Moon, Venus and Sunset

Click on photo for a larger image


Michelle Bentcliff

Sunday night

LCAD Third Annual Holiday Sell & Swap Wednesday

Click on photo for a larger image


For the third consecutive year, Laguna College of Art and Design (LCAD) will host its Annual Holiday Sell & Swap, a lively market where students and alumni sell their work ranging from paintings, digital art, handmade goods and live, on-the-spot typewritten literature. 

The Annual Sell & Swap tradition was started in 2014 by LCAD Illustration Alumna, Jacquelin de Leon and allows students to make extra money.

The event is open to the public for holiday shopping and cheer. Sell & Swap is Wednesday, Dec 7 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at LCAD Main Campus, 2222 Laguna Canyon Road.

Dennis’ Tidbits


December 6, 2016

The rainiest rainy night in December – a prelude

It was late on Friday evening of December 5, 1997. We were entering the peak of arguably the strongest El Niño of the twentieth Century, right up there with the 1982-83 event. At 9 p.m., Doppler radar showed a huge pool of bright oranges and reds drifting south just off the coast of Malibu, all part of an intense upper level and surface low that was packed with a combination of warm, moist tropical air streaming in from the south and cold, very unstable air from the north. With this monster El Niño anything dramatic was bound to happen as we would soon find out over the course of the next 12 hours or so.

At 10 p.m. here in town, it was unusually warm out for early December at 67 degrees. Skies were cloudy as the wind began to pick up from the southeast, nearly parallel to the coastline, an unusual direction. Winds were now blowing a steady 25 mph as the barometer began to sink rapidly. It had dropped nearly four millibars just in the last hour, from 29.85 to 29.74 and that’s fast for around here.

By midnight the winds had picked up to a steady 35 mph with gusts up to 40 and that’s tropical storm strength. Anything from 39-74 mph is tropical storm force. The temp was still at 65 degrees, about 15 degrees above normal for this time of night and time of year. The barometer was down to 29.66. 

Now the Doppler showed that huge pocket of heavy weather just off our coast and it was poised to strike. This low had been drifting south all day and now it had changed directions and was drifting ever so slowly northeastward with its core of the heaviest activity, a fairly narrow pocket of severe thunderstorm activity about 200 miles long and only about 20 miles wide, roughly from Corona del Mar to San Clemente and Laguna was the prime target. 

Frequent flashes of lightning began to appear to the south and southwest. 

I’ll stop here and continue this amazing experience in Friday’s edition of Stu News Laguna as I’m running a bit late here. 

See y’all then, ALOHA!

Police Files

Woman breaks bad in TI Park – threatens to kill cop

At about 9:20 Thursday morning, an officer made contact with Toni Nelson, 54, no fixed address out of Arizona in Treasure Island Park. 

She had been causing a disturbance and the officer was trying to calm the situation along with Montage Laguna Beach security. After a few minutes, the officer had the dispatcher contact city public services to have them send a pickup with “several trash bags to dispose of transient property…” according to the police log.

Within a few minutes of that being done, Nelson allegedly became uncontrollable and refused to follow the officer’s commands. She began throwing trash all around the area and refused to stop.

The officer used a contact taser that had no effect, the log stated.

She threatened to kill the officer and said she wanted the police to “blow her brains out…” She was controlled and seated after a few more minutes.

She was taken into custody at 9:55 and arrested on charges of making criminal threats of bodily harm, a felony, threatening an officer, resisting an officer and threatening a fight in a public place. 

Her bail was set at $50,000.

Woman, 28, charged with felony DUI after Glenneyre crash

Sarah Rebecca MacDonald, 28 of Laguna Niguel, crashed into a pole in the 500 block of Glenneyre after veering off the roadway at 4:18 Saturday afternoon.

She was able to get out but her injured passenger was trapped inside.

Laguna Beach firefighters were able to extricate the passenger, who was hospitalized after being stabilized by paramedics.

The extent of injuries was unknown as of press time.

MacDonald was arrested for felony DUI causing bodily injury and possession of dangerous drugs.

Bail was set at $100,000 after being booked here.

Santa came to town and he’s hanging around awhile

Hospitality Night - 2016


Click on photo for a larger image


Santa arrived downtown riding the LBFD 1931 Seagrave pumper

Click on photo for a larger image


Mostly smiles packed Forest Avenue

Click on photo for a larger image


Ice skating – Laguna Beach style


Check out a few more of Scott’s photos in the slideshow below

Click on the left side photo to see them all

Give a gift: support our seals and sea lions at PMMC


Before you rush out and finish all that holiday shopping, please remember that our own seal and sea lion hospital – Pacific Marine Mammal Center (PMMC) – offers quite a fun holiday catalog of all sorts of inventive gifts. 

Check it out at

Anything you purchase, of course, goes directly to the care and feeding of the center’s rescued seals and sea lions, and is also parlayed to the education department, which provides all sorts of classes, workshops, online classes for students all over the world, and the immensely popular Pinniped Summer Camps for kids.  

When perusing the holiday catalog this morning, I came across everything from seal tree ornaments to jewelry, license plate holders, travel mugs, purses and all sorts of clothing options (i.e., hats, t-shirts, sweatshirts, etc.)

Looking for something even more creative? 

Adopt a seal or sea lion for yourself or someone on your list

My personal favorite are the Adoption Kits, which allow you to adopt Elephant Seals, Harbor Seals, Sea Lions or Fur Seals and receive a PMMC lunch tote stuffed to the brim with your chosen stuffed animal, information cards, tips on how you can save the ocean and its inhabitants and more. What a great gift to give those people on your list who have everything!

Feed seals, educate kids … it’s all in the holiday catalog

The catalog doesn’t stop there. 

You can sign up to feed a Fur Seal, Harbor Seal, Sea Lion or Elephant Seal on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.  

You can even support people through the PMMC’s educational platforms. As an example, you can support today’s military and military veterans through the PMMC Sea Lions for Service Members

Support at-risk children who come to PMMC in busses from all over Southern California.

Check out PMMC’s Healing Seals, which is a partnered program with Children’s Hospital of Orange County

Or, sponsor a Pinniped classroom of 35 students at PMMC. 

Each year, PMMC’s Holiday Catalog just gets more entertaining and innovative. Anything you can do to support this hearty band of rescuers, researchers, doctors and educators in our Canyon’s little red barn is always appreciated! What a gift they’re giving our community (and the planet in general!). 

The link again is:


Diane Armitage is the author of a recently published 175-page book – “Laguna Beach’s Best” – a travel guide for locals and visitors. She writes a subjective blog found at 

She is a regular contributor to StuNews


The Webmaster is Michael Sterling.

Katie Ford is our in-house ad designer.

Lynette Brasfield is our Associate Editor; Maggi Henrikson is our Contributing Editor; Diane Armitage,  Barbara DiamondSuzie Harrison, Allison RaelSamantha Washer and Laura Buckle are staff writers.

Dennis McTighe, Diane Armitage, Laura Buckle, Fonda Eaton and April Steinert are columnists.

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

Shaena Stabler and Stu Saffer are the co-owners. Shaena takes care of our sales goals and strategic marketing and finds ways to keep Stu on topic and on target…it’s baseball season!

We all love Laguna and we love what we do.

Email: for questions about advertising


Email: with news releases, letters, etc