Michael Minutoli sets goal of $5,000 for Greet-A-Thon fundraiser for Live for Others today and tomorrow

Michael Minutoli, Laguna’s Greeter, is a man with a mission. For the last three years, he has held a 24-hour Greet-A-Thon fundraiser in memory of Timothy Vorenkamp, a young man who passed away from a rare cancer, synovial cell carcinoma, three years ago at the young age of 18.

The Live For Others Foundation (L4OF) was established in December 2015 by Tim Vorenkamp and is dedicated to finding a cure for synovial sarcoma, a very rare form of soft-tissue cancer diagnosed primarily in teenagers and young adults.

The fourth 24-hour Greet-A-Thon fundraiser started today at 7 a.m. and continues until 7 a.m. tomorrow, Saturday, March 30.

In the first year, Minutoli raised $1,100; in 2017, he raised $1,400; and last year, he raised $3,300 ($2,700 in person and $500 online).

This year, Minutoli has set a new goal of $5,000 and to this end, he says, “This year, I’m going to do some footwork by going out and circulating among the businesses in town for donations on the spot or asking them to donate through the website.”

Michael Minutoli fundraiser

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Fourth Annual 24-hour Greet-A-Thon Fundraiser on Friday, March 29 and Saturday, March 30

And he has an added incentive in mind: “It would be great if people could stop by and get a photo with the Greeter.” He says that Tim’s college friends come by from 12 a.m. to 2 a.m. to keep him company.

Before he passed away, Tim had already generated $50,000 for Make A Wish and his own Live for Others Foundation. One item on his final wish list was to have lunch with Michael, the Greeter, because he wanted to know “what made him tick” and admired his positive, optimistic spirit.

Unfortunately, that meeting was never to be.

But hearing of Tim’s wish, Minutoli was determined to do something practical to honor Tim’s memory – thus the Greet-A-Thon.

Petra Vorenkamp, Tim’s mother, noted on social media last year what a blessing it was that Michael, a man without a bed or a home, was willing to give up 24 hours to help her son’s dream come true. 

Michael Minutoli statue

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Have your picture taken with the Greeter and donate to Live for Others

She told Stu News that Michael absolutely refuses to accept any of the money he raises. “He won’t even let me give him $10,” she says. “He’s a very special person, we love him, and we are more than grateful to him for doing this.”

People can continue to donate through the Live For Others Foundation website at http://l4of.org. All donations to the Live for Others Foundation are used to fund research to find a cure for synovial sarcoma and other rare pediatric diseases. Donations are also used to help patients and families in need while fighting this disease. L4OF is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization registered under the Orange County Community Foundation.

The Foundation also has a project called “Tim’s Room,” which aims to help families create loving and comfortable spaces within their homes for their young adults needing hospice and palliative care support, like Tim had in his Oak Street home. The foundation provides design and resources that will maximize comfort, quality of life, clinical care, and family interaction during this crucial stage of the journey.

For more information on Live for Others, go to http://l4of.org.

Mayor Bob Whalen to speak at State of the City Luncheon on May 2 at the Montage

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce will host its annual “State of the City” luncheon on Thursday, May 2, from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the Montage Laguna Beach.

The luncheon is a great opportunity to get an up-close look at city activities. Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen and staff will present a State of the City address. The Chamber of Commerce will provide a brief overview of the recent highlights of the past 12 months and goals for the near future.

As Mayor Bob Whalen states, “The Chamber’s State of the City Luncheon is always a packed house and offers a unique opportunity to step back and look at the big picture for our community. We welcome the chance to update everyone on the City’s recent efforts and future plans and to hear from our business community as to their priorities and needs. This is a two for one event – informative and fun!”

Mayor Bob Whalen

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Mayor Bob Whalen

This annual tradition brings out members across the community, including nonprofits, arts and cultural organizations, business and hospitality industry reps, and other civic-minded individuals. The event is open to the public.

As host of the event, the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce promotes, represents, and supports local businesses in Laguna, and advocates on their behalf. Celebrating its 102nd year of operation, the Chamber also serves as the business resource center for the community. 

On an ongoing basis, the Chamber hosts educational seminars, luncheons, and networking events for the local businesses and citizens.

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce has served the businesses of Laguna Beach since 1917 as a tool for promoting commerce and allowing members to connect to one another and the community.

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce serves over 200-member companies. Its core mission is to promote, represent, and support members of the business community.

Admission to the Luncheon is $85 per person. Registration is open through the Chamber’s website at www.lagunabeachchamber.org or by contacting the Chamber at (949) 494-1018. Sponsorship and advertising opportunities are also available. 

For questions or more information on the Laguna Beach Chamber, contact (949) 494-1018 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Montage is located at 30801 South Coast Hwy.

Laguna Beach looks to regain “Most Water Wise City” title this year during annual April challenge

Mayor Bob Whalen is rallying residents to take part in the annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation in hopes of regaining the city’s “Most Water Wise City” title that was surrendered to Gallup, New Mexico last year. “It’s a matter of civic pride,” stated Whalen. “Despite a valiant effort, Laguna Beach took third place in its population category last year. It’s time to take back the title.”

The annual challenge, which runs from April 1- 30, is a nonprofit national community service campaign that encourages leaders to inspire their residents to make a series of simple pledges at www.mywaterpledge.com to use water more efficiently, reduce pollution, and save energy. In return, residents can win $3,000 toward their Home Utility Payments, water saving fixtures, and hundreds of other prizes. Plus, one lucky charity will receive a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid to serve the community.

Laguna Beach rain

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

2018 LB County Water District Smartscape Expo

 “For the first time in eight years, California is drought free. Although water restrictions are no longer in place, all Californians must continue to work together to use water wisely,” stated Whalen. “In our drought-prone state, the next dry period could be right around the corner. Laguna Beach proudly supports the Wyland Mayor’s Challenge and its mission to raise awareness of our most precious resource, water.”

Last year, residents from over 3,800 cities in all 50 US states pledged to reduce their annual consumption of freshwater by three billion gallons, reduce waste sent to landfills by 79.9 million pounds, and prevent more than 177,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering our watersheds. The Challenge goes beyond recent drought issues and looks at the ways our water use will affect the future of our communities – from how we grow food to reducing polluted runoff. 

Laguna Beach Mayor Whalen

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Mayor Whalen is Laguna to band together to regain our “Most Water Wise City” title

While Californians have seen record rainfall this past winter, Laguna Beach residents remain committed to saving water. Due to the state’s history of drought, water conservation has become part of the Laguna lifestyle. 

“Our residents understand that they must continue to save water during periods of heavy rain to get us through the dry periods that are inevitable in California,” stated Renae Hinchey, general manager of the Laguna Beach County Water District. “This ongoing effort is important for long-term water reliability.” 

To participate, residents should go to www.mywaterpledge.com and then make a series of online pledges to conserve water on behalf of Laguna Beach. Cities compete in the following population categories: 5,000 - 29,999 residents, 30,000 - 99,999 residents, 100,000 - 299,999 residents, 300,000 - 599,999 residents, and 600,000+ residents. 

Participants earn a chance to win $3,000 toward their Home Utility Bills, and hundreds more eco-friendly prizes including Toro Irrigation Smart Controllers, ECOS home cleaning products, and home water fixture retrofits from EcoSystems Inc. In addition, residents can nominate a deserving charity from their city to receive a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Students and teachers are encouraged to take part, as well.

Laguna Beach tent

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Annual Smartscape Expo – Residents learn ways to conserve water

The 8th National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation is presented by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the U.S EPA WaterSense, The Toro Company, National League of Cities, Conserva Irrigation, EcoSystems Inc., and Earth Friendly Products (makers of ECOS).

Laguna Beach County Water District provides water service to 22,000 residents within an 8.5 square mile area of Laguna Beach. The District’s mission is to furnish a high quality, reliable water supply in a financially responsible manner, while promoting water-use efficiency. 

The Wyland Foundation was founded in 1993 by environmental artist Wyland (best known for his series of 100 monumental marine life murals) as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and preserving the world’s ocean, waterways, and marine life. The foundation encourages environmental awareness through community events, education programs, and public art projects.

Guest Column

Dem Boids

By Arnie Silverman

March 23 was Swallows Day in San Juan Capistrano. The celebrated, annual arrival of hirondelles (swallows to youse guys) may not be quite the exciting event that San Juan Capistrano promoters would like you to believe. When I had an office in Anaheim, with the improvement in service and my ability to advantage myself of really favorable fares for senior citizens (the world’s greatest “39-year-old” racquetball player admits to being in that category), I took to commuting in comfort on Metrolink several times a week.

I usually caught the “5:58” from San Juan Capistrano, and with a free bus ride from the Anaheim station to our building next to City Hall in Anaheim, arrived at my then office at 7 a.m. It was terrific. I read my LA Times or a book on the train, and after the bus ride, entered the office ready to do battle. The service was “Deusche” punctual, and the cars were clean. It was a great deal. The only reason I did not use it five days a week was that on workout/racquetball game days I drove to work.

A later train

On this particular day, I awakened quite tired from a brutal three games with a 22-year-old the night before. I won but felt the consequences. I decided to take the “7:01” instead of the regular “5:58.” Now, usually when I arrived at one of the town’s parking lots at the earlier time, mine was one of the first cars there. I could usually pick any spot I wanted. Not that day, however. The lot was full, and I had to drive around the area until I found a place. I did. It was on a street directly across from the lot, adjacent to an empty field. There were no trees, just the grassy field. I hurried to the station just as the northbound train arrived, boarded, and relaxed on the way to the office.

That evening the “6:10 p.m. southbound” glided into Anaheim Station right on time.  On my homeward bound trip I read my latest “read.” It occupied me seemingly for just minutes to the San Juan station. As I stepped down from the rail car, I hurried to beat my fellow passengers to the parking area. Everyone leaving the train at the same time caused a traffic jam even there. I pulled ahead of the crowd, somehow “made” the traffic light on Camino Capistrano (I was batting 1 for 30 beating that damned light), and headed to my beautiful, classic car. 

A nasty surprise

I was aghast. There it was, covered from one end to the other in slimy, dirty, disgusting, bird excrement. Now that car of mine was a 1978 Mercedes 300 CD. With its shiny blue sheen, its proud emblem pointing the way, and its truly classic, almost autocratic lines, it was one hell of a looker. I mean this baby was almost a family member. I had had it for some 16 years and ultimately put over 380,000 miles on it.

As I carefully climbed in, trying desperately to find an uncontaminated spot, I almost threw up looking through those front windows. It was truly revolting. Why this particular auto I do not know. I must have parked near a nesting area or maybe the flock just did not like the shade of blue. The crazy thing was that mine was the only one bombarded.

Gagging and barely able to see, I drove home. Instead of entering the garage, I parked near the garden hose at the side of the house. Without regard to chipping any paint, I hard-sprayed from front to back. An old towel applied vigorously helped remove the more stubborn deposits. However, scrub or not, the entire surface remained stained.  Wet and disgusted, I gave up. In the morning (a Saturday) I drove to a car wash to finish the job.  It took three run-throughs to eliminate all of the mess. From that day on, I took the earlier train.

World-renowned urbanist Richard Florida to headline LGBTQ Alliance Symposium on April 29 

The Laguna Beach LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Alliance, along with Visionary Sponsor and real estate investment firm Laguna Beach Company, and Title Sponsor Bank of America, announced registration is open for Diversity and The Creative Economy, a symposium featuring international best-selling author and urbanist Richard Florida. 

The symposium will be held on Monday, April 29 at Montage Laguna Beach from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. and will provide a platform for community members, local business, civic, legislative, cultural, and educational leaders to discuss how inclusion and creativity can foster economic mobility and prosperity for Orange County. 

A portion of the event’s proceeds will be donated to Laguna Beach Pride 365, Club Q Laguna at Laguna Beach Seniors, and The Blaze Bernstein Memorial Fund.

World renowned glasses

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Best-selling author and urbanist Richard Florida will speak at Montage Laguna Beach on April 29

“Many people don’t know what we mean by ‘inclusive prosperity,’” said Chris Tebbutt, co-founder, Laguna Beach LGBTQ Heritage & Culture Alliance. “We want people to understand. We want them to be inspired by what’s possible when our differences are truly honored and everyone feels like they belong. We want our communities to be excited about how taking specific actions can impact their bank accounts, from increased profits and home values to stronger service industries and talent retention. We want to take the word ‘diversity’ from being an elusive catchword to being a prosperous future with clear benefits to the economics, social vitality and well-being for everyone.”

Keynote speaker Richard Florida is a researcher and professor at University of Toronto, a distinguished fellow at New York University’s Schack Institute of Real Estate, and a visiting fellow at Florida International University. He has penned several international best sellers, including the award-winning The Rise of the Creative Class and his most recent book The New Urban Crisis. He is a senior editor for The Atlantic, where he co-founded the online publication CityLab, for which he also serves as editor-at-large. An entrepreneur, he also is the founder of the Creative Class Group, which works closely with companies and governments worldwide.

“My research has long suggested that tolerance and openness are key drivers of economic growth. I’m thrilled to join the LGBTQ Alliance in Laguna Beach and talk about the region’s future for inclusive prosperity,” said Richard Florida.

“Orange County is a tremendous place to live, work and do business and we can all play a role in attracting and retaining rich, diverse talent in our creative and economic marketplace,” said Allen Staff, Orange County market president, Bank of America. “Diversity and inclusion helps make our company not just a great place to work, but also that the diversity of our employees – in age, thought, style, sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture and experiences – makes us better positioned to serve our clients and drive business.”

World renowned logo

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Registration is open for Diversity and The Creative Economy, to be held on April 29 at Montage Laguna Beach

The event will feature live musical performances from students at the Orange County School of the Arts, remarks by U.S. Congressman Harley Rouda, a keynote from Richard Florida, and a panel discussion featuring Richard Florida, Chris Tebbutt, Mo Honarkar, CEO, Laguna Beach Company, and Alex Rhodes, Diversity & Inclusion executive at Bank of America. A book signing and VIP roundtable will follow the event.

“Compass is proud to be a partner in such an important initiative happening in Orange County as the message of the event is aligned with the fundamental values embraced by our company,” said Cari Young, Compass Managing Broker. “At Compass, belonging and inclusion are at the core of our mission to help everyone find their place in the world.”

General admission is $125 and includes complimentary breakfast. Sponsorship opportunities are still available. 

For more information and tickets, visit https://lagunabeachlgbtqalliance.org/tickets-sponsorship or contact Chris Tebbutt at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

Straight on til sunset

Straight on birds

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Photo by Alexey Bever

Shaw’s Cove on April 24, birds in perfect alignment, blue skies, and lovely flowers. A perfect spring day. Many species including ducks, herons, shorebirds, and blackbirds fly in a straight and level path while continuously flapping their wings.

Laguna Beach EDI Community Task Force presents Passport to Learning event for families

On Saturday, May 11 from 9 to 11 a.m.,  the Laguna Beach Early Development Index (EDI) Community Task Force invites the community to participate in a “Passport to Learning” event at the Laguna Presbyterian Preschool. 

The event is designed to help families with young children build fine and gross motor skills and effective communication strategies for school success.

“The Passport to Learning event is an incredible opportunity to learn alongside your child, further strengthening their foundation for learning,” said Laguna Presbyterian Preschool Director Anne Herzog. She continued, “Tips, tricks, tools, and encouragement for all will abound on this journey through early childhood. The event is interactive, informative, and fun for all ages!”

Laguna Beach church

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Beach EDI Community Task Force event will be held at Laguna Presbyterian Church on May 11

Throughout the event, families will be invited to travel between engaging learning stations to receive free resources and professional guidance via a licensed and/or credentialed specialist designed to support and encourage school readiness. Lakeshore Learning will be in attendance to offer free door prizes and early learning resources for young families.

“Creating opportunities for our local specialists and parents to come together to model and share research-based activities that are proven to be effective to improve school readiness is very rewarding,” said LBUSD Director of Special Education Irene White. She continued, “Last year’s event was so successful, we decided to offer it again. We hope that our community takes advantage of this amazing opportunity.” 

The Laguna Beach EDI Community Task Force sponsors this event. The EDI Task Force is dedicated to promoting academic, social-emotional, and physical readiness for young children.

Those interested in attending the event are encouraged to RSVP for the learning adventure to Sarah Daly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Spanish translation services will be available.

The Laguna Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Forest Ave.

American Legion Auxiliary Unit 222 collects “Poppy” donations for Active Duty Military and Veterans

The members of American Legion Auxiliary Unit 222, Laguna Beach, are asking for donations to their “Poppy Fund” for active duty military and veterans in exchange for a red paper poppy. 

Congress designated Friday, May 24 as “National Poppy Day” and the Auxiliary will have a table at Pavilions in North Laguna that day from 4 to 6 p.m.

American Legion poppies

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Poppy donations for Active Duty Military and Veterans 

Poppies will also be available on Memorial Day, Monday, May 27 during the 11 a.m. American Legion ceremony at Heisler Park, Monument Point. 

Donations can also be mailed to ALA Unit 222, P.O. Box 517, Laguna Beach, CA 92652 in exchange for a poppy. 

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

The Unit is a 501(c)(19), Federal ID 95-6050005.

Stephen Bryer’s Heart of the Healing Rose exhibit opens at T. Leo Art Gallery on Thursday

Heart of the Healing Rose, an exhibit by artist Stephen Bryer, opens in a solo showing at T. Leo Art Gallery on Thursday, June 6. Bryer says, “As a transcendentalist artist, I am inspired by the forms, colors and details I discover in nature…especially those found within the innermost reaches of the timeless rose. My artistic impetus is to create meaningful art that is beautiful, sensual and compelling. The depth experienced in life and relationships occurs similarly in flora, and I want my art to express this distinct quality. There is something uniquely powerful about the messages within a rose and with my art I seek to capture this higher frequency.”

Stephen Bryer's flesh rose

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Stephen Bryer’s art offers compelling beauty to touch your heart and mind

“My artistic interpretations are intimate photographic compositions, drawings and paintings rendered in a manner that expresses a profound connection to the divine feminine. This is the essential character of my art; the purpose for revealing it to people is that I believe it has the power to ignite a response within their hearts and minds that inspires them to live and love more completely.”

Stephen Bryer's blue rose

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The solo exhibit runs from June 6 - June 30

The three-week exhibit of Bryer’s rose art paintings, photographs, and textiles is meant to be more than just a showing of beautiful interpretive roses. Bryer says, “It is also an opportunity to begin sharing my vision of impacting the world with the compelling, beautiful nature of the rose, a divine creation that not only inspires, elevates and energizes people, but also intrinsically caresses them with a gentle healing quality. 

“Ultimately this profound effect positively changes people at their core, leading them to an awareness of the divine origin of the rose and their creator who left such a heartfelt fingerprint for humanity to encounter. My hope is by experiencing this art firsthand at the gallery, visitors will feel this power and return to their lives the better for it.” 

T. Leo Art Gallery is located at 550 S Coast Hwy. For more information, call (949) 309-7250.

For more information about Stephen Bryer, go to www.stephenbryer.com.

Always look forward 

Always look Nestor

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Photo by Leonard Porto III

“I’ll just look straight ahead and not down at the ground.” Nestor keeps telling himself that cats aren’t afraid of heights.

Afternoon tea now available at Montage Laguna Beach

Montage Laguna Beach has introduced the deliciousness and elegance of Afternoon Tea, now served every Saturday and Sunday starting at 2 p.m. in the newly refurbished Lobby Lounge overlooking the Pacific Ocean. 

Afternoon Tea provides a memorable experience with friends or family, for bridal and baby showers, birthdays and any other celebration – for locals and Montage guests alike.

Guests can relax in comfy chairs in the airy Lobby Lounge with stunning views of the Pacific and live entertainment in the background, with Savory selections on the menu like Cucumber-Mint, Caviar-Smoked Salmon, Egg Salad, and Lobster-Watercress Eclair sandwiches. 

Afternoon tea now snacks

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Teatime at the Montage now available on Saturdays and Sundays

The delectable Sweet Indulgences are Classic and Raisin Scones served with clotted cream and homemade strawberry and rose petal jams, Lemon-Blackberry Cream Buns, Valrhona Grand Cru Chocolate Roses, Raspberry-Violet Macaroons, Honey-Apricot Financier, and Signature Orange Almond Cake. 

Tea selections include Herbal varieties like Organic Peppermint Leaves and Hawaiian Paradise; the Scented Greens selection is Organic Health and Well-Being Green Tea; Signature Boutique Blended choices include White Strawberry Champagne and French Apple Streusel; and a Classic Blacks option is Lady Blue Earl Grey. 

The cost is $75 per guest ($95 with a glass of Morlet champagne) or $45 per child ages 4 to 12, plus gratuity and tax. Reservations are available by calling (949) 715-6420.

For more information, visit www.montagehotels.com/lagunabeach

Montage Laguna Beach is located at 30801 Coast Hwy.

Save the date: Girls Night Out benefitting Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach set for Sept 19

The 11th Anniversary of Girls Night Out, benefitting the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, will be held on Thursday, Sept 19, from 6 - 10 p.m. at the beautiful Wilson home. 

It will be the grand finale and mark 11 fabulous years of our community’s women supporting the Club. The ladies will enjoy an evening in a beautiful oceanfront home, amazing food, signature cocktails, wine, martinis, shopping, pampering, and fun. In addition to all of that, each lady will go home with a swag bag full of girly goodies. 

Save the night

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Tickets are on sale now for Girls Night Out 

Early bird tickets are selling for $150 and can be purchased at www.bgclagunabeach.org. Wilson Automotive Group, Montage Laguna Beach, Newport Lexus, Starfish, and Winston’s Crown Jewelers generously support this event.

The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach provides childhood experiences designed to keep children healthy, active, and “thinking” while having fun. The CEO of the Boys & Girls Club Pam Estes says, “The Boys & Girls Club has filled a vital role in our community and we will continue to do so for generations to come.” 

For more information, contact Michelle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 715-7584.

End of watch 

End of lifeguard

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Treasure Island Lifeguard, 6:45 p.m., always on alert – almost end of watch

Guest Column

Ancient Eastern secrets for healthy skin

By Vidya Reddy 

Do you ever feel like you’ve tried every skin-benefiting lotion and potion known to man, and yet do not see any benefits to your skin? 

Hello and welcome! This week, I welcome you to the beauty corner. 

Are you sick and tired of spending tons of time, money, and energy on complicated 10-step skin care regimens that are yielding no results? Ever feel like giving up altogether on the possibility of healthy skin? 

Fret no longer. Thanks to the ancient science of Ayurveda, which is the sister science of Yoga, it is possible to not only have healthy but glowing skin, which really radiates from the inside out. 

Ayurveda’s Approach to Healthy Skin 

Ayurveda, which is comprised of the words “Ayur,” meaning “life,” and “Veda,” meaning “knowledge,” is known as the science of life. As such, Ayurveda truly touches upon all of the myriad aspects of life that make it as full and rich as it is.

From digestion to psychology to sexual health to spirituality to skincare, Ayurveda, as a spiritual science of life, really covers it all, with incredible precision, clarity, and insight.

In the modern era, we work so hard to cover up our skin with various products, from moisturizers to toners to serums to lotions and creams that often deliver limited results, at best. At worst, these products, because they are all chemically based, cause our skin to react, which means we resort to wearing makeup, which then further ruins our skin, creating a vicious cycle. 

In Ayurveda, we work to actively promote health primarily by what we put into, versus onto, our bodies. Here are five surprising Ayurvedic skincare secrets that I have truly benefited from, which you, too, can begin to employ from within to activate your inner glow. 

Ancient Eastern doctor

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Photo by Johnny Antezana

Dr. Vidya Reddy offers five Ayurvedic skincare secrets

Avoid or cut down on heavy seafood intake: 

One of the classical Ayurvedic texts called Charaka Samhita outlines the causative factors of skin-related diseases and imbalances. One of these factors is “continuous intake of fish in large quantity.”

Because everything in Ayurveda is customized per individual, one person may be able to safely consume more seafood than another and actually benefit greatly from the seafood. As a general rule of thumb in Ayruveda, however, it would be best to cut down on heavy seafood intake, especially if you are seeking to improve your skin in any way. 

Do not mix milk with fruits, meat, salt, vegetables or honey: 

Ayurveda teaches that there are some things that simply do not go together. The foods listed above are called incompatible food combinations, which hinder the digestive process. Healthy, balanced digestion is considered the cornerstone of optimal health in Ayurveda, as healthy digestion reflects solid overall physical health. 

And, digestion is not something that happens in the stomach only. Skin is the largest organ of the body and is more vulnerable to disease, infection, injury, and imbalance than any other bodily structure. When we don’t digest our food properly, it doesn’t just affect our bodies internally; it is also reflected in the quality of our skin. That is why we focus so much in Ayurveda on avoiding those foods that cannot be easily digested, such as the incompatible combinations listed above.

Go to sleep and wake up early: 

Sleep is considered one of the three pillars of health, according to Ayurveda. The body actually heals itself as we sleep at night, ideally by 10 p.m. When we miss the ideal time for sleep and try to compensate by sleeping excessively during the daytime, our health suffers, and it shows up adversely on our skin. Excess daytime sleep is also one of the causative factors of skin-related conditions. 

Going to sleep early and waking up early, between four and six a.m., has changed my life in countless ways, giving me tremendous willpower, insight, and clarity, in addition to better skin. 

Ancient Eastern spices

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Healthy digestion reflects overall physical health

Do something to be of service, without any strings attached: 

Mental stress is a huge causative factor for skin problems. From Ayurveda, we learn that Sadvritta, a noble code of social and moral behavior, is an essential part of health that is just as important as what we put into and onto our bodies. So much of our stress in life comes from the kinds of relationships we have with others, as well as our own worries about our current and/or future security, whether that be physical, emotional, financial, etc. 

Whenever we are able to step out of our own suffering enough to help another, we are automatically filled with joy. Even if all we can do is spend an hour a week serving soup in a soup kitchen, that one hour can help us connect with our inherent goodness, bringing out our inner glow and the light of Sattva (an auspicious, peaceful, noble, and joyful state of mind that Ayurveda psychology teaches is our true state).

Beauty is as beauty does, after all. 

All the spiritual traditions of the world stress the importance of selfless service. Ayurveda is no exception – in the Charaka Samhita text, in addition to food and lifestyle corrections and developing better mental equanimity, it actually lists selfless service as one of the ways to recover from disease. 

When we act in beautiful ways, we are able to connect with the most beautiful part of ourselves, which is our own ever-glowing, eternally radiant, indwelling soul. 

In Peace, Love and Gratitude. 

‘Til next time. 

Dr.Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC 


Early bird prices for Chamber of Commerce and KX 93.5’s Taste of Laguna end today

For those who love fabulous food and music at good prices, today is the last day to purchase early bird tickets, starting at a reduced price of $75, for the October 3 Chamber of Commerce and KX 93.5 Taste of Laguna event at the Festival of Arts. Early bird VIP tickets at $125 include early admission, reserved complimentary parking, two drink tickets, and a private bar/reception/viewing area. Ticket prices will become $85 and $150 (for VIP) after 11:59 p.m. tonight, August 2. 

Early bird dancing

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Dancing the night away

The Taste of Laguna Food & Music Festival combines two of the community’s favorite events, the Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of Laguna and KX 93.5’s annual concert, into one mega evening for foodies and live music fans. 

More than 30 local restaurants and award-winning chefs will showcase their most popular menu items, signature recipes, and specialty dishes. The festival stage will spotlight four decades of cover bands each hour with 60s music at 6 p.m. with Woody and the Longboards, 70s music at 7 p.m. with Polyester Express, 80s music at 8 p.m. with Flashback Heart Attack, and 90s music at 9 p.m. with Sega Genecide. 

Early bird ceviche

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Gourmet fare

The bar will include special selections from Laguna Beach Beer Company and Wine Gallery, as well as handcrafted cocktails made with Tito’s Vodka. Plus, attendees will get to take advantage of a robust mobile auction featuring unique experiences, vacations, and items. 

All of the proceeds of this event co-benefit nonprofits the Chamber of Laguna Beach and KX 93.5. 

For tickets, visit www.tasteoflagunabeach.com

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

Guest Column

You’re stressing me out 

By Vidya Reddy

Hello, this week I have the pleasure of welcoming you not only to the Happiness Corner but also to the Chill Out Corner. 

How often do you use this statement: “you are stressing me out?” It is commonplace on a daily basis to hear people using such a statement. While what we say is primarily true, on a deeper level, the truth is, stress is actually something else. 

The dictionary defines stress as “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.” And in a medical or biological context, stress is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stresses can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure). Stress can initiate the “fight or flight” response, a complex reaction of neurologic and endocrinologic systems.

Our response

So, stress is primarily our response to an external or internal unpleasant or unwanted trigger. The keyword here is not external, internal, or pressure, but “our response.” And since stress is our response to a given person, situation, or event, it logically follows that since each of us is different, our responses will be different, and hence our ability to cope with stress will be different. It is said that one man’s meat is another man’s poison. What this means is that something that is stressful to you might not be stressful to me and vice versa. In fact, I might actually thrive in the very environment, using that stress as a positive motivation, in which you struggle, suffer, and agonize. 

What happens when we feel stress is that we usually blame a person or an event causing the stress. We want that person or that event to change, to behave differently, so that we can become comfortable. Our ego blocks our perception, and does not let us understand or accept that the cause of the stress lies within us. It squarely blames others, so that it does not have to do anything, to combat the stress. Others are responsible, they are stressing me out, what the heck can I do? 

Youre stressing doctor

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Photo by Johnny Antezana

Dr. Vidya Reddy

I am perfect, others are not, is what the ego makes us believe, and we believe this. Which gives us permission to throw the responsibility for our stress on outer triggers. We often seek to escape these triggers by turning to distractions – alcohol, smoking or drugs, shopping, foo – and hope and pray that the stress will pass. It does, since everything in life is subject to change, given enough time, but then very soon we are confronted by a new set of triggers, and we are back to square one. 

Imagine that there are two buildings, A and B, standing side by side. A is built with poor materials and workmanship, while B is built with excellent materials and brilliant workmanship. After a few years, building A has all its paint peeling, there are leaks from the roof, the plaster is falling, and then the termites descend. The building has become dilapidated. Building B, on the other hand, looks brand new even after years. 

The story of stress

This is the story of stress. One who is internally strong and has great coping skills can withstand any stress. Like building B, it does not matter how much the sun shines, how much it rains, how much the wind blows, or how much salt there IS in the ocean breeze – building B is intrinsically strong, and all these factors, which created havoc on building A, are of no consequence to building B. 

If you are feeling stressed often (which in modern times, who isn’t?), instead of seeing where or who you can to throw the blame, and instead of protecting ourselves with excuses, it is better to sit, and introspectively look at our own selves. Find out where we are weak, find out why the various triggers are causing stress, and see how we can change ourselves, our thinking, our perceptions, our attitudes and beliefs, so that we become strong, like the building B. 

Youre stressing praying

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

How to practice body scan

Here is a great tool to use to become resilient to triggers of stress and become strong like building B: How to Practice Body Scan Meditation. If you would like more information, techniques, and meditations on happiness, please refer to my podcast at: https://naturally-happy.com/podcast/.

The body scan can be performed while lying down, sitting, or in other postures. The steps below are a guided meditation designed to be done while sitting. 

Especially for those new to the body scan, I recommend using the following script for guidance for yourself or for leading this practice for others.

Script for body scan

Begin by bringing your attention into your body.

Please gently and slowly close your eyes. 

You can notice your body seated wherever you’re seated, feeling the weight of your body on the chair, on the floor.

Take a few deep breaths.

And as you take a deep breath, bring in more oxygen, enlivening the body. 

And as you exhale, have a sense of relaxing more deeply.

You can notice your feet on the floor, notice the sensations of your feet touching the floor. The weight and pressure, vibration, heat.

You can notice your legs against the chair, pressure, pulsing, heaviness, lightness.

Notice your back against the chair.

Bring your attention into your stomach area. If your stomach is tense or tight, let it soften. Take a breath.

Notice your hands. Are your hands tense or tight? See if you can allow them to soften.

Notice your arms. Feel any sensation in your arms. Let your shoulders be soft.

Notice your neck and throat. Let them be soft. Relax.

Soften your jaw. Let your face and facial muscles be soft.

Then notice your whole-body present. Take one more breath.

Be aware of your whole body as best you can. Take a breath. And then when you’re ready, slowly and gently you can open your eyes. 

In Peace, Love and Gratitude. 

‘Til next time. 

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


Laguna Beach Books welcomes local bestselling author Kaira Rouda on Sunday

On Sunday, Sept 8 at 4 p.m., Laguna Beach Books is pleased to welcome local author Kaira Rouda to the store. Kaira will be discussing and signing copies of her most recent book, The Favorite Daughter. There is no charge for this event. 

Rouda is an accomplished business leader, entrepreneur, national speaker, and internationally bestselling and award-winning author. A former magazine editor and society columnist, Rouda won the Stevie Award for Women in Business for creating the first female-focused residential real estate brand, Real Living, and growing the brand to more than 22 states before its sale to Berkashire Hathaway. 

Rouda’s first book, Real You Incorporated: 8 Essentials for Women Entrepreneurs, led to a national speaking tour where she inspired thousands. Turning to a full-time writing career, her most recent works are Best Day Ever and The Favorite Daughter

The Favorite Daughter is another gripping novel of psychological suspense from Rouda set in an upscale Southern California community.

Laguna Beach Rouda

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Courtesy of Kaira Rouda 

Kaira Rouda joins Laguna Beach Books on Sunday, Sept 8 to discuss her recent book, “The Favorite Daughter”

The perfect home. The perfect family. The perfect lie. 

Jane Harris lives in a sparkling home in an oceanfront gated community in Orange County. It’s a place that seems too beautiful to be touched by sadness. But exactly one year ago, Jane’s oldest daughter, Mary, died in a tragic accident and Jane has been grief-stricken ever since. Lost in a haze of anti-depressants, she’s barely even left the house. Now that’s all about to change. 

It’s time for Jane to reclaim her life and her family. Jane’s husband, David, has planned a memorial service for Mary and three days later, their youngest daughter, Betsy, graduates high school. Yet as Jane reemerges into the world, it’s clear her family has changed without her. Her husband has been working long days – and nights – at the office. Her daughter seems distant, even secretive. And her beloved Mary was always such a good girl – dutiful and loving. But does someone know more about Mary, and about her last day, than they’ve revealed? 

The bonds between mothers and daughters, and husbands and wives should never be broken. But you never know how far someone will go to keep a family together.

Laguna Beach cover

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Submitted photo

“The Favorite Daughter” is an action-packed thriller by Laguna local Kaira Rouda 

Rouda has received numerous awards for her community service, including the national Kiwanis Service to Mankind Award, among many others. She lives in Laguna Beach with her husband, Congressman Harley Rouda, and her four twenty-something children.

For more information, visit www.lagunabeachbooks.com.

Laguna Beach Books is located at 1200 South Coast Hwy.

Friday the 13th, frightful or fable? This one features first full moon in almost 20 years


As far as I know, there isn’t a word for fear of alliteration, and obviously, I don’t suffer from it. But if you have paraskavedekatriaphobia or friggatriskaidekaphobia – the fear of unlucky days – this is a bad day for you, even with the appearance of a unique celestial event.

For the first time in almost 20 years, a rare Harvest Moon will appear in the sky on a Friday the 13th. The last time the U.S. saw a full moon on Friday the 13th was Oct 13, 2000, and it won’t happen again until Aug 13, 2049. According to NASA, it’s called the Harvest Moon because it’s the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox.

Many suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia

However, this extraordinary occurrence may be of little solace to a large number of folks.

Experts say that friggatriskaidekaphobia affects 17-21 million people and estimate that businesses, especially airlines, suffer from severe losses on Friday the 13th. Some people are so paralyzed with superstition that they also refuse to buy a house, or act on a hot stock tip.

“It’s been estimated that in the U.S., $800 or $900 million is lost in business on this day because people will not fly or do business they would normally do,” said the late Donald Dossey, who was also the founder of the Stress Management Center and Phobia Institute in Asheville, N.C.

Friday the Harvest moon

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Look for the Harvest Moon tonight, the first time it’s appeared on a Friday the 13th since the year 2000

Triskaidekaphobia, or the fear of the number 13, is even more widespread. So much so that many high-rise buildings, hotels, and hospitals skip the 13th floor, and many airports do not have gates numbered 13. Other ominous associations: A witches coven consists of 13 members; Tarot Card number 13 is the Death Card, depicting the Grim Reaper; there are 13 steps leading to the gallows, 13 knots in a hangman’s noose, and the guillotine blade falls 13 feet.

 In many parts of the world, having 13 people at the dinner table is considered bad luck. Some think that particular association came from the bible, as there is a biblical reference to 13 as an unlucky number. Judas, the apostle said to have betrayed Jesus, was the 13th guest at the Last Supper. (As per nationalgeographic.com).


Very little is known about the origins of the day’s notoriety. Some historians believe that the superstitions surrounding it arose in the late 19th century. The first documented mention of the day can be found in a biography of Italian composer Gioachino Rossini, who died on a Friday the 13th. Also, in ancient Rome, witches reportedly gathered in groups of 12. The 13th was believed to be the devil.

Speak of the devil

This day spawned many disturbing but fruitful endeavors. The commercially successful Friday the 13th enterprise includes 12 horror movies, a television series, and several books that focus on curses and superstitions. Even though the films and the television series consistently received negative reviews from critics, they have a huge following. The mask worn by the key character in the films, Jason Voorhees, is one of the most known images in popular culture.

Strange coincidences also shadow this cursed day. Legendary horror writer William Peter Blatty, who penned The Exorcist, passed away on Friday the 13th of January 2017. If that wasn’t tragic enough, the news followed the death – on the same day – of the Catholic priest who inspired the iconic horror story.

Friday the Boris reading

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Black cats don’t want to scare people, they’re too busy reading (Boris the


There are numerous well-known superstitions identified with Friday the 13th. Fear of black cats is number one. “Don’t let a black cat cross your path,” the saying goes. Not only are they supposedly a sign of bad luck, but in folklore, black cats can be witches in disguise. 

Also beware of:

--Mirrors: If you break a mirror, kiss seven years of luck goodbye. 

--Ladders: Walking under a ladder is bad luck – or a bad choice – nothing good can come of it.

--Salt: If you spill salt, you’re supposed to throw it over your shoulder to avoid getting bad luck. 

--Purses: You should never leave your purse on the floor if you want to avoid bad luck, but where else is there to put it in a restaurant?

--6.66: If a bill totals $6.66, or you receive that much change, you should either buy something else or leave a penny from your change to avoid bad luck. 

--Umbrellas: Opening an umbrella indoors is said to bring bad luck. (Didn’t we all know this one.)

--Cutting your hair: If you cut your hair on Friday the 13th, legend says someone in your family will die. 

--Funerals: If a funeral procession passes you on Friday the 13th, you will be the next to die.

--Cemeteries: To avoid bad luck when passing a cemetery, hold your breath until you see a black or brown dog. This could be a tricky one.

How often do they happen?

On average, there is a Friday the 13th once every 212.35 days. We have two Friday the 13ths in 2019 – today and December 13 – because 2019 is a common year (not a leap year) that started on a Tuesday. Whenever a common year of 365 days starts on a Tuesday, it’s inevitable that the months of September and December will start on a Sunday, and that means the 13th will be on a Friday. That sounds unnecessarily complicated.

All years have at least one but can never have more than three. The longest we can go without seeing a Friday the 13th is 14 months.

According to www.timeanddate.com, the superstitions associated with this day are more fable than frightful, and there is very little evidence to show that Friday the 13th is indeed an unlucky day. Many studies have shown that Friday the 13th has little or no effect on events like accidents, hospital visits, and natural disasters.

But try to tell that to someone with paraskavedekatriaphobia or triskaidekaphobia, and unfortunately, it’s only 13 weeks until the next Friday the 13th.

Laguna Beach residents participate in worldwide climate strike at Main Beach on Friday

In advance of the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, strikers worldwide held a protest to bring more awareness to the climate challenges we currently face, as well as a call to action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Friday was a historic day for the climate awareness movement. According to vox.com, it was the largest climate strike in world history. Activists estimate there were four million strikers around the globe. 

Laguna Beach Reif

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Photo by Bryce Reif

Large crowd participated in strike on Friday at Main Beach

Last Friday, Laguna Beach residents participated in the worldwide protest with their own strike at Main Beach, organized by local youths.

It all began back in 2018. In response to the growing youth movement of climate strikes across the globe in February of last year initiated by Greta Thunberg –– a Swedish girl who made an urgent plea for climate action — Laguna Beach joined in. 

Laguna Beach two boys

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Keanu and Zen Mir (holding signs above their heads)

At the time, Niz Mir and Laguna Beach families worked together to raise their children’s voices and create more awareness locally by holding a protest. Her two boys, Zen and Keanu, became part of it.

Laguna Beach lifeguard

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Beach joins the global climate strike

Mir says, “The severe weather extremes impact us globally and locally. As a coastal community, we are impacted by rising sea levels; record-breaking sea surface temperatures, which affect our marine ecosystem; and extreme weather, including periods of drought, heat, and excessive rain.”

As per reports, the Global Climate Strikes, inspired by Thunberg, may end up being the largest mass protest for action on global climate challenges in history.

Guest Column

October & Taste of Laguna 

By J.J. Ballesteros

President, Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and KX 93.5 FM held its first joint event last week. The Taste of Laguna Food & Music Festival was a huge success. We could not be more pleased with the turnout and positive feedback we have received. We had over 1,200 people in attendance, 34 restaurants serving amazing food, and four bands playing to keep people dancing. We had a total of 82 Silent Auction items and are honored to have had 19 sponsors supporting the event.

From the start, both the Chamber and KX 93.5 wanted to keep the price of admission the same as last year while we strived to provide more value in the lineup of music and auction items. We also wanted this to be a true community event where everyone came together and celebrated our great restaurants, each other, and town. 

October & Tommy Bahama

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Tasty fare from Tommy Bahama 

We are proud of the dedicated team, including Tyler and Monica McCusker, Ashley von Gremp, and Chamber Executive Director Paula Arnold. There was also a team of Chamber Ambassadors and the staff from KX 93.5 who worked together and made this a night to remember. 

I would like to personally thank everyone who attended, purchased auction items, and supported our event by bringing friends and having a great time! Additional thanks go to the Festival of Arts and Terra Laguna Beach for use of their facilities and working with us to provide such an enjoyable night for our residents. We look forward to an even bigger and better event next year!

October & Sega Genecide

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Sega Genecide plays at Taste of Laguna Food & Music Festival

In other Chamber news, we are continuing to work with the City and the Urban Economist firm hired in April to provide the City new data and analysis on our downtown businesses and to suggest ways the downtown experience can be enhanced for both residents and business owners. Our goal is to have the results by the end of November, and we are looking forward to what the analyses and suggestions are.

Our next event is Small Business Saturday, scheduled for Saturday, Nov 30. The Chamber has already created a committee comprised of business owners and store managers. We are creating a campaign to bring maximum awareness for our residents to shop local and support our local businesses this holiday season. More details to follow next month. 

Other events to note: 

A Sexual Harassment Training Seminar will be held on October 22 from 7:30 - 10 a.m. at the Boys & Girls Club in the Canyon. The presenter is Chamber Board Member Dawn Knepper of Buchalter Law Firm. Dawn is certified in Labor and Law. 

Also, on October 22 is a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Harley Laguna Beach from 4:30 - 7:30 p m. Chef Greg Daniels will be offering small appetizers and discounted cocktails. 

On October 23, the Ballesteros Real Estate Group will have their Ribbon Cutting Ceremony from 5:30 - 7 p.m. at 801 Glenneyre, Suite E. Appetizers, wine, and beer will be offered. 

For any questions on events or any other items please contact Ashley von Gremp at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at (949) 494-1018.

Thank you, Laguna for a fantastic September and memorable Taste of Laguna Food & Music Festival. We hope to see you soon!

Spooktacular Paw-ty options for your pets

By Diane Armitage, Best Of Laguna Beach™

As Halloween fast approaches, there are plenty of events popping up that cater to kids and adults, alike. Fortunately, Halloween also includes the other important peeps in our lives, too – our pets. There are two upcoming events that are simply “can’t miss,” even if you don’t own a pet of your own. 

The Venerable Yappy Howl-O-Ween – Thursday, Oct 24

For years now, The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel has catered to dogs and the owners they choose to bring along at their monthly “Yappy Hour.” In October, though, it’s an all-out blitz with hundreds of dogs showing up to strut their inventive costumes in the annual Howl-O-Ween Parade & Contest. (Participation is $10 per dog.)

While a panel of judges chooses the various prize winners, dogs consort with their buddies, catch up on the latest news over flavored cocktails (beef, chicken, vegan, and bacon-flavored water), and go from vendor to vendor to collect on their own version of Halloween candy. (As more vendors attend this event, I find it extremely helpful for early holiday shopping on behalf of my various dog and cat nieces and nephews.) 

Spooktacular Paw ty spider

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Photo by The Ritz-Carlton, Laguna Niguel

Howl-O-Ween Parade & Contest at The Ritz-Carlton

At the same time, humans enjoy human cash bar cocktails and tasty bites and barbecue provided by the resort. All proceeds collected for the contest and happy hour go toward the Veterans Initiative of Canine Companions for Independence, a nonprofit organization that enhances the lives of people with disabilities by providing highly trained assistance dogs and ongoing support. 

The Rowdy Newcomer: Woofstock – Sunday, Oct 20

Here’s your chance to try your pet’s costume a few days before the Yappy Howl-O-Ween Parade and enjoy an entire afternoon of family fun at the same time. 

Do up your dog in his or her Halloween costume and head on down to the grass area (of course) at Doheny Beach for WOOFSTOCK. Entry is free but bring cash for the food and drink.

Spooktacular Paw ty pirate

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Submitted photo

WOOFSTOCK at Doheny Beach

This new event is presented by the San Onofre Parks Foundation in partnership with California State Parks, and all proceeds benefit the SOPF. 

Many dog organizations and vendors will be available with amazing dog toys and treats, including www.PricelessPetRescue.org with adoptable pets.

While pets participate in a parade and costume contest, humans can enjoy live music, doggie demos, a Beer & Wine Garden (sponsored by Artifex and 14 Hands Winery), Wienerschnitzel hot dogs (of course) as well as other food vendors, raffles, giveaways and more. 

More Human-Related Halloween Events to Come!

As Halloween becomes more popular, there are a number of fun events cropping up in the weeks ahead. I’m scrambling to get them all loaded in my www.TheBestofLagunaBeach calendar, but feel free to send me any Halloween-related events for free inclusion, and I’ll be doing a follow-up column with my “best of” picks. 

The best-selling author and blogger on The Best of Laguna Beach™, Diane Armitage is on an endless quest for the most imaginative adventures in Laguna’s restaurants, events, and lifestyle. Check out chef interviews, retail and restaurant news, and favorite events at www.TheBestofLagunaBeach.com and follow on Instagram @BestOfLagunaBeach (look for Diane’s smiling face).

I Never Saw Another Butterfly opens tomorrow at Laguna Playhouse

Laguna Playhouse’s “Theatre For A New Generation” brings back I Never Saw Another Butterfly by Celeste Raspanti and directed by Donna Inglima. This powerful and important play returns to the Playhouse as the country (and Orange County) sees a dramatic rise in the number of anti-Semitic acts of hatred. 

I Never Saw Another Butterfly will perform Saturday, Oct 19 through Sunday, Oct 27. 

Over 15,000 Jewish children passed through Terezin, and only about a hundred were still alive when Terezin was liberated at the end of the war.

I Never Saw Another Butterfly

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“I Never Saw Another Butterfly” will be performed at Laguna Playhouse Oct 19 through Oct 27

 One of the survivors, Raja, having lived through it all, teaching the children when there was nothing to teach with, helping to give them hope when there was little enough reason for hope, creating a little world of laughter, of flowers and butterflies behind the barbed wire, tells the true story of the children. It’s her play and it’s theirs. 

There were no butterflies at Terezin, of course, but for the children, butterflies became a symbol of defiance, making it possible for them to live on and play happily while waiting to be transported. 

Director of Education & Outreach Dylan Russell states, “Part of what makes the Laguna Playhouse Conservatory such a unique place to train is the opportunity for young performers to work with professional directors, to work with adult actors from the community and be exposed to sophisticated and challenging material that features young characters, themes, and perspectives. Celeste Raspanti’s historical docudrama continues to hold powerful messages for our world today. I am thrilled to have Donna Inglima at the helm to lead this group of talented actors. Her experience and expertise will provide students with an incredible foundation for future acting endeavors.”

Performances will be Saturdays at 1 and 5 p.m.; Sundays at 1 p.m.; Thursday, Oct 24 and Friday, Oct 25 at 7 p.m. There will be two student matinees Thursday, Oct 24 and Friday, Oct 25 at 10 a.m.

Tickets range from $15 - $25 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling (949) 497-2787 ext. 229. Prices are subject to change.

Barber, Slowskys and Spencer-Devlin featured at LOCA brunch event on Sunday

  LOCA Arts Education invites everyone to its Annual Meeting and champagne brunch on Sunday, Oct 27 from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Healy House on the Sawdust Festival grounds. 

Glass artists John Barber, Jane and Patty Slowsky, and Muffin Spencer-Devlin will present works, and explain differences between blowing, fusing, slumping, and other processes. 

Barber Slowskys artist

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Photo by Mike Tauber

John Barber is among artists to be featured at LOCA brunch on Sunday

Updates on LOCA’s community service programs, such as Arts in Schools and Waymakers Youth Shelter, will be presented. The exciting lineup of public workshops, including monthly Art Talks and Laguna Landscapes, will be introduced. 

Barber Slowskys glass

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Photo by Mike Tauber

John Barber’s amazing glass art 

Prize drawings include certificates for a dining and stay package at La Casa del Camino Hotel and K’ya Bistro, dining at Reunion Kitchen and Salt Creek Grille, and a gift basket from Old Pottery Place. A sale of wood sculptures by Betty Haight and Claudia Olsen and more art will be offered. 

The cost is $20 or free to LOCA members. 

To register, visit www.locaarts.org or call (949) 363-4700. 

The Sawdust Festival is located at 935 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Daybreak park

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut 

Late sunrise over Alta Laguna Park – this time of year, the sun doesn’t rise until 7 a.m.

“Give It Forward” this holiday season by supporting food drive for Laguna Food Pantry

Katrina Martino, owner of Hudson Salon & Spa, has partnered with several local businesses to form “Give It Forward,” a collective community effort by Hudson, to support a local food drive for Laguna Food Pantry. The November food drive will continue through Saturday, Nov 16, and the drop-off locations are listed below.

Laguna Food Pantry’s nonprofit is an almost completely volunteer-run enterprise that provides free, fresh, nutritious groceries to individuals and families in need, not just those who live in Laguna Beach.

Food items at the Pantry are purchased from regional food banks and donated by local markets and private donors. The Pantry is funded by generous donors, corporate and private foundation grants, churches, schools, and local government.

Give it forward flyer food basket

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Most requested food items

Executive Director of Laguna Food Pantry Anne Belyea says, “We are so grateful to the local Laguna businesses (Hudson Salon & Spa, Art of Fitness, Rhythm Ride, Catmosphere, The Vault Clothing Stores, The Shop, Hobie, Brass Tack, and Yoga Sapien) that are joining together in support of the Laguna Food Pantry with a ‘Give It Forward’ food drive this month! Special thanks to Katrina Martino with the Hudson Salon & Spa for coordinating the efforts. Every weekday, the Laguna Food Pantry collects and distributes over 5,000 lbs. of free, fresh groceries to over 100 families, most of whom have children.”

“This holiday season, give it forward, please support our local food drive, and help support your neighbors in need,” says Martino. 

Laguna Food Pantry’s most requested food items are: canned tuna and chicken, peanut butter and jelly, pasta and pasta sauce, rice and beans, and cereal.

The following businesses have partnered to collect donations and will have bins available at their locations, and in some cases, they are offering discounts to those who donate.

Give it forward flyer

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Submitted photo

Look for this flyer on the donation bin

--The Hudson Salon & Spa – Katrina Martino 

Drop-off location: 361 Forest Ave, #104 

(Offering 30 percent off new services/gift certificates/raffle for facial services.)

--Art of Fitness – Marian Keegan and Fernanda Rocha 

Drop-off location: 1080 S Coast Hwy 

--The Vault clothing stores – Gila Leibovitch 

Drop-off location: 361 Forest Ave

(Gila is offering 20 percent off for customers in her store.)

--Rhythm Ride – Stephanie Chapel 

Drop-off location: 100 S Coast Hwy, #209a 

(Steph of Rhythm Ride is doing a raffle to win prizes.)

--Catmosphere – Gail Landau 

Drop-off location: 381 Forest Ave, Suite 100A

(Starting November 15, offering 15 percent off all retail and logo items in the café.)

--Hobie – Mark Christy 

Drop-off location: 294 Forest Ave 

--The Shop – Jessica Watson

Drop-off location: 1020 S Coast Hwy

--Brass Tack – Kristin 

Drop-off location: 311 Ocean Ave 

--Yoga Sapien – Lori Khan 

Drop-off location: 610 N. Pacific Coast Hwy, Ste 208 

If readers know of a family that is in need, please contact Katrina Martino at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

To donate funds directly to Food Pantry, go to www.lagunafoodpantry.org/give.

Nuance presents Champagne and Shopping in support of Laguna Dance Festival on Dec 3

Nuance Home and Lifestyle boutique will host a shopping event in support of Laguna Dance Festival on Tuesday, Dec 3 from 5 to 8 p.m.

Guests are invited to meet the organization’s founder and artistic director Jodie Gates and mingle over sparkling wine and refreshments. Nuance owner-designer Lisa McDennon will donate 20 percent of the event’s sales to Laguna Dance Festival.

Nuance presents inside

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Submitted photo 

Nuance Home and Lifestyle boutique is located in the HIP District 

McDennon and boutique manager Lara Lanfried have curated a large selection of beautiful home accessories, tabletop items, and jewelry perfect for holiday giving. McDennon’s award-winning lighting fixture designs will also be on display. 

Gates and her board of directors have produced the Festival with a wide variety of world-class dance companies for 15 years, as well as offered master dance classes, free public performances and demonstrations, and a weeklong summer dance intensive. She also currently serves as vice dean and director of the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance.

Laguna Dance Festival is one of Orange County’s major annual cultural events and continues to be an important showcase for new and established dance companies and artists. Laguna Dance Festival’s mission is to present world-class dance performance, increase public appreciation for the art, and provide quality dance education.   

For more information, visit www.lagunadancefestival.org

Nuance is located in the Old Pottery Place complex at 1200 South Coast Hwy in Laguna Beach’s HIP (Historic and Interesting Places) District.

The season of giving: some suggestions


As readers know, Stu News Laguna has partnered with Net-Works Laguna Beach in the creation of “Laguna Cares Network,” a series featuring stories about those who bring care to the community. Together with Pastor Don Sciortino, we envision Laguna Cares Network as a site for relationship building and the sharing of resources with organizations that serve in our city. 

This is the third article in the series.

• • •

During this season, there are so many individuals and families in need, it’s difficult to know where and how to make an impact. The holidays are quickly approaching, and this week the nation celebrated #GivingTuesday, a perfect way to kick off the giving season.

Laguna has many nonprofits that tirelessly work to fulfill these needs during the holidays. Here are some opportunities to give:

Laguna Exchange/Christmas gifts for the homeless

Net-Works Laguna Beach invites the community to the annual Christmas Breakfast and Celebration with Laguna’s homeless friends. This year it will be held on Sunday, Dec 22 at the Woman’s Club at 286 St. Ann’s Dr, with breakfast at 9 a.m., and the celebration beginning at 10 a.m. All are invited to come together for this special time to serve and enjoy good food, and bring family and friends to honor Christmas together. 

Net-Works LB is asking for help in giving out 100 hooded windbreakers as Christmas gifts to the homeless. Each windbreaker costs $15. If community members are interested in buying one (or contributing toward one) or buying more than one, make a check out to Net-Works LB and send it to 303 Broadway, Ste 107, Laguna Beach, CA 92651 or link to PayPal from the following website: www.net-workslb.org.

Laguna Day Workers Center

David Peck of the South County Crosscultural Center says that they are in need of jackets for the workers at the Laguna Day Workers Center (LDWC). The jackets can be dropped off any weekday from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. at 1700 Laguna Canyon Rd.

The season day worker site

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Day Workers Center

LDWC works hard to provide the most effective job site possible. At the LDWC, contractors and homeowners find reliable, honest, and hardworking employees, as the staff matches workers with employers’ specific tasks. 

In this way they believe they can best implement the mission of the Crosscultural Council: helping neighbors bridge cultural differences to benefit the entire community.

La Playa Center 

La Playa, which is also part of South County Crosscultural Center, is always in need of clothes and toys for preschoolers – and blankets. Unwrapped items can be dropped off at the Boys & Girls Club, 1085 Laguna Canyon Frontage Rd. 

La Playa is a free English-as-Second Language (ESL) school with free childcare that is housed at the Boys & Girls Club. The program runs from 8:15 to 11 a.m. Monday through Thursday, follows the LBUSD school calendar, and offers three levels of ESL instruction. They also present workshops on nutrition, childcare, and child development.

Waymakers Youth Shelter Laguna Beach 

Waymakers Youth Shelter LB provides a six-bed shelter for youths between the ages of 11 and 17 and supports youths and their families who are in crisis.

Waymakers’ Adopt-a-Family program coordinates the generosity of people with the specific needs of victims of crime and their families. Victims of violent crime and their families are often devastated both emotionally and financially so putting together a Christmas or other holiday celebration can be a very real challenge. 

The season Waymakers

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Waymakers residence for youths and families in crisis

In many cases, the only holiday food and gifts these families receive come through their annual Adopt-A-Family campaign. A holiday sponsor provides not only gifts for the holiday, but also hope for the future.

Waymakers Victim Advocates work with these struggling families to create a holiday wish list. These wish lists often include basic everyday items such as laundry detergent, diapers, baby blankets, groceries, as well as warm clothing and toys.

Another way to give is to purchase something from the residents’ wish list.

To Adopt-A-Family, purchase from the wish list, or donate, click here. 

Tony’s Treehouse Adopt-A-Family

Tony’s Treehouse is a nonprofit organization founded by Becky Martinez in memory of her nine-year-old son named Tony. The legacy he left his family and friends is one of giving, loving, and living life to its fullest extent. 

Adopt-A-Family Program during the holidays aids local families dealing with financial struggles. Volunteers rally together with friends and co-workers to personally buy gifts (they provide an information sheet on the family), or Tony’s Treehouse volunteers will shop for you, wrap your gifts, and deliver them to the family in need. They identify qualified families and work in conjunction with the local Boys and Girls Club as well as the Orange County-based nonprofit group Illumination Foundation (www.ifhomeless.org). 

Time is of the essence in matching families with donors, so go to the website below for more information.

To Adopt-A-Family or donate, go to www.tonystreehouse.org.

Girl Scouts sing holiday carols from trolleys tonight

Girl Scouts with Santa

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Submitted photo

Watch and listen tonight, Friday, Dec 13 from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. as the Laguna Beach Girl Scouts sing holiday carols from open-sided trolleys driven by Santa Claus. Hundreds of local Girl Scouts will be boarding trolleys to sing throughout the streets of downtown Laguna. Please stop and listen if you see them or get with the spirit and join in!

Folklore and the fantastic nature of elves, gnomes and tomten, just don’t make them mad 


Elves, gnomes, and tomten. What do they have in common? All mythical, magical, and mischievous. All pint-sized and appealing (sometimes). They’re more alike than different, cute when they’re on a shelf or protecting a garden, diabolical when you cross them. And one of them gets extremely riled up if he thinks there’s no butter in his porridge. I can sympathize with that. You should never mess with anyone’s butter. But these diminutive creatures are not all fun and games. And they demand respect.

Elves have a particularly nasty side if they’re treated poorly. (Don’t picture Will Ferrell in Elf.) They have been a popular subject in fiction for centuries, ranging from Puck in William Shakespeare’s play A Midsummer Night’s Dream to the classic fantasy novels of J.R.R. Tolkien 300 years later. Perhaps the most famous of these magical creatures are the elves that work for Santa Claus at the North Pole. All playful and charming. To a point.

Granted, some of them, like Elf on a Shelf and Santa’s elves, are delightful, but true elves were said to be small shape-shifters. In England, they were described as looking like little old men and lived in forests, meadows, or hollowed-out tree trunks.

Folklore and scary elf

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Courtesy of oneailFXstudios

Not your average Elf on a Shelf 

Of course, many of us are reluctant to accept the idea of mythical creatures. Perhaps because we have no way to prove them false or true. But a fair number of people appear to have concrete proof. In Iceland, elves set up chapels in rocks (there’s even a Fairyland Elf Garden near Reykjavik), and, apparently, become displeased when someone tries to move them.

As recounted in the Guardian.com, “In the 1970s, plans to move one of these rocks out of the way of one major road went awry when a bulldozer inadvertently hit a water pipe feeding a fish farm. Some 70,000 trout perished overnight and there were so many other freakish accidents in the following days that the project was abandoned. One workman claims to have been stricken with bad luck ever since.”

“There are many stories of machines breaking down and workers becoming ill when they interfere with elf rocks,” says Bryndís Björgvinsdóttir, a writer and folklorist who teaches at the Iceland Academy of Arts in Reykjavik. “The elves are seen as friendly, beautiful creatures, but you have to respect them, or they will take their revenge.” 

Another good reason not to cross elves is cited in Magic and Religion in Medieval England: “several tenth-century Anglo-Saxon medical texts mention elves as a cause of illness, especially illnesses involving sharp internal pains.” But they also have the power to heal them, and seem especially willing to do so if sacrifices are offered to them. What type of sacrifices, I’m wondering?

Folklore and gnomes

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Courtesy of tvandmovies.com

Revenge of the Gnomes

In popular culture, gnomes aren’t known to create havoc or illness; on the contrary, we see them as guardians of our gardens. Gnome, in European folklore, means dwarfish, subterranean goblin or earth spirit who guards mines of precious treasures hidden in the earth. (The term was popularized through works of the 16th-century Swiss alchemist Paracelsus in which gnomes were described as capable of moving through solid earth as fish move through water.)

Gnomes are nature spirits, and many scholars agree that, when it comes to their rare interaction with man, they are faithful and true, and very trustworthy. They show up in L. Frank Baum’s Oz novel series as underground businessmen. However, one must not betray their trust, because they could cause much sorrow and destruction in retaliation. 

Experts say, “As long as man was in service to others, the gnomes would work with them and protect them, but if he sought to use their aid selfishly to gain temporal power they would turn upon him with unrelenting fury. The same was true if he sought to deceive them.”

Folklore and tomte

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Courtesy of cloudberryliving.com


From Nordic folklore, the tomte is another creature one would be best not to deceive. Don’t be taken away by his kind demeanor and white beard. A tomte is described as an older, little man about the size of a young child, who often wears ragged clothes, usually gray or navy, and sports a bright red cap on his head. He resides in the pantry or barn and watches over the household and farm. 

Tomten require very little of the humans they work for. They demand only the respect and trust of the farmer and a bowl of julegrøt (Christmas porridge) with butter on Christmas Eve. These spirits will not remain in a home where respect is lacking, and thus the farm (or house) will not thrive.

A tomte considers porridge his due and is greedy for butter. The legend When the Nisse Got No Butter on His Christmas Porridge illustrates the consequences of tampering with his porridge.

One Christmas Eve, a servant girl decided she would play a trick on the tomte. She hid the butter for his grøt at the bottom of the bowl. When he saw there was no butter on his Christmas porridge, he went to the shed and killed the best cow. He wanted to show them he did not appreciate them begrudging him a little bit of butter. He returned to the barn to eat the porridge anyway. When he discovered the butter at the bottom of the bowl, he felt so bad that he walked to the neighbor’s farm, took their best cow, and led her back to the stall of the cow he had killed. 

Just a story, yes, but there are valuable lessons to be learned from all these mythical creatures. Don’t move an elf rock, never deceive a gnome, and, for heaven’s sake, refrain from hiding the butter in a tomte’s porridge. Don’t mess with them. To be honest, they only want a little respect. And face it, isn’t that what we all want?

The way to pelican land 

The way birds

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Photo by Scott Brashier

“Second to the right, and straight on till morning” –J.M. Barrie, “Peter Pan”

LB Historical Society provides look into Laguna’s history in healthcare on Jan 9

On Thursday, Jan 9 at 7:30 p.m., the Laguna Beach Historical Society will present a program on the rich history of South Laguna’s hospital, which opened as the 74-bed South Coast Community Hospital in 1959. Today it has developed into Mission Hospital, LB, with over 200 beds. The presentation will be given by three physicians: Dr. David Lagrew, Dr. Woody White, and Dr. George Harper. It will be held at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center.

LB Historical French

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Officer Gordon French

The realization of the hospital begins in 1953 with the death of a popular policeman, Gordon French, who bled to death from a gunshot wound and a general community concern of the vulnerability of residents in growing South Orange County. A combination of city leaders, community leaders, celebrities, and grassroots support would convert a land donation from the James Irvine Foundation at the behest of its president Myford Irvine and make it one of Laguna’s most important community assets.

LB Historical hospital

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Mission Hospital

The presentation will cover the important personalities and events of the medical center. It will include the story of how the local community hospital grew into a four-building campus. Details of the events and pressures of healthcare changes, which led to two major health systems to buy and reform the hospital into the modern facility to meet community needs, will be presented. The stories of local physicians who worked at the center and had ties to actual history will be of particular interest in telling the history of the hospital.

The Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center is located at 380 Third St. For more information on the LB Historical Society, visit www.lagunabeachhistory.org/.

Laguna Beach Books presents monthly book club on Jan 15

Laguna Beach Books is hosting its monthly Book Club gathering on Wednesday, Jan 15 at 6:30 p.m. at the bookstore. Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin will be discussed. The event will be led by a professional moderator. Light snacks and complimentary beverages will be served. 

Mark Helprin’s masterpiece, Winter’s Tale, will transport you to New York of the Belle Epoque, to a city clarified by a siege of unprecedented snows. One winter night, Peter Lake – master mechanic and second-story man – attempts to rob a fortress-like mansion on the Upper West Side. 

Laguna Beach Jane

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Laguna Beach Books owner Jane Hanauer with this month’s book club selection, “Winter’s Tale”

Though he thinks it is empty, the daughter of the house is home. Thus begins the affair between a middle-aged Irish burglar and Beverly Penn, a young girl dying of consumption. It is a love so powerful that Peter Lake, a simple and uneducated man, will be driven to stop time and bring back the dead. His great struggle is one of the most beautiful and extraordinary stories of American literature.

Mark is the acclaimed author of Winter’s Tale, A Soldier of the Great War, Freddy and Fredericka, The Pacific, Ellis Island, Memoir from Antproof Case, and numerous other works. His novels are read around the world, translated into over twenty languages.

The book may be purchased in advance at Laguna Beach Books or online at www.lagunabeachbooks.com

Laguna Beach Books is an independent bookstore in Laguna Beach that strives to create a community-enriching environment with a superb selection of books for adults and children, exciting author events and readings, and friendly, knowledgeable staff. Laguna Beach Books is owned by Jane Hanauer.

Laguna Beach Books is located at 1200 S Coast Hwy.

Tom and Gayle Joliet’s children’s book, Alani and the Giant Kelp Elf, gains wide praise and distribution


Alani and the Giant Kelp Elf, recently published by Laguna Wilderness Press, is enjoying roaring success among young readers, and more and more retail outlets are stocking the impish book.

Tom and Gayle Joliet, longtime Lagunans, are beyond thrilled with the response. They collaborated on writing the story and both drew pencil sketches. Gayle created the watercolor paintings from the drawings.

“Our neighbor, Susan Weidhaas, bought almost 20 books to give to her 4-year-old son Max’s classmates,” the Joliets say. “The best part is hearing that Max asked for it to be read to him nine times in one day!”

tom and max

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Max Weidhaas asked for the book to be read to him nine times in one day

In the story, Kelfie and his Kelp Elf Clan need help. Their underseas home, the giant kelp forest off the coast of Laguna Beach, is being destroyed by over-fishing and pollution. 

Can their human friend, Alani, help them find a solution so they won’t have to leave their homes forever? 

Hint: Yes! But to find out how she helps the Clan, kids will need to read the book.

“We felt it was important to educate kids about the Laguna Bluebelt and Greenbelt and the fact that they can make a difference to the health of our land and sea,” the Joliets say. “There are no children’s books about Laguna. So we decided to write one!”

tom and chrissie

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Chrissie Booth and students: “Chrissie’s Corner” pre-school in San Clemente

Young Lila Davey recently read Alani and the Giant Kelp Elf, and she has this to say: “I thought it was an amazing book. It combines a wonderful story with information convincing readers to help the ocean. My favorite part is when Alani is looking out at the ocean and night. I love this part because the picture is so pretty and it gives me the feeling that everything is going to be OK. 

“I would most like to be Ali the cat because she gets to see everything and I love cats. All in all Alani and the Giant Kelp Elf is a wonderful book.”

The 64-page book, which took three years to complete, was inspired in part by South Laguna Community Garden Park’s “giant elf,” a much-loved shrub that changes appearance with the seasons, while all the year gazing upon visitors with large blue eyes. (The Joliets have been on Garden Park's governing committee for 10 years.)

The Joliets are thrilled that retail outlets including Laguna Beach Books, Laguna Nursery, Coast Hardware, Little Freebirds, Laguna Art Supply, Art for the Soul, Hobie Surf Shop, and San Clemente’s Beach Town Books are carrying the book.

But what thrills them the most are the positive comments they’re getting from kids.

“One grandmother reported that her 3-year-old granddaughter insisted on taking the book to bed with her! That’s what we like to hear,” say the talented Joliets.

Laguna Wilderness Press is a nonprofit dedicated to publishing books about the presence, preservation, and importance of wilderness environment. It was a perfect fit for the Joliets’ vision.

Guest Column

The #1 burning question from Dr. Reddy to you
By Dr. Vidya Reddy

Hello, and welcome to the questioning corner – this week, I have one question for you.

The Burning Question from me to you – How do you want it all to feel?

Your day? 


Next success? 


Nervous system? 


I asked this question and then beautifully created programs to help us determine a really simple way to decode goals, resolutions, and plans. My suggestion is to begin a new year, the next chapter in your life – with the burning question to ask yourself…

How do you want to feel?

Let these thoughts and answers to this question start you off with inspiration and motivation to consider how you want to live your beautiful life. I love that the answers are so juicy, fresh, and alive!

It’s only fair that I answer this most important question. Here are my answers:

How do you want it all to feel? Sensuous goal refinement + emotional magnetizing

Feelings are magnetic. So, it goes that if you generate certain feelings – and you have the power to create any feeling you desire – then you increase the power of your emotional magnetism. But we need to limber up, loosen the images and adjectives encrusted on our goals and most-desired states. It helps to get poetic, lyrical, and abstract. Go there with me.

The 1 doctor

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Photo by Johnny Antezana

Dr. Vidya Reddy

I want my day to feel like jazz. 

I want kissing to feel like eating an orange off the tree from my back yard. 

I want my next success to feel like Beyoncé must feel with her latest album. 

I want my body to feel like a Jaguar in a new open field. 

I want smiling to feel like the sweetness of ripe mangoes. 

I want my friendships to feel like sandalwood oil, and bowls of popcorn, and hand-knit, with Vodka mixers, served up at Crescent Bay Beach. 

I want my nervous system to feel like The Buddha must have felt when he discovered The Middle Way. 

I want my gigs to feel like AC/DC playing “Back in Black,” and Gaga doing a “Born This Way” finale, with some Leonard Cohen tenderness. 

I want my neighborhood to feel like a new Jason Mraz song. 

I want my integrity to feel like the Hope Diamond.

I want my money-making to feel like walking through a vineyard, surveying ripeness, a production of sun and earth for craft and pleasure. 

I want my word to feel like gold bullion. 

I want my laughter to feel like electric pineapple children.

I want the end of the day to feel like a happy quiet baby. 

I want being of service to feel like The Medicine Woman mixing herbs into healing paste for warriors. 

I want my philanthropy to feel like a cosmic Queen on her best day. 

I want my challenges to feel how Siddhartha felt when he left the kingdom. 

I want my love to feel like a gorgeous secret that only he and I know. For eternity. 

I want my writing to feel like Citrine, and Jack Kerouac with a fresh buzz on. 

I want my ideas to feel like sunrise.

The 1 bathtub

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

How do you want to feel? 

For more inspiration from me, please refer to the Naturally Happy podcast. I created it 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.

I was brave enough to ask these questions of my one of my besties. Here are Isobel’s Answers:

The way she wants to feel: 

My day: juicy, fresh, and alive…like sunshine on my face. 

Next success: strong, solid…like a very muscular, sexy arm.

Friendships: yummy, fun…like moist chocolate cake with buttercream frosting and creamy sweet tea.

Nervous system: engaged, relaxed, present…like fresh cut grass, laundry hanging on the line.

Money-making: joyous, easy, solid…like walking through the forest in the early morning, on a quiet path, fresh air, pine trees. 

In Peace, Love and Gratitude. 

‘Til next time. 

Dr.Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC 


Laguna Beach Community Clinic turns 50

Laguna Beach Community Clinic (LBCC) turns 50 this month. 

“It’s a time for reflecting on our roots, celebrating the individuals who’ve made a lasting impact on our community’s health, and casting our vision for the future,” announced Dr. Jorge Rubal, Medical Director and CEO of LBCC.

There’s a lot to be excited about, including a very generous $50,000 gift from longtime supporters Dr. Korey Jorgensen and George Heed. 

laguna beach two

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Dr. Korey Jorgensen and George Heed

“Fifty years doesn’t come around for many nonprofits. [That longevity] really speaks to a mark of excellence in meeting the health needs of our community,” stated George Heed, former Board Member, who is credited with establishing the Clinic’s endowment fund. “Over the last three to four years, we’ve seen a tremendous period of growth and expansion of services that are greatly needed.”

Dr. Korey Jorgensen, who starting working at the Clinic as a family physician in 1972 and quickly rose to the position of Medical Director, noted: “We also wanted to honor the very dedicated staff I’ve had the privilege of working with. You can’t find a smarter, more compassionate group of people.”

Roya Cole, board member and 50th Celebration co-chair shares, “As a friend of George and Korey I’m not surprised at this latest example of their long-standing professional, personal and financial support of the Clinic. 

“Laguna Beach Community Clinic is a wonderful example of providing community-based solutions to the ever increasing medical and emotional challenges facing all of us. George and Korey’s ongoing commitment to supporting this invaluable community asset is commendable and I hope it inspires many more to follow in their footsteps.”

laguna beach early

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Early days at the Clinic

In 1970 “The Clinic”, as it is referred to by locals, was born. It began with a group of volunteer physicians and local activists who believed in access to health care regardless of one’s ability to pay.

By the mid-80s it adopted a sliding fee scale, and started to receive major grants for its groundbreaking work in HIV/AIDS education, testing and treatment led by Dr. Korey Jorgensen. 

“It was a time when the HIV/AIDS community was extremely underserved, Laguna Beach was at the epicenter, and everyone knew someone who was dying of the disease,” recalls Dr. Jorgensen.

Thanks to a grant from the Ryan White Foundation and Dr. Jorgensen’s heroic efforts, the Clinic quickly found its place at the forefront of HIV/AIDS care.

Another milestone was achieved in 1994 when the Clinic purchased its own building, a facility that today includes a pharmacy, lab, and dental offices.

Dr. Tom Bent took the helm in 2002, navigating the Clinic through the challenges of expanding its scope of services to meet a growing patient population. Thanks in large part to Dr. Bent’s infectious commitment to community health, he was able to recruit a team of medical professionals who, like him, have been recognized by their peers for achievements in their field of practice.

laguna beach rubal

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Dr Jorge Rubal

In 2016 the torch was passed to Jorge Rubal, MD, MBA. 

“Our community is very fortunate to have had the Clinic led by strong and visionary leadership over the decades,” comments Mark Orgill, president of the Clinic’s board of directors and 50th Celebration co-chair. 

“Dr. Rubal has continued in that vein by securely placing the Clinic on a path to financial sustainability through achieving a Federally Qualified Health Center designation for the Clinic. We’re already seeing a significant boost in government reimbursements, and doors are opening for additional government funding.” 

Dr Rubal responds: “I’m honored to be heading the Clinic at this juncture in our history. Our vision for expansion is only achievable thanks to the dedication, strategic thinking, and roll-up-your-sleeves hard work of the men and women who came before me.” 

Laguna beach orgill

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Board members Mark Orgill and Roya Cole, co-chairs of the 50th anniversary celebration

The Clinic’s plans for expansion in 2020 include increasing staff, specifically adding another family physician to meet the needs of its growing patient population, and bringing on a full-time licensed clinical social worker to address the mental health needs of its patients. 

The Clinic is also finalizing its partnership arrangement with Dr. Carlos Garcia of Laguna Beach Smile in order to provide dental services as part its comprehensive care offerings. There are also plans to remodel the lobby and patient check-in area during late spring.

“This vision for the future emerged from our 2018 Board of Directors Strategic Planning Retreat, and like everything we do at the Clinic, our plans are evidence based,” explained Rubal. “Findings from the 2016 US Census and studies submitted to the Federal Office of Health Resources and Services Administration indicate a fast-growing population of underserved seniors in our service area; we see a need for a satellite office that focuses on senior care, and we’re starting to plan ahead in that regard as well.

“Through all the years we’ve been operating, we’ve done more than deliver excellent health care services, we’ve become a reliable, comfortable medical home to our friends and neighbors,” concluded Rubal.

For more information, visit http://lbclinic.org/50th.

Ocean Institute announces Pilgrim vessel’s demise

By Dr. Wendy Marshall, President, Education and Operations

Ocean Institute

We are very sad to share this heartbreaking news. 

As we have shared in our previous communications, this has been a devastating month for Ocean Institute. Today [Sunday], we share news that hurts our hearts. 

We are very sad to announce that Pilgrim, our beloved vessel that has served as an inspiring real-world classroom to hundreds of thousands of students and visitors, keeled overnight in her slip on our dock, rendering her useful life over. 

Ocean Institute ship

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Ocean Institute’s Pilgrim collapses 

As part of our maintenance process, Pilgrim undergoes out-of-the water and underwater inspections. In 2016 she was hauled out for survey and repairs and in October 2019, we began a fund to support the haul out and repair scheduled to take place in January 2020. 

The haul out was postponed until June due to overload at the yard. Meanwhile, Ocean Institute maintained our certifications and the United States Coast Guard issued a Certificate of Inspection (COI) in December and again in February, allowing our dockside programs to continue. Unfortunately, Pilgrim keeled on March 29th and is incapacitated beyond repair. 

We are sad to bid farewell to this iconic vessel which has been such an important part of Ocean Institute’s programs and to the children that they served. 

Our staff was informed this morning and we all feel like we lost a dear friend, as I am sure many of you do. 

We will keep you posted and welcome your stories, images, etc., on how the Pilgrim has made an impact on you. Send to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or use the hashtag #thebrigpilgrim – please. 

As previously communicated, Ocean Institute has been dealt very difficult blows this month and your stories, encouragement, and support keeps us going and lifts our spirits during this devastating time. 

To donate to Ocean Institute, click here.

Dennis’ Tidbits


April 3, 2020

No thunderstorms for us! 

Dennis 5Here on the immediate Pacific West Coast, we average only around a half dozen thunderstorms per year, but once you get about 75-100 miles to the east, that number goes up. We usually don’t have the atmospheric dynamics that produce violent storms as we’re generally under the influence of what is called Pacific maritime air, which is very stable. 

Once you get into the interior areas of places like Washington, Oregon, and California, that number goes up to at least 10, up to 20 a year. Our local mountains and deserts can get a couple of dozen such storms in a busy year during the summer months depending on how much summer monsoonal air flows into that region from the southeast – air that flows all the way from subtropical climates. The more often that a high pressure is camped over the Four Corners region, the more thunderstorms will occur in our mountains and deserts. The air circulating clockwise around that high pulls loads of warm, moist, unstable air out of the tropical regions.

Continuing eastward, we cross the Colorado River into Arizona where thunderstorm activity really ramps up with as many as 50 such storms occurring in places like Sedona, the Grand Canyon, Flagstaff, Prescott, and Tucson. All this happens during a ten or eleven-week span, encompassing the short period from early July until around mid-September, then it quickly tails off. Over 90 percent of Arizona’s thunderstorm activity happens during the summer.

Once you cross the Continental Divide, it’s a whole different ballgame as the Gulf of Mexico air pretty much runs the show, working in conjunction with pulses of cold air from the north in the Plains and Midwest where most places average from 30-60 storms a year. It’s the real epicenter of intense storms and that involves the Deep South, Southeast, and especially Florida, the lightning capital of the U.S. In this area, up to 80-100 thunderstorms occur annually thanks to their proximity to the ever-present influence of that warm, humid, unstable atmosphere. In this region, thunderstorm activity peaks during the summer as well, but thunderstorms can happen at any time of year there.

More from McWeather’s Glossary:

Sounding: In meteorology, an upper-air observation; a radiosonde observation.

Standard Atmosphere: A hypothetical atmosphere based on climatological averages comprised of numerous physical constants of which the most important are: (1) a surface temperature of 59 degrees Fahrenheit and a surface pressure of 29.92 inches of mercury (1,014 millibars) at sea level; (2) a lapse rate in the troposphere 6.5 degrees Centigrade per km, a tropopause of 11 km.

Station Pressure: The actual atmospheric pressure at the observing station.

Supercell Thunderstorm: A large and intense severe thunderstorm with strong updrafts and downdrafts that may last for several hours. Can produce large damaging hail and tornadoes. Most common in the Great Plains, the South, and the Midwest where cloud tops can extend as high as 60,000 ft. in the atmosphere.

Surface Inversion: An inversion with its base at the surface, often caused by the cooling of the air near the surface as a result of terrestrial radiation, especially at night. 

Stay safe, ALOHA!

Laguna Beach Community Clinic begins targeted COVID-19 testing

Laguna Beach Community Clinic began targeted COVID-19 testing last week.

“We’ve been attempting for over a month to secure COVID-19 testing kits. Fortunately, through our partnership with Mission Hospital, we have received a limited supply of testing kits,” stated Dr. Jorge Rubal, CEO and Medical Director, Laguna Beach Community Clinic.

The Clinic’s staff underwent rigorous training on how to administer the test and use the necessary personal protection equipment. Thanks to a donation of face shields from Cerno, the Clinic’s medical staff now has that vital layer of protection. 

Laguna Beach staff

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Submitted photo

(L-R) Dr. Jorge Rubal, Adriana Nieto-Sayegh, RN, and Dr. Chau Ngo

Due to the lack of available COVID-19 testing kits, the California Department of Public Health is recommending health providers prioritize the testing of high-risk patients. “The Clinic serves over 3,000 patents in our community; the number of kits we have covers a small fraction of our patients, so we must reserve the testing process for our established patients who are showing clinically elevated symptoms and who also have serious underlying health problems,” explained Rubal.

The Clinic is no stranger to serving the community through a health crisis. In the 1980s the Clinic was at the forefront of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, providing life-saving care. 

“Today, we’re dealing with the most serious health crisis of our lifetime, and just like we did during the HIV/AIDS crisis, we’re showing up to work on the frontline, ready to serve the most vulnerable in our community,” stated Dr. Chau Ngo, who is board-certified in HIV treatment.

“The Clinic’s been around for 50 years; we know how to weather the storm, how to provide continuity of care despite a very fluid situation. I’m incredibly proud of my staff, every one of them is leaning into this crisis with a calm and dedicated spirit,” added Rubal.

For more information on the Laguna Beach Community Clinic, visit www.lbclinic.org or call (949) 494-0761.

The Laguna Beach Community Clinic is located at 362 Third St.

Blood red sky

Blood red sunset

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The sun sets, a golden sphere of time that waits for no one

Guest Column

Tips for parents and kids facing COVID-19 stress and stay-at-home

By Michele Hall, AMFT, APCC

The COVID-19 pandemic has had an impact on our local families to a depth no one could have imagined. Stay-at-home and homeschooling have conjured up a new and different kind of stress that continues to grow. I grew up in Laguna Beach and graduated from Aliso Elementary, Thurston Middle School, and Laguna Beach High School (Class of 1985). Because of this, I believe I understand our community in a very unique way. Laguna Beach is a village that supports its own and to this effect, my partner David Lindquist, LMFT, and I would like to offer the following tips for parents and kids who are facing these challenging times.

Avoiding vs. connecting

One of the primary ways kids avoid connection is through the play of video games/screen-time/watching YouTube/TikTok videos, etc. It’s ok for kids to have allotted amounts of time for these activities, however, excessive amounts leads to non-connection with family. We recommend equal amounts of video time with equal amounts of time either working on a hobby or playing a board game/puzzle with a parent. It’s important for parents to teach their kids to be able to tolerate boredom. Moreover, learning to live with discomfort and uncertainty leads to developmentally healthy adults.

Creating vs. chores

There’s a huge difference between telling your child to go pull weeds as opposed to planting a garden. Yes, it’s very important that kids do their chores (make their beds, keep their rooms clean, unload the dishwasher, etc.), but it is equally important for them to do creative activities. Kids these days are so used to being over-scheduled that their identity connects almost solely to their schoolwork and extracurricular activities. The message is that they are way more than this, and during these extraordinary times of actually having more time to explore creative ideas, kids can try out “closet hobbies.” Closet hobbies are activities that we think about trying but never have the time to actually follow through with. Learning an instrument, painting, and DIY projects are all great examples of things kids can try out. Bottom line: kids can learn outside of school/extracurriculars how to recognize time and space and who they are outside of their “normal” busy schedule.

Being alone vs. feeling lonely

Validating kids’ feelings of loneliness is important. However, social distancing and the absence of attending school does not necessarily mean that being “alone” equals “loneliness.” Many children will say they connect with their friends while playing video games. While there is a certain amount of truth in this, it is more important that they actually pick up a phone and either FaceTime or Zoom or just talk on the phone with their friends and family. Being curious with kids and asking them questions about where the loneliness feels like it’s coming from starts a conversation that can be not only enlightening but healing as well. 

Tolerating the unknown

These uncertain times of COVID-19 are creating a fertile void and anything can come out of it. Asking what your child thinks is going to happen in the future and allowing room for their discomfort is important. This is an opportunity to reinforce children’s problem-solving skills…instead of answering questions, ask them questions about what they’re thinking. 

Parents role model behavior

Kids tend to not do what parents say they should do, but what they see their parents doing. Kids can be taught to be interested in a subject by how much the parent is interested. If there’s a family movie night, parents can discuss “how real the dinosaur animation looked” with each other in front of the kids and then include the kids in the conversation. Or, another example is to have the child demonstrate or “teach” the parent how to do an activity. If the child is interested in a video game, have them teach their parent how to play it. 


There are several techniques that help with discipline and adhering to school homework schedules including our Time-Out Technique/Point System, Structured Study, and Obstacle Course. (These will be explained in depth in the next column.)

The most important thing is to communicate with the kids that they play an important role in the family and that the family is a team. The message is that they are partly responsible for helping the family through the pandemic, and what they do makes a difference. This teaches them personal responsibility, helps them to feel more in control, and gives them hope. 

Editor’s note: The information in this column expresses the experience and opinions of Michele Hall, AMFT, APCC.

Guest Column

ER life during COVID-19

By Anita Wang, MD, FACEP, emergency room doctor who practices integrative medicine at her Wellness, Longevity, and Aesthetics private practice also

I won’t lie – working in the ER right now amidst the pandemic has been hard at times. Having been an ER doctor for over 30 years, I wanted to share my experience of what life looks like in the emergency room right now in the hospital where I work. For the past month I have been testing and treating COVID-19 patients, and what I see is a direct response to what everyone in the community is doing. To you, I am thankful for physical distancing and for keeping yourself healthy, so that we have enough resources to help others in need of medical attention.

Hospitals have gone to great measures to care for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 patients. When patients go to the ER today at my hospital, a nurse triages patients at a tent set up near the entrance. Everyone who enters is screened for COVID-19 regardless of the purpose of their visit. Non-COVID-19 patients may go inside to the emergency room waiting area to be treated for their injuries/ailments. Sick patients stay at the tent to better understand their condition before determining if/where in the hospital they should go. Inside, COVID-19-only areas in the emergency department have enhanced airborne isolation rooms with negative pressure and HEPA filters to contain airborne contaminants. We are fortunate to be operating now at Surge Level Green (minimal) but are prepared to then take over other parts of the facility as the number of cases rises. 

The hospital must also protect patients by keeping their staff safe as well. Security is heightened and our temperature is taken each time we enter the  hospital. When swabbing or working with patients, I wear a surgical gown over my scrubs, surgical cap, N95 mask, face shield, and shoe covers at all times. These are all disposable items, as is my stethoscope, but we have needed to disinfect and reuse all of them to conserve resources. These PPEs (Personal Protective Equipment) are in short supply but our ER logistics manager made sure we were better supplied than most. Many of my peers also personally helped to get supplies for the department. Though still far from ideal, I am thankful to be far better off with protective gear than other hospitals.

ER life closeup

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Dr. Anita Wang

At home I still try to distance myself, wear an N95 mask when I cook and go out, and wash my hands frequently to protect my family. It is exhausting trying to keep protected. I miss the physical hugs from my boys. I try harder to still be social through my mask when out walking the dogs. These adjustments are uncomfortable, but I know it is worth it. I am seeing it first hand. I am so proud of our state of California for taking isolation so seriously because it shows in our caseload.

And so I now follow the same protective measures in my Wellness, Longevity, and Aesthetics practice as I do in the hospital. All my patients are screened for COVID-19 before seeing me in the office – otherwise I see them via virtual appointments. I’m confident in these protocols and would only offer my wellness and incontinence services to my patients with them in place. This actually can be the perfect time to focus on individual health, and it certainly benefits the community by being in the best health. 

What I recommend to individuals now: regardless of when businesses open back up, continue keeping yourself safe and healthy. Wash your hands frequently. Wear face coverings to avoid spreading your germs, whether it’s COVID-19, the flu, or something else. Communicate with your doctor if you feel unwell. We are noticing that patients are coming to the ER sicker than usual, possibly because they delayed going to the hospital. In the case of a recent patient who ruptured their appendix, waiting too long could’ve meant death. Though it may be less desirable to have to go to the emergency room now, hopefully, you can rest assured that your local hospitals and medical professionals are doing everything they can to protect you as much as possible. 

Pandemics come in waves, and in the past, some successive waves have been worse than the first. Thank you for all your efforts to slow the spread and for minding your health. Your individual health is our community’s collective health. Without it, nothing else really matters. 

Editor’s note: The information in this column expresses the experience and opinions of Dr. Anita Wang, MD, FACEP. Dr. Wang is an emergency medical doctor and practices integrative medicine at her Wellness, Longevity, and Aesthetics private practice at 255 Thalia St, Suite B, Laguna Beach. Visit her website for more information at https://anitawangmd.com or contact her office at (949) 734-0580.

The watcher

The watcher tree

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Photo by Scott Brashier

“It is impossible for you to be only a watcher because there will be always something watching you – an insect or a person – and this makes you both a watcher and watched!” –Mehmet Murat ildan

Memorial Day Observance canceled 

Memorial Day Silverman

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Due to the current situation with the COVID-19 virus, the Annual Memorial Day Observance at Heisler Park, originally scheduled for May 25th, has been canceled. However, memorial flowers may be placed at the U.S. flag pole on the front lawn of Legion Hall, 384 Legion St. For questions, call Richard Moore at (949) 376-6340. Seen here, Arnie Silverman speaks at the 2019 event.

Holding back the sun

Holding back clouds

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The thick gray clouds can’t keep the rays of sunlight from peeking through

Sky architecture

Sky architecture moon

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The arcs of the building mimic the curvature of the moon

Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund raises over $400K from local donations, more needed

The Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund, launched in late April by a group of local business owners and community volunteers focused on creating instant financial relief for Laguna Beach residents, has raised over $400,000 to distribute to locals in need. 

The fund opened April 24 in collaboration with the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach and the Laguna Beach Community Foundation, which is making money available to individuals for rent, food, medical bills, and other basic needs with an emphasis on those in the restaurant, hospitality, retail, arts, and personal services industries.

Emergency assistance mini-grants in the form of VISA gift cards of up to $1,000 have already been awarded to 700 applicants, according to fund co-chair and local resident Bob Mister, who said applicants range from restaurant workers to hotel personnel, dog walkers to day laborers, to artists. 

Laguna COVID 19 Wayne and Terry

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Courtesy of Paul Allen/LCAD Facebook

The Wayne Peterson Foundation has offered a $25,000 matching donation to the Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund for the next $25,000 raised; the late Wayne Peterson is seen here on the left with his partner Terry Smith

Recently, the Wayne Peterson Foundation Fund offered a $25,000 matching donation for the next $25,000 raised. “So, if you have not donated yet, please do it now to get this generous matching donation,” Mister said. 

The fund is taking applications until the end of June and may be requested by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or picked up at the Boys & Girls Club, 1085 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach (at the front door).

To donate, make checks payable to: LBCF Laguna COVID-19 Relief Fund, 580 Broadway, Suite 204, Laguna Beach, CA, 92651.

Applications and donations are also accessible online at www.lagunacovid19relief.com.

Health in Balance presents Aloha Week, free treatment for community

Health in Balance will present Aloha Week, a week of free treatment for the community, June 29 through July 2. 

While fostering a sense of community together, Health in Balance will also be raising money for local charities. New guests are welcome. 

Aloha Week treatment includes:

--Consultation for new guests

--Hands-on Therapeutic Bodywork

--Gentle Chiropractic Adjustment

--Digital Postural Scan

--Structural, Emotional, Biochemical Health Assessment 

Health in doctors

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Submitted photo

Dr. Lisa and Dr. Gary are proud to welcome the community for a week of complimentary services 

Health in Balance Community Outreach Director Morea Arthur states, “We are back at full capacity after weathering through these challenging months. We hope you and your family have stayed healthy and well. We know this hasn’t been easy for anyone, but congratulations on making it through! Every challenge makes us stronger and wiser. We are hosting Aloha Week to welcome you back to our practice and celebrate all of us making it through. We want to bless you with some stress relief and feel good care! We can assure you that we are a COVID-19 protected facility and we are following all the guidelines to keep our facility sanitized and safe so that you can relax while receiving your care.” 

Visit www.healthinbalance.com/events-1/aloha-week to schedule your visit.

Health in Balance is located at 330 Park Ave, Suite 3.

Sun-kissed waves

Sun kissed waves gold

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The sun turns the waves the color of caramel

Barbara’s Column

Plan for candidates’ forums


A candidates’ forum in Laguna Beach tends to reflect the priorities of the group hosting it. Questions about development or how and where to provide more parking and how to pay for it might be posed at every forum, but the thrust of the questions will differ from group to group. 

Village Laguna was founded on the successful battle in the 1970s to limit the height of buildings in town and to this day does not favor large developments. The questions vetted and introduced by Ann Christoph and David Raber for the organization’s August 24 forum concentrated on village character and prerogatives of residents over visitors. There was little or no attention given to questions about public safety, the economy, or specific Laguna Beach neighborhoods, all of which will be addressed in upcoming forums. 


The Canyon Alliance of Neighborhood Defense Organizations (CANDO) will host a virtual candidates’ forum at 6 p.m. on September 24.

“We care about issues in the downtown, but those will get handled at other forums, so we will focus on issues specific to the canyon,” said Penelope Milne, CANDO president, who will moderate the forum. 

CANDO’s avowed mission is to preserve the rural, low-density, and small-scale character of Laguna Canyon; protect the integrity of the unique neighborhood, and to ensure the safety of the Laguna Canyon Corridor. The group advocates for “judicious, long-term planning for this biologically diverse gateway” into Laguna Beach. 

Canyon residents are asked to submit questions for the forum to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

“We will look for themes and formulate questions from that,” said Milne. 

The Zoom link is available at www.lbcando.org

CANDO’s forum will be live streamed on Facebook also, on the group’s page.

Greater Laguna Beach GOP

Greater Laguna Beach GOP had requested the use of the Council Chambers for a forum on September 24, but plans were changed when the group was informed of the CANDO forum, to which all of the City Council candidates were pledged.

Subsequently the group reserved the chamber from 6 to 9 p.m. on September 30. 

“We would like to have all the candidates live in the chamber, but there cannot be a live audience,” said Jennifer Zeiter, president of the conservative group.

Public safety, development, and property rights are among the topics the candidates will be asked to address, she said. 

“Some answers will be limited to yes or no responses, rather than political statements,” said Zeiter.

GLB GOP supports the #WalkAway movement, encouraging voters to “walk away from the radical left and those politicians who support far left agendas,” Zeiter stated in an email to Stu News.

The local group, which is not affiliated with Laguna Beach Republicans, supports Michelle Steel for Congress, Diane Dixon for the State Assembly, and the re-election of President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence

For more information on the GLB GOP, visit www.glbgop.com.

Laguna Beach Arts Alliance

A virtual forum will be hosted by the Laguna Beach Arts Alliance on September 26. The time and date will be announced in a press release in the near future, said Alliance Treasurer Wayne Baglin

The Alliance, formed in January 2002, is a partnership of 22 Laguna Beach-based organizations. The Alliance’s mission is advocate for the arts, promote collaboration and networking among artists and arts organizations, and ensure the inclusion of the Arts as essential to all city planning.

South Laguna Civic Association

The South Laguna Civic Association has set a tentative date of October 5 for its forum. Laguna Beach architect and South Laguna resident James Henry will moderate.

A list of questions and the rationale for them will be submitted to the candidates in advance of the forum, but they will not be advised which of the questions will be asked.

Topics will include tourist impacts, ocean water quality, community and public safety, and community participation in land use issues. 

A fifth topic might be added, said John Thomas, a contributor to the questions at past forums. Response time in the past has ranged from 15 seconds to three minutes. 

“We have tried questions with yes and no responses, but the candidates didn’t like it,” said Thomas.

And some of them didn’t stick to the format.

The nonprofit association was formed in 1948, almost 40 years before the area from Nyes Place and past Three Arch Bay was annexed by Laguna Beach. 

For more information on viewing the forum, visit www.southlaguna.org

KX FM and Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce

Radio station KX FM 104.7 and the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce will present a virtual forum at 5:30 p.m. on October 9, accessed by listening to the radio station, by watching on Cox channel 852, or via Zoom (the link will be announced).

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce does not endorse political candidates. The purpose of this forum is for public information, according to the chamber website.

Members of the chamber and the public will hear the positions taken by the candidates on issues facing the local business community.

Laguna Beach Pride 365! Board President Craig Cooley and KX FM Music Director Alyssa Hayek will be the moderators; KX FM Founder Tyler Russell McCusker and Chamber Chief Executive Officer Paula Hornbuckle-Arnold will be the hosts.

For more information or to submit a question, email Hornbuckle-Arnold at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Sponsors of the forum include Julie Laughton Design Build, WealthWise Financial Services, Mike Johnson Group, and Liberate Laguna. 

There don’t appear to be as many forums as have been held in the recent past – 11 in 2018. Top of the World Neighborhood Association won’t be hosting one for the second election cycle. 

“We didn’t do one two years ago,” said Gene Felder, a TOWNA board member for 30 years. “Candidates felt there were too many.” 

The Laguna Beach Woman’s Club is closed due to COVID-19 and no events are being held there, said President Kitty Malcolm

However, if more forums are planned or more information about those already announced becomes available, Stu News will keep its readers informed.

Contributions to this column are welcomed. Submit suggestions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Waymakers thanks community for donations to local youth shelters

Waymakers, a nonprofit organization committed to providing high-quality counseling and support services to struggling Orange County children and families at their greatest time of need, has seen its largest basic needs donations from the local community since March 2020, amid the COVID-19 outbreak. Nearly 40 individuals and organizations have donated items specifically to Laguna Beach Youth Shelter.

Among the local organizations that have provided basic need items to the Laguna Beach Youth Shelter during the pandemic are Laguna Presbyterian Church, Laguna Beach Police Association, Assistance League, the Woman’s Club of Laguna Beach, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church Laguna Beach, Mimi’s Tailor & Design, Main Street Laguna Bar, World Newsstand, and Laguna Beach Fire Fighters. Donations included items such as masks, meals, produce and snacks, games, books, clothing, household items, and cleaning supplies, among more. 

Waymakers thanks stuff

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Submitted photo

Donations are greatly appreciated for Waymakers Youth Shelters 

“Amid the pandemic, we are so thankful to our local community that has answered the call and risen to the challenge when we needed it most,” said Carol Carlson, program director, Children’s Crisis Residential Program for Waymakers. “We are so proud to provide essential services to vulnerable individuals in Orange County, especially during this difficult time when it is needed most, and it would not be possible with the help of our neighbors, supporters, and generous community.”

While the Waymakers’ Youth Shelters remain open to those with the most critical need, and all other Waymakers’ programs remain fully operational, staff have implemented social distancing, client health screenings, enhanced sanitizing procedures, and have created innovative service delivery patterns that adhere to the restrictions mandated by COVID-19 to meet the needs of all clients. Youth Shelters continue to teach youth ages 11-17 and their families key coping skills that will not only help them become resilient throughout this global pandemic, but also throughout their lives. 

Waymakers’ Youth Shelters provide housing services for teens in crisis in Orange County. The Laguna Beach Youth Shelter provides 24-hour supervision in a supportive, home-like environment. The program aims to achieve the following goals: recovery and stabilization for children after a suicide attempt or threat, family strengthening and reunification, homeless prevention, diversion of at-risk youth from the juvenile justice system, and school drop-out prevention. 

For more information on Waymakers, visit waymakersoc.org.

Waymakers continues to seek monetary and in-kind donations to support its operations, for more information, visit www.waymakersoc.org/donate.

Revised Preservation Ordinance introduced, passed to second reading for adoption


The City Council on July 14 moved a revision of the controversial revised Preservation Ordnance closer to adoption.

Despite last-minute changes that morning, the council voted to pass the ordinance to a second reading, as required for adoption. As passed, the ordinance mandates a return to a “voluntary” preservation program, meaning property owner consent is required for a structure to be considered as a local historical resource, the most divisive element of the long discourse on the revision. 

“The ordinance was voluntary when it was put into effect, and voluntary when it was put into the General Plan,” said Mayor Bob Whalen. ”But it evolved into an involuntary inventory.”

The vote was 4-1, Councilwoman Toni Iseman the lone opponent. 

“There were substantial errors that made this [ordinance] unpopular,” said Iseman. “Some horror stories were accurate, but there were a lot of success stories.”

Benefits, Iseman said, should be emphasized. Among them: properties on the city’s Historical Register may apply for a state Mills Act contract, which may substantially reduce property taxes, freeing up money for maintenance on older homes.   

Iseman recommended delaying the vote on the proposed revisions for further study to try to reach a compromise between those who favored shucking the involuntary inclusion and those who fear voluntary-only participation will lead to the mass destruction of structures that enhance Laguna’s ambiance and illustrate its history.

Councilman Peter Blake opposed any delay.   

“All I can see are benefits for someone who wants to restore a house,” said Blake. “If they scrape [demolish], they would have to rebuild to the 2020 code –no one wants to do that. We’ve got the votes. Get it done. Anyone who doesn’t like it: move.”

Mayor Pro Tm Steve Dicterow opined that the fear of losing much of what makes Laguna Beach a place where people want to live and to visit is real. 

“They want to preserve the look and feel of Laguna – but that is not historic,” said Dicterow. 

Revised Preservation Cypress

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Historic charmer on Flora St

Whalen said that one of the two main objectives of the hearing was to establish voluntary participation by owners in the preservation of resources, a sticking point in all of the more-than-30, often raucous meetings held on the proposed revisions to the ordinance since 2015.

That includes eliminating references to the 1981 Inventory, which contained some 850 properties, with or without the owner’s consent or even knowledge. 

Staff reported that the inventory, if not invalided, at least no longer meets the city’s needs since it has not been updated for five years. 

Properties that were indentified on the inventory as eligible for the local register will no longer be flagged under the revised ordinance during the plan check process or on the Real Property Report. 

However, the city will maintain a list of properties identified as potentially eligible for the National Register and staff will be required to evaluate the properties as part of a development application. If an assessment is required by the city, the city pays, staff said. 

Whalen’s second objective was changing the definition of historic resources. 

The definition in the revised ordinance:

--Historic resource means a property or structure that is listed on the city’s register

--Is listed on the California Register of Historical Resources

--Has been determined to be eligible for the California Register of Historical Resources by the State Historical Resources Commission 

--Is listed on the National Register of Historical Places

--Has been officially determined to be eligible for the National Register of Historical Places by the National Park Service or the city is mandated by law to treat as a historical resource based on substantial evidence in light of the whole record

According to the staff report, the definition is consistent with state law and follows the mandates of the California Environmental Quality Act (CE QA) by recognizing that there will be situations in which a structure may be considered “eligible” for the California Register of Historic Places and must, therefore, be considered a historic resource.

Revised Preservation oldest

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

One of the oldest houses in Laguna

“If the state law mandates we treat [a structure] as historic, that is how we have to treat it,” said Whalen. 

The council also approved a negative declaration, which stated that the ordinance would not have a negative effect on the environment and did not require an environmental impact report. 

Fifty letters and more than 200 emails were sent to the council related to the ordinance and the “negative dec,” City Clerk Lisette Chel-Walker said. 

The council also received 35 phone calls during the hearing. Callers were fairly evenly divided between support and opposition. 

Support for the ordinance began with a 10-minute presentation by Larry Nokes.

“This is a voluntary ordinance – finally,” he said. “It was always intended to be.”

Nokes said homeowners in Laguna, with no desire to have their homes designated as historical or to reap any of the benefits, have been subjected to time-consuming and costly processes. 

Other supporters included the Laguna Board of Realtors, Dave Cortez, owner of a 1930 restored home, and architect Marshall Ininns. 

“I don’t understand the fear that old houses will be done away with,” said Ininns. “I have 10 projects and only one owner is not agreeing to the historical designation.” 

Opponents included Catherine Jurka, who gave a 10-minute presentation on behalf of the Laguna Beach Historic Preservation Coalition. 

“Don’t betray our past by bulldozing our future,” Jurka said in conclusion. 

She had previously submitted a 17-page single-spaced letter to the council. 

“The proposed amendment ordinance, the Historic Resources Element, and other documents would significantly impact – indeed we believe would irreparably damage – the city’s unique aesthetic and historic character,” Jurka wrote.

She also opposed the negative dec on the basis that the ordinance would have a significant environmental impact. 

Opponents also included former Planning Commissioner Becky Jones, who wrote that the negative declaration cannot be justified.

“The proposed ordinance eliminates protections from previously protected historic structures [C and K rated] and will create significant cumulative impact on the cultural and aesthetic ambiance of our commercial and residential areas,” stated Jones.

Also opposed to the revised ordinance: Former Mayor Ann Christoph, Dr. Gary Jenkins, Village Laguna, and Preserve Orange County, a citizen’s group that promotes preservation of the county’s architectural and cultural heritage.

The second reading of the ordinance is scheduled to come back to the council no later than August 11.

Laguna Beach Pride 365 hosts “Virtual Drag Bingo” on Thursday to aid Laguna Food Pantry

With the support of the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce and the City of Laguna Beach, Laguna Beach Pride 365 is hosting a “Virtual Drag Bingo” fundraiser to aid the Laguna Food Pantry on Thursday, Sept 3. 

With approximately 35 percent of the local community employed in the hospitality service industry, with restaurants, bars, and hotels being hit hard with extended closures and staff reductions, there is a great need to support them and our community. 

In response to the COVIC-19 pandemic, Laguna Beach Pride 365 developed a “Laguna Beach Cares” program. The hope is to raise enough financial support, with a goal of $10,000, to counter the negative impact that the pandemic has had on our community.

Laguna Beach group

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Submitted photo

(L-R) Jonathan, Michelle, and Craig Cooley

The “Virtual Drag Bingo” is free to play with opportunities to make donations and the chance to win all kinds of prizes from $25 gift cards to a hotel stay at the beautiful Waterfront Beach Resort, a Hilton Hotel in Huntington Beach. While it is not an in-person live event, it will stream live from downtown Laguna Beach on The Promenade to everyone participating online. Laguna Beach Pride will will showcase and introduce to the viewers the new Forest Street Promenade, while asking and reminding everyone to support the merchants of Laguna Beach and to please shop local.

Local personality Endora will be hosting the program with her usual wit and comedy, always in good taste and rated PG 13! Laguna Beach Pride needs the support of the community to help make this program a success. 

Laguna Beach Dndora

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Submitted photo

The famous Endora 

If your business or if you personally would like to contribute donations to the Laguna Beach Cares program as “Drag Bingo” prizes or financial support, contact Laguna Beach Pride 365.

Anything from a gift card, dinner for two, free bicycle rental, surf boarding lessons, yoga membership, to spa treatments, and whale watching would make for a great donation. Donations will be promotionally recognized within the programs’ advertising of the event and via social media marketing programs, according to Laguna Beach Pride

Laguna Beach Pride 365 is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation and all donations are tax-deductible.

For further information, call at (310) 254-5871, visit www.lagunabeachpride.org, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Historic female Eagle Scout service project aims high with Space Camp at Boys & Girls Club

Hoping to become recognized among the historic first group of female Eagle Scouts, Ani Hovanesian chose her required service project to focus on teaching critical thinking and problem-solving skills to elementary age kids in a fun Space Camp pilot program to benefit participants of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach. 

“Along with several other girls in Troop 35, I’m really excited at the possibility of being among the world’s first female Eagle Scouts. Putting on a Space Camp as my Eagle project made perfect sense for me. I was lucky enough to go to NASA’s Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama, home of the Saturn 5 rocket that went to the moon. It was incredible to be on site where history was created and to learn from challenging projects all related to my love of science. I wanted to share this experience in some way with kids in Laguna who can’t go to Space Camp.” 

Historic female closeup

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Submitted photo

Ani Hovanesian experimenting with wheel design on rubber band-powered rover

The Boys & Girls Club, which has a long-standing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiative, thought a Space Camp program would be perfectly aligned. 

Boys & Girls Club CEO Pam Estes said, “Ani’s Space Camp was the timely and a perfect gift to our Club members at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach. Creating excitement about science and engineering among our kiddos, equipping them with problem-solving skills, and modeling volunteerism are important priorities.” 

Hovanesian first gained approval for the project from Scouts BSA, the organization formerly known as Boy Scouts, which began admitting girls to the organization in February 2019. She first led her fellow Scouts from Troop 35 in practicing the lesson plans and assembling kits of materials for the students. Next, over the last week in July, the Scouts under Ani’s leadership did a trial run of four days of camp for Cub Scouts, who are of similar age to the intended participants at the Boys & Girls Club. 

Historic female classroom

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Ani and Yaretsi Mendoza (on right) in classroom – Space Camp member presents his space hotel

Classes were conducted live and in person but socially distanced outdoors at local parks with no more than ten participants, and everyone wearing masks and using lots of hand sanitizer. Each of the four classes had three activities, for example, the design and building of rockets powered by air or Alka-Seltzer, designing zero-gravity astronaut living quarters, and creating a simulated “Mars rover,” which competed in speed and distance traveled. 

One experiment involved constructing heat shields of different materials, like aluminum foil and copper mesh. Each “engineer’s” design was tested under adult supervision with a blow torch to see how long the marshmallow “astronauts” could survive. Through the messy and fun modules, participants learned about the engineering process, magnetism, aerodynamics, propulsion, acceleration, heat capacity, and even how moon craters were created. 

All activities were developed by Ani’s experiences at Space Camp and from ideas on the Jet Propulsion Laboratory website. One participant, Malachite Campbell, said, “The rover was my favorite part because I could test out different wheels to see what would work in the grass or on pavement.”

Historic female rockets

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Launching stomp rockets

After trying out the programs on Cub Scouts with her helpers, fellow Scouts May Chapman and Chloe Duong, Ani then held four classes for Boys & Girls Club live and in person just after its reopening in mid-August. 

One of her youngest campers, Kindergartener Phoenix Aguilera, remarked, “My favorite part was making beautiful rockets! I liked how the people in space live and how fast rockets fly. The best part was all of the fun experiments!” 

Yaretsi Mendoza, who directs the STEM initiative for the Boys & Girls Club, expressed her excitement over continuing the Space Camp program. “It was a wonderful program that got the Kinders all the way to the third graders excited and looking forward to the following day! I cannot wait to roll these projects out to more kids at other Boys & Girls Club locations and throughout the school year.”

Asked about the historic significance of Ani potentially being among the first female Eagle Scouts, she answered, “I think what is significant is lighting the spark in kids to love science for years to come.” She jokingly continued, “It’s really not hard. It’s just rocket science.” 

For more information about Scouts BSA and Troop 35, go to www.lb35.org.

Loving Laguna

Loving Laguna walking

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Shopping and eating local

Boys & Girls Club challenges community to a $50K match for new roof

What do the The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, John Schwartz, and Charles Antis have in common? A shared passion to install a new roof on The Club’s Laguna Canyon Enrichment Center.

“As we worked to renew our building insurance for our main clubhouse, we hit an unexpected roadblock,” said Pam Estes, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach (BGCLB). “After completing a building assessment, our insurance company informed us we needed a new roof in order to have full coverage in case of wildfire. Every day, we give local youth the opportunity to play, grow, and learn in a safe environment. Installing a new roof will ensure that everyone who steps through our front door can enjoy a safe and nurturing environment for years to come.”

Boys & Girls Canyon

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Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach Canyon Branch 

The new roof comes with a $100,000 price tag and the enthusiasm of a local philanthropist, John Schwartz. “John and his family have deep roots in Laguna Beach,” said David Armendariz, Chief Relationship Officer for BGCLB. 

“He was the first person we contacted about our newest challenge and opportunity. We are deeply grateful to announce that the David Schwartz Foundation made a very generous $50,000 challenge gift to help put a roof on the building. During this special time of the year, annual donations to support services for young people are a priority. The dollar-for-dollar challenge gift from the Foundation was given to encourage the community to make an additional gift to build a new roof.”

Boys & Girls computer

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Club student works on computer at the clubhouse

The Club is also grateful to announce that Charles Antis of Antis Roofing is also helping with the project. Charles is an industry leader who has helped numerous nonprofits with their roofing needs including Habit for Humanity and the Ronald McDonald House. Antis is reaching out to his contacts in the roofing industry for donations of in-kind product to help make the new roof a reality.

Boys & Girls students

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Students working hard at the Canyon branch 

It takes a community to help a child, and it will take a village to put a new roof on the Laguna Beach clubhouse. 

To make a gift, contact David Armendariz at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 715-7918.

Deck the halls

Deck the tree

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Promenade on Forest Ave

December daybreak

December daybreak clouds

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Photo by Jeff Greenough

Another breathtaking dawn to bring us closer to the holidays

Paint the sky

paint the telephone pole

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Photo by Vincent Wallstein

Even a telephone pole can’t take away the beauty of a rainbow

Dennis’ Tidbits


November 13, 2020

From 70 to 54-degree ocean temps: It’s shrinkage time!

Dennis 5Local ocean temps are the coldest since February of 2013, with a reading of 54 degrees here on Wednesday. This is the earliest in the season that it has been this cold. The previous record for the earliest 54-degree water temp was on November 28, 1978. The normal water temp for this date is 61. 

To realize that the water temps were flirting with the 70-degree mark just two weeks ago is totally amazing! That’s what a strong Santana wind event and an Aleutian blaster can do in that short span of time. Since 2013 local ocean temps only dropped as low as 57, and that only happened a few times, with most of the past seven winters hovering around 58-61 the entire winter regardless of La Nina or El Nino.

However, this current La Nina is one of the strongest in recent memory. It will most likely be quite some time before the water temp even rebounds back up to 60. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens on that one. At the rate we’re going it could easily drop to 50 or even 49 like it did in January of 1949, April of 1974, May of 1980, and February of 1989. Major upwelling like this is always a product of strong NW winds over an extended period of time like 3-5 days with little or no letup in velocity even at night. Warm or cold, it’s all about the local winds and the direction from which they’re coming. Normal winter ocean temps around here are around 55-57. Keep in mind, my personal daily records only go back as far as 1958, so the water may have been even colder than 49 at some point in time before 1958.

Meanwhile the Atlantic and Caribbean are just not letting up as Eta has gone full circle twice and has now wandered back up in a northerly direction. She’s situated just off the Florida west coast near Tampa/St. Petersburg, having briefly regained hurricane strength. She’s now a high-end tropical storm with winds of 70 mph and a central pressure of 990 millibars here on late Wednesday evening. 

Sometime early Thursday morning, Eta will make landfall and move to the NE across Central Florida near Orlando, and by early Friday the storm should finally enter the Atlantic off Florida’s east coast and move out to sea, finally out of the picture. But the 2020 season is not over by any means, as a new system, Theta I think it’s called, is way out in the Atlantic and is speeding to the ENE and further away from the U.S. 

If that isn’t enough, a new system has formed south of Puerto Rico and is moving to the west. At this time, it has better than an 80 percent chance of further intensification within the next three to five days, while continuing to move to the west, which would ultimately put the system somewhere in the southern to central Caribbean. 

What a year! Out here in the Eastern Pacific tropics, we’re pretty much done for the 2020 season, making it only as far as the letter O. Incidentally, I might be doing the daily surf report on Laguna’s radio station at some point, hopefully in the near future. I’ll keep y’all posted on that one.

Have a great weekend! ALOHA!

The Friends of Cathryn Foundation celebrates 10th anniversary and important new partnership


The Friends of Cathryn Foundation is celebrating exciting news both locally and globally. They have reached a milestone – their tenth year – and have partnered with the Canadian Company Khure Health to focus on the diagnosis of rare cancers that pediatricians often miss and go undetected until children are very sick. 

Susan Giusto founded The Friends of Cathryn or “FRoC” Foundation in 2010. The name was chosen to honor the friends who helped the Giusto family while her daughter Cathryn was in treatment at Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) for 13 months – from late 2008-2009. 

Susan says, “The meals, prayers, playdates, hospital visits, moral, and emotional support were lifesaving during a very difficult time.” 

“We are named after our now 17-year-old daughter who was diagnosed and won a battle against neuroblastoma when she was five years old and a student at Laguna Presbyterian Preschool and El Morro.” 

The primary mission of the FRoC Foundation is to raise funds to develop less toxic and more targeted treatments for neuroblastoma, an aggressive solid tumor pediatric cancer.

Secondarily, but no less important, is their mission to support the families and caregivers of those children diagnosed with neuroblastoma. 

Susan says, “We have raised over $1M for cancer research and supported families and children fighting cancer at local So Cal Children’s Hospitals.” 

The friends family

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The Guisto Family 

Like all serious children’s illnesses, a childhood cancer diagnosis impacts the entire family. 

“We love the ‘Friends’ who inspired us at the start of this adventure and those who donate their time and resources to improve the outcome and lives of those families affected by this form of pediatric/children’s cancer,” says Susan.

“In 2009, Cathryn went through a stem cell transplant at CHOC, and I sat with other mothers whose children were there on Mother’s Day. One of my friends started a drive to put together baskets with items like magazines and candy and brought them up to the critical care unit for the mothers.”

FRoC carried on this idea and raised money to put together 150 Mother’s Day baskets to take to mothers whose children were being treated at hospitals like City of Hope and others in the area.

One of the things they’re currently doing during COVID-19 is to rally their supporters to create “craft bags” for kids at CHOC. COVID-19 has eliminated their bedside and playroom volunteers (which Susan has been for a couple years) so there is very little for kids to do besides TV and computer games. And, due to COVID and restrictions on donations, CHOC is very low on supplies for arts and crafts. 

With a longtime relationship supporting CHOC, the foundation reached out to the community to get assistance in making Friends of Cathryn Craft Bags.

The friends boys

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LBHS Juniors of the Lion’s Heart Service Group put together gift bags

Susan says, “We delivered 250 of these adorable bags, full of eight crafts, to CHOC, Mission, and Orange. We’re doing the same currently for Thanksgiving crafts and will be doing a big drive for the December Holidays. We’ve allowed many families, charity organizations, and bored teens to engage in philanthropy in a time when we’re all looking to help out.” 

In addition to these activities is their other ‘work’ which is behind the scenes in the cancer world. Susan is spearheading this work, and it has recently resulted in a collaboration with an organization based in Toronto and which will be coming to the U.S. in 2021. 

FRoC chose to partner with Khure Health to accelerate the identification of patients at risk of neuroblastoma, after discovering them through the Global Commission to End the Diagnostic Odyssey for Children with a Rare Disease.  Khure Health will now begin to develop an algorithm for neuroblastoma to add to the more than 50 rare diseases currently available on their clinical intelligence platform. Leveraging the power of artificial intelligence, combined with the data in a physician’s EMR, Khure Health’s Clinical Intelligence Platform will screen patients against the clinical diagnostic criteria of neuroblastoma to identify those who may be at risk.

Don Watts, president of Khure Health Inc., says, “We are thrilled to be working with FRoC to utilize the power of our AI-enabled platform to help physicians rapidly identify children potentially at risk of neuroblastoma.”

“The painful and confounding symptoms of neuroblastoma are often missed or misdiagnosed because most pediatricians will never see a case in their career – it’s that rare. Parents are their child’s best advocate and many witness the decline in their child’s behavior, growth, and well-being for months before a medical provider may arrive at the dreaded diagnosis of neuroblastoma,” says Susan. 

The friends Cathryn

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Cathryn (on right) delivers Halloween bags to CHOC Childlife team member

Cathryn is now a junior at St. Margaret’s and her older sister Grace, who is 18, is a freshman at Northeastern in Boston and worked with the foundation before she left for school. 

Both Susan and Cathryn can’t give enough kudos to all who supported them and the foundation.

Cathryn says, “Both my mom and I are extremely grateful for all the love and support our foundation has received from all of our friends in Laguna. Our mission for the past ten years has always been to spread love and awareness about children that went through the same experience as I did; because of all the hard work and dedication put in by our supporters, we are making that mission possible. It was so amazing to see all of the people participate in making fun craft bags for the young cancer patients in CHOC. We would like to thank everyone who has been a part of bringing joy and light to these children and fulfilling the FRoC dream.” 

“Since our family is a longtime Laguna family and the community has stepped up to both support us during our daughter’s 13 month treatment and to support all of our foundation efforts through the last 10 years, we want to celebrate our 10 year anniversary and recognize those who have been a part of the work we’ve accomplished,” says Susan.

For further information about FRoC or to donate, go to www.froc.org.

Fall foliage

Fall foliage tree

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Fall colors are popping in Laguna

Woods Cove wonders

Woods Cove water

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Perfection as far as the eye can see

iDOME SHELTERS Kickstarter campaign launched by local entrepreneur Dags Madrigal 


The worst thing you could ever say to longtime Laguna resident Darren “Dags” Madrigal, is to call his iDOME SHELTER a tent – it’s like comparing a trailer to the Taj Mahal.

The iDOME SHELTER is not a flimsy tent nor is it permanent, although it’s substantial enough to feel that way. It is an innovative hybrid dwelling that offers fun, functionally, and most importantly, will last a lifetime, according to Madrigal. The iDOME SHELTER is like nothing else currently on the market. 

Dags and his partners are also on a mission to create Earth-friendly products. 

“Sustainable materials and reusability of our products is paramount,” says Madrigal. 

The geodesic dome structure can be set up in minutes, offers 91 square ft of living with a 9-ft head space, 18-inch BIG stakes, the floor is made of PVC, it has a 5” border to keep out water, and the frame can hold up to 1,000 lbs, supporting hammocks and supplies to keep them off the ground. 


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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Dags Madrigal

The iDOME SHELTERS Kickstarter campaign is now underway and will be live for 21 more days, offering over 40 percent discounts on the products. Madrigal explains that Kickstarter is a crowdfunding platform in which entrepreneurs pitch ideas to the general public, hoping they’ll buy the product – in a sense pre-booking it – which helps pay for production.

“It’s like a blog feed,” explains Madrigal. “It started on Sunday, Nov 15. This is very exciting. It will put our brand on the map and raise awareness.”

Potential buyers became aware of the campaign through a sweepstakes on the iDOME website and due to the response, Madrigal says they have acquired over 7,000 emails and more through social media.

He readily admits that he’s not the only brain of the operation. With help from his good friend Mike Aho in Austin, Texas, and local creative Warren Ellison of Studio Misfits, together they run his acquisition campaign and position the brand. “I give them my ideas and content, and they creatively run with it.”


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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Dags demonstrating the strength of the structure

The iDOME has already attracted interest. “Whenever I set one up at Aliso Creek Beach, TOW Park, or other locations, people stop by and ask me what it is and then lay in the hammocks.” 

There’s no doubt that it’s a pathway to fun, but with the support of outdoor enthusiasts across the globe, it’s also an avenue to a larger humanitarian application for the entire world. 

Madrigal’s vision is that by using the iDOME SHELTER as a way to make memories – at the beach, camping, music festivals, or a variety of experiences – it will lead to its larger humanitarian use during natural disasters. With the recent incidences of fires here in California, it is clear the planet is changing. 

“The shelters could potentially house a family for a short period of time until permanent housing is available,” he says. “They could be used by FEMA, Red Cross, UNICEF, or Doctors Without Borders, for example.”


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Submitted photo

(L-R) Dags, Steve Miller, and Eli Elliott (before pandemic)

Ten years ago, Madrigal was introduced to the shelter concept when he met locals Steve Miller and Eli Elliott, both long-serving environmental activists. 

Miller met Elliott early in 2004 “on the street” across from mutual good friend and activist Mike Beanan. Miller’s invention is a cool and unique twist to the geodesic dome structure, which is one of the strongest in the world. 

Madrigal says, “The frame is Steve’s design, and, at that point, they had three patents already, but it was in a raw stage.” 

Once Madrigal saw the concept, he knew it had big potential. Madrigal eventually bought into the patents and then acquired the global license which gave him complete creative control to use his own ideas. At that point, the concept made a generational leap which became the iDOME SHELTER. With the help of local CAD designer Bernard Lightner, Madrigal made additional parts with his own money and time, improving its design. 

iDOME SHELTER Dags and Eli

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Dags and Eli taking advantage of the hammocks

Although some parts are made in the U.S., the biggest challenge was finding a manufacturer. Through Mark Machado, a representative of a giant tent factory overseas, Madrigal was able to find a trustworthy manufacturer.

The design of the iDOME SHELTER is based on Bucky Fuller’s groundbreaking geodesic dome idea – a hemispherical thin-shell structure. The triangular elements of the dome are structurally rigid and distribute the structural stress throughout the structure, making geodesic domes able to withstand very heavy loads and strong winds.

The iDOME SHELTER has a floor made of PVC, water will not get in, and the floor zips off for easy cleaning. “Our product is built strong and built to last. We have integrated steel, aluminum, and carbon fiber parts into our design,” says Madrigal. “Our bags and covers are built with durable fabrics and are double and triple stitched. One of our primary goals was to build solid dependable product.”


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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Eli Elliott

Madrigal has been in the action sports industry for 25 years as a sales representative for Volcom, a brand known for some of the best marketing in the industry. “To launch a brand, you need to tell a story and the message has to be clear.”

His message couldn’t be clearer: Phase I – success with this product as a recreational entity that will eventually lead to what was his original intention; Phase II – to use it for humanitarian purposes, in natural disasters, which was Miller and Elliott’s original goal as well.

Throughout his 10-year endeavor, Madrigal has been supported by his family – wife Kathe, 21-year-old son Dante, and daughter Tomiah, a junior at  Laguna Beach High School.

Now that the Kickstarter Campaign has launched, Madrigal is closer to his vision, which is “to make the world a safer place, one shelter at a time.” 

For more information about the iDOME SHELTER, click here.

To contribute to the Kickstarter campaign, click here.

Increased police presence approved by council for Main Beach


The City Council on Tuesday unanimously approved increased police presence on Main Beach as proposed by Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow and newly elected Councilman Peter Blake. 

Police Chief Laura Farinella gave her support to the proposals outlined in the meeting agenda to combat unwelcome activity that cropped up last summer and has recently spiked.

“I have again received many complaints regarding the same nuisance activity, with residents and visitors, stating they feel unsafe and they cannot enjoy Main Beach and Heisler Park,” Farinella told the council.

“In response to the complaints, I walked the area with my command staff and found there were areas of improvement that would lessen or eliminate these issues.”

Recommended steps to improve conditions are based on her personal observations. 

The Steps

--Beat officers conducting extra patrols at Main Beach to enforce and gain compliance related to local ordinances such as no smoking, alcohol consumption and littering

--Community Outreach Officers adjusting their hours and coming in very early to handle any nuisance issues in early morning hours and collect abandoned property

--Placing a canopied information booth on the Cobblestones on the weekends

--Public Works [should] cut back the foliage next to the Hotel Laguna that was very thick allowing people to sleep there and store property 

Seven sleepers and shopping carts were found in the underbrush, to Farinella’s surprise.

“This area is now free of this activity,” said Farinella. 

Increased police main beach

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Main Beach will see increased police presence

Based on the success of the steps already taken, Farinella recommended that a blend of layered services with Marine Safety, Beach Patrol and sworn officers be continued during the winter months, all of which was approved by the council.

Specifically, Farinella recommended adjusting on-duty Beach Patrol hours to the morning hours with a focus on the area that is already problematic.

The City’s two outreach officers will continue to work with Orange County Health Care workers to focus their patrol and outreach efforts in this area.

Police will work in pair on bikes and on foot. 

Marine Safety will open an additional tower at the south end of the beach. The White Tower will be open for extended hours and a north tower will be opened if needed. 

The success of the program will be gauged by the number of calls for service and complaints related to the specific area. 

“Protecting health, safety and welfare of citizens and visitors is the most important thing we do,” said Dicterow. “This is a beginning, not an end. There will be more bills, but it is start.

“My primary concern is behavior. I want to deter bad behavior. Law and order is so important to me.”

Both Dicterow and Blake said they needed to feel safe. 

“If it takes more police – that is what we will do. I don’t care what it costs.”

Estimated cost for the approved program is $155,000 for six months. The funding will be taken from Measure LL monies, which the council prioritized for police and fire protection and emergency response services, which qualifies the proposed expenditure.

“This is a good use of taxpayers’ dollars,” said Karen Christensen.

Michael Morris asked how the success of the program could be measured. 

“I walk on Main Beach frequently and I really don’t feel that unsafe,” Morris said. “How do we measure this?”

A reduction in complaints is one way, Farinella said.   

The word homeless was never mentioned by City officials or members of the audience who spoke at the hearing.

Laguna Beach Library presents author Gregory Benford on March 27

On Wednesday, March 27 at 5:30 p.m., the Laguna Beach Library invites the community to an author talk featuring bestselling author Gregory Benford, who will be discussing his book Rewrite: Loops in the Timescape. 

In this sequel to Benford’s award-winning bestseller Timescape, a professor learns he can travel back in time to when he was sixteen and becomes a Hollywood screenwriter with great success.

Laguna Beach green

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Bestselling author Gregory Benford 

Gregory Benford is a local Nebula Award-winning science fiction writer and astrophysicist who is on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of California, Irvine. 

For more information, call (949) 497-1733. 

The Laguna Beach Library is located at 363 Glenneyre St.

Laguna Beach Books to host event with author David Gardner on April 14

On Sunday, April 14 at 4 p.m., Laguna Beach Books is pleased to welcome author David Gardner. David will be discussing his new book, Duncan’s Boots and the Field of Broken Dreams.

Sitting on an ice-bound plane in Munich with his Manchester United teammates on February 6, 1958, Duncan Edwards had the world at his feet. At the age of 21, he’d already played 151 matches for his club and had 18 caps for his country. Tragically, the player Sir Bobby Charlton called the best he’d ever seen never made it home from that trip, dying as one of the fabled Busby Babes.

Fast forward to modern day and a middle-aged British expat living in America who has lost his way in life but still gets a kick out of playing soccer with his friends. Back home in Dudley in the West Midlands for the funeral of his father, Jimmy Keen finds an ancient pair of boots in the attic that he is told once belonged to Duncan, the pride of Dudley and an old school teammate of his dad’s.

Laguna Beach soccer

Author David Gardner will discuss his new book at Laguna Beach Books on April 14

The find allows Jimmy a glimpse into the human side of his cold, distant father through his special relationship with the legendary footballer. Much later, back at home in California, Jimmy tries on the crumbling boots and wears them for his weekly pick-up game in Laguna Beach.

Suddenly he turns into a player capable of unbelievable skills. His extraordinary abilities propel the protagonist all the way to the Major League Soccer Cup Final in the US at the age of 47, but is his late blooming success down to finally fulfilling his potential...or is it just the boots?

The novel is about the enduring wonder of playing soccer, and also examines the issues we all face dealing with the demons in our past and remaining relevant as we grow older.

David Gardner is the London Evening Standard US Correspondent, an ex-Daily Mail Foreign Correspondent and Head of Content at Football.com, Basketball.com, and Trivia.com. 

He has had several books published, including The Last of the Hitlers, about his search to find Adolf Hitler’s last living descendants in the United States; The Tom Hanks Enigma; and LEGENDS: Murder, Lies and Cover-Ups, which was published in the US by Skyhorse Publishing in May 2018. His first novel, The iCandidate, written with his wife Michelle, won a 2017 Independent Publisher Book award for national contemporary fiction. He is a regular player at the Field of Broken Dreams in Laguna Beach at age 58.

For more information, call (949) 494-4779 or visit www.lagunabeachbooks.com

Laguna Beach Books is located at 1200 South Coast Hwy.

Spring Youth Activities announced through the City of Laguna Beach Community Services

Keep your little ones active this spring with classes offered through the City of Laguna Beach Community Services. These activities are great for helping your kids learn new skills as they grow.

Kids dance classes being offered include: Ballet, Tap, Jazz, Hip-hop, Lyrical, and High School Dance Prep. Fundamentals are taught with songs and fun games to encourage development in rhythm, balance, coordination, social skills and more. Students will learn dance etiquette in a structured and supportive environment. Classes are held in the Laguna Beach Community Center.

Spring youth hoops

Submitted photo

The Skyhawks basketball program is a fun way for kids to learn the sport

The Skyhawks basketball program is a fun, skill-intensive program that is designed to focus on fundamental skills such as passing, shooting, and dribbling. Boys and girls will also learn vital life lessons such as respect, teamwork, and responsibility. 

The Swim Team Prep classes offer practice in dives and various swim strokes in the twice-weekly sessions. Bring goggles and caps. Participants must be able to swim across the pool on their own.

For more information on these classes and to register, click here. 

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

Mission Hospital Foundation welcomes new Board Officers and Members

Mission Hospital Foundation welcomes the following new officers to the Board of


--James Quandt, Chair (Coto de Caza)

--Cynthia Mirsky, Vice Chair ( Laguna Hills)

--Susan D. Morrison, Secretary (Monarch Beach)

--Debashis Chowdhury, Treasurer (Laguna Niguel)

--Margarita C. Solazzo, Immediate Past Chair (San Juan Capistrano)

These dedicated community members have been passionately involved at Mission Hospital for many years and generously support and advocate for the greatest health care needs of south Orange County.

Mission Hospital group

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Submitted photo

Executive Committee of the Mission Hospital Foundation Board of Directors: (Sitting L-R) James Quandt and Cynthia Mirsky; (Standing L-R) John Miller, Margarita Solazzo, Richard Gordinier, and Matt Gunderson

This year the Foundation Board will devote their time, treasures, and talents to support two fundraising priorities:

--The new Judi and Bill Leonard Institute for Cancer Prevention, Treatment and Wellness

--Completing the funding for the expansion of both Mission Hospital’s Emergency Departments – Mission Viejo and Laguna Beach

In addition, four new members recently joined the Board:

--Brandon Biegenzahn (Coto de Caza)

--David Hanna (Coto de Caza)

--James Heinrich, MD (Laguna Niguel)

--Eduardo Jordan (San Clemente)

These four dynamic community members will serve as ambassadors for Mission Hospital, sharing the important work of the hospital and how the foundation is aligned with those priorities.

To learn more about Mission Hospital Foundation, visit 


Laguna Beach is currently in 2nd place behind Gallup, NM in “Most Water Wise City” challenge

Mayor Bob Whalen is calling on residents to take part in the annual Wyland National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation in hopes of regaining the city’s “Most Water Wise City” title that was surrendered to Gallup, New Mexico last year. “It’s a matter of civic pride,” stated Whalen. “Despite a valiant effort, Laguna Beach took third place in its population category last year. It’s time to take back the title.”

The annual challenge, which runs from April 1- 30, is a nonprofit national community service campaign that encourages leaders to inspire their residents to make a series of simple pledges at www.mywaterpledge.com to use water more efficiently, reduce pollution, and save energy. In return, residents can win $3,000 toward their Home Utility Payments, water saving fixtures, and hundreds of other prizes. Plus, one lucky charity will receive a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid to serve the community.

Laguna Beach is currently in second place in this year’s challenge behind Laurel, Maryland for cities with a population between 5,000 and 29,999 residents.

Laguna Beach rain

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Make pledge online at www.mywaterpledge.com to help Laguna Beach regain its title as “Most Water Wise City”

 “For the first time in eight years, California is drought free. Although water restrictions are no longer in place, all Californians must continue to work together to use water wisely,” stated Whalen. “In our drought-prone state, the next dry period could be right around the corner. Laguna Beach proudly supports the Wyland Mayor’s Challenge and its mission to raise awareness of our most precious resource, water.”

Last year, residents from over 3,800 cities in all 50 US states pledged to reduce their annual consumption of freshwater by three billion gallons, reduce waste sent to landfills by 79.9 million pounds, and prevent more than 177,000 pounds of hazardous waste from entering our watersheds. The Challenge goes beyond recent drought issues and looks at the ways our water use will affect the future of our communities – from how we grow food to reducing polluted runoff. 

Laguna Beach Mayor Whalen

Submitted photo

Mayor Whalen is asking Laguna to band together to regain our “Most Water Wise City” title

While Californians have seen record rainfall this past winter, Laguna Beach residents remain committed to saving water. Due to the state’s history of drought, water conservation has become part of the Laguna lifestyle. 

“Our residents understand that they must continue to save water during periods of heavy rain to get us through the dry periods that are inevitable in California,” stated Renae Hinchey, general manager of the Laguna Beach County Water District. “This ongoing effort is important for long-term water reliability.” 

To participate, residents should go to www.mywaterpledge.com and then make a series of online pledges to conserve water on behalf of Laguna Beach. Cities compete in the following population categories: 5,000 - 29,999 residents, 30,000 - 99,999 residents, 100,000 - 299,999 residents, 300,000 - 599,999 residents, and 600,000+ residents. 

Participants earn a chance to win $3,000 toward their Home Utility Bills, and hundreds more eco-friendly prizes including Toro Irrigation Smart Controllers, ECOS home cleaning products, and home water fixture retrofits from EcoSystems Inc. In addition, residents can nominate a deserving charity from their city to receive a 2019 Toyota Highlander Hybrid. Students and teachers are encouraged to take part, as well.

Laguna Beach tent

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Annual Smartscape Expo – Residents learn ways to conserve water

The 8th National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation is presented by the Wyland Foundation and Toyota, with support from the U.S EPA WaterSense, The Toro Company, National League of Cities, Conserva Irrigation, EcoSystems Inc., and Earth Friendly Products (makers of ECOS).

Laguna Beach County Water District provides water service to 22,000 residents within an 8.5 square mile area of Laguna Beach. The District’s mission is to furnish a high quality, reliable water supply in a financially responsible manner, while promoting water-use efficiency. 

The Wyland Foundation was founded in 1993 by environmental artist Wyland (best known for his series of 100 monumental marine life murals) as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting, protecting, and preserving the world’s ocean, waterways, and marine life. The foundation encourages environmental awareness through community events, education programs, and public art projects.

Temporary sculpture at City Hall lights up tonight 

The lawn of City Hall will be the new exhibition space for the temporary installation The Shape of Light by artist team Hybycozo. The temporary sculpture will be on display starting tonight, April 30, through July 3. 

Three geometric sculptures created of laser cut metal lit with LED will bring light and shadows to City Hall.

Temporary Sculpture green

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Submitted photo

A temporary light sculpture will brighten the night at City Hall starting tonight through July 3

Hybycozo is a collaboration of two artists: environmental scientist Yelena Filipchuck and industrial designer Serge Beaulieu. The name Hybycozo stands for “Hyperspace Bypass Construction Zone,” a nod to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The two first met in New York City in 2013, but moved to the Bay Area to make a series of works for Burning Man. 

“We decided to create a set of sculptures that could represent our fascination with the beauty of mathematics and the language of the universe,” Filipchuck says.

This temporary installation is one of many works the City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission hope to bring to the community. 

Temporary Sculpture brown

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Submitted photo

Don’t miss “The Shape of Light” by artist duo Hybycozo at City Hall 

Adam Schwerner, Vice-Chair of the Laguna Beach Arts Commission, explains, “We are excited to bring this young artist team to Laguna Beach, their works are an exploration of light with incredibly intricate patterns. It is bringing some of the creative brilliance of Burning Man to Laguna Beach.” 

Arts Commission Chair Michael Ervin added, “It is wonderful to see this program take shape and we are looking forward to bringing diverse works to the community, and we thank the City Council for the support to explore this new programming.”

This is a program of the City of Laguna Beach and has been funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

City Hall is located at 505 Forest Ave.

Meet Pets of the Week Jesse

Jesse is currently taking the title of Pet of the Week. He is a seven-year-old short orange haired tabby who is neutered. He is very shy and quiet since his senior owner recently passed away. Therefore, Jesse will do best in a quiet home or environment. Although, once he gets to know you, he opens up greatly. In addition, Jesse will love to lay in your lap all day long once he feels comfortable. He would be great for an older couple that wants an affectionate lap cat. Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, hopes to see Jesse adopted as soon as possible. 

Pet of the Week Jesse

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Submitted photo

Jesse is the perfect amount of sweet and affectionate 

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, the shelter’s return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of 50 percent.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd. For information on adoption procedures, call (949) 497-3552 or go to www.puplagunabeach.org/our-pets.php.

Laguna Beach Community Pool closed through Sunday for maintenance 

The Laguna Beach Community Pool will be closed through Sunday, June 9 while the city makes repairs to the roof and other parts of the facility. 

Laguna Beach Community sunset

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Submitted photo

Our stunning community pool will re-open on Sunday 

During this time, the city asks that residents consider visiting neighboring pools:

--City of Mission Viejo – click here for more info or call (949) 859-4348.

--City of Aliso Viejo – click here for more info or call (949) 425-2559.

--City of Newport Beach – click here for more info or call (949) 270-8100.

--City of San Clemente – click here for more info or call (949) 388-2131.

The Laguna Beach Community Pool is located at 670 Park Ave. 

The drop-in fee to swim is $2 per person. Annual and season pool passes can be purchased online. 

For more information, click here or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laguna Beach Books to host virtual event with Sue Miller on September 11

On Friday, Sept 11 at 5 p.m., Laguna Beach Books is pleased to present the latest virtual event in its new Signature Event Series. Enjoy a literary evening with author Sue Miller as she speaks about her new novel, Monogamy

Miller will be in conversation with Laguna Beach writer Marrie Stone, and will also welcome questions from attendees.

All Laguna Beach Books virtual events are free of charge to attend, and books are available to order at www.lagunabeachbooks.com. Attendees can register by clicking here.

Laguna Beach Miller

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Submitted photo

Laguna Beach Books will host a virtual event with author Sue Miller on September 11

Monogamy is brilliantly insightful novel, engrossing and haunting, about marriage, love, family, happiness, and sorrow from New York Times bestselling author Sue Miller.

Graham and Annie have been married for nearly thirty years. A golden couple, their seemingly effortless devotion has long been the envy of their circle of friends and acquaintances. 

Graham is a bookseller, a big, gregarious man with large appetites – curious, eager to please, a lover of life, and the convivial host of frequent, lively parties at his and Annie’s comfortable house in Cambridge.

Annie, more reserved and introspective, is a photographer. She is about to have her first gallery show after a six-year lull and is worried that the best years of her career may be behind her. They have two adult children; Lucas, Graham’s son with his first wife, Frieda, works in New York. Annie and Graham’s daughter, Sarah, lives in San Francisco. Though Frieda is an integral part of this far-flung, loving family, Annie feels confident in the knowledge that she is Graham’s last and greatest love.

When Graham suddenly dies – this man whose enormous presence has seemed to dominate their lives together – Annie is lost. What is the point of going on, she wonders, without him? 

Laguna Beach cover

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Sue Miller to discuss her new novel, “Monogamy”

Then, while she is still mourning him intensely, she discovers that Graham had been unfaithful to her; and she spirals into darkness, wondering if she ever truly knew the man who loved her.

Both critically acclaimed and loved by readers, Sue Miller is recognized internationally for her elegant and sharply realistic accounts of the contemporary family. Her numerous honors include a Guggenheim and a Radcliffe Institute Fellowship. Her previous books have been widely translated and published in 22 countries around the world, and include While I Was Gone, The Distinguished Guest, For Love, Family Pictures, Inventing the Abbotts, and The Good Mother. She has taught fiction at, among others, Amherst, Tufts, Boston University, Smith, and MIT. She lives in Cambridge, Mass.

Marrie Stone co-hosts “Writers on Writing,” a weekly radio show that broadcasts from UC Irvine. The program is dedicated to the craft and business of writing, and features interviews with authors, poets, agents, and publishers. Marrie’s own fiction and essays have appeared in Reed Magazine, Orange Coast Magazine, Stu News Laguna, and various other publications. A former corporate attorney, Marrie lives in Laguna Beach with her husband and daughter.

For more information and to register, visit www.lagunabeachbooks.com/event/virtual-event-sue-miller.

Carlie & Co opens pop-up shop at The Soul Project

Carlie & Co, a local mother and daughter run stationery and lifestyle company, has opened its first pop-up shop, housed in The Soul Project in the HIP District of Laguna Beach, through the end of August. 

Owner Heather Schwarm’s mother owned Strands and Stitches, which was a popular yarn and pattern store in the same location, which makes the pop-up shop location even more poignant. 

The Soul Project is a local Laguna Beach retail space, established in 2014, that has been very popular with locals and visitors alike. The Soul Project offers simple and innovative apparel that holds “socially conscious capitalism” as a core cultural value. 

Carlie & Co will add to this philosophy by offering locally designed products like planners, journals, and other lifestyle items along with curated classes and events, all designed to inspire, energize, and empower girls and women to live their own inspired life. Carlie & Co’s planned classes and events will be scheduled throughout summer 2019.

Carlie & Co eyes

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Photo by Peggy Cormary

Local stationary and lifestyle company Carlie & Co is open at The Soul Project this summer

Heather Schwarm, CEO of Carlie & Co, gave up her C-Suite job, took a two-year hiatus in France, and then moved back to her hometown of Laguna Beach to start Carlie & Co with her daughter, the namesake of the brand, all in order to live her inspired life. 

Heather says, “Carlie and I are so excited to open our pop-up in The Soul Project! It’s such a warm and inviting space and it will give us the opportunity to really connect with the community, tell our story, and start to fulfill our mission to inspire, energize, and empower women and girls to live their inspired life. It’s so meaningful to me that this was the exact location of my mother’s local business, Stands and Stitches, a yarn and pattern store, years back. To now start a business with my own daughter and have a pop-up in this space couldn’t be more exciting!” 

Carlie, a student at LBHS, has been integral in the product development and design as she voices the needs of girls and connects with their hopes and aspirations.

Carlie and Co smiles

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Photo by Peggy Cormary

Carlie & Co is a local mother and daughter run company 

Carlie & Co is committed to creating and curating high-quality journals, planners, and other stationery and lifestyle products that help meet the needs of women on their journey to live their inspired life, at any age. Classes offered onsite will align with this vision. 

The brand offers high-quality products featuring unique patterns and designs that are globally inspired and individually designed by Carlie and Heather. The brand’s signature look is bright, cheerful, and classic with a little whimsy thrown in for good measure.

The pop-up will be located at The Soul Project at 1516 S Coast Hwy in Laguna Beach’s HIP District. It will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturdays, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays. 

Carlie & Co will host a series of “Sip, Talk, and Shop” events during the summer when the store will be open later. Carlie & Co’s pop-up will run through to the end of August with their products available for purchase daily. 

For more information about products and events Carlie & Co will be hosting throughout the summer at The Soul Project, visit www.carlieandco.com/events

Guest Column

Trail Steward Friends

By Paula Olson

Outreach Director, Laguna Canyon Foundation

How do you measure success? Boy, that question can get irksome.

Often we measure success only by what we are able to measure, but that, by definition, can be limiting. Think of the NBA finals: Golden State Warriors and Toronto Raptors sixth and final game. Final score: Raptors 114; Warriors 110. Boom! Raptors are champions. Clear-cut, awesome, end of story. Maybe. But what about the games – up and down the court, trading leads? Wow! And the players’ personal stories of injuries, comebacks, and the heart and soul they all left on the court; the fans standing in the rain; the coaches’ leadership; the two national anthems – that is what makes the sport so compelling.

Stats are important, for sure. They decide who wins championships. They reveal just how far an organization has come. As Laguna Canyon Foundation closes its seasonal and fiscal year this month, we’ll be sharing some milestones that truly make us proud, milestones that preserve and protect our wilderness and that our volunteers and supporters help make possible.

This past trail stewardship season, I had the pleasure of attending most of our events. While I am so proud of the work we accomplished, what I will remember most are the people, our volunteers. The staff at Laguna Canyon Foundation has made friends, friends who worked side-by-side with us as we improved a berm, obliterated a social trail, re-seeded impacted areas, and cleared massive overgrowth that had made hiking and riding almost impossible. Our volunteers were thoughtful, supportive, and eager to learn. And we all learned from each other.

Trail Stewards with shovels

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Courtesy of LCF

Volunteers ready to tackle the trails

As we pursued particularly difficult areas of a trail, we had group discussions about the best ways to support our ultimate goal: keep users ON the trails and water OFF. Led by our Restoration Program Director Alan Kaufmann, we considered brake bumps, sight lines, and where hikers and bikers would likely go. We agreed on a strategy and built our drains, brushed our trails, and mitigated erosion.

The hard work was fun and lively as the conversations shifted to college days, an upcoming wedding, or a recent camping trip. We had mountain bike volunteers – McLeods and shovels in hand – ribbing bikers as they rode by to come join us and help improve the trails. We had a father and son team come back time and time again, working four hours and then taking a ride. One of our volunteers celebrated a milestone birthday – the big 4-0 – and volunteered on his birthday! A girlfriend of a volunteer came and enjoyed her time so much, she chastised her boyfriend for implying that trail work was just a “guy thing” (she has since become a regular). We had a long-term high school volunteer spread the word and bring countless school buddies who needed to fulfill “mandatory volunteer hours.” (How’s that for an oxymoron?) We had a trail runner who was, in no way, a parasite, sweat through four hours of humidity, happily and beautifully brushing a seriously overgrown trail. We had student nurses, also mothers with full-time jobs, find the time to commit a morning to helping on the trails. 

Trail Stewards sign

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Courtesy of LCF

Trail work in progress, Laurel Canyon

Corporate groups came out eager to work on the trail each of them frequently used. Recently, one of our long-term volunteers went to a different trailhead, missing the truck ride in, and so, not to be discouraged, ran four miles in to meet us and begin her trail work. Another regular got his certification to become a long-term OC Parks volunteer, completing his orientation, training, and CPR/First Aid requirements.

This past season, hikers, bikers, photographers, runners, naturalists, and first-time trail folks effectively worked together to protect our beautiful wilderness. We will share our awesome year-end stats soon. Getting to know all of them, hearing their stories, and learning about their love for the open space has been an unmeasurable privilege and I am so grateful that many of them have signed up to become certified long-term volunteers – upping their commitment to protect what we love.

As we take a hiatus for the hot summer months, I will miss my new friends, but I look forward to seeing them again in the fall.

To sign up as a volunteer, go to www.lagunacanyon.org.

Men in flippers: maybe that’s all you need to know about Mamma Mia at Laguna Playhouse


The music is iconic and the acting undeniably awesome, but it’s the men in flippers who almost steal the show as they dance and do flips across the stage. Wow! But that’s just a small part of the fun of Mamma Mia, which opened at Laguna Playhouse on Sunday to a capacity crowd. I’d be willing to bet “Money, Money, Money” that many members of the audience silently mouthed the words to ABBA’s songs. Although their music is from a certain era, it translates seamlessly into 2019 with its eternal motifs of romance, doubts, and dreams. The songs are instantly recognizable and impossible to get out of your head.

Mamma Mia has experienced many reincarnations, from a book to a play to a movie (and then a revisit to the movie). The musical first performed in April of 1999. Written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, conceived by Judy Craymer, and based on the songs of ABBA – composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, members of the band – Mamma Mia is considered a jukebox musical. The title is taken from the group’s 1975 chart-topper “Mamma Mia.” 

Men in dancing queen

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Photo by Ed Krieger

(L-R) Sophia Swannell, MaryAnn Carlisle, Dwan Hayes, and McKenna Wells 

“We start our 99th season with one of the all-time great feel-good musicals, Mamma Mia! Our subscribers and audiences are going to be dancing queens and kings all summer long with this irresistible and euphoric new production!” say Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham and Executive Director Ellen Richard.

With timeless themes of love and friendship, Mamma Mia has become a worldwide phenomenon. As wedding festivities commence on an idyllic Greek island, a young bride-to-be schemes to discover the identity of her father among three men from her mother’s past. With so many of ABBA’s legendary hits, including “Dancing Queen,” “Take a Chance,” “Money, Money, Money,” and “SOS,” it’s an unforgettable musical experience. 

It took the entire energetic company to make this magic happen, so it’s difficult to single out any one of the actors. The dancers (including the flipper guys) were incredible. The musical has been described as “infectious,” and it couldn’t be truer.

Maryann Carlisle is a perfect fit for the role of Donna, the mother. With brilliant versatility, her pure voice adapts with ease to songs that range from nostalgic to humorous. 

Men in with dads

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Photo by Ed Krieger

(L-R) Jonathan Van Dyke, MaryAnn Carlisle, Daniel Berlin, and Daryl Roth 

McKenna Wells as Sophie, who is trying to find out which one of the three men she’s invited to her wedding is her father, handles her role with confidence and her presence and voice fill the stage. 

The three potential dads – Daniel Berlin as Harry Bright, Daryl J. Roth as Bill Austin, and Jonathan Van Dyke as Sam Carmichael – are all formidable actors and singers and make each character distinct. 

Kristen Daniels as Ali and Dwan Hayes as Rosie are great as Sophie and Donna’s friends – funny and entertaining in all their scenes. 

Sophia Swannell as the thrice married Tanya Cresham-Leigh is convincingly uppity. And David Sasik (Sky) is believable as Sophie’s bewildered fiancée.

Completing the cast are: Aubrie Knapp as “Lisa,” Zain Patel as “Pepper,” Nick Nazarro as “Eddie,” and Jared Ryan Kaitz as “Father Alexandrios.”

The Ensemble features: Sam Buchanan, Tanner Frisbey, Jayden Goodman, Jared Ryan Kaitz, Eleni Kutay, Lizzie Menzies, Johann Santiago Santos, and Katherine Westrum.

Men in wedding

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Photo by Ed Krieger

The company of “Mamma Mia”

Kudos must be given to the Director/Choreographer Karen Babcock Brassea and Musical Director Ricky Pope who made this an exciting feast for the eyes and ears. 

Authentically harkening back to a particular era, the wardrobe by Keith Lambert was spot on. Alex Crocker-Lakness, lighting designer, and Hannah Alikhani, production stage manager, created a setting that evoked the cool white of the Greek Isles.

Just when you think the production is over – it’s not – the company delights the audience with performances of “Mamma Mia, “Dancing Queen,” and “Waterloo,” and the “dads” especially shine in their neon-bright disco outfits. It’s a sight to behold.

Mamma Mia is a great way to start the summer – let’s just say it’s a flippin’ wonderful show!

For showtimes and tickets, and the full biographies of all the performers, go to www.lagunaplayhouse.com.

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd. For more information, call (949) 497-2787.

Azure blue sea and periwinkle sky 

Azure blue scenic

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Photo by Joel Goldstein

View from South Laguna

Guest Column

What is energy medicine? 

By Dr. Vidya Reddy

Hello, this week I’d like to welcome you to the Healing Corner.

Before I share with you simple exercises or practices of energy medicine you could use on a daily basis for everyday issues like stress, anxiety, headaches, sinus, backaches, flu and more, I’d like to share what exactly energy medicine is. 

Energy medicine is probably the oldest “real” profession. Knowing how to keep the body’s energies healthy and vital gave our ancestors a tremendous edge for surviving in the wild. Strategies for sensing and correcting energy imbalances by stimulating specific energy points have been passed down through generations in China and India, as well as in other parts of the world, for at least 5,000 years. 

Today, energy medicine is one of the five domains of “complementary and alternative medicine” identified by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Methods used within energy medicine include electrical devices, magnets, crystals, needles, aromas, and herbal or other ingested substances. But the tool used by the largest number of practitioners for moving and harmonizing the body’s energies and fields is the human hand. 

Top four questions about energy medicine 

How is energy medicine practiced?

Energy medicine utilizes techniques from time-honored traditions such as acupuncture, yoga, kinesiology, and qi gong. Flow, balance, and harmony can be non-invasively restored and maintained within an energy system by tapping, massaging, pinching, twisting, or connecting specific energy points (acupoints) on the skin; by tracing or swirling the hand over the skin along specific energy pathways; through exercises or postures designed for specific energetic effects; by focused use of the mind to move specific energies; and/or by surrounding an area with healing energies.

How does it work? 

Energy medicine recognizes energy as a vital, living, moving force that determines much about health and happiness

To maintain vibrant health, the body needs its energies to: 

--Move and have space to continue to move – energies may become blocked due to toxins, muscular or other constriction, prolonged stress, or interference from other energies. 

--Move in specific patterns – generally in harmony with the physical structures and functions that the energies animate and support. “Flow follows function.”

What is doctor

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Photo by Johnny Antezana

Dr. Vidya Reddy

--Maintain a balance with other energies – the energies may lose their natural balance due to prolonged stress or other conditions that keep specific energy systems in a survival mode. 

--Conversely, when the body is not healthy, corresponding disturbances in its energies can be identified and treated. 

Is energy medicine spiritual?

Entering the world of your body’s subtle energies is a bridge into the domain of your deepest spiritual callings and your eternal essence. While no particular belief system, allegiance, or religious affiliation is associated with energy medicine, many people find that energy work touches into the realms of soul and

Can anyone do it?

Absolutely! Working with your energies is your birthright!

Students of energy medicine include: 

--Ordinary people with no experience in self-healing or healing others 

--Anyone who wants to learn to engage their energies for health and vitality 

--People who want to study techniques to help themselves, their family, or a close friend

--Massage therapists, nurses, acupuncturists, doctors, and other health care professionals who are looking to supplement and enhance their training 

--People of all ages and all walks of life who want to embark on a career in energy medicine

Simple energy healing exercises

Now let’s head straight into the simple yet effective practices/exercises that will take hardly 5 –10 minutes of your day but prove to be very effective in solving some everyday issues. If you would like more information, techniques, and meditation based on energy healing, please refer to my podcast: https://naturally-happy.com/podcast/ 

Make an X with your arms

Bring your palms toward each other until they are about three inches apart. Now twist your arms so they form an X, with your wrists at the center of the X, still about three inches apart. Bring your attention to the space between your wrists. Because your wrists contain several energy centers, the energies will connect, and most people will feel some sensation in the area between their wrists. 

What is wrists

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Photo by Pieter Baetens 

Wrists contain several energy centers

Move your wrist about an inch closer and then out a few inches, back-and-forth. What happens to the sensations in the space between your wrists as you change the distance? Do not be concerned if you do not feel the energy, it is there. 

The palms of your hands also emit a considerable amount of subtle energy. See if you can feel the energy in the space between your hands if you cup your hands and move them toward and away from each other. 

Energy medicine for tight shoulders 

Most people carry some tension in their shoulders. Reach your right hand over to your left shoulder and press into any point with your middle finger. Feel around until you find the spot that is most tender (if there is another area of your body you would prefer to focus upon, do so). Give a rating of 0 to 10 to this spot, with zero meaning no tension or tenderness at all and 10 meaning extreme tension or tenderness.

Next, vigorously rub your hands together and shake them off. Now cup your right hand about two inches above the area where you felt the tension and begin to move it over the area in a slow counter-clockwise circle, making about a dozen rotations. Notice if you have a sense of energies being exchanged between your hand and your shoulder. 

Hold your hand over the area a few more seconds, then relax. What sensations do you feel? Now press the original point with your middle finger and again rate it from 0 to 10. Most people find that the tension diminishes.

While about as simple as a technique could be, these experiments show how readily we can move our energies. Energy medicine begins with such simple tools for reducing tension and fostering healing, and it progresses to more complex protocols for bringing about targeted benefits and addressing serious health challenges.

Bring this practice into your own life. Infuse it. Let it work for you.

In Peace, Love and Gratitude.

‘Til next time.

Dr.Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC 


Boys & Girls Club of LB partners with OCCF to host Greatness Amplified giving day tomorrow

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Aug 21, the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach will partner with the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) and 14 fellow Orange County Boys & Girls Clubs to host the second annual Greatness Amplified, a Giving Day for Boys & Girls Clubs in Orange County. Greatness Amplified is a 24-hour online fundraising effort that aims to raise $200,000.

Greatness Amplified is part of a bold initiative by OCCF to boost the capacity of local nonprofits through a series of Collaborative Giving Days. Nonprofits with shared missions are invited to come together to boost collective giving for their causes. 

OCCF will power the Greatness Amplified campaign with seed funding to support the marketing assets, campaign resources, and collaborative partnerships. 

“We are grateful for the opportunity to work with the Orange County Community Foundation and other Orange County Boys & Girls Clubs to raise funds for our kids,” states Pam Estes, CEO of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach.

Boys & Girls sign

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Submitted photo

Club Member Axl holding a Greatness Amplified sign

The 15 organizations participating in Greatness Amplified include Boys & Girls Clubs in Anaheim, Brea-Placentia-Yorba Linda, Buena Park, Capistrano Valley, Central Orange Coast, Cypress, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Valley, Laguna Beach, La Habra, South Coast Area, Stanton, Tustin, and Westminster.

OCCF first challenged Orange County residents to “give where their heart lives” during the inaugural iheartoc Giving Day in 2015, raising more than $1.8 million through gifts to 347 participating nonprofits in just 30 hours. 

OCCF nearly doubled those results in 2016 during the second annual iheartoc Giving Day, receiving contributions totaling $3.2 million for 418 participating nonprofits. 

In 2017, OCCF re-envisioned iheartoc as an expanded opportunity for nonprofits to connect with one another in support of their shared missions. The seven Giving Days held throughout 2018 raised a total of $1.4 million for local organizations.

“Last year, our generous community went above and beyond to make Greatness Amplified a success,” said Shelley Hoss, president, OCCF. “We are proud to continue encouraging collaboration among local organizations as they help Orange County children unlock their full potentials.”

To give online, visit greatness-amplified.funraise.org. Additional collaborative Giving Days will be announced throughout the year. For more information, visit www.oc-cf.org/iheartoc.

For over 65 years, The Boys & Girls Club strives to support the youth of Laguna Beach through out of school recreation that celebrates the whole child. 

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

Laguna Beach residents turned out for Protect Our Planned party, which raised $216K

Photos by Corey Sandler

More than 225 guests came out on August 9 to help Planned Parenthood of Orange and San Bernardino and Counties raise more than $216,000 to further its reproductive healthcare mission at its summer fundraising event, POPP: Protect Our Planned Parenthood. 

The event was spearheaded by co-chairs Afsaneh Alisobhani and Teddie Ray with assistance from a 50-member committee of Orange County leaders dedicated to the cause of Planned Parenthood and the healthcare of the entire community. 

Held at an elegant, modern outdoor setting near the Irvine Spectrum, guests ate, drank, and danced under the stars. They heard the private reproductive healthcare story of a fellow guest who is a medical doctor and a foster and adoptive mother. 

Laguna Beach residents group

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The POPP Committee and several supporters strike a pose 

At the 19th week of a long-awaited pregnancy, her obstetrician gave her devastating news: the fetus had a chromosome disorder that affected her heart. There was no chance of a live birth, and her life was at risk. She turned to Planned Parenthood for the termination procedure required to protect her life because no hospital would perform it. 

“Her story could be any of our stories,” co-chair Teddie Ray told the crowd. “It’s a reminder of how important Planned Parenthood’s work is to maintaining a full range of medical services in our region.”

Laguna Beach Ray

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Co-chair and longtime Laguna Beach resident Teddie Ray poses with Michael Bryan

A portion of the funds raised at POPP is earmarked for education. One key element of education is de-stigmatizing birth control and STD prevention, starting with the condom. 

Co-chair Ray commented, “A condom should be viewed not as a reason for embarrassment but instead like a toothbrush or a tampon – part of smart, everyday self-care.” Indeed, research shows that condoms effective and easy to use. They help prevent both pregnancy and STDs.

The event’s proceeds will directly benefit more than 100,000 patients who receive healthcare at the nine centers located in Orange and Sam Bernardino Counties. Preventive care services comprise 93 percent of the healthcare its clinics offer, including life-saving cancer screenings, breast health exams, annual well-woman check-ups, STD prevention and treatment, family planning, and sexual health education. Services are provided regardless of a patient’s personal circumstances or ability to pay. 

More information can be found at www.healthwomentrust.org.

Best Things To Do This Holiday Weekend in Laguna
Story and Photos by Diane Armitage 

Each week, I do a “Fab 5” email to my subscribers with recommendations for the upcoming weekend and week ahead. This week, though, I’m sharing what my own game plan is over these next four holiday days. (They are, after all, my best picks because I’m doing them!)

Friday, Aug 30

AM – Early in the morning, before the happy mobs descend on our holiday weekend, I’m trotting down my beach to the Lost Pier for my favorite view with my favorite breakfast burrito (it’s stuffed with big chunks of hickory bacon). Owned and operated by the folks at The Ranch Laguna Beach, this is great “beach shack” food with waves lapping at your feet and one of the best cups of coffee you’ll find in all the land.

Best things Lost Pier

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Lost Pier’s breakfast burrito served oceanside

PM – It’s the second-to-the-last day of the Festival of the Arts and they’re pulling out all the stops with the return of Terry Steele in concert. I first wrote about him performing at the Festival on July 9 (a Luther Vandross tribute); he brought down the house. The concert’s free with Festival admission (Laguna residents always get in free). You can find more details in the Calendar on my website below. 

Saturday, Aug 31

AM – Out the door early, I’m off to my favorite trail, stair and beach run at the Dana Point Headlands and Strands Beach. Blue skies and blue ocean are lovely distractions and there’s plenty of good surfer watching as you pound your way down the Strands boardwalk.

PM – The Laguna locals are beginning their “End of Summer” parties where we all finally re-emerge from our summer’s underground barrens, blinking in the bright light of day. I’m heading to my favorite party – I think this is the 25th year in a row for the party and my 16th in attendance. Absolutely no way am I giving away this location. You can try to peek through the fence all you want, but good luck finding it.

Sunday, Sept 1

Early AM – A tradition of mine for a long time running, I regularly get down to The Ranch’s Harvest Restaurant on early Sunday mornings to sit with my cappuccino, write a few plans for the upcoming week, and watch the day wake up on our beautiful canyon golf course. What a gift Mark Christy has given us – and the breakfasts are great fare, too. (I don’t care if it’s a holiday – I am NOT going near that delicious bacon-striddled giant cinnamon roll.) 

Best Things The Ranch Harvest

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The early morning view from my favorite seat at Harvest

Mid-Morning – BEACH DAY! It’s supposed to be 84 degrees and sunny. There’s no excuse. Normally, I’m the Virgo who takes business books or spreadsheets down to the beach with me. Holiday weekends, though – it’s pure fiction, thanks to my BFF, Lisa, always finding me something at her treasure trove, Laguna Beach Books.

PM – I have this weird tradition of always riding the Laguna Beach trolley on its last day of summer service. Call it my somewhat melancholy ode to summer’s close. The trolley is the coolest thing, even though you’re still crawling along at the same pace as all those other cars. I love gawking at all the stuff I never see when I’m driving my own car.

So, ‘round about 1:30, I’m heading to my trolley stop and boot-scooting all the way to North Laguna for my now-favorite music afternoon, Aloha Sunday at Royal Hawaiian. Fabulous live music and vibe, and I’ll be saving up all weekend for their equally-as-fabulous RH Burger (with a slice of grilled pineapple).

Best Things RH Hamburger

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Royal Hawaiian’s burger with optional grilled pineapple  

Sunday, Sept 2

AM – Yet another giant locals’ party, this one is certainly willing to take in unsuspecting passerby – it’s our Annual Laguna City Police & Firefighters’ Pancake Breakfast. They’re setting up as early as 6 a.m. and serve breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. Get out, offer a few handshakes for all they do for us, and swap stories with fellow locals on life in your underground barren all summer long.   

PM – OK, you’ve had your breakfast burrito, your burger, your tiki cocktail and your pancake breakfast. 

You can’t say “goodbye” to Labor Day weekend, however, without a margarita. That would be… illegal or something. I have favorites at Carmelita’s, South of Nick’s, and South Laguna’s La Sirena. But, fortunately, some of the very finest margarita makers in town are within yards of my home at the SoLag ‘hood hangout, Coyote Grill. While many restaurants are closed on Labor Day, Coyote will be operating regular hours. Shoulder your way in, say howdy to your hosts Desirée and Steve, and toast a goodbye to summer with a mob of Laguna friendlies. 

Best things Des and Steve

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Coyote part owner Desirée and longtime bartender Steve are happy to serve up a frosty margarita

Enjoy your Labor Day weekend. Be safe. Don’t drink and drive. Be kind to pedestrians, even if they’re jaywalking. Our summer season will be over before you know it.

The best-selling author and blogger on The Best of Laguna Beach, Diane Armitage is on an endless quest for the most imaginative adventures in Laguna’s restaurants, events, and lifestyle. Check out chef interviews, retail and restaurant news, and favorite events at www.TheBestofLagunaBeach.com.

Sunset’s brilliant aura

Sunsets brilliant trees

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The sun casts a bright yet eerie light that obscures everything else

Temple Hills light show

Temple Hills orange

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Photo by James Vaughan

“It is almost impossible to watch a sunset and not dream.” –Bern Williams

Dennis’ Tidbits 


September 27, 2019

Wave drought: that’s what summer 2019 was all about

Dennis 5Four tropical systems in the water at the same time last week and we didn’t even see a ripple as all four moved the wrong way

Summer 2019 report card: Weather… C+…Surf…D-.

This is the fifth consecutive wave starved summer and that is unprecedented with a near complete lack of substantial swell activity from both the Southern Hemisphere and Eastern Pacific tropical systems. It’s not because the storms aren’t there, rather their tracks have not been favorable for sending swells in our direction. You have to go way back to late August of 2014 when we had a massive south swell from Category 5 Hurricane Marie.

Strong Southern Hemisphere lows travel in a zone called the Roaring Forties. Once they pass just to the south of New Zealand they trek to the east or ENE across the Southern Pacific. If and when these storms move in an ENE fashion, they begin sending large swells our way. When they travel directly to the east, their swells are aimed towards more southerly locations like South and Central America and Mainland Mexico. 

However, most of the energy doesn’t reach Baja or Southern California, which has been pretty much the case for the past several years. A strong elongated ridge of high pressure has been anchored just south of the equator, forcing these cyclones to travel directly to the east, so their swell energy doesn’t make it up here.

In decades past, we could count on at least a handful of strong Southern Hemisphere swells every single year since I’ve been keeping track of this stuff in 1958. Sure, there have been a few slower years in that department, but even in the slower times there have been a couple or three red flag events. There have been some really busy years as well with up to a dozen or more well overhead swells. 

The years 1974, 1981, 1983, and 1996 really stand out, particularly 1996 when from late April through that October, it simply fired for weeks on end. It was topped off by the massive SSW monster of July 24-26, 1996 from a huge storm several hundred miles south of Tahiti. Giant swells hit South America, Central America, all of Mainland Mexico….the entire Pacific West Coast all the way up to Alaska! That’s an area covering over 6,000 miles. 

I distinctly remember that swell as the waves here in Orange County were the biggest I’ve seen from a swell of that nature. Brooks Street had sets up to 15 feet on July 24th, with excellent conditions all day – no wind, 90 degrees at water’s edge, super glassy conditions, and warm water at 72 degrees. Why doesn’t that happen anymore? Is it climate change working against us or just a long phase of wave drought?

The same scarcity of surf applies to our Eastern Pacific swell makers as there are plenty of storms out there, but they’re taking different tracks on a consistent basis nowadays. We used to get at least a couple of big Baja swells even in a slow summer but now we can’t buy one!

Now it’s almost October and no Brooks Street as the waiting period is now nearly four months deep with nothing on the horizon. We’ve only had the event twice as late as October and that was 1995 and last year. All we can do is keep our fingers and even our toes and our eyes crossed! 

Have a great weekend, ALOHA!

Laguna Beach Community Clinic to host 3rd Annual Salsa Sunday on Oct 6

On Sunday, Oct 6 from 3 - 5 p.m., the Laguna Beach Community Clinic will host its 3rd Annual Salsa Sunday in the Clinic’s parking lot. 

LA’s infectiously danceable Changui Majadero will make a rare Orange County performance to benefit the Clinic, and a professional Salsa dancer will be on hand to provide lessons and get the crowd moving.

“Part of keeping our community healthy includes forming closer relationships with our neighbors. We want folks to know we’re here and we care,” stated Dr. Jorge Rubal, CEO and Medical Director of the Laguna Beach Community Clinic.

Laguna Beach dancing

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Salsa with Dr. Jorg Rubal and the LB Community Clinic on Sunday, Oct 6 

“Growing up, music and salsa dancing was how my neighborhood came together. As we head into our third year hosting this event, Salsa Sunday is well on the way to becoming a community tradition. Last year we had over 70 neighbors join us and we’re expecting more this year.” 

Authentic Cuban pastries will be provided. The cover is charge is $20, and accompanying children get in free. 

Pay at the door or purchase tickets online at www.lbclinic.org. All funds raised will support patient programs.

The Laguna Beach Community Clinic is located at 362 Third St.

Guest Column

October Chamber news

By J.J. Ballesteros, President LB Chamber of Commerce

As we concluded October, the Chamber remained busy following our successful Taste of Laguna Food and Music Festival. It truly was a night to remember and both the Chamber and KX 93.5 FM look forward to providing Laguna Beach with something bigger and better in 2020.

October Chamber Craig

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Chef Craig Strong receiving Taste of Laguna award from J.J. Ballesteros

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce its newest Board Member, Chef Craig Strong from Ocean at Main Restaurant. Craig has a passion for Laguna and wants to see all of our businesses and restaurants succeed. We look forward to having his creative ideas and energy assist us on our initiatives and programs. If you have not already been, please stop by and enjoy a delicious meal at Ocean at Main. You will not be disappointed. 

October Chamber Coldwell

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Ribbon cutting at Ballesteros Real Estate Group’s new office

The Chamber had two Ribbon Cutting events, at Harley Laguna and at the Ballesteros Real Estate Group’s new Laguna Beach office. Thank you to everyone for coming out and supporting these events.

The next two Chamber sponsored events are Small Business Saturday on November 30th, and Hospitality Night on December 6th. We strongly encourage everyone to shop in town on November 30th and beyond! On Small Business Saturday, visit us on the cobblestones at Main Beach to pick up our special passport. Everyone who completes their passport will be entered to win a two-night stay in a two bedroom cottage suite at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, including breakfast or lunch for four. 

October Chamber Harley

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Ribbon cutting at Harley Laguna

Hospitality Night is shaping up to be one of our best yet. Along with our city partners, we will have entertainment on the main stage by Anneliese School and a Laguna favorite band, The Farm. And, of course, Santa will be there to light the tree! 

The Chamber has one Board position available. Please keep an eye out for our Tuesday Tip-Off for more information. If you or anyone you know is interested, there will be an opportunity to submit an application for the open position.

The Chamber’s work with the Urban Economist firm is progressing. A survey will be out soon in the Tuesday Tip-Off as well as by mail and hand delivery. The survey will be part of the data that will be submitted to the City for recommendations for revisions to the Downtown Specific Plan. We encourage everyone who receives a copy to take a minute and share your opinion on a few key items relating to the Downtown. We look forward to having the Urban Economist’s final results by the end of November.

For any questions on events or any other items please contact Ashley von Gremp at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us at (949) 494-1018.

Thank you for a great October and hope everyone has a wonderful month of November!

Friday night lights 

Friday night traffic

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Photo by Dennis Piszkiewicz 

Traffic lights and South Coast Hwy sparkles – Surf and Sand (on the right)

Lisa Bartlett becomes first California State Association of Counties President from OC in over 70 years

Orange County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District, was unanimously elected by her California county supervisor peers to serve as President of the California State Association of Counties (CSAC) at the Annual Conference in San Francisco. 

CSAC, which celebrated its 125th anniversary at the early December conference, represents the state’s 58 counties while working with the California Legislature, administrative agencies, and the federal government. The organization strives to educate the public about the value and need for county programs and services.

“I am truly humbled and honored to serve as the 2020 CSAC President,” said Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett, Fifth District. “I, along with my fellow officers, want to create an atmosphere where not only our constituents understand our role, but also where we can work with our local, state, and federal governments to advance some of the critical issues every county is facing like homelessness, mental health services, court security, and much more.”

Lisa Bartlett flag

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OC Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Lisa Bartlett

Chairwoman Bartlett has had multiple roles in the CSAC for the past two years. She was the leader of the Urban Caucus, the Second Vice President in 2018, and the First Vice President in 2019. Through her had work and commitment to the organization and 58 counties, she has become the 2020 CSAC President.

“The County of Orange has not had someone serve as President of CSAC for 70 years and we are so happy to have Chairwoman Bartlett represent our County,” said Vice Chair Michelle Steel, Second District.

As part of her presidency, Chairwoman Bartlett will launch her “Driven to Serve” campaign to educate the governor, legislators, and other stakeholders about county governance and the important, critical work county supervisors do. The campaign will showcase the vital work that counties do each day and will allow counties to tell their stories clearly, concisely, and effectively.

“I would like to congratulate Chairwoman Bartlett for being elected President of the California State Association of Counties,” said Supervisor Andrew Do, First District. “As the third largest county in California, and the sixth largest in the country, Orange County’s participation in CSAC will emphasize the need and value of county programs and services for all our residents.”

Part of Chairwoman Bartlett’s plan is building deeper relationships between the urban, suburban, and rural caucuses to find common ground, enabling counties to work together as a cohesive team. To start that initiative, Chairwoman Bartlett and First-Vice President James Gore will be attending the Rural County Representatives of California installation ceremony next month.

“I wish Chairwoman Bartlett a warm congratulations on this immense accomplishment,” said Supervisor Donald Wagner, Third District. “Chairwoman Bartlett is qualified to serve on behalf of 58 counties, and I am confident her efforts will improve the quality of life for all whom she is privileged to represent.”

Chairwoman Bartlett hopes to move CSAC toward a strong focus on the representative supervisors, relying on their leadership and on-the-ground expertise to address the concerns that stretch across county borders.

“I was privileged to be able to attend Chairwoman Bartlett’s swearing-in ceremony at the annual CSAC conference,” said Supervisor Doug Chaffee, Fourth District. “The Orange Board of Supervisors and I are proud of Chairwoman Bartlett and know first-hand that she will do amazing things as the 2020 CSAC President.”

Chairwoman Bartlett will be working closely with all 58 counties to ensure that the many services counties provide for their constituents are carried out and protected.

For more information on CSAC, visit www.counties.org/about-csac.

Red sky at night is the sailor’s delight

Red sky palms

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Photo by Scott Brashier

According to Wikipedia, this saying has been around for at least two thousand years!

Main Street Bar & Cabaret hosts fundraiser to benefit OC Pride’s charity work on Saturday

Main Street Bar is holding a special fundraising event in conjunction with Jordan Brodee (Mr. OC Pride), Ms. Whisper Sixx, and Laken Moreno (Ms. OC Pride) on Saturday, Jan 4 from 7 - 9 p.m. Following the show, House DJ TRAKQUEEN will start her set at 9 p.m. The bar closes at 2 a.m.

It’s bound to be a fun-filled two hours followed by DJ TRAKQUEEN for dancing and nightclub cocktails. There’s no cover, but a $10 donation is requested, all of which benefits Mr. OC Pride’s chosen charities, which include OC Pride and OC Imperial Court (OCIC) – they provide scholarships and burial services and are an old nonprofit in the county – and the OC Chapter of HRC. 

And it’s a Rock The Vote event (so they’ll be encouraging people to sign up to vote with the organization Head Count).

Wendy Nelson, co-owner of Main Street Bar, says, “Main Street Bar is not affiliated with any political party or organization. We welcome all who are kind and positive. Rock The Vote! Make a stand. Come enjoy a fun event.”

Main Street Trak Queen

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Courtesy of trakqueen.com


DJ TRAKQUEEN graduated top of her class at LA’s Scratch Academy’s Accelerated Program (2018) and is currently studying the art of turntabalism with MRCHOC and DJBABU at the Beat Junkie’s Institute of Sound in Glendale. She has been the resident DJ at Main Street Bar & Cabaret for over two years, has produced weekly and monthly dance parties across the OC for over three years, and was the featured DJ for OC Pride 2018 and 2019. 

OC Pride is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit LGBTQ+ Pride Festival and parade. OC Pride’s Mission is to strengthen the identity of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender community within Orange County. “We Unite LGBTQ+ people, empower them to live openly with pride, and promote respect for all. Part of that is celebrating their vibrant culture, traditions, and enduring spirit. We also help provide opportunities to foster tolerance, awareness, safety, and support in the LGBTQ+ community while forging alliances with the Orange County public at large.”

Nelson says, “One of our Drag Show hostesses will be an MC at the event as well. Whisper Sixx, drag personality, actor, recording artist. Rather accomplished.” 

Main Street Whisper

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Courtesy of Facebook

Drag Show Hostess and Event MC, Miss Whisper Sixx

Whisper is one of the reasons MSBC won Best Drag Shows in the OC from OC Weekly. Nelson says, “We appreciate positives and kindness, solid performers, and some rather over the top personalities.”

More fun at Main Street – the bar is hosting its Annual New Year’s Eve Party tonight, December 31. The cover starts at 10 p.m., so attendees should come early for snacks and party favors. DJ TRAKQUEEN will be spinning.

On January 1, New Year’s Day, Main Street will have an old favorite DJ Homolone spinning for the bar’s New Year’s Recovery Event.

Main Street Bar & Cabaret is located at 1460 S Coast Hwy between Mountain and Calliope. 

For more information about Main Street Bar, go towww.mainstreet-bar.com.

LB Garden Club awards LBUSD schools generous grants

The Laguna Beach Garden Club is honored to announce the presentation of $5,500 total in grant checks to Top of the World, El Morro, and Thurston Middle School to support the Outdoor Education programs in their school gardens.

At the start of the year, LBGC Board President Nancy Englund presented checks to Penny Dressler (Thurston Middle School), Kelly Osborne (Top of the World Elementary), and Samantha Andres (El Morro Elementary). 

The LBGC is committed to the advancement of gardening, horticulture, ecology, and conservation through education and participation in related community projects. 

Laguna Beach TOW

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TOW receiving check 

 “TOW PTA is so fortunate to have the continued support of the Laguna Beach Garden Club. With their generous donation, we purchase greenhouse supplies, tools, seeds, soil amendments, and other items needed to make our garden program thrive. Furthermore, we are delighted to have established a true community partner. Laguna Beach Garden Club members also volunteer their time monthly, acting as docents for lessons and serving as leaders in our school garden committee,” states Kelly Osborne. 

Penny Dressler says, “I agree with poet and environmental activist Wendell Berry when he said, ‘the Earth is what we all have in common.’ I also know that the Laguna Beach Garden Club believes that, because they support the endeavors TMS makes each year through their financial contribution to the Ecology Club and Canyon View Learning Garden here at Thurston Middle School. I am so grateful for their support!” 

Laguna Beach check

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Thurston Middle School receiving check

Nancy Englund states, “The best part of LBGC is giving to support outdoor education for kids. I love to see that our investment has helped bring learning into a real-world environment.” 

The Laguna Beach Garden Club meets on the second Friday of every month, September through May, at the Laguna Presbyterian Church in Tankersley Hall. 

Social hour starts at 9:30 a.m. and the General Meeting at 10.

The public is welcome; there is no charge for guests on their first visit. 

Parking is free in the Laguna Canyon Road lot (spaces 300-422) or $3 for all day in spaces 185-228. 

For more information on the garden club, visit www.lagunabeachgardenclub.org

The Laguna Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Forest Ave.

Laguna’s Dr. Anita Wang, MD, combats coronavirus with outreach and fundraising

The World Health Organization has officially declared the coronavirus a global public health emergency, and Dr. Anita Wang, MD, urges Laguna Beach locals to be a part of the solution. 

The public is invited to Open Office Hours at Dr. Wang’s Wellness, Longevity, and Aesthetics practice on Thursday, Feb 20 from 12 - 7 p.m., where she will answer questions about coronavirus prevention and offer complimentary wellness screenings. 

In addition to educating the community, Dr. Wang also pledges to donate a portion of all her patient service proceeds now through March to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to support coronavirus relief efforts.

Lagunas Dr Anita Wang

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Dr. Anita Wang will answer questions about coronavirus prevention and offer complimentary wellness screenings on Feb 20

“This coronavirus has no vaccine and no cure, but I am still hopeful,” explains Dr. Wang. “Aside from limiting our exposure to the virus, our next best defense against infectious diseases like this one is by proactively boosting our own immune systems. Every human body is unique. If we can understand the nuances of our particular bodies, we can make choices that bolster our individual health and, in turn, eradicate disease.”

This is also the philosophy behind integrative medicine, which Dr. Wang has practiced since 2012 in combination with her 30 years of experience with traditional medicine.

“It’s also in our best interest to keep everyone around us healthy,” says Dr. Wang, which is why she’s also chosen to support the U.S. Center for Disease Control with her fundraising efforts. The CDC protects our communities from outbreaks like coronavirus, and budget cuts threaten its ability to respond, contain, and eliminate these health threats. With this fundraising project, Dr. Wang wants to not only to strengthen her patients, but also to strengthen the CDC’s contamination efforts, since a safer world means a safer United States. 

To join in the fundraising effort and other information, visit anitawangmd.com or contact the office at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dr. Wang’s office is located at 255 Thalia Street, Suite B.

Dennis’ Tidbits


February 28, 2020

Will rain march in this coming month?

Dennis 5On March 1, 1983, the mega El Nino of 1982-83 was peaking in strength. This event was arguably the strongest El Nino of the 20th century and the events of that day certainly proved it. March of 1983 was the wettest March on record in Laguna with a whopping 10.40 inches, with 3.50 of that falling on the first day of the month alone!

Rainfall exceeding three inches in one day is quite rare and for that week alone into March 7 we collected nearly seven inches. We had just about everything imaginable that day from an intense squall line to start out the day with off-the-charts lightning and thunder for nearly two hours. Half dollar size hail came in nearly sideways, riding on gale force southeasterly winds and it hailed so hard for 35 minutes it totally covered the ground up to three inches deep.

Then there was the angry ocean that was whipping up giant 10 to 12-foot storm waves that coincided with a six-foot tide that swept away all of the sand from Main Beach to Brooks Street. When all was said and done there was nothing but bedrock as far as the eye could see. The Main Beach Boardwalk was torn to shreds, as there was a 10-foot drop off the boardwalk where normally you can just step off.

The Main Beach Lifeguard HQ was totally damaged from flood waters and the relentless waves. Three feet of whitewater was breaking across Main Beach Park and onto Coast Highway where the water was up to two feet deep. The barometer at one point had plunged down to 987 millibars or 29.17 here in town, where the barometer hardly ever drops below 1,000 millibars or 29.50 inches of mercury. What a day it was!

More from the weather glossary of terms….

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA): The administrative unit within the United States Department of Commerce that oversees the National Weather Service. I used to work there as a severe storms specialist.

NEXRAD (Next Generation Weather Radar Utilizing Doppler Radar): NEXRAD (WSR-88D) systems observe the presence and calculate the speed and direction of motion of severe weather elements, such as tornadoes and violent thunderstorms. Tornadoes show up as a hook echo, severe weather shows up a deep red, hail shows up purple, and debris flow shows up a bluish tint from violent tornadoes. 

Nimbostratus: A principal cloud type; your basic rain cloud, gray, colored, often dark, the appearance of which is rendered diffuse by more, or less, falling rain or snow, which in most cases reaches the ground. It is thick enough throughout to totally blot out the sun.

Noctilucent cloud: I’ve only seen this phenomenon a handful of times in my years of observing. Noctilucent clouds are of unknown composition and occur at great heights, probably around 46.5 to 56 miles. They resemble thin cirrus, but usually with a bluish or silverish color, or sometimes orange to red, standing out in a dark night sky. Like I said, most rare.

Have a great weekend! ALOHA!

The sky is falling 

The sky sun

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Photo by Scott Brashier

But a slice of light remains

Purple pleasure

Purple pleasure bee

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Photo by Scott Brashier

No matter what, spring still comes 

Purple pleasure flowers

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Photo by Scott Brashier

“The bee collects honey from flowers in such a way as to do the least damage or destruction to them, and he leaves them whole, undamaged and fresh, just as he found them.” –Saint Francis de Sales

2020-21 new student enrollment now open for LBUSD

Enrollment is now open for new students joining the Laguna Beach Unified School District for the 2020-21 academic year. The process has been adapted for online registration in order to comply with social distancing and the ongoing closure of the district’s campuses and offices related to COVID-19 mitigation efforts. The process begins by visiting the LBUSD enrollment page, which lays out the steps and includes a rundown of documents needed to complete the process.

The first step in the enrollment process is to verify residency by completing the Residency Verification Affidavit Form 1 and providing supporting documentation.

With new student enrollment, you will be asked to enter required information into the Aeries Internet Registration (AIR) online enrollment system. Please gather the documents listed below and make sure you have this information available before continuing. If you do not have this information available, please return to this online enrollment system when you do.

2020 2021 new Duddy

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut 

El Morro principal Duddy and students give fist bumps on campus 

The online process will take approximately 20 minutes to complete and requires a valid email address. You can logout and resume if the process takes longer than expected

Children must be 5 years old on or before September 1, 2020, to enroll for the 2020-21 school year as a kindergarten student. Transitional Kindergarten (TK) is a half-day program offered in an AM or PM schedule. Students qualify for the TK program if they turn five (5) years old between September 2 and December 2, 2020. Additional program details attached, including the TK AM/PM schedule. The first day of school for the 2020-21 academic year is August 24. 

All kindergarten students must have completed a physical examination no more than six months prior to entering kindergarten. If an exam is completed between six and 12 months prior to kindergarten entrance, another physical exam will be required prior to entering first grade. All first-grade students must have completed a physical examination no more than 18 months prior to first-grade entry.

According to a California law, Education Code Section 49452.8, all kindergarten and/or first-grade students, whichever is his or her first year in public school, are also required to have an oral health assessment (dental check-up). Oral Health assessments completed up to 12 months before your child enters school will meet this requirement. The law specifies that the assessment must be done by a licensed dentist or other licensed dental health professional.

To visit the LBUSD enrollment page, click here.

Laguna Food Pantry awarded $15K from Sempra Energy Foundation COVID-19 Nonprofit Hardship Fund

The Sempra Energy Foundation COVID-19 Nonprofit Hardship Fund recently awarded the Laguna Food Pantry with a $15,000 grant. Recognizing that smaller nonprofits are having a harder time right now, just as smaller businesses, Sempra Energy Foundation stepped in to help the most vulnerable. 

The money from this very generous donation will be used to continue supplying essential groceries to an increasing number of families in need during the COVID-19 crisis and beyond.

Laguna Food outside

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Photo by Scott Brashier

The Laguna Food Pantry serves our neighbors in need

“The New York Times recently reported that the COVID-19 pandemic could double how many people go hungry this year to 265 million worldwide,” said Laguna Food Pantry’s Executive Director Anne Belyea. “Thanks to the generosity of the Sempra Energy Foundation Nonprofit Hardship Grant Award, the Laguna Food Pantry can continue to serve our neighbors in need and provide food to the growing population of those with food insecurity. Our heartfelt thanks for believing and supporting our mission that no one should go hungry.”

“For many nonprofit organizations, the COVID-19 pandemic is straining resources as demands increase,” said Dennis V. Arriola, board chair of the Sempra Energy Foundation, and executive vice president and group president of Sempra Energy. “The Sempra Energy Foundation grants are helping organizations provide critical services, and in the case of Laguna Food Pantry, ensuring nutrition to those in need.”

The Laguna Food Pantry is open Monday through Friday from 8 to 10:30 a.m. and now operating with a drive-through distribution system. Anyone in need is welcome to visit the site once a week. Please pass this information along to anyone who may benefit. The Laguna Food Pantry is always in need of donations. 

To donate or find out more information, visit www.lagunafoodpantry.org

The Laguna Food Pantry is located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Laguna Presbyterian offers online presentation on coping with COVID-19 with Dr. Jeffrey Nagel

Laguna Presbyterian Church is offering an online weekly series of presentations designed to help people cope with stress and anxiety during COVID-19.

For the first presentation, which went live yesterday, Rev. Dr. Kathy Sizer had a conversation with Orange County’s Director of Behavioral Health Dr. Jeffrey Nagel to get a psychologist’s perspective on the emotional effects of COVID-19 – effects which often include increasing levels of stress and anxiety, depression, and alcohol/substance use. 

Laguna Presbyterian Nagel

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Orange County’s Director of Behavior Health Dr. Jeffrey Nagel 

In the presentation, they candidly discuss issues of loss – loss of normalcy, loss of social interactions and physical connections – and Dr. Nagel offers practical coping solutions to minimize the negative effects of the crisis through the process of building personal resiliency. He outlines how to recognize signs of trouble and provides step-by-step suggestions to restore a healthier life balance in the face of today’s daunting challenges. 

This series is just one of many recorded video productions that the church now offers online to its “safe-at-home” community during these days of physical distancing. The series continues next week by offering spiritual practices and prayer experiences to help those who want to feel more centered. 

All recordings can be accessed at any time from the Laguna Presbyterian Church website at www.lagunapreschurch.org.

Blowin’ in the wind

Blowin in boat

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Photo by Scott Brashier

“Hark, now hear the sailors cry/Smell the sea, and feel the sky” 

–Van Morrison

Impact Giving awards $120K to six nonprofits

Impact Giving hosted its 11th Annual “Making the Impact” Awards Event last week and awarded $120,000 to six deserving nonprofits. This year’s grants ranged from $14,000 to $27,000.

After months of preparation, vetting, and voting, the women of Impact Giving proudly revealed how their collective giving dollars will help communities around the globe.

“Selecting six nonprofits from 18 finalists was no easy task, but we are excited for each of the grant recipients’ funded projects to begin and see the impact made within their communities.” said Jennifer Lipinski, Board Chair of Impact Giving.

Impact Giving standing

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Guests at Impact Giving’s 2019 event

This year’s Impact Giving grant recipients include:

1. Bracken’s Kitchen: Funds received will be used to purchase equipment that will help increase food production and provide more healthy meals to homeless and underserved communities. Learn more at www.brackenskitchen.com

2. CASA of Orange County: Awarded grant will be used to recruit, screen, and train 75 new Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASAs) that assist foster youth as they transition into adulthood. Learn more at www.casaoc.org

3. Girls Inc. of Orange County: New funds will be used for the organization’s externship program that serves at-risk 10th through 12th grade girls. This program inspires girls to be smart, strong, and bold as well as empowers them with skills and a pathway into today’s workforce. Learn more at www.girls-oc.org

4. Bourke Family Foundation – Lights for Literacy: Awarded grant money will provide solar lights to middle school students and library solar systems to Zimbabwe communities. Learn more at www.BourkeFF.org

5. ReWritten: Funds will be used to purchase a passenger van that will be used to transport program participants, which are primarily at-risk youth aged 5-18. The van will be used for daily carpool services and outings to colleges, campgrounds, and museums. Learn more at www.rewritten.org

6. Stand Up for Kids: New grant will be used to transition “last chance” homeless youth in Orange County off the streets. Learn more at www.StandupforKids.org/orangecounty

Unlike previous events, this year’s presentation was run virtually through Zoom, allowing each grant recipient, the chance to make a brief acceptance speech to the hundreds of Impact Giving Partners and guests who attended the event. A recording of the event can be found at www.impactgivingnow.org

Impact Giving sitting

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This year’s virtual event can be viewed at www.impactgivingnow.org

During the live event, viewers were given the chance to make a donation to the organizations that were put forth as finalists but did not receive any grant money this year. This year’s virtual guests raised over $37,000 additional funds for the 12 other grant finalists. 

The team of women Partners who form the foundation of the organization aim to change lives both locally and globally through the power of collective giving. 

Following the event, Impact Giving has now raised more than $1.45 million since launching in 2009. In addition to its grant season events, Impact Giving hosts various social and networking opportunities ranging from monthly coffee connections and wine nights to book clubs and educational seminars, and supports current and past grant recipient events. 

To learn about Impact Giving and how to get involved as a volunteer or a Partner, visit www.impactgivingnow.org/get-involved.

The 2021 Grant Season will commence later this fall. If an organization is interested in applying for a grant, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit must be sponsored by a current Impact Giving Partner. When all submissions are received, Impact Giving committees evaluate how the nonprofits will use the potential funds. Final selections are then made prior to next year’s “Making the Impact” Awards Event. 

The full grant season calendar is available at www.impactgivingnow.org/grants/grant-calendar.

Dennis’ Tidbits


June 12, 2020

Remember the invasion of the flying spiders?

Dennis 5Anybody who was around on June 12, 1979 will never forget that famous day 41 years ago. It was right out of a Twilight Zone episode. What planet were these invaders from? Thousands upon thousands of tiny little black spiders were everywhere, spinning a mean white silky web that hung from everything imaginable: tree branches, fences, car radio antennae, you name it. 

Well, it was all about the weather that day. A Santana wind, rare for June, was happening, featuring strong gusty northeasterly winds. At 8 a.m. that morning, temps were already at 85 degrees, and they’d eventually top out at a ridiculous 101 in the afternoon. 

The winds transported all of these little critters from their habitat, which was the upper desert northeast of Laguna, so the direction of the wind straight-lined them all the way to our coast. That’s from about 100 miles away! A lot of people went in the water that day because of the heat. After bathers dried off, the spiders would land on any exposed skin and sting slightly where they landed. 

As it turned out, the little guys weren’t biting people – instead the salt from the ocean on the body set off a stinging sensation. Crazy, eh?

When it gets that hot here in Laguna, there’s hardly any humidity at all, unlike other parts of the country where it can get downright stifling, to the point that you can’t even bear to be outside for even five minutes. Just sitting still, you experience a total soaking-wet body sweat. The old adage comes into play: It isn’t the heat, it’s the humidity. The job of keeping the body cool falls increasingly upon the evaporation of sweat as the temperature rises. 

Meanwhile, the other forms of heat dissipation, such as radiation and convection, which depend upon temperature differences between the skin and surroundings, are reduced in effectiveness. In turn, the rate of evaporation of sweat is influenced by the humidity in the surrounding air. Wind speed and thermal radiation are also factors.

Discomfort is usually a complaint as soon as sweating begins, although to be sure, the discomfort and heat stress on the body would be much greater if one could not sweat. Clothing reduces the effectiveness of sweating, but it is needed for protection from the sun, unless you’re me where I’m always as dark as a walnut and never burn, so I’m better off without a shirt at all. In order to reflect heat and enhance circulation of air, hot-weather clothing should be light colored, lightweight, porous, and loose fitting. For most individuals, cotton or high cotton blends are still the best hot-weather fabrics.

Meanwhile, local ocean temps have been on a roller coaster ride recently. Late last week, temps rebounded back into the upper 60s from the upper 50s the week before, thanks to southeasterly wind during that strong Catalina eddy we had. Then the winds blew stiffly out of the NW earlier this week sending temps back down near 60. Call it the war of the winds! 

Have a great weekend, ALOHA!

Meet Pet of the Week Sonja

Sonja is currently taking over Pet of the Week. She is a 2-year-old spayed Shepherd Rottie Mix. Sonja is a very big dog and will require a secure six-inch fenced yard. In addition, she is housebroken and will do best being the only animal in a home. Sonja is very smart and is a great companion to have by your side. She loves going on walks and is very friendly. Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, is hoping to have Sonja adopted as soon as possible.

Pet of the Week Sonja

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Sonja is looking for a new place to call home 

The Laguna Beach Animal Shelter adoption procedures are designed to make sure that both the potential family and the animal adopted are in the very best situation possible. Due to their approach to adoption, the shelter’s return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of 50 percent.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd. For information on adoption procedures, call (949) 497-3552 or go to www.puplagunabeach.org/our-pets.php.


Aquamarine waves

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

A time to savor the serenity

Guest Column

What is true rest? 

By Dr. Vidya Reddy

Hello, and welcome. This week, let’s talk about the lost art of true rest.

Okay, calling this a “lost art” is a bit of hyperbole, because there are some people who actually rest these days. But I don’t believe that to be currently true for most people. 

I could rail about the age of distraction (I’ve done that before), and social media, and devices. Yada yada, you’ve heard it from me and many others. But whatever the reason is, we rarely rest anymore.

Think about it: when you get a break, what do you normally do? Go on your phone or computer? Check messages or social media or your favorite websites? Watch video online? That’s how most people spend their breaks – myself included. I’m part of this.

What happens when you’re done with work for the day? That’s if you’re ever done – many of us will work practically until we are falling asleep, if we’re allowed to. But if you’re done, do you read and watch and message online? Most people I know do that.

I created the Naturally Happy podcast as a tool to help build 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.

When do we ever truly rest, not only our bodies but our minds?

We need it. We really need it.

The lack of true rest creates a “drainedness,” where we’re never really fully energized, fully present, fully alive. It means that our relationships start to lack energy and connection. It means we sap the joy out of our lives. That might not be true for you, but you might relate to it somewhat.

What is doctor

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Photo by Johnny Antezana

Dr. Vidya Reddy

I have caught myself taking breaks or finishing for the day, only to get on my phone or laptop for mindless stuff. It feels like the thing I want to do when I have rest time… but it’s not really rest. I don’t feel refreshed afterward, only more drained. It feels like I’m going to comfort, but not getting the rest I really need.

So let’s talk about the Lost Art of True Rest, and how to rediscover it.

Four kinds of true rest

For me, there are a handful of ways to rest that feel very nourishing and replenishing: 

--Closing my eyes, lying down, and doing nothing. This might or might not result in a nap. It might be more meditation. But I’m not reading, doing, watching. More on this below. 

--Going outside without using a device. Connecting to nature. Most likely in solitude. Letting my mind have some mental and physical space. 

--Relaxing with someone else. Feeling connection with them. This can’t be a very active conversation – if we’re talking, it has to be something that makes us feel connected, relaxed. We might just be cuddling without conversation. 

--Being fully present with a simple non-work activity, like having tea. This isn’t a time to think about work, though those thoughts might arise. It’s about nothing other than having the tea. Relaxing with the experience. Savoring it. Soaking in a bath or having a spa day is another example.

There are probably other ways to truly rest. Playing music, creating art, dancing, perhaps. But these four are my favorites.

You’ll notice that you don’t need much for these kinds of true rest – no equipment or devices (maybe tea if you have it), no special spaces (other than nature, if it’s available). It’s simple stuff.

We just forget to do it!

What is grass

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Photo by Kavita Reddy

The key is to make this the one thing that you’re doing. Single-task. 

How to truly relax

When I’m feeling tired and I have a meeting coming up, I’ll drop everything else, and go lie down on a bed or couch. Set aside my devices. Close my eyes and get comfortable. Then I really relax.

When I say “really relax,” I mean more than we usually relax. I scan my body for any tension and relax it. Then I scan some more and relax that. I will usually notice small micro-muscles tensed in my chest area, in my abdomen, in my head. Sometimes it’s in the center of my body, right in front of my spine. I let those muscles completely relax.

The more I relax, the more I find other micro-muscles that aren’t relaxed, and I relax those. Sometimes it’s like my face is falling off my head, because everything starts sinking towards the earth.

I find that muscles will tense up as I start having thoughts. So I notice that and relax them again. Over and over – thought and tense, notice, and relax. It’s like savasana, if you’re a yogi.

I usually fall asleep. I have to set a timer a few minutes before my meeting, so I don’t sleep through it! But sometimes I don’t sleep – it’s still incredibly restful to do this.

How to relax while doing something simple

Having a cup of tea, going for a walk, taking a bath…you can relax while doing something. You don’t have to be lying down, closing your eyes.

The key is to make this the one thing that you’re doing. Single-task. Be all in with this task, instead of jumping around.

Give the activity your full focus. Really be with the cup of tea, or with your walk. Do it slowly, with relaxation, savoring the activity.

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future.” (Thich Nhat Hanh)

That quote sums up the approach. You can do it with anything, not just drinking tea. Be fully immersed.

A powerfully simple practice

With those relaxation approaches in mind…I’ll leave you with a simple but really powerful practice:

When you’re done with something, pause and notice if you need rest

Are you tired? Are you craving true rest?

If so, give yourself a few moments of true rest. Not checking your phone, not reading or watching online, not taking care of small tasks. True rest. One of the things discussed above, or your version of true rest.

Ask yourself this throughout the day. You might find that you need true rest more than you realize. 

In Peace, Love and Gratitude 

‘Til next time. 

Dr.Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC 


Late July evening

Late July orange

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Photo by Matthew Villalobos

Though dark wispy clouds hover, the moon is high in a lovely twilight sky

Guest Column

It’s not time but presence that is your most important asset

By Dr. Vidya Reddy

“Wherever you are, be there. Lifestyle is not something we do; it is something we experience. And until we learn to be there, we will never master the art of living well.” –Jim Rohn 

Hello, and welcome. This week I’d like to explore your presence vs time as your most important asset. 

I have been told again and again that our time is our most precious asset. But I disagree.

The blogosphere is filled with tips on time management – how to get more for our time. I am willing to bet my life that you have come across many such tips online yourself.

You have probably even adopted some of them.

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

I myself am notorious for scouting the internet to find any new tip to help me manage my time better. And yet I find that I am struggling. I find myself constantly being a prisoner to my devices. 

There is one thing that will beat time any day – presence. Time might be important, but our presence is paramount. 

Tell me if you can relate: you are at a family gathering or a reunion and you cannot help but notice how disengaged everyone around is. Your cousin is busy taking selfies while your aunt is on the phone with her friend. Your dad is catching up on all the Donald Trump tweets and your sibling is making a TikTok video. 

So, what do you end up doing? You pull out your phone and start checking Instagram. 

I know it because I have been there myself many, many times. 

Social gatherings are no longer what they used to be a decade ago. We are constantly connected now. Anxiety kicks in if we cannot find our phones or if the battery is about to die. 

I am sitting in an outdoor cafe typing this and when I look around, I see a bunch of people sitting but busy on their phones. Present but only physically. Technology has made our worlds smaller, yet at the same time, made us more distant. 

We have come to believe that just showing up is enough. As if just being present physically will make things better. It rarely ever does! Would you agree?

It is infuriating and frustrating at the same time – being there, yet not being present.

We show up to fit in, but if given a choice, we would rather not be there. Physically we are in one place, but mentally we are busy wondering how life might be greener on the other side.

It's not pink

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Photo by Pieter Baetens

Make a choice to be present

Mentally, we are busy trying to stay “up to date” with god only knows what.

Presence is a huge deal.

Imagine you’ve made a reservation at a fancy restaurant for a special night. You’ve heard good things about the food and the ambience of the place. You’re excited for one hell of a night, only to be served by a preoccupied server who ignores your table, messes up your order, and ruins your dining experience.

We have all been there, haven’t we?

Now, think back to the last time you got someone’s full attention. How did that make you feel? Tell me that the experience wasn’t memorable and pleasant.

It’s easy to tell the difference when someone is mentally absent versus when someone is fully present because presence cannot be delegated. You simply cannot hand it off to someone and get away with it. 

You also cannot cut corners with your presence, because then you are as good as not there. You are either there or you are not. There is no in between!

All of us have to own our presence and choose to be in the moment.

In a world that is becoming more isolated, presence becomes a big deal because it is now a scarce commodity. There simply isn’t enough of it going around, which makes it more valuable than time.

As Maya Angelou said:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Unlike gifts, our presence cannot be copied, imitated, or replicated. Just like our fingerprints, our presence is unique to us, and without us there is a void that nobody can fill.

Every opportunity you get – and trust me, they get fewer and fewer as you grow older – you should make a choice to be present.

Your relationship doesn’t need time, it needs you to be present. It needs you to take notice of the smiles, the laughter, the hugs, the sadness. It needs you to be an active participant in the uncomfortable moments, the difficult conversations, and the embarrassing pictures.

Next time, when you find yourself reaching for your phone, reach for it, switch it off, and put it away. This will allow you to one, be present, and two, catch up with the people present in the room rather than stay up to date with the ones outside. In most cases, the ones that matter are right there with you.

Next time, choose presence because time only matters if you’re really there to enjoy it. 

In Peace, Love and Gratitude 

‘Til next time 

Dr.Vidya Reddy, ND, AMS, DAC, CLC 


Bailey, the Wonder Dog, and the Merpeople


Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Bailey, the Wonder Dog, and the Merpeople – it sounds like the title of a fairy tale, but Bailey is real and so are the Merpeople. 

As legends have it, Merpeople are a species of sentient magical beasts that are half-human and half-fish and live underwater. Females are referred to as mermaids, while males are called mermen. 

Of course, it makes sense then that Merdogs are half-mermaid, half-dog. 

According to folklore, Merpeople and Merdogs are found all over the world, and coincidentally, on Mondays, both can be seen swimming right here in Laguna waters. 

Organized by triathlete Katherine Horvath, the Merpeople – an open water swim group that swims various Orange County beaches every day – are magic. 

And so is Bailey, a one-and-a-half-year-old Shepherd Lab mix, who swims with them on Mondays alongside her owner, Lori Hoolihan. 

Bailey the Lori and Bailey

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Lori and Bailey

“Each Monday Lori joins us for the mile-and-a-half long swim with her puppy Bailey,” says Katherine. “Bailey expertly manages the surf and the waves and keeps up with the fastest swimmers in the group, many whom are Ironman triathletes and nationally ranked swimmers! We always have fun and Mondays are extra special with Bailey the Wonder Dog joining!”

Lori rescued Bailey from German Shepherd Rescue of Orange County (GSROC), a nonprofit 501(c)(3) charity organization – when Bailey was a puppy (well technically, she still is a puppy). 

Strangely, Lori and Bailey found the Merpeople because of COVID-19.

Lori, a professor at Saddleback College and a triathlete – who loves to run, bike, and swim – didn’t know where she was going to swim when the pandemic hit.

Bailey and Merpeople

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(L-R) Bailey with Merpeople Ray Meltvedt and Chris Wilson, getting ready to head out for a swim!

“I met Katherine through Chris Wilson, another teammate. He knew I was going bonkers with all the pools being closed and suggested I reach out to her. She was forming this new group ‘Merpeople’ in March,” says Lori. “The timing was perfect.

“I just started swimming with Bailey about three months ago. She’s always loved the water and one day I jumped in and she followed me. Every time after that we swam farther and farther. We started slow and then built it up to one-and-a-half miles. We’ve been swimming with the Merpeople about two months now. 

“I got her a vest – so I could see her better in the water. And now she knows when I get the vest out that we’re going swimming, and she gets excited.” 

Bailey the cap

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Official Merpeople swimming caps

Chris praises Bailey’s skills, “Besides being a great swimmer, Bailey has hiked with the Merpeople to the top of Mt. Sifton, and she plays fetch like a pro.”

Dog owners know that it’s not easy tiring out a puppy, but after swimming, Lori thankfully says, “Bailey sleeps on the sofa while I conduct my Zoom classes. We’re always running or swimming or hiking. It just depends on the day. The swimming is good exercise for her and helps avoid problems like dysplasia.” 

Lori is currently the Chair of the Nutrition Department as well as the Family and Consumer Sciences Department at Saddleback. She has three daughters and lives in Laguna Niguel.

Bailey the swimming out

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Swimming out 

“The Merpeople group is truly a unique group,” says Lori. “Katherine is adept at making everyone (including dogs) feel included and makes every adventure a positive experience. The energy we get with and from each other continues throughout the rest of the day!”

Katherine’s fiancé Ray (Meltvedt), who she met during an open water swim before Merpeople was formed, says, “There’s no more beautiful coastline then Laguna Beach. And there is no better place to explore and experience it than from above and below the clean, clear water of its many unique coves.” 

Bailey the catching wave

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Catching a wave at the end of the swim

“We have so much fun with the group – we love mixing it up – swimming out of different beaches and doing adventure swims, yoga, group hikes, beach runs, sunset picnics, and more,” says Katherine. “The camaraderie is wonderful –people come to swim, enjoy nature, and a healthy social place. It is a safe place for everyone where all are accepted and included. We love having Lori and her puppy Bailey – each Monday is ‘Swim with Bailey’ and we go out as a group and enjoy swimming together. This connection with nature is both uplifting and grounding and starts the day off in a wonderful way! I feel so blessed to have met all of the Merpeople –  it is typically my favorite part of every day.”

So, for anyone who doesn’t believe in folklore, Merpeople and Merdogs do exist, I have seen them. 

For a video of Bailey swimming photographed by Steve Sponagle, click here.

For those interested in joining the Merpeople, email Katherine Horvath at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Last rays

Last rays light

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Photo by Tom Joliet

Lingering light surrenders into night

Cloud cover

Photos by Michele Monda

Cloud cover orange

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On Tuesday, the ocean disappeared under a blanket of misty clouds

Cloud cover mountain

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Upside down sky

Rainbow tree

Rainbow tree

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Photo by Scott Brashier

“Sunset Trace” looks like a tree sprouting among the palms

Guest Column

How to talk about the election 

By Dr. Vidya Reddy

Hello, and welcome to the post-election corner. 

You are the best evidence that love is real. That love heals. That love is revolutionary. This is why you are difficult to find. Not everyone is interested in truth.

This column is dedicated to how to talk about the election; I hope it helps and serves you. Needless to say, it has been long, stressful, filled with hope and terrifying fear…and it is finally coming to an end. 

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

But it’s just like anything challenging or disturbing or uncomfortable. You must be willing. And I hope for all our sakes you use your voice. You will surprise yourself how powerful you are in moments you don’t want to speak but you still do. You can always choose when you want to go there or have the desire to avoid there. 

How to talk about the election:

--with Grace

--with Curiosity

--with Openness

--with Compassion

--with Breath

Everyone has an opinion that shapes their reality. Shapes their assumptions. Shapes the stories that confirm what they already believe to be true. But what if we practiced speaking to listen? Practiced connecting to love? Practiced wondering to learn? There is always a way if you look for other ways.

How to doctor

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Photo by Johnny Antezana

Dr. Vidya Reddy

How to talk about the election: with grace.

With grace. No one is perfect or has all the answers or says the right things all the time. No matter what – give the benefit of doubt and ask what they meant by that when they said that – request more examples or data or a resource they got it from. 

Try not to get personal and keep it on the issues. That is hard to do when it is the easiest to attack. It is what always tends to happen. To avoid and get mean. Don’t forget to give yourself grace. To know your limits. Give yourself permission to express yourself in public and in private. Whatever you do or however you show up. Remember grace.

How to talk about the election: with curiosity.

With curiosity. Avoid confirmation bias. Don’t just listen and watch and look for what you agree with. Research all sides even if you know you are biased towards one. But not all people will take the time to search or wonder or gather facts. They will go with what they think they know. 

So, ask why? Even say the phrase “I am curious…about” to help distance yourself from being emotionally tied to the question or the assertion or situation. Let that curiosity land on them to figure out rather than you hold onto all that emotional labor. With curiosity you may uncover something new.

How to bead

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Photo by Kavita Reddy


How to talk about the election: with openness.

With openness. You get to choose how you show up and enter a conversation, but you don’t get to always choose if what someone says (or potentially says) is triggering. So, if you are willing to sit across or be in close proximity to someone with a different opinion try to clear your mind. 

Remind yourself that they are human too. Control any stereotypes or projections or ideas about them. Listen with loving kindness. Trust they are trying to get their point across in a space they normally aren’t in. Just because you are open doesn’t mean you can’t control what lands on you.

How to talk about the election: with compassion.

With compassion. Care. Simple care. Think about others. Think about the impact of real lives. What happens around us isn’t a game. People are hurt but don’t know how to express it. Don’t know where to turn or who they are safe to share it. 

Empathize with humanness. With your own nature. To recognize when you are being hard on yourself. Hand on others. Relax all those judgements you have. Listen as intently as you can. Repeat what you are hearing and feeling. Keep your awareness as close to you as close to them as possible, so you can be present. Fully present.

How to talk about the election: with breath.

With breath. You hear something that hurts. Breathe. When you see something that denies. Breathe. When you feel yourself getting defensive, breathe.

Your breath is what you can control. And in those moments of tension, take a breath. To try to calm down and begin again. Close your eyes and pay attention to the sounds of you. The heart in you. The stiffness, the holding, the ache in you. Do this before during and after. Seek clarity by returning to your breath to be more, clear. To not lose what you want to say or want to feel. Breath is your tool to turn to. It will tell you what to do. 

Grateful my words found you 

In Peace, Love and Gratitude 

‘Til next time

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


Surf shortcut

Surf shortcut boys

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Not a minute to waste

From Summer’s Table to yours


Photos by Scott Brashier

There’s no denying everyone spends a lot more time in the kitchen now, and at this point, anytime a scrumptious and healthy meal arrives on your doorstep, it seems like magic. 

Well, it is a special kind of wizardry, and the conjurer is Summer Tarango, owner of Summer’s Table. Her particular form of alchemy involves combining the freshest possible ingredients into meal kits for two or four that transform – with a little preparation – into delectable dining experiences. There is just enough prep (as simple as combining homemade sauces and fixings) to make you feel as if you’ve contributed to the meal.

Summer’s Table also offers meal kits to gift to others, pantry and fresh items, drop-off catering, do-it-yourself charcuterie boards, and full-service events.

Summer launched Summer’s Table in January of 2019. “While I was walking through breast cancer in 2018, meal kits were a life saver,” she says. 

She partnered with Laguna Beach Parents’ Club to give gift certificates to new moms and anyone diagnosed with breast cancer.

For the 14 years prior to starting Summer’s Table, Summer was the operations manager at zpizza and owned her own catering company.

From Summer's bag

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Like opening a present with a bonus “welcome” bouquet 

Once the pandemic hit, Summer’s business doubled. At that time, she partnered with several businesses in town to support them: French Buckets (bouquets), Artisan Bread Bakery, Jedidiah Coffee, Honey Girl Grows, and Pretty n Vintage, who makes upcycled masks from vintage fabrics. These products can be found on her website, and some of the businesses are at the Farmers’ Market on Saturdays. 

 “It was really cool to get to partner with other people when their businesses slowed down,” Summer says.

Her organic produce comes from JR Organics – they are at the Farmers’ Market. “We use organic whenever we can.” 

The fish she uses comes from Ingardia and the chicken from Mary’s Chickens.

A multitude of items are available for delivery – pantry staples such as flour, rice, and gluten-free pasta; fresh items like marinated shrimp; fruit and veggies; pickled vegetables, frozen meatballs, and homemade dressings, dips, and sauces. 

Summer describes this access to a variety of products as a “one-stop shop.”

“A lot of people don’t want to deal with shopping and making sauces from scratch, but they want homemade.”

Recently Summer implemented a welcome gift. “We’ve been so busy, that I haven’t had time to connect with customers, so on the day of delivery, we include a mini-bouquet from Sussana at French Buckets. On Mondays, we average around 50-60 orders and deliveries, so it’s hard to give special attention.”

She is looking into expanding the meal deliveries to two days a week.

From Summer's counter

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Components waiting to be assembled 

Doing the math, that many meal kits equals 100-125 dinners prepared in a kitchen she subleases in Laguna.

“Saturday and Sunday are for meal testing. I’ll find a recipe, make it, and then tweak it, if necessary, on Sunday. Then on Monday, the pieces are put together in kits, and they start deliveries at noon. Everything is delivered by 5:30 p.m. in either reusable or disposable containers.”

In 2019, Summer started out using reusable containers, but during the pandemic, she switched to disposable. Concerned about the impact on the environment, she came up with a hybrid and now gives customers a choice. Most choose reusable. However, she wants to be even more environmentally friendly and is negotiating with a company for new containers – reusable quart size sheet pans with parchment, so that the food can be cooked on the parchment and only the parchment thrown away.

How Summer’s Table works:

Every Wednesday she provides a menu for the following week featuring:

three meal kits (2 or 4 person), seasonal specialty trays, and pantry items.

Customers must order by Saturday at 10 a.m. via the weekly order form. 

(There are no meal subscriptions since they don’t allow for skipping a week if necessary.)

The order is delivered Monday before dinner in an insulated bag with ice packs and reusable containers, if that’s what the customer has chosen. 

From Summer's bowls

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Chicken + Vegetable Sticky Noodles, Sheet Pan Shrimp, and Salmon Surprise

We’ve sampled Summer’s meal kits before, so I was eagerly anticipating another wonderful meal. This time it was Sheet Pan Shrimp, and as expected, it was amazing. It consisted of wild caught shrimp roasted with JR organics grape tomatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, a marinade of white wine, shallots, chili, and oregano – topped with fresh basil. The only prep was mixing the marinade with the ingredients and baking.

The Roasted Squash Salad with JR organic mixed greens was a tantalizing combination of sweet squash, silky burrata, and the crunch of pepitas. The caramelized onions added another layer of taste. The only prep was to assemble ingredients and toss with the cilantro and lime vinaigrette. 

All topped off with slices of baguette from Bread Artisan. 

We also got the CSA BOX which contained: Lettuce / Tomatoes / Breakfast Radishes / Kale / Oriental Spinach / Basil / Grape Tomatoes / Rainbow Carrots /  Reed Avocado / Strawberries / Pomegranate. This bounty yielded several salads, a pint of pesto, fruit for yogurt, and roasted carrots. 

Summer’s Table offers a wide variety of dishes, which Summer creates from different cultures such as – Indian, Vietnamese, Italian, Mediterranean, and Mexican.

If she has a craving for some particular dish or type of food, might it appear on the menu for that week?

“Yes, definitely,” she says.

For inspiration, Summer follows several food and wine accounts on Instagram and what is being served at restaurants. She subscribes to several food magazines – Sunset, Food and Wine, and Bon Appetit

“I want to keep relevant,” she says. “The goal is to have meals that are accessible and easy, something that you can get at a restaurant at a higher price tag.”

From Summer's dinner

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She likes to go to San Francisco for the food and also attends a fancy food show in February.

What’s in the future for Summer’s Table? “I started with liking the idea of making my own schedule,” she says. “My goal is to see us get to a point and then ahead of the game, so the team is able to execute the ‘show’ for a week.”

Her team consists of five part-time employees.

Although her team makes deliveries all the way to Long Beach, San Clemente, and Anaheim, Summer says half of her customers are local, with the majority being repeats. She has 15 in Emerald Bay alone.

So even though the idea of a meal kit appearing on your doorstep may seem like an illusion, it doesn’t have to be. 

Just go to www.summerstable.com.

Community Garden Park to celebrate a harvest of art and delicious local food on Saturday

This year the South Laguna Community Garden Park will celebrate in a modified form the Garden Park’s success at bringing the Laguna Beach community together while producing beauty and promoting healthy living. 

Instead of a gala gathering, meals for four or two prepared by Chef Tiffani Tincher and Farmer Leo will be delivered to ticket holders’ doors at dinner time on Saturday, Oct 3, with safety precautions observed. The meal includes cocktails, appetizer, salad, vegetables, main course, dessert, and wine.

Community Garden poppy

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Submitted photo

First Place: “Matilija Poppy IV” by Elizabeth McGhee, 5” x 7” colored pencil drawing

Ann Christoph says, “Our abundant rains late last spring produced an especially dazzling show of flowers at the Garden Park. Even though we had to cancel our usual classes and community events, solitary appreciation of beauty was still permitted. So we invited artists to paint at the Garden Park and submit their works for a competition. The artists were a delight, so pleased to enjoy the Garden Park, masks and all. We appreciate their lovely and creative submittals and their generosity in allowing us to offer their works for sale to benefit the Garden Park.” 

Bids will close at 8 p.m. on October 3, during the dinner. 

Community Garden Micheli

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Submitted photo

Second Place: “A Thousand Beautiful Things” by Fernando Micheli

The paintings were juried by Bill Atkins, graphic artist and art director of Gallery Q; Jonathan Burke, former president of the Laguna College of Art and Design; and Carole Zavala, painter, art teacher, and one of the founders of Gallery Q.

A sensitively rendered colored pencil depiction of a Matilija Poppy by Elizabeth McGhee is the first-place winner. A bold and beautiful painting of the upper garden, titled A Thousand Beautiful Things, by Fernando Micheli is second place. A lovely gouache rendering of the lower garden and oceanscape beyond at sunset by Mai Igarashi is third.   

Four honorable mention works by Kelsey Irvin, Lorraine Dawson, Ernesto Brieño, and Karen Hedges head the gallery on the auction site that shows all the impressive works submitted, including three children’s submittals by Autumn and Isla Borthwick, and Estephania Elgueta. 

Community Garden Igarashi

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Submitted photo

Third Place: Gouache rendering by Mai Igarashi 

Art works are available for viewing at 31709 Coast Hwy. Call (949) 499-3574 for questions regarding the art.

To reserve event tickets, click here. A curated program of entertainment will accompany your meal. 

An important part of the event is the array of paintings of the Garden Park produced by local artists, offered at auction. To view the gallery, click here.

Funds raised will support the Garden Park and its efforts to become a permanent part of our city’s beautification and recreational offerings.

 South Laguna Community Garden Park is a project of the South Laguna Civic Association. Charitable Ventures of Orange County (CVOC), a 501(c)(3) organization, is fiscal sponsor for the Garden Park. (Tax ID#20-8756660).

To learn more about the South Laguna Community Garden Park, visit www.southlaguna.org/garden.

PMMC partners with OC Community Foundation to host Protect and Preserve giving day

Pacific Marine Mammal Center will partner with the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) and six fellow nonprofits on October 7 to host the second annual Protect and Preserve, a Giving Day to sustain the ecosystems of Orange County. 

The 24-hour online effort aims to raise $100,000 for organizations with a shared commitment to environmental education and conservation of natural resources. Many of these organizations have been compromised in their fundraising efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Amid this unparalleled moment in our history, our individual, yet overlapping, causes have not had the luxury of pausing. In fact, the headwinds have only grown stronger, and that has been very apparent here at PMMC. We are in the midst of one of the highest numbers of difficult patient cases ever on record. This has included patients with sea lion cancer, gunshot wounds, harmful algae bloom poisoning, fishing net entanglements, emerging infectious diseases, and more,” said PMMC Chief Executive Officer Peter Chang. 

PMMC partners seals

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Submitted photo

Pacific Marine Mammal Center rehabilitates and releases marine mammals 

Protect and Preserve has taken on a greater meaning than it might have had six months ago, and we are grateful for the platform that Orange County Community Foundation has provided us to partner with these like-minded organizations.”

The seven nonprofits participating in Protect and Preserve include Crystal Cove Conservancy, Get Inspired, Laguna Canyon Foundation, Ocean Defenders Alliance, Ocean Institute, Orange County CoastKeeper, and Pacific Marine Mammal Center.

“The Protect and Preserve Giving Day will provide crucial support to nonprofits working as faithful and knowledgeable stewards of Orange County’s unique ecosystems,” said Shelley Hoss, president and CEO, OCCF. “We are proud to support environmental education and conservation of our natural resources through this fundraising collaboration that provides a lifeline to nonprofits at a crucial time.”

This Giving Day is the latest of a series that, to date, has raised more than $10 million for Orange County nonprofits. OCCF first challenged Orange County residents to “give where their heart lives” during the inaugural ihaertoc Giving Day in 2015, raising more than $1.8 million for 347 participating nonprofits in just 30 hours. In 2018, OCCF restructured iheartoc as an expanded opportunity for nonprofits to connect with one another in support of their shared missions. 

To give online during the Protect and Preserve Giving Day, visit https://protect-and-preserve-giving-day.ocnonprofitcentral.org/. For more information on the Collaborative Giving Days, visit www.oc-cf.org/iheartoc.

Blissful beach day

Blissful beach cactus

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

A wonder to behold

Letter to the Editor: Hotel Laguna

By Joe Hanauer, Greg MacGillivray, and James “Walkie” Ray

After working for more than two years with the owners of the Hotel Laguna property to reach agreement on revitalizing this iconic location, we’ve been advised that the property owners have decided to go in another direction and enter into a transaction with another party.

Our quest has been to not just reopen the hotel but to do everything needed to enable the hotel to regain its position as a critical and vibrant part of our downtown…the crown jewel of Laguna. We’ve invested countless time and money in planning, creating, and envisioning how to bring this key location back to life. We envisioned recapturing its historical appearance by bringing back some of the features lost over the years and addressing the deferred maintenance that is so apparent. 

The support and encouragement we’ve received from so many people in town has been wonderful. People we know and people we’ve never previously met that pass along their encouragement. People who honeymooned at the hotel or simply want it alive and vibrant. It’s been very much appreciated and throughout our effort, we’ve felt the