LBFD illuminates Laguna in honor of fallen firefighters

By DIANNE RUSSELL

The Laguna Beach Fire Department, along with fire departments throughout the country, will participate in Light the Night for Fallen Firefighters this Sunday, Sept 29 through Sunday, Oct 6.  Every October, the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation sponsors the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial Weekend, the official national tribute to those firefighters who died in the line of duty during the previous year. 

On Sunday, Sept 29, the Laguna Beach Fire Department in collaboration with City Hall and the Police and Marine Safety Departments, will light all four fire stations, Main Beach Lifeguard Tower, Lifeguard Headquarters, and the entrance of City Hall with red lights in honor of fallen firefighters.

This is the first year the Laguna Beach Fire Department will be participating in this event. Administrative Fire Captain Crissy Teichmann explains, “We just learned of it recently and are excited to personally honor fallen firefighters across the country. The fallen firefighters foundation started this event in 2017 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.”

LBFD illuminates national

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Photo by Bill Koplitz/FEMA 

National Firefighters Memorial in Emmitsburg, Md.

The National Fallen Firefighters Memorial was built in 1981. It is a striking stone monument encircled by plaques listing the names of fire service members who died in the line-of-duty since then. 

In 1990, the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial was officially designated by the United States Congress as the National Memorial to career and volunteer fallen firefighters. It was conceived as a tribute to American fire service.

On September 29, as dusk turns to dark, landmarks across the country will again glow in respect to the fallen and their families. The names of 92 firefighters who died in 2018 as well as 27 who died in the previous years will be added to the National Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Emmitsburg, Md.

Captain Teichmann says, “This event is significant to the Laguna Beach Fire Department and its members because sadly we had our own line of duty death. Fire Captain Steen Jensen lost his battle to job related cancer on June 12, 2012 and is now recognized on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial.”

LBFD illuminates Jensen

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Courtesy of cafirefoundation.org

Captain Steen Jensen of the LBFD is honored on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial 

“Placing the red lights on the fire stations and city buildings throughout the city holds a special meaning for us. We truly appreciate the support from the city and our community in honoring these firefighters and their families.”

A longtime resident of Laguna Beach, Steen Jensen started his fire service career in 1981 as a volunteer firefighter in Orange County. In 1983, he became a fulltime firefighter with the LBFD. He quickly became a firefighter/paramedic and was subsequently promoted to fire captain in 1989.

Firefighters face a nine percent increase in cancer diagnoses, and a 14 percent increase in cancer-related deaths, compared to the general population in the US. 

Modern homes and buildings contain many synthetic and plastic materials, which create more smoke when burning than natural materials. When materials burn, they release a number of carcinogens (cancer-causing agents) including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), a group of more than 100 chemicals. Exposure to some PAHs can cause cancer. Firefighters may also encounter other known carcinogens such as asbestos and diesel exhaust. These carcinogens can be inhaled or absorbed through the skin.

LBFD illuminates flag

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Courtesy of firehero.org

Statues at National Fallen Firefighters Memorial 

Many states have also built memorials that pay tribute to firefighters who have made the supreme sacrifice in service to their communities. California dedicated its memorial park in 2002. 

On Saturday, 34 names will be added (from past years through March 2019) to the California Firefighters Memorial on the capitol grounds in Sacramento. According to the organization’s website, the following are from 2019 (through March): Roger Harless, Contra Costa County; Randall Duarte, LA County; Keith James Hernandez, Kings County; Steven F. Casados, CAL FIRE; and Daniel Joseph Laird, USFS.

For more information on the National Fallen Firefighters Memorial, go to www.firehero.org.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

October 1, 2019

Anything can happen in October! 

Dennis 5Now it’s October and just about anything can happen when it comes to weather here in Lagunaville. 100-degree hot Santanas, week-long cold fog along the beach, an upper-level low parked just off the coast, popping out strong convection with clusters of strong thunderstorms, lingering tropical moisture from the outer bands spreading north from a tropical system to the south that got halfway up the Baja Peninsula, and lastly, an occasional early-in-the-season strong North Pacific low that finds its way down here. 

Here in October, it’s time to turn our attention to the North Pacific, our primary source of surf for the next several months. The North Pacific jet stream is now inching southward and getting itself organized. Here on Sunday, the jet stream is really wiggling and wobbling to extreme measures. As it travels east and reaches the Gulf of Alaska, it makes a sharp left turn and moves into Northern Alaska while gathering loads of very cold and unstable air. 

Hours later the 185 mph jet is making a sharp right turn, now plunging south with a huge trough of low pressure over the entire West with historic snowfall in parts of Montana. Helena, Montana averages only 1.6 inches of snow in September with the highest total for September at 11.1 inches in 1965. They’re looking at upwards of two-and-a-half feet in the Greater Helena area. 

By Monday the jet has sunk to halfway down the Baja Peninsula as far as latitude 25 degrees north. At that point, the intense jet stream makes another sharp turn to the NE through eastern Arizona and western New Mexico. There it turns straight north and crosses the U.S. – Canadian border and continues onward to a point about 400 miles into Canada. 

Then it turns to the southeast but never gets past latitude 40 degrees north, so everywhere east of the Rockies is under the shield of the huge high pressure, covering a large expanse of land that includes all the Great Plains, the Midwest, the Northeast, the South, and the entire Southeast with record-shattering heat records by the hundreds. It’s even five degrees over mid-summer readings of 92-95. 

This pattern of a schizophrenic jet stream will barely change with long range models looking ahead ten days and nothing’s changed – record cold and snow west of the Continental Divide and record-breaking intense and relentless heat. This heat event is unprecedented both in intensity and duration plus all the humidity as this huge pool of warm, moist, unstable air is coming from the Gulf of Mexico. Dew points are well into the 70s. 

And here we sit at the beach and it’s about 70 out with sunshine and a light breeze down here at Main Beach and the water’s still 69 and just a light breeze from the south keeping that water warm. We can’t even fathom what the poor people are doing back there, a thousand miles to the east and northeast of here. 

Once again, that’s why we live here!

October is one of our sunniest months around here with an average of 73 percent possible sunshine. Laguna’s average hi-lo for October is about 74-58. Some of our hottest weather has occurred with temps topping 100 on several occasions, like October 8-9, 1958 with 101; October 1, 1961 with 100; October 9-10, 1971; and October 23, 1983 with 97 degrees and 45 mph NE Santanas with humidity as low as 7 percent in town! 

Then, on October 1, 1987 it hit 100 and L.A. set a record for the date of 107 degrees. And then, of course, there was October 27, 1993 with 97 in town with 435 homes damaged or destroyed by a windswept wildfire. Miraculously there were no casualties. McWeather lost his house that day up in the hills off Skyline Drive. Scary day, indeed.

October’s coldest temp was 34 degrees out in the Canyon and 39 in town in October of 1971. October 10-12, 1948 also had the same readings. 

Average surface ocean temps for October are around 65-67 with the coldest at 59 in late October of 1978. October’s warmest water was 74 on October 1, 1997.

Normal October rainfall in town is a bit less than a half-inch. There have been a few heavy rain events like October of 1987 with 1.95 inches, October 1996 with 1.75, and a whopping 6.06 inches from two atmospheric rivers in the area in 2004.

From 5 p.m. on September 30, 1981 until 10 a.m. the next morning on October 1, there were 17 hours of continuous thunder with a cluster of very potent thunderstorms parked over South Orange County coastal and inland areas. Cells were reforming while rotating around the low’s core parked just off Corona del Mar. 

A line from Corona del Mar to Dana Point got the heaviest activity. There was lightning every 20 seconds, all flashing from several cells that surrounded us. We also got almost an inch of rain from a couple of squalls. McWeather didn’t sleep much during that most rare event, as the thunderstorms never let up. Never seen anything like it. Maybe in some place like Oklahoma in May but here in Laguna? 

See y’all on Friday, ALOHA!


Butterfly Lady Jessica deStefano, the woman behind the Fairy Garden at LB Library

By DIANNE RUSSELL

One day five years ago, the librarian at Laguna Beach Library looked out the window to see a woman tending the unkempt garden in front of the library entrance. Jessica deStefano didn’t announce herself as the garden rescuer, she merely saw a need and got busy. 

That was just the beginning. In the ensuing years, she has been unceasingly occupied transforming the space into a magical fairy garden, lush with plants and vibrant flowers and populated with a neighborhood of fairy houses and enchanting butterflies.

Butterfly Lady fairy house

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Photo by Jessica deStefano

One of the many Fairy houses 

Silent gardener

Sandy Hovanesian, vice president of Friends of the Library, says of that day years ago, “She didn’t contact us, she just saw a need. It was a neglected area with untrimmed and dead plants and bushes. She was doing it before we were even aware of it, probably for a couple of months. Then the librarian said, ‘there’s someone out there playing in the garden.’”

Evidently, deStefano started small, and it was a while before the fairy houses started appearing. 

“She would come at 6 a.m. in the morning. Once we acknowledged her, she joined the Friends of the Library board,” says Hovanesian. “Jessica’s a goer and a doer.”

Butterfly lady Jessica

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Courtesy of Friends of the Library

Jessica deStefano and one of her butterflies

The community has been the fortunate beneficiary of her work, and the bewitching space attracts both adults and children.

“Children love the garden,” says deStefano. “We’ve received hundreds of letters meant for the fairies. The children leave notes, sometimes with little pictures and scribbles. I have a volunteer dedicated to answering them.”

She describes one especially sweet note that asked, “My tooth is going to come out, do you know the tooth fairy?”

In the beginning, Hovanesian mentioned to deStefano that one of her neighbors said her child hadn’t received an answer from her letter to a fairy, and deStefano was upset. Now she makes sure all notes are answered.

Hovanesian says, “This is a big job that has taken over her life. She is a very special person. People really notice the garden now and love it. She used a lot of her own money. But now we put her and the garden in the budget as line items, and people donate money specifically for the garden.”

Butterfly lady house

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Photo by Mary Hurlburt 

Community donates to Fairy Butterfly Garden

The garden is by no means deStefano’s only pastime.

She has exhibited at both the Festival of Arts and the Sawdust Festival. Her small sculptures and portraits are sought after for their life-like detail, the emotions they elicit, and the visions they inspire. 

When not sculpting and gardening, deStefano is dabbling in videography and photography and is a member of Toastmasters.

In 2018, she won a Laguna Beach Beautification Council Award for her work at the Laguna Beach Library Garden.

The work is never done

The garden is constantly evolving. As seasons change, deStefano plants different flowers. Just recently, she put out some decorative pumpkins and then someone smashed them all onto Coast Hwy. Undaunted, she went right back out and bought more.

The garden is an oasis of beauty in the midst of the city. Hovanesian says, “This garden has made quite a contribution to the community.”

Butterfly Lady sign

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Photo by Jessica deStefano

Follow the arrow 

In Friday’s edition, the call was put out for volunteers to help deStefano. Currently, since there is no irrigation system, the garden must be watered once or twice every day. 

The Friends of the Library will be holding their annual meeting on Tuesday, Nov 5 from 4:30 - 5:30 p.m. At the start of the meeting, deStefano will be talking about the garden and will also provide information about the benches in front of the garden. There will be also be an overview of the general income and how it is used.

The Library is located at 363 Glenneyre St. For more information, call (949) 497-1733.


Guest Column

Escape the vape: Laguna Beach schools tobacco/vaping prevention education

By Dr. Jason Viloria, Superintendent of LBUSD

In 2017 and 2018, vaping use skyrocketed in the United States and led the U.S. Surgeon General to declare e-cigarette use among youth as an epidemic. Moreover, in 2018, data from the CDC and FDA showed that more than 3.6 million youth – including one in five high school students and one in 20 middle school students – used a vaping product within the past month. The CDC’s most recent data, published in October 2019, indicates that there have been 1,604 cases of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injuries reported from 49 states, including 34 deaths.

According to a California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS) in the 2017-2018 school year, 29 percent of the Laguna Beach Unified School District’s (LBUSD) 11th grade students reported using an e-cigarette (vape) within the past month. The reported average recent use across Orange County for 11th grade students was 13 percent. To better understand specific aspects of student perceptions of vaping, including access, perceptions of harm, perceptions of use among peers, and more, LBUSD staff incorporated custom questions into the 2017-2018 CHKS. The survey findings help guide anti-tobacco/vaping education within the district and provide important information on program outcomes. 

There are three primary components of the anti-tobacco/vaping education in LBUSD. These are aligned with best-practice public health models for reducing harmful risk behaviors and include: 1) Increase awareness of the science of addiction, the chemical hooks in nicotine, and vaping, and short and long term health impacts; 2) Increase awareness of the influence of marketing, including social media, targeted marketing toward youth, and how to resist common marketing tactics; and 3) Healthy decision making and refusal skills to avoid initial experimentation. A fourth component involves providing cessation and support resources to students and families already impacted by nicotine addiction.

Guest Column Viloria

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Superintendent of LBUSD Jason Viloria

Public health prevention data tells us that students’ perspective of the rate of peers’ use is highly related to how culturally acceptable vaping is among youth. The CHKS findings revealed that students’ perceptions of others’ vaping were very high when compared to self-reported use in the last month, indicating a mismatch between reality and perception. Specifically, among 7th graders, students estimated that 66 percent of other students vaped at least once a month; among 9th grade students, they estimated that 93 percent of other students vaped a least once a month; and among 11th graders, students estimated that 97 percent of other students vaped at least once a month. 

Accordingly, one method that the district uses to combat misperception of vaping rates among youth is to share corrective norming information gathered from the CHKS with students, staff, and families in a variety of settings. This corrective norming work is also a foundation of the broader alcohol, tobacco, and other drug prevention efforts championed by LBUSD’s partners in the Laguna Beach Community Coalition. When students have accurate information that reflects the reality that the majority of students do not use alcohol, tobacco/vape, or other drugs, they are better equipped to utilize their refusal skills in the moment to avoid experimentation or initial use. 

At Laguna Beach High School and Thurston Middle School, Tobacco-Use Prevention Education (TUPE) site leaders run multiple awareness campaigns that are youth-driven to increase disapproval of vaping among students and to link healthy lifestyles with clean air and lungs. Activities include anti-vape and healthy lung messaging on T-shirts, advertising within the Brush and Palette student newspaper and around campus, and delivering the evidence-informed instruction within middle school physical education and 9th grade health classes.

Prevention and intervention is a community-wide effort. We work locally with teachers and staff to increase students’ awareness of the harm tobacco products in all forms cause to a healthy lifestyle. In partnership with the Laguna Beach Community Coalition, a multi-agency stakeholder group, public health campaigns (Raising Healthy Teens and Strengths in Numbers OC) and youth leadership development have been a cornerstone of prevention efforts. Two Laguna Beach High School students spoke at the Laguna Beach City Council meeting on September 17, at which the Council voted unanimously to explore expanding Laguna’s current no-smoking ordinance to include an additional local ordinance to ban the sale of flavored vaping products within the city limits. 

We believe strongly that our collective multi-agency efforts, in partnership with parents, policymakers, prevention experts, and student leaders, will eliminate the e-cigarette public health epidemic among our youth.

Note: Dr. Michael Keller, director of social and emotional support, contributed to this report.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

November 12, 2019

McWeather the veteran

Dennis 5Yesterday on Veterans Day, we had a bit of June Gloom in November with cool high temps only in the mid-60s. That’s nothing compared to what’s going on in a major chunk of the rest of the U.S. with round after round of Arctic blasts compliments of the unrelenting polar vortex – with bitter cold temp records being shattered from Montana to Florida. 

It’s more like early January almost everywhere else while we’re laughing here in Lotusland as the late longtime icon Terry Neptune used to call Laguna. Today’s 65 forecast high is warmer than 45 other states. Even Miami, which is latitude 25 degrees north, is only 62 today with a low of 45 which is roughly 20 degrees below their season normal. It’s already well below zero in the Northern Plains and Upper Midwest. It’s going to be a long, rough winter for them. That’s why we live here!

I am an Air Force Veteran. I served from January 13, 1967 until September 27, 1970 during the escalating Vietnam conflict, but I didn’t see combat. I guess I was one of the lucky ones as I was stationed at Hickam Air Force Base in Hawaii as a meteorologist for Weather ReCon for the 61st Military Airlift Wing. Hickam is situated between Honolulu Airport and Pearl Harbor Naval Base.

On August 3, 1965, I turned 18. Back then when you turned 18, you had to report to your local Draft Board within 60 days of your birthday. Vietnam was really ramping up, so they did away with voluntary enlistment in the Army and Marines, so you had to report. Even back then I was aware of what was going on in Southeast Asia. There was no way I was going to sit in a trench and kill innocent women and children and people I’ve never met. My Pop served in World War II, but he volunteered because we were attacked. He was totally against the Vietnam situation, as he claimed it was a police action and we had no business being there in the first place. There was no way I was going to Nam even if it meant jail time which meant a year in the Brig if you refused to go, for what? For someone like Nixon? My Pop said there was no way he was possibly going to lose his only son.

My Pop sat me down and said, “Son, you do have an option. You can enlist in the Navy or Air Force where there’s a good chance you won’t see combat and a good chance you’ll land some kind of office job somewhere here in the States or Germany. Of course you’ll go where they send you, but you’ll most likely get stationed here in the U.S. Vietnam stinks, so your way out is signing up to be a Flyboy or a Sailor. That way you’re still serving your country for three or four years and when you get out you’ll have all kinds of benefits. Should you decide on college, the Air Force or Navy will pay for all your tuition except for books for any given classes you take. You can also finance a home for barely any money down. Another big benefit, son, is your primary care for any medical needs will be the VA for a lifetime, plus you’ll receive a monthly pension for a lifetime, so it’s your choice.” 

I reported to the local Air Force recruiting station the very next day. I passed the test and all I had to do was wait until they called on me. Seeing as I was to become property of the USAF, I couldn’t get drafted into the Army. After Weather School, I received orders to work in Hawaii for three plus years. You go where they send you, but I really got lucky on that one!

Uncle Sam was paying me to surf the North Shore! Smart guy, my Pop!

See y’all on Friday, ALOHA!


Barbara’s Column

Homegrown talent helps fund Friendship Shelter programs

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Mozambique rocked Wednesday night. 

“Rock for the Cause,” hosted by architect Marshall Ininns and Stu News owner and publisher Shaena Stabler at Mozambique, raised an estimated $9,000 to help Friendship Shelter fund homes for the homeless. 

Ininns has been a Friendship Shelter board member for 14 years and host of the fundraiser for nine years – first by himself, then with the late Stu Saffer and Stabler, and now with Stabler – with Saffer in memory. The fundraisers have been held at either the Skyloft or Mozamabique, thanks to the goodwill of Ivan Spiers, owner of both restaurants.

“My philosophy is: but for the grace of God, there go I.” said Ininns. “When I was growing up, there were a couple of instances where my mother and I were on the edge.”

Stabler actually tripped over the edge. 

“I experienced homelessness – as a young child and in my early 20s,” Stabler confided in an article written by Dianne Russell for Stu News Laguna. “It’s something that impacted me personally".

Those dark times have nuanced her life.

“With that experience, comes a responsibility to give back,” said Stabler. “I’ve definitely had angels along the way, people who have mentored me and lifted me up. I feel it’s my responsibility to ‘pay it forward’ and help others too.

“With Friendship Shelter, I am able to give back and support a nonprofit that is doing the work to end homelessness – which means literally getting people off the streets and into housing because then they are no longer ‘homeless.’ Without the stability of knowing that you have a place to rest your body and mind for the night, it’s almost impossible to do be the best version of yourself that you were meant to be.”

Barbaras Column Shaena and Marshall

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Photo by Denny Freidenrich

Shaena Stabler and Marshall Ininns

Friendship Shelter Executive Director Dawn Price has moved round enough in her life to understand the feeling of footlessness.

Price was living in Texas when her husband, Jerry, was named Chapman University Dean of Students.

She came to Laguna on a fluke and serendipitously found her calling.

“We had a son and he wasn’t happy about moving to California so we told him he could pick out his high school,” said Price.

After driving around Orange County, the Prices arrived at Laguna Beach High School.

“He stood on the steps and saw the ocean and he said, ’This is the one,’” Price recalled.

“Less than a month later, a job was advertised online and a friend said you should go for that one. I had never worked with homelessness before and tonight I am saying hello to people that were on the board before I came to Laguna. 

“It has become my life’s work.”

Price is proud of what has been accomplished on behalf of the homeless in Laguna Beach.

“We have two shelters – the one in the canyon, and the one on South Coast Highway,” said Price. “Our biggest program is housing. We have 108 units. Units are located in Dana Point, scattered around the county, and in San Clemente, including Henderson House, named in honor of the Rev Colin Henderson, the Godfather of Friendship Shelter, who retired in 2017 and returned to his native England.

(“Colin is near his grandchildren,” said Betsy Jenkins, who exchanges Christmas cards with him.)

“We housed 109 people last year,” said Price.

All permanent housing is located outside of Laguna. 

“The next seventeen units of housing will be opening in San Clemente.”

“Laguna Beach has done its part,” said Price. “This is a regional problem and it has to have a regional solution.”

Housing costs money. 

“We feel responsible for getting South County a piece of the pie – available funding from the state,” said Price.

On that note she excused herself to chat with supporters of the Friendship Shelter. 

Musical entertainment began shortly thereafter, headlined by a group that included Grammy-nominated and platinum-winning musician and record producer Frank Turner Simes and Blondie Chaplin, just off a tour with Brian Wilson. They gave a whole new meaning to the name of the fundraiser said Ininns.

The rockers were preceded by Ruby Haunt, founded by Laguna Beach High School graduates Wyatt Ininns and Victor Pakpour, making their first appearance as professionals in their hometown.

“We have always admired what the Friendship Shelter does, and we are super excited to be able to take part in such a great event,” said Ininns, son of the event’s host and his wife, Elizabeth.

Barbaras Column Ruby Haunt

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Wyatt Ininns and Victor Pakpour (Ruby Haunt) make their hometown debut at Mozambique in support of Friendship Shelter

The two up and coming musicians met in middle school. However it wasn’t until Ininns went to college in Oregon that they began their musical journey.

“We started emailing music back and forth,” Wyatt Ininn’s said. “On Christmas break and in the summers we recorded. After I graduated in 2016 and moved to LA, we began to do live performances.” 

Ininns sings and writes lyrics, and Pakpour composes the music and produces. 

“It’s been going pretty good,” said Ininns. “We are going to tour across America.”

To date, the duo has produced five EPs – longer than singles but not as many songs as on an LP. As a father, Marshall Ininns is proud of his son’s musical success, but even more proud of the duo’s willingness to give time and talent to help resolve homelessness in South County. 

Wyatt and Viktor brought with them drummer Michael Viera and bass player Collin Schlesinger for Wednesday’s gig. 

In the audience: Dr. Gary Jenkins, president of the Friendship Shelter Board; Pam Wicks, Wyatt’s piano teacher; former school board member Ketta Brown, whose daughter, Kacki, went all through school with Wyatt, starting with Laguna Presbyterian Church Pre-School; Gregg and Kathleen Abel, Friendship Shelter supporters for 25 years, and instrumental in creating Dinners Across Laguna, an early local fundraising effort for the shelter; jeweler David Rubel and his wife, Kerry; and Ellen Germano

But wait – there’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading StuNewsLaguna. Contributions are welcomed.


Stu News is giving away tickets to the Hoag Classic coming to Newport Beach Country Club March 4

Love golf? If you want to see the PGA Legends up close, such as Fred Couples, Ernie Els, John Daly, Bernhard Langer, Retief Goosen, Vijay Singh, and Jay Haas, then keep reading.

Stu News is giving away “tickets for two” to the Hoag Classic coming to Newport Beach Country Club, March 4 - 8.

Here’s how you have a chance to win. In at least 50 words, tell us why you would like to attend the Hoag Classic. We will publish some of our favorite responses from readers on Tuesday. There’s a limited number of tickets, so it’s first come, first served!

Send your email to Shaena Stabler at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. She’ll get back to you if you are a winner.

Good luck!


The Best of Laguna Beach Banner2

Laguna restaurant updates: it just keeps getting more creative

By Diane Armitage

So, here’s the thing I’ve learned about my beloved Laguna chefs and restaurateurs this week: If you want to see the real creativity they possess, just take them out of their daily routine and tell them to figure out how to make business happen any way they can. 

These people are amazingly resilient and cheerful, given the circumstances. They deserve our ongoing support if only because they’re so much more imaginative than the rest of us. 

First, an overall update

We still have about 65 Laguna Beach restaurants offering to-go and delivery options. Hours and days of operation are changing often. Please call or check their websites for changes. 

I’m also offering a complete Laguna Restaurant Directory as a downloadable PDF with hours and specials. I update this with direct phone calls and texts with each of these restaurateurs every 48 hours. Opt-in to grab it at my website at www.TheBestofLagunaBeach.com.

Restaurants: I need your info and stories

If I don’t have your information listed here or if it needs to be updated, please contact me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Further, great photos and specials are always appreciated for my Instagram feed. Bring those photos on!

New “to-go” stories to share

Here are the biggest changes we’re seeing in this week’s update. 

Although the backroom Seahorse Lounge is closed to the public, the Pearl St. General Store is still open for business as an “essential grocery” with plenty of sundry items as well as many bottles of wines and beers (chilled and unchilled). 

Laguna restaurant Pearl St

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Courtesy of Pearl St. General Store

In addition to sundry items, wine, and beer, pick up a freshly made coffee at the Pearl St. General Store. 

And, if I’m not mistaken, Pearl St. is also the last (strictly) coffee shop standing in Central Laguna. (Boat Canyon’s BLKdot is still operating on the north side of town, and Peet’s in Gelson’s is still operating on the south side.) So, see? There’s hope for that perfectly swirled latté after all. 

Scott McIntosh’s Asada Tacos + Beer is now opening on Mondays “due to high customer demand.”

Never one to stay out of the creative fray too long, Ivan Spiers’ Mozambique Steakhouse is now permitted to provide a Food Truck Drive-Thru featuring Burger Monster (a burger truck), Montoya’s (Mexican food), and Nostimo (Greek Mediterranean). The trucks trundled into play yesterday (Thursday) and all three trucks will visit each day, seven days a week. 

Laguna restaurant food truck

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Courtesy of Mozambique Steahouse

Mozambique is introducing three daily food trucks at its location

Chef Tomas’ Brussels Bistro has hit it out of the park with vacuum-packed meals that can be refrigerated for up to seven days. So, the team has expanded to allowing for pick-up five days a week at the Laguna location, Monday through Friday, 3 - 5 p.m. Your order must be made online by 6 p.m. the day prior.

Michael and Christine Avila at Avila’s El Ranchito are likely the only restaurateurs in town still honoring their daily specials and happy hour offerings during their usual happy hour timeframe. They’ve also expanded their menu of freezable options, including a dozen bean & cheese or shredded chicken & rice burritos for just $20 a dozen. Order bags of chips, pints of salsa and rice, and ready-made fajita dinners that include a quart of steak or chicken fajitas, too.

Laguna restaurants El Ranchito

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Courtesy of Avila’s El Ranchito

Freezable burritos by the dozen and quarts of fajitas are just some of El Ranchito’s new family-style offerings

Selanne Steak Tavern has been offering popular menu options as well as butcher shoppe meats and a pop-up grocery of fresh produce and dairy. Now, they’ve added cocktails to go, wines by the bottle, and vacuum-packed meat cuts for easy refrigeration and freezing. 

The visiting team has come to play at Selanne, too. Best-selling menu items from Teemu’s new restaurant in Garden Grove, The Penalty Box, have been added, too. Teemu has closed those doors temporarily there, so he’s moved items like Poutine (with an egg!), and his specialty burger and hot dog to the Selanne location. 

Laguna restaurant Selanne

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Photo by Selanne Steak Tavern

The Poutine (named “The Goon”) is one of a handful of best-selling “visiting team” items that have been introduced at Selanne Steak Tavern from Teemu’s other restaurant, Garden Grove-based “The Penalty Box”

Lastly, Chef Maro Molteni looks to be back in play at Royal Hawaiian Fire Grill next week, bringing his immediate family into the restaurant kitchen to help him cook and package family-style meals. (Now that’s some home schoolin’!) It’s great news as I was beginning to hanker for the restaurant’s great wood-grilled everything. Stay tuned for details early next week.     

The bestselling author and blogger on The Best of Laguna Beach™, Diane Armitage is on an endless quest for the most imaginative adventures in Laguna’s restaurants, events, and lifestyle. Check out chef interviews, retail and restaurant news, and favorite events at www.TheBestofLagunaBeach.com and follow on Instagram @BestOfLagunaBeach (look for Diane’s smiling face).


Sally’s Fund delivers 100 bags of groceries weekly to local seniors

Sally’s Fund driver Jason Pastore delivers 100 bags of groceries each week to the most vulnerable of our senior population. He knows each person’s name, who has special diets, who needs prepared food, who is a vegetarian, and who has special nutritional requirements. 

Jason is generous and giving of his time and his care for seniors and places himself at risk daily to ensure seniors’ nutritional needs are met and that they receive items of necessity. 

Sallys Fund delivery

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Jason Pastore delivers groceries to seniors in our community

Jason always has a smile on his face and words of comfort to alleviate anxiety. He lets seniors know Sally’s Fund has not forgotten them. He may be the only person they see each week and the highlight of their day. He is a true hero to the seniors in our community.

Sally’s Fund senior transportation service will continue to operate during the temporary closure of the Susi Q Senior Center and Age Well food service program. 

As the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to evolve, Sally’s Fund wants to assure the senior community that it is still operating and will continue to transport seniors to medical appointments, grocery shopping, and running necessary errands. 

Sallys Fund van

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Jason is a true hero to seniors in our community

Sally’s Fund drivers will also pick up prescriptions and grocery shop for seniors if they do not feel comfortable leaving the house. 

The drivers have been instructed to take precautionary measures to mitigate their exposure to possible infection, including wiping down the inside of the vehicles after each ride and washing their hands frequently. 

Sally’s Fund strives to ensure that seniors have access to medical care and that nutritional needs are met. The organization never wants any senior in Laguna Beach to feel isolated or alone, especially at this time. 

Please call (949) 499-4100 if you have a transportation request or if you know of a senior who would benefit from Sally’s Fund’s services.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

April 24, 2020

The temperature is rising, but still no socializing!

Dennis 5Here on Wednesday, I’m proud to report that some long-awaited above normal temps are upon us for at least a few days. The high today in town made it up to 73, four degrees above the normal for the date and only the second time so far this year that we topped the 70 mark.

For the second consecutive year, things have been really slow to warm up to even seasonal normals, much less above normal readings. By April 22nd there have even been some readings in Laguna at 90 or above with a bunch of 80s. Local ocean temps continue to hover around the 60 mark. On this date in 1992, the second warmest April ocean temp occurred with a balmy 74, second only to the 75 on April 15th of 1997.

More from the glossary…

Typhoon: A tropical cyclone (hurricane) in the tropical Western Pacific with the exact same properties as a hurricane, with winds in excess of 74 mph and an eye in the center. The difference is the frequency of these Western Pacific storms as there are at least an average of two dozen or more of these a year. There’s really not a definitive typhoon season as they can occur at any time of the year. 

However, the Eastern Pacific and Atlantic have a definite season, which runs from May 15th to November 30th in the Eastern Pacific and June 1st to November 30th in the Atlantic, and production is normally around 12-15 such systems per year on both sides. The strongest typhoon on record was Typhoon Paka in October of 1983, with gusts reaching 235 mph.

Unlimited Ceiling: A clear sky or a sky cover that does not meet the criteria for a ceiling – meaning a cloudless sky.

Veering: Shifting of the wind in a clockwise direction with respect to either space or time; opposite of backing. Commonly used by meteorologists to refer to an anticyclonic shift (clockwise in the Northern Hemisphere and counterclockwise in the Southern Hemisphere).

Virga: Water or ice particles falling from a cloud, usually in wisps or streaks and evaporating before reaching the ground, indicating the humidity is still too low at or near the surface to accommodate any falling moisture.

Visibility: The greatest distance one can see and identify prominent objects.

Vortex: In meteorology, any rotary flow in the atmosphere.

Vorticity: Turning of the atmosphere. Vorticity may be imbedded in the total flow and not readily identified by a flow pattern. (1) Absolute vorticity: the rotation of the earth imparts vorticity to the atmosphere; absolute vorticity is the combined vorticity due to this rotation and vorticity due to circulation relative to the earth  (relative vorticity). (2) Negative vorticity: vorticity caused by anticyclonic turning; it is associated with downward motion of the air. (3) Positive vorticity: vorticity caused by cyclonic turning; it is associated with upward motion of the air. (4) Relative vorticity: vorticity of the air relative to the earth, disregarding the component of vorticity resulting from the earth’s rotation. Reference: The Weather Almanac, Ninth Edition.

It’s going to be a pretty nice weekend, so get out there (while practicing social distancing)!

Aloha!


Frontline Foods delivers meals to Firefighters and Responders at Fire Station

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Yesterday morning, in observance of International Firefighters’ Day, Frontline Foods, Congressman Harley Rouda (CA-48), Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen, Laguna Beach Fire Department Chief Mike Garcia, and Laguna Beach City Manager John Pietig delivered meals to Fire Station One. 

Frontline Foods group

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Fire Chief Mike Garcia speaking to (L-R) Station One Fire Personnel, City Manager John Pietig, Mayor Bob Whalen, and Congressman Harley Rouda

In appreciation of first responders’ efforts in battling the COVID-19 pandemic, Frontline Foods delivered over 300 prepared meals to firefighters and EMTs in Orange County (50 stations in nine cities). The food deliveries in Orange County, which help support local restaurants, are part of a national initiative by Frontline Foods, supported in part by a grant from the 501(c)(3) nonprofit “9/11 Day,” to deliver thousands of meals to first responders in Orange County (Calif.), New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and in other communities throughout the United States. 

Frontline Foods Rouda

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Congressman Harley Rouda

Frontline Foods’ restaurant partners follow strict food safety and social distancing protocols based on guidance from World Central Kitchen and local hospitals. 9/11 Day is providing an initial grant to Frontline Foods of $55,000 to support the first responder meal deliveries. 

Frontline Foods bag

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Congressman Harley Rouda and Fire Chief Garcia distribute bags

Frontline Foods is a grassroots organization that supports communities during crises such as COVID-19. Through donations, the organization provides meals from local restaurants to responders and impacted populations. One hundred percent of money raised goes directly to restaurants in communities across the country to cover the cost of the meals and enable them to keep their kitchens open to prepare meals for medical workers, EMTs, firefighters, and others. 

Frontline Foods Garcia

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Fire Chief Mike Garcia 

The Frontline Foods program started organically in multiple cities across the country in early March 2020. As a result of an outpouring of support, the program has grown into a national movement powered by a grassroots network of 700 volunteers. 

To date, Frontline Foods has raised over $4.4 million, and served more than 275,000 meals to frontline workers while supporting over 700 restaurants in 53 chapters across the country (and counting). One hundred percent of the Frontline staff are volunteers. 

Frontline Foods thank you

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A big thanks to Frontline Foods

The September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance (“9/11 Day”) was established by the 9/11 community soon after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, in honor of the 9/11 victims, rescue and recovery workers, and military veterans. Since 2002, the September 11 National Day of Service and Remembrance, officially recognized under federal law, has grown to become the largest annual day of charitable engagement in the nation.

For more information on Frontline, go to www.frontlinefoods.org.


Land meets sea

Land meets green

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Nature’s exquisite design: Lush green trees and crystal blue ocean


Dennis’ Tidbits 

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

May 29, 2020

Spring brings strong south swells; summer hard to predict

Dennis 5Here on Wednesday evening, yet another long period Southern Hemisphere pulse is showing up at all south-facing beaches. The official start of summer is still three weeks away, yet there have already been more south swells this spring than the last two summers combined. The Roaring 40s storm belt is pumping out some strong swell activity all the way from Central America to California. Puerto Escondido, known as the Mexican Pipeline, has been firing on all cylinders this spring with double to triple overhead swells lately.

Here comes June, normally our cloudiest month of the year with a lot of June Gloom running the show. The amount of gloom varies from year to year but on the average we can expect at least a dozen or more days when it doesn’t clear at all. Sometimes we get lucky, like in 1996 when we had only one day-long gloom. 

Usually by the end of the month things begin to improve. The average high temp in June is 72-74 but it’s been as hot as 101 degrees in 1979, 1981, and 1990. Believe it or not, some of our hottest weather has occurred in June. In 1976 there was an eleven-day stretch when it was 90 or hotter. 

Our chilliest June night was in 1953 at 47. Normal June rainfall is only about 0.05 inches, with our wettest June occurring in 1993 when nearly an inch fell. Normal June ocean temps are about 65-67 but it’s been as cold as 56, as in 1991, and it’s been as warm as 81, as on June 16 of that year.

It’s hard to predict what’s in store for us this summer as we’re in kind of a neutral zone with the absence of an El Niño or La Niña, so things could go either way. When there’s a strong La Niña event you can pretty much count on colder water, more overcast, and a lackluster summer for waves. The opposite is true when there’s a strong El Niño in the water. There’s a lot more sunshine, much warmer ocean temps, increased thunderstorm activity in our mountains and deserts, and a lot more surf from Mexican hurricanes. 

The mega El Niño of 2015-16 did not, however, show the normal characteristics of a strong El Niño. What should have been a really wet rainy season only produced eight inches of rain. Sure, the water was warmer than normal in 2015, reaching 75 degrees for a good part of August and September, but there were only two Baja swells all summer and lower overcast than normal. It’s the first El Niño since I’ve been keeping track that broke almost all the rules, but all the El Niños before the last one, weak or strong, had conditions you would expect. 

Our best summers were 1958, 1965, 1966, 1972, 1983, 1985, 1992, and 1997, all El Niño summers. The worst summers all occurred during a La Niña event in 1959, 1962, 1967, 1973, 1991, 2005, and 2010. As I said, neutral summers have seen good ones and not so good ones, so it could go either way. 

Have a great weekend, ALOHA!


St. Catherine of Siena Parish School to be shut for a school year

By BARBARA DIAMOND

St. Catherine of Siena Parish School will be closed until August of 2021.

The decision to “temporarilycease operations for the upcoming school year was made by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange and announced publicly on Monday. Parents of St. Catherine’s students were previously informed of the closure. No reason for the closure was made public.

“We are in tears,” said Sande St. John, grandmother of two St. Catherine students. 

Students and parents made their final goodbyes to teachers and staff on Tuesday and picked up belongings.

St. Catherine of Siena School

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St. Catherine of Siena Parish School will be closed until August of 2021

“We have facilitated the redirection of students to schools from San Clemente to Newport Beach and one to Huntington Beach,” said Stephanie Simpson, director of advancement and admissions for St. Catherine of Siena Parish School.

St. Catherine of Siena Parish School originally opened in 1957. It was reconstructed in 2008. The campus includes a science lab, computer facilities, an art lab, library, music room, and gymnasium with a stage for performing arts. Teachers are credentialed.

The school is scheduled to reopen rebranded and with a new curriculum, with a focus on a classical liberal Catholic education, according to the Diocese of Orange.

Any further questions should be directed to the Diocese of Orange at www.rcbo.org.


Giant Kelp Elf

Giant kelp mask

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Photo by Tom Joliet

Doing his part to keep the Garden Park safe!


Guest Column

Reflecting on Laguna Beach LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Month

By Chris Tebbutt

Laguna Beach LGBTQ Heritage & Culture

On this 50th anniversary of our nation’s first Pride march, June 2020 has been a remarkable month for the LGBTQ community, both in Laguna Beach and our nation. As we wrap up Laguna Beach LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Month, we are feeling inspired and encouraged by progress, while understanding there is still more work to do.

Nationally, the Supreme Court ruled that it is no longer acceptable to discriminate against employees just because of who they love or how they identify. Did you realize before last week, it was legal to fire someone in 29 states just for being gay or trans?

This is a huge milestone for progress to be sure, however, the patchwork nature of basic protections still leaves millions subject to discrimination. Did you know that LGBTQ American citizens can still legally be denied housing, credit, education, public services, federally funded programs, and jury service?  A comprehensive federal LGBTQ non-discrimination law titled The Equality Act has recently passed in the House, but not yet in the Senate. 

Reflecting on ocean

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The first openly gay mayor in the U.S. was Robert (Bob) Gentry, former trailblazing Laguna Beach Council member

Meanwhile back in our little beach town, did you know that the very first statewide legal precedent to protect LGBTQ citizens’ right to serve on a jury was the ruling by longtime Laguna Beach resident Justice William Bedsworth?

There is so much more rich history associated with Laguna Beach’s gay community. Did you know that the first openly gay mayor in America was Robert (Bob) Gentry, former trailblazing Laguna Beach City Council member and resounding voice for those affected during the HIV/AIDS crisis? Did you know that the very first openly gay presidential candidate in a major political party actually wasn’t Pete Buttigieg, but rather longtime Laguna Beach resident Fred Karger? 

Over the last month, we have been so inspired by the number of residents and businesses that have taken us up on our offer to raise the rainbow flag. We safely delivered and raised over 50 flags around town. Two fun facts: First, the majority of requests came from allies. And second, Arch Beach Heights wins the unofficial award for raising the most flags. I wonder if there is any connection to affectionately being referred to as “The Swish Alps” back in the day.

Reflecting on flag

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Arch Beach Heights wins unofficial award for raising the most flags

The real joy of delivering all of these flags has been hearing so many touching and inspiring stories (like from Justice Bedsworth). We heard from so many businesses and residents, students to seniors, that seeing the flags around town have provided a sense of being seen, safe, celebrated, honored, and belonging. This is precisely why the Laguna Beach LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Alliance exists.

Our wonderful affiliate, Laguna Beach Pride 365, the official nonprofit organizer of Laguna Beach Pride annual festival and community outreach year round, has safely reimagined this year’s events by partnering with www.gaytravel.com for VirtualPride on Sunday, June 28th. Show your pride and support by joining the event on www.virtualpride.com or by using the hashtag #VirtualPride on Twitter.


Where’s Maggi?

Where is she now? Let us know if you can say where she was in this photo. 

Send your answers in to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Where's Maggi 6 26 20

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Laguna Hackers sponsor 20th Annual Bob Margolis Golf Tournament 

The Laguna Hackers are happy to announce the 20th Annual Bob Margolis Memorial “Roaring 20s” Golf Tournament to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach will take place on Monday, Sept 14 at the Aliso Viejo Country Club. 

The tournament will include the Annual Helicopter Golf Ball Drop. Purchase a ticket for $10 for a chance to win a two-night Montage Laguna Beach package valued at $5,500. 

 Harry Bithell of Surterre Properties and longtime Laguna Hacker is chairing the event. He leads an incredible committee of fellow realtors residing in Laguna Beach who meet to play golf every Thursday on golf courses all over Orange County. Due to restrictions and regulations from COVID-19, there are only 100 spots available this year, so sign up now to secure your spot. The tournament will follow social distancing guidelines to ensure players’ safety. 

Laguna Hackers helicopter

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Tournament will include the Annual Helicopter Golf Ball Drop

The Club and the committee are very excited to host this event and raise support for our community’s youth. The Club has been impacted financially by the loss of two major fundraising events, sports leagues, and afterschool and summer programs. 

Through all the uncertainty, the Club remains committed to the mission of empowering all youth to reach their full potential. To stay connected with the kids the Club quickly adapted to providing free virtual programs for all youth and is working hard to restructure facilities to meet all the safety requirements to reopen. The Club needs our support now more than ever.

For more information or to sign up for the tournament, visit www.bgclagunabeach.org or call Harry at (949) 874-1742.


Pacific Marine Mammal Center partners with Miracles for Kids to brighten a child’s day

Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC), in partnership with the nonprofit Miracles for Kids, is thrilled to announce the launch of the Buy One Give One Program. 

The Buy One Give One Program donates PMMC Sea Life Bundles to critically ill children in the Miracles for Kids (MFK) program. Each Bundle contains carefully selected, age-specific items from PMMC’s Treasure Trove gift shop. Bundles include a lunch tote, games, puzzles, books, and more that are certain to brighten the child’s day.

Miracles for Kids is a nonprofit based in Orange County. The organization serves the community’s most vulnerable, critically-ill children and their families in desperate need as they battle the combined impact of a life-threatening illness, a devastated economy, and the effects of COVID-19 on their child’s already compromised immune system.

Pacific Marine bundles

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Courtesy of PMMC

Buy One Give One partnership between PMMC and Miracles for Kids

Miracles for Kids helps families with food, clothing, shelter, and more – so they can focus on the care their child needs. MFK is one of the only organizations on the West Coast that provides monthly financial aid, subsidized housing, and counseling to families fighting for their child’s life. When a family is brought down by the devastation of a critically ill child, MFK wants to be there to pick them back up.

Krysta Higuchi, events and public relations coordinator for PMMC, says, “This is a new partnership which PMMC is very excited about. Donors can choose from three different age ranged bundles. PMMC will ship one bundle to the donor and the other one we donate to MFK. You can also donate both if you choose, which we have been getting a lot of requests for. You just enter the code ‘donate both’ at check-out (you will not be charged for shipping).”

Pacific Marine family

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Courtesy of PMMC

Family at PMMC 

“MFK has monthly boxes to help out families,” says Higuchi. “We are helping with the Miracles for Kids autumn box, which is for the month of September. We will be delivering our donated items next month and the MFK team will package them and deliver to families in need.” 

Autumn Stier, Miracles for Kids Co-founder and CEO, says, “We’re grateful for our growing partnership with the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, which has graciously opened up its facilities to our families for unforgettable private tours and developed this fun Sea Life Bundle. The up-close experience with the majestic animals and the sea life educational packs provide a tremendous uplift to our families, who are already struggling with the combined impact of their child’s life-threatening illness, a devastated economy, and the effects of COVID-19 on their child’s already compromised immune system.”

For more information on the Buy One Give One Program, go to www.pacificmmc.org/miracles-for-kids.


Guest Column

“I just don’t have time to meditate” is the number one excuse not to meditate

By Dr. Vidya Reddy

Hello, this week I’d like to welcome you to the meditation corner.

When people say to me, “I don’t have time to meditate,” I have the same response every time.

I say, “Do you have time to feel like crap?”

Please keep reading for guidance on how to find time to meditate…

You have time to meditate

Do we have time to feel like crap? No, obviously we don’t. 

We don’t have time to feel low-level energy, to feel stuck, to feel disconnected from the Universe.

We need to feel vibrant and vital, and we need to have a sense of intuition rising up. 

In order to move through obstacles, we need to feel at peace. I created the Naturally Happy podcast as a tool to help build spirit muscle. Please listen to it at https://naturally-happy.com/podcast/. Use the podcast guide to find episodes to create some catharsis in your life.

Five minutes a day spent in meditation can give you that presence of stillness that can carry you for the rest of the day.

I just Vidya

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Photo by 

It can take just one minute to center yourself

The next time you ask yourself, “Do I have time to meditate?” or the next time you hear your ego say, “I don’t have time to meditate,” remind yourself that one to five minutes a day can change your life. 

You deserve to give yourself that gift.

Whether you’re listening to a guided meditation or you’re just listening to your own breath, that practice will lead you into a more centered state and set you up to win.

The next time you say, “I don’t have time to meditate,” hear my voice in the back of your mind saying, “Do you have time to feel like crap?”

Here’s one of my favorite techniques: The one-minute breath

No matter how busy you are, you can follow this simple meditation. 

It takes just one minute. You have time to meditate!

One minute of day spent in stillness can change your life. Commit to one minute a day and use this practice to silence your mind and calm your energy.

For one minute, follow this breathing technique:

Breathe in for five seconds.

Hold your breath for five seconds.

Release for five seconds.

Hold for five seconds.

Practice this breath pattern for one minute a day, ending with an exhale.

See? You do have time to meditate.

In Peace, Love and Gratitude. 

‘Til next time.

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

www.Naturally-Happy.com


Community blood drive to be held at Laguna Presbyterian Church on August 19

The American Red Cross says that blood donors are urgently needed. In an effort to spur donations, a community blood drive will be held at Laguna Presbyterian Church on Wednesday, August 19 at Tankersley Hall from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

As of July 30, 15 of the 68 appointment slots were filled – with 53 more to go, according to local organizer Sandy Grim.

To schedule an appointment, sign up online at www.redcrossblodd.org – use sponsor code “LagunaP” – or contact Laura at the Red Cross at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (949) 439-0551.

A photo ID is required to donate. Donors are requested to wear a face covering or a mask.

If you want to know if you are eligible to donate, call the Red Cross Donor Support Center at (866) 236-3276.

For a limited time, all blood donations are now tested for COVID-19 antibodies.

Laguna Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Forest Ave.


Dolphin magic

Dolphin magic

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Photo by Scott Brashier

A pod of dolphins was seen playing right off shore in Laguna Beach last week, resulting in happy memories for locals and visitors alike


Wednesday events in August honor 19th Amendment Centennial

This month the 19th Amendment Committee is hosting several events on Wednesdays to honor and mark the 100th year anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment on August 26, 1920, when Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby certified the ratification making it a law. 

Several events are planned this week beginning with a film event online through August 26; a book club discussion tomorrow on August 19, and the following week on August 26; a taped musical performance by No Square Theatre; and a monologue by Dr. Kim Salter with guest appearances by Harley Rouda, Cottie Petrie-Norris, Sue Kempf, and Toni Iseman.

“Celebrating this important event is absolutely essential as far as I am concerned,” said Committee Chair Patti Ohslund. “Please join us in celebration of 100 years of women enjoying the right to vote.”

City Councilwoman and Committee Member Toni Iseman said, “It’s a time of reflection, thinking back on my own career – how things used to be and how they’ve changed. Wish that I could interview my mother and her sisters about what they remember. We can’t take for granted what we have. We’re so lucky to be living in this time period. What seems every day now would absolutely shock those women.

“When my sister-in-law graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Grinnell, they only way she could be hired to work for a bank in New York City was to learn to type. There was a big difference between the male and female salaries, that was just of course accepted. It’s time for us to celebrate our history and how far we have come as women.”

In addition to the festivities, a watercolor entitled Vote, donated by artist Sandra Jones Campbell to support the event, will be on exhibit at Bushard’s Pharmacy on Forest Avenue until August 26.

Wednesday events group

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Ladies gather at No Square Theatre to kick off celebration 

Events schedule

Three Films produced by Martha Wheelock – August 12-20

Martha is Executive Director of Wild West Women, Inc., a nonprofit co-founded to produce films on women in order to provide positive role models for women and girls. She was responsible for the 19th Amendment float in the 2020 Rose Parade.

Films available to watch online along with an introduction by Martha Wheellock include:

--Votes for Women – A film about the suffrage movement 

--California Women Win The Vote 

--Inez Milholland – Forward into the Light

Films may be viewed anytime between August 12-26.

19th Amendment Book Club Discussion on Wednesday, Aug 19, at 7 p.m. (via Zoom) 

Leasa Graves will host a discussion about The Women’s Hour, The Great Fight To Win the Vote by Elaine Weiss. No need to have read the book as this will be an educational event for all. Leasa coordinated the 2020 California Suffrage Project and is a past Associate Director of the National Women’s History Alliance.

Support local Laguna Beach businesses by purchasing the book at Laguna Beach Books.

19th Amendment Grand Celebration Wednesday, August 26, at 7 p. m. (via Zoom)

 Join for a special evening of education and entertainment with No Square Theatre and special guests. 

--A special musical presentation presented by No Square Theatre, Bree Burgess Rosen, Roxanna Ward, and company. A silly and heartfelt musical celebration of the Women in White, their fight, and their legacy. 

--A monologue presented by Dr. Kimberly Salter: “The Women’s Vote.” Executive Vice President of the National Women’s History Alliance, Dr. Salter has a PhD in organizational psychology and is a licensed marriage and family therapist. 

--Guest appearances: Harley Rouda, Cottie Petrie-Norris, Toni Iseman, and Sue Kempf. 

RSVP is required for all events at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Links to films and Zoom information will be given to participants a few days prior to the event.

 Sponsors:  Laguna Beach Seniors, American Association of University Women, Laguna Beach Women’s Club, No Square Theatre, and National Women’s History Alliance.

To find out more about The 19th Amendment Committee and the events planned, visit www.nosquare.org/women-s-right-to-vote.


Howard Hills announces run for School Board

Fifty years after graduating from LBHS, Howard Hills is a candidate for the School Board he first appeared before in 1969 as the elected representative of the LBHS student body. If successful in 2020, Hills hopes to put experience and skills acquired in distinguished service to our nation to work supporting his hometown School Board’s success.   

Hills sees his third campaign for a volunteer local office as a civic duty. “I guess like Joe Biden I’m hoping the third time’s a charm, and voters will weigh my record of service at every level of government. What matters is for voters to have a choice to give someone new with new ideas a chance to help the Board do better, and do it right to reduce divisiveness,” Hills states.

Howard notes his record of service as an asset to the position. After college and law school, he served overseas in the Peace Corps on assignment in Micronesia writing constitutions for new nations. Next, he served as a Lieutenant Commander and international lawyer in the U.S. Navy JAG, assigned to the White House and National Security Council as a strategic treaty negotiator. 

Howard Hills announces

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Howard Hills is running for a spot on the LBUSD Board of Education

Hills earned high military and civilian honors in increasingly senior posts, including General Counsel to a U.S. Department of State agency with a $12 billion annual budget. He negotiated treaties opening markets for job-creating American exports, democratization, and private sector-led development through market economics in over 100 countries. Hills currently is finishing up a special assignment as adviser to U.S. negotiators renewing treaties he helped negotiate 35 years ago, noting, “If you live long enough you become relevant again.” 

While serving in Washington for 20 years, Howard and his wife Lura chose public schools and enrolled their five children in an innovative six-school complex where parent participation in school governance was valued, he says. For 20 years Howard was active in local, state, and national PTA school governance initiatives. He and his wife frequently worked fundraisers, and also organized a K-12 educational field trip program and a cross-cultural performing arts program recognized by the D.C. schools. 

Returning home to Laguna in 1999, Hills became an active supporter of sports and theatre arts in local schools attended by his two youngest children and three of his grandkids. At the request of parents and LBUSD alumni, Hills also began 20 years of advocacy for enhancement of local public school governance standards. He says, “I couldn’t believe a small school district serving a highly educated, affluent community was governed less democratically and more arbitrarily than public school systems with far less resources in an urban inner city.”

Twenty years in D.C. and another 20 years in Laguna adds up to 40 years as a PTA dad and school governance activist. The local press in Laguna began referring to Hills as a “School Board watchdog.” Hills says, “I was just trying to support what was being done well and oppose what seemed wrong. When citizens take the School Board seriously enough to share critical thinking on school governance, a weak Board becomes defensively codependent on staff and that political narrative becomes distorted.” 

Hills adds, “Local schools have served my family for five generations, I want to pay that forward. My grandma was a local school parent in the 1930s. And we’ll always remember how Dr. Ullom, the Superintendent of Schools, the School Board, and the school community were like family when my mother died, helping me face some real challenges as a teenager. Just as so many face during the pandemic, and we need to be there for them until it is over.” 

Hills believes LBUSD “has lost some of its soul” and that small town schoolhouse traditions are still possible with four well-funded schools with a small, stable student population.

“The personnel and policy confusion, a decade of costly lawsuits that could have been avoided or settled easily, and the avoidable loss of Dr. Culverhouse, are clear signs we need to restore a civic conscience in school governance, so that trust is once again real, not a political slogan,” Hills claims.

Hills believes small town school traditions can be restored, noting his youngest daughter had a wonderful high school experience in the LBHS Class of 2009. He also is grateful for the support teachers and families showed when he was guardian for three grandkids while their dad did four tours in seemingly endless Middle East wars.

“So, as a family we love our schools, and hope we once again can bring out the best in all of us, instead of chronic controversy due to misdirection.”

Hills adds, “The road to a better future often passes through a better past, when the School Board composition was as diverse as the community. I recall when we had an educator, lawyer, dentist, taxpayer watchdog, and a small business owner who ran a locksmith shop. We need to restore some diversity of people and ideas, and then build Board capacity and confidence so members don’t need to be spoon-fed by the senior staff it is supposed to both enable but also hold accountable.” 

Hills is optimistic. “The School Board members all deserve equal respect as valued members of our community serving as volunteers. If some don’t much like me as a watchdog, I understand. But my experience in governance shows that we can become partners in reform and success if we follow the rules we make and apply them even-handedly to ourselves and those who come before the Board as constituents. We can make School Board a user-friendly forum for local home rule again, the way it is supposed to work under the state education code.”


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

September 11, 2020

Sally is swirling in the south, setting her sights on the States

Dennis 5The water temp roller coaster ride continues as local ocean temps are back up into the low 70s here on Wednesday, after being in the low to mid 60s over the past weekend.

The Far West region should be renamed the Fire West.

Mike Trout has 16 home runs after only 39 games. If the season was its usual 162 games, he would be on pace for a total of 65. It’s too bad he’s playing for a perennial loser. I feel bad for Anthony Rendon, part of last year’s Championship team, the Washington Nationals. He’s gone from the penthouse to the outhouse. Playoffs? What playoffs?!

The Eastern Pacific Tropics are still asleep here in the middle of the normal peak season, while the Atlantic keeps churning them out, now with Paulette and Rene, and, soon, Sally. In the record year of 2005 the letter S was not used until early October. 

Paulette and Rene formed at a higher latitude and as a result they are highly unlikely to affect the U.S., as they will be taking a right turn and setting their sights on the area surrounding Bermuda. That’s several hundred miles off the East Coast, so the only effect would be some increase in swell activity in parts of the upper Eastern Seaboard – which is music to surfers’ ears back there. 

Sally, however, is forming well to the south, so her track would take her straight to the west, way down there at latitude 14 degrees north. Her track to the west for several days to come has a lot of people squirming, and rightly so after what has already transpired.

Atlantic hurricane prediction has improved substantially over the past few decades, thanks of course to modern technology and increased awareness of meteorological patterns. Weather is a continuous learning experience and will probably always be so. 

We’ve gained increasing understanding over the years about the impact of the ever-persistent Bermuda High on Atlantic hurricane paths. This high is now the primary steering mechanism that dictates where the storms that form off the West African coast will eventually wind up. 

Right now here on Thursday, that high is weaker than usual and not as expansive, so instead of steering systems to the west, where they would threaten the Caribbean Islands and the U.S. mainland, systems will turn more to the north, away from any targets with the exception of Bermuda. That’s basically a good thing given that Bermuda is such a small target.

It’s all about the strength and size of that high in addition to whether there’s an El Nino or La Nina in the water. A third component is the presence of a low-pressure trough in the North Atlantic, which can impact the direction a system will travel. Right now there is a deep trough there, so that also keeps a system from moving towards the west and that’s a good thing.

On the other hand, if that high is stronger and larger, systems off Africa, particularly the ones that form in a more southerly latitude, say 12-15 degrees north, have a better chance of moving straight to the west. This threatens more land masses, as appears to be the case with Sally, who is way down there at latitude 12-14 degrees north. 

Hurricane prediction is still an inexact science, but accuracy has increased to roughly 75-80 percent, and that figure allows for much better warning alerts. Stay tuned for further developments. 

I forgot to mention another important component in all this and that is the super warm and elongated pool of water off the East Coast known as the Gulf Stream. Stay safe and healthy. Somehow we’ll get through this taxing 2020!

ALOHA!


Guest Column

Drowning prevention tips for kids and adults 

By Dr. Kenneth Kwon 

Emergency Medicine Physician at Mission Hospital and Medical Director of Mission Hospital’s Comprehensive Children’s Emergency Receiving Center (CCERC)

Guest Column Drowning prevention doctor

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Dr. Kenneth Kwon

Did you know that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is the leading cause of unintentional death in the U.S. for children ages one to four? In Orange County, drowning is one of the leading causes of death in those under the age of 18. 

We are all well aware that COVID-19 has led to new stressors for even the savviest parents. They are likely to be more distracted than ever as they balance working from home, while making sure their kids remain engaged during virtual learning sessions, coupled with childcare responsibilities. It can be easy for a child to slip into the family or community pool unnoticed. 

With more hot weather on the way, many in the water safety and drowning prevention community are concerned that there will be an increase in drownings. It’s important that parents and caregivers remain vigilant.

The good news is that drownings are preventable. Here are some drowning prevention tips: 

--Supervision: Always supervise children around water. Assign a “water watcher.” This person should be dedicated to watching those in the pool and should not be distracted by adult conversation or cell phone usage. This person needs to be within an arm’s reach of the children in the pool. 

--Gate/fence the pool: Gates that are installed should be self-closing, self-latching, and surround the entire pool. Research shows that fencing alone reduces drowning risk by 50 percent. 

--Install an alarm on the door that leads out to the pool: This can alert you if your child opens the door to the pool area. 

--Learn CPR: This may help to save a life if there is an incident. 

--Remove toys from the pool when finished with pool time: Children often fall in while reaching for a toy that was left in the pool. Removing pool toys reduces the chance of this happening. 

--Teach children how to swim: Make sure that all children in your pool know how to swim.

The ocean can also pose a drowning threat not just for children, but adults as well.  Here are some tips to stay safe at the beach: 

--Only swim at beaches with lifeguards: Always swim with a buddy – never swim alone. 

--Never turn your back to the ocean: A rogue wave can come and knock you off your feet. 

--Obey all posted beach signs: Listen and follow all warnings from lifeguards. 

--Limit alcohol consumption: Do not drink alcohol while swimming in the ocean. 

--Call 911 or alert a lifeguard if you see somebody struggling in the water: Too often, a bystander that attempts a rescue also becomes a victim.


St. Catherine of Siena Parish Women’s Council holds prayer rally for LB Police Officers

On Saturday morning, Sept 26, a prayer rally sponsored by the St. Catherine of Siena Parish Women’s Council was held in support of our Laguna Beach Police Force. The rally, held in front of the Laguna Beach Police Station, was organized by Virginia Atherton, a Women’s Council leader, together with Fr. Pat Rudolph, Pastor of St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church. 

The entire parish was involved through prayers of support – with a number of members in attendance. 

St. Catherine group

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The statue of Our Lady of Fatima is held by Ellen Severoni, a Council and longtime Blue Army member

Rallies have been organized throughout the country to support the police and other first responders. 

Coleman Raffo says, “A Prayer Initiative was inaugurated by the Women’s Council at St. Catherine Church in December of 2018 and is part of Our Lady’s Blue Army, a worldwide apostolate of prayer and sacrifice for peace and conversion of hearts founded in 1946. We hope to continue our public call for prayer to strengthen all of us in these challenging times.”

For more information about St. Catherine of Siena Parish, go to www.stcathchurch.org.


Where’s Maggi – the answers!

Maggi is not the only one to look up to this little dog. While paused at the stop sign on Park Avenue at Wendt Terrace, Beth Johnsen has seen it (“I smile every time I pass by!”), as have Mark Cohen, Sandi Werthe, Wendy Pearce, Kent Russell, and John Walker. (And many of these responders found that spell-check converts it to “Wendy Terrace.”)

Thanks, everyone, for playing along. 

Check in on Friday for a new challenge!

Where's Maggi 10 13 20

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Fun sled dog all dressed for the holidays – on Park Avenue


Pumpkin carving at the Promenade

Pumpkin carving arrangement

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Don’t miss out on the city’s First Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest. We look forward to seeing what our artistic community can come up with. Entries are due on Monday, Oct 26 – enter at www.lagunabeachcity.net. The top pumpkins will be put on display at the Promenade starting Friday, Oct 30. Awards will be given to the Most Original, Scariest Pumpkin, Best Overall, and, of course, the Mayor’s Award.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

October 30, 2020

Our teams ride high, our temps go low

Dennis 5One more reminder…Daylight Savings Time comes to an end at 2 a.m. this coming Sunday. It will return on the second Sunday next March. Now we’re in the Dark Ages!

Way to go, Dodgers! They knew what they were doing when they signed Mookie Betts! Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery for star third baseman Justin Turner, who tested positive for COVID-19. Now L.A. has two championships this year with the NBA Lakers and now the MLB Dodgers. Wouldn’t it be something if the Dodgers and Angels were in the World Series someday? That’s a long shot though as the Dodgers are winners and the Angels aren’t so hot, to put it mildly, so I don’t see that happening anytime soon. 

In the NFL the Rams are contenders with a 5-2 record so far, so we’ll see what happens, as it’s a long season with nine more games to go.

Local ocean temps have taken a major tumble with a drop of ten degrees just since last weekend thanks to those strong Santanas that really brought up all that cold water from the depths. Now temps are hovering around the 60-degree mark, only four days removed from the balmy 70 as late in the season as last weekend. Now that November is knocking at the door, it’ll be hard-pressed for the water temps to rebound very much at all. Oh well, it was nice while it lasted.

Boy, it just never lets up on the Gulf Coast, as yet another strong tropical system by the name of Zeta hit Category 2 strength just before making landfall near New Orleans late Wednesday afternoon. Zeta has tied the all-time record for the highest number of tropical systems in one season. There’s still a month remaining in the 2020 season. The probabilities of a system forming as late as November are small, but it has happened on occasion, so we can’t completely rule out that chance. The way this season has been on major steroids, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if something did pop up. 

The good news with Zeta is that it’s racing to the NE at 27 mph as of 11 p.m. Central Time on Wednesday, so the system was pretty much a blow-and-go event. By late Thursday or early Friday the whole thing will be moving off the Eastern Seaboard. No new systems are in the wings for at least the next five days.

Here comes November and just about anything can happen around here in our eleventh month, from occasional downpours to hot, dry Santanas. The average hi-lo temp is around 72-51, but it’s been as hot as 95 on November 1, 1966 and November 10, 1976. The coldest November night was 34 on November 15, 1978. Average November rainfall is about 1.6 inches with the wettest November on record in 1965 when we got drenched with 9.68 inches. November has gone rainless in 1958, 1975, 1980, 1991, 1992, and 2001. The normal November ocean temp is around 63 but it’s been as cold as 53 on November 30, 1978 and as warm as 71 from November 1-5, 1997.

There you have it. See you next Tuesday, ALOHA!


Walking for Water Club creates opportunities for community to help raise money

As the holiday season approaches, the Walking for Water (WFW) Club at LBHS has created opportunities for the community to help support its efforts abroad. The continued mandates surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic havehighlighted the importance of water and sanitation now more than ever. After a successful virtual event, the students began thinking of innovative ways to continue fundraising.

The Wisdom Spring organization that oversees WFW not only focuses on providing sanitary drinking water but also education for younger children. Their recent project is in Amboseli, Kenya, where currently over 70 children ages 5-7 cannot walk the 10-mile round trip to the government school as it is too far and dangerous given the presence of wild animals. Many of them also don’t have proper clothing or shoes. Wisdom Spring is providing a classroom, two teachers, books, and uniforms (one for the summer and one for the winter). In order to continue implementing these amazing resources, WFW has decided to come up with an educational opportunity of its own.

The club wants to raise money by providing tutoring help to local kids in Laguna Beach. Students from grades 9 to 12, who are well-versed in all subjects, will tutor students in need by offering a flexible payment system that reflects their circumstances. Resumes of these respective tutors will be provided and the process to find a helping hand will be easy.

Walking for student

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Walking for Water Club wants to raise money by providing tutoring

In an effort to continue the Laguna Beach community’s involvement with Wisdom Spring, these tutors will also serve as role models and encourage fellow students to help the club grow in the future. More information will be pushed out through Nextdoor.

The virtual event that took place over the summer shed light on the impact of COVID-19, not only within Laguna Beach but worldwide. It was challenging to raise awareness and funding without the physical event showcasing the games, auction items, and performances that were intended. Holding a “Virtual Walk” proved how important it was to be conscious and alert about the effects this pandemic could have. A widespread issue like this impacted the world in different

ways but it undeniably took a toll on the communities Walking for Water has been aiding. 

In Burkina Faso alone, hundreds of health centers were forced to close, and citizens weren’t able to receive the help they needed. With cases continuously increasing, the necessity for helping these underprivileged countries is more important than ever. Water is critical to human health, a healthy environment, and poverty reduction. Developing countries like Kenya, Ghana, and Burkina Faso are typically the most affected by water shortages and poor water quality. Up to 80 percent of illnesses in the developing world are linked to inadequate water and sanitation.

Walking for class

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Classes

The students of the LBHS club also took part in an art project where each person designed a canvas conveying their feelings about being in quarantine and the pandemic as a whole. Each of the unique prints were placed on postcards and are available for purchase as well. A percentage of the money goes to these countries in order to build them wells to provide sanitary drinking water, so the purchase of any item really will make a helpful donation toward the matter.

In continuous efforts to boost funding, Walking for Water recently added new merchandise to its online store. Cloth safety masks are now available in a variety of colors and sizes. This will allow buyers to stay safe, promote the organization, and contribute to the cause. There is also a variety of clothing, sweatshirts, and t-shirts all stocked in time for the holidays. Visit www.wisdomspring.orgto see the various items available.

Importantly, Walking for Water has made an active effort to reach new goals and maintain old ones. Hopefully after reading about what they do, you may find yourself touched and inspired to participate in a cause with such a practical world interconnected purpose. There are multiple ways to get involved and devote time to learning more about why it is important to continue providing both water and education to places that lack these necessities. 

To learn more about WFW, to donate, or to watch the past Virtual Walk, go to www.wisdomspring.org.


End of the Rainbow, featuring a tour-de-force performance by Angela Ingersoll, catapults Playhouse into new dramatic territory

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Shaken and stirred – that’s how I emerged from the Playhouse after witnessing Angela Ingersoll’s tour-de-force performance in End of the Rainbow, a dramatic and heartfelt rendering of Judy Garland’s last months before her death from an overdose at the age of 47.

I use the word “witness” advisedly. I was barely aware of being part of an audience – instead I felt alternatively as if I were either her pianist (Anthony) or her fiancé (Mickey Deans), in her hotel room in London, watching this tiny emotional tyrant of a woman dissolve into despair and neediness before our eyes – watching, as she reverted to the needy child who so desperately, like Dorothy, sought the unachievable, the illusory perfect happiness that lies “over the rainbow” – watching her as she sought nirvana through drugs and alcohol, not the Yellow Brick Road.

end of the three

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Photo by Jason Niedle

Zachary Ford, Angela Ingersoll and Jon Steinhagen

Yet the drama and the emotion in this production are leavened by a couple of hilarious scenes (you won’t soon forget Judy/Angela’s reaction to learning that she had inadvertently swallowed pills intended to cure a cocker spaniel’s mange) as well as mordant wit. These interludes provide the kind of relief that casts the tragedy into an even sadder light, exposing the deep vulnerability of the star even as she makes imperious demands of those who love her.

And the songs! Angela’s voice does full justice to the reality, not just the legend, of Judy Garland.

end of the couch

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Photo by Jason Niedle

Angela Ingersoll stars as Judy Garland: A tour-de-force performance

In the last scene, Judy sits cross-legged on the floor as the lights fade to black and the echo of her voice dies down.

And that’s when the audience rose to their feet and erupted into cheers and loud clapping, expressing their delight at the wonderful, touching performances of all four actors. 

(Oh, by the way, I looked up synonyms for “a tour-de-force performance” – there really aren’t any – though perhaps “Angela Ingersoll” will appear in a future dictionary?)

Go see this play, I urge you. It’s one for the ages. And by presenting this production, the Laguna Playhouse, with artistic director Ann E Wareham and executive director Ellen Richard at its helm, has just taken a stratospheric leap into new dramatic territory, positioning it firmly as one of the finest venues of its kind in Southern California.

For more information on tickets, go to www.lagunaplayhouse.com.


Guest Column

Fan Fall

By Arnold Silverman

I am getting either soft or senile. You can take your choice. My seeing a video celebrating the anniversary of NY Giant baseball fielder Bobby Thomson’s historic home run in the 1951 Dodger/Giant playoff at the Polo Grounds in NYC produced a “Niagara” effect on me like you would not believe. 

Where were you when that game was played? I was at Indian Town Gap, Pennsylvania. It was the last day of our basic training. We had received orders for our next assignment, and on that particular day were handing in the equipment and clothing we would not be taking with us.

I was feeling great about the future; others were not. This was the time of the Korean “conflict.” While many had been assigned to FECOM (Far East Command – read that Korea), I had been assigned to Ft. Holabird in Baltimore to commence training as a CIC (Counter Intelligence Corps) agent. I was enthused both with the potential glamour of the new experience (there was none) and the realization that I would not be appearing in the sights of some focused Chinese gentleman (my crystal ball was not functioning well at that time; I ended up as a forward observer for an 81 mm mortar platoon).

New York Giant fan for this playoff

On that particular day I was “chosen” to head up the clothing detail. We were to see that each man in our company handed in each of the aforementioned clothing items. As the classic army lineup passed our position, the items were thrown in a pile.  As you might imagine, that pile rose to quite a height very quickly. While building this pyramid of G.I. issue, our Zenith Transoceanic radio, a renowned receiver at the time, probably used in every U.S. infantry platoon worldwide even though with a battery pack it must have weighed over 20 lbs., blared the ball game.

For this playoff, I was a New York Giant fan. At that time in the New York City area, you had a few loyalty options. You could have been exclusively a Giant or a Yankee or a Dodger fan. Or you could have been both a Yankee and a Giant fan. However, you could not have been a Yankee and a Dodger fan because the Dodgers were socially unacceptable to bona fide Yankee fans, and you certainly could not have been both a Giant and a Dodger fan since both were National League teams. These two “denominations” had mutual dislike if not hatred (it still exists today in spite of their respective migrations). 

Fan fall Thomson

Courtesy of flannelofthemonth.com

Bobby Thomson - Shot heard around the world

There was not a “love ‘em both” feeling as seemed to be prevalent in San Francisco during the San Francisco Giant/Oakland “earthquake” Series. When either the Dodgers or the Giants played in a World Series, New York fans of the other rooted for the American League team no matter which one it was. New York City people took their loyalties very seriously.

Now, I am not describing “World Series and All Star Game only” followers. I mean the “die with ‘em, win or lose, every day” fans. I mean fans like humorist Jean Shepherd’s father whom Shepherd depicted sitting in his “own,” lonely section in the bleachers of Wrigley Field in the 1930’s watching the lowly Chicago White Sox week after week, year after year; hoping/praying somehow for the miracle of beating the Yankees; finding in those games a metaphor for his own loser life. These were fans whose first peek at the morning paper was at the box scores. I was one of those fans.

Yankees fan as kid

I rooted for the Yankees. When I was a kid in D.C., my heroes were the Yankees – Joe DiMaggio, Red Ruffing and Bill Dickey, Frankie Crosetti, Joe Gordon and the rest. Although Washington had its Senators (the ball club; not today’s “country” club), you did not seriously root for them. While over the years, they had some good players – Cecil Travis who could have played on any club including the Yankees (and did after the war), Buddy Lewis, George Case, who for years held the base stealing record, and a really solid, dependable pitcher, Emil Dutch Leonard, they were not in the Yankee’s class and I just did not feel a strong loyalty to them. For me it was the New York teams, but not the Dodgers. Why not the Dodgers?  I do not know. However, to this day I find myself rooting for any team the Dodgers play.

So there we were listening to the game while the clothing pile grew higher and higher. As each recruit came before us, we verified his returned items, and requested that he throw the items in the pile. As the game entered the end of the ninth inning, resigned to the Giant’s losing, my concentration moved to the assigned detail. I noticed that the clothing pyramid was starting to tilt to one side and that without some adjustment, the clothes would have fallen and scattered over the area. Anticipating the imminent arrival of some neatness-prone, safety-sensitive officer or noncom, I climbed to the top of the heap and reapportioned the garments so that they would not topple. As I commenced to straighten things, Mr. Thomson came to bat and the fine pitcher Dodger starter Ralph Branca strode to the mound in relief.

Shot heard around the world

For the first time in the game, I felt some tension and excitement. You could hear that tension and hope in the Giants’ announcer Russ Hodges’ voice. You could also hear his fear as Branca blew the first pitch past Thomson. And then it happened.  Thomson hit the next pitch into history, Hodges went insane, called it the shot heard around the world, and I broke my arm.

As Hodges screamed the home run call, I leaped joyfully in the air, bounced off the cushion of clothing into the air again and, landing on my arm, fell the eight feet to the ground below. I was so overwhelmed; I did not know it was broken until the next day.  One of the medics placed it in a splint. Our captain gave me a choice of staying on the base for an extra week and risking my assignment to Holabird (with an excellent chance of being assigned to duty in Korea) or leaving that day. I was off that base in 15 minutes.


In flight 

In flight with bench

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Photo by Tamara Conner

“Hope” is the thing with feathers…Emily Dickinson


PMMC partners with OCCF to host “Protect and Preserve” giving day on April 10

Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) will partner with the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) and four additional nonprofits on April 10 to host “Protect and Preserve,” a giving day to sustain the ecosystems of Orange County. The 24-hour online effort aims to raise $75,000 for organizations with a shared commitment to environmental education and conservation of natural resources. 

The “Protect and Preserve” campaign is part of a bold initiative by OCCF to enhance the capacity of local nonprofits through a series of Collaborative Giving Days, which launched last year. Nonprofits with shared missions are invited to come together to boost collective giving for their causes. 

OCCF will power the “Protect and Preserve” campaign by providing seed funding to support the marketing assets, campaign resources, and collaborative partnerships. The seven Giving Days held in 2018 raised a total of $1.4 million for local organizations. 

PMMC partners sign

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

“Protect and Preserve” is a 24-hour giving day on April 10

“Whether you are an environmentalist or not, the large-scale extreme variations that we are seeing in our environment are alarming and undeniable,” said Peter Chang, CEO of PMMC. “At our current rate, we are leaving a legacy of human destruction for the next generation. There needs to be an urgency equal to what’s embedded in the missions of these incredible organizations, which PMMC is honored to be among.”

The five nonprofits participating in the “Protect and Preserve” Giving Day include Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Crystal Cove Conservancy, Laguna Canyon Foundation, Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy, and California Trout. 

“OCCF is proud to empower the efforts of our local nonprofits toward the common goal of protecting and conserving our environment,” said Shelley Hoss, president of OCCF. “We remain committed to encouraging the collaboration of these organizations to maximize their impact and help ensure that Orange County’s natural environment flourishes for years to come.”

To give online during the “Protect and Preserve” Giving Day, visit https://protectandpreserve.funraise.org

Pacific Marine Mammal Center was the first marine mammal rehabilitation facility in California. PMMC is the only marine mammal rescue facility in Orange County and is responsible for 52 miles of coastline. The Pacific Marine Mammal Center rescues, rehabilitates and releases marine mammals and inspires ocean stewardship through research, education and collaboration. Pacific Marine Mammal Center is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit www.pacificmmc.org

PMMC is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Local residents star in this weekend’s CHOC Follies XXII

CHOC Follies, the original musical comedy production that raises funds for CHOC Children’s, is presenting “Ellas, Bellas and Fairytale Fellas: A Musical Mash-up of OC’s Most Magical Memories.” Continuing on Friday, March 29 at 8 p.m., and on Saturday, March 30 at 2 and 8 p.m., the Follies takes place at the Robert B. Moore Theatre in Costa Mesa. 

Proceeds from the show will support services, education and research at CHOC.

“Ellas, Bellas and Fairytale Fellas” is a musical spectacular set in the Orange County Fairgrounds at “The Fairytale Fair.” The story follows famous fairytale characters, from Cinderella to the Big Bad Wolf and more, who are gathered for their annual convention. At their meeting, they lament that actors are being cast as leads in Broadway shows instead of “real” fairytale folk. They hatch a plan to present an extravagant showcase to a Broadway producer – featuring themselves. Hilarious hijinks, dazzling musical numbers and beloved childhood stories turned on their heads make this one of the most fun and fabulous CHOC Follies yet.

Local residents star performers

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Photos courtesy of CHOC Follies

CHOC Follies is this weekend

This year’s Follies will raise awareness for CHOC Children’s mental health initiative, which offers a full continuum of care for children and families facing mental health challenges. Since the mental health inpatient center opened at CHOC in April 2018, both inpatient and outpatient mental health programs have served hundreds of children in Orange County and beyond. With every song and dance, the show helps support the physical and mental well-being of children in our community.

With its traditional panache, the large cast features a number of Laguna Beach residents including Heidi Miller and Marilyn Brumley to name a few, who will tap their inner Bob Fosse in original musical performances, repleted with those famous “Jazz hands” and hip shakes.

Local residents tar Marilyn and Heidi

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Laguna Beach residents Marilyn Brumley (left) and Heidi Miller star in this weekend’s CHOC Follies

“It’s incredible to see so many people from different walks of life come together to support children in need,” said Leslie Cancellieri, co-chair for this year’s Follies. “Performers come from all over the county – doctors, moms, flight attendants, firefighters, teachers and CHOC’s own Vice President of Human Resources are all part of the performance. The cast even includes three members who have been in every show for the last 22 years. It’s truly a community experience!”

Robert B. Moore Theatre is located on the Orange Coast College campus at Fairview Road and Arlington Drive, Costa Mesa. For tickets and more information, visit www.choc.org/follies.


Crystal Cove Conservancy partners with OCCF to host “Protect and Preserve” giving day on April 10

Crystal Cove Conservancy will partner with the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) and four additional nonprofits on April 10 to host Protect and Preserve, a Giving Day to sustain the ecosystems of Orange County. The 24-hour online effort aims to raise $75,000 for organizations with a shared commitment to environmental education and conservation of natural resources.

The Protect and Preserve campaign is part of a bold initiative by OCCF to enhance the capacity of local nonprofits through a series of Collaborative Giving Days which launched last year. Nonprofits with shared missions are invited to come together to boost collective giving for their causes.

OCCF will power the Protect and Preserve campaign by providing seed funding to support the marketing assets, campaign resources, and collaborative partnerships. The seven Giving Days held in 2018 raised a total of $1.4 million for local organizations.

Crystal Cove rocks

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Courtesy of Instagram

Crystal Cove on a low tide day 

“The Conservancy is honored to be participating in the Protect and Preserve Giving Day in partnership with such likeminded nonprofits in Orange County. We are grateful to OCCF for their support and commitment to our collective missions of sustaining our local ecosystems. By joining together with partner organizations, we collectively are able to get more accomplished and this great program is the catalyst.” said Alix Dunn, President and CEO of Crystal Cove Conservancy.

The five nonprofits participating in the Protect and Preserve Giving Day include Pacific Marine Mammal Center, Crystal Cove Conservancy, Laguna Canyon Foundation, Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy, and California Trout.

“OCCF is proud to empower the efforts of our local nonprofits toward the common goal of protecting and conserving our environment,” said Shelley Hoss, president, OCCF. “We remain committed to encouraging the collaboration of these organizations to maximize their impact and help ensure that Orange County’s natural environment flourishes for years to come.”

To give online during the Protect and Preserve Giving Day, visit https://protectandpreserve.funraise.org/.

For more information on the Collaborative Giving Days, visit https://oc-cf.org/iheartoc

Crystal Cove Conservancy is the nonprofit public benefit partner to Crystal Cove State Park, employing a social enterprise model to fund important preservation, education, and conservation initiatives that will cultivate our planet’s next generation of environmental stewards ensuring that Crystal Cove, and places like it, live on for generations.

The Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) works with donors, strengthens the local nonprofit sector, and works to find solutions to community needs. Since its inception, OCCF has awarded nearly $600 million in grants and scholarships and ranks in the top two percent in grant making activity among more than 780 U.S. community foundations. 

For more information, visit www.oc-cf.org or call (949) 553-4202.


Springtime showers bring flowers

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Spring time palm

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After springtime showers

Springtime poppies

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The reward of showers – Parry’s Phacelia and California Poppies

Spring time wisteria

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Beautiful springtime bounty, Wisteria


Guest Column

Cheers to the old gang

By Arnie Silverman

Goodbye forever, old fellows and gals.
Goodbye forever, old sweethearts and pals.
Gee but I’d give the world to see
that old gang of mine.

That old, and I mean that literally, gang of mine has broken up. Oh, we still contact each other sporadically, but our gathering together once or twice a week is a thing of the past.

Comprised primarily of successful, now retired men and a woman, we used to meet at lunchtime at one of the round tables in the patio behind what was then the Pub coffee shop across from the post office near Main Beach in Laguna. On a good day there could be up to some 10 people jammed together around one of those tables, each simultaneously loudly expressing an opinion or declaration solving the world’s problems or sarcastically attacking one of the group to the amusement of all.

Though I was a “member in good standing,” I was a relative newcomer. I had an office nearby on Ocean Ave and each day, while I preferred lunching while sitting on one of the benches at Main Beach and ogling the beautiful ladies in their skimpy swim attire, for variety I would often choose one of the local places for a bite. On the day of my “joining” the group I found a table in the patio and, alone, quietly ate my morsel and pondered some business issues I was having. Although deep in thought, I heard boisterous comments interspersed with loud laughter and good-natured ridicule. I listened to what was being said and heard barbs being darted at various members of the group followed, again, by laughter. It was déjà vu “all over again” as Yogi Berra is alleged to have said, as those cruel but humorous taunts reminded me of the frivolous New York insults that I was once a master of. As I smiled at a few of the comments, one of the men, Walter, invited me over to join them. From that time on I was an “accredited” member.       

cheers to couple

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Arnie Silverman and his wife Myrna

Walter, I observed, was the leader/conductor of the group. He had founded a very successful insurance company, which after years of significant growth, he sold to one of the larger insurers. Financially secure then, he owned a spacious home set in the hills of North Laguna with a magnificent view of the ocean. An army brat, he had travelled widely as a child and attended UCLA, which he never let us forget. I tried to counter him with a better school (my judgment), Rutgers, but to no avail. One of the best of raconteurs, he could regale you with stories (often repeated and repeated and repeated…) of his life and places where he had been. His impressive memory often astounded us as he remembered the minute details of places, events, and people he encountered in his travels. 

Walter is a devoted family man and community member, who established, among other charities, Sally’ Fund in Laguna, and contributes to multiple causes and organizations like the local VFW. He is one of the most generous men I ever knew. In his prime he participated in and led various community projects and organizations. As to the sessions around the round tables, it was Walter who, again, “ran” the gatherings. In time the demographics of the group changed to the extent that the devout Roman Catholic Walter found himself surrounded by a majority of Jews – Dick, two Harrys, Norman, and me. The humor that emanated from that was often uproarious. 

Dick was a former professor of history and classics with special interests in Roman history, Latin elegy, and satire at UC Irvine. A soft-spoken, gentle man, he had a retentive memory and could remember numerous names, dates, and events from the past. You did not want to argue with him over some historical event, recent or ancient.  In addition to knowing who did what and when recently or hundreds of years ago, he could come up with what author wrote this and what actor played in that. A liberal (along with me), he led the Laguna Beach Democratic Party (an oxymoron then?) for a few years.

Harry was a national rep for one of the popular sports gear manufacturers. He had a memory and knowledge of past and present sporting events and knew personally many of those involved. Though a quiet man, if he found an issue distasteful or if he disagreed vehemently enough, he could become agitated. When one of our former members, an expatriate Iranian, expressed anti-American views, Harry angrily “advised” him that if he held those hatreds, if his dislike of this country was so vitriolic, he should “get his ass back to Iran.” The gentleman never returned to the group. Unfortunately, his nephew, a more worldly and modern man, who did not hold his views or religious convictions, in order to keep peace in his family, no longer joined us either.

Norman ran a very successful book publishing business in Laguna Beach specializing in a broad spectrum of health subjects – physical and mental. A fellow but soft-spoken New Yorker (is that another oxymoron?) and NY Giants fan, he was one of my favorites.

cheers to charles

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Charles Quilter congratulates Arnie Silverman on his selection as Patriot of the Year 2019

There was another Harry. He was a sweet and gentle man with post World-War-Two PTSD issues. Years prior he showed enough musical talent to be accepted by the Juilliard School of music but walked away from it, only to pursue a convoluted dream of building his own sailing vessel in England. When Harry was homeless in Laguna Beach, Walter helped him financially when he had need. He ultimately ended up in a low-cost housing unit, a converted motel in Laguna, and was usually at the group’s “meetings.”  He commenced to write his biography, which though fairly well-written, included a personal, hallucinatory “experience” involving his meeting with an angel. Harry died a few years ago and never finished his book.    

Terry was also a retired, successful insurance guy. Living just down the hill in Walter’s gated community, he maintained a cheerful and positive demeanor. An avid golfer, he played as often as he could. While playing one day, he was felled with a heart attack but had the fortune of having a golfer-physician close by who administered to and saved him. He spent a prolonged period caring for his Alzheimer-afflicted wife until she died and was very active in raising funds to cure that affliction. He remarried but after a couple of years, she too died. Terry sold his prized home and moved to Palm Beach, Florida. He was a delightful man and was missed by all.

And there was Ernie. An Englishman now living in San Juan Capistrano, he was a self-made, self-taught engineer who built a very successful business designing and producing innovative industrial devices for various companies. Ernie also had multiple experiences, had travelled widely throughout the world, and had a profound knowledge of history, particularly WWII. Both he and Walter, incidentally, read and exchanged historical and popular fiction extensively. I’m talking about two to three books a week.  To say Ernie was conservatively opinionated would be an understatement. Often loud and persistent, he would often frustrate us as he monopolized a conversation. A kind and generous man, he died several years ago.

Neville was a retired physician from England. He lived in Massachusetts but would visit Laguna Beach when he got the whim to do so. Soft-spoken, with a lilting and precise English accent, he was a very pleasant man with a quietly infectious sense of humor.

Sean, an Irishman with the brogue to match, was the youngest member of the group and a locksmith, so if you needed anything opened or secured, he was your guy. He was knowledgeable about world events. He also had a wickedly dry sense of humor that cut to the core. When Walter was still mobile but confined first to a walker and then a wheelchair, Sean attended to him like a dutiful son.

The lady of the group was Patricia. Single after three failed marriages, she lived alone in Laguna Beach. As avid a reader as Walter and Ernie, she would often arrive as they did with a stack of books she had read to share with anyone who wanted them.  Intimidated by all of our loud and decisive talk, she was the quiet one.

David shared a Laguna Beach apartment (owned by Dick) with Sean. Usually unshaven, attired in clothing that should have been discarded years ago, he had retired when he was 40 years old. Living modestly on a small disability pension and I assume Social Security, he maintained a solid sense of humor and, his slovenliness notwithstanding, was liked by all. He too died a few years ago.

There were many more who came and went, many before my time. With Walter orchestrating the gatherings, there was constant humor along with serious political and world events discussions and book and movie reviews. When Dick was in attendance, there were even history lessons. The conversations were always lively, informative, and interesting, even Walter’s redundant stories. 

Like so many things in life though, those grand gatherings have come to an end.  Oh, a few of us sporadically meet but the old fervor is gone. The master maestro is not there. Afflicted now with a condition that makes him immobile, he is confined to his bed.  That does not mean that he has tossed in the towel. Visiting him at his home, I found him to be as cognitive and loquacious as ever. His mind and that marvelous memory remain intact, but the old body seems to have deserted him. He has maintained his interests and sense of humor, however, and continues to read everything he can get his hands on. At my last visit with him he had some 10 books on his bed, most of which he had read. With his beloved and beautiful wife there caring for and watching over him, he is more often than not in good spirits.

I love the guy as does all of the old group, and while I look forward to visiting him, seeing this dynamic, kind, and caring powerhouse of a man confined to that damned bed can be dispiriting. But then I recall what a fantastic person he is and how fortunate I have been to have him in my life and I am able to move on.

But as to that old gang of mine, it will never be the same without the old conductor leading the band. Oh, and the Pub is no longer the Pub. It was refurbished and “prettied up.” I sure do miss those amusingly stimulating lunches.


Girl Scouts learn about the human/cat connection, earn badges during fun visit to Catmosphere Laguna

Last week The Girl Scouts of America, San Clemente Troop #3361, visited Catmosphere Laguna with a goal in mind. 

“Besides playing with our fabulous felines and playing a feline trivia game, the Troop was earning their Animal Helpers Cadette Media badge!” explains Gail Landau, founder of Catmosphere Laguna. 

Leader of the Girl Scout troop Carrie Tuomi explains how the field trip came about: “My mom read an article about Catmosphere Laguna in Jlife magazine and told me how the article mentioned Gail’s interest in Girl Scouts being able to earn a badge.”

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Keira Tuomi says it was a cool experience to play with the cats and earn a badge

 “I wasn’t sure exactly what that meant, but researched the available badges in the book I have for my troop’s age level (they are Cadettes) and found the Animal Helper’s Badge. I sent Gail the requirements and she tried to tailor our visit to fit some of the badge requirements. 

“At first I thought it would just be fun to see a cat café, since none of us had heard of this concept before, but I was glad we were able to incorporate a badge into our visit. The girls enjoyed seeing and interacting with the different cats and learning how they are cared for. I would recommend it to other troops.” 

girl scouts at catmosphere

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Girl Scouts loved the kitties and the kitties loved the Girl Scouts

(L-R) Keira Tuomi, Arya Kindiger, Luna Huntington, and Sage Borst

Keira Tuomi said, “It was a cool experience because Catmosphere Laguna is unlike any other shelters because you can interact with the cats and play with them. It was nice to hear that Gail saves the cats from kill shelters and tries to find them homes.”

Gail says she loved hosting the Girl Scouts. “Together we explored the human/animal connection, found out how animals keep people safe, learned about animals as emotional support, explored how animals help differently-abled people, and explored how animals may help us in the future...cats may help discover new cancers leading to eradication and cure!

“Go girls! Thank mew for visiting!” adds Gail.

Catmosphere Laguna serves as both a community café servicing delicious toasts and salads, and a nonprofit foster home for rescued, adoptable cats and kittens. 

Catmosphere Laguna is located at 381 Forest Ave. For more information, visit www.catmospherelaguna.com.


World-renowned urbanist Richard Florida to headline LGBTQ Alliance Symposium on Monday, April 29 

The Laguna Beach LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Alliance, along with Visionary Sponsor and real estate investment firm Laguna Beach Company, and Title Sponsor Bank of America, announced registration is open for Diversity and The Creative Economy, a symposium featuring international best-selling author and urbanist Richard Florida. 

The symposium will be held on Monday, April 29 at Montage Laguna Beach from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and will provide a platform for community members, local business, civic, legislative, cultural, and educational leaders to discuss how inclusion and creativity can foster economic mobility and prosperity for Orange County. 

A portion of the event’s proceeds will be donated to Laguna Beach Pride 365, Club Q Laguna at Laguna Beach Seniors, and The Blaze Bernstein Memorial Fund.

World renowned glasses

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Best-selling author and urbanist Richard Florida will speak at Montage Laguna Beach on Monday, April 29

“Many people don’t know what we mean by ‘inclusive prosperity,’” said Chris Tebbutt, co-founder, Laguna Beach LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Alliance. “We want people to understand. We want them to be inspired by what’s possible when our differences are truly honored and everyone feels like they belong. We want our communities to be excited about how taking specific actions can impact their bank accounts, from increased profits and home values to stronger service industries and talent retention. We want to take the word ‘diversity’ from being an elusive catchword to being a prosperous future with clear benefits to the economics, social vitality and well-being for everyone.”

Keynote speaker Richard Florida is a researcher and professor at University of Toronto, a distinguished fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, and a visiting fellow at Florida International University. He has penned several international best sellers, including the award-winning The Rise of the Creative Class and his most recent book The New Urban Crisis. He is a senior editor for The Atlantic, where he co-founded the online publication CityLab, for which he also serves as editor-at-large. An entrepreneur, he also is the founder of the Creative Class Group, which works closely with companies and governments worldwide.

“My research has long suggested that tolerance and openness are key drivers of economic growth. I’m thrilled to join the LGBTQ Alliance in Laguna Beach and talk about the region’s future for inclusive prosperity,” said Richard Florida.

“Orange County is a tremendous place to live, work and do business and we can all play a role in attracting and retaining rich, diverse talent in our creative and economic marketplace,” said Allen Staff, Orange County market president, Bank of America. “Diversity and inclusion helps make our company not just a great place to work, but also that the diversity of our employees – in age, thought, style, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture and experiences – makes us better positioned to serve our clients and drive business.”

World renowned logo

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Registration is open for Diversity and The Creative Economy, to be held on Monday, April 29 at Montage Laguna Beach

The event will feature live musical performances from students at the Orange County School of the Arts, remarks by U.S. Congressman Harley Rouda, a keynote from Richard Florida, and a panel discussion featuring Richard Florida, Chris Tebbutt, Mo Honarkar, CEO, Laguna Beach Company, and Alex Rhodes, Diversity & Inclusion executive at Bank of America. A book signing and VIP roundtable will follow the event.

“Compass is proud to be a partner in such an important initiative happening in Orange County as the message of the event is aligned with the fundamental values embraced by our company,” said Cari Young, Compass Managing Broker. “At Compass, belonging and inclusion are at the core of our mission to help everyone find their place in the world.”

General admission is $125 and includes complimentary breakfast. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. 

For more information and tickets, visit https://lagunabeachlgbtqalliance.org/tickets-sponsorship or contact Chris Tebbutt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


High Paw

High Paw Nestor

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Photo by Leonard Porto III

Nestor high fives with his neighbor Langdon Dubois


A healthy take on Cinco de Mayo

By Emily Moore

Kitchen in the Canyon is serving up a healthy take on cultural cuisine this Cinco de Mayo. The Mexican-American holiday (commonly mistaken for Mexican Independence Day) celebrates the triumph of the Mexican army at the Battle of Puebla (May 5, 1862). Cinco de Mayo has evolved into a celebration that honors Mexican culture and heritage, stemming from the Chicano activists who brought attention to this holiday back in the 60s. 

Kitchen in the Canyon is the perfect pit stop prior to your beachy festivities. Start your Sunday morning with a belly full of healthy and comforting Mexican food. The local cafe, tucked away in Laguna Canyon, will be mixing up its menu and adding specials fit for the holiday.

A healthy food

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Photo by Grant Puckett

Kitchen in the Canyon’s delicious Cinco de Mayo dishes

If you’re looking to swap out the sugar-based margaritas and give your Cinco de Mayo a healthy twist, Kitchen in the Canyon is the place to be. The day is a celebration of community and culture, and there’s no better way to honor the holiday than with a plate full of wholesome ingredients surrounded by your neighbors…because everyone loves an excuse for a healthy fiesta!

Kitchen in the Canyon is open everyday, from 7 a.m. - 3 p.m., and located at 845 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Next week’s Blues is a Woman concert is almost sold out

On Wednesday, May 15, Laguna Beach Live! presents Blues is a Woman at [seven-degrees] from 6 to 8 p.m., with social hour starting at 5 p.m.

Blues is a Woman blurs the boundaries between concert and theater, using storytelling and music to bring to life the colorful history of the bold and singular women who wrote and popularized the blues. 

Next weeks Pamela Rose

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Pamela Rose will thrill audiences next Wednesday at Blues is a Woman concert

Some of the names are well known – Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Janis Joplin – and others should be – Ma Rainey, Ida Cox, Memphis Minnie, and so many more. The voices of these women are vibrant, challenging, inspirational, and dynamic, and Blues is a Woman seeks to ensure that these women, their histories, and their message will be remembered and celebrated.

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door.

A full bar and buffet menu is available for purchase starting at 5 p.m. when doors open for dinner and social hour. 

Reservations can be made at www.lagunabeachlive.org or by calling (800) 595-4849. The information line is (949) 715-9713.

[seven-degrees] is located at 891 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Guests danced the night away at “Under the Sea” gala in support of the Boys & Girls Club of LB

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach held its 19th Annual Art of Giving Gala on Saturday, May 13. The “Under the Sea” theme provided guests with an evening filled with underwater adventure. 

The Montage ballroom was transformed into an aquarium with fish and sea life swimming on the walls and beautiful coral flower arrangements on the tables. The gala marks the Club’s largest and most important fundraising event of the year, which helps directly enhance the lives of youth in Laguna Beach and its surrounding area. 

The organization is reliant on community support to ensure the goal of meeting our youth’s social, emotional, and academic needs through award-winning after school and summer programming.

Guest danced auctioneer

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Auctioneer Letitia Frye

During the night’s fun festivities, the Club’s Chief Executive Officer Pam Estes presented guests with its valuable impact on members and the issues facing our youth today. 

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach would like to thank the many contributors who participated in this celebration. 

Platinum sponsors: Click Family Foundation, Jim & Vicki Click, Montage Laguna Beach, Tuttle-Click Automotive Group, Massen Green Foundation, Jaffe Family Foundation, Wells Fargo Advisors, Wilson Automotive, and the William and Mary Ross Family Foundation.

Gold Sponsors: Crevier Classic Cars, Betsy & Gary Jenkins, and Ray & Sandra Wirta. 

Silver sponsors: Al Roberts & Ken Jillson, Barbara & Greg MacGillivray, Chase Auto Finance, Cox, Castle & Nicholson, Cox Communications, Dennis & Carol Berryman, Dykema Gossett, LLP, JP Morgan Chase & Co., LBA Realty, McKenna European Auto Center, Nancy Myers, Paula & Brad Arnold, Phyllis & David Phillips, Robin & John Shanahan, Toyota of Orange, and Union Bank. 

Guest danced ladies

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Co-Chairs Paula Hornbuckle Arnold and Carrie Click

The Club also gives a special thanks to this year’s Event Co-Chairs Carrie Click and Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold for doing a phenomenal job. The Club’s Gala event helps tremendously in sustaining the Club, but still seeks support, collaborations, and partnerships to accomplish its core mission to help all young people, especially those that need it most, to realize their full potential as healthy, caring, and responsible citizens. 

For more information about the Gala, or to learn about the Club’s programs and how you can support them, contact Michelle Fortezzo at (949) 715-7584 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the Club’s website at www.bgclagunabeach.org.


Laguna Beach Business Club presents Stu News’ Shaena Stabler

The Laguna Beach Business Club is proud to announce Shaena Stabler, owner, editor, and publisher of Stu News Laguna and founder/co-owner of Stu News Newport as speaker at the June 20th meeting. 

The club holds a breakfast meeting the third Thursday each month at 7:30 a.m. and hosts speakers that discuss topics valuable to achieving success in your personal and professional lives. 

Stabler will speak about the Stu News business model and growth; how to pitch and package editorial ideas to her; the value of advertising in the digital age; and how to leverage social media for your business.

Laguna Beach Shaena

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Shaena Stabler, owner, editor and publisher of Stu News Laguna 

Shaena moved to Laguna Beach 12 years ago, and has been an integral part of the fabric of the community ever since. At the age of 25, she became business partners with Stu Saffer on Stu News Laguna – which boasts 33,000 unique readers monthly. When Stu sadly passed away in 2017, she purchased his half of the business and became the sole owner of Stu News Laguna.

Stabler was raised by her grandparents in a small coastal town in Oregon, lived on a yacht for five years with her family, was her high school’s valedictorian, graduated from Colgate University, and worked at ESPN as her first job out of college.

Club meetings begin with a buffet breakfast and brief networking roundtable. Meetings are hosted at Seven7Seven (formerly Tivoli Too). Non-members are welcome.

For more information about the club or to register to attend a meeting, visit www.lagunabeachbusinessclub.com or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Seven7Seven is located at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd. 


Dennis’ Tidbits 

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

June 14, 2019

Weather is finally heating up 

Dennis 5The long wait for an 80-degree day is over as the high reached 84 here in Laguna on Monday. A huge dome of high pressure settled in over the entire Pacific West Coast from British Columbia to the Mexifornia Border, shattering many records for heat across the region. The mercury hit 100 degrees on Monday up in San Francisco, making it only the second time in history that the mercury topped the century mark. Back in June of 1961, it hit 106, which still stands as the hottest day ever in the Bay Area, but that record was set at the airport, not downtown where it’s a bit cooler. Still, that’s amazing for June as the normal high for June 10th up there is only 69.6 degrees.

I got a call from a weather buddy who now lives in Newport, Oregon, which is at latitude 44 degrees north. He called to tell me about a most rare sighting of a cloud called a noctilucent cloud, which has been observed by very few people. The cloud was seen at 10:30 p.m., more than an hour and a half after sunset. It was a bright bluish silvery color and was about 30 degrees above the horizon and looked like an elongated cirrus cloud. 

Usually a cirrus cloud is up to six miles above the earth’s surface and stays lit from the sun’s rays for maybe 15 minutes past sunset, but at near total darkness and 95 minutes after sunset? He knew it wasn’t a Vandenberg launch. Heck, Vandenberg is 950 miles to the south. This cloud was not visible until it was totally dark. Turns out this long silvery blue strand was 50-60 miles above earth where it’s made up of ice crystals way up in the mesosphere where the temp is 80-100 degrees below zero. I looked it up in my weather encyclopedia and sure enough, that’s what it was and it’s a most rare phenomenon. 

Then on Monday afternoon, they showed it on the Weather Channel and explained the whole deal. They said it’s a cloud of unknown composition which occurs at great heights, probably 50-60 miles and is only seen north of 40 degrees north latitude and is usually only spotted around the summer months. They resemble thin cirrus but usually with a bluish or silverfish color standing out against a dark night sky. Down here at 33.7 north latitude, we’re too far south to see one. Weather is so amazing!

Have a great weekend, ALOHA!


Calliope Consignment is closing its doors on Sunday, hosts blowout sale all weekend

This Sunday, June 30, Calliope Consignment will be closing its doors after a year in business. “I am so grateful to the community for letting me have so much fun for a whole solid year,” reflects owner Linda Humes.

Calliope Consignment opened in July 2018 after Linda Humes, longtime owner of The Tides Hotel, decided to come out of retirement and pursue her next dream, opening a store that would feature a wide range of products from valuable antiques to fabulous art and collectibles.

Calliope Consignment door

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Linda Humes, owner of Calliope Consignment, invites the community to “say goodbye” and pick up a unique treasure this weekend

Humes will be hosting a huge closing sale starting today, Friday, June 28, through Sunday, June 30, from noon to 5 p.m. daily.

“Everything must go,” says Humes.

Calliope Consignment is located at 1492 South Coast Hwy.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

July 19, 2019

A fickle July

Dennis 5The normal hi-lo temp in Laguna now is 77-64 for July 19th, yet we haven’t reached that normal high yet this month with an average so far of only 73.8-62.2. Here on Wednesday, it barely cleared thanks to a thick stubborn marine layer. A year ago today it was 86-68 with clear skies from sunup to sundown and the water was a most inviting 74. July of 2018 was one of the warmest on record. 

On July 19, 2006 the mercury climbed to 96, which tied the record for the hottest July day on record in Laguna also set on July 2, 1985 and July 20, 1960. The July 19th 2006 and the July 20th 1960 record-setters were also accompanied by spectacular thunderstorm activity here in town. 

July 20, 1960 was a very special day in my heart because that was the first time I stood up on a surfboard at Doheny long before they ruined the place with a friggin’ boat harbor. Shortly after my first stand up on a board, everybody had to leave the water when there was a strong thunderstorm with lightning all over the place. I remember that day like it was yesterday, no lie! 

A strong summer monsoonal flow from the SE is also known as a Sonoran because thunderstorms travel from the Southeast on their way to Southern California as they cross over the Sonoran Desert in extreme northwestern Mexico. The thunderstorm event on July 19, 2006 came from the same source with a high of 96 and 48 percent humidity resulting in dew points of 74 degrees with a heat index of 103! Definitely squirm time!

So far this summer, the monsoonal flow has been very quiet over the Desert Southwest with only sporadic activity in extreme southeastern Arizona. The Eastern Pacific Tropics have a couple of systems trying to pull it together. They’re both way down there at latitude 14 degrees north and presently both systems have only a 30-40 percent chance of further development. 

One system is 850 miles SW of Baja’s tip so no matter what happens with that one, we’ll see no wave action as the low is situated at the very westernmost border of our swell window. If it is eventually strong enough to become a tropical storm, its name will be Dalilia. The other system is located about 300 miles west of Costa Rica. Stay tuned on that one as it isn’t even in our swell window yet, but the waters are very warm down there at 88 degrees, so it all depends on how much upper level wind shear there is.

On July 20, 1976 Category 5 Hurricane Claudia sent us one of the biggest south swells in recent memory. I’ll never forget that center spread photo in Surfer Magazine taken by Corona del Mar surfer-photographer Woody Woodworth showing three surfers frantically trying to paddle over a 25 ft. monster way outside Newport Harbor. They had to close the Harbor entrance that day as giant sets were traveling up the Harbor breaking almost top to bottom as the Channel hadn’t been dredged in years. The swells were still holding it together way inside the Harbor as far as China Cove. 

The Wedge was out of control at 20-25 ft. at least with waves capping way out as far as the 13th pole on the Newport Jetty. Fifteenth Street in Newport was huge and lived up to the giant swell of September 1966 when Surfer Magazine ran a big article titled “Pipeline comes to Newport.” The place only breaks like that about once or twice a decade if we’re lucky. The most recent such event at Newport Point was in late August of 2014 when Category 5 Hurricane Marie did the honors. The planets almost have to line up for such an event. 

Enjoy the weekend, folks, ALOHA!


Fly Me to the Moon with this weekend’s live music

By Diane Armitage

Alright, I’ll admit it. I love the “American Songbook” (also called American Standards) era…you know, the fabulous and original Rat Pack boys (Frank Sinatra is still my favorite), Nina Simone, Nat King Cole, Ella Fitzgerald…the list goes on and on. They play as my background music as I write and create all day, and they’re usually doing their croon thing in my car as well. 

I have no idea how this happened, particularly as I was more of an Abbey Road era kind of kid. But, when that kind of live music finds its way to Laguna Beach, you’ll likely find me in the front row. 

This weekend, we have two special treats from an era that should never be “bygone.” On Friday night, Wendy Smith-Brune is on stage at the Festival of Arts from 5:30 - 7 p.m. (Perfect timing as I’m attending Royal Hawaiian’s Chefs’ Table that same evening at 7 p.m. Could it be a better evening?!)

Wendy is part of a cool Friday series that spotlights the amazing background singers who sing on the largest musicians’ stages of the world. She’s backup singer to a number of celebrity musicians, including Michael Bolton, Gloria Estefan, Aaron Neville, and the late (great) Barry White. And – wow – can she sing. Definitely worth the visit to our lovely Festival grounds. 

The concert is free with festival admission (all military and Laguna Beach residents are allowed into the festival free). You can also reserve seats in “the box” section for $20 per person. Go to www.foapom.com to purchase those seats. 

Fly me Magee

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Courtesy of Bill Magee Blues

Bill Magee performs at Music in the Park at Bluebird Park on Sunday

Then, on Sunday, it’s the phenomenal blues legend Bill Magee for the Bluebird Music in the Park series. I initially discovered Magee at Mozambique as a Wednesday night blues special guest, but I’ve been crying the blues since Mozambique switched from that mode on Wednesdays. It was a true delight to see Bill’s name show up again in Laguna Beach. He will definitely light the entire park up with a 50-year honed talent that few can match. 

The free Sunday Bluebird concert begins at 5 p.m., but if you know anything about this series, you’ll want to arrive early – they allow set up at 3 p.m. Check my website’s calendar for allowances and restrictions at the event! 

I’ll see you out there! 

Best-selling author and blogger on The Best of Laguna Beach, Diane Armitage is on an endless quest for the most imaginative adventures in Laguna’s restaurants, events and lifestyle. Check out her stories and favorite events at www.TheBestofLagunaBeach.com.


Congressman Harley Rouda and wife Kaira visit PMMC

Congressman Harley Rouda and wife Kaira, along with members of the Rouda team, visited with Pacific Marine Mammal Center on Thursday, Aug 15. 

After touring the facility and visiting with PMMC patients, staff, and volunteers, Congressman Rouda presented the PMMC team with a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition, which read:

In recognition of your dedication to Pacific marine life and perseverance in the mission of rescue, rehabilitation, and release.”

Pacific Marine group

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Submitted photo

Harley Rouda along with his wife Kaira and members from his team visit PMMC

Congressman Rouda is a committed voice for combatting climate change and animal welfare. That was clearly expressed during his visit. His support was genuine as was his enthusiasm for our mission and programs. It was a memorable and uplifting experience to have him here with us,” stated PMMC CEO Peter Chang. 

Pacific Marine Mammal Center was the first marine mammal rehabilitation facility in California. PMMC is the only marine mammal rescue facility in Orange County and is responsible for 52 miles of coastline. 

Pacific Marine feeding

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Submitted photo

Harley and Kaira Rouda feed seals at PMMC

PMMC rescues, rehabilitates, and releases marine mammals and inspires ocean stewardship through research, education, and collaboration. PMMC is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. For more information, visit www.pacificmmc.org

PMMC is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Where’s Maggi – the answers!

It’s gone from feast to famine with this week’s puzzler! Last week, loads of readers knew where to find the octopus but this week, not a single peep about where Maggi spotted this surfing dog. We’ll have to give it to her – she gets the win. A rare occurrence!

The hint about this surf dog lies in the symbol on his surfboard. Give up? It’s at the Laguna Motor Werks, located on Coast Highway at Anita Street. That’s their little Mercedes symbol…

Look for another puzzler on Friday, and keep Maggi on her toes.    

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Surfing dog mural – at Laguna Motor Werks


Almost Full Harvest Moon

Almost Full Harvest Moon

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The moon in all its glory on Thursday night


El Mirador neighborhood celebrates its role in history and newly landscaped roundabout

El Mirador neighbors

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Photo by Carrie Zeller

El Mirador is within walking distance of downtown and includes some of Laguna’s quaintest streetscapes and most charming architecture, including the Captain’s House

El Mirador roundabout

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

On Friday, the El Mirador neighborhood commemorated Laguna’s new roundabout. El Mirador, which means vantage point of lookout, was the name chosen for a Laguna Beach subdivision in 1928.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

October 4, 2019

What’s with the weather, waves, and oh, those Angels?

Dennis 5Now it’s the first week of October and still not one 90-degree day here in town. Since I began keeping daily weather and surf conditions in 1958, every year up to the present has recorded at least one day of 90-degree temps up to and including October 4th. Here in 2019, the entire year up to this point has not really had a single heat wave. 

Laguna averages about eight days a year with temps of 90 or higher. With hot dry Santanas starting anytime from now on, the opportunity will be there for some 90-degree days here in October. The average date for the first Santana wind event here is 

October 10th but the first Santana came as late as Christmas Day in 2000.

The theory of whatever’s going on out West is totally different than what’s transpiring back East. The West continues to be under the influence of a deep trough, resulting in temps up to 25 degrees below normal, while east of the Rockies temps are up to 25 and even 30 degrees above their seasonal norms, as a huge high pressure remains anchored over the South and Southeast with the core over Missouri and Kentucky. 

Most locations east of the Rockies, including the Eastern Seaboard, the entire Midwest, the South, and Southeast, normally see their last 95-degree day occur around the middle of August with normal highs in early October at about 75-80, but the high in the Nation Capitol was 98 on Wednesday. In Montgomery, Alabama, it topped out at a blistering 100. That’s never even happened in September, let alone October. Columbus, Ohio was 96 on Wednesday and their normal is 72. 

The frontal boundary riding the jet stream on steroids isn’t budging at all, remaining locked in place with rounds of severe weather day after day in the same areas from northeastern New Mexico all the way to the northeast in upper Michigan with flash flooding from record rains. There were even tornadoes as far north as South Dakota and that never happens in October. 

This pattern has been going on for nearly two weeks, setting heat records in hundreds of cities on a daily basis. Then you’ve got the humidity factor with all that air funneling in from the Gulf of Mexico, so heat index comes into play in a big way with adjusted temps up to 105! In October!

It’s looking like the Annual Brooks Street Surfing Classic is yet another no-go as south swells are becoming an extinct species. That’s bee eight no-go’s since 2000. We had a couple of fun zone Baja swells, but they happened during the middle of the week. Once again the planets didn’t line up, so we’ll have to wait until next year. 

With the exception of the winter of 2015-16, there has been a real wave drought here in Southern California. The last decent summer was 2014.

Well, Stu, once again the Angels aren’t a part of the postseason, finishing the regular season with a dismal 71-91 record. But just up the freeway, the Dodgers finished at 106-56 and tied with the Yankees for the best record in baseball. The Angels promptly fired their manager after just one year at the helm. It wasn’t all his fault. Outside of Mike Trout they just don’t have the talent to compete at a high level. Joe Madden was fired by the Cubs, and he might be next in line for the job with the Angels. Their star player missed the last three weeks, requiring season-ending foot surgery. 

Right now it’s looking like a showdown between L.A. and New York in the World Series. Stay tuned on that one.

Have a nice weekend, ALOHA!


Where’s Maggi – the answers!

The superhero’s fist is bustin’ through – where? Why, the top of the red phone booth downtown, of course. Did you know where to find it?

Kathryn Delp Dew knew, as did Laurie Kirkland, Barb Bowler, Beth Johnsen, Julie Mammone, Bernadette Murphy, Jeffrey Hobson, Chris Collett, Mark Porterfield, Darrylin Girvin, Sandi Werthe, and Steve Hoffman. 

Look for the next photo challenge on Friday. Let’s keep Maggi on her toes!    

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The fist bustin’ through the superhero phone booth on Forest Ave


In a first, OCSD returns earrings, pendant of capital murder victim to her still-grieving brother

By Greg Hardesty

As originally published by Behind the Badge

She always called him “Brother.”

During her tragically short life, Ginger Fleischli enjoyed a close and loving relationship with her sibling, Jack, 11 years her senior.

He was her confidant, her mentor – someone she always turned to for advice, for fun.

Even for her first driving lesson in his VW Beetle.

“I don’t know how much closer you can be with a sister than I was with Ginger,” Jack Fleischli says.

So when Ginger, at age 20, was murdered by two men, Thomas Thompson and David Leitch, on September 11, 1981, Jack’s world went black.

In a holding photo

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Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Jack Fleischli holds a photo of his sister, Ginger, when she 17. She was murdered at age 20.

“When you have a sibling’s love in your heart and they are taken from you, not only does the sibling experience the loss of his or her life, but also you are injured in a way that is almost indescribable,” says Jack, now 69.

“Your life has forever changed, and a big part of your happiness is taken away.”

On Tuesday, Sept 24, 2019, Jack got back a little bit of Ginger.

In what Orange County Sheriff’s Department officials believe is a first of the history of the OC criminal justice system, the agency returned to Jack two earrings and a star pin that had been on Ginger’s person when her brutalized body was found on September 14, 1981, in a grove of trees near Interstate 5 in Irvine.

It’s the first time the OCSD has ever returned personal items of a victim in a capital murder case, says Sheriff’s Special Officer (SSO) James R. Nally, who has spent 22 years in the Property/Evidence Detail of the OCSD. The OCSD Homicide Unit investigated the murder and authorized the release of Ginger’s items at Nally’s request.

But it happened Tuesday, Sept 24, and is expected to happen in more OC capital murder cases, Nally says, thanks to a provision in Marsy’s Law, the California Victims’ Bill of Rights Act enacted by voters in the November 2008 general election.

In a shaking hands

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Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Jack Fleischli thanks OCSD SSO (Sheriff’s Special Officer) James Nally after receiving jewelry, held as evidence, belonging to his sister, Ginger, who was murdered in 1981

The provision gives victim’s families the right to the immediate return of personal property. But in capital murder cases, that has not been the case – until now.

Earlier this year, at the behest of Judge Gregg L. Prickett and Deputy District Attorney Avery Harrison, a hearing was held at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana regarding exhibits used in the Fleischli case – one of 10 capital murder cases statewide in which the killer or killer has died – and in which upcoming hearings will address what to do with court exhibits that long have gathered dust.

The Fleischli case is the first of four OC cases – another is the notorious case of serial killer William Bonin – to be subject to such a hearing, 

Nally and Jack Fleischli were among the many parties who received a notice about the hearing, which specifically was limited to courtroom exhibits in the Fleischli case. The point was to have Ginger’s relatives be heard before the court decided whether to dispose of, release, or keep the exhibits.

Jack Fleischli delivered emotional remarks at the May 17 hearing.

“It was tough,” he says, “but I made the point that I didn’t want the court to destroy anything. And the judge agreed.”

Although Thompson has been executed, Leitch is still alive, serving a 15-to-life sentence.

Nally took the legal proceedings a step further. He was able to get a homicide investigator to sign off on the property for him to return to Ginger’s brother – her designated next of kin – the personal items Ginger was wearing when she was killed.

In a little girl

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Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Jack Fleischli holds a photo of his sister, Ginger, when she was a little girl.
       “My property instinct kicked in right away,” Nally said. “We don’t ever destroy

homicide evidence. It sits with us forever. Up until (Tuesday), we had never released anything that’s homicide related.”

But it happened in a conference room in the Brad Gates Building in Santa Ana where the OCSD’s Evidence/Evidence Detail is housed.

Nally and his boss, Sgt. Paul Schaff, handed Jack a small manila envelope.

It had been sealed September 17, 1981.

Jack thanked them, and said he wanted to open it in private at his home in Long Beach.

“I don’t want this to be a spectacle,” Jack explained.

Jack said it was “brilliant” that the OCSD is shifting from either holding evidence indefinitely or destroying it to reuniting personal items to victims’ families.

“In our line of work,” Nally said, “you always see the negative, and to be able to take advantage of this, and do something productive for a victim’s family – it was worth all the additional things we had to do to make this work.”

Added Schaff: “Hopefully, this will help give Jack some closure.”

In a photo collection

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Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

A collection of photos of Ginger Fleischli

As Jack talked about Ginger and showed the deputies pictures from her childhood through around age 17, the pain was apparent in his eyes and in his voice.

“She was a big part of my life,” Jack said. “When I was 11, she was an infant, so I literally was able to see her grow up until I went away to college.”

While at UC Santa Barbara, Jack lifeguarded in Huntington Beach during the summers and so he was able to spend a lot of time with Ginger.

Three weeks before her death, she and Jack had a picnic in a park in Mission Viejo.

That was the last time Jack saw her.

“She was telling me about the fact that she’d been accepted to a beauty college,” Jack says. “She was excited about it. She was working at a dress shop on Balboa Island.”

Jack described Ginger as “sincere and fun, and smart.”

At one point, at Ginger’s request, Jack represented Leitch as his attorney in a misdemeanor traffic case. Jack said he had a bad vibe about him, especially when Jack found out Leitch had a record of violent crime. He warned Ginger to stay away from him.

“Ginger cared about people, and maybe that was her downfall,” Jack says. “She believed she could make Leitch into a better person, but she was wrong.”

Horrible Death

In separate trials, Thompson and Leitch were convicted of murdering Ginger.

Thompson, who lived in the apartment where Ginger was killed, was executed on July 14, 1998. His roommate, Leitch, his accessory to the murder, remains behind bars.

The details of Ginger’s last moments were too much for the Fleischli family to bear, and at the advice of prosecutor Mike Jacobs, Jack and Ginger’s other relatives – who included her mother, father, another sibling, and two step-siblings – avoided the murder trial.

The evidence was too gruesome.

In a two men

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Photo by Steven Georges/Behind the Badge

Jack Fleischli with OCSD SSO James Nally

Ginger had been sexually assaulted and then killed in Thompson’s apartment in Laguna Beach following a night of bar hopping. She recently had broken off a relationship with Leitch and had moved out of his apartment under police escort at her request.

Ginger had been stabbed five times in the head near her right ear. One of the stab wounds, inflicted with a single-edged knife, extended through the ear two and one-half inches, penetrating the carotid artery and causing her death.

Her body had been wrapped in an old sleeping bag and pink blanket.

Ginger’s head had been wrapped with silver duct tape, two towels, a sheet, and her jacket. Her shirt and bra had been cut in front and pulled down to her elbows. Her Levi’s were fully zipped but not buttoned.

She wore no underwear, shoes or socks.

Jack Fleischli was an attorney and living in Yorba Linda at the time of his sister’s death. He had left his job as a deputy public defender in Orange County. After his sister was murdered, Jack shifted his law practice into construction, real estate, and business litigation.

Jack later took up acting and writing and performing music, both under the name Jack Forbes.

Just this June 16, Leitch was granted parole. Gov. Gavin Newsom must decide his fate.

Jack, of course, vehemently opposes his release.

Jack has sent the governor three letters, including one quoting extensively from a decision by Gov. Pete Wilson in which the former governor denied clemency to Thompson, and in which the ex-governor pointed out that Leitch has given at least four conflicting stories about his involvement in the murder – two of which were given under oath in his parole hearings.

According to police reports, Thompson told jail informants that he had been hired by Leitch to kill Ginger. 

“It’s common for people who are not victims or family and friends of victims to forget there is a real person with a real past and a valuable life which has been targeted by a heartless criminal,” Jack said.

“I, on the other hand, have a real and enduring connection with Ginger and would never forget her and the joy of her presence. She must have known as these crimes were happening to her that I would always be there for her and would do everything in my power within the system of justice to make the perpetrators accountable.

However, Jack says: “Even now, 38 years later, I never know when the tears will flow from thinking about the life that was ripped away from Ginger when she was only 20 years old. It is a lifelong battle that no one wants to experience.”

Jack has a jewelry box for Ginger’s personal items. He keeps it in view in his living room.

“Ginger was a one-of-a-kind, wonderful person and is an ongoing inspiration for me,” Jack says. “The greatest loss, however, was not to me or to my mother or father or sisters or brother, but to Ginger herself.

“She lost everything when she had everything to live for.”

For link to original story, click here.


Laguna Beach – A Look Back

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Historical Society

26 years ago, on the morning of October 27, 1993, Laguna Beach awoke as any other morning – people went downtown to get their coffee, locals strolled through Main Beach, surfers paddled out on Brooks, and skimboarders ran out on the Thalia Beach waves. They had no inkling what devastation lay just a few hours ahead.

At 8 a.m., the temperature was an unseasonable 80 degrees. Santa Ana winds began howling around 50 mph. The fire stations were on high alert, using their best surveillance systems to spot any signs of an early fire.

At 11:50 a.m., smoke was spotted in the Canyon, just north of El Toro Road. A quick analysis foretold the Laguna Beach Fire Department a major event was unfolding as the fire spread up towards the 5 freeway, and through the Canyon. At 12:28 p.m., the fire split and jumped fire blocks, invading the El Moro Campground and Emerald Bay.

A noon request for water tankers was not answered until 1:40 p.m., due to other fires burning through Orange County that windy day. Firefighters recall that the Canyon was a large wall of fire, and the winds made most of their efforts seem futile.

By 3:30 p.m., Canyon Acres was ablaze with many homes afire. Mystic Hills was hit at 4 p.m., and despite Herculean efforts of the firemen, Temple Hills and Top of the World were attacked by 5 p.m.

By midnight the winds started to die down, and the fire was contained by 3:30 a.m.

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October 27, 1993

In this photo taken from the corner of Third Street and Ocean, one can appreciate the large flames behind the Broadway hills where Crank Brothers now sits. The Forest & Ocean Gallery on the corner then housed a video store. The possibility of the entire downtown being destroyed is apparent here.

Traffic on Coast Highway was jammed in both directions as people struggled to leave town. 

Thurston Middle School was hit hard, and local restaurateur Claes Anderson lost his home and wine collection.

The city evacuated over 27,000 citizens, and a total of 306 fire engines were here fighting the firestorm. It destroyed or damaged 441 of our homes, and burned over 14,000 acres.

The fire is listed by the NFPA as the 15th largest fire loss in U.S. History. (The World Trade Center 2001 is #1.)

• • •

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


Pirate Tower 

Pirate Tower crowd

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Victoria Beach Pirate Tower seems to be getting a facelift: It was built in 1926 for California State Senator William Edward Brown and his family and used during summers and holidays as a retreat from their Beverly Hills home


Where’s Maggi?

Looks like surf’s up in the afterworld! Where did Maggi spy this guy?

Send your answers in to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 10 25 19

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New “Laguna Beach Parking App” receives awards and industry accolades

The City of Laguna Beach is pleased to announce its new “Laguna Beach Parking App” has recently won the California Public Parking Association Award for Public Parking Program of the Year; Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association “Best of Traffic, Mobility and Beautification” Award; the Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) Award for Outstanding Innovative Transportation Solution; and has also been named as OC Weekly’s “Best App of 2019.”

“The City of Laguna Beach is honored to be among those awarded for transportation projects or services that improve the quality of life for its users and the community,” said Shohreh Dupuis, Assistant City Manager and Director of Public Works. 

 “Because of the City Council’s leadership and the hard work of staff, we were able to implement these smart parking programs to improve traffic circulation in the City and in turn improve the entire Laguna Beach experience.” 

New Laguna award

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Submitted photo

Assistant City Manager and Director of Public Works Shohreh Dupuis and City Manager John Pietig with award for “Laguna Beach Parking App”

Through the “Laguna Beach Parking App,” users enter their destination in Laguna Beach to find the closest available parking in real time. Users can also pay for their parking through the app, keep track of remaining time, and even extend their parking session remotely. 

Through the app, the City aims to reduce circling, gridlock, and traffic congestion in the downtown area while showing drivers all available parking in real time. It was developed and launched in summer 2019 as part of a partnership between the City and Frogparking, a leading mobile app system developer for parking and transit. 

“By showing all available parking in real time, drivers no longer need to circle for spots or unnecessarily search areas where there aren’t any spots,” said Paula Faust, Deputy Director of Public Works. “Through the City’s new ‘Laguna Beach Parking App,’ we aim to help users find available parking as easily as possible.  We’re honored we are being recognized for these efforts by so many reputable organizations.”

The California Public Parking Association gives out its “Public Parking Program of the Year” Award to a public agency involved in parking that institutes a new, innovative parking program or has an existing program that is somehow exemplary. 

The Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) Award for Outstanding Innovative Transportation Solution salutes the creative work of an outstanding and innovative transportation project or service that improves the quality of life for its users and the community.

The Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association’s Awards Program was established to recognize outstanding individuals, groups, and chapters representing the best in the public works profession. 

OC Weekly’s “Best App of 2019” is an annual award that features the readers and editors’ picks of the “Best Of” in dozens of categories throughout Orange County and Long Beach.

The “Laguna Beach Parking App” is now free to download through the App Store and Google Play. You can also download the app at www.lagunabeachparking.net.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

November 22, 2019

Raindrops falling on our heads!

Dennis 5On this date in 1997, local ocean temps were below 70 degrees for the first time since April 4th of that year, an incredible run of 229 days of 70 or warmer. Surely that record won’t be broken anytime soon. The previous record was 173 days back in 1972 – according to my weather and surf records which began in 1958. The 1997 event was the result of one of the strongest El Niños on record, and the 1972 event was also the product of a significant El Niño event but not quite as strong as the 1997 episode.

There’s been some active weather over the Southwest including parts of Southern California with scattered showers and thunderstorms, some briefly heavy thanks to a fairly strong upper level low pressure spinning just off our coast. That low pressure was once a tropical depression that formed just west of the Baja Peninsula and moved north into our area. At the same time, a deep cold trough of low pressure plunged southward from Alaska. That cold component joined forces with the tropical system, dropping barometric pressures as low as 999 millibars here in town. 

Rainfall amounts have varied greatly across the area as it all depended on where you live here in the Southwest. There was no convective activity here in Laguna, so rainfall locally was not significant – with only about two tenths of rain as of 1700hr PST here in Laguna. However, just up the road about 30 miles, there were two separate thunderstorms that dropped nearly three quarters of an inch over the Palos Verdes Peninsula. Same deal south of here where Oceanside collected a half inch with a half hour of frequent lightning.

Some local mountain and desert communities also got in on the action, but it was definitely parts of Arizona that really got hammered, including the greater Phoenix area, areas surrounding Tucson, and towns in and around Prescott and Flagstaff. Considerable flash flooding occurred in those spots from intense thunderstorm activity. Areas of three to five inches of rain splashed down north of Phoenix just since Tuesday evening – that’s roughly half of their normal annual rainfall! There was also a lot of lightning with some of these cells. Thunderstorms are quite rare in November in the desert Southwest as summer thunderstorm  “monsoon” season ended at least eight weeks ago.

The Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Tropics are closed for business in ten days and both oceans made it to the letter O with Octave in the Pacific and Olga in the Atlantic. The Pacific ran out the entire alphabet finishing with Zeke in 1992. In 2005 the Atlantic was so busy it not only ran out the alphabet, it had to go six deep into the Greek Alphabet. 

There were no serious effects from any tropical systems in the Eastern Pacific in 2019, but in the Atlantic, Category 5 Hurricane Dorian completely devastated the northern Bahamas and the Carolinas. Normally in the Atlantic, there is a landfall of a major hurricane every other year. Historically only two tropical systems have made landfall that affected Southern California coastal areas. A Category 2 hurricane made landfall near San Diego way back in 1858, and a high-end tropical storm made landfall near San Pedro on September 25, 1939.

Finally, the Most Valuable Player award for 2019 went to both Los Angeles teams – with Cory Bellinger of the LA Dodgers winning the National League MVP and Mike Trout winning the third MVP Award of his career for the LA Angels. Congratulations, gentlemen! 

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone! 

Here comes Turkey Day next week, ALOHA!


Where’s Maggi?

Where is she now? Take a look at this art piece and let Maggi know if you can locate where she was. 

Send your answers in to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 11 29 19

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Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

December 3, 2019

How did it get so late so soon?

Dennis 5On December 3, 1958, Laguna’s warmest December day occurred when it hit 86 degrees. That record stood until December 12, 1979, when a new record was set when it hit 88 here in town. Both records were set thanks to some very warm Santana winds that blew in from the northeast.

Here on Sunday, the sun set at 4:44 p.m., only one minute away from our earliest sunset of 4:43 which will happen from December 8th-11th and then it will start moving up a minute or so every other day. The sun won’t set at 5 p.m. or later until January 9th. The shortest day of the year occurs on the winter solstice on December 21st with 9 hours and 54 minutes of possible sun time with a sunrise at 6:54 a.m. and the sunset at 4:48 p.m.

Outside of some cirrostratus cover, it was a nice warm Sunday with a high of 70 here in town after a chilly low of 42. The normal hi-lo for December 1st is 66-44.

A new round of rain and snow is expected on late Monday into Tuesday with an inch or more in the lowlands and an additional 6-12 inches of snow in our mountains above about 3,500 ft., which means another nice payload of powder at all of our resort levels. Did I mention that the Resort at Mountain High collected up to three feet of wonderful powder up there in the San Bernardino Mountains from the last storm? They barely had a total of three feet just two winters ago, so we’re off to a great start after a bone dry fall up to last week.

Our 2019-20 rainy season is now ahead of the curve as we’re up to 2.65 inches on the season compared to a normal to date of 1.98 inches. Now it’s December as we enter our four wettest months of the season normally. December averages about 2.65 inches. Our wettest Decembers were 11.65 inches in 2010 thanks to a five-day intense atmospheric river event flooded Laguna during the week leading up to Christmas. The second wettest December occurred in 1997 with 9.89 inches, with 8.08 of that collected during the weekend of December 6-7. 

January averages about 3.11 inches, with the wettest January and the wettest month ever with a whopping 18.81 inches compliments of an eleven-day heavy series of atmospheric rivers also known as the Pineapple Express. January of 1993 was our second wettest with a total of 12.63 inches and third wettest was January of 1995 with 11.77. 

February’s average is 3.15 inches, our wettest month of the year normally. Our wettest Februarys were 15.02 inches in 1997, followed by 13.68 inches in 1962 and 12.75 inches in 1980. Then we have March with an average of 2.52 inches with the wettest March having occurred in 1983 with 10.40 and the second wettest was 9.92 inches in 1938.

Now it’s December and Laguna’s average high-low is 65-43 degrees. Our coldest December reading was 28 in town and 22 out in the canyon on December 10, 1978. December’s normal ocean temp is 58-60, with the coldest at 53 in 1948 and 1978, and the warmest was 65 in 1972 and 1997.

 And there you have it. Lots of stats this time around. We’ll look at the epic December storms of 1997 and 2010 in the next installment on Friday. 

ALOHA!


December rainbow

December rainbow

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

“But what is this thing we call a rainbow? For all our science talk of vapor/refraction and angle of the sun/we surrender still in willing captivity/to its beauty, mystery and myth”  –Robert C. Howard


Where’s Maggi?

Maggi thinks this will be easy peasy, but she just can’t resist. Isn’t our lady here festive for the holidays? If you know where it is, send your answers in to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 12 13 19

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A very berry Christmas to you: It’s time to get your toyon!

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Did you know? Toyon, pictured below at James Dilley Wilderness Park this week, is common in the western part of California. It’s a major component of the coastal sage scrub plant community. 

It is said that early settlers in Southern California mistook it for holly – hence the name Hollywood. No one knows for sure if this is the true origin of the name, but it’s a fun theory. 

A very toyon

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Toyon, otherwise known as Christmas berries 

The berries, which mature in the fall, are consumed by birds, including mockingbirds, American robins, and cedar waxwings, as well as coyotes. They don’t taste too good to humans, though – too acidic.

You could say that the shrub is Nature’s Christmas tree. Who needs tinsel when you have toyon?


OM Laguna Beach merges with Yoga Sapien to create OM Yoga + Meditation

Lori Kahn, longtime Laguna Beach local and a certified Mindfulness Meditation teacher and Integrative Coach, has taken over ownership of the popular yoga studio Yoga Sapien, adding mindfulness practices to an already full roster of excellent teachers offering a wide variety of workshops, teacher trainings, and private appointments including yoga, meditation, massage, energy work, and coaching.

A meditation and yoga teacher for over 20 years, Kahn opened OM Laguna Beach, a studio specializing in stress relief, meditation, and coaching, in 2012. In 2019, she moved her studio to the one-year-old Yoga Sapien, a studio in North Laguna at Boat Canyon founded by Liz Campbell and David Taylor.

“Traditionally, mindfulness practices have always included both meditation and yoga, the two go hand in hand,” says Kahn. “Over the years, as yoga became more popular as a form of exercise, meditation and mindfulness got a bit lost.”

OM Laguna Lori

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OM Yoga + Meditation owner Lori Kahn 

When Kahn discovered Yoga Sapien shortly after they opened, she found that they were teaching the more traditional mindful-based yoga practices she was aligned with, so she began teaching meditation workshops and classes there. 

“Over the course of the year, I became part of the Yoga Sapien family until I moved my studio there in January of this year. Many fortunate events have unfolded since then and I had the opportunity to take over ownership of Yoga Sapien and merge the two businesses,” she says. “I am excited to have the first studio in Laguna Beach that focuses on both meditation and yoga equally.”

A certified Mindfulness Meditation teacher, Integrative Mindfulness coach, and Hatha yoga teacher, as well as a Neuroptimal Neurofeedback trainer and Lululemon Ambassador, Lori Kahn has over 20 years of experience in the study, practice, and teaching of Mindfulness. 

Kahn teaches Mindfulness Meditation to individuals, classes, corporations, and other specialty groups, and has created and taught programs including the Foundations of Mindfulness Meditation, Mindfulness in Education, Mindful Parenting, and Mindfulness at Work.

 In 2011, Kahn founded OM Laguna Beach, a studio specializing in meditation, Mindful coaching for individuals and couples, and Neuroptimal Neurofeedback. 

Kahn is the first meditation Ambassador for Lululemon in Orange County, where she trains management and staff to bring a more mindful, relaxed, and caring quality to themselves and their customers and represents the company and their values through Mindfulness at community events.

On January 4, 2020, the studio will celebrate its “Re-Birth day” and new name with an open house from 3 - 7 p.m. “We want to let our community know we are here and have so much to offer for anyone looking for a wellness-based practice in a warm peaceful atmosphere,” says Kahn.

For more information, visit www.yogasapienlb.com or call (949) 415-6718. Classes, workshops, and appointments can also be found on www.mindbodyonline.com.   

Yoga Sapien Laguna Beach is located at 610 N Coast Hwy, Ste 208.


Bright flame

Bright flame pink

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Photo by Christina Shook

The sun sets like a candle wick flickering out, turning the sky a rosy hue


Reflecting on the ocean as the new year begins

reflecting on wave

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Photo by Scott Brashier

A shiny, unspoiled new year awaits ocean lovers


Time to howl at the Wolf Moon: first full moon of 2020 appears tonight

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Even though full moons aren’t scarce – a full moon occurs once every 29.5 days, halfway through the lunar cycle – to view one is still an enchanting and otherworldly experience. The first full moon of January, called the Wolf Moon because it’s the first of the year, occurs tonight.

Each full moon in the yearly cycle has a nickname taken from various cultures, including the Native Americans and Anglo-Saxons. Other names given to the January full moon include Old Moon, Ice Moon, and the Moon After Yule, but certainly the name Wolf Moon is the most intriguing of the bunch.

This year, the Wolf Moon just happens to coincide with an eclipse – the first of six expected this year and the second of the current eclipse season, following the December 26 solar eclipse. 

A real bummer for astrology buffs, unfortunately, this eclipse will be visible everywhere except from the United States, central Canada, and a majority of South America and Antarctica. Since the eclipse happens during the day in North America (11:21 a.m. PST) and South America, most people in the U.S. won’t be able to catch the show. However, it’s still worth a skyward glance when night falls, because even a regular full moon is a pretty spectacular sight, especially here in Laguna.

Time to full moon

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Winter full moon in Laguna

During the eclipse, the moon will pass through Earth’s faint outer shadow, called the penumbra. A penumbral lunar eclipse means only the outer shadow (the penumbra) will fall on the moon. The inner, more intense shadow (the umbra) will not, and so the peak of the eclipse will be harder to discern than it would be if it was one of the other two types of lunar eclipse (a partial or total) and may be missed completely. The shadow will give the moon’s face a tea-stained color for about four hours, beginning at 12:07 p.m. EST, with maximum eclipse occurring at 2:10 p.m. EST.

The reddish-orange “blood moon” of a total lunar eclipse, when the moon does pass into the Earth’s umbra, we’ll have to wait for until May 26, 2021. 

Full moon and werewolf myths

The appearance of this particular full moon won’t merely attract the attention of sky watchers. The Wolf Moon will have werewolves, sometimes known as Lycanthrope, looking to form packs – or so the myth says. According to folklore, the Wolf Moon is regarded as the most dangerous of all full moons for werewolves – second only to Halloween’s Blood Moon. The legend says that werewolves, normally know to be solitary, tend to wander in a pack during a Wolf Moon. 

Some people believe that it’s the night when a person is most likely to turn into a werewolf (or result in making dogs go wild). However, scientists haven’t been able to make any connection between the moon and the behavior of wolves. 

Nevertheless, the myths are shrouded in hair-raising stories. The power of the moon, it is believed, transforms werewolves from humans to super-wolves
as portrayed in Stephen King’s Cycle of the Werewolf, Remus Lupin in Harry Potter, Teen Wolf, and the Grimm Fairy Tales

Time to werewolf

Courtesy of aminoapps.com

Remus Lupin in Harry Potter

Some werewolf fables appear to be as old as time itself. Many have argued that the first werewolf story – the oldest recorded account of a man turning into a wolf – is found in The Epic Gilgamesh, which dates back to 2,100 B.C. 

In mythology, the werewolf as we now know it, first appeared in Ancient Greece myth. Greek writings tell the story of a man named Lycaon who tested Zeus’ divinity by feeding him a child. Of course, Zeus was rather unamused by this, striking down 50 of Lycaon’s sons with lightning bolts and turning Lycaon into a wolf. 

Name a culture somewhere on Planet Earth and more than likely the werewolf stalks its folklore, from African and Asian tribes all the way up to the classic game Altered Beast of Sega Genesis (as per wired.com).

Time to real wolf howling

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Courtesy of mentalfloss.com

Just a regular wolf 

According to bustle.com, the Wolf Moon gets its name not from the fact that it’s the first full moon of the year, but from Native American tribes and early colonial times, when people would see packs of wolves in the wintertime, howling outside the villages at night because they were hungry. While there’s no definitive proof that wolves howl at the moon, they are indeed nocturnal creatures, and they do raise their heads when they howl, because it helps carry the sound farther. 

Although scientists haven’t been able to make a connection between wolves and the moon, why do they appear to howl at a full moon? Theories abound, and they include: wolves howl at night as a form of navigation and seem to howl more in January – maybe because it’s mating season.

Whether or not one believes that there is a mystical reason wolves howl at the moon or that there are creatures such as werewolves, take a gander at the full moon tonight; howling is optional. 

If you are interested in viewing the timeline of werewolves throughout history – and who isn’t? – go to www.werewolves.com. Yes, there really is a website that offers the different theories on werewolves, so that you can draw your own conclusions – fact or fiction.


Mittens, a Blue Bell resident, turns 22 and is celebrated at her recent birthday pawty 

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

As a testament to the wonderful care that the 50 or so cats housed by nonprofit Blue Bell for Foundation for Cats receive, one of their residents, Mittens, has just turned 22 years old, a great age for a cat. 

Last Saturday afternoon, volunteers came out in droves to celebrate the birthday of the “Babe of the Bunk Beds.” The venerable tabby sported a pink bib and was crowned in gold at her pawty, where she received many pettings.

As volunteer Lindsey Arnette points out, “Our beloved Mittens has lived in four different decades, two different centuries and two different millennia!” 

According to the magazine Catster, the first two years of a cat’s life are equivalent to 24 human years. Each year after that is the same as four human years. That makes Mittens a handy 104, no pawcity of years there. Most cats don’t live that long – the average cat (is there such a thing?) usually lives 18 years at most.

mittens a mittens

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Photo by Terri Karman

Mittens wears her years well

“Mittens is such a sweetie-pie!” says Blue Bell volunteer Pamela Knudsen. “She’s so very friendly and affectionate. I was at Blue Bell last Sunday and she came out of her little ‘cubby’ to say hello. She still has some spunk in her for her age though she struggles with a few age-related health issues.”

For a birthday treat, Mittens was taken out for a rare (but supervised) outing to stroll among the delightful Blue Bell Gardens that surround the sanctuary, catching sight of birds, butterflies, bees and lizards, and breathing in the smell of fecund soil and fluttery flowers. She must have wondered if she was already in heaven.

After her pawty, Mittens retired early to sleep and perchance to dream of the delights that might await her next year, when she turns 23, or 108 in human years. 

“It was definitely a great pawty! And there were tons of paw-purr-azzi!” says volunteer Terri Karman.

(I do wonder what it is about cat people and puns…!)

mittens a volunteers

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Submitted photo

Blue Bell volunteers love to celebrate kitty milestones

Oh, and humans have a great opportunity in the near future to party also. On March 22 between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m., Blue Bell Foundation for Cats will hold its annual Cat’s Meow Champagne Breakfast and Fundraiser at Seven7Seven in the Canyon. Cat-themed attire is encouraged but not required. There’ll be good food, great camaraderie, and amazing silent auction items. Don’t pawse, visit www.bluebellcats.org right now for tickets.

Blue Bell Foundation for Cats operates the Blue Bell Cat Sanctuary in the Canyon, where up to 50 cats, whose owners can no longer care for them due to death, illness, or relocation, enjoy lazy days and the loving attention of more than a dozen volunteers who pet and play with the purring kitties, and who also receive exceptional medical care and yummy food every day of their increasingly long lives.


Coast Inn project pulled from Feb 4 City Council agenda

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Coast Inn project has been rescheduled from the February 4 council meeting to April 7.

Architect Marshall Ininns requested the continuation after he was advised on Tuesday that the project would be reviewed under the California Coastal Commission definition of demolition, hitherto not in common usage by the city.

“We had no choice but to ask for the continuance when we were told the Commission definition would be imposed,” said Ininns on Thursday.

The Commission adds the removal of interior walls, including the dry wall, to the definition in use by the City that adds up the elimination or changes to floors, roof, and the building exterior in calculating the square footage of demolition, according to Ininns. 

If the removals, including the interior walls, add up to more than 50 percent of the structure’s square footage, the commission treats it as a new project, said Ininns, who has been working on the Coast Inn project for six years.

City staff has been collaborating with the Coastal Commission staff for some time to rectify the different interpretations by the two agencies that has led to appeals to the commission about development projects. 

coast inn building

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Coast Inn project will now be heard by City Council on April 7

In 2011, the Council approved an ordinance that modified the previous definition of “Major Remodel” and “Non-conforming structures.” It was submitted to the Commission for certification, but was withdrawn in 2012 to allow the staffs more time to reach mutually acceptable definitions. They recommenced discussions in 2018.

The City Council in April 2019 directed the Planning Commission to initiate amendments to sections of the General Plan, the Municipal Code, and the certified Local Coastal Plan related to defining major remodels and the oceanfront bluff tops, clarifying coastal development procedures and streamlining the discretionary review process.

Another bone of contention has been the definition of oceanfront bluffs. The City and the Commission have been using different definitions, leading to confusion on the part of the staffs and the property owners.

Staff has recommended sections of the Land Use and Open Space/Conservation elements be amended to clarify the bluffs and the setbacks from the bluffs, and a new section be added to the Zoning Code related to oceanfront development standards and requirements to be submitted on oceanfront lots.

“We are working with the applicant (Coast Inn owner Chris Dornin and Ininns) to navigate the current issue related to major remodels, as the Coastal Commission definition of major remodels and bluff top setback pose significant issues for several projects in Laguna Beach,” said City Manager John Pietig. 

“Staff is working aggressively to develop revised ordinances on these matters that meet both City Council and Coastal Commission approval.”


Guest Column

The power of understanding our emotions amid the mental health crisis among California youth
By Dr. Jason Viloria, Superintendent of LBUSD

The power Viloria

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Dr. Jason Viloria, Superintendent of LBUSD

We are living in an interconnected world at an interconnected time – life used to be simpler, says the adage. Today’s youth were born as native internet users in a world inundated with immediate access to news in the era of the War on Terror and the years following the Great Recession. They are politically engaged and are at the forefront of national conversations around gun violence and climate change. They are entering a highly competitive and constantly evolving job market, and they know it. Add social and academic pressures to the mix, and you quickly begin to understand the unprecedented increase in child and adolescent mood disorders and anxiety across the United States. 

On the most recent administration of the California Healthy Kids Survey in Orange County, of more than 70,000 students during the 2017-18 school year, 24 percent of 7th-graders, 30 percent of 9th-graders, and 34 percent of 11th-graders indicated that they had experienced chronic sadness or hopelessness within the past year. These trends in self-reported youth mental health data are, unfortunately, not surprising. This generation, compared with previous generations at the same age and stage in their lives, is more informed and aware of the world around them – consequently, they are also incredibly self-aware.  They have grown up in an era where education about and destigmatization of mental illness is prevalent, and they are often receptive to the advice to talk openly about it. In fact, according to a 2018 report from Ipsos Mori, high-school-age Gen Z kids are more likely to speak to their parents about important personal issues. So as the adults in the conversation about mental health, how do we support our youth? The answer to this question lies in the concept of emotional intelligence – the ability to recognize and understand emotions in yourself and others, and your ability to use this awareness to manage your behavior and relationships. Sounds simple enough, right? 

The power Brackett

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Dr. Marc Brackett

Dr. Marc Brackett, founding director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and a professor in the Child Study Center at Yale University, has dedicated the last 25 years to investigating the roots of emotional wellbeing. His life’s work has led to the development of a blueprint for understanding our emotions and using them wisely so that they help rather than hinder our success and wellbeing. His formula is a system called RULER, a high-impact and fast-effect approach to understanding and mastering emotions. The RULER framework helps teach the skills of emotional intelligence and is an acronym for recognizing, understanding, labeling, expressing, and regulating emotion. 

On Thursday, March 12, Dr. Brackett will join the Laguna Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) community for a parent education event to share insights and strategies from his recently published book, Permission to Feel: Unlocking the Power of Emotions to Help Our Kids, Ourselves, and Our Society Thrive. His presentation to families and staff in professional development sessions the following day will focus on understanding emotions and how to use them to support student success and foster social-emotional wellbeing. 

The power bookcover

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On Thursday, March 12, Dr. Brackett will discuss his recently published book

LBUSD is in its third year of hosting nationally recognized speakers through the LBUSD Presents speaker series. In the inaugural event in May 2018, Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of How to Raise an Adult: Break Free from the Overparenting Trap and Prepare Your Kid for Success, shared her insights and strategies on how intense achievement pressure can inhibit students from developing resilience, independence, self-determination, and engagement with life. In May 2019, Dr. Denise Pope, co-author of Overloaded and Underprepared: Strategies for Stronger Schools and Healthy, Successful Kids, shared research and strategies for parents and school systems to support the development of well-balanced students. 

Dr. Brackett’s parent and community keynote will be held on March 12, at 5:30 p.m. in the Laguna Beach High School Artists’ Theatre. We are inviting all parents of current students, K-12, and members of the local education community to share in this informative night. The effort to reverse the unsettling trends in youth mental health data is a collective one that involves all stakeholders within our system, including students, parents, teachers, staff, administrators, and community members. We are deeply appreciative of the generous support that we have received from SchoolPower and the PTA to continue bringing these opportunities to the community. To learn more about Dr. Brackett, his research on emotional intelligence, and the upcoming event, visit www.lbusd.org/lbusdpresents.


Laguna Beach – A Look Back

Courtesy of Laguna Beach Historical Society

Walter Pyne came to Los Angeles as a youth at the end of the 19th century. To make ends meet, he played guitar on a cruise ship that sailed back and forth between San Pedro and San Francisco. Eccentric and moody, he always had an entrepreneur’s spirit.

In the first decade of the 20th century he negotiated the exclusive rights to sell the player pianos that played music from a paper roll. He named it Pyne Piano Company and based it in Santa Ana.

He had heard of the great success of orange groves in north Orange County and so bought acreage in the Santa Ana canyon near two packing houses in what is now East Anaheim. Planting hundreds of acres of oranges brought him more wealth.

While in the canyon he found oil being discovered in the Richfield area right under his orange groves. Talk about a Jed Clampett scenario!

Now a rich man, he looked for an ocean view to build his dream mansion. Choosing North Laguna Beach, he bought 100 lots totaling almost four acres adjacent to what is now called Boat Canyon. Taking seven years to build the home, Pyne christened the home Broadview Villa in roughly 1928. But to locals it was known as Pyne Castle.

Located on 770 Hillcrest Dr, the villa looks nearly identical today. Built in a Normandy Revival style, it has anchoring conical turrets and an immense footprint. Inside are ornately detailed ceilings, sweeping staircases, and even a grand ballroom.

Laguna Beach A Look Back 2 18 20

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Pyne Castle

Today only a manicured landscape with a circular drive and the many neighboring homes define any differences from its opening.

The cost to build was $200,000 and settled in at over 18,000 sq. ft.

Pyne was briefly married but had a reputation of being a loner during his time in Laguna. Only himself, his mother Lucretia, and his housekeeper Marie Hannon lived in the mansion.

Lucretia died in the home in 1936. Pyne himself died of cancer in the home in 1945. With no other family and apparently few friends, he left the home to the housekeeper, Ms. Hannon. Upon her death it stood a number of years vacant.

In 1960, a local contractor, David Young, purchased the estate and won a variance to convert it to apartments. It has changed hands a number of times and still remains a collection of apartments and condos.

And that is how a guitar player on a cruise ship became a millionaire and built one of Laguna Beach’s first mansions that stands unchanged today.

• • •

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


California Municipal Treasurers Association Investment Policy Certification granted to City

The California Municipal Treasurers Association (CMTA) Investment Policy Certification has been granted to the City of Laguna Beach. 

This Investment Policy Certification recognizes that CMTA has validated that the City of Laguna Beach’s Investment Policy adheres with the State of California Government Code and meets the program requirements within 18 different topics areas deemed to be best practices for investment policies. 

Those topics include: Scope, Prudence, Objective, Delegation of Authority, Ethics and Conflicts of Interest, Authorized Financial Dealers and Institutions, Authorized and Suitable Investments, Review of Investment Portfolio, Investment Pools/Mutual Funds, Collateralization, Safekeeping and Custody, Diversification, Maximum Maturities, Internal Controls, Performance Standards, Reporting, Investment Policy Adoption, and Glossary. 

California Municipal award

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City of Laguna Beach Treasurer Laura Parisi

Once a policy is received by CMTA, it is independently evaluated using a scoring matrix by three separate CMTA professionals. When the agency receives a passing score, the Investment Policy earns the “Certified” distinction. 

To enhance the municipal treasurer’s role, CMTA has developed a number of certification programs to reflect best practices and increase an individual’s knowledge of fixed income instruments. The Investment Policy Certification program began in 2012 with the support from the California Debt and Investment Advisory Commission. It is open to all government agencies within the State of California including special districts, cities, and counties. 

CMTA was founded in 1958 by a handful of Municipal Treasurers from both Northern and Southern California whose primary interest was to improve their function in local Government. CMTA is a professional organization governed by active public officials who are representatives of their own local governmental units.


Barbara’s Column

Thanks for the memories

By BARBARA DIAMOND

There are dozens of ways to say thank you. The French say Merci. Germans say Danke Schon. Muslims say Shukran. Spaniards and folks from South and Central America express thanks with Gracias. The Italian version is Grazie. In Greece, it’s efcharisto. Bantu speakers say Wasibiri. Spasibo is Russian for thanks. The Japanese have 30 phrases for thank you, but Arigato will get you by. 

All of them together do not add up to my gratitude for being included with the Patriots Day Parade 2020 honorees, Citizen Sande St. John, Patriot Arnie Silverman, Artist Roxanna Ward, Athlete Jade Leilani Howson and Junior Citizens Nathan Solomon and Laila Cruz

Where to start?

Well, how about thanks to city staff members Adam Gufarotti, Tierney Doren, and Jim Beres who worked with the Patriots Day Parade Association to make the event go as smoothly as possible. And then there are the folks in town, undaunted by roped off streets that considerably reduce downtown parking, who lined the streets to cheer for the parade. 

Thanks for Barbara

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Barbara follows Marine Band in Steve Borowski’s 1932 Chevrolet Confederate Sports Sedan

Big “thank yous” go to the folks who lent their spiffy cars to carry parade honorees down Park Avenue, past the Library, down Forest Avenue, and past the Reviewing Stand in front of City Hall. I had the pleasure of riding in Steve Borowski’s gorgeous 1932 Chevrolet Confederate Sport Sedan, coincidently the year I was born, and a lot prettier than me. My son, Kenneth, and granddaughter, Kaitlyn, rode in the rumble set. 

And let us not forget the folks in town who pony up for ads in the parade program, a major source of revenue that makes it possible for the all-volunteer association to put on the annual event. Advertisers include friends of the honorees, nonprofit groups, and business owners such as John Marcom, whose father was the first chair the parade. 

The program included the essay based on “Everyday Heroes” – the theme of this year’s and last year’s rained-out parade. Thurston Middle School 7th grader Lili Bazargan was the author. Laguna Beach High School Junior Diego Lapayese-Calderon’s art was featured on the cover of the program. They each were awarded $100 provided by the association and U.S. Bank. 

Thanks for junior citizens

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Junior Citizens of the Year Laila Cruz and Nathan Solomon

But it all starts with the Patriots Day Parade Association.

President Ed Hanke broke the news to me that I had been nominated to be Grand Marshal by the association, which includes Vice President Charlie Quilter, Treasurer Sandi Werthe (both past honorees), Secretary Frank Daniel, Retired Fire Captain Eugene “Diz” D’Isabella and Doug Miller (both past honorees), Bob Lively, John Kountz, Jim Rue, Kathleen Fay, Tom Fay, Sande St. John, Vicki Broadhurst, Michele Monda, Michael Lyons, and Kathy Hanke. On parade day, they are augmented by volunteers Michelle Clark, Jay Andrus and Prue, Alexandra Wyman, and Boy Scouts Troop 35. Mike Baker and Hanke put out all the No Parking signs. Police Explorers helped with traffic control. John Campbell handles the insurance requirements. Seven7Seven provided the venue for the awards presentations. If I missed anyone, my apologies.

 And let’s face it: we owe a big debt of gratitude to Emily Ross and Roy Marcom, Jr

The parade was her idea and with the assistance of the members of the Patience Wright Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Laguna Beach Exchange Club President Marcom, and Laguna Beach High School Music Director Karl Koenig, Emily fulfilled her dream of a parade meant to instill a love of country and respect for the stars and stripes in the city’s youth.

Thanks for daughters

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Daughters of the American Revolution 

Laguna Beach residents and founders of Knott’s Berry Farm Walter and Cordelia Knott were the first Grand Marshals. Funds raised by the early parades helped provide uniforms for the Laguna Beach High School Band.

Ross was Grand Marshal the following year

The list of Honorees of the Year is impressive. Many of the names are familiar. Here is a sampling. If I put them in the wrong category, they probably deserved it anyway.

Grand Marshals 

--1973 Mayor Jesse Riddle, for whom Riddle Field is named, was Grand Marshal plus the first-ever parade Citizen of the Year 

--1979 Mickey Mouse 

--1987 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin, who was romancing his wife-to-be, Emerald Bay resident Lois Driggs, whom he married in 1988 

--1990 Roy Marcom, Jr. 

--1996 Filmmaker Greg McGillivray 

--1997 Police Chief Neil Purcell Jr. 

--1999 Judge David O. Carter 

--2000 Skipper Carrillo 

--2001 Olympic gold medalist Dain Blanton 

--2005 Police Chief Jim Spreine 

--2007 Joan Irvine Smith 

--2010 Dee Challis Davy, the director/producer who has brought life to the Pageant of the Masters 

--2011 Al Roberts and Ken Jillson, who helped save more lives than probably we will never know by founding and funding the AIDS Services Foundation

--2016 Former mayor Kelly Boyd

Thanks for girls

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Girl Scouts 

Patriots

The list of Honored Patriots of the Year is no less impressive: 

--1981 Spanish-American War Veteran Herman Miller was the first Patriot of the Year 

--1990 Colonel Grant McCombs 

--1991 Judge David O. Carter 

--1992 USMC Colonel Manfred A. Rietsch, who flew 719 combat missions in Vietnam and the Persian Gulf 

--1993 Retired U.S. Marine fighter pilot Charles J. Quilter II. He joked that being honored meant he would eventually be tapped as Chair of the parade – that happened first in 1998.

--1996 One-time owner of the News Post Vernon Spitaleri, holder of three purple hearts 

--1998 Gigi and Ben Blount, both of whom were active in World War II 

--2014** and 2015 Janet Evans, Olympic gold medalist swimmer 

Citizens of the Year

The best of the best: 

--1977 Dr. Vincent Carroll, who helped raise the money to build South Coast Community Hospital, now Mission Hospital Laguna Beach 

--1978 Dick Jahraus, longtime President of the Laguna Beach County Water District Board.

--1981 “Mr. Laguna,” Harry Lawrence 

--1988 Walter Von Gremp, who personally financed Sally’s Fund for years

--1992 Barbara Painter

--1993 Hal and Sandi Werthe were honored for their contributions to the parade – Hal died, but she is still at it. “Couldn’t do it without her,” says Hanke. 

Thanks for spectators

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Colorful spectators 

--1994 Michele and Police Chief Purcell 

--1998 Terry and June Neptune 

--2001 Longtime Festival of Arts board member David Young 

--2002 The whole Jahraus Family 

--2007 Bree Burgess Rosen, whose sideways sense of humor and fertile mind has given us “Lagunatics”

--2010 Laguna Beach Community Clinic Doctors Tom Bent and Korey Jorgensen 

--2011 Pat Kollenda, doyen of the Arts Commission and Chair of the Festival of Arts scholarships 

--2012 Betsy and Dr. Gary Jenkins, art supporters extraordinaire 

--2013 Bonnie and Arnold Hano, founders of Village Laguna and preservers of our ocean views by helping to pass the height limits 

--2014** and 2015 former Mayor Wayne Baglin 

--2016 Stu Saffer, longtime newsman in Laguna and originator of Stu News

--2018 Heidi Miller, who donated one of her kidneys to a dying acquaintance 

 Artist of the Year

--2011 The first-ever parade Artist of the Year went to the Laguna College of Art & Design 

--2012 Jorg Dubin, creator of the 911 sculpture in Heisler Park 

--2013 Staff of the Pageant of the Masters 

--2014** and 2015 Carol Reynolds, first chair of the Fete de la Musique

--2017 John Barber 

--2018 Laguna Art Museum

Thanks for Hanke

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Patriot Parade Association President Ed Hanke closes down the parade route – The End

Athlete of the Year 

--2011 James Pribram, first ever 

--2014** and 2015 Alisa Schwarzstein Cairns and Ian Cairns 

--2018 Laguna Beach Water Polo Foundation and Girls Junior Olympic Champions 

The parade was originally held on George Washington’s Birthday, which unfortunately often fell on a weekday. The parade was moved to the first Saturday in March, so Laguna’s young people and their parents could participate, which was how it got started in the first place. 

**The parade has been canceled due to rain three times: 1985, with new honorees the following year; in 2014, with honorees held over for the 2015 parade. The only difference between 2019 and 2020 was the 2019 Junior Citizens Alexis Yang and Cal Nielson graduated that year and went off to college and two new honorees were named.

But wait – there’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading StuNewsLaguna.com. Contributions are welcomed.


Where’s Maggi?

Have you spotted this happy sculpture? Maggi wants to hear from you!

Send your answers in to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 4 3 20

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Barbara’s Column

What’s for dinner? 

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Laguna Beach restaurants will cook meals for you either to pick up curbside or have delivered. Some will deliver free, using their own staff. Others rely on delivery by a third party.

Here’s an alphabetical list of local eateries that responded to calls from Stu News Laguna and the information provided. Restaurants that could not accept calls, did not answer the phone or return calls regrettably are not included.

Active Culture, (949) 715-5188

Take-out and free delivery

Adonis, (949) 715-4581

Take-out and curbside pickup

Anastasia’s, (949) 497 -8903

Take-out and curbside pick up   

Another Kind Café, (949) 715-9688

Take-out and delivery by Grubhub 

What's for Another Kind

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Photo by Maggi Henrikson

Sai Thanh Slaw from Another Kind Cafe

BJ’s, (949) 494-3802

Take-out, curbside pickup, and delivery by Doordash, Grubhub, and Postmates

Café Heidelberg, (949) 497-4594

Take-out and free delivery by owner Sun Park. Closes at 2 p.m.

Ces’t La Vie Café and bakery, (949) 497-5100

Take-out only 

Coyote Grill, (949) 499-4033

Take-out, delivered by Doordash, Grubhub, and Postmates. Customers can pick up orders at the front window or owner Desiree Gomez’s staff will meet them in the parking lot.

Dizz’s As Is, (949) 494-5250

Take-out and delivery by Doordash 

Owned by the Pitz Family, since Marcel Pitz’s sauces created the foundation for Dizz’s 42 years ago.

Gina’s Pizza, (949) 497-4421

Take-out, staff delivery for $5 charge

GG’s Bistro, (949) 494-9306

Take-out, curbside pickup, and delivery by Doordash and Grubhub. 

Owners Francesca and Rago Gundogar are selling essentials at a pop-up store in front of the restaurant. 

What's for GGs

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Meze platter from GG’s Bistro

Husky Boy Burgers, (949) 497-9605

Take-out and online orders for pickup

Kitchen in the Canyon, (949) 715-5388

Open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Take-out, delivery by Doordash.

La Sirena on Mermaid, (949) 497-8226

Take-out delivered to cars

La Sirena in the Aliso Creek shopping Center, (949) 499-2309

Online orders only 

Las Brisas, (949) 497-5434

The take-out menu is online, delivery by Doordash

Lumberyard American Restaurant, (949) 715-3900

Take-out, delivery by Doordash

The menu is online. Owner Cary Redfearn recommends ordering and paying online: No touching. “It’s safer for customers and staff,” he said. 

What's for Lumberyard

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Waiting for take-out from Lumberyard

Ditto for Slice, also owned by the Redfearns, but call (949) 715-3993.

Mandarin King, (949) 494-8992

Take-out, menu online, delivery by Doordash or Postmates

Owned by Glenn Fu for 36 years.

Mozambique is closed, but owner Ivan Spiers has opened the parking lot for food trucks.

Natraj Cuisine of India, (949) 497-9197

Take-out

Nick’s, (949) 376-8595

Take-out, pickup from 4 to 8 p.m., Tuesday-Saturday, or delivery by Grubhub; menu online.

Nirvana Grille and Co-op, (949) 497-0027

Take-out, curbside pickup, staff delivery for $15 anywhere in Laguna.

Order 24/6, Tuesday-Sunday, call the restaurant from 5:30 to 7 p.m. for same night pickup.

Nirvana owner and chef Lindsay Smith-Rosales has opened a co-op. Co-op information is available at www.NirvanaGrille.com. The site contains 28 pages of products, ranging from essentials to Nirvana’s special sauces, breads, and desserts, dairy products, produce, meats, and seafood. 

To be added to the co-op group, call Smith-Rosales (949) 637-4708 or the restaurant at (949) 497-0027

Oliver’s Osteria, (949) 714-0261

Take-out, delivery by Doordash and Grubhub, free within 10-mile radius of 855 Laguna Canyon Rd

Orange Inn, (949) 494-6085

Take-out, delivery by staff for $15, Doordash, Postmates, and Grubhub

Pizza Bar, (949) 497-2277

Full menu take-out, delivery by Doordash and Grubhub

Open from 4 to 9 p.m. on weekdays; 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday.

Reunion Kitchen and Drink, (949) 226-8393

Take-out orders on line or by phone Delivery by Doordash, Postmates, and Grubhub

What's for turkey pot pie

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Photo by Jeff Rovner

Turkey pot pie available for take-out and delivery 

Roux Creole Cuisine, (949) 715-3707

Take-out, delivery by Doordash

Opens at 5 p.m., menu online

Ruby’s Diner, (949) 497-7829

Take-out, delivery by Doordash

Selenne’s Steak House, (949) 715-9881

Take-out, delivery by Doordash, may include wine with cooked food order under new COVID-19 rules, 15 percent discount, 20 percent for seniors 

Starfish, (949) 715-9200

Take-out, delivery by Doordash and Uber Eats

Subway, (949) 376-1995

Take-out, free delivery, call in orders or use the Subway California app.

They’re using their access to food distribution to offer some of their Subway ingredients and other items to the Laguna Beach community during this difficult time. They hope offering some of their essential items for pickup and delivery will be a helpful alternative to crowded grocery stores while also helping them support their amazing employees. 

Taco Loco, (949) 497-1635

Take-out and pickup only

Order by phone or online 

Wild Taco, (949) 673-9453

Curbside pickup

The Cliff, (949) 494-1956

Take-out for pickup, delivery by Doordash or Grubhub or free by staff

The Drake, (949) 376-1000

Take-out, curbside pickup, or delivery by Doordash within five miles of Nyes Place and S Coast Hwy

Order after 3 p.m. for delivery between 5:30 and 8:30 p.m. 

Seniors, 65 plus, get a free delivery and a 20 percent discount on orders. 

Urth Caffé, (949) 376-8888

Takeout, pick up, or delivery by Doordash, Grubhub and Uber

Credit card payments by phone accepted

ZPizza, (949) 499-4949

Take-out, curbside pickup or delivery by Doordash, Grubhub, Postmates, or Uber Eats


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

April 14, 2020

Let the sunshine in!

Dennis 5Tidbits was born in Hollywood, California. There’s no star for him on the Walk of Fame, but there is one on the Walk of Shame!

Breaking news here on Sunday evening…a serious tornado and violent weather outbreak is attacking the Deep South and Southeast with large debris fields showing up on the Doppler screen. Take cover, everyone, now! The perpetrator in all of this is the very same low that sat off our coast for a week with its own bag of tricks. As you know well by now, tornado season is really ramping up now that April is here, and we still have May and June before things begin to subside a bit.

On this date (April 12th) in 1997, the water temp was now all the way up to 74 degrees. It would top out at 75 degrees on the 15th and remain that way for a whole week before dropping to 72 – still 13 degrees above normal for the date. In early March of that year, the NOAA issued a statement that revealed a super strong El Niño was in the water and would be right up there in strength to equal the epic event of 1982-83 as the strongest El Niño events of the 20th century. 

By mid-March of 1997, local ocean temps were already on the rapid rise and by the first day of spring, the water was already 66 degrees, roughly 10 degrees above normal. It continued to warm up and broke the 70 mark by April 5th. What really made the difference was the lack of any significant west winds to stir up the colder water from the depths, so there was virtually no upwelling. March of 1997 was also bone dry with no invasions from incoming Pacific cold fronts. Same deal with April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November. 

I don’t recall the west winds blowing any harder than 10 mph during that whole period, which is amazing in itself. There wasn’t a drop of rain from February 15th to September 24th. Then from September 24th until June 30th, 1998, there were 36.82 inches to finish that season with a record-breaking 37.27 inches.

Here’s a wild one…on this date in 1974, the ocean temp briefly dropped to 49 degrees, the first time it had been that cold since the record cold January of 1949. Four straight days and nights strong, gusty WNW winds up to 30 mph blew up choppy rough seas and that invited all that cold up to the surface. 

Only a week before the onslaught, the water was up to 68, so that’s a drop of 19 degrees in less than a week. The second coldest ocean temp I’ve seen was 50 degrees in February of 1989, a strong La Niña year. In 1989, the water temp never made it to 70 degrees, not one single day. The only other two years without 70 degrees were 1973 and 2010. August of 2010 saw two whole weeks with 55-degree surface ocean temps, thanks to, you guessed it, a strong La Niña event. El Niño is our friend and La Niña is the enemy! Expect some welcome sunshine later this week.

See y’all on Friday, ALOHA!


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

April 21, 2020

The unpredictability of gloom in April, May, and June

Dennis 5Every year in the springtime, especially the second half, we deal with the annual marine layer made up of night and morning low-level stratus clouds. Around here we call it May gray and June gloom. Every year is different with some years not so bad, but other years it can be pretty much socked in for up to two solid months with minimal sunshine well into the afternoons, or no clearing at all for days on end. There’s very little precipitation associated with these cloudy spells, maybe a few hundredths of an inch from heavy drizzle or very light rain when the marine layer is up to 4,000 - 5,000 feet thick.

In an average year we’ll see some morning cloudiness in April, especially the latter half, but it will usually clear up by noon or so. May will usually see about a half-dozen days when it won’t clear up at all, particularly during the latter half when Memorial Weekend will see complete cloud cover around two out of three years. June is normally the cloudiest with up to ten days with little or no clearing, especially during the first half.

By late June things begin to improve, and by the time July rolls around we’ll still see some morning overcast but sunny skies after about 11 or 12. We’ve actually had a handful of summers where it was gloomy almost all summer, like in 1967, 1973, 1991, and 2010. 

Then in 1996 we had only two days of gloom in all of May and June, so, like I said, it varies from year to year. El Nino and La Nina don’t have very much influence on the spring marine layers, believe it or not. It’s just a crapshoot, a roll of the dice, so to speak.

A bit more from the McWeather Glossary…

Trough: In meteorology, an elongated area of relatively low atmospheric pressure, usually associated with and most clearly identified as an area of maximum cyclonic curvature of the wind flow, so inclement and very unsettled conditions exist. Opposite of a ridge which signifies calm and clear, dry conditions with much higher barometric pressure. A deep trough can attain lengths of two to three thousand miles and are most prevalent during winter months here in the US.

Turbulence: In meteorology, any irregular or disturbed flow in the atmosphere. Jet airliners encounter the most severe turbulence when flying through a thunderstorm cloud with all the updrafts and downdrafts going on. Keep the barf bags handy!

Twilight: The intervals of incomplete darkness following sunset and preceding sunrise. The time at which evening twilight ends, or morning twilight begins, is determined by arbitrary convention and several kinds of twilight have been defined and used, most commonly civil, nautical, and astronomical twilight.

Civil twilight is the period of time before sunrise and after sunset when the sun is not more than six degrees below the horizon; nautical twilight is the period of time before sunrise and after sunset when the sun is not more than 12 degrees below the horizon; and astronomical twilight is the period of time before sunrise and after sunset when the sun is not more than 18 degrees below the horizon. 

See you on Friday, ALOHA!


Mother’s Day maneuvers

Mother's Day surfing

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Surfer makes the most of Mother’s Day morning beach access


Spring fog settles in

Spring fog green

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The hills are covered in a patchwork palette of lush greens


All eyes are on the reopening of European Optical, EO by Astrid, in its brand new location

Story by DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

European Optical has made the move to its dazzling new home, only three doors down from its previous location. The business is now on the corner of South Coast Highway and Cress Street. The new European Optical has created an artistic, clean, modern style. Owner and Frame Designer Astrid assures clients that she and her team will continue offering the best care in the eyewear community, adhering to the motto, “Life is too short to wear boring glasses.” 

Astrid says, “I personally have worked seven days a week (over the eight-week stay-at-home), packing up 45 years. Plus, working hard with amazing contractors/construction crew, and local artists to create an awesome new European Optical home – so excited to share with you all!”

The staff consists of Colleen (Manager/Communications), Randie (Sales), and Dawn (Sales).

All eyes fancy frames

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EO by Astrid – complete selection of unique eyeglass frames

“Splashing into the new (normal) life, our frames will be taking a special hydrogen peroxide/distilled bath after anyone tries on optical products,” says Astrid. “We will all have masks available to wear. We’ve invested in a pupilometer protector and a standing sanitizing wipe dispenser at entry.” 

Using her talents as a lens expert, frame stylist, and licensed optician, Astrid continues the extraordinary 45-year legacy her father, Udo Stoeckmann, began here in Laguna Beach when he started European Optical. Astrid brought her background in art and fashion design, along with her natural talent for customer service extraordinaire, and, working alongside her father, learned from the Master Optician the fine art of opticianry. 

All eyes building

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Astrid and her staff at new location on the corner of South Coast Hwy and Cress St

Astrid decided to start designing her own line of artful, exceptional eye fashion, EO by Astrid, when she couldn’t find the styles, fit, or quality of frames to suit the variety of clients who visit her shop from around the world. This new line of exciting eyewear is handcrafted in Germany, reflecting the same old world skills and excellence Udo first introduced when he opened European Optical in 1974.

She says, “Our international selection of frames is beyond compare! We have a full selection of prescription and non-prescription glasses and sunglasses.”

All eyes interior

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The interior of European Optical – artistic and modern 

Today, Astrid and her expert staff offer a complete selection of unique eyeglass frames to enhance and complement every face size and shape. Her continued success is truly a reflection of the perfect combination of the skills developed from a lifetime of learning, along with her celebratory sense of what wearing the perfect pair of glasses offers her clients.

European Optical asks everyone to please clean their hands. The team is currently available 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., Tuesday through Friday. The store’s summer hours will be Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., starting June 1 (hopefully). They will offer private appointments on Mondays as requested. Email them 24/7 with all your optical needs. 

Astrid says, “Thank you for your continued support of small businesses like ours!” 

To contact, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (949) 494-6106.

European Optical is located at 1294 South Coast Hwy, Suite C, on the corner of South Coast Hwy and Cress St.

For more information, go to www.europeanopticalinc.com.


American Legion Auxiliary Unit 222 welcomes first male member

For over 100 years, American Legion Auxiliary membership has been open only to women related to veterans. Auxiliary membership eligibility has now been extended to include female veterans’ male spouses, even if they haven’t served in our military.

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 222, Laguna Beach, recently welcomed Richard Moore as its first male member. Richard, an Air Force veteran, is the husband of Marine Corps veteran Evelda Loftsgaard. Both are members of American Legion Post 222 and now both are Auxiliary members.

American Legion Richard

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Submitted photo

Richard Moore, 2017 Patriots Day Parade 

Richard served as Post 222 Commander for more than nine years and now is 2nd Vice commander. On Veterans Day 2019, Richard and Eve were presented with a California Legislative Assembly resolution by Cottie Petrie-Norris, 74th Assembly District for service to our country. 

For information on Auxiliary membership, contact Sandi Werthe at (949) 494-6016 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Where’s Maggi?

Who is walking around these days – and who has seen this? 

Send your “where” answers in to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Where's Maggi 5 5 20

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Beach ballet

Beach ballet girls

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Local dancers in sync with the sea


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

July 21, 2020

Cold comfort at the beach

Dennis 5Last Wednesday, the water temp in San Clemente was 76. On Sunday it was 61. Here, we’d lost eight degrees since last Wednesday, dropping from 71 to 63. Newport tumbled from 71 to 61. Some serious upwelling occurred here thanks to the dreaded westerlies. There has not been such a big drop in July since 2010, when temps dropped from 73 to 55 in just four days.

By Monday morning the ocean temp had dropped even more across the area down to a winterlike 58-60. Those dreaded westerlies have really done a number on us!

Meanwhile, it’s still quiet in the tropics of both the Eastern Pacific and the Atlantic. Our side has popped out three named storms, while their side has had six. Not much is on the horizon for at least the next few days, but by August storm formation in both ponds is usually on the increase. 

The busiest August on record in the Eastern Pacific was in 1972 when there were a total of seven named storms. All reached hurricane status with four making it up to Category 3 status as major hurricanes with sustained winds of 111 mph or higher. All seven sent us a south swell. There was Diane, Estelle, Fernanda, Gwen, Hyacinth, Inez, and JoAnne.

Here we are a month into summer 2020 already, and so far it’s been rather uneventful. Temps have been a bit below normal overall, but with almost an average amount of sunshine and most afternoons have been clear. 

There’s been virtually no thunderstorm activity in our local mountain and desert areas and the same goes for Arizona. We had a big south swell on the weekend of July 4, but otherwise it’s been pretty flat.

We are so lucky to live where we do, because the rest of the country is mired in a miserable lengthy heat wave with heat index readings far surpassing the 100-degree mark. You can’t even go outside for more than five minutes anywhere east of the Continental Divide. Temps in many areas are already at 100 or more, and when you throw in ridiculous humidity readings, then dew points skyrocket to near 80 degrees in some places. That’s dangerous stuff! Locally the temps are in the 70s with dew points in the comfortable range in the mid 50s. That’s why we live here!

Heat index is kind of like the opposite of wind chill factor, except it’s on the hot end of things. The job of keeping cool falls increasingly upon the evaporation of sweat as the temp rises. Meanwhile, other forms of heat dissipation, such as radiation and convection, which depend upon temp differences between the skin and surroundings, are reduced in effectiveness. In turn, the rate of evaporation of sweat is influenced by the humidity in the surrounding air. 

Discomfort is usually a complaint as soon as sweating begins, although, to be sure, the discomfort and heat stress on the body would be much greater if one could not perspire. 

Clothing reduces the effectiveness of sweating, but it is needed for protection from the sun. In order to reflect heat and enhance circulation of air, hot weather clothing should be light colored, lightweight, porous, and loose fitting. For most individuals, cotton or high-cotton blends are still the best hot weather fabrics. There you have it. 

Stay healthy, ALOHA!


Sally’s Fund continues services for the elderly in our community

Sally’s Fund Senior Transportation Organization has continued to operate throughout the COVID-19 outbreak to provide transportation to the elderly in our community for medical appointments, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, as well as dialysis. 

Executive Director Rachael Berger said, “We never stopped necessary transportation services; however, we did pivot our services in March, to deliver groceries, to help maintain senior nutritional needs, as well as to deliver items the frail elderly were unable to obtain on their own. We are continuing to deliver 100-150 bags of groceries each week and currently we have experienced an increase in requests for medical transportation.”

Sally's Fund groceries

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Submitted photo

Sally’s Fund delivers groceries to seniors in our community

“In order to keep Sally’s Fund drivers and passengers safe, we instituted new procedures: masks must be worn at all times, temperatures are taken, and a brief questionnaire needs to be answered prior to each ride. Each vehicle is sprayed with a medical grade disinfectant prior to entering the vehicle and after passengers exit, ensuring that door handles, seat belts, and buckles are sanitized.” 

Twice monthly, Sally’s Fund vehicles are professionally cleaned to minimize any health issues. Drivers use hand sanitizer and, in addition, a plexiglass barrier between the front and back seat is now installed in the vehicles as a safety precaution.

Sally’s Fund is transporting one person at a time in each sedan, unless they live in the same household, and a maximum of two passengers in its vans.

“We realize the changes to our transportation service may require extra time and may initially limit the number of elderlies that we drive each week, but we are doing our best to balance the needs of our older adults and our capacity to provide safe service to as many in need as possible,” said Berger.

The drivers are making extra effort to help alleviate the loneliness and isolation felt by many of the elderly in the community. After months in isolation and with the resurgence of COVID-19, Sally’s Fund is seeing firsthand the increased anxiety and fear in the elderly. They want to reassure the senior community that Sally’s Fund will continue to deliver groceries and provide transportation to those in need. 

If you know of a senior who is in need of transportation or grocery delivery, call Sally’s Fund at (949) 499-4100. Sally’s Fund extends thanks to the community and their City Partners for their continued support. Donations may be sent to PO Box 1626, Laguna Beach, CA 92652.


Cow wasn’t your ordinary cat, not by a long shot: celebrating a unique and funny feline

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Thais (Ty-ese) Askenasy, a Laguna Beach resident for 54 years, has been officially rescuing cats for 45 years – 1,500 of them to be exact – so she certainly knows her felines. Her kitten Cow was a very special one, and she’s the first to admit it.

Cow Cats are not a breed, but are so called because their markings are reminiscent of dairy cows. They are also called Moo Cats, Piebald, Harlequins, and even Magpie Cats.

Askenasy started rescuing cats not too long after she moved here. She graduated from Laguna Beach High School in 1976, went to Thurston before that, and attended Aliso for 4th, 5th, and 6th grade. 

“I have always loved cats. We always had them growing up,” she says. “I think my first rescue was when I was around seven, when we first moved to Laguna. I vaguely remember a small black cat, that didn’t (to my knowledge) have a home. That was back in the day when cats were allowed to roam, so I took him in and he became ours.”

Cow wasn't yoga

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Submitted photo

“Frontward Cat” yoga position

The attributes that made three-and-a-half-year-old Cow extraordinary were many and varied. Not only did he practice yoga, he was a cat about town, a museum visitor, a restaurant patron, and a contestant (the only cat) in the Pet Parade & Chili Cook-Off.

Askenasy says, “He used to love to go into restaurants, the White House, and many local stores. Store owners and guests would crack up when he marched in to have a little look around. 

“He loved to walk on a leash. Many folks may have seen him strutting down Forest Avenue or on Main Beach. He crossed Pacific Coast Highway like it was a daily affair, even with the cars, people, dogs, etc. He just marched along.” 

“Dogs were literally afraid of him because he didn’t run. I had dog owners shocked by his ‘chill’ behavior.”

Askenasy rescued Cow from a shelter in Pasadena. 

Cow wasn't on leash

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Submitted photo

Out and about

In response to the question why she kept him instead of finding him a home, she says, “His purrsonality was just off the charts. He was very smart (I swear he understood me when I talked to him) and he wasn’t afraid of dogs (hence his yoga, it keeps him calm).”

At the present time, this longtime rescuer has only one cat that needs to find a home. “He was rescued from the streets of Santa Ana where a friend of mine feeds four colonies of cats every night. This little tiger kitten allowed her to catch him. Now he is with another woman (in town) who is fostering him trying to socialize him more.” 

She says, “Cow was, and still is, in my heart, one of the coolest cats I ever had the pleasure of being owned by (Cat Lady Humor). Not only was he smart, but he was so interactive with us and everyone he met. Take the Pet Parade –how many dogs were there, 100? And Cow strutted around there like he owned the place. No dogs tried to chase him.”

Cow wasn't lion

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Submitted photo

Cow with the Lion in the little Art Museum on Forest

“I believe that he had this confident air about him that let the dogs know – don’t mess with me. I know most people who stopped us to ask about or just to pet Cow that day were blown away that a cat could walk around so many dogs, with just this cool grace about him. That’s my boy!” 

I can attest to that, because I was there that day at the Pet Parade. 

Sir Walter Scott said, “Cats are a mysterious kind of folk.”

Cow was enchanting and magical, a precocious one-of-a-kind cat, one not easily forgotten.


Laguna Beach Promenade on Forest extended through January 2021

Tuesday, the Laguna Beach City Council voted to extend The Promenade on Forest through January 31, 2021. The Promenade on Forest: Shopping, Dining, Art, and You! is an outdoor dining, display, and art performance area that creates a safe and exciting pedestrian-only experience on Forest Avenue from Coast Highway to Glenneyre Street in Downtown Laguna Beach. 

The Promenade design supports local businesses by expanding outdoor dining areas and merchandise display areas on Lower Forest Avenue.

Laguna Beach Promenade on

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Promenade will stay open through January 2021 

Key features of The Promenade on Forest:

--Operating hours from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through January 2021

--Dining decks, retail display decks, and a performance art deck for virtual and live performances and temporary art installations

--Layout to promote safe physical distancing between parties, hand sanitizing stations, and maintenance staff to regularly disinfect the furniture

--Face coverings are required at The Promenade; free face coverings will be handed out to those who need them periodically

--String lighting to illuminate The Promenade and provide evening ambiance and security; umbrellas, potted trees, and plants to provide daytime shade and ambiance

For more information, contact The Promenade on Forest Project Manager Jeremy Frimond at (949) 464-6673 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Black Lives Matter in the Canyon

Black Lives Matter in

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Courtesy of Jorg Dubin

Local artist Jorg Dubin has created and installed this sculpture in support of the Black Lives Matter movement on Laguna Canyon Road. Stu News will have the full story in an upcoming issue.


Assemblywoman seeking nominations for Nonprofit of the Year

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris (CA-74th) is seeking nominations in her district for Nonprofit of the Year. Nonprofits within her district’s six cities, including Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Huntington Beach, Irvine, and Laguna Woods, are eligible to be nominated.

Nominations must be received by tomorrow, Wednesday, Sept 2.

Assemblywoman seeking Petrie Norris

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Courtesy of the Offices of Cottie Petrie-Norris

Assemblywoman Cottie Petrie-Norris

“My office is excited to shine a spotlight on the exceptional organizations that have uplifted our community during these challenging times,” said Petrie-Norris. “Nonprofits have shown incredible leadership providing services like meal delivery, rental assistance, medical care, back to school donations, mentoring and homeless advocacy, just to name a few.”

Last year, Petrie-Norris’s office honored Save Our Youth (SOY), “which for more than 25 years, has changed the lives of hundreds of teens by providing them academic support and tutoring, assistance with college applications, college counseling and college tours.”

To nominate a local nonprofit, go here.


Moon on fire

Moon on heat wave

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Photo by Joel Goldstein

The almost midnight moon – taken at 11:30 p.m. during the heat wave on Sunday


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

September 25, 2020

Wild swings in summer sea temps 

Dennis 5Local ocean temps are running at around 66-68 degrees, which is about normal for late September, and have actually remained at these levels for at least a week after a summer of more mood swings than even McWeather endures. 

Once we get into late September, we normally begin to see a downward trend in our ocean temps. There have been a few exceptions to the rule, especially when there’s a strong El Nino going on – when ocean temps are well into the 70s even through October. During the mega El Nino of 1997-98, water temps were 70 or higher all the way up to November 20th of that year. 

During the mega El Nino of 1938-39, the water was an amazing 81 degrees in late September of 1939. That brings us to an amazing story on how that bath-like water attracted a high-end tropical storm to make landfall near Long Beach on September 25, 1939.

Thanks to all of our modern technology, we can go way back in time and completely dissect extreme weather events that happened even hundreds of years in the past.

The surprise tropical system that invaded Southern California in 1939 on September 25th actually formed way back on September 6th of that year off the West Coast of Africa. This was over a decade before they even began naming tropical systems, so we’ll just call it X. On the morning of the 7th, the system became a low-end tropical storm with sustained winds of 40 mph as it began to move to the west. X never got any stronger during its eight-day trip across the Atlantic, barely holding it together as it came ashore near the narrow strip of land known as Panama. 

A very strong El Nino was going on at the time which makes conditions in the Atlantic most unfavorable for further development, which is totally opposite of what transpires in the Eastern Pacific. Early on September 16th, X popped out the West Coast of Panama and immediately found itself in a completely different environment, so rapid intensification took place. X was moving straight west in hot El Nino-fed waters at 90 degrees with virtually no shear wind. By the next day, X had already grown into a Category 3 and was still rapidly strengthening. 

On the 18th, X was located about 950 miles south of the tip of Baja, way down there at latitude 12.5 degrees north and was now a powerful Category 5. It was a monster at more than 650 miles across with a central pressure of 907 millibars as it continued to trek to the west and seemingly headed straight out to sea, thus not posing any threat to any land masses as it continued to move farther away from land even on the 19th. But on the 20th, X began to make a sharp right turn as his forward motion now put him on a NNW course. Now things were getting interesting, and we’ll review that in my next installment.

See you next Tuesday, ALOHA!


Council candidates to confront high-priority topics at South Laguna Civic Association Forum on October 5

Wildfire protection, ocean water quality, the impact of tourists, and public participation in land-use decisions are the focus of the South Laguna Civic Association’s forum for city council candidates on Monday, Oct 5.

All voters in Laguna Beach are invited to watch the discussion online by joining the 6 p.m. session at https://zoom.us/j/92432403894.

The two Laguna Beach City Council incumbents, Bob Whalen and Steve Dicterow, as well as three challengers, Ruben Flores, Larry Nokes, and George Weiss, have all agreed to participate. Candidates for City Treasurer and City Clerk have also agreed to brief presentations, said Scott Sebastian, the SCLA secretary and forum organizer.

James Henry, SLCA second vice president, will moderate the online forum. The public can review the topics and questions submitted to the candidates in advance at the association’s website at www.southlaguna.org

The queries for the candidates are mostly specific to South Laguna, though the issues they raise are relevant to the whole town, Sebastian said. 

Henry will not attempt to field questions from the public as the forum is underway, Sebastian said. Even so, he invites those who watch to send their questions and comments to the www.southlaguna.org website, where the forum will be archived.


Where’s Maggi?

Maggi wants to know who else has seen this decorative driveway?

Send your answers in to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Where's Maggi 10 16 20

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More Halloween haunts

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

More Halloween ghost

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Things that go bump in the night – ghosts and goblins. We’ve spotted some Halloween decorations around town and would like Laguna residents to help us to find more!

More Halloween dog

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Take a photo of your decorations or creative ones you’ve spotted.

Be sure to tag @stunewslaguna on Instagram so we see them and can re-share them! (If you don’t have Instagram, feel free to email them to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

More Halloween hats

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Witches are one of the most traditional as well as mysterious entities we associate with Halloween. When you think of a witch, it’s easy to conjure up an image of a woman stirring up a steaming potion that is brewing away inside a cauldron. Where are the witches that belong to these hats?


Laguna Beach County Water District appoints new General Manager

The Board of Directors of the Laguna Beach County Water District is pleased to announce the appointment of Keith Van Der Maaten as the District’s next General Manager. Van Der Maaten starts his new position on January 1, 2021. The selection culminates a nationwide recruiting process in which 50 well-qualified candidates applied for the position. 

Van Der Maaten brings a wealth of relevant experience to the District with over 24 years of professional experience in civil engineering and the water-utility industry. Van Der Maaten is returning to the Orange County area after spending the past five years as General Manager of the Marina Coast Water District, located in the City of Marina in Northern California. Prior to that, he worked as the Public Works and Utilities Director for the City of San Juan Capistrano. 

Laguna Beach Van Der Maaten

Submitted photo

Keith Van Der Maaten

“Van Der Maaten’s background, previous work in Orange County, and experience at Marina Coast Water District make him very well qualified for the position,” stated Board President Bob Whalen. “We believe that he will continue the history of excellent leadership that we have had at the District.”

Van Der Maaten earned his Bachelor of Science in civil engineering at San Jose State University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Santa Clara University. He has been a registered civil engineer in the State of California since 2000. 

“I’m excited to be a part of such an exceptional organization,” said Van Der Maaten “The District has a great history of overcoming water supply challenges and achieving a high level of service to the community. I am honored to be a part of the team and community and look forward to building upon those successes.”

Laguna Beach County Water District provides water service to 20,000 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.


COVID-19: 2 new deaths and 639 new cases reported in OC, 4 new cases in Laguna Beach

Sadly, OC Health Care Agency reports that 1,526 people have died due to COVID-19 in Orange County, including two new deaths reported today (November 15). There have been “less than five deaths” of Laguna Beach residents to date.

The county reports that there have been 65,225 cumulative cases of COVID-19 countywide to date, an increase of 639 cases today.

The county reports that there have been 275 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date, an increase of four cases today. This represents a per capita rate of 11.773 cases per thousand residents.

The county reports that 27 percent of ICU beds and 65 percent of ventilators are currently available countywide.

The county reports that 242 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19 (includes ICU); 90 are in ICU.

The county estimates 56,280 “recovered cases” according to its data criteria.

For questions about the data presented by the county, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To view the data dashboard, click here.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

COVID 19 County 11 15 20 1

COVID 19 County 11 15 20 2

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data as of November 15, as reported by the County; click here to visit page that is updated daily


Oak Street observation

Oak street bench

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Even during a cloudy sunset, you can see forever


Political notebook banner

Nominating papers and ballot statements verified by Registrar of Voters

Nominating papers for the 12 candidates for election to the Laguna Beach City Council were filed on time and verified by the Orange County Registrar of Voters. 

The candidates, in alphabetical order are:

--Elizabeth (Liz) Bates, a Realtor who grew up in Laguna Beach          

--Peter Blake, art gallery owner and businessman

--Ann Christoph, landscape architect and a former mayor

--Sue Marie Connolly, owner of Sue Marie Day Spa in Laguna

--Toni Iseman, incumbent

--Sue Kempf, retired businesswoman and planning commissioner

--Cheryl Kinsman, Laguna Beach County Water District Board member and a former mayor

--Lorene Laguna, Laguna Canyon Conservancy Board member 

--Judie Mancuso, CEO of nonprofits and an animal rights advocate 

--Allison Mathews, selected to serve on the Affordable Housing Task Force

--Paul Merritt, financial manager and former Laguna Niguel City Council member

--Rob Zur Schmiede, incumbent 

Iseman and Zur Schmiede were required to file nomination papers and candidate statements by August 10. The other candidates had until August 15. They all beat the deadline.

Two of the candidates declined to submit campaign statements and pay the $1,000 fee to have the statements included on the sample ballot. The statements are also reviewed and verified by the registrar. 

The candidates will all be invited to appear at the Laguna Beach Arts Alliance Forum on Saturday, Sept 29 at the Laguna Playhouse. Former City Councilwoman Jane Egly will moderate.

--Compiled by Barbara Diamond


Laguna Beach Democratic Club invites residents to meet next leader of the California Democratic Party

Laguna Beach Democratic Club invites residents to join together to meet and hear from the next leader of the California Democratic Party on Tuesday, March 26 at Aliso Viejo Country Club. The forum is from 7 - 9 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. and a VIP reception from 6 - 7 p.m.

DemocrOC will present a debate, interview, and Q&A with CDP Chair candidates Kimberly Ellis and Daraka Larimore-Hall, moderated by Aliso Viejo Council member Tiffany Ackley.

The forum is preceded by a VIP Reception where guests can mingle with the candidates and elected officials in an intimate setting with refreshments (there is limited availability).

Forum tickets are $20. Seating is first come first serve at the event. Standing room only is allowed for a limited number of guests.

The VIP Reception is $100. Mingle with Kimberly Ellis, Daraka Larimore-Hall, and elected officials in an intimate setting from 6 - 7 p.m. before the candidate forum. Appetizers and refreshments will be served. A cash bar is available for your enjoyment. Includes one ticket to the candidate forum and priority seating.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available for $100 and include one ticket to the candidate forum, recognition on stage, and priority seating. The deadline for brochure printing is March 19, 2019. Tables will be provided for co-sponsors who wish to promote their organizations/causes.

The objective of the forum is to promote community engagement in the California Democratic Party. Laguna Beach Democratic Club encourages not only participation from the local Party and Dem clubs and delegates, but also activists and interested community members. It is an opportunity to encourage grassroots participation in the local and state Party.

By attending this event, you agree to allow LBDC the right to use your image and/or likeness for advertising and/or other promotional purposes. You also agree not to take pictures or videos where posted or announced as prohibited and agree that any permitted photos or videos will not be used for any commercial purposes.

Laguna Beach Democratic Club would like to thank all patrons for attending the event, and ask that all in attendance abide by all local, state, and federal laws and policies and guidelines set forth by the Old Ranch Country Club. LBDC also asks that you be courteous and respectful of all other patrons, moderators, and speakers at the event. Facility/event management reserves the right to deny entry or eject patrons for displaying inappropriate behavior (as determined by facility/event management) to other patrons or to speakers during panels, debates or other events during the course of the event. Should a patron be denied entry or ejected for the above reasons, they will not receive a refund for their tickets or be compensated in any way.

For tickets and more information, click here.

Aliso Viejo Country Club is located at 33 Santa Barbara Drive, Aliso Viejo.


Laguna Health Club offers free workouts to locals April 1-7

Laguna Health Club is celebrating the end of the club’s 50th anniversary, and wants to let all Laguna locals enjoy the close-knit family feeling that they provide. First time clients are invited to work out for free from April 1-7 at the club. 

As part of the celebration, Laguna Health Club is bringing in all new Freemotion cardio equipment including incline trainers and bikes as well as TRX wall units for more functional training. The bathrooms are getting total makeovers as well. 

Laguna Health machines

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Courtesy of Facebook

Locals are invited to celebrate 50 years of business with Laguna Health Club 

“This is the first time that I am opening the doors for free. You only celebrate [being] 50 years old once, and I want Laguna to be a part of it,” states owner Doug Schulein. 

Guests must show proof of Laguna residency, must be first time clients to the gym, and bring a towel. Guests will also required to fill out a one page info form and waiver.

Laguna Health Club is located at 870 Glenneyre St.


Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach receives Festival of Arts Foundation grant

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is thrilled to announce the receipt of a $6,000 grant from the Festival of Arts Foundation to fund its Arts-For-All program available to all members during their time after school. 

The support of the Festival of Arts Foundation enables the Art Department to provide exciting and engaging art projects and exhibitions. On May 17 from 5 - 7 p.m., the Club will be hosting an art walk at its Canyon Branch, showcasing art created by club members from all Laguna Beach branches. From July 29 - August 2, the club will be hosting Art in The Park Summer Camp at Bluebird Park. 

Activities will include plein air landscape paintings, nature art, outdoor tie-dye, a photography walking field trip, and a field trip to the Laguna Art Museum. All of these programs and more are made possible through the generosity of the Festival of Arts Foundation. 

Boys and Girls kids

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Boys & Girls Club youth 

The organization believes that play and art create a healthy role in the learning and development of every child, as imagination and creativity are vital components of increasing their full potential as adults. The Club’s art programming provides members with opportunities that generate ideas and enhance their ability to transform vision into a reality while navigating the world around them.

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is dedicated to providing a diverse array of art programs, in which each area serves participating youth through exposure, education, and enriching experiences. Not only do children have the opportunity to learn how to create art, but also experience the thrill of seeing their pieces displayed in on-site exhibits while entering their art into local and national art competitions.

Mar Stash, Elementary Art Expressions Director, and Chris Holmes, Teen Art Expressions Director, of Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, are building fun and exciting activities related to all aspects of art and youth development, all thanks to the assistance of funding from the Festival of Arts Foundation.

Without the continuing support of the Festival of Arts Foundation, these wonderful opportunities for families within the community would not be possible. 

For more information about the activities, contact Michelle Ray Fortezzo at (949) 494-2535 ext. 7584 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the Club’s website at www.bgclagunabeach.org.


Guest Column

Happy Easter weekend!

By Vidya Reddy

Welcome to the Happiness Corner, and happy Easter weekend! 

Being non-Christian, as children we were invited to celebrate Easter every year by our wonderful neighbors. As we all head into the Easter weekend events this year with family and friends, here are few general guidelines in order not to gorge ourselves during this special holiday.

In general, eat when you are hungry, stop when you are satisfied, and don’t eat when you are not hungry. A little non-hungry eating over Easter won’t hurt your weight loss as long as it is in moderation. Read more for your very own Mindful Easter.

Get Your Mindset Right

Don’t tell yourself, “Forget about it, Easter is too hard, I will start again on my healthy eating again next Tuesday.” Why? Moderation is the key to managing weight, and this kind of thinking does not promote moderation, it promotes overeating.

On the other hand, don’t aim to totally deny yourself chocolate and treats over the Easter weekend. Why? This thinking leads to a sense of deprivation and if you end up caving in and breaking your rules you are likely to feel guilty, ashamed, and hopeless. It is just these kinds of difficult feelings that lead to emotional eating, which in my opinion is the key factor in weight gain.

Eat Chocolate! (Mindfully, of course.) Before that egg reaches your lips, notice how it feels and smells. As you put it to your lips, notice your mouth, tongue, and any other sensations in your body. Pop the chocolate in your mouth and be aware of all your senses – what you can smell, taste, feel, hear, and see. Slowly let it melt.

Notice the urge to swallow and resist it for a moment or two. Notice when the urge to take another bite comes on. Resist it and notice how that feels. Notice your thoughts and feelings. Practice self-compassion. If you feel guilty or anxious, reassure yourself that it’s okay to enjoy some chocolate.

Happy Easter arms

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Dr. Vidya Reddy

Commit to yourself that you will not eat chocolate mindlessly. You won’t eat chocolate while doing other things, for example, watching TV, cooking, driving.

Don’t get too hungry. Stick to your planned meals and don’t allow yourself to get too hungry. This can be a dangerous time and lead to over-indulging. Rate your hunger level. Also rate your hunger before you tuck in. 

“Ask yourself if you’re body or head hungry,” suggests Mills. If it’s head-hungry – which means you just fancy eating something, rather than being genuinely hungry – think twice. Sit while you eat.

No more standing and eating. Promise yourself you’ll sit to eat, rather than eating chocolate – or any food – on the run. Turn off the television and Facebook to focus fully on your meal. Sit, savor, enjoy the experience. Check in with yourself before you take a second bite and ask yourself if you are hungry and really want another mouthful. 

Know yourself

Be honest with yourself. If you are the kind of person who will want to eat a whole egg, make sure the eggs you buy are small. If you find chocolate in the pantry hard to resist, make sure that you clean your house out as soon as Easter is over. Give the chocolate away, melt it down and make it into something else and gift to a neighbour, throw it in the bin. Whatever it takes, if it is a trigger, then draw the line once Easter is over.

Managing social meals

Obviously, Easter isn’t just about chocolate and you might be planning lunches and dinners with friends and family. Socializing can make it hard to follow your golden rule. Try these strategies:

Eat slowly. One bite per minute with 20 chews. Breathe between mouthfuls. Play with your food – move it around your plate. This is good if you are worrying about people commenting on slow eating. If you can, serve food on a small plate (this helps us to feel satisfied with less food). Drink water with your meal. Suggest going for a walk after your meal. Don’t snack. Close the kitchen door and don’t go back in there if that will make you feel tempted to snack.

Happy Easter flower

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Stop and smell the daisies

Be kind to yourself: Being mindful also means showing compassion towards others and yourself. When you do polish off a bag of mini-eggs just because they were in the pantry, don’t beat yourself up. Practise self-kindness and compassion and then commit to getting back on track straight away.

Here’s a great mindful eating exercise that uses all the five senses.

This Five Senses mindful eating exercise is one I highly recommend. At a quiet, relaxed time, place a palm-sized quantity of your favourite food on a plate, then use all five of your senses to experience it. Look at it, notice its color, size, and shape. Smell it. What are the aromas? Take a bite and listen as you chew. Feel the textures of the food in your mouth. Taste the flavors as you slowly chew and savour it.

In Peace, Love and Gratitude

‘Til next time

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

www.Naturally-Happy.com


Shop for designer clothes at bargain prices to help change lives this Saturday

Don’t miss out on a Pop Up Boutique this Saturday, May 4, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., featuring stylish women’s clothes with the tags still on, barely worn designer brands, one-of-kind vintage pieces, elegant evening gowns, lots of cute jeans, shoes, and jewelry. Free craft coffee from Manna-Terra Wellness and donuts will be served.

Shop for outfits

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LBHS sophomore Katelyn Kolberg will be on hand to help shoppers find the perfect outfit

All proceeds will benefit the Kausakusun women’s shelter in Peru. LBHS sophomore Katelyn Kolberg organized the fundraiser and will be on hand to help shoppers put together the perfect outfit. Brands being sold include Oscar de la Renta, Salvatore Ferragamo, Brandy Melville, Free People, Levi’s, Bebe, Banana Republic, Joe’s, Armani Exchange, BCBG, Theory, Abercrombie, and more.

The Pop Up Boutique will be held at Sourced at 950 Glenneyre St.


Real Talk Laguna Beach presents “Journey to Justice” tomorrow

Tomorrow, Wednesday, May 22 from 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., Real Talk Laguna Beach is proud to present a community discussion on the Tahirih Justice Center, titled “Journey to Justice,” at the Susi Q Center.

The Tahirih Justice Center protects courageous women and girls who refuse to be victims of violence by elevating their voices in communities, courts, and Congress by creating a world where “all women and girls enjoy equality and live in safety and with dignity.”

The Tahirih Justice Center stands alone as the only national, multi-city organization providing a broad range of direct legal services, policy advocacy, and training and education to protect immigrant women and girls fleeing gender-based violence.

For more information, visit www.tahirih.org

This is a free event with limited seating. To reserve a seat, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The Susi Q Center is located at 380 Third St.


Mystery Photographer 

Mystery Photographer Scott

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Photo by Judy Barry

Scott Brashier on the job at the Memorial Day Ceremony


Deadline for 2019 Laguna Beach city photo contest, “Urban Laguna Beach,” is June 5

The submission deadline for this year’s Laguna Beach city photo contest, which celebrates Laguna Beach’s vibrancy, vitality, and livability through the camera lens, is June 5. 

This year, photographers are asked to submit their high-resolution photographs for contest consideration reflecting this year’s theme, “Urban Laguna Beach” – life downtown and away from the beach.

Deadline for street

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

These city lights on Broadway are a great example of this year’s contest theme 

To enter, photographers must submit their high-resolution photos of Laguna Beach online at http://bit.ly/2019LBphotocontest by the contest deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5. Any photo taken within Laguna Beach city limits is eligible and the contest is open to anyone.

The winning photographs will be selected by a local marketing professional. First-prize photographs receive $500 and winners of additional categories receive $100 each. 

All winning photographers will receive recognition at a future Laguna Beach City Council meeting, be featured on the city’s social media channels, and will have their photo posted in a gallery on the city’s website. 

For a complete list of contest rules and information about how to enter, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/photocontest.


Laguna Beach Lifeguards to celebrate 90 years of ocean lifesaving on June 15

For over 90 years, Laguna Beach Lifeguards have patrolled city beaches to ensure beach goers a safe and fun filled day as well as protect our ocean environment. 

What began as a small troupe of able volunteers back in 1929 has evolved over 90 years into a highly trained and skilled professional lifesaving organization that keeps watch over thousands each day during the summer. 

To help recognize and celebrate the men and women of LB Lifeguards, both past and present, a day full of activities are planned on Saturday, June 15. 

 The festivities will start at Main Beach at 10 a.m. with a lifeguard friendly beach team relay competition and LB Lifeguard group photo, followed by a Marine Safety Headquarters public tours. A lifeguard picnic lunch will follow, and finally a no host cocktail social hour will be held at Hennessey’s Tavern at 5 p.m. where Guards and friends can re-connect with tall tales of lifesaving over the many years.

Laguna Beach lifeguard tower

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Beach Lifeguards have been keeping watch over our beaches for over 90 years

Laguna Beach Lifeguards compete in several national and international ocean competitions each year. The morning team run-swim-paddle relay, scheduled to start the 90th Celebration festivities, will exhibit the lifeguard’s ocean athletic skills as well as demonstrate some of their ocean rescue techniques. 

After that, a massive historic LB Lifeguards photo will be staged in front of Main Beach Tower with veteran and current LB Lifeguards, snapped by former LB Lifeguard and award-winning photographer Mitch Ridder. 

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., the Department of Marine Safety will conduct public tours of their modern Lifeguard Headquarters for all to learn how their central command operates. Lifeguards and family members will then gather at noon at Picnic Beach Park for a hosted BBQ and view several historic Laguna lifeguard photos and memorabilia. 

The day will culminate with a final gathering at Hennessey’s Tavern in the upstairs room, from 5 - 9 p.m., to reminisce about old lifeguarding days in Laguna.

The Laguna Beach Lifeguard 90th Gathering event is supported by the Laguna Beach Ocean Lifeguard Foundation in conjunction with LB Marine Safety Association. The Laguna Beach City Council will recognize the LBLG 90th Anniversary with a city proclamation at tonight’s June 4 council meeting at 6 p.m. at City Hall Council Chambers. 

For more information, visit www.lbolf.org.


Lifelong Laguna thrives from local support, calls for volunteers

On Wednesday, June 26 and Thursday, June 27 from 2 - 3 p.m., Laguna Beach Seniors is holding Lifelong Laguna volunteer orientations for residents who are interested in learning more about becoming a Lifelong Laguna volunteer. Formal trainings will follow in July. 

Five years ago, Laguna Beach Seniors initiated steps to develop a community-wide support network to help local residents 55+ age gracefully in their homes and remain connected to the town they love.

Today, that program – Lifelong Laguna – is thriving with over 60 members 32 volunteers.

Lifelong Laguna smiles

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Submitted photo

(L-R) Volunteer Tracy and Lifelong Laguna member Juliane at Lifelong Laguna’s recent Quarterly Social

From tech support to friendly visits with volunteers, Lifelong Laguna develops personalized plans to support the needs of senior residents. Financial support from community partners like Laguna Presbyterian Church affords free home modification assessments that identify safety hazards and upgrade a home’s accessibility.

“Lifelong Laguna is an incredible concept that works well in our community,” says Alice Jensen, Mission Outreach Elder at Laguna Presbyterian Church. “It allows older people to stay in their own homes as long as possible.“

Lifelong Laguna is a program of Laguna Beach Seniors staffed by program specialist John Fay, MSG, a gerontologist who firmly dedicates his service to the aging population in Laguna Beach.

“Through our Lifelong Laguna volunteers, we are able to advance the mission of Laguna Beach Seniors and enhance the lives of seniors by serving more Laguna residents and supporting them with dignity and respect.” 

Lifelong Laguna group

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Submitted photo

Quarterly Lifelong Laguna gatherings are designed to build community and strengthen social connections

To learn more and register for one of the June orientations, visit www.thesusiq.org/lifelong-laguna and complete the online registration. You can also email John Fay directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (949) 715-8107. 

The Susi Q is located in downtown Laguna Beach at 380 Third St.


Guest Column

What is oneness?

By Vidya Reddy

Hello and welcome to the Happiness Corner.

This beautiful thought came to me the other day, as I was sitting and quietly contemplating after having an amazing conversation with someone I met at our shop. I was meditating at Heisler Park and I heard a silent whisper echo in my heart: “You are a Devine Design – Stop Comparing Yourself to Others.”

As I sat to compose this week’s column, I allowed the beautiful words above to dictate when it came to my heart. I am here to learn to love myself and to love other people unconditionally. Even though every person has measurable things about them, such as height and weight, there is far more to you and me than our physical expression. The immeasurable part of me is where my power is. 

Comparing myself with others makes me feel either superior or inferior, never acceptable exactly as I am. What a waste of time and energy. We are all unique, wonderful beings, each different and special. I go within and connect with the unique expression of eternal Oneness that I am, and we all are. 

Who are you? Why are you here? What are your beliefs about life? For thousands of years, finding the answers to these questions has meant going within. But what does that mean?

I believe there is a Power within each of us that can lovingly direct us to our perfect health, perfect relationships, perfect careers, perfect family and friends, and which can bring us prosperity of every kind in all areas of our life. In order to have those things, we have to believe first that they are possible. 

What is closeup

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Dr. Vidya Reddy

Next, we must be willing to release the old patterns, self-perpetuating motives or “negative self talk” in our lives that are creating conditions, that we say we do not want. We do this by going within and tapping the Inner Power that already knows what is best for us. If we are willing to turn our lives over to this greater Power within, the Power that loves and sustains us, we can create more prosperous lives.

I believe that our minds are always connected to the One Infinite Mind; therefore, all knowledge and wisdom is available to us at any time. We are connected to this Infinite Mind, this Universal Power, through that spark of light within. The Universal Power loves all of Its creations. It is a Power for good, and It directs everything in our lives. It doesn’t know how to hate or lie or punish. It is pure love, freedom, understanding, and compassion. It is important to turn our lives over to our Higher Self, because through It, we receive our good.

We must understand that we have the choice to use this Power in any way we want. If we choose to live in the past and rehash all of the negative situations and conditions that went on way back when, then we stay stuck where we are. If we make a conscious decision not to be victims of the past and go about creating new lives for ourselves, we are supported by this Power within; and new, happier experiences begin to unfold.

What is meditation

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Community, meditation, and love help connect us to oneness

We are each meant to be a wonderful, loving expression of life. Life is waiting for us to open up to it – to feel worthy of the good it holds for us. The wisdom and intelligence of the Universe is ours to use. Life is here to support us. We just need to trust the Power within to be there for us.

Here are a few suggestions to take you in the right direction toward oneness. 

Community

Being part of a harmonious community helps to foster the principles of Oneness, which is the real reason why I love calling Laguna Beach my home. Community supports us on our own journey and allows us the opportunity to serve others. Community helps us open up to new and different ideas, to begin to dissolve our barriers and old patterns of limiting beliefs. Community can connect us with a sense of Oneness. 

Meditation 

Meditation can give us direct revelation to the Oneness deep within us. When we transcend thought, we enter a field of pure awareness. Oneness is why we meditate, and oneness is the reason we can meditate. It all sounds too simple to be meaningful, but it is meaningful. I promise. The concept of “oneness” conveys to us the essential nature of God, the Source, the Universe. Knowing that essential nature is the reason we seek to be enlightened, and it is the means by which we will become enlightened. 

Love

Love is the greatest, most powerful unifying force in creation. When we are in love, we become one with the object of our love. These inspirational quotes tell the story of the relationship between love and Oneness. 

In Peace, Love and Gratitude.

‘Til next time. 

Dr.Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC 

www.Naturally-Happy.com


The colors of summer

The colors chairs

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Photo by Scott Brashier 

Bright multicolored chairs beckon – “Come, sit down and enjoy the view”


Moods of a midsummer sky

Moods of blue

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Photo by Scott Brashier 

Undecided clouds – blue or gray

Moods of gray

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Photo by Scott Brashier 

Midsummer beige


Moon Walking

By Lisa Hughes Anderson

Fifty years ago I sat in our family room and along with the world listened as Walter Cronkite gave us play by play after the Apollo 11 lunar module “Eagle” touched down on the Sea of Tranquility. Man stepped out into space and onto the moon’s surface. Time seemed to stop, and we all took a collective gasp which slowly turned into incredulous smiles. The impossible was now a reality.

Walking out into my neighborhood, I looked up and marveled that if the moon was really that close, what else could we explore? I sent silent well wishes to those adventurers: Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, and Michael Collins. Standing on a concrete sidewalk, I looked down at my 12-year-old feet and felt a tingle of excitement, as if this mission opened doors not just for man but for women too.

The possibilities of connection didn’t escape me but rather revealed a belief that there is always something out there beyond our grasp that’s worth striving for. Somewhere that hasn’t been revealed yet. Someone who can change your life, but you haven’t met yet. 

Moon Walking Lisa

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Visit to Destination Moon exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute in Seattle

Since July 20, 1969, I have never lost contact with the moon and the stars. In recent years, I’ve sent messages on Instagram to Scott Kelly, Christina Koch, and others. Think about that – my personal supportive words of an astronaut’s photo show up in space for them to read.

Smithsonian Institute has done a magnificent job of melding the past and the present together in their Destination Moon exhibit, which I visited this week at Seattle’s Museum of Flight. Rooms filled with recordings of the NASA control room to module communication. Huge screens with actual footage of the launches, landings, and touchdowns. One of my favorites was a recreated family room complete with the moon walk looping over and over again on an old television. There are trajectories, jumpsuits, lunar rovers, Sputnik, stories of the USSR/USA race, profiles in courage, a thruster and hatch recovered from the ocean, a moon rock, and multitudinous photographs that bring it all home. The most awe-inspiring object was the actual command module Columbia in all its bronze color and fire kissed glory. The crew of the Apollo 11 mission was successful in stepping onto the moon and returning home again to grow our appreciation and fascination with all things cosmos.

Moon Walking television

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Recreated family room showing moon landing

When asked about their experience over these 50 years, one thing that seems to be a concurrent recognition by astronauts is that the earth is such a fragile planet, that we as its inhabitants need to work collectively to sustain life. The divisions of countries, states, cities, and neighborhoods are counterproductive to our survival.

We are all one on this planet and if we could just realize how precious life is we would stop running away from the unknown and head toward it in unison. Everyone on the planet experiences the same view looking up at the moon, the planets, the galaxies. We have come so far.


Fire sky 

Fire sky blazing

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Blazing heaven, shadowy sea


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE 

August 9, 2019

Western Pacific churning up 

Dennis 5At this time, the tropics in the Central and Eastern Pacific, the Caribbean, and the Atlantic Basin are all quiet, but the Western Pacific is a different story. Three typhoons and a tropical storm – about to turn hurricane – are churning up the waters in a big way over there. As you probably know by now, typhoons are exactly the same as hurricanes, cyclones, and willy-willies – only the names are different.

Closer to home in the Eastern Pacific, there have been seven named systems up to this point, which is about the normal production up to August 9th. Normal tropical system production over any given season is around 14-16 storms with at least five spinners making it up to major hurricane status (Category 3 or higher with winds of 111 mph or higher). The strongest Category 5 on record in the Eastern Pacific was Patricia in October of 2015 with sustained winds in excess of 200 mph with gusts as high as 228 mph; the central pressure was all the way down to 872 millibars, also a record.

The Eastern Pacific ran out the entire alphabet once and that was in 1992; 1983 came close, making it up to Winnie in early December; 1985 saw Xina and 1990 saw Waldo. Because the waters off Baja and Southern California are much cooler than the Eastern Seaboard, averaging in the low 70s at their warmest, tropical systems lose most of their punch by the time they move northward up into higher latitudes. Remember, a hurricane needs at least 80-degree water to keep it fueled. 

There have been two exceptions when a strong El Nino event occurred, pushing ocean temps up to 80 degrees as far north as Southern California and opening the door for a Category 2 storm that made landfall near San Diego way back in September of 1858. 

In September of 1939, a high-end tropical storm made landfall near San Pedro. Several other systems have found their way up here but were merely tropical depressions by the time they reached us with winds less than 39 mph and maybe a couple inches of rain at the most.

It’s a whole different ballgame on the East Coast and Gulf of Mexico. Ocean temps there can reach 80 degrees as far north as New England with the help of the super warm Gulf Stream where water temps soar to 90 degrees in the gulf and the mid to high 80s as far north as North Carolina. 

On a couple of occasions, a hurricane has held it together as far north as Nova Scotia (my mom’s birthplace), which is 46.5 degrees north latitude! That’s a big target, from the Texas coast all the way up to Maine. Four Category 5 hurricanes have made landfall in the U.S; in 1934 a Category 5 hit the Florida Keys with winds up to 175 mph; in August of 1969, Category 5 Hurricane Camille made landfall near the Louisiana/Mississippi border. Category 5 Andrew hammered extreme Southern Florida south of Miami in August of 1992, and Category 5 Michael moved ashore near Pensacola, Florida in 2018.

The Atlantic Basin is off to a very slow start with no systems in June or July and early August but that can change in a heartbeat as they’re entering the busiest time of the season, which normally peaks in mid-September. It was really quiet like this in 1992 when the first storm of that season didn’t form until the third week of August and that was devastating Category 5 Andrew. 

Same deal in 2004 when nothing happened until mid-August and suddenly four major hurricanes appeared in the span of only two weeks; Charley, Danielle, Earl, and Francis – so people are beginning to squirm back there. 

Thank goodness we don’t have to worry much about that stuff. 

That’s why we live here! ALOHA.


Rising up through the ranks: LBPD proudly welcomes Tanner Flagstad as sworn officer

LBPD welcomes Tanner

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Former LBPD Explorer and Beach Patrol Officer Tanner Flagstad was sworn in on Monday as a full-fledged officer and will begin his Field Training Officer (FTO) program

LBPD welcomes group

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Tanner just graduated the six-month intensive police academy at Golden West College. Congratulations, Tanner!


David Skarman achieves personal best

David Skarman achieves

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Catalina Classic 2019...personal best for David Skarman...6 hours and 2 minutes! So fast this year that his wife Victoria didn’t make it up to Manhattan Beach to the finish line in time.

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