Laguna Beach

Become a Tidepool Docent and educate the public; Laguna Ocean Foundation needs volunteers

The Laguna Ocean Foundation is currently looking for volunteer Tidepool Docents to educate the public about the unique ecology in Laguna’s protected tide pools.

Explore the opportunity to become a Tidepool Docent and experience the excitement of sharing the marine life in the tide pools with locals and visitors. 

The next class training will be held on Tues, Sept 19, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

Become a tide-pool docent and this may be your office: Sea life at Shaw’s Cove

Docents are required to be at least 18 years of age and volunteer at the tide pools at least once a month at Crescent Bay, Shaw’s Cove, Woods Cove or Goff Cove, all within the Laguna Beach Marine Protected Area. 

 Laguna Ocean Foundation is dedicated to sustainable ocean ecosystems protecting and preserving the intertidal zone, watersheds and ocean waters of Laguna Beach. Their purpose is to engage with the public about the importance of protecting these resources through outreach and education.  

To sign up for the program or for further information, contact Letty Skeen, Tidewater Docent Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 949-400-6032.  

Barbara’s Column

Firefighters flipped for a good cause



Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The Exchange Club’s annual Labor Day Pancake Breakfast is always a labor of love, but more so this year.

In addition to the funds raised to prevent child abuse, the breakfast helped the Laguna Beach Firefighters Assn raise money for the folks left homeless by Hurricane Harvey. Donations are being accepted on-line at Click on Donate and write in Hurricane Harvey.

“This was a wonderful, loving opportunity to help the survivors of a horrible disaster and of abuse,” said Sande St. John, in charge as always.   

Twenty firefighters participated in the breakfast: Don Conway, Brian Adams, Adam Schulenburg, Kurt Bladergroen, Tony Carlson, Brent Buccola, Forest Lazicki, Brandon Hawkins, Jeff White, Chris Ornelas, Danny Kulscheuer, Thomas Padden, Al Pacheco, Chip Gilmore, Pat Cary, Division Chief Api Weinert and Captains Ed Valdez, Andrew Hill and John Kuzmic. Matt Rolfe was in charge for the association, sprung from duty by Scott Hammond.  Interim Fire Chief Kirk Summers took his turn at the grill.

Click on photo for a larger image

L-R: John Pietig, Frank Buckner and interim Fire Chief Kirk Summers

Kuzmic and Carysold department T-shirts to raise money for association programs. Gilmore’s eight-year-old son, Cooper, was in charge of the chip reader. The T-shirts are also sold online. Pink Tees are available to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. 

Beach Patrol Officer Aureliano Beccera was detailed to deliver pancakes and sausages to retired Captain Eugene D’Isabella. “Diz “was at home recovering from an operation and unable to drive his beloved 1931 Seagrave Pumper, which still needs a home to protect it from deterioration. Hill subbed behind the wheel, not an easy drive. 

“It was more like controlled braking,” said Hill. 

Lifeguards Porter Hogan, Steve Mais and Maddie Johnson showed up by 6 a.m. to set up the grills. 

Animal Control Officer Chris Holub attended the breakfast, but not in uniform. He was just recently cleared to return to duty after a liver transplant.

Click on photo for a larger image

Doug Miller entertains the crowd

Service began shortly after 7 a.m. People arrived early this year to beat the heat, but the breakfast is the true harbinger of fall in Laguna, “weather” or not. 

“The breakfast is the unofficial take-back of the town,” said St. John. 

By 11 a.m., City Councilman Steve Dicterow had handed out more than 600, each customer paying $5 (and sometimes an added contribution) to Kathryn Delp Dew and Bob Lively, for a grand total of $3,200. 

Early birds included Ken Jillson and Al Roberts, founders and funders of AIDS

Services Foundation. Heidi Miller stopped by before heading downtown to open her South Coast Highway shop, Tight Assets. 

The Dog Days of August obviously flopped over to September. 

Peggy and City Manager John Pietig included “Boomer” in their outing. George Nelson, owner of Fawn Memories on Forest Avenue (where Fire Department T-shirts are also sold) was accompanied by Speedy, a rescue, and Cissi Frigarde, who was walking Bob Mosier’s Pomeranian, Black Jack. Karen Martin’s Charlie came from South Korea and responds joyfully when he hears someone speaking Korean said his owner. Duke tagged along with Susi Q board member Ruth Stafford

Click on photo for a larger image

Skipper greets Heidi Miller of Tight Assets

Cat owner Mayor Toni Iseman attended the breakfast, sans pet.

Patriots Day Parade Committee member Christopher Tomlin stopped off for breakfast before going on to the annual committee meeting at the Susi Q where the section of officers was to be held. 

Diane and Carl Kloke had made their contribution to help the victims of Harvey even before the breakfast.

“We sent a check to the Red Cross, because they were the first one here when we lost our home in 1993,” she said. 

Locals at the breakfast included Karl Koski, Barbara Ring, Bobbi Cox, Joslyn Aitkin, Lily Portia, Jim Rue, Margaret Warder, Shirley and Laguna native Storm Case.

Also: Riley, Reese, Kate and Allie Weinert, Trudy Josephson, Carolyn and former Community Clinic Director Dr. Tom Bent, first-timer Andrea Wallace and Glori Fickling, who just turned 91, not 90 as previously written by this reporter. 

Breakfast volunteers assisting St. John included Sandy Thorton, Connie Burlin, Cindy Adamson, Diane Chesney, Water Melon Fairy Jessica de Stefano, violinist Doug Miller and Housing and Human Affairs Committee member, Gail Duncan

But wait – there’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading

Dennis’ Tidbits


September 8, 2017

Turmoil in the east, tranquil in the west…a bit too tranquil…

The Atlantic Basin and the Gulf of Mexico are on steroids big time, while the Eastern Pacific is on Valiums.

We’re closing in on one of our flattest summers on record. Today was no different; Knee high for three year olds. Can’t buy even a three-foot wave. As far as Texas and soon to be Florida, well, the complaint dept. is closed. We’re so blessed that we don’t have to deal with all the devastation. Here I am bitching about a flat spell. Shame on me! 

Southern Cal has only had to deal with three tropical systems in the last 159 years.

Nights have been really balmy as of late with temps not sinking below the 68-70 mark but ocean temps have lost about five degrees thanks to some pretty stiff westerly winds lately.

Notable September Baja swells of the past…Of course the biggest Baja swell in memory was in September of 1939 when waves up to 20 ft. hit Laguna dismantling the old pier. 

In late September of 1963 a triple overhead Baja swell just happened to show up for the annual Huntington Beach contest at the Pier. The side current was like a river moving at 8 mph.  When it’s that big coming in at that severe angle there’s no choice but to shoot the pier. A lot of boards broke in half trying to navigate through the pilings but no surfers broke in half, thank God!

In September of 1966 a giant severe angle SSE monster put Newport Point at 15th St. on the map as Pipeline came to Newport thanks to Category 5 Kathleen off Baja’s tip. A handful of Hawaiian surfers were there and claimed it was just as heavy as the North Shore’s Pipeline except Newport has a sandy bottom compared to coral reef in Hawaii.

In September of 1972, Kathleen’s name came up again and sent a similar size swell. I might note here that the National Hurricane Center repeats the list of storms every six years so it was Kathleen’s turn again to show us her magic. A popular girl indeed!

The El Nino summer of 1983 was a very active Baja swell season but the capper was hurricane Manuel on Sept. 19th and 20th. Of course they were school days so I’m sure the truancy list was very long. It was hot and glassy both days with 90 degree air temps and 74 degree water. Only a few bookworms showed up that week. How smart can they be? Am I not a great role model?

On September 15, 1997 one of the biggest Baja swells of all time arrived on a Monday of course from Category 5 Linda who at the time held the record as the strongest Eastern Pacific hurricane with sustained winds of 185 mph with gusts up to 224. That record stood until October of 2015 when hurricane Patricia stole the crown with sustained winds of 200 mph with gusts as high as 232! She made landfall near Petacalco on Mexico’s Mainland.

There you have it. Enjoy the weekend and we’ll get together again next Tuesday,


Former LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will speak at the LB Democratic Club on Sept 13 at 7 p.m.

Former LA mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will speak at the LB Democratic Club on Sept 13 at 7 p.m. The meeting will take place at Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St. Ann’s Drive. 

At this monthly meeting, former Mayor Villaraigosa, who is running for Governor of 

California in 2018, will address today’s vital issues and answer questions. 

For more information about this event, go to or call (949) 494-4646. 

James Pribram of EcoWarriers is looking for volunteers for Coastal Clean Up Day, Sat Sept 16

James Pribram of EcoWarriors is inviting volunteers to join the EcoWarriors for Coastal Clean Up Day on Sat Sept 16.

“Coastal Clean Up Day is the single largest beach clean up in the world and a chance to give back to what we all love the most; our beaches and ocean,” Pribram says. “We will be set up at Aliso Beach Park on the south end of the parking lot from 9 a.m. - noon. We will have waivers, bags, gloves and as a special thank you to all of our volunteers, Chronic Tacos will be serving up tacos!”

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Picking up trash can be fun when you do it with family and friends

Pribram adds, “Coastal Cleanup Day is about much more than picking up trash. It’s a chance for Californians to join people around the world in expressing their respect for our oceans and waterways. It’s an opportunity for the community to demonstrate its desire for clean water and healthy marine life. 

“And it’s a moment to share with one’s neighbors, family, and friends, coming together to accomplish something vital and worthy on behalf of our environment.”

Laguna Beach Republicans announce Sept 14 Meeting with speaker Howard Hills

The Laguna Beach Republicans (LBGOP) will hold their monthly meeting on Thurs, Sept 14, at Mozambique, located at 1740 S Coast Hwy. Social hour is at 5 p.m. and the meeting will begin at 6 p.m.

Emil Monda, President of the LBGOP invites all Republicans, Independents and Libertarians to attend the meeting. 

“Howard Hills will give us his perspective on the recent events in Laguna,  Dee Perry will provide an update on LBUSD activities, there will be an update on the short term rental issue from Jennifer Welch Zeiter and on Village Entrance from Councilman Dicterow,” according to Monda.

For any questions, more information, or to RSVP, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. S pace is limited.

Victoria Johnson brings elegance to the written word at calligraphy class at Susi Q on Sept 14, 21 & 28

At one time or another, everyone has admired calligraphy, on wedding invitations, thank you notes, and signs. Now a class taught by master calligrapher Victoria Johnson will be offered at Susi Q on Thurs, Sept 14, 21 and 28. Focusing on technique, it will cover beginning to advanced calligraphy in three two-hour workshops (from 6:30-8:30 p.m.) on consecutive Thursdays. 

Participants will learn the basics of Italic with the alphabet, numbers, spacing, various papers, inks and working with gouache. 

Victoria Johnson recently relocated to Laguna Beach from Beverly Hills, and has been a full-time calligrapher for 25 years. As a stay-at-home mom, her talents blossomed into a business with clients such as Chanel, Dustin Hoffman, Donald Trump Jr., The Beverly Hills Hotel, Vanity Fair, and The Los Angeles County Museum, to name a few. 

Click on photo for larger image

Submitted photo

Master calligrapher Victoria Johnson offers class at Susi Q beginning on Sept 14

“I’ve never lost my love of lettering, inks, paints, and wonderful papers. For me, lettering is a passion,” Victoria says. “I dip my pen in ink or paint, and feel as though I’m dancing on paper. It helps to focus your mind, it’s therapeutic and artistic, gifts for others and jobs to make money. It brings so much to the table.”  

The class is for ages 12 and up. The fee is $120. To register, go to

For further information on Victoria, go to

For questions, she can be reached at 310-739-9230

Local resident releases fourth CD featuring a tribute to the victims of 9/11

Laguna Beach resident Carol Roman, known for her musical accomplishments as a pianist and music educator, has released her fourth CD, entitled “Going Home, Songs of Comfort.”  One song in particular, A Time Gone By, is a poignant tribute to the victims of 9/11.  

Submitted photo

Carol Roman

The chorus of A Time Gone By reads: “Let’s comfort all the frightened children and hold them when they ask us why, ask us why. Let’s pray for peace and live in love as we strive to understand.  We must protect our freedom, our land.”

“For me, it wasn’t where I was at 9-11 that created a profound impact in my life. It was the immense realization that life is so fragile and unpredictable that what we do in our life matters,” Carol says. “It was about living my purpose knowing that life can end at any moment. That was when I decided to go into music education and make a difference in the lives of children.”  

Carol is currently teaching elementary music in the Newport-Mesa School District.

A Time Gone By is available for download on  A portion of the proceeds will be donated to the 911 Foundation.

The show must go on, even when canceled – which the Aquathon often is, but usually it isn’t

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna’s famous Aquathon has frequently been canceled, yet it almost always takes place. This year, the event will happen on Sept 17, unless it doesn’t, in which case it won’t. (But it will.)

Participants, who must be waterwise (and that’s for real), swim, walk, snorkel, SUP or otherwise make their way along approximately eight miles of Laguna’s coastline, this year beginning at Emerald Bay. Most mix up their methods: a few meander nearly all the way on land. The majority spend most of the time immersed in water. It’s all about the journey, I hear.

The idea is to complete the course in a leisurely, dolphin-esque way, soaking up the beauty of Laguna’s ocean, beaches and coves. 

In typical contrary Aquathon fashion, those who finish the course too fast are really the losers, organizers say, because that means they’ve been focused on speed instead of the spectacular sights, sounds and smells that the wise Aquathoner takes time to savor during the race – which is not a race, although it may be for some people, if they are the racing type, which many aren’t.

Click on photo for a larger image

Aquathon fans gather on the beach

If the Aquathon does start, which it will, unless it is canceled, which it won’t be – though who knows? – Aquathoners should gather at Emerald Bay around 9 a.m. for the 9:45 a.m. start. Best way to sign up for this event and find more information: go to the website Participants must be signed up to gain entrance to Emerald Bay.

“This year we will end at the 10th Street Arch and double back to 1,000 Steps, then catch the Transit Bus to The Ranch for the Survivors Party,” said Gary Cogorno, co-organizer with Scott McCarter and Mark Spitaleri. Spitaleri’s company, Victory Koredry, supplies the Aqua clothing.

How did it all begin?

How did it all begin? I was curious. And it’s a fascinating tale, except for the parts that aren’t, although in truth there are no non-fascinating parts.

For the full story, I strongly advise a visit to the website, where clicking on “history” provides the details. Here’s an excerpt:

“During the summer of 1986, four Emerald Bay residents, Alan Wolf, Mark Disman, John Heatley and Bailey Smith spent their weekends at Emerald Bay beach snorkeling and exploring the surrounding coves.  They would generally walk from cove to cove but sometimes had to swim around certain points.  They were always struck by the overall beauty of the water, the view from the water of the surrounding hills, and the tidepool filled coves they crossed.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Chris Keener

Contemplating the beauty and the challenge of Rockledge

“Their short weekend jaunts had only taken them as far north as Irvine Cove and as far south as Crescent Bay.  So to end the summer, they decided to explore the entire coast of Laguna Beach starting at Emerald Bay and going south. At that time, Laguna Beach ended at Victoria beach. Walking where they could and swimming around various points where they could not walk, the foursome arrived at Victoria Beach tired but happy several hours later. Thus, the advent of the now world famous Aquathon.

“Although the trip was beautiful, the Aquathon would have then died a quiet death but for one fact; to their complete surprise Alan, Mark, John and Bailey discovered that a number of women chose to bathe topless in the secluded coves along the way. With this in mind, next years event was a certainty.

“The foursome made the trip again in 1987 making sure they hit each and every secluded cove. Tired but happy, they arrived once more at Victoria Beach. To celebrate the event, they hopped a ride to Gina’s Pizza in Boat Canyon and bought a pitcher of beer. Thus, the advent of drinking at the end of the Aquathon.

“Some things are just too good to be true and allowing four married men to explore secluded coves for topless bathers is one of those things. Yes, somehow the wives learned of this clever ploy. Thus ended the Aquathon as it was then known.  Instead, the wives insisted that it be replaced with a ‘family event’ where women and children were welcome to join in the walk/swim hike.”

And then there’s the Survivors’ Party

The Survivors’ Party promises to be great fun as well, although Cogorno notes that the traditional telephone-booth-style cramming of people into a hot tub (22 is the record) will probably not take place this year (does that mean it will, I wonder?) as it did during the years when the party took place at the Ritz Carlton.

“This [year’s] After Party will be more about nourishment and mini-stories… Liquor, fatigue, warm tub [made for] a great recipe for fun during the Ritz years,” Cogorno says.

Proceeds from the event will go to Laguna Junior Lifeguards, and in the past, funds have been donated to the John Wayne Cancer Foundation, the Ocean Institute, Zero Trash, and Miocean.

The Aquathon sounds amazing, unless it isn’t, but I have a strong feeling it will be, as it has always been, except when it hasn’t, which is never the case, from what I understand (which is not a lot).

(Gary Cogorno explains that the tradition of canceling the Aquathon began when the event was on the point of getting too much attention from the national press, thus threatening its local nature and attracting entrants who were not appropriately waterwise…possible cancellation therefore deterred media and the unqualified, and ever since has become a quirky and beloved feature of the Aquathon.)

--Lynette Brasfield

Real Talk hosts interactive workshop on Overcoming Prejudice & Oppression on Sept 21

On Thurs, Sept 21, from 7 – 8:45 p.m., Real Talk provides the opportunity for elevated community dialogue and an interactive workshop to discuss the topic of Overcoming Prejudice and Oppression. This is a free event, but there will be limited seating. It will be held at the Susi Q Center at 380 Third St.

The intention of the meeting is to raise awareness by taking the time to get in touch with identities and bias. In addition, the workshop offers the chance for expanded understanding, as attendees respectfully challenge stereotypes and reflect on the meaning of unity in diversity. The goal is to gain techniques and tools to build bridges in our community.

The community decided to keep this topic on the calendar as many who attended the earlier meeting wanted to continue with this issue. Participants are free to come and share or simply listen. This is a grass roots movement to help the community grow into a more connected and caring society. Those in the movement believe that resolution will occur when the heart is transformed through education. 

The meeting is sponsored by Baha’is of Laguna Beach with the Laguna Beach Interfaith Council. The workshop is facilitated by Leticia Romo, Assistant Director of Student Engineering at the Cross-Cultural Center, Chapman University.

RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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.

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.