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Curator Janet Blake discusses Laguna Beach: An American Art Colony at LAM on Thursday, Aug 23

Janet Blake, Laguna Art Museum’s curator of historical art and co-curator of Art Colony: The Laguna Beach Art Association, 1919-1935, discusses the early Laguna Beach art colony on Thursday, Aug 23 at 6 p.m. 

Art associations were a phenomenon of the late nineteenth-century, both on the East and West Coasts. But no two art associations were alike. The Laguna Beach Art Association was a pioneering organization, whose inception helped determine the fortunes of the Laguna Beach art colony and its artists.

Curator Janet Eternal Surge

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Photo by LAM

Eternal Surge by Edgar Payne, 1920

According to Western Art Collector Magazine, earlier this year when asked what her dream exhibit would be to curate, Blake said it was this exhibit, Art Colony.

The Laguna Beach Art Association was officially founded on Aug 22, 1918, with one hundred and fifty charter members, thirty-five of whom were artists. The group was originally organized by Edgar Payne, who served as President. Payne, perhaps the most well-known of all the Southern California Early California artists, moved to Laguna Beach in 1917 with his wife, Elsie.

Discussion included with museum admission. Advance tickets are recommended. To reserve online, go to www.lagunaartmuseum.orgor call (949) 494.8971 x203

LAM is located at 307 Cliff Dr.


Alta Laguna Field closed until August 24

Alta Laguna Field

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Alta Laguna Field

Alta Laguna Field will be closed for annual maintenance and turf renovations through August 24. 

For answers to questions, please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762.


Boy Scouts return from Summer Camp

By Elliott Leeds, Star Scout of Troop 35

From July 29 - August 4, Laguna Beach Troop 35 went to Camp Bighorn in Hubert Eaton Scout Reservation for their Summer Camp. They participated in many fun and awesome activities that ranged from Archery to High Adventure.

Boy Scouts return Inspection

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Submitted photos

Troop 35 has fun doing Brotherhood Activity for inspection

The troop completed over one hundred merit badges (including the adult leader’s merit badges) to assist them in rank advancement. They took Archery, Swimming, Lifesaving, Sculpture Photography and Moviemaking, Art, Rifle Shooting, Trail To First Class, Trail To Second Class, Trail To Tenderfoot, The Adult merit badge, Indian Lore, Wilderness Survival, Horsemanship, and many other classes.

Boy Scouts return Mount

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Top of Mount Sorenson at the BSA monument for Arnold Sorenson who established the Hubert Eaten Scout Reservation (Twelve Mile Hike Trail)

“This year has been one of the most productive years for the troop,” said Katherine Stellar, the Troop Advancement Chair.

The location was breathtaking, nestled in the pine trees near Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains, and the Scouts had a wonderful time. 

For information about scouting, go to www.scouting.org.


Craig Strong reveals concept and name for his new restaurant, will partner with Tuvalu

After serving nine years as executive chef at the award-winning Studio restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach, Chef Craig Strong is opening and cheffing his own restaurant, Ocean at Main.

Located at 222 Ocean Avenue near Main Beach, Ocean at Main is in the former Taverna location and is slated to open by October 2018. It will be open daily for lunch and dinner.

Craig Strong reveals

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Chef Craig Strong

Strong, who lives in Laguna Beach with his family, warmly envisions the 126-seat, 4,500-square-foot Ocean at Main as a welcoming establishment in this idyllic Southern California community. To help achieve his goal, the restaurant, which received a $2 million renovation when it became Taverna, will undergo a physical refresh by Laguna-based Laurie Alter of Tuvalu Home, and a rebranding spearheaded by Strong. Dylan Cloughen, who worked with Strong previously and was most recently with the Mina Group, will serve as general manager.

Ocean at Main is located in the early 1940s iconic building that housed the venerable Laguna Beach financial institution, Laguna Federal Savings, whose motto was, “We’re local and we love it.” The historic building’s structure and existing Mission Craftsman-style will remain, including the prominent wooden beams, trim and cabinets. Tuvalu, known for its use of coastal-centric design, will introduce new tables and upholstered and cushioned chairs, bringing ocean blue, sea glass and sea foam hues to the indoor dining area, bar, lounge and outdoor patio with its stunning focal point, the tiled mural and fountain.

Strong’s commitment to providing a warm, approachable Southern California dining experience is a culmination of his years at top-level fine dining establishments, including Studio at Montage Laguna Beach, The Langham Huntington Hotel and Spa, Hotel Arts Barcelona, and The Ritz-Carlton Buckhead, Georgia. 

Strong will continue to support the local agricultural community and regional purveyors he has worked with over the years. He will serve chef-driven, seasonally changing dishes that highlight pristine ingredients – paying tribute to his French mentors like Paul Bocuse, with a slightly “lighter hand.” California’s diverse, fresh products and healthy lifestyle choices will be reflected on the menu, offering just-caught seafood and other mains, along with an emphasis on straight-from-the-farm vegetables. The menu will include flatbreads – making use of the kitchen’s existing pizza oven. Crafted cocktail, beer and wine lists will celebrate local talents and resources.

For more information and updates, follow Ocean at Main on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook @oceanatmain.


Edison to replace poles on August 15 and 16

On Wednesday, Aug 15, between 7:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Southern California Edison (SCE) will be replacing a utility pole north of the Balboa Avenue and Del Mar Avenue intersection in Arch Beach Heights.

The pole is located approximately 175 feet north of the street intersection, adjacent to the emergency access fire road. The emergency access fire road shall remain open and clear of any obstructions during operations. 

Edison to replace

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

North Laguna and Arch Beach Heights will experience power outages as SCE replaces utility poles next week

On Thursday, Aug 16, between 10:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m., SCE will be replacing a utility pole at 353 Cedar Way in North Laguna.

The work is being performed during the night due to an outage associated with the pole replacement which will affect commercial customers in the vicinity. Cedar Way, between Jasmine Street and Aster Street, will be closed during operations. 

Emergency vehicle access shall be permitted at Cedar Way as needed. The affected residents and customers have been notified of the work and the street closure in advance by SCE. 

For questions or concerns about either project, please contact JC Holt, Construction Coordinator with Pro Energy Services, Inc. at (909) 781-3973.


Political notebook banner

Iseman announces candidacy

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Councilwoman Toni Iseman announced this week that she will run for her sixth consecutive term on the City Council.

The decision was not an easy one, she said, but she felt compelled to run because of the significant issues facing the city. 

“There is so much at stake,” said Iseman. “I just realized I could not live with myself if I didn’t run. It would be so hard not to be able to vote – so hard not to be able to explain my position.” 

Iseman has never been shy about expressing her opinions.

“I think after all these years, I have made everybody in town mad at me at least once,” said Iseman. “But I think they know my heart’s in the right place.”

Angering voters may not be the way to win elections, but council members must not be afraid to make tough decisions, Iseman said. 

“They have to be aware that decisions have consequences and look beyond the approval,” said Iseman “We can’t look at the approval of a place like the Drake (proposed replacement for Tabu) without being aware of the impacts on public safety. That corner is dangerous now, without having a nightclub there.”

Iseman announces closeup

Submitted photo

Toni Iseman announces her candidacy for a sixth consecutive term

Iseman most often speaks off the cuff when addressing a group, only rarely resorting to notes. She uses analogies to make her points. She is a commanding speaker, perhaps due to her career in education – teachers have to be able to hold student’s attention – and as a high school and community college counselor. She retired in 2005 from Orange Coast College, prior to her third term on the council.   

A resident since 1970 of Laguna Beach, Iseman was first elected to the City Council in 1998. 

“I was recruited then and I am still being recruited,” she said. 

She is the darling of Village Laguna. 

Iseman’s core values have not changed. She puts individuals first, residents’ well-being ahead of visitors, and preservation of the Greenbelt and Laguna’s unique character as essential.

“The same, only better” has been her mantra for years. 

Iseman’s main concern when she first ran for office was the preservation of Laguna Canyon. It was known, but not publicized, that she was the Laguna Canyon Phantom, who posted Gillette Razor-type signs in the dead of night opposing planned development in the canyon. 

Once committed to a position or a project, she perseveres, even when on the short end of a 4-1 vote, nibbling away, perhaps asking if the motion-maker would consider changes in the motion. She frequently will request the mayor to extend the time allotted to a speaker about issues of particular interest to her or ask a question that prolongs public testimony.

Iseman can be a pit bull, for example, her decades-long opposition to federal laws related to cell towers and to the Cox Cable franchise she calls a monopoly, both to no avail, but she can be practical when it suits her. 

She fought tooth and nail against moving the city’s corporation yard to ACT V, yet that relocation led to one of Iseman’s biggest triumphs: adoption by the council of her proposal to offer free trolley rides into town for tourists that park their cars at ACT V. 

The free rides have resulted in increased ridership and fewer cars clogging city streets. 

Improving downtown traffic is one of Iseman’s pet projects. She considers the prohibition of southbound left-hand turns off of Coast Highway unless specifically permitted and the use of young traffic controllers on weekends at highly traveled intersections as two major achievements – although she is frustrated at the time it took to implement her ideas.

“The traffic controllers took at least five years from the time I first thought of it,” said Iseman.

She would like to take another shot at convincing downtown employees to park at Act V and be shuttled to their jobs.

“It would have to be businesses with more than 10 employees and they would get paid from the time they park their cars,” said Iseman. 

Another big goal is the installation of parking meters in South Laguna. She said South Laguna residents are concerned visitors would park free in the neighborhoods.

“But that is what they are doing now,” Iseman said.

Meters that offer longer parking would draw visitors out of the neighborhoods, she said. 

Iseman is also interested in a review of Design Review decisions. She has asked for the statistics on the number of homes reviewed; the number approved at the first, second and third hearings, the number turned down and the number appealed. 

“Some decisions made by the city just don’t make any sense,” she said. “We are at the point people will ask a few years from now: ‘What were they thinking?’” 

She feels her election for a sixth term would help prevent the question from arising.


Fire and light from TOW last night

Photos by Scott Brashier

Fire and light 1

Fire and light 2

Fire and light 3

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The greatest beauty is almost always in the abstract


Laguna Beach Library presents Musical Storytime

On Monday, Aug 13, Laguna Beach Library is presenting Musical Storytime with Brooke Briggs from 10:30 - 11:30 a.m. 

Laguna Beach Library Brooke

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Submitted Photo

Join Brooke Briggs in an interactive morning of musical fun 

All morning long there will be lots of reading, singing, dancing, and playing musical instruments with Miss Brooke. Additionally, there will be award winning sing-along storybooks and interactive storytime. 

This is a free program for all interested.

The library is located at 363 Glenneyre Street. 

For more information on this upcoming event, call (949) 497-1733.


“We live a lucky life”: A stunning sunset capture by Tina Treglia

We live a sunset

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Photo by Tina Treglia (@ttregs)

It’s in calm and stunning moments like these that we are reminded just how lucky we are to call Laguna Beach our home


Laguna’s new Tree Removal Ordinance: know the facts

The City of Laguna Beach recently adopted a Tree Removal Ordinance to establish protection of the urban forest in the City by requiring a permit be issued before the removal of private trees in three categories. 

To help build awareness about the new tree removal policy, the City recently sent out a mailer to residents, “Check before you chop,” alerting locals that if you are considering removing a tree on your property or in the public-right-of-way adjacent to your property to know the facts first.

You also need a permit to remove a tree if it is a Heritage Tree on the official Heritage tree list for the City or if it’s a Design Review approved tree that’s included as part of a landscape planned through the design review process.

In short, the designated trees have been categorized by the City per the ordinance: Category I: Heritage trees, Category II: Design Review approved trees, and Category III: trees privately maintained in the public right of way. 

Lagunas new tree removal

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

A new tree removal ordinance asks residents to “Check before you chop”

The tree removal ordinance pertaining to the new rules went into effect on July 26 and requires a tree removal permit prior to removal of the tree pursuant to LBMC Chapter 12.0.6.

The City’s website states, “Trees add to the scenic beauty and character of our community. They also prevent erosion, decrease wind, counteract pollutants, and help maintain a climatic balance. The Tree Removal Permit Process establishes a procedure and helps us monitor requests for removal of trees that fall into the aforementioned categories.”

The Tree Removal Permit page has useful information that includes a Tree Removal Permit information Guide, Tree Removal Permit Application, a Heritage Tree List and fee schedules to mention of few.

If you are unsure if your tree requires a permit for removal or for more information on the tree removal permit process, see the Tree Removal Permit page on the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/trp or call (949) 497-0322.


First Public Art Piece in Laguna Beach

Born in Highland Park, IL on March 30, 1893, Ruth Peabody first studied sculpture at the Art Institute of Chicago and was taught to paint as a child by her mother, Elanor Colburn. The two women moved to Laguna Beach, CA in 1924, and became active in the local art scene. 

First Public boy and dog

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Boy and Dog, bronze statue installed at Jahraus Park in 1935

At Peabody’s studio, she sculpted fountains and memorial plaques when not teaching privately and at Laguna Beach High School. During her early career, she painted portraits and abstractions, and garden and flower subjects in her last years. 

She gave the Laguna Art Museum her painting, Cook Book, an oil on canvas, painted in 1925.

She died in Laguna on Oct 22, 1966.


Kathryn Kramer offers 12-week Global Cinema Class for movie buffs at Susi Q

This year, the focus of Kathryn Kramer’s global cinema class is diverse cultures. Beginning on Tuesday, Sept 4 and continuing through Tuesday, Nov 20, the class will meet at Susi Q Community Center at 380 Third Street every Tuesday from 12:30 - 3 p.m. The fee for the 12-week course is $40.

Kramer, an award-winning filmmaker and college instructor, teaches Emeritus Film as Literature, English 52X, for Saddleback College. 

This course examines narrative film from recent years, emphasizing the director’s role with special attention to foreshadowing, symbolism, and recurrent motifs. The session focuses on diverse cultures and time periods united by their humanity. 

Kathryn Kramer Souvenir

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Souvenir, a French film, starring Isabelle Huppert and Kevin Azais

The schedule is as follows: 

9/4/18; Souvenir 2016, France 90 min. A lonely factory worker connects with a younger co-worker. 

9/11/18; Genealogies of a Crime, 1997 France 103 min. Based on a true case, a lawyer (Catherine Deneuve) agrees to defend an obnoxious young man (Melvil Poupaud) with whom she becomes entangled. This satiric comedy, directed by Raoul Ruiz, has an offbeat structure. 

9/18/18; Anonymous, 2011 UK 130 min. Proposes that Edward De Vere (Rhys Ifans) penned Shakespeare’s plays. Expect swordplay, humor, and aristocratic bed-hopping. 

9/25/18; Caramel, An ensemble of Christian woman in Lebanon have limited independence. 

10/2/18; Days and Clouds, 2007 Italy 118 min. A husband loses his job. 

10/9/18; Downfall, 2004 Germany 156 min. Based on the memoir of Hitler’s secretary Traudl Junge, Bruno Ganz’s disappearance into der furher earned him seven awards. 

Kathryn Kramer Wilderpeople

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Hunt for the Wilderpeople starring Julian Dennison (on left) and Sam Neill

10/16/18; The Hunt for the Wilderpeople, 2016 New Zealand 101 min. Sam Neill stars in this offbeat comedy. 

10/30/18; On the Beach at Night Alone, 2017 South Korea 101min. Kim Minhee won the Silver Bear for best actress for playing an actress reeling from the aftermath of an affair. 

11/6/18; Entre Nous/Coup de foudre, 1983 French 110 min. Diane Kurys wrote and directed this tale based on her parents’ marriage. An exquisite period piece with captivating performances by Isabelle Huppert and Miou-Miou. 

11/13/18; I Am David, 2003 UK/USA 90 min. A youngster experiences wartorn Europe. 

11/20/18; Beasts of the Southern Wild, 2012 93 min. Melting ice-caps flood a ramshackle bayou community, releasing ancient aurochs. Quvenzhane Wallis deserved the Oscar for carrying this entire film, which won 65 awards. 

Register at the front desk at Susi Q and use City of Laguna Beach registration forms with checks payable to the “City of Laguna Beach.” 

For more about Susi Q, go to www.thesusiq.org.


Something to meow about, clawesome Catmosphere Laguna opens on Monday, Aug 13, a sneak peek

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Catmosphere is all about drawing people in to pet the cats, and then adopt them. Finding them loving homes is the ultimate goal, and owner Gail Landau hasn’t skimped on the enticements. Awesome food, great ambience, the work of local artists, all so beautifully work together to accomplish that goal. 

But first, the piéce de résistance, the kittens and cats. I’m not sure I know anyone who can resist the urge to pet a cat (unless they’re severely allergic like my mother, so we never had a cat). Although, hopefully, this is just a temporary home for the current inhabitants, what a home! The cat lounge is designed with a beachy theme, including a shark cat bed and surfboards. 

Something to Gail and Talia

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Photo by Dianne Russell

(L-R) Talia Samuels of Outshine PR and Gail Landau, owner

Landau visited a San Diego cat café and liked the cat lounge interior, so she contacted the owner of Urban Feline, and they custom made much of the lounge interior, as per Landau’s design. The tree is custom made and so are the cat perches on the walls. And Landau repurposes as much as she can. The walls are repurposed barn wood and a lounge bench and a bar in the café are also recycled. The furniture is from consignment stores. The pillows are from her home. The lounge incorporates three separate HV systems, one of which is in the cats’ sleeping area.

So where do they sleep? They have a private area, accessed through a cat door, complete with the Catmosphere logo, which leads to individual cat condos, litter boxes, and the feeding area. (They do have water in the lounge.) At night after the last appointment, they’re tucked into bed and viewed on the webcam until morning. The webcam in the cat lounge went live yesterday, so if potential guests want to view the cats, they can go to the website and click on webcam.

Something to cat lounge

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Photo by Dianne Russell

Cat lounge designed by Gail Landau in conjunction with Urban Feline

At our initial meeting, Landau said she wanted to make the cat lounge Zen and she succeeded. There is meditative music playing and the smell of incense in the air. It’s very serene, so much so, it’s difficult to fight the urge to sit down on the couch and close your eyes.

And who are the inhabitants of this wonderful beachy lounge? There are 11 cats and kittens in residence (including three bonded pairs). Brugger, an orange point Siamese who just had surgery for Entropian, NATO, Carlton, a Himalayan named China, Mamie, Wilbur and Nirvana (who must be adopted together), JP and Ozzy, and Joey and Mikayla. For complete bios on each of the residents, go to the website listed below.

Dr. Gershon Alaluf (Dr. G) of Canyon Animal Hospital takes care of their veterinarian needs, so they’re in good hands. 

Something to Brugger

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Photo by Dianne Russell

Brugger walks by as Nirvana looks on

The café in the front is a cozy yet airy place to dine on avocado toast, a cheese plate, a macaroon, or several other items on their menu, before or after visiting the cat lounge. According to their restaurant consultant Caroline Smile, the bread is baked especially for Catmosphere by OC Baking Company. It’s wonderful. And they use seasonal produce available at Farmers’ Market. The scrumptious macaroons are baked for them by Bon Jour Bakery at Mariner’s Church Farmers’ Market.

And to the delight of any cat lover, the café also runs non-stop cat videos (of cats skateboarding and such) provided by Catmantoo.

Landau is also incorporating the works of local artists into her café. She now has paintings by Mary Oviedo, a book by local Laura Seeley, A Cat Never Tells, and local artist Bruce Burr will be bringing in cat sculptures. In the front window, there’s a magnificent sculpture by local artist Craig French. Additionally, Catmosphere offers hats, bags, and hoodies. And Landau says that she’s planning to bring in a local jeweler who designs cat jewelry. 

Something to toasts

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Photo by Outshine PR

Delectable assortment of toasts available at the café

Apparently, this endeavor is a family affair. Her daughter, Erin Weber, Director of Wellness, does yoga and reiki and is planning on doing both on site. Landau’s other daughter Sasha, who designed their logo, is the Director of Human and Feline Relations. What a great title!

And although Catmosphere isn’t officially open until Monday, Aug 13, Landau already has appointments booked and two birthday parties scheduled. Catmosphere will provide the macaroons instead of a cake as well as party hats for the cats.

And four cats are going to Dr. G for checkups because they’ve been adopted. (It’s a process similar to that of the LB Animal Shelter.) Now more kitties can come in, enjoy, and hopefully, be adopted as well.

Visits to the cat lounge are $22 for adults and $12 for children (ages 6-17). Children under the age of six are not allowed. Rates are hourly with a two hour maximum. Seniors (65+) will receive complimentary coffee or tea during their visit. 

Catmosphere is ADA friendly.

For more information on Catmosphere, to book an appointment, watch the web cam, or read the bios of the kitties, go to www.catmospherelaguna.com.


Village Entrance is closer to reality, construction contract approved

By BARBARA DIAMOND

A solution for the highly visible stretch of land called the Village Entrance eluded city officials for decades.

The project became more than plan Tuesday night, when the City Council voted 4-1 to approve a $11.1 million contract, $2.5 million over the budget approved in December of 2017. Councilman Steve Dicterow opposed. 

“A 30 percent increase in barely more than seven months is just too much for me,” said Dicterow. 

The additional $2.7 million will be appropriated from the Parking Fund.

“This project has been in the works since the 1980s,” said Mayor Kelly Boyd. “It’s time to get it done.” 

CS Legacy Construction Co. came in with the lowest of three bids on the base project, not including alternative proposals: $7,673,503. The high bid for the base project was $9,777,490.

Councilman Rob Zur Schmiede asked if would be possible to get a better deal. 

The idea of putting the project out to bid again to see if a lower cost was in the offing would not be productive, said Roger Griffin, whose company had pre-qualified the bidders. 

He described CS Legacy as qualified and properly licensed for the project and recommended council approval of the contract. 

“I am utterly shocked,” said resident Michael Morris. “We cannot afford this. How can you ask to voters to tax themselves (proposed one-cent sales tax increase) when you are spending far beyond the original bids? Show restraint.” 

Village Entrance Digester

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Digester Building

Approved funding includes the base bid, a small Marine Safety Department structure, and decorative fencing, but not the restoration of the exterior of the Digester Building, a bone of contention with a group of residents who testified they believed the restoration was approved at a 2017 meeting. Village Laguna added its support for a more complete restoration of the Digester.

The decision to just “paint and patch” the Digester was also opposed by the Laguna Beach Historical Society, which is not a local government agency.

“Reasons for restoring the Digester tower are numerous,” said historian and society member Anne Frank. “It has been recognized by historians as architecturally unique, is on our Historic Register and is eligible for both state and national registers of historic places. More importantly, it is a special testament to the innovation of our city. 

“Where else but here in Laguna would they have had the creativity to make their sewer plant look like a medieval tower with a red tile roof?”

Mayor Boyd, who dearly wanted the outside staircase on the Digester repaired or replaced, reluctantly decided the estimated cost for more than painting and patching the building was not warranted at this time.

“I am not willing to spend $300,000 just to make it look nice,” said Boyd. 

Better designed fencing than the proposed chain link fence in the bid was also supported by Village Laguna and the VE Committee.

Councilman Bob Whalen’s motion to approve the contract deleted funding for median landscaping, saving between $250,000 to $350,000 by turning the landscaping over to the Public Works Department. 

“I’d rather put the money into the fence,” said Whalen. “It would be a travesty to complete this project with a chain link fence.” 

Staff was directed to appropriate funding for a decorative fence along the channel and return to council with alternatives, not to exceed $479.994.

Groundbreaking is scheduled to begin September 4. Work on the first phase of the project will continue until May 24, 2019. Equipment will be removed and parking restored for the summer. The second phase will begin September 3, 2019 and continue until May 22, at which time the project is expected to be completed. 


Suicide: The Ripple Effect shows one-time only in OC on Monday, Aug 13 in Costa Mesa

Every 40 seconds, someone takes their own life and forever changes the lives of those who know them. Suicide: The Ripple Effect shows one-time only on Monday, Aug 13 at 7:30 p.m. at Metro Pointe Stadium 12 in Costa Mesa. The film balances the devastating effects of suicide and the tremendous positive ripple effects of advocacy, inspiration, and hope that are helping millions heal and stay alive. 

The film is appropriate for teens, and parents may want to take tweens as young as 12. The film chronicles the story of Kevin Hines, who at age 19 attempted to take his life by jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge; he was in the one percent of 2,000 jumpers who survived. Since then, Hines has been on a mission to use his story to help others find recovery and stay alive, and has become one of the world’s most prominent suicide prevention speakers and advocates. 

Suicide The Jayne
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Submitted photo

Long-time former Lagunan Jayne Herring brings film screening to OC

Following the screening, there will be a talk-back session. Panel attendees are still to be confirmed.

This special screening is being brought to OC by film host Jayne Herring, former long-time Laguna resident and still a frequent visitor who says, “As one of a group of women honored to represent the Suicide and Crisis Center of North Texas earlier this year, I found the cause hitting closer and closer to home by the day, in both my Texas and Orange County communities as well as among family and friends across the country. 

“Through my own battles with depression and anxiety, to the ones I see in those around me, to the people I’ve lost in the past without knowing why, and even one I’ve lost since taking up the cause, I have learned the most important lesson: We are losing too many beautiful souls because they don’t have that critical element – hope – that pulls you through the darkest times of your life. Kevin Hines and his story will bring this to many through this film, and if this screening saves one life, this work to make it happen will have been worth it.” 

Suicide The director

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Submitted photo

Greg Dicharry, co-director and co-producer, with Jayne Herring at screening

Across the globe, nearly one million people die annually by suicide. In the US alone, there are one million suicide attempts in a given year and over 44,000 deaths by suicide, with our military being hit particularly hard. Research has shown that for every one death by suicide, over 115 people are directly affected and impacted. The estimated financial cost of suicide is over 51 billion dollars annually. 

The movie trailer for Suicide: The Ripple Effect can be viewed at www.suicidetherippleeffect.com

Tickets are $13.25 and advance purchase is required. For purchase, go to https://gathr.us/screening/23848.


Local belly dancers invite ladies, gentlemen, and children of all ages to Sawdust performance

JJ & the Habibis invite ladies, gentlemen and children of all ages to watch Laguna’s local belly dancers and guests performing at Sawdust Festival on Sunday, Aug 19. 

“Instead of engaging in politically fraught endeavors, come and support your local belly dancers!” says Jeri St. James, leader of the troupe.

Local belly dancers group

Submitted photo

JJ & the Habibis will perform at Sawdust Festival on Sunday, Aug 19

The troupe will perform two shows at Sawdust Festival on Sunday, Aug 19 – at 6:30 and 7:30 p.m. – as well as in the parade at 8 p.m.

For more information, contact Jheri St. James at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 494-5031, or visit www.JheriCo.net.


Did you know?

Did you know

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Photo by Mary Gulino

The “Pirate Tower” at Victoria Beach was built in 1926 as an enclosed staircase to the beach for William E. Brown, a senator from LA. Thanks to Laguna Creative Ventures for the fun fact, and to Mary Gulino for the beautiful photo of one of town’s treasured landmarks! 


Grace Pascual works with Buddhist monks in China to treat dogs rescued from Yulin Dog Meat Festival 

Story by DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Grace Pascual

As readers will remember, Grace Pascual (Rune) has made three trips to China to work with dogs rescued from slaughterhouses and the Yulin Dog Meat Festival (held yearly in June). Once she found out about this festival, in which dogs are tortured with blowtorches, or boiled, skinned, or crucified, and then sold for meat, it became her all-consuming passion to help end the dog meat trade. Her adopted dog Sophia was rescued from a meat hook in a slaughterhouse three years ago, and still bears the six- inch scar on her back.

In June, on her fourth trip, she was hoping to travel to Yulin to work with the Buddhist monks from The Garden of Life Temple and other volunteers to hijack the trucks transporting the dogs to the festival and rescue as many of them as possible. However, it was decided that it was too dangerous for Americans to be on the front lines intercepting trucks. 

Grace Pascual grooming

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Grace grooms rescued dog

Instead, along with three other volunteers, Barbara Gilitz, Zoie McNeil, and Erin Lear, she stayed at The Garden of Life Temple in Guangzhou (in Southern China) and treated the dogs that the monks and Chinese activists rescued. The volunteers arrived on June 22, the day after the festival started, and Grace says, “Already 600-700 dogs had been rescued, but a lot died. There is a terrible outbreak of distemper.” 

The suffering is indescribable and endless. This is what dogs endure on the journey to the festival. First, these are pets (yes, pets) kidnapped from their owners by being bludgeoned on the head or poisoned with tainted meat, so they will be dazed or unconscious when stolen. Then they are jammed together in cages on trucks and transported to the festival in 100-degree heat for three to six days. During their captivity, they are beaten and starved and suffer additional injuries due to the wire cages. 

Grace Pascual wounded dog

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Rescued dog with head wound from bludgeoning during kidnapping

As harrowing as one could imagine this might be, her pictures show it to be worse. Some were too graphic to publish. The rescued dogs were in horrific condition. Many didn’t make it, but others were treated and are recovering. 

If you’re wondering if the people who steal the dogs ever get caught, the answer is yes. Sometimes activists report seeing a suspicious van or truck full of dogs. Because dogs are considered property in China, the perpetrators get lengthy sentences of hard labor. But, they’re not easy to catch.

The (15-20) Buddhist monks at The Garden of Life Temple believe “all life matters” and nothing should suffer. And they enlist any method necessary to this end. Grace says, “Sometimes the monks and Chinese activists go to the slaughterhouses and pay for the dogs in order to save them from the torture.”

Grace Pascual monk

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Monk with rescued three-legged dog, which follows him everywhere

And they put into action their belief that nothing should suffer. They are a self-sustaining organization, and grow all the produce for their vegan meals. They are devoted to saving and treating dogs, but they have also save rabbits, cows, goats and mice from slaughter. 

The money raised ($6,200) earlier in the year through the GoFundMe account Grace set up went for medical supplies. (Other groups donate money for food.) She says, “I carried the money with me on the trip over there, and didn’t give it to the monks until I saw that it was a legitimate and trustworthy operation.”

And it sounds as if it is that and more. Grace wants to debunk the myth that Buddhist monks don’t believe in medical care. She says, “They have a full-time staff dedicated to treating the dogs, a veterinarian on staff, a stocked medical supply room, operating room, volunteers, a nursery for the injured dogs, and an area for the recovered dogs and those waiting to be adopted.” 

When the rescued dogs arrive, they are triaged, see the vet, and the severely sick or injured separated from the others and quarantined, and the others go to a different area. 

Grace Rune surgery

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Dog in the operating room

Once the recovering dogs are able-bodied, they can be adopted, but not shipped over here as was Grace’s dog. From the beginning of their rescue efforts, the monks have adopted out 500 dogs in China. The cost ($1,600) of shipping one dog out is too expensive. As a result, they are starting a program of compassion in China; the potential adopters must take a class, have a home check and provide ongoing proof of care.

Grace says that many of the people in China are unaware of the slaughterhouses and the Yulin Meat Festival. “At the airport, I met a 23-year-old Chinese girl, who had a degree in banking, and she had never heard of Yulin. She was mortified. She said, ‘How can that be in my country.’” 

She also met a 25-year-old man from Hong Kong, who said, ”That doesn’t happen in Hong Kong.”

Grace says, “One thing to emphasize is that when westerners (volunteers) leave, the Chinese monks stay and care for the dogs and are left with huge bills. We can’t fail them because Yulin is over ...the recovery for the dogs is just beginning. Many lives are at risk.”

She has set up another GoFundMe account for those wishing to donate at

www.gofundme.com/5wktamo.

Grace wants to thank Petco for helping with leashes, collars, and giving her a discount on other supplies in preparation for her trip, and also Gelson’s Market in Laguna Beach and Store Director Jeff for donating supplies.


The house with a colorful history

By MAGGI HENRIKSON

The home of Al Roberts and Ken Jillson has a colorful past – in fact, you could say it represents every color of the rainbow. That’s because this home has been the site of the most fabulous, most outrageous, most worthy fundraisers for the Aids Service Foundation (ASF) of Orange County, which Roberts and Jillson helped found in 1985. 

The house with a Sale

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Photo courtesy Mike Johnson Group|Compass

The home of the Big Splash is currently on the market

The home, recently listed on the market for the first time, was built by Roberts and Jillson in 1975. They chose the site on Katella Avenue for its sweeping views, and they built a large pool with deck areas that became home to the poolside charity “Big Splash” event – a Laguna classic. 

The house with a People

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Guests filled the backyard and up to the rafters

The parties that splashed for the cause raised boatloads of money, and included a celebrity who’s who list of participants.

The first Big Splash was in 1986, during the height of the AIDS crisis. It started out as a 10-minute water ballet in the couple’s pool one Sunday afternoon – and then it raised $30,000. The events grew into an annual three-night show, culminating with a dinner and auction.

The house with a Show

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Submitted photo

“Absolutely outrageous!” said Bea Arthur

The performances, enjoyed by all, and splashed on a few, included “The Aquanettes,” a men-in-drag team of synchronized swimmers, and spoofs on shows such as The Love Boat and the movie Titanic. Hollywood celebrities supplied taped voice-overs to which the show’s amateur cast lip-synced their dialogue. Voices included Whoopi Goldberg, Carrie Fisher, Penny Marshall, Bea Arthur, and Cher.

“I love the work they’re doing, and I think that Ken is enormously talented,” said Bea Arthur in 1996. She provided the first Big Splash celebrity voice in 1991. The shows, she added, are “absolutely outrageous!”

Laguna’s own Barbara Diamond remembers the party fondly. “It’s still missed!” she says. “It was going on at a time when you didn’t know much about AIDS. They raised a lot of awareness. They drew in a lot of people.

“And, how could not have fun watching guys splash around the pool dressed in ladies’ bathing costumes?”

The house with a Pool

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Submitted photo

The best seats got splashed

In 1993, some of the auction items that helped bring the total weekend gross to $350,000 included an autographed fedora worn by Michael Jackson in his “Billie Jean” video, and a beaded evening gown worn by Elizabeth Taylor to Ronald Reagan’s inauguration ball in 1985.

The 1996 edition of the Big Splash was “A night to remember,” according to Gay & Lesbian Times. One of the highlights was a cruise ship spoof, with the voice of “Babs,” the on-board aerobics instructor, provided by Cher. Thanks to the nearly 200 volunteers who made Big Splash work, the evening netted $536,000.

What began as a backyard pool party blossomed into an enormously popular annual event that eventually outgrew the yard – and they moved it to the Festival of Arts grounds. By the final Splash in 2009, the events had raised a total of $10 million.

 The house is listed for sale by Mike Johnson Group|Compass. For more information on the home, visit www.1179katella.com.


“Our Laguna”: More from last week’s Music in the Park

Photos by Scott Brashier

Our Laguna 1

Our Laguna 2

Our Laguna 3

Our Laguna 4

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Music in the Park, now in its 35th year, represents the best of the best of living in Laguna. We are grateful to the City of Laguna Beach for its fierce commitment to providing locals with this venue, and to “our Laguna” for making it all that it is! This week’s concert will feature Room at the Top, a Tom Petty tribute band, starting at 5 p.m.


Where’s Maggi?

Do you know where Maggi was contemplating the time according to the sundial? 

She would like to know who can name this lovely little garden spot.

Submit your answer to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 8 10 18

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Man arrested for arson in Holy Fire, which has burned over 9,614 acres and is 5 percent contained

According to the latest information from the LA Times, The Holy Fire in Cleveland National Forest grew significantly over the last day, burning a total of 9,614 acres by Thursday morning and pushing closer to some Riverside County homes.

As reported by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, Forrest Gordon Clark, 51, of Trabuco Canyon, was charged and scheduled to be arraigned yesterday for one felony count each of aggravated arson of five or more inhabited structures, arson of inhabited property, arson of forest, criminal threats, two felony counts of resisting and deterring an executive officer, and a sentencing enhancement for arson burning multiple structures. The maximum sentence is life in state prison. The defendant is accused of setting a fire in Trabuco Canyon, which has damaged or destroyed at least 14 structures. 

Man arrested night

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Photo by Margie Pettit

Flames erupt like a volcano - view of the Holy Fire from TOW on August 6

The Holy Fire, which is five percent contained and burning toward Horsethief Canyon and McVicker Drainage, broke out Monday and has destroyed 12 structures.

The fire’s growth came on another day of record high temperatures in parts of Southern California. Los Angeles International Airport hit a new high for the day at 94 degrees. UCLA, Camarillo and Escondido also hit new highs, while Santa Ana and Newport Beach tied their daily records.

The fire forced evacuations in McVicker Canyon, Rice Canyon, Horsethief Canyon, El Cariso, Rancho Capistrano, Indian Canyon, Glen Eden, Sycamore Creek and Mayhew Canyon, according to the U.S. Forest Service. The Ortega Highway corridor from Lookout Roadhouse to Nichols Institute was also included in the evacuation order.

Man arrested mushroom cloud

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Apocalyptic cloud

As of 4:30 p.m., on Thursday, new mandatory evacuations for Elsinore were in effect for all homes on the mountainside of Lake St and southwest of Grand Ave to Ortega Hwy.

Addition information per ABC news:

Expected higher humidity and cooler temperatures could aid firefighters as they build containment lines around the blaze, which has ripped through chaparral and brush.

Hundreds of firefighters remain on the front lines as the Holy Fire continues to burn toward Horsethief Canyon, Cow Canyon and McVicker Drainage, north of Lake Elsinore. Ten helicopters and seven fixed-wing aircraft are assisting the firefighters. 

Man arrested Irvine Spectrum

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Photo by Mark Nelson

Irvine Spectrum at 4:15 p.m.

There is a possibility of monsoonal flow, which may contribute to an increase in relative humidity and cool temperatures slightly, according to fire officials. Although the weather is slightly more favorable than in the past three days, flames are getting closer to homes away from Orange County and more to the northeast.

Eighteen wildfires that continue to burn across the state have scorched about 600,000 acres, an area nearly the size of Sacramento County. The largest is the Mendocino Complex – made up of the Ranch and River fires – which has burned more than 300,000 acres and is the biggest fire ever recorded in California. It was 47 percent contained as of Wednesday evening.


LB Garden Club Speaker Program hosts “Queen of Succulents” on Friday, Sept 14

On Friday, Sept 14, The Laguna Beach Garden Club will feature Debra Lee Baldwin, award-winning photojournalist, during their ongoing speaker program. Baldwin will discuss unique and creative container and garden ideas, which have earned her moniker of “Queen of Succulents.” 

Baldwin’s mission is to increase awareness and appreciation of “plants that drink responsibly” through her books, articles, photos, videos and social media. She has been sharing her knowledge for over 25 years and offers well-researched, visually appealing information intended to “entertain and enlighten in equal measure.” She is very proud of the second edition of her first book “Designing with Succulents.”  First published in 2007, this book is credited with launching worldwide interest in succulents. Books will be for sale after the presentation, and she’ll be happy to sign them. 

LB Garden Baldwin

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Courtesy of SD Horticulture Club

Debra Baldwin at 2017 book signing 

Baldwin grew up in Southern California and currently resides with her husband, Jeff, on an avocado ranch in the foothills of north San Diego County.  She has written three bestsellers, Designing with Succulents, Succulent Container Gardens, and Succulents Simplified. She has received nineteen first-place awards from the Garden Writers Association of America, the Society of Professional journalists and Authors, and the San Diego Press Club. The San Diego Horticultural Society awarded her “2017 Horticulturist of the Year.”

The Laguna Beach Garden Club meets on the second Friday of every month, September through May at the Laguna Presbyterian Church, 415 Forest, in Tankersley Hall. The gathering begins with a social at 9:30 a.m., and the general meeting follows at 10 a.m.

LB Garden bookcover

The public is welcome, and there is no charge for guests on their first visit. Before or after the meeting, attendees may browse the outdoor “Garden Boutique” where donated garden-related items and plants can be purchased at “dirt-cheap” prices. Fantastic garden gloves only $7/pair. Parking is free in the Laguna Canyon Road lot (spaces 300-422) or $3 for all day in spaces 185-228. 

The nonprofit Laguna Beach Garden Club, Inc. was founded in 1928 in beautiful Laguna Beach and will celebrate its 91st anniversary in February. Members support a wide variety of projects related to education in gardening, horticulture, landscape and floral design, conservation, ecology and bird life.

The annual Gate & Garden Tour is a public viewing of several of the loveliest gardens that LB residents have to offer. The tour is LB Garden Club’s most important fundraising event and makes possible all of their environmental projects and scholarships. 

For more information on the garden club, go to www.lagunabeachgardenclub.org.


Holy Fire causes hazy day in Laguna

Sunrise to Sunset

Holy Fire sunrise

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Hazy sunrise

Holy Fire Heisler Park

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Smoke gets in your eyes

Holy Fire sunset

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Photo by Dave Dalrymple

A haunting and beautiful sunset

Although the flames from the Holy Fire are getting closer to homes away from Orange County and more to the northeast, the smoke cast a haze over Laguna yesterday.


Barbara’s Column

Youngsters awarded medals for completing Summer Reading Program

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Thirty-five young readers were awarded medals for completing the Summer Reading Program presented by the Laguna Beach Library. The theme was “Reading Can Take You Everywhere.”

Recipients were honored August 3 at a picnic in Bluebird Park for reading (or having someone read to them) 20 books. The Friends of the Laguna Beach Library funded the picnic and medals, which were presented by Laguna Beach firefighters, who also handed out children’s plastic fire helmets to the honorees. 

“This is one of our favorite events, and we are very grateful to the firefighters for their participation,” said Friend’s President Martha Lydick. “It is so important for children to learn to love reading and receiving the medals from the firefighters really underscores the importance.”

Firefighters Tyler Swets, Scott Hammond, David Lopez and Jeff Zaccaro, and Captains Crissy Teichmann and Gary Ganger, made the presentations. The readers were divided into two groups: Pre-Kindergarten and Pre-Teens. 

Sienna Zamorano, 1 1/2, was the youngest medal recipient. Medalist Ruth Gonzales will be three in September. Her older sister, Elizabeth, 9, a student at Top of World Elementary School, said her favorite book was titled “The One and Only Gorilla Ivan.” 

Good Choice. The book is about a captive gorilla, is a Newbery Prize winner and a New York Times Best Seller.

“His owner lost his job and Ivan went back to the jungle and found an elephant friend and finally got his job back,” said Elizabeth. 

Barbaras Column volunteers

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Submitted by LBL

Members of Fire Dept and Lions Club who volunteered to work at the event

Ursula Adams watched her grandchildren Malachite, 7, and Iris, 3, receive their medals. 

“They love to read,” said Adams. “This is a fabulous program.”

Anwen, 6 1/2, said he read so many books he couldn’t remember a favorite.

The picnic was outgoing Children’s Librarian Summer Blake’s swan song. She did the pre-event planning. Library Assistant Niloo Sharez organized the awards presentation, helped by Library Assistant Lee Enos. Ebell and Lions Club volunteers Kimberly and Daryl Oswald and Samantha Mulaney barbequed hotdogs and hamburgers and set salads, fruit and desserts. Summer Blake arranged donations of gift cards from Zinc Café, Dolce Gelato, La Serena on Mermaid and C’est La Vie handed out as prizes. Naomi Fox painted faces.

The medal presentation is an annual event.

“They were already funding this program when I came to the Laguna Library in 2012,” said Jon Gilliom, Laguna’s head librarian. 

Friends of the Library board members Sandy Hovanesian, Nancy and Howard Pink attended the annual picnic, which is just one of the services provided by the group.

They’ve been around since the Laguna Beach Library Building Association became the Friends in 1953. Over the years, the Friends have spread the message that libraries are important and provided volunteer support and raised funds. 

The nonprofit organization has paid to reframe historic watercolors the library or the Friends own, a mural in the children’s section and the furniture for the adults. In 2006, the Friends designated $25,000 to promote reading, add books to the library shelves, and enhance services and facilities. The building was refurbished with new carpet and light fixtures.

Barbaras Column youngsters

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Submitted by LBL

Pre-kindergartener receives award

And thanks to the Draper Family, furniture in the children’s section was replaced.

Now all the kids need is a new Children’s Librarian. The county interviews candidates for the job and tests them, for which an A list is selected. As positions open, the county invites candidates to apply, according to Gilliom. 

Laguna’s library has come a long way since a woman known as Mrs. Bafford opened a library in a storefront on Cedar Way and Jasmine Street and lent books, charging borrowers one or two cents per book per day.

We have the history, thanks to the Friends.

In 1919, some residents met with the Orange County Librarian to establish a local branch in Laguna. The Library Board was formed in 1920 by representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, PTA, Community Club, Women’s Club and the Art Association.

--Leota Woy was named the first volunteer librarian and the first-ever fundraiser was held in 1922. Guests were required to come dressed as popular literary characters. More than 60 books were donated, a tradition carried on at the Friends annual Membership Dinner.

--The library acquired a 1,000-square space near the current library in 1925. It cost $2,500. 

Business was humming. By 1939, when a reading room was added, circulation had reached 60,000 books a year. More room was needed and in 1953, a new 2,200 square-foot library was built on original site. Two years later, the Friends opened the Book Shop, run by volunteers, as it is today.

Barbaras Column preteen

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Submitted by LBL

Pre-teen receives her award

But big things were in the offing for the library.

In 1986, a 10,000 square-foot building was constructed at Glenneryre Street and Laguna Avenue.

When the county went bankrupt in 1993, the Friends subsidized staff and services.

--The next year, they helped fund an addition, now dubbed the Fiction Room. They turned their attention to the exterior in 2005. The garden, designed and tended by board member Jessica De Stefano, that stretches along the Glenneyre Street façade and wraps around the corner, is the latest effort to enhance the exterior.

--Residents may not know this, but they are members of the Friends. There are no dues, but donations of books, cash or time are always welcome. The bookstore can always use more help. It is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. the rest of the weekdays. It is closed on Sundays.

For more information, call (499) 497-1733, ext. 6; email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or mail to P.O. Box 36, LB, 92652.

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 StuNewsLaguna.com. Contributions are welcomed.


Pastels art exhibit at City Hall awaits your vote

Time is running out for residents to cast their votes for “Peoples’ Choice” Awards. “Pastels!,” the current exhibit on the walls of City Hall, will soon be closing. 

If you haven’t been by to enjoy this diverse collection of pastels gracing the walls of City Hall, organizers say that you are missing out on a terrific exhibit. The art by seven well-established artists, who work in their own styles, is well worth seeing.

Pastels art exhibit at

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Submitted photo

 “The Summer Table” by Marie Tippets is part of the art show on now through August 7 at City Hall

Along with enjoying the viewing of the works, you are also invited to have a voice in the “Peoples’ Choice” award by casting your vote for the one you like best. Come August 8 and the exhibit will be gone, so get on down to City Hall and cast your vote.

Laguna Beach City Hall is located at 505 Forest Ave.


LB Fire Chief, Emergency Operations Coordinator to speak at Wesley District Meeting August 28

A neighborhood meeting about emergency readiness in case of fire and/or other disaster scenarios will be held on Tuesday, Aug 28 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Laguna Terrace Park Clubhouse at 30802 Coast Highway.

Guest speakers are Laguna Beach Fire Chief Mike Garcia and Emergency Operations Coordinator Jordan Villwock. They will offer insights and advice about fire risk, fire mitigation and evacuation preparation plans for residents in this area of town that has just one primary route in and out. 

LB Fire Chief

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Hellscape: Aliso Fire earlier this year raged scarily close to homes

Wesley District runs from Nyes Place to Aliso Circle on the inland side of PCH and includes Ocean Vista, Wesley Drive, Hinkle, Terry, Rounsevel, Alexander and other residential streets off of these roads.

Recent events in other parts of the state clearly demonstrate the need for residents and first responders to work together in an emergency. Please plan to attend this important presentation if you live in the area.

RSVP to Sandi Cain at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by call/text to (949) 292-3279 with your name, number of people attending and a contact number or email address. Seating is limited. Parking options will be sent to those who RSVP.


10th Anniversary of Girls Night Out Event on September 27 benefits the Boys & Girls Club of LB

The 10th Anniversary of Girls Night Out event will be held on Thursday, Sept 27 from 6 - 10 p.m. at the beautiful Wilson home. It will be a night filled with diamonds and champagne to mark 10 fabulous years of the community’s women supporting the Club. This evening’s proceeds benefit the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach (BGCLB).

Ladies will enjoy an evening in a beautiful oceanfront home, amazing food, signature cocktails, wine, martinis, shopping, pampering, and fun. In addition to all of that, each lady will go home with a swag bag full of girly goodies.

10th Anniversary house

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Submitted photo

Party time at the oceanfront Wilson home at Girls Night Out on Sept 27

Early bird tickets sell for $150 and may be purchased on the BGCLB website listed below. This event is generously supported by Wilson Automotive Group, Montage Laguna Beach, Newport Lexus, Starfish, and Winston’s Crown Jewelers.

This event is the “Talk of the Town” and “ladies” will not want to miss it. It will sell out quickly.

The BGCLB provides childhood experiences designed to keep children healthy, active, and “thinking” while having fun. The CEO of the Boys & Girls Club, Pam Estes, says, “The Boys & Girls Club has filled a vital role in our community, and we will continue to do so for generations to come.” 

For more information, contact Michelle at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 715-7584

For more about The Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach, call (949) 494-2535 or go to www.bgclagunabeach.org.


American Red Cross Community Blood Drive is set to take place at Montage Laguna Beach

On Thursday, Aug 23, from 11 a.m. - 5 p.m., Montage Laguna Beach is partnering with the American Red Cross for a quarterly blood drive as part of its employee supported Hearts of Montage program.

American Red Cross logo

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Join the Community Blood Drive at Montage Resort 

The local community is invited to participate by registering at www.redcrossblood.org and using sponsor code MontageLB. (Walk-ins are welcome to participate, however, pre-registration is encouraged.) Please allow one hour for the entire process. Complimentary Valet Parking is provided.

For questions, call Red Cross Donor Support Center at (866) 236-3276. 

The Blood Drive will be held in the Gallery Ballroom. Montage Laguna Beach is located at 30801 S Coast Hwy.


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

August 7, 2018

Record-breaking heat predicted to continue through September

Dennis 5July made the record books here in Laguna as the second hottest July on record. First of all, a one-day record of 97 degrees was set early in the month. The average high temp in Laguna is 78 degrees for July, and our average degree for this July is 86.1.  

All in all, there were four days at 90 degrees or higher and an amazing 21 days with temps over 80. There were no days with temps below the normal of 78. The average low temp was 69.2, with a record warm low of 77. July ocean temps registered the warmest since July of 1997, with a balmy high of 72.7 on average. 

A total of six days had a temp of 75 or higher, and the waters off San Clemente had an incredible mark of 80 degrees on shore from San Clemente Pier. The highest in Laguna was July 31 at 76 degrees. Today, August 7, the water is 75 degrees, so that record-breaking pattern seems to be continuing right into this month. 

On Monday, the high in Laguna was 86 degrees and is expected to reach near 90 on Tuesday and Wednesday, which is 11 degrees above normal. No one in the country is escaping the heat, including the NW with highs of 98 on Tuesday and Wednesday. July was virtually absent of any marine layer, and as of Monday, there was a wildfire located in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains near Trabuco Canyon.   

This huge high-pressure ridge is responsible for all the heat, and it shows no signs of moving anytime soon. In fact, some long-range models project this heat to last right through September. With all these wildfires that are breaking out, it almost seems like there is no fire season, as it can happen any month of the year. So keep your air conditioners in good shape and don’t expect any rain to help this dire situation, because our August average is only a 1/10th inch of rain, and September averages only 1/4 of an inch.

See you at the beach, ALOHA!


Funding sought for enforcement of Short-Term Lodging permits

By BARBARA DIAMOND

City staff is recommending the extension of a $90,000 contract for enforcement of the conditions for the city’s short-term lodging permits.

The city has contracted for a code enforcer since 2015 – first with Lilley Planning Group, charged with enforcing about 200 unpermitted short-term lodging units. However, Lilley went out of business in 2016. 

In April of 2017, the city entered into a contract with Willdan Engineering for a code enforcement technician. The contract was extended to June 30, 2018, the end of fiscal year 2017-18, when money was set aside for another year, subject to council approval.

From April 2017 to the present, a total of 382 proactive and 32 reactive cases have been opened and investigated, according to the staff report. The investigations have resulted in 31 citations, with fines totaling $9,200. Eleven cases were referred for criminal filings for operation of short-term lodgings without a permit. 

If approved as recommended, the extension would run through June 2019.

The item is included in the Consent Calendar, which would be approved without public comment unless “pulled” by a member of the City Council or the audience at Tuesday’s meeting.

Also on the consent calendar is a proposal to amend and execute the revised Master Joint Use Agreement with the Laguna Beach Unified School District for shared facilities, including the swimming pool on school property, gyms, and fields through August 31, 2023. A previous joint-use agreement covering joint use of the tennis courts on Park Avenue already extends to 2023.

The proposal also authorizes City Manager John Pietig to work with the district on a Memorandum of Understanding to establish a School Resource Officer, with the mission of reducing and preventing school-related violence and juvenile crime and to build a positive relationship between law enforcement and the young people of Laguna Beach.


President of Dr. Seuss Enterprises talks about the artist’s exhibition, opening this Friday

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Susan Brandt, president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, says of the Dr. Seuss exhibition opening this Friday, Aug 10 at Narrative Gallery, “The entire collection is based on works painted but never released to the public. Audrey Geisel, Ted’s widow, decided to include the paintings and reproductions of sculptures.”

Narrative Gallery in Laguna Beach will share a rare and compelling selection of artworks from 20 years of The Art of. Seuss Collection. Visitors can explore and acquire works from Dr. Seuss’s best-known children’s books, as well as The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss, a mind-expanding collection based on decades of artwork, which Dr. Seuss created at night for his own personal satisfaction.

President of Dilemma Fish

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Dilemma Fish

Asked why these works remained unseen, Brandt says, “It’s just speculation, but perhaps he did them only for personal pleasure, as he had already gained fame and notoriety from the children’s books.”

For the last 20 years, Brandt has spearheaded all business activities at Dr. Seuss Enterprises including managing the relationship with Random House, Universal, Illumination, and all global licensees. She spearheads all Dr. Seuss business such as publishing, films, theatrical, theme park, retail, promotion, and television.

Art dealer Robert Chase met Dr. Seuss’s wife, Audrey Geisel, a while back to discuss her late husband’s artwork. While the world knew of Dr. Seuss’s prolific children’s book illustrations, hundreds of major artworks spanning nearly his entire 70-year career had remained unseen.

Brandt says, “Dr. Seuss Enterprises is particularly happy and proud to have worked with Chase on this exhibit.”

President of Ted at easel

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Submitted photo

Ted Geisel at easel

This archive included concept drawings and final line drawings painstakingly created for his children’s books, artwork created in the 1930s and 1940s for early commercial projects, and private paintings and sculpture done within the intimate setting of his studio. Both Chase and Geisel believed this Secret Art deserved to be seen and the historic project began nearly two years later, six years after Geisel’s death. 

Perhaps the wackiest and most wonderful elements of the collection are Dr. Seuss’s three-dimensional “Unorthodox Taxidermy” sculptures with names like The Carbonic WalrusThe Two-Horned Drouberhannis, and the Goo-Goo-Eyed Tasmanian

Wolghast, to name a few.

Each of these Estate-Authorized limited editions has been adapted and reproduced from Theodor Seuss Geisel’s original drawings, paintings or sculptures.

Additionally, each work bears a posthumously printed or engraved Dr. Seuss signature, identifying the work as an authorized limited edition commissioned by the Dr.

Seuss Estate.

President of Chase in Forest

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Submitted photo

Chase in Forest

The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection has become one of the most comprehensive projects ever undertaken for a deceased artist. Nearly 300 gallery, museum, and public exhibitions have been mounted in this country and abroad over the past 20 years, garnering both critical and popular attention from the art world and the collecting public. 

Three major coffee table books have been published on The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection and 77 limited editions of Seuss imagery have now sold out. Most importantly, Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) has taken his rightful place among America’s greatest artistic talents of the 20th century.

In her preface to the popular coffee table book on this collection, The Cat Behind the Hat, Audrey Geisel writes: “I’m gratified to carry out Ted’s wishes and have these works revealed to the world.”

Join the gallery for a fascinating glimpse into the unique artistic vision of Theodor Seuss Geisel. The exhibit runs from Friday, Aug 10 through Sunday, Sept 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Narrative Gallery, 417 S Coast Hwy. 

For more information, visit www.narrative-gallery.com.


Village Entrance contract on Tuesday’s agenda

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The long drawn-out development of the Village Entrance has not been cheap. And it may get even more expensive.

Funding of $8,366,000 for a design was approved in December of 2017. The approved amount is about $2.5 million short for the completion of the base project. And that does not include restoration of the exterior of the Digester Building, which members of the self-styled VE Committee contend they were promised, accusing city staff of pulling a fast one.

“I am so tired of projects running over budget, and I am sick and tired of people saying we said things we didn’t say,” said Mayor Kelly Boyd, who will preside over Tuesday’s council meeting, contrary to a story in Stu News last week. 

City Manager John Pietig said his recollection of council discussion about the Digester was approval of paint and repair job, not a formal restoration, which would require hiring an historic architect. The council could opt for more extensive work without delaying the start of the main project, but financial issues need to be considered, said Pietig. The cost is estimated at $33,174, less a $100,723 credit from the base bid. 

Councilwoman Toni Iseman said the restoration, as understood by the VE Committee, was a council compromise of Iseman’s proposal to renovating the interior as well as the exterior.

CS Legacy Construction Co. came in with the lowest of three bids on the project, not including proposed additional items: $7,673,503. The high bid for the base project was $9,777,490.

Staff described CS Legacy as qualified and properly licensed for the project and recommended council approval of the contract, provided they want to move ahead with the project.

Besides a difference of opinion on what was promised for the Digester, VE Committee member Ann Christoph said reducing the height of the fence along the channel was included in a multi-page list of recommendations the group submitted, but was ignored.

The staff report estimated the cost of the more decorative, lower fence at $564,959, minus a $128,601 credit from the county, if replaced. However, it was reported that the county would not agree to lowering the height.

Three options will be presented to the council on Tuesday:

--Award the contract in the amount of $8 million and appropriate $2.5 million from the Parking Fund for a total project amount not to exceed $10,865,610

--Direct staff to proceed with some, none or all of bid alternates (Digester, fence and retaining wall)

--Reject all bids and not proceed with the Village Entrance at this time


Register for fall classes: Laguna has plenty to enjoy

Registration for Fall 2018 recreation activities for all ages is now available. The City’s Community Services Department offers sports activities for youths and adults alike, including tennis and water polo, plus other activities like art, writing, Spanish, and tango.

There are over 785 classes in total to check out, something for everyone at every age – with enrichment programs, aquatics, art and design, senior activities, languages and writing, dance, music, and gym classes.

LB Fall Classes

Is it time to get fit? Then try Grounded Yoga, Jazzercise Dance Fusion, Functional Fitness and Conditioning, Fitness Adult Zumba, Indoor Boot camp, Martial Arts, Meditation and relaxation, T’ai Chi Ch’ua, or Silver Glove Fitness, a non-contact boxing program that provides a workout that is fun, challenging, and always changing. Then there’s Basketball, Beach Volleyball, Softball, Swimming, Water Polo or Splashball, an introduction to water polo for children and adults. The basic skills and understanding of water polo is taught in a fun and recreational format.

Is dance in your steps? Perhaps Salsa, Modern Dance, Ballet, Tap, Belly Dancing, Bollywood, or Latin Rhythm would get you moving and grooving.

Do you need a little help? Assistance Programs include AARP Driver Safety Programs, Estate Planning, Probate, and Trust Administration Legal Advice, as well as Hearing Screenings and HICAP.

Then there’s Dog Training, CPR Certification Programs, Hortense Miller Garden and more, more, more.

To register and see the list of programs available, click here.


The City gives parents a night out this Friday

The City of Laguna Beach is hosting its quarterly Parents’ Night Out this Friday, Aug 10, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center, 380 Third St. The event is a treat for the whole family.

The City kid

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Courtesy of City of LB

Parents’ Night Out is a treat for kids and parents both

Children will have a blast at the Community & Susi Q Center with friends enjoying games, movies, arts and crafts and dinner. Pre-registration is required 48 hours in advance to guarantee an appropriate number of chaperones. To register, call (949) 464-6645 or click here. The cost is $20 to $25 with a $5 sibling discount.


Were you there? Laguna basked in togetherness on Sunday at Music in the Park

Photos by Scott Brashier

Were you 1

Were you 2

Were you 3

Were you 4

Were you 5

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Locals came together to celebrate good vibes and community at Music in the Park on Sunday, featuring ABBA Gold. Next Sunday’s concert will feature Room at the Top, a Tom Petty tribute band.


The cat’s out of the bag: Catmosphere opens on Monday, Aug 13

Catmosphere Laguna, Orange County’s first Cat Café, will officially open on Monday, Aug 13. Founded by Gail Allyn Landau, Catmosphere Laguna will serve as both a community café and a foster home for adoptable cats and kittens. Originating in Taiwan in 1998, cat cafés have since become a global phenomenon, inspiring similar business models to open across Japan, London, and most recently, the US. 

As the county’s first cat café, Landau believes Catmosphere Laguna will bring an increase in feline adoptions and provide improved lives and futures for kitties awaiting their “furr-ever” homes. 

Catmosphere Laguna has partnered with the Laguna Woods Cat Club, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, and local feline rescues to serve as a foster home for healthy cats and kittens with the goal of placing them in their forever homes. While awaiting adoption, Catmosphere Laguna provides a sanctuary for felines, giving them the freedom to roam, play, and interact with cat-lovers in an environment that feels like home. 

The cats Landau

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Submitted photo

Gail Landau, founder of Catmosphere Laguna

“Catmosphere is more than just a novelty café, we are changing the way rescue facilities find homes for their felines by offering adoptable cats and kittens in a living room-like environment,” says proprietor Gail Allyn Landau, a Laguna Beach local and self-proclaimed lifelong cat lady. “Our efforts embrace and promote the ‘Adopt, Don’t Shop’ ethos of the feline rescue community.” 

After paying the admission fee ($22 for adults and $12 for children ages 6-17), guests may enter the Kitty Lounge. The café and lounge are separated by a floor-to-ceiling glass wall. In the lounge, adoptable felines can enjoy the Laguna Beach lifestyle with a 6’4” palm tree scratching post, a wave mural with surfboard resting nooks, and kitty relaxation hammocks. A 24-hour live “Kitty Kam” will broadcast the activity on Catmosphere Laguna’s website as well as onto a monitor inside the café.   

The café at Catmosphere Laguna offers a menu of sweet and savory toasts, salads, and snacks designed by restaurant consultant Caroline Smile, who brings over 20 years of culinary and hospitality experience to Catmosphere Laguna. The café will also feature coffee and tea, as well as beer, wine, and champagne by the glass.   

The cats logo

TOASTS: 

Main Beach – Nutella with strawberries and bananas 

Laguna Breeze – avocado, mango, lime, chile, and mint

Sunset – beet hummus, avocado, arugula, cumin

Sunrise – almond butter, apple, almond, and cinnamon

French – butter and jam

SALADS & SIDES:

Tuxedo – mesclun, toasted almonds, dates, cheddar, balsamic dressing

Tabby – spinach, mango, avocado, red onion, lime vinaigrette

Calico – arugula, sliced grapes, shaved Parmesan, walnuts, lemon, and EVOO

Trio of Cheeses – select cheese, honey, fruit

Bread & EVOO

Patrons who fall in love and want to adopt can easily fill out adoption paperwork inside the café. A minimum of two visits is required before adoption completion, and pre-adoption home checks will be required in most circumstances. One hundred percent of the adoption proceeds benefit the medical care, treatment, and well-being of Catmosphere Laguna’s cats and kittens. 

“We have been overwhelmed with support and excitement from our Laguna Beach community as well as eager visitors from all over the world,” adds Landau. “Catmosphere Laguna will provide an experience that supports and enhances the Laguna Beach reputation as an outstanding coastal destination.” 

Catmosphere Laguna is available for walk-in appointments, as space permits, and private parties. The Kitty Lounge can accommodate up to 12 guests and 12 felines at a time. Landau will partner with local businesses to bring Yoga with Kitties, Feline Reiki, book clubs and more, with special offers for seniors and students. 

Reservations for the kitty lounge are available by the hour with a two-hour maximum and can be made in advance online at www.catmospherelaguna.com

Catmosphere Laguna is located at 381 Forest Ave and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with the last bookable appointment at 5 p.m.

For more information, follow on Facebook or Instagram at @catmosphere_laguna.


Cox Charities opens award opportunity for local OC

nonprofits: total of $55,000 in grants available

Cox Charities will award a total of $55,000 in grants to Orange County and Palos Verdes nonprofit organizations to support initiatives that focus on youth, education, conservation, and the military. Applications are currently being accepted online at www.coxcharitiesca.org and must be submitted by August 31.

Cox Charities, the philanthropic arm of Cox Communications funded by employee donations that are matched by the company, will consider requests up to $5,000.

To apply for a Cox Charities nonprofit grant, organizations must meet the following qualifications: Be a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization; be located or provide services in a Cox service area in Orange County and Palos Verdes; show measurable results from the program and complete a post grant evaluation form; and provide information on program outreach components including website and social media.

For more information, visit www.coxcharitiesca.org.


“Holy Fire” in Cleveland National Forest chars 1,200 acres by late afternoon, 600 firefighters on scene

According to ABC News, a fast-moving brush fire in the Cleveland National Forest prompted the evacuation of communities and campgrounds near Trabuco Canyon on Monday. 

The blaze, dubbed the Holy Fire, was first reported around 1:30 p.m. near Holy Jim Canyon and Trabuco Creek roads, across the main divide between Orange and Riverside counties. 

Holy Fire cloud

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Photo by Tom Berndt

Mushroom shaped cloud reveals Holy Jim fire, from freeway in Capo

The Orange County Fire Authority initially said the blaze burned between 7 and 10 acres, and one structure was lost. Authorities said the fast-moving fire charred more than 1,200 acres by the late afternoon. About 600 firefighters were on the scene with water-dropping aircraft and helicopters.

Mandatory evacuations were also ordered for the following areas: Holy Jim Canyon, Trabuco Canyon recreational residence tract and the Blue Jay and Falcon campgrounds.


Where’s Maggi – the answers!

Maggi hitched her wagon to this water wagon, and asked, where is it?

First on it was Kathy Bienvenu, bright and early, followed by Cathy Bosko, Janene Freitas, Kelly Viszolay (who used to live right across the street, so that was easy), Chris Prelitz, Kristen Purll (it used to be her ‘hood too), John Walker, and Johanna Felder.

Thanks for checking on where Maggi is these days.

Did you where this historic wagon lives? 

Maggi promises another photo mystery coming up on Friday. Stay tuned!

Wheres Maggi 8 7 18

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This wagon a water tank, is located on Randall Way at Santa Cruz 


The beginnings of Laguna Beach’s biggest festival: Festival of Arts/Pageant of the Masters

Story and photos brought to you by Visit Laguna Beach

In the summer of 1932, Los Angeles was hosting the Olympic Games for the first time, also known as Games of the X Olympiad. By the time the Games were held, nations struggled to afford the cost of sending athletes to the seemingly far away state of California for the international event. Only 1,503 athletes from 37 nations showed up; so few that some events, like soccer, had to be canceled.

In an effort to offer athletes and Olympic Games attendees another entertaining opportunity in Southern California, Laguna Beach artist John H. Hinchman helped organize the first Festival of Arts. The first Festival was held on El Paseo near Hotel Laguna, although over the next seven years, the Festival would travel to various venues in Laguna Beach before finding its permanent home on Laguna Canyon Drive. 

That August, while around two-dozen artists hung their paintings on fences, trees, and buildings along Laguna’s main street, hoping to lure tourists to the first Festival of Arts; other artists opened their home-studios to the public. Music, colorful signs and banners, parades and entertainment added to the celebratory ambience of the event, which turned Laguna Beach into an enormous art gallery. Many artists happily arranged their easels and chairs and painted throughout the festival. And, some even sold their paintings. It was an inspiring start to the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts.

The beginnings 1935 gallery

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Festival of the Arts gallery, 1935

In an editorial in the South Coast News dated August 5, 1932, a week before the opening of the Festival, the impact of Hinchman’s efforts was already apparent: “America was discovered, they say, by Columbus. And the Festival of Arts was discovered by John Hinchman.”

In 1933, the Festival organizers presented a new addition to the second annual Festival of Arts called “living pictures” that combined the performative aspects of theatre with an art historical perspective, turning famed works of fine art into live tableaux style paintings. Originally designed to be a publicity stunt to draw attention to the exhibit, actors dressed as characters from artworks such as Whistler’s Mother, Mona Lisa, and Atlas, among others, marched downtown to the location to the Festival of Arts, where they appeared in their living pictures to hold their poses in their respective works of art. This magical combination of live performance and historical fine art was a huge hit and became a favorite summer entertainment activity all over the state. Over the next couple of years, the direction and production of the “living pictures” grew into a grand experience of historical paintings, allowing viewers to watch as the master artworks of our human history come to life. 

The beginnings John HInchman gallery

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John Hinchman was a key organizer of the first Festival

Local artist and builder Roy Ropp assumed the direction of the “living pictures” in 1935, and helped expand the production to include a larger stage and setting next to the Laguna Beach Art Association (now the Laguna Art Museum) and renamed the event the “Pageant of the Masters.” With gorgeously painted backdrops, custom stage builds, and more dramatic makeup for the figures in the works of art come-to-life, the Pageant of the Masters became a fascinating and revered art production known all over the country.

The Festival of Arts became a nonprofit corporation in 1934 with the goal to “encourage and promote all appropriate activities conducive to the artistic and cultural development of the community in and about the City of Laguna Beach, California.” 

“The first Festival of Arts was designed to lift depression,” Hinchman stated in the Festival program essay from 1934. “Two years ago, when things seemed at their worst, Laguna Beach decided that something had to be done about it. Therefore a few of us got together and started a Festival. As we saw it at that time, ‘if people took part in festivities, they could not very well be depressed.’”

Each year, the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters employs a theme in their presentations and selected artworks. In 1938, it was dedicated to “the 20th anniversary of the Laguna Beach Art Association.” In 1998, its theme was “Metropolis;” in 2008, it was “All the World’s a Stage.” This year, in 2018, its theme is “Under the Sun.” 

The beginnings Last Supper

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The tradition of presenting the Last Supper “living picture” began early

In the early 1940s, artist Virginia Woolley initiated children’s art classes at the Festival grounds and the Anna Mary Beck Junior Art Exhibit was started a few years later at the Festival. Both programs are still enjoyed today. 

Thanks to a successful deal made with the Irvine Company in 1941, the Irvine Bowl Recreation Park was dedicated as the permanent home of the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters, only one year before the only hiatus of the Festival and Pageant, from 1942-1945. Due to the international struggle of World War II, the Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters halted events for four years.

In 1953, a new stage was built for the Irvine Bowl and Pageant and in 1957, local architect and former Pageant Director Don Williamson designed and built the hyperbolic paraboloid Dining Pavilion (now known as Terra Laguna Beach). 

The beginnings restaurant 1957

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Hyperbolic paraboloid Dining Pavilion (1957) is now known as Terra Laguna Beach

The Festival of Arts has continued to aid in the growth of local arts endeavors. Throughout its history, funds generated by the Festival helped support the Community Players, Community Concert Association, Civic Ballet Company (later Ballet Pacifica), Chamber Music Society and Lyric Opera (later Opera Pacific), the School of Art & Design (now Laguna College of Art + Design), and the Festival Chorale. Festival resources also supported some exhibits and weekly art classes at the Art Association Gallery (now the Laguna Art Museum). According to the Festival of Arts Foundation, the Festival of Arts along with the Foundation cumulatively has awarded nearly $2.6 million in grants to the art community in Laguna Beach, including funding to the local high school, LOCA Arts Education, The Laguna Playhouse, Laguna Art Museum, Laguna College of Art + Design and many others.

In 2002, the Festival committed to an additional 40 years of creativity and enchantment with the Festival and Pageant when they signed a lease with City of Laguna, through 2041.

“The Festival of Arts is truly fortunate to count among its exhibitors some of the most talented artists in Orange County,” says current Festival of Arts president David Perry. “It’s not only our mission but our privilege to provide them with a forum in which to share their creativity with hundreds of thousands of visitors each summer. And since their works are available for purchase, patrons have the opportunity to bring home amazing, original pieces to be enjoyed for a lifetime.”

Festival of Arts founder John H Hinchman’s statement in the 1934 Festival program essay continues to ring true throughout the Festival and the Pageant, all these years later. “It is the people who buy the arts, go to the dances, applaud the actors, or take part in its pageantry that really make the Festival of Arts.”

Be sure to visit Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters this summer, running through September 1.  

Keep an eye out for our next article in Stu News Laguna on Laguna’s past as future.


Laguna resident Tala Brinderson opens Infinity Kids, which offers specialized therapies for children with unique needs

By DIANNE RUSSELL 

Tala Brinderson and Amanda Fink, Occupation Therapists and founders of Infinity Kids, move fast. This past April, Brinderson and Fink decided to become “OTpreneurs” and quickly founded Infinity Kids pediatric therapy group, which opened its doors in Lake Forest two months later. 

Infinity Kids specializes in treating infants to school-aged children with developmental delays, Sensory Processing Disorder, Autism, feeding and/or swallowing delays, language difficulties, and other genetic and neurological disorders. 

Tala Brinderson, born and raised in Laguna Beach, always knew she wanted to work with children with special needs. She learned about the Occupational Therapy profession after going to college and immediately took the required pre-requisites for graduate school. She earned a Masters in Occupational Therapy from USC and worked in pediatric settings for several years before deciding to be a stay at home mom. 

She says, “Becoming a mother of two boys, now two and a half and four years old, and being surrounded by new parents, increased my passion for working with families. I felt fortunate to have a background in child development and wanted to share my experiences with others.”

Laguna resident closeup

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Laguna’s Tala Brinderson, co-founder of Infinity Kids

But what sparked the idea of Infinity Kids? Realizing a need.

Brinderson reports that current research shows that because children today are exposed to increased technology and decreased outdoor play opportunities, there is a rise in sensory and motor issues such as decreased attention and strength, poor posture, increased aggression and irritability, lack of coordination, impaired speech, trouble reading, and picky eating. Due to this, Brinderson began treating children privately in their homes and realized the need for connecting families with the proper information and services to support their child’s growth.

And so, partnering with co-founder Fink, the concept of Infinity Kids came to fruition.

Like Brinderson, Fink has a passion for working with children and grew up spending much of her time playing with children of all abilities. She received a Masters of Occupational Therapy from Pacific University and has since worked full-time as a pediatric occupational therapist, completing her advanced practice certification in swallowing disorders. Fink’s passion in helping children learn to eat began in 2014 when her daughter was born with a congenital heart defect. 

Laguna resident baby

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Submitted photo

Occupation Therapy offered for feeding and swallowing delays 

Her daughter lost her ability to eat while undergoing open-heart surgery and Fink worked with many specialists to relearn those lost skills. Becoming a mother, and a mother of a child with a special need, enabled her to understand the depth of love parents have for their children. She now has two children, four years old and nine months old.

Infinity Kids seems to be the perfect setting to utilize both Brinderson and Fink’s experience, expertise, and love for helping children. “Infinity Kids consists of a multidisciplinary team that believes in looking at the whole child using a family-centered approach. We want the best for the children in our community and believe in starting the therapeutic process early. All of our therapists have years of experience in pediatrics with specific certifications​ enabling us to provide the most evidenced based treatment.” 

Brinderson says, “One feature that sets Infinity Kids apart from other clinics is its outdoor space and garden. The space was created to mimic a child’s natural environment and help children transition newly acquired skills into their home environment. We felt having a garden would be a great way to involve kids in the process of planting to enhance their sense of touch and curiosity about where their food comes from.”

Laguna resident gardening

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Submitted photo

Kids learn about planting in specially designed garden area

The group’s mission also appears to set them apart from other clinics: “Infinity Kids’ mission is to enable all children with and without a diagnosis to participate in all their daily occupations to the best of their ability through play. Infinity Kids consists of a multidisciplinary team that believes in looking at the whole child using a family-centered approach. 

“Working with pediatric therapists from different disciples (occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech and language pathologists, and marriage and family therapists) enables us to collaborate together for the best benefit of each child we treat. All of our therapists have numerous years of experience in pediatrics with advanced certifications enabling them to provide the most evidenced based treatment.

“At Infinity Kids, we strongly believe in and support Functional Medicine. With Functional Medicine, focus is shifted to the root cause of disease as that cause can be contributing to the problems that ensue afterwards. The goal is therefore to treat the whole body as a system, not just the symptoms.”

In response to the question of how they chose the name for the clinic, Brinderson replies, “The name Infinity Kids was an obvious choice for us as occupational therapists, because the infinity symbol is something frequently used in therapy to address ‘crossing midline.’ We believe that every child deserves infinite opportunities and possibilities to succeed in life.” 

And it appears that Infinity Kids has everything in place to do just that.

Infinity Kids is located at 22691 Lambert St #502, Lake Forest.

For more information, go to www.infinitykidsoc.comor call (949)273-6503 go to


Two Laguna locals unite to help women in the US and around the globe

Suzy Elghanayan and Sarah Vanderveen first came together as co-room moms for their sons’ third grade class at El Morro Elementary. More than a decade later, their boys are college sophomores and Suzy and Sarah’s endeavors together have multiplied. 

On Sunday, September 16 at The Ranch at Laguna Beach, they and their husbands will join forces with a committee of twenty-six others to raise awareness and much needed funds for the Tahirih Justice Center by hosting its Inaugural Gala in Orange County. 

The Tahirih Justice Center is a national, nonprofit organization that protects courageous immigrant women and girls who refuse to be victims of violence by elevating their voices in communities, courts, and Congress. Committed to promoting the equality of women and men, Tahirih works to create a world where all women and girls can live in safety and with dignity. 

Two Laguna group

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Submitted photo

(L-R) Sarah Vanderveen, Suzy Elghanayan and Tahirih Major Gifts Officer Carey Eisenberg at Lugano Diamonds

Lugano Diamonds, the first sponsor to sign on for Tahirih’s Inaugural Gala in Orange County, has created a jewel-encrusted dove that will represent man and woman – two wings of the bird of mankind which, until equal in strength, will not soar to the greatest of heights. This original Tahirih-inspired creation will be auctioned off at the Gala.

Since 1997, Tahirih has answered more than 25,000 pleas for help from women and girls seeking protection from gender-based human rights abuses such as rape, domestic violence, female genital mutilation/cutting, forced marriage, and human trafficking. As the only national, multi-city organization providing a holistic model of service – including free legal and social services, policy advocacy, and training and education for frontline professionals – Tahirih displays the highest levels of efficiency and effectiveness.

In this current climate of #MeToo and #TimesUp, it is more important than ever to come together in support of organizations like Tahirih. If you would like to make a difference in the lives of thousands of women and girls and add your name to the list of generous supporters, sponsors, and auction item donors, visit www.Tahirih.org/OCGala today. 

For more information on Tahirih and its work in California and around the globe, please contact Carey Eisenberg at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Party on for Laguna Beach Art Association’s 100th Birthday

Laguna Beach Art Association is turning 100! Laguna Art Museum invites everyone to come out and share in the fun on Saturday, Aug 25, and celebrate the nonprofit’s platinum jubilee.

To celebrate the official day on which the Laguna Beach Art Association was founded in 1918, the museum will host a free day with art activities, docent-guided tours, community partner programs, and a birthday cake. This family-friendly event will be a day-long celebration of the historic milestone.

LAM celebrates window

The schedule of events includes:

10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Free docent-led exhibition tours. Open to all ages.

1 to 2 p.m. – Remarks, proclamation by Orange County Supervisor Lisa Bartlett, live music, and cake.

2 to 5 p.m. – Family activities presented by community arts partners. Celebrate local art, music, and dance in Laguna Beach with interactive stations, art activities, face-painting, and more.

LAM is located at 307 Cliff Dr.

For more information, go to www.lagunaartmuseum.org or call (949) 494-8971.


Lagunans of all ages come together to jive to ABBA

Photos by Scott Brashier

Lagunas of all ages 1

Lagunas of all ages 2

Lagunas of all ages 3

Lagunas of all ages 4

Lagunas of all ages 5

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ABBA Gold brought Lagunans of all ages together on Sunday at Bluebird Music in the Park. This week’s concert will feature Room at the Top, a Tom Petty tribute band, starting at 5 p.m.


Studio at Montage receives 2018 Wine Spectator Grand Award for fifth consecutive year

Studio, Forbes Travel Guide Five-Star fine dining and signature restaurant at Montage Laguna Beach, has again earned the top and most coveted Grand Award from Wine Spectator magazine. A full profile of winners iappears in the August 31 issue of Wine Spectator and is available online at www.Restaurants.WineSpectator.com.

According to industry leader Wine Spectator, “The Grand Award, the program’s highest honor, is the ultimate recognition for restaurants with world-class wine programs. This coveted award is presented to restaurants that show uncompromising, passionate devotion to the quality of their wine program. 

“These wine lists, which typically have 1,000 or more selections, deliver serious breadth of top producers and outstanding depth in mature vintages, in addition to selections of large-format bottles. Along with superior presentation of the wine list and its excellent harmony with the menu, these restaurants offer the highest level of wine service. Wine Spectator inspects all candidates for the Grand Award to evaluate the overall dining experience and cellar.”

Studio receives landscape

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Submitted Photo

Studio receives 2018 Wine Spectator Grand Award for fifth year 

“Only 91 restaurants in the United States and 75 other countries have been recognized as Grand Award winners this year, and our sommeliers and culinary team are honored to be a recipient,” said Wine Director Troy Smith. “This distinction is a welcome affirmation of the fine work our sommeliers put in each and every day.”

Studio’s extensive list includes collections from California, Burgundy, Rhône, Bordeaux, Italy, Champagne and Spain, and the restaurant’s wine program is comprised of approximately 2,500 selections with 30,000 bottles in inventory.

The restaurant’s sommelier team is comprised of four full-time sommeliers, three of whom hold the advanced sommelier diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers. Ongoing education of the entire service staff is a priority, including weekly blind tastings as well as annual sommelier certification examinations in conjunction with the Court of Master Sommeliers.

In addition, the wine list at Studio, which is highly dynamic and constantly evolving, features a variety of formats with a particular focus on half bottles, giving guests the opportunity to enjoy a wide range of unique wines as part of its 129 ml selections. This list includes rare, not widely available, verticals from BOND Estates produced by legendary oenophile Bill Harlan.


Summer Breeze Bus service offers free ride into town

Climb aboard the free Laguna Beach Summer Breeze bus, and enjoy all of the town without the driving and parking hassles – or at least, this is what Lagunans need to tell their friends and relatives who hope to visit and avoid traffic.

Summer Breeze riders park at the lot near SR-133/I-405 freeway and catch the bus to festivals as well as all the other Laguna attractions.

The Summer Breeze Bus service runs every weekend from June 30 – September 2 on each Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. - midnight, and travels from the SR-133/I-405 parking lot along Laguna Canyon Road with stops at the Sawdust Art Festival, Laguna Art-A-Fair, Festival of the Arts, Pageant of the Masters, Laguna Playhouse, and the Laguna Beach Bus Station.

Summer Breeze Bus route

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Submitted Photo

Summer Breeze stops at all the favorite spots in town – and it’s a free service

The sun, surf and sand of Main Beach is only a block from the bus station. The trolley service then connects guests with shopping, local restaurants, and destinations all over town and down to South Laguna.

When the beach day is done, daytrippers can just hop back on the Summer Breeze bus at any of the stops and ride back to the parking lot. 

This service is provided by the City all summer long.

For more information, including the Summer Breeze bus schedule, route map, and directions, visitwww.lagunabeachcity.net. Tell any would-be visitors that they can “Blow freely into Laguna Beach on a sweet Summer Breeze and be returned safely to your vehicle when you’re done.”


President of Dr. Seuss Enterprises talks about the artist’s exhibition, opening on Friday, August 10

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Susan Brandt, president of Dr. Seuss Enterprises, says of the Dr. Seuss exhibition opening on Friday, Aug 10 at Narrative Gallery, “The entire collection is based on works painted but never released to the public. Audrey Geisel, Ted’s widow, decided to include the paintings and reproductions of sculptures.”

Narrative Gallery in Laguna Beach will share a rare and compelling selection of artworks from 20 years of The Art of. Seuss Collection. Visitors can explore and acquire works from Dr. Seuss’s best-known children’s books, as well as The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss, a mind-expanding collection based on decades of artwork, which Dr. Seuss created at night for his own personal satisfaction.

President of Dilemma Fish

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Dilemma Fish

Asked why these works remained unseen, Brandt says, “It’s just speculation, but perhaps he did them only for personal pleasure, as he had already gained fame and notoriety from the children’s books.”

For the last 20 years, Brandt has spearheaded all business activities at Dr. Seuss Enterprises including managing the relationship with Random House, Universal, Illumination, and all global licensees. She spearheads all Dr. Seuss business such as publishing, films, theatrical, theme park, retail, promotion, and television.

Art dealer Robert Chase met Dr. Seuss’s wife, Audrey Geisel, a while back to discuss her late husband’s artwork. While the world knew of Dr. Seuss’s prolific children’s book illustrations, hundreds of major artworks spanning nearly his entire 70-year career had remained unseen.

Brandt says, “Dr. Seuss Enterprises is particularly happy and proud to have worked with Chase on this exhibit.”

President of Ted at easel

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Ted Geisel at easel

This archive included concept drawings and final line drawings painstakingly created for his children’s books, artwork created in the 1930s and 1940s for early commercial projects, and private paintings and sculpture done within the intimate setting of his studio. Both Chase and Geisel believed this Secret Art deserved to be seen and the historic project began nearly two years later, six years after Geisel’s death. 

Perhaps the wackiest and most wonderful elements of the collection are Dr. Seuss’s three-dimensional “Unorthodox Taxidermy” sculptures with names like The Carbonic Walrus, The Two-Horned Drouberhannis, and the Goo-Goo-Eyed Tasmanian

Wolghast, to name a few.

Each of these Estate-Authorized limited editions has been adapted and reproduced from Theodor Seuss Geisel’s original drawings, paintings or sculptures.

Additionally, each work bears a posthumously printed or engraved Dr. Seuss signature, identifying the work as an authorized limited edition commissioned by the Dr.

Seuss Estate.

President of Chase in Forest

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Chase in Forest

The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection has become one of the most comprehensive projects ever undertaken for a deceased artist. Nearly 300 gallery, museum, and public exhibitions have been mounted in this country and abroad over the past 20 years, garnering both critical and popular attention from the art world and the collecting public. 

Three major coffee table books have been published on The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection and 77 limited editions of Seuss imagery have now sold out. Most importantly, Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) has taken his rightful place among America’s greatest artistic talents of the 20th century.

In her preface to the popular coffee table book on this collection, The Cat Behind the Hat, Audrey Geisel writes: “I’m gratified to carry out Ted’s wishes and have these works revealed to the world.”

Join the gallery for a fascinating glimpse into the unique artistic vision of Theodor Seuss Geisel. The exhibit runs from Friday, Aug 10 through Sunday, Sept 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Narrative Gallery, 417 S Coast Hwy. 

For more information, visit www.narrative-gallery.com.


Where’s Maggi?

Maggi wonders if anybody else has hitched their wagon to this wagon. 

Where did she find it? Let her know you’re on to where she found this wagon at its hitchin’ post! 

Submit your answer to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 8 3 18

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One-of-a-kind jewelry by Nancy Golden on display at Nuance Home today

By DIANNE RUSSELL

From noon until 3 p.m. today, Friday, Aug 3, Nancy Golden’s handcrafted one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessories will be showcased at Nuance Home. Golden re-purposes leather from designer handbags and used jackets, adding agates, beads, turquoise, and select links to transform them into stunning necklaces and cuffs. Who would have imagined an old designer bag could have a new life as a gorgeous bracelet?

Trunk show Nancy closeup

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Nancy Golden switched from interior design to jewelry design

Golden had a 36-year career as an interior designer, and was the first designer to launch the DIY network, hosting DIY Decorating and Design, Bare Wall, and Weekend Decorated. She was also guest designer on HGTV’s Decorating Cents and Room for Change and appeared on Nate’s Show (her son Nate Berkus is a famous interior designer and HGTV star).

About eight years ago, Golden switched to jewelry design after she bought a Marni necklace in New York. She then started hunting Goodwill and thrift stores for designer bags and used leather jackets to re-purpose into her jewelry, which she describes as “a rustic style combined with natural elements.” She washes and dries the items, takes them apart and cuts them into small pieces. 

Trunk show leather pieces

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Unique jewelry re-purposed from old leather jackets and designer handbags

A pawn shop in Las Vegas, the city where she lives (she spends summers in Laguna) saves their damaged designer goods for her. She also searches antique stores for finds.

Golden’s pieces are obvious attention getters, as evidenced by people on the street who kept asking her where she got her jewelry. That’s when she decided to start selling them. And because she makes things to her taste, she doesn’t do custom orders. 

“I make things I want to wear myself,” Golden says. “That’s my inspiration. Last year she ran into Lisa McDennon, the owner of Nuance, which has been open since 2014. 

McDennon is also a designer and founded her Laguna Beach-based interiors firm, Lisa McDennon Design, in 2000.

Trunk show Nuance

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Nuance is located at the historic Old Pottery Place

With the launch of her first home and lifestyle boutique at the historic Old Pottery Place, McDennon brought her award-winning aesthetic to the world of retail.

Nuance showcases McDennon’s modern, sophisticated style with custom furniture, lighting, and linens. The boutique is currently featuring some examples of McDennon’s new lighting collection for Hinkley Lighting, the Lisa McDennon Collection for Hinkley. 

Nuance sounds like the perfect place for Golden’s one-woman trunk show. 

Golden says, “I had a few pieces at Nuance last year, but not a trunk show. This is my first one there.” She’s had two shows in Las Vegas, and a few years ago, she had a couple here in Laguna (at Just Looking and Brass Tack). 

“I never wanted to have my pieces on permanent display in a store,” she says. “I think when people go to an art fair or trunk show, the artist needs to be there to talk about their work.”

And it should be quite interesting to hear Golden explain how an old jacket or designer handbag ended up as a stunning piece of jewelry.

Nuance is located at 1200 S Coast Hwy. The phone number is (949) 494-8833.


The HeART of Fashion at the Sawdust beats to a different drum – and that’s what makes it so great

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Stu News shared some of Mary Hurlbut’s wonderful photos of the HeART of Fashion runway show at the Sawdust last Sunday in our Tuesday issue – but that wasn’t enough for our readers, so here are more.

The fashion event showed off the tremendous talents of Sawdust artists who produce and/or work with fabrics, textiles, jewelry and accessories of all kinds. The audience was treated to a wide variety of headdresses, from cloches to triangular Chinese bamboo hats to sharp chapeaus of all sizes and shapes (including a cone-shape to cap it all off).

the heart cloche

the heart headdress

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Hats off to the Sawdust artists, who knew exactly where they were heading with these designs

Not to mention the Red Riding Hood outfit by Reem Khalil, inspired by the fairy tale (no wolf in sight, fortunately, not even a coyote).

Dresses ranged from the floaty to the formal (even a wedding dress!) and included bias-cut tie-dyed dresses as well as outfits conjured up from materials including leather, silk and tulle, with fringes making seriously flippant fashion statements. 

The outfits featured the useful (for example, an egg-carrying apron by Mary Keating, along with other aprons so cute they were worthy to be worn après-anything) to fabulously frivolous frippery to the unexpected – such as Diane Valentino’s lacy “skirt belts” – a modern take on those unmentionables of old: garter belts that held up (preferably) silk stockings.

Even sandwich boards were incorporated into the show, perhaps for those who prefer to keep their figures under wraps?

the heart sandwich

the heart shawl

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Sandwich boards and shawls; scarves and sarongs – all on show on Sunday

Then there were the amazing internationally themed outfits, using bright vintage fabrics, as deployed by Sue Winner (who says that she developed her taste for color when she ate her first crayon at the age of two).

Oh, and there was also a python. A real, butterscotch yellow python – who knew they came in that color? And that such a muscular snake would look so fetching worn around the neck? (I mean, talk about a statement necklace!)

the heart apron

the heart costume

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Amazing aprons! And Asian influences added to the internationalism of the show

Reem Khalil’s contributions were stunning, quite naturally so – she uses organic dyes from cochineal beetles, mushrooms and eucalyptus, among other plants, to add piquancy to her creations.

The emphasis was on the natural in most of the stuff that was strutted on the runway, with American native influences dominating.

Elegance and eccentricity were both prominently on show, contributing to a most excellent event. There were too many great outfits to describe in one article…everyone did a terrific job. Can’t wait for next year!


Tony’s Treehouse donated scholarship for SoCal camper, continuing a Boys & Girls Club tradition

An 8-year-old boy from Long Beach was able to join hundreds of other campers from the Laguna Beach’s Boys & Girl Club community this week – an opportunity made possible through a generous donation from the nonprofit Tony’s Treehouse. 

Founded by local Becky Martinez, the organization has contributed thousands of dollars over the years to help fund special field trips and camp tuition at the Club. The organization is dedicated to continuing the compassionate spirit of Becky’s son, Tony Martinez, by uniting family, friends, and community who are dedicated to improving the quality of life for families in need. Tony and his brother Danny were members of the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach as children. 

“We have a long history with the Club, going back to 1997 when my boys began attending,” says Becky. She explained that back then, as a recent divorcee and working full-time in town as an insurance representative, the Club’s after school program became a lifesaver to her. 

“Better yet, they gave me scholarship funding due to our financial hardship. And it was later, when I lost my youngest boy Tony on December 23, 1999, that we started our charity in honor of his sweet and generous spirit,” she added. 

Tonys Treehouse

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It turns out that RJ had never attended a summer camp before last week, making his time in Laguna Beach, made possible by Tony’s Treehouse, extra special

Since the organization’s inception, Tony’s Treehouse has helped many local families and young people through the years. The group’s connections happen in many different ways: sometimes through friends in local news outlets, or working with homeless advocate groups, which is how they met RJ’s family. 

The mother and grandfather of this bright and sweet child were homeless for a period of time when Becky crossed paths with the family at an OC homeless holiday event. That was back in 2010 when RJ was just a one-year-old, and the family found an apartment thanks to Section 8 housing, in Compton. Now living in a more family-friendly area of Long Beach, the family has been “adopted” by the organization on a personal level, attending holiday, birthday parties, baby showers and other family celebrations. 

However, tragedy struck in 2014 when RJ’s mom and dad lost his newborn sibling to SIDS. 

“They couldn’t afford a grave marker, so our supporters pulled together and raised enough money to provide the baby with a beautiful headstone,” recalled Becky.  “One thing that sets our little grassroots group apart from others is that we develop and nurture long-term relationships with our families,” she reflected, which is why partnering up once again with the Boys & Girls Club – whose mission is parallel – was a natural choice for the organization to fulfill a week long stay at camp for RJ.

CEO of the Club, Pam Estes, added, “We were thrilled to have RJ experience summer camp at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach this summer, where he played, went to the beach and saw tide pools, made new friends – all while connecting with caring mentors in a safe and supportive environment. We hope to see him back next year!” 

For more information on Tony’s Treehouse, visit www.tonystreehouse.org.


Ceremony for graduates of Early Intervention Program packed with pint-sized pomp and circumstance 

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

How many graduation ceremonies have you been to where the grads chew on their diplomas and try to grab their friends’ caps? And get a stuffed “mascot” gorilla named Matilda to boot? Not too many, I’m guessing. Well, then you’ve missed a rare opportunity. The graduation ceremony on Wednesday at the Early Intervention Program (EIP) was full of just that and so much more. 

This is a unique program in many ways. In 1976, the Assistance League of Laguna Beach stepped in when they recognized the need for a program that provided services to families with developmentally delayed and special needs infants from birth until one year of age. At the time, there were no state agencies fulfilling this demand.

EIP is a collaborative program with Assistance League and the Intervention Center for Early Childhood (ICEC). EIP is designed to provide group-based therapy for developmentally delayed infants from birth to one year.

Currently, it is the only program available of its kind, and parents come from all over Orange County, Riverside County, Los Angeles County, and as far as Indio to attend. There is no fee or cost to the participating families.

In a roomful of babies, one would think at least a few might cry or fuss. However, the technicolor decorated room is filled with only the animated voices of parents, visitors, volunteers, and staff as they anticipate the ceremony to come once the regular weekly session commences. 

I stand next to a family whose six-month-old son Maddox just started two months ago. His mother, Lexy Benoit Gioielli of Fountain Valley, says, “We’ve seen incredible improvement both cognitively and in his feeding.”

Ceremony for circle

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Jeanie and Bud lead the group

As parents sit in a semi-circle with their babies in tow, the workshop starts with songs, including a ruckus version of The Wheels on the Bus, and everyone sings along. 

Introducing the ceremony, volunteer Marilyn Cott says, “From the bottom of our hearts, we love all of you. The greatest blessing a child can have is you parents, you are awesome.”

As parents, grandparents, and other family members watch, five babies – Emma, Logan, Dylan, Andrew, Joel – graduate and will soon transition into other programs. (A sixth graduate, Jack, isn’t present.)

ICEC Executive Director Pam Alexander adds, “We honor their first year journey with the kids, their ups and downs, health issues and surgeries and milestones.”

Seventeen-month-old Emma’s entourage of 13 is the largest group in attendance. Her parents, Maggie and Bud Hager from Orange, sit proudly among grandparents and family members on hand to celebrate her progress. 

Bud, who just recently started playing guitar for the weekly sessions, says,” After Emma’s diagnosis a year ago, we connected with the Regional Center of OC, and they said, ‘You must get into this group.’ Now Emma will go to Intervention Center for Early Childhood (ICEC) until she’s three years old.”

Ceremony for Emma

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Emma, with her entourage out of camera range, in her cap and gown 

Emma was diagnosed with pachygyria (in this case, a genetic disorder), which results in severe cognitive and physical limitations, and Maggie and Bud had just been through a month-long bout with Emma in the hospital. 

Bud says, “We were scared the first time we came, but the parents and staff are wonderful. She’s made progress with her vision. When she started, she wasn’t looking at anything, now she’s tracking objects. And her socialization has really improved. She’s super social and sings along to Moana. We’ve also made friends with other parents.”

Pam, who has been with ICEC for 36 years, explains what happens at the sessions, which meet every Wednesday morning from 9 a.m. until noon. The maximum number of babies for the program is 24, and they currently have 20. After these six graduate, 10 will come in. 

During the session, five 15-minute workshops (with three or four babies each) go on at once: gross motor skills, cognitive station, sensory station, feeding area, and fine motor skills. Then the babies rotate when the 15-minute bell goes off, so that all attend each workshop.

“Since the ICEC partnership with EIP, EIP has grown a lot. The program is so much broader,” says Pam. “About 10 years ago, we saw the need and made it more developmentally comprehensive. We employ a physical therapist, two occupational therapists, a special education teacher, and a marriage and family counselor.”

Ceremony for group

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The Graduates (L-R) Emma, Dylan, Logan, and Joel

Support and networking with other parents appears to be critical. At 10:45 a.m., the “rockers” come in, volunteers who rock the babies while Marriage and Family Therapist Jacqueline Lugo conducts a support group for the parents.

A “rocker” for seven years, Susan Velasquez developed a close bond with one of her babies, so much so, she attended the first birthday party.

Therapist Jacqueline says, “It’s a parent discussion in which they talk about their journeys. We provide a snack and coffee. It’s what parents need, time to support each other with parents who get it. Sometimes it’s their first child, and they have to adjust to the medical needs as well as re-evaluate how to connect with each other.”

Juan Pablo Palma of Santa Ana, says of his son Dylan, who is a graduate, “He improves every day.” They will also be transitioning to ICEC in Irvine.

In fact, all of the parents have only high praise and extreme gratitude for this program. And it’s easy to understand why. I’ve never encountered a more loving and nurturing group of staff members and volunteers.

Graduate Joel’s mom, Christina Chen, says, “He’s only been here a few months, but we’ve seen an improvement in both his gross and fine motor skills. It’s been such a big help the past few months. He’s hitting some of the goals. Maybe he won’t need therapy much longer. I’m really grateful for this program.”

Upstairs in the feeding area, 14-month-old newly graduated Logan finishes a snack as his mother, Bella Jones, talks to Occupational Therapist Julie Dawson. Bella says, “He’s been here three months and has improved quite a bit. They not only work with him, but give us the tools, so we can work with him at home.”

Ceremony for Logan

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Logan seems unsure of the cap

Nancy says of her grandson, graduate Andrew, “We’ve been coming here since April. I’ve seen improvement. He wasn’t sitting up when we started.” 

And how is this amazing program funded? 

President of the Assistance League, Carrie Joyce, answers that question. “It’s subsidized by the Assistance League. The parents appreciate it so much. Some didn’t realize that there’s no charge at all.” 

She continues, “Much of the support comes from the Thrift Store. Some groups of women meet there on certain days. They call it the Nordstrom of thrift shops.”

Support also comes from grants and donations.

“Volunteers are always needed,” Carrie emphasizes. “Last year, the 180 Assistance League members put in a total of 74,401 volunteer hours.” 

Carrie calls EIP, “The hidden gem of Laguna Beach.”

And after spending time with the staff, volunteers, parents and babies, I have to agree with her. 

Thanks to Kathy Pawluk for the invitation to the ceremony and the warm welcome.

For more information about the EIP, call (949) 494-6097, visit the office at 547 Catalina St, or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Ten palms tilt toward the twilit sky

Photo by Tom Berndt

Ten palms tilt

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Artists and creatives get the chance to express their opinions in a survey aimed to make a difference

A survey to assist in an effort to ensure affordable creative working and living spaces for artists in Laguna Beach has just been launched by the City, which is leading the feasibility study phase of this initiative and has engaged Artspace, a national nonprofit, as a consulting partner.

The idea is to develop policies and programs that offer artists the opportunity of long-term affordable creative space, said Sian Poeschl, Laguna’s cultural arts manager.

“It is vitally important to get the greatest amount of participation in this survey in order for Artspace to be able to provide our community with broad based ideas and programs for affordable artist space. Artists’ input is part of forming that recommendation and looking towards our arts future,” Poeschl added.

One path could be new workspace and another, new initiatives that help artists remain in existing spaces that do not currently comply with local regulation and/or may require capital improvements. Housing-only, live/work, work/live and studio or creative work-only spaces in Laguna Beach, combine to form the focus of this study. 

artists and sign

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From Stu News files

Laguna Beach needs plenty of affordable spaces for artists to create

Survey responses will influence the types of policies, spaces and programs that will be considered and prioritized in an effort to address the affordable space needs of Laguna Beach’s creative sector. 

The City notes, “We are interested in the individual space needs of all self-identified artists and creatives, and those sharing and preserving their cultural traditions, who have a sincere commitment to their art, creative and cultural work in any and all of its forms. If you consider your work to be a form of art or creative expression, then we probably will, too.

“Individuals need not make any income from their art or creative work or pursue their practice full time. We consider individuals to have a commitment to their art, cultural or creative work if they have or are developing a body of work, have studied or are actively training in their art/cultural/creative work, have a desire to grow as an artist or work professionally in their field and/or are actively engaged in the creation and expression of their art.”

How the survey evolved

At the request of City of Laguna Beach’s leadership, Artspace held a series of community meetings in August 2017 to elicit feedback and gauge interest in new creative space. Resulting recommendations to test further included a series of options ranging from new, small scale artist housing projects to a non-residential art center, to addressing zoning and density regulations that negatively impact the feasibility of long-term affordable creative spaces in Laguna Beach. 

This survey is the next critical phase of this work.

Contributing toward the next set of recommendations

Take the survey! 

The survey will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. It is best viewed on a computer, laptop or other device with a large screen. 

If you are an artist or a creative, just click on this link to participate: www.artspace.org/CreativeSpaceLaguna.

The eadline to complete the survey is September 14.

Please note, the City advises that this survey is for research purposes only. Your responses will be maintained as anonymous and if you choose to provide your contact information for future updates or to be entered into the drawing for a $200 gift certificate, it will not be shared with other organizations.

Please forward this survey link to your friends and colleagues and share it in your social networks. A large response will provide the most useful information! 

If you have difficulty taking the survey, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Chef Ryan’s Fried Chicken Night: perfect summer fare

By DIANE ARMITAGE

As a dedicated foodie and restaurant reviewer, there’s nothing better in life than discovering a truly talented chef who doesn’t take himself (or herself) too seriously. When a chef takes the time to chat with you and proves more excited about creating amazing food than you are trying it, that chef has added a whole new dimension to your dining experience.

Chef Ryans Fried Ryan

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Photo courtesy 370 Common Kitchen + drink

Chef Ryan Adams

This has always been the case for me with Chef Ryan Adams. The seven-year owner of our Laguna Beach-based 370 Common Kitchen + Drink, Chef Ryan is a rather introspective dude who quietly runs a cadre of restaurants and consults on seemingly every other restaurant project, too. 

370’s shift to sustainable

To this day, Chef Ryan looks entirely too young to possess such a remarkable resumé. Ryan was designing menus and kitchens back when David Wilhelm still commanded much of our city’s dining experience, and Ryan has continued to consult for a number of restaurants in the same manner.

He does this in his “spare” time while also acting as the head of all operations and menu development at 370 Common Kitchen, recently opening the unique Parallel Pizzeria in Dana Point (April 2018, see my review at TheBestofLagunaBeach.com) and also opening his latest concept, Buttermilk Fried Chicken in Old Towne, Orange (July 2018).

Initially the Executive Chef at Sorrento Grille (anybody out there remember Sorrento?), Chef Ryan purchased the restaurant in 2011 with Three Seventy Common’s concept in mind. Establishing a new farm-to-table, comfort food theme, he opened his doors on October 21, 2011 and has seen a never-ending stream of fans ever since.

“People today want to know where their food comes from,” says Chef Ryan. “The whole concept here is about sustainable cuisine while supporting local farmers in our area. I think just having those two facts in your head is going to make your food taste more awesome.”

The importance of “Gluten Free,” foodie fashion

More awesome it is, indeed. And comfort food – oh, most definitely. But Chef Ryan fails to mention yet another rare caveat at 370 Common – a significant gluten-free offering of options that support people who suffer Celiac disease.

“I actually designed the gluten-free items to cater to our bartender, John Doll,” says Chef Ryan.

“John was so sick at one time that his doctors thought he had cancer before they figured out it was Celiac. As we all went through this scare with him, I realized just how serious this is for so many people. So, we offer a number of items that are gluten-free, and the majority of our menu items can be configured to gluten-free requests.”

And the importance of “Foodie Food,” period.

For the record, Chef Ryan’s famous Fried Chicken Night, served every last Sunday of the month, is not entirely gluten free, but he’s working on it.

 The good news in the Fried Chicken corner, however, is that he’s now serving chicken every month of the year. Initially, Chef Ryan refused to do his Fried Chicken Night in winter months as chickens with a lot of body fat (thanks to winter months) don’t take to the breading (a lesson his grandmother taught him). A couple years ago, though, he found a local farmer who maintains farm-raised chicken with less than 25 percent fat content year-round. Problem solved!

Chef Ryans Fried Chicken

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Photo by Diane Armitage

It’s Fried Chicken Night on the last Sunday of the month

Anyone who’s tried Chef Ryan’s Fried Chicken night will praise that year-round chicken farmer because Chef’s chicken is some kind of special. 

Only Fried Chicken and its fixings every last Sunday

After missing my opportunity with a too-late reservation attempt in June, I made my July reservation three weeks early. 

In the interim, a hostess called to remind me that this is just Fried Chicken Night. Don’t expect to be ordering from the main 370 Common menu – you can do that 353 other days of the year. Twelve days of the entire year are reserved for the hallowed Fried Chicken Night, and it is hallowed, indeed. 

I trotted in with my good friend, Ruben Flores, at 5:30 p.m. and the place was already hopping. While an air conditioner tried its best to cool the guests, the muggy, hot Sunday refused to be budged. That was just alright with me…who wants to eat fried chicken in a refrigerator box? Fried chicken is something my Grandma used to start fixing at 10 a.m. in her Lincoln, Nebraska kitchen. It always tasted best with the drape of humidity in that old farmhouse and the burr of locusts in every tree outdoors. 

Heaps of food, just like Grandma’s table

Our server, Juan, was efficient and effusive. There was no need to order as the entire menu was already neatly laid out for us. 

We started with Watermelon + Arugula Salad, served family style. It was fresh, peppery bites of arugula, basil, slim onion strips and sherry vinaigrette coupled with sublime and cooling mint and healthy chunks of watermelon. 

Then, just like Grandma’s dinner table, all the side dishes showed up at once in heaping platters – Garlic Mashed Potatoes already ladled in gravy, fresh Green Beans sautéed briskly in shallots and garlic, freshly shorn and dressed Coleslaw and Smoky Braised Greens (it looked to be a mix of collard and Swiss chard) with marvelous house-cured pork belly and chiles tucked into the dark green folds. 

Then, Juan plunked the bucket o’ Fried Chicken down right in the middle. Glory, our wide eyes must have looked like our 8-year-old selves. It was a giant bucket filled to the brim with at least 10 pieces of gloriously crisped chicken.

I can count on one hand the few food items in my life whose aroma alone makes me an instantly happier human…freshly brewed coffee, fried bacon, grilled steak, fresh-baked cookies and fried chicken (oddly, none of these are very calorie conscious, are they?). 

Perfect summer evening fare

Our conversation stopped as the aroma wafted up from the bucket o’ pure gold. We didn’t even fight over the chicken parts. 

The chicken arrived with a small pitcher of maple syrup, but the brown gravy was so good that it became my go-to for an occasional dip. And, aside from the perfectly mashed potatoes, the side dishes were fresh and bright tasting, a great balancing act to the chicken dish. 

After we had the hefty remainders boxed up, they brought out the finale – Coconut Cake. We each took a bite of our cake slabs but were too stuffed to venture any further. They were boxed to go as well.

What a perfect summer evening thing to do. And, what a perfect way to bring summer’s love to the forefront in our winter months when the rain comes down.

Congrats to Chef Ryan Adams for daring to be innovative…and packing the house every last Sunday.

Fried Chicken Night pricing is $42 for adults and $21 for kids. Drinks, tax and gratuity are extra. Get your reservations in early for Sunday, Aug 26! 


Barbara’s Column

Cops raise more than $24,000 in tips

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Beach Police Department employees provided more than their usual services to the public on July 28. 

They took orders from customers at Ruby’s Diner in South Laguna and served drinks and meals – all for tax-deductible tips to donate to Special Olympics Orange County. The third annual Tip-A-Cop raised $24,000, as of Wednesday, to fund year-round sports training and athletic competitions for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

“We had almost $500 in donations before the event even started,” said department Emergency Operations Coordinator Jordan Villwock. “Most of us [police employees] have made donations. We lead by example.” 

barbara alex golf

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Alex won his medals playing golf

The event has been held at Ruby’s for two years, since the police first came to owner Steve Craig looking for a venue. 

“It’s nice to have a partner who knows the importance of supporting the Special Olympics and how it affects the athletes,” said Sgt Jim Cota. “Ruby’s opened its doors for us and it’s gotten better and better each year.”

Cota and his partner, Joe Gorim, a Special Olympics participant for 13 years, ended up collecting $1,702 and change in donations. “I couldn’t believe it. We got a couple of $100 bills and two $500 credit card donations.”

Cota himself got it started with a personal donation of $60 before he began wandering through the crowd that was oohing and aahing over the display of classic cars supplied by Dan Kang at the behest Lt Joe Torres, organizer of the event. 

“Joe Torres asked me last year what we could do for Tip-A-Cop,” said Kang. 

What he did in 2017 and again this year was to bring a stunning display of vehicles that included a couple of McLarens, Lamborghinis and Porsches. 

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The classic cars wowed the crowds

The crowd also had the opportunity to chat with Cody Walker, brother of the late Paul Walker, star of the “Fast and Furious” movies, which featured, among other things, some spectacular four wheel drifts. For the uninitiated, a four-wheel drift is when a driver deliberately over-steers, losing traction in the rear – or all – wheels while maintaining control of the vehicle. They are things of beauty. But don‘t try it on Laguna streets or the cops will be stopping you for more than donations to a good cause.

Exhibits at the fundraiser also included a police car, motorcycle, and police K-9 unit, along with the classic vehicles always parked in front of Ruby’s.

Parents of Special Olympic participants volunteered for the event, which began at 10 a.m. and ran through 3 p.m. on a torrid Sunday. But no sweat.

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Sgt Cornelius Ashton suits up (or should it be hats up?) with Skylar

“This is awesome,” said Tim Stuart, a Special Olympics coach for 18 years. 

He was a volunteer at the booth selling Special Olympic souvenirs, along with Sue Grasso and Teresa Hogan, both with children who are Special Olympics competitors. 

“It’s the best thing for the kid’s health, self-esteem and friendships,” said Hogan. “But the friendships are the most important,” interjected Grasso. 

Laguna Beach businessman Chris Keller and Amy can’t wait until their 4-and-a-half-year-old son Rocco is old enough to participate. Rocco is officially a pre-competitor until he is eight and becomes a “Young Athlete.”

Rocco had a lot of role models at the event.

Special Olympics athlete Selene Diarte has competed in bowling, bocce ball, and volleyball for five years. Sara Thiel competes in softball, softball, floor hockey and baseball. She went to China in 2007 for the World Games. Alex Diaz, who was serving shakes, volunteered his time to Tip-A-Cop for the second time.

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Elena, Officer Milot, Max Grasso, Juliana and Mark Weekland

They were partnered with police employees who participated in the fundraiser, including Sgts Ross Fallah and George Ramos; Beach Patrol members Ashley Flores, promoted this year after three years in the department; and Evan Gauvreau, formerly with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office; and Dispatcher Liz Chavez.

Also on hand: Officers Shar Hairi, Mike Short, Ron Goodwin, Zach Crane, Kyle Milot, and Jeremiah Kennedy; Detectives Abe Ocampo and Joy Butterfield, who has participated in Tip-A-Cop for three years; Police Explorer Marianne Chehayeb and police volunteer Brittney Aguilar.

Other department members at the event: Corporal Cornelius Ashton, recipient of the 2018 Anti-Defamation League’s Helene and Joseph Sherwood Prize for combating hate; business liaison officer Fred Yielding, who deals with bars and restaurants in town; and event veterans Zach Fillers and Raj Patel.

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Officer White enjoys serving the public in every way

The event also included face painting and balloon artist Cameron Rakhshani, who has worked at Ruby’s for the past five years and donated a percentage of his sales to the Special Olympics. 

A police drone filmed the fundraiser. 

“Laguna Beach Police are proud to partner with Ruby’s Diner and the Special Olympics of Orange County,” said Torres, a recent graduate of the Post Command College and organizer of the police employees who volunteered their time for the event.

Donations are still being accepted. Call Torres at (949) 497-0330 or Cota at (949) 464-6671.

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 StuNewsLaguna.com. Contributions are welcomed.


Health in Balance Integrative Medicine and ROOTS will hold Ladies’ Night Out event on Tuesday, Aug 7

On Tuesday, Aug 7, get ready to pamper yourself with Health in Balance Integrative Medicine, which will hold a ladies’ night out event from 5 to 8 p.m. 

Health in Balance is located at 330 Park Ave, Ste 9. 

Health in Balance facial

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Enjoy an organic facial on your ladies night out 

There will be a detox foot bath, vitality and wellness IV, eyebrow and lip waxing, organic facial, and drinks and refreshments, all for only $140, a value of $275. 

Hosted by Health in Balance in partnership with ROOTs the Beauty Underground & the Wax Boutique, this will be an evening where guests and friends can enjoy an evening of rejuvenation.

Health and Balance group

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This evening will include rejuvenation of both you and your friends 

Prepayment is required to reserve your spot. RSVP at www.healthinbalance.com/ladies-night-out or call call 949-497-2553. 


Looking for donors who care about kids beyond Laguna’s borders: Read all about the Playhouse’s unique TheatreReach program

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

TheatreReach: Bringing books to life, developed by the talented Donna Iglima, is unquestionably one of the least well-known and yet among the most resoundingly successful programs offered by the Laguna Playhouse.

Much of the activity takes place beyond Laguna Beach’s boundaries, in elementary schools where kids don’t have much access, if any, to the performing arts with all its trappings – and so it is that TheatreReach doesn’t have a high profile locally, despite its storied 19-year history.

But it should. 

Laguna, as a self-described art colony, is ideally situated to bring the excitement and thrill of the theatre to those in Orange County who lack the opportunity to experience its magic. 

It’s practically our duty, I would say.

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Kids have fun being involved in the plays

“The Playhouse’s TheatreReach is the only program of its kind that presents interactive plays in schools by professional actors based on curriculum books,” says Doug Vogel, director of development at the Playhouse.

“We hear again and again that bringing stories like The Island of the Blue Dolphins or Beyond the Great Horn Spoon to life on the stage makes a big difference to the kids’ interests in history, literature and different cultures – so the program goes way beyond simply sparking an interest in the theatre.”

This is particularly true in Title I low-income schools, where English learners may struggle with the text of prescribed books – but, through the actors, gain an understanding of the flow of the narrative and why the characters behave the way they do.

Two students from every school participated this last season in each performance in small supportive roles, and actors broke “the fourth wall” to engage the young audiences with questions and discussions.

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The audience enjoys participating 

“The plays stimulate creativity and innovation, which is such an important part of the STEAM initiative,” Mike Garman, the Playhouse’s new Grants and Community Outreach Manager.

During its recent spring tour, following some of its 56 performances in front of a total of 7,457 students, TheatreReach also offered hour-long acting workshops. The workshops allow students to explore the fundamental elements of acting from professional TheatreReach cast members, thereby learning how to create characters and convey emotion using their voices, bodies and imagination.

Not only that – but a wonderful side-benefit emerges as the young audiences, shown what goes on behind the scenes, realize the range of job opportunities and vocations that the theatre world offers, from set design and carpentry to jobs as make-up artists or costume designers and so much more. 

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TheatreReach demonstrates vocational opportunities, including set design

”This isn’t just about acting or literature. Engineers and other professionals need to be creative also and TheatreReach stresses the importance of creativity,” Vogel points out.

Testimonials from teachers and, more importantly, the kids, abound.

Writes young Lee Ramirez: “It felt like the characters popped out of my book and they did everything in the book right in front of my own two eyes and I liked this very much.”

“It gave me a tingle like I am in the book because the performers knew all the words and acted all the emotions,” said Devin.

“I loved how they picked two people out of the audience to put in the play,” said Kailiey, echoing many of the kids who enjoyed the interaction between actors and audience.

Vogel notes that it isn’t cheap to implement this ambitious program, especially as the Playhouse would love to extend TheatreReach to more schools. 

“Our budget last year was $180,000, and that was cutting things fine financially,” he says. “Sadly we’re losing one of our most consistent big donors this year, so the situation is becoming dire. We are hoping that people step forward to help fund our 2019 program.”

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Kids have fun interacting with actors

This is a program so very worthy of donor support – particularly donors who aren’t necessarily looking to be credited with a plaque or event named in their honor, but who simply want to spark excitement and ambition in kids who don’t have the kind of exposure to the enriching artistic experiences that most Laguna families can depend on. 

As we focus our efforts on becoming a creative ecosystem, let’s share the brilliance into other communities.

Laguna Playhouse also created an extensive “Study and Activities Guide” – produced and distributed by TheatreReach staff – that was sent to teachers prior to each performance. It included lesson plans, activities for students both before and after reading the book that test knowledge about character and plot, facts about the author, vocabulary activities, as well as book report ideas and research activities. The program ties into completion of the California standards for literature and history units to deepen comprehension and critical thinking skills.

A formal question-and-answer session is conducted at the end of the performance to gauge students’ comprehension and their responses to the story. 

Let’s spread the magic

“In 2019, we hope to secure additional funding to increase the number of schools provided with acting workshops,” Vogel adds.

I remember the first time I saw a play as a young kid – it was beyond magical, and took me to another emotional place entirely – which was what I badly needed at the time. 

Do you recall the worlds such performances opened up for you?

If you do, seriously consider a donation to TheatreReach. The OC community needs Laguna to step up its game beyond our little bubble, and for our City to be an ambassador for the arts – and our Playhouse is ready and willing to be the agent of positive change through this marvelous program.

Call the Playhouse at (949) 497-2787 to find out more. Just ask for Michael Garman or Doug Vogel. 


Laguna Beach Live! features Kristin Korb, Andy Langham, and Dean Koba on Wednesday, Aug 8

As part of the Jazz Wednesday Series at [seven-degrees], Laguna Beach Live! presents bassist and vocalist Kristin Korb along with Andy Langham on piano and Dean Koba on drums. There are few bassists who can sing and there are even fewer who can do it well. Kristin Korb is one of those artists who can make you forget that she is playing the bass when you hear her crystalline voice. 

Laguna Beach Korb

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Bassist and vocalist Kristin Korb performs at [seven-degrees] on August 8

Inspired by the days when music was romantic and made you want to dance, Kristin and her trio embody that spirit and carry their audiences along for the ride. Kristin currently resides in Denmark and is still very involved in educational outreach, teaching at universities, jazz camps and festivals with young students. 

Concerts are from 6 - 8 p.m.; doors open at 5 p.m. for dinner and social hour. Dinner will be served until 7 p.m.; the menu varies by concert. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door. Seating is assigned according to date of purchase, season ticket holders, and Laguna Beach Live! membership. 

For more information including tickets, visit www.lagunabeachlive.org. 

[seven-degrees] is located at 891 Laguna Canyon Rd.


Art Auction for dogs benefits The Little Red Dog Rescue this Saturday at Forest & Ocean Gallery

This Saturday, Aug 4, Art For Dogs, a charity street art auction benefiting The Little Red Dog Rescue of Orange County, will be held at Forest and Ocean Gallery from 5 - 9 p.m. The event will feature a collection of original pieces, limited edition prints and giclées from some of the finest alternative modern artists alive.

Street Art has emerged as the new modern art, with six-figure auction results occurring regularly through the largest auction houses worldwide. This new pop art is the purest form of artist’s expression. The pieces are not made for commercial purposes, social appeal or profit. The outlaws who create this art risk criminal prosecution to give their art away.

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The Street Art community has embraced The Little Red Dog’s Event with donated artworks by Banksy, Shepard Fairey (OBEY), Irony & Boe, SEEN, Icy & Sot x Sonni, Morley, G$ and many others. Come check out this fantastic art being auctioned for a great cause!

RSVP’s are highly recommended. Receive an awesome VIP swag bag, packed full of items for our two legged and four legged friends with your $25 donation.

For tickets, go to www.thelittlereddog.com.

Forest and Ocean Gallery, 480 Ocean Ave. For more information, call (949) 371-3313.


Council/Design Review Board to meet prior to regular meeting at 5 p.m.

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council and Design Review Board will meet at 5 p.m. on Tuesday. The regular council meeting will follow, scheduled to start at 6 p.m.

Council and board will discuss design review application statistics for July 2017-18; air-conditioning applications on which considerable time is spent; a Fire Department requirement for access stairs around an entire structure, which limits landscaping opportunities; and a requirement for a tree or trees in proposed landscaping plans.

The agenda for the council meeting includes an application for a permit for a facelift on the Laguna Playhouse, including improvements that exceed the 18-foot height limit in the Civic Arts District, and a categorical exemption under the California Environmental Quality Act.

An amendment to the municipal code dealing with Accessory Dwelling Units and Junior Accessory Dwelling units and a statutory exemption from CEQA will be reviewed. Council will be presented with options that include Planning Commission recommendations for parking requirements. Another option to be considered is the exclusion of SDUs on lots identified as having impaired access in the city’s General Plan.

The council will also be asked to approve the planting of 10 trees along Coast Highway, with resilient rubber surfacing used as the planting well treatment. With no consensus on tree species or tree well treatments, the Public Works department is recommending approval of the vacant sites that have consensus along the highway, postponing all other tree re-planting until completion of the Downtown Urban Design Plan, in which tree well treatments are determined and a comprehensive planting plan to include tree species is approved. 

A contract for the construction of the Village Entrance is the last item on the regular business agenda.   

Mayor Kelly Body will be absent from the August 7 and 18 meetings due to planned medical procedures. The special meeting on the Historic Preservation Ordinance is scheduled for September 18, when Boyd is expected to be available.


Grammy winning Jeff Lorber Fusion is set to perform at the Festival of Arts tomorrow

The popular Concerts on the Green series, sponsored by Cambria Estates Vineyard and Winery, continues at the Festival of Arts tomorrow, Saturday, Aug 4 from 1 - 2:30 p.m. 

Keyboardist/composer/producer Jeff Lorber, heralded as “one of the founding fathers of fusion,” returns to Laguna Beach with his Grammy winning power trio Jeff Lorber Fusion, featuring bassist/co-producer Jimmy Haslip and drummer Gary Novak.

Trailblazing pianist, composer, producer and bandleader Jeff Lorber is a consummate artist who continues to push himself to new plateaus. A groundbreaking Fender Rhodes pioneer along with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Joe Sample and Bob James, Lorber has triumphed as one of the most innovative musical minds in contemporary jazz. 

Last year Lorber marked his 40th recording anniversary and in January 2018, he scored his first Grammy win for his Jeff Lorber Fusion recording Prototype in the category of Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. The album is a sterling example of his expansive musical roots, masterfully crafted harmonic and melodic sophistication, irresistible finger-poppin’ grooves and intricate rhythmic sense.

Grammy winning Jeff Lorber Fusion

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See Jeff Lorber Fusion perform at the Festival of Arts 

Jeff Lorber’s Fusion came to life in the ‘70s when the pianist attended Berklee College of Music. In 1977 Jeff Lorber Fusion released their self-titled debut. Their 1980 album Wizard Island made the introduction of a then little known Kenny G. The ensemble quickly gained traction and became one of the most popular jazz acts, touring nonstop. In 1982 Lorber made his solo debut with It’s A Fact. 

He scored his first Grammy nomination in 1985 for his radio hit “Pacific Coast Highway” from his album Step By Step. In the 90s Lorber released a successful string of projects including West Side Stories (1994), State of Grace (1996) and Midnight (1998). During this time Lorber also stayed busy producing Michael Franks, Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright and Rick Braun, among others. The prolific pianist continued to add to his accolades with his shining recordings Kickin’ It (2001), Philly Style (2003), Flipside (2005), He Had A Hat (2007, Grammy nominated) and Heard That (2008), Now Is The Time (2010, Grammy nominated), Galaxy (2012, Grammy nominated) Hacienda (2013, Grammy nominated) and Step It Up (2015). Lorber made his first recordings for Shanachie as a member of Jazz Funk Soul with Chuck Loeb and Everette Harp on the albums Jazz Funk Soul and the Grammy nominated More Serious Business. Lorber scored his first Grammy win for his critically heralded Prototype in 2018.

“Jeff Lorber Fusion is one of the hottest bands in jazz right now following their Grammy win earlier this year,” said Susan Davis, director of special events for the Festival of Arts. “We’re honored to have them perform as part of our Concert on the Green series!”

Concerts on the Green are free with Festival of Arts Admission. Limited seating is available in the reserved section for $40 per person per concert, which includes Festival admission. For more information or to order tickets, all (800) 487-3378 or go to www.foapom.com/events/concerts-on-the-green.


President Obama endorses Harley Rouda for California’s 48th Congressional District

Harley Rouda, candidate for Congress in California’s 48th District, has received the endorsement of Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States:

“When I first discussed running for office with my wife and children, in our Laguna Beach home, I could never have imagined that President Obama would throw his support behind our campaign for Congress,” Rouda said.

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Photo courtesy Kaira Rouda

Harley and Kaira Rouda with President Barack Obama

“To me, representing Orange County [and my home town Laguna] includes being transparent, decent, hardworking and accessible. It means building bridges between Democrats and Republicans to prevent drilling off our beautiful coast and to finally address the issue of homelessness in our community,” Rouda added.


Master Chorale of Saddleback Valley announces FOAF grant for 2018/2019 concert season

Master Chorale of Saddleback Valley is very pleased to announce the receipt of a grant of $1,000 from the Festival of the Arts Foundation for the production of its 2018-2019 concert season.

Master Chorale logo

Chorale is comprised of 53 volunteers, singers and non-singers, and has no paid staff. Performers and audiences vary widely with regard to age, sex, income level, educational achievement, and ethnic background.

“We aim to excel in performing challenging, professional-quality music ranging from Tin Pan Alley to classical masterworks,” their website states.

The Master Chorale’s Mission Statement reads as follows: “The Master Chorale of Saddleback Valley is a non-profit, tax-exempt organization dedicated to providing a valuable cultural service to Orange County in the presentation of choral masterworks, and to the encouragement of the musical performing arts in general. In addition, we strive to offer our performers and members of the audience the opportunity to participate in professional level choral masterpieces, and to provide a networking group for music professionals and semi-professionals to enhance and broaden their musical careers.”

The group chiefly serves the greater South Orange County area, but also includes venues in Long Beach, Irvine, Santa Ana, Rancho Santa Margarita, and Laguna Beach.


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Nine candidates have filed to run for city council

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Voters can add Paul Merritt’s name to the list of nine candidates running for a seat on the City Council who have picked up nominating papers from City Clerk Lisette Chel Walker, the city’s Election Official. 

Merritt, a 1965 graduate of Laguna Beach High School, was elected to the Laguna Niguel City Council in 1989, the year the city was incorporated, and re-elected in 1992. He ran both times under the name of Paul M Christiansen.

Merritt showed up on the 2014 list of Laguna hopefuls and after losing that election, ran for the US Senate in 2016, both times using the name of Merritt.

He lost the council race to retiring Mayor Kelly Boyd, Toni Iseman and Rob Zur Schmiede, whose terms are up this December. 

Boyd has declared himself out of this year’s election. Zur Schmiede is definitely in. 

As of Thursday, Councilwoman Toni Iseman had yet to commit officially to running for an unprecedented sixth consecutive term.

Neither Iseman nor declared candidate Peter Blake has picked up nominating papers. Incumbents must file the endorsement papers by August 10. 

The rest of the candidates get an extra five days to file, until August 15, because at least one incumbent is not running. Only Judie Mancuso, who was the first candidate to file an intent to run, and Lorene Laguna have filed their nominating papers. Twenty signatures are required, to be verified as registered voters in Laguna by the Orange County Registrar of Voters. 

Also in the race as of Thursday: Sue Kempf, Ann Christoph, Cheryl Kinsman, Elizabeth Bates and Allison Mathews.


Rowan Reports: Stu News Laguna’s youngest columnist muses on a documentary, a series, and a farm

Story and photos by ROWAN VAN DENDER

With My Own 2 Hands

Twana Twitu, Our Children. That is a quiet but powerful message. It is one that can enlighten a person, and soon after, an entire world. A while back, we did an article about Mary-Beth and Jack Pews’ contribution to the organization “With My Own 2 Hands” [which helps poor villages in Africa gain easier access to clean water]. 

As a way for our family to contribute, we all went to watch the With My Own 2 Hands documentary. It was amazing. 

Rowan reports documentary

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Rowan and her mom at the documentary Twana Twitu

The movie was called Twana Twitu, which means Our Children. It was about the epidemic in Africa called AIDS. When the children were orphaned after their parents caught the virus, a group of women took it into their own hands to care for those kids in need. 

It was interesting to think about the fact that someone could be affected by AIDS this much without even catching the disease. The outstanding work that “With My Own 2 Hands” does allows cities in Africa access to clean water which, in their opinion, contributes to the fight against AIDS. 

Author to Author

“I fell to my knees. My vision swam and my mind raced. The searing pain made its way into my lungs and brain. Then it stopped. My consciousness returned and the spots disappeared. A boy came into focus about three meters away from me. Loki’s smug grin widened. 

“I thought you would like to see your brother,” he said. “Before I destroy the world.” 

This clip was from a new series: “Through the Eyes of the Ravens” by my good friend tristhedemigod, who is an author. Continue reading her work at the website down below. For this article, I thought it best for her to write about how she got into writing. So sit down, relax, enjoy. 

Rowan reports book

“Through the Eyes of the Ravens” by tristhedemigod

“When I was in fourth grade I had the most amazing teacher, Mrs. Pierre. In her class we would do lots of things,” says Trish. “My personal favorite was when we did the writing assignments to hang in the hallway. We would get a grade on those. We got a score from 1-4, four being the highest and one being the lowest. My teacher would motivate us all to keep writing and do our best. Eventually, I changed writing teachers and missed Mrs. Pierre. I started writing in my free time and loved it. I would show all of my teachers, and they seemed pleased with it. I hope I would make Mrs. Pierre proud with this story.” (www.wattpad.com/story/151853324-through-the-eyes-of-the-ravens)

Out in Nature

For this month’s Out in Nature, we went to the Bluebird Canyon Farm. Similar to last month’s work in progress farm, this farm is real and amazing. We were only there for a short time, but enough to make me ponder over the world. 

As soon as we entered the farm, we were greeted by a friendly puppy wearing a bandana, as we smelled the warm scent of new life sprouting. There was no sign saying “Welcome” or even to name the place, but you could sense where you were right away. 

Rowan reports Bluebird Farm

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Pondering nature at Bluebird Canyon Farms

Looking around at my family now, we all seem to have our place. The animals are sleeping, Papa is playing music, Mama is listening to a speaker that inspires her, and I am doing my best to keep up with it all. I find it weird how a humble farm that not a lot of people know about can put a dent in my world. Seeing things as so little makes them so big, and I think that is beautiful. 

Rowan Van Dender (11) loves to write and issues a monthly newsletter about Brooks Street, where she lives. Now she’s also a columnist for Stu News! Readers can read and subscribe to her newsletter at www.beautifulbrooksstreet.com.


Rotary provides Food Pantry with peanut butter power

Rotary recently provided a grant to Laguna Food Pantry with which the nonprofit will purchase peanut butter to get them through the summer months to counter a double whammy: a predictable dip in manpower and food resources, just as summer school break means no federally subsidized lunches for the children of pantry shoppers. 

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Outgoing Rotary Club of Laguna Beach president Stan Carmichael, left, Anne Belyea, executive director of the Laguna Food Pantry, Friendship Shelter marketing and development director Kristin Points, and Rotarian Jerry Catalano celebrate the Rotary’s 2018 grant awards at a recent luncheon

“With this generous funding from the Rotary, we can make sure our shelves are stocked for the summer with plenty of protein-rich peanut butter for kids who are out of school,” noted Belyea.

Every weekday, Laguna Food Pantry collects and distributes 4,000 lbs of free, fresh groceries to approximately 80 families, half of whom have children. Located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Rd north of the Dog Park, the Pantry is open from 8 to 10:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. It is run almost entirely by volunteers. For more information, visit www.lagunafoodpantry.org or call (949) 497-7121.


The eyes have it: Seen on Main Beach

Photo by Susan Smallwood Cooper

Eyes have it on

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See and be seen on Main Beach this summer


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

August 3, 2018

The water’s balmy and the beach is beckoning – see you there!

Dennis 5McWeather turns 71 today. How the hell did I ever pull that one off?! You mean I’m still above ground? Hey, if Keith Richards can make it this far, then there’s hope and I didn’t even have to get my blood changed every month or even every year. Honestly I think it’s in large part having been so immersed in the ocean and the sky that’s helped me pull this off.

Down in the tropical Eastern Pacific after a dormant July we have newly formed tropical storm Hector with 60 mph winds and a central pressure of 999 millibars. Trouble is, he formed way out by the westernmost edge of our swell window, so forget about any swell action from Hector. Skunked again! 

The Southern Hemisphere hasn’t produced much either with only two days of overhead waves and that’s it. There’s plenty of storm action down there in the Roaring Forties storm belt but there’s also a huge elongated ridge of strong high pressure about 20 degrees north of the storm track so the big lows travel directly eastward so all the swell activity focuses on the west coasts of South America, Central America, and deep Southern Mexico leaving us high and dry. These big lows need to track at least to the ENE to fling a good swell all the way up here.

We haven’t had a big Southern Hemi now for almost four years and here we are approaching the midpoint of summer and so far it’s been another fraud. The surf gods have been rough on us for going on four years now. August is supposed to be a prime month for south swells from both sources so let’s hope for some production. Maybe it’s me but Augusts of yesteryear seemed to come through in a big way in the late ‘50s, and through the ‘60s, ‘70s, ‘80s, ‘90s, and early 2000s. Storm tracks are changing and not in a good way. Maybe the environment is mad at Chump, I don’t know!

Local ocean temps for July averaged a balmy 71.8 degrees, about 2-3 degrees above normal and average air temps averaged 81-67, about three degrees above normal.

Have a great weekend, see you at the beach! ALOHA!


Laguna Beach Seniors nonprofit is awarded Festival of Arts grant to support Gallery Q exhibits

Gallery Q at The Susi Q was awarded a $2,000 grant from the Festival of Arts Foundation to showcase and encourage the work of emerging, semi-professional and professional senior artists in Laguna Beach.

Gallery Q is located in the Susi Q Senior Center, home to Laguna Beach Seniors, a nonprofit that has enhanced the lives of seniors for more than 40 years through programs and services that promote independence, wellness, and community.

Laguna Beach Seniors are grateful to the Festival of Arts Foundation for their grant, which will help support five art exhibitions at Gallery Q throughout the calendar year, a spokesperson said.

“Seniors’ lives are positively impacted through involvement with the arts,” said Gallery Q’s newly appointed art director, Bill Atkins, who was introduced at Friday’s artist reception for the current show LOCA@25, currently on view, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., through September 7. 

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Guests attend the LOCA@25 artist reception: (L-R) Ann Christoph, new Gallery Q art director Bill Atkins, and Gallery Q co-arts director Tineke Van Der Vliet

 “LOCA@25” comprises over 50 works, including paintings, mixed media, ceramics, textiles, jewelry, sculptures, prints and photography all submitted by LOCA members, students and teachers. 

LOCA Arts Education is a nonprofit coalition of arts educators, professional artists and advocates interested in arts education for people of all ages. Visit www.locaarts.org for more information.

“Gallery Q started out as an informal showcase, but it’s become much more, thanks to the support of the Festival of Arts Foundation and a limited amount of donors,” said Nadia Babayi, Laguna Beach Seniors executive director. “At Gallery Q, our senior artists redefine themselves as valuable contributors, worthy of acceptance, and given purpose.”

All exhibits are open to the public, and feature a free, opening reception and conversation with the artists. Gallery Q is located at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Senior Center at 380 Third Street. The Gallery is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

For more information about Gallery Q and Laguna Beach Seniors at The Susi Q, visit www.thesusiq.or/gallery-q or call (949) 464-6645.


Farmers’ Market, a culture of fab food and products, friends, and familiarity that brings people back

Story by DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

It’s obviously not Cheers, but on a bustling Saturday, Farmers’ Market is a place where everyone knows your name, or it seems so, as I hear shoppers greeting their friends and favorite vendors. I guess if you see the same people every week, there’s a certain camaraderie and comfort. And that’s not even taking into account the comfort of knowing there’ll always be an extraordinary quality and variety of products filling every space.

The Ballesteros Group has just recently become a co-sponsor (joining Mamas OC Food Services) of the market, and their grocery bag giveaway this last Saturday warranted a special visit and some information gathering. They are hoping to bring in more visitors via social media and word of mouth.

Michi Ward, manager of the market for the past five years, says, “Everyone is so friendly. The booths are all family run. Vendors are either owners or family members of the owners.” Ward has been in farming (Yasutomi) since 1995 and her brother still farms. 

Farmers Market Ballestros

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(L-R) The Ballesteros Family: JJ, Christian, Andrea, Cruz

And I soon find out just how friendly everyone is, vendors and patrons alike.

As the Ballesteros hand out the grocery bags, a shopper takes advantage of the giveaway.

Steve Quarles, a local, has his boys in tow. He says, “We come here once a month, and the first places we hit are the honey stix stand, the juice place, and the Empanada vendor.” 

It appears that everyone has their favorite spots to hit. 

Bart Zandbergen says, “I’ve been coming every Saturday for a long time. I go to the Greek yogurt vendor, green juice, the orchid lady, and the almond guy.”

Dips to die for

And because I love all things avocado, I try the guacamole from the first vendor, Conscious Dips, who has been at the market for four years. 

Miguel Moreno explains, “It’s a small family owned business, and a family recipe that has been handed down in my family from generation to generation.” Alma Ortiz assists him. 

The guacamole is fabulous, and they have several other gluten free, vegan dips.

Sola Foods, which has been at the market for several years, also has a bevy of tasty dips, one that contains feta, and it’s great. They specialize in 100 percent natural sweet and spicy salsas, jams, spreads and relishes. 

Sarah Castillo says, “Come and try them. Your taste buds will thank you.” 

Farmers Market Zukkee

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Alexandria Phillips and her daughter, Sophia, wait on customers

At the market for two and a half years, Zukkee, a bakery stand that caters to people with special dietary needs, has a continuous flow of customers buying breads, cookies and granola. Alexandria Phillips (who co-owns the business with Bill Devin), is the chef, and specializes in gluten free and paleo baked goods. These are Phillips’ original recipes, and she has standing clients who arrive when the market opens and stock up. A woman arrives to purchase several loaves of the vegan sourdough bread, packing them into one of the giveaway bags. Phillips, with the help of her daughter, Sophia, accommodates the crowd of customers. I sample each product, all impossibly good.

Phillips says, “Ninety percent of my customers have special needs diets.”

Although they have online ordering, “Some come from as far away as San Diego and LA,” she says.

One customer, Susan Shusko, who has been coming to the market for 15 years, says, “I found the granola about a year ago and now I’m a regular customer.”

Farmers Market Spice

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Paul Greer, owner of Spice Merchants, has a store in Laguna

Paul Greer, owner of Spice Merchants, has been selling spices, oils, and teas here for four years. He says, “I work directly with small family growers, so the products are direct and fresh. Some of them, I blend in the store.” (In South Laguna in the HIP district.) A few of his specialty rubs are Mushroom Pepper and Rosemary Rapture, and he has pumpkin seed oil that sounds great for baking.

Market like a subculture

At Spice Merchants, I run into Beverly Butler, who has stopped for some steak rub. She’s already bought so much at the market that this is her third trip back from stowing bags in her car. “I’ve been coming forever, for veggies, meat, eggs, pasta, oil, everything. They have the best fruits and vegetables anywhere, and you see the same people every week. It’s like a subculture.”

One of the newest sellers at the market (he’s been a fill-in for two weeks) is LB resident Joe Resnick, who invented a new product called SandErase, a webbed cloth that takes sand off everything – toys, your body, whatever. A former graphic designer, Resnick took two years to develop his product, and from the number of mothers with toddlers hovering around the booth, it appears to be a hit.

Farmers Market SandErase

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SandErase inventor Joe Resnick, a market newbie

I forge on to Blessed Booch, which I soon find out is a woman owned and staffed company that makes artisanal handcrafted kombucha. Founded by local Christy Rumbaugh, the company was born from her passion and belief in the healing powers of kombucha. She began experimenting with home brewing “booch” in the spring of 2015. The flavors are seasonal. The one I bought, white grapefruit and jasmine flower, is incredible (and made from the seller’s father’s grapefruit).

Blessed Booch right next to Bear’s Youthful Elixir

Although they don’t allow dogs at the market, they have products for dogs. Bear’s Youthful Elixir is an all-natural, raw organic vegan dog-food booster. It’s locally crafted and bottled. Invented by pet nutritionist Jeannie O’Donnell, it prevents, promotes, heals, boosters and enhance dogs’ health. She formulated it when her dog, Bear, began showing signs of arthritis, and now the condition is gone. She has been at Farmers’ Market for two months.

Farmers Market Sunny Farms

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Sunny Cal Farms furnishes samples galore 

Sunny Cal Farms anchors a large corner of the market with table upon table of scrumptious fruit and nuts, and samples of everything. Plop your purchases in a basket they provide and you’re in business. Local Shaun Rosendahl, the owner, has been coming here since he was in high school, 20 years ago. Although his company sets up at 15 markets a week, and the products are shipped in, he says, “The best of the best produce comes here.” 

The Farmer’s Daughter

Andrea Ballesteros introduces me to “The Farmer’s Daughter.” And that’s not just a nickname. A real farmer’s daughter, Ashlie, runs her parents stand, Da-Le-Ranch, the only directly sourced meat supplier in Orange County. Her parents own a small sustainable family farm, and all the animals are raised there (including grass-fed beef and lamb, game birds, and rabbit), and they provide free tours of their property. 

“Most of our product is pre-ordered, and the customers pick it up here,” she says.

Ashlie describes Laguna’s market as, “A real foodie market. I fell in love with the community’s passion for food.”

So many vendors, so little time. If one of your favorite sellers wasn’t mentioned here, look for our ongoing series showcasing the vendors. Next time, we will feature Avo-Co and Beachin pure coconut oil, to name just a few, as well as pass on more facts about the market.


Cameron Sharifian, Grand Prize winner in City Photo Contest, talks about his work

The City of Laguna Beach announced the winners of the City’s annual photo contest, and Cameron Sharifian was the Grand Prize winner. The 15-year-old from Laguna Beach was chosen from among 66 photographers, who submitted 185 images.

Cameron Sharifian

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Cameron Sharifian (above) is Grand Prize photo winner

Cameron was excited to be selected. He shared with Stu News that he has been photographing for four years.

“Since I was in the sixth grade,” he said. “I was bored one day, and my mom said, ‘Pick up a camera!’” 

He did, and has been honing his craft ever since. Cameron said he processes his images using Adobe Lightroom as a photo-editing tool.

The image, a stark twilight photo of the shore at Shaw’s Cove, shows an otherworldly twinkling of Laguna Beach city in the distance.

Cameron Sharifian Photo

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Photo by Cameron Sharifian

“It’s Shaw’s Cove in the evening, and I thought it’s different, it stands out – not just a plain sunset,” Cameron said. “It has different things in it: the city, the rocks, the sky has a lot of color in it.”

The photo does stand out. Top among 185 others. Congratulations to Cameron Sharifian!


Blood Drive needs donors this Wednesday at Laguna Presbyterian, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

There is a critical blood shortage nationwide, and you can help by donating this week, right here in Laguna Beach. This Wednesday, Aug 1, Laguna Presbyterian Church and the American Red Cross will host a Blood Drive, from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at the Tankersley Hall (located between Sanctuary and Preschool).

The current lack of blood donations nationwide represents some 80,000 units. How much can Laguna contribute? Get over to Laguna Presbyterian and find out! Take the time to donate, and help alleviate the critical blood supply shortage.

Appointments are available from 10:30 a.m. through 3:45 p.m. by signing up at www.redcrossblood.org using sponsor code: lagunap.

Walk-ins will be welcome starting at 11:15 a.m.

blood red cross

All donors are encouraged to complete the Rapid Pass registration online, on the Red Cross website, the day of their scheduled donation. 

“All donors who come to give blood will received a $5 Amazon gift card via email, as our way of saying thanks during this time,” said Laura Rudd, Red Cross Coordinator.

The Red Cross is actively recruiting new blood donors. Their statement reads: “As an American Red Cross blood drive partner, you know the importance of recruiting new blood donors for your blood drive. But did you know, for the past four years, new donors have declined by about 80,000 each year? 

“New donors ensure there’s enough blood to help save patients’ lives. You are a critical partner to the success of the American Red Cross Missing Types campaign by helping to recruit more than 300,000 new and lapsed blood donors this summer to replace the missing blood types!”

Sandy Grim, the Laguna Presbyterian Blood Drive Coordinator adds, “Do something now to sign up, invite/tell friends and family, and/or go to another Blood Donation Center/Hospital if they can’t make our mid-week event here in town.”

Sign up online at www.redcrossblood.org or contact Red Cross Coordinator Laura Rudd at 949.439.0551 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


A wonderful opening reception included the artist Brian Hamill as speaker at Forest & Ocean Gallery

Julie Laughton, who has staged an exhibition of fine art photographer Brian Hamill’s photographs, welcomed the artist as speaker for the opening reception on July 28. Titled “Tests of Time,” at The Forest & Ocean Gallery, the exhibit features Hamill’s portraits of subjects such as Muhammad Ali, Tina Turner, John Lennon, the Rolling Stones, Woody Allen, Robert DeNiro and a plethora of Kennedys.

Hamill spoke at the reception for about 45 minutes, and the crowd of locals and visitors at Forest & Ocean gallery were enthralled.

“It was just a wonderful reception,” a beaming Laughton said.

A wonderful opening F and O Hamill

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Brian Hamill (above, left) and Julie Laughton: the artist spoke about his art photography at opening reception

The exhibit is planned to run until August 27, but Laughton hopes for longer.

A collection of Hamill’s fine art prints will be available for sale. 

A detailed profile of the artist and examples of his work can be found at www.brianhamill.com.

Forest & Ocean Gallery is located at 480 Ocean Ave.

For more information, go to www.forestoceangallery.com or call (949) 371-3313.


Grammy winning Jeff Lorber Fusion is set to perform at the Festival of Arts this coming Saturday

The popular Concerts on the Green series, sponsored by Cambria Estates Vineyard and Winery, continues at the Festival of Arts this Saturday, Aug 4 from 1 - 2:30 p.m. 

Keyboardist/composer/producer Jeff Lorber, heralded as “one of the founding fathers of fusion,” returns to Laguna Beach with his Grammy winning power trio Jeff Lorber Fusion, featuring bassist/co-producer Jimmy Haslip and drummer Gary Novak.

Trailblazing pianist, composer, producer and bandleader Jeff Lorber is a consummate artist who continues to push himself to new plateaus. A groundbreaking Fender Rhodes pioneer along with the likes of Herbie Hancock, Joe Sample and Bob James, Lorber has triumphed as one of the most innovative musical minds in contemporary jazz. 

Last year Lorber marked his 40th recording anniversary and in January 2018, he scored his first Grammy win for his Jeff Lorber Fusion recording Prototype in the category of Best Contemporary Instrumental Album. The album is a sterling example of his expansive musical roots, masterfully crafted harmonic and melodic sophistication, irresistible finger-poppin’ grooves and intricate rhythmic sense.

Grammy winning Jeff Lorber Fusion

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See Jeff Lorber Fusion perform at the Festival of Arts 

Jeff Lorber’s Fusion came to life in the ‘70s when the pianist attended Berklee College of Music. In 1977 Jeff Lorber Fusion released their self-titled debut. Their 1980 album Wizard Island made the introduction of a then little known Kenny G. The ensemble quickly gained traction and became one of the most popular jazz acts, touring nonstop. In 1982 Lorber made his solo debut with It’s A Fact. 

He scored his first Grammy nomination in 1985 for his radio hit “Pacific Coast Highway” from his album Step By Step. In the 90s Lorber released a successful string of projects including West Side Stories (1994), State of Grace (1996) and Midnight (1998). During this time Lorber also stayed busy producing Michael Franks, Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright and Rick Braun, among others. The prolific pianist continued to add to his accolades with his shining recordings Kickin’ It (2001), Philly Style (2003), Flipside (2005), He Had A Hat (2007, Grammy nominated) and Heard That (2008), Now Is The Time (2010, Grammy nominated), Galaxy (2012, Grammy nominated) Hacienda (2013, Grammy nominated) and Step It Up (2015). Lorber made his first recordings for Shanachie as a member of Jazz Funk Soul with Chuck Loeb and Everette Harp on the albums Jazz Funk Soul and the Grammy nominated More Serious Business. Lorber scored his first Grammy win for his critically heralded Prototype in 2018.

“Jeff Lorber Fusion is one of the hottest bands in jazz right now following their Grammy win earlier this year,” said Susan Davis, director of special events for the Festival of Arts. “We’re honored to have them perform as part of our Concert on the Green series!”

Concerts on the Green are free with Festival of Arts Admission. Limited seating is available in the reserved section for $40 per person per concert, which includes Festival admission. For more information or to order tickets, all (800) 487-3378 or go to www.foapom.com/events/concerts-on-the-green.


Trunk show features one-of-a-kind jewelry by Nancy Golden at Nuance Home this Friday, Aug 3

By DIANNE RUSSELL

From noon until 3 p.m. this Friday, Aug 3, Nancy Golden’s handcrafted one-of-a-kind jewelry and accessories will be showcased at Nuance Home. Golden re-purposes leather from designer handbags and used jackets, adding agates, beads, turquoise, and select links to transform them into stunning necklaces and cuffs. Who would have imagined an old designer bag could have a new life as a gorgeous bracelet?

Trunk show Nancy closeup

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Nancy Golden switched from interior design to jewelry design

Golden had a 36-year career as an interior designer, and was the first designer to launch the DIY network, hosting DIY Decorating and Design, Bare Wall, and Weekend Decorated. She was also guest designer on HGTV’s Decorating Cents and Room for Change and appeared on Nate’s Show (her son Nate Berkus is a famous interior designer and HGTV star).

About eight years ago, Golden switched to jewelry design after she bought a Marni necklace in New York. She then started haunted Goodwill and thrift stores for designer bags and used leather jackets to re-purpose into her jewelry, which she describes as “a rustic style combined with natural elements.” She washes and dries the items, takes them apart and cuts them into small pieces. 

Trunk show leather pieces

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Unique jewelry re-purposed from old leather jackets and designer handbags

A pawn shop in Las Vegas, the city where she lives (she spends summers in Laguna) saves their damaged designer goods for her. She also searches antique stores for finds.

Golden’s pieces are obvious attention getters, as evidenced by people on the street who kept asking her where she got her jewelry. That’s when she decided to start selling them. And because she makes things to her taste, she doesn’t do custom orders. 

“I make things I want to wear myself,” Golden says. “That’s my inspiration.” Last year she ran into Lisa McDennon, the owner of Nuance, which has been open since 2014. 

McDennon is also a designer and founded her Laguna Beach-based interiors firm, Lisa McDennon Design, in 2000.

Trunk show Nuance

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Nuance is located at the historic Old Pottery Place

With the launch of her first home and lifestyle boutique at the historic Old Pottery Place, McDennon brought her award-winning aesthetic to the world of retail.

Nuance showcases McDennon’s modern, sophisticated style with custom furniture, lighting, and linens. The boutique is currently featuring some examples of McDennon’s new lighting collection for Hinkley Lighting, the Lisa McDennon Collection for Hinkley. 

Nuance sounds like the perfect place for Golden’s one-woman trunk show. 

Golden says, “I had a few pieces at Nuance last year, but not a trunk show. This is my first one there.” She’s had two shows in Las Vegas, and a few years ago, she had a couple here in Laguna (at Just Looking and Brass Tack). 

“I never wanted to have my pieces on permanent display in a store,” she says. “I think when people go to an art fair or trunk show, the artist needs to be there to talk about their work.”

And it should be quite interesting to hear Golden explain how an old jacket or designer handbag ended up as a stunning piece of jewelry.

Nuance is located at 1200 S Coast Hwy. The phone number is (949) 494-8833.


LBPD is again top fundraiser of all Tip-a-Cop events: our cops raise $23,787 for Special Olympics

The Laguna Beach Police Department once again partnered with the Special Olympics and Ruby’s Diner on S Coast Hwy for the third annual Special Olympics Tip-A-Cop event on Saturday, July 28, which took place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The event raised a whopping $23,787 for the cause, topping every similar event throughout the State of California.

Hundreds of customers stopped by to meet some of the amazing Special Olympics Athletes, to see some unique cars that were on display, and to be served by cops – though not with a warrant, with Ruby’s great food instead.

LBPD balloons

lbpd fillers

LBPD jeff and chief

LBPD is group

LBPD kitchen

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Photos courtesy of LBPD

Kids, cops and customers all had fun

“Thanks to everyone who came out to support the Special Olympics at our annual Tip-a-Cop event at Ruby’s Diner,” says chief organizer and coordinator of the event, Lt Joe Torres.

This is the third Tip-A-Cop event for LBPD. The first one, in 2016, raised $19,500.

Torres adds, “The Laguna Beach Police Department and Ruby’s Diner are proud to support the Special Olympics of Southern California through Tip A Cop. 

“For 50 years the Special Olympics has been providing year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Through sports, Special Olympics athletes are given opportunities to discover new strengths, abilities, and skills. 

“The success of the athletes is largely due to the support from families, community members, businesses, law enforcement agencies, and others who contribute their time, resources, and donations.”

In our Friday edition, Barbara Diamond will have more information about this great event in her column and plenty of great pics of our police officers going beyond the call of duty to the call of customers from Mary Hurlbut…


Lieutenant Joe Torres takes his leadership to the next level

Lieutenant Joe with chief

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Photo courtesy LBPD

Congratulations are in order for Lt Joe Torres: with Police Chief Laura Farinella

On Friday, July 27, Lieutenant Joe Torres graduated from Law Enforcement Command College, which is a 14-month program designed to prepare law enforcement leaders of today for the challenges of the future. 

The primary goal of the Command College is to provide an enhanced leadership course with a futures perspective to prepare the law enforcement leaders of today to lead into the future. Congratulations Lieutenant Torres!


Sassy, our Pet of the Week, is looking for a new home

Sassy is currently our Pet of the Week. Sassy is a spayed female Maltese, 11 years young. She is the perfect companion and loves to be held. Her owner recently died, so she is looking for someone to take her in. She loves to run around as well, so she will be looking for a place to play. Nancy Goodwin, shelter director, hopes to see Sassy adopted as soon as possible. 

Pet of the Sassy

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Sassy is the perfect companion to have by your side

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 50 percent.

The LB Animal Shelter is located at 20612 Laguna Canyon Rd. Call (949) 497-3552 or go to the website for information on adoption procedures: www.puplagunabeach.org/our-pets.php.


Where’s Maggi – the answers!

Maggi thought this would be a little more difficult of a spot for our readers to notice. Turns out she was wrong (first time – ever – she assures us).

First on it was Cindy Hartman, followed by Bev Combs who had some serious insider news about it:

“That piece is on the corner of Weymouth and Hillcrest. In fact my husband Tom Combs built it in the mid ‘80s when he was building that house. It is made from scrap iron from the building material. He used it as an opportunity to teach one of the other workers on the job how to weld. He is very pleased that even after the house has changed hands they have all chosen to keep his art piece there.” 

She added, “I talked to Tom and found out it is modeled after an Olympic class one design sailboat named ‘crescent,’ with the abstract image of a sailboat in the lower part and the crescent in the top.”

That’s some good info! Thanks, Bev.

Also checking in were Peg Mitchell, Pat Laguna, Jean Vivrette, Paul Carter, and Hilton Weinberg. Thanks to you all. 

Did you know this corner of Laguna? 

Maggi promises another photo mystery coming up on Friday. Stay tuned!

Wheres Maggi 7 31 18

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The art piece, and house, was created by Tom Combs and resides on the corner of Hillcrest and Weymouth (near Cajon, which a few responders guessed) 


Sunset by Scott, in all its glory

Photo by Scott Brashier

Sunset by Scott

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Wow, what a sunset – simply sensational


The Soul Project is teaming with the Haute Shop to bring a Fiesta to Laguna during Art Walk next week

The Soul Project and its pop-up partner, Haute Shop, are teaming up for a fun fiesta during the August Art Walk on Thursday, Aug 2 from 6 - 9 p.m. The two woman-owned businesses saw a great opportunity to demonstrate their wares to locals on this most popular of monthly events and are making the most of it.

Summer Meek, co-founder of The Soul Project, “an apparel company with a purpose” (and which also sells fun accessories, home and kitchen items, and art) met Sylvia Girgis of Haute Shop Co at a women’s business group and the two became fast friends. 

Sylvia runs an online boutique and was looking to give brick and mortar a try on a temporary basis. Summer is always looking for the next fun thing to offer her customers at The Soul Project and the partnership happened organically.

the soul blue dress

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Photo by Rachael Dickins

Haute Shop’s dresses are both haute and cool

So for now, locals can now enjoy two stores in one combined location…

In addition to the pop-up shop, The Soul Project is celebrating its fifth summer with a fiesta for the whole family.

The event will feature tacos, margaritas, arts & crafts, acupuncture, henna tattoos and much more.

the soul project interior

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Photo courtesy Visit Laguna Beach

A whole lot of Soul to enjoy at The Soul Project 

And why The “Soul” Project?

Says co-founder Don Meek, “With organizations like Patagonia and Tom’s Shoes as inspirations, The SOUL Project looks to follow the path of non-traditional commerce where the activities and success of the company are driven by the desire to make a positive contribution in the world.

“We think of The SOUL Project as an organizing framework that connects the dots in the most direct way possible.”

The store is located at 1516 S Coast Hwy.

For more information, go to www.soulproject.com or call (949) 494-0489.


Alta Laguna Field closed until August 24

Alta Laguna Field

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Alta Laguna Field

Alta Laguna Field will be closed for annual maintenance and turf renovations from July 30 through August 24. 

For answers to questions, please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762.


Bluebird Music in the Park continues to bring locals together

Photos by Scott Brashier

Bluebird concert crowd

Bluebird concert band

bluebird concert hug

bluebird concert little girl eating

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All ages love Music in the Park, entertained this last Sunday by Indie rock n’ roll band Lost Beach – next week, it’s ABBA! 

Click on the gallery below to see if you can spot yourself, or friends and neighbors who were at the concert…


Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

July 31, 2018

Dennis is feeling a little under the weather today but promises he’ll be better very soon. He’ll soon be back in the ocean…here’s a pic of one of his most favorite places on Earth.

Dennis Surf

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

A swell day at Brooks Street


The audience wholeheARTedly enjoyed themselves at the Sawdust HeART of Fashion Show last Sunday

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

This year’s Sawdust Festival HeART of Fashion show began with a rousing call for harmony and a plea for everyone to carry the joy in their hearts that this event brings, and then to share that joy with someone else. 

the audience yoga model

the audience little girl

the audience celebrate

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And that was easy enough to do, because the event was indeed a joyful, fun show, with the models clearly happy to be walking the runway (or, in some cases, dancing or doing yoga poses off and on the stage). 

Several kids demonstrated that they have a future in modeling with their twirls and attractive stances.

The clothing, textile, and jewelry artists who contributed their fashions to the show must have been very pleased with the way their stuff was strutted.

We’ll have more photos and commentary on this pleasing presentation in Friday’s edition!


What’s ahead for Laguna Canyon Foundation’s partnership with schools 

Paula Olson, Outreach Manager for the Laguna Canyon Foundation, outlines (in the LCF blog) what’s ahead for students in Santa Ana Title One schools and local students. Here’s what Paula wrote: 

Laguna Canyon Foundation’s partnership with its Santa Ana Title One schools is unique. Our staff works closely with teachers to ensure our NGSS (Next Generation Science Standards) curriculum syncs with what they are teaching in class. Our goal is to bring back each student in his/her second, third, fourth, and fifth grade years to develop future environmentalists.

Our local Laguna Beach schools are also a priority. Many Laguna Beach teachers have a passion for the wilderness and want their students to understand the gift we have with the wilderness “right outside our doors.” Hikes with local students involve fitness, yes, but also discussions on safe trail use and what each of us can do – pick up trash, not go on unauthorized trails, keep our dogs on dog-friendly trails, volunteer – to protect what we love.

Whats ahead kids hiking

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Courtesy of LCF

Possible future environmentalists hiking on Laguna’s wilderness trails

These programs would not be possible without the generosity of our grantors and donors. This coming year, we hope to raise $150,000 to sustain our program. Whether you enjoy the trails frequently or admire them from afar, it is the open space that makes Laguna Beach so unique.

Decades ago, Lagunans fought to ensure that this wilderness would be here for generations to come. Laguna Canyon Foundation is leading the way to develop the newest generation of activists and environmentalists. Thank you to our wonderful community for all you’ve done.

“In the end, we will conserve only what we love; we will love only what we understand; and we will understand only what we are taught.” – Baba Dioum

For more information on LCF, go to www.lagunacanyon.org.


One for the ages: Taken 10 years ago, but this shot will never cease to stun

Photo by Tom Berndt

One for the ages

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Reminiscent of the Northern Lights, but flaming orange instead of green – our Southern Lights here in Laguna?


Laguna’s USSD martial arts group travelled to China to test for their belts – and earned them

By MAGGI HENRIKSON

Shaolin Kempo is a martial arts style that combines Karate, Kung Fu, and Jiu Jitsu. The most important place in the world to test for a Shaolin Kempo belt is at the Shaolin Temple, in the Henan Province, China, where it originated. That’s where six students of Laguna Beach’s United Studios of Self Defense (USSD), along with Master Jeff Cash recently travelled to seek this hard-won reward.

To test for a first-degree black belt requires training and sparring for four hours the first day, and three the next – all under the watchful and judging eyes of Shaolin’s warrior monks. The three aspects of Shaolin Kempo, Cash explains, go like this: The Shaolin style Kung Fu is “circular, soft” movements; Karate is “hard and linear,” and Jiu Jitsu involves holds, takedowns, and manipulations.

Travel has its rewards

“We had a truly amazing experience and I’m happy to say that we have five new black belts and another student who got a high level of brown belt,” said Cash. “I was also honored to receive my 6th degree black belt at the temple.”

Lagunas USSD martial arts Before

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Submitted photo

They tried for their belts. Back Row (L-R): Emma Bladergroen, Eric Cortellessa, Master Jeff Kash, Evie Cant

Front row (L-R): Alan You, Odin Hansen-Flores, Ben Jenvey

Master Jeff Cash travelled amongst 240 members of the USSD community with his own group made up of six Laguna Beach students, ages 13-18, and nine family members. Their amazing journey included a visit to Japan, the birthplace of Karate, with Tokyo highlights there including a visit to the Samurai Museum and to the buzzing Harajuku district. The group also went to Xi’an, China, and visited the famous Terracotta Army before their three-day testing at Shaolin.

Despite the challenge of travel and a huge time difference from Laguna, Cash said the kids really rallied. 

“All were impressed with the kids’ hard work,” he said. “They showed up, and gave everything they’ve got.”

And the reward for hard work was impressive: Five black belts, and one high level brown belt. Cash was recertifying for his belt, for a 4th or 5th degree (1-5 signifies your ability, 6-10 represents your contribution to the art). He spent several hours sparring with a partner and was honored with a 6th degree black belt.

This impressive achievement followed by yet another feat. 

“We hiked up 1,000 steps virtually straight up behind the temple, and did a belt ceremony there,” said Cash.

“The bond we share after all this – it’s pretty special,” he added.

Developing mind, body, and spirit

The journey into the serious study of martial arts is one that develops more than physical conditioning – it’s a state of mind.

Lagunas USSD martial arts After

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They tried for their belts. And they earned them!

“Out of the training comes character development, discipline, focus,” said Cash. “It’s about setting a goal and seeing it through.”

That takes a while. Cash estimates the psychological part of the training takes about six to eight years. The benefit is in gaining confidence, learning leadership skills, and learning public speaking through teaching. 

In 2009 Cash took his first Laguna group to China. Two went on to become teachers.

“Four kids got their 2nd degree black belt before they went to college – three to UCLA, and one to Berkeley.”

A recipe for success: Hard work leads to justly earned rewards. Thankfully, these students appreciate that it doesn’t need to come easily. They’ve got the discipline and drive. And now they’ve got belts to prove it.


Ribbon cutting on July 24 opens Agate Street beach access with ADA accessible ocean viewing area

On Tuesday, July 24, The City of Laguna Beach reopened the newly renovated pedestrian access to the beach at Agate Street, providing safer access and a wide new ocean viewing area that is Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) accessible and compliant.

“As a City, we want to ensure that everyone can enjoy access to the incredible ocean views at our beaches,” said Councilmember Bob Whalen. “The Agate Street access is the newest example of the growing number of places where we are able to provide unparalleled access for everyone.”

Ribbon cutting Agate group

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The City is proud to be improving public access to Laguna beaches 

In addition to the new ADA-compliant overlook viewing areas, the City’s many improvements to the Agate Street access include a new concrete stairway, drought and salt-tolerant landscaping incorporating CA native plants, and new site furnishings including benches, bollard lights and a bike rack.  Approximately 190 tons of reinforced concrete were used in the project to stabilize the Agate Street access point, which partially collapsed in Oct of 2015 due to high surf. The stairway has been out of service since that time. 

“The beach is very narrow at the Agate Street location, so high tides in the fall months submerge the lower stairs and work area, making construction extremely difficult,” said Assistant City Manager and Director of Public Works Shohreh Dupuis.  “Access to the lower work area was very challenging due to the steep slopes, but our dedicated crews made it happen, safely.” 

The Agate Street renovations are part of a continuing effort by the City to improve beach access for residents and visitors and the work is funded by the City’s Capital Improvement Fund. The project was bid in conjunction with the Thalia Street beach access rehabilitation project at a combined total project expenditure of $1.8 million. 

Ribbon cutting Agate stairs

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Beachgoers watch surf from newly renovated Agate Street beach access  

“With the completion of each of these projects, we take another step toward safer, more beautiful beach access for our residents and visitors city-wide,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede. “This investment ensures that current and future beachgoers will continue to be able to safely access our beaches.”

Over the last 10 years, the City has renovated access points at several other beaches, including Circle Way, Brooks and Oak Streets, Mountain Road, Diamond Street and Thalia Street. Pearl Street is scheduled to be completed in September of 2020 and Anita St is scheduled to be completed by April of 2021. Over the next 10 years, Cleo Street, Fisherman’s Cove, Sleepy Hollow, Diver’s Cove, Cress Street and Moss Street access points are all scheduled for rehabilitation.

For questions about the City’s beach access projects, contact Lou Kneip at (949) 464-6688 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Find your holy grail at No Square Theatre’s wonderful, witty and wacky production of Spamalot

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Photos by Scott Brashier

Introducing Spamalot to the capacity audience before its opening on Friday night at No Square Theatre, Production Coordinator Bree Burgess Rosen said, “This is the most chaotic play I’ve ever put on.” 

If that was chaos, it was the most spectacular chaos (and the zaniest interpretation of the Arthurian legend) I’ve ever experienced. It’s described as a new musical lovingly ripped off from the film Monty Python and the Holy Grail. With book and lyrics by Eric Idle, and music by John Du Prez and Eric Idle, this is a not to be missed production. 

Find Your Arthur and Knights

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All for One – Arthur with his Knights of the Round Table and Patsy his servant

As a kid, I used to like Spam a lot (until I stopped eating meat), however, I absolutely loved Spamalot. (Unfortunately, Stu News formatting rules don’t allow me to use caps or bold or exclamations in articles, but if I were allowed, the last part of that sentence would contain all three).

The director and choreographer, Ella Wyatt, states in the program that, “Spamalot combines just the right amount of hilarity, wit, and heart that only the genius of Monty Python can bring.”

Find Your French Castle

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On no uncertain terms, the French people tell Arthur to go away

So true, but it doesn’t mention that it also combines an abundance of smashing talent from a spectacular cast aged 16 years and under. As Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table go on their quest to find the Holy Grail, the marvelously entertaining cast members take the audience on a wild journey that involves coconuts, a killer rabbit, French people, Laker girls, and Knights who say, “Ni.” (And that’s just half of it.)

Nick Reardon (15) as Arthur defies his age with a full, red beard that any knight would envy. He portrays his character with confidence and a considerable amount of singing and dancing talent. With perfect timing, he carries off the humor with an engaging gusto. 

Find Your Mackenzie

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Finn Flanagan as Sir Galahad looks on as Mackenzie Wrap laments

Mackenzie Wrap as Lady of the Lake has the voice and grace of an angel. No one could have played this role better. She has everything.

Chase Benson as Patsy, Arthur’s servant, is a standout with “Always Look at the 

Bright Side of Life” and during Arthur’s song, “I’m All Alone.” I think he really was crying.

But what am I saying, all the cast members were standouts. From four-year old Joely Rose Wyatt to 16-year-old Rylee Bullington, everyone was extraordinary. 

Find Your French people

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French threaten Arthur with farting in his general direction if he doesn’t leave

Where one could find a more gifted group of kids, I don’t know. I suspect only at No Square Theatre.

We were sitting in the front row, so my 13-year-old grandson Terry had a ringside seat, practically sitting on the stage. I was apprehensive about taking him, a teenager can be cynical, but during the first act, he laughed in all the right places. 

At intermission, he said, “It’s super funny. I’m surprised at how good their voices and the choreography are. I felt like I was part of it.” 

This is one of the advantages of seeing productions in a small theatre in the front row.

Find Your Arthur Broadway

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Arthur & Lady of the Lounge (Rylee Bullington); Robin (Shelby Thomas) looks on

On the way home, he couldn’t stop talking about how amazed he was that kids can do that. “That” being just about everything – singing, dancing, comedy, assuming odd and amusing accents, all with poise.

Kudos must be given to the behind-the-scenes contributors as well; the costumes, sets, lighting, music, masterfully combined to make this a spectacular evening. They created a fantastic world. Who doesn’t want to go to Camelot where they eat jam and spam a lot?

Find Your Broadway dancing

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Ensemble in a strange mix of Broadway and Medieval dancing styles

Luckily for anyone who loves great entertainment and lots of laughter, Spamalot runs Friday, July 27 through Sunday, July 29, so those who weren’t able to see it over the past weekend can still visit Camelot. 

Fortunately, “I Am Not Dead Yet” and got to see this rollicking production of Spamalot.

No Square Theatre is located at 384 Legion St.

For ticket information, go to www.NoSquare.org.


High tide leaves lifeguard (happily) high and dry

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

high tide leaves

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Tuesday’s high tides were challenging for lifeguards – but this guy is safely above it all for now


KX 93.5 gets huge nod from City to the tune of a $20,000 Laguna Beach Community Assistance Grant

KX 93.5, Laguna’s only FM station, was recently awarded a Laguna Beach Community Assistance Grant in the amount of $20,000. Grants are available to nonprofit organizations in need of funding that provide special services to the City.

Last year, KX 93.5 received $15,000, but as listenership has expanded, so has the station’s role in serving the community. The City of Laguna Beach has continued to take notice of the significance of local radio. 

KX 93.5 Tyler

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Tyler Russell is dedicated to KX 93.5 as the “Voice of Laguna”

The grant is a great nod to KX 93.5 and will help the station as it continues to provide for Laguna Beach residents through emergency preparedness, public safety education and community service, according to General Manager Tyler Russell.

“Although we are primarily a music station focused on supporting independent artists, we are also dedicated to being the ‘voice of Laguna’ through a radio station that immerses itself in the arts and culture of our community. We’re so grateful that the City Council agrees,” said Russell.

KX 93.5 Animals

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Photo from MiMedia Productions

KX 93.5’s KXMas 2017 featuring Eric Burdon and The Animals

KX 93.5 also received a $7,000 grant from the City of Laguna Beach to be used toward the station’s annual concert, which previously welcomed The Beach Boys, Kenny Loggins, and Eric Burdon. Made possible by revenues from the Laguna Beach Business Improvement District and monitored by The City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission, the grant will be used to promote the festival and foster the community’s appreciation of cultural arts.

With this funding, KX 93.5 will be able to maximize the potential of events as well as continue its outreach to the public. 

“After almost six years in Laguna, KX 93.5 is honored to be receiving support from the City it seeks to serve and looks forward to a continued partnership with the City in the future,” said Russell. 

For more information, contact Tyler Russell at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Rainbow Reflections: LGBTQ News and Events

By Craig Cooley

Rainbow Reflections Craig Cooley

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Craig Cooley

What’s up with Pride 365?

Laguna Beach Pride will now also be known as “Laguna Pride 365.” Why? There has been such a strong following of the last several events, including Pride 2018 and July 4th Indepen-DANCE, that the group is responding to the interest by having events all year long, thus the new tag line…Laguna Pride 365!

Rainbow Reflections Cowgirls

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Git on over to the ‘Bique for some Boot Scootin this Sunday

This Sunday Country Disco Jamboree

The next event is this weekend, on Sunday, July 29. Y’all cowboys and cowgirls get your wranglers on and mosey on down to Laguna Beach’s first “Boot Scootin Country Disco Jamboree” located at the Mozambique dance hall. Enjoy a Sunday afternoon of meeting new friends, line dancing and doing the hustle. 

What a great way to end the weekend! 

The next event will be on Labor Day weekend at the world famous Boom Boom Room, more details to come.

Rainbow Reflections OC Fair

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“Get Your Pride Out” at the OC Fair on Wednesday, Aug 1

Orange County Fair with flair? Yes!

Wednesday, August 1 has been designated as “Get Your Pride Out” at the Orange County Fair. Kind of like Disney Gay Day, the local Laguna Beach Pride has designated the date for showing your pride at the OC Fair, having fun, and meeting new people. How will we know who is part of this wonderful group? We ask that red shirts and red and white bandannas be worn. Or, if you are a bit more daring, a rainbow bandanna or just about anything rainbow may be worn. If you are so inclined, sport your colors and show up at 7 p.m. 

More details will be posted on www.lagunabeachpride.org as they become available.

Rainbow Car Club

Speaking of rainbows, there is a “Rainbow” car club called Great Autos of Yesteryear (acronym is GAY). In their own words: “Great Autos of Yesteryear is the largest gay and lesbian car club on the West Coast with almost 1,000 members, owning over 2,600 cars. This diverse organization was formed in 1983…as a club that could serve as both a social gathering place and as a means of bringing together gay and lesbian individuals who share a unique enthusiasm for the automobile and its preservation.”

For many years I have been a member, and speaking first-hand it is a fantastic and fun group for all ages and all interests, centered around the automobile. Perhaps the best part is you don’t need to own a classic automobile, or any automobile for that matter, to be a member, just a sense of adventure and camaraderie. 

I love their motto, “Out of the garage…into the streets”. Check them out at www.greatautos.org. Or better yet, join the group and attend their pool party scheduled on August 5 in San Diego. Have a road trip and meet new friends!


Update on portions of Downtown Specific Plan to be presented at Planning Commission Meeting August 1

The City of Laguna Beach will continue its efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) Update on Wednesday, Aug 1 during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (505 Forest Avenue). 

update on downtown

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Downtown view

City staff will present draft amendments to the Downtown Specific Plan for discussion with the Planning Commission. The focus of the presentation and discussion will be on MIG’s recommended draft amendments to portions of Section V Land Use Districts of the existing Downtown Specific Plan document. 

Specifically, the focus of Section V review will cover the following topics: property development standards, special planning and/or design criteria. Other topics pertaining to the intent and purpose of land use districts, permitted land uses/required entitlements, permit processes, findings and special findings for certain uses, allowable changes in permitted use category per City Council resolution, and definitions were previously reviewed and discussed at the April 18 and June 6 Planning Commission meetings. A copy of the Section V draft amendments is available to review on the project webpage (link included below).

Additional meetings will occur in 2018 to review draft amendments to other sections of the plan. This meeting and future meetings play an essential role to obtain input from the community and direction from the Planning Commission, and to identify the City’s priorities for the future of the Downtown.

For more information on the Downtown Specific Plan Update, contact Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or click here.

 


Fun “Under the Sun” continues at Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters through September 1

There’s still time to enjoy the Pageant, Art Show, live music, hands-on art activities, special events and more this summer as Orange County’s iconic cultural landmark continues to ‘heat up’ our community. Celebrating its 85th anniversary, Pageant of the Masters is enchanting audiences nightly with 90 minutes of tableaux vivant, where real people pose to look exactly like their counterparts in the original art pieces. Tickets to the Pageant of the Masters are available now at www.PageantTickets.com.

Since opening on July 7, the Pageant of the Masters has welcomed excited crowds nightly, including some of Hollywood’s hottest celebrities, including actress Christy Carlson Romano, who indulged in the ‘living arts’ with her husband and his family. The Pageant of the Masters is arguably one of the most unique productions in the world. The creative, one-of-a-kind show themed “Under the Sun” for 2018 combines theater, performance art, and art history to amaze and awe audiences of all ages. Tickets to nightly performances are still available online, by phone and in-person at the Pageant’s box office.

Fun Under the Sun

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Pageant of the Masters’ tableaux vivant

As one of the nation’s oldest and most highly acclaimed juried fine art shows, the Laguna Beach Festival of Arts Fine Arts Show has offered a breathtaking showcase for artists and art lovers for 86 years. The Festival’s prestigious juried art show includes a wide variety of media including paintings, photography, printmaking, sculpture, jewelry, handcrafted wood and furniture, ceramics, glass and more, all by 140 of Orange County’s finest artists.

Attendees can continue to enjoy the summer art fun with the juried art shows, as well as a variety of exciting activities and events including youth, teen and adult art class, interactive art demonstrations, and nightly special events. Groove to the sounds of Southern California’s most well known tribute bands as Festival of Arts brings to the concert stage Tribute Tuesdays. 

In addition to Tuesday nights, nightly music performances will continue all summer long with Step into the Spotlight Music Series on Fridays, and Concerts on the Green, sponsored by Cambria Estate Vineyard and Winery, on select Saturday afternoons.

Whether you’re an informed connoisseur, an amateur collector, or an art lover, you’re sure to enjoy the fascinating and informative discussions with the Festival of Arts artists at Art Talks and Tea, each Wednesday at 1 p.m. 

Fun Under the Antje

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Antje Campbell led a recent Art Talks and Teas session

Then, just like TV’s Project Runway, see who’s in and who’s out this year, as the Festival of Arts welcomes the return of the Festival Runway Fashion Show on Sunday, August 19 at noon. The Runway Fashion Show welcomes a celebrity host and features Festival artists who compete to create the most inspired couture using reclaimed, reused, or recycled materials.

For kids ages 5 and younger, continue the kid-friendly fun all summer long with Art and Story Time each Monday at 12:30 p.m. or indulge your little one in daily Youth Art Classes, at 1 and 3 p.m. Monday – Friday through August 17. 

Adult art lovers can ‘sweeten’ up their summer with the Festival of Arts’ Thursday night series: Art, Jazz, Wine and Chocolate sponsored by Charles Schwab, by indulging with samples of Kendall Jackson wines expertly selected to complement the nuanced flavor of chocolates from XAN Confections. Tastings are $20 per person and limited reserved seating is available for purchase. 

On Saturday nights, uncork your creativity with Wine and Painting, learning the step-by-step process to create their own masterpieces while sipping on complimentary wine. Reservations are required and participants must be ages 21+.

The 2018 Festival of Arts Fine Art Show will continue through September 1 with general admission tickets starting at $10 per person. Special events and workshops vary per class and prior registration is suggested. The Pageant of the Masters offers nightly shows through September 1 with advance tickets available now starting at $15 per person. For more information and to purchase tickets visit: www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org

The Festival of Arts and Pageant of the Masters are sponsored in part by Southern California Acura Dealers, Fidelity Investments, KOST Radio 103.5, Pavilions and the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.


Climate Investment Grant application ratified

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday ratified City Manager John Pietig’s decision to apply for a California Climate Investment Grant.

Pietig was forced to move without prior approval from the Council because the grant was announced on May 9 and the deadline to apply was June 6. Due to the time constraints, Pietig authorized Fire Chief Mike Garcia to submit an application on June 5 for a $3,292,500 state grant.

“It would be a total home run if we are successful in getting this grant,” said Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede.

The goal of the grant program is to minimize carbon emissions from wildfire and maximize carbon sequestration in healthy wildland habitat.

Sequestration is a natural or artificial process by which carbon dioxide is removed from the atmosphere and held in solid or liquid form.

If awarded the grant, the City would be required to contribute $874,200 over three and a third years. Credit for the City administrative support would reduce the contribution by almost $400,000.

climate 1993 fires

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Unpleasant memories of the 1993 fires spur Council action

Grant funds would be used to create firebreaks around structures in Laguna Canyon and Canyon Acres, fuel treatments to reduce ignition and spread all the way to the Irvine City limits, and habitat restoration in parklands.

The city would be responsible for maintaining the grant benefit area at an estimated annual cost of $200,000 to $500,000. Allowed clearance methods would be by hand-crews or goats.

Laguna Canyon Foundation or the Orange County Fire Authority, both partners of the City in the proposal, were named for non-city jurisdiction.

“We are enthusiastic supporters of this project,” said Foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones.

Other partners in the grant proposal include the City of Irvine, Greater Laguna Coast Firesafe Council, Natural Communities Coalition (formerly Nature Reserve of Orange County) and Orange County Parks. 

“My family and Hallie’s family lost homes in 1993,” said Supervising Park Ranger Barbara Norton. “We are very sensitive to this.”

Letters of support for the City’s application were submitted by Mayor Kelly Boyd, State Senator John Moorlach, and Assembly member Matthew Harper.

The Council directed Pietig to identify and secure funds to meet the required grant match and to research and identify funds for the annual maintenance starting in 2023.


Beautiful beseeching flower

Photo by Tom Berndt

beautiful beseeching

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Dennis’ Tidbits

By DENNIS McTIGHE

July 27, 2018

Approaching August with above normal water and air temps 

Dennis 5Man, that was quick! Here comes August already. With only four days until the start of August, air and water temps have been running several degrees above normal for late July, and current models indicate similar conditions through at least the first week of August. The average hi-lo temp for August here in town is 78-65. 

The record high temp for the month is August 6, 1983 and August 22, 1981 with 100 degrees on both days. The coolest night all time was 49 in 1943. Average water temp is 70. Warmest August water temp was August 8, 1994 with 79. 

Coldest water was in August of 2010 with almost two solid weeks of bone chilling temps as low as 55! That’s the average for January around here. The party responsible for the burly water for so long was some serious upwelling thanks to some pretty stiff west wind up to 15-18 mph day after day for nearly two weeks running. The other player in all this was a La Nina event on steroids, one of the stronger events in recent memory. For our August water to be that cold for that long was unprecedented. 

August is normally a pretty decent month for south swells from the Southern Hemisphere and tropical swells born in the hot waters off deep Southern Mexico. The Southern Hemisphere’s roaring 40s storm machine is at its peak, popping out big ol’ 960 millibar lows with gale force winds blowing over an expanse of 600,000 square miles or more. 

Every so often, we’ll get a huge swell from way down there with waves over 20 feet at the world famous Newport Wedge. Our other source of summer surf is Mexico’s chubasco (Spanish for tropical storm), which can whip up some strong waves of its own if positioned properly in our swell window. The frequency of these Baja swells varies greatly sometimes from year to year. An average season would see at least five or six decent swells between June and October. El Nino events play a large part in the tropical system’s strength and productivity.

Just a quick follow up on my weather records…I also kept daily weather and surf when I was stationed in Hawaii at Hickam Air Force Base on Oahu from June of 1967 through September of 1970. This included all shores of Oahu, focusing on the North Shore during the winter season and the South Shore in the summer. I even kept a daily weather journal while I was in South Africa in summer of 1974, their winter. I logged every swell in July and August while I was in Jeffrey’s Bay, which is considered one of the best righthand pointbreaks in the world. Even if I was in the mountains for just a couple of days, I would still document general conditions while I was there. I kept daily records while traveling through Mainland Mexico on surf adventures. 

Have a great weekend, ALOHA!


Loreen Gilbert testifies before US House Subcommittee in Washington DC 

Loreen Gilbert, President and Founder of WealthWise Financial Services, former National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) National Board Member, recently provided testimony to the US House Education and workforce Subcommittee on health, employment, labor, pensions. The Subcommittee, chaired by Congressman Tim Walberg, held a hearing entitled HR 4219, Workflex in the 21st Century Act.

“Standardizing flexible work arrangements and paid leave will enable employees to strike the work-life balance they desire and gives employers the certainty of being in compliance. Best of all, this legislation is voluntary at both the employer and the employee level,” explained Loreen Gilbert in her testimony.

Loreen Gilbert group

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Loreen Gilbert is the founder of Wealthwise Financial Services – she is seen here with Mimi Walters 

“Through Workflex, we can encourage greater employer adoption of paid leave and flexible work options. And by simplifying regulations, we can embrace the changes that are taking place around us, adjusting the workplace in line with the values of today’s employees,” continued Gilbert later in her testimony.

Gilbert pursued a career in financial services after growing up seeing her single mother struggling to put food on the table and keep a roof over their heads. In that era there was no flexibility for working mothers.

Gilbert left the male-dominated corporate investment world, realizing in order to have workplace flexibility she’d have to start her own wealth management business.

A few years ago, Gilbert’s company provided a measure of workplace flexibility when the father of a key employee was diagnosed with terminal cancer and had to commute to a different state every week, quickly followed by a grandmother needing care, also dying in another state.  She offered support, time off and took on the workload. 

Loreen Gilbert portrait

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Laguna resident Loreen Gilbert testifying before Congress for HR 4219 Workflex in the 21st Century Act in DC

With the strong economy and unemployment at historic lows, employers are in a war for talent. To top it off, Millennials will often quit if they don’t perceive flexibility and paid leave in the workplace. Regrettably, the current patchwork of state and local laws makes facilitating paid leave and flexible work arrangements overly complicated for multi-state employers.

For the past 21 years, Gilbert built her business in California and the state laws change so much that she regularly hires an HR expert to make sure her employee guidebook is accurate and in compliance. She’d like to expand, but the multistate workplace regulations have stopped her.

“If I could opt into federal legislation, such as this one, that would cover me across all states, I could expand my business and employ workers across the country,” said Gilbert. “This bill strikes the right balance between the flexibility needed by employees and the stability and consistency necessary to employers.”


Reverend Dimitris Boukis serves as guest preacher at Laguna Presbyterian Church this Sunday, July 29

During both worship services this Sunday, July 29, Laguna Presbyterian Church hosts special guest preacher, Reverend Dimitris Boukis, who will speak from the book of Jonah on, “It is My Fault that this Great Storm has Come Upon You.” Services are held on 8:30 and 10 a.m.

Reverend Boukis serves as the Secretary for the Executive Committee of the General Synod in the Evangelical Church of Greece, and as a proxy-member of the Central Committee of the Community of Protestant Churches in Europe. He is a visiting professor of Church History and Historical Theology at the Greek Bible College in Athens, Greece, and a regular keynote speaker at conferences and events throughout Greece, Cyprus, Albania, Egypt, Australia and the US.

Reverend Dimitris closeup

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Laguna Presbyterian Church hosts guest preacher Rev Boukis on Sunday

He has been extensively involved with philanthropic work with refugees and victims of trafficking in the Evangelical Church of Greece. Reverend Boukis is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary and a visiting professor of Church History and Historical Theology at the Greek Bible College in Athens, Greece. 

Born in 1965 in Athens, Greece, he received a BA in History in 1992 from Deree College in Athens, Greece and an MDiv in Theology in1996 from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena. Being a minister of the Evangelical Church of Greece since 1996, he has served primarily as a Youth Pastor at Large and as a pastor in its parishes in LA from 2000-2002 and from 2004 as pastor of the 3rd Evangelical Church of Athens. 

He is married to Lorraine Kefalas and is the father of Dimosthenis and Alexander. 

Laguna Presbyterian Church is located at 415 Forest Ave.

For more information, go to www.lagunabeachpreschurch.org or call (949) 494-7555.


First Thursdays Art Walk on August 2 will feature creative tastings at Temecula Olive Oil

Temecula Olive Oil will hold its soft opening at its new location in Laguna Beach during Art Walk on Thursday, Aug 2, from 5 - 9 p.m. Guests will enjoy tastings of the olive oils and vinegars as well as samples of freshly made cheese from a local farmer. 

Thom Curry, the man behind the olive oil, is certified by the International Olive Oil Council as a Master Taster, and sat on the California Olive Oil Council’s Taste Panel for over 20 years. Thom, president and farmer, will be present at the opening along with “Farmer Jack.”

Thom ensures the health of the groves and the exceptional quality of the oils and vinegars. The company has been around for 17 years of “hard work, dedication, and passion,” says a spokesperson for Temecula Olive Oil.

“We are proud to open its fifth tasting room here in town. Bringing the farm experience to the local community and connecting them to their food source and the people that grow the products will be exciting [for us and for them].” 

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Thom Curry, the man behind the olive oil

Stu News writer Marrie Stone recently paid a visit to the Laguna store. (Click here to read her review.)  She wrote then, “Thom and Nancy Curry, co-owners and husband/wife duo, began in the wine industry, working a vineyard in Temecula. Grapes, it turns out, are much more difficult to grow than olives. In 2001, Nancy discovered an abandoned grove of trees near their property and began picking, and then experimenting, and then expanding.

“Their working ranch in Aguanga (about 20 miles east of Temecula) is idyllic. In addition to olive groves, Thom and Nancy keep bees, host farm-to-table dinners for up to 200 guests (some of whom fly in from all over the US), provide the beautiful backdrop for weddings and other events, offer tours, and more.”

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The Laguna Beach location is stunning and spacious 

Founded in 2001, Temecula Olive Oil’s goal was to prove that the best olive oil can only come from the best olives. 

As a family owned and operated olive farm, only sustainable farming practices are used and the company notes that pride is taken in every product that is produced. Oils are made strictly using the highest quality California olives, never using chemicals or heat. 

After the soft opening, olive oil aficionados can get to know the growers even better. Ranch tours and tastings, as well as special events, are all offered by the company. 

The Laguna Beach store is located at 263 Forest Ave. To learn more, visit www.temeculaoliveoil.com, call (949) 715-4673, and/or follow on social media @temeculaoliveoilcompany. For special events, contact (866) 654-8396.

As an added attraction, the store will display (as it does in all its tasting rooms) artwork by LCAD graduate Tracie Riordan-Fearing. But visitors will have to wait for the official ribbon-cutting in mid to late September to see more of her art.


Free professional contemporary dance performances by LA troupe at the Festival of Arts this Sunday

Laguna Dance Festival presents free public dance performances by LA-based Entity Contemporary Dance on Sunday, July 29 at the Festival of Arts grounds’ outdoor stage. 

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There’ll be free contemporary dance performances at FOA this Sunday

Entity, directed by Will Johnston and Marissa Osato, is a professional contemporary dance company that interweaves modern, jazz, and hip hop dance techniques to present dynamic repertory that explores the depths of human emotionality and connectivity. 

Fostering creative, communal collaboration and emphasizing a cross-genre dance education, Entity has performed in numerous festivals, benefit shows, and industry showcases throughout California and has produced two full-length works. 

Be in the audience on July 29 at the beautiful Festival of Arts grounds for a moving performance followed by an interactive dance class. Performances will take place at 1 and 2 p.m., and are free with FOA admission.


Where’s Maggi?

Maggi thinks this is a tougher spot to locate. She said she had to step up her game and stump our readers. 

Prove her wrong, and tell her where the heck she was! 

If you’ve spied this artwork, submit your answer to: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The location will be revealed in Tuesday’s edition, and we’ll let you know who got it right.

Wheres Maggi 7 27 18

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Help raise money for Special Olympics with LBPD tomorrow at Tip-A-Cop fundraiser at Ruby’s

Laguna Beach Police Department employees will be volunteering their time in conjunction with Special Olympics athletes tomorrow, Saturday, July 28, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Ruby’s in South Laguna (30622 S Coast Hway). The Tip-A-Cop® fundraiser will help raise money for the Special Olympics Orange County Region.

The Laguna Beach Police Department, along with the international law enforcement community, has a longstanding relationship with the Special Olympics. Police officers partner with area restaurants to hold Special Olympics Fundraisers on specific dates, hosted by one or more restaurants. Officers and Special Olympics athletes meet and greet customers, help take orders and deliver drinks and food orders, while interacting with restaurant guests. 

tip a cop fundraiser

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Photo from archives

LBPD is great at serving the community in every possible way

Customers are encouraged to “tip the cop” for their service in the form of a tax-deductible donation, 100 percent of which will go to the Special Olympics program. This is in addition to the customary tip left for the restaurant’s server for their service. 

Throughout the day, there will be an exotic car display which will include Lamborghinis, Peganis, McLarens and Porsches. The Police Department will also have a police car, police motorcycle, police K-9 unit, drone demonstration, face painting station and a balloon artist on site for the event. The community can enjoy great food, interact with some of Laguna Beach’s ‘Finest’ and Special Olympics athletes while supporting a great cause. 

Events are held annually in more than 170 countries for people with intellectual disabilities. More than 3.1 million athletes of all ages are involved in these Special Olympics programs. The Laguna Beach Police Department is very proud to be able to play a small part in promoting Special Olympics and providing opportunities for the athletes to train, compete, have fun, and become productive and respected members of society. 

For more information, contact Lieutenant Joe Torres at (949) 497-0330 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


City announces winners of the 2018 Laguna Beach Photo Contest

The City of Laguna Beach is pleased to announce the 2018 winners of the City’s annual photo contest! The contest ran through June 6 and brought in 185 images submitted by people who live, work, and play in Laguna Beach. 

The Grand Prize winner is 15-year-old Laguna resident Cameron Sharifian.

announces Cameron

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Photo courtesy the City 

Grand prize winner Cameron Sharifian’s photo

--The winner in the Sunset category is Laguna Beach resident Dan Stenstend and the runner up is Shawn Palmquist. 

--The winner in the Environmental category is John Manzoni and the runner up is Mo Awesome. 

--The winner in the Daily Life category is Sophie Meunier and the runner up is Don Leach.

city announces sophie

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Photo courtesy the City 

Daily Life winner is Sophie Meunier with this evocative capture

This year the City also selected People’s Choice winners, as determined from more than 1000 online votes. 

--The People’s Choice winner in the Sunset category is Alfredo Varela.

--The People’s Choice winner the Environmental category is Pamela Conrad.

--The People’s Choice winner in the Daily Life category is Ashley Polski.

city announces john

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Photo courtesy the City 

Winner in the Environmental category is John Manzoni

The City’s annual photo contest celebrates Laguna Beach’s vibrancy, vitality, and livability. Photographers submit high-resolution photographs reflecting the theme of Daily Life in Laguna Beach.

The contest juror, Michael Thorstensen, reviewed all 185 submissions from 66 photographers. Michael is a photographer and digital artist who has exhibited at the Sawdust Art Festival for 11 years, is a Board Member of the organization, and is the lead on the Sawdust media and Public Relations campaigns. 

city announces dan

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Photo courtesy the City 

Dan Stenstend’s photo won the first prize in Sunsets

The winning photographs can now be viewed on the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/photocontest. 

Winning photographs will also be presented at an upcoming City Council meeting.  Congratulations to this year’s winners!


Dianne’s Creature Feature

Checking in on the progress of the Pacific pocket mice in Laguna Canyon Wilderness Park

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Once upon a time there was a tiny mouse that was for a while believed to be extinct, but the Pacific pocket mouse is now making a comeback along the Southern California coast due to a breeding and reintroduction program instituted by San Diego Zoo Global research. 

Stu News covered the May 2017 Pacific pocket mice release in Laguna Canyon Wilderness Park, so naturally, we were curious about how they’re doing.

The Pacific pocket mouse (PPM) is the smallest mouse species in North America, with adults typically weighing between 6 and 7 grams, about the same as three pennies. The subspecies, thought to be extinct in the 1980s, was rediscovered in 1993. 

The mice are currently listed as Endangered under the US Endangered Species Act. Scientists consider these mice vital to their ecosystem, due to their function as seed dispersers for native plants throughout their habitat.

Recently, Shauna King, Research Coordinator for the Institute for Conservation Research, reported that the breeding and reintroduction program reached a new milestone, after the San Diego Zoo Global team made a big decision to allow the endangered mice access to areas outside of their carefully managed, fenced-in sanctuary. 

Checking in fencing

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Researchers install fencing 

To do this, the research team cut small holes into the perimeter fence surrounding their current 1.6-acre area at Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Their hope is to provide the rodents the opportunity to thrive by moving beyond their current territory, while also allowing other animals vital to the ecosystem to gain access to the fenced land.

 “This is a huge milestone for the project,” said Shauna King, research coordinator for San Diego Zoo Global. “The fact that they are reproducing in the wild, and do so well…that makes us very excited.”

Here’s a timeline of their reintroduction to Laguna Canyon Wilderness: 

First release: 50 mice were reintroduced to LCWP on June 13, 2016, which was a soft release. The animals were kept in acclimation cages (and fed supplements) for one week prior to release inside the large fenced area. 

The animals were monitored by trapping at one and three months post-release, and through trail cameras. 

On May 9, and July 5, 2017, researchers released an additional 25 and 24 mice, respectively. 

During trapping in June 2017, researchers saw signs of reproduction (pregnant females, and females with distended nipples, and halos around the nipples which indicates nursing). PPM pups don’t emerge from the burrows until the pups are at least 25 days old; so, they didn’t see any pups. 

Checking in mouse

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Courtesy of SDZG

Pacific pocket mouse thriving in Laguna Canyon Wilderness Park

In August 2017, during the trapping efforts, they caught 40 PPM pups. This is the first ever record of captive PPM breeding in the wild – a major milestone for the project. 

PPM aestivate/hibernate during the winter season, and are mostly underground, and feed from their caches in the burrows. 

In April 2018, researchers documented overwinter survivorship for the first time, and caught 36 mice (some captive born released mice, some pups processed in August 2017, and some new PPM). 

In May 2018, biologists removed the fence at the first site (WT1), and erected the fence at a new site less than 100 m away (WT2). 

28 PPM were released on May 24 following a week in acclimation cages. 

Between June 26 and 29, they trapped WT1 and WT2, one-month post-fence removal and post-release. 24 out of the 28 PPM released at WT2 were re-caught. They looked healthy and were good weights. One female was pregnant, and others showed signs of nursing. 

Checking in acclimation

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Acclimation cages in May of 2017

They caught six PPM at WT1. With the removal of the fence a lot of hetero-specifics (particularly the Dulzura kangaroo rat) have moved in. 

Researchers think the PPM might have been displaced by the presence of larger animals, and as a result, they have put cameras in areas that they didn’t trap in hopes of locating more PPM. It is also possible that some females are caring for pups in the burrows. 

Next month they will assess three-month survivorship as a result of the release and fence removal. 

PPM usually go underground in early October, and emerge ready for the next breeding season in early March; therefore, the team from San Diego Zoo Global will have to wait until next year to see how the release population is doing. 

King and Dr. Debra Shier of the Institute state in their blog, “Reintroduction success takes time, but we are well on our way! There are currently only three PPM populations left in the world, if we are successful, we will have established a fourth, moving this species a little farther from the brink of extinction.”

Apparently, the new population of PPM are alive and well and thriving in our wilderness.


CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) training: Registration is now open

The Laguna Beach Police Department in collaboration with the Laguna Beach Fire Department is excited to announce registration for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Course.

A Community Emergency Response Team is an organized and trained group of volunteers ready to assist in case of a disaster. The CERT program consists of 25 hours of classroom and hands on training and it concludes with an exercise drill to apply the skills and knowledge obtained during the classroom sessions.

CERT classes fire

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This CERT group did terrific work during the recent Aliso fire

Training includes the following topics: Disaster Preparedness, Disaster Medical Operations, CERT Organization, CERT and Terrorism, Fire Safety, Light Search and Rescue, Disaster Psychology, Traffic Control, and Scene Management. 

Training will begin on Thursday, Sept 20. Classes will then meet weekly from 6 to 9 p.m., including three Saturday morning meetings. The final exercise/drill takes place on Saturday, Oct 13. 

Mandatory attendance is required at all classes. To be considered for this training, you must be a resident of Laguna Beach or work within the city limits, be at least 18 years old and have no felony convictions. Applications must be submitted through the online recreation class sign-up at http://bit.ly/2tmh9vi. All individuals will receive a confirmation email if accepted into the program.


Barbara’s Column

Milkweed of human kindness is needed to save Monarchs

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

In the interests of transparency, I have to admit I stole the idea for this column from columnist Robin Abcarian, who wrote movingly of how the El Segundo blue butterfly was saved from extinction by placement on the Endangered Species list.

The Monarch butterfly needs the same protection.

The population has been declining for years, according to the late Lincoln Brower, who devoted six decades to the study of Monarch butterfly.

Brower charted the decline of the Monarch in the past 20 years, according to some statistics a drop of about 80 percent.

Something has gone terribly wrong. The Monarchs are not wimps. Some of them migrate as much as 3,000 miles south starting in September and October. They pass over the Southern California on their way to Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico, but some stay on the coast, which has a similar microclimate. They fly by day, traveling as much as 50 to 100 miles before settling down to roost at night. The Monarchs are visitors that Lagunans welcome. 

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Monarch among the greenery – a stunning sight

Monarchs hang out in the warmer climates until about March when they begin the return flight. They are the only butterflies known to make the two-way migration like birds do. None of the Monarchs survive the round trip, according to Wikipedia, but they have to get out of Dodge since they also cannot survive severe cold weather.

Some experts believe that the dearth of a healthy food source for the Monarchs is responsible for the drastic reduction. We can do something about that. 

Every backyard along the migration route can provide a welcome respite for the Monarch, according to the US Forestry Service. 

We can plant ascelepias syriaca, the botanical name for common milkweed, the single food source for the Monarch caterpillar, and other plants on which the adults will feast.

That was how the Laguna Beach Garden Club celebrated Earth Day in 2015. Inspired by guest speaker Susie Vanderslip, members planted pesticide-free milkweed at local schools and throughout the community. 

“We have members who are interested in the butterflies,” said Jorja Puma, club treasurer. “One of the coolest things I have ever done was to go to Mexico at the end of March. Monarchs were everywhere.”

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Monarchs feast on milkweed

Some club members and their friends who raise the butterflies in their gardens joined Vanderlip to become as Monarch Butterfly Citizen Scientists. They learned to tag and collect samples to provide data to support the Monarch Health Initiative research at the University of Georgia and Cal State Poly San Luis Obispo.

“Susie is the expert,” said Puma. “She knows everything there is to know about monarch butterflies.”

Vanderlip has written and filmed Monarchs, a species she has observed by the hundreds in her own garden.

And she is willing to share. Vanderlip is in demand as a professional speaker on Monarch butterflies for garden clubs, nurseries, museums, schools, women’s clubs and events for all ages. 

Jessica De Stefano is Laguna’s very own Butterfly Lady. She spent part of her childhood in Laguna where her grandfather Percy Wise Clarkson built the St. Francis by the Sea American Catholic Cathedral from rubble from the Long Beach earthquake in 1933. She moved as an adult to Laguna Beach in 2000.

Library becomes a destination for butterflies too

A former exhibitor at the Sawdust and Festival of Arts, De Stefano has created an oasis of beauty at the Laguna Beach Branch of the Orange County Library – a source of food and a cradle for Monarch larvae and a smorgasbord for the adult butterflies.

“I have just always loved butterflies,” said De Stefano.

And the butterflies love their garden.

“They like milkweed, the cone flowers, my cosmos and the butterfly bush,” De Stefano said.

Annuals come and go. Plants get replaced. 

The library recently was recognized by the Laguna Beach Beautification Council for the garden’s contribution to Laguna’s streetscape – not to mention the environment. De Stefano accepted the award on behalf of the library.

“I described not expecting to love it as I do,” she said. “At first, I thought it was just for the butterflies, but it has turned into such a magical experience. The corner gradually just grew on me.”

The garden wraps around from the Glenneyre Street entrance to the library and runs along the Laguna Avenue façade. It is De Stefano’s baby. She planted the garden, weeds it, waters it by hand and personally passes on the children’s messages left in the garden’s special “fairy house” for a response, which goes into the Fairy mailbox. 

“I call myself the Fairy Fiduciary,” said De Stefano.

In fact, sometimes she is the fairy.

“She lends sparkle to Hospitality Night as the Wish Fairy,” said Sande St, John. 

Friends of the Laguna Beach Library President Martha Lydick calls her a godsend.

“She just started gardening one day,” said Lydick. “We adore her.”

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Beautiful garden greets visitors to the Laguna Beach Library

De Stefano said she asked for permission from Librarian Jon Gilliom before she started digging and planting. She has been appointed to the Board of the friends. 

And now De Stefano has written a booklet about the garden: “Where Butterflies Dance,” available at the library.

“I think everyone is into protecting the Monarchs,” said De Stefano.

The federal government was petitioned in 2014 to put the Monarch on the endangered species list and the U.S Fish and Wildlife Service is scheduled to make a decision on the petition next year, according to published reports. To learn more, visit the US Forestry Services’  “Save the Monarch Butterfly” web page here.

Let’s make Laguna a monarchy.

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 StuNewsLaguna.com. Contributions are welcomed.


Barbara Diamond, legendary Laguna journalist, is honored with Proclamation at City Council 

Barbara Diamond, doyenne of Stu News Laguna, has threatened to wring the necks (and worse!) of all involved in organizing the City’s Proclamation honoring her well-deserved status as a beloved Laguna Beach legend, resident, and journalist. 

This typical aversion of Barbara’s to public praise – she likes to be behind the scenes, working her magic unseen and unquoted – was evident at Tuesday’s Council meeting as she grumbled her way to the microphone and Mayor Kelly Boyd’s side in front of the assembled crowd in the Council Chambers. 

barbara diamond working

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Barbara in her special seat at the Council meetings

But Barbara’s muted mutterings could not hide the fact that she was deeply touched, and (as she later admitted) felt greatly honored to be recognized in this way. 

As Barbara stood with Mayor Boyd, applause broke out, and a few attendees (including Shaena, a co-conspirator in this endeavor) choked up watching her and hearing the Proclamation.

The Stu News staff present at the occasion (who had crept in ahead of time and deviously hid in the back row to ensure that the Proclamation remained a surprise to Barbara), were thrilled to see the long-time reporter and word wizard get the recognition and praise she so much deserves. 

“Legend! How will I ever live that down with my family?” she wrote afterwards to one of us.

Complain away, dear Barbara, we love you, and we know how truly generous and warm-hearted you are, and how much people in this town depend on you to bring them the inside scoop without bias or bombast. You are the best.

Barbara with Kelly

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Barbara does not like her photo taken – sorry, Barbara! – here she is, clearly touched by the honor, with Mayor Kelly Boyd, clearly touched by the honor

PROCLAMATION

HONORING BARBARA F. DIAMOND

WHEREAS, the Laguna Beach City Council would like to recognize Barbara F. Diamond (BFD) for being a prominent, highly-respected and beloved Laguna Beach legend, resident and journalist; and

WHEREAS, Barbara Diamond grew up in the San Francisco area, studied journalism at Galileo High School in San Francisco, where she was the editor of the high school newspaper for three years, covered Wimbledon and was the Editor of “Inside Women’s Tennis,” the official publication for the Women’s Tennis Association, married the Executive Director of the Women’s Tennis Association, started her family and raised three wonderful sons in the Marin County area; and

WHEREAS, Barbara Diamond moved to Laguna Beach and began working for the Orange County Register (the News Post) full-time from 1985 to 2000, and became an icon and trusted journalist at City Hall and the Police Department reporting City information to the community, and joined Stu Saffer with the Coastline News where she continued reporting for another decade when the paper was sold to the Los Angeles Times (the Coastline Pilot); and

WHEREAS, Barbara Diamond, after taking some time off to be with her family, rejoined forces with Stu Saffer and Shaena Stabler in the summer of 2016, to write about “whatever she wanted to” and has been writing two stories every issue, two times per week, plus one column per week, ever since for Stu News Laguna; and

WHEREAS, Barbara Diamond has generously sponsored a personal journalism scholarship to Laguna Beach High School students for decades to help pursue their dreams, and continues to be a staple at all City Council and Planning Commission meetings, as well as community events, with flawless attendance.

WHEREAS, Barbara Diamond shall continue to have a “designated” seat next to the Deputy City Clerk at all City Council meetings.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that I, Kelly Boyd, Mayor of the City of Laguna Beach, California, do hereby proclaim that Barbara F. Diamond (BFD) is a highly-respected, trusted and talented Laguna Beach legend, resident and journalist.

DATED:  July 24, 2018

Signed by Kelly Boyd, Mayor


Caption contest: We have a winner (but no prize…)

caption contest hedge

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Photo by Scott Brashier

“I stepped on the gas instead of the brake”

Several readers offered caption ideas for Scott’s photo, published on Tuesday.

The winner is John Campbell, who owns a well-known local insurance company – and so perhaps it isn’t surprising that this crash caught his eye. He suggests, “I stepped on the gas instead of the brake” – words very familiar to him, after, John says, paid out insurance claims for that very same reason.

(Not that anyone should expect the same result.)

Susan Smallwood Cooper had a cheerier take on the evident wrong turn: “Let’s get this party started!”

“Hedge on collision” suggested Janine Freitas.

And a fairy tale twist from Regina Hartley: “Whoops! Into the woods!”

Thanks to all contributors.


Fill up your grocery bag giveaway with everything from soup to nuts at Farmers’ Market tomorrow

Tomorrow, the Ballesteros Group will be handing out reusable grocery bags and waters to those who attend Farmers’ Market. Residents and visitors may also notice a banner in front of the market on Friday to remind everyone about the following day.

The Ballesteros Group is now one of the co-sponsors (along with Mamas OC Food Services) for the LB Farmers Market. Their goal is to provide massive exposure for the market and all of the vendors through word of mouth and social media. 

Fill up banner

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Submitted photo

New banner on display every Friday

LB Farmers’ Market has everything from soup to nuts (literally, we think, although we could be wrong about the soup). Farm fresh eggs, flowers, fresh honey from a local farm, cheeses, bread, spreads, every vegetable and fruit you can think of, and made-to-order crepes, empanadas and other yummy food to eat on the spot or take to the beach. The list is endless.

Fill up shoppers

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Shoppers peruse fruit and vegetables

Farmers’ Market sets up shop at #12 Lumberyard parking lot (across from The Festival of the Arts) every Saturday from 8 a.m. to noon. Rain or shine.

Many say it’s the best one stop shopping anywhere! And some of it is organic. They even have Paleo and Gluten free baked goods.

On Tuesday, July 31, look for Stu News coverage of the July 28 giveaways along with its history and a current rundown of the Farmers’ Market vendors and their products.


The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection is a 20th anniversary celebration at Narrative Gallery, August 10 – September 16

Art dealer Robert Chase met Dr. Seuss’s wife, Audrey Geisel, a while back to discuss her late husband’s artwork. While the world knew of Dr. Seuss’s prolific children’s book illustrations, hundreds of major artworks spanning nearly his entire 70-year career had remained unseen. 

This archive included concept drawings and final line drawings painstakingly created for his children’s books, artwork created in the 1930s and 1940s for early commercial projects, and private paintings and sculpture done within the intimate setting of his studio. Both Chase and Geisel believed this Secret Art deserved to be seen and the historic project began nearly two years later, six years after Geisel’s death. 

Narrative Gallery in Laguna Beach will share a rare and compelling selection of artworks from 20 years of The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection. Visitors can explore and acquire works from Dr. Seuss’s best-known children’s books, as well as The Secret Art of Dr. Seuss, a mind-expanding collection based on decades of artwork, which Dr. Seuss created at night for his own personal pleasure.

The Art of Dr Seuss

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Submitted photo 

Perhaps the wackiest and most wonderful elements of the collection are Dr. Seuss’s three-dimensional “Unorthodox Taxidermy” sculptures with names like The Carbonic Walrus, The Two-Horned Drouberhannis, and the Goo-Goo-Eyed Tasmanian

Wolghast, to name a few.

Each of these Estate-Authorized limited editions has been adapted and reproduced from Theodor Seuss Geisel’s original drawings, paintings or sculptures.

Additionally, each work bears a posthumously printed or engraved Dr. Seuss signature, identifying the work as an authorized limited edition commissioned by the Dr.

Seuss Estate.

The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection has become one of the most comprehensive projects ever undertaken for a deceased artist. Nearly 300 gallery, museum, and public exhibitions have been mounted in this country and abroad over the past 20 years, garnering both critical and popular attention from the art world and the collecting public. Three major coffee table books have been published on The Art of Dr. Seuss Collection and 77 limited editions of Seuss imagery have now sold out. Most importantly, Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss) has taken his rightful place among America’s greatest artistic talents of the 20th century.

In her preface to the popular coffee table book on this collection, The Cat Behind the Hat, Audrey Geisel (Ted Geisel’s widow) writes: “I’m gratified to carry out Ted’s wishes and have these works revealed to the world.” 

Join the gallery for a fascinating glimpse into the unique artistic vision of Theodor Seuss Geisel. The exhibit runs from Friday, Aug 10 through Sunday, Sept 16 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Narrative Gallery, 417 S Coast Hwy. For more information, visit www.narrative-gallery.com.


More Shark Tales: Fintastic facts from Marine Safety – sink your teeth into these

By DIANNE RUSSELL

Nothing grabs one’s attention (and not in a good way) more than hearing the word “shark.” And it doesn’t help that it’s Shark Week on TV. So, no doubt, most are aware that on July 20, a white shark up to 17 feet long generated some buzz at San Clemente Pier as it chomped away on a gray whale carcass. However, there is no need to panic. 

Just as he did last year when there were concerns about sharks, Marine Protection Officer Jeremy Frimond again calms the fears of beachgoers.

Marine Protection Officer Frimond gives us the scoop on sharks

Officer Frimond says, “Great white sharks are still in the ocean, as this is their natural habitat, but the sightings in Orange County are far less than what was observed last year. This could be attributed to water temperatures dropping lower than what we have seen the past few years. Typically, adult females birth their pups offshore. These young-of-the-years then occupy the inshore habitat feeding on fish and stingrays. When the water temperature drops, juvenile great white sharks migrate south to Baja California.”

(In case anyone is wondering what our average water temperatures are in Laguna during the summer, as reported by www.seatemperatures.org, the average water temp in June is 64.9, July 67.6, and August 67.6. See Dennis’s column on Front Page II for current temps.) 

More Shark sign

But, do the juveniles come back from Baja?

Officer Frimond explains, “From there, some return while others disperse elsewhere. El Nino conditions have kept the water warmer than average over the past several years with last year being one of the warmest water temperature years. Marine scientists think warm water kept several cohorts of juvenile white sharks in the area. We are working closely with Dr. Chris Lowe and the CSU Long Beach Shark Lab to understand this population and guide our policies and procedures using the latest scientific information available.”

No confirmed sightings in Laguna waters

Officer Frimond continues, “Most sightings are occurring along the northern and southern beaches of the Orange County Coastline. The Marine Safety Department has not confirmed a shark sighting in Laguna’s waters. We do encourage people to call the Marine Safety Department as soon as possible if they believe they have seen a white shark. We have policies and procedures in place for public notification and beach closures in the event that a white shark is identified in the swimming areas.”

Sharks not the most dangerous threat to beachgoers

As a cautionary tale, Officer Frimond points out, “Ultimately, the ocean is an open and wild environment with inherent dangers. While sharks do pose a potential threat, ocean conditions like large surf and rip currents are much more commonplace and hazardous to ocean users. As such, we recommend that beach visitors: (1) check on conditions with the lifeguards prior to/upon arrival and (2) Always swim near a lifeguard.”

Here are some statistics that you can sink your teeth into and put your mind at ease. According to www.wildlifemuseum.com, the odds of getting attacked and killed by a shark are one in 3,748,067. In a lifetime, you are more likely to die from fireworks (one in 340,733), lightning (one in 79,746), drowning (one in 1,134), a car accident (one in 84), stroke (one in 24), or heart disease (one in 5).

For more information about marine safety, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net.


Reaching for the sky

Photo by Tom Berndt

reaching for the sky

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Palms up


Noah Rosen is living on the edge – and loving every moment

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

Noah Rosen is Bree Burgess Rosen’s adult son. That’s an accomplishment in itself, as most Lagunans would agree. No doubt he was raised with a song (or quite a few) and a prayer.

Noah is also a proud alumnus of El Morro Elementary School, Thurston Middle School, and Orange Country School of the Arts Culinary Arts Conservatory. He’s currently studying at Johnson and Wales University in Providence RI, and he’ll graduate in 2019 with two degrees, in Culinary Arts and in Food and Beverage Entrepreneurship. 

In the meantime, you could say he’s living on the edge. 

Not to put too fine a point on it, the young blade has gone into the knife business. He’s started up a company called Forge to Table Knives, which is on the cutting edge of all things kitchen.

noah rosen noah tower

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Submitted photo

Noah Rosen loves his knives

Stu News asked Noah why he decided to take a stab at this particular product.

“Forge To Table Knives, which will be in its second year of production in October, came about as a result of passion and serendipity,” Rosen responds, his enthusiasm obvious. “In March of 2017, at the Housewares show in Chicago, I had the pleasure of meeting Carole, the daughter of a second generation knife maker. She and her family operate a small forge in southern China. 

“For years they produced only knives for local markets and chefs, but once she and her brother joined, they brought new ideas and began to produce Japanese style knives. With their skill and precision, honed by decades of training and apprenticeship, [I saw that] they offered some of the best handmade knives I had ever seen.”

(A samurai or two in Carole’s ancestral tree, one wonders?)

Adds Rosen, “At first my only goal was to get a knife for myself, but as we talked, I realized I could get amazing knives in the hands of students like me at prices unseen in the handmade knife world – also for home and professional cooks. 

“After that it was full steam ahead. From March to June, I was in near constant contact with Carole, and the forge, to design what would become the Forge To Table Chef Knife (Gyuto).”

noah rosen sunset

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Submitted photo

No sunset clause when you buy Noah’s durable knives

Any way you slice it, this meeting was clearly serendipitous. The conversation sharpened Rosen’s desire to dice, pumped up his passion for paring, and honed his entrepreneurial spirit. 

Rosen explains some of the complexities involved in creating the sharpest tool in the kitchen drawer. 

“The best knife can hold an edge but still sharpens easily. It won’t rust too quickly. There must be a balance of ideal flexibility and thickness of the blade. Then there’s the handle. Japanese style knives have different shapes and the best for every shape of hand out there, large or small, is the octagonal style. It provides a better grip and equally suited for right or left handed use. 

“All of these factors help determine the exact specs of all my knives,” he adds.

Then Rosen gets technical – so I’m just going to cut to the chase. In summary, Rosen says that Forge to Table Knives represent all the factors important in a knife – its blade and handle. 

And here’s a riddle: When is a knife like a mattress? Answer: When it has a rosewood handle – which conforms, somewhat like a memory foam mattress (my bad analogy, not Rosen’s) to the shape of the body – the hand, in the case of a knife. 

noah rosen grapefruit

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Any way you slice it, Noah Rosen looks to have founded a very fruitful firm

Forge to Table Knives are stylish, too, Rosen tells me, and the photographs certainly prove his point.

“The hammered, blacksmith finish doesn’t just look good, along with the thin blade, it allows for an easy glide through anything you’re chopping, and eases release of food as well,” he adds.

(I’m just loving these expressions! I’d never pictured of food being released before. The thought makes me want to break out into an old Tom Jones song.)

Rosen is ready to make his mark

And how does Rosen aim to make his mark in the business?

“Through countless emails, WhatsApp messages, Skype, and samples back and forth, my dream became a reality,” he says, “and the forge went to work creating my design. This was the first knife they had ever sold in America, and as I have grown, so too has the forge! 

“The first two hundred and fifty knives took over five months to make. It was all hands on deck. 

“At first I just sold through word of mouth, then through ETSY and ForgeToTable.com. Soon I had also had shelf space in fantastic retail locations, Spice Merchants of Laguna Beach, STOCK Culinary Goods in Providence RI, and the Johnson and Wales Bookstore (don’t worry, knives in a bookstore is totally normal for a culinary school!) In six months, all 250 knives had sold! 

“Now, with more Gyutos in stock and a Petty (utility knife) and Sujihiki (slicing knife) in the works, I have expanded to sales on Amazon.com and presales right this moment on Kickstarter.” 

Rosen predicts Forge To Table will soon present more styles, more steels, and even other kitchen necessities, all right from the forge to the customer. 

Visit www.forgetotable.com to find out more about these sharp new products. 

A final comment: There’s no question in my mind that the brilliant Noah Rosen will have the edge when it comes to competition. He’s a man of steel, that much is clear, and I don’t see too much Kryptonite in his future – just happy customers as he strives to ensure his company is a cut above all the others in the business.


Wily coyotes hide in plain sight

Wily Coyotes

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Courtesy of LCF

Wily yes, but not the Wile E variety. Can you spot the coyotes?


Tree Removal Ordinance will be effective July 26

The City of Laguna Beach recently adopted a Tree Removal Ordinance to establish protection of the urban forest in the City by requiring a permit be issued before the removal of private trees in three categories. This ordinance is in effect starting Thursday, July 26, 2018. 

You need a permit to remove a tree if it falls within any of the three categories below:

Category I: Heritage trees. Do you have a designated Heritage tree on your property that you are considering removing? 

Category II: Design Review approved trees. Are the trees on your property part of a landscape plan approved through the Design Review process and you would like to remove and replace some of the trees? 

tree removal street

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Photo by Lynette Brasfield

Tree Removal Permits are required prior to the removal of certain trees

Category III: Trees privately maintained in the public right of way. Is there a tree in the public right of way adjacent to your property that you maintain and would like to replace? 

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then you need to obtain a Tree Removal Permit from the Laguna Beach Department of Community Development prior to removal of the tree. The ordinance establishes fines and penalties in the event that trees are removed without first obtaining a permit. The fines increase substantially with tree size, Heritage tree designation and number of violations within a 12-month period.

The ordinance also recognizes the importance of sustaining Laguna’s urban forest, so replanting the tree identified for removal with a suitable replacement tree is a requirement of the permit process. 

If you are unsure if your tree requires a permit for removal or for more information on the tree removal permit process, see the Tree Removal Permit page on the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/trp or stop by the Community Development desk located at City Hall, 505 Forest Ave.


Vacation Bible School starts August 6 at LBUMC

Laguna Beach United Methodist Church’s annual Vacation Bible School (VBS) program starts Monday, Aug 6 and continues through Friday, Aug 10.

VBS is open to youngsters from age one to those who’ve completed fifth grade, and will be held between 9 a.m. and noon at the church, 21632 Wesley Drive, up the hill from Gelson’s Shopping Center. 

Vacation Bible School graphic

Advanced registration is $50 for the first child in a family, $40 for each sibling. The cost for the first child will rise to $70 on August 6, but will remain at $40 for each sibling.  Each child receives a T-shirt. 

To sign up, go to www.lbumc.org or contact the church at (949) 499-3088.

The theme this year is Rolling River Rampage. 

“We’ll experience the ride of a lifetime with God,” says Jen Kucera Rothman, director of Children and Youth Ministries at LBUMC. “We’re preparing to guide the children on a fun trip right here on the church grounds!

“We’re also looking for older children to be volunteer helpers,” she adds.

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