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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!

Won’t you be my neighbor BBQ provides opportunity to get to know Laguna’s homeless on Friday, April 19


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

On Friday, April 19, from noon until 2 p.m. at Heisler Park, Laguna residents have a unique opportunity to meet and share a meal with members of the homeless community, many of whom might be familiar. 

This is the Second Annual Won’t You Be My Neighbor BBQ and chances are good that attendance will surpass last year’s event, which drew 200 people. Of course, significant incentives are BBQ fare prepared by Chef Patrick DiGiacomo and music provided by Eric Henderson, Zach Churchill, Jason Feddy, and homeless friends. The music last year was described as “the best in town.”

However, the key motivation behind the gathering is to demystify perceptions on both sides and begin healing the community, says pastor and event organizer Don Sciortino, which has become increasingly fragmented over this issue, he says.

Inspiration of Don Sciortino

Won’t You Be My Neighbor BBQ was the inspiration of Don Sciortino, founder of Net-Works, as an event that would bring locals together with those who are part of the homeless community in a sharing atmosphere, all in the spirit of healing. 

Net-Works Laguna Beach 501(c)(3) is both a nonprofit and a Christian Community (member of Association of Vineyard Churches). Their mission and desire is to create a community of relational networks in Laguna Beach that experience and express the love and power of God.

Sciortino admits that there are lots of misconceptions regarding the homeless population, many of which elicit emotional and sometimes hostile reactions. “Some are justified – a small percentage – but the bigger population want new opportunity, a new season in life, and friends to help them.” 

Wont you trio

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2018 Won’t You Be My Neighbor BBQ: (L-R) Don Sciortino, founder of Net-Works, Assistant Pastor Paul, and Chef Patrick DiGiacomo

“This is about connection instead of distancing ourselves, a chance for the city to face their fears and separateness and get to know some of the people that they’ve encountered. When you get to know each other by name, perspective changes on both sides,” says Sciortino. “For the homeless, it says this is about being yourselves, changing, you’re not what you think you are, and you can rise to the occasion. For residents, it tears down the wall of preconceived notions.” 

It seems fitting that it’s on Good Friday, a time of renewal and rebirth. 

Net-Works has many sponsors and partners who love them and what they do and support this endeavor: Kitchen in the Canyon, Stu News, KX 93.5, and St. James Episcopal Church (Culinary Kitchen) in Newport Beach. Students at LCAD are creating banners for the picnic.

Reaching out

This event is just one of many ways Sciortino reaches out to the homeless community.

Every Sunday morning, Net-Works feeds around 60 “street-friends” that come from the shelter and the streets to gather at the Woman’s Club for church services. Their website states, “Laguna Beach Street Art and Helping Hands FROM the Homeless are two opportunities for our street-friends to ‘come into a new season of life.’ Laguna Beach Street Art is an opportunity to both be creative and to make some money each week. The homeless and local artists come together and create jewelry for sale in some of our stores in Laguna Beach. Helping Hands FROM the Homeless is a work program we have begun to help our homeless friends give back and get back into the workforce and move out of homelessness.”

Wont you food

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2018 event drew over 200 attendees

In collaboration with Net-Works again this year, the presence and cooking expertise of Patrick DiGiacomo, who will be head chef, greatly enhances the BBQ fare. He’ll be serving up hamburgers, hot dogs, homemade salads, and special desserts from Kitchen in the Canyon. Much of the food will be donated by DiGiacomo’s church St. James Episcopal. (All the food and help is donated.)

How did Chef DiGiacomo come into the picture? He met Sciortino in Kitchen in the Canyon, which DiGiacomo formerly owned. After leaving corporate America, he graduated from Laguna Culinary Arts in 2008, and went on to volunteer as head chef at Orange County Rescue Mission, serving the homeless. Then he developed Kitchen in the Canyon (former site of Laguna Culinary Arts School). 

DiGiacomo gets involved

 DiGiacomo subsequently hired one of the members of Helping Hands FOR the Homeless at his restaurant and was sorry when the worker had to leave. He’s also hired day laborers from the group, and Sciortino admits that he is constantly networking for homeless friendly employers.

Kay Metis, another Net-Works advocate behind the event, appears to be a driving force in raising money for grants. After watching the progress of Net-Works, she wanted to be a part of their outreach and is currently helping Sciortino set up a formalized comprehensive development program. After moving to Laguna Beach, she helped start a foundation for Anneliese Schools, and then Metis wanted to find a way to work on national issues and changing culture by giving back to the community. Her 15-year-old son Mael, a freshman at LBHS, also volunteers. 

Wont you picnic tables

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 “First must come acceptance, a willingness on both sides to trust in the possibility of redemption, and that’s what this barbecue is all about.”

Sciortino says, “The majority of the homeless want to get back on their feet and move on from Laguna with some measure of sobriety and belief in themselves. Just last week, one of the alumni who went on to get his haircutting license came back to give haircuts to the homeless.”

One of the stories that Sciortino tells is especially affecting. Homeless, disabled, and sleeping on his motorcycle, Mike Masri credits Corporal Jason Farris, Community Outreach Officer, with saving his life. Masri’s letter of appreciation precedes this article. He also thanks Entertainment District Patrol Officer Zach Martinez. Officer Martinez works very closely with local businesses and Corporal Farris to help address homeless issues that may arise.

Masri’s story only solidifies Sciortino’s statement that, “The homeless should not be treated as projects, but as friends.” 

His hope is that as residents extend beyond their comfort zone to interact with our homeless community, the connection will lead to mending our city. 

A hand up, not a hand out

A resident who attended last year’s event relates, “Don is the magician who made this happen, who trusts that if you put people together, better understanding of each other’s views will be the result – at least for some, and at least for a while. He’s not naïve. But he is optimistic. He’s created programs that connect people who need workers with homeless people who need work. He’s witnessed the confidence that comes with feeling needed, productive.” 

One of Sciortino’s mottos keeps going through my head, “A hand up, not a hand out.”

“That’s the only way we’ll see real change,” he says. “The catalyst is the community.” 

The picnic area at Heisler Park is located at Cliff Drive and Myrtle Street.

If anyone wants to volunteer, help cook, donate food, etc. at the BBQ, contact Patrick DiGiacomo at (714) 296-9303 or Don Sciortino at (949) 328-7230.

For more information about Net-Works, go to

April declared Donate Life Month in Laguna Beach


Seven years ago, Joy Bradley got the phone call every parent prays they will never get.

A nurse told her to come immediately to the hospital. Bradley’s son, Brody Fleming, an athlete, had suffered a massive stroke. And she faced even worse than getting the call. With no hope for Brody, Bradley was asked to donate her son’s organs that perhaps would save another mother’s son, daughter or grandchild.

“Our decision (to donate) would have been what Brody wanted,” Bradley said at the April 2 council meeting, at which April was declared Donate Life Month in Laguna. “He has saved 60-plus lives.” 

According to the proclamation, a single donor of heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, pancreas and small intestines can save up to eight lives. Donations of tissue can save and heal the lives of more than 75 folks. A single blood donation can help three people. 

Millions of lives are saved and healed each year by donors.

California residents can sign up with the Donate Life California Donor Registry when applying for or renewing their driver’s license or identification cards at the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Mayor Bob Whalen presented the proclamation to Bradley and announced he has a little red dot on his driver’s license. The dot identifies him as a donor. 

The proclamation encouraged all Californians to check “Yes” when at the DMV or by signing up at or

Beautification Council seeks nominations for 2019 awards


The Laguna Beach Beautification Council has been presenting Beautification Awards since 1967 to residents and businesses for their efforts to enhance Laguna’s considerable charm. 

Now there is the opportunity to assist the council in honoring properties to be considered for the 2019 Beautification Awards. Residents, businesses, community organizations and neighborhood associations are invited to send their recommendations for properties that deserve recognition for beautifying the streetscape of Laguna. The deadline to submit nominations is 5 p.m., April 30.

“The Beautification Award looks at attributes that focus on visual beauty and enhancements as viewed from the street recognizing the people who have made a special effort to beautify our city,” said Council President Leah Vasquez. “The date and location of the presentation of awards will be announced at a later date.”

A primary requirement for an award is visibility. Whether on private or public property, the nominations must be visible from the street. Nominations may be made for properties in six categories, but only one per category.

--Residential: Single family or multi-unit such as condominiums and apartment complexes that beatify and improve the street/neighborhood experience

--Commercial/Business: Storefronts, sidewalk planters, private and public structures, hotels, libraries, schools, public venues such as festival buildings and other exterior improvements 

--City projects: Public areas – open space, parks, curbs/streets, stairways, street ends and beaches

--Art in Public Places: Murals, sculpture and art installations including benches not recognized by the Beautification Council in the previous five years

--Trees: Recognized because of their historic or special place-enhancing qualities – location, age, maintenance, uniqueness, being native or on the Heritage Tree List.

--Special recognition: The Harry Lawrence Award is presented to a person, group or organization that make a difference by funding programs for public benefit, as well as graffiti removal, improved maintenance or cleanliness, habitat improvement, tree or plant education and awareness, resource restoration and dedication to environmental sustainability

The Harry Lawrence Star of Excellence Award was conceived in 2013 as a way to honor the memory of the late Mr. Laguna, and to acknowledge a resident or business that has shown exceptional passion for the beautification of Laguna Beach.

Lawrence founded the Beautification Council in 1952.

The group’s mission statement says it all: “Our mission Statement is to maintain and enhance natural beauty and cleanliness within Laguna Beach, and to specifically encourage and promote beautification projects pertaining to streets, parks, the shoreline, and residential and commercial buildings through education and community involvement.”

More than 100 projects have been completed since the council was founded, including Lawrence’s beloved Main Beach Park, dubbed by him as the “Window to the Sea.”

New members are welcomed. Membership and contributions are tax deductible. 

The council is 501(c)(3) nonprofit. 

A green thumb not required. Willingness to spend time and effort is. Members assist city committees and busoness groups and often work to support highly visible projects such as the Sister City Garden, Nyes Bridge Park or the upcoming Laguna Village Entrance, according to council records.

Members often work and interface with community groups such as Village Laguna, the Laguna Canyon Road Task Force, the Historical Society, the Laguna College of Art + Design, and student organizations that, with the support of the Laguna Beach Unified School District, become a future generation devoted to beautifying Laguna.

And what could be more worthwhile than helping identify and honor folks who enhance Laguna. 

Nominations for the 2019 awards may be sent under the subject line “LBBC 2019 Award” to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Contact information is required: include nominator’s name, telephone number and/or email address, address of the nominee, name of the property owner, business or landscape designer, telephone number or email address and specify the award category.

Spring floral rainbow 

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Spring flora Lupine

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Spring floral clover

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Violet Owl’s Clover 

Spring floral all types

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A multi-colored array of loveliness

Silent Auction and Raffle Fundraiser tonight supports Laguna Beach Pride Festival

Today, Friday, April 12, Laguna Beach Pride Festival will host a Silent Auction and Raffle Fundraiser at Club Nirvana Grille from 6 - 10 p.m. Alexander Rodriquez of On the Rocks syndicated radio will be the host and master auctioneer. Pride Festival will return to Laguna Beach from May 31 - June 2. 

Silent Auction flag

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The community is invited to show support for Laguna Beach Pride Festival tonight

There will be 30+ different items up for auction totaling more than $9,000 in retail value. Many generous members of our local Laguna Beach community and beyond have donated items, including:

--Waterfront Beach Resort – A Hilton Hotel 

--Antony Kozz Photography 

--Bill Atkins Art 

--Pride Yoga OC 

--Surf & Sand Resort 

--Skyloft Restaurant 

--Mozambique Restaurant 

--Dizz’s As Is Restaurant 

--Men Alive – Gay Men’s Chorus 

--Palm Springs White Party 

--Nirvana Grille and Bar 

--Spaghettini Grill & Jazz Club 

--Roots Beauty Organic Makeup 

--Mike Tauber Art 

--Alan Miller Catering 

--Watermarc Restaurant 

--Festival of Arts 

--The Laguna Playhouse 

--Ganahl Lumber Co. 

--PPS Valet Parking Services 

--Enchanted Flowers 

--Disney Park Hopper Passes

This is an excellent opportunity for everyone to purchase items that often auction for less than half of the retail value, and to make a contribution supporting this year’s Pride Festival. 

Club Nirvana will have a no host bar and Nirvana Nibbles snack menu.   

For more information, visit

Club Nirvana Grille Rooftop is located in downtown Laguna Beach, at 303 Broadway Ave.

Laguna Candles expands through strategic collaboration with Ellen DeGeneres

Laguna Candles, maker of luxury-scented candles, proudly announces collaboration with the Ellen DeGeneres Show to make a custom fragrance and candle for Ellen’s “Be Kind” subscription gift box.

Laguna Candles and Ellen DeGeneres fans and followers are set to enjoy several benefits as a result of the collaboration. The star recently showcased her second subscription gift box a few weeks ago on the show with much fanfare and excitement.

Each item in the box was described, including the “Be Kind” candle that was made by local Laguna Beach candle manufacturer Laguna Candles.

“As a local, woman owned company, we’re very proud of being selected to collaborate with Ellen and her producers. We took the project on because we felt that our company aligns well with the ‘Be Kind’ to others and to be more environmentally conscious message that Ellen is fostering,” said Sharie Hendricks, Laguna Candles founder. 

“The production of 16,000 candles with a fragrance that smells like ‘Kindness’ was quite the challenge,” explains Sharie. However, Sharie said that her team of talented people took the project head on and, quite frankly, knocked it out of the park.

Laguna Candles Be Kind

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The “Be Kind” candle created by Laguna Candles in its Laguna Beach studio

Laguna Candles manufactured 16,000 scented candles plus the development of a custom fragrance. Each candle comes in a custom sprayed black matte vessel, with clear aqueous screen print with the words “Be Kind” displayed boldly. 

Sharie started Laguna Candles with the goal of offering sustainable and healthy products to her local community. She loves focusing on brands and products that do social good. This new partnership gives Laguna Candles the potential to reach a global audience who share a similar philosophy toward the products they purchase.

Founded in 2003 by Sharie Hendricks, Laguna Candles is the maker of luxuriously scented, hand-poured, custom and private label candles for hotels, spas, and retailors. The highly coveted Heirloom Artisan candles are poured in beautiful custom glass vessels, made in collaboration with local craftsmen who practice the noble art of glassblowing. 

All of Laguna Candle’s products are made with a proprietary blend of natural waxes and essential oils of the highest quality. In addition to its candle products, Laguna Candles also offers eco-friendly accessories for bath and body. 

Laguna Candles is a family-run business located in The Hive center at 821-A Laguna Canyon Rd.

Laguna Candles prides itself on its commitment to a sustainable environment through its product designs, manufacturing processes, business practices, and organizational culture. 

To learn more and view the entire Laguna Candles collection, visit

Mission Hospital physicians and nurses to model in Valiant Women Luncheon and Fashion Show

Valiant Women of Mission Hospital will celebrate their 25th anniversary at the annual Valiant Women Luncheon and Fashion Show on Friday, May 30 at the beautiful Monarch Beach Resort. The event begins at 10 a.m. with shopping at the silent auction and raffle drawings.

The event is made possible through the generous support of this year’s Presenting Sponsor, The Shops at Mission Viejo. A dynamic team of Mission Hospital physicians and nurses will rock the runway, serving as fashion models in summer designs from retailers at The Shops at Mission Viejo including: Brighton Collectibles, Chico’s, Soma, Swiss Watch Gallery & Fine Jewelers, Tommy Bahama and White House | Black Market. 

Models will have their hair styled compliments of Aveda Botanique Hair Salon and makeup provided by MAC Cosmetics. 

Mission Hospital runway

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Submitted photo

Mission Hospital physicians and nurses will rock the runway

Valiant Women is committed to raising $1.6 million before the end of 2021 to: 

--Invest in advanced medical and surgical technology to enhance patient care in The Birth Center and Women’s Wellness Center.

--Provide critical funding for nursing scholarships through the Valiant Women Nursing Endowment.

--Support wellness and prevention care at the new Judi and Bill Leonard Institute for Cancer Prevention, Treatment and Wellness.

Four treasured members of the Mission Hospital family will be recognized at the event as Valiant Women Heroes: Caregiver - Adrianna Barnes, RN; Grateful Patient - Michelle Lether; Volunteer leader - Mary Miyamoto; and Philanthropist - Barbara Massrey. 

Three incredible raffle items will be available: A cosmetic surgery package valued at $4,700 from Dr. James A. Heinrich; a ladies’ 14k rose gold and black rhodium silver ring with a 8.61 carat Smoky Quartz and 1.02 carats of brilliant cut pave set diamonds, valued at $3,950 from Swiss Watch Gallery & Fine Jewelers; and The Shops at Mission Viejo Dream Package with items from multiple retailers.

The event sells out quickly, so make arrangements to attend today by contacting Christy at (949) 364-4225 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit

Valiant Women is a group of dedicated community members, united by the Spirit of Giving™ and a common desire to ensure that women of all ages receive quality health care. This special group supports Mission Hospital and is dedicated to meeting the medical, surgical, educational, and spiritual needs of all women. 

Mission Hospital Foundation is the philanthropic catalyst for Mission Hospital. The foundation embodies the Spirit of Giving™ by building lifelong relationships with community members and raising funds for Mission Hospital. 

For more information, visit

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.

Where’s Maggi?

You know you’ve seen it. Now, where is it? Maggi needs to know!

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

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

Wheres Maggi 4 12 19

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