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 Volume 11, Issue 7  |  January 22, 2019                                  


 

Developer’s proposed donation on tonight’s council agenda

By BARBARA DIAMOND

A proposal to accept a $250,000 donation from developer Mohammad “Mo” Honarkar will be reviewed by the City Council tonight.

City staff has recommended approval of the donation, which would be used to add a high-level planner to the staff, and to pay for legal services and resources to assist with consideration of the potential public benefits that should accompany large-scale projects, such as have been or will be proposed by Honarkar. The public is expected to take sides.

“The planning commission has huge problems – things are not functioning well,” said Liberate Laguna founder Sam Goldstein, who supports approval of the donation. “It takes 90 to 180 days for staff to get back to the applicant. No one gets anything accomplished without getting an ulcer.

“The real issue is how much money is allotted to the Planning Department.”

On the other hand, Village Laguna is rallying opponents of the donation, urging them to attend the hearing and providing talking points by email.

“Please come and join the opposition to Mo Honarkar and the forces for mega-development gaining even more influence in Laguna!” the email reads. “Speak if you can.”

Suggested topics included raising permit fees for the funds needed to do proper and thorough reviews and charging developers the actual cost of administering large developments.   

“The City should not establish a special pathway for major development projects,” continued the email. “This proposed agreement establishes a special queue for major projects. All of the major developments get treated equally, but now they have their own, dedicated queue. That is not resident-serving and is unfair to ordinary project applicants who will remain in their separate and unequal slow track.” 

Costs of impacts on municipal operations and the community should be addressed and means of recouping these costs from proposed developments be provided, according to the Village Laguna email. A realistic assessment of those costs should be unaffected by gifts to the city.

Goldstein, who plans to attend the hearing, said Village Laguna’s position is an impediment to improving the planning department.

“What is the difference between Honarkar’s donation and Barbara MacGillivrays’ $50,000 donation to plant trees?” he said.

Laguna Canyon resident Jay Grant is asking residents of Canyon Acres to attend the meeting to register their opposition to Honarkar’s donation and its implications. 

Grant is particularly concerned about the effect of the donation on Honarkar’s proposal to build multiple affordable housing units in Canyon Acres.

“We will fight this; just do not lose heart,” Grant wrote.

The city’s position on the proposal is that the Community Development Department would be overwhelmed by Honarkar’s projects – for the Hotel Laguna, the Laguna Art District, the Heisler Hotel, the Cleo Hotel, Canyon Acres and, possibly, the renovation of the movie theater – that are likely to be submitted in the next year or so. 

These projects are in addition to an extremely heavy workload in the Community Development Department processing other projects, ordinances and planning documents. 

Examples of current initiatives include the Historic Preservation Ordinance, the Short-Term Lodging Ordinance, the Downtown Specific Plan and an Action Plan for improvements; revisions to the Major Remodel and the Parking Ordinances; and efforts to streamline and improve the intake and review process for development applications.

Hence, the recommendation to accept the contribution and authorize City Manager John Pietig to execute a proposed agreement that clarifies the purpose and disposition of the funds and authorizes Pietig to add an advanced level planning commission to the budget for a salary and benefit cost not to exceed $180,000 a year. 

If staffing is not adequate to provide good service, costs and the fees necessary to cover the costs, it should be reviewed opined South Laguna resident John Thomas. 

“Setting fees to cover costs is permissible and appropriate,” he emailed. “The city can achieve the same dollar result by being the one to raise fees for all comparable applications.

“Regardless of what anyone says, or any document says, this sets up – if not a direct conflict – at least the appearance of a conflict. 

“The concept gives the appearance that the city is offering special treatment to big developers that is not offered to the regular resident. Does this mean that regular residents will now need to make a ‘contribution’ to make sure there are no unusual delays for their project?”

Comments from the city manager or the city attorney were unavailable because City Hall was closed in observation of Martin Luther King Day.

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Planning Commission to discuss CBD retail store at Wednesday’s meeting 

At the Planning Commission’s regular meeting on Wednesday, Jan 23, at 6 p.m. in Council Chambers, the commission will discuss a Conditional Use Permit to establish and operate a retail store specializing in hemp-derived CBD products at 206 N Coast Hwy, previously Main Beach Fine Art Gallery. 

Staff recommends that the Planning Commission approve the Conditional Use Permit 18-2448 subject to the conditions of the resolution that can be found on the Agenda at the City’s website.

The applicant is proposing to establish a retail store, Laguna Apothecary, for the sale of cannabidiol products commonly referred to as CBD, the non-psychoactive and non-hallucinogenic cannabis plant extract. CBD is known for its therapeutic use to help reduce anxiety, provide pain relief, and reduce joint pain among other conditions.

The store inventory would consist of CBD products to include skin care, tinctures, soaps, and bath bombs.

The Planning Commission meeting is at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Jan 23 at Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave. To review the agenda, click here.


Laguna Logo

Troy Lee: Still striving to do it better

Story by SAMANTHA WASHER

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

In case there was any doubt as to whether or not Troy Lee is still fully immersed in his products, the answer is unequivocally that he is. I can say that with complete surety because the morning we met the skies over Laguna were dumping rain. As I was peeling off my rain gear inside his self-named shop on Glenneyre, Lee rode up on his bike – that he rode from his home – in the pouring rain to test out a new pair of his cold weather gloves. While wet, Lee was a little disappointed that the morning was not sufficiently cold enough to test the gloves’ efficacy. I have no doubt he’ll keep trying until he’s satisfied.

Troy Lee Designs is a store and so much more

Troy Lee is the founder of Troy Lee Designs. The company makes mountain bike and dirt bike gear, helmets for almost any sport that uses one and many other things that don’t necessarily fall into any of those categories. The company’s flagship store is in Laguna and, as Lee’s assistant and Laguna Beach Chamber Board of Directors member Carmelit Greene explains, “It’s part store part museum.” 

Troy Lee close up

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Troy Lee, founder of Troy Lee Designs, at his shop in Laguna Beach

And it’s an apt description because amongst the jerseys and helmets (in addition to Levi’s and other stylish casual wear), there is a winners’ autographed Indianapolis 500 helmet, a beautiful Triumph motorcycle, and a painting by Steve McQueen to name only a few items that fill the store. “I don’t put something in here if I don’t love it,” says Lee when asked which item is his favorite. “The coolest thing is I’m just so proud to have a store here in Laguna Beach. When I was a kid I would have never thought that was something…” he says.

Same basic business, much larger quantities

Before he had his beautiful store, Lee made his name painting (and making) bike helmets. He raced and painted his own helmets, as well as making his own leathers, and his designs caught on with his fellow racers. The business continued to grow and now Troy Lee Designs are sold in at least 31 countries. “The only thing that’s really changed is the quantity,” says Lee of how the growth has affected his business.

As committed to safety as to design

While his design work is, perhaps, the sexier part of his business, Lee says he is very committed to safety and making products that keep riders riding their bikes. “I’m really proud of that,” he says. 

Lee’s commitment to safety is undoubtedly part of why riders love his gear. However, it may have taken on greater significance since his son started racing (Lee says all of his kids ride, but his oldest son Max is riding competitively). “I’m telling him not to jump stuff, but we have to let him chase his dreams. My wife lets me chase mine, she’s a good sport,” says Lee with appreciation. 

Still racing, but on a limited basis

Safety also may have taken on a new meaning when Lee himself ended up in a wheelchair after a horrible motorcycle accident several years ago. “It was by far the worst one I’ve had,” he says. He promised his wife he would stop racing. However, he says watching his son race was tough. “Sitting on the tailgate is hard,” he says. He has since recovered and returned to racing, but it is limited to once a month. “At my age, motorcycle racing is a little bit dangerous,” he says with his pattern of understatement.

Troy Lee shop

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At Troy Lee Designs, hanging out is strongly encouraged

But racing is in Lee’s blood. If he has lost any passion over the years for the sport he is immersed in, it is imperceptible. “I really live for racing,” he says. “You bring together this little group. I love seeing everyone doing their thing. It pushes everybody.” He’s speaking of the racing team, of course, but he could just a easily be talking about his business.

Still painting helmets every week

“I still do 15 custom helmets a week,” he says. “We have an amazing group. I’m so fortunate to have an amazing group of employees that follow me down this crazy path. They are so good at what they do. We have 81 employees and every single one of them contributes something fantastic.”

Committed to creating a retail experience

And while his employees allow Lee to focus on the part he likes the most – the creative part – he is still totally engaged in growing and protecting his business. He is very worried about the state of brick and mortar retail. He praises Amazon but worries that its reach will make stores like his, and the other bike stores that sell his gear, obsolete. “You have to make it an experience,” he says. Hence the artifacts, the big screen TV, the hanging out…all part of the plan to keep the community together. “We try to plan a party once a month,” he says.

Troy Lee helmet

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One of Lee’s special projects: helmets for the Notre Dame football team

Notre Dame football gets new helmets

While Lee’s primary business is in the biking worlds, he has a broad reach beyond. For someone who says, “I like the hardest projects,” he supposedly found that when he was approached to redesign Notre Dame’s football helmets for their Shamrock Series in 2012, he’d found one. Lee says he was told they were going to be an extremely challenging client, so steeped were they in their tradition. However, when Lee presented them with his 24-karat gold leaf creation they were “super excited.” Apparently, not so tough, after all.

Always something new to work on

“There are always unusual projects,” he says. Like the helmet and rocket Lee did for Eddie Braun when he jumped Idaho’s Snake River Canyon. A movie about the jump, Stuntman, is coming out soon. When the subject came up, Lee and Carmelit start riffing on how it would be great to rent out the movie theater downtown and screen the film. “We do this a lot,” he says of their banter. “We just start talking…”

A true fan of sport

With a business that has so many moving parts, the thing that seems to be the grounding center, besides his family who Lee consistently praises throughout our talk, is the athletes he works with. 

“That’s what’s most gratifying,” says Lee. “I tried to become a pro racer but never made it to that level. I idolize them. It’s a privilege to sit down with someone who’s a god in their world.” I’m sure there are a lot of people in Lee’s world who would say the same thing about sitting down with him and yet he seems completely oblivious to that fact. As far as he’s concerned, he’s just a fan. 

A constant desire to do things better

He’s a fan who has built a worldwide reputation that has expanded beyond the world in which he started. And yet, his heart is here in Laguna. “I love riding mountain bikes in Laguna,” he says. “I do a lot of traveling so I say my vacation home is in Laguna. I don’t like to leave it. I feel super fortunate to have a store here. It’s our little lab. It’s nice to fit everyone with equipment and look into figuring out what I can do better.” 

So if you see a guy riding his bike in Laguna and it’s raining, snowing, or any other manner of inhospitable weather, chances are it’s Troy Lee simply doing some product testing, all in the name of doing it better.


Honarkar resigns from Task Force

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Laguna’s Affordable Housing Task Force identified in November eight possible sites for affordable housing projects.

One of those sites was Canyon Acres where task force member Mohammad “Mo” Honarkar owns property, raising questions about possible conflict of interest. 

Subsequently, Honarkar submitted a letter of resignation to the task force at its January 17 meeting.

“The issues before the committee are issues I care about, and my aim has been to positively contribute to the city I’ve called home for almost 20 years,” Honarkar wrote.

“My resignation reflects only a desire to avoid even the mere appearance of any potential conflict of interest between me as a private citizen and my business interests.

“The work of the Committee is important. It deserves broad public support.”

The letter was made public by Honarkar’s daughter, Hasty, vice president/concept creation of Honarkar’s company Laguna Creative Ventures.

“I share this because many times information gets exaggerated or mis-interpreted from person to person,” she posted on Nextdoor.

“Also, it has become apparent that a few Canyon Acres residents have taken it upon themselves to spread lies within their neighborhood about my family’s intentions.”

Jay Grant also used Nextdoor to communicate to other Laguna Canyon residents his concerns about Honarkar’s development plans for his neighborhood, exacerbated he said by the $250,000 donation Honarkar has offered the city to help cover increased costs caused by his projects.

Honarkar’s proposed developments, probably to be processed in the next couple of years, include his recent acquisition of a long-term lease of Hotel Laguna and the Cleo Street hotel.

Canyon Acres is on his priority list, according to Grant. 

The donation is on tonight’s City Council agenda. 

“To my Canyon Acres friends, and all those who showed up at the Affordable Housing Task Force meeting last night – we will fight this; just do not lose heart,” wrote Grant.

Hasty Honarkar encouraged residents with questions about Honarkar projects to reach out to the company for answers rather than from third parties.

 “Our [Laguna] residents like to complain about many things, however when [an] individual comes forth with solutions, everyone tends to have the mentality of ‘not in my backyard.’ This unfortunate way of thinking has ultimately led to the gradual extinction of the young, lower, and middle class within our community. I hope future generations will not think so narrow mindedly and take into the consideration the future vitality of Laguna Beach.”

She can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Sunday night’s total lunar eclipse

Sunday nights moon

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Photo by Sammer Tarazi 

LBHS student Sammer Tarazi captured this rare full moon brilliantly with his Cannon 7D


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

January 22, 2019

Abundant sunshine dries out Southland

Dennis 5On Sunday evening the 20th, we were treated to a rare event in the form of a total lunar eclipse starring The Blood Moon. As the earth passes between the sun and the moon, the earth casts its shadow on the face of the moon, producing a salmon colored moon when coverage is complete. Weather conditions were most favorable for viewing the spectacular event.

This week looks pretty good with lots of sun and comfortable readings in the 70-75 degree range. The storm track for now has shifted its operations to the north with precipitation focusing on Northern CA, OR, and WA, giving us a chance to dry out down here and enjoy the sun we are so famous for.

Many parts of the East Coast are getting hammered again and again by major storms, and it’s always on a weekend it seems. Some places have seen a total of five or six sunny weekends since last May! That’s why we live here! Even in a wet winter we can still count on at least two or three days of sun. Some places in the country are lucky to get that much in a whole month or more. If you love the sun like I do, avoid places like the Pacific Northwest from November through at least March or even April. It’s the cloudiest place in the US during their winters with only about 14 percent of possible sunshine.

I’m spoiled by this wonderful climate we have down here. I belong here. I’m a lifelong water baby and beach guy. To ever be landlocked somewhere far inland would be like doin’ time. I would literally be like a fish out of water. I’d rather have a little beach shack here than have a mansion in Portland!

Aloha!


High tides, high surf

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

High tide Woods Cove

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At Woods Cove, water comes all the way up to the stairs 

High tide Agate to Cress

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Extreme high tides and waves looking north from Agate and Cress Streets


Laguna Beach Chamber hosts welcome Meet and Greet with Peter Blake and Sue Kempf on Thursday

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce will host its first 2019 Chamber Mixer Meet and Greet with new City Council members Peter Blake and Sue Kempf this Thursday, Jan 24. The Mixer will take place at Laguna Beach Brewery and Grill on Ocean Ave from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. 

Laguna Beach business owners and residents are invited to mingle with other members of the community while having an informal opportunity to hear what each new member of City Council hopes to accomplish during their terms in office. 

Laguna Beach Sue pic

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City Council member Sue Kempf

Kempf’s background in city politics started as a volunteer with the city’s Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Committee in 2010, which transferred into being on the 2013 View Equity Committee with then-Mayor Kelly Boyd. In 2014, Kempf was appointed to the Planning Commission that Rob Zur Schmiede vacated when he became a City Council member. 

Blake opened The Peter Blake Gallery in 1993, and Peter Blake Modern was formed in 2016 to showcase a combination of modern art, architecture, and design. This is Blake’s first time being a part of any Laguna Beach City Government office or committee. 

Laguna Beach Blake

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City Council member Peter Blake

Laguna Beach Brewery and Grill will be providing complimentary appetizers and happy hour drink specials during the mixer. Anyone who would like to sign up as a member of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce will get a 10 percent discount off their first year’s membership during the mixer only. 

For more information on the mixer or to RSVP, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laguna Beach Brewery and Grill is located at 237 Ocean Ave.

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Laguna Beach Books welcomes author
Dani Shapiro on Feb 15

On Friday, February 15 at 6 p.m., Laguna Beach Books proudly welcomes Dani Shapiro to the store. Dani will be discussing and signing copies of her new book, Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love

What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history, the life she had lived, crumbled beneath her.

Laguna Beach smile

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Courtesy of Facebook

Dani Shapiro will discuss and sign copies of her new book

Inheritance is a book about secrets. Secrets within families, kept out of shame or self-protectiveness and secrets we keep from one another in the name of love. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history. It is a book about the extraordinary moment we live in, in which science and technology have outpaced not only medical ethics but also the capacities of the human heart to contend with the consequences of what we discover.

Laguna Beach book cover

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Submitted photo

Inheritance is a book about secrets

Dani Shapiro is the author of the memoirs Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, Slow Motion, and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Also an essayist and a journalist, Shapiro’s short fiction, essays, and journalistic pieces have appeared in The New Yorker, Granta, Tin House, One Story, Elle, Vogue, O, The Oprah Magazine, The New York Times Book Review, the op-ed pages of the New York Times, and many other publications. 

Shapiro has also taught in the writing programs at Columbia, NYU, the New School and Wesleyan University; she is cofounder of the Sirenland Writers Conference in Positano, Italy. She lives with her family in Litchfield Country, Conn. 

This is a ticketed event and tickets can be purchased in store or at danishapiro.brownpapertickets.com. They are $27 and include a copy of the book.

For more information, visit www.lagunabeachbooks.com

Laguna Beach Books is located at 1200 S Coast Hwy.


A dramatic sky covers Laguna before the storm broke

A dramatic ocean

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Photo by Tom Berndt

Dark clouds filled with rain filled our skies before seeing a break on Friday afternoon


Winter watch

Photos by Scott Brashier

Winter watch bird and sun

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Soaring sunbird 

Winter watch pelican rock

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Bird watch

Winter watch rough water

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Ruffled seas under a yellow sky


Trap, Neuter, and Return training and feline fun offered at Catmosphere on Jan 30

Two of America’s craziest cat men unite at Catmosphere Laguna for an evening of TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) training and feline filled fun. On Wednesday, Jan 30, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., Catmosphere hosts the Cat Man of West Oakland and Trap King. 

Gail Landau, founder of Catmosphere, says, “Some of the biggest hurdles we hear from people interested in getting involved in TNR is that learning the equipment can be intimidating and meeting other like-minded humans who help the feral cats in their community can be difficult.”

On January 30, Adam Myatt and Sterling Davis will be on hand to make this process easier. 

Trap Neuter AdamAdam Myatt, a.k.a. The Cat Man of West Oakland, is not your normal crazy cat lady. After taking photos of West Oakland’s feral cat population for about a year, he found a litter of kittens that would change his life. The kittens would lead him to Ann Dunn, the founder of nonprofit organization Cat Town. The meeting led Adam, Ann, and everyone in the Cat Town team to open the Cat Town Cafe & Adoption Center.

Cat Town has had an amazing success in its efforts to empty cages, lower the euthanasia rate in Oakland (42 percent in 2011 and 7 percent in 2015), and find deserving cats loving homes. Now Myatt is turning his focus to advocating TNR in Oakland and beyond.

Sterling “TrapKing” Davis, founder of TrapKing, states on the website, “Using TNR as a focal point, TrapKing will assist, educate, and service communities to prevent overpopulation and spreading of disease in feral cat communities. TNR is the only humane alternative to euthanasia for feral cat colonies.” 

TrapKing’s unique approach to animal rescue will build awareness to new demographics as well as look to bring about more diversity and awareness in animal rescue going forward.

Trap Neuter TrapKing“For many years now shelters and local rescue groups have used TNR to effectively help control feral/stray cat populations and it’s working!”

This event is an opportunity to come and get paws-on training with all the regular style and drop-down traps, meet like-minded crazy cat people, and sign up to volunteer with Orange County’s local TNR groups. As Catmosphere’s customeowrs know, some of our loveliest kitties were rescued thanks to our fantastic OC TNR partners and are living their best 9 lives in their fantastic furrever homes! 

As usual, the Cat Lounge will be offering the usual hourly reservations during this event and the café will be serving delicious toasts and salads with the Happy Meowr in full purr offering $2 off California beers, wines, bubbly, and the café’s famous Meowmosas! Charitable donations will be taken at the door and 100 percent of those donations will go directly to TNR partners. 

Catmosphere gives a huge thank you and MEOW to Adam and Sterling!  Catmosphere Laguna supports all TNR efforts. 

For booking details, go to www.catmospherelaguna.com or call (949) 619-MEOW.

Catmosphere is located at 505 Forest Ave.


Community invited to world premiere of The Remarkable Life of John Weld on Friday, Feb 8

The Laguna Beach Historical Society invites the community to the world premiere of the documentary The Remarkable Life of John Weld on Friday, Feb 8 at 7:30 p.m., at the Laguna Beach High School Artists Theatre. Doors open at 7 p.m. and the movie starts at 7:30 p.m. with an introduction by one of the executive producers, Roger Jones. 

This event benefits and showcases the history of Laguna. Tickets are $15 and all proceeds will be donated to the nonprofit, Laguna Beach Historical Society/Murphy Smith Bungalow. LB Historical Society will also give out shopper bags with new memberships.

The documentary features the ever evolving and amazing life of John Weld and the love story between John and Gigi Parrish, both residents of Laguna Beach. John and Gigi ran the Laguna Beach News Post. 

Laguna Beach Post

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John and Gigi Weld ran the Laguna Beach News Post

Weld was a man of many hats. During the peak of Hollywood’s Golden Era, he came to Hollywood at age 18 and became a stuntman after performing a 135-foot dive from a cliff for the film The Folly of Vanity

He went on to have a prolific stunt career performing high-risk stunts for the likes of Laurel and Hardy, John Barrymore, Charlie Chaplin, and Tom Mix. A chance meeting with famed gossip columnist Louella Parsons lead Weld into a career of journalism, working for the New York Herald in Paris. While in Paris he interviewed and wrote stories about influential Americans including aviator Charles Lindbergh, industrialist Henry Ford, and future president Franklin Roosevelt.

Laguna Beach interviewing

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John Weld was a journalist and best-selling author

Under the mentorship of renowned 20th-century author James Joyce, Weld became a best-selling novelist after writing his book Don’t You Cry for Me. He held many influential people within his social circle; however, his muse was the love of his life, American actress Gigi Parrish, whom he married in 1937. 

After moving to Laguna, John and Gigi produced numerous travelogue films. On one trip, they barely survived the sinking of the ship they were on, the Laust Maersk. John chronicled that adventure and a lifetime of remarkable journeys in his 1991 autobiography, Fly Away Home: Memoirs of a Hollywood Stuntman. Those who knew Weld said that he was quite possibly the most extraordinary, ordinary man they ever knew.

Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at www.JohnWeldOfficial.com. 

The Laguna Beach High School Artists Theatre is located at 625 Park Ave.


The riches of rain

Photos by Kenny Lyons

The riches Lyon

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Thanks to the recent rain, an added attraction on the Laurel Canyon Trail and a great photo opportunity for Kenny Lyons on Friday, Jan 19

The riches waterfall

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Lush waterfall on Laurel Canyon Trail


Cox Charities awards “Innovation in Education” grant to Thurston teacher 

Cox Charities has awarded $65,000 in “Innovation in Education” grants to 23 schools throughout Cox Communications’ Orange County service area to fund innovative programs for students in grades K-12. 

Among the 2019 Innovation in Education grant recipients was Laguna Beach Unified School District’s Michelle Martinez, Thurston Middle School social sciences teacher, for her project “Who Did It? Forensic STEAM Lab.”

Martinez’s grant is for $5,053, 100 percent of the dollars she requested. The grant money will help give students the opportunity to simulate real crime scenarios with the use of forensic crime scene investigation tools, a shed, and an iPad. To view the full project, click here.

The annual grant program invited applications from educators at eligible schools for projects that provide creative, technology-based curriculum and enhance the traditional classroom experience by supporting one of the following areas: Skills Based Learning; STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design and Mathematics); Digital Literacy and Cyber Citizenship.

Cox Charities Martinez

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Michelle Martinez and Harbor Patrol Sgt Larry Packard with the Orange County Sheriff’s Department

“The Innovation in Education program is part of Cox’s long-standing commitment to education. It provides us the opportunity to bring innovative technology into the classroom,” said Chanelle Hawken, Vice President of Public Affairs for Cox Communications California. “Students are introduced to new technology to better prepare them for the future, which is exciting.” 

Cox Charities is a philanthropic arm of Cox Communications that is funded through employee donations, which are matched by the company. A volunteer employee board oversees the foundation’s programs such as Innovation in Education grants.

Cox Charities solicits a panel of judges from nonprofit community partners based in Orange County to review the grant applications.

“As a participating judge on the Innovation in Education grants committee, each year I am more and more impressed with the quality of new and imaginative ideas that teachers are bringing to their classrooms across the county,” said Abby Edmunds, OneOC Volunteer Services Encore Manager. OneOC is a service enterprise headquartered in Santa Ana that connects nonprofits, community members, and companies to generate greater social impact.

“Electrify Our Classrooms with Renewable Energy Kits” is an innovative example of a program funded in Mrs. Holly Danielson’s 7th grade science classes at Serrano Intermediate School. According to Danielson’s application, “These kits will give students hands on opportunities to compare and contrast alternative energy sources. They will be able to use the scientific method to test variables and determine the most effective designs and conditions for solar panels and windmills. Then, students will be given a list of potential sites around our community for building these structures. Based on the criteria and constraints, students will pick a site and a structure to build. They will use their own data as evidence to support their proposal.”

For more information on Cox Charities, visit www.coxcharities.org.


Laguna Dance Festival hosts master class with Aspen Santa Fe Ballet on Feb 9

Laguna Dance Festival invites the public to enjoy a class taught by Director of Aspen Santa Fe Ballet Jean-Phillippe Malaty on Saturday, Feb 9, from 10 a.m. to noon. The class will include ballet technique and a Q&A.

Aspen Santa Fe Ballet’s bold vision – top global choreographers, distinctive groundbreaking repertoire, and virtuoso dancers – has fostered a jewel of a dance company in the American West.

LDF Aspen Ballet

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Courtesy lagunadancefestival.org

Dancers and non-dancers alike are invited to experience class with the Aspen Santa Fe Ballet on Feb 9

The cost is $30 for dancers and $15 for observers. The class is for intermediate and advanced dancers ages 12 and older. The class will be held at the Dance Studio at Laguna Beach High School, 625 Park Ave.

For more information or to register, visit https://lagunadancefestival.org/project/master-class-feb-8/.

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The sound of the sea

The sound wave

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The Ocean has its silent caves, Deep, quiet, and alone; Though there be fury on the waves, Beneath them there is none…Excerpt from The Ocean by Nathaniel Hawthorne


Laguna Beach Beautification Council features Ann Christoph and Bob Borthwick on Thursday at the Montage

Laguna Beach Beautification Council invites locals to join together at the Montage Resort on Thursday, Jan 24 from 6 - 7:30 p.m. as Ann Christoph and Bob Borthwick present on Laguna’s new Landscape and Scenic Highway Plan.

Five years in the making, the Laguna Beach City Council recently approved Laguna’s new Landscape and Scenic Highway Plan and Resource document. These documents serve as a guide to our City, residents, and landscape architects for planting trees, and designing public and private landscapes. 

Laguna Beach Ann

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Submitted photo

Former council member, Ann Christoph 

Ann Christoph has been practicing landscape architecture in southern California for over 30 years. She designed Alta Laguna Park, Bluebird Park, South Laguna Village Green, and the Coast Highway streetscape/medians.

As a volunteer, Ann designed and organized South Laguna Community Garden Park. She is a former council member and mayor and recently was a candidate for city council. Her work includes project design, planning and implementation for public gardens, parks, and streetscapes, and private residences. 

Bob Borthwick founded BGB Design Group firm in 1979, and serves as Senior Principal. Bob designed Alta Laguna Park, Ken Frank Park, the Dewitt property (now home to Laguna Canyon Foundation), and the Laguna Canyon Frontage Road Mini-Park. 

Laguna Beach Bob

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Submitted photo

Bob Borthwick, Senior Principal of BGB Design Group

Working with Laguna Greenbelt, Bob prepared a master plan for restoration of Laguna Creek. Bob was also a volunteer member of the Laguna Canyon Road and Flood Control task forces. He has designed noteworthy public projects including parks, trails, historical waterfronts, scenic highway planning, and canyon preservation. 

For more information and to RSVP, contact Leah Vasquez, LBBCP President at (949) 494-5787 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Montage Resort is located at 30801 South Coast Hwy. Complimentary parking will be provided. 

The meeting will be held in Executive Suite #227.


Join local Wellness and Aesthetics doctor, Dr. Anita Wang, MD for Meet & Greet on Thursday

On Thursday, Jan 24 from 4 - 7 p.m., the public is invited to join Dr. Anita Wang, MD for a fun and informal Meet & Greet. Learn what’s new in Dr. Wang’s office including the Emsella Chair for firming and tightening the pelvic area. Find out more details on the valuable Ultra Femme & Ultra 360 treatments. 

Dr. Wang, both an Emergency Physician and Wellness and Aesthetics doctor, will speak about preventive medicine, anti-aging, and skin health. 

Inspired to start her Wellness and Aesthetics practice by her many patients that requested her to continue to care for them following their care in the Emergency Department, Dr. Wang is dedicated to ensuring that wellness and natural healthy beauty is maintained inside and out for her patients.

Join local Wellness Anita

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Get questions answered about your health and how Dr. Wang can help

Dr. Wang’s compassion and skills have taken her around the world and allowed her to adapt a unique skill set that merges eastern influence and western technology. She is dedicated to delivering the highest quality holistic wellness, preventive medicine, and medical aesthetics and continues to practice Emergency Medicine as well as running her own practice and providing care to online patients.

An avid cyclist, Dr. Wang has cycled around the world on philanthropic bike tours for Keshet – A rainbow of hope for special needs children – and Bao-ji Xinxing Aid for Street Kids. She believes in helping others with limited resources and has volunteered her services with Doctors Without Borders to provide medical aid to the impoverished regions of China.

In addition to being a Board Certified Emergency Physician, Dr. Wang is also a Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, a Fellow of the American Academy of Anti-Aging, and extensively trained in Aesthetics. She graduated from the University Missouri – Kansas City School of Medicine and has spent over 20 years as an ER doctor previously at UCLA Medical Center, Eisenhower Medical Center, and St. Mary’s Medical Center.

For more information, call (949) 734-0580. To schedule an appointment, visit www.anitawangmd.com

Dr. Anita Wang is located at 255 Thalia Street, Suite B.


Save the date for Boys & Girls Club of LB’s 19th Annual Art of Giving Gala on May 11 at the Montage

Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach is proud to present its 19th Annual Art of Giving Gala – “Under the Sea” – on Saturday, May 11 at the Montage Laguna Beach. This is an event you will not want to miss! It is a chance for every female to express her inner Mermaid, and every guy to get just as decked out as the ladies.

Guests will start the evening on the Montage lawn with tasty morsels and signature cocktails. The evening will continue with an elegant dinner and rousing live auction followed by dancing to some live music.

Save the date hats

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Last year’s derby-themed gala was a major success

The event raises funds that help the Club reach more young people and to instill integrity, compassion, and respect in them. This promises to be one of the events of the year, and a chance to generously support the Club and its some 2,000 youth members and families. 

Proceeds raised at the 19th Annual Art of Giving Gala go directly towards empowering children of all ages to reach their full potential, no matter their financial situation. So mark your calendars and join the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach for a good time at the 19th Annual Art of Giving Gala. Table sponsorships are available. 

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach service area includes Laguna Beach, Aliso Viejo, Lake Forest, and the surrounding communities, and occupies three sites in Laguna Beach: Canyon Branch, Bluebird Branch, and Lang Branch. 

Together, the nonprofit organization offers a nationally recognized and award winning year round Out-of-School enrichment program that focuses on the whole family.

From preschool to parenting classes, the Boys & Girls Club offers an array of services that focus on academic success, good character and citizenship, healthy lifestyles, and creative expression. 

For more information about The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, visit www.bgclagunabeach.org or call (949) 494-2535.

For more information about the Gala, contact Michelle Fortezzo at (949) 715-7584 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or visit the Club website at www.bgclagunabeach.org.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Main Beach menagerie

Photos by Scott Brashier

Main Beach parrot

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Birds of a feather

Main Beach dog

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Hey, who’s running who?


Michele McCormick hosts Contemplative Meditation Retreat on Saturday at NCC

A Mindfulness Meditation Retreat, “Mindfulness & Compassion,” is being offered by local Psychologist Michele McCormick, Ph.D. on Saturday, Jan 26, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Attendees will meet at Neighborhood Congregational Church’s Zen Garden Room.

“‘Mindfulness & Compassion’ – these two powerful healing practices are explored through sitting and walking meditation, teaching a meditation,” McCormick said. “What might you discover in the stillness, but your own true self, your most open heart, your quiet mind. Love thyself.”

Michele McCormick

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Submitted photo

Michele McCormick, Ph. D

The retreat is donation based and adjusted to your level of financial ability to pay. The suggested donation is $45. 

NCC Church is located at 340 St. Ann’s Drive.

For more information, visit www.mindfullnessdoc.com or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Police Beat Primer

Compiled by Suzie Harrison

Police Beat derives from information in the daily police and arrest logs published on the City of Laguna Beach’s website and required under CA Government Code Section 6254 (f). Additional information is obtained through communication with the Laguna Beach Police Department’s Public Information Officer.

Information in the logs is deemed reliable and Stu News Laguna is not responsible for any mistakes made available as public record by the Laguna Beach Police Department.

Any person arrested is innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

Police Beat 012219

Incident Reports

Saturday, Jan 19

Glenneyre St | 500 Block | DUI

9:49 p.m. A 39-year-old Costa Mesa man was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Monterey Drive | 400 Block | LBMC Violation

3:29 p.m. LBPD received a report about a solicitor. According to police reports, “A male came to the RP’s door attempting to sell farm to table food.” LBPD checked the area but did not see the person.

Coast Hwy & Ocean Ave | Possession of a Baton

3:20 p.m. Kristopher Ianne Ramos, 25, Laguna Beach, was arrested for illegal possession of a baton. Bail was set at $500.

Ocean Ave | 200 Block | Warrant

12:47 p.m. Richard Gene Moore, 47, Perris, was arrested on an undisclosed warrant. Bail was set at $2,500.

Laguna Canyon Road | 2200 Block | DUI with 1 Prior, Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content 0.08% or Higher 

1:55 a.m. Justin Paul Weber, 37, San Clemente, was arrested on suspicion of DUI with one prior (bail was set at $10,000) and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher (bail was set at $10,000).

S Coast Hwy & 3rd Ave | DUI

1:19 a.m. A 23-year-old Mission Viejo man was arrested on suspicion of DUI. Bail was set at $2,500.

Forest Ave & 2nd St | DUI – Drugs – with 1 Prior, Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance 

12:36 a.m. Anthony Booth Armer, 30, Laguna Niguel, was arrested on suspicion of DUI – drugs – with one prior (bail was set at $10,000) and for being under the influence of a controlled substance without a prescription (unknown bail).

Broadway St | 300 Block | Traffic

12:05 a.m. Elizabeth Garcia Antunez, 23, Santa Ana, was arrested on a warrant for possession of a controlled substance without a prescription, controlled substance paraphernalia, and driving on a suspended license due to a DUI – drugs. Bail was set at $15,000.

Friday, Jan 18

Forest Ave | 200 Block | LBMC Violation

7:54 p.m. LBPD received a report about a male “selling jewelry and burning incense blocking the walkway.” LBPD sent patrol to the area and contacted the subject.

High Drive & Aster St | Advised

4:50 p.m. LBPD received a report about juvies throwing paintballs. According to police reports, “A parental figure is on scene. Contact was made with three juveniles, who were all lectured for throwing paintballs.” The reporting person only wanted LBPD to make contact with the juvies involved. There was no damage to the vehicle. LBPD went out and did a patrol check of the area and contacted the juvies.

High Drive & Jasmine St | Suspicious

4:41 p.m. LBPD received a report about the reporting person’s vehicle being hit by paintballs. According to police reports, “The vehicle was hit on the passenger side and the front windshield when the RP was driving northbound on High Drive and came from the east bound side. He did not see anyone with a paintball gun. He does not want to prosecute.” 

S Coast Hwy & Blue Lagoon | DUI, Driving with a Blood Alcohol Content 0.08% or Higher

12:02 a.m. A 39-year-old Laguna Niguel woman was arrested on suspicion of DUI (bail was set at $2,500) and driving with a blood alcohol content of 0.08% or higher (bail was set at $2,500).

Thursday, Jan 17

Broadway St | 300 Block | Under the Influence of a Controlled Substance, Controlled Substance Paraphernalia, Warrant

3:03 p.m. Fenali Saipani Eli, 43, Laguna Beach, was arrested for being in possession of a controlled substance (bail was set at $500), controlled substance paraphernalia (bail was set at $500), and on an undisclosed warrant (bail was set at $10,000).

Laguna Canyon Road | 20000 Block | Sex Offender on School Property, Controlled Substance Paraphernalia, Resisting Arrest

12:57 p.m. Adam Jason Taylor, 31, Yorba Linda, was arrested for being a sex offender on school property (bail was set at $500), controlled substance paraphernalia (bail was set at $500), and resisting arrest (bail was set at $1,000).

Wednesday, Jan 16

S Coast Hwy | 100 Block | Warrant

8:29 p.m. Jeramie Dustin Kimble, 32, Yorba Linda, was arrested on a warrant for possession of controlled substance paraphernalia. Bail was set at $1,500.

Park Ave | 300 Block | Loitering

8:23 p.m. Terry Dwayne Sanders, 41, Laguna Beach, was arrested for loitering. Bail was unknown.

Temple Hills Drive| 600 Block | Patrol Check

3:27 p.m. LBPD received a report in reference to magazine solicitors. According to police records, “Magazine solicitors told the RP that he has police department permission to sell magazines. The male told the RP he just got out and is trying to make money.” LBPD went to the scene and gave the person a fine.

Legion St & Goff St | Patrol Check

12:09 p.m. LBPD received a report in reference to a mail carrier constantly driving the wrong way up Goff Street, between 12 and 3:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. According to police records, “The RP has talked to him and the carrier is unwilling to obey the law. The RP was advised to contact the post office. He did and was told, ‘there is nothing they can do.’” Dispatch contacted the post office to speak with a supervisor, who advised the supervisors are out of the Aliso Viejo office. LBPD called but they were closed for the day. The report continued, “The RP was advised to call immediately when he witnesses it occur.”

S Coast Hwy | 31700 Block | Warrant

12:25 p.m. Brian James Long, 36, Laguna Beach, was arrested on a warrant for possession of methamphetamine. Bail was set at $10,000.