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Laguna Beach


AAUW Laguna Beach welcomes new members at kickoff of 51st year on Sept 10 at LCAD

New and ongoing members of the American Association of University Women will gather for the 51st annual Membership Mixer from 3 - 5 p.m. on Sun, Sept 10, at the Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) campus in Laguna Canyon. Community women interested in joining, or just learning more about AAUW-LB, are invited to come to this informal and welcoming event.

Illustrating the branch’s mission of empowering women and girls through education to reach their full potential, there will be brief remarks from AAUW-LB’s newest scholarship recipients, Jillian Broughton from LCAD and Rebecca Higginbotham from Orange Coast College. 

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Jillian Broughton, Laguna College of Art and Design

Local artist Leah Vasquez, co-chair of AAUW-LB’s partnership activities with LCAD, will explain the various ways in which AAUW-LB members blend advancing opportunities for women and girls with stimulating learning and social activities. 

As Leah says, “The Laguna Beach Branch, is a dynamic, growing organization with many exciting programs and interest groups. I love all the opportunities for women to explore common interests and make new friends, while supporting advocacy, education, philanthropy and research for the next generation of women.”

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Submitted photo

Rebecca Higginbotham, Orange Coast College

The event and parking are free. Appetizers and drinks will be served.  LCAD is located at 2222 Laguna Canyon Rd. For those joining AAUW-LB at this Membership Mixer, membership fee will be discounted.

Anyone wishing to attend, whether a member or non-member, RSVP to Madeleine Peterson at 949-376-8494. For membership information or questions, contact membership co-chairs Leah Vasquez at 949-494-5787 or Rachelle Cano at 1-818 307-562, or visit AAUW-LB online at www.aauw-lagunabeach.org.


Billed as stunning, shocking and provocative, the groundbreaking Ballet BC company comes to Laguna

Next week, Laguna Dance Festival presents Ballet BC, a groundbreaking dance company from Vancouver, Canada, in addition to the iconic Paul Taylor Dance Company. 

Paul Taylor represents the traditions of modern dance, while Ballet BC brings a new dynamic to the form. 

Ballet BC has a remarkable repertoire of works by the world’s leading contemporary choreographers including Crystal Pite, Cayetano Soto, William Forsythe, Itzik Galili, Jorma Elo among others. This company has taken the world stage by storm and has established itself as the company to watch.

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Photo by Michael Slobodian

Ballet BC performs I and I am you, with dancers Rachael Prince, Alexander Burton and Daniel Marshalsay

At Laguna Dance Festival, Ballet BC will showcase three innovative programs choreographed by women. 

16+ a room features unique choreographic language deployed by Ballet BC’s Artistic Director, Emily Molnar. In a complex study of time, transition, and stillness, space between is as important as the space engaged, fostering a feeling of both liberation and anonymity. 

In the poignant Solo Echo, celebrated choreographer, and former Ballet BC company dancer, Crystal Pite, explores the symbiosis of acceptance and loss—inspired by two sonatas for cello and piano by Brahms and the poem Lines for Winter, by Mark Strand. 

Tel Aviv-based Sharon Eyal’s Bill is a daring piece showcasing Ballet BC dancers in their most intricate expressions of the body. Combining dance, music, and design into an instantly recognizable whole, this piece embodies the essence of life’s ebb and flow. 

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Photo by Chris Randle

Nicole Ward and Gilbert Small perform in 16+ a Room

A master class with Ballet BC Rehearsal Director, Makaila Wallace, will be held Sunday, Sept 17, 10 a.m. to noon, just before the company’s matinee performance, and a talk with Festival Founder and Artistic Director, Jodie Gates, precedes all performances. 

“Ballet BC brings an authentic physicality and fresh perspective to contemporary ballet, the repertory is exciting and the dancers are beautifully dynamic and stunning to watch on the stage. The performance will be electric!” said Jodie Gates, Vice Dean, USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance. 

Ballet BC performs Sept 15 at 7.30 p.m. and Sept 17 at 2 p.m. Specially priced tickets for students. Paul Taylor Dance Company performs Sept 14 and 16 at 7.30 p.m. 

Tickets and information at www.lagunadancefestival.org or Laguna Playhouse Box Office: 949.497.2787.

Laguna Dance Festival presents world-class performances on the local stage and provides quality dance education in an effort to increase public appreciation for the art. An award-winning non-profit enterprise in collaboration with many local arts programs, the Festival event schedule, tickets, and video excerpts of previous performances at www.lagunadancefestival.org


Gwen Myers receives 10th Annual Spirit of Laguna Beach Unified School District Award 

On Aug 29, Superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria announced the 10th Annual Spirit of LBUSD award winner, Thurston Middle School Attendance and Student Records Specialist Gwen Myers.

Since its inception in 2008, the Spirit of LBUSD Award has been presented at the Laguna Beach Unified School District’s Annual Welcome Back Breakfast to a District staff member who exemplifies extraordinary service to others.

“As part of the office staff at Thurston, Gwen’s calm demeanor is an asset helping not only young teens in angst but the parents as well. Gwen is dependable, loyal and can be counted on to get the job done,” said Board of Education President Jan Vickers.

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(l-r) Ketta Brown (School Board Member) and Gwen Meyers

Myers is a graduate of LBHS and received her BA degree in Biology at University of CA, Santa Cruz.  She worked several years as an animal trainer in the entertainment business. Myers was a dedicated parent volunteer at Top of the World Elementary School before joining the LBUSD team as an employee in 1999, working as an Instructional Assistant in the Community Learning Center. In 2011, she was promoted to the Attendance and Student Records Specialist position at Thurston.

Throughout her career in LBUSD, Myers’ knowledge, work ethic and connection to students and families made her the right choice for the award. 

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(l-r) Mindy Hawkins (LBHS Teacher and LaBUFA President), Margaret Warder (TOW Paraeducator and CSEA President), Gwen Myers (recipient), Dr. Jason Viloria (Superintendent), Ketta Brown (School Board Member)

“There are few instances in life when one is able to work alongside someone who is truly outstanding in every way,” said Thurston Middle School Principal Jenny Salberg. “Gwen›s incredible attention to detail, her unwavering support of all students and her incredibly positive attitude makes each and every day amazing.  She is kind, she is hardworking, she is Thurston.”

“Gwen truly does embody the ‘Spirit of Laguna.’ She is a product of LBUSD, as are her husband and both sons. She gives one hundred percent each day and steadfastly believes in the mission of the district. She has worked with kids of all ages and abilities, always seeking to tap into their particular strengths and passions. In her current role, she finds ways to interact with students in as many areas as possible and is always ready to step in to help. She has experienced firsthand how our district has grown and evolved over the years trying to meet the needs of a changing world, appreciating these efforts and working to support them,” said Board Member Ketta Brown.


Here are the high holiday events and services taking place at the Chabad Jewish Center 

Upcoming events at the Chabad Jewish Center include the following: On Tues, Sept 12 at 4:30 p.m . Drill it, Saw it, Sand it, Polish it, and take it home. Craft a beautiful Shofar from a genuine ram’s horn in time for Rosh Hashanah. Learn how to blow the Shofar, its meanings and sounds. Fun, hands on, educational family workshop for kids of all ages. $15.00 per Shofar. RSVP and confirm amount of shofars you will be crafting.

Ladies Home Club on Thu, Sept 14, at 7 p.m. Start the new year on a healthy note. Healing Workshop with Estee Berkowitz, BodyTalk Access technician. Learn about the BodyTalk Healing method -The proper way to breathe, energy medicine, and the power of our minds. Walk away with simple techniques, tools and insights for health and wellbeing (At private home - Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for directions and rsvp)

Taste of Something New. Exclusive Pre Rosh Hashanah food tasting event on Sun, Sept 17, at 7 p.m, catered by Beverly Hills Kosher! Meet and greet, enjoy a wide array of delicious holiday foods and fine wine, and discover programs and opportunities that await you this year at Chabad of Laguna Beach. $36 per person $60 couple. RSVP necessary.

Rosh Hashanah will take place on Wed, Sept 20 at 7 p.m. Additional services will include Thu, Sept 21 at 10 a.m. with Shofar Sounding at 12:30 p.m. and Tashlich Service at Montage Beach following Mincha services.  

There will be another service on Fri, Sept 22 at 10 a.m. with Shofar Sounding at 12:30 p.m and evening service at 7 p.m. 

Yom Kippur will be on Fri, Sept 29 the Kol Nidre service at 6:30 p.m. Additional services will be on Sat, Sept 30 with morning service at 10 a.m., Yizkor Memorial Service at12:30 p.m. and Mincha and Neilah service 5 p.m. with communal break the fast.

Services and programs open to the community. No tickets needed to enter. English/Hebrew Prayer Books, Soulful cantor, Children’s program. Seat reservations available. 

To RSVP for the High Holiday programs, call Chabad at 949-499-0770, or visit our website at www.chabadoflaguna.com. Chabad is located at 30804 S. Coast Hwy


Laguna Food Pantry offers intimate “Come to the Table” afternoon benefit Oct 1 at private home

A new series of informal dining events will be launched with the revival of “Come to the Table” on Sunday, Oct 1 from 3 to 6 p.m. to benefit the Laguna Food Pantry.

“Several years ago, a group of us held casual neighborhood ‘Come to the Table’ benefit dinners and they were a great success,” said longtime Pantry volunteer Sharon McErlane. She and her husband Roger, also a volunteer for the Pantry, will open their gracious Dutch Colonial-style home and its magnificent garden to 80 or so guests for the event. 

“We’re gathering around our table so that all families in south Orange County are able to put food on their tables,” Sharon added. “We are committed to making sure no one in our abundant region goes hungry.” 

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Sharon and Roger McErlane, who are opening their home for this signature event

Guitarist and local wealth adviser Nicholas Yrizarry will perform acoustic flamenco music as paella, tapas, and sangria are served in the McErlanes’ elegant “secret garden.” 

A limited number of tickets will be sold at $95 each; reservations are required. To purchase tickets visit www.lagunafoodpantry.org or call 949-497-7121.

Every weekday, Laguna Food Pantry collects and distributes 2,800 lbs. of free, fresh, nutritious groceries to serve approximately 100 low-income families. Half of those families include babies and 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 www.lagunafoodpantry.org.


LB Patriots Day Parade invites residents to share ideas at planning meeting on Wed Sept 13 at 7 p.m.

LB Patriots Day Parade invites residents to share their ideas at a planning meeting on Wed Sept 13 at 7. The meeting will discuss creative ideas to enhance the committee and the 2018 Parade, which is set for Sat, March 3.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Last year’s Parade included a celebration of our successful water polo teams

“We’re super excited and can’t wait to hear all the creative ideas to enhance our Committee and our Parade,” a spokesperson said. “We invite the community of Laguna Beach to participate in the inaugural meeting - it’s where the Parade theme comes to life. The Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade is all about our community spirit. For 52 years, the Parade has put smiles on faces in Laguna.

“We couldn’t continue this tradition without community volunteers like you! We look forward to your involvement with this year’s Parade, which will start with committee engagement, community excitement and participant enthusiasm.”

The meeting will take place at the Susi Q Community and Senior Center 380 Third Street at 7 p.m., and food will be served.


LCC will host Laura Davick of the Crystal Cove Conservancy on Mon Sept 11 at Tivoli Too

LCC will host Laura Davick of the Crystal Cove Conservancy at its monthly dinner meeting on Mon Sept 11 at Tivoli Too, 777 Laguna Canyon Rd. 

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Photo courtesy Crystal Cove website

Unrestored cottages at Crystal Cove

Laura Davick will speak on the final restoration phase of the historic Crystal Cove Cottages.  

Dinner is served at approximately 6:35 p.m., with the program to follow.

Cost is $10 for members, $15 for non-members.  No-host bar opens 6 p.m., RSVP at (949) 235-8277. Must RSVP by Sat, September 9.


Wesley District Community Meeting is set for Sept 20

Residents of Wesley District (Nyes Place from Ashton to PCH, and all streets south to Aliso Circle) are invited to attend a community meeting with Mayor Toni Iseman on Sept. 20 from 6:30-8 p.m. at the Laguna Terrace Park clubhouse, 30802 Coast Highway. 

This meeting is to give voice to Wesley District residents about neighborhood issues and concerns and to discuss possible solutions. Residents are urged to take this opportunity to make their voices heard.

Directions: From PCH, turn inland at Montage Resort Drive, then make an immediate left past Laguna Lodge and the Chabad Center. Follow sign up the hill to the office/pool/clubhouse area. Limited parking will be available near the Chabad Center, and in front of clubhouse. 

Please carpool (or walk if you are close enough). RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. so we can ensure the capacity of the clubhouse isn’t exceeded. 


Dianne’s Creature Feature

The Elite Winged Team of Adam’s Falconry Service: Raptors to be reckoned with

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

During a recent photo shoot near Blue Lagoon condos here in Laguna, as serendipity would have it, our staff photographer, Mary Hurlbut, happened upon David Feliciano, one of the falconers from Adam’s Falconry Service, working his bird of prey to rid the area of seagulls. Mary thought it would be a good story for Creature Features, and she was right.

Thanks to Adam Chavez, the owner and operator of Adam’s Falconry Service, and falconer Caroline Sankey, last week Mary and I saw one of his birds in action.

Adam likes to think of his raptors as an “elite winged special force security team,” and true, it does sound like something from a Mission Impossible movie, but they are a force to be reckoned with. Just ask the seagulls.

According to Adam, raptors, like elite athletes, have specialized skills, and to name a few, not only have they been clocked at 242 miles per hour, birds of prey have the most evolved eyesight of all living creatures. They also hear a wider range of sounds and can discriminate between closer frequencies than humans. 

Adam has a team of 20 raptors, which came from breeders, and are highly specialized, as in, “the right bird for the right job.”

And for them, the mission is anything but impossible.

“Our main objective and ambition is to provide an environmentally friendly effective alternative to reduce the pest bird population,” Adam says. “We use trained raptors to flush, haze, or take birds (or other wildlife where allowed) to mitigate depredation problems, including threats to human health and safety.”

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Thula, a female Harris Hawk

The raptors are used to reduce human/wildlife conflicts such as: protecting crops, improving water quality, preventing air strikes at airports, improving health and safety issues at landfills, resorts, golf courses, and home owners’ associations. 

From the parking lot above Monarch Beach Resort, I watch as Caroline slowly walks along the beach with Thula, a female Harris Hawk on her arm. The Harris Hawk is a desert bird, the only hawks that live as a family unit and hunt like a wolf pack.

Above Caroline and Thula, at least 100 seagulls swoop and dive in the morning sky.

When I turn to talk to Adam, and then turn back, only a few minutes, the sky is free of gulls. The mere sight of Thula sends the gulls packing. And that’s what Adam’s company is all about. 

From the cliff, Adam points to the waterway to our left, “That’s what we want to keep the gulls away from.” To prevent the buildup of bacteria (I hesitate to say it, from their poop), his company arrives four mornings a week from Sunday through Thursday to drive the gulls away. 

And the results have been impressive. Earlier this year, Heal the Bay rated Monarch Beach the fourth-most polluted stretch of ocean for California. Now the organization gives them an A/A+ rating. 

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Adam Chavez and Bodie, a male Gyr Peregrine hybrid

Then, from the back of his truck, Adam retrieves Bodie, a hybrid male Gyr Peregrine falcon. Bodie, who is between four and five months old, experienced his first flight the previous Monday. Because the Gyr is an Arctic bird, Bodie doesn’t tolerate heat well, so mornings are best for him, and we need to get down to the beach and finish before it gets too hot. He’s still in training, which will take a year (so we won’t see him work today), and then he’ll hit his prime at three years. 

Training involves many elements, including the correct diet. For optimal efficiency, his birds are trained as the elite athletes that they are. Adam says, “The birds are weighed to accurately measure their caloric intake. Much of a falcon’s training is food based. I’m aiming for peak athleticism, while at the same time generating an appetite each morning to stimulate predatory drive and recall. They eat commercially grown quail.”

Adam has been practicing falconry on and off since the age of 12, when he and a friend found two Kestrels, and he became enraptured with birds of prey. He has more than 30 years of experience training raptors, as well as rehabilitating birds of prey that have been injured. Currently, he’s the President of the California Hawking Club and serves as the Director at Large for North American Falconer’s Association. Additionally, he is the Committee Chairman for bird abatement representing NAFA.

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Falconer Caroline Sankey and Thula

The day is warming up, and a few brave seagulls venture back toward the waterway. Caroline and Thula start walking in that direction, but before they even get close, the gulls turn back toward the ocean, skimming along the water and out to sea. 

Evidently, the bond between the bird of prey and the falconer is of upmost importance and has been since the beginning of falconry, which is said to go back 3,000 years. In observing Caroline and Thula, this bond is evident.

As per Adam’s website, “Falconry by definition is the hunting of wild quarry in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained bird of prey. Falconry is a one-on-one relationship based upon trust. A dedicated patient human joins with a bird of prey and the result is a unique linking of diverse beings in a sport called falconry. Two basic requirements for success as a falconer are time and patience.”

An abundance of time and patience it seems: it takes two years to become an apprentice falconer, five years for a general falconer, and seven years to become a master falconer.  

Thank you, Adam, for letting us observe one member of your “elite winged special force security team” in action. Thula is a force to be reckoned with.

For further information about Adam’s Falconry Service and their educational events, go to www.adamsfalconryservice.com


We have our town back…

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

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Hard to imagine this scene just a few days ago – downtown, Tuesday morning after Labor Day

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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