clear sky


Laguna Beach

City getting creative with unique public events for input from residents about Downtown Specific Plan 

The City of Laguna Beach is continuing its Downtown Specific Plan Update with a series of outreach events seeking public input this fall and winter. 

One of the upcoming events is an interactive outdoor “Pop-Up Downtown” workshop on Saturday, Nov 15, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. The workshop will include the temporary transformation of a portion of Ocean Avenue near Coast Highway to garner community feedback on potential improvements to the Downtown area. 

There will be interactive examples of how to improve livability and mobility in the Downtown, such as parklets, bulb outs and seating areas.  Topics will also include street and intersection treatments, open space improvements, visualizing building heights and brainstorming improvements for parking areas.  

Community Development Director Greg Pfost, is very excited about the event and stated that “this workshop will be very innovative and allow the City to obtain valuable community feedback while the community enjoys some food, music and conversation about the vision of the Downtown.”

City will bring us info on wheels beginning next week

In addition to the “Pop-Up Downtown” workshop, a unique mobile “Plan Trolley,” utilizing one of the City’s trolleys, will bring important information about the Downtown Specific Plan Update to the community at key events that will include the First Thursday’s Art Walk on Nov 6, the High School Football Game on Nov 7, Hospitality Night on Dec 5 and during the Sawdust Art Festival’s Winter Fantasy in December.  At the events, the “Plan Trolley” will be parked, with city and consultant staff assisting community members in providing their vision and ideas for Downtown Laguna Beach through the use of interactive displays and survey tools.  

For more information visit or contact Wendy Jung, Associate Planner, City of Laguna Beach at 949.497.0321 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

An evening with rabbi, filmmaker, David Nesenoff - Thursday, Nov. 6 at 7 p.m. at Chabad Laguna Beach

A story of humor, danger, spirituality, media bias and cyber hatred!

The viral video of White House correspondent Helen Thomas, proclaiming that Jews should “get the hell out of Palestine” and “go home to Poland and Germany,” forced Thomas to resign and catapulted her interviewer, David Nesenoff, into the limelight, receiving tens of thousands of hate mail and death threats. 

Nesenoff is an American rabbi, independent filmmaker, singer/songwriter of contemporary Jewish music, and blogger. He speaks to worldwide audiences, and his talks have been called, “Mind blowing...truly uplifting...Powerful and hilarious.” 

His films have received numerous awards and have been screened at the famed Sundance Film Festival. 

He came to national attention as an expert and counselor regarding bias crimes, and worked as a consultant to the U.S. Department of Justice in the Denny’s Restaurant racial discrimination case. Later, he served as an intervention consultant to Mel Gibson, when Gibson was accused of anti-Semitism.

Nesenoff himself has been interviewed and quoted in The New York Times, has written a column published in the Washington Post, and has appeared on Fox News and CNN’s Reliable Sources program. He maintains a website,, which features short videos clips and articles about Israel, interviews with rabbis, and his notable interview of opinion columnist Helen Thomas. 

Chabad is located at 30804 Coast Hwy. Please RSVP online at or call 499 – 0770. The cost is $18 per person.

American Legion will conduct Veterans Day Ceremony

On Tuesday Nov 11 at 11 a.m. sharp, the Laguna Beach American Legion will conduct their Veterans Day ceremony to recognize all veterans for their service protecting our country.  

The ceremony will take place at Legion Hall.  The keynote speaker will be Frank Daniel, Commander of VFW Post 5868.  Councilmember Bob Whalen will represent the City of Laguna Beach and the Laguna Beach Police Department will be providing a Color Guard.

The program is open to all residents.  We hope that children and their families will come to meet and honor all our veterans, on Tuesday, 11/11, at 11 a.m. on our Post 222 Grounds at 384 Legion Street.   

For more information, please contact Richard Moore at 949-637-4437.

5-car crash on Park Ave Wednesday morning injures five – including 2 key LBUSD district office employees

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Five people were injured, three seriously, as the result of a five-vehicle crash on Park Avenue near Third Street at 11:38 Wednesday morning.

Among the injured are LBUSD Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Darlene Messenger and Leisa Winston, Director of Human Resources and Public Communications. The extent of their injuries was not known Thursday afternoon.

Captain Jason Kravetz of the LBPD said five patients were transported to hospital – three to Mission Trauma Center in Mission Viejo and two to Mission Laguna Beach. The latter two were transported for complaint of pain and later released.

Photo courtesy LBPD

This Toyota Solara was the first car rear-ended near Bent Street

Captain Kravetz said, “It appears that a Lexus SUV driven by a male was traveling westbound on Park Avenue at a high rate of speed when it rear-ended a Toyota Solara.  After this initial collision, the Lexus continued westbound and rear-ended another Lexus SUV.  After this second collision, the Lexus hit a parked Toyota pickup, which was pushed into another parked car.

Photo courtesy LBPD

The out-of-control Lexus SUV (L) came to a stop at Park Ave and Through Street after colliding with a parked pick up. The second car rear-ended is at Third Street. 

“Our preliminary investigation indicates that the male driver of the Lexus may have suffered some sort of medical emergency leading to his losing control.”

Kravetz was at the scene and indicated that he saw no school-age children who might have been involved.

The crash was still being investigated Thursday afternoon.  

Save the date for Friendship Shelter’s 2014 gala!

Friendship Shelter’s annual gala will be held on Friday, Nov 14 at The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel. Themed HOME, the evening will feature fine dining, live and silent auctions, and lively entertainment.

Submitted photo

The Gala Cabinet!

Keiko Sakamoto (Left), Jane Manolakas, Jeri McKenna and Teddie Ray

This year’s event is chaired by Jane Manolakas, Jeri McKenna, Teddie Ray, and Keiko Sakamoto, and will honor Jane and Joe Hanauer and Temple Bat Yahm for their outstanding generosity and community leadership. 

Additionally, a former Friendship Shelter client will be honored the evening of the event and will share his remarkable journey.

“Not only do we have a fabulous event cabinet this year, but the theme HOME ties into our mission of breaking the cycle of homelessness in our community in a very meaningful way,” said Dawn Price, Executive Director of Friendship Shelter. “We’re looking forward to another fun-filled evening to raise critical funds that directly impact the men and women who turn to us in despair, and leave with hope and the promise of a new beginning.”

Tickets to the gala are $250 each and sponsorship packages range from $1,500 to $25,000. Additional details can be found at:

All proceeds will benefit Friendship Shelter, which has helped homeless adults achieve self- sufficiency since its inception 26 years ago. Every night, nearly 100 people who would otherwise be on the street sleep safely under the care of Friendship Shelter staff at its flagship shelter on Coast Highway in Laguna Beach, the Alternative Sleeping Location in Laguna Canyon, or at various permanent supportive housing sites throughout South Orange County.

For more info about the Gala, or to purchase tickets, call (949) 494-6928 x. 16.

SILB to host Richard Burgi of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on November 4

Soroptimists International of Laguna Beach (SILB) has invited Richard Burgi of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to be the speaker at their Nov. 4th, 6 p.m. dinner meeting at Tivoli Terrace in Laguna Beach. The public is invited to see this presentation by joining them for dinner at a cost of $25.per person for the dinner.

On May 25, 1979, 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from the streets of New York City while on his way to school. The massive search efforts and media attention that followed focused the nation’s attention on the problem of child abduction and lack of plans to address it.

On July 27, 1981, 6-year-old Adam Walsh disappeared from a Florida shopping mall. His parents, John and Revé Walsh, immediately turned to law-enforcement agencies to help find their son. To their disappointment, there was no coordinated effort among law-enforcement to search for Adam.

In 1984, President Reagan signed into law the Missing Children’s Assistance Act, establishing a national clearinghouse of information about missing and exploited children. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® (NCMEC) is designated by the U.S. Congress to fulfill this role, and opened its doors in Washington, DC in 1984. The National Center for Missing & Exploited Children® is the leading nonprofit organization in the U.S. working with law enforcement, families and the professionals who serve them on issues related to missing and sexually exploited children. As part of its Congressional authorization, NCMEC has created a unique public and private partnership to build a coordinated, national response to the problem of missing and sexually exploited children, establish a missing children hotline and serve as the national clearinghouse for information related to these issues.

If you wish to attend this dinner meeting ($25.00) to learn more about the National Center for Exploited and Abused Children and Soroptimist International please contact Maggie Hempen of SILB at maggiehs2000@gmail or 949-922-7291

Soroptimist International of Laguna Beach (one of the oldest non-profit’s in Laguna Beach) is a volunteer organization for business and professional women dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls, in local communities and throughout the world. Founded in 1948, the Laguna Beach club is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas where almost 100,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories contribute time and financial support to community-based projects that benefit women.

Police Files

Out of gas and out of luck

A passing motorist called police to report that a black Lexus was stalled on the center median of Laguna Canyon Road and the 73 Toll Road Monday afternoon.

When officers arrived on scene, it turned out that the Lexus, driven by an unidentified female, was out of gas. 

Routine police protocol includes checking the identity of all persons they make contact with during patrol.

Her passenger, Ian Lawrence Nelson, 25, of Corona, was found to be on active parole for robbery and subject to a random search at any time, any place.

He had a meth pipe in his shirt pocket and was arrested for misdemeanor possession of drug paraphernalia.

Also routine protocol, Laguna PD contacted his parole officer and later on Monday afternoon, Nelson’s parole was revoked and he was held without bail for pickup by the Department of Corrections in Santa Ana.


Bus drivers have radios and they use them as needed

An OCTA bus driver waiting at the Broadway bus depot called OCTA dispatch about a man and a woman who were “waving around a whiskey bottle” while seated in the gazebo area of the depot.

The OCTA dispatch called LBPD and officers were dispatched to the scene where they saw the couple trying to hide the bottle.

When things were finally sorted through, Derek Ramirez Owen, 40, no fixed address, was under arrest for an OC Court warrant for failure to appear, DUI and possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. Bail for the warrant was $15,000.

Stacy Overton, 36, no fixed address, also had an outstanding warrant in the system. She was wanted as a parolee at large by the California Department of Correction for parole violation. 

She was held without bail for DOC pickup in Santa Ana.

OC Register endorses Boyd and Hall for City Council race 

From a press release

In the OC Register article: Boyd, Hall for Laguna Councilin their opinion/editorial section, The OC Register officially recommends Michele Hall for a seat on the Laguna Beach City Council and also recommended incumbent Kelly Boyd. 

As the momentum of this arduous, even sometimes zany election builds into its final week, voters are looking for substantive clues as to which candidate is their best bet. Michele Hall may have just won the grand sweepstakes of the local Laguna campaign race with the endorsement of the O.C. Register. 

The article states, “Ms. Hall greatly impressed with her “Mandate for Renewal” plan, an outline for transparency, accountability and efficiency in local government”. The article ends with a direct request to voters to place the challenger and incumbent in City Hall, “The Register recommends voters send them to fill two of the three open City Council seats on Nov. 4”.  The article states both will continue to make Laguna Beach a great place to visit and to call home. 

The article is timely after the recent announcement of four Mayors of Laguna Beach all endorsing Michele Hall. Mayor Elizabeth Pearson stated, “I am pleased to announce my endorsements of candidates whose philosophies are similar to mine as it relates to property rights, pro-artists and pro-business, and who have convinced me of their fiscally responsible approach to governing- a long-time supporter of mine, Michele Hall.”

Current City Council member and former Mayor Steve Dicterow adds to the support, “Michele is the first of her generation to run for a seat on city council. I have known Michele for 20 years. I’m supporting her because I trust her judgment.”

Former Mayorand Woman’s Club - Woman of the Year 2014, Cheryl Kinsman says, “I’ve found her to be an honest, hardworking Mom who represents Laguna’s younger generation with fresh ideasShe is the type of council member Laguna needs to lead our city into the future.” 

Former Mayor Wayne Baglin endorses Hall on her ability to bring a well rounded skill-set to city council along with some desperately needed innovative ideas. “Hall is qualified to do the job based on education and experience, in addition to having fresh ideas, being politically independent, a problem solver and a team player. These are the attributes Michele Hall will bring to Laguna Beach City Council when she is elected”.

Hall is anxious to keep the positive velocity moving forward, “When the excitement of the campaign is over, the council must not stagnate. It must be fused with new ideas and productive energy”.

Even though Hall is the former President of the Laguna Beach GOP, she attracts a foundation of varied supporters. Fiscally conservative with a degree from Berkeley with an emphasis in water conservation and private property rights, Hall is the only candidate with school aged children and is hopeful to bring a safe, fun and economically sound skatepark to the kids of Laguna. 

Hall focuses on less government in city hall and goes on to say, “I will collaborate with the voters choice to get the peoples work done. I value the endorsement of Mayors Pearson and Kinsman and will proudly carry on the tradition of strong, creative, female leaders of our city”.  

With the stamp of approval by the 4 Mayors of Laguna Beach and now the OC Register coming just in the nick of time, Michele Hall may just get the opportunity to roll-up her sleeves, get to work and give back to the community she loves and promises to serve. 

Tuesday’s Crisp and Clear Moon Shot

Click on photo for a larger image


Scott Brashier

Normandin gains endorsements as Election Day draws close

Carol Normandin’s volunteer campaign manager, Robin Walker, announced this week that their website has received over 100 individual endorsements for Normandin’s election to the LBUSD School Board. “We are proud to have support from all quarters of the community,” Walker said. “It reflects Carol’s ability to lead, her track record of dedication to our children, and her demonstrated history of keeping the best interests of our students close to her heart.” 

Carol’s endorsements include Wendy and Brent Martini, Holly and David Wilson, Jeff and Suzy Elghanayan, current Mayor Pro Tem and former school board member Bob Whalen, current and past school board members such as El Hathaway, Tim Carlyle and Betsy Jenkins, and many community leaders such as Michael Pinto, Peter Kote, Peter Barker, Kelly and Willis Boyd, Bree Burgess Rosen, Lisa and Gary Arthur, Kim and Ari Novick, Terrell Anansi, Anne Johnson and many others at 

On the website, Normandin’s endorsers shared comments regarding their support. “I’m always so impressed with how deeply Carol cares for education,” wrote Thurston teacher Carl Nelson. “As a teacher, I could talk shop with her for hours! So supportive, passionate and very knowledgeable about education, she wants the very best for our students.” 

Parent Karin Riches shared, “In the ten years I have known Carol, she has impressed me with her sharp intellect, high energy, efficiency, integrity, and pure devotion to promoting our kids’ happiness and achievement. Her advocacy on our school board will be a tremendous gift to Laguna Beach students.” 

Carol volunteered for over eight years with SchoolPower and was Vice President of the Community Campaign raising millions of dollars for the district. Tom Koch said, “I had the good fortune to work with Carol when I was President of SchoolPower. She always brought her ‘A’ game. She is a tireless supporter of kids and education. Carol would be a tremendous asset to the school board.”

In addition to campaign manager Walker, over 20 parents from the community have volunteered on Normandin’s campaign distributing signs and flyers, hosting events, and working on social media. “As soon as I heard Carol was running for school board, I signed up to help in anyway I could,” said Christine Fugate. “Carol Normandin is by far the most knowledgeable person I know about the Laguna Beach school system. I have complete faith in her as my representative.” 

Prior to becoming a full-time parent and volunteer, Carol owned an executive search firm and worked as an executive recruiter for over fifteen years. In her campaign, she has stressed her desire to help the district adopt policies to better hire and retain personnel, her dedication to transparency and communication, and her past commitment and connection to the schools, teachers and students of Laguna Beach.

Carol lives at Top of the World with her husband, Ken Parker, three children and Storm, the family dog. 

Since 2005, their children have attended Laguna Beach schools with one child currently at Top of the World Elementary and one at Thurston Middle School.

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