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 Volume 11, Issue 31  |  April 16, 2019                                   


Animal Files

PMMC rescues a record 12 pinnipeds in four days

Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) reported a record 12 pinniped rescues from Friday, April 12 to Monday, April 15, with six rescues on Friday alone.

The first rescue, at 7:04 a.m. on Friday, April 12, was an elephant seal pup at the 1300 block of Circle Way. The female seal, named Moscow, was rescued and brought back to PMMC. The seal was malnourished and dehydrated and is now resting at PMMC. 

The second case PMMC looked into, at 7:54 a.m., turned out to be an adult female sea lion at Thalia Street Beach. Since these animals are partially aquatic, sometimes they rest on non-crowded beaches. Because it was the early morning, not many people were at the beach yet. 

Animal Files injured seal

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Courtesy of PMMC

PMMC has rescued 12 marine mammals since Friday, April 12, including this elephant seal

“PMMC went out to investigate and determined the animal did not need to be rescued and encouraged it back into the water as to not get harassed by pets and people,” PMMC’s Krysta Higuchi said.

The third rescue on Friday occurred at Shaw’s Cove at 2:46 p.m. following reports of a pinniped with a neck injury. 

“This would be the fourth out of six rescues we would perform that day. When we first got the call, our team was already out on two other rescues,” Higuchi said.

The PMMC team was able to pick up the animal and bring back it to PMMC. Once back at the center, a full exam was performed and it was determined a ratfish barb was in the elephant seal pup’s neck. 

Animal Files raftish barb

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Courtesy of PMMC

Ratfish barb is found in the neck of an elephant seal among other injuries

“Our animal care team was able to remove the 4-inch barb. The animal has other wounds; a full X-ray and other exams will be performed to determine the full extent of the animal’s injuries,” Higuchi said.

Unfortunately, PMMC is also still without Internet and phones, which went out after a car hit a pole on Saturday night near PMMC. All phone calls to PMMC’s main line are being rerouted to a cell phone. 

To contact PMMC or report an injured pinniped, please call (949) 494-3050.

To make a donation to PMMC, visit

-By Suzie Harrison


Dianne’s Creature Feature

Bobcat accidentally hit in February by LBPD officer returned to the wild as onlookers cheer him on


As readers may recall, on Tuesday, Feb 19, an on-duty LBPD officer accidentally hit an adult bobcat with his police vehicle in the 2700 block of Laguna Canyon Road. 

“The bobcat ran across the highway in front of the officer’s vehicle and the officer was unable to avoid the collision. The officer immediately stopped and asked for an Animal Services Officer to respond,” LBPD Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres said after the accident. 

Bobcat accidentally growling

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Courtesy of LBPD

Bobcat awaits ride for release

Officer Thomas McGuire was responding to a call of a person in the road when the cat darted out in front of him. After striking the animal, Officer McGuire and Cpl. Darin Germaine, who was in a patrol car behind him, rushed to assist the bobcat. The Animal Services Officer transported the injured bobcat to the Serrano Animal and Bird Hospital in Lake Forest. 

Bobcat accidentally Big Bend

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Officers and rangers gather for trek into the wilderness

After almost two months at the facility, rehabilitating from head trauma and a broken sternum that healed with cage rest, the bobcat was released into a remote Laguna wilderness area believed to be where he came from. 

With OC Park Ranger Roxanne Bradley at the wheel, we traveled over some pretty rugged terrain to reach the release point. 

Dr. Scott Weldy and Lauren Genger RVT managed to get the carrier into a small ravine and opened the cage. The bobcat was a bit reluctant but when they jiggled the cage, the cat ran at lightning speed into a thick bush area. 

Bobcat accidentally really close

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Photo by Dianne Russell

Lauren, who took care of the bobcat during his rehab, and has been working as a technician with wild animals for 20 years, said, “Opportunities like that are what make me get up every day and go to work with Dr. Weldy. I know that I was put on this planet to help animals. To be able to help a wild animal heal from physical trauma, and then release it back into the wild where it can live its life the way the universe intended, is very special. I was beyond grateful to have the opportunity to care for him and to be the one to open his crate for his release. There really aren’t words to describe the emotions I felt. Working with wildlife and then releasing them is the paycheck I cannot cash. It means more than money ever could. It brings meaning to my existence. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to work side by side with Dr. Weldy. He is an incredible human being, and I’m so blessed to be a small part of what he has created at Serrano Animal and Bird Hospital.”

Bobcat accidentally release

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Photo by Dianne Russell

A flash of fur as the bobcat makes a hasty retreat

Officer McGuire said, “I was glad the bobcat made a full recovery and was able to be released back into the wild.”

Thank you LBPD and OC Park Services (and Roxanne for the bumpy ride) for allowing Stu News to be part of the release. It was a magnificent thing to witness. 

The only good cage is an empty cage…Lawrence Anthony, “The Elephant Whisperer”

Police service to the city recognized with awards


The folks at the 32nd Police Employee Recognition Brunch stood on their feet more than they sat down at their tables.

They were giving standing ovations to the officers and civilians who were being honored for their service and protection of the residents and visitors to Laguna. 

The Exchange Club of Laguna Beach hosted the brunch, held April 11 at [seven- degrees], at which 64 awards were given for outstanding service to the city in 2017 and 2018.

Police Chief Laura Farinella welcomed the packed audience, the largest ever to attend the ceremony, she said, before introducing Mayor Bob Whalen. Whalen expressed his gratitude and respect for the department. 

“I am proud of what these men and women do every day,” Whalen said “Every day is a risk.” 

As is his wont, Whalen gave the audience a laugh.

“If you ever plan to have a mounted (horseback) patrol, don’t look at me,” said Whalen, who is recovering from a riding accident in Chile in which he did serious damage to 11 vertebrae.

Unfortunately, none of Laguna’s well-trained police officers were in Chile to give him a helping hand. Officer Mike Short would have known what to do and just as important, what not to do.

Short was named the 2018 Officer of the Year, as well as receiving numerous other awards. After 14 years in the department, Short has performed admirably in various positions, currently serving as the department’s Training Officer. 

Professional Employee of 2018 honors went to Jordan Villwock, the City’s Emergency Management Coordinator. His title doesn’t begin to cover all of his work. In 2018, he applied for grants that totaled $1.6 million. He was recognized by the California Office of Emergency Safety for his City Hazard Mitigation Plan, announcing it was the best the committee had ever seen.

Police service Villwock

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Professional Employee of 2018 Jordan Villwock 

Villwock is responsible for the city’s evacuation plan and was awarded the state Emergency Services Gold Medal for the plan, which is now a template for other communities to follow.

Corporal David Gensemer was named the 2017 Officer of the Year, among other awards he collected at the brunch. Gensemer has been with the department since 2006. He started as a Beach Patrol/Booking Officer. A short year later, he was hired full-time. Since then he has held several diverse positions and is assigned to Major Crimes Investigations in the Detective Division.

The 2017 Professional Employee of the Year Award went to Kristen Berry. The California Public Safety Dispatchers Association beat the department to the punch. That organization named her Supervisor of the Year in 2016.

Nominated each year for the department’s award, she was unable this time around to dissuade her colleagues from voting for her. 

Blue Flame Awards

“The Blue Flame Awards go to the officers who have ‘Fire in their Bellies,’” said Police Chief Farinella, her highest accolade. 

Police service Ashton

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

2018 Blue Flame Leadership Award Winner Cornelius Ashton

Corporal Jason Farris, winner of the 2017 Blue Flame Leadership Award, presented the 2018 award to Corporal Cornelius Ashton. Both have carved out special niches in the department. 

Farris was the city’s first Community Outreach Officer, a positon dedicated to working with the homeless and mentally ill community. 

He reacts to the needs of this community fairly but firmly. To his credit: 130 people have been united with family members through the Operation Homecoming program. 

Ashton has made his mark as the department’s School Resource Officer. The position began at the start of the 2018-2019 school year. He is at the school as often as the teachers and the students, walking the campus on a daily basis, greeted by students. He created “Student Spotlight,” a video series about young people at the schools who are making the best of their lives despite the struggles. 

His own life was altered by a school resource officer and he is paying it forward. 

The final Blue flame Award was presented to a man who is gratified by the award, but would have preferred receiving it in private. Captain Jason Kravetz is notorious for avoiding the spotlight, especially when it is something that really touches him. Too bad, no way was he going to be allowed to sneak out the back door into retirement.

Kravetz has spent almost 30 years serving the City of Laguna Beach. He has been awarded the Medal of Lifesaving, the Medal of Courage, the Medal of Merit, Officer of the Year Award and most importantly, the respect of his peers.

More than 60 awards were presented at the brunch. The list of recipients of all other awards is included in a separate story.

Laguna Logo

Clark Collins: Committed to creating second acts


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

After working in his family’s finance business post-college, Clark Collins decided his passions resided elsewhere. He went back to school, enrolled in UCLA’s design program and found a mentor in famed interior designer Michael Smith.

Learning from one of the best

Among his many famous clients, Smith went on to design the Obama’s living quarters in the White House. William Seale, author of The President’s House: A History, believed Smith was a good choice because, “What works best in the White House is someone who is immersed in the past and can design in a modern way.” Seale’s description of Smith is relevant because it could just as easily be applied to Smith’s former protege who has made a career of giving old beach cottages “a second act.”

The penultimate West Coaster goes east

After several years of working with Smith, Clark Collins went off on his own as an interior designer. He also started a lighting company. After a few years, the Pasadena-born, Newport Beach-raised designer packed up and moved to western Massachusetts when his husband took a teaching job at Williams College. 

Coming back to California for some family business

“The family business needed some help,” explains Collins. He sold his lighting business and the couple returned to the West Coast, settling in Laguna. Eventually the family business got sorted out. “After working with my dad, we decided we were better as just father and son than working together,” says Collins with a smile. 

A new direction both personally and professionally

This decision coincided with Collins and his husband deciding they wanted children. “I tried to figure out a middle ground between design and finance.” That “middle ground” became Collins Design and Development. He began buying houses, restoring them, and reselling them in 2008 and, in the full ten years since, Collins says he has done 77 homes. “I have focused on historic houses close to home,” he says. 

Clark Collins close up

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Clark Collins of Collins Design and Development and chair of Laguna’s Heritage Committee

Why these particular homes? “The early beach houses just have a simplicity about them that’s so unique. In redoing them, it’s not only modernizing them, but taking what’s special and embracing it,” he explains.

A commitment to preserving Laguna’s past

Collins’ passion for restoring old homes has made him a dedicated member of Laguna’s Heritage Committee where he is in his third term and currently the chair. “Laguna has embraced historic preservation. Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach, Dana Point – they have not embraced it, and they’ve lost the charm of their towns,” laments Collins. 

To Collins’ point, May is Preservation Month in Laguna Beach. The Heritage Committee is celebrating with a trolley driven tour to the still existing early artists’ studios in town on May 5th. The tour will be led by local historian Eric Jessen.

And while celebrating Laguna’s past is very important to Collins, he is definitely not stuck in a time warp. He himself lives in home built in 1942 for plein air painter and Laguna Beach outdoor festival originator Isaac Jenkinson Frazee. And while it exudes the character and charm that makes older homes so special, Collins, like most homeowners, certainly wants to live with every modern convenience. “These homes have to evolve and be made practical,” he says. 

Clark Collins family

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Clark Collins at home with his husband Greg and sons Sawyer (left) and Jackson

His home, for example, had the kitchen in the back of the house, too removed from the central hub of the home. So Collins moved it. It’s now central to the home’s flow. 

As it was a completely new addition, great care was taken to add design elements to seamlessly merge this brand new part of the house with the older, vintage part of the house. It is warm, inviting, and oozes understated character. In short, it embodies all the reasons Collins is committed to restoring these homes as opposed to bulldozing them and starting from scratch. “It’s very difficult to recreate the warmth of these houses in a new house,” he says.

A labor of love that is also good business

“In order to do this kind of construction, it’s always going to be more time consuming and more expensive,” explains Collins. “But if you do it right, they get the highest dollar amounts per square foot. I’ve never had a hard time selling.” This is the business side of things. However, while that is a critical component, it does not seem to be the driving factor in Collins’ choice of projects.

“I just get early California houses,” says Collins. “I get the period specific details right.” In addition to his own projects, Collins will also work with others on their projects. “Having done it so many times, I’m not fazed by things that might faze other people,” he says.

The fun is in the unknown

Sometimes these houses are “pretty quirky.” Many were built as vacation homes and were, therefore, built with small budgets. Small kitchens, non-existent closets, and ancient plumbing are all things Collins is well-versed in. And for him, that’s the fun. “How do you take it apart and put it back together to make it better?” he asks. He likens the process to unwrapping a present. You don’t know what you’re going to get until the wrapping has been removed. Whatever you find underneath, Collins believes it’s worth saving and enhancing.

Hoping incentives will be enough to motivate preservation

That’s why he has committed so much time to the Heritage Committee. The Heritage Committee advises Laguna’s Design Review Board and the City Council on historical structures. 

Clark Collins home

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The exterior of Collins’ 1942 restored home in Laguna. He and his family previously lived next door in a 1930s Collins-renovated cottage on the historic register.

The City Council is currently crafting a new historic ordinance. “The Council voted in favor of making the historic program voluntary,” he says. And if Collins finds this at all dismaying, he doesn’t say so. Rather, he sounds optimistic. “With the right incentives, you can encourage people to preserve their houses,” he says confidently.

Thoughtful development is a mantra

So while Collins clearly has his aesthetic preference, his overriding concern is responsible development. “Change is okay,” he says. “Just be thoughtful about it.” Collins says other cities like Montecito, Santa Barbara, and Carmel have managed to keep their charm. He hopes Laguna follows suit. “It really makes Laguna different. I know people are under pressure to maximize their investment, but you can sense it’s a little different in Laguna. And by different, I mean good,” he says.

And different does not mean only beach cottages. “I love Mark Singer houses,” he says enthusiastically of the well-known contemporary architect’s homes. “I think you can have both. The look and feel of the town allows for change and modernization. It’s thoughtful development versus blatant greedy development. I hope we embrace thoughtful development. It’s why we live here.” 

Fighting to maintain Laguna’s character

As far as Collins is concerned, every old home he (or anyone) restores is a victory not just for that home, but for the city as a whole. The way he sees it, these homes are a critical part of what makes Laguna “Laguna.” 

“It’s not cookie cutter,” says Collins. “It is definitely something worth fighting for because once it’s gone, you can never get it back.”

LBHS Women’s Shortboard Surf Team wins High School State Team Championships for second year

On Saturday, April 13, the Laguna Beach High School Women’s Shortboard Surf Team was crowned Team Champion at the Scholastic Surf Series High School State Championships for the second year in a row.  Kayla Coscino, Tess Booth, and Kalohe Danbara led the way.

The women represented the school in the team competition of the contest with eight high schools competing in the various divisions. 

LBHS Womens three leaders

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Photo by Alisa Cairns

Tess Booth, Kayla Coscino, and Kalohe Danbara

The event was held at Oceanside South Jetty. Coaches Alisa Cairns and Scott Finn report, “It was a nice sunny day. The surf was a little tricky, but decent in the three to four foot surf range and with light winds. Our Women’s Team as a whole has been so strong the last three years in the various events with plenty of depth and consistency.” 

Saturday’s team consisting of Coscino, Booth, and Danbara worked really well together, each doing their part to take the team all the way to the end with the major win and really solid performances along the way. In the semi-finals, Laguna was up against Carlsbad, and they won 15-6 with Booth, Coscino and Danbara going 1, 2, 3.

LBHS Womens winners

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Photo by Alisa Cairns

Kayla Coscino and Tess Booth

The coaches say, “Our women were on a roll and went into the final against a familiar San Clemente Team. This was a very hard fought battle with each of the team’s surfers getting some solid rides. Coscino and Booth had some nice explosive turns on a couple of sets that seemed to do the trick and gain good scores from the judges.”

In the end Coscino and Booth went 1 and 2 with Danbara in 6th place, which was enough to get the big win over San Clemente 12-9. 

LBHS Womens boards

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Photo by Alisa Cairns 

Kalohe Danbara, Kayla Coscino, and Tess Booth

Coach Cairns and Finn want to thank the parents who came down and supported the women explaining, “The dates of this event were tough for many of our team members with it taking place over spring break and Lifeguard training, causing several of our usual Men’s Team members to not be available. We were unable to enter any of the other Divisions, however, our Women’s Shortboard surfers represented the school big time!”

64 awards presented for service to the city


A record-breaking crowd attended the 2017-2018 Police Department’s Employee Recognition Ceremony, held April 11 at [seven-degrees].

More than 60 awards were presented. Besides the 2017 and 2018 Officers of the Year, Employees of the Year and the Blue Flame Awards (see accompanying story), service to the city was recognized in a variety of awards. 

The first award of the day was presented to psychologist Heather Williams by Captain Jeff Calvert. 

“For the third straight year, more officers have committed suicide than have died in the line of duty,” said Calvert. 

Laguna Beach officers have someone they can turn to in managing the daily stress; Williams, who helps officer’s cope with the aftermath of loss or traumatic action. 

Calvert personally knows how valuable Williams is to the department. The day after Calvert’s close friend, Officer Jon Coutchie, was killed, Calvert called Williams and she helped him get though the pain.

Williams was presented with the 2018 Citizen Appreciation Awards and received the first of the standing ovations to honor the award winners. The second Citizen Appreciation Award went to Sande St. John, the very definition of volunteer.

“Sande, we simply couldn’t make things happen without you,” said Police Chief Laura Farinella.

Reserve Officer Christian Flagstad was awarded a commendation for his 520 hours of uncompensated service to the city – at least monetarily; he has the respect of the department.

Ribbons of Commendation are awarded to members of the department who perform or conduct themselves in a manner worthy of more than a written commendation. Some of them received awards for 2017 and 2018. Ribbons were presented to recipients: Detective Sgt. Jim Cota, Detectives Kyle Milot, Mark Lillienfeld, Ryan Hotchkiss, Luke Gilbertson, James Gramer, David Gensemer, Brandon Drake and Joy Butterfield; Officers Jeremiah Kennedy, Shar Hariri, Fred Yeilding and Mike Short; Cpl. Thom Spratt; School Resource Officer Cpl. Cornelius Ashton; Beach Patrol Officer Grant Brakke; Community Services Officer Natasha Hernandez, and Dispatchers Jennifer Query and Angie Cleveland.

2017 and 2018 Medals of Merit were presented to Sgts. Eric Lee, Rebecca White, David McGill and George Ramos (developer of the department’s drone program), David McGill and William Downing; Officers Short, Spratt, Tommy McGuire and Alex Diaz; Dispatchers Angie Cleveland and Jennifer Querry; Beach Patrol Officer Tanner Flagstad; Detectives Abe Ocampo, Gensemer and Milot; Cpl. Ashton; and Dispatchers Steven McDowell, and Thalia Moreya,   

Medals of Lifesaving were awarded to Officer Alex Diaz and McGuire for saving the life of a visitor to Laguna who suffered a heart attack. Short, Dispatchers Jennifer Neuenschwander and Lana Grover were decorated for saving the life of a woman whose husband reported she was not breathing and was cold. They helped bring her back.

Medals of Valor are awarded for heroic action above and beyond the call of duty. 

Honored at the brunch were McGuire and James Michaud for their efforts to try to “talk down” a tense situation involving a woman with a gun. 

The brunch was hosted by the Laguna Beach Exchange Club, initiated by St. John. 

Event sponsors included [seven-degrees], Mozambique, Skyloft, Marine Room, the Crevier Family Foundation, MacGillivray Family Foundation and Diamond DJ’s.

Terra gets new look for 2019 FOA

Terra gets construction

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

In anticipation of the 2019 Festival of Arts season, Terra Laguna Beach’s updated look includes installing low retaining walls and minor grading activities around the area of the restaurant, and some interior revisions (including the kitchen areas). The restaurant’s permit was recently amended to also include the installation of a foundation for an elevator that will eventually require Planning Commission approval, according to Scott Drapkin, City Planner Manager. The permit also includes the replacement of restaurant windows, doors, and stucco.

Dennis’ Tidbits 


April 16, 2019

It’s all about the air and ours is mostly stable

Dennis 5“Let me tell you how it will be. There’s one for you, nineteen for me. Be thankful I don’t take it all ‘cause I’m the taxman!” -John Lennon, 1966

Here in Laguna, we average only around five or six thunderstorms a year. Some places in the South get that many in just a week, especially this time of year. Some areas down there will have as many as 100-120 thunderstorm days in a year. That’s nearly one every three days. Their violent storms make ours look like little punk storms. The kind that make you hide in the cellar (if you have one) ‘cause it’s too dangerous to even think about just stepping outside for even five seconds.

Quite simply we don’t have the atmospheric dynamics to promote severe weather. Around here, cumulonimbus tops only reach about 20-25,000 feet into the sky where back there in places like Oklahoma some anvil clouds have gone as high as 60,000 feet! Rule of thumb is the higher the updrafts, the more intense the super cell will be. They’re the kind of storms that spawn EF-4 and EF-5 tornadoes, baseball to softball size hail, two to three inch rain per hour and winds up to 60-70 mph. They have what is called “SLIM.” That stands for shear, lift, instability, and moisture, all the ingredients needed for a supercell to erupt into a monster. 

Out here the air is mostly stable as we are located in the zone known as Pacific Maritime. Most of our rain comes from relatively stable nimbostratus clouds where rainfall amounts are fairly equal over a wide expanse, whereas in the South one town can collect three inches of rain in no time and the next town over will end up high and dry. Most of their rain comes from strong thunderstorms whereas 90-95 percent of our rain is from nimbostratus instead of cumulonimbus. 

Three different air masses are in play down there. You’ve got cold, dry air blowing in from the west or northwest hooking up with warm, very unstable and moist air flowing north from the Gulf of Mexico and the strong jet stream winds arriving from the west and southwest at different levels of the atmosphere. These three major components will result in heavy rotation and the super cell will occasionally pop out violent tornadoes.

In May of 1971, shortly after I got out of the Air Force, I drove to Oklahoma to witness some of this violent weather. I knew that if I wanted to be part of this meteorological madness, I wouldn’t see it around here, so I became Mr. Storm Chaser and planted myself in Norman, Oklahoma and hung out at the Severe Storms Center just a few miles south of Oklahoma City. It’s the main target in the U.S. for violent weather, especially in the spring, the prime time for tornado activity. 

I didn’t have to wait long, as the second day I was there all the heavy weather mentioned above happened. There was baseball size hail, intense lightning every 20 seconds, and two inches of rain in one hour plus a mile wide tornado only two miles to my east. All I had was a camera. This was way before Doppler Radar, the Weather Channel, and tornado warning sirens. I was on my own. That event was the rush of my life, hands down! 

See y’all on Friday, ALOHA!

How green was my valley

How green wilderness

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Photo by Tom Berndt 

About as green as it’s going to get!

Leadership Laguna graduates to receive certificates


Participants in the 2019 Leadership Laguna Citizen’s Academy will receive certificates of completion at tonight’s City Council meeting. 

The certificates confirm the successful completion of the program, which consisted of five, two-hour workshops that introduced the Laguna Beach residents to the inner workings of the city government. The workshops were held on Thursday evenings, beginning March 7 at the Susi Q.

Participants were introduced to volunteer opportunities to become involved by serving on City commissions, boards or committees and perhaps even to consider running for City Council.

 Speakers included City Manager John Pietig and heads of departments. They discussed how City Hall runs, some of the issues facing the city today and what residents can do to become more engaged in the community. 

Participants evaluate the speaker and the program, recommending what they would have liked to have seen and heard more or less of and from whom they heard it.

The academy was the brainchild of former Councilman Rob Zur Schmiede and Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson, and she continues to be involved.

Furnishing Hope hosts art competition sponsored by Congressman Harley Rouda


Furnishing Hope (FH) invites members of the community to view the inaugural 2019 Congressional Art Competition entries in their gallery located in Westcliff Plaza in Newport Beach. The Artistic Discovery Congressional Art Competition (open to all students in grades 9-12) is held nationwide every spring to recognize and encourage artistic talent in students around the nation and in each congressional district. Spearheaded by Laguna Beach resident Congressman Harley Rouda, representing CA-48, this is the first time our district is participating.

Furnishing Hope hosts gallery diplaying student artworkjpg

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Photos by Lana Johnson

Students’ artwork lines a wall in the Furnishing Hope gallery

The artwork that is on display in the gallery, from April 16-19 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m., was created by students attending the following high schools: Newport Harbor, Laguna Beach, Huntington Beach, Edison, Fountain Valley, Aliso Niguel, Westminster, La Quinta, Pacific Coast, Coast, Orange County School of the Arts and Drakain Academy.

Come enjoy coffee and croissants at the gallery this Saturday, April 20 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. during an open house, to view the student artwork before it is taken down to be judged. The winning artwork of our district’s competition will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol. The exhibit in Washington will include the winning artwork from all participating districts from around the country. The winning artwork will also be featured on’s Congressional Art Competition page here.

Furnishing Hope Hosts Slumber Party

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 “Slumber Party,” a Laguna Beach High School student’s mixed media art (colored pencil with digital media)

Artwork was submitted in the following categories: painting (oils, acrylic or watercolor); drawing (pastels, colored pencil, pencil, charcoal, ink, and marker); collage (two-dimensional); print (lithograph, silkscreen or block); mixed media (use of two or more mediums such as pencil, ink, watercolor); computer-generated art and photography.

Furnishing Hope hosts Spring has Sprung in Newport Beach

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 “Spring Has Sprung in Newport Beach,” a Newport Harbor High School student’s photography (in the Back Bay) 

On Monday, April 22 at 6 p.m., a District Reception will be held at the Laguna Art Museum. All candidates, art teachers, faculty and families will be invited to an unveiling of artwork from students across the district. During the reception, a panel of judges from the 48th District will select the 1st place, 2nd place and 3rd place winners who will receive prize money. Judges will include: Malcolm Warner, executive director of the Laguna Art Museum; Jeannie Denholm, gallery owner of SCAPE in Corona del Mar and Ed Fosmire, professor of art at Santa Ana College. Please note: The District Reception is not open to the general public.

Furnishing Hope hosts Blemish, HBHS, computer generated art

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 “Blemish,” a Huntington Beach High School student’s computer-generated art

On Monday, June 24, a Washington D.C. Ceremony will take place. The first place winner for our district is invited to attend the ceremony, along with other first place winners representing their respective district throughout the country.

Furnishing Hope’s mission is to provide home furnishings and supplies for families as they transition into independent living, reaching out to our wounded service heroes and women with children. All proceeds from FH Home, their flagship retail store in Newport Beach, go to serve families in need.

Furnishing Hope hosts Cindy, Robyn and Beth

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(L-R) Furnishing Hope: Cindy Griesemer, public relations; Robyn Phillips, program director and Beth Phillips, founder and executive director

Furnishing Hope is located in Westcliff Plaza at 1062 Irvine Ave., Newport Beach. To learn more about Furnishing Hope,

Check out more photos from Furnishing Hope’s gallery below

{gallery} FurnishingHope2019{/gallery}

Local surgeons affiliated with Harvard Eye Associates launch “Operation Restore Sight” for needy patients

Five Laguna Beach surgeons from Harvard Eye Associates, Alicia Surgery Center – Diana Kersten, MD, John Hovanesian, MD, Edward Kim, MD, and Brian Kim, MD – are arranging a program to do eye surgery for poverty level patients. Dr. Kersten says, “We all live in Laguna except for Brian who lives in San Clemente now, but he grew up in Laguna. Roger Ohanesian, who is just retiring from our group, and founded the group in 1974, will be helping with the pre-op and post-op patients and he lives in Laguna Beach as well.”

Dr. Kersten says, “Our ophthalmology group is introducing a program to do eye surgery on needy patients. The patients are being referred by St. Jude’s Neighborhood Health Clinics (Mission/St. Joseph/St. Jude Hospital’s outreach clinics for patients way below the poverty level) as well as a group called Serve the People. We’ve been doing surgery on a few of their patients each month, but there were so many waiting that we decided to do these two free days of eye surgery.” 

Local surgeons crowd

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Submitted photo

Dr. Kersten on her last trip to do international ophthalmology in Malawi

“We are screening all of the patients on Saturday at our office in Laguna Hills and the surgery days are April 26 and May 17. Most of the patients need surgery in both eyes, so that is why we have two surgery days.”

The pre-op clinic on Saturday (measuring everyone for their cataract implant, etc.) will be 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. The first surgery day is April 26 and the second is May 17. 

“There are three nonprofit groups involved, as well as our eye group and our surgery center. All of our docs and staff are volunteering their time and we are getting donations from [within the] industry and there is a crowdfunding site to help to raise the $100-200 or so for each patient for the things that can’t be donated.

“Our group has been taking care of patients from these two nonprofit groups. For example, I’ve been doing about two surgeries per month for them, for no charge to the patients. My partners have been doing the same. When we learned that there were so many patients on their lists, of patients needing surgery, we decided to do this program. I’m sure that all of my partners will be involved with it in the long run, but some of them were out of town for this program.”

Local surgeons kid

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Patients in Malawi

The patients are all well below the poverty level. “For the surgery program, I brought in Surgical Eye Expeditions, a nonprofit based in Santa Barbara,” explains Dr. Kersten. “They have mostly done international projects, but they were very interested in getting involved with domestic programs. They are providing eyedrops, loaning us an extra operating microscope, and they have a CrowdRise page, so anyone who would like to contribute to this can give to SEE (a 501(c)(3) group) through that site.” 

Dr. Kersten relates a story that explains the motivation behind this program. “In December, I was referred a 43-year-old single dad who had lost his vision and subsequently his job because he could not afford the eye surgery that he needed. This patient was referred from St. Jude Neighborhood Health Center.” 

Local surgeons exam

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Eye exam for patient

“After two surgeries, his vision improved from 20/400 to 20/40 in each eye and he got his job back. He and his family were so grateful and appreciative, and this experience made me want to do more work with the wonderful nonprofit groups who help uninsured patients. They say if 20 percent of your work brings you immense joy and fulfillment then you are doing the right kind of work. After I performed his surgery and he went back to work I knew we were onto something.”

In the next month, Harvard Eye Associates will perform 71+ surgeries for people in need in Orange County. Here is how you can help. 

--Log on to 

--Click donate – it may have you choose a team member to donate “with,” and it doesn’t matter what you choose.

--Make your donation to help with the added costs of these procedures – e.g. anesthesia, medical supplies, follow-up care, etc. 

Dr. Kersten says, “Our goal is $33,000 and because of you, we will be doing vision restoring surgery on 71 eyes! If we can make the program successful this year then we are hoping to do this every year. We’ve named the program Operation Restore Sight!”

El Morro and TOW to host shoe drive to help fund 6th Grade Science Camp

El Morro and Top of the World PTA’s are hosting a shoe drive April 22 through May 1 to raise funds for next school year’s 6th Grade Science Camp on Catalina Island.

The community is asked to kindly donate old sneakers and cleats at the drop-off lines and collection bins at the school’s offices. 

El Morro group

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El Morro 5th graders, seen here, will benefit from donations of old sneakers and cleats

The shoe donations will help support our schools and micro-businesses (tiny shoe stores) in developing countries, while staying out of landfills.

There is also an opportunity for 5th graders to become shoe ambassadors where they can collect these shoes from neighbors. 

For more information or questions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laguna Beach looks to regain “Most Water Wise City” title this year during annual April challenge

Mayor Bob Whalen is rallying residents to take part in the annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation in hopes of regaining the city’s “Most Water Wise City” title that was surrendered to Gallup, New Mexico last year. “It’s a matter of civic pride,” stated Whalen. “Despite a valiant effort, Laguna Beach took third place in its population category last year. It’s time to take back the title.”

The annual challenge, which runs from April 1- 30, is a nonprofit national community service campaign that encourages leaders to inspire their residents to make a series of simple pledges at to use water more efficiently, reduce pollution, and save energy. In return, residents can win $3,000 toward their Home Utility Payments, water saving fixtures, and hundreds of other prizes. Plus, one lucky charity will receive a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid to serve the community.

Laguna Beach rain

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

2018 LB County Water District Smartscape Expo

 “For the first time in eight years, California is drought free. Although water restrictions are no longer in place, all Californians must continue to work together to use water wisely,” stated Whalen. “In our drought-prone state, the next dry period could be right around the corner. Laguna Beach proudly supports the Wyland Mayor’s Challenge and its mission to raise awareness of our most precious resource, water.”

Last year, residents from over 3,800 cities in all 50 US states pledged to reduce their annual consumption of freshwater by three billion gallons, reduce waste sent to landfills by 79.9 million pounds, and prevent more than 177,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering our watersheds. The Challenge goes beyond recent drought issues and looks at the ways our water use will affect the future of our communities – from how we grow food to reducing polluted runoff. 

Laguna Beach Mayor Whalen

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Mayor Whalen is Laguna to band together to regain our “Most Water Wise City” title

While Californians have seen record rainfall this past winter, Laguna Beach residents remain committed to saving water. Due to the state’s history of drought, water conservation has become part of the Laguna lifestyle. 

“Our residents understand that they must continue to save water during periods of heavy rain to get us through the dry periods that are inevitable in California,” stated Renae Hinchey, general manager of the Laguna Beach County Water District. “This ongoing effort is important for long-term water reliability.” 

To participate, residents should go to and then make a series of online pledges to conserve water on behalf of Laguna Beach. Cities compete in the following population categories: 5,000 - 29,999 residents, 30,000 - 99,999 residents, 100,000 - 299,999 residents, 300,000 - 599,999 residents, and 600,000+ residents. 

Participants earn a chance to win $3,000 toward their Home Utility Bills, and hundreds more eco-friendly prizes including Toro Irrigation Smart Controllers, ECOS home cleaning products, and home water fixture retrofits from EcoSystems Inc. In addition, residents can nominate a deserving charity from their city to receive a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Students and teachers are encouraged to take part, as well.

Laguna Beach tent

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Annual Smartscape Expo – Residents learn ways to conserve water

The 8th National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation is presented by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the U.S EPA WaterSense, The Toro Company, National League of Cities, Conserva Irrigation, EcoSystems Inc., and Earth Friendly Products (makers of ECOS).

Laguna Beach County Water District provides water service to 22,000 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. 

The Wyland Foundation was founded in 1993 by environmental artist Wyland (best known for his series of 100 monumental marine life murals) as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and preserving the world’s ocean, waterways, and marine life. The foundation encourages environmental awareness through community events, education programs, and public art projects.

Laguna Beach Library hosts Movie Night tomorrow featuring Citizen Kane

 On Wednesday, April 17 at 4 p.m., the Laguna Beach Library invites the community to “Movie Night with Theo.” The event will feature a discussion and then viewing of the all time great film Citizen Kane.

Laguna Beach film

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“Citizen Kane” is considered by many critics and filmmakers to be the greatest film ever made

Directed by Orson Welles, this drama/mystery was filmed in 1941 and is rated PG. The picture was Welles’ first feature film and was nominated for Academy Awards in nine categories. It won an Academy Award for Best Writing (Original Screenplay) by Herman K. Mankiewiczand Welles. 

The Laguna Beach Library is located at 363 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

LBGOP announces April 25 meeting with speakers Anne Dunsmore and Cindy Shopoff

The Laguna Beach Republicans (LBGOP) will present Anne Dunsmore and Cindy Shopoff at the club’s next meeting on Thursday, April 25 at Mozambique. Dunsmore and Shopoff will speak on issues affecting Laguna Beach. Social hour starts at 5 p.m. and the meeting will begin at 6 and end promptly at 7:15.

Emil Monda, President of the LBGOP, invites all Republicans, Independents, and Libertarians to listen to the speakers. 

Anne Dunsmore, Founder of Capital Campaigns Inc., will discuss the lawsuit she has filed against both OC & San Bernardino counties over alleged voter fraud during the last election.

Additionally, Cindy Shopoff, a founding member of Liberate Laguna, will speak about Liberate Laguna’s agenda and areas of common interest with LBGOP.

RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as space is limited.

Mozambique is located at 1740 South Coast Hwy.

National award-winning poets to read at Laguna Beach Books on May 1

Laguna Beach Books will host an evening of poetry and conversation with three poets, Kate Buckley, Jodie Hollander, and Elena Byrne, on Wednesday, May 1 from 6 - 7:30 p.m. 

Kate Buckley’s work has appeared in The Adirondack Review, Bellingham Review, Belmont Story Review, The Cafe Review, Chaparral, The Heartland Review, North American Review, Poetry Foundation, Pop Art: An Anthology of Southern California Poetry, Rattle, Shenandoah, Silk Road Review, Slipstream, and many others. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Spalding University and is the author of A Wild Region (Moon Tide Press), named a Midwest Book Review Selection, and Follow Me Down (Tebot Bach).

A four-time Pushcart Prize nominee, Kate’s awards include a Gabehart Prize and the North American Review’s James Hearst Poetry Prize. She is Poet Laureate Emerita of Laguna Beach.

National Award Kate Buckley

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Poet Kate Buckley

Jodie Hollander studied poetry in England, and her poems have appeared in journals such as The Poetry Review, The Yale Review, PN Review, The Dark Horse, The New Criterion, The Rialto, Verse Daily, The Best Australian Poems of 2011, and The Best Australian Poems of 2015.

She is the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship in South Africa, a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant in Italy, a Hawthornden Fellowship in Scotland, and attended the MacDowell Colony in 2015. Her debut publication, The Humane Society, was released with Tall-Lighthouse (London) in 2012, and her full-length collection, My Dark Horses, is published with Liverpool University Press (Pavilion Poetry). She currently lives in Avon, Colo.

National Award Jodie Hollander

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Poet Jodie Hollander

Elena Karina Byrne, the author of three books of poetry, most recently Squander (Omnidawn 2016), is a freelance professor, editor, the Poetry Consultant/Moderator for the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, and Literary Programs Director for The Ruskin Art Club. She also just completed her three years as one of the final judges for the Kate & Kingsley Tufts Awards in Poetry.

National Award Karina Byrne

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Poet Elena Karina Byrne

Her publications include the Pushcart Prize XXXIII, Best American Poetry, Poetry, The Paris Review, American Poetry Review, TriQuarterly, The Kenyon Review, The Academy of American Poets Poem-A-Day, The Yale Review, Plume, Denver Quarterly, BOMB, and is forthcoming in VOLT, Massachusetts Review, Poetry International, Vox Populi, and Persea Book’s: The Eloquent Poem, among others. She is completing a book of essays: Voyeur Hour: Meditations on Poetry, Art & Desire.

For more information on Laguna Beach Books and upcoming events, visit

Laguna Beach Books is located at 1200 S Coast Hwy.

“Women and the Art of Architecture” features ten successful OC architects at forum on May 9

A women-empowered architectural forum, “Women and the Art of Architecture,” features 10 successful women architects from Orange County at an event on Thursday, May 9 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Neighborhood Congregational Church.

The American Association of University Women – Laguna Beach (AAUW-LB), Laguna Friends of Architecture (LFA), and the American Institute of Architects Orange County (AIAOC) will host this free of charge event, which includes a slideshow of the architects’ work, a portable gallery “museum wall” celebrating past pioneering California women architects, and a moderated panel discussion.

This event is designed for architecture lovers and supporters of women in the professions. The organizers also hope to attract high school and college students and their parents to this event. “It will be an opportunity to learn about architecture as a career and to be awed by the accomplishments of women professionals,” said Janice Hayden of both AAUW and LFA.

The evening will begin with refreshments and time to socialize, while viewing slides of the architects’ work and the Museum Wall. The Wall is part of Meghana Joshi’s Project Amplify and celebrates 12 accomplished pioneering women in California architectural history, including Lillian Rice and Julia Morgan. They scaled walls, shattered ceilings, and kicked open doors of opportunity for others to follow.

A panel discussion with six of the architects will follow, moderated by Rose Anne Garcia Kings, an architect and Professor of Architecture and Environmental Sustainability at Orange Coast College. 

Women and snapshots

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Top row: (L-R) Denise Ashton, Betsey Olenick Dougherty, Kimberly Hankins, Jana Itzen; Middle row (L-R): Meghana Joshi, Rose Anne Garcia Kings, Christine Lampert, Juintow Lin; Bottom row: (L-R) Nancy Miller, Kristine Sprague

Juintow Lin is one of the 10 successful women architects from Orange County who are part of “Women and the Art of Architecture.” Lin became interested in architecture when her house burned down while she was a freshman in high school. After her family engaged an architect for the rebuild, she was fascinated by the trade and decided to become an architect. Her passion led her to MIT, and later on a career path in New York, London, China and elsewhere. She is the founder and principal at Foxlin Architects in San Clemente designing contemporary, sustainable residences, and commercial structures.

Women have made great progress in this historically male-dominated profession, today constituting more than half of all students enrolled in accredited architecture programs. “Being a woman in architecture used to be a rarity, but luckily with support and a network, we are not just surviving, we are thriving,” says Meghana Joshi from the Board of Directors of AIA OC. Collectively, these 10 women architects have worked in Orange County, Los Angeles, New York, London, Hong Kong and elsewhere.

They have designed commercial buildings, health care facilities, community facilities, retail, multi-family housing, private residences, senior and affordable housing, and have done planning, design, and historical renovation. They have done research on Sustainable Urban Housing in China, invented an artificial intelligence-powered smart safety device, and have done large scale land planning. They include professors at Orange Coast College, Cal Poly Pomona, and USC.

Women and the table

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Front row: (L-R) Jan Itzen, Juintow Lin, Christine Lampert, Denise Ashton, Kristin Sprague; Back row: (L-R) Nancy Miller, Betsey Olenick Dougherty, Meghana Joshi, Kimberly Hankins, Rose Anne Garcia Kings

When these women get together, they express a contagious joy in architecture. “What better profession than one that provides the opportunity to create livable spaces and places for people to grow, thrive and be happy!” said Denise Ashton, Senior Principal, Planning/Community Design at WHA Inc. “Live, design and create communities…What a career!”

Not all of these women started their careers in architecture. Nancy Miller, now retired, made a mid-life change to architecture after a career in teaching. Kimberly Hankins, Principal, Senior Project Architect at WHA Inc., went from poetry and sculpture to architecture. 

Several of these women followed a parent into architecture. Some are passing their career on to their own children. Betsey Olenick Dougherty established her own firm of Dougherty + Dougherty (now Perkins Eastman Dougherty). Then both her son and daughter became architects.

“I believe that we should all be mentors to others in our lives, including architects, students, friends and family,” said Christine Lampert, founder and principal architect of Lampert Dias Architects, who practices what she preaches. She has served on several boards in Hong Kong as well as here in California. She teaches architecture at USC, having previously taught at Cal Poly Pomona, Orange Coast College, and SCAD Hong Kong.

This is a free event, although donations will be accepted.

Neighborhood Congregational Church is located at 340 St Ann’s Dr.

For further information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Former white nationalist brings message of hope to Laguna at Light the Way for Change on May 19

On Sunday, May 19, at the Laguna Beach Artists Theatre, WAVE Action Fund presents Light the Way for Change, a unique afternoon of guest speakers and musical performances highlighting intolerance and violence to create a kinder world honoring human rights and dignity for all. Doors open at 2:15 p.m.; the program is from 3 - 5 p.m. Laguna Beach Entertainer of The Year Roxanna Ward will be entertaining at this event along with the Jorg Dubin Band. 

This is the inaugural event for WAVE Action Fund, a nonprofit nonpartisan group of women that was founded after the last election, and has grown from 13 women to 1,000 members.

The main speakers are R. Derek Black, a former white nationalist who denounces white nationalism, and Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein, parents of Blaze Bernstein, a 19-year-old Ivy League college student who was murdered in Lake Forest in an alleged hate crime because he was gay. They will discuss how to turn tragedy into inspiration. 

Rita Conn, who has been with the organization since its inception, says, “We are fortunate to have Derek Black who only does one speaking engagement a month. This will be the only time he is appearing in Orange County. And, of course, Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein will touch hearts as they share their tragedy and how they have turned it into a national movement to inspire good and help protect our children.”

Light the Black

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R. Derek Black

R. Derek Black is a former white nationalist. His father founded Stormfront, a massive online hate group, and his godfather was David Duke, leader of the KKK. He was considered the "future leading light” of the white nationalist movement until he went to college and amidst ostracism from the other students, he accepted an invitation to Shabbat dinner that profoundly changed his life. Black is the subject of the book Rising Out of Hatred by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Eli Saslow. His story offers hope that through the power of love and connection, people can change. 

Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein have turned their tragedy into a nationwide movement dedicated to making the world a better place by confronting hate with kindness. #BlazeItForward inspires others to use their son’s memory as a catalyst to motivate philanthropy, do good deeds, and improve the human condition.

Light the Bernsteins

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Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein

Conn, who is a former family counselor, says, “There is a dangerous divide in our country, and we need to be talking to each other. The children are symptomatic of a larger family structure. There has been a rise in teenage suicide. Our children are killing themselves and each other, and this is a problem of our family of mankind. Our goal is to reach across the divide and get in touch with our shared humanity. We all need to work to make a difference; we need love and understanding over hate and distance.” 

Other speakers at the event include: Dr. Pete Simi, Chapman University; Dr.
Marilyn Harran, Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education, Chapman University; Shelley McMahon, Moms Demand Action; Victoria Mendez, Global Director of Cool 2 Be Kind, Stanford University; and Anna Mendez, National Association of People Against Bullying. 

An additional special guest will be Congressman Harley Rouda, CD48. 

“We hope that this program will help us to continue to build the common ground across some of our polarized communities and in so doing help to heal and transform our culture. While no one can do everything, everyone can do something. Light the Way for Change seeks to inspire the greater good in all of us,” says Conn. 

A capacity crowd is anticipated. Purchase tickets at Ticket prices start at just $50. Limited complimentary student tickets are available upon request at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sponsorship opportunities also available at

Funds raised through this event will used to support WAVE’s new 501(c)(4) WAVE Action Fund initiative. 

The Artists Theatre is located at 625 Park Ave.

Laguna Presbyterian announces Grief Support Group starting April 22

Springtime is often referred to as a time of rebirth and new life, but for people who’ve experienced a death in their lives it can be a time of conflict. Find support and join with others in the community in a Grief Support Group at Laguna Presbyterian Church. 

The six-week program starting on April 22 includes understanding the grief process, learning and sharing feelings, handling traditions and life milestones without your loved one, and other aspects of the grieving process. 

Laguna Presbyterian outside

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Presbyterian to host Grief Support Group 

Through guided group discussions, journaling, and various opportunities for at-home reflection, participants will learn tools to acknowledge loss and develop positive practices to address their grief. 

The program will meet on Mondays, from April 22 to May 28, from 4 - 5:30 p.m. Rev. Jon Moore, Deborah Sakach, and Leah Lind will lead the group. It is open to all and people are encouraged to invite friends, family, and neighbors who are grieving to attend.

There is a $40 materials fee, but scholarships are available.
For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the office at (949) 494-7555.

Laguna Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Forest Ave.

One World One Ocean announces World Oceans Day Video Contest for young filmmakers

Young filmmakers are encouraged to enter the World Oceans Day Video Contest to win a GoPro HERO and have their video featured on the One World One Ocean YouTube channel. 

Filmmakers are asked to share in a 60-second or less video what the ocean means to them. This is a chance for teens in grades 7-12 to channel their creativity. Humorous videos, music videos, and videos with a conservation message are welcomed. 

One World beach

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Teens are invited to show what the ocean means to them in a short video

Awards will be given in the following categories: Judges Award Grand Prize Winner – Best Ocean Message, Public Choice Grand Prize, and Best Video from a Non-Coastal City. 

Video submissions are due by May 31. The Grand Prize Winner and two category winners will be announced June 14. 

For official contest rules, click here

To enter the contest, visit

Laguna Playhouse and Anaheim Union HS District present final performances of The Giver, April 26 and 27

On Friday, April 26 and Saturday, April 27 at 7 p.m., Laguna Playhouse, in conjunction with Anaheim Union High School District, will host their final performances of The Giver at Anaheim High School. It’s produced and performed by students in front of a live audience. 

Laguna Playhouse and the Anaheim Union High School District proudly present these final student performances of a new performing arts program launched for Anaheim students. 

Laguna Playhouse The Giver

During a time when the performing arts are being slashed in Anaheim’s Title I schools due to budget challenges, Laguna Playhouse and the Anaheim Union High School District are changing the course for students with a world-class acting and stage production program taught by the Playhouse’s renowned education staff. 

Anaheim High School – Cook Auditorium is located at 811 W Lincoln Ave, Anaheim. 

For more information and to reserve seats, contact Michael Garman, Grants & Community Outreach Manager at the Laguna Playhouse, at (949) 715-5355 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Outdoor Yoga & Meditation Fridays at Alta Laguna Park

Enjoy contemplative yoga and guided meditation every Friday at 9:30 a.m. at Alta Laguna Park with Shannon Nicole, RYT200 Yoga Instructor & Intercultural Mindfulness Facilitator.

Yoga is known for it’s many health benefits including lowering blood pressure and reducing insomnia. Other physical benefits include increased flexibility and muscle strength and tone. 

Bring a mat, blanket and journal for reflection. All are welcome and celebrated.

Register at or drop-in for $15.

Police Beat Primer

Compiled by Suzie Harrison

Police Beat derives from information in the daily police and arrest logs published on the City of Laguna Beach’s website and required under CA Government Code Section 6254 (f). Additional information is obtained through communication with the Laguna Beach Police Department’s Public Information Officer.

Information in the logs is deemed reliable and Stu News Laguna is not responsible for any mistakes made available as public record by the Laguna Beach Police Department.

Any person arrested is innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

Incident Reports

Saturday, April 13

N Coast Hwy | 1100 Block | Violating Parole

9:19 p.m. Mark Anthony Ornelas, 51, Laguna Woods, was arrested for violating parole. No bail was set.

N Coast Hwy | 1100 Block | Warrants

8:17 p.m. Clare Elizabeth Whitaker, 46, San Bernardino, was arrested on two undisclosed warrants (bail was set at $25,000 for both). 

S Coast Hwy | 1700 Block | DUI, Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content 0.08% or Higher

3:46 p.m. A 47-year-old Garden Grove woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500) and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher (bail was set at $2,500).

Hillview Drive | 2300 Block | Animal Calls

2:22 p.m. LBPD received a report in reference to a lizard stuck inside of the caller’s house.

Emerald Bay | 500 Block | Violating Parole, Annoying Telephone Call – Obscene/Threatening

12:21 p.m. Maxwell Carlton Post, 28, Laguna Beach, was arrested for violating parole (no bail was set) and for making annoying telephone call(s) that were obscene/threatening (bail was set at $1,000).

Marilyn Drive | 30800 Block | Animal Calls

1:34 p.m. LBPD received a report in reference to a dead snake. According to police reports, the caller requested an Animal Services Officer come out to verify the type of snake it was.

Morningside Drive | 1100 Block | Animal Calls

1:24 p.m. LBPD received a report in reference to a possible rattlesnake in the front yard near the caller’s mailbox. It turned out to be a large gopher snake and was permitted to remain on the property. 

Glenneyre St | 300 Block | Warrant

7:02 a.m. Alan Michael Harrison, 34, Laguna Hills, was arrested on a warrant for lodging in a public place. Bail was set at $2,500.

N Coast Hwy & Irvine Cove Drive | DUI

1:07 a.m. A 43-year-old Irvine man was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

N Coast Hwy & Beverly St | DUI, Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content 0.08% or Higher

1:04 a.m. A 30-year-old Santa Ana man was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500) and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher (bail was set at $2,500).

S Coast Hwy & Montage Resort Drive | DUI

12:19 a.m. A 23-year-old Ladera Ranch woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Friday, April 12

S Coast Hwy | 30900 Block | Trespassing, Possession of Controlled Substance Paraphernalia

9:22 p.m. Feinai Saipani Eli, 44, Laguna Beach, was arrested for trespassing (no bail was set) and for possession of controlled substance paraphernalia (no bail was set). 

Cliff Drive | 1000 Block | Animal Calls

2:16 p.m. LBPD received a report in reference to “an injured sea lion on the beach at Shaw’s Cove with barbed wire around it.” According to the report, the sea lion was three feet in length and weighed approximately 50 pounds. PMMC was called and enroute to rescue the sea lion.

Laguna Canyon Road | 3200 Block | Animal Calls

12:46 p.m. LBPD received a report in reference to an unknown snake on the right side of the caller’s driveway in the grass, along the bushes. The RP requested it be removed.

Sleepy Hollow Lane | 600 Block | Animal Calls

7:54 a.m. LBPD received a report regarding a sick sea lion. PMMC went on scene and rescued the sea lion.

Circle Way | 1300 Block | Animal Calls

7:04 a.m. LBPD received a report in reference to a sick seal on the beach. “People are trying to take pictures with it. The seal is not friendly,” reads the report. PMMC responded to the scene and took in the seal. 

Forest Ave | 500 Block | Warrant

12:11 a.m. Jovanny Nava, 21, Aliso Viejo, was arrested on a warrant for speeding. Bail was set at $1,500.

S Coasty Hwy | 200 Block | Possession of Controlled Substance Paraphernalia

12:09 a.m. Jerald Jerrod Cousian, 51, Laguna Beach, was arrested for possession of controlled substance paraphernalia. No bail was set.

Thursday, April 11

Gaviota St & Cleo St | Taking a Vehicle without Owner Consent, Possession of Controlled Substance Paraphernalia

10:42 p.m. Andrew James Eastin, 30, Costa Mesa, was arrested for taking a vehicle without owner consent (bail was set at $20,000) and for possession of controlled substance paraphernalia (bail was set at $500). 

Gaviota St & Cleo St | Taking a Vehicle without Owner Consent, Possession of Burglary Tools

9:58 p.m. Leonard Gonzalez, 37, Long Beach, was arrested for taking a vehicle without owner consent (bail was set at $20,000) and for possession of burglary tools (bail was set at $500). 

S Coast Hwy | 30900 Block | Disorderly Conduct – Alcohol 

9:22 p.m. A 46-year-old Laguna Beach man was arrested for disorderly conduct related to alcohol. Bail was set at $500.

S Coast Hwy | 600 Block | Disorderly Conduct – Alcohol 

9:35 p.m. A 46-year-old Laguna Beach man was arrested for disorderly conduct related to alcohol. Bail was set at $500.

Del Mar Ave & Baja St | DUI

9:21 p.m. A 52-year-old Laguna Beach man was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Wednesday, April 10

Glenneyre St & Cleo St | DUI

10:58 p.m. A 37-year-old Irvine woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Ocean Ave | 200 Block | Disorderly Conduct – Alcohol 

7:29 p.m. A 27-year-old Costa Mesa man was arrested for disorderly conduct related to alcohol. Bail was set at $500.

S Coast Hwy | 31400 Block | Warrant

9:45 a.m. Moises Rodrigo Castrorodriguez, 32, Huntington Beach, was arrested on an undisclosed warrant. Bail was set at $30,000.

La Brea St | 200 Block | Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance

4:49 a.m. Konrad Hanes Peikar, 28, Laguna Niguel, was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance. Bail was set at $500.

Pacific Coast Hwy & El Moro Ridge Road | DUI, Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content 0.08% or Higher

1:27 a.m. A 47-year-old Henderson, NV woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500) and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher (bail was set at $2,500).