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Laguna Beach

Big week for LBHS Surf at both the Scholastic Surf Series Opener and Dana Hills League Event

Written by coaches Alisa Cairns and Scott Finn

[LBHS surf teams] had a great day at the Scholastic Surf Series Event #1 at 9th St in Huntington Beach. For this event LBHS had a bye in Team competition, so we went straight into the individual competition where we dominated each division Final.  

We had a mostly new young team participating and everyone really did an outstanding job. Some of the kids were needed to do double duty and Jameson Roller stepped up and surfed all three divisions and killed it. He finished first in Boys Longboard, second in Bodyboard and surfed well in shortboard. 

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Sam Starr, Ryan McGee, Lucas Jablon, Luke Hagopian, and Jackson Jenkins

Meanwhile Jackson Jenkins had a huge day making the Finals in both Longboard and Shortboard. He finished second in Longboard and fifth in Shortboard.

The surf was pumping all day and the weather was really nice too. We had five out of the six Boys shortboard Finalists, with each of the boys having some really nice rides in the Finals and along the way. When the Final scores were tallied Luke Hagopian finished in second, Lucas Jablon edged out Ryan McGee to finish in third and fourth, while Jackson and Sam Starr rounded out the final in fifth and sixth.

Our Girls held their own in the large surf and came out on top with Kelly Smith winning the Shortboard and Maya Takabayashi winning the Longboard.

Last Thursday saw Laguna take on Dana Hills in a league event at Salt Creek. The surf was good and our Surfers came out of the gates firing. Kiko Nelsen and Trey Lockhart went 1 and 2, while a few heats later Travis Booth and Sam Nelsen also ripped, taking second and third. Liam McCue surfed really well to finish with a win while Jake Levine had a fourth. Other standouts in Shortboard were Jeremy Shutts taking a first and Luca Elghanayan looking really solid to take a third. 

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Claire Kelly, Jade Howson, Kahlohe Danbara, Kayla Coscino and Kelly Smith

Our Girls were strong as usual with Kayla Coscino leading the way in shortboard snagging some excellent rides to take the win, while also taking a third in Longboard. Kalohe Danbara and Kelly Smith also looked good in shortboard taking third and fourth.

Meanwhile Claire Kelly was a big standout on a couple of waves in Longboard to take second. Travis also took a third in Bodyboard and Jameson had a fourth in Longboard. For awhile we were looking good for the overall win, but things started to change toward the end and we were edged out by eight points with an overall score of 88 / 80.

The next League event is on Thursday Oct 26. We will take on Dana Hills once again this time at our home break Thalia. Thank you to all the parents, friends and principal Jason Allemann coming down to cheer on the team.

Heidi Miller will donate a kidney, because, she says, “Saving a life? It doesn’t get any better than that”


The expression “You’re beautiful on the outside and the inside” is usually meant to pay tribute to the attractiveness of a person and fine quality of his or her soul. 

In Heidi Miller’s case, the saying is both metaphorically and literally true. Not only is the local businesswoman gorgeous and generous, but her insides are also in stunningly good shape. 

She knows this because the doctors at Cedars Sinai have made sure to check out every organ in her body. 

They’ve done MRIs, ultrasounds, x-rays and a slew of blood and other tests – and Heidi, they have declared, is in the pink, her insides just as healthy if not healthier than those of most people ten, even 20 years younger.

Why undergo this rigorous testing when Heidi has been perfectly healthy all her life – has never, in fact, been hospitalized?

“Saving a life? It doesn’t get any better than that”

Because Heidi Miller is going to donate a kidney to someone who otherwise might die within the year. Someone whom she’s known for years, but only casually until now. 

And because, “Saving a life? It doesn’t get any better than that,” she says.

Heidi should know. Back in 1991, she was the first to be a bone marrow donor at Hoag Hospital. Because of her gift, a young woman lived another 22 years, became a mother and a grandmother, and led a full life.

Now, (I can tell as I talk to her), it is really irking Heidi that she has two kidneys but could live quite well with just one, and yet it isn’t quite time to do the transfer to someone who dearly needs one.

That someone is Bruce W Cook, well-known editor and publisher of The Bay Window in Newport Beach.

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Submitted photo

Heidi with Bruce and Cathy Cook

Last May, an event was held at the Balboa Bay Club to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation, specifically kidney donations, because, as Heidi says, 22 people every day die waiting for a transplant. More than 117,000 patients are on the transplant list.

The event was also a not-so-subtle quest to find a kidney donor for Bruce. Heidi RSVPd but at the last minute could not attend.

Months later, she asked a friend about the event. “Four hundred and fifty people attended,” the friend said. “Nobody donated a kidney, though. Bruce is on dialysis three or four days a week and has been for five years now. He desperately needed a donor.”

Well, what might not be obvious to others, was obvious to Heidi. She called a friend, Cindy, who had been a kidney donor. “Would you do it again?” she asked. “Yes,” Cindy said. 

That was enough for Heidi. Immediately she called Bruce to find out his blood type. It was a match. “Give me your doctor’s number,” Heidi said.

Bruce, overwhelmed and grateful, did just that. Heidi researched organ donation. Numerous tests were done.

She and Bruce were medical matches in every way.

“I know exactly what I’m getting into,” she told me. “I know the potential size of the scar (small) and how quickly I am likely to heal (two to three days in the hospital, outpatient monitoring after that, back to full health within 60 days, probably less). I’ve researched every detail. It’s so great, though, kidneys from living donors last years longer in the recipient’s body, which is so good to know!” Her enthusiasm was palpable.

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Submitted photo

Heidi at the Cedars Sinai Transplant Center

Months of more tests followed Heidi’s decision – medical tests to ensure compatibility of donor and recipient, psychiatric tests to ensure that both knew what they were taking on, financial questionnaires to ensure that Heidi was in a strong enough position to be able to take time off work, and hearings before the Transplant Board of Cedars Sinai.

“Well, I’m single and I run my own business,” Heidi said. “So they were a little concerned about that. But I have the most amazing network of friends, so I knew I’d be fine, especially with the support of the community.”

I imagine that the doctors realized early on that Heidi was a force to be reckoned with – and indeed, her friends and family have rallied around, with none daring to question her decision, and all determined to make the path as easy as possible for her.

She was very touched by a voicemail she played to me from her father, an ethicist, who congratulated her: “Heidi, this is so you…it’s magnificent…you’re a wonderful human being,” he said.

There were some challenging moments along the way before the swap was finally fully approved, but Heidi says Cedars Sinai has been wonderful. “I feel very special when I’m there,” she said.

Hoping for a “multiplier effect”: Awareness event is planned

Heidi did wonder about the relative size of her kidney – how a man of six foot five inches would survive on a kidney taken from a woman of five foot three – but the doctors reassured her that the donated kidney would grow large enough to play its necessary role in Bruce, and that her remaining kidney would adjust to do its job in her body.

One of Heidi’s closest friends, Kelly Perkins, has lived with a donor heart for 22 years, another factor in Heidi’s passion for this project.

“I’m hoping there’ll be a multiplier effect if I donate my kidney, that it will increase awareness and maybe encourage others to donate organs, saving more lives than just one,” Heidi adds.

She’s already working a plan to develop an advocacy group that will explain the process to potential donors and make the possibility feel less intimidating.

Heidi’s surgery date is November 17. On November 9, she’ll be holding a wine and cheese “donation awareness” event at her store, Tight Assets, near the movie theatre on Coast Highway.

“Of course, I’m also hoping people will shop early for Christmas while they are here,” she says, with a sweeping gesture that takes in the eclectic range of clothing, jewelry and other items that make Tight Assets a wonder of a store. 

“But the main thing is to let people know that being a donor is a great, rewarding experience. It shouldn’t be an extraordinary thing to do! I mean, we have two kidneys, and we only need one!” 

Donating a kidney is an extraordinary thing to do though, especially for someone who is neither family nor close friend – Heidi is indeed beautiful inside and out.

Don’t miss Halloween parties this Saturday (because it’s kind of like a graveyard on Halloween Night)

With Halloween in the middle of a week (Tuesday, to be exact), our organized celebrations are a bit quieter than usual this year in Laguna Beach. Even our kids’ Halloween parade was a full week in advance of the holiday, which means all those kids are probably still sleeping in their costumes every night until they get to the real candy-collecting evening. 

There are, however, two great Halloween-oriented facts to report:

Fact #1: Three restaurants/bars are doing their Halloween party celebrations on Saturday, Oct. 28. Much easier to stay awake through the pretend-witching hour with live music and costume parties to keep you busy.

Fact #2: On Halloween night, the Dodgers might still be playing in Game #6 at Dodger Stadium. We’ll all be throwing a few spells for them if that’s the case. 

Three Halloween Parties worth scaring up an outfit for

Mozambique is celebrating its (spooky) 13th Annual Halloween Party on Sat Oct 28, which makes it the longest running live-music party in Laguna Beach. 

This tends to be a giant bash of fun, costumed craziness, and with the downstairs Durban Room now in the mix with its own live music all evening long, it’s sure to be a full house.

Upstairs in the main music lounge, it’s Alligator Beach, a super high-energy funk and R&B band from Los Angeles. Mozambique’s booking agent tied them up way back in August when all the rest of us were thinking about margaritas and beach reading. He says there’s nobody better, and he does tend to have a knack. 

Below in the new speakeasy, The Durban Room, it’s initially Kirk Wilson at 7 p.m.

Raised in New Orleans where voodoo and black magic are as common as ice cream, Kirk’s wild piano should be quite suiting. Then, Francois Dean and his band of amazing musicians takes the stage for Late Night from 10 p.m. to well past the witching hour.  

Full menu and bar throughout the restaurant. Cover for main lounge party and costume contest is $10. Durban Room has no cover charge.

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Photo courtesy Mozambique

Weirdly fun!

The Cliff is back in the game with its Third Annual Halloween and Costume party on the same evening (Saturday). 

The VIP Package offer has already expired (darn it), so we have General Admission, which is $10 online and $15 at the door. This allows entry access at 7 p.m. 

Laguna favorite Stone Jonez will be in play, and the costume contest takes place at 10 p.m. Full menu and bar, of course, with Espolon Tequila and Skyy Vodka sponsoring the event … which could be an interesting Halloween mix, indeed. 


Skyloft is the newest vampire in this Halloween league, but the feeding frenzy actually belongs to the crowd. Skyloft’s crazy popularity continues with giant lines out the door every weekend night. 

Celebrating its second Halloween party, Skyloft is preparing for a potential hefty crowd as they’ve booked the fantastic Reggae band,Upstream, to begin playing as soon as the Ohio Buckeyes game is done (around 5 p.m.). 

Then, uber-talented Myra Washington, an LA singing maven with a five-piece rockin’ band takes the stage. I’ve seen this band in person and they certainly bring the energy and the heat, plenty to warm the cockles of your heart … wherever your heart might be in that costume of yours. 

Full menu and bar all evening, main level and Roof Deck. Costume contest at Skyloft, too, and cover charge is $10. 

Halloween Night

In lieu of significantly large parties on Halloween night, the Laguna Playhouse is presenting a “Dine Around Party” with our four Canyon Festival Center restaurants, Another Kind Café, Kitchen in the Canyon, Ivory Lounge and 7 Degrees. Each restaurant is offering seasonal tastes with Seven Degrees providing music, dancing and costume contest. Tickets are $100, and you might be able to squeeze yourself in still by calling (949) 715-3257. 

If the Dodgers are still on a magical roll, and if they haven’t taken the entire series already, pop into Skyloft on Halloween night where they’ll have 25 TVs tuned to the game with sound on.  With a game start at 5:09 p.m., you won’t even have to feed trick-or-treaters. (Did I say that in my outside voice?)

Be safe out there!

Diane Armitage is the best-selling author of the book, The Best of Laguna Beach, and offers a cornucopia of ideas and upcoming events at her blog,

Board of Realtors accepts grant applications for funds raised at A Taste for Charity & Pet Parade 

The Laguna Board of REALTORS® and Affiliates’ Charitable Assistance Fund will accept written grant applications for donations from its 2018 fund raising events: the 23rd Annual A Taste for Charity and the 21st Annual Pet Parade & Chili Cook Off.

Proceeds are donated to local nonprofit, registered 501c(3) organizations and the Laguna Board of REALTORS® CAF general fund.  

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Board of Realtors wants to reward the heroes among us (pic from Pet Parade)

Priority is given to groups which are generally smaller in size, serve local needs and do not have other consistent funding sources. Scholarships are also awarded to qualifying Laguna Beach High School students. Prior recipients may reapply.

Groups are invited to apply for these grants by contacting Nancy Pooley, President of the Laguna Board of REALTORS® & Affiliates’ Charitable Assistance Fund at 949.230.3353 or go to LBR.CAF.INFO to download the application.

The last day to submit an application is Nov 30, at 5 p.m.  Applicants will be notified of the selection committee’s decision by mid Dec.

Food drive for Laguna Food Pantry is set for Nov. 1–17 at churches, schools, US Bank, & curbside pickup

In observance of National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month, Laguna Beach residents are invited to contribute nonperishable food items to help their neighbors in need during the 2017 Laguna Food Pantry Citywide Food Drive.

Sponsored by the City of Laguna Beach and Waste Management for the eleventh year, the food drive benefits the Laguna Food Pantry, which provides free, fresh groceries to hundreds of families in need in south Orange County. 

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Photo by Barbara McMurray

LBHS students (clockwise from upper left) Grace La Montagne, Timmy Crawford, Sierra Read, Kaitlin Ryan, and Molly Cohn are eager to help spread the word about the Citywide Food Drive benefiting the Laguna Food Pantry

There are three ways to participate in this year’s food drive: 

Drop off food donations at any of the collection sites: U.S. Bank at 310 Glenneyre Street near Forest Avenue, which has a year-round collection box, or at local participating churches. Students can bring donations to Laguna Beach public and parochial schools and Anneliese school campuses.

On their regular trash service days now through Nov 17, Waste Management personnel will pick up the food and take it directly to the Pantry. Laguna Beach residents may place nonperishable food items at the curb in a box or bag marked “food donation.” 

To boost participation, food drive donors who use social media are encouraged to post photos of themselves with their donations, using the hashtags #LagunaFoodDrive #LagunaFoodPantry and #LagunaBeachCares.

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Photo by Lynette

These are the Food Pantry’s most-needed items

Donors are asked to consider that the pantry’s most-needed items are cereal, pasta, pasta sauce, canned tuna, peanut butter, jelly, rice and beans, and packaged macaroni and cheese, and to check freshness dates. Monetary donations are even more welcome because they allow Pantry volunteers to purchase food in bulk at deeply discounted prices. 

“We are delighted to again be working with Waste Management and the City of Laguna Beach to collect food from our generous neighbors,” said Anne Belyea, Laguna Food Pantry executive director. 

“Orange County is among the country’s most expensive places to live, and housing takes a disproportionate bite out of many families’ budgets. For hundreds of adults and children, we provide a weekly safety net that makes the difference between proper nutrition and a proverbial cupboard that’s bare.” 

Every weekday, Laguna Food Pantry collects and distributes 3,500 lbs of free, fresh, nutritious groceries, serving more than 400 families in need each week. Half of those families include children. 

Located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Road north of the Dog Park, the Pantry is open from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. New volunteers are always welcome. Phone: 949-497-7121 or visit

Journalist David Clary appears at LBB to discuss his new book Gangsters to Governors on Nov 5

On Sun, Nov 5 at 4 p.m., Laguna Beach Books welcomes San Diego journalist David Clary to the store to discuss his first book, Gangsters to Governors: The New Bosses of Gambling in America.

In Gangsters to Governors, David Clary investigates the pros and cons of the shift toward state-run gambling. Unearthing the sordid history of America’s gaming underground, he demonstrates the problems with prohibiting gambling while revealing how today’s governors, all competing for a piece of the action, promise their citizens payouts that are rarely delivered. 

Clary introduces us to a rogue’s gallery of colorful characters, from John “Old Smoke” Morrissey, the Irish-born gangster who built Saratoga into a gambling haven in the nineteenth century, to Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate who has furiously lobbied against online betting. 

David Clary’s debut book, Gangsters to Governors

By exploring the controversial histories of legal and illegal gambling in America, he offers a fresh perspective on current controversies, including bans on sports and online betting. Entertaining and thought-provoking, Gangsters to Governors considers the past, present, and future of our gambling nation.  

David Clary is a news editor at The San Diego Union-Tribune. Before joining the Union-Tribune in 2002, he worked in a variety of editing and design roles at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. Clary is a native of Central New York, and is a graduate of Syracuse University with degrees in newspaper journalism and political science. He lives in La Mesa with his wife, Jackie, and their two children.

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

Laguna Beach Garden Club Speaker Program will feature A Traveling Gardener on Nov 10

On Fri, Nov 10, Linda Larson of Mesa, AZ presents A Traveling Gardener – Wandering, Wondering, Noticing. Linda will be highlighting the opportunities that travel offers to visit distinctive landscapes filled with art and architecture, a sense of place, and the human benefit of time spent in nature. 

This program is part travelogue, part inspiration and part motivation. Linda will be featuring beautiful images from gardens of North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. The Traveling Gardener program is an invigorating prescription for anyone intrigued by nature, travel and the environment to consider the revitalizing quality of garden visits. Linda is an advocate for the importance of public green space and the value of nature in our lives.

Submitted Photo

Linda Larson presents A Traveling Gardener 

The Laguna Beach Garden Club meets on the second Fri of every month, Sep through May at the Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Avenue.  At 9:30 a.m. there is the social, 10 a.m. general meeting. The  public is welcome, there is no charge for guests on their first visit. 

Before or after the meeting, browse the outdoor “Garden Boutique” where donated garden-related items and plants can be purchased at “dirt-cheap” prices. Fantastic garden gloves only $7/pair. Parking: Free in the Laguna Canyon Road lot (spaces 300-422) or $3 for all day in spaces 185-228.  For more information on the garden club:

LB Lions Heart Teen Service Group collects your unwanted Halloween candy for Operation Gratitude

Don’t know what to do with all the leftover Halloween candy? For the fifth year, the Laguna Beach Chapter of the Lions Heart Teen Service Group will collect excess unwanted Halloween candy from the community to donate to Operation Gratitude.

There will be a candy collection bin at the Laguna Beach Library from Nov 1-9, as well as collections via some of the local schools and preschools. Letters and drawings of appreciation to veterans, wounded heroes and first responders are also welcomed.

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Unwanted Halloween candy collections from Nov 1-9

Annually, this organization sends 200,000+ care packages filled with food, entertainment, hygiene, and handmade items, plus personal letters of appreciation to veterans, first responders, new recruits, wounded heroes, their caregivers, and to individually named US service members deployed overseas and their families waiting at home.

Operation Gratitude’s mission is to lift the spirits and meet the evolving needs of the military and first responder communities, and provide volunteer opportunities for civilians anywhere in America to express their appreciation to all who serve our nation. 

For more info, go to:

Mayor to speak at Canyon Conservancy meeting on Nov 6 – reservations must be made by Nov 4

Mayor Toni Iseman will be the guest speaker at the Laguna Canyon Conservancy dinner set for Nov 6, at Tivoli Too.

Iseman is expected to address the state of the city, and environmental issues near and dear to the hearts of conservancy members, such as the Laguna Canyon Planning Study and the Cal Trans proposed safety road. 

A no-host bar will open at 6 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6:35 p.m.

The dinner is open to the public. Tickets are $10 for members, $15 for non-members. Conservancy memberships are $10 for a calendar year. 

Reservations are required and under a new conservancy policy, must be made by the Saturday before the event to ensure Tivoli Too has time to accommodate everyone. 

Better yet, make reservations as early as possible. The mayor is a popular speaker and seating is limited. 

“The last thing we want to do is change the numbers at the last minute, because Tivoli is very generous to us,” said board member Max Brown. “Where else can you get dinner for $10?”

Nov 4 is the deadline for reservations by mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling Brown at (949) 235-8277. Include names for which reservations are made. 

If forced to cancel, the conservancy would appreciate notification by phone.

--By Barbara Diamond

School gardens receive generous cash gifts from Laguna Beach Garden Club for a total of $4500

On Thurs, Oct 9, Lynn Jax, President of the Laguna Beach Garden Club, Inc. presented three Laguna Beach Schools with a check for $1500.00 each for their school gardens, for a total of $4,500.  

Thurston Middle School’s Canyon View Learning Garden is ready for fall planting. Looking ahead, Health and Home Economics classes will be planting fall crops in the five raised planters. Thurston’s Eco Club will be creating landscape design for a butterfly garden to be proposed for the Markee planter in front of the school.  

The continued financial support of the Laguna Beach Garden Club has allowed Thurston to grow and irrigate their edibles garden, provide funding for tools and seed, help maintain garden fencing, create a rock mosaic surrounding one of the native/succulent gardens, and now will contribute to the creating of the butterfly garden.

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Submitted photo

Pictured in front of Thurston Middle School Gardens (L-R): Lynn Jax, President, Garden Club, Anessia Raymond, El Morro Elementary, Parent Coordinator, Outdoor Garden Classroom, Penny Dressler, Thurston Middle School, Health/PE Teacher, Ecology Club Mentor, Canyon View Garden Coordinator, Kelly Osborne, Top of the World Elementary, Garden Coordinator, Dee Perry, School Garden Liaison, Garden Club

El Morro Elementary Learning Garden engages students in all aspects of gardening and nutrition with hands-on activities in the garden from planting, weeding, general maintenance to harvesting and enjoying the fruits of their labor.  

Garden-themed lesson plans are used to enhance the students’ understanding of math, science, nutrition, reading and writing. \ The Learning Garden is a place to inspire a love of learning.

Top of the World Elementary has promoted their grade level projects creating gardeners at all ages. Kindergarteners experiment with plants that get no water and reduced sunlight. First and second graders will be introduced to the concept of square foot gardening by using garden twine to divide the plants. Third graders will learn about saving seeds as they harvest tomatoes and pumpkins. 

Fourth graders explore California Grows!  from desert dates and coastal grapes to the central valley almonds. Then they’ll plant artichokes. Fifth graders will start the yearlong process of growing and caring for a colonial garden, planting many varieties from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello Plantation, including English Peas and crookneck squash.

Laguna students benefit from the opportunity to work the earth and learn conservation and healthy habits via these outstanding school programs, excellent teachers and parent volunteers. The Laguna Beach Garden Club, Inc. steadfastly supports these programs helping them to grow and thrive.

For more information on the garden club:   

The Garden Club holds monthly meetings on the secon Friday during the months of September through May, where they host many presenters on a variety of topics. Meetings are held at Tankersley Hall at the Laguna Beach Presbyterian Church, located at 415 Forest Ave. There is no charge for guests on their first visit.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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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.

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