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 Volume 11, Issue 22  |  March 15, 2019                                  


 

Police Files

Locals charged in largest college bribery scandal in history

On Tuesday, March 12, more than 50 people were charged by the Department of Justice in the largest college admissions scam in US history. Dubbed “Varsity Blues” by the FBI, the arrests include Laguna Beach residents, prominent business executives Douglas Hodge and Robert Flaxman, as well as fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli and his wife, actress Lori Loughlin, who owned a home in Laguna Beach for many years.

According to the 204-page affidavit, dozens of individuals indicted and arrested, including 13 defendants in Orange County and Los Angeles, were allegedly involved in the nationwide conspiracy that aided admission of students to elite universities through facilitated cheating on college entrance exams and purported athletic recruits.

Suspects allegedly paid bribes to sports coaches and administrators to help get the students admitted to top college institutions, including University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, Yale, Stanford, Georgetown, and Wake Forest University, among others, regardless of athletic or academic abilities. At this time, no university admissions personnel are suspected of any wrongdoing or crimes. 

At the center of the scandal is Newport Beach resident William “Rick” Singer, 58. Singer has acknowledged collecting approximately $25 million dating back at least a decade, through his for-profit college counseling and preparation business company, Edge College & Career Network, also known as “The Key,” and a nonprofit corporation he started as a purported charity.

Singer was charged with racketeering conspiracy, money laundering conspiracy, and obstruction of justice.

Those with Laguna Beach ties facing charges include Douglas Hodge, 61, Laguna Beach, former CEO of prominent investment management companies. According to reports, prosecutors allege Hodge used bribery to get his children admitted to USC and Georgetown as purported athletic recruits.

Hodge was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. The defendant appeared in Boston on Wednesday, March 13, and was released on conditions including a $500,000 secured bond. 

Founder and CEO of real estate development firm Robert Flaxman, 62, of Laguna Beach, was charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. His initial appearance in federal court in Boston is set for March 29 at 2:30 p.m.

Fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, 55, and his well-known actress wife Lori Loughlin, 54, of Los Angeles, were charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and honest services mail fraud. The defendants made their initial appearance in the Central District of California and were each released on $1 million bail. 

Loughlin and Giannulli used to own a home in Laguna Beach, which they reportedly listed for sale in 2009 for $12.99 million.

According to court documents, Giannulli and Loughlin submitted to USC’s admissions offices photos of their daughters on rowing machines. The couple allegedly paid $500,000 to have their two daughters attend the university by way of the school’s crew team, even though neither was reportedly a crew athlete.

Loughlin, known for her role as Aunt Becky in Full House and Fuller House, has also starred on Hallmark Channel on myriad projects, including When Calls the Heart. It was announced yesterday that Loughlin has been fired from Hallmark Channel and Netflix, according to reports.

Also charged for her alleged involvement in the scheme is Golden Globe-winning actress Felicity Huffman, among the 33 parents and 13 coaches and associates of Singer’s businesses, including two SAT and ACT test administrators. 

The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law.

-By Suzie Harrison

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School board dumps bylaws at contentious meeting

By BARBARA DIAMOND

A majority of the Laguna Beach Board of Education dumped bylaws at a testy meeting Tuesday night, including those that pertained to the annual election of officers and rotation of the presidency.

Recently re-elected board member Dee Perry was the lone opponent of the 4-1 vote that she believes was aimed at her for questioning why she had been blocked from assuming the presidency after serving two years as clerk, a longstanding board tradition, if not a mandate. Veteran board member Jan Vickers is serving her third consecutive term as president, a violation of the now defunct bylaws, according to Perry.

“I think not following our own bylaws is taking away confidence in the community, confidence in the board, confidence in the administration,” said Perry. “I am sad we are doing it this way.”

According to the discarded bylaws, the board was to hold an annual organizational meeting at which one of the members would be elected clerk and one president. After serving one year as clerk, “the elected member may serve one year as president of the Board,” the bylaw reads. “It is the intent that all board members rotate through the sequence of clerk and president.”

Perry was twice bypassed for the presidency.

“It’s a ‘may’ – you have to be nominated and you didn’t nominate yourself,” said board member Carol Normandin, also re-elected in November. “If you wanted to be president you should have nominated yourself.”

Normandin accused Perry of convincing the community that there is a conspiracy against her when in fact she is not equipped to be president, according to Normandin.

“If you want to be president, you have to know how to conduct a meeting,” said Normandin. “You don’t know how to conduct a meeting. You caused this ruckus.”

At this point, board member James Kelly called for a vote.

However, Perry requested time to respond to Normandin’s comments. She said she did not think she had to be nominated because the clerk always became president, which board member Peggy Wolff claimed was not always true.

Perry also said she had offered to serve as Co-President (a non-existent office) with Normandin, who was elected clerk at the December organizational meeting.

Prior to the vote, board watchdog Howard Hills called for a new election of the president, in one of his several appearances at the speaker’s podium.

Normandin’s husband, Ken Parker, said for the record that Hills should stop wasting the board’s time so his wife could get home a half-hour earlier after meetings.

Laguna Beach Republicans President Emil Monda posited that the board preferred expelling Perry, an option not available because she is a duly elected official.

“So you did the next best thing which is to marginalize her and ignore your own rules,” said Monda.

“You are about to take a vote that is going to deny due process in handling the presidency because you don’t like someone.”

Monda and Hills were the only members from the public that spoke in support of Perry.

However, Perry informed the board that she had heard from about 100 people that they are afraid to speak up for fear of retaliation on students.

The District’s attorney said only certain anonymous complaints can be added to the public record and remain anonymous.

Perry said she was approached by many folks who assumed she had been elected president at the December organizational meeting and had to explain to them that the board was not following the bylaws and rotating the terms of the clerk and president so that each member would have a chance.

“The upset is not about me being president; it is about the board not following the bylaws,” said Perry.


Beloved local artist Michele Taylor passes away

It is with heavy hearts we announce the loss of renowned Laguna Beach artist and beloved friend Michele Taylor, 49, who passed away on Tuesday, March 12, following an incredibly courageous fight against cancer. She was surrounded by her loving family by her side.

Michele at her studio

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Courtesy Michele’s loving mom, Barbara Taylor 

Michele was a passionate, free-spirited, and loving soul, and creative genius. She made an indelible mark in this world and our community. She will never be forgotten, but greatly missed and forever in our hearts.

Please check Stu News for a full tribute and photos celebrating her beautiful being, life, and legacy in an upcoming edition.


Annamarie surpasses her Girl Scout cookie goal thanks to the last minute help of the community

By DIANNE RUSSELL

For those of you who have been following Annamarie McIntosh’s journey to reach her goal of selling 5,000 boxes of Girl Scout cookies, you’ll be delighted to know that she made it! Thanks to the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association (LBPEA), the Laguna Beach Firefighters Association, the many residents and friends who bought from the McIntosh drive-thru, and numerous local businesses, Annamarie surpassed her goal with an official count of 5,124 boxes sold. 

Annamarie says, “Thank you! I am blown away that so many people came out to support me! I never would have made the goal without the help of the community, and I still can’t believe it happened!”

However, on Sunday, it seemed as if it might not. With only two days left, Annamarie’s dad, Steve, admitted that she was a couple of hundred boxes short. So on Tuesday, the last day of Girl Scout cookie sales, members of the LBPEA hit the damp streets to rally donations and purchases from local businesses. LBPEA happily reported that the Laguna Beach business community did not disappoint, and by 11 a.m., they were able to deliver $550 to Annamarie’s father. 

Annamarie surpasses thank you

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Submitted photo

Annamarie thanks community for its support

The McIntosh family (and LBPEA) would like to thank the following local businesses for providing a great example of community, partnership, cooperation, and goodwill: Gregg Abel Design, Stop-N-Go, Hotel Joaquin, Alessa, Mozambique, Yantra Beauty, and Stonebridge Financial, who all pitched in at the last minute. They encourage residents to support these fine local businesses and thank them for their support of our community.

Steve says, “Vicki and I couldn’t be more proud of Annamarie for working so hard to get to her goal. The community really came together and helped make it happen. Friends and strangers came out of the woodwork to give her an unbelievable weekend of sales. Brian Griep and the Laguna Beach Police Employees Association even went out into the community and were able to get various businesses and individuals to donate to the Cookie Share program. That truly put her over the top! Lastly, we want to thank Dianne and Shaena from Stu News for getting behind Annamarie! You are right, it does take a village...and what a village we have!”

Congratulations, Annamarie! Now everyone go eat a Thin Mint to celebrate her success.

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LBUSD honors LBHS Girls Water Polo team – CIF Division 1 Champions

LBHS girls team

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Photo courtesy of LBUSD

At the March 12 School Board Meeting, the LBUSD Board of Education recognized the athletic excellence of the Laguna Beach High School Girls Water Polo team. The team finished the CIF Southern Section season with a 29-1 record, beating Corona del Mar for the CIF-SS Division 1 girls water polo championship.


LBPD joins Waymakers to celebrate 40th Anniversary

LBPD joins Carlson

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Courtesy of Waymakers

(L-R) Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow and Sergio Prince present Proclamation on behalf of OC District Supervisor Lisa Bartlett to Waymakers on Thursday

LBPD Farinella

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Courtesy of Waymakers

LB Police Chief Laura Farinella and Waymakers Program Director Carol Carlson

LBPD joins house

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Shelter House – Carol Carlson on left and Heidi Miller

LBPD joins policeman

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Courtesy of Waymakers

Members of the Laguna Beach Police Department, including Captain Jeff Calvert, joined Waymakers to celebrate the youth shelter’s 40th anniversary on Thursday morning. In total, Waymakers has assisted over 4,500 young adults in Orange County.

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LBPD announces important Laguna Beach rideshare pickup locations

The City of Laguna Beach boasts a vibrant nightlife and arts community. The Laguna Beach Police Department encourages people to have a good time, but public safety remains a priority.

Officers Shar Hariri and Fred Yeilding, who are assigned to the Laguna Beach Police Department Business Liaison Unit, observed that Uber and Lyft drivers often stop on Coast Highway to pick up or drop off passengers. The drivers stopping in the roadway presents a safety concern for other motorists and pedestrians.

LBPD announces signsThe officers worked with Uber and Lyft to find a solution to this safety concern. The two companies were able to leverage their geolocation technology on their apps, which allows the companies to set specific pickup locations, and by doing so, move passenger pickup locations onto side streets with less traffic. The change has helped to increase awareness and provide safer rideshare pickup locations.

The designated pickup and recommended drop-off locations are located in the following areas: 200 Ocean Avenue, 200 Laguna Avenue, and 100 Brooks Street. 

The officers are working with city staff to develop specific signage identifying the pickup locations. They are also working with local businesses and encouraging them to inform their patrons about the safe pickup areas.

The Business Liaison Unit strives to find modern ways of improving public safety by using new technologies to adapt to changing environments. Laguna Beach was the second city on the west coast to have implemented this partnership with these rideshare companies. As we continue to move forward into the modern world, the Laguna Beach Police Department is continually seeking new ways to integrate creative solutions aimed at improving public safety.

For further information, contact Captain Jeff Calvert at (949) 497-0375 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Laguna’s hidden gem Hortense Miller Garden hosts open house on March 30

On Saturday, March 30 from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m., Hortense Miller Garden will host an open house. This hidden gem features a 2.5-acre garden with over a dozen unique trails and a pristine Mid-Century Modern home built by Knowlton Fernald in 1958 on the slope of Boat Canyon. 

Tucked under towering Torrey Pines, planted from one-gallon saplings in 1959, there are over 600 plant species in the garden of which about 150 are California natives. The wondrous variety of plantings gives the garden color and texture during every season. 

Laguna's hidden outside

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Submitted photo

Garden tours will be offered during the free open house on March 30

The walls of glass of this home offer breathtaking ocean views. The original furnishings give the home a rare authenticity, fitting of a true Laguna artist. The Aviary Gallery features an exhibit of the original renderings of the home drawn by the architect in 1958. 

Continuous shuttle bus service and parking will be available from First Church of Christ Scientist at 635 High Dr starting at 10 a.m. The last bus departs for the garden at 3:20 p.m. There will be a free art workshop for children. Sack lunches are permitted and walking shoes are recommended. 

Lagunas hidden inside

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Submitted photo

The house offers breathtaking ocean views and original furnishings 

Garden tours will be offered every hour and books on Hortense Miller, container gardens, and garden art will be available for sale.

No reservations are necessary for the open house and admission is free. Donations are gratefully accepted. 

For more information, visit www.hortensemillergarden.org or call (949) 244-2010.


Study in gray

Study in sky

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Photo by Tom Berndt

A palette of gorgeous grays

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HIP District to celebrate Old School Laguna

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Hip! Hip! Hooray! The HIP District will celebrate “Old School Laguna” from noon to 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 30. 

“Old School Laguna” will be a one-day event in which the stores and restaurants in the HIP District will participate, with the blessings of the Laguna Beach Planning Commission and city staff.

The HIP District – which stands for Historic and Interesting Places – includes the shops and restaurants from Thalia Street to Bluebird Canyon Drive that formed a coalition to advertise and promote the area.

“The idea is to showcase each store’s story about Laguna,” said Susan Elliott, owner of Twig, who applied for the TUP on behalf of the 27 participating establishments. “It will be our version of Hospitality Night. We want people to share this fun part of town.”

HIP District 1

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Submitted photo

Michael Minutoli a.k.a. The Greeter at his regular spot in the HIP District

Posters announcing the event are expected to be displayed starting Friday on the fences of the Old Pottery Place and Kiska Boutique, at the Art Center patio, at Twig’s parking lot and on shops. Posters will be given to folks at the event. 

The application submitted by Elliott requested a temporary use permit for the event this year. However, Commissioner Anne Johnson recollected that a three-year TUP had been discussed at an Open for Business meeting and recommended tacking on the additional years to Elliott’s application, to which a unanimous commission and staff agreed.

Staff opined that the event advances the goals, policies and objectives of the land use element of the city’s General Plan and the recently adopted Economic Development Action Plan. 

HIP District 2

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Submitted photo

The HIP District will be especially happening on March 30

“Old School Laguna” will feature live music – a guitarist/singer, a duo or a band at five venues: Sound Spectrum from noon to 2 p.m., Kiska from 1 to 3 p.m., the Art Center from 2 to 4 p.m., Twig from 4 to 6 p.m. and The Old Pottery Place, which will feature the legendary Laguna Beach band HONK from 3 to 5 p.m., according to Elliott. 

Stores will play music on turntables. 

Event venues will display historic photographs, memorabilia, throwback merchandise such as surf-style clothing and special sales. 

Sales tables will be set up outdoors (assuming no rain) on private property. 

The Chocolate Soldier will bring back “Grand Slams,” S’mores on steroids. 

“Old School Laguna” participants will be identified by the display of a clutch of purple balloons.

Elliott said she has been working on the event for a year and looks forward to introducing the HIP District to residents who may not yet patronize or even know what the district offers, and to tourists. 

“This will be a fun event celebrating the vibe of ‘Old School’ Laguna Beach and especially the history of the HIP District,” said Elliott.


Must see, FOA Fresh Faces 2019 exhibit runs
through May 24 

Summer is just around the corner and the Festival of Arts is excited to announce its newest exhibit, Fresh Faces 2019. Presenting the works of the 23 newly juried Festival artists, the exhibit showcases a wide range of mediums including painting, sculpture, photography, mixed media and more. 

Fresh Faces 2019 runs through May 24 at the Festival of Arts Third Floor Gallery at Wells Fargo Bank. The opening artist reception was a big hit for art enthusiasts last Saturday, March 9.

“We’re welcoming a larger number of first year exhibitors than in recent years and their exceptional work, along with our longtime exhibitors, will help create one of the most exciting years the Festival has ever seen,” Festival of Arts Marketing Director Sharbie Higuchi said.

Must see FOA Carrie Zeller

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Submitted photo

Carrie Zeller is a new artist and is posing next to one of her pieces of work titled “Girl on Bus”

Fresh Faces 2019 showcases a fascinating look into the world of the innovative and fresh new artwork of 23 prestigious artists from Orange County. The artists and mediums being presented are Duncan Asper (Mixed Media), Echo Baker (Oils), Peggy Chang (Oils), Monica Edwards (Oils), Victor Fisher (Sculpture), Hugh Foster (Photography), Alice Gamez (Oils), JP Greenwood (Photography), Carol Heiman-Greene (Oils), Ricky Hill (Sculpture), Lyn Hiner (Acrylics), Baruch Kaufman (Jewelry), Lisa Kijak (Fiber Arts), Peter Levshin (Photography), Dana Lewis (Oils), Gemma Park (Jewelry), Bree Poort (Mixed Media), Janine Salzman (Mixed Media), Pegah Samaie (Oils), Christopher Paul Scardino (Mixed Media), Ken Sugimoto (Sculpture), Chifumi Uehara (Sculpture), and Carrie Zeller (Photography).

Must see FOA Group Photo

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Submitted photo

(L-R) Phyllis Fisher, Scott Albert, Dana Lewis, Pegah Samaie, Carol Heiman-Green, Shakiba Hashemi, Christopher Scardino, and Victor Fisher

 “It is so very rewarding to witness the new artists, docents, long time exhibiting artists, Festival Board members, and the general public enthusiastically involved in a variety of discussions, a testament to the camaraderie that can develop in the local art culture,” said Pat Sparkuhl, Art Collection Specialist/Curator for Festival of Arts.

These exhibitors were recently juried into the Festival of Arts by a panel of six knowledgeable artists and/or art experts which included Scott Albert, watercolorist; Cathy Cobb, Art Director for Automobile Club of Southern California - Texas Journey and New Mexico Journey magazines; Jordan Dimitrov, sculptor; Mark Jacobucci, painter (alternate); Sarah Jesse, Deputy Director for Orange County Museum of Art; and Evan Senn, Gallery Curator at Golden West College and Art/Art History Instructor at Cal State University Fullerton, Golden West College, and Laguna College of Art and Design.

Must see FOA onlookers

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Subitted photo

Onlookers enjoying a first glance at the FOA’s new artists show Fresh Faces

Fresh Faces 2019 is on exhibit through May 24 is at the Festival of Arts Third Floor Gallery at Wells Fargo Bank located at 260 Ocean Ave. It is part of an ongoing series of shows that the Festival of Arts will be holding at Wells Fargo. The building is open to the public Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. - 6 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Admission is free. 

The Festival of Arts is a nonprofit organization whose proceeds support the arts in and about Laguna Beach. For more information call (949) 494-1145 or visit www.LagunaFestivalofArts.org.


A sense of wonder

Photos by Mary Hurlbut

A sense girl

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Enchantment abounds

A sense landscape

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Spring loveliness

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Locals invited to participate in annual low-cost spay/neuter program throughout April

Residents of Laguna Beach and Laguna Woods can purchase low-cost vouchers to have their dog or cat spayed or neutered at three veterinary hospitals located in Laguna Beach from April 1 to April 30. 

Spaying or neutering your pet has numerous health benefits for the animal and is essential in controlling pet overpopulation. 

The voucher cost is $15 to $40 for neuters and $25 to $75 for spays. The cost is based on the weight of the pet. A veterinarian evaluates each pet, and in the event your pet requires additional medical attention, you will be responsible for additional costs. 

Locals invited dogs

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Photo by Dianne Russell

Three Laguna Beach Veterinary Hospitals will offer vouchers to purchase through March 31

Protecting your pets (PUP) will cover the majority of the costs to spay or neuter your pet during this event. 

Residents can purchase the low-cost spay/neuter vouchers at the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter until March 31, 2019. 

There is a maximum of two vouchers per household. 

Participating vets are: Dr. Gershon Alaluf, Canyon Animal Hospital; Dr. James Levin, Laguna Beach Animal Hospital; and Dr. Randall Bondurant, Laguna Beach Veterinary Medical Center. 

For additional information, residents may contact the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter at (949) 497-3552.


Laguna Craft Guild presents local art show on March 24 at Main Beach

On Sunday, March 24, from 9 a.m. - sundown, the Laguna Craft Guild will hold an art show at Main Beach featuring local artists. There are always many treasures to be found at the show, you won’t want to miss it.

Laguna Craft umbrella

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Stroll along Main Beach while visiting local artists 

Laguna Craft Guild is a small group of local Laguna Beach artists that sell their handmade goods on the cobblestones at Main Beach one to two times a month. Many of them are also Sawdust Festival artists.

The show is very special and a fun way to spend a Sunday strolling along the boardwalk with friends, family, and pets while gazing at the ocean. The art show is kind of like looking for that perfect seashell along the shoreline. 

For more information, visit www.lagunacraftguild.org or follow on Instagram at @lagunacraftguild.


Laguna Playhouse to honor Hershey Felder at May 18 gala

On May 18, Laguna Playhouse will honor an artistic icon, Hershey Felder, for his commitment to Laguna Playhouse, bringing original content and performing to sold-out audiences for a decade, and for his work to keep regional theatres, such as Laguna Playhouse, alive and vibrant across the world. 

This year’s gala, co-chaired by Trustees Lisa Hale and Glenn E. Gray, will begin with a VIP reception where Hershey Felder and special guests will perform in front of an exclusive intimate audience. 

Hershey Felder is an accomplished pianist, performer, playwright, producer, and director. He has staged over 4,700 performances of his unique solo productions at some of the world’s most prestigious theatres. 

Laguna Playhouse group

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Photo by Chuck Weinberg

Hershey Felder with Aviva and Fred Forster at previous Laguna Playhouse event

Felder has portrayed many world-renowned composers such as George Gershwin, Fryderyk Chopin, Ludwig Van Beethoven, Leonard Bernstein, Irving Berlin, and Piotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky, bringing both their music and their stories to life. 

Hershey is also the writer and director for the internationally performed play-with-music The Pianist of Willesden Lane, based on the book The Children of Willesden Lane; the producer and designer of Louis and Keely: ‘Live’ at the Sahara, directed by Taylor Hackford; and writer and director for Nathan Gunn Flying Solo.

“Hershey Felder is a unique talent that transcends traditional theatrical boundaries putting the roles of artist, writer/composer, and director into that of one. He is no less an internationally acclaimed World Treasure, and we are proud to be able to honor him on this special evening,” said Ellen Richard, Laguna Playhouse Executive Director.

The evening’s program will also feature a performance by Hershey Felder and a heartfelt tribute to him. The gala will conclude with live music and dancing. Nearly 400 are expected in attendance at the gala. Last year, the Orange County Business Journal named the gala in the top five net fundraising galas in Orange County. 

More on the gala can be found at www.lagunaplayhousegala.org

Laguna Playhouse will also conclude its renovation of the historic Moulton Theatre in May celebrating 50 years since it was built, and will celebrate its Centennial Season in 2020-2021.

Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Rd.

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South Laguna Community Garden Park hosts Laguna County Fair on March 23

The community is invited to take part in the upcoming festive Country Fair at South Laguna Community Garden Park on Saturday, March 23 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

In among the rain-nourished garden beds, local crafts people will offer their unique handcrafted art. Adding to the fun will be raffled prizes donated by Laguna businesses and live music from the Garden Band. 

South Laguna jewelry

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Submitted photo

Handmade jewelry at last year’s fair

All funds raised will support the acquisition and operation of the Garden Park. Donations of non-perishable food for the Laguna Beach Food Pantry are welcome. 

For more information, contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit www.southlaguna.org/garden.

The garden is located at 31558 Eagle Rock Way.


Batman comes to town

Batman comes crew

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Photo by Kathy Tanaka

The Bat Crew lands in Laguna

Batman comes trailer

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Photo by Lisa Barreth

Batmobile out of the Batcave 

Batman comes boy

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Photo by Kathy Tanaka

Holy, Batman, it’s really you!

Batman comes Batmobile

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Photo by Kathy Tanaka

Quick, to the Batmobile!


Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
opens this weekend

Laguna Beach High School Drama and Park Avenue Players return to the Laguna Beach High School Artists Theatre tonight, Friday, March 15 at 7 p.m., with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

The musical is a reimagining of the Biblical story of Joseph, his father Jacob, 11 brothers, and the coat of many colors. The show will continue on March 16, 22 and 23 at 7 p.m., and on March 17 and 24 at 2:30 p.m.

The musical follows preferred son Joseph who, after being sold into slavery by his brothers, ingratiates himself with Egyptian noble Potiphar, but ends up in jail after refusing the amorous advances of Potiphar’s wife. 

LBHS Drama school

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Join LBHS Drama and Park Avenue Players for “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” opening this weekend

While imprisoned, Joseph discovers his ability to interpret dreams, and he soon finds himself in front of the mighty but troubled, Elvis-inspired, Pharaoh. Joseph’s solution to Egypt’s famine elevates him to Pharaoh’s right-hand man and reunites him with his family.

The company of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” includes more than 50 Laguna Beach High School student cast and crew members and 12 students from El Morro Elementary, Top of the World Elementary, and Thurston Middle School in the children’s choir. 

The musical is directed and choreographed by guest artist Paul Nygro. A veteran performer, Nygro has appeared on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in productions across the globe. His credits as a producer, director, choreographer, and actor span a range of mediums, including theatre, film, and television.

“Paul’s (Nygro) energy is infectious. He dives into projects with passion, commitment, and creativity,” said Laguna Beach High School and Thurston Middle School Drama Teacher and Director, Alexis Karol. “We are grateful that amidst his many professional commitments in Los Angeles he is willing to share his talent and skill with our Laguna Beach High School students,” she concluded. 

Tickets are on sale  at lbhs.booktix.com. Tickets are $12 for students, $17 for adults, and $22 for premium. 

Laguna Beach High School is located at 625 Park Ave.

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Guest Column

Emergency Room at Mission Hospital – Laguna Beach was tops when I went down

By Marion Jacobs, Ph.D.

Patient and Family Advisory Council at Mission Hospital – LB

I hope you never have to go to an ER. But hey, the unexpected happens. Like last December 4th when I was walking my dog Miltie down Temple Hills Drive around nine at night. For reasons known only to the normally mild-mannered Miltie, he bolted at a husky being walked up the street, landing me face down on the pavement.

 Thank goodness for our wonderful Emergency Department at Mission Hospital – Laguna Beach. I serve on the Patient and Family Advisory Council at the hospital, so I’m quite familiar with their dedication to excellence in every aspect of medical care. But that night – CT scans, tetanus shot, wound care, stitches (yes, 14 of them) – I saw all those lofty principles put beautifully into action. 

Unfortunately, many locals know little or nothing about Mission Hospital – Laguna Beach. Others harbor a leftover negative opinion from the South Coast Hospital days. That’s the reason I’m writing this. Today our town is blessed with a truly first-rate hospital and Emergency Department. I hope you never need their ER, but in case you or a loved one do, know that you’ll get the best of care in very competent and caring hands.

I asked nurse Jo Zarnegar, who is Manager of Emergency Services at the hospital, to give me a tour of their newly updated facilities so I could pass the information on to you. Here’s what I learned.

Emergency Room staff

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Competent and caring staff at Mission Hospital – Laguna Beach

With the generous gift of $10 million from the Sue and Bill Gross Foundation, a total renovation of the Emergency Department facility began in February 2017. Once completed, the ER will expand from a licensed 12-bed emergency department to a total of 16 private rooms and four treatment bays. Sensitive to the stress on patients and their families when they arrive at an ER, Zarnegar made sure every aspect of the new ER’s design maximizes the comfort of patient and family members and conveys a sense of the hospital’s concern for their psychological well-being, as well as their medical care. 

Zarnegar achieved some of what she was after through, as she put it, “art about where we live” – a delightful array of upbeat photographs throughout the ER, all rendered by local photographers. Boldly colorful flowers, dramatic ocean life, winding hillside trails, otters so playful you have to smile, the artwork gives the halls and patient rooms a surprisingly “boutique” feel. TV’s and dimmer switches for the lights in every room also add to patient and family comfort.

But it’s the ER’s 60 staff members that Manager Zarnegar most credits for the high marks this Emergency Department receives in the national Press Ganey rankings of hospitals. Although not a trauma center, “We have a board certified emergency medicine physicians group capable of acutely diagnosing and stabilizing any illness or condition.” She smiles as she adds, “We even have delivered a baby or two.” Working with their 12 physicians are 39 RN’s, 18 Patient Care Technicians, Unit Care Coordinators, and a Social Worker. One of those nurses is always stationed at the reception desk to assess and triage patients as they come through the front door, so that priority for immediate help is provided to those who need it. 

Emergency Room board

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Board with notes of appreciation from patients

A little-known fact, but another tribute to Mission – LB is CHOC’s (Children’s Hospital of Orange County) partnership with Mission Hospital to offer Emergency Department Pediatric care. CHOC even designed the child-friendly section for a corner of the welcoming new waiting room.

As a bonus part of my tour, I got to see some of the fancy radiology equipment Mission – LB has now. I much preferred looking at that CT scanner than being a patient on it in December. But it’s the brand new Tesla 1.5 MRI that’s the star of the show.  Yes, Tesla. Who knew they also make medical equipment? The radiology assistant, Michael Tomassetti, loves the quality of the pictures the MRI produces. He explains to me that its spaciousness and performance are far advanced from MRI’s of even five years ago. I’ve always dreaded ever needing an MRI.  But I must admit, imagining myself in this machine wasn’t scary. Still, I’d say yes to the earphones and music, and even the aromatherapy they offer. 

At the end of our visit, I asked Jo Zarnegar what she was most proud of about the Emergency Department. Without hesitation she said, “My passions lie with patient care and the staff. I feel strongly that every patient who comes through our doors gives us the honor and gift of their trust. That’s a privilege. We cherish that and are committed to meet their needs. Patients have choices. They’ve chosen us to ease their pain and meet their needs.”

The wall across from the staff workstation sums up the philosophy of the Emergency Service at Mission – LB, at heart, what their service is all about. High up on the wall large gray metal letters spell out L.O.V.E. On the next line, in somewhat smaller letters, it says: Living Our Values Everyday. Below that are four rows of 44 tastefully framed notes of appreciation from patients who were served and discharged from this ER. I certainly add my personal thanks for the beautiful job they did tending to me. Still, except for stopping by to say hello to Jo on my way to a committee meeting, I hope to never have to set foot in that place again.


LCAD Post-Baccalaureate program opens new
doors for women

Laguna College of Art and Design’s (LCAD) Post-Baccalaureate program gives artists a bridge in pursuit of a professional career or an MFA degree. 

Laguna Beach architect and resident Donna Ballard always wanted to major in art, but she took a more practical approach to marrying her love of drawing, painting, and math to forge a successful career as an architect. 

Today, as Principal Architect of BB Architects, Inc., a nationally and internationally recognized firm, Ballard decided it was time to pursue her lifelong dream and was accepted to the LCAD Drawing and Painting BFA program.

However, after closer inspection, Ballard found a perfect fit in LCAD’s Post-Baccalaureate in Drawing and Painting, a one-year, 30-unit program that focuses on representational drawing and painting skills. 

LCAD Post houses

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Artist and LCAD alumni Donna Ballard

“My work has improved in leaps and bounds,” she said. “By learning best practices in how to apply the paint and important technical skills, my paintings are at a whole new level.”

Not surprisingly, Ballard’s work focuses on buildings, especially their geometry and light and shadows. In 2017, she graduated with her fellow classmate and architect Brad Neal. She is eagerly working on a collection she hopes to display at the Festival of Arts.

“The hardest part of the program was coming home after a long day at work to do my homework,” Ballard said. “I was working in my dining room while my home was being remodeled. But it was worth it. I would do it over again.”

Betty Shelton, who heads the program, said that this program gives serious artists a first step to pursuing a professional career or pursuing a terminal degree in their field. Approximately one-third of students continue into LCAD’s MFA program in Painting, while two-thirds pursue a professional career. 

“In the absence of these programs, a number of people who would be great artists would give up because they may not want to go through a second bachelor’s degree or have the skill for an MFA program,” Shelton said. “Our curriculum helps students develop conceptual and narrative skills to use their unique voice in their work.”

LCAD Post-Baccalaureate is attractive to students who earned a bachelor’s degree in fine art or a related major and are ready for a serious course of study. Just as with its other majors, LCAD screens applicants through a rigorous portfolio review. 

Lisa Mansour regularly studied with professional artists as she focused on raising her three daughters in Laguna Beach. Like Ballard, she was also accepted to LCAD’s BFA program in Drawing & Painting but transferred to its Post-Baccalaureate program.

LCAD Post painting

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Local artist Lisa Mansour

“I wanted to get better,” she said. “I could paint but I was missing the fundamentals. The most important thing LCAD teaches is to learn what you have to say in your art.”

Mansour started LCAD’s Post-Baccalaureate the same year her oldest daughter started university and then matriculated the same year her youngest daughter graduated from Laguna Beach High School. Throughout the program, Mansour rigorously painted a series of works until she found her voice as an artist and realized a 20-year dream that she shared with her three daughters. 

“Every year we went to the Sawdust, my girls would ask, ‘when are you going to do apply, mom,’” she said. This past summer, Mansour participated in her first Sawdust Festival and is already at work preparing her next body of work for summer 2019. Her work was also exhibited at LCAD Gallery as part of the 2017 Study Aboard program.

Both Mansour and Ballard enjoy the perks as LCAD Post-Baccalaureate alumni who can audit one course per semester at LCAD. As current and former members of the Laguna Beach Arts Commission, they inspired current Laguna Beach arts commissioner and friend Suzanne Mellor to apply to the program. The three now share a studio space in South Laguna Beach.

For more information about LCAD’s Post-Baccalaureate program in Drawing and Painting, contact Betty Shelton, chair, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Renee Johansson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

For more information about LCAD admissions, news, events and the college’s Annual Fund, visit www.lcad.edu.

Laguna College of Art and Design is located at 2222 Laguna Canyon Rd.


LOCA Birthday Bash on March 24 to feature contributions from Nelson Coates & Chef Craig Strong 

LOCA Arts Education invites the public to its Birthday Bash fundraising party on Sunday, March 24, from 4 - 7 p.m. at Bridge Hall at Neighborhood Congregational Church. 

Nelson Coates and Chef Craig Strong are among the many esteemed donors. “We are grateful for their amazing generosity, and thrilled to feature their contributions!” exclaimed event chair Pat O’Brien.

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Executive Chef Craig Strong of Ocean at Main is among the contributors to LOCA’s Birthday Bash

Executive Chef Craig Strong, formerly of Studio at Montage and operator of prominent Michelin starred kitchens from Barcelona to Los Angeles, has recently opened Ocean at Main in downtown Laguna Beach. Strong is providing a certificate for a dinner for 12 in his private dining room, which promises to be an exceptional culinary experience.

LOCA hosts studio

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A tour of a film set by Nelson Coates is among items featured at LOCA’s Birthday Bash

Nelson Coates is an Emmy-nominated production designer and artist whose recent film projects include Crazy Rich Asians, Fifty Shades of Gray, and On The Basis of Sex. An enthusiastic supporter of LOCA programs, Coates is providing a special a day on the set during the filming of In the Heights by composer and co-creator Lin-Manuel Miranda. The package includes vouchers for air travel to New York, and a stay at 1 Hotel Brooklyn Bridge – offering expansive views of the East River and Manhattan Skyline.

  The LOCA Birthday Bash will feature great food and wine, festive games for grownups including a musical cakewalk, live music by South Laguna Garden Band, and spectacular auction items. Proceeds support LOCA’s award-winning programs serving people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities throughout Laguna Beach. 

Tickets are $50 each or $180 for a party of four. 

For more information including tickets, visit www.locaarts.org/event/loca-birthday-bash-annual-fundraiser/ or call (949) 363-4700. 

Neighborhood Church is located at 340 Saint Ann’s Dr.


Local classical guitarist and composer Eric Henderson performs at NCC on March 30

Laguna Beach resident Eric Henderson, classical guitarist and composer, appears in Bridge Hall at the Neighborhood Congregational Church (NCC) on Saturday, March 30 at 7:30 p.m. His program will feature his signature mix of classical repertoire for guitar, classic rock covers, and original compositions. 

This is a familiar venue for Henderson. He has been performing at NCC since 1971. His wife Virginia Mann says, “His first public concert was there, and he has probably done at least ten in total. Laguna has watched him grow into the artist he is.” 

Trained by the master of the classical guitar Andres Segovia, Henderson is a guitar virtuoso and composer who covers a vast repertoire with technical mastery and passionate delivery. He has performed internationally.

In 1971 at the age of 13, he was one of the only three people to receive the honor of being invited to study privately with Segovia. 

Henderson says of the upcoming concert, “I want to transport people back in time to when they first heard something that has stayed in their hearts for their whole life. I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but, along with my standard repertoire, I’ll be performing some new selections, namely arrangements of songs that inspired me to pick up the guitar and start playing in the first place. “

Henderson also studied guitar with Christopher Parkening, Angel Romero, Ernesto Bitetti, Emilio Pujol and Antonia Morales. He studied Baroque interpretation with Ton Koopman and Henk Dekker, and guitar music theory and composition with Aureo Herrero. 

Local classical close up

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Eric Henderson performs at NCC on Saturday, March 30

While in Spain, he also had the privilege of studying with the composer Federico Moreno Torroba, perfecting the interpretation of Torroba’s “Sonatina in A” and “Madronos”.

After eleven European and nine U.S. tours over the next 10 years, Henderson returned to his hometown of Laguna Beach where he began composing his own pieces and becoming one of the world’s most acclaimed educators of the classical guitar.

Over the last 20 years, he has performed 20 tours across Europe and the United States. He has played in the famous Concert Gebouw in Amsterdam, Wigmore Hall in London, and Ateneo in Madrid, as well as many other halls in the United States, Germany, Spain, France, the Soviet Union, Australia, and Japan.

His composition “Faces” was featured in the movie Surfers and later became the title track for the album produced by JVC Music. Henderson has released nine albums, including Castilian Nights, Faces, Cathedral Heights, All My Soul, Encore, Guitarra, In the Spanish Tradition and Notes

Henderson has always been an innovator. While he has deep respect for tradition, he understands that the best way to show that respect is to progress the art form, sometimes into unconventional areas. He has relentlessly experimented with new directions for his instrument to express new colors. His 2015 album Turned Up is the first of its kind, electric guitar performances of classical and original works. In concert he often plays his arrangements of rock classics, such as “Paint it Black” by the Rolling Stones or “Little Wing” by Jimi Hendrix. 

Henderson sees no difference between genres, but filters all genres through his own consciousness and dedication to the artform. He says, “To serve the music with all my integrity and artistry is my sincerest aspiration.”

NCC is located at 340 St Ann’s Dr.

For ticket information, go to www.brownpapertickets/com/event/4077072.


Laguna Playhouse to present Heisenberg,
opening March 31

Laguna Playhouse is excited to present a co-production with the Rubicon Theatre Company, the critically acclaimed (LA Times Critics’ Choice) production of Heisenberg, debuting on Sunday, March 31 at 5:30 p.m., and running through Sunday, April 14. 

Written by Simon Stephens, directed by Katherine Farmer, and starring Faline England (Valentine’s Day) and Joe Spano (Hill Street Blues and NCIS), this is going to be a production you won’t want to miss.

Artistic Director Ann E. Wareham and Executive Director Ellen Richard comment, “What a special opportunity to co-produce this critically acclaimed production with the Rubicon Theatre Company. Simon Stephens has written a funny, tender and quirky love story that celebrates human relationships in all their complexity. Faline England and Joe Spano are giving masterful performances under the brilliant direction of the gifted Katharine Farmer. Our subscribers and audiences are sure to fall in love with this wonderful and extraordinary play.” 

Laguna Playhouse jacket

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“Heisenberg” debuts on March 31 at the Laguna Playhouse

In a bustling London train station, free-spirited American Georgie unexpectedly plants a kiss on the neck of mid-70s British butcher Alex. When she turns up in his shop a few days later, she sets the suspicious man’s world reeling. As Alex is drawn into Georgie’s anarchic world, his conventional life becomes chaotic, uncertain, and undeniably richer. Peeling away the many layers of everyday relationships with subtle humor and quiet poeticism, Heisenberg brings to poignant theatrical life the uncertain and often comical sparring match that is human connection.

Playwright Simon Stephens’ plays have been produced in many languages throughout the world. Stephens won the Tony Award for his adaptation of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, which premiered at the National Theatre in London in 2012 under the direction of Marianne Elliott. 

Director Katharine Farmer is a London-based artist who has been Rubicon’s Director of International Programming for the past three years. At the Rubicon, she recently directed an intimate version of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific

Performances will be Wednesdays through Fridays at 7:30 p.m., Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Sundays at 1 p.m. There will be added performances on Thursday, March 28 at 2 p.m.; Tuesday, April 2 at 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, April 7 at 5:30 p.m. and Thursday, April 11 at 2 p.m. 

Tickets range from $56 - $86 and can be purchased online at www.lagunaplayhouse.com or by calling (949) 497-ARTS (2787). Group discounts are available by calling (949) 497-2787 ext. 229.

The Laguna Playhouse is located at 606 Laguna Canyon Dr.


City Manager’s Updates

Ensure Home Address Visibility – Have you recently painted your house? Not trimmed your landscaping for a while? The Fire Department would like to remind residents to ensure that all home addresses are visible from the street so that emergency personnel can find you when you call. Addresses should be at least 4” in height, not covered by landscaping, be of contrasting color to the house, and hopefully illuminated at night. If you have a mailbox, ensure your address is posted on both sides of the box, not just one. Firefighters, police officers, and ambulances may respond from both directions.

New Laguna Beach Police Officer – Officer Britney Priest will be graduating from the Golden West Police Academy on Friday, March 15. Priest demonstrated remarkable leadership throughout her training and was nominated class president by her classmates and academy staff. As class president, she will be one of the keynote speakers during the graduation ceremony. The City is happy to have her as part of the Laguna Beach team. 

Anita Street Beach Access Improvements – The City invites the public to participate in a workshop to discuss design features for the upcoming Anita Street Beach Access Improvements. The workshop will be held at 10 a.m. on March 20 at the Anita Street beach access. 

Conceptual plans are available on the City’s website at http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/pw/cityprojects/construction_projects_list.htm. For additional information, contact Associate Civil Engineer Tom Sandefur at (949) 497-0792 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

City Managers Anita

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The City will host a workshop on March 20 on Anita Street Beach access improvements

Southern California Gas Company Concrete Repair – On Tuesday, March 19, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the northbound lane closest to the curb on S Coast Highway will be closed between Laguna Avenue and Ocean Avenue. Southern California Gas Company’s contractor will be reconstructing a concrete sidewalk associated with a previous emergency gas line leak repair near 278 S Coast Highway. Pedestrian access will be maintained during construction. 

For questions or concerns, contact the Gas Company’s project coordinator, Jorge Hernandez, at (714) 989-5147.

Glenneyre Street Lane Closure – On March 19, from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Laguna Beach County Water District will close one lane of the 2400 block of Glenneyre Street for service replacements. Both directions of traffic will be accommodated at all times. 

For more information, contact Lisa Dunbar at the Water District at (949) 464-3119 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

2nd Street Tree Well Improvements and Tree Health Enhancements – Beginning on Tuesday, March 12, the Public Works Department will be starting phase II of the project to enhance all the tree wells on 2nd Street between Forest Avenue and Mermaid Street. Concrete and hardscape treatments surrounding the tree roots will be removed and an ADA compliant permeable surfacing will be installed. The work will address girdling of the tree trunks, will enhance the air and water permeability of the tree wells, and will remove potential tripping hazards. The project is expected to be completed by Friday, March 15. 

For questions about the project, contact Public Works Deputy Director Dale Schuck at (949) 497-0735.

Community Assistance Grants – The Community Assistance Grant program is available to nonprofit organizations that provide special services to residents of Laguna Beach. The objective of this program is to assist local organizations in funding new projects and/or expanded services within our community. 

Additional information can be found at www.lagunabeachcity.net/CAG

To be considered for a grant, applications must be submitted electronically by Friday, March 22, 2019, at 4:30 p.m. 

Contact Adam Gufarotti, Senior Recreation Supervisor, at (949) 497-0304 for more information.

City Managers books

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The Little Free Library in the TOW neighborhood

Fire Station #3 Receives New Little Free Library – The Little Free Library Foundation has donated a library box under their Impact Giving Program for installation in front of Laguna Beach Fire Station #3. The library will serve firefighters, the school community, and neighbors, with the primary goal of raising awareness about nature, wildlife, and our local environment in a time of increasingly dangerous fires and lengthier fire seasons. As with other Little Free Libraries, the fire station’s library will also be stocked with books to entertain as well as inform. 

A Community Celebration/Potluck will be held Wednesday, April 3 at 5:30 p.m. at Fire Station #3, located on the corner of Tree Top Lane and Alta Laguna Boulevard in Top of the World. Please bring your appetite and a dish to share.

Feedback Sought on Wireless Emergency Test – The City of Laguna Beach is requesting feedback from those who received the Wireless Emergency Alert test message on March 6 at 3 p.m. Residents are asked to complete a brief 6-question survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/WEATestFeedback3-6-19

For more information about the Wireless Emergency Alert test or Outdoor Warning System test, contact Jordan Villwock, Emergency Operations Coordinator, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.or (949) 497-0389.

Citywide Track & Field Meet – The City of Laguna Beach will host the annual Boys & Girls Track Meet on Friday, March 29, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Laguna Beach High School. All children born in or after the year 2004 that reside in Laguna Beach or attend school within the Laguna Beach Unified School District boundaries are invited to attend. Register online by Thursday, March 28, at https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index?search=track+meet

Low-Cost Spay/Neuter Program – Residents of Laguna Beach and Laguna Woods can purchase low-cost vouchers to have their dog or cat spayed or neutered at three veterinary hospitals located in Laguna Beach from April 1 to April 30. The voucher cost is $15 to $40 for neuters and $25 to $75 for spays. The cost is based on the weight of the pet. Residents can purchase the low-cost spay/neuter vouchers at the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter until March 31. There is a maximum of two vouchers per household. 

For additional information, you may contact the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter at (949) 497-3552. 

Junior Lifeguards – Registration for the 2019 Junior Lifeguard program is now open to Laguna Beach residents. Participants must pass the required swim test or have participated in the 2018 program to be eligible to register. The next swim tests will be held this Friday, March 15, from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 16, from 1 to 3 p.m. Not sure if your child is ready for the swim test? Try out a JG Clinic on Saturday morning at 10 a.m. All swim tests and clinics take place at the Laguna Beach High School and Community Pool, located at 670 Park Ave. For additional information about the Junior Lifeguard program, visit http://bit.ly/2RAlQcl or call (949) 497-0788.

Free Paint/E-Waste Drop-off and Shredding Event on Saturday March 16 – 

Residents and businesses are invited to participate in the annual free drop-off event to dispose of unwanted paint, batteries, CFL bulbs, and E-Waste on Saturday, March 16, from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the City Maintenance Facilities, 1900 Laguna Canyon Rd. Free shredding service will also be available on site. The City and Waste Management sponsor this service. 

For more information, including a detailed list of acceptable E-Waste items, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling or contact Liz Avila at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Parking and Trolley at ACT V on March 16 – On Saturday, March 16, ACT V (Lot 16) is closed for parking and trolley service until 1 p.m. due to the Free paint/E-Waste Drop-Off and Shredding Event. 

For more information on parking options, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net/parking or call (949) 497-0766.

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