Soroptimists International of LB presents “Live Your Dream” grants to two Laguna Food Pantry Volunteers

The Soroptimists International of Laguna Beach has awarded “Live Your Dream” grants to two single mothers who volunteer and shop at the Laguna Food Pantry. In a brief ceremony at the pantry, the club’s president, Connie Burlin, presented Gisela and Elle (not her real name, to protect her identity) with $1,000 grants.

“Elle is a devoted single mother whose primary goal is to ensure her 12-year-old daughter receives a good education. Elle’s education was cut short by her pregnancy and she had to leave college, which has impeded her ability to find employment beyond low-paying assistant jobs. Elle plans to use the Soroptimists’ funding to pay for community college course so she can complete her AA degree. She then wants to transfer to a four-year college to earn a bachelor’s degree in business,” stated Burlin. 

“As a single mother without a college degree or a stable steady income, I have been hindered in my long-term goals,” Elle said. “I have emphasized the importance of education to my daughter, who is a straight-A student in the seventh grade. As her mother, my chief goal is to provide a good quality of life for her and help her fulfill her potential. It is my hope that each of us can pursue our educational dreams in our own ways.”

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Submitted photo

Connie Burlin (right), SILB President, with grant recipients

The second recipient, Gisela, will also use her grant to pursue further education. 

“Gisela’s career training was also derailed by family matters. She was taking classes last year when her mother was diagnosed with cancer; as her mother’s caregiver, Gisela had to drop out,” according to Berlin.

“This grant is such a blessing,” Gisela remarked. “I have two children, and in 2014 I had to leave their father for our physical safety. For a short time, the three of us lived in a home for abused women. My goal is to find a well-paying job and be able to take care of my mother and raise my two children successfully. Returning to school will help me reach this very important life goal. I am so grateful to the generous ladies of the Soroptimists club.”

 Soroptimists International of Laguna Beach (one of the oldest non-profits in Laguna Beach) is a volunteer organization for business and professional women dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls in local communities and throughout the world.  

Founded in 1948, the Laguna Beach club is part of Soroptimist International of the Americas where almost 100,000 Soroptimists in about 120 countries and territories contribute time and financial support to community-based projects that benefit women.

For more information about how Soroptimist improves the lives of women and girls, visit their website at

Sage Hill student from Laguna Beach presented with performing arts scholarship by MTW Footlighters  

Musical Theatre West’s (MTW) Footlighters presented 11 Los Angeles and Orange County students with $1,000 scholarships at its annual awards.  The winners, selected from public and private schools throughout the Southland, performed at the event, which was held at the Centre at Sycamore Plaza in Lakewood. 

This year’s winners were selected from applicants, each nominated by their performing arts teachers.  The auditions were sponsored by the MTW Footlighters Scholarship Committee, co-chaired by Carol Senske and Donna Estrin.  Judges included MTW’s Executive Director/Producer, Paul Garman; Education and Youth Outreach Director Brandon Neeseand professionals from the musical theater industry. 

This year’s recipients included Sage Hill senior and LB resident Wyatt Manolakas, winner of the Don Temple Family Scholarship. 

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MTW’s Marlene Temple and Wyatt Manolakas 

Founded in 1999, the Footlighters is a non-profit auxiliary organization created to support Musical Theatre West and its education outreach efforts, including funding of Musical Theatre West’s Cultural Enrichment Programs.  These programs include busing and student performances for more than 17,000 students each year, free touring productions, and other outreach efforts.  The Scholarship program was created in 2005 and has since awarded $60,000 in scholarships over the past 11 years.  

Past MTW Footlighters Scholarship winners have earned national accolades as well.  Since the inauguration of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York eight years ago, MTW Scholarship winners have won fourtimes and received $10,000scholarships each from The Nederlander Organization to further their careers in theater.


Margaret Flora Shomate Prickitt

May 4, 1916 – April 3, 2017 


Margaret Flora Shomate Prickitt, the beloved mother of John, Joe and Nancy Prickitt, passed away peacefully at The Fountains at Sea Bluffs in Dana Point on April 3, 2017. Margaret who was born in Bakersfield, California on May 4, 1916, and who lived in Laguna Beach for nearly 60 years would have been 101 years old on May 4, 2017. She is survived by her three children, her sister Jackie Shomate Zitnik, nieces Judy Clark and Jan Seehusen, great granddaughters Terra Sage and Sequoia Lindberg, and Pamela Horton, friend by chance, “daughter” by choice.

Margaret joined the United States Naval Reserve (Women’s Reserve), Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) in the 1940s to help ensure the United States and Allied victory for World War II.  

Margaret moved to Laguna Beach in 1950, to be with her sister Jackie Shomate Zitnik. She later married Howard Phillip Prickitt. The family lived on Ruby Street above Woods Cove, where she, her husband and John, Joe, and Nancy Prickitt became Woods Cove regulars. The family then moved to South Laguna, above Treasure Island Cove, where she lived until 2007 before moving to The Fountains at Sea Bluffs in Dana Point.

Margaret was one of the original members of Laguna Beach Greenbelt, Inc. and worked to protect coastal wildlife, habitat and wilderness and to preserve a “greenbelt” of open space around Laguna Beach. Today, the Laguna Beach Greenbelt consists of over 22,000 acres. She also served as President of Saint Catherine of Siena Church Women’s Council in Laguna Beach and was responsible for the installation of the statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary on the church grounds, where it stands to this day bestowing blessings on all.

Margaret was devoted to God. She loved all people and was the manifestation of Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness and Compassion. 

Margaret will be remembered, honored and cherished at a Vigil at O’Connor Mortuary in Laguna Hills on May 2, 2017 from 7 to 9 p.m., a Mass at Saint Catherine of Siena Church in Laguna Beach on May 3, 2017 from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. and a funeral service at Ascension Cemetery in Lake Forest on May 3, 2017 at 12:30 p.m.  

Margaret asked that a poem by her cousin Lois Lavers Rice entitled Renaissance be shared with others at her passing: 


I had eyes but I could not see. I had ears but I could not hear. 

I had a mind but I could not think. 

I had the precious gift of life, but I did not live. I am old, but my life is new for I am reborn. My eyes see the beauty of a perfectly created world. My ears hear the song of God. My mind is open to the unfolding of his scheme. No longer do I regret the past nor fear the future, for I am God’s child and I have come home.

Lois Lavers Rice

Dennis’ Tidbits


Some sunblocks aren’t sold in stores – just ask the Pacific Northwest

April 25, 2017

There’s a powerful sun blocking agent out there that is way stronger than any sunblock that is sold at all outlets yet it isn’t sold anywhere. It’s called the Pacific Northwest! 

Boy, time sure is racing by! Hard to believe it’s almost May already.

Local ocean temps have inched up into the 61-63 degree range as of late. At least that stubborn red tide (photo plankton) is finally out of here for now. If any of you were around twelve years ago you might remember that over three quarters of the summer of 2005 was mired in a thick, and I mean thick red tide and loads of jellyfish all summer with 54 degree water in the second week of July and only four lackluster south swells all summer, definitely a summer to forget!

On this date in 1974 the water temp that day plunged to a burly 49 degrees, thanks to a series of relatively dry but very windy cold fronts that blew through here the week leading up to the 25th. For days the WNW winds were howling at a sustained 20-25 mph so that resulted in a serious upwelling event. 

For the past couple of weeks we’ve been the fortunate recipients of a host of some swells from several different directions. There’s been some energy from the southern hemisphere, nothing huge mind you, but plenty of waves in the 3-5 foot range with occasional bigger sets. There’s also been some NW ground swell in the 3-4-5 foot range and thrown in the mix there’s been some nice short interval 3-4 foot NW wind swell. It’s nice to finally see a little run of some swell activity after enduring the flattest winter ever, at least since 1958 when I started documenting daily weather and ocean conditions. 

Nearly 90 percent of the period beginning Dec. 21, 2016 and ending March 21, 2017, the waves in Laguna were less than three foot with only five overhead days and those five were accompanied by very stormy surface conditions. It’s high time we get paid back with interest!

The 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season doesn’t officially get under way until June 1, yet the first tropical system of the year has formed about halfway between the U.S. east coast and Africa at about latitude 30 degrees North. Tropical storm Anita has maximum sustained winds of 50 mph and she’s moving WNW at 15 mph but is not threatening any land mass at this time.

Here in Paradise we’re looking at a nice week ahead with plenty of sunshine with minimal marine layer and temps here at the beach in the low 70’s with an increase in Southern Hemi swell activity over the next few days. Time to sneak up to Malibu or down to Lowers. 

See y’all on Friday, ALOHA!

Conservancy to celebrate Lida Lenney’s legacy


The Laguna Canyon Conservancy will celebrate the legacy Lida Lenney at the May 1 meeting.

Lenney founded the conservancy to prevent the construction of hundreds of homes in Laguna Canyon. She was in the forefront of opposition to what she felt was desecration. 

She picketed the home of the powerful landowner, Donald Bren, to protest his Irvine Company’s plan to develop the property. She also was a leading participant of the memorable Walk in the Canyon, organized by Harry Huggins. 

Lenney was on the City Council when Laguna’s voters were asked if they wanted open space or the construction of 3,500 homes, which she vigorously opposed, equating the construction with destruction of Laguna Canyon.  

More than 80 percent of the voters elected to tax themselves to buy Laguna Laurel as permanent open space.

Lenney was also active in the naming of Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, insistent that Laguna  be a prominent part of the name. 

Before running for council, Lenney taught at Top of the World Elementary School. 

Huggins will present her story at the dinner meeting to be held at Tivoli Too. 

A no-host bar will open a 6 p.m. Dinner service will begin at 6:35 p.m. The program follows dinner. 

Required reservations may be made by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by calling Max Brown at (949) 235-8277 or Sharon Larimer at (949) 306-0122.

A Day at the Office, Laguna-style

Photos by Scott Brashier

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Nothing like a little sun to get the synapses firing

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Something’s fishy in this photo: offshore trading going on, maybe?


Shaena Stabler and Stu Saffer are the co-owners. Shaena is the Publisher and Stu is the Editor-in-Chief.

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Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Dianne Russell, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

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Mary Hurlbut, Scott Brashier, and Aga Stuchlik are the staff photographers.

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