Laguna Beach

Chicago entertains, illuminates, and proves that we’re all voyeurs at heart: go see this show


I wasn’t in the audience watching the musical Chicago this last Sunday: I was part of the show – well, not really, but that’s how it felt at NoSquare, where the actors made the most of the small stage and enveloped us with their energy. I was mesmerized by the tale of the two murderesses, intrigued by the drama, swept up in the singing, and immensely grateful to be able to experience such terrific performances less than half a mile from my house – and so close-up…

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Juliet Schulein (Velma)

Sadly, Karen Rymar, who was to perform the role of Mama Morton, broke her ankle during Friday’s show – but of course, the show must go on, and Bree Burgess Rosen took her place, giving a fabulous performance even with script in hand. I’m in awe of the bravery of the actors who must have been more aware than ever of the confines of this stage and yet showed no fear as they pranced and danced to its very edges.

As someone who loves musicals but isn’t up to speed on their histories (I’m not really qualified to review performances, only to express my personal opinions), I was fascinated to read this in Director Joe Lauderdale’s Note: “Chicago was based on the real murderesses Beulah Annan and Belva Gaertner, as chronicled by Maureen Dallas Watkins for the Chicago Tribune. Watkins turned her reports into a play called Chicago, which opened on Broadway in 1926. Chicago the musical is based on that play. The amazing thing about Chicago, whether it was 1926 or 1975 [when it was first performed on Broadway] is that celebrities who do bad things are made media darlings by a public that craves controversy. The ideas are never out of date.”

I’m not sure if it is comforting or not to know that there have always been Kardashians and OJ Simpson figures – will there one day be a musical called Brentwood? – but either way, this show entertains, illuminates, and proves once again that we humans are happy voyeurs at heart.

As a non-professional reviewer (see above), I really can’t single out any one performance. I can only strongly recommend that every red-blooded Lagunan (and who isn’t red-blooded, that’s what I want to know) goes directly to the NoSquare website and reserves tickets for this splendid show. We’re lucky to have access to such great talent in our town, thanks to the dedicated NoSquare team.

Committees discuss potential changes in second unit (ADU) requirements 


Three committees and about 40 residents attended on Wednesday a workshop on second units---henceforth to be known as accessory dwelling units---ADUs. 

Representatives of the Planning Commission, the Laguna Beach Seniors Housing Task Force and the Housing and Human Affairs Committee came to hear the presentation by Community Development staff.  

However, many of the folks in the audience wanted to talk about Junior Accessory Units, which were not scheduled by Community Development Director Greg Pfost for discussion. 

“We will look at that when we go to the Planning Commission,” said Pfost to no avail.

Members of the Seniors Housing Task Force were among those who wanted more information on the junior units.

“I understand the junior accessory units are inside of existing structures,” said Laguna Beach Seniors President Chris Quilter. “I hope so because one of our focuses is older folks who may want to carve out space in their home.”

Housing and Human Affairs member Gail Duncan said her committee is focused on affordable housing for all ages, seniors and working people who cannot afford to live in town. 

Parking a major topic

Parking was also a major topic. Under consideration is allowing one public on-street parking space if parking is not exempted by state law and if required ADU parking is not feasible, based on topography and/or fire or life safety conditions.

To be discussed is the possible conflict between the Laguna’s Local Coastal Plan and the state parking requirements pertaining to visitor parking.

“There should have been a letter from the city attorney (Phillip Kohn) explaining the city’s position,” said former Planning Commissioner Norm Grossman. 

Grossman also commented that it would have been helpful if the staff presentation was available to the public prior to the meeting. It was subsequently posted on the city’s website.

Possible reduction of lot size requirement for second units

The staff, which had prepared the presentation, was looking for input on potential changes to the city’s second unit ordinance, particularly consideration of a reduction in the required size of the lot if the unit was restricted to folks with a low income. 

Currently, second units are restricted to 6,000 square-foot lots with a maximum unit of 640 square feet. 

Pfost also was interested in a suggested maximum size for a unit converted from a garage and a proposal to allow street if on-site parking is not feasible, based on topography and/or fire and life safety.

“Public safety is numero uno,” said Matt Lawson, chair of the Laguna Beach Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Committee.

Next steps include a tentative public review of the proposed draft ordinance. A hearing is scheduled for the Planning Commission’s Aug. 16 meeting, with a recommendation to go to the City Council on Sept. 12. 

A timetable includes a submittal to the California Coastal Commission in October and a California Department of Housing and Community Development review 60 days after adoption.

Chamber is moving right along, is seeking new executive director

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for a replacement of Executive Director Laura Henkels. 

“Laura is no longer with the Chamber,” said Chamber board President Ken Fischbeck. “She did a great job and I wish her well.”

He declined further comment on Henkels’s departure. 

Attempts to contact Henkels were unsuccessful.

A search committee has been appointed to interview candidates for the job.

Appointments are being made, Fischbeck said. 

Meantime, the Chamber is conferring with city officials on Billy Fried’s suggestion of a temporary park on lower Park Ave below the library in October and November, not on Forest Ave itself.

“The board will get feedback from the business owners and residents,” said Fischbeck.

An introduction to mindfulness and meditation for adults takes place on Wed, Aug 23

On Wed, Aug 23, Marion K. Jacobs and Elizabeth “Betsy” Parker, who both have PHds, will be presenting an introduction to mindfulness and meditation for adults. This is a one-time program for people that are curious about mindfulness, and the opportunity to try simple and relaxing meditation practices.

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Jumpstart your meditation on Wed, Aug 3  

The event takes place from 1:30 - 3:00 p.m, and is located at the Community and Susi Q Center, 380 Third St. 

No prior experience required. Both Marion and Elizabeth welcome anyone who wants to join and further their knowledge about the wellness topic. 

Admission is free, but to attend this class, log on to to register, or call 949 464 6645. 

And on that subject, here is a Laguna goat-a-rama 

Photo by Nanette Myers

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So much grass, so little time: late afternoon at Moulton Meadows Park

Join author Midge Raymond at LBB on Sun, Aug 13, as she discusses her new novel, My Last Continent

On Sun, Aug 13, at 4 p.m., Laguna Beach Books welcomes author Midge Raymond, who will be discussing her new book, My Last Continent. According to Laguna Beach Books, the novel is packed with emotional intelligence and high stakes, a harrowing, searching story of love and loss in one of the most remote places on earth, a land of harsh beauty where even the smallest missteps have tragic consequences. 

It is only at the end of the world, among the glacial mountains, cleaving icebergs, and frigid waters of Antarctica, where Deb Gardner and Keller Sullivan feel at home. For the few blissful weeks they spend each year studying the habits of emperor and Adélie penguins, Deb and Keller can escape the frustrations and sorrows of their separate lives and find solace in their work and in each other. But Antarctica, like their fleeting romance, is tenuous, imperiled by the world to the north. 

My Last Continent, novel by Midge Raymond, topic of Aug 13 event at LBB

As Deb and Keller’s troubled histories collide with this catastrophic present, Raymond’s novel takes the reader on a voyage deep into the wonders of the Antarctic and the mysteries of the human heart. 

Midge Raymond is also the author of the award-winning short-story collection Forgetting English. Her writing has appeared in TriQuarterly, American Literary Review, Bellevue Literary Review, the Los Angeles Times magazine, the Chicago Tribune, Poets & Writers, and many other publications. She has taught creative writing at Boston’s Grub Street Writers, Seattle’s Richard Hugo House, and San Diego Writers, Ink. She has also published two books for writers, Everyday Writing and Everyday Book Marketing. Midge lives in the Pacific Northwest, where she is co-founder of the boutique publisher Ashland Creek Press.

Laguna Beach Books is located at 1200 S Coast Hwy, Ste. 105, 949-494-4779. For further information, go to

Dennis’ Tidbits


August 1, 2017

I’m now in my seventies and so’s the water

Now it’s August and I’ll be 70 on the 3rd. What happened?! I can’t believe I’m still above ground. Some of my beach buddies will attest to that. Actually, now that I think about it, several of them owe me some major dollars, because when I made it to 65 they were already placing bets that McWeather certainly won’t make it to the 70 plateau. I better go collect tomorrow, that way they can’t conveniently forget about that wager. Knowing about their attention span I better put that first on the list of “ things to do.“

We got a nice little push from Hilary on Friday and Saturday with fun zone 3-5 ft. sets at a severe SSE angle. The water’s still warm in town at 72-74 and San Clemente recorded a 76 on Sunday. We’re on quite a roll here. 

Here’s a look at past Augusts and how they sized up…August of ’58, El Nino conditions with warm water all month and a very busy August wave wise with 22 days out of 31 with either yellow or red flag conditions. I was only eleven and I did not yet know what caused the big waves as Southern Hemisphere swells and Baja swells were not yet part of my meteorological vocabulary. My daily weather and surf records were still pretty raw back then as I only documented air temp., water temp. and the color of the flag being hoisted on that given day. I was already going out on some yellow flag days on a raft from George Moore’s raft and beach umbrella stand there at Broadway and Coast Highway. Wasn’t scared too much as I learned to swim at Main Beach when I was three so I was pretty water savvy by eleven. 

I would spend as much as six hours in the water on the better days and when you’re a skinny eleven year old you could actually knee paddle those rafts and catch waves on them and the rafts were pretty brittle when their air was really pumped up. You could stand up on those rafts and angle a bit before you got crushed in the closeout part of the wave which eventually happened at Main. Between sessions in the water a bunch of us groms would hang out under the Boardwalk and collect Coke bottles from tourists and take ‘em all down to Accord’s Market in a wagon and some days we made bank! I’m talking at least a couple of bucks apiece for each of us, more than any of us got in our Saturday allowance. Yea, great summer! Being a grom then was magical! 

Until Friday, ALOHA!

Belly dancers bring it to the Sawdust on Aug 20

In these days of gender bending and other related issues, what do men and women all have in common?  Belly dancing…well, there’s a bit of wriggle room in that statement. But it’s true that women love to do it and (sometimes) men love to do it and they (always) love to watch it.

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Laguna Beach’s only belly dancing troupe, JJ & the Habibis

Jheri St. James, principal of JJ & the Habibis Belly Dancing Troupe, says that she’s put together the perfect combination, “Men playing music for dancing women,” St. James says. She’s inviting everyone to enjoy “gender-inclusive fun” at the Sawdust Festival on August 20 at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m.

There’ll be additional guest performers St. James says, and a parade with live drums at 8 p.m., celebrating 30 years of art expression at the eclectic venue.

For more information, contact Jheri St. James (949) 494-5031,, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Three “old goats” combine forces and talents in aiding Nepal and finally meet up in the US

Three “old goats,” as executive director of R Star Foundation, Rosalind Russell, calls herself, Dan Laney, and Robin Pierson, all share an interest in R Star and helping the Nepalese improve their economy. The nonprofit R Star provides real live goats and thus income for Nepalese families impoverished by a devastating earthquake two years ago.

But despite their volunteerism for R Star and visits to Nepal, the three hadn’t met. Recently, they did, of all places, at the OC Fair, in the livestock arena (of course), where Dan is an official “goat judge.”

Rosalind and Dan had initially met on Facebook, became friends, and joined together in their respective missions to help Nepal’s economic growth one goat at a time. The two finally met in Kathmandu in late December 2016. 

Dan recently taught the women of R Star’s village better ways of caring for their animals’ health and wellbeing. He is also teaching the Livestock Department of Nepal how to instruct the villagers. 

Nearly a decade ago, Laguna Beach’s Robin Pierson, a former journalist, offered her writing expertise as a volunteer for R Star. She has twice traveled to teach at the Top of the World in Nepal, a school R Star built and runs with an attendance of 60 Wojethar village children. 

To promote their work, during her last visit to Nepal, Robin wrote about Dan’s goat training for the villagers. But because Dan lives in northern California, she interviewed him on the telephone, and they never met.

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L-R, Rosalind Russell, Dan Laney, and Robin Pierson finally meet at the OC Fair

Rosalind said, “The meeting was simply fun, filled with laughter with goats bah bah-ing in the background, with the smells of the sweet straw on the judging floor flooding our nostrils. It was like old home week in the barn, not like Nepal at all.” 

“The gathering was fun and educational as we watched and listened to Dan award the goat winners for their stock,” added Robin.

The three agreed to meet up in Nepal to continue efforts to assist the lives of the Nepalese. The Nepalese are still crippled by the severe home losses suffered during the quakes over two years ago, and these three are doing all they can to help.

In the meantime, they were grateful to meet in person in California, quite a contrast to Nepal. 

R Star is always looking for enthusiastic volunteers and generous donors. 

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call: 949 497 4911.

Who will pick up the “most unusual” or “most pounds” of trash at the Eco-Warrior beach cleanup?

Chris Tebbutt, realtor, is teaming up with the ECO-Warrior Foundation for its annual South Laguna Community Beach Cleanup on Sat, Aug 12 from 9 a.m. - 12 p.m.

“I chose to partner with James for his clear passion and no-nonsense approach to keeping our coastal environments clean. The ECO-Warrior Foundation is all about creating awareness, inspiring people to make a difference, and giving them opportunities to take action,” Tebbutt said. “James definitely leads by example and recognizes that it takes a village to make things happen in such a way that people want to show up and help.”

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Part of the “village” that helped pick up 500 pounds of trash last year

This year, the event will be stationed near the top of the stairs at West Street Beach so that volunteers can pick up supplies and clean up the beach of their choice. 

ECO-Warrior Foundation will provide free collection bags, gloves and data sheets for volunteers to keep track of the items they collect and how much they collected. 

The data is critical for the team to understand what kinds of trash are having the biggest impact on the beaches. Cigarette butts are among the most commonly found litter on the beaches.

The event will also include free lunch and drinks to all volunteers and a free t-shirt for the first 50 volunteers, along with music, prizes for the “most unusual” and the “most pounds” of trash collected.

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James Pribram, ECO-Warrior founder and realtor Chris Tebbutt

Given that South Laguna beaches get hit hard during the summer season, it is important for Tebbutt and partner James Pribram, Founder of ECO-Warrior Foundation, to focus on this area at least once a year.

OC Parks maintains and is responsible for the county beaches in South Laguna. 

“We greatly appreciate how hard OC Parks works and understand the pressure they are under to keep up with the constant load, especially during the summer season. OC Parks is very grateful for our support and are our partners for the South Laguna Community Beach Cleanup,” Tebbutt said. 

Not only is the cleanup very much needed due to summer traffic, it is also an event that brings the local community together to make a difference. Many neighbors come with their children and friends, as well as dedicated volunteers and camp groups from as far away as Riverside and Los Angeles. Many students participate to get volunteer credits for school.

The cleanup has become a special community event

“We aim to make the beach cleanup a positive, community experience. When volunteers come together for a common cause, something special happens. We encourage everyone to come and participate, regardless of who you are or where you live,” Tebbutt said.

Last year on Thousand Steps beach the event had 75 volunteers and collected approximately 500 pounds of trash. The goal this year is to double the amount of volunteers, although the team is not necessarily hoping to find more pounds of garbage on our shores.

Chris Tebbutt, a self-proclaimed possibility junkie, is a Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway California Properties. He serves on the Executive Board of Directors of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trustees for SchoolPower, the Laguna Beach Education Foundation, is Chair of the Laguna Beach LGBT Heritage & Culture Committee and holds a Bachelor of Architecture from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Chris lives in Laguna Beach with his husband Bob Fouhy and twin sons Owen & Charles Fouhy. 

James Pribram, founder of ECO-Warrior Foundation, is a Laguna Beach native, professional surfer, John Kelly Environmental Award winner and recipient of the 2011 Laguna Beach Patriots Day Athlete of the Year Award. His written work has appeared in the LA Times, Surfer’s Path, Surfing, Surfer, Water and numerous additional publications worldwide.

ECO-Warrior Foundation is a California and Federal non-profit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to preserving our oceans and beaches through education, activation and motivation.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut is our Chief Photographer.

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. Scott Brashier is our photographer.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

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