southern border of the river. 

As of Sunday the 25th, a river is getting ready to drench Oregon and the far reaches of Northern Cal with its usual truckloads of rain. But snow levels will go through the roof at nine to ten thousand feet, thanks to the much warmer air from the tropics. It will melt most of the snow that fell in abundance last week as low as 3,000 ft. from the much colder air from the North Pacific. Thank God that Paradise will be south of the heavy rain zone by a hundred miles or so.

Stay tuned, Aloha!

Still can’t beat that Laguna lighting

Photos by Scott Brashier

Still cant beat tower

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Photo shoot at Victoria Beach Pirate Tower

Still cant beat models

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Models and photographers found that magical Laguna lighting

Still cant beat wave

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Don’t forget to stop to take in the beauty of a Laguna Beach wave, too

Thanksgiving weekend in Laguna Beach

Photos by Scott Brashier 

Thanksgiving weekend headstand

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Family fun at the beach included much-needed headstands after all the turkey

Thanksgiving weekend wave

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Pausing from the busy holiday weekend to catch some awesome surf

Thanksgiving weekend family

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Families gathered at the shore for a pleasant day in Laguna

Former City Council candidate Allison Matthews to spearhead new Citizens’ Committee

Former City Council candidate Allison Mathews announced that she will be spearheading a new group called the “Citizens’ Committee,” which will meet regularly at the Susi Q Community Center to discuss issues of importance to locals.

The group, which is not a City-sponsored committee, will hold its first meeting on Monday, Dec 3 from 6:30 - 8 p.m. and will address the following three topics, according to Mathews:

1. Safety/evacuations

2. Development

3. Panhandling/homelessness

“If I were elected, I promised to form a Citizens Committee,” said Mathews. “I’m just keeping my promise. There is power in numbers.”

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

Merchants, mirth & merriment: Small Businsess Saturday

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Merchants mirth little tree

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Mini tree on a Mini Cooper

Merchants mirth gaggle

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A gaggle of gift seekers

Merchants mirth sunny days

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Streets filled with determined shoppers on a sunny day

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