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Colors of the season

Colors of the season SNL 11.29

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Finally, the Fall colors have arrived


Countdown to Christmas: LOCA Art Education brings on the holidays

Hospitality Night is on Friday, Dec. 2, so stop by LOCA’s booth to say, “hello.”

Instagram Challenge Brown for November continues for one more day.

LOCA invites everyone to engage in seasonal arts challenges on Instagram. Creative types can get inspired by sharing photos, and photos of artwork, that follow easy themes. The challenge is “Holiday Colors” featuring images with a dominant color. The November theme is brown, December is green and January is blue. All mediums are invited including collage, drawing, printmaking, painting, photography and sculpture. To participate now through November 30, post images featuring brown to Instagram and be sure to tag @locaarts and use the hashtag #locaartschallenge.

countdown to tree

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Winter Fantasy 2022 started November 19

LOCA Tree at Winter Fantasy

There is a LOCA-decorated tree as part of the Community Tree exhibition at Winter Fantasy at the Sawdust Festival. The LOCA tree features amazing hand-painted metal cutouts by Rich and Sue Linder among additional festive embellishments. Blue Bell Cat Foundation won first prize. The Winter Fantasy is open weekends from November 19 through December 18 from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Admission is $10. For more information, click here.

countdown to tags

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Courtesy of LOCA

Visitors can make custom ornaments at the LOCA booth

Visit the LOCA booth on Hospitality Night

Everyone is invited to visit LOCA’s pop-up studio during Hospitality Night in Downtown Laguna Beach. Visitors may drop by and create a holiday-themed ornament to take home. Hospitality Night is Friday, Dec. 2 from 5:30-7 p.m. in Peppertree Park. It is free. The greater event runs 5-10 p.m. throughout Downtown.

For more information about LOCA, go to www.locaarts.org.


Crescent moon

Crescent moon SNL 11.29

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Photo by Scott Brashier

This wonderful shot clearly captures the moon’s surface on that little sliver


Consumer service on your terms with the Cox app

For consumers, life moves fast, and we often don’t have the time to track down the information or support we need to maximize our services. When it comes to managing your Cox account and connection, the Cox app puts you in the driver’s seat.

With a simple download of the Cox app to your smart device, you’ll gain access to the tools you need to manage your Cox services and account effortlessly. Let’s walk through a few of the app’s handy benefits:

Tech Support: Access real-time tech support the way you want it. Read Cox support forums for the answer you need, or chat with a customer service agent any time, 24/7. Check out the app’s Support tab to read helpful articles, find a Cox store near you, or chat with us right from the app.

The app’s Smart Help feature automatically performs regular network service checks, looking for issues with your internet, TV or phone services. If there are disruptions to your services, you’ll see a message right on your dashboard. Plus, enable app notifications to be the first to get updates relevant to your area. (Text alerts are available, too.)

Consumer service bicyclist

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Courtesy of Cox Communications

Download the Cox app to your smart device and gain access to the tools you need to manage your Cox services and account effortlessly

Account & Billing: You don’t need to wait on hold or stand in line to ask a basic question or accomplish a simple billing task. With the Cox app, those days are in the rearview mirror.

Use the app to view and pay your bill, check data usage details, set up or cancel automatic payments, see up to 18 months of previous bills and change billing preferences (even move your Cox service) – all without needing to make a phone call, wait on hold or speak with an agent. It’s a beautiful thing!

Account: Explore the benefits and features of all your Cox-connected services in one place. My Services shows the details of your Cox broadband home internet, Contour TV, phone and Homelife service plans and connects you easily to other Cox apps.

Other benefits? Glad you asked. You can also enable Face ID for a seamless login experience. Plus, opt for paperless billing, change your language preference or add alternate account contacts.

It’s never been easier to manage your Cox account. Use the Cox app – with all your account services information and preferences in one secure place – and you’ll save precious time and energy (and paper!) for other more important life “stuff.”

Download the Cox app today in the App Store or Google Play for customer service on your terms, delivered right to your fingertips – as it should be. For more information, visit www.cox.com.

This is paid content by Cox Communications. Cox provides residents in the Laguna Beach area with digital cable television, telecommunications and Home Automation services. Cox also provides scholarships to local high school students in its service area through its Cox Cares Foundation. For more information, visit www.cox.com.


Net-Works community church invites all to attend Solace, a holiday service of remembrance on December 1

Hosted by Net-Works Laguna Beach, the community is invited to attend Solace to honor loved ones who are no longer with us. On Thursday, Dec. 1, beginning at 7 p.m., the evening will offer families and friends an opportunity to come together to remember those who have gone before us and who continue to inspire us.

The service will be held at the Woman’s Club, located at 286 St. Ann’s Drive, Laguna Beach.

“Relationships don’t end with death, but instead become transformed,” said Pastor Don Sciortino of Net-Works. “When we lose a loved one, we must learn not to live without them, but to live with the love they left behind. In so doing, we keep them alive.”

networks community flowers

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Remember loved ones at Solace, a holiday service to be held at the Woman’s Club on December 1

Solace is a service of comfort, a spiritual time where congregants invite God; “the God of All Comfort” to help them remember and honor their loved ones. It is a way to recognize the depth of the season and help process those negative feelings that might be held within during the holidays. By doing so, all can celebrate more fully, knowing those who are no longer with us are being honored.

The evening will include musical selections from local musicians, inspirational readings, recognition of loved ones and more. Everyone is welcome.

There will be a spiritual time for all faiths and beliefs to come together to receive God’s comfort and peace.

For questions or to RSVP, contact Pastor Don at 714.231.1230.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

Here comes December! 

Dennis 5Our local weather continues to be on an extended winning streak with clear and sunny days, mild temps with gentle breezes and clear brisk nights. However, the rest of the country is dealing with ‘Ol Man Winter’s Wrath, and it’s not even officially winter yet.

The meteorological winter begins on Thursday, Dec. 1 and runs through February 28, 2023, while the standard calendar winter that we follow begins on December 21 and runs until March 21, 2023. Here in Southern California, we’re really dodging a bullet and that’s just fine with me and the rest of the folks here in Laguna. Once again, that’s why we live here!

As a rule, winters in Laguna are a walk in the park compared to most other places in the U.S. Florida and Southern Arizona escape most of the harsh winter weather and that’s about it. I get cabin fever just being cooped up inside for even two or three days. I’m not into having to put on five layers just to step outside for even a short time. I’m way too old and way too tired for that crap. I’m all about shorts and flops.

Here comes December, home of the shortest days of the year as our rainy season begins to ramp up with an average of about 2.6 inches of rain. Historically we’ve had two rainless Decembers – in 1989 and 1990. Other really dry Decembers were 0.06 inches in 1969, 0.14 in 2012 and 0.33 in 1985. Our wettest Decembers were 11.65 inches in 2010, 9.89 in 1997 and 8.64 in 2004. December’s normal hi-lo temp in Laguna is 66-45 degrees. The warmest December day happened on December 3, 1958 with 88 and again on December 12, 1979. Laguna’s coldest night occurred on December 8, 1978 with 28 in town and 22 out in the canyon. 

The winter of 1978-79 was Laguna’s second coldest on record, surpassed only by the winter of 1948-49, when it snowed two inches at Top of the World and the snow stayed on the ground the whole next day. The highest elevation at T.O.W. is 1,105 ft. 

December’s normal ocean temps in Laguna are about 57-60 degrees or so. It’s been as cold as 52 like in 1979 and it’s been as warm as 65 twice; in 1972 and 1997. December gets at least a couple of Santana Wind events that have sent temps into the high 80s in 1958 and 1979. We didn’t get our very first Santana of the season until Christmas Day 2000.

The sheer raw power of that intense thunderstorm way back on August 3, 1952 was a complete life changer for me at the tender age of 5, I kid you not! During the drive back to Hollywood, my birthplace, I was asking my Pop a bunch of questions about that day like “How come we don’t get storms like that in the L.A. area?” and stuff like that. My Pop turned to Mom and uttered, “I think we’ve created a monster. I even dreamed about that storm that night we were back home. I was definitely hooked on the heavens, and I knew right then and there my fascination would be no short term deal. My Pop, who knew a thing or two about weather himself, went on to explain a bit about the atmospheric dynamics that made this violent storm possible. More on that next time in Stu News Laguna!

See y’all next week, ALOHA!


56th Annual Patriots Day Parade honorees chosen

Honorees have been chosen for the 56th Annual Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade on Saturday, March 4, 2023 at 11 a.m. The parade theme is “Volunteer Heroes.”

Selected as Grand Marshal is Toni Iseman, who recently retired after serving on our city council for 24 years.

Honored Patriot is Major Erin E. Bevacqua, an active duty Marine stationed at Camp Pendleton, who graduated from Laguna Beach High School.

Citizen of the Year is community volunteer Ken Aubuchon.

56th Annual Patriots banner

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Patriots Day Parade-themed banner “Toward Community and Unity” was proudly carried by two Laguna Beach Girl Scouts in the 55th Annual Patriots Day Parade 

Junior Citizens of the Year, Kirra Moore and Chris Hemsley, Laguna Beach High School seniors, were selected by the school staff.

Artist of the Year is Randy Morgan and Athletes of the Year are the champion Laguna Beach Little League Intermediate All Stars, who are students at Thurston Middle School.

The parade entry and program ad deadline is January 13, 2023. For further information, contact Sandi Werthe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Fair Game

By TOM JOHNSON

Seventy-six years later and Laguna Beach football again wins the title…and there’s still more work to be done!

TJ headshot AugThe season that couldn’t be, IS! And, it continues. The Laguna Beach Breakers’ football team will host Granada Hills Charter this Saturday, Dec. 3 at 6 p.m. in the 2022 CIF State Regional 4-A Championship Bowl Game

The Granada Hills Charter Highlanders come into the game with a record of 11-2, including a win last Saturday, Nov. 26 over Palisades, 44-7, in the CIF LA City Section Football Championship.

The Breakers come in at 11-3, after beating Diamond Bar last Saturday, 36-28. Laguna Beach has won nine in a row, including the Division 9 CIF Southern Section Football Championship. It was their first title in 76 years.

Laguna Beach took the early lead scoring on a 27-yard field goal by Nico Vidaurri Tucker in the first quarter. 

After some back-and-forth, Diamond Bar finally got on the scoreboard midway through the second quarter on a 17-yard touchdown pass hauled in by Maddox Bernardino.

The Breakers, however, would then jump back in front, 10-7, just before halftime on a 7-yard TD pass from sophomore QB Jackson Kollock to Aidan Mulkay.

But it was the third quarter that made the difference. Twenty-one unanswered points put Laguna Beach up 30-7, which included a blocked punt by the Breakers’ Chase Tyson and senior linebacker Micah Chavez coming up with the ball and taking it in for the score.

Diamond Bar did manage to get on the board again near the end of the third, however, Kollock then put the game nearly out of reach in the first minute of the fourth quarter on a 51-yard TD pass to junior tight end Ryner Swanson

Diamond Bar would add two more fourth quarter TDs, with the final one closing the gap to eight points that came with just over a minute left in the game.

So, this weekend it’s Laguna Beach vs. Granada Hills Charter on Guyer Field. What would a win do? Well, glad you asked, as the winner will face their Northern California Regional counterpart winner in a CIF State Championship Bowl Game on either December 9 or 10.

Don’t mean to look ahead, but Mayor Sue Kempf, I’m thinking tickertape parade down Forest…what say you?

• • •

Reminder, Thursday, Dec. 1 is the Laguna Beach Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee Meeting featuring Councilmember-Elect Mark Orgill, from 8-9 a.m.  Mark was a very commonsense candidate who ran on a platform citing full transparency at City Hall and working to unite a divided community.

Mark is so well thought of that as a “developer” by trade, Mark ran on support from both sides of the community, including as an endorsed candidate of Village Laguna.

The Zoom meeting is free and can be found here.

• • •

Other news from the Chamber: Don’t forget, Friday, Dec. 2 from 5-10 p.m. is Hospitality Night, co-sponsored by the Chamber and the City of Laguna Beach. As just an f-y-I, the Peppertree Lot (Lot 2) will feature Santa Claus, tree lighting, music and more.

Get out there with your pocketbooks and shop local.

• • •

Okay, most of us know, or are familiar with, Harley Rouda. Harley is a popular local attorney and businessman who served as our U.S. Representative for California’s 48th Congressional District from 2019-2021.

In spite of those credentials, Harley will step to a supporting role this Thursday, Dec. 1, when his wife, Kaira Rouda, releases her new book, THE WIDOW.

The novel focuses in on a tradition started back in 1922 by one Mae Ella Nolan, who became a U.S. Representative after her husband died in office. This phenomenon has continued to occurr 47 more times up until today, including perhaps the most notable, Mary Bono, who assumed Sonny’s seat after he tragically died in a skiing accident.

Now, I should clarify that this is a fictional piece, where Kaira’s protagonist is Jody Asher, the longtime wife of a 15-term congressional member who suddenly dies after a secret affair with one of his staffers. Jody, of course, then takes control, and “there’s nothing the ruthless widow won’t do to secure the future she’s entitled to. Even if she has a secret of her own.”

Fair Game book cover THE WIDOW SNL

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Courtesy of Kaira Rouda

The book is called “visceral and alluring…THE WIDOW is a riveting novel of marriage, privilege, and lies in the cutthroat world of international politics.”

This is not Kaira’s first venture out, as her other novels include Somebody’s Home, The Next Wife, The Favorite Daughter, Best Day Ever and All the Difference.

Remember, it’ll be in bookstores everywhere this Thursday.

• • •

The KX FM “DJ Take Over” end-of-year fundraiser is happening December 7-13. Local Laguna Beach fans and friends of the radio station take over the airwaves to help raise money. 

Returning for an encore will be 7-year-old Max Weidhaas, who is scheduled to go on-air on Friday, Dec. 9 from 4-5 p.m. He is now a second grader in Ms. Stevens’ class at El Morro Elementary School. He’ll be joined by his dad, Chris.

Mark it down and remember to pledge for Max and the number of other “local celebrities that will join together to raise funds for KX FM. Money raised goes to rising operating costs.” 

To make a pledge for Max, go to https://kxfm.secure.nonprofitsoapbox.com/kx-takeover-chris-max-weidhaas.


Tony’s Treehouse Adopt-A-Family program will bring joy to families over the holidays

Tony’s Treehouse’s 22nd Annual Adopt-A-Family program will bring joy and good cheer to many families this holiday season and they are seeking assistance from the community.

Supporters will experience a hands-on opportunity, along with their children, co-workers, neighbors, teen club, Scout troop, soccer team…you name it. Participants will receive an individual’s or family’s story and wish list, so they can adopt someone or a family in need.

tonys treehouse family

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Photos courtesy of Tony’s Treehouse

This Treehouse family with their newly delivered Christmas tree

Here are two options on how you can help:*

1. Hands on: You shop, wrap and deliver to the Treehouse headquarters in Laguna (or they will gladly pick up at your location).

2. Hands off: You send the dollars to make the magic happen, and their volunteers shop, wrap and deliver the gifts.

*Average donation for a family of four is between $50 and $100 per person, whatever your budget allows.

Once you sign up, you will be given a short bio of your individual or family, their names, ages and interests. Tony’s Treehouse will coordinate with you on the timing of the gift delivery (TBA).

tonys treehouse man with tree

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A Treehouse volunteer, making a deliver to a family in need

To allow their volunteer Santa to shop and deliver for you, click on donate now, or mail a check to: Tony’s Treehouse, 668 N. Coast Highway, #112, Laguna Beach, Calif. 92651. Please make sure they have your email or mailing address, as tax receipts will be sent to you.

If you would like to “adopt” this season, or have any questions, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tony’s Treehouse is a nonprofit organization based in Laguna Beach. It was founded in memory of a beloved little 9-year-old boy named Tony. The legacy he left his family and friends is one of giving, loving and living life to its fullest extent.

For more information about Tony’s Treehouse, go to www.tonystreehouse.org.


Laguna resident Kaira Rouda launches new novel The Widow at LAM during Art Walk, December 1

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Few people garner the attention – and fascination – of the public more than politicians. Their professional and personal lives are often scrutinized and frequently turned into fodder for the tabloids. Visceral and alluring, award-winning USA Today and Amazon Charts bestselling author Kaira Rouda’s ninth book, The Widow (Thomas & Mercer) is a riveting novel of marriage, privilege and lies in the cutthroat world of international politics. 

“Whatever the opposite of family values is, Rouda seems intent on perfecting a genre that enshrines it,” said Kirkus Reviews of The Widow.

Rouda will launch her new novel on Thursday, Dec. 1 from 5-6 p.m. at the Laguna Art Museum. (The event is free, but please register here.)

The event will consist of a brief talk with Rouda about the novel, Washington, D.C., the tradition of the widow’s mandate and suspense. Attendees will also have the opportunity to purchase the novel and have it signed. Then guests can grab a signature “Widow” cocktail and enjoy the rest of the evening at the museum.

How the characters came to life

Married to Harley Rouda – U.S. Representative for California’s 48th congressional district, who served from 2019-2021 – there’s no doubt she knows what she’s taking about.

Set in Washington, D.C., The Widow focuses on the lives of Congressman Martin Asher and his wife Jody and brings into play the interesting concept of the “Widow’s Mandate.”

However, contrary to what one might think, Rouda didn’t get the idea to write the novel when she first arrived in Washington, D.C.

laguna resident closeup

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Courtesy of Kaira Rouda

Kaira Rouda launches her ninth novel, “The Widow” on December 1

“I was settling into the surroundings, learning the city and where to live,” she said. “The other spouses were very welcoming and supportive. One of them even hosted a book launch for my novel, The Favorite Wife.”

Before the pandemic hit, Rouda was adjusting nicely and becoming involved in the workings of Washington, D.C.

“I was training to be a docent at the Library of Congress and spearheaded the inclusion of the 48th District in the Artistic Discovery Contest. It’s a nationwide art competition for high school students in every district, but our district wasn’t represented. The winner has his/her artwork displayed in the U.S. Capitol for one year.”

Rouda describes her time in D.C. as wonderful. “It was great, so much history – and amazing museums. In addition to many unforgettable experiences, I got to walk across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with John Lewis in March of 2020.”

Then the pandemic hit and the Roudas returned to Laguna, with the congressman traveling back and forth to Washington, D.C.

Although Rouda is known for her gripping plots, her first few novels were on the lighter side. Beginning with Best Day Ever, a suspenseful tale of deception and betrayal, she took a darker tone. “I was drawn to thrillers,” she said. “My agent was reluctant until she read it.”

Widow’s Mandate

During her time in Washington, D.C., Rouda was intrigued by the “Widow’s Mandate.” First, there was Mae Ella Nolan from California who became a U.S. Representative after her husband died in 1922. Then throughout the next century, 47 additional American women followed in her footsteps. Their husbands’ deaths made them widows. The “Widow’s Mandate” made them politicians.

 As described in her press release, “In The Widow, Rouda explores how this idea can lead to the ultimate perilous power struggle and drive to salvage reputations in this very House of Cards meets Big Little Lies thriller.”

“During the pandemic, I sat down and started writing and Jody (Asher) just popped into my head,” Rouda said. “I knew her pretty well. She’s my favorite character in the book.”

In The Widow, there are three points of view, allowing the reader insights into the characters that would be otherwise unknown. In addition, the cleverly crafted “notes” at the beginning of each chapter lead us even further into the narrator’s head.

Click open story button to continue reading…

Shaena Stabler, President & CEO - Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com

Lana Johnson, Editor - Lana@StuNewsLaguna.com

Tom Johnson, Publisher - Tom@StuNewsLaguna.com

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

Email: Editor@StuNewsLaguna.com with news releases, letters, etc.

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