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Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach announces Spring Social Skills Program

Do you want your child to have an edge socially going into the next school year? How about wanting to help your child or teen make and keep friends? Do you have a child who is shy or doesn’t quite understand social cues?

Led by Certified PEERS Facilitator and Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach Director of Social Emotional Development Jennifer MacDonell, M.A. Psychology, the Club presents its Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) to help children navigate and improve social skills and awareness.

The 8-week Peers Program begins on Wednesdays, April 10 and runs through May 8 at the Laguna Canyon Branch. The program is designed for children in second through six grades and their parent/caregiver and is $100. Scholarships are available. 

PEERS is an 8-week evidence-based, social skills intervention for motivated pre-middle and middle school youth who are interested in learning ways to help them make and keep friends. During each group session youth are taught important social skills and are given the opportunity to practice these skills in session during socialization activities (e.g. playing sports, board games, etc.).

Boys and Girls kids

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Kids enjoying a day in the life at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach

An additional benefit is that children/teens enrolled obtain a short-term membership to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach Canyon Branch during the 8-week duration of the program and can attend any time during club operating hours.

To register: 

--First, call the Boys & Girls Club at (949) 715-7786 or email Jennifer MacDonell at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to express your interest in PEERS for your child.

--Partake in a 15-minute intake call with Jennifer MacDonell to determine if our program is appropriate for you and your child/teen. 

--Receive a phone call within 48 hours and email verifying acceptance into program.

--Obtain paperwork for program enrollment sent out via email or pick up at 1085 Laguna Canyon Rd. Note: all paperwork must be completed prior to the start of the program. 

--Enrollment and payment (in full) deadline: two days prior to start of program on April 8 at 6 p.m.

Group times are from: 

--3 - 3:50 p.m. 2nd & 3rd grade

--4 - 4:50 p.m. 4th, 5th & 6th grade

--5 - 5:45 p.m. Parent/Guardian Group for all parents (one parent/guardian per child)

--5:45 - 6 p.m. Reunification with all parents and children (group game)

Note: participants may be placed in a group based on developmental abilities and group dynamics regardless of grade in school. Group instruction is provided in English. 

Guidelines are as following: 

--Limited to one child/teen and one parent/guardian per group for the 8 weeks. Note: if an additional parent would like to sit in a group, they can fill in for the parent enrolled for one or two sessions maximum. 

--Only one parent/guardian is allowed to attend per session, as it is not a couples/co-parenting group and the group leader is focused on the material for social skills to support the youth.

--Regular attendance is required! A parent/guardian is required to attend all sessions. If parent/youth misses more than one session, both are un-enrolled for the rest of the program series and there will be a no refund due to dismissal from the program.

--Classes are on Wednesdays between 3 - 6 p.m. depending on grade noted above.

Pre and post-tests will be given to youth and parents for outcome measures to ensure the quality of the program. Also, group placement is determined at intake appointment and based on group dynamics.

Peer Program goals include:

--How to make and keep friends!

--Entering conversations: How to start, enter, and exit conversations between peers. 

--Trading information: How to use appropriate conversational skills.

--How to handle rejection, teasing, rumors/gossip, and cyber conversations. 

The following book is highly recommended to purchase, but not required for participation: The Science of Making Friends: Helping Socially Challenged Teens and Young Adults (w/DVD) by Elizabeth Laugeson.

Enrollment is limited. For more information, contact Jennifer MacDonell at (949) 715-7786 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as soon as possible.

Boys & Girls Club Laguna Canyon Branch is located at 1085 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Beauty as far as the eye can see

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Beauty as closeup

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Heaven in every cove

Beauty as Aliso Creek

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Aliso Creek allure

Hang Ten

Hang ten shelf

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Photo by Leonard Porto III

Nestor rides the shelf board

Laguna Beach – A Look Back

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Historical Society

The White House – on the corner of Coast Highway and Park Ave – opened in 1918. Now 101 years old, the restaurant has survived many owners and the ups and downs of the restaurant scene in Laguna Beach. For many years it was one of the few watering holes for travelers between LA and San Diego.

It was founded by Claude Bronner, who sold the business to the Bird family in 1936. Hence the clever slogan on the sign, “Let the Birds Feed You.” A vintage matchbook tells us their phone number that year was 3182 – no area code needed!

In the 1950s and ‘60s it served as a jazz club, and has more recently hosted Heather Locklear, Kobe Bryant, OJ Simpson, and Reggie Jackson as regulars – locals report seeing Mick Jagger and Michael Jordan partying here as well. 

Laguna Beach A Look back 3 15 19

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Courtesy of Orange County Historical Society

In this photo from 1936, one can see the restaurant extended to the end of the block, now replaced by souvenir shops. A large LAGUNA BEACH sign announces arrival to our city hanging over Coast Highway.  A half moon canopy extends from the entrance to the curb to welcome guests as was the custom of the day. An upper patio provided ocean views, although still standing, not functional today. And parking was free – and diagonal. 

Laguna Beach Historical Society is located at 278 Ocean Ave. They are open Friday - Sunday from 1 - 4 p.m. For more information, call (949) 497-6834 or visit

Guest Column

The art of using Ayurvedic spices

By Vidya Reddy

Hello! Welcome to the Cooking Corner. Today, let’s talk about something that makes me naturally happy: cooking. Each time I get ready to cook a meal, I become so excited at the thought of using my cabinet full of Ayurvedic spices. It brings me so much joy seeing all the opportunities inside those little jars. The golden color of turmeric powder, the sweetness of fennel seed, everything is just waiting to come alive and nurture my health from the inside out.

Knowing how to use spices brings balance to a meal and supports digestion, which in turn will make it easy to feel healthy in your body and mind. You might say spices are the secret to turning food into medicine. But spices offer so much more than digestive support. They make food taste delicious and when food tastes both great and digests well, we feel satisfied to the core of our being. And those nasty cravings for unhealthy foods will just fade away!

Truly, spices give us the opportunity to engage all of our senses and not just our taste. See the vibrancy of their color inside them. Don’t think you’re just cooking another meal, fully experience the journey and participate. Touch the spices as you add them to your dish. I often use my clean hands to measure, it helps me be more intuitive about cooking, smell, and hear them simmering in the ghee. The act of cooking with spices is a practice in using your senses wisely and you’ll build a foundation that will nurture your health in a deep and lasting way.

The art cooking

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Using Ayurvedic spices for balance, taste, and harmony

Every meal offers an opportunity to build a better relationship with your body and mind. Before you open your spice cabinet, tune in to what your body needs that day. Are you feeling the cold qualities of vata or kapha? Then it’s time to bring out warming spices like cumin, black pepper, and mustard seeds. Or when the weather is hot, or if you feel any signs of pitta imbalance (internal heat, impatience, anger), reach for spices that are more neutral or cooling like coriander, cardamom, and fennel.

The next important matter is using the spices you choose in a balanced way. This is one of the key lessons I teach to students who attend my Ayurvedic cooking classes. Maintaining balance is the goal of a skilled Ayurvedic chef, which is done by using enough spice so that the food is lifted by the taste, but not so much so that one taste stands out in the finished product.

Learning to use spice combinations is a science and an art. The best way to learn is by having a playful attitude and being open to trying new things.

Open the jars of spices and smell them. What scents work in harmony with one another? Take note of their qualities, will they support you moving to a state of balance?

As you eat, keep a journal of what you used, how it tasted, and how you felt afterwards. As you explore the world of spices, be sure to not let your imbalance drive your choices. And remember that when any of the doshas is far out of balance, you may experience cravings for foods that will drive further imbalance. 

The art close up

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Dr. Vidya Reddy

Practice satya – honesty – in your choices and use the Ayurvedic principle of “like increases like, the opposite brings balance” to choose spice combinations that will guide your healing journey.   

I’ve included a simple dal recipe that uses three spices that taste lovely together. All of these spices have the pungent taste and provide a warming quality.

When you begin cooking, warm the spices in ghee or oil for a minute or two before adding other ingredients. You’ll know they are ready when the aroma comes up to meet you. This small step awakens the prana and makes the flavor come alive.


--1/3 cup split mung dal, rinsed and drained 

--1 1/2 tablespoon ghee 

--1/4 teaspoon salt 

--Pinch of flaked kombu 

--1/4 teaspoon cumin seed 

--1/4 teaspoon fenugreek powder 

--8–10 strands fresh rosemary (use about 15–18 strands if dried) 

--1 cup water if using pressure cooker or 1 1/2 cups water if using stovetop

Warm the ghee and add the salt, kombu, and spices. Simmer until the aroma comes up to meet you. Add the split mung, stir, and simmer for two to three minutes. Add the water and stir. Bring to a simmer, reduce heat to low, and cook with a tightly fitting lid for 25 to 30 minutes until the water is mostly absorbed and the beans are broken down to a soupy consistency. Stir and serve warm and most importantly enjoy.

In Peace, Love and Gratitude   

‘Til next time

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

Annual Kids Paint Out

Annual Kids awards

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Courtesy of LBUSD

The Annual Kids Paint Out is one of the elements of the Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational. Eight students from Laguna Beach Unified School District are invited to come outdoors for a plein air painting experience with a professional artist that mentors students in the creation of plein air painting from start to finish. All LBUSD 4th graders participate in the plein air project led by Laguna Plein Air Painters Association Director of Education and Signature Artist Member Jeff Sewell.

Laguna Beach Republicans announce March meeting featuring guest speaker Shawn Steele

On Thursday, March 28, the Laguna Beach Republicans will host the group’s monthly meeting at Mozambique. This month’s meeting will feature Shawn Steele, GOP Committeeman for California. He will be speaking about the 2018 election results.

Emil Monda, President of the LBGOP, invites all Republicans, Independents, and Libertarians to Mr. Steele’s presentation. “Shawn’s presentation is very informative as a post mortem of the 2018 election and provides ideas for the upcoming 2020 election cycle. I encourage those who want to help Laguna and Orange County elect Republicans in the future to attend and be enlightened,” says Monda.

Social hour beings at 5 p.m. and the meeting will begin at 6 and end promptly at 7:15 pm.

RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., as space is limited and this will be a popular event. 

Mozambique is located at 1740 South Coast Hwy.

LPAPA presents 15th annual “Best of Plein Air Exhibit” and sale this Saturday at Forest & Ocean Gallery

The Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, LPAPA, is proud to present the 15th annual “Best of Plein Air,” a unique exhibition dedicated to paintings created en plein air. The public is invited to join the celebration at the opening reception with the artists on Saturday, March 16, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Forest & Ocean Gallery, located at 480 Ocean Ave. Awards will be announced at 6 p.m.

LPAPA Michael Obermeyer

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Courtesy of LPAPA

LPAPA, Michael Obermeyer, Laguna Glare, 9 x 12 oil

LPAPA’s 15th annual “Best of Plein Air” exhibition is a special juried exhibition of original works of art created by Signature and Artist Members of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association.

LPAPA Debra Huse

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Courtesy of LPAPA

Debra Huse, Hidden Dune, 8 x 10 oil

There were 285 entries for this prestigious show with jurors Daniel Marshall, Signature LPAPA, Rosemary Swimm, LPAPA Executive Director, and Ludo Leideritz, LPAPA Board Member and owner of Forest & Ocean Gallery, choosing 60 original framed paintings created by LPAPA Signature and Artist Members for the show’s coveted spots.

LPAPA Erich Neubert

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Courtesy of LPAPA

Erich Neubert, Super Late Afternoon, 12 x 16 oil

“Come join LPAPA on March 16 and let us indulge your plein air passion, celebrate the legacy and become part of the tradition,” Swimm said. “This is a free event and all art lovers welcome.” 

For show details, visit An expanded online gallery show is available through The exhibit runs through March 25.

Local Methodists decry church bans on LGBT participation


Principles dear to the heart of local Methodists were trampled on by a majority of the United Methodist Church delegates to the church’s general conference on February 25 in St. Louis.

The delegates voted to uphold the bans on same-sex marriages and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender clergy and members of the church. The vote reinforced a policy established in 1972, but loosely enforced, that homosexuality is incompatible with Christian teaching, according to a report by Reuters news service.

“These policies are in error,” lamented Ann Quilter, a member of Laguna Beach United Methodist Church. “God loves us all. We regret that has been done and we apologize for the damage this has done to the LGBTQ community.”

The aim of the bans was to unify all Methodist churches’ policies on LGBT clergy and marriage, after decades of inconsistency. Some churches denounced homosexuality as a sin and others embraced gay and lesbian clergy and congregation members, according to Reuters.

An alternative, which would have allowed individual congregations to decide for themselves whether gay and lesbian clergy were valued and could perform same-sex marriages, was voted down.

“A conservative group has hijacked the global Methodist Church,” said Quilter. “Basically, the global conference acceded to delegates from Africa and Asia and they tend to be more conservative. We in Laguna believe in a philosophy of radical inclusiveness.”

Reuters also reported that the new policy, known as the Traditional Plan, includes penalties for breaking the rules and suggested that those who do find another church.

“We know who we are; we are going to remain who we are,” said Laguna Beach Pastor Lynn Francis. “We are a reconciling congregation and a member of an organization called Reconciling Ministries.

“We see the [delegates’] decision as unjust and absolutely not what God wants. Jesus gave us two great commandments: Love God and love one another. It is not loving to exclude people or treat them as second class citizens.”

The pastor said if the delegates’ decision is upheld, the Laguna church would work with other congregations to the leave the United Methodist Church.

“We are walking on holy ground,” said Quilter.

The Laguna Methodist Church is located on Wesley Drive – named for John Wesley.

Wesley was a leader in the Methodist movement in the 1700s in England, founded originally to reform the Church of England that eventually led to a complete split, after his death in 1791. However, before he died, Wesley had transplanted his church to America to fill the sparsity of ministers due to the Revolutionary War.

The church thrived in America. With an estimated seven million American Methodists, the church has been recognized as second in members only to the Southern Baptist Convention, which also opposes same-sex marriage.

Protestant denominations that allow gay marriage and clergy include the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.

Local classical guitarist and composer Eric Henderson performs at NCC on March 30

Laguna Beach resident Eric Henderson, classical guitarist and composer, appears in Bridge Hall at the Neighborhood Congregational Church (NCC) on Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. His program will feature his signature mix of classical repertoire for guitar, classic rock covers, and original compositions. 

This is a familiar venue for Henderson. He has been performing at NCC since 1971. His wife Virginia Mann says, “His first public concert was there, and he has probably done at least ten in total. Laguna has watched him grow into the artist he is.” 

Trained by the master of the classical guitar Andres Segovia, Henderson is a guitar virtuoso and composer who covers a vast repertoire with technical mastery and passionate delivery. He has performed internationally.

In 1971 at the age of 13, he was one of the only three people to receive the honor of being invited to study privately with Segovia. 

Henderson says of the upcoming concert, “I want to transport people back in time to when they first heard something that has stayed in their hearts for their whole life. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but, along with my standard repertoire, I’ll be performing some new selections, namely arrangements of songs that inspired me to pick up the guitar and start playing in the first place. “

Henderson also studied guitar with Christopher Parkening, Angel Romero, Ernesto Bitetti, Emilio Pujol and Antonia Morales. He studied Baroque interpretation with Ton Koopman and Henk Dekker, and guitar music theory and composition with Aureo Herrero. 

Local classical close up

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Submitted photo

Eric Henderson performs at NCC on Saturday, March 30

While in Spain, he also had the privilege of studying with the composer Federico Moreno Torroba, perfecting the interpretation of Torroba’s “Sonatina in A” and “Madronos”.

After eleven European and nine U.S. tours over the next 10 years, Henderson returned to his hometown of Laguna Beach where he began composing his own pieces and becoming one of the world’s most acclaimed educators of the classical guitar.

Over the last 20 years, he has performed 20 tours across Europe and the United States. He has played in the famous Concert Gebouw in Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall in London, and Ateneo in Madrid, as well as many other halls in the United States, Germany, Spain, France, the Soviet Union, Australia, and Japan.

His composition “Faces” was featured in the movie Surfers and later became the title track for the album produced by JVC Music. Henderson has released nine albums, including Castilian Nights, Faces, Cathedral Heights, All My Soul, Encore, Guitarra, In the Spanish Tradition and Notes

Henderson has always been an innovator. While he has deep respect for tradition, he understands that the best way to show that respect is to progress the art form, sometimes into unconventional areas. He has relentlessly experimented with new directions for his instrument to express new colors. His 2015 album Turned Up is the first of its kind, electric guitar performances of classical and original works. In concert he often plays his arrangements of rock classics, such as “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones or “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix. 

Henderson sees no difference between genres, but filters all genres through his own consciousness and dedication to the artform. He says, “To serve the music with all my integrity and artistry is my sincerest aspiration.”

NCC is located at 340 St Ann’s Dr.

For ticket information, go to www.brownpapertickets/com/event/4077072.

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