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Fair Game


Fire season is on the horizon…are you prepared at your home? Council calls town hall to discuss

TJ headshot AugAfter rain, more rain and more rain during 2023, vegetation is alive and plentiful in our hills and canyons surrounding Laguna Beach. It presents huge potential problems for fire risk.

In response to this concern, our Laguna Beach City Council has called a Wildland Fire Preparedness Town Hall Meeting for this coming Tuesday, Sept. 19 in the City Council Chambers from 5-8 p.m.

The purpose is to “inform the community about wildfire threats and discuss mitigation efforts to ensure the safety and well-being of community members."

This is an “informational meeting for the public, (in) which there will be no deliberation, nor will there be any formal action taken by the Laguna Beach City Council. While there may be incidental discussion of city business, the City Council will not be deliberating as a governing body of the City of Laguna Beach. Any discussion of public business is purely incidental to the town hall discussions.”

Still, it’s hugely important to become ready because the time will come.

You may also watch the town hall streamed live via the city’s website at; via Cox cable on channel 852; or via Zoom at

• • •

The Social Safety Net Tour is an important event taking place tomorrow (Saturday, Sept. 16) from 9-11 a.m. and hosted by the City’s Housing and Human Services Committee.

Seven local nonprofit organizations that work to provide a variety of needed services within the community will open their doors to community members to tour facilities, ask questions and learn from staff members how they can use, refer, or support these crucial local nonprofits.

Residents can visit all seven nonprofits at three sites. Here’s the plan: On Third Street, in and around the Susi Q Senior Center, find out more about Laguna Beach Seniors, which offers a wide array of programs and services for older adults; Seaside Legal Services, which is available for free legal help to those with civil cases who cannot afford representation; Sally’s Fund, offering assisted and escorted transportation services for seniors and disabled individuals; Be Well, the new Laguna Beach partnership bringing mobile mental health services to the community via a two-year pilot program and the Laguna Beach Community Clinic which provides medical care to patients regardless of their ability to pay.

Mosey up Laguna Canyon Road and visit the Laguna Food Pantry, which offers free, fresh, nutritious groceries to anyone in need; and the Friendship Shelter, a 45-bed alternative sleeping location for unhoused adults.

Obviously, all of these services are there for those in need, and while, hopefully, most of you might not need them, they’re great to have available for our community and for those in need of assistance.

• • •

UC Irvine students who are passionate about music, even if they are not music majors, can now apply for scholarships, thanks to a $100,000 pledge from The Drake Gives, a charitable organization founded by commercial developer and local restaurateur Alec Glasser.

“We believe that music is a fundamental part of the soul and it can be applied in many different contexts,” said Glasser, adding that the scholarships will go to students who plan to infuse music in their future careers.

Glasser, who owns The Drake Restaurant in Laguna Beach, learned to play saxophone, clarinet and flute in public schools in New York where he grew up. He believes everyone should have a chance to study and enjoy music even if they don’t become musicians.

UCI and Glasser are working on additional collaborations to further efforts to manifest the power of music in society, locally and abroad.

Glasser named his restaurant after the famed Drake Hotel in New York, where he worked as an elevator operator and bellman in his younger days.

• • •

Laguna Beach artist and long-time Sawdust Festival exhibitor Rosalie Marsh-Boinus has been invited to showcase her landscape paintings and prints in the Sherman Library & Gardens Gift Shop, beginning today, September 15.

Her paintings have been inspired by her photographs taken while traveling around the world. Their presentation also coincides with the autumnal equinox and fall foliage, flowers and plants.

Sherman Gardens, of course, is an inspiring horticultural oasis and nationally renowned botanical garden in Corona del Mar, open between 10:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Sunday.

You can view a sampling of Rosalie’s impressive work at

For more information on Sherman Library & Gardens go to

• • •

Speaking of art…most everyone has one of those, “I wonder what that’s worth?” pieces. Well, the Laguna Art Museum tomorrow (September 16) is planning something close to the Antiques Roadshow from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Locals can bring in up to five items of fine art, antiques, silver, jewelry and more, to receive a free verbal auction valuation.

The cost to attend is $20 for members and $30 for non-members, with all proceeds benefiting the Museum.

John Moran, Auctioneers & Appraisers will be on hand to offer their insight.

• • •

Okay, raise your hand if you can say, “I’m attending my “100-year” high school reunion.” (See my raised hand.)

Now, as Newport Beach Fire Chief Jeff Boyles chuckled and said Wednesday evening when I told him about it, “Oh, so you’re 118 years old.”


My high school (Amador) in Pleasanton, Calif. is turning 100 years old and ALL classes over the years have been invited back to town for a parade down Main Street this afternoon, to the high school football game tomorrow night, a pancake breakfast Saturday morning and a concert in the park Saturday afternoon featuring a guy from my high school class.

The group is called Teddy & the Ten-Speeds and they’re supposed to be very good.

To be honest, I’m kind of excited…my graduating class of ’71 was I believe less than 250 people, so you knew pretty much everyone.

My biggest regret is only starting my diet three days in advance, rather than six months ago. Hopefully, they won’t get past my balding head and face full of wrinkles to notice my over-sized middle.

I guess that’s what the years do to you, which reminds me of one of Mickey Mantle’s great sayings, “If I knew I was going to live this long I would’ve taken better care of myself.”

The fun part is that I’m doing it with my brother who was in the class ahead of me.

And, all those gorgeous young girls I remember walking the Amador halls those many years ago between classes, they’re also 70! Boy, where has the time gone!

• • •

It’s arguably one of the foremost gatherings of chefs, wineries and restaurants when they all come together for Chef Masters at Festival of Arts on Sunday, Sept. 24. It’s a casual, fun setting, with great wine and delicious food.

Oh, and it benefits Unconditional, the local group that joins with others to rescue dogs seemingly challenged at finding another home to share love in and live life. You see, some of these dogs are disabled, perhaps in need of back wheels to scoot, or have a loss of eyesight, etc. Others might just be older. But one thing all have in common is that they still have time left to live, love and share a home with others.

Fair Game SNL B& W Frenchie 9.15

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Courtesy of Unconditional

Don’t take my word for it…meet this 3-year-old Frenchie named Poppy…one of a number of those looking for their forever home

I witnessed it firsthand last year at this very event, seeing some of these so-called challenged dogs moving around, wagging their tails and exhibiting huge doggie smiles.

It touched my heart.

If you’d care to purchase tickets to support this special fundraiser, go here.

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Volunteers needed for the Laguna Food Pantry grocery rescue program

Join the Laguna Food Pantry as a volunteer driver for the grocery rescue program. Throughout the week, the Pantry receives rescued groceries from 22 local grocery stores. Volunteer drivers pick up the store donations and bring them to the Pantry to be distributed to families and individuals. Currently, the Pantry is short on drivers, and they need help picking up from all the grocery stores. If you have access to a reliable car and a few hours during the week, please consider applying to be a volunteer driver.

Volunteers needed two guys

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Courtesy of Laguna Food Pantry

(L-R) Volunteer driver Joe Krach and volunteer Eric Bartlett at Laguna Food Pantry are about to unload a delivery

The Laguna Food Pantry is a predominantly volunteer-run organization with over 160 active volunteers. As a food pantry, they serve as the direct connection between distributing groceries and the families and individuals receiving them. Therefore, when you volunteer at the Pantry, you witness the impact you are making in others’ lives. One volunteer shared that their favorite part about volunteering at the Laguna Food Pantry is “seeing families drive-thru and thank us five times while driving away because they are so incredibly appreciative. We are truly making a difference in their lives, and when we can see the difference we are making, it really hits home.”

Their volunteers transform the Pantry into a supportive community. If the idea of being part of such a community while making a difference resonates with you, the Pantry invites you to reach out or visit their website to learn more and fill out an application. The Laguna Food Pantry welcomes individuals from all walks of life, whether you are a student, retiree, working professional or someone who simply wants to give back and make a meaningful difference in others' lives.

Laguna Food Pantry is open Monday through Friday from 8-10:30 a.m. with a drive-through distribution system. Anyone in need is welcome to visit once a week to pick up free, fresh, nutritious groceries. If you know of anyone in need, please let them know.

To learn more about the Laguna Food Pantry, how to get involved, or ways to donate, visit Your donation is greatly appreciated and critical in continuing their mission of ensuring no one goes hungry in our community.

The Laguna Food Pantry is located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach.

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Laguna Beach Police Department leads another Joint Taskforce Operation to target speeders and loud exhaust

On Sunday, Sept.10, officers from the Laguna Beach Police Department led its third multi-agency operation this year to target speed violations and loud and modified vehicle exhaust. This has been a sustained enforcement effort in response to safety and quality of life issues impacting residents throughout Orange County, including coastal communities from San Clemente to Seal Beach.

Sunday’s enforcement included police officers from Newport Beach, Seal Beach and deputies from the Orange County Sheriff’s Department. The following results were achieved through this operation:

–58 vehicles were stopped for vehicle code violations

–17 vehicles were issued citations (which include loud and/or modified exhaust and emissions)

–10 vehicles were issued citations for Basic Speed or Exceeding 65 MPH

–39 vehicles were given citations for other violations

“Speed and loud exhaust violations continue to compromise the safety and quality of life of our residents. Consequently, we are left with no choice but to take a zero-tolerance approach to enforcement,” said Laguna Beach Police Chief Jeff Calvert. “We appreciate the unprecedented collaboration with our law enforcement partners throughout Orange County and will continue these joint enforcement operations through the end of the year.”

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Chabad of Laguna Beach to host services and programs during High Holidays

With the High Holidays approaching at sundown on Friday, Sept. 15, Chabad of Laguna Beach will once again be hosting services and programs open to the community. The services, which will include prayers for the wellbeing of all humanity – a key theme of Rosh Hashanah – will also be centered around hearing the sounds of the shofar, the central observance of the holiday. There will be English/Hebrew prayer books, a warm and friendly atmosphere, a soulful cantor from Israel and a Jr. Congregation program.

Chabad of Laguna Beach Hebrew class

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Photos courtesy of Chabad of Laguna Beach

Hebrew School class learning about upcoming holidays

Schedule of events:

Calling all Kids for a High Holiday “Street Fair” on Tuesday, Sept. 12 at 4:30 p.m. at Chabad Laguna Beach.

Bake round Challah with sweet toppings, whip up a delicious pomegranate salsa, design High Holiday cards, create your own sweet souvenir box to take home, Shofar blowing, holiday games and insights. Prizes and treats for all children! RSVP. Cost: $8 per child.

Chabad of Laguna Beach rabbi goorevitch

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Rabbi Goorevitch blowing the shofar in preparation for the High Holidays

Shofar in the Park on Sunday, Sept. 17 at 5 p.m. at Lang Park (Wesley and PCH).

Popular program back again this year, features a 30-minute celebration with select prayers and songs, shofar blowing, honey cake decorating, apples and honey sticks, and treats for the kids.

For a detailed schedule, seat reservations, Yizkor memorial service and High Holiday megasite, visit, or call 949.499.0770.

RSVP is necessary for all programs to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Chabad of Laguna Beach is located at 30804 S. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach.

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Don’t miss “Ocean Heroes,” the last PMMC after-school program before renovations begin

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) will run its last after-school program before renovations begin that will span through all of 2024.

“Ocean Heroes” is an after-school science program designed for children ages 8-12. Children engage in marine science and conservation topics, hands-on activities, games, crafts and optional offsite stewardship projects. Over the course of the program, kids learn about a diversity of marine mammals, the ecosystems in which they reside, and the threats these animals currently face in the wild. With the support of enthusiastic instructors, students put their problem-solving skills to the test engaging in innovative STEAM projects exploring solutions and becoming ocean stewards.

Don t miss sea lion

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Courtesy of PMMC

The “Ocean Heroes” program will engage youth in a variety of marine science and conservation topics

This fall, explorers will discover the different habitats of sea turtles, how to tell the seven species apart and determine the challenges they face in their environment. Kids go on to learn about why spinner dolphins do acrobatic tricks out of water and the different ways they communicate with each other. Explorers investigate the diet of Steller sea lions just like scientists do by analyzing their sterile scat samples left behind by these powerful pinnipeds. In their final session, kids find out what’s up with all of the spots on spotted dolphins.

Each two-hour session is packed with information, activities, games and experiments to engage young minds with ocean science and conservation. Sessions begin September 15 and continue every Friday from 4-6 p.m. through October 6.

This will be the last onsite youth program at PMMC until renovations of the main facility are completed at the end of 2024. Once they reopen, they will have a fantastic new education center where they will resume their educational efforts with brand new curriculum and programs.

Pacific Marine Mammal Center is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach. For more information, visit

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International Coastal Cleanup Day

International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) is one of the world’s largest annual preservation and protection events and volunteer efforts for our ocean, waves and beaches.

Join the Laguna Beach Police Department (and other city agencies) and the Laguna Ocean Foundation on Saturday, Sept. 23 from 9 a.m.-12 p.m. at Main Beach for the coastal cleanup.

International coastal trash

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Courtesy of City of Laguna Beach

Searching Main Beach for trash during last year’s Coastal Cleanup Day

Last year, participants collected 251 lbs. of trash and there were 173 community members who came out to clean up (plus lots more volunteers to run the booths).

Come help keep our beaches safe, clean. and pristine Please bring with you a pair of gloves, a bucket, water and sunscreen – anything you will need for a beach cleanup day!

Contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to register to help during the cleanup day.

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Volunteers needed for Patriots Day Parade

volunteers needed parade

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Courtesy of LB Patriots Day Parade Committee

The Patriots Day Parade will be held on March 2, 2024

The Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade Committee will meet at 7 p.m., Tuesday, Sept. 19 to begin organizing the 57th Annual Parade, scheduled to march on Saturday, March 2, 2024. Volunteers are needed to organize or to help on parade day. For meeting information on how to enter and program ads, contact Sandi Werthe at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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City of Hope celebrates “Topping Off” of Orange County’s only hospital exclusively focused on treating and curing cancer

City of Hope, one of largest cancer research and treatment organizations in the U.S., celebrated a milestone in the construction of its specialty cancer hospital opening in Orange County in 2025.

A “Topping Off” ceremony for the installation of the final structural beam marked a significant step toward advancing City of Hope’s second academic cancer campus.

City of Hope DeSantis

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Photos courtesy of City of Hope

Grateful patient Mark DeSantis, an associate professor of finance at Chapman University, stands in front of the beam before it is placed on the frame of what will be Orange County’s only specialty cancer hospital

Hundreds of grateful patients, community members and City of Hope leaders came together on Wednesday, Sept. 6 to honor the teams who are dedicating their talents and time to building Orange County’s only hospital exclusively focused on treating and curing cancer.

“I am filled with joy and emotion as we take another step closer in our fight to beat cancer,” said Annette M. Walker, president, City of Hope Orange County. “Today we take a moment to honor the women and men of the construction industry who are making this happen. They know that this is not ordinary work, but the work of angels often done in honor of someone they love who has been affected by cancer.”

City of Hope officials

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Elected officials from across Orange County joined Annette Walker, City of Hope Orange County president (4th from right) and Edward S. Kim, M.D., M.B.A., physician-in-chief, (3rd from right) to sign the last beam placed

The 73-bed hospital will complete the care continuum for the county’s largest network dedicated to cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship.

“City of Hope is investing more than $1 billion in its cancer campus of the future, greatly contributing to Irvine’s reputation as a global destination for health care, innovation, technology and jobs,” said Irvine Vice Mayor Tammy Kim. “The cancer expertise provided at this hospital – and the cancer center adjoining it – will change not just our lives but the well-being and health of future generations.”

City of Hope has cared for thousands of patients at City of Hope Orange County Lennar Foundation Cancer Center – Orange County’s most advanced comprehensive cancer center – since it opened in August 2022.

The inpatient cancer hospital will be seamlessly connected to the outpatient center. The opening of the six-story, 164,000-square-foot hospital will expand City of Hope’s ability to provide advanced cancer care and pioneering research to patients and their families.

The “Topping Off” ceremony is a longstanding tradition in the construction industry. Typically, a Christmas tree is placed on top of the beam as a crane drops it in place. City of Hope placed one of its beloved wishing trees on the beam. The wishing tree was decorated with tags containing messages of hope for people with cancer and the community.

City of Hope attendees

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Attendees at City of Hope Orange County’s “Topping Off” celebration high five members of the construction teams

“We’re all here to acknowledge, honor and thank people who don’t always get the spotlight – our construction crews,” said Rodney Freeman, lead construction advisor and founder and principal of The Freeman Group. “Yes, we have on hand the essential ‘suits’ who contribute their expertise to every project, but we could not deliver on our mission without ‘the boots’ on the ground. These individuals show up, rain or shine, to turn our vision into reality, to literally build hope, brick by brick, beam by beam.”

Yasmin Contreras, a construction worker on the project, placed a tag on the wishing tree in the hopes that other families confronting cancer will find the compassion she did at City of Hope. Contreras’ cousin was a City of Hope patient and inspired her to work on the new hospital.

“City of Hope is a special place for my family and me because it provided hope when no other place could, and being on the hospital construction team is a way of giving back for the extra time we were able to have with our cousin,” Contreras said.

City of Hope last beam

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The last beam was put into place on Wednesday, Sept. 6 during a “Topping Off” celebration attended by hundreds

The beam was signed by hundreds of members of the construction crews, physicians, staff, community leaders, philanthropic supporters, and grateful patients who have supported City of Hope in bringing to Orange County advanced cancer research and treatment.

“As we raise this beam, we celebrate that advanced cancer clinical trials and treatments are here for Orange County residents,” said Edward Kim, M.D., M.B.A., senior vice president and physician-in-chief, City of Hope Orange County. “The level of care that we bring to Orange County is the reason dozens of world-renowned cancer specialists now practice at our cancer center, and more physician-scientists will join us as we continue to fill a need in the community for advanced cancer care.”

City of Hope has brought together a team of health care experts to build and design the hospital, including Freeman Group, Jacobs for project management, Hensel Phelps for construction and HOK as the architect.

For more information on City of Hope, visit

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Laguna Beach – A Look Back: Main Beach

By Dr. Gregg DeNicola, Laguna Beach Historical Society

Evidence tells us that Laguna’s beaches were formed about 10 million years ago, with some rocks measuring 65 million years of age. Prehistoric bones have also been found at Main Beach.

The Homesteaders that arrived in the 1870s would have seen a pristine and deserted Main Beach. Over the next 25 years, several small bungalows were built, mainly as second homes for the wealthy who lived inland, especially the Riverside area.

By 1895, the Isch General Store and Hotel Laguna set up shop in the Main Beach neighborhood.

The Captain’s house was built during this time, perched over Main Beach with sweeping views of the ocean.

Laguna Beach A Look Back Main Beach

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Courtesy of Laguna Beach Historical Society

Main Beach, circa 1900

In this late 1890s photo, The Captain’s house sits on the bluff on the right of the frame, with the hotel and its two gables to its left.

Next to those structures are a series of beach bungalows, where the volleyball courts now sit.

About four small fishing skiffs sit on the sand. A father (presumably) takes his children and dog for a nice walk along the sand.

Apparently, a full suit and fedora was standard beachwear in 1899.

• • •

Dr. Gregg DeNicola is a board member at the Laguna Beach Historical Society. Laguna Beach Historical Society is located in the Murphy Smith Bungalow at 278 Ocean Ave. For more information, call 949.497.6834, or visit

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Singles seeking friendship might want to check out Susi Q’s “Meet Up” for Beginner Bridge

Forming friendships when you’re older or retired isn’t always easy. But there’s a simple way to find like-minded folk who enjoy laughing, chatting, learning and sharing common interests, according to Gold Life Master & ACBL accredited instructor Jane Dober, who has been teaching bridge at the Susi Q for the last 10 years.

Dober is deeply passionate about the game and known for offering positive, supportive classes tailored to newbies, often people who’ve never played any card games before.

“Come to my beginning bridge class, where you’ll find people who enjoy great conversations about all kinds of things, from kids and grandkids to good restaurants and movies, while learning the basics of modern bridge in a non-competitive environment,” she urges.

“There’s nothing, absolutely nothing, intimidating about our class,” she added. “Just the opposite, it’s a very welcoming group and you don’t need a partner to attend. We have fun while we learn – and I learn from my students, too! Every bridge hand is different, offering a new, fascinating challenge.

“If you like solving puzzles, you’ll love bridge, and if you want to meet new friends, the Susi Q’s the place to be.”

The New “Meet Up” Beginning Bridge starts on Monday, Oct. 2 through Monday, Nov. 6 from 9:30-11:30 a.m. The fee for the six classes is $120. Each class has a short lesson followed up by pre-dealt boards to play. Click here to register for “Meet Up” Beginner Bridge.

Singles seeking table

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Photo by Jo Ann Ekblad

Fun at the bridge table with Jane Dober

Dober, whose enthusiasm and energy are infectious, said that bridge is comparable to sports like golf and tennis, which offer the opportunity to either compete at a higher level or simply have a good time – and the latter is the emphasis in her classes.

“I’ve seen lifetime friendships develop through bridge. Many people return again and again because of the fun we have at the Susi Q – there are people from Washington state, and some from Arizona, who come here only in the summer and join my classes,” she noted.

Dober makes the point that bridge has evolved over the years, and that there are many avenues to continue playing even if you don’t have a regular partner. She often plays bridge online “with three robots” she points out.

“So if you aren’t the sociable type, but love puzzles, that’s an option too. Come to my class and join the fun!”

To register by phone, call 949.715.8105. Click here to register online for “Meet Up” Beginner Bridge.

The Susi Q, located at 380 Third St., Laguna Beach, offers a wide range of educational and fun programs, classes and clubs for older adults – though all ages are welcome. The Susi Q’s Care Management Department provides free consultation, education and practical resources for vulnerable seniors, enabling them to stay safe, informed and independent.

For more information on The Susi Q, the portal to access the best of Laguna’s community resources, visit

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