May is Mental Health Awareness Month: Time to fight the stigma & get the support you or yours might need

By Kay Wenger, Mental Health Clinical Supervisor at Susi Q Senior Center

During May, we hope that we can all take the time to focus a little more inward, making sure that we are giving ourselves the self-care and attention that we need. There are times in our lives when we sense that something isn’t quite right with our thinking, our emotions or our behavior. 

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Submitted photo

Kay Wenger

We may even recognize these issues in a loved one. This could indicate we have come to a point where we cannot deal with the stresses or events that have happened in our lives or that we may be experiencing chemical changes in our brain.

Research shows that mental health issues affect as many as one in four people. These issues are always best dealt with in the early stages before they can affect our personal wellbeing, professional or financial lives or personal relationships. 

Many mental health issues can be addressed by talk therapy with a trained professional – however, some issues require medication and more intensive forms of treatment. The social stigma attached to mental health issues has lessened with every year that passes as people come to understand that so many of us are affected and it is not a reflection that we are a defective person. 

As the mental health clinical supervisor at the Susi Q Senior Center, I believe that mental health is something that needs to be discussed in every conversation around health and wellness in our country. 

Susi Q offers support to residents from the age of 50 upwards

If you or someone you know needs additional support because they are going through a difficult time, please know that Laguna Beach Seniors at the Susi Q is here to help. Many think that senior centers only cater to a much-older population. This is not true at all. If you are between 50 to 100+ years old, you can take advantage of the mental health programs that the Susi Q offers – and, the majority are free of charge. 

There’s “Heart to Heart”, a support group where individuals aged 50+ gather weekly to discuss important issues impacting their lives. 

The Susi Q also facilitates a Grief Recovery support group; Living Well with Chronic Illness support group; a Men’s Only group; Alzheimer’s and Dementia support group, and a discussion group addressing end-of-life issues -- Death Café. 

Finally, and with special thanks to a generous Mission Hospital Community Benefit’s Grant of $15,000 annually since 2016, the Susi Q provides one-on-one counseling for at-risk and vulnerable seniors throughout all of South Orange County by way of our “Feeling The Blues” program. 

Click here for the dates and times of these resources. 

For more information, please reach out to our care management team by visiting the Susi Q front desk, or by calling (949) 715-8104.

Located at 380 Third Street, Laguna Beach Seniors has been enhancing the lives of seniors for over 40 years. Mental health support, care management, recreational and educational classes, activities and events are available and designed for local seniors to promote independence, wellness and community. 

The Susi Q also is the heart of an ambitious vision called Lifelong Laguna: a community and a nonprofit working together to make the town we love a better place for the rest of our lives. For more information, visit

Kay Wenger, MA, LMFT, LPCC, is the clinical supervisor for Laguna Beach Seniors mental health programming. Kay and her husband Robert have been residents of Laguna Beach for 25 years. In addition to her private practice, Kay is actively involved with training new therapists through her 28 years as Manager of M.A. Clinical Training and Professional Development at Pepperdine University.

Laguna College of Art and Design 2018 LCAD Silent Auction honoring Terry Smith raises $60,000

Laguna College of Art + Design’s spring fundraiser, the 2018 LCAD Silent Auction, raised more than $60,000 from the sales of works by LCAD alumni, LCAD faculty, and other recognized professional artists. 

This special event featured a selection of work by professional artists and from the estate of the late LCAD Trustee and Laguna Beach Volunteer Leader Terry Smith. The silent auction also included non-art related packages and opportunity drawing prizes such as the Tesla Experience, which gives the winner a two-day test drive of the Tesla Model X.

Art collectors as well as friends of LCAD enjoyed cocktails, seasonally inspired fare and live entertainment by the Amy Rowe Trio at [seven-degrees]. Chair of Fine Arts, Hope Railey, painted a portrait of LCAD Fine Art senior Sureya Davis during the event. Nancy Milby, longtime friend and former LCAD Trustee, donated wine courtesy of LCA Wine.

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Photo submitted by LCAD

Chair of Fine Arts, Hope Railey, at her easel

“For 57 years, LCAD has been offering creative innovative programs in art and design that change students in the way they think, the way they make art, and the way they see the world,” said Jonathan Burke, president of LCAD. “When those students graduate and become working professionals, it is their art that inspires us and changes us and how we see the world.”

Bidders selected from art by Victor Hugo Zayas (courtesy of saltfineart), Scott Yeskel, Bradford Salamon, and Jason Kowalski (courtesy of Sue Greenwood Fine Art) as well as Tom Lamb, Jeff Sewell, and LCAD Alumna Elizabeth McGhee. A selection of art donated by the estate of LCAD and Laguna Beach volunteer leader Terry Smith also was available for silent auction. Smith became an LCAD Trustee in 2002 and served with distinction as Development Committee Chair and Collector’s Choice Committee Chair. 

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Photo submitted by LCAD

LCAD President, Jonathan Burke

“Terry and his partner, Wayne Peterson, were devoted supporters of our students and took great pride in filling their home with original art purchased at past Collector’s Choice galas,” said Burke. “I was fortunate enough to work closely with Terry on a number of projects over the years and each time I was struck by the quality of his intellect, by his selfless dedication, and by his passion for helping students.”

The 2018 LCAD Silent Auction is one of the College’s two premier annual fundraising events that directly support LCAD’s students and its programs and helps to fund the $2.5 million in student scholarships the College awards annually.

For more information, visit or contact Tracy Hartman at (949) 376-6000, ext. 241 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Hershey Felder, Beethoven, opens at Laguna Playhouse on Wednesday, May 16, for two week run

Laguna Playhouse presents a special event production in association with Hershey Felder Presents: Hershey Felder, Beethoven. The show is based on a book by Hershey Felder, is directed by Joel Zwick, and features the music of Ludwig van Beethoven. The production will open on Wednesday, May 16 and run through Sunday, May 27. 

Executive Director Ellen Richard comments, “We are thrilled to be bringing Hershey Felder as Beethoven to the Playhouse for this very special two week engagement. Our audiences are going to be enraptured by this wildly acclaimed production.” 

Adds Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham, “We are fortunate to have such a wonderful working relationship with the genius that is Hershey Felder and are delighted to have him performing once again on our stage with the music of Beethoven!” 

The brilliant Hershey Felder now brings Ludwig van Beethoven to life through the eyes of a Viennese doctor who, as a boy, spent time by Beethoven’s side during his last years. Featuring some of the composer’s greatest works, from the “Moonlight Sonata” to the “Ninth Symphony” and the “Emperor Concerto,” this intense, illuminating, and unforgettable journey through time will immerse audience members in the astounding life of the Maestro. 

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Hershey Felder, Beethoven opens on May 16 for two week run

Hershey Felder, Beethoven was named to Time Magazine’s 2016 Top 10 Plays and Musicals; Hershey Felder has played over 4,500 performances of his self-created solo productions at some of the world’s most prestigious theatres and has broken box office records consistently. American Theatre Magazine has said, “Hershey Felder is in a category all his own.” 

His shows include: George Gershwin Alone (Broadway’s Helen Hayes Theatre, West End’s Duchess Theatre); Monsieur Chopin; Hershey Felder, Beethoven; Maestro (Leonard Bernstein); Franz Liszt in Musik, Lincoln: An American Story, Hershey Felder as Irving Berlin, and Our Great Tchaikovsky, in addition to his many compositions and recordings. Hershey has operated a full-service production company since 2001. He has been a scholar-in-residence at Harvard University’s Department of Music and is married to Kim Campbell, the first female Prime Minister of Canada.

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Submitted by Laguna Playhouse

Hershey Felder as Beethoven

Joel Zwick (Director) has directed My Big Fat Greek Wedding, the highest-grossing romantic comedy of all time. Recent films include Fat Albert and Elvis Has Left the Building. Mr. Zwick directed the Broadway production of George Gershwin Alone at the Helen Hayes Theatre. He has directed on Broadway, Off-Broadway and Broadway touring companies. He and Hershey Felder have collaborated on many productions. He is currently directing for the Disney Channel and has been at the helm of Suite Life on Deck, Dog with a Blog, Jessie, Shake it Up, Girl Meets World, I Didn’t Do It and K.C. Undercover. 

The Design Team is as follows: Scenic Design by Hershey Felder; Lighting and Projection Design by Christopher Ash; Sound Design by Erik Carstensen; Costume Design by Theatre Hall, Paris. 

Performances on Wednesday and Friday are at 7:30 p.m.; Thursday and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. Additional performance are on Sunday, May 20 at 5:30 p.m. and on Tuesday, May 22 at 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are $95 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.comor by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling (949) 497-2787 ext. 229. Prices are subject to change.     

 The box office is open Monday - Saturday from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. (open until showtime on performance days); and on Sunday from 11 a.m. - 4 p.m.  

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Dr. 

For more information on all shows and programming, visit website listed above.

Lush green is the color of spring – and May’s birthstone, emerald

Written by Lorraine Hornby

With its lush deep-green color, symbolic of spring, emerald is an apt birthstone for the month of May. It is part of the beryl gem species (the blue-green variety of beryl is aquamarine, the March birthstone). This emerald crystal is from the Muzo mine in Columbia.

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Submitted photo/Wikimedia

Emerald crystal, Muzo mine

The oldest known emeralds are from South Africa, and scientists have determined that they were formed nearly three billion years ago, according to the GIA (Gemological Institute of America). The oldest emerald mines were in Egypt, and Cleopatra prized emeralds in her royal jewelry.

European appreciation of emeralds began after Spanish explorers invaded South America, where the Incas had already been using emeralds in jewelry and religious ceremonies for hundreds of years.

Random Emerald Trivia

One of the most sacred treasures in the Grand Palace in Bangkok, Thailand is the Emerald Buddha. Which is not, in fact emerald – it is jadeite. But its name reflects the ubiquitous use of the term emerald to describe a deep green color rather than a specific gemstone.

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Photo courtesy The Longest Way Home

Emerald Buddha

Although emeralds are rated at 7.5 to 8 on the Moh’s hardness scale (which ranges from 1 to 10 – diamonds have a 10 rating), they are sensitive to knocks. A special step-cut, in which the corners are truncated rather than pointed, is known in the jewelry world as an “emerald cut” (although it is also used on gemstones other than emeralds). The photo below shows a classic emerald cut. It also shows a stone that has many inclusions, a common issue with emeralds and one which makes the stone less valuable.

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Submitted photo

Emerald cut

The Bahia Emerald, discovered in Columbia in 2001, contains the largest single emerald crystal ever found. The rock is embedded with numerous very large emerald crystals, and weighs approximately 800 pounds. It has been the subject of ownership disputes and legal action almost since its discovery, and the court cases surrounding the Bahia Emerald have become as famous as the gem itself. It is currently under lock and key in the possession of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department until the courts determine who really owns it.

Where emeralds are found

Columbia is one of the most important sources for quality emeralds. Other significant deposits are in Brazil, South Africa, and Zimbabwe.


Because emeralds are often cloudy and [have inclusions], it has become a common practice to treat them with a process known as “oiling” to improve color, clarity and stability. The gems are immersed in a colorless oil or resin, which seeps into fissures in the gems and enhances the appearance of the stone. Legally, such treatments must be disclosed to the consumer. If an emerald that has been oiled is put in an ultrasonic or steam cleaner (which are common methods of cleaning jewelry), it could remove the oils and a visibly different gem emerges. It is possible, however, to re-oil the stone. 

Synthetic emeralds

Since about the 1950s, very high quality synthetic emeralds have been available. The Chatham Company pioneered the process for lab-grown emeralds (and a short list of other desirable gemstones), so if you come across a “chatham emerald” you know that it is a man-made gemstone.

Lorraine Hornby is a local jewelry artist and Certified Gemologist, SCC. Her work can be viewed at, and you can read more about gemstones and jewelry fabrication on her blog,

Emerald Bay Service District Board of Directors meetings: May 16 meeting has been rescheduled to May 23

Cancellation: Due to the lack of quorum, the Regular Meeting of the Emerald Bay Service District Board of Directors previously scheduled to be held on Wednesday, May 16 at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Center, 600 Emerald Bay, is canceled without transaction of business.

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Notice: The Emerald Bay Service District Board of Directors meeting on May 16 has been rescheduled to May 23

Scheduling: A Special Board of Directors meeting of the Emerald Bay Service District will be held on Wednesday, May 23 at 5:30 p.m. at the Community Center, 600 Emerald Bay, instead.

For information on Emerald Bay Service District, go to

Neighborhood spirit abounds at The Annual South Laguna Community Garage Sale on Saturday, May 12

The Annual South Laguna Community Garage Sale, sponsored by Chris Tebbutt Real Estate, takes place on Saturday, May 12 from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. This is more than just a garage sale, it’s an annual event in the spirit of community that is integral to being a resident of South Laguna. 

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Houses participating in the South Laguna Community Garage Sale on May 12

Neighbors enjoy coming out on a Saturday morning and going from location to location, finding treasures together.

Garage sales will be at the following 10 locations: 31271 Holly Dr, 31551 Catalina Ave, 31541 Santa Rosa, 31636 2nd Ave, 31691 Florence Ave, 31662 Scenic Dr, 31666 Scenic Dr, 31671 Scenic Dr, 31900 9th Ave, and 31966 10th Ave.

There will be maps and refreshments available at West St & Coast Hwy.

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