Subscribe | Advertise

Fair Game



Tonight, the City Council votes to approve new City Manager, who is expected to be on hand for the meeting

Tonight should be a special City Council meeting. Not necessarily because there’s some big issue on the calendar that will change the lives of Lagunans, or is it Lagunians, moving forward; unless you consider the appointment of new City Manager Dave Kiff under that guise. I do! I believe Dave will bring a new leadership style to town, inside and outside of City Hall that most will love.

Tonight’s agenda begins at 4 p.m. with a Joint City Council/Design Review Board Meeting, followed by the Regular Council Meeting at 5 p.m.

Following a somewhat short Consent Calendar (financial detail approval; claims against the city; the acceptance of a donation to fund a temporary public art installation at City Hall; and an adoption of an ordinance to amend certain detail related to regular meetings, the installation of officials for leadership roles, meeting conduct, etc.), at the beginning of Regular Business is the Appointment of City Manager.

I’m told that Dave will “be in the house” as the terminology goes these days.

I’ve worked with and witnessed Dave in his prior role in Newport Beach and found him to be beloved by staff, available and sensitive to the community and their needs, and smart!

I believe the city will love him. And b-t-w, he’s technically not moving to Laguna Beach. Dave has been a long-time resident.

Personally, I believe that this city manager position in some ways completes Dave, and, it’s one he’s quietly coveted.

After Dave’s appointment, council will address an extension related to SB 9 issues, an audit review report from past years, a request to remove property located at 2055 Catalina St. from the Historical Register, potential bond sales for the Woods Cove utility assessment district and consideration to establish a local housing trust.

There’s more, then the council will look at possibly amending Design Review Board bylaws, before moving to two Public Hearings: the first deals with the property at 288 Chiquita St., and then the appeal of an approval relating to 1560 Sunset Ridge Drive.

And that my friends is why your councilmembers make the big bucks…NOT!

• • •

Get ready, this Saturday, April 13 is the A.P.O.T.Y., otherwise known as the Art Party of the Year. The 8th Annual for those of you counting. It will take place from 12-7 p.m. at the Laguna Beach Sanctuary, 2190 Hillview Drive.

The A.P.O.T.Y. honors local artists who make a living as “creators in a world-renown art colony.” This year will celebrate these 11 artists: Victoria Foley, textiles; Leslie Edler, jewelry; Michael Okko, leather; Sherry Salito-Forsen, glass; Amanda Burke, “clothier to the stars”; Karen Petty, painter; Maryam Khojini Rouhi, charcuterie boards; David Fleischmann, character artist; Beth Bell Kukuk, jewelry; Lilia Venier, ceramics and Poul Pedersen, music man.

This event is located just above the Village, up Park Avenue across from Thurston Middle School, donning magnificent ocean views, libations, food and live music by Poul Pedersen (Missiles of October).

Everyone is welcome to this free event to preview new works for 2024 featuring jewelry, ceramics, paintings, kiln-formed glass, sculpture, live music and libations.

• • •

Laguna Beach Rugby, the local Under 18 Boys, continue to make news. Twenty-four teams from across the U.S., Canada and including teams from England, Jamaica, Trinidad Tobago and the Cayman Islands, joined Laguna Beach in Tampa, Fla. to compete in their division.

The locals came in an impressive third.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Rugby

Team gathers after their impressive third-place finish in Tampa at the Tropical 7s rugby tournament

In the opening day Pool Play, Laguna Beach beat Upright Rouges, a Canadian squad, 24-21, lost to Sth Panther Academy from St. Louis, 19-12, before beating the Badger Select (Wisconsin), 52-0, to move on to the quarterfinals.

There, Laguna Beach beat the Detroit Rugby Football Club, 17-7, before losing to TOA Rugby (Idaho), 19-14, in the semifinals. Then, in the third/fourth place playoff, Laguna Beach came back to crush Sth Panther Academy (St. Louis), 45-7.

TOA Rugby from Idaho, who edged Laguna Beach in the semis, went on to win the whole thing.

Open story in new window…

State of the City Mayor’s Luncheon on April 2

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Click on photo for a larger image

(L-R) Chris Tebbutt of Chris Tebbutt Real Estate, Mayor Sue Kempf and Eric Jessen of the LB Historical Society at the site of the luncheon, Montage of Laguna Beach

Click on photo for a larger image

(L-R) Former Mayor Bob Whalen and Ed Steinfeld, The Voice of Laguna

Click on photo for a larger image

(L-R) Deputy Fire Chief Crissy Teichmann, Fire Chief Niko King and Police Chief Jeff Calvert

Click on photo for a larger image

(L-R) CEO and President of Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Erin Slattery with Bishop Spencer Samuelian of the Church of Latter-day Saints

Click on photo for a larger image

(L-R) Representing the Laguna Beach Community Clinic (L-R): Susan Neely; Bob Neely; Dr. Jorge Rubal, CEO; John Link and Becky Ryan

Click on photo for a larger image

Flag bearer

Click on photo for a larger image

(L-R) Mayor Pro Tem Alex Rounaghi; Shaena Stabler, president and CEO of Stu News Laguna and Jeff Meberg, PMMC chairman of the board

Click on photo for a larger image

Panel answered questions from the audience

Click on photo for a larger image

Chairman of the LBCC Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold fielded questions from attendees

Click on photo for a larger image

Visit Laguna Beach (L-R): Alex Stall, Emma York, President & CEO Rachel O’Neill-Cusey with Chief Operating Officer of The Ranch Kurt Bjorkman

Click on photo for a larger image

(L-R) Artist Joan Gladstone, Austin Barrow from Crystal Cove Conservancy and Executive Vice President and Chief Program Officer at Crystal Cove Conservancy Hallie Jones

Click on photo for a larger image

Marcus Skenderian Real Estate Group (L-R): Luke Sydnor, Tammy Skenderian, Marcus Skenderian and Jimmie Russell

Click on photo for a larger image

Joe Hanauer

Click on photo for a larger image

(L-R) Chris Tebbutt, Superintendent LBUSD Dr. Jason Viloria and Jeff Dixon, LBUSD

Click on photo for a larger image

Imer Bauta, CEO of Empress Builders

Click on photo for a larger image

Steven Brittan, President and CEO of LCAD (right) chats with Councilmember Bob Whalen

Click on photo for a larger image

City of Laguna Beach Communications Manager Cassie Walder with her husband Alex Lintner, CEO Experian Software Solutions

Click on photo for a larger image

(L-R) Mayor Pro Tem Alex Rounaghi Lana Johnson, editor of Stu News; Jeff Meberg and Dr. Alissa Deming of PMMC

For more photos by Mary Hurlbut, go to the slideshow below:

Open story in new window…

Eclipse draws crowds around town

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Some took it in lying down on Main Beach

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Theresa Keegan

Members of Third Street Writers on a break from their traditional Monday workshop at Susi Q center to venture outside; afterwards they wrote about the experience. The shared work included stories about death, family, friendship, searching and spirituality. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Theresa Keegan

(L-R) Patty Truman and Jackie Bayless, both members of Third Street Writers, gaze upward at the solar eclipse

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

At 11:12 a.m., the crescent shapes of the partial eclipse could be seen through the colanders

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

And, it captured the interest of all ages

Open story in new window…

Dennis’ Local Almanac


A solar eclipse and a chilly spring

For those of you who caught the solar eclipse yesterday (April 8), congrats! A total solar eclipse won’t be visible again from the contiguous United States until August 23, 2044 (according to NASA), but totality will only occur over North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana, plus northern Canada. However, the next total solar eclipse with a coast-to-coast path spanning the lower 48 states is predicted to take place on August 12, 2045.

Here we are in the second week of April and we’re still waiting for that first 80-degree day, or for that matter, the first elusive 70-degree day in 2024. On Friday, our high temp in Laguna was a burly 57 degrees which is 13 degrees below normal for the date. Spring of 2024 is barely three weeks old and at this point it’s the coldest start to spring on record.

Here on Sunday (April 7), it was clear and sunny with a forecast high of only 61 with a low of 44 and the water temp was a shivering 55 with the waves being measured in inches. I call them ankle snappers. There’s no rain forecast for most of the work week, as our rainy season normally begins to wind down at this point with an April average of around 1.1 inches. This past fall and winter period had the distinction of having had the fewest Santana wind events of any season with only three events: two moderate events last November and one brief strong one in January, and that was it.

The prime reason for such a scarcity of those warm, dry, gusty northeast winds was the utter dominance of a larger and stronger persistent trough of very low pressure over the Southwest and out into the Pacific. It has opened the door for incoming strong storms from all directions to have their way with California’s landscape throughout the region, resulting in way above normal rain and snow production. After last season’s drencher, we thought the 2022-23 season would be a hard act to follow, but the return of a strong El Niño saw to it that for the second consecutive year we would be blessed with copious amounts of rain and snow. So, we will be assured of full water supplies when things get dry this upcoming summer.

Here in April, we are beginning the transition from El Niño back to La Niña and that really affects what will happen this upcoming summer and fall as far as tropical cyclone activity is concerned. In the Eastern Pacific, tropical cyclone season officially begins on May 15, just five weeks away and the Atlantic and Caribbean season commences on June 1.

In the Pacific with a La Niña present, upper-level shear winds from the west and southwest increase significantly – which result in a lower number of tropical storms and hurricanes forming in the tropical waters off Southern Mexico. The stronger winds at the surface cause some upwelling that brings cooler waters from the depths so surface temps get cooled as much as six degrees, putting those temps a degree or more below the 80-degree threshold needed for storm development. Plus, the upper-level shear winds are stronger, resulting in the tops of thunderstorms being blown away. That condition prevents full maturation of these thunderstorm clusters so the storms that do form are weaker, thus preventing those cyclones from reaching major hurricane status (Category 3 or higher with winds more than 110 mph.

Here is the list of names assigned for the 2024 – they are as follows: Aletta, Bud, Carlotta, Daniel, Emilia, Fabio, Gilma, Hector, Ileana, John, Kristy, Lane, Miriam, Norman, Olivia, Paul, Rosa, Sergio, Tara, Vicente, Willa, Xina, York, and finally, Zeke. We’ve run out the entire alphabet once and that was in 1992 when there was a healthy El Niño going on. We’ll cover the Atlantic Basin in next week’s edition of Stu News Laguna.

Until then, ALOHA!

Open story in new window…

Winners announced for the 2024 Art That’s Small awards

The Cultural Arts Department of Laguna Beach has announced the winners for the Art That’s Small awards for 2024.

Youth Art Advisory AwardPirate Tower by Susana Cruciana

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Susana Cruciana Instagram

“Pirate Tower” by Susana Cruciana

City Hall Choice AwardBoca Prins by David Kizziar

Honorable Mentions

~Stevens Square by Andrew Cortez

~Tide Pools at Golden Hour by Jonathan McHugh

~Dimentia #1 by Melody Nuñez

1st placeBlue Laguna by Sarah Ciavarella

2nd placeLittle One by Mika Denny

3rd placeMain Beach Morning by Brian Jones

Art That’s Small at City Hall will be on display until April 18.

Open story in new window…

Bobbie Jordan of the Laguna Board of REALTORS® receives the Woman of Distinction award

On April 4, at the District Office in Huntington Beach, Executive Vice President Bobbie Jordan of the Laguna Board of REALTORS® was honored to have received a prestigious award along with other accomplished women of Orange County.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of the Office of Senator Nguyen

Senator Nguyen (right) presents award to Bobbie Jordan

Jordan was nominated to receive the Woman of Distinction award of the 36th Senate District by Senator Janet Nguyen. This certificate is given to leaders for the dedication and contribution to the community and their impact in the lives of others. During the reception, Senator Nguyen presented the certificate to each of the women thanking them for their achievements.

Open story in new window…

Join Laguna Beach Live! for Bluegrass & BBQ 2024 on June 9

Join Laguna Beach Live! on Sunday, June 9 from 4-7 p.m. for fun and wholesome musical entertainment at their annual Bluegrass & BBQ. Enjoy an afternoon of brilliant bluegrass music from musically gifted siblings the Wimberly Bluegrass Band, along with a delicious, authentic Texas BBQ.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Live!

The Wimberly Bluegrass Band will perform on June 9 at LCAD

The event takes place on the grounds of Laguna College of Art + Design located at 2222 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. BBQ will be held from 4-6 p.m., with the concert performance between 5-7 p.m. Families are welcome, and there is free entry for kids 12 and under.

Named one of Los Angeles’ top five bluegrass bands by CBS-LA, Wimberley Bluegrass Band brings their sensational high energy to stages across the country, carefully weaving the perfect mixture of original music, traditional bluegrass fare, and oft remembered tunes thoughtfully re-crafted in the bluegrass genre. Walking the road between tradition and innovation, the Wimberley Bluegrass Band holds high the torch of the tradition of good old-fashioned bluegrass music.

Richard Jones Pit BBQ will be catering. Jones has been serving some of the best Texas BBQ in California for more than 32 years.

Salty Bear Brewing Company will also be onsite offering beers along with Bianchi Winery who will offer a selection of wines.

Tickets: Concert only, $25 in advance, $30 at the door, Kids 12 and under free; Concert & BBQ, $52 in advance $57, at the door; VIP $110 (incl. concert, reserved table seating and BBQ served at your table).

For tickets and more information, go to, or call 949.715.9713.

Open story in new window…

BGCLB announces upcoming summer camp programs beginning on June 17

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach has announced their upcoming summer camp programs, tailored to provide safe, fun and enriching experiences for children from June 17 through August 16 in Laguna Beach.

With a mission to empower and inspire youth, the summer camps at Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach offer a diverse range of activities aimed at fostering personal growth, social development and a love for learning.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of BGCLB

Soaking up sunshine smiles at BGCLB

There are two convenient locations in Laguna Beach:

Canyon Enrichment Center

1085 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach

For Grades K-5th and 6th-8th

Bluebird Enrichment Center

1470 Temple Terrace, Laguna Beach

For Grades K-5th

Participants will engage in:

–Exciting field trips that expand their horizons and ignite curiosity.

–Basketball showdowns promoting teamwork, sportsmanship and healthy competition.

–Unforgettable adventures where friendships are forged and memories are made.

Additionally, specialty camps at Canyon Branch, such as Basketball Camp, Art Camp, Destination Innovation Science Camp, Action-Packed Adventure Camp (APAC) and Skate Camp offer unique opportunities for children to explore their interests and talents.

Secure a spot now. Visit, or call 949.494.2535 to reserve a place.

For more information about Specialty Camps, visit

For more information about or Summer Camps, visit

This summer, let’s empower our children to thrive and build great futures.

Open story in new window…

MoonGoat Coffee Roasters celebrates with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on March 28

On Thursday, March 28 the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce celebrated MoonGoat Coffee Roasters with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of LBCC

Preparing to cut the ribbon – (L-R): Matt Brown, Chamber ambassador; Mark Evans, founder; David Longridge, founder; David Yardley, founder; Sam Cederquist, manager and Reinhard Neubert, Chamber board member

MoonGoat was formed in 2018 to create a space in the community that caters to the true Specialty Coffee drinkers. Their quest is to bring the best coffees and teas in the world to their customers. MoonGoat offers the highest quality ceremonial grade Japanese matcha acquired directly from the growers in Kyoto, Nishio and Nagoya, Japan.

In 2022, MoonGoat competed in the North American Roasting Championship (The Golden Bean) 1,000 coffees, 300 rosters and they scored two silver, and four bronze medals! MoonGoat is the preferred vendor for LiveNation Concerts and caters backstage for the artists and crew at SoCal’s largest entertainment venues, including the Irvine amphitheater and Hollywood Bowl.

Click on photo for a larger image

Mission accomplished!

“MoonGoat Coffee Roasters is so excited to have our first satellite drive thru here in Laguna Beach,” said founder David Longridge. “Being the only drive thru in Laguna Beach, we have our order-ahead service and are focused on quality, speed and convenience. Our average order to pick-up wait time is under two minutes! 2024 is an exciting time for MoonGoat. There is so much activity and opportunity on the horizon, we are so grateful to be of service to the community and truly appreciate all of our customers, employees and are looking forward to getting more involved in the Laguna Beach community.”

“The drive thru coffee cottage located in North Laguna is back in business,” said Erin Slattery CEO of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce. “MoonGoat Coffee Roasters offers Drive-thru, Mobile Order and Walk-up 6 a.m.-6 p.m. every day. Their menu looks amazing and includes a gluten free and vegan banana bread.”

They do catering, retail specialty coffee, wholesale, have event spaces and participate in many SoCal charity events.

MoonGoat Coffee Roasters is located at 980 N. Pacific Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.

Open story in new window…

A glimpse at Crystal Cove in April

Crystal Cove State Park is offering a variety of events in April. During the spring, the beaches and park are less crowded, providing the perfect opportunity to hike, explore and discover the flora and fauna, and take in picturesque ocean vistas.

Here is a glimpse at a few of the offerings.

Friday, April 12: Perimeter of the Park from 7:15-11:30 a.m.

Ready for a challenging hike to tour the Crystal Cove backcountry? Join a park docent as you go from the “gills to the hills” on this strenuous but very scenic loop hike. The distance is around nine miles; elevation/gain loss, around 1,500 ft. The hike is done at a moderate pace with one or two short breaks. Be sure to bring plenty of water and a snack. Arrive by 7:15 as the hike will start promptly at 7:30 a.m. Meet at the Ranger Station (PCH inland at the stoplight School-State Park, follow the signs towards the Ranger Station). $15 day use fee.

Saturday, April 13: Spring Bird Walk from 8-10 a.m.

The birds are twitterpated and spring is an invigorating time to see “birds in love!” Crystal Cove State Park is a great spot to identify new species as well as seeing and hearing resident avian friends like California Gnatcatchers, Greater Roadrunners and Osprey. Come join a park naturalist for an easy Spring Bird Walk along Moro Canyon. Meet at the Berns Amphitheatre (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park, follow signs towards the campground). $15 day use fee.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of Crystal Cove State Park

Stewards will aid in activities such as weeding, seeding and planting

Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 20: Stewardship Days from 8-11:30 a.m.

Come help Crystal Cove Conservancy and work alongside California State Parks on habitat restoration projects during Stewardship Days. Participants will aid in activities such as weeding, seeding, and planting. Be prepared to walk about 30 minutes to the project site (3 miles round trip) on mostly flat, but uneven canyon trails with slight elevation gain. This event is recommended for ages 8 and up. All participants under 16 must be accompanied by an adult. Contact Jennifer Mendez at for questions and to register.

Friday, April 19: Walk on the Wildside from 10-11 a.m.

At Crystal Cove, you walk upon some of the rarest land in Southern California – coastal sage scrub. Come join a park docent for this Walk on the Wildside and enjoy a one-hour springtime slow-paced stroll through this wild place. Enjoy spring blooms and learn about this native habitat as you walk along a boardwalk to the beautiful Pacific Ocean. Meet at Pelican Point parking lot #2, at the top of the boardwalk near the parking lot (PCH coastward at Newport Coast, right at kiosk to first lot). $15 day use fee.

Click on photo for a larger image

Volunteers are needed to help clean the beach, bluff trail and parking lots

Saturday, April 20: Earth Day Beach Cleanup from 8-11 a.m.

Come spend a few hours giving back to Mother Nature at their Earth Day beach cleanup. Volunteers are needed to help clean the beach, bluff trail and parking lots. They encourage you to bring your own supplies including buckets and recyclable bags to help reduce plastic bag usage (but they will have plenty on hand if needed). Meet at Reef Point Lot (PCH coastward at the stoplight Reef Point, around the kiosk, then left to the first restroom building, which is on the right). Fee is waived for cleanup. If you are under 18, see this link for a waiver and bring along with you.

Sunday, April 21: Full Moon Hike from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Explore the Park After Dark, on a guided interpretive two-hour, four-mile Full Moon Hike at Crystal Cove State Park. A park naturalist will lead hikers on this moderate to difficult loop trail with uneven terrain and a steep uphill climb, elevation gain of 600 ft. This hike is suitable for ages 10 and up. Hikers must wear sturdy shoes, bring water, a snack and dress in layers. Please bring a red flashlight, but if you don’t have one, they will have plenty to share. Meet at the Ranger Station (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park, follow the signs to the Ranger Station). $5 entrance fee. Please RSVP to Let’s Go Outside

Saturday, April 27: Beachfront Geology Tour from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.

Crystal Cove State Park is hosting a Beachfront Geology Tour along the coastal section of the park to explore several diverse and geologically outstanding sites which all display a story from a different geologic time. Meet at the Los Trancos lot at the trailer (PCH turn inland at stoplight “Los Trancos”). $15 day use fee.

Sunday, April 28: Sunset Treasure and Photo Op Walk from 6-8 p.m.

Join a docent for a slow-paced walk along the beach at low tide stopping to admire sea treasures, birds and interesting rocks on this Sunset Treasure and Photo Op Walk at Crystal Cove State Park. Let the sounds of the sea and sights soothe you while walking to an ideal spot to watch the sun sink behind Catalina Island. You’ll walk on flat, firm sand except for the steepish paved ramp from the parking lot to the beach. Meet at the restroom building at Reef Point (PCH coastward at the stoplight Reef Point, around the kiosk to the southernmost end of the lot). $15 day use fee.

For a complete calendar of events, go to

Open story in new window…

Washed up

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

As the tide rolls out, the seaweed rolls in

Open story in new window…

Laguna Beach Garden Club Monthly Meeting and Speaker Series

On Friday, April 12 at 10 a.m., the Laguna Beach Garden Club (LBGC) will feature Robin Jones at the Monthly Meeting and Speaker Series.

Jones, better known as Honey Girl, is a regenerative garden designer for her company, Honey Girl Grows, who consults, designs, builds, installs and tends Michelin Star chef gardens, native yard replacements, butterfly gardens, mini orchards and pollinator projects, including National Wildlife-certified habitat gardens.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of LBGC

Robin Jones aka Honey Girl

Jones is a multigenerational farmer; her family owns Whitefish Stage organic farm in Montana, and she is a UC Master Gardener/Beekeeper. Robin has had 14 years science-based experience mentored under the world’s most-published bee researcher and biologist, Randy Oliver. She has also been a national speaker and educator on pollinator conservation, regenerative gardening and organic pest management for wineries, at Cal Poly State University and other educational institutions.

Click on photo for a larger image

Monarch butterflies

Jones’ clients include homeowners, 5-Star resorts, and corporate headquarters like Red Bull, Snapchat and Camp Pendleton. Jones will speak about the native and naturalized monarch butterfly and host plants as well as how to attract more pollinators to your garden.

Join the LBGC on Friday, April 12 from 9:30-10 a.m. for social time and refreshments; meetings begin promptly at 10 a.m. Meetings are held at Laguna Presbyterian Church in Tankersley Hall located at 415 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach. Non-members are invited to attend for free on their first visit. For more information about the garden club, go to, or contact Lynn Jax at

Please do not use church parking lot, as street parking is available.

Open story in new window…

FOA joins Bloomberg Connects cultural app offering free multimedia digital guide of the Permanent Art Collection

The Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach (FOA) has launched a new digital guide on Bloomberg Connects, the free arts and cultural app created by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Joining hundreds of cultural institutions from around the world, the downloadable guide highlights the Festival’s Permanent Art Collection, with many artworks being available to the public for the first time. Users will find exclusive and never seen before multimedia content including videos, photos, audio, interactive tours, biographies and much more. Learn more and download the free Bloomberg Connects app today by clicking here.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of FOA

Get the app now, it’s free!

“We are excited to launch this digital guide in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies,” said Director of Exhibits Christine Georgantas. “Bloomberg Connects empowers the Festival of Arts to provide a new, dynamic way to experience art from our Permanent Art Collection and showcase our exhibitions and programs at a deeper level. We are grateful that Bloomberg Philanthropies has created such a powerful tool that not only increases opportunities for arts and cultural engagement at no cost to users, but also allows institutions like ours to share the art in our Permanent Art Collection with a wider, global audience.”

Housing more than 1,000 diverse and eclectic pieces, the Festival of Arts Permanent Art Collection is valued by the organization for its cultural and historical significance in relation to the art and culture of the Festival and local art scene in Laguna Beach. The Permanent Art Collection showcases how the Festival became a major influence in the art world of Southern California over the last nine decades, and many deem the collection a time capsule of art from the last century.

The Festival of Arts joins other notable visual art museums with digital guides on the Bloomberg Connects app, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art; The Museum of Modern Art in New York City; Walker Art Center; Brooklyn Museum; Cincinnati Art Museum; The Design Museum, London, UK; El Museo del Barrio; The Frick Collection; Hammer Museum and ICA Miami, among others.

To access the Festival’s new digital guide as well as hundreds of other museums from around the world, users can download the free Bloomberg Connects app to their smartphones by clicking here. Bloomberg Connects is also available for a free download from Google Play or the App Store.

Stay updated on all things Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters by visiting The Festival of Arts Fine Art Show will run from July 3 through August 30, 2024 (closed July 4) and the Pageant of the Masters takes place July 6 through August 30.

Open story in new window…

Experience the magic of giving with Pageant of the Masters

The Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach is once again providing the opportunity for patrons to donate Pageant of the Masters tickets to local nonprofits through its Masters at Giving program. Give the gift of living pictures and an unforgettable experience to this summer’s Pageant of the Masters show, À La Mode: The Art of Fashion, by donating today, by clicking here.

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of FOA

Extend the magic of the Pageant by donating through the Masters of Giving Program

“By donating through the Masters at Giving Program, you’re helping to spread the joy of art to people who may not have the chance to attend otherwise,” said Sharbie Higuchi, director of Marketing & PR for the Festival of Arts. “Through the generous contributions of our members and patrons, we’ve been able to extend this magical experience to organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Boys & Girls Clubs, American Legion Veterans, South County Outreach, OC Fire Authority, Mindful Warrior Project, local schools, senior centers and more.”

Since 2010, more than 16,000 Pageant of the Masters tickets have been donated to charitable groups in Southern California. Tickets are $45 each and 100% tax deductible. Each ticket is also a season pass to visit the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show all summer long. Through the Masters at Giving program, Pageant tickets have been given to first responders, senior centers, at-risk youth, veteran and military families, art students, outreach groups, mentoring programs and many more.

Higuchi emphasized, “Your support enables us to extend the reach of the Pageant of the Masters to even more deserving charitable and nonprofit organizations this summer, aligning with the Festival’s commitment to fostering art appreciation and community engagement.”

The Festival of Arts is a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, IRS Tax ID 95-1964772. Donate to the Masters at Giving program by contacting the box office at 800.487.3378, or online by clicking here.

À La Mode: The Art of Fashion will grace the stage nightly from July 6 through August 30. Early ticket purchase is recommended, the Pageant is highly sought after and draws art enthusiasts from around the world. A Pageant ticket also serves as a season pass to the 2024 Festival of Arts Fine Art Show, taking place from July 3 through August 30, 2024 (closed July 4).

To stay up to date on all things Pageant of the Masters and Fine Arts Show visit To support the Festival of Arts, visit

Open story in new window…

Taking the higher road

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Two roads diverged in a grassy field and I…oh, never mind

Open story in new window…

Fair Game



City Council has zeroed in on their man; Dave Kiff to be named city manager

Exciting news for the City of Laguna Beach! On Tuesday’s upcoming City Council agenda, under Regular Business, is an item recommending the adoption of a resolution calling for the “appointing (of) Dave Kiff as City Manager.”

For those of you who know Dave, I think you’ll admit how fortunate the city is to attract someone of that quality to the position. First off, he’s been a long-time resident of Laguna Beach prior to moving north a few years back. He also, in my estimation, has a prior history as a beloved, knowledgeable and respected city manager for Newport Beach, and should be a welcome addition to City Hall.

He is also able to draw on experiences that are unique to cities such as Laguna Beach, which include waterfront issues, lifeguard first responders, as a destination, with traffic concerns and more.

According to Kiff, “I’m looking forward to working on important projects and challenges with the staff, community and council. Laguna is a great town and we’ve missed being a part of it. Tom (Lochner) and I are both excited to be coming back.”

Mayor Sue Kempf added, “Dave Kiff is an experienced city manager and as a former resident he has the added advantage of knowing our city well. Dave is a great choice for Laguna and I look forward to working with him for years to come.”

Courtesy of Dave Kiff

New Laguna Beach City Manager Dave Kiff who will be fully confirmed at Tuesday’s council meeting

Many leaders from Newport Beach also appeared excited upon hearing of the news:

–Newport Beach Mayor Will O’Neill added, “Congratulations to Laguna Beach on recruiting an experienced city manager who will no doubt bring stability. We look forward to a continued and prosperous partnership between our cities.”

Homer Bludau, former city manager of Newport Beach, who employed Dave for a number of years as his #2: “Dave is one of the absolute finest city managers and public officials I have ever known. His integrity is absolute. His compassion is vast, and he believes in public service and doing the right thing for the right reasons with all his heart.

“This is a great city manager appointment for Laguna Beach, as he knows the city so very well.”

–Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce President & CEO and former Mayor of Newport Beach Steve Rosansky said, “The residents of Laguna Beach should be ecstatic that they have managed to hire one of the top city managers in the State of California.

“During the years I worked with him, Dave proved to be a compassionate and caring administrator who had the respect of the City Council, his co-workers and the people of Newport Beach. He’s always all-in on any task he takes on.”

–“Dave Kiff was one of the most beloved city managers in Newport Beach history. Laguna Beach residents are fortunate to have a city leader with his considerable experience, intellect and exceptional character,” said Nancy Scarbrough, successful business executive, long-time activist, instrumental member of SPON (Still Protecting Our Newport) and a 2024 City Council candidate.

But no one conveyed their excitement quite like Susan Skinner, an activist with residences in both Newport and Laguna, “WOO-HOO! Dave is an excellent city manager and Laguna is damn lucky to have gotten him. He listens well, seeks to understand and is one of the most ethical and honest men I know.

“The added plus is that his city updates are wonderfully amusing. I’m delighted that Laguna snagged him!”

Kiff is expected to start in early May, a date which should be shared following Tuesday’s City Council formalities.

• • •

That’s not all, there are other changes announced around City Hall – our own Sara Hall informed me that “during yesterday’s Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee meeting, Acting City Manager/Chief Financial Officer Gavin Curran said there will be a change to the interim position for community development director. Mark McAvoy will head back to his position as public works director and the city will be bringing in another temporary CDD, David Crabtree, who retired from the same role in Brea in 2019. Crabtree has filled in as interim CDD for a few other jurisdictions and is expected to start in the position in Laguna Beach on Monday.”

Curran added that they also hope to fill the full-time community development director position by summer.

• • •

Tuesday (April 2), a number of members in the community were treated to a wonderful State of the City Luncheon, organized by the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and the City of Laguna Beach, at Montage Laguna Beach. It’s a nice combination.

The gathering included many of the city’s who’s who, including elected officials, city staff, business owners, school leaders and top officials from our non-profit world.

Mayor Kempf offered a well-done video presentation outlining “highlights and challenges” of the past year.

Fortunately, for those of you who couldn’t or didn’t attend, the complete video is here.

View the video presentation that Mayor Sue Kempf made available to the community last Tuesday at Montage Laguna Beach

Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold, Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce chairman, then conducted a Q&A panel of community leaders, including Police Chief Jeff Calvert, Fire Chief Niko King, Marine Safety Captain Kai Bond, Public Works Director Mark McAvoy and Acting City Manager Gavin Curran.

Questions submitted prior to the luncheon and during the luncheon were entertained.

The mayor has also included her speech elsewhere today in Stu News Laguna in her letter titled Inside City Hall.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

(L-R) Chamber Chairman Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold, Mayor Sue Kemp and City Communications Manager Cassie Walder

• • •

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is earmarking a $6,000 grant bestowed to them by the Festival of Arts Foundation for their Arts for All program.

The Arts for All program will “ensure that every child in attendance has access to the transformative power of art.” The program helps foster young people’s creativity, self-confidence and ability to contribute to the world.

For more information about the art activities, contact Mar Stash at 949.494.2535, or, or visit the club’s website at

• • •

A controversy erupted earlier this week at Laguna Beach High School following the distribution of nude photos created by wrongly using artificial intelligence, falsely giving the appearance that the photos reflected several local students.

The school and district are undertaking a full investigation and education program for all students discussing the potential dangers involved in using AI incorrectly.

Due to school privacy guidelines, disciplinary actions are not public.

The incident is beyond acceptable under any circumstances.

Open story in new window…

Inside City Hall

Dear Laguna Beach Community,

It is my privilege to share with you highlights, challenges and aspirations that shape our community in this year’s State of the City Address.

Before telling you about some of our plans for the future, I would like to take a moment to highlight a few notable accomplishments from this past year.

Our city has made substantial investments in service enhancements through strategic asset acquisitions. We acquired the former St. Catherine of Siena School in South Laguna, which became the Laguna Beach Community and Recreation Center. More on this a bit later. We completed the purchase of a property in South Laguna – the first step toward constructing a modern fire station in the area. And yes, I promise it will include a public restroom!

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf

The acquisition and the city’s operation of South Laguna Beaches and Parks have seen significant improvements in service delivery. Last year, in South Laguna alone, our Marine Safety Department made more than 2,300 rescues, 73,000 ordinance advisements and 193,000 safety contacts.

The city’s mobile mental health program, launched in August 2023, has made significant strides, averaging more than 400 community contacts per month. It connects individuals with mental health and substance abuse crisis intervention specialists, reducing the strain on public safety resources and allowing redirection toward other community needs.

Our Police Department remains dedicated to addressing loud vehicle noise and other quality-of-life issues in our neighborhoods, beaches and parks, particularly those heavily impacted by visitors. Despite the nationwide challenges in police recruitment, the leadership and diligence of our police department, supported by the city’s human resources team, have fully staffed the park ranger program. I am confident this program will continue to address quality-of-life issues for the community and residents.

Now here is a big win! The Fire Department introduced our in-house ambulance service in mid-2022, and has notably enhanced provision of care in the community by reducing emergency response times. In 2023, the department reported an average ambulance response time of seven minutes, which is eight minutes faster than the Orange County benchmark for ambulance response.

To meet the many recreational interests of our community, we offered programs that engaged more than 8,500 people in 2023 – including adding three more permanent pickleball courts at Alta Laguna Park. We also recently celebrated the opening of Moulton Meadows Park Dog Play Area, a vibrant, pet-friendly addition for all our community’s dog lovers. In our small town, we hosted more than 250 live music performances, and our Arts Commission brought us Music in the Park, Circus Bella, Friday Night Flicks, Band on the Bus and procured new and temporary art throughout the city.

View the video presentation that Mayor Sue Kempf made to the community last Tuesday (April 2) at Montage Laguna Beach

The community embraced Laguna Local, the city’s free, on-demand, transit service, with an impressive 63,000 boardings in its first year and we hope to expand to the end of Laguna Canyon Road. In support of our local businesses, the City Council extended the Outdoor Dining and Parklet program, popular for residents and visitors alike.

The city continues to support nonprofits through the Community Assistance Grant Program. This program has made a meaningful impact on the community by contributing more than $1 million to local non-profit organizations over the past five years.

The city maintains a strong financial position with a balanced budget for the fiscal year 2023-24 and is preparing for the anticipated “slow growth” economy in the coming year.

Soon, new leadership will assume the positions of City Manager and Community Development Director. While change is inevitable, our city staff remains committed to serving you – the residents and business community – at the highest level possible. On behalf of my council colleagues, I extend heartfelt appreciation to each member of our team as they continue to ensure the seamless continuity of services with the dedication we have come to expect from our city team.

While it is good to reflect on recent achievements, we now turn our focus to what lies ahead for our city. Let’s talk about what we plan to do next.

Click open story button to continue reading…

Open story in new window…

SchoolPower’s Gala is an “Above & Beyond” success for Laguna schools

SchoolPower, Laguna Beach’s Education Foundation, hosted their 38th Annual Gala Above & Beyond on March 23 at Montage Laguna Beach. Chaired by SchoolPower trustees Ashley Brown and Liz Black, the event grossed more than $400,000 for Laguna Beach Unified School District’s four schools.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos by Candice Dartez Photography

(L-R) “Above & Beyond” event co-chairs Ashley Brown and Liz Black at SchoolPower’s 38th Annual Gala

“When a community works together to realize a mutual goal, magic is created. And magic is what SchoolPower has created with its commitment to improving both the education and well-being of Laguna Beach students,” said Liz Black, Thurston Middle School parent and event co-chair.

Click on photo for a larger image

(L-R) Thurston Middle School teacher April Coffman, LBUSD Superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria and Holly Viloria, LBHS Principal Dr. Jason Allemann, Allison Keller and LBUSD Director of Social Emotional Support Dr. Michael Keller with Top of the World Principal Meghan Schooler

More than 320 attendees, decked out in “gilded glamour” attire, enjoyed Champagne and cocktails in a courtyard glowing with early evening light. Guests perused a wide selection of silent auction items including restaurant gift certificates, local fitness and boutique items, jewelry from Fredric H. Rubel, sports tickets, weekend getaways and much more. Event attendees, joined by SchoolPower supporters outside the room, furiously “bid for the kids” on their phones. Guests with raffle tickets whirled a colorful spin wheel, shouting with surprise when they scored prizes including gorjana treasures and premium tequila.

Click on photo for a larger image

SchoolPower President Iva Pawling delivers a heartfelt speech at SchoolPower’s 38th Annual Gala

After guests were seated for dinner, SchoolPower Executive Director Sarah Durand spoke on a podium beneath an illuminated hot air balloon. Durand recognized the elementary, middle and high school educator recipients of three exemplary SchoolPower Grants. Her presentation was followed by LBUSD Superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria, who toasted the exceptional opportunities and innovative programs that go “above and beyond” for Laguna Beach students.

Click on photo for a larger image

SchoolPower Executive Director Sarah Durand addresses guests

During the live auction portion of the event, guests bid on compelling packages, including stays at Montage Big Sky, Aspen, Napa and Ireland, as well as a diamond tennis necklace from gorjana, a suite for Monster Jam at Angel Stadium, the sought-after In-N-Out truck, a harbor cruise and Mastro’s dinner, and a dinner party at The Loft at Montage Laguna Beach.

Click on photo for a larger image

LBHS sophomore Zealan Munsey tells the audience about his journey through the Laguna Unified School District

Student speaker Zealan Munsey, a LBHS sophomore, captivated the audience with his articulate gratitude for Laguna Beach schools. SchoolPower President Iva Pawling spoke of the importance of SchoolPower’s core programs – SchoolPower Grants, the After School Program and services at the Family Resource Center – and their impact on students.

Click on photo for a larger image

Jason Reidel offers a Fund-a-Need match while Gorjana Reidel cheers him on

Brent Martini pledged $10,000 to support the journalistic passions of students like Munsey, then emphasized the importance of open discourse in today’s world with an additional $25,000 donation. Jason Riedel, co-founder of gorjana, generously offered to match bids of $1,000. In response to Riedel, the ballroom buzzed with laughter and zealously raised paddles.

Click on photo for a larger image

(L-R) Katie MacGillivray, Greg MacGillivray, Dennis Berryman, Barbara MacGillivray, Carol Berryman and Erin Berryman show multiple generations of family support for SchoolPower

“We’re so grateful to have the community’s support in carrying our vision forward,” said SchoolPower president Iva Pawling. “What a huge and humbling success when we all work together.”

Click on photo for a larger image

LBUSD elementary school students greet guests

By the end of the night, guests and organizers had proudly achieved above and beyond SchoolPower’s fundraising goal. “We are thrilled with the success of this year’s event,” said SchoolPower Executive Director Sarah Durand. “From our supporters’ incredible energy and generosity to Montage’s excellent service and cuisine, it was a spectacular evening to benefit Laguna Beach students.”

Click on photo for a larger image

(L-R) Steve and Kristin Samuelian, Carol and Dennis Berryman, and Joe and Jane Hanauer

SchoolPower is thankful to the 2024 Gala sponsors who helped make the event possible: Mays Dermatology, gorjana, Fredric H. Rubel Jewelers, Montage International, RNDC, Angels Baseball Foundation, Candace Dartez Photography, Edward Flower and Tim Bina.

Click on photo for a larger image

A room full of happy bidders for a cause at SchoolPower’s 38th Annual Gala

SchoolPower is the parent volunteer-based, non-profit education foundation that has raised money for Laguna Beach public schools since 1981. SchoolPower’s mission is to enrich the education and support the well-being of all children in the Laguna Beach Unified School District. Through SchoolPower Grants, the Family Resource Center and the After School Program, SchoolPower supports academics, athletics, visual and performing arts, music, student experiences, social and emotional wellness and community connections. Learn more about SchoolPower at

Open story in new window…

Laguna Beach County Water District honored

Laguna Beach County Water District (district) has announced that it was recently honored for financial stability efforts by being awarded the prestigious California Society of Municipal Finance Officers (CSFMO) Meritorious Award for Operating Budgeting for 2023.

“It is an honor to be recognized for the efforts the district is taking to ensure rate payer money is spent wisely,” said Keith Van Der Maaten, Laguna Beach County Water District general manager. “It is a commitment from all levels, including the district’s board, commission, management and staff, as we continue our efforts to meet the highest principles of transparency in financial reporting.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of LBCWD

(L-R) LBCWD General Manager Keith Van Der Maaten, LBCWD Manager of Financial and Administrative Services Brian Jewett, Ph.D. and Laguna Beach Mayor and LBCWD Board President Sue Kempf

Founded in 1957, the CSMFO is a statewide organization serving all California municipal finance professionals. The CSMFO Budget Awards Program is designed to recognize those agencies whose budget documents meet certain state-wide standards and requirements considered to be of the highest quality. The award represents significant accomplishment by a government and its leadership in meeting high standards and setting an example by encouraging others in their efforts to achieve and maintain an appropriate standard of excellence.

The district’s annual budget was judged by an impartial panel, which determined that it embodied the high standards of the program including demonstrating a constructive “spirit of full disclosure” to clearly communicate its financial story and motivate potential users and user groups to read the budget document.

“This honor validates our dedication and hundreds of hours of work on behalf of the residents we serve,” said Brian Jewett, Ph.D., the district’s financial and administrative services manager. “Staff showed great focus and determination in preparing a budget document that serves as an excellent planning, financial management and public education tool.”

Laguna Beach County Water District provides water service to 19,000 residents within an 8.5-square-mile area of Laguna Beach. The district’s mission is to furnish a high quality, reliable water supply in a financially responsible manner, while promoting water-use efficiency.

Open story in new window…

The Ranch at Laguna Beach hosted their 3rd Annual Golf Tournament to honor First Responders

In appreciation of the unparalleled excellence of both the Laguna Beach Police and Fire Associations, The Ranch at Laguna Beach hosted their third annual golf tournament and dinner reception this past Monday, April 1 to showcase gratitude for the selfless commitment and ongoing support of local first responders.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photos courtesy of The Ranch at Laguna Beach

Fire beat Police in the 3rd Annual Tournament

The resort was honored to welcome first responders for a fun, Laguna-style day of canyon golf followed by a BBQ in the ballroom, as a thank you from the residents of Laguna Beach. Friendly rivalry and a good amount of smack talk was expected.

Click on photo for a larger image

On the tee with the picturesque canyon as the green’s backdrop

“We were honored to host these local heroes who keep us safe and make Laguna the place that it is,” said Mark Christy, managing partner of The Ranch.

The tournament took place at The Ranch at Laguna Beach Golf Course – the only golf course in Laguna Beach – at 2 p.m. Situated in the Aliso and Wood Canyons, the nine-hole course offers the ultimate playing experience with stunning views and elevation changes on each fairway.

Click on photo for a larger image

Feast for a king

First responders were invited to participate in a two-person scramble involving a team score. Three clubs were recommended throughout the tournament, and if golfers played barefoot, they received a mulligan.

Click on photo for a larger image

A delicious BBQ awaited hungry golfers in the ballroom

The day’s results? Fire beat Police in the 3rd Annual Tournament, making the record now Fire 2 and Police 1.

Hosted by The Ranch at Laguna Beach, Laguna’s first responders enjoyed a BBQ dinner reception in the resort’s elegant ballroom following the golf tournament.

Click on photo for a larger image

Barefoot players received a mulligan

Focusing on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, offerings on the menu included short rib and black bean chili with cornbread croutons along with baked mac and cheese with smoked gouda and roasted poblano for starters and sides. Entrees included Santa Maria tri tip with Fresno chimichurri, BBQ ribs with peach BBQ sauce, and cedar plank salmon in a honey mustard glaze. Dessert options providing the perfect ending to the meal were double chocolate brownies and mini-N.Y. cheesecakes.

Open story in new window…

Send this to a friend