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Foremost Tibetan artist and teacher Yeshi Dorjee and Drepung Loseling monks will visit Neighborhood Congregational Church

An artistic and spiritual experience is set for May 30 through June 2 at the Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann’s Drive. Artists of all skill levels are invited to learn about geometry and mandala creation from the world’s acknowledged authority on the art of painting thangkas, the wall hangings that serve as magnificent art pieces, as well as tools during meditation. Four visiting Drepung Loseling monks will make colorful sand mandalas in the sanctuary and invite the community to help build the mandalas, ask questions, take photos and then help disperse the sand creations at the end of each day as a lesson in understanding the temporary nature of all earthly things.

The event will be divided into morning and afternoon sessions over the first three days.

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Photos courtesy of Yeshi Dorjee

Artist monk Yeshi Dorjee works on a thangka, a decorative wall hanging that serves as a meditation and contemplation tool. He will lead a class for those wishing to learn about and make their own thangkas; guests may audit the classes.

On Thursday, Friday, and Saturday mornings, May 30-June 1, from 9:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in Bridge Hall, Tibetan artist and scholar Yeshi Dorjee will teach up to 12 students in the appreciation and creation of thangkas, or wall hangings. More than a mere decoration, a thangka holds great meaning as a tool for meditation. Yeshi will instruct students on the basics of geometry and its role in contemplation. Many of the geometry principles of the human body and of ancient architecture were compiled into the Vitruvian Man drawing by Leonardo da Vinci.

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Yeshi Dorjee made and gifted to the Neighborhood Congregational Church the colorful Tibetan prayer wheel that graces the sanctuary

Artists may sign up for the three-day experience, which includes supplies for $200 at www.tibetanartinlaguna.com. Visitors may sit in on Yeshi’s teachings and observe the thangkas being created for an admission fee of $15 per day.

In the church sanctuary in the afternoons from 1:30-4:30 p.m., guests may help create a colorful sand mandala with four visiting Drepung Loseling monks, who are scholars dedicated to the study of traditional Buddhist arts and sciences. The church doors will be open each afternoon on Thursday, Friday and Saturday for the public to watch and help create a different colorful sand mandala – and then destroy it. Photography is welcome. Participating in the sand mandala sessions is free, but donations to the monks are encouraged. The suggested donation is $15. Their visit is one of goodwill and cultural sharing that helps them support the 3,000 Tibetan monks at their home monastery in India.

A mandala is a geometric pattern characterized by a central point or motif, often symmetrical and radiating outward in a circular form. The mandala’s intricate geometric design holds profound spiritual significance in Buddhism. Its geometry can be created with intentions for healing, compassion and universal peace. Like a thangka, a mandala’s symbolic representation is not merely a piece of art but also a powerful tool for meditation, spiritual growth and understanding the cosmos.

The event concludes on Sunday, June 2 at the 10 a.m. church service. The monks will decorate NCC’s sanctuary altar and chant a morning blessing. The thangka art created during the weekend classes will be displayed, and some students will speak about their experiences. Yeshi Dorjee will talk about the background of NCC’s prayer wheel, which he made with his own hands. At 12 p.m., a Tibetan lunch will be served, prepared with the help of Tenpa Dorjee, owner of the Laguna Beach retail shop Tibet Handicrafts, 384 Forest Ave. Lunch is $20. Please make a reservation by clicking here.

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The thangka, visible in the center of the altar, is typically the centerpiece for Buddhist meditators

During their four-day visit, the Drepung Loseling monks will offer house blessings by appointment. The traditional monetary request for a home or office blessing is $108, the number of beads on a mala keeps count of one’s mantra repetitions, or Japa, during meditation. Information can be found by clicking here.

Yeshi has a long and warm association with the Neighborhood Congregational Church.

Born in Bhutan to Tibetan parents, Yeshi is a U.S. citizen. He was ordained as a novice monk in 1970 and received full ordination from His Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1980. He completed his final examinations in 1996 in Lama Tsongkhapa’s Great Exposition of the Stages of the Path of Tantra and Buddhist Sacred Art. He received his Ngagrampa degree from Gyudmed Tantric University in South India.

His work has been published and displayed at the Smithsonian Museum and in countless collections around the world, including the Neighborhood Congregational Church.

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Catmosphere Laguna Foundation and Gelson’s Rancho Mission Viejo Adoption Event scheduled for May 18

On Saturday, May 18 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Catmosphere Laguna cats and kittens will be featured for adoption at their new location at Gelson’s Rancho Mission Viejo Store, 30731 Gateway Plaza, Rancho Mission Viejo.

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Photos courtesy of Catmosphere

Volunteer with one of the cats up for adoption at a previous event

Catmosphere Laguna Foundation introduced Orange County’s first Cat Café & Lounge. Catmosphere Laguna Rescue is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit feline rescue which serves Laguna Beach and the surrounding communities every day of the week and is dedicated to finding forever homes for homeless, relinquished, abandoned and special-needs cats and kittens.

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Cats waiting for adoption

Laguna Beach has long been known and loved for its artistic community and embrace of nature in all its forms. Catmosphere Laguna Foundation enhances and strengthens that reputation in its mission to prevent cruelty to animals by rescuing, fostering and assisting in public adoptions and awareness of the plight of homeless felines. Their adoption events are fun for the whole family with snacks and giveaways for all, and volunteer opportunities are available.

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Volunteer opportunities are available

Future Adoption Event dates continue monthly throughout 2024.

–Laguna Beach Animal Shelter and Catmosphere Laguna Adoption Event Dates 2024: Saturdays June 15, August 17, October 26 (Halloween event) and year-end holiday events.

–Gelson’s Rancho Mission Viejo and Catmosphere Laguna Adoption Event Dates 2024: Saturdays May 18, July 20, September 21, November 16 and year-end holiday events.

For details, contact Catmosphere Laguna Foundation at 949.619.MEOW (6369) or teamfeline@catmospherelaguna.com.

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No Square Theatre holding auditions for Legally Blonde on May 18-19

On May 18 and 19, No Square Theatre will be holding auditions for Legally Blonde. Initial auditions are by appointment on Sunday, May 19 from 12-3 p.m. and Monday, May 20 from 6-9 p.m. Audition appointments can be made via email to theellawyatt@gmail.com.

The callbacks will be by invitation on Thursday, May 23 beginning at 6 p.m.

Courtesy of No Square Theatre

Auditions take place on May 18 and 19

Based on the novel by Amanda Brown and the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer motion picture, Legally Blonde has music and lyrics by Laurence O’Keefe and Nell Benjamin and book by Heather Hach. It is directed by Ella Wyatt, musically directed by Roxanna Ward and choreographed by Sabrina Harper.

Produced by No Square Theatre, the Artistic Director is Ella Wyatt and the Managing Director is Rob Harryman.

Rehearsals begin June 1, and will be scheduled weekday evenings and weekend days. Final rehearsal schedule will be determined based on cast availability within those options. Cast will not be called seven days a week.

Tech rehearsals will begin on Saturday, July 27.

Performances are Friday-Sunday, August 2-11 with a possible extension through August 18.

What to prepare and bring for the audition: Please prepare a contemporary musical theater song (not from the show) under three minutes to demonstrate range, musicality and storytelling abilities. Please bring headshot, resume and sheet music in the appropriate key; an accompanist will be provided. Also bring a list of all conflicts from June 1 through August 18.

For more information on the audition and character breakdown, click here.

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Meet Pet of the Week Ruby

Ruby is a red Chihuahua Doxie mix who is 4 years old and spayed. She is a bit shy at first, as she’s been in an abusive situation, but once she is comfortable her personality shines through. Ruby really enjoys being around other friendly dogs and is playful with them. She’ll be a loving addition to your home.

Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, is hoping to have Ruby adopted as soon as possible.

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Courtesy of the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter

Ruby is a cute mix who is shy at first, but then becomes playful

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, their return rate is 5% as compared to the national return rate of 50%.

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road. Call 949.497.3552, or go to the website for information on adoption procedures, www.puplagunabeach.org/our-pets.php.

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Tickets going fast for Susi Q’s “Evening with an Author” featuring novelist Michelle Huneven

Tickets are going fast for Susi Q’s fifth “Evening with an Author” featuring popular author Michelle Huneven, several of whose books are book-club staples. The event takes place on Monday, June 3. Doors open at 4:30 p.m. for mingling, with the program beginning at 5:15 p.m.

To reserve your seat(s), click here.

Huneven is the author of five novels, most recently Search, which the New York Times Book Review calls “a wicked pleasure” and which was also selected as an NPR Best Book of the Year. Search is described as a sharp and funny novel of a congregational search committee, told as a memoir with recipes.

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Courtesy of Susi Q

Michelle Huneven discusses her new novel with Marrie Stone on June 3 at Susi Q

Huneven will be in conversation with podcaster and arts columnist Marrie Stone.

“We typically try to bring a bit of fun buoyancy to our summer event, and Michelle proved the perfect fit,” Stone said. “She’s funny, she’s a little irreverent and her writings about food will make people salivate. Even readers who come from an utterly secular background (as I do) will relate to these characters and enjoy Michelle’s humor.”

Huneven’s first two books, Round Rock (Knopf 1997) and Jamesland (Knopf 2003), were both New York Times notable books and also finalists for the LA Times Book Award. Her third, Blame, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and also a finalist for the LA Times Book Award. Her fourth novel, Off Course, was a New York Times Editor’s Choice.

Huneven is currently teaching creative writing to undergraduates at UCLA, working on her next novel and writing the occasional article about food.

The program runs from 5:15-7:30 p.m. and includes light appetizers, beverages and book signings. Attendees also receive a copy of the book. Fee is $40. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.

Susi Q is located at 380 Third St., Laguna Beach.

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Mozart Classical Orchestra to present “Spring Blossoms” concert

Music Director Ami Porat of the Mozart Classical Orchestra (MCO) announced the program of the concert “Spring Blossoms” is scheduled for Sunday, May 19 at 3 p.m. in the Laguna Beach High School Artists Theater.

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Courtesy of MCO

Music Director Ami Porat conducting the Mozart Classical Orchestra

Kicking off the program is the almost-never performed work, the C minor Allegro, written for String Orchestra. They are graciously indebted to young Franz Schubert for their opener. From the wonderful lines of the stormy Allegro, they move on to Papa Haydn, the only “live-in” composer who served the Eszterhazy Family for decades, and wrote more than 100 symphonies, including the rarely performed No. 80, a delightful musical gem, presented on this concert. Of his two Violoncello Concerti, the audience is fortunate to hear MCO’s own principal perform the exquisite Concerto in C major, originally written for Haydn’s “live-in” principal cellist Anton Kraft, a distinguished member of the “live-in” orchestra.

Featured solo cellist László Mezö was born in Budapest, Hungary, and gained national recognition upon winning first prize in the Kertész Ottó Memorial Competition in 1998. International recognition followed after winning first prize in the Ima Hogg International Competition in Houston, Texas.

To purchase reserved seats online, go here.

For more information on the Mozart Classical Orchestra, visit https://mozartorchestra.org.

Laguna Beach High School Artists Theater is located at 625 Park Ave., Laguna Beach.

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Laguna Beach Books features local author Tim Turner on May 18

Laguna Beach Books, Orange County’s premier book retailer, will host a book signing for long-time Laguna Beach resident Tim Turner’s recently published, debut novel entitled The Reluctant Conductor.

Breaking a multi-year hiatus, the signing will be held on Saturday, May 18 at 5 p.m. in the store located in The Old Pottery Place at 1200 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.

Photos courtesy of Tim Turner

Local author Tim Turner

The novel, which won first place for historical fiction in the Spring 2024 BookFest Awards, is about a Jewish merchant of World War II-era USSR who employs music to sustain family, find love and survive in a world besieged with bombs, bigotry and hate.

Turner’s ties to Laguna Beach go back to 1990 when he met his now-husband Dr. Joseph Carberry who was then in design on their home in Arch Beach Heights working with architect Mark Singer. They spent their first night in the home on Christmas Eve 1992.

Since, they have hosted many events and parties in their residence and have supported ASF Orange County – now Radiant Health Centers – as well as Laguna Art Museum, Festival of Arts of Laguna Beach, and many local art dealers and restaurants.

Turner’s novel won first place for historical fiction in the Spring 2024 BookFest Awards

The writer of six plays including the critically acclaimed Out Late, Turner has also written an original screenplay, a libretto, adapted two of his plays into screenplays and written many short plays. He has three photographs in the permanent collection of The New Orleans Museum of Art.

Moisey Gorbaty, with whom he co-wrote the novel, is a prolific composer and the proprietor of Moisey’s Piano Service, where he tunes and restores pianos, and also teaches piano, guitar, music theory and Russian Language. Born in Chisinau, Moldova, the novel was loosely based on the life of his maternal grandfather.

The Reluctant Conductor has received widespread critical acclaim. According to Kirkus Reviews: “A scene involving the family member fighting typhus is beautiful and poignant (Dickens would approve)…A moving family tale with a strong cast that readers will love.”

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Low tide

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Photo by David Powers

You can certainly enjoy the trail more when the tide is out

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LCAD presents MFA Exhibition opening reception at LAM on May 17

Reflections of Resilience: MFA Exhibition at Laguna Art Museum will hold its opening reception on Friday, May 17, from 5:30-9:30 p.m.

Features artwork by the 2024 Master of Fine Art graduates from Laguna College of Art + Design. It will be on display until August 25.

The quality, creativity and individuality of these featured artists are testaments to their dedication and independence. Remarkable artists are attracted to LCAD because of the understanding that time-honored skill joined with personal contemporary concerns can create vital, memorable art.

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Photos courtesy of LCAD

Eric Theodore, “Skyward,” oil on panel, 42×28, 2023

These artists share an earnest, hopeful sensibility amid unsettling times. As we emerge from a pandemic, they reflect upon what is most meaningful and how to navigate an often distant and uncertain world. There is optimism behind the urge to create and contribute. A shared sense of resilience resonates beneath the surface, reflecting honesty while avoiding cynicism.

Through carefully considered paintings and drawings, these artists represent how mindful reflection of the outer world builds personal insights, expressing appearances as well as emotions. In Reflections of Resilience, the rational and the poetic are made apparent to the viewer, who takes time to observe, consider, and reflect.

This exhibition is presented in partnership with Laguna Art Museum (LAM).

Exhibiting Artists: Cara Baxter, Jason Dowd,Amber Foote, Sara Khakpour, Ryanne Phillips, Janaise Sanchez, Eric Theodore and Kevin Yaun.

Tickets are available by clicking here.

For questions, contact Peter Zokosky, Chair of MFA Drawing + Painting.

Saturday, May 18, 6 p.m.

Emerging Artists in Conversation: LCAD MFA Graduates Share their Art and Thoughts: Location, Laguna Art Museum

Join LAM for a stimulating and enlightening conversation with some of the most promising emerging artists to appear. This informal discussion will explore their diverse roles in the ongoing developments in contemporary art.

Peter Zokosky, moderator and chair of the Master of Fine Arts program at the Laguna College of Art + Design along with Cara Baxter, Jason Dowd, Amber Foote, Sara Khakpour, Ryanne Phillips, Janaise Sanchez, Eric Theodore and Kevin Yaun.

Advance tickets are recommended. Museum members: $12, Non-members: $18. Students: limited number of tickets available. Please present student ID. For tickets, click here.

LCAD BFA Fine Arts Exhibition 2024

Laguna College of Art + Design’s (LCAD) BFA Fine Arts exhibition 2024 is now on display at LCAD Gallery.

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Piper Bangs, “The Garden (Detail),” 2023, Oil on Linen, 59” x 39”

LCAD undergraduate Fine Arts department is thrilled to showcase the outstanding talents of its senior BFA students with the 2024 BFA Fine Arts Exhibition. This group exhibition features paintings, drawings, and sculptures, each one a testament to the dedication and creativity of our graduating seniors in the Drawing + Painting program.

The exhibition presents a carefully curated selection of works that represent the culmination of LCAD’s Senior Thesis project. This project serves as a guiding force, empowering our seniors to develop a cohesive and meaningful body of work that demonstrates both their individual conceptual growth and mastery of academic skillsets.

LCAD is proud to present the following exceptional artists, whose works will be on display at the exhibition. Gabrielle Anievas, Piper Bangs, Kyra Beal, Rylee Cook, Emma Crespo, Lauren Duplissey, Anna Eisen, Anne Goldman, Chase Heindel, Carly Mann, Amber Jodoin, Rachel Joy, Julianna Lazio, Xochitl Leal-Bailon, Rafael Mejia, Kat O’Brien, Arely Sojo, Isabella Stockbridge, Jenna Swerdfeger and Luke Silverthorne.

LCAD Gallery is located at 374 Ocean Ave., Laguna Beach.

LCAD Gallery admission is always free.

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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

Although nobody likes to encounter tar balls on a visit to the beach, officials say there’s no reason for concern

I received a letter this past week that concerned me. Now, before we go any further, the is not to cause alarm, but an attempt to find out why. You’ll know what I mean as I explain.

The letter I received said, “I was in Crescent Cove, surrounded by other beachgoers, local birds and even a seal, and upon sitting down to catch some sun, realized my foot was covered in tar, which took some time to comprehend, as this is obviously not a natural occurrence.”

The letter writer proceeded to tell me that they then called a posted number to report the incident, also calling the Coast Guard and then the “Fish and Wildlife Department number.”

Upon receiving the news, I went to a couple of sources who I knew would get to the bottom of it…Mayor Sue Kempf and OC Supervisor Katrina Foley.

Mayor Kempf connected me to Laguna Beach’s Marine Safety Captain Kai Bond who told me, “the City of Laguna Beach Marine Safety Department is coordinating a response with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Office of Spill Prevention and Response (OSPR) to investigate tar balls observed on city beaches.” Captain Bond then told me that “within the last two weeks, city staff had responded to multiple similar reports.”

Ultimately, Bond’s findings were these: “Tar balls along the shoreline of city beaches are a natural year-round occurrence consistent with the Southern California coastline; however, the rate of occurrence typically increases during the spring months. These natural tar balls may range in size, and are typically between one and five inches in diameter. In contrast, tar associated with oil spill incidents are most often larger, slicker patches of tar with a diameter of a few feet, and may be accompanied by oil sheen in the surrounding water or sand.

“To provide a bit of background, the Los Angeles Basin is the name of the ocean floor off of Los Angeles and Orange County. This coastal area is characterized by large deposits of oil. Small amounts of oil consistently seep out of the sea floor and naturally rise to the sea surface. During spring, upwelling ocean currents regularly bring the oil to the surface. Additionally, spring winds blow consistently in a direction that pushes that oil directly toward Los Angeles and Orange County beaches.

“Beach patrons may step on or swim into these oil clumps, which usually results in them sticking to you. You often find these clumps of oil along the high-tide line in the sand. The best way to remove oil is by washing the area with oil-based products.”

Supervisor Foley concurred, “My Field Response Team determined what they observed was consistent with natural seep.”

I was relieved with the news I received on several fronts. First, it was determined it was nothing to be alarmed about. Still, Captain Bond encouraged “anyone who encounters abnormally large amounts of oil or tar on the beach to avoid contact and call Marine Safety Dispatch at 949.494.6571. Second, I was impressed by the quick response from Mayor Kempf, Captain Bond and Supervisor Foley. It brought a feeling of comfort that those in control ARE ON IT.

And, thanks, too, to the citizen who initially contacted us with the issue in the first place.

• • •

The City of Laguna Beach invites the community to a ribbon-cutting ceremony this Friday, May 17 for the new Moss Street Beach Access. The event is scheduled to take place at 8:30 a.m. at the terminus of Moss Street at the beach.

What you’ll see: The new Moss Street Beach Access improvements include replacement of the existing stairs, walkways, bike racks and enhanced landscaping.

The design incorporates colored concrete steps, board-formed concrete retaining walls and black anodized aluminum handrails. The muted earth tones assimilate these improvements into the newly vegetated bluff which consists of a mix of native and drought-tolerant plants.

The new stairs have been realigned to create new overlook points which enhance the viewing experience of Moss Point while traveling down the stairs to the beach.

The improvements also include a new enclosed lifeguard tower. The tower accommodates a single occupant and will significantly improve working conditions for Marine Safety Department staff assigned to Moss Cove.

The construction period lasted approximately eight months with a total construction cost of approximately $1,770,000. A significant contribution to the funding was made possible by Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine), who secured $1,225,000 in state funding for the project.

“Thanks to the funding secured by Senator Min, the Moss Street Beach Access has undergone a transformative renovation,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf. “The upgraded features, including redesigned stairs, walkways and a new lifeguard tower, not only enhance accessibility but also preserve the natural beauty of our coastline. This project underscores the city’s commitment to improving coastal access and environmental stewardship.”

“Summer is just around the corner and the grand opening of Moss Street Beach Access could not have come at a better time,” said Senator Dave Min. “I’d like to thank the City of Laguna Beach for partnering with my office to secure $1.2 million in state funds to bring this project to life. Local infrastructure has the ability to transform communities, and both local residents and visitors alike will benefit from this new pathway to the shoreline.”

• • •

Trevor Ullom, manager of Coast Hardware/Ace, recently instituted a Round-Up Campaign at the store over a three-month period. When customers came to the register and they were presented with the total owed, they were simply asked if they’d like to “round up” for the Boys & Girls Club.

A round-up could be as low as a penny and up to .99.

The campaign aimed to support the vital programs offered by the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, helping to fulfill their mission of empowering young people to become productive, caring and responsible citizens.

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Courtesy of Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach

Coast Hardware/Ace completes “round-up” campaign and presents check for $3,764.18 to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach

Ullom was happy with the results saying, “During the last several months our associates asked customers to round up at the register to give back to the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach. We are proud to say our awesome customers and associates rounded up $3,764.18 for the club.”

It was a nice, unexpected gift.

Pam Estes, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, commented on the importance of community support. “It takes a village to make a difference, and we are incredibly grateful to be part of such a supportive community. A big thank you to Trevor and the entire Coast Hardware team for championing our cause and, most importantly, to the customers whose generosity made this possible,” she said.

The funds collected will support the Boys & Girls Club’s offerings to young people, including academic support, sports and recreation, arts and crafts, and life skills development programs, all essential for the healthy growth and development of local youth.

As an important aside, the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach serves more than 4,000 youth per day in the Laguna Beach, Lake Forest, Aliso Viejo and Mission Viejo areas. The club’s mission is to empower all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential by promoting their healthy social, emotional, intellectual and physical development.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, visit www.bgclagunabeach.org, or call 949.494.2535.

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As Smokey the Bear says, “Only you and the goats can prevent fires.”

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

The city’s goat herds are on the move, and that’s a good thing because it means they’re doing their job of clearing hillsides. The herd at Three Arch Bay finished last week munching on vegetation there and have moved over to Bluebird Canyon. The herd at Nyes Place will finish grazing there this Thursday (May 16) and move behind City Hall.

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Dennis’ Local Almanac

By DENNIS McTIGHE

May gloom in full swing

The L.A. Angels have already found their comfort zone which is last place in their division, and it only took them around 45 games to get there. I really feel bad for Mike Trout whose superstar performance year after year has gone to waste. At least Shohei Ohtani got out of there and he’s with a real winner, as he is surrounded by high-caliber players up and down the Dodgers’ line-up.

Currently the Dodgers own the second-best record in baseball and are a pretty sure bet to win their division, thus advancing to the postseason once again. Trout is a humble guy, honoring his contract with little or no complaining but just imagine, if you will, the kind of numbers he’d be putting up if he had any kind of support from the rest of that line-up.

Meanwhile, here in Laguna, the gloom is pretty much running the show as local daily temps are near or below seasonal norms, still looking for that elusive 70-degree day. Normal hi-lo to date is 72-56. The curse continues along much of the East Coast and Northeast with chilly temps and dampness over much of that region for yet another weekend washout. High temps during the workweek climbed into the 80s and of course never made it out of the 50s when the weekend arrived. Up to this point, tornado totals for the country are well above normal and violent tornado numbers are way up with several EF-3s and EF-4s that killed people and did catastrophic damage to many in the plains and Midwest. Right now, it’s peak season.

When I was only 5, I was introduced to severe weather, and I’ve craved it ever since. Severe weather really gets me going, but casualties and damage take the charm out of all that atmospheric madness. I was tornado chasing way back as early as 1971 when I drove from Laguna all the way to Oklahoma, the capital of violent thunderstorms known as super cells just to experience the sheer power of this kind of weather. On August 3, 1952, my path in life was chosen as right then and there in the Grand Canyon during an intense thunderstorm I knew what I wanted to do in life.

There are folks out there that never find their path in life, but I was one of the lucky ones. My path literally found me! Imagine the rush I got when I witnessed hail the size of grapefruits falling out of the sky at over 100 mph with lightning every three seconds with ear piercing thunder to follow. I’m talking thunder that scares grown men under bunk beds! Doesn’t scare me one bit, as I thrive on that kind of stuff.

I do realize that not everyone shares that kind of mindset when it comes to this type of dramatics. I’ve also witnessed two category 5 hurricanes, Patricia in 2015 in a remote area of mainland Mexico between Acapulco and Manzanillo, and Linda in September 1997 near Cabo San Lucas – although it wasn’t a direct hit, but the waves from Linda were 35 ft. I also witnessed a full-on blizzard in 1983 near Yosemite. There was a flash flood near Sedona, Ariz. in July 1978 caused by two inches of rain in just a half hour. There was an intense microburst just outside of Tucson, Ariz. three years ago and a 2.6-mile-wide EF-5 tornado with winds of 318 mph near El Reno, Okla. in May 2013. I’ve definitely seen my share of radical stuff, and I’ll keep on chasing this stuff ‘til I drop!

No dramatics here this week with more gloom and below normal temps, but the sun does try and peek through in the afternoons.

See y’all next week, ALOHA!

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A glimpse at Crystal Cove in May

Crystal Cove State Park has a variety of events in May. 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 upcoming offerings.

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Photos courtesy of Crystal Cove State Park

Join a park naturalist on a Spring Bird Walk on May 18 and you may spot a gnatcatcher, roadrunner or osprey

Saturday, May 18: 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 their 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 Amphitheater (PCH inland at stoplight School-State Park, follow signs towards the campground). $15 day use fee.

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Explore the coastal section of the park during a Beach Geology Tour on May 19

Sunday, May 19: 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 125,000-year-old deposits of elevated beach sand, cobbles and hundreds of fossil clams which can be observed in place 80 ft. up near the top of the sea cliff or as broken rocks on the beach below. You’ll also talk about the huge boulders strewn across the beach which reveal evidence of a different geologic time. Meet at the Los Trancos lot at the trailer (PCH turn inland at stoplight “Los Trancos”). $15 day use fee.

Friday, May 24: Full Moon Hike from 7:45-10 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. 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 Lets Go Outside at https://letsgooutside.org.

For a complete calendar of events, go to www.crystalcovestatepark.org/park-calendars/.

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Laguna Beach Business Club 2024 Speaker Series to feature award-winning author

The Laguna Beach Business Club (LBBC) has announced their May 16 speaker is award-winning author, Suzanne Redfern. The LBBC holds monthly breakfast meetings starting at 7:30 a.m. hosting speakers that discuss topics valuable to achieving personal and professional success.

Redfern will discuss her latest novel and her pathway from architect to author.

She is the award-winning and bestselling author of six novels. Her newest novel, Where Butterflies Wander is about an unexpected journey of healing after a horrible family tragedy.

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Courtesy of LBBC

Award-winning author Suzanne Redfern

In an Instant, published in 2020 was an Amazon #1 bestseller and a USA Today bestseller, as well as a Goodreads Choice Awards finalist. It was named Best New Fiction from Best Book Awards and has been translated into 25 different languages. Her work has also been recognized by RT Reviews, Target Recommends, Publisher’s Marketplace and Kirkus Reviews.

A former architect, Redfern lives in Laguna Beach, where she and her husband own two restaurants: Lumberyard and Slice Pizza & Beer.

The LBBC is a group of local business professionals and entrepreneurs that meet monthly to discuss current events, business opportunities and share insights within the context of their community and lives with the goal of building and maintaining relationships with local professionals and businesses that they can proudly recommend to clients and friends. LBBC also supports their community by providing and participating in community services and/or events that benefit the citizens of Laguna Beach.

Club meetings begin with a buffet breakfast and brief networking roundtable. Meetings are hosted at Nirvana Kitchen + Pantry, 303 Broadway St., # 101, Laguna Beach. Non-members are welcome. The non-member guest fee is $30 payable by Venmo or cash/check payable to the Laguna Beach Business Club the day of the meeting. Space is limited. Guests be sure you receive RSVP confirmation.

For more information about the LBBC or to register to attend the meeting, either visit their website at www.lagunabeachbusinessclub.com, or write them at info@lagunabeachbusinessclub.com.

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Public invited to attend grand opening of new Moss Street Beach Access

The City of Laguna Beach is inviting the community to a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Moss Street Beach Access. The event is scheduled to take place on Friday, May 17 at 8:30 a.m. at the terminus of Moss Street at the beach.

The new Moss Street Beach Access improvements include replacement of the existing stairs with new stairs, walkways, bike racks and enhanced landscaping. The design incorporates colored concrete steps, board-formed concrete retaining walls and black anodized aluminum handrails. The muted earth tones assimilate these improvements into the newly vegetated bluff which consists of a mix of native and drought-tolerant plants. The new stairs have been realigned to create new overlook points which enhance the viewing experience of Moss Point while traveling down the stairs to the beach. The improvements also include a new enclosed lifeguard tower. The tower accommodates a single occupant and will significantly improve working conditions for Marine Safety Department staff assigned to Moss Cove. The construction period lasted approximately eight months with a total construction cost of approximately $1,770,000.

A significant contribution to the funding of the Moss Street Beach Access Improvement was made possible by Senator Dave Min (D-Irvine), who secured $1,225,000 in state funding for the project.

“Thanks to the funding secured by Senator Min, the Moss Street Beach Access has undergone a transformative renovation,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf. “The upgraded features, including redesigned stairs, walkways and a new lifeguard tower not only enhance accessibility but also preserve the natural beauty of our coastline. This project underscores the city’s commitment to improving coastal access and environmental stewardship.”

“Summer is just around the corner and the grand opening of Moss Street Beach Access could not have come at a better time,” said Senator Dave Min. “I’d like to thank the City of Laguna Beach for partnering with my office to secure $1.2 million in state funds to bring this project to life. Local infrastructure has the ability to transform communities, and both local residents and visitors alike will benefit from this new pathway to the shoreline.”

We invite community members to come out to the ribbon-cutting ceremony and enjoy the new amenities at the Moss Street Beach Access on May 17.

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Celebrate Heritage Month in May with events to honor Laguna’s history

To kick off Heritage Month, join the Heritage Committee for the Opening Night Celebration on Thursday, May 2, 5:30-7 p.m. at Tango Restaurant, 305 Forest Ave., Suite 103. Light hors d’oeuvres will be provided. There is no charge for this event.

Trolley Tour

Saturday, May 11, 8:30 a.m. (Tour #1) and 10:30 a.m. (Tour #2)

The Works of Local Architect Aubrey St. Clair guided trolley tour celebrating the works of Laguna Beach architect Aubrey St. Clair. Trolley loading at 306 Third St. (Laguna Beach Water District) at 8:30 a.m. and 10:30 a.m. Trolley departs at 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

Email clark@collinsone.net or go to www.historiclaguna.com to sign up.

Note: Space is limited, and confirmation is required. No charge.

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Courtesy of David Solomon

“Eschbachs” by Laguna Beach Artist David Solomon (1984)

Historic Project Forum

Thursday, May 16, 6-8 p.m.

Design, construction and real estate professionals share experiences with historic properties, including Mills Act calculations and a Q&A. Find out about the rewarding process of historic preservation. City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave.

Laguna Beach Living History featuring No Square Theatre:

Saturday, May 18, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Celebrate Heritage Month with the Laguna Beach Historical Society

Located in the Murphy Smith Bungalow, 278 Ocean Ave.

Also open most Fridays and Saturdays, 1-4 p.m.

Built in 1923 in the builder’s Bungalow style, an example of an early Laguna Beach cottage.

Public Tours of the Hortense Miller Garden

Come visit and fall in love with Hortense Miller, her home and garden.

For more information or to schedule your docent led tour, click here.

You may also call 949.464.6645 to book a tour most Saturdays and Thursdays at 9:45 a.m.-12 p.m. No charge.

Crystal Cove Historic District – Self-Guided Walking Tour

This charming, quaint Historic District will take you back in time. Check the website below for park hours, activities and parking information. For more information, click here.

Questions: Contact Heather Steven, Heritage Committee staff liaison at 949.497.0332, or hsteven@lagunabeachcity.net.

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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

The waters off Laguna Beach are about to become safer with the introduction of Wave Watch and you’re invited to the celebration

The City of Laguna Beach is inviting the community to the christening and dedication ceremony of its new Marine Safety Vessel, Wave Watch. But there’s a catch. You’ll have to drive up to Marina Park, 1600 West Balboa Blvd. in Newport Beach, on Friday, May 24, at 9 a.m. to partake.

Following the ceremony, a guided tour of the vessel will be available.

“The reintroduction of the Rescue Vessel Program through ‘Wave Watch’ represents a significant milestone for the Laguna Beach community,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf. “This vessel fills a crucial gap in our offshore response capabilities, reinforcing our commitment to marine safety and emergency response from the water.”

A little bit about Wave Watch – it was crafted by Crystaliner and designed to withstand various ocean conditions and execute diverse rescue operations efficiently; it is equipped with advanced communication systems, including Lifeguard 800-megahertz radio and Ship-to-Ship V.H.F. radio, facilitating seamless coordination during emergencies; and it enhances community safety by providing a stable platform for immediate emergency medical.

Acting Laguna Beach Marine Safety Chief Kai Bond added, “‘Wave Watch’ is an invaluable addition to our marine safety efforts, dedicated to ensuring the well-being of all who enjoy our coastal waters. It substantially enhances our emergency response infrastructure, improving efficiency and effectiveness in on-water emergency operations.”

Reminder: Someone remember that bottle of Champagne for the customary christening against the boat’s hull.

• • •

Wednesday (May 8), the County of Orange released the results of the Orange County 2024 Point In Time (PIT) Count.

A total of 7,322 persons experiencing homelessness were counted during the 2024 PIT Count. Of the 7,322 individuals counted, 3,149 persons were sheltered while 4,173 persons were unsheltered. In comparing 2024 to 2022, there was a 37% increase in unsheltered population versus an increase in 18% in the sheltered population. However, when comparing 2019 to 2024, the increase was smaller at only 5% in the unsheltered population and 9% in the sheltered population. Total Orange County experienced a 28% increase from 2022 to 2024 and a 7% increase from 2019 to 2024.

“The 2024 Point in Time Count shows that the homelessness crisis continues to grow in Orange County with a majority of these neighbors stuck in the shelter system without permanent housing to move into,” said Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley. “While the data shows a decrease in unsheltered families and children, the number of unsheltered veterans, transitional age youth and seniors increased. Most of our unhoused neighbors have deep ties to Orange County and increasingly suffer from substance use disorders. We must re-double our efforts to build permanent supportive and affordable housing, especially for seniors, with renewed urgency.

“As the OC Housing Finance Trust Chair, I met with housing developers to drill down on ways we can cut red tape and decrease costs per unit. This week, I’m in Washington, D.C. advocating to close the federal government’s $17 million annual funding gap for affordable housing development in Orange County,” added Supervisor Foley.

To see the summary of the report, click here.

• • •

The Laguna Beach Police Department will host a Road Safety Expo on Sunday, May 19 at Top of the World Elementary School from 11 a.m.-2 p.m.

Included will be BMX, games, activities, vendors, lunch, face painting, bounce houses and more. The PD throughout will be promoting safe and legal operations of bicycles for all ages at this free event.

BMX riders will perform at 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m. The Laguna Beach Fire Department will also get into the act with their own demonstrations at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

You’re encouraged to bring your bike with you.

There will be a fun raffle for a chance to win a signed Tony Hawk helmet and an opportunity to win a bike and much more.

It’ll be a fun day…and, if the kids listen and learn, you can feel more comfortable sending them out in this busy world.

• • •

Mayor Sue Kempf and Councilmember Mark Orgill are moving forward with development plans across the board for a revamped Promenade. The mayor discusses that and touches on the committee meeting for Laguna Canyon Road Protect & Connect in this week’s Fair Game Laguna Podcast here.

• • •

Wednesday, May 15 at Susi Q Senior Center is live music they’re calling Bach Meets Bluegrass, from 10-11 a.m. It’s free.

Here’s what you have – Laguna Beach Live! and the Philharmonic Society of OC are teaming up and presenting Grammy-nominated violinist Tessa Lark and virtuoso composer/bassist Michael Thurber for a mix of Bach, bluegrass, jazz, folk and more.

Reservations can be made via thesusiq.org.

Lark’s credentials include performing with New York’s Carnegie Hall Citywide, La Jolla Music Society SummerFest, the Ravinia Festival, and the world premiere of Carlos Izcaray’s Violin Concerto – written for her – under the composer’s baton with the Alabama Symphony.

Thurber, a songwriter/bassist/producer, has an impressive young career that includes composing scores for The Royal Shakespeare Company, playing bass in The Late Show with Stephen Colbert house band, scoring shorts for Vanity Fair and BBC, plus co-founding the hit YouTube channel CDZA (30 million views).

Should be fun.

• • •

Tonight is the second Sunset Serenade at the Heisler Park Amphitheater featuring local singer/songwriter Jodi Siegel. Enjoy the sunset while listening to some good music.

Performance begins at 6:30 p.m.

You may also mark down Red Light Brass Band (Louisiana Jazz) for May 17 and Uncanny Valley (Rock) for May 24.

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A cookbook, a camera and paint – local artists shine light on maternal influence ahead of Mother’s Day

As Mother’s Day draws near, it’s not only a time to honor mothers, but also to celebrate their profound impact on shaping our lives. For many artists showcasing their work at various exhibitions, including the iconic Festival of Arts, the influence of their mothers has been a guiding light throughout their creative journeys.

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Courtesy of Chris Allwine

Chris Allwine with his mother

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Courtesy of FOA

“Afterglow” by Chris Allwine

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Courtesy of Chris Allwine

Young Chris and his mom

Christopher Allwine, a fine art photographer, credits his mother’s encouragement and support for igniting his passion for photography. “My mother was a classically trained animator for feature films and television. As a working artist herself, she always encouraged my brothers and me to embrace our creative pursuits without boundaries,” shared Chris. “Her unwavering support paved the way for my path in fine art photography; she actually gifted me my first camera on my eighth birthday. The rest is history.”

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Courtesy of Kate Cohen

Young Kate Cohen with her mom, dad (dressed in red), sister and brother

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Courtesy of FOA

Artwork by Kate Cohen

Kate Cohen, known for her experimental approach to art, fondly remembers her mother’s role in nurturing her artistic spirit from a young age. “My mother, a professional portrait artist, would bring down huge pieces of wonderful papers and pastels from her attic studio for me to use,” said Kate. “Experimentation has been my approach to art ever since.”

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Courtesy of FOA

“Persimmon” by Jill Maytorena

Jill Maytorena’s vibrant works mirror her mother’s eccentricity, shaping her artistic expression. “My mother fills spaces with the unconventional and the quirky possibilities of unexpected visual storytelling,” said Jill. “She has never asked me a confused ‘why’ about my work. Her ‘why’ is always asked with supportive curiosity. She always was and continues to be a foundational muse in my work.”

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Courtesy of FOA

“6 Pies” by Anthony Salvo

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Courtesy of Anthony Salvo

Cover of the Salvo Family Cookbook

Anthony Salvo, a talented oil painter, pays homage to his mother’s culinary talents through his artwork. “My mom was my inspiration for becoming an artist. She was an amazing cook, made everything from scratch and could sew anything,” said Anthony. “As a tribute to her, I designed a cookbook in her honor, filled with all her vintage family photos and immigration documents.”

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Courtesy of Rowan Foley

Rowan Foley with her mother

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Courtesy of FOA

Artwork by Rowan Foley

Rowan Foley’s artistic path was influenced by her mother’s guidance and encouragement, underscoring the invaluable role she plays in her creative process. “My mom is a painter and ceramic artist. She introduced me to painting at an early age and is still the first person I show my ideas to,” said Rowan. “Her dialogue on my work is an invaluable part of my process.”

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Courtesy of FOA

Printmaking – Colleen Kennedy Premer

Colleen Kennedy Premer’s career is a tribute to her late mother’s artistic legacy. “My mom, the artist Elaine Kennedy, is my greatest source of creative inspiration. She was a prolific painter and printmaker and turned everything she touched into something beautiful and thoughtful and interesting,” shared Colleen. “When I was accepted into the Festival of Arts (for printmaking) last year, I felt like everything had come full circle.”

This Mother’s Day, we celebrate not only the mothers who nurture us, but also the artistic legacy they help create. These artists stand out as a powerful example of this legacy, their work a lasting tribute to the mothers who believed in their dreams and planted the seeds of creativity. This summer, continue your exploration of artistic inspiration at the Festival of Arts Fine Art Show to see the captivating works of these talented artists and many others from July 3 through August 30 (closed July 4). Stay updated on all things Pageant of the Masters and Festival of Arts by following them on social media at @FestivalPageant and visiting their website at www.foapom.com.

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In Conversation: The Life & Legacy of Tony DeLap at The Honarkar Foundation draws large crowd

The panel discussion, In Conversation, the Life & Legacy of Tony DeLap, held at The Honarkar Foundation Foundation for Arts and Culture on Saturday, April 27 was a great success.

They had a huge turnout! Steve Munsey from Jedidiah Coffee provided guests with pour-over coffee, alongside tasty treats from Sidecar Doughnuts.

The three panelists, Gene Cooper, Tom Dowling and Mike McGee engaged in a conversation about Tony DeLap’s life and legacy. The discussion was moderated by Genevieve Williams, curator of the show.

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Photos courtesy of HFAC

Steven Munsey of Jedidiah Coffee serves guests

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(L-R) Casey McKay and Raquel Wilson hold the “Tony DeLap, A Survey of Works” catalog

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(L-R) Panel: Mike McGee, Genevieve Williams (moderator), Gene Cooper and Tom Dowling

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(L-R) Peter Blake, Jorg Dubin, G Ray Kerciu and Eric Johnson

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A large crowd attended the panel discussion

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Sugary delights from Sidecar Donuts

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(L-R) Kevin Appell, Phillip K Smith, Ken Kaplan and Sarah Strozza

It was a beautiful morning with wonderful attendees, including lots of locals, artists such G Ray Kerciu, Eric Johnson, Jorg Dubin, David Lee, Phillip K Smith and Marlo Bartels along with local institution directors such as Kevin Appel (professor and chair of the Department of Art, UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts), Sarah Strozza (senior director of Development, UCI Claire Trevor School of the Arts), Julie Perlin Lee (director, Laguna Art Museum), Ken Kaplan (board of trustees, Laguna Art Museum) and Linda Maggard (vice president, OCMA board of trustees).

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Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach receives Hero of Youth Award

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, also serving Saddleback Valley, received a Hero of Youth award from the national Boys & Girls Clubs of America for their advocacy on behalf of California’s youth.

“Clubs like ours have a unique role as community leaders in providing valuable afterschool programs to our country’s youth that enable them to achieve great futures,” said Pam Estes, CEO. “We are wholly committed to raising the visibility of the needs of youth in our community, especially the ones who need us most, and show what we can accomplish with the support of our elected officials and our community.”

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Courtesy of BGCLB

Club teens get valuable experience interning for the office of Senator Dave Min (center)

Last year, State Sen. Dave Min named the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach the Non-Profit of the Year, and this year CEO Pam Estes was named by Sen. Min a “Woman of Distinction” for her work advocating for youth in Laguna Beach and Saddleback Valley.

Most recently the club participated in Boys & Girls Clubs’ CA Alliance Days of Advocacy in Sacramento on April 16 and 17. Meetings were held at the State Capital with Sen. Dave Min, Assemblyperson Diane Dixon, the offices of State Sen. Catherine Blakespear and Assemblyperson Kate Sanchez. Discussions also took place with Michael Funk, director, Expanded Learning, CDE and Dr. Sohil Sud, director, CA Child and Youth Behavioral Health Initiative.

The growing relationship between the club and Sen. Min underscores the organization’s influential role in policy advocacy, paving the way for unique opportunities for its members and volunteers. Notably, this partnership has led to the creation of internship opportunities within Sen. Min’s office. Recognizing the dedication and potential of the club’s teen members, Sen. Min initiated this program. Through active participation in legislative processes and advocacy work, a standout member secured an internship with Sen. Min, offering invaluable governmental experience. This collaboration strengthens ties between the nonprofit and legislative sectors, amplifying the voices of young people in governance.

“Because of the steadfast advocacy of leaders like Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, our nation’s youth have access to skills and experiences that can put them on the path to great futures,” said Jim Clark, CEO & President of Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

 “These successes aren’t possible without a strong partnership with elected officials at the local, State and Federal levels. I commend the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach for their tireless work on behalf of their community’s youth and congratulate them on this much-deserved recognition.”

“Boys & Girls Clubs champion opportunities for all youth, equipping young people with the experiences and tools they need to succeed,” said CEO Pam Estes. “Our advocacy isn’t just a one-day event. We are raising our voices every single day, to ensure top issues and solutions impacting young people are prioritized in our community, our state and at the national level.”

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