LBUSD School Readiness team offers presentation on kindergarten skills on May 17

Forty-nine percent of kindergartners in OC are “not ready” for kindergarten in the areas of communication and general knowledge, according to the Early Development Index (EDI), a checklist filled out on all children in kindergarten in Orange County.

To ensure that Laguna’s kids are ready for kindergarten, the LBUSD School Readiness EDI Community offers presentations, one of which – Kindergarten Ready: Communication Skills needed for School Success – will take place on Wednesday May 17 from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Laguna Beach Presbyterian Church, Tankersley Hall, 415 Forest Ave.

The presentation, led by Lynn Epstein, MS, SLP-CC, will help parents understand the basic listening and communication skills children should be mastering at ages 3, 4, and 5 as well as offer strategies to promote language development in the preschool and homes setting. 

The LBUSD School Readiness team has formed the EDI Task Force with local preschools, parents and the Laguna Beach Public Library to address the areas needed for improvement and assist the community in understanding best practices for preparing children for kindergarten. 

The LBUSD School Readiness team provides many se ices to the community such as parent education events, professional development trainings at local preschools, free developmental screenings, referrals to local community resources and an opportunity to enroll in Learning Link. 

For additional information regarding the EDI Task Force or the School Readiness Team, contact Sandee Bandettini at or visit

LBUSD names director of social emotional support

On May 9, the Laguna Beach Unified School District Board of Education unanimously approved the appointment of Dr. Michael Keller as director of social emotional support, effective July 1. 

Dr. Keller is an experienced district-level administrator, currently serving as director of special education in the Los Alamitos Unified School District. He has served in several administrative roles related to student support services and has experience as both a school counselor and a nationally certified school psychologist. 

Dr. Keller earned a bachelor’s degree from University of Arizona in psychology, a master’s degree in counseling from California State University, Long Beach, and a doctorate degree in educational leadership with an educational psychology focus from the University of Southern California. 

“I am honored and excited to be working in the Laguna Beach Unified School District in this important and innovative role to support student social and emotional health and well-being,” said Dr. Keller. 

The director of social emotional support is a new position in LBUSD. Dr. Keller will be responsible for collaboratively identifying district-wide social-emotional needs and developing systems to ensure that students with mental health needs are provided appropriate services and support. He will also provide oversight and support for procedures related to student accommodations. 

He will also supervise two new Student Support Specialists, who will be site-based mental health clinicians to provide educationally-related mental health services and support to students. The new Specialists will be hired in the next few months. 

“We are thrilled Dr. Keller will be joining our team,” said Dr. Alysia Odipo, assistant superintendent of instructional services. “His expertise will help us expand our support for each student and our system of social emotional support for all learners.” 

Dr. Keller has demonstrated success in developing systems of student services and support, inclusive of broad-based stakeholder groups. In his current role, he has facilitated a major shift to a co-teaching inclusive delivery model for students with disabilities. He currently oversees and coordinates mental health services and accommodations programs. Dr. Keller previously served as an adjunct professor at CSU Long Beach and the University of Southern California teaching courses in crisis counseling in schools, positive behavioral assessment and intervention, and learning theory. He is also a licensed educational psychologist. 

“Dr. Keller’s experiences make him a perfect fit as we continue to expand our support for all students in the area of social and emotional support. We look forward to having him join our team,” said superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria.

LBHS varsity sports update

League realignment

Don’t print those Sunset league sweatshirts just yet

The re-leaguing process for Orange County High Schools in underway and there is a lot of conjecture on what the final affiliation will be for the Breakers.

Last Monday, the Orange County Principals and Athletic Directors voted again on a recommended plan to take effect for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 seasons. Unlike past years the current cycle has been shortened from four seasons to just two.

The latest proposal has Laguna and Corona del Mar joining the Sunset Conference with Laguna in all-sports but Football.

It would become a conference with eight schools (Edison, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Los Alamitos, Marina, Newport Harbor plus the two new members).

The group would have two four-team leagues in 20 sports with membership based on strength of team. A single league of six schools would remain for football. 

Marina and Laguna would be added to a new Golden West Conference for Football only that would also separate into two leagues for Football only.

The new Golden West Conference would include Garden Grove, Ocean View, Western, Godinez, Segerstrom and Westminster.

It appears many schools including the current Sunset League members object to this narrowly passed proposal and a multitude of appeals will be heard on June 1.

There is a good chance Laguna will end up in a different arrangement closer to home so don’t print those Sunset league sweatshirts just yet.

CIF Playoffs

Laguna’s teams moving forward

The LBHS varsity teams in the CIF Playoff hunt are moving ahead this week.

The baseball team finished the regular OC season 15-0 (20-4 overall) with wins over Estancia 6-2 and 5-0 this week. CIF pairings will be set this weekend. 

Boys tennis and volleyball took first round wins. The tennis team defeated Foothill Wednesday and will play Round 2 today at 3 p.m.

Volleyball swept Cathedral and played Mater Dei at Dugger Gym last night.

Coed Track and Swim teams will be in action Saturday.

Both track teams won their OCL crowns.

Girls sand volleyball will play Friday at Dockweiler State Beach at 4 p.m. and Saturday at Santa Monica in the IBVL Finals.

IVC and LB Community Center present English 435: Film Genres Focus: Further Adventures

Emeritus #62620
12 weeks Cost: $20 Tuesdays 12:30-3:20 p.m. Register at “Emeritus” or Phone (949) 451-5555 M-F 9 a.m.-5 p.m. 

Course Description: This course examines the global medium of film, emphasizing narrative story and directorial technique, and how elements of art direction reveal character or theme.

Course Objective: Explore how filmmakers depict or defy genre expectations to create complicated layers. This semester will focus primarily on individuals dealing with much activity. 

Note: Selections may change without prior warning. 

5/30/17 The Hundred-year-old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared 2013 Sweden 114 min. Based on the Jonas Jonasson novel.

6/6/17 Margarita with a Straw 2014 India 100 min. A young woman leaves her home to study in New York and embarks on a journey of self-discovery. Profanity and sexual content. 

6/13/17 Effie Gray 2014 UK 104 min. John Ruskin marries a teen bride. Written by Emma Thompson, this true story stars Dakota Fanning, Greg Wise and Tom Sturridge.

6/20/17 Something in the Air 2012 France 122 min. Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria) won four awards for this period piece set in 1968. 

6/27/17 Wild Tales 2014 Argentina 122 min. Six stories of revenge. 44 awards!

7/4/17 Independence Day: no class

7/11/17 Tangerines 2013 Estonia/Georgia 87 min. In 1992, war-torn Georgia affects an Estonian village. 12 wins.

7/18/17 The Story of Qiu Ju 1992 China 100 min. Zhang Yimou’s fifth film with Gong Li based on “The Wan Family’s Lawsuit,” a story of village injustice. Won 15 awards.

7/25/17 Still Crazy 1998 UK 95 min. A British rock band reunites after twenty years. Stars Stephen Rea, Billy Connolly, Timothy Spall, and Bill Nighy.

8/1/17 The Reluctant Fundamentalist 2012 USA/UK/Qatar 130 min. Mira Nair helms Mohsin Hamid’s novel concerning a Pakistani man chasing Wall St. success.

8/8/17 Instructions Not Included 2013 Mexico 122 min. Comedy-drama. One Man and a Baby. 

8/15/17 The Way 2010 Spain/USA 123 min. A father embarks on a pilgrimage to honor his son. 

8/22/17 Me and Orson Welles 2008 USA 114 min. Richard Linklater (The School of Rock, Boyhood, Bernie) directs Zac Efron and Claire Danes as enthused young people involved in the Mercury Theatre.

Dennis’ Tidbits


May 12, 2017

Funky May, maybe – but be glad you don’t live in Oklahoma at this twisting time of year! 

The first third of May has been pretty funky with more clouds than sun and all but two days so far with temps below normal, including some fairly hefty rain amounts over the region. May is notorious, though, for its lack of sunshine with an average of only 46 percent average of only 44 percent possible sunshine. Local surface ocean temps as of today are running a couple of degrees below average. Today it’s hovering around the 60 degree mark.

Our focus right now is on Oklahoma, the bull’s eye of the world for tornadoes, especially during the month of May. Nowhere else in the world has as many tornadoes annually as the continental US with an average of around 1300 twisters per year. All 50 states have had a tornado event including Alaska and Hawaii but the state with the most by far is Oklahoma with Texas the next highest frequency for these violent spinners.

Oklahoma City located smack dab in the center of the state has been the main target for violent super cell thunderstorms with heavy duty rotation with the tops of some of these mesocyclones stretching as high as 60,000 ft. above the earth’s surface. Just since 1950 there have been 147 recorded tornadoes in and around the Oklahoma City metro area with an astounding total of 55 of those being EF-3’s or stronger. 

The strongest tornado with the highest wind speed in the world occurred in a suburb of Oklahoma City called Moore, Oklahoma with wind speeds up to 301 mph on May 3, 1999. Moore has been the real bull’s eye here as the town has been the victim of a devastating tornado with EF-4 or EF-5 four times since 1999, They should rename the town “Less”! 

The widest tornado of all time occurred in El Reno, Oklahoma, a suburb northwest of O.C. with a width of 2.6 miles. That particular tornado took the lives of three of the top professional NOAA Tornado Chasers as the twister abruptly changed direction, taking a sudden sharp right turn and suddenly they were the ones being chased and it overtook them moving at 60 mph. As experienced as these guys were, Mother Nature won out once again.

Why is May the most active month? Well, all the dynamics are in place and they’re all in their prime, so to speak, during the month of May. You’ve got a huge flood of warm, moist, unstable tropical air at the surface flowing northward from the Gulf of Mexico, then at mid levels of the atmosphere there’s a southwest wind coming off the deserts of New Mexico, west Texas, and Arizona from a completely different direction.

Then there’s the dry line, which is the leading edge of cooler drier air from the west and northwest that separates the warm moist air from the cooler drier air from the opposite direction. This line usually runs north to south along a line from western Kansas southward through the Oklahoma Panhandle, and continues south through the Texas panhandle, then throw in the updrafts and downdrafts and BINGO! There’s your recipe for strong rotation which sometimes spawns violent tornadoes. It’s still an inexact science as far as which super cell will pop out a violent EF-4. It’s still a crap shoot.

Even California gets a twister on occasion but seldom do they reach past EF-0 or EF-1 status as our atmosphere out here in Cal doesn’t possess the same kind of dynamics, plus our general topography is much different as stronger tornadoes tend to thrive on flatter more open terrain like the area known as Tornado Alley. 

Have a great weekend, folks, ALOHA!

AIM at Melanoma: long-time Lagunan Stephanie Yates-Bowen wants her story to make a difference

Stephanie Yates-Bowen grew up on the beaches of Laguna, specifically, from St. Ann’s to Main Beach – almost literally, she says. 

“This was my playground. It began from the early 70s, when I was a little kid, running around naked, to my days as a teenager with about a dozen bikinis to choose from,” Bowen says. “Laguna is my hometown. I remember the Olympic torch coming through in 1984 and the motto of “only in Laguna!” My father, Randy drove school buses and surfed from St. Ann’s to Brook St and my mother worked for Sally’s Fund for years.

“My sisters and I attended TOW, Thurston, and LBHS. My twin sister and I are from the class of ’88. The Sawdust Festival, end of summer celebrations, and the artist lifestyle made me who I am today.” 

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Stephanie Bowen and her mom, Linda Yates, pictured while Stephanie was undergoing treatment

Out of her graduating class of a little more than 200 students, three developed melanoma, Yates-Bowen says; one has passed away as a result. 

“Melanoma is the deadliest form of skin cancer and when diagnosed late, patients have only an eight percent of living five years,” she says. “In 2010 I was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic melanoma. One doctor told me to go home, there was nothing he could do. My years and years of sunbathing, along with the occasional tanning bed, had come back to haunt me.”

But here Yates-Bowen is today, full of energy as she participates in the second annual AIM for Melanoma 5k walk/run to raise money for research.

The Laguna resident says that melanoma research is leading the way to finding cures for many cancers, not only melanoma, and that funds have already led to new treatments for melanoma where none existed before. That’s worth cheering!

The AIM for Melanoma 5k will take place at on June 11 at Laguna Niguel Regional Park, gazebo #4, with registration beginning at 8 a.m. 

For more information, visit


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

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