broken clouds


Laguna Beach

Dennis’ Tidbits


November 21, 2017

Wild waterspouts left their (water?)mark on Thanksgivng 1981

Time to give thanks that I’m still above ground at 70. Hey, if Keith Richards can pull it off then I can too! Thankful for food, shelter and clothing and most of all good health!

Thanksgiving Day can offer up all kinds of weather anywhere from near 90 degree heat to drenching rains, but the wildest Thanksgiving I’ve seen in all my years in Laguna would have to be Thanksgiving Day, 1981.

A vigorous cold front plowed through here around sunrise after several hours of predawn heavy rain that dropped over an inch of rain. Shortly after the front’s passage skies cleared for a brief time but to the west loomed several strong squall clouds around 20-25 miles offshore. Heavy convective activity from very cold unstable air was racing in behind the front. 

In less than an hour the first squall hit us with a vengeance with intense lightning and thunder as winds suddenly intensified up to 35 mph with torrential rain coming in sideways. At the base of this dark cumulonimbus cloud three separate waterspouts appeared and began their descent about three miles offshore. All three made it all the way down to the ocean surface so they officially qualified as waterspouts. If they don’t, just like a land tornado, they’re classified as a funnel cloud only.

Remember, waterspouts are tornadoes over a body of water. If they do make landfall, they become a tornado. Waterspouts on our coast here in southern Cal. are generally pretty narrow, roughly 25-50 yards wide but can generate winds of 40-50 mph. These three were short lived, maybe four or five minutes and never made landfall. They get a lot bigger in places like Florida where they can reach EF-2 or even EF-3 status with winds in excess of 135 mph and are a couple of hundred yards wide.

The next squall arrived about an hour later with three more spouts touching down. I’d never seen more than three spouts in one day and here we’ve already had six reported and it wasn’t even noon yet. Between noon and 3 p.m. there were four more that popped out of two more squalls but the heavyweight champion appeared to the west out of the strongest cell of the day and it lasted over a half hour first touching down about three miles off Crystal Cove as it moved down the coast at a rapid pace gaining in size and strength. 

When it was off Main Beach it was only a mile offshore and it was a fatty. Moments later it made landfall just to the south of the old Aliso Beach Pier tearing up the roofs of four beach front homes, then crossed PCH and proceeded to do damage to several houses before dissipating a few blocks inland. The twister was officially given a high end EF-1 status with winds in excess of 95 mph. What a day! Eleven waterspouts in one day. Never seen anything like it since and probably won’t for a long time. It was just one of those days. This Thanksgiving should be pretty quiet so enjoy! 


Great Scott(s)!

Simply sensational sunset shot

Photo by Scott Brashier

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And another super one from a different Scott

Photo by Scott Trimble

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International Fine Art Exhibition brings high quality realism and impressionism to Orange County

“Realism without Borders,” an exciting fine art exhibition, blurs boundaries combining Realism and Impressionism, both historical and contemporary, in a bold bi-coastal traveling exhibition that is the talk of the art world. 

The exhibit will run from Dec 15 - Jan 15, with Opening Day taking place on Dec 15 from 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. at Vanessa Rothe Fine Art, located at 418 Ocean Ave.

What started out as a group of artists and art historians who shared a strong common vision for art, has now become a successful International traveling exhibition of museum quality fine art works - Realism Without Borders – the gallery notes.

Exhibiting, side by side, Soviet and historical works along with contemporary works by Russian, Ukrainian, American, French, Swedish, Italian, Chinese and English artists, Realism Without Borders aims to connect two centuries and two continents via the commitment to realist painting traditions. 

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Submitted Photo

Pensive in Blue by Vadim Suvorov 

From Lomakin to Gladchenko, Suvorov to Kovalenko, Westerberg to Lipking, Rothe to Krimon, this exhibition will unite historical works with contemporary International artists who have studied the same rooted fine art techniques and are working in similar styles today. 

This unique exhibition will allow collectors a rare chance to view and compare works from America, Europe and Russia, and to purchase items for their own fine art collection. Works will range from small affordable gems that make excellent gifts, to large scale museum-quality works of fine art. 

Curated by Vanessa Françoise Rothe, Realism Without Borders brings high quality fine art work to Orange County.  RWB is flourishing with many successful national exhibitions and over 30 Invited core contemporary artist members. 

This diverse and talented group of painters from around the globe have had impressive traditional training from such schools as the renowned St. Petersberg Academy of Arts, ( Repin Institute), Penza Art Institute, The Kharkov Art Institute, The Florence Academy of Art, Laguna College of Art and Design, University of Laval, The Academy of Art in San Francisco just to name a few. The artists have shown in top exhibitions worldwide from St. Petersberg, to Paris, to Los Angeles, and have impressive exhibition resumés as well as strong bodies of work. 

The collection ranges from classical academy works to painterly Impressionist pieces where many works boasts a combination of the two in the same canvas.  

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Submitted Photo

NYC by Jeremy Mann 

The international group of classically trained representational artists believes in the successful combination of objective traditional realism combined with expressive and personal subjects, and the work often boasts a broad range of tight to painterly styles and strokes. The new works being created follow the strong realist techniques of Russia’s Levitan landscapes, as well as others that mimic the loose and layered visual brushwork of California Impressionist Edgar Payne. 

Artists from all over the globe can now share their images of work thru social media and are influencing one another across borders. This exhibition celebrates those blurring of boundries of borders, in both the literal sense and the works. 

“We share an admiration of both ‘Realist’ and ‘Impressionist’ art, and many of our artists in fact combine these styles in order to make strong appealing works of art.” says Rothe. “The viewers will see similar works and styles being created from opposite ends of the globe, finding unity in the works, and likeness in the art that is being created.”

The collection of about 100 works at any given time, is always changing as works are being sold and new works created. 

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Submitted Photo

Lipstick by Aaron Westerberg 

Realism Without Borders also believes firmly that art is for the people. Their aim is to have a traveling exhibition in order to touch a wide and diverse audience and bring the work to the eyes of collectors and students alike. RWB realized that they did not want to reduce themselves to just one geographical area or gallery. 

Rothe notes “Since we wanted to reach a vast array of people, RWB is really a travelling exhibition that is able to exhibit at galleries, fine art clubs, art schools, and museums worldwide.” 

The current RWB collection will exhibit over 60 works by 30 top International artists featuring RWB newest French artist member Nicolas Martin. Participating artists include: Nick Alm, Grigory Ananiev, Mia Bergeron, John Burton, Michelle Dunaway, Michael Klein, Alexander Kremer, Olga Krimon, Sergey Kovalanko, Peggi Kroll-Roberts, Joshua La Rock, Jeremy Mann, Nicolas Martin, Dimitri Motov, C.W Mundy, Robert Pilsbury, Ray Roberts, Vanessa Rothe, Valery Schmatko, Vadim Suvorov, Aaron Westerberg, and Daniil Volkov. 

Historical Artists Include: Oleg Lomakin, Eric Borodin, Boris Gladchenko, Boris Gratchev, Edgar Payne, Yuri Podlaski, Erik Rebane and Vladimir Telegin. 

The exhibition will include a collection of rare small gems from the Thomas Marano collection available for resale with works by: Juliette Aristides, Casey Baugh, Daniel Graves, Jeremy Lipking, Jeremy Mann, Ted Minoff, Julio Reyes, Aaron Westerberg, and Vincent Xeus.

UPS volunteers transform Wayfinders Youth Shelter in Laguna Beach into a holiday ready house

Wayfinders (formerly Community Service Programs) recently hosted their First Annual Holiday House Decorating Contest in partnership with UPS locations in Anaheim and Aliso Viejo. Volunteers from the Aliso Viejo UPS location decorated the Laguna Beach Youth Shelter and volunteers from the Anaheim UPS location adorned the Tustin Youth Shelter in festive décor just in time for the holidays. The two UPS locations competed against each other to determine which location had the best decorating skills. 

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Submitted photo

Volunteers spruce up LB Youth Shelter for Holiday House Decorating Contest

The Wayfinders’ Tustin and Laguna Beach Youth Shelters are short-term crisis intervention program “safe-havens” for struggling children ages 12 to 17. With the opening of the Tustin Youth Shelter in 2016, Wayfinders became the largest short-term shelter system for homeless, runaway and at-risk youth in Orange County. 

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Submitted photo

Jennifer Naughton, George Chau, Adam Stoerck, and Gerald Toussaint show off finished house

Without Wayfinders intervention, children suffering with mental health issues, unstable housing and severe family conflict are most at-risk for victimization and out-of-home placement. The shelter program serves as a 24-hour family crisis resource to parents and youths residing in Orange County, especially those who do not have the means to seek private help. 

Since they provide a place for homeless, runaway and at-risk youth 24/7, 365 days a year, The Wayfinders’ Youth Shelters are not just a place to stay. This event helps bring joy and holiday spirit to the residents of the youth shelters, which can be a difficult time for struggling families. 

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Submitted photo

The final result is a gloriously decorated house

After both shelters are decorated, Wayfinders supporters have the chance to determine which shelter was decorated the best by voting in a ‘Who Did It Best?’ poll on the Wayfinders Facebook page starting Nov 20 through Nov 30. The winner will be announced on Dec 1. Follow @WeAreWayfinders on Facebook to vote. 

For more information on Wayfinders, visit

Two Laguna friends raise funds for The Anova Center for Education, school for children with autism

Two 2010 LBHS grads have teamed up to raise funds for Anova Center for Education, Sonoma’s County’s only nonprofit school for children with autism. Spencer Freidenrich and Zach Riegler have been friends since they attended TOW.  

Today, they are roommates in San Francisco where Spencer is a commercial insurance agent with Federated Mutual Insurance Company and Zach works for RealtyShares. They are teaming up to help the Anova Center for Education, which was destroyed by the recent wild fires in Northern CA.

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Submitted photo

Spencer Freidenrich (on left) and Zach Riegler

Anova is a trusted leader in providing the highest quality educational and therapy services for children and teens with autism. The Anova Center for Education, the ACE School, currently operates three non-profit K-12 campuses in Santa Rosa, San Rafael, and Concord, CA. In addition, their behavioral and paraprofessional services, early intervention, and in-home support are offered in 15 counties across CA.

If residents are interesting in aiding Spencer and Zach in reaching their $2,500 goal, go to and follow the prompts.

Twenty Laguna Canyon Artist’s Studios open to public for holiday tours on Sat, Dec 2 

For a rare opportunity to visit the Laguna Canyon Artist’s Studios and see how art is created, drive to beautiful Laguna Canyon on Sat, Dec 2.  From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., visitors can view the work of 20 artists representing a diverse mix of styles and mediums including drawing and painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking and ceramics.

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Submitted photo

Laguna Canyon Artist’s Studios open to public on Dec 2

Parking is free, and refreshments will be served. 

Guests should look for the signs at the Laguna Canyon Artist’s complex, 3275 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Trash talk leads to successful shredding day on America Recyles Day

Photos by Scott Brashier

The right way to get rid of e-waste

Shred shed?

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R Star founder Rosalind Russell stars in video created by former TOW CLC student

Rosalind Russell, founder of R Star Foundation, was honored recently to be asked by senior Moragh Graf to take part in a video discussing the nonprofit’s work as well as its financial underpinnings. 

R Star’s mission is to help needy families in rural Nepal gain economic independence “one goat at a time” – but the nonprofit goes much further than that, facilitating education for children and women in a country with a 92 percent illiteracy rate in its rural villages. 

Rosalind estimates that R Star has touched the lives of approximately 44,000 people since she founded the nonprofit in 2003.

 Two aspects of the invitation to be videotaped surprised her, Rosalind says: “I used to give presentations at the CLC at TOW Elementary, which Moragh attended way back. She’s now a senior student, so I had no recollection of her as a small child, but she remembered me. Now she is a graceful young woman who is sensitive, sweet and a pretty young thing. What a personal thrill to be remembered by such a sweet child. Guess we never know who we imprint upon, do we?” 

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Submitted photo

Moragh Graf and Rosalind Russell

Rosalind was also flattered to be asked about the financial side of her charity. “I deal with all sorts of things going on in Nepal for our school reconstruction. It takes around four hours each morning to talk with them, text style, go over documents and attempt to understand how engineers, architects and builders think, while addressing the finances and questioning every detail.  You know what is interesting to me…I’ve realized I do know how to ask questions when prices seem too high to me.  So far I have been on target…thankfully I have some logic in me.”

It was this instinctive – and learned – financial acumen and the success of R Star that prompted Moragh to interview Rosalind. 

“Moragh asked me about running the foundation, how we arrive at donors, as well as my challenges – and we have plenty of those. She’s creating a video of the interview which at some point will be on my website (,” Rosalind says. “We laughed and enjoyed our time together.”

Moragh is now applying to Sonoma University and other colleges. “I was very glad to re-meet with her,” says Rosalind. “I’m always grateful to those who help get our message out and raise awareness for R Star.”

Laguna Beach Republicans announce monthly meeting with Senator John Moorlach

The Laguna Beach Republicans (LBGOP) will hold their monthly meeting on Thurs, Nov 30, at Mozambique, located at 1740 S Coast Hwy. 

Social hour will be at 5 p.m.: the meeting will begin at 6 p.m. and end at 7:15 p.m.

Emil Monda, President of the LBGOP, invites all Republicans, Independents and Libertarians to attend the meeting. “We are proud to have Sen. John Moorlach attending and look forward to hearing his update from Sacramento and thoughts on issues like the gas tax hike, sanctuary state movement and the pension situation,” according to Monda.

Those who are interested, RSVP soon to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., as space is limited.

Editor’s Note: We are honored to feature letters of gratitude from the community today in a series called “Our leaders, Our readers”. If you would like to be included in our next issue, please email a short letter and photo to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Laguna Gives Thanks: Our leaders, Our readers 

Civic Leaders

I feel so fortunate to work in Laguna Beach and I am reminded of this every day because I work with a great City team and community, all who truly want to make Laguna Beach the best it can be for all who live, work and play here. We are all striving to make Laguna Beach a progressive town, while maintaining the feel of an artistic village.

--Laura Farinella, Police Chief


Laguna Beach was actually my first assignment way back in 1982 when I was with the County, [Summers, then a newly promoted to Paramedic Captain, was sent to South Laguna prior to the annexation in 1987 at what was then Station Six – now Station Four]so this has been a homecoming of sorts. After 40 years with the fire services, I feel very fortunate to conclude my career here in this beautiful city with such a great group of people.

--Kirk Summers, Fire Chief


I’m glad to live in a town where “everyone has an opinion.” Community involvement is a measure of how deeply we care about our town and its future. When I return from a trip I have a renewed appreciation of why we are such a designation. The ocean? The canyons? The charm? The history? The parks? The art? The people watching?  What’s not to love! 

--Toni Iseman, Mayor


I am very grateful that we can visit the beach, open space, and art festivals in one day without leaving town!  It is also wonderful that we have events like Hospitality Night and the Patriot’s Day Parade to display our sense of community in ways unique to our town.

--John Pietig, City Manager


I’m thankful to have MY health and I’m also thankful we have a council that respects each other and works well together. I’m thankful for my family that supports me and loves me. 

--Kelly Boyd, Mayor Pro-term


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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Kelly and Michelle Boyd

I am grateful for the natural beauty of Laguna, our wonderful residents who participate in such large numbers and our incredible staff who keep us safe and protected against harm.

--Steve Dicterow, Councilmember


I am most grateful for the highly engaged neighbors, residents and business leaders in Laguna whose input helps us to do a better job as a City Council.  I am also grateful for the dedicated and hardworking members of the City staff who do a great job helping to prepare us to understand and analyze the many, and oftentimes complex, policy issues that come before us.  But this year I am particularly grateful to our Police Chief and her department for the amazing job that they did in handling the protests at Main Beach where they struck the perfect balance between allowing members of the public to exercise their free speech rights and maintaining the safety of the public.  We have much to be thankful for as a community and I wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving! 

--Bob Whalen, Councilmember


I am particularly thankful for my Fellow City Councilmembers.  Considering the dysfunction found in other cities and particularly at the Federal level of our democracy, our City Council deliberates respectfully to make decisions that are in the best interest of Laguna.  In my mind, this is something for which we can all be grateful.

--Rob ZurSchmiede, Councilmember

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