Chabad Jewish Center welcomes the community to Shavuot Holiday events and services

Chabad Jewish Center hosts a Pre-Shavuot Kids Torah Factory Workshop on Tuesday, May 15 at 5 p.m. Attendees will learn how a Torah scroll is made, from the parchment to the ink, and everything in between. Activities include educational, hands-on crafts, holiday stories, and games.

There will be fun for kids of all ages. The cost is $8 per child. Additionally, on Sunday, May 20 at 11 a.m., there is a special holiday prayer meeting and reading of the Ten Commandments, followed by a dairy lunch and ice cream party for the kids.

Kids learn how scrolls are made at Torah Factory Workshop on Tuesday, May 15

Yizkor Memorial Service will take place on Monday, May 21 at approximately noon.

Shavuot is the second of the three major festivals (Passover being the first and Sukkot being the third), and comes exactly 50 days after Passover, marking the completion of the seven weeks between Passover and Shavuot during which the Jewish people prepared themselves for the giving of the Torah on Mount Sinai.

Some customs of the holiday include an all-night Torah study on the first night of Shavuot, and eating of dairy foods, such as cheesecake and cheese blintzes.

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

For more information and a complete schedule of Shavuot services, visit or call (949) 499-0770.

Barbara’s Column

LBHS Alumni picnic in Heisler Park


Laguna Beach High School opened its doors on September 11, 1934, ending the 20-mile trek to Tustin where local students were bussed until the city created its own district. 

Three students, including “Doc” Blacketer, were handed diplomas in the first graduating class, according to Alumni Assn funder Walker Reed.

On Saturday, more than 200 graduates attended the annual All-Class Alumni Picnic at Heisler Park.

The Alumni Association’s mission is to foster a sense of shared tradition and belonging within the community of the alumni of Laguna Beach High School, teachers, staff, and current students.

“Getting together every year and hearing all the stories are what make the picnic so special,” said 1978 alumna Wendy Potter, Alumni Assn President and picnic organizer for six years.

 “Along with that, we also make money for scholarships for the graduating class. Over the previous five years that I have been in charge, we have given $20,000.

“Every year we receive at least 20 letters from graduating seniors who are direct descendants of many of us. Each year I enjoy getting to read those letters, and I wish we could give money to every single applicant.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Traci Sizemore

More than 200 alums came to share memories, including (L-R) Traci Sizemore - Rivers Morrell, Lance Stewart, Wendy Potter, Clarence Oliver, Norm Borucki, and Woody White

Money is raised by membership fees, donations and the sale of T-shirts and baseball caps. The sales and other tasks were handled by picnic members Dee Dee Westgaard Pike (’78), Dave Mc Donnell (’69), and Amanda Horton (’93), who returned to the association board after a three year hiatus. 

“Every penny we raise goes to direct descendants of graduates,” said Potter.

Joan Lincoln (1950) attended the picnic with contemporary graduates in her family Wink Gregg (‘47), and Jerry Lincoln (’48) and their descendants – all LBHS grads: Gary Gregg (’73), Alan Gregg (’77), Heather Gregg (2003), and Jon Gregg (’07). Seven of the tribe, all alumni, couldn’t make it.  

The Jahraus family was represented by Jeff and Linda. He was a 1969 graduate and a member of the 1968 Artists Football Team that won the League Championship that year.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Traci Sizemore

A good time was had by all, including Stu News’ own Scott Brashier and Holly Huggins Briscoe

Ed Bowen, who coached football at Laguna Beach High School, among other sports, from 1958 to 1983, spent considerable time at the picnic with football coach Norm Barucki, Kelly Akins, son of Laguna Beach artist, LBHS graduate and football coach Hal Akins, and 37-year LBHS teacher, counselor and coach Art Wahl.

Artist Peter Ott, who graduated in 1958, is a well-known artist who shares his Laguna Canyon property with an estimated 50 critters, including six big tortoises, cockatiels, parrot, snakes and lizards. Libby Shackford (’72) is Ott’s animal whisperer.

Other notable LBHS graduates include Blair Anderson (Under Secretary for Policy in the U.S. Department of Transportation, Damon Berryhill (Major League Baseball player), Jason Derek Brown (one of the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted Fugitives), Olympics medalists Dain Blanton (2000 Beach Volleyball gold), Annika Dries (2012 Women’s Water Polo gold), Dusty Dvorak (1984 Indoor Volleyball gold), Aria and Makenzie Fischer (2016 Women’s Water Polo gold), Scott Fortune (1988 Indoor Volleyball gold and 1992 bronze), Taylor Hawkins (drummer with Foo Fighters), Rick Leach (1990 Wimbledon doubles champion), Tom Morey (inventor of the modern foam body board “Morey Boogie Board”), John Pitts (NFL player 1967 - 1975, first round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills) and Reality TV personalities Lauren Conrad, Stephen Colletti, Kristin Cavallari and Lo Bosworth.

Among the others who attended the picnic: Gene Hill (‘56), Deanna Delaplain (’56), Sandee Smith, former daughter in law of the revered Red Guyer.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

The crowd included early graduates as well as more recent ones

Red Guyer greeted the first students to attend LBHS in 1934. So few of the new students were athletes, baseball season couldn’t get started until basketball season ended. 

During his three decades-long career as an LBHS coach, Guyer’s teams won eight league titles in football, 15 titles in track and field, and a league title in basketball. 

The field at Laguna Beach High School is named for him. The gym is named for Laverne Dugger, one of Guyer’s favorite pupils, who followed his mentor into coaching. 

However, the high school is not just about athletics. It has been recognized as aNational Blue Ribbon School and  a California Distinguished School, placing it among the top five percent of the state.

The Laguna Beach Scholarship Foundation annually raises more than $350,000 that is presented to students at the Convocation in June.

Read it and Eat

The Friends of the Laguna Beach Library broke with tradition last Tuesday. The annual Ladies Who Lunch and Read event welcomed men this year – trading suspenders for the bewitching hats formerly worn to the luncheon. 

However, one thing that didn’t change was the guests sharing books they recently read and recommended. Friends President Martha Lydick introduced the readers.

Bobbi Cox read from “First” by Alan Furst. The book is set in the late 1930s as World War II was looming. 

“I learn so much from his novels,” said Cox. 

And the lessons are cheap. Furst’s “Kingdom of Shadows” cost 50 cents at the Friends of the Library Bookstore.

Pat Turner recommended “The Soloist” by Steve Lopez, a Los Angeles Times columnist. 

Readings were followed by drawings for opportunity prizes. 

Winners included Howard Pink, who won a Mother of Pearl purse – oh yeah, that got a laugh. But wife Nancy Pink just smiled.

Also at the luncheon: City Treasurer Laura Parisi, Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson, Karl Koske, Sandy Hovanesian, Darrcy Loveland Bickel, Lola Brown, Mary Fitzgerald and Bob Mosier, spiffy in all white, including the suspenders. 

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

Dianne’s Creature Feature

Worst animal moms ever: Just in time for Mother’s Day, so you don’t feel bad


What Mother hasn’t asked herself, “Am I a good mother?”  Especially as Mother’s Day approaches. Ok, so maybe you forgot to pick up the kids at soccer practice (who hasn’t done that), or one day, just for fun, put a picture of a sandwich in the lunch pail instead of a real one, or smashed their iPhones when they wouldn’t stop watching YouTube. 

I’ve read about moms like that…and I’m not confessing to anything.

But, don’t chastise yourself if you’re one of them, because there are mothers in the animal kingdom who bring the phrase “worst mother ever” to a new level entirely.

Hunger games for Tasmanian Devil newborns

Tasmanian Devil mothers will never win a “mom of the year” award. (Yes, there truly are animals called Tasmanian Devils, they’re not just a Looney Tunes cartoon character.) The fact that any of the little devils survive has nothing to do with their mothers’ TLC. 

The problem is that the mother will give birth to as many as 50 pups, but she only has four nipples with which to feed them. Do the math. Ninety-two percent of them die.

Photo by Getty

Only eight percent of the pups survive

And, according to, Tasmanian Devil babies aren’t big sharers. As soon as they’re born, they race to nurse. Whoever makes it there first and can hold on wins. It’s like The Hunger Games.

In 2008, these carnivorous marsupials were declared endangered, and now Tasmanian Devils are being sent to zoos around the world as part of the Australian government’s Save the Tasmanian Devil Program. 

If only they had more feeding ports, possibly more would survive. Nature? Hello?

Female pipefish passes her motherly duties on to the male

It’s a well-known fact that male seahorses give birth (we’ll give them kudos on Father’s Day, maybe). Since pipefish are members of the same family, it’s true for male pipefish as well. 

The females have a slick way of copping out on their motherly responsibilities. They pass the eggs to the male, who holds them in his belly until the little ones grow up.

As much as human females might like this method, it’s not as hunky-dory as it sounds. Unless she’s in total denial, the female pipefish must know what happens to some of the eggs when she passes them on. 

Scientists report that sometimes babies go missing, and they discovered that dad was eating them like embryonic popcorn. The female not only shirks her duty as the incubator, she tosses them over to someone who might gobble them up.

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Per Harold Olsen

Warbler and Cuckoo

Per, perhaps the most famous bad mother is the cuckoo. This mother tricks other birds into raising her own youngsters, so she can enjoy the high-flying lifestyle free of kids. It’s a cagey trick. She does this by laying her eggs in the nest of another bird. 

Evidently, she thinks the other mom won’t notice the extra eggs or that the newly hatched chicks look quite different from her own. The cuckoo chick is hardly a grateful adoptee. Instead, the chick hatches earlier and grows faster than the other mother bird’s real brood, forcing the smaller chicks out of the nest to die.

Harp Seals leave kids stranded on icebergs

Mothers of precious little harp seals are highly dedicated for the first twelve days. In fact, they don’t eat at all during that period, giving all to their kids. Unfortunately, once the feeding is over, that’s it for mother-child bonding, she’s out of there, ready to mate again.

Sadly, the harp seal pup can’t survive on its own at this point. Instead it is left stranded on the ice for the next month and a half, leaving it incredibly vulnerable to predators. The babies will lose half of their body weight during this lengthy fasting period. 

Finally, when they are about eight weeks old, they are ready to swim and are able to start hunting for their own food, but at least 30 percent of all pups die during their first year.

Bunnies lack mothering skills

Bunnies may be cute and cuddly, but rabbit mothers aren’t exactly into the mothering thing. They immediately leave the burrow after giving birth, and afterward only stop by for a few minutes each day in order to feed the litter. After less than a month, the youngsters are left to fend for themselves.

I’ve heard of bunnies eating their offspring, too. 

However, in the rabbit’s defense, she’s (apparently) actually helping her babies by minimizing the chance the burrow will be found by predators. That sounds like a good explanation, but is she being protective or selfish?

After contemplating all these less than adequate animal mothers — who let their newborns starve, who pass off their eggs to dads who might eat them, or leave them to other mothers to raise, or strand their babes on icebergs, or only visit them once a day — maybe we shouldn’t be so hard on ourselves. I doubt they ever agonize over the question, “Was I good mother?”

Although, perhaps I did pull the “picture of the sandwich” in the lunch pail trick, I can’t remember. Being a mother makes you forgetful. Kids need a reality check now and again…

Mudders Day came early for Justify at the Kentucky Derby on a rainy race day – because no black cats crossed his path?


So for the first time in many years, Bill and I were invited to a Kentucky Derby party last Saturday. I donned a hat and we were off to the races at a friend’s house.

I know nothing about horses, so of course I chose my bet for winner based on its name, Free Drop Billy. (He lost.)

But I knew I didn’t want Justify to win. (He won.)

Why didn’t I want Justify to win? 

Because of his trainer’s superstition about black cats. 

I’m a black cat fan – I’ve had several in my life over the years: Baloo, Basil, Oliver, Gulliver, Shadow and now Boris. They’re chatty and loyal and funny. 

So I tend to avoid hanging out with people who consider them bad luck (especially when I’m walking under a ladder, or after breaking a mirror).

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lynette Brasfield

My black cat Boris – how could he mean anything but good luck (except, maybe, for rats, and mice, and birds, supposing he was allowed outside)?

This is how USA Today described trainer Bob Baffert’s phobia:

Speaking outside Barn 33, where Baffert’s horses have stayed here for more than two decades, he said Tuesday morning his black cat fears traced back to Real Quiet’s preparation at Churchill Downs for the Belmont, right before shipping to New York. 

“I was driving in here, and a black cat ran right in front of me,” he said. 

Real Quiet ended up losing the Triple Crown to Victory Gallop in the final stride after leading by five lengths at the top of the stretch. Then three years later, his second encounter with a black cat at Churchill purportedly occurred on race day as they were bringing Point Given out to the track as the heavy favorite and one of the mysterious creatures came out of the shadows and jumped right in his path. 

“They shouldn’t allow black cats on the backside,” Baffert said. 

Really? You’re going to blame your horses’ losses on black cats? Talk about a victim mentality.

The best response that I’ve ever heard to the question “What does it mean when a black cat crosses your path?” is “It means the cat is going somewhere.”

I’ll leave it at that for now – and better that Baffert doesn’t cross my path. He’d be the loser.

Disaster preparedness is key – especially for the unpredictable – as the recent shaker reminds us

Some myths exploded below – for example, do NOT get in a doorway!

Now that we’ve been jerked into consciousness of our susceptibility to earthquakes, it’s time to heed the advice of Emergency Disaster Coordinator Jordan Villwock:

Earthquakes are the sudden, rapid shaking of the earth, caused by the breaking and shifting of the underground rock. They come with no warning, can cause fires, tsunamis, landslides, and damage roads. Earthquakes can collapse buildings and cause heavy items to fall, resulting in injuries and property damage. 

If you are in a vehicle when an earthquake occurs – pull over and stop. If in bed, stay there. If outdoors, stay outdoors. Do not get in a doorway and do not run outside. If an earthquake happens, protect yourself immediately by – Dropping, covering, and holding on.

How to prepare before an earthquake

Secure items such as televisions and objects that hang on walls.

Practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On.

Create a family emergency plan –

Create an emergency kit –

How to survive during an earthquake: if in bed, stay in bed

Drop, Cover, and Hold On like you’ve practiced.

If in bed, stay there and cover your head and neck with a pillow.

If inside, stay there until the shaking stops – do not run outside.

If in a vehicle, stop in a clear area away from overpasses, buildings, or utility wires.

If near slopes, cliffs, or mountains – be alert for falling rocks and landslides.

After an earthquake: cover your mouth, don’t shout

Expect aftershocks.

Check yourself and family for injuries.

If in a damaged building, go outside and quickly move away from the building.

Do not enter damaged buildings.

If you are trapped, cover your mouth. Send a text, bang on a pipe or wall, or use a whistle instead of shouting.

If you are in an area that may experience tsunamis, seek higher ground!

Save phone calls for emergencies – use texts and social media instead.

For more disaster preparedness tips, visit the City’s website at where you can download templates to assist you in your emergency planning. You can also take the City’s pledge to be prepared. Let’s make Laguna Beach the Most Prepared City in Orange County!

Dennis’ Tidbits


May 11, 2018

El Nino bestowed a rare gift exactly 20 years ago

On this date in 1998, another gift from Senor El Nino bestowed itself in the form of a most rare epic day of heavy barrels at, of all places, Laguna’s Main Beach. The epic El Nino event of 1997-98 was beginning to wind down but it still had plenty of punch to transform Main Beach into Laguna’s rendition of Mexico’s Puerto Escondido. 

Main Beach you exclaim? But that spot is just a closeout shorebreak! That’s true, but on May 11, 1998, local homeboys The Dharma Bums, Steven Chew and Eric Nelsen were getting heavily barreled time after time on solid double to even triple overhead barrels compliments of two intense Pacific storms from two totally different directions. First off there was a huge SSE long period Southern Hemisphere bomb from a huge low way down by the Ross Sea near Antarctica with sets up to 10-12 feet marching in from a ridiculously severe angle of 160-165 degrees. 

At the same time, an equally strong and consistent heavy ground swell from a late-in-the-season, very deep low with a central pressure of 960 millibars was spinning in the Southern Gulf of Alaska with 10-12 foot bombs coming in at 308 degrees. Two more degrees at 310 and the swell would have been shadowed by Point Conception. 

Laguna’s swell window runs from 160 degrees on the south to 308 degrees on the northern edge. The convergence of these two severe angle monsters had Main Beach take on a whole different personality than we’re used to seeing. Steven is a goofyfoot and Eric is a regular foot but both riders can surf equally as well with their back to the wave’s face. Not all waves were perfect rights and lefts, we’ll call it one out of three but when those giant A-Frames hooked up it was quite a show! 

Some barrels were so big you could fit a VW Bug inside the tube and that’s no exaggeration. Spyder Wills was there to capture the epic event on film. I’ve never seen Main Beach do that before that day or since. It was glassy all day and the barrels were intense at all tides that day. That’s what El Ninos can do! 


Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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