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Laguna Beach

Net-Works’ 3rd annual Christmas lunch with the homeless

On Monday, Dec 22 Laguna Beach Net-Works Church (member of Association of Vineyard Churches) held their third annual Christmas lunch with the homeless. The White House has been a great venue and people to work with. George the owner and Tony the manager as well as all the staff have a huge heart to help the homeless. 

Photos by Faye Chapman

A volunteer helps a legally blind man with his ticket for the opportunity drawing

This year, between 85 and 90 people enjoyed a special time together. Pastor Don Sciortino and his wife Karen are so pleased at the ongoing relationships that are happening on the streets of Laguna. 

Giving thanks

“Many invisible people are becoming visible as we make a choice to give the gift of our time and self to another. We have five to six of our homeless members working in our city and coming into a new way of doing life. It is so rewarding and yet the need is so great.” 

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Pastor Don Sciortino and Barbara Williams presenting another prize to its winner

This good beginning has prompted homeless advocate Faye Chapman and Pastor Don to begin the “Laguna Beach Homeless Work Program”. It will launch in January, inviting many Laguna merchants to open their heart and workplace for a homeless person to have a new start. 

“People help the people” will be their invitation to many business owners. “Together we can see many people’s lives changed.” 

Want to help? Give Pastor Don a call at 949-328-7230.

Laguna Beach Artist Open Studios Jan 3, 11-4 p.m.

On Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Laguna Beach Artist Open Studios will kick off the New Year with an exciting art adventure. During this free event, art enthusiasts are invited to visit local professional artists in their studios. Participants can also catch a free shuttle service from the Act V parking lot, located at 1900 Laguna Canyon Road, and take advantage of free parking.

Artist Open Studios is a celebration of Laguna’s thriving visual arts community. It is not only a fantastic opportunity to see, buy or commission art, or find original holiday gifts. It is also a venture to explore the city’s iconic artist colony – a time to uncover new talent and rediscover established artists. Who could resist the chance to step into the heart of where art is created, to experience something unique, something you just can’t see anywhere else?

Located throughout Laguna Beach, the majority of artist studios are nestled along Laguna Canyon Road. These studios, surrounded by oak trees and rich canyon colors, are the creative backdrop for many artists. Experience why legendary artists William Wendt, Frank Cuprien, and Edgar Payne set roots here in the early 1890s, captivated by the natural, idyllic setting. 

Observe 31 artists working in a spectrum of art media - fused glass, painting, printmaking, and bronze lost-wax demonstrations. Enjoy the behind the scenes process manifested in an artist’s own creative space.

Cliff Wassmann

Drive downtown, just off the canyon on Ocean Avenue, and discover painter Cliff Wassmann. Here, art enthusiasts will appreciate his historic art studio, nearly 100-years-old.

“For visitors, it’s nice; they can come in and see an actual working studio,” Wassmann said. People get to see a retrospective look at the artist’s work that you can’t see anywhere else. “It’s different than a gallery experience. A gallery can be intimidating, but in a studio - you get to see work in progress,” said Wassmann. “It’s more hands-on than a gallery, a little more intimate.”

The first stop visit painter John Repka. At the second stop, don’t miss the opportunity to make your own piece of kiln formed glass with Maggie Spencer, and view her colorful work. Each month, she presents a new project for visitors to try.

Tucked in a serene spot at the third stop in the canyon, experience the creative ceramic and wood studio space, with Sandy Groves.

Laguna Canyon Artists complex, at the fourth stop, offers a cluster of studios with a host of artists who work in a variety of art mediums. Many artists are located at Laguna Canyon Artists. Join a number of new participating artists in exploring their studio space and art work. This artist complex is widely known for a number of imaginative and experimental printmakers, painters, jewelers, and mixed media artists, as well as established artists like oil painter Tom Swimm.

Tom Swimm

During the event, visitors can enjoy Swimm working at his easel, painting new coastal scenes in oils. “I have lots of original work on display there as well, with many different subjects done in oils of all sizes,” Swimm said.

Swimm finds Artist Open Studios to be a great way to connect with people who appreciate and collect all forms of art. “When you send your work off to galleries, you usually don’t have access to comments about your work, or have any interaction with someone if they purchase a piece,” Swimm said. “I find that a lot of people like to meet the artist and talk about what inspires them – it’s a nice way to connect with people who like your work.”

The artist added, “I think it allows people to learn about how artists work and to see the environment that they have created to fit their own artistic personality. Many people have this perception that artists are inaccessible and that there is some magic or mystery to creating fine art.”

Louis Longi

At the very last stop in the canyon, visit with artists Louis Longi, Olivia Batchelder, Deborah Paswaters and Micha von Doring who work on bronze, silk, painting and wood respectively.

Longi creates one-of-a-kind bronze sculptures, abstracting the human form, and expressing the strength of human will. He has myriad public art pieces, including “Beacon” and “Usher In” at Act V.

“I like to show the unique process of my sculpting technique, lost wax foundry process, and behind the scenes production cycle of creating contemporary sculptures,” Longi said. “During Artist Open Studios, people will experience hands-on sculpting, participating in the wax sculpting process with a new technique that I am working on. And they can check out an exterior studio and creative canyon environment.”

Longi said that he has received great feedback from attendees. “They’re glad they stopped by, and learned how bronze sculptures are made. They really enjoy the unique experience.”

For a list of participating artists, please visit the Cultural Arts Department page at or call (949) 497-0722.

Participating Artists: Linda Ames, Ebrahim Amin, Olivia Batchelder, Elizabeth Bridy, Cynthia Britain, Elaine Cohen, Lydia Delgado, Micha von Doring, Phil Eaton, Lani Emanuel, Michael Ervin, Paul Gardner, Lorenzo George, Sandy Groves, Gina Mead Howie, Veronica Khristov, Louis Longi, Fitz Maurice, Patrice Miller, Deborah Paswaters, John Repka, Sheryl Seltzer, Michael Situ, Judi Smolin, Maggie Spencer, Tom Swimm, Cheyne Walls, Cliff Wassmann, Deborah Weinstein, Susan Wills, and Tracy Young.

LBHS baseball team looking for new game announcer

What lifelong baseball fan hasn’t fantasized about being a play-by-play game announcer? Anyone who loves the game has done it!

The Breakers Baseball Boosters are searching for a new volunteer announcer for the upcoming season’s home games…all in the afternoon hours.

If that’s something you’d like to look into, give Suzy McInerny a call: 949-939-0361. Or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Laguna Beach Library’s December events

Upcoming special events are:

Saturday Dec 27 10 – 11 a.m.: Food Addicts Anonymous (FAA) Meeting

“Sharing our Experience, Strength & Hope.” A12-Step Program dedicated to food addiction. There is a food plan, sponsors, face-to-face meetings, phone meetings, literature and fellowship. Meets in the Community Room. Contact James @ 714-554-2195 for more information.

Monday Dec 29, 6 - 7:30 p.m.: Toastmasters Open House Meeting

Come learn about the benefits of being a member of Toastmasters and how you can enhance your public speaking and leadership skills. Meets in the Community Room. For more information contact the library or inquire at the Information Desk.

Tuesday, Dec. 30, 3:30 p.m.: B.A.R.K. Read to a Dog Program

Do your kids love to read aloud, or just need to practice their reading skills? Come meet Venus and her owner, Theresa, from Beach Animals Read to Kids (B.A.R.K.)! Children can read to a certified therapy dog, eager to listen and love. Aaarf! Sign up at the Children’s Desk. Drop-ins welcome too!

All programs are free, graciously funded by the Friends of the Laguna Beach Library.

Laguna Beach Library hours are Monday-Wednesday 10 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Thursday 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.; Friday-Saturday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; closed Sundays. This holiday season, Wednesdays Dec. 24th and 31st the library will close at 5 p.m. The library will be closed all day on Thursday, Dec. 25th for Christmas.

Hundreds of thousands of photos and a new documentary

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Staff photos by Scott Brashier

Filmmaker Jason Blalock explains as Doug Miller looks on

Laguna’s iconic Doug Miller came to Laguna Beach in 1970 and became a Sawdust regular a year later. In that timespan, he has taken over 350,000 photos (mostly black and white and almost all spontaneous) of his beloved hometown.

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On Thursday, Dec 18, filmmaker Jason Blalock unveiled the premier of his documentary, Sawdust and Sand: The Photographs of Douglas Miller before a standing room only crowd at the Laguna Art Museum’s monthly film night.

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Doug delighting the SRO crowd

Scott Brashier was there. He took his photos in black and white to honor Doug.

City lists its “key accomplishments” for calendar 2014

Facilities and Capital Improvements

Lifeguard Headquarters and Main Beach Park Renovations – The City constructed a Marine Safety Headquarters and public restrooms, renovated the Main Beach Park, and added a public art component.

Gaviota Drive Diversion Unit Installation – The City received $250,000 of grant funds to construct an urban water diversion unit at Gaviota Drive.  The unit will divert urban runoff and pollutants away from the Pacific Ocean.

Riddle Field Renovation – The City partnered with Laguna Beach Little League and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim to renovate Riddle Field in North Laguna.

Improvement of City Facilities and Local Infrastructure – The City completed several projects to improve City facilities and local infrastructure:

Completed renovation of Moulton Meadows Park.

Added bike route signage and sharrows along Glenneyre Street from Park Avenue to Bluebird Canyon Drive, and along Cliff Drive.

Replaced marked crosswalks on Glenneyre Street with enhanced markings for pedestrian safety.

Replaced the backup generator at Fire Station No. 4.

Upgraded propane tank storage capacity at the Corporation Yard to accommodate increased summer trolley service with propane fueled trolleys.

Replaced the safety fencing at the corner of Cleo Street and Glenneyre.

Replaced 200 feet of guard railing on Alta Vista Way.

Completed construction of the Gainsborough Drive slope repair.

Completed construction of the Mermaid Street retaining wall.

Completed slurry seal of streets in the north Laguna area and El Toro Road.

Lined a deteriorated storm drain from Wykoff Way to Bluebird Canyon Drive.

Constructed an enlarged storm drain inlet at the corner of Wendt Terrace and Park Avenue.

Completed evaluation, trimming, removals, and replacements of trees in the Bluebird Canyon area.

Pool Renovation – The Laguna Beach High School & Community Pool renovation was completed in June 2014 and included important upgrades to the filtration system, repairs to the pool deck and other improvements to ensure safe and efficient pool operations.

Improvement of Flood Control Infrastructure in Downtown – The City convinced Caltrans to program funding for enlarging the Laguna Canyon Channel box near Coast Highway.

Undergrounding Utilities – The City initiated two utility undergrounding districts in the areas of Crestview Drive and Woods Cove and received approval of an undergrounding district for the Ruby Street/Catalina Street area.

The entire list is available by downloading a printable PDF here

Remaining Categories:

Public Safety

Community Development


Club on the beach welcomes laugher number 30,000!

Members of the Laguna Laughter Club gave a hilarious ovation to a new attendee on Sunday Dec. 14 as she was honored as the 30,000th person to laugh on the beach since the club began in June 2005. 

Paige Gammell received honors, accolades, the club insignia and hilarious gifts on the sand below the Heisler Park gazebo. 

Submitted photo

Paige Gammell, Laguna Laughter Club laugher 30,000

Gammell, 23, from Laguna Hills is scheduled to be married March 27. Her mother Lezlie Garity-Gammell attended previous sessions of the Laughter Club and decided to share this December day with her daughter. Neither mother Lezlie nor daughter Paige anticipated the special honor, which would be awarded to Paige three months before her wedding day.

Paige is an accomplished ballerina. She said that her favorite hobby is “dancing in front of the mirror.” She is now flourishing in her career as a Yoga Teacher. After the laughter session she posed with club founder Jeffrey Briar as they performed the difficult “Headstand” pose.

Regarding the Laughter Club experience, Paige said, “This was my first time but definitely not my last. What an experience - what a treat! My cheeks are surely sore. Such a fun and welcoming group of people. 

“This Laughter Club is an experience that everyone needs to try. Come and enjoy a workout, get a great laugh, meet some loving and caring people while enjoying the beauty that surrounds us.” 

The Laguna Laughter Club was founded in June 2005 by Briar, a Laguna Beach resident. As an advocate of therapeutic laughter, Briar appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Dancing with the Stars, and the CNN-TV Special Happiness and Your Health with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.

The health benefits of laughter are said to include improvement to the immune and cardiovascular systems. Laughter is reputed to relieve stress, anxiety and depression. Briar said that members tend to create caring friendships, which are expressed via special events, outings, celebrations and gatherings. Laguna Laughter Club members march every year in Laguna’s Patriot Day Parade. The club at its sparkling Main Beach location was featured in stories on That Morning Show (on local station “E!”), Geraldo At Large, and Your-LA TV.

The Laguna Laughter Club meets seven days per week, and was the first club in the world outside India to do so. Morning meetings are at 8 a.m. daily, Sunday through Friday. On Saturdays only, the laughers meet at 10 a.m. All meetings are held on the sand at the northernmost end of Main Beach, below the gazebo of Heisler Park (tide permitting): 375 West Cliff Dr. The gatherings are free of charge, and everyone is welcome. For more information on the Laughter Club call (949) 376-1939, or write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit their website at

Photos from the celebration of the 30,000th laugher can be seen here:

Pageant of the Masters casting calls begin January 9

Ever wonder what it would be like to step into a famous piece of art? If you can stand still for 90 seconds, you could experience just that by volunteering for the renowned Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach - “where art comes to life!” In preparation of the 2015 show, The Pursuit of Happiness, the Pageant is looking for men, women and children to volunteer. People of all sizes and ages are needed to be cast members in the world’s most famous presentation of tableaux vivants.

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Submitted photo

Working backstage on Galileo

Casting call will be held at the Irvine Bowl Park (650 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, CA) during the following times: 

Friday, Jan. 9 from 7 – 9 p.m.

Saturday, Jan. 10 from 7 – 9 p.m.

Sunday, Jan. 11 from 2 – 5 p.m.

Next summer’s performances of the Pageant of the Masters will run nightly at 8:30 p.m. from July 8 to Aug. 31. Please call 494-3663 for additional information.

Casting call is a fun experience for all involved. Prospective volunteers will be measured and photographed, enjoy refreshments and meet the behind-the-scenes Pageant staff. No theater experience is necessary. The only requirement is the ability to stand still and have fun.

“Over 500 volunteers, both onstage and behind-the-scenes, are needed to put on the show,” said Pageant director Diane Challis Davy. “Everyone has a great time backstage and many return year after year to take part in this one-of-a-kind performance. The Pageant just simply wouldn’t be possible without our volunteers!”

Pageant volunteers are also needed for positions in the wardrobe, make up, and headdress departments, as well as cast area coordinators and refreshment servers, among other positions.

Volunteering for the Pageant is a great way to spend your summer and it is common to have several generations of the same family volunteering for different aspects of the show. Additionally, by volunteering for the Pageant, students can earn credit towards community service requirements.

Medicare 101: Learn about your options at hosted seminars

Join Freeman Laguna Insurance Services, Inc for an informational Medicare seminar to learn about the changes to Medicare plans in 2015. They can inform you on the full range of options available.

There will be two seminar dates hosted by Patrick and Joann Freeman, local insurance brokers who are certified with most of the option plans that are available in Laguna Beach and throughout Orange County.

RSVP to 497-7473 and receive an apple pie after the meeting. There is no obligation for follow up. Come and enjoy information and pie!

The seminar dates: Jan 13, 4 – 5 p.m., and Feb 10, 4 – 5 p.m.

At Ruby’s Diner, 30622 Coast Highway, Laguna Beach

DUI Checkpoint December 20 resulted in seven arrests

The Laguna Beach Police Department conducted a DUI/Drivers License checkpoint on Dec. 20, at North Coast Highway and Crescent Bay Drive between the hours of 9 p.m. and 2:45 a.m. Checkpoints are placed in locations that have the greatest opportunity for achieving drunk and drugged driving deterrence and provide the greatest safety for officers and the public.

DUI/Drivers License checkpoints have been shown to lower DUI deaths and injuries. A major component of these checkpoints are the deterrent effects it has on those who might drive drunk or drugged impaired, bringing about more awareness and encouraging everyone to use sober designated drivers.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), checkpoints have provided the most effective documented results of any of the DUI enforcement strategies, while also yielding considerable cost savings of $6 for every $1 spent. Ninety Percent of California drivers approve of checkpoints.

990 vehicles screened; 2 DUI-alcohol suspects arrested; 1 DUI-drug impaired suspects arrested; 15 drivers cited/arrested for operating a vehicle unlicensed or while suspended/revoked; 4 arrested on other criminal charges; 14 citations issued.

The Laguna Beach Police Department will be conducting additional DUI/Drivers License Checkpoints in 2015 in our ongoing commitment to lowering deaths and injuries upon our streets and highways.

The checkpoint was funded by a grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. 

Report Drunk Drivers – Call 9-1-1!

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor & Writer.

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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.

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