Laguna Beach

Laguna Beach Author Debby Bowes launches her children’s book Rinnie the Weasel

Rinnie the Weasel, a fun-loving story that captures the interest of the young reader, has recently been released by Dr. Debby Bowes of Laguna Beach. This is her first book. Dr. Bowes has just received word from the most prestigious New Reader’s International Rating Association that Rinnie the Weasel received an outstanding score from the hundreds of books rated by this association. 

Rinnie the Weasel is a rascally fellow who thinks he is the best dresser, but he is actually the worst dressed weasel in the woodlands. He wears colors that clash, socks that don’t match, and different shoes on each foot. Rinnie is loved by his animal friends even though he does naughty things like making a big mess at their house. 

Laguna Beach Rinnie

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Rinnie the Weasel thinks he’s a good dresser

The story teaches valuable social lessons while entertaining kids with the antics of a mischievous weasel. The story ends with the animals turning the table on Rinnie but they realize that Rome wasn’t built in a day so it will take time for Rinnie to make changes and anyway what is the meaning of goodness if there isn’t a little badness to compare it to.

Aside from her current role as author, Dr. Bowes is a Fellow of the California Writing and Literature Project at UCLA, is an original member of the “National Women’s Project,” has served as Director for the Hillsides Home for Children, was a School Board Member of San Marino Unified School District for two terms, earned a Doctorate from USC, served as Director of Curriculum Services for Alhambra and Arcadia, Assistant Superintendent of Fountain Valley, is a member of Assistance League Laguna Beach, and member of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church. 

Laguna Beach Bowes

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Dr. Debby Bowes launches her first book

After taking the UCLA Writing and Literature seminars, Dr. Bowes was inspired to write a children’s book that incorporated the research findings from these workshops. The author respects the grandeur of children’s curiosity and intelligence, so she did not attempt to dummy down the language in the story because of the child’s age.

Dr. Bowes says, “Many children’s books have slanted language with a limited vocabulary. Children of all ages should be exposed to stories rich in language that capture their interest. Therefore, there is no attempt to control the vocabulary. Words that may seem to be more difficult are comprehensible in the context of the story.” 

A unique feature of Rinnie the Weasel is that there are 45 activities for children to do as they read the story. By doing these activities, children step into the story as if they are an active participant.

Laguna Beach friends

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Friends of Rinnie the Weasel ultimately accept his behavior

By engaging the child in a variety of activities that support the story’s meaning, the child connects in meaningful ways to the characters and events in the story. Children are encouraged to explore and expand language to develop critical thinking skills by participating in the activities related to the story. 

The story ends with Rinnie’s friends turning the table on him. The animals stand in a circle holding hands with Chadwick the Beaver reciting Ovid, “If you want to be loved, you have to be lovable.” 

The book is available on Amazon here and Barnes & Noble here. It is also available on YouTube here.

The Termite Guy raises $2,212 for Net-Works Laguna Beach during May fundraiser

When Alex del Toro, a resident of Laguna Beach and owner/operator of The Termite Guy, read the April 23rd Stu News column “Hope from the Homeless” by Frank Macias, del Toro was immediately moved to action. His dedication to raising funds resulted in a donation of $2,212 to Net-Works Laguna Beach.

During the month of May, The Termite Guy donated $1 for every scheduled inspection scheduled and $5 for every job scheduled to Pastor Don Sciortino’s Net-Works Laguna Beach nonprofit.

Coordinated by Pastor Sciortino, the guest column “Hope from the Homeless” will be an ongoing series featuring stories from those who have experienced homelessness in our community.

Trina Andjani, marketing and graphic manager of The Termite Guy, said, “Alex read the story, and he said, ‘we need to do something.’ We’ve been doing some kind of fundraiser every year. Last year, we supported Friendship Shelter, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and we also helped out with pediatrics.” 

During May picnic

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Pastor Don Sciortino of Net-Works Laguna Beach (on left) with Leonard Porto III at April 19 “Won’t you be my neighbor” BBQ at Heisler Park

The Termite Guy was founded in 1997 and has grown to include offices in four locations – Santa Ana, Ventura, Palm Desert, and Temecula. The company provides services all over, including in Laguna Beach. 

At the time the company decided to hold a fundraiser, Andjani said, “A lot of our clients are Laguna Beach residents. Each month we’re doing around 600 to 700 inspections and around 200 to 300 jobs each month. It’s a win-win situation. The more inspections that we have and the more jobs we have, the greater the donation will be.”

Alex del Toro said, “Homelessness has been a polarizing issue in Laguna Beach, and we need to come up with a better solution. It appears to us that Net-Works Laguna Beach is bringing a new humanistic approach to our homelessness issue.”

For information on The Termite Guy, go to or call (877) 837-6483.

For more information on Net-Works Laguna Beach, visit

Diminutive Moon

Diminutive moon palms

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Photo by Tom Berndt

A dot of light among the stately palms

Where’s Maggi?

Nothing more restful than a bench – and Laguna has a few of them. Maggi took a pause on this one. Where was she? 

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

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

Wheres Maggi 6 14 19

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Behind-the-scene creation of 2019 Pageant of the Masters dazzles previewers


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The Time Traveler in H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine says, “Scientific people know very well that Time is only a kind of Space.” This year’s Pageant of the Masters’ themed presentation of “The Time Machine” promises to amaze audiences with a trip around the globe and into the past, present, and future in search of great art and incredible stories. It’s described as a journey through both time and space. 

On Monday evening, previewers had the opportunity to visit the spaces where the wizards of costume, makeup, set design, sculpture design, technicians, as well as the people who wrangle the models onto the sets play their parts in contributing to the magic of tableaux vivants or “living pictures.” During this year’s show, real people will step into famous works of art by artists like Vermeer, Dali, Rockwell, and Da Vinci for a one-of-a-kind theatrical experience.

Behind the gold clock

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One of the “Empire Clocks” that is in this year’s pageant getting a final touch-up

This extraordinarily talented team behind the world-famous Pageant of the Masters is rockin’ around the clock with preparations and rehearsals for the highly anticipated production. 

Preparations are also underway for the new on-site concessionaire Intermission by Terra, and Monday’s attendees gleefully sampled some of their fare.

“To say this summer’s show is a very different Pageant is an understatement!” says Diane Challis Davy, now in her 24th season as the Pageant Director. “The story line will bring audiences on a journey through a series of clues and instructions from a notebook inspired by a famous artist, a first in the Pageant’s history.”

“We don’t want to give away too many surprises, but some over-the-top innovations for this year include laser lights, an authentic 1959 jukebox, and if you are paying attention…you may even see a UFO,” commented Challis Davy. 

In his introduction to preview attendees, Festival of Arts President David Perry said, “Without the volunteers, the Pageant wouldn’t exist. It takes 500 volunteers and collectively, they put in 60,000 hours.”

Behind the McGhee

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Elizabeth McGhee works on Lethe, a painting in her Mythica series

As an added bonus to attendees, four of the 140 juried fine artists exhibiting at the Festival of the Arts were on site to answer questions. 

Elizabeth McGhee was busy working on one of her Mythica series of 80 paintings in which she takes figures from Greek mythology and transforms them into modern-day versions. On this evening, she was concentrating on the Ancient Greek Lethe, who was the goddess of the underworld river of oblivion. (The dead drank of its waters to forget their mortal lives.)

In her depiction of volunteers as ancient Greek figures, McGhee aims to modernize the interpretation of their stories and how they fit into present day. McGhee, who also paints vintage toys, graduated from LCAD in 2009 and has been exhibiting at FOA since 2010. 

“My favorite part of exhibiting here is the community of artists and collectors here at FOA. It’s like summer camp. Painting tends to be isolating.” 

For Artist Jeff Gordon, who primarily paints landscapes, this is his 19th year at FOA. “I like the interaction with the people and their reactions to my work. You have to put yourself out there, it’s like hanging your children on the wall. I learned that I can’t please everyone. But there’s not a day I paint that I don’t feel alive in the world. It’s not the easiest way to make a living, but it gives form to my experience…in trying to record my emotional responses. If it resonates with someone, then it’s fulfilling.”

Behind the sets

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David Rymar explains the creation of scenic sets 

We soon move on to a warehouse where the scenic artists David Rymar and David Cooke recreate the original paintings into sets. 

Cooke, who has been creating sets for 14 years, says, “We have two weeks to paint each background scene. Every Thursday, we have a rehearsal, knowing there’s work to do on the scene, so we light it up and look at it. Then we have a second rehearsal, finish it up and move on to the next piece. We do 10-12 scenes in six months.” 

Describing this year’s production, Technical Director Richard Hall said, “The show is very entertaining. There’s a lot going on. It’s a very lively production with a great story line that will carry the audience on a journey through time.”

When asked if he has a favorite scene, he said, “It’s the show in its entirety, as a whole. It becomes something personal that we’ll never see again.”

Behind the costumes

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A wide variety of costumes for well-dressed time travelers

Costume Director Reagan Foy, who has been part of the Pageant for 11 seasons, the last three as costume director, explains that given the cast doubles members for each scene, every costume has to fit two people. In addition, she has to figure out the best way to flatten out a three-dimensional costume into a realized piece that works with the scenic builders.”

Foy said, “This year it’s fun because we are recreating time traveling with colorful pieces and different time periods.” 

And what would the recreations be without the proper makeup?

Allyson Doherty, head of the makeup department, started as supervisor of makeup with the Pageant in the 1980s. There are 90 makeup people – one makeup artist does two cast members. Every night, they work from the head sculptures that Doherty paints as mockups beginning in January. She has a Fine Arts Degree in painting.

Doherty said, “Our busiest time is during the summer, because the makeup has to be redone every night.” 

Behind the makeup

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Makeup artist prepares cast member using mockup head

What happens to the mockup heads? “At the end of the season, the heads are washed and reused. They have layers of paint on them,” Doherty said.

And, one assumes, a plentiful and intriguing history from past shows.

Next stop, where it all comes together backstage.

Volunteers and technicians help the costumed cast members onto their respective scenes, matching their positions perfectly to the original work of art, adjusting an arm here or a prop there. Then, in order to bring the scene to life for the audience, the behind-the-scenes professionals and volunteers must move the sets in and out of position. At intermission, the first half sets are removed, and the new sets brought in for the second half of the show. An arduous process.

As night began to fall, we previewed three of the scenes, Johannes Vermeer’s The Music Lesson, Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema’s The Vintage Festival, and A Collection of Empire Clocks, each jaw-dropping in its own right.

Behind the backstage

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“Posers” make sure everyone is standing correctly as they compare them to a print of the original, Johannes Vermeer’s “The Music Lesson”

During the tour, more than one of the Pageant staff mentions the word “surprise.” One even cautions Pageant goers not to leave before the end of the show otherwise they will miss a big one.

I can’t wait to see entire production of The Time Machine, which I would travel through time and space to see now that I’ve gotten a peek at it. And anyone who witnessed the preparation that goes into the production can’t help but be in awe of the finished performances. Prepare to be dazzled. I will not budge from my seat until the final surprise.

For more information or tickets, go to

City kicks off “Keepin’ It Clean” campaign to keep beaches and public areas cleaner

The City of Laguna Beach is pleased to announce the start of its 2019 “Keepin’ It Clean Laguna, Leave No Trash Behind” anti-litter campaign. 

The annual “Keepin’ It Clean, Laguna” outreach aims to urge visitors to dispose of their waste and recyclables responsibly, especially at the receptacles located at the top of the City’s beach access stairways and along Coast Highway. 

City kicks sign

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

This sign reminds us to please keep our beaches and ocean clean 

The anti-litter outreach reinforces the City’s initiatives to keep our beautiful beaches and public areas clean and free of trash by the following efforts:

--Over 600 trash and recycling containers are placed throughout the City in public places

--Additional trashcans and signage have been placed at frequently visited beach accesses and sites along Coast Highway

--Contract services have been added to empty the trash receptacles at beach approaches, Main Beach, Heisler Park, and Coast Highway twice a day during the summer starting on July 1

--Enhanced restroom cleaning at Heisler Park and Main Beach and increased pressure washing in the downtown area began this month through the end of September

“This outreach is an attention-grabbing educational effort to encourage visitors to use the 600 trashcans and recycling containers placed throughout the City for trash disposal,” said Shohreh Dupuis, Assistant City Manager/Director of Public Works. “Through these additional efforts, we are providing all of our visitors the opportunity to pitch in and do their part to keep our town clean.”

The City’s efforts range from placing signs near trash receptacles and a social media campaign encouraging visitors to dispose of their trash in receptacles located on beach accesses and public places. 

This is the City’s second year of the campaign, which aims to promote public awareness on community cleanliness, environmental protection, and effective use of provided trash disposal resources.

Congratulations, Alexis!

Congratulations Alexis

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Congratulations to Stu News writer Alexis Amaradio, an all-around amazing person, for her acceptance to USC after two years of hard work at a local community college. Alexis will be majoring in Public Relations through USC’s Annenberg School. Fight on…USC is lucky to have you joining their community!

Laguna Beach Marine Safety Department celebrates 90th anniversary this weekend

The Laguna Beach Marine Safety Department invites the public to a day of activities celebrating its 90th anniversary on Saturday, June 15. Activities will kick off at Main Beach at 10 a.m. and end at 4 p.m. with a gathering at Hennessy’s. 

For 90 years, the Laguna Beach Marine Safety Department has been dedicated to the community in many ways, including drowning prevention, open water rescue, emergency medical service, public education, and Junior Lifeguard training. 

Laguna Beach Marine ocean

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Photo by Tim Kothlow

Lifeguard Bridgett Storm assists swimmer

Currently, there are 32 lifeguard towers, two personal rescue watercrafts, over 100 seasonal employees, and almost 400 Junior Lifeguards on staff. The Department performed over 5,000 water-related rescues in 2018 alone.

The Laguna Beach Lifeguard Department was officially created in 1929. Some of the first employed lifeguards were Ed Hobart and George Griffin, lifeguarding Main Beach on horseback with tower coverage on selected beaches during seasonal crowds. 

During the 1950s and 1960s, the Laguna Beach Lifeguard Department saw professional growth incorporating modern lifeguarding techniques such as first aid, water rescue skills, and testing standards. In 2014, the newly renovated Marine Safety Headquarters at Main Beach was completed. 

The activities for the day include:

--10 a.m. Main Beach Tower – Surf Relay Competition (teams set up by age group)

--11 a.m. Main Beach Tower – Group photo of everyone attending celebration

--12 p.m. Marine Safety Headquarters, North Main Beach – Tour of new Headquarters

--1 p.m. Heisler Park Above Picnic Beach – Lunch gathering

--4 p.m. Hennessy’s Tavern – Afternoon gathering

To watch a video celebrating the 90-year anniversary, visit

Montage unveils newly replanted produce herb gardens, further embracing sustainable practices

The latest culinary-related endeavor from Montage Laguna Beach is a series of newly replanted herb and produce gardens – the inspiration for Chef Benjamin Martinek’s six-course Garden Menu at Studio, the resort’s award-winning destination signature restaurant, as well as new specialty cocktails and mocktails served throughout the resort.

“We are thrilled to expand and update our garden offerings for the benefit of our chefs and our guests,” said Anne-Marie Houston, the resort’s general manager. “Our gardens are a beautiful way to showcase fresh food while demonstrating the resort’s approach to emerging sustainability methods and practices.”

As part of the newly replanted 1,000-square-foot Studio garden, Martinek is harvesting a 400-square-foot tea garden, which will produce a variety of plantings – such as edible flowers, German chamomile, lemon verbena, green tea, and hibiscus – for creating unique teas for guests. 

Working with Tenfold Harvest, a full-service garden and design firm, Martinek has harvested a complete range of edible flowers, herbs, vegetables, garnishes, fruit trees, and produce in the new Studio garden.

Montage unveils planters

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Montage Laguna Beach presents new produce herb gardens 

His new six-course Garden Menu at Studio is inspired by this bounty of fresh produce, edible flowers and herbs and takes diners through the delicious journey of a plant’s life cycle – starting with a seed-centric dish, followed by a sprouts course, and then roots and shoots. 

The fourth course features flowers, the fifth fruits, and the meal ends with an incredible seed finish. Since no dairy in used, except in the fruits course (and that can be changed upon request), vegans can partake. The sommelier team can pair wines from Studio’s Wine Spectator Grand Award wine list.

Mimicking the botanical growing cycle, the Garden Menu at Studio starts with “Seeds,” featuring Escabeche of Incan Red Quinoa with pepitas, sunflower, tomato seed vinaigrette, and smoked olive oil. The second course, “Sprouts,” is Tiny Crudité with hen of the woods mushroom espuma, kalamata olive “top soil,” and puffed grains. 

Next comes “Roots and Shoots,” which is Confit Root Vegetables with Coconut Curry including kohlrabi, cipollini onion, heirloom carrot, coconut and golden curry, and pickled mushrooms.

“Flowers” showcases Chickpea Panisse with eggless saffron aioli, squash blossom-sea bean pistou, and marinated cauliflower. The fourth course, “Fruits and Seeds,” is Garrotxa with blood orange, kumquat, shaved fennel, and almond. 

Back to wonderful “Seeds,” dessert is Black Sesame Pavé with aquafaba meringue, cassis, pomegranate seeds, and coconut sorbet. This menu is $150 per guest; $245 with wine selections; $325 with grand wine tasting, exclusive of tax and gratuity.

Throughout the year, as the garden flourishes, Martinek will update his six-course Garden Menu to highlight and utilize the ongoing seasonal bounty.

Additionally, Tenfold Harvest recently planted five herb gardens at the resort’s iconic Mosaic Pool. Spanning a total of 150 square feet, these compact, rectangular gardens front each pool cabana and are encircled with boxwood hedging. Each is comprised of herbs for specialty mocktails and cocktails to be served throughout the resort – including specialty mints such as chocolate, Moroccan, Spanish, and Thai; different types of sage such as pineapple and green, white, and purple; and edible flowers.

According to Houston, plans are in the works to supply herbs and other plantings for use in spa treatments and waters, as well as to develop an educational garden for Paintbox – the resort’s children’s program. “We are in the early stages, but the possibilities are endless. Gardens offer a wonderful starting point to engage the public, employees, guests and the community – and provide an ideal platform to share sustainability best practices.”

Benjamin Martinek grew up in a small Colorado town of 200. He worked in the town’s only “restaurant,” a dive bar, at the age of 11 and knew from then on that he wanted to become a chef. Being chef de cuisine at Montage Laguna Beach’s signature restaurant, Studio, is a dream come true according to Martinek. Over the last eight years, he has served on Montage Laguna Beach’s culinary team, first as a cook at fine dining Studio, then as an executive sous chef at all-day, casual The Loft, and now in his present position. 

For dining reservations, call (949) 715-6420. 

The Montage Laguna Beach is located at 30801 South Coast Hwy.

Laguna Beach Business Club presents Stu News’ Shaena Stabler

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

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

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

Laguna Beach Shaena

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

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

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

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

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

Seven7Seven is located at 777 Laguna Canyon Rd. 

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Alexis Amaradio, Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Lynette Brasfield, Marrie Stone, Maggi Henrikson, Samantha Washer, and Suzie Harrison are our writers and/or columnists.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

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