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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• • •

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

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

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

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

• • •

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

The locals came in an impressive third.

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Courtesy of Laguna Beach Rugby

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

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

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

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

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State of the City Mayor’s Luncheon on April 2

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

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

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

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

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

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

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Flag bearer

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

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Panel answered questions from the audience

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

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

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

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

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Joe Hanauer

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

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Imer Bauta, CEO of Empress Builders

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

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

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

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


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Eclipse draws crowds around town

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Some took it in lying down on Main Beach

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Photo by Theresa Keegan

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

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Photo by Theresa Keegan

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

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

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

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

And, it captured the interest of all ages

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Dennis’ Local Almanac

By DENNIS McTIGHE

A solar eclipse and a chilly spring

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until then, ALOHA!

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Winners announced for the 2024 Art That’s Small awards

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

Youth Art Advisory AwardPirate Tower by Susana Cruciana

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Courtesy of Susana Cruciana Instagram

“Pirate Tower” by Susana Cruciana

City Hall Choice AwardBoca Prins by David Kizziar

Honorable Mentions

~Stevens Square by Andrew Cortez

~Tide Pools at Golden Hour by Jonathan McHugh

~Dimentia #1 by Melody Nuñez

1st placeBlue Laguna by Sarah Ciavarella

2nd placeLittle One by Mika Denny

3rd placeMain Beach Morning by Brian Jones

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

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

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

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Courtesy of the Office of Senator Nguyen

Senator Nguyen (right) presents award to Bobbie Jordan

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

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

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

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Courtesy of Laguna Beach Live!

The Wimberly Bluegrass Band will perform on June 9 at LCAD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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BGCLB announces upcoming summer camp programs beginning on June 17

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

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

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Courtesy of BGCLB

Soaking up sunshine smiles at BGCLB

There are two convenient locations in Laguna Beach:

Canyon Enrichment Center

1085 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach

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

Bluebird Enrichment Center

1470 Temple Terrace, Laguna Beach

For Grades K-5th

Participants will engage in:

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

–Basketball showdowns promoting teamwork, sportsmanship and healthy competition.

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

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

Secure a spot now. Visit www.bgclagunabeach.org/register/, or call 949.494.2535 to reserve a place.

For more information about Specialty Camps, visit www.bgclagunabeach.org/specialty-summer-camps/.

For more information about or Summer Camps, visit www.bgclagunabeach.org/summer-camps/.

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

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MoonGoat Coffee Roasters celebrates with Ribbon Cutting Ceremony on March 28

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

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Photos courtesy of LBCC

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

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

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

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Mission accomplished!

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

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

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

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

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A glimpse at Crystal Cove in April

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

Here is a glimpse at a few of the offerings.

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

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

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

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

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Photos courtesy of Crystal Cove State Park

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Washed up

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

As the tide rolls out, the seaweed rolls in

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Laguna Beach Garden Club Monthly Meeting and Speaker Series

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

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

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Photos courtesy of LBGC

Robin Jones aka Honey Girl

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

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Monarch butterflies

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

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

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

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

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

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Courtesy of FOA

Get the app now, it’s free!

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

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

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

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

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

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Experience the magic of giving with Pageant of the Masters

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

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Courtesy of FOA

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

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

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

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

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

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

To stay up to date on all things Pageant of the Masters and Fine Arts Show visit www.foapom.com. To support the Festival of Arts, visit www.foapom.com/supportnow.

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Taking the higher road

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

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

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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Courtesy of Dave Kiff

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• • •

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

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

• • •

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

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

• • •

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

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

For more information about the art activities, contact Mar Stash at 949.494.2535, or mars@bgclaguna.org, or visit the club’s website at www.bgclagunabeach.org.

• • •

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

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

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

The incident is beyond acceptable under any circumstances.

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Inside City Hall

Dear Laguna Beach Community,

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

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

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

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach Mayor Sue Kempf

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photos by Candice Dartez Photography

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

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

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

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

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

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

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SchoolPower Executive Director Sarah Durand addresses guests

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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LBUSD elementary school students greet guests

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

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

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

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

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

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Laguna Beach County Water District honored

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

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

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Courtesy of LBCWD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Photos courtesy of The Ranch at Laguna Beach

Fire beat Police in the 3rd Annual Tournament

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

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

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

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

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Feast for a king

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

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A delicious BBQ awaited hungry golfers in the ballroom

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

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

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Barefoot players received a mulligan

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

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The Sacramento Chronicles

By ASSEMBLYMEMBER DIANE DIXON

April 5, 2024

Hello Laguna Beach!

In Sacramento, committee hearings on 2,100+ proposed bills are in full swing. I spend much of my time meeting with groups and individuals advocating their various legislative issues coming before my committees. This month, we will face a major deadline: All bills with a cost impact to the state must be voted through a policy committee by April 26.

This week, I was added to a seventh committee: Privacy and Consumer Protection. I have replaced Assemblymember Vince Fong, who is running for Congress. I am looking forward to working with a whole new area of the law.

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Photos courtesy of the Office of Assemblymember Diane Dixon

Assemblywoman Diane Dixon (R-Newport Beach)

For me, a typical day consists of committee hearings overlapping with one another as we all scurry from one meeting to another. I am either presenting my own bill, serving as a committee member, or both. A lot of steps are achieved in this process walking back and forth between the Capitol building and our legislative offices across the street. I have hit 10,000 steps nearly every day, but who’s counting? On a more serious note, my staff and I are working hard to push my bill package through the process. Below are several of my bills to highlight for you this month:

AB 1931, or Kayleigh’s Law, will allow victims of heinous crimes to seek a lifetime injunction against their perpetrator. Current law allows for temporary restraining orders, or protective orders, in cases of domestic violence, harassment, elder abuse and other crimes to protect victims. These protective orders only provide short-term relief and require a victim to face their perpetrator in court every time the order is close to expiration. This bill will provide critical protections for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The bill is currently awaiting a hearing date with the Assembly Public Safety Committee. Two weeks ago I held a press conference on my bill and several news outlets picked it up. You can watch it here. This is an important bill to every victim of sexual abuse.

AB 2121 – California has 1,801 licensed alcoholism and substance use treatment facilities (aka sober living or recovery homes) statewide, with 331 of these facilities located in Orange County. This bill would provide consistency for adult alcoholism and substance use recovery or treatment facilities with all other state-licensed group homes. It will protect existing neighborhoods, in addition to residents recovering in state-licensed group homes, by ensuring with distancing requirements there is not an overconcentration of these facilities in one neighborhood. This bill has been referred to the Assembly Committee on Health and is awaiting a hearing date.

AB 2626 will extend for 10 years the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) compliance dates for local governments for their medium- and heavy-duty vehicles as required in the Advanced Clean Fleets Regulation. This extension would allow ZEV and battery manufacturers to advance technologies to address issues specific to these specialty fleet vehicles. Unfortunately, the Assembly Transportation Committee has indicated that it does not plan to set this bill for a hearing and instead encourages cities and agencies to work directly with the California Air Resources Board. I do not agree this is the best solution for our cities (or small and large businesses).

Next month I will update you on any bills successfully making it through their policy committees. There is progress!

In the district, I was thrilled to celebrate Women’s History Month. I honored Marcia Manker as my 2024 Woman of the Year. Manker serves as the current CEO for MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills and Orange Coast Center in Fountain Valley, which are leading acute-care hospitals serving the communities of Orange County. As CEO, she is helping to revolutionize women’s healthcare in south Orange County with the new MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center Women’s Health Pavilion targeted to open this summer. Additionally, Manker oversees all hospital operations, strategy development and business initiatives. With a commitment to mentoring other women, she embodies everything this award stands for. I am delighted to honor her with this recognition. Congratulations, Marcia Manker!

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Assemblymember Diane Dixon (R) presents Marcia Manker, CEO for MemorialCare Saddleback Medical Center in Laguna Hills and Orange Coast Center in Fountain Valley, with recognition as Assembly District 72’s 2024 Woman of the Year

Mark your Calendars for Earth Day! This year, Earth Day falls on Saturday, April 22. I look forward to celebrating and protecting the future of my beautiful district by volunteering at a local beach clean-up event. If you would like to give back to your community, be sure to check out these volunteer events: www.orangecounty.net/html/earthday.html.

Assembly District 72 Non-profit Recognition. Do you know a non-profit organization making a difference in your community? Help me select one to honor by nominating them for California Nonprofits Day. Nominations close Tuesday, April 9, so please fill this form out: 2024 Non-Profit of the Year Nomination Form (ca.gov).

Not receiving invitations to my events? Send an email to assemblymember.dixon@assembly.ca.gov to be added to our distribution list or visit my website: Diane Dixon website. Be sure to follow me on Instagram, Facebook and X.

Thank you Stu News for keeping our local residents informed! I am honored to reach Stu News readers with highlights about my life and times serving you in Sacramento. Until next month – be well!

Diane Dixon is a two-term Newport Beach City Councilmember and two-time Mayor. She is currently serving her first term in Sacramento.

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The Plant Man: a visit to Anza-Borrego State Park

By Steve Kawaratani

“Wildflowers aren’t meant to be cut and tamed. They’re meant to be loved & admired.” –Anthony T. Hincks

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Photos courtesy of Steve Kawaratani

Steve Kawaratani

Leaving behind our springtime visit with Cooper in Palm Desert, a literature festival in Bombay Beach and dinner with friends in Indio, we headed southeast through the Coachella Valley, towards Anza-Borrego State Park, in search of late March wildflowers. While we were likely a couple weeks late for the peak superbloom, I was confident we would find abundant desert wildflowers once we turned on S22 towards Borrego Springs, due to significant autumn and winter rainfall.

The Coachella Valley’s farmland is among the important crop-growing regions in California, known for its citrus, dates, bell peppers, lettuce and grapes. Portions of the highway are filled with the musky scent of marijuana, legally grown in desert greenhouses. The vast areas of cultivation are irrigated in part with Colorado River water. Due to past drought and increased population demands, water is a major conservation issue with adjacent states and Mexico, and the reason the shrinking Salton Sea is no longer replenished with fresh water.

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Desert Badlands on the road to Anza-Borrego State Park

As we entered the desert foothills, the vast arid region transformed into a badlands, a type of dry terrain that has been deeply eroded by water and wind. These areas can be appreciated at the many off highway viewpoints, where steep slopes and minimal vegetation create an uncluttered, but artistic backdrop.

Entering the Anza-Borrego State Park, we were treated to the beauty of desert sunflowers, purple sand verbena, desert lilies and countless other wildflowers that transformed the landscape into a floral oasis. The desert’s unique climate, coupled with abundant winter and spring rain, nurtured a remarkable diversity of blossoms in the desert. We took our time to wander through this majestic display, looking for other botanical treasures like the majestic ocotillo.

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Sand verbena thrives in sandy soil just off the highway

As we delighted in the beauty of the wildflowers, we stayed on designated paths to respect the fragile ecosystem; one must be mindful of the delicate balance that sustains these remarkable wildflowers. By leaving their habitat undisturbed, we ensure the survival and breathtaking displays for future travelers.

As April greets us with its warmth, nature’s magical carpet still unfolds in Anza-Borrego, but not for long. Only a few hours from Laguna, the drive is worth experiencing the desert bursting with the breathtaking beauty of March wildflower blooms that will surely return after our next rainy winter and spring. See you next time.

Steve Kawaratani, a regular columnist with Stu News Laguna, 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 plantman2@mac.com or 949.494.5141.

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Documentary by Laguna filmmaker to screen at Illuminate Festival

Eva Haller: A Work in Progress, a feature-length documentary directed by Laguna resident Jeanne Meyers, will screen at the Illuminate Film Festival in Santa Barbara. The festival takes place April 5-7, with Meyers’ film screening on April 5.

The film chronicles the life of Eva Haller, a 93-year-old Holocaust survivor, who escaped arrest in her native Hungary as a child by telling a Nazi officer she was, “Much too young and beautiful to die.” She lost her older brother in the war and dedicated her life to making a positive difference in the world through mentoring and supporting non-profit organizations. During the pandemic lockdown, Haller started a weekly online salon series she continues to host today. Her salons bring together artists, scientists and media makers from around the globe.

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Courtesy of MY HERO Project

MY HERO International Film Festival, 2015 where Eva Haller presented the inaugural Women Transforming Media Award to Alyse Nelson of Vital Voices (L-R): Kathy Eldon, Eva Haller, Alyse Nelson, Jeanne Meyers and Xenia Shin

“She truly is my hero,” said Meyers. “Eva Haller’s ability to adapt, survive and thrive through life’s challenges is truly inspiring. The film explores relationships that have shaped her magnificent life.”

Meyers, who co-founded the Laguna-based nonprofit The MY HERO Project, began filming Haller in 2014 for a segment of MY HERO’s Women Transforming Media Series. The online series was launched with a grant from the American Association of University Women, championed by the Laguna Beach branch. Women Transforming Media mentored young filmmakers and celebrated women in the media, but Meyers soon realized that more of Haller’s story needed to be told.

“We would talk and swim at the Coral Casino early in the morning and she would share her wisdom and reflections on life,” Meyers said. “She is a devoted mother, grandmother, wife, friend and mentor to leaders of non-profit organizations around the world. Her story does not end – she continues to be a work in progress.”

The film has won awards at the Cannes World Film Festival, the Stockholm City Film Festival and the Impact DOCS Awards. It has also been chosen as an official selection by the Toronto International Women Film Festival and the Documentaries Without Borders International Film Festival.

The Illuminate Festival launched in Sedona in 2014 as a hub for visionary filmmakers. The festival’s mission is to harness the power of cinema to inspire personal change and social transformation. The festival recently made the move to Santa Barbara. Deepak Chopra, the bestselling author and prominent figure in the world of alternative medicine, will deliver this year’s keynote address.

Immediately following the April 5 screening of Eva Haller: A Work in Progress, Haller will be presented with the Local Luminary Award.

“Those of us fortunate enough to know her, or those who screen the film and want to meet her, have a great opportunity to tune in weekly to her Virtual Salon Series to learn from one another,” said Meyers. “I am grateful to the Illuminate Festival for shining a light on Eva Haller and this film.”

Submissions are being accepted for the 2024 Women Transforming Media Award, which will be presented at the 20th Annual MY HERO International Film Festival in November.

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Discover the magical Hortense Miller Garden at Open House on April 6

On Saturday, April 6 from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., the Hortense Miller Garden will host an open house for those who want to experience the magic of this unique property. Garden tours will be offered every hour, and the house will be open to tour.

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Photos courtesy of Friends of Hortense Miller Garden

Murals and enchanting wisteria

This hidden Laguna gem features a 2.5-acre garden with more than a dozen unique trails and a pristine mid-century modern home built by Knowlton Fernald in 1958 on the slope of Boat Canyon. Tucked under towering canary pines, planted from one-gallon saplings in 1959, there are more than 500 plant species of which about 150 are California natives. The wondrous variety gives the garden color and texture during every season. The home’s walls of glass offer breathtaking ocean views. The original furnishings give the home a rare authenticity, fitting of a true Laguna artist.

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Free workshop for children

There is continuous shuttle bus service from the parking lot of First Church of Christ Scientist, at 635 High Drive, Laguna Beach.

There will be a free art workshop for children. Sack lunches are permitted. Don’t miss the Beekeeper Talk at 12 p.m.

Walking shoes are recommended. Books by Hortense Miller, as well as container gardens and garden art, will be available for sale.

No reservation is necessary, and admission is free. However, donations are gratefully accepted.

For more information, go to www.hortensemillergarden.org, or call 949.374.2696.

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Spring Grief Group offered at Laguna Presbyterian Church

The Spring Grief Group is available to everyone in the community. The meetings begin on Monday, April 8 at 4 p.m. in the Brides’ Room at Laguna Presbyterian Church, just off the Rose Garden near the fountain. It meets every Monday from April 8-May 13 from 4-5:30 p.m.  If you are struggling with your grief from a recent loss, or one from several years ago, they invite you to join them and find your way to hope. There is a $20 materials fee, but scholarships are available.

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Courtesy of Laguna Presbyterian Church

(L-R) Rev. Jon Moore (parish associate), Deborah Sakach and Phyllis Wilson

Those who love will inevitably experience grief. Have you experienced the loss of a loved one?  Do you find yourself sad, confused and isolated, wondering if these feelings will ever end?  Everyone experiences grief differently. Some are immobilized by it.  Others seem fine initially but are hit by waves of suffering later.  Shock, depression, anger, hopelessness, insomnia, lack of energy and sometimes physical issues are all common.

At any given time, many people in our community may be grieving the loss of a loved one. That is why Laguna Presbyterian Church offers a Grief Group. A Grief Group is a place to engage your grief, to be comforted, find answers and to find your way to hope.

Laguna Presbyterian’s Grief Group is led by Rev. Jon Moore, parish associate; Deborah Sakach and Phyllis Wilson. All are experienced with grief, and the Grief Group is open to all members of the community.

For questions, contact officemgr@lagunapreschurch.org, or call 949.494.7555.

To register, click here.

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The Drake Gives celebrates the power of music with upcoming annual fundraiser

Philanthropist and Laguna Beach resident Alec Glasser has been a driving force behind music education initiatives in Orange County. Recently donating $1.5 million from The Drake Gives, the generous contribution will help fund a novel initiative at the University of California (UCI), Irvine’s School of Social Ecology. UCI’s Power of Music initiative is one distinct way in which The Drake Gives is helping leverage music for social good and well-being.

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Photo by Frank Salas

Alec Glasser, founder of The Drake Gives

The Drake Gives partnered with Save The Music Foundation in December 2021, and since then has raised more than half a million dollars for music education equity and access. These funds have supported music education re-builds across Orange County, with The Drake Gives’ contributions supporting more than 12,000 students, with over half of these funds specifically used to jumpstart a new music program in five schools in the Anaheim Union High School. The Drake Gives has identified a significant opportunity to increase music and arts participation in elementary, middle and high schools throughout Orange County, where every $57 raised can help a child receive music education, instruction and an instrument for one school year.

Through The Drake Gives’ musically inspired celebrations, they are fundraising to help create sustainable impact for our youth here in Orange County. Revealing the date of their 2024 annual namesake fundraiser, which is Tuesday, June 4, The Drake Gives shares that the evening will be one to remember, thanks to the dynamic co-chairs who have spearheaded the event including Lourdes Nark, Urvashi Patel, James Cueva and Linda Young. The unique culinary experience will feature a multi-course caviar and wine-paired dinner which will take place at The Drake in Laguna Beach, with live entertainment from the talented Parson James, thanks to Cueva Entertainment. Further event details and sponsorship opportunities can be accessed here.

The Drake Gives, based in Laguna Beach, is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) foundation that provides underserved youth in public schools with music education, materials and instruments to experience the transformative power of music. For more information, visit www.thedrakegivesevents.org/about.

The Drake in Laguna Beach is located at 2894 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.

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A glimpse at Crystal Cove in April

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

Here is a glimpse at a few of the offerings.

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Photos courtesy of Crystal Cove State Park

Spot resident dolphins, migrating gray whales and birds on the Whale & Wildlife “Twalk”

Saturday, April 6: Whale & Wildlife “Twalk” from 9-11 a.m.

Crystal Cove State Park is a great spot to look for resident dolphins, migrating gray whales and birds just passing by the coastline. Join a park naturalist for a Whale & Wildlife “Twalk” and learn some fun facts about the coastal creatures as you walk the bluff trail and scan the ocean at each overlook. Bring binoculars for better viewing. Meet at Pelican Point lot #4 (PCH coastward at Newport Coast left at kiosk to the last lot). $15 day use fee.

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Check out the fascinating creatures that call tidepools home

Sunday, April 7: Beach Wrack and Tidepool Walk at 2 p.m.

Spring gives us a series of excellent low tides in the late morning and early afternoon. The receding tide leaves a potluck of animals and seaweed to explore, so come join a Beach Wrack and Tidepool Walk. Where there are tidepools, you’ll investigate. Maybe talk a little geology. You’ll walk from Reef Point toward the Historic District. When you are finished exploring, take some refreshment, and enjoy the spectacular view at the Shake Shack, then return at your leisure along the bluff top trail. Wear sturdy walking shoes, or closed-toed sandals for tidepooling, rocks can be slippery and sharp, and your feet will likely get wet, and bring a hiking pole if you are unsteady on rocks. Meet at the Reef Point Lot (PCH coastward at the stoplight Reef Point, around the kiosk, then left to the first restroom building, which is on the right). $15 day use fee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sky squiggles

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Writing from another world

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The Honarkar Foundation hosts Visionary Energy Sound Bath on April 7

Elevate your evening with a transcendental sound bath led by Sound Nectar and THE FULLEST at The Honarkar Foundation in Laguna Beach, accompanied by indulgent saffron lattes for a truly immersive experience.

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Courtesy of thefullest.com

Immersive Sound Bath experience on April 7

Mark your calendar for Sunday, April 7 from 6-7 p.m. and don’t forget your cozy essentials like a mat and blanket.

Space is limited. For tickets ($44), click here.

The Honarkar Foundation is located at 298 Broadway St.

Laguna Beach.

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Laguna Craft Guild to hold spring show on April 7

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Courtesy of Laguna Craft Guild

The Laguna Craft Guild’s spring show will be held on the Main Beach Cobblestones on Sunday, April 7 from 9 a.m. until an hour before sunset. Shop local and find some unique gifts from among the jewelry, ceramics, glass blown art, paintings and more. For more information and the schedule of future shows, visit www.lagunacraftguild.com.

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Meet Pet of the Week Nellie

Nellie, at 8 years old, is considered “a little old lady” by shelter organizers. She is affectionate and very devoted. The spayed tri-colored terrier mix is small, but with a big heart. She is very quiet, housebroken and will do anything for food. She’d be most comfortable in a quiet home, without children.

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

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Courtesy of the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter

Nellie is a small tri-colored terrier looking for a quiet home

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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“Coffee with a Cop” on April 6 at the Farmers’ Market

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Courtesy of LBPD

Join members of the LBPD for “Coffee with a Cop” on Saturday, April 6 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at the Farmers’ Market. They hope to see you there!

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Crystal Cove Conservancy hosts talk with California Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot

Join Crystal Cove Conservancy and Bank of America for a conversation between California’s Secretary of Natural Resources Wade Crowfoot and Conservancy President and CEO, Kate Wheeler, about issues facing California’s vast protected lands and waters including climate resilience, maintaining biodiversity and expanding equitable access to the outdoors.

The event takes place on Wednesday, April 3 at 5 p.m. with a sunset reception to follow at the Cottage Check-in Deck, located in the Crystal Cove State Park Historical District #35 Crystal Cove.

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Courtesy of Secretary Wade Crowfoot

Wade Crowfoot

Secretary Crowfoot is responsible for stewarding the state’s vast natural and cultural resources. With 280 state park units, more than 340 miles of coastline, 970 miles of lake and river frontage, 15,000 campsites, 5,200 miles of trails, 3,195 historic buildings and more than 11,000 known prehistoric and historic archaeological sites, California’s Department of Parks and Recreation contains the largest and most diverse recreational, natural and cultural heritage holdings of any state agency in the nation.

Guests will have the opportunity to enjoy a sunset reception following a guided discussion and Q&A with Secretary Crowfoot as he delves into topics such as strengthening California’s climate resilience, maintaining biodiversity, and expanding equitable access to the outdoors.

Event Schedule:

–4:45 p.m.: Check-in Deck

–5-6 p.m.: Guest welcome, interview-style discussion and audience Q&A

–6-7 p.m.: Sunset reception with light bites and drinks

The Conservancy’s “Cove Talks” aim to bring influential individuals working to change the world to Crystal Cove State Park, as they share a diverse collection of experiences and viewpoints. These talks are another step towards connecting the community to the natural world, while deepening their understanding of issues facing local parks, the coast and the planet.

This Cove Talk is generously sponsored by Bank of America.

To RSVP, go here.

Parking is available at the Los Trancos Parking Lot located inland off Pacific Coast Highway. Day use parking costs $5 per hour, up to a maximum of $15 per day.

To get to the Cottage Check-in Deck, take the Los Trancos crosswalk to cross PCH and follow the Crystal Cove Trail to Cottage Check-in.

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Music to your ears? You must be thinking of the Susi Q in April!

This April, the Susi Q will be hosting three musical events, each of which is guaranteed to fill up fast, so act now to reserve your spot.

Begin the season with the free “Spring Swing” Concert featuring the Laguna Beach Community JaZz Band on April 18 from 6-8 p.m. Under the direction of Lynn Olinger, the popular event also features the talented, vocalist Ginger Hatfield.

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Courtesy of Laguna Concert Band

Ginger Hatfield

Hatfield explained why she believes that swing is so enduringly popular. “The swing beat is infectious, and the songs are romantic and fun,” she said. “Our show is a big dose of positivity that all ages respond to. Even folks just walking by add a swing to their step!”

The vocalist began her singing career as a youngster. “My first vocal solo in front of an audience was as part of Mrs. Mudge’s kindergarten chorus at Aliso Elementary School. I was so petrified that a classmate was assigned to walk up to the front of the stage with me,” said Hatfield, who joined the JaZz Band in 2007.

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Courtesy of Laguna Concert Band

Laguna JaZz Band 

The “Big Band” is a traditional 18-piece jazz band featuring five saxophones, four or five trombones, four trumpets, piano, bass, guitar, drum-set and aux percussionist.

To register for the Spring Swing Concert, click here.

Excitingly, the Susi Q’s wildly successful partnership with Lyric Opera of Orange County continues in April with the presentation of Verdi’s Falstaff. The lecherous Falstaff finally meets his match when his underhanded plans to solve money troubles have the three Merry Wives of Windsor conspiring to teach him a lesson.

“We knew this hysterical and timeless tale was a great way to end an amazing first season with Susi Q! It’s full of incredible music, lots of laughs and one of the most iconic fugues of all time where each of the 10 characters sing simultaneously,” said Diana Farrell, Lyric Opera of Orange County’s artistic director/president.

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Courtesy of Lyric Opera of Orange County

Lyric Opera of Orange County’s cast of “The Marriage of Figaro” from last year’s Susi Q’s performance

Lyric Opera of Orange County’s operas are presented in a concert format, with minimal to no staging or costumes, but with piano accompaniment. English supertitles appear on Susi Q’s large flatscreen TVs to aid the audience in following the narrative backbone of the opera.

Featuring an all-star cast of performers, Falstaff takes place on Wednesday, April 24 from 4-5:30 p.m. at the Susi Q Center, 380 Third St. A token fee of $5 secures your registration for this popular event. Register by clicking here.

Before attending the Falstaff presentation, you might want to bone-up on opera by attending Maestro Jeffrey Briar’s free Music Appreciation Class: Spotlight on Opera, which will take place on Thursday, April 11 between 3 and 4:30 p.m.

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Courtesy of Lyric Opera of Orange County

Members of Lyric Opera of Orange County

With accomplished pianist/composer Jeffrey Briar at his keyboard, learn about opera’s place in musical history – composer’s influences, social factors and how each masterpiece has stood the test of time.

“Once you have learned to love opera, it can touch you more deeply than just about any other form of art. It can inspire profound feelings and thrill you in ways you can hardly imagine,” Briar said. Register by clicking here.

Visit www.thesusiq.org, or to RSVP by phone, call 949.715.8105, or email christineb@thesusiq.org.

The Susi Q offers a wide range of educational and fun programs, classes and clubs for older adults – though all ages are welcome. The Susi Q’s Care Management Department provides free consultation, education and practical resources for vulnerable seniors, enabling them to stay safe, informed and independent. For more information on The Susi Q, the portal to access the best of Laguna’s community resources, visit www.thesusiq.org.

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Laguna Community Concert Band takes a musical journey Around the World in 80 Minutes

The 50-member Laguna Community Concert Band (LCCB) will kick off its 25th season by traveling Around the World in 80 Minutes during their first concert of 2024 at the Artists Theater at Laguna Beach High School, Sunday, April 7 at 2 p.m.

The eclectic and exciting program has been months in the making. The concert will begin with the theme from “Around the World in 80 Days,” setting the tone for a musical journey that includes Britain, Ireland, Italy, Germany, Russia, Tunisia, China, the Caribbean, Mexico, and of course the United States. As an additional treat, Laguna Beach High School sophomore Eliana Merritt will return to provide dance interpretations of “Up” and “Around the World.”

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Photos courtesy of LCCB

Eliana Merritt – from the 2023 “Greatest Hits of the Silver Screen”

“We’re all delighted that Eliana could perform with us again,” said Director Mark Lowery. “Her dance solo last year was a special moment in our performances, and these kinds of collaborations are central to our mission of supporting the arts in Laguna Beach.”

Audience members at this concert will take an “Italian Holiday,” spend “A Night in Tunisia” and enjoy a “Dragon Boat Festival.” Other program highlights include Shostakovich’s thrilling collection of “Folk Dances” and Johann Strauss’ amusing “Tritsch-Tratsch Polka.”

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Orchestra performing during the 2023 “Greatest Hits of the Silver Screen”

Assistant Director Jennifer Baker took special effort to curate a program that represented as many musical styles as possible in the time allotted. “It was a challenge to put together a program that would truly span the world in such a short time, and I tried as best as possible to follow the route of the travelers in the original movie. Including a piece written to commemorate Amelia Earhart and her epic journey helped us cross the Pacific Ocean. We’re proud of how the program came together and I think the audience will enjoy this mix of new and familiar music.”

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Performers singing hits from “Chicago” during 2023 “Greatest Hits of the Silver Screen”

Like all Laguna Community Concert Band performances, this concert is free, and no tickets or reservations are required. Following the concert, audience members can show their program at the Lumberyard, 384 Forest Ave., to donate 15% of their meal cost to the band.

Upcoming Concert Band performances include a Memorial Day American Salute on the Cobblestones at Laguna Main Beach with the Laguna JaZz Band (JaZz Band at 11 a.m., Concert Band at 12:30 p.m.). The JaZz Band will be the featured entertainment for the Annual Art Star Awards at the Festival of Arts on Friday, April 26 at 5 p.m. and will be featured at the Fête de la Musique on Saturday, June 15 at Main Beach at 11 a.m.

For more information on upcoming concerts, to book an appearance, or if you would like to play with the band, visit www.lagunaconcertband.com.

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Ingress vs. egress

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Sometimes getting to where you want to go just takes a little more time

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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

Interim City Manager Sean Joyce says “goodbye,” while Gavin Curran keeps the chair warm for whomever comes next

Interim Laguna Beach City Manager Sean Joyce’s service to the community came to a conclusion last Friday, March 29. Joyce was brought in to serve at the city’s top spot in early September (2023) following the departure of former City Manager Shohreh Dupuis.

Due to previous retirement parameters, Joyce could only serve a limited number of hours without jeopardizing that agreement, thus requiring his service to end.

Gavin Curran will serve as acting City Manager following Joyce’s exit.

City Council continues their search for a permanent replacement.

Joyce thanked the community at last week’s council meeting jokingly saying, “thanks to the staff for tolerating me.”

Truth be told, he was extremely well liked by those he worked with both inside and outside of city hall.

• • •

Karyn Philippsen is just one of those people that makes Laguna Beach and the people around her better.

Last year Karyn took a role, among her many others, with the Laguna Playhouse as community relations liaison. It was the perfect match.

You might remember when we announced in Fair Game several weeks ago that Thurston Middle School eighth grader Izzie Tran (her mother, Jane, reminded us that her real name is Isabelle, but she likes to go by Izzie) won first place in the 25th Annual Holocaust Art & Writing Contest.

It’s a celebrated worldwide competition hosted by Chapman University and quite an accomplishment.

Tran’s winning entry was entitled “Mourning Silence,” a response to the testimony of Kurt Messerschmidt who described the aftermath of Kristallnacht (“Crystal Night” or the “Night of Broken Glass”) when some 30,000 Jewish men were arrested and sent to Nazi concentration camps (History.com).

Now, back to Philippsen. In her role with the Playhouse, she reached out to Izzie through the school district, intent on inviting her to one of the closing performances of A Shayna Maidel.

In A Shayna Maidel’s just concluded run, it told the story about “two sisters reconnecting after a separation” which was forced on them by the war and the Holocaust – one of the sisters living in New York and fully Americanized, while the other struggled for survival in Auschwitz, only to be brought back together.

As you might imagine, Philippsen felt the play would truly be appreciated by Izzie.

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Submitted photo

(L-R) Karyn Philippsen and award-winning Thurston Middle School eighth grader Izzie Tran share a moment prior to the performance of “A Shayna Maidel” at Laguna Playhouse

Long story short, it all worked. The Tran family got to take in the play and had the chance to interact with Karyn.

That is a win-win all around.

• • •

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley hosted her third annual Women Making A Difference Awards on Saturday, March 30, at Orange County Museum of Art (OCMA) in Costa Mesa with other local elected leaders and members of the community.

This year, Supervisor Foley honored women in the Orange County legal community who represent and/or advocate for equity, diversity and inclusion.

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Courtesy of the Office of OC Supervisor Katrina Foley

OC Supervisor Katrina Foley (front row, third from left) with other local dignitaries, along with nominees and awardees of the Third Annual Women Making A Difference Awards

Several Laguna Beach people were honored:

Jane Fulton created a low-income law center in Laguna Beach in 2014 called Seaside Legal Services, a non-profit organization that provides attorneys and other legal services in civil matters for the low-income residents of south Orange County.

She also holds a pro-bono legal clinic at the Susi Q Center, acting on her passion for helping the senior population in our community.

Michelle Reinglass embodies the phrase “women supporting women” with the bulk of her cases as an employment lawyer dealing with discrimination and harassment. She serves as a mediator with Judicate West and was only the second woman president of the OC Bar Association.

Outside of her professional life, she is known for throwing Women Empowerment Dinners for fellow women in the legal community and her decades-long efforts at WISEPlace Women’s Shelter, which offers homeless women opportunities for a fresh start.

–And, finally, Annee Della Donna who heads the Orange County Innocence Project and fights to free wrongfully incarcerated minorities.

She teaches UCI law students to do the same. Her dedication to freeing the innocent, preventing wrongful convictions, and creating fair, compassionate and equitable systems of justice for everyone is a shining example of women making a difference.

“Congratulations to the nominees and awardees of my Third Annual Women Making A Difference Awards! As a lawyer and law firm owner, and the only woman on our County Board of Supervisors comprised of five lawyers, I understand the unique role of women lawyers breaking into professions traditionally dominated by men,” said Supervisor Foley. “Each year, the Women Making A Difference Awards presents a wonderful opportunity for our community to gather in celebration of women trailblazers in their respective fields. I am honored to recognize the outstanding women leading in our legal profession who make Orange County a more just, equitable and overall better place to live, work and play.”

• • •

The Hortense Miller Garden Community will host an open house this Saturday, April 6 from 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. No reservations are required.

Bring the whole family – includes light refreshments, free art workshops for the kids, a bee presentation, garden tours, entertainment and even a plant sale.

Free parking and shuttle at The Church of Christ Science at 635 High St.

• • •

Don’t forget, it’s Coffee with a Cop also on Saturday, April 6 from 8 a.m.-12 p.m. at Farmers’ Market at 521 Forest Ave. Meet and visit with our men and women in blue, share ideas, enjoy a coffee or just say “hello.” They’ll appreciate it.

• • •

Some good music offerings in town are coming up. On Sunday, April 7 from 1-2 p.m. saxophonist Douglas Masek joins with pianist James Lent for April Live! at the Museum. The program is free for members of Laguna Live! and the Museum and $14 for non-members.

Then, on Wednesday, April 10 from 6-8 p.m., Jazz Wednesdays Winter comes to [seven degrees] with Black Market Reverie and their unique style of “speakeasy” jazz. Enjoy a fusion of jazz, classic French pop, Americana and their own original songs.

Tickets are $37.50 in advance; $40 at the door.

Reservations and tickets for both events listed above are available here.

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Committee reviews draft proposal for local housing trust fund

By SARA HALL

The Housing and Human Services Committee (HHSC) last week heard a presentation on the city’s proposed local housing trust fund and provided feedback for staff to bring the draft documents to City Council.

HHSC members discussed the effort on Wednesday (March 27) and agreed and added input on the recommendations in the draft resolution, LHTF program application, administrative guidelines and other related documents.

Included is a statement of purpose, which identifies that the LBLHTF aims to assist in the creation and preservation of affordable housing in the City of Laguna Beach for the benefit of lower income households (extremely low, very and low).

Committee members unanimously recommended that City Council establish a Laguna Beach Local Housing Trust Fund by adopting a resolution committing housing in-lieu fee and housing funds to the LBLHTF and incorporating administrative guidelines and uniform multifamily regulations (UMRs) as loan and underwriting guidelines.

They also suggested that the council authorize the city manager to: Apply for and execute agreements related to the LBLHTF and issue a notice of funding availability (NOFA) with city-owned land.

Other recommendations included: Establish the specified priority populations and programs; direct staff to return to council during the budget process with changes aimed directing monies toward at the housing fund and direct staff to review NOFA responses with the HHSC affordable housing subcommittee, if they are available in a timely manner, for input prior to publication of the Future Council agenda packet.

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The city is working on a local housing trust fund

On Dec. 12, 2023, the City Council directed staff to conduct additional analysis with representatives from the Housing and Human Services Committee and, if feasible, return with the appropriate document(s) to establish a local housing trust fund.

HHSC completed extensive research and concluded that a LHTF would provide valuable funding to facilitate the development of affordable housing in Laguna Beach. The matter is tentatively scheduled for council consideration on April 9.

A housing trust fund acts as a critical financial resource to tackle housing challenges within a community. More specifically, a housing trust fund is a pool of money set aside by the city to support various initiatives aimed at making housing more affordable, accessible and sustainable. This funding can be used for a variety of purposes, including loans or programs.

According to staff, in the context of the state’s LHTF grant program, a housing trust is: “a public, joint public and private, or charitable nonprofit organization,” which was established by “legislation, ordinance, resolution (including nonprofit articles of incorporation), or a public-private partnership organized to receive specific public, or public and private revenue to address local housing needs.”

Housing Program Coordinator Jennifer Savage explained at last week’s HHSC meeting that the first step to establishing a LHTF is adoption of a resolution by the City Council. Using work prepared by the committee as a starting point, staff drafted a resolution, which will declare the establishment of the LHTF; adopt UMRs; authorize the city manager to apply for and execute agreements for grants; and authorize the city manager to issue a NOFA.

Alternatively, the city could adopt a resolution based on the state’s LHTF resolution template to authorize the CM to apply for and execute agreements, and a separate resolution establishing the LHTF and authorizing the issuance of a NOFA.

A NOFA advertises to developers and other interested parties that the city has funding to award to affordable housing projects. HHSC recommends including city-owned land with available funding, which will encourage/entice developers to respond to the NOFA, Savage pointed out. In addition, including land will increase the amount of grant funding the city can request from the LHTF grant program. If awarded LHTF based on city-owned properties, the city must make those sites available for affordable housing or lose the matching grant dollars.

Staff would recommend presenting two options to council of the NOFA, one with city land and one without, so they can take action that night and still approve it and move it forward, Savage explained.

The draft resolution also adopts the uniform multifamily regulations, the loan and underwriting guidelines that the city would follow. They do have the opportunity to adopt different standards, but using the already-established guidelines from the state would be easier, Savage explained.

“It’s a lot more simple if we’re applying for the grant program to use the state’s (standards),” she said.

HHSC also recommended that council identify administrative guidelines, including tasks related to solicitations, awards, reporting and oversight.

The draft guidelines touch on a number of topics and uses a template that the committee drew up. They also clarify a few things, Savage said.

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Beautification Team to present 2024 Laguna Terrace Plein Air Painting Contest

The Laguna Terrace Beautification Team has been working for several years to improve the quality of life for local citizens. The team has been beautifying community open space; maintaining green spaces to encourage outdoor activities and socialization and preserving urban forests, among other activities. As Harry Huggins, Beautification Team president, and retired Orange County Parks asset manager, explained, “Community gardens, storytelling events, mentorship programs and collaborative workshops can provide platforms for sharing wisdom and experiences between generations, fostering a strong sense of community in a neighborhood. These activities create opportunities for meaningful interactions and the exchange of valuable insights.”

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Photos by Harry Huggins

Heisler Park on a beautiful Sunday afternoon

The Beautification Team’s latest undertaking will be its “2024 Laguna Terrace Plein Air Painting Contest,” to be held on Saturday, May 11 at three parks and one open space area. For a $10 fee, participants will spend the afternoon painting the bucolic outdoor scenery “en plein air,” or painting in the outdoors. Artists will begin arriving at the site at 8 a.m. and may stay there until 5 p.m.

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Surprise announcement: Painter, photographer and musician Doug Miller will be playing at all four painting locations

The painting contest is expected to encourage the participants in their artistry, to immerse the many anticipated attendees in art appreciation and community engagement, and to foster community involvement with California native plants.

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Laguna artist at the end of the Ridge Route Road that would have connected to Laguna Canyon

Artists will compete from at least six organizations, including: Laguna Beach Plein Air Painters Association; Laguna Woods Art Association; Laguna Hills High School, Art Students; Irvine Valley College, Art Students; Saddleback Valley College, Art Students and Laguna College of Arts+ Design, Art Students.

Local environmental companies and nurseries are expected to sponsor the 2024 Laguna Terrace Plein Air Painting Contest. Nearby framing shops will be available to frame the completed paintings.

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Woman artist at the end of Ridge Route showing no structures

Judging will be by the Laguna Woods Art Association, Laguna Hills Parks and Recreation and the Laguna Terrace Beautification Team. Prizes of $300, $200 and $100 will be awarded to the top three paintings. Winners will be announced by Mayor Dave Wheeler of Laguna Hills and by Mayor Noel Hatch of Laguna Woods.

Following the Painting Contest, paintings will be displayed on easels at the Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Center, 235, Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, (www.lbculturalartscenter.org) and at the Moulton Museum, 25256 Cabot Road, Laguna Hills, (www.moultonmuseum.org).

For the registration form, maps (Gazebo Park, San Remo Drive, San Remo Park and Santa Victoria Park) and more information, visit www.lagunaterracebeautification.com.

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Dennis’ Local Almanac

By DENNIS McTIGHE

April sun and showers

Now it’s April, no foolin’ – as March closed out on a very wet note with some pretty strong thunderstorms that were scattered across the region. All that was thanks to a deep cutoff low that made its way down the entire Pacific West Coast with lots of rain and snow from the Northwest all the way to the Mexico-California border. No, the storminess was not the result of an atmospheric river (AR) in any way, shape, or form. It seems like nowadays it’s in vogue to call nearly all these rain sources ARs, but they’ve got it all wrong. This low came from the north having broken away from the northern jet stream or storm track, hence the moniker cutoff low…so let’s get it right!

April around here usually sees the rainy season begin winding down with an average April rainfall at around one inch or so. Our wettest April occurred in 1958 and again in 1965 with a total of 6.02 inches followed by 5.16 inches in 1983. Around one in five Aprils go rainless.

Things start warming up in April with an average high-low of 72-53. Our hottest April day occurred on April 6, 1989, with a sizzling 101. That day got the nickname of Shake ‘n Bake as a magnitude 4.6 earthquake hit under Fashion Island, part of the Newport-Inglewood Fault just before 12 p.m. Our coldest April reading occurred on April 10, 1975, with a low of 37. Laguna’s normal April ocean temp is around 58-60 with the warmest April water temp occurring on April 15, 1997 at a very tropical 75, a product of a very strong El Niño event that year. The coldest April ocean temp occurred in early April 1974, when the temp sank briefly down to 49.

The month of April sees a dramatic spike in the number of reported tornadoes in our country’s heartland. Tornadoes vary greatly in size, intensity and appearance. Most (69%) of the tornadoes that occur each year fall into the “weak” category where wind speeds are in the range of 110 mph or less. Weak tornadoes account for less than 5% of all tornado deaths.

About one out of every three tornadoes (29%) is classified as “strong.” Strong tornadoes have wind speeds reaching about 205 mph with an average path length of nine miles and an average width of about 200 yards. Almost 30% of all tornado deaths occur from this type of storm. Nearly 70% of all tornado fatalities, however, result from “violent” tornadoes. Although very rare (only about 2% are violent), these extreme tornadoes can last for hours. The El Reno tornado in Okla. in 2003 was so violent it had wind speeds more than 300 mph with a width of 2.6 miles at one point! The town of Moore, Okla. has been hit three times in the last 25 years by such a tornado. By that time, I’d be renaming that town “Less!”

Our upcoming week looks to be less dramatic than the last one with only a few showers later this week. However, temps still won’t warm up that much with highs only in the high 60s at the most. We’re still waiting for our first 80-degree day and that ain’t gonna happen anytime soon. Look for a sizable Southern Hemisphere swell by next weekend if everything pans out. Ocean temps remain burly in the mid to high 50s.

See you next week, ALOHA!

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Third Street Writers and Laguna Beach’s phone booth artists announce conversation collaboration

No need to hang up the line! Third Street Writers have joined forces with Laguna Beach artists Candice Brokenshire and Julie Setterholm, who created the Forest Avenue phone booth art installation “We Need to Talk.”

The non-profit writing group has created 14 prose pieces inspired by the project and is converting them into audio pieces in response to this public art project.

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Photo by Jennifer Griffiths

Third Street Writers gather at the phone booth

Ranging from prose to poetry, the pieces address the human impact on Laguna Beach’s unique geography and ecosystems – from the ocean to the canyon. Each selected author has recorded their piece, and the audio version will be available on Third Street’s website at www.thirdstreetwriters.org/we-need-to-talk in April, which is Earth Month.

“The booth and the telephone represent a two-way conversation, a space of speaking and listening,” said Third Street President Amy Dechary. “We viewed the installation as the epicenter of conversation about the environment, and we asked contributors to envision conversations about Laguna Beach’s unique environs and our role in greater global ecosystems.”

The collaboration builds upon the installation’s planned partnerships to create discourse between Laguna Beach’s art and environmental groups.

“The written submissions have truly exceeded expectations. And what a range – we have stories of both tragedy and hope. Some are scribed with warmth and sensitivity, while others tickle us with their imaginative angles and sardonic flair,” said Brokenshire. “Each piece is a delight to read, and very soon hear. This is a deeply meaningful collaboration and extension of the ‘We Need to Talk’ installation, for which we are very grateful.”

The collaboration between the writers and the art group builds upon a rich heritage.

“Third Street members are used to writing in response to art (a process known as ekphrastic writing) but we were challenged by the message in this piece by Brokenshire and Setterholm,” said Theresa Keegan, vice president of Third Street Writers. “This environmental message is an important topic and we wanted to contribute, making this a very personal and interactive experience.”

In a leap of technology, there’s a QR code on the exhibit, where the authors’ works can be accessed as an auditory piece, essentially inviting participants to come inside the booth metaphorically and eavesdrop on these important “conversations.” This outreach builds upon the installation’s dedication in June 2023, when Sian Poeschl, Laguna Beach Cultural Arts manager, noted that the project requires viewers to approach the phone booth to really explore what is inside.

“Being a part of the ‘We Need to Talk’ installation has been such a connecting experience,” said Setterholm. “It’s like being re-introduced to the town I grew up in. I’m thankful for all these lovely humans supporting this project.”

“We Need to Talk,” part of the Laguna Beach Arts Commission collection, will be displayed through June 2025. Third Street Writers compendium will be available throughout the month of April on the group’s website.

Founded in 2015, the Third Street Writers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to fostering the growth of the writing community in Laguna Beach through weekly workshops, reading events and creating various publications.

For more information, contact Amy Dechary at amy@thirdstreetwriters.org, visit the group’s website, like them on Facebook @ThirdStreetWriters, or follow them on Instagram @thirdstreetwriters.

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A glimpse at Crystal Cove in April

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

Here is a glimpse at a few of the offerings.

Wednesday, April 3: Tidepool Exploration Walk from 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Barnacles and sea stars and crabs, oh my! Join a park naturalist for a guided Tidepool Exploration Walk and learn about the exciting animals that live in this ever-changing habitat nestled in the watery pools of Crystal Cove State Park’s Marine Protected Area. You will walk less than half a mile down to the rocky shoreline to explore the intertidal zone and learn about how tidepool organisms use a variety of adaptations to survive in a challenging environment. The path down to the tidepools is paved, but then you will be walking on uneven and unpredictable surfaces of sand and rock, so wear closed-toe footwear with grip. The tidepools may be slippery. Sunscreen and/or a hat are advised depending on the weather. Meet at the Los Trancos Parking Lot at the trailer with the ramp (PCH turn inland at the stoplight Los Trancos). $15 day use fee.

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Photos courtesy of Crystal Cove State Park

Spot resident dolphins, migrating gray whales and birds on the Whale & Wildlife “Twalk”

Saturday, April 6: Whale & Wildlife “Twalk” from 9-11 a.m.

Crystal Cove State Park is a great spot to look for resident dolphins, migrating gray whales and birds just passing by the coastline. Join a park naturalist for a Whale & Wildlife “Twalk” and learn some fun facts about the coastal creatures as you walk the bluff trail and scan the ocean at each overlook. Bring binoculars for better viewing. Meet at Pelican Point lot #4 (PCH coastward at Newport Coast left at kiosk to the last lot). $15 day use fee.

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Check out the fascinating creatures that call tidepools home

Sunday, April 7: Beach Wrack and Tidepool Walk at 2 p.m.

Spring gives us a series of excellent low tides in the late morning and early afternoon. The receding tide leaves a potluck of animals and seaweed to explore, so come join a Beach Wrack and Tidepool Walk. Where there are tidepools, you’ll investigate. Maybe talk a little geology. You’ll walk from Reef Point toward the Historic District. When you are finished exploring, take some refreshment, and enjoy the spectacular view at the Shake Shack, then return at your leisure along the bluff top trail. Wear sturdy walking shoes, or closed-toed sandals for tidepooling, rocks can be slippery and sharp, and your feet will likely get wet, and bring a hiking pole if you are unsteady on rocks. Meet at the Reef Point Lot (PCH coastward at the stoplight Reef Point, around the kiosk, then left to the first restroom building, which is on the right). $15 day use fee.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach unveils $6,000 grant bestowed by the FOA Foundation

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, also serving Saddleback Valley, unveils a $6,000 grant bestowed by the Festival of Arts Foundation. With this generous support, their Arts for All program flourishes, ensuring every child in attendance has access to the transformative power of art.

The Arts for All program provides a positive environment for young people to learn and grow. The purpose of the Arts Program is not to build great artists, but to build confidence and self-esteem in club members, to boost their creativity and critical thinking. The engaging Arts for All program helps foster young people’s creativity, self-confidence and the ability to contribute to the world. These creative experiences encourage them to expand their personal understanding of themselves, as well as their compassion for others.

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Courtesy of BGCLB

BGCLB kids getting creative

“As an art instructor, in the art room I encourage creativity, experimentation and self-expression in each member. I balance structured guidance with freedom for members to discover their unique artistic voices. Collaboration and peer feedback are encouraged to create a supportive community where members can learn from each other,” said Mar Stash.

In describing how the Festival of Arts Grant has helped the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, Mar makes it known that she has seen “a significant improvement in members’ confidence, problem-solving skills and overall creativity.”

For more information about the art activities, contact Mar Stash at 949.494.2535, by email at mars@bgclaguna.org, or visit the BGCLB website at www.bgclagunabeach.org.

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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Providence Mission Hospital receives two grants to expand teen and maternal mental health programs

Providence Mission Hospital has received two behavioral health innovation and transformation grants from Providence’s Well Being Trust. These grants help to expand the hospital’s ongoing mental health efforts in South Orange County by expanding the Raising Healthy Teens Spanish language campaign, Crianza-Positiva, and Providence Mission Hospital Laguna Beach’s maternal health intensive outpatient program.

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Courtesy of Providence Mission Hospital

Providence Mission Hospital is a state-of-the-art, 504-bed acute care regional medical center

Crianza-Positiva is an immersive program focused on monolingual Spanish-speaking parents and caregivers of teenagers. It equips them with resources and information to fight drug addiction and mental illness.

Providence Mission Hospital Laguna Beach’s maternal health intensive outpatient program provides virtual group therapy, weekly family groups, psychiatric evaluation and individualized treatment for expecting and postpartum mothers.

“Mental health care is necessary to the total health of our community – that’s why funding from like-minded partners is so important in helping to expand initiatives focused on enhancing the lives of south Orange County residents,” said Seth Teigen, chief executive at Providence Mission Hospital.

Providence Well Being Trust was founded in 2016 to advance the mental, social and spiritual health of all people. Through grants and national partnerships, the trust focuses on reducing mental health suffering and stigma, decreasing addiction, easing access to care and improving the mental wellbeing of health care workers.

Providence Mission Hospital is a state-of-the-art, 504-bed acute care regional medical center in Mission Viejo, Calif. As one of the busiest designated adult and pediatric Level II Trauma Centers in the state of California, Providence Mission provides a full range of reputable specialty health care services with highly skilled teams treating a multitude of complex conditions.

Services include a full range of expertise in cardiovascular, neuroscience and spine, orthopedics, cancer care, women’s services, mental health and wellness, head and neck, and a variety of other specialty services. Providence Mission Hospital Laguna Beach provides coastal communities with 24-hour emergency and intensive care as well as medical-surgical/telemetry services, orthopedics, and general and GI surgery. CHOC at Mission Hospital is a 54-bed facility that is the area’s only dedicated pediatric hospital.

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It’s a long way home under gloomy skies

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Ship on the horizon looks lonely under darkened skies

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LAM announces opening of On the Edge: Los Angeles Art from the Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection

This exhibition, previously showcased at the Bakersfield Museum of Art in 2021, now takes center stage at Laguna Art Museum (LAM), offering a unique and enhanced experience. It will be on view from March 23 through September 2. The LAM exhibition will present earlier works from the 1960s, bringing a historical perspective to the evolution of Los Angeles art, including works from artists Daniel LaRue Johnson, Dora De Larios, Charles Garabedian, Vija Celmins, Tony Berlant and others.

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Photos courtesy of LAM

Joan and Jack Quinn and painting by Alexis Smith, 1980

The exhibition introduces additional artists, including John McCracken and Bruce Conner, enriching the narrative of this pivotal period in art history. Distinctive pieces from Billy Al Bengston and James Hayward were also added to the exhibition to contribute to a comprehensive understanding of Los Angeles’ artistic evolution. Notably, On the Edge at LAM unveils never-before-exhibited works from Lita Albuquerque, Ken Price, Lynda Benglis and Ed Ruscha, providing visitors with an exclusive glimpse into the artistic journey of these influential figures.

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Ed Ruscha, 1964

“Our anticipation for the opening of On the Edge: Los Angeles Art from the Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection grows stronger each day as we prepare for a truly epic and extraordinary gathering of artworks and artists here on the Southern California coast, a place that has informed so much of the artwork in the exhibition,” said Julie Perlin Lee, executive director, Laguna Art Museum. “We are grateful to the Quinn family for being open to the incorporation of artists like, Jose PRIME Reza and Joey Terrill, alongside others not featured in previous iterations of the exhibition, and for allowing us to display artworks by Frank Gehry, Andy Warhol and Laddie John Dill, among others that have never been exhibited publicly. By incorporating artists and artworks that align with the museum’s permanent art collection and carefully selecting works from the earlier decade of the 1960s and work created less than a year ago, we have created a fresh experience for visitors.”

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David Hockney, 1991

Joan Agajanian met Jack Quinn at the University of Southern California where she was studying to be a teacher, and he was a law student. They were a happily married couple for 56 years until Jack’s passing in 2017. Together, they raised identical twin daughters, Amanda and Jennifer. Collectively, the family has amassed artworks by Los Angeles’ most prominent artists that document the development of contemporary art in Los Angeles, and uniquely, the family itself. In the early ‘50s, a 17-year-old Joan met the brash young Billy Al Bengston while both were working at Desmond’s department store on Crenshaw Boulevard. Bengston was Joan’s initial connection to Ed Kienholz, Ed Moses, Ken Price and others. Those artists were a close-knit group affiliated with the Ferus Gallery and they were making an impact in Los Angeles. The Quinns’ home became a meeting place for their diverse group of friends ranging from the arts, the social set and the legal community. Joan, who notoriously had a camera in tow, documented these gatherings where friendships were deeply established, and patronage of the arts was encouraged.

In 1978, Andy Warhol asked Joan to join his Interview magazine as its West Coast editor. She soon also became the Los Angeles Herald Examiner society editor known as “Culture Cween,” and wrote for national and international publications. That path along with her appointment to the California Arts Council allowed Joan to promote the work of the growing circle of Southern California creatives, while Jack actively championed their circle of artists by connecting them with the legal community. He was the first to transform the walls of his three-story law firm into a captivating art space, akin to a museum. Artist Joe Goode once said the Quinns were a “primary support system for artists in L.A. at a time when you could count the city’s art dealers on one hand.”

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Ken Price, 1981

Joan, called one of the most painted, sketched and sculpted women alive by W Magazine, has been a subject for artists such as David Hockney, Shepard Fairey, Claire Falkenstein, Steven Arnold, George Hurrell, Yolanda Gonzalez, Robert Mapplethorpe, Helmut Newton, Robert Graham and Matthew Rolston, to name a few. The exhibition includes more than 25 portraits of Joan and the Quinn family, a poignant representation of friendship, appreciation and respect.

Generously sponsored by Bank of America, Christie’s and JHM Foundation, On the Edge promises an enriching and immersive encounter with the diverse expressions of Southern California art. The exhibition not only showcases the Quinn family’s pivotal role in shaping the Los Angeles art scene, but also emphasizes the dynamic evolution of artistic styles over the decades.

For more information about On the Edge: Los Angeles Art from the Joan and Jack Quinn Family Collection, visit https://lagunaartmuseum.org/.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Drive, Laguna Beach.

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Silhouette

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Standing sentinel against foreboding skies

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Pedestrian, reportedly crossing highway out of crosswalk, struck by vehicle

On Tuesday, March 26 at approximately 9:54 p.m., Laguna Beach Police Department officers, while responding to an unrelated call, discovered a vehicle versus pedestrian traffic collision at Cleo Street and South Coast Highway that had just occurred.

An investigation revealed that a pedestrian reportedly crossing South Coast Highway outside of the marked crosswalk was struck by a vehicle that was making a left turn onto northbound South Coast Highway.

The pedestrian was transported to Mission Hospital Mission Viejo and is expected to survive her injuries. Drugs and alcohol do not appear to be a factor in the traffic collision.

The investigation in ongoing.

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Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

 

Laguna Beach PD performs at best level ever in Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup

Last weekend, and for the 15th time, the Laguna Beach Police Department fielded a team in the annual Baker to Vegas Challenge Cup relay race. But 2024 was different; it marked the first time the department, competing in the 150 or fewer officers category, finished sixth and was subsequently “mugged” at the finish line – and that’s a good thing.

Teams finishing in the top tier of their category are provided with commemorative beer mugs, thereby mugged, signifying their top-tier finish position.

The team was comprised of 20 runners, all sworn personnel, and supported by 11 significant others and various other department personnel.

LBPD covered the 120-mile course in 16 hours, 42 minutes and 6 seconds, with each participant covering a distance of somewhere between four and seven miles, usually averaging between five to seven. Starting at 12 p.m. in Baker on Saturday (March 23), the team’s final leg, appropriately run by Chief Jeff Calvert, crossed the finish line at The Rio in Vegas early Sunday morning at around 5 a.m.

It was the team’s best time ever by more than an hour, with every runner significantly improving year-over-year.

Sergeant Fred Yeilding, the team’s captain and organizer of all logistics, said, “I could not be more proud of this team and our top-half finish. I look forward to improving our time and finishing in the top 3 next year! I also want to thank all of the volunteers and sponsors who made this year the best yet.”

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Photos courtesy of LBPCF

The back of the team shirt tells the story

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(L-R) LBPCF Board Member Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold, Officer Jason Ross, Corporal Ryan Radel, Corporal Victor Centeno, Officer Brendan Rowland and Amy Calvert

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Team Captain Sergeant Fred Yeilding (146) with a little alone time

Chief Calvert added, “This has been a spectacular year for the Laguna Beach PD in the Baker to Vegas Challenge. I was honored to be part of the team. Every one of the 20 officers was integral to the win, our best effort to date.”

Team expenses to participate were supported by a matching grant from the Laguna Beach Police and Community Foundation.

Sponsors included: Rivian, Melin, Tuttle Click, Laguna Beach Construction and Builders, Raw Elements, Alohana, Pro Baller, Monster Energy Cares, the Scott and Deanne O’Brien Foundation, Alessa Chef Alessandro Pirozzi, nutrition company HVMN, Open Water, The Ranch at Laguna Beach, the Los Angeles Police Federal Credit Union and the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association.

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(L-R) Corporal Tony Manzano, Sergeant Randy Bitonti, Sergeant Fred Yeilding and Officer Jon Greenwalt await their turn

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The team!

Glenn Gray, president of the Laguna Beach Police and Community Foundation, noted, “We are devoted to supporting the well-being of our officers, professional staff and their families. Much of that comes through scholarships and emergency assistance grants, but the Baker to Vegas Challenge provides us an opportunity to promote team-building and camaraderie within the force. It’s been a privilege to work with the race team and volunteers on this effort.”

• • •

Laguna Beach artist Andrew Myers will be hosting a book signing for author Terry Moogan on Thursday, April 4 (6 p.m.) at his gallery Andrew Myers Art, 224 Forest Ave., followed by a reception with music at Breeze & Brew, 237 Ocean Ave.

Moogan’s book, an autobiography of his life in crime, is titled Liverpool Bank Robber To Hollywood Butler. It’s the story of a kid born into poverty, thrust into a life in crime as a young adult, sentenced to an 18-year prison term, who escapes and works as a butler on the QEII cruise ship for Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.

According to a publicists, the story further includes “Moogan (then) entering the glamorous world of Hollywood as a butler to the world’s biggest stars. His first client was none other than Clint Eastwood, which marked the beginning of an illustrious career as a Hollywood Butler, where he later went on to work with George Segal and Max Factor.

“He hobnobbed with Hollywood elites, including Burt Reynolds, Robert Redford, Oliver Stone, Steven Spielberg, and even cooked for Oprah Winfrey and Joan Rivers upon personal request.

“He was in such demand that he even turned down jobs with stars, including Mickey Rooney and Marlon Brando and he could pick whom he wanted to work with.”

It sounds like a must read.

• • •

In this week’s Fair Game Laguna Beach podcast with Tom Johnson, Mayor Sue Kempf talks about this year’s campaign season and the issue of contributions, as well as an update on the city’s microgrid system and a look to next week’s State of the City Mayor’s Luncheon.

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Weather forecast moves popular OC Easter sunrise service indoors

A forecast of rain and high winds is changing the location of the Easter Sunrise service that typically draws hundreds to Main Beach in Laguna Beach. It will now be held at Laguna Beach United Methodist Church, 21632 Wesley Drive in Laguna Beach, just east of the Pacific Coast Highway (PCH), starting at 6 a.m. on Sunday, March 31.

Courtesy of LB United Methodist Church

Outdoor sunrise service moved from Main Beach to Laguna Beach United Methodist Church

According to Rev. Mary Scifres, senior pastor at the church, “Whenever Easter falls on an early date like this, weather is always a question. For the safety and comfort of attendees and volunteers alike, we’ll be in our sanctuary this year – which affords a terrific view of the Pacific Ocean. And this service is still very casual, so just come as you are.”

There will be hot coffee for early risers, and a communion table open to all. “Sunrise service is a come-together community event,” said church volunteer Neal Paton, who helped start the beachside celebration more than 20 years ago. “Our praise band is always psyched, and there are plenty of songbooks for the crowd to sing along, all of which makes for an event that touches you deep down.”

If anyone does come to Main Beach, a church volunteer will be there, rain or shine, to point them in the right direction. An indoor service will also be held at 10 a.m.

For more information, visit www.lbumc.org, or call 949.499.3088.

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