This is as close as we can come to actually singing to our readers on their birthdays! 

We’d love to include yours – and/or your children’s birthdays here.

Just email to:


Celebrate and enjoy your



December 12

Alison Durland French

Christine Fugate

James Walker Reed

Sue Cross


December 13

Keith Greer

Marielena Verdugo

Rob Smith

Sharon Lyons

Theresa Beaman


December 14

Barry Simons

Gilbert Thibault

Jayne Greenwalt

Mary Singer


December 15

Chris Bellerieve Hunt

Dominique Rain

Marshall Ininns

Ron Pringle

Trisha Bloomer


December 16

David Linnig

Dawn DiMare Thiery

Elaine Haythorne

Mark Peacock


December 17

Hill Collins

Julie Damato Johnson

Lauren Segal

Lynn Epstein

Shane Rios

Susan Shea

Valerie Zakka Standen


December 18 

Greg Peters

Marie Tyler

Rowan Harper

Tom Emberson


December 19

Don Campbell

Sound Spectrum



1. War on Drugs, Deeper Understanding

2. Beatles, Sgt. Peppers Lonely hearts Club 50th 

3. Lana Del Rey, Lust For Life

4. Cage The Elephant, Unpeeled 

5. Lindsey Buckingham/Christine McVie, Self Titled

6.George Thorogood, Party Of One

7. Arcade Fire, Everything Now

8. Haim, Something To Tell You 

9. Chainsmokers, Memories: Do Not Open

10. Foster The People, Sacred Hearts Club

11. Lorde, Melodrama

12. Kendrick Lamar, DAMN

13. Manchester Orchestra, A Black Mile To The Surface

14. Imagine Dragons, Evolve

15. Grateful Dead, Long Strange Trip (S.T.) 

16. Mac DeMarco, This Old Dog

17. Fleet Foxes, Crack-Up

18. John Mayer, The Search For Everything

19. Phoenix, Ti Amo

20. Violent Femmes, 2 Mics & The Truth

Since 1967

1264 S. Coast Hwy494-5959

Jazz Wednesdays are back for the winter season

Tickets are now on sale for the popular Jazz Wednesday’s Winter season presented by Laguna Beach Live! The series includes seven concerts, Jan 17-April 11, at the distinctive event facility [seven-degrees] at 891 Laguna Canyon Rd.

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The series kicks off on Jan 17 with Mark Towns Latin Jazz featuring Diana Purim, followed on Jan 31 by Straight Ahead Jazz featuring the Rickey Woodard Quintet. Feb 14 features Valentine’s Day Piano Jazz, with Grammy-Award winning Bill Cunliffe Trio with special guest vocalist, and February 28 presents Iconic Jazz, an All-Star Tribute to Dizzy & Ella featuring vocalist Maiya Sykes & Trumpeter Bijon Watson. March 14 features New West Group, March 28 Project Popular, and the series ends on April 11 with Modern Jazz Josh Nelson presenting: “And The Sky Remains” a love ballad to LA

Concerts are from 6 p.m.- 8 p.m, and doors open at 5 p.m. A full bar and buffet dinner menu is available for purchase starting at 5 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Seating is assigned. Reservations are accepted until noon on day of concert or until sold out.

For more information visit or call 949-715-9713.

LBHS Schedules




Thursday, December 14

Girls F/S Soccer 

@Home–  5 p.m.


Thursday, December 14

Boys Varsity Basketball 

@Westminister Tournament–  TBA 


Thursday, December 14

Boys JV Basketball 

@Aliso Niguel Tournament–  6 p.m.


Thursday, December 14

Boys F/S Basketball 

@Laguna Hills Tournament–  TBA 


Thursday, December 14

Girls Varsity Basketball 

@Capistrano Valley–   7 p.m.


Friday, December 15

Boys F/S Soccer

@Lower Peter Park–   3:15 p.m.


Friday, December 15

Boys JV Soccer

@Beckman–   3:15 p.m.


Friday, December 15

Boys Varsity Soccer

@Beckman–   3:15 p.m.


Friday, December 15

Boys Varsity Basketball

@Westminister Tournament–  TBA


Friday, December 15

Boys  JV Basketball

@Aliso Niguel Tournament–  TBA


Friday, December 15

Boys F/S Basketball

@Laguna Hills Tournament–  TBA


Saturday, December 16

Girls Varsity Water Polo

@SMCHS–  10 a.m.


Saturday, December 16

Boys Varsity Basketball

@Westminister Tournament - TBA


Saturday, December 16

Boys  JV Basketball

@Aliso Niguel Tournament - TBA


Saturday, December 16

Boys  F/S Basketball

@Laguna Hills Tournament - TBA



Dine, donate, and party with annual Starfish toy drive 

On Mon, Dec 18, Starfish is set to hold their annual toy drive and holiday party at 30832 S. Coast Highway. 

There will be music by DJ Aranava, and bring a toy to get 50 percent off half your entire bill. 

Reservations are highly recommended, to reserve call or email, or at (949) 715-9200. 

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Gu Ramen’s hot broth and chill vibe draw a diverse and enthusiastic clientele

Story and photos by JENNIFER ERICKSON

Gu Ramen Taps and Tapas, located at 907 S. Coast Highway, at the corner of Thalia, began drawing ramen aficionados from as far as Los Angeles as soon as it opened on June 6, 2015. So far the momentum hasn’t slowed, as had been the case with two previous, short-lived tenants in the space. 

Perhaps that’s because Gu Ramen boasts not only bowls of noodles and toppings steaming in their signature tonkotsu broth, but also what some web reviewers call “a chill vibe.” 

Earlier this week I interviewed Kitiphong (“Kiti”) Thongdetsakul, who co-owns the restaurant with Wicha Thossansin, and he seemed to agree. He attributes their success to “good food, good drink, good wine, and good atmosphere.” 

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A bowl of Gu Ramen’s noodles with their signature broth and pork belly

Besides their pork- and chicken-bone broth, double-simmered for 16 to 18 hours, they use high quality ingredients and meat, Kiti said. And he has nothing but praise for their current executive chef Michael Rudolph, who, he said, is working on some surprise menu items for the New Year.

The tasty food can be washed down with selections from a respectable line up of craft beer on tap, bottled beer, reasonably priced wines by the glass and bottle, or an extensive list of sakes. For those eschewing alcohol, there’s a fridge filled with specialty soft drinks, such as Fanta, Mexican Coke and hard-to-find Asian sodas.

While most reviews on Yelp, Google and Facebook are raves, or at least complimentary, the most common complaint among detractors is that the food can be slow to reach them on busy nights. But ramen is generally made to order, and with a small kitchen, the orders can pile up. Asked about that, Kiti assured me that they prefer to have the customer “wait for a better quality of broth and noodle” than to hurry the process and serve sub-par food. “We’re not here to rush the customer, we’re here to satisfy everybody,” he said, such as those who routinely pick up their bowls at the end of the meal to slurp every last bit of broth.

Eclectic playlists and alluring videos add to the chill vibe

Besides the inevitable observations on the merits of the ramen and other items on the menu, many reviewers note the eclectic playlists of mostly 80s and 90s music, usually accompanied by their alluring music videos displayed on the two flat TV screens behind the bar. It’s not an ambiance you’ll find at other ramen places, Kiti proudly noted. He said he relies on whoever is working to orchestrate the music playlists, which they’ll often tweak based on reading the room.

My theory is that most people come to Gu Ramen for the food the first time but keep returning for the aforementioned “chill vibe.” 

The first thing I noticed when I ate there over a year ago was the diversity of the clientele. Single men and women of different ages and walks of life dotted the bar, while the booths along the opposite wall seemed to be crammed with every age group, ethnicity and gender. There were young couples on dates, older couples sharing a meal with friends, young women on a girls’ night out, hipsters, surfers, and business executive-looking types. All were talking, laughing, eating and slurping as those retro tunes rounded out the music of their conversation and the vintage, sometimes racy, videos supplied background eye candy.

Often, walking into a new restaurant or bar for the first time, you have an immediate sense of some degree of belonging, indifference or alienation, depending on the other customers. Maybe you’re older than the crowd, or younger, or more or less affluent, under- or over-dressed, or more of an outsider. 

But the second I entered Gu Ramen I felt the ease of anonymity. I didn’t stick out in any way. My husband and I were just two more people coming in to partake of the food and ambience, assuming we could get a seat on that busy Friday night. Luckily, we did. 

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Tapas like this Senbei Ahi Tartare hit all the right taste notes

A return there on a recent Monday night at around 6:30 p.m. confirmed my initial observations about the vibe and the food. The Senbei Ahi Tartare - poke-like tuna studded with edamame and mounded on crunchy rice crackers, and the Buta Belly Sliders - glazed marinated pork belly and sweet and spicy sauces on a soft pretzel bun, were as mouth-watering as I had remembered. As were the ramen.

For the sake of diversity this time around, my husband ordered the Chashu Yaki Rice Bowl, which was basically hibachi fried rice with pork belly and an egg. This was flavor packed comfort food at its best. It almost made me jealous. Almost. But my chewy noodles bathed in the long-simmered pork and chicken bone tonkotsu broth, and garnished with pork belly, garlic oil, sprouts and other goodies, kept me quite happy. 

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Look no further than the Chashu Yaki Rice Bowl for your next comfort food craving

The playlist also seemed the same, though instead of music videos the flat screens over the bar displayed Monday Night Football with the sound off. No one seemed to mind.

Kiti told me that they try to accommodate the customers, so during football season, they’ll usually have the games on early on Mondays, Thursdays and Sundays. 

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Football replaces the usual music videos on early Monday, Thursday and Sunday nights in season

Though a sparser crowd, as expected for an early Monday night, Gu Ramen’s  clientele was just as diverse as on our inaugural visit. There were couples, singles and groups of varying ages and backgrounds, including a trio of 30-something guys apparently having a “chill” time.

I decided to invade their privacy and find out what brought them there. 

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Local guys enjoy beer and...where did those sliders go?

It’s “pretty much the only place in Laguna you can get ramen,” said one, while the others cited “spicy food and beer” and “really good food” in general. It was not the first time these guys, who turned out to be locals, had been here, but it was the first time they’d ordered the Buta Belly Sliders, which they liked so much they had consumed all evidence, leaving only their beer by the time I took their photo. (They assured me more food was on the way.) When I asked if they were there for the football, they said no, adding that they got a kick out of the music video fare usually on display. See what I mean about the vibe?

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Buta Belly Sliders get devoured quickly

As a foodie, I sadly admit that extensive ramen knowledge is one of my weak points. That said, I have at least read a lot about ramen, such as in the coveted “ramen issue” of Lucky Peach Magazine (a sort of holy grail for some). And I have eaten ramen in two other places – Ivan Ramen in New York City and Kagari, in Tokyo, both of which establishments have cult followings, as so many of these places do.

Based on that experience, I can say that though each place has its own standout dishes, Gu Ramen easily holds its own in the taste department. And as ambience goes, they knock it out of the park. Ivan Ramen in New York has a bustling, diner-like atmosphere where hurried and hungry New Yorkers come in to grab seats and quickly get their ramen fix before being displaced by others. It’s lively, but the atmosphere is more about eating and running than hanging out. 

If anything, Kagari, on the Ginza in Tokyo, is even less about hanging out. After a two-hour wait on line outside in the cold to occupy two of the nine available seats there, once you sat down, it was all about the food. The one similarity to Gu Ramen was the diversity of the customers. There were businessmen, mothers with daughters, and groups of college kids bumping elbows with nattily dressed women and goth-clad teens.

Gu Ramen alone seems to have combined its ramen destination identity with a neighborhood bar atmosphere and diverse customer base. 

Personally, I have to admit that I crave the food and the vibe just about equally…and finding a good IPA on tap doesn’t hurt either.

Call 949-715-0825 for more information.

Chef Craig Strong offers cooking classes at Studio, Montage Laguna Beach 

Acclaimed Executive Chef Craig Strong of Montage Laguna Beach’s signature fine dining restaurant Studio will be giving a series of interactive cooking classes starting Sat, Jan 13. The classes will be held at Studio, located at 30801 Coast Highway, panoramically perched on a bluff overlooking the Pacific, and will include hands-on cooking experiences complete with tips and tricks from Chef Strong, lunch with wine pairing, recipe sharing and a Studio apron.

The series includes: Spanish Cooking 101 on Sat, Jan 13, at 11 a.m. Strong leads the way for participants to learn how to throw a Spanish-themed party, complete with tapas and paella. On the menu: Gambas ajillo, Serrano ham con pan and Tomate, Brandade in Pequillo Sauce, Patatas Bravas and Chicken Paella with Shellfish.

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Submitted Photo

Since 2009, Strong has helmed the kitchen at Studio with its highly acclaimed modern French cuisine with California influences

Another event included is the Sweet Tooth: Pastry Basics on Sat, Feb 17, at 11 a.m. Participants will learn to make decadent desserts just in time for Valentine’s Day – from classic recipes with techniques demystified by the Chef. On the menu: Lemon Tart, Warm Chocolate Cake and Crème Brûlée infused with garden herbs.

Additionally, there will be an Italian Love Affair with Pasta on Sat, March 17, at 11 a.m. Students will make three types of pasta - hand-rolled, dumplings and noodles with a variety of delicious sauces to compliment each. On the menu: Ricotta Cavatelli with Basil Sauce, Fettuccine Alfredo and Trofi with Checca Sauce and Mozzarella.

Cost for each class is $150, plus tax and gratuity. Class size is limited. For reservations, call (949) 715-6420.

Barbara’s Column

Laguna shines when it comes to giving



Tarnished Treasures is a bright spot on the holiday calendar. 

The annual white elephant sale and luncheon hosted by the Laguna Beach Woman’s Club raises funds for the less fortunate in our community. Money from the distribution and sale of donated items, cash donations and the adoption of families in need help to make the season brighter. 

“Our Tarnished Treasures luncheon is the club’s biggest event and some would say the most fun event of the year,” said Kitty Malcolm, club president.

“This luncheon is about gathering together as club members to enjoy a tasty meal, but just as importantly ---or maybe even more importantly—it’s about giving to families and children of Laguna who might be struggling in some manner.”

Contributors included sponsors of tables: Jennifer Gulla, Joann Diver, Friends of the Laguna Beach Library and former Mayor Cheryl Kinsman, who hosted two tables. 

Kinsman, who resurrected luncheon when it lapsed a few years ago, chaired the event for at least the sixth time.

She also offered the South Laguna offices of Kinsman and Kinsman as a drop-off for donations, not to mention her own donation of paintings. 

Club property manager Doety Marks allowed her office to be used to store numerous items related to the luncheon.

Kinsman’s sons, Nicolas and Josh, were volunteered to tend bar and the Paypal checkout. Christine Dominguez also helped at the bar. 

Martha Lydick donated pens, books and a sweater pill remover.

Festival of Arts Board member Anita Mangels gave and then gave again.

“I bought back everything (seasonally decorated mugs and colorful ornaments) that Bill (McKinley) erroneously donated,” Mangels said. And she even laughed about it.  

Donated clothing, scarves, handbags, shows and other items were displayed on the stage. 

Carol Reynolds played Christmas Carols on the club piano while guests shopped, stopping only for the buffet luncheon of Gluten-free penne with vegetables, Pasta Bolognese, Chicken Farfelle and salad. Dessert and candy was served later.

Molly staffed the buffet table and Shawn Cabrie helped out in the kitchen.

“There are a lot of moving parts in putting Tarnished Treasures together, with lots of women power (and powerful women) working as teams behind the scenes,” said Malcolm. 

But Kinsman knows how to delegate. Her committee included Barbara Crane, who headed up the luncheon team and Jen Hoy and Malcolm, who arranged catering by Alessa, and Anne McGraw, who helped set up tables.  

Nancy Shurtleff and Kathleen Reddy teamed up on community service, which arranged for donations to Human Options, the Adopt a Family program and the Angel tree. 

“This year we are donating 24 sets of towels, 15 blankets and seven sets of dishes and silverware to Human Options,” said Malcolm. 

The gifts to Human Options were displayed under the tree on the club house stage. Becky Barber, who works in Kinsman’s office, created the bows that decorated the tree, along with silver angels. The angels were inscribed with the names of 13 families, including the children that Sande St. John and the school district identified for the Club’s Adopt-a-Family Program. 

Luncheon guests were urged to help fulfill the children’s gift wishes by adopting the whole family or making cash contribution. 

The club used the cash to purchase gifts on the kids’ wish list. Shurtleff and Reedy staffed the tables to provide donors with family requests or to answer questions.  

Table centerpieces created by Barbara and Peter Crane were sold for $15 each to raise more money. 

“Yes, Peter actually came to the club yesterday and worked next Barbara potting all these poinsettias,” said Malcolm. “They are worth every penny.”

And worth members’ and non-members’ time is the program titled Women and Money: Getting It and Keeping It to be presented on Jan. 16.. Admission is free.

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

Blue Christmas Contemplative Event takes place on Thurs Dec 21 from 6 – 7 p.m. at NCC

Not everyone is excited and cheerful for the Christmas holiday. Some are dealing with the death of a loved one, facing life after divorce or separation, coping with the loss of a job, living with illness, and a number of other human situations, which may make parties and joviality painful for many people. 

With this in mind, the Laguna Beach Interfaith Council, St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, and Neighborhood Congregational Church are sponsoring a community-wide Blue Christmas Contemplative Event that will focus on joy and hope and will provide a calming sense of peace during this busy and sometimes difficult season. 

The sponsors extend an invitation to the community join together for prayer, readings, reflection, and music, a reminder that God’s presence is for all. The event will take place at the Neighborhood Congregational Church, 340 St Ann’s Drive.

Dennis’ Tidbits


December 15, 2017

All I want for Christmas is a five-foot wave in this flattest of Falls, even a three-footer would do…

All I want for Christmas is a five-foot wave. Heck, at this point I’d even settle for a three-footer, but even that seems like a tall order the way things are going. The Fall season of 2017 is now officially the flattest one on record, at least since 1958 when I started keeping track of this stuff. There might have been a flatter Fall before my personal records started but I kind of doubt it. Swells are avoiding us like the plague. The expansive Eastern Pacific High is locked in place, thus not enabling any incoming storms to even get close enough to push any kind of fetch our way. It’s pretty much the same deal all the way up the Pacific West Coast. 

Rain is out of the question maybe through at least Christmas. On the bright side were on a roll as far as sunshine and warm days and that trend will continue as a resurgence of very warm offshore winds is making a comeback on Thursday and Friday with northeast gusts up to 60 mph will howl through mountains and canyon passes as humidities plummet once again into single digits which will extend the nightmares for already exhausted fire fighters. Over the next ten days to two weeks there will be occasional thin marine layer stratus but will be confined to coastal regions and won’t extend very far inland. Temps will remain ten to fifteen degrees above normal which is actually OK by me as I hate cold and rain, especially having spent some time in the dreary Pacific Northwest, I don’t care if I never see rain again. There’s a term for rain phobia and I have it bad. June gloom down here is a walk in the park compared to places like Seattle and Portland where it’s gloomy for nine months a year. 

We’re only a week away from the Winter Solstice, the beginning of the astronomical winter which runs from Dec 21- March 21, but there’s another by the name of a meteorological winter which begins on December 1 and runs until the end of February, which makes perfect sense to me as the country’s coldest and stormiest weather occurs during the meteorological winter with very few exceptions.

Finally, one of our readers emailed me and identified the person who coined the phrase Southern California has four seasons; Fire, Flood, Earthquake, Drought. Johnny Carson said it 40 years ago during one of his monologues. Thanks for the reply!


Readers send in their sunset pics: the glory continues

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James Vaughan: Two views from Temple Hills, Saturday and Sunday

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Marielena Verdugo: Sunset viewed from downtown

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Tom Berndt: Heisler Park, Monday

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Jean Brotherton: View from Emerald Bay

Last weekend to visit the Sawdust: Kids love the Town Square, snow, Santa and so much more…

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

The Winter Sawdust Fantasy is nearly over for this year, which means this is the last chance for kids to experience snow flurries – so rare in Laguna! – and for families to get fabulous holiday photos by photographer Mary Hurlbut, as well as enjoy food, drink, fun and music at this uniquely Lagunan wonderland in the Canyon.

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The Carlson family portrait – surprised by a snow flurry

There was even a production of The Nutcracker on a recent evening. Ballerinas are not a common sight in the Canyon, but at the Sawdust Winter Festival, it always pays to expect the unexpected.

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Kids love the Town Square – it’s a most magical place in the Canyon

And the Sawdust Winter Festival is a great place to get last-minute gifts. 

Approximately 175 artists create, display and sell original creations, including jewelry, clothing, fused and blown glass, ceramics, woodwork, forged metals, painting, photography, sculpture, clothing and textiles.

(Mary Hurlbut hangs out with Santa…visit them both at his house. Santa’s hours are from 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and he has a lunch break from 1 – 2 p.m. – yes, even Santas have to eat – never venison, though…)

LGOCA will host a Holiday Pop Up featuring local artists painting live this Sat Dec 16

This Saturday, Dec 16, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Laguna Gallery of Contemporary Art will hold a Holiday Pop Up featuring local artists painting live and artisans practicing their skills – including a demonstration on the ceramic potter’s wheel. 

Possible gifts include Wandering “Y” Designs: Original Jewelry & Repurposed Custom Fashion; Robin Hiers: Hand Painted Totes, Candles and other Surprises; Joey Sammut: Original Hand Glazed Ceramic Pots with Succulents; Carib Theraputics:  Organic and Vegan Bath and Body Products; Ginger Demke:  One of a Kind Leather Bags from Argentina;

Handmade by Janel:  Shiny Sequin Backpacks, Bags and Wine Bags; and

Fiore’s Handcraft:  One of a Kind Crochet Gloves, Scarves, Jackets and More!

Affordability is the key word at LGOCA’s pop up: Gifts of art starting at $10 will be available.

LGOCA is located at 611 S. Coast Hwy.  Phone number is 949-677-8273.

Suzie’s ARTiculation

Get styled by Barber for Christmas with sweet deals


Who wants to give stale, uninspiring, homogeneous, cookie cutter-esque holiday gifts when you can be styling with original, one-of-a-kind pieces art pieces created by beloved master glass blower John Barber at amazing prices? No one. Exactly!

Now in its 25th year, the holiday studio art sale will be held daily, 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., through Dec. 24. Barber said he and his wife Becky like to have the sale to give thanks to his clients, but the public is invited to seek treasures at their picturesque artist’s haven nestled in the canyon. 

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Photo by Suzie Harrison

Enjoy great prices on original John Barber pieces at the annual holiday sale

“We like to show our clients how much we appreciate them by having a sale once a year around Christmas time,” Barber said. “We have people who just drop in, but we try and get the word out to patrons and customers. It’s fun for clients to come and tour the studio, see the property here, and the front house. If it’s during the week and I am working, they are welcome to stop by and watch. And I can show them how it is done.”

Pieces will be discounted anywhere from 10 to 50 percent off, including tumblers, stemware, including champagne flutes, wine goblets, and martini glasses, decorative bowls and clam shells, vases, garden ornaments, his signature starfish and more, “in every shape, size, and color,” Barber said.

“Everything is on sale, for example, the tumblers that I produce during the summer, instead of costing $45 they’ll be $40,” Barber said. “The vases and more expensive works we’ll reduce even further. The more costly the piece is the bigger the discount.”

And special orders are welcome.

“If someone has something in mind they can place an order and we’ll have it in a couple of days,” Barber said. “If we don’t have it, we’ll make it for them.”  

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Photo by Suzie Harrison

Come see fantastic original holiday gifts, demos by Barber, and tours

Barber, who celebrated his 45th year as a Sawdust Art Festival exhibitor this summer, bought the property that same year, when he first moved to Laguna Beach. 

Besides giving the ultimate gifts for art enthusiasts with the holiday event, Barber has another great offering for locals – the fact that he is not moving from Laguna or retiring from the Sawdust Art Festival.

“The rumors of my retirement have been greatly exaggerated. We have taken the house off the market. The only reason we were going to sell it and move was to take care of Becky’s mom,” Barber said. 

Great news: Barber is not retiring

He never wanted to leave Laguna or the Sawdust.

“One of the main factors is all the love I received all summer long. Patrons were coming up to me and telling me that I can’t retire. They were telling me stories about how they met me, how much they loved my work, and loved seeing me at the show every summer,” Barber said. “All summer I felt the love. So that’s why we decided to take it off the market and for me to continue to be in the show.”

Barber couldn’t stress enough how important it was for people to know, how much he appreciated the caring sentiments he received from everyone, and how much it truly meant to him.  

“I felt the love from everyone here in Laguna and everyone who collected my work. It helped me make the decision not to go into retirement. This last summer was one of my best shows ever,” Barber said. “So I’ll be like Cher and come out of retirement.”

In the meantime, he looks forward to seeing everyone and having them enjoy the holiday sale. It’s a real treat and many people come year after year. If anyone can’t make it in person, they can call and place an order over the phone.

John Barber Glass Designs is located at 21062 Laguna Canyon Road. For information or orders, call 494-1464 or visit

Chef Arthur’s awesome menu + a rockin’ live band =  memorable NYE Party at Skyloft this year 

Chef Arthur Ortiz has pulled out all the stops on this year’s New Year’s Eve prix fixe menu with items such as Marsala Duck Medallions, Grilled Steak with a skewer of Cajun Shrimp, a hearty California Smoke Platter, and more.

On New Year’s Eve, Skyloft has two prix fixe menus seatings, with the first from 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. for $80, and the second from 8 p.m.- 1 a.m. 

The second Skyloft NYE seating, priced at just $120, includes the prix fixe menu, your table reserved all evening long, lively music with Venson Quarles & The Just Funk Band, and a midnight bubbly toast. Patrons interested in just the live music party after 9 p.m. (no prix fixe menu) pay a $20 cover.

For more infromation or to  review the New Year’s Eve menu, visit To reserve seating, call (949) 715-1550.

Warm hearts bring warm jackets to the poorest of the poor in Nepal through R-Star Foundation

Last October, Rosalind Russell, founder of R-Star Foundation, got some great news. (In creative ways – by providing goats and/or education – R-Star helps people in the poorest parts of rural Nepal learn how to support themselves financially, women in particular.) Two stalwart supporters of the nonprofit, Pam Wicks and Susan Brown, were heading to India and offered to help deliver laptop computers to R-Star’s school of 65 children.

The mission was accomplished, and more. Rosalind’s contact in Nepal, Rabindra, (or, rather, Rosalind’s “son,” who adopted her along with his siblings years back) was able to meet Pam and Susan personally, picking up the laptops moments before the two departed to see a temple.  

But Pam and Susan did more than just deliver computers.

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Kale Danuwar is thankful for his nice warm jacket

“Their hearts are enormous!” said Rosalind. “They gave Rabin money to buy jackets for the poorest of the poor children, who do not have enough money for the cold winter.”

Rabin writes, “I was in the village for the recent election and to distribute the warm jackets from our friends Pam and Susan to those kids suffering fromthe shivering cold. I bought eight warm jackets and distributed them, selecting the poorest of our poor – everyone in our village is poor, as you know well.”

The photos of the youngsters in their new jackets warmed Rosalind’s heart. Rabin explained the circumstances of some of the recipients.

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Rasila Danuwar is cozy in her new little coat

“[See] the boy in the picture without shoes in the winter and a torn pants – [he was] the first person to get a jacket. He is a son of a mentally retarded father Haadi Danuwar, he has two grown up sisters, and is among the poorest of our poor. His name is Kale Danuwar, I think his picture tells more than I can tell. I wish I had pants and shoes for him...I will take shoes and pants upon my next trip to the villages. It is too cruel to know his suffering and not help.”

Other recipients included Rasila Danuwar, the daughter of a young widow, Badke Jethi Danuwar. She lives in a village named Khampur with four elder sisters “they are all cold and so poor,” Rabin writes.Badke Saili is 11 years old and she was abandoned by her parents and now her grandmother, who is a widow.

Jana Tamang, Prayash Timalsina (4), Ale Danuwar, and Rane Danuwar, also received warm jackets, thanks to the generosity of Pam and Susan.

“I felt that the children who got warm jackets were me in my childhood, many thanks to you, my dear mom, and to Pam and Susan,” Rabin’s letter concludes.

 Call 949 497 4911 or write This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit the website at

“There are many ways to help and bless others,” Rosalind adds. “I am so grateful to all my volunteers and for Pam and Susan’s generosity.”

This New Year’s Eve, it’s a full house with three stages of live music at Mozambique

Every New Year’s Eve, Mozambique has always offered great live music on its main stage and the largest prix fixe menu in town. This year, both the prix fixe menu and live music have expanded.

Chef Braulio is offering two prix fixe menus seatings, with the first from 5 p.m. – 7:30 p.m., for $80, and the second from 8 p.m.-1 a.m.

Whether you dine early or later, enjoy a cornucopia of best-selling choices that include Shrimp & Lobster Bisque, Chilean Sea Bass, Steak & Lobster, Cioppino, Rack of Lamb and more.  

The second Mozambique seating, priced at just $120, includes the prix fixe menu, your table reserved all evening long, a midnight bubbly toast and three live music stages to roam between.

Enjoy Hollywood’s great Francois Dean & Friends on the Main Stage; Justin Abram’s rock and blues style in the Durban Room (Laguna’s only speakeasy); and DJ J Money’s energetic mixes of rock, hip-hop, R&B, funk and more on our Boma Room stage. Patrons interested in the live music party only, pay a $20 cover after 9 p.m.

For more information, visit or call at  (949) 715- 7777 to reserve.

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Ring in the New Year at Laguna Playhouse with

Superstar Comedienne Rita Rudner on Dec 31

Laguna Playhouse announces the Fourth Annual New Year’s Eve return of Rita Rudner in her hilarious new show, Rita Rudner: Laugh, Drink and Leave. For her one-night special performance on Sun, Dec 31, at 7 p.m., The Musical Duo Molly Bergman & Sidney Bowen will open the show. 

Rita Rudner is not only one of America’s top comedians, she’s also a New York Times bestselling author, as well as an award-winning television personality, screenwriter, playwright, Broadway dancer and actress. 

Now this comedy legend is hosting her own early evening New Year’s Eve party at Laguna Playhouse, where the audience can toast the end of 2017 and watch the ball drop on the East Coast with a complimentary champagne drink and dessert. 

Submitted photo

Rita Rudner brings in the New Year at the Laguna Playhouse on Dec 31

A house-filling favorite in Vegas, Rudner is beloved for her witty one-liners, which have helped make hers the longest-running solo show in Vegas history – she’s sold more than a million tickets during her time there. 

The New York Times says of her, “Soft-spoken but not without bite, and all delivered with exquisite timing!” 

Rita’s first solo HBO special, Rita Rudner’s One Night Stand, was nominated for several awards, as was her eponymous English BBC television show that later appeared in the US on A&E. She has written five books and is a frequent collaborator with her writer/producer husband of 20 years, Martin Bergman. The couple’s first produced film script was Peter’s Friends.  

The opening act features Molly Bergman and Sidney Bowen, two local teen singer/songwriters who sometimes perform as a duo. They appeared together at the Laguna Playhouse when they performed last year for recent-Emmy-winning comedian Louie Anderson. They’ve also been part of several benefits around OC.

Submitted photo

Singing duo Molly Bergman and Sidney Bowen

As well as performing covers of popular songs with beautiful harmonies, both Molly and Sidney independently write their own songs. They are both teen ambassadors for the TLC program.

Tickets range from $99 - $125 and can be purchased online at or 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 Mon – Sat: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until show time on performance days); Sun: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.  

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

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

Rita Rudner lives Monarch Beach, CA, with her husband and daughter. For more information on Rita, log on to her website at

Limited engagement of I Am My Own Wife opens at Laguna Playhouse on Jan 14 starring John Tufts

Laguna Playhouse announces the fourth show in the its 97th season, I Am My Own Wife, written by Doug Wright and directed by Jenny Sullivan and starring John Tufts. I Am My Own Wife begins previews on Wed, Jan 10; will open on Sun, Jan 14, at 5:30 p.m. and will run through Sun, Jan 28.

 “We are so fortunate to start 2018 with this exquisite play and extraordinary performance,” comments Laguna Playhouse Executive Director Ellen Richard. 

Not long after the fall of the Berlin Wall, playwright Doug Wright began a conversation with Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, an elegant and eccentric 65-year-old German transvestite who, against all odds, navigated a path between the Nazi’s and East German Secret Police — in a pair of high heels. Wright uses more than 30 characters—all played by a single actor—to piece together Charlotte’s controversial life.  A profound story of survival and inspiration. This provocative and bold production is highly engaging for ages 16 and up.

 Adds Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham “I Am My Own Wife is a remarkable piece of theatre and even more so that the story is true, and still has so much relevance today. Our subscribers and audiences are in for an unforgettable experience.” 

John Tufts, star of I Am My Own Wife

 John Tufts, who stars in I Am My Own Wife, has had an extensive career in the theater, film and television: 12 Seasons with the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival: Hal/Henry V in Henry IV pts. 1, 2, and Henry V, The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, The Cherry Orchard, Into the Woods (also Wallis Annenberg Center in LA), Film/Television: “Bad Teacher,” “Fashions for Men” (PBS), “Danger of a Broken Car,” “BAQ-132.”  He also received several awards: the Indy Award for I Am My Own Wife; Wall St. Journal Best of 2016 for Tug of War; Arthur Kennedy Award for Acting. 

 The Director Jenny Sullivan has previously directed at Laguna Playhouse: Year of Magical Thinking, Love Loss and What I Wore, and Steel Magnolias. She has also directed at Acorn Theatre in NYC and The Wallis Annenberg in Beverly Hills and many prestigious theaters across the country.She has appeared in film: Access All Areas and The Next Best Thing (in which she directed her father Barry). 

 Doug Wright, the playwright, wrote the book for the Broadway production of The Little Mermaid. In 2004, he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize, a Tony Award for Best Play, the Drama Desk Award, a GLAAD Media Award, an Outer Critics Circle Award, a Drama League Award, and a Lucille Lortel Award for his play I Am My Own Wife. His stage work has been produced all over the world. Mr. Wright was recently cited with an award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters and the Tolerance Prize from the KulturForum Europa. He lives in New York with his partner, singer/songwriter David Clement.

Jenny Sullivan, Director, returns to Laguna Playhouse 

This season is generously underwritten by The Hale Family.  Additional Season Sponsors are South Coast Plaza, Haskell White, Surterre Properties, Bodhi Leaf Coffee Traders, Gelson’s, and Nolet’s Silver Dry Gin.

 Performances will be Tues – Sat at 7:30 p.m.; Thurs and Sat at 2 p.m. & 7:30 p.m.; Sun at 1 p.m. There will no performance on Thurs, Jan 18 at 2 p.m. There will be an additional Sun performance on Sun, Jan 21 at 5:30 p.m. 

Special Post-Show Audience Talk Back Performance on Sat, Jan 20 at 2 p.m. & Special “Pride Night” Performance on Sun, Jan 21 at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets range from $45 - $70 and can be purchased online at the website below or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling 949-497-2787 ext. 229.  Prices subject to change.

 The box office is open Mon – Sat: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. (open until show time on performance days); Sun: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. 

 For more information on all shows, programming and for a complete biography of the talented actor, director, and playwright, visit  

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

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Kick up your heels and learn a new dance every month with Candis Davis at Susi Q on Mondays

Dance is fun, social and healthy, and there are no excuses not to learn to dance now that weekly lessons are offered at Susi Q.  No partner is required as Candis Davis gives a weekly ballroom dance lesson from 1:30 – 2:30 p.m. every Monday. The fee is $7 per class, and it is an intermediate level.

Dancing has many health benefits. According to a study in the New England Journal of Medicine, it will boost memory, improve flexibility, reduce stress, diminish depression, help with heart health and weight loss, improve balance, and increase energy. 

 Candis with a group of her dance students

There are many advantages and few disadvantages to dancing.

Attendees will learn everything from slow to quick to ballroom and Latin, and Candis will teach a new dance every month. Candis is a popular dance instructor who teaches in the South Bay and Orange County.

For more information, call 949-464-6645, go to or just drop into the class.

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Blessing of the Animals will take place at Bluebird Canyon Park 10:30 a.m. – 12 on Sat Dec 16

People of all faiths and their animal companions are welcome to participate in this family friendly, free event. The animal blessing will be lead by Buddhist Nun Ven. Gyalten Palmo at Bluebird Canyon Park. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Bluebird Canyon Park, the venue for the Blessing of the Animals

Ven. Palmo will offer prayers for the protection, health, long life, and future path to liberation for our dear animal friends. For the safety and comfort of all, all pets must be on a leash.

Laguna Print Ad

Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service turns teaching into action with donations to Food Pantry, 12/8 – 1/12

The Human Rights Campaign wants to transform MLK Day on Jan 15, 2018, from a “day on, not off,” by donating to Laguna Food Pantry for MLK Day of Service. Martin Luther King Jr. asked life’s most persistent and urgent question, “What are you doing for others?” This is a way for Laguna residents to give back.

Click on photo for larger image

Submitted photo

Human Rights Campaign Steering Committee

This food drive and the purpose of MLK Day of Service is to turn Dr. King’s teachings into a day of action across the country and use it as an opportunity to deepen the community’s commitment and connection to those in our community who are too often at its margins. 

The Laguna Food Pantry provides over 2,000 pounds of free, fresh, nutritious groceries every weekday to people in difficult financial circumstances. They serve over 300 families a week in So OC, and 50 percent of their shoppers feed children and babies. The pantry believes no one should go hungry. The Laguna Food Pantry, a nonprofit, is an almost completely volunteer-run enterprise. 

Donors are asked to consider that the pantry’s most-needed items are cereal, pasta, pasta sauce, canned tuna, peanut butter, jelly, rice and beans, and packaged macaroni and cheese, and to check freshness dates. Monetary donations are even more welcome because they allow Pantry volunteers to purchase food in bulk at deeply 

discounted prices. 

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Food Pantry’s most-needed items

Food donations will be accepted from Dec 8 – Jan 12. The drop off locations are as follows: Tax & Financial Partners, 1000 N Coast Hwy #2, LB., Tight Assets, 180 S Coast Hwy, LB, Laguna Groomers, 384 Forest Ave #25, LB.

For more information on HRC, go to

Laguna Food Pantry is located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Rd. For more information, go to

Police Beat Primer

Compiled by Alli Rael

Police Beat derives from information in the log maintained at the front counter by the Laguna Beach Police Department and required under CA Government Code Section 6254 (f). The press does not have access to written police reports.

Information in the police department log is deemed reliable and StuNewsLaguna is not responsible for mistakes made available as public record by
the Laguna Beach Police Department.

Parents with children in school may contact 949-497-1615 to request that their names be omitted from Police Beat. The decision of StuNewsLaguna is final.

Any person arrested is innocent until found guilty in a court of law.

Abbreviations sometimes used in Police Beat

647f – Public Intoxication; DUI – Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; NFA – No fixed address; RP – Reporting/Responsible Party; UTL – Unable to locate

Police Beat 121517

DUI Arrests

Thomas Ford Smith, 23, Anaheim - Tuesday, December 12

Abraham Garcia Jr., 23, Costa Mesa - Sunday, December 10 Cell Caller

Sean Thomas Hartnell, 29, Long Beach - Sunday

Incident Reports

Tuesday, December 12

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Marlo Ann Sutherby, 50, Tennessee

Kyle Albert Winton, 37, no fixed address

S. Coast Hwy | 400 Block | Defrauding an Innkeeper

10:06 p.m. A man walked out on his bill. Raymond Lee Trujillo, 36, Bell, was arrested for defrauding an innkeeper.

Forest Avenue | 500 Block| Petty Theft

12:48 p.m. The RP’s iPad was taken from them while he was sleeping in a parking lot.

S. Coast Hwy | 1000 Block | Sexual Perversion

9:39 a.m. A few months ago, a man pushed the RP’s face onto his groin area twice. The man also invited the victim back to his home to do things to him.

Monday, December 11

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

Raymond Lee Trujillo, 36, Bell 

Cozumel | 100 Block | Vehicle Tampering

10:55 p.m. The RP found that everything had been stripped from her motorcycle except for the engine and the frame the night prior. 

N. Coast Hwy | 200 Block | Trespassing

5:54 p.m. Marlo Ann Sutherby, 50, Tennessee, was arrested for Trespassing.

Cliff Drive | 500 Block | Grand Theft

1:41 p.m. At an unknown time, the RP believes that a named suspect had been taking her medication, a diamond ring and a necklace. The approximate loss was $5,000. 

Laguna Canyon Road | 20600 Block | Warrant

2:35 a.m. Hamad Saeebsb Ajarboei, 22, was arrested for a Harbor Court warrant.

Cress Street | Warrant

12:25 a.m. Cynthia Diane Lafata, 61, Laguna Beach, was arrested on a North Court warrant.

Sunday, December 10

Arrests for Being Drunk in Public

 Glenn Christian Dill, 59, San Clemente

Terry Dwayne Sanders, 40, no fixed address

3rd Street | 300 Block | Illegal Lodging

10:57 p.m. Neilesh Bhikhu Chauhan, 46, no fixed address, was arrested for illegal lodging.

Laguna Avenue & S. Coast Hwy | Information Only

1:13 p.m. A dog was hit by a white BMW, and then the driver left the area.

Library Events



Fri, Dec 15

Homework Help

3:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Homework is an important part of educational process. It improves your child’s thinking and memory, helps them develop positive study skills and habits that will serve him or her well throughout life. That’s why Laguna Beach Library is hosting a Homework Club. Children from Kindergarten through 8th grades are welcome to attend and receive help with their homework for subjects Math and English. 


Sat, Dec 16

Family Activity 

9 a.m.- 3 p.m.

Get creative! Let your imagination run wild!  Children under 12 are encouraged to come to the library during the hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. to make fun and creative seasonal crafts.  Adult supervision is recommended. 


Sat, Dec 16

Family Snowman Craft

10 a.m.- 1 p.m.

Come to the library any time between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. to participate in this fun family craft. We’ll be making and decorating adorable snowmen and of socks! Perfect for the whole family (young children will need assistance from a parent or guardian). 


Sat, Dec 16

Class/ Workshop

2 p.m. - 4 p.m.

Participants should bring 10 copies of a poem they wish to have read and work-shopped.  Each poem will be read by the poet and perhaps by another reader. Participants then respond with emphasis on positive comments and constructive suggestions. Recommended for advanced poets—this is not a workshop for beginners. Meets in the Community Room. 


Mon, Dec 18

Third Street Writers

10 a.m. - 1 p.m.

Serious writers working on projects (short stories, novels, plays) meet to share feedback and support.  This is not a workshop for beginners. Please contact the library for additional information.


Wed, Dec 20

Pre-School Storytime 

10:30 a.m.- 11:30 a.m.

Calling all pre-schoolers! You are invited to enjoy our new Wednesday storytime. Stories, songs, fingerplay, dancing and more will encourage a love of books and learning in a fun and interactive environment. Come for the stories and stay for playtime afterward.


Thu, Dec 21

Family Storytime

10:30 a.m. -  Noon

Welcome to the Peapod Academy. Join some of the cutest babies, toddlers, & preschoolers in town and adults of their choice at the Library. Little peas will enjoy books & storytime, songs & music, fingerplays, movement, hands on activities, arts & crafts, and other cadets. Each week has a different theme.  Get to know others and support your little one’s developmental skills. No preregistration required. 


Fri, Dec 22

Homework Help

3:30 p.m.- 4:30 p.m.

Homework is an important part of educational process. It improves your child’s thinking and memory, helps them develop positive study skills and habits that will serve him or her well throughout life. That’s why Laguna Beach Library is hosting a Homework Club. Children from Kindergarten through 8th grades are welcome to attend and receive help with their homework for subjects Math and English.


Laguna Beach Library

363 Glenneyre St.


  Laguna Beach Books Bi-weekly Bestsellers



Sing, Unburied Sing by Jesmyn Ward

End Game by David Baldacci

Two Kinds of Truth by Michael Connelly



Promise Me, Dad by Joe Biden

Playing With Fire by Lawrence O’Donnell

What Unites Us by Dan Rather

Children’s Books

Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers

Antoinette by Kelly DiPucchio

Love, Santa by Martha Brockenbrough

Staff Recommendation

David Sedaris Diaries edited by Jeffrey Jenkins

1200 S Coast Hwy


Meet the Skivvies at the Playhouse this December

Laguna Playhouse is presenting The Skivvies: Sleigh My Name on Dec 18 and 19.

The Skivvies are Tony Award-nominee Lauren Molina (Rock of Ages, Sweeney Todd, Candide, Marry Me A Little) and Nick Cearley (Pageant, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, All Shook Up), along with special guest, Laguna’s favorite Jason Feddy, who will perform stripped-down versions of eclectic covers, wacky holiday mash-ups (“I Melt with You/Frosty the Snowman,” “We Got the Beat/The Little Drummer Boy”), and eccentric originals. 

Not only is the music stripped-down cello, ukulele, glockenspiel, melodica, and a surprising array of other under-used instruments—but The Skivvies literally strip down to their underwear to perform. Grab your spiked eggnog, hurry down the chimney, and settle in for an evening of laughter and holiday cheer, the Playhouse suggests.

One free drink comes with all tickets, so that grab that eggnog and enjoy the show. Additional special guests will be announced soon. Visit for more information.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner and Publisher.

Lynette Brasfield is our Editor.

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

Katie Ford is our in-house ad designer.

Alexis Amaradio, Cameron Gillepsie, Allison Rael, Barbara Diamond, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Maggi Henrikson, Marrie Stone, Samantha Washer and Suzie Harrison are staff writers.

Barbara Diamond, Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle and Suzie Harrison are columnists.

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

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

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