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LBPD hosts Annual Road Safety Expo at TOW on May 19

Don’t miss a chance to practice your road safety! Join the Laguna Beach Police Department on Sunday, May 19 from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m. for their Annual Road Safety Bike Expo at Top of the World Elementary (TOW). They will be promoting safe and legal operations of bicycles for all ages at this free event.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Safety demonstrations from a previous Bike Expo

There will be plenty of activities. Bring your bike with you!

BMX riders will perform from 12-1:30 p.m., and the Fire Department will have demonstrations at 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

In addition to the BMX riders, attendees can participate in games, face painting, bounce houses and much more. Lunch will be available. Join the raffle for a chance to win a signed Tony Hawk helmet, a bike and more.

Top of the World Elementary School is located at 21601 Treetop Lane, Laguna Beach.

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California Happening event at Rivian Theater celebrated the counterculture era with a photo retrospective

Music History Hall Foundation presented an evening at the Rivian South Coast Theater on Friday, May 3, celebrating the music, fashion and culture of California Music Festivals during the years 1968-1971. The event was attended by more than 250 guests. Through never- before-seen photographs, music, fashion and discussion, the story was told of the Southern California festival experience during the height of the counterculture movement.

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Photo by Pam Sullivan

California Music Festivals set to music in a slideshow film on the big screen with Music History Hall Foundation Executive Director Patti Compton and Laguna Beach local and historical photographer Jan Nichols on stage

Laguna Beach local Jan Nichols displayed and discussed his historic images from music festivals and happenings – including the music, fashion, politics and culture of the era. The photographs of the concertgoers revealed an intimate window into the turbulent times and showcased young people of the Vietnam War era gathering to listen to music and make an impact on the situation overseas.

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Photo by Jude Fitzgerald

Jan Nichols, who penned the book “Love, Peace and Happiness,” capturing the music scene from 1968-1971

“We had a great time. The crowd arrived ready to have a good time and the evening was a huge success,” said Patti Compton, Music History Hall Foundation executive director.

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Photo by Kerry Trevino

Patti Compton amid the crowd at the Rivian South Coast Theater

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Photo by Kerry Trevino

More than 250 guests at the Rivian celebrated the music, fashion and culture during the height of the counterculture movement

Music History Hall Foundation is dedicated to the preservation of American music. Their programs explore cultural history through music, expanding cultural knowledge and music appreciation. For more information, visit

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MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center Foundation celebrates 50th anniversary at Spring Gala with a $1 million special announcement

From enchanting cocktails on the lawn to a jaw-dropping electric flash mob, nearly 400 guests experienced the lifesaving power of philanthropy at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center Foundation’s Spring Gala, presented by Acrisure. The fundraising gala was held on Saturday, April 20, at the Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach and was filled with surprises in celebration of Saddleback Medical Center’s 50th anniversary.

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Photos courtesy of John Riedy

(L-R) Laguna Beach residents Gary Levine, M.D., and Dawn Levine, along with former Laguna Beach residents Sarah Nederlander and Brooks Johnson

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Spring Gala Chairs Adam Himelson, partner at Acrisure Southwest Region and his wife Laura Himelson

Generous donors gave $707,000 – the most ever raised at the gala – to benefit Saddleback Medical Center’s mission of improving the health and well-being of individuals, families and their communities. Guests celebrated the special announcement of a $1 million gift from Jagtinder “Paul” and Anju Dang to establish the Jagtinder and Anju Dang Endowed Scholarship and Education Fund by MemorialCare President and CEO Barry Arbuckle, Ph.D.

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Jagtinder “Paul” and Anju Dang, owners of Orange County MRI, gifted $1 million to establish the Jagtinder and Anju Dang Endowed Scholarship and Education Fund at MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center

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Raise a toast

Dressed to the nines in tuxedos and gowns, attendees enjoyed a step-and-repeat champagne wall, cocktails and hors d’oeuvres on the Pacific Lawn before making their way into the ballroom. The tables showcased centerpieces that mixed Art Deco, glitz and glamour, accented by gold and lush feathers. Throughout the evening, guests struck a pose in front of The Wall of Memories: a historical journey of Saddleback Medical Center’s legacy of caring for the community, beginning in 1974.

At the start of the three-course dinner, the audience was thrilled by a flash mob performance by students from the Orange County School of the Arts.

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Waldorf Astoria Monarch Beach

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(L-R) Matt Kimmel (Board Chair – SMCF), Christy Ward (President – SMCF), Marcia Manker (CEO – SMC), Kelli Kimmel with Wyatt, Abbey and Hudson Kimmel

Christy Ward, president of MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center Foundation, alongside chairs Adam Himelson, partner at Acrisure Southwest Region and wife Laura Himelson, warmly welcomed and thanked the guests. Saddleback Medical Center CEO Marcia Manker, reminisced about the hospital’s 50 years of compassionate care for the community, sharing a video featuring a grateful patient story from the Kimmel family.

Seventeen years ago, Kelli Kimmel gave birth to triplets prematurely at 29 1/2 weeks at The Women’s Hospital at Saddleback Medical Center. Today, these triplets are thriving teenagers. The Kimmels expressed gratitude for the ongoing care and support received at Saddleback Medical Center for their family over the years.

“Every patient who walks through our door has a story,” said Manker. “Through good times and difficult times, we are here for them.”

Then the auctioneer kicked off the live auction where spirited bidding arose. Bidders won items and experiences including a Los Angeles Angels VIP package, two-night getaway at the Montage

Los Cabos, a Ladies’ Day Out experience, VIP access to BeachLife Festival and more.

After the auction, Brandi Cassingham, MSN, RN, vice president of Patient Care Services and Chief Nursing Officer, shared how nurses are the frontline heroes and heartbeat of the hospital.

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Laguna Beach residents Nora Evans, M.D., and husband Edward Mousally, D.D.S.

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Laguna Beach residents and Platinum Sponsor Doris Law and David Law, M.D.

“Whether our nurses are putting a patient at ease before their open heart surgery or organizing a 73rd birthday celebration for an ICU patient, they are caring for our patients day in and day out,” said Cassingham. “Our nurses go the extra mile when delivering the care our community deserves.”

Cassingham also shared how the Fund-a-Need will benefit the Nursing Education Simulation Lab, including the acquisition of a new SimMan, SimWoman and SimBaby, which are integral to the professional development of the frontline heroes.

“The specialization of nursing and patient care is changing rapidly,” said Cassingham. “These lifelike ‘patients’ simulate various medical conditions and emergencies such as heart attack, stroke and childbirth. They provide an opportunity for clinicians to practice performing procedures, diagnosing illnesses and managing emergencies without risking patient safety. This builds confidence and critical thinking skills.”

The stories shared moved numerous attendees to raise their paddles during the Fund-a-Need and give a total of $108,000 for the Nursing Education Simulation Lab.

As the gala grand finale, Arbuckle shared that Paul and Anju Dang, owners of Orange County MRI, were gifting $1 million to establish the Jagtinder and Anju Dang Endowed Scholarship and Education Fund at Saddleback Medical Center. As guests raised their glasses to toast this monumental announcement, this moment marked the ideal end to an evening filled with celebration.

“The Jagtinder and Anju Dang Endowed Scholarship and Education Fund will help build the expertise of nurses and hospital staff, supporting them in their career growth as they serve our patients,” said Arbuckle. “Paul and Anju’s generosity to this community will be felt for many years to come.”

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Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Laguna Beach Police, and Marine Safety Departments join forces for seal release event

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC), in collaboration with the Laguna Beach Police and Marine Safety Department, celebrated a momentous occasion with the successful release of two rehabilitated seals back into their natural habitat.

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Photos courtesy of LBPD

Members of PMMC, Laguna Beach Police and Marine Safety Departments wait to release the seals

In a heartwarming display of teamwork and dedication to marine conservation, Animal Service Officer John Thompson, Police Officer Tony Manzano, Marine Safety Officer Nicholas Ridge, and Police Officer Hunter Ketzel. Alongside Chief Jeff Calvert Marine, Safety Officer Porter Hogan, and the PMMC team, participated in the uplifting event.

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Animal Service Officer John Thompson and Marine Safety Officer Nicholas Ridge open the crates for the seal pups

Both Animal Service Officer John Thompson and Marine Safety Officer Nicholas Ridge were given the privilege of opening the crates for the seal pups, who eagerly embraced their newfound freedom with boundless energy.

Among the released seals was Coastie, rescued on January 28th from beneath the Newport Beach Pier, initially weighing 27.3 pounds. Named in honor of a Coast Guards volunteer, Coastie has now thrived under PMMC’s care, returning to the ocean weighing a robust 62.5 pounds.

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Coastie and Skoz head for the ocean

The second seal, Skoz, rescued on February 19th from the Dana Point Harbor jetty, weighed 34.9 pounds upon rescue. Named after a Harbor Patrol Officer, Skoz has made remarkable progress, tipping the scales at 69.3 pounds as he returns to the sea.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center extends its heartfelt appreciation to all involved in the rescue, rehabilitation, and release efforts, highlighting the invaluable partnership with the First Responders of Laguna Beach. Their unwavering support and collaboration contribute significantly to the protection and preservation of marine life along the coast.

For individuals encountering marine mammals in distress, please contact the Pacific Marine Mammal Center at 949.494.3050. For injured animals within Laguna Beach, reach out to Laguna Beach Animal Control via their non-emergency line at 949 497.0701.

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The Plant Man: Answering your May planting questions

“May, the month of sunshine, blooming flowers and endless possibilities.” –Unknown

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Photos courtesy of Steve Kawaratani

Steve Kawaratani

As May continues her embrace of our beautiful coastal enclave, gardeners are greeted with sunshine and warmer temperatures, providing the perfect conditions for a burst of springtime activity. May is the transition month from spring to summer, making it an ideal time to plant warm season annuals, perennials and vegetables.

Let’s get back to the garden with your questions for the Plant Man.

Q: What is the most important garden task this month?

A: As your plants enter their peak growing season, provide them with the required nutrients from a slow-release fertilizer. Select a fertilizer specifically formulated for your plants’ needs, whether it’s a balanced blend for most flowering perennials or a high nitrogen formulation for lawns and vegetables.

Q: Should I be pruning my garden now?

A: May is an excellent time to trim back overgrown shrubs and trees to maintain their shape and promote healthy growth. Be sure to prune spring-flowering plants after they finish blooming to encourage next year’s blossoms and don’t forget to use quality pruners.

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High quality Felco gardening pruners

Q: Do I need to worry about insects this month?

A: With the warmer weather, pests like aphids, whiteflies and snails will become more active in the garden. Keep an eye out for signs of infestation and take proactive measures to deter them, such as introducing beneficial insects or using organic pest control methods.

Q: Should I be mulching my garden?

A: Mulching not only helps conserve moisture and suppress weeds but also adds a decorative touch to your garden beds. Apply a layer of organic mulch, such as a planter’s mix or compost, around your plants to improve soil fertility and structure.

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Be inspired by the endless possibilities of gardening by the sea

Q: Should I install drip irrigation before summer?

A: Consider installing a drip irrigation system to efficiently deliver water to your plants’ roots while minimizing water waste.

By tending to horticultural imperatives, gardeners in Laguna and beyond can cultivate a flourishing outdoor oasis that thrives throughout the summer months. Embrace the beauty of the season and savor its flowering rewards as you engage in the endless possibilities of gardening by the sea.

Steve Kawaratani has been a local guy for seven decades and likes to garden and drive the Baja Peninsula with Catharine and Loki. He can be reached at, or 949.494.5141.

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“Evening with an Author” at the Susi Q will feature novelist Michelle Huneven on June 3

The Susi Q will continue its popular “Evening with an Author” series on Monday, June 3; this time featuring critically acclaimed award-winning author Michelle Huneven.

Huneven is the author of five novels, most recently Search, which the New York Times Book Review called “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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Photos courtesy of Susi Q

Michelle Huneven discusses her new novel on June 3

Huneven will be in conversation with podcaster and arts columnist Marrie Stone. The program runs from 5:15-7:30 p.m. and includes light appetizers, beverages and book signings. Attendees will receive a copy of the book. Cost is $40. Doors open at 4:30 p.m.

To register, visit

Susi Q recently chatted with moderator Stone about the upcoming event. She is uniquely qualified for events of this kind. Stone has conducted more than 700 author interviews over 17 years hosting the “Writers on Writing” radio-show-turned-podcast, including literary giants such as George Saunders and Elizabeth Strout. She’s also moderated many a literary panel.

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“Search” is Huneven’s fifth novel

“It’s the best job,” Stone said. “And now I often record the podcast from home, in my closet [for sound quality reasons], often in my pajamas. But it’s also lovely to chat in person in front of a live audience of enthusiastic readers at the Susi Q.”

Though not, she added, in her pajamas…

SQ: Why is Michelle Huneven a good choice for the “Evening with an Author” series?

Stone: This season, we focused on bringing authors across genres and perspectives to represent as much diversity of subject matter as possible. We typically try to bring a bit of fun buoyancy to our summer event, and Michelle proved the perfect fit. 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.

SQ: Do you have a favorite among her novels?

Stone: I first interviewed Michelle back in 2009 for her novel Blame, a book that explored alcoholism and its consequences, as well as moral ambiguity (which I always love talking about).

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(L-R) Author Lisa See with Marrie Stone at the last “Evening with an Author”

SQ: Can you share a couple of topics you plan to raise in conversation with her?

Stone: We haven’t yet explored the role of the church in modern America, and I think there’s some rich ground to cover in that conversation. Michelle will do that with an accessible, light and humorous touch. What does faith mean these days? What role does the church play in our contemporary culture and how does that role differ between generations? It will also be fun to talk about Michelle’s career as a food critic and how that informed so much of this book.

SQ: This is the fifth “Evening with an Author” at the Susi Q. They usually sell out. Why do you think they are so popular?

Stone: I think people are hungry for live book events, hungry for the opportunity to hear authors in person and hungry for community. We also make a special effort to bring authors to Laguna Beach that don’t often (or ever) appear here. They are big names for our small pond, and the Susi Q provides such an intimate and informal setting to commune with them.

SQ: Thanks so much, Marrie. See you at the Susi Q on June 3!

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 L.A. Times Book Award. Her third, Blame, was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and also a finalist for the L.A. 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.

For “Evening with an Author, register here.

Visit to review the many ongoing programs that Susi Q offers, from ukulele lessons, to standing yoga, to bridge and mahjong classes, not to mention support groups and clubs for special interest groups ranging from genealogy to current affairs to books and so much more. The Susi Q’s Care Management Department (now the Dorene Cares Office) provides free consultation, education and practical resources for vulnerable seniors, enabling them to stay safe, informed and independent.

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Pacific Marine Mammal Center and Visit Laguna Beach celebrating one-year partnership

The Laguna Beach community is renowned for its spirit of collaboration and support, and the one-year milestone of the partnership between Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) and Visit Laguna Beach is a shining example of this. The collaboration began when Rachel O’Neill-Cusey, president & CEO of Visit Laguna Beach, toured PMMC and discovered an opportunity to support the center during its retail location closure due to The Next Wave major expansion.

Visit Laguna Beach aims to attract national and international overnight visitors to Laguna Beach, who will support local businesses, community events and activities. Adding PMMC’s retail shop into their space captured the synergy between the two organizations. O’Neill-Cusey, expressing her continued enthusiasm for the partnership, remarked, “Our collaboration with Pacific Marine Mammal Center embodies the spirit of community that defines Laguna Beach, and our dedication to the community.”

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Courtesy of PMMC

PMMC’s retail location situated within the Visit Laguna Beach Visitor’s Center

Located at 381 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, the Visit Laguna Beach Visitor’s Center serves as a hub for both locals and visitors, offering insights into the town’s vibrant culture and provides information on the latest happenings. The addition of a PMMC retail shop further enriches this experience, allowing patrons to support marine conservation efforts while exploring the beauty of Laguna Beach.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center extends heartfelt gratitude to Visit Laguna Beach and its board members for their unwavering support throughout the partnership. Among them are Chair of the Board Joanna Bear, general manager of Surf & Sand Resort; Vice Chair Kurt Bjorkman, chief operating officer of The Ranch at Laguna Beach; Treasurer Chris Wylie, area general manager of Casa Loma Beach Hotel & Laguna Beach House; Secretary and Founding Member Karyn Philippsen, CMP, Owner of K.P. Company; Sharbie Higuchi, director of Marketing, Public Relations & Merchandising, Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters; Debbie MacDonald, national sales manager of corporate events, Tommy Bahama; Armando Campos, hotel manager, Montage Laguna Beach; Mark Orgill, Councilmember, City of Laguna Beach; Gavin Curran, assistant city manager, City of Laguna Beach, advisory member; Phelton Calhoun, general manager, La Casa Del Camino; Katie Cahill, general manager, Hotel Joaquin; AnnaSophia Servin, manager Public Affairs, John Wayne Airport, Orange County and other esteemed members representing various facets of Laguna Beach’s community.

Visit Laguna Beach Board Chair and General Manager of Surf & Sand Resort Laguna Beach Joanna Bear, sees the benefit of marine education within the community firsthand: “We are proud of our partnership with PMMC, and know our guests enjoy learning more about marine conservation during their stay in Laguna Beach,” Bear said.

The next time you’re Downtown, stop in. And remember, to tell them that their friends at PMMC sent you.

For more information, visit Laguna Beach at and Pacific Marine Mammal Center at

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Laguna Beach Chamber Singers to hold May 11 concert

Laguna Beach Chamber Singers (LBCS) will present “Daughters of Mothers,” a captivating choral concert celebrating the profound mother-daughter bond on Saturday, May 11. This meticulously curated performance weaves together classical, contemporary and folk compositions, guiding the audience through the emotional tapestry of motherhood.

Featuring works by renowned composers such as Bob Chilcott, Eric Whitacre and original poetry from local matriarchs in collaboration with Third Street Writers, the concert promises an unforgettable exploration of the universal themes that connect generations.

The concert takes place at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church and limited tickets are available at

Admission is $20 general; $15 seniors and students.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church is located at 480 Park Ave., Laguna Beach. For more information, email

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Music Director Ami Porat announces the festive Mozart Classical Orchestra Concert, “Spring Blossoms”

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

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

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Meet Pet of the Week Alice

You will love hopping through the spring grasses with Alice by your side. This soft bunny is very lovable and enjoys being held and brushed. Alice is just six months old, and is “hopping” to be your companion for a very long time.

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

Courtesy of the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter

Alice is a loving bunny who enjoys being held

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,

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Now entering their sixth year, Coast Film & Music Festival is accepting 2024 submissions

Coast Film & Music Festival (CFMF) has announced that they are beginning to accept film submissions for the 6th Annual Film & Music Festival planned for November 13-17. The festival will feature a rich variety of independent feature and short films, musical performances and interactive experiences for the entire family.

CFMF is the signature event under the auspices of the Coast Film Foundation (CFF), which produces an extensive array of events throughout the year that promote films, support filmmakers, build community, and inspire positive change through the power of film and storytelling.

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Photo by Candice Dartez

Coast Film & Music Festival organizers celebrate their fifth annual event in 2023

CFMF offers collaboration among creators and diverse communities, sparking innovative ideas and embodying the essence of outdoor lifestyle, culture, conservation and adventure.

Set against the stunning backdrop of the Festival of the Arts grounds in Laguna Beach, the festival promises an immersive experience.

Passes and tickets will be available after Labor Day. Here’s a preview of what attendees can look forward to: 80+ documentary and adventure films; the Coast Summit Symposium; Q&As with film directors, athletes and special guests before and after screenings; speaker panels and workshops; Youth Filmmaker and environmental stewardship programs; live music performances; art exhibitions and artist signings; the Do Good Village with sponsors, non-profits and environmental partners; networking opportunities with filmmakers, athletes and creators; and party time with local food, drink and silent disco.

It’s an event you’ll want to be a part of.

The Coast Summit, mentioned above and presented by A New Earth Project, will be a day-long event focused on impact storytelling and environmental conservation that kicks off the Coast Film and Music Festival.

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Photo by Heidi Zumbrun

Coast Film & Music Festival 2023 (L-R): CFMF Co-Founder Ben Warner, Author/Naturalist/Speaker Obi Kaufmann and CFMF Co-Founder Enich Harris

Last year’s inaugural summit featured speaker panels and workshops led by sustainability experts and professional athletes, including Jeremy Jones, Obi Kaufmann, Amie Engrebretson, Timmy O’Neill, Kai Lenny, Greg Long and others. It attracted an audience of 200+ consisting of passionate changemakers, athletes, creators, industry professionals, city leaders, and college and high school students.

The Coast Film & Music Festival was launched in 2019 and has become a Laguna Beach staple annual event. To learn more, visit and

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Save the Date: Local author Kaira Rouda’s new novel launches on May 21

Local author Kaira Rouda hooked readers with Beneath the Surface last year and now the unlikable but irresistibly addictive Kingsley family is back for Under the Palms (May 21, Thomas & Mercer). This title would make a great addition to summer roundups, reviews, or excerpts.

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Photos courtesy of Kaira Rouda

Bestselling author Kaira Rouda

Upcoming events:

Book Carnival on May 19 in Orange

Zibby’s Bookshop on May 20 in Santa Monica

OC Literary Guild Event on May 23 at Mission Viejo Country Club, Mission Viejo

Rouda is a USA Today, Amazon Charts and internationally bestselling, multiple award-winning author of contemporary fiction that explores what goes on beneath the surface of seemingly perfect lives. Her domestic suspense novels include Best Day Ever, The Favorite Daughter, All the Difference, The Next Wife, Somebody’s Home, The Widow and Beneath the Surface, the first book in the Kingsleys series.

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“Under the Palms” launches on May 21

Under the direction of the Kingsleys’ new president, Paige, the family has gathered for a weekend retreat at a luxurious Laguna Beach resort.

Still clinging to the hope of succession are the sons of Richard Kingsley – the family patriarch and CEO John, the oldest, who’s clawed his way back from a dark tragedy and Paige’s estranged husband, Ted, the golden boy. When Richard’s ex and his wayward daughter join the fray, Paige finds herself with two fast allies. They know a secret that could shatter the family legacy. Call it leverage, call it revenge, the Kingsley women believe they have the upper hand. But as the power games begin, greater threats than the howling Santa Ana winds are coming. Because this weekend, amid so much greed and betrayal, no Kingsley is safe. It’s family. Watch your back.

Rouda lives in Southern California with her family and is at work on her next novel. She is a founding member of the Killer Author Club, supporting other suspense and mystery authors.

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A glimpse at Crystal Cove in May

Crystal Cove State Park has a variety of events in May, include Art in the Park on May 4. 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.

Friday, May 10: 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 known as the “Perimeter of the Park.” 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. Please arrive by 7:15 a.m. 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, May 11: Sunset Treasure and photo Op Walk from 6:30-8:30 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 as you walk 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.

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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

For a complete calendar of events, go to

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Layered by Paige Elise: a one-of-a-kind find in Laguna Canyon


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Although it opened in November 2022, you’ve probably driven past Layered by Paige Elise many times without noticing it. A hidden treasure on Laguna Canyon Road, it’s well worth a stop to take a peek – you’re sure to be enchanted by what you find.

Owner Paige Cogorno, along with her team – Gracie Klein and Jenna Rose – brought together rare finds from international and local sources, to create a stunning collection of timeless pieces.

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Paige Cogorno, owner of Layered by Paige Elise

Cogorno admits that the business is a collaboration. Klein, who handles the marketing, has been best friends with Cogorno since sixth grade and worked with her for the past five years. Rose studied law, but decided to take a different path, and has worked with Cogorno for two years. She handles the social media, operations and shipping.

“I was really passionate about studying law until I realized how much reading was involved,” Rose said. “Now I’m doing something I love and it’s a great environment to work in.”

“I started working for Paige in 2018, so I’ve learned design from her over the past five years,” Klein said.

“I met Paige through like a random connection and then I ended up taking a community college course for interior design specifically,” Rose said. “My parents are both in marketing and I learned a lot of it through Gracie. It’s nice being a small team – we collaborate and benefit from each other’s strengths. I do the Instagram (and website) primarily – it tells people if we have new inventory and what’s happening in the store.

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One of the furniture vignettes

“Everything we do is layered,” Klein said. “We use a lot of textural elements to make it interesting.”

The colors are monochromatic, which on the surface appears to be a simple combination of whites, creams and beiges, but it’s anything but simple – and that’s where the name of the shop “Layered” came into play.

The textures – a blend of exquisite natural fabrics, weathered woods and hard surfaces – complement each other to create a rich and dense array of vignettes.

A graduate of San Luis Obispo California State Polytechnical, Cogorno received her BA in Interior Architecture at the Interior Design Institute.

“We live in Newport currently, but my husband grew up in Laguna, and we love it, we’re here all the time.”

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(L-R) Paige, Jenna and Gracie

This is the fourth store location – the others are located in Fashion Island, Los Olivos and Roundtree, Texas, which is only open during the popular antique market season.

“I always wanted to open a shop like this, but I was on the design side,” Cogorno said. A designer since 2007, she is also the owner and principal designer of Paige Elise Interior Design which was launched in 2011. “I was lucky enough to have a client who wanted her house to have authentic Moroccan doors, so she sent the team to Morocco, and we sourced all these beautiful doors.”

That’s when Cogorno fell in love with searching for and sourcing items internationally.

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One-of-a-kind design pieces

The mother of 8-year-old twins, who no doubt keep her extremely busy during the time away from the shops, Cogorno said, “We started the shop online and then in 2020, we opened in Costa Mesa as a pop up and ended up staying there for year and a half. Then we moved from the Costa Mesa store to Fashion Island (next to Macy’s).” Cogorno opened the Canyon location in November 2022 and Los Olivos in March 2023. The shop in Texas just recently opened.

“I kind of fell into this location,” said Cogorno. “Dan Luna does custom cabinetry and we’d worked together on a bunch of projects. He found the space, and he has offices here now. He said, ‘It’s time to do your store and we’ll have offices in the back.’”

After remodeling, the shop became a beautiful space for both the furniture and design finds, and the offices.

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Jenna, Paige and Gracie with an unusual design element

“Thank God I have an amazing team in Gracie and Jenna,” she said. “I couldn’t do all this without them – and my staff at the other stores as well. My favorite part is hunting down rare items. I love searching and finding all the goodies; it makes me happy. On the buying trips, we don’t always go together, but I usually have someone with me. In June we go to France and Belgium. If clients are looking for something specific, we can try and find it for them. We have many one-of-a-kind pieces.”

Layered by Paige Elise is not like a Crate & Barrel where you place your order and then wait. Customers have the advantage of being able to take an item home immediately. All the furniture is sold off the floor, there’s no ordering or waiting.

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Fair Game



Thanks mom for being there for all of us kids, even when I probably didn’t deserve it

This weekend is Mother’s Day. Why do we celebrate? Because she is the one that is always there…or should be. When we’re young we know we can run to her when we fall and skin our knee because she will make “it” feel better. When we stay home from school sick, maybe even throwing up in the toilet, she’s the one that is rubbing our back saying it’ll be okay…I’m here for you.

When we got a bad haircut and didn’t want to go to school, or worse yet, when a zit emerged making us feel like we’d become the butt of everyone’s jokes at school, mom was there with comfort.

Mothers are simply the best!

Some of us were certainly luckier than others along this road in life. Mom for me meant a nicely prepared breakfast every morning…cooked in three shifts: one for my dad who would rise and be out of the house early; round two for the three older kids before we went off to school and finally, another serving for the two younger sisters. Afterwards, when I did leave for school, I left with a bagged lunch, made fresh each morning, always including a sandwich, chips, a piece of fruit and a little dessert.

And guess what, when we arrived home from school, and/or sports, the kitchen counters were always filled with racks of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies or the many other treats she’d always surprise us with.

Friends used to want to come to our house with us because they knew what was waiting there. In fact, one friend felt so comfortable that he’d walk into our kitchen, take a few cookies, grab the milk out of the fridge and pour himself a glass of milk to wash it down.

But that’s what my mom wanted…to make all of us kids feel proud of the home we lived in.

Did I mention, too, that somehow/some way, the entire house magically cleaned itself and our beds were made when were off at school?

It didn’t stop there, she also made dinner EVERY night…and it was always good, no, great…including a more formal sit-down affair each and every Sunday.

There were other things – I remember when I got my first paper route (yes, I’ve been in this business a long time), guess who would rise and shine on those cold, early rainy mornings to drive the car while I threw papers? Right.

The person who would drop everything she was doing to drive me to the golf course every day and pick me up later when it became dark? You got it.

My mom loved us no matter what. All five of us. Sure, there were times when she showed her disappointment, but only because she knew we could do better.

And trust me, I gave her every opportunity to give up on a kid and only love the others; fortunately, she never did.

And all she really asked for in return, or so it seemed, was for her weekly trip to the beauty parlor.

My mom is still with us…94 next month. She’s certainly not what she used to be, but she’s still a person that always smiles and loves in the only way she’s capable of now, while fully engulfed in a battle that Alzheimer’s seems to be winning.

Still, you should all be so lucky!

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom this weekend, and to all the others out there that make their kid’s lives better, no matter what!

Let’s make sure we all show them our thanks!

• • •

This weekend is the 2024 Aliso Pro Am, the first stop of this year’s West Coast Skim Tour where top pros and the best amateurs will battle it out to be west coast champions. Premiere Skim takes place at Aliso Beach from Saturday, May 11, beginning at 7:30 a.m., concluding at the end of the day on Sunday, May 12.

The Premier Skimboard League is “a concept which has come from many years of competing, volunteering and sitting in a classroom wishing to be at the beach,” according to current board members Clay Powell, Kyle Willcox and Miles Boyd.

Now the concept is a reality as they strive to bring skimboarding to a new competitive level.

To support and purchase tickets for the event, go to

• • •

Gallery Q at the Susi Q will present its new show, “Visual Creations,” between May 15 and July 10 in collaboration with the Community Art Project (CAP) of Laguna Beach.

Entries will be accepted this Thursday, May 9 between 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. or from 5-6 p.m. Mark your calendar for the opening reception is scheduled for Friday, May 17 from 5-6:30 p.m. and it is open to the public.

“The Visual Creations exhibition allows for a wide range of innovative art forms,” said Judy Baker, Gallery Q’s arts coordinator and Susi Q’s finance manager. “We’re excited to once again honor the creativity of our artists.”

Susi Q and Gallery Q continue to celebrate their Arts Patron Award, given by the Laguna Beach Arts Alliance for their stellar work in nurturing art in the town. The award also recognizes Susi Q’s literary and music programs, but Gallery Q is the workhorse of their arts outreach.

“I’m so proud of Arts Director Bill Atkins, Judy Baker and of course the wonderful Carole Zavala who founded Gallery Q and chairs its Arts Advisory Board for the honor,” said Nadia Babayi, executive director of the Susi Q. “I’m looking forward to the new show!”

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Courtesy of Susi Q

Judy Baker and Bill Atkins displaying recent Arts Patron Award received for the Laguna Beach Arts Alliance for their continuing work in nurturing arts in Laguna Beach

Gallery Q, located at the Susi Q, 380 Third St., is dedicated to supporting upcoming and established artists in the community. All media are accepted for their shows, including photography, collage, paintings, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, relief, mosaics, jewelry, textiles, mixed media and digital art.

Artists should drop off their artwork with a completed application form available at along with an entry fee of $25 and $5 for one additional submission (until exhibit space is no longer available). Late submissions won’t be accepted.

The artwork must remain for the duration of the show, which will take place from May 15 through July 10. The public will be able to view the art during normal business hours on weekdays between 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

“Invite your friends and family to the reception on May 17. There’ll be beverages, including wine for a donation, as well as music and appetizers,” Baker said. “Limited free underground parking is available too.”

Artists may sell their work directly to would-be buyers or exhibit work not-for-sale.

• • •

The question presented by the Laguna Arts Museum – Is this the best kids’ summer camp in town?

I don’t know, so you be the judge – but here’s what they’re offering. The LAM Kids’ Summer Camp Series combines museum-quality art instruction and interactive fun on Mondays, a day when the museum is closed, beginning June 24.

The LAM Kids Summer Day Camp and Mini Camp series takes place from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. for kids 6-12 years old, or 3-5 p.m. for the Mini.

Here are some of the weekly class titles – Art Adventure (June 24), Awesome Animals (July 8), Creation Station (July 15), Cartoons (July 22), Under the Sea (July 29) and Art Play (August 5).

Check it all out here –

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2024 Gate & Garden Tour

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

On Saturday, May 4, attendees were treated to a tour of some of the magical gardens of Laguna Beach during the 2024 Gate & Garden Tour.

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(L-R) Jane Leary (president of LB Garden Club) and Patty Gaffney

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Trudy Josephson ready for the hat contest

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Waiting for the bus to arrive

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All about bees – with flower seed packets, honey and information

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Dalynn Malek all decked out for the hat contest

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Docents at Garden #3, Woodland Path

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Glorious flowers in the garden of Marc and Stefani

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Contemporary Asian Hillside Garden

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Light drizzle the night before decorated these irises with raindrops

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Cottage Garden arbor to paint

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House #4 – Elephant Retreat

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Marcia’s low maintenance Zen Garden, winner of the Water Wise Garden award

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One of Laguna’s original beach cottages lovingly restored

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Rosy, owner of the fifth home, is dressed for bees

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House #8 – Soothing Retreat

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House #9 – Historic Laguna

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Last home on the tour, well-established and serene shade garden

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As if on cue, a bee flirting in raspberry blossoms

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LBHS All Class Picnic 2024

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The 2024 LBHS All Class Picnic was held on Saturday, May 4 at the picnic tables in Heisler Park. Attendees mingled with friends and enjoyed hot dogs and chips, sodas and water. This year there was a new T-shirt design. The class of ‘69 started their informal 55th reunion at the picnic this year too, with a gathering that evening at Royal Hawaiian.

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Welcome to the 2024 LBHS All Class Picnic!

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(L-R) Gary and Cindy Gregg, class of 1973 with Bill McManus

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Friends catch up with old friends

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Bob Foes, class of 1964

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Good to see former classmates

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Don Guyer, Class of 1957

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Large turnout for the picnic

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Yearbooks are helpful for this type of gathering

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(L-R) Gordon Brown, class of 1969 and John Campbell, class of 1968

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Penny Favour Stastny

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Les Cox

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Beautiful day for a class picnic

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Dennis’ Local Almanac


70-degree days, where are you?

On Sunday, May 5, we were at the midpoint of spring and we’re still waiting for that elusive 70-degree day. Here at the halfway point, spring of 2024’s first six weeks are the chilliest on record with an average high temp of only 63.3 degrees. We’ve hit 69 for a high a couple of times but that’s about it. We’re still getting cold fronts from the northwest with even some rain showers on Saturday. Behind the front’s passage came strong gusty WNW winds that did a real number on our water temps. They scratched and clawed their way up to 62 last Friday, but yesterday, they plunged back into the mid 50s.

It doesn’t appear that it’s going to warm up much anytime soon as that stubborn trough of low pressure with its chilly temps is still loitering off most of the Pacific West Coast. Some parts of the Sierra Nevada picked up nearly 10 inches of snow down as low as 4,000 ft., and parts of the Cascades in the Northwest had upwards of a foot and a half down to 3,500 ft. It’s hard to predict what kind of summer we’ll get this year at this point, but an impending La Niña event might be a factor to some degree. Stay tuned on that one.

I’m sure that some of you out there have witnessed firsthand a powerful super cell thunderstorm and all the violent weather it has to offer. This month is the prime time for such atmospheric dramatics.

This year, April finished with the second highest number of reported tornadoes with 254. Only 2011 had more tornadoes nationwide with a whopping 354. If you’ve never been to the plains and America’s heartland of the Midwest in the spring, chances are you’ve never witnessed firsthand the kind of weather I’m talking about here.

Out here in the West, especially everywhere west of the Rockies, we do have our share of some strong thunderstorms, but not with the magnitude of these storms anywhere east of the Continental Divide. There, different air masses come into play on quite a regular basis from April through June. During this period, the whole thing starts when a Pacific front moves onshore bringing some rain and wind, but generally below severe status as the surrounding air in the west is fairly stable as a rule.

Once that system crosses the Rockies it’s a whole different ball game – these Pacific-borne systems are now the property of a place known as “Tornado Alley” where the weather goes completely haywire. This Tornado Alley starts in Texas and stretches to the north sometimes all the way to the U.S. and Canadian border and beyond. When conditions are ripe, dangerous tornadoes form that are deadly and most destructive, similar to what’s going on as we speak. Not only do we have tornadoes of great concern, but then we have intense hailstorms that can produce hailstones as big as softballs or even larger on some occasions. On top of that, there are torrential rains up to a foot or more in just 24-48 hours, and on top of all that, there are dangerous straight-line winds as high as hurricane force.

I have personally witnessed all this insanity firsthand in early May of 1967 at a place called Amarillo, Texas Air Force Base in the North Texas area known as the Texas Panhandle (in the southern end of Tornado Alley) while I was attending weather school. Being a California native of Laguna Beach, I had no idea how intense these super cells could get, as here in town we only average a few thunderstorms per year, and they aren’t that severe. Boy, was I in for a real surprise! Gotta run.

See y’all next week, ALOHA!

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A slow day at the coffee shop

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Photo by John Hovanesian

Perhaps a little caffeine for this snail, obviously named Shauna

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Laguna Dance Festival receives $5,000 grant from the FOA Foundation

The Laguna Dance Festival (LDF) wishes to thank the FOA Foundation for its generous grant of $5,000 in support of LDF’s educational programming, its Summer Intensive Workshop. The workshop takes place June 17-22 at the Laguna Beach High School Dance Studio. The intensive will be taught by well-known dancers and choreographers to advanced students 14 years and older.

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Courtesy of

Grant supports LDF’s educational programming

Among the esteemed faculty will be Jodie Gates, LDF founder and artistic director, and architect of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance; Fiona Lummis, Netherlands Dance Theatre; Jillian Meyers, Ground Grooves and Jim Vincent.

This grant enables LDF to continue fulfilling its mission of providing world-class dance performances and outstanding education to young artists. The Laguna Dance Festival is one of Orange County’s major cultural art events as well as an important showcase for new and established dance companies and artists.

For details and performances, visit, or call 949.715.5578.

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