Rays of hope

Ray of clouds

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Photo by David Powers

December 31 sunrise from Moulton Meadows Park, a last goodbye to 2020


New City arborist to lead Urban Forest Management Program and Tree Care Services

The City of Laguna Beach has hired Nate Faris as the new City arborist to lead the City’s Urban Forest Management Program and Tree Care Services. 

Faris brings a breadth of experience in best practices in tree care, pests and disease prevention, proper pruning techniques, and knowledge of enhancing the long-term structural integrity of trees to the position.

“I love being outside, working with trees and people who are passionate about the urban forest,” said Faris. “My focus is not only the health and well-being of individual trees, but also a larger-scale perspective like canopy cover and the overall benefits of trees to our community.”

New City Nate

Submitted photo

Nate Faris announced as new City arborist 

Faris holds both of the arboriculture’s highest distinctions, ISA Board Certified Master Arborist and ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist. He also has 15 years of experience creating and leading tree-planting programs at nonprofit organizations, both in Indiana and Florida. 

Faris also has 9 years of experience in owning and operating a tree consulting business. In 2018, Faris was one of five arborists to be given the True Professionals of Arboriculture Award by the International Society of Arboriculture. 

Shohreh Dupuis, Laguna Beach Assistant City Manager and Director of Public Works, says it will be beneficial for the City to have a tree expert on staff rather than going through a contracted company as the City has done in recent years.

“The City takes great pride in maintaining its urban forest and appreciates all the benefits of trees in our community,” said Shohreh Dupuis, Assistant City Manager and Director of Public Works. “This position allows us to take a more hands-on approach with our urban forestry issues, both internally and with the public and advocacy groups.”

Last year, the Public Works Department replaced over 30 street trees in the Downtown and Coast Highway corridor areas. Faris started as City Arborist with the City of Laguna Beach on Monday, Nov 4.


First Annual Holiday Golf Cart Parade

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

First Annual beginning

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Staging area at the top of Poplar Street for the First Annual Holiday Golf Cart Parade

First Annual dog

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Organizer Keohen Smith with his pup

First Annual family

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Family unit celebrates their first  Holiday Golf Cart Parade

For more photos by Mary Hurlbut, see slideshow below

 


186 citations made in weekend speed and modified exhaust enforcement operation

The Laguna Beach Police Department, the Orange County Sheriff’s Department, and the California Highway Patrol conducted a directed speed and modified exhaust enforcement operation over the weekend in the cities of Laguna Beach, Dana Point, and selected neighboring areas along Pacific Coast Highway, to reduce excessive vehicular speed and noise.

During the twelve hours of operation, the Task Force issued a total of 186 citations: 153 for speeding and 33 for loud exhaust. LBPD traffic officers did an outstanding job and wrote 75 of these citations.

This is the first of several directed enforcement operations that will be conducted in 2020.

“Speed and loud exhaust can impact the safety and quality of life for our residents, and we will actively enforce these laws to mitigate their concerns,” said LBPD Captain Jeff Calvert.


Eye of God

Eye of sky

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Photo by Blair Liggatt

Christmas Eve 2020


Virtual reading of winning poems from Annual John Gardiner Poetry Contest available online

The Laguna Beach Library’s 22nd Annual John Gardiner Poetry Contest concluded on June 6 with a Virtual Public Reading Event. Prizes of up to $100 in gift certificates were awarded in five age categories, and the winning poems have been published in a booklet. The theme this year was “I Believe in Superheroes.” To access both the reading and the booklet, click here.

Library Assistant Heather Bradley reports, “The annual poetry contest was a great success this year! Although the branch was closed due to the stay-at-home order, we were able to adjust the contest to an entirely online format and continue. It proved to be a meaningful creative outlet during a difficult time for so many people.” 

Virtual reading Gardiner

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

John Gardiner, beloved local poet who passed away in 2017

In addition to the public reading and the booklet of winning poems, which are  both offered for viewing online, hard copies of the poetry booklet will be available for free at the library after reopening. 

Heather says, “We received so many wonderful submissions from throughout Orange County and Los Angeles County – and we even had a few international submissions! Thank you to everyone who participated in this year’s event, and congratulations to those whose poems were chosen by our judges! We hope you will share your poetry with us again next year.” 

The theme for the 23rd Annual John Gardiner Poetry Contest in 2021 will be: “Between the Clouds and Sea.” 

The poetry contest is generously supported by Friends of the Laguna Beach Library.


Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 5868 asks for help to remain in Laguna Beach

The Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post in Laguna Beach is a nonprofit, fully volunteer organization. They do not own any income producing assets and must depend on donations to pay the Post’s expenses (insurance, for example) and continue the support of veterans in need. 

While in prior years they ran fundraisers such as a lottery and an annual Oktoberfest, their active members have aged to the extent that they can no longer manage these kinds of events. They do receive donations for poppies, but that income is restricted to specific VFW causes.      

So, in order to sustain the good works they do for veterans and the local community, they are asking for donations. 

Veterans of Arnie

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Arnie Silverman, Patriot of the Year 2019, during Veteran’s Day Ceremony in 2020

Korean War Veteran Arnie Silverman says, “With your help, we can continue supporting our VFW Little League team, visit veteran patients at Long Beach VA Hospital and the Wounded Warriors facility in Pendleton when permitted, participate in patriotic events such as Memorial Day, assist various charities and homeless vets, and overall make ourselves available when needed. 

“It will enable us to maintain our Post in Laguna Beach that has proudly been here for close to 75 years. Laguna Beach deserves a Post such as ours.  Let’s make sure it is able to continue on. The officers of our Post thank you and wish you a merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”

Send whatever you are can to:

Frank Danielson, QM, VFW Post 5868, P.O Box 629, Laguna Beach, CA 92652.


Bare boardwalk

Bare boardwalk fence

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Photo by  Mary Hurlbut

Barren on a blustery day


State of South County Address and Dinner features

OC Supervisor Lisa Bartlett on April 11

The Chambers of Commerce for the cities of Dana Point, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, and San Juan Capistrano invite residents to the State of South County Address and Dinner at Laguna Hills Community Center on Thursday, April 11 from 5:30 - 7:30 p.m.

Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett of the Orange County Board of Supervisors will speak and answer questions, which may be submitted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Please note “Question for Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, Orange County Board of Supervisors” in the subject line.

State of Bartlett

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Submitted photo

Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett appears at State of South County Address and Dinner

Bartlett represents the Fifth District of Orange County, the sixth largest County in the United States of America. The Fifth District encompasses the South County Cities of Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano, the community of Shady Canyon in the City of Irvine, as well as the unincorporated communities of Coto de Caza, Ladera Ranch, Las Flores, Rancho Mission Viejo, and Wagon Wheel.

There is limited seating at a cost of $50 per person and attendees must RSVP to www.StateofSouthCounty.com.

The Laguna Hills Community Center is located at 25555 Alicia Pkwy, Laguna Hills.


Paraglider buzzes through Laguna

Photos by Scott Brashier

Paraglider buzzes with bird

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Paraglider on Thursday, May 9 shares sky with a bird 

Paraglider buzzes alone

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Solitary freeflying on a cloudy day


Cloud creatures

Cloud creatures sun

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Photo by Joel Goldstein

The view from above at Seaview Park on December 27


Irvine-Laguna Wildlife Corridor celebrates successes for nature despite challenging year

Despite the unexpected challenges presented this year due to quarantine restrictions, Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. and its partners have been able to aggressively move forward with goals to expand the recognition and momentum for completion of the Irvine-Laguna Wildlife Corridor. 

The Irvine-Laguna Wildlife Corridor is a six-mile-long habitat connection between the Santa Ana mountains in inland Irvine and the coastal wilderness parks around Laguna Beach and neighboring cities. Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. is a nonprofit organization committed to open space preservation in Orange County and has been supporting the design and completion of the Irvine-Laguna Wildlife Corridor for over two decades. 

FivePoint broke ground on a central section of the Corridor in 2018 on the east side of the former El Toro MCAS base and has been preparing the area for planting of wildlife-friendly landscaping. The partnership between Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., FivePoint, and the City of Irvine was a key lynchpin in securing the central section of the Corridor and represents a bright spot in this decades-long endeavor. 

Irvine lLguna bobcat

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Photo by John Foley, Laguna Canyon Foundation

Bobcat spotted on LCF Discovery Hike in Aliso Wood Canyon in Aug 2019

The Greenbelt, in conjunction with its science advisor experts, plans to release a cutting-edge wildlife-friendly development guide that will help to define statewide development standards. Similar to the Audubon bird-safe guidelines, these measures may be applied broadly into new and existing construction to prevent common development missteps that harm wildlife. 

In 2020, Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. was able to: 

--Meet with City of Irvine officials and discuss interim measures to improve blockages through the I-5 wildlife underpass at Bake Parkway. 

--Expand its presence on social and print media, create a robust press kit, and revitalize the conservation message to engage a more diverse audience. 

--Develop key projects for the next phase of the completion of the Corridor, especially along El Toro Road and Laguna Canyon Road to improve animal safety.

--Support statewide partners in banning rodenticides at the state level. 

--Conclude lawsuits against the County of Orange to halt developments in Irvine that would have harmed wildlife. 

--Convene a world-class group of expert science advisors to guide future Irvine-Laguna Wildlife Corridor design and policy and to create a standardized guide for wildlife-friendly development. 

In 2021, Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. plans to further develop solutions for key challenges along the Corridor. 

It will continue working with the City of Irvine, The Irvine Company, FivePoint, and the newly formed expert Science Advisors to complete the Corridor and ensure it is fully functional. 

More information on the Corridor is available at www.wildlifecorridor.org/press-kit.


Boys & Girls Club and KX FM Radio to host School Board Candidate Forum on Monday

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach and Laguna’s KX FM Radio will host a School Board Candidate Forum via Zoom on Monday, Oct 5 at 7 p.m.

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach’s CEO Pam Estes and KX FM General Manager Tyler Russell McCusker will moderate the forum along with host of the evening, BGC Board Member Jimmy Azadian. School Board Candidates Jan Vickers, Amy Kramer, Sheri Morgan, and Kelly Osborne will all be present to give a brief statement and answer questions submitted by the community.

“2020 has been a year like no other. Through the good, the bad, and the ugly, it is clear more than ever that we all need to put our voices to work and vote! The School Board Candidate Forum is the perfect opportunity to educate ourselves on the topics at hand, hear what our candidates have to say about them, and what our candidates stand for. It is then up to us to show up on November 3 and vote! Our youth are depending on us,” explains BGC-Laguna CEO Pam Estes.

Prior to the forum, each candidate will receive the same 25 questions selected from questions submitted by the community (the deadline to submit questions was September 30). Estes and McCusker will select 8-9 of these questions to ask live, on air on October 5th. Each candidate will have the same amount of uninterrupted time to respond. This will allow candidates an even ground to explain their platform and how they will address the community’s needs. 

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and nonpolitical organization focused on the youth of our Laguna Beach community. KX FM Radio’s vision is that locally focused FM radio is a vital component to the community. Both are inspired by the youth of the community and look forward to helping shape their future by presenting the School Board candidates.

The School Board Candidate Forum is open to anyone in the community, capping at 1,000 participants. To receive the Zoom link, click here to register. The Zoom link for the forum will also be on the Boys & Girls website at www.bgclagunabeach.org and on social media (@bgclagunabeach) the day of the event. 

To donate to BGC Laguna or for any other inquires, contact

Jennifer Costales at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., visit www.bgclagunabeach.org, or call (949) 494-2535.


Silhouette

Silhouette man

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Photo by Scott Brashier

On a gold-flecked sea


Barbara’s Column

Taking Care of Business 

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Visit Laguna Beach means business.

Since its inception 32 years ago as the Laguna Beach Hospitality Association, Visit Laguna Beach has focused on its mission to develop and market the city as a leading travel destination. That means bringing to Laguna tourists who will stay for more than a day at the beach. The success of the program and how it benefits the city, its residents and the business community was demonstrated at the annual Marketing Meeting, held Tuesday at Seven7Seven. 

“Even with all the rain, I am doing good,” said George Nelson, longtime owner of Fawn Memories on Forest Avenue. “We’ve got a lot of people in hotels and they have to do something, so they eat and they shop.”

What is good for business is also good for the city, according to Visit Laguna research. 

Tourism provides more than 5,000 jobs. Increased tax revenue driven by visitors increased 40 percent from 2007 to 2017. The Transient Occupancy Tax, familiarly known as “bed taxes” generates the second highest source of revenue to the city: $14.7 million in fiscal year 2017-2018.

Taking care board

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Board of Directors: (L-R) RJ Bear, Karyn Philippsen, Sharbie Higuchi, Joanna Bear, Ashley Johnson (President), Mark Orgill (chairman), Debbie MacDonald, Bob Mitchell, and Casey Graves. Missing: Christopher Keller

“The TOT is paid by overnight visitors, which is collected in its entirety by the city and goes into the general fund,” said Karyn Philippsen, a founding member of Visit Laguna Beach and currently board secretary.

In addition, the lodging establishments voluntarily assess themselves an additional 2 percent to fund the Business Improvement District.

Begun in fiscal year 2001-2002, BID revenue to the city in fiscal year 2017-18 totaled $2.4 million. 

The BID money funds activities that promote tourism and related events. Of the 2 percent of the bed taxes collected each year by the lodging establishments, half is allocated to the arts. Laguna Beach College of Art & Design, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna Playhouse, Arts Commission Special Projects and Cultural Arts, each getting 10 percent of that half: $240,000 in the 2018-2019 fiscal year.

The other half went to Visit Laguna Beach to fulfill its mission “to develop and market Laguna Beach as a leading travel destination.”

But the early morning meeting wasn’t all about numbers. Well, it was, but they were made palatable by the speakers. 

Taking care trio

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Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow, Paul Freeman, and Norm Grossman

Guests were greeted by Mark Orgill, a partner of Laguna Creative Adventures serving his second term as president of the Visit Laguna Beach Board of Directors. It was the best attended annual meeting ever, with an estimated 140 folks willing to rise and shine for the 8:30 a.m. breakfast. “Visit Laguna Beach continues to be the brand steward for the city and we could not operate like we do without the support of many city representatives,” said Orgill. He extended his personal thanks to city officials at the meeting, including Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow, Councilman Peter Blake, Assistant City Manager and Director of Public Works Shohreh Dupuis, Asstistant City Manager Christa Johnson, Cultural Arts Manager Sian Poeschl, Police Chief Laura Farinella and Police Captain Jeff Calvert.

Johnson participated with Visit Laguna Chief Executive Officer Ashley Johnson (no relation) in a takeoff of “Good Morning America.”

“Today Christa will be sharing the top 10 initiatives the city is working on,” said VLB’s Johnson. 

 The 10 included progress on the Village Entrance, creation of drop-off areas for Uber and Lyfe, an A-plus rating of Laguna‘s Bluebelt, trolley service from remote parking lots and trolley tracker, Beach Street trolley stop and smart parking downtown. 

Taking care Farinella

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City update by Chief Farinella, Christa Johnson and Ashley Johnson

Johnson’s inclusion of the lowest crime rate in the city’s history brought Chief Farinella onto the set. 

Farinella credited the decrease to increased staffing and more engagement with the public.

After which Ashley Johnson soloed.

“We have a rich story to tell, which continues to be the major focus of our efforts in this year and beyond,” said Johnson. (Who knew that Laguna has more beachfront lodgings than any other city in the state, more galleries and independent retailers than any other beach city?) 

“But we can’t get caught up with how great we think we are and more importantly we can’t get complacent about telling our story,” said Johnson. 

Despite the BID infusion of cash, Laguna is competing with deeper pocket for destination tourists’ dollars.

Even so, 2018 was an exciting year for Visit Laguna Beach, according to Johnson. The new brand, a new website, and a new ad campaign were launched. 

“Through our partnerships [with the Chamber of Commerce, the city and the community] and marketing efforts we were able to inspire hundreds of thousands of qualified consumers,” said Johnson. “From domestic visitors that return year after year to potential international markets such as the United Kingdom and Australia to emerging markets such as China and India, we told our story.” 

Taking care Johnson

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Ashley Johnson

Social media is a key component of the marketing efforts.

“Instagram continues to be our Number 1 social media platform as it showcases our community and inspires the travelers,” said Johnson. 

And she announced a major undertaking just days away. 

The U.S. Travel Assocation will be meeting in Anaheim. Members of organizations like Visit Laguna Beach will meet with folks that will be selling tours and arranging trips for tourists. 

Visit Laguna Beach will have a 20-by-20-foot booth in partnership with The Ranch and Surf & Sand.   

“We are also hosting 50 delegates in Laguna on the Saturday prior to the convention, followed by a media tour for 50 travel writers on Sunday,” announced Johnson. “We are also co-hosting a press brunch at which all 500 members of the media are required to attend. 

“In the coming weeks we will also be launching a new program to attract some of the 17 million travelers who identify themselves as being health and well-being focused. 

“Now is the time to capture the attention of an important travel audience that also has disposable income to spend on unique experiences.”

Johnson concluded her talk with the presentation of a film extolling the attractions of Laguna Beach.

Taking care influencers

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Influencer Marketing Panel – (L-R) Geoff Kutnick, Caitlin Sakdalan and David Duranwith Anne-Marrie Schiefer – Digital Marketing Manager on the far left

The breakfast concluded with a panel discussion by “influencers,” Geoff Kutnick, Caitlin Sakdalan and David Duran, whose writings sway travelers and diners to a specific destination or eatery.

In the audience: Super Woman Heidi Miller, Chamber of Commerce Executive director Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold and board member Norm Grossman, Laguna Beach County Water District General Manager Renae Hinchey, former Mayor Paul Freeman, Kirsten Whalen¸ Laguna Board of Realtors President JJ Ballesteros and Arts Commissioner Pat Kollenda

But wait – there’s more. You will find advance notice of all the fun and interesting stuff for visitors or residents to do in Laguna by reading StuNewsLaguna.com. Contributions are welcomed.


Cactus cheer

Cactus cheer bulbs

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Photo by Tom Berndt

Ready for the holidays


The Heart of Laguna

By Laura Ford

The Heart girl surfing

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Painting by Laura Ford 

The waves rolled into shore at Thalia Beach. The tide was rising and the wind was low as the sun made its way up through the marine haze and the molten sky began to fade. 

People were walking their dogs along the beach – Laguna Beach was already awake. A small Sheltie greeted Jake, dropping a tennis ball at his feet as he stood on the shoreline. He picked up the ball and threw it along the beach with a smile and a wave to the dog’s owner. 

The cool water glided into shore, wrapping itself around Jake’s feet as he watched Darren surf. Jake smiled – he felt a little disengaged from his body, as though none of it was quite real. Watching Darren – it was just like watching Gillian all those years ago; the flicks and exclamations, the wildness of the man’s surfing style. Jake smiled as Darren glided along a wave, touching the wall of its luminescent green tube with an outstretched hand before being enveloped by the wave and then resurfacing with a huge grin on his face. Darren paddled into shore and tucked his shortboard under his arm, holding out a hand to Jake. Jake shook his hand and then patted him on the shoulder. 

“Thanks for… ”

“It’s no problem,” Darren replied, holding Jake’s shoulder. “If it hadn’t been for her, I wouldn’t be here – period. I was scared of the ocean as a kid – too weak to swim – I never thought much about surfing until… ”

“You’re a great surfer,” Jake said, his eyes distant. “It was meant to be – you’re continuing it all.”

“Trying to, I’ll be 45 in a couple of weeks,” Darren smiled.

“Has it been that long?”

“Well,” Darren felt awkward, “over 20 years.” He patted Jake on the back, “I’m having a little get together, down at The Cliff on Friday – you should come.”

“The Cliff?” Jake looked down at the sand. “Thanks, I’ll see. It’s Gillian’s birthday Tuesday.”

“Gotcha,” Darren replied nodding. “Anytime you want to come watch, just let me know, I’m down here a lot.”

Jake laughed, “I bet you are.” He knew only too well what was in Darren’s heart, what drove him to the ocean and what would keep him there the rest of his days. 

***

The waves rolled in before her, crested with light. Their green and blue curves reminded Gillian of slides on a children’s playground. She watched the surfers with an intensity beyond her years while swinging a red bucket in her hand as if to an unheard beat. Her keen eyes followed the wave riders as they were propelled by the waves, conquering them with a seeming ease. 

Laguna Beach was full of surfers. It felt like every beach she went to – they were out at sea, taunting her as they played in the waves. As one of the surfers rode into shore, he grinned at her calling out, “Hey, little surfer!” and curled his fingers into the sign for ‘hang loose.’

Right then, Gillian dropped her red bucket – she wanted to look grown up – and looked back at the surfer with her coolest face, attempting to be nonchalant. When he had begun to paddle back out to sea, Gillian wanted to do the same. As the nearest thing to that, she picked up her bucket and washed it down in the remnants of a wave that lapped into shore. 

The bucket was something of a prize to her, discovered on Main Beach with her Mom and Dad on one of their first evenings in Laguna Beach. She had found it buried in the sand near the towels that her parents had set down. 

Another surfer glided toward her now and she watched him intently. Gillian wanted to be like them – sliding down the waves, riding them like a wild stallion, kicking and bucking all the way to the shore just as these surfers did. There was magic in it, and it fixated her.

She turned her head and looked back at the apartment that her parents were renting on Thalia Beach. No one had noticed that she was missing – her mom wasn’t hammering on the glass like a wild thing, sending her father down to scoop her up – not yet. So embarrassing. 

She felt elevated to be down on the beach alone. She was six years old; she wasn’t a baby. Looking down now at her toes in the sand she wiggled them as a wave broke against the shore and carried up the beach toward her. It lapped in around her small feet, momentarily covering the sodden sand in a thin white foam before drawing back out to sea and continuing its eternal rhythm. 

Click here to read the rest of the story…

 


South Orange County Wastewater Authority receives award for financial reporting

The Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) announced last month that the South Orange County

Wastewater Authority (SOCWA) has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement in Excellence in Financial Reporting for its most recently completed fiscal year budget.

The award is the gold standard in financial reporting and was created by GFOA to recognize public agencies that prioritize transparency to the public.

“It’s an honor to have SOCWA’s financial reporting recognized among the most transparent in local government,” said Betty Burnett, SOCWA’s general manager. “As a 10-member Joint Powers Authority, our budget and financial reporting is complex. Our staff does a remarkable job each year ensuring it is managed with precision. This award is a testament to their hard work, abilities, and service.”

Earning this award is an especially high honor for SOCWA, as its nearly $60 million budget intricately tracks contributions from its member agencies, funding necessary capital improvement projects, environmental protection projects, and cost-saving maintenance measures.

South Orange County Wastewater Authority berm

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Berm at Aliso Creek Beach

SOCWA’s financial reports were judged by an impartial panel assembled by GFOA and was recognized for its ease of use by end users, such as SOCWA member agencies and the public.

“The Certificate of Achievement is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting,” wrote Michelle Mark Levine, Director of Technical Services for GFOA. “Congratulations, again, for having satisfied the high standards of the program.”

GFOA is a nonprofit professional association serving nearly 17,800 government finance professionals throughout North America. The GFOA’s Distinguished Budget Presentation Awards Program is the only national awards program in governmental budgeting.

SOCWA is a Joint Powers Authority with ten member agencies consisting of local retail water agencies and cities that provide water to their residents. These agencies include the City of Laguna Beach, El Toro Water District, Irvine Ranch Water District, Moulton Niguel Water District, City of San Clemente, South Coast Water District, City of San Juan Capistrano, Santa Margarita Water District, Trabuco Canyon Water District, and Emerald Bay Service District. SOCWA operates three treatment plants and two ocean outfalls, in addition to multiple programs to meet the needs of its member agencies and the requirements of the Clean Water Act and applicable National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permits.


Deadline for 2019 Laguna Beach city photo contest is tomorrow

The submission deadline for this year’s Laguna Beach city photo contest, which celebrates Laguna Beach’s vibrancy, vitality, and livability through the camera lens, is this Wednesday, June 5. 

This year, photographers are asked to submit their high-resolution photographs for contest consideration reflecting this year’s theme, “Urban Laguna Beach” – life downtown and away from the beach.

Deadline for street

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

These city lights on Broadway are a great example of this year’s contest theme 

To enter, photographers must submit their high-resolution photos of Laguna Beach online at http://bit.ly/2019LBphotocontest by the contest deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, June 5. Any photo taken within Laguna Beach city limits is eligible and the contest is open to anyone.

The winning photographs will be selected by a local marketing professional. First-prize photographs receive $500 and winners of additional categories receive $100 each. 

All winning photographers will receive recognition at a future Laguna Beach City Council meeting, be featured on the city’s social media channels, and will have their photo posted in a gallery on the city’s website. 

For a complete list of contest rules and information about how to enter, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/photocontest.


Where’s my Christmas dinner?

Where's my seal

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Photo by Scott Brashier

No sugar plums dancing in his head, only sushi


Patiently wading

Patiently wading boy

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Waiting for the next wave


Pacific Marine Mammal Center launches Seals Sparking Smiles

Earlier this year, Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) launched Seals Sparking Smiles (SSS). This exciting new addition to the organization’s lineup of free community “give back” programs is geared to provide a memorable and joyful experience for children (up to age 21) who are going through severe personal challenges in their own lives. 

This includes children diagnosed with critical illnesses, in families going through debilitating financial hardship, who are victims of neglect, abuse, or abandonment, and more.

Pacific Marine kids

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Submitted photo

The Deek family enjoying a day at PMMC through the Seals Sparking Smiles program

Children are given a personalized behind-the-scenes visit to hear the stories of individual patients who were rescued because of injuries or health issues and observe them as they recover. Children are invited to witness a sea lion release on a subsequent date to see a recovery come full circle. Participants are recognized as ambassadors for the animals and invited to an annual luncheon with other participants from that year. And finally, the children take home a PMMC “bundle” to help remember their experience.

“Our marine mammals can have such an inspirational and joyful impact. We hope that these intimate experiences can offer much-needed smiles to children going through so much,” says PMMC CEO Peter Chang. “In addition, this program absolutely impacts everyone involved, including our team of staff and volunteers that get to meet these wonderful children and their families.”

To date PMMC has facilitated three programs, including one recently with the Deek family through a collaboration with Irvine-based Miracles for Kids. Zain Deek, age 7, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in June 2020.

Pacific Marine family

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Submitted photo

PMMC’s Seals Sparking Smiles program brings joy to the Deek family

“It was a difficult process for the family because she went through a year of tests, biopsies, and procedures before they were able to determine what was wrong. On top of this, dad lost his job due to COVID-19. With the struggle of trying to make ends meet while going to chemotherapy treatments and labs for Zain, it was almost impossible to find time to be together as a family,” says Sapphira Roberson, Community Programs Manager at Miracles for Kids. 

“When she had to shave her hair off, it was a very emotional event for Zain and her siblings. They cried seeing their sister in pain and the changes her body had undergone. Mom and Dad do their best to keep their children’s spirits up, and Zain tries to smile and stay positive. With the help of Miracles for Kids, they get financial relief so they can focus on Zain’s treatment, and they are so grateful to be able to visit places like Pacific Marine Mammal Center. They get a chance to spend time together as a family and make meaningful memories, and a chance for mom and dad to bring their kids somewhere they otherwise wouldn’t be able to go.”

“We had such a great visit with the Deek family,” says PMMC Director of Education Kirsten Donald. “The kids were all so engaged, which made it very fun. They were also thrilled when we mentioned that we would be inviting them to a special sea lion release in the late spring.”

Pacific Marine Mammal Center also worked with Miracles for Kids earlier this year with their Buy 1 Give 1 Program. For every order placed with PMMC a Sea Life Bundle Packs was donated to the Miracles for Kids bundle program to critically ill children. 

For more information on PMMC Community Programs or to donate, visit www.pacificmmc.org/give-back-programs.


Sunset harmony

Sunset harmony

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The sea and the sky ignite in perfect harmony


Laguna scores with Times readers

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Laguna Beach was voted Best of Orange County by LA Times readers in three categories, shared a Best in three classifications, and was runner-up in six others.

No surprise: readers voted the city’s beaches the best in the county. The undulating coastline features secluded coves for sunbathing, tide pools to explore, and the ocean beckoning swimmers, surfers, and scuba divers. 

The Montage Laguna Beach also claimed top honors as the Best Hotel in the county. The 250-room, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star hotel, perched above one of Laguna’s most scenic bluffs, also has outstanding restaurants. 

Jaleesa Peluso, who works in Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ office in Laguna Beach, was voted Best Real Estate Agent in the county. 

Laguna shared “Best” honors with businesses that have more than one location in the county. Berkshire Hathaway, which has multiple offices, one of them in Laguna Beach, doubled down with “Bests” for Commercial Real Estate and Residential  Brokerage. 

Natraj was named Best Indian Restaurants in the county. Laguna has one of the six family-owned and operated Indian eateries.

Laguna scores festival

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

2019 Festival of the Arts 

No one who has tried to find a parking space in summer would be shocked to learn that the Festival of Arts was in the running for Best Attraction and Best Event honors. 

The Festival, which produces the Pageant of the Masters, draws 200,000 folks to Laguna each year. 

Two winter events have been announced.

A virtual Gala will be held on December 5 from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. “Live the Legacy” is free. For reservations, click here

“Concerts on the Screen: Darryl Walker” is scheduled for December 11 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Tickets to the virtual concert are $25 for the general public and free for festival members. Reservations are being taken now. Call (949) 494-1145 or click here.

The Sawdust Festival, also a runner-up for Best Event, is now open weekends from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., through December 20. Tickets may be purchased online by clickinghere and are recommended as capacity is limited due to COVID-19 restrictions. 

Children 12-and-under receive free admission but do require a ticket for entry.

Hobie Sports was identified as one of the county’s most famous original brands and was included in the Best Surf Shop category.

The shop is named for the legendary surfing and sailing entrepreneur, who first built surfboards as a teenager in Laguna Beach. 

Laguna scores hospital

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Mission Hospital Laguna Beach – runner-up for Best Hospital

Mission Hospital Laguna Beach and its siblings in Mission Viejo and Orange were runners-up to Hoag Hospital as Best Hospital.

Shauna Covington, also a BHHS Realtor, was a runner-up for top county Real Estate Agent.


$35,000 available in scholarships from Cox Charities

Cox Charities is offering $35,000 in college scholarships to high school seniors in the Orange County and Palos Verdes areas. The Cox Scholars scholarships range from $2,500 to $5,000. Recipients must be a 2021 graduating high school senior living in Cox’s Southern California service area.

Applications are now open. The deadline to complete and submit the online application is February 3, 2021. For more information, visit www.coxcharitiesca.org

“Now more than ever, students in our community are working hard to achieve their educational dreams amid new learning circumstances and tough financial times due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a company founded by a teacher, we continue to support local students and education in San Diego and look forward to awarding our annual scholarships in the new year,” said Chanelle Hawken, vice president of government and public affairs for Cox Communications in California.

Scholarship recipients will be chosen based on their scholastic achievement, extracurricular activities, volunteerism, and staying focused on their educational goals despite facing adversity in their lives.

Here are some helpful tips for students when applying for a Cox Scholars scholarship:

1. Before you apply – Review the scholarship requirements carefully and make sure you’re eligible before spending time putting an application together. If you don’t meet the requirements such as GPA or place of residence, your application will not be considered.

2. Financial information – Use tax forms to declare income or give your best estimate if tax forms are unavailable. To be most effective, don’t leave any sections blank.

3. Extracurricular activities – The scholarship committee wants to know what applicants are interested in. Make sure to provide an accurate timeline that includes all activities from the previous four years. Make sure not to repeat information in multiple places.

4. A personal statement – Don’t wait until the last minute to put this together. Give yourself time to think about the topic, and answer from your own personal experience. The more passionate you are, the better your statement. Ask someone you trust to read it and give feedback. And don’t forget to run a spell check.

5. Submit your application and supporting documents before the deadline – If you wait until the last minute, you may encounter issues that prevent you from submitting the application on time, such as computer issues or gathering financial information from a parent.

Funded by employee payroll donations that are matched by the company, Cox Charities provides support to communities in Cox Communications’ service area by awarding scholarships to high school seniors and grants to nonprofit organizations.

A volunteer advisory board of Cox employees oversees the foundation and its giving programs.

In 2020, ten Cox Scholars from Orange County and Palos Verdes were recognized for their successes in the classroom and in the community.

For more information, visit www.coxcharitiesca.org.


Tune in to Artwalking Radio this Thursday on KX 93.5

The Artists Fund at Festival of Arts will be the featured guest on Artwalking Radio show, broadcast live this Thursday, May 2 from 7 - 8 p.m. on KX 93.5. Hugo Rivera Gallery invites the public to a “listening party” as part of the First Thursdays Art Walk activities.

Show hosts Craig Cooley and Leah Vasquez will interview Artists Fund Board members Elizabeth McGhee, Hugo Rivera, and Wendy Wirth. The panelists will discuss the history and mission of the Artists Fund, celebrating its 20th year at Festival of Arts.

Tune in women

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Photo by Mike Tauber

Wendy Wirth, Hugo Rivera, and Elizabeth McGhee

The organization provides both economic hardship and career enrichment grants to artists. Laguna Coast Real Estate supports the 20th Anniversary program. Find the events calendar on the news page at www.theartistsfund-foa.org or call (949) 612-1949.

Tune in to Artwalking Radio this Thursday from 7 - 8 p.m. at KX 93.5 FM or online at www.kx935.com.


Mother Nature

Mother Nature

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Photo by Steve Allegaert

Mother Nature celebrating New Year’s Eve at Mountain Road


Where’s Maggi?

Looks like aliens have landed. Are they standing guard over their ship? Is it yard art? More importantly, where did Maggi find it? 

Let us know if you’re onto her whereabouts. Send your answers in to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 5 24 19

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NCC virtual Progressive Reading Group discusses How to be an Antiracist on August 19

On Wednesday, Aug 19, from 6:30 until 9 p.m., Pastor Rod Echols of Neighborhood Congregational Church (NCC) will lead a virtual Progressive Reading Group discussion on How to be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. 

Pastor Echols says, “All who participate will take away deeper wisdom and understanding for the future of The Neighborhood and the wider progressive faith movement.” 

The New York Times gave the book high praise: “The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.” 

It was also named One Of The Best Books Of The Year by The New York Times Book Review, Time,  NPR, The Washington Post, Shelf Awareness,  Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews.

NCC virtual book

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Submitted photo

NCC will host a virtual discussion of Ibram X. Kendi’s book on August 19

From Ibram’s website: “Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America – but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.”

Pastor Echols says, “Our church continues to be actively engaged with antiracist dialogues and focused on building a world of love for all. Joining the national conversation in these critical times, along with other interested and
compassionate voices, aligns with our mission as a welcoming, open,
and affirming congregation.” 

NCC virtual pastor

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Pastor Rod Echols

“Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. We look forward to the opportunity.” 

The discussion group has been active since 2019, engaging in series like Living the Questions and books such as Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and The Birth of a New Spiritual Awakenings by Diana Butler Bass. 

The number of participants ranges anywhere from 10 to 30 per Zoom
call. The first meeting will be a Zoom webinar format, for introductory and
organizational purposes, followed by bi-weekly gatherings beginning with September 16.

Those interested in RSVPing to receive the Zoom link should contact the church office at (949) 494-8061 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information on NCC, go to www.NCCLaguna.org.


Water war ends

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City of Laguna Beach, South Coast Water District, Emerald Bay, South Coast Wastewater Authority and Mouton Niguel issued a joint statement Tuesday that all parties to litigation related to the Coastal Treatment Plant had resolved their differences and looked forward to working together in the future towards the betterment of the region and the coastal environment.

The City, South Coast and Emerald Bay had filed a suit in May 2017 to force Moulton Niguel Water District to comply with the terms of its contract with the Coastal Treatment Plant.

“Nearly two years ago, we were forced to litigate to protect ocean water quality and the financial interests of our ratepayers,” said Councilwoman Toni Iseman, who represents Laguna on the SOCWA Board. “Today, we’ve signed a settlement agreement that achieves these goals remarkably well.”

The settlement was reached following a judge’s ruling in February that Moulton Nigel was responsible for unpaid the invoices owed the treatment plant. 

“This was a long, but ultimately very successful, process for our three agencies,” said Susan Thomas, director of the Emerald Bay Service District. “Litigation was necessary to protect the ocean. We are now relieved the matter has concluded with a settlement that ensures the $2.1 million in past-due invoices are paid and that our agencies will be reimbursed approximately $2.7 million to cover legal expenses incurred during litigation.”

Under the terms of the joint agreement, Moulton Niguel agrees to uphold past, current and future contractual obligations in accordance with the South Orange County Wastewater Authority Joint Powers Agreement, through February 19, 2030.

Parties to the settlement agreed to the following interpretation of the Coastal Treatment Plant contract:

--Two-thirds vote of Project Committee 15 to pass operations and maintenance budgets at the Coastal Treatment Plant

--Two-thirds vote of Project Committee 15 to approve necessary repair, replacement and rehabilitation projects at the Coastal Treatment Plant

--Contract term expires February 19, 2030

--Moulton Niguel Water District will pay approximately $2.1 million to cover past invoices dating back to July 1, 2016

--Moulton Niguel will pay approximately $2.7 million to reimburse legal costs incurred by Laguna Beach, South Coast and Emerald Bay during the dispute.

“We believe this is a good Settlement Agreement for all involved. It ensures that the Coastal Treatment Plant will have the necessary funding to operate effectively, and that our three agencies will be reimbursed for legal expenses. More importantly, it puts us on a path to planning for the facility’s future to optimize its value to South Orange County,” said South Coast Water District Director Dennis Erdman.   

The Coastal Treatment Plants, located in Aliso and Woods Canyon, has a capacity of 6.7 million gallons a day, 37 percent of which comes from Laguna Beach, 31 percent from South Coast Water District, 3 percent from Emerald Bay Service District and 29 percent from Moulton Niguel Water District.


New sectors added to the COVID-19 re-opening list, including gyms and bars

A wide range of additional industries have been cleared to reopen today (June 12), with modifications, as Orange County moves into early Stage 3 of the Governor’s COVID-19 reopening plan.

The newly approved sectors include campgrounds and outdoor recreation, fitness facilities, movie theaters, museums and galleries, and more. Public pools and pools operated by homeowners’ associations (HOAs) will also be allowed to reopen, County officials said. 

On June 5, the Governor’s office announced that additional industry sectors could reopen as early as June 12 with modifications and approval by the health officers of individual counties. The Orange County health officer confirmed yesterday that Orange County will align with the new state guidelines. 

The additional sectors permitted to reopen today in Laguna Beach and Orange County, with modifications, are:

--Day camps, campgrounds, RV parks, and outdoor recreation

--Cardrooms, satellite wagering facilities, and racetracks

--Movie theaters and family entertainment centers

--Gyms and fitness facilities

--Hotels for leisure travel and tourism 

--Museums, galleries, zoos, and aquariums

--Bars and wineries

--Pools 

NOT included today in the reopenings are:

--Organized youth sports

--Outdoor playground equipment

--Nail salons and tattoo parlors

--Indoor playgrounds such as bounce centers, ball pits, and laser tag

--Live theater

--Saunas and steam rooms

--Nightclubs

--Concert venues

--Festivals

--Theme parks

--Higher education

For more information on the state’s multi-stage reopening approach, visit
https://covid19.ca.gov/roadmap-counties/.

For guidance specific to individual industries and activities, visit https://covid19.ca.gov/industry-guidance/.


Smoky Saddleback

Smoky Saddleback Mountain

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Saddleback Valley last week


April 1 COVID-19 case data: 25 confirmed cases in Laguna Beach

According to the latest figures offered by the Orange County Health Care Agency, the City of Laguna Beach has had 25 cases of COVID-19 to date. This number compares to Orange County overall statistical numbers of 606 cases to date, resulting in 10 deaths, as is the highest per capita rate amongst Orange County cities. 

For more Orange County COVID-19 data, visit https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc.

April 1 data 1a

April 1 data 2

April 1 data 3

April 1 data 4

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of April 1;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Barbara’s Column

Ready, set, waiting for go

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Laguna restaurants, retail stores, entertainers, service providers, and God knows the residents, welcome Phase Two of the Governor’s plan to reopen California

Low-risk workplaces approved for reopening in Phase Two include non-essential manufacturing, retail businesses with curbside pickup, schools, childcare facilities, and offices where remote work isn’t possible but can be modified to make the environment safer for employees.

Still a ways away is Phase Three, which would allow the reopening of higher risk workplaces where people are in proximity to others. 

Included in that category, according to a city report discussed at Tuesday’s City Council meeting: 

--Hair and nail salons (presumably barber shops, too) 

--Gyms 

--Movie theaters (if only ours would!) 

--Sporting events without live audiences 

--Religious services in churches and weddings

The Thomas David Salon is ready and set to go into Phase Three as soon as the city gives the okay.

Stylists and salon owner Thomas MacGregor spent three-and-one-half hours scouring and sanitizing the Thomas David Salon. 

“We disinfected every inch of the salon,” said stylist Nanci Nielsen.

She was responsible for everything six feet and above – walls ceiling lights and fans.

Nielsen and Lisa Vanderbeek were certified by the Barbicide Co. to use their disinfectant on surfaces. 

Vanderbeek and Bogie Horvath shared cleaning the chairs used by clients and stylists, while Vanderbeek soloed on the baseboards and Horvath scrubbed drawers. 

Bill Eichen cleaned flat surfaces, the insides of windows, and mirrors. MacGregor handled the outside of the windows and the floors.

Ready set barber shop

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The Den Barber Shop waits to reopen

The State Board of Cosmetologists and Barbers suggest June 1. 

“But the Governor said it could be 10 months before Stage Three is implemented,” said Nielsen. 

Vanderbeek has sent letters to state and county officials and health agencies outlining the safety measures the salon has put into place.

“We can control our environment better than Walmart,” she said. “What we have done now will be repeated once or twice month, going forward,” said Vanderbeek. 

When the salon does reopen under Stage Three, only three stylists will be allowed to work in each of the two rooms at the same time. Customers will have to wait outside and will be allowed in only when called or texted. 

“No walk-ins will be allowed,” said Nielsen.

Folks with appointments for haircuts will be required to wash their hair at home. A self-imposed 15-minute waiting period between customers will be used to disinfect shampoo bowls. The lull after every haircut would tie up the bowls for efficient use. Each client will get a clean cutting cape – disposable ones are an option – when available. 

Masks will be changed with every client.

“We have all the protocols in place for the protection of our clients and ourselves when we reopen,” said Nielsen. 

Ready set Jane and Lisa

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Photo by Shaena Stabler

Jane Hanauer (on left), owner of Laguna Beach Books, and Lisa Childers, store manager 

Laguna Beach Books is implementing Phase Two. New publications have been ordered, a practice discontinued when the store closed on March 18.

“We just put everything on hold,” said store owner Jane Hanauer. “I have been brooding about reopening.”

While waiting to reopen, the store has been filling online requests, a surprising number of them, Hanauer said. 

But orders of new publications are being delivered, said store manager Lisa Childers

Starting May 21, they will be displayed in the front window of the bookstore, among them Robin, a novel by Curtiss Sittenfeld about Hillary Clinton’s life; Dirt, a book about food by Bill Bufferd; and the latest John Grisham. 

“We’ll have a table out in front and people can just point to the book in the window they want and tell us,” said Hanauer. 

Virtual appearances by writers will continue. 

Requests are welcomed. The store has sources for out-of-print or difficult-to-find books such as mysteries by Josephine Tey, one of Hanauer’s favorite writers, or the English Manor House mysteries and well-researched Regency period novels written by Georgette Heyer

Cautious steps were taken by the council into the Governor’s Stage Two Plan on Tuesday with a unanimous vote to reopen municipal buildings, probably by late May or early June providing measures are in place that comply with Newsom’s order to continue to maintain social distancing between employees and between employees and the public. Face masks will be mandated. 

June was officially designated as Gay Pride Month in Laguna Beach. The rainbow flag will fly but activities will be minimized, according to Assistant City Manager Shohreh Dupuis

The council is also reviewing proposals by the Sawdust Festival and Art-A-Fair to open for a shorter run and with smaller audiences. The Festival of Arts fine arts exhibit and Pageant of the Masters is a no-show this year. A majority of summer activities in Laguna were either canceled or optimistically rescheduled. 

Ready set fireworks

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Fourth of July Fireworks canceled

Canceled: 

--The Exchange Club’s Memorial Day Pancake Breakfast 

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow was appointed to consult with veterans’ groups about his suggestion to delay Memorial Day ceremonies at Monument Point and combine them with the Veterans Day observances in November. 

--The Police Department’s Road Safety Expo, National Drug Take Back, and Friends against Drunk Driving School 

--Men’s Volleyball Tournament, May 30 and 31 

--Craft Guild show in May and postponed in June 

--Fete de la Musique, June 20

--Fourth of July Fireworks 

--Circus Bela at Main Beach Park, August 1 

--California Coastal Beach Cleanup, September 26. 

Rescheduled: 

--World Music Concerts in Heisler in June (no date listed) 

--Music in the Park in Heisler Park from July to the first four weeks in August (possible)

--Sunset Serenades in Heisler Park from July to first four weeks in September (possible) 

--Youth Volleyball Tournament, July 30 and 31 (possible) 

Other possibles

--Labor Day Pancake Breakfast, September 7 

--Laguna Beach Police Officer’s Remembrance Ceremony, September 21

Trolley services along Coast Highway and Laguna Canyon Road will be suspended from June 26 to September 7. Neighborhood routes will stop operating immediately through September 7.

Leased peripheral parking will be limited to Mission Hospital Laguna Beach. 

For the extensive list of canceled summer recreational classes, check the city’s website.

Hope to see you in person sooner than later.

Contributions to this column are welcome. Send suggestions or requests to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Bird of Paradise

Bird of plant

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Photo by Scott Brashier

A perfect perch for a bird – a Bird of Paradise plant


Two Laguna Beach bands headline at The Coach House Concert Hall this weekend

On Saturday, April 13, Mad Dogs & The Englishman, led by Jason Feddy, will headline at The Coach House Concert Hall in San Juan Capistrano. The band starts playing at 8 p.m.; doors open at 6 p.m. 

Mad Dogs & The Englishman is a brilliant, all-star Joe Cocker tribute show fronted by longtime Laguna Beach favorite and real Yorkshire growler Jason Feddy. Members of Cocker’s own band have said Feddy is astounding.

British singer Joe Cocker amazed and moved a generation of Rock n’ Roll fans with his incredible interpretations of some of music’s most popular songs, by artists such as The Rolling Stones, Ray Charles, The Lovin’ Spoonful, Elton John, and most famously, The Beatles. His performance at Woodstock 50 years ago this summer is truly an historic moment in our culture.

The Coach House audience can expect to hear virtuoso performances of songs from across Joe’s career, including “Feeling Alright,” “The Letter,” “You Are So Beautiful,” and of course, “With A Little Help From My Friends.” 

Two Laguna mad band

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Submitted photo

Mad Dogs & The Englishman: (L-R) Jimmy Zavala, Alan Deremo, Lori Mark, Ray Weston, Jason Feddy, Janis Liebhart, Pat Hawk, David Witham, and Richard Bredice

The band is a tour de force of extraordinary singers and musicians. They have played and sung with David Gilmore, George Benson, Eurythmics, Michael Bolton, Barbara Streisand, Joe Cocker himself, and so many of the greats there isn’t room to do them all justice here. 

Opening for Feddy and his band will be another local favorite, Robert Jon & The Wreck, frequent performers at Marine Room and The Cliff.

Common Sense, another Laguna Beach band, will perform at The Coach House the night before, on Friday, April 12. Common Sense is not just another reggae band from Orange County. With a SoCal background and a small beach town attitude, Common Sense took their reggae-rock influences and created their own style.

Common Sense has established itself as one of California’s premier reggae rock

bands. Nick Hernandez, Larry Young, Billy Sherman, and Phil Gough have been brothers in music for years. The band’s multiple personalities work together to a craft soulful, intelligent sound that tells stories of real life. With heartfelt lyrics and melodic harmonies, Common Sense delivers a true music experience.

Two Laguna Common Sense

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Courtesy of Coach House

Common Sense

The group started out in the college music scene of Santa Barbara and quickly

dominated the Southern California club scene. Noted for their high energy live

shows, they continue to grow a loyal fan base. The band has toured with many

legendary reggae artists such as Ziggy Marley, Steel Pulse, and Jimmy Cliff.

Their far-reaching style has earned them a spot on national tours from the Van’s

WARP Tour to Reggae Sun Splash and Reggae on the River.

The Coach House Concert Hall is located at 33157 Camino Capistrano, San Juan Capistrano 

For tickets and info, visit www.thecoachhouse.com

For more info on Mad Dogs & The Englishmen, go to www.joecockertributeband.com

For information on Commonsense, go to www.commonsenseband.com.


The SeaDog Skim Challenge returns on Sept 28 and 29 to raise funds for PMMC

The SeaDog Skim Challenge is back, this time for two days on Saturday, Sept 28 and Sunday, Sept 29 at Aliso Beach, starting at 8 a.m. Funds raised will support the Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC). 

This not-for-profit skimboarding contest is open to Amateur and Professional skimboarders of all ages and genders. Four-time Skimboarding World Champion Sam Stinnett is the host The SeaDog Skim Challenge for the third time. 

After the contest ends on Sunday, there will be an awards ceremony and

fundraiser to honor competitors and gift them with prize bags, as well as provide

opportunities for the community to donate to the cause.

Opportunities include an optional entry-fee to the ceremony for non-contestants, donating any amount to the PMMC, purchasing raffle tickets, and bidding on silent auction items. Raffle prizes include Vissla shopping sprees, Catch Surf surfboards, Sector 9 skateboards and much more. 

The SeaDog Blair

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Submitted photo

Skimboarder Blair Conklin at last year’s contest 

The awards ceremony will be hosted at Laguna Beach Beer Company, who has generously donated their space for the cause. All net profits from the contest, awards ceremony, and individual donations will go directly to PMMC.

After two successful events in 2016 and 2017, The SeaDog Skim Challenge raised over $8,000 for the Pacific Marine Mammal Center, and this year, the organizers hope to raise even more. 

To sign up and/or donate, or for more information about the event and sponsors, visit www.theseadogskimchallenge.com and follow along at @theseadogskimchallenge on Instagram.

The Pacific Marine Mammal Center rescues, rehabilitates and releases marine mammals, and inspires ocean stewardship through research, education, and collaboration. To learn more, visit www.pacificmmc.org.


Waffles and Patron head back to sea

Photos by John and Rachel Stanaland

Waffles and seals

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These two rescued seals were rehabilitated at Pacific Marine Mammal Center and released back into the ocean on Monday

Waffles and Doctor

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Local vet Rachel Stanaland volunteers with PMMC weekly and takes joy in seeing animals released off her and her husband John’s boat 


Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade announces 2020 Junior Citizens

The Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade committee proudly announces the 2020 Junior Citizens, Laila Cruz and Nathan Solomon, Class of 2020, chosen by the Laguna Beach High School staff. 

They will ride in the parade on Saturday, March 7, 2020, starting at 11 a.m. at Short Street and Park Avenue next to the high school.

The winner of the Thurston Middle School essay contest is Lili Bazargan and the winner of the Laguna Beach High School program cover art contest is Diego Lapayese-Calderon.

Laguna Beach float

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

LB County Water District, commercial float winner in 2017 

The Patriots Day Parade organization is currently underway for the 54th Parade. Officers reelected were President Ed Hanke, Vice President Charles Quilter, Secretary Frank Daniel, and Treasurer Sandi Werthe.

Because the 53rd parade was rained out, the same honorees will ride down the parade route: Grand Marshal Barbara Diamond, Honored Patriot Arnie Silverman, Citizen of the Year Sande St. John, Artist of the Year Roxanna Ward, and Athlete of the Year Jade Howson.

The deadline for Parade program ads is January 13, 2020 and the deadline for entries is January 17, 2020. 

For more information, contact Sandi Werthe (949) 494-6016 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


COVID-19 numbers climb in Orange County: 29 reported cases in Laguna Beach

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, April 3, show that COVID-19 numbers continue to climb throughout the county, with 29 reported cases in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach, with a population base of 23,358, has the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 cases in Orange County at a rate of 1.242 cases per 1,000 residents, though just one new case was reported today. 

Newport Beach has 67 reported cases of COVID-19 (population 87,180) and Irvine has 69 reported cases (population 280,202).

There are 711 cumulative reported cases to date in Orange County, resulting in, sadly, 13 deaths. 103 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 44 are currently in ICU.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

COVID 19 numbers climb 1

COVID 19 numbers climb 2

COVID 19 numbers climb 3

COVID 19 numbers climb 4

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of April 3;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Enjoy this week’s Sunset Serenades from your sofa

The City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission Sunset Serenades series has been postponed due to COVID-19. Scheduled to perform this evening was musician Jake Chapman, who has filmed a special performance and message to the Laguna Beach community from his home.

Chapman specializes in vibraphone, marimba, glockenspiel, and piano. With a background in Jazz and Classical music and training at Julliard, Chapman has a varied musical palette. Although based in New York and Los Angeles, the Arts Commission was able to secure his performance in Laguna Beach and hopes to reschedule his performance for later in the year.

Enjoy this Chapman

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Submitted photo

Jake Chapman will perform tonight’s Sunset Serenades virtually 

Arts Commission Vice-Chair Pat Kollenda says, “Jake Chapman is a multitalented, amazing musician and singer-songwriter, and a gift to our Sunset Serenades. What a perfect way to start the weekend…enjoy!”

Arts Commissioner Michael Ervin adds, “This special performance is exclusively for you; it gives us all a chance to enjoy great music while picnicking in our living rooms. Cheers!”

Arts Commission Chair Adam Schwerner explains, “We are here for you and want to help the community recover in an appropriate manner, taking into account physical and social distancing, and present our Sunset Serenades series to you virtually in the safety of your homes.

“We hope to be together again with an exciting series in September.”

To watch the performance, click here.

Sunset Serenades is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.


Laura Tarbox will offer investment advice to locals at the Susi Q Center on April 19 & 26

Laura Tarbox will speak at the nonprofit educational event “It’s Your Money!” on Friday, April 19 and Friday, April 26 at 1:30 pm at the Susi Q Center. These sessions are part of a series on Financial Planning, with a focus on finding the right advisor and how to think about your overall financial plan. 

Laguna Beach resident Laura Tarbox is one of the pioneers of the financial planning profession. Her company, Tarbox Family Office, is recognized as one of the top wealth management firms in the country. 

Laura Tarbox arms

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Submitted photo

Laura Tarbox of Tarbox Family Office will offer investment advice to locals on April 19 & 26

Tarbox, a UCLA graduate, founded her wealth advisory firm in 1985 and offers fee-only financial planning (including estate and tax planning, charitable giving, insurance and retirement optimization) and investment management. She will talk about how to find the right advisor, the basics of comprehensive financial planning, and how to develop a healthy investment philosophy. 

“It’s Your Money” is a program moderated by Peter Kote, founder of the workshop series and the not-for-profit www.feelincontrol.org, which complements the workshop series with articles and outlines for each. 

No RSVP is required. 

The Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center is located at 380 Third St.


23rd Annual Pet Parade and Chili Cook-Off event takes place on Sunday 

The 23rd Annual Pet Parade and Chili Cook-Off event will take place on Sunday, Sept 29, from 12 to 3 p.m. at Seven7Seven. This furry fundraiser is sponsored by the Laguna Board of REALTORS® and Affiliates’ Charitable Assistance Fund, with all proceeds going to Laguna’s pet nonprofits.

Only at the Annual Pet Parade can your pet strut their stuff across the stage to compete for prizes like “Most Handsome Male,” Prettiest Female,” “Cutest Pet Baby,” “Best Costume” (and it’s not even Halloween!), “Most Gorgeous Senior,” and “Happiest Rescue.” 

23rd Annual dog

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Watch adorable pets strut their stuff in the annual Pet Parade on Sunday

Pets and pet owners of all walks are welcome, regardless of how they walk.  In fact, at past events, there have been pets with paws, pets with claws, pets with hooves, and pets with toes. 

Don’t forget the tasty Chili Cook-Off too, where participating REALTORS®, lenders, escrow providers, title insurers, and other Affiliates bring their best game and go for the win. 

As the pots are stirred and the secret ingredients added, mouth-watering smells waft through the venue. There will be no shortage of great variations and tasty samplings on this American classic, so it will be tough to pick a winner.

23rd Annual group

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Sample some tasty chili at the 23rd Annual Pet Parade and Chili Cook-Off on Sunday

The best news of all is that while we’re having fun we’re also helping our beneficiaries: Catmosphere Laguna, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, The Pet Rescue Center, The Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, PUP (Protecting Unwanted Pets), and the Laguna Board of REALTORS® and Affiliates’ Charitable Assistance Fund. 

Admission is free for children 16 or under and $10 for adults purchased at the door day of event. Pet registration is $10 each category. 

Donations are being accepted at www.lbr-caf.info

For more information, contact Brendy Michael at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Guest Column

New year, new decade resolutions: What I call my “give it up” list 

By Dr. Vidya Reddy

Hello, and welcome to my corner – this is what I promise to leave behind as we mindfully exit 2019, walk bravely into the new decade, and welcome 2020 with arms wide open. This is what I call my “give up” list, and you’re welcome to make it yours. 

The last decade has been quite a ride. What are your resolutions and your goals as we head into a new year and an entirely new decade? 

I created the Naturally Happy podcast as a tool to help as a reflection exercise and for building spirit muscle. Please listen to it at https://naturally-happy.com/podcast/. Use the podcast guide to find episodes to create some catharsis in your life. 

January 1st is just another day on the calendar, but we all know that it’s far more significant than the other 364 days of the year. 

The first of the year marks a fresh start, a time of renewal, and a chance for growth. 

New Year’s resolutions are as much a part of the celebration as champagne. But much like the hangover, resolutions often don’t last much longer than the headache and upset tummy. 

But this January 1st is different; it is the start of a new decade. Not just a year, but 10 new years (emphasis on the plural) in front of us for the taking. 

I want to take time to ask – what are your New Year’s/decade resolutions and goals? Or as I’d like to ask, what’s on your list to give up? 

New year doctor

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Photo by Johnny Antezana

Dr. Vidya Reddy

Here’s a peek at mine. It’s always a good time to let go of whatever is holding you back. Astrologically speaking, it’s a prime time to give it all up. So for your inspiration:

I give up resistance to love. 

I give up judgments that keep me from people. 

Doubt. I give up all the damn doubts that I’ve ever had – every single one of them – twice.

I give up attack.

I give up arrogance. 

I give up stifling fear.

I give up being too serious.

Deep breath in – this is tough for me – I’ve held on to this for so long, thinking that it made me someone special: I give up lineage. Yes, even that!

May we all be free.

I give up second-guessing that I deserve respect.

I give up the creeped out recoiling in my muscles, from times when they tried to get too close – tried to sip some Shakti, when they should’ve cleaned up their act. Or relied on their own resources. 

I give up fear of being disliked. Significantly reduced to minuscule. 

I give up lack of deserving. Bye. Seven hundred times goodbye.

I give up losing my sense of humor, when it could turn everything around, in a sweet second. Because come on – it’s usually pretty funny. 

I give up that gross overwhelmed feeling after reading most women’s magazines. 

I give up being too fat, too short, too normal, too frizzy, too hungry, and generally not well lit, everywhere I go.

I give up staying up too late, because I think I owe something more to the day that I just gave my everything to.

I give up being down on myself because I harbor some resentment.

I give up the resentment.

I give up allergies, picking my skin.

I give up checking one more email.

I give up going too long without eating and overworking.

I give up working within the exploitative ideologies of capitalism that are fed to us from all directions. 

I will for the love and I will do it lovingly.

I give up the only impulse that ever gets me in trouble.

I give up the drive to earn my place on the planet. Because I am here and I am not giving up.

New year beach

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

New year, new resolutions 

So let me recap

It’s always a good time to let go of whatever is holding you back. Here are some gentle sweeping micro-monumental suggestions.

I give up: Judgments that keep me separate from other humans. Doubt in the unfolding – all the doubts that I’ve ever had about The Infinite embracing me. Every single one of them. I give them up twice. And any and all resistance to Love. Dissolved.

I give up attack, arrogance, and stifling fear (my ego is quivering). I give up being too serious. I give up my lineage. Yes, even that. May we all be free.

I give up second-guessing that I deserve respect.

Fear of being disliked. Significantly reduced. Perceived lack of deserving? Bye. Seven hundred times, goodbye. Worthy.

I give up losing my sense of humor when I could use it to turn everything around in a sweet second. Because, come on, it’s usually pretty funny.

I give up that overwhelmed feeling that comes after you read most women’s magazine – of being too fat, too short, too normal, too frizzy, too hungry, and generally not well-lit everywhere I go. 

I give up staying up too late because I think I owe something more to the day that I just gave my everything to. I give up being down on myself because I still harbor some resentment. I think I’ll just give up the resentment. 

I give up allergies, checking just one more email, going too long without eating, and overworking. 

I give up working within the exploitive ideologies of capitalism that are fed to us from all directions. I will do it for the love, and I will do it lovingly.

I give up the only impulse that ever gets me in trouble: the drive to strive, to earn my place, like, on the planet. Because I am really here. Chosen. And I’m not giving up.

I give up the only impulse that ever gets me in trouble: the drive to strive.

I am really here. And I’m not giving up. 

In Peace, Love and Gratitude. 

‘Til next time. XOXO, Vidya 

Dr.Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC. 

www.Naturally-Happy.com


Christina Adams, local author of new book Camel Crazy, to speak in OC on Jan 30

 Laguna resident Christina Adams is an award-winning writer and journalist with a background in aerospace, government, and health. She is the author of the new book Camel Crazy: A Quest for Miracles in the Mysterious World of Camels (New World Library). 

Adams has two upcoming local events at which she’ll be discussing her book. The first is at The Hill Bookstore at UCI on Thursday, Jan 30 from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m., and the second is at fashion designer Rohini Bedi’s store Fashion By Rohini in Artesia, on Sunday, Feb 2 from 12 p.m. - 2 p.m., in partnership with food entrepreneur and Kitchen Queens associate Smita Vasant of Saffron Spot, who will serve camel milk tea. 

Camel Crazy is a memoir/narrative blend, but wraps in fun, quirky information on camels, their milk, their unique biology and characteristics, behavior, and the science behind the milk’s health benefits. It features the moving and humorous voices of camel experts, traditional camel society caregivers, modern camel nomads, and wet-behind-the-ears camel lovers. 

Famed Virginia farmer-author Joel Salatin contributed a passionate foreword. 

Describing her book, Adams says, “It is the story of how I was a newly single mom when I met a man with a camel (at Orange Coast College) and had the idea that the milk would help my son’s autism symptoms and health. Against all odds, I flew it into LAX from Bedouins in the Israel/Palestine desert and my son greatly improved. Soon, I gained USDA permission to import it for autism. I pushed through official and geographic boundaries and explored camel milk, science, and cultures, from Hindu, Amish, Mennonite, Muslim, Somali, Christian, and more. 

Christina Adams close up

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Photo by Kristie Parker

Christina Adams, author of “Camel Crazy: A Quest for Miracles in the Mysterious World of Camels

“This experience made me into an unlikely camel expert, and even led to me writing an often-cited medical journal article and doing an experiment with scientists in a Nobel Prize-winning lab. Now I speak on the milk around the world as thousands of people are using it worldwide. In part due to my work, the camel has become the second-fastest growing livestock in the world.”

The book is set in Orange County and branches out into a global story, with locations in UAE, India, and the U.S. Adams says, “Even as Australia plans to shoot 10,00 camels this week, there are compelling reasons for their survival, as I discuss in the book.” 

Adams is also the author of A Real Boy (Penguin). She has an MFA in Creative Writing and her work has been featured by NPR, the Washington Post, OZY, the Los Angeles Times, the Orange County Register, Open Democracy, RAVISHLY, the Public Library of Science, Orange Coast Magazine, Web MD, Global Advances in Health and Medicine, Dubai One, Khaleej Times, Epocha, TATA SKY, The Rajasthan Patrika, The Writer, literary magazines, and many more. She speaks on writing, health, camels, and autism internationally, including for audiences in Germany, India, England, Pakistan, UAE, and the U.S. 

New York Times best-selling author Caroline Levitt says, “This book can change the world.” National Book Award finalist Sy Montgomery calls it “fascinating and important.” Best-selling author Jen Pastiloff calls it “magical…I want everyone to read this book.” Geneticist and author Dr. Ricky Lewis calls it “mesmerizing.” 

Christina Adams book cover

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Photo by Kristie Parker

Available at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and independent bookstores 

Richard McCarthy of Slow Food International calls it, “Heroic, a joy to read and an important reminder…that animals matter and biodiversity matters.” Randy Fertel, co-founder of Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, says, “I was looking for a camel milk source by page 38.” 

Camel milk, which is now scientifically documented as having a positive impact on a variety of health conditions, is currently widely sold in the U.S. There is also a first-ever users’ guide to camel milk and a list of global sources in the back of the book. 

 Adams says, “I also used sensitivity readers and worked to let pastoral people’s voices be directly heard. Additionally, the book is endorsed by Orange County neurologist Dr. Caroline Choan, various scholars, nomadic persons, and autistic persons such as speaker and author Dr. Stephen Shore.

The book is available at Barnes and Noble, independent bookstores, Amazon, and the usual places where books are sold. Additionally, the book is going to be distributed by Penguin Random House in India (English version) and is available in many countries.

 In other California events, Adams will be speaking at the Camelid Symposium in Sacramento on Saturday, Jan 18 at 3:30 p.m. She also has a book signing at the Barnes and Nobles Arden Fair on Sunday, Jan 19.

The book was just featured on the Public Library of Science Genetics Blog here and in Ravishly here.

For more information on Christina Adams, go to www.christinaadamsauthor.com.


COVID-19 UPDATE: As of April 4

The Orange County Heath Agency announced today, Friday, April 4, that Laguna Beach has the highest per capita rate of reported COVID-19 cases, 1.327 cases per 1,000 residents. Reported cases in Laguna Beach increased to a total of 31, including two new reported cases today.

Laguna Beach City Manager John Pietig is among the reported Laguna Beach cases.

“I am in good spirits, will continue to work from home, and expect to make a full recovery,” Pietig said.

Pietig participated in the March 31 City Council meeting at which he announced that City Hall, city and county beaches, beach parking, parks, trailheads, city and school district athletic fields and sports courts, and the city’s trolley service will be closed though April. Closures will be reviewed by the council at future meetings.

The public may comment on agenda items or non-agenda item by email to City Clerk Lisette Chel-Walker at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Completed forms must be submitted no later than 3 p.m. on April 6 for the April 7 meeting, which gives council members time to review comments.

Written comments may be submitted up to noon on April 7. These comments will be provided to the council at 3 p.m., prior to the meeting, which may not give council members sufficient time to review them before the meeting, according to city release.   

Comments may be submitted to the city clerk by email during the meeting. The city will attempt to identify the writers and their positions on the air but the public is advised to keep the comments brief and to the point or they likely will not be read into the record and only summarized. 

Check the city’s website on April 7 to see if a call-in or link system has been added to the communication menu.

COVID 19 Update

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Governor Newsom’s stay at home order has been in effect since March 19

The City Council on Tuesday took an even-handed approach to the problem of renters of residential and business properties facing eviction for non-payment of rent, as well as the effect on landlords who may be depending on the income from tenants.

No formal vote was taken, but all five council members agreed to sending letters to property owners asking them not to pursue eviction for overdue rent through May 31, but also directed staff to formulate an urgency ordinance requiring landlords to defer rental payments and evictions during the COVID-19 crisis. The ordinance is expected to be on the council’s April 7 agenda. 

Council members said the city must be fair to both landlords and renters, some of them fearing evictions while they are unable to work due to illness, are staying at home to prevent the spread of the virus, or are not employed in essential industries. 

Via email to the council: “Due to the [COVID-19] crisis, my partner was laid off and I’ve lost 18K in bookings, which I will not recover,” wrote Laguna Beach photographer Geoff Ragatz. “Any future work is cut off until this crisis moves forward.

“Thankfully, we have a bit of savings to get us through the next couple of months, but after that, not having any work will become an issue. Add to that, my lease is coming due.” 

Ragat said he has no intention of not paying rent, but also no intention of signing a 12-month lease in these troubled times. 

“I am sure there are plenty of people in town who rent or lease under the same circumstances,” Ragatz wrote.

He asked the council to consider their plight. 

Ragatz’s email was in response to a recommendation by Mayor Bob Whalen and City Manager John Pietig, who also serves as Director of Emergency Services for the city, to urge landlords to defer any action against tenants adversely affected by the pandemic. 

Catherine Jurca urged the council by email to go further than sending a letter to landlords and put a moratorium on all evictions through May 31.

“I should say that I have no skin in the game,” wrote Jurca. “My partner and I are homeowners with ample resources and steady jobs, even in this crisis, for which we are grateful.

“But others are not so fortunate. Please use your authority to protect people from the terrible economic consequences of this disease.”

The proclamation of the existence of a local emergency issued by Pietig and ratified by the council at the March 17 meeting, authorized the city manger to make and enforce rules and regulations for the protection of life, health, safety, and general welfare of people and property within the city related to the local emergency.

All essential services are in operation. 

-Compiled by Barbara Diamond


Easter Parade...honk, honk, honk!

By Janis Murray 

We just happened upon it around 11 a.m. Driving out of our TOTW home onto Alta Laguna to find coffee on a dreary Easter morning, suddenly pure joy! A parade of almost 15 cars with the Easter Bunny and an Easter Chicken in costume waving from sunroofs caught our eyes. Others involved shouted, “Happy Easter,” through windows of vehicles full of kids adorned in pastels of the holiday – families celebrating – honk, honk, honk

Curious, we decided to join them and followed an eventual 10-mile trek at 10 miles an hour through Laguna Beach neighborhoods. As others did, too, we would become an ad hoc convoy of comfort for our fellow locals. Sheltered at home for weeks, many emerged onto driveways, or waved enthusiastically from balconies and behind windows – honk, honk, honk – enlivening the spirit. Our two white Labrador Retrievers hung out the car windows. We wished we had dressed them in rabbit ears like the other dogs involved. But we didn’t know we would become part of a parade, now stretching to 20 cars. 

Easter parade flamingo

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Submitted photo

Easter Flamingo 

Tough times require ingenuity. Parents Cara Holtschneider, Kirsten Rogers, and Carol Kennedy came up with the idea three weeks ago. All have students in Laguna’s public schools. They contacted six families including 14 kids who signed on right away. Cara, grand marshal of the parade, told me after, “Our purpose was just ‘Joy for our kids and families while isolated’ and everybody said they were ‘in.’” They blasted the word on social media. Never underestimate the energy of resilient moms! 

They set about decorating cars. Kirsten’s husband bought what one could only call a “Big Bird” suit off Amazon to be “Easter Chicken,” another dad became a white rabbit…balloons and paint were everywhere!

Easter parade chicken

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Submitted photo

Happy Easter to all from the Easter Chicken

 Cara devised the route including Alta Laguna, Temple Hills, Catalina, Oak, Bluebird Canyon, Summit, Capistrano to Noria to Santa Ana up to Moulton Meadows Park, where our local police welcomed us all. 

But the real show was along the way. To calls of “Happy Easter” from each car, people waved, came out, and returned the salutation by the hundreds.  Some seniors in bathrobes on the sidewalk were even observed crying. We looked them in the eye and blew them kisses. Everyone observed safe, social distancing…reluctantly, when hugging a neighbor was the prior urge. 

“To see everyone just get out in a safe way and see real faces was sweet, so sweet, so fun!” Cara told me. 

“Such a big morale boost,” Kirsten said. “I feel this story is us.” 

That’s a good Easter during a pandemic. It was over by 12:30 p.m. We never got coffee. It didn’t matter. We were full in hearts and spirit. Thanks moms!  Honk, honk, honk!


Deadline nears for entries to Children’s Palette contest

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Friday is the deadline to submit entries to the 2020 Children’s Holiday Palette contest.

Young artists between 5 and 17 that live or attend school or an art program in Laguna Beach are eligible for the contest. Original designs, celebrating the holiday season, must be painted and/or drawn on paper, in the shape of a palette. There are no restrictions on the subject matter, but religious symbols are discouraged.

The contest is a project of the Laguna Beach Arts Commission.

Deadline nears kids

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Courtesy of City of LB

2019 Children’s Palette contest winner Jo Foulger

“Joy is sorely needed at this time, and the Children’s Holiday Palettes are a joyful and delightful holiday gift to our city,” said Pat Kollenda, doyen of the commission.

Designs submitted by November 16 will be considered for mounting on wood artist palettes that will be presented to the public at the December 1 Zoom City Council meeting and displayed throughout December at City Hall. 

The designs for mounting on the palettes will be selected from the age groups 5-8, 9-13 and 14-17.

Deadline nears fish

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Courtesy of City of LB

Annie Zhou, 2019 Children’s Palette contest winner

Prospective palette designs should be delivered to the Cultural Arts Department at City Hall, 505 Forest Ave, or via hi-res image emailed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Members of the Arts Commission will review and select the designs  for exhibition at City Hall on November 23. Selected artists will be notified by email on November 24. 

The commission will judge the designs based on creativity and appropriateness.

All submitted designs will be available to view online via the Cultural Arts page on the City of Laguna Beach website.

The contest is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

For more information, contact Arts Program Coordinator Michael McGregor at (949) 497-0722.


54th Annual Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade marches on Saturday

The 54th Annual Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade will march on Saturday, March 7 at 11 a.m., starting at Laguna Beach High School, proceeding down Park Avenue, turning right on Glenneyre and right again on Forest Avenue, and ending just past City Hall at Ocean Avenue.

Stu News is even more excited than usual this year, because our wonderful reporter Barbara Diamond will be the Grand Marshal.

This weekend is Garden Club

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

They say half the town marches and the other half watches…which camp will you be in on Saturday?

Because the 53rd parade was rained out, the same honorees will ride down the parade route: Grand Marshal Barbara Diamond, Honored Patriot Arnie Silverman, Citizen of the Year Sande St. John, Artist of the Year Roxanna Ward, and Athlete of the Year Jade Howson, as well as the 2020 Junior Citizens, Laila Cruz and Nathan Solomon, Class of 2020, chosen by the Laguna Beach High School staff. 

The lineup will include bands, equestrians, classic cars, and floats. Patriotic attire is suggested for attendees and participants. 

Click on the link here for a PDF of the full lineup of floats.

For further information, contact Sandi Werthe at (949) 494-6016 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the Parade website at www.lagunabeachparade.org.

Editor’s note: Interested in walking in the parade this year? We invite all of our readers to march with Stu News. We’ll have a live band performing with us – members of the Laguna Beach Community Concert Band – as well as a beautiful red 1962 Chrysler 300 convertible courtesy of Andy Coyle (Laguna Classic Cars) and Jason McClain (McClain Cellars). If interested, dress in Patriotic colors and/or attire, and meet us at the LBUSD parking lot at 550 Blumont St at 10:30 a.m. for the parade – we’re entry #51. All readers are invited, including pups, kids, and grandkids – the more the merrier! For more info, email Shaena at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


COVID-19 numbers climb in Orange County: 34 reported cases in Laguna Beach

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency yesterday, April 6, show that COVID-19 numbers continue to climb throughout the county, with 34 reported cases in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach, with a population base of 23,358, has the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 cases in Orange County at a rate of 1.456 cases per 1,000 residents. Two new cases were reported in Laguna Beach today. 

Newport Beach (population 87,180) has 73 reported cases and Irvine (population 280,202) has 77 reported cases of COVID-19, per capita rates of 0.837 and 0.275 per 1,000 residents, respectively.

There are 882 cumulative reported cases to date in Orange County, including 51 new cases reported today, resulting in, sadly, 14 deaths. 130 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 72 are currently in ICU.

556 people were tested for COVID-19 in Orange County by HCA Public Health Lab and commercial labs between the release of Sunday and Monday's data (out of 10,489 people tested cumulatively so far).

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

COVID 19 numbers climb 4 6 20 1

COVID 19 numbers climb 4 6 20 2

COVID 19 numbers climb 4 6 20 3

COVID 19 numbers climb 4 6 20 4

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of April 6;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Woman’s Club continues tradition of Adopt-A-Family with much-needed help of donations

Now more than ever, people are looking forward to celebrating the upcoming holidays. 

Kitty Malcolm, acting president of the Woman’s Club, says, “For the Woman’s Club, in normal times, our committees would be busily preparing for the December annual Holiday Luncheon and our Adopt-A-Family committee would be gathering names of children in our community who come from lower-income families. It is staggering how many families and children in this position live in our community. And it isn’t going to be better for them this holiday season.”

The Woman’s Club has been closed since March. Malcolm admits, “We are unable to have our annual Holiday Luncheon this year, but through member donations we can continue our outreach to these children. Between what our members donated at last year’s Luncheon and the Woman’s Club donation, we raised more money than ever before, which enabled us to fill each Wish List request of 31 kids (a total of 120 gifts)! Some of our members went even further and adopted all the children within a particular family. And for that, we were thankful, and the families were thankful.”

Woman's club presents

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Courtesy of Woman’s Club

Gifts for Woman’s Club Annual Adopt-A-Family, 2019

“We are working again this year with Sande St. John to help those same families from last year; they are still in need. We all know these are stressful and ‘blue’ times, and it is even more so for these kids. We are hoping to raise enough money through your donations to match what we were able to do last year and are thankful to those of you who have already donated. But, if you haven’t already donated, could you please help us? 

“All you need to do is provide the money, and we will purchase and wrap the gifts for the families to pick up. We know you are receiving many emails and letters asking for financial support from a variety of local organizations and these are challenging times, but for most of these kids, these are the only holiday gifts they receive. Knowing we have helped put a smile on their faces when they have presents to open is one of the best gifts we can give ourselves this holiday season.” 

Due to the time limitations for purchasing and wrapping, the club would appreciate donations by December 7th. Donations can be made quickly and immediately through the club’s website at www.wclb.org, or by a personal check, made payable to Woman’s Club Adopt-A-Family and dropped off at the Clubhouse mailbox located on the patio. 

Malcolm says, “The Woman’s Club is very appreciative of your continued support of the Club and our community outreach programs.”

Donations received after December 7th will go towards our 2021 Adopt-A-Family program. All donations are tax deductible, and a tax form will be mailed to you.

For questions, contact Nancy Shurtleff, Chair, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Guest Column

The road map to Manifestation Practice 

By Dr. Vidya Reddy

Manifestation Practice that takes your whole self into consideration. 

Believe it to see it.

Manifesting is an art and a science – and you have to leave a lot of room for mystery, while upholding your Faith. No one has the way. Life is complex. But here’s everything I’ve been given from masterful teachers over the years and practiced myself with some exquisite results. 

As a thought exercise, I’ve learned over the past few months, I feel compelled to share them with you in the spirit of robust helpfulness. If you would like more information, techniques, and meditation based on Life Lessons, please refer to my podcast: https://naturally-happy.com/podcast/.

Come from the Heart: We intend to create from the heart and soul. 

We have a heart-centered vision. This vision arises from deep love of the interconnected self and others – a place of intrinsic fusion with all Life. It’s compassionate, it’s joyful, and it feels connected to everyone else. A heart-centered vision benefits the whole collective. 

Heart-centered visions arise from a place of awareness and Light. Ego-centered visions arise from the shadow. Ego-based visions may come from a place of lacking, and having to prove something, which ultimately creates division within ourselves and the people around us. Ego-based dreams are often about needing to achieve something in order to feel “worthy.”

A heart-centered vision is a celebration of our inherent soul nature. It is rooted in higher values – values that help uplift all involved – love, wisdom, abundance, generosity, healing, joy that ripples out. A vision that comes from Love is more deeply nourishing and interdependent.

A heart-centered vision helps merge your inner and your outer world: you’re invoking your Core Desired Feelings (inner) and allowing them to manifest into reality in the outer world. 

Have Faith…and act on it

Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” –Hebrews 11

Faith is believing that the Light exists, even when it’s dark. You can’t prove it then and there, but you know in the deepest part of your being of its existence. You have Faith. So, with respect to manifesting, we’re fostering the Faith that our desires will be made manifest. Doubt is a choice. Faith is a choice. Choose Faith. 

The roadmap doctor

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Photo by Johnny Antezana

Dr. Vidya Reddy

But Faith alone isn’t enough. You have to meet God with some action in this dimension. Another reference from the Bible to make the point, from James 2:14: “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.” Back up that Faith with some action. Faith on its own is…useless. Faith requires care and feeding. 

Faith is like a blueprint of what you want to build. It’s a track that you lay down in the substratum that the vision will grow through and rise. The “work” involved, the building on that blueprint of Faith, is the work of inner and outer devotion. Keep your heart and mind and body clean and clear. Be diligent to stay well and vital. Keep removing the obstacles to Love and let your flow into the world. Purify and give. Purify and give. And repeat – that’s the work that brings Faith to life. 

And Now…Visualize

Working with visualizations is a metaphysical science and an art. Visualization is the fulfillment of your desire – a punctuated moment that says it all. So, for example, you want to win a medal, you’re not seeing yourself training to win the race, you’re seeing yourself – and feeling yourself – victorious on the podium. It’s a completion scenario. Think about the best possible outcome of your goals and intentions and deepest desires, and that’s the scene. 

You’re going to create two or three individual, simple visions – power vignettes. Of course, in each vision you are feeling your Core Desired Feelings. Basking in them. Embodying them. The feelings are the spice, they make a difference. They’re magnetic. 

The roadmap praying

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

After your visualization, release the vision

Once you decide on the final visual that you want to bring to life, treat it like a “seed” that has to be nurtured daily for its gestation period. Just like a fertilized egg in the womb from inception until it’s ready to be delivered. So once you craft that vision, keep nourishing it daily. 

If you’re really committed, then 21 minutes of visualization time is mega fertilizer. Super devoted? Do this consistently for nine months to a year. Hold the vision in Faith, with your Core Desired Feelings in your heart. The very commitment of that practice is going to pay off in multiple ways. 

This an important metaphysical side note: don’t keep changing the vision. It’s like changing your dinner order in a restaurant a bunch of times – the confusion means you don’t get a good meal on time. Craft your visualization. Trust it. And work with it. 

Suggestions on the vision themes (these are only suggestions): 

One scene that encapsulates the greater reality you want. Your ideal life. Your current, deep desire. 

One scene encapsulates your wellness and vitality

One scene encapsulates your abundance and/or work in the world

See, sense, hear, smell it: where you are, who you are with, the quality of light and air, the sounds that you hear, your sensory nature is active and alive. 

Feel it: As you’re seeing the vision, breathe your Core Desired Feelings through your heart. 

Add color: Infuse your Core Desired Feelings with light pink, white light, and translucent golds. Give thanks. Go on to the next vision.

After your visualization, release the vision. Send it into the sky, the ethers, pure space, until it fully disappears from your sight. Now let your faith handle it for you. You don’t need to obsess about it all day. You focus on Faith –purifying and giving and generating your Core Desired Feelings in your daily current reality. 

Always conclude with thanks. Give thanks to all the Beings, seen and unseen, who are helping you manifest your vision into reality. 

In Peace, Love and Gratitude 

‘Til next time 

Dr.Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC 

www.Naturally-Happy.com


Moon shadow

Moon shadow crescent

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Photo by Scott Brashier

A waxing crescent moon – visible in the western sky – follows the sun below the western horizon. A waxing crescent moon has nothing to do with Earth’s shadow on the moon. Earth’s shadow can fall on the moon only at full moon, when the moon and sun are opposite each other – on either side of Earth – in space. There is a shadow on a crescent moon, but it’s the moon’s own shadow.


Former white nationalist brings message of hope to Laguna at Light the Way for Change on May 19

On Sunday, May 19, at the Laguna Beach Artists Theatre, WAVE Action Fund presents Light the Way for Change, a unique afternoon of guest speakers and musical performances highlighting intolerance and violence to create a kinder world honoring human rights and dignity for all. Doors open at 2:15 p.m.; the program is from 3 - 5 p.m. Laguna Beach Entertainer of The Year Roxanna Ward will be entertaining at this event along with the Jorg Dubin Band. 

This is the inaugural event for WAVE Action Fund, a nonprofit nonpartisan group of women that was founded after the last election, and has grown from 13 women to 1,000 members.

The main speakers are R. Derek Black, a former white nationalist who denounces white nationalism, and Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein, parents of Blaze Bernstein, a 19-year-old Ivy League college student who was murdered in Lake Forest in an alleged hate crime because he was gay. They will discuss how to turn tragedy into inspiration. 

Rita Conn, who has been with the organization since its inception, says, “We are fortunate to have Derek Black who only does one speaking engagement a month. This will be the only time he is appearing in Orange County. And, of course, Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein will touch hearts as they share their tragedy and how they have turned it into a national movement to inspire good and help protect our children.”

Light the Black

Submitted photo

R. Derek Black

R. Derek Black is a former white nationalist. His father founded Stormfront, a massive online hate group, and his godfather was David Duke, leader of the KKK. He was considered the "future leading light” of the white nationalist movement until he went to college and amidst ostracism from the other students, he accepted an invitation to Shabbat dinner that profoundly changed his life. Black is the subject of the book Rising Out of Hatred by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Eli Saslow. His story offers hope that through the power of love and connection, people can change. 

Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein have turned their tragedy into a nationwide movement dedicated to making the world a better place by confronting hate with kindness. #BlazeItForward inspires others to use their son’s memory as a catalyst to motivate philanthropy, do good deeds, and improve the human condition.

Light the Bernsteins

Submitted photo

Jeanne and Gideon Bernstein

Conn, who is a former family counselor, says, “There is a dangerous divide in our country, and we need to be talking to each other. The children are symptomatic of a larger family structure. There has been a rise in teenage suicide. Our children are killing themselves and each other, and this is a problem of our family of mankind. Our goal is to reach across the divide and get in touch with our shared humanity. We all need to work to make a difference; we need love and understanding over hate and distance.” 

Other speakers at the event include: Dr. Pete Simi, Chapman University; Dr.
Marilyn Harran, Rodgers Center for Holocaust Education, Chapman University; Shelley McMahon, Moms Demand Action; Victoria Mendez, Global Director of Cool 2 Be Kind, Stanford University; and Anna Mendez, National Association of People Against Bullying. 

An additional special guest will be Congressman Harley Rouda, CD48. 

“We hope that this program will help us to continue to build the common ground across some of our polarized communities and in so doing help to heal and transform our culture. While no one can do everything, everyone can do something. Light the Way for Change seeks to inspire the greater good in all of us,” says Conn. 

A capacity crowd is anticipated. Purchase tickets at www.wave4all.org. Ticket prices start at just $50. Limited complimentary student tickets are available upon request at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sponsorship opportunities also available at www.wave4all.org.

Funds raised through this event will used to support WAVE’s new 501(c)(4) WAVE Action Fund initiative. 

The Artists Theatre is located at 625 Park Ave.


COVID-19 numbers climb in Orange County: 34 reported cases in Laguna Beach

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, April 7, show that COVID-19 numbers continue to climb throughout the county, with 34 reported cases in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach, with a population base of 23,358, has the highest per capita rate of COVID-19 cases in Orange County at a rate of 1.456 cases per 1,000 residents. No new cases were reported in Laguna Beach today. 

Newport Beach (population 87,180) has 75 reported cases and Irvine (population 280,202) has 82 reported cases of COVID-19, per capita rates of 0.860 and 0.293 per 1,000 residents, respectively.

There are 931 cumulative reported cases to date in Orange County, including 50 new cases reported today, resulting in, sadly, 15 deaths. 129 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 75 are currently in ICU.

818 people were tested for COVID-19 in Orange County by HCA Public Health Lab and commercial labs between the release of Monday and today’s data (out of 11,307 people tested cumulatively so far).

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of April 7;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Paradise and a pup  

Paradise and a

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

All you need is the beach and a dog


Paddle board pal

Paddle board dolphin

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Finding connection on the water


2018 Election: Candidates add money to campaign kitties

By BARBARA DIAMOND

City Council candidates reported on October 20 their last list of donations and expenses before the November 8 City Council Election, known as the 460s. 

It took less than a month for incumbent Toni Iseman to bulk up her war chest from $43,222 reported at the September 22 deadline to $50,841 reported on October 20.

She still leads in total contributions. 

Donors since the September 22 filing include Virginia Wheeler, Minister of Community United Methodist Church, Planning Commissioner Becky Jones and Sindi Schwartz, owner of Muldoon’s restaurant in Newport Beach.

Non-monetary contributions included a newspaper ad on her behalf, paid for by Orange County Professional Firefighters PAC, which includes the Laguna Beach Fire Department union membership.

Iseman has paid out more than $25,000 for services and advertising. 

Former Mayor and Certified Public Accountant Cheryl Kinsman wasn’t far behind Iseman in reported cash at hand on September 22, but she and all other candidates lag far behind Iseman as of the October 20 filing. 

Kinsman reported total contributions of $43,339 and expenditures of $41,183. 

Landscape architect and also a former mayor, Ann Christoph received non-monetary contributions of $612 this filing period, still maintaining her third place in the financial race with total donations of $39,916.62. 

She reported spending $34,551.37, leaving her with a cash balance of $5,365 for the final few days of the campaign.

Donors included Laguna Beach attorney Michelle Reinglass and Anne Krizman, owner of Fresh Produce on Forest Avenue.   

Planning Commissioner and retired businesswoman Sue Kempf picked up $6,189 in cash and non-monetary contributions, including an advertisement paid for by the Firefighters union. 

Cash donors included former Mayor Jane Egly and Arts Commissioner Suzi Chavel. 

Art Gallery owner Peter Blake raised $2,245 since the September 22 filing, for a total of $17,631. He reported spending $13,397.33 on campaign services and advertising.

His donors include Jonathan Burke, president of Laguna College of Art & Design.

Two assembly candidates and a state senator each donated $360 to the Friends of Judie Mancuso Election Committee, a candidate-controlled committee. The committee posted contributions of $15,814 and expenditures of $13,238 for advertising, campaign management services, fundraisers and flyers.

Community activist Lorene Laguna raised a total of $5,859, but still has $3,590 to spend in the last days of her campaign. 

Her donors include home builder Chris Prelitz, Michele Monda, veterinarian John Hamil and banker Ernest Auger.

Sue Marie Connolly. Allison Mathews, Elizabeth Bates and Paul Merritt did not file statements of donations or expenses in September. Candidates are not required to turn in the forms known as 490s if they have raised less than $1,000.

However, Merritt for Council 2018 recorded loans $4,000 from the candidate in the filing period that ended October 20. Vogel Properties and Bryan Menne were listed as donors. Expenditures included advertising and signs.


Cho’s Academy’s four-week Vinyasa and Meditation series is back by popular demand

Cho’s Academy has announced another four-week Vinyasa and Meditation series on Mondays and Wednesdays from April 29 through May 22 at 9:15 a.m. The class will consist of one hour of vinyasa flow with fifteen minutes of meditation taught by Tiffanie Bederman. 

Through practice, learn how vinyasa or linking breath with movement helps us to align by preparing our bodies and calming the mind. The series will touch on the Yoga Sutras and 8 Limbs of Yoga, though most of the series will be movement and meditation in practice.

Chos Academy pose

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Submitted photo

Yoga instructor Tiffanie Bederman will teach the four-week series

Tiffanie Bederman is a seasoned yoga practitioner with over 17 years of practice and four years of teaching in New York City and Southern California. She integrates contemporary movement theory with traditional yoga practice to give students the tools necessary to make improvements physically and mentally. Her classes will challenge students in ways that will show immediate gains from their hard work while demystifying yoga and preparing them for the weekend.

Chos Academy studio

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Submitted photo

Cho’s Academy was established in Laguna Beach in 2009

Classes are appropriate for all experience levels. The cost is $95 for the full series.

Cho’s Academy was established in Laguna Beach in 2009 and offers yoga, kickboxing, jiujitsu, taekwondo, and fitness classes for both kids and adults.

For more information and to register, visit www.chosacademy.com/events.


Lifeguard Intersquad Competition 

Photos by Ellen Lougee

Lifeguard Intersquad Kiko swim

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17-year-old identical twins Kiko and Sam Nelsen, who will be seniors at LBHS, competed in the Lifeguard Intersquad Competition on August 3. Kiko enters the water for the swim section of the Run, Swim, Paddle competition.

Lifeguards Intersquad Sam paddleboard

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Sam during the paddle section of the competition

Lifeguard Intersquad Sam swim

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Sam on the “Rookie B” team during the swim section of the competition 

Lifeguard Intersquad Kiko paddleboard

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Kiko during paddle competition 


Ebell Club invites ladies of the community to New Membership Drive on Sept 24

The Ebell Club of Laguna Beach, a nonprofit public benefit philanthropic organization, invites ladies to attend its New Membership Drive event on Tuesday, Sept 24 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on the Rooftop of Nirvana Grille.

The drive is an opportunity for ladies of the community to learn about the organization’s mission, activities, and meet club members.

 Ebell Club holds a monthly dinner meeting the first Monday each month at 6 p.m. and hosts speakers that discuss topics about issues of importance to the community that are supported by Ebell Club’s fundraising efforts. 

The Ebell Club is a wonderful opportunity for philanthropically minded members to join together for friendship and work on fundraising projects. Monthly meetings provide a forum for leaders of our local nonprofits to educate Ebell’s members about their important work. The October 7 meeting speaker is Cindy Prewitt, president and founder of Laguna Beach Live!.

Ebell Club Nirvana

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Photo by Scotty Wise 

Nirvana Grille will host Ebell’s New Membership Drive on Sept 24

Ebell President Jennifer Dawson explains, “Ebell ladies with Owner, Chef, and new Ebell member Lindsay Smith-Rosales, will host light appetizers with great drink specials available for purchase. 

“Meet Chef Lindsay and taste some of her amazing culinary creations while visiting with friends and neighbors who are Ebell members and learn about all the important charitable work the Ebell Club accomplishes for our community through philanthropy and scholarship.” 

Dawson adds, “Chef Lindsay’s food is so thoughtful, fresh, and delicious, it will leave you wanting more – so after the meeting stay for dinner or make reservations before you leave for the full culinary experience.”

The Ebell Club of Laguna Beach, founded in September 1933, has continuously worked to actively support projects to develop Laguna Beach as a home and family community. 

To RSVP for the New Membership Drive event and for more information, contact Ebell Club President Jennifer Dawson at (949) 500-3567 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nirvana Grille is located at 303 Broadway.


1,283 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC: 37 reported cases in Laguna Beach

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency yesterday, April 13, reflect that there are 37 reported cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach, with a population of 23,358, has the highest per capita rate in OC, with 1.584 cases per thousand residents. However, Laguna Beach has only had three new reported cases of COVID-19 in the last week, since April 6.

The City of Laguna Beach has taken strong measures to protect its residents, closing its beaches and trails weeks ago, and enacting an urgency ordinance on Friday, April 10 requiring all Essential Workers in the city to wear protective face coverings.

The city with the second highest per capita rate in OC is Newport Beach with 85 reported cases, 0.975 cases per thousand. 

Anaheim is the city with the most cases at 148, with a population of 359,339. Irvine, with a population of 280,202, has 100 cases.

There are 1,283 cumulative reported cases to date in Orange County, resulting in, sadly, 19 deaths. 103 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 51 are currently in ICU.

647 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Orange County by HCA Public Health Lab and commercial labs since Sunday (out of 14,175 cumulative tests countywide).

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of April 13;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Pelican in paradise

Pelican in bird

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Solitary soaring over a beautiful mauve-colored sea


Chabad announces Laguna’s first ever Chanukah Chocolate Gelt Drop with LBFD on Dec 22

On Sunday, Dec 22 at 2 p.m., Chabad of Laguna Beach will be hosting the annual community wide Surfboard Menorah Festival on the cobblestones at Main Beach.

The Menorah Lighting will feature Laguna’s first ever Chanukah Gelt Drop, with our local firefighters extending their ladders and showering the ground with chocolate gelt (coins) for all participants.

This activity brings the ancient custom of giving children gelt, or money, on Chanukah to a whole new level. The custom of giving gelt was designed to offer children positive reinforcement for exemplary behavior, particularly as a reward for diligence in their studies and acts of charity. 

In addition, the custom of distributing gelt enhances children’s happiness and festive spirit. 

Chabad announces surfboards

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Laguna Beach’s traditional Surfboard Menorah, created by Chabad

At the Gelt Drop, not only will there be gelt, but it will be raining down with much drama and fanfare. Chabad of Laguna Beach is known for its innovative and creative approach.

“We wanted to take a tradition and make it magical. There is nothing more dynamic than chocolate dropping from the sky. We can’t wait to see the reaction of the children,” stated Perel Goorevitch, program director at Chabad of Laguna Beach.

Participants will also enjoy festive holiday music and dancing with the fabulous DJ Eldad, delicious latkes, crafts and face painting for the kids, and lighting of the iconic Surfboard Menorah.

“It is a holiday that enriches our lives with the light of tradition,” said Rabbi Goorevitch, AKA Rabbi G., director of Chabad of Laguna Beach. “In ancient times, our ancestors rededicated the Temple in Jerusalem with the Menorah. Today, we rededicate ourselves to making this world a better and brighter place. Chanukah also propagates the universal message that ultimately good will prevail over evil, freedom over oppression, and light over darkness.”

For more information, call Chabad at (949) 499-0770.


Changes made to City services following stay at home order

Following Governor Gavin Newsom’s direction that all California residents stay at home unless participating in essential functions, the following changes have been made to Laguna Beach City services effective immediately:

--All City offices remain closed to the public. Essential services will be provided. 

--All Planning Commission, Design Review Board, and Committee meetings are canceled through April. The March 31 City Council meeting is still scheduled to be held but public access may be limited to viewing it on cable TV or through the City’s website.

--The Police Department lobby is closed; use the intercom at the lobby door to speak to personnel or call (949) 497-0701 and press 1. 9-1-1 is operating as usual.

--All Laguna Beach Trolley Service is suspended.

--The Laguna Beach City pool is closed.

--All Spring Community Service classes are postponed through April.

--All City children’s playgrounds are closed.

--Social distancing signs have been posted at all City parks.

Changes made to

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Photo by Scott Brashier

All City playgrounds and recreation courts are closed due to COVID-19

Vulnerable populations and residents age 65 and older must stay home. All residents must stay home unless participating in “essential functions” like purchasing food, getting prescriptions or necessary health care, or going to an essential job. The state’s order is intended to slow the spread of COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) to California citizens.

Essential services will remain open, such as:

--Hospitals, clinic, and pharmacies 

--Grocery stores, farmers’ markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants 

--Banks, gas stations, and laundromats

The City is regularly updating additional information on COVID-19 prevention at www.lagunabeachcity.net/coronavirus.

The City is also sending out regular COVID-19 updates for the community through Laguna Beach’s Nixle Community Alert system. To sign up, simply text 92651 to 888-777.


1,845 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC: 36 reported cases in Laguna Beach

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, April 24, reflect that there have been 36 reported cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach, with a population of 23,358, has the highest per capita rate in OC, with 1.541 cases per thousand residents. However, Laguna Beach has only had one new reported case of COVID-19 since April 9.

The City of Laguna Beach has taken strong measures to protect its residents, closing its beaches and trails last month, and enacting an Emergency Order requiring all essential workers and essential business customers in the city to wear protective face coverings.

Newport Beach has the second highest per capita rate in OC, with 91 reported cases, 1.044 cases per thousand residents.

Anaheim is the city with the most cases at 247, with a population of 359,339. Irvine, with a population of 280,202, has 120 cases.

There are 1,845 cumulative reported cases to date in Orange County, resulting in, sadly, 36 deaths. 150 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 63 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 23,083 people as of today.

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of April 24;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Paradise on earth

Paradise on ranch

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Photo by Joel Goldstein

The Ranch and the Pacific Ocean, made in Heaven


Guest Column

What is Shadow Work? And how to bring it into the light 

By Dr. Vidya Reddy

Our Shadow Self is not an evil-twin personality that we have to master. Our undesirable behaviors aren’t defects or soul blight, they are a cry for attention – for help to heal our wounded selves. Any manipulativeness, arrogance, hostility, addiction…these aren’t inner fractures. They’re expressions of wounds that have not yet healed. Those wounds get hidden in the shadows of our consciousness.

Our Shadow Self is our neglected inner child. And our greatest opportunity for building strength comes from the work of healing our wounded-ness. The shadow is where our pain hides, waiting for the light of our attention. It lies beneath the distractions of workaholism and comparison and bravado. It’s the stuff in the basement of our psyches that we’re not yet ready to clean up.

We avoid our Shadow by;

--Overachieving – spiritual bypassing under the guise of self-improvement. We can’t tend to our pain if we’re shellacking it with positivity. 

--Overworking to stay distracted from our perceived brokenness If I just keep working hard, I’ll get what I want. I will be so industrious and devoted and good, that God will deliver me…because that’s how karma works, yeah? Nope. 

--Overconsumption and addictive habits – from using mood-altering substances to buying stuff we don’t really need in order to feel and “look” better…temporarily. 

--Hanging out in superficial relationships to avoid being truly seen-felt-heard…intimate.

“Your Shadow Self is waiting for the light of your attention – your Love.” 

First step: have compassion for yourself. It is a human survival mechanism to avoid our wounds in order to keep carrying on. You’ve got stuff to do: a career to build, people to care for, babies to raise. There are healthy reasons to delay sorting out your stuff. And we want to deal with our own stuff.

What is doctor

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Photo by Johnny Antezana

Dr. Vidya Reddy

You have the strength. It might not be easy, but it will be worth it

Shadow work hurts before it brings relief. It might cost you a lot in therapy and supplements. You might have to take some time off work. You will probably have to have some uncomfortable conversations. And – you’re going to get there – to free, clear, and sovereign. 

By the time in your life that you’re ready to deal with your emotional wounds, you’ve likely built some support systems. An ecosystem of friends, teammates, and introspective tools that will help weather you through. You’ve been building up your outer strength so you can take the inward journey. 

You’re not alone 

The sense of isolation is part of being in the dark. But there are an infinite amount of people who’ve traversed the same path and come out on the other side. There is a pattern to the descent, and that means that the rising is also inevitable. Draw on the stories of others. They know.

“Learning to love my most wounded self was my ultimate restoration.” 

When I finally shone some light onto my psyche, what I found was a badly bruised little girl that needed even more love and care. I had been neglecting her anxiety and pain on the way to Enlightenment. The conversation went something like this…

I see you. I see your fear, shame, terror… and I’m not judging you anymore. I’m going to embrace you. In fact, I’m going to listen to everything you need to say. 

I know I’ve neglected you. I’ve overworked when you needed rest. I’ve gone out with men who didn’t get it. I know it might be hard to trust me, but you can trust me now because I’m here to do the work. I’m going to take care of you…and I have the Great Divine Mother helping mother me, so that I can mother you. 

What is smiling

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Photo by Peter Baetens

Inner compassion is the most powerful light source

So, do you need me to stop overworking so that we can rest and be well? Okay. 

Do you need me to get into nature more, so that you can feel nourished? Okay. 

Need me to break up with situations that are insensitive to your very deep sensitivity? Okay.

I’m going to value your life with my compassion and love. 

I’ve got you.

My Reflections

As a thought exercise, I feel compelled to share with you in the spirit of robust helpfulness. If you would like more information, techniques, and meditation based on Life Lessons, please refer to my podcast: https://naturally-happy.com/podcast/.

The podcast guide and reflection exercise are for building spirit muscle. Use these Reflection Cards for some catharsis. This inquiry is a deeply sensitive one – much like yourself. Please give yourself the space to be with the reflection exercise.

Self-compassion is the most powerful light source on the inner shadow. Shine it on the full spectrum of your pain (from the ancient to the recent) and keep loving what you find in the dark. This is good parenting for your soul.

Keep looking, keep listening, keep loving your wounds – and your radiance, your inherent, never-leaving, second nature radiance, will astound you.

That’s the shadow work. 

--I used to berate my Shadow Self (my wounded inner child) for doing/being/acting

--But now I know that she-he-they were trying to tell me to heal

--My Shadow Self wants me to know

--How she-he-they want to feel

--Encouragement/validation/comfort my woundedness needs to hear

--How I commit to caring for my inner child

--“Learning to love my most wounded self was my ultimate restoration.” 

In Peace, Love and Gratitude. 

‘Til next time. 

Dr.Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC

www.Naturally-Happy.com


Laura Tarbox to offer investment advice to locals through virtual financial workshop

On Tuesdays, Oct. 6 and Oct. 13, Laura Tarbox, one of the pioneers of the financial planning profession, will hold a virtual “It’s Your Money” series on financial planning.

Financial planning is critical to ensure that you can live comfortably with confidence, provide for the people you love, and leave a lasting legacy.

These sessions are part of an eight-week series on financial planning, with the focus on “Financial Planning Amid Uncertainty.”

This event is free to the public.

Laura Tarbox smile

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Submitted photo

Laura Tarbox is one of the pioneers of financial planning 

Tarbox, a UCLA graduate and Laguna Beach resident, founded her wealth advisory firm in 1985 and provides fee-only financial planning (including estate and tax planning, charitable giving and retirement optimization) and investment management.

To participate, register here.

This program is moderated by Peter Kote, founder of the workshop series, and Donald Vivrette, philanthropic advisor and board member for the not-for-profit www.financiallandestateliteracy.org

Additional articles and past virtual workshop sessions are available via the website.


1,425 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC: 36 reported cases in Laguna Beach

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency yesterday, April 16, reflect that there are 36 reported cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach, with a population of 23,358, has the highest per capita rate in OC, with 1.541 cases per thousand residents. However, Laguna Beach has only had one new reported case of COVID-19 in the last week, since April 9.

The City of Laguna Beach has taken strong measures to protect its residents, closing its beaches and trails weeks ago, and enacting an Emergency Order requiring all essential workers and essential business customers in the city to wear protective face coverings.

The city with the second highest per capita rate in OC is Newport Beach with 90 reported cases, 1.032 cases per thousand. 

Anaheim is the city with the most cases at 162, with a population of 359,339. Irvine, with a population of 280,202, has 106 cases.

There are 1,425 cumulative reported cases to date in Orange County, resulting in, sadly, 25 deaths. 138 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 68 are currently in ICU.

637 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Orange County by HCA Public Health Lab and commercial labs since Wednesday (out of 15,942 cumulative tests countywide).

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of April 16;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


KX FM 104.7 to broadcast City Council meetings

Starting tonight, March 31, KX FM will broadcast Laguna Beach City Council meetings on 104.7 FM and www.KXFMRadio.org. 

The meetings are currently conducted remotely via Zoom, and KX FM wants to give residents a simple method to tune into them without needing to utilize an internet connection.

“I’ve been very proud and humbled to see how organizations have come together and thought outside-of-the-box during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said KX FM Founder Tyler Russell McCusker. “This is just one part of how we can help bring some normalcy to city functions during this challenging time.” 

According to Russell McCusker, the nonprofit station has been covering the virus every day live on the air, including interviews with city officials, doctors, police, and even COVID-19 positive residents. 

KX FM also intends to broadcast future Arts Commission and Planning Commission meetings, at least until normal, in-person business is resumed. 

You can listen to tonight’s meeting at 5 p.m. on 104.7 FM, www.KXFMRadio.org, or the KX FM Android or iPhone Apps. 

Founded October 2012, KX FM is the only licensed FM radio station in Laguna Beach’s history. It is a no-profit, non-commercial radio station with hundreds of volunteer contributors, focused on the music, the listener, and the local community. KX FM provides a voice and a creative outlet for musicians, bands, and artists often ignored by commercial radio.


Watch 54th Patriots Day Parade on YouTube

The theme of the 2020 Patriots Day Parade was “Everyday Heroes.” In arriving at this selection, one of the parade board members suggested the motto of the United States Military Academy at West Point, which is “Duty, Honor, Country.” That brought to mind those individuals in our lives who have exemplified these traits. There are many around us. Often they act quietly without calling attention to themselves.

Watch 54 band

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Photo by Scott Brashier

To watch the 2020 Patriots Day Parade, click here

There were 82 entries in the March 7 event, ranging from civic and veterans’ organizations to school bands, floats, vintage automobiles, and light-hearted novelty groups. Honorees were: Barbara Diamond, Grand Marshal; Arnold Silverman, Honored Patriot; Sande St. John, Citizen of the Year; Roxanna Ward, Artist of the Year; Jade Howson, Athlete of the Year; Laila Cruz and Nathan Solomon, 2020 Junior Citizens of the year; Lili Bazargan, 7th grade, 2020 Essay Contest Winner; and Diego Lapayese-Calderon, class of 2021, 2020 Cover Artist.


1,501 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC: 36 reported cases in Laguna Beach

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, April 17, reflect that there are 36 reported cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach, with a population of 23,358, has the highest per capita rate in OC, with 1.541 cases per thousand residents. However, Laguna Beach has only had one new reported case of COVID-19 since April 9.

The City of Laguna Beach has taken strong measures to protect its residents, closing its beaches and trails weeks ago, and enacting an Emergency Order requiring all essential workers and essential business customers in the city to wear protective face coverings.

The city with the second highest per capita rate in OC is Newport Beach with 90 reported cases, 1.032 cases per thousand. 

Anaheim is the city with the most cases at 178, with a population of 359,339. Irvine, with a population of 280,202, has 111 cases.

There are 1,501 cumulative reported cases to date in Orange County, resulting in, sadly, 28 deaths. 129 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 48 are currently in ICU.

429 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Orange County by HCA Public Health Lab and commercial labs since yesterday (out of 16,371 cumulative tests countywide).

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of April 17;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Faux Paw Artique spreads holiday spirit at free children’s book giveaway on Sunday

Debby Carman of Faux Paw Artique gallery is going to gift a book to every child who comes into the gallery with a parent from noon until 4 p.m. on Sunday, Dec 22. “In the spirit of the holidays, we invite you to share a gesture of love and peace, goodwill, learning, and sharing,” she says.

Children will be able to pick one in her series of six children’s books. Debby says, “The Bowzers and Meowzers series represent some life lessons which I learned the hardest way. The books are colorful, the messages evocative and positive, and the characters are engaging and memorable.”

Faux paws kittywimpuss

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

One of Debby’s “Bowzers and Meowzers” books for kids

The inspiration for the six characters who animate her books started with Gronk the Green Dog, who, Debby says, came alive in an instant, as though she was channeling his energy: My name is Gronk, and I’m Green/I know I’m a dog/So it’s the silliest thing/For a dog to be green, I mean.

Debby says, “There is no better expression of the spirit of the holidays than to give a gift. And there is no better gift than the gift of learning and to be inspired, amazed, and entertained. The object is to spread the Christmas spirit and encourage kids to read.” 

Faux Paw Artique is located at 611 S Coast Hwy. Fore more information, call (949) 233-2082.


1,556 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC: 36 reported cases in Laguna Beach

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, April 18, reflect that there are 36 reported cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach, with a population of 23,358, has the highest per capita rate in OC, with 1.541 cases per thousand residents. However, Laguna Beach has only had one new reported case of COVID-19 since April 9.

The City of Laguna Beach has taken strong measures to protect its residents, closing its beaches and trails weeks ago, and enacting an Emergency Order requiring all essential workers and essential business customers in the city to wear protective face coverings.

The city with the second highest per capita rate in OC is Villa Park with 1.011 cases per thousand residents (six reported cases). Newport Beach has the third highest per capita rate, 0.998 cases per thousand residents (87 reported cases).

Anaheim is the city with the most cases at 196, with a population of 359,339. Irvine, with a population of 280,202, has 116 cases.

There are 1,556 cumulative reported cases to date in Orange County, resulting in, sadly, 32 deaths. 155 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 59 are currently in ICU.

1,245 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Orange County by HCA Public Health Lab and commercial labs since yesterday (out of 17,616 cumulative tests countywide).

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of April 18;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Made in the shade

Made in umbrella

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Photo by Leonard Porto III

Nestor keeps it cool


How many visitors Santa had on Hospitality Night

On Tuesday, Mrs. Claus asked the community to guess how many children, parents, grandparents, and merchants came into see Santa and Mrs. Claus at the Beach Shack on Hospitality Night. 

How many Santa

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Submitted photo

Mrs. Claus reports, “The number is 485 people came through to visit Mr. & Mrs. Claus. We love our Beach Shack and the Laguna people. We have been averaging about 100 a day since the first night.”


1,636 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC: 36 reported cases in Laguna Beach

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, April 19, reflect that there are 36 reported cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach, with a population of 23,358, has the highest per capita rate in OC, with 1.541 cases per thousand residents. However, Laguna Beach has only had one new reported case of COVID-19 since April 9.

The City of Laguna Beach has taken strong measures to protect its residents, closing its beaches and trails weeks ago, and enacting an Emergency Order requiring all essential workers and essential business customers in the city to wear protective face coverings.

The city with the second highest per capita rate in OC is Villa Park with 1.011 cases per thousand residents (six reported cases). Newport Beach has the third highest per capita rate, 0.998 cases per thousand residents (87 reported cases).

Anaheim is the city with the most cases at 202, with a population of 359,339. Irvine, with a population of 280,202, has 118 cases.

There are 1,636 cumulative reported cases to date in Orange County, resulting in, sadly, 32 deaths. 144 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 56 are currently in ICU.

378 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Orange County by HCA Public Health Lab and commercial labs since yesterday (out of 17,994 cumulative tests countywide).

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of April 18;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. launches Science Advisors Group to consult on Wildlife Corridor

Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. has launched a Science Advisor Group to serve as technical advisors to completion of the Irvine-Laguna Wildlife Corridor, one of the first urban wildlife corridors in the country. The 12 advisors are experts in the fields of wildlife biology, wildlife corridor design, and wildlife-related public policy. They are committed to providing guidance on scientific research, design improvements to the existing Corridor, and the creation of a Wildlife Safety Design Guidelines model applicable to developments adjacent to wildlife corridors.

The group consists of many renowned scientists anxious to make the Corridor a model for future wildlife corridors. Members include Wayne Spencer of Conservation Biology Institute, Winston Vickers of UC Davis, and Tanya Diamond and Ahiga Snyder of Pathways for Wildlife, among others.

Laguna Greenbelt bobcat

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Photo by Anjan Rana Magar

Bobcat photographed in corridor 

One key goal of the group is the creation of model wildlife-safe measures including a model policy, guidelines, and permitting checklist for projects adjacent to wildlife linkage. Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. hopes that this first-of-its-kind model would have the success of Audubon’s Bird-Friendly Building Design guidelines, which has been widely adopted in local plans and incorporated in developments across North America.

While Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. has always worked with experts on a case-by-case basis, this is the first time a group like this will formally be associated on an ongoing basis. 

Advisor Milan Mitrovich of ICF, summarizes the significance of the Corridor in the landscape of Orange County: 

The Irvine-Laguna Wildlife Corridor is to serve as a critical link between protected coastal areas and the foothills and mountains of Orange County, which includes national forest. Approximately, 22,000 acres of protected open space is presently isolated along the coast. The protected resources, recognized as part of the California Floristic Province and rich in biological diversity, constitute a truly iconic area of the southern California coast.

Laguna Greenbelt coyote

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Courtesy of Laguna Greenbelt

One key goal of the group is the creation of model wildlife-safe measures; this healthy coyote was photographed in the corridor 

Estimated at costing over $100M when considering the cost of land, design, construction, and future management, the Corridor has been over 20 years in the making. The Corridor, stretching across El Toro Valley, reinforces lands protected by the County of Orange Central and Coastal Subregion Natural Community Conservation Plan/ Habitat Conservation Plan approved in 1996.

Envisioned and then championed by stalwarts in the local environmental community and supported by elected officials, environmental groups based largely in the City of Laguna Beach, and led by Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. have created a unique opportunity to reclaim developed land for wildlife movement. Opportunity for creation of the Corridor was made possible by the closure in 1999 and then subsequent redevelopment of the Marine Corps Air Station, El Toro. The larger project is truly a unique public-private partnership between City of Irvine and the developer of the former base, FivePoint, who is taking the lead in funding and building of the Corridor.

More information about the Irvine-Laguna Wildlife Corridor project and the Science Advisors can be found at www.wildlifecorridor.org/press.


Harley Rouda edges out Hans Keirstead, will face Rep Dana Rohrabacher in November

Democrat Harley Rouda has won the right to challenge Republican Representative Dana Rohrabacher for his seat in the 48th Congressional District this November election. 

Businessman and tech entrepreneur Rouda narrowly beat scientist Hans Keirstead, both Laguna Beach residents, in the primary race, by a slim 126-vote margin.

Rohrabacher won 30.3 percent of the vote, while Rouda and Keirstead combined for 34.5 percent of the vote. The remaining votes were split among 12 other contenders to unseat the incumbent, including 15.8 percent to Republican Scott Baugh.

Keirstead issued a gracious concession statement on Sunday.

“I know the Rouda campaign values the importance of science and facts in public policy and they will give voice to that message. I pledge my support and will work in unison with Harley Rouda to make sure Democrats and science prevail in November,” Keirstead wrote.

Rouda tweeted, “I just got off the phone with @drhanskeirstead. We congratulated each other on a hard fought primary and he pledged his full support to our campaign to #flipthe48th and defeat @RepRohrabacher. #ThankYouHans.”

Harley Rouda

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Courtesy of Kaira Rouda

The Rouda family celebrates a margin of 73 votes on Election Day; two weeks later the margin grew to a winning 126 votes

“I am deeply grateful for the confidence placed in our campaign by the voters of California’s 48th Congressional District. I’d like to thank all of our supporters, volunteers, neighbors, elected leaders, working people, grassroots activists and those who joined our effort in this important election. This victory is a testament to the movement we have built around moving Orange County forward. 

“I congratulate all the fine candidates who ran hard-fought campaigns in this primary and look forward to working with them all to flip this seat in November. In the days and weeks ahead, I will continue fighting every day to hold Dana Rohrabacher accountable for his reckless, backward agenda that spans from Orange County all the way to Washington,” Rouda wrote in a statement.

Rouda supporters were relieved after a nail-biting two weeks as the two contenders watched the vote count seesaw.

Local Denise Topaz, one of the many volunteers who worked tirelessly for Rouda, said she knew from the moment she met the candidate, she had a strong sense that he was a winner.

“His views on the issues lined up with mine and I felt also reflected those of our community. From the very start I got on board his campaign, hosting a Meet and Greet to introduce him to our friends and neighbors, canvassing, phone banking, writing postcards and spreading the word as best I could. He exceeded all my expectations as a candidate – from his outstanding performances in the debates, his unbelievable work ethic, and most recently, the integrity he showed facing negative attacks. He’s a superstar who I predict will carry us to victory in November,” Topaz said.

No doubt Rohrabacher supporters beg to differ on that last point. Time will tell.


Strike up the band for Patriots Day Parade 

Strike up LBHS band

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Photo by Charles Michael Murray 

Laguna Beach High School Band

Strike up Oliver

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Photo by Charles Michael Murray 

Band member Oliver with his mom Alysia

Strike up Barbara

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Photo by Charles Michael Murray 

Grand Marshal Barbara Diamond of Stu News

Strike up marching

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Photo by Charles Michael Murray 

Marching in style


1,827 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC: 36 reported cases in Laguna Beach

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency yesterday, April 23, reflect that there have been 36 reported cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach.

Laguna Beach, with a population of 23,358, has the highest per capita rate in OC, with 1.541 cases per thousand residents. However, Laguna Beach has only had one new reported case of COVID-19 since April 9.

The City of Laguna Beach has taken strong measures to protect its residents, closing its beaches and trails weeks ago, and enacting an Emergency Order requiring all essential workers and essential business customers in the city to wear protective face coverings.

Newport Beach has the second highest per capita rate in OC, with 90 reported cases, 1.032 cases per thousand residents.

Anaheim is the city with the most cases at 239, with a population of 359,339. Irvine, with a population of 280,202, has 119 cases.

There are 1,827 cumulative reported cases to date in Orange County, resulting in, sadly, 36 deaths. 158 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 59 are currently in ICU.

671 people have been tested for COVID-19 in Orange County by HCA Public Health Lab and commercial labs since April 22 (out of 20,816 cumulative tests countywide).

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of April 22;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


KX Takeover: Local leaders “take over” KX FM airwaves for annual fund drive

KX FM, Laguna’s only radio station, is welcoming local leaders and legends on its airwaves now through November 24. Guest hosts will DJ their own hour live on the air, with their own handpicked music and content, to raise money for our beloved community radio station.

“KX Takeover is such a special fundraiser for us because it shows us every year that our station thrives when our community bands together to support it,” said KX FM Founder Tyler Russell McCusker. “This year, of course, has been especially hard on local radio like it has on all nonprofits. It means so much to us that Lagunans show up for us during this challenging time to validate the worth of community radio in Laguna Beach.” 

KX Takeover Bob and Kirsten Whalen

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Submitted photo

Mayor Bob Whalen and Festival of Arts artist Kirsten Whalen are participating in this year’s KX Takeover

KX FM is a throwback to classic days of radio, when DJs actually picked their own music and listeners expected a human connection and community involvement from their local station. To honor that, KX Takeover guest DJs will craft their own playlist and hour of storytelling, as they talk about how music and radio has impacted their lives. 

KX Takeover is a friendly-but-stiff competition where the guest DJ that raises the most money receives the coveted “Silver Tongue Award.” Past winners include Larry Nokes, Rick Riess, Bobbi Cox, Clay Berryhill, Awakening Code Radio, Cookie Lee, and Lt. Jim Cota of LBPD and Stu News’ Shaena Stabler.

Some of this year’s participants include Mayor Bob Whalen and Festival of Arts artist Kirsten Whalen, City Council Members Sue Kempf and Peter Blake, IMAX filmmakers Greg and Meghan MacGillivray, Firebrand Publisher Scott Sanchez, Chamber of Commerce President Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold, attorney Larry Nokes, Planning Commissioner Jorg Dubin, and more. 

KX Takeover Bob and Kirsten Whalen

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Submitted photo

Local leader and radio personality Ernest Hackmon seeks donations for our local radio station during KX Takeover

Pledges can range from $20 to $20,000, and 100 percent of the proceeds generated during the fundraiser will assist the general operating budget of the station. By pledging $65 or more, listeners can become members of the radio station to receive annual benefits to ensure KX FM’s sustainability. When you make a donation online, you’ll be able to select which guest host you want it to count toward. 

If you value Laguna’s own radio station, as an alternative to corporate media, a source of independent views and thoughtfully crafted music shows, as a resource to be cherished and cared for, as a microphone into the very soul of Laguna, then help keep the station live on the air by listening in and pledging during KX Takeover from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. now through November 24.

Find the full schedule of shows and make your donation at www.KXFMRadio.org/kxtakeover

For more information, contact Alyssa Hayek at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


“Shared Adventures” at the Susi Q explores Machu Picchu

On Tuesday, July 23 from 1:30 to 3 p.m., Laguna Beach Seniors presents “Shared Adventures” at the Susi Q Center featuring Wanda Matjas for a “tour” of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu is a trek into history. Shrouded by mist and surrounded by lush vegetation and steep escarpments, the sprawling Inca citadel lives up to every expectation. It’s the most famous archaeological site on the continent. This awe-inspiring ancient city was never revealed to the conquering Spaniards and was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century.

Shared Adventures Machu Picchu

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Courtesy of Wikipedia

Machu Picchu

Join adventurer Wanda Matjas for a “tour” of the most famous archaeological site on the continent. The even is free to the public. 

To register, visit or call the front desk at (949) 464-6645 or visit www.thesusiq.org.

The Susi Q is located at 380 3rd St.


Bank of America announces free admission to LAM for cardholders December 26 - 31

Bank of America has announced six days of free museum admission for cardholders at Laguna Art Museum through Museums on Us®, December 26 - 31.

To take advantage of Museums on Us, Bank of America, Merrill, and Bank of America Private Bank (U.S. Trust) customers simply present their credit or debit card and a valid photo ID to gain one free general admission ticket. Admission is limited to the cardholder only; guests are not eligible. 

Bank of outside

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Photo by Stacia Stabler

Bank of America cardholders can enjoy free LAM admission Dec 26 - 31

“At Bank of America, we believe in the power of the arts, which is why we are making art more accessible for six additional days through our Museums on Us holiday promotion,” said Rena De Sisto, global arts and culture executive at Bank of America.

“The Museums on Us® program rewards cardholders with a valuable benefit and also serves the greater cause of enriching communities by providing people access to some of our nation’s greatest cultural assets.”

For the past 22 years, during the first full weekend of every month, Bank of America has offered free admission to more than 220 cultural institutions including museums, botanical gardens, aquariums, zoos, and science centers in dozens of cities across the U.S. where its customers live and work. The company has announced an additional week of access during the holidays.

For more information on Laguna Art Museum, visit www.lagunartmuseum.org.

Laguna Art Museum is located at 307 Cliff Dr.


2,743 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC to date, Santa Ana case count on the rise

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, May 3, reflect that there have been 2,743 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 107 new cases reported today. There have been 37 reported cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date.

Laguna Beach has the second highest per capita rate in OC at 1.584 cases per thousand residents. Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 31 reported cases to date, has the highest per capita rate in OC, 2.645 cases per thousand residents.

Santa Anta has the third highest per capita rate in OC and the most overall reported cases to date, 519. A week ago, on April 26, the case count in Santa Ana was 281.

Newport Beach has had 99 reported cases to date. Irvine has had 136 reported cases to date. Dana Point has had 22 reported cases.

Sadly, the County reports 52 deaths due to COVID-19. 187 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19, the highest 24-hour total to date; 58 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 36,813 people as of today, with a 7.5 percent positive rate.

The County is not releasing data on the number of individuals who have tested negative following a positive test at this time.

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of May 3;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Chabad hosts first-ever Chanukah Car Menorah Parade in Laguna Beach on Sunday

Amid the ongoing pandemic, Chabad recognizes the crucial importance of bringing Chanukah’s message of light and hope to the Laguna Beach community. To safely do so, Chabad Laguna Beach will be having a first-ever Car Menorah Parade on Sunday, Dec 13 at 5 p.m., with menorah-topped cars, Chanukah flags, and festive Chanukah music.

The parade route will begin at Chabad Jewish Center at 30804 S Coast Hwy and travel down PCH towards Boat Canyon, in a unique Chanukah celebration promoting holiday awareness.

The parade will culminate at the Chabad Jewish Center with a socially distanced outdoor giant menorah lighting and individually packaged latkes and Chanukah goodies for all participants, as well as glow in the dark surprises for all children. 

To partake in the parade, RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or call the Chabad office at (949) 499-0770. 

Chabad Surfboard Menorah

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The iconic Surfboard Menorah will be lit daily at Laguna Main Beach

The Car Menorah Parade is part of the worldwide Chanukah campaign launched by the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, in 1973. The campaign highlights and encourages the central theme of the holiday – publicizing the story of the Chanukah miracle and the victory of light over darkness, a message of hope greatly needed today. 

This year has seen illness, death, quarantine, closures, and business collapses, all amidst an overwhelming sense of sheer confusion and despair. In light of this heightened sense of urgency to share the message, spirit, and hope of Chanukah, the Chabad-Lubavitch movement worldwide is preparing the largest Chanukah awareness campaign in history.

This year’s global campaign will see Chabad reach 8 million Jews in more than 100 countries. With safety measures limiting many in-person gatherings, Chabad will erect some 15,000 large public menorahs, which will be seen by millions on streets and public squares around the world, including in front of landmarks such as the White House, the Eiffel Tower, and the Kremlin.

Chabad-organized menorah parades will see over 6,500 Chanukah menorah-topped cars hit the road, bringing the Chanukah message of hope and joy through the city and into residential neighborhoods, allowing families to safely share the joy and light of Chanukah with pride. 

With many events curtailed, others opting for a drive-in model, and many people isolating, Chabad will help families bring the light and celebration of Chanukah into their homes and will distribute approximately 32 million Chanukah candles, more than 700,000 menorah kits, 350,000 family at-home Chanukah kits, and 2.5 million holiday guides in 17 languages.

Chabad Laguna Beach will also be lighting a menorah throughout the week at the Montage Laguna Beach. 

The iconic Surfboard Menorah will be lit daily at Main Beach, and this year the city will be putting up a menorah at the Promenade. Virtual holiday celebrations will be taking place on Zoom for Hebrew School and community children, Holocaust survivors, and for our friends at Glenwood House.

Chanukah began this year on the evening of Thursday, Dec 10, and concludes the evening of Friday, Dec 18. Chanukah commemorates the miraculous victory of the small Jewish army over the mighty Syrian Greek empire, and the miracle of the oil that burned for eight days. 

In commemoration, Jews celebrate Chanukah for eight days by lighting an eight-branched candelabrum known as a menorah. Today, people of all faiths consider the holiday a symbol and message of the triumph of freedom over oppression, of spirit over matter, of light over darkness. 

For additional holiday information, visit www.chabadoflaguna.com.


Holiday Happenings at The Promenade

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The Promenade at Forest Ave is all decked out for fall, and the city is already busy with activities for the Thanksgiving season – as well as planning for decorations and upcoming festivities for the December holidays.

Adam Gufarotti, Senior Public Works Analyst for the City of Laguna Beach, says, “On Monday, October 5, the Public Works Department started decorating the Promenade on Forest for our first Fall Festival at the Promenade, which was created as an alternative to traditional city events due to COVID-19. The design of the Fall Festival is inspired by an old-fashioned hoedown. We’re using hay bales, oak barrels, recycled wood, old shipping pallets and flowers for decor.” 

Holiday happenings lifeguard truck

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Pumpkin carving contest now open

 “Our first annual pumpkin carving contest is now open, and we look forward to seeing what this artistic city can come up with. Entries are due on Monday, October 26, and you can enter at www.lagunabeachcity.net. The top pumpkins will be put on display at the Promenade starting Friday, October 30. Awards will be given to the Most Original, Scariest Pumpkin, Best Overall, and of course, the Mayors Award.” 

“After the pumpkins are turned into pumpkin pie, we will be turning our focus onto Thanksgiving. Our Thanksgiving Kindness Wall will be constructed on Friday, November 13, which is World Kindness Day. Our Kindness Wall is a chance for people to write what they are thankful for and to spread kindness through our community.” 

Holiday happenings street

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“Passport for your Palate” – try a new restaurant

Gufarotti reports on other events, “In partnership with the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, we are encouraging residents to visit participating restaurants and business that are having special Fall Festival menus and merchandise. Head over to the Think Laguna First website and download the ‘Passport for Your Palate’ app and pop into a participating Laguna Beach business for a chance to win prizes including at two-night stay at the Montage. Participating restaurants will have special fall offerings for you. Find a new local favorite or discover something new at your go-to spot!

“Over the past few years, a highlight of Hospitality Night has been our Letters to the Troops Booth. Last year we mailed over 300 letters to troops serving all over the world. To continue this great tradition of supporting our troops, we will have a table setup for people to write postcards to our military members.” 

Holiday happenings scarecrow

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After the scarecrows, hay bales, and pumpkins are put away, there is a 

winter wonderland in store for the Promenade 

Beginning Monday, November 30, a winter wonderland will fill lower Forest Avenue. The North Pole will come alive on the Promenade with an official Santa Mailbox for kids to drop off their letters. 

Gufarotti says, “To help out Santa this year, our Mayor will be picking up the letters and will respond to a few in the local newspapers. A live Community Christmas tree will be brought in, and we are encouraging residents to come down and add their favorite ornaments to the tree. 

“The night sky will be illuminated by our community menorah to celebrate Chanukah starting at nightfall on December 10.” 

Plans are also underway for Santa to have a few visits in town to check his list. 

“We are still working with Santa’s head Elf to get his schedule worked out for his trip to Laguna Beach,” says Gufarotti. “More details will be released as we get closer to the big day!”


Autumn on the Promenade

Autumn on Adam

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Photo by Scott Brashier

LB Senior Public Works Analyst Adam Gufarotti gets the Promenade on Forest Ave ready for fall


2020 Grapes for Grads canceled

By Jeffrey Redeker, Grapes for Grads Chairperson 

The Rotary Club of Laguna Beach has canceled the 2020 Grapes for Grads event, which was to be held on April 26, 2020 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Festival of Arts Grounds. 

The cancellation is due to the ongoing COVID-19 health crisis. The event will not be rescheduled. The event raises money for scholarships for Laguna Beach High School seniors and undergraduate students at Laguna College of Art + Design. 

The club is hoping to provide scholarships for 2020 based on existing donations and club funds that are available. 

Any person who wishes to make a donation toward this year’s scholarships or who had purchased tickets and would like to request a refund, please contact me by emailing at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on or before April 1st.

Persons who purchased tickets and do not request a refund, those funds will be added to the donations towards scholarships for 2020. You can donate through the ticket portal at www.grapesforgrads.com. Our 2021 event will take place on April 25, 2021. We hope to see you all there.


2,873 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC to date, 38 cases in Laguna Beach to date

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, May 5, reflect that there have been 2,873 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 69 new cases reported today. There have been 38 reported cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date.

Laguna Beach has the third highest per capita rate in OC at 1.627 cases per thousand residents. Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 32 reported cases to date, has the highest per capita rate in OC, 2.730 cases per thousand residents.

The County reports 147 cases to date in its “Other” category, which includes the aggregate case count of the unincorporated areas of the county that have less than five cases, plus cases incarcerated in Orange County jails.

Santa Anta has the fourth highest per capita rate in OC and the most reported cases to date, 433. Anaheim has had 428 reported cases to date.

Newport Beach has had 102 reported cases to date. Irvine has had 137 reported cases to date. Dana Point has had 22 reported cases.

Sadly, the County reports 61 deaths due to COVID-19, including four deaths reported today. 202 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 62 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 39,112 people as of today, with a 7.3 percent positive rate.

The County is not releasing data on the number of individuals who have tested negative following a positive test at this time.

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

2,873 reported cases 1

2,873 reported cases 2

2,873 reported cases 3

2,873 reported cases 4

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of May 5;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Advanced Awareness offers online workshop: “Loving Couples Path to Lasting Happiness”

Laguna Beach-based Advanced Awareness has just released a new online happiness workshop on its website called “Loving Couples Path to Lasting Happiness.” It is designed to help any loving couple, from adolescents to seniors, discover a new path to increasing happiness in their loving relationship. 

President and Founder of Advanced Awareness Dr. Veeder South, PhD,

says, “Advanced Awareness is a publishing and training company focused on helping anyone become a happier person in their life. The path of Advanced Awareness incorporates three well-accepted scientific principles into their workshops: the theory of personality; the science of happiness; and the physics of energy. Participants learn how to utilize the power of positive energy in creating a happier life within themselves, in their friendly relationships, and in their loving relationships.

“I started Advanced Awareness in 2006 in Laguna Beach. I had developed an interest in how important our personality is in leading people to do whatever it is they do in their everyday lives. I discovered that everyone’s personality incorporates four different personality components (temperaments) comprised of a dominant temperament, a dominant-supporting secondary temperament, a less-dominant tertiary temperament, and a least-dominant fourth temperament. We all exhibit these four personality temperaments, we just exhibit them in different proportions. This has been a focus of study in human nature for thousands of years. In short, our personality temperaments greatly influence and control our actions that contribute to our happiness – or not.” 

This new exciting online workshop “Loving Couples Path to Lasting Happiness” is intended for: 

--A loving couple in a new marriage or engaged to be married

--A loving couple of any age interested in improving lasting happiness in their loving relationship 

--One partner in a loving relationship seeking to understand how they fit together with their partner and what they could realistically do from their side alone that could improve their loving relationship

 --Anyone interested in finding out how well they fit together with a potential new relationship partner

Advanced Awareness closeup

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Dr. Veeder South, PhD

Loving couples learn to harness the positive energy of love within themselves and in their loving relationship that will greatly increase the chances that their loving relationship will happily last a lifetime.

Dr. South’s educational background was in engineering physics. “My major area of study was energy and kinetics. I completed a BS and MS from Oregon State University in 1968 and PhD from the School of Engineering at UCLA in 1972. I then taught energy-related courses at California State University, Northridge for six years. In the following years I started several engineering-oriented companies. 

“When I started Advanced Awareness, a new area of science was evolving from the University of Pennsylvania called ‘The Science of Happiness.’ I realized that my interest in personality, along with my background in energy, fit very well into the scientific study of ‘what makes happy people happy.’ I began to develop happiness workshops that combined personality temperament theory, the physics of energy, and ‘The Science of Happiness’ together.”

He also wrote a book in 2007 called The Path of Advanced Awareness to Conscious Relationships. It won a gold medal award in publishing excellence from elitawards.com in the category of self-help. 

Over the last 14 years, he created and led several highly rated guided and semi-guided workshops (see participant feedback on the website). 

In the last six months, in the time of COVID-19, he has focused on two new online interactive self-guided workshops: the first one is “The Path of Advanced Awareness to Lasting Happiness,” which is focused on improving individual happiness; the second one is “Loving Couple’s Path to Lasting Happiness,” which is focused on creating lasting happiness in a loving relationship. 

“It is my hope that these new online workshops will help people, wherever they may be, learn a new way to improve lasting happiness in their lives,” says Dr. South. “It only takes a few hours to complete an online workshop in your own home and at your own pace, but its message can last a lifetime.” 

For more information about this loving couple’s online relationship workshop, or any other products from Advanced Awareness, visit www.AdvancedAwareness.com, call (949) 235-6157, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


NCC virtual Progressive Reading Group discusses How to be an Antiracist on Wednesday

On Wednesday, Aug 19, from 6:30 until 9 p.m., Pastor Rod Echols of Neighborhood Congregational Church (NCC) will lead a virtual Progressive Reading Group discussion on How to be Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi. 

Pastor Echols says, “All who participate will take away deeper wisdom and understanding for the future of The Neighborhood and the wider progressive faith movement.” 

The New York Times gave the book high praise: “The most courageous book to date on the problem of race in the Western mind.” 

It was also named One Of The Best Books Of The Year by The New York Times Book Review, Time,  NPR, The Washington Post, Shelf Awareness,  Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and Kirkus Reviews.

NCC virtual book

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NCC will host a virtual discussion of Ibram X. Kendi’s book on Wednesday, Aug 19

From Ibram’s website: “Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America – but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it.”

Pastor Echols says, “Our church continues to be actively engaged with antiracist dialogues and focused on building a world of love for all. Joining the national conversation in these critical times, along with other interested and
compassionate voices, aligns with our mission as a welcoming, open,
and affirming congregation.” 

NCC virtual pastor

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Pastor Rod Echols

“Instead of working with the policies and system we have in place, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. We look forward to the opportunity.” 

The discussion group has been active since 2019, engaging in series like Living the Questions and books such as Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and The Birth of a New Spiritual Awakenings by Diana Butler Bass. 

The number of participants ranges anywhere from 10 to 30 per Zoom
call. The first meeting will be a Zoom webinar format, for introductory and
organizational purposes, followed by bi-weekly gatherings beginning with September 16.

Those interested in RSVPing to receive the Zoom link should contact the church office at (949) 494-8061 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information on NCC, go to www.NCCLaguna.org.


Interviews and appointments to the Police Ad Hoc Task Force

Release from Lisette Chel-Walker, City Clerk

Recent incidents of police use of force have sparked a nationwide discussion by residents and elected officials regarding their police department’s existing training, policies, and procedures. While overall, the Laguna Beach community has been and continues to be supportive of the Police Department, these recent incidents have nevertheless prompted questions about our current practices. 

Periodic public policy review can be important in ensuring that police training, policies, and procedures are in line with current standards and best practices. To achieve this goal, the formation of an Ad Hoc Task Force to review police protocols can improve police practices and police-community relations. This Task Force will review current training, policies, and procedures related to the below topics, and provide a report of findings and recommendations to the City Council and the City Manager.

The focus of the Ad Hoc Task Force should include a review of the below areas of police training, policy, and procedures:

--Hiring Practices

--Use of Force Incidents

--Pursuits

--Equipment

--Officer Involved Shootings

--Citizen Complaint Procedures

--Interaction with the Public during Confrontational Situations

--Community Policing

--De-escalation Training

Interviews and appointments will be determined, and all applicants will be notified by the City Clerk with their application status and interview dates. Applications will be due no later than Friday, Oct 30, 2020, at 5 p.m. Applications will not be accepted after the October 30, 2020 due date. Applicants may be contacted by City Council members prior to the interviews and appointments so please be prepared to make a brief statement about your desire to serve on this task force. 

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on the Police Ad Hoc Task Force should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or online by following the link here, and file the application no later than October 30, 2020, 5 p.m., with the City Clerk. The application on the City website is interactive and applicants are encouraged to fill in the application online. Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at (949) 497-0705.


LCAD announces 30th annual Collector’s Choice Gala + Live Auction

Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) will celebrate the 30th anniversary of its Collector’s Choice Gala + Live Auction at the Montage on Saturday, Nov 9. The annual fundraising soiree supports LCAD’s talented students and award-winning programs. 

Each year, Collector’s Choice Gala + Live Auction is key in raising funds to fill the $2.5 million awarded annually to LCAD students’ merit scholarships. 

LCAD announces bid

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LCAD’s Collector’s Choice Gala + Live Auction raises funds for LCAD student scholarships 

This year, LCAD will recognize Trustee Christopher Tower and Bob Celio, honorary gala chairs of this year’s historic event. Christopher and Bob have supported LCAD students and programs through Collector’s Choice for nearly 20 years. 

Founded in 1961, Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) is one of the top art and design schools in the nation. LCAD offers undergraduate degrees (BFA) in Animation, Drawing + Painting, Extended Reality Design (XRD), Game Art, Graphic Design + Digital Media, Illustration and Illustration in Entertainment Design, as well as Master of Fine Arts degrees (MFA) in Art of Game Design, Drawing, and Painting. The Dennis and Leslie Power Library at LCAD houses the historic archives of the College and The Rex and Joan Irving Brandt Papers.

Event tickets start at $500 and can be purchased by contacting Tracy Hartment at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 715-8041, or by visiting www.lcad.edu

Montage Laguna Beach is located at 30801 S Coast Hwy.


Vivian Clecak leads Guided Autobiography series at the Susi Q

Starting on September 9 and running through October 28, Vivian Clecak LCSW, GAB, will lead free a Guided Autobiography (GAB) series at the Susi Q and Community Center. The 8-week series will be held every Monday from 3 - 5 p.m.

Vivian Clecak smile

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Vivian Clecak LCSW, GAB, will lead upcoming Guided Autobiography series

Guided by trained instructor Vivian Clecak, participants will be led through themes and questions that evoke memories once known but seemingly forgotten. Writing and connecting with others on their own journeys of self-discovery can be a powerful catalyst for improved self-esteem, self-confidence, and communication. 

Call (949) 715-8104 to join the group or for more details. 

The Susi Q is located at 380 Third St.


Dr. Anita Wang helps lead the way in Kindness Challenge

After wrapping up all her patient visits, Dr. Anita Wang likes to conclude each day at the office with a few minutes of meditation and gratitude practice. “It’s important for me to take a moment to recognize the wellness community around me,” she says. “There are so many great people in Laguna Beach who support wellness initiatives and understand how they can positively impact our community.”

Take Thurston Middle School, for example, which is launching a citywide Kindness Challenge this year through its PTA.

Thurston Middle School’s Kindness Challenge

The Kindness Challenge is a new fundraising effort recently launched at Thurston Middle School. The goal of the fundraiser is two-fold: kids will be out there raising money for their school, while also thinking of different ways to be kind. “I really like the new fundraiser Thurston has put together because it gives the kids a chance to get outside of themselves and think about being kind to others. Being kind to one another is an important part of overall wellness,” says Dr. Wang.

Program sponsor

As a top sponsor, Dr. Wang helped the school launch the program along with other local businesses. “I think it’s great when our community can give back to others, which is why I felt it was important to become an early supporter of Thurston’s Kindness Challenge initiative. We see so much negativity out there in the world today, it can become overwhelming and negatively impact our health,” she says. “So, I was very excited to see this positive initiative coming from our local school. I think that Thurston’s Kindness Challenge has the potential to instill a lifelong commitment of being kind and giving back to others, which is so important for the kids in this community.”

Dr Anita Wang

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Dr. Anita Wang is a proud sponsor of Thurston Middle School’s Kindness Challenge

Acts of Kindness

“One of the ways I encourage students to be kind and give back to our community is by donating healthy food options to the Laguna Food Pantry. A complete list of their donation wish list can be found on their website at www.lagunafoodpantry.org,” she explains.

“I think as parents we wonder if our kids take in the lessons of how to conduct themselves in public and to remember to be kind to others,” she continues. “The other day my son was witnessed being kind and I thought to myself, What, my son?!’ We were at a large party with kids, and a boy was complaining to his mother that none of the other kids where playing with him and he wanted to leave. My son apparently overheard the conversation. Though he did not know the boy, he asked him to join in some activity and the boy had a great time at the party thereafter. The mother of the child was thankful but since she did not know me, she told the hostess of the party, who told me. These are the moments as a parent that encourage me to continue to teach my boys how to be good citizens and gentlemen. Our children are taking it in even if they do not act like they heard a word you said. I am grateful for the Thurston Kindness Challenge for encouraging our children to remember to act in kindness throughout our daily lives.”

Join in the Challenge

Thurston’s Kindness Challenge began earlier this month and will continue throughout the school year. The school is seeking additional sponsors to help support this effort.

For questions about the fundraiser or to become a sponsor, contact Celine Macmillan, Thurston Middle School PTA President, via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or b7 phone at (949) 466-7425.

For more information on Dr. Wang, visit www.anitawangmd.com.


3,004 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC to date

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, May 6, reflect that there have been 3,004 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 131 new cases reported today. There have been 38 reported cases of COVID-19 in Laguna Beach to date.

Laguna Beach has the second highest per capita rate in OC at 1.627 cases per thousand residents. Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 35 reported cases to date, has the highest per capita rate in OC, 2.986 cases per thousand residents.

Newport Beach has had 103 reported cases to date. Irvine has had 138 reported cases to date. Dana Point has had 22 reported cases to date.

Anaheim has had 438 reported cases to date. Santa Ana has had 389 reported cases to date.

The County reports 218 cases to date in its “Other” category, which includes the aggregate case count of the unincorporated areas of the county that have less than five cases, plus cases incarcerated in Orange County jails.

Sadly, the County reports 65 deaths due to COVID-19, including four deaths reported today. 192 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 73 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 40,707 people as of today, with a 7.4 percent positive rate.

The County is not releasing data on the number of individuals who have tested negative following a positive test at this time.

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of May 6;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Brooks Street brigade

Brooks Street surfers

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Photo by Vincent Wallstein

Busy waters at Brooks Street


23rd Annual Pet Parade and Chili Cook-Off Event takes places on Sept 29 

The 23rd Annual Pet Parade and Chili Cook-Off Event at seven7seven takes place on Sunday, Sept 29. This furry fundraiser is sponsored by the Laguna Board of REALTORS® and Affiliate’s Charitable Assistance Fund and all proceeds go to our Laguna pet nonprofits.

Only at the Annual Pet Parade can your pet strut their stuff across the stage to compete for prizes like “Most Handsome Male,” Prettiest Female,” “Cutest Pet Baby,” “Best Costume” (and it’s not even Halloween!), “Most Gorgeous Senior,” and “Happiest Rescue.” 

23rd Annual dog

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Watch adorable pets strut their stuff in the annual Pet Parade 

Pets and pet owners of all walks are welcome, regardless of how they walk.  In fact, at past events, there have been pets with paws, pets with claws, pets with hooves, and pets with toes. 

Don’t forget the tasty the Chili Cook-off where the participating REALTORS®, lenders, escrow providers, title insurers, and other Affiliates bring their best game and go for the win. 

As the pots are stirred and the secret ingredients added, mouth-watering smells waft through the venue. There will be no shortage of great variations and tasty samplings on this American classic, so it will be tough to pick a winner.

23rd Annual group

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Sample some tasty chili at the 23rd Annual Pet Parade and Chili Cook-Off

The best news of all is that while we’re having fun we’re also helping our beneficiaries: Catmosphere Laguna, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, Pacific Marine Mammal Center, The Pet Rescue Center, The Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, PUP (Protecting Unwanted Pets), and the Laguna Board of REALTORS® and Affiliate’s Charitable Assistance Fund. 

Admission is free for children 16 or under, $10 for adults purchased at the door day of event. Pet registration is $10 each category. 

Donations accepted at www.lbr-caf.info

For more information, contact Brendy Michael at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Laguna Beach resident and dentist advises on good oral hygiene during COVID-19 pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has people anxious and trying to avoid this potentially deadly virus. We have been advised about the basics of social distancing, washing our hands, not touching our face, sheltering a cough, and wearing face masks. But the question remains, “Is there anything additional that one can do to defend against this virus?”

Dr. Nicholas Davis recommends creating a strong second line of defense. It’s common knowledge that a weakened immune system is more vulnerable to disease than a healthy immune system. One of the primary entry points of the COVID-19 virus is via the oral cavity, hence the mask recommendation. However, once exposed, how likely is that virus to become infectious to some but not to others? It all boils down to your personal immune response, according to Dr. Davis.

The oral cavity is a breeding ground for bacteria, much like an incubator, because it’s warm, wet, and dark. Add a food source and now bacteria that may cause gum disease will grow. According to research conducted by the American Academy of Periodontology, bacteria that grow in the oral cavity can be aspirated into the lungs to cause respiratory diseases such as pneumonia, especially in people with periodontal disease. 

“A healthy oral environment may improve your immune response and make it more resistant to the COVID-19 virus than an unhealthy oral environment,” states Dr. Davis. Having good oral health, in his opinion, is your second line of defense. This can be maintained easily at home by developing good oral hygiene habits, especially now with typical work schedules and environments being turned upside down. 

Good oral habits include brushing (preferably after meals) and flossing daily. If you use mouthwash, Dr. Davis recommends swishing for 60 seconds with Colgate Proxyl or Listerine Whitening Mouthrinse. Both contain 1.5 percent peroxide that has been recommended by the dental community as an office pre-rinse before dental procedures. “These simple steps cannot guarantee you won’t get the virus, but you will have a healthy oral cavity that is less likely to develop tooth decay or gum disease,” he added.

Being self-quarantined also creates a different pattern of life, and for most, a different physical environment. There is more access to snacking and a diminished level of exercise. For these reasons, you should try to maintain a good diet with less take-out junk food and between meal snacking of unhealthy foods.

For more detailed information on brushing, using an electric toothbrush, Waterpik, and more, visit Dr. Davis’ website at www.SmilesbyDavis.com. Under the Patient Info menu, click Hygiene tips. There you will find great hygiene YouTube information.


3,380 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC to date, 40 reported cases in Laguna Beach to date

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, May 9, reflect that there have been 3,380 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 146 new cases reported today. Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 40 cases to date.

Laguna Beach has the second highest per capita rate in OC at 1.712 cases per thousand residents. Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 40 reported cases to date, has the highest per capita rate in OC, 3.413 cases per thousand residents.

Newport Beach has had 122 reported cases to date, a net increase of 17 cases today. Irvine has had 142 reported cases to date. Dana Point has had 22 reported cases to date.

Anaheim has had 504 reported cases to date, a net increase of 32 cases today. Santa Ana has had 499 reported cases to date, a net increase of 43 cases today.

The County reports 261 cases to date in its “Other” category, which includes the aggregate case count of the unincorporated areas of the county that have less than five cases, plus cases incarcerated in Orange County jails.

Sadly, the County reports 74 deaths due to COVID-19, including three deaths reported today. 218 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 87 are currently in ICU.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have tested 48,714 people as of today, with a 6.9 percent positive rate.

The County is not releasing data on the number of individuals who have tested negative following a positive test at this time.

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of May 9;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Chabad to host Community Passover Seder and children’s holiday event

Pumped 4 Passover will take place on Tuesday, April 9 at 4:30 p.m. at Chabad Jewish Center. The event will include hands-on Seder crafts, Matzah Ball making, holiday games, stories, and a Matzah ball raffle, and is suitable for children of all ages.

Chabad to kids

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Kids enjoying the holiday event festivities last year 

Chabad will also host a Community Passover Seder on Friday, April 19. The evening will begin at 6:30 pm with hors d’oeuvres and candle lighting. Experience a wonderful evening spiced with traditional customs, a delicious full course dinner, handmade Matzah, fine wines, and great company.

The cost is $25 per child, $45 for adults, and $180 for sponsorship.

RSVP is necessary by March 15.    

To RSVP and for complete Passover schedule information and Yizkor memorial services, visit the Chabad website at www.chabadoflaguna.com or call the office at (949) 499-0770.

Chabad is located at 30804 S. Coast Hwy, across from the Montage Resort.


5,157 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC to date, 43 deaths in last four days

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, May 23, reflect that there have been 5,157 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 216 new cases reported today. 

Sadly, the County reports that 130 people have died due to COVID-19, including 12 deaths reported today, six deaths reported on Friday, 14 deaths reported on Thursday, and 10 deaths reported on Wednesday. 249 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 101 are currently in ICU.

Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 44 cases to date, a per capita rate of 1.884 cases per thousand residents. 

Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 65 reported cases to date, has the highest per capita rate in OC, 5.546 cases per thousand residents.

Newport Beach has had 138 reported cases to date. Irvine has had 170 reported cases to date. Dana Point has had 27 reported cases to date.

Anaheim has had 820 reported cases to date, a net increase of 50 cases today. Santa Ana has had 938 reported cases to date, a net increase of 53 today.

The County reports 368 cases to date in its “Other” category, which includes the aggregate case count of the unincorporated areas of the county that have less than five cases, plus cases incarcerated in Orange County jails.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have conducted 97,470 tests as of today, with a 5.3 percent positive rate.

The County is not releasing data on the number of individuals who have tested negative following a positive test at this time.

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of May 23;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Yachty by Nature headlines Grapes for Grads® scholarship fundraiser at Festival of Arts Grounds on April 28

Grapes for Grads, Laguna’s premier wine tasting event, to be held for the 14th time on Sunday, April 28, from 1 to 5 p.m., features not only wine tasting from over 80 wineries, but also live music from the well-known local band Yachty by Nature.

Yachty by Nature is a tight 6-piece band that brings the finest in groovy soft rock from the late 70s and early 80s. Attendees at Grapes for Grads® will hear many of their favorite artists like Michael McDonald, Hall and Oates, Boz Scaggs, Steely Dan, Toto, Christopher Cross, the Eagles, among others.

Yachty by band

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Yachty by Nature will headline Grapes for Grads charity event on April 28

Grapes for Grads® is an annual wine tasting event and scholarship fundraiser hosted by Rotary Club of Laguna Beach. The event raises money for scholarships to assist students who attend Laguna College of Art + Design (LCAD) and graduates of Laguna Beach High School (LBHS) who are headed to college. The focus is on students who show excellence in academics or art and a strong commitment to community and who may otherwise lack the resources to achieve their educational goals.

Yachty by Lisa

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

(L-R) Lisa Farber, Laurie Allen, and Adriana Guzman at 2018 Grapes for Grads

Guests will have the opportunity to taste wines from California and all around the world, including Argentina, France, Italy, New Zealand, and more, while enjoying music from Yachty by Nature in the beautiful Festival of Arts grounds. Delicious food from Wine Gallery, Oak, Maro Wood Grill, Harley Laguna Beach, and Moulin will also be served. There will also be live art demonstrations and exhibitions to enjoy by LCAD students at the event. This is going to be an unforgettable afternoon. 

Yachty by silent

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Silent auction popular at 2018 event

Last year, the proceeds were estimated at $80,000 (gross) from the 13th Annual Grapes for Grads fundraiser hosted and staffed by Rotary members. “We knocked it out of the park,” said Jeffrey Redeker, chair of the 2018 event.

After last year’s festivities, President of LCAD Jonathan Burke, said, “Scholarships from Grapes for Grads will make a positive and immediate difference to our students who require financial assistance. Thank you for helping our talented and deserving students. Your gift is an investment in the future, every day that future is designed and created by our students.”

Join in on the fun for a great cause. For more information or to buy tickets, go to www.grapesforgrads.com.


5,336 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC to date, 43 deaths in last five days

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, May 24, reflect that there have been 5,336 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 179 new cases reported today. 

Sadly, the County reports that 131 people have died due to COVID-19, including one death reported today. An additional 42 deaths have been reported since Wednesday. 181 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 78 are currently in ICU.

Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 45 cases to date, a per capita rate of 1.927 cases per thousand residents. 

Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 73 reported cases to date, has the highest per capita rate in OC, 6.228 cases per thousand residents.

Newport Beach has had 138 reported cases to date. Irvine has had 172 reported cases to date. Dana Point has had 28 reported cases to date.

Anaheim has had 857 reported cases to date, a net increase of 37 cases today. Santa Ana has had 976 reported cases to date, a net increase of 38 today.

The County reports 370 cases to date in its “Other” category, which includes the aggregate case count of the unincorporated areas of the county that have less than five cases, plus cases incarcerated in Orange County jails.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have conducted 100,291 tests as of today, with a 5.3 percent positive rate.

The County is not releasing data on the number of individuals who have tested negative following a positive test at this time.

For more information, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/novelcoronavirus.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of May 24;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


City of Hope launches leading-edge screenings and programs to counter lung cancer

Delivering on their promise to bring lifesaving cancer care to Orange County, City of Hope is launching early detection and prevention programs to fight lung cancer – the number one cause of cancer deaths in the United States. These services, provided by highly specialized cancer experts and introduced during November, Lung Cancer Awareness Month, are intended to save lives and provide local residents much-needed resources for combating this deadly disease.

Asking Orange County residents to “make your first shot against lung cancer your best shot,” City of Hope is stressing early intervention and expert care. The world-renowned cancer center is currently taking appointments for lung cancer screenings at its Newport Beach location, with screening taking place at Newport Diagnostic Center.

City of Hope Dr. Tan

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Courtesy of City of Hope

Dr. Tingting Tan, a City of Hope medical oncologist specializing in thoracic cancer (right) with a patient

The painless and non-invasive exam uses low-dose spiral computed tomography (LDCT) and takes only seconds. Patients receive their results and consultation with City of Hope experts who specialize in the prevention and treatment of cancer. For those whose tests indicate cancer, there is immediate access to City of Hope’s world-renowned multispecialty team of lung cancer experts, along with outstanding compassionate care for patients and families.

“Orange County deserves its best shot against lung cancer,” said Ravi Salgia, M.D., Ph.D., the Arthur & Rosalie Kaplan Chair in Medical Oncology at City of Hope, and one of the world’s leading experts on lung cancer treatment. “That’s why we are introducing a screening program that detects lung cancers earlier and greatly enhances the odds of survival. And this is just the latest addition to our many breakthrough lung cancer research and treatment capabilities, including City of Hope’s pioneering use of targeted therapies and personalized medicine to determine the best treatment path for each patient.”

“One of the challenges with lung cancer is that it often doesn’t produce symptoms until it is well advanced,” said Dan J. Raz, M.D., M.A.S., co-director of the Lung Cancer and Thoracic Oncology Program and a thoracic surgeon at City of Hope. “However, we are highly encouraged because studies show that lung cancer detected by LDCT screening will be discovered at an early stage 64 percent to 85 percent of the time. It is cost-effective, causes no patient discomfort, and is highly reliable. These factors can make all the difference and lead to a much more positive prognosis for patients. That’s why we are raising awareness among both patients and primary care physicians about the efficacy and accessibility of this life-saving test.”

In another move to help Orange Countians reverse lung cancer incidence, City of Hope offers an innovative virtual smoking cessation program. This social support program is open to people who smoke now or in the past and can be combined with City of Hope’s tobacco dependency program that includes medications to overcome withdrawal symptoms and behavioral strategies to break habits that trigger smoking. The emphasis is on getting better, not shaming or blaming those who have yet to rid cigarettes from their lives.

City of Hope physicians also stress that lung cancer can affect anyone with lungs, not just those who smoke. In fact, as many as 20 percent of people who die from lung cancer in the United States every year have never smoked or used any other form of tobacco.   

While researchers continue to explore what causes lung cancer in non-tobacco users, potential reasons include radon gas exposure, second-hand smoke, air pollution, and certain hereditary factors.

“We want to make sure everyone remains vigilant about this disease, even when so many of us are focused on concerns such as COVID-19,” Dr. Salgia said. “People should pay attention to their risk factors, avoid situations that elevate risk, and get early interventions if symptoms are present, including chronic coughing, coughing up blood, and shortness of breath.”

For more information on the screening program, call (626) 256-4673, ext. 89114.

For more information on smoking cessation, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.cityofhope.org/smokingcessation.

For a second opinion for those diagnosed with lung cancer, go to the link here or call (800) 826-4673.


Animal advocate Judie Mancuso’s Social Compassion in Legislation’s 2019 wrap-up

By DIANNE RUSSELL

As readers may remember from her Laguna Life and People story, Judie Mancuso’s passionate mission is “to get the word out for animals.” She accomplishes it in a groundbreaking way – by fighting to create legislation that protects and saves the lives of animals. She has long been recognized as a leading advocate in California’s battle for animal protection laws. 

In the 12 years since founder, CEO, and president Mancuso started Social Compassion in Legislation (SCIL), a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, 17 bills have been put into law in California that have significantly changed the lives of animals long term. Her organization sponsors and supports landmark legislation that promotes the care, rights, and protection of animals. 

Governor Newsom had until October 13 to sign or veto all bills that came to his desk. SCIL started the year with 11 sponsored bills.

Mancuso says, “We want to thank each and every author for carrying these bills for us. Without their leadership and commitment, we cannot make the progress that we do for animals in California and beyond.

“First the good news. We are excited and thank Governor Newsom for signing these three bills into law.” 

Animal advocate with Dinky

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Judie Mancuso, founder of SCIL, with Dinky Pooh, one of her dogs

Bills signed into law by Governor Newsom

AB 273 (Gonzalez) Ban on Fur Trapping: “This is a huge success, and a dream come true. When we worked on banning bobcat trapping back in 2015, I never felt good about leaving the other species behind, so to speak. Getting this bill done and being the first state to ban ALL commercial and recreational trapping is amazing. As a co-sponsor, Center for Biological Diversity (CBD), with their science and lobbying resources, were great to work with throughout the entire process.”

AB 1260 (Maienschein) Endangered Species/Exotic Skins: “We are so grateful to get this one into law too. Adding seven species to a sales ban list of animals that includes pythons, kangaroos, whales, and many other species, coupled with winning the fight to kill the exemption on alligators and crocodiles, is a win bigger than we could have imagined. Penal code 653o will cover protecting alligators and crocodiles starting in 2020 and the following species starting in 2022: iguana, skink, caiman, hippopotamus, and Teju, Ring, or Nile lizard.”

SB 313 (Hueso) Circus Cruelty Prevention Act: “This takes the circus performers out of the big tent that do not have a choice in being there. I remember the first time I saw a PETA undercover video on a Ringling Bros. Circus trainer beating an elephant with a bullhook and the horrific cries and sounds of it. I saw that video in the early 1990s; I had no idea how cruel the circus was until then. I am so proud to get this done with our co-sponsor PETA, who has spearheaded this issue from the beginning – decades ago. It feels so good to disconnect California from this cruelty in entertainment.”

Vetoed bills 

SB 64 (Chang) Pet Microchipping: “This would have mandated all reclaimed or adopted pets leaving an animal shelter be microchipped. The governor vetoed because of a perceived burden on ‘those who may already be struggling with the basic cost of caring for their pets.’ We will work to address his concerns in order to get his signature. The bill got unanimous votes throughout the legislative process, so, this should be an easy fix in order to get signed into law.”

AB 733 (Quirk) Fish Toxicity Test: “Unfortunately, this is the second year in a row this compassionate bill has been vetoed, with a veto message about the underfunded Department of Toxic Substances Control. From here, we and our partner and co-sponsor, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM), will work directly with the department, rather than through the legislature, to see how we can get them to move away from this horrid animal test.”

Animal advocate Judie and friends

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(L-R) Judie Mancuso, Governor Newsom, and SCIL supporter Dr. Gary Michelson after meeting on Oct 23 

SB 202 (Wilk) Animal Blood Donors: “After receiving unanimous votes throughout the legislative process, Senate Bill 202 was vetoed by Governor Newsom. His veto message claimed that the bill does not go far enough in shutting down closed-colony blood banks. While his veto ensures a continued animal blood shortage in the state in the near term by preventing animals that live with their owners to give blood at commercial blood banks, we are glad that he is willing to shift away from the closed-colony blood banking model in California. 

“We wholeheartedly agree that those close-colonies should be transitioned to the humane model, but there exists a blood shortage in California now. In order to get the necessary supply of animal blood in the market, opening up the state to community-sourced blood banks starting in 2020 was critical. We still believe the Governor could have signed SB 202, began the process of getting community blood banks up and running and supplying blood, and still sent the message that closed-colony blood banks should be phased out, but appreciate his willingness to work towards a more compassionate California.”

Mancuso recently met with Governor Newsom to discuss his veto in more detail and came out of the meeting encouraged that SCIL can get an animal blood banking bill that is good for both pets that need the blood and the animal donors to his desk in 2020.

For complete details on the Senate bills with other outcomes, go to www.socialcompassioninlegislation.org.


Chabad announces Chanukah community events starting Dec 17

On Tuesday, Dec 17, Chabad of Laguna Beach presents a JUDA Kids Chanukah Olive Press Workshop at 4:30 p.m. It’s all about the miracle of the oil. See how olive oil is made with an authentic oil press and enjoy atke munching, dreidles, Chanukah story, crafts, and fun. Bring an unwrapped gift to be donated to needy families. The cost is $8. RSVP to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. The event is open to kids of all ages 

Join Chabad on Sunday, Dec 22 at 2 p.m. at the cobblestones for Laguna’s first ever Chanukah Gelt Drop, as our very own firefighters shower the crowd with chocolate gelt (coins) from high above their engine ladders.

The event will feature DJ Eldad, music and dancing, crafts for the kids, face painting, hot latkes, dignitary greetings, and the lighting of the Surfboard Menorah. Admission is free.

Chabad announces Chanukah

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Chabad will host Laguna’s first ever Chanukah Gelt Drop on Dec 22 at Main Beach

On Monday, Dec 23 at 4 p.m. Chabad will host Chanukah at The Hive. There will be a Menorah lighting, latkes, dreidles, crafts, and gelt for the kids. The Hive is located at 859 Laguna Canyon Rd (near Laguna Beach Beer Company). 

On Sunday, Dec 29, Chabad presents a Jewish Heritage Night/Chanukah with the Ducks at the Honda Center in Anaheim. There will be Chabad group discounted tickets, pre-game Menorah Lighting and activities, post-game broomball on the Duck’s rink, and a Chanukah message on the Jumbotron. Pre- game festivities begin at 3:30 p.m.; the game time is at 5:30 p.m. Contact the Chabad office at (949) 499 0770 to reserve your tickets. 

Chabad invites the community to a Menorah Lighting for Montage Resort guests at 6 p.m. throughout week of Chanukah (except Friday). 

Chabad is located at 30804 South Coast Hwy. 

For more information, visit www.chabadoflaguna.com or call (949) 499 0770.


8,269 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC to date, 217 people have died, 7 deaths reported today

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, June 12, reflect that there have been 8,269 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 130 new cases reported today.

Sadly, the County reports that 217 people have died due to COVID-19, including seven deaths reported today.

The County reports 306 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 151 are currently in ICU.

Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 49 cases to date, a per capita rate of 2.098 cases per thousand residents. 

Los Alamitos, with a population of 11,721 and 93 reported cases to date, has the highest per capita rate in OC, 7.934 cases per thousand residents.

Newport Beach has had 175 reported cases to date. Irvine has had 236 reported cases to date. Dana Point has had 34 reported cases to date.

Santa Ana has had 1,774 reported cases to date, a net increase of 23 cases today. Anaheim has had 1,553 reported cases to date, a net increase of 37 cases today.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have conducted 177,950 tests as of today.

The County reports that 3,947 people have recovered from COVID-19 to date. Visit https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc for recovery data criteria and more information.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of June 13;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Lifelong Laguna’s iPad Project connects isolated seniors with the community

Until recently, Laguna Beach resident Sarah Gerrard*, 70, hadn’t felt the need to own a smartphone or use a computer for anything other than the occasional email. 

Despite her husband’s need for constant care – Rick, 92, diagnosed with Alzheimer’s five years ago, and the survivor of four strokes, is very much home-bound – she was able to go for short walks with friends, do her errands, and, most importantly, attend the Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group at The Susi Q. 

Those outings were enough to keep her grounded and cheerful despite the demands of caring for a spouse with such debilitating physical and mental challenges. 

But all outings came to an end with the advent of COVID-19.

“The isolation has been hard,” Sarah says. “I’ve especially missed going to the support group. I’ve attended regularly for four years, in the past year on Wednesdays every week. It’s such a tight-knit group. We share our stories and give each other emotional support. It means everything to me.”

Happily now, thanks to an iPad provided to her by The Susi Q Senior Center, and a personal training session with John Fay, Director of Aging in Place Services, Sarah is able once again to participate in the meetings via Zoom video conferencing.

Lifelong Laguna John

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John Fay, Director of Laguna Beach Seniors’ Aging in Place Services, teaches new iPad users

“I felt such joy in reconnecting. It was magical to see everyone’s faces!” she says. “I’m so grateful. I didn’t have the right equipment – before, when they tried to explain how to connect on Zoom, I said, what? A camera? A microphone? Where are those on my husband’s old computer? And I didn’t have the right Wi-Fi connection either. But now I have the tools, though it wasn’t easy to understand everything at first. John was so patient, teaching me how to use the iPad.”

Putting the world at the fingertips of isolated seniors

Funded by a grant from the Assistance League, Laguna Beach Seniors’ iPad Project is initially providing 14 vulnerable seniors with the means to connect with others and take part in their choice of the many clubs, activities, and support groups that The Susi Q is now offering virtually. 

“Our executive director, Nadia Babayi, attends a weekly meeting with the City Manager and other key community organizations. During one of the meetings, she learned there are low-income seniors who feel disconnected to the outside world because they don’t have smart devices,” John explains. “That sparked the idea to buy and loan out iPads on a long-term basis.

“In the past months, Laguna Beach Seniors at The Susi Q has delivered groceries and helped modify homes to ensure a safe environment – but it’s the lack of opportunities for socialization that are most troubling for many. This is at least part of the solution.”

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Proudly displaying a new way to connect to programs, activities, and friends

Director of Care Management Martha Hernandez did some outreach to identify seniors who would most benefit from the program. 

“Quite a few seniors do have smartphones – but it’s challenging to access Zoom classes on such a small screen, especially for those who have vision or hearing difficulties,” Martha notes.

John admits there’s sometimes a steep learning curve.

“An iPad can be intimidating to someone who has never used one before. So when I’m teaching seniors, I make sure that I put myself in their shoes, I imagine I have never seen one before. I take them through the basic steps, at their own pace, showing them how to sign on, create a password, and connect.”

Isolation and boredom are great motivators

In some cases, seniors do not even have access to Wi-Fi – or the connection isn’t fast enough to download much of anything – and that’s another aspect that Lifelong Laguna is working on.

“We don’t want the iPad to become a financial burden in any way,” John says. “So in some instances, we’re also helping to pay for a decent Wi-Fi connection. 

“The good news is that seniors are very resilient, and most seem to be coping okay. There’s naturally some resistance to the technology, but isolation and boredom are great motivators to learn new ways of connecting.” 

While LBS received initial funding from ALLB to purchase the first allotment of iPads, they’re hoping to hear from anyone or any company that might be interested in donating additional funds to expand the program.

Lifelong Laguna pink

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Hugging technology tight!

John notes that The Susi Q was very quick to adapt to the shelter-at-home situation. “Within just a couple of weeks, we were offering video conferencing for a number of programs. Now we have more than 30 activities, classes, and support groups online, and another 16 will be added by the end of September.”

The most popular programs include Jeffrey Briar’s musical appreciation classes, TED Talks, Men’s social group, Women Supporting Women, It’s Your Money, and exercise classes, including Standing Yoga, as well as wellness programs. Bingo will be coming soon.

“We believe offering these programs is vital to the health, happiness, and safety of our senior community in Laguna Beach,” John says. “Not to mention that we now have participants from other countries, including Australia and Canada!”

Sarah’s first experience with an iPad was memorable

Sarah reiterates how pleased she is to be part of the iPad project. She laughs when recounting her first experience with Zoom video conferencing. 

“John sat with me outside the Susi Q Center in the sunlight, with masks on, to help me connect using their Wi-Fi,” she says. “I spoke for a while, then I realized they weren’t hearing me! I had been muted because the wind blowing in the umbrella was causing a whooshing sound! So then they saw I was talking and unmuted me and I could hear them and they could hear me.

“It was so exciting to see everyone and to talk to them.”

Lifelong Laguna yellow

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A senior’s new favorite device

Sarah’s not sure how much she’ll be using her iPad other than to connect with her group, because she is so busy taking care of Rick. But being able to attend her Alzheimer’s Caregiver Support Group is very important to her. She’ll grab the time whenever she can.

“I put Rick in the electric recliner and he will snooze for a while,” she says. “It’s so much more comfortable than sitting in his wheelchair. Laguna Beach Seniors donated that chair. I am so grateful to them. Martha and John keep in touch with me, and make sure I have what I need to take care of myself, too.” 

And John feels quite well, jolly about the program. “When I hand over the iPads, seniors tell me it’s like Christmas in July – and I feel like Santa Claus. It’s great!”

For more information, or if you know seniors who would benefit from the program, visit www.thesusiq.org or contact John at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 715-8107.

*Not her real name, for reasons of privacy


Sweet dreams are made of this

Sweet dreams trees

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Photo by Scott Brashier

“Who am I to disagree?/I travel the world/And the seven seas/Everybody is looking for something” –Eurythmics


County of Orange advises on creating a family plan during COVID-19

The County of Orange is encouraging residents to create a family preparedness plan in the event they are impacted by COVID-19. Family preparedness is a mainstay of planning for emergencies such as earthquakes and fires, and they are equally important during a health pandemic. 

Parents and caregivers are encouraged to reach out to trusted family, friends, or neighbors who may be able to assist, should a child’s parent or caregiver be diagnosed with COVID-19 and require hospitalization and/or isolation. 

“We want families to be ready in the event a caregiver unexpectedly is diagnosed with COVID-19,” said Debra Baetz, Director of Orange County Social Services Agency. “By taking some simple steps, families can help alleviate the stress of an unforeseen health emergency and ensure their loved ones are cared for.”

Here are some important things to consider when putting together a family plan:

 --Create an alternate caregiver list: Set up a roster of trusted adults who can step in to provide childcare, being mindful of the unique circumstances surrounding COVID-19. Choose individuals who are not high-risk and who would be able to accommodate an isolation area, should your child need it. Discuss the plan ahead of time with these individuals.

--Prepare documents: Write a letter authorizing your designated caregiver to seek medical treatment for your child, if necessary. Make copies of insurance cards and other important medical documents your alternate caregiver may need.

--Write down special instructions: Be sure to leave a “need-to-know” list for your alternate caregiver. This list may include information such as food allergies, needed medication, nutritional needs or limitations, or any other habit or routine that may help provide consistency of care to your loved one.

--Create a kid-friendly “go bag”: Being separated from a parent or loved one can cause stress and anxiety for your children. Pack a bag with some overnight essentials and include a special note from you, a family photo, a favorite book or other personal item that may help comfort your child. Be sure to also pack essentials including toiletries and clothing.

A family plan template to capture this information can be found at bit.ly/ocfamilyplan.

For more information, visit www.ready.gov/pandemic.


8,573 reported cases of COVID-19 in OC to date, 304 new cases today, highest single-day increase to date, 221 people have died

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, June 14, reflect that there have been 8,573 reported cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 302 new cases reported today, the highest single-day increase in the County to date.

Sadly, the County reports that 221 people have died due to COVID-19, including four deaths reported today.

The County reports 290 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 144 are currently in ICU.

Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 51 cases to date, a per capita rate of 2.183 cases per thousand residents, a net increase of two cases today.

The city with the highest per capita rate in OC is Los Alamitos, with 8.190 cases per thousand residents. 

Newport Beach has had 176 reported cases to date. Irvine has had 241 reported cases to date. Dana Point has had 34 reported cases to date.

Santa Ana has had 1,830 reported cases to date, a net increase of 56 cases today. Anaheim has had 1,595 reported cases to date, a net increase of 42 cases today.

The County Public Health lab and reporting commercial labs have conducted 181,567 tests as of today.

The County reports that 4,091 people have recovered from COVID-19 to date. Visit https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc for recovery data criteria and more information.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna.

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of June 14;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Laguna Beach Promenade on Forest extended through January 2021

The Laguna Beach City Council voted on August 11 to extend The Promenade on Forest through January 31, 2021. The Promenade on Forest: Shopping, Dining, Art, and You! is an outdoor dining, display, and art performance area that creates a safe and exciting pedestrian-only experience on Forest Avenue from Coast Highway to Glenneyre Street in Downtown Laguna Beach. 

The Promenade design supports local businesses by expanding outdoor dining areas and merchandise display areas on Lower Forest Avenue.

Laguna Beach Promenade on

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Promenade will stay open through January 2021 

Key features of The Promenade on Forest:

--Operating hours from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily through January 2021

--Dining decks, retail display decks, and a performance art deck for virtual and live performances and temporary art installations

--Layout to promote safe physical distancing between parties, hand sanitizing stations, and maintenance staff to regularly disinfect the furniture

--Face coverings are required at The Promenade; free face coverings will be handed out to those who need them periodically

--String lighting to illuminate The Promenade and provide evening ambiance and security; umbrellas, potted trees, and plants to provide daytime shade and ambiance

For more information, contact The Promenade on Forest Project Manager Jeremy Frimond at (949) 464-6673 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Mission Hospital Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers renewed

Mission Hospital has received a renewal of its Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval® and the American Heart Association/American Stoke Association’s Heart Check Mark for Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers. 

This designation recognizes Mission Hospital’s specific abilities to receive and treat complex stroke patients and meet additional requirements, including those related to advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments, and providing staff with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients. 

The certification is provided through a partnership between the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association and The Joint Commission, the nation’s oldest and largest standards-setting and accrediting body in health care.

“The renewal of the Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers recognizes our important role as a leader in treating south Orange County’s most complex stroke cases,” said Seth Teigen, FACHE, chief executive of Mission Hospital. “For more than 40 years, Mission Hospital has provided our community with exceptional patient care, rehabilitation, stroke intervention, and emergency department services for those needing treatment for concussions, strokes, traumatic brain injuries, and more.” 

The Joint Commission Comprehensive Stroke certification recognizes early recognition and expedited diagnosis in the emergency department, dedicated rapid response stroke management, modern and advanced stroke interventional and neurosurgical techniques, multi-disciplinary collaboration on dedicated neuro-stroke critical care and nursing units, and intensive and stroke-specific rehabilitation services. Certification recipients must also demonstrate a comprehensive team effort and responsibility to quality patient outcomes.

To be eligible for the Joint Commissions Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers, hospitals must demonstrate compliance with stroke-related standards as a Primary Stroke Center and meet additional requirements including those related to advanced imaging capabilities, 24/7 availability of specialized treatments, and provide staff with the unique education and competencies to care for complex stroke patients. 

Established in 2012, Advanced Certification for Comprehensive Stroke Centers is awarded for a two-year period to Joint Commission-accredited acute care hospitals.

For additional information about Mission Hospital, visit  www.mission4health.com.


Registration open for 2020 Leadership Laguna Citizens’ Academy

The City of Laguna Beach is proud to announce registration is now open for Leadership Laguna 2020, a citizen’s academy consisting of a series of five workshops. The purpose of these workshops is to introduce participants to the various operations of the City. 

This year, Councilmember Sue Kempf is excited to host Leadership Laguna and teach participants about how to get involved with serving the community. The program will provide information about the City’s various departments, committees, and commissions. Speakers from each department will address the participant’s questions.

Registration open Sue

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Sue Kempf to host City’s Leadership Laguna Citizens’ Academy 

Leadership Laguna takes place on five Thursday evenings beginning on March 12 and ending April 16. Sessions will start at 6 and end at 8 p.m. and will be held in the Multipurpose Room at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center. Space in the academy is limited, so interested candidates should submit their application as early as possible. 

For additional information, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/leadershiplaguna or contact Jeremy Frimond, Senior Administrative Analyst in the City Manager’s Office, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 464-6673. 

The Susi Q is located at 380 Third St.


11,016 COVID-19 cases in OC to date, 299 deaths to date, 26 deaths reported today

Numbers released by the OC Health Agency today, June 24, reflect that there have been 11,016 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Orange County to date, including 354 new cases reported today. 2,594 cases have been reported in the last 10 days, 23.5 percent of the County’s cumulative case count.

Sadly, the County reports that 299 people have died due to COVID-19, including 26 deaths reported today.

The County reports 363 individuals are currently hospitalized with COVID-19; 145 are currently in ICU.

Laguna Beach has a cumulative case count of 54 confirmed cases to date, a per capita rate of 2.312 cases per thousand residents.

The city with the highest per capita rate in OC is Los Alamitos, with 7.508 cases per thousand residents. 

Newport Beach has had 212 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 12 cases today. Irvine has had 293 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 10 cases today. Dana Point has had 41 confirmed cases to date.

Santa Ana has had 2,332 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 72 cases today. Anaheim has had 2,119 confirmed cases to date, a net increase of 59 cases today.

The County reports that 5,249 people have recovered from COVID-19 to date. Visit https://occovid19.ochealthinfo.com/coronavirus-in-oc for recovery data criteria and more information.

Numbers are updated daily by Stu News Laguna and reported on our social media pages @StuNewsLaguna.

For questions about the data presented, call (714) 834-2000 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..” 

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11,016 confirmed cases 5

11,016 confirmed cases 6

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Courtesy of OC Health Care Agency

Orange County COVID-19 case data, as of June 24;

Click here to visit page that is updated daily


Summer youth classes at Cho’s Academy are open for enrollment

Martial arts training for kids is fun and develops discipline, respect, confidence, fitness, focus, and so much more. Cho’s Academy’s summer youth classes offer a structured, positive, and healthy environment that help kids get a strong start on life.

Taekwondo is a system of kicks and punches. Jiujitsu is a system of submission wrestling. Both are great for self-defense. Pick one or both programs for your children.

Summer youth kids

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Submitted photo

Cho’s Academy offers summer youth classes for kids of all ages

All classes are very age and skill level specific. Kids are challenged to be at their best while having fun. Jacob Cho has decades of experience working with kids of all ages.

Cho’s Academy has been serving Laguna Beach since 2009. The Academy also offers classes for teens and adults: martial arts, yoga, bootcamps, and strength and conditioning.

To learn more and schedule a free class, visit www.chosacademy.com.


This weekend is the Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade – will you be marching or watching?

The 54th Annual Laguna Beach Patriots Day Parade will march at 11 a.m., Saturday, March 7, starting at Laguna Beach High School, then proceed down Park Avenue, turn right on Glenneyre and right again on Forest Avenue, ending just past City Hall at Ocean Avenue.

Stu News is even more excited than usual this year, because our wonderful reporter Barbara Diamond will be the Grand Marshal.

This weekend is equestrian

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

They say half the town marches and the other half watches…which camp will you be in on Saturday?

Because the 53rd parade was rained out, the same honorees will ride down the parade route: Grand Marshal Barbara Diamond, Honored Patriot Arnie Silverman, Citizen of the Year Sande St. John, Artist of the Year Roxanna Ward, and Athlete of the Year Jade Howson, as well as the 2020 Junior Citizens, Laila Cruz and Nathan Solomon, Class of 2020, chosen by the Laguna Beach High School staff. 

The lineup will include bands, equestrians, classic cars, and floats. Patriotic attire is suggested for attendees and participants. 

Click on the link here for a PDF of the full lineup of floats.

For further information, contact Sandi Werthe at (949) 494-6016 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the Parade website at www.lagunabeachparade.org.

Editor’s note: Interested in walking in the parade this year? We invite all of our readers to march with Stu News. We’ll have a live band performing with us –  members of the Laguna Beach Community Concert Band – and special treats to share. If interested, dress in Patriotic colors and/or attire, and meet us at the LBUSD parking lot at 550 Blumont St between 10:30 and 11 a.m. for the parade – we’re entry #51. All readers are invited, including pups, kids, and grandkids – the more the merrier! For more info, email Shaena at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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