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Laguna Beach


Carolyn Bent works as lead florist supervisor on a winning float, Donate Life, at the Rose Parade

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The “Donate Life” float in the Rose Bowl Parade is the latest in Carolyn Bent’s long history of handiwork on New Year’s Day. 

Bent was the lead florist supervisor for the float. She began work on Dec 27 and didn’t quit until New Year’s Eve, when she finally made it back home for the first time in five long, long days. 

She started work on Sunday at 7 a.m. and didn’t leave until 12 a.m. In all, the five days she spent on the 2018 float included one other 17 hour shift and three 12-15-hour days – a total of 57 hours, many of which included working on a scaffold 15 feet in the air. 

It was worth the time, Bent said. “Yes, I am crazy, and not afraid of heights!”

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The Donate Life float at the Rose Parade won the Theme prize for the most outstanding presentation of the 2018 theme, Making a Difference

 “The float is designed to create awareness of organ donations,” said Bent. “Organ recipients rode on the float. Donors walked alongside.”

Bent began her association with the parade in 1978, volunteering for the 1979 parade. That is also when she met Tom Bent, whom she married and supported throughout his medical career and directorship of the Laguna Beach Community Clinic. 

“Tom’s parents were the owners of the largest float company in the world,” said Bent. “I owned a florist shop in Glendale.”

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Submitted photo

One of the floral arrangements created by Carolyn. “I made the arrangement on the corner, along with placing each of the tropical flowers in the background of the photo,” she says. “Lots of work, but way fun!”

She was a first-time volunteer that year. The Bents eventually sold their company and she now works for Paradiso Floats. 

Work is the operative word.

“Last year, I walked nine miles in one day and I didn’t leave the building,” said Bent. 

Closer to home, Bent lends her talents to the Laguna Beach Garden Club, designing and decorating the group’s entry in the Patriots Day Parade.

Editor’s Note: Interestingly, the Patriots Day Parade has chosen Heidi Miller (owner of Tight Assets) as Laguna’s Citizen of the Year 2018, honoring her life-saving donation of a kidney to Bruce W. Cook.


Conservancy welcomes 2018 with Jan 8 dinner: Speakers will discuss Aliso Creek challenges

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Laguna Canyon Conservancy will kick off 2018 on Jan. 8 at Tivoli Too with guest speakers Hallie Jones and Derek Ostensen. 

Jones is the executive director of the Laguna Canyon Foundation, hired away from Heal the Bay in Santa Monica. 

Ostensen is a past president of the foundation and the project manager of the effort to eradicate the invasive arundo from the Aliso Creek ecosysterm. Both are Laguna Beach natives.

They will update dinner guests on the foundation activities and on the collaborative efforts to restore and protect the creek.

[According to LCC’s press release, the Army Corps of Engineers has proposed a $100 million project with significant implications for Aliso Creek and regional wilderness. The project proposes to remove several miles of sensitive habitat within Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, as well as armor large segments of the creek, and dispose of 300,000 cubic yards of excavated material near public trails. 

A coalition of community groups, including Laguna Canyon Foundation, has coordinated a response to the draft Environmental Impact Report released in October, which will be discussed.]

The New Year will bring a change for the first time in 28 years in the dues and dinner prices. Both will be increased to $15. Dues are due this month. 

Monthly meetings are open to the public for $20. Reservations are required for all and must be made by the Saturday before the dinner---no exceptions. Payment may be made at the door.

To make reservations, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 1(949) 235-8277. Leave your name, phone number and number of reservations requested. Spelling the names will help accuracy on pre-printed name tags.

Holders of reservations who cannot attend the dinner are requested to notify the conservancy.

Doors open at 6 p.m. with a no-host bar. Dinner is served at 6:35 p.m.


Feeling in the pink? LB Democratic Club offers bus rides to the 2018 Women’s March in Santa Ana

Photos by Joel Goldstein

Time to don those pink-eared beanies – buses have been organized by the Laguna Beach Democratic Club to enable locals to attend the Women’s March 2018 in downtown Santa Ana on Sat Jan 20. The buses are luxury coaches. Tickets are first come, first serve and are expected to go fast. 

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Women’s March, Santa Ana, 2017: Do over, not comb over…

Last year’s Women’s March in Laguna Beach registered upwards of 3,000 supporters with an estimated 1,000 plus attending the rally. A reported 8,000-plus people marched in Santa Ana.

Key organizer of the Laguna march, Cindy Obrand, said at the time, “This local effort grew through word of mouth, with more than 3,000 registering,” Obrand said. She said participants were proud to stand in solidarity with their sisters in Washington DC and around the nation.

Democratic Club President Gary LeFebvre said of the March, “The 2017 Women’s March was truly historic.  And it is only the beginning. Democrats need to be vigilant to protect our long fought rights from the new Administration intent on turning back the clock.”

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Every age and gender marched in the Women’s March last year in Santa Ana

The buses start loading at 7:30 a.m., and depart from the Laguna Beach High School parking lot at 8 a.m. sharp. The March will begin at 9 a.m.

Buses leave the Women’s March at 12:30 p.m., arrives back at LBHS at 1:30 p.m.

Those who sign up for a 2018 annual membership ($25 value) to the Laguna Beach Democratic Club will receive a $5 discount on the Women’s March bus.

The Laguna Beach Democratic Club (LBDC) is dedicated to supporting the election of Democratic candidates on local, state and national levels.  

For more information visit www.lagunabeachdemocraticclub.com and http://www.facebook.com/lbdcpage.

This event will take place on Sat, Jan 20.


Guest column

Laguna witnessed an exceptional year in LGBTQ life: Looking back, looking forward

Written by CHRIS TEBBUTT

2017 has been an extraordinary year for LGBTQ people in Laguna Beach. Developed for the purpose of seeing the local LGBTQ community reflected, honored and celebrated, the LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Committee was formed with community leaders from the Chamber of Commerce, Visit Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach Unified School District, Laguna Beach Seniors and the Susi Q Center, among other committed residents and business owners.

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Council chambers is packed and full of joy as LGBT Heritage Month is proclaimed

On May 9, 2017, witnessed by a room full of emotion and immense pride, Mayor Toni Iseman and fellow City Council members proclaimed the month of June (forevermore!) as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Heritage Month in Laguna Beach.

Police Chief Laura Farinella was recognized as Community Grand Marshall in the OC Pride Parade. Laguna Beach was also represented by marchers and floats from Main Street Bar & Cabaret, Club Q Laguna and Laguna Beach Seniors, and Laguna Beach HIV Advisory Committee.

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Members of the Police Dept march in the OC Pride Parade as Chief Laura Farinella is recognized as Community Grand Marshall 

Businesses adorned rainbow flags and colorful posters designed by Laguna’s Bill Atkins as Laguna Beach hosted droves of residents and visitors for OC Pride Laguna Beach Party! Festivities kicked off at West Street Beach, followed by colorful drag shows at the legendary Boom Boom Room, then dancing the night away at Main Street Bar & Cabaret, making the event Laguna’s biggest celebration of the summer.

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Bill Atkins created a colorful poster announcing the Boom Boom Room party

The Laguna Beach Unified School District has begun implementation of the Welcoming Schools program, a comprehensive approach to creating respectful and supportive elementary schools that embrace family diversity, LGBTQ-inclusive schools, and prevent bias-based bullying and gender stereotyping.

The Garden of Peace & Love, where Mountain Street meets the cliff overlooking the beach, is the final resting place for over one hundred Laguna Beach residents that died of AIDS, was shored up, given a makeover and a permanent plaque honoring friends and family lost in the epidemic.

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Garden of Peace and Love

Laguna Beach Playhouse has introduced its new subscription series Pride Night at the Playhouse, complete with a complimentary cocktail, benefitting LGBTQ causes such as OC Pride and Men Alive.

KX 93.5 has launched Rainbow Radio, the station’s first and only weekly program dedicated to LGBTQ happenings in Laguna Beach. Hosted by Craig Cooley every Saturday morning 9 -10, this dynamic show features special guests and a focus on LGBTQ life in and around Laguna.

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Chamber of Commerce was fully supportive

A gay bar was represented for the very first time at the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of Lagunawhen Main Street Bar & Cabaret featured specialty cocktails, cabaret singing and fierce local drag queen Endora.

With over one hundred members, Club Q Laguna celebrated its four-year anniversary at Susi Q Center as first and only club for seniors in Orange County.

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Chris Tebbutt recorded a video with former LB mayor Bob Gentry, talking about the history of gay Laguna

Film screening and panel discussion of the powerful documentary Gen Silent, based on LGBTQ seniors and discrimination they face as they age. 

Executive Director of Shanti OC (formerly Shanti Laguna) Sarah Kasman retired on December 1, World AIDS Day, after the annual remembrance at Main Beach. 

Looking into 2018, the Laguna Beach LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Committee is committed and excited to continue to make sure the LGBTQ community is reflected, honored and celebrated in Laguna Beach. 

Upcoming projects include Shanti OC’s 30th Birthday Bash, Laguna Beach Pride 2018, an LGBTQ heritage walking tour, public art exhibitions at City Hall and Susi Q, a permanent public art installation at Mountain Street, and an online oral history archive.


Joann Situ Allen is an accidental naturalist – she’ll explain why at the Garden Club meeting on Jan 12

On Friday, Jan 12, Joann Situ Allen, author of The Accidental Naturalist, will speak at the LB Garden Club meeting. In creating the adult coloring book, Allen pulled from childhood memories of budding freesias in springtime and dandelions peeking through concrete sidewalks of Chinatown, LA, as she created her first in a series of books:  these were love letters sent from the universe.  

As an artist and comic-book illustrator, Allen’s book explores the various ecosystems, starting with a focus on Laguna Beach. Her website gives an insight about her, that an artist doesn’t always get it right with the first sketch: www.dirtyeraser.com.  

Joann with her book, The Accidental Naturalist

Her love of literature in mythical, historical and scientific worlds where Hans Christian Anderson, Amelia Earhart, and underwater explorers enhanced her imagination expressed in her art.  A self-proclaimed “ecology nerd” and “style dreamer”, she will share her insights on the geology and geography of Laguna Beach as well as highlighting native and endemic species in the community. Her books will be for sale after the presentation and she will be happy to sign them.

The Laguna Beach Garden Club Inc. meets on the second Friday of every month, Sept through May at the Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest Ave. At 9:30 a.m. the social meeting begins, followed by the 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: www.lagunabeachgardenclub.org.   

The non-profit Laguna Beach Garden Club, Inc. was founded in 1928 and will celebrate its 90th anniversary in February.  Its members support a wide variety of projects related to education in gardening, horticulture, landscape and floral design, conservation, ecology and bird life.

Monthly meetings on the second Friday during the months of September through May, where we host many presenters on a variety of topics. 


Waning days of 2017: Contours of winter in Laguna

Photos by Scott Brashier

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Cloud corkscrew: Scott captures an unusual weather phenomenon in the skies

Rocks like green cushions

Reflections on scalloped sand

There are many ways to ride the ocean

So much depends on a red umbrella


The holidays are over, but hunger isn’t: Human Rights Campaign seeks donations to LB Food Pantry

The Human Rights Campaign wants to transform MLK Day on Jan 15, 2018, from a “day on, not off,” in Laguna Beach by asking residents to donate to the Food Pantry – food which will be delivered on the MLK Day of Service. 

Martin Luther King Jr. asked life’s most persistent and urgent question, “What are you doing for others?” This is a way for Laguna residents to give back.

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Human Rights Campaign Steering Committee

This food drive and the purpose of MLK Day of Service is to turn Dr. King’s teachings into a day of action across the country, and use it as an opportunity to deepen each community’s commitment and connection to those in our midst who are too often at its margins. 

The Laguna Food Pantry provides over 2,000 pounds of free, fresh, nutritious groceries every weekday to people in difficult financial circumstances. They serve over 300 families a week in So OC, and 50 percent of their shoppers feed children and babies. The pantry believes no one should go hungry. The Laguna Food Pantry, a nonprofit, is an almost completely volunteer-run enterprise. 

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. 

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Food Pantry’s most-needed items

Food donations will be accepted until Jan 12 at drop off locations as follows: Tax & Financial Partners, 1000 N Coast Hwy #2, Tight Assets, 180 S Coast Hwy, Laguna Groomers, 384 Forest Ave #25.

For more information on HRC, go to www.hrc.org.

Laguna Food Pantry is located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Rd. For more information, go to www.lagunafoodpantry.org


Money: Getting It and Keeping It…A special program designed for women of all ages on Jan 16

Nicole Anderson Esq., LLM, Barbara Crane, and Anne McGraw, Laguna Beach residents who practice in the field of finances, will be featured speakers at a Woman’s Club program on Tues, Jan 16, at 7:30 p.m. at the Woman’s Club. Their topic will be Money, Getting It and Keeping It. They have created this program for women of all ages.

All three speakers have local businesses, all are considered experts in their fields, and all three are LB residents and community activists. Anderson is principal of Anderson Law Group and an estate planner and business law attorney.

Crane is co-owner and partner in Crane Investments, and McGraw is sole proprietor of Anne’s Bookkeeping. They have many LB clients and are familiar with the financial issues that confront women at various stages of their lives.

The speakers will provide an introductory overview of issues they confront in their areas of expertise followed by cross-talk and audience questions.

“Women often think of others first and this characteristic results in decisions that may compromise their financial health,” said Kitty Malcolm, club president. “We hope this program will help us to all chart a course to a healthy financial future.”

The public is invited. Doors to the Woman’s Club will open at 7 p.m., and the program will begin at 7:30 p.m. The Clubhouse is located at 286 St. Ann’s.

For further information, 

go to www.wclb.org


Laguna Beach Police Department now accepting applications for Citizens Academy, deadline Jan 19

The Laguna Beach Police Department is currently accepting applications for the upcoming Citizens Academy. The academy starts Thurs, Jan 25, 2018, and will meet from 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. for 12 consecutive weeks (the 13th week is graduation). 

Applications will be accepted until Jan 19, 2018. 

This is a non-stress course designed to provide community members with a better understanding of the LBPD and to help foster communication between police personnel and citizens. 

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Graduating Class of 2016

The academy course includes instruction in the following areas: History of the LBPD, investigations, traffic enforcement, accident investigation, driving under the influence investigation, gangs, narcotics, neighborhood watch, crime prevention, crime scene investigation, police K-9 program, volunteer programs, and other relevant topics. 

There will also be a tour of the LBPD and the OC Jail. Academy members will be given the opportunity to shoot at the police firing range and participate in mock scenarios. 

Applications are available on www.lagunabeachcity.net or www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/police/cominfo

For questions regarding this program, contact class coordinator Ross Fallah at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 464-6624.


A Note from Lynette

Happy New Year to everyone from Shaena and Lynette and all at Stu News! 

As we bridge from 2017 to 2018, this issue looks back at a few key events from last year and forward to events planned for 2018. It’s time to take out your calendars and save some important dates.

Guest columnist Chris Tebbutt looks back at LGBTQ life in Laguna this last watershed year, when June was proclaimed LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Month, and Rainbow Radio premiered, among other exciting news.

We anticipate a new landmark McGillivray Freeman movie, America’s Musical Journey, and look back at Dream Big, their most recent IMAX production, which has had a national impact on kids’ perception of engineering as a profession that is both creative and fun.

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Chef Miki Izumisawa puts the finishing touches on Aroma of Spice Roll

We’re rerunning a readers’ favorite dining feature, about Café Fusion, and we’re looking forward to some fresh perspectives from our various writers on local restaurants in 2018.

Last week, we published the profile of outgoing mayor, Toni Iseman, and today we publish a profile of mayor Kelly Boyd.

Save the dates

2018 is the 100th anniversary of Laguna Art Museum. Today’s issue spells out the events planned for the coming year in celebration. Mark your calendar for the Centennial Bash and the Centennial Ball!

2018 will also mark the 50th anniversary of the Laguna Canyon Foundation, and we are planning plenty of coverage through Creature and Nature Features. Send us your favorite photos from the trails!

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Wilderness trails

Save these dates: take a look at Playhouse productions this first quarter – there are a few doozies, including I Am My Own Wife and The Graduate, starring Melanie Griffith. Laguna Beach Live! plans a fun series of Jazz Wednesdays.

Roxanna Ward will be at No Square Theatre at the end of January. Looking further ahead, the Ocean Institute’s Annual Jazz Festival Fundraiser takes place on March 2 & 3; the Patriots Parade is on March 3; and the LCAD Annual Collectors’ Choice Silent Auction is scheduled for April 20.

More “save the date” articles to come in future issues…

Send press releases and photos to Lynette

We’ll keep you informed about community events large and small over the course of the year. Be sure to send us your press releases and letters so we can keep up to date with as many local happenings as possible.

Press releases should be sent to Lynette at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  Please include details about the what, when, where and why of the event or accomplishment. Whenever possible, please include photos.

We love news about Lagunans’ achievements in every field. We strive to publish as many news items as possible, though at busy times of the year, occasionally we run out of slots – but we do our best to publish all the news that we can fit in to print…

Advertising and business-related queries should be addressed to Shaena at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Thank you for your support. We love Laguna and we love what we do!

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

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.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Stacia Stabler is our Social Media Manager & Writer.

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: Shaena@StuNewsLaguna.com for questions about advertising

949.315.0259

Email: Editor@StuNewsLaguna.com with news releases, letters, etc.

949.315.0259

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