The Laguna Open was a big win for Alexa Strange and Falyn Fonoimoana

By Tournament Director Kirk Morgan

Photos by Scott Brashier

The 42nd Annual Women’s Laguna Open on Saturday, May 12, saw champions Alexa Strange and Falyn Fonoimoana, of San Clemente and Hermosa Beach, defeat Carrie Ann Manwill of Costa Mesa and Summer Nash of San Diego.

The winners upset a very strong 22 team field, coming from the number nine seed to defeat notables like two-time NCAA champion Nicolette Martin and her partner Sarah Day, Emily Young, Sasha Karelov, the Nourse sisters and many others.

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The tournament game winners chart

There were 17 players in the top 100 ranked in the state in the tournament. 

Strange and Fonoimoana won $750 each plus earning their coveted “AAA” beach rating from the California Beach Volleyball Association.

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2018 Champions (from left to right) Alexa Strange and Falyn Fonoimoana (holding her son), with Carrie Ann Manwill and Summer Nash

Kendyll Brennan of Laguna Beach and her partner Katelyn Carballo of Aliso Viejo put on a good showing but did not advance from pool play.

Tournament sponsors were First Bank, Skyloft, The Inn at Laguna Beach, Wilson Sports, Jolyn Clothing, and the City of Laguna Beach.

The Men’s Laguna Open will be June 2 - 3.

Ode to the sun

Photo by Scott Brashier

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The colors, the colors…a magnificent capture

Health in Balance Community Appreciation Day: Giving back (and back rubs) to the community

Health in Balance will be holding its annual Community Appreciation Day to express gratitude to its patients and the community. The event will take place on May 31 from noon to 6 p.m., during which free treatment will be offered.

Complimentary treatments will include chiropractic adjustments, therapy massage treatments, B-12 shots, and consultations for new guests plus 50 percent off IVs and detox footbaths. 

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Dr. Gary works on Mara’s back

Guests will also be able to visit health stations offering information on mind-body health, genetic weight loss, allergy testing, nutrition and immunity, flexibility and home care, essential oil living, and more – including goodie bags from Health in Balance and its partners, as well as healthy food provided from local sources.

At the event, Health in Balance will also be raising money for the Friendship Shelter and the Dominguez Roth Integrative Medical Foundation.

Health in Balance suggests spreading the healing news to loved ones. Anyone new to the facility will receive a complimentary consultation with one of the doctors along with their treatment.

Schedule your treatment time at or call (949) 497-2553. Walk-ins are welcome, but an RSVP is recommended.

Health in Balance is located at 330 Park Ave Suite #3.

Golden in every way: Sunset and spectators

Photo by Scott Brashier

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A sight to behold on a glorious golden evening

Children at Kathmandu orphanage benefit from Chhahari event on Sunday, May 20

“10 Years a Family: Celebrating Chhahari’s first decade” will be held on Sunday, May 20 from 4 to 7 p.m. Guests will be treated to live music by board member and local jazz singer Victoria McGinnis, with keyboardist Rusty Gillette, a menu by Chef David Pratt of Brick Restaurant, wine, beer, and a live auction that includes accommodations at exclusive spots in Napa Valley, Santa Ynez, France, and Santa Fe.

All proceeds from the event will provide for the daily needs and educational expenses of the 21 children who live at the hostel in central Kathmandu. 

A decade ago, Laguna Beach resident Christine Casey created her nonprofit to benefit the orphaned, neglected, and abandoned children she had seen while on a trek in Nepal. This coming weekend, she and her US board of directors will celebrate the milestone with an event at a north Laguna home to continue the work. The location of the private home will be provided upon ticket purchase.

After her retirement, Casey fulfilled a lifelong dream by trekking Nepal in 2004. She was appalled at the sight of desperate street urchins in terrible physical condition, “being stepped over by passersby as if they were garbage.” She vowed to take action. 

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Submitted photo

Children of Kathmandu

In 2007, with the help of Laguna Beach attorney Tom Davis, she founded the home in Kathmandu for a handful of children whose lives would have otherwise been short and brutal. A former banker, Casey is scrupulous in her accounting for her nonprofit, so virtually every penny raised is used to cover the children’s daily needs. 

The children attend school a few blocks from their home at Sagarmatha Educational Academy, learn music, art, and traditional dancing, and live as a large, loving family. The organization’s goal is to help these children and to change poverty-stricken Nepal from the inside out by helping to create a new generation with an educated middle class. 

Founder Casey noted, “As these children grow, I see how the work we have done over the last 10 years has paid off. These at-risk children were given a chance at an education and a place in our calm, stable home. Every one of them has made the most of these opportunities. All are excelling in their studies at the nearby school we send them to.”

Admission is $75, which includes dinner, wine, and beer. Tickets may be purchased online at the website listed below or at the door. Checks (and donations) may be mailed to Chhahari, Inc., c/o Davis Law, 580 Broadway, Suite 204, Laguna Beach CA 92651. 

For information on Chhahari, go to

Seventh annual Laguna Bluebelt photo contest award presentations take place on Friday, June 8

Calling all photographers, family, friends, supporters, generous sponsors and ocean lovers: Meet the artists who won awards in the Laguna Bluebelt photo contest and celebrate their achievement in support of our Marine Protected Areas.

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Photo courtesy LBC

Deanne King: Octo on the Run: Amateur Honorable Mention, 2018

The Artist Reception and exhibit of winning photographs takes place on Friday, June 8 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. – World Oceans Day – at Forest & Ocean Gallery, 480 Ocean Ave. The awards presentation will take place at 6 p.m.

Everyone is invited to stop by and enjoy free music, appetizers and drinks with friends old and new. There is ample parking at Lots 11 and 12 across street from the Gallery.

All donations and 15 percent of art sales will benefit the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition and their work.

The Laguna Bluebelt Coalition works to protect and improve Laguna’s Marine Protected Areas.

For more information, visit

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