clear sky


Laguna Beach

Dianne’s Creature Feature

Costume idea? The bolas spider likes to “lasso” its prey and by night is a seductive male moth-eater


Halloween, the perfect day to celebrate a crafty Laguna spider. Well, maybe not celebrate, because there are many who aren’t particularly fond of any eight-legged-creatures. 

However, to shed light on a truly rogue and cunning arachnid living among us, I again sought out Lenny Vincent, the Spiderman.  

 One local spider, although it is classified as an orb weaver, doesn’t spin a traditional web. The bolas spider, Mastophora cornigera, has gone outside the box, or web, so to speak, and employs an especially ingenious method of hunting prey – more lasso than sticky trampoline.

It marches to the beat of its own drum, or bola, to be exact, as it is the only spider that uses a bola (from the name bolas, used in South America to entangle cattle or hunted animals) instead of a web to ensnare its prey. The bolas consist of a short silk thread that has a globule of sticky silk at the one end, while the other end is held by one of the first pair of legs.

Click on photo for larger image

Photos by Lenny Vincent

Female holding bolas

“Adult and large immature females swing the bolas at approaching moths they detect by airborne vibrations. The moths approach downwind. The glob of sticky silk adheres to the moth, and it is then wound in and bitten, and the prey is wrapped in silk and either immediately eaten or saved for later,” Lenny says.

But how do the spiders get their prey to come close enough to swing the fancy bolas snare?

Here’s the amazing part. 

“The prey is made up of only male moths,” says Lenny. “Some female bolas spiders are known to have the ability to produce a cocktail of pheromones that mimic the pheromones that female moths produce, an excellent example of aggressive chemical mimicry.” 

The poor unsuspecting male moth is fooled into thinking he’s flying in the direction of a sexually receptive female. For him, the cocktail hour proves deadly.

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Lenny Vincent

Female eating a wrapped male moth

Even more incredible, Lenny explains, is the fact that the spiders can adjust the components of the blend to better approximate the pheromone of the moths that happen to be active at a particular time of night. 

And as different species of moths become more prominent as the evening wears on, the spider adjusts its blend to coincide with the relevant moth species. 

The bolas also exhibit another clever means of mimicry. Females only hunt at night and in the daytime they rest on leaves, and appear to be bird droppings, fooling predators.

There’s no doubt that these are some smart little creatures.

Click on photo for larger image

Photos by Lenny Vincent

Two adult male bolas on abdomen of female, one male is between 4 and 5 o’clock

The bolas spiders’ disproportionate gender size represents an almost impossible mating task. “Adult males are less than 2mm, while females range between 10 and 20mm in body length,” reports Lenny. 

Laguna bolas capture prey and produce egg sacs throughout the year, on average approximately 150-300 eggs. Lenny says, “I usually find this spider in vegetation close to the ground mostly by first spotting the more conspicuous egg sacs. I have also found the spider hanging below the roofs of kiosks.”

And Lenny points out yet another quality specific to the bolas, the males emerge from the egg sac already mature. 

He says, “This is the only species I know of that does this. Females typically molt close to eight times to reach maturity.”

Are bolas spiders smarter than your average spider? Not sure, though any spider who lives in Laguna appears to have already made an intelligent choice.

Sound Spectrum celebrates its fiftieth anniversary

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Click on photo for a larger image

Jim Otto opened Sound Spectrum in Laguna Beach 50 years ago this year

Click on photo for a larger image

Sound Spectrum is brimming with vinyl albums, some old and some brand new – the wooden racks are the same original racks they built back in the day

Click on photo for a larger image

While the store definitely is the epitome of a flashback, there is music from every decade, past and present

Guest Column 

Bob Whalen, Laguna Beach City Councilmember

Undergrounding of utilities is a key safety issue

For more than two years now, my top priority has been to develop a plan to underground utilities citywide.  Power lines, transformers and poles looming overhead are the single biggest threat to public safety in our city. Every day they pose an imminent risk of starting a devastating fire that could take lives and destroy homes. 

Last Tuesday night the City Council, on a unanimous vote, took a big step forward to developing a plan for undergrounding utilities citywide. And we did so with good reason and a strong sense of urgency.  

There is a long history of fires in California caused by downed power lines and equipment—San Diego County, Malibu, Calabasas, Butte County, among others. While the official cause has not been announced, there have been numerous reports in the media that utility lines and equipment were a big factor in the Wine Country fires, now the single worst fire event in California history claiming 42 lives, burning more than 246,000 acres and destroying at least 8400 structures.   

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Dave Day

Laguna was lucky that these downed power lines did not spark a fire recently

But we don’t have to look around the state to understand the risk of utility caused fires. Since 2007 we have had at least four fires in the city ignited by utility poles and equipment. And in the last ten years on Laguna Canyon Road alone 58 vehicles have crashed into poles, often closing the road—one of only three ways in and out of the city—for extended periods. So far we have avoided a catastrophic fire due to great work by our Fire Department and other fire agencies and favorable weather conditions, but how long will our luck hold?   

Over 90 percent of our city is deemed a very high fire hazard area

Over 90 percent of our City is in the CalFire very high fire hazard severity zone. We are surrounded by 16,000 acres of open space.  We live with the memory of the 1993 firestorm that destroyed 440 homes in Laguna and burned 14,000 acres of surrounding open space. We have limited evacuation routes to escape a fire.  

As difficult as it may be to think about the consequences of another major fire in Laguna, imagine with me for a moment how utility poles and lines could create devastation in our community. The Santa Ana winds are blowing and lines go down sparking fires in one or more neighborhoods. 

Or a major earthquake hits and downed power lines spark fires, or ruptured gas lines spark fires, which then spread across the hills and transformers begin to explode as they did in 1993. Residents are trapped in their homes or trapped in their vehicles as they try to escape the firestorm.  

Imagine evacuation routes blocked by downed power lines

But [residents] can’t evacuate because downed poles and wires on Bluebird Canyon Road block the escape from Bluebird Canyon neighborhoods; downed poles and wires obstruct the escape route on Park Ave from Thurston Middle School and Alta Laguna; Top of the World and Temple Hills neighbors and students at TOW Elementary School are trapped by downed poles and wires on Thalia; Woods Cove and Diamond Crestview residents are stuck behind downed poles on Glenneyre and South PCH; North Laguna residents are trapped by downed poles on Monterey Street; and downed poles and wires block Laguna Canyon Road trapping Laguna Canyon residents and preventing others from using the inland escape route.  

…and first responders unable to respond

And while residents are unable to evacuate, the Fire Department, Paramedics, Police Department and other public safety personnel are unable to get access to the fire zone due to downed poles and wires.  The risk of one of these tragic scenarios playing out is all too real.

So what is to be done? The natural reaction is to ask the utility companies to help us underground. That was my first instinct as well following the July 3, 2015 fire in the Canyon which was sparked by power lines downed by a falling tree. Late on the night of July 3, just hours after the fire, I wrote a letter to the President of Southern California Edison asking him to meet and begin a cooperative effort to underground utilities throughout the City. We met and had similar meetings with SDG&E. Neither utility was willing to think outside the box to find creative solutions to fund the cost of undergrounding the City.  

Unwillingness of utility companies to help leaves only one alternative

The unwillingness of the utility companies to partner with us, their aggressive attack on our undergrounding ordinance and opposition to our efforts at the California Public Utilities Commission and in the California Legislature to promote undergrounding leave us with only one alternative—to shoulder the burden ourselves and develop a locally funded plan to underground the entire City.

This is a watershed moment for our City and we need to be bold in our proposals to address the number one threat to our public safety.  In my view, and I am joined in this by Councilmember Zur Schmiede who has been working diligently with me on the Council’s Undergrounding Subcommittee, we must present the voters in 2018 with ballot measures to underground the entire city.  An important component of this plan will be to commit City dollars on an annual basis to significantly reduce the cost for residents.  By contributing City dollars, I am confident that we can develop a plan that will reduce costs to residents by 25 to 35 percent from what undergrounding has cost in recent neighborhood assessment districts.

Ballot measures will allow a vote on a citywide financing plan

My goal is to place two ballot measures on the November 2018 ballot so voters will have a chance to vote on a citywide financing plan. One ballot measure, to be voted on by all voters in the City, would be to approve financing to underground Laguna Canyon Road and the other evacuation routes identified in last week’s agenda. bill. These are safety improvements that benefit all of us citywide. 

 In the event of a major fire or other disaster requiring evacuation, we all need these routes to get out of town as quickly as possible and to ensure that emergency personnel have access to the fire zone. The second ballot measure would apply only to the areas in the city that are not yet undergrounded. Residents in these areas will be asked to approve and pay for the cost of undergrounding their own neighborhoods. This approach makes sense in that it avoids having neighborhoods that have already paid to underground from paying a second time, which would not be fair. 

This plan will mean raising taxes, but I am optimistic that voters will see the wisdom of the plan and realize that it is an essential step to substantially reducing the risk of another disastrous fire in Laguna and ensuring clear evacuation routes for residents and ingress for emergency personnel in the event of an earthquake, fire or other disaster.

The time to take action is now

We can either sit by and do nothing, hoping that our luck will hold and disaster will not strike, or we can take action to protect our community.  The City Council has opted for action and it is my hope that the community will follow with its strong support to approve the plan.

In the one week since the Council action, I have been greatly encouraged at the overwhelmingly positive response that I have received to the Council’s action to move forward with a citywide plan. To me it is classic Laguna—we know when and how to rise to the occasion and do what is right for our City. It makes me proud to live here and to represent all of you.  

If you would like to be informed on this topic and help to implement a plan, please e-mail me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and I will add your name to the growing list of supporters.  

I look forward to your thoughts and input on this vital issue.

A Note from Shaena

Update on Katie Ford

Lifelong Laguna Beach resident, single mom of two daughters, and Stu News designer, Katie Ford, is fighting hard in the hospital, after being critically injured last Tuesday in an auto accident in Corona del Mar. Katie underwent extensive surgeries on Saturday, which were successful, but she is still in an induced coma.

From friend Jeff Jerger on Sunday:

“Saw Katie this morning and she saw me. She had her eye open and for sure recognized my voice and was trying to focus. She was real responsive to me with lots of movements and gestures. Read all the comments from the GoFundMe page []…and some other beautiful comments I’ve received from others. They will be tapering off the sedatives, and trying to get her off the tubes by early next week. It would be ironic if she spoke on Halloween…may make me start liking the holiday. Keep the prayers rollin!”

In addition to the GoFundMe page for Katie (, The Bungalow Restaurant has also put together a fundraiser for her, and will be donating 25 perceent of total sales (including both lunch and dinner) on Wednesday, Nov 1 to her and her family.

The Bungalow Restaurant is located at 2441 East Coast Hwy in Corona del Mar. Reservations are recommended and can be made through OpenTable.

Additional fundraisers for Katie are being planned and will be announced in the coming weeks.

Dennis’ Tidbits



October 31, 2017


November: the most wonderful time of the year in Laguna

Ah, yes, Halloween. At least I don’t need a costume. I look plenty scary as it is! I get terrified every morning when I look in the mirror to shave for cryin’ out loud!

Our weather is going through a major mood swing going from the 90’s last week to gloom and the 60’s this week as high pressure has now succumbed to a deepening trough of low pressure getting ready to plunge southward from Alaska in a big way with even our first chance of rain this coming weekend with even some snow in our high country as temps are plunging. 

Now that November arrives tomorrow, that’s about the time for our first significant cold front to plow through here. November starts to see some of those lows make it down here with an average November rainfall of about 1.2 inches but we’ve had some pretty hefty November rain totals historically. Our wettest November occurred in 1965 with 9.68 inches. In 1967 we got soaked with 8.67 inches. In 1951 a total of 6.62 inches fell and in 1970 we collected 5.05 and 1982 we got 4.41 inches. We’ve had three rainless Novembers, 1956, 1975, and 1980.

Our average hi-lo temp for November is 71-51 with our hottest November day of 95 on November 1, 1966 and our coldest November low of 34 on November 15, 1978. Ocean temps cool down to an average of around 62 degrees with the warmest having been 70 in 1997 and our coldest of 54 in November of 1978.

Our first significant west and northwest ground swells usually show up sometime in November depending on how expansive the Eastern Pacific high pressure ridge is. We can still see some influence from the southern Hemisphere and on two occasions there’s been a pulse from a couple of very late in the season Baja storms but that’s really rare. There was Winnie in 1983 and Xina in 1985.

Days are shorter as Daylight Savings comes to a close on November 5 as the sun will set before 5 p.m. until next January 9. Some of our best sunsets occur in November with brilliant Catalina sunsets from our vantage point here in Laguna. On the nicer days when temps can even reach the 80’s at water’s edge, our beaches are nearly deserted on the weekdays with minimal traffic plus there’s little or no marine layer. November is on of my favorite months but really, every month is a favorite when you live in Laguna! See y’all on Friday, ALOHA!

Director CeCe Sloan reflects on John Gardiner, Carrie Pohlhammer, Ava Burton, and the play SEVEN

SEVEN is a groundbreaking work of documentary theater that captures the remarkable lives of a diverse and courageous group of global women leaders. 

A collaboration of seven award winning playwrights, the play is based on personal interviews with seven women in the Vital Voices Group Leadership Network who have triumphed over enormous obstacles to bring about major changes in their home countries of Russia, Pakistan, Nigeria, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan, Guatemala and Cambodia. The play reading is directed and produced by CeCe Sloan.

Stu News asked CeCe about her feelings about this play. She was emotional about John Gardiner, who died just this last week. 

“He was a cast member, heard but unseen. He played against type, the voice of males…he was scheduled for the SOKA, and I am dedicating the reading to him,” CeCe said. “Several women in the cast are from Laguna Beach, namely Carrie Pohlhammer, poet friend of Jake, as she called him, and actor Ava Burton, both of whom I met through John.”

CeCe continues, “I started the Shakespeare Society here in Laguna Woods, more than ten years ago, following the demise of a collaborator for Walt Whitman Society here. I wasn’t comfortable following in the footsteps of a Whitman scholar alone. I found John about eight years ago for solo stuff, Shakespeare’s Fool, and made a contract with him to take us through the plays,” she says. “We spent months on Hamlet, setting up a mock trial of his guilt that would have been next spring, and now we were almost through Othello, and then a favorite of his, As You Like It. I made the contact for him with the Newport WS Tuesday reading group to which he was en route when he died.”

SEVEN will take place on Sat, Nov 4, from 7 - 9 p.m.,  at Soka University of America, Black Box Theater, 1 University Dr., Aliso Viejo. This public ticket event costs $3. All proceeds from ticket sales and donations will benefit Human Options-Breaking the cycle of Domestic Violence.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

“Women Making Movies” visits Laguna Beach with screening of two documentaries at the Woman’s Club

By Anjelique Alexander

The Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach will host its second annual Film Night this Thurs, Nov 2 at 7 p.m. The program consists of two short documentaries, “Mother” and “Learning to Love Me,” and were directed by Chapman University’s Dodge College film students. Both films explore issues regarding motherhood, self esteem, and the female body image. 

“Our emphasis this year was to promote local women and their stories in films directed and produced by females,” said Woman’s Club president Kitty Malcolm.

Click on photo for a larger image

Sara Chavez weighs in on her film about self-image

“Learning to Love Me” documents a woman’s journey to happiness and self-acceptance by losing over fifty pounds through a healthy meal program. Director Sarah Chavez said, “I hope to inspire people to have candid conversations about how society views us and how we reconcile that in our own minds about ourselves and others.” 

“Mother” follows three new mothers and their experience from living on the streets to finding support and inspiration through Casa Teresa, a non-profit organization that provides pregnant homeless women with a home and aid during their recovery. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Some of the cast and crew from the movie “Mother”

Christine Fugate, the Film Committee Chair and a professor of film at Chapman University’s Dodge College, facilitated in bringing these two films to Laguna Beach. “I recently watched a TED Talk by Naomi McDougall who emphasized that if we want to change the way women are treated in Hollywood, then we need to support women making films,” said Fugate. “I’m excited to bring these films to our community.” 

The student directors and producers of the films will be available afterwards to answer questions. In addition, a raffle with fun prizes, such as an aromatherapy session, a hair style session and an accounting session, will be held to benefit Casa Teresa. Wine, popcorn, and candy will be available for purchase. 

The Woman’s Club is located at 286 St. Ann’s Drive. Tickets are $10 and can be purchased online at or at the door. 

Free Laguna Community Concert Band Fall performance at LBHS Artists Theatre on Tues Nov 7

In the tradition of community concert bands, the Laguna Community Concert Band will present a free Fall Concert from 7 – 8:30 p.m. on Nov 7 in the Laguna Beach High School Artists’ Theatre.

The LCCB was created nearly twenty years ago by three local musicians, Dr. Bill Nicholls, Carol Reynolds, and Theresa Marino. The vision was for Laguna Beach to have their own community band that was open to all ages to the enjoyment of playing and performing music. Through the generosity of donors and grants, the band performs at community functions along with free concerts that are scheduled throughout the year.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Laguna Community Concert Band

The Laguna Community Concert Band invites everyone to attend their Fall Concert, under the direction of Principal Director, Mark Lowery and Associate Director Peter Fournier. The program will include Red Rock Mountain, Prelude and Fugue, Carmen Suite, Bolero, Onward and Upward, La La Land, Mary’s Boy Child, Canon, Greensleeves, with Light Cavalry Overture as a finale.

Great Debates in Jewish History course coming to Chabad Laguna Beach beginning on Nov 1

Beginning Wed, Nov 1 at 7 p.m., Chabad offers a new six-session course from the Rohr Jewish Learning Institute (JLI), titled Great Debates in Jewish History.

Rabbi Eli Goorevitch of Chabad LB will recount 2000 years of Jewish history through the lens of six epic debates that rocked the Jewish world and still resound powerfully today. In commemoration of 70 years since archeologist Eleazar Sukenik purchased the first Dead Sea Scroll in Nov of 1957, the community is invited to examine and unlock the stories of these ancient manuscripts and what their texts reveal about the heated dispute between the Dead Sea Sect and the Jewish establishment.

This JLI course invites participants to gain fascinating insight into six mega-debates that have split the Jewish community throughout our history, some of which continue to be debated today. Great Debates in Jewish History raises such questions as: Why were the authors of the Dead Sea Scrolls opposed to rabbinic interpretation? What motivated the rebels at Masada? 

Click on photo for larger image

Dead Sea Scrolls discussed at Chabad Laguna Beach on Nov 1

And what is the Jewish perspective on taking up arms in situations where defeat is inevitable? What role does nationalism play in Judaism? Are faith and reason mutually exclusive? What motivated the anti-Maimonideans in banning—and even burning—some of Maimonides’s works? And is religion designed to be a private and personal experience, or one to be proudly paraded in the public domain?

The goal of these sessions is to invite participants to seek out the rationale behind both sides of each debate—even sides they may disagree with. Like all JLI programs, this course is designed to appeal to people at all levels of knowledge, including those without any prior experience or background in Jewish learning.

Interested students may call (949) 499 0770or visit for registration and for other course-related information. 

Chabad is located at 30804 S. Coast Hwy.

For more information, contact: Perel Goorevitch This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

LB’s Daughters of the American Revolution support Wreaths Across America, ask for wreath donations 

Local Orange County chapters of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), including the Laguna Beach branch, ask friends, family, and business associates to donate wreaths to be placed on the more than 6,000 veterans’ graves at Pacific View Memorial Park.

Every volunteer who places a wreath on a veteran’s grave is encouraged to say that veteran’s name aloud and take a moment to thank them for their service to our country. It’s a small act that goes a long way toward keeping the memory of our veterans alive.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted Photo

Wreaths Across America provide wreaths for the holiday season and teach about respecting freedom 

Wreaths Across America pursues its mission with nationwide wreath-laying events amid the holiday season as well as year-round educational outreach inviting all Americans to appreciate our freedoms and the cost at which they are delivered. 

The event will take place on Sat, Dec 16, at 9 a.m., located at Pacific View Memorial Park at 3500 Pacific View Drive, Corona del Mar.

To donate a wreath or two, visit the link below. 

Once there, click on the big red “Donate” button on the right side: 

For more information about Wreaths Across America, please visit

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.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

Scott Brashier is our photographer.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: for questions about advertising


Email: with news releases, letters, etc.


© 2019 Stu News Laguna - All Rights Reserved.