Dennis’ Tidbits


June 23, 2017

Have a ripping good time but don’t get stuck in a riptide

Ok gang, it’s summertime and the water’s getting warm and a lot of you folks are going to want to play in the ocean because it’s getting very inviting. The surf has been fairly gentle but recently we have had a pretty healthy pulse from the Southern Hemisphere, deeming it necessary to hoist the yellow flag. Some sets have been 4 to 6 feet here in town, and up the beach a ways – at Huntington Beach – there have been a few 8-foot sets. 

When it gets this size, some beaches are vulnerable to rip tides, sometimes intense. For instance, at Huntington Beach, when you get a big south swell, you’ve got to deal with not just the lateral current but then you have rip tides that then pull you out to sea. Laguna gets rip tides too but it usually only happens on a big southwest Southern Hemisphere swell at 210 degrees. Due to our bathymetry, the way Laguna’s set up, the biggest areas for strong rip tides are Main Beach and St. Ann’s Beach, where I’ve seen them on a couple of occasions on huge swells. The direction of the swell combined with the lower the tide, usually the more intense the rip. The rip tides can exceed the length of two NFL football fields. 

One such occasion was in July of 2009; that was the weekend they pulled off one of the biggest Brooks St. Surfing events ever. The surfers were allowed to go in but that was it. Even water savvy people were being discouraged to go out in red flag conditions. Brooks Street’s bottom is all rock and reef with a sandy bottom. So surfers don’t have to worry about getting stuck in a rip tide. 

These rip currents, the way you get out of them – first, don’t even go in the water. Water savvy people can tell right away but if you’re a first timer and you’re observing the surf and the ocean’s all pretty and blue, if you see an area that’s extremely choppy – like it’s in turmoil, or clothes in the washer – stay away. 

Now, if you’re stuck in one, don’t try to fight against it because the current’s trying to take you out to sea, and even an Olympic swimmer couldn’t beat the devil. So, here’s what you do. You swim parallel to the beach – south or north, or whatever way you’re facing – and don’t panic. That’s the big killer, panic.

Places like Sunset Beach in Hawaii in the channel just to the left of the break, there’s an 8-mile seaward current that surfers actually use to get out to the main break with less effort. Of course, Sunset Beach is a whole ‘nother ball game because even the experienced get caught in a rip sometimes. That’s why they use surf leashes, so they don’t lose their boards because that board can save their life when they need to paddle out of there.

So for all of you that are new to the water, if you see the green flag up, no problem, the waves are usually three feet or smaller. If it’s yellow flag, it’s a toss of the dice as far as rip tides are concerned. Just be aware of your surroundings. If it’s a red flag, become a spectator and stay out of the water.

When you show up at the beach, first thing you do, never go out where there’s not a lifeguard on duty. Study the water for a few minutes, and proceed with caution. The colder the water, the quicker hypothermia will set in.

Have fun in the water and a great summer! Aloha!

Barbara’s Column

10th Fete a rousing success



The 10th annual Fete de la Musique is a fait accompli.

And quite an accompli it is.

Fifty-three groups or soloists preformed Saturday on street corners, in the garden of the Presbyterian Church, at shop entrances and in the Hip District, beginning at 1 p.m. and ending at 4 p.m. on the Cobblestones at Main Beach. 

The performers were bought to town by the Laguna Beach Sisters Cities Assn. and a raft of first-time sponsors and partners, including Fifth District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett.

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Joyce Woodson

“If you are a music lover like I am, what better way to kick off summer,” Bartlett told the crowd that had been drawn to the Cobblestones earlier by the “Big Band” sound of the Swing Set, an ensemble of the Laguna Beach Concert Band.

“When the association approached my office to help support this event, it was my pleasure to do so in partnership with the city, the Chamber of Commerce, Visit Laguna Beach and the Orange County Visitors Assn.” 

Bartlett urged the crowd to visit the performer scattered around the town on a perfect summer’s day in Laguna. 

The supervisor also presented a proclamation honoring the event to outgoing association president Justin Myers.

Other dignitaries seen in the crowd included 74th District Assemblyman Matthew Harper, 36th District state Senator John Moorlach, Councilmen Steven Dicterow and Rob Zur Schmiede

“Our 10th annual fete was more memorable than we ever dreamed of,” said Karyn Philippsen, founding association president and emcee of the opening and closing ceremonies. 

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Brian Smith

The festivities officially began with “Star Spangled Banner” sung by 11-year-old Sydney Khaik and “La Marseilles,” sung by Lisa Maurice, in honor of the Laguna’s first sister city, Menton, France. The fete is a tradition in France that has spread worldwide.

Music on Saturday ranged from Mozambique’s “The Voice Stage,” that rocked at the Mermaid Parking Lot, to chanteuse April Walsh, to the Budrow Trio that makes the instruments they play.  

Decibel Divas Pat Kollenda and Susan Davis cruised the streets in a Saddleback Golf Cars loaner to ensure that enthusiastic musicians were not violating city noise limits or overshadowing other entertainers. Who better than Kollenda? 

Sister Cities board member Fabiola Kinder hitched a ride with the divas to catch the performance of Caramelle at the Laguna Beach County Water District. The group is led by Leo Moneymaker, whom Kinder had first invited to the fete when he was about 16 years of age.

Association board member Carol Reynolds, who was the first director of the fete, spent considerable time with the Folkloric Dancers, a troupe of dancing women and girls in gorgeous costumes that she had introduced to the fete. The group is among the crowd favorites.

Mayor Toni Iseman read the city’s proclamation to the association at the closing ceremony, which included the presentation of crystal mementos to fete sponsors assisted by Bartlett’s Community Relations Advisor, Sergio Prince

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Sabrina Lentini

Sponsors included Montage, Mozambique, Cox Cable, artist Bill Atkins, Skyloft restaurant, Pps (job source), The Orange County Register, Luxe Travel, the Sawdust Festival, Royal Hawaiian, KX 93.5, Ups Store, Shot Hunters, Saddleback Golf Cars and C’est la Vie, the only sponsor that has participated in the fete when it was begun the fete 10 years ago.

“It was just this little fun thing with about 20 performers,” said Kollenda.

My, my how you have grown.  

Laguna’s chapter of the worldwide Sister Cities associations was founded in 2008, with the goal of fostering the exchange of cultural, educational, and business activities with cities around the world akin to Laguna. 

The current executive board is headed by President Maggie Hempen, Vice President Kollenda, Secretary Nancy Beverage, Treasurer Michele Monda and past presidents Myers and Philippsen. 

Members at Large include Bill Atkins, Ken Aubuchon, Davis, Fred and Jennifer Karam, Reynolds, Toni Iseman, Betsy Jenkins and Kinder.

Email for information about membership.

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

City Manager’s Update

Family Fun at Laguna’s Summer Breeze Service Kick-Off Event - On Saturday, July 1, the City of Laguna Beach will hold a fun-filled kickoff event to launch this year’s Summer Breeze bus service at the parking lot at the corner of the 405 Freeway and SR133. 

The event starts at 10 a.m. and continues until 2 p.m. offering family fun festivities for the whole family. There will be carnival games, refreshments, and prizes and there is no cost for the attendees. There will also be a special drawing for the first 100 people to ride the Summer Breeze that day. Prizes include two premier seats to the Festival of the Arts’ Pageant of the Masters, tickets to Taste of Laguna, Laguna Playhouse, restaurants and more! For additional information on the Summer Breeze free parking and bus service, go to

Lifeguard Staffing Level-One Begins on June 24 - Swim near a lifeguard. Full staffing of the City’s 30 lifeguard towers will begin on June 24, and continue through Labor Day, September 4.

Spot-the-Banner Contest - There is an upside-down summer banner currently hanging somewhere in the city. Can you find it? Email a picture of the banner to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to become eligible for a special prize by Monday, June 26.

Laguna Beach’s 90th Birthday - Come join us on Tuesday, June 27, at 5:30 p.m. to celebrate the City’s 90th birthday! The celebration will take place at City Hall in the Council Chambers. The celebration will include a brief ceremony, a celebratory cake, and a birthday keepsake for attendees. For more information contact Recreation Supervisor, Adam Gufarotti at (949) 497-0304.

Arts and Economic Prosperity Report 5 - On June 17, Robert Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts announced the findings of the Arts and Economic Prosperity Report. Non-profit arts and culture generated $95.4 million in annual economic activity in Laguna Beach, supporting 2,512 full-time equivalent jobs and generating $8.8 million in local and state revenues. This report was funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach. (

Poet Laureate Webpage - Keep up-to-date on the writing of Laguna Beach’s first Poet Laureate, Kate Buckley. Follow Kate’s posts at: This project is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. 

Police Department to Participate on OC Pride - The Laguna Beach Police Deportment will be participating and marching in the OC Pride Parade and festival along with other Orange County law enforcement agencies.

Work has Begun at Former Community Services Building - On June 19, work started at the former Community Services Department building adjacent to City Hall.  The scope of work includes a complete renovation of the building interior, a new roof (existing tiles to be re-used), and a new sewer lateral.  

During construction, there will be periodic closures of the lawn and sidewalk area in front of the building and intermittent use of two parking spaces for loading and unloading of construction debris and materials.

Thurston’s Class of 2017 chooses a customized Jeff Sewell plein air painting as their class gift

 Each year, the graduating class of Thurston Middle School presents a class gift to the school to make a lasting positive mark on the campus. This year, the class of 2017 wanted a gift to honor the history of plein air painting in Laguna Beach and Thurston’s commitment to promoting the arts.

 They reached out to the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA), a local nonprofit art organization, who put them in touch with award-winning LB artist Jeff Sewell, LPAPA’s director of education, who also leads LPAPA’s youth education program, The Plein Air Project. 

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Submitted photo

Laguna Morning by Jeff Sewell

“LPAPA was thrilled to help with the project,” said Toni Kellenberg, LPAPA president. “I’ve always thought that the local schools should start their own plein air collection, since it’s such an important part of our local heritage.”

 Sewell is one of only four living artists to have his work included in The Irvine Museum’s permanent collection, has had his work included in several museum shows, is a LPAPA signature artist and board member, and is a Thurston parent, so he was a natural choice. He went to work immediately to create a custom plein air painting that he entitled “Laguna Morning.”

 The painting was presented to Thurston during the eighth-grade promotion ceremony that took place at Thurston on Thurs, June 22, and will be on display at Thurston to beautify the space in which it will be hung for years to come.

Mick will light up your life: Pet of the Week

If you have a six-foot fenced yard, and need a playful pup to fill it, Mick is for you. He is a young male English Pointer, and he’s already been neutered. He has a beautiful black, cream and white coat. Mick is very active (thus the requirement for the six-foot fenced yard), and just needs someone to throw a ball or Frisbee for him. 

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Mick is full of life and ready for his close-up (who can resist those soulful eyes?)

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, their return rate is five percent as compared to the national return rate of fifty percent.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd, (949) 497-3552, or go to the website for information on adoption procedures:

Elijah Meisse and Jack Smith, LBHS seniors, win top instrumental music awards

Laguna Beach High School seniors Elijah Meisse and Jack Smith were announced as the winners of the top two instrumental music awards for 2017 by LBHS Instrumental Music Director Jeremy Chung at the Music Boosters’ annual Band Picnic June 10. 

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Submitted photo

Elijah Meisse and Jack Smith

Jack Smith received the John Philip Sousa Award recognizing superior musicianship and outstanding dedication.  Since 1955, this award has represented the pinnacle of achievement in honoring the top high school band student each year. Smith’s name will be added to the National Sousa Registry.

Elijah Meisse was presented with the Louis Armstrong Jazz Award, which was inaugurated shortly after this great jazz artist died in 1971. This achievement represents the highest level interscholastic award given to a high school jazz musician in recognition of outstanding musical achievement and dedication to the program.  

Both winners received personal trophies, framed certificates, and award pins.  Their names will be added to the perpetual plaques for each award showcased at Laguna Beach High School.


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